Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuedsday 28th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W


This was to be our last day here – again! After breakfast Abigail and I decided that we would go on the local bus and see the botanic gardens, Gerry was invited and to our surprise he agreed to come along. We left in plenty of time to stop at the little espresso shop that we have become fond of and had a coffee to see us on our way. The buses run roughly half hourly and we caught one going anticlockwise around the island (they run in both directions but alternately). The trip took about half an hour and was the same route that we had taken in the hire car. When we arrived at the gardens we were the only people there and the café was empty. As it was just about lunch time we thought we would eat first and then walk around the place. The food there was mega expensive and the portions very small – not a good start.

The gardens cost $3 each to tour and there was no defined walkways, it was all a bit hit and miss. There were of course some nice shrubs and trees but on the whole I thought it needed a lot more time and work to make it a good tourist site. After we had finished our tour we went to wait for the bus, expecting to have to wait for at least 25minutes but luckily for us a bus came by within 5 minutes so we jumped on it and were heading back to the dock straight away. We got within 3 stops of the dock and there was a police roadblock – they were checking drivers licenses and had at least 3 people (looked like tourists) pulled over to book. It appears that this is a major revenue raiser for them as we got stopped for a license check on our first day out here in a hire car, luckily Gerry had his local license and it was no problem. As the license costs just $10 we can’t understand why these people wouldn’t have got one and it is advertised quite extensively that you must have a local license from the police station. Anyway Gerry got off at the dock and went to fill the water tanks on the boat whilst Abigail and I went on into town to see if we could buy me a new pair of polarized sunglasses as mine have broken, we found a couple of pairs but I wasn’t going to pay $300 for a pair to wreck on the boat so I’ll have to tape mine up and make them last for the time being. We walked back to the boat and Abigail stopped by the laundry to collect our last minute washing, she scored again – the girl in the laundry seems to like her and gave her 6 pearls; they are not good quality but 2 of them are quite nice and they will make nice costume jewelry. Whilst we had been gone Gerry smelt gas on the boat – coming from the propane locker; the bottle that we had just changed over seemed to be leaking. He disconnected it and took it to be refilled and to see if he could get a new seal – no luck there and he ended up just tightening it up as much as possible. Hopefully enough to stop the gas from leaking! Good job we have 2 bottles. As the afternoon wore on Abigail and I prepared dinner – a roast rib, well 2 actually which we finally sat down to eat at around 19.00hrs. Following dinner Abigail went off to visit the tattoo artist as he had invited her to see the tattooing he was working on that evening whilst Gerry and I read for a while before going to bed. The weather is looking better and we plan to depart in the morning sometime; as yet we haven’t decided if we are going to Niue or straight through to Tonga – it will depend on what the weather looks like once we get out of the harbour.

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Monday 27th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W


We remain captive for the time being, the weather is beginning to improve but it looks like it will be Wednesday before we can leave here in reasonable winds. So knowing that we were going to be here all day we made plans to use the car wisely for the morning – it had to be returned at 11.00hrs. After punting to the dock we drove first to the immigration office to see if we could change our departure dateNow Gerry had already been told that he had to settle the harbour master’s bill before checking out but he wanted to see if he could do it without settling the bill first – of course he couldn’t so that was a wasted trip into the office which will have to be repeated when we leave on Wednesday. Abigail and I meanwhile went to the grocery store and began filling the cart with essential supplies – all the things that we have eaten due to our extra stay here plus some toilet rolls – we were down to our last 4 and as you know (Lorie) we can’t be sure when we will find them in another supermarket anywhere along the way! We were about half way around when Gerry found us and hurried us along. Our next stop was the bottle shop – out of rum and soft drinks again (oh and crisps – red rock rule!) By now we had about ¾ hr left and we drove around so that I could take a couple of photos that I had been meaning to get all week. Back to the boat, it began to rain just as we loaded the shopping into the dink so Abigail and Gerry ferried it across whilst I waited in the car; luckily it was just a short shower.. Our neighbours were looking to walk into town for some beer so Gerry then offered to act as a taxi and drove them, by the time we returned to the dock it was time to hand the car in so Gerry did that whilst Abigail and I went and bought some decent cups of coffee. Gerry was itching to get back on the boat and check out the weather for the next few days so Abigail ferried him across and then returned with the dink so that she and I could go tot the gift shop and the pearl farm – we had a couple of small things to buy including a pearl earring for Bear who couldn’t possibly go home without one! We returned to the boat and Abigail made us lunch and then went for her afternoon nap, Gerry played with the weather stuff for a while, sharing it with our neighbours here and getting an invite to one of the boats for cocktail hour and I did the dishes and made soup before labeling photos and typing blog notes. Gerry made up a container of cocktails and I made up some canapés to take over to cocktail hour, we were the last to arrive and the first to leave 21/2 hours later. The people who invited us were Americans and their boat “Scholarship” was an older boat with a beautiful design. It was like a meeting of the united nations as there were 2 Americans, 2 South Africans, 2 New Zealanders, 3 Australians, 1 Englishman and 1 Brazilian invited for cocktails; they also invited the only single hander in the dock who was for some European country but he didn’t turn up. It made for an interesting gathering with lots of stories and friendly teasing (mostly about sport). As I have said we left first and went to the fish and chip shop for what turned out to be a later dinner and then headed home to bed; we could hear the others arriving back at their boats and they sounded very drunk!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday 26th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W


Yet more boats have arrived and the dock is now full. No one plans to leave until the threat of the severe gale has passed so we are all companionable dockmates for a while yet. There was even a cruise liner (Tahitian Princess) anchored outside of the harbour this morning at dawn – we think they had a medical emergency on board as they talked about docking in the harbour at one point - we weren’t sure where they thought they would get in though as there was no space. Gerry helped to tie up a catamaran this morning, the guy had single handed it from Tahiti to here (nuts!). The women from the other boats all trouped off to church first thing this morning to hear the choirs singing, as we had done that last week we stayed on our boat and opted to have a cooked breakfast instead. Following breakfast I bagged up all the books that we had finished with to offer for exchange with the other boats, some of the books I haven’t read yet but Gerry has speed read them all and wants something new to read. We took off into town – everything closed except for the café, and we went there for lunch, along with every other tourist who had braved the drier day. Having eaten Gerry suggested that we tour the island one more time (?) but this time we went round it clockwise. I have to say that stupid as it sounds I saw different things by going this way around, I still an unimpressed with it all but at least I have seen it from every viewpoint!


One of the things that stuck in my mind was a deserted / unfinished hotel complex with the best views of the beach and set in magnificent grounds. We aren’t sure if the place was never completed, has run to ruin or what happened, it is a huge complex and looks so forlorn it is such a sad waste of land and space. Looking at the place now we think it would take a fortune to fix it up to useable state, the funny thing is that the grounds seem to be being cared for – it’s almost as if there is some legal dispute or court battle being waged over the place and everything has ground to a standstill. Anyway we didn’t see anything on this tour to make us change our minds about the state of the tourist sites of interest so we made our way back to the boat for the afternoon where Abigail and Gerry went for a sleep whilst I typed these notes out.

