07/12/2011, Oponohu Bay, Moorea
It's been quite a while since I posted a blog so I hope this will get you caught up on what has been happening since the past post. Wednesday of last week, the Yacht Club manager came by our boat to see when we would be checking out as he had other boats that were coming in and since we had told them we would only be a week on the buoy, he wanted to know when it would be free. With that nice kick in the butt, we decided to forgo some of the jobs we had planned (nothing important) and get out of town and head back to Moorea. So we checked out the next day and headed out for the island. We'd thought to delay by one more day as the weather forecast wasn't the best and for once it proved right. We ran into 35 knot winds out of the east--we were going west so that was fine and a bout of showers, one after another all day long. It would pour and then stop and then start all over again for most of the trip. In the end, it was about 25 miles to get over here and when we arrived, we looked at the cove where we had anchored during the Puddle Jump Rally and decided it wasn't the place for us as it was still blowing at 35 knots and while our Duogen would have loved it, it was a bit to much for us. So we just kept on going up into the bay and finally dropped anchor near the head of the bay in pretty much calm water. We had four other boats already here so we made it to five. Four more boats came in after us and decided to join us at our anchorage since it was still blowing at the outside of the bay. By the end of the day, we were up to nine boats. It's a really big bay so there was no problem.
On Friday, we decided to go and visit the Stingray City. This is a small section off the main bay up a channel that has a large number of "tame" sting rays in a small area of water. It's a huge attraction on the island with numerous tour boats taking lots of tourists to see, feed and pet the sting rays. When we arrived, there were two tourist boats there as well as two other dingies. We all joined in with the tourists and were swamped by the rays. When I jumped into the water, one immediately came up to me and literally swam up the front of my shirt looking for food. They were all around us. Well over a dozen. Far more tourists than rays but who is counting. Every one was having a great time with them. As we fed them, a group of three black tipped sharks joined in the group to see what they could get-- food wise. After a good hour and a half, we finally piled back into Puff(our dingy) and headed back to Zephyr. It was an amazing experience literally swimming with the rays and sharks and being perfectly safe.
Saturday, we headed over to Cooks Bay, about two miles east of here through a narrow marked channel inside the coral reef that surrounds Moorea. The charts say its a safe trip with a nice deep channel but we hit coral with our outboard twice as we rounded the top of the island. No damage but quite unnerving when it happened. We ran into some folks that had made the crossing that we had originally met in Mexico and they clued us into the place to go for a cheap lunch as well as places to tie up our dingy where she would be safe. The Bali Hai Restaurant and Resort was even having a tattoo fair with lots of tattoo artists showing and doing their work. Just about every stall, and there were lots of them had some one getting another tattoo. We both passed. We toured Cooks Bay(didn't take long) and headed back to Zephyr with a few goods from the local store. We took it quite slowly on our return trip and missed hitting any coral. When we arrived up into the bay where we were anchored, we were greeted by two, yes, two Liberty boats. They only made 35 of them so counting us(though not legally a Liberty) it was great to see some of our children since our boat was the first We motored over to Hakulea to introduce ourselves. Jake and Jackie have had her for 6 years and have been living on board one boat or another for most of the last 15 years. They had been clued in by Evergreen(anther Liberty)that we were some where out in the islands. As we chatted, we were joined by Bill off Solstice, the other Liberty. These two boats have been traveling together for a long time as the owners have been close friends for years. Jake and Jackie decided we should have a Liberty Party on Sunday evening. Drinks would be served at 1630. We've seen several Liberties during our travels but have never been in an anchorage with two at once.
We spend Sunday cleaning Zephyr as just about every business on the island is closed. We started at the bow and slowly worked our way to the stern. We scrubbed and polished and stowed and picked up and cleaned both inside as well as outside. The party on Sunday evening was great. It was wonderful seeing the differences and changes that had taken place over the years as the boats went into production. There were some things we liked and some we didn't . We all decided that we should have the party on Monday evening so everyone could see how the Liberty boats started. What was added and what was left out after our prototype was made. We spent most of Monday continuing the cleaning(Zephyr has to make a good appearance) with more polishing and scrubbing. By the afternoon she looked great. At 1630, Jake, Jackie and Bill all came over for the party as well as the tour. Within 40 minutes it started raining. First just some sprinkles but still annoying. We gathered up our things and drinks and headed below. Then it really started pouring. No one was going anywhere. We traded stories about our boats and ourselves and had a great time. By 1930, it was still raining so Tracy decided to make Chicken Curry with rice for the entire group. It was a great meal with a nice big bottle of wine to go with it. More stories were told and the evening came out great. About 2130, it finally let up enough that they could get off Zephyr without getting soaked. It did start to sprinkle as they boarded their dingy. It rained though most of the rest of the night. All in all, it was a great evening.
