Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bora Bora to Rarotong 2008

Sailing to Rarotonga and at Rarotonga

By 1400 hours 04/04/2008, we were ready to let go of the mooring and head out, we said farewell to the other boats and away we went. We were supposed to have a weather window that gave us three days of 15 – 20 knot winds followed by calm. Well the calm came early. When we were at the moorings at Bora Bora the wind was howling, when we got out to sea it was calm and a tail wind when we had it. The first two days we had the sails working, we weren’t doing any record speeds, but we did not care as we have plenty of time. The last three days we had glassy seas and no wind any short lived wind was right on the nose so we motored on.

Getting back in the routine of 4 hours on 4 hours off (maybe), takes about three days to get used to it, this voyage is only 4 to 5 days so it will knock us about a bit. We did OK but we did suffer sleep degradation and that is a common problem in blue water sailing.

We had our daily radio scheds with Cosmos, Promise, and Contigo. Chris and Suni passed on some helpful weather information but they could not find any wind for us. As Suni said calm is better than a gale.

As we sailed or motored toward Rarotonga we took pictures of the way Mother Nature had presented her own art in sea and skies, there were so many to choose from for the blog that I put them in groups. Hope you enjoy.

Nancy first spotted the Rarotonga just before dark, I slowed the engine down so that we would arrive closer to daylight, and I have the morning shift so I was going to arrive at the island during this shift. As we motored I did my usual checks of the bilges and noticed clean oil in the stbd engine bilge, I did not think it was too much but enough to add some concern. I could not see any leaks. I decided to start the port engine which would unfortunately wake Nancy from her sleep as she was in the port aft cabin, (our sea cabin, we use this one because it is more comfortable at sea and it is close to the person on watch if they need help.). After starting the port engine I shutdown the stbd engine and checked it out. I found that the gearbox had lost oil but I could not find a leak, it could be the driveshaft seal between the engine and gearbox will check it out when we arrive in port.

(Rarotonga at first light)

At first light Rarotonga was in full view, I had been watching the lights for quite some time, the lighter it came the more beautiful the island looked. I had to wake Nancy at 0630 hours just so she could see the view before we got too close. As we got closer I started to prepare the boat for entering port, Nancy was cooking breakfast, I thought I would start the stbd engine and check all was well after filling the gearbox with oil, the engine just slowly turned over but it looks like the battery has decided to pack in. Never a dull moment. Fortunately I had a roll of wire so I made up a jumper lead to go from the house batteries to the stbd engine battery; she fired up, and looks like we buy new engine batteries when in Rarotonga.


It was too early to call the port harbour master so we continued to motor along the coast whilst still preparing the boat for port entry. We used information from the guide books and have I have mentioned before guide books are great but they are out of date by the time they go to print. The book stated that first we go alongside the wharf and will be boarded by officials, we would then clear in. So we got out the fenders and set up to go alongside starboard to. (Stbd side to wharf). After having breakfast and a shower to make myself a bit presentable for the officials we called the harbour master, John Fallon an Aussie himself.

We requested permission to enter his port, he asked what type of vessel we had I told him a 12.6 metre cat, and he jokingly said he didn’t like cats they take up too much room. He said to enter and drop anchor and secure stern-to the south wall. This is a first for us. On commencing our entry into port following the leads one could not help being a little nervous as at the entrance to the port on the breakwater there is a large ship run aground partially on her side. We went through the breakwater headed toward the south wall that was dead ahead, when I was about three boat lengths off the wall I put stbd engine ahead and port engine astern, this turned us around within the length of the boat, this is the benefit of having a cat with two engines. Nancy was operating the anchor we had gone through the routine before we entered on how we would do this stern-to which I believe is described as the Mediterranean Style berthing. Pleased to say it went like clockwork, Nancy got the anchor on the bottom and slowly lowered more cable as I moved the boat astern checking regularly that the anchor has taken hold. It went well, the main concern is if you go too hard that wall behind you is concrete, very unforgiving on fibreglass boats.
 (Entering the port and there is this ship high and dry on the rocks of the breakwall)
(Berthed stern to anchor holding the bows in place)
(Cameron's Timella, there isn't a haul out yard here but Cameron as usual used people to organise a lift out for himself)

There was no one on the dockside to assist other than one passer-bye who tied one line on for us; I climbed ashore to secure the other lines. Once secure I went ashore to the harbour masters office to clear in. The ladies in the office were very nice and helpful; the harbour master deals with immigration and customs. They gave us a key for the toilets and showers ashore.

We had a visit from the Health Department, a young man name of Charles; he went through the boat with a pressure pack spray can, filled out some paperwork and had a chat. He advised that I could now pull the quarantine flag down. We will also get a visit from Department of Agriculture but as yet they have not arrived.

We got ready and went into town to get some NZ dollars and have lunch. The town is not that big but it is nice, the people are friendly, prices are a lot better here than French Polynesia fuel is NZ$2.26 around AU$1.70 per litre, Raiatea was AU$2.30 per litre.

We picked up the chart that we required from the Post Office, we purchased charts from Oz whilst in Raiatea one chart was incorrect and they mailed this one priority to here.
 (The coast line as we walked into town)
(In the main street) 

By the time we had got back to the boat the tide was out and it was a fair way down to the boat, we managed all right, I have used a fender as a step to get up and down. We had a rest, Nancy slept for a while but I could not settle probably over tired. I had a couple of beers after the 1700 hour radio sched with the group to help me sleep when I went to bed. I still had disturbed sleep with checking the boat now and again as this harbour is not that comfortable we bounce around with the swell.

