Thursday, October 30, 2008

Funafuti Tuvalu Arrival

Here safe and sound. We arrived last night after dark, and waited 10 miles off for the daylight to come into the lagoon. This morning we motor sailed up to the pass and then the 5 miles across the lagoon and anchored about 11:00.

As Aunt Kitty always says, "If it weren't for bad luck, We'd have no luck at all!". Yep, it started when I noticed the foil for the roller furler was not acting right. It has a channel of aluminum inside to hook each section together. The bottom one that hooks the main foil to the drum to wind up the sail had sheared off, making it difficult to roll up the jib (the big sail in front). Its not too serious to fix here at anchor, I'm just glad it didn't tear the sail before we got here. Then it quit
steering. Auto kept loosing the course. I tried all the usual fixes to get it to work then giving up went below to check the ropes and pulleys that had failed on the way to the Marquesas. Then I noticed the quadrant had broken off. No fixing that at sea, it'll take a stainless welder to put it back. I sure hope there is one here. That was night before last, so we were hand steering the last day and a half. While I was bored sitting there holding the wheel, I looked up and noticed a dark looking patch
near the top of the main sail! It was night, so I got out a big flashlight for a better look. Darn! The top seam of the sail had blown out. When they sew a sail, it makes a row of little holes in the material, just like the 'tear here' lines on the plastic bags. Yep, it did, right there all across the top section of the sail. As soon as the wind died back after the next rain squall (one of many in the last 4 days) We pulled it down. We finished a little slower with just the big jib (still nervous
about rolling it up with the broken foil) but we made it.

Just after we anchor, Trinda makes this pan of biscuits (just Bisquik) and butters up a couple and eats them. Then she notices the butter smells a little funny. We didn't realize that butter goes bad, but.... sitting on the pot or in front of it the whole 2 hours it take me to check in with the officials! She is just recovering enough to think about food again tonight!

Now for a few days fixing these things.

Funafuti reminds me a lot of Christmas Island, just more crowded. The folks I met during the check in seem very friendly.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wallis to Funafuti

Midnight and 200 miles to go, about 48 hours.

We left Wallis about 9:00 AM and motored down to and out the pass. It took over an hour. I had forgotten how long the island and its atoll are. We were late for the slack water, but there was still not much current. When we went in last week, we had about 4 knots against us, which made traversing the pass a slow 1 knot ordeal. The wind was light but OK around 10 knots on the stern till we rounded the southern tip of the reef and turned NW.

Just before we left, the lady we met in the store close to the Gendarmerie, Malia (no 'R' in the alphabet here for Maria), came down to the beach and waved us in. She had gifts for Trinda. A lavalava (sarong) and a small purse made of tapa covered in plastic. Tapa is a paper hammered from tree bark and then painted with black ink very similar to tattoos. They are both beautiful gifts and very unexpected. Trinda did try to teach her how to do the flocking for the cibutus (blouses) that she learned
in Fanning.

I met her co-worker in the little store, Petelo. He wanted to be our guide with the car, but the car was too small for 5 people and he doesn't really speak English anyway. He has some, and very correct but it is limited. He is a Johova's Witness and says he is brothers with others all over the world, even with Gary and Ronnie! If you show up here he'll put you up and take care of you in his house, he says! Actually a really nice guy.

The wind has been steady except for the occasional squall. We've had 7 or 8 in the last 36 hours! Some with gusts up to 35. But they don't last long.

We had some shoalls to pass, about 60 miles out the water goes from 6000 feet deep to only 20 feet! We skirted them with 15 miles to spare then turned directly toward Tuvalu, I thought! I made one of the classical errors. We are cressing the real International dateline this time. Although we already had to change the calendar and the clock, we are crossing the 180 degree line. Funafuti lies at 179 degrees East and we have only cruised in the West longitudes so far. I forgot to change the target in
the GPS so we were headed 100 miles too far East, but only for an hour or two.

The auto pilot is being persnickety again. It tripped up the steering oar every 30 minutes this morning for several hours. I changed the bungee twice and hammered on it some too. It is wearing out some I think. I may need to have a welder rebuild the catches soon.

We are both getting tired, as usual but every thing is fine.

Still not fishing. Don't know why.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Leaving Wallis

We plan to leave at low tide in the morning, Sunday here.

Wallis is a French foreign pot, much like American Samoa is sorta like another state. Most of the folks work for the government. They all get paid twice what the same job pays in France, so the stores are priced double too! Not a good place to shop. Even the fresh cheese in the deli, says either 'pour avión' and $25 a pound or 'pour bateau' and $15 a pound. I guess it is heavy for the plane instead of the boat! But still! That's for cheese we bought in Hawaii for $6 a pound! I didn't actually buy

Oh Well, Tuvalu is a poor country, so what little they have for sale should be les expensive than here.

