Birthday Girl Turns 15!

October 13 – Today she’s officially a year older and oh so happy!  Happy Birthday to our oldest daughter, Camille!

We’re in Auckland, NZ waiting for Dave on Anila to arrive in a weeks time.  In the meantime we’re scurrying about the city enjoying sightseeing.

Her activity choice for the day:  Visiting MOTAT – Museum of Transportation and Technology.

Her dinner choice of the day:  Wood-fired pizza at Dante Pizzeria.

Her dessert choice of the day:  Carrot cake with Ben and Jerry’s Tonight Dough starring Jimmy Fallon.

So proud of this young lady!  She’s beautiful, funny, talented and full of energy.

Tonga to NZ – Update 1

October 13 – Despite not being there, I’m watching closely Dave’s progress to New Zealand.  This can be a challenging passage, but I’m confident Dave and his trusty crew will do just fine.  Weather is looking good and like it will cooperate.

Here’s their first update:

We left Nuku’Alofa at 11 am and are headed towards N Minerva. Wind was light 8-13 and varying from N to E. Currently we are seeing 11 kts from 75 degrees.

Position 22 01.970. 176 42.982
155 nm from N Minerva
Making 6.5 with motor to reach reef Sunday morning

With latest forecast we may make a lunch stop at Minerva and keep going.

Sea state has settled down and crew is sleeping well. We had the pole out, fixed a bent furler spool the anchor had bent, unjammed the main vertical batten withough going aloft, and sadly lost our fish line due to my butter fingers.

Water & batteries are topped up which is also nice.


Tonga to NZ – Pre-Departure

October 11 – The girls and I are in New Zealand while Dave stayed in Tonga to crew Anila to New Zealand with a bunch of guys.

They provisioned, fueled up and headed out for Minerva Reef and then they will go onward to NZ.

Here are a few pre-departure shots Dave sent me.

Dinghy Dunk Getting Eggs

September 22 – Today we figured we’d get up early, get our chores done and then eat breakfast at Mangos restaurant in town while we called Phil to go over house remodel items. All went according to plan and then we shuffled back to the boat to prepare for heading out to another anchorage, #7 our favorite. Then I realized we had bought eggs but not enough for 9 eggs to go into making cupcakes for Kyra’s birthday party treats.
I figured we could dash back into town and get another dozen. We went in the dinghy. Dave driving. Just after we started to go on plane, he hit a rope just slightly submerged beneath the surface of the water with no marking buoy on it. I went flying out of the dinghy and into the water. My purse was around me, but I managed to keep it up out of the water, thank goodness! My hand was stuck in the handle, so I was dangling over the edge hanging on. I was totally surprised. Dave was aghast and trying to turn off the revving engine. He did and then turned to help me. I clamored back in half chuckling, half wondering what the heck happened. He kept asking if I was ok. Nothing hurt, just surprised. I flopped back into the dinghy. Another dinghy saw it and came over to ask if we were ok. We confirmed we’re ok just surprised. Onward we went in search of eggs.
I sloshed up to the market to inquire about eggs with no luck. All were sold already or spoken for. I returned to the dinghy and Dave trudged into town for me while I waited in the dinghy trying to dry off a bit. The lady at the market looked upon me strangely when I asked for eggs. I told her what happened. Her young daughter, maybe 10-11 years old chuckled. Her mother gave her a look. I said it was ok because it was a bit comical after all.
Fortunately, Dave returned with eggs and off we went back to the boat. He wanted to find the rope again and tie something to it, but we didn’t have anything and I was soaked. We headed for our boat. I was insistent that we needed to go so we threw off the mooring ball and headed out. He was anguished about that rope in the water, and for good reason. Later we discovered another boat, Ultimo, also hit it.
The good news is, the locals went out and tried to find it to mark it or get rid of it.
Once we arrived in anchorage # 7, Port Maurelle, the one we’ve been to already 3 times but it is quite lovely and protected, we began baking cupcakes for Kyra’s party the next day. Blue Zulu agreed to motor over for the day and of course Counting Stars and Shawnigan were here for the festivities. The kids were all hanging out on our boat so they helped me make them. Nina started first, then Isla helped. It was fun but hot! Dave escaped the madness and went to Counting Stars’ boat to convince them not to depart for Hapai so the kids could attend the party. Kyra would’ve been devastated had they left early. She wanted so badly for Marin and Isla to come to her party!

