FRENCH POLYNESIA FAREWELL TOUR

August 5, 2020 ; 7:14 AM
17°54’S, 149°56’W – Papeete Marina, Tahiti

Total honesty: Papeete Marina wreaks of failed plans to sail around the world.

If our visa agent hadn’t specifically forbidden us from checking out of another island, we would have avoided coming back here at all cost. It’s a lot easier to move forward and get excited about new plans when I don’t continuously find myself physically in the place where my old plans failed.

But pouting never did anyone any good. Like it or not, we had almost a week of preparations and wait time in Papeete Marina before our weather window aligned with check out timing to sail west. So, with the help of our Lost ARC family, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and made the best of our Tahitian farewell tour.

Even after all these posts, do you seriously not believe me that the Lost ARC is a family? You will now. This parody of Amazing Grace has Pankratz family get together written all over it, courtesy of Domini.

Somehow, we only find ourselves together with Domini during farewell tours and haven’t had the pleasure of much leisure sailing together around French Polynesia. No matter, reprises of The Santa Marta Blues were accompanied by parodies for each Polynesian island chain. We will miss the energy and hilarity that radiate out of that boat.

Because the future of our sail plans is so uncertain, we find ourselves saying goodbye regularly. For about the third time, we said farewell to Next Step and Aurora, some wonderful friends (and magical EU passport holders) who are flying home to rejoin their boats next year.

We visited our favorite spots (Captain Dave literally visited every hardware store on this island) and took advantage of time in a marina. I had 5 days of awesome runs through newly opened parks (reminder: Tahiti has 0 cases, except one new case that came in on a cruise ship and never set foot on land). Hopefully I earned enough miles to prepare my legs to be virtually sedentary for a couple weeks….

Les 3 Brasseurs (a Tahitian brewery) is finally open after leveraging COVID lockdown to renovate. It was nice to try something new and expand our Tahitian beer pallet beyond Hinano. Plus, this brewery is my kind of place, with half price Mondays and juicy cheeseburgers. My first IPA in 7 months hit the spot.

Speaking of firsts in 7 months, Grace from Amari and I decided to bite the bullet and spend a night in a resort. IT WAS MARVELOUS, SIMPLY MARVELOUS. For the first time in 7 months, I slept in a COMFORTABLE bed, under COVERS, and it DIDN’T MOVE. NOT EVEN ONCE. I literally can’t describe how luxurious it was, or how different my life is from a year ago. Unfortunately, it also reminded me how barely comfortable my boat bed is (womp, womp).

I took lots of long, hot showers and we spent as much time as possible in the pool. The swim up bar was an extra bonus, and the cost was worth it just for the wifi.

Most of the time, we have to spend hours at wifi cafes/restaurants/bars/etc. to download podcasts, books, music, and movies for passage. Staying a night at a hotel meant that for the first time in forever, I set all my devices to download, left to do other things, and came back with it done. THE LUXURY.

We wore masks and carefully distanced ourselves from other guests, which was easy as they were at limited capacity to help with distancing. Many of the guests were obviously French Polynesian locals who were there on holiday, and we felt comfortable knowing our risk level was low with (again, only 1 known case in French Polynesia).

A bit of pampering was just what we needed before 14 days at sea… within 45 feet of our parents.

The captain and admiral copied us and spent a night at a hotel too. It was definitely fancier than ours and complete with a French restaurant and Tahitian dancers. La tee da.

Speaking of French food, we got one last meal at L’O A La Bouche with our loudest American buddies, Amari. We may have been shushed. We definitely had an exquisite time eating even more exquisite food.

We’re elated that our fun friends on Amari, Maximillian, and Serenity First will help us create our own little fleet to sail west. Of course, the majority of our days here were dedicated to planning and preparations for Fiji. We are so excited to set sail because until we do, the planning will never stop!

FIJI CHECKLIST
(X) Submit Fiji paperwork (D PAM form, etc.) to request permission to enter
(X) Scrub the bottom of the boat so no barnacles or algae slow Gracie Girl down
(X) Hoist the captain up the mast to check rigging and fix the steaming light
(X) Provision for a 14-day passage
(X) Download books, podcasts, music, movies, etc. to keep yourself occupied during passage
(X) Clean and stow everything on board
(X) Top off fuel
(X) Raise the code zero in case of light winds
(X) Check the main sail and patch the tear
(X) Get COVID test within 72 hours of departure and receive/send negative results within 48 hours of departure
(X) Process customs and immigration paperwork within 24 hours of departure
(X) Put a seasickness patch behind your ear at least 2 hours prior to departure

Did you notice everything was checked off? WE ARE FIJI BOUND. Passage goals include seeing many pods of humpback whales, learning to play the ukulele, catching 2+ fish per week, and (as always) keeping our bodies firmly on the boat. Catch you in a couple weeks, internet.

-Kristen Pankratz
First mate, Amazing Grace

TLDR: WE ARE FIJI BOUND. Catch us on the sat phone or not at all over the next couple weeks as we get back in touch with the open seas.

6 thoughts on “FRENCH POLYNESIA FAREWELL TOUR

  1. God Speed and Bon Voyage Pankratz crew! Thank you for the virtual visit to the French Polynesia, we sure enjoyed all your postings, pictures, and prose. Sending you warmest wishes for a safe and enjoyable sail to Fiji, weep, weep…sure wish we were joining you there!!! All our love, Lynda and Vic

    Liked by 1 person

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