This are my scribbles from 2007 and 2008, my wife and I retired from work and flew to St Lucia in the Caribbean, there we bought our sailing catamaran and sailed her back to Australia. This was on another blog, but unfortunately that went off the air. Those planning to sail the same passage this information is 10 years old, things do change.
Note !! Dates on the index will only relate to when I posted the notes not the dates of event, each page will have the date it occurred.
Here we are back in Raiatea, French Polynesia January 2007
15/01/2008 Here we are
back in Raiatea
When we left here last October my dear wife said what we are going to do
for three months back in Oz without a house and without the boat, we are going
to be bored. Wrong again sweetheart.
I suppose we cover 6000 kms by car and flew to the Alice in that time,
besides wedding, baby naming, baby birthday, christening, and catching up with
family and friends we could have spent longer, but we did miss our sea going
A personal thanks to daughter Angela that housed us most of our time and
gave us the use of her vehicle for the whole time, love ya babe. Ange is
getting into the sailing at Manly, keep it up Ange.
Thanks to all the other relatives and friends that put us up over our
We did have a great time unfortunately we did not catch up with
everyone, our apologies for that we did our best.
Packing to come back was fun, I bought a larger bag to fit boat parts
in, I had two bags they were both full of parts and very little clothing, just
to list a few here as follows:
drier for fridge,
New VHF Radio
Lights to reduce power usage
All went well with the exception of a little scare at Brisbane when we
were getting our boarding passes, when the assistant realised we did not have a
return ticket she called the supervisor, I explained we would be leaving by
boat, she said they may make us return to Oz. This made it a relaxing trip,
seven odd hours to think about it. However, when we got to Tahiti
there was not a problem. Although we were concerned about our being able to
stay after the bad time we had with the gendarmes when we first arrived at
Raiatea, when arriving in Tahiti the gendarme welcomed us and stamped our
passports, I asked how long can we stay he replied 90 days. We arrived at 0105
hours and our flight to Raiatea was at 0700
hours. We went to the only place open at the airport had a refreshing fruit
juice followed by two small bottles of white wine each and a coffee, that got
us through the night.
Checking in for flight to Raiatea was interesting, we were allowed 20 kg
each for loaded baggage we totaled 85 kg between us, excess baggage was allowed
at a cost of 6000 xpf (AU$84). Then we had to load the baggage through the
scanner, next problem, the compressor, this showed like a black box on the
x-ray. Panic alarm bells rang out the conveyor came to a sudden halt, what is
in your bag they asked I said a refrigeration compressor, is it full of oil if
it is it cannot fly, I told them it is a new compressor, it has just flown half
way across the world it’s a sealed unit. It’s like take the engines off the
plane they have lubricating oil in them and they are not sealed. Anyway the
boss came out and spoke with me she was very pleasant and accepted the baggage.
We arrived at Raiatea with our taxi
waiting for us that the lovely Amandine had organised for us, we got back to
CNI where Alana Rose was waiting for us. We had a bit of work to do before we
could bring our bags or ourselves on board. Unload the bikes that were stowed in
the saloon, get ropes out to drop them below; Alana Rose is a few metres above
the ground. Lift the bags up by rope. The boat smells a little from mildew, the
boat is a little low in the bow and has allowed water to penetrate. The day was
spent loading and unloading and some cleaning. Put the bimini back up for some
(This is the lovely Amandine (pronounced Amadeena) She is French sailed here with her now ex-boyfriend and has started a life here)
All in all we were pleased to be home.
Boat work Raiatea 16/01/2008
After getting back on board and settling down a little it was time to
get started into the work. Nancy
started by cleaning all the inside, removing the mildew that had built up on
the deck head and washing all the stored clothes that had that musty smell. I
started on the hulls, but before we got right into it I asked Amandine if
something could be done about making the boat level. She got the boys to come
over and re-lift us up and relocates us on the stands; it was a full afternoon’s
work for them. I thanked Amandine and the boys and said I had better buy them a
beer. Amandine suggested Friday afternoon at 1530 hours, that’s when the boys
generally pull up for a beer, she added that we should join them for a beer. So
I mentioned it to Taputu the supervisor that I would buy the beer on Friday.
(The boys re-lifting and leveling Alana Rose)
(The problem was that we was not here when they hauled out and they leveled the boat using the deck as the guide not the waterline of the boat)
(All good, you can see how high of the ground we are that is because of the type of lift platform)
(They pack the boats in quite well)
After all was finished I went on board to do a few things and when I went
on the ground again the boys had brought over work stands for me to do the hull
I cleaned and polished the props and changed the anodes then got into
the dirty stuff of wet sanding the hull. The work has to be done in between the
pouring down rain times.
Friday came around quite fast I got in the dinghy and went a bought a crate
of Hinano Tahiti beer and some coke for the non-drinkers, Nancy did up a couple
of dips and trays of cheese and biscuits and away we went over to the workshop.
The boys were a little surprised that we brought food and they ran around
getting drums and planks to make a table.
It was a good night and we ran out of beer, one of the boys was
collecting money to go and get more beer, I gave him some more money to go with
what he had. A little later Amandine came over to me and said the boys say you
are now family. We had a very good night we came back on board around 2030
hours and the boys continued for another couple of hours.
(Friday night drinks)
Saturday we went into town and did a little shopping, it is very hard
here to get what you want; because everything is so expensive stores do not
stock gear that only moves occasionally. This is one of the reasons our fridge
is still not working, we need two new brass fittings with nuts, and olives and
they have to come from Tahiti.
