Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 17, 2018

Polynesia March 18

1.3.18 – Thursday – On with maintenance jobs: fuel filter assembly installed – engine run for sufficient time showing that it is in serviceable condition. Next, Kevin, with me helping, spread and adhered the PVC sheets on the cracked window; the outside was relatively easy, the inside a bit difficult because we had to work over the stove and sink, which was awkward.

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I do hope this arrangement will hold until I get a new window.

Just as in the other islands in the Marquesas, there is no dock to which you can tie the yacht and fill water and fuel. Theoretically you could go stern-to to the ships jetty, alongside not possible due to the enormous ship fenders. That could be difficult with any swell running and the hose they use is huge and has tremendous pressure – not suitable for yacht’s receptacles. So the solution is to use jerry-cans. I have three cans on board and Kevin gave me three of his. I went there with the dinghy and took 124 liters of diesel and a small can of gasoline for the outboard. The station is quite far from the jetty. “Do you have any trolley or car to take those to my dinghy?” They only had a small two wheel contraption on which I could put only two jerry-cans. I was ready to do the rounds, but then a young woman, accompanied by three young men, who were filling up at the station, said they would help. Very quickly they hoisted the cans onto the back of their truck, drove to the dinghy and lowered the cans into my waiting hands. Good people!

2.3.18 – Friday – More jobs: transferring the fuel to the tanks; the fuel I bought filled both tanks to the brim plus 25 liters left as spare. Next – replacing the broken float switch for the starboard shower discharge with a new one. The third job I deemed to be important. The alternator on the starboard engine, the one I took home for repair, is not working properly and we don’t know the reason for it. Now since that engine was not in operation for a long time and has about 350 hours less than the port one, I want to use it more, for charging as well as for propulsion when needed. Solution – replace the alternator with the port one and see what happens. Once installed – I started the engine and the alternator worked just fine; the one I took off will stay in a locker, I’ll have to decide whether it is worth repairing or perhaps better buy a new one.

Another job – repairing a broken batten. Kevin gave me some of his West System epoxy glue, which is very fast and with which I have never worked before. In the middle of the work, which was done on the trampoline, I went to the cabin for some more fiberglass, as I came back I found the epoxy seething in the mixing cup, heating up big time and emitting vapor. I let it cool off before disposal. I was waiting for Kevin to call me and say the sail is ready but the call did not come. I went ashore for some more water and internet and found out he went home. Tomorrow is another day!

Another problem that cropped up was in the health department. In the last few days I had this cough for which I used a medication bought in Ecuador. I hope it would do the job; otherwise I’ll use some antibiotics I have on board or seek medical help ashore.

3.3.18 – Saturday –  We brought the sail on board but the wind was too strong to open it and attach it to the mast and boom. Kevin went back ashore and I waited for the wind to abate. I was well aware that managing the 50 square meters sail by myself would be difficult but I did not want to wait until Monday and decided to give it a try. About one and a half hour before sundown I started work on the sail. I spread it along the boom and trying to insert the long lower batten I got stuck. As time flew by I understood I needed to put the sail into the lazy-bag before dark and postpone the work for the next day.

With all the exertion I felt very tired. I started the starboard engine to charge the batteries and after a few minutes it shut itself down. Looking into the engine room I found a puddle of fuel in the bilge, its source the Racor filter. The Racor filter housing has a pump in it which one uses to bleed air from the fuel system. It seems that after Kevin did it he forgot to screw the pump handle back into place enabling air to go in and disable the engine. It took but a few minutes to purge the air and tighten the pump handle; engine started and working fine. By then I was really bushed, the cleaning of the fuel in the bilge will wait for tomorrow.

4.3.18 – Sunday – I woke up feeling lousy; my cough got worse, it looked like I had bronchitis. Time for antibiotics! I spent the whole day mostly in bed, dosing, reading a little and not having the appetite or energy to prepare and eat food. Just like a storm at sea you have to give it time and it will pass. There is a Tiki goddess on a hill above the fishing boats and dinghy dock; I’ll ask her to help me regain my health.

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5.3.18 – Monday – Woke up feeling better, had breakfast and went on resting and recuperating. In the afternoon I had enough energy to clean the starboard engine bilge of the fuel spilt there. Looking around the anchorage I saw that quite a few boats have left; I’ll have to wait until I’m better.

6.3.18 – Tuesday – I am getting better every day and this morning felt I would be able to tackle the mainsail job. This time I started from the top of the sail, easily inserting four battens; when I got to the lower batten, after some trials and errors, I found the way to put it in place. I worked for two hours and then went ashore to the market. I love this place for its products but also for the ladies at the stalls. The place is a haven of color and calm.

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Back on the boat fatigue took over, I am not strong enough yet. This is my third day  on antibiotics and I’m supposed to take it ten days. I think I’ll stay here tomorrow and maybe leave Thursday.

7.3.18 – Wednesday – After the cracking of the saloon port window I put in a query on the Facebook page of Maxim 380 owners asking whether anybody knew where an item like that could be found. There were a few replies and one of them was especially interesting; Sean Delange gave the contact info of a South African company which made the windows for the Maxim boatyard when it was in operation. I sent an e-mail to the company and am waiting for their reply.

8.3.18 – Thursday – Made the final preparations to leave, shopping, fishing rod and reel serviced – I miss catching fish!

9.3.18 – Friday – Come morning I went ashore with two aims. One – take the latest forecast; it showed winds from the east at about 20 knots, to which one has to add at least 5 for what happens in reality. Second task – find the pharmacy; I found out I had no pain and fever reliever on board. A lady in the market gave me the general direction saying it was “one kilometer away”. Just before I started walking I saw Kevin going out with his car. “Are you going in the general direction of the pharmacy?” Yes, he did and hearing that I did not know the exact location, he simply took me there. It was really far and out of the way and in my estimation at least four kilometers from port. Kevin also needed some stuff there so I could ride back with him. On the way we discussed the weather. He thought the forecast meant it was going to be squally. The next day would be much calmer, winds max 15 knots, so a decision was quickly taken – delay departure to Saturday.

10.3.18 – Saturday – Waking up early, even before breakfast, I went into the starboard engine room. I checked and tightened the water pump and engine alternator belts. I was a bit anxious about bringing the anchors up, being sure their chains became tangled during the long stay. Once the shackle connecting both anchor chains was on deck, I tied a line to the secondary anchor chain, opened the shackle and turned that chain around the main anchor chain at least five times until they were separated. All that time I had to take care not to let go of the rope thus losing my second anchor. To lift it out I used the rope winch side of the windlass. Of course, had there been another crew member on board everything would have been easier…

Anchors up I started motoring out. Anahu is on the northeast of the island; I motorsailed with main at first reef to the southeast corner of the island and turning north opened the jib and shut down the engines. It was so good sailing again! I was trolling a line hoping for a fish. Sea birds were flying above and a pair of boobies showed interest in my lure. Before I could do anything at all, one of them dive bombed it and was caught. I tried reeling the bird in but the reel became clogged when the line went out too fast. It took but a few minutes and the bird freed itself. Now that we were not fishing I could raise the main fully. By the way – I need to replace the main halyard but that is something I need help for because I have to climb to the top of the mast. On my previous boat I had a gadget I built myself with which I could climb the mast; perhaps I need one again. (Climbing the mast alone at 76 years of age – is that wise?).

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                            The entrance to Anahu

I entered the Anahu bay, finding six other boats there, including two big Catana catamarans. Anchored in a place that was supposed to be sand bottom but there were some rocks. Too tired to relocate! For dinner I made the Jewish grandmother’s ultimate cure for all health issues: chicken and veg soup.

11.3.18 – Sunday – Preparing some fruit for breakfast, I threw some papaya peels overboard and was surprised to see a large number of red snappers attacking it. Snapper is normally a good eating fish but is it not containing the Ciguatera poison here? I used pieces of chicken on the hook and in seconds had two meal size snappers. I’ll ask ashore whether they are OK to eat.

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Next – washing the cockpit area. No like but must do. Then went ashore; the village is small and there is a trail leading all around the bay. I walked for about 75 minutes meeting some people on the way. I asked about the fish, showing its picture on my cellphone; “not good” was the verdict. Back at the boat I threw them into the water and their tribe members jumped on them with great enthusiasm.

12.3.18 – Monday – I started the morning with a climbing trip. I wanted to speak with Gili and since the cellular reception in the bay is barely good for text messages, the only way to get good communication is to climb up the mountain on the trail to Hatiheu, up to a saddle where a relay antenna is located and a good signal is available. To reach the trail you walk left from the dinghy landing, past the church and then, just before the next house you’ll see the trail on the right by what looks like a drainage ditch. It was a 40 minutes ascent on a trail zigzagging to negotiate the steep mountainside; when I reached the saddle I climbed a rock on its north side which afforded a magnificent view of the bay.

