Month: July 2017

Street Art

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Yesterday the creatures and I went to the Museum of Street Art. We have been so impressed by the incredibly beautiful murals around Papaette.

Artists from all over the world have been invited to paint murals around the city. Their styles are so different – like this one that has animated figures in it.

Some are abstract and have hidden messages in them – only showing up with a camera flash like this one.

One of my favorites is by an artist who collects garbage and fashions it into something meaningful, like this turtle. Everything is made from plastic bottles, except for the turtle which is made from broken car parts.

Many of the murals are characters of Polynesian women.

One of the artists uses wood and concrete and chips away at it, creating a scene. This one is of a young mans face on wooden doors.

Just outside the Museum, is another of my favorite murals. I love the bright colors.

The creatures scrubbed decks yesterday in preparation for Danny’s arrival last night, and I cleaned inside, completing the last items on the long list of things we wanted to get done while he was away. We also hung another bunch of bananas, which a bird is very interested in, and stocked the fridge.

Late last night, Mycah and I went to the airport and were excited to see Danny arrive after being gone for 10 days. We placed 3 lei’s around his neck and brought him home. My sciatic pain has been getting worse even though I’ve been massaged by a couple professionals and done the exercises, so this morning Mycah and I walked over to the clinic and I was prescribed some muscle relaxants and better pain meds. Today, Danny and the creatures have gone to spend the day hiking, swimming and eating lunch at an awesome resturant up the mountain, with Jane. The boat is so quiet with everyone gone – it’s kind of weird!
Danny brought back needed boat parts for the engine, so we will be installing those and then heading to Moorea as soon as it’s done. We now have just under 1 month left on our French Polynesian Visas, and feel like there is still so much to see!

Hiking Valle’e Vaitepiha, Tahiti

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When we were in Panama we became friends with a lovely couple, Ian and Erika, on a catamaran named Makara. Ian is originally from Britain and Erika from Germany. They stopped by Tanda Malaika a couple days ago, and we chatted about the passages we’d made since we saw them last. They mentioned that they needed to get to Taravoa to check out a marina, so we told them we’d take them and we could all explore together along the way.En route to Taravoa, we saw a sign saying Grotto de Marae, and exited to explore.

Infiltration of water has formed small bodies of clear, cool water in large caves and beautiful ferns drape the outside, framing the entrance, some of them several feet long.

Ana-Vai-poiri is the largest of three, where locals were enjoying a refreshing dip.

The area surrounding the grottos overflows with tropical flora,

and small grey Pacific swallows swoop in and out of gaps between hanging vines, branches and leaves like tiny fighter ships in space. Large Banyan trees reached heavenward with thick trunks and branches, while monstrous vines seemed to weigh them down to Mother Earth.

The scent of flowers rich and concentrated in the thick humid air.

Those that fell to the ground to join yellow decaying leaves, looked beautiful there too.

We found the marina, where Ian and Erika took care of business, then ventured on to a pleasant little park for a picnic.

The park was landscaped with mango and breadfruit trees, and overlooked the water. Picturesque coconut palms hung over the edge, as if daring to enter.

We feasted on baguettes, patte, brie, salami, apples and potato chips, and drank mango, lime and peach juice until we were filled to the brim.

Before leaving we had to check Aidan’s growth progress. Being in baguette country, we used a baguette as a leveling tool since the baguette does not lie, and much to Aidan’s dismay, he is still tiny bit away from his sisters height.

We then continued our drive along the north shore of Tahiti Iti (little Tahiti), passed through the town of Pueu and turned up a dirt road along the side of the river, Valle’e Vaitepiha.

We followed a road on foot that led us to a narrow footpath, and from there we were swallowed up into the dense tropical jungles of Tahiti.

We crossed over a stream and Aidan was able to find a way to keep his Van’s dry while the rest of us waded through the cool water.

Thick bamboo stood tall along the trail,

we meandered through open areas of wet green low-lying brush,

as well overhanging branches covered in moss and tiny ferns. I knew that if my mom was there she would have noticed the tiny fairies that quietly flew through their precious kingdom. It was magical.

Elephant ear sized taro leaves appeared to be florescent as the sun shone through them,

bright red leaves contrasted against all the green foliage,

and little yellow flowers covered in raindrops stood out against the dark earth.

We reached the end of the path, where Emma, Jude and Erika took a dip

and the rest of us skipped rocks and fought off huge swarms of bugs.

