Liquid Motivation: MOVIES!


To have internet strong enough to be able to rent movies to our laptop is a rare thing for us on this leg of the journey. On top of that, to have a huge HD TV that we can plug into the laptop and watch said movies, is a real treat. The last time we saw a film in the theater was in February and I don’t expect to have the opportunity again for more than a year. The first thing we did, as the narcissists that we are, was to watch some of our own movies which were filmed in HD on an actual big HD screen. Way nicer looking than on our laptop.

Sunset over MooreaWe rented a bunch of movies and while I won’t bore you with our thoughts on the run-of-the-mill comic and other movies we rented, I will mention two sailing and/or ocean related films that we saw.

The first ocean related movie was the most recent version of Kon-Tiki. I’ll start by admitting that I haven’t read the book by Heyerdahl or seen any other versions of the movie. I thought the movie was beautifully filmed, was interested to find out that Thor’s wife’s name was Liv, and, having made my own less dramatic landfalls, I was impressed by the emotional enormity of that particular landfall to the men aboard.

The second ocean related movie was Chasing Ice. If you want to be deeply disturbed by glacier retreat while at the same time overwhelmed by beautiful pictures of ice formations, this is your film. I’m very glad we had a chance to see it.

THANK YOU MOM! We put your donation to good work.

In other news, I’ve started making a collection of sailing films, mostly freely available online here. It isn’t finished yet and I’ll write more when it is.

Tahiti Hike: Jardin d’eau Vaipahi


jardin d'eau vaipahi

jardin d'eau vaipahi Here we are in Tahiti with access to a car (Thanks Sugi!) and so we decided to do some hikes that would be difficult to do as cruisers with just a dinghy. Unfortunately, as soon as we made that decision it poured rain for several days which made a lot of the approach roads impassable even with a 4x4 and turned the trails into mud slicks.

jardin d'eau vaipahiThe first day without rain we chose a hike with a trailhead on the main paved road and which was relatively easy and not too long in case it started pouring again. We complicated matters by accidentally bringing two left hiking/running shoes for me and so I had the additional challenge of doing the hike in Carol’s slightly-oversized-for-me flip flops. Sliding in the mud while my feet slid in the flip flops was actually quite amusing.

carol at jardin d'eau vaipahi The first part of the hike is really a meander through a tended garden which was much more interesting and beautiful than I would have expected. There are a bunch of different kinds of bamboo, water lilies, and some very nicely laid out garden art. And before you even start the trail there is a gorgeous waterfall.

After the meander, the hike ascends through a series of switchbacks until (if you start with the Souther/right most branch of the loop) it reaches a great overlook (see first photo above). You can see Tahiti Iti to the left, the lagoon and reef straight ahead. There are picnic tables and a breeze and I can see hiking to it just for lunch.

livia at jardin d'eau vaipahiThe rest of the trail is a wide, mellow, maintained, relatively flat trail that loops a ridge bringing you to the other side of the valley and back around to another muddy switchback down the trailhead. It was relaxing and beautiful and instead of vistas you had the feel of a British Columbia/Washington State rainforest – pine needles soft underfoot, ferns, moss on the trees, the damp smell of rotting vegetation.

We took a peek up the river trail and plan to do that another time with “real shoes”. Seems to be full of mini waterfalls and pools. Except for kiting, as cruisers, our legs don’t get as much exercise as we would like…stay tuned for more hikes.

Liquid Motivation: Post Whores

PhotoGrid_1381450010067 As it turns out, we are post whores.

As Carol always says, “I’m easy but not cheap”, or as I used to say as a consultant, “You can’t buy my opinion but you can buy my time.”.

It turns out that aboard SV Estrellita 5.10b, blog posts are actually for sale. Well, the content isn’t for sale but the topics definitely are.

Our Paris Fan Club (membership: 1 as far as I know) has asked us if we might post a little more about our feelings on the Pretorien after more than 6 years of ownership and more than 3 years of full time cruising.

photo 3_20131021155643734It’s a great topic, and though Doug O was not seriously trying to buy a post (but he could, they are seriously for sale…bring it), we will be addressing the topic shortly.

Thank you Doug O for two rounds of happy hour “proper” beers in Tahiti and a night of live music accompanied by a round of “not happy hour” drinks a different night.

The Cruisers (Prepper, Doer, Armchair or Otherwise) FutureMe Challenge

Yeah, yeah, cruisers aren't supposed to like plans. But we make them and we do love to dream about future destinations. I love dreaming and planning. Plans are great as long as the word is flexible.

