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Maintenance Day

It was a slow start due to the night before. Our first task was removing the mainsail. It’s only the second time we’ve taken it off and I’d forgotten how much work this was. All the batons and reefing lines need to be removed which adds time. We discovered that two of the batons had cracked badly where the main tends to fold against the shrouds if it’s let out too far. They will need replacement sometime but for now we’ve duct taped them up.

Ben and I folded the sail on the foredeck, bagged it up then dinghied it ashore and schlepped it up to the sail maker. We should hear his prognosis today.

The next job was the water maker. It was pretty awkward removing it from it’s mount but we managed it eventually. The high pressure tube end cap came off fairly easily and we replaced the broken end with the new one. We reassembled the unit without mounting it for testing. One of the high pressure lines had a leak but not so bad that we couldn’t test the water output. It was fine so we ran it for a few hours for extended testing and, of course, replenishing our tanks.

We managed to acquire some plumbing compound from Jack on Whoosh which we later used on the compression joint that was leaking. This fixed that problem. When putting it all back together I managed to untwist the joint on the feeder line so this now leaks. I need to fix that but again it wasn’t so bad. We made more water and even ran a wash for the first time in a few weeks.

It was quite a delight to be able to run our taps again and even have showers in the evening.

Today I’ll have to reseat the leaking feeder line and remount the water maker. We need to go ashore today to stretch our legs and look around some more. Ben has a part in the full moon party next week. Apparently he’ll be dressing up as a skeleton and flying around on a zip line. There are rehearsals tomorrow and he wants to get the timetable for that today. He’s also arranged to go out on the town tonight with Ian from Sea Mist.

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.

Pape’ete, Tahiti – first day in

Tahiti at this time of year is very much a geographical and temporal convergence for cruising sailors. Geographically, Tahiti is a stopover for almost every boat crossing the Pacific as there is nothing for thousands of miles north or south. Timewise there is the Puddle Jump rendezvous which is attracting a lot of boats. As a result, we’re seeing many of our friends that we’ve met along the way. Most boats are at the free anchorage (100 boats we hear) past the airport. We’ve opted to pay for the town quay where there are currently 20-30 boats. Amongst them are Imagine, Curious, Inspiration Lady, Callisto, Anthem, Whoosh. Last night InnForAPenny II arrived.

Our first chore ashore was to walk to the Port Captain’s office and pay for our berth. We had tied up to a vacant slot in the finger quays. It turned out this slot was reserved for a day charter cat and we had to move to a semi-circular area nearby next to a park. We were charged the same despite reduced facilities and no security. As a result we did at least get a guard overnight. Later John and I went out to visit the tourist office and pick up ice creams. Not had a Mr Whippy in months (behave yourselves).

Next our Code Zero arrived delivered by Laurent from Pacific Yacht Services. He had to dash but he did leave us with a map showing us where we could get propane. We obtained instructions on how to dinghy to the propane station so John and I dinghied across the harbour, tied to a fishing dock, crawled through a hole in a fence and went over to the propane place. It was closed. We had to return in the morning.

After some more internetting we went out. First stop was the supermarket where we picked up some beer and cheese as well as researching prices. We dropped the supplies off back on the boat and headed down the road to where we heard we could pick up cheap Chinese food served from outdoor vendors in the park. There we bumped into Mike and Anne from Callisto with their daughter. Anne and the daughter had just arrived that day to join the boat for the trip to NZ. We ended up eating together and agreeing to drinks tonight.

By the end of the dinner we were pooped so it was back to Dignity for a cool beer and rest.

This morning was more parts ordering and chasing a misdelivered package as well as Skyping family. I’ve been back to the propane place and had two tanks filled. That’s a relief. A new problem is that a cash card from the Uk seems lost in the post or delayed. This is fixable but could cause a problem soon.

Anyway. Today we’ll be exploring the town some more probably looking into a lot of hardware stores to look for things we may need for the journey ahead.

Anse Amyot, Toau

The wind continued to stay subdued and we all had a hot, sweaty and restless night. In the end I got up at 2am and completed all the stuff I needed to do on the internet. I only managed to upload a few photos – those from the festival in Hiva Oa. You can find them by clicking on the ‘Recently Updated’ category on this page somewhere. I managed a little more sleep before 6am when John and I went ashore for bread.

With nothing left but to run the morning SSB net (it was my turn) we readied the boat so we could set off once this was done.

With no wind we were motoring across flat water. As we approached the cut the water went from clear to crystal clear. It looked as though we were in shallow water when we were in fact in 70 feet. We were helped towards the cut by a one knot surface current which switched suddenly to two knots against us for a short period before disappearing all together.

The motoring to Toau was fairly uneventful. The genset cut out once with an overheating error which I resolved by repositioning the duct that extracts the hot air from the genset compartment. We had one bite on the trolling lines but nothing was caught.

Anse Amyot is a very shallow cut on the north side of Toau. It is too shallow to pass through but there is an accessible (from the outside) small lagoon with some moorings. The currents in the pass are negligible so, we understand, the snorkeling and diving is excellent without the problems of currents. As we approached we hailed Soggy Paws who we knew was there and asked which mooring was closest to good snorkeling as it’s always nice to go from the back of the boat. They gave us good advice and soon we were safely tied up to a ball. On the way in, Whiskers overheard us on the radio and contacted us. They had just left not knowing we were arriving. A missed opportunity but I’m sure we’ll catch up in the Society Islands.

John and Patricia from Whoosh were soon over to say hello which was nice. They gave us the low down of the anchorage. We then went ashore to the ‘cruisers lounge’ where folks congregate and said hello to some old and new friends.

Our plan is to slow down (we’ll try – honest) and stay here for four nights before heading off to Tahiti in time to pick up our sail, fill our propane and sort out immigration for John before joining the rally/rendezvous which kicks off on the 18th and heads over to Moorea on the 19th.