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North Sails NEWS
If you surrender to adventure there are no failures along the way, just unexpected steps in a journey that is only revealed as the story unfolds.
We sailed away from the Tuamotus this morning with weather looking favorable for a passage to Tahiti but here we are bashing across the sea, close-hauled, our sails deeply reefed and trimmed flat, as we cruise through a series of tropical squalls. We can still make Tahiti on this tack but the constant heel and violent pounding convinces us to bear away towards Moorea instead. We will not reach our intended destination but I think life is good when the big decision is between sailing to Tahiti or Moorea.
We approach Moorea with no information beyond what we see on the charts and some vague tips from a friend. But we’ve learned adventure rewards those who trust fate, a fact confirmed by the breaching Humpback whales that greet us while we sail through the reef pass into a deep blue bay surrounded by towering green mountains.
We set the anchor in a protected corner amongst a small flotilla of other cruisers. We know many of the boats and crews from other places. Familiar faces bringing back memories of adventures on remote islands hundreds of miles away, an aquatic tribe migrating across the Pacific.
My adrenaline starts pumping when I see a few people blazing across the lagoon at unbelievable speeds, occasionally flying through the air, twisting and turning in a dance of pure freedom and fun, propelled by giant kites. I grab my gear and head out to join them. The lagoon is plenty large enough for me and the four or five other people kiteboarding. Despite being the only stranger I am welcomed into the rotation with broad smiles and waves. We spend the afternoon happily reaching back and forth across the clear warm emerald green and blue water between the barrier reef and a sandy beach. Occasionally I see a blacktip reef shark or huge stingray scurry away as I glide over them.
“It is difficult to describe the sense of freedom that kiteboarding offers. Sailboats and kites allow us to do things and go places we can otherwise only dream about. FSHD has left me too weak to lift up my arms but with a kite I can literally fly.”
It’s late in the day and the wind is starting to die. We all land our kites and gather on the beach to connect, share stories, and laugh in a mix of English, French, Tahitian, and improvised sign language- fellow members of the aquatic tribe!
One of the locals, a stocky, perpetually happy man named Torea, discovers we are anchored near his home and immediately invites us to BBQ on the adjacent beach. We gratefully accept and head back to the boat to prepare. Soon we see Torea paddling over in his outrigger canoe. We launch our dinghy and row over to meet him.
Torea prepares a wood fire in a large iron pot and begins roasting breadfruit, a local staple that tastes kind of like potatoes. Nicole adds skewers of vegetables, fish, and tropical fruit. Torea uses a machete to deftly whack the tops off a few coconuts and hands them to us to drink. We use leaves as plates, our fingers as forks, and we relish the happy contentment that comes with sharing space, time, and good clean wild food with friends.
My toes feel good pressed into the warm sand as I look out over local children laughing and playing in the water. I take a long drink of coconut water, munch on breadfruit, and watch Naoma bob gently in the anchorage.
It is getting late so Torea loads up our dinghy with bananas, coconuts, lemons, and breadfruit from his backyard as we say goodbye and start rowing back to our boat.
On the way back we visit some friends on another sailboat. They show us pictures from earlier in the day when they swam in the anchorage with a family of friendly Humpback whales. The pictures inspire us and we fall asleep dreaming of the underwater adventures that await us tomorrow. Adventures that will include some incredibly close encounters with animals more intelligent and powerful than we ever imagined. But that’s another story….