The weather is calm with variable winds, alternating sun & rain. I dont think Ill bother bringing a rain jacket next time, says Jonathan. We just go outside in the rain in our bathing suits… for the sailor shower.
We hoist anchor on Aldebaran and leave Teavatia, the northern anchorage, and head to the pass, on the western side of the atoll. Wow there are so many boats here! Sabrina comments when we arrive. Its unusually crowded for this this time of year. But even more unusual is how many boats are captained by young people.
In the US most sailboats are owned by people 50-60+ years old. This seems the case along the entire Pacific Coast of the Americas. Retirees dominate the world of cruising sailboats. During our two years in that coastline, it was rare to see sailors in their 30s or 40s… until we arrived in French Polynesia.
Our friends Ryan & Cami invite us to a BBQ potluck on the beach that afternoon. Good to see you guys! Ryan waves to us. We spent a month together at anchor last year around the holidays. Hes on a 48ft ketch Soul Rebel with his Chilean/French sweetheart, Cami, and their 8 month old baby. They are in their mid 30s and early 40s. The San Francisco couple on the neighboring 46ft ketch Lola has the same age range.
Behind, a 29ft boat bobs at anchor with a bohemian French couple in their late 20s. A nice catamaran is anchored behind us with Tahitian friends in their mid 20s. However, theyre the only non-owners, having borrowed the boat from their parents for a month cruise of Tuamotus.
Only the two other boats, of the 7 at anchor, are run by couples in their 50s and 60s.
We all migrate to shore for a fish BBQ to celebrate a Hawaiian girls birthday whos traveling aboard Lola. The bigger boats all have crew visiting them, who are young too. The beach BBQ is a great time; it feels like a party back home. The few older cruisers, who are normally the vast majority in the Americas, are now the minority. What is it about this place? Or more accurately, what is it about all these cool young people making the sailing dream come alive?
The times they are a-changin….
Photo: Cami, baby Chloe, and Sabrina; Yanik the local motu owner barbecuing the fish; the birthday girl Leticia laughing with friend Taylor and Sabrina.