July 22, 2011

Cruising Friends

We’re back at Raiatea—our sail is repaired (we were really happy with the price and service at Marina Apooiti, although now our dingy motor is complaining) and we had a great couple of days exploring Tahaa with the folks from Don Quixote.

Cruising is a funny thing. In the grand scheme of self-selected communities we’re not a large one. Estimates vary—but I’ve heard that somewhere in the range of 300-500 boats cross to the South Pacific each year, and of that number probably only 50-60 or so have kids, and of that number only so many are going to have the right combination of languages spoken and chemistry between both parents and kids.
yes, there are places in the world that do look like this

Which pretty much means all the kid boats eventually get to know each other.

But knowing the other kid boats through potlucks, parties and play dates isn’t quite the same as hanging out and really getting a chance to become friends. When you’re seven, or eight, or14 the process is pretty simple—you say hi, run off and play for a while then beg for a sleepover. Somewhere around 4am you’re bffs and by the time the pancakes roll around you’re unwilling to be separated. Ever.
traveling inside a barrier reef from Raiatea to Tahaa is dreamy... Especially after the trip here.
sunset on Tahaa
Adults need a slightly different form of bonding—typically a dinner, followed by a night of the local beverage (Pastis is the affordable option here), followed by a hangover hike (or other suitable excursion) will make it clear if you’re suited for each other, or not. Which is how we found out we rather like the DQ family.
Toast, pondering the local veggies. I can't repeat what she said. But we now wonder about Dean.

hiking in the hills

The funny thing about this is as two families our kids have been friends since Oa Pou. But while we’ve attended the same parties and chatted over drinks (and have several dozen good friends in common) we’ve never really hung out. But when we found ourselves stuck in the same harbour waiting for repairs (and didn’t have our normal buddy boats to hang with) we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and get to know each other.
visiting the turtles at a local preserve
 People who make me laugh, make me think and can provoke a good debate while serving yummy food and mixing tasty drinks pretty much make me happy. It makes me even happier when I know we’re heading the same way and will cross paths regularly—but the DQ’s and us are about to diverge. But the lesson learned (which we also picked up when we met and stayed in Tahiti for the fabulous Auzzie family on Connect Four) is that while the goodbyes suck, it really is worth taking the time to get to know new people.

Because sometimes there are new friends lurking where you least expect and in the most obvious places…

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