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Saturday 25th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Still feeling captive to the island we awoke to grey skies and more rain, a little lighter this morning but still wet! At least today there was the market to go to. We all went ashore for showers and then made our way along the road to the market which thankfully isn’t too far away. Despite the rain it was crowded and Gerry decided to go and sort out a hire car whilst Abigail and I went hunting down some vegetables and fruit. Picking our way thought the puddles, tourists and trestle tables laden with produce and crafts we managed to purchase the few things that we needed with the little bit of cash that we had left; we even acquired a $3 Cook Island note in our change, it was the first one we had seen and Abigail wants to take it home as a souvenir. Gerry found us as we were just about finished (and just in time to help carry the produce) and we all headed off towards the car hire place as the car wasn’t quite ready. There was a gift shop next door so we went and browsed in there whilst waiting for the car, it was ready long before we had finished browsing but I have to say at this point that I have been quite disappointed with the craft stuff – it is all mass produced and I think most of it is probably made in China if the truth be known! That which appeals to me is the stuff that I would have a hard time importing into Australia – the carvings and basket ware, so we left the stuff sitting on the shelves for some one else to buy. Now that we had wheels again the first stop was the bank, we had used up just about all the cash that we had, as it was also lunch time and the munchie twins – Gerry and Abigail, were starving we stopped at a popular café for lunch, the food was average and the wait for a table not worth while but at least we had eaten. After lunch it was time to go back to the boat via a different road. The obligatory afternoon nap followed and then at around !6.00hrs Gerry decided that we could go back out in the car and do some sightseeing around the island as the rain had let up a little. So off we set again in the anticlockwise direction with Abigail giving navigational instructions to take us to each of the marked sites of interest for tourists; we went on both the coast road and the inner road, backtracking each time so we didn’t miss anything.
I can’t say I have been more disappointed with sightseeing – the sights were few and far between and the “palaces” were just crumbling mounds of buildings that had seen better days (we hope). Things like the cultural village and botanic gardens were only open “Monday to Friday 9 till 4” so we missed out on those 3 places; the view point from the hill to the hospital was quite good but there was no where to stop and get photos and the Papua waterfall was just OK – when you managed to find it! The directions given on the maps were very indistinct and it was more by luck than anything else that we managed to find some of the places. We did notice that there are graves everywhere on the island; lots of people seem to be buried in the family garden or in small plots along the side of the roadways, not necessarily in church graveyards although there are plenty of them too (and churches at every ten paces!) We found ourselves back at the starting out point and made our way to Trader Jacks for a couple of pre dinner drinks, after which we were so hungry that we stayed put and ate dinner there too. I chose grilled fish for my dinner and it was delicious but both Gerry and Abigail chose a shrimp pasta which they both complained lacked flavour – oh well, it was food! After eating it was time to return to the boat and settle in for the night.

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Friday 24th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Happy Birthday Paul Michael, hope you have a great day.

Well the decision to stay certainly took on meaning today, we awoke to rain and grey skies. A couple more boats had arrived overnight and needed help to tie up to the dock so Gerry was out there in his wet weather gear being a Good Samaritan. These boats arrived with the same stories of bad weather on the way and they too had had a couple of bad days on the trip across from Bora Bora – I seems that everyone we speak to has had a tough time doing that particular passage, I’m glad that we weren’t the only ones. We went ashore and used the dock showers to save the water on the boat and then went to the nearby coffee shop for a decent cup of coffee. Gerry said that he thought we would be here until at least Monday or Tuesday so we would hire a car tomorrow and redo the tour of the island incase we had missed anything, and besides which all the shops, bars and cafes are a decent walk away – no fun if it was going to continue to rain for the next 3 days. It continued to rain all day and we made a hasty retreat to the boat to check the lines were secure and that the beds were safe to sleep in (Ok so everyone had a nap) The biggest problem is that with the weather turning horrible there are no places to go and see and nothing to do that we have found so we just read more and relaxed on the boat. We dug out the map of the island along with the tourist guide and marked off all the places of interest to make sure that we don’t miss any of them after picking up the car tomorrow. Dinner was again on the boat – we bar b qued up some thick fillets that we had bought in Bora Bora, they were delicious. Again we gave in to the movie watching and if you haven’t seen The Ninth Gate – don’t bother, it was a Roman Polanski movie staring Johnny Depp and it would be a waste of hard earned cash to pay to see it, thank goodness we didn’t pay to see it! We retired to bed with the wind howling around the boat, the lines jerking backwards and forwards and the rain pounding on the deck – who cares we were al safe, warm and dry inside!

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Thursday 23rd August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Well as you can see from the Long and Lat at the beginning of today’s blog we haven’t gone anywhere. We started the day off with purpose – we were going to leave, we took the trash ashore, tidied away all the things that move in transit and began our preparations for leaving. Meanwhile Gerry had wandered along the dock to chat to a new arrival who came in last night from Bora Bora; when he returned to our boat Abigail and I had just about got everything ready to leave when Gerry said that he thought we might not be going. The new arrivals told us that they had a weather report showing a severe gale blowing our way out from New Zealand and that the marine warnings were for all boats to be into Niue and anchored by Saturday at the latest. Gerry was immediately on the internet looking for more details and information as none of our rib charts had shown anything of the kind. Sure enough with enough hunting we found the rogue gale – it was part of the southern convergence zone stuff which happens out of the south (duh!) and can have winds reaching 70 knots - we didn’t want to be out in that so our departure was postponed for the time being. It appears that the front is supposed to hit Niue on the weekend and then who knows! We are a little concerned for Osprey who left yesterday and aren’t particularly fast, we aren’t sure that they will make it into the safe harbour before being hit by the storm. Anyway once we had decided to stay put we did a whole lot of nothing; wandering ashore for a coffee, read our books and took naps when we felt the need. We rearranged Abigail’s flight out of Tonga for a week later, though even this may need revising if the weather is slow to improve. As we have already spent a small fortune here on eating ashore and stocking up we decided to eat on the boat and I cooked up one of our favourite dinners – Miracle Whip chicken which disappeared in one easy go. Having been stuck doing nothing all day we opted to watch a movie after dinner – for the millionth time we Gerry and sat through Shrek 2 as Abigail had never seen it. For some reason it always makes us laugh, especially donkey asking “are we there yet” – it’s just like being on our boat! Once the movie was over it was time to try and decided on a plan for the next couple of days which we will spend here waiting for decent weather and then we were all off to bed.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday 22nd August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Today we had the car for a final couple of hours and had to get everything requiring transport done as soon as possible. I had a little business to attend to whilst Gerry and Abigail went and checked out, took the laundry to be done, filled up the fuel jerry cans, bought the chicken breasts that we couldn’t find yesterday and then returned the car to the hire depot. We all met back up on the boat and had lunch together. My afternoon was spent cooking up some meals for our forth coming trip. Abigail split her time between helping me and helping Gerry who ran hoses across the dock to fill our water tanks – it took some time and a lot of patience! By 16.00hrs we had finished with the cooking and were full with water and fuel – it was time for a nap. We decided to go cheap for dinner and went ashore to a fish and chip shop, it turned out that it wasn’t so cheap but at least there were no dishes to do at the end of it. Following dinner I typed up the blog notes whilst Gerry and Abigail read. We are now one of just two boats left here at the dock, all the others have taken off and are on their way to Niue, we plan to join the flotilla tomorrow, once I have loaded the blog and checked our email (not early!).

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Tuesday 21st August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

We planned our day down to the finest detail as we had the car for just one more day; Abigail went off to get here tattoo done whilst Gerry and I went off to do some grocery shopping and a quick stop at the bottle shop, that just about took care of the morning. We transported everything back to the boat and unloaded it, finding space where none really existed. Abigail returned to the boat around 13.00hrs sporting a new tattoo on her right foot, it’s an original design and she is very pleased with it. As we had planned to see the rest of the island today we immediately took off in the car and made our way around the shore line road traveling anti clockwise. We made just two stops – first to book for the dinner show at one of the resorts and then at a beach side restaurant for mid afternoon tea / late lunch and coffee. The setting was magnificent and the food was pretty good too. We continued our tour, being a little disappointed with the lack of signposting for the places of interest but never the less we enjoyed the scenery making it back to the dock in time for a little siesta before getting ready to go out for dinner. We all dressed up in our finery to go to the resort for dinner, even if our clothes were a bit rumpled from being crushed into small spaces on the boat. The dinner show was a buffet meal followed by a professional drum and dance group. The food was very good for buffet style and there was plenty of it; the show began at around 20.30hrs and was very entertaining with singing, drumming and island style dace demonstrations. The troupe performing have been international winners of some big events and were consummate professionals. Having seen the dancers in Nuku Hiva though I have to say that I thought it was a little too wooden and practiced for my liking, the Nuku Hiva dancers were more spontaneous.
That’s not to say they weren’t good or that I didn’t enjoy the show – it was awesome. It was the first time Abigail had seen such a show and she was duly impressed and took a heap of photos and some video clips. I thought the stars of the show were the little girls who opened the show – they were about 6years old and could swing their hips like you wouldn’t believe. Once the show was over we drove home, and were soon in bed sleeping.

