July 1, 2010
Aitutaki – Day #6
It is overcast & has drizzled off & on. We left dive master Onu a message at
7:30 a.m. (he didn\’t pick up either cell or biz line) that we were not
interested in diving in the rain or at similar/same mediocre sites. He
called us back at 8 a.m. very understanding. He had four other customers, so
it would have been a bit crowded on the boat anyway. The Americans onboard
gave me the thumbs down sign when they returned. Poor Onu got stung by a
small jellyfish in the eye (he has a habit of flooding & clearing his mask
underwater – it must fog up). Hopefully he will be fine. But between that &
the poor visibility with the gray sky, they scrapped the 2nd dive so we
didn\’t miss out on anything.
Unlike sometimes, I was quite pleased to have a \”home day\”. The fridge is
acting up. Scott got an email reply from a tech support guy on what
tests/troubleshooting we need to do. It\’s a different problem than we had
before & overall it IS functioning, but seems to think it has low voltage,
even when we\’ve just charged the batteries, so that is a mystery we need to
First job though was changing the water maker filters. We are so shallow,
anchored only about 5-6 feet deep in the lagoon, that we suck up a lot of
sand & yuck in the intake. So instead of needing to clean the filters every
2 weeks, we need to do it every 2-3 days to keep the water quality good. No
big deal, about an hour job, pink/blue teamwork.
About 11 a.m. we heard someone hail us from ashore. It was the couple we saw
yesterday when we walked to the fancy hotel, Sonia & Tom. They were on a
(nice hotel owned) moped, came to bring us a book she finished reading that
both Scott & I are interested in & had heard of. It is called: \”I am Nujood,
Age 10 and Divorced\”. A true story of a girl from Yemen. We dinghied ashore
to pick them up since they were interested in seeing our boat. We talked
story & gave them a tour for about 1 1/2 hr. I was getting hungry for lunch
& knew they wanted to explore the whole island & had a 3:30 p.m. flight out,
so Scott ferried them back as I prepared our lunch. He also took our empty
propane tank to the nearby fuel station. They said they can fill it
\”sometime\”. I have a 2nd one & they last a really long time, no rush.
After lunch we noticed the wind shifted & “Beach House” was lying at an odd
angle to “Na Maka”, our sister ship. We are close to each other, both
anchored bow (front) & stern (back) usually we move in tandem & no problem.
We did not have many feet of chain (much scope) out on our stern anchor,
since the prevailing wind blows from the bow, meaning all the load is on the
front hook. So our stern anchor had dragged when the wind shifted with the
load on the stern. There was no panic, but we did need to react, never
knowing how hard & fast the wind will ramp up. We forgot where we had stowed
the critical gizmo to keep the stern chain centered when we take it up or
down. It took almost half an hour of searching through multiple lockers to
find it. The wind had ramped up by then, so I volunteered for tugboat duty.
Hopped in the dinghy & placed the bow of the dinghy at the turning point of
the big boat to push her into the desired position. We learned this
technique during one crazy weekend at Big Geiger Cove in Catalina & it has
paid off. Scott with long cable remotes, could handle both the bow & stern
anchor chain, taking up one & paying out the other, while I pushed us
sideways. It is a bit stressful, but exciting because I knew I could do the
job required of me & that it is a very important & critical job to do right..
No time to be a Ninny! Maneuvers took about 45 minutes. High fives to each
other, followed by an iced coffee.
My sister asked this question: \”Since the diving doesn\’t seem to be very
good, why don’t you just zip to the next island?\”
A) We hope there ARE better dive sites & we just need to wait until the
weather is such that we can get to them.
B) Our next 2 islands do not have airports. Mike shipped our generator parts
(plus a couple other needed items) via DHL out of L.A. today.
No generator parts = no scuba compressor = can\’t fill tanks = no diving. No
dive operators at next 2 islands, very primitive, undeveloped. Here, we are
lucky that we can dive with 2 different operators, so it doesn\’t cramp our
style to have the generator on the blink. It is NOT as efficient to charge
the batteries with our main engines, but do-able. We are not getting much
solar due to cloudy skies. We absolutely want to be able to dive, so need to
be able to pump our own tanks at the next 2 islands.
We went to shore again later today & I scored locally grown lettuce, as well
as cold stored NZ apples (where were they hiding them before now?), some
onions, 2 dozen more eggs & 2 liters more shelf life milk. I suppose I could
force myself to get used to powdered only, but if I don\’t HAVE to, I really
prefer the taste of the low fat boxed milk, to the whole powdered. It is so
nice to be able to bring trash to shore. We had to stow it for 2 weeks at
the last atoll.
I had thawed out a chunk of several boneless/skinless chicken breasts, found
an eggplant at a market yesterday so got inspired to cook Szechuan eggplant,
this time with Kung Pao chicken (in the past I\’ve always served it with
shrimp), plus pressure cooked brown rice. I didn\’t have fresh ginger, but
bought a jar of \”prepared\” grated ginger that smelled awful to me, but I
used a tiny amount & it was fine. Scott loved it all so much he didn\’t mind
the pile of dishes I created. Best part is 3 more meals leftover! I froze
one & put 2 containers in the fridge. We don\’t mind eating the same thing
for a couple days in a row.
Just when we sat down to eat it poured buckets & we had to scurry to close
all the hatches to keep the inside of the boat from getting drenched. It was
very funny because Scott had just said: \”You are a better cook than my Mom.\”
We had a good laugh that Suzanne was NOT pleased with that comment so caused
it to rain upon our dinner!!! Tropical rain often lasts only 15 minutes.
Sure enough we were able to open up & are now enjoying a nice breeze and 79
The weather will probably not be dive friendly again tomorrow. We are quite
content to use our time here to catch up on repairs, maintenance, writing,
reading, etc. We still want to rent a car & explore the entire island. We
may also go on a Lagoon Excursion. Jerome & family dinghied on their own
yesterday to a little motu (Honeymoon Island) & had a lovely day. The island
is 6 x 1 miles. The lagoon (inside of the fringing coral reef) is about 10
miles x 8 miles. So compared to the last few places we\’ve been, this is
larger, so more sightseeing can be done. It is amazing how much vegetation
has sprung back since the February hurricane. There are flowers blooming &
green vegetation amidst the collapsed buildings. Nature can both destroy &
Cindy & Scott