We finally found our piece of paradise timed with the presence of good friends to tie the knot. We were surrounded by palm trees, sunshine, beauty and good wishes. It was a bit of an adventure to find the reverend who had offered to do the service. We ended up being delayed by a day but this didn’t matter in the long run. Our friend from Resolute, Tim, had advised us that he was a minister of the ‘Church of Life’, and had offered to perform the ceremony. It was a comedy of mishaps and timing that we lost him at the crucial time.
A broken water intake filter stopped us from leaving Tahiti in time to meet him in a bay on the south coast of Mo’orea, then the swells were too big for us to enter that bay the next day. At the same time his phone ran out of charge and he wasn’t answering the VHF calls. We sailed around to a bay on the north to shelter from nasty weather where we found sunshine, a park with picnic tables and some friends anchored. After a message sent via another boat on Facebook by a satellite phone also didn’t produce results, Thomas, Jin, (our newly arrived guest), and I ventured off on land in an endeavour to reach the other bay. After wandering a kilometre or two without a response to our extended thumbs, Thomas announced that two girls would have a much better chance of getting a ride than three of us. We had happened to begin our journey at lunch time when all the buses have a break. Within a minute of him turning back, Jin and I had a lift.
Our driver was an interesting fellow who had invented the tandem kite surfing board, Tamatoa Gillot. He told us of his adventures and VIP clientele. He was only heading around the corner to a resort but he took us the 15km to Haapati where Tim was anchored. Using the fog horn and VHF to try and rouse him, our missing reverend, I realised was on shore somewhere. His dinghy was lying nearby. Tamatoa contacted a friend who owned the internet cafe nearby to check if he was there. This phone call took an exhausting twenty minutes as his friend thought I was marrying Tamatoa and that we were looking for a reverend to tie the knot. Still no sign of the missing reverend as we eventually found out that he wasn’t at that particular cafe. We ended up leaving a note on Resolute’s dinghy and headed back to the boat. This took us three different rides hitchhiking before we returned to the anchorage and found that more friends had arrived and Thomas was busy lunching on their boat. Finally, Tim contacted us via phone and said he would be on his way the next day. We had two other offers to conduct the ceremony so it was going to go ahead regardless by this stage.
Cara and Claudia, from other boats, planned a flower hunt to make crowns for us. Jin joined the expedition. So they ventured off and raided several gardens and roadside trees to collect the flora. What an amazing result we had for their first ever efforts at making the flower crowns! We loved them and they looked great throughout the day, although Thomas looked a bit like a Roman official once his began to droop a bit.
Thomas went over to the beach first in the dinghy for the ceremony and then Bruce from Daemon picked me up. Thomas carried me ashore from Bruce’s dinghy. Tim did a great job of conducting the ceremony that Thomas and I had written. We had wine and cheese to celebrate. We ended up with three wedding cakes. An amazing one from ten year old Victoria off Fluenta, a tasty passionfruit iced coconut sponge from Bruce off Daemon and a rich chocolate one from Lidia off Brizo. The beautiful Aylssa was my flowergirl and Alex, both from Brizo, was our pageboy. They did a wonderful job in their roles with tossing flowers to create a path and ensuring the rings were safe. Cara sang for us as I walked towards Thomas and Tim. It was a beautiful ceremony – captured on video by D’mitri from Brizo. Everything worked out so perfectly on the day. There was beauty in its simplicity yet it was very special too.
Although our friends and family weren’t there from home, our cruiser friends worked really hard to make the day unique for us. We’d even had a Bachelor/Bachelorette party the Friday night before with other friends back in Papeete where Cara sang opera and then joined the waiter for a duet of some beautiful songs. We were fortunate to catch some Karaoke and dancing at the Pink Coconut near the dinghy dock also, (Thomas wouldn’t exactly use the word ‘fortunate’ as he has a slightly different opinion to Karaoke than me).
As one of our wedding gifts we received an eight litre bottle of Homeless’s homebrew of alcohol named ‘kill you’. It is actually a Finnish or Norwegian word that just sounds like that, (but the similarity isn’t just coincidental – it kind of suits it). I told them that I felt I was taking milk from babies and that I really couldn’t accept the gift but they insisted. Other gifts included the esky we used for drinks for the wedding, some wonderful serving dishes with Polynesian Gaugiun images, some handmade jewellery, wine, cheese and crackers and a black pearl but it was everybody’s efforts on the day that was the biggest gift.
We look forward to celebrating our nuptials with people back in our respective homelands in the future and with our cruiser friends who missed the ceremony. I think it will be the longest wedding celebration in history. It was a beautiful day and lots of fun. Thank you to everyone who made it such an amazing day.
Getting married didn’t stop the crew of Qi from enjoying our magical surroundings. Wanting to ensure that our guest, Jin, had a true taste of cruising life, we have been snorkelling and hiking. Our first visit to ‘Stingray City’ had us surrounded by a few sharks and stingrays early in the morning. On our second visit we coincided with the hordes of tourist boats. Each time was a unique experience but the feeding from the tourist boats had us swarmed by sharks and the rays.
The stingrays rubbed all over you looking for treats. Thank goodness the sharks stayed back although they were circling the large crowd waiting for an opportunity. An amazing experience. We also snorkelled at some tikis under the water which was rather interesting, but the coral here is rather dead. Our hike took us up through the mountains to a lookout to see both this bay and Cooks Bay just over the hill. We took Tim, but he decided to take a different path and once again went missing for several hours. Locals had fed and watered him along the way but he had hiked an extra ten or more kilometres than our fourteen. He ended up hitchhiking back to the bay and was swimming back to his boat just as we were checking to see if he’d arrived back safely. We told him that the next time we were venturing out with him, we would keep him in sight.more pics…