We ate a chickpea Indian flavored with coconut milk for dinner. The girls ate leftover spaghetti.

Birthday Fun (Seattle Style)

Sep 15 – It’s Dave’s birthday! We walked into town from here (anchorage #10), about 5 km with a bunch of friends. We purchased a few provisions and then had lunch at Mangos and walked back.

The rain didn’t stop us. It poured down drenching us thoroughly on the way in.

The way back the skies were forgiving and allowed us to walk without our heads being pelted. The only trouble was my feet were still soaked, like prunes, the skin so moist that every step was rubbing it raw. It didn’t help I trudged on by the last turn off, and went an extra 25 minutes out of our way. The turn off consists of an overgrown “road” or path with taro growing on one side, scraggly trees on the other and tall grass all around. The path is barely visible but according to my phone map app, it’s a road. Hah!

By the time we reached the overgrown steps winding down the cliff side to the abandoned fish house on the shore, my feet were on fire screaming at me. Brian came to fetch us in the dinghy. Our shoes were covered in red mud. It had caked on so thick we were probably carrying an extra 2.5 kilos on each foot.

Once at the boat I kicked into high gear to make Dave’s birthday dinner. At his request, calzones, which meant rising the dough and rolling it out and then stuffing them and baking. Kyra made his chocolate cake. Julie and Curtis made the sauce and others brought toppings. I couldn’t have pulled it off without Kendall and Julie’s help in the kitchen. We whipped together 16 personalized calzones that were all so delicious we scarfed them down. Then we had cake too. I was a stuffed pig, just like all the ones freely roaming around rooting in yards on our walk. It was a good time! I think we set a record for how many people we’ve had over at one time for dinner, not to mention the all baking, making and prepping in our little galley.

Fortunately, the rain relented and we adults were able to all sit in the cockpit and enjoy ourselves.   Fun night had by all – island style with a pinch of rain and a dash of tropical humidity!

Neiafu Chores and Running

August 30 – Woke up early despite being out late the night before. Today I rubbed Camille awake too for a run with Laurie. I saw dark clouds and rain, plus it was cold, so I worried Camille would poop out on me and not be motivated to get out of bed but surprisingly she did and off we went. We dinghied over to Muskoka to pick her up. She popped up only minutes before we arrived saying she had slept in since she was out late dancing too.
We first schlepped off to purchase eggs and bread along with Manna, then we walked back and started our regiment. We had a good workout doing hills and stairs. Laurie timed Camille doing some sprints and measured her jumps. She assessed Camille as doing pretty good. Not sure how that compares to other kids she’s trained but perhaps Camille would be good at track in high school.
Once back at the boat, Camille’s stomach ached. She didn’t want to eat. I insisted and gave her a bite of banana. In 10 minutes she rebounded and was able to eat.

We did our chores today of dropping off the laundry, ordering custom T-shirts (finally) and picking up some more provisions. In the evening we had dinner with Kendall and Brian from Counting Stars while our kids all returned to the boat to hang out. We ate at the cutest little Basque Spanish Tapas restaurant on the hill facing the water. Sunset was beautiful and relaxing. Dave even had good WIFI and made some calls and bought us girls our airplane tickets from Tonga to New Zealand. Yeah! It’s official now: we are not crewing with him from Tonga to New Zealand. This passage is almost 1100 miles and can be a tricky (difficult if weather sneaks up on you). It’s better that we don’t make it.

One-year anniversary today!

