29/04/2014 – A week in Tahiti

As planned, we arrived in Papeete on Easter Monday morning, then had to find a berth. There were quite a few spaces on the pontoons but, unfortunately, many were lacking pick up lines to hold the boat away from the pontoon. On our fifth attempt we managed to secure stern to the pontoon with a pick up line forward. The good news is that John successfully took Starblazer stern to the pontoon five times. This is a manoeuvre he hates! We took the rest of the day off. On Tuesday we started work. John removed both the alternators and took them off to be checked. I filled the water tanks. John could hear running water so lifted a floor board to have a look, only to find a bilge full of fresh water. This time he looked a little closer and discovered the leak. It is, unfortunately, our worst case scenario. The bottom tank has a crack down one edge, from the top to about a third of the way down, no wonder the gauge quickly read three quarters when the tank was filled. It is possible that the damage was done on the very rough passage from St Lucia to the San Blas islands. We have now defined a strategy to manage our water supplies: fill the bottom tank to half full, turn off the tap from the top tank, fill the top tank. When the bottom tank runs out we will half fill it from the top tank. It is not a perfect answer but should last until we can remove the tank and get it welded. Wednesday was 'remove the generator' day. It was heavy, about 75-80 kilos,and had to be lifted up and over the engine but we managed it with a block and tackle. John then set to work to separate the engine from the alternator section, it needed a certain amount of persuasion. Thursday was 'buy two new alternators' day because the news about the old two was not good. The one piece of good news was that the alternator man had managed to find a higher capacity unit for the services batteries. The replacement engine battery alternator was also higher capacity. We had a day off on Friday and went on a very good tour of the island, our guide was excellent! Even the persistent rain throughout the morning didn't spoil our enjoyment of the trip. I'm not sure what happened to the weekend except that we managed to reinstall the generator on Sunday and finally ran it on Monday. To prove it worked, John boiled a kettle of water! The installation is far better than it was because the bearers it sits on now have four rubber mounts instead of two. The engine and alternator unit now has four rubber mounts instead of nil (they were all broken). Seven of the eight needed modification with the angle grinder! He then moved on to installing the two new alternators. Needless to say, he also needed longer belts and numerous other odds and ends. The alternators were up and running by mid afternoon today, Tuesday. The plan is to check out of the marina tomorrow morning, go 5 miles to the other marina to refuel then probably anchor for the night. Thursday, later than hoped, we will go to Moorea and try out the watermaker en route. This hasn't been run since the generator packed up in Panama and we didn't pickle it so we are keeping our fingers crossed! Watch this space. One good thing has come out of our working holiday on Tahiti, the bikes have come in very handy. I think they have earned their place on board! Joyce

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *