Happy 4th of July, friends and family!
First off, Tahiti says hello. She asked me to reach out palm fronds and rainbows, and blow wet sandy kisses toward you. It’s a cool volcanic island. Big. And way more crowded than we’re used to, after our month at sea and another month in more remote and deserted islands east of here. We’re overwhelmed by the choices at the magasin, where food offerings include more than pancake syrup and canned sausage. The hub of the South Pacific.
Second, we miss you all like hell. We think about you often, talk about what you’re up to, and how you’re faring. How odd it is that you all have new successes, adventures, challenges that we aren’t apart of. Most often, though, we talk about what it would be like to have one, two, or (best case) ALL of you with us. We bring you into different moments, visualizing how helpful it would be to have you by our side when we’re seasick or cranky, how awesome to snorkel with you through bright, vibrant fish, how cozy to sip coffee with you while anchored in turquoise water, how much we’d laugh at faux pas as we feel our way through the lessons of sailing and traveling. And then Rob and I sigh. We stay quiet for a few moments to savor the vision, and then return to reality.
Reality is pretty f-ing great, too. But know that it would be exponentially more unbelievable to share it with our favorite people.
Which brings us to the third point: come share this reality with us. Anyone want to take a winter vacation south of the equator?
Of course, that would mean we would have to know where we’ll be six months from now … and we rarely know where we’ll be six days forward. This morning, though, Rob and I sat with our map of islands and countries west of here. We had a big-kid talk about realistic goals for the rest of this sailing season. Here’s an update on our potential travel schedule for the next several months. Before reading on, however, a word of warning: this is all subject to change at any moment. Most of the fun for us lies in the ability to be completely flexible!
– Our 90-day visa in French Polynesia ends in late August, so we expect to stay in the Society Islands (Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea, Tahaa) for another ~6 weeks.
– Then we’ll likely hitchhike (sailhike? hitchsail?) to the Cook Islands, the next closest island chain, and spend 2-4 weeks exploring.
– After that, Tonga is top on the list of must-see countries. It’s the next major hub for cruisers heading west, and sounds like amazing sailing grounds. Rob and I hope to spend up to two months hopping around these islands.
– By then, it’ll be late October or early November, when sailboats are heading to safe spots to weather the hurricane season. Since we don’t have a boat, we’re in no rush to leave the islands. A couple of options for where we might be from November to February:
1) Head to American Samoa to spend some time on land. The Samoan island chain is diverse, with plenty of places to dive, snorkel, explore. We might even look for some temporary work for a few months. (Might be the key word!)
2) We know of lots of boats that plan to end their trip in November once the weather window ends. Many folks cross the Pacific, and then store or sell their boat in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia or even Fiji. Rob and I will put out feelers to see if anyone needs a “boat sitter” during the off-season.
3) Someone offers us a killer deal on a sweet sailboat and we buy our own floating home and take off into the sunset. This is fairly unlikely, since we’re both still reveling in our lack of responsibilities, and owning a sailboat is a lot of work, money and headaches.
After that? Who the hell knows. We can barely wrap our head around where we might end up in the next 3 days, much less next year. But the current longer-term vision is to keep going. We really want to see Indonesia and Southeast Asia, too, and aren’t at all done exploring the South Pacific yet. We hope to hit up Melanesia (Solomans and Vanuatu) next March through July. And we’re even considering a trip home to Montana next summer before beginning the Indo/Asia portion of our adventure, so we can see your new houses, kiss the babies, and celebrate life with all of you.
There you have it, a rough agenda, which will likely change as quickly as the wind. Next season seems like eons from now, across so much space and time, so many un-met people and unknown circumstances that it makes me laugh to write down plans.
We hope you are all enjoying American independence in beautiful places with glorious people.
We miss you!
-Bri and Rob