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Monday 20th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Happy Birthday Tony, we are thinking of you today

Our day began with me making pancakes for breakfast; this in itself caused a problem as the gas (propane) ran out half way through cooking them. After changing the bottles over and finishing cooking we made plans for the day. Half way through eating breakfast we were interrupted by a shout from the dock, the agricultural inspector had arrived to check our boat, this meant that Gerry had to take the dinghy across to the dock and ferry him out to the boat – I’m not sure what these guys do if there is no dinghy. Anyway we plied him with strong coffee and suspect milk (is it meant to have little lumps floating on top?) whilst we filled out the required paperwork. Just as we thought we had finished with all that stuff another man arrived on the dock and needed ferrying out to the boat, this time it was the health and safety officer We offered him coffee but he settled for juice – wise man! Then he proceeded to tell us that he was going to spray our boat to kill off any bugs we may have bought with us – normal procedure for New Zealand ports of call, we closed all hatches and he did his thing whilst we sat in the cockpit. Then came the fee payment - $10 NZ for the agricultural man and $20 NZ for the health and safety officer, I tried to tell them that the coffee and juice cost the same as their fees but they didn’t fall for that one.We had to get a photo of them with Bear before they departed and they both posed quite willingly..
Once we had handed over our cash they required ferrying back to the dock which Gerry did. Then we got down to the plans for the day, Abigail wanted to book in for a tattoo, we needed to take the gas bottle to the refill station, Gerry had to do the customs and harbour master check in and we wanted to hire a car for a couple of days to see the island. We went ashore together and separated to do 3 different things, I dropped off the gas bottle, Abigail went to book her tattoo and Gerry went off to the harbour master’s office. I met up with Gerry and we went to hire a car, he then had to go and get a local driving license so I walked to the tattoo studio and met Abigail and the two of us then walked into town dropping off a necklace for engraving and a pearl to have a gold loop attached to. We met up with Gerry who had arranged his driving license but had to return later to collect it, he had then gone on to see if he could get an external keyboard for the computer that has the sticky key – he had bought one and the computer is now back in working order. We then retraced our steps to the police station but his license still wasn’t ready so we then went for lunch – figuring that everything may be ready after an hour of lunch. Eventually we managed to collect the license – and here’s the funny thing – it was Gerry’s photo, they had his birthday round the wrong way month where day should have been and day where month should have been, but the worse thing was that the signature slip on the back was someone else’s entirely! He didn’t wait around to sort that one out, figuring that it wasn’t going to matter anyway. It was then time to go pearl shopping. We hit just about all the main stores in town, Abigail found some baroque pearls to have made into earrings to match her ring and I eventually found a pair of earring that were reasonably close in colour to the ones in my pendant, Gerry just tagged along to sign the credit card slips and sit on the “bored husband” seats inside the store. With our shopping complete it was time to return to the gas filling station to collect our propane tank and then return to the boat for a late afternoon nap. We went out for dinner to a shore side bar / grill called “Whatever” where we had a wonderful meal, met some terrific people and shared a few stories with the locals including the owners and a man who holds the Guinness record for free diving for pearls. This man and I chatted for a while and it turned out his father was one of the founders of the pearling industry in the Cook Islands, he had taken over the farming and he surprised me by handing me a gift of a pearl just before he left for the night. It poured with rain whilst we were there having dinner and as soon as it stopped we headed back to the boat to make sure that we weren’t taking on any water and that the dinghy was still floating. Back on the boat we soon retired to bed, marveling at the generosity and friendliness of the people we had met.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday 19th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

Abigail and I had been reading the tourist guide for Rarotonga and it was recommended that attendance at the Cook Island Christian Church was not to be missed, so we decided that we would go along to hear the choir singing. Gerry wanted to do some work under the floorboards so it was best that we made ourselves scarce for the morning. We had breakfast and then the two of us set off to go into town and find the church. The town was deserted, nothing opens on a Sunday; we walked along the shore side walkway and enjoyed the views along the way. We eventually found the turn off to the church and made our way there; once outside I was a bit disconcerted to notice a sign saying that “no shorts or long pants for women were allowed”, I had worn Capri pants and was wary about offending the church body but a visiting preacher came up to us and welcomed us and when I asked about my mode of dress he said that he disagreed with the local dictate and I would be welcome anyway then he went off to talk to the local minister. Just before the service was about to begin he returned to us and showed us where to go, as it happened there were quite a few women (including some locals) wearing pants and shorts, mine were not the worst violation by any means! All the visitors were seated in the gallery overlooking the body of the church. The service was held in Maori and then translated into English; there were 2 choirs and the singing was magnificent. After the service which went on for 2 hours we were invited back to the hall to share refreshments with everybody but we politely declined as we were expected back at the boat for lunch. We made our way back to the boat walking along the shop side of the town, unfortunately even the window displays were covered up or put away out of sight so there wasn’t too much to look at. We found a tattoo parlour that was open and Abigail had to go and have a look at the designs, she is desperate to get a Polynesian tattoo before leaving here and was sussing out what she liked. We made it back to the boat and were greeted by Gerry asking what was for lunch. We then had to listen to what Gerry had achieved during our absence - not a great deal! Then it was time to get busy and fix the new sliders to the main sail and run a new topping lift line as our one had frayed during the trip. Once we had found the sail maker’s palm (it was in a safe place), the sail needles and thread and some new tape I set about stitching the new sliders into place whilst Gerry hoisted Abigail up the mast to replace the topping lift line. We finished both jobs at about the same time and after taking some photos, with bear in the bosun’s chair with Abigail we packed away the sail and the repair gear and retired to have a rum punch and an afternoon rest. There were no restaurants open as it was Sunday but the fish and chip shop just over the road from the dock was open so we opted to get a take away from there for dinner. Just as we were deciding to watch a movie we heard a yell from outside – a couple of guys from the other boats wanted to know if Abigail would like to go to the movies with them, they had no idea what was showing but she went along anyway. I sat and typed up the blog notes for the trip whilst Gerry read until 22.00hrs when Abigail returned. It turned out that they didn’t go to the movies and a group of 5 of them, mostly in their 20’s went for a few beers at a local pub, it was good for her to have some people of her own age to have a chat with and share stories of their experiences on the various boats. After listening to her relating the stories of the night we all went to bed.

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Saturday 18th August

Rarotonga,
Cook Islands


21 12.295 S
159 47.091 W

I spent most of my watch trying to get the cross track error back down, we had been forced to go about 7 miles off track and clawing back that 7 miles took almost all night to achieve but by the time 06.00hrs came around we had just .5 mile to make up and we were just 5 miles from our way point. Gerry and I were both on deck at dawn and we decided to slow our approach down a little by furling the jib away, we didn’t want to go into the harbour until the light was good as it is surrounded by reef and boulders and we were tired and didn’t need any dramas at the last minute.
We took down the French Polynesia flag and hoisted the Q flag. We found the lead lights with no problem, they were bright blue but as soon as the sun rose they went out and we had to try and line up two triangles for the harbour approach. We dropped the main and turned on the engine to enter the harbour, calling the Rarotonga radio as per the guide instructions. We were told to await the harbour master’s instructions for docking and as we slowly made our way into port we wondered if we were ever going to hear from him. Suddenly we were hailed on the radio by a yacht that was docked alongside, they offered to help tie us up (it’s stern to docking with an anchor out). We explained that we were waiting for the harbour master’s directions and then got told that he was on vacation! After some discussion and chat with 2 of the guys docked alongside we were assisted to anchor and tie up. Finally by 07.45hrs we were able to turn off the motor and breath a sigh of relief, the passage was over. Our new neighbours were quick to introduce themselves and give us directions to everything and explain the requirements for checking in – it was all very relaxed here and no pressure to do anything until Monday. After a cup of coffee, a shower and change of clothes we took all the laundry across the road to the nearby launderette and then headed to the hole in the wall for some cash and then on to the weekly market (Saturdays only). We strolled through the market and purchased a few fruits and vegetables and Abigail bought a couple of things that she fancied
before returning to the launderette to collect our clean laundry – great service 2 hours and it was all done and reasonably priced too. The afternoon was spent having a sleep to catch up with the lost hours in transit. Around 18.00hrs we walked towards town to an Indian restaurant that we had spotted, I wouldn’t recommend it in a million years, the food was bland and the service left a lot to be desired but we were all too tired to care too much and returned to the boat as soon as we had finished eating and were all in bed asleep again by 21.00hrs.

