It’s been easy living these last few days in Teahupoo. I’ve been working on the dinghy motor trying to figure out the mysterious problem in the fuel system that’s slowing us down. Wednesday afternoon I was sitting in the dinghy, cover off the motor, with a completely puzzled look on my face. I look up and see a guy on an approaching boat holding up a good size yellowfin tuna. Judging from the endless stack of 100+ pounders inside the boat, he was looking to unload some of the smaller catch and we were the first takers he ran into on the way back to the marina. So we found ourselves with more than enough free tuna for the next few days. I grilled some last night with a lemon pepper and butter sauce and today I can’t seem to stay out of the soy and wasabi. This stuff would be so pricey in the states and even in the store in Papeete, but down here random guys we never met before just stop by and hand it over like they owe it to us. You don’t really know hospitality till you visit these islands.
Yesterday was the official opening of the Billabong Pro and today was the first day of surfing. Although the contest runs from May 9-20, they only surf three full days. I assume they choose the days based on the weather systems lurking to the south that affect the break along this coast. Everyone tunes into the major radio station at 6:30AM to find out whether that day has been chosen for the competition. We don’t really need to turn the radio on since we’re anchored right along the channel from the marina to the pass where the break is. Many of the surfers and most all of the media and spectators gather at the marina to catch boats out to the inlet so by 7AM the size of the wake from passing boats rocking us around is our best indicator of competition days. It was the same deal for the trials which took place last week while we were anchored here.
Margie and I aren’t the most seasoned surfing spectators but we’re learning. We take the dinghy out to the pass, tie onto one of the buoys, and try to eavesdrop on the boats next to us to find out who’s surfing, why he didn’t take that wave, and how in the hell this thing is scored. We finally figured out the scoring but as for who’s surfing, we’re probably surrounded by professionals and we haven’t a clue who they are. We’re flashing pics of everyone with hopes of making identifications later when we have a good internet connection. The only person I’m certain I’ll recognize is Kelly Slater from his days on Baywatch. It’s pretty cool there’s no roped off areas. This morning we pulled up and practically tied off to one of the Billabong media boats where they interview the surfers after they compete. The unique line up at Teahupoo also allows for the regular spectator to get some pretty good photos.
We put up a bunch of new photos in our Flickr Photostream. Check em out whenever you get a chance. Also, if you’re interesting in watching the competition live on the web go to http://billabong.manaspot.pf At least that’s where we can watch it for free from the boat. I assume you can access the site from out of the country.