Good morning, the wind is coming up from the East, sky is a lot of blue with puffy tradewind boxcar clouds, and here comes the supply ship! Big blue bow of Cobia 3 (154′ supply ship) is headed my way, and this time I chose the mooring ball closest to the wharf so I shall have ringside seats to the activities. To add to the mix, the Arannui 5 is also coming in, they are the combined supply ship and cruise ship. That should make things at the wharf somewhat exciting if both ships try to use the wharf. There’s also a small metal sailboat side-tied to one end of the wharf, I wonder if they will need to shift to make room.
There are also a superyacht in here: the 207′ motoryacht Party Girl back from Tahiti and looks to be headed to the South pass via the center channel. Another huge motor yacht turned out to be the 148′ French Polynesian Master mini-cruise ship, and the smaller (but still big) 65′ trawler Seahorse is here and on their way out the North pass. I last saw Seahorse at anchor next to me in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva. The 85′ power catamaran Azure II is anchored at Rotoava close in to the church on the south side of the wharf – the owner is flying out today from here headed home, his father is also on board and he flies out of Tahiti on the weekend, so Azure II is departing Fakarava this afternoon to get to Tahiti in time and then will spend the month of July in Tahiti – at which point the owner will be back on board and they will continue their adventures in the South Pacific.
The captain of French Polynesian Master has been super helpful to the cruisers in the area, as he visits Fakarava often, has a lot of local knowledge, and the ship seems to keep a permanent bridge presence which means you can always get them on the VHF. He has particularly good weather data and can read and retrieve all the various French weather data. I’m plotting his course down the center channel via AIS to see how his track compares to the one I did. And interestingly, I lost French Polynesia Master’s AIS signal at 8 miles out. I can still see Party Girls’s AIS, they are following the first boat in – so I’ll continue to plot them.
It’s interesting how the boats you cross with seem to move around and we run into each other again at various points. The boats I’ve been talking with on the SSB radio net are also floating around out here and periodically you realize that the boat you’re listening to on the net is suddenly anchored in the same corner of the atoll that you are – so after the net I go on deck with the binoculars to spot them.
The Aranui 5 is now anchored directly behind Beetle and they’ve launched several metal landing-craft type boats that have dual outboards, these are being used to shuttle the cruise ship passengers to shore. Lots of tents have been set up on the quay, I can see Stephanie and her husband have a tent up and all their bicycles are under it and available to rent for the day. Tomorrow there’s a holiday on the atoll, I don’t know for what purpose – apparently there will be drumming and dancing and all sorts of good fun. With the Aranui here the drummers are out on the quay and making all kinds of musical noise. The holiday also means all the stores are closed tomorrow (Thursday) so if there’s anything I want I need to plan for and get it today – as I don’t need much I suspect there won’t be too much rush shopping happening on Beetle. Speaking of shopping, Rob on Shindig had a funny way of describing their shopping trips: ‘targeted shopping’. I suspect that a lot like me, I don’t go to stores to just go shopping, I usually go out to ‘obtain a specific thing’ – perhaps this is what Shindig means by ‘target shopping’?
On the net I’ve heard that S/V Silverland has found the diver Gary in Kauehi, they brought him back across the lagoon to their dinghy (an 8 mile ride, very wet), Gary was able to dive the anchor and they got it free with some maneuvering and a trip line. Silverland said their anchor is a little bent now but serviceable. And Silverland was super happy that Gary was in the atoll with his dive operation.
I’ve looked at the damage at the port bow deck cleat where the snubber wore through some fairing compound, it’s not a big deal and did not get to the fiberglass. I’m doing up a number of splices this morning to repair lines that were worn through, and also to replace the dinghy painter with a new one – the sun sure eats polypropylene line out here in a hurry!
Enjoy the day!