Thursday, March 27th, 2014
By Chelsea McBroom
March 25th, 2014
Starboard watch had their day off ashore at the French Polynesian island of Huahine while port watch was aboard the Picton Castle loosing and drying sails.
Our original plan for our day off was to rent kayaks for the day and paddle around the island, making a stop at a beach somewhere to swim and have lunch. Lucky for us, as Lily and I wandered the town looking for the kayaks and Maria and Sam stayed at the Yacht Club doing internet things, we realized we were not stuck on the idea and would have to be a bit flexible. Now that I think of it, we hardly see kayaks being used around the island, although we saw them used all over New Zealand, instead here they have these long narrow canoes, connected to another parallel bit of floating material for balance that seem to skim above the water.
We couldn’t find what we had in mind. We were even offered to be driven in a motorboat around the island to a beautiful beach, but we decided to rent bikes instead and follow adventure anywhere we liked. The bikes were a little rickety – I rode a neon pink cruiser that had back pedal breaks, not really meant for bumpy dirt roads and its chain kept coming loose. The rest of the gang were given white and blue mountain bikes (at least they LOOKED like mountain bikes but had rock hard seats and no shock absorption at all). We were pretty proud of our vehicles. Lily and I had talked about missing our bikes at home – having the wind in your hair, the exercise, and having the freedom to take any road – and commented how nice it was to be biking again.
People that had gone for a scuba dive that morning, Erin and Mark, joined us with their bikes. The six of us stocked up on provisions for the weekend as well as some bread, meat and cheese for lunch. I made sure to get a jar of seedy mustard and Mark made sure to get traditional Australian biscuits to share (bless him, I love cookies).
We rode our bikes around past the yellow post office building and across the island to a big patch of grass beside a rocky beach where the waves crashed. We found shade under a palm tree to share our goodies and chat, and once that was done we were on the road again to seek another nice looking place to sit. It felt like we biked forever – we passed many locals excited and happy to greet us, curious barking dogs, and went around the entire airport to reach another beach. This one had beautiful white sand to lie on and more crashing waves. I nearly fell asleep there. A local gentleman with his wife and kids drove up to us there and in broken English tried to explain that there had been thieves in the area and that we should watch our things. Such an effort to tell us and so considerate, it was very kind. We soon left anyhow so that we could catch the 7pm skiff back ‘home’ to the ship we were exhausted from our adventures and the bright hot sunny day.