Anchored Safely in Penrhyn…After 48 hours of Excitement

We are finally anchored on the windward side of Penrhyn after 48 hours of pure excitement.

Since making landfall we have:

– Battled the current and breakers to enter the pass [Pucker Factor (PF): medium to high]
– Picked our way through a minefield of coral heads [PF: medium]
– Dropped anchor on a lee shore to clear in [PF: medium]
– Just after lowering the anchor our transmission seized up and shut the engine down [PF: high]
– Started dragging towards shore across a coral pan bottom with dubious holding [PF: off the scales high – DEFCON 5 – lucky shorts were not soiled]
– Threw out another anchor which luckily caught and held us off the rocks [PF: high but decreasing]
– Were boarded by customs officials right after the transmission fiasco
– Tried our best to wipe the look of sheer terror off our faces and try our best to avoid looking like we have illegal drugs hidden in our rectums
– Completed formalities while being surrounded by the contents of our storage lockers (that were emptied frantically in a desperate attempt to get the transmission out of reverse so I could start the engine)
– Was extremely embarrassed after proudly presenting the customs officials with our Cook Islands courtesy flag, only to be told that was not the flag of this country…turns out it was for Tuvalu…total jackass move
– Were greeted by friends from the two other boats here: DRINA and SHOSTROM
– Served said friends pints of our homebrew to celebrate our arrival and stellar boat-saving tactics
– Accepted that we will probably be in Penrhyn for a month or two waiting for a new transmission
– Assessed the broken transmission while drinking beer with Michael on DRINA
– Somehow the transmission decided to throw us a bone and miraculously start working
– Gave Michael all credit for fixing the transmission even though we both knew he didn’t do anything but stare at it and move the lever about 30 times. Poured him another pint anyway.
– Decided not to ask too many questions and just be happy we have a functioning engine again
– Went into the village to watch a dance performance and listen to the men and women sing a harmony in Cook Island Maori that blew us away
– Were impressed by the local legend of the two boys that caught the turtle but didn’t bring it to the Chief, who was then pissed and came to kill the boys but was resisted by the whole village and killed, leading to a long history of not having a Chief on the island
– Spent a rough night trying to sleep while being bounced around by the wind waves
– Identified the Kiwi feathering prop as the culprit for the seizure (reverse function seized)
– Spent 10 minutes cursing aforementioned Kiwi prop and blaming the Kiwi’s for our troubles
– Realized cursing broken prop and placing blame was not productive
– Decided to change the transmission oil, plan to not use reverse, and hope for the best
– Realized we don’t have transmission fluid – I mistakenly gave it away in Hawaii thinking it was extra. It’s probably still sitting on the shelf in the laundry room.
– DRINA saved the day and brought us some of his extra transmission fluid and also sold us 15 gallons of fuel
– Changed transmission fluid and put the fuel in the main tank
– Made DRINA breakfast to thank them
– Watched the Mermaid pull both anchors up like a champ in front of a big crowd of onlookers from the 100ft schooner SHOSTROM and now she is a local hero amongst the yachties
– Picked our way 7 miles to windward across the beautiful but dangerous coral-studded lagoon
– Tried our best not to hit the numerous turtles lazily floating in the lagoon
– Dropped anchor in 20 feet of turquoise water over fine white sand behind Te Tautua, a small village of 50 people
– Dove on the prop to see what the hell is going on, while keeping an eye on the half dozen sharks swimming around Ellie
– Found out the prop is seized up and wont twist into reverse, which must have caused the transmission to lock up on us
– Decided to wait a day or two before starting on the prop and the long list of boat projects
– Watched an amazing sunset over the lagoon and took in our incredible post card setting
– Slept like rocks in flat, calm water, while listening to the trades pumping and waves punishing the shore on the other side of the motu
– Alyssa headed off to the village church service this morning with the other cruising women to investigate the local religious fanaticism and reputed beautiful fancy hats

That brings us up-to-date. It has been a very hectic couple of days and an exhausting few weeks to get down here from Hawaii. We plan to spend the next few weeks decompressing, allowing our blood pressure to settle back down to normal and start chipping away at the two-page list of boat projects. Poor Ellie has been taking a bit of a beating lately and she is in need of some TLC. We’ll start once we are rested up. Also, the officials here strictly forbid any work or exercise on Sunday, I wouldn’t dare violate their rules. Guess I’ll have to dig out the hammock.

Manuia from Tongareva,
Lewis & Alyssa

May 24, 2015
Te Tautua, Tongareva (Penrhyn), Cook Islands

08 57.425 S
157 55.775 W

1 Comment

  1. Bob Pearson's Gravatar Bob Pearson
    May 25, 2015    

    We were very relieved to get the word after 48 hours of wondering how much
    of Murphy’s Law you had to contend with, given the fuel status and the batt
    power issue and the pulled back muscle and the contrary current etc., that
    you’re both OK and our hats are off to you for the successful conclusion to
    this landfall based on your courage, good sense, and teamwork that resulted
    in such a happy “homecoming” with your buddy boats already there to lend
    a hand and a bit of encouragement. Kudos to all!

    Bob and the Rabbit

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