Tuesday, September 29, 2009
front was passing through. We were ready to go but knowing that behind
the front the trade winds were coming back promising a very comfortable
crossing, I was not in a hurry to get wet.
The barbecue organized by Matt and Ulla ended up with pouring rain, but
we were almost done anyway. Next morning, not a very encouraging
weather, but anyway we were getting ready to go sometimes in the
afternoon. This is when we heard about the earthquake in the Samoas and
the risk of a Tsunami in Tahiti.
I then decided to wait for whatever the authorities would say. In the
end, although Tahiti went into red alert with administration and some
shops closing, the Tsunami turned out to be a 12 inches wave, obviously
with no damage at all.
So, at 4 p.m., we went to the fuel dock to fill up, I paid the marina
and we came back to our dock to spend a last quiet dinner and night and
go tomorrow morning at daybreak, direcly for Rarotonga.
I will remember the Taina marina as an excellent place. Florient and
Constance are very helpful, cordial, friendly and always ready to help.
Thanks to them, I was able to assist two boats having problems,
Chennaker and Triple Seven. As far as I am concerned, I only have
positive comments to make about this marina and I will recommend it to
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
some degree of frustration.
To start with, I was still waiting to get my sails back up. Last night
after dark I got the sails and the cushions for the main cabin with
velcro sewn on them, but not the lazy Jacks and lazy bag, and not the
fittings to reinstall the main. I was promised that it would be done on
Friday. Today turned out to be rainy and windy day. I could work on the
velcro for the cushions and take care of a few minor jobs inside but
there is little hope to do anything outside. The good news is that all
the remaining bits and pieces showed up at 4:00 p.m. which means that we
will be able to put the sails back up tomorrw.
On the weather front however, it turns out that leaving on Saturday
would not be a good idea as we would probably have to motor quite a bit
or face variable and unstable weather. Based on the grib files and the
advice of Bob McDavitt, I have decided to leave only on Tuesday morning.
This gives us ample time to be more than ready.
The crew who was supposed to come with us and was supposed to come
aboard last night (Thursday) has disappeared from the radar screen. No
reply to my emails and his cell phone does not answer. I hope nothing
bad has happened to him.
Tonight there will be some drinking. Matthias and Ulla, aboard
Chennaker, finally made it to Papeete, after an adventurous journey from
the Marquesas via the Tuamotou. Broken finger, leaking water pump,
broken autopilot, etc . . . I am glad they finally made it to a place
where they can fix all that and be on their way to NZ, but before that
we are going to celebrate his 33rd birthday tonight.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
I was picked up at the marina at 9 o'clock in the morning by a Land
Rover with three young couple aboard, one of them on their honeymoon,
and a young male driver/guide.
After a very short drive along the coast going east, we turned and
started moving south towards the centre of the island, which is the
crater of an old extinct volcano.
Words and photos cannot do justice to the magnificence of the scenery.
Very steep mountains with hundreds of waterfalls, very green and lush
vegetation, mostly trees and surprisingly no fruits. We started moving
up a valley in which flows the largest river on the island and from time
to time could stop in areas where it was possible to have a swim. Only
once did we see a sign of the past polynesian culture, a marae not far
from the coast. Other than that, no village, no dwelling of any kind, in
fact nobody. It felt like a green wonderful desert, but kind of irreal
after you just left a busy coast line with lots of people and cars.
The river is used to produce hydro-electricity, so we visited the
various dams which have been built up the river, and even went through a
short tunnel dug out so that maintenance vehicle going to the third dam
up the river could come from the other side of the island.
We had lunch along the way in a restaurant built in the mountains but
that does not have customers any more except for the few people like us
who take a safari tour. I am told that this restaurant, and an adjacent
defunct hotel, was very busy at the time of the french nuclear tests,
but has almost completely died since. The menu was chicken and french
fries, not quite a typical local food.
But all in all, a good day for me. After so much time at sea level, it
felt good to be up there in the mountains.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
my pension fund demanding a "certificat de vie" (official proof that I
am alive) within 60 days of the letter otherwise they would suspend
payment. The letter was dated April 23 2009 and had been mailed July
8th, 2009. I got the letter the Saturday we were leaving from Manta, and
to get such a document in Ecuador, I would have had to travel to Quito
and get it from the french consulate.
So, we left and I contacted by emails friends and family in France,
asking them to call the pension fund and find out when exactly was the
deadline for them to receive the document. One of the pension fund
employee said September 1st, another said October 1st. Result, stress . . .
As soon as we got to Hiva Oa (we were not supposed to be in Fatu Hiva
before making an official entry), I went to the Gendarmerie (National
Police) and asked for it. They said the "probably" could not do it. I
would have to come back in the afternoon and check again, but they
believed that to produce such a document, they would have to make a
report that they did so. They also told me that it was very unlikely
that the Mayor's office would do it. So, I went to the Mayor's office,
and they did it without asking a question. I mailed it registered and
then almost everyday, I had someone in France ask to see if they got it.
By the time I arrived in Tahiti, they still did not have it. So I went
to the Mayor's office of Punaauia where the marina is located. They said
they could not make such a document, or rather the mayor could not sign
such a document since I was not a resident of Punaauia.
So what they did was to get a telephoned statement from the marina that
I was a resident at the marina, then they made me a resident of Punaauia
with address in the marina, after which they could sign the "certificat
de vie". I mailed it registered, but the next day I learned that the one
mailed from Hiva Oa had arrived. Happy ending . . .
Tomorrow morning, I am making my third trip to the port authority of
Papeete to complete my entry. I have cleared last week, but they forgot
to provide me with a certificate which will enable me to purchase fuel
duty free at the marina. I only need about 30 gallons, but it is worth a
visit to Papeete.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
has been no posting on the blog since we arrived in Papeete. Apart from
that, everything is OK. The windvane Monitor has been repaired, the
spinnaker pole has been fixed, and we are making progress. I have to
wait the end of the Week-End to try and find a solution for Internet.
Please be patient.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
crossing, do you ever get bored ?
This morning at 4:00 a.m., the genoa fell on deck while we were sailing
along nicely on a broad reach at 6 knots. It's probably the hook on the
halyard which either broke or opened up as I did not see anything on the
head of the sail when it came down. We scrambled a little to get it back
on deck and I was worried that it might have slipped under the hull. But
we got it out easy with the spinnaker halyard and secured it on deck.
Being only 55 miles from the anchorage and having the actual wind on the
beam, this with seas still in the 18 feet range and the rolling to go
with it, I decided to go from 3 to 2 reefs on the main and use the motor
to maintain speed, and wait until we are at anchor to worry about the genoa.
I also found that the cap that keep the packing material on the stuffing
box had unscrewed itself and the whole thing was spraying a lot of water
quite happily underneath the floor. This explains why the bilge pump
would come on quite often. So, I re-tighten everything but I know that
the whole thing, cutlass bearing and stuffing box will need a serious
look as we only cut roughly the material and netting tightened around
the shaft shortly before we got to Manta, and we could only work while
the boat was afloat.
All those small problems come on top of the boat needing a serious
cleaning and sorting out.
Tonight at anchor, we will enjoy a good meal and a good quiet night. But
I doubt that during our stay in Papeete we will find the time to get
bored. The to-do list will take care of that.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
struck by a system of SSE wind at 35 to 40 knots steady, taking us to a
240 course. We do not know how long the system will stay with us and we
do not want to be taken west of Tahiti so we decided to heave to and
wait. In the meantime, we focus on handling the boat, resting and
eating. There will be more news when things quiet down.