Angels among us

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When we pulled up anchor in Huahine and set out for Fare, I sat on the stern and watched Tanda Malaika on the reef in the distance. My home was there and we were leaving her behind. My heart ached so much and I couldn’t hold back the tears that flowed, and when Danny joined me to watch her too, I leaned into him for strength and cried even more.

It was time to refocus and pull myself together. The work wasn’t over yet, adrenalin was still driving us – though it had slowed down considerably. We still had to unload all the salvaged goods and organize them at Marc’s home in Fare. Geniet Lewe is usually in absolute immaculate shape, and she was still covered in our stuff. I’m sure her water line must have been 4” below what it usually was.

David has spent hours on his computer preparing an organized spreadsheet of everything we have to sell. We also had a large amount to donate to the people in Fare, including enough books to double their current library! Jude especially loves books, and had an amazing personal library of some of the best books ever written, and it broke her heart to give them up. When she heard that that Fare Library wanted her books, it put a big smile on her face with watery eyes.

Emma sat up at the helm with David as we motored, and I loved hearing them chat and laugh the entire way there.

My sciatica had continued to worsen over the many salvaging days, so I lay down in my berth with the hatch wide open. I was going to miss the movement of the ocean beneath us, the salt spray on my skin and the constant breeze in my hair. I fell asleep and woke to the sound of the creatures prepping the boat for docking up on deck. We were in Fare. Marc had arranged for us to use one of his trucks to haul everything to his home, so once again the work began.

Janet told me in no uncertain terms (in her feisty nurse voice) that I was not to lift anything, so I tried very hard to obey and stayed on Geniet Lewe and helped organize what was donations and what was to go to Marc’s for sale. We watched as everything we owned laying all around us in bags and on the truck. It was so humbling to think that we were starting completely over. Again.

Mycah found a funky pair of glasses on Makara, and decided to goof around in them – making us all laugh.


While loading some of the last things into the truck, Mycah accidentally pushed on the fire extinguisher and it sprayed right into Emma’s face. Luckily she had her glasses on, so nothing got into her eyes, but she was covered in a white powder. We all got a good laugh out of it! She quickly went and washed her face once she stopped laughing.

We divided into two groups – some going to Marc’s place to organize while other stayed on Makara and Geniet Lewe to pack everything we were taking with us. The airlines allow us 23 kg per check in bag and 7 kg for carry ons, and we knew there was no way we were going to make that, so we kept packing more duffles all weighing 23 kg. Our sweet friends, Barry and Kim on Jadean, brought a bunch of duffles over for us since most of ours had been ruined in the wreck, and we were so amazed at their thoughtfulness. We hadn’t asked for any but they were in tune with our needs and were so kind. Barry also offered to take some of the higher priced electronic items on his boat to try sell as he sailed around. Greg on Beach Flea took our water maker and some scuba gear to sell to a friend for us. Such incredibly amazing people. I looked to the stern of the boat and saw a beautiful rainbow arching up into the clouds and heading over the beginning of the reef that stretched several miles around Huahine. The same reef that Tanda Malaika lay on.

When evening came we were invited over to the beach for a cruisers BBQ, and once again our hearts were filled with so much love and gratitude for the sailing community. A large group of sailing couples and families brought food and we all sat on the beach in the firelight talking and laughing. Once in a while someone would approach me and with teary eyes they would express their heartache for our situation, saying that they had had so many close calls and it could so easily have been them in the same situation. So much love was felt there, as we talked with sailing couples we’d only ever met once before in a port far away, some we’d never met and others that we felt like we’d known forever but had only known since our accident. It made no difference because we were all family and they felt our pain because they loved their homes like we love Tanda Malaika.
The following day the entire process continued with sorting, organizing and packing. Danny and I were going to book flights from Raitea to New Zealand but it worked out better if we booked them from Bora Bora to New Zealand, and David told us they’d be happy to sail us to Bora Bora. While in town I stopped by the doctors office and he prescribed me some Gabapentin for the long flights. Our plan is still to move to Bali where we can live cheaply and be close to where Danny can fly from so we can hunker down and save up for another boat. We have to go to the Indonesian Embassy in NZ to apply for visas, so the plan was to fly from Bora Bora to Papaette, spend the night with our dear friend, Dina’s parents, then the following day fly to NZ and spend however long it takes there to get our visas. I have a childhood friend from South Africa living in Aukland, so we will stay with her and her family. I haven’t seen her since I was about 14, I think, and am so excited to see her!
After hours of packing and organizing, Marc, who had volunteered all his time and hospitality so far, invited us for a BBQ at his home. Before arriving in Huahine, we didn’t know Marc from Adam. All his help had been offered from the goodness of his heart. He said that he helps people in hope that if ever he were in a bind, people would help him. He wanted me to be sure and add his information to the blog so any sailors interested in boat parts from Tanda Malaika would contact him: Marc Garnier. Phone number
87785905 and email huahinenautic
At dinner time, those of us working on the boats, climbed in the dinghies and headed over to Marc’s home. I looked around taking in how beautiful it was outside.