Ironie is headed that way too, as are 2 other boats we met in Apia. So we should know a few people when we get there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wallis Tour

(I tried to send photos, but they are too big. It used one hour of time and was only half done.... Maybe later)

We rented a car with Steve and May from Ironie today and drove around the island and saw the sights. It is only about 8x5 miles so it didn't take too long to see it.

It was a nice day. We have some 500 pictures we and others have taken, but I can't send them yet. We will check out here tomorrow and head for Funifuti, Tuvalu this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wallis Still

We went snorkeling today, about 3 hours. Trinda got a good sunburn. My nose got a little tender but I think I avoided the most of it. The snorkeling here is not as good as some places, but we did see some things new. They have sea cucumbers about 5 inches in diameter and 2 feet long. Most we saw before were more like 2 inches in dia. and 8 inches long. The water saw mostly clear near the reef but visibility was more like 40 feet. We went about 4 miles in the dinghy.

In Apia, I decided to re-glue the safety rope pads on the dinghy as they were pulling loose. When I started, the transom started to pull loose too. The only glue I could find the first day and used on most of it wasn't as good as the original (which ain't sa'in much!!) It started pulling loose today again, the first time we went anywhere. I don't think it is going to sink us, but it is dis-heartening! I did find some 'high temperature' contact cement afterward in Apia that I will try next time.
The catch is, you need to glue it and let it set for 24 hours before doing anything with it.. That is hard when it is your only transportation at anchor and we don't plan on being in another marina for some time yet.

We are thinking about renting a car to look around here some. Another boat, Ironey with Steve and May, want to share the cost and go with us, maybe Thursday. I'll go see if I can set it up tomorrow morning.

They only speak French and Wallis'ian here which makes it a little harder. Pierre from Vesper III is French Canadian and is fluent in Spanish and French has been walking around town with me. It is a different place when you can speak to the locals. We have found a few people with a little English though.

Trinda and I went around and checked in yesterday. The Gendaramire found one guy to talk to us (they were all Frenchmen) and the Duanea (Customs) had a guy from the West Indies who had pruty good English. It was about a 4 mile walk. Just as we were within a 1/4 mile of the dinghy Trinda twisted her knee again. It was a slow limp back! She drank lots of water and NO soda pop and she was fine by this morning.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wallis Island

We made it here OK. I guessed wrong about the distance it was 298 miles. It only took 2 days, 9:am to 12:30pm. The channel was running about 4 knots against us, but we motored in anyway.

We are in a new time zone, +12 hours instead of -11. That makes it Sunday morning so we are a day ahead of Seattle and 5 hours behind.

The only other boat here is Vesper III, the single handler French Canadian we met in Pago Pago. We haven't been ashore yet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leaving Apia, Western Samoa

Its well passed the 6:00 AM departure that I had dreamed of...The clothes were still out drying as we had a light sprinkle of rain just as we started to get them in last night. This morning just before 6, we had a good shower so we'll wait an hour or so for them to dry.

We are still headed for Wallis/Fortuna Islands, about 400 miles west. It should take about 4 or 5 days depending on the wind. It is supposed to be light, 10-15 on the stern. We haven't sailed straight down wind is a long time....

We didn't get to eat the sea worms, Palolo, as maybe they didn't show up on schedule. The old men predicted 3:00 AM SUnday. They come once a year for about a week. Usually the full moon at night in October. Tapelu didn't get back in time to have us over.

We spent the day yesterday doing final provisioning and checking out. We had a fair sized order from the duthy free store, mostly wine and beer. They deliver it to customs and we pick it up just before we leave.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Photos

I just got word from Eldon that the pictures are also on my web site at the normal place. That is under "My Cruising Photo Album" and "2008"
or just
I was purdy lazy, so not many of them have captions, but a few do.

Pictures from 2008 posted

Finally some of our pictures this year are posted. Due to some difficulties Eldon has not posted them on my site yet, but my sister has put them up on her site.

So if you have a desire, see under Larry and Trinda and 2008

We are planning to have dinner Monday with a local family, friends of Robby and Lorraine of Southern Cross. We are really excited. Tapelu went fishing today at the other island Savi'i, to catch a special fish. They only come once a year for about a week. The 'old men' say the will arrive at 3:00AM Sunday. Palolo they call them. I believe they are small, about 2 inches long. I can't wait to see and taste!