September 1 – Our little sailing adventure started one year ago officially when we pulled out of Elliott Bay headed for warm water, fair winds and a change of lifestyle.  The Puget Sound carefully deposited us from its gentle and safe embrace into the big, blue ocean on a picture-perfect day.  In all the years we crossed the Straits of San Juan de Fuca could we remember but one day like the one we had as we exited the Straits: smooth, calm and warmer than usual.  Out we went along with another sailing vessel named Manna who we made fast friends with and is anchored less than 100 yards from us now, a cruise ship lit up like a Christmas tree with disco music blaring and a stealthy aircraft carrier so dark I could hardly make out the bow and stern.

In this year we’ve traveled many a nautical mile, visited more places than we ever imagined, shared memories between each other like no other, scrutinized every little thing we each do given our close quarters, made friends we hope will last a lifetime even as tides take us to different places, marveled in the immense sea life beneath our floating home, bathed in the beauty of the warm tropical waters of the South Pacific, met local people who still live simple, ate unique foods we’d never heard or tried before, gained historical knowledge of countries outside the U.S., discovered alternative methods of communication as we didn’t speak the local language perfectly, confirmed that mother nature is strong and must be obeyed, not tamed or competed with, and learned that our planet is one, big connected home that we all must play a role in preserving.

We are ever thankful and grateful to so many friends and family members who have helped us make this trip possible.  We appreciate your love and support.  You are the primary reason we cannot stay so long – we miss you all and cannot wait to reconnect soon.

We are anchored in a serene anchorage in Tonga.  We snorkeled out at Swallows cave, along with a trek up into the dark part of the cave with enough bats and their guano for a while.  On the way back, we snorkeled a little reef nearby.  The sun was bright, so we could see really well.  Later as the sun set, I went beach combing with Julie from Manna on shore.  We found a ton of good shells.  I keep telling myself to stop gathering so many but each time there are new ones that I fall in love with that I must keep them for my collection.

For dinner I whipped up a delicious lentil and carrot soup that the kids loved, Dave not so much because it made him too hot.  Oh well, his cell phone got a taste of it when I accidentally grabbed something nearby and it plopped into the bowl.  Oops!  Thank goodness it still works.

We will be here for about another six weeks, before Anila must turn south bound towards New Zealand to avoid cyclone season.  While all us girls will hop a plane, Dave will stay in Tonga along with a crew to help him make the passage.

Tonight, I sign off with a huge virtual hug from us to you!

Paid in Coconuts for My Professional Services

July 30 (Satin) – Despite not having Suwarro in our sights or plans to visit, we decided given the nasty weather approaching Rarotonga in the Cook Islands we’d be better off heading for Suwarro. Before departure, Harry had kindly asked me to cut his hair, the night before, because I told him how I cut Dave’s hair. I’m not a professional but I can do it. He jumped at the chance for a haircut saying that his friend who usually does it won’t return to Maupihaa until September. I offered to do it early in the morning before we left.
Today marks a first: I was paid for my services. I went ashore, he sat in a chair with a little piece of material wrapped around him. He called me a professional. I laughed and told him to wait and see after I’m done. I pulled out the little shears and a comb from the kit Dave purchased for our trip. I carefully trimmed his hair while we chatted. His little puppy named “Winnie” lounged under foot nearby scratching like crazy. Laurie came ashore and chatted with us too. She was scoping out the road for her running the next day.
After I finished he went over to his wheelbarrow and bagged up half a dozen shucked coconuts all ready to slice off the top and drink out its liquid gold. He paid me in coconuts! I was thrilled and so was Harry.
Off I went with my bag of coconuts. All in a day’s work!
Once back at the boat we prepared to depart. Once we weighed anchor we were joined by Scott and Laurie on their dinghy as escorts out of the pass. One must have nerves of steel for this entrance. It’s so narrow and shallow on either side. The current rushes out always between 3-6 kts. Once inside, you think you’re home free but instead it gets even more shallow, and since it’s so clear, one can see all the coral and rocks below. It looks like we’d hit bottom at any moment. The best advice is follow the marker lines and you’ll be just fine at 15 feet of depth. Phew!
Once out, we waved goodbye to our escort, and began pounding up and down through the waves at the swelly waves just outside the entrance. After clearing the stir up, it settled down or rather the swells evened out, spaced further apart and we set up the main sail. All was good. I breathed a big sigh of relief.
We ran the main and head sail for a bit but the winds were so light I insisted we hoist the spinnaker. Finally after rousting Camille to help and convincing Dave to send it up (he was worried what the wind would do, stay light or pick up), we ran it up and flew it all day with very good speed. Took it down just after sunset when the winds began to pick up and make it untenable. Just in the nick of time. Another phew! So far with light winds, we’ve been sailing easily and comfortably. Even now with the main and head sail out, at 13-17 kts we’re sailing comfortably. Even the sea is cooperating. The waves are small and far enough apart. I like it! I really hope this lasts. Enough breeze but not too much.
We all had a lovely burrito dinner. Food coma. Dave is reading and the girls are watching videos/movies, despite Camille needing to finish her History test. She complained it was too long. Whan whan whan! ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link.
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Maupihaa-style Anniversary

June 29 – Married for 18 years to Dave, my sweetheart, and were still adventuring along together I’m very thankful to have such an amazing partner. Normally we try to do something special or unique on our anniversary. When we got married, our reception was on the old Skansonia boat. Never did I imagine in my wildest dreams that this many years later we’d find ourselves on a remote island in the middle of the South Pacific for this anniversary. The day was perfect just like our setting. On the island of Maupihaa with beauty surrounding us we ventured out to the narrow pass after breakfast to snorkel through it. Our friends on Muskoka had just done it and reported via radio it was fantastic. We all got ready, hopped in our dinghy and sped towards the pass. We threw ourselves in the water about 200 yards inside and floated out with the 3-4 knot current. It was thrilling and exhilarating to see just how narrow the channel was that we came through, the big fish (sharks), little reef fish, sting rays and even an old wreck at the very bottom. On one side, the shelf dropped straight down, on the other side it sloped gently up, both to only about 1 foot depth of reef. The sharks were curious about us but didn’t bother us. Afterwards Scott on Muskoka steered us a to nice bommie to snorkel on. Beautiful reef fish, coral, and a gray shark that came to check me out. The current was still pretty strong here too, so we anchored the dinghies. Upon returning we ate lunch and restarted our Tzolkien game where we had left off. The joy of playing a board game without being encumbered with chores or time. All four of us just played for several hours. Before the sun slipped away, I insisted we go for a walk together; our anniversary sunset stroll. We went ashore and met several locals including Harry who owned the shack where we landed our dinghy. He was quite a character and really nice. Him and his friends (neighbors) were sitting around chatting and sipping his strange homemade brew (water and sugar and who knows what). They had just said goodbye to their spouse, grandson, daughter, wife who went on a cruiser’s boat back to the small island of Maupiti. Their kids were going back so they could start school in a few weeks’ time. Harry’s wife was escorting his grandson. Summer break is mid-June through mid-August, which meant the kids had spent their vacation on the island. It seemed early to return, but after much discussion we learned the locals hop on cruiser boats heading back to “civilization” whenever they can because they never know when another chance will come. And the supply ship only comes once or twice a year. Harry’s wife will return in a month or so. She’s the mayor of the island and president of the small community of which they’re part of the larger community of Maupiti. She has the only government issued satellite phone which everyone uses to call their relatives on their birthdays or special holidays. We strolled over to the ocean side and collected some shells. We saw the little power boat cruisers puttering along with their family headed to Maupiti. We saw a gaggle of birds swooping and diving in the bushes lining the beach. They were making such a cacophony it was hard to hear any other noises except, of course, the waves crashing on the outer rim of reef. We ducked back into the interior of the island and gingerly walked down the only road made of crushed coral and maybe some gravel with grasses growing tall in the center. We marveled at how this rough road was built. Harry had a vehicle and so did a few others but most only have bikes that they ride up and down the 8-total km of unpaved road, overgrown by grass. We passed a house with barking dogs and then popped through to the lagoon, interior, side and walked along the beach until, again we were passing the house with the barking dogs. There were 2 men and a young teenage boy sitting outside chatting and listening to music. They were friendly, so we walked up to chat with them. We asked them questions about how long they lived here on this island, when they return, how they get supplies and what they do. Similar responses as Harry and his friends. After we said goodbye, we kept strolling as the sun set, sinking behind some clouds. The sand was warm on my feet and the waves were non existent since we’re on the lagoon side. Back at our dinghy we were greeted by Harry who kindly offered us coconut water. He invited us to bring our dinner and dine on the beach with him and bring our friends on Muskoka. I explained we would ask, so it was a maybe. Returning to the boat we found the dishes done by Camille – ah so nice of her! We started cooking up our anniversary dinner since Scott had invited us over after dinner for dessert and to play Mexican train. I felt bad, but we didn’t want to dine with Harry on the beach in front of his house because the bugs were biting, the ants were everywhere and flies too. Just a little much for me to bear and I certainly didn’t want to expose Camille to that scene since the bugs love her. Camille and I returned to tell Harry we wouldn’t come to dinner. I brought him a new t-shirt (a bright yellow one from Whangerei New Zealand) and two packets of the strange tomato pizza sauce from the Galapagos that tasted like a mix of ketchup and BBQ sauce. Harry had set out a table, laid it with a lovely table cloth, set it with nice glass cups and bottled water. He had combed his hair and put on a nice polo shirt. When I told him we weren’t coming, he seemed so sad and lonely. Upon returning to the boat, I told Dave and he felt so bad that he suggested we go back to fetch Harry and bring him to our boat to dine with us. We did, and he was happy to join us for Dave’s expertly grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and lettuce with wine. Harry enjoyed himself and the food, as best we could tell. After dinner we gave him a tour of our boat. He explained how they see sailboats like ours come to their island but only a few every now and then. One time a big Italian sailboat came and trolled by the entrance for hours deciding whether they could make it in through the pass given their fixed keel and drafting nearly 12 feet. He went out to greet them. They finally made it in. He said it was a grand boat. Afterwards we went over to Muskoka and had dessert – Scott made a fabulous tapioca pudding. They served us a heaping bowl of it. I was so full I could hardly move. Harry regaled us with info about the island, explained why it has two names (one Tahitian and one French) and many others tidbits. Finally, we returned Harry to shore and came back to play Mexican Train. A fun time was had by all playing the game even though Dave won the game – as usual! I couldn’t have asked for a better anniversary day on a remote island surrounded by beauty and clear waters beneath us.

