la Orana Boatblog® Fans,
That is Tahitian for hi there.
Greetings from Paradise Prison.
We weren’t sure whether or not we should put up a blog under the current circumstances, given that most of our followers haven’t seen daylight for many weeks now and are still in lockdown in places as far afield as London, Madrid and Kettering. It might just be rubbing it in a bit too much.
But if it’s any consolation, we too were in lockdown for the first month that we were here. Which isn’t so bad when this is the view.
We were only allowed to go 1km away from the boat, and had to carry a document saying where we were going and why. Alcohol was banned, but shopping was allowed, and so was exercising. So that’s one for Lyn and one for Ju. We’ll let you work out who did what. You couldn’t even go swimming unless it was for essential boat maintenance. Ju found that a daily check of the anodes was essential and is pleased to be able to tell you that they are fine.
Normally a marina is a hive of activity, people coming and going and doing boat jobs. We’ve never known one to be so quiet and deserted.
It was all a bit spooky.
But it didn’t last long. There have been remarkably few cases of the big C here, and no deaths we’re pleased to say. So it wasn’t long before the authorities were able to go from “Restez a la maison” (Stay at Home) to “Reste attentif,” (Stay Alert) status. They didn’t actually put it like that, but that was the gist. No one knew what it meant here either. But it seemed that things were pretty much back to normal. We still couldn’t go sailing, but at least we could go and visit the island.
And very nice it is too. The capital is Papeete, which among other things is famous for it’s graffiti.
Though calling it graffiti seems to be underselling it a bit. Perhaps “Building Art,” or “Big Banksy?” Suggestions on a ten pound note to the usual address please.
We went on an island tour with Cheryll and Martin from Zan.
The scenery is spectacular.
It’s all really lush, with strange looking tropical flowers everywhere.
These are a beautiful couple
And there is an amazing feature called “The Blowhole.” You stand next to a bit of rock by the cliff, and all of a sudden…
…a blast of air shoots up through a hidden hole. We’re not quite sure why it happens, but it’s something to do with a big wave coming in from somewhere underneath the cliff.
Not only could we go exploring, but we could go SCUBA diving too.
There’s a plane wreck which was quite fun to climb in and swim round.
And we saw a stonefish.
Now the thing about a stonefish is that it looks exactly like a stone. Except it is one of the most poisonous fishes in the sea. You’re probably looking at this picture and thinking, “They’re having a laugh. There’s no fish there. That’s just a stone.” I would point out the stonefish to you with a little arrow, except I’ve forgotten which bit was the stone and which bit is the stonefish. But trust me, one of those bits of rock is actually a deadly fish. It’s got a row of hypodermic needles in its back which inject you with poison if you tread on it.
I remember an Australian divemaster telling me that if I ever trod on a stonefish, “…you have to get back to the boat as fast as you can. Go directly to the fridge and get yourself a can of Fosters. You might as well enjoy your last five minutes.”
Treading on a stonefish really spoils your day.
With so much time on our hands, Ju has taken the next level of SCUBA diving training, which is “Rescue Diver.” He’s half way through the course, so if you’re half drowning he can save you, but if you want to drown completely you’d better wait till next week.
One of the best days out we had was our trip to the lava tunnels with our friends from Next Step and Cloud Shadow.
We thought it was just going to be a little stroll in the hills. It started off a bit bouncy, going up in a 4X4…
And all seemed pleasant enough.
Then they said put on your helmets and wetsuits, and follow our Tahitian guide Herve, into the cave.
Still not too bad…
Then it got steeper…
But eventually we could see light at the end of the tunnel…
And fairly soon were back in the sun.
Only three more to go, says our guide. Which would have been ok, except to get the next one we had to inch along a cliff face, with a pretty vertical drop below.
Those of you who know how much Lyn hates heights will appreciate what an incredible act of bravery this is.
Woo woo! Go girl!
Ju’s not too keen on heights himself.
And if that wasn’t enough, next we had to go upwards….
Well done Lyn. No excuses for not going up the mast now.
Ju’s turn next. Quietly confident.
Only two more left!
But soon we were at the top and all that was left to do was to trek right the way back down through the jungle.
It was the most fantastic day out.
This is a video that Jeremy on Next Step made.
So that is our lockdown story. Just time for a gratuitous sunset
Or is that the sun? Graham – please let us know.
I think it is fair to say that of all the places in the world to be locked down, this is probably the best.
Not counting Kettering.
Hope lockdown isn’t too bad wherever you are.
Nana (That’s Tahiti for “bye”) for now.
Ju & Lyn