Tahiti, 2017

At the Yacht Club we again renewed old acquaintances’, it was a bit like going home!

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Manu and Herve were as happy and helpful as ever. I'd not been feeling to flash the last few weeks and on the trip from Tahanea I'd had some chest pain so we decided the first stop, after unloading and assembling our bikes, should be to the local doctor. He gave me a quick check and thought it