Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora, Maupiti
April23 2022-May20 2022
I am writing this from Fiji having taken 2 weeks to return home to spend time with family, Gail and take care of some personal business. My appologies to friends I couldn’t connect with , it was whirlwind visit..
Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, is our first stop . We enter Papeete passe as the squall dissipates motoring past the airport. The flights come in so low over Papeete channel that port authority clearance is required before we are allowed to proceed into the flight path.
The arrival in Papeete was bitter sweet. It was time to say goodby to Adrian Nakic who helped us bring Infinity across the Pacific from Galapagos to French Polynesia and in that time has become a good friend . We will see Adrain again at his home in Cape Town when we arrive in December.
On a happy note my son Cooper and Amy, my daughter in law, join us for 10 days of exploring Tahiti and Moorea.
Once settled in Marina Taina we rent a car and head off to the far end of Tahiti. Amy had arranged for us to stay at a beautiful and unique bungalow on the far end of Tahiti Iti, site of the 2024 Olympic surfing competition. Great fun exploring the rough coast and hiking the coastal forest. Not so fun or smart hiking in flip flops.
After exploring the island and Papeete we sail to Moorea, a quick 4 hour sail where we drop Fabian and Daniella off for a well deserved 7 day break from me and Infinity. Then Gail, McKenzy and Teddy join us for more snorkeling,sailing,surfing for Teddy,and exploring Moorea.
It was so special to have the family all together.
A week that passes far too quickly. Cooper and Amy had to return to the states. We pick up Fabian and Daniela and leave for a night sail to Raitea and Bora Bora. Mac’s first overnight sail on Infinity. She got a glimpse of what some of our passages are like. To her and Teddy’s credit despite a lumpy motor sail neither got seriously seasick or lost their smiles. Leaving Raitea Pass for Bora Bora Teddy literally jumped off Infinity to join some locals for some good surfing. Mac and Gail jumped overboard to swim with a pod of dolphins.
Raitea and Bora Bora were incredibly relaxing. We just enjoyed the spectacular blue waters soaked up the sunshine and friendly hospitality of these wonderful islands.
Mac’s dream has always been to stay on an over the water bungalow. I couldn’t convince her that she had that on Infinity at an unbeatable price so we joined her and Teddy for a day at the 4 Seasons . It was pretty luxurious so much so that Gail and I returned for 2 more days after Mac and Teddy left. Thank god for AMEX points.
I am occasionally asked whether sailing is good for your health. The implication being is it more healthy to go sailing or live at home while working or retired?
That got me thinking.
William Osler, the founder of John’s Hopkins Medical School, was once asked by his students what the secret to a long life was “ Chose your parents wisely” he quiped.
Obviously genetics plays a big role in our health but how we chose to live our lives probably plays an even larger role: Diet , exercise and stress all play a critical role here.
Here are my thoughts:
Virtually everyone I know loses weight when they sail. We eat less, eat healthier and drink less alcohol (Infinity is a dry boat when on passage).
We are constantly moving when sailing , improving our core strength and helping lose weight; but it is harder to get good cardio and weight training. The gym workout has the edge here.. I have devised a workaround by bringing an assortment of bands and a yoga mat for 30 minutes of stretch and band workout in the mornings and swim when we are at anchor. Better than nothing but I still miss the gym. My sense is that I lose some muscle mass ,especially in my legs, when sailing. When I return to Reno next spring I will repeat my body fat/muscle mass index DXA test and will have more objective data.
All life’s activities involve some level of stress…..that helps keep life interesting.
Stress on a sailboat is more immediate and tangible than work and general life stresses. Stresses on a boat are usually immediate challenges that require complete focus solving the problem thereby releasing stress and needless worry . Once the problem is solved the stress is gone. There is not a lot of perseverating on a boat.
In between these challenges are many hours of pure relaxation and enjoyment similar to what one experiences with meditation. Hence one of sailing’s universal appeals.
One objective result: my blood pressure is 110/60 without meds. Down from 180/100 before meds.
Sun and wind exposure are definite health hazards . Sunscreen, hats and water are our friends.
Accidents and injuries on a boat are a big risk.
One night while at anchor in the Fakarava I tripped on deck, landed on my face, broke my nose and took a blow to my head. No I had not been drinking.
Headaches and dizziness persisted so I got a CT in Papeete which was normal, no subdural or atrophy. I was lucky. I didn’t want to deal with a subdural so far from home.
I am reminded of a sign I saw in a hospital in British Columbia stating the number one cause of death in British Columbia is from accidents.
The OWR rally has had its share of accidents, some serious. We are extra cautious but accidents on a boat and wandering around foreign countries are more likely to happen than while at home.
Life sailing is generally healthier for me that living back home . For me this is primarily due to the relaxed life style on a boat. Ultimately though our health is mainly about the lifestyle choices we make
Fabian and Daniela were good to bring Infinity from Bora Bora to Fiji where I returned to Infinity. Many thanks to them as they encountered several nasty squalls along the way.