One of my plans for yesterday evening was to have a crepe at La Paillote, the little French restaurant near Stephanie’s Fakarava Yacht Services. That plan was foiled when a German or Belgium couple on one of the boats here in the anchorage decided to organize a group gathering on the pier where the supply ship docks: sunset drinks (bring your own drink) and then walk over to the school field where there is a cooking area and the locals will make up a tray of chicken or beef over a bed of french fries. They stopped by Beetle to let me know, that sounded different so why not, and they said to let everyone else know as well.
On board Beetle I’ve been experimenting with a wind scoop that will direct air down the small deck hatch behind the mast – the idea being that air moving through the cabin is almost as good as a fan. I’ve got the sewing machine out and used Jack’s sunshade bed sheet for material and version 1 is up and testing itself. An issue I need to work around is the boom vang location, it passes through directly above the hatch and the vang interferes with my wind scoop. This morning I’m going to modify the scoop and have version 2 – it will have a slot that will allow the vang to go through the scoop. I’ll see how that does, slot goes in shortly.
I spent some time yesterday talking with the owner of Respite, a 60′ sailboat from Sitka, Alaska – he’s here and has the boat tied to the town wharf at the moment so he can re-create the large stainless steel bow sprit that broke off the boat. The original bow sprit is in pieces on the wharf, you can see where the metal had corroded entirely through to the point that the metal could not take the vertical pull of one of the headstays, and the sprit simply collapsed. He was able to get some stainless steel pipe sent over from Tahiti and he’s got the projecting sprit (probably a good 6 feet out beyond the hull) suspended in place and portions of it tack-welded together. Then he carefully cuts and aligns the next piece, slowly assembling the whole thing. When it’s what he wants then he’ll go back through and weld it all together. The problem, he thinks, was the bobstay attachment was too far aft along the sprit so he’s moving that forward, and old metal didn’t help.
He’s an interesting guy from the commercial fishing world in Alaska. After running his own boat for 10 years he moved into building, installing, and maintaining refrigeration and machinery for the fishing fleet. I learned a fair bit about how one pumps salmon from one boat to another through a 10″ diameter hose, and a some of how the commercial fishing industry works and makes it money. Turns out the offshore tuna boats, if they are big enough, find it cost-effective to have the small helicopters ($400/hr to fly) and use the helicopter to find the schools of tuna (look like large dark blobs in the lighter colored ocean) and then direct the boats to the fish. There’s enough fish in one good net haul to pay for all that plus the boat and all the people on it. No wonder tuna stocks are under pressure, if they are that valuable.
The cruiser’s gathering on the wharf at sunset was fun, though it got dark and then you weren’t always certain to whom you were speaking with. Four people had acoustic guitars and played for a bit, then we did as planned and walked over to the school field and there indeed are some sort of cooking setups that produced warm food over french fries. They’d even set up some tables and a lot of plastic chairs for us, that was nice. Fortunately the squalls stayed away and we didn’t have to contend with rain. I talked with several boats about anchorages in Tahiti, and the general recommendation was to aim for the area south of the airport – good holding, not too far to town, and you’re not right in the city. Good to know.
This morning has dawned grey and overcast here in Rotoava, the trades are stronger from the east today than yesterday and currently there’s a wide bank of squalls and clouds working through, 20 knots gusting 30 in front of them. I’m glad the motu is in front of Beetle rather than behind, it must be completely nasty on the interior west side of the lagoon. The dive operation boats are up and running about, getting organized to take folks out on the dive trips – it’s going to be lumpy for those boats when they get away from the wind shelter of the motu.
The grey sky makes it a nice morning to be down below on Beetle, we’re snugged in and happy. If the clouds do play through we might get back to some sunshine! And if it’s going to rain I’ll try to make a rainbow or two. Today I will be over at Stephanie’s to user her internet, and will try once again (!) to make it to La Paillote.