Last Day in French Polynesia
19 August 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Very hot for winter
We depart Raiatea and French Polynesia on Tuesday, tomorrow, so we're near the end of this trip.
We did spend some time this morning cleaning our packing mess in the room and such, but then headed to the boat. Back to the salt mines.
Conni's main task today was to re-caulk the mast as it enters the cabin top. There's a "boot", as it's called, a vinyl cone that spans between the mast with a smaller diameter and the mast ring, a larger diameter. To hold the mast firmly in the mast ring, small wooden wedges are hammered into the space. Conni had to pound them in more firmly, then use two tubes of caulk to fill the space between the mast ring and the mast itself. She did a great job but she covered the mast, the ring, the mast boot, and herself, along with assorted tools and sail bags, with white caulk. I would have taken a photo of her and her nest of caulk, but her glare quickly changed my mind.
I used contractor's garbage bags to seal, or try to seal, each chain plate and Conni did the same for the mast, even with the new caulking job. Hopefully, we've done enough to stop our mast leak problem.
It's hot today, very hot, and it drains our energy quickly, so we were both struggling as we put the final two pieces of boat cover in place, placed the lock in the companionway hatch, and climbed down the ladder for the last time this season.
We depart at 0800 on Tuesday, so we've got to get packed and be ready to go much earlier than usual.
When we arrive in Papeete after the 45-minute flight, we grab our boxes and gear and I'll take a taxi to Marina Taina where I'll fetch our port-side chock, the bronze piece that allows dock lines to pass through the teak cap rail. As I mentioned, a low tide snatched the piece from the boat and it landed the water. I sent an email to a dive shop, Fluid Dives, and one of their kind divers found it and have it saved for us. I offered US$100, and although the diver, Cyrille, found it just to be helpful, we'll pay him anyway. That kind of kindness strengthens my confidence in humanity. We board the Big Bird to return to the US a bit later in the day.
Wednesday night, we'll be back in Oakland with Conni's dad, dead tired but safely in the States.
We're still digesting all that happened this trip: the engine change process in particular. I'll have to consider that topic for awhile.
We found that the leaks where our mast passes through the cabin top has caused some serious rotting to the mast step. We use "Git Rot", a penetrating epoxy treatment that we'll repeat seasonal from here on. I've got some interior painting and varnishing to do
As I was thinking about all of this maintenance, I realized that by the time that I have become aware of the places to look for problems and have some storehouse of solutions, we'll sell the damned boat! There are so many place to have problems on a cruising sailboat in tropical environments. Saltwater and plentiful rain cause or find pathways into the interior as they have for more natural features throughout time. With a 35-year-old boat, the problems multiply. The case in point is the leakage problem. It's a work in progress.