Both Solstice and Hakulea had decided to head for Cooks Bay this morning(Tuesday) to see it. We made arrangements to see Bill's boat Solstice before they took off. Again, lots of subtle changes as the boat were made. Again, some we liked and some we didn't. Once we finished the tour, we took off for shore and headed for the bus stop so we could take a nice bus tour of the island. We were passed by a bus heading east but saw it to late to get it to stop. The next bus we saw as headed west so we jumped on board. We got off at La Petite Village(a small town along the coast) and toured the town and had a nice lunch. We waited for the next to continue our trip but the next bus that was headed west zoomed right past us with the driver waving at us as he passed. He didn't want to stop so he didn't. Not knowing the schedule, we finally decided to hike back to Zephyr about 1430 figuring we could grab a bus as it passed us. Every bus that passed us, and there were few of them, just kept right on going with a wave to us. Not a one would stop. We finally got back to Puff(our dingy) about 1730 as the Sun was setting. It was a long hike to get back here. I'm sure we will pay for it tomorrow(heck we are already hurting now). Tomorrow, we plan in heading out to the other anchorage as the winds have let up some and make another trip down to see the sting rays again. When I get internet, I'll post some of the photos we took of our trip.
07/05/2011, Papeete, Tahiti
We've finally seen the real island of Tahiti and what a sight it is. We signed up for a 4 X 4 off road trip up into the mountains for last Saturday and had a great time. Two guides picked us up about 0945 at the Yacht Club and we headed out on a converted four wheel drive pick up truck with a big bed on the back with bench seating for about 8 people. We were the only two for this trip!! We had it all to our selves. We stopped at the Radison Hotel to see if there was anyone else interested but we ended up being the only two for the trip. As we sat in the back of the truck, we talked about Tahiti and all the changes it has gone through in these guys life times. As recent as ten years ago, the Tahitian language was forbidden in schools. It has gone through a reawakening since then and is now allowed and is even encouraged. Many of the old traditions that had been thought lost are now coming back(cannabalism not included). One of our guides has four part time jobs to make ends meet as it is so expensive.
We rounded the north top of the island and headed inland up into the mountains. They have installed a traffic light at the beginning of the road to let people know if they are allowed to go up it. Apparently, there has been a big problem with locals going up into the mountains and playing loud music and getting drunk. The police are trying to discourage it any way they can. While the light was red when we got there, as a tour we headed up anyway. Now the road we were traveling on was just built about 1997 so that the French government could build three hydro electric plants along the river that flows out of the valley. The two men we had as our guides could not have been nicer. Being just the two of us, we stopped along the road to take lots of pictures. We saw an incredible waterfall ahead of us across the valley towering far into the mountain side. The guides wanted to know if we wanted to hike up to it. DUH!!! You betcha! We turned off the road a short time later and headed for the river. We locked everything in the truck(theft is a problem with the economy being so bad) and the guides cut down(they carry a machete) some small trees to make walking sticks for all four of us and we headed out. One of the guides looked at Tracys feet and decided her shoes(flip flops) were not good for the hike so he took off his shoes and gave them to her to use. The other guide wasn't even wearing shoes. These guys have tough feet!!! Over the rocks and through the water we went. Up the stream from the waterfall and up the hill. I think the guys were amazed that we did so well climbing the hills and streams. About 30 minutes later we arrived at the base of the falls. WOW!!! What a rush. The water was falling so fast that it created a huge rush of wind from the base of the falls. Water and spray were everywhere as well as the crashing sounds of the water hitting the pool and rocks at the bottom. It was amazing. One of the guides as well as Tracy went all the way up to the pool. I took pictures with our water proof camera. After a while discussing these falls--known as Princess Falls, we headed back. One of the guides comes here off and on just to relax and get in touch with nature and the Gods of the valley. Once back at the truck, we headed farther up into the hills. There was a tarp over the top of the sitting area in the back and they offered to remove it so we could see better. Off it came and we stood on the seats hanging on for dear life as we headed up the road. While it is a concrete road, there were lots of pot holes along the way. It was an amazing trip seeing what the valley was really about as trees whipped past our heads as we made our way South into the heart of the volcanic valley that formed Tahiti millions of years ago. We saw all three of the hydro electric plants along the way. Before they were built, they used diesel powered generators for electricity.
We stopped for lunch at the Maroto Hotel. We'd packed a lunch of cheese, Summer Sausage and French bread along with some cokes. We lounged around for a while and toured the small grounds of the hotel. This place was built back in the mid 90's for the construction crews that built the hydro electric plants. It would have been a long trip back and forth to their homes each day with out it. Even though it is only about 15 years old, it looks like it was built 40 years ago and the elements--water and wind--in the valley had done a job on it. Rust is every where along with moss clinging to everything. It is truly an out of the way place. It does have satellite TV, but it is a place to really rest and relax as you are out in the middle of no where up there.
We took off again heading farther up into the mountains and their sheer rock sides to a tunnel near the top. It was literally bored through the mountain side. At about 100 yards long, it was amazing to drive through with lots of water seeping through to top of the tunnel. As we came out the other side, it was like we had entered another world and moved to a different island. While the North section of the island was all sunny and covered with lots of vegetation, the South side was enshrouded in clouds with the look of rain. Even more moss and waterfalls with a huge fresh water lake(the only one on the island) near the bottom. While the signs along the road told us we were approaching a 15% to 20% incline on the road, let me tell you, their protractors are WAY OFF!!! We hit grades approaching 40 percent in many places. It was everything the poor truck could do to get down as well as back up the road. There were numerous culverts in the road for the water that falls along the roadside to get past the road with out washing it out. We declined slowly into the valley. We parked at the bottom near the lake and the two of us hiked along a small road(term used loosely) to the lake. As the water from the hills came across the "road" it made large patches of mud and muck to walk through. It got so deep at some times that it sucked the shoes right off Tracys feet. The back of her pants had a nice covering of mud as she walked along. Since she was wearing a swim suit, she pealed off her pants and stuck them under the falling water to get them clean. It was an amazing valley truly in the heart of Tahiti.
We were now close to the South edge of the island and figured we would just continue to the main road. Oh no, that's not the way it works in the island. One land owner in the valley owns the right to the land that the road covers and he doesn't allow anyone to use the road to get out of the valley. Try that in the US and see what happens. So we reversed course and headed back up the mountain side towards the tunnel the same way we had entered. It was just as amazing on the way out as it was on the way in.
When we left the hotel after lunch, one of the guides stayed behind and we were joined by one of the local girls for the trip in. When we returned to the hotel, our second guide wasn't back yet(he's headed up into the hills I guess) so we took off again(with a new girl) and headed back for town. I guess the second guide will find his own way back to town. As back in the mountains as this is, there was really no shortage of trucks going in and out of the mountains. We finally got back to Yacht Club about 1830 after a marvelous day in the mountains. We have now seen the real Tahiti and not just the big city of Papeete. What a difference a few miles makes.
One thing I forgot, as we made our way along the road, stopping from time to time, we came across wild raspberry plants. The berries are not as hairy as what we have back home, but one of the last things we thought we would see was a raspberry bush in Polynesia.
It's time to get caught up on what has been happening on board and ashore while we have been here in Papeete as well as Moorea.
Well, it took a week but we finally tracked down some people that could fix our poor alternator. It's the one that charges the batteries for all the house electrical needs--lights, refrigerator, fans, etc. It took a lot of walking and asking questions and help from the kind locals to get just the help we needed. In the end, it took two companies to get the job done. One rewound all the stator wires in the alternator(don't ask me what it does) and the second to put it all together again and test it to make sure what the first company did worked and fixed the problem.
Now here is the real problem here in Tahiti. No one uses address nor in many instances puts signs out in front of their business. Their business cards only list a phone number but not where they are. Street names change every now and then as you walk down them. If you call and ask for directions, they tell you to go to a particular round about(big intersection) and turn right, go past a certain store and on the right is a branch of a bank, turn left at the next corner and go 100 meters and you will be at the store. They can't seen to grasp the concept of "We're located at 1700 Remparts Ave." Most times, with no sign out front(there may be a sign inside the store) you have to look in windows and doors to see what some places do. The people that rewound the stator wire couldn't give me an address as to where to go to get the alternator put back together so they took me in their car(not going to happen in the US). Sure enough, no sign out front, just a bunch of tour busses. In this country, you have to know where to go to get things fixed.
So anyway, the alternator is fixed and stowed away under the port settee cushion. As a good cruiser, I keep a spare on board at all times and with the old one out, I installed the new one so we could at least start the engine if need be. Since there was a party and rally set for June 24th through the 26 both here in Papeete as well as over in Moorea, we needed to make sure our engine would start so we could get over there. There was a big party at the Mayor's office in Papeete on the 24th for all the "Puddle Jumpers" that made it across from the mainland. Drinks, talks, stories as well as dances put on by "natives" put on a heck of a show. There were well over 100 of us that showed up for the festivities.
On Saturday, a "Rally" was held for all of us that wanted to go over to Moorea for more partying and games as well as to experience lots of the native culture(food and dancing). Now it wasn't a "race" but they sure ran it like one. Tracy and I have never been in an organized race in all the years that we have been sailing. It's just not our thing. Here we were in a crowd of 39 boats all floating around near the mouth of Papeetes harbor waiting for the horn to blow before we could take off. It was a mad house since they changed the start times without telling most of the cruisers. We got there an hour before the race was to start so we just sat. There was just about no wind so everyone was motoring around in circles just trying to stay away from the other boats. Once the "Rally"(race) started, we all took off---in the wrong direction. The wind was right from Moorea so none of us could head for the island and with it only being about 3 to 5 knots, we were going the wrong direction slowly. After about 90 minutes we, as well as the majority of the rest of the boats. gave up and started our motors again and just headed to the island. Nine boats held out and actually sailed all the way. It took them the rest of the day to get there.
The party was great with lots of dancing by the "natives" as well as a big spread of food that is typical of the islands. God help them if this is what they have to live on. Most we couldn't identify. There was a pumpkin dish that was more of a gelatinous goo that you had to cut with a knife and was tough to get down. Hard to describe everything that was served. Games--canoes races, stone lifting, banana carry races were held through the afternoon with everyone retiring to their boats for a late dinner.
On Monday, we headed back to the Yacht Club since we had made arrangements to get our new "start" batteries on Tuesday morning. As will always be the case, the wind was right at us so we had to motor all the way back to Papeete--21 miles, in 25 to 30 knot winds with water coming over the bow. That was tough but we couldn't put up the mainsail as while we were on the way to Moorea, I found that the bottom two grommets that hold the sail to the mast had begun to tear out of the sail. I was going to have to take them all the way out and stitch in two new ones. I'd learned how to do it while we were in Port Townsend three years ago. Now I was going to get to put into practice what I had been taught. That is one of tomorrows projects.
For this last week, we have been doing other projects as well as going into town to get more parts and supplies. On Tuesday, I walked into town to buy the much needed "start" batteries. I'd found the store with the help of our agent here in Papeete(got us checked in with Customs). Again, no address was given. She drew an X on the map as to where they were(sort of). I'd visited the store the previous Thursday to see what they had. The salesman that helped me even promised that he would deliver them to the yacht club since he saw that I was walking. He even gave me 15% off the cost of the batteries!!!! I was at the store promptly on Tuesday morning and bought the batteries. He loaded them into his truck and delivered them and myself back to the club. Good luck getting that kind of service in the United States!! I got the batteries changed out that afternoon. Unlike the US, there is no "core charge" for the batteries. You take the old ones ashore and some one comes by once a week or so and picks them up and takes them to the recycle station.
I strapped on our scuba tanks on Wednsday and headed down to the propellor to replace all the zincs on the prop as well as the rudder. They had been replaced while we were in Puerto Vallarta and needed to be replace again. They are good for about four months. These little jewels(cost a bunch) help keep the sea water from attacking the stainless steel parts of the boat that are under water. It's lots cheaper to replace a zinc than a big hunk of stainless steel. While diving, we found that both of our inflatable vests that hold the air tanks had developed leaks so now we get to fix them. It just goes on and on fixing things out here but that's just the way of the cruising lifestyle. As soon as you fix one thing, another will break. You just hope that what breaks is small.
Our plan is to take an off road 4 X 4 tour today up into the mountains to see the back lands of Tahiti and swim in one of the mountain lakes. It's an all day trip so it will be fun to see some of Tahiti other than the down town sections of Papeete.
With luck, we hope to be out of here and on our way back to Moorea(to really see the island) on Monday. We still have a few repairs to do plus topping off our fuel tanks(for what we used on the trip to Moorea) as well as filling the water tanks again. Add in a trip to the local grocery store for the last minute supplies of food and we will be ready to get out of here again. Westward again to see more of the Society Islands. We've already checked out with Customs so we just have to let our agent know where we are from time to time till we "officially" leave their islands by August 8th(when our visa expires).
06/21/2011, Tahiti Yacht Club
As I said in my last post, it's expensive here. We just got back from a trip to Cost & Co for stuff from Costco. Here is our tally. If you have time, the next time you are at Costco, take a look and let us know how they stack up against US prices.
1. Kirtland Tellic Pepper Grinder $10.00
2. Kirtland Tortilla Strips $10.00
3. Nabisco Oreo cookies $12.50 These come in long tubes, not the small packs that hold 8 cookies. These look like Ritz crackers.
4. Bisquick 96 oz box $15.62
5. Country Time lemonade mix $13.12
6. H.K Anderson Peanut Butter Pretzels $15.00
All in all, it totaled to about $76.00 for those 6 items. It takes a lot of money to get stuff to the islands and boy, don't we know it.
06/21/2011, Tahiti Yacht Club
Some observations about Tahiti. First, it's EXPENSIVE!!! We stopped in at the local McDonalds(2 on the island). It was packed with customers. A Big Mac combo--not the super size one--runs over $9.00US. Now that might seem outrageous but that is on the cheap side for food here in the islands. The "Snack"(what they call restaurants here)at the marina charges 1400 francs for a decent meal. At 80 francs per dollar, that puts it at $17.50 for a meal. Now that included six small ribs and some French fries. Drinks(Pepsi) at 280 francs comes in at $3.50. Lest you think that because it is near the marina that it is expensive, yesterday, we ate at one of the "Snacks" that is no where near the main roads of Papeete and it was 1300 francs($16.25US) for two chicken wings and a part of a thigh plus a good bit of stir fry rice. Tracy had a beef stew sort of thing with mashed potatoes(same price). With two cokes, the bill came to just under $40.00US and that was just for lunch. Books say that to save money, eat where the locals eat. Well, this place was full of locals. Hardly a table was empty.
Grocery shopping here is sort of a hit or miss expedition. They have two Cost & CO's here. Put it together and it works out to Costco. Well, sort of. They are quite small but carry lots of things from Costco so it's like being home--sort of. The selection isn't that good and the prices are higher but it's all things we are used to from home. The local Carrifor markets are just like being home but again, we're on an island and everything has to get shipped in so not only is freight involved, but the government tacks on a healthy chunk of taxes to help support the local infrastructure.
The bus system is again, sort of hit or miss. Most are smaller style trucks that are all independently owned and operated. They start when they want--normally about 0630 and quit when they feel like it. There is no schedule. If you see one and it seems to be going where you want to go, get on. It's 100 francs($1.25)for a non air conditioned ride. If you wait for the bigger buses, they run 130 francs($1.62). The drivers are great and will normally ask you where you are going since they figure you are a tourist and they don't want you getting lost. Our driver yesterday stopped right beside the Yacht Club on the trip out from town since we told her where we were headed. Some of the other cruisers just hang out a thumb and hitch rides.
Boat parts are tough to find especially if you know what you need or want. When we pulled into the Tahiti Yacht Club(where we are currently moored) the alternator that charges the house bank of batteries decided to up and die. It would only put out 13 volts and about 8 amps. No where near what we need to keep our system up and running smoothly. Now the great folks here at the club had told us that when we hooked up to the mooring ball, we were good till Saturday. We'd come in on Thursday so we were set for two days. Then we found out that the alternator was dead. With that being the case, we were dead in the water. We talked to Dave on SV Soggy Paws about our problem. He fixes everything on his boat--even alternators. He offered to fix ours!!! We met at 1600 at the local hangout and started taking it apart to see if we could find out what the problem was. Tracy was the first to see that the stater wires(help make the power) was charred in one spot. It is supposed to be nice and shiny like it's covered in lacquer. Ours was not. We checked the diodes and they were fine so we knew there was no way we could fix that kind of a problem. We stopped in on Friday morning to let the office know our problem and that there was no way we could leave our mooring. They were very understanding and had to make allowances because of that. They had numerous reservations from other boats that were coming in but things happen. Friday morning, we had an appointment(at 0900) with our agent that is to get us "officially" checked into Tahiti. There was a breakdown in communications so it had to be put off till Monday(yesterday). We'd taken off the old alternator and headed into town to get it rebuilt. We read in one of the local guides that there was a shop in town called Dieselec that specializes in alternators. Now the busses only take you to the center of town. Their shop was way out on the North side of town so with the alternator in my backpack, we started hiking. Please keep in mind that it's about 85 degrees, sunny and the humidity was at about 85 percent. I sweat like a pig as it is so I was dripping during our hike. When we got to Dieselec, he said that he couldn't fix it as he didn't have any of the stater wires BUT, I could hike over to their retail outlet where they did have boat alternators. Off we went, getting there only to be told(he spoke some English and I some French) that they don't carry boat alternators. Say what, the last guy I talked to even checked with one of the people that works there that they did have boat alternators. Oh well, I got directions to another shop(Ocean 2000) that was just a few blocks down the road. We got there just as they closed for lunch. Here's the way shopping works in Tahiti as it does in most of the islands. The stores open at 0730 and close at 1130 till 1300 for lunch. There is no way to shop on your lunch hour and a half. Everywhere is closed, except the restaurants(Snacks). We walked down the street looking for a Snack since we had plenty of time to kill. We saw some smoke coming from under an awning and headed over to see what they had. We bought a half of a chicken along with fries plus two pieces of chocolate cake for 1440 francs. That works out to $18.00 for a great lunch. Add on two soft drinks from the local grocer at $2.12 each and this lunch came in at about $22.00. That makes it the cheapest meal since we arrived and one of the best tasting.
At 1300, we made it back to Ocean 2000 only to find out that while they did have alternators, they didn't have one that works on a 12 volt system with an external regulator. They recommended another place for us to try. Off we went, getting to pass the first store we had already stopped in at. I stopped in again to discuss their stores lack of boat alternators. He assured me that they did have boat alternators and couldn't understand what the confusion was. With that being said, we took off for the next recommended shop getting there just as they were locking their door. They were nice enough to let us in seeing us soaked through in sweat. While they don't fix alternators, he know a guy that knew a guy that he felt sure could fix it. With that being said, I handed him the alternator and we turned to leave. Seeing that we were walking, he offered us a lift back into town. Not a tough decision to make. He dropped us off right at the bus stop. A short time later, we were back at the Yacht Club and on board Zephyr. Unfortunately, I made one mistake. The pulley for our alternator was still attached to the alternator. I needed it. As a cruiser, you never leave home without a good supply of parts. One that we carry is a back up alternator. If I had the pulley, I could put in the replacement and we would be up and running. Rats!!!
Saturday morning, we took off for town again to get to the shop that had the alternator to get that pulley off. Tracy stayed at the big downtown market since she didn't need to make the long hike to the shop. When I got there, another gentleman that worked there got the alternator and I went at it. To get the wheel off, you have to stick an allen wrench into the end of the bolt and a big wrench then unscrews the nut. At least is a perfect world it does. Not this time. I pushed and pulled. Banged on it with a hammer. Put it in a vice and banged on it all with no success. I gave up after a while and thanked the man as he had tried to help me get it off also. Back to down town(another hike) to meet up with Tracy and have lunch. This time, we stopped in a one of the local food vendors in the market(there are dozens to choose from) and got our food. I had a sort of lamb stew(bones included) with rice and Tracy had a chicken dish with rice also. While the food was great(as was the price) it was one of the slowest meals I have ever eaten as I had to pick out the bones with each mouth full. Back to Zephyr we went.
Sunday, we did more chores aboard as the bus service stops for the sabbath. Monday, we took off again to the shop that had our alternator. He'd made his contacts and told us of a place that could rewind the stator wires for us and it wasn't too far away. We got the alternator and took off again. After some conversations with some locals at one of gates, we found the place. Three people were working on one really big alternator while a fourth was sitting at a table winding wire around someone else's stator. No one really spoke English so it was sort of point and try it with hand gestures as to what we wanted to do---get that darn pulley wheel off the alternator. He showed us to a big vice and we went at it. He would have helped but he was tied up with the other alternator. We banged on it again, even adding some lubricants to get it to come undone all with no success. We left them the stater and took off for the first place we had visited last Friday. They stuck it in a vice and used an impact driver and it came right off. Now we at least had the pulley wheel. We were making progress. We dropped off the rest of the alternator at the fix it shop and headed off again. We had other boat supply stores to visit. After an afternoon of more walking, we made it back to Zephyr late in the afternoon.
This morning, I started in at getting the replacement alternator installed. An hour or so later, it was all installed and up and running and making amps and volts like it is supposed to. It's blowing in the high teens again as I type this so the DuoGen is loving it making lots of good volts for the batteries. We'd run our Honda generator earlier since our batteries were low but now we are letting the wind give us power and get the batteries charged.
Time to stop. I've ranted long enough. We will pile into Puff and head to shore to make a run to Cost & CO for some supplies. We will probably get wet, but that's the cruisers life for you.
More to come.
06/15/2011, Point Venus, Tahiti
We've finally made it to Tahiti arriving in Point Venus about 1300 today after a 48 hour trip marked by numerous rain squalls as well as some big blows and some times of no wind at all. A real mix of what Mother Nature can throw at you. We got hit yesterday by one really nasty swell that came out of no where and put us just about on our side. If it wasn't tided down or wedged in, it came our flying across the cabin. I can't remember a time where we got pushed over further and the weather wasn't that bad at the time. It was just one of those "rogue waves" that everyone talks about.
We've now covered 4238 miles since we left La Cruz, Mexico back on April 9(I think) and logged over 960 just since we left the Marquesas. Last year, we were about to leave San Carlos, Mexico for Colorado and two years ago we were just about to arrive in Juneau, Alaska. Time flies and sure do the miles under our keel. We're coming up on 13,000 miles since we left Port Townsend in early April of 2009. Take off the time we spent in Colorad last Summer(almost 6 months) and we've squeezed a lot of miles into just a bit over 20 months.
There is a party thrown by the French government next week for all the Puddle Jumpers and a sailing rally from Papeete to Moorea to add to the festivities. It will be fun to see all of the other boaters that left La Cruz for the jump.
One of the Puddle Jumpers ended up on a reef at the South pass of Fakarava(one of the atolls we visited. They were lucky enough to get it off but we haven't heard what damage they had. Hopefully very little. There aren't too many place out here where you can just pull in for a quick fix. We were lucky today and avoided what could have been a really big problem. As we were pulling into Point Venus, I went forward to get our anchor ready for dropping. Here is the way our anchor is set set up. You have the anchor attached with a shackle to a swivel that attaches to the chain with a pin held on with a cotter pin. As I looked down inspecting the entire assembly, I saw that there just just about nothing left of the cotter pin. It had rusted away to just about nothing. I went below and got a box of our collection of cotter pins and headed back to the anchor. All I did was tap on the pin and it fell right out on the deck. If this had happened while it was in the water, the pin that holds the chain to the swivel would have most likely fallen out and we would have been left adrift in the water. With most places we have visited in the last few weeks being nothing but water and big coral heads and reefs, it would not have been a happy ending. It's the little things like that that can really ruin your day if they aren't caught in time.
So here we sit putting things away and cleaning up and washing with fresh water many things on deck that have some salt water in them so they won't smell after being put in storage till the next time they are needed. We will probably stay here till Friday and then up the anchor and head into Papeete and get formally checked into the islands. Getting checked in in the Marquesas isn't good enough I guess.
We've finally made the dream trip of many sailors and I know that there is no way I could have made it with out my wife being there by my side. It's more that just a trip, it's an endurance test not only for the equipment on your boat, but also for for the people involved in the journey. I'm just glad she was there for me.