15 July 2019 | Marina Taina
12 July 2019 | Marina Taina
11 July 2019 | Marina Taina
09 July 2019 | Marina Taina
08 July 2019 | Marina Taina
06 July 2019 | Marina Taina
05 July 2019 | Marina Taina
04 July 2019 | Marina Taina
01 July 2019 | Marina Taina
30 June 2019 | Marina Taina
28 June 2019 | Marina Taina
27 June 2019 | Marina Taina
24 June 2019 | Marina de Taina
23 June 2019 | Marina de Papeete
18 June 2019 | Marina de Papeete
16 June 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
14 June 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
13 June 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
12 June 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
08 June 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
Last Day in French Polynesia
19 August 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Very hot for winter
We depart Raiatea and French Polynesia on Tuesday, tomorrow, so we're near the end of this trip.
We did spend some time this morning cleaning our packing mess in the room and such, but then headed to the boat. Back to the salt mines.
Conni's main task today was to re-caulk the mast as it enters the cabin top. There's a "boot", as it's called, a vinyl cone that spans between the mast with a smaller diameter and the mast ring, a larger diameter. To hold the mast firmly in the mast ring, small wooden wedges are hammered into the space. Conni had to pound them in more firmly, then use two tubes of caulk to fill the space between the mast ring and the mast itself. She did a great job but she covered the mast, the ring, the mast boot, and herself, along with assorted tools and sail bags, with white caulk. I would have taken a photo of her and her nest of caulk, but her glare quickly changed my mind.
I used contractor's garbage bags to seal, or try to seal, each chain plate and Conni did the same for the mast, even with the new caulking job. Hopefully, we've done enough to stop our mast leak problem.
It's hot today, very hot, and it drains our energy quickly, so we were both struggling as we put the final two pieces of boat cover in place, placed the lock in the companionway hatch, and climbed down the ladder for the last time this season.
We depart at 0800 on Tuesday, so we've got to get packed and be ready to go much earlier than usual.
When we arrive in Papeete after the 45-minute flight, we grab our boxes and gear and I'll take a taxi to Marina Taina where I'll fetch our port-side chock, the bronze piece that allows dock lines to pass through the teak cap rail. As I mentioned, a low tide snatched the piece from the boat and it landed the water. I sent an email to a dive shop, Fluid Dives, and one of their kind divers found it and have it saved for us. I offered US$100, and although the diver, Cyrille, found it just to be helpful, we'll pay him anyway. That kind of kindness strengthens my confidence in humanity. We board the Big Bird to return to the US a bit later in the day.
Wednesday night, we'll be back in Oakland with Conni's dad, dead tired but safely in the States.
We're still digesting all that happened this trip: the engine change process in particular. I'll have to consider that topic for awhile.
We found that the leaks where our mast passes through the cabin top has caused some serious rotting to the mast step. We use "Git Rot", a penetrating epoxy treatment that we'll repeat seasonal from here on. I've got some interior painting and varnishing to do
As I was thinking about all of this maintenance, I realized that by the time that I have become aware of the places to look for problems and have some storehouse of solutions, we'll sell the damned boat! There are so many place to have problems on a cruising sailboat in tropical environments. Saltwater and plentiful rain cause or find pathways into the interior as they have for more natural features throughout time. With a 35-year-old boat, the problems multiply. The case in point is the leakage problem. It's a work in progress.
An Evening to Remember
16 August 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Hot and humid
When we arrived at the Carenage, among the boats near to us was a one-off owned and sailed by an older guy named Larry. He came by and introduced himself to us and invited us for a sundowner: a cocktail.
We work hard in the heat, so when 1700 rolled around, we were ready for a break and climbed aboard his boat. It was a wonderful evening, listening to his stories of tavels around the world: the Near East, Far East, and points in between. He's in his late seventies, I imagine, and still at it. He doesn't single-hand, but finds compatible crew as he travels.
We skipped his invitation last night but on our last Friday night, we decided to accept. We had given him 10 gallons of diesel and 3 gallons of gas that we didn't want to keep over the season so didn't feel bad about drinking his wine and beer. We climbed aboard at the usual 1700 hours and I started in on his HInano, although he and Conni shared a bottle of white wine. They began to talk about wine and another of his many jobs was at a winery in...Missouri! Conversations with Larry lead to countless stories of his travels and his life that surprise and amaze. It was a great evening.
