6/21-22/2017

Nancy explains to me why it would be good to go to Papeete.  Logical stuff.  Charge batteries.  Take on water.  Odd big city details addressed.  I was with her.  The Tahiti/Moorea/Puddle Jump Rendezvous starts in Papeete Friday the 23rd.  Wouldn’t want to miss that. One of the attractions is representatives from host countries down wind will be present to acquaint us with the details of traveling to their countries by boat.  Good Idea.   So we left Cook’s Bay about 0930.  Got to Papeete about noon.  And found a slip in Marina Papeete.  Stroke of luck.  Damn near full and this weekend is the peak of high season.  Watered up.  Charged up.

Never mind checking in at the marina.  I load my most empty propane tank and bust it off to the filling station.  Our neighbor has a tank needs picking up.  It’s a long walk when you are schlepping a big propane tank.  Unless you have a bike to strap it to.  And I do.  So I swoop into the Mobil station.  Pick up my neighbor’s tank.  Drop mine off to be filled (and they SAID it would be done by Friday…).  As I’m strapping neighbors tank to my bike the gas truck comes along and hauls off the tanks, mine included.  Timing could not have been better.

But damn is it Hot.   No wind.  Nancy says Hey Man… if we turned the boat around on the dock we’d get more wind in the cockpit.  Yeah whatever..  but it might work.  So we release all the lines and I head out to turn around and come right back.  Nancy and a neighbor are on the dock to manage the lines on the way back in.  I have moved one fender to the starboard side which will now be to the dock.  I need 3 really but I hear a funny note from my diesel exhaust.  Like no water coming out with the exhaust. And there should be.  More often than not diesel marine engines have a water cooled exhaust system.  I used to have one too.  Now suddenly I don’t.  It’s the same water that cools the engine.  So now you begin to see the scope of the issue.  Quite in a hurry to get back on the dock now.  It’s calm.  Did I mention no wind?   Land her easily with my excellent dock hands’ assistance.  And darned if we did not see a bit better breeze in the cockpit for the turning around.  Bonus!

Now to sort out the cooling system on Spill The Wine.  Blocked intake?  Bad impeller in the pump?  Blocked hose that would introduce water into the exhaust?  Most likely impeller bad.  Odd because I replaced that on April and the tend to last about a year or more.  But then the last few months the motor has seen a lot more use than it used to see in a year in Seattle.

Open the pump and the impeller is shredded.   There are 12 fingers or flat vanes on the rotating impeller.  There are 3 left.  The others are piled up in the pump housing in bits.  I collect all the parts and all 12 vanes are not accounted for.  Two are missing.  Musta  got pumped downstream to the heat exchanger  (like a radiator in a car).  I look there but no vanes.   Hmmm.   I remove the hose from the heat exchanger that brings the water from the pump.  Nancy starts the motor and I hold the hose over a bucket.  Water pump is certainly working now.  Strong flow.  And along with the water, the missing 2 vanes are revealed!

Close it all up and start the motor.  The exhaust is full of water again as it should be.  And there are no leaks in the engine “room”.  Even better!  More like the vaguely accessible engine cupboard…

So off to the store.  Need another impeller to have on hand.  A patch kit for the dinghy.  It has a slow leak that I recently located.  Need charcoal for the Big Green Egg.  Might not find any of that for awhile after here.
What’s next.  Oh yeah the VHF radio has been refusing to turn on.  How rude!  There is a electronics fixit place here.  Remove radio and pack it up.

Electronic fixit place is not too encouraging.  They are not sure if the can fix.  They don’t have parts for my brand.  Ok let’s nevermind the radio then.  I scored on the rest of my supplies and back to the boat.

Nancy and I step out for a smoothie in the heat of the afternoon.  Perfect.  We encounter a mob of Tahitians playing ukuleles in a store front.  The graffiti behind them even celebrates ukes!  Fun!

White bread baguettes are great but we found whole wheat ones.  Awesome.  The post office here is called OPT.  The office of postal and telecommunications services.  So you buy your cell phone at the post office.  Odd.  Anyway I managed to screw my Polynesian phone up and needed help.  That was easy!

