Mischief - General Mischief making Log 20 Further adventures of S/Y Mischief through the eyes and ears of Chas Baynes
Day 38 Saturday 7 April 2018 - Fakarava South
An early morning skinny dip with our black finned friends but not too many around this morning.
We then all went ashore to check out the restaurant for this evening - it is the only one there so not much by way of choice. We tied up to the restaurant's dock for a cup of coffee: it was instant, make it yourself with luke warm water from a flask all for a giveaway price of $3 a cup (i.e not even a mug)! However, the veranda on the dock over the water in the bright sunshine was something else and made up partially for the disgusting coffee and rubbish wifi (yet again). It allowed us a stunning close up view of a multitude of sharks of different types, mostly black tips, swimming against the fast flowing current and thousands of fish of differing species with vivid colours sheltering under the dock and a moored pleasure boat. They just ignore the sharks and vice versa which seems a bit bizarre - there must be a truce called after breakfast time lasting until dusk no doubt.
At lunchtime we took the dinghy back to the lagoon entrance to repeat the drift dive. We dropped off the dinghy and again drifted along the reef with its multitudes of tropical fish and different colour corals in the warm water - like swimming in an aquarium. The water was clearer today if that were possible, all the way back to the boat in the anchorage, dinghy in tow. There were far fewer sharks than we had seen in the morning as they seem to disappear when there are people in the water for some reason although I did see a rather large grey blighter of around 2m on the way back swimming in the other direction thankfully.
We knew there was a small leak in the bottom panel of the dinghy but now there is a larger leak in the starboard side main tube which is rather more serious, even more so with the fact that the pump seems to have a newly acquire crack in it and is basically useless. So we have a dinghy with leaks and no means to put more air in and only one oar. Problem.
Richard and Vanessa from Shepherd Moon dropped by on the way to the restaurant for dinner to pick up Trevor and Jean, to alleviate a bit of weight from our squidgy boat. A really nice buffet awaited us after a couple of cold beers each which were only $6 half liter which was excellent value compared to the coffee there this very morning. The buffet comprised spaghetti, rice, shepherds pie, grilled chicken and crab cakes which was an odd combination but we were not complaining. The waitress girl then did a Hula dance for us which was charming; she has been the closest so far to Dave's mystical Polynesian Princess. Luckily for us we made it back to the boat in the deflating dinghy without too much trouble and Dave sat up late to try to effect a repair on the pump.
Day 39 Saturday 7 April 2018 - Fakarava North
It rained a couple of times in the night and the wind increased during brief squalls which got me out of bed to close the hatches and for Trevor, asleep in the cockpit, to make for cover. The wind moved the boat sufficiently to straighten some anchor chain which sounds for all intents and purposes below decks as if the anchor is dragging, so up again to check it wasn't!
Around 0830 we upped anchor from this most idyllic anchorage and motored towards another small village half way up the lagoon following a well-marked channel. We were considering whether to stay there as there was a small restaurant there or whether to just stop for a swim and crack onto the north. We tried to book dinner by VHF radio but found that other Arc boats coming down from the north to the south had already booked it - only 14 places in total so no room at the Inn for us. It was probably the only time in history that this place had been over booked! That was the decider so we stopped off for a swim before heading off. The water was quite cloudy too so another reason not to hang about.
The channel north was well marked with an occasional shallow patch shown on the chart that didn't necessarily correspond to reality by a good few meters but we took good care so it didn't cause us a problem. But the palm tree lined coast line of the atoll wall, the yellow sand beaches and occasional holiday home coupled with sun and flat water made it a very pleasant passage indeed. A road became apparent, then more houses and suddenly we were there at the town with several boats anchored off.
Dave, Jean and Trevor rapidly went ashore in the partially inflated dinghy (the pump repair had failed!) to get some beer and a few provisions as we had been invited across to Amara next to us for sundowners and we had a very pleasant evening with them and other invited crews, in fact such that we were too late to go ashore for something to eat. We noticed a number of "bait balls" which are huge collections of swarming fish attracted by the lights and which were being attacked by sharks - interesting thing to watch and was a reminder not to go swimming at night!
Rick from Amara has lent us a pump with all the fittings so we can now pump up the dinghy - we have air! We will put a patch or two on the dinghy when we have a clear 24 hours to let the glue dry on the way to Rangoria on Monday but for now we need still to get ashore so the repairs will have to wait.
Day 40 Sunday 8 April 2018 - Fakarava north
At 0715 Britta from Blue Pearl dropped by in their dinghy as she was planning to go for a jog ashore first thing. I hasn't run for a good few weeks so the opportunity was too good to miss; a bit hot and a bit slow but good to be moving again.
We took a trip ashore later on but all the shops were shut being a Sunday. We happened to walk passed the pearl shop all gated up so Dave's wallet is safe for today at least! Only the churches and the creperie were open so we chose the latter for a cold drink and crepes; phew, it is really hot on land. Dave and I walked around the corner to find the Fakarava Yacht Services office where we handed over our 5 liter petrol canister for filling and noted the various services they offered: laundry, chandlery, engine servicing, bike hire and amongst other vital things - baby sitting!
Back to the boat for a swim, cool down and a sleep then back ashore for dinner - steak, chips and salad at the Rotova Grille where we stood outside an imposing closed gate for half an hour until it opened at six, not terribly inviting but lovely once inside. The place was soon packed with locals and service was a bit slow but only because there was only one girl serving who was rushing about like a blue arsed fly in bare feet, doing her best. We wanted another beer and waited and waited to be served until we noted a local guy on the next table, at least the size of four normal people, go to the bar and got his own.....that was the system! The meal was really good though not cheap - nothing is.
It was great to see Christian 1st mate on Lunatix, who had so nearly been killed on the Pacific crossing by his life jacket inflating whilst he was half way into the anchor locker trapping him there and squeezing the life out of him. He is now almost fully recovered physically at least. His Skipper had bought him a ticket to fly into Fakarava for 14 days whilst he had his family on board went cruising and would pick him up again here. We were unsure there would be much here to occupy a person on his own for two weeks without going mad, so good luck with that Christian!
Dave was really irritated by the fact that he had appeared to have put on the navigation lights as well as the anchor light as there was a boat out in the anchorage showing green and reds (golf's equivalent of not hitting your drive passed the ladies tee), but it turned out not to be our boat. Oh well, the jibing was fun whilst it lasted and couldn't possibly be retracted.
We aim to be away early doors tomorrow to make slack water at the north entrance to the Fakarava lagoon then make our way north west towards Rangiroa where there are a few more pearl shops and it won't be a Sunday, so Dave's wallet will be at risk again!