Smurf Islet

Last weekend our anchor winch started making ugly, grinding sounds and we got very worried, because neither the prospect of manually heaving up the anchor while moving regularly around the atoll during wind shifts nor sailing to a place with an airport to order spare parts and wait endlessly for them seemed like much fun. Fortunately Pitufa is a self-sufficient boat with lots of spare parts, scrap pieces and tools aboard, so we disassembled the winch hoping to be able to repair it here. It turned out that a bushing Christian had made during an extensive overhaul 1.5 years ago had been worn out. We didn’t have a bronze part in the right dimensions, but our neighbours on SY Ednbal had a hose coupling made of brass that almost fit, so Christian got out the lathe and got it into the right dimensions. The next day we assembled it again and voila–no more nasty sounds.

During the past 2 days the weather was calm and we explored three motus in the south that we hadn’t seen previously and discovered 4 more couples of nesting masked boobies–that brings the count to 15 couples of these beautiful and rather rare birds. It’s so sad that there aren’t many uninhabited atolls with endemic shrubs and trees as vegetation left, because sea birds need these safe havens to raise their chicks. Here on Tahanea we saw eggs and chicks of red-footed, brown and masked boobies when we were here in September (2 years ago) and now the same between October and November so it seems the nesting season goes on for quite a while.

This morning the wind picked up again and we sailed to a reef on the southern side. Instead of the predicted 10 knots we got 15 to 20 and we were bouncing miserably, so we lifted the anchor again and sailed to the small island in the middle of the lagoon where we had already spent a calm week during easterly winds. This time we finally named it: Ilot des schtroumpfs–Smurf Island ;-)

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