Au Revoir French Polynesia – by Erin

After three months in French Polynesia, it’s time to say goodbye. When we arrived in Hiva Oa on April 21, we weren’t sure what to expect: we were all a bit overwhelmed by the anticipation of being in such a remote and foreign environment. But we immediately fell in love with the relaxed and friendly attitude of the people, and the lush beauty of the islands. French Polynesia is an amazing mix of rugged, mountainous terrain, coral atolls with crystal clear water, myriad reefs filled with exotic marine life, and people with abundantly generous spirits.

We’ve seen and done so much here, it’s hard to pick one favorite experience. But without a doubt, the most memorable thing about these last three months has been the friendships that we’ve made along the way. Almost immediately upon arriving in French Polynesia, we met kindred spirits from all over the world that we instantly connected with. From Hiva Oa to Bora Bora, our experiences have been made richer and more rewarding because of the people that we’ve shared them with.

We all feel like we’ve been at a three-month long summer camp – going from place to place with our new friends, and spending all of our time palling around like “best friends forever.” But it was here in Bora Bora that summer camp ended, and over the last few days we’ve been saying lots of teary-eyed goodbyes. Our friends on Capaz and Mulan are halfway to Hawaii; Totem, Oso Blanco, Beaujolais, Bubbles, and Fidelis are on their way to Tonga; and Mojumbo and Ghost are in Tahiti waiting on boat repairs. Today we’re the last boat in the anchorage, and because we’re going slower than most boats that will end up New Zealand or Australia, we won’t see many of our friends again until we sail to Australia next season, if ever.

Part of the reason for traveling like this is the opportunity to see new places every few days or weeks, and to meet new people as we go. It’s exciting to see and do so much in such a short period of time – all of our experiences feel so much more condensed than normal. But for all of the good that comes with this lifestyle, the goodbyes are made even more difficult.

Our first stop in the Cook Islands will most likely be Aitutaki, which is touted as one of the most beautiful places in the world. After that we’ll head to Palmerston atoll, on which just 50 people live – all of whom are descendants of William Marsters and his three wives. We’re excited to get to these new places, to spend time on new islands and soak in different cultures, but we’re sad that we won’t get to share these experiences with our friends. But who knows… Maybe, just maybe, there are a few new friends waiting for us just over the horizon.