Nancy made marinated lamb chops.  More awesome! Then she went off to girls night with some of the other Puddle Jumpers.

6/23/2017

So I have this dead radio hanging around the salon.  What to do.  Oh well. I’ll just hang it back where it belongs.  And the SOB works perfectly.  Twas ever thus.  I have not mentioned it yet but I have crew coming on July 8 and they are bringing Another Radio!  I scored that on ebay.  I’m still happy it’s coming as this one’s inconsistent behavior is really not ok.  It can become a spare when the new one shows up.

This afternoon there was a kickoff event at the Tahiti tourism office on the waterfront.  People from New Zealand and Fiji gave presentations to encourage the Puddle Jump participants to come and visit.  And to give us customs and touring clues. The minister of tourism was on hand to speechify and bless the fleet.  Seriously athletic Tahitian dancers put on a very impressive show.  There were some folks looking to hitch a ride from Tahiti to Moorea with the fleet. All 15 miles of it!  All the participant boats are scheduled to depart tomorrow  (Saturday) for Cook’s Bay in Moorea.  Nancy and I take on 4.  A Dutchman, an Irishman,  an Englishman and a German woman.  Fun bunch of 20 somethings trying to find their way around the world.  They stayed with us for the whole weekend.  Wore us out!

6/24/2017

Our crew showed up at 9am as planned and we departed.  About 25 boat’s are in a big pile outside Passe Papeete and then they are off!  Wind is light.  Seas are building just the same.  Strangely enough Spill The Wine ends up in front of everyone.  That is not what usually happens.  About 2/3 of the way there, the wind expires and the swell is large.  Ideal for seasickness.  Accordingly we have a seasick crew.  Nevermind being in the lead, we motor up and find our way to the bay.  Much smoother!  Crew recovers in time for an anchor down beverage.  🙂  It turns out everybody motored but one boat.  It required patience and strong stomachs but Wiz sailed all the way they win the event!

We tour the anchorage visiting our peers on our way to the grocery.  Then ashore for more destination seminars and dinner.  Some of our young crew stays out a bit later than us and returns silently.  Sneaky buggers!

6/25/2017

Crew makes us all breakfast.  I knew we had the right folks on board!  We are fueling up for the outrigger canoe races.  My hand picked international cabal crew ended up the gringo victors!  That’s the good news.  The bad news is they had to defeat their captain’s team to do it, the bums!  I got over it….

More amazing Tahitian dancers and a Polynesian feast followed.  We ended up on another boat playing and singing into the night.  How their cockpit managed to swallow 16 people is unclear…

6/26/2017

Our hitchhikers made breakfast again, cleaned up and cleared out.  Great crew.  They all get invited back.  Just the same it will be nice to have just Nancy and I onboard for a bit.  Some of them are returning Friday.  And a couple more signed up to cross with Spill The Wine to Raritonga in the Cook islands at the end of July.  That is about a 5 day crossing.  It will be good to have the extra hands.

The bay is shedding boats now that the event has finished.  I was hoping that it would.  Peace descends on Cook’s Bay.   Ambition might happen tomorrow…

6/27-28/2017

So the 27th we invited our hosts from the night before to come and visit.  More music!   So much fun that we added more folks the evening of the 28th.

6/29/2017

Now the wind is up. Gusting to 25.  Cooler too.  Good day to be anchored!  Reading, Internet dose, neighbors coming later for chicken on the Egg!

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All Moorea All the Time

6/15/2017

This morning we woke up restless and moved to the next cove East.  Passe Irihonu on the north coast of Moorea is a narrow one.  And the anchorage area was small.  But we were the only boat so that was no problem. Interesting stuff on shore.  We walked to the local grocery.  They had AC!  And birds flying around in their store.  They were after the baguettes!  Sacré Bleu!

Nancy seared some fresh tuna.  Awesome!  stiff rain on the boat late that night.  I love that sound.

