Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rangiroa to Raiatea, French Polynesia 2007

13/09/07 to 15/09/07 – We were going to Tahiti but the weather changed our minds.

Today we are going to sail for Tahiti; however, it will not be an early start as we have to wait for the tide so that we can get through the pass. My calculation after what occurred the day we came in is that low tide is at 1000 hours therefore the pass will be ready three hours later at 1300 hours.

We went around the yacht and got most things ready for sailing and then went ashore, check my calculations with the dive shop, the locals know when is safe to go in or out. Then we will go for a walk to the pass as we have not seen this end of the island as yet.

We checked with the dive shop we both have the same time so we will plan to break the mooring around 1230 hours and that will get us to the pass on the hour. We went for our walk and it was interesting to see the water turmoil as it escapes the atoll; dolphins were playing in the current. We walked to the end of the road and found an area where people can bring their boats alongside. There was a small barge coming in, it looks as though it may be used for moving vehicles from one part of the atoll to the other. I am not sure whether it would get much use, unless the ramps are just for loading goods that need to be transported.
(The sea rushing through the passage)

We walked back along the water front, it took us through some private properties, but the locals indicated that that was alright. It was very pretty looking across the water with the different shades of blue. We got back on board and started to get organised, close all hatches, lift the dingy, and get the Genoa and main sheets ready, although with the wind direction I think we will only be using the Genoa for a while. Just as we about have everything done at noon Leigh and Jenny returned from town and came over to say farewells again. Not sure when we will catch up again it may well be next year before we see Leigh and I am not sure if we will ever see Jenny as when she has finished crewing for Leigh in November she may fly home to South Africa for a while or crew on another yacht. She would like to crew again for Leigh next year. They are both great people and have been wonderful company; I know it will not be the last we see of Leigh.

(Walking along the private property edges, it is a beautiful place)

Well it was 1230 hours and we moved off, just as we did the wind came up to around 18 knots and storms came over, good start. We motored through the pass, the wind was right on the nose so no use for sails, we went out to sea a couple of miles before turning west, as we did we let out the Genoa and cut the engine the wind was still around 18 knots and we are doing around 7.5 knots. We have about 15 Nms to go before we turn south between the two atolls. The next minute the clouds passed over and the sun was shining and there was no bloody wind. I started the engine and we motor sailed about 3 Nms then we got some wind so I cut the engine again, we were only going around 5 knots but we were not in any hurry, in fact we had decided to take the two days to get there about 185 Nms so we needed to kill some time so we arrived in daylight.
(sailing by the second passage)
(Sailing away from the passage)

As we came to the end of Rangiroa atoll there was a current flowing in between this atoll and the other,  although we could not yet see the next atoll. This caused turmoil of waves, I entered them very gingerly looking at the depth sounder as we went, it was a bit of a ride through but we got through OK. I had noticed another yacht that had come out of Rangiroa about an hour behind us; He set his sail wing to wing so I thought he would catch up before long. Now sailing south still with only the Genoa we were doing around 6 – 7 knots, I was going to set the mainsail but thought I would wait until we got from between the atolls and see what seas and wind we would get. We were getting anything from 15 to 22 knots where we were. It was getting dark and I took a look to see where the other yacht was, it was still about the same distance behind but had moved slightly over to our starboard side probably in preparation to pass us later. I checked back a few times and lost sight of it in the dark and could not see its navigation lights probably too low for the distance between us.

Had the radio sched with Leigh at 1715 hours told him how we had been going, at that stage we were between the atolls and had not hit the real bad stuff. He said he and Jenny were fine and had a good day. We were not able to raise Timella or Why Knot.

As we approached the end of the atolls the wind and the waves picked up heavily and the waves started to hit us on the port beam, waves commenced to break over the side so we changed course heading a little more south-west, this put the wind and most of the waves near the port aft quarter, the other pattern of the waves was still hitting us on the port beam. It was rather a mixed sea, wind was anywhere between 22 and 30 knots, I decided to take three turns in on the Genoa to reef it slightly. The boat was very uncomfortable; we both had very little sleep through the off watch times. I rechecked the engines oil levels etc. before Nancy went to bed, in doing so I tripped over and banged my ankle of the engine surround, then I hit my head on the other engine cover on the screw for the latch letting some claret loose  from the head. Later during my watch I was sitting at the helm and as a wave hit I grabbed the bimini support that also had our safety lifeline attached, sitting on the lifeline was a hornet wasp, and he did not like me grabbing him so he stung me. I thought thank god that’s the third thing that has happened I should be right now. Of course that was just after a few other words not fit to print when I got stung. I stuck my finger in the freezer for a short time that took the pain away. Oh the wasp, he committed suicide. Come morning we had moved away from our planned course by 30 Nms to the west, this was adding distance to our trip. I said to Nancy that to go to Tahiti we need to beat into the wind, something a catamaran does not do well and we don’t like doing. We continued on the same course to see if the weather would change.

Had the morning radio sched, could only raise Leigh, I told him if things do not get better we will change course for Raiatea. He agreed. I asked him how he and Jenny were, he said they were fine but missed a couple of mates at sundowners last night.

After as short while and the sun was up for a while there was no change in the weather, I gave George a break and took the auto pilot off and turned the helm to port, as soon as I got her on course for Tahiti the bows were digging into the waves and green water came over the top, which is to be expected, but when it started to come over the top of the bimini I said to Nancy bugger Tahiti I think we will go straight to Raiatea she agreed. We turned back on the original course, checked the chart for a course to Raiatea which added another 30 degrees to starboard putting wind and waves at 120 degrees (port aft). We were still getting tossed around but not as bad, the winds stayed in the same range between 22 and 30 knots. We both grabbed sleep when we could, meals were simple, and something out of a can, however, Nancy always adds something to make it taste not like canned food. We made good miles through the day so much so that during the evening watch I reefed the Genoa right down to a third the way out and that’s all the sail we had working. The only difference it made was when we were on the back of the wave going up it slowed us down to 4 knots but on the level or going down the wave was the same speed as before between 7 and 11 knots. It did have the desired affect of slowing us so we arrived outside of Raiatea before first light this morning. It is incredible seeing landfall at first light. This land is quite spectacular, there are two islands Raiatea and Tahaa that are encircled by coral reefs, the reefs have a number of passes in them where boats and ships can access. The access is not tide dependent boats can enter at any time this is due to the water flowing over the reefs although the reefs buffer the rough seas. It is very beautiful place.
(Raiatea ahead, you can see by the amount of turns on the furler that we had a very small sail out)
 (On both these pictures we are sailing outside the reef)

