Posted by: catamarantwooceans | December 6, 2017

Sailing the Marquesas with Gili–part 3

28.11.17 – Tuesday – Morning in Ua Pou; the spires are still covered with clouds and waves are rolling into the anchorage. We dinghied ashore, tying the dinghy in the fishing boat’s basin, Gili, still frustrated by our failure to catch a Wahoo for her dinner, spoke to a fisherman who just came in and found out that he caught one. “Can I see it?” she asked. Out of the cool box came a giant fish, too big for our needs. “Can you cut a piece for us?” Yes, he could and we got the aft third of that Wahoo, good for five meals for both of us.

Once the fish was put in the freezer we strolled into town, visiting the Artisan center (two grey pearl earrings for Gili) and locating the library, where there was internet Wi-Fi. We were looking for the supermarket and the place to hire a car. A lady who was going the same way gave us directions. On the very short walk together we learned that she was from Brazil, her husband is French, they have a yacht in Tahiti which need some maintenance; the husband  has a clinic for “Kinetic therapy” in town and the car rental is right next to it. “After the supermarket come here, I will give you some fruit, we have so much” she said.

We did our shopping and dutifully returned to the Brazilian lady. There was a big plastic bag waiting for us with something like 5 kgs of mangoes, karambola and a coconut. On the way to the dock we passed a yard where a lady was using one of those poles with a small basket at its end to pick avocadoes from a tall tree. “Can we buy two of those?” She found it hilariously funny, gave us three and when I offered to pay her laughter reached new heights. The people here are so generous and we were too – sharing the goods with the catamaran Big Fish, anchored to our port.

At 1130 we entered the car rental office. The car they had was a Toyota Hilux that the owner of the place called something that sounded like “Cut Cut” and was actually French Quatre Quatre – four by four wheels drive. The price for what they called half a day – four hours – was 65$; I thought it was very expensive and was worried the time would not be enough. There was no island map in the office and the man drew a crude sketch of the road we should be taking on a piece of paper. We drove along the line he drew, through narrow concrete road winding in the jungle. We reached a village which is famous for the production of stone carving of flowers but the village was empty, no one was seen out of doors. We tried some difficult dirt roads that we thought would lead us to the vicinity of the spires but they only brought us to some remote houses in the jungle.

IMG_2563 - Copy

                                           Spires from afar

After two hours we returned the car. “Did you see the west coast?” Now he remembers to mentions it! he did not put it on his “chart”. We had enough.

29.11.17 – Wednesday – Early in the morning, before six a.m, the horn of the big ship sounded. Aranui 5 was entering the bay.

IMG_2567 - Copy

They lowered two barge like motor boats which came our way and instructed us and Big Fish to clear the area. I woke Gili up to help maneuver the boat. I obviously did that not too gently which irked my lady greatly. At the beginning the ship’s men said I could just release 20 meters of chain and move back but after I did that, they decided I needed to take it all out and move to another corner. So now we had to pull up all of 50 meters of chain and the rope. I asked the barge driver for help and he sent one of his guys over. Once the anchor was up we motored to another corner, anchored with about 20 meters of chain down and had breakfast.

We then went out of the bay and sailed to Nuku Hiva, 26 miles to our north. Thee wind was ENE, fluctuating between 45-60 degrees from starboard ,17-22 knots and waves to match. It was a rough three and a half hours ride and when we passed between the small islands – East and West Sentinels, marking the entrance to the Taiohae bay, the sea quieted down and we anchored on a sandy bottom 10 meters deep. Our purpose was to meet Kevin Ellis, an American who with his wife Annabelle own the Nuku Hiva yacht service and who will take care of Two Oceans while we are away. I made a long list of things I wanted to speak to him about and meeting him in his office later in the afternoon we talked things over. I told him we’ll be back December 5th to finish all arrangements for leaving Two Oceans in the anchorage for two months.

 IMG_2568 - Copy


One of the pleasures of cruising under sail is meeting fellow cruisers. A couple who saw us arrive came over to look at the boat and we invited them for Happy Hour. Shelly and Mike on the Peterson 44’ Avatar, sailed to French Polynesia from Mexico and have been sailing the Marquesas, Tuamotus and the Society Islands for the last four years. They gave us some interesting information about moorings in Fakarava (Tuamotus) and I could tell them about the Gambier archipelago.

