Discover Prompts : Instrument

Day 31 of lock down in Tahiti : Up one to 56 cases with one still in hospital. Hugely disappointing after six days of no change.

Music is the heart and soul of French Polynesia, particularly the Ukelele. Every day someone would be on a street corner singing and strumming along or hoping to sell their instruments. Not during lock down. I miss the vibrance but I’m sure the music will return.
No doubt the JW will still be around.
Meanwhile on my walk, I felt so sorry for the neighbours in an apartment block, someone was in the early stages of trumpet lessons, the painful noise will drive them mad.
Speaking of driving, now would be a good time to start driving lessons. Empty roads in the city, perfect but the instructor would have to sit in the back on the opposite side.

Discover Prompts : Three


On my sports walk I arrived at the To’ata carpark and l spotted a friend. Not only was she feeding the stray cats but she had also fed the hens and the stray dogs. What a lovely lady.
The white dog who I’ve befriended came bounding up to me. I’ve discovered that she has a very shy brother who I’ve also been feeding. Today they were with the park dog greeter. This handsome guy has been abandoned in the park for eight months since his owner died. He’s had to adapt to the park being closed. We’ve all protected him. He was given a red collar but that’s been removed. However, today the three of them played in the car park and the drying up River estuary. Wonderful to see three happy dogs with tails in the air, tearing around with such energy.

Discover Prompts. Distance.

Today is day 28 of confinement in French Polynesia, a group of islands and atolls covering an area of over 2,000 kms.

We’ve had 55 known cases of covid19 with 1 remaining in hospital. Most cases have been on the main Island of Tahiti, with a few on her sister Island Moorea, which is just 10 nautical miles away. With restrictions in place, two ferries run a limited service between the two Islands. You can only travel on these for approved commercial reasons or valid family reasons. Otherwise forget it.

I’m in Tahiti. I make the most of my one hour in a one km radius power walk for exercise every evening. From our boat in the marina and from a vantage point on my walk, I look longingly at Moorea in the distance.


We all hope that when safe, travel restrictions will be lifted but until then, we can still admire the view.

Dish

Not everyone enjoys a five course meal on Noritaki China. The dish might be far more humble but a necessity in life in order to survive.

Day 16.

Ah bless. I’m always a soft touch for the under dog. She’s been abandoned by the homeless who have been offered a bed and three meals a day during the lock down. Most had dogs but I don’t think they were invited. She’s starving and has terrible rope marks on her neck. This is the third day she has appealed to me . She has food in her belly since I met her but we live on a small boat and I have a flock of chickens to feed. I will do my best.

Street

Day 15. We have 30 cases and one still in hospital.
On January 18th, a big street party was held in Papeete, Tahiti along the main road. The road was blocked off so that families could have a fun day. So typical of the Tahitians. Today cars could travel through but the occupants needed a permit underlying their reason. Consequently the road was empty. The bars that were bursting at the seams are now closed.
Every evening I enjoy my one hour in a one km radius to power walk for exercise. In keeping with the French system, sport is recognised as being beneficial to overcome this current situation, as well as the lock down.
I feel confident that soon we will be back in the street celebrating the best street party ever. We can wait, it will happen.

Fast ferry.

For months there’s been talk and speculation of a new fast Aremiti ferry replacing the old one which shuttles between Moorea and Tahiti.
The Aremiti 5 has for the last 15 years provided transportation primarily for workers and school pupils, between Moorea and Papeete, the capital of Tahiti.

With three rotations a day, it was quite a fast service taking about 45 minutes dock to dock.
People were quite emotional at the thought of loosing their old ferry. It held memories of their school days. Some travelled daily, getting up at the crack of sparrows and getting home late, others were weekly boarders.

Complete with boom boxes the teenagers gather at the ferry dock for their trip home.
The new Aremiti 6 described as the jewel of the Degage Group was built in the Austal shipyard in the Philippines. Without much fanfare, it arrived in Papeete on the 26th August, did a few spins, then tied up longside the container dock.
There was a bit of controversy over tax duty and competition with the Terevau Vodafone ferry but once sorted, it was ready for action.
The new ferry can carry up to 550 passengers plus 5 cars or 30 two wheelers, which is the same as the Aremiti 5.
Boasting a faster and more efficient service, the Aremiti 6 is under pressure to perform.
With 7 rotations a day, it must rotate between the two islands in 25 minutes. This includes embarkation, the channel crossing and disembarkation.
I wondered how they could achieve this without breaking the Port control speed limits of 5 knots.
The sea was a bit rough for the inaugural crossing on Friday September 6th. An enthusiastic traveller noted that the first channel crossing from the Papeete pass to the Moorea pass took just 18 minutes.
On Monday 9th September the Aremiti 6 went into service leaving at 5am from Moorea, where it is now based.
The last trip of the day is at 17.30 from Tahiti.

From the start, it was pretty obvious that this new high speed service would be problematic. In the Papeete marina, we are shaken in our beds as the yachts rock and roll at 5.30 am heralding the arrival of Aremiti 6. We are rolled around by the huge wake as the ferry storms into its loading dock, breaking the Port’s 5 knot limit by as much as 10 knots. It might be a great new experience for the Aremiti 6 crew and passengers but it won’t be long before the flimsy marina pontoons fall apart. The marina staff have made a complaint to the Port authorities after just two days in service.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Meanwhile, we say a little farewell to the Aremiti 5. Her last emotional trip was on the 8th September.
Unfortunately there are no buyers, we hope she won’t be left to rot at the Papeete ferry Dock.

Ferry trip.

Recently on a bright sunny day, we decided to have a change of scenery and visit Moorea which is Tahiti’s little sister Island.

Along with our bikes, we boarded the ‘Aremiti 2’ ferry from the Papeete ferry terminal in Tahiti. It’s a short journey, taking less than an hour.

I was pleased to have “Vertigo” my electric bike. The first challenge of getting up the steep ferry ramp was made easy, I felt quite chuffed that I didn’t have to push it up there.

John’s a fit cyclist, who speeds along on his road bike, so I was able to set a reasonable pace along the road on Vertigo.

We stopped at various places to admire the beautiful sea view. We have anchored our yacht around some of these areas.

It was lovely to join local families and bathe in the warm, clear water. Quiet and peaceful it was not. We had picked a day when the holiday kids club was organising a trip to Moorea as well. The air was filled with joyous shouts and laughter of the youngsters enjoying their day out. Wonderful to hear.
After a lovely day, we peddled back to the ferry. On the return crossing, over 200 young children were singing their hearts out. It was delightful singing. The children’s faces lit up as they were each handed a small cake by the group organisers. It’s the little things in life that make me smile. I thought it was all rather lovely.

Ferry leaving Papeete Port

Ferry going through the Papeete pass.

Ferry in the distance approaching Moorea.