Call me Miss Marple

A Finnish friend called Sami writes crime novels. That’s how he pays for his ship’s biscuits and colourful interior fabrics. I contacted him to offer him the rights to my recent crime busting exploits. He’s just finished his latest novel and I thought a ‘true story’ plot line might pique his interest.

Here’s the intrigue. We are in Bora Bora checking out which takes a couple of days and decided our engine battery may be on its last legs. Dave went to find a replacement and identified one in SuperU but it had no price on it and the helpful shop assistant explained that a call needed to be made to Tahiti. Come back tomorrow at 9am.

We had moored temporarily on the town dock and as it was mid afternoon we decided to stay the night rather than go back out to anchor. Security is always more of an issue being tied to the land and this being a public dock, access is completely open.

I have a scout round the deck at night making sure nothing of any value is accessible and we go to bed. The following morning, I get up, go on deck and notice the two old knackered tennis balls we use on a boarding ladder to provide protection are missing. Hmmm. Someone has been on the boat.

It dawns that a pair of Dave’s expensive walking sandals which had just been tucked under the spray hood cover were missing too. Damn. I’d missed those last night.

This is not a good start to the day. A. Someone has been on the boat. B. There’s no chance of replacing these sandals here and Dave wears them all the time.

After some machinations and grumbling, I head off to the supermarket to buy bread. It’s a really busy day in town as there’s a kids cultural performance event happening. I walk through the throng looking at people’s feet. I’m sleuthing.

In the supermarket, there they are. Dave’s shoes on someone else’s feet. I want a photo of this guy as “exhibit one” so leg it back to the boat to get a phone. What’s the chance he’ll still be around when I get back, especially with so many people around?

Camera in hand I go back to the supermarket, walk down the street, wander around the crowd. There’s no sign of him. Then at a food stall there he is! I sense I need to be a little cautious taking a photo. But I want his face and his feet in the same shot. As I go to take the shot, the perpetrator sees me and actually poses. Really, does this man have no shame?

Then it’s off to the police station with my primary piece of evidence. About 10 gendarmes are involved, some out on the street looking for him, the rest helping in the station.

I’m sat by the the front desk waiting and about 20 minutes later, a barefooted man is escorted off the premises and I’m handed a pair of wet sandals in a bag.

I asked one of the gendarmes if this guy was known and he didn’t give much away but did mention the word ‘fou’ – which means mad or crazy.

So that’s how my second to last day on Bora Bora panned out. Catching the criminal element. We are officially checked out and will depart for Fiji tomorrow. 1800 ish miles. Two weeks, give or take, is what we imagine. Feeling good.

So there you go Sami. Do you think its a blockbuster?

Impending Departure

Let’s start with some numbers.

Grace weighs 17.5 tonnes before you add water, fuel, tins of beans, Dave’s T-shirt collection and enough matching crockery for a dinner party for 12. So about 20 tonnes we estimate in reality.
Since we installed the water-maker back in North Carolina in the States, we have made more water than Grace weighs. Substantial amounts.

The term water-maker is a bit of a misnomer in my book. We don’t actually make water. We start with water, sea water, and the water-maker cleverly removes the salt leaving us with drinking water which has salt in the ratio of 140 to 150 parts per million. A tad, a minuscule amount. You can’t taste it let’s put it like that. Every time we make water, about every 4 or 5 days, it still amazes me that with a couple of pumps, some filters and a high pressure membrane we end up with a great tasting potable safe water. Thanks again Doreen.

$45. (Or £36.50) That’s how much a Club Sandwich costs at one of the Bora Bora hotels with the posh huts over the water. We know this from talking to an American guy on holiday here. I think it comes on a bed of dollar bills and shavings of gold leaf. He said his credit card was taking the biggest hit ever. You say! And he had another 10 days here. There are no bargain basement items for purchase on Bora Bora.

Five. That’s the number of forms you need to fill in to apply to depart French Polynesia. And one of those imprints through to two others making 7 in truth. I collected the forms from the gendarmerie this morning and have just filled them in as best I can. They are photocopied from photocopies I think and a couple of the boxes are missing as the writing is a little askew. Maybe that information is deemed irrelevant by the authorities now.

