We are anchored in Baie Tahauku. We have a great spot behind
the breakwater right next to the dinghy dock. There were 14 other boats here
when we arrived yesterday so we had to really wedge ourselves in. Luckily a big
catamaran departed right before sunset and we snagged his spot. We slept like
rocks last night; I think I slept a total of 14 hours!
The scenery here
is magnificent. Towering rugged cliffs covered in dense green jungle in the
background. The edge of the bay is black volcanic rock and steep-to. Above the
bay are palm trees and some other awesome bright green bansai looking trees. We
can’t wait to go explore tomorrow.
Landfall yesterday was a mixture of
emotions at their extremes. Excitement to see land again. Apprehension that we
are approaching land and waves crashing on unforgiving rocks. Exhaustion from
the cumulative effects of a month at sea and not having our regular sleep shifts
when we were approaching land early in the morning. A great feeling of
accomplishment in knowing we just sailed across the largest ocean on the planet.
Finally, eagerness to be anchored and get some sleep.
We were a mile
out of Baie Tahauku getting the anchors ready and then of course something had
to go seriously wrong….
Alyssa thought that testing the anchor windlass
would be a good idea, which it was. Unfortunately when she hit the windlass
buttons the breaker popped and then even after we rest it we still had no
response from the windlass. Sh*t!! We were closing with land and going into a
very crowded bay, without a freaking working windlass! Just what we needed. So
we threw Ellie in a 180 and started beating back out to sea so we could figure
this out. We pulled out the jib and beat into the 6-8 foot swells and I went
about trying to figure out the issue. I checked the breaker but it wasn’t
lighting up when I turned the switch on. So I traced the wires. Everything
seemed in order. Checked fuse boxes, nothing wrong. Talk about frustration!
So I decided to try and figure out how to unlock the windlass drum so I could
at least drop the chain and figure this out at anchor. Well the lock on the
windlass was pretty jammed and I couldn’t get the clutch to release. I remember
John (the previous owner) telling me not to torque the lock on the windlass
because he broke it that way. Well I’m a man and unfortunately we don’t have
complete control when it comes to tools and fixing things and what did I do
while trying to unlock it…..yep F’N broke it! Snapped the metal clean off!!
George is getting upset!!!
We weren’t spending another night at sea so I
asked Alyssa to pull out the spare anchor rode and I went to work on the bow
removing the anchor from the chain. Picture me on the bow in a huge sea, flying
over waves about 12 feet in the air and then crashing through swells when the
bow slammed back down, all the while taking spray in my face while I furiously
worked to release the shackle from the anchor. Alyssa struggled to remove the
spare rode and brought the end to the bow. I reattached the anchor to the spare
rode and we headed back towards our destination.
After motoring into the
bay and weaving through all the boats we decided to drop the hook besides the
commercial pier (which you’re not suppose to do) and wait for someone to leave
or some official to yell at us. We dropped two hooks so we wouldn’t swing into
the pier or other boats.
I was still incredibly frustrated by the
windlass situation and immediately went to work poking and probing with my
electric multi-meter. After a long investigation I concluded that everything
seemed to be working fine. I threw the breaker again and tried the windlass and
guess what…….it FKNG WORKED! It turns out that the only thing wrong was the
stupid little LED light on the breaker is bad.
Hey Allan – I know you can
feel my pain. We over think EVERYTHING! AHHHHHHHHH!
After that we
re-attached the main anchor rode and moved into the spot we are in now. We were
both relieved nothing was wrong with the windlass but unfortunately Alyssa
wasn’t going to let me off the hook that easy for over thinking the whole
I was on a roll with the multi-meter so I went to work trying to
figure out the alternator issue. After consulting the troubleshooting section
in the owners manual I was able to trace the issue to the field current lead.
This is a blue wire that goes from the voltage regulator to the back of the
alternator. The wire had voltage but no voltage at the post on the alternator.
Turns out somewhere between the end of the wire and the ring connector there
was a complete loss of continuity. I cut it off and crimped another connector
on. After reconnecting the wire to the post on the alternator we were back in
business! Alternator fixed!!
We were both very relived to be anchored,
have a working windlass and a working alternator. We celebrated with a nice
bottle of wine and a baguette some new friends brought us and then proceeded to
both pass out.
We sailed in yesterday flying the Q flag but this morning
I raised two additional flags: France and French Polynesia! Tomorrow after we
officially clear in we will lose the yellow Q flag.
We spent the last
couple hours scrubbing the incredible amount of brown fouling off the waterline.
Being heeled over for a month did some damage to the gelcoat! There is a very
tough scum line from the bottom paint up about a foot above the waterline!
Alyssa thinks we must have sailed through whale crap and killed about 1,000
squid that left marks behind. We were only able to clean the starboard side
before we ran out of steam. Hoping to finish the port side this
Spending a month at sea, in the tropics, with hatches and
ports closed most of the time was the perfect recipe for mold. I mean tons of
gross mold. The v-berth is ground zero. Alyssa is on the edge of a panic
attack and we are removing things and bleaching what we can. There is even mold
on the teak – the oiled teak looks nice but it promotes the growth of mold. We
even found one cushion in the main cabin that started smelling like cat piss.
Must have been marked by a feline at some point in the past and we were lucky
enough to bring the scent back to life! It has been filling the cabin with a
horrible stench for the past week and a half. Gross!!
We are drying
things out on deck but have to be on a vigilant watch for sudden downpours. It
rains on-and-off here because of the huge mountains that surround the
Despite all the above, we are in great spirits and being here is
starting to hit us. We are excited to go exploring tomorrow after we check in.
The largest tiki in French Polynesia is in a valley outside of the town, have
to go find that!
We will try to get internet access tomorrow so we can
upload a few pictures and review your comments from the crossing.
Lewis & Alyssa
Baie Tahuaku, Iles Marquises, Polynesie
09 48.241 S
139 01.848 W