Last night we slept like rocks. We were pulled out of our lethargy at 8am by sounds we haven’t heard in two months: the hum of city traffic, the creaking of a dock, and the chatter of runners on a boardwalk.
Our 35 hour passage from Toau was a cake walk. The seas were friendly, we only had one very small rain squall (Hallelujah!), moonlight until 1am, and perfect 15 knot of wind on our beam.
The only complaint we could possibly pretend to have about Hydroquest is that she’s just too fast. Despite all our efforts to slow down – a double reefed main and 60% furled jib for the entire passage – we still averaged 6.3 knots and arrived at the island of Tahiti at 3am. She’s a machine! The early arrival meant that we had to bob around a few miles off Papeete’s port pass until it was bright enough to enter.
By 8am we were stern tied at the yacht quay in the heart of the city. Although no longer the popular location for cruising boats (most prefer the anchorage and marina to the west of the city), we think the downtown quay is a sweet spot. At 10am we were enjoying breakfast and a stroll around town with Caroline and Johannes. They left the same time/day as us from Toau. At one minute after noon we were drinking a celebratory beer at the Les 3 Brasseurs, a dock-side micro-brewery that has already won Will’s heart over. We were all fighting to stay awake in the afternoon so took turns showering off on the dock with seemingly endless cold fresh water. At 6pm we went back to the brasserie for happy hour and at 8pm we hit the ‘roullottes’ – cheap food trucks that set up every night at La Place Vaiete, a five minute walk from the quay. We fell into bed like bags of bricks at 10pm (a late night for us, especially after a passage).
This morning’s breakfast of cappuccinos and croissants at a small café on the street was heavenly. As with any new place, we’re really excited to be here. A new city and island to explore, laundry facilities, restaurants, grocery stores, a market full of fresh produce! Papeete is earning high marks from us already.
We enjoyed John’s email this morning about his memories of the Papeete yacht quay:
“I have fond memories of being stern to at the quay – sounds as I remember it. In the evenings the street vendors had bar BQ shish kabobs that were actually dog meat. Nobody minded. The only cheap wine came in plastic bottles and after a night of it: it would take days for your teeth to look white again.”
I think it’s ‘salad only’ for me from now on at the roullotes 😉