June 17

Well, we have been here tucked behind a motu on the SE corner of Tahanea for 3 days now, since we beat our way across the lagoon in 20+ knots on Friday. I wrote in the Ship's Log about it (see Ship's Log 6/15/01) and that evening we had Drew and Vernita from "Layla", along with Chris and Markus, over for Lasagna dinner, which turned out great. I had lent Drew my Shop Manual for the Kubota ES300 for his generator, which is the same model as mine. He returned it Friday. On a lark I asked him if he had a spare keyboard.

Of course, I was just looking for an opening to bitch about my broken keyboard. He actually said he had one. He brought it over and lo and behold it is a USB keyboard - just like the one which broke - it even has a 2 port hub built in as my broken one had! He had it as a spare but he uses a Laptop and has a wireless keyboard also which he uses with the laptop, so he gave me the keyboard! I just couldn't believe my good luck.

So, our main computer is back in business! I am still hoping my friend Brian back in Seattle can find me another as a spare, which he will send to my father who is coming to visit in a few weeks when we get to Moorea. If this one breaks I don't want to be caught without a spare. Living without it for the last 2 weeks has been hell. We've had to write email and journals on the laptop and then transfer the files to the main computer. Using the nav software has been equally frustrating as everything had to be done with the mouse, and there are some things which just couldn't be done at all (like assigning names to way points and routes).

We are having a pleasant time here at Tahanea. We are still hoping the weather will break so we can get back to the other side of the lagoon where the pass is so we can do some diving here. But at least we are well protected now and not subject to 8 miles of fetch which was brining us 2ft chop in the anchorage on the other side. On the SSB every morning we hear about other boats and most have done the same thing on their respective atolls - i.e. moved to the other side of the lagoon and into the protection of the motus on the windward side. Those who remain on the leeward side are not having any fun.

We are really looking forward to seeing my dad and step-mom Barbara. Especially Jonah who just jumps up and down with joy (yelling and howling) whenever we mention their visit. We were unable to work out the details for a visit from my mom and it will be some time before we see her again. At least we are in email contact on a regular basis and with the web site we have a way to keep her (and everyone else we can't see) kept up to date on our life. The web has been really amazing for that and we couldn't imagine being out here without having it as a way to keep in touch.

As for photos, many people are sending me email complaining about the lack of recent photos. Well, we wish we could do better, but we are in a very remote part of the world right now and we just can't upload photos via email since we use Ham radio for that and the size of the photos is prohibitive. Our last photos were for the month of April, but we have a new page for May already prepared, its just that we need to find an Internet connection before we can upload them. Hopefully in Fakarava, the next atoll to our West we plan to stop at in a week or so will have an Internet cafe.

In case anyone is curious, we plan to arrive in Papeete, Tahiti around July 1st and spend a week in Papeete provisioning. After that we will head around to the back side of Tahiti where there are no tourists and the Old Tahiti can be found. Tahiti will be the first island we visit that has both a central high island, like the Marquesas, and a fringing lagoon like the Tuomotus. Most of the island of Tahiti can be circumnavigated within the lagoon, though there are a few sections where you must go outside the lagoon and then re-enter further down. Unlike the lagoons in the Tuomotus, the lagoon is completely protected anywhere within the lagoon as the central island protects you from wind on one side and the fringing reef protects from wind on the other side! Most of the Society Islands, of which Tahiti is the largest, have the same basic setup. After a week exploring Tahiti we will make a short passage to Moorea where we will anchor in Cook's Bay and spend a week with Jon and Barbara who will be staying at the Sheraton Moorea Lagoon, also on Cook's Bay. Interestingly, Captain Cook never visited the bay which bears his name - he anchored at Oponohu Bay next door during his visit in the 18th century.

After Moorea our plans will depend on what happens in Papeete in 3 weeks. We have sent in paperwork to the Haut Commissariat (High Commissioner) requesting an extension to our 3 month visa, but we will not know the result of that request until we get to Tahiti. Some boats have said that you can find out the result of your request by phoning the office there, but either way, you must appear before the 3 month visa expires to get the new visa if it is issued. The whole thing is more complicated then it needs to be and is really annoying. If we do get the visa, we will have time to explore some of the other Society Islands, the ones less visited by tourists, like Huahine, Raiatea/Tahaa and perhaps Maupiti or Mopelia, two Society Islands which are atolls (ie. without a central island).

If not, we must leave the country (ie. French Polynesia) on or before 7/23, which is the day my dad leaves Moorea. We are really hoping they give us the extra time because the Society Islands are among the most beautiful in the world, and although Tahiti will be nice and Moorea promises the opportunity to spend some time at a nice hotel with my dad (I am especially looking forward to lolling about in a freshwater swimming pool) Moorea, although lovely, is a bit more crowded and touristy then we normally like and is no more beautiful then Huahine or Raiatea, islands which have very little tourist infrastructure.