Sami and Meira bought a sailboat in the South Pacific

Sami and Meira sold everyting to live on a sailboat and sail the South Pacific.

We met in January this year when Sami and Meira were just acclimatising to French Polynesia’s humid climate. They were thinking about the kind of boat they’d like to live on and sail the South Pacific.

Full of fun and enjoying the start of their adventure, spending time with them was one of the pleasures of working for Sail Tahiti! If you’re like me you can’t understand much Finnish, which is a pity because Sami and Meira are keeping an amusing blog of their boat buying and soon to be sailing the south pacific experiences.

With their permission, we’ve taken some of their posts and translated them for you to enjoy.  They’ve given a wonderful view of buying a boat in French Polynesia as well as adapting to the Pacific lifestyle.  We’ll be adding to this from time to time, expecially as Sami and Meira learn to sail their new boat.

You can also their day to day postings on their blog Soap Bubble Dreams… for a view on their alternative sailing lifestyle.

27 April 2020 – Sailboat preparation: on the water!

Hi we are floating!

Everything exciting has happened this week !! The deck of our sailboat was finally completed !! That’s really great !! How jeee !! The restrictions caused by the corona have been somewhat relaxed and we have finally been lowered into the waters. We’ve been in a hurry and very busy, but now is the time to tell the news to you.

Our home and sailboat finally launched in Raiatea French Polynesia

Our home and sailboat finally launched in Raiatea French Polynesia

Optimal conditions for painting !

We then began preparations for the launch immediately on Saturday. Sami lightly sanded the base for painting and filled the water tanks. At the same time everything was arranged inside and on the deck so that nothing falls or breaks when we start moving. Grinding the bottom was quite a messy hustle and Sami was momentarily quite pitch black from the grinding dust. Too bad I didn’t realize taking a picture of him at that moment.

Antifouling painting requires at least 1h of dry weather so we woke up really early to prepare for the painting. All areas where the paint will not come were protected and taped. After taping, there was a downpour and it was a bit exciting to see whether the tapes would stay in place. Fortunately, they did. The first layer was painted, yeah! The paint spread well to dry before the next downpour.

Preparing our sailboat - Anti fouling paint in Raiatea French Polynesia

Preparing our sailboat – Anti fouling paint in Raiatea French Polynesia

You don’t get tired of these landscapes ❤

Sailing is still prohibited, and we are anchored in front of the shipyard. But you no longer need a permit to move and you can go shopping together (jee). Beer and wine are sold in limited quantities. The curfew is still in force from 20:00 to 05:00 and restaurants are only allowed to sell takeaway food. Yes, we are really happy with these changes.

Sunset from our sailboat in Raiatea French Polynesia

Sunset from our sailboat in Raiatea French Polynesia

Rum is making a return!

We will continue to float on the waves, explore Malaika, wait to learn sailing, that is, come back next week! Needless to say to this end: it is so awesome that our Soap Bubble Dream is floating, amazing! This is where the great adventure of what we set out to do continues in the waters!

Rhum made in French Polynesia - Distillerie de Tahaa

Rhum made in French Polynesia – Distillerie de Tahaa

This is where we splash!

The launch went well. It was wild to follow as they moved our new sailboat home into the water. Everything seemed to work and no leaks came. Only our chartplotter, which was operating during the test sail, had, for some reason, disintegrated and the electrician who arrived at the scene did not get it in action. Weird. Fortunately, we have navigation programs loaded on our phones, but it would be nice for all the devices to work… Let’s see if it can still be revived or whether we need to buy a new one or replace it with some other device. So the money started as soon as the waters were reached 😀

The travel liftputs our sailboat back into the water in Raiatea Carenage

The travel liftputs our sailboat back into the water in Raiatea Carenage

Pretty nice morning coffee scenery. In the background Bora Bora and Tahaa.

But here we are on the waters! Yay! These few days have gone on with everything new getting used to and learning. Now the goods and the biggest things are finally starting to be in order and working. The first nights have been quite exciting, when the boat has all the new sounds and spins with the currents and the wind. Fortunately, the anchor holds well and everything is fine. At night, by the way, flying fish hunt right next to the boat and they keep quite a lot of fish, e.g. colliding with our boat. It is wonderful to be in the water. It’s much cooler here, with no mosquitoes or cockroaches visible, and no sand that travels with your feet into the boat.

