Friday, July 5, 2013

Peak into Paradise

* Back by popular demand! Guest blogger Annette (Anne-Marie's Mom)

A strike in Paris delayed our arrival to 2 am. As we were going through customs,  I could not believe my eyes to be greeted by a man playing the ukulele and a Tahitian beauty shaking her hips. It felt like Captain Cook and his crew had arrived. This was setting the stage for our trip to Paradise.

The first hug from our kids after their Pacific crossing was imagined and hoped for many times and cannot be described in words. Twinkle's motor was sick, so Anne-Marie and Chris rowed us all for 30 minutes, including luggage to Starship under the stars of heaven, which treated us with shooting stars. Luckily we picked up the fixed motor the next day

Anne-Marie and Chris were excited to see that all the Canadian goodies and ordered items had made it through customs safely. Grandma Mary's baked goodies, Aunt Wow's cool magazines and Clay's music were a highlight.

After recovering from jet lag, going to bed at 4am and adjusting to the tropical climate, we sailed with a boat full of good food, beer and not so good wine from Tahiti to Moorea. We definitely arrived in Paradise! Wherever we looked, sites of immense beauty stared us in the eye. Just looking down beside Starship, the crystal clear aqua marine water did not hide the smallest fish.

Day and night, the temperature is wonderful, as well as the temperature of the ocean. Since we arrived, Chris' strep throat sidelined him, so he could not join us to climb the mountains, visit ancient sites and swim with stingrays and sharks in Moorea.

Chris recovered in less than a week and like two weasels, Anne-Marie and Chris got the boat ready for our one and only (thankfully!) over night sail. It was quite the undertaking and Twinkleman (aka Kevin) was a big help. I felt very bad not being able to fulfill my role as Mrs. Patmore (aka cook), as the first sign of a nasty cold appeared. Anne-Marie made the most delicious passage food, macaroni and cheese a la Starship. Shortly after noon we started to sail towards Huahine. Everyone besides Chris felt seasick and I could hardly trust my ears when at dusk I heard commotion from the deck that a tuna was caught. Lying in my Queen-like cot, I could not bring myself to get up and my only thought was, "I would just cut the line". From the voices I could hear Kevin and Anne-Marie taking care of the catch, what a tough girl she is making her Dad's dream come true….fresh tuna on board.

Did you ever see photos of kleenexes or coughing or sneezing in paradise? Well, I should have taken some pictures because there was lots of opportunity when Kevin came down with the cold too. We made quite a dent in Starship's Mexican Costco kleenex supply. Can you imagine the cost of a kleenex box in paradise is $5? Thanks to the tender and loving care of nurse Anne-Marie, we continued to enjoy life on Starship. It seemed somebody was always coughing or sneezing, but we were so lucky to experience so many wonderful things. Just to mention a few….

… in Huahine - a traditional earth oven cooked lunch for the Chief's birthday, drums at night, outrigger canoe competition in the morning and visiting early Polynesian settlements

…in Raiatea - kitesurfing and girl's day on the town

…in Tahaa - snorkeling in 2-3 foot deep coral garden

… in Bora Bora - hiking up it's famous mountain, special Canada day celebration, cleaning Starship's hull, snorkeling the reef

Lots of new impressions and facts I take away and learned about during a very special time visiting French Polynesia. I'm so very grateful to Starship and her crew for showing me the raw beauty of it all.

TV or books did not convey to me how the coral reef protects the island and people from the power of the sea. The loving and strong unit, which Chris and Anne-Marie did let us experience during our stay is as strong and beautiful as a coral reef and so contains the greatest foundation to complete the rest of their journey successfully. With gratitude for an unforgettable time visiting Paradise on Earth where one should not forget to bring kleenexes.

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