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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Wednesday, August 11

We're back in the general vicinity of Uturoa, Raiatea to fill our propane tanks before we go to Bora Bora. This time we're sharing our special transfer hose with Quixotic. The hose has one end that connects to the local tank's fitting and another end which connects to our U.S. style fitting. The idea is that you hang the local tank up high somewhere (like in your rigging) and drain the gas out of that tank into your tank which is down on deck. It usually works pretty well although sometimes you can't get all the gas out of the local tank. Then you return the (mostly empty) local tank to the store where you bought it to get your deposit back on the bottle.

Gas wasn't available at the village in Tapuamu so the guys had to dinghy up to the next bay to the village of Murifenua to get a full bottle. The Chinese people running the store there were much friendlier than the people in Tapuamu so we were happy to give them the business. Apparently as of August 1 the price of propane/butane has risen a whopping 130 CFP per 13 kilo bottle and the locals bought up all the full bottles at the old price. So until they use up the gas and return the empties, full bottles are in short supply. We managed to get the one for Blue Bottle right after a supply ship arrived, and when the guys returned the empty, all the full ones were sold out again (I guess by the people who aren't hoarding the cheaper bottles!).

The tank for Blue Bottle was slow to drain so we ended up spending an extra night at quiet little Tapuamu before heading north to meet up with Gloria Maris on Sunday. We talked about meeting them at the main town of Patio at the north end of Tahaa, but the wind had cranked up and we back-tracked a little to Baie Pueheru for much better protection.

{GMST}16|35.220|S|151|31.605|W|Baie Pueheru|Tahaa{GEND}

Kim and I went ashore in the afternoon and ended up walking to the store at Murifenua without realizing that it was the same place John had gone for propane. The Chinese woman said they had lived there for 20 years and their children also had houses in the village. It is a very nice store but their baguettes come from an in-house bakery and are probably the toughest we've had even when fresh.

On our way to the store we were walking on the lagoon side of the road which had about 10 feet of landscaping with low grass and tiare bushes (the local gardenia flower). It would be just our luck that an adorable kitten came out from under a bush at our approach, crying vehemently for help. It had blue eyes and was small enough to hold in the palm of your hand - too young to be away from its mother without human aid. We foolishly carried it to the two nearest houses thinking it might have strayed from its "owner" since it seemed to be so people oriented. But no one wanted to claim it or help us find where it belonged, so we reluctantly returned it to where we'd found it. Other than the distress at being left on its own it seemed clean (well, Kim found at least one flea) and not underweight, so we're comforting ourselves with the thought that its mother was simply off hunting for the afternoon and would return to care for it later. :-(

The next morning the four of us walked about four kilometers to Patio where there is a post office, a computer store, several small restaurants, and at least two stores. We were excited to find that the second store had nice big loaves of French bread. They were really nothing more than an overgrown baguette, but they were nice and crusty on the outside and wonderfully soft on the inside. And when you see nothing but baguettes for months on end any variation in the form is a novelty.

Gloria Maris was trying to complete their final checkout with the gendarmerie which is somewhat complicated by the fact that they had to post a bond (we took care of everything through our agent in Papeete and were exempted from the bond requirement). They had been told in Uturoa that they had to do this in Bora Bora, probably because the officials figure that everyone will leave French Polynesia from there since it's typically the last stop for cruisers. But Don and Kim visited BB last year and weren't stopping there again this year. In Patio they were told that they should be able to do it in Uturoa as long as they weren't going to BB. So back we all went to Raiatea in very gusty winds with some sailing and some motor-sailing. It was so bad we even took some salt spray over the decks. ;-)

Don and Kim were able to complete their check-out on Tuesday and got their bond returned from the bank so they're continuing west today or tomorrow. We filled Quixotic's propane tank yesterday and today it's our turn. As soon as we have more moderate weather we'll cross over to Bora Bora to see what that's all about. We've been hearing good reports about Maupiti and Mopelia which are the two atolls beyond BB, and we especially want to stop at the former to swim with manta rays which gather there to feed.

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