A place as dreamy and stunningly beautiful as Tahiti gets plenty of press. But the headlines made there last week were completely unique: The French Overseas Territory will soon be honored in the Guinness Book of World Records for having performed a song with the largest ukulele ‘orchestra’ ever. With a count of 4,750 musicians strumming in unison, this attempt more than doubled the previous record, set last year in England.
In an impressive and costly effort, players traveled to Papeete from many outlying islands to participate — even French Polynesian President Edouard Fritch joined the fun, as did dozens of other politicians. Needless to say, this was a photo op none wanted to miss. The criterion for breaking the record was that a song, in this case Bora Bora, had to be played in unison by the entire group for at least five minutes.
According to our associate Tehani Fiedler-Valente at the Tahiti Crew yacht agency, cruisers Tony Wessendorff and Gail Corrigan of the Houston, TX-based Cheoy Lee 53 Cetacea were also part of the action. Having sailed west with the 2014 fleet of Pacific Puddle Jumpers, they’ve had plenty of time to become acclimated to Polynesia’s rich cultural traditions, including playing the uke. Tehani says they practiced for 10 days straight so they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by screwing up the simple melody.
Tony and Gail joke about their 68,000-lb motorsailer, saying she looks like a beached whale. But the stout masthead sloop has taken them to the same eye-popping anchorages as the sleekest and fastest boats in the Pacific. Oh, and if you’ve been wondering if a fun-loving lifestyle is possible after corporate careers, take note that Tony was a CFO and Gail a CEO prior to casting off their docklines.
If you’re in the Sea of Cortez, why not plan to check out the all-new Loreto Fest on Friday, May 1, and Saturday, May 2? The event will include food vendors, bay cleanup, a swap meet, cruiser jam sessions (bring your instruments) and arts and crafts (show off your wares). You can organize and sign up for games. "Riffle through your recipe books and come up with a great dish to share for our nightly potlucks," says Ray Wyatt, the commodore of Hidden Port Yacht Club, which organizes the event. "Sorry, no volunteers needed, no live band, no pasta dinner or pancake breakfast! Just fun for everyone," he added.
"We have downsized and refocused our objectives to be more cruiser friendly," says Wyatt. "Spread the word, and join us in making new friends and renewing old acquaintances. Remember, we are all here because we are not all there!"
Loreto Fest is held in the popular cruiser center of Puerto Escondido on the east coast of Baja California, about halfway down the peninsula, situated along Highway 1 and Bahia Loreto.
HPYC membership is 100 pesos. For info, check out www.hiddenportyachtclub.com.