Another interesting point the anodes on the props had to be ordered, the
ones they had in stock were too small but I noticed that the two in stock had
two different prices one was 450xpf the other was 1001xpf (francs). I asked why
the difference the answer was that the cheaper one came direct from France the
other from Papeete Tahiti. Tahiti add on a tax on all stuff that goes out to
the other islands.
On Monday morning when the boys returned to work they all made a point
of coming over and say bonjour and showed me their local handshake, then they
rushed of and brought over more planks and stands to go the full length of the
boat so I do not have to move them to do the whole side.
week of work in Raiatea
We had another week of working on the hulls getting it rubbed back for
the new coat of anti-foul paint, this will be done during this coming week, and
we will probably go back into the water the following week.
It felt good on Friday when I had finished the dirty job of wet sanding
the hulls, the new paint will be black not blue as before. This is due to the
fact that they only have black in stock. It isn’t a bad idea of having a
different colour as I will be able to see easily if the anti-foul is damaged in
any way as the blue will show through. I have painted a test patch nearly a
week ago to ensure the two different paints will not cause any problems.
(Me sanding fast)
(Starting the antifouling)
We still do not have the
refrigeration operational, after getting all the parts we needed and Christian
fitting and recharging the unit the next morning Christian was coming back to
fully charge the refrigerant gas but during the night the fan that cools the
compressor failed and now we are waiting for a new fan, should be fitted on
Monday and lets hope all will be well.
We celebrated two Australia
days, as the time zone is twenty hours different, (we are behind), we
celebrated Oz Day when it was the 26 in Oz on Friday here and we celebrated
again yesterday when it was the 26th here. We flew the Aussie Flag
and the Boxing Kangaroo Flag.
We were careful not to upset any locals as they were flying lots of
flags yesterday as it was there Government election day, they take it very
seriously here, we had a relax day and went into town, town was packed with
cars flying the flags of their political party. We caught a taxi into town and
back, Trucky Tours is the name of the taxi. On the way back the young lady
driving said here is my party and coming towards us was a procession of cars
about 2 kms long.
I asked her what party it was she answered that it is the party that
does not want independence; she said we do not want the French or Chinese to
There election yesterday was very important. The outgoing President has
been the President for the past 25 years and he is retiring. Apparently the
only man that is of the same standard was going to declare independence if he
took power, this would mean the French and Chinese would be out and would
probably have to leave. This was a main concern for all French and Chinese in
the country. If this occurred it could have a snowball affect through the
pacific islands when you come to think of it. I was quite surprised to see the
support from the local Polynesians for the party against independence. But
again that is here, there are many islands and Tahiti
being the main island the most population.
According to our driver if they had independence French
Polynesia would be a poorer country as they rely on the French and
Chinese to provide businesses that create employment. I have not heard of any
results at this stage.
Being Sunday we are having another relax day today, we are going for a BBQ lunch with
some Americans, Charlie and Sony, Charlie is a retired Captain of the LA Fire
Department. Can’t get away from the firies, we have met quite a few and most
from the LA area.
Well not much news at this stage, we still
having regular storms, the wind picks up and you can see the dark grey sky
coming towards us then down she comes for a short time then clears for a while.
Monday Another day in paradise.
Well the day was quite good did not achieve a great deal, did a small
amount of touch up painting where the anti-foul paint had bared the gel coat
and touched it up with primer in preparation to start anti-fouling. Checked all
the through hull valves and gave them a good spray of WD40. Had Pascal the
electrician come and put in a circuit breaker on my battery charger shore power
line. But still waiting on the fan for the fridge.
I did work on our mode of transport the bikes, Nancy had a flat tyre the other day unfortunately it needs a new tube.
The other item I went in the dinghy to get ice due to the situation with
the fridge, carrying the bags of ice to the boat one bag decided to come apart
at the base 20m short of the boat. I yelled to Nancy throw down the buckets. I retrieved
what ice I could off the road into the bucket. Bugger. It’s not all beer and
skittles out here you know.
Update on the election here, the party got in that the people that did
not want independence, however, he did not get the majority so now the groups
that have got in have to vote in two weeks time for a President. Crazy system.
But the old guy that had been in power previously that is corrupt and wanted to
go for independence lost miserably so he is no threat.
We also had a lot of activity near us at a community area and we could
not work out what was going on, we thought they were organizing a big party,
chopping firewood, getting half 44 gal drums etc.
Apparently there is a certain time of year that they harvest a certain
type of sea shell, I think for ornaments to sell at the markets as they make
different items such as headdresses,
necklaces, bracelets etc.
Some of the shell inhabitants were also a food source, as they were all
having a good feed as they pulled the shells from the pots.
Some of the photos show people cleaning the shells whilst the kids have
fun in the water.
Rose has a black bottom.
Today the final coat was completed on both hulls, the antifoul is three
coats deep. It has been three days full on painting , moving scaffolds more
painting and moving scaffolds. I
finished the painting just before lunchtime and there was just enough time for
the paint to go off when the rain came. Good timing.
(From blue to black)
The fridge appears to be working, it takes a couple of days to have it
to top efficiency so by tomorrow we should see it back to normal, lets hope
anyway. Not sure what the bill is going to be for that at this stage.
Other than this there is not much news as all we have been doing is
working on the boat.
The locals are still cleaning the
shells, they go late into the night, apparently they sell them to the Japanese
at 300 francs for 2 kgs. Does not sound much to me for the work they put into
it, but it may be good for them.
