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Huahine Impressions

By Chelsea McBroom

March 23rd, 2014

On Thursday March 20th we connected the Picton Castle‘s mooring lines to a small floating island made out of yellow plastic and a core trunk of metal with a giant shackle atop it. It took us a try or two before we decided on the best way to moor – one stern line and two from the well deck to keep our lines from dragging underneath us and catching our rudder as we moved with the current.

It was about 1300 when we finished and lunch was ready for us. Lily had made macaroni and cheese with broccoli, tuna and peas and a salad. She’s been doing a good job of working vegetables into nearly every meal – even our oatmeal that morning (which was delicious!) had grated carrots.

Starboard watch was given the afternoon off and were in the skiff within minutes heading ashore – the longest skiff ride to shore we’ve ever had. We a moored a fair distance from the docks, but near enough to the island to smell land (because, trust me, when you’ve been away from land for long periods, you remember the smell when you near it again) and near enough to see the road that follows the shoreline.

After preparing dinner Lily went for a run from the dock all the way to the shore opposite the ship (a fair distance) and said there were many cute puppies and beautiful friendly people along the way. While starboard watch went ashore mostly for internet purposes, I stayed on the ship feeling satisfied with my recent internet connections.

After hand-washing my laundry (which smells cleaner but still looks like I rolled in the mud, I napped on the well deck while the crew who were on duty wire brushed and blue steeled. I can recall Captain Moreland telling us that often sailors in the past have preferred to stay aboard than go ashore – people are corrupted by ports, plans become repetitive and aren’t we here to do ship things? But I think I’m going to like Huahine.

So far it’s been sunny and bright with squalls at night. This morning Simon, Gustav, Lily and I took the skiff ashore to get some fresh vegetables, baguettes and fruit. The supermarket and bank are steps away from the dock, along with other little shops, and the streets are lined with local fruit and vegetable vendors. We bought bananas there but there was papaya, orange banana-like things, grapefruit, mangos and star fruit. It was a busy morning – everyone was smiling and friendly, whistling and calling to each other across the street. The ladies that worked at the market all wore dresses in floral prints in bold red and green and pink – the one that helped us was decorated in swirly red necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings.

This island reminds me of Nuku Hiva, perhaps even more convenient to us with its shops, but not as touristy as Papeete nor as deserted as other islands. We have already met people that have welcomed the ship and offered any local help if needed. Not knowing what to do with themselves, Lily told people on the off watch that they may find something to do when they meet new people ashore – and so the adventures begin.

Samantha and Averil help out in the galley

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