How to Fall in Love with French Polynesia

by Drew on May 4, 2009

Looking back on the month I spent alone in French Polynesia I have decided I’d rather not spend a month alone in French Polynesia again. It’s beautiful here. I love swimming and snorkeling. The sailing has been fantastic. But what good is any of that is you can’t share it with someone? At least that’s the way I feel about it.

It finally hit me that I’m living every sailor’s dream out here. Eight months cruising around the islands of the South Pacific is the type of trip I’ll remember and talk about for the rest of my life. And there is no other person in the world I’d rather share this time with than Margie. Saturday, sitting in two feet of water on a sandbar dotted with coral heads a half mile off the south side of Tahiti, I asked Marge whether she’d ever thought she’d find herself here. She looked around at the scenery before her, the group of Polynesians surrounding her, and her toes in the clear water below. Without looking up she grabbed a potato chip out of the bag floating by on a life preserver and said “not in a million years.”
Our two year anniversary of meeting each other comes up in two weeks.
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If you’re ever invited to dine with Polynesians, remember this rule. You must fix your plate first or you will sit there all night. We finally figured out why it always took so long to start meals here. The food would be ready, the places set, and we would just sit there. No one ever told us we should go ahead and fix our plates so we were being courteous guests and waiting for our hosts to begin. We finally had to ask Friday night at Youenn’s house. “Are you guys waiting on us?” Yep…sure enough.

We’re anchored out in a small bay just across from the Teahupoo Marina. We have lush green mountains coming right down to the lagoon on one side of us and the designated “most powerful wave in the world” on the other side of us. The surfing at Teahupoo is legendary and much of life in this village revolves around it. The marina houses the boats and jetskis that shuttle the surfers back and forth, the long line of snacks (small, shanty-looking restaurants) at the mouth of the river feeds the surfers, and the store sells the beer they drink all night. We’re here at the biggest time of year for this community. The yards are clean and landscaped, the signs for paid parking and camping are displayed proudly, and the guesthouses and private homes are overflowing with the tanned, buff bodies of international surfing playboys (yes Margie’s single-lady friends…we are telling them all about you…). This place is the polar opposite of the busy streets of Papeete. The people who live here go there only when they need to and from here out, we’ll do the same. We hope to stay here a couple of weeks before heading back to town to collect the little Honda generator that’s being repaired, provision the boat, and begin the dance westward to cheaper waters.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Liz May 5, 2009 at 8:16 pm

Awwww….y’alls cute!

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