 (Heading towards the passage through the reef)
(The reef is all around these two islands with just a few places that you can access)
(We are now through the passage in calm waters there are a number of these small islands along the reef)

One problem we have is that the anchorages are very deep in places they are deeper than the length of our anchor chain, another thing that I have to fix when I can buy more chain. It is listed that there are some moorings for visitors so we went searching, we found a place with moorings, picked up the first, and I told Nancy to let it go it had a sign attached “Privie” French for private. After going in and out of all the moored boats we found one, when picking it up Nancy dropped the boat hook over the side, so she went swimming to get it back. Just about to say well that’s it and a dingy is approaching us, first thought no we cannot stay here. It was a Frenchman from a catamaran just behind us, he said he was talking to his friend in the boatyard and he said that this mooring is old and not secure, he said there is another behind his cat, and the friend in the boatyard said we could use it. The Frenchman, Joule helped us secure to the mooring. He Also told us where some things were but added everything is closed Saturday and Sunday. Being Saturday today for us, we have to wait a couple of days. We did not really care, once we were secure I went to the fridge and grabbed a coldie, Nancy had a whiskey, we then had some lunch followed by a short sleep.
(Alana Rose on a mooring with the wonderful backdrop of Bora Bora) 

We also sat down and looked at the passage planner, we are seriously thinking of spending what time we need to here, I want to see if we can get the gearbox fixed, if we cannot we will leave in a few days for Bora Bora which you can actually see from here, a couple of days there then off to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, then Nuku’alofa Tonga then if there is enough time left go to Opua in NZ where we will leave the boat and fly to Oz for the wedding, if we do not have enough time to get to NZ we will fly from Tonga and return in November to make the dash to NZ. Naturally this is all dependant on wind and weather, but it will have to be one of these places that we leave the boat to come back to Oz. We need to get to NZ for the cyclone season. The question that remains unanswered is what do we do after NZ? Do we wait until April and head back to some more islands before coming back to Oz, or do we head back to Oz earlier? That will be answered after we get to NZ. My lady will have the biggest say in that one, the reason being is that she has done more than most that could be asked of anyone, sailing is great and we both love it, visiting beautiful places is wonderful. But there is a lot of hard work in between, four hours on fours off for days is OK but it is hard work, battling some of the seas is also hard and frightening at times. Nancy has done wonders and I am very proud of her. I am very conscious of the fact that at times she gets quite frightened and on those rough sea nights she hates the midnight shift when you cannot see the sea to see what it is doing. It can’t be too bad though I still get a kiss and a cuddle at the change of watch.


This morning we had a sleep in we got up at 0600 hours, it is usually at dawn around 0500 hours. But we were in bed very early last night and slept like a log. We did not rush about though, we had a nice breakfast of bacon and eggs on toast, did a little computer work, then had showers before going ashore. We went over to the dingy dock in CNI Carenage then went for a walk along the road towards where the supermarket is to have a look, half way there in the middle of the day we decided that we will dinghy over there tomorrow and walked back to the dinghy. We then went down to the marina in the next bay and had lunch at the bar and restaurant. After this we went for a trip in the dinghy towards town, a few miles away, however we turned back after the winds picked up and we realised that we will be drenched by the time we got there. We came back on board and relaxed.

When we were at the marina a lady from America came and spoke to us, she was on a Moorings charter boat with another four lady friends. The youngest would have to be in her mid sixties and the one who spoke to us, she would have to be in her seventies and had a walking stick. They must have been sailing most of their lives, they took the yacht out whilst we were there heading for the top island and then out to Bora Bora. Just goes to show you’re never too old.
 (Inside the marina cafe is this huge fishing canoe)
(Nancy enjoys her meal and drink)

We had the radio sched at 1715 hours, could not raise Leigh, we spoke with Timella and Why Knot, they were able to talk with Leigh and relayed for me. We are tucked away behind the island on the west side and Leigh is way over in the north east. Timella had left Bora Bora at 0600 hours this morning and under 15 to 18 knot winds was sailing at 4 to 6 knots, that’s good for his yacht. Why Knot left about four hours after and had already passed Timella. Timella is not what you would call a fast yacht. Ross on Why Knot said that he had some friends arriving here today, yacht named Fantasy I and if we see it to say g’day. I started getting weather information for Timella and Why Knot, on the evening sched I would get the position (Lat/Long) speed and course, with this I would calculate where they should be at 0800 hours the following morning when we do the radio sched. I would then by using four to five weather websites get the weather in the location and what they were heading into. I was up at 0500 hours each morning and that is when I would get all the info in time for the sched.


When we went on deck Fantasy I was moored in front of us so we went over to say hello. Karl and Sandy, what a couple, lovely people. Karl is retired scientist and Sandy was a school teacher from South Australia. They were trying to get a few things fixed as they wanted to get going straight to Vanuatu to join the Port to Port Rally, Port Villa to Bundaberg, they want to get home before the cyclone season started. We went ashore to clear in with the gendarmes.

We did not arrive at the gendarme’s office until just after midday, a youngish gendarme walked up to us and asked what we want in a French arrogant manner, we said we were there to clear in. He basically yelled we are closed from midday to 2pm, so we apologised and said we would return. The reason we were late is that it is 6 kms from the boat to the office which we did not realize. We went away and ended up purchasing a couple of bicycles because if we are staying here and we now can for the cyclone season we will need them to come and go.

On returning to the gendarme’s office we went to the desk and there was an office between the room we are in and the room the officers are in, they look at us and basically ignore us then after a while the office that dressed us down earlier came to us.  “What do you want?” he asked. I told him that we had arrived on a catamaran and was here to clear in. He asked, do you speak French, I apologised and said we did not. He then said I do not speak English where does that leave us? In my head I thought, well you are doing fine so far. I held the papers in front of me with that paper on top that I made up with all the information on it and he sat down and started entering the details on the computer. Then he asked, how long are you staying? I said that we want to stay to the 21 October leave the boat here and come back after three months away and stay until the cyclone season is finished. With this he spoke to his boss in French, his boss came out grabbing a book off a shelf and asked you Australian? I said yes, he then said you have to leave before the 17 October or you will be in trouble with the local police. I said fine we will book our flights for the 16 October. I wasn’t going into any other details re our return the mood was not right for that, they signed our documents and we left.
(We have transport, Amandine advised us to lock them up, she said people won't steal them but they will borrow them)

A little different to the gendarmes at Hiva Oa. Nancy asked what do we do about our return I said we will sort it out when we get to Australia with their embassy . What a day, when we got back to the boat Karl and Sandy invited us over for sundowners and we had a nice night.