Stormy Entry, Welcome Sight of Tahiti

June 9 – Woke up to a little wind but not much so I suggested Dave fly the drone before the wind picked up and we got busy with preparations for departure today. He went up deck and started but then I heard a terrible whirring thud and him yelling, “No, ow, no, no, no, ow!” I peeked up, out the salon windows in time to see him struggling to grab the drone that had flown into the mast and halyards and he was desperately trying to grab and stop it. In the process he was getting his fingers macerated and chopped by the blades. I know how this feels. When in Tahuata I grabbed it mid-air and a blade hit my ring finger on my right hand. Only a small thwack but it was good enough to hurt pretty bad. It was a strange hot, stinging sensation. His thumb was bleeding and his pointer finger was completely blue and bruised. Eek gads!
Once bandaged we went into town with Camille. I was in search of whether the clinic would be open today, Saturday, and how we might be able to get a ride there. I asked around and after 3 out of 4 people said it was closed today, I opted to just walk to the store with her to purchase a few things then return. We’d be better off making for Tahiti and bringing her to a doctor there. Poor dear announced the night before she felt like she had a bladder infection, UTI. It was painful to pee and wouldn’t come out much even though she had the sensation she had to go pee. Typical! I know how painful these infections can be. I gave her my over-the-counter remedies I brought just in case something like this happened. Cranberry pills and another one to ease the pain that turns your pee orange. She happily took them.
No luck with the clinic, we returned to the boat. We ate lunch while Dave went back to shore to use the WIFI at the restaurant called “Chez Lili”. He ordered us fries so when he returned we supplemented our lunch, while we prepared for anchors away. We decided to head up the inside of the atoll and out the north pass figuring it would be easier than the south and something different to see.
This time I had Kyra drive the boat while Dave and Camille pulled up the anchor. I made her wear the headset and do the driving. Amazingly enough this was her first time by herself and she did great! So proud of her because I know she’s nervous about it. I hope she realizes how easy it really is. Camille willingly offers all the time. She’s happy to take charge.

I was a little nervous about having enough daylight to see as we navigated up the atoll but Dave assured me it was a well-marked channel and we had plenty of light. He was right of course! With no wind to speak of, the water was a flat calm. We easily slid out the north pass and eased into a route headed up around the north end of Rangiroa. Once around the top of the island, Dave set the course directly for Tahiti. We wouldn’t need to change until we got there. Direct shot!
The first night was a breeze – well, actually no breeze so we motored with a bit of main sail up. The swell was even so light I hardly noticed we were out on blue water. Watching the sun set with the family is never a tiring act for me. I love these times, these moments, the beauty. After a snacking dinner, I went to sleep to get rest before my night watch.
I took over around 3:30am and then hung out reading a book because it was so calm.
June 10 – The next day it was so calm in the morning that the water was actually void of ripples and waves. I could stare straight down into the water and see the depths below. Oddly enough, I’m not sure what that meant when people would say it before, but now I know. I want to be able to describe it properly. Not sure I’ll be able to do it justice.
I could see multiple colors of blue swirling around with light waves bouncing around making ribbon tunnels of blue beneath the surface. I could see bubbles drifting up and imagined a big fish was just a bit further down where I couldn’t see it. Sparkles of silver intertwined around the blue ribbons. I tried as hard as I could to capture this on a camera but nothing I shot did it. I did not achieve the image my eyes saw.
Everything was quiet for a moment when I saw this. No one was awake yet. The motor roared but for some strange reason it was like the noise was blocked from my consciousness and ears. My ears only heard ribbons of blue fluttering beneath the surface of the water. I cursed my shadow that blocked my view since it was very early and the sun was still low in the sky behind me, casting a shadow as I tried to stand on deck peering into the deepest blue ocean.
Later when Dave awoke, and Kyra crawled out of her nest lazily, the ocean had already begun to change. The swells came, the clouds arrived, eventually completely darkening the sky until rain pelted down hard. The weather deteriorated throughout the day as we went along. By late afternoon we were cloaked in darkness with dark clouds all around. We marched onward straight into what looked like a storm ahead.
By evening, none of us felt very good, including Dave which is saying a lot. He usually doesn’t get sick or feel so bad. He tried to sleep but the wind and waves were straight on the nose making us hobby horse most unpleasantly. He dragged himself up to the cockpit while I laid on my back on the floor next to the salon bench next to Kyra. Camille was in her room trying to hold on.
The night was no fun! When I’m seasick, I just want to die and end the misery. I feel so horrid inside. I insisted Dave rest down below instead of in the cockpit. I went up every 10 minutes checking while he rested a bit. I could just barely make out the lights of the island way off in the distance. I had to check frequently because as we got closer there is certainly more boating traffic of all kinds: pleasure yachts and commercial boats too.

By 3am, Dave got up and was in better spirits. He was making sure we’d arrive in Tahiti by 5:15am to go through the pass. I dozed off a bit before waking close to the arrival in Tahiti.
Eventually we came out from under the dark, cloudy sky. It was behind us. The stormy sea finally settled down as we made our approach to the pass. We ducked in between two large freighters or tankers. In we went and I got on the radio calling “Papeete Traffic” requesting permission to pass in front of the airport as we wound our way south to the marina and anchorage. We were cleared to pass by the runway at the airport and now I see why we must request permission. The runway literally ends at the water’s edge where the channel begins. I could easily see how airplanes not quite so high could hit a tall mast such as ours. We definitely wouldn’t want that.
Calling on the radio proved to be super easy. We glided past. I watched the busyness of the port to our left, while Dave spied on the AIS who else was in port (Aquijo – the biggest ketch in the world that we saw in Costa Rica, Arranui 5 that we saw in Hiva Oa and other smaller boats). We glided on through the channel while paddlers tried to keep up with us by paralleling us. I was impressed with one guy who started at the beginning of the pass and went all the way down with us and then was making his way back through the wind.
After the airport, I could see the anchorage and my mouth dropped open. I couldn’t believe my eyes how many sailboats were anchored in the bay. Kyra’s guess was 300 or more. I agree. We called Marina Taina but they had no space. Told us to call back tomorrow and check because maybe there would be some departures and some space would open up.

