Boat Chore Day
06/09/2012, 16 51'S:144 41.5'W, Tanahea, Tumotu, French Polynesia
Woke up this morning to a grey and overcast sky with winds out of the ESE and the first time we have seen a temperature below 80 degrees since leaving Mexico. Not that it is freezing but when you are used to nights in the mid 80's, 79 seems cold.
I baked another loaf of bread this morning. Had it rising before Lisa was rising. Had it finished by 10am. Some of the bread flower we bought back home had some insects in the package. They weren't weevels but a species of a fly a little larger than a nat. The first bag I managed to use most of it after sifting the whole bag twice. Then Lisa discovered the critters and dumped the two bags that still had some in it overboard. We had purchased some bread flower in Mexico and that is what we are using now. Has a little different texture, a slightly darker color and doesn't rise quite as well what we had. The recipe called for 1 1/4 teaspoons of yeast and I used 1 3/4 teaspoons. Turned out good but still didn't rise quite as much as I wanted. Will try for 2 next time. Lisa had made a couple of attempts with the bread machine following their recipe. They both turned out real flat. Always an experiment.
After the bread was out of the oven, we headed for the main sail repair. The wind was pretty steady a 11 knots so made the sewing a challenge. Had to pull the main out to the third batton to work on the luff tape tear. Removed the batton and placed a layer of sailcloth over the bolt rope, overlaping the existing luff tape. Then we set the sewing machine up along side of the mast and layed the sail under the machine foot. Ran a set of stitches up as tight as possible against the luff rope then a second set and finally two set inward by a half inch. Will baby the tape entry to the groove at the second batton until we get to New Zealand for a proper repair. The sail was brand new back in September 2010 when we had the furling boom installed. I purchased it from North Sails and like the sail alot with one exception. That is the luff tape. It is made of a material that uses a teflon thread or teflon coated thread intertwined with the luff tape and around the bolt rope. I think the design concept was for a large boat using racing sails. The sails on those types of boat generally don't last more than three of four races without replacement or major repairs. The concept is with teflon tape, it slides in the track better than a dacron tape. That may be the case but I don't quite see the durability and a cruising boat's sails should be for durability. After the sail was repaired we rolled it back onto the boom. The wind had picked up to about 18 knots and we didn't want to raise the main while at anchor with a lee shore so we didn't get to refastening the clew of the main and will have to do it another day. Project number three for the day was the pesty freezer. So the freezer only freezes when the generator is running which means we have lost DC power. Problem is the wiring diagram is not clear enough to chase the origin of the wire back in the power panel. I have tried chasing it down before and thought it was connected to the same circuit as the refrigerator but turning on and off the refrigeration circuit breaker had no affect. So Lisa and I spent about an hour chasing the wire back to the main junction panel. We used a tone generator and a sensor to chase down the exact wire. What we found is a blown 25 amp fuse, not a breaker. 25 amp is pretty big and something caused it to blow, we just don't know what. Also discovered the fan for the condensor was not working causing the unit to overheat and then shutting down. It uses a standard computer type fan but I cannot get to it without either removing an air handling unit for the air conditioner or removing the washing machine. Either task is daunting and not something I really want to do until New Zealand when we will have lots of time. I had an extra comfort fan I installed over the compressor for now and will baby the unit for the next 4-5 months.
Lisa went through and cleaned all the screen traps for the sump waste pumps and then went on to making some repairs to the awning before putting away the sewing machine. Finally she scrubbed the solar panels to let in a little more of the sun. We now have most everything back in order and are standing by on the marine SSB net for the evening puddle jump chatter.
Now for some good news. I finally managed to get ahold of Boats.net yesterday morning. Ended up talking to the internet order manager who has never responded to my emails. What was interesting is he sounded like he was just reading through the order tracking history, first telling me he has a FedEx tracking number which I copied down and then he told me it was going to Nuka Hiva, to which I said NO NO NO... then he said oh no it is really going to Rose's, BP 21 on Nuka Hiva, to which I said NO NO NO.... then there was silence.... When I re-quiried where the parts were shipped to he finally said, Papeete, Tahiti. To which I said... Chris, you need a geography lesson. I am in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, some 5000 miles West of where you are. I am in the Tuomoto, Islands which are still 500 miles away from Tahiti. The first two addresses I tried to get the parts shipped to were in Nuka Hiva but your shipping department could not reconcile the addresses with FedEx s o you put my order back into the warehouse and when we tried to change the address your system made up a whole new order number and then showed all of the parts as on order from Tohatsu America and three of them were unavailable and I would have to wait for another week or two. Now you tell me that we have a FedEx tracking number that the parts were all shipped to my new address in Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia on the 5th of June to arrive on the 16th. You have charged me for expedited shipping and you call 11 days expedited even after you have screwed up the order twice and caused the deliver to take a month from the date I ordered it? To which he chuckled, a crying chuckle and I took that to mean he was embarrased. So can't check the tracking until I have internet which won't be for another week so I can only assume they are really going to arrive. Now all I have to hope for is that they included all of my duty free paperwork in the packing slip so it doesn't get stuck in customs for God knows how long.
All for now on this grey and gloomy day in Tahanea, Tuomoto, French Polynesia.
Another Archipelago - Moto Tahanea
06/08/2012, 16 51'S:144 41.5'W, South Pacific
Our run over here from Raroea was absolutely windless until about 0300 this morning then it was directly on the nose. Motored all the way but when the wind did pick up we tried to get the main to function and ended up making a bit of a mess. As it turned out, the foot tiedown had come partially loose and in the process of furling in the main the sail jambed itself against the mast. We raised it and thried again not realizing the foot problem. Finally got it rolled onto the boom and left it there until today. So our efforts through the night, in the dark, caused another little problem.... a three inch tear in the luff bolt rope which we will have to sew back up tomorrow. When the wind decides to settle down a little we will raise the main all the way and re-fasten the foot to the spindle. Hopefully that will allow us to evenly furl the sail onto the boom.
It took us a couple of tries to get the hook set. The first time we were locked down but after diving on the anchor I didn't like the way it was laying on its side and the point hooked to a small coral head. We weighed the anchor and then reset. This time we drig the hook for about 20 feet then it plowed itself into the sand and under a small coral head.
Then it was time for a nap so that we did and when we rose, I started to tackle the sail repair. More work to be done tomorrow. Then we can look for a good spot to snorkel and dive in this lagoon.
All for now and we will keep you all posted.
06/06/2012, 16 35'S:143 01'W, South Pacific
THE BIRTHDAY CAKE: Well it was a success. A new high for Lisa the chocolaholic now is a chocolemonaholic with Chocolate-Cafe' butter icing. Watch the butter melt in the tropics! Both on the cake and in your mouth. Not like an M&M because it will definately melt in your hands. Not only did we have some on her birthday but we shared some with friends last night. We have some batter left over for later in the month. Instead of a layer cake I think I will make it a chocolate-lemon swirl. Go ahead and drewel!
Atoll Raroia entry was somewhat uneventful. Although I don't think we ever did figure out when low slack really was. There was a bit of a boil in the channel even after waiting for an hour for it to settle down. Managed to get through the pass and headed for the village which is really only occupied when the workers are working the pearl farms. Charisma had came in the day before and thought there might be a good anchor spot just to their starboard side. The wind was blowing about 20kts and each time we set the hook in the sand it was drug for some 50 feet when we had to give up and try again. After the third time we figured the sand was only a thin layer over some old dead coral so we moved elsewhere. Got set the first time and waited with the engines running for about a half hour while I went into the water to check the hook. We had to take some extra precautions because there was a large bed of coral 100 feet directly behind us that was awash. We had set 4 to one with chain and added a fifth with the bridle so I felt pertty comfortable. While diving the anchor, I saw a 3 foot black tipped shark mosying along the bottom.
We invited Bob and Ann from Charisma over for dinner. They had caught a Mahi Mahi the day before so they brought over four large filet portions and we cooked up some sweet potatos and green beans. Had some brie, baguette, pate' and crackers as an appetizer and a few drinks and a good chat along with guess what??? BIRTHDAY CAKE. Both of us decided to depart today and head for Tahanea which is uninhabited so we will see how that goes working our way through the channel.
We had set an anchor alarm for a maximum movement of .01 nautical miles which is about 60 feet. The wind kept up pretty steady all evening and night, then at daybreak (5 am) decided to settle down to near nothing and that is when we drifted the furthest and the alarm went off. No harm as we just drifted right up on top of the anchor. With that we were awake, made some coffee and watched the sunrise before calling Charisma for our scheduled departure.
The nearest tide station was at an atoll called Makema some 60 miles to the West. We figured that the difference couldn't be much more than an hour so worked our way to the channel. As when we came in, there was a pretty good boil going and a set towards a reef which we managed to crab through. Charisma followed us and as Bob headed into the boil he too was pulled towards the reef and in correcting his position got a little sideways. He commented that it was quite sporting.
We are out in the ocean now and there is absolutely no wind. Will motor to try and stay on a tide timing for the next atoll tomorrow.
All for now.
Birthday Over now to an Atol
06/05/2012, 16 02.5'S:142 28.3'W, Raroea
Well we arrived a little after noon today. Had to wait on the changing tide that is located somewhere else. Made it through the pass against a 4.5 knot outflow with a little chop. None the worse to wear.
Took awhile to set the anchor. Sand over coral so it drug a bit with the help of a 20knot wind.
May be here two nights but if not them out of here tomorrow.
All for now
Happy Birthday to Me!
06/04/2012, 14 37.0'S:142 0.0'W, Pacific Ocean
Today was my birthday, and it was a really nice one. It started out with a cup of coffe (with a splash of Baileys of course). Then John surprised me with a gift! He gave me a Nuku Hiva refrigerator magnet (my favorite type of collectable!), and a necklace with a mantaray carved out of stone from the Marquesas - very beautiful! And totally unexpected! Since we spend just about every waking moment around each other I had no idea where and when he had gotten it. Some how he found time to buy it at a little store in Nuku Hiva while I was checking out the book exchange next door a few days ago. Then I opened my present from my girlfriends (Fran, Linda, Donna and Susan) - a sarong - it is perfect! Thank you Ladies! (Before we left in September, they gave John and I a box of gifts to get us through an entire year - so that we have something to open for all sorts of special occassions each month.) I have had my birthday package pulled out and sitting next to my bed for over a month - I was wondering what was in that package!
Then John baked me a birthday cake. Any guesses? Yes - it is chocolate. But also with a layer of lemon cake, with chocolate/coffee frosting. I will let you know how it is later once we eat it - but the batter was excellent! Then he caught a tuna this afternoon - so that is on the menu for dinner tonight. The weather today has been gorgeous - a 15 knot breeze off our port stern-quarter and we are just scootin along. We will probably shorten sail tonight and slow down quite a bit. We are about 100 miles out from Raroia (our first atoll landing), and at this rate it puts us in there at 4 in the morning - not an ideal time to run the passage into the lagoon. Slack tide is around noon tomorrow, so instead of bobbing around for 8 hours, we will just take it down a notch thru the night and take our time getting there. I couldn't ask for a better day - a perfect birthday to remember!