Sunday 17th June 2012
Set sail this morning towards Hawaii from Taina marina after a windless motor along the well-marked channel inside the reef, around to Rade de Papeete and the Passe de Papeete - the reef entrance leading N..... Once well away from the wind-shadow of Papeete's volcanic heights, the wind kicked in and I was able to cut the motor - and soon had to reef down. The wind got up very strongly and quite suddenly, although it died down a bit later to a steady 18knots. There's quite a swell, not far apart, so we're being tossed around quite a lot - especially being on a beam reach.
It's very warm, especially below decks... around 35C (the AIS screen kept going blank, and having to be switched on again, it got so very hot...but it seems fine now the night air has cooled down a bit). It's refreshing to get up on deck into the cool night air. 4 hrs out, I kept to leeward of the 5-mile wide atoll of Titiaroa - I thought it would be deserted, since there's no boat passage through the reef shown on the chart, but it had lots of greenery and clearly people are living there. Later, at 0320Z, I checked in with the Pacific SeaFarers Net on 14300 kHz and will do so daily.... It was good to make contact with familiar voices!
I've lost all emails (in and out!) from Hobart to Tahiti (from 1st May until 14th June) - including some replies that were 'posted' but never got sent..... frustrating when a laptop suddenly goes down..... It was the laptop I'd been using since the screen on my other one cracked just as I was about to leave Tasmania. Edouard, on the dock at Taina, tried to rescuscitate the dead computer without any luck but reckoned he could help me by removing the hard drive , putting it into a case and then I could use it just like an external hard drive so I could use its data etc... but somehow, when copying and pasting my emails from 'old' to 'new' laptop's Airmail system, the emails I particularly wanted went missing....
So if you're one of the people whose email reply is lost - you now know why - please re-send your last email so I can respond to it!
It's a good thing I've a remote screen at the chart table, so I can use the damaged laptop on board for emailing via the SSB, otherwise I'd be stymied.
After complications arose, the new autopilot system was finally finished by Patrick on Friday - the day I did the long tour around to Clear Out ...... Immigration at Faaa airport, 'le Truc' into town to the Port Authority office for their clearance paper and then the long, hot, dusty walk around to the Industrial Zone at the far end of the Harbour to find the 'Douane' offices - so they could add their stamp to my Clearance Certificate... the same very good-humoured French official I saw when Clearing In there dealt with me again, despite it being his lunch-time...
Last time I was lucky in getting a lift part of the way back - so I tried hitching a lift this time also - no luck for ages, but finally one very kind woman stopped - and took me all the way to Taina - brilliant! She also insisted on giving me a bag of ripe papaya - lovely!
Patrick had kindly taken me on to the airport for Immigration paperwork after taking me to the nearby Total station to pick up my filled propane tank - I'd wheeled it there from the marina in a Carrefour 'cart' early on Wednesday in the hope it might be filled, but was rather dubious as to my chances.... More good news - 11kg of propane - that will last me a long time!! I'd been unable to find any of the blue 'Camping Gaz' butane bottles for sale that I'd hoped to get while in Tahiti - so this was excellent compensation.
Wednesday also found me in the Carrefour supermarket stocking up on UHT milk - virtually unobtainable in the USA or Canada - and pate and vegetables - thanks to a lift from another cruiser with a hire car for the day. Unexpectedly, I met Anne of 'Uhambo' there - and later husband Alain was at the marina to greet me - they became good friends and helped me a lot when we were together in Ushuaia last year after my knockdown.
Using two large buckets on deck, and the plentiful supply of fresh water on the dock, I've managed to wash lots of lines, some laundry and all my salty foul-weather gear, in between servicing several winches over the last few days. It's been sunny and hot & I had to rig up shading while I worked on the winches.
When I went to pay my marina bill on Friday, Phillippe, the manager and my neighbour on the dock, reminded me I was expected at their barbecue Saturday evening - as it turned out, I had plenty of stowing and clearing up to do before leaving, so I was able to enjoy their hospitality last night with several others - a pleasant end to my stay at Taina.... It's been good to be able to practise my French again!