Friday, May 7, 2010

Another day...or two

Still here in Hiva Oa. Not going far or fast. We're happy to be able to slow down and take things a bit slower. We've decided to stay another day or two to take in some local festivities.

We have found internet here, but it is very slow, and expensive, so for now, we're still limited to text updates. We'll keep an eye out for faster internet, when we can bring you some local images. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats!!

Shopping day tomorrow...which is always fun. Everyone has fruit growing in their yard here, so there isn't fruit in the stores, so we must chat with the locals in an effort to trade for the yummy local bananas, starfruit, guananana (??), papaya, etc. Veggies are also a rarity out here, and we're quickly learning that if we see something we like, we should snap it up, instead of waiting for another day, when it will surely be gone. But...the stores are incredibly well stocked here, if expensive, so we have no doubt
we'll be able to survive a few more weeks!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More boats

Although we never thought it possible, even more boats have slipped into the anchorage. We're packed in like sardines, but everyone is friendly, and with our bow and stern anchors out, there is little movement, so not much to worry about, as long as the conditions remain mild...

John and I discussed our crossing over our morning tea and coffee on the terrace (read: cockpit), and tried to summarize the passage. Surprisingly, the 3000 miles took only 23 days, less time than our last passage from Mexico to the Galapagos which took 25 days for 1700 miles. Crazy. We were also pleased that we didn't suffer any major breakdowns or difficulties. Although we had lots of chafe, where lines and sails wore through due to the constant friction. Here's a summary:

1. Monitor Self-Steering lines had major chafe, and one of the blocks needs to be replaced. This was our hardest working crew member, and steered for the entire 3000 miles.

2. Steering pedestal bearings wore out, as evidenced by new squeaking noises.

3. Genoa furling drum broke - for the last few days of our passage, we could not sail with a partially furled sail - it was all or nothing. No big deal. Winds had calmed down, and we were happy with the full sail.

4. Engine overheating - the engine was running a bit hotter than usual (190 degrees). We ran at a lower RPM to compensate. We checked our cooling system to be sure we didn't have a blockage. We now need to dive to make sure that there isn't growth on the intake, and check our (new) heat exchanger, to be sure it is operating correctly.

5. Mold - the front v-berth is converted to storage on a big passage, and it is not very well ventilated. As a result, mold and mildew formed with
abandon. Thankfully, I was able to scrub the mattress cushions, and they have come out ok. Not sure if we'll be so lucky with the comforter...although we don't need it down here anyway.

6. Fishing gear - well, we lost several lures, and one fish ran away with an entire set of line and lure. Oh well.

Not bad at all. Nothing debilitating!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hiva Oa - Chillin'

We've decided that French Polynesia is the ultimate holiday destination. We're scoping out the cute little family-run hotels to find out where we'd like to stay next time we're here.

The anchorage is absolutely packed. At least 24 boats. All VERY close. And at least half are French, or more. No other Canadian flagged boats here, and only one other American. We feel a bit silly not being able to speak french, but we're getting a crash course. Speeking the local language of
Tahitian/Polynesian seems a daunting task, but we're trying out a few words!

The island is incredibly lush - very green and tropical. It has rained every day we've been here, but it is a warm rain. It does elicit a bit of a Chinese Fire Drill response on Renova, as we rush around closing hatches and portholes, and bringing down laundry, in hopes of keeping some semblance of order. But it has been wonderful to get some of the caked salt off the decks and gear, and we're grateful. Also, there is a tap of delicious mountain water beside the dinghy dock, that is also attached to a crude shower...what a glorious treat to stand beneath a running tap without worrying about how many gallons are being flushed down the drain. Finally, squeaky clean again!!

Once again we managed to bring a full aquarium of underwater species with us - crazy looking barnacles, and we spent a good amount of time yesterday scraping and scrubbing our hull. At least she looks clean above the water line. Because we spent 23 days heeled over to the same side, the green-brown growth was right up the side of the boat. Yuck.

Checking in here was surprisingly simply. Customs dropped by the boat, and filled in a few forms and checked out our liquor cabinet. And today, we stopped into the Gendarmerie, where we filled out a form, and then took it to the post office, where we bought a 70 cent stamp. That was it. Less than half an hour. What a treat!!! We'll have to do more paperwork when we reach the capital city of Papeete, but for now, we're done.

That's all for now. We're off for dinner with a young Norwegian couple and their 11 month old baby! What troopers!