August 27, 2016 (-10 on UTC)

Dear Friends and Family,

We finally got the engines installed, the boom attachment (gooseneck) fixed and the steering seals replaced and we’re off to the island of Moorea, an entire 12 miles away!

Everything seemed fine (but standby – stuff yet occurs).

We motored across the “Sea of the Moon” as the channel is known in Polynesian – the body of water between Tahiti and Moorea.

We anchored in an old familiar spot and would do an island drive, self guided tour the next day before heading the 80 miles to the island of Huahine – The island of the women in Polynesian.

Tony Roberts from s/v "Tactical Directions" had to return to Papeete and took this photo of us as we were leaving the dock.

Tony Roberts from s/v “Tactical Directions” had to return to Papeete and took this photo of us as we were leaving the dock. This was our ‘home” at Marina du Papeete for the previous 2 1/2 month while doing repairs..

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The island of Moorea in the background. A local “V6 Crew” in their canoe with Tahiti’s reef at the main harbor exit behind them.

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Canning is the national sport and a complete lifestyle for many Polynesians. This is the entrance to the harbor at Papeete with the notice to call Port Control as the airport runway is just off to our right. You need permission to pass in either direction.  The “Aranui 5”, one of the local inter island cargo and tour ships is in the back ground.

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This is one of many high speed catamaran ferries that go between Tahiti and Moorea daily. The trip can be as little as 25 minutes each way. Many locals actually commute.

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This is an important memory of my time in Tahiti in 1977. This is the very spot, right behind the navigational mark, that my 32 foot ketch, “Triad II” went aground. That’s another story for another time. Fortunately, we were towed off the reef the next morning and the conditions were extremely benign that fateful June evening in 1977.

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Moorea and the “Sea of the Moon” as seen from Tahiti. The trip to the northern anchorages is 12 miles.

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Arriving at Moorea, you can see the inter island “puddle jumper” who left Papeete 10 minutes before hand, about to land on the outer motu runway.

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Oponohu Bay – Moorea. This is m/v “Wind Spirt” –  a sort of sail-power cruise ship. You get the feel and the experience of the “days of sail”, but of course the sail is mostly for show. The landmark in the back ground is the famous “Sharks Tooth”, seen in many Hollywood films from “South Pacific” to “Mutiny on the Bounty”.  Captain Bligh as well as Captain Cook actually did enter and anchor here.
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Tiare Nikki… Nikki loved the floral lei’s and head flowers known as “Tiare’s”,worn by many of the local women and enjoyed having the fresh flowers and floral scents around the boat any time.

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Rainbow at Oponohu Bay.  This is the parallel and sister bay to “Cooks Bay” to our left.  Huge cruise ships can enter and anchor in these tow sister bays.

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You really get the feel with this classic Swiss yacht of the olden days of life at sea under sail.

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A Byrd on a Wire!…. This classic sailing vessel was gaff rigged and had “ratlines” to go aloft. These allow the crew to inspect and repair gear as well as have a longer distance view of low lying reefs and atolls.

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Captain Scott, on tour with First Mate Nikki in Oponohu Bay, Moorea.

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The floral “Tiare” with many of the local flowers including the gardenias and frangipani. The smell was fabulous and would waft everywhere through the boat.

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“Wind Spirit” under full sail. Actually, I think the sails can add only about 1 knot of boat speed and quite a bit of stability to these hybrid cruise ships. They would be in Huahine after an over night passage.

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Sunset at Moorea. Nuff’ said.
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We rented a car for the day island tour and were lucky enough to come upon this small boutique “pension” who allowed us to use their dinghy dock for the day.

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This is the classic “Belvedere” photo that everyone was lining up to take. I took many with Cindy here in 2009 and 2010…..Life’s memories.
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Oponohu Bay on the left (west) and Cooks Bay on the right (east). Despite the fact that “Cook’s Bay” is on the right, it was actually Oponohu Bay that Captain Cook anchored in. Both are easy entry and offer incredible protection for an anchored boat. We’re anchored to the left of the peak and behind it, inside the reef.

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At the foot of the “Belvedere” we got a close up look at some of the incredible geology of Moorea.

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There are experimental farms on Moorea and in the last 10 years or so, they’ve started growing pineapples.

 

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The islands of Tahiti, Moorea and especially the “Sous les Vents” (leewards) are renowned for their vanilla plantations.

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The Vanilla plants are completely enclosed in netted pens to keep certain pests away which would otherwise decimate the vines. We caught this dragonfly resting on the inside of one of the vanilla pens.

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This is a a gardenia which is the primary flower used in the “Tiare Tahiti’ floral crowns.

