I stopped to have a closer look, and the one that captured my attention was a small green and yellow yacht with the cute name “Nora J”.
Making my way towards it, I noticed an elegant older woman making her way to her boat in a little punt. As it turned out, her name was Jane Teen.
Teen has travelled the globe, sailing with her husband Paul and called at Rarotonga for a “pit stop” last Wednesday. And she is no stranger to this part of the world.
Though she is retired now, former teacher Jane lived in Aroa and taught at Titikaveka College from 1991 to 1994.
She recalls her days here on the islands as “the good old days.”
“I used to teach typing, computing, accounting and economics. My husband is a builder and at that time, he was in New Zealand.”
“In 1995 he decided to build our boat and by 1996, it was in the water.”
After four years of teaching on Rarotonga, Jane went back to New Zealand to her husband who was awaiting her with their new boat. In 1997, they began a long journey sailing around the world.
Their first stop was Fiji, and they then sailed to Vanuatu and New Caledonia before making their way to Brisbane where they stayed for a few years.
Jane got a teaching post in Brisbane and they were offered a house to live in. After moving to Melbourne where they lived for a while, Jane and Paul sailed to the United Arab Emirates and stayed there for about 10 years. From there, the couple took the boat up to Turkey through the Red Sea. In 2011, Jane says, they decided to slowly make their way back to New Zealand.
“We made a lot of stops upon our way back in the Mediterranean, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, France, Spain and Portugal.
“We then went up to England, Ireland and Scotland then we slowly made our way down again.”
In October last year, they also visited Portugal before crossing the Atlantic Ocean, travelling through to the Caribbean. They then began sailing back through French Polynesia before arriving in the Cook Islands last week.
Jane says the longest journey the pair have ever done was from Panama to the Caucasus which took 34 days.
“The beauty about sailing is that we will go to places that we thought we would never go to and it has been an exciting and memorable journey.
“It’s just my husband and I on board and we have loved every bit of it.”
Jane says they never encountered any serious difficulties during their sailing odyssey, and the worst weather they came across was about 50 miles off the Rarotonga coast.
“Sailing is ‘do-able’. If you are planning on doing it, just do it. I’m not a sailor, and my husband is a builder, not a sailor but we did it. If you get the opportunity to go sailing, go ahead and do it.”
The Teens sailed for Tonga on Tuesday and were scheduled to visit Fiji once again before the old Nora J returns back to New Zealand after 19 years.
The couple said Rarotonga is a nice place for yacht owners to stop by, but the only problem is that it was expensive.
“We met up with a lot of sailors who we asked whether they were going to make stop here and most of them said they wouldn’t.
“I would say that it’s because the cost for yachties is very expensive compared to French Polynesia, Fiji and everywhere I can think of.
“In fact, this (Avatiu) is one of the most expensive wharves we have ever stayed at.”
“We would really love it if the authorities would consider the costs, especially for yacht owners like us.”