29 March 2013

Kiting at Point Venus, Tahiti

VIDEO FRIDAY

Here is Carol kiting on a light wind day skimming across the blue waters (and black sand) of Point Venus, Tahiti. Light air and early in the day so we had the place nearly to ourselves.



If you can't view this video try going to our channel directly to find it.

25 March 2013

Govino Glasses

OK, I am completely jealous.

Friends of ours just opened their set of Govino plastic glasses and I covet them. Not hard acrylic they have a rubbery feel, slightly squishable but not squishable enough to lose liquid and they have a thumb indentation so they are easier to hold.

Yes, I said thumb indent! How cool is that? They are hands down the coolest boat "glassware" I've ever seen.

Warning visitors: The next set of fly in guests may be required to grab some for us.

(No, we are not sponsored by Govino, but I wish we were!)

22 March 2013

Mega Groceries in Tahiti

VIDEO FRIDAY

Can you find what you need in French Polynesia? Carrefour (and other mega-groceries) in Tahiti are enormous grocery (and everything else) stores. There are at least a half dozen in Tahiti and I know at least two other Society Islands that have large (but not mega) groceries as well (Raiatea and Bora Bora).

Here is a peek inside the non-food side of the Carrefour near Marina Taina in Papeete:



If you can't view this video try going to our channel directly to find it.

20 March 2013

Cruiser Cheap Eats in French Poly: Casse-Croute


There are 4 kinds of meat on this sandwich, plus eggs. It is stuffed with french fries and has rocquefort (cheese) sauce. Oh, and I should mention that this is *half* of the normal sandwich because Carol and I split one.

Welcome to the land of casse-croute, sandwiches French Polynesian style.

Half a baguette loaded with goodies, fries included and placed on the inside.

You can find them at almost every snack (small eatery) and they are generally less than 500 polynesian francs (< $6USD). Also, as you can see, unless you have a serious hunger going on, you can usually share.

18 March 2013

Identify these fruits

Can you identify these? Some are easy, and some are perhaps not so easy. All were found at a juice stand in Tahiti on the side of the road. We couldn't identify all of them on our first try.

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15 March 2013

Sunset in Tahiti

VIDEO FRIDAY

We had some crazy sunsets while staying at our friends' house on Tahiti. Every night after running errands or exploring all day we would get together for a nice meal on their deck and watch the sun go down.

If you listen during the second half of this short video below you can hear the live drumming that was going on at the dance school across the street.


13 March 2013

Haul out continues

Despite the cheeky graphic, we are actually looking forward to the next stage of the haul out.

We put in a week of work in the water and two weeks on land before we left for N America. We will work hard for another 2 weeks, and maybe an additional week in the water, but then Estrellita will be set to carry us around the S Pacific for...well, as long as we can stretch it.

And we splash in the Tuamotus! In the heart of great kiting, snorkeling, and friends. Several boats we met last year, who kite, will ne splashing around the same time and we have Bella Star coming west this year and new friends in this year's puddle jump that we are looking forward to meeting in person.

This season is going to rock.

11 March 2013

1000 days of cruising

Today is 1000 days of cruising, or vagabonding as we like to call it, particularly when we just spent 3 months off of our boat.

We are celebrating by taking a cruise. Seriously.

Of course our cruise ship is the Cobia, one of the French Polynesian interisland lifelines which transports goods and a few people and we are taking the cruise in our to het from Tahiti, where international flights stove, to our boat at Apataki *with* hundreds of pounds of luggage plus groceries purchased at the megastores of Tahiti. We will spend one night aboard the Cobia before arriving at Apataki in the Tuamotus to rejoin SV Estrellita 5.10b.

Full report on the Cobia experience to follow. With no WiFi at the haul out facility and several weeks of work ahead of us I won't be uploading any new posts for a bit. Just rolling out some pre-scheduled posts from our time in Tahiti.

09 March 2013

What are your Pacific vs Atlantic stereotypes?

