On to Tuomotos
06/02/2012, 09 25.2'S:140 13.2'W, Ua Poa Marqueses
Well we talked about pending another night on Ua Poa around the corner from last night but when we got the sails up and turned the corner Lisa said let's just head for the Tuamotos.... On our way, 450 miles and at the current rate we will be there in about 60 hours.
All for now John
Heading to Ua Pou - maybe tomorrow?? Then onto Tuamotus??
05/31/2012, Taiohae Bay Still
We hope to be fueled up and on our way to new sites and adventures tomorrow. Our friends from S/V The Rose, John and Pat, returned from Colorado today with our new Shark Shields and fuel filters for the generator. That was very generous of them to pack and drag all of that with them. We hope we can return them a bit of a favor by helping them refuel with our 40 gallon fuel bladders tomorrow so they don't have to med-moor to the cement fuel dock (which is really a loading dock intended for very large vessels.) It can be quite a challenge tying up there with the waves and surge that come through here. So we hope we can get them, and us, all fueled up in the morning and then all be on our way - crossing my fingers, but not getting my hopes up! Especially after yesterday's episode!
We helped Charisma (Bob and Ann) get fuel yesterday using our bladders and fuel pump loaded up in our dink. What was suppose to be maybe a 2 hour task, ended up taking all afternoon (over 4 hours!). Our nifty cool little fuel pump didn't want to pump! So after debugging a broken spring and some sort of stuck valve thingy (thank goodness Bob had a stash of little springs for some other project) - John finally got it up and running. Nothing ever is as easy as it appears!
And all that was after a very busy morning. We pulled up the anchor around 7am and headed out of the bay to make a bit of water and do a some fishing (we ran out of water last night - barely had enough to make coffee in the morning). Once out of the protection of the bay, the wind was kicking up to it's usual 15-17 knots causing a pretty short choppy ride. We fished for awhile, but the generator kept quitting - which we need to run in order to make water. (The generator issue I will save for another blog day). So we decided to head back towards the bay and anchored in a small cove just at the head of the bay where we felt the water was clear, and well our of range of other cruising boats in the anchorage and whatever they might be disposing of. While we were making water we decided to give Orcinius a much overdue bath. We scrubbed our butts off for the next 4 hours using a bit of fresh water with soap, followed by a saltwater rinse. Then John fixed sandwiches for lunch before heading back near our previous anchoring spot, where he spent the remainder of his day attempting his diesel transfer exercise. Oh yeah - and we gave S/V Morning Star another one of our alternators to try as they lost one as well. (Found out today that it is installed and working fine - good for them!) And we still have 3 more alternators in our ships stores!
Last night we had dinner with Bob & Ann, and Bob & Linda from S/V Bright Angel. We dingied to the beach (had an uneventful landing - and relaunch in the dark, which is always appreciated), and hiked up a bit of a hill to the Pearl Lodge and Restaurant. The view was beautiful and the food and company terrific. Bob (from Bright Angel) used to be in the Army National Guard in Washington State, so John and he had a few stories to exchange. It was late when we got back (10:30pm - which is late for a cruiser!), but the freezer was acting up again. So John bled some more gas out of it, and we babysat it for awhile as we tried playing cards to stay awake. It seemed to be freezing up again, so off to bed we went - finally.
Today we hitched a ride with Bob and Ann in their dingy (as ours is still full of fuel bladders and a bit of a diesel mess - to be cleaned tomorrow after the final refueling). We went into town to find the clinic and some elephantitis pills. Elephantitis is still a problem in French Polynesia - and the pills are to be taken after we depart French Polynesia as they are not a preventative, but actually kill the mosquito larvae if present in your system. We found the clinic - a small building which looks like it used to be someones house, with no sign - just walk in through the sliding glass doors and you be there. The pills are free, and how many you take is based on weight. So we got on the scales, and John is happy to report he was easily 178 pounds, and that was after breakfast! I must say he is looking quite dapper these days!
The afternoon has been spent trying to upload new photos to the blog sight, and John has been mucking around with the generator all afternoon. We are too tired of dealing with it to go into details about it tonight - but suffice it to say, John finally got it back up and running after doing some suggested maintenance (so that we can run the dive compressor off of it) - which didn't make a bit of difference in the end after 4 hours of tearing it apart and putting it back together.
So if we depart tomorrow, we will probably be back to uploading mainly blog text only with a single photo via sat-phone. As it will probably be awhile before we find reliable internet again. Hope everyone is doing great! All for now...