My non-boating friends should definitely play as well.

So, where will you be in 1 year? 2 years? 3 years? Even more fun, where will your friends be in 1, 2 and 3 years?

The Cruisers (Prepper, Doer, Armchair or Otherwise) FutureMe Challenge: Instructions

1) Get a glass of wine (or whatever) and sit around with someone you like to chat with and discuss the following questions. Or, keep your thoughts private and do this in your cubicle or at your nav station.
  • Where will you be in 1 year? 2 years? 3 years? 
  • Where will your friends be in 1, 2 and 3 years?
  • If you like, where will the crew of Estrellita 5.10b be in 1, 2, and 3 years?
2)  Go to* and write yourself an email answering those questions. Change the delivery date to Nov 1, 2015. Add this text to the end of your email: "Go to and report back!" Send this email.

3) Important: will send a validation email to the address you used. You must click on the link to validate your request or the email will not be sent (in the future).

4)  In 2 years, will send your email to the address you specified. When you receive your email, click on the link and report back here. How far off (or not) were you?

Carol and I have a bottle of wine and are going to sit down watching the sunset over Tahiti and play right now!

*I have no affiliation with this service. I have used it in the past successfully with our gmail account and never noticed any spamming. They promise they don't.

Free French Polynesian Music

Did you enjoy the song in our recent video? Want a taste of contemporary French Polynesian music for your next party/playlist?

If so, you can download the song from our video (Hinenao) and another Takanini song by clicking on this link to Takanini's facebook page and then clicking on the "download free music from Takinini" link. From there you can download two of their songs with their permission.

We are not affiliated with the band. Just fans. Enjoy!

The Luxury of 35 feet

Let’s just ignore all of the people who would give up their first born in order to have a well found 35 foot cruising boat (and the time and health and finances to use it) and indulge in the luxury of discussing high class “problems” like the fact that our boat is usually the smallest in an anchorage. It has become such a funny truism that once I said “look at the small boat sailing in” and it turned out it was another Pretorien. Even *I* am calling our boat small even though I know people on smaller boats. And the number of times that I’ve had someone say upon meeting me ashore “oh, you are on that small monohull in the anchorage” is adding up.

GOPR3941 In the high class world of people traveling by private sailing yacht, our boat is on the small size. So how can I describe Estrellita as “luxurious”?
Let’s leave aside all of the ways that a Pretorien, at 35 feet, is actually more capacious and faster than many larger vessels. What I actually mean when I say the “luxury of 35 feet” is the luxury that we have gained by NOT buying the biggest boat we could afford. Like most people preparing to set off, we had a budget for our cruising boat and a budget for our refit. When we purchased the boat we bought below our purchase budget.

First, this allowed us to be more generous on the refit in the gear we purchased. Second, we’ve considered upsizing more than once and the main reason that we keep coming back to when we decide not to upsize (beside the fact that prepping again might kill us) is that by having a smaller boat, with smaller gear, and by not maxing out our budget, we not only had more money for the refit, we have more money now.
If we upsized our boat we would have to downsize our “living large” fund. Everyone is different, and certainly every cruising budget is different, but for us, the limitations of our physical space on a 35 foot boat are not as important as the limitations we would have to put our our spending if we bought a larger boat.

Bottles of wine? Plane tickets? New kites? …or a bigger boat. Where do you stand?

PS - If anyone wants to donate their used Outremer, Atlantic or Swan we will happily accept your generous upsizing offer. Or your own suggested better-than-that-list sexy sailing machine.

French Polynesia Long Stay Visa (Part 2)


IMAG0202Background: I wrote about our initial application here and about the recent changes in the customs laws here.

Just over a month after our application we received notification that we had been approved. With an expected time of up to 3 months, this was unexpected but great. We changed our flights back to French Polynesia from late April to early March and made plans to head to the French Consulate in Vancouver with passports in hand for the visa to be entered. Our visit went smoothly without any surprises.

IMAG0190Upon arrival in French Polynesia we contacted the office in Papeete  that deals with long stay visas downtown and arranged to meet with the official a few days after our arrival. We brought our passports with visas and also a stamp from the post office worth 9000 CFP (about $100) which we initially thought we had to have per person but it turns out we could purchase “per family”. The official created two Carte de Sejour with the photos and the stamp and we were officially long stay visa holders!

On the back of the visa there is room for multiple stamps. We were told at the office that the visa is good for one year and can be extended for multiple years with additional 9000 CFP stamps and a visit to the office. She told us that there was also an office in the Marquesas that could perform our renewal.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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