They have an ice cream vehicle come around in the afternoons, it is
called TAXI GLACES, glaces is French for ice. I know that one we have been bags
of glace since the fridge broke down. This is a unique setup.
water again Raiatea 12/02/2008
Well yes you could say I have been slack and have not got around to
updating the blog. Well you could be right.
Tuesday last week was the big day of going back on the water. The day
was spent getting everything checked out making sure we had not forgotten
anything that we needed to do whilst out of the water. There were some things
that we could not check until we hit the water, like the engines, will the
bloody things start to get us from the launch to the marina dock.
After lunch the boys came over to get things ready, they removed all the
scaffolding and planks that they had loaned me and brought the tractor and
lifting frame and heaps of timber to ensure it was lifted evenly.
When they lifted us clear I had to get in and antifouling paint under
the keels as many times as I could prior to the girl going in the water. I did
get three coats on her. Once all finished Nancy and I climbed the dry land
ladder for the last time for a very nervous ride back to the water. It took a
bit of maneuvering to get us on the downward slope into the water because of
our width (6.7 metres).
(All ready to go back in the water)
(Augustine getting timbers in place)
(This a a hydraulic platform that will lift the boat and put her back in the water)
(Removing the stands)
(Taputu the supervisor)
(We are on the boat as they move out, funny feeling)
(Looking very close)
(We have to turn here to go in the water backwards)
(Don't think we will fit in there)
(That ramp looks a little narrow from up here)
(Amandine making sure the boys do the right thing)
(Nearly there, hope the engines start OK))
(Back in the water all good)
Once we hit the water we lifted all the deck boards to ensure we had no
leaks, that all being well the next step is to start the engines, fingers
crossed, I hit the first button and away the stbd engine went, next the port
engine and all good, checked cooling water flow dirty but good. Two of the boys
in the water made sure we were clear and pushed the boat backwards, Taputu the
foreman then gave me the signal to use the engines, and I went astern for a
short distance then maneuvered into a berth between two other yachts. There are
no floating fingers or jetties. There are mooring buoys on the seaward side and
the dock on the other. This time we chose to go bow to the dock because of the
storm winds. Nancy and Taputu looked after the forward lines, I with the help
of Augustus and Wilfred who were still in the water, tied two lines one to each
mooring buoy. Once secure I left the engines run for an hour to ensure all was
With the bows being to the dock it makes it difficult to get on and off
due to the height. I went to get a plank and step timber to assist in this
matter. Taputu told me to get the better timber and actually drilled holes in it
for me to tie to the boat. I said to him that I will buy the boys a beer this
Friday for doing such a good job and taking the extra care that they did and
extra assistance they have given us.
The boys did not finish until after 1800 hours that night so it shows
the extra time they put into us. They actually started to get us ready at 1300
hours. They do not take that long with other boats. I went around after
everything had settled down and checked water connections toilets and sump
pumps. Out of the four heads/showers only one sump pump for the shower was
working. As I had been warned by our friend Rick in Oz that some of these
things will not work due to corrosion in the switches from condensation. So
those went onto the job list. The main thing I wanted to do was clean the upper
decks, they have suffered badly from being on the hard. With the rain and
weather and the fact that even though we took our thongs off on the transom
step after climbing the ladder the grime still got around the decks.
So Wednesday was scrub decks day, I got my environmentally friendly boat
soap, some vinegar and a dash or two of chloride in a bucket filled it with
water and got on the hands and knees and commenced the scrubbing. I may add
that this sounds as though it is not the best job to do, let me tell you this
is the easy part. This job has to be followed by polishing, now that is a s—t
job. May I say that will be done over a long period doing a little each day.
Thursday it was hot and wet, so I spent the day working on the head
vanity cabinet mirrors that were loose in the brackets and this also added me
to get to the sump pump switches behind them. The stbd aft pump switch decided
to work as soon as I touched the back so I cleaned it and gave it a good dose
of electrical protection. Spray.
The stbd fwd pump was frozen, a little corrosion in the motor shaft
again this was freed and given a dose of spray. Port aft pump was working but I
gave it a good spray also. The Port fwd that had actually failed at sea some
time before has a fault in the motor. As this is the shower that I use I
pinched the motor from the stbd aft shower as we do not use this one. The stbd
aft head/shower is our laundry and we will fit a small washing machine in there
one day, the stbd aft cabin is the workshop and spare parts a tools room.
We finished this work by late lunchtime and my back was a little sore
from leaning over working on the pumps through the deck plates using both hands
to work and not being able to support the back. So I had an easy afternoon and Nancy had a nana nap.
I went and bought the beer at 1500 from the supermarket and a couple of
other things whilst Nancy
made some dip a biscuits and off to the workshop for drinks, we had an
enjoyable time. Some of the conversation is sign language with some of the boys
because we do not speak French of Polynesian and they do not speak English. We
have been accepted into their fold, we know hello is yurana (your honour) and goodbye is
hanana. We are also welcomed by the Polynesian workers with their hand shake which
is slap each others open hand followed by touching fists.
I have found out by talking to some people that have been around here
for near four years the reason that we do not get charged for every service
provided. Amandine has done a lot for us that we have not paid for, faxes to
Oz, ordering parts from Papeete picking them up after getting them through
Customs at no charge, telephone calls to business in town for us. Amandine says
it is part of the service we provide in the cost of you paying to stay here.
