Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The party and the Flu

We went to the birthday party. It was some affair! There were coconut crabs and lobsters for everyone plus curried chicken, curried clams, coconut raw fish, breads, taro, and lots more.
They gave James the "key to his life", a beautiful wooden plaque about 2 foot long shaped sorta like a key.

I did get pictures of the coconut crab they gave us, so some time it will be posted here!

We have the flu and have had for over a week. We can hardly get out of bed still. It is the worst flu I remember having.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Penrhyn - Coconut cabs fishing and computers

I need to print a retraction about the coconut crab!! They are great. Joe brought a real one by this morning. It looks nothing like the crab Trinda and I caught at Rangaroa. It looked more like a giant spider, complete with a backend similar to an ant. But it still has big claws on the front legs and tiny ones on the back two legs. It is a strange looking crab. It turned bright red when cooked, just like a crab should. (The sand crabs stayed white when cooked.) It did have coconut oil floating around
inside as I tore it apart. It tastes much better than the sand crabs we ate. As good as dongeness or even better. I forgot to take a picture of it. Maybe in tomorrow night we will get to go on a hunt for them too, And I'll get some pictures then.

I went fishing tonight. Joe's father, Sedik, picked me up at 7PM just after dark. We went out to the coral head next to our boat and anchored. He said I didn't need anything, he had it all. All was a 10 foot bamboo pole with 10 feret of line and two 3 foot porles with 18 inches of line and a hook each.
He thew the long line in a couple of times with no bait on the hook and caught a 6 inch red snapper (maybe). then said he would bait my hook. He poceeded to bite the chin off one of the fish he just caught and put that on my hook. It worked great. In 30 minutes we caught about 30 fish.

I left the front hatch open and the computer on while I was cooking supper night before last. As you would guess, it started raining and I forgot all about the computer!!! It filled the keyboard with water. But that is not the worst. I took it apart and tried to dry it out. I have some contact cleaner that is mostly alchol so I thought I'd soak it good with that and it would get all the water out.....It says on the side of the can, "safe for most plastics".....Well, I put the keyboard back on and
was just starting to test it when a key top poped off! Then another... I smelled the acetone like smell of the contact cleaner and realized that it was eating the key tops! I quickly took it back off and ran to the sink where i rised it thourly in fresh water (again). Now for 2 days I have been trying to get the water out of the keyboard. The off onn switch doesn't work and various letters suddenly go "auto repeat", but I think it may eventually dry out and mostly work....Another $800 down the drain!
Arggg. I keep loosing money faster than it comes in.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Penrhyn - Spearfishing

No pictures, but I did go fishing with the locals, Bana, Mike and two young guys. We took their 13 foot aluminum skiff to the southern end of the atoll, through a sort-a-pass to the outside reef. We stopped and caught about a dozen crabs, the ones we caught before thinking they were coconut crabs, but weren't. They put them in a rice bag and tied the top with the strings cut from the top edge of a coconut frond. Then we went to just the inside of the outer reef. The younger boys took their 10 foot
long hand spears and started walking the reef. They carried a few of the coconut frond strings as well.

Then Bana took the bag of crabs that i thought we were going to eat, and put them on the reef and started jumping on them. Then I realized he did say he was going to chum the fish. Pronunciation is everything! They have a strong New Zealand accent along with the Polynesian lack of pronunciation. The water clouded with the crab parts and the parrot fish started coming around. Two of them stood on the reef and speared fish as they got close.

Jeff from Bold Spirit came too. He and I snorkeled with our spear guns around the area after we saw which kinds of fish to try for. There were several sharks smelling the crab chum too. Maybe a dozen 3 to 5 foot black-tip sharks! They didn't come closer than about 6 feet of me that I noticed. I did keep a close eye on them. They keep telling us it is OK to swim with the sharks, but we don't see any of them swimming!

The water over the parts of the reef that didn't stickup out of the water was 2 to 6 feet deep. There was from 1 to 4 knots of current depending on how much reef was blocking the waves. So here we are swimming around over coral with only inches of room between the belly and the sharp coral, with bloody fish and crab parts, and the bloody sharks every where.... Well, all was well. No bites! I did manage to spear 3 fish, if size doesn't count. One was big enough for two, but the others were small.

After the boys got back with their catch, we took the skiff back toward the village a ways, through the ever present rain. It has been raining 2 or 3 times every day. We let the boys out again at the end of a large motu (island on the edge of an atoll) and we went on to the other end. We went ashore on the picturesque beach, under the coconut trees and cleaned the fish. Maybe 30 mostly smallish parrot fish and a few others that I really don't have names for. When we finished, the boy were not back
yet and we were thirsty, so we shook a few green coconuts from a tree(with one of those 10 foot spears) and drank the water from a couple apiece. Then Bana ask if we were a little hungry. He found a few dry coconuts that were just beginning to sprout then cut them open. The water was all gone, and the inside was filled with a pithy, white part that is to be the new tree.We ate it like that. There was a little of what we call a normal coconut meat around the edge and it still tasted like usual. He
said that they also fry the inside in oil sometimes. It had a very different texture and flavor, but good. Jeff said that the coconuts for sale in the states are the very worst tasting stage that a coconut goes through. I sorta agree, but I like the dry hard ones too. Here they shuck the green coconuts and put them in the fridge to chill them and that is the normal drink offered instead of water or coke!