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This is the northwest side of the top of the island as seen from the top of “Magic Mountain”. Magic Mountain is a local view hike that takes about 45 minutes and is quite steep. We were pretty tired and of course, it’s hot!

The second largest town is below us and the Intercontinental Hotel is on the far left. The hotel is home to the stingray feeding (yes you can and it’s safe) and the boats anchored below are at the “underwater tiki garden”. This is an attraction only, not a true piece of archeology.  There are about 5-6 statures underwater that you can snorkel or dive around.

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Between the Bays.  Oponohu is below us and the entrance to Cooks Bay is in the distance. “Beach House” is third from the left.

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“Beach House” is the bottom right boat in this photo. We’re anchored in 8 feet of crystal clear water. One of the famous “overwater bungalow” style hotels is at the top. These are the most popular style hotels in the Tropical World. Many include a private entry into the ocean right in the middle of your room. Many have swim steps right off the patio. You choose.

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Kiteboarding inside the reef. This expert went over 5 miles back and forth inside the reef with a spectacular view both above and below the water. The water is quite flat where he is and is protected by the outer reef above.

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He’s kiteboarding in less than 6 feet of water for the most part. Pretty cool, exciting and beautiful.

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This is one of the big inter island ferries heading back to Tahiti from the eastern bay. Pretty nice digs and a great anchoring spot.

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All good things must end and we’re very behind our sort of schedule to reach Australia by mid December. Yeah, it sounds like it’s a long time and a long way off, but with 4500 miles to cover and lots of other places to visit, it was time for our boot heels to be wanderin’….Sunrise over Moorea en route to Huahine.

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Good Bye Moorea. We left at 05:45, first light to exit the reef. The trip was 80 miles and we wanted to be in Huahine before dark.

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En route to Huahine, this private jet (we assume?) took a liking to us and made several passes.

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You get a feel for how low he was with our radio antenna in the foreground.

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Whale HO!  We saw a lone whale as we were half way down the island’s west side and right when we got to the widest part of the island, we saw this group of three humpback whales.  This was Nikki’s FIRST OFFICIAL Whale sighting.

 

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A Whale of a Tail……and you wouldn’t have believed it if you didn’t see it for yourself!  The main town of Fare is in the distance where we would anchor for two nights.  We UNFORTUNATELY discovered that one of our alternators “power take off” had broken off the starboard engine and we would end up short circuiting our time on Huahine which was a disappointment. We briefly made a few new friends including Steve and Leilee on s/v Leeward. He’s sort of a “Jimmy Buffet” gone wild kind a guy.

We covered the 25 miles to Raiatea two days later where we were for eight days, touring and yet again….getting our engines “fixed”.  We also repaired a small annoyance on our boom (which made Capt. Scott happy) and met up with old friends Pete and Sue Wolcott (s/v Kiapa Nui) and Eric and Leslie from (s/v Kandu).

We are currently in Bora Bora about to depart for the island of Suwarow in the Cook Islands tomorrow!  Suwarrow (pronounced ‘Suvorov” was made famous by self imposed castaway, Tom Neale who lived there alone from the mid 1950’s to 1976 when he passed away. He wrote a book about his adventures, “An Island to Oneself” which we will read on our projected 4 day sail to this very remote island.

We most likely will have to finish up our next main blog with photos from our time in Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora when we next get internet in American Samoa within the next month!  After Suwarrow, we may try to enter the very remote and infrequently visited “Rose Atoll” en route to American Samoa.

We’ll keep you all up to date on the “Ship’s Mini Blogs and Position Reports” as we go on our way.

Feel free to drop us a note, love to hear from you all!

Scott and Nikki – Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Dear Friends and Family, (Posted August 27th, 2016)

These photos were from our experiences in Tahiti (besides the boat projects!).  We’ll be off for Moorea and the Leeward Islands of the Societies tomorrow.  After Moorea, we’ll do a long day sail to Huahine, then Raiatea, Tahaa and finally Bora Bora before heading off to the very remote Suwarrow Atoll in the Northern Cook Islands.

Enjoy!

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Shark’s Tooth peak – Cooks Bay, Moorea.  This is one of the most notable geographic features of the island where Captain Cook stopped in the calm anchorage which takes his name.

Soon after our arrival in Tahiti, the annual Pacific Puddle Jump Party was going to start the last weekend of June. This event is held annually for all the participants who sailed from the West Coast of the America’s. As we did this year, many via the Panama Canal with lots of boats from the US East Coast and Europe as well.  As “Beach House” was suffering from engine malaise, we went over to Moorea (only a 10 mile trip) on s/v “Enchanter” with Lisa and Rijnhard Keet out of Australia.  We roughed it in the Club Bali Hai hotel!