The fact we’re submitting clearance forms means departure is imminent. After almost two years in French Polynesia, we are ready to say our goodbyes and head towards Fiji. Neither of us imagined we’d be here as official temporary residents for this length of time. Other than UK this is by the far the most time I’ve spent in another country. (We don’t count Welsh Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿)

It’s been a blast. Some ups and downs of course, but covid has not really impacted us. We’d already booked to fly back to the UK when the most recent lockdown happened last year so we missed it. And we got vaccinated here which we’re most grateful for. The Marquesas, Tuamotos, Society and Gambier Islands all offer contrasts from deserted remote coral surrounded atolls to holiday resorts to green verdant steep hills and blue blue blue blue water. Gambier was my favourite.

We’ve seen lots and swum with sharkies, fishies and corals, Dave learnt to kite surf, I learnt to wake board. We’ve walked hills and beaches. Next stop Fiji ……unless we call in at the Cook Islands which is unlikely but we have permission to go and stop there.

Two weeks ish at sea. Follow the red dot from Friday / Saturday when we will depart. 1800 miles or so to SavuSavu. Looking forward to fair-winds and moonlit night skies.

And one final afterthought which involves a kind Polynesian man and one coconut. I took myself off for a walk around the south of Huahine. Just along the road but there’s very little traffic and the road follows the ocean so it’s pretty pleasant.

A section was straight and I could see maybe half a mile ahead. As I walked past a property a man came out with a freshly cut coconut, the top removed so the coconut water was ready to drink. ‘For you. It’s hot today’ he said. He must have spied me, gone into his garden and there he was waiting. Random acts of kindness. 😀

Moorea and Huahine

Watching someone crying with laughter and having to hold their stomach because it hurts so much, is in my book a pleasure to behold. It wasn’t our own original story that caused the corpsing. But the retelling of a chum’s tale of a young boy on a beach in Skegness back in the late 1960’s or maybe early 1970’s hanging out in the sand dunes making mischief.

The ‘corpser’ eventually recovered, as did his audience who too, were all suckered into the uninhibited guffawing. A jolly hearty workout all-round.

We hired e bikes with Mr Chuckle and his wife for an explore of Huahine, one of the less touristy, more laid back of the Society Islands. I might be a late adopter, but now I LOVE an e bike. The boost button is a thing of beauty. You still have to pedal and can work hard on those hills if you choose. However a little press of the smiling button provides an unexpected and joyous nudge. Off to eco to trek to sport to turbo. Those were the options my button offered. The battery life diminished quicker the higher up the turbo chain you were but at the end of the day when we were heading back 25 minutes late for our 8 hour hire, no point in getting back with any remaining battery electrons so full assist was initiated.

The day itself was memorable. Huahine is a beautiful place with hardly any traffic on the roads which removes vehicle stress. We came across French and American soldiers lying in the grass beside the road practicing for a cyclone event. (Or that’s what they told us!) My reaction to spotting them was a surprised “Oh, hello”. Is this the correct way to greet active servicemen and women? They were chatty and friendly, the Americans being from Hawaii.

Mrs Chuckle had clocked a hill that gave great views across the whole of the island so we ducked round the no entry sign and cycled up the grass track to a communications tower. From there we were on foot up a wooded rocky ridge. Maybe 45 minutes to the top of Mount Maua Tapu. A dizzy height of 426m above sea level.

Dave then only had one thought in his head. Burger. Izzy’s Burger Emporium in the village of Fare was the place to go. However, by the time we got there, it was 3.20pm and they stopped serving at 3pm. We met a tour guide there who we’d also met earlier in the day. I guess her work was done as was tucking into a large bottle of Hinano beer. Or perhaps she’d been driven to drink.

The guests she was showing around didn’t even bother to get out of the back of the truck at the viewpoint to take photos. They took snaps from their sitting positions. Holidays from the back of a van….really. Maybe the fact we engaged in some conversation and had a laugh with her about having cycled up to the Belvedere rather than sitting in the back of a truck gave us a modicum of credibility.

No burgers so a trip to the supermarket for some late lunch snap sorted us out. We went to the beach and a couple of cruising Finnish friends joined us as they were anchored off Fare.

The last 19 km’s back to Baie D’Avea on the SW corner of Huahine whizzed by, although we did stop to watch a group of girls and women practicing Tahitian dancing.

Back at the hotel it was time for beer and medals. In the words of Wallace and Gromit, “A Grand Day Out”.

Rain

It’s been raining. Not light drizzle that leaves a faint haze of moisture on your hair. Proper rain that fills your dinghy so you can take a bath. Rain that wheedles it’s way behind your window seals to deliver annoying leaks. Rain that stops play when you’re varnishing.

Saturday was a wash out. Shame as there was a free festival of activity and health organised in the park. It’s not just local agricultural shows in the british countryside that suffer such fates with precipitation.

