Fast sailing

The wind stays steady and much stronger than expected, so we’re making daily runs of 140 nm.


More wind

After a gentle start (so nice to make 5 kn boatspeed with the new antifouling in only 10 kn of wind on the beam…) we’re back to our usual boisterous conditions despite a light-wind forecast.


Leaving French Polynesia

We’ve cleared out, the boat’s ready, the forecast looks like nice light-wind sailing, so we’ll set out from Raiatea in a few hours. It feels strange to leave French Polynesia, but then we know that we’ll come back towards the end of the year ;-)


Exploring the Cook Islands

During this southern winter we plan to sail first up north to visit Tongareva/Penrhyn (Cook Islands) and then we want to hop slowly southwards through the Cook Islands chain. By November we want to back in French Polynesia!


Happy birthday Leeloo!

Birthday kiss (klick for larger image)

Our little girlie turns 18 sometime in July, but we neither have to worry about university choices nor driving licenses… Instead we have to tend to the geriatric needs (special diet food, soft landing areas underneath companion way and sofa that go easy on the back, etc.) of our aging ship’s cat. We wish you many more happy years, Leeloo!



After all the working time first in Tahiti and then in the Carenage we’re taking a few days off. We’re still feeling a bit sore, bruised and generally knackered, but a visit to a local chiropractor worked wonders. When we splashed Pitufa was shiny on the outside, but still covered in dust and quite chaotic inside, so we’ve been trying to get some normality back into the ‘boathold’.

We spent the first two days in a little bay next to Miri-Miri Point from where we did a beautiful hike up to the Tememani Plateau. Now we’re anchored very shallow out on the shelf in a turquoise swimming pool enjoying our holidays :-)


Busy pics

Here are some impressions of the busy times we had in Tahiti and Raiatea and of course some pics of Pitufa in her new look:

Tahiti May 2018

Our annual visit to Tahiti always means lots of shopping, maintenance and repairs.

(15 photos)

On the hard in Raiatea

In June 2018 we spent 18 days on the hard at Raiatea Carenage. Apart from a new anti-fouling and many small jobs, Pitufa got her topsides painted.

(22 photos)


Revealing the piece of art

This morning we wrapped Pitufa in yet another layer of plastic, then the smurf-blue bootstripe was sprayed on and by noon we were allowed to reveal the piece of art–tuh-duh! An almost new Pitufa in white and blue :-)
We tore off the layers of foil that we used over the past few days to protect the new antifouling and paint. Negative side effect: we produced a whole wheely-bin full of plastic–not a great experience for people like us who usually try to avoid plastic trash…


Colour changes

On Friday the primer was sprayed on, during the weekend we did the first two layers of antifouling, so now Pitufa’s battleship grey and blue. The primer has nicely dried over the weekend, today the painter does some more fairing, tomorrow we’ll hopefully get the paint sprayed on and Pitufa will turn white on the topsides and we’ll do two more layers of black antifouling. In the meantime christian sweats in the bilge installing new sea valves and general plumbing, i assist and try to get my normal ‘boathold’ duties done in between (laundry in a bucket, baking bread, etc.).

During our first visits to boatyards Leeloo was horrified by all the loud machines and many people, by now she knows the routine and hangs out in the cockpit while the travellift thunders by…


Creative packaging

Today the first two coats of primer will be (hopefully) sprayed on. In order to protect the rest of the boat we had to spread a layer of plastic all around the toe-rail and up to the life lines. Weirdly enough, there’s never enough proper scaffolding in a boatyard, instead we have to pile up differently sized blocks of wood put planks on top and hope for the best while balancing up there in 2 or even 4 m height…
We used up quite some plastic foil, masking tape and nerves with one of us standing on rickety make-shift scaffolding and the other one leaning over the railing and fixing straps of masking tape on the wildly fluttering foil (yep, of course there was a stiff breeze blowing). Keep your fingers crossed that it won’t rain on the primer!!


