It is HOT. And the humidity is over 80% making even the slightest movement a sweaty one. And there seems to be no wind. Or if there is any air movement, it is mostly blowing on the stern of our propped up land locked boat - meaning that none of the usually excellent hatches designed for wind on the bow are sucking in any air. Just as well we are exhausted. Making sleeping hot but somewhat achievable.
As the rainy season hasn’t quite ended yet, for a nice welcome back to French Polynesia it poured with rain for our first three days. And although it’s probably a relatively idyllic setting in comparison to many boatyards, with Bora Bora looking at us in the distance, the sound of waves crashing on the outer reef, and a local sunset swimming spot and fresh water showers just 50m away from our grounded yacht, its still a boat yard. And boatyards aren’t glamorous. Especially when they become a soggy mud pit. I seem to be the only female willing to be here.
But then there’s the deliciously cold and refreshing local rambutams and coconuts we get to pull out of our trusty workhorse fridge - the best pick me up from sweaty boatyard work snack in the whole world.
Nick is in his element. He has been like a ferret. I’m calling him Ferry from now on. Although we only really need to do a standard antifoul (plus a keel sand back and epoxy if we’re lucky), an acid wash and hull polish, some new stickers for the renaming of Te Mana, and standard engine maintenance, no matter where Nick looks he keeps finding other jobs that need doing. Some small, like the painting of interior shelves (from a bright blue to more inconspicuous white), and some not so small, like the removal of poorly laid sealant from the skylight windows with subsequent discovery of gel coat cracks and fiberglass delamination around these windows (which would have caused the need for our previous owners poor sealant effort).
So, we’re scrubbing, scraping, sealing, sanding, painting, polishing, sewing, splicing and sweating. Boy are we sweating!
I first started writing this after day 5. And at that point despite us adjusting to the heat and rain, nothing had gone majorly wrong. We seemed relatively on track (as far as you can be with island time) to hopefully be back in the water in another week… or so. Our only issue was that our befriended local workman who has been helping us with some cheaper sanding and acid washing was in hospital with gout. They tell us he’s never missed a day of work prior to this. Turned out he was back at it the next day, which was great for us (and I guess for him and his workaholic ways).
I think I jinxed us though. On day 6, which was the hottest, stillest, sweatiest, red faced day, our trusty fridge decided it was all a bit much. The thought of no more cold refreshing coconuts or rambutams was also a bit much for us.
After trying to figure out if it was just too hot a day, or whether we’d blown the thermostat, the compressor, both, or were just low on gas, our lovely local fridge man assured us it was just low on gas and subsequently overworking to do its best with what it had. Easy fix! Except for the fact that the gas in our older fridge (r12 for you fridge lovers in the know) is now illegal in all countries (except Canada?!) and putting in a top up of the newer gas (r134) would soon render our currently working compressor and thermostat caput.
So, after a bit of investigating we had three options. 1. Risk getting gas cartridges sent from Canada and being intercepted by customs (was still going to take 3-5 weeks postage… if it made it through). 2. Buy a new unit here in Tahiti (expensive and would still take around a week or more to arrive). 3. Get Nick’s parents to bring one over from France when they visit in around 10 days time.
We went with option 3. And although we’re on schedule and back in the water after two weeks of boat yard bliss, we’re still 5 days away from a cold drink! But at least we’re back in the water where air flows freely through the hatches once more!