6/16/2017

More restlessness.  We motored making power and water to Passe Tareu.  It provides access to Opunohu Bay.  Near the passe there is a shallower spot, ranging 20-40 feet.  For some reason everybody and their sea dog anchors there.  Probably 25 boats.  And the rest of the bay is vacant.  It’s kinda deep.  60 feet can be found.  Just a puzzle though.  Anchoring in a big pile seems odd.  Anyway we retreated to Cook’s Bay because they have groceries within reach of the dinghy.  And there are only 6 boats in the whole thing.  Nice.  I think it’s Pizza Night!

6/17/2017

We are enjoying reading in the cockpit punctuated by the odd swim.  But today we walked over to the Opunohu Bay next door.  Gotta get physical sometime.  The sun didn’t get us.  Grateful for some clouds.

Physicality deserves food!  Some of the restaurants will come and collect customers in a van if you call them.  So we did.  Went to HolySteak.  I put on shoes and socks.  Its been awhile!  Predictably awesome.  They had some live music.  We are finding that a bit rare here.  Not like La Cruz Mexico at all.  Many restaurants there had music.  Interesting.

6/17/2017

Today it was hike to the Tiki Park.  There are some archeological ruins up the valley.  Makes for a nice walk in the forest.  At some point we decided it was too far to go without water.  Will revisit soon.

We invited our neighbors from Southern Light over for horsdevours.  Which we devoured.  We met them previously in Papeete.  Nice bunch.  Their schooner was built by the captain.  From 69-72.  This is the 4th time he’s sailed her from New Zealand to Vancouver BC.  He’s only 75.  And his Sr crew is 76.  They have two relative rookies on board as well.  One with no experience.  One with a bit.  But they were a good team.  And they were tested. 60 kts max wind they saw on their 30 odd day passage from New Zealand to here.  They are all experienced now.

Pictures!

We’ve been neglecting to add photos to the blog because the wifi is unreliable. I will try to show you a few of mine today. First, Rangiroa:

Sunrise                                     Look at that color!                         Rose at sunset


Lulu                                                         View from Gilligan’s Island


A feast on the Big Green Egg for a lovely evening

Tikehau:

Well, that took my entire battery. More later.

Return to Moorea

6/13/2017

I can testify.   Les Trois Brasseurs has a fine IPA.  And the stainless steel guy delivered the repaired part last night.  nicely done.  Metali’nox Stéphane Gerand (689) 87 77 02 77.  highly recommended for stainless work and service.  nice pu and delivery!

Later in the evening we were back at the dock enjoying the night air in the cockpit.  A neighbor approaches us and asks if we have a corkscrew.  We are on a boat called Spill The Wine!  We have about a hundred corkscrews. We took care of him.

The sun came up and I could not help but notice that it had rained in the night.  And I had left the companion way lid open.  No Bueno.  The stairs from below to the cockpit are carpeted.  And mold was on their near horizon.  We cut up an old rug from our house for these stairs years ago.  Bruce the Dog had a tough time as the stairs are steep.  Carpet helped.  But he has gone by some years ago and now the carpet will be joining him in the great hereafter.

Next was off to the Mobil to collect the propane tanks.  They were ready.  A miracle.  Strap them to the bicycle and cart them back home.  Fill the water tank and check out.  Hasta La vista Papeete!  Back to Moorea.

The sail over was pretty smooth.  Partly due to minimal wind.  So we motored half way.  But I’ve got about a 3 month supply of fuel on board so what the hey!  Anchored in Cook’s Bay again.  So quiet.  So peaceful.  So dark.  Nice change as Papeete was none of these things.  But it was charming in other ways.

We feasted on grilled duck breast and French wine.  Another good day.

6/14/2017

We woke this morning and there was an onshore 15kt breeze.  It had been offshore last night.  So now we are on the other side of our anchor and it’s kinda getting shallow.  We reanchored across the bay to hide from the wind and the shallows.  I’ll sleep better.

We have a Canadian boat nearby and her captain is coming over and I am getting ready to toast up a prime rib.  Meat selection at the grocery is interesting.  Prime rib and filet mignon.  Where did the rest of the cow go?

Reaping Electrons

20170610_144643

This is what a shore power connection looks like in French Polynesia.

6/11/2017

Day of rest.  The heat really takes the wind out of your sails!  We visited a neighbor boat for happy hour.  They are in the middle of a round the world tour sponsored by their boat manufacturer, Oyster.  Fun people.