Then he picked up one of the parrot fish we had just cleaned and cleaned it a little more, then sliced down to the bone every 1/2 inch or so, then proceeded to eat it with a little more green coconut juice and bites of the pithy inside. After tasting it , I decided that it was just fine that way too. There is obviously no excuse for going hungry here!

When we got back to the boat, I fixed one of my parrot fish the same way we had in Raraka, as Poisson Cru de Coco. It was the first time I had actually used my rapper for shredding the inside of a regular coconut that I bought in Tahiti. I shredded it then put it in a cloth and squeezed the milk out. It is almost as thick ass cream and very sweet. With some cucumbers, onion, salt and a little lime it was great. Trinda refused to try it, cause she likes her "raw fish" soaked in lots of lime juice
for at least 20 minutes, not just a little for flavor.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Penrhyn - Rain

We stayed 2 nights at Omoka, then moved across the lagoon to the village on the eastern side. The easterly trade winds at 15 knots were building a 2 foot wind chop making the anchorage bouncy.

Th health inspector, OJ, rode with Bold Spirit guiding us across. It was a nice sunny day, most of the 8 miles across. It did shower once or twice on the way. The coral heads coming straight up out of 150 feet of water made beautiful light colored water. They have marker poles on lots of them. A white pole with a white triangle at the top, made them look very much like the green of a golf course. The deep water is dark blue with the coral fading through turquoise, light blue, baby blue, yellow and
finally white and some brown where the coral is only a few inches from the top.

Saturday OJ and his cousin and nephew took us to gather clams. He is flying back to Raratonga for a month and wanted to take some to his family. We collected a whole boat full. The clams are a relative of an oyster, in that they attach themselves to the coral heads and the coral grows around them, making them hard to get off. They just stuck a screw driver in the top and pried it right off. Trinda and Kathie declined to eat them raw, in the water, but Jeff and I dug right in with the locals. You
just pry it open, cut out everything from the shell,, cut of two blak looking lumps and the rest you can rinse in the salt water and chow down! Donnie, yes we had the right ones, and almost every thing inside was good to eat.

OJ insisted that it was OK to walk around town after church, so Trinda and I went in about 1:00. She made a chocolate cake. Joe, OJ's cousin, took the cake and shared it with his neighbors and family. But, Most of the people gave us funny looks. They are VERY religious here and believe in Sunday being a day of rest. The little children are not even allowed to play outside until after 4PM. Everyone just lays around in the shade. It may be OK to watch DVDs though. Joe has borrowed several every day.

Monday we planned to walk around and meet more of the people, but it started raining early. It rained hard from 9 to 3 with wind gusts of up to 40 knots! Our anchor didn't drag very much, thank goodness. Every thing is wet. It must have rained 6 or 8 inches. I am sure glad we are on this side of the lagoon, as that kind of wind would have made 5 or 6 foot wind waves on the other side. We have not heard from the other boat there to see how bad the waves were.

Today we hope to go walk around.

Friday, August 10, 2007


We anchored outside the pass to the lagoon for 2 nights. We were tired and the sun was the wrong angle to see the coral heads under the water, so we waited. Then Bold Spirit, called and was working on their engine so we waited outside in case they needed help anchoring if their engine was not back together by the time they arrived. It was, so all was OK.

We checked in yesterday and today, $30 each passport, $10 for fumigating by Agriculture and $10 for health/immigration plus $2.50/day for the privilege of anchoring in their lagoon.

I made pasole and had them over for dinner. First they had had since Mexico.

There maybe internet here but no WiFi. Tomorrow we'll go to the one store that will accept American dollars and give change in New Zealand dollars. They want us to pay all these fees, but refuse American dollars. Bora Bora bank could not give us New Zealand dollars, so it is a catch 22.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Land Ho

8 miles to go.
We are about 2 hours from the entrance pass at Penrhyn. We can see lots of coconut palm trees in the distance.
We were thinking of anchoring the first day just outside the pass, but since it is early in the day, we may go on in. We'll see.
No more fish. We ate some of the tuna for supper, pan broiled with butter and garlic.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Fish

80 miles to go, maybe tomorrow.
Finally caught a fish. A small yellow fin tuna.
Trinda made peanut butter cookies and banana bread today.
Weather is not cooperating much, not enough wind then too much then back again.

