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4th Thursday on the hard

I hope this is our last full day ‘status’ report of life on the hard. There’s an expression : “Life is hard in the yard.” It’s true.

  • Wrote a launch checklist.  Having played around with the underwater bits I want to be sure we catch any leaks as early as possible.
  • Tied on new jib sheet protector.  This is a line tied from a couple of meters up the mast down to the deck to keep the jib sheets away from the mast and being damaged.
  • Installed new clamshell scoops.
  • Visited the Town Basin Marina to confirm our intended Friday (that’s today !!!!) arrival and discuss location.  Bumped into Darusha/Steve from Scream and Christa from Lileth.
  • Tested the freezer.  Not exactly a hard task.  I simply turned it on.
  • Put sea anchor away.  Even though it needs another wash we’ve properly packed it in the bag and stowed it ready for unhoped for use.
  • Cleaned deck/dive locker.
  • Connected other end of exhaust hose (ie, the end not ultimately attached to the new through hull)
  • Helped install the new anchor guard
  • Tested the starboard motor.  In doing this we had one of those “Oh No” moments.  The zinc on the end of the prop was wobbling and so was the end of the on which it sat.  Was the nut (the one we’d had pinned onto the shaft) on wrong?  Was the shaft bent?  I took two and a half expert oppinions and the general sense was the prop was running withing a hairbreadth of true and we had no problem.  Phew.
  • Attached and raised anchor
  • Collected the new sails.  In doing this I discussed options with the sail makers for the fitting.  End result is they’re coming to the boat in the yard at 7:30am this morning.  I took the sails as there was a possibility the boat may already be raised by then making it more awkward to get them aboard.

In the afternoon both Helen and I were both awash with fatigue.  Perhaps it was coming down from the adrenalin of the wobbly nut.  After three weeks of dust and dirt and being a day from launch, the possibility of being delayed was not a pleasant one.  But we kept on and energy did eventually renew.

One other event which could have been a lot nastier than it ended up occurred when I was taking a hard drive over to Tahina.  I took a short cut under the some boats and was just about to jump a ditch when the firm footing for my take off turned out not to be firm at all.  I plunged into the ditch arresting my fall with my shin on some rocks.  There were scratches and numbness down my leg but no extra joints.  The hard drive and my bones were intact so all else was secondary and a relief.  Karen and Frank tended to my condition by preparing soapy swabs to clean the dirt out of the wounds and giving me a big band aid (which later took off a lot of hair) for the main bash.  I refrained from taking any further short cuts for the rest of the day.

The external work is now more or less complete. The anchor guard is now in place and the anchor chute epoxied. We’ve had bigger screws put into the mast based and have had propspeed applied to the props and shafts. Bar one small section on the starboard side the sides of the boat have been polished.

The main entertainment for the day came from the launch of a multi million dollar power cat which didn’t go as smoothly as it could.  The truck bringing it to the yard fractured in a few places and they had one big mistep (it appeared) when they placed it on the ramp above high tide.  While it was interesting to watch from time to time our main interest in seeing it launch was to know there was no bloody great boat stuck in the ramp we’re due to exit on Friday (today !!!!!).

Towards the end of the day I dropped of a case of beer for the workers as a thank you.  Turned out to be very welcome as Peter is taking them down the river this evening for a ‘booze cruise’ and this will add to the party.

We finished the evening by sharing grilled sausages and veg with Dennis and Allison from Kalida.  We had a good time together and the evening ended off with their sharing some of the Fiji experiences and our taking notes on places to go.

Soon.

Today, if you hadn’t guessed, is launch day. The sails will go on. The polishing complete. The dinghy raised. The boat raised and rudders fitted. This afternoon we’ll be off.

Oh.  How can I forget.  I uploaded pictures of the concert/wetlands walk from last Sunday (you’ll need to go back).  And I’ve uploaded some pictures of the boat work.  Here.

I have a few more pictures to add and take so I’ll republish this album when it’s complete.

Happy New Year

Our New Year’s Eve began with a walk to Pier 21 where the Kamaya’s are moored. It was good to catch up with Ruth and Tim. As a bonus, Evi from Wonderland was staying aboard too. We then walked to the Ponsonby area where we met up with Richard and Krista from Lileth who we’ve not seen for ages. We had lunch with them and while doing so Darusha and Stephen from Scream showed up.

Our next stop was the Sky Tower where we had booked a jump from the observation deck. Ben and Helen didn’t feel it would be thrilling enough to justify the cost so it was down to Sam and I. With perfect weather the view from the top (and on the way down) was perfect. Stepping off the rim of the tower was quite intense. We were left dangling for about 10 seconds before the brakes were removed and we plummeted to the ground. Something to remember. We both received a free pass to take a ride to the observation deck which we gave to Helen and Ben.

