Tuesday, August 03, 2004


We are now at the town quay in Papeete (pronounced Pah-Pay-et-tay) on the island of Tahiti, which is the principal island in the Society Islands. As we were approaching the quay under power, just after we dropped our anchor, our throttle cable broke and we lost power. We were only 2 metres from the quay and were able to tie up easily. It was lucky that it happened when it did and not at a time when we were relying on the engine for a tricky manoeuvre - say for example while entering the pass half an hour earlier! Every-one should know the definition of cruising: "bringing your boat somewhere exotic in order to fix it".

Papeete is the largest town we have been to since leaving Panama and we won’t see anything comparable in terms of facilities until we get to Auckland. We are really enjoying the atmosphere and amenities at what is comparable to a French provincial town. Henri walked around in a happy daze for a few days, totally overwhelmed by the noise, cars, people, shops, markets, restaurants (as well as the prices…a small beer for $7, almost London prices!), There is a plaza 500m away where vans, known as Roulottes, serve food. These vans are famous, some are just plain white vans, others are beautifully decorated, and all serve excellent food at good prices. Eating out at such a “roach coach” is one of the things-to-do in Papeete. It is the best value entertainment for both visitors and locals and has something of a fairground atmosphere. The steak frites was a big hit - we enjoyed it so much we went there for the first two nights.