Monthly Archives: September 2010


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D Day

Today is the day gang. More news and some pics at the end of the day. 🙂


we’re a REAL sailboat now…

more tomorrow.  🙂

Quick Monday Update – back to Marina Taina!

So much going on!  Fast & Furious is the style at the moment, so the post will be fast too….

Sunday afternoon our friends from Maya Ray headed out and East towards the Tuamotus, where the boss will fly in on Thursday…. A real special thanks to Capt. Dave, Philip, James, Esmie & Hanna – we met them first and briefly in Panama at Shelter Bay, then they shared high-tech weather info with us on the passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas, then they came out in their power dinghy here in Tahiti, at our pleading request for nervous help, to help tow us in, and then… We got to know them here at Marina Taina through socializing and such.  Great people, really great people.  Dave runs a great ship, this beautifutl 100 foot B. Farr designed boat (on which we got a delightful tour… WOW!) – and he & the crew are a special bunch.  After Friendship and Espumeru leaving, they were are nearest and `oldest` cruising friends around… Now the marina feel nearly 100% empty (more on Silandra V later!).  Hope they have a great passage – quite a beat to windward though, predicited 20 to 25 kts on the nose the whole way…

A few pics as they passed us in the anchorage:

Monday morning we were up quite early.  The plan was to have the two hooks (anchors) up by 8, and then maneuver Walk On into the Marina, a fairly tight, reversing stern to behind a Super Maramu on a starboard side-to tie up… Anyway, we started out just fine, taking it very very slowly.  A while later, Patrick, from an alloy boat we’d seen in the Caribbean (Elegantine) and just arrived in the anchorage this very morning, came over in his dinghy to help out.  He was great!  Helped me heft up a lot of chain and run me over in his dinghy to pull up the second anchor (our Fortress, dug in VERY well I might add).  I need to go over when there’s free time, offer him a six pack for his help, and clean his dinghy after pulling up all that dirty rode.  Cruisers are the nicest damned people – always helping!  Thank goodness, as my herniated lombard discs were feeling it.  Anway, just before we started pulling up the anchor, another superyacht, called Aquamarina, came cruising past on her way out and on to somewhere else…. Just check out the paint job, with a bizarre mother-of-pearl glow to it.  I heard from the crew that a paintjob on this boat costs about a million bucks.  Yep, that’s paint.

Then we started the slow move over to the marina. I had to get a shot or two of Lara.  She was manning the dinghy in ‘tugboat mode’, tied alongside and providing the propulsion as I steered the way over.  When we got close, a tender from the marina helped out too and so it was easy, calm, and without stress.  We were tied up by about 9 am.

More on the engine stuff soon.

We’re surrounded! It’s a feeding frenzy!!!

(this was from Sunday… but the internet was non existent, so here it goes on Monday. More Monday news soon).
This morning, somewhere between my first and second moka of coffee, I started to notice something in the water.  You know, out of the corner of your eye kind of thing.  On closer inspection, I realized that there were several long skinny fish swimming almost in formation near the stern of the boat.  The wind and water were very quiet, and so visibility was quite “Tahitian” – that is to say excellent.  I can see the shadows of the sea floor here at the anchorage, and we’re in 18 meters of water (just shy of 60 feet).
Anyway, I edged quietly over to the lifelines on the aft port coaming, to sip my coffee and watch.  The longer I watched, the more fish I began to see.  Before long, there were something like 100 of these long skinny guys (a kind o bottlefish, or needlefish I suppose – I need to google it).  Most were about 2 feet long, some near three.  They were circling the entire boat, swimming shallow and rather slowly, in a big formation.  I looked down near the hull and discovered why… A large school of minnows or guppies or some manner of tiny fish had taken up residence in the shadow of our boat.  The long skinny guys were forming them into a tighter and tighter ball.  Poor guys – the end was near.
I started to notice other shapes in the water as well and started counting… All in all, I saw four quite different species of fish.  The skinny torpedo fish, a kind of mackerel (like a ‘cavala’ in Brazil), and two others that I’ve never seen before, thicker and with nice blue and green coloring schemes.  Then the feeding started, when one of the chubbier mystery fishing, coming up from deeper water, started slashing through the bait ball with surprising speed and fury.  The skinny guys maintained their formation most of the time, and as if on some cue, one of them would take his turn diving through the cloud of little guys – normally they’d come back out of the shadow under the boat with a little shiny fish t-boned in their very thin snout, before simply swallowing and, bye bye, no more little guys.  I walked up to the bow and took more pictures.  The more they ate, the more the water around the boat began to sparkle – with thousands of miniscule silver scales left over from the ‘carnage’.  It was quite a show to say the least.  After about 20 minutes I put on my mask and snorkel and quietly climbed down the swim ladder into the water.  I think I crashed the party – because the bait fish began to gather very near to me, as if they new the predators wouldn’t come close to me.  Smart little bastards.  The predators also came pretty close, but not enough to bite.  After about 5 minutes of this, they left.  Clearly they were quite disappointed by my appearance in their world.
I know, I need an underwater camera, don’t I?  Someday!
After downloading the pics, I realized that I had some pics of this beautiful blue beauty called “Bliss” – this the other day as she made her way out of the marina, past us, and towards the pass and eventually the Tuamotus.  The boss had called and said ‘meet me there’.
Bliss is one of several mega-yachts, or super-yachts that we’ve had the chance to see close up.  Perhaps someone can do some googling for me and see what you can find out about:
Maya Ray (a 10 year old, +/- 100ft Bruce Farr design built in Cape Town)
Avalon (US Flag, she’s gotta be 100ft+)
Beagle V (big, blue, shiny)
Imagine (the second one, bigger than the first, at about 125ft – tallest mast I ever saw!)
Double Haven (motor yacht, 17 yrs old, so well maintained she looks like she was christened yesterday)
Aquamarina (motor yacht, european-style looking monster)
These boats are something to behold.  They have of course generous budgets and permanent crew from 3 to 17 persons, depending on the boat.  The crew all work hard from what I can tell, and party even hardy.  But we’ve met some very nice people from Ireland, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Colorado, New Orleans, the UK, and so on.
Behold Bliss:

That’s it! More about Monday soon.  (From the Marina….)

Boa sorte e bons ventos!

I hadn’t even noticed, but a comment from my old colleague Sergio Falcao, from Recife, reminded me that today was the start of the 2010 REFENO!

Wow, has it been a year already?  Such great memories of the race and the victory from last year.

Just wanted to wish everyone luck – looks like there are a lot of boat this year.

Wonder who’ll take the ACO A trophy this year?

Entre Polos, Triunfo II, Jamaluce…?

Wish I were there competing, but I guess there are worse places than Tahiti.  🙂

sunny saturday morning

One small step for Yanmar, one giant leap for Walk On.  Perhaps not the most appropriate phrase possible, but it’s early and still having my first bit of coffee.  It does, however, sum it up.  Friday afternoon the purchase was completed of our new 4HJ5E Marine Diesel Engine.   After one detail or another, it took nearly a week to finalize the payment details.
We’ll move back to the Marina Taina on Monday, and also take delivery of the engine the same day.  Tuesday morning our mechanic, Marc, will show up to get things rolling.  To start, we have to get the old one out.  🙂  Anybody need a 200 kilo paperweight, or perhaps an anchor for a new mooring buoy?  That’s about what the old engine block and so forth are good for now.  Over the weekend, I am going to do some prep work, pretty much unhooking and detaching all that I can – this to make Marc’s work faster on the ‘removal‘ part of the job.  I like Marc, but I want him on the boat as little as possible, in a good sense… When he’s on board, it costs nearly a dollar a minute.
The Yanmar people here seem to be quite professional (they’re called Sin Tung Hing Marine), and I’ve been assured a few things:
– Marc is a preferred mechanic of the Yanmar dealer, able to do the installation
– Once installation is complete, and before we turn the key for the first time, they will send a technician to verify the installation and certify that everything is correct
– After a successful sea trial with the same guy, they’ll stamp and seal the deal, giving us the Yanmar guarantee for the future.
Funny how these are precisely the three conditions we didn’t get with the boatyard in Brazil.  Hindsight is so damn clear, isn’t it?  And in case you’re wondering: No, we still haven’t received any word, any offer of assistance, much less any money from the boatyard.  I did, however, exchange several emails with the Yanmar guys who sold us our original engine.  Upon request, they provided me with a page from the installation manual, showing in no uncertain terms the correct positioning of the anti-siphon valve.  I had to press a bit more and send them my photos again, but they did admit that our woes were caused by the incorrect installation of that anti-siphon valve.
Here’s a page from the installation manual, literally.  The red circles show where two simple mistakes were made on our installation.  15K bucks later, we know where to double-check the second installation…
Enough of that for now.
It will feel very good indeed motoring out of the pass and headed for new destinations with not only a new working engine, but one that carries a guarantee with it.  Plus I’ll have loads of spare parts… Alternator, starter engine, fuel pump, etc etc.  Between one detail and the other, that’s kind of what our week has been about – getting the payment details all lined up.  It was trickier than we had expected, but now it’s done.  Amen.
To fill the rest of the time, we’ve been tackling a series of little jobs and repairs on board:
– Fixed the door and some cabinetry in the forward cabin
– Epoxied a broken door frame and then re-attached the aft cabin door (which I had more or less torn off the hinges getting out of the bunk at the beginning of a squall en route from the Galapagos)
– Shuffled a few fans around to make sure the ones that still work are in the places we need them most
– Touched up the rusty spots here and there on deck – there weren’t that many, but one is too many already
– Bleached and scrubbed the waterline
– Polished way too much stainless steel (very rare, but necessary)
– Washed the windows (pretty rare)
– Changed the spark plug in the Mercury (gas outboard on the dinghy)
– Cleaned the Mercury with WD40, a toothbrush and a few rags, hesitated before taking the carburetor off (I didn’t)
– Fixed the boarding ladder wood support (more six-10 epoxy)
– Cleaned rust off a bunch of wrenches in Pelikan box
– Reorganized a bunch of cabinets and closets
– Figured out the wind generator wasn’t making any contribution to our power scheme… Traced the whole thing down to the voltage regulator and a fuse (the fuse looked ok, but a new one was necesssary anyway).  Did I ever mention that we named our wind generator “Charley”?
Sun’s coming up gang.  Time to turn the anchor light off.  Behind me, you can hear the surf pounding the reef on the outside.  In front of me, you can hear the noises of the island… A considerable population of roosters, some dogs, some early morning traffic, and even a few birds.  A full moon emits a perfect glistening highway across the channel over to the shores of Moorea.  Looks like it’s going to be a good Saturday.  Hope yours is too!

