Wednesday, July 27, 2011

072711

Wednesday 07-27-2011

Moorea has been lovely. We arrived Saturday after a only a small hiccup on the big engine. We motored out of the lagoon southwest of Papeete into an 8 - 10 kt breeze, got the sails up and were going along at around 5 kts for the first hour or so. The wind died down to almost nothing about an hour out, so we decided to go back to motoring. When we turned the engine on there was a huge squealing noise. A belt on the water raw water pump was malfunctioning. Since we are a sailboat, we put the jib back out, let out the main and went back to sailing - very slowly. Dennis fixed the problem quickly and we were back to motoring in no time. He was a little seasick after that - a common side effect of working on the engine underweigh. It wasn't real bouncy, but the whole head down, butt up position is very conducive to motion sickness.

As we approached the anchorage to Moorea it started to sprinkle, which is okay and we were treated to two beautiful vertical rainbows. We anchored without a hitch and prepared to get down to the business of relaxing.

We had a very mellow day on Sunday. Dennis even laid down in the cockpit for awhile - amazing. It was very nice to just hang out on the boat and putter around. We went to Moondance for drinks and hors d'hourves in the afternoon. Nice to just sit around and chat. We made plans to go to Cook's bay with our dinghies the next day.

Monday - turned out to be the dinghy engine's day to have problems. We made it to Cook's bay with lots of stops and starts. Dennis cleaned out the fuel filter when we got there hoping that was the problem. Once again we managed to arrive at the "witching hour". That is the 1200 to 200 timeframe when just about everything is closed. We explored the area for awhile then decided to dinghy further into the bay to the store which about to open, buy the rest of our picnic lunch and eat it. Cleaning the fuel filter didn't fix the problem, but we pressed on. Lunch was good, cheese and pate on baguettes with oranges, pretzels and beer. Doug and Carla ended up giving us a tow back to the boat. We motored when we could, but sure got home quicker than if they hadn't. Dennis and Josh immediately got to work on the problem and by dinner time it was fixed. Some sort of carburator problem. So now all of the engines have had some attention and hopefully that will be the last of it for awhile.

Tuesday we took our dinghies to the west side of the bay exploring. We stopped at the little town with one of the oldest churches or at least it is on the site of the original oldest church. Anyway, nice little town. veryone made their phone calls, we picked up another picnic lunch and headed off further to the west. Quite beautiful, white sandy beaches, clear, clear water. We had a great picnic on our own private section of the beach, walked around the little motu and finished our tour with some wine at a picnic table in a very pretty little bay. We ended up at the same village we started in so Dennis could call NZ to order the final parts for the generator. Was very nice to have a day where nothing needed to be fixed!!!!

Doug and Carla had dinner with us that evening. Yummy steaks and garlic potatoes and greek salad with port and chocolate for dessert. After dinner Josh taught us to play a card game called spoons. Bascially a card version of musical chairs. What is that saying about "age and cunning will overcome youth and vitality"? Poor kid didn't stand a chance. We all had a good time though.

Today we will prepare for the overnight passage to Huahine. It is about 70 miles, so we will leave around 5pm in order to arrive after dawn tomorrow morning. So it will be a pretty mellow day around here. We are looking forward to seeing someplace new and Josh is hoping we catch up with some of his friends. Would be nice

Saturday, July 23, 2011

07 23 11 from Moorea

072311

Saturday - Well it was a long week. The generator is functioning, but not fixed. We spent the first half of the week getting a new stud made. The machine shop promised us Wednesday afternoon, and Voila, it was ready. Finding an inserter for the heilcoil was not so easy and in the end they not only gave us the helicoils, but also loaned us the inserter. Jean Paul the owner of that shop - Poly industrie - was so helpful. Actually pretty amazing, and one bright spot in an otherwise frustrating and dismal week. The new stud went in fine on Wednesday night, Thursday when Dennis put it all back together another stud stripped. Well, we decided to just put it all back together and see if it worked. Which it did. So after a week where we walked at least a zillion miles and oscillated back and forth between optimism and frustration we finally left Papeete for Moorea!!! Yeah!!!