Sam did a little more busking to help rebuild his entertainment kitty. Sam and Ben left us oldies to go back to Richard and Krista’s apartment near Ponsonby where they were due to meet up with Ian from Sea Mist and go out for the night. Helen and I had a meal out and watched the fireworks at midnight from a spot near the Sky Tower. There were fireworks from the tower and down on the river. We’d been told by a taxi driver that the river fireworks would be a long way away which turned out to be wrong advice. But we were able to see both which was quite good. We returned to the hotel to share a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the New Year.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Party Time

Before the morning SSB net was over John and I headed ashore. I had a date with our agent, Laurent, as he had received a letter containing my bank card. Our old one had expired and we really needed this one. Once we had this we headed off to the Carrefour to pick up some beer for the evening. The local beers had an offer going where the price for 20 was reduced. We picked up 40 bottles only to find the offer was over. I figured what the hell and bought them all anyway. John picked up some Magnum ice cream for a birthday present.

Back on the boat we go into the business of stuffing the beers away into all corners of the fridge and freezer. Later in the morning Helen cooked up an artery busting fry up for brunch which we followed up with the intensely chocolaty magnums.

We spent the afternoon cleaning the boat up and then reanchoring (four times) as we were a little too close to one of the other boats. The anchor seemed to have a lot of trouble setting. We were in 60 feet of water so we weren’t lifting it up off the bottom each time. At one point I asked Helen to raise the anchor out of the water just to make sure we still had one.

At 6pm the evening’s festivities began. We had invited the folks from A Cappella, Bristol Rose, Callisto, Imagine, Inn for Penny II, Inspiration Lady, Leu Cat, Lilith, Sea Mist, Song Line & Whoosh for a combined birthday (for me)/farewell (for John) party. Helen had been concerned about the boat being too crowded but in the end we comfortably held 27 people aboard without people having to spill forward. The weather remained perfect for the evening. With that many people it was impossible to chat to everyone but everyone seemed to have a good time.

About half way through Helen called for quiet so the ladies could enact a scheme they’d come up with (inspired I understand by Sheilah from Imagine). They had put on fresh lipstick and in turn they each sang to me then kissed me somewhere on the face. I ended up, of course, with lots of marks on my face.

The evening went very well. It was good for John to meet up again with a few of the folks he’s got to know. For us, it may be almost the last time we see a few of these folks. Out of Tahiti everyone is heading towards Bora Bora but from there they’ll head off in different directions and on different timetables. While we wait here in Tahiti for the next two weeks, many will move on and we may never catch up. Those going to New Zealand we’ll see but those on their way, like Whiskers, to Australia will be too far ahead of us. However, we’ll meet some new people who are on the trail behind us which will be good.

Helen and I are looking at the various anchorages around Tahiti so we have an idea of what to do over the next couple of weeks. Things are going a bit crappy with some of our internet orders. If we can sort these out we can get out of here the day after John leaves.

Kauehi Village

We waited for the morning net to finish before leaving the southern side of the atoll bound for the village on the north east side. We’d agreed to go along with Fine Gold so we could double up on spotting coral heads. Collectively, the three of us didn’t manage a good job as we struck one that was one inch less deep than our port keel. Shortly after that moment a squall came down on us cutting surface visibility to zero so we pointed into wind and motored along at less than one knot to wait it out.

Once the weather cleared we were back under way this time creeping along at three knots gradually increasing the speed as the visibility improved. Once we reached the track of our way into the southern area we turned and followed it back knowing we had a clear passage but still keeping a close eye on things until we hit the marked channel. On arrival at the anchorage outside the village we took three attempts to anchor as we were not happy with our positioning on the first two tries but once settled in we were fine.

We took lunch and rested for a bit. John went off snorkeling with the Bristol Roses who were in the anchorage while Helen & I went ashore. We met a few of the locals around the village who were all smiles and Bonjours which made us feel good being there. They had a pretty church with some unique (to us) decorations made of shells. We also spent some time with a chap who was making jewelry out of oyster shells which looked quite pretty although none were finished and ready for sale.

The town was small and we were done fairly quickly. We pleased a few children by the shore by handing them sweets/candy/bon bons we had in our pockets. Soon we were back aboard Dignity preparing for the evening. We’d promised to entertain Lileth sometime and as they had the same Vancouver 27 as Lileth, we invited Fine Gold over to dinner too. We heard from Jackster on the VHF and learned they’d taken a pounding on their passage from the Marquesas experiencing Force 10 winds at times and Force 8 for extended periods. While reporting themselves as chipper, they’d taken some damage and we felt they could do with some care and attention so we invited them too.