The sun was setting and the boats in the anchorage looked so beautiful.

We tied up to our dinghy which was already there from when Danny had come over, and walked back to where he was working with everyone who was organizing and pricing everything.

Everyone was so tired and hot and sick of the work, but continued on. Mycah, who had arrived with me, saw the fatigue and took over immediately – getting everything back into order once again along with Dave at the list and Danny pricing things. Janet, Erika and the rest of our crew were working hard and finally they were able to say, it’s done!

We joined Marc and his beautiful wife, Valerie, who had prepared an amazing meal for us, and sat our tired bodies down to eat.

They had prepared BBQ fish, chicken and steak, pasta, rice and poisson cru. We ate till we were filled to the brim them finally said our goodbyes, expressed our gratitude and left for Geniet Lewe.

The following morning at first light we said good bye to dearest Erika on Makara and set sail for Bora Bora. Janet had me start on the Gabapentin and I was feeling like a zombie the entire day and don’t remember much of the sail – other than it felt so soothing…so much like home. When we anchored in Bora Bora I drug myself upstairs, looked out at the other boat at anchor and there beautiful surroundings and like a big baby, burst into tears. We were supposed to sail here on Tanda Malaika. Was this awful feeling of loss ever going to end? I wanted my home back. My Tanda Malaika.
Janet took me in her arms and spoke to me softly. She told me that I had been working so hard since the night everything happened and that it was perfectly normal to grieve at this point. That I needed to allow myself the time and to have a good cry because I had every reason to. She helped me back down to my room where I sobbed into my pillow till I fell asleep. When I awoke the creatures were getting ready to go for a swim over to harass our friends on Pandora. All our luggage was on the stern and ready for the morning. We had 15 pieces of luggage aside from Danny’s 3 guitars for check in. Jude and Mycah’s guitars were in soft cases so they had to be carry ons.

In the morning when we placed all our luggage on the carts at he ferry that would take us to the airport we looked ridiculous, considering most people flying out were leaving from being on vacation. People must have thought we’d done a lot of shopping!

It wasn’t easy saying goodbye to David, Janet and Genie Lewe. They had been so good to us. They were Angels. So patient and understanding as their boat went from being perfectly clean to being a storage shed for a family of castaways. They had doctored our physical wounds as well as our emotional ones, drying our tears and always offering wise and encouraging words. We love them SO MUCH!

We gave them huge hugs with tears running down our cheeks, and they still offered words of love and advice – just the ones we needed to hear.

David and Janet from Geniet Lewe and Neal and Heather from Pandora waved to us as we left. Notice that David was in his sweet Kiwi Dave hat!!!

As we left into the Bora Bora terminal, we decided that if anyone asked what the name of our band was since we had 5 guitars, we would say “Danny and the Creatures.”

We promised ourselves that the next time we are in Bora Bora it would be on our next boat, and it would not be in the too distant future.

We would definitely catch up to our wonderful friends and sail with them until we are old and grey and unable to stand any more.

If ever you find yourself asking if Angels are real, we can tell you, that they are with out doubt…we know because through all this, Angels have been among us.


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