16 September 2021 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Very hot and stormy
We depart Raiatea tomorrow afternoon, although it's so hard to imagine: we're ready to go. The weather has not made it difficult to leave, either. It's been very hot with occasional violent squalls bringing 30 knot winds and heavy rains.
The past few days we've worked all day long, each day, completing one chore and beginning another. I've tackled a few more fiberglass repair tasks, and Conni has worked on running messenger lines, collecting our gear from below, and much more.
Today, for example, I sanded a few cured fiberglass repair jobs on the hull while Conni completed cleaning and collecting gear and food. After lunch, I sanded the entire cap rail, the teak rail around the edge of the deck, for Conni's varnishing job. She grabbed the can of varnish and a brush, and off she went, working in the heat and sun while applying a surface coat of our excellent varnish. That used to be my task but she's accepted it and seems to almost enjoy making the boat so pretty. The varnish is a two-coat product, a varnish for teak and a "gloss" coat that provides more UV and rain protection. Together, they provide the best protection we've found. Since it's the outer gloss coat that suffers damage, she finished a can of gloss on the cap rail. Interestingly, she also used the teak varnish, the undercoat, to varnish a few areas of teak in the cabin that are exposed to unusual wear. They look great! She was very clever to think of using the exterior varnish for that purpose.
In Mexico, we designed and had fabricated a sun cover for the boat. Of course in Mexico, the problem was sun and not rain, so the cover was made of a "greenhouse cloth", a loose weave of nylon made for greenhouse roofs. It survived for many years, but for the past several years, each year we've had a replacement made for the three parts of the cover. This year, we accepted the last part, the aft piece, made by the wonderful Regine Faux, as I mentioned before. This particular work is superb, with lovely gusseted corners and stainless steel grommets. We had the new cover made longer along the long axis to provide a bit more cover for the cockpit. We never know what the material will be since it depends on what Madame Faux has on hand, but this is the heavyweight stuff. It's stiff and heavy, but extremely durable and weather resistant.
We installed it yesterday and, Holy Smokes...it's wonderful! It provides some much needed sun, rain, and wind protection to the all-important cockpit/stern.
In order to move another boat, the Mana Iti (Little Spirit in Polynesian), Dominique the owner moved us around. We've made friends with the three people aboard Mana Iti. The older guy owns the boat: he's from Papeete. The other two are a couple from Reunion Island near Madagascar. The owner allowed us to tour the boat as she was in the slings for launching. Damn, it's huge! As I've mentioned, she was designed by the same guy who designed our boat, Robert Perry. It's of a similar vintage, 1981 compared to Wings' 1984. Mana Iti is at least 20-feet longer that Wings and she has so much room! The aft berth by itself is huge. The owner has done a lot of work on her and she looks great.
After we completed our work, we were able to pay our Carenage bills (yikes!), and head back to the bungalow for our last night in FP.
As mentioned, we depart French Polynesia tomorrow, if all goes to plan. We have confirmation that we can visit Conni's dad in Oakland. Very cool! Even with the heavy and cumbersome autopilot drive, my big bag is only 40 pounds, and I've also got a fairly lightweight blue box. Conni has a duffle and a single blue box, so we have two fewer items to carry home.
At some point in each trip, our minds switch from a French Polynesia mode to a Home mode, and that happened to me yesterday. I'm ready to stop sweating and working and have some quality home time. I'm not sure when Conni turned that corner, but she was ahead of me. We love being on the boat and we love French Polynesia, but it's time to go home.
Tomorrow, we'll return to the boat, briefly, to perform a final check and adjust our boat cover, but then we're done. Raihau, our host here at the Pension Tiare Nui, said that we could stay all day so we'll accept his generous offer. We'll return to the bungalow, shower again for our trip, pack odds and ends, then rest in the cool unit it's time to head to the airport. After the 45-minute flight from Raiatea to Papeete, we'll deal with luggage, and take our CoVid tests for re-entry into the US. Our United flight to San Fran departs at 2100 or so, so by mid-morning, we'll be in the good old US of A. Astounding. We'll stay in the Bay area for a few days, then head home to Alaska.
Our state of Alaska, and our community of Anchorage, are both inundated in CoVid, with cases spiraling out of control and hospitals in "Crisis Care" only. We'll return and go immediately into hunker-down mode, eschewing our traditional visits with friends. It can't be helped. Alaskan citizens simply will NOT get their vaccines, wear masks, or practice any healthy behaviors. Sigh. I expect a long and disease-fraught fall.
Nevertheless, we'll be at home, together, and we look forward to resuming our home lives. I've got another page to post, but won't do that until we reach Oakland.