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We spent mainly a restful day aboard. We made one excursion in the dinghy to reach the island to our north – Umuna. A trail climbs up from the beach and shortly descends into a cave with brackish water at the bottom. We all took our face masks but only I got in. The water is inhabited by many shrimp which soon started picking at my skin with their tiny claws. I tried catching a few but all I ended up with was a tiny leg which a shrimp preferred to lose rather than be caught.

Ben and I responded to a call from Andy and Rianne from Zephyrus who were currently aboard Gangada (the French boat involved with our dinghy rescue). They’d just tipped some fuel from diesel cans they’d filled in French Polynesia into their tanks. Andy had subsequently noticed a distinct odour of gasoline from one of the jerry cans which is not what one wants to put in a diesel tank. They had samples of diesel and gas from Gangada as well as samples from their cans which they wanted some additional smell testing on.

Asking for a fully blind test Ben and I sniffed the four separate jars of fuel. The reference diesel was hard to spot and we pinned the petrol/gasoline. The two samples from Zephyrus smelled like a mix of the two but not the same. All four jerry cans had been filled from the same source. I suggested putting a match to the various samples as petrol should burn but diesel not. The reference samples from Gangada behaved as they should and one of the two samples from Zephyrus lit up. Andy was confident in his history and the only conclusion I could come up with was that the source from where they filled was contaminated with a mixture of gas and diesel and that they received a different blend as their cans were filled.

After some discussion we lent them a spare can of diesel from which they could feed their fuel lines. Along with sailing most of the way, that would get them to Neiafu where they could drain their tank, clean it out and replace it with clean diesel. What a pain for them.

In the evening we had a BBQ cooking up sausages and racks of pork which we later realized was lamb. Helen dropped a fork in the water. We have a weight bag with a line and float set up for these situations so this went in the water. The float sat about 5-10 feet below the surface so we should find it this morning and retrieve the fork.

The situation with our charger is looking to be a farce. Senior management in Lagoon and CatCo all seem to be aware of the situation but nothing seems to be happening. CatCo have deferred to an independant to manage the problem but promises have been made and not fulfilled. The gulf between the commitment Lagoon/Catco gave and the reality of the situation is about as big as it gets. I hate to dish these guys in public as I really need them on my side. But this really is pathetic.


My original plan to retrieve the dinghy was to wait until the tide has risen sufficiently to float it off the patch of sand/reef it was stranded on. John from Tyee called me to say he’d rounded up enough able bodied men from the boats around to lift it off the reef sooner. Realizing that most of the nearby boats were planning to leave and that if my plan A failed I would have no help I agreed. After all, if lifting it off turned out to be impossible then I always had my original plan to fall back on.

John arrived with Andy from Zephyrus and a father and son from a Gangada. With our Ben along we headed over to the other side of the bay – nearly 2 miles away. Getting onto the reef was a challenge but we made it although we had to leave John in his dinghy as there was nowhere to anchor. The dinghy was further away than we remember but nicely sitting on sand. The patch of the reef nearest the water was festooned with small urchins and plenty of pits and hollows which was a little forbidding.

With the outboard locked on (key on boat) and with anchor chain and safety chain aboard it was all pretty heavy. We were able to carry it though with three at the back and one at the front. Each position was tiring so we would rotate after each short walk. When we reached the treacherous part we would carefully plant our feet and shift it forward one or two feet at a time. Soon we had it in the water and afloat. The engine fired up cleanly – a big relief. We then had to retrieve our helpers from the reef which took a little coordination. We gave plenty of thanks to our helpers and returned our separate ways.

Later in the morning Ben and I went back ashore to Ben and Lisa’s island. I had left my camera ashore – Saturday was not my best day. We met Bill and Johanna there from Visions of Johanna. Bill is a doctor and was visiting Ben who had fallen out of a tree the night before. Hopefully he’ll be ok.

On the way back from the island Ben and I dropped of at Tyee to say thanks again. While there we were able to help them fix a laptop which would not start up so all of us ended up happy.

The afternoon we just relaxed. We really are pooped and tired from the last couple of weeks and needed the down time.

Sadly we have still not received any communication about the latest tracking number for our charger from CatCo. It has taken six weeks so far and we have yet to overcome the difficulties this end. I have reached the point where if they’ve not sent it already we need to figure something else out. Tremendously disappointing. With no other issues getting to NZ with 1/6 of our charging capability lost is not that big a deal. It’s hard to fathom how so little can be accomplished in six weeks.