6/12/2017

Things are open and I head to the electrical parts store.  And lo, they had what I wanted.  Miracle.  Even found some propane in a 16oz can.  Never thought I’d see one of those again!  Back to the boat and assemble the parts.  Detach the charger from the existing electrical system and mount a French style plug on the charger’s wire.  Plug it in and voila! 40 amps comes pounding into the battery Bank.  We’re not going to be at a lot of marinas but still, this is a handy feature.

I just spoke to the stainless guy.  He says he’ll deliver tonight at 730pm.  Awesome.  All the pieces are falling into place.

Tonight it is 2 for 1 at a local microbrewery.  Rumor has it they have an IPA.  We’ll just have to see about that!

Bon Appetit!

6/12/17

We are IN Pape’ete, Tahiti. I mean, the marina is right downtown. This place should be visited when you have access to A/C and a pool. It’s HUMID. At least living on the water, the insects don’t bother you as much.

There are advantages to being in a city, though: there are stores where you can buy boat parts, hardware, etc., that don’t exist in a village. Top of our list is getting our propane tanks refilled, and one of our bimini supports needs welding. Then we will head back to Moorea.

Pape’ete is quite modern and very French. There are markets, bistros, and boutiques. I already took care of obtaining the obligatory souvenirs: a pareo & some black pearls. Of course, when I travel, my favorite diversion is the food. Chris found out about some food trucks near the ferry terminal. We went there last night and had sumptuous seared red tuna. There is a large market downtown that you have to hit around 6:00 am to really get anything. There are also Carrefour supermarkets. If you have ever been to France, you’ve probably seen these. The food selection is stunning. There is a cheese department. There is a long refrigerated aisle of nothing but charcuterie. You can get a two-foot long fresh baguette for about $0.50. I picked up a beautiful package of the tiniest (1 cm sq) raviolis for $2.00.

This morning, we sat in the cockpit while it poured around us, and Chris attacked a pamplemousse . These are also called Asian grapefruits or pomelo, and you can sometimes find them at Uwajimaya. They take some work, but they are worth it. The skin has to be cut. Under that is about an inch thick of pith. Then, you have to remove the tough membrane around each slice. But when you taste it, you realize this is what grapefruit aspire to be.

A couple nights ago, Chris did a spectacular job of grilling a big prime rib steak that I had slathered with roasted garlic paste. We still have some duck breasts in the freezer. And I have a couple of bottles of French Rosé. I think we’ll survive.

Give me Amps!

6/10/2017

Time to get electrical.  Spill the Wine has a 40 amp battery charger that came with it.  Its not in service as the inverter charger has taken over charging the batteries.  But the inverter charger needs 110v.  And they have 220 here.  The original charger however will work on anywhere from 85v to 260v.  So I’m restoring the wiring on the orig charger so I can plug into the 220 dock power.  Solar has a hard time keeping up with a hard working refrigerator!  Redoing the wiring took most of today.  Shop for parts Monday.

Tonight we went to the Roullotes.  This is a gathering of food trucks.  They put out tables and make it happen.  All kinds of offerings.  And we were hungry!

Enter the Papeete

6/5-7/2017

There are about 5 boats in this corner of the bay.  We are anchored off Club Bali Hai hotel.   We had a sunset dinner at an odd restaurant that seemed to be sponsored by Veuve Clicquot champagne.  Branded stuff everywhere.  Gift shop with more branded stuff.   We had rose.   And they were serving the best beef I’d seen in months!  And the sun went down on a bay with scattered sailboats.  Ok ok… but it’s one of my favorite things!

We found a pizza place another night.  This may sound mundane but where we have been the past month did not have much variety.  Great tuna.  Served with whatever sides they had not run out of between supply boats.  Kinda fun to have choices for a change.

Time to face Papeete.  Bright lights.  Big city.  That’s where galley/outboard fuel is.  That is where you can get stainless steel welded and I have a small job needs doing.  Need to finish govt paperwork too.  So on 6/7 we departed Moorea headed east to Tahiti.

