Street Artist in action.

The last few days have been hot and sunny in Tahiti and I am optimistic that the improvement in the weather heralds the end of the cyclone season. The last few weeks however, held a mixed bag of hot humid weather, heavy rain, thunder, lightning, interspersed with some cloudless sunshine.
Spare a thought for Fintan Magee a famous Australian Street artist.

He was tasked was creating a massive street mural on the side of a block of flats overlooking a car park in Papeete. With what must have been months of preparation, the first brushes of paint were applied to the wall around the 14th March right in the midst of the foul weather.

The artist worked long hours every day until the mural was finished.


When I asked him what was the theme of his mural, he said “Love”
The project was completed with Fintan Magee’s signature on the 21st March. I hope he was pleased with the results. I thought it was rather amazing.
How blessed we are in Tahiti, to have such dedicated artists, who create all these wonderful masterpieces for everyone to enjoy.

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Cross

We’ve had a lot of rain so far this February in Tahiti . When the weather improves, I like to get out and about for exercise.
One sunny clear day, I headed in land on my electric bike called Vertigo. I wanted to find a landmark large cross high up on the hill side. This area is said to have a great view of the port of Papeete and the distant Island of Moorea.
I checked my Google map and set off. The road narrowed with a steep incline, there were only a handful of private properties by now. Turning a corner, I met a set of teeth belonging an alsatian dog who had his barking brother along for support. At the same time the lace on my left trainer wrapped around the bike pedal. Cursing my stupidity, I shouted a few pleasantries in dulcet tones to the dogs. Dropping my right foot to the ground to support the weight of me and the electric bike, I was able to wriggle my left foot out of the trainer. I propped the bike up on it’s stand and disentangled the lace from the pedal. Once I had composed myself, I remembered the dogs. One was sitting down facing the other way, whilst the barker sniffed a shrub and wandered off.
I backtracked and realised that I was on the wrong road and should have been on the road running parallel to this one.
Now on the correct tarmac road, it terminated at a bridge over a small river. A rough concrete road continued but my Google map told me that once over the bridge, I had to turn off to the left. Hmm it looked like a rough track.

I asked a gentleman who was gardening on the other side of the bridge for directions.
He enthusiastically pointed to the rough track which was clearly unsuitable for my type of bike. He generously suggested that I locked my bike behind his property whilst I hiked up the track.

I was surprised to see many depictions of Christ on his crucifixion route as I followed the trail.

I’m somewhat ignorant when it comes to religious matters but I did learn more about it from John who attended Redrice Catholic school even though he’s not a clan member.
Known as “The stations of the Cross” there are 14 images.

There was lush vegetation in the valley and hillside. Eventually I reached the area where the cross was erected.

There was indeed a wonderful panoramic view of Papeete and the distant Island of Moorea. I spent some time there.

A few joggers arrived from another direction, so presumably there are a number of routes to this look out place.

I however took the same route back to retrieve my bike. The gentleman was evidently looking out for me. I declined the offer of refreshments but thanked him profusely for letting me leave the bike in his garden.
As I cycled back to the marina, I thought to myself, what a pleasant little adventure I’d had.

Wet and windy weekend.

We battened down the hatches on Shiraz ready to brave out the lousy weather which was forecast for the weekend.

Many boats left the Papeete marina with the knowledge that a North westerly swell can reek havoc here. John spent hours on the computer reviewing the weather forecast information. We decided, with a handful of other boats, to stay.

Saturday night saw squalls with winds of up to 39 knots and it hammered down with rain. But, as John had predicted, the swell wasn’t too bad.

Sunday morning I went out on the bike to look around. At the mouth of the river, muddy water flowed into the sea carrying with it tree trunks and a semi submerged fridge.

The pass to the Papeete port remained open so the ferry service to Moorea remained on schedule. The locals are used to rolling around on the ferries but I expect there were a few green looking, sea sick tourists because it was very rough.

A few hardy va’a people had been out in the brown sea.

Despite the amount of rain on the ground, the burly Tahitian man was doing his daily leaf blowing job. I think the leaves were stuck firmly to the ground but he was jovial and gave me the chakkers.

Today the weather is hot and sunny. The yachts have returned to the marina.

I’ve done the washing. We’ve fished out tree branches, plastic bottles, flip-flops and even a computer from the water.

As the water cleared, I was so pleased to see that the little juvenile bat fish had survived.

More rain is forecast but today’s weather has been gorgeous. We felt quite relaxed after a somewhat stressful weekend.

Beautiful Dumpsters.

Last Friday 8th February, I just happened to be cycling past the cruise ship part of the Papeete Port and noticed that a load of brightly painted skips (dumpsters) now occupied the coach parking area. Colourful lights were being erected to highlight them all. With my love of Street Art, I had to find out more.

I’ve often seen a few interesting skips, painted with street art, delivered to the dock when a cruise ship visits. Rubbish is chucked into the skips, which are lifted up on to the lorry base and driven away. Five painted skips have been in use since 2015.

16 new skips arrived and the Tahitian Society of Public Sectors (TSP) entrusted them to artists of the Hamani Lab in Tahiti to paint as part of the Urban Care Project. Artists, Abuze, Cronos, Ennio, HTJ and Komosulo gave the skips a makeover. The idea was to highlight a new generation of artists as well as changing the professional image of waste collection.
The TSP, in collaboration with the Port Authority of Papeete, presented the artists’ work on the platform of honour at the Vai’ete Square next to the Cruise Ship Dock. We went along to admire the creative artwork.
I loved the results.

