As the new week dawned the clouds,rain and wind continued. Our repaired hot water tank was returned and installed and no leaks now. The water maker pump and membrane had to be moved for this exercise so the next worry was would it work again after its unseating! Luck was with us this time and we made (drinking) water without a hitch.
During the lift out and lift in at the Carenage we had been obliged to lower the wind generator as the crane was not big enough to allow its height. Despite such strong winds over the previous weekend not a single ampere was forthcoming so we decided to investigate .This as usual proved more complicated than expected; it is much heavier than it looks and we had difficulty manoeuvring it over the backstays and the bimini and at the end of that day it was left rather precariously over the stern. The next day with renewed strength we got it into the cockpit and managed to undo the top from the pole after a lot of WD40 and muscle power and discovered that the electric cable was broken presumably when it was lowered to get into the crane. The wire was so short we could not repair it and presumably the original installers (some will make a guess who this was) had never thought it would have to be removed so had only used a very short wire. Anyway there was nothing we could do except to return it to its correct position and tie it off. The prospect of carrying this heavy weight around for nothing was not appealing!
The weather did not show much sign of improving by mid-week but, luckily we had the local Wi Fi hot spot was available on the mooring so we could keep in touch with the outside world and on Thursday we managed at last to hoist the big jenny. Other problems continued to surface, heads not working, a new leak from a window and more importantly the last can of Hinano …the rather delicious local beer …was drunk so definitely time to move on. Baringo cocktails were on the verge of extinction!
We moved speedily to Uturoa the main town on the island with shops mainly run by Chinese who have significantly changed the opening hours on the island! Just as we were preparing to shop a Canadian Richard walked by on the pontoon and greeted us giving us a card stating he was a marine electrician. John casually asked him if he could mend our electric winch switch expecting nothing but he jumped at it saying he had fixed many before. He started work immediately and indeed did fix the switch after a couple of hours work. Encouraged we asked him about the wind generator and again this was to be no problem to fix. It was late afternoon so he arranged to return the next morning and tackle it .We were then committed to stay alongside the town quay but the stay was enhanced by finding some excellent live music in the local café. Next day Richard returned and after several set back and a few hours with John as electrical apprentice we had a working wind generator …full marks for persistence. We again enjoyed the music that evening in the company of two lovely ladies in their flower headdresses.
We left the next morning happy with the unexpected improvements to the boat and sailed down the west coast as far as it is navigable inside the lagoon and found some government buoys which we had heard had been laid earlier this year so could be trusted. Another beautiful bay with the oldest protestant church on the island in view, curiously built on the site of an ancient Marae (traditional Polynesian religious site).
We stayed for two days continuing our tasks! I sewed the mainsail luff that had missed the sail repairers not so beady eye and just as we thought the end was in sight we then discovered a leak in the dinghy. Very disappointing after Simon and John’s hard work last year and John’s careful repair with new glue the previous week; so the jobs keep coming !
We repaired it again and left for Haamene bay on the east coast of Tahaa the other island in the lagoon north of Raiatea. It is 2 miles long and although facing the prevailing easterly winds is relatively sheltered and joy of joys more government buoys to pick up! In addition there was a nice restaurant, two supermarkets and much to our surprise the best internet yet in Polynesia in the restaurant. With so much on hand we stayed for week watching many other boat come and go. We hired a scooter for a day and travelled the island and hiked over the middle to the northern town of Patio the capital of Tahaa . We debated our next move and the chances of making it to the Tuamotos looking at the weather patterns and the charts. The weather gradually improved while we were there and the Polynesia we had come back to see returned.
We finally left the bay and moved further round the east coast of the island and anchored in Hurepiti bay. Simon and Jo will remember this as we hit (just touched with the rudder) a reef here last year! So far this year we have not. Our current plan is to try for the Tuamotos this weekend 25th July but chicken out in Huahine if the going gets too tough or the dinghy starts to leak again!