March 2010-Raiatea, Bora Bora
We are back in Raiatea after a very long tense winter in Arizona. Because of the medial situation of Ellen's mother, Marie, the decision was made to "just hang out" in French Polynesia for the season. We did not want to get very far from the airport so we confined ourselves to Huahine, Tahaa and Raiatea. We lived from e mail to e mail praying that the situation would not deteriorate further.
Fortunately the French Customs rules pertaining to foreign vessels are quite accommodating. Entr'acte could remain in French Polynesia for two years duty free. We were required to exit the country every three months. So, that worked in perfectly with our home situation.
The only unfortunate event for us was that we BOTH were stricken with Dengue Fever while preparing to launch Entr'acte. Dengue is a cousin to Malaria and is spread from person to person through mosquito bites. Frick and Frack must have been just sitting outside our plane as we landed--"there's two live ones! Let's get em!" Connie our boat yard neighbor on Andiamo was down with it and we were feeling very sorry for her and our first symptoms appeared a week later.
Dengue is a real terror.Take the worst case of flu you can imaging and multiply it by 5. They call it "Bone Break Fever" because every bone in your body feels like it is breaking at the same time. It comes along with a very high fever and internal bleeding. There is no vaccine, no preventative and no medication except whatever pain killer you can find that DOES NOT contain ASPIRIN. All you can do is wait and suffer. Dengue is a THREE WEEK SAGA. The symptoms last for a week and then disappear. You feel fine and relieved beyond belief but then after a week the symptoms return for a second week. Finally the victim breaks out in a red rash(the internal hemorrhaging). This is it's "farewell announcement!"
This was bad enough but two have BOTH of is down with it at the same time and out of the water on the hard was indeed a trial. Every time we needed a toilet we had to climb out of the boat, down a ladder and make our way to the shore toilets. How none of us ever fell was a miracle.
Some advice regarding Dengue:
1. The Malaria mosquito operates by NIGHT.
2. The Dengue Mosquito operates BY DAY---so---long sleeved/ long pants/ repellent by day as well as by night.
3. DON'T GET BITTEN----whatever it takes! But in a tropical boat yard that is not easy.
4. Most important---if you do come down with Dengue DO NOT take ASPIRIN or anything that contains ASPIRIN. That just accentuates the hemorrhaging. NOT GOOD!
Once back in the land of the living we could enjoy our second season in these lovely islands was no hardship at all. We had friends here. We knew where everything was. We could even return to the Heiva on Huahine because we knew WHEN it was. For some unknown reason this even is a big secret, you really have to dig to find anything out.
Our visas were up in late August and returned home just in time. Marie's condition was quite advanced and serious and it was in September that she passed away.
We are now in Raiatea back on board Entr'acte and preparing do depart for points further West. Robert and Connie on Andiamo are also still here. All of us absent Dengue this time around.
The only slow down was related to our propeller shaft. A set screw broke off and we had to remove the engine in order to pull the shaft and send it out to a machine shop for repair. It was far more fun that work but Ed and Simone took care of things nicely.
Entr'acte is now ready to depart but once again we find ourselves in demand as musicians. This time we are playing Jazz at the restaurant Le Voil D'Or (the Golden Sail) with a French Jazz group known as "The Blue Frogs!" Our appearances turned into quite an event. The Papeete press arrived in force and our pictures were circulated all throughout French Polynesia much to the immense surprise of friends Michele and Martine of Maestro who live in Papeete.
Raiatea and French Polynesia have been a true delight. It was just a magic time to sit in Raiatea looking at Bora Bora over the stern.
We were warned beforehand that "you get the best of Bora Bora from Raiatea." If ever there was an island of Bali Hai, Bora Bora would be my first choice. It is impossible to look at Bora from a distance and not hear that song. The island just "calls to you!" BUT, as you sail toward Bora Bora the magic diminishes and by the time you arrive, it has become just one more expensive island with $10.00 beer very deep anchorages. But, still--it IS Bora Bora, isn't it?
Our next passages will take us to the Cook Islands of Aitutaki, Niue, Suwarrow and on to Pago Pago.
See you there!
Elen and Ed