Macron, that is Mr Macron, French President, is visiting French Polynesia this weekend. He’ll be here for 4 days, whizzing around the different Polynesian island groups, in the way politicians do. An uneasy relationship exists with mainland France. The reason, nuclear testing. France conducted dozens of tests here, the last one being in 1996. Some of the atolls where tests were carried out are still off limits. 

Among locals there’s a feeling of disregard for the lives of islanders. In 1974, the fallout from a test drifted unexpectedly over Papeete and the Society Islands. It’s estimated 110,000 were affected by nuclear radiation fallout. And that there was a massive cover up by the french authorities.  Cancer cases rocketed afterwards and to date only 63 citizens have received compensation, even though many more payouts have supposedly been agreed. Soldiers and contractors involved in working at the test sites have been paid out but not the uninvolved citizens. 

Macron is apparently going to address the nuclear issue on this visit. We’ll be following the local news to see what transpires.

On Saturday several roads downtown will have restricted use due to Macron’s visit.  A local chap has been servicing our tow generator and is due to drop it off this Saturday.  Tom, a friend, who was also getting something dropped off said to the chap, “you do know about the road closures. It might be tricky to get here.” “Yes” he said, “I’ve got my tomatoes ready. And they’re green not red. Red ones are too soft whereas green ones have impact!”.

And here’s some boaty news for you boaty people out there. Life in the marina is busy. We have new dyneema guard rails. The generator works again. It hasn’t done so for a while. Dave managed to source a second hand high pressure pump which did the trick. The dinghy has had an overhaul. The chain has been over-ended and remarked. The water maker has been pickled. Dave said he felt like Walter in Breaking Bad measuring out chemicals. I said if you have cash stashed in a locker you need to tell me now. There is no cash. 

This week’s projects involve engine hoses, batteries and paperwork for coming home. 7 days and 8 hours till takeoff. 

Pee Test

Just over two weeks till we get in the metal tube and cross part of the Pacific and all of the Atlantic to get home. It’s not a particularly enticing prospect the thought of being in a restricted space with strangers for many hours sharing recycled air. It’s the polar opposite to being in the open air on a boat in the ocean by ourselves. 

We’ve been in Tahiti for a week now. We had a fast easy sail from Toau and have been anchored in the airport anchorage since we arrived. Well the autopilot stopped working properly but the wind vane stepped up admirably. Something else to add to the fix list. 

The authorities are in the process of dropping concrete blocks to install moorings. The overall plan, we believe is to restrict / cease anchoring possibilities. It’s something which we are told has been talked about for just 30 years! A french friend said I’ll believe it when I see it. 

Here’s a tale. The mayor wanted local citizens, well local men, to be involved in the work, thus providing employment. The work entails diving and being in the water so those interested needed to pass a medical before being accepted. To a man, they all failed the pee test as marijuana smoking is pretty common.

The doc said, if you want to be considered for this work, you need to come back to be retested in 3 months and be ‘clean’. Three months later, the blokes turn up with their pee samples. They all passed. And four of them were discovered to be pregnant!

The doc’s ultimatum was that he would test them again, right there and then. If you know you won’t pass there’s no point staying. They all left. This group was 20 strong.

The pull of a smoke is greater than the pull of work it would seem. How quickly the moorings are finished is anyone’s guess.

It’s fun here. There’s 7 or 8 boats that made up our Gambier Gang. We have been to Heiva which is a celebration of Polynesian culture, particularly song and dance. Troops of up to 80 dancers performed dressed in local costumes, keeping traditions alive. We supported England in the Euros. (came second if you were on Mars for the weekend and didn’t hear the score). We ate fresh mushrooms after a gap of 9 months. We shared dinner with the crews of 5 other boats on a catamaran. 

In the next few days we plan to head into the marina which is where Grace will stay for a while. It’ll be easier to get all the required Covid tests / paperwork in order being tied to the land. It’s a 20 minute dinghy ride to town which can be pretty damp experience depending on the strength and direction of the wind. 

This time last year we were 2 days out from Nuka Hiva, the end of our 29 day pacific crossing. It feels  a fair while ago. 

Off to Tahiti today

Apologies. I’ve run out of time to post something longer but here’s a few piccies to whet your appetite. Do you whet anything else?

Anyway. It’s been constantly windy the seas have been big (4m) for the last few days. Not enticing conditions even downwind. So we’ve been here in Toau for about a week. But it’s been fun. I have new cousins! There’s a family living here who also share the Parker name. My maiden name so we’ve been welcomed gloriously by Valantine and Gaston. And her per frigate bird?!

But Tahiti calls. It’s 230 isn miles. See you on the either side in a couple of day’s.

And finally….. and most importantly, my awesome friend Mr Shed Radio himself, Mr Roberto Knowles, aka video Rob has turned MY LIST of tunes into a radio broadcast akin to desert island discs but much better.

I’m having a momentary lapse of self promotion here. Don’t worry. It won’t last long.

Check out and look for H’s playlist. It’s episode 9. And do it before England play football again in the semi finals. Then listen to episodes 1-8.

This frequency is now clear.