12/2018: Tahiti, Moorea, Orlando

12/1

Moved the boat to Marina Taina in the morning, worked and hung out the rest of the day I think.

12/2

After spending some time getting ready, we flew out in the evening from Papeete.

12/3 – 12/7

Work week in Orlando. We spent some time at Epcot (very crowded) and the boardwalk and had a really good dinner with Sue and Tim, who drove over from their boat along the coast. Other than that it was a pretty lousy time.

12/8 – 12/12

Hanging around at Marina Taina, working and shopping and so forth.

12/13

After doing some errands in the morning we left for Moorea, motor sailing across the channel and then motoring in light winds along the north shore of the island, anchoring at Papetoai in the late afternoon.

12/14

We went diving with the anemonefish, with conditions pretty surgy and visibility poor but still nice. In the afternoon I went surfing at Haapiti, having lots of fun and getting 15 or so rides.

12/15

More diving with the anemonefish in the morning.

12/16

I left early in the morning to surf at Haapiti, had another great time and about 20 rides, several of them really good ones. In the afternoon we went diving along the reef, saw a couple turtles and a blacktip shark but a nice time in the water all the same.

12/17

We went and dove with the anemonefish again, having a really great time with dolphins swimming by at the beginning of the dive (both of us saw them from underwater), several turtles and sharks, great visibility with the decreasing swell.

12/18

I went surfing at Haapiti in the morning, but despite conditions being pretty small, after a little while a wave broke over me and buckled my surfboard, so I headed back to Magic. I was using a mini-mal and while this has been a great board for a lot of my surfing at Haapiti I’d like to start using a shortboard to more easily manage it in the waves — another surfer complained that my board almost hit him when I was caught by a wave earlier. In the afternoon I repaired both the mini-mal and shortboard (which had a large area that had delaminated).

12/19

In the afternoon I went back to Haapiti and tried surfing with the shortboard. I got about 10 rides with good popup form and several more where I used a knee or continued hanging onto the board after standing up. A few were good rides but it was still pretty challenging and I feel like mixing this together with continuing on the mini-mal would be better than switching over completely.

12/20

We went diving in the morning, seeing a lemon shark from pretty close up for the first time in a while, turtles, anemonefish, and so forth. In the late afternoon and evening we went over to a neighboring boat in the anchorage, with Ryan and Nicole on Kiapa Nui, having a really nice time getting to know each other.

12/21

We went for a nice dive in the morning, with a couple close passes from lemon sharks, several turtles relaxing on the reef in a small area, visiting the anemonefish and so forth. It was pretty windy and after working a few hours I went out kiting in the afternoon, going up to Papetoai at first but then back to Magic to mow the lawn. I was a little rusty after over a month away, and was trying out a waist harness for the first time in a while, but after some adjustments to the harness I was pretty comfortable and managed the kite and foil transitions pretty well.

12/22

We went diving in the morning with some good fish life including a titan triggerfish being cleaned (the wrasses would swim in its gills and then out its mouth) and courting surgeonfish. In the afternoon we went to shore to walk around Papetoai and buy some fruit and other foods.

12/23

We went diving in the morning. We were the only ones out and one of the lemon sharks was really interested in us, passing by at least six times over the course of the dive. Never aggressive but definitely curious. I was using a wide angle lens and trying to get some shots of Lisa and the corals, with some success. In the afternoon the wind built and I went kiting for an hour and change near the boat, ending a little prematurely after one of the larks head knots at the wingtips just popped off and left me unable to steer the kite. I was able to get back to Magic pretty easily by flying the kite at the water’s edge, however.

12/24

We went diving in the morning, with a couple lemmy sightings and more time getting photos of Lisa with the wide angle lens. In the afternoon I tried to go surfing at the left at the mouth of Opunohu (the right was pretty busy with a half dozen surfers or so) for the first time. I got a couple short rides but the larger swells were from the northeast and would close out on the shallow reef unpredictably, so I didn’t stay out long before heading back to Magic. One nice thing was I practiced turning the board over in the face of oncoming waves, which worked out surprisingly well.

12/25

Christmas! We relaxed on the boat most of the day, having a nice time. In the afternoon we paddled over to the mouth of Opunohu bay, spotting some anemones in the shallows along the way. It was a little windy though so we headed back, but it was a nice time out and good exercise, with a nice dinner of chinese noodles afterwards.

12/26

dive

12/27

I went surfing at Haapiti in the morning, having my best time there yet. I was the first one at the wave, and when I finished over two hours later there were only four or five people out, really quiet and yet conditions were really good. Kind of medium sized, and I was able to get quite a few rides where I took off on the steep part of the wave rather than deeper in, the area of improvement I’m trying to focus on. About twenty rides in total. It was a really fun scene too, with people cheering each other when they got rides and everyone just being really friendly.

12/28

I went surfing again at Haapiti, having another great time. I was a little tired from yesterday but was still able to get on quite a few waves, getting 16 rides I think with most of them high quality rides where I took off on the steep part of the wave. In the evening we went to a pizza place in Vaiare with Ryan and Nicole from Kiapa Nui and a couple friends of theirs, Hannah and Nick, for an open mic night there. This was a fun time and something new for me, several groups of people (including Ryan and Nicole) going up to sing and/or play instruments with other people coming in to accompany them.

12/29

We went diving in the morning outside the pass, spotting several turtles and amorous titan triggerfish, with a brief visit from lemmy. Afterwards I took the dinghy down to a beach near the NW tip of the island to go kiting, launching off a beach for the first time in a while. It was pretty crowded though with a lot of boat traffic, jetskis, people kayaking (weekend before new years…) and I didn’t stay out very long before coming back in.

12/30

I went surfing at Haapiti in the morning, having a great time. I was the first person to start surfing but it filled up quickly, with at least a dozen people out for most of the time I was there. People were really friendly though and I was still able to get a lot of rides though, 23 in total, many of them really good. It felt great to be complimented by an experienced surfer for making a steep drop-in late in the session, I feel like I’ve been improving a lot just over the last few days. We did some walking around town, and later in the afternoon I tried to go kiting from Magic, struggling for an hour with tangled lines before giving up. After that I did some work on the watermaker, which has been acting up as well, and had a fit, the first one in a while. I need to be careful about watching my stress level, especially after having issues with kiting. We decided that I shouldn’t be trying to do multiple solo activities each day to keep stress levels lower.

12/31

We went diving outside the pass and had a great encounter with an octopus; Lisa spotted it moving around near a turtle she was watching, and it went into a small hole. We watched it there for several minutes, then I coaxed it out and we followed along for a while longer as it moved among various crevices and tried out all its disguises. It’s really cool to see the day octopus change color and texture almost instantly.

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