Published: March 6th 2012February 17th 2012
It took about 12 days to get to Tahiti from NZ. The route took us through an area where there is pretty much absolutely nothing going on, and there is no normal reason for anyone to be there, as there is no real shipping going on between NZ and Chile (our course to avoid the weather took us nearly straight East). The only interesting thing that we saw along the way were the birds--nearly everyday for most of the trip we had at least one Albatross circling the boat for pretty much the entire day, never stopping to have a rest, and hardly even flapping its wings. They are the biggest flying birds in the world with a ten foot wingspan. The experience was reminiscent of the poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'.....not quite as deep though.
On arrival in Tahiti, after nearly two long weeks at sea, we were welcomed, albeit inadvertently, by a gorgeous girl, with huge breasts, jumping rope, in spandex, on the bridge deck of the boat next to us. I saw it as a modern day version of what it must have been like a couple hundred years ago when Captain Cook arrived in
Tahiti after months at sea, being greeted by Tahitian girls in grass skirts and coconut bras haha. It was a ridiculous distraction as we were trying to tie the boat up stern-to in a strong crosswind.
Tahiti is like a bizarro-world Hawaii. There are many similarities between the cultures, which is not really a surprise, as Hawaiians are thought to have originated from this part of the world. The bizarre part is that although so many things look and behave similarly, everyone here is speaking French. And although a lot of people do speak English here, it is definitely not across the board, and my French is terrible, at best.
One aspect of Tahiti that made me really miss Hawaii is the outrigger canoe culture. Just in front of the marina we were at, there were literally guys paddling by all day everyday. Canoe racing has got to be the most popular sport here, possibly even more than surfing. The Tahitians are world-renowned for being the best paddlers in the world--they win the biggest canoe races in the world every year. If I had more time here I would have definitely tried to get out with the Shell
Va'a team, perennially the best team in the world.
We only had a week in Tahiti with a little bit of that stuff called 'work' getting in the way, but I did have the chance to check out the island a bit. One of the highlights was getting to see the surf break called Teahupoo, which roughly translates to 'skull crusher', according to the locals I spoke to. The day we visited was not a big wave day, but you can find some amazing videos on youtube that show what the wave can really do. Even on a small day, being there in person was good enough to see and imagine what it would be like and how the water moves there on a big day--it's pretty crazy.
There are more photos below