Morning coffee scenery with Bora Bora and Tahaa

Morning coffee scenery with Bora Bora and Tahaa

The cover is ready and it is stronger than before

On Friday last week, the shipyard finally completed the deck of Malaika. The remaining chores were supposed to last only a day, but somehow they still spent a week in it. The cover is nice and durable and much better than the old one. The deck is also nicely cool underfoot and can walk in the hottest times of the day without burning your soles.

Deck resurfacing finished on Hunter 410 Raiatea French Polynesia

Deck resurfacing finished on Hunter 410 Raiatea French Polynesia

With a full load in the dingy

Shopping with our dinghy, how much fun! There were also a bit of problems with the outboard at first, even though it’s only less than a year old. Luckily, Sami got it fixed as the dingy is a bit like a car that takes you to places that a big boat can’t get to. This reminded me that our car in Finland is now for sale!

Sami rows back to our sailboat home with a full dingy

Sami rows back to our sailboat home with a full dingy

14 April 2020 – Launch, so close but so far away!

Sami the shopper

By the way, Sami went to the store for the first time after the start of quarantine. The grocery store, for which purchases have so far been ordered for the shipyard, has stopped deliveries for the time being. The store was reportedly well stocked, with shelves full of products and little other customers. Sami said it was really fun and a little exciting to visit outside the gates.

Sami comes back to the boat after shopping - Raiatea French Polynesia

Sami comes back to the boat after shopping

Hands-on, it’s the best!

Malaika is already starting to be in really good shape and we’ve even had to come up with a little bit to do over the days. For example, the bilge has already been washed three times and all rust has been sanded off. When the deck repair is then finally completed, light sanding of the base and painting with antifouling remain. Apart from these, we are starting to be ready for the waters.

According to the latest information, we may be launched in front of that shipyard, but we are still not allowed to sail. Let’s see what the situation is then at the point where the renovation is really complete

Pole dancing without the pole in Raiatea French Polynesia

Pole dancing without the pole – excercise boatyard style #sailboat lifestyle

This project will be completed, maybe this year 😉

On the same day, I went to the yard’s office to ask for a few papers and find out things that had been left unfinished when the quarantine began. Finally, I asked if our deck repairs would continue tomorrow? To this the friendly secretary replied with a smile, of course not because the dock closes its doors for the Easter saints. I thought inside my head ?! What an Easter and a holiday,… you were closed for three weeks and only the fourth day this week. On Friday, the dock then fell silent again and we were left with our mini-community in the familiar and safe peace behind the gates.

Slow progress on sailboat repairs Raiatea French Polynesia

Slow progress on our sailboat repairs in Raiatea French Polynesia

Greetings from the dock

Hello everyone, I hope your Easter has gone really well and you have eaten a really lot of chocolate eggs! We woke up last week to the fact that Easter and the holidays are just around the corner. We were just so excited that the shipyard opened its gates for a long time and the work continued normally… Or so we thought. Additional rules and guidelines for living with the corona were also obtained. There are still 0 infections on this island.

My first steps outside the yard gates after quarantine.

Quarantine is over in Raiatea

Looking out of the gate! Quarantine is over in Raiatea

Eggplant Papaya, garlic egg and coffee

Indeed, there are still 0 Korona virus infections here on the island of Raiatea. It was still heard on Good Friday that the mayor wanted to tighten the conditions for moving outside. Now on this island (not on any other island in French Polynesia) it is mandatory to wear a respirator and gloves when moving outside, Yes! Tahiti and Moore, where there are already more than 50 infections, do not have this compulsion.

On the other hand, it was heard that here in Raiatea, conditions might be relaxed and little by little the island’s shops and cafes would begin to open. It would be great if that happened. You would be able to move more freely even within the island and really go there to the grocery store or cafe together. If this happens then respirators and gloves will probably still need to be worn.

