These are the voyages of the sailing vessel, Wings.

30 September 2021 | Home in Anchorage
16 September 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
12 September 2021 | Pension Tiare anui
10 September 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
09 September 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
05 September 2021 | Raiatea
03 September 2021 | Raiatea
01 September 2021 | Apu Bay, Taha'a
31 August 2021 | Apu Bay
28 August 2021 | Bora Bora
22 August 2021 | Bora Bora
21 August 2021 | Bora Bora
20 August 2021 | Now, Bora Bora
15 August 2021 | Faaroa Bay, Raiatea
14 August 2021 | Fare, Huahine
10 August 2021 | Avea Bay
01 August 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
30 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
27 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
25 July 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui

Fakarava, at last!

27 June 2015 | Bay, Fakarava
Bill, in Fakarava!
We're both fine, we had almost no problems, and we're safely anchored and settled in for a few days.

It was quite the three day crossing! With only the two of us, we saw precious little of one another. We met when we changed watches, and at the evening meal, but each ate breakfast and lunch on our own. Weather, well it was fairly calm. In fact, we had almost no wind and we (gulp) motored almost the entire way. French Polynesia was in a "wind hole" and that was the pattern that we used to make it to Fakarave, normally an upwind trip. Remember, I've had my upwind experience for this leg.

As we entered the pass into Fakarave, I mean as we entered it after three days, the port fuel tank emptied, or we think that it did. I quickly switched tanks, but the damage was done and I had to bleed the entire bloody fuel system. Damn!

Ritesh, the mechanic in Fiji, tightened all of the connections so tightly that I had to work hard to disconnect things, but finally got them done. We were leaking some fuel, and that is worrisome, but we were able to motor into the lagoon and the hour to the anchoring field. I've got several hours work on the engine at some point before we leave for Rangiroa.

We searched for a good location: reasonable depth for the anchor and far enough from neighbors to reduce mutual disturbances. Conni went forward to drop the hook and it caught, as it always does, and we were anchored. My friends, we LOVE the Mantus anchor!

As it turns out, one of Fakarava's claims to fame is their reef diving and we had seen TopDive's office in Rangiroa. Oddly, we ended up anchoring just offshore their offices.

It was blistering hot the day that we arrived and we were both very sleep deprived, so felt like doing nothing but moving out of the sun as the boat swung around. There was no wind at all, so being out of the sun was the best that we could do. By afternoon, we had both moved into the cabin and switched on a fan, blessed relief!

We had dinner and hit the bed, each sleeping a full 11 hours and awakened a bit more ready for a day's exploration. As Conni said many times, we had wanted to return to the Tuamotus (the island group in French Polynesia to which Fakarava belongs) and we did it!

We motored ashore to the TopDive office and made arrangements for my dive. The most famous of their dives is the drift dive through the pass. A drift dive means that one is dropped into the water and one rides the current past cool things to see. It starts 100 feet down, so they recommend a reef dive first so that the guide can check out the divers, and I heartily agreed. I don't know that I'll be able to handle the drift dive and its initial 100-foot drop since I sometimes have difficulty clearing my ears, and the dive requires dropping quickly to100 feet since the current can wash a slow descent diver past the interesting places. I start tomorrow.

We needed diesel fuel. I carried our yellow diesel jug around town and we visited everyone who might sell diesel. The Fakarava Yacht Services sells no fuel, but did have free internet. They're nice folks and Stephanie speaks good English. She was able to explain that if we stayed until Friday, a supply boat was scheduled to arrive and we could buy fuel directly from them. Staying that long was not in our plan!

We sauntered down to the main dock and lo and behold, an unscheduled freighter was docked there. Running up to the crew, I pointed to my yellow diesel jug and asked if I could fill it. "Yes", they said, and that I was to speak to another guy there. After some halting questions and responses, we came to the agreement that we'd buy a drum of diesel from them. So, the US$305 (US$5.55/gallon in a very remote location) changed hands and we were the proud owners of a 55-gallon drum of diesel fuel on the main docks, several miles from the boat. Another guy there offered to loan us his barrel for the fuel and saved us the cost and hassle of buying one. He said that he owned a nearby restaurant and we agreed to have dinner there after we had completed our re-fueling and returned his barrel.

I walked down to TopDive where we had left the dinghy, motored to the boat for tools to open the drum and a siphon, and emptied a gasoline storage jug to use for diesel, and then motored to the dock. It was not my last time to do it!

The tools worked well and we siphoned diesel from the 55-gallon drum to the two 5-gallon jugs. We loaded them into the dinghy and I motored back to the boat. After offloading them onto the boat, I siphoned the diesel into the boat's tanks and motored madly back to the dock. It was an hour round trip and I carried 10-gallons each trip. Overfilling the jugs helped, but it was a full five trips to complete things. We emptied all but a cup of fuel when all was done. I hoisted the empty drum on my back and carried it to its owner at his nearby restaurant. We motored back to the boat for a quick solar shower and returned to the restaurant for our promised dinner. Jeez, what a day!

The owner, it turns out, is the mayor of the five-island local group. He helped sail a sailboat from Fakarave back to Anchorage when he was ten, and spent five years there. What are the chances! He masterminded the Unesco rating for Fakarava's Biosphere Reserve, spend 15 years in France in their military, including a lot of traveling, and returned to Fakarave where he was born. He's a visionary and wants his island to be alive and relevant, but to maintain what they can of their pace of life. He's a very interesting person. As we had our dinner, he joined us and we had a detailed conversation about his life. We're invited for dinner at his house on Tuesday, but we're not going to press him about it. I hope that he wasn't kidding!

The restaurant that owns, by the way, sponsored the Internet out in the harbor, so we had planned to eat there just to thank them for that service, not knowing that we'd also want to thank the owner for his help and loan of the barrel, during our re-fueling episode.

By the way, we've heard about buying a drum of fuel and decanting it in one location and hauling it to one's boat, but never done it. It's a lot of work, but we know the process, now.

My reef dive is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and I might even get to dive the drift dive into the pass, but we'll see. Yesterday, TopDive rented tanks to a highly qualified French diver who went diving deeply and alone. They searched yesterday but never found him. YIkes!
Vessel Name: Wings
Vessel Make/Model: Passport 40
Hailing Port: Anchorage, Alaska
Crew: William Ennis and Constance Livsey
About: We've been married since 1991, and both retired from our respective jobs (teacher and attorney) after long careers. We live in the most exotic of the United States: Alaska. We cruise on Wings for half the year, enjoying our home state the other part of the year.
We've sailed Wings Southward from Alaska since August, 2010. We joined the BajaHaha from SoCal to Mexico in 2012. We joined the Pacific Puddle Jump in 2013 and crossed the Pacific Ocean. Wings "over-summered" in French Polynesia. We continued our journey through western French Polynesia, [...]
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