like the new theme?

what do you guys think?

freedive & whale pictures

For these magnificent photos, we have to thank the freedive prowess and photographic expertise of James Kirkaldy, from Maya Ray, and Sara, from Espumeru…. and their capacity to hold their breath for a very long time and reach depths of 20 and 30 meters, with no dive gear.  🙂  Anyway, these are from just outside the pass, where a mother and calf have been ‘hanging out’ in recent weeks.


P.S. Lara says she wants to get into freediving now…. 🙂

let it rain let it rain let it rain

We got up early to head to town and do a little running around… visit the old market, perhaps a little internet cafe time, take some pictures. But just as the coffee was about ready, the pitter patter started. It’s been raining every since, for several hours now, and we’re resigned to a relaxing Saturday on the boat. For now at least. I had planned to do some stainless steel cleaning before we went to town, and then decided to do it anyway. Nothing like a natural morning shower and I think the rain helps wash off any remnants of the acidic cleaning solution better than my sponge or rag. Now we’re discussing a lazy lunch, a little book reading, and perhaps a game of cards later. The only drawback is of course the lack of wind and sun for battery charging – so it’s not likely that we’ll be charging the laptops up today for film watching. Oh well.

We did get the engine quote from New Zealand, thanks to the efforts of our favorite designer, David de Villiers (he designed Walk On, in case you didn’t already know). In the end, however, the cost difference is minimal compared to the option here in Tahiti, so we’ve decided to go ahead and buy our new Yanmar here. Plus we save a few weeks as from NZ it would take more time to get it here and installed. We also had a friend helping get quotes from Yanmar in the US, but apparently our model engine is not currently sold there, so this proved more difficult than I had expected. In any case, we really appreciate Brian’s help and Michael Nelson’s intervention!

From the boatyard? Silence. I wrote them a very straightforward, if not a bit harsh, letter the other day and so far, they haven’t responded, for whatever reason. I believe it’s because they know I’m right about the whole issue. But with them, you just never know. I know they don’t agree, but deep down, somewhere in the ‘let’s be honest’ part of the brain and the soul, they likely agree with me and would feel the same in my shoes – it’s just they’ll never admit it. What a shame it all is. Lara and I are consulting professional legal sources to see what that plan of action might be should we reach that point – it would be time consuming and probably more costly to everyone involved than if the yard simply had the gumption to assume responsibility… but sometimes that is the way it goes.

We have had tons of great feedback and support from family and friends, mostly by email but also by comment on the blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have those comments here on my laptop but I will endeavor to get them and respond in turn. Thanks to everyone for your support!

So what did you guys think of the pictures? Pretty soon there are more coming – the special whale and freediving stuff that I promised. I think you’ll love those photos.

We heard yesterday from Espumeru – now in Cook’s Bay just across the way in Moorea. Their saildrive leak has acted up worse than before so they are planning to haul out in Raiatea in the next 10 days or so. I really hope it goes well for them – quick as possible and painless ($$$) as possible too. Friendship is apparently in the other bay on the north side of the island, as Espumeru didn’t see them. The Clara Katherine left a few days ago and I believe the Larabeck is leaving soon. Tough to see friends moving on and being stuck here, that’s true enough. But we’re thinking all the time of how best to make lemonade from the lemons we’ve been dealt. Hell, I think I’ll make a caipirinha!

Anyway, hope you all are having a wonderful Saturday. If the rain keeps up, I’m going to put on my swim trunks again and go scrub the deck! mm