Quickly we realized all the boats on the right of the channel just inside the reef were on mooring balls. The boats on the left side of the channel, closer to land were mostly on anchor. It took us a while to find ample space to throw down anchor. The wind had picked up and the depth was about 48-63 ft. so we wanted ample chain out. We ducked into the anchorage field but found everything much too tight for our liking. So we threw it down on the edge of the channel and found a good holding in 48 feet of water. The anchor dug in nicely. The wind just kept increasing throughout the day. We dinghied in to shore in the chop. We found the marina manager, Philip. He was so nice and found us a spot, med-tied on the end of the big, main dock but said we should come the next day in the morning.   We went to Tahiti Crew and got checked in.

Back at the boat we made some calls about getting a rental car. We found “Eco Car” from an ad in a magazine offering 35 Euro per day for a small little Fiat. Seemed most economical to get a car for a day or two so we could sightsee and deposit me at the airport instead of paying for a taxi. It might be about the same amount to take a taxi as we’d pay for a rental car anyway.
We finally settled on receiving a rental car today since they couldn’t meet us tomorrow morning with the free delivery to the marina. We met at 4pm just outside the Pink Coconut restaurant right at the head of the marina.

We took possession and then whizzed downtown to find the clinic for Camille. We found it, no problem and it wasn’t busy at all. We were ushered in to a nurse, I guess, who listened to her problem then asked for a pee sample. She produced one. He checked her pee with a little steristrip thing and confirmed what we already knew, she was positive for a UTI. Next step is to send her to the doctor upstairs and the sample to the lab for further testing to culture it and find out exact bacteria so they can prescribe the best antibiotic. He showed us upstairs the doctor’s office. We waited our turn.

While we waited me met a very nice woman and her husband. He spoke perfect English with no accent. Turns out he’s American, and she’s from Tahiti. They lived in San Jose and raised their kids there but then returned to live in Tahiti near her family. He was an army brat so grew up everywhere, including a stint at Tai’ohea in Nuka Hiva. He was impressed with our sailing adventures and visiting all the islands. Meanwhile inside Camille was chatting with his wife, unbeknownst to us. When his wife went in to see the doctor, Camille came out and showed us her business card saying how nice she was. She works for Air New Zealand and promised to bring us to a local pearl shop and give us guidance for shopping tomorrow if we came to her office. We settled on 11am. That sounded great! This is what our trip is all about: meeting locals and learning about their stories.
After Camille saw the doctor, he prescribed an antibiotic and cream for her finger (separate problem). We went straight to the pharmacy and paid for the prescriptions. The doctor visit was $70 and the pharmacy was less than $50. Unbelievable! I guess that’s what socialized medicine means. The doctor even gave me his email to write and check back in 3 days for the results of her culture.
We popped into the Geant grocery store right next to the clinic and all three of us were in awe of all the fresh produce and choices like a regular grocery store. We haven’t seen this since Costa Rica. Oh, it all was so lovely.

I knew Kyra was back at the boat out in the anchorage and I didn’t want to leave her any longer than necessary, so I had to force myself and them to quickly make our way through the store and not buy everything, even though we wanted to. We did buy delicious stinky French cheese and wine. Ah, heaven! We then rushed back to the boat. It was dark already. Kyra was a happy clam though playing with her Barbie dolls. She missed us and wondered why it took so long but she was ok. I admire her ability to play so contentedly by herself for so long. This is a good thing and a special skill.