IMG_2569 - Copy

30.11.17 – Thursday – Taioa bay is about 5 miles from Taioae bay and in it you can find Hakatea bay, also called Daniel bay after the name of a Marquesan man who used to live there in the past.  We just motored there using the starboard engine, no sense in hauling the mainsail up for just a few miles. The entrance to it is hard to locate by sight but as we are using GPS plotters and believe in what they show – it is relatively easy. But nothing is easy on board Two Oceans; a mile and a half to the entrance the starboard motor lost RPM, came up again, lost power yet again, in short – made us doubt its reliability so we started the good old port engine. Once we passed the rock on the right seen in the picture below, the bay opened before us.

 IMG_2571 - Copy

Two catamarans, a Nautitech 440 and a Privilege 480 were at anchor. The couple from the former, Philip and Natalie, came by to say hello; they were going to the waterfall, which is the big attraction of the area. We decided to go there the next day.

IMG_2582 - Copy 

The big minus of this bay is the fact that the water is murky, probably due to streams flowing into the bay. I tried diving to check the anchor but the visibility was not more than a foot, so I tested the holding by putting both engines in reverse for a while (the starboard one worked well for that maneuver). Feeling secure we swam to the beach and walked  in the company of crabs who made their homes burrowing in the very soft sand. When it was time to swim back, Gili sat in the water to put on her fins, a wave came up and with it I saw a small black-tip shark, not more than 60 centimeters long pass behind Gili. I made the mistake of telling her about it and she was worried it did not have its breakfast yet and was looking for easy prey. The swim back to the boat had an added element of urgency…

The rest of the day was spent resting, reading and paddling our SUP, which was a bit difficult due to some chop in the bay. I also bled air from the starboard engine fuel system, which seemed to make it work just fine.

1.12.17 – Friday – In the morning we realized that during the night we dragged quite a bit and since this was the day of the hike to the fall and we were going to be away for a while we put a second anchor out. In my memory the hike took two hours each way when I did it in 2009; we thought we knew what to expect. We took the dinghy ashore, pulled it up the beach and tied it to a tree. We started walking, crossing a stream into the village and then along its main unpaved road. At one point we were met by a man who said his name was Tangy and told us there was a fee for the hike, 1000 francs each. We were not surprised, having heard about it from other cruisers. Tangy asked us to follow him into a house in order to give us receipts.

IMG_3143 - Copy

Marquesan tattoo artists are well known and everybody carries their art as demonstrated by Tangy. He showed me a wood carving he did which I found interesting.

IMG_3142 (2)

On we went, the road became a trail with some markings to let you know you are on the right direction. We had to cross the stream once again and while not very deep, the current was surprisingly strong. After about an hour and a half we were at a point where the waterfall could be seen in the distance, narrow and very high.


After another half an hour we reached the stream again, a sign before it was self explanatory.

IMG_3155 - Copy

                    Danger, falling stones, access forbidden

At this point the trail disappeared, no marks indicating it were to be seen. I was sure we had to cross the stream but could not see the continuation of a trail. I found a place where I could cross, using a fallen tree for support, told Gili to wait while I was looking for the way. It took a few minutes and the white arrows for the trail were found; I showed Gili the best spot to cross and she bravely did.

IMG_3152 - Copy

Later, back on the boat, I searched my pictures from the previous visit and saw that at that time there was a tree trunk with a rope one could hold while traversing.

We were on the way for about two and a half hours and could not tell how far the waterfall was; doubts started cropping up in our minds but we kept walking on. We reached a ravine between two very steep walls and I thought I could see the fall just around the corner on the right. We pressed on clinging to that wall and as the trail turned we saw the fall. We understood that we should have walked closer to the stream, where an easier trail existed but we reached the fall and that was what counted. Most of the fall is hidden behind rocks and what you see is the pool into which the water fall. You can enter the pool and swim closer but the color of the water was not very inviting and we decided to give it up.

IMG_3153 - Copy

It took three hours to get to the fall and another two and a half to get back to the boat; a very tiring, sometimes marginal from the safety point of view but a satisfying hike.