Hard days on the hard

We hauled the boat out on Friday and started work immediately. We want to do a new antifouling as usual, but after more than 10 years the paint on the topsides has started cracking in places and so we have decided to have a professional painter spray it newly to get Pitufa all shiny and pretty again. Of course the old paint has to come off first, the cracks need fairing and so we are sanding and grinding all day long to prepare the hull for the painter. There’s a dozen additional jobs on the list and we’ve taken off the windvane and the swimming ladder, made a new through-hull, etc. etc. The weather has been a bit unstable with tropical downpours in between, despite the claims of meteo.pf that it was ‘cool, breezy and sunny’, so we hope for more settled weather when the paintwork starts.
I’m writing this blog at 6 in the morning, my shoulders and arms hurt from working the orbital sander all day long and the first sounds of workers arriving come up from the yard. It’s gonna be another hard day on the hard ;-)


Arrived in Raiatea

We arrived this afternoon with a squall, but without a fish in Raiatea and are now anchored off the ‘Carenage’ where we will haul out tomorrow. We are quite knackered and it’s grey and cool, so we’ll have a cosy afternoon drinking tea and watching a movie on the sofa.


Sailing to Raiatea

After almost a month of boat projects in Tahiti we’d love to take a few days off, but we have an apointment to haul out in Raiatea on Friday, so we have to set sails towards the Iles sous le vent today. The forecast predicts a stiff breeze, so we count on a rough, but fast ride. Leeloo has already got some seasickness drops and we’re just busy with last preparations. 130 nm to go!



Last Monday we thought it’d be a clever idea to quickly add another battery to have 500 Ah instead of 400. The batteries live under the pilot berth which serves as storage, so all those boxes went into the saloon. It turned out that the additional battery didn’t fit into the plastic box we had intended for it, so Christian decided to custom-make a fiberglass container.

In order to reach the fiberglass kit we had to empty half of the forecabin (our second storage space) into the saloon and he didn’t quite finish the project on Tuesday.

On Wednesday we had a long before reserved rental car, so we went shopping and added a car-load of shopping bags to the saloon chaos.

On Thursday I stowed away the provisioning while Christian wanted to finish the battery project. When he turned on the soldering iron, a crackling sound and smoke announced the death of our inverter (the device that turns 12 V from the batteries into 230 for electric devices). I hitchhiked to town and visited all chandleries searching for a new inverter. I finally found one, but it was too late to do the paperwork in order to get it taxfree (for a yacht in transit), so I was told to ‘simply’ come back the next morning.

On Friday I hitched another ride to town, while Christian got the old inverter out. In order to install the new inverter (under the nav-table, not exactly easy to reach and work there) we had to take out all drawers from the nav-table, so 3 drawers filled up with tools ended in the saloon and we spent the rest of the day fiddling with cables in places that only a midget on a stick could reach.

Today is Saturday and we finished the inverter installation (drawers back in, hurray!), closed up the battery bank (yippieh, two matresses and 10 boxes out of the way), turned the forecabin back into storage space (yeah, there goes the rest of the boxes), vacuum-cleaned and wiped the floors and now we can finally sit down in the saloon again!


No bird protection zone in Tahanea

When we were in Tahanea (atoll in the Tuamotus) we were horrified to see that Copra production had started on some of the few remaining bird motus. Last year we had tried to convince the mayor of Faaite (the neighbouring atoll to which Tahanea belongs) to turn the southwestern motus into a protected zone. No success.
This year we met the family who owns and uses the motus in the South while they were there to collect, open and dry coconuts. We visited them a few times and tried to make friends. We made a list of why protecting the wildlife on their motus would be of advantage for them and how they could make much more money with alternative ideas than the little they get for copra, e.g.
-installing moorings next to the pass and charge for them (we would provide them with material and help with the installation
-organising excursions for tourists to the motus (snorkeling, bird watching)
-organising traditional meals for tourists
-building an eco-lodge sometime in the future
-etc., etc

After some intial hesitation the father and his three sons seemed genouinely interested and they promised to talk with their family once they had returned to Faaite and to contact us.

Last week the phone rang and we were excited–such quick news had to be good ones! Disappointment followed quickly when the father explained that his oldest son (whom we had not met) had decided that our plans and ideas were ‘for women’ while ‘real men make copra’. The destruction of natural vegetation and quiet habitats for many species of birds will go on for a few bucks…

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