09 July 2017
Hello out thereeeee....
We were to depart today for the Tuamotos from Daniel's Bay on Nuka HIva in the Marquesas. The mainsail was once again repaired, and numerous small jobs accomplished while waiting for the weather window, but Murphy made a call and shortly after we pulled anchor and were under power heading out of the bay at 0630, the autopilot stopped steering.
We altered course to go to Oa Pau, which is a short 25 miles away. When we had the sails up and ready we went to shut down the engine and it would not shut off. Chuck shut off the fuel supply and we sailed here. The engine started just fine, we anchored and he set to work, AGAIN! He found the issue with the engine quickly by a reading the wiring diagram and found a loose connection in a wire that goes to the stop button. That is fixed. Now he is working on the autopilot.
So, a lot has happened it seems since the last time I wrote.
We had a wonderful tour of the island of Nuka HIva. We tried to get a tour guide but no one was available so we rented a truck and six of us, Jim (American) from Poppy and Alco, Rose and 2 year old Kian set off for the day on a tour of the island. I posted some of those pics on FB.
We left the main harbour after staying for the Wednesday morning market and motored the 5 miles to the infamous Daniel's Bay. It is fabulous. The bay is surrounded by green peaks and spires. Wild goats and pigs abound and the bleating of the goats is a sound one hears in the morning and evening.
The second day after we got there, Rose, Alco and Kian from sv Estrella came over and picked me up and off we went to explore onshore. The tide was going out and we had directions of where to drive the dinghy into the bay and get close to the mouth of the river. We no sooner were ashore than we headed towards what we thought was a restaurant. We had heard of a restaurant and were hoping for lunch. The lady we met said, "no, not here" and proceeded to take us down a trail up the valley. We followed her lead and soon came to a house that had a picnic table. Our "guide" went out back and soon another lady appeared covered head to toe in outside work clothes. "No lunch today," she said. "Come back at 5:00." It was about 1:00 p.m. by this point. We said no, we could not, but Rose and Alco decided to reserve for lunch the next day.
As we made our way back toward the dinghy, another man came out and asked us to come to his house. We visited with he and his wife for awhile. Soon they offered us sorbet (they have a freezer and make home made sorbet). I had guava. It was delicious! As we continued to get educated on their way of life, we were soon offered a bowl of food. It was whole banana in the skin boiled with wild pig that TIki had killed with a knife.
The pig is boiled in water and the water is changed five times as the meat is so salty. The banana was delicious and the pig was very edible. I would not say outstanding by any means but I had no trouble finishing my bowl (no utensils). We learned about the copra and how they dry the coconut, then send it in a boat which they rent which goes to the plant in Papeete, Tahiti where they make coconut oil. They harvest 1.6 tons a month of copra. They bag it and send it. The profit is about 700 dollars for a month.
They are self sufficient but have taxes to pay and boarding school for their son who stays in the main town to go to school. He is 13. He was on holiday with his grandparents in Papeete when we were there but the pictures showed a beautiful child. His father and mother were extremely proud that he was able to spear fish, and hunt with his Dad so that if school did not come easy, he would be able to continue the life they enjoy.
We stayed longer than we should have and by the time we got back to the dinghy, the tide was way out. We got in the boat and got soaked to the core as we hit the breakers head on. Rose and I were at the front of the dinghy to keep the front down so we didn't get thrown over. I must say I was a touch anxious but it was shallow and all turned out well. When we got back to the Katie G, Chuck gave us a pail to bail the dinghy. I had not noticed how much water we had taken. It seemed about half full and we only took 5 or 6 waves. Lesson learned, watch the tides more closely.
Well, the days slip by and a few days later, I was out on deck doing some little thing when I heard a call, "doctor, doctor" and a man waving his arms wildly. He did not stop while I went to get Chuck and told him. We were running the generator and the water maker so it took a few minutes to shut those down, put the dinghy in the water and head towards the Marquesans man who stopped yelling once we were on our way toward him.
He was out on a point of rock and I couldn't figure out how he had gotten there as the bush is dense. He was in his bare feet and we found out later he was the guide. He quickly explained to us the Kian, our little two year old friend from Holland had stopped breathing, and had blue lips when in his Dad's backpack. His Mom noticed and the heart stopping story began.
A bunch of them had gone on a hike to the waterfall. Once we got to the bay, the guide told us where to go to get up the river (it was high tide). We followed Paul, a grandson of Daniel who the bay's namesake towards the trail. Soon we heard voices and Alco was carrying little Kian. He had been saved by Alco and another lady on the tour who had done CPR and chest compressions.
In the end, it was not easy to determine the cause but we were all thankful and so relieved for a happy ending. Some quick thinking and CPR saved that beautiful little boy's life. There are many details in the story which I will not go into but it is a lesson to make sure to know how to do this very basic life saving technique.
So, now I am having trouble with the keyboard on Chuck's computer when I am trying to correct the last emails so am trying my iPad. I downloaded the update in Hiva Oa so am going to try it as it is the middle of the night and likely there are no new emails that will come on to this iPad. I won't go into why that matters to us. Suffice it to say, the email retrieving is better done on one computer.
So, on with the update. So, at this point, we are now underway for the second time to the Tuamotos. We spent 2 days in Oa Pau in a different and wonderful anchorage on the NW side. It was picturesque and not too rolly. The drive for the autopilot was found to be the culprit and although this one was brand new in 2014, it is now in storage and the refurbished old one that we had for "the rainy day" is now installed and working- YAY!
But, as our friend Rose from TIllicum says, "if you have a working boat with spares for everything, you have "one" and if you use your spare, you have "none." Being at sea or in these remote places, you better have thought ahead and have it onboard or you are going nowhere fast - even for a boat.
So we are doing my favourite thing - passage making. We left yesterday morning and the seas were a bit lumpy - probably 10-15 feet. Today, they have settled a lot. The wind is out of the east and we have had up to 29 knots and currently about 20. The main is double-reefed (shortened down twice - we have 3 reefs). This has worked well, as the main, as you know from all the repairs we have done in the last few weeks, has seen better days. We will be looking at ordering a new one.
In the meantime, our hand-sewing skills and patching techniques are evolving. We thought we would be ordering a new sail when we got to N.Z., but I guess the 5500 miles of sailing we have done since Oct.1 of 2016 was hard on her. Anyway, we are just leaving the reefs in now to try to protect the sail a bit. Plus, she does not seem to need it. We have been averaging 7 knots. We went 168 NM yesterday and today will be about the same. We may need to hove to when we get to Fakarava as we are zooming and we need to time our passage into the pass that gets you into the atoll for low tide slack water. The currents are a big part of the navigation through the atolls of the Tuamotos.
The Tuamotos are much older than the Marquesas. The Tuamotos are worn down old volcanoes and just the tops of the old mountains form the atolls.
Well, I think we are in for more adventure so I will leave this update with wishes for your good health and happiness - really all that matters. And yes, I miss home, but not as much as I did a month ago. I thought homesickness was a thing of my past, being a bit over middle age and all, but it was real.
Still, please don't stop writing. It is so great to hear your news and keep in touch. I am trying to write back to anyone who sends a reply. Sometimes the internet connection is not great. This update has taken 3 sections to write so it will go and many tries at a connection. It really is nothing like real internet.
Cheers and hugs,