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Friday 17th August

At sea

20 44.970 S
159 16.836 W (at Midnight)

It was now over 24hrs since we had begun this horrendous nightmare of a ride, the seas and wind were slowly calming down; we began to think that 22knots and 12 ft seas were good! Finally as I took the watch at 05.00hrs the winds dropped to 20 knots and by 08.00hrs were down to 17knots – it felt like we were hardly moving at all. As the sun (!) rose we spied a few patches of blue sky, admittedly they were very small but at least they were there. Our speed had dropped away to 4 knots – now we weren’t going fast enough – there’s just no pleasing some people! Gerry went out on deck and removed the pole from the jib (we had furled the jib away with the pole still in place) and we very tentatively unfurled the jib, it picked our speed back up to a respectable 5.5 knots which we were happy with as it would ensure our arrival at Rarotonga in daylight hours. We threw the fishing line on the water to see if we could tempt anything (no it didn’t work). For the rest of the day we took turns to catch some sleep and keep watch. We continued to try and dry out the inside of the salon and the clothes and towels that were soaked from the previous couple of days. The wind speed settled at around 17 knots and stayed there with occasional gusts of up to 23 knots for the rest of the day and into the night. We managed to have a decent evening meal at last and some normality returned to our schedule.

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Thursday 16th August

At sea

19 25.741 S
157 33.870 W (at Midnight)

Gerry stayed up with me until the rain stopped, we hadn’t detected anything else on the radar and fully expected things to return to “pre rain cloud” state once it had passed – huh who were we kidding!. Once the rain had passed the wind speed kept creeping up reaching 25knots and the swell was now up to 12feet. We were hurtling along at speeds up to 9knots. Gerry eventually went back to bed to try and sneak a bit more sleep in before we changed watch again – later than we would normally have done. Things didn’t improve when he took over either, and the pitching and rolling just increased making it impossible to sleep. At one point a huge wave washed along the gunwale and filled the lee cloth, breaking the cable ties that were holding it in place, luckily I was right there at the time (having been unable to sleep and returned to deck) and saved the lee cloth from burial at sea and managed to reattach it with some new cable ties though they would need to be redone properly when we finally calmed down. Dawn was a non event, the sun didn’t manage to break through the cloud cover all day; the sky remained grey, white and miserable looking for the entire day. As the winds grew (sustained speed of 28 knots but reaching up to 35 knots for periods of up to half an hour) we had to turn further and further off of our course to try and keep the main from flapping wildly or heeling us over so far that we were afraid of falling overboard. For the first time in ages we made sure that we attached the harnesses to our lifejackets when we were in the cockpit and under no circumstances were any of us going out on deck – we decided that we would just try to go with the wind as much as possible until it died down a bit. It was really a white knuckle sail, at times it was as much as we could manage to just hold on and not be thrown around the cockpit. Gerry was concerned that we were putting too much strain on the auto pilot and gave George a reprieve and hand steered for most of the morning. We had walls of water hitting the beam and knocking the boat around which had to be compensated for at the same time as the wind was gusting and trying to blow us even further off course. By 15.00hrs (having managed to eat only the snack foods we keep in the box on deck as no one was game to venture down the companionway steps) Gerry decided that things weren’t improving and although it was a bit late to be doing it we really should put the second reef in the main. I was dead set against him going out on deck as the waves were still crashing over the deck and likely to knock him over but he insisted that we could lose the main all together if the winds didn’t drop and out he went whilst I hand steered and Abigail kept watch on Gerry to let me know if there was any problem. Happily Gerry managed to get the second reef in the main and was back in the cockpit safely quite quickly. The bad news was that we had flogged the sail so hard that the top 2 sliders that hold the main into the mast had broken and would need to be replaced; the good news was that the sail was holding up despite this. With the second reef in place we dropped our speed to 7 knots. Just before 17.00hrs it began to rain and we hoped that following the end of the rain the wind would drop – who were we kidding; it continued to roar around us at 24 – 27 knots. The swell had increased and we estimated
that it was now at 15feet. Dinner was a big non event; we ate canned pasta and pot noodles – it was just about all I could manage to throw together in the turbulent conditions and none of us really wanted to eat much anyway but we all needed something hot to warm us up. The night watches were a fiasco, Gerry took first watch but it was impossible to sleep below and I went back out on deck to try and doze in the cockpit. At some stage during Gerry’s watch the dock steps broke the ties holding them in place on the deck and they careened across the deck but luckily didn’t go over the side as they got stuck between the fuel jerry cans and the lifeline; they would remained there until we hit calmer waters. Another problem was that we had taken so many waves across the deck that the ports over the salon area were beginning to leak and we had quite a lot of water over the seats and floor inside the boat; I mopped up and laid towels over as much as possible but again it was something that would have to wait until we hit calmer waters before we could deal with properly

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Wednesday 15th August

At sea

18 26.950 S
155 06.235 W (at Midnight)

Happy birthday Sue, sorry we missed talking to you when we called, hope you had a good day.

Our second day of the passage began well, I cooked us breakfast and we all watched the sunrise, not that it was very spectacular. We again threw the line in the water hoping for a fish today. The wind began at about 15 knots with the swell still on the beam but within a short time the wind moved forward of the beam and began to drop in strength. The sails began to flap and it wasn’t too long until Gerry poled out the jib to stop it from collapsing and moving the preventer on the main sail to stop it from flopping across to the other side of the boat. For the rest of the day the sailing was pretty horrible, rough and rolly making it impossible to read or do anything whilst on deck and difficult / impossible to sleep if you went below. Abigail began to realise that her sea legs weren’t quite as good as she had hoped, she began to feel a little sea sick with the constant pitching and rolling but at least she didn’t actually throw up. Just as Gerry went down below for his 16.00hrs nap the fish alarm went off, excited at the thought of fish for dinner we began to reel it in. As the lure got closer to the boat we saw that the fish on the hook was only small but it was being chased by a huge fish who obviously thought its dinner was being served up on a hook! The big fish managed to snatch our catch off of the hook without getting itself hooked – what a bummer! We checked the lure, it was almost shredded and the hook was bent well out of shape – it was another near miss! Not put off we changed the lure and trolled for another couple of hours without so much as a nibble before putting the gear away for the night. Dinner (another pre prepared meal as it was too rough to be down below cooking) and night watches began, this time Abigail went to bed early as she wasn’t feeling too good. I took over for second watch at 22.00hrs and nothing much happened until just before midnight when I picked up an enormous rain cloud about 4 miles off to our port side, it was moving quite rapidly and I began to close the curtains and called Gerry up to help me furl the jib away, by the time he made it on to deck it was just half a mile away and closing rapidly, the wind speed had rocketed up to 20 knots and we rapidly furled the jib in as the rain began to pound us.

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Tuesday 14th August

At sea

17 03.170 S
152 45.982 W (at Midnight)

At break of day we were beginning to make our departure preparations. We ran the generator and made some water, took the last of our trash ashore, made a couple of last minute phone calls and tied down all the stuff that moves when we are underway. By 10.00hrs we were ready to leave and went to turn off the generator and start up the engine; it didn’t quite get to that point though as Gerry found that the generator was hot to touch when it shouldn’t have been. We weren’t going to start our trip with a problem and so Gerry took the casing off of the generator and began to investigate why it was hot to touch; it turned out that the blower which cools the set wasn’t working, this meant further investigation. The minor tool kit came out and Gerry began to delve into the depths of the generator – he is quite used to this by now and after several prods and pokes, a few foul words and much testing of various wires he finally discovered that the earth lead was disconnected. Once the problem was discovered it was very quick to fix and we were soon packing away the tool kit and replacing the casing, we breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t a major problem, we have just about had enough of this generator and the next thing that goes wrong with it will probably see the whole thing being consigned to the deep! Anyway it got to 11.15hrs before we finally dropped the mooring ball and motored out of the bay. Once we had cleared the reef line we turned into wind and hoisted the main sail, once back on course the wind was blowing 15 knots on our beam – great for sailing so we unfurled the jib and began our passage in a pleasant way. Abigail wanted fresh fish so we threw the line in the water – ever hopeful! We had some fresh baguettes which we made into salad rolls for lunch and settled in for a reasonable afternoon of sailing. As the afternoon wore on the swell came around on the beam and made the motion a little uncomfortable as we rolled a fair bit. We hadn’t caught a fish by 17.00hrs so we packed the line away for the night. We tried to get into the computer to type up blog notes but found that we couldn’t open the thing as there was a sticky key and our password to open the computer contains the key that was sticky – just another thing to fix! It makes it even worse to know that all our photos and Abigail’s photos are stored on that computer we just have to hope that it is an easily fixed problem. I was going to have to use the older slower computer to do the blog at a later stage. An early dinner (one of the pre made meals) was followed by the start of the night watches. Gerry and Abigail stayed up together for most of the first watch, Abigail going to bed an hour before Gerry and I swapped out. Most of the night continued in the same way as the afternoon had – we were moving along quite well but it wasn’t the most comfortable ride.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday 13th August

