Battery adventures

While we were in Makemo, our 6-year-old batteries suddenly died of old age (not surprising really, we should have changed them when we had the chance in Tahiti, but there was so much else to do, we somehow couldn’t get around to do it…). We had no mobile phone connection in the protected eastern corner of Makemo where we spent most of the time and could only start making phone calls after returning to the village on the first of December. While crossing the lagoon, we got into a thunderstorm, rain splashing down, no visibility, I steered standing on two rubber mats wearing rubber gloves and was still slightly worried about the lightning around us. Everything went fine though, but we later heard that our neighbouring boat that had remained in the anchorage was struck by lightning and lost ALL their electric and electronics!

It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I called the two cargo ship offices in Tahiti (only two ships go to the Gambier every 3 weeks) and they told me that one of them was already completely full and the other one would leave the next day and, with some luck, might find a little space for our 3 new batteries (clearly, they’re extra busy before Christmas…). I immediately called the chandleries in Tahiti, found one that had 3 suitable batteries on stock and was willing to send them to the cargo ship–if they would still take them. The next day the mobile network was down in Makemo, so we had to sail off without knowing whether the batteries had made it into a container or not.

We arrived in the Gambier on December 8 at night (slightly scary to rely on blinking buoys and the GPS track in a pitch-black dark night after dusk and before moonrise) and snuggled into our favourite bay on the protected western side of Taravai. The next morning we were really tempted to just clear up the boat in the quiet bay and relax a bit, as the man at the office had assured us that the cargo ship would not arrive until the 14th. Somehow we wanted to double-check though and as there’s no mobile phone connection in that bay we reluctantly lifted the anchor again and sailed towards the village. As soon as the mobile showed some reception bars, I called the office again and was informed that they had changed the schedule–the ship would arrive on the 10th instead (today!!). If we had been delayed by weather/wind or stayed in that bay a day longer, the batteries would be sailing back to Tahiti by now…. Phew!

So we sailed directly to the village, the cargo ship arrived this morning, the batteries were in the second container they opened, they fit nicely into the compartment, Christian installed them immediately and they’re loading already.

We are so used to having to deal with delays and complications whenever we have to order something that we couldn’t quite believe how smoothly everything worked out this time :-)

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