We will order the necessary parts, and fix the generator the rest of the way when they arrive. In the meantime we will carry on in the Society Islands - Moorea, Huanine, Terteroa (?) and BoraBora.

Josh is doing well, even though kids his age will be fewer now. He spent most of his time the last week with David from Nina, hanging out, going to the beach and seeing some of the polynesian sporting events. I think he was also ready to leave Tahiti if not David, as well. As he says, it is expensive and there is not that much to do. We plan to keep him busy in the water snorkeling, spearfishing etc. Will be good for us too to be more active. A little less work and a little more play is definitely in order.

Adventures in anchoring.

As cruisers we are able to get duty-free diesel. The trick is knowing what days you are actually able to get it. In Hiva Oa we were denied fuel until after the second ship came with fuel. In Nuka Hiva we had it delivered in Jerry cans, but the delivery people only worked Monday thru Friday. Tahiti fortunately has a real drive up fuel dock open every day. But duty-free fuel is only available Monday thru Friday. Makes upping the anchor, fueling up and leaving a bit difficult on the weekend - if you need the fueling up part.

We wanted to leave on Saturday, but needed the fueling up part. So Friday afternoon after I got back from returning the helicoil inserter and Dennis got the generator all back together we had to head to the fuel dock. We didn't expect too much trouble as the fuel dock is close, the anchorage had space (so we would have a place to reanchor) and it wasn't windy. We all took our places, engine on - check. Anchor up - no problem. Steerage - ooops no steering. Okay, we can handle it. As we drift into the channel Josh climbs into the dinghy tied to the side of the boat and he will steer us back to a place to drop the anchor. HMMM here comes the wind. So we end up using the rudder from the windvane (emergency rudder is its secondary purpose). In the meantime you can see the possibilities going thru Dennis' mind. He says, " watch the boat." We are somewhat out of the channel, but not anchored. I hope the boat is not going to do any new tricks while I "watch it." So he runs down to our cabin, takes the bed off, opens the compartment with the hydraulics for the steering (next to the generator) and turns a lever and "Voila!" steering. Seems one of us leaned on that lever during the generator deal and turned off the hydraulic part of the hydraulic steering. All things should fix so easily. Fueling up and reanchoring were a piece of cake after that.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday July 18

071311

on the subject of separations. I have to say one of the things in life that I really dislike are goodbyes. Cruising provides a wonderful opportunity to meet many different people from all walks of life but at the same time also provides too many opportunitesto say goodbye. We have met folks that seem to have an unlimited cruising budget to people that are on a tighter shoestring than us. Big boats, little boats, new, old, one hull and two, there is always something/somebody new to meet. Thankfully other countries learn english, so we are able to communicate with people that we meet from all over the world - europe, south africa, australia, new zealand. It has been and continues to be a life enriching experience for all of us. Josh is meeting kids from all over the US and the world. The only downpart to all of this is when it comes time to say goodbye in a final sort of way, not in just a "see you at the end of the crossing" or "catch up to you at the next anchorage" kind of way. Today for example two boats we have known since La Cruz Mexico left for Hawaii and the end of their cruising experience (at least for now). I really hate this part. I guess it says a lot for the tightness of this community - especially among the cruisers with kids. We are a smaller subset of the whole. As parents we feel our own sense of loss at the goodbyes and as well as the pain experienced by our kids. There is no consolation in the fact that they have had more kid time than we ever dreamed they would, or that they still have friends to "hang" with. Josh wants his pack whole. So for me I am feeling my own discomfort but know from experience how small a world it really is. Josh and his friends just have to take our word for it - and how many teenagers believe that us grown ups understand their pain? So, Phambili and Calou we'll see you later, if only to prove to our kids that it is possible.

On generators. A totally different kind of pain to be sure. Dennis spent the whole day tearing apart the generator in order to replace the head gasket. After 10 hours, the gasket was replaced and only the putting back together to do.

Thursday July 14th - Bastille Day

Well, the polynesians have been celebrating their Heiva for 3 weeks now, so a major French Holiday is a good reason to shut everything down. Carrefoure closed at 1230, no buses, no restaurants or shops. Our plans were to take the bus downtown for the canoe races in the morning and then head over to the Tahiti museum in the afternoon to watch the polynesian sports. As I said, no buses. But, this day will be one we look back on and say "remember that time in Tahiti?" A toursist van came by the bus stop while we were waiting for the nonexistent bus and the driver agreed to give us a lift into town. He was a very nice gentleman from the Cook Islands. He dropped us off right where the parade was going to be. The parade was pretty much a nonevent, but we did get to see all the different types of military, the gendarmes and the pompiers (firemen). Very short and sweet, no floats or candy. From there we headed to the waterfront for the canoe races. Start time was supposedly 1100, but hey 11 or 1230 whats the rush? The first paddlers were kids in 6 man outriggers. The next heat was 16 person double canoes - women. We watched them, but did not want to wait another hour to see the men's 16 person race. So we headed to the bus stop (did i mention no buses?) and got a ride within 5 minutes. The man was going to the same place as us - the museum, so score - an airconditioned ride in a mercedes!!! I have to say that 70+ miles per hour feels fast these days!!! The competitions going on at the museum included Javelin throwing, stone lifting, coconut husking and copra collection.

The spear chucking (as Dennis calls it) was pretty wild. All the teams threw their spears at a coconut on a pole about 25 feet high. The ground around it looked like toothpicks gone wild. What is even more impressive, is that they actually hit the coconut pretty often. All the men wore pareos wrapped sort of like diapers - not my favorite look, - and one team had traditional headdresses and loin cloths - hmmmm not much left to the imagination.

Stone lifting makes my back hurt to watch. They were lifting a 100 kg rectangular stone from the ground to their shoulders. There is definitely a technique to it. When we were at the rendevous in Moorea there was a demonstation by the reigning champion. Very cool, but we decided we would save our back injuries for boat work.

The coconut husking is done on a sharp stick planted in the ground. Those men sure get to the nut fast Again the technique was demonstrated to us on Moorea. Carla and I tried it out - it isn't as easy as it looks. if I did it for a living I would probably be missing some fingers.

My second favorite (after spear chucking) was the women's competition of harvesting copra. Copra is the meat of the coconut and is a major export of Fr. Polynesia. The way it works is one woman has an ax and chopps the whole coconuts in half (husk and all). Let me say right now, that the coconuts you see in the grocery store are the "nuts". The nut is encased in a thick fibrous husk when it is on the tree. You probably knew that, but just in case. Anyway, the first lady halves the coconut, and the other two use a curved heavy metal spatula- type implement to peel out the coconut meat. Each team had about 20 coconuts, first one done wins. To be finished, all the coconuts had to have the meat removed and all the meat had to be then put in a burlap sack. What hard work. Those ladies are tough. There was coconut milk flying everywhere. Again, i would be the one chopping the coconuts that had no toes. Pretty amazing to watch.

The copra harvest was the last event and then it was time to figure out how to get back to the marina. Once out at the road, Carla and I spotted the guard we had talked to last week about the games. His english is pretty good, so we asked him about a bus. He just shook his head and said "no bus". Then to our amazement he started flagging cars down and asking them to take us to the marina. The fourth or fifth car was a small citreon with a youngish french driver named Frankie. We crammed in like sardines and were off to the marina. Frankie spoke pretty good english as well, so we were able to invite him to come to the boat (Moondance) for a drink. Very nice young man - here from France to work at the airport installing atutomatic blinds and lighting. We hope he enjoyed meeting us as much as we enjoyed meeting him.

So, I ask you, what would be the chances of 3 rides to exactly where you wanted to go all in the same day? And that is if you dared to try to hitchike at all!! What a great day.

Friday July 15, 2011

Back to generator work. It started off well, but in the end we still had bubbles in the coolant. So in we went to make phone calls. Dennis got a few more ideas to try. After the calls we walked to Carrefoure to pick up distilled water. In the automotive section if you are ever looking....... Picked up frozen pizza to do on the grill and came back to the generator. Dennis decided that the bubbles are probably from the water pump, as they continue when the engine is off and just the pump is running. So hey - seems like all is good to finish up in the morning. Had pizzas cooked on the grill, so we wouldn't heat up the inside of the boat. I burned the bottom of the first one because the grill was flaring up from grease on the bottom. But, the top was good. The second one was slightly undercooked. The grill had tipped forward during cooking. Number three was perfect, and Josh got home just in time to eat it. Impeccable timing huh?