It is a 15 miles trip.  We motored to make water and charge the batteries.  Seas very random and choppy.   And this did not bother Nancy at all.  I am in awe.  We enter the lagoon a few miles south of Papeete.  We can sneak up on it that way.  No available slips so we picked up a mooring ball at Marina Taina.  This place is a spectacle.  There are some of the finest sailboats I have ever seen here.  Well in excess of 100 feet.  Probably a dozen in that category.  And then there is the mooring ball field.  Tough crowd.  Some look like they should not be floating.  Quite a few in fact.  Some have bits missing.  No boom.  No mast.  It’s like a graveyard.  Then scattered about there are a few boats like ours that actually function.  Crazy place.  And not inexpensive.  $80 night for a 40 foot boat.  I go to check in.  They have two rates.  Weekly and monthly.  And I’m just here for a couple days.  So they decide I can stay for free.  Did I mention this was a crazy place

6/8-9/2017

Time to get diesel.   We take on 44 gallons.  Then we motor from the NW  side up to the North and Papeete.  Moorage found in the harbor.

One project is to find a stainless steel welding guy.  One of my bimini tubed is cracked and needs attention.  Papeete is supposed to be good for that.

You can get propane tanks filled here but with butane.  Usually drop it off at Mobile station and pick it up in a couple or three days.  We really dont want to spend that much time in Papeete.  I read that if you take your tanks to the distribution center at the pier you can get them filled same day.  So I do.  Arrive 2pm.  Guy says we close 2pm.  Bring those tanks back tomorrow we open at 6am.  Ok.  I return and a different guy is working.  He says no.  They don’t fill tanks retail anymore.  Never mind what the guy said yesterday.  He’s got a notebook with explanation in English.  And natch ya gotta take it to the Mobile!  It’s Friday and I schlep my tanks on my bicycle to Mobile.  Guy says maybe Monday but probably Tuesday.  Pfft!  Oh well.  Papeete is pretty cool.  We’ll dig it for a few more days.

We head to the post office to get a sim card for Polynesia.   That was pretty easy.  Now I can call locally for a reasonable fee.  Speaking French on the phone… wish me luck!  I call the stainless steel guy and let him know I can be reached now.  He lets me know that he’ll pick up the tubing Sunday and haul it back Monday repaired.  Sounds like it should work…  🙂

That’s no mooring ball…

6/3-4/17

So today we get the boat organized to travel.  Deflate/Stow the dinghy.  Stow the outboard.  Clean up anything in the boat likely to fly about in a seaway.  As we motor out of the anchorage I manage to scrape a piling.  Auspicious beginning!  We take Passe Tuheiava at about 330pm.  Pretty calm today.  2.5 kts current in our favor.  Bit different than the ride in.  Then we anchor, swim, and nap.  No hurry to depart really.  Our best guess is that if we leave at 8pm we should arrive at dawn in Moorea.  No point in getting there any sooner than daylight.

Nancy made baguette sandwiches.  Awesome.  We raise the anchor just before 8 and drift off West while I secure the dinghy at the bow.  Unfurl a jib and we are off!  Predictably the seas are quite calm.  We still have Tikihau island between us and the wind.   As we get out from behind this the seas get more active.  Prediction was for 9 to 14 kts and swell 4 ft 8 seconds apart.  The waves are crazy random.  The winds peaked at 25 kts 4 hours after we downloaded our departure forecast.  Not totally impressed with Predictwind.com forecasting yet.

We sail on through the night.  Winds mostly upper teens.  Seas probably were 4 feet but the wave pattern was the worst sort of random.  But we’re moving along at 4 to 6 kts.  Historically this would have added up to Nancy’s nightmare sailing.  But tonight she is less worried about it than I am.  She has made such an effort to be here with me and deserves better conditions than this.  But I guess better conditions will come another day.  And mal de mer appears to have been crushed by Stugeron.  Thank you Nancy for making the effort to share some of this with me!  I will love her forever.  Of course I was going to anyway!  🙂

We took the 9 to midnight watch together.  I took 12 to 3 and Nancy took 3 to 6.  My watch was busy.  Squalls came along and one minute there was too much sail up and not enough the next.  Plenty of furlings and unfurlings!  Nancy had better luck.  The wind stabilized for her.

Dawn shows us a beautiful sky with many cumulus clouds.  Which one will rain on us?  Let’s just say the deck is less salty after last night.  Baguette and jam and coffee.  Boat is moving so much you can’t put your coffee down!  So I put it down me hatch…

Midmorning the seas have calmed down and so has the wind.  Now in the 8-10 zone with some risk of not keeping them filled as the boat moves about.  But it’s a fine day.  We relax and read.  Seas are now no rowdier than a windy day at anchor.  🙂

This moderate pattern continues through the day and night.  We arrive at Cook’s Bay in Moorea at about 10am.  Just in time to hit the grocery before they close at 11am.  And they had… Lots of fruit and veggies.  We are certainly not in the Touamotus/Marquesas any more.  But they were out of baguettes… the late bird  gets no baguette!

As we approach the mooring field I bark out orders!  “Grab that mooring ball Nancy!”  Well bugger all its not a mooring ball, it’s a coconut.  Good news is the anchor still works!  And a good thing I was kidding about barking at Nancy…. bad plan…20170605_120200

Tahiti Can Wait

6/2/17

Yesterday we finally broke down and mounted the outboard. It’s a long row to the pier! Especially upwind. And there is still a bit of propane left. We met neighbors today, Carl and Annie. Canadians that have been out for 2 years. They joined us for lunch at Ninamu Resort. This AUS guy built this maybe 15 years ago. 7 rooms. Very nicely done. And it’s on its own island. Still no sign of Gilligan. Lunch was smoked fish and salad. Beautiful! Such a fine day we missed leaving for Tahiti. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow. 🙂 The wind/sea predictions are all about the same for the next few days. Which is to say favorable leaning towards gentle. Should be perfect for Nancy’s first overnight passage. Ahem. Not like the last attempt. That one not so perfect…

Bounding Main Indeed

5/31
So, let me just say this: 30 – 35 knot winds, 2 – 3 meter swells, wind forward of the beam, no horizon (dark).

We had been putting up with a great deal of swell in the anchorage in Rangiroa for a few days, and we were both tired of it. We even started to sleep perpendicular in the bed, so the rocking would be head-to-toe instead of side-to-side. Also, we were getting low on LPG, which runs both the dinghy motor and the stove. Chris tried to contact Mr. Christian to see if the weather boded well, but caught the tide and let it roll. If this was a disaster movie, you would think “Don’t do it!” Right?

As the sun went down and the ride got rougher, I didn’t lose faith in either the boat or Chris. It’s just that I was blowing my cookies, and I couldn’t stand watch. Not that just standing watch was what those seas called for. When we finally anchored outside the pass to Tikehau, I was happy we both made it through that. It has taken a couple of days to get my whole body back to “normal.”

Chris was able to make a connection with Jody in his sailboat Strider, and he showed Chris how to use some software he had to predict things like wind, swell, and wave periods BEFORE taking off on a trip. We are doing that now, trying to help me decide if I will sail or fly to Tahiti. Yes, I still may sail.

6/1
Chris is running models of the wind & sea state to determine when we should try again for Tahiti. Lesson learned: don’t sail without hearing from the weather experts.

We really like it here in Tikehau. Population is only about 400. Several pensions (like bed & breakfasts or small all-inclusive places) with diving, two grocery stores. But it’s lovely. We went to a nearby pension for lunch yesterday. There was so much food, and even dessert! Not cheap, but I think we can splurge every now and then. We have some food put away from Rangiroa, so we are good there. Tonight we will put a duck breast on the big green egg. There is a bakery! – fresh baguettes & croissants, and even pizza.

We went by the store this afternoon to replenish our beer supply. I also picked up a lovely cucumber & a bottle of Côte de Provence Rosé. I’m getting more comfortable with my French. On the way back to the dinghy, a Polynesian couple invited us to sit with them, and they played guitar & ukulele for us, to welcome us to the island. Their neighbor lopped off a couple of coconuts for us to take back to the boat. What delightful people. I could come back here.