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This is the view from The Club Bali Hai. There were expected to be up to 70 boats, but the final count was around 40. Still, an impressive turnout. This bay is parallel to Oponohu Bay and is large enough to hold any size Cruise Ship. They come here frequently. Oponohu Bay is reputed to be the bay that Jimmy Buffet wrote his song, “One Particular Harbor” about.

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Cooks Bay, Moorea. The fleet arrives!  “Shark’s Tooth” peak is in the far left background, shrouded in the clouds.

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These two bays are typically very calm and despite their depth, very good anchorages.

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The main activity for the cruisers would be the 6 person canoe races. There were at least 8 heats to get into two semi finals and then the finals.  Kyle Bengar of s/v “Blowin’ Bubbles” was our Master of Ceremonies. Here we see the local talent teaching the “gringos” how to paddle a canoe!

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All together now!

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Here’s the start of one of the heats featuring the winner – Team ENCHANTER –  SWIFTSURE with Rijnhard, Lisa, Lanny and Ginger.

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Here comes Team Enchantrer-Swiftsure with a handy lead in the first heat!

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Here’s the TEAM after their first heat victory preparing for the next heat. They made the finals, but there were “ringers” about who stole their victory!!!!

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Latitude 38 Magazine is the co-sponsor of the event and here is Major Domo Andy Turpin with the crew from s/v “Starry Horizons”, David and Amy out of Texas.  They transited the Panama Canal about 2 weeks ahead of us.

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This was the “kids race”. You wanna talk close! Look at this photo finish.  Actually, Team “Kandu” was winning easy but the pro paddlers slacked off to make it close. Almost cost em’ too!

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Back in Marina du Papeete, Nikki uses her “Whole Foods” (don’t we miss that out here!) cart to walk to “Champion” Supermarche. She is THE most fantastic chef. I won’t even say cook!  At first we were docked right off the highway behind her in this photo, but the dirt and noise from the traffic got to be too much so we moved to the outer dock which is MUCH nicer.

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The “Heiva” is the annual “Fete” or festival. It’s about a month long and coincides with Bastille Day.  There are canoe racing competitions, dancing, fire walking and literally several thousand participants.

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The opening parade of the “Fete” for the “Heiva”.

 

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This is the locals Market. Nikki really enjoyed this place and sometimes would come over at 5 a.m. when they opened to get special goodies.

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This is the main Catholic Church in Papeete and we got to hear Leslie from s/v “Kandu” sing with the choir. She even had several solo’s.

 

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And just when I was starting to get into really good shape with my weight routine…………(see next photo)…..

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Some people say drinking is dangerous. You never knew how dangerous until you open a bottle of wine with a wine key and it breaks in your hand. This “V” shape fracture became a very efficient knife and cut the tendon completely through on my left index finger. I guess it was ironic as we would have to wait so long for repairs that I had more time to heal.

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In some ways, I was very fortunate. The local Clinic Cardella was still open at 4:45 p.m on this Friday night and when I arrived an orthopedic surgeon was on duty. The next day, I had a general anesthetic and the tendon was re-attached.  The big damage was at the middle knuckle and I had to wear this splint for the better part of a month.

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I’d like to tell you it looks worse than it is. Unfortunately, now, 6 weeks after the injury I still only have about 1/2 function in the main knuckle and virtually no use (I can’t bend) the distal (end) knuckle. It does however LOOK much better and the scar was minimized by my daughter Skye’s suggestion to use Vitamin E oil topically. I keloid badly and it really smoothed out the skin. I expect it to take the better part of a year to get most of the function back. It may never fully recover but the good news is – I’m right handed!  Needless to say, I’m very careful about opening wine bottles these days. The funny colors are from the betadine antiseptic that I washed it daily with.

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Rijnhard and Lisa of s/v “Enchanter” – dinghy-ed in from Marina Taina, almost 5 mile away. Lisa had a little dermatological spot removed so we could commiserate together.

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Nikki loves the local colorful clothes and outfits. The hats for her are just wonderful. So very 1950’s. She is a “1950’s” kinda gal.

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This is the office of the “Haut Commisere” (The High Commissioner). Nikki and I had to get a 6 week visa extension due to waiting for our new engines to arrive from Australia. They were very helpful.

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Nikki couldn’t resist these floral arrangements and several appeared weekly aboard “Beach House”.

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This IS the national sport of French Polynesia. There are racks and racks of these canoes in every size and variety. This group is right next to us at the Marina. Everyday we see crews out practicing in the harbor.

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I’d spent over a YEAR of my life on this island (Yes it’s true – 17 months actually) and I’d never been “up mountain”.  Nikki and I did a very long arduous off road vehicle tour to see the interior. Tahiti is shaped very much like Maui in Hawaii and similar to Catalina Island in California – however much higher – up to 8000 feet.

