Leslie’s Letters 1-1-2017: Back to Tahiti

View from Corinne’s patio with Moorea in the background.

Tahiti: January 1st, 2017 letter continued

We left New Zealand January 2nd, and due to the international date line’s location, arrived five and half hours later in Tahiti on January 1st, allowing us a chance to celebrate New Year’s Day a second time.

Rigneyskandu and overflowing luggage checking into Air New Zealand.

Returning to Tahiti was bittersweet after all that travel away from the boat. Tahiti is such a beautiful place, how could we possibly be upset? Plus we had 10 more days of fun before heading back to Raiatea! We were generously hosted at Corinne Mc Kittrick and Michel Bonnard’s home in Puunauia up on the hill in the Lotus district. Spoiled rotten with their incredible view of Moorea, we shared several meals with them discussing Tahiti’s past, present, and future.

Corinne Mc Kittrick
Left to right: Linda Edeikin, Corinne Mc Kittrick, Leslie Rigney, Chuck Houlihan, Eric Rigney

Corinne Mc Kittrick, the best tour guide on Tahiti island, gave us and friends Chuck and Linda from s/v Jacaranda an incredible tour around the island. One of my favorite stops was at the Botanical Spring Garden: Jardins d’eau of Vaipahi. The five of us were awed by the tropical beauty of the indigenous and imported flora that exhibited boundless colors and designs. We also enjoyed touring Marae Arahurahu. Having been there once before, Eric and I wanted to get up close and personal to the famous Austral Island duplicate male and female tiki statues. The originals, still housed in the now closed Gauguin Museum, have a mysterious curse such that anyone who attempts to move them, shortly thereafter dies tragically. The Austral Islands would like to have them back, but no one deign touch them, let alone, transport them! That same night, Corinne returned home, but Linda, Chuck, Eric and I headed out for a grand sunset and starlit dinner up the local mountain to O-Belvedere restaurant. The ambiance was beautiful offering great views of Papeete below and Moorea across the ocean. We ordered cheese fondue all around – très Français!

Fondu at O-Belvedere!

During our 10 Tahiti days, the boys had a fabulous time surfing with good friend Daniel Teipoarii – surf maniac, and we all got the chance to spend several occasions hanging out with his wife Laure and two sons of the same age.

At Papeete’s Food truck row: Rigneyskandu on left, Laure, Daniel, Ikai-ka and Kahiki on right.
Trent Rigney surfing Tahiti. Click on VIDEO: Trent-Surf-Tahiti
Bryce Rigney surfing Tahiti.

Eric and I completed a bit of shopping for boat essentials and impossible to find groceries, before teaming up again with Linda Edeiken (a cultural connoisseur) to visit the Norman Hall Museum, the author of Mutiny on the Bounty. From within his former home, converted into a museum and maintained by his family, we learned a lot about his remarkable life and WWII heroism.

Eric Rigney sitting at James Norman Hall’s desk.

On our return to Raiatea, we had one more adventure. Instead of flying, we boarded the Hawaiki Nui cargo ship for an overnight ride. It was a good thing we had arranged to travel by boat since we brought home an enormous amount of baggage: new surfboard for Bryce plus Trent’s, a new used kite and kite board, a boogie board, a new room fan for Kandu, large tub of laundry detergent, a heavy box of groceries purchased in Papeete of items unavailable in Raiatea, and of course, our 5 weeks worth of baggage and touristic souvenirs. We lucked out installing ourselves in a comfortable spot on top of the ship under an awning.

Hawaiki Nui cargo ship
Trent Rigney carefully guarding our numerous bags!

With excellent warm breezy weather and a gentle swell, we made our way comfortably back home to Kandu…which incidentally stunk and required 10 loads of laundry to get rid of the mildew odor …ugh, vacation over!

And only ten days later, we flew back to Tahiti to start our two-week Easter Island adventure . . . more to come.


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