Sessions were advertised on big printed boards. The sand football pitch was offering a version of archery I’d never seen before. Two teams of kids fired sponge arrows at each other, their protection provided by face masks and inflatable balls to hide behind. It wasn’t quite Agincourt but with a bit of organisation it could have been. There was certainly lots of intent. Or maybe it was the opportunity to shoot your brother or sister that provided the motivation.

A bunch of adult blokes who were supposedly shooting at plastic shapes got bored with this. It was much more fun to shoot arrows high into the air and watch them fall on the unsuspecting kids. They guffawed with laughter. The blokes not the kids.

The rain arrived like the turning on of a tap and we retreated to Grace. Dripping, followed by stripping then tea. The outdoor activities for the day were over by 11am.

We’ve been on boat upgrades and maintenance for over a week here in Papeete. But it’s been fun too as there are several people around that we know. We’ve tackled the bits of outdoor varnishing we didn’t do last time plus we’ve applied some top up coats. Mechanical things like engines and generators and water makers have been serviced. The gooseneck on the boom has had some attention.

We submitted our application to enter Fiji and two days later received an email saying ‘approved’. Super speedy. Some American friends have also applied. Seven days later they have had no response. “Maybe it’s to do with the Commonwealth” they joked. My response, “we can certainly do common but we have no wealth”.

We are awaiting two packages with some small parts to arrive from the UK. Sometimes packages attract duty, sometimes they don’t. It’s a lottery. One previous parcel which contained some replacement parts from our outboard engine sailed through. To get a second parcel from the same company released into our sticky paws, we had to pay $50 of duty. How, why, logic, no idea.

Then we’ll be off to Fiji. We’ll probably check out of French Polynesia from one of the island 100 miles west from here, Raiatea or Bora Bora then it’s about 1700 miles to Savasava. Our next ocean passage is almost here.

Bora Bora

Sailing though New York, visiting Lisbon and walking the Picos Mountains in Spain were a few ‘let’s make sure we do this’ items on our list when we left the UK. I’m pleased to say we’ve achieved one of our other aspirations. We visited Bora Bora, a small island in the Society Islands, French Polynesia.

Our chum Ken who lives in Bonsall, Derbyshire in the UK sailed to Bora Bora on what I think was the first ever Round the World Rally, an organised sailing event where boats travelled in company on a planned route. I don’t recall the exact year but it was a chunk of time ago. He has a front page newspaper article from a a local Derbyshire paper on his office wall. A fresh faced tanned healthy looking youth smiles as he is ‘the news’ that week. 

He recounts a tale from Bora Bora. Which was the reason we had to go there. 

The schedule on his world sailing trip was fast paced, round the world in 18 months. To put this into perspective, we’ll have been sailing for 6 years come July and we’re not even half way across yet.

Bora Bora is a stop on his itinerary. It’s a stunning place delivering clear water, reefs, hills with views to sell travel magazines and it boasts the Bora Bora Yacht Club where having a Pina Colada as the sun sets is rather a pleasant thing to do. 

Ken is on this whirlwind trip as crew. The agenda is generally sail to the next place requiring a few days at sea, stop, fix things that have broken, clean the boat then have a couple of days to see the place before it’s time to cast off again to the next destination. There’s a fairly tight schedule with weather patterns driving the need to keep moving if the 18 month deadline is to be hit.

Breakages have been dealt with, the boat is clean so Ken and a friend from another boat head off to do the big walk to the top of Mount Pahia. It’s not far to the top in terms of distance but it’s steep, unforgiving and you absolutely earn the view from the summit with every step. It’s hard work and very hot.

A few hours later, Ken and his friend are lying on a white sand beach with a beer having descended and rewarded themselves with a cold beverage. The rally is a whirlwind tour, places merge and blur. There’s no time to draw breath. It’s fun with a relentless pace. Then the line that has drawn us here is uttered on this beach all those years ago ….. “Where the f*ck is Bora Bora!?”

In his honour, we came, we climbed, we raised a glass. It’s likely much busier here than when he passed though all those year ago. Posh chicken coops over the water cost mega bucks per night. Swanky resorts promise a magical pacific experience. There was no one else sweating their rocks off on the hill climb though. That requires effort and no one goes to Bora Bora to expend themselves. Except sailors, from Derbyshire.

