Monthly Archives: November 2010

um rapidinho – more or less serio – carioca time lapse

Galera, to em falta.  E eu fui flagrado.  Ta certo! Falei no post do niver que recebi ligacoes de lugar x e y…. mas eu NAO falei, deus que me perdoa, da ligacao de Zug, Switzerland.  Isso eh um detalhe nao pouco importante… pois, de toda a pequena e intima turma dos tempos Carioca, a unica ligacao que recebi no dia do niver veio da cidade chamado Zug, de onde meu  brother de verdade Fabiola fez questao de me ligar mesmo apos de um dia longo de trabalho.  Valeu Fabiola – voce fez o meu dia comecar MUITO bem, mesmo que senti falta da voz da Fuefa.    Mas tudo bem, ela tava la ai em Londres, onde nem deve ter internet e muito menos eSkype, mas eu sei que ela tava com thoughts em mim.  🙂  Ja os outros Cariocas sofreram um time warp (um lapsus de tempo) e conseguiram ligar hoje. Mas nao importa, eu adoro ligacoes dos amigos sempre e por qualquer razao!!!!  Enfim, foi show e peço desculpas ao casal Suico pelo esquecimento no post!  Por enquanto, that’s it!  Em breve, juro, mais noticias sobre a mastreacao (ja chega de trabalhar tanto – ja subimos o mastro 20 vezes cada, eu e Danny, na ancoragem) e…. a nossa partida rumo NORTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Valeu Switzerland, onde os relogios ainda funcionam como devem (little dig). 🙂

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couple of pics

Lara prepping the galley to make the special b-day cake: Red Velvet! (or pink?)

Beating butter & sugar – lots of it!!!

Putting in the food coloring… about to get colorful!

dark stuff… but can it turn pink?  well, it did!

Danny and Mike test the frosting… yummy!!!!!!

 

More pics from Danny’s camera soon, and then the rigging story.

Have a great Monday.

Ciao!

 

 


Super Duper Tahitian Birthday – or doing 4.0 our way

What a fab day we had on Turkey Day!!!!

In a word, my Polynesian birthday was ‘show de bola’! In the morning I got some very cool presents from Larissa and Danny. Then Lara and I talked to JoJo to wish her a happy b-day and to Ivis, just before they headed out for birthday dinner festivities in Rio. Throughout the day, I received various b-day phone calls and text messages from the US, Italy and Brazil. Too cool! In the afternoon, we put together a feast, and then feasted, accompanied by ice-chilled Hinanos (local Tahitian beer). To top it all off and sweetly end a great day, a home-made red velvet cake, with a ‘4’ and a ‘0’ candle on top, and a stunning rendition of happy birthday, accompanied by Danny on the Bora Bora Ukulele! Does it get any better than that? Then this morning, the day after, I finally managed to get on-line and was blown away by emails and all the messages on Facebook. Thanks, grazie mille and muito obrigado for all of those… You guys all made me feel good, and not so very far away! See, nothing to be afraid of when the 4.0 rolls around. 🙂

There were some funny moments worth further mention:

Check your beef! Agneau or Angus?
My dinner choice for the big day was a barbeque, of course! It’s how we’ve been celebrating b-days for years now in Brazil and it’s rare enough on the boat to make it a special occasion. We even decided we’d splurge and get ‘the good meat’ – the kind of steaks (entre-cote) that some might consider everyday ordinary… But in Polynesia, with Tahitian supermarket prices, they’re a rarity for sure! So Lara went off to the market & came back smiling, thrilled with the generous quantity of meat that she’d purchased and that we’d be grilling a bit later. My mouth was watering just thinking about it. I opened the package and studied the label. A creeping suspicion came to mind a minute or two later… It looked enough like beef, I suppose, but the label said ‘agneau’. Now I haven’t studied French since the 80’s but I do have some recollection of a word or two, and this one sounded familiar… And similar enough to the Italian ‘agnello’ – so I kinda knew what was what. We grabbed the French/English dictionary and then had a good laugh together. Agneau of course is the French word for lamb! But Larissa had seen a McDonalds sign a few days earlier, boasting the succelent and delicious qualities of pure Angus beef. She was determined to get her hubby some yummy yummy meat, and the word angus was duly memorized. At the market she saw ‘agneau’ and figured it was close enough to ‘angus’ – the French have some pretty crazy spelling anyway, so why not? When we all realized what had happened, she was crestfallen for a minute or two. I felt bad and Danny and I assured her that we were just as happy eating lamb. Heck, my father-in-law would have loved it even more than the steaks. But Baby Cakes wouldn’t give in. So, though she would have to walk back to the market and try to exchange the lamb for beef – using limited French – she was a very good sport about it all and asked to be taken ashore so she could go get the beef! What a lady. Going the extra mile. My Mozy (one of her nicknames) is the best, and she came back with three gorgeous entre cote steaks. Naturally, these grilled up very nicely indeed. It had been some time since any of us had eaten meat like that. 🙂

