nikki wynn and nice man with a machete in a jungle

A Stranger In The Jungle

Sailing deeper into the bay our view narrowed, the jagged mountains inched closer and the waters muddied.  We could see the wide mouth of the river and our hearts began to beat a little faster.  It looks like the amazon river of the South Pacific.

We grab our gear, jump into our trusty Minion and set off into the jungle looking for an adventure.

Spoiler alert, we find it and a nice man with a machete too.

This is what I dreamed sailing around the world would be like.  Setting off into the world with curiosity as our guide and mother nature as our compass.  Talking to strangers and accepting hospitality without fear or reservations.  Giving and receiving.

In reality, every day isn’t filled with exploration or meeting locals who are bursting at the seams to share their way of life with you.

We meet lovely people all the time but this is the 21st century.  People are busy (even on small islands) and travelers are a dime a dozen.  It takes time to talk to strangers, and even more time to have a real conversation.  Going the extra mile to get to know someone…well, it’s a commitment.  One we were open to making on this day and so was James.

A brief friendship for the day but a memory for life.


Want to meet James?

We couldn’t find any official information on the river other than a few sailors who had also ventured up.  We motored up and paddled down.  After talking to James though, he said the locals prefer no engines on the river.  So, if you choose to venture up in your dinghy try to paddle or perhaps a SUP or kayak would be ideal.  But if you’re not into paddling, James will give you a personal tour of his river, for a very small fee.  You can call him to schedule.  James: 87 35 95 31

river guide james in raiatea french polynesia

jason wynn getting a tour from a local in raiatea french polynesia

nikki wynn getting a tour from a local in raiatea french Polynesia


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beautiful sunset at anchor on a catamaran in raiatea french polynesia

Raiatea, French Polynesia

  • Anchorage:  Faaroa Bay, Raiatea, French Polynesia
  • Date:  December 2018

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (31)

  • Yvan

    Beautiful images (as usual). I loved the tranquil power of the three shots at time = 14:52 (stern, bow, mast – I hope I got the terminology correct !). So creative !
    Thanks for sharing your encounter with James: so interestingly different lifestyle. Inspiring !

  • Kathy E

    What a beautiful encounter and video. And I loved the way you told the story! Don’t ever feel badly for not capturing every moment on video. You get so much good footage, and you really do have to just have authentic interactions with and respect for people. Thank you for sharing your adventures!

  • kevin

    What a lovely video you two have made there .Sometimes you’ll just feel like you’ve found paradise and that people live actually live in it . Your adventure just gets better

  • Molly, 11 years old

    Hey, Have you Ever Thought of Doing a Behind the Scenes, Like Have you Ever Fall’n Off the Boat!! 🙂

    • Curious Minion

      Gone With the Wynns bloopers would be so much fun! I’ll keep my fingers crossed with you Molly. Great idea.
      Curious Minion

  • Tom Alexander

    So enjoyable and we are lucky that you can share it with us….Safe travels to you both and NaNa!

  • Alan Solomon

    I used to watch Indiana Jones. Now I watch Indiana Jason and his other half Nikki Wynn…

    Awesome video in many respects.

    Thanks and Safe Passage,

    P.S. Say hello to the kitties.

      • Winter J

        New to yalls adventures and I have became obsessed with keeping up and now my husband has. Thank you guys for taking us along for the ride and capturing and telling the stories of these places. Side note I am so stoked to see the Dallas,TX on Curiousity. We are from Shreveport,la so the far fetched dream of learning how to sail doesnt seem so bad after all. ❤

  • Michael Magill

    Another amazing video, the scenery just keeps getting better and better and we are blessed to be tagging along with Jason and Nikki. You met someone whowill be in your thoughts for along long time and his kindness will forever be his calling card. Nothing was too much trouble for him and he didn’t want anything at all for his kindness. I look forward each week to another adventure , and they never disappoint . I look forward to the next chapter and that is Tahiti .Safe Seas and favourable winds!!

  • Richard Chassé

    OMG 😱 That’s one hell of a machete !!

  • Sandra Behler

    Castaway the movie came on just as I was just as I was imagining you guys in the Cook Islands! (reWatch online if you can) On with the adventures!

  • Lee Shannon

    Wonderful video

  • Lee Shannon

    Isn’t it amazing how someone with so little has so much to give to the rest of the world! Friendship and a lot of food and knowledge

  • Jon

    I see the bottle of fish kill is still at the ready but I have not heard mention of an edible catch since your initial crossing from Peru. Has there been no catch or have the fish just had really bad media representation?

  • Roger B

    That’s what I also enjoy when traveling is meeting new friends and learning where they are from and where they are traveling to next. Again, I really enjoy your drone videos for the bigger picture of your surroundings. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ward

    Beauty all around! Thank you for sharing this experience with the world.

  • Ed

    Bora boring

  • Dawn

    This video of you guys and James made me tear up. What a wonderful day and a wonderful connection made. Thank you for sharing.

  • Bill

    We ran into James in March as we were entering the Faaroa river. He gave us a great impromptu tour as far up stream as our dingy could go. He invited us to stop and meet his family and partake of some fresh coconut water but as you said everyone is busy and our next stop was the wreck of the Nordby so we passed. James seemed confused when we handed him a tip for his services, but we are Americans and that just seemed like the right thing to do to us. A difference in cultures I guess. James is a truly kind, friendly and generous soul. It must be so gratifying to have time to truly see those islands, we had only a week and it was not nearly enough.

  • Bernard Schaer

    You two are very lucky people!! Stay safe!

  • Dottie McKee

    So much fun! Y’all are amazing.
    I see there will be a total solar eclipse on Tuesday in the Southern Hemisphere. I hope you have a chance to shoot some good pics for those of us in the north.

  • Steve Edison

    You guys are TOTAL Motivation. What a wonderful adventure with James. Sail on!!

  • Grandma Suzy

    I’m always impressed with your courage and joy. Thank you for sharing this precious story.

  • jim

    No critters in the water in the river… Ala Amazon?? What a great way to go produce shopping. Enjoy.. 96 agrees and Humid here in Moline, Il.

  • Dan & Zena

    Wow, what a machete! Are you planning to add them to your swag shop? I’ve never seen one like that! It takes takes your breath away. We could use one for the bbq! A real conversation piece for the party.

      • Ed from NY

        I’m new here but really enjoy your videos. You make it almost seem like I’m there with you.- very impressive! You both seem so genuine and fun ax well. So happy (and envious) you are chasing your dreams!

        I’ve been catching up on many of your older videos (even the Alaska ones) and I’m really enjoying them.

        I love how you go into all the details but in a fun way and I find that very interesting.

        I’m not a sailor but have been operating fishing boats my entire life and I must say your videos are seriously having me consider taking sailing lessons.

        Keep up the great work!


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