We never meant to be here so long. Today, if we were able to hold to our original schedule, we would be somewhere around Madagascar. Instead, we are beginning our 8thmonth of living and sailing in French Polynesia. The result is that we have gotten to know the place and we have gotten to know people. There have been several times that we have tried to break back into our old habits, sailing from harbor to harbor with only a few days at anchor at most. Our efforts have been in vain. The latest of this struggle hit us in Huahine.
We had passed through the island as our first stop in the Leeward Islands. We had a friend from the States with us, and we had plenty to see during his short visit. So, we spent one night and took off for the next island to the west, Raiatea, the following day. Our friend flew out of Bora Bora on the 12th of September. Zach and I took two nights in Bora Bora for rest and we were off again, beginning the long haul east. We spoke a big game, that this was it. We were headed east at the same pace of the old days. We planned on a night in Raiatea and then maybe two or three nights in Huahine before we pushed ahead on a 4-day passage to the Tuamotos.
We pulled into Huahine after a disappointing upwind sail, full of no speed and all in the wrong direction. The anchor dropped and we were off to see some friends. The friends are the first trap. Next, as we were looking to depart near our intended time, the wind picked up from the East. By now we’ve learned we can’t make any good headway against a stiff headwind; we ought to wait for a good window. This reasoning can be very sticky as well. If you want, you can wait for the right weather windows for weeks, months! Finally, life’s “1-2” punch: we found out we had good friends coming our direction on the same dates we planned to leave. They’re great people, we wanted to see them one last time. We had to. Of course when they arrived, another week of strong winds arrived with them…
This is how it goes. Great people, a great place and no real need to make it anywhere too fast. What was meant to be three days in Huahine turned into nearly 3 weeks. The days were spent walking and hiking the island, surfing and socializing. It’s a good thing on our departure day, that Zach and I didn’t discuss our thoughts on leaving. Both of us were beginning to think, we could just stay a bit longer. We kept it to ourselves. Alas, it really was time to go.
We never meant to be in French Polynesia for this long, and although it’s not the journey we had intended, it’s been an incredibly sweet, unforgettable, life-changing experience. I’ve fallen in love with the islands, the people and the way of life here. I’ve met incredible people, both sailors and locals. Although these islands have been influenced by the rest of the world, its far too sweet for them to change completely. The days start early with the sunrise and often end shortly after it sets. Days fly by.
We really are leaving. We had to leave Huahine yesterday evening. We have a few more harbors ahead of us, where we are certain we will run into friends. I’m sure we will struggle to leave, but we will have to. I’m confident I will be back, though. It’s too sweet of a place to not come back to, and I hope that the friendships I’ve made will be re-visited as well.
This rolling stone has gathered moss, and I’m thankful for it.