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Ther are hundreds of these waterfalls all over Tahiti. This one is associated with a hydro electric plant which supplies a significant portion of the islands power.  The rest is diesel generation.

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The tallest peaks of the caldera are just under 3000 meters (8000 feet or so). The valley is very rugged and has stunning views.

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This is view down the valley where the now extinct volcano crater is. There is an “Eco Tourist’ lodge here. Lots of hikes, etc. It’s “Eco” because it doesn’t have much in the way of facilities, but it’s very pricey.

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“Hole in the Wall”. There are no natural cuts through the center of the island and this tunnel is about 100 meters (yards) long.

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Here we are looking west after exiting the “Hole in the Wall”.  These very scary cliff side roads are passable, but haven’t been used past here in 10 years. Why? Because one of the villages wanted more money for the tourist vehicles to use it. Note the natural reservoir here at about 5000 feet.

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Tahiti is quite a mix. Sometimes we forget it’s a busy commercial harbor. When we take the boat for fuel to the other Marina, we have to ask the Port Control permission to pass the airport both ways due to the height of our mast!  It was a ship just like this that brought us our new engines from Sydney, Australia after they were trucked there from Melbourne, Australia.

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It would become a daily affair for us to wave goodbye to new friends. Everyone else was heading west as to not have to rush across the Pacific for cyclone season which starts in November. Here, Johnnie and Debs of s/v “Laros”  are headed west. We hope to catch up with them by Oz.

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You can see the huge cargo ship on the back left and the weekly Cruise Ship on the right.  Several of these vessels were on “round the world cruises” starting out of Sydney.

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Nikki loved watching the floral arrangements being made.

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We often had these lovely arrangements, worn like a crown adorn our interior. Just smell the Frangipani – imagine it!

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No trip to Tahiti would be complete without a visit to James Norman Hall’s home. James Norman Hall wrote in collaboration with Charles Nordhoff, “Mutiny on the Bounty”. The original film starred Marlon Brando and took quite a lot of historic license (as did Hall) with the facts of the story. Fletcher Christian wasn’t the so much the protector of the oppressed sailor as the film would suggest and Bly wasn’t the beast he was played out to be. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. James Norman Hall’s son was a three time Oscar winning cinematographer and married briefly to Kathrine Ross who starred in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.

 

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Original Film poster of Marlon Brando in “Mutiny on the Bounty” at the James Norman Hall residence.

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This is Matai Bay where both the “Bounty” and James Cooks, “Endeavour” were anchored.  We are standing at “One Tree Point” which Cook described in his log book. Point Venus is just to your right. Papeete is in the background with it’s classic barrier reef. The island of Moorea is under the clouds in the distance.

 

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Nikki at the obelisk denoting Captain James Cook’s sighting the transit of Venus in 1769.

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As we had the car this day, we invited friends Pete and Sue Wolcott to join us for a very special dinner at “Le Belvedere”.  This restaurant is up a 4 mile long, one lane road very high up above Papeete. Built in the 1960’s, it has recently changed hands and has had a major renovation. It is a spectacular spot, an amazing drive and a wonderful meal.  Papeete Harbor in the back ground. Get there for drinks at sunset!

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260 foot Super Yacht “Dragonfly” – rumored to be owned by one of the founders of Google.  She charters for more per week than most people make in a year.

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Party Boat Local Style. These are floating bar and swim hangouts. Some of them stay out for weeks and the guests are brought out in small boats. Note the reef behind the boat and the ocean outside is a bit bumpy.

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Nikki and I took French Lessons since we were here long enough. This is Odile who was one of our teachers. She went for a boat ride with us to Marina Taina to fuel up.

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It’s a small world after all!  The last time I saw this boat was right here at this very fuel dock. It has been to NZ, Europe and back with new owners and I’ve been around the world.  If Claire and Jason are out there, here is their former ride which used to be s/v “Elvis the Gecko”!

It’s a long story – just ask if you really want to know. The current owners of this Oyster 62 are from Ireland.

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Nikki has her Mum’s journal from when she and her Step Dad did a world cruise back in the 1980’s. This is “Sea Princess” which is the name sake of the vessel that Iris and Steve went round the world on.

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I include this shot of the Marina which shows the 260 foot ‘Dragonfly” with  s/v “Vertigo” at 240 feet right behind her. It’s rumored to be owned by Rupert Murdoch. These boats are enormous – until you look at them next to “Sea Princess”.

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Local Artists: Nikki found some of these exquisite paintings and tapestries. Price – Very! Stunning nonetheless.

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This painting looks like a tapestry, many of which are done on coconut fiber cloth and the traditional tree barks.

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Yet another Goodbye! This time it’s s/v “Tactical Direction” with Tony and Justin aboard. They too were headed for Oz.

