Does it rain in Paradise?

23:06.75S 134:57.98W

SunriseAukena by .
Sunrise over Aukena with rain clouds brewing

Yes it does! The last week has been very wet but only slightly cooler than the previous couple of weeks. We have been swimming every day but that is about all our outdoor activities have been limited to for a few days. We missed out on the pig roast that we were invited to because we both had a mild virus of some sort and the weather was a bit nasty (dull and wet) for sailing across to Taravai on the day.

The time has been spent on catching up on computer related stuff, researching/searching for information on the atolls of the eastern half of the Tuamotus and one big sewing project.

Our next move is likely to be some exploring in the eastern half of the Tuamotu island group and as these are off the US to Tahiti milk run very little is published about them. Most of the atolls have an unbroken reef surrounding them with no pass and therefore no anchorage but a few have passes. The passes can have spectacular rates of tidal current attaining velocities of up to 20 knots. With current rates like that it is quite important that we get the slack water period right, and the methods for that all involve either local knowledge (which we don’t have yet) or some kind of witch doctors magic spells (of these I have plenty of recipes but only time will tell which will work).

EasternTuamotus_s by .
Screen grab from MaxSea Timezero of the Eastern Tuamotus (outlined in yellow)

When the internet works I have been downloading satellite images which are really useful for spotting the coral heads if the lighting it correct. You still have to navigate by eye but the satellite images give a clue in the areas where there are no charts. Getting the satellite images and checking their accuracy with charts and vice versa is something of a black art and there are various tools available that I am slowly putting an article together on in case anybody is interested.

The sewing project was to make a sail cover for whatever foresail we have hanked on. We needed that for a few reasons.

  • Ideally we want a foresail hanked on and ready to hoist at all times both for safety and convenience (this is where boats with roller furling have an advantage).
  • We need to keep that sail tidy, lower its wind resistance and keep it under control.
  • The sail is expensive and the UV kills it so a cover is essential.

Up until now we have had to take the foresail off and roll it into a bag that is slightly too small (why do sail-makers do that?) and find somewhere to put it. At sea we always have a sail hoisted but never keep any lashed on deck so the problem goes away.  It is only in port that we need to keep a sail on deck.

PaulaSewingSailcover by .
Paula working on the sail cover

The bag design has evolved over time and after lots of sketching and measuring we decided that we had just enough material to make it from our remaining Sunbrella with a panel of mesh in the bottom to drain it. A couple of days of cutting sewing, trial fittings and fitting grommets we have our new sail cover and very neat it looks too, we think.

ForedeckSailCover by .
The new sail cover, errrr covering

It still needs a few more grommets for the lashing cords but our supply is exhausted hence the sail-ties. The bag clips to the guard wires with some spare small sail hanks that I had aboard.

Last weekend a few more boats, probably the last of the season, arrived from Chile. One was a pleasant surprise as it was “L’envol” with Christophe and Carina who we had met in Mechuque, in Chile, back in November or December. We have been catching up, swapping stories and they came over for dinner last night. They told us that the story of our incident with the crew of the fishing boat incapacitated by CO had become slightly embellished as it made the rounds. The version that they had heard was that we had found a fishing boat sinking in a storm in the Boca del Guafo and rescued all 12 crew and served them tea in a very British way whilst waiting for the Armada de Chile to come to take them off our hands: I don’t think we have any tea aboard; well Paula has some of those hippie herbal things, but certainly no Tetley’s J . Chinese whispers are quite something hey!

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