Wednesday May 3th in Apataki. It has been almost 2 weeks since we arrived with the Cobia 3 in Apataki and slowly but surely we are getting Sanuk ready for the water.
We left Auckland on Monday morning April 17th to arrive in Papeete on Sunday afternoon the 16th since we crossed the international dateline (IDL). The IDL is an imaginary line from the North Pole to the South Pole and demarcates the change of one calendar day to the next. NZ is West of the IDL while French Polynesia is East of the IDL. It was like going back in time and so we got to experience Easter sunday twice! When we will sail to Fiji we will again cross the IDL but then we will loose one day.
Stefan had arranged a pick-up at the airport from the hotel and indeed we saw our name on one of the many cardboards at the exit of the airport. What a nice feeling it was, back in 28degrees celsius, humid but I did not mind and lots of friendly faces with flowers in their hair. They were surprised when they saw our amount of luggage! No, we are not a normal tourist in Polynesia! We had 5 bags of each 23KG and 2 smaller bags of each 12KG…but the van was big and we got everything loaded. Papeete was like a ghost town since it was Easter but at least the “Roulottes” (foodtrucks) were open and we were happy to have dinner there. We decided on “Galettes et Crepes Bretonnes” :-)! The wait was soooo long (almost 3hours when we had eaten) but we enjoyed being in the atmosphere, watching the tourists and Tahitians enjoying their Easter with family.
The next day we decided to rent a car to get all the shopping done (only boat stuff and food 🙂 ) to take with us on the Cobia 3. Unfortunately all the stores were closed except for Supermarket Hamuta, they were open till noon, we got there at 11.30AM but they let us shop till 12:30 and they delivered everything to the Cobia 3 the next day . Luckily we also found the Carrefour open and got another 3 boxes filled with food… For dinner we met with our friends from Jambote, Simon-Pierre and Marine, who had just arrived in Marina Taina. It was so good to see them back and tell our stories ! Life is wonderful!
We had made reservations for the Cobia months ago but were kind of nervous since we had not paid anything and did not know what time the Cobia would leave. Stefan left at 7AM to go check it out and sure enough at 7.30AM the office was open and our names were on the list!! We paid 7000XPF per person (about 70EUR) and were told to bring our luggage by 11AM. Stefan knew where to get all the things he needed so in an hour he had all the boat stuff and we could leave the hotel by 10AM with all our bags and boxes. We paid another 7000XPF for all our luggage. (more than 150KG!!). We put it in the crate for Apataki and left to return the car just in time! We had a couple hours left to spend in Papeete and by 2.30PM we had to be back at the Cobia 3. I could not believe how smooth it all went! This was great! The Cobia was definitely an experience! We had a bunk bed :-), but there was no real place to sit….so we could only lay down :-(, and the journey took 34hrs. Because of the high waves (4m) I got sea sick :-(, luckily after 8hrs I felt better! There is no food on the Cobia, you have to bring your own food and water. I was too sick to eat the croissants we had. The Tahitian we shared our room with offered 2 apples (they really share soo easily) and I was happy to eat those. We arrived at 2AM in the morning at Apataki village and I cannot say how happy we were to see “Pappie” from the Carenage waiting for us!! We loaded all our stuff in the pick-up truck from Alfred and left for their house in the village where also “mamie” was waiting for us. We took a quick cold shower and went to bed for the remainder of the night. At 9AM in the morning we loaded everything in Alfred’s motorboat and made the trip to the Carenage. We arrived soaking wet (from the waves) but happy to be back “home” and see Sanuk!
We have been busy fixing, painting, replacing, rearranging and socialising and hope now that we can get Sanuk in the water on May 8th or 9th. It is clear that a boat needs to sail and having it on the hard this long (almost 6months) is not so good. There was a corrosion on the connecting bar between the two rudders …..with patience, acid and oil they are now cleaned and like new and this solves also the steering problem we had before. The bottom is halfway painted, I am now waiting for an extra pot to arrive on the Cobia tomorrow. I should be able to finish the other half the latest by sunday. The Honda motor of Flipper had to be cleaned since we forgot to drain the gasoline when we left. It got sticky and plugged up the carburator. It sounded fixed but Stefan wants to test all the motors before going in the water. The oil from the generator is replaced, the trampoline is replaced with a new one, all the teak wood is cleaned and oiled, the chips in the gelcoat are fixed, and our fix it list is getting smaller.
The hardest part was working in 32degrees celsius and high humidity (70%) so we had to make sure to get up as early as possible (still not my strongest point 🙂 ) and from 12 till 2PM it was siesta time. Too hot to eat but we are drinking liters of water! Luckily we have the sea close by and a shower (cold only) with unlimited water supply !
The people from the carenage are all very friendly and we have been invited a couple times to have fish barbecue with them. The fish is put ALIVE on the barbecue and there is rice and homemade sweet and sour sauce. Very yummy. The first time they played the ukulele and guitar and sang while we were having dinner under a starry sky! Does it get any better?