Saturday July 16, 2011

Plan for today was to put the generator back together and do final provisioning in preparation for leaving on Monday......Well, that plan went to shit pretty fast. One of the bolts/studs that holds the head onto the engine gave as Dennis was torqueing it down. Well hmmm. What to do? Back in to make a call. Fortunately Dennis was able to get hold of a mechanic willing to come out immediately. They got the stud out and yes it is stripped at the end and no we won't be able to get the widget (helycoil) to fix it until Monday. So that is where we stand. I guess Dennis will spend the rest of the day taking the generator out of its compartment.........Suffice it to say that the frustration level on Evergreen is pretty much at capacity. The ramifications of no generator are painful. Not dire, but definitely require a major change in habits on board. We have to run the big engine to charge batteries (which isn't really good for a diesel to run on no load). The solar panels generate some power, enough as a rule to make water, but not charge the batteries enough to maintain the rest of the boat. The big engine uses a lot more fuel as well. So, we will continue trying to fix the generator. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday

Well the generator has been out and is back in its compartment waiting to have the bolt fixed. It only took all day. Just goes to show, shit happens just about everywhere. We turned on the main engine to charge the batteries and pumped diesel from the generator into the generator compartment - about 2.5 gals. worth. Man!!!!! So, the soundproofing on the bottom of the compartment had to go as it was totally saturated with diesel. We pumped and mopped and pumped and tore out soundproofing and pumped and transferred to disposable containers, mopped and pumped and finally cleaned out the generator compartment. Then Dennis worked on the engine. So 3 hours on the generator and 4 hours on clean up. Yeah, Evergreen has seen happier days. But, on a positive note no fuel got into the bilge and our cabin does not smell like diesel right now. If the mechanic actually gets the part tomorrow and is willing to install it on Tuesday, we may be out of here by Thursday - hey it could happen...... meanwhile I guess we will be spending a few more days in Tahiti.

Monday, July 11, 2011

July 11, 2011 Tahiti

07112011
Moorea/Tahiti
Moorea Tahiti Rendevous 6/24 thru 6/26
Friday we headed downtown Papeete for the welcome speaches and
cocktails. Lots of standing around waiting, but was nice. Cocktails
were a little too sweet for my taste, but who can argue with free?
After the speeches, the whole group of puddle jumpers headed to the
waterfront for dinner at the roullettes. Roullettes are a very French
Polynesian dining experience. The equivalent of US roach coaches, but
more upscale and in general good food for a reasonable price. We
ended up with chinese - was good. There were native dances going on
as well, so really a nice experience.
Saturday was the race/rally from Tahiti to Moorea, we were up pretty
early for what we thought was a 930 start. They ended up moving it to
1000 - could have used that extra 30 minutes of sleep! Not much wind
for sailing, so we motor sailed for most of the 18 miles. Mooread is
beautiful. It is a heart shaped Island with the lobes of the heart to
the north. We anchored at the head of Oponuhu bay. I hope we don't
ever get immune to the beauty of these Islands, but it seems we go
from one beautiful place to the next. The water is so clear, you can
see your anchor in 50 feet of water. Sadly at this point I was
starting with a cold - Dennis shared it with me. Nice huh? He had
been pretty miserable with it and I ended up being miserable with it
too. We got all situated, I think Josh was off the boat with the kids
before the dust settled. Tahiti has been great for him kidwise - lots
of kids to hang out with. It will be hard when we leave here as boats
will begin scattering to the winds dependent on schedules and final
destinations.
Sunday was a day of traditional polynesian activities. We had a team
for the outrigger canoe race, which was a blast. I was able to make a
flower lei/necklace, there was a booth for palm weaving, one for
dyeing pareos, and demonstrations of rock lifting and coconut husking.
There was also a race carrying a load of bananas. Josh and Francois
both won their races. For lunch we ate traditional polynesian food -
I am sure it was a good experience, but wish we had only bought one
ticket's worth, not 3. Later in the afternoon there was more dancing
and an awards ceremony. By then I was back on the boat having
succumbed to the misery of my cold. Dennis said the dancing was quite
good.
Monday was kids day after the rendevous. Many boats left, but the
anchorage was still pretty busy. The kids spent the day on the beach,
we went for a walk to some botanical gardens, nice, but a long way
uphill! That evening the adults met on the beach for happy hour was
nice to get to know some of the boats that did not come from Mexico.
Kudos to Toast on DonQuixote for arranging the kids day, watching all
of them all day on the beach, and setting up the happy hour that
evening. Great job! Everyone had a good time. We took on an extra
kid - David from Nina. Nice kid. He and his Mom are at the Marina on
their boat while his Dad is working. So, was nice for him to have
some extra kid time.
Tuesday we took the dinghy across the channel to a couple of snorkel
spots. The first spot had Tikis that had been submerged for some
reason or other. We saw a really unusual fish too, sadly I couldn't
find the name of it anywhere, but very unusual. After that we went to
a spot where the stingrays swim with you. How amazing! Kind of
spooky too. They are soft to touch and the tails are scaly. I didn't
see any barbs, but I'm sure they were there. By then I was freezing
as was David, so we went in to the hotel for drinks and to warm up.
Wednesday David left for Tahiti with DonQuixote. We went with
Moondance for a hike up to the Belvedere, Josh went on the same hike
with Phambili. We enjoyed the hike, the view was worth every uphill
step. Met a couple on their honeymoon from San Jose. Is always funny
talking to nonsailors....He wanted to know how we got here??? Sailing
we said - How far??? 3000 miles we said. You should have seen his
expression.......priceless. As was the expression on Doug's face when
the mouse ran between his legs. Which then made me empty out my pack
to be sure I didn't transport one of the little buggers back to the
boat to wreck destruction.....
Tahiti #2 06/30 thru 07/11
Thursday we headed back to Tahiti - had a beautiful spinnaker run
back, very cool. Josh was able to hook back up with the kids, and all
was well in his world.
Friday I spent pretty much the whole day sewing. I took on some work
to help out another boat, and the extra cash was nice too. We had our
final violin concert Friday night. John who had been crew on Calou
was leaving on Saturday, so gave a final farewell performance on the
dock. It had been very nice to get a regular dose of culture. John
is a fantastic musician and will be missed. After John played, Pacal
and Bruce from Calou performed (she sings, he plays accordian) so, we
had a very nice musical evening.
Spent Saturday sewing as well. Saturday night we got together on Nina
to celebrate David's 16th birthday. Again very nice. The kids enjoy
being together. Nina is a schooner that was built in 1928 for the race
to Spain, which she won. Beautiful boat. Josh asked if he could have
a sleep over on our boat - 5 boys!!! So, they all invaded, Dennis and
I retired to our room, and the boys used electrons, zoomed back and
forth to each others boats and generally had a good time.
Sunday was a quiet recovery day.
Monday the fourth we had generator issues - again. We are hoping it
is only a leaking head gasket which we spent all day trying to order.
We finally got it ordered from NewZealand with promises it would be
here on Friday. (currently it is the following Monday, and no sign of
it.....). We were supposed to get our extended visas, but the only
lady with the authority to sign them left for vacation until the 15th
without signing them......AARRGGHHHH!!! Nina hosted a July 4th party
on the dock that evening. Gotta love the fact that we can let Josh go
all the way across Papeete to hang out with Phambili at the Yacht club
(Francois and Tyler were with him too). At the party on the dock that
night we were given the message three times (on the VHF and in person)
from people he saw in town to say that he was spending the night with
them. It is so cool how the cruising community keeps track of the
kids and each other. We may be mobile, but we are still tight.
Tuesday - spoke to Cindy (our agent) who said it would be fine to go
to Bora Bora with out the visa. Went to town looking for parts, spent
the whole day with very little to show for it. Saw Tommy from
Phambili at the marine chandelry. They were hauled out for repairs on
their saildrive (they are a catamaran) and bottompaint. He and his
wife are physicians from Canada. I think I have mentioned before that
they live in Canoe Cove on Vancouver Island - the same place we had
our boat! Anyway, I had him look at the rash that was driving me
crazy on my back. Turns out it is shingles. Which explains why
nothing I put on it was helping! I have had quite a time with it,
fortunately it is only moderately painful. My ibuprofen consumption
has reached an all time high, but I have seen much worse cases.
Wednesday - Carla and I did laundry - of course it rained!!!!
Immigration visited Moondance - Very concerned about lack of visa -
gave them a paper saying not to leave Tahiti
Thursday - Talked to Cindy who talked to immigration, who talked to
the High Commisioner who then gave another person authority to sign
the Visas - Wow!!! what a pain, but it all works out. We rented a car
with Doug and Carla to tour the Island. It was still raining, the
laundry was well rinsed! We went to the James Norman Hall house (he
wrote Mutiny on the Bounty with a guy named Nordhoff). We stopped at
Point Venus - where James Cook watched the transit of Venus across the
sun. Next we stopped at the blow holes - notable for the fact that
one goes under the road and if you drive over it at the right time, it
sounds like it is right under the car. Still raining, so we bypassed
the waterfalls and continued on around the east side of the Island.
We turned around before the Isthmus to head back. It had stopped
raining at the waterfall, so we stopped - it started raining again,
but we decided to walk to it any way. Very impressive especially with
the extra water from the rain. We were all soaking wet by the time we
got back to the car. Again at least it is a warm rain.
Friday July 8th - Happy Birthday Dennis. We picked up our visas first
thing, Josh's had to go back to be laminated, but otherwise all good
to go. We continued our car tour southwest on the Island. Our first
stop was at the Tahiti Museum. It has a very thorough history of the
geology, sociology and biology of Tahiti and French Polynesia. Its a
good thing not all the explanations were in English, we might have
been there all day!! Next we went to some grottos, then lunch then
down to the isthmus. We returned to the Marina and agreed to meet
for drinks on Moondance. Josh had deserted us for Phambili who were
moored at the city docks in town. I opened one of our last 4 bottles
of good california wine to celebrate. Carla made a yummy chocolate
cake. So, I think Dennis had a good birthday.
Saturday - We made an early run to Cost and Co the Fr. Polynesian
cousin of Costco for US cereal etc. Stuff that is bulky and hard to
carry on the bus. Doug dropped us off at the marina then returned the
car. Dennis, Carla and I went back to the boats to unload our
purchases. We all met back at the dock to go into town to the market
and to watch the finish of the canoe races. Tahiti celebrates Bastille
day with a months worth of traditional festivities. The canoe race
started at 0800, they paddled to Moorea and back. The first boat
finished at 215pm. Sadly the market was closing down, so we did not
make any purchases there. That evening we had tickets to the
dance/chant contests. We had dinner at the Roullettes by the arena.
Good and inexpensive. The chants were interesting, the first dance
group was good - man can those women shake it!!! But, the second dance
group was incredible! It was the Tahitian version of Opera with
dancing. The only down side was all the words were in polynesian, so
we were not able to really understand what it was about.
Sunday - Josh spent saturday night with Phambili again. I slept in
until 1030. Too many early mornings and busy days in a row. Was nice
to laze around. Phambili arrived in the anchorage around 1100. In
the afternoon we went and hooka'd on a plane/boat wreck close to the
anchorage. Was nice. Another early night for all. Josh fell asleep
at 8pm!!!!
Monday. Well we now possess all of our visas but no generator parts.
Cindy just laughed when Dennis asked if she had it. We are at the
dock in the neverending search for free or semi free internet.
Hopefully Dennis will be able to download new drivers for our antenna
so we can get signal at the boat. The one thing about being here in
Tahiti is that we seem to be so busy that I can't keep up with the
blog, we also spend way too much money. We are all looking forward to
leaving for the more remote islands. Josh is spending the day with
Francois. It will be their last day together as Calou and Phambili
are leaving in the morning to start their trek to Hawaii. Will be
quite a subdued boy for the next few days. He and Francois have been
fast friends since they met in February in La Cruz. Fortunately for
him there will still be kids for him to hang with, but he will really
miss Francois. Well, I guess we are now all caught up. Hopefully the
internet will cooperate so I can up load this to the blog..........