P.S. So I am in the middle of uploading a bunch of pictures that I hope to have done before midnight tonight. Sorry so late in coming, but should now be caught up with the different islands we have been visiting over the past few weeks. Hope y'all enjoy!
Back in Taiohae Bay
05/26/2012, 08 54.8'S:140 06'W, Taiohae Bay Nuku Hiva
It is Saturday and we are back in Taiohea Bay checking on the status of the dingy motor parts again (same story - different day). John blew a gasket yesterday morning while on the phone with Boats.net - although everything on back order had arrived at their facility to be re-shipped to us, they never sent the package on to us because they said the address in Nuku Hiva was not a valid shipping address. It sure would be nice if they would call and let us know - but instead it just got put back into an email trail - of which we are having an extremely difficult time getting email from here. Anyway - John was terribly nasty with the guy on the phone, told him to cancel the whole bleeping order, and then hung up on him. hmmmmm - now what. So I sent John to his corner to go cool down, then I called Rose Corser - a lady from Oklahoma that cruised here back in the 70's with her husband, loved these islands, and has lived here for over 30 years now. As per the guidebook, she has a small hotel and restaurant/bar in Taiohae, and she is extremely yacht friendly - helping cruisers get boat parts shipped to these here parts. Sure enough she said go ahead and use her address and we shouldn't have any problems. So then I called Boat.net back, apologized for my husbands outburst (they must have a rap sheet on him a mile long by now), and tried to get the order re-instated with the new address. The gal at the other end said she would do her best, and would try to get the order out that day (as this weekend is a holiday weekend). Well, after getting yet another email last night - it looks like the entire order is all dorked up (extra parts we didn't ask for), and certain parts are once again on back order as our items were probably shipped to the next Tahatsu customer in the que. So John was back on the phone once again this morning - but handling himself much better I must say. He ended up talking to the same fellow again today, and apologized up and down fo r getting so nasty yesterday. So as it now stands, it appears their shipping system doesn't like Rose's address either! We are still not sure what we are going to do, but we will probably give it one last go on Monday - the fellow at Boat.net will work with us to get an address that will be acceptable by Fed Ex so we can get this thing moving. So we might be hear another week. Which is kind of a bummer as we are getting a bit wrestless - and there is lots to see in the Tuamotos and beyond, and our clock is ticking down here - we get kicked out of French Polynesia on 21 July, and there's alot to fit in by then! But alas, the saga continues....
On to other business. The last few days in Anaho bay were beautiful! We did a steep muddy hike with Bob and Ann (S/V Charisma) to the next valley over and the views were wonderful. The little village of Hatiheu was just how I pictured a perfect little polynesian village to be - it was gorgeous. The main road paralleled the bay and was lined on both sides with beautiful flowers and plants of all kinds. We had an excellent lunch at Chez Yvonne - it is suppose to be one of the best restaurants in the Marquesas and they were right! And the beer was exceptionally cold! The little store next to the restaurant had potatoes and onions - which we hadn't seen in a while - so we filled up the backpack with them - (nothing like a little added weight for hiking back up the hill again)! We checked out the church just down the road, then decided we had better head back as it was a 2 hour hike to get back to the other bay and it was going on 2 o'clock. (Sun starts setting around 5:30 pm here ). I would definitely go back to Hatiheu Bay and explore a bit more if we had the opportunity - anchoring in that bay is also suppose to be pretty good as well.
We had a bit of a challenge pulling up our anchor yesterday morning before heading out. We used one or our largest fenders to help loosen the anchor which was caught on a coral head. John dove down to attach it to the other end of the anchor, and then called out manuevers to me while I was at the helm to unravel it from the coral. I can also control the windlass from up at the helm - which can come in very handy! After about 30 minutes of mucking around with it we were finally free. We waited for Charisma to make sure their anchor came up okay, and then we were both off for Taiohoe - it was a really nice sail down the east side of the island with winds from the east at 15 knots. Last night we went into town and met up with a bunch of cruisers at a pizza joint. Most of the cruisers all knew each other from Puerta Vallarta Mexico and had made the crossing at about the same time - so they were catching up on everyones stories. We got to know a few more cruisers and had a really nice evening.
This morning was the 5am market again - man that hurts! But we did it, and picked up Ann along the way. Vegies were very limited this morning - I purchased some green beans and lettuce, but no tomatoes to be found. Not many other options other than the usual breadfruit, pamplemouse, and coconuts. I am looking forward to restocking in Papeete!
John's puncture wound is looking good - healing up very nicely. He has been working on rebuilding the dive compressor today. Nothing like a small project to fill up your entire day! And he has also been helping Bob on the side - his alternator bit the dust yesterday and we just happen to have a spare that looks like it will work for their boat - with just a bit of manipulation. (Someting about massive vice grips and angle grinders??).
