10 June 2017 | Fare Lagoon, Huahine, French Polynesia
Our first set of visitors arrive tomorrow on the flight from Papeete to Fare airport. We made arrangements for a taxi to meet them, although it’s bloody expensive. At any rate, we’ll awaken early and I’ll take the dinghy to town and hop in the taxi to meet them at 8AM. Sheesh, I’m barely awake by 8AM! My sister, Debbie, and her French husband, Philippe, arrive tomorrow for 10 days on the boat. When they depart, our second set of guests arrive, Nate and Val. When they depart, Wings goes into the yard and the trip is over. Tonight is our last night with just the two of us.
We ran through some errands today, got ten more gallons of water, and grabbed some groceries. I had put teak plugs into some screw holes in our teak decks, and today the glue was dried so I could use a sharp chisel (thanks, LaVerne) to remove the proud wood. It’s always satisfying to accomplish small but important tasks like that. Teak decks are beautiful but they do take a bit of care, and since they’re screwed on the fiberglass, the teak plugs that cover the screws sometimes are lost and must be replaced.
And speaking of tasks, the entire trip is in my hands when the pump parts arrive, carried by Debbie and Philippe. I think that I can manage to rebuild the pump that I removed from the engine, but we also will try to use a pump that might not fit. We’ll see. I’ve gotten advice from Conni’s dad, LaVerne, and have studied all of the resources that I have, so perhaps we can manage it. If so, we’re up and running and can go where we please. If not, we’ll have to sparingly use the engine to leave the lagoon here in Huahine, then sail to Raiatea, about 25 miles, sail into their lagoon and as close to the dock at Uturoa as we can, then sparingly use the engine to tie up at the dock. I’ll take a taxi to the Raiatea Carenage and have them help with the rebuild. I hope that it’s not necessary, but we needed some options so I contacted the Carenage to arrange the help.
Last night at the Huahine Yacht Club, an older sailor introduced himself and began to talk. Roy Starkey is his name, and he build his ferrocement boat back in 1970 and has never returned to a land-based life. He had invited us aboard at 5PM today, so Conni had thoughtfully purchased a few luxuries for him and we jumped in the dinghy at the appointed time.
The boat has a beautiful look, and from any distance other than close, looks made of fiberglass. Of course, up close one can see the telltale roughness of hand-laid cement, but it’s still a remarkably fine looking boat and has a lot of miles under her keel. It’s small-looking, with a single-spreader mast, and has a very small cockpit, but the space below is impressive. Although he’s had, and lost, a wife and many live aboard girlfriends, he’s alone now and so has a lot of space. I’ll post some photos when I can.
We talked with him for a few hours, listening to his stories of the luminaries of the sailing world whom he’s met, and his part in that world. He’s been living aboard his boat for almost 50 years, and has few accoutrements of modern cruising. There’s no radar, no chart plotter, but he’s recently purchased and loves an AIS, and a fish finder. He’s still a sextant user, primarily, and his is now worn to a frazzle. As he says, what he’s done probably cannot be done today. Rules and laws are stricter, marine items more expensive, and life on the water costs more. His mother passed away a few years ago and an inheritance allowed him to repower his boat, but with only 10 gallons of fuel aboard, he can’t go far. He’s also got only 100 gallons of fresh water, but he says that it gets him a long way. He’s a single-hander, so whatever must be done, he must do it by himself. At 72, it’s getting more difficult to do many of the things that need doing.
As I mentioned, he makes jewelry of scrap wood that he’s acquired here and there: cocobolo from South America, some odd tropical hardwood from the Marquesas, and he hand carves tiki necklaces and other items. He has a band saw powered by an inverter to shape the pieces, and when his batteries are down, he simply stops work until his solar panels can recharge them. He does have a small fridge, but the solar can manage the drain he says.
He did write a book: “Around and Around and Around”, but Roy Starkey. Amazingly, it’s out in ebook so I’ll add it to the collection for reading.
We’ve got the aft berth cleared of stuff, since it’s our garage for stowage. We’ve got our stuff tied to the deck and piled up here and there below, but our guests have a place to stay. We checked the aft head, and it does work, thankfully. We’re stocked with food and water, so I think that we’re real, provided that we can get the engine fixed.
Wish us luck!