Day 2, 14 May
14 May 2017 | Pension Tiare Nui, Raiatea, French Polynesia
It was a good day and we accomplished a great deal.
As an aside, the roosters are back with a vengeance and I thought that their numbers were down. Nope. They’re as many as ever and at least as noisy I remember. Damn, I hate roosters!
After our arrival at the boat, we unpacked and got to work. I forgot to mention that yesterday, in my usual perusal of our radio collection, both the VHF and SSB performed flawlessly. Excellent! I was particularly impressed by the SSB since I was able to connect with the SailMail station in San Diego, and that’s a LONG way from here. Our AIS antenna was not in place, so perhaps that was the reason that we were not able to acquire a location from that system. I have a help request in to EmTrak in Great Britain.
I stowed all of my electrical terminals so I’m restocked for a few legs. West Marine sells Ancor, a fine brand, but I can’t always find what I need. Anchorage’s own Polar Wire has a fine stock of excellent terminals, too.
Our primary fuel filter is a Racor. The fuel here is commonly contaminated, so we’ve had fuel problems off and on, for some time. I have learned to change just the filter in fewer than 10 seconds (measured time!) but often I need to remove the bowl on the filter housing to remove the collected gunk and water. The housing is attached to the mounting wall by slot-head machine screws that must be accessed by another person. If the filter clogs and needs to be cleaned, it’s a safety issue to get it done since I need help and Conni is at the wheel sailing us out of trouble. I’ve been working on a mount that doesn’t require this help, and finally designed one this last year, and fabricated it. I was working from drawings that I found on-line since the filter is far out of production. Evidently, I did well, because I bolted it on and all of the holes fit! Hurray! I expected some alignment problems but had none. I’m very happy with the design and since I was working only with hand tools, I was pleased that the holes aligned and everything worked as designed. I do have to add some fuel hose, of course, since the mount places the filter housing a bit higher, but I brought fuel hose splices just for that purpose. Everything like that is English units, but everything here is metric, of course. It’s that pre-planning that’s so difficult when we plan a project. Every nut, bolt, and fitting must be considered, purchased, and brought with us.
Since I’ll be bathing in diesel anyway, I’ll also replace the failed electric fuel pump that we use to prime the system. The original was 32 years old, so we got our money’s worth, but it still needed to be replaced. I finally found the new version of the pump, so it should be a bolt-in operation, plus some spilled diesel fuel. I also brought some sorbent sheets for the job, too, since they’re not available here.
Many other items are difficult to find, such as fuel conditioner and stabilizer, and biocide. Since the boat’s laid up so much, it’s critical to add stabilizer and conditioner to the fuel, and biocide as well. None of these products are available in the Pacific, so we must bring them with us, illegally of course.
Conni got two halyards re-rove: spinnaker and staysail. She’ll get the main, jib, and main sheet rove tomorrow.
She also completed the polishing of the stainless tubing in the cockpit so we are able to re-mount the two solar panels. I got them re-connected so we’re solar powered again!
I was having a terrible time with replacing the starboard cockpit speaker, so Conni lent a competent hand and got ‘er done. I had caulk EVERYWHERE! I do hate dealing with the stuff, but it must be done at times. To add to the problem, I had brought two tubes of the proper caulk and one was hard and unusable. Damn! It should have been culled at West Marine, but I should have checked. I spread so much around the boat, on us, and on the speaker, that we had to take acetone to clean things. It’s not my favorite chemical but all we had. The speaker is installed and it works, and the cockpit is clean again. Well done, Conni! She was patient and kept fooling with the alignment of speaker, homemade mount and cover, and the hole in the wall into which the speaker fits. It was not obvious at all, and when I disassembled it, I missed that point. I should have made some marks before proceeding but missed it. Again, way to go, Conni!
Interestingly, our AC charger got the batteries, temporarily at least, to full charge today. The sign that it has occurred is that our battery monitor has four green lights and the fourth one blinks. We had “green flash”, as we call it, early today: an auspicious way to start a leg.
More tomorrow. I'm tired.