In search of our very first coral ring

July 2016 Nine-foot breaking waves clawed at the reef and mammoth swell surged on either side of the disconcertingly narrow pass through the reef—the only way in or out of the lagoon. My fists were clenched tightly around the helm, and I was trying my best to steer Red Thread along the line we marked […]
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A sweat to the summit: The best hike in Polynesia

July 2016 The near-full moon casts an eerie shadow over Maupiti’s stately backbone tonight, and I can hear the roar of surf pounding against the reef. Although lights blink red and green to mark the channel through the narrow reef pass, the beacons are hardly an invitation for vessels to enter or exit this dicey […]
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Mischief rewarded in Maupiti

July 2016 It’s black out, pitch black, aside from a delicate, sparkling necklace strung along Bora Bora’s shoreline and a single incandescent pearl set in the heavens. It’s 1 am, and it’s raining. Behind a duvet of heavy clouds, a sea of stars is obscured, but the full moon refuses be disguised tonight. Ping, ting, […]
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33 years young: Birthday bliss in Bora Bora

July 2016 “Today is my 33rd birthday, and my greatest gift is a wildly good sail with my love. We are absolutely racing between these islands!” -Jessie, logbook, 12 July 2016 We raced across the stretch of water that separates the Taha’a and Raiatea, tickled to fly full sails in 12 knots of breeze beneath […]
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A sacred island, a heap of vanilla beans, and a persistent puppy

July 2016 The spiritual center of French Polynesia Paths of stone. Walls of stone. Mounds of stone. Hundreds of stones assembled at the seaside more than a thousand years ago by early Polynesians, each believed to contain spiritual power or Mana. Raiatea is home to one of the most important places in all of Polynesia; […]
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A memorable hike and a failed river navigation in Raiatea

July 2016 Eastbound Sometimes passages are to be settled into, like a long road trip; others are just about getting somewhere, like driving a car across town. This was the latter. We had bypassed several of the Society Islands during our passage from Moorea to Bora Bora during Mark and Helen’s visit, and although we […]
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The best festival you’ve never heard of

July 2016 When traveling, certain days can spur a sense of homesickness…birthdays, holidays, anniversaries. At the same time, days, weeks, or even entire months that may never have had much particular meaning can become anew as you learn about events that are special in other cultures. In the South Pacific, that event was Heiva. Mark […]
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Is Bora Bora really all it’s cracked up to be?

June/July 2016 Anchor down, dinghy up, sunscreen on, off we go! Arriving midmorning in Bora Bora after our bumpy passage from Moorea meant we had the better part of the day ahead of us. Neil and I were sleepy, but there was no time to waste. Mark and Helen only had three days remaining, and […]
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Bumpy ride to Bora Bora

June 2016 Moorea’s aggressive contours were described in James Michener’s fictional tale, Bali Hai, as “peaks which can never be forgotten…the jagged saw-edges that look like the spines of a forgotten dinosaur.” Yes, we’ll remember Moorea. For us, Moorea will forever be the juncture at which our path less traveled converged with the route well-trodden […]
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Maximizing moments in Moorea: Sightseeing and swimming with stingrays

June 2016 No one wants to rush Mark. There’s something fabulous about watching someone have an absolutely fantastic time. Right now, he’s the friend who dances unabashedly, eyes closed, when no one else is on the dance floor. Lost in the moment; hips swaying. Who wants to bust in on that rhythm?! Mark kicks and […]
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Tsaosons come to Tahiti

June 2016 The yawn of dawn stretched across port of Papeete. We’d been counting down to this day. Our rusty red frying pan was awake with the aroma of bacon and the sizzle of popping grease, which muffled the drone of morning traffic along Boulevard de la Reine Pomare IV. We scurried about the boat […]
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T-A-T-T-O-O…one for you + one for me

June 2016 Papeete has no shortage of tattoo shops. We canvased the city over several days, stepping in one after the next, looking for inspiration and hoping to meet an artist we could entrust to create permanent drawings on our skin. We leafed through portfolios of more than a dozen artists. We weren’t taking the […]
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Repairs & reunions in Papeete

June 2016 Sailors are enticed to major urban ports for four reasons: airports, repairs, parties, and clearance procedures. We were lured to Papeete, the main city in Tahiti, by the first three: the impending arrival of friends, Mark and Helen; the Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous; and our desperate need to resolve our battery problem. Our batteries […]
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Feeling foreign in the Societies

June 2016 It’s just after 5:00 am. The night is black, but I can hear the buzz of a city outside. After a 3-day sail from Raivavae, I lost myself in slumber the moment I lied down on the settee last night at 9:00 pm. When Neil tried to awaken me to come to bed, […]
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Tahiti beckons

June 2016 What if I want to stay…? If you had told me I’d be sitting in the cockpit in French Polynesia, snug in a sweatshirt and fleece blanket and cradling a cup of tea, I’d scarcely have believed a word from your lips. But here I am in Raivavae: faded sorority hoodie, blanket, tea. […]
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