Waiting, 5-6 Sept
05 September 2021 | Raiatea
William Ennis | ummm...hot
Ian departed on Saturday and we bid him a fond farewell. His father, my brother, is not a camping enthusiast, so he's unlikely to have enjoyed 10-days aboard with us, but Ian had no such problems. He rolled with the difficulties, he was as helpful and enthusiastic as possible and he was invited back.
We're awaiting a lift from the Carenage staff, but they're away on a salvage operation in the Tuamotus. Evidently, an expensive boat has gone aground and (we predict) the insurance company hired the Carenage to retrieve the boat. Whether they can repair it is another matter, but the crew here is known around the country for their innovative and superb work. We imagine that the delay in our pull is because there's no staff to arrange the cradle for Wings, although the lifting machine, the TraveLift, is on site and the operator is, too. We hope that Dominque, the owner and mastermind, will arrive sooner rather than later and we'll get our chance to work on decommissioning Wings for her layover. It will also be interesting to have this front row seat for the arrival and raising from the water of the injured boat. We have no way of knowing what she is, who owns her, or how she came to be damaged, but to pay Dominque to virtually close the yard for the required time means that the boat is worth a lot. His entire yard crew is with him, as is their ocean-going tug boat. To move the boat from the Tuamotus to here means that the damaged hull must somehow be made water-tight, and whether the boat will move under her own power or be towed must also be decided on site. Our guess? She's an expensive catamaran that ran aground on a reef while traveling at night, either through some mechanical or electronic failure, or she dragged anchor during a blow and went aground. The Tuamotus are well charted, but accidents are very common.
We took a look at the two heads today, both non-functional to some degree. It would have been a hassle for just Conni and me, but doubly so with a guest. Damn. For the aft head, we think that we have determined the cause of its failure. Many years ago, my parents were aboard the boat while it was still in Seward. We had no anti-siphon valve for that head since the head and its installation had come with the boat and we rarely used that head. With no anti-siphon valve, the head flooded with my father on it. Oops. Soon thereafter, I installed that anti-siphon valve in the inlet hose from the seacock. Years later, in Fiji, we realized that there were no more parts available for that toilet, an ancient Brydon Boy long out of production, and I installed a new one, hauled from Anchorage in a blue box. It was a hassle. At any rate, I simple reused the hoses that were originally installed for the Brydon Boy head, including the anti-siphon valve that I had installed. According to the directions for the newer head, the location for that anti-siphon was specifically prohibited! Oops. When we get into the yard, one of my first tasks will be to re-route hoses to conform with the installation directions for this newer head. Will that fix the problem? Perhaps, but I've got to do the work, anyway. Regardless, I'll dismantle the pumps for both heads and rebuild them at home. With our guest here, the forward head failed when a piece broke from the pump handle as it was being used. With the aft head not pumping sea water for rinsing and the forward head handle broken, we were up shit creek!
As we sit here awaiting our removal from the water, we've begun to delineate our work to decommission. Many tasks are the same from year to year, and some change depending on what's broken during our season aboard.
6 Sept We went ashore today to take our first load of dirty (and I do mean filthy and stinky) clothes for washing. We use a mesh duffle about a 3-feet long and 1 foot in diameter. It's about US$50 worth of laundry with prices here.
I also spoke to the one remaining yard guy and we discussed the boat that Dominique is salvaging. It's a 60-ft charter catamaran, so that much is what we thought. Our friend, Teina, said that the boat sunk and they'll have to lift her. Yikes! There are two interesting points here. A sunken boat is simply worthless and rental boats are not top-of-the-line, for obvious reasons. Why raise her? Her entire interior will be ruined, her electronics ruined, engines perhaps salvageable, but not much else. No answer yet. Secondly, in most cases, rental companies don't allow guests to pilot their larger boats for just this reason: they are unfamiliar with the waters and the vessels and they don't wish to lose a boat. We think that it's likely that a charter skipper was aboard, making things especially messy. When we learn the facts, I'll forward them, but it's already interesting. The island, by the way, is Makema in the Tuamotus. Take a gander: it's a typical atoll with almost nothing above water. No wonder they hit it!