2.12.17 – Saturday – With no internet or cellular reception I used the Iridium sat phone to call my friend Itzik in Israel and asked him to check the forecast for our area. Toady and tomorrow would be windy, 17 – 22 knots from the east; on Monday the wind would go down to 12 – 14 from the east northeast. We wanted to go to a bay on the northwest of the island, Haahopu, but the weather said NO. The winds blew fiercely into the bay, from all points of the compass, gusting to over 30 knots. The thought of bringing our two anchors up in those conditions seemed too difficult. We decided to stay put.

Since morning eight more yachts came into the bay, participants in a wedding that was going to take place in the village. A guy on one of the yachts came over with a few cartons of Pizza, asking whether we could bake one for the wedding, which of course we could. So, not a day of action and fun but cruising is like that sometimes.

3.12.17 – Sunday – The new morning was much calmer than the day before. We discussed the way we would lift out both our anchors and went to work. The system was hauling up the main anchor and chain in stages and after each stage pull in the second anchor’s rope. Once the main anchor was almost up we used the jib winch to lift the second anchor. The first part went smoothly enough but the second anchor got stuck in the muddy bottom and when after a lot of winching it did come up it was covered with a thick layer of gooey black mud.

We went out of the bay into an easterly wind blowing at 25 knots and 2 meter waves but quickly turned west and passing the southwestern point of the island hid from the elements in the lee of the land where the sea was flat and the wind much calmer. We had about nine miles to go and as the wind was fluctuating I decided to use the jib only; but Poseidon made a joke of our efforts. When it blew 15 knots from starboard – I opened the jib for port tack only to see it coming down to 5 knots and veer for the other tack. I used the starboard engine at cruising power but after about an hour it simply shut itself down and the port engine was started, some more maintenance was in order.

Haahopu bay received high marks from cruisers on the Marquesas Compendium run by the couple on s/y Soggy Paws – a great source of information. “We could easily see the bottom in 25’” they wrote. When we entered the bay we could see nothing below us; we dropped our anchor at 6 meters depth but when I tried motoring back to check the holding I felt the anchor dragging on rock and we had no alternative but to haul it manually once again and find a better spot. Each time we do that the rusty chain make the trampoline and deck terribly dirty and instead of relaxing under the bimini we need to do a cleanup project. I replaced the fuel filter on the starboard engine and hope that would be the solution to its misbehavior.

The bay itself was nothing to write home about. Normally I take a picture of the bay we anchor at but here there was nothing that would show nicely in a photo. The only merit of the place is its location as a jumping point for our next destination – Anahu bay on the northeast of the island. One thing that was marvelous was the rising of the full moon, peeking out from behind trees on the ridge to the east and then ascending with all its glory to the heavens.

4.12.17 – Monday – Complacency can get you into a lot of trouble. How, after so many years of cruising and so many mishaps because of it, could I fall one more time? We woke up to a nice morning, light breeze from the west and flat sea. Of course I knew what awaited at the north west corner of the island, of  course I had the forecast of easterly winds and I was surely ready for the necessity of going against the wind and waves. So how come I left the salon hatches open? After taking the anchor up in yet another display of old couple muscle power we motor-sailed toward that north west corner. In the area where the westerly wind met the easterly and the west going current, short steep waves appeared. Two Oceans reared on one then plunged into the second; the bows and front deck scooped an enormous quantity of water and as the boat pitched up I could see the disaster happening right before my eyes, unable to do anything to prevent it. Water streamed through the hatches, one over the center of the galley the other over the salon table, on which an I Pad, a tablet and my cellphone got an unexpected sea water shower.

We jumped to the rescue, wiping the electronics with paper towels and wet wipes to clear any salt residue. Then there was the sponging of all the water and the knowledge that once we are at anchor we must clean everything with sweet water. We continued motoring with the main at first reef wanting to be ready in case the starboard engine would quit once again; happily it worked just fine. Trying to evade the big waves I hugged the shore with its dramatic scenery. Below is one example.

IMG_2594 - Copy

We entered Anaho bay and found a spot to anchor; the bay is practically land locked and protected from 360 degrees. High verdant mountains rise majestically on the south side of it. We would surely come back here on our next trip, stay some more and do some hikes.

