Work Day 1
13 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
We were exhausted so didn’t arise with dawn’s breaking, I promise!
Last night, after 4 years here on Raiatea, we finally visited a nearby Italian restaurant, Napoli. They advertise pizza, and that they open for business at 6:30. When did we arrive? 6:00. We were 30 minutes early but didn’t realize until we walked in and they were all scurrying around trying to prepare the place for guests. We chose to sit in front of the pizza chef and probable owner as he pulled wads of homemade pizza dough from a cooler, rolled them out with a practiced hand, loaded them on a pizza spatula, then into a wood-fired brick oven. Wow! From the cold wad of dough to loading a finished pizza into the oven was a matter of minutes. The Napoli, the restaurant’s namesake pizza, had cheese, tomato sauce, ham, black olives, and a raw egg on top. Of course, it wasn’t cheap, but nothing in French Polynesia is. The chef, by the way, has piles of hardwood stacked and drying in the back of the restaurant, and I have no idea what the source might be. He does it all, with help from what we imagine is his family.
For dinner we had a large beer each (our first draft Hinano), a lovely Salad Nicoise, and the Pizza Napoli. We were sated. After paying up, we drove the 100 yards home and fell into bed, asleep before 8:30. We awakened 12 hours later and both of us felt refreshed.
Weather was not great for boat work, but we did what we could. I got the propeller lubricated and a few light tasks done, but many of the larger tasks either required two people or more space in which to work. To kill a diesel engine, an electrical switch will not do: there’s no electrical system! To stop a diesel, one must stop fuel from flowing into the injectors, and on this and most diesels, that’s done by pulling a lever on the injector pump. A solenoid does the job, and ours went out a few years ago and I’ve been unable to find a replacement. By happenstance, I decided to remove the old solenoid and carried it home where, on inspection, I found a manufacturer’s mark: Electtrostart in Italy! After some email and Paypal exchanges, they shipped what we all think is the correct unit and I got it installed today. By fit it’s a perfect match. Without the engine running, I can’t be sure, of course, but we both hope that it is the right one.
Conni was as surprised as I about the corroded stanchion, and agreed with my tentative solution.
She worked on the cockpit stainless for several hours today and we’ll get the solar panels mounted and out of the cabin. They’re large and delicate, so we’ll be glad to get them mounted.
The most important thing today was that the boat was in fantastic condition below decks! It was dry and very clean, although the musty oder will take some time to dissipate. Conni was complimentary about my de-commissioning job, as well. I was pleased since I had worked very hard to prepare the boat for her rest.
For dinner, Conni whipped up cassoulet, a French version of “beanie weinies” and very good. With plenty of liquid to replenish what we sweated out, we’re in much better shape, now. Our bungalow is primitive by the standards of many, but it has air conditioning, solar hot water, and a kitchen. The primitive part included no screens, slatted floors so you can see through them. no hot water other than the solar hot water in any sink, and very cramped quarters. Still, it’s not bad.
And they have roosters! Not as many as in past years, but they’re a damned nuisance anyway. If I had a hammer…