Rarotonga 10/04/08

Well I had the best sleep last night after a full day, we had originally planned the day to step ashore hire a car and start doing some essential shopping fuel, parts, and water. As we were looking at getting ready John Fallon came over and warned us about the weather change that might come through, suggested we drop a second anchor and move further away from the back wall. So much for plan ‘A’ and that is a common trend with sailing. So next we pulled the 55kg Bruce anchor out of the forward locker moved it to the bow, pulled out the attached chain and rope. I then got in the dinghy and we lowered the anchor into the dinghy flaked the chain alongside the anchor then Nancy fed the rope out as I backed the dinghy out 30 metres from the bow on a 30 degree angle because that is where the wind change might come from and dropped her into the water.
(Taking the second anchor out in the dinghy and setting it)
(The main anchor and chain is below the centre point and this rope is the second anchor, there is 10m of chain at the anchor then rope)

I then went back on board and we moved the boat forward letting the stern lines and springs out until a good safe distance from the concrete wall. After deciding the boat was safe we then went into town, first stop Police Station and apply for a driver’s license, then we hired a car, NZ$50 per day for 2 days. The day was buggered as far as getting the things done that we had planned but the important thing was to get the new batteries for the engines, one had failed but I decided to replace both. All batteries have been renewed now. We then said lets go for lunch. There is a Bar/Restaurant called Trader Jacks on the waterfront we called in there and had a very nice lunch and pale ale.

We then went for a drive and did the round island tour checked out where everything is and then returned to the boat unload the batteries into the dinghy then the boat. Yep start time, I then changed the batteries and checked out the engines to ensure there was nothing else we needed.

(The little car we hired, I had to go to the Police station and get a drivers licence)

(Having a well earned beer)
(The wrecked ship, they will be cutting this one up after removing the engines)

The NW strong winds and storms did not turn out to be a big deal; however, we found that we were more comfortable away from the wall so stayed put. After all the work I went and got cleaned up got on the computer had a beer. Nancy cooked a good steak for tea not long after I was dead tired and was in bed before 2000 hours and I slept through until 0600 hours. That’s an hour’s sleep in for me.

Today we organised the fuel, went to the depot and was able to get fuel delivered and duty free NZ$1.70 per litre. We took on 303 litres that was topping the tanks and filling jerry cans. We then organised a delivery of drinking water for our tanks 400 litres to be delivered in the morning.
(The initial idea was to take the jerry's to get filled, trouble with that idea was that we could only fit two in the boot )

Tonight we are going out to dinner where they have the local dancers and floor show, tell you more about it tomorrow.

Back again.

Last night was a great night, dinner was a platter of different local foods and the floor show went for quite a long time all for NZ$35:00 per person. The compare was a riot he had the gift of humour and was very cheeky. The drummers had travelled the world competing against other drumming groups. The youngest was 13 years old. The dancers were great, these people are local people, they are not the hand picked professional dancers that you see on the postcards, but they are equally talented as the professionals. The dancers and drummers are from their local church group that are trying to promote the heritage of their people and maintain the traditions with the young people. I think the pictures will show how good they are.

(They hold these nights to raise funds to travel and compete in other islands)

(As you can see it was a good show and kind to the eyes)

(The girls dragged some of the blokes in the audience  to try their dance moves)

11/04/08 - On the move again

 Well we sail tomorrow all going well. We are fueled watered and stored, tomorrow morning we will prepare the boat for sailing, then go to the local markets and set sail sometime after lunch. We have found that it is better to sail after lunch; the first day is the longest, so by leaving late is better to get in the routine.
 (No helmets, and the little one is strapped to his dad by a belt)

 (Nancy finds a necklace to buy)
 (The markets have food clothing jewellery, art work and many other items)

Rarotonga is a beautiful place the people are very nice and friendly it would be nice to spend more time here it is only the fact that the harbour is not that comfortable and may be it concerns me that ship wreck on the entrance that tried to get out during a storm and failed.

(Tourist ship arrives and anchors out)

Prices here are not that bad, a lot cheaper than French Polynesia. To put it as any Aussie bloke would understand I bought a couple of cartons of XXXX Gold here NZ $38:00 per carton. We had a night out last night as you would have already seen on the last entry, NZ $35:00 per head included dinner and floor show.

Clearing in and out of port would be the easiest I have come across; the harbour masters office does everything for you. We cleared out today as the office is closed on weekends unless you want to pay the overtime it took just a few minutes to clear out.

Well the weather looks favourable for sailing although we may get some rain and we hope to get some wind in the sails and cruise without having to use the engines other than charging the batteries. We have done well so far let’s hope that keeps up. I know one thing it is great being back at sea.

12/04/08 – Getting ready to go

It is 05:30 hours at the moment and I am waiting for daylight to start the chores, the first job on the list will be to pull up the second anchor, this has to be completed by hand from the dinghy, it may be a little tough going the sea bottom is mud very good holding which means it is not going to want to let go. We used the anchor winch to slowly bring up the main anchor which moved the boat towards it at the same time we hauled in the rope of the second anchor after the main anchor was up we then pulled the boat towards the second anchor tied the rope off when we could not move the anchor and used the boat driving it forward to pull the anchor out of the mud. Time to sail.


No comments:

Post a Comment