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We won’t be the last lonely eagles. s/v “Bantu” in the middle and s/v “Ocean Star” in the foreground are still both waiting for final repairs on their transmissions.  We hope to see them all downwind from here.

Tahiti WEB PHOTOS-152Our last goodbye! (We hope). Here has been our home for the last 10 weeks at Marina du Papeete. We thank Manager Ken and Matai for their hospitality and assistance.

We’ll be off in the morning for Moorea and our next reports will be “Ship’s Mini Blogs and Position Reports” as we head to the “Isles sous les vents” (The Islands under the wind).

KIT (keep in touch!),
Scott and Nikki

Dear Friends and Family, (August 25th, 2016)

Well we are indeed getting ready to go on Saturday, August 27th!

 

Our home at Marina du Papeete where we've spent much of the last 2 1/2 months. Not bad digs. We're right downtown and you can see the island of Moorea in the back left of the photo.

“Beach House” in the foreground – Our home at Marina du Papeete where we’ve spent much of the last 2 1/2 months. Not bad digs. We’re right downtown and you can see the island of Moorea in the back left of the photo.

This Blog will be about all the “stuff” we cruisers get to take care of and why “cruising is the most expensive way to travel 15th class on Earth”. The old definition is, “Cruising is all about doing boat projects in exotic locations”. We have yet again, proven it to be true!

So here’s the list:

In Guatemala:

We painted the decks, the bimini, the solar arch and dinghy davits, the lockers, the bilges and completely serviced the engines and generator. (That’s the short story that took 4 months).

We did preventative maintenance and upgrades on all our major systems including the engines, the water makers, the boom vang (more later) and the hydraulic steering when we were in Florida at the end of 2014.

Here’s what failed:

The engines, the generator (figured that out in Panama) –  the water makers, the hydraulic steering the boom vang.  Ummm!  So much for preventive maintenance……

When we were in Panama, we had both our engines “rebuilt” with new rings and bearings. When we were in Guatemala, we had the injectors, all external pumps, the heads and valves checked and all maintenance.

200 Miles out of Panama, the engine rebuild failed. (We’ve told the story in previous blogs). When we were in the Galapagos we were ripped off royally but the mechanic there who essentially wasted our time while I paid for his family of four to visit Disney World (NO, I’m not kidding)! He probably still had cash left over after that trip as well.

1000 miles out of the Marquesas, our steering began to fail.

As we arrived in Raroia in the Tuamotus, our new boom vang leaked.

We’ve had upgrades done to both our water makers and due to the change of ownership at Spectra in the S.F. Bay area to Katydyn, it’s been problematic at best. Spectra I fear will have customer service difficulties galore going forward.

So join us for the photo tour of how we spent our “Holiday in Tahiti”….:-)

The major affair of course was the engines. When we arrived, we were given an estimate to re-build them yet again. The previous rebuild in Panama failed as apparently the mechanic did not prepare the cylinders properly. As such, it created crankcase over pressurization and crankshaft oil leakage. That’s the brief version. It turns out it was only slightly more expensive to buy new ones here in Tahiti, shipped from Australia,  than rebuild the old ones. We bit the bullet and suffered the month long wait for the new engines to arrive.

Here’s the first of our major projects:

Engines: We purchased two new Yanmar 4J5H Engines which were essentially plug and play from our original 4J3H engines which were 14 years old, well pampered and only had 4000 hours on them.

This is the industrial dock where Bruno from GMS started changing our hydraulic steering hoses before the engine guys from Sin Tung Hing arrived. (More on this later). Bruno also removed our Boom Vang to replace it's leaking seals. He would soon discover we had a major rigging problem when working on the boom vang. Stand by, you'll see that too!

This is the industrial dock where Bruno from GMS started changing our hydraulic steering hoses before the engine guys from Sin Tung Hing arrived. (More on this later). Bruno also removed our Boom Vang to replace it’s leaking seals. He would soon discover we had a major rigging problem when working on the boom vang. Stand by, you’ll see that too!  Ironically, this was the exact same dock where Cindy and I had our generator craned out of the boat in 2010 to have it completely serviced. It too since that time was replaced in New Zealand in 2011.

 

The first job was to remove the port engine with a portable crane and you see Dominque in the hatch and "He Fara" in the blue shirt negotiating the engines exit. By this time, Bruno had remove the steering hoses and the old pressure relief valves as well as removed our boom vang. His shop was in the back ground.

The first job was to remove the port engine with a portable crane and you see Dominque in the hatch and “He Fara” in the blue shirt negotiating the engines exit. By this time, Bruno had remove the steering hoses and the old pressure relief valves as well as removed our boom vang. His shop was in the back ground.

