Friday, April 11, 2008

Stranded in Paradise

April 11, 2008--It has taken us two days, but we are finally recovering from 25 days at sea. Yesterday we stayed on the boat all day since Steve had to repair a hole in the dinghy and the glue is supposed to dry for 24 hours. We did some laundry and worked to get the boat put back together and cleaned up.

Around 2 p.m. Patrice, who is a mechanic, came out to the boat to help Steve diagnose our engine problem. After much discussion they decided to remove the fuel injection pump. Once it was removed, they were able to see that two of the four tappets (the things that roll on the fuel cam and push the fuel plunger) had no spring tension. He did a little disassembly of the unit and found that those two plunger springs were broken. He was surprised that two were broken but that at least resolves what is wrong with the engine. The pump went out to a shop in Tahiti on this morning's plane. Unfortunately, it is a weekend so it will be late Monday or early Tuesday before we know if it can be repaired. If not, we will have to order a new one from the U.S.

We went ashore this morning to drop off the pump and walk around town. We ate breakfast, which consisted of pastries, chicken, fried shrimp, a doughnut, and raw tuna in coconut milk, on the wharf. The food was all very good. As we were sitting at the table, I noticed a couple that had come ashore. It turned out to be Carl and Yvette from the sv Liberty. They were the boat that checked on us when we were becalmed at the equator and offered us any food or water that we might need. We sat and talked for awhile and then we all walked the main street trying to locate the bakery and grocery stores. We never did find the bakery, but the grocery stores carry baguettes that are just wonderful. The food is expensive here, but there are some bargains such as baked beans for $1.00. Candy bars are $2.00, and Steve paid $8.00 for a six-pack of Heineken beer. Our food stores are in very good shape, so we won't need to do any major provisioning for a while.

We had planned to go to a pig roast and dance presentation; however, we learned that there wasn't much money in that it is not held any more. Therefore, tonight we will go in and have pizza along with the crew from Liberty. We think that we will be here for 2 to 3 weeks, so we have been looking for things to do. It is very beautiful here as everything is lush and green. When we were sailing into the bay, I told Steve the smell was wonderful--all the greenery and the flowers combined to create a wonderful fragrance. Steve and I are not living up to the saying that cruising is "working on your boat in exotic places." I will say, however, that if we have to be stranded, there are far worse places to be.

Tomorrow morning at 4 a.m., yes I said 4 a.m. all the local farmers and fishermen have a market with fresh fish, vegetables, and fruits. The prices are supposed to be more reasonable so we will go in to see what they have. It is over by 5 a.m., so we will then probably come back to the boat and go back to bed.

Internet service is not great here, but it is available so I hope to be able to upload some pictures in the next few days.

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