Pink Velvet Cake?
Since I was a kid, I’ve been a fanatic for Red Velvet Cake. It’s a bit of a tradition in my family and Mom always did one for me on my b-day. If you’ve never had one, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Google it and check out some of the pictures on the web. Well, my super duper wife had decided recently that for my 40th she was going to make one – no matter how difficult it might prove to be on a boat! She wrote to Mom & my Sisters for the recipe and then started getting ready, gathering the ingredients over several days. In the end, we all got into the cake-making process (ask Mom, it’s kinda labor-intensive!) and had to laugh and improvise along the way… We have a great galley and plenty of normal home kitchen stuff, but we don’t have everything… So typically you improvise when necessary and you normally get by just fine.

Anyway, the funny moment came when Lara put the famous red dye into the batter. The only red food coloring to be found on this Pacific island was some exotic and unknown brand, from a chinese market. I had truly expected the whole mix to start to turn the dark velvety red color that gives the cakes it’s name. Now, I’m not sure what was going on chemically, or if the dye just wasn’t strong enough, but we all laughed big time when the batter turned bright pink! You had to see it to believe it. It looked like valley girl nuclear hot pink – like a young lady might wear on her fingernails. In the end, the cake actually came out nice and red, just about like it’s supposed to. Lara really went out of her way to make the whole day special, including this, my all-time favorite cake… And it was WONDERFUL!

So that was about how it went.

Sunset barbeque, swinging on the hook (anchored) in Polynesia, with very cold Hinanos, excellent entre cote steaks, incredible mashed potatoes (our tiny homage to Thanksgiving day), delicious salad – and then the kick ass cake! Thanks especially to Lara for making it all that much more special – I know she worked really hard. Thanks also to Danny for being a great sport about it all and sharing the special day, joining in with the Uke and taking some pics (forthcoming…).

Thanks again to all the well-wishers by phone, sms, facebook and email. Thanks to technology, you guys all made me feel good!

More Birthday pictures and rigging stories coming up. Stay tuned. Oh, and have a great weekend!

 



Version 4.0 released – Turkey Day Version – in Tahiti

Well, here it is, birthday time. We’re still anchored near Maeva Beach, and still with spotty to non-existent wi-fi, so if you’re seeing this on the blog, I’ve likely posted via sailmail. Yep, it’s b-day time, and no, I don’t feel, think nor even look ‘old’ (perhaps), ‘forty-something’ or any other cute descriptions you might want to throw at me. 🙂 We’ll celebrate later when our work is done. There is of course other news and that is we’re ‘one heavy’. I mentioned something about crew changes, and that’s what we’ve got, a new crew member! His name is Danny, and he’s originally from California. He was also the drummer in the impromptu jam session we had aboard many months ago at the Marina. After cruising down for the last 14 months or so on S/Y Leeway (Hilo, HI) with his Uncle Dan, Danny has left Leeway and is trying to get back to the US to start school next semester. Leeway is continuing westwards, headed for the Northern Cook Islands next and points beyond thereafter. Hawaii was a good enough destination for him, and we are glad to have the crew to help out on the long passage. It’s a good deal for all of us really. Danny has been aboard officially since Monday and has already worked hard to earn his passage home. Plus he’s fun, bright, good-humored, easy-going, and has an authentic Polynesian Ukulele! More on Danny in the future, as well as pics etc. In the meantime, you can check out his blog: http://www.dansailing.blogspot.com

