With the washing machine installed, it was time to deal with the sticking sheave on the Genoa track. Not something I was looking forward to. But, after reading comments from others who had done it before, I felt like I half knew what to do and set about carefully unscrewing the eyebolt from the end of the track to remove the sheave.
Like most work on a boat, things are likely to go belly-up. I sensed this wasn’t going to end well and considered taping everything down with Duck tape, just in case. Unfortunately, that rare visit to the land of common sense was quickly overruled with a heavy dose of optimism. And just when I thought the bolt was coming out easier: BANG! The bolt sheared. I closed my eyes. I heard a splash. And when I looked down, there was nothing there. The whole lot had gone over the side.
What made things worse was that our dive tanks were in for hydro testing. And there was no way I could free dive down there. So, Maria went on a mission to find someone with a scuba tank to lend us. Our friends on Lola had one, but they were in the airport anchorage. Fortunately, Maria tracked one down from someone in the marina, Jim.
Because of the potential for stray electrical currents, I’m not keen on going into the water around marinas. But it had to be done. So, I put on all the diving gear I possess to rubberise everything apart from my face, hoping it might help prevent me from being zapped (a bit) and plopped into the water. Then, following a weighted line at the approximate location where I hurled the stuff overboard, I descended the 10 metres with little hope. But, to my surprise, there it all was – just sat there covered with a light dusting of silt with a collection of other things previously dropped overboard, including a table. Result, I thought. But, continuing the aquatic comedy routine, I didn’t have enough weight to get to the bottom because I had dressed in so much rubber I looked like that character at the end of Pulp Fiction. So, I resurfaced, grabbed one of Maria’s dumbbells, shoved it into my belt and sank back down to get it all.
Fortunately, one of the marine shops, Nautisport, had several of the eyebolts I had broken in stock. An advantage of owning a French boat in a French overseas collectivity. And now it is all back together. And the reason I couldn’t get that bolt out without breaking it is because there is a nut underneath. So for any other Amel owners – be aware. And use lots of Duck tape.
And then our freezer broke
It died at Papeete Marina after defrosting it. Mark and I tried to fix it, but it wouldn’t have any of it. So, we got a man in. And that’s how we met Mike, the refrigeration guy. And, like Maria and I, he’s from the north-west of England. So there’s been plenty of dry humour and a lot of laughs. And he fixed the freezer, which had a leak in the evaporator plate and needed a new one.
Other entertainment while at Papeete Marina
Following their visit to the US, our friends Jordi and Gillian on Lola brought a few things back for us from the US. One of these things was a new phone for Maria. We didn’t realise that the iPhone14 Pro bought in the US does not have a SIM tray. That’s great in the US, but not so much use in the countries that haven’t got up to speed with ESIMs yet – like French Polynesia, for example. Maria tried to get it swapped out at the Apple Reseller here, where they sell iPhone 14s with a SIM tray – and phoned Apple in the US. They were very helpful and offered a refund, but that wasn’t practical. So we hope the mobile providers will catch up in the next year.
On a lighter note – what else?
- Visit to the brewery: Maria and I wandered into the depths of Papeete to the Hoa brewery, sampled most of the beers, and wobbled back—great beer – and half-price.
- A revisit to The 3 Brasseurs for their fun day Monday half-price beer. This time with Jim and Paula, who lent us the dive tank.
- Dinner at Le Tahiti by Pearl Resorts. Bertrand and Pascale had sensibly balanced the hard graft on their boat at Technimarine with a leisurely stay at a luxury hotel. So we joined them for dinner one night. Very nice.
- Not so much in the category of entertainment. But we bought new toilet seats. Who’d have thought it, eh? You can purchase new toilet seats for the boat at ACE Hardware for less than the cost of painting them.
- Wandering around and more street art.
- We bought a floaty thing we can hang off the back of the boat and float.
- Margo and Elliot joined us onboard for a visit with their new baby
- And, of course, we spent time with Mark and Cindy, for whom we are very grateful for their help.