We are planning to check out of Samoa Tuesday morning and head for Wallis next. It should be 4 or 5 day passage.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


We have mostly been working on the boat here too! Since we are in a marina and don't need the dinghy every day, I decided to try to re-glue the pads on the top that the safety ropes are tied to. I set the dinghy off on the dock and spread it out then went looking for my contact cement. Not found! I had 3 tubes of the good stuff, but it no longer seems to be on board. I don't know where it went. Oh well, off to the store to find more. Oh, but this is Samoa. The only contact cement they have is for
building houses. OK I'll try it. I get back to the marina and discover that in the warm sunshine the glue has let loose around most of the transom! Arg. Instead of the simple job of gluing on some pads, I spend the day trying to glue the transom back on. You know, the board in back that the outboard motor clamps onto. I had moderate luck I think and now have glued the pads back too. I haven't inflated it yet, so I don't know how well it is going to hold.

I went in to send an email and discovered that in the process of lifting the dinghy off the boat, I accidentally slammed the hatch closed on my external antenna for the WiFi for the laptop!. No, they don't sell them here either. I'll just have to sit up in the cockpit to access the internet for a while, or take the laptop to town. I don't seem to have good luck with the antennas, as this is the third one to quit.

I finally got the right sized CF card to install the updates into the radar so I can use the new navigation charts on the radar display. I tried to update it, but it seems that it was not necessarily the CF card, but the radar display itself that doesn't work. Looks like we are not going to be able to use the fancy charts until I can get the radar repaired. It seems to still function well as a radar, so we won't spend the time here to get it fixed but wait until the Marshals. I still have the charts
in the computer and some paper charts too. Gee! it is only money, anyway.

I did get the HAM radio antenna fixed again. The same guy, Pierre from Vesper III that helped me install the first time in Pago Pago helped me. I still cannot go up the mast because my stitches are not completely healed from having the mole removed from my thigh.

We went to see the Robert Lewis Stevenson Museum here. He moved here to Samoa 5 years before he died and made such an impression on the Samoans that they have several monuments to him. It was very nice.

We met with Robby and Lorraine of Southern Cross. They were to have supper with a Samoan family they met here. It was to be a good bye dinner and invited us along. The night before, 16 of their relatives arrived unannounced to stay a couple of days while waiting for their flights back to New Zealand. So they brought a portion of the food to us at the marina and visited a while. We had Robby and Lorraine over and ate it on our boat. It was delicious, octopus in coconut cream sause, baked coconut cream
in taro leaves, taro root mussels and fresh bananas.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Apia, Samoa

Now in what was Western Samoa, they changed it to just Samoa.
We have to go into the marina, no longer allowed to anchor in the bay. There seems to be no checkin or outr fee but the marina is $52 Tala a day (at 2.64 tala/dollar)

I could not send an update cause I broke the antenna wire for the radio and when we got here I bought 20 hours of internet WiFi to the boat. But, they screwed up the login/password and I can't get it checked till Monday. Today is our 33rd anniversary and our friends from Fanning, Southern Cross, gave us 3 hours of their time so I could send this!

We had Robby and Lorraine over for supper, steak, salad, octopus, eggplant, Pecan pie and lemon pound cake. Of course a little wine. They also brought a champagne looking bottle with a scratched up bottle. When we finally got it open and it didn't fizz out, we noticed that it was "almond grape wine sparkling". I don't know if it was supposed to fizz, but it tasted OK. We drank it!

The trip here went fine, no wind so we motored the first 4 hours then drifted at about 3 miles an hour for 10 hours. Then the wind picked up and we sailed the rest of the way in, 78 miles in a mere 20.5 hours. But we were here by 1:00PM so we got checked in OK.

The colds we picked up in Pago Pago are still with us! Don't ever go to a hospital when you're not sick! You will be! Arg!

We met a boat, Blue Jay, that went to Penrhyn and Manihiki after us and both places asked them about us and sent their regards in case they saw us sometime. We tell the stories from there often. I'll think fondly of those islands a long time I think.

Looks like we'll be here for about a week, maybe.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good Bye Pago Pago

We are planning to leave this afternoon from Pago Pago for Apia, Western Samoa. It is about 80 miles and a whole different country. No more American dollars and English! We've enjoyed our stay here except for the smell of the fish plant. I may never eat StarKist again!

This may be the end of the internet for a while too. My HAM radio antenna broke so it may be a while before I send more e-mail, unless Apia has WiFi. Since I had the mole cut off my leg, I can't go up the mast to repair the antenna til it gets well. The Doc said a few more days.

I sent CDs of pictures to both Eldon and Sherry. Maybe Sherry will get some of them posted so you can see them until Eldon gets the server back on line properly.