Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Party's over

The party's over

After a week of celebrations, Christmas Island has gone back to work. After a week of watching and waiting we are leaving today.

Monday (Sunday our time) was a hard day for many people here on Christmas, probably through out the Islands of Kiribati. Imagine a week - a whole week of celebrations. Too much of a good thing if you ask me, but the lady at immigration said their next holiday is Christmas in December. So maybe they cram it all in when they can.

The end of the holiday meant it was time for us to get back to work as well. Sunday (Monday here) we spent the day (yes, the whole day) with the process of acquiring fuel. We had already found someone to deliver it - Tobako, so we presented ourselves at his place at 0930. At that point we learned we had to go to KOIL (Kiribatis Oil) and pay first. Off we went. $266 US later we had purchased 200 liters or one 55 gallon drum of diesel. Back to Tobako's, yes he would deliver this morning. In fact Dennis and Doug helped push a truck through the sand on the way to get unleaded gas for the dinghy's (none until the afternoon) and Dennis and I pushed the same truck through more sand on our way back to the dinghy. When we arrived at the boat HooRoo our new friends from Australia were just pulling up anchor to head to the wharf for fuel (they needed 1000 liters). We had told them we would help them, but thought we were imminently going to receive our own fuel, so we sent Josh with them. Four hours later, no fuel for any of us. HooRoo was hanging out at the wharf waiting for the KOIL truck and Moondance and Evergreen were hanging out waiting for our fuel delivery by panga. So, Dennis and Doug went in to check out the problem. Well there were several, starting with KOIL not being willing to fill the Jerry cans at KOIL, only 200l drums, so the truck had to go to Tobako's place. Then just as Dennis and Doug arrived, the KOIL truck was filling the cans with UNLEADED! That would have been catastrophic if they hadn't caught it. Sure enough his paper said "unleaded". Doug was able to show his receipt for diesel, and eventually they got all the jerry cans filled and the panga loaded. In the meantime Carla let HooRoo know to check before they filled, and that the truck was on the way to them. So, at 1600 we received 10 cans of fuel which required funneling into our tanks. Thankfully we used a filter, the fuel itself seemed okay, but the cans were pretty dirty. At 1800 we were finished, the decks washed, Josh returned from HooRoo, cans lined up to be returned. That kind of a day called for a good comforting dinner. Thank goodness my experiment with doing tritip in the pressure cooker tasted good (and oh so tender). Then a move, then heavenly bed!

Yesterday was all about checking out of the country, final provisions (read beer run) , boat prep and stowing. Once again 0900 found us in our dinghies heading to town. I honestly won't miss that dinghy ride. We were loaded with 12 of the 20 jerry jugs from Moondance and Evergreen - not a comfortable ride. We off loaded those at Tobako's place, left some more used oil and trash and set off for C & I (customs and immigration - C & I from now on). Got to customs - you have to pay for the rat inspection - $50. Go to the accounting office (thankfully right next door). With that done and paper in hand we went to Immigration, then back to customs. Just FYI for cruisers behind us, it is a 4 crew list process to check in and out. Or should I say it could be. I don't think anything much is set in stone. After promising to go to KPA (the port authority) to pay our mooring fees, we were done. Rat inspection? what rat inspection? Noone came, we never even saw the quarantine lady, but hey we have a paper that says we don't have rats.

KPA requires a dinghy ride, so we picked up final provisions on our way back to the dinghies - bread, papaya (free - fresh off the tree), butter, evaporated milk for coffee and finally eggs. Yep I sprang for 90 cent each eggs. Hey I have room in the fridge, and we may not see any until Samoa. The gas station had unleaded so the dinghy got a fill up too. Next destination: the boats, then KPA.

Thinking of all that we planned to do yesterday, tipped me over a bit, so we decided (or Dennis humored me more like it) to divide and conquer. Dennis and Josh stayed and cleaned the bottom of the boat and I went with Moondance to KPA and Punja's. After how difficult everything had been, the last two items on our todo list went smooth as silk. KPA took our money fast and efficiently, the walk to Punja's was hot, so we stopped at the rainbow store for water, and scored 6 papayas (free, fresh off the tree). Were not able to finish our beers at Punjas (nice and cold), before they had the beer we had bought loaded in a truck waiting to give us a ride back to the wharf. I was back to the boat in record time I think. Dennis and Josh were still working on the bottom of the boat, so I started the cleaning and stowing process inside. The boys had lunch and took a long rest after the bottom was finished, then decided that the dinghy could stay on the davits for the next leg. The original thought was to deflate it and put it back on the deck. I hope we haven't jinxed ourselves into a rough ride. The decision to leave it on the davits was based on the thought that the next leg is going to be mellower than the last two. Lord knows we deserve a mellow leg, but we will see.

Yesterday was my day to be oriented on Isuzu engine care and feeding.
Here is my checklist:
Water emptied from bottom of engine compartment - check (I already knew how to do that)
Check the coolant level - low needs more, make 50/50, come back -oops is overflowing into the engine compartment. Put on the cap, empty the coolant from the bottom of the engine compartment, fill the reservoir which had filled the radiator and overflowed.
Check the oil - quart low. Fill - done
Check the transmission fluid - full - done
Check the alternator belt - ???? might be okay, but needed recheck by Dennis, and did need to be tightened. Oh the mysteries of alternator belts. Think we got a bad one as it keeps getting loose. Hopefully can replace in American Samoa.

HooRoo (Jim and Jill) left yesterday for Hawaii - fair winds and following seas to them. Loved meeting them. Nice people. They gave Josh a HooRoo Crew t shirt for helping them on Monday. One of the reasons we love this life - the people you meet are consistently interesting, nice and fun. We saw them in town Tuesday morning on our way to C&I, said our goodbyes and they were out of sight by the time we returned to the boats.

So, we will leave here today - this morning sometime, headed for Manihki in the Cook Islands. It is approximately 700 miles, we are thinking 6 days. We will stay there briefly, to rest up and get ready for the next leg to Suwarrow. We will probably stay in Suwarrow for a little bit. Supposedly beautiful with great fishing and wildlife.
Got to get this posted and start my day. No more pictures til Samoa :(.

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