Faanui Bay,
Bora Bora.
16 29.425 S
151 45.672 W

Abigail and I were up at the crack of dawn, we were going to pre cook a few meals ready for our next trip which we will be starting out on tomorrow morning. We chopped onions, opened cans, sautéed meat and vegetables, stirred in sauces and herbs and finally bagged up enough meals to cover at least four days worth of travel. At least we know that even if the weather is dreadful we will be able to eat something hot for dinner. Gerry, once he surfaced, topped up the fuel tank with the jerry can fuel and then made some water. By the time we had cleared up the mess we made it was almost lunchtime. We showered and changed into decent clothes and then sat enjoying fresh bread, cheese and pickles for lunch before getting into the dinghy and motoring into the town dock. We arrived at the dock at about 13.30hrs – half an hour too early to get our clearance from the gendarmerie, we hung about for the half hour, looking at the craft stuff that was for sale on the dock; a lot of it was lovely but it was made of shells or platted plant fronds which we were certain wouldn’t be allowed back into Australia. Finally the Gendarmerie was open and Gerry went to clear us out, having done that we headed to the bank to reclaim the bond money that Gerry had had to deposit for himself (Abigail and I didn’t need to post bond as we had EU passports). It took a while to get through the process but finally we got the money back and then made our way to the marine store where Gerry bought a couple of essential things that we needed for the boat. Our next stop was a café where we had a drink and then it was on to the jewellery stores to see if we could find some pearl earrings. Gerry got a bit put off by the prices and began to get antsy so we ended up not buying anything. Our last stop was the grocery store where we filled up a basket with the last minute things we needed for the trip. Having loaded the groceries into the back pack and carry bags we trudged back to the dinghy and then headed back to the boat. After unloading the bags, Abigail headed into the dock with the trash and her shower gear whilst I prepared a roast lamb dinner. Of course as soon as I had the oven going full blast it began to rain and we had to close the hatches down which made it very hot inside the boat. We eventually sat down to eat at just after 19.00hrs and by 20.00hrs all the clearing up was done; Gerry and Abigail were sitting chatting and I typed up notes on the computer. Our plan is to leave in the morning and head to The Cook Islands, we expect it to take 4 -5 days so there will be a bit of a gap until I write anything else for the blog

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Sunday 12th August

Faanui Bay,
Bora Bora.


16 29.425 S
151 45.672 W

Well we are getting lazy; we woke up and decided that we were going to do nothing today. I cooked breakfast and then had to do the dishes – there was something wrong there! Gerry did a run into the yacht club and paid for another night on the mooring and checked out the time for lunch as Rappa (who runs the club) had invited us along with a few other people to a Polynesian lunch. We were to go to the club at midday and we spent the couple of hours left reading our books, answering emails and loading photos onto the computer. We got showered and changed and dinked into the club dock. To our surprise the restaurant was closed, we expected it to be open for the Sunday lunchtime session; we feel certain that they would have made a killing if they had opened. We made our way to Where Rappa had set up a table and had a fire going, he was just pulling a couple of breadfruit out of the fire. We watched as he peeled the blackened skin off of them and put them in a bowl, the inside was cooked through to a soft but firm consistency. We were joined by 2 other families and Rappa and his wife served up the breadfruit with a hot beef mixture over the top of it and a fish / tomato dish on the side.
We all ate with gusto and enjoyed the flavours of tis typical Polynesian lunch. For the next 3 hours wee sat and chatted to each other in the garden of the yacht club, exchanging stories of our travels and listening to Rappa telling us that he had only taken over the yacht club area 4 months ago and was in the process of building up the services to the visiting yachties. We all added our ideas of what would be good to have available (simple things like a book exchange and bread delivery) and Rappa promised to look into providing these things fro the boats that will follow us. Just before 15.00hrs we collected our laundry from Rappa (we had to be quite firm about a certain polo shirt of Gerry’s that Rappa almost demanded we give him as a gift, it was the lime green Heineken Regatta shirt that I had bought for Gerry at great personal effort in St. Martin) We ended up giving him one of new boat hats but he was still asking for the lime green shirt as we climbed into the dink to return to our boat. I would have given it to him if there was any chance of being able to get another one but there just isn’t. At least the cost of the laundry here was more acceptable than it was in Tahiti – it only cost $7. 40 here for the same amount that we had washed in Tahiti for $100! We exchanged some books with one of the other boats in the afternoon and then Gerry went across to Isabella to chat with Max and John who had anchored nearby, he arranged to have dinner ashore at the club with them in the evening. We had a late afternoon nap before getting changed to go back in to the restaurant. Looking ready for a decent night out we all climbed into the dink and headed towards the dock, stopping by Isabella on the way to arrange a meeting time. We reached the dock and found that the place was locked up. Gerry went to find out from Rappa what was going on as we had a booking and so did Isabella. Bad news followed, the restaurant manager wasn’t going to open the place this evening! We were disappointed but got back in the dink and headed to our boat via Isabella to let them know the bad news. There went the evening, we got stuck at Isabella, had a few drinks and chatted well into the evening. Eventually I kicked Gerry under the table and said it was time to get something to eat. Half an hour later we finally got going; arriving back at the boat we settled for a bowl of soup and a few crackers before hitting the sack for the night.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saturday 11th August

Faanui Bay,
Bora Bora.


16 29.425 S
151 45.672 W

Many Happy returns Zachary, we hope you have a great day.

It rained overnight and we woke to a humid overcast day. We all decided that this would be a quiet relaxing sort of day with no pressure to do anything. I sat about and read my book for most of the day – the last Harry Potter book which I have to finish so Abigail can take it home with her. Gerry did a quick trip into the dock to pay for the mooring (having never found the guy to pay yesterday) and we asked him to enquire about laundry whilst he was there. On his return we learnt that we needed to bag up the laundry and get it back into the yacht club where it would be done for us by the morning. Once the laundry issue was sorted out it was almost lunch time.
Abigail then decided that she might take the push bike and go for a ride around town. Gerry pulled the bike out, pumped up the tires and got it ready for her to take ashore. Once she had got her money, camera, a radio, sun screen, emergency toilet paper and sunglasses packed into a backpack she was ready to go.
Gerry took her and the bike to the dock in the dinghy and set her up ready to ride off. When he returned we had our lunch and then I typed up blog notes whilst Gerry read his book for the afternoon and updated the virus scanner on the computers. We were quite surprised that Abigail didn’t reappear until about 16.45hrs, when we got a pleading sort of whine over the radio to come and pick her up at the dock.
Abigail had had a long ride all the way around the island on the bike – it was about 32kms and took in a couple of rather large hills, I have to confess that I was surprised she did it as she isn’t the most athletic of people and usually deems opening her eyelids a form of exercise. On the way she had taken quite a few photos and had some good views to show us, she had also checked out all the places shown on the tourist map as places to go. What did she get for all her effort? – a sore bottom, sweaty body and wonky knees! Once we had all had showers and changed our clothes it was time to dink back ashore for a drink in the bar and an evening meal at the restaurant. This time we remembered to take a camera in to the bar with us so we managed to take a few pictures of the club. Once again we had a nice meal but were disappointed that the restaurant was under utilised. As soon as we had finished eating we returned to the boat as Abigail was desperate to go to bed – at 20.30hrs

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Friday 10th August

Faanui Bay,
Bora Bora.


