Time is flying by, or maybe we are just slowing down… either way we’ve been floating around the beautiful Society Islands for a bit over a month now. We’ve had great surfs with waves basically to ourselves, awesome snorkeling with super friendly fish, sharks and rays, the occasional successful fishing session, and lots of fun getting familiar with sailing our boat. We’ve also happily eaten a hell of a lot of bananas, pawpaws, and coconuts.
We still seem to be ironing out a few small issues here and there however, and getting our systems up and running on board. Nothing major, just little things that ideally we’d like to get sorted before we venture further afield and ultimately further away from civilization and the relative ease of sourcing replacements and parts. Whoever it was that told us owning a yacht equates to ‘forever fixing sh%t in paradise’ quite possibly wasn’t far off the mark from our experiences thus far! But we’re pretty sure that just comes with the cruising life.
The lack of a working fridge is thankfully old news now, and we’re back to enjoying refreshing cold drinks once more. Which I have to say we’ve been incredibly happy about.
But the ‘to do’ list on boats move quickly (it seems) and our latest troubleshooting has been on issues with our outboard. This is basically our run about car whilst cruising. At nearly 30 years old, our 9.9hp Yamaha outboard motor is probably not too dissimilar to an old Corolla that might not run or look its best, but just keeps going (or so we thought).
We had been becoming increasingly aware that our Corolla would loose power and be unable to plane after around 10 minutes of use, but as most of our trips are pretty short, we hadn’t really pushed its limits further or suspected it might need more than a bit of a tune up.
So after arriving at beautiful Moorea we thought we’d give it a little love. We (Nick) managed to borrow a wheel barrow to transport our 40kg beauty to a local outboard mechanic who cleaned up its insides (filters/carburetor) before in typical islander style sending us on our way with a few bags of coconuts (we refused the bunch of bananas as we were still working our way through a bunch we acquired a few weeks back).
Happy captains we were. Coconuts for days and the outboard ticked off the list. It had a bit more grunt, and ran a little smoother, so we tested it out by fanging around the anchorage before venturing quite a ways out across the pass to swim with rays and sharks in the fading afternoon light.
The rays were tickly and the sharks were beautiful… and the 1.5 hour row/paddle home (if anyone has ever tried to row/paddle a RIB you’ll know how darn inefficient this is) against 15-20kt cross winds and a current trying to sweep us out the pass as night fell was down right adrenaline (and shoulder) pumping!
Thanks to some fast grunty paddling fuelled by cramping shoulders and forearms we managed to avoid being totally sucked out of the pass (just a little bit), and successfully bombie hopped our way across the reef to make it back to the mother ship - where we promptly drank a bottle of wine, and vowed it was time to upgrade our outboard.
We softened in the morning and decided to give it one more chance, replacing the spark plugs and transmission oil (Rob you’d be proud). And although it felt like it was turbo charged to start with (high fives all round), it was still loosing power the longer it was used (not so happy captains).
So, after a bit more adventuring around Moorea in search of phone credit and wifi to explore our second hand vs new options, we settled on sailing back to Tahiti to purchase a brand spanking new 9.8 Tohatsu (weighing in at around half the weight of our old one but with the same power).
And we are stoked. After repeating the trip to the rays this morning in Moorea travelling around 3 times the speed, using half the fuel, and without the paddling component at the end… its smiles all round.
Hopefully the ‘to do’ list eases off for a while and we can get back to the business of slowing down as we make our way across to the amazing Tuamotus… but now with the option of going reliably fast if we ever feel the need.