Last Night in French Polynesia
13 July 2018 | Pension Tiare Nui
Bill, glad and sad
So, here we are. After a week's very hard work, demanding long days, we're done and depart tomorrow.
We competed the work today, although we've got to return for a few tasks tomorrow. We plan on a relaxed day, a good late breakfast, some mild boat work, say our goodbyes to the yard crew, then go for a drive around the island.
As I've mentioned, we bought two new flooded batteries when my multimeter failed and I got incorrect readings on their voltages. All of our other batteries are AGMs and have very low self-discharge rates. The flooded don't have that ability. When our charge distribution device, the Pathmaker, failed, I replaced it with a simple switch. When we had charging voltages from some source (solar, engine), I closed the switch and the batteries got charged. Without a charging voltage, I opened the switch and they were on their own. When we're gone from the boat, that's not enough. Our boat-watch lady can't be expected to deal with the switch, so I have a conundrum. If I leave the switch closed, the flooded batteries will discharge and the AGMs will discharge to charge them. Not good. If I leave the switch open, I keep the AGMs from discharging, but sacrifice the flooded since they'll never get charged. We decided today to sacrifice the flooded and keep the switch open. I simply had no way to deal with the flooded batteries.
There's another Passport in an adjoining yard, a 42-footer, that's for sale at a ridiculously low price, and there's a guy in Australia who's asked us to take some photos of the boat and provide an opinion on whether it's a good boat for him to purchase. She's fine boat, 42-feet long, all the bells and whistles, and she's been cared for the past 3 years. She's even imported into the country, so she doesn't have to leave every 36 months as we did. If I wanted another boat, I'd buy her. She's got a terrible name (IMHO), Big Rock Candy Mountain, but to each his own. Her owners simply can't spend time on her right now and are "motived" to sell. The prices has dropped from US$130,000 to US$60,000. What a deal!
We've asked Marie, our neighbor next door, to join us for our last night dinner. We'll go to Le Napoli, an Italian place down the road. We've eaten there before and know that it's great. The main chef, probably the owner, makes his pizza dough by hand and throws it in the air to increase its circumference. It's quite a show!
After work today, we drove into town for baguette and found a place to serve us a beer. Conni had a small one, but the server offered me a "flagon". A "flagon"? I've read about flagons of beer, or usually ale, in stories from the middle ages! Yep, I had one. Wouldn't you? We returned to the Pension and Conni created this marvelous pre-function feast with two cheeses, a lovely French saucisson sec, and a fresh baguette, all to be washed down with a Loire Rosé. If only the days were not so hot and long...
It's been a demanding week for us. Of our 8 leaking chain plates, I re-bedded 5. Today, we wrapped the 3 remaining chainplates in plastic bags and tape to try and reduce the leaking.
Putting the boat to bed for 10 months in this environment is a demanding task. Fuel and water tanks drained, engine prepared for layover, any source of external water intrusion plugged, everything cleaned and stowed below, the list is extensive. Each year we add a few items to the list that we learned that we must do.
This year, our sailmaker, Madame Regine Faux, repaired our jib after damage from chafe during our upwind slog from Rarotonga to Bora Bora. She also made three bags for reefing lines to keep them out of the sun. We erected our three-part boat cover. We folded, packed in bags, and stowed on deck all of our sails. Even the outboard must be prepared for layover with foot oil changed, gas run from the carburetor, Corrosion Block introduced into the cylinder to prevent rust on the cylinder and piston, and salt water deposits flushed from the cooing system. Finally, it gets stored below decks. Altogether, it's multi-hour task. Both the Honda generator and main engine demand the same level of treatment.
Sun and rain are the problems here. Everything made of plastic must be protected from the sun. Usually that means a UV-proof bag that's been specially fabricated. The dinghy is a case in point. It's made of Hypalon, originally a neoprene-coated nylon invented by DuPont, so can resist UV. That's a big benefit here. The dinghy must be brought on deck, cleaned, folded and covered with a UV-resistant cover, then stowed on deck. Everything on deck must be encased in some UV-resistant material, and we're learning about that.
After the dinner:
Contrary to what we had discussed, I had steak and fries, Conni had Mahimahi and fries, and Marie had something else, and we shared a bottle of good Rosé. Conversation roamed across the spectrum, but the later half focused on our perceptions of whether the Germans still felt some remorse for WW2. Marie has lived in, and visited so many countries that she has a particularly unique perspective. She talks a lot, so I think that she puts off a lot of people, but if one listens, she's a tremendously interesting person. Her English is excellent, as is her first language, French, but she also speaks German and bit of Japanese.
We leave tomorrow on the 1830 flight from Raiatea to Papeete. We depart Papeete a bit before midnight, and arrive in LA in the morning. Luckily, we have some down time at LAX, the on to Oakland for a few days, visiting Conni's dad.