You might remember our post about the influence of region on "expertise" and ZTC's post about the same topic which sparked a bit of discussion on their facebook page.

The discussion brought up the stereotypes people have about regions without having traveled there.

For example, having never been in the Atlantic, based purely on watching other people's blogs, I have the following stereotypes as compared to the Pacific (what I've seen of it so far).

I assume that in the Caribbean:
- wifi is more ubiquitous
- people spend more time with other cruisers
- there are more funky bars
- anchorages are more crowded on average
- the locals are a little more burnt out on tourists
- a lot of N Americans have taken up semi-permanent residence in the area (like the French do in French Polynesia)
- people dive less

I have the following stereotypes about the experience of N American cruisers who have left from the "right" coast. They are:
- more concerned about having shoal draft
- less concerned about having a wind vane
- less likely to have done any long passages

Remember, I mean "on average". Of course, any one cruiser could seek out, experience or be something completely different.

What are your Pacific vs Atlantic stereotypes?

08 March 2013

Shower Time in the Tropics

VIDEO FRIDAY

Carol walks us through his version of a tropical shower.





More videos on our YouTube Channel.

06 March 2013

Shedding layers: Cruiser chic

While still living in Canada, a few years before we headed South, we stopped buying winter clothes. We had enough that we could wear one set until items actually wore out and then discard them.

It was pretty cool and fairly novel to us to actually wear clothes until they disintegrated. People would see clothes that were ratty but still functioning and suggest we replace them. We enjoyed telling them that we wouldn't need a fleece when we were sailing in the S Pacific.

Despite this wear down, we still had more winter clothes than we needed aboard. So we took a set of partially worn out clothes with us to N America to wear for 3 months. By the end it was comical. My jacket had a shredded liner and a sleeve half ripped off, one more wash and Carol's jeans were going to dissolve and he had a shirt that was more holes than fabric.
As part of the grand finale I dressed in layers for our flights back to French Polynesia. I wish I had takwn more pictures but here I am fully layered for our early morning Seattle flight.

I immediately ditched the featherless down jacket, scarf and hat. At our connection in Honolulu, the socks and pants went. And at our arrival in Papeete the t-shirt was packed in favor of something looser.

It felt good to get rid of *something* because we had nearly 300 lbs of luggage we were bringing back to the boat.

04 March 2013

Postcards From Paradise

There are a number of services that will mail postcards for you and on my personal to do list was to test and choose a service.

Why? I find myself sending fewer postcards because the selection is often poor, or doesn't reflect the experiences that I had, and because the cards and postage can be expensive. With electronic photo sharing options many people cruising forego postcards altogether but there is something special to me about receiving something from someone in the mail.

Postcardly is the compromise that I chose. I can send an email with a photo I took as an attachment, to a special email address I set up in advance. The card is printed with the photo as the front and the subject and body of my email as the message on the back. Depending on which preset email I chose, the card is addressed to different people and mailed from the US - for a total cost of $1 if mailed to a US address or $2 if mailed internationally.

I wanted an email based service rather than an app based service because now I can prepare the emails to initiate the postcards while I am offline and then when I next sync my email the cards are processed and sent.
To use the service I need internet access but so far I have had WiFi as often or perhaps more often than I have seen post offices. And of course the card isn't mailed from an exotic port.

After testing the service I was quite happy with their photo printing quality and speed. I set up a bunch of addresses while I had fast internet.

I received 3 free postcards as part of a free trial and after seeing the cards I prepaid $20 for 20 printed-and-postage-paid cards.

01 March 2013

A Taste of the Societies

VIDEO FRIDAY

After leaving the Marquesas we went to the Tuamotus. Unfortunately I somehow don't have those videos on the portable hard drive I brought back to N America and couldn't process them. After the Tuamotus we sailed to the Society Islands, and here is a 17 minute sampler of our travels.




More videos on our YouTube Channel.