16 29.425 S
151 45.672 W

The dawn occurred during my watch and after it began to get light Abigail appeared followed by Gerry. We were soon passing the second island – just leaving us just 25 miles to go before we reached the anchorage at Bora Bora. Having caught nothing yesterday Abigail was keen to put the fishing line back in the water today – not that we caught anything today either but we tried! The wind also dropped away to nothing so we gave in and dropped the main, switched the engine on and motored for the rest of the trip.
By 11.00 hrs we were entering the anchorage at Bora Bora yacht club. I say anchorage but very few boats can actually anchor here as the water is over 80 feet deep and most of us don’t carry enough chain to anchor safely. Luckily the yacht club has a few mooring buoys and we were lucky enough to grab the second to last available one and tie ourselves on to it. The very last one went as we were tying up; if we had arrived any later we would have been out of luck and had to motor to a different bay to anchor. Once we were safely moored Gerry and Abigail jumped in the water for a swim, I held back as their squeals told me that the water was freezing cold, they didn’t stay in the water long and once they got out we put the dinghy into the water and attached the outboard. Gerry took off into the yacht club dock to find out about paying for the mooring and checking in with the gendarmerie. He was soon back telling us that we were booked in for dinner at 18.30 hrs and that happy hour began at 17.00hrs. The checking in was at a different dock so he then took off to investigate that. Meanwhile Abigail had a nap and I tided up the cockpit mess from the trip. Gerry returned and suggested that we all go ashore into town; we locked everything up, gathered up our gear and headed off in the dinghy for the town dock - quite a distance away, where we tied up and proceeded to walk into the town. As it was nearly 15.30hrs by now most places were closed or closing, Abigail and I had a quick look at the pearl shops whilst Gerry had a beer with John who he had bumped into outside a bakery. After that we decided that we needed to go back and have a rest before happy hour, when we returned to the dinghy Gerry was certain that someone had syphoned some of the fuel out of our outboard tank as it seemed a lot less than he expected, still there was enough to get us back to the boat so it was OK. Although the plan was for a nap none of us slept, Gerry hooked up the internet and we found out that there had been a plane crash off of Moorea – this presumably was what the mayday calls had been about as we were under way to here, we didn’t know of anyone who was flying out at that time so we assume that we didn’t know anyone onboard the flight. When it was time to go ashore for happy hour we climbed back in the dink and roared into the yacht club dock. As we tied up we saw that there were about 5 other dinghies following behind us – the news of happy hour was well spread! The yacht club as such is a bit of a non event, it really doesn’t operate as a club which is a shame but there is a restaurant next to it with a loose affiliation. The restaurant is a tiki hut which opens onto the water front, it is very well done with white sand as a floor covering and white billowing curtains tied back at the entrances (the sand is a pain as it gets in your shoes though). We drank a few cocktails, with Abigail giving the barman instructions on how to make her favourite one, and then it was time for dinner. The bar had been full for happy hour and we were quite disappointed to find that the restaurant wasn’t quite so well supported by the visiting yachties. The food was good and we enjoyed the meal before climbing back into our dinghy and heading back to the boat for the night. We were all very tired and soon in bed sleeping soundly.

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Thursday 9th August

At sea

16 51.057 S
150 57.369 W(at Midnight)


All good things come to an end and so when we got up this morning we began the packing away of things that move when we are under way. Gerry and Abigail secured the dinghy to the deck whilst I got out the life jackets and filled the snack box. At 09.30 hrs we were ready to leave, Gerry hoisted the anchor whilst I steered us out of the anchorage, Isabella hoisted their anchor and followed us out – we were both heading off in the same direction – to Bora Bora. We hoisted our main sail and unfurled the jib whilst we were still in the protection of the anchorage and then turned towards the channel markers that lead out through the reef, the wind was on our beam and we were moving along quite nicely so the engine was turned off and we sailed out into open water. Unfortunately once we were clear of the island effects on the wind we found that it was coming more onto the aft of the boat – not the best point of sail but we were still managing to move along at a reasonable speed even if we were going slightly off course, with over 100 miles to go it didn’t matter too much at this point. We threw the fishing line in the water and dragged it along in the hope that we might catch something edible –yeah right! We were about 2 hours out of Moorea when we heard a mayday go out over the radio, it was in French and we were only able to decipher a few words of it. There was nothing obviously in distress anywhere close to us and we continued on our course No long and lat was given for the mayday and after a while we heard the mayday call down graded to a pan pan, still no long and lat or detail that we could understand. We did see the coast guard rushing towards Tahiti and in retrospect we think it must have been responding to the mayday call. Our fickle wind turned even further and came around behind the boat causing our sails to collapse and flap as they back winded each other, we got fed up with the flapping and furled the jib away, leaving just the reefed main to push us along. It was quite rolly and uncomfortable but we were heading in roughly the right direction. Abigail did well until it was time to cook dinner, I am never good at going below and cooking so she volunteered to help, unfortunately it would appear she is just like me and within minutes of being below and trying to prepare food she was looking a bit green around the gills and not feeling too well. Knowing the feeling well I sent her out on deck and told her to stay there whilst I finished cooking the dinner. To her credit she managed not to be sick but she didn’t feel too good and left most of her dinner. Immediately after dinner I sent her off to bed, Gerry was also feeling a little worse for wear but was happy to stay on watch, for once I was the only one who felt fine so I ended up doing the dishes as well as the cooking - the dishes are usually Gerry’s responsibility. As it was now time to begin the night watches I went off to bed whilst Gerry took first watch. It was not a good night as the rolling prevented us both from sleeping well during our “off watch” periods and we both spent more time in the cockpit than in the bed. Around midnight we passed the first of two islands that were about 20 miles apart, at 1.5 miles off of it we were quite close to it - this was due to the wind still keeping us slightly off course. Abigail surfaced for a short while during the night but soon returned to bed – guess night watches aren’t going to include her!

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Wednesday 8th August

Opunahu bay,
Moorea


17 29.318 S
149 51.059 W

We decided to stay for one more night at Opunahu Bay as the place was so pretty and we all wanted to go for another snorkel. After having a lay in and a late breakfast we prepared the dinghy for a trip out to the reef. All the snorkelling gear was put into the dinghy and then we all found a space to sit. It was only when we got out to the reef that we realised that no one had thought to put the ladder in the dink – we were going to have to struggle to get back into the dinghy from the water, I was all for going back to the boat and getting the ladder but the other two just laughed at me and donned their snorkelling gear. We all jumped into the water and began a slow swim around the reef. It was well spread out and I’m happy to say alive with beautifully coloured coral and loads of different reef fish, unlike any of the ones we had seen in the Caribbean. We all kept pointing out different things to each other and dragging each other to different spots to see things – it was really a good spot to snorkel. After about half an hour Gerry had had enough and told us he was heading back to the dinghy, Abigail and I wanted to stay a little longer so we snorkelled back to the dinghy via a longer route. Gerry was already in the dinghy and Abigail was easy to haul over the side and on board – that left me. I started to giggle as soon as I had my hands over the edge of the dink; the other two didn’t help much by laughing and offering feeble advice on how to get in. I eventually climbed up the back end and for a while laid half in the dink and half out, it took an exhausting effort to get myself onto the seat but I got there in the end – next time I’ll be the one checking that we have the ladder with us before we set off! Back at the boat Abigail and I sorted out the rinsing of swimmers and packed away the snorkelling gear whilst Gerry dinked across to Isabella, a yacht we knew from Panama, to have a chat with them. On his return we learnt that they had invited us for drinks that evening. It was by now around lunchtime so we ate on board before succumbing to the heavy eyelid syndrome. Once we were over the afternoon nap we packed a cold bag with some wine, rum, beer, fruit juice and nibblies and dinked across to Isabella. The owners, Max and Tracy along with their friend John welcomed us and we sat chatting, eating and drinking in their cockpit for the next 3 hours. It was interesting to chat with some Aussies who had undertaken roughly the same trip as we have at around the same time, their tales were fairly similar to ours and we have crossed paths with the same boats along the way at different points in time, no doubt we will meet up with them again before we get home. Lorie – just to make you laugh – as we boarded their boat we could smell curry cooking and both Abigail and I commented that it smelt good; Tracy’s response? – Well, I had this meat in the fridge that I wasn’t took certain about so I thought that it would be best to make curry with it. So you see it’s not just us! Anyway it was pitch black by the time we made our way back to our boat (and the beef curry that I had cooked the day before!). After dinner we all sat reading until it was time for bed.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Tuesday 7th August