Oh yeah! The ban on the sale of alcohol has been going on for a month now and there is no end in sight. It was heard from the shipyard security guard that the price of beer on the black market is therefore 80 € !!! So for an ordinary beer! The unit price is therefore a reasonable € 13.30 / 0.33cl can. A few small shops on the other side of the island have sold alcohol and made an apparently good account despite the ban 😀

Super breakfast on bord out boat Raiatea French Polynesia

Sailboat lifestyle – Super breakfast

7 April 2020 – Quarantine, watching the clock

A little patch for the dinghy

I’ve been thinking with Sam that because we’ve had such a nice time as dock neighbors, he’ll come up with more things for us just because he doesn’t want us to move from neighbor to water 😀

The dock, by the way, opened its doors today! Yay !! Our deck rampage will apparently continue tomorrow if there is no rain. It is still a little unclear whether boats can be lowered at all at the moment. The rest of the week will probably provide more clarity on that, and if the weather stays good, we may get to anchor to break for the weekend, if that is allowed.

Preparing our sailboat - a patch for the dingy in Raiatea French Polynesia

Preparing our sailboat – a patch for the dingy in Raiatea French Polynesia

Irishman Mark has baked us scones, Yum!

Otherwise! If anyone is interested in reading how sailors stuck in different places in French Polynesia are doing, then here’s a link to Sail Tahiti’s newsletter, which ends with a little talk about us as well

Hanging out with fellow sailboat owners in Raiatea French Polynesia

Hanging out with fellow sailboat owners

Sami sealing the bow hatch

Luckily, there’s no big deal, but there’s something small to work all the time and the more you work the more you find work, or at least the experienced captain of the neighboring boat will come up with more for you. (By the way, his boat is just in parts along the dock and it will take several months before those projects are ready). Really he is a nice and helpful guy and he has been a great help to us.

Preparing our sailboat in Raiatea French Polynesia

Preparing our sailboat in Raiatea French Polynesia

Compulsory sunset picture ❤

You don’t get tired of these landscapes. While living at the dock is a bit awkward, hot, and full of mosquitoes and cockroaches, these landscapes instantly make up for all the inconvenience and inconvenience. Mauruuru, let’s continue the soap bubble dreams again next week, well

Sunset in Raiatea Carenage #sailboat lifestyle

Sunset in Raiatea Carenage #sailboat lifestyle

31 March 2020 – No alcohol, swimming or sailing!

We were so close

The deck renovation was in good shape and progressed rapidly. Despite the quarantine, the shipyard continued to operate behind closed gates. During the last early week, the cover was completed without painting and coating, then everything changed. The quarantine was tightened and the yard was forced to close its doors for the time being. All work was stopped, the dock was cleaned and gated isolated from outsiders

Gates closed due to quarantine in Raiatea French Polynesia

Gates closed due to quarantine in Raiatea French Polynesia

We have never had such a big bed!

The back cabin on our sailboat was previously divided into two different parts. We knew that our boat is an owner version, which meant that by dismantling the partition, a large single bedroom could be created.

Tadaaa !! We have never had such a big bed! And I never would have thought that when I moved into a sailboat, my bedroom would be so spacious. It would fit well for four people to sleep here.

Huge master cabin on our sailboat #comfortable sailing

Huge master cabin on our sailboat #sailing lifestyle

A small shower and toilet with stunning sunset views of Bora Bora in the evening.

There are just over 30 cases of coronavirus in French Polynesia, most of which are in Tahiti and the adjacent island of Moorea. There are still no cases here on the island of Raiatea and the island administration wants to maintain the status quo. Therefore, here too there are strict restrictions and the island follows the instructions of the main island.

Sailboat lifestyle - shower with a view over Bora Bora!

Sailboat lifestyle – shower with a view over Bora Bora!

The Amulet of Happiness

The goodluck charm by my mother found its place in the new home.

For us, the closure of the yard means gathering wood, rationalizing and learning to use our new home right.  We’re hard a work arranging things the way we like them.

Good luck charm on board our sailboat

Made my mother with love – happiness for our sailboat lifestyle

14 March 2020 – Test sail, moving onboard and quarantine!!

Sami and the skipper examine the control panel.

The launch went well, even if a few hours behind the promised schedule. In addition to us, the test sail was attended by the broker from Sail Tahiti a professional skipper, as well as our marine surveyor. No defects or problems were found during the inspection and sailing and we decided to buy that boat! Finally jeeejejejejejjeee! So the deals were made and the deck repair was allowed to start.

Checking the instruments during the test sail in Raiatea French Polynesia

Checking the instruments during the test sail in Raiatea French Polynesia

Ergonomic cleaning positions… Cleaning the bilge and body is all about training.

