I can’t believe it’s over 2 months since my latest post here. Time flies, Nanna is bobbing at her anchor as always, the moon has waxed and vaned, rain and squalls come and go in this beautiful spot with a fair amount of sunny days in between. The boat resembles a floating reef by now, I haven’t cleaned the hull or even the prop, for 4 months and cranked the engine just once, in order to haul some 20 meters of anchor chain in to clean off the barnacles before letting it out again. After almost 4 years in the water, the antifouling is but a memory though the colour is still there, mostly black but now with large areas of red, the paint that was on the boat when we bought her.
We have decided to haul-out here in Port Phaeton either 1st Oct or a week after depending on the yard. This is later than we were wishing for since the ‘dry season’ is at it’s end and in November the cyclone season here in the Southern Pacific starts officially. The latest updates on El Nino says 63% chance of an El Nino this year, but likely a ‘mild to moderate’ event, so a very slim risque of cyclones in FrPol.
After the 1-2 week haul-out we’ll head for the Marquesas to explore these 8 islands during the season, in order to sail back here in April. By that time we hope that a package will have arrived with a spool of rigging wire, mechanical terminals and all needed bits and pieces for us to replace the standing rigging on NANNA. I am quite intrigued by fabric standiing rigging (as in Dyneema & others)and am looking into it seriously at the moment, so far it seems not too many cruising boats have converted, perhaps the price is still a chilling factor?
As I think I’ve mentioned previously, the law regarding ‘temporary boat importation’ has changed here recently, allowing a boat in transit to stay for 36 months w/o paying the import tax. This is great news for us and we will make the most of it to see as many as at all possible of all these paradise islands.
After that, we are considering going the Southern Ocean route to Chile and the Patagonian channels (before returning here again) as one alternative to the more common route to Tonga, Fiji and further west. This is one major reason we want new standing rigging on the boat.
I mentioned maintenance projects on ourselves too, and this is quite as important.
Without going into details, I had a minor surgery done here a few weeks ago which went very well and I feel very good about having it done. Since I never had any health issues ever before, I have travelled without health insurance since we left Europe in 2010. Thus, I had too pay cash for the surgery. It only took 15 minutes for the surgeon, but since they had to put me to sleep, the whole affair cost me almost 2000 EURO, which seems like a lot, but OTOH, I already ‘saved’ more than 2 times that in going w/o insurance policy. Isabelle has also had some ‘upkeep and check-ups’ done and will in her turn, have a surgery scheduled for late April next year, which is one of the reasons for our return to Tahiti.
These little interruptions is what caused us not yet to explore Tahiti much on the boat. We did however have access to a car for a few days, courtesy of our friends Richard and Cinthia on ‘Baloo’ and made the most of it by exploring most of the island by road. In fact, there is pretty much just one major road, along the shore, that goes around all but the southernmost part of Tahiti Iti; the peninsula at the south.
Tahiti looks very promising as a cruising ground, it’s a pity that most cruising boats seem to spend just a week or two, and mostly in Papeete or rather the huge, expensive marina at Tahina. Most of the lagoons are navigable, well marked and charted, and anchoring is fine just anywhere where the depth makes it practical.
It has not been all gloom, if I sound like it has, we have made new friends on land and boats alike, enjoyed a few ‘aperós’ in spirited company.
A few weeks ago on an Albin Vega **), a 27′ swedish ‘coastal cruiser’ built in the 70’ies, came in here with a young skipper who is a sailmaker by profession. He stitched chafe patches on the batten pockets on our mainsail (Too heavy to do by hand or on our sewing machine) and said the sail is good for a good many miles still. The main chafes on the intermediate backstays when we’re going downwind. To remedy this for the future, I will replace the intermediarys with running backstays made of ‘high-tech’ line and bock and tackle at the lower end.
Isabelle has once again put her wood- and brightwork skills to work in varnishing most of the interior and exterior wood trim. Exterirally she prefers to use ‘Cetol’ by the dutch company Sikkens, which is something in between – or a little of both- oil and varnish. Looks fantastic! I’ll see if I can upload some pics, once on the hard, internet will be a bit more reliable and hopefully even faster….
**) The Vega has gotten a reputation and many folowers, particularly in the Anglosaxon part of the world, with many impressive voyages to it’s merit; Antarctica (Jarle Andhoej) and circumnavigating the Americas by the Horn and the NW passage (Rutherford I believe) just to mention two. In the UK and the US there are Vega Owner’s Ass’ns. We met one in Ecuador and another in Chiapas, Mexico. Odd as it may seem, I have never sailed a Vega, since the Folkboats (about 3500 built and just over 3000 Vegas!)are so much better sailboats in my mind, albeit quite a bit more cramped below decks. As far as my knowledge goes, Folkboat is still the world’s most numerous keelboat class in racing, but since they aren’t made anymore the J24 might have achieved pole position by now.