Day 257, Year 1: Another Change in Plans . . . On Our Way to Raiatea
Date: Saturday, July 1, 2006
Weather: Beautiful Sunny Day
Location: Overnight Passage to Raiatea

You have heard me say many times that sailing is all about flexibility, and that is certainly the case here aboard Windbird. We spent our morning taking showers and doing laundry and then Mark and Lee started working on the auto pilot. The deeper they got into it, the more it became apparent that we have a major repair or replacement at hand. The gears appear to be stripped and we are not sure what else, so we are heading to Raiatea instead of Huahine to see if we can find a replacement. Raiatea has two boat yards that do major yacht repairs and three chartering services that are very helpful to cruisers in need of technical help. In fact, Raiatea is the only place in all of French Polynesia where you can get boat work done. There are no services in Papeete. In addition to the auto pilot problem, I have to be in Raiatea on Monday anyway for blood tests. I was put on a blood thinner when I broke my leg as they always worry about an embolism when you have a limb that is immobile. They wouldn’t let me leave Papeete unless I promised to be in Raiatea on Monday as none of the other islands have a hospital and the capability of doing a blood test. In Bora Bora and all of the other islands, all tests are sent to Papeete to be read. So Raiatea is the destination. We should be there by mid-day tomorrow.

The winds are now about 15 to 20 from the east. The seas are about 3 to 6 feet and we are having a nice sail. We are using the wind vane steering and it is working very nicely evening though this is a downwind sail. We are rolling a bit, but so far Mary Ellen and Lee are doing great. Lee has been a fantastic help to Mark and Mary Ellen is making sure we don’t starve to death. I am getting around okay, but going up and down and up and down and up and down the steps from main cabin to cockpit is difficult in the best circumstances, and even trickier when we are underway. I was able to shower and do the laundry, however, and am feeling more confident about negotiating with this broken leg.

Since we had planned on going to Huahine and not to Raiatea, we have a little research to do on watch tonight. Mark and Lee are on the first watch from 7 to 10 pm and 1 to 4 am. Mary Ellen and I will be on from 10 to 1 am and 4 to 7 am. Lee is our coffee maker, so we will get him at 7 am to start our day.

We really are having a fantastic sail right now. The sun just set and the view of Moorea has been spectacular. We are all looking forward to arrival in Bora Bora on Tuesday and enjoying our time between here and there.

060701 Day 257 Society Islands, Moorea–Headed to Raitea
Day 258, Year 1: Safe Arrival in Uturoa, Raiatea
Day 256, Year 1: Uncooperative Weather . . . Another Change in Plans