Day 248, Year 1: Welcome to Tahiti, Lee and Mary Ellen (Mark’s Sister)
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2006
Weather: Cloudy with Threats of Rain
Air Temperature: 80 degrees
Water Temperature: 80 degrees
Location: Anchored Closer to the Reef, Still Near Marina Taina, Papeete, Tahiti

We officially welcomed Mark’s sister Mary Ellen, and her husband Lee to French Polynesia at about 7:00 PM Tahiti time. We had flower leas for both Mary Ellen and Lee to welcome them to Tahiti. The official welcome is, ” Ia ora na e maeva” which translates as “Welcome to Tahiti and her islands.” Lee and Mary Ellen looked great and were not as travel worn as we expected. They spent last night in Los Angeles and have slowly gotten used to the six hour time difference. We rented a car at the airport to take us all back to the marina and to travel about the island tomorrow. The weather is supposed to stay cloudy until Sunday, but we can deal with that for a few days. It is still beautiful here, cloudy or not.

We went to the fuel dock first thing in the morning to fill up with fuel and water. We then moved our location closer to the reef. Our hope is that we will be able to do some snorkeling in the shallow water near the boat. We also like the front door view of the rollers breaking over the reef with Moorea in the background. Once we reanchored, Mark took the sheets and mattress cover from our bed into the marina laundromat. Washing sheets is possible onboard, but the amount of water needed for a mattress cover is just too much. He took in his computer to take advantage of the wireless internet there. I sent some of the picture files from the Marquesas with him to see if he could send them. What a difference! He said it took him only seconds to send all 3 files, each about 4 MGs. We have not had that kind of connection since Boston. It has been taking a full 30 to 45 minutes to send just one picture file in the Marquesas and in the Galapagos. This is fantastic. We’ll send the rest of the photos this afternoon and I might even be able to send a few videos for our son Justin to post on the web. I sent some by snail mail from Panama, but have not been able to send any since then.

We spent the rest of the day going to the grocery store and tidying up the boat in preparation for having guests aboard. It was a good day and a great evening catching up on all the news from home with Mary Ellen and Lee. It is wonderful to be sharing some of this trip with family. Tomorrow we will tour the island in the rental car. Saturday we will tour Papeete and take in a Tahitian dance show. Sunday we will go to the early morning market and to church to hear some of the wonderful Polynesian singing. And on Monday or Tuesday we will leave Tahiti and sail back to Moorea. We will be staying there a couple of days and then sail to either Huihine or Raiatea-Tahaa on our way to Bora Bora. Lee and Mary Ellen have two weeks with us and we want to spend at least a week of that time in Bora Bora. We had hoped to be able to stay here in enjoy some of the Heiva celebration, but it doesn’t officially start until July 1 this year. Heiva is a famous cultural event featuring games, singing and dance competitions, and lots of traditional music. People from all of the French Polynesian islands gather here and join in the competition. If we stayed here for that, we wouldn’t have the time in Bora Bora, but maybe Lee and Mary Ellen can see at least one evening of competition when they return here to fly back home. Besides, we imagine the cost of seeing just one show will be pretty pricey-like everything else here!

060622 Day 248 Society Islands, Tahiti–Lee and Mary Ellen Arrive