 

We’re nearing the end of a protracted rigging job. I’ll write more about this soon enough, I suppose when we finish. But the point is we’re doing a complete change-out of all the shroud terminals (connecting the lateral wires from the deck to the side of the mast), which involves a good amount of mast climbing, some ss hole drilling on stubborn screws, cutting off the old T terminals and replacing them with eyes. This will be a lot clearer in the pics when I eventually post them than it is for me to explain, but the job is considerable and Danny has been great, working right alongside and doing anything and everything I’ve asked him to. Had I been solo on this, it would have taken more than twice the time. Today we ought to be able to complete the shroud job, ending up with the cap shrouds (the longest ones, that go to the masthead). Then we can clean up and start thinking about a birthday party….

 

Speaking of Birthdays, it’s time to start the homages. First is a big huge happy birthday to my dear Mother-in-Law Joana D`Arc. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JO JO!!!!!! I wish we could be together and do another double-birthday celebration like the ones I’ve so enjoyed these last years in Rio. In any case, I know Ivis will take good care of you on your b-day and make the weekend special as well – probably with one of those world-class barbecues and lots of friends around. Miss you!  Oh, and you have the coolest birthday of the year.  🙂

 

The next homage is to Family on Turkey Day. Happy Thanksgiving Gang! From Simi to Phoenix to Carey to Pittsburgh and Blanchard, and all the other places where our extended family lives, we wish you a happy tummy-filling T-Day. We also wish we could share some of your Turkey… We haven’t seen ANY in Polynesia. Have a great day guys, we love you and miss you, and cherish the idea that we will be chowing down together on T-Day 2011!!!!! So, that’s it for the moment. Lara has gone ashore for a morning run, and Danny and I are about to go to work on the cap shrouds. With a little luck, we’ll be done by early afternoon and can start the b-day stuff. The plan is to splurge on the good meat and do a quality bbq aboard. Just gotta do it, right? Lara has a bunch of yummies planned as accompaniment and there might even be a sweet red desert… The girls in the family know what I mean (thanks for sending the recipe girls!!!). Ok, time to put the bosun’s chair on and start climbing…. Contemplating 40 years 63 feet above the waterline. The view is nice. 🙂


CHANGE OF PLANS!!!!! :-)

I suppose it’s high time that I start writing on the blog again.  There’s plenty of news and the other day my Mother-In-Law commented on the phone that she didn’t know what was going on with us.  This came a day after my Mother also had called to see what’s what.  So, for the Mothers. God Bless ‘em, and for everyone else, here’s the story….

(some people already know a good deal of what follows below, but I guess in a way that posting it makes it all more ‘official’)

Destinations

The first bit of news has to be about the ‘where’ of it all.

Until a couple of months ago, our plan was to continue across the Pacific and end up in New Zealand before the South Pacific Cyclone season started.  The destination seemed to us a good one: a place we’ve always wanted to visit, a great place to cruise in a mostly cyclone-free area, a top-notch location to fix and alter things on a sailboat, and it would be a kind of homecoming for Walk On, as her lines were drawn there.  Not to mention, we’d have a chance to hang out with her designer and other great cruising friends we’ve met along the way.  For a great many boats, New Zealand is the season-ending destination after months crossing the Pacific and visiting many of her lovely islands.  Australia is another, but with the exception of Espumeru, all the boats we consider cruising friends are all headed there: Erasmus, Friendship, Larabeck, Maya Ray, Silandra V, and others. Actually, as I write this, two big things have happened already: the cyclone season has officially kicked off (1 November) and many of these boats are already tied up, anchored or moored safely in NZ waters.  So what the hell are we still doing in Tahiti?  Well… Here it comes… Drum roll please… we’ve changed plans and we are NOT headed to NZ any longer (at least not this year).

