Bev hoists Moe up the mast

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 18 Apr 2010 02:15
There were a number of other WARC boats in Taiohae bay when we arrived, as well as a couple of Blue water rally boats. We dropped anchor, had lunch then went ashore to purchase some fresh fruit from the stalls on the quayside. The mangos, pineapples and bananas were delicious but very expensive.
We walked to the two local supermarkets but other than cornflakes and flour for bread, we fortunately didn't need to buy any other provisions.
Jeannius came alongside and rafted up to us while we transferred 200 litres of water to their water tank. Their water maker is no longer working and they too will be leaving to make passage to the Tuomotos in the next day or two.
We hired a car and explored the island, visiting two ancient, sacred sites, one with tikis, the other with a form of amphitheatre where, adjacent to a huge banyan tree, there is a deep, stone-walled pit where victims were kept until it was time for them to be sacrificed.
The vegetation was exotic and tropical and everything was very green.
The main road was only metalled in places, which explains why all vehicles on these islands are of the four-wheel-drive variety.
We parked the car under a tree, at the waters edge and went to a local restaurant for lunch where a least eight other WARC participants were already seated, as were a similar number of Blue rally participants, as well as a similar number of locals.
The menu had an excellent selection of meals available including fish, prawns, lobster, goat curry, pork and more. Between us all, we probably tried all the food on the menu and it was all quite delicious.
Next morning we filled up the fuel tanks on the boat as well as the rib. We had been warned that to tie up alongside would cover the hulls with black rubber marks from the truck tyres that were hung in clusters against the concrete quay. It had been suggested that we dropped an anchor and tie up stern to the wall and this is what we did.
What a nightmare! The swell was such that we were thrown back and forth to such an extent that at one stage we were not sure that it was safe to get close enough to take the fuel pipe from the dock to the boat. As the boat was thrown about, the lines threatened to pull out the cleats. We used additional lines with compensators but because we were restricted by the narrowness of the area from which we could access the fuel, the lines were catching on the safety equipment and the satellite aeriel.
There was no automatic cut-out as the tanks were filled so it was impossible not to spill fuel. This wasn't helped by the violence of the swell, particularly when we filled the spare plastic containers.
The whole experience was fraught and hopefully we won't have to go through anything quite like it again.
We left the bay just after noon and set sail for Ua Pou,, the most populated of the Marquesa islands, arriving around 4.30 and giving us time to take the rib ashore. This arid island is the only one, within the Marquesas, with towering volcanic plugs as seen on Moorea and Bora Bora. The name Ua Pou means "the pillars".
Next morning at 6am we left the Marquesas to make passage to Makemo in the Tuamotu islands, a distance of around 500 nautical miles.
There was very little wind for the first two hours until we were out of the lee of the island but we were entertained by dolphins around 6.20 for a short while and then again at 7.30 when they stayed with us for half an hour.
The 15th April was the skipper's birthday so, by way of celebration, we also had potato salad at lunchtime and a chocolate brownie cake followed our curry supper. There was even a candle on the cake.
As we are a dry boat when on passage, this is probably the first time in his adult life that Dick hasn't had an alcoholic drink on his birthday.
This day was also symbolic in as much as it was also the last day of the first year that we have been living on the boat. We have covered a lot of miles and visited many places since then.
Other than the day we left the Marquesas, we have not been able to sail as much as we would like. There just hasn't been sufficient wind to make passage without the use of the iron sail.
We did pass a tanker a few miles off to starboard, en-route to Chile. It crossed my mind how vulnerable small boats are when off the beaten track. If we had been in a shipping lane we would have been quite alert but because we don't see another boat for weeks on end, it is easy to forget that a ship can appear over the horizon and be on top of us within ten minutes.
We have passed the half way point to our destination but progress is very slow.
Once again the lazy jack holding the sail-bag has broken. The design is so poor that the line constantly rubs against the cross-trees. We hove to and Bev hoisted Moe up the mast to replace the broken lazy jack with new line.

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