The truth is that if you appreciate what the staff do for you and you show it
in some small way, and this does not mean you have to buy them a beer, the
service will be provided at no cost. But if you are demanding, or expect the
service and show no appreciation then you pay for all services provided. Some
people are their own worst enemy.
Friday went well, better than Saturday morning with a little suffering
of the night before. We soon fixed that with a bike ride (6kms) into town to do
some shopping. Early that morning a merchant barge had run aground on the reef
at Uturoa, not sure what happened, locals say that quite a few ships have done
the same, they set auto pilot controlled by GPS and go to sleep. It looks like
it will be there for a while. Biking back with stores it started to rain near
Apooiti Marina so we called in to stay out of the rain and had lunch and a
drink. Then we headed back to our boat. We had an easy afternoon and evening.
Today Sunday, we went into town again on our bikes, I wanted to get a
photo of the barge aground, and to our surprise the Paul Gauguin passenger
liner was entering port so we sat and watched it berth. We have seen this ship
a few times it was in an earlier photo at Rangiroa.
(This is the very large delivery barge from Tahiti, high and dry, the fellow on watch said he went to the toilet and then it happened. I don't think so, you do not go anywhere when approaching reefs, I think he fell asleep on watch. They have brought big tugs and they cannot budge it so they will remove the new engines and cut the ship up)
(The Paul Gauguin)
We then cycled back to the boat in time to prepare for the usual Sunday
BBQ near Pascal’s yacht. He has a BBQ he loads with wood and gets it ready for
around anyone that
wants to front up brings food and their drink and we sit around having a talk.
Last week there was five of us this week there was eleven of us, sometimes
there can be up to twenty five Pascal tells us. It was another pleasant
(Pascal puts up the shade protection from the sun and rain)
(Pascal's BBQ made from an old water heater)
(People from all different countries come along)
That brings everyone up to date.
With the exception that we are still having problems with the
frige/freezer, it appears now that the pressure valve has failed and is the
possible cause for the compressor and fan failing because they could have been
running 24/7. When I get the new valve just about everything in the unit will
We have had a good week work, resting and socializing.
We have replaced a lot of rope this week, renewed the Genoa halyard, main sheet, outhaul and second
reef line. Other good things have been washing the boats hulls above waterline
and have actually started to polish. I have to do it in certain times of the
day, when it’s not too bloody hot in the sun. This gives a small window of
opportunity to do the job, at this stage I am about 20% completed.
We have cycled into town nearly every day which is good exercise, 6 kms
each way; it was fun carting 150 metres of 14mm rope on a pushbike.
The other day we saw a beautiful sailing vessel enter port,
approximately 100 metres, it is owned by Swiss bloke the second richest in Sweden, and apparently
he is a very nice bloke and does not flaunt his wealth. He owns two of these sailing
ships, they are tourist vessels and travel this way once a year. The picture
shows what type of ship they are. This one is the Star Flyer and the other some
47 metres longer is Moon Maker.
They brought a large tug boat in this week to try and pull the
ship/landing barge off the reef, I think all they were able to do was lift
wanted stores off it, the tug has left, and the ship is still on the reef.
The locals are still working on the shells in the yard, I think I
mentioned before they have this two week period to harvest the special shells,
well we found out that this period only happens every five years. They are
still working cleaning the shells although the harvest period ended last
weekend. They have collected 6 tonne of shells. When the buyers arrive they are
expected to get 300 to 400 francs per kilogram. In Oz terms that about $3:50 a
(They sit in the water cleaning the shells and removing what is inside)
(The children well they just have fun and perform for the camera)
(The shells drying)
Friday came around rather quickly, the boys in the yard had just finished
putting a Belgium
yacht in the water belonging to a young Belgium couple, and their yacht has
been on the hard for six months. They also now have fridge problems and the
engine when started did not get cooling water pumping, so their sea water pump
impeller is also gone. They have to be home by September so they are looking at
sailing to Oz and then putting their yacht on the yacht transport ship and fly
home from Oz.
As the boys were swimming back after attaching the yachts lines to the
mooring buoy I waved out to them as I was walking back to our boat, although
Augustus cannot speak much English his actions spoke for him. He pointed to the
workshop then me a gave a signal like downing a beer. I got back on board and
said to Nancy I
have just been directed by Augustus to go and have a beer. Next thing there is
a knock on the bow of our boat and it is the lovely Amandine she also came to
invite us for a beer at the workshop with them. We had a good night with
drinking a few 500 ml stubbies, Nancy
had a couple of them, she wasn’t too bad this morning, but she wasn’t a 100%
either. The photos tell the story. At the end of the session I thanked the boys
for the invite, Augustus said through someone who interpreted, thank you for
coming and thank you for buying all of us a beer last Friday. As Amandine says
we are part of the family now. I wouldn’t be dead for quids.
(Augustine, Jacque and Amandine)
(Taputu, Eaves, Muriel and Amandine)
Today was an easy day we biked into the store near the airport and I
bought some plastic containers then returned and started to tidy up my workshop
and have things in their place and labeled.
Tomorrow is Sunday here, if the weather is fine it is BBQ at Pascal’s
area as usual and it appears that there will be a lot more people there this
week, must take the camera.
The weather this week has been less rain and a lot of sun and bloody
hot. A few days we did as the locals do, siesta time, have a nap after lunch
and work when it is cooler.
Raiatea 24 February
Haven’t much to report, we are still doing maintenance on Alana Rose did
a full service on the port engine the other day and will do the Stbd engine on
Monday. I have also completed some electrical work. Have put in key isolation
switches inside the saloon at the nav desk for the engines. These boats are
design with keyless ignition not the ideal situation in some places. I think I
had already mentioned that we put the new CD/MP3 player in. We have been
converting the music on the computer to MP3 from WMA; this way by cutting a
disc with MP3 music gives approximately seven hours playing without having to
change a disc.
