Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear Diary

The Church at the head of the Bay where I'm anchored
On Saturday morning I got a lift with the Motel guy to Uturoa to do some  shopping. I bought Bananas at the market but there were no tomatoes and when I asked why there no eggs, even in the Supermarket, I was told that some months ago because of some sort of disease, all the commercial hens in Tahiti were slaughtered and it would be a few months before egss would be available again. In the end I didn’t buy much at all but had a very useful hour finding out what foods were available that I could stock up on if I head west. There certainly wasn’t the range of tinned meals like Irish Stew, Braised Steak and Onions, and Lamb Curry that I could get back home.

Back at the boat, still tied to the end of the boat launching bay and still floating, it took me about three hours to get the motor all sorted and checked. The biggest issue was the gear change and throttle cable which wouldn’t budge in any direction – I feared rust must have fused the wires together, and if so I would need a new one from Papeete but with CRC and fiddling around with it for  about an hour, it freed up and worked perfectly again. Next, to my great relief, the motor started without difficulty. A large cloud of rust stained water emerged from the exhaust and drifted off behind the boat, and I saw that the generator was working and so was the Eutetic fridge.

Since then, Ive completed the browning of the toe rail and made intermittent forays into the interior of the boat to sort through stuff – some of which I threw out – and to clean and tidy up but it’s a slow process.

On Monday I paid my Bill at Raiatea Carenage and it came to a lot less than what I had budgeted for, mainly because we didn’t end up doing what I budgeted for so I am in front there. I also checked out of the Sunset Beach Motel rather reluctantly and checked into Sapphire Hotel at the Carenage. I filled up my water tank and then cast off, motoring a mile or so back past the motel and into a small bay where there is a marina, but I anchored off it, in about 18 metres, equidistant between a small red yacht called Le Sylphe, about 20 feet long, and an empty mooring. Shortly after it started to pour with rain, a first test of my water-proofing which I am sad to say wasn’t quite as effective as I had hoped, but I have identified a couple more places that will get the Sika Treatment once everythings all dry again.
Leak testing Downpour
The following morning I finally got to “bend” on the sails, and with silicone spray on the sliders and headsail track both sails went on in no time. Then I discovered that the starboard main winch wasn’t working properly – it would only wind in one direction – and yet it had been working perfectly when I last used it. I pulled it apart and got covered in grease – another yachties ritual that Ive been denied the privilege of experiencing till now – but couldn’t find anything wrong with it. All the gears and the little spring loaded parts seemed fine but I could not make it work – I cleaned and scraped away bits of rust and assembled and disassembled and reassembled again and again trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with it – I even disassembled the working one to see if there was an obvious difference but I couldn’t spot one. Finally after 4 hours I decided I would take it back to the Carenage and ask the guys there to have a look at it.. This meant going ashore so I had to unpack the inflatable dinghy, pump it up and check out the Outboard. Well there was discolouring mould on parts of the Dinghy which cleaned up OK, and to my surpise, after some minor tidying and spraying with CRC – the” Workshop in a Can” the Mercury outboard sprang into life almost immediately. I discovered in the process that it has a gear lever!

So I sped back to the Carenage, dropped off the winch and sped back but ran out of petrol! Luckily I had attached the oars to the dinghy and I was almost back when the motor stopped! But I am certainly getting plenty of work outs here, what with cycling, rowing, walking and lifting heavy weights like the rolled up dinghy and the anchor which has put on a lot of weight while Ive been away! . Last year I pulled in the anchor arm over arm but tonight I had to use two arms at a time to pull it up when  the vacant mooring beside me was taken up by an antiseptic white Catamaran from the Charter Company in the Marina. The massive thing dirifts round in all directions and I could have stepped on board at one moment – so I decided to shift.

Earlier in the day I had walked 6km in baking heat to town where I bought a switch to replace the one for the light above the nav Station, and I bought some shorts and a couple of cheap shirts, as well as some veges and fruit and milk. I hitched back to the boat and caught a ride with a midwife from the local hospital! I pointed out Sapphire and said if they get stuck with any difficult obststrics that’s where I’ll be! Now there is something I CAN do!
Evening sail in Raiatea-Tahaa Lagoon, Bora Bora in the background
When the winch is fixed I’ll motor round to the main wharf at Uturoa to get fuel and supplies from the Supermarkets nearby, then head for Bora Bora. I hope that will be in the next few days. Apparently you can go snorkeling with Manta Rays over there!


  1. Its really pleasing to read that you are back into the swing of things David. It may have been hard work but the good times are yet to come on the journey west. Once you get her dry below it will feel like home once more. Get some ventilation down below and all will soon dry out.
    Love reading your blog and in particular the photo's you post. Looking forward to all the future postings. Enjoy Bora Bora.

  2. hi Dave, wow you did pull through and get your mojo back. and what scenes to help with that process! yep give us more of these photos - almost makes me wish i wasnt land-locked in the Ark, Kaiwaka, but sailing the seas as i attempt to change the world! :) my latest might interest you - Still just a vision, but i am hopeful... a 'new kind of capitalism'. i joined twitter too. my latest tweet: If we could start a global epidemic of creativity today, by tomorrow all the economic problems of the world would start to look pretty small. Especially from the deck of a cool yacht, of course...:)