June 30, 2008—The boat was hauled out last Tuesday by CNI Carenage on Raiatea. It took the workers about 2 hours to get her settled on the metal frame, pulled out with the trailer, and placed in the work yard. The rudder bearings had worn causing the rudder to knock in heavy seas. Silva, a worker from the yard, and Steve came up with a solution to the rudder problem. They injected the bearing space with graphite impregnated polyester epoxy, and while it is not a permanent fix, it will get us to New Zealand. We also needed to have our alternator repaired. The yard was not very helpful with that, so we ended up finding a Canadian who was an electrician. He repaired the alternator in one day so we would be ready to go back into the water on Friday morning. Unfortunately, the boat was between workers sanding the blue bottom paint off of the boat on one side of us and another sanding fiberglass on the other side so the boat was a mess on deck and would require a lot of cleaning.
On Wednesday we rented a car in order buy groceries in town and locate Richard, the Canadian. It was a very small Fiat, but it had quite a bit of zip to it. We ran all our errands that day, so on Thursday we were able to take a drive around the island. The southern half of the island is more remote. The landscape had spectacular peaks and lush green jungle. We stopped at Marae Taputapuatea, which is the largest on the islands. Any marae that was built in French Polynesia or Hawaii had to be started with a stone from this marae. We returned the car in the afternoon, and in the evening, we had dinner aboard sv Grace with Sally and Geoffrey. What a lifesaver that was—cooking on the boat would have been very difficult.
Around 10 o’clock in the morning we got the boat back into the water, and we picked up a mooring ball just long enough to get the boat picked up. We left and headed to the east side of the island to Baie Faaroa. We were able to pick up a mooring ball in the middle of the bay, and we were invited by sv Prairie Oyster to have dessert with them in the evening.
On Saturday at noon we took the dinghy and went up the Aoppomau River at the head of the bay. The river was beautiful and had lots of flowers growing along the shore. There were some plantations along the way so there were banana trees, breadfruit trees, and palm trees along the bank as well. It took us about an hour to make the trip up the river and back. When we got back to the boat, we collected our laundry that had been soaking in buckets and headed to the dock on the shore. Stardust Yacht Charter had a base here but went bankrupt, but there is still water on the dock so we rinsed out our laundry and took it back to the boat to hang it up to dry. It blew pretty hard all afternoon, which made keeping our sheets on the line very difficult. The good news was that they dried quickly.
Yesterday, we left Baie Faaroa and headed back north to the southwestern tip of Tahaa. Raiatea and Tahaa share a surrounding reef so they are only 2 or 3 miles apart and moving between them is easy. Prairie Oyster joined us, so we both headed for Marina Iti, which has mooring balls available. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Marina. It rained almost all night and is still raining this morning so the boat is looking much cleaner. We should be on Tahaa for a few more days before we move to Bora-Bora.