Category Archives: Raiatea Bottom Job

We’re Afloat! Bound for Bora Bora!

We launched on Thursday.  It was an exciting moment and we had 20 knot winds whipping chop straight into the haul out slip which made backing out extremely nerve racking.  Luckily Ellie behaved and backed out straight enough for me to point her bow towards the gap in the reef before being pushed onto the rocks by the increasing N wind.  We booked it out of there as fast as we could and made for Tahaa that afternoon.  We are planning on sailing for Bora Bora tomorrow morning and should arrive in time for the Bastille Day celebrations on Monday.

We were able to get a two week visa extension so we have until the 20th to sail out of French Polynesia.  We have enjoyed our time in FP but we are ready to leave.  We’re over the ridiculous prices and frankly the French culture is not so enjoyable.

At this point the itinerary includes: Bora Bora, Maupiti, Mopelia, Suwarrow, Samoa and then Tonga and possibly Fiji.  After Tonga/Fiji we have to get out of the cyclone area so that means sailing north or south.  We’re still deciding where to go.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Here are some pics of the launch and Ellie’s new paint! 

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Finally Done Painting! Splashing Tomorrow!

We are going back in the water tomorrow.  We have been painting like mad trying to get all the coats on so we can get back to the more enjoyable part of cruising.  Tomorrow afternoon can’t come soon enough.

We have been having so much fun I don’t know where to start….how about the A-hole yard manager, the language barrier between us and all the employees, the freezing cold shower, the overpriced and very limited supplies, the one restaurant that is never open and the swarms of mosquitoes.  Get us back in the water!

Here are some pics of the past few days.  The paint came out great.  We’ll roll one final coat on the bottom tomorrow then remove the blue tape on the lower part of the boot stripe and splash Ellie! 

p.s. We went with a tropical theme…..that green on the boot stripe was the only tint of green paint in all of French Polynesia (not exaggerating).

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Boatyard Blues in Raiatea

We have been slaving away trying to get Ellie painted and back in the water as soon as possible.  We are doing all the work ourselves so every night we are both completely exhausted.  The work starts at 7am and we don’t get to the COLD shower until about 6pm.  We spent all weekend grinding out some osmotic water blisters from the fiberglass and then sealing, filling and fairing the holes we made.  Most of the blisters were only as deep as the paint but our overzealous Polynesian yard hand went to town with a grinder for an hour when I wasn’t looking and created a whole weekend worth of work for us! 

It’s a really good thing we hauled out though because we found a sizable hole in the bottom of the aft section of the keel.  I was able to grind it all the way to the glass, epoxy and seal it off then fair it completely flat again.  There was also a small crack in our brand new rudder but luckily we caught it now and were able to grind out the moisture and seal that off as well.

So now we have primed all the spots we repaired and this afternoon put the first of three coats of ablative anti-fouling paint on the bottom.  Tomorrow we will roll on the other two coats and also roll on the hard anti-fouling paint to the bootstripe.

The work is grueling, the weather is hot and humid and we keep getting swarmed by mosquitoes even after coating ourselves in bug spray.

Needless to say we can’t wait to be back in the water mid-week and headed for Bora Bora.

Here are some pics of the progress.

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Hauled Out in Paradise

We decided to haul out here in Raiatea.  It was a tough decision but ultimately we decided that we should haul and paint the bottom before heading further west.  I explored a bunch of options and weighed the alternatives.  We even considered shipping paint to American Samoa and doing the bottom ourselves in Tonga.  Turns out that getting the paint to Samoa is a lot harder than we originally thought.  We are not planning on spending the cyclone season in New Zealand or Fiji, otherwise we would have waited.  There are no real boatyards between here and Fiji.  The boot stripe is peeling and the growth is out of control and driving me crazy.  The bottom paint is super thin, gone in some spots and about to wear completely away on the rest of the bottom (it’s ablative).  So we are on the hard and I’m writing this from about 8 feet above sea level.

We hauled out this morning.  I had to remove the forestay so the small travel lift could get the straps under Ellie but otherwise it went smoothly.  They put us down on a steel cradle.  The bottom paint looks pretty good.  Predictably there are a bunch of spots where the paint has failed so I spent all afternoon poking, prodding and scraping the spots that have failed.  It started to rain so the work is put on hold until tomorrow.

We have made a common concession that many cruisers before us have made.  We are raising the waterline.  We could have made the more prudent decision and lightened up the boat instead but that didn’t sound like fun: get rid of dive compressor, dive tanks, kayak, extra spares, tools, extra fuel jugs, generator, heavy 10hp outboard and all the other gear we have on board to make life fun and comfortable.  So instead we are raising the waterline by 2.5 inches so our white gelcoat doesn’t get so much fouling and my sanity can be saved. 

You probably don’t know this but there has been a war going on between me and the sea and the battlefield has been at the waterline.  See once we loaded Ellie down with all our cruising luxuries she sat about an inch into her bootstripe.  That bootstripe does not repel growth.  So as a result I have had to scrub the waterline on a weekly basis.  This is not so much fun.  Lately the sea has been winning the battles.  She threw something at us that I just couldn’t rebuff.  Hard red algea that I couldn’t get off even with the most abrasive scotch pad I have in my arsenal.  It has taken over (see pic below).  

So we are in the yard and the algae is dead.  Let’s see how well it fares when they take a mechanical sander to it!  The sea may have won the last few battles but I will win the war!

We are planning to be on the hard through the weekend and will most likely launch mid next week.  The rain has brought my favorite insects, mosquitoes, and they have taken over the public restroom.  How fun!  We’ll surely be going through a few cans of repellent over the next week.  On a positive note we can still see the sunset over Bora Bora from the yard, there is coral under the dinghy and we hear there is a pizza place just a 5 minute dinghy ride away.

We’ll keep ya posted as the work progresses.

-Lewis and Alyssa

July 2, 2014

Raiatea, Leeward Islands, French Polynesia

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