I have also installed a permanent night light (Red LED), this is above
the nav desk and gives enough light to move around in the saloon of night
without upsetting ones night vision. Also installed a new white light above the
nav desk this is also LED light. The LED lights save on battery power. Also
changing a few other lights that need replacing.
The good news is that our refrigeration is now working again after
changing nearly everything. The system is a simple system, but unfortunately
someone prior to us picking up the boat had worked on the pressure valve and
possibly done damage to it, it was probably this that caused the compressor to
fail as it was running 24/7. Christian the fridge mech will be back on Monday
to check everything but so far so good. I had to get the valve from USA it cost
US$75 and US$215 to get it here and that was not express.
Being Sunday today it is the group BBQ if the rain goes away; we had
some heavy rain in the last 24 hours. We had a good BBQ last week, we had the League of Nations there, six Americans, one Italian come
Frenchman, four French persons, two from Belgium and us two Aussie, so you
can see we outnumbered them.
The new Americans there are travelling around the same time as us and to
the same places. One couple both doctors have two children with them, they have
to return to work in September so they are putting their boat up for sale in
Oz, it is a 47 ft Benateau 2003 model. The other couples plans are the full
circumnavigation around the world.
The other good news is that we went to see immigration on Friday, we
thought we had better, we acted dumb which many people may say that would not
be hard. Immigration said not to worry we have until April 13 before we have to
leave or go and see them for an extension of visa. They said we had to go and
see the Gendarmes and get the passport stamped each month, Dianne who assisted us
took us to the Gendarmes because she said they do not speak English. She told
them what was required and left us there to wait our turn, when we went in, we
went through the same routine we went through last year. The officer that Diane
spoke with did not come forward, in the end I said I will go and get Diane to
explain with this the officer attending to us said no worries you have until
April 13 you do not need a stamp unless you extend past that date. I think he
really put it in the too hard basket and got rid of us.
So we are alright to stay, they did not want to worry about the time we
had last year. When we got back to the boat we had Customs waiting to see us.
We went through the normal as we did last year; they inspected the boat and
filled out paperwork then left.
They did ask if I had anything to declare, I said no, he then pointed to
the alcohol I declared in Hiv Oa when clearing into French Polynesia, I said
that’s all gone, he smiled, I said there has been a few sundowners since then.
(We called in to the markets and said hello to some of the people that we had met last year)
(This bloke makes these instruments and plays them whilst selling them)
February - We had a good day Sunday
At last weeks BBQ a French couple Gilles and Christine arrived back on
their yacht from a week trip away. Gilles was dressed in a males sarong some
material around his head for the sun. After we helped dock the yacht Gilles
brought ashore this huge coconut crab, shown below. He was the star attraction
and the crab still alive was getting photos taken. You wouldn’t want to get
your finger caught in those claws.
(Giles with the coconut crab)
At Sundays BBQ this week Charlie took the rinse out of Gilles and
dressed up the in a similar fashion and did a comic re-enactment of Gilles with
the crab. It gave everyone a laugh including Gilles and his wife Christine.
(Charlie clowning around)
There was plenty of food as always, Pascal’s dog Plomb decided to pinch
the cream off Pascal’s desert. Pascal takes his dog everywhere with him even
when he goes to work. The name Plomb is French for plumb line weight, sinker, (that’s
if I have spelled it correctly). He gave him this name because Plomb cannot swim,
he sinks. After Plomb has eaten he jumps up in Pascal’s lap and commences to
suck on his arm, it’s a thing he started as a very young pup and continues to
(Plomb pinching the cream, then sucking on his arm)
(Christine, Giles's wife on the right)
(After the BBQ Plomb has a bath)
Pascal is a character, he is funny and always makes with the jokes and
he is very talented. He is Italian but speaks French, he joined the French Navy
at the age of 15 years and became a diver. He was doing a job at Bora Bora with the navy when the gas mix was wrong and he
got the bends and nearly died. After this he retrained as an electrician and
had to do extra service time after getting his qualifications. He spent 24
years in the navy. He is a nice bloke and one you don’t forget.
This is the one thing about this voyage we have been on is that we have
met so many nice people sailing and non sailing. Some of them we communicate through
translators or sign language because we do not speak the same tongue.
After everyone had finished eating on Sunday a massive storm hit, we got
a little wet but we stayed under the tarp and continued our social time.
I got talking to Lee and Mary-Beth, they are both American Doctors, Lee
has problems with his electrical system and said the yard next door has been
working on it but things appear to be getting worse not better. I went over to
have a look after grabbing the multi meter and a few tools. After going through
his electrical (12v DC) system I found that his shower sump pump was leaking
current to four other systems, I located the area that it was leaking but could
not find the leak itself, I did get his fridge working again which was a plus,
but I think that also needs some work which I told him. I told Lee I could not
do much more and that he should get Pascal to have a look at it, I had at least
found the area that was causing the problem. Lee said that I had conducted a
larger diagnostic investigation than the yard next door had done over two days.
By the time I had finished it was time to go back to our yacht and have
tea, we sat and finished the day with a nice wine and listening to music.
Monday a work day, I serviced the starboard engine, flushed the coolant
water system and changed the coolant, oil, oil filter, fuel filters and
stripped and cleaned the separator filter. Checked all the systems and ran the
engine for a short time. Finished by late lunch time and then took it easy for the
rest of the day.
Today Tuesday 26, it poured rain all night and this morning, some very
heavy rain so we are having an easy day. Hope you like the photos.
(Love the comments on the last blog, I think it may have been Rick. No
beer does not stunt the growth, it makes you grow outwards).
5 March Raiatea
Well we are getting things done and getting ready to head off at the end
of the month, the fridge/freezer is finally doing its job. We have changed all
the ropes, halyards sheets, and control lines including the lazy jacks. A few
days ago I pulled out the mainsail fitted the batons and checked the cars etc.
As soon as that was complete the winds came in and I had to tie the sail down
on the fwd deck area. After checking the weather I thought the sail may be
laying there for the next week, we have high winds and storms predicted.
However, this morning at around 6am both Nancy and I looked out and the sea was
like glass. I said we should get the main up whilst it is calm, Nancy said she was
thinking the same thing. So we got stuck into it, I tell you what this is a
good way to do morning exercises. The sail rolled up I can just lift but not
for long, when its laid out with the batons fitted and having to drag it into
place adjacent to the boom is tough going after this hoisting whilst putting the
cars on the track is bloody hard work. It took one hour and fifteen minutes
from start to finish that was doing everything. Nancy helped but I had to do all the heavy
stuff. I ensured that all D shackles were wired so no vibrating loose, tied off
the reefing lines on the boom and the outhaul. After this we lowered the main
into the sail bag, zipped her shut and then the wind picked up. We had
finished just in time, we were both a pool of sweat so we just used the transom
shower to cool off.
Today was a public holiday here, not sure what for. It was also the
German couple next doors 37th wedding anniversary and they invited
us for a Champaign breakfast to help
celebrate. I made a card on the computer and we gave them a bottle of wine.
Ingrid and Ernest, they are such a lovely couple, they work as a team all the
time they work together on every job that has to be done and they still act
like newlyweds, they tease each other, it is great to watch them.
It was also Charlie’s 66th birthday today so we made a card
for him, it said, Happy 30 birthday Charlie on the front and inside said is
this the second or third time. It gave him a laugh anyway.
Since my last blog they have launched a barge that was built here in the
yard, they built it in a shed then had to take out the end wall to get it out.
The pictures tell the story.
Other than that there is not much to report, we had the usual BBQ on
Sunday which was again a lot of fun and laughs, there are more boaties
returning to their boats to get them ready for sailing in April so there are
more people attending the BBQ. It is a league of nations, people from
15 March Raiatea
Not much news at the moment, we are still getting things ready for the
day we sail, there is always some maintenance to do or help someone with
things. That is the good thing about the yachting fraternity, everyone helps
each other, got a problem talk about it and you will find the answer from one
An American couple was having computer problems and I was able to sort
that out very easily. Someone had removed information that they said was not
needed but some of the data removed stopped other programs from working. By
going on line and updating the programs fixed that, and then they run out of
hard drive space, some friend had downloaded 36.8GB of music on a 55GB hard
Had a funny incident yesterday, we did a bit of moving yachts in the
marina, they wanted us to move where Cosmos an American boat was berthed as
that is normally where the catamarans are berthed so first we moved Charlie and
Suni of Cosmos. We got most of the lines off, just keeping one forward line and
the aft line on until Charlie was ready. This marina does not have fingers; you
tie off to the dock, and your stern lines loop round mooring buoys. Charlie let
go of the last stern line then yelled out let go forward as he jumped in the
cockpit to take control, and then he screamed put the forward line back on
The problem was that Cosmos has been alongside for quite some time and
to make it easy to move around the cockpit they removed the steering helm,
Charlie had forgotten to put it back on before moving. It took a second to put
it back on. Poor Charlie won’t live that down for a while, we won’t let him.
As soon as he was secured in his new location I said to Charlie I can
fix this problem, I went on board our boat got the masking tape and a marker ,
wrote on the tape “FIT HELM BEFORE REMOVING” and wrapped it around the windward
forward line. We all had a big laugh. Fortunately Charlie can take it probably
because he was a fireman and they are always making fun of each other.
After this it was our turn to move, we got in the berth easily but we
had some trouble getting blown around by the wind whilst we got the lines on.
Normally when you tie up at the marina a couple of the fella’s in the yard jump
in the water and feed the lines through the mooring buoys for you and it makes
it a fast operation. Yesterday I did Charlie’s mooring lines for him and he did
them for me from a dinghy. This is a slower operation and with strong winds on
the starboard quarter it makes it a little difficult.
I made sure everything was secure regularly during low and high tide and
I am pleased that I did, around midnight last night a massive squall hit us,
high wind and poured rain. The only casualty was Nancy’s thongs (the ones you put on your
feet, thought I best clear that up), they were sitting on the trampoline where
we get on and off the boat. I found one this morning wedged between the steps
at the fwd saloon windows, the other one will probably get to Oz before we do.
Some local kids were having fun yesterday they had this small ramp they
were jumping their bicycles over, they got bored with this after a short while
so the next was to relocate the jump so that when they came down they landed in
the sea. What made me smile was the first thing they had to find material for the
jump, this became a young girl’s job, who found it and carried it all by
herself for about a hundred metres whilst the boys sat on their bikes and
watched. The young girl did not have a bike and only watched the boys jump. She
did jump in the sea a few times to help the boys retrieve their bikes.
