The drama of buying a SSB radio in French Polynesia
06 March 2020 | In Taravai
Almost two months ago I put an ad on Facebook that I was looking for an SSB radio. An American, let's call him Mike, offered me a complete set of radio, tuner and
whip antenna for only 300$.
Not bad I thought, but the owner couldn't tell me if it still works. He heard stations on it, but he never transmitted. So I took a chance and went into a rather lengthy
procedure to transfer money to America. This is always long. American banks are notorious for being slow. I prefer Paypal: zero cost and it's instant. But his wife lost
the phone with Paypal on it and they couldn't activate it anymore. Off course he didn't trust my word that I sent it, so we had to wait till his bank found my money. I
asked him to bring it to friends of mine anchored in Tahiti and they could find a boat that was coming here. After some more time, he announced that he himself
would be sailing to Gambier now. Cool I thought, but at the same time we started to worry that he couldn't make it. He had no experience and seemed old. Many
stubborn older sailors make such decisions and the wife just has to follow. When the wind was good he didn't go and when he left it was no good. You have to get it
right: For Tahiti to Gambier the wind is on the nose and not easy to do for beginners. Sure enough..... his boat broke down. His diesel tank leaked all over the lagoon
and then one of his engines quit. I helped him via messenger to glue his diesel tank and gave him info where he could stop and use my contacts etc. My messages
became long and time consuming. But I wanted to help this poor man, getting this old boat here. So I kept on mailing him until he finally said he had to turn back to
Tahiti to get it all fixed. That's where he already spent a whole year fixing his boat. He didn't do anything else and that is not good resume for a �"round the world
This entire episode lasted 2 months. I asked him to put the radio in a box, pad it well, fix my address on it and bring it to my friends, still anchored in Tahiti. I thought
to myself, that it was him that lost this time and that HE should ship it to me. He could have shipped it from any of the islands via cargo or plane. But he seemed
helpless in Polynesia. So we didn't insist and hoped that our Tahiti friends could just bring this packet to the cargo ship heading for Gambier. Oh well �...no!!! He
dropped off the stuff only in a plastic bag and the antenna was so rusty it could not be taken apart. Two sections rusted together are 7 meters long, impossible to
My friends tried to take it apart with heat and oil and vinegar, but that wasn't the idea at all. I had no right asking them to fix my junk. Just hold it for a few days and
pass on it to another yacht, or now bring it to the cargo dock. I was very disappointed that this American sailor didn't take his responsibility and look for shipping
himself. Fat chance�...he didn't do anything to rectify the situation. So I wrote him a message saying that I was sad , he should have boxed it, that he didn't tell me the
antenna was seized and this all looks lousy and Cruisers have a better spirit�...�...that's all I wrote !! Is this mean??? Vicious? Aggressive?? I don't think so, I just thought
of telling him how I felt.
I must have hit his nerve: He canswerd me: �"Dude you are an ass, go EFF YOURSELF, and Insensitive prick, �"a lot of nerve�" and the best : �"IMPETUOUS BIPOLAR
CHILD�". Then he went on that his wife's cat had died (because of me??)
This poor man was really mentally exhausted. His trip, his boat, his wife, her cat, it's all too much for him.
I see a lot of older men going for a world cruise with their wife and cat and dog plus tons of gear. All this is a lot of emotional baggage. If those animals or wives don't
belong on a boat, things start to break and couples fall apart. Don't get me wrong: women are NOT emotional baggage. I myself could not sail for very long without
Daniela and more and more women carry their captain's thru the world. But often in my generation, it's the man who has this crazy idea to sail around the world and
his wife just has to come along. Then they get over powered with all these technical break downs and then all you need is a Swiss idiot moaning about not getting his
radio that he paid 2 months ago.
The avalanche of nasty words was programmed. I am glad for this man, that he could vent it towards me on �"Messenger�". If he ever meets a real person that is
criticizing him, then I think it could become violent. I don't know him in real life but I can tell, that he has way too much steam in his pressure cooker.
The best is yet to come: After a short note from me saying �"fair winds�" he mailed me a picture OF HIS DEAD CAT!!! He took the time and effort to insert a text with
�"Thanks for being such a douche.�"
The poor kiddy looked like it fell in the water and couldn't get back up. Another reason not to have pets on board, I thought to myself. But I also thought of writing: �"
It's ok Mike, to vent your anger at me, but there was no reason to drown your wife's cat�"!!
I must admit I have a wicked sense of humor. So I kept this to myself�...poor cat, poor wife, poor Mike. I see so many people on boats that fall apart like this. So many
dreams of Pacific Paradise don't come true and the boat dream becomes a nightmare. Many boats don't even make it thru the fixing up and �"get boat ready to go�"
phase. The wives jump off before that. Taking the pets with them and moving back to where the grand children are.
It's also a sign of our times, how people �"talk�" to each other. People must think, if they sail to the Pacific paradise all is going to be fine. But they can't run away from
their anger. It is inside of them and they bring that anger with them. I know a German boat that other sailors stay away from. Every day the captain and his wife shout
at each other so loud that it's unpleasant for other yachts at anchor. Boaters tell me they worry when it's quiet for too long�.....you start thinking are they going at each
other with the butchers knife??
I am not making this up. It's often violent here in paradise. But I must also say this: . �... Often, when we struggle to get our stern anchor up, we are amazed at how
many sailors come out in their dinghy and help us before we bust our backs. We are both moved that there is still solidarity and kindness among us. And yes we meet
many gentlemen and even gentler women on this trip�...thank you all for helping us when we are down, thank you.
It's boring day here in Taravai. No sunshine, cloudy and rainy lots of wind. I don't want to write about my leaking fuel filter and I don't want to go into the engine
room again. So I am glad Mike gave me a reason to write about anger. The radio is probably garbage and still far away. Maybe there is a blog with �"Radio part two�"
coming to you soon. In the mean time �...Be kind to your neighbors.:-)