It was hard to say good-bye to Maupiti after lazing around in her turquoise lagoon for two weeks. We could easily have stayed for another two or four. But, we were out of FP francs and the weather window was perfect for sailing west again.
Maupiti was without a doubt our favorite Society island. With only a handful of small pensions, visitors are still a novelty here and the local residents weren’t tourist-wary as it felt like in the more commonly visited islands. It is the kind of place where you can walk down the village main (only) street and people will wave hello at you from their living room windows or lush gardens as you walk by. One day we toured the island on foot via the circumference road and lost count of the number of times people stopped to ask us if we wanted a ride. I have a hunch that the vision of Michael carrying Holly on his shoulders helped.
Leah likes to tell the story of how she dug some francs out of her purse to pay for two pamplemousse she’d selected at a fruit stand in a family’s yard. The elderly woman took her coins, then placed her two fruits in a bag. Smiling, she then grabbed another pamplemousse and placed it in the bag too, then a bunch of bananas, then another, and another until the bag was full to bursting. Leah needed some assistance hauling all her fruit down the road back to the dinghy. We helped by munching on the tiny, super-sweet tasty bananas as we walked.
Maupiti was to us the perfect mix of village life and nature. Leah and Michael scrambled up to the top of Mount Teurafaatiu one day (they took the photos in our last blog post from 380 meters up). One day we snorkeled with majestic manta rays nearly half the size of our boat. Another day the girls and I took a picnic to the neighboring motu, spread our blanket and snacks out in the shade and enjoyed an afternoon of playing in the sand, telling stories and stalking hermit crabs hiding out in the roots of pandanus trees. Other days we didn’t even get off the boat but spent the day reading, baking, swimming around our floating home.
Yes, it was not easy to leave Maupiti but last Wednesday we pushed ourselves through the pass (not nearly as friendly as when we entered it with a south wind and sea building this time). We safely made it through the building mayhem and turned southwest, towards our next island.
We are sailing to Nuie, 1000 miles from Maupiti. This is our last long passage until the one to New Zealand and we’ll be glad to have it safely behind us as these waters can be tempestuous (google: South Pacific Convergence Zone). So far, the wind has been perfect, about 18 knots the past two days. It’s dead astern though, so we have our genoa poled out to starboard and the staysail poled to port and we roll slowly from side to side as the waves roll under us. It’s nice to be underway again; there’s an air of excitement on board, wondering what the next bit of land will bring.
*We’re checking into the Pacific Seafarer’s Net again on this passage. Tune in to 14.300 at 0330z and make contact if you hear us!