Off to clean a water maker filter now. All for now...
05/23/2012, 08 49.3'S:140 03.9'W, Baie D'ANAHO
We weighed anchor yesterday around 9 am and motored back to Baia Taeohao for some internet coverage and a quick trip to the store. While prparing to anchor, we had a little surprise. Heard a big clunk and the starboard engine quit. We were in a tight space to anchor so we motored out a little farther away from everyone. Got the hook set on with one engine and then proceeded to investigate. Fired up the engine and that was fine but didn't want to put it in gear figuring that something caused it to stop. So went to the port hull steps and looked across to the starboard side. While I was concentrating on seeing if there was something on the prop Lisa hollard "the dinghy painter". Sure enough it had fallen into the water, still attached to the cleat and ended up in the prop. I pulled it up and it was all there so it must have just caught the right way and hooked a blade which shut down the engine. Good thing we were only idling when it happened or we could have some maj or damage.
We trecked into the stores, grabbed three bagettes, some cheese, and brie. Neither store had any fresh vegetables. As we were checking out, there were two women with green beans, cucumbers and some other greens. Asking where they found them they told us about a third store. It is a quarter mile up the road from the bank so we trecked up there and it was like hitting pay dirt. Got some lettuce, beans, egg plant, cukes and a root similar to a sweet potato but very light skinned and much more dense. Good eating though. Headed back to the dinghy in the pouring rain and back to the boat. At the boat we had bad wifi reception so lifted the anchor and went back over to where we were originally going set it and dropped it there. Good wifi but bad connection to the internet so we called the service desk at Boats.net where I ordered the engine parts. These people have been extremely accomodating and nice, I would recommend buying from them anytime. The lady on the order desk said all the parts were in and ready to ship except the two fuel filters which were due in that day. She said that although she didn't come into work today until noon, she would call her supervisor in the AM and make sure the order got out the door today. With the parts order checked on and taken care of we weighed anchor and headed out for the North side of the island.
Once we were outside in deep water, the fishing lines went out and I began my waste management duties. Starting with cans then onto bottles. We were in pretty lumpy seas so were being bounced around alot. I had three beer cans I needed to dispose of by putting holes in the lower side and pitching them over. The first one got me. I tried to stab the bottom and about the time I swung the knife down the boat lurched to one side and I missed the can and got the fleshy part of the heel of my thumb. 3/4" wide by the same deep and hit the bone. That ended the waste management for the time being. I put immediate pressure on the stab wound and placed a folded paper towel on it and duck taped it in place to be repaired after we were safely at anchor.
After a few minutes I went back to the waste management job only this time instead of stabbing at the can on the bottom, I found that the sides were paper thing and much easier to puncture. So the three cans went overboard and then I proceeded to dispose of the glass bottles by breaking the bottoms out with a small sledge hammer and in the drink they went.
We pulled into the anchorage right as it was about dark and set the hook. Our friends on Charisma were already there and commented to Lisa that she made the anchoring look very easy and professional. He liked the way we pulled up to a spot, checked the depth, puroletted the boat on the spot, dropped the hook and set it in place. Out came the medical kit and a proper sanitary mending of the hand took place. Luckily the blade went in in parallel with any tendons and I avoided a thumb disability. By the time we opened it back up and cleaned the wound about 4 hours had passed. The hand was very sore. In retrospect, since I got the pressure on it so fast, there was little time for it to bleed and wash away any initial germs, so I probably should have let it bleed a little. Anyway we opened it up and poured some disinfectant in the wound, cleaned it and butterflyed it back together. Took a couple of Aleve and a couple of stiff ones before heading for bed. All is feeling pretty well this morning. Also found another use for womens sanitary napkins.... good gauze pad.
All for now.
Another Bay Another Day
05/22/2012, 08 56'S:140 09'W, Daniel's Bay
Last friday the 18th we got our ration of fuel for the day and headed out to dump the holding tanks, make some water, and do some laundry all while dragging some fishing lines. The fishing lines finally paid off. We had a tripple header, two on hand lines and one on a pole. Could have had a quad but I only had the three lines out. We must have crossed a school of yellow fin tuna because it was like all three lines were going nuts everywhere. As luck would have it we couldn't have all three. We pulled in the starbaord hand line first and tied him up by the tail then we went for the port side handline before the pole. As Lisa was pulling the tuna up about 15 feet from the boat we saw a shark come up behind it and it was gone and so was our hand line. We tied it off on a cleat and the shark made away with the tuna and the lure. Back to the pole and we landed that one. In hind sight when we saw the shark, we probably should have let the tuna have a bunch of slack as he could have outrun the shark. These are the first keeper fish we have caught in a long time.