A holiday at the airport anchorage
After a couple of weeks at the marina, we decided to move to the airport anchorage. Mark and Cindy cast off those lines they had tied on, and we slipped out of the marina without bumping into anything.
Following a brief delay waiting for a plane to land, we were permitted to cross the end of the airport runway, found a clear spot to anchor, and stayed here for a couple more weeks. It’s a relief to be away from the near-constant traffic noise of Papeete. The only noise here is from the party boats at the weekend and the occasional plane landing or taking off.
Inevitably, we picked up a boat with an unusual approach to anchoring. I even told them they were probably over our chain. Their reaction: “How much chain do you have out?” I told them and then: “Oh, 60 metres; well, we will put out 50.” They moved a couple of days later when they realised they couldn’t get out when the wind changed because now we were on top of them and very close.
Despite the occasional event such as that and the 38-knot blast of wind, It’s been a fun time. We have tried out our floaty thing, have had people around for drinks and have been to other boats for more drinks. We snorkelled over the sight of the sunken plane and lost a fin on the way back, which required another trip to Nautisport to buy a new pair. And we dined onboard Mike’s boat, enjoying a fantastic dinner. Refrigeration engineer and epicure. Excellent.
And we celebrated the coronation of King Charles by having an international crowd over for tea, sandwiches and cake. However, there was no tea – just rum punch. So our coronation party carried on until around 10 pm.
We met up again with Avelina, who just returned to Tahiti and bought a new old van and a new apartment.
Made a last visit to the Papeete market before heading west
And we made a diesel run to Taina Marina with the help of our good friend Gillian before leaving for Moorea.
It’s only 10 miles from Papeete to Moorea’s coastline, so we motorsailed over there in light winds to anchor outside Oponua Bay, where, unusually, it was relatively free from boats – at least for a while.
We met up again with Margo, Elliot and Remy, the baby, this time at the Macaroulote – which should carry the slogan: A moment on the lips – a lifetime on the hips. The sweet monstrosity below must be loaded with 2-days worth of calories. I should never have done it, but I did.
As it’s been a while since we set foot on Moorea, we landed the dinghy near the beach and walked the length of Opunohu Bay towards the Eco Museum, where we later handed over around 4,000 XPF to take a look around.
Attached to the museum is a scientific research unit providing essential data on the state of sea life in the Pacific Ocean. That is shared between the scientific community – and is translated into information that we mere mortals can understand in the Eco Museum. It’s well worth a visit.
On the road to the museum is a shop selling freshly caught tuna
And if you need refreshments, you can stop at the Tama Hau restaurant to grab some food and a Smootie.
And observe the 4G antennas on a tree. You’d hardly notice.
That weekend, Avelina came over to Moorea on the ferry to spend a few nights onboard Jamala. It’s great to have people stay for a while. As well as enjoying good company, it helps to shake off familiarity and see things through someone else’s eyes.
We did more snorkelling than we had in a long time – revisited Stingray City, explored the nearby reef at the anchorage, and took the dinghy near the Hilton Hotel, where Maria spotted an octopus and Avelina and I spent half an hour with it watching this fantastic animal change colour and shape to match the grey and brown coral around it. The broken GoPro means there are no underwater photos, which is unfortunate because that was probably the most incredible underwater experience we have had. Polpo is definitely off the menu for me after that encounter.
Avelina made a coconut bra for Maria.
And we had dinner on Saturday at the Tama Hau restaurant, partially to find out what a Smootie is.
After saying Au Revoir to Avelina, more boats arrived, and so did the wind. Hence, we decided to up anchor and move into Opunohu Bay for a stress-free night away from dragging boats before heading to the Tiki anchorage the following day in time for my birthday.
Just before leaving, we returned to the Tama Hau restaurant for lunch for a last blast of Tahitian music on Moorea.
Then it’s an overnight sail to our next island – Maupiti – with the “most dangerous pass in French Polynesia”.