Sunday in Taiohae Bay, more paperwork and faces to names

Today was my first day of homework, as assigned by Kevin at Nuku Hiva Yacht Services. He provided me a list of paperwork I needed to have so he and I could go up to the Haute Commissionaire and apply for my Carte de Sejour:

A letter requestion your carte du sejour – In English
Completed Attestation Form saying you will not work while you are in FP. Completed and signed application forms
Copies of your passport, with visa page and entry stamp
Copy of your health in surane in FP with dates policy number and names
Bank statements for last three months – evidence you have sufficient funds in your name to support yourself Copy of the boat registration
Copy of the Entry Declaration
ID Photos
Fiscal stamp for 9,000 XPF

Almost all of the above I have already supplied to the French Consulate in San Francisco when I applied for my Long Stay Visa, which I received, so I know that Tahiti already has that information. Why I need to supply it again is beyond me… but there you go, that’s bureaucracy for you. Things to do, to have ready for Tuesday afternoon’s meeting with Kevin to prepare the carte de sejour application.

The morning started very well, Jack and I were in the water early and checked out the hull – no damage from the trip across, no big (or even little) scrapes in the paint, so we didn’t hit anything hard. Always nice when things turn out that way. We went over the hull carefully with little paint spatulas and knocked off the few barnacles that we’d missed in Mexico. I don’t think those barnacles like the warm water here so much, as they weren’t very large. The water in the bay is fairly murky, visibility is easily 10 feet, but that’s not what one thinks of for visibility in French Polynesia, not after stories of 100′ visibility.

I then spent the next three hours at the nav station hoping that the ManaSpot WiFi internet connection would work, as I needed to download six bank statements (from two financial institutions), and that was a nightmare. The first three went ok, not big deal. The last three took forever. It’s amazing how much extraneous stuff is dumped onto a web page for something as simple as a login form, where all you need are two text fields: Login, Password. Do I really need background images, fancy fonts, pull down menus, javascript everywhere? No, but I do have to wait while all of that downloads just so I can enter two short items. Loading a page could take as long as ten minutes, and then everything collapses as the web browser is unhappy that the page load went over 30 seconds… start over! Arrgghh! So several hours later I had finally logged in, navigated through three pages, to get to a statements page where I could actually ask for what I wanted, and eventually I had what I needed. I can use Airmail/Iridium to do email just fine, but if I need to navigate a web page then Iridium is not an option and I’m limited to ManaSpot.

During the above web misadventures several boats that I have ‘met’ over the SSB radio net came up and we chatted for a while: Ashika and Mysticeti. Both are here in the bay, neither can check in until Tuesday morning (‘you can go ashore as long as you promise not to get into a bar fight’), and Ashika is having dinghy problems as they didn’t run the gas out of the outboard motor before departing San Diego and now it’s cooked off inside the carburetor – so no outboard until they finish the carburetor. Something of a bummer to sail 3000 miles across the ocean and then miss going ashore by 500 feet. So we ran them ashore this afternoon to walk on dry land, see a bit of the town, hit the bank for cash, then it was back to the dinghy wharf as everything is closed on Sunday afternoons, except for the chicken eatery at the wharf. The eatery also offers WiFi, and the cruisers were there, everyone with their ipad and laptop and smart phone doing things online. Met up with S/V Blessing at the eatery, Caroline introduced herself and was quite happy to find out who Tiger Beetle and Ashika were. It’s always fun to put faces to the names you’ve been talking to on the radio for the past several weeks.

We eventually motored back out in the dinghy and dropped off Lorie and Duci (Ashika) at their boat. Turns out that Duci had purchased 60 acres of land on Orcas Island just north of Olga, and was building a bed & breakfast up there until the big ice storm (1989?) wiped out 200 of his trees and the bank (so he said) and he couldn’t afford to continue after that. Talk about a tiny world! He mentioned working with a group to purchase Rosario, but that didn’t work out as the Rosario caretaker wasn’t keen to manage the sale without some sort of employment guarantee built into the deal. I guess Rosario has been perpetually for sale for a long long time – quite a place, though!

Jack and I are now back out with Beetle, all is calm and peaceful in the anchorage, no drums tonight and no big parties in town, everything is actually quite quiet, except for the Oyster Rally fleet with their picture-perfect British accents calling for each other over VHF 72 (the working frequency in the bay). I think every boat should have a perfect British accent on the radio, it sounds particularly erudite.

All is good in the world, I’m going to pop back up into the cockpit – there’s a bit of breeze up there, the moon is keeping company with a planet, and it’s easy to see the boats hanging out on their anchors for the night.

I have been trying to get some pictures together to post, and so far have been thwarted by the wonderful internet connectivity I have here. A significant part of tomorrow is to actually get some imagery up!

Good night.

– rob

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