19/09/07 –  Wednesday Morning

 (Uturoa is the main shopping area and township of Raiatea)

 (Uturoa waterfront)

Well we have had an interesting couple of days. The night before last a Mayday message was broadcast from Marine Radio, this unfortunately was in French and we could not fully understand what was being said. The only thing that concerned me was the name of the boat. It sounded like Timella, Cameron’s boat. We were aware that Cameron had had some trouble; he had blown out his mainsail and on the same night had been swamped by the sea causing his HF radio to fail in volume so he could not hear anyone but he could transmit. He at sched time gave his Lat/Long and stated that all on board was safe.

We stayed up late hoping for more information, but everything was in French, we did get the message that it was a ketch, same as Cameron’s however they said the hull was black, Cameron’s is dark blue. We turned in around midnight, I was up very early the next morning, and the mayday message continued through the night and day. We did the 0800 hour sched and we were pleased to hear Cameron on the radio, he had been swamped a few times in the rough weather but he said everyone was safe; he still had no volume control on the radio so he could only transmit and not hear us. The mayday kept on going each hour, two aircraft, and two merchant ships continued search the area at the Lat/Long the mayday was reported.

Last night as we were about to go out for dinner the mayday message was transmitted by the authorities first in French and then in English. The yacht they were looking for was Timella Cameron’s yacht. As soon as the transmission was complete I called Marine Radio (The authority), and confirmed that it was Timella that they were looking for. They confirmed this, and then I gave them the last position that I had on Timella and told them that they are safe and well. Marine Radio asked it I would talk with the National Rescue Centre, I said that I would, due to communication difficulties I rang them on the sat phone. I confirmed that Timella was safe and well although they had suffered heavy seas that had lost them their mainsail and full communications on HF radio. I also informed them that we would be on the radio sched at 0800 hours in the morning and they could join in and hear for themselves that Timella was safe. They told me that the Mayday was raised by a ham radio operator in Hawaii. This would have been the radio operator that has provided Cameron with weather reports. The only thing that I can imagine that on the radio sched he had heard that Cameron had been swamped with water and did not hear that they were safe and well. However, he should not have raised a Mayday unless the vessel had initiated it in the first place. He could have registered a concern for safety without raising a Mayday. The National Rescue Centre was relieved to hear that the yacht and crew were safe and also very appreciative that I had contacted them. The boss of the coordination centre came of the phone to thank methey had ships and aircraft looking in the area that the incident was reported and they were about to send more aircraft out tomorrow, Timella was 200 Nms further than the search site.

Probably the ironic side of this is that due to Cameron not being able to hear us on the radio and can only transmit, he is oblivious to the fact that there was a Mayday raised, and that he had two planes and two freight vessels looking for him. We were all relieved that everything was fine and we then went to dinner with new Aussie friends Karl and Sandy on “Fantasy 1”  that originate in Adelaide. They sailed out of Oz 9 years ago and have been around the world. They are now heading back to Oz. I have been helping them set up their computer after the one that they were using got swamped with sea water through a hatch that had been left open. I have loaned them my GPS antenna as the computer will not recognize theirs. They will mail it to Angela’s when they get back to Oz in around six weeks. As we are now staying here we will not need it until January.

This morning I finally got the gearbox out after having to bike it into town to buy another tool. I stripped it down and it looks like the only problem is the cone, a new cone and seals should fix the problem. Amandine in the CNI office is organizing the parts for me. She is also organizing a mechanic to reassemble the box for me as I do not have the tools or workshop to do it myself. Need gear pulleys and a press etc.

She also organised a fuel run for us today, sent one of the yard boys into town to pick up fuel for Fantasy 1 and ourselves.

Then I went for a swim and run a brush over the waterline and removed a little growth from the hull, then went to the supermarket that has a dinghy dock did a little shopping then went over to Fantasy 1 to set up the GPS on the computer and assist Sandy with CMap navigation and of course have a beer and a chat. We got back on board close to 2000 hours. It’s a rough life this boating.

 20/09/07 - Raiatea

Not much news today. Yesterday afternoon after shopping at the waterside supermarket and obtaining important items like beer, whiskey, red and white wine and food. I think I have them in the correct order regarding priorities. We went over to Fantasy 1 to help Sandy understand CMap, which is incredible as I am only learning myself as I have only had it just before leaving Hiva Oa. Blind leading the blind so to speak. I set it up with my GPS receiver that I am loaning them to get back to Oz.
 (Bora Bora)
 (Waves breaking on the reef)
 (The island of Tahaa)
 (Calm at dusk)
 (Boats full)
(Sunset light)

I have to go over and set up their Wifi and Skype today, they want to take us out to dinner for the help we have provided. They are coming over here for sundowners tonight, Sandy likes a Gin and Tonic, and Nancy doesn’t mind it either, so back to the supermarket today.

Radio sched this morning Timella is still safe and moving slowly, their radio was receiving this morning, but I could not hear or talk to them. Why Knot (Ross), spoke to them and informed them about the search that was being conducted, he said Cameron was shocked to hear about it he never at any stage gave any indication that he needed assistance. Why Knot and JJ Moon are close together and will be entering Rarotonga around midday today. Timella ETA is Sunday afternoon.

Lunch time:

Karl came over this morning and said he was ready to be hoisted up the mast to install the spare halyard if I could haul him up. So I went over to Fantasy 1 to help. When I got there Sandy was in this bright orange bathing suit and she grabbed a short ladder and was about to climb of the boom, Karl looked at her and asked what she was doing, she said getting ready to grab the fishing line, Karl said that he hadn’t got the halyard ready yet, so she said well what do I do and Karl said “if you stop f__king about”. I burst out laughing, Sandy appears to be a prim and proper lady in her manners and Karl talks like that all the time. When all was ready I hauled Karl up the mast and lowered him when he was finished Sandy climbed a ladder to fish the mouse out (fishing line with sinker weight) of the mast, then attached the new halyard to it and fed it through. After having coffee and bickies I went back to our boat and said to Nancy do you want to take the laundry in now, she said yes but it is lunch time and everything will be closed. This is a thing we are getting used to this that all the shops closed from midday through to 1400 or 1500 hours the same as Bonaire. This has been right through since the Caribbean. Restaurants and bars are open but they close at 1400 or 1500 hours through to 1800 hours.

Saturday 22/09/07 - Raiatea

Hi all, last couple of days have gone rather quickly and we have not really done much. Yesterday Nancy went into town with Sandy off Fantasy 1, I planned to do a few water runs, however young Amandine in the office called me on the radio to go over and see her about the parts for the gearbox. Apparently they cannot supply two ‘o’ rings, would probably be able to use the old ones. The parts will arrive on the next plane in and she has organised someone to complete the job for me as I do not have bearing and gear pulleys, that will be done Monday. She asked if we would still be hauling out as the gearbox will be fixed, I told her yes we had already made up our minds and booked our flights.

It will be great to return to Oz and see family and friends but it is going to be hard not sailing, with all the ups and downs we both love the adventure of the sea time. We will fly back here in January and do some work on the boat whilst she is out of the water, give her another coat of anti-foul. We will not be able to sail until April May when the cyclone season is over.
 (Training for the big race)

 (Fire in the sky)
(Going home)
Back to what else happened yesterday, Karl came over he was trying to tighten the gland seal on the propeller shaft and needed a third hand, he asked me if I could spare 20 minutes, I told him I could but I have a dilemma at the moment I cannot find one of my VISA debit cards, I said give me a minute to check. After just about phoning to say it was lost I thought about the last time I used it at the waterfront supermarket, I shot across there in the dinghy and as I was approaching the shop the young lady at the checkout gave big smiles waving my VISA card. I thanked her very much and went back and helped Karl. Karl had to lay in an awkward position holding the spanner with a bar and my job was to hit it with the hammer. Karl asked, “you know what to do”? I said, “yes, when you nod your head I hit it”, he gave me that funny look and smiled.

That job was done then I started the water run filling up four 20 litre containers bringing them back on board and fill the tanks, I did one tank and it was getting too bloody hot to do anymore, the water flows slowly through the hose and sitting in the dinghy in the sun filling the containers gets rather warm. We went in the dinghy to pick up the laundry, they did a fantastic job. By mid afternoon it became very hot and I went for a swim off the back of the boat and had half hour snooze.
(Sandy doing her final shopping before leaving)

Last night we went out for dinner with Karl and Sandy, they shouted for the help I had given them, I told them its part of the deal I have had help from others that did not need help from me so by helping someone else is a pay back. Cruising is one area in the world that still has that care for strangers doing the same thing, everyone helps each other when there is a need. We had a good night with a couple of bottles of red and a good feed.

This morning I was up early as usual, Karl was getting ready to sail doing a last minute water run to top up his tanks, they are going straight through to Vanuatu. They came over and said their goodbyes, I purchased their Polynesian Francs off them for US$ so they would not be stuck with them. They went back to their yacht and hauled the dinghy aboard. We were waiting to wave them goodbye, then a radio call from them, they had the ropes tangled on the mooring. I went over in the dinghy, what had happened was that we have had total calm weather and the yachts have been turning from one way to another and the ropes had bound themselves tight around the mooring. I gradually untangled them and got them free. Karl said thanks and said that I would probably be glad to see them leave. That is not true. I thoroughly enjoyed Karl and Sandy’s company, they are genuine good people.
(Assisting Karl with the mooring)
(Just about done)
(Fantasy 1 heads out to the passage and off to Vanuatu)

The rest of the day I have been rather lazy, I did one more water run, had a haircut from the on board hairdresser, had a swim to get rid of the loose hair and then had a coldie or two.

Still had radio scheds and everyone is fine, Timella is still 100 Nms from port and the water is like glass and no wind so they are motoring at the moment. Leigh is anchored off Blue Lagoon at Rangiroa, yes it is the place they made the movie of the same name with Brooke Shields.


We run out of gas last night just as I was about to make a coffee for us both, so no coffee and no cup of tea this morning. So first job was to get the three gas bottles out of the gas locker dinghy in and get them filled, the next job was to see the lovely Amandine and find out what happened to the mechanic that was supposed to meet me yesterday afternoon.

I dropped the gas bottles in and they said they would be ready this afternoon and as I was walking to the CNI office Amandine was on the road talking to two gents, when I approached she introduced me to Joseph the mechanic, he asked if I had the gearbox out, I said yes, I can get it for you now. Which I did and he has promised it will be back by next Wednesday. Amandine is a dynamo, she organises everything for CNI and its customers, nothing is too much trouble and any request is dealt with immediately.

The big problem is there is only one mechanic on the island and that is Joseph, Amandine said to me that I should come and work I would make lots of money there is too much work for one mechanic. This is true for most of the islands. I think the only reason Joseph is looking after me is that one Amandine is on his back and two she told him that I could do the job myself if he let me use his workshop. Anyway at least it is getting fixed. The only rush to fix it now is so that I will have two engines to manoeuvre when I have to go into the marina area to get hauled out. But again Amandine says that if it is not fixed by that time she will organise the boys in the yard to move me in place using dinghies.
After the gas and the gearbox was organised I went back on board and we got ready to go into town on our pushbikes. We organised our flights from here to Papeete (Tahiti), on the 15 October, we have to stay overnight there as our flight to Oz via NZ leaves at 0700 on the 16 October 07.

That being organised we carried on into town to the fuel station to fill up two small containers of petrol for the generator and then cycled back towards the boat but detoured into Apooiti Marina for lunch. Then we cycled back unloaded the fuel. It was hot no wind and we decided to do what they do in these islands have siesta time. I flaked under a fan in the saloon.

At 1500 hours I went in to get the gas bottles and bought them back on board then I took the dinghy over to the waterfront supermarket to buy some more coldies, some bugger had drank the ones I had, making up for those dry nights at sea no doubt.
 (How small boats are garaged)
 (These huts are like holiday huts for locals they spend Sundays out there relaxing and fishing)

When I came back I spent quite a bit of time trying to find out weather information for Fantasy 1 and Why Knot. Fantasy 1 said they had very little wind and were motor sailing on the sched this morning and asked if I could get them a full weather report. Whilst doing that I heard Why Knot on the sched this evening and I gave them an update. Why Knot left Rarotonga this morning for Tonga, they are heading to NZ for the hurricane season. Timella was organizing the haul out today and are probably out on the hard by now.

Our dear friend Eileen in Dubbo paid my HF radio license for me so hopefully now I am operating legally, thanks a bunch Eileen. It is not easy trying to transfer money from here or the places we have been of visa versa as Leigh will tell you. He has been waiting for money to arrive since the day we got into Hiva Oa.

27/09/07Raiatea continued.

Today I spent the time tracing some shore power wiring for 220v that the previous owner had installed, (Alana Rose is basically 12 volt or 110 volts). My plan was to use the wiring he had installed for shore power for the battery charger and in addition to plug my 110v generator into without running temporary cables that we have over the last few months. It worked like a charm, I found the cable that he had run to the hot water service in the port engine bay that had been disconnected. I pulled that through to where the normal shore power leads were and fitted the French Polynesian type three point plug, using the colour codes I used in Grenada that I found on the net. I then disconnected a disused power board that was installed by the owner and installed the power point in its place and connected the other end of the cable. Tested it all with the trusty multi-tester and everything looked fine. Put the power on nothing went bang and it is all working fine and looks rather tidy. The crazy part about it is that the only part of the boat that needs 110v is the air-conditioning units that we can only use if we are in a marina, everything else works on 12 volts. Now that I have replaced the battery charger that will run on any voltage from 110 to 250 volts and any cycle from 4 to 400 there is no problem. Most of the gear that we have laptops, cameras, telephones will charge up on 110 – 240 volts, most electrical items such as these are made for international conditions.

Next thing I did was to make up a lead that attaches the generator to the system and also made up a 50m extension cord for when we go on the hard to keep the batteries charged whilst we are away in Oz.

This is going to be the daunting part, we are both looking forward to travelling home and seeing family and friends, but we are not sure what we will do with ourselves for three months living on land. Nancy has even said that all the scary times at sea she is going to miss not being out there. Back to the sign in Bonaire, “vows made in storms are soon forgotten in calm waters”. It is very true. We both cannot wait to do the next leg of the trip and basically we are going to have to wait six months before we start that next leg.

I am so very pleased that Nancy feels that way, as you know I said if we had done the runner for NZ before the cyclone season it would mainly depend on her whether we went and did more of the islands or return to Oz for the quieter coastal cruising. Well she is very keen to do the rest of the voyage and see the islands as we go. I think she has the cruising bug even though at times she says she does not like the heavy seas.

The next thing we did was to cycle into town to the bank to get some money to pay the mechanic in case he brings the gearbox back tomorrow pick up some more petrol for the generator. By the time we got back our cloths were drenched in sweat so stripped down and dived into the sea off the back of the boat, rinsed off with fresh water on the transom shower, then we declared it as beer o’clock, well it was 5 o’clock some where. We were only 30 minutes early.

02/10/07 Raiatea

It is a very quiet time at the moment, we are just waiting for the time for haul-out onto the hard and then stripping the boat down of its sails and bimini and anything else strong winds may cause problems. Then we will give the boat a good clean, remove any water within the bilges and dry every compartment to reduce the risk of mould build up whilst the boat is locked up. So we will have a few very busy days ahead of us.

Today we are waiting for the mechanic to come back for the gearbox and see what he has to say. Yesterday he was on Tahaa Island where he actually lives. Tahaa is the island closest to Raiatea only a couple of miles north.

It is hard when he is the only mechanic for both islands. I want him to fix it before we go on the hard because I want to run it to make sure it is alright so if it is not I can bring the gearbox back to Oz for repair.

The problem we have found in our travels is everything is island time, which is good in one way as long as you do not have a deadline to meet. It has taken me a while to realise that I do not have to rush anymore, I don’t have to be back somewhere to start work. The only pressure we have at the moment is getting the gearbox fixed properly before we fly out.

As much as we are looking forward to come back to Oz and see the family and friends it is hard leaving our yacht, it has become our home, and it is like anyone else leaving their home for three months. The other thing is that we are both enjoying the lifestyle. It is true what they say that within the boating family that it is one of the few places left where everyone helps each other, they look out for each other and  majority are very friendly, some of the French are not so friendly it is more of a minority are friendly in their case. Don’t get me wrong the ones that are friendly are very friendly and nice people, but you tend to get probably the local French that are not so friendly. The exception would have been Hiva Oa; I think that would be one of the friendliest places we have been. Most of the indigenes people here are friendly although some of the middle aged to older men are not. I think this would relate to early times when the French fought the locals and killed many. This island is where the NZ Maori originated from; they fled here and went to NZ. So they do have a reason to dislike Europeans.

We will have quite a lot of time here before we sail again, we will not be able to head off until mid April when the cyclone season starts to end and the trade winds come back to carry us in the right direction. We will get back here in January and hopefully with some gear I bring back from Oz will be able to set up preventers and sheets the way we want them. There will also be a bit of maintenance to do or should I say a fair bit.

Leigh on Mi Querida should be here in a few days, we have not been able to talk to him on the radio since he arrived in Tahiti, we sent him and email and got one in return. Jenny had struck another problem regarding her visa, because of being a South African she applied in Panama for the visa for French Polynesia because it takes so long to come through. When she got to Hiva Oa she still did not have it, it finally came through just before they left Hiva Oa. Now they are clearing in at Tahiti the officials have stated that Jenny is running out of time (three months), because they have taken the date from her original application in Panama. So now Jenny has decided to fly home to South Africa. It is not easy being a South African when travelling around the world.

Had the radio sched with Fantasy 1, Karl and Sandi this morning and gave them their weather report, they are doing quite well with the winds they are getting. Then had the sched with Why Knot, Ross is also doing quite well and should be in Tonga in the morning. Ross will be heading to NZ for the cyclone season and returning north to Vanuatu next year, we hope to catch up with them then. I have told Ross about the weather that is surrounding NZ at the moment that is not pleasant. I will email the websites that I have to him as I will not be giving weather reports after the 8 October when we have been hauled out. It would be nice to catch up with Ross after talking to him on the radio for sometime and we have never met.

It is now mid morning and no sign of the mechanic as yet, the problem is we cannot go anywhere nor do anything until he shows up. Island time, great.

Well it is now evening; I spoke with the mechanic this morning he was supposed to meet me at 1600 hours but got called away. I should be seeing him in the morning. Again the main problem is that we were stuck waiting for him and could not do anything else.

We went out to Snack Mimosa for dinner tonight, good home style cooking plenty on the plate and would be the cheapest in town. They are only a minute walk from the boatyard is about 6 kms out of town. Nancy had prawns Chinese style with rice I had a large steak veggies and chips, two glasses of red for Nancy and I had two Hinano beers (500ml stubbies), total cost $45 AUS, we had hamburger and fries with same amount of drinks at the restaurant near the marina $70 AUS. It is a very expensive place here in French Polynesia, apparently the French own a lot of the companies here, but they do not exactly own the land. So they pay high wages and that naturally because most things have to be imported puts the cost of living up.

Amandine is building a house with her fiancé, it will cost them 18,000,000 francs, this in AUS is $240,500, but this is a kit home that they are building. A kit home put on your land in Australia would be somewhat less I would imagine. It gives you an idea of prices here. A standard can or stubby in a hotel costs about $7 Aus a glass of beer that is the same size, (local beer), is around $5:50 Aus. You don’t see many drunks here.

Well we will have to see what tomorrow brings, hopefully the mechanic.

 04/10/07 More gearbox fun.

After finally catching up with Joseph the mechanic yesterday afternoon, he said that I was using the wrong oil and that is the problem. It is very hard discussing things with the language barrier but Amandine has helped greatly. He wanted to see the gearbox operational so I put the thing back in for him to come this morning.

In the meantime I rang dear friend Rick to get info regarding oils to be used in these gearboxes. I had previously search the next and that had said use whatever you use in the engine. Rick rang back and said that the Mobil hotline said that I could use straight 30 or 40 SAE. I was using 40 SAE. Then Rick rang back to tell me he had been in touch with his gearbox mechanic and he said he uses transmission fluid or straight 30 oil. Joseph here said that 30 oil should be the highest you should use.

So this morning I had the gearbox all back in and the 40 SAE oil drained out, Joseph came with some oil 10 W, prior to putting that in he adjusted the cable carrier as it was coming into contact with the gear lever. I don’t think it was interfering with the operation of the lever it had been there all the time. He filled the gearbox up with the oil he had bought and then we started the engine put it in gear the shaft turned but slower than it should, hold the shaft and it would stop. So much for the oil being wrong, it was still behaving the same.

Joseph was a little surprised, I was just hoping he was right and we would have everything back to normal. He removed the control section of the gearbox and I noticed that the lever was in different to the parts picture, not saying the parts picture is correct all it is doing is showing the parts. Anyway Joseph put it in the way the drawing had it tried it again still the same. After a couple of hours we still could not find what the problem was. The control section came out again and Joseph had his fingers inside on the gear assembly and turned the propeller shaft and nothing in the gearbox moved. It was the clutch coupling that joins the gearbox output shaft to the propeller shaft where the fault appeared to be. We stripped it down to find that the teeth on the clutch pads were no longer there. These clutch coupling are designed to protect the gearbox if the propeller strikes something. We don’t really know if we have hit anything in the water with the prop, we don’t think we have as one would think it would be rather noisy  when doing so. But being a charter boat previously it could have been done then and only partly damaged the coupling, then with us trailing that shaft for the last 5000 plus miles because we could not lock the shaft due to the gearbox failure could have done the rest of the damage. I had notice as the trip went on that we were getting increased vibration from that shaft and that’s why I thought I would have to replace the whole gearbox. When the problem first happened I had contacted Rick in Australia and he spoke with the engineers at Yanmar and they actually diagnosed that it was this part that we had changed, when I contacted them about these clutch plates in the coupling they had never heard of them.

So the situation is now that I have asked dear Amandine to order me some new parts, there goes the other arm and leg, its already cost me the others. But we are close to fixing now. As I said before the definition of cruising is fixing your yacht in exotic locations.

Other happenings is the radio sched with Why Knot, which now I believe is “Y Not” by the email I received from Ross this afternoon, sorry about that Ross. Anyway the radio sched this morning with Ross was unreadable, he arrived in Tonga yesterday afternoon and that was a last radio sched for this event as Ross will stay in Tonga until the day we fly out. I emailed all the websites I was gathering the weather from for him to study before his run to NZ. The isobars have been getting a little close together down that way with gale warnings being given. Ross was very appreciative for the weather reports that I provided during the trip. It is good to give that help I know if I get the weather reports from any source whilst at sea it helps an awful lot. Plus it takes me about 20 minutes to research the different sites, I will put them on the bottom of this section in case anyone is interested.

Did have the radio sched with Fantasy 1, gave Sandi and Karl the weather update, they should continue to get wind to scoot them along if they stay between 15s and 20s anything outside of that and they will be in calm waters. The signal was rather scratchy so I have given them the 72 hour outlook in case I cannot speak to them tomorrow.

Select custom location, then put cursor over map and left click, you can zoom in for closer accuracy.

Select pacific marine for text report

click on chart to increase size.

text report

Current info, click on map area for your area.

Sea temp chart click on chart for desired area for text report. (Good for around NZ)

06/10/07 Still in Raiatea

Yesterday we went into town on our bikes had to do a little shopping, get some fuel for the generator and generally have a walk around. We parked our bikes, there are strict rules about bikes on walk areas and had a walk around the shops. Nancy ended up in a dress shop, well the shop sold anything from washing machines to dresses but we never got passed the dresses. She was looking for something to wear to Lindy and Steve’s wedding and the other events that we are going to. Anyway she found three dresses and fortunately they were on special.

The town was rather busy being Friday here people from the other island Tahaa come over on the ferry to shop.

When we left town we picked up the fuel on the way out (2x8 litre containers), my basket on the bike was loaded, I had the fuel, bag of bananas, other vegetables and a bag of spuds. When we got back I checked on the parts that I ordered and they will be here on Monday. When we got back on board the fridge/freezer had tripped off on the main switchboard. I checked everything and made the switch again and the compressor was working, but it looks like the unit needs re-gassing. Terrific, Friday afternoon, no one works on Saturday or Sunday here so it will be Monday before I can get it done. I am going into town to see if I can raise someone this morning. I suppose with all the bashing we had during the journey so far could have had an affect on the lines and connections. At least it did not happen at sea on a long haul.
Bit later…..
 Well we went into town on our bikes got rained on a couple of times found someone to recharge the fridge/freezer with gas and check for leaks but that will not be until Monday or Tuesday. Fortunately we have been using all the gear in the freezer so that we can have it empty when we leave. We had a walk around in town and then headed back having lunch at the marina before we returned to the boat.
The weather is still quite hot here but the wind has been very strong the last couple of days, gives you a good work out cycling against it going to town and you get the occasional downpour of rain.

08/10/2007Two engines but warm beer.

Well it was a lazy day waiting for the parts to arrive, could not go anywhere as I wanted to get the parts in as soon as they arrived. Another reason is that the wind was blowing that hard and rain was coming in regularly I wasn’t going to push that bloody bike anywhere.

We had a visit from Customs this morning, I was having a shower and Nancy yelled out there are some officials looking for something just gone into the yard on a dinghy, they look like Gendarmes. After I had finished the shower they were visiting a yacht a couple of moorings from us. After that they came to see us, I invited them aboard and they asked to see our papers and passports. We sat down in the saloon and went through all the details, they were very nice, and they were quite surprised that customs had not approached us in Hiva Oa. We had nothing to declare which makes life easy. We told them that we were being hauled out and they informed us that the yacht is allowed to stay in French Polynesia for twelve months if we wish and the time we are on the hard is not counted so the time on the hard can be added to the twelve months. Not that we will be staying that long. They left and went visiting other yachts close by.

The parts arrived at 1430 hours so I went to get them from Amandine who organised her boss to pick them up from the airport for me. Whilst I went to pick them up I dropped Nancy in to go to the supermarket on her bike. Now I know what you’re thinking, but the supermarket is protected from the wind so it was an easy ride Nancy may say different. I went back on board and started fitting the coupling clutch assembly, no sooner I got started Nancy called up on the VHF handheld, see I told you it was an easy ride. I climbed back out of the engine bay and went and picked her up, came back again completed the fitting of the parts. Started the engine put her in gear and we had movement, tried it in the astern position and we had movement. I cleaned everything up put everything away reassemble the engine covers with a few little repairs added then jumped in the sea to cool off and clean up.

In celebration went to the fridge which I have turned off until it is re-gassed pulled out a Kimberley cool beer and downed it, it wasn’t the best temperature but I had another and I might even have another after I finish this. I said to Nancy we might have a red wine with dinner tonight. Bugger the warm beer.

We were originally supposed to be hauled out today (Monday 8 Oct), however, the yard is getting a new tractor and it arrives in the morning, there are two catamarans to go back in the water and ours to come out so Amandine said she would prefer to do them all in one day, so they will put the other two in the water and then haul us out. This way the gear is set up once for cats rather than chopping and changing rigs. We are not that concerned as long as we are out by next Monday when we fly out of Raiatea.

Well that was our day and with two engines working again I didn’t mind the Kimberley cool beer.

 09/10/2007Mi Querida arrives at Raiatea

This morning just before we were having breakfast there was a radio call on VHF 16. “Mi Querida to Airport Control”, requesting passage in front of the airstrip. Airport control did not answer; we have noticed they very rarely do. Leigh had arrived at Raiatea. I called him up after his third call and told him that they may not answer his call and that there is a mooring spare on our port side when he gets here.
(We did not see this sign when we arrived)

Nancy and I had breakfast as we new it would take him a little time to get here. As soon as he was near I hopped in the dinghy to assist him at the mooring. It was the one that Fantasy 1 got tangled in, it does not have a good length of rope that reaches out of the water, and the loop is below the surface. It has been a mongrel of a night and morning weather wise. The wind is up to 25 knots and it is raining on and off. I knew I was going to get wet one way or another and it was going to be difficult for me in the dinghy and Leigh’s yacht to hold near the mooring buoy in these conditions. I hauled the buoy into the dinghy on the starboard side so I could face the yacht as it approached me as I knew Leigh operates the lines over his starboard side and therefore my dinghy would not be in his way. The problem was that the wind and waves was trying to push me in front of the yacht so I had to keep kicking the gear to the astern position to stay in position. As the stern of the dinghy was facing the oncoming wind and waves water was continually spilling into the back of the boat and giving me a wet backside. Doing this and holding on to the mooring buoy in the boat and at the same time trying to catch the mooring line from Jenny and feeding it through the eye was fun. The first attempt failed as I did get the mooring line threaded but the wind blew Mi Querida back and I could not feed the line back to them quick enough. We succeeded on the second attempt.

Leigh and Jenny had had a rough night with the weather a sea conditions. Leigh said that at one stage a wave hit so hard it broke the boom preventer, he harnessed up and went to recover it, he said as the boat rocked the broken preventer swung towards him and he grabbed it as he did another wave came and he was still holding tight the preventer when the boom swung and took him over the side, he went into the sea up to his waist when the harness held him so he was able to grab the rails and pull himself back on board. This gave him two burn type bruises where the harness had grabbed him. Later he said it was that rough that they decided to have some soup for tea. He perched himself snug near the chart table and put his soup on the table when another wave hit spilling the soup over his right thigh. This morning he is wearing a few very nasty burn blisters. He said the first thing he thought of was to get it cool so he grabbed the container that had the rest of the soup ditched that in the sink turned the tap on filled the container and poured it over the burn area. Unfortunately just before this Jenny had used the tap in the hot water position so Leigh got the remnants of hot water in the container instead of cold. After that he grabbed cold cans of beer and rolled the cold cans over the burn area and continued to do that through the night.

He said they were both a little sea sick out there last night, it was pretty rough. They came over for coffee after they had tided up the boat after spilled soup and noodles going everywhere.

A New Zealand yacht also arrived with Leigh, he had met them in Tahiti, and it is quite some yacht 65 ft aluminium probably worth quite a tidy sum.

We are still waiting for the fridge man to turn up, to be honest I don’t blame him for not coming in this weather, he has to have a dinghy ride out to our cat and part of the work is through an open hatch at the stern. I have just found out he will be here this afternoon, probably on his way home as he lives out this way.

Also we probably will not be hauled out until Friday now it is cutting it fine we fly out on Monday morning.

 10/10/2007 Met some Kiwi’s

Yesterday did not start out well still no refrigeration man so again I went in to see Amandine and asked if she could contact the company again, she did and this time got on to Chris himself, he said he would be here by 1100 hours. I went in to pick him up in the dinghy he apologised for being late he had been very busy and the weather also held jobs up.

He checked the system out and gave me the news that I didn’t want to hear but had suspected the compressor had packed it in. I said I will not do anything until we get back from Oz. He said buy it in Oz as it will be cheaper. Another item to add to the shopping list.

In the mean time we have purchased some ice and using the fridge/freeze as an esky, got to keep the beer cold.

We had a good break in the weather so I started stripping the boat of it sails, removed the Genoa first and rolled it up and stored it the starboard aft cabin, then did the mainsail then the sail bag. The poor boat looks rather bare. Before we leave on Monday morning I will remove the bimini and store that below also. We are removing everything we can that cause problems during strong winds.

Then we had an invite for dinner on board “Evolution” owned by two kiwis, it is aluminium 65’ monohull. I would say it is worth over $1m bracket. It is well finished and as Doug the owner said that he feels the original chap that had it built had owned previous boats and had this perfect boat in mind and got a very good architect to put it on paper and had it built. All lines/sheets can be handled from the cockpit and there are no visible lines on the upper deck they are beneath the upper deck and there are plates that can be moved to access the lines at critical points. They had to go to Alaska to pick the boat up. They have a couple of Americans as crew, Cooper and Harold, two very nice blokes. Cooper is a young 26 year old that absolutely loves sailing, he also cooks a mean pizza. He served up five pizzas last night with intervals that was complimented with a number of bottles of red wine. We were all chatting away when I looked at my watch it was midnight, I said if you guys want to set sail tomorrow we best leave and let you get to bed. We dropped Leigh and Jenny at their boat and went back on ours and crashed till the usual time of 0500 hours.

 This morning Cooper and Harold came over to get some weather reports from me and check some of the sites I use for weather information. I told them that the weather between here and NZ is not good but they still sailed.

After this we cycled into town and showed Leigh and Jenny where everything was did a little shopping then head back and had a good swim to cool off. We have Leigh and Jenny coming over for dinner tonight so we will probably have a few good laughs.

The hauling out yard is very busy getting everything put on the new tractor so we hope to be hauling out tomorrow, if it does not happen tomorrow we are going have to get Leigh to do the haul out for us as we fly out first thing Monday morning and the yard does not work weekends. There are two catamarans waiting to go in the water, they are doing a runner for NZ. So the plan is to put them in then haul us out tomorrow.


Back to the Land of Oz

The last four days in Raiatea was rain and strong winds which did not make it easy for packing up the boat. It was fortunate that we picked the window of opportunity when there was a break in the weather to get the sails and sail bag down and put away because when the rain returned it did not stop. Leigh being Leigh invited us for dinner our last two nights so that we could concentrate on getting things put away and not having to worry about cooking on board.

Saturday (13 Oct), we cleaned the boat; I made sure that all bilges were dry to prevent any condensation which would reduce the risk of mould whilst the boat was locked up for three months. I filled the water tanks to increase the weight of the boat. Nancy commented about making the boat lighter. I said that I want it as heavy as we can for any strong winds that may occur whilst on the hard.

Saturday night we went over to Leigh’s boat and he and Jenny had cooked us a very nice dinner, we were fortunate there was a short break in the heavy rain whilst we went out in the dinghy, we weren’t so lucky when we came back to the boat. We went to bed pretty well straight away and we just dropped off to sleep when the VHF radio came to life, a person was calling to see if someone could assist him, a person with a French accent answered the call. The boat in trouble had run aground in the bad weather not far from where we were and was asking for someone to contact SunSail Charter to inform them that they need assistance. The person that answered went quiet and the Sunsail boat continued to call for assistance. I got out of bed and answered the call; the caller explained his situation and location and asked if I could contact Sunsail. I left Nancy by the radio and I went out in the mongrel weather to see if I could find someone that could make a phone call to Sunsail. The house above the chandlery had lights on so I went up and knocked on the front door. Jacque one of the owners happened to be there and he phoned the manager of Sunsail and got me to explain to her what the problem was. They said they will get in contact with the boat that was in trouble “Amistique”. I returned to our boat and called “Amistique” and said that Sunsail will be in contact with them and I would stand by the radio until they did.

It was sometime later that Sunsail came on the radio calling Amistique, Amistique answered but Sunsail could not hear them, so I then became the relay for the transfer of information between the two parties. I had a feeling that the bloke on Amistique was an Aussie because after I saw a boat heading his way to rescue them I gave him a call to tell him that the boat is underway and he should be seeing it very soon as I knew that when help is needed you can relax a little when you know that assistance is close by. He replied thanks very much mate. It was that mate word that made the Aussie connection.

Sunday I pulled the motor off the dinghy and locked that away and then lifted the dinghy out of the water and lashed it down on the trampolines. I did not want to put it on the davits because it would cause problems in windy conditions. We continued packing things away and cleaning. I had to cycle up to the airport and just confirm our flights for Monday on the way back it poured rain just as I was passing Apooiti Marina, I knew there was a dry place there, the bar, but unfortunately they close between 1430 and 1800 hours. So I just sheltered there until the rain dropped off, I called around to the Catamaran that had been in trouble Amistique to see if they were alright, their gear was there but there was no one on board so I went back to the boat. Sunday night Leigh rowed in to pick us up for dinner, when we got on board his yacht the rain poured down and did not stop all through the night, so when we had finished dinner Leigh took us back to our boat we were all like drowned rats.

Monday morning we got up and the rain was tapering off a little, I looked over at the dinghy dock and the dinghies there were full of water, one dinghy was below the waterline and the outboard motor was drowned. I was very pleased that I had pulled my dinghy out the day before.

 We had to do the final stuff, I pulled the bimini cover down and packed that away, gave the push bikes a clean ready to lock those in the saloon before we left and then went and packed my bag ready to leave. Once done it was shower and dress time, I put on a pair of long pants a shirt and shoes. The shoes were killing me, it is the first time I have had shoes on in more than five months.

Once dressed I went to see the lovely Amandine to give her a set of keys for the boat and ask if I could bring the bags to the office until the taxi came. She was again apologising for not being able to haul the boat before we left and she promised to send photos and make sure I was happy with what they have done.

After getting the bags to the office it was time to leave, Amandine gave us both a hug before leaving and she said she had a special thing that would wish us luck and we basically hooked our little fingers on our right hands similar to a hand shake. Amandine said this is her special way of wishing us luck with our journey and being with our families when we get home.

As we were about to leave it poured of rain although the taxi driver tried to cover us with an umbrella it did not save us much we were soaked to the skin. We got to the airport and it still rained. Planes were late due to the weather so we were a little late in leaving.

We arrived at Papeete, Tahiti, it was still pouring of rain there so I said to Nancy we may as well go straight to the resort, it will not be any fun going into town in this, Nancy agreed. We got to the resort and it was very nice, we were on the sixth floor overlooking the pool and the bay although it was raining it was still a good view. Once settled in the room we went to the restaurant for lunch, had a nice lunch and a couple of red wines then returned to the room for a relax. Nice big king size bed and we turned a TV on for the first time in nearly six months and watched a movie.

Later we had a shower and changed for dinner, we went down to the bar for a few drinks first before sitting for dinner, the meals were very nice and the prices were the same as what one would pay at any restaurant within the French Polynesian Islands. Had a nice bottle of red with the dinner and just relaxed. Once back in the room we had a coffee and got everything ready for morning and had an early night.

At 0400 hours the alarm went off and we got up had some fruit and fruit juice that they had brought up for us the night before, had a shower, dressed and made our way to reception and got our taxi to the airport, it was a long day, we left at 0710 hours Tuesday 16 October, Tahiti time (-10 hours from GMT/UTC), then landed in NZ at 1210 hours Wednesday 17 October, NZ time (+7 hours from GMT/UTC), this being around a 6 hour flight. We then left NZ around 1400 hours NZ time and landed in Brisbane at 1600 hours (+10 hours from GMT/UTC) being another 6 hour flight. Melinda and grandson Samuel was at the airport to meet us and to take us home to their place. After Steve got home from work we had a nice dinner a couple of drinks and we crashed in bed. I awoke this morning at 0400 hours to the calls of kookaburras, I laid there listening for awhile when nature called itself, and I had to get up.

 Now in Australia for three months before returning to Raiatea on 13 January 2008.

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