Opunahu bay,
Moorea


17 29.318 S
149 51.059 W

The water was flat calm first thing this morning so Gerry decided that today was the day for going up the mast to fix the anchor light and replace the spinnaker halyard. Abigail and I manned the winch and Gerry squashed himself into the bosun’s chair. It was a great deal easier to hoist him up the mast with the 2 of us taking turns at the winch and soon he was threading the trace down through the mast with the new halyard attached to it (after managing to drop the new halyard once and causing us to have to find some way to get it back up the mast to him). Abigail climbed on to the boom to hook the trace through the right exit point and we managed to pull the new halyard through and tie it off. Then it was another few feet up the mast so that he could change the bulb at the anchor light. At last all the replacements were done and we reluctantly let him back down again. Of course it was stinking hot by now and we had all caught the sun a little. We though that we were going to be able to go for a swim next, oh no, Gerry wanted to get the stitching done on the jib (it had come apart along the sacrificial edging about half way up). Out came the heavy duty sewing machine onto the foredeck, down came the jib and then the cursing and swearing began as the thread kept breaking, the tension kept going wrong and the sail was difficult to get underneath the foot to stitch. One broken needle and about a million yards of thread later I had managed to do a repair job that was just acceptable. Abigail went off for a swim whilst Gerry and I struggled with the sail but she was back onboard in time to help us put it back up and furl it away again.
Once we had the sail away we debated whether we wanted to move to the next bay around, as we had snorkelled the reef in Cooks bay and there was supposed to be internet available in Opunahu bay we decided to move around there and see if there was. We hauled the anchor in and motored the 5 miles around, dropping our anchor amongst the dozen or so boats already there. We ended up re anchoring twice as Gerry wasn’t happy with how close we got to other boats when the wind changed direction. Abigail took herself off for an afternoon nap whilst Gerry and I went for a dink around the shore line – lots of coral heads dot the shoreline and although they are marked by channel markers we still managed to hit the top of one of them, luckily there was no damage done but we took a very wide path back to the boat. I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking up a curry and making up kebabs for dinner. The last of our bananas were soft and squashy by now so when Abigail got up we threw together a couple of banana loaves. Gerry bar b qued for the second night in a row, I guess we will be cleaning the bar b que out tomorrow as he didn’t do it after using it. We had all caught the sun today to various degrees and the Aloe Vera was applied to areas of red skin quite liberally before going to bed.

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Monday 6th August

Cook’s bay,
Moorea.


17 28.874 S
149 48.922 W


It was a fairly laid back sort of start to the day, not that Gerry wanted it to be that way but he was outnumbered. Once we were up and dressed we loaded the dinghy with the trash bags and plastic shopping bags, clambered into the dinghy ourselves and after rearranging everything so we could all fit in, set off for the dock. After tying up we deposited our trash in the dumpster and then set off walking along the main road heading towards the Carrefour supermarket which was a short distance away from the marina. We had noticed that there were a great deal of supermarket carts lining the marina dock – all from the Carrefour supermarket, so it was obviously OK to “borrow” them in order to transport the groceries back to the marina. They use the coin in the slot and lock to another cart deposit method to control the loss of carts but obviously if there is another cart at the marina then you just have to lock your cart to it to be able to retrieve your 100cpf coin (a little over US$1). Once we reached the supermarket complex we decided that we might as well have breakfast there before doing the shopping and we picked one of the two cafes and ordered ourselves cooked breakfasts, it was OK but quite frankly Gerry cooks a better breakfast than they did. Once we had finished with eating it was time to collect a cart, paying our 100cpf deposit, and begin to load up with groceries. The Carrefour was a large, well stocked supermarket which carried electrical goods and clothing as well as groceries. It didn’t take us too long to fill our cart with all sorts of good things along with a few pairs of new swimmers; it wasn’t cheap by any stretch of the imagination but we had to replace the foods that we had thrown out due to the lack of refrigeration whilst the boat was in the boat yard undergoing repairs. Abigail and I hung back whilst Gerry pushed the cart along the road to the marina; it is obviously a regular thing as no one batted an eyelid at the sight of a grown man pushing a cart loaded with groceries into the marina. Our only problem was that by the time we got back to the marina all the carts that had been lined up there were gone, the supermarket had collected them all – it looked as if we were going to loose our deposit! We wheeled the cart as close to the dinghy dock as we could get it and there we found just one single lonely cart, we locked our cart to it and retrieved our deposit after transferring the groceries into the dinghy. We were down quite low in the water by the time the three of us got into the dink with the groceries but we managed to motor back out to our boat without incident, albeit a little slowly. Abigail and I had the job of unloading and stashing away the shopping whilst Gerry hoisted the dinghy on to the davits. As soon as everything was away the engine was turned on and Gerry was itching to get underway. The anchor was hauled in and we began motoring towards Moorea – the island that was just 19 miles away. As we cleared the reef we turned westwards and were going to try to sail except that the wind was coming directly on our nose so we continued to motor for a while. Eventually the wind began to clock around to our beam and we unfurled the jib and slowed the motor. Bear was put in charge of the steering for a while; Gerry can be seen in the photo supervising Bear at the wheel. It took us around 4 hours to get to Moorea and we followed the channel markers into Cooks bay. The views of the bay were quite breathtaking and at times it didn’t look real. There we had a choice as to anchoring – either inside the bay or out near the reef; most of the boats seemed to be out near the reef and we elected to go there too as we wanted to be able to snorkel from the back of the boat. We dropped the anchor and once we were happy that it was set we donned the snorkelling gear and jumped in the water. Abigail and I spent quite some time investigating the small bits of reef close to the boat, gradually working our way outwards to the bigger patches. We saw loads of pretty tropical fish of all shapes and sizes amongst the reef, some of them I had not seen before. The reef itself wasn’t alive with colour but it wasn’t as dead as some we have seen in the Caribbean. When we tired of swimming around we returned to the boat for a shower and an afternoon nap. Dinner was a bar b que on the back end of the boat and then it was time for bed.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Sunday 5th August

Marina Taina,
Tahiti


17 35.399 S
149 36.985 W

It rained during the night so we woke up to a wet cockpit and cushions as we hadn’t closed the curtains down for the night. The sun soon came out though and the drying process began. We had all sorts of plans for the day but these were somewhat thwarted by the weather – the wind got up and was blowing at 19 knots from the south. Our plans to hoist Gerry up the mast to change out the anchor light and run the new spinnaker halyard were put on hold until there is less wind and our plans to go ashore and do the rest of the grocery shopping were also scrapped for the day as we would have gotten soaked going by dink as the wind had whipped up the water going into the dock. The morning was spent reading, changing the engine oil, doing the accounts and email stuff.
After a delicious lunch prepared by Abigail, both Gerry and Abigail went for an afternoon nap. I stayed up and sewed up an Hawaiian shirt and bandana for Bear and fixed the torn cockpit seat cover. By the time I had finished with the sewing it was cocktail time and we had a drink on board before heading into the marina for another meal ashore. Yet again - not a particularly exciting day and one which left us with jobs to do early tomorrow before we head off on the next part of our trip.

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Saturday 4th August

Marina Taina,
Tahiti


17 35.399 S
149 36.985 W

Our first job of the day was to get the little bit of laundry done whilst we were still where there was freely available water. Gerry planned to change out the oil in the generator Whilst Abigail and I wanted to get to the market and stock up on some vegetables and fruit for the next few days. I stopped at the bank and raided the cash point yet again so that we at least have some cash for the next few days then we walked over to the markets and began filling our bags with fresh produce. We bought 3 ready made salads for lunch and then made our way back to the boat where Gerry was itching to get going. We stowed the produce away, unhooked the water hoses and cast off the lines. Our destination was only about 5 miles away – at an anchorage just off of Marina Tahina. We had to get the harbour control permission to cross at both ends of the airport runway and at the furthest end we had to go into a holding pattern for a few minutes as 2 planes were coming into land. As soon as we cleared the runway we were just a short distance from the marina where we stopped to refuel. Having now got full water and fuel tanks we are almost set to leave – just a few more grocery items to purchase and we will be good to go. We anchored amongst the fleet of boats in 47 feet of water and spent the rest of the morning watching to make sure we didn’t drag anchor. The dink came off the foredeck and we ate lunch in the cockpit before deciding that we all needed an afternoon nap which extended into the early evening. We elected to go ashore for our evening meal and dinked into the marina dock. The al fresco bar and restaurant at the marina was very pleasant and busy. We caught up with some Australian yachties that we had met in Panama who had arrived in Tahiti just after us then we had a nice meal before dinking back out to the boat for the night. It wasn’t the most exciting day but it was quite relaxing.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Friday 3rd August

Papeete,
Tahiti


17 32.422 S
149 34.279 W

Happy birthday to Katie and Leora, hope it’s a good one!

