03 June 2017
Well this will be a bit of a whine as I sip on my 2nd finger of Scotch in the pouring rain.
Yes, I am not a Scotch drinker but desperate times call for desperate measures - okay, so really things are not desperate, but it's a story- right?
I'll start from today and go backwards as being memory challenged and over 65 it's just easier.
So this morning we knew we were going to help our friends try to find their stern anchor which had become detached from their boat. So, get out all the scuba gear, blah, blah, blah, after I take Chuck to shore as he is trying to download his Quicken which has decided to abandon us (gotta love the fact they have no clue what our life is like and we - like you - are just a number). So back to the boat, get the gear organized and eat - very important to me as I love eating as most of you know and I am, of course, losing weight.
Our friends are also Interneting, so they bring Chuck back and we take the next hour preparing to search for the stern anchor and chain. Let me tell you, when J. got down there, he could not see with a light more than 10 inches. He was feeling his way along the area where we thought it was and after about 1/2 an hour, he grabs a piece of chain - surfaces and hangs on, can't take the reg out and patiently (or not) waits for Chuck and L to notice he is up. They get the chain onboard and pull up the super nice (and expensive) stern anchor and then, of course, he gets asked to try to look for another anchor which has been lost. This bay is full of wire cages with rocks and junk. He put his knee down and got stung by a sea urchin. SOB!! Well, other anchor not found, the guy has lost two in the same place since November - I would have moved myself. In any case, then ashore to wash the gear in fresh water, back to the boat, put all the gear away, make lunch- baguettes (yes we found them) and camembert and prosciutto. I know - totally spoiled.
So, if there are spelling mistakes, you will have to guess, as my time and patience for writing is limited. Let your imaginations roll. So yesterday, I got the amazing benefit of the Polynesian friendly vibe/hospitality. My benefactor, Marie Flor, along with her friend who was with us a short time, picked me up while I was hitching to town (about 40 minutes - rather uphill- like a short Tunnel hike). We dropped her friend and then Marie informed me she would take me shopping as I was provisioning and of course I said " yes..." who wouldn't?
Off we went to the three different magasins with a stop at the fish truck to buy fresh tuna (sashimi tonight) and then back to the first store as they had the best fruits and legumes. THEN she drove me back to the bay and watched my stuff while I went to find Chuck. She said, "no you can't leave all your provisions here while you “cherche ton mari. I will stay and watch."
I trundled off to the hill to find Chuck who was at the Internet station on the hill that you pay $5.00 per day to use - marginal service, so I said "No Thanks." I went back down and there was Marie Flor guarding my precious provisions.
Later that evening we went for pizza at a place recommended by friends who had been here before. This was one of their fav places. You see, it is all in the timing. The pizza was fabulous but when we got back to the dinghy, the baguette I had left in it was gone - I am glad they took it, they likely needed more than I did.
On Wednesday, we woke to find that one of our dinghy wheels had bounced out of its holder in the night and was "lost at sea." We spent the morning searching the adjacent shores to no avail. If you know boats you know how much of a tragedy this is. Trying to land a dinghy with a lopsided boat in surf is no fun. Never mind, we did it with our friends, Linda and Jim, hauling our one footed dinghy up the ramp that is covered in driftwood and gets caught in your prop.
So what does one do when the dinghy wheel is lost and the day is planned with friends to take a guided tour? Of course, one goes to the appointed place to take the guided tour. We arrive, we stand and wait and the guide does not show. Apparently, the equivalent of of $250 USD is not enough of an enticement to show. We lament the fact that we are not going to see the archeological site and the beauties of the island and then we continue on with the day.
We all headed for town and went our separate ways. Chuck and I sort of lost each other - not unusual - and found each other about 4:30. He said "let's go look along this beach down by where they surf. I couldn't get in there this morning as the waves were up too high."
So, we walk down, I go along the rocks where the drift wood collects and just past the surfers and he wanders along the breakwater. I come back and wait, and low and behold, along comes Chuck with the dinghy wheel and the cover. CAN NOT BELIEVE IT!!! You have no idea what this means. It means freedom. It means not having to search and find and order parts from the US to be delivered to American Samoa for a maybe delivery on a maybe arrival. Well, horseshoes in appropriate places are always welcome.
Of course, the day ended well as you already know with the finding of THE WHEEL! So the days start about 5:30 a.m. with the appearance of the sun and end about 6:00 p.m. with the set. People here are up and at it early with very little happening after dark.
We find ourselves tired with the constant rolling of the boat. Everything is about hanging on and waiting and adjusting to the rain and the roll, closing and reopening the hatches, checking the solar, adjusting the panels, turning on the accessory fan so the compressors for the refrigeration don't overheat. All this is done with controlled lurching as opposed to uncontrolled lurching which was what one would describe on Day 1 and 2 of our arrival here.
At night, we play a game of 500 or perhaps watch part of a movie. Three meals a day, think it up, find the food, make it, clean it up. Do it all on as little water as you can. Can't make water in this dirty bay. Sound like fun yet? I am telling you this so that those who say they are living vicariously through us realize that what you have is wonderful - seriously.
It has rained every day, since we arrived. The boat is damp because it cannot dry out. We don't leak but the humidity is close to 100%. Can I say I am loving it? NO!! We hope to move on tomorrow to an anchorage that is calmer. They have had 4 months of rain every day. I feel bad for the people here. They are not used to this.
I tried to buy internet for French Polynesia. They sold out of the SIM card for IPADs and consequently there is nothing till the next supply ship - about two weeks.
Oh yes, the supply ship. We could not enter the harbour for the first two days because of the supply ship. We had 1.5 - 2 metre swells in 80 feet and it was not pleasant. The actual passage was a cake walk compared to that inside the bay. It is similar to Banderas Bay so a bit rolly. Sea legs are good, land legs a bit wobbly. Walking to town - about 40 mins is a bit wobbly pops.
Sorry I can't send any pics. When I get to decent internet I will post a few. Really, it is all green and trees and a few bits of black lava and lots of clouds. Just about like anywhere else. Once again, I say, it is the people who make the place, not the place. If you think you are missing something by not going to French Polynesia, relax, it is nothing special. The people are just like you and me, living their lives, trying to make a dime. Everyone is in their own world and yes, wondering "what is this lunatic President of the USA going to say or do next?" Of course, people think you may be American so are very polite as they ask you "what do you think". Then commonality begets a new relationship.
Okay, so 3 hours later, we have eaten our sashimi - my version - and are ready to set up the computer and choose a movie. The luxuries of modern technology on the high seas! Well, good night to all - but then good morning, as likely you will get this tomorrow which will be June 3,2017.
Okay, to all those who send a message, we are forever in your debt. Truly we die to hear from friends and family.
Love to all, Karen
(Chuck takes no part in any of my ramblings and discourse and knows I am a lunatic but puts up with me)