Mischief - Yet more Mischief making Log 22 Further adventures of S/Y Mischief through the eyes and ears of Chas Baynes
Day 43 Wednesday 11 April 2018- Rangiroa Passe de Avatora
A slow morning, late to rise (at 0700!) and a late breakfast of sausage sandwich. We welcomed the Austrian S/Y Christine into the anchorage, a lovely Sweden Yacht 45 who had news of a potential weather front coming through our area in the next day or two meaning we are in the best place for the duration - at anchor in a lagoon! Weather files suggest it will pass west and south of us predominantly and be clear before we leave on Saturday for Tahiti.
As there is not too much ashore at this end of the atoll as decided yesterday we upped anchor and wandered slowly down to the second entry point into the lagoon, Passe de Avatora. We had fun erecting Wendy's hammock before going ashore to explore. We walked straight into a café/restaurant serving cold beer at $5.50 for a large bottle, much better value than yesterday's experiences, so we reserved a place for dinner at 1800. Having done so we set off on foot towards the pearl market shops some 3km down the road. There we found a pearl shop with a charming Japanese lady serving who clearly was the artist and creator of the lovely pearl jewelry in her shop. She spoke impeccable English too which was a real bonus as she gave us a review of the pearls, how they were set and importantly, how they were priced. What was certain was that they were a lot cheaper than those on offer at the Kia Ora hotel unsurprisingly. We spent an hour there by which time there was a small queue awaiting serving so business was good. Dave's wallet did take a bit of a hammering but not nearly as bad as it could have been. Mind you, this was just the first pearl shop of many
On the way back we dropped into the local grocers and got some fresh provisions whilst we could - they had potatoes, tomatoes, celery even so we filled a shopping trolley plus several bags. By this time it was beer o'clock so we went back to our café bar for an early dinner - Special Chow Mein and chips! Very greasy but nice all the same.
The trip back to the boat was interesting to say the least. Firstly, it was dark; secondly, we couldn't recall the route through the reef back to the boat; thirdly, the boat was significantly flatter than when we left it; fourthly, we had a load of shopping on board; fifthly, we only had one oar; and lastly but more importantly, the tide was running out at a ridiculous rate of knots and the engine was not able to keep pace. After running aground several times and crunching the engine on the coral too many times we gave up and made it back to the dock no further away than we'd started, for a re-think. Whilst re-thinking, the flash light revealed a two meter reef shark sitting there under the boat waiting for something to happen - I'm surprised the propeller hadn't got it; maybe it had and it was just awaiting an opportunity to get its own back? Anyway, I suggested we get out of the boat and pull it along the quayside onto the beach then along the beach to somewhere nearer the boat without the concentrated flow of water along the dock which was doing 8 knots at least - no wonder the engine couldn't make against it. We re-boarded and motored out again, still having to avoid coral heads but we were making progress and eventually found ourselves in deep water and home dry, well not dry but home none-the-less. A beer was never more needed - even Jean had one! You live and learn - we will be staying on board tomorrow night that's for sure.
Day 44 Thursday 12 April 2018- Rangiroa Passe de Avatora
Loads of fish with pointy noses around the boat this early morning as I leapt in for a swim to check for any damage on the propeller of the dinghy; it was really clear water and not a shark to be seen. Fortunately, there is a skeg in front of the prop itself which took most of the impact from running aground last night and there is no damage to the dinghy itself although it was looking a bit sorry for itself in its partially deflated state.
We ventured ashore again later on to go for a walk, had a look around a church and eyeballed in detail the entrance to the lagoon for our exit on Saturday and the state of the tides - there are some vicious looking overfalls but this morning these were not evident at all as the water was around slack tide - the time to go. We walked around the other side of the headland and found another general store where we loaded up with more crisps (!). However, it turns out that this store also stocked some chandlery purely by chance and indeed they had some contact adhesive for PVC - we can now do a repair on the dinghy as the brand new tube of glue in the puncture repair kit had gone hard and is completely useless.
We also found another café bar place and had barbecued chicken or steak and chips for lunch and a beer at a very reasonable price before going for a paddle and a swim off the beach where we had left the dinghy. Even Wendy went in and saw some of the coral and fish just off the beach. On the way to the beach we stopped a lady peddling her ice cream cart along the road gaining attention by honking her horn and tingling her bell, not a sight we were expecting that's for sure, a manual version of "Mr Whippy". The size of her would suggest it was a one for you one for me policy as a way of keeping cool whilst peddling along, but she was very jolly.
Back to the boat and Trevor, Dave and myself grabbed our snorkel gear and headed to the lagoon entrance in the dinghy and did a drift dive from the town quay. The channel goes really deep very sharply so it was difficult to see through the deeper water but it shelves quickly into coral banks with plenty of tropical fish and quite a few car tyres too - treading water (sorry). The current was not strong and took us around the corner of the quay towing the dinghy very gently. I brought Dave's attention to a conga eel sitting under a rock minding its own business but it looked me in the eye and I was off pretty smartish! Then once around the corner I noticed five magnificent black Rays swimming along gracefully, contrasted against the sand bottom, almost in perfect formation. They were huge creatures. Unfortunately there was all sorts of evidence of littering of the seabed with more tyres, a couple of bicycle wheels, a bike frame, a few bottles etc but the coral looked healthy enough. By now the tide had turned and swimming back to the boat became a bit of an effort as it was a long way but made it eventually. Only two sharks did I see all day and those were a way away.
During the evening we had a couple of rain squalls which came over; most had missed us during the day thankfully and we had been lucky in this respect. This I suppose is all part of the forecast weather system coming into our area supposedly today and tomorrow before clearing Saturday. I hope it doesn't rain too hard tomorrow as tomorrow there is a big canoe race here. First prize is 150,000 CFP ($1,500). The course starts at the Plage de Publique down the other end of the atoll and along to Avatora quay passed our boat and back again, so we should get a good view. We have seen a couple of these race boats on shore and they are proper pieces of kit: glass fibre, faired down hull and outrigger, down to weight, for six oarsmen - big boys toys. Given the level of prize money the Mischief team are thinking of getting the dinghy pumped up hard and entering me in the race - we only have one oar after all. We'll see how far I get before it deflates.