 

The black tube you see is the "Boom Vang" it's job is to hold the boom up in the air when the sail is furled and also adjust the tension of the back of the sail. One of it's primary functions is to have the exact angle "held in place" while we roll up our sail into the boom. This is a critical feature of our system. The boom vang was replaced in Panama after 11 years and the new one leaked after 3 months of use. Bruno fixed it! New seals arrived from the USA via friends Pete and Sue Wolcott who where returning from the States back to their boat located here as well.

The black tube you see is the “Boom Vang” it’s job is to hold the boom up in the air when the sail is furled and also adjust the tension of the back of the sail. One of it’s primary functions is to have the exact angle “held in place” while we roll up our sail into the boom. This is a critical feature of our system.  You can see the round roller furler on the front of the mast (in front of the boom). The boom vang was replaced in Panama after 11 years and the new one leaked after 3 months of use. Bruno fixed it! New seals arrived from the USA via friends Pete and Sue Wolcott who where returning from the States back to their boat located here as well.

 

This is one of our two hydraulic steering cylinders. There is one on each rudder. It is seen here with the new hoses installed and the old (presumably failing pressure relief valves removed). The PRValves are NOT necessary to the operation of the system We thought they might be the culprits as to why our steering failed and was "slipping". The slippage required Nikki and I to reset the rudders to the autopilot and each other every 2-6 hours for the last 2000 miles!

This is one of our two hydraulic steering cylinders. There is one on each rudder. It is seen here with the new hoses installed and the old (presumably failing pressure relief valves removed – you can see where the screw holes were that held them to the deck). The PRValves are NOT necessary to the operation of the system We thought they might be the culprits as to why our steering failed and was “slipping”. The slippage required Nikki and I to reset the rudders to the autopilot and each other every 2-6 hours for the last 2000 miles!  These are located in the engine room, so Bruno wanted to get in ahead of the engine guys which he did. At lunch this day, he put the new hoses in as to not stop the engine replacement work.  Bruno was great to work with. He liked that I spoke some French too!

 

He Fara guiding the old engine out. Dominque is down below.

He Fara guiding the old engine out. Dominque is down below.

 

A portable crane was contracted to do the job. The guys really knew what they were doing.

A portable crane was contracted to do the job. The guys really knew what they were doing.

 

New Engine arrives.

New Engine arrives.  We had to remove the belt cover and install our second alternator as well as change one motor mount, but for the most part it was “plug and play”.

 

New Yanmar 4JH5 Engine

New Yanmar 4JH5 Engine. We changed over to our current bronze exhaust elbow which is much more robust than the stainless steel one you see on the right. Why? Because the bronze does better with salt water than the stainless steel. As well – the hoses fit perfectly!  We would re-use these palates to ship the old engines which still have a lot of value on a cargo ship to Sydney where we’ll pick them up at the end of the year.

 

Here comes the new engine. A few pieces and parts have been update. Different style fuel lift pump and oil coolers as well as now upgraded to "serpentine belts" like cars use, but otherwise, pretty much a "we found out what the customers needed and upgraded" version of same.

Here comes the new engine. A few pieces and parts have been update. Different style fuel lift pump and oil coolers as well as now upgraded to “serpentine belts” like cars use, but otherwise, pretty much a “we found out what the customers needed and upgraded” version of same.  You can see our power take off pulley which they customized on the front of the crankshaft at the bottom center as well as the alternators bracket in He Fara’s hand.  The serpentine belt was removed for installation on the standard alternator. The water pump (raw salt water) is now accessible from the front instead of the rear. (bronze colored pump on your right in the photo). These new engines are considerably quieter too!

 

Fortunately, our engine hatches are big enough to do this job. On some boats, they actually have to cut into decks and all sorts of carpentry/fiberglass to do a "re-power". As we were using the same SD-50 Saildrives, we also did not have to haul out of the water to change transmissions!

Fortunately, our engine hatches are big enough to do this job. On some boats, they actually have to cut into decks and all sorts of carpentry/fiberglass to do a “re-power”. As we were using the same SD-50 Saildrives, we also did not have to haul out of the water to change transmissions!

 

OOPS! When Bruno returned at lunch, he put the new steering hoses in and went to put our boom vang back in place. He discover a screw sitting on the deck (never a good thing!) and then discovered why! Our "gooseneck" was pulling out of the mast after 12 years of use. We do have 50,000 miles on "Beach House", but the failure was really the design of the part for our mast. Note that the piece does not wrap around the mast and as such all the screws are holding the gooseneck in place by "tension" alone. We contracted a company to fix the job and they did a good job. I won't mention them here as their price was (initial billing) twice what it should have been. Welcome to being a captive audience.