I learned a new way to filet a tuna from watching the guys at the pier. Tuna have very small intestines compared to like a Salmon. They are also rounder in the middle and don't like to lay flat engough to filet off the bone. I was taught to quarter filet then then skin them without gutting. Because of the small intestinal sack it is easier to gut then filet. Once you have the sides off, then split each side down the bones and finally slide your knife between the flesh and the skin with skin side down flat against the table.
We managed to can five pints, freeze three back loins and eat one for dinner. The yellow fins were average of about 10 lbs each. Just the right size to handle on the back step instead of taking out my large filet table. After going back through where we caught the fish with no further luck we headed to a little bay about 5 miles around the point from Baie de Taiohae called Daniel's bay. Daniel no longer lives here anymore but it is a very nice and fairly well protected bay. (The TV show 'Survivor' was filmed here in 2002 - they moved Daniel out of his hut and into the next valley over so they could use the area for one of the tribes.) We anchored in front of about eight other boats and settled in for the night. The next morning we went for a hike up to the water fall - third highest waterfall in the world! We started off on the wrong trail and were about a quater mile in when we heard someone hollering John, Lisa... After a couple moments, we headed back to the person calling and there was Bob from Charisma. He had seen us taking off on the wrong trail from his boat and zoomed on into shore to catch us. Thanks to Bob we did manage to find the water fall. We were still about an hour h ike away when we could see the falls so we took some pictures from there and as it turned out, once you got to the actual falls you were in a canyon behind very large bolders that blocked the view to the top. We swam through the fresh water pool at the base and under two large bolders and back into the cavern at the base of the falls. Still couldn't see the top but the water was coming down very hard and when we tried to swim over to it, it took your breath away. The hike was pretty much an all day afair, we left at 9 and was back on board at 3:30.
Near the bottom on our way back down the hill we stopped at a locals house and farm. The couple had about 40 acres in the valley next to the road. She served us some home made limeade, papaya, and breadfruit. We sat and chatted and finally bought some limes, mango, oranges and pomplemoose (grapefruit) to take back to the boat. The next two days were quite rainy so I proceeded to be the fixit man. First I pulled the old inverter/charger out of its storage and tore it apart trying to find out why the fan wouldn't run. The fan itself was working but the circuit wasn't feeding it any power and so it went into shutdown for overtemp. After spending half the day with it in a hundred different pieces, I finally wired past the circuit with a couple of wires that I lead to outside the case so I could force the fan on. I managed to get the thing back together without any parts left over so figured it was good to try. Replaced the newer inverter/charger with the one I just jury rigged and I'll be darned if it did work property without my jury rig. Go figure. Now I will have to tear the newer one apart with the assumption that it is a bad circuit board terminal connection that is corroded. Hope that is the whole problem.
My next project was to finally replace the transisters in the blown autopilot that went out back in September. All the tools were out and handy so it made sense to tackle a soldering job at that time. It took me about an hour and we now have a functioning spare auto pilot brain. Well I couldn't be done at 2 in the afternoon so I installed the MOB alarm and had everything put away and cleaned up by 5pm. Guests were coming over at six.
Monday being another rainy day, I attacked our vacuum sealer. Well the vacuum sealer works just fine but won't seal the retort pouches we bought to can tuna in. I assumed that the problem was that the sealing timer countdown was counting down at double time. It took me most of the day to chase down the timer circuit to install another one of my jury rigs. I found a way to extend the clamping and heating mechanism with a switch and so tried it out. That was part of the problem but not all. The heat strip is powered through a relay from a 13.8 volt DC supply. I was looking for a way to increase the voltage slightly but the power supply was different than most and beyond my knowledge with what appeared to be a flyback transformer to control the current limits feeding a 1 ohm heat strip. So the real fix will have to come later. I put the sealer to work re-packing a beef back strap tenerloin, packages of chicken and a 5 lb box of calimari steaks. Lisa had taken off with Charisma on a hike and I had a drink in my hand and the boat cleaned up by the time she retuned with yet another job for John. Help another boater with a leaky propane hose. So out come the tools and I make quick work of cutting of the swaged fitting that was leaking and reconnecting the hose with a hose clamp. Gato Go was on their way.
So here I am and it is Tuesday morning. The skies should be clearing for the day and we will be heading around to the North side of the Island after stopping to check on my parts on the internet. Still hoping they show up by the end of the week.
All for now. John