We spent the weekend really cleaning up and getting used to dock life. Living in a boat is a little different when the boat is not on the water. Certain things can’t yet be used like toilets or a fridge (we have a fridge to take cooling from the seawater, so it’s still out of use). Dishwashing should not be done on a boat because the sink water that drips from the drain pipe into the ground directly under the boat can attract bugs from all over the world to eat the sewage. The boat is also hotter when it is not in the water. Fortunately, it has not rained so it has been possible to keep all the doors open.

The shipyard has okay showers and toilets, where you can also do the dishes and wash your hands by hand. Water can be drunk directly from the tap, meaning there is no need to buy or prepare it. The shipyard also has a nice little community of sailors who take care of their boats and have received a lot of good and less good advice from them. It’s really nice to have other people here in the same circumstances as we do.

Cheers to everyone, stay healthy and hope the world is open again soon. Mauruuru ❤

Cleaning is a workout onboard of our new sailboat!

Cleaning is a workout onboard of our new sailboat!

New fiberglass on top. Next, full deck sanding, new gelcoat and 2x grip topcoat

The boat we bought is a Hunter 410, 1998 monohull sailboat of the year. The boat has had three different owners so far and has sailed little. In terms of floor plan, our sailboat is the owner’s version, which means there is a bathroom and a large bedroom at the back. In the middle of the starboard side is a U-shaped kitchen and sofas. On the port side there is a map table and another sofa. The bow has a guest bedroom and a second bathroom. There is plenty of storage space.

The boat is really well equipped for sailing as well as living. The sails are furling, there are three anchors, ropes and extra sails. The boat also has a Spectra water maker that makes seawater fresh water, really big solar panels and a leisure battery. All other equipment is enough, as the previous owner had equipped the boat for long sailings last year. The cabin is really spacious and comfortable thanks to its padding and round shapes.

After the test sail, Sami said that the boat was easy and comfortable to steer and sail. All of this then adds in time when we get to the waters.

Deck repairs in progress in Raiatea French Polynesia

Deck repairs in progress!

Our surveyor climbed the mast, a wild-looking job 😀

After buying the boat, we lived for another week at Airbnb, where we washed everything we could before moving on boarf – all textiles and dishes.  At the same time, the boat was cleaned, inspected and arranged.

Rigging inspection during the sea trial Raiatea French Polynesia

Rigging inspection during the sea trial

29 February 2020 – We find the right boat!

To our surprise, the owner accepted our offer so we’re off to Raiatea!

We had been interested in this boat for a long time and we decided to make a preliminary offer for it, which was accepted!  This was the big and exciting news we received last week.  We then decided to book flights to Raiatea Island to see the boat. It was somehow a safer feeling to go explore the boat once the price had been negotiated to suit everyone. The offer didn’t really bind us to anything because we hadn’t seen the boat with our own eyes yet.

Raiatea is the second largest island and former main island in French Polynesia.

The luxury holiday island of Bora-Bora, which we hope to discuver ourselves on our sailboat

The luxury holiday island of Bora-Bora, which we hope to discuver ourselves on our sailboat

First week accommodation in Raiatea, a lavish whole house!

It was cheap and a bit moldy (however not as moldy as a place to stay in Jämsä). We arrived in Raiatea Island on Monday afternoon. We dumped our stuff and thought about going to the store. Moorea had shops and kiosks everywhere, and as experienced travelers, we didn’t even check whether there was a shop nearby. The closest was 5 miles away in town and even the nearest roulette was conveniently closed on Mondays!! So we had to fast until morning.

A house to ourselves in Raiatea French Polynesia

A house to ourselves in Raiatea French Polynesia

Our marine surveyor is a nice French man..

He’s also a little serious, but maybe that’s a pretty good trait for a surveyor.  The boat in question is currently on the hard, so the surveyor started his work from the bottom. The inspection progressed systematically through all parts and areas that can be dry inspected… and inspection lasted just over three hours, or until we were completely sweaty!  Each section is reviewed and recorded in a report. We learned a lot more about boats😉

The survyor checks the propellor with Sami in Raiatea

The survyor checks the propellor with Sami in Raiatea

A week of surprising twists and turns

In less than a week, we have had time to change islands, start a survey of the boat, find out the insurance and registration, visit the hospital and tour the whole island of Raiatea.

Restaurant in Raiatea French Polynesia

This was such a cute beach restaurant 💙 … and look at the scenery 😍.