Week 5 but whos counting
25 July 2021 | 08 55.038'S:140 05.994'W, Nuku Hiva , Marquesas
08 55.038 S
140 05.994 W
Weather; improving, wind dropping, waves flattening
BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT FOR THE WEEK GOES TO MARK DONLAN, WE HOPE YOU HAD A GOOD ONE OLD MAN
Yet another week has whizzed by and we are still stuck here in Nuku Hiva, not a bad place to be stuck but it can be as frustrating as all hell at times. So let's start with the bad bits, our shroud still hasn't arrived from Tahiti, it's apparently in the postal system and was supposed to come air mail - that's 2 weeks now! We have been told that the system works on an adhoc basis, despite it supposed to being air mail it might actually be coming by ship, no one can tell us despite there being tracking on the parcel! The supply ship calls in here once every 2 weeks and it arrived here the middle of this week getting our hopes up, they were quickly dashed as there was no sign of our package. A second tanker also comes every 2 weeks and arrived here on Thursday night, again our hopes were raised and dashed, still no shroud! So now we are beginning to wonder if we will ever see it and get out of here, it's a lesson in patience for certain, I don't know how the locals cope with it all the time it must be very frustrating or they must grow and smoke some serious dope here to maintain their sanity! Gerry has almost become philosophical about the whole situation and is trying his best to be chilled out and relaxed, hard to imagine I know! That hasn't stopped him from trying to find things to occupy his time this week he took the shower seat off, it's a small wooden seat for you to sit on and shower when the boat is trying to tip you over and he had noticed that one of the corner joints had come apart, it's probably been like it since the day we bought the boat but as neither of us have ever used it, it has gone unnoticed or ignored until now. If we had some large clamps on board the fix would have been simple but of course we don't have the clamps so it has been a more complicated fix. I suggested that he tried gluing it and applying a Spanish windlass to hold it whilst it set (thanks to dad, I know what a Spanish windlass is!) He gave that a go, after first cleaning up the joint but unfortunately the angle made it difficult to keep the pressure constant and the joint together so it was back to the drawing board. The second option was one I really wasn't keen on, gluing and screwing the joint together - what could possibly go wrong? Anyway he cleaned the joint once more marked up where the screw holes needed to drilled out, and set about putting the screws in place then applying the glue before tightening down on the screws. This time the epoxy that he used was the dregs at the bottom of the containers, thinking that as he didn't need much to fill the gap it would do, unfortunately as it was the dregs after 24hours it hadn't set and had leaked out of the joint, back to the drawing board again! This time he got out our new containers of epoxy and mixed up some fresh stuff but followed the same procedure as last time, thank goodness it set this time around. Now I suspect it's going to be a case of having to re varnish the seat before it gets put back into the shower but I'm keeping very quiet as I don't want to end up with that job. As to whether the seat will hold up to use it's anyone's guess but it has a better chance now than it had originally. The photos of him doing the repairs the second time around will be in the gallery if I can get them to upload.
Other jobs this week, well there is the continuation of the never ending saga of the gen set and it's sluggish starting. Gerry has gone through every conceivable possibility to try and work out why there is an issue, even to the point of contacting the manufacturer, who is convinced that it is a fuel starvation issue. We have found this a bit hard to swallow as the main engine which uses the same fuel line starts first time, every time. Gerry tends towards thinking it is a voltage issue but as there isn't a battery supplier here we can't do much about checking that until we get to Tahiti, with that in mind and to make certain that there isn't fuel starvation he has had the fuel lines apart and cleaned out / blown through each and every bit of fuel line in the system. Now I have to say that there was a bit of dirt and rust that blew out of the lines but nothing that should have blocked or reduced the flow and after cleaning the lines we tried the gen set again with no different result but at least we know the fuel lines are clear. So we are back to starting the engine and then firing up the gen set before turning the main engine back off again every time we need to use the gen set. The last job for the week has been the checking of the auto pilot hydraulic oil which he found to have dropped and needed topping up, checking the pullies, greasing them and making sure that they are operational just in case we need to use them any time in the near future!