5.12.17 – Tuesday – Out of the bay, after what we hoped would be the last time we raise the anchor manually, we had to motor against the wind and waves for about three miles and then turned south to sail to the southeastern corner of the island. Once again, the terrain ashore was magnificent.

IMG_2603 - Copy

We entered Taiohae bay and anchored in a spot where Two Oceans will stay for about two month. I put down two anchors in tandem and if I had any thoughts of snorkeling to see how they set they were cancelled by the appearance of a recognizable fin cutting through the surface and coming close enough to us to be able the see it was a two meters hammerhead shark.

I  asked Gili what she thought about our three weeks Marquesas cruise. Here is what she said: On the negative side – she was not happy to come to the boat and find it not clean enough for her standards. The maintenance problems caused the loss of a week’s stay for her. The windlass failure made the trip physically difficult. The long flights between home and boat -  three days in each direction were annoying and tiring.  On the positive side – It was good being together on the boat. The locations were very beautiful and she enjoyed the hikes we did very much. She would have liked more opportunities to swim, snorkel and SUP paddling, but conditions were not suitable in most places we anchored at. With all these she would love to come back during our next Polynesian voyage in February or March.

We’ll fly out on Friday via Tahiti, LA to Israel and home; Back some time in February.

Until then,

Adios from Gili and Miki on Two Oceans.

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 29, 2017

Sailing the Marquesas with Gili–part 2

24.11.17 – Friday – Around 10 a.m we were ready to leave for Tahuata. Just to make sure I checked the salt water pump belt and to my dismay I found it was not tight enough. Vincent did it yesterday and said it was fine; how could it be? I retightened it, started the engine, saw that the water flow was good and went forward to lift the chain and anchor. Being at a depth of 3 meters enabled us to take them out by hand, without halyard and winch, although it was very taxing. The forecast was for wind of 17 knots and I was sure we were going to see much more, especially in the Canal du Bordelais, between Hiva Oa and Tahuata, where the islands make a sort of Venturi tube, accelerating the air flow. Out of the bay, we opened full sails and as we turned into the Canal the wind blew stronger, straight from our stern.

Gili suggested moving the jib to port to sail wing and wing. We did that and simply flew along with the speed gauge passing the 10 knots mark. a big pod of dolphins joined us, keeping up easily with our speeding cat. At a certain point the true wind rose past 30 knots; we rolled the jib a bit and reefed the main. Once we turned south to the lee of Tahuata, the sea flattened, the wind abated and life was great even though it rained. I checked the wind speed instrument to see the highest value recorded – it was 41 knots. Approaching the target we saw a cruise ship anchored in the Hapatoni bay, a bit further south of Hanatefau.

I started the starboard engine to go into the bay and couldn’t believe my eyes; no water out of the exhaust! Disgusted, I shut it down and used the port engine to go in.  We dropped the anchor at 10 meters, letting out 50 meters of chain. The view around us was beautiful, steep mountains covered with thick vegetation including a lot of coconut trees and a lone hut on shore, seemingly uninhabited.

IMG_2548 - Copy

                          Taken the next day from Hapatoni

I was wracking my brain to try and understand the reason for that and then an idea crept into my mind. The water pump is held in place by two bolts, one serves as an axle and the other passes through a groove plate, holding the pump in position once the pump is pushed to tighten the belt. I became sure that whoever installed the pump did not pass the bolt in that groove. I’ll go into the engine room tomorrow to check my theory.

25.11.17 – Saturday – At 0600 I was already in the engine room. My theory turned out to be incorrect but I took the pump’s belt out and found it was practically ruined. I put in a new one, started the engine and got a good water flow. Let’s see whether it’ll stay that way on the long run.

After breakfast we took the dinghy to Hapatoni, less than a mile away, went into the boat basin and tied at the concrete dock. It looked as if we could go in with “Two Oceans” but I was not going to try.

IMG_2547 - Copy

We then started walking on the road leading out of the village,presumably towards Vaitahu, the main island’s town. My initial plan was to walk out for an hour and then go back. It was rather a steep climb;  it was nice to stop near one of the numerous mango trees and have a delicious, refreshing fruit.

