Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Busy Days on Irie

After three and a half months of living on land and accumulating a lot of “goodies” to bring back with us to Tahiti, Mark and I were a bit anxious about returning home to Irie. With four bulging checked bags and three carry-ons, we kept wondering how we would manage to take everything back, on the plane, into French Polynesia, towards the marina and over water to our boat on a mooring ball. And, how would we adjust to the challenging boat life again after all that had happened? All in all, the trips went pretty smooth, except for a small glitch in LA, which had nothing to do with our luggage, but everything with poorly defined computer screens and infrastructure.

Our plane landed in Faa’a (Pape’ete) at 5am, customs was no issue (we didn’t stand out with our cart piled high), we arrived by taxi van at marina Taina at 6am, where a friendly cruiser – Bonnie from SV Romany Star – picked us up a half hour later, and let us use her dinghy to bring all our bags to Irie. At 7am on Friday, August 15th, we were officially back home. Irie was in decent shape for having been in the tropics this long without us, thanks to some of our cruising friends. Her waterline was very filthy, a whole foot up from the water surface, because of the big swell and chop and the scum passing through in this area. Her decks were gross with the city’s particles falling out of the sky. The bimini was ripped in a few places. All to be expected.

Our biggest surprise came when we looked forward of the bow and found only one mooring line attached - running from one bow to the other, highly non-recommended and something experienced cruisers would NEVER do, because of chafe, let alone the fact that Irie was sitting on top of the ball and the line was rubbing underneath the boat taking all our new bottom paint off! – while we had left our floating home secured by two mooring lines in the safest and best positioned way, and a “back-up” line in the middle! None of our friends had anything to do with this set-up, so the mystery remains unsolved… Why would a stranger get on our boat and replace a perfectly safe and well-prepared situation with one that can cause damage and loss of our boat?

But, Irie was safe and sound (and still there!), so we got to work immediately. By 10am all the bags were unpacked and all the contents stored somehow. A short nap followed. In the afternoon, Mark fixed the outboard engine which was seized from laying on its side for so long, still containing salt water. And, we got the little motor – our lifeline to shore - running again. Our old toilet seat was replaced and a broken burner as well. When it was time to cook, another problem arose. The solenoid for our propane stove didn’t work anymore. Luckily, a new one was found easily (we love our spare parts!) and an hour later, we could make dinner. On Saturday, we both jumped into the water early and cleaned the nasty waterline, while the bay was relatively calm. Good idea, because by noon, the usual choppy waves had arrived. The afternoon was spent searching for healthier food options in the Carrefour supermarket and stocking the boat up with groceries. By the end of the weekend, we had paid our hefty mooring fees, bought a few more odds and ends, had both diesel engines running smoothly, and moved anchorages.

Following the advice of our cruising friends Birgit and Christian on SV Pitufa, we motored two hours north, to arrive in the comfortable anchorage of Arue, where we used our new chain for the first time. Happy to be at anchor again and not bounce around anymore, we enjoyed the new surroundings and figured out a way to obtain decent internet (by paying lots of money and having a great WiFi product!), which kept us entertained for the rest of the day. When the sun set at 5:45pm, a local woman onshore kept yelling at us to move. We promised her to do so first thing in the morning, since it was getting dark quickly and we couldn’t see the reefs. But, she did not let up, screaming and urging us to move NOW. So, against better judgment, we upped anchor and plopped ourselves in the middle of other anchored boats, only to have to move again later on, when the wind shifted and we were too close to our neighbors. No surprise there… This was the first time we were approached in such an unfriendly and inhospitable way by a Polynesian resident!

We met up with our friends on Pitufa after many months of having different experiences and adventures, and the chores on Irie continued: scrubbing the decks, cleaning the roof to be able to collect rainwater again, installing a new accumulator tank, changing the oil in both engines, and performing other engine maintenance. We have much more cleaning to do and a new jib (head sail) is waiting for us. It’s good to be back on Irie! :-)

Leaving Boston by plane
Approaching Los Angeles

Moorea still beckons in the distance... Soon!

Replacing the solenoid at nightfall to be able to cook dinner

Scrubbing the waterline - the sea was very clear that morning; we saw the bottom in 70ft of water

The new toilet seat (bought in the US) matches the new pump I brought from Belgium earlier this year

Sunset over Moorea

Locals playing around on a home built raft

New Zealand mussels and Tahitian beer - life is good!


Kevin s/v Catchin' Rays said...

Hey guys, just found your site from your article in Multihull Sailor. Love the boat (we have an FP Venezia.) I need to get caught up on your story, but its awesome you've made it all the way to Papeete. We'd love to make it there but are going to stick to the Caribbean for now. I will try and read some of your older posts, but God bless and fair winds.

Liesbet said...

Hi Kevin,

Thanks for your interest and blessing! We love our FP as well, but have to admit that she is a little bit small for the Pacific. Your Venezia would be perfect! :-) In the Caribbean, Irie offered us all we needed, but for the longer voyages here, it sometimes gets uncomfortable.

Enjoy the Caribbean - they are an awesome cruising ground with so much to offer!!!

Happy cruising,
Liesbet and Mark

Unknown said...

Following you since Tuamotus from Stuart FL !!! Congrats thru Boston and back on Irie in Tahiti !!! Way to go !!!

Liesbet said...

Thank you, Murray! We are slowly getting into the swing of (boat) things and hope to start exploring the other Society Islands soon. We will take our time... :-)