Home is Where the Anchor is…?

Been thinking lots more about the alternatives after Australia. Still have two major unknowns: is Tim rejoining, and how does Bob work out as crew. But the aspect under my control is how I feel about traveling at BPO speed versus hurrying back…home(?). I’ve realized that the feeling of “home” is a big factor. Looking at other boats/crews, in most cases there is a married couple (perhaps with additional crew), and in many cases they have sold or at least rented their house ashore. Their boat is their home.

For me the boat has been a vehicle for making a voyage. But at times I can see it differently. Especially with Tim away, and Hallie here, I can perceive the boat as my home. And when I do, I find that I’m in no rush to be moving. If I’m already at home, why be in a rush to be elsewhere? With this state of mind I can imagine being content with the BPO schedule. So I’m “practicing” being home aboard. And it’s working pretty well. The fact that Hallie is here might be a huge temporary assist, but nevertheless it seems like something that can be practiced/intentional. So I’ll keep with it, and we’ll see how I fare after Bora Bora…

Photo of us provided by S/V Libby
Photo of us provided by S/V Libby

Meanwhile Back at the Office…

I want to let my friends back at my former office know that I’m thinking about them. Our director who just retired did a remarkable job of holding our team together, and retaining a surprising level of autonomy for us over the 14 years since our little 1-product company was acquired by a vastly larger multi-product company. Plus she was constantly in touch with our clients, retaining an impressive degree of loyalty from them. Both of those shoes will be tough to fill!

In my opinion she had a management shortcoming in that she frequently focused on the weaknesses of individuals rather than drawing upon their strengths. And it seems to me that she has passed that trait down to the managers that she has hired in recent years. When a talented individual has worked on the development of a single software product for 15, 20, or more years, they are extremely valuable to the company, and probably impossible to replace. Managers should be willing to cut such individuals a lot of slack in order to keep them happy and retain them!

Oh well. I’m both sorry and relieved that I’m not there to help fight these battles. I’m not saying I’d rather be at the office than anchored inside the barrier reef of Raiatea, but I do miss the camaraderie, teamwork, expertise and commitment to excellence that we had. Best wishes to the collective team, and to the individuals moving into new roles.

Mo’orea and Huahine

We motored to Opunopu Bay on the north side of Mo’orea. Beautiful anchorage, shallow sandy bottom with no coral heads (all positive qualities), clear water, beautiful views, a handful of other boats nearby. We met Len and Erin on Maestro, and their delightful 10-month old Trenton. When they came to visit I wasn’t sure Hallie was going to let Trenton leave.
BPOers Ransom and Libby came to the same anchorage. There were several birthdays to be celebrated — we had a good time all squeezed into Libby’s cockpit for beer and cake. Unfortunately Sue had been bitten by a dog earlier in the day. They took her to a doctor who noticed from her ID that it was her birthday, and he wrote a prescription for pain killers and champagne! She was in good spirits for her party.
Ransom in Opinopu Bay, Mo'orea
Ransom in Opinopu Bay, Mo’orea
Libby in Opunopu Bay, Mo'orea
Libby in Opunopu Bay, Mo’orea
Next day Hallie and I took the dinghy across the bay to where you can “swim with the rays.” It’s a shallow area with stingrays, and tour operators feed them so they have effectively become tame. If you hold food in your hands they will swim up on your chest to try to get it. Even without food you can rub their bellies as they swim by. ¬†All the while with sharks circling — but they are black tip sharks, nothing to worry about, they say. Hallie was proud of herself for getting in the water and joining the fun.
No photo of the rays because we were in the water, but got the Sharks as we were leaving.
No photo of the rays because we were in the water, but got the Sharks as we were leaving.
Then we went ashore at the Intercontinental Resort, and had an expensive (but quite good) lunch. The resort has three dolphins in captivity and, supposedly for educational/fundraising purposes they do a dolphin show and you can swim with the dolphins. We had mixed feelings about this, but we stayed to watch the dolphin show. Very impressive (but I can’t upload the video of them doing amazing somersaults).
Next day we dinghied over to Cooks Bay, found a gas station for dinghy gas, and were thwarted in our attempt to buy groceries due to it’s being a holiday. (It seems that there is a holiday about once a week!) We went back again the next day for the groceries, plus Hallie bought a Tahitian pareo.
Back at the boat we were below putting the groceries away when Terry from Libby called to us from his dinghy, saying that our anchor was dragging! This was an understatement — we were moving rapidly backwards toward a deep narrow channel, and in another 50 yards we would be across it and on the reef! We started an engine and reset the anchor uneventfully. But we were incredibly lucky that we were back on the boat and Terry was paying attention!! We’d never had our anchor drag before, and it left us a little shaken, uncertain about what we can/can’t count on.
We planned to leave the next day, and sail/motor through the night to go to Huahine, about 80 miles away. But first Hallie and I went snorkeling at the “underwater tikis.” This is a creation by an artist who carved several stone tikis and then placed them in the lagoon, in about 8 feet of water. Interesting way to view an artist’s work…
We got underway just as it was starting to get dark, plus it started to rain, plus it was more bumpy than we had expected. Hallie had a tough night… But things looked better in the morning.
We anchored in a very protected channel between Huahine Iti and a barrier island. And stayed for three nights. The area had no store, no restaurant, and no wifi — we were roughing it!
The anchorage had crystal clear water.
Self portrait
Self portrait
The wind was blowing one way and the current was running the other. The boat couldn’t decide which to lie to, so we turned this way and that. At one point we noticed that our anchor chain was wrapped around our anchor. We realized that this was how/why we dragged in the previous anchorage. Our primary anchor has a ‘float’ that helps it orient properly on the bottom. But the float sticks up and can foul the chain if the boat drifts in circles. At least we now know what to watch out for.
Anchor chain in a loop.  If this happens around the anchor we're in trouble...
Anchor chain in a loop. If this happens around the anchor we’re in trouble…
We were visited by “Paul,” a local who apparently reaches out to all yachts that come to his lagoon. Paul is deaf, and communication is very challenging, but he has a book with entries by hundreds of sailors, to which we added ours. He left us with coconuts and a breadfruit, and the next day dropped off fish as well. We made a local cuisine dinner of fish and coconut rice and breadfruit. I over cooked the breadfruit, but the rest was very good.
Breakfast includes coconut (milk and meat) courtesy of Paul, mango and pamplemousse.
Breakfast includes coconut (milk and meat) courtesy of Paul, mango and pamplemousse.
Next day we went exploring by dinghy, and visited a small pearl farm. The owner lives on the edge of the lagoon, had a pottery studio in a building out on the reef (he can walk to it on the reef), and the pearl farm (and pottery) store is a short boat hop further into the lagoon. Pretty cool arrangement.
We snorkeled at a “coral garden” (we rated it a solid B), and we decided we were done with the east side of Huahine. Today we came around to the west side, where we picked up a mooring off the town of Fare. Here they have a large supermarket, restaurants, and…wait for it…wifi! It’s not the prettiest place around, but I’m happy to be able to do a blog post and buy ice cream!