Into Her Cradle
10 September 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Hot and then some
Blog 10 Sept 2021
16 43.41'S:151 27.54'W
Into Her Cradle
We arrived at the boat this morning at 0800 hours, in preparation for a promised pull from the water. Nope. One thing and another prevented the yard crew from acting on the promise.
I finally stopped Dominique, owner and mastermind, and asked him about his schedule for the day. He had just been called by ANOTHER owner of a wrecked boat (#142), and once again on the neighboring island of Huahine. The wreck was on that protruding part of the reef that we've come to call, "the Nose", since it protrudes so far. And...it catches a LOT of boats. The boat owner, when he called Dominique, admitted that he'd been too close to the reef. Well, duh. He grounded his boat! The reef is well marked on charts and is well known. Somehow people still hit it.
Dominique will wait until he hears from the insurance company or the owner about whether his costs will be covered. If they refuse or cannot, Dominique will ask the French Polynesian government to cover his costs, which they are likely to do since they don't want wrecks sitting out on reefs: bad PR, I guess. If it comes to that, the government will pay Dominique to remove the boat and then fine the crap out of the owner. I asked Dominique if he'd remove the boat from the reef and sink it, but he said that sinking derelicts was no longer allowed. All vessels must be cut into pieces and sent to Tahiti where they'll be packaged for recycle in New Zealand. Times have changed. When we first arrived, Dominique would pull a boat off a reef, strip it of what he could, and haul her out to deep water and sink her. Easy peasy.
Dominique did promise to get us out of the water before he departed for Huahine, so we settled on that.
By 1300 hours, the big TraveLift powered up and we quickly evacuated the boat. In no time, Wings was lifted from the water and set on a cradle for the season.
While in the slip, I had manhandled the dinghy vertically onto her stern and was able to rinse her completely. A big step in decommissioning the Mercury outboard is to rinse salt from her cooling passages. To accomplish this, I make use of a short screw in the bottom of her crank case and connect a special water intake accessory to a fresh water hose, and run the engine until it's out gas. The fresh water circulates in the engine providing cooling, and the salt is rinsed from the engine while the carburetor empties. There is some lubrication to do on all moving parts, I always change the oil in the foot, and I remove the plug and squirt Corrosion Block into the cylinder to prevent rust and corrosion from forming. All told, the multi-step process ensures a dependable outboard next season.
Early in the day while we were still in the slip, we used a hose to run fresh water through the main engine to remove salt deposits, even though it's a closed system. We also got the engine and transmission oil drained, and the oil filter replaced. I collected a few pieces of broken parts to take home and rebuild, repair, or replace. Meanwhile, Conni cleaned the entire refrigerator all the remaining food lockers of food, and prepared those spaces for layover. I inadvertently added to her chores when I emptied the dinghy of the rinse water before checking with her about closing the ports: I made a terrible wet mess that she mopped, not without some choice words. Sorry about that.
The 63-foot motor yacht, the US$6 million one, is still dripping water from her damaged hull. A large dinghy came by today and a small crew from Tahiti Yacht Charters, which owns the boat, offloaded everything salvageable from the damaged ama: sheets, towels, house wares, and such. It was all soggy, but a yacht charter company must be expert in solving that kind of problem.
I'm still nursing a damaged right eye. As we were removing the main sail two days ago, a small block (a pulley) swung into my eye. My eyelid is bruised and my cornea is probably scratched a bit, so it tears terribly, but it seems to be healing. Like most sighted person, I'm always fearful of eye damage.