Periodically we’d see an eel moving through the water, and Emma would somehow end up on top of Judes head and shoulders to get away from it. Our walk back to the car was just as beautiful,

though I did notice something I hadn’t before…the biggest fern leaf I’d ever seen!

Tahiti is such a beautiful place.

I am so grateful for opportunity and ability to immerse myself in nature, because it is here, that I feel incredible peace.

Team work

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There comes a time in everyone’s life when they just have to know the truth about certain things. Important things. You realize you might not be able to go on anymore if you don’t have the answer. On Tanda Malaika we had that burden, but after a great deal of travel, research and meditation, are now enlightened and feel an incredible weight lifted off our shoulders. By now you may wonder what it is that troubled us so dramatically, and I’m here to share the love and pass on the knowledge…We have been eating and enjoying animal crackers our whole lives (technically I have only since coming to America), and have always wondered just what exactly all those little animals are, and how many different ones there are. Strictly for research purposes, we invested in a small 4 lb container of them, and got to work to discover the truth.

The creatures had to find one of each animal and we lay them out in a specific order. Each of them took turns writing on a sheet of paper what they thought the animal was, and in the meantime I googled it then checked their answers. Aidan is the ACCW (animal cracker champion of the world), after only getting two of the thirteen wrong. Did you know that these delicious morsels have been around since 1903 and 106 different animals have been made!? One last fact to share: Jude especially loves the flavor of the cow shaped ones, and bugs Aidan on purpose by picking them all out and eating them.
This past week has been frustrating for me. I like to get things done,to work, explore and adventure, and have no time or place in my life for laziness (not to be confused with relaxation). I am busy having an epic sciatica disaster from my lower back, down my right butt cheek and all the way to my foot…like a hot poker has been inserted. I usually quite enjoy pain, but this is something else, and leaves me walking like a 98 year old version of the Hunchback of Notradame. I’ve been downing Motrin, Tylenol and Excedrine, and no position brings relief for very long. So, we haven’t done a whole heck of a lot, but have worked as a team and checked a few things off the to do list. We borrowed Janes car and went provisioning.

This of course involved first scrubbing out every food locker on the boat, and reorganizing so older stuff gets used first,

then shopping for the new goods and stowing them too. This is what the receipt looks like after such a grocery run. We should for the most part be good for the next few months, with the exception of fresh produce. Check out Emma’s new haircut!

The twins removed everything out of the starboard forward crew berth, which is like our garage, scrubbed it out and reorganized everything in there. Jude lay all duffles and luggage out on the tramp to air out and check for broken zippers etc, and reorganized and stowed them.

I tackled Danny’s and my berth. It’s always best to do this when he’s out of town because unlike him, I have no problem throwing things away or donating them. Our room looks twice the size now! Aidan and Emma did lots of cleaning and room switching, Mycah washed and cleaned the windows, Emma cleaned the anchor locker, I fixed the corroded zippers on Danny’s backpack, and we remarked the anchor chain.

We have tried several things for this job, but always seem to come back to zip ties. They last longer and can easily be seen as the chain rushes down into the ocean below.

We also fixed the lazy jacks (they hold the sail bag up), which took lots of team work. In order to feed the line down through the mast, we taped a weight to the end of a line, which was attached to the lazy jack line.

We sent Emma up the mast in the bosuns chair where she had to drop the weighted line through a small hold in the mast.

Mycah used a hook at the end of a snake and skillfully retrieved the dropped line out the bottom of the mast.

Emma came down and Jude went up in the bosuns chair and used her ninja sailor skills to fix and reattach the lazy jack line, and Bob’s your uncle, the job was done!

The marina we are in runs parallel to a wonderful park.

Yesterday and last night there were all sorts of festivities there, including a parade that the creatures walked over to watch, while I stayed on the boat and took photos.

Everyone was dressed up with leis and traditional outfits.

Men performed dances, their voices loud and strong as they recited chants and hakas..

Beautiful children chatted and watched,

while others took selfies to remember the day!

I love these people, and I love the energy that they freely share.

When the creatures returned up the dock, we cooked hamburgers for dinner,

then watched the beautiful sunset glowing from behind the huge cranes.

Danny is enjoying spending time with Aundrea, Mom and Dad in California, and we are so glad that he has the chance to do it. We miss him and are excited to show him all the projects we hope to complete before he gets home.