Also French Polynesia

French Polynesia or names like Bora Bora are equal to beautiful sandy beaches, very blue water, aquarium like snorkeling, sipping a cold white wine and so on.

Fakarava Atol
The beautiful scenery aka the super life in the Pacific. (Stock Photo)

And yes the scenery is extra ordinary and we are in the tropics, so yes to shorts and a t-shirt. But as always it’s half of the truth and the downside is less frequently mentioned.

Islands and passages

Well for starters, to get there, there is always a long passage necessary. And sailing dual handed with a watch schedule, even in the middle of the ocean, is tiring. Another constant is the patron of not enough or too much wind. We remember the nice passages, because they are rare.

Seek shelter in Fare in Huahine
Shelter for an strong Easterly wind

In Pacific crossing groups there is a 2-weekly report of somebody badly damaging or sinking there boat. Mostly to a navigation error and or a uncharted reef. Most of them experienced sailors. Are we getting sloppier or overconfident after 10.000NM. Or just exhausted.

We learned to have fate in Navionics charts and they are pretty good and accurate in a lot of places. But passages between islands are still inaccurate and reefs, or more common a group of rocks, are everywhere. So community edits and a second source like OpenCPN is part of the solution. But most of all when calculated an automatic route, zoom in (more !) and check the route. Make it a habit especially going west of French Polynesia.

Boat bullshit

Therese says, with a sadden, slightly angry voice “Why is there always something breaking, this is a new boat.” Is she blaming me, the weather, the boat, the universe? The list is endless. For sure ropes, lines, water pump, dinghy hoist, outboard fuel line, impellers, anchor winch up/down selector, more ropes, ParaSailor, gel coat, flexible solar panel. D-shackles etc, Sail bag, Courtesy flags. The thing I hate the most is the fact that stainless steel isn’t anymore. Everything rust. There is a lot of it and it needs cleaning and protecting endlessly.

And we know that Seawind is a quality build ship and I do a very thorough check on systems, components, deck hardware etc. So we catch at least 50% of the issues before breaking. Yes I know we are doing a lot of mileage, 15.000NM, a year. So yes maintenance and replacement is part of my expectation, but the rate and period of use is less than I expected.

Let me mention as well that we didn’t have big issues on the 3 main components: engines, electric and navigation equipment. Although my port alternator is kicking in late after starting the engine. A sign of corrosion somewhere on the wire boom or a bad seliode. 🙁

Anchorages and Marinas

On all these idyllic islands there is always smoke. A good thing the two of us are not asthmatic. Cleaning a parcel of land and the garbage is burned on most islands. To be honest, probably the best way to get rid of it. And I think most of it, is plastics. Everything is double, triple rapped. I get very angry looks from the supermarket cassiere for putting multiple fruits and vegetables in one plastic bag.

People are a species that live in a herd. So the tendency is they anchor close to each other in a big bay. So funny when the prevailing wind changes 1800 and everybody has 40-50 meters of chain out, except those three on 30 meters randomly spreaded in the flock. We had it the opposite way, suddenly in the morning this big bommie was 10 meters from us. It was 100 meters in the opposite direction on the night we went to bed. All well within our anchor alarm zone. We had 55 meters out instead of 40-45, just for safety… Another lesson to be learned.

Marinas, I don’t like them, Therese loves them. So we compromise. And yes it’s handy for fuel, washing the boat with fresh water. If potable take a 10 minute shower twice a day in our excellent bath room aboard. But in general they are expensive, loud, more current then I prefer etc. The one time another boat hit us, was in a Marina. My first deep fiberglass and gelcoat repair.

French Polynesia is expensive, from the supermarket to chandlery, prices are 3 – 10 times compared to mid America’s. From fresh local produce to French wines. So stock up for 4 to 5 months for flour, cans, UHTC milk, liquor, anything that will last . Best advice a sailor can get.

For sunny pictures of Kiskadee crew in Lagoons, beaches and bays, like SV Kiskadee on Facebook.

Also French Polynesia

4 thoughts on “Also French Polynesia”

  1. Great post, very truthful. Yes stainless is not stainless any more, my first rigging lasted 30 years (English) with no rust, the Korean wire at 5 years needs annual polishing and probably could be done more often.

  2. Roestvrij staal wat toch roest, noemde we bij de marine pisbakkenstaal!
    Groeten en behouden vaart, Simon

  3. Great Post. Love to get your navigation tracks…. in time we will be following you across the pacific.
    It seems like Stainless steel quality has drastically dropped all over the world. At least the commonly purchased items. Chromium as an alloying agent must be getting expensive….

    Thank you for sharing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *