We Arrive in FP!
13 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Bungalow D Raiatea, French Polynesia
I cannot sleep on planes, especially in “regular” seats and not exit rows. In addition to the height problem that I have, the flight was bumpy the entire way, so I enjoyed three or four movies. We departed at midnight-30 and arrived at 0500 at Fa’a International Airport in Papeete, Tahiti. We were bushed! There’s a grogginess that sleep deprivation provides that disallows much constructive thought.
We negotiated French Polynesia Immigration and simply walked by Customs, so had no problem getting into the country everything that escaped removal by Air France. After an hour’s wait, we were able to board the commuter to Raiatea aboard the Air Tahiti flight. The flight itself is only 45 minutes or so, barely time to serve a cup of juice. The views of the Pacific, dotted by tiny islands, was spectacular. We were above the overcast and through breaks in the clouds we could make out the islands. The turboprop descended between Raiatea and Taha’a, then touched down at the airport.
The Air Tahiti magazine that I was reading on the flight had an interesting article on the history of air travel in the country, and the take-away was that it was very new. Seaplanes had been used in the country since the 1920s, but the first airstrip in the country was the US military strip on Bora Bora, and as it was the only strip until the 1980s, Bora Bora was the entry point. I did not know! Since then, most island have acquired strips of their own, but schooners are still used to carry people and supplies among the islands. Interesting.
My friend, Peter, mentioned that the cleaner that Air France confiscated, had no chlorine in it, but that it was made by Clorox, a mistake that could easily be made by a non-English speaker. Damn! It was up to us to make sure that we knew what was in each material and provide an MSDS for questionable items. Peter, thanks for the heads-up and you were right. I did go to the Clorox site to confirm it.
Raihau, the nice young manager of Pension Tiare Nui was waiting for us at the Raiatea airport, with a tiny Fiat. We loaded our many boxes and drove to our tiny bungalow, the only one of the available four in which we had not stayed.
We were so totally spent that we unloaded the vehicle and immediately took a multi-hour nap. I pulled myself together to go visit the boat after a few hours, but Conni was out for the count.
Wings is in good shape, overall. I walked around her and noted that a forward, port-side stanchion seemed to hanging from the lifelines. My thought was that it might be been bent through a collision during moving, but also knew that the stanchions are held in their mounts with simple machine screws, and losing a screw might have allowed it to lift. I climbed aboard.
Below decks, she has the mildewy smell of a boat that’s been in storage: not a difficult thing to imagine. Her bilge had some water in it but not much. Her batteries were being charged and were sitting at 13.2V, a great reading. She was dry below, with no damage to gear and no obvious leak stains. I checked the stanchion and found an interesting thing. The bottom several of inches were corroded off! Stainless steel is only stainless when it’s in an oxygen atmosphere, and the bottom of the stanchion was in a mount, and water must have collected and simply allowed corrosion to take the end of the tubing. I inquired later and we can just weld another bottom on the tube and re-insert the tube in the mount.
We’re in French Polynesia. Wings looks to be in decent shape. We’re tired to the point of giddiness but are both OK.
More in the…yawn…morning.