IMG_2552 - Copy

After an hour we were not yet at the top of the mountain, which we set our minds to reach. On the way we overtook a few horses climbing slowly on the same road. Are they wild or domesticated? We could only tell when one of them approached me and let me touch his head. So what are they doing wandering so far from the village?

IMG_2555 - Copy

We went on climbing and after another 30 minutes reached the ridge from which the road descends to Vaitahu. The way back took an hour and ten minutes and was considerably easier. Nice hike!

26.11.17 – Sunday – Another day – another hike. Today we walked along the village main road, passed the church and at the road’s end we turned right and started climbing through the thick vegetation, feeling that we are not exactly in the right place. We saw a home above and where there is a home – there is a road.  Reaching it we found a good road going north; we followed it, marveling at the richness of the flora . At one point we left the road entering the forest. We found papaya and pamplemousse trees and took some. Mango trees full of fruit were all around, shedding the ripe ones to the ground.

IMG_2550 - Copy

On the way we reached a structure that was opposite our anchorage; from the boat it seemed deserted and we could not see any details. Now we saw it was a place to chill out, with mattress and pillows to lounge on, a kitchenette, a cupboard with folded clothes and a Rastafarian flag with the image of Bob Marley on it. Outside volcanic stone steps led to a basin where one could wash off the salt water after a dip in the sea.

IMG_3107 - Copy

IMG_3108 - Copy

For three days we were watching the place seeing no one in or around it; maybe it is in use during the high season, when more yachts and tourists are present. Still everything seemed so clean and fresh – a mystery! Not far from that place we discovered treasure – a golden pineapple which was quickly added to our fruit collection.

IMG_3128 - Copy

After about two hours we turned back; it was another three hours satisfying hike.

After lunch and a snooze I prepared the boat for our early morning departure, connecting a hook to the spinnaker halyard for winching the anchor and chain out. As I walked back to the cockpit I heard a metallic clang; my hand went automatically to my pocket, in which I kept my Leatherman multi-tool – it was not there…  Was it worth trying to search for it underwater? The depth was 7 meters; I went into the water with fins, mask and snorkel and saw that the bottom was rock and coral. I felt  there was not a chance of finding it. I dived once to be able to say I gave it a chance and then swam along the 50 meters chain to check the anchor, seeing it well embedded in sand. On the way back, watching the sea life below and suddenly saw a silvery glint – my Leatherman! In two minutes I had it in my hand. Lucky once again…

Tomorrow we sail to Ua Pou (pronounced Wa Poo) 65 miles away. The forecast is for easterly winds 15-17 knots; to get there we need about 10-11 hours, so it’ll be an early departure.

27.11.17 – Monday – Both of us did not sleep well at night; Gili had dreams in which her car and other belongings were stolen and I was worried unnecessarily about the raising of the anchor. Reveille was at 0440 and at 0450 we started hauling the anchor up. I  was sure that t some point we’ll have to use the halyard and winch but with both of us pulling we had the anchor and 50 meters of chain on board in half an hour without using that system.

Sails open, we waited for the forecast to become true; that did not immediately happen. At first we had ESE wind, straight from behind, so we poled out the jib and sailed wing and wing. Then the wind disappeared and we started a motor. Half way to Ua Pou the forecasted conditions turned up and gave us a fast ride. At one point we reefed the main and a little later the jib was also furled some. During all this, Gili was adamant in her wish to keep trolling; “I will have a Wahoo for dinner” she said. At times we were surfing at over 10 knots and I told her the fish complained that they could not catch up with us.

When we reached Ua Pou it was overcast, the famous spires were hidden in clouds; the northeasterly wind made waves go into the bay. Here is the picture I took in 2009.

hakahau - Copy

To be continued…

Posted by: catamarantwooceans | November 29, 2017

Sailing the Marquesas with Gili

16-18.11.17 – Thursday – Saturday- Gili came to the boat Thursday afternoon and immediately found that it was not clean according to her standards, as always – she is right. We spent the next two days cleaning house and provisioning.