The really good thing this week has been the change in weather, the wind has dropped but there are still occasional gusts that rock the boat around, the rain has taken itself off over the top of the hills and dropped somewhere else and we have had a few really warm and pleasant days when sitting in the cockpit has been quite pleasurable, if somewhat boring as most of the boats have taken advantage of the better weather and left for other ports. Of course there have been a couple of new arrivals but even they haven't stayed for very long, getting out whilst the going is good. Gerry managed to get a couple of good photos of a double rainbow that showed up in the harbour early in the week, luckily it was the end of the rain for a while. With the change in weather and the calmer swell we have been able to sleep a bit better but the cooler night have meant that we have needed a blanket ( I can hear you all laughing at what wimps we are!)
There is a cruiser's net radio broadcast that operates here on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, giving information and letting cruisers get to know the goings on around the place, we listen in most days and on Wednesday this week it proved to be an essential service. The first call out is always for any emergency traffic or medical requirements and on Wednesday a boat put out a call for assistance to get the captain ashore as he had been discovered lying in his cockpit by a boat crew that he had lent something to. This man is a lone sailor so he was lucky to be found as he had apparently been lying in the cockpit for 2 days, the call was for a bigger dinghy to get him ashore but no one knew what was wrong with him, he was conscious but unable to weight bear with nothing was apparently broken. After asking if anyone could assist, the net controller said she could get across in her dinghy but it would take a while as her dinghy wasn't in the water, Gerry to the rescue - he called in and said our dinghy was in the water, and if big enough, he would go to assist. Quickly dressing he jumped in the dinghy and headed across to the stricken boat where he found the neighbours who had found the captain and a fitness instructor from another boat who had taken charge and was trying to organise moving the captain. Of course the swell was at its worst so getting him into our dinghy was a trial and a half but in the end they succeeded and 3 people plus Gerry took off for the shore where an ambulance had been organised by the yacht services owner and the captain was transferred with a lot of heaving and puffing to the local hospital. As of today we still have little idea what the problem was but apparently the captain was put into intensive care to begin with (I suspect that it was really an emergency admission ward and not the intensive care that I know and love). There was some talk that it was an infection in his leg that had caused him to collapse and be immobile but it is just hearsay and, in my opinion unlikely, but who knows. We have asked if anyone is looking out for him and his boat as the neighbours that found him have left the harbour and we were told by the yacht services owner that he was doing the checking up so we have butted out but hope that he is doing OK and will be discharged soon. Gerry gets brownie points for doing a good deed this week!
Sitting in the cockpit for sun set has become the highlight of the day and it has become quite routine for us to mark the time of day, the helicopter that is based here returns home every evening from wherever it goes, at around 5.30pm we can almost set our clocks by it and start to get worried when it doesn't appear. With the change in weather there has been a slight off the land breeze in the early evening which wafts a delightful scent of jasmine and frangipani out towards us. The moon has been approaching fullness for the week and gives off a beautiful bright glow over the hills for now. We have spotted a shark in the water yet again in the last day, swimming between out boat and the next one over, there is no way I am ever going to get in the water here confirmed! We have done our normal treks into the supermarket as we run out of rum, chocolate and tim tams and have stopped at the cafe a couple of times for lunch and coffee but otherwise we have been quite lazy and spent our days relaxing and reading our books (again, thank heavens for kindles!) .
The only other bit of interesting news we've had this week is that on the back of the Political unrest and protests in France their president, Macron, is coming to French Polynesia for a break. As far as we know he isn't coming to Nuku Hiva but is visiting Hiva Oa where he will no doubt visit the graves of Paul Gaugin, artist and possibly paedophile, as well as that of Jacques Brei, the singer. We can't begin to imagine the cost of the trip here which will be footed by the French tax payers but we hope the visit is worth the effort!
So with nothing much else happening we are keeping our fingers crossed that this coming week will see the arrival of our shroud and a possible weather window to get us out of here. I'll be back with an update next week, if not before.