Conni and I had also planned to have a meal at a roulotte, one of the food wagons, and it was after 2000 hours before we climbed down the ladder from Larry's boat. We drove into town, planning to have a meal at the same roulotte at which we had eaten when we began the season and were commissioning the boat.
There' a burger joint in town, "Tonton Burger" that's rarely open, or at least it's never consistently open during the day. We wondered how it survived being closed so frequently. Low and behold, it was open as we drove past! We swerved into the parking lot, our last burger having been at the Pink Coconut in Marina Taina during the first week we were there. As we entered the open air restaurant, we heard then saw a 7-person ukulele band! The secret of Tonton Burger seems to be that they're open at night! Who knew? The band was great, with two women with one on spoons, one guitar, and four ukulele players, one of whom played an 8-string instrument and he was a superb musician and the obvious leader. they sang in Polynesian and there were always new people in the restaurant listening. We got our burger and fries and as much local music as we could want. It was glorious! I snapped a few surreptitious photos that I'll post soon.
I've winnowed the engine parts that I want to take home and sell: they're all in our room, ready to be weighed and packed. Most of the boat work is done, although some large projects remain, such as Conni's mast work. We dropped by our sailmaker's business and fetched our dinghy storage bag. Madame Faux, laughed the the bag was large enough for both she and Conni to be stored inside it, and it was! At 28-inches in diameter and 5-feet tall, Conni would certainly fit. Still, it's a great fit for our dinghy and keeps it from sun and weather damage and since we leave the dinghy stored on deck. Both of our sails and now the dinghy reside on-deck in a Madame Faux-built bag.
After this evening, we're back at work.
Work in the Heat
15 August 2019 | Pension Tiare Nui
William Ennis | Been hot!
This is our second night in Pension Tiare Nui and, holy smokes is it nice! Air conditioned room, hot shower, room to spread and sort our stuff: I know that it's a low bar, but when one works all day in humid heat, it's a miracle to suddenly be clean and cool and stay that way all night.
Conni went up the mast today and removed the Windex (a purely mechanical wind direction indicator) and our electronic wind sensor. They don't need to be in the wind and sun for so many months so we remove them at the end of each season. She can also check nuts and bolts on her way up and down the mast. Several years ago, she discovered that our radar mount was loose so the i could get it fixed before a catastrophe.
Both main and jib are down and stowed. The same with our dinghy, although Madame Faux, our wonderful sail maker, is fabricating a dinghy storage bag for us out of material that we bought and brought with us. We hope that the bag provides sun and rain protection during the hot season as the bags do that she made for our two sails.
Conni's remaining big on-deck chore is to modify our mast boot system so it doesn't leak like a sieve. She got some hints and suggestions from a good rigger in Marina Taina and we both hope for the best. At the least, the bilge pump works on automatic, so if we continue to get leaks, we can rid the boat of the water.
We got the Honda generator prepared for storage, and the Mercury outboard, too: two big tasks for me. All in all, we had a successful day.
Wednesday, we continued our work on decommissioning the boat. Now that the big items are done, things move more slowly. Conni worked on various on-deck chores and helped me with "summer-izing" our new engine. It didn't go smoothly since it was our first time, but we're done. It did take several hours of Conni's time, though, and we depart the island on Tuesday morning. Yikes!
We fetch our newly-made dinghy bag tomorrow and Conni works on the mast leak and scrubs the hull at waterline. I've got some fabrication chores to do since the engine installation changed a lot of structures in the boat and we're not sure we'll remember to make the changes next year.
The Last Night on Wings, probably...
11 August 2019 | Apooiti Bay
William Ennis | Hot!
We were up at 0630 this morning in preparation to leaving Avea Bay. Stowing gear, checking weather, all of the various tasks had to be completed. We had planned to stow the dinghy on deck but realized that the early hour would mean that we awakened the entire mooring field, so we just removed and stowed the outboard and prepared to drag the dinghy a suitable distance to bring it on deck.
Conni had deployed over 100-ft of anchor chain, as well as our 64-pound anchor, so it was a task to bring it all on board. As usual with an anchor set as good as this, we had to take up all of the chain and then then motor past the anchor to lever it out of the sand. In the end, up it came, covered and flowing with fine, fine white sand. I had the helm as we motored out of Avea, past Bourayne Bay, then through the very complex routes dictated by coral and the channel markers. In 2 hours, we had negotiated the entire system all the way to Fare where we found a suitably low-wind location and brought aboard the dinghy. Finally prepared, we headed to Raiatea, 25 nautical miles away.
