We decided it was finally time to get moving. Since we were leaving the only real city we will be in for a long time, there was some stuff we needed to take care of before leaving.
Eric changed the oil on the main engine and generator since there was an oil disposal site nearby. We loaded up to the brim with fuel. We were by no means low, and yes, we can get fuel at other places, but we wanted to get it here since it is a modern fuel dock with reported very clean fuel. The duty free diesel was $3.00 per gallon, up from $2.90 we paid in Nuka Hiva. If you have to pay duty, it costs closer to $5.00 a gallon. We had to wait a half hour for fuel. A big mega-yacht had just pulled in the day before and sucked the storage tanks dry, and the fuel dock had ordered an immediate fuel delivery that we were waiting on. The station holds 8,000 gallons, and the mega-yacht holds 16,000 gallons. The mega-yacht was going to be back soon to suck the pumps dry yet again, so we snuck in at a good time.
We went to the grocery store and stocked up, buying mostly easy to prepare or already prepared foods for passages. We were dismayed to find that the only frozen microwave dinners are weight watchers and they are $8 to $11 American each. All the other frozen food needs to be cooked in the stove or oven. On passage, microwave food is very convenient. You worry much less about burning yourself on a hot stove/oven when you are getting knocked around by the waves. We wound up getting lots of stuff like soup, crackers, yogurt, lunch meats, cereal, and canned pasta. And of course, lots of bread products. Bread settles your stomach. Since arriving in Papeete, we have been taste testing brands to find food we like. We found the best yogurt we have ever eaten in our lives, Mammie Nova. We bought all they had in stock. And we found an OK tasting frozen pizza, so we got 6. Oh, and of course, we got 5 more boxes of Tim Tams. We’re counting on being able to find them on the other islands we visit. Tim Tams are possibly the best prepackaged cookie ever to be made. Thin cookie wafers with chocolate cream in the center and then dipped in chocolate. Mmmmmm.
Then we had to finish the check out formalities with the government officials. We are still not clear on why it works this way, but you check in when you arrive at the first island in French Polynesia. Every boat is required to go through Papeete. Upon arrival, in Papeete, you finish checking into French Polyneisa. Then, when you leave Papeete, you actually check out of the country. You give them a written itinerary with dates, and you are obligated to stick to your itinerary and leave the country by the date you said you would be out. We highly recommend Polynesian Yacht Services to be your agent. They do all the paperwork for you, which makes the whole process completely hassle-free.
Our last issue was getting the blog posts to Mike. Where we were anchored, the wi-fi worked for the first few days, but then the system went down for several days. Once it was back up, we had endless amounts of problems getting the internet to work. The internet was actually our biggest headache of all. When we are without internet, we are able to send Mike small text only emails that he posts on our site for us. We had our hearts set on sending posts with pictures in them, and we absolutely had to have an internet connection to send the photos. After several trips to the place we bought our card from and many things learned by trial & error, we finally got the blog posts sent off. This is probably a good time to remind everyone that we do not have an internet connection most of the time. It seems as if we do because Mike does the internet work for us. Thank you so much, Mike! We can check the blog comments and we can check email, but only if the emails are very small in terms of size (usually under 15 kilobytes). We avoid openning files with pictures, logos, insignias, attachments, fancy fonts, etc. until we get some place with an internet connection.
Then there is the usual boat preparation to get underway. Then inflatable dinghy needed to be hoisted up to the top of the boat and deflated. Then our hard dinghy needed to be hoisted up and secured. Getting both dinghies aboard and secured takes a solid couple hours. Then we had one paravane out to reduce roll and that needed to be brought back in. We reconfigure the rigging back to paravane mode in case we need to deploy them while we are at sea.
All storage areas, inside and out (including the refrigerators) need to be securely packed so nothing will break or leak, then locked so the doors can’t fly open at sea. Everything out in the open needs to be secured or put away. All things left out will come crashing down. The window covers come off and get put away. The fenders are stowed in the anchor locker.
Ok, we were finally ready to go. Now we can start lifting the anchor chain and hope the anchor comes up with no problems.