To you Ken, my friend. 😀

Waterfalls and ocean rivers

After not moving much, we’ve been rattling thorough islands. Spurts, lulls, pausing, rushing. It’s how boat life works. I’ve now realised this after only a few years. I would appear I’m not a quick learner! Now that a big ocean passage to Fiji is on the horizon in a month or so, our pace has quickened.

An overnight sail took us from Makatea to Raiatea, bypassing Huahine. We originally planned to stop in Huahine but knew we had friends already in Raiatea so decided to that was a bigger draw. It was one of those sails where the final miles seems to take forever. We had about 25 miles to cover when we made the decision to keep sailing. The islands here are relatively high so we could see our destination but it didn’t seem to be getting any bigger, even though we were making progress towards it. (Refer to that classic scene in the brilliant TV show Father Ted, when Ted explains to Dougal about near and far).

As often happens, a squall announced itself as we approached the pass. Hey ho, but once inside the outer reef, things settled down and we motored the final 4 miles or so to the anchorage where our lovely friends on Sea Rose fed and watered us. Right decision to go and hook up with them!

We chose to spend a few days around different anchorages, out on the reef for a few days on the NE side then round to an area called The Coral Gardens on Tahaa. This was a fun place. A break in the outer reef brings a salty river between the motos into the lagoon. Not particularly deep, it’s a great snorkel as you get pushed along with the current. It’s one of the more touristy places we’ve been with more human traffic but the coral was in relatively good shape, quite a lot of small colourful fish and a monster six or seven foot moray eel who came out of his / her hole and frightened the bejesus out of me.

There were also sting rays and eagle rays. It was rewarding just being still holding onto a rock facing into the current as underwater creatures came by. I can see why it’s a popular spot.

And we squeezed in a walk up to three waterfalls. That’s a good use of a Sunday afternoon. 

Makatea

I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m taking a punt here. Positive change happens…… a new place, seeing friends or family, a holiday or great day out for example and there’s an immediate upturn and alteration in your energy levels. I’m there. The island of Makatea has delivered.

The Tuamotos as an island chain are amazing. But after a while one atoll looks much like another. When your land mass extends to maybe 3m above sea level it’s tricky for the geography to incorporate interesting hills and elevation. 

Makatea provided a welcome change to low lying atolls. This place has limestone cliffs, incredible recent history and offered us a playground for a few days as we remembered how to be ‘outdoor-ies’.

The island is stuffed full of phosphate and for 60 intensive years the phosphate was mined by men with shovels literally digging holes in the ground then the product was transported away by ship for the fertiliser industry. Each man dug up to 10 tonnes per day. That seemed a big number to me.

3,600 people lived on this piece of land in the pacific which measures about nine square miles. The island had a cinema, churches, a clinic, big machine shops to service the plant and three massive diesel engines which provided power 24 hours a day. We took a tour with the major, Julien and he proudly told us they were the only place in the pacific where basketball was played after dark.

Then one day in 1966 production stopped overnight. Julien said the French government wanted all the skilled workers for the nuclear testing industry which was just starting as Algeria had declared independence and stopped the French testing their bombs there. French Polynesia was to suffer this affliction and the upset and compensation claims still progress seemingly unsatisfactorily today.

About 100 to 120 people live on Makatea today. There are remnants and scars from its mining past.  The community are now looking at ways of generating more income using the natural environment and adventure tourism is firmly on the agenda. 

In 2019, a bunch of climbers spent time here, putting up new climbing routes, bolting as they went. If you want to see more, look here. https://fanatic-climbing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Makatea_Escalade_Topoguide_2019-low-OK.pdf

Lots of the climbs were absolutely beyond me, but Dave picked out some of the lower grade stuff and we had two days climbing limestone in the South Pacific with the ocean as the backdrop and absolutely no one else around. Quite remarkable.

The climbers also installed a via ferrata. This is a series of wires and steps at height taking you on a journey around the cliffs. We took ourselves off and found this, leading to a couple of hours of rather good fun.

We both loved Makatea, this bizarre piece of rock which juts from the sea. There’s nowhere else like it around here. A true one off place.

Nicknames

Apologies but this will likely be a dull read. These ramblings had two purposes when I started writing. 

  1. A written history for dave and I of what we’ve done and where we been. A précis of highlights and lowlights and medium lights 
  2. A way of keeping family and friends updated now that postcards can only be found in antique shops. Don’t you miss receiving a picture of the roundabout in Milton Keynes or a crazy golf course in Margate. 

Then I added a third.

  • A record of random Helen thoughts which may amuse others but are primarily for my personal selfish benefit. Stuff to look back on when I’m more mature.😀

This post hits number three.