Engines and Family

We didn’t fully realize it at the time, but in late August, when the old Yanmar died a noisy death in Fatu Hiva, things were starting change.  It took sailing engine-less to Tahiti, a visit by the mechanic and the sticker-shock of price quote for a new engine to get us thinking in a new way.  The engine replacement forced us to stop and take stock of the entire situation, current and future.  It was also a heavy blow to the ‘ol cruising finances, as the money spent on the new Yanmar was nearly a year’s worth of cruising for us anyway.  One new engine, one year less cruising.  Another consideration was time – one new engine also means about one month longer in Tahiti than we had planned, effectively cutting by more than half the available time we still had to sail the remaining miles to NZ… We’d have had to rush through the Societies, barely get to know the islands in Tonga, and otherwise spend a good portion of October and early November under sail just to get down to Kiwi-land.

Beyond the cruising kitty crisis, and the limited time to complete the E to W Pacific crossing, we came to realize something much more important.  Perhaps I should say that I came to understand that there was a desire in me much stronger than to keep on cruising, endlessly.

In a word: Family.

On the one hand, Lara and I want to start our own family.  Not that having a family, at whatever age, and cruising can’t be reconciled.  In fact, sometimes the two go very well together, as we’ve seen on a number of boats.  But more on that in the future.  But besides the family of our own that we want to start, I’ve got a big wonderful family living in various places in the US.  The fact is that because of my own choices and a thanks to a great many adventures in foreign lands, I’ve been literally away and geographically quite distant from my family – for a long time.  Call it January 1994.  Italy and Brazil were both wonderful places to live, but family is family and I decided that it’s time for me to get my bones back on US soil (maybe waterfront soil 🙂 ) and be close to the family – you know, get together on a regular basis and do the things families do… Holidays together, birthdays, weddings, births – not just the special events, but the regular stuff too, which I thoroughly enjoy.  I’ve missed so many of those since ’94, and it’s tough every time.  Now, I didn’t ask my family if they wanted me back, close to home and all that, but tough, they’ll just have to get used to it somehow, and put up with me and Larissa being nearby, knocking on their door and showing up for family functions.  🙂  We also expect to take all of them sailing at some point!!!!!!

So, taking all this into account, there is really only one destination that makes real sense for us and this blue boat: the West Coast of the US. That means that from Tahiti we won’t be heading West but North.

So, the red is where we’ve been in the Pacific.  The yellow(ish) is where were thought we were going.  Then… we changed our minds.  We’ll take the Blue route!  🙂

The plan is to sail north and east, first visiting some of the Tuamotu Atolls, then return to the Marquesas, and then point the bow slightly west of north, cross the equator, and make a beeline for the Aloha State.  We plan to make land in Hawaii – literally on the big island of Hawaii and call in at Hilo.  From Hawaii, when the time is right, we’ll do the last leg and head for the West Coast.  That looks like May, at the moment.

Our plan is to live in San Francisco and go about an otherwise ‘normal’ life – at least for a while.  🙂  We hope that things pan out in such a way that work and babies turn out to be two things we find in the City by the Bay.  Oh, and that means too that we’ll likely not only keep our beloved boat, but we’ll be able to sail her on weekends and all that.  I know, I know, ‘back to the matrix’ and all that.  Gotta take out the earring, trade the bathing suit for a non-bathing one, and incarcerate my poor feet in shoes, leaving the flip flops behind.  It’s taken me months to come to grips with that last thought, and even this morning I had to breathe deeply several times before I could actually write the words.  No more flip flops?  Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

So, in a word (or two or three hundred), that’s the plans.

More news soon about crew changes, and details about what we’re doing to the boat here in the anchorage.  Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Ciaoooooooooo


quickie – haul-IN details

Just for the numbers people: the travel lift that put us back in the water the other day had a scale on it… for the first time, we were able to see what our cruising weight really is, give or take… the scales were weighing our blue beauty at 15 tons (metric).  That’s just over 33K pounds (US) and about a ton ligther than I though we were.  Ok, we weren’t full of diesel, but the water was pretty full, and our stores are about medium at the moment.  Wonder what Ari and David de Villiers will think about that weight…

Just for the dog lovers: this is our buddy dog from Technimarine.  We have no idea what everyone else calls her, so I called her Josephine, and she went with us everywhere… especially after Lara fed her two nights in a row.  🙂

 

Speaking of travel lifts (these are both made in the US): here are two pretty big ones.  The ‘little’ one putting us back in the water is rated at 75 metric tons.  The ‘bigger’ one next to it, is rated for 300 metric tons!!!!!  I’d never seen a bigger one myself…

This is Lara next to the tire…

And this is Law.  At least he said that his Reggae name was LAW.  Anyway, he really was nice to us during our time on the hard, and he really wanted a picture with Larissa.  🙂

 

Ciao….  News post is NEXT!