The artists took the opportunity to exhibited their most recent works.

Since the presentation event, I’ve been playing “Spot the Skip” around Papeete. So far I have seen four in action at the Port.

Straight after the presentation, a cruise ship arrived and two of the new skips were in use.

I think it’s a great idea.

A weekend swim.

In Tahiti we’ve had squally weather and angry seas for a few weeks now. We desperately want to sail across to Moorea and drop the hook for a swim in a blue lagoon but there seems little point when the water is murky.

I decided to get my swim fix at the Papeete municipal swimming pool . On arrival, I handed over my 600xpf and assured the friendly Vahine that I did have my compulsory swim hat. I noticed that there were a few nemo cartoon hats behind the desk, so assumed that anyone without a hat would be loaned one. There was only one man wearing a nemo hat as I entered the water.

The pool is 50 metres long and is divided up into swim lanes.

Lifeguards are on duty.

School lessons take place in term time midweek. Being a Saturday, people were there to keep fit. The seaside is for messing around in the water, not this pool.

The swimming pool is situated near to the Port of Papeete.

Initially I had a lane to myself. A young lady in a pink hat with a mild screw kick joined me. In an anticlockwise direction we swam at roughly the same speed passing at the 25 metre point. I noticed that she changed strokes to front crawl but with her arms thrashing about like the scythes of Boudicea’s chariot. Turning at the end of the pool, I spotted the reason for her antics. Stood pondering, was a large man in small trunks. Was he going to dominate our lane or move on? With great comradery I remembered that I could do butterfly. Our tactics worked and the gentleman went elsewhere. I suppressed my laughter with a splutter, causing the lifeguard to scrutinise me as a potential drowning victim. I guess my silver hat didn’t help, I was probably the oldest person in the pool but not old enough to get in for free.

I felt energised after my swim. As an added bonus, because it was cloudy, I didn’t have the usual sunburnt face with panda eyes from wearing my goggles. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Who knows, this might even be a Banksy on the outside wall of the swimming pool.

Papeete Marina 2018

2018 was a busy year in the Papeete marina in Tahiti. It’s interesting hearing people’s stories. A flow of boats, which were mainly yachts, arrived from North America, South America and from the Caribbean via the Panama canal. Many passed through Tahiti continuing a western route to places like New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. Some travel in the opposite direction, having pounded against the wind and current. More yachties than ever have taken advantage of the fact that a foreign registered boat can remain in French Polynesian waters for three years as a yacht in transit. This allows ample opportunities, to explore the vast area that makes up French Polynesia.

It hasn’t always been a happy time. For some people, ill health has shattered dreams, forcing the sale of yachts. Yachts have returned to the marina dismasted.

Others have hit coral reefs causing damage below the water line. A yacht based in the marina hit a container and sank, so never made it back. The owner was airlifted to safety.
One man sailed back to the marina from the Tuamotus where his wife had drowned.
Yachts have been towed into the marina and out of the marina with broken engines or steering problems.

It certainly focuses the mind. There is no room for complacency as a sailor.

Being in the heart of the city, the Papeete marina has become the obvious place to touch base on arrival or to return to for reprovisioning and repairs.

After a time at sea, hot showers, washing machines and the use of the Wi-Fi in the air conditioned marina sitting room, are greatly appreciated. Most boats are plugged into the electrics and potable water on their pontoon berth. The marina staff are happy to collect the marina fees.

It’s pretty normal to see someone high up on their mast or deep down in the bowels of their boat trying to fix a problem.

Washing, cleaning and provisioning are on going chores.

Many yachties zip around town on fold up bikes. Dinghies are usually redundant in the marina but often require attention.

Unfortunately, over the course of the year, there have been a spate of burglaries from a number of boats in the Papeete marina. Large boats and small have been targeted. No one has been caught.

The last group of five yachts left the marina on the 3rd of January this year. The boats were loaded onto a yacht transporter, an increasingly popular option for long haul sailing, if you can afford it!

This year, 2019, the marina building complex is being expanded. The area has been fenced off and construction work is underway. It will be interesting to see the results.

Merry Christmas.

It’s that time of the year again. The Christmas holiday season is in full swing.

I think the shops and market have done well this year.

The military personnel on board “He Ping Fang Zhoo” a Chinese registered hospital ship, enjoyed a few days R&R in Papeete. Talk about “shop till they drop”. As it left the port of Papeete on the morning of the 24th December, I think the ship’s plimsoll line was almost awash due to the weight of Christmas presents.

Prior to their arrival two Navy ships from South Korea had decorated their vessels with lights and bunting, as had a number of cruise ships.

Super yachts arrived and departed all adorned with helicopters.

The Paofai Park decorations looked pretty.

Many holiday events have taken place in the grounds of the park including Children’s activities, Music and train rides.

The park itself looked beautiful with many trees in full bloom.

Elsewhere, people relaxed on the beaches, played boules and enjoyed ice cream.

Tonight is Christmas eve and families will be celebrating with a feast, the European way.

Tomorrow, we will enjoy our Christmas. We hope the weather will allow us to go for a cycle ride and swim. My new electric bike is pretty awesome.

Fortunately, it arrived before Christmas, so I won’t have to worry if Santa gets stuck in a traffic jam.