And so I decided to have a look around the parts of Tahiti I had yet to explore with Swell now floating. As usual, I knew exactly where the waves were, but the chart book wasn’t all that clear about the anchorages. I made circles around the deep, unfamiliar bay until I spotted some yellow buoys.
“Oh perfect!” I thought. “These must be for some big boats, well, they aren’t here right now so I’m sure it’s okay if I just tie up to them until I launch the dinghy and scope out a good place to drop the anchor.”
Of course I lingered lazily on the buoy, still exhausted from stint with Bali, until on Sunday, when a friend of Eric’s (my surf guardian angel from the week before, who also plugged me into his circle of friends here in this area), came by on his way to drop some surfers at the pass.
“Did you know you are tied to a pearl line?” He asked (in French). “You better get off that thing before the workers arrive tomorrow morning! I have a mooring jut over there across the bay in front of my house. I used to have a big catamaran tied to it. You’re welcome to tie up there if you want. This bay is very deep and anchoring around here can be tricky.”
I looked around at the yellow buoys, all of a sudden I felt like a total idiot, OF COURSE they were pearl lines! And so I came to know Mr. George Riou.
George didn’t seem to hold it against me that I couldn’t distinguish a boat mooring from a pearl string. He welcomed me onto his mooring and into his petite paradise by the sea. When I set foot on his waterfront property, I knew we were going to get along just fine — the place reeked with fun and creativity and hard work. Judging solely on the amount of aquatic toys gathered in the yard, all of which looked perfectly functional, I could instantly appreciate the quantity of maintenance that when on around here, it was OVERFLOWING with boats of all size. There was a fancy aluminum dive/surf boat, a poti marara Tahitian style fishing boat and a shiny new jet ski hanging side by side on lifting slings, a long-lined open panga-style boat sitting in the driveway, along with another small tinny with an outboard on the boat launch. There was a lovely green lawn with chairs and lounges. Hammocks and swings dangled from the limbs of trees, and oh, look up?! There’s a tree house! A guest bungalow right over the water, an outside shower decorated with shells, a picnic table, a sideyard shed full of surfboards, a garage littered with tools and workspace, an artist’s corner spackled with enough paint residue to have seen years of projects. Shells and sea souvenirs decorated every corner. There was also an outrigger, a few kayaks, and to top it all off… under a custom built cover there was, well, it looked exact like my inflatable dinghy, but it had a hang gliding wing connected to it with a giant propeller on the back,a FLYING dinghy!!!!! I kid you not, there is a dinghy that flies.
“Now, I seen a horse fly, I seen a dragon fly, and I seen a house fly, I seen a peanut stand, I heard a rubber band, I seen a needle that winked it’s eye, but I be done seen ’bout everything when I see a dinghy fly!”