Thursday, October 30, 2014

A New Standard

One of the standard sailing guides to Polynesia refers to Rapa as "the strangest island in the Pacific".

That of course offers a strong allure. But whenever I've read that page I've also heard a rebuttal forming in the back of my mind.

Everyone knows that Tasmania is the strangest island in the Pacific.

But while Rapa is unlikely to gain that title any time soon, it has replaced Tassie as a different sort of superlative.

In the very first week we ever spent in Hobart, we found ourselves socially engaged - either going to someone's house for dinner, or having people to the boat - five of the seven nights. This in spite of the fact that we arrived knowing no one there. That record has forever since stood as our defining standard for a friendly place.

Well, Tassie - move over, you're second best once again. This is our eighth day in Rapa. And we've had social engagements on seven of those days.

It would have been a perfect eight for eight, except for the one night that the person we had invited for dinner saw us driving around in someone else's truck shortly before the appointed hour, and concluded that our plans must have changed.

And that's a twist on top of everything that's been going on - there's this steady back beat of spontaneous events that occur at all hours, courtesy of a very social place where not many adults have a strict 9 to 5 schedule for filling their days.

Finally - truth in advertising - all this frenetic activity has not been solely due to the vivacious nature of the place and our honed skills at getting down with the people. We have very much been riding the coattails of the National Geographic group that is here. They have done a fantastic job of interacting with the people of Rapa, and the community has responded by throwing down some incredible Polynesian hospitality. Like, completely incredible. Like, you could sail the Pacific for years and see nothing like it incredible. And for some reason, everyone has decided that the family on the voilier parked next to the Nat Geo boat should naturally also be treated as honored guests at all of these events.

The Hanse Explorer will be heading off to Tahiti tomorrow, leaving us to our own social devices.

Eric will be at school tomorrow, having matriculated from being a slightly stir-crazy boat kid to being one more problem with which the teacher of the three- and four-year-olds can fill her day.

Alisa, I think, will be learning to make popoi at someone's house.

I think we're ready to fly solo.


  1. I feel outright antisocial after a few weeks in Hobart! How many of those engagements can be attributed to the kid factor... ?

  2. hey Franz - no reflection on you…we arrived in a 37-foot boat with "Alaska" written on the side, with a crew that included a 3-yr-old and a woman on the cusp of her third trimester of pregnancy…that's some pretty serious advertising!