Posted by: catamarantwooceans | September 14, 2009

Back in Tahiti

The site is very slow today so pictures will be uploaded in the near future! Sorry…

11.9.09 – Friday – Back on the boat.  It wasn’t easy! Flew from Tel Aviv to L.A – 15 hours – stayed at a cheap airport hotel then flew another 8:15 hours to Tahiti.  Air France lands at 0350 and I needed to wait for the bus because taxies are terribly expensive. Regular price to go to Taravao, a 45 minutes drive, is 100 euro. Bargaining brought it down to a 100$ but I decided to wait for the bus which is much cheaper. I asked local people about the buses timetable and the answers  varied between 0600 to 0900.

Waited more than an hour and then lost patience and negotiated with a taxi driver to take me there for 85$. Just as we exited the airport and joined the road east, the Taravao bus passed by… We overtook it, I gave the driver 15$ and went on the bus. Fare to Taravao: 2.5$! If you ever need this service – be advised, the buses start about 0645 and the frequency is about one per hour, service ending around noon (?).

Got to the marina at 0730. The boat is terribly dirty and I think I’ll take a nap and then wash it.  First, I’ll settle my account in the office and go out to the bay on Saturday. Searched for, and found Ivan, the marina”s dock master. He tells me that on Saturday there will be nobody to help me out and I’d better be ready at 1130 because they all disappear at 1200 for the weekend. Forget sleep! Michel, the marina manager,is going to town and offers to take me to the supermarket. I buy a few essentials – bread, butter and cheese, frozen chicken,fruit and veg – stuff for the next two days. Then, changing into working garb plus foul weather gear, since it started raining heavily I scrub the deck and cockpit of the muck accumulated during my two months absence. The batteries have good charge, so the engines start with no problems and we are ready to go. At 1130 Ivan and two of his helpers come, he monitors me from the dinghy and the guys come with me. 1200 o’clock finds me at anchor in the bay. Ham and cheese sandwich and then blessed sleep. There will be a lot of work tomorrow and on Sunday I will sail to the anchorage near Taina marina, Papeete.

12.9.09 – Saturday – It rained all through the night. It seems the location of the bay, the isthmus between Tahiti and Tahiti Iti and the shape of the terrain result in cloudiness and copious amounts of rain. I’ve had it with damp interiors. I’ll leave for Papeete today! I wanted to dive and clean the propellers blades and the speed sensor wheel but the water was muddy so I postponed it.

Started the engines and motored out using the starboard engine.  After a few minutes it started losing RPM.  Out of gear it was all right. Prop fouled? I’ll have to dive after all… Anchored again, found nothing on the prop but cleaned them both of the many barnacles that found a home on them and started out again. Engine works fine!

The channel out of the bay is well marked and with a following strong wind that blew up to 28 knots I sailed parallel to the reef encircling the island. We were sailing comfortably between 7 and 9 knots with the second reef in the sails with me holding the wheel since the auto-pilot did not like the aft wind and waves combination.  I thought I saw a big fish jump out of the water. This was no fish! Getting closer I saw they were two humpback whales and we came very close to each other, about a boat length away. Very impressive. I tried taking pictures with the Olympus, one hand holding the camera the other steering. I couldn’t see the image on the cameras screen and just pointed and shot in the general direction. Hence the poor result.

whale

whale

As is typical for islands the 28 knots wind changed to a mere whisper and I reached the anchorage opposite Taina marina motoring. As I approached the mooring field, all occupied again, I saw a familiar Wharram cat – Taraipo – with John and Nicole on board, whom I met in Trinidad in late 2007. We have been in touch by infrequent e-mails ever since and were both glad to meet again. “Come over for some warm beer” says John. They have neither motor nor  refrigeration and are carrying a single, short mast. After anchoring I went shopping and came over to them with some cold beers for a change. They told me they were leaving tomorrow, so I’ll be able to take their mooring.

13.9.09 – Sunday – I just came aboard after a refreshing swim when I saw Taraipo raise sails and move out with the light wind. Quickly, before anybody else gets there first, I grabbed the mooring.

Taraipo leaving

Taraipo leaving

18.9.09 – Friday – Passing the time working on the boat, a lot of cleaning to do, laundry etc. Every day I have to run one of the motors to charge the batteries. Two days ago, while it was the turn of the port engine – the starter did not work! I did all I could, checking electrical connections but to no avail. I found the local Yanmar agent, Si Tung Hing (yes!) and spoke to Jean Claude who said they can only come next Monday. Today I decided to go to their shop to make sure they will. Jean Claude is a very nice guy, announced that maybe they will come next Wednesday or Thursday! “But you promised Monday!”  He makes Gallic movment of the shoulders, but finds a mechanic from outside his operation who is willing to come Monday morning. OOFF!

Today is the eve of the Jewish new year, so to all of those celebrating and also to everybody else: Happy New Year!

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