After a few hours of motoring, the wind arose and we were able to sail most of the way to Raiatea, arriving a few hours ahead of our schedule. Through the labyrinth of coral and channels to Apooiti, although we did motor past it to check for moorings nearer our destination of the Raiatea Carenage. No luck.
So, back to Apooiti for the night, picking up a mooring.
If we are in luck, we will get pulled from the water tomorrow and this is the last night on the boat. Amazing.
A Cruisers' Day
10 August 2019 | Avea Bay, Huahine
William Ennis | Lovely but warm
This is our last day on Huahine and our last day in Avea Bay. BoooHooo.
We were up at 0800 and just hung until 1100 or so, drinking coffee, reading, and talking. It was a lazy day. Yesterday, I gathered my snorkel gear and went over the side, but after a half-hour, the current worried me and I returned. Today, we jumped in the dinghy and motored to the Mahana Resort dinghy dock to make reservations for tonight's meal, then hiked to the local market in an attempt to get a baguette. You can't expect a baguette at 1130 and we were SOL!
After that disappointment, we hiked back toward the resort and found our snorkeling spot. I enjoyed a few hours of seeing the sights while Conni read ashore. Most of the coral here is dead, unfortunately and the bottom was covered in what I guess were sea cucumbers. With apologies, they looked like fields of turds. Odd looking creatures with one end secreting pellets of what looked like sand (the rear end I guess) and the other end with small black "feelers" that looked like tiny black cloves. I suppose that they eat coral and sand and secrete the non-organic stuff. They looked like they were attacking the coral but perhaps they were simply taking advantage of dead or dying coral. With the coral gone, there were few fish, either.
During a potty break at the resort, Conni found that the pubic restrooms had showers, so our plan was to motor over 15 minutes before Happy Hour started, shower, then enjoy cocktails then dinner, and so we did. Hot showers! Not since we left Raiatea 7 weeks ago have we had a hot shower and it was glorious. Our cocktails were superbly made, each of us enjoying a MaiTai, then sharing a ChiChi. The snack was tiny slivers of fresh coconut served on a shell. Lovely!
For dinner, I ordered the slab of tuna in anchovy sauce, since it sounded unusual. Conni had a slab of baked Wahoo (King Mackeral) with bacon and a sweet pepper sauce. Both were beautifully prepared and quite unusual. Dessert was coconut creme brulé served in a coconut shell.
08 August 2019 | Avea Bay, Huahine
William Ennis | Warm
We're floating in Avea Bay at the southwestern end of Huahine. When we arrived yesterday, the bay was full of charter catamarans but this morning every single one has departed for the base on Raiatea. It's cool to be one of the boats that can stay.
We departed Opunohu Bay on Moorea at 1100 hours and motor sailed for a few hours to charge batteries and awaiting the forecast winds. They never arrived and we motored the entire way: 19 hours. The weather service we use failed again when they missed a miserable southeast swell of short-period, steep waves that gave us a violent corkscrew motion for most of that time. We've decided to cancel that service and we'll find another. At any rate, we survived the trip and the engine performed perfectly. We were concerned about fuel use, of course, even though I had considered that during my initial engine research. We've got no experience with it, of course. When we finally got to Huahine, and through the pass, we motored inside the lagoon to Fare, the main village. No moorings were available so we dropped the anchor to consume breakfast and check the fuel situation. Wonderful! We had at least 20 gallons of diesel remaining, so the engine seems to have similar fuel use as the old Nanni. With that, we headed south through the maze of channels toward Avea Bay. We arrived and dropped the hook for an extended stay.
There's a big storm somewhere since we're getting 30+knot gusts of wind, but the reef, which extends several miles offshore here (and kills lots of boats in doing so) blocks the seas and the hills surrounding two sides of the bay don't allow the wind to cause any waves. It's choppy but not rough. The winds still tanner us, but the anchor set is solid.
So, what did we do on this first day of our vacation? Nothing. Our anchor was well set, the boat was provisioned, and it was a cloudy, overcast day. We read and thought, and looked around. A new crop of charter catamarans motored into the bay and we ogled them as they set anchors, as sailors will do, judging their expertise. I did some snorkeling around the boat and checked the anchor. Too funny! the chain is lying on the sand but well before the anchor shows, th chain dives below the sand surface. The anchor is completely buried! It'll be difficult to extract it, I'm sure, but we'll sleep better with a 65-pound anchor completely buried in the sand.
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