The New Year was seen in in Papeete, Tahiti with, amongst others, our good friends Jeff and Katie, S/V MEZZALUNA. The city centre marina isn’t the quietest berth in the world but is certainly close to the the action, not that we are looking for much at our ages.
Once the festivities were over we moved back to our anchorage at Arue. It has several advantages over the marina – No 1: Its free, No 2: Its fairly close to a large Carrefour supermarket and we wanted to do a major re-stock before heading to the Australs and No 3: The yacht club sells draft Hinano for a sensible price!
Having spent the last week trudging backwards and forwards to Carrefour Emma Louise is once again lower in the water and we are ready to head south to get out of the cyclone belt. We are heading for Raivavae in the Austral Archapelago, a little south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Not sure if going to sea on Friday 13th is a good idea but the forecast is good for the four days it should take us.
Raivavae, Austral Archapelago, French Polynesia
The trip was completely uneventful. We have an HF radio on board and althugh it is somewhat temperamental we managed to check in on the cruiser’s net most mornings and evenings. We did quite a bit of motor sailing with the wind east or south east at less than 15 Knots. The forecast isn’t great so after checking in with the Gendarmes yesterday afternoon we headed around the east end of the island and are now in good shelter on the south side. The forecast is for a LOT of wind from the north.
Well, the forecast was absolutely correct, we had a LOT of wind. Our wind sensor is broken so I’m not exactly sure what speeds we had but gusts over 50 Knots, I’m sure. Don’t believe me? For a while the dinghy was tethered at the side of the boat. I was in the cockpit and saw it lift into a hover as the wind got under it and the engine was on the back of it! Rather stupidly I decided it would be safer astern. Half an hour later it was upside down, still with the engine on it. The Tohatsu manual provides very helpful advice for such an event “flush with fresh water and take to your local Tohatsu dealer”. I have no idea where the closest dealer is, Tahiti? Anyway, lesson learned and I spent the morning stripping down the engine, washing with fresh water, drying and spraying with copious amounts of WD40 (did you know that WD stood for water displacement? Apparently 40 is the number of the formulation that was finally successful). The problem with immersing an outboard in sea water is not the water but the salt and the long term effect of the salt in particular. I managed to start the engine after a couple of attempts but only time will tell if I’ve been successful at preventing long term corrosion.
Raivavae is, as previously noted, just outside the tropics and therefore somewhat cooler that Tahiti at this time of year. It is a lovely, verdant island with fairly high volcanic peaks. Unfortunately the latter are somewhat demanding and there are no good paths. We have been enjoying some spectacular sunsets even if it does rain occasionally…..