I had this moment while out walking when a memory flew to the front of my mind from its usual oblivion. A friend of mine at school, called Eleanor had a nickname which I’d not considered for eons. The name was Pom. Trudge as I tried through dim and distant memories, I have no recollection of how Pom came about. What is it about nicknames and their origins?

Dredging more, it became apparent that most of that group of school friends had nicknames. Alison was Gab, Kevin was Joe, Tony was Smurf, Stewart was Pip, Marion who’s middle name is Isabel was ‘Isabel necessary on a bicycle’ which was the height of hilarity, David Urwin was Durwin and Allan was Rod. It wasn’t like we were FBI representatives that needed cover. We were 16 year old kids in a small high school in rural Northumberland. And these names are still used today. Bad luck parents who spent hours um-img and ah-ing about what to call their precious offspring. A bunch of unruly teenagers will sort that out in a flash. 

I know I quite often attribute names to people we meet along the way. Recently there’s been Naked Kevin, a single hander who appears to have an aversion to clothes, (prepare yourself Australia, he’s on his way), there’s Eric the dentist, retired but this nomenclature comes as a complete phrase and Mister Aldric who always gets this prefix. He seems to like the implied irreverent reverence.

Dave has a ‘chesty thing’ going on. The covid test says no. We’ll not move till he feels better. Means I’ve been out walking lots. A loop around the village takes between an hour and a hour and a half depending on the route. It was during  one such walk when I trawled the dark crevices of my mental filling system and Pom fell out.  

And finally. What’s the going rate for a haircut? £10, £20, £30? I’m not up to date here. Today I exchanged 12 iced cup cakes for a cut. Seemed like a fair deal. It’s short, very short, actually very very short. Even I think it’s short. There was no mirror, just much chopped hair gently wafting downwind into the sea. 

Other people’s tales

Last night we met a couple on a boat who spent the lockdown back in 2020 on Tahanea. We know Tahanea as we spent over three weeks there recently. There’s no village or permanent settlement. Local Polynesians visit occasionally to crop the coconuts. For the majority of the general population this would be a very out there place. 

This couple had provisioned up in anticipation of a two week stay. Then the world went lockdown crazy which they heard about as they had a sat phone to receive email. They made the decision to stay put with two other boats, not returning to another atoll with a village or Tahiti where strict movement restrictions were prevalent. They chose a version of remote Castaway life till travel and freedoms were permitted again. Alone (well with two other boats) for two and a half months. 

We listened to stories of daily spear fishing, crabbing, coconut collecting, rationing supplies of food and fuel. We have pondered if we could do this and be comfortable. As long as your water maker keeps going, or there’s rain fall, it would be doable.Limited but possible. I don’t think we’ll try it as an experiment though. Says Helen as I munch my way though a bag of shop bought ready to eat moist apricots. 

Another Tahanea tale involved a wingfoil. A different boat and people we count as good friends now. Let me paint a picture of this if you’re unfamiliar. 

The wingfoil kit uses a surf board but has a 1 meter mast and a carbon fibre hydrofoil attached at the other end of the mast. The foil bit looks a like the shape of a basic aeroplane The rider has an inflatable kite which resembles a Batman wing. By holding this kite to the wind, the board moves forward and when there’s enough speed, due to differences in pressure like an aeroplane, the mast rises out of the water so the rider is standing on the surf board which is 1m out of the water. 

The dad and his daughter were wing foiling in the pass at Tahanea. Both are pretty competent riders and had gone to the pass as there were some small waves to practice jumping. 

Dad is cruising happily along when suddenly, bang, he’s knocked off his board by….wait for it….. a large grey shark. He’s startled, very scared and keen to get back on his board in a millisecond. Which he does only to be knocked off again when he gets moving. He’s bricking it and shouts to his daughter who doesn’t know what is happening to go back to the big boat and get the dinghy. 

Third time he thrashes and scrabbles back up onto his board and manages to hold it together enough to get back into the lagoon away from the pass and head towards their boat.  Thankfully the inflatable kite hasn’t been punctured so he still has propulsion. 

He gets back to his boat in one piece with his heart thumping monstrously in his chest and adrenaline coursing through his body. No physical injuries, substantially more grey hairs and a rather terrifying tale to tell. On examination, the black hydrofoil has sharkie teeth marks. Dad thinks the shark mistook it for a fast moving fish and ‘struck’ to catch dinner. The foil is carbon and very hard. Not soft and fishy like a jack or a tuna or a grouper. So it may have have necessitated a trip to the shark dentist for the watery predator. An uncomfortable munch. 

