The time arrived. I was really going to do this: sail across the Pacific Ocean from Galapagos, Ecuador to Tahiti in the Society Islands of French Polynesia with a crew I’d barely met and a captain who sounded experienced and sensible on paper but where I had no real certainty of the weighting of his reputation.
‘Trust your gut instinct’, a friend told me, ‘if it doesn’t feel right, don’t get on the boat’.
Another friend told me a horrific story about a guy who had spent a two week ocean crossing being raped by the skipper so as not to be thrown overboard. It seemed like the worst scaremongering story out there, surely something so sick couldn’t be true?
Rather than making me fearful of life, travelling has taught me that with a bit of savvy and a good dose of openness and interest in the world, the chances are that good people will enter your life. Call me naïve, if you like, but the people whom I’ve met and the experiences that I’ve had have helped me to re-trust life. At some point you have to trust, I think.
So here I was, keen for a sailing adventure, excited to be doing something so spontaneous and random. Of course, if it felt even a bit dodgy, I wouldn’t step on board.
Once again though, life threw me a trump card. The captain and crew, on early impressions, seemed pretty sound. All men, I had to feel okay about spending at least three weeks non-stop with this little clan who had already established themselves on the sail over from Panama.
I decided to go with it.
Although I was only guaranteed a ride to Tahiti (mainly because there were no stops between Galapagos and Tahiti), I was hopeful that if I pulled my weight they’d keep me on as crew for the next leg to Tonga and then Coff’s Harbour, Australia.
But no plans. Go with the randomness and see where I end up.
So, sail me – no, sail with me – to the coconuts, to the exotic paradise of Tahiti where the beautiful, world-class surfing wave of Teahupoo peels a couple of kilometres out to sea, where the award winning tribal tattoo artist Mana Farrons makes his home in Papeete, where wild pigs roam the forests and where palm trees fringe beaches of white sands and fallen husks.
And where my fantasies of tropical life will meet with their reality. How can I be disappointed?
9 responses to “Sail me to the coconuts”
Just wondering how to spell Teahupoo. What are we waiting for let’s go!
Glad you’re on board. Yeah, let’s go! And the Teahupoo spelling… Teahupo’o I think is the correct spelling, but sounded as cho-poo.
What a great way to travel! What will you be doing on the boat? Where did you find information about that?
Hi Kina. I did some sailing training back in the UK in 2011 and was given the heads up on a couple of ways to get sailing experience. For this particular trip, I used the Crewseekers website, although I’ve been told its often better to actually go to the ports and meet skippers and crew that way (and actually, whilst in Galapagos I did make contact with a lot of other people sailing various routes who I could have gone on board and worked for – some even paid). I will be working as a deckhand and cook on the Galapagos-Tahiti crossing… but mixing it up with whatever needs doing, including nightwatch. I hope you’ll stick around and read on!
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