So we ended up with dinner for nine. We can just squeeze this number round our table which is nice. We had a great evening all together and we were glad to be able to introduce Fine Gold and Lileth as you don’t see too many 27 footers out here and they had much to share.

Looking at the tide predictions for the next few days we realized that Thursday/Friday this week were the last two days for a while where we had an afternoon slack tide into Fakarava with enough time to find a spot to anchor while it would be light. Beyond Friday we’d have to do an overnight passage to Fakarava and make a morning slack tide which is less attractive. Fakarava has a lot going for it so we decided to head out this morning. Slack tide was just before 9am but we decided to make the cut around 7:30am against the tide to buy us more time to reach the cut at the south end of Fakarava. We shared our thoughts with others and we ended up leading four other boats out of the anchorage and the pass this morning relaying information about our experience. Transiting the cut away from slack tide was again pretty easy. We encountered a 1.5 knot counter current while staying close to the shore. We experienced a minimum depth of 13ft which we reported to the vessels behind us and those approaching from the outside. The vessels that were uncomfortable with the depth went through a little more to the center saw 3 knot counter currents but all were well.

We are now en route to the southern end of Fakarava. The winds are light but progress is good. Four of the vessels (us, Sea Mist, Imagine and A Cappella) are on their way to the southern end while Bristol Rose are on their way to the north cut where they hope to meet up with Whiskers before they head north.

Hiva Oa

After our brisk overnight sail to Hiva Ona we anchored in the harbour close to Atuona, the main town here. John was already asleep and Helen went below immediately to catch up. I was left to sort out the dinghy and set a stern anchor on my own which I did badly. It was enough to hold us so I did my blog and sorted a few things out before waking John to reset the stern anchor. As soon as that was done we were called over to Papa Joe, a French boat, to let us know we were in the wrong place. Oops. We should have been behind some orange markers.

Helen had woken by now so we up anchored (both of them) and made our way around to the back of the pack of boats here. There were two boats preparing to leave so we had to wait while one of them struggled to removed their stern anchor.

Once we were hooked we quickly went ashore to walk the mile or two into town to clear in. The walk was hot and sweaty but we found the gendarmerie easy enough and cleared in. Just like the French islands in the Caribbean the all import zarpe from the previous port was unnecessary.

We then had a wander around town getting some cash, ice cream, French bread (we ate one there and then) and some very expensive vegetables.

In the library the internet fees were as expensive as the harbour so having lugged our laptops all around in the heat (at least I lugged them) we passed on this.

Back on the boat we ate some left overs with some more bread and crashed out as we were all very tired. In the afternoon I bought an hours worth of internet for over $5 and downloaded my emails as well as sending our boat docs and clearance papers to our agent in Tahiti. At the end of the hour we had my email download was interrupted while downloading message 289 out of 289. Arghhhh. Further attempts to reconnect via the pay for service failed with all error messages in French. I did manage to get into a free open connection but that was incredibly slow.

Around 6pm we went ashore to meet up with Richard and Christie from Lileth and Naomi and John from Renova. We planned to walk into town to watch the dancing and beauty competition. As luck would have it a bus full of drummers and their drums stopped to pick us up. We had to sit on laps to squeeze in but we made it.

Sitting in the audience amongst the locals watching their own annual event was quite a treat. We picked up a vast portion of chicken and chips which was very filling. As the night wore on we saw different dance groups. Some all male, some all female, some kids, some mixed. There were a couple of truly atrocious comedy sketches to fill time. In between we got to see 8 young ladies competing in the beauty competition. We first saw them in traditional outfits, then the beach ware then formal. Not quite Miss World but it was that kind of thing. We didn’t see the winner but we had our own personal favourites.

We came back with the Lileths before the end due to tiredness. As luck would have it we were picked up by someone with a pickup truck. We rode in the back despite it being illegal here. We slept very, very well last night.

One thing we’ve learned is that quite a few of the boats here are awaiting parts from their crossing. It’s a rough ride on boats and even little things need to be fixed. One boats entire set of batteries is screwed which is a nasty situation to be in. We feel relieved our problems allow us to keep moving while waiting for our water make pump.

Today we plan to walk to some nearby petroglyphs. We understand we can pick fruit along the way. We may end up leaving for Tahuata today and perhaps come back here later on when we need to collect our part.

Right now I’m uploading photos very slowly. There’s no chance I’ll get them all up but our crossing photos are done. This is all mainly the pilot whales. No photos of dead flying fish. I don’t need photos to remember these ghastly, stinky creatures.

If I manage to upload more the first place you’ll begin to see them will be on our photos page .