Dad says they are staying away from foiling in passes now. Understood. 

We are in a bit of a holding pattern waiting for May when cyclone season is over and we can head west. Moving for the sake of moving feels a bit pointless at the moment. Kiting, wakeboarding, boat jobs, walking and generally hanging out is how we fill some of our days. We watched the space station fly over a few nights ago. It rose at 19.12 in the NW and disappeared at 19.19 in the SE. It’s a speedy beast. That’s two space station mentions in consecutive blogs. 

Final space reference. I just read a book called The Martian by Andy Weir. Apparently there’s a film too although I know nothing about it. The book is about a bloke who gets stuck on Mars. It’s a compelling amusing romping read. If you get stuck on a remote planet being a botanist and an engineer are helpful skills. There’s not much call for social media influencers or hedge fund managers if you’re stranded and in a pickle on Mars. Unsurprisingly.

Come on Jacinda

I woke up a few days ago to the news that Barry Cryer had died. He was one funny man. Dave and I once went to see him tell stories at Buxton Opera House. Colin Sell accompanied him on the piano. Another “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue stalwart”. There was no pizzaz or razzmatazz. Just a bloke sat on a stool in his v-necked Marks and Spencer’s jumper, holding the audience in his hand with his impeccable comic timing, straight faced naughtiness and his ability to laugh at himself. It was a good night out.

This morning is not a good morning in. We planned to sail to Harifa from the main village in Fakarava for the coming weekend. Up at 5.30. Ashore to buy bread, dump the rubbish with a view to hauling anchor at 6.30. All good till pressing the engine start button illicited nothing. Nada. Silencio. Poor Dave is now scrabbling for his multimeter and opening the battery box. Troubleshooting here we come.

Jacinda announced yesterday that NZ are planning to open their borders this year. A cause for a small whoop of delight on Grace. A fellow sail-ey friend messaged back….”That is the best news ever. She better stick to it or we’re going to punch her lights out 😀”. I like the raw sentiment but I’m not sure how you can do that if you can’t get in. That’s the pedant in me. 

We have started on the paperwork necessary to get west. Fiji entry requires engaging an agent. I contacted one who responded immediately and passed on links to the forms you need to download and fill in. Plus the dosh you need to splash. Prior to Jacinda making the announcement yesterday, I’d also downloaded the necessary forms to get into NZ on the refit exemption. Fingers crossed now, we don’t need to do this any more. Covid is here to stay. The world  media bandied the phrase “waiting for the new normal’. Well there is no waiting. The new normal is now. Crack on. Let us in please. 

What else have we been up to. 

The generator made a strange noise. There’s something about being tuned into noises on the boat. It’s amazing how quickly we pick up on difference. Unusual noises stand out. A rattle, a change in tone, a squeak. They normally mean something is kaput or on its way there. 

A quick check and there’s no water coming out of the exhaust. Press the off button forthwith. The problem turned out to be a broken impeller, a little rubber piece which is a bit like a water wheel pushing sea water round the outside of the engine. To change the impeller takes about 15 minutes. Turn the sea cock off. Remove the outer case. Unscrew the face plate on the water pump. Pull the dodgy impeller out. Insert new one and reverse the process.

However, we ended up with a three day job as part of a bigger overhaul. Flushing the sea water cooling system to remove the silty crap took several hours. Remaking the broken rubber feet that support the generator took a chunk of time. And squeezing it back in its case after hauling it out with a block and tackle was tricky.  But all is good now.

Plus we’ve had some fun wakeboarding behind our dinghy and Dave had cracked upwind when kiting. Both activities offer the possibility of a Superman. Lurching forward out of control with an outstretched body. Kiting when a squall kicks in gets number one status. Shame I have no piccies of Dave jettisoning forwards then splatting before International Rescue, aka me, turns up on the scene.  

And a few bullet points to finish.

  • Thankfully we were unaffected by the Tongan tsunami
  • There’s been lots of squally weather recently with big lightening storms
  • Having hauled out and cleaned the hull in Tahiti, Grace is sailing really well 
  • We have 4kg of cucumbers to eat. Yes, that is a lot.
  • We have written a couple of work proposals recently. That’s a novelty. 
  • Orange and raisin cake is my current cake of choice.
  • We hope to depart for Fiji around May, this year.
  • I just read the International Space Station will crash into the Pacific Ocean in 2031. That’s going to be a big splash.