Tin Tin's Sailing Calendar

Friday, 12 May 2017

Signs of change

We moored alongside a concrete wharf in the southern village on Apataki. Strolling around in the evening, we came across a dozen children playing noisily in the light blue waters of the shallow harbour, with one or two fishing skiffs moored bow to the low concrete waterside. The small boat harbour lies in a shallow side lagoon off the main pass, with a couple of pearl industry shacks on stilts on the edge of the deep water. As we approached one or two of the boys began throwing big black Sea cucumbers at us, like huge slugs or outsized rotten bananas. It felt really unwelcoming and threatening even though they were only 8-10 year olds. It was the first sign of foreigners being unwelcome. We've seen a few children who are amazed at our beards (Justin and I that is). The adults here seemed much less interested in us that in Ahé or Manihi too. People are polite though. I set out last night looking for a recycling bin for all our tins. Every house has net receptacles on the roadside made from pearl fishing materials for plastics, glass and tins, o,us bags of green waste, and things like old scrap metal or wood are piled separately for collection. No public bins existed so I asked at a house and they let me use their bins.

Today, Friday 12th May dawned calm and after a six o'clock breakfast we set sail out through the pass, narrowly escaping contact with coral thanks to the pearl fishermen who yelled at us just before I went out a dangerous way between coral heads. We motor sailed into a light headwind for 40 miles to reach the atoll of Toau, where we anchored in mirror calm conditions off white coral and coconuts. Looking across the lagoon was like a vast infinity pool on the edge of the world, glassy surface for miles, with one or two tiny islands at the far side, but most impressive was the view of the six foot swell rearing up and curling in great white breakers to crash on the coral, yet with impossibly still water right up to the inner edge.

Mysteries abound and today's surprises were the failure of our depth metre and the speed and distance log. Dismantled again, but no apparent problems I could fix. Then wondering if they had got submerged in the bilges I lifted a floor board to find water almost up to the top!. Where is it coming from? Are we sinking? Last time I looked was 8 days ago, so we will have to check daily. Once the water had been pumped out the depth meter started working again, but the log/ speed is a mystery!

The second surprise was when we refilled the diesel tanks from our deck-borne fuel cans. For over 50 hours of motoring and 50 hours of motoring at high speed we only needed 280 litres, so that our fuel consumption seems like only 60% of the published figures, giving 3.1 instead of 5 litres per hour for the engine and just 1 litre per hour for the genset instead of 1.9 published.

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