 


double splash

Well, Walk On splashed yesterday – back to the water!

Then we motored over to the anchorage near Maeva Beach and the Marina Tahina… and then I jumped in the water.  Felt good, very good!!!!

Now, time to start working on the mast – I have some rigging pieces to change out on the lateral stays.  More on that soon.

Have a great day gang.

MM

 


Quick update: we’ll be back in the water Wednesday!!!!

Well, the work day has just come to a close. All here are showered and smelling nice now.

The great news is that we’re DONE and we’ll be back in waterworld tomorrow.

The skinny on how it all played out:

– with the new shaft in, together with the two new cutlass bearings, we tested the alignment of the stern tube and the tube in the strut (or P-Joint), but still NOT connected to the engine. The very positive news here is that these two elements of the boat are indeed correctly lined up. I can’t tell you what a relief that is!!!! No messing with boat structure, cutting steel, welding, painting, all that…

– then, when aligning the engine, we realized that when the engine is in place, it still sits a bit too low, even when relatively high on the adjustable engine mounts. But as I said, there is a point and you can’t go any higher. Solution? Chock up the engine mounts, even further. So we put spacer plates in and raised the engine a total of 17mm (less than an inch, but it makes all the difference).

With that done, the shaft spins nice and easy as it should. Then it was just a question of putting the MaxProp back together, putting the shaft and prop zincs on, and then greasing the whole thing up with sheep’s-grease (for lack of the correct name). What a relief!!! Also, this whole ‘fix’ should help the engine run better, more efficiently, and all that good stuff.
From what I can gather, this thing with the engine being just a tad too low is what caused the original shaft to get bowed in the first place. It was binding between the coupling and the first bearing, inside the stern tube… Now we have a brand new, perfectly ‘true’ stainless steel shaft, made in Tahiti, all for the price of US$1,100. Another ‘exotic’ addition to our boat from Polynesia. It sucks, yes, but sometimes it’s also a bit of live & learn and c’est la vie!

Gotta run – we’re prepping to splash tomorrow. By tomorrow afternoon, we should be anchored over by Maeva Beach again, with reach of Marina Taina and – hopefully – wi-fi coverage. That’d be nice. But the best will be jumping back in the water again. :

Ciao for now gang. More news soon – including that important post I promised. M


Update from the hardstands, with teflon!

Well, it’s not time quite yet to write the ‘newsy’ post, the one with more details about our plans. The reason is simple: THAT specific post is too important to be taken lightly, and I simply refuse to write about stuff like that when the boat is on the hard. I’ll wait until we are back in the water, where I can have a pleasant morning swim, make a cup of java, and then write.

So, what IS going on? At the moment, it’s a bit of a waiting game. Last Tuesday, when we finally got the shaft out of the boat, we sent it to have it checked the reason was to see that it was still straight and true. It wasn’t. There was a decent bow to it, and so we asked that a new one be made ASAP. With Thursday being a holiday, our only hope was that it’d be ready on Friday. It was, but because of an ‘Island Time’ attitude by some of those involved, it wasn’t picked up on Friday, much less delivered or installed. So we had no choice but to wait it out, another weekend on the hard (at 50 bucks a day).

