After nice visits with family and friends from November through January, I returned to Tahiti with brother-in-law Pat on February 1 to get Aldabra ready for another sailing season. We stayed in a house on the Port Phaeton lagoon and kayaked to the boat each day to work. We started work very early in the morning and were usually done before noon, in time to shower before hanging out on the deck with small projects or reading. During Pat’s two-week stay, this is what got done:
- Lots of laundry
- Interior and exterior boat cleaning
- Rebuild of 3 head pumps
- Removal of tricolor light from the top of the mast
- Shorten boom topping lift at a chafe point
- Rewire a solar panel connector
- Patch bottom of dinghy
- Install new hatch above salon
- Patch crack on cockpit table
- Repair of two jibs by local sailmaker
- Replacement of spring in windlass
- Disassembly of windlass, inspection and re-greasing
- Servicing of five winches
- Remove and dry out the items stored in the most forward compartment
- Replace foam in a few of the cockpit cushions
- Turn seacocks
- Install new light for compass
- Install new braided ground strap for SSB radio
- Remove, clean and replace bolts for the rudder
- Remove filter housing for watermaker, replace with new filter
- Unstick a variety of zippers
After Pat left, I completed a bunch of sewing projects. I made new straps for the cockpit cushions and fixed mosquito netting screens. I also cleaned and sorted. A week later, my mom and my sister arrived. They hauled me up the mast so I could install the new tricolor they brought. I also replaced a seal on one of the hatches. And we picked up the two repaired jibs and brought them out to the boat in the kayak. After a few days, we closed up the boat in preparation for leaving it for a few more weeks. We then moved houses and spent the rest of our stay touring around Tahiti. We flew back to California on March 8th.
After spending three weeks acquiring more boat parts and visiting with my family, I got on another flight. This one was bound for San Francisco, where I met up with my new crew, Gabe Ares, before heading back to Tahiti.
Upon arrival in Tahiti, we picked up a rental car and an Internet box and headed to Port Phaeton. Marc, our boat caretaker gave us a ride to Aldabra. We then put the dinghy in the water, put the motor on the dinghy and ferried our luggage from the car to the boat.
That began the long, hot, process of putting the boat back in sailing condition. We accomplished a little bit each day:
- Prepared the cabins for sleeping by removing all the gear that belongs above deck – jerry cans, cockpit cushions, blocks and lines, sails, etc.
- Turned the galley from a workshop into a food-prep area and restarted refrigeration
- Unpickled the watermaker and filled the water tank
- Got the boat bottom cleaned by a local man, Tanui
- Installed the lines and blocks for the davits
- Provisioned and stowed all the provisions
- Tested systems
- Did final laundry
In the middle of all these chores, we took the boat from Port Phaeton to the anchorage near Marina Taina. We did two runs to the grocery store. For one run we each pushed a cart from the store to the marina dock. The anchoring situation there was dicey, so as soon as we could, we took the boat over to Moorea, which is where we are now. We’re waiting for a weather window to head to Tahanea in the Tuamotus, which may begin on Wednesday, April 12. Once we leave here, we will be out of cell-phone and Internet range for a number of weeks because the islands we are targeting are mostly uninhabited.