Well we were up, showered, car loaded, checked out and on the road by 07.20hrs,
of course not all of us were properly awake but the driver was and that’s all that matters. The drive to town took an hour and a half – longer than normal as the traffic was heavy and slow. We stopped at the bank and raided my card again – we just about had enough to cover the bill now. Our next stop was the propane depot to collect our bottle that had been filled 3 days prior and then we headed to the boat yard where we quickly unloaded the gear from the car and put it on the boat. Overnight some idiot had gone through the area with a paintball gun and we now sported 3 pink paint ball splatters on the boat – Gerry was not a happy chap! The car had to be returned by 11.30hrs so Gerry took off with Abigail, stopping on the way at the port captain’s office to add Abigail to our manifest and to check out (we sort of plan to leave on Sunday and the office is closed all weekend). Meanwhile I went on board and made the mistake of opening the fridge, with no power for the past 4 days everything needed to go in the bin, there were fruit flies inside the fridge and there was blood running in to the fridge from the defrosted meat in the freezer – oh joy! I threw out everything and proceeded to clean out the freezer and fridge, ending up with buckets of foul water which needed to be disposed of. I couldn’t get them off the boat until Abigail and Gerry returned as someone moved the ladder away from the back of the boat and I was stranded aboard. At last I managed to get the fridge and freezer smelling normal again and then put away the laundry and shopping in their right homes. By this time Gerry and Abigail reappeared having dealt with the paperwork and car hire place, they were a bit cross as the car hire place wouldn’t give them a ride back to the yard and they had been forced to get a taxi back – using cash we didn’t have to spare. Gerry went off to pay the yard and luckily they hadn’t deducted the tax from his bill so when they did that we had a little left over (enough for a drink and dinner at the vans that night). We spent the next couple of hours washing down the decks and trying to get the paint ball splatters off of the boat with some success. At around 15.00hrs our boat was back in the travel lift and going back into the water, it was nice to be back aboard with all our stuff at hand. Once we were free of the travel lift we motored around to the town lagoon and tied up alongside for the night (Abigail had befriended the port captain and he had not charged us for the one night, as long as she emails him the photo of himself with Bear). Once tied up we hosed out the cockpit again and Gerry ran the generator – it was a delight to hear, so quiet again and running smoothly thank goodness. At last it was time to go ashore for happy hour, we had just 2 drinks in the closest bar and then went to the food vans and had a delicious Chinese dinner and soft serve ice cream. We walked back along the waterfront to our boat and spent the remainder of the evening listening to music before going to bed.

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Thursday 2nd August

Papeete,
Tahiti


17 32.422 S
149 34.279 W

Happy birthday Scott, hope you are enjoying Australia.

Today began as a beautiful sunny day and Abigail and I seriously thought of cancelling our plans to visit the pearl farm and stay at the pension and go swimming and kayaking but in the end we got in the car with Gerry and headed into town. We took the slightly longer route into town along the winding road; Gerry dropped us off at the tourist information booth so we could use the facilities before heading to the pearl market.
Once we had managed to cross the busy road we walked the short distance to the pearl farm, stopping to buy Abigail a couple of new pairs of swimmers on the way. The pearl farm building was 3 stories high and each floor had a classification of the type of pearls they exhibited there – Charm, Elegance and Prestige. With over 200000 pearls on display it was difficult to pick the one that you wanted and we spent the rest of the morning admiring and oohing and ahring at the pearls. We learnt how the pearls are categorized by shape (round, semi round, semi baroque, baroque and circled); quality (A, B, C and D); size (usually between 8 and 12 mm) and finally colour (green, blue, golden, silver, purple, eggplant, rainbow, fly wing). After much deliberation Abigail picked her pearl and a ring setting to suit it then it was my turn; with the expectation that she will inherit my jewelry Abigail watched carefully over my choice of 2 pearls to go in a pendant setting. Once we had chosen we took photos of Bear amongst the pearls (everyone’s a sucker for Bear!), paid for our purchases and arranged to collect them after lunch so that they could be set for us. We had about an hour to go before we had to meet Gerry for lunch so we took a slow wander through the market and shops on the way to our arranged meeting place. Gerry arrived after we had been waiting for 15 minutes and found a parking spot right outside the café we had picked to eat at. It was getting close to the end of lunchtime and the service was pretty slow but we eventually got a lunchtime special meal and explained that we had to go back to collect our pearl purchases after lunch. Gerry was pleased with the way his morning had gone – the frame for the generator was done and he had reinstalled the whole thing; unfortunately the test run was going to have to wait until the boat was back in the water as it is water cooled. The bushes for the rudder were installed and had to be left sitting in the same spot to allow the epoxy to harden overnight – it was all looking good. Gerry had the bill in hand – this presented us with a slight problem as the yard only took cash and we have a limit on our cards as to how much we can draw down each day. Gerry’s card gave up working a week ago and despite Abigail bringing him a brand new one from home he still couldn’t get any money out. This left us with just my card to draw money on and by drawing the limit each day for 3 days we would just about be able to pay the yard as long as there was nothing else to add to the bill. We were going to have to use the credit card for any other purchases we made for the next 3 days or use our emergency US $ from our ditch bag which we didn’t want to do. So after lunch our first stop was the bank to draw down the limit on my card then we headed back to the pearl farm to collect our purchases. We agreed that we were happy with what we had chosen and then hurried back to meet Gerry at the tourist information place. This time we only had to wait for 5 minutes before he turned up. We showed off our new jewelry which he did his best to admire and not ask the price (it’s only money after all). We then set off for the supermarket where we loaded up the car with the essential cans and heavy goods that we were going to need to stock the boat up with – this would be our last chance to use the car for gathering the heavy stuff as we had to return it the next day. The drive back to the pension seemed to take forever and once we got there Gerry did some quick emailing before we went out for dinner, this time returning to the same restaurant we ate at on our first night in the pension. As we were checking out the next day at 07.30hrs we packed our bags on our return from dinner and left everything ready to load in the car.

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Wednesday 1st August

Papeete,
Tahiti


17 32.422 S
149 34.279 W

The day began with Gerry feeling unwell, he had an upset stomach, anyone would have thought he was on his death bed from the way he carried on. Abigail and I had decided to spend the day at the pension and go swimming and relax at the water’s edge so with out too much sympathy we waved goodbye to Gerry and set about relaxing for the day.
I did a small amount of laundry – just to keep it under control as the load that we took to the launderette here cost nearly AU$100 – that was expensive in anyone’s book! With the laundry outside drying on the deck I had a cup of tea and some left over bread for breakfast, by now Abigail just about had her eyes open and muttered something about going for a kayak around the bay. The pension has kayaks which are free to use so she went off to commandeer one whilst I set up the computer and typed up the last couple of days’ worth of blog notes. I kept being interrupted by Abigail calling out to me – I had to take photos of her kayaking, bear kayaking, her snorkeling and so on, it just made the time it took me to type notes even longer. Abigail finished with her water exercise and came to join me in time for us to go and see if we could hook up to the free WIFI here. To cut a long story short – we failed! Everything we tried was a disaster and in the end we packed up the computer and decided to leave it until Gerry came home to see what we were doing wrong. The woman who runs the pension dropped by with a bowl full of fresh ripe bananas from one of her trees just before lunch time. Abigail and I prepared a feast of left over pate, cheese, bread and fruit for lunch and sat eating it on the balcony outside of the chalet. When we were full we laid down and read for a while, Abigail dozed off until Gerry suddenly appeared at the balcony doors – he’d had enough for the day and had come home looking for sympathy and something to eat, not that there was much of either. We told him that we had experienced difficulties connecting to the WIFI and he huffed and puffed in exasperation and stomped off with the computer to get closer to the source of the WIFI. It took him quite a while to sort it out and get connected but he eventually got there. So how did his day go? He managed to pick up the alternator for the generator from the airport without too many problems. The customs people wanted proof that he was on a yacht in transit and luckily he had thought to take all the boat papers along with him to the airport so it wasn’t any problem. The alternator fitted in the space that the old one came out of – a relief as it is a different (newer) model. The frame for the whole generator was in the process of being welded up and the bushes for the rudder were being installed so all was good on the boat for the moment. As for his stomach ache – what can I say? One day of having the shits and he was feeling like death warmed up – it was a good job it was me who was sick with food poisoning on the 5 day trip to here, as he would never have survived! Even Abigail showed him no sympathy, poor Gerry.
He laid down on the bed for a short doze and I ended up waking both him and Abigail up in time for dinner. We went to a different restaurant close to where we had been last time. The food was good but it wasn’t cheap, this restaurant seemed to cater for a different crowd – the early, family crowd and we were the last to leave the restaurant as they were clearing all the tables away for the night – and it was only 20.30 hrs! After the short drive home we were all in bed and asleep by 21.30hrs.

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