When the shaft was delivered yesterday, Monday, we discovered yet another little hiccup. This one didn’t entirely surprise me, as it may have to do with the construction of the boat in the first place. We’ll see. The shaft has three ‘contact’ points: 1) at the coupling with the engine transmission, 2) in the middle or thereabouts, where it passes through a cutlass bearing in the stern tube and 3) at the aft end, where it passes through the second cutlass bearing in the strut on the outside of the hull and is finally attached to the propeller. So what is the story? Well, these points all need to be perfectly aligned for the shaft to be able to turn freely, allowing all the bits to do their job without wear or damage (to the transmission, cutlass bearings and the shaft itself). That means, in the first place, that the stern tube (that goes through the hull) and the strut tube (hanging down from the hull in the water) need to be very precisely aligned. Normally, this happens when the boat is welded together. I hope ours is ok, especially after the rudder shaft and bearing situation we had a year ago but one thing at a time! The other point of poor alignment can of course be due to mechanical error. The engine has to be correctly aligned on the engine mounts (which are adjustable) to meet up correctly and precisely where the engine coupling joins the shaft. But these adjustments on the engine-end are limited because they can’t be extended too far from the solid base or the engine tremor and shake can really mess things up.

Speaking of tremors… I shudder to think what it might mean in terms of re-aligning the welded tubes in the boat This would be exactly the same sort of problem we had a year ago when we were hauled out in Trinidad. Another pair of tubes that also need to be perfectly aligned are the ones that handle the rudder shaft. They are not aligned correctly, even now, and so last December we had the difficult and expensive repair of the rudder shaft bearings that some of you will remember. In the end, there are two pairs of “tubes” on the boat that absolutely positively needed to be in the correct alignment for the two shafts, rudder and engine, to work correctly. Simple enough, it’s a common issue to nearly all the boats out there floating around in the waters of the world. Just the idea that, perhaps, for the second time, we’re on the hard, spending money we didn’t plan to on significant repairs that we shouldn’t need to be – this on a boat that is officially less than two years old. Pretty frustrating, I can tell you that.

And the Teflon? Well, that’s all about the polish job I did over the holiday with the topsides. First I used a special super-duty rubbing compound made by 3M (like a special wax potion with very very small abrasive bits in it, like special sand). You apply this stuff and buff the painted surface very carefully with a grinding wheel that has a special foam pad on it. This takes out shallow scratches, takes away a good part (not all) of the salt stains on the blue paint, and otherwise treats the paint job. Next, you apply a special marine polish with the same grinder but with a wool pad. This step is kind of like waxing a car spin spin spin, buff buff buff while the brilliance improves you’re also protecting the painted surface from stains, spotting, even UV damage and the Telfon is in the Polish. Though not quite an ‘Awlgrip’ finish, the topsides do look a great deal better than they have for a long time. We got lots of compliments from other boat owners here and from the yard managers. 🙂 It was hard work, but I am happy about how it came out and proud of having successfully done a pretty good job on making our boat look better. And the paintjob is now protected better as well from future staining, salt and sun damage. Good thing I did it myself – I asked Alain here at the yard how much Technimarine normally charges for a job like that something like 800 bucks US. Ouch!

The highlight over the weekend was a skype-to-cell phone conference we had with JP, Luiza, Pedro, Veronica, Belinha, Doc Redorat, Marina, Ricardo, Leo Bastos and Tunica they were all at Pedro & Veronica’s house for a BBQ and called us on the Tahitian Cell for a chat. It was great! Too bad the skype credit ran out before we had a chance to chat more with Ve. 9 However, CONGRATULATIONS are definitely in order for Doc & Marina on their exciting news. 🙂

The other highlight was that ND beat Utah and I won ten bucks from my bro MCN. He he he.

Anyway, sorry for the mixed bag news post and somewhat downer tone – but that’s how it is on the hard and I’ve got to tell the story the way it feels. Until we get back in the water, and away from boat issues and contractors who charge Tahitian prices, it doesn’t feel all that good. More news when we have it!
Ciao
MM


On the hard, between birthdays, and in no-man’s land

(this is from Tuesday Nov 9th)

Well, let me explain that a bit… It’s true that we are on the hard stands, at the Technimarine boatyard in Papeete. It’s also true that we’re between birthdays in a sense, but both need to be saluted and so they will be, in the same blog – and why not, we’re talking about the first two crew members ever to take Walk On into the big blue salt water of the south Atlantic with me… Eduardo “DuDu” Braga and Joao Paulo “JP or Japes” Redorat. Edu’s b-day has just passed, and JP’s is Thursday. So, a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to both of these guys, true brothers from another mother to me and to Larissa. Wish we could be there for your celebrations, past and future, but you can be sure we’re thinking of you both and doing our best to salute you the way you’d expect. 🙂

