We arrived in Papeete on 7th May to the usual warm Polynesian welcome not only the temperature but the music and flowers as well . We had flown from New Zealand after a 10 day tour there visiting my cousin John in Mount Maunganui and Palmerston North and then Peter and Gayle Williams in Wellington.The last time we had been there was 20 years so a lot of catching up to do ! All great fun and we ended with a train journey from Wellington to Aukland which was very relaxing and interesting.
Now we had to focus on the watery side of our lives again and happily Baringo was still in Raiatea in the same place and undamaged.
We had decided to stay in the wonderful Raiatea Lodge hotel again probably our last time but it was as good as we remembered so we enjoyed it while we set to work on the boat .
Where to start ? It takes time to change the mindset to a nautical one but we began by taking delivery of our new mainsail which was waiting for us in Raiatea . Preparing it for attachment to the mast and then attaching it was quite an operation done in the blazing heat, new mains are more like cardboard than cloth but eventually it was on the boom . The pool in Raiatea Lodge was a necessity that evening to say nothing of the delicious dinner accompanied by an excellent bottle of wine!
We had moused all the halyards so this all had to be reversed. Luckily all went smoothly apart from the Solent jib sheet which required a short ascent of the mast to encourage it through but this was what had happened last year so not a surprise .
John as usual spent time examining the bilge ( Manuel has left now Simon ) and he found a leak which came from the hot water tank again so this needed to be removed and repaired . The rain was very heavy at times so our work was frequently interrupted and because it was so wet we decided to move into the Sunset Beach Motel rather than onto the boat in the yard which turns rapidly into a mosquito infested quagmire with the rain. We had a lovely bungalow very well equipped and fresh baguette was delivered every morning. We hired a car to speed up the errands which were becoming quite frequent now and continued preparing the boat for launching.
The other new item this year was the dinghy ! It was a very sad farewell to the Avon rover which we had had for 20 years and had done wonderful service. Malcolm and Glynis had fine tuned the engineering systems to raise and lower it last year and it had worked so successfully .The new vessel was much bigger heavier and difficult to manoeuvre so tempers were frayed and regrets flew. There was no going back so we continued! Our outboard was completely seized so we though the new dingy deserved a new outboard so we bought a small 2.5 suzuki 4 stroke . We could not manage to put all the floor boards in the dingy on the deck but despite this once afloat with a slightly modified version of the Gibson lift she showed her charms and all was forgiven .We are now very pleased and we have a much sturdier work horse .
We had one rather unpleasant set back in the Motel when our bungalow was burgled while we were in the “library “ bungalow nearby on the internet so we lost some money and two wallets which means another insurance claim and processing new Id cards and driving licenses . Of course it could have been worse but it took time with the gendarmerie and was rather upsetting but Madame the owner of the motel was very kind and helpful beyond the call of duty.
We decided to get the rigging checked before setting off on quite a long voyage and Fred the rigger discovered two broken strands in the shrouds so those will need to be replaced before we leave.
Friday 20th May: We were in the water! Luckily no problems but it is always tense watching Baringo suspended on the travel hoist with no back stay attached .
We stayed on a buoy just outside the yard for the next few days waiting for opportune moments of dry windlessness to raise the foresails. They finally came so we hoisted the sails but then there was more torrential rain, not perfect boating weather .
Baringo is now finally looking as if she might take on another ocean passage so we are planning a test sail to Bora Bora after the rigging has been repaired and then hope to sail west to Nuie with the waxing new moon in early June .