I never imagined I’d become an official resident of French Polynesia. Albeit temporarily. But that’s what we’ve applied for at the High Commission to be able to stay here legally, above board with an official stamp for the next year. We’ve been through a modicum of bureaucracy to get to this point but not as much as Barbados which still takes the biscuit – in triplicate.
Papeete, on Tahiti, the capital of French Polynesia has been our home for the past two weeks. There are hills and ridges behind the city but so far we’ve been no where near them. Our days have been filled with getting organised for 6 months in the Tuamotus and Marquesas, which offer few services and facilities. Our shopping list has included super sexy things like pipe, a bilge pump, oxalic acid and engine oil.
We gave our 72 hours departure notice to the people who needed to know and then the fridge / freezer decided to stop working. The freezer was rammed full of food. We needed to find some kind person with available freezer space in super quick time. After unsuccessfully approaching a couple of locals that we know, thinking they may have large partially filled domestic freezers, we started round the marina randomly asking boaty people if they had any space in their freezer. When meeting new people, an opening gambit of, ‘can we put our food in your freezer” is an interesting opening line when starting a conversation with people you’ve never met. Perhaps dating sites can add it to their lists of what to say when meeting new people. I won’t charge much for the intellectual property.
Happily, we found a solution and didn’t have to throw away lots of soggy inedible food. The boat next door is unoccupied as the owner is back in Europe. Some friends of ours, happened to have the keys so Dave and Charlie went on onboard, fired up the freezer and all is happy in frozen food world.
Three days later….. the freezer is back in the world of the living. There’s still some carpentry work to do then we will be able to move in the next day or so.
Back in the real world, COVID is multiplying on Tahiti and from tonight, there’s a traffic curfew from 9pm to 6am. Pretty much everyone round town is wearing a mask. There are restriction on the number of people who can meet together. It’s time to get out to quieter less populated places.
We’ve taken to occasionally listening to Radio New Zealand on the SSB radio in the evening. We can’t go there so this maybe the closest we get for the next year.
The teatime show, reporting on the day’s news, talked about a short spell of unseasonable weather and snow falling unexpectedly in a town somewhere. Don’t recall exactly where. It was the second item on the national news. To be more precise, a snowman was the second item on the news. Not just a snowman but the fact it’s head had fallen off! Maybe it was a slow news day. In a crazy world, I think we need more stories like this. Poor Mr Frosty.
We are in Papeete on Tahiti. It was a two day sail from Fakarava. A downwind blast with a dying wind as we approached the island. Buddies Holly and Jarne had sussed out a spot for us in the marina and were waiting to take our lines. Nice.
We’ve been here about a week and the days have been full. Papeete is a large town, population around 200,000 I believe. It’s a complete contrast to the Tuamotus. Shops, traffic, people, services, frozen yoghurt bars. And Covid is present which is something we haven’t had to contend with since Panama. As we’re going to be in the Pacific for a goodly number of months, all the things we planned to shop for in New Zealand are now being looked for high and low here.
Our big purchase has been new chain for Grace. Our previous one was disappearing akin to a bar of soap. Every time we used it, there was less of it. And the deck was getting covered in rusty detritus each time we brought it up. We’d never really considered chain as a disposable item but the majority of ours came with Grace when we bought her so no idea how old it was. We added about 30m before we left Hull. We cut that section off and will keep it for our secondary anchor. Can’t throw things out. It’s against the law on a boat according to Dave! You never know when…..
We have a list of other exciting items to source. Toilet service kits, new flip flops, silicone bread trays, varnish, ink for our printer, the list goes on. There are many lines of items on an excel spreadsheet sheet. Plus a massive food shop. We buy in bulk. 24 cans of tomatoes, 24 cans of tinned peaches, 24 cartons of milk. Days can disappear walking round trying to source stuff.
But you’ll all be pleased to know we found a Chinese wholesale shop selling sacks of potatoes, Carrefour sells Earl Grey tea bags and the market does a nifty line in cabbages. There are some reasons to visit town.