OOPS! When Bruno returned at lunch, he put the new steering hoses in and went to put our boom vang back in place. He discover a screw sitting on the deck (never a good thing!) and then discovered why! Our “gooseneck” was pulling out of the mast after 12 years of use.  A “Gooseneck” is the stainless steel device that holds the Boom to the Mast. We do have 50,000 miles on “Beach House”, but the failure was really the design of the part for our mast. Note that the piece does not wrap around the mast and as such all the screws are holding the gooseneck in place by “tension” alone. We contracted a company to fix the job and they did a good job. I won’t mention them here as their price was (initial billing) twice what it should have been. Welcome to being a captive audience. We negotiated a significant reduction. It was still highway robbery.

 

Another angle where you can see the bottom left of the gooseneck pulling out of the mast.

Another angle where you can see the bottom left of the gooseneck pulling out of the mast.

 

Bottom view. The piece never fit intimately to the mast and this may have been contributory to the problem.

Bottom view. The piece never fit intimately to the mast and this may have been contributory to the problem.

 

The next day, we put in engine number two on the starboard side and it went even better than the first one. They had practice by that time!...:-)

The next day, we put in engine number two on the starboard side and it went even better than the first one. They had practice by that time!…:-)   You can see the “Aranui V” in the background. It’s a combination Cruise/Cargo ship that has first class accommodations to visit the outer islands of the Marquesas and Tuamotus on a real working ship. It’s pricey, but a unique way to see the remote islands of French Polynesia.

 

"Aranui V" - You can see from the size of this vessel it's nearly twice as big as "Taporro IX" is and when in HIva Oa and she comes in. Be on watch! The superstructure is the accommodations. You can see the working cranes on her bow.

“Aranui V” – You can see from the size of this vessel it’s nearly twice as big as “Taporo IX” is and when in HIva Oa and she comes in. Be on watch! The superstructure is the accommodations. You can see the working cranes on her bow.

 

Here's "Taporro IX" whose permanent dock was right next to where we did our engine exchange in the commercial area. She's a great deal smaller than "Aranui V".

Here’s “Taporo IX” whose permanent dock was right next to where we did our engine exchange in the commercial area. She’s a great deal smaller than “Aranui V”.

 

Once back at our dock in Marina du Papeete, Dominque, He Fara and the guys came over for a few more days to run new cables, install new engine panels and make sure everything was working properly. They were great and I would recommend them and Sin Tung Hing for any work of this nature. Thank You Christian, Dominique, He Fara, Cynthia and He Manu in the office!

New Style Engine Panels: These are a hybrid digital and analog panel. The oil pressure, temperature, battery voltage and engine hours are seen both via analog and digitally on these panels. Only the RPM is strictly analog.                                                     Once back at our dock in Marina du Papeete, Dominque, He Fara and the guys came over for a few more days to run new cables, install new engine panels and make sure everything was working properly. They were great and I would recommend them and Sin Tung Hing for any work of this nature. Thank You Christian, Dominique, He Fara, Cynthia and He Manu in the office!

 

New Gooseneck Welds.

New Gooseneck Welds.  You can see the outline on the left of the old piece and the new areas welded on with “wings” to put the new screws in “sheer” as well as “tension”.  It’s quite the job to remove the boom to do this. We have to remove the mainsail, the boom vang and the boom. The sail weighs about 100 lbs., the boom about 300 lbs.  After all that of course, we’ve got to re-assymble it.

 

Finished piece ready to install.

Finished piece ready to install.  Pascal did a lovely job on this. I’m just sorry that the pricing of his company was such that I could not recommend them.

 

New Gooseneck Installed.

New Gooseneck Installed. This is quite a bit beefier and fits intimately to the mast as well. The side plates will prevent the issue from ever happening again.

 

More Rigging Woes!

More Rigging Woes! Note the “A” frame above our anchor is missing it’s “Martingale Stay”. I was so concerned that I’d missed the obvious gooseneck failure, that I hired Mat a local rigger to do an inspection of the mast and all the standing rigging. He found that we were in good shape except for this stay. He said on average on big cats he recommends they be changed every 7 years or so. Ours was 14 years old.  He thought the rig was in overall excellent shape but found a little problem with this one stay. The Photo below shows it re-installed and replaced with a new one.

 

You can see the wire making an "A" frame here with the new "Martingale Stay". This keeps the aluminum cross beam from flexing between the hulls (adding rigidity to our structure) and also allows us to tension our genoa stay (head stay).

You can see the wire making an “A” frame here with the new “Martingale Stay”. This keeps the aluminum cross beam from flexing between the hulls (adding rigidity to our structure) and also allows us to tension our genoa stay (head stay). It’s apex is at the top of the piece above the anchor.

Where you see the black electrical tape on the turnbuckle is where the wire failed.

