We sent our last email when Dulcinea had arrived in Tahiti. Kris and Erik spent July boat-sitting for us with their friends while Jan and Dave were back in Canada.

At the start of September, we changed the guard and returned to Dulcinea while the others flew home to Canada. Neil, Mark and Heidi, and their children Gemma (4 yrs) and Rory (1 1/2 yrs) also joined us for 3 weeks, and it was lovely to see them all, and have a big enough boat that everybody could be comfortable (except that some of the Northerners were perpetually too hot).

Dave arrived early, and met everybody at Papeete Airport one Saturday evening with wreaths of flowers for the arrivals. On Monday, we motored the 15 miles to Opunohu Bay on Moorea, where we treated our guests to a tsunami warning due to the big earthquake in Chile. We felt for the poor people in Chile, but there was nothing discernible where we were, and the friends that we made last year all lived well south of the epicenter.

On Moorea, there was a park under coconut trees and a beach right beside the anchorage, so a lovely place to unwind. Gemma loved jumping on the double trampoline on Dulcinea's bow. Rory did not try to climb out of the cockpit so was able to roam free in the boat. He loved to pull lines, turn winch handles and turn the wheels.

The middle generation was keen to see the Tua Motus, low-lying atolls that start about 200 miles north and streatch for nearly 1000 miles east from there. We had some diminished Trade Winds so we set off north at 9 or 10 knots, as much east of north as the wind would allow. Unfortunately we soon had some sickies, and had to make the decision to turn back.

Next day we took the down-wind option ("gentlemen only sail down wind") and arrived at Bora Bora after an overnight sail. There is good snorkeling there, and nice beaches for the children, so we experimented with anchorages and stayed for a while. The lagoon has spectacular blue colours over the reef against a backdrop of green mountains. Harmless reef sharks and rays were often sighted along with colorful fish.

Luckily, the ever-constant Trade Winds reversed when we needed to return and we sailed back to Tahiti with another overnight sail in SSW winds. Mark has become a keen sailor having completed 2 Van Isle 360 races around Vancouver Island, and he helped Dave and Jan with the night watches, and the children slept through most of the passage again.

We found a black sand beach in Tahiti at Arua Bay on the north shore, and were well entertained there. The world championships in out-rigger pirogues were being hosted beside us, and lots of festivities (we talked to some girls about to paddle 32km in an open sea race). Also a humpback whale and her calf decided to splash around, spy-hop, and breach not far from us.

Neil and Dave decided to walk one day up towards Aorai, the 2,066 metre peak nearby. They started off early and cycled as far as they could, then walked up towards the clouds. Past the refuge at 1400 metres, and on until the ridge crest showed daylight between bushes at 60 degrees downhill on either side of their feet. When the path was less than 1/2 metre wide, David turned back but Neil pushed on up into the rain. While Dave tried to keep warm, Neil said it was the first time he had not been too hot since arriving.

All too soon, the younger people had to fly back. We booked into the Papeete Marina again for a last night in town. Then the boat fell sadly silent. We enjoyed very much having them all with us.

Jan and Dave flew to Raiatea for 2 nights to look at the boat yard there for painting Dulcinea next year. The visit was fun, and we did some more walking, but the haul out was too narrow to be convenient for our extremely wide boat. Instead, we have booked a time to lift our 15 tonne boat on the wide 300 tonne travel lift in Papeete for next year, bought some fuel, and are heading back NE towards the Marqueasas to leave Dulcinea through the southern cyclone season.

It is a strong El NiƱo year, which is possibly why we have the occasional reversals of Trade Winds. However it also increases the risk of tropical storms so we shall leave Dulcinea in Nuku Hiva. Apart from being one of the more beautiful islands that we have ever seen, Nuku Hiva should be too close to the equator for any rotating tropical storms, and Dulcinea should be safe there until next April.

This afternoon we got as far as Pt Venus on the northern tip of Tahiti, and at dawn tomorrow we shall start for Fakarava or Toe Toe in the Tua Motus. In the fresh breeze past Faaa Airport, we watched a kite-surfer on a short hydrofoil board making it look very easy! Then we jumped as we motored past a black point sticking out of the water a few yards away - another whale.

Dave Jan & Dulcinea