The woman at the hospital couldnt raise the owners of possible accommodation for me, so one of the nurse, Maeva invited me to stay at her place. She is a Tahitian woman who has a grown up daughter, but she now lives alone in a small 3 room house ina sort of compound with 8 or 9 other similar ones, just behind the main store and 2 minutes walk from the hospital. She told me her lifge is now devoted to Jesus. I accepted of course, so after lunch, I collected my now washed laundry and we went to her place to hang it out on the line bhind her house. After that I went with her in a friends car to the airport but the person she was expecting didnt turn up so she drove me round the entire island. This took about 20 minutes. Back at her place I passed the rest of the day reading and chatting and went to bed early. I had a reasonable sleep but kept listening to the wind and worrying about the boat, so at first light I crept out of the house and hurried back up the road to check she as all OK. And she was. So I bought a croissant and a pastry at the Store, and then called in to see another hospital worker, Jeanette and her husband Don, who called to me as I walked by. Don is an American who sailed here 35 odd years ago, on his way to NZ but instead met and married Jeanette, a local lass, when she was 19. Hes been here ever since. Hes made a living from fishing and more recently from a Photography business, producing and selling postcards and the like. He has kept a book in which visiting yachties write and record their details and impressions, and it made fascinating reading. The fastest Bay of Islands to Tubuai recorded in Dons book - and there were many - was 8 days by Steve and Linda Dashew who wrote in Dons book and left a picture of their amazing yacht. The Dashews are well known American sailors and writers - Steve designs and sells these monstrous steel yachts that look more like military Patrol Boats with masts, and the sail fast! I didn't spy any Solo sailors but many journeys took 18 to 22 days, one was 24 days and all the boats were longer than Sapphire except one 30 foot boat sailed here in the early 90"s. I will make my entry into his book tomorrow probably. This afternoon I went to a Birthday Party - Maevas neighbor turned 70 - she is a lovely french woman formerly from Algeria but has lived here for many years, and is obviously hugely popular on the island as there were dozens and dozens of guests, a Marquee and live Band, tons of food, champagne, dignitaries and kids, lots of dancing and laughter - wonderful! Every woman greeted me with the two cheek thing, and every man shook my hand. One french couple had identical shirts covered in Australian Aboriginal animal designs, and the man was wearing an Akubra so I chatted - with difficulty - with them for a while. They are Rugby fans as well, and are coming to NZ in September for the Rugby World Cup. Go the All Blacks!
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