And ‘no man’s land’? Well, that’s where we are Internet-wise. There are no open networks, nor pay networks available at the boatyard. We were stoked to find out that a WDG Hotspot antenna had been installed at Technimarine, but alas… The hype came too soon, along with their advertising. While the antenna is there, it’s not yet hooked up to anything. So that’s why we haven’t been blogging and posting pics etc – no Internet!

But things are ok at the yard. Alain and staff are really great, very professional, and have been generous with lending some tools that we’ve needed, as well as driving us to town more than once. It’s a decent walk to town, so it’s nice to have a ride once in a while, especially for groceries! The whole project for the shaft seal has been trickier, and slower, than we expected… Among other things, the guys significant difficulty in getting the coupling off the engine-end of the shaft, and then we discovered that the shaft itself is not true (i.e. Perfectly straight and cylindrical). This is serious bad news, because it means we have to have a new one made… Time and money. Always time and money, isn’t it? Oh well, what are you going to do? It would be hugely irresponsible of me to put the old shaft back on and risk further damage to the cutlass bearings (which we are changing anyway), to the brand new PSS shaft seal, and/or to the transmission of the engine, so we’ve had to order a new shaft and will be on the hard for a few extra days because of it.

Just to slow things up a bit (sorry, but it is frustrating being on the hard, trust me), Thursday the 11th is Armistice Day, a national holiday for many Europeans as far as I know – and by extension a national holiday here in French Polynesia as well. But as we’re stuck on the hard, I’m going to make the best of it and do a thorough polish of the topsides (that’s the blue part of the boat). The yard lent me the tools and so I only needed to pick up the polishing compound. The elbow grease is mine. 🙂 I’m actually looking forward to it though… The miles, the sea, and the sun have really dulled the finish and I really want to try and brighten things up a bit. Amazing how salt from the sea gets ‘burned’ into the paintjob by the sun.

And to close for now: a quick round-up in yachting news – I mean the yachts of our friends and acquaintances…

Erasmus has recently and safely arrived in NZ. Back in their home waters, Craig and Mary thus complete their 12 year round-the-globe Odyssey. As much as we miss them, we are delighted they are home safe (I never doubted their lovely ship, nor their seamanship!) and can look back now on one AMAZING adventure.

Friendship is currently enjoying Tonga, as far as we know – but the cool thing is that arriving there, Capt. Tim has officially completed what he calls and unintended circumnavigation. Hat’s off to him for that, and also to Bryant for completing yet another leg on the journey across the Pacific. We miss their company but wish them well on way to NZ. I still think this may be my favorite boat of another cruiser, besides mine of course!

Espumeru has arrived recently in Fiji and will likely haul out to make some further repairs – to the saildrive that was supposed to have been properly fixed in Raiatea… But we are pleased to know that Nik, Mira, the boys, Sarah and Marcus are well. Hopefully the turnaround can be quick and the voyage continue towards their current destination: Oz (Australia)

Larabeck is ready and rearin’ to go on their next leg – the 1000 mile romp from Tongan waters down to NZ. Looks like their ‘best possible’ weather window is coming up and so they might be leaving as early as tomorrow or Thursday. We wish Michael and Sharon fair winds, and miss the fiddling!

Maya Ray left Moorea one night before we did, on their way to Bora Bora. It was really nice to see them again in Opunohu Bay – just wish it could have been longer.

Katharsis II (we don’t know them) has been on the hard bottom painting and is going back in the water as I write this. I don’t know what their plans are, but I did hear they were headed “the wrong way”, to the Galapagos. This where we first saw their lovely yacht, back in July.

So – that’s about it for the moment. Did you miss us? 🙂 More soon, as always. Ciao
MM

P.S. Big ‘newsy’ post coming up… Destinations, crew alterations, life-changing plans and all that… Etc. Stay tuned. Was that a good teaser?