Bora Bora to Penrhyn - Day 5

119 mile to go
Still slowly heading NW at 3 knots. Lots of small rain squalls steeling the wind. As they approach, the wind builds to 15 then as they pass it drops to 0 for a while then back to 5 to 10. And then again.

We ran the spinnaker til sundown yesterday, then the wind changed to the NE so we had to take it down. Now it is back from the E, but too inconsistent for it.

We bought some frozen bread, ready to bake, in Bora Bora and this morning tried it. It is purty good, excelent in that I didn't have to kneed it myself!

Still not a hit on either fishing line. I can't figure out where the fish are.

We seem to be adjusting to the night shifts OK. We are in better spirits yesterday and this morning than previously.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Bora Bora to Penrhyn - Day 3-4

230 miles to go
Not much new. Not much wind. No fish.
We're fine. One of us is sleeping most of the time.
I have been watching the Hornblower series during my night watches. We got a copy from another boat.
Trinda is watching a few movies too. We have the old laptop setup in the cockpit for the movies. We just set the radar to alarm on anything within 15 miles and sit back.
We have been running the spinnaker again. 8 knots of wind and making 5 to 6 knots with it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bora Bora to Penrhyn - Day 2

170 miles done 430 to go
Had a great spinnaker run through the night, 6 and 7 knots. This morning the wind came up around 18 so we put it down and are running just the jib. Later it slowed, but it is so much effort to put it up and the wind unsteady that we just went a little slower.

No fish, although something did break the hook off one of the lines. It was a little rusty, more than I thought I guess.

I made steak fingers and grease-eye gravy for lunch, since we still have bread from the French. I may miss fresh bagets every morning.

Nothing broke yesterday.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bora Bora to Penrhyn - Day 1

We finally checked out and left Bora Bora.
We put the dinghy up on deck and washed all the slime off the bottom and sand and mud from the inside. Its now rolled up on the fore deck, hopefully safe for the passage.

It was tough saying "Good bye, See ya somewhere, sometime." to all the friends we've made so far. Most of the folks are headed for Tonga and New Zealand from here. Only two or three are going north, although several said they thought of it, or wished they had time to do it again.

We motored out of the pass with Jeff and Kathi on Bold Spirit. We put up all the sails and had a "photo opportunity". When we get some where there is internet, maybe I will remember to post some of them. We plan to sail along with them to Penrhyn. After we got the pictures, we shut off the engine and started trying to sail. No good. There is only 4 knots of wind. I see Jeff put up his spinnaker, so I start pulling sails down and put up ours too, but leave the main and mizzen. Still no good. Finally
I drop all but the spinnaker and we're off. Now making about 3.5 knots. Bora Bora is still a big mountain behind us. Oh Well, I thought it might take 6 days ....

No fish coming out through the pass, and none here either yet! It would be nice to catch a big tuna or something. We haven't had much fish for a while.

Bora Bora

We decided to stay en extra few days because the guy running the Bora Bora Yacht Club, Rapa, said he was going to do a Tahitian pit bar-b-que. He changed it to a regular grill bar-b-que though. It was good. He also had the restaurant put on a special Chinese dinner last Saturday night. It sounded really special so we promised to come. When we got there, he just started serving us. I t was really good and lots of nice dishes. Then when we were done, he brought the bill. $90 for the two of us and a
beer, bottle of water and a mi tie for Trinda!!! A little surprised, but I guess there won't be any more restaurants for a while.

Trinda asked for a stalk of bananas and he found one (for free) and all he gave us a bag of fresh home grown tomatoes. Trinda took a couple of Hershey bars back for his kids. We promised to stop by next year when we come back. We told Rapa about Raraka and he said "You went there?". He saw so surprised because no one goes there. He thought Trinda was special.

They have a high speed catamaran taxi from the main dock in Bora Bora to the airport. It runs every half hour or so. It is free, so we decided to go to the airport and have a cup of coffee and back just for the ride. Another "photo op". It was a nice day.

We went to the Gendarme to get our final checkout and he looked at the papers "our agent" filled out. He said we couldn't leave yet cause we were supposed to leave on 2 Aug. I tried to argue with him, but he spoke no English. He found a janitor that did, so I explained what I wanted, to him. He said OK, fine, but, just stood there. So I asked him to explain it to the Gendarme. He tried, but I don't think he did it right cause he still wouldn't check us out.

Then we went on to get some groceries. $300 for just a little. I wonder if the Line Islands and Penrhyn will be as expensive.

We went to the fuel dock. We only used 90 liters (20 gal) since Tahiti in both the engine and watermaker. They had a 100 liter minimum, so we filled both big jugs we got in Mexico. $250 for diesel and gas! $.80 a liter for diesel and $2 a liter for gas. We did get the duty free discount for the diesel but not for gas.

So, we are all ready to go.