Final days in Hiva Oa…..

Wednesday morning we were lying in bed – around 7 am – when we heard the sound of scraping on the hull. We quickly dressed and Richard found a guy chiselling out the epoxy from the repaired patch on the hull. Apparently they had used the wrong mix so it hadn’t set properly. OMG this is turning into a French farce – could we have inadvertently stumbled into a new reality show? In which case get me out of here!
It was, however, soon removed, taped up and repaired again. It still needs another layer, then sanding followed by antifouling – all by ten on Thursday morning as we are scheduled to splash soon after at high tide. That is not a flexible option!
We got on with boat jobs – I cleaned the fridge and freezer and left them open to dry out in preparation for being turned on again. Richard winterised the outboard again and it is now wrapped up against the elements on the rail. We checked the silicone had taken on the plastic covers on the bow – protecting the windlass holes – and added more protective plastic sheets and gaffer tape. We filled up a couple of diesel cans at the gas station and replenished our supply of canned drinks.
We then went to the shed to pay Vincent the remainder of our bill. He wasn’t there, as usual, but to our great surprise the wifi was working for a very short time. We had a quick look and were delighted to hear from a New Zealand company that they can supply and ship us a new windlass….just waiting for the price now. We also had an email to confirm our marina reservation in Tahiti. And the Tahiti agent confirmed that they had received all the documents they needed. Woo hoo! Things are finally coming together.
The water in the marina ran clearer so we washed some of the mud off the topsides and flushed Morphie’s engine to ensure she starts when we splash. Richard went to find Vincent again and was told that he had a problem with one of the hoses which had broken on the tractor. Morale plummeted again…..this is a real emotional roller coaster right now…..sigh…..
Finally Vincent reappeared later in the day and confirmed we will be hauled Thursday as planned. Fantastic news despite the size of the boatyard bill which was shockingly high considering the lack of facilities. Hey ho.
We readied Morphie for her passage and then walked up the hill – in the mud – for the social evening planned by the French Polynesian equivalent of the RNLI. We sat and drank a few beers on our own, thinking we had made a mistake bothering. But eventually some other people turned up and we had a nice evening – being entertained by Jack and Christophe amongst other musicians. Although it did feel like an evening attended by a horde of unwashed and emaciated boat people LOL.
We skipped back down the hill and we struggled to get back into the boatyard as we couldn’t get the combination to work but Richard realised there was some slack in the cable which enabled us to slip through a tiny gap. Phew!
Thursday morning and we were awake early and were pleased to see a catamaran being moved from the concrete into chocks – which frees up the trailer for our haul out. At around 8.30 we went to the gas station store for the last time – collected our bags of frozen food – and a week’s supply of baguettes. Oh yes and chocolate supplies had also been replenished. We thanked Antoinette for her kindness to us keeping the food in her freezer throughout our stay in the boatyard and greeting us with daily smiles…
Finally at around 9.30 the tractor came for us….Richard supervised Morphie being put into the cradle using some discarded old cushions we found in the boatyard to protect her leading edge from being damaged again. Finally we were lifted off our chocks and Richard climbed aboard. We started moving….we wobbled….then the trailer’s wheels slid and we got stuck in the mud. You couldn’t make this up!! They had to put us back on chocks…..dug out the trailers wheels….reposition the trailer and fill in the holes with gravel. They then lifted us back in the cradle and started moving forward again.
After an anxious hour or so finally we were splashed at 11 am and made our way straight out into huge seas and 22 knot winds. The waves were hitting us on the side so it was pretty uncomfortable as we bashed our way out until we were able to turn to go alongside the island and out to sea.
Then it was a downwind run between the islands under the genoa alone and some great surfing action. The seas were confused as we left the Marquesa chain of islands behind us and didn’t settle until almost 20 miles away. We are rolling from side to side but at least we have finally escaped! Morale is improving mile by mile….
Bye for now Jan