August 6, 2010
After a Skype phone call to Orbitz that took two hours this morning (our New Zealand Air return flight to Tahiti in April 2011 was canceled), we met with Yvan the marina manager to go over how he will take care of Dream Caper during the next 8 months. We picked up and put away our $60 for two loads of laundry, checked out the dehumidifier/air conditioner, and put out cockroach poison which Yvan will renew in our absence. This is the first year we have had cockroaches, a common problem on boats. We ate our third meal in two days of hamburger baguettes as we had an abundance of burger patties. We locked the front door and tried not to let the dark bird droppings on deck bother us as we do not want to imagine how filthy her exterior will become during the coming months.
We will return to Tahiti in mid-April 2011 and will continue this website as we spend 6 months cruising the rest of French Polynesia (Bora Bora, Raiatea, Huahine), Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and New Caledonia before reaching Australia. If you like, please check back in about a week as we will post our final photos from this year's cruising season.
THANK YOU ALL for following our cruising stories this year. This, our 7th cruising season, was a great one. We certainly sailed the most miles (5000+) than in any other year. Please take care, be safe and be good to each other, and we especially wish you all good health!
See you next year!
Portia & Steve
August 5, 2010
There is finally sunshine and blue skies. Now everything can dry out before we close up the boat. We leisurely returned to the marina in the morning and continued getting everything ready. Steve decided to move the dehumidifier to a better location to get air to the salon which involved installing the air vent out a small side hatch rather than through the escape hatch. We ate at the local Chinese restaurant next to the Total Gas Station, roast duck and shrimp with crispy vegetables. It was a nice change except that even in a Chinese restaurant we could not get away from our baguette addiction. They served freshly cut baguette before the meal. We found a laundry that will wash, dry and fold two loads of laundry for $30 per load. We have two loads of towels, sheets, rags and some clothes which were all pretty damp and we did not want to have to face dirty laundry upon our return. It was an early night for us. After these rains the mosquitoes were ferocious so we pretty much hid in bed and read. We are so mentally ready to get everything taken care on Dream Caper!
August 1, 2010
The morning saw another attempt to get the hang of kiteboarding, but with very mixed results. The wind was very strong, too strong for either of us. Portia's first attempt at flying the kite had the kite controlling her, bouncing her up and down; she didn't even try the board as the wind was just too powerful for her weight. The kiteboarders here all use 9 meter kites and they often tell us our 12 meter kite is too big for the winds in this area. Steve gave it a go anyway, first using Portia's smaller board and then his large board. The kite pulled him around mercilessly, although he almost got up on one try. After an hour of so it was too much for us and we gave up for the day. To add insult to injury (Portia had cut her foot on the swim ladder yesterday and Steve pulled an abdominal muscle today), we had to use stale baguettes for our lunch because we failed to go to the market yesterday and there are no baguettes sold on Sunday. We have solemnly vowed not to go a day without fresh baguettes. Never again, we swear!
August 2, 2010
Other than doing our sworn duty of picking up two fresh baguettes this morning, we devoted the entire day to getting Dream Caper ready to be hauled tomorrow. In between rain showers and wind gusts to 28 knots, we took down our three sails (jib, gennaker, and main), dried them, measured each, folded them and stowed them. We measured them because they are 10 years old and we are considering replacing them. All lines and sheets (ropes) were taken off the sails and traveler, dried and stowed. The only lines left up are the halyards, one for lifting and one each for our main sail, gennaker and jib. We are told that it rains so much here that all ropes left out in the weather will turn green. We plan to replace these halyards so we will leave them out. Because of the hills here on both sides of Port Phaeton where Tahiti Nautic Center Marina is located, it rains a a lot but it is the safest cyclone hole in Tahiti when a cyclone hits. To deal with the high humidity, we have purchased a stand alone air conditioner/dehumidifier which we will set up in the starboard bathroom with the air vent going out the escape hatch and the drain out a thru hull. Yvan the marina manager will check on Dream Caper every 2 weeks during the first 2 months to make sure the electrical is still connected and the dehumidifer is working. After that he will come on board once per month to make sure all is still operating properly. We will leave two of our four solar panels up and operational to keep the house batteries charged which will power 3 muffin (computer) fans that will circulate air in the salon and in the port hull. The dehumidifer will circulate the air in the starboard hull. We will leave dehumidifier crystals in both hulls and in the salon to be changed monthly by Yvan, if necessary. We will also leave 3 uncapped bottles of chlorine bleach in each sink to further take moisture out of the air. In the past when we have left Dream Caper on the hard for many months, we have come back to moldy cabinets, walls and ceilings. Because of the high humidity and rain here, we are trying to do everything to keep Dream Caper's interior dry during our 8 month absence.
We are busy eating our perishable food supplies and we are eating well. During this past week we have had Coconut Wahoo (Ono), Lamb Chops, Ribeye Steak, Shrimp Pad Thai, Hamburgers on baguette, and Beef Nachos.
August 3, 2010
We are located at Port Phaeton (Taravao) at the isthmus between Tahiti Nui (Big) and Tahiti Iti (Little) where it is living up to its reputation of high humidity and rain. We woke up to rain and it continued off and on all day, with absolute non-stop heavy rain for long periods of time. Once Dream Caper is on the hard, we try not to use very much running water because the sinks all drain directly onto the ground below. Portia cleaned out jars and containers, and washed them while we were still at anchor. Just as she finished, Yvan arrived at the boat to tell us that we would be hauled at 9:00 am rather than at noon. We quickly ate breakfast and pulled up anchor.
The winds were calm which made maneuvering easy (Dream Caper is 23' wide) down the very narrow (40' wide) entry way to the marina. Once at the boat launch driveway, Steve drove Dream Caper over the submerged trailer which was equipped with steel i- beams on which Dream Caper's hulls would rest. Because today's high tide was not a very high one, Yvan was concerned whether there would be enough clearance for Dream Caper to float over and onto the i-beams. Yvan did much diving but his attempts to pull Dream Caper on to the i-beams were unsuccessful because the tide was too low or Dream Caper was too heavy. As maximum high tide was approaching (at noon) at which the tide would then start reversing, we emptied the 90 gallons (720 pounds) of fresh water from our fresh water tanks in an attempt to get her floating higher. We put 40 gallons in jerry jugs and buckets on the boat's stern for later use as the main concern was getting the bows floating higher. We moved the very heavy sewing machine from the bow to the stern. Emptying the water did the trick. For extra measure, we stood on the port stern steps to take weight off the bow. All this worked and Yvan was able to get her onto the i-beams and secure her to the trailer. The small tractor which was held in place by a steel brace at its rear slowly pulled the trailer and Dream Caper out of the water. Yippeee! We always hold our breath as we watch our floating home go through this abnormal process of moving onto land. Although it had been drizzling most of the morning, it began to pour rain just as Dream Caper was pushed into her spot in the boatyard. Using a forklift, the yard moved a wide aluminum stairway to our bow for access. We happily scampered on board to get out of the continuous heavy rains that lasted all afternoon.
July 31, 2010
With the winds blowing 15-20 knots, we piled our kite, boards, harnesses, life jackets, control bar and ourselves in the dinghy, and rode 5 minutes to the same shallow beach area where we kited a few weeks ago. So much of kiteboarding for us is getting the kite rigged correctly and getting it launched before the boarding part starts. This morning we launched the kite and had to take it down twice due to crossed lines. However, during our individual attempts, we both were able to stand up and actually move along. We are very close to just taking off. Portia was on her way, but once she had boarded out of the shallow water area, she panicked and stopped; the next time she will keep going. While Steve was kiting, Portia helped a French kiteboarder launch his kite because he was alone. He effortlessly took off boarding and proceeded to perform maneuvers as he repeatedly launched himself into the air. He gave Portia a few simple tips that might prove helpful. We certainly enjoy trying and it is fantastic exercise. Back at the boat, we were both exhausted from the effort but worked on repairing some broken parts of the kite control bar and continued to make decisions about what items we will need to be taken off the boat, how we will store the rest, what items we need repaired, and what we need to bring back to the boat from the US.