Charlie and Pascal have been diving this week repairing the moorings for
CNI, the strange part is that they are doing it for free, CNI do not want to
spend money on them, but Charlie and Pascal see them as an asset to the
yachting community and feel they should be fixed. Pascal is a very generous man
he works for himself as an electrician and is losing paid work hours to fix
these moorings. He is a very nice gentleman and kind to everyone. He loans the
car to Suni to take us into town with her and Charlie and will not accept
anything for it. He makes sure the car is full of fuel before we go so that we
cannot put any fuel in it. He says he knows what it is like when you get to a
foreign port and have no transport.
Pascal went into town yesterday and asked if we needed anything, when he
returned he had bought a pair of heavy work gloves for Charlie for when they
dive on the moorings. He said to Suni, gives these to Charlie to use when
diving the ones he has are girl’s gloves. Then he laughs but he will not accept
payment for them. We meet a lot of interesting people on this journey.
Raiatea and still having fun.
We are still doing what yachties do, cleaning, maintaining, repairing,
and polishing the boat. At the moment we are going to get some covers made to
give us a little more weather protection during mooring or anchoring. There is
more action going on with other people arriving and getting their boats back in
the water. They, like us are waiting to see what happens with the weather, the
MJO (which is a computer tool to monitor the low pressure system that comes from Africa
through the top end and into the Pacific), may go through its eighth phase mid
to late March, this will be the system that can create cyclones. So we sit and
We have had a good week doing different things, I helped Charlie and
Pascal by being the boat guy whilst they dived, set up three more moorings that
had broken and disappeared. We had our usual BBQ on Sunday although it was
quieter this Sunday with some people sailing around the island, the Belgium
couple Eaves and Muriel have gone over to Tahiti, Eaves has to have some medical
check up. Last year he found out that his body was host to a parasite that he
picked up in Africa. Fortunately a smart
doctor picked it up where others had failed, he lost part of his liver, his lung,
and I cannot remember what else. He is going for a check up as he feels that he
has a swelling in the side. Sunday BBQ’s are great we have some good laughs and
it is the day off.
I think once the weather looks promising there will be a few boats
leaving in roughly the same direction at the same time most are heading to some
part of Oz some are not because they have heard that Customs is too tough. They
may be tough but it is good that they are in many ways. Many countries have
very simple processes and don’t even look at the boat, you fill a form in at an
office, and that is it. We were in Raiatea
near a month before Customs approached us in a dinghy, filled out the form
every country has and they looked through the yacht, opened cupboards etc. They
have been back and done the same a couple of weeks ago.
Naturally yachties expect it to be the same all over and Oz is not that
simple, you have to give a minimum of 96 hours notice prior to entering Oz or
there are very big fines, all the countries we have been to you just arrive go
to the authorities and clear in. Some yachties do not even bother to clear in
at some places.
On another note things we do to pass the time is play on our computers.
The other week everyone was coming back to there boats and some people are very
demanding and poor Amandine was getting a little upset with people and was
upset herself. To try and cheer her up I made up a couple of photos, they are
When I gave these to Amandine she had a big smile and she said John this
morning I was in a bad mood but you have now made me feel better.
(Amandine often helps the boys if someone is off sick)
Pascal and Charlie did not miss out either. I think I showed the photo
earlier of Charlie taking the rinse out of Gilles with the crab, I did not show
the photo of Pascal when he served coffee to the girls after the BBQ, he
dressed up in a sailors cap bow tie and braces. Well I put this together with a
We have had some good times and I am sure we will have more before we
leave, we have met some great people some we may never see again some we may
but we will always have those memories, but we both want to get going again.
24 March 08
Last week in Raiatea, I think.
Well we are just about ready to sail just a couple of small jobs to do.
Suni and Charlie have just asked us to join them to celebrate Suni’s birthday
at Bloody Mary’s at Bora Bora on the 1 April so that will be the starting point
for us to begin the final stages of our voyage.
It is going to be hard for us to say goodbye to some of the friends that
we have made, but I think it may be a little harder on Pascal when it comes to
the Sunday BBQ everyone will be vacating at the same time. Although he may have
experienced it many times in his three years here and there will be the next
lot of sailors returning to their boats here and new ones arriving from the
east he has become very close to some of the crowd.
We now have our new covers and it is great being able to sit in the
cockpit when it is pouring of rain and staying dry and also have the cockpit
cooler with the additional light coloured covers. We had a two hour rain storm
last night with strong winds and only the fine spray penetrated into the
The rear cockpit covers still have to be secured in place; they stop the
afternoon sun from entering the cockpit and the saloon as well as any rain that
may come from the rear. The fact is with the catamaran and the easterly winds
when anchored the stern faces the setting sun and it heats the cockpit and the
saloon. The difference is unbelievable.
Easter weekend, happy Easter everyone, bit late eh. We had a good Easter
weekend, Friday I helped Charlie and Pascal with some more moorings, they dived
and I kept an eye on them from the boat, we fitted the new top covers and
checked for any other adjustments. Saturday I did some adjustments to the
securing of the covers to make it easy to release in bad weather and did some
repairs to the boat. Sunday we went to church, WHAT!!!! You say, no the roof
did not cave in either. We had Suni, Charlie, Maggie and Chris over for dinner
on Saturday night and Chris mentioned that the French Polynesian church
services are great, the singing is wonderful. So we all thought it would be a
good idea to go, so we went, could not understand a word they said it was in
the local tongue. The singing was beautiful, I enjoyed it.
