I thought I would shift gears from my quilting today to tell you about a trip I have been planning for… an offshore sailing trip in the South Pacific.
Last year, I wrote about Joe’s sailing adventure between Fiji and Vanautu here. I stayed behind to care for darling Ethan, and once Joe returned home, he encouraged me to apply for an expedition leg in 2013. I was accepted for Leg 2 in 2013, which starts less than 2 weeks away! I will join the sailboat in Papeete, Tahihi in French Polynesia and will leave the boat in Rarotonga in The Cook Islands.
This expedition will allow me to have an offshore, bluewater sailing experience, while learning about topics such as navigation, safety at sea, standing watch, weather, sail trim, etc. While I have been on numerous yacht trips over the years- crewing on numerous luxury yacht delivery going from Maine to FL, or FL to Michigan, this time I will be on a sailboat AND will literally be in the middle of the Pacific far from land. In sailing speak, this is called “bluewater” or “offshore” sailing.
( expedition photo from Bluewater Sailing magazine)
Yes, I will be wearing a tether and harness like shown in the photo above. My jacket will be bright pink, as I like being different, yet still girly. 🙂 I will also have a chance to snorkel in exotic locations in French Polynesia- many not accessible to tourists. My plan is to bring along my GoPro camera with dive housing so I may post some beautiful videos/pictures of what I see. Anyone willing to take bets whether I will capture any images of sharks?
While I am in French Polynesia and The Cook Islands, my goal is to seek out local fabrics and if possible, buy a small tifaifai (French Polynesia quilt) or tivaevae (Cook Island quilt). I have been reading up on the style differences between these methods of quilting art.
Here is an image of a tifaifai:
Here are examples of Rarotongan tivaevae from the blog by John Charles Davies:
Can you tell I am getting very excited??? Regards, Carla
Have a blast!!! Love sailing and would love to do something like this!!!
Thank you!! I can’t wait for this trip!
What a wonderful experience you will have.!! Wish I were younger and could go with you. Please do take lots of pictures of what you see. You know most of us do our traveling through you and others who are fortunate to travel to such exotic places. Is your DH going with you on this trip?
Hi Dar, thanks for the well wishes! My DH will be staying home with Ethan during my trip. We are trading off (he went last year, this year is my turn) so that someone is always home with Ethan.
Wow how exciting! I hope you have a wonderful adventure and take lots of photos and find beautiful quilts. But no shark photos! If you see a shark, just get out of Dodge! Ask someone to take a photo of you in that cool pink jacket too. We wanna see it. Thanks for the vocab lesson about bluewater too. Have a blast!
Thanks, Karen! Have been working hard to get ready for this trip! Just got home from my personal trainer workout, so getting ready for this trip also meant getting into top shape. Yes, I promise a picture of me in my pink jacket, hat, sunglasses, harness and tether manning the helm! LOL
PS: when I get back, your long awaited cartoon will be completed and mailed! Promise! Hugs, Carla
Carla, here in Columbus, Ohio suddenly I was transported back to Rarotonga with the notice you wanted to refer to my blog entry about Rarotongan tivaevae. Enjoy your time in the South Pacific it is truly an enchanted world. Can’t wait to get back!
John Charles, Thank you for allowing me to share your lovely blog photo with my readers. Any tips for when I leave the sailboat and hunt for tivaevae? I am booked at the Paradise Inn and have a few days to visit the island before heading home. Was planning on renting a scooter to tour the island and possibly find some snorkeling spots. Thank you once again! Carla
First a question – will you be on the island on a Saturday? Saturday is “Market Day” just like any other “Farmer’s Market” so you will be able to find Tivaevae from several vendors. The Market is on the edge of the west side of town. If your visit does not include a Saturday there are other options.
Paradise Inn is located just outside the town of Avarua, the main town and only town. Our friends once owned that hotel. It’s unusual layout is fun. I stayed there on my first visit to Rarotonga in 1999. Avarua is just 5 minutes by car and is walking distance from the hotel. Avarua entered into an iPhone GPS shows all roads – one main road. No traffic lights anywhere on the island. You’ll need a driver’s license for a scooter or car. British rules driving!
From Avarua As you head towards, then just beyond, the airport there is a shop on the left with sculpture’s and a “Tivaevae’s for sale” sign, turn there and it’s just off the road. Muri Beach is the best place for snorkeling which is on the opposite side of the island. The island is around 20 miles around, one continuous road. Everyone is so friendly, any of what I have just outlined can be asked of any local and they will know how and where to direct you. The languages are English (with a New Zealand twist) and Cook Islands Maori
Have a wonderful time, you will be enchanted 🙂 We were truly fortunate to have lived on the island for 5 months last year.
John, thank you, thank you for all your great tips! Lucky you to have lived there for 5 months. A quick question… will my CA driver’s license work for a scooter rental or do they have a bus system? Any favorite restaurants?
I also happen to be a sea glass hunter- and noticed that you found lots of glass on Rarotonga. May I ask if one beach is better than another? The blog photo of your sea glass seemed to contain “young” sea glass rather than the tumbled, frosty ones that sea glass collectors like. Still, picking it up will make paradise cleaner and perhaps save someone from cutting their feet.
Thanks again for your help with my visit, John!
If you want a scooter or car you need to use your CA license to get a Raro driver’s license which costs $20, however it is a collectors item. However, the bus system is great. Around and Around they go. Clockwise and (as they say) Anticlockwise. I did not rent a vehicle my first trip and got around by bus every well. Our favorite place to eat is the Tamarind, which is close to your hotel. It’s on the bus line. Vaima Restaurant in the Takitumu district, about 10 miles away, but right on the bus line. Trader Jack’s downtown close to your hotel for seafood and there are several small hole in the wall places locals can recommend.
Unfortunately glass is everywhere on the beaches, fortunately not in large quantities. New and “frosty” glass are mixed. I chose newer glass because it was more graphic and recognizable. I didn’t realize that the glass was collectable, that’s cool 🙂
My wife was on the phone as I was writing the last response with my daughter in Minneapolis and my daughter told me that one of her favorite things is what her boyfriend from Manchester, England bought her which is necklace with a sea glass pendent. What are the odds?
Small world indeed! I took a metal art class at a local college a few years ago, and I am thinking of taking a second one which focuses on metal & mixed media. I would love to find a specimen that I could turn into a pendant necklace for myself- which would remind me of Rarotonga every time I wore it.
John, I really appreciate all the information you have provided me, I can’t wait to visit the island and discover why you fell in love with the place. Btw, I once live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for a couple of years in the mid 90’s. Love living there, but California is certainly much warmer. LOL
Have a fantastic trip – lucky you – I am so envious!!!
Thank you, Louise!
Should be utterly marvelous! Utterly….I will be thinking of you all the time. If memory serves, and I could be totally wrong, his first boat was an Albin Vega, just like ours, Oreneta!
Have a fabulous time….and tell us all about it when you get back! How exciting!!!
C, you are right, I do believe his first boat was an Albin Vega like Oreneta. I still marvel at what you did when your kids were younger- your time spent sailing on Oreneta. I have been preparing like mad for this trip- even practicing my navigation skills. Will report on my month when I get back!
The big question is whether I get sea sick if we see big seas or weather. One requirement is to go off of coffee before the trip, since their experience is that coffee contributes to seasickness. Same with alcohol, but I rarely drink, so that is easy to comply with. It is standard to bring several prescriptions with us, including sturgeron, companzine, scopolamine patch. I had to buy the sturgeron from Canada since it is not sold in the US. LOL!