Where you see the black electrical tape on the turnbuckle is where the wire failed. Mat put some electrical tape over where the cotter keys are placed just to make sure no sail or line would catch on them. This turnbuckle when re-tensioned flatness the aluminum cross piece adding great rigidity to the structure.

 

Mat takes a needle nose plier and checks all the wire AT their swedge fittings. From this he can tell if any of the wires have failed. He found two on the port side of this stay where it went into the fitting.

Mat takes a needle nose plier and checks all the wire at their swedge fittings. From this he can tell if any of the wires have failed. He found two on the port side of this stay where it went into the fitting.

 

Mat Making a new "Martingale Stay" in his truck. Fortunately, Mat carries the wire size for our boat and has the fittings and his own swedging machine. He floods the end fitting with a neutral density silicone so water cannot get into the wire where it's compressed into the swedge.

Mat Making a new “Martingale Stay” in his truck. Fortunately, Mat carries the wire size for our boat and has the fittings and his own swedging machine. He floods the end fitting with a neutral density (non acid/base) silicone so water cannot get into the wire where it’s compressed into the swedge.  Mat is another guy who was fair, efficient and did a great job. I would use him again in a minute. He also did some splicing repairs for me on two lines that we’d damaged on our sail from the Galapagos to the Marquesas.

 

We almost got away! It turned out that our PRValves in the steering were NOT the problem but what I had suspected from the beginning. That is - the cylinders were internally slipping from wear. We tried to depart Tahiti on the 20th of August, but the steering was immediately an issue again. I called Bruno, he came down the next day and replaced the seals in both steering rams. We tested them on Tuesday and it now works perfectly. The upside down 2 liter bottle you see in front of me is how I feed fluid into the hydraulic system to get all the air out which is a big job in itself.

OOPS again! We almost got away! It turned out that our PRValves in the steering were NOT the problem but what I had suspected from the beginning. That is – the cylinders were internally slipping from wear. We tried to depart Tahiti on Sunday,  the 20th of August, but the steering was immediately an issue again. I called Bruno, he came down the next day and replaced the seals in both steering rams. We tested them on Tuesday and it now works perfectly. The upside down 2 liter bottle you see in front of me is how I feed fluid into the hydraulic system to get all the air out which is a big job in itself.  The clearest yellow fluid is hydraulic oil, though by now you might imagine I’d be “pissed” off – that’s American pissed off – not Aussie/Kiwi/Brit “pissed” though after the bills, you might have expected that as well!.

 

One of the two hydraulic steering rams taken apart after our initial tests determined the likely culprit was the internal seal on the hydraulic ram itself.

One of the two hydraulic steering rams taken apart after our initial tests determined the likely culprit was the internal seal on the hydraulic ram itself.

 

Bruno inspecting the cylinder tube to insure there were no nicks or scratches. That alone would cause a leakage of fluid and steering failure.

Bruno inspecting the cylinder tube to insure there were no nicks or scratches. That alone would cause a leakage of fluid and steering failure. Note how small the tube is. These “rams” are most likely too small for the amount of miles we put on the boat in a season and as such, we should probably just proactively change the seals every 5000 miles or so. The current ones have about 8-9000 miles on them now. The alternative would be to upsize these as big as would fit in the space. Bruno from GMS was great, knew exactly what he was doing and also very fair in his billings. We would easily use him again. AND, like all the folks at Sin Tung Hing and Mat – he’s nice guy!.

 

The internal seal. It's an "O-Ring" under a nitrile seal like you would find in a fuel injection system. Just imagine this going back and forth (only a few inches) but 20-60 times/minute for 1000's of miles. You can see why this doinky little seal would eventually wear out. After they were replaced, we tested the system under load for 10 miles and it worked to perfection!

The internal seal. It’s an “O-Ring” under a nitrile seal like you would find in a fuel injection system. Just imagine this going back and forth (only a few inches) but 20-60 times/minute for 1000’s of miles. You can see why this doinky little seal would eventually wear out. The good news it does give you warning and is still usable as we proved for weeks after the initial problem. In the future, we’ve spares and I could easily change the seals.
After they were replaced, we tested the system under load for 10 miles and it worked to perfection!

 

Well, we didn’t even go into the water maker issues as photos there would be of little interest. Suffice it to say after lots of struggle over many months, they now work fine. We’ve had some other small and normal maintenance issues as well. We replaced our mainsail cover (it was rotted out after 6 years). This has been the year of the boat bite. Miss Piggy however is now ready to rock and roll off to the Land of Oz with many stops along the way. We hope to get our last blog out here in Tahiti about the fun stuff we did and meeting lots of new friends along the way. More to come soon!

Scott and Nikki – Papeete, Tahiti