Ladybug is tied to a mooring ball at the Papeete Yacht Club. This is the first time since we have owned her that she has been on a mooring! The yacht club has a few moorings that are sometimes available, if a member is away sailing, for a nominal price. The staff here are friendly and the club has an active children's sailing program and Sunday races just like back in Victoria. We are a little outside town, but the anchorage is quiet and it costs only $1 to take the bus in to Papeete.
On our first day here we walked back toward Point Venus and visited the royal graveyard (the earlier kings get only a small uninscribed rock and a raked patch of gravel to mark their final resting place). Further along we heard someone playing ukulele in a park and stopped to listen. A group of Tahtians - an extended family it turned out - invited us over and handed us a big bottle of Hinano. We chatted with them in French and learned that they come to the park on the weekends or when they are not working and sing and drink and hang out. Everyone was very friendly - and just a bit inebriated. Some were smoking Tahitian tobacco - I think this was marijuana - and they offered us some too.
They told us that we tourists see this island differently and think everything is good, but they feel that things have been getting progressively worse, economically and because of losing their traditional ways (for example obesity in children due to a diet high in processed foods). It would be interesting to get to know these people better, so when we heard that one family was planning to go to Moorea on the weekend, we suggested they come with us. We will be sailing there as part of the Tahiti Moorea Rally on Saturday.
The next day, we were like kids in a candy store during our first visit to a large Carrefour grocery shop. It has been more than 3 months since we have had access to such variety and we found ourselves just standing and staring at shelf upon shelf of chocolates and rows of different juice cartons. The prices here are nowhere near those in the more easterly islands and we stocked up on fresh veggies and fruit, including apples from New Zealand and sweet crunchy local cucumbers. Cheese was especially good value at about $2.50 for a delicious ripe Camenbert.
I have begun work on the roller furler having found replacement bearings at a store in Papeete, which sells only bearings (can you believe that?!) Not only did I find the right bearings, but it turns out that Marc, a live-aboard member of the yacht club, worked in France for Profurl (the maker of our furler) for more than 10 years. He was in charge of testing all the materials and construction of th furlers. Marc has agreed to help me fix the problem. He started by telling me I need to buy replacement rubber seals as the ones I have cannot be re-used. The next step will be to try to remove the old bearing race pieces, which are pressed in place and held with large, hard to reach cir-clips. Marc has also written about how to modify the furler drum to include grease nipples, so that it can be kept filled with grease. This should help prevent the destruction of the bearings that happened to us en route to Fatu Hiva.
We will be in Papeete area until Saturday when we 'race' to Moorea. We plan to return here in a week or two for the Dance festival.