19.11.17 – Sunday – At 0515 we motored out of the Tahauku bay to go to Fatu Hiva, 45 miles away. The forecast was for wind from the ENE at 14 knots, but in reality it was 17-22 which gave us apparent wind from 60 degrees and boat speed of 7-8 knots. It took us 6 hours to reach the Bay of Virgins and we found there five sailing yachts and a motor yacht, making the anchoring spot selection tricky. Two locations I tried brought us too close to a French boat with its owner shouting protests and advices. On the third try my windlass suddenly stopped working. I ended up releasing the anchor manually, letting out all of our 55 meters of chain and connecting the bridle to its end. The wind in this bay can come down the mountains in what is called “wind bullets”, strong gusts surpassing 30 knots, it also changes direction in an unpredictable way. Chris, of yacht Rossana, just to our starboard asked me to release more rope so as not to be close to them. To do that I needed to disconnect the bridle from the chain, which with two anchors in tandem and 55 meters of chain in the water was very difficult to do. Chris came to help and using the spinnaker halyard and a winch we lifted the lot, disconnected the bridle and moved aft some more.

All that time I was thinking about the operation of lifting the anchors and chain when we want to go back to Hiva Oa, for we must go there to try and fix the windlass. I’ve had the experience of taking out an anchor in Suvarov atoll from a depth of 17 meters and if my memory does not fail me it took more than an hour of hard work. Regarding the windlass failure – the blame is shared by myself and Vincent. A day before the launch I tested the windlass and found out it was working in one direction only. I called Vincent and may have voiced the opinion that the controller was faulty and that I had a spare on board. Vincent concurred and changed it. As I reported in the previous post when he tried operating the windlass it did work until he gave it a few taps with the spanner. I should have known that this was not a proper repair and we should have explored some more.

Back in Fatu Hiva, gazing around me, I saw this motor yacht and thought that maybe they had an electrician on board.

IMG_2522 - Copy

I  dinghied over asking for the skipper; the man came, said his name was Barney and promised to come after lunch. He came over, tested the various electrical lines and cables, replaced one that was simply rotten, by that bringing the controller back to clicking life. He concluded that the problem may lie at the cables leading to the windlass’ electrical motor or the motor itself. For that we would need to go back to Hiva Oa and we’ll do it on Wednesday.

IMG_2521 - Copy

                Good man Barney

20.11.17 – Monday – Today’s plan was going to the waterfall, the “Cascade”. On the way we passed by a few mango trees, which shed a lot of fruit to the ground. We picked some that did not explode on impact, took the skin off and ate them. A single yachtie who lives on the smallest yacht in the bay, a Hurley 22 footer (!), told us we should be careful with those mangoes, since if they were peed on by wild boar one might contract LEPROSY! A local guy we met later said there was no problem at all. The way to the fall was very enjoyable; reaching the fall I saw that the quantity of water was much less than on our visit in May, probably due to less rainfall.

On our way Gili complained that I did not put enough pictures of her in the blog, as she is always right, I’m putting in two pics.

IMG_3085 - Copy

IMG_3089 - Copy 

On the way back we stopped at the only grocery shop in the village. Gili, whose French is better than mine, got into a conversation with two ladies in the store. They wanted to do some barter, fruit for goods they thought we might have on board. Gili has some clothes she wanted to get rid of and promised to bring them in the afternoon. When we came back at 1500 with our bag the ladies started giggling. None of the local women was even close to Gili’s size. “Give it to one of the girls” Gili said. We paid a slightly inflated price for two pamplemousse, a few green mangoes and some bananas, remembering our place and function in the local economy.

21.11.17 – Tuesday – We spent the morning hiking towards the mountains to the north of the village, on a dirt road around which all the local fruit trees were present. After walking for about 50 minutes we reached what looked like a big banana grove where to our surprise we saw a house, which seemed to be empty and further on a relatively new Toyota Hilux truck. We continued climbing and came upon four guys collecting a large quantity of bananas. “Is this for the ship?” I asked. “No, it’s for our homes, we eat a lot of bananas”. Judging by what we saw they must have a very big family.