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I the spirit of the time we live in and to commemorate the moment I took a “selfie”.

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I was told that going down to Hatiheu would have taken about 20 minutes. Going back was much easier and I was on the boat two hours after leaving it.

My next job was installing an electric conversion kit for our toilet. We (especially Gili)had enough of the manual unit with the difficult pumping and leaks. We had those kits when we bought the boat but they went bust and were thrown away. The kit replaces the manual unit and is relatively easy to install; it took me about an hour and twenty minutes. Gili will be happy.

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13.3.18 – Tuesday – The morning was unusually very calm; all boats were pointing to the west instead of to the prevailing wind direction – the east. I took the SUP and paddled all around the bay. I thought that the conditions would be ideal for my planned main halyard replacement and on my way back to the boat I approached a yacht near mine to ask the young man, who turned out to be from Belgium, for help in winching me up the mast. He said they were just leaving to go to Hatiheu so maybe later in the afternoon. Another yacht, Cinco, had a young man named Jed on board, but he was taking care of their baby – wife gone to Hatiheu too.

I decided to start the project by connecting the new rope to the old one and passing it through the top of the mast back down to the sail. When help would become available I’ll climb the mast and tie the rope’s end to the appropriate point. As I had finished coiling and placing the ropes it started raining. I put on my swimming trunks and installed the water-catcher. I was thinking about the Belgian couple who would have to walk the trail from Hatiheu in the rain; They did arrive close to sundown but I didn’t think the time was right to ask them about it.

The rain brought about two different phenomena: one was a temporary waterfall on the mountain opposite  the anchorage, the other a swarm of small insects attracted to the lights in the cabin. This has actually also happened yesterday and this morning I had to wash the saloon and cockpit from hundreds of the pests.

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                                     The new waterfall

14.3.18 – Wednesday – In the morning I was waiting for signs of wakefulness on Cinco, hoping to lure Jed over early, to beam me up the mast. The moment I saw them in the cockpit I swam over just to remind them of my request. At 0830 Jed came by; after a short briefing he winched me up. Standing on the upper crosstree I cut the old halyard and tied in the new one.The whole operation did not take more than 15 minutes.

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                                        Jed of Cinco

Now it was time to leave. I wanted to go to Hakaehu bay, on the northwest of the island, where the village of Pua is located. The wind was light and from the stern, so I didn’t even bother to open sail. I needed to charge the batteries anyway. The Pua anchorage is well protected except from the NNW, I dropped the anchor on the sandy bottom at 8 meters. After lunch and a nap I took the dinghy ashore, pulling it up to what seemed to be the high water limit. The village itself is a very modest one; I only saw two houses that had people living in them plus one that was abandoned. The main occupation in the village is copra and there were a lot of cattle and horses. The interesting thing in here are the ancient ruins, a road bordered with big volcanic boulders and several Marae. This was obviously a big and important settlement in the past. I relied on my smartphone’s camera but forgot to check the battery status; hence no pictures from Pua.

On the way back I had a reminder of the power of the sea. Bad timing in pushing the dinghy out it was hit by two breaking waves and filled up with sea water. I worked furiously with the small bailer that I have ( a cut 1.5 liter water bottle), pushed the dinghy out again and was quick enough to start the outboard and escape another incoming waves attack. 

15.3.18 – Thursday – Today’s plan was to try fishing with a new contraption I acquired – the bird. To this bird you attach some lure and drag it behind the boat where it splashes on the surface and supposedly attracts the big ones.

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Going out with a friend in Eilat on the Red Sea it worked perfectly, taking out two bonitoes in one strike; here, after hours of no results, I reeled it in only to find that all the lures have disappeared… By then I was close to Baie Marquisienne, on the southwest of the island, where I wanted to spend the night. There is not a lot of information about the place and as I approached it it didn’t look nice at all. I decided to go on to Taioha A.K.A Daniel’s bay for the night.

16.3.18 – Friday – Early to rise – I motored over to Taiohae and was at anchor by 0800. This is where I can do some shopping, laundry, fill water and go on to other islands.

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Responses

  1. rest a little!


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