We got back from church just in time for the Sunday BBQ, as usual it was
a good day, we had some new people join us, having the league of nations once
again with Italian, French, Columbian, American and us Aussies. We had more
than enough food, and the deserts, Nancy
baked a banana cake, Suni had a cheese cake, Pascal made an almond pie with a
large chocolate fish on top, Maggie had a fruit crumble, Claudia had chocolate
brownies individually wrapped and handed them out to everyone for Easter. Nancy made little paper
Easter baskets filled with chocolates for everyone. The general meals there was
chicken, sausages, steak, chicken kebabs, tuna, salads, and potato bake
everyone brings more food than they need themselves us included. We really need
to get back to sea to lose some weight. As they say a good day was spent by all.
(Easter BBQ, Claudette, Charlie and Suni)
9Me talking to Michael and Barbara American friends)
(Pascal acting up with the little box on chocolates Nancy made for everyone)
(Pascal, Claudette and husband Paul. They used to run a charter boat around the islands one day they were by themselves when they hit something and started to sink, they put out a Mayday but the authorities said it was too far to go, they bailed water for three days keeping afloat. It was when one officer came on duty and recognised Paul's name, Paul was a French war hero so they decided to rescue them).
Pascal knocks out a few tunes)
(Plomb on guard duty)
(Suni has desert a chocolate fish
(Pascal getting coffee for the ladies)
Today Monday we had a quiet day, I installed a new 12 volt cigarette
type plug in the cockpit at the helm station, the only one we had was at the
nav-station in the saloon and we were running wires out the door, now we will
not have to. Then I have started checking the running gear for sea, navigation
lights etc. Looks like I have to go up the mast tomorrow, the steaming light
looks as though it has come lose.
Well that’s about all the news, this time next week we should be in Bora Bora.
prepared to sail out of here, we went to the Gendarmerie and cleared out, and
we did our last minute shopping. We bought the beers with a few other yachties for a farewell with the CNI staff.
We have heard that there are
quite a few yachts travelling in the same direction westwards, at Panama. I believe there is 60 yachts waiting to get through the Panama canal and they
say there is a 3 – 4 week delay.
The CNI Carenage had a large exodus of sailors over the last few days
the marina was nearly empty when we left yesterday. The next wave of sailors
will move in over the next few weeks. We heard that there was sixty yachts waiting
to go through the Panama
a couple of weeks ago and the waiting list was four weeks to get through from
(The two Italian boats are first to leave)
We had farewell drinks Friday night with the CNI team; it was a good
night and a chance to say thanks to each of them. This was followed by the
Sunday BBQ. I felt a little for Pascal as he had made good friends with us all
and we were all leaving at the same time. But that gap will be filled with
others. There were two newcomers on Sunday Tom and Linda, they are not a couple
they both are skippers of their own yachts. Linda will be selling here yacht in
it is a 1983 monohull but to go inside it looks like it was built yesterday. It
is very well looked after and has everything. When you are going down the steps
in the companionway to the saloon it has a wow factor. It is full teak and red
velveteen upholstery, water maker, generator and many extras. She hopes to move
it quickly and will not be greedy with the price.
(Linda, Nancy, Suni, Charlie and Marybeth)
(Lee, Chris, me and Tom)
(Inga playing up to Sylvain)
(Sylvain and Nancy)
(Jacque showing me where he put all the photos I had taken of the CNI crew)
(Some of the CNI staff)
There are a few Americans selling their yachts in Oz they feel it’s a
good market and it is too hard to sail back the way they came so the only other
choice is to keep going around the world and that takes time.
Charlie and Suni had been around French Polynesia
for the past three years and had been long time friends of Pascal, Charlie did
a lot of diving with Pascal. Pascal had been a diver in the French Navy for 24
years; he had active service in Desert Storm. On Sunday he gave Charlie a metal
French Navy divers insignia, it was two dolphins encircling an anchor, this I
know by being an ex-navy man myself, that this was a special gift.
During the weekend we also had dinner on “Atlantis” Ernest and Inge
(Inga) yacht, what a night that was, Inge served a German style dinner, and it
was very nice. They also served beer, many wines, and then apariti it is an
aniseed liqueur and Inge kept topping up the glasses saying it will help you
sleep, she was right there.
Monday morning it was get ready to cast off and go sailing, we took the
covers down stowed all the gear, topped up the water tanks then went to see
Amandine to pay our bill. Amandine was also a little saddened with everyone
leaving. She gave us a weeks discount on our marina fees because I had helped
her a few times. She will also be missed.
One item I missed of interest, on occasions the boats have this cat
visit looking for food, it’s a stray lives in the boat yard, she became
pregnant and a couple of weeks ago she had her kittens but no one had seen
where she had them. We all assumed that she had them in one of the old boats.
After Sunday BBQ we are sitting around and the cat is visiting our boat so I
tried to chase her away which made her run and hide in the main sail bag, I
opened the zip on the bag and out she jumped, when I looked in there were three
little kittens. She must have moved them there after I had fitted the sail bag
and mainsail. We relocated the kittens, but the next morning when I was getting
everything ready I her something and opened the sail bag again to find two
kittens. I don’t know whether she had brought them back or if they were two
We then cast off with the help of Ernest and Inge and we followed
Charlie and Suni on “Cosmos” out of Raiatea
and over to Bora Bora. We had a good sail
across about 35Nms. We arrived mid afternoon got settled put the covers up and
went into town for dinner.
Today we have Suni’s birthday lunch and a few boats will be arriving for
that. So I will let you know how it was tomorrow.