Back at the boat, in between rain showers, I prepared some hooks and lines for the manual lifting of the anchors tomorrow and did some other small jobs. One of those ended up in an undesirable way; climbing from the dinghy to the boat I cut my left hand palm quite deeply right between the thumb and the other fingers – just the place you use to pull ropes – which is certainly on the agenda for tomorrow.

22.11.17 – Wednesday – Waking up very early, just past four o’clock, I was surprised to see I was not the only one. The young yachtie on the Hurley 22, whom we found to be from Ireland but originally from Hungary, was already sailing out of the bay, towing his engineless dinghy behind him. I wonder whether he has any motor on his small yacht at all.

IMG_2535 - Copy

At 0545 Gili joined me on deck. This is how we planned to raise our anchors: First pull by hand about 15 meters of rope until reaching the end of the chain. Then, using a hook connected to the spinnaker halyard, we’ll winch the chain about eight meters above deck, with a second hook hold its lower part, release the length with the halyard to deck and hook and lift another length until all the chain and anchors are in the boat. The anchors weigh 35 pounds each, the 55 meters long 10 mm chain is probably much heavier. We took turns winching and pulling the chain and it was really hard work.

A young Frenchman from a yacht near us offered to help and we gladly accepted. Nicolas brought his own winch handle and the three of us finished the operation which altogether lasted 80 minutes. Nicolas had to rush back to his boat in order to take his three kids to the village school to which he and his wife enrolled them just yesterday, but I insisted that he let me take his picture; this is another example of the norm between yachties – helping each other whenever a need arises.

IMG_2536 - Copy

With no wind we started motoring towards Hiva Oa. Once out of the island’s shadow the wind came and we were sailing fast until a big cloud took the wind away and gave us a shower instead. Alternating between sailing and single engine motoring we continued, trolling a line for fish. We could see a lot of action in the water and in the air; birds diving for morsels left behind dolphins and other predators. On one of those occasions we had a hit but as I rolled the lure back the fish, perhaps a wahoo, looped out of the water and released itself. On one of the occasions I needed to start an engine I chose the starboard one and to my surprise no water came out of the exhaust. I shut it down and went into the engine room to investigate; remember this is the engine repaired by Vincent and crew and I took it for granted that it would work flawlessly. I found that the belt was sagging, tightened it and it worked fine.

We entered Tahauku bay at 1530, dropped anchor manually and I rushed with the dinghy to arrange the windlass repair with Vincent. Tomorrow at 0900 an electrician named Fred would come to check it. In the evening I started the starboard engine for battery charge and again no water came out of the exhaust. I’ll have Vincent look at it for me.

23.11.17 – Thursday – Our busy morning started with two rounds of filling water taken from a tap on shore in four 20 liters jerry-cans. During those I saw that the small 22 footer was anchored in port. The guy was in the cockpit so I came by to ask about his trip. He came in at 2 a.m after being rained on most of the time. He confirmed that he did have an engine but chose not to use it, being a frugal sailor. Interestingly his name was Attila!                                                                                                     At 0900 I brought Fred to the boat and the man did a very thorough inspection of the windlass system, concluding that the motor was faulty. He took it over to the shop to see whether he could repair it.

IMG_2538 - Copy

                   Fred on the job

I  went with him, sitting in the corner so as not to disturb and after a few minutes he turned to me and said that the motor was dead. He showed me broken parts and corrosion on the inside of it. “Better buy a complete new unit” he said “the motor is the most expensive part in the windlass” and the general condition of mine was very poor. I asked Vincent to call a dealer in Tahiti to see whether they had a suitable one in stock; they did not. I knew that the owners of the yacht “Tanda malaika” which was wrecked on the reef in Huahine left a lot of the yacht’s equipment with a local guy for sale and published his phone number and e-mail. I called the man and he promised to send me the details. That boat was a Leopard 46 so their unit might be too big, but still, if it is serviceable it could be interesting. Importing a new windlass is, of course, the easy – if not the cheapest option; I’ll have to check E-Bay too.

In the mean time we’ll have to do without and that means trying to anchor in shallow anchorages and resigning ourselves to hard work every departure. Vincent tightened a water pump belt yet again, checked the engine and said all was well. Tomorrow we’ll sail to Hanatefau bay, near the village of Hapatoni in Tahuata.

To be continued…

Older Posts »