Our Move and the Fridge! 30-31 July
31 July 2023 | Raiatea Carenage
William Ennis | Very windy
Sunday, we decided to take a half-day break, so after I completed tearing down, cleaning, and reassembling the starboard primary winch and we had greased the sea cocks, at about 1PM, we buttoned the boat, and began to return to the bungalow. The co-owner, Valerie, came by on a bike in something of a panic, and said that there was "surgery", meaning we thought, an emergency. Off we went.
The emergency was that they had double-booked our bungalow! We were the unlucky party and had to vacate within the hour. Damn! I was irritated and angry, but on thinking it over (plus some not-gentle prodding from Conni), I realized that we had a place to go (the newcomers didn't) and we would have departed in the morning, anyway.
We gathered our stuff and departed but not before we requested that they would keep our refrigerated goods until Monday. They also offered to wash one free load of clothing for us, and a refund of the day's cost. OK, we accept.
To make lemonade, we took our stuff to the boat and went on a long drive. We visited Taputapuatea, the "Holy of Holies" in French Polynesia. It was from Taputapuatea that the voyages to Hawai'i were begun, for example, since it was the center of the Eastern Polynesian Pacific culture from about 1000BCE to the intervention of European explorers in the 1600s. It's been a World Heritage Site for many years, but somehow, the UN and the FP government have found enough money to get some modern, multilingual signage and other work done on the site, and some sophisticated LiDAR scanning done. They've already found several structures that had been lost, and more are on the way. It's the same site, but with so much more information. Reasonably, the first language in the signage is Polynesian. Cool.
So, back to the boat for our first night in a while. It's been blowing so hard that only earplugs allow any sleep: Screaming wind in the rigging of 100 sailboats is not quiet.
Monday, today, we arose early since we had so many tasks to complete before returning the car at 9:30. Our list of tasks to complete before then included: Grocery run for the last few items; purchase of ice for storing our food until the fridge began to work; gas for our rental car, gas for our outboard, and diesel for emergency use; and a new windlass battery. We assumed that the battery shop would accept credit cards, but they did not, so I stayed at the shop and Conni drove back into town to get more money. Fortunately, we could leave the battery core with the shop.
While we were at the battery store, our friend, Richard, found us, having remembered our task list, and told us that our fridge guy, Benoit, would meet us at the boat at 9:30. I arrived at 9AM so installed the new windlass battery in the chain locker.
Benoit is a very nice Frenchman with many years of refrigeration experience behind him, and a great set of tools to use on the job. He was most impressed with our new fridge! He said that it was more a commercial unit than a usual marine unit, with the large storage for liquid refrigerant, a huge holding plate, variable expansion valve, and ball bearing fan. He said that our unit required 10 times the refrigerant than is usually used. All was music to our ears.
He got to work. He connected the tubing between the cold plate and the compressor plate that Richard and I had bent and put in place. He purged the nitrogen from the system, and started filling with R134a, the refrigerant of choice. There were no hiccups or problems and by 3PM, we had a holding plate with frost on it. Amazing!
After loading the groceries from our recent store run, we walked down to the bungalow and fetched the stored food. Benoit had "hot wired" the thermostat so that he could test what it would do, so we have a cold reefer. Cold beer is the drink of celebration tonight! Benoit might return tonight to check things, but at least will be here in the morning. WE HAVE A REFRIGERATOR!
So, Monday has been a banner day and the culmination of a full year's planning. We're both happy about it.
We're back in the yard, obviously. We roast during the day since the hull is in the hot air and not the water. It cools at night, but we still use fans. We have to climb down a steep ladder to reach the toilet or shower, a several minute walk away. At 3AM, it's a chore to use that toilet! Boat yard life is a mixed bag with some good and some bad.