The following are a collection of pictures from the 10-day sailing trip. We’ve left the boat now. Right now we’re at a hotel on Huahine Island, contemplating our next move: flying to either Tahiti Island or Moorea Island tomorrow. Maybe we’ll decide at the airport?

Gwen having a swim in Bora Bora

Our boat, Rubinstein.

Sailing from Bora to Raiatea. The waves at times were rough making it almost impossible to go below. The kids delighted in having the boat at a steep angle as they crawled along the previously vertical cabin walls. Generally, the kids don’t complain too much on these long travel days as long as I tell them stories of treasure maps, pirates and magic daggers, etc. Good thing I read adventure books as a kid.

The kids sleep in two cabins on either side of the boat, forward of the galley and the salon. Only once did Gwen fall out of bed. Fortunately uninjured! Every night before bed we read a chapter of Prince Caspian, the third book of the Narnia series.

School. I won’t lie, it’s not easy to motivate and get school done everyday. One of the best scenarios is meeting other kids, as they have no choice but to practice their French. We do 1 to 1.5 hours of schoolwork just about everyday. We’ve printed out the curriculum and hopefully we will be able to keep up. Don is a great teacher, as I always suspected.

It’s morning and I’m sitting on the back of the boat while Don prepares coffee. We’re anchored on the south end of Raiatea in a big deep lagoon surrounded by low islands covered with palm trees. In the background is a large jungle mountain peak. There’s a concoffany of roosters crowing somewhere (are they wild because they’re everywhere?) and the distant sound of the surf hitting the reef. The girls are still asleep and Ash is finishing up his cereal. It’s a peaceful time of day.

Hermit crabs. The kids are crazy for them. They come in every size imaginable and the kids can spend hours collecting them and building habitats for them.

Many of the motus (barrier reef-islands) are uninhabited and have long stretches of the cleanest and whitest sand I’ve ever seen in my life! There’s rarely ever any garbage on the beaches. Part of that is a general respect for the environment, but also a lack of people. Some may consider this part of the world a bit boring, there aren’t many restaurants or shops. The few towns there are are surprisingly sparse, usually hosting a chinese-owned grocery, a restaurant or two, a pearl shop, a gas station, a few fruit stands, and three churchs.

The ocean is prolific. We’ve seen humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays, eagle rays, stingvrays, reef sharks, lemon sharks, eels, many different colourful reef fish, and lots of coral.

This little guy was our pet for a day. He hung around the boat all day waiting for scraps.

Everything we own, myself included, feels like its saturated in salt. The ocean here is so salty. Washing by hand doesn’t seem to do the trick!

We went on a tour of vanilla plantations and met Alain Plantier, a horticulturalist and Polynesian expert. He collected a lovey assortment of fruits for us to enjoy from a great view spot on the top of Taha’a. The French have deftly left their mark. Baguettes, cheese, and French wine are available everywhere. French Polyneisa is expensive. It’s like traveling in Europe or shopping at Whole Foods for everything.

Ashton never misses an anchoring, EVER!