Our Trip Begins: Day 1
07 August 2022 | Apu Bay, Taha'a
William Ennis | Stormy!
We're holed up in Apu Bay, just 5 nautical miles from the Carenage. It's been an interesting day.
We awakened early today. We both took our last land-based shower for awhile. I checked the engine and got our instruments in place while Conni worked below. While she showered after me, I ran the engine to check for fuel problems, Seeing that all was well, we cast off and left the launch slip at the Careange, and we were cruisers again!
For the first time in many years, everything worked. All of our instruments, the engine...everything. We ran with our chart plotter on with a radar overlay. We had two sonars going, our forward-looking and our down-looking. The wind sensor showed the 30+ knot winds: yuck. The autopilot, even without the final sea trial commissioning, worked well, too. It was a surprisingly satisfying feeling for us both.
And about the autopilot, I'd like to personally thank these people for their substantial help: George Rooney, mechanical engineer and long-time climbing friend; one of my best friends, Peter Bradshaw, rotating equipment engineer and all-round smart guy; and my father-in-law, LaVerne, who worked very hard and offered his lifetime of machinist expertise on this project. To you all, pressing the "Auto" button on the autopilot control and seeing that steering wheel turn was a near-miracle. I've fretted and stewed over this project for almost a year, and it's securely installed and operative. Simply, I couldn't have done it without your help and support. Thank you.
We motored across the pass between Raiatea and Taha'a, then on to Tapuamu, one of our favorites, and in most cases, a great storm shelter. The weather was so bad coming across the pass that we suddenly realized how sheltered we must have been at the Carenage. We've sat through many bad storms in Tapuamu through the years. When we arrived, there were 12 other boats there! What a zoo! After driving around the bay for 30 minutes, trying to locate someplace for us to anchor, we finally decided, but were unable to get a good hook set. We tried twice in one spot, and once in another, but it was not to be. We did the better thing and simply departed Tapuamu for Apu, further south. In retrospect, it was a poor choice to even stop in Tapuamu since there were so many other boats. If another boat's anchor dragged, and with 30 knots of wind coming through it was likely, it would have been a boat bowling alley. We should have taken a look and turned back before even attempting to anchor.
Neither the wind nor seas have let up for a week, now, so we slogged against the wind to Apu. We did find an unused mooring and grabbed it. The wind was so strong that Conni had trouble holding the boat in place while I grabbed the mooring, so it took us twice to manage it, but finally we were moored on a very strong mooring. There's a lot of strength and reach needed to grab a mooring line with a boat hook, haul it on deck, and then getting it tied to one of our special mooring lines that has a piece of fire hose to prevent chafe. (Thanks, LaVerne) I do the mooring work, and thankfully, Conni's superb at the helm.
Since we've been on the mooring, the wind has continued unabated and the boat's hobby-horsing and fish-tailing around on the mooring. There are about 20 other boats here in Apu Bay, both multi and mono-hull here and everyone is suffering the same. It will not be a restful night.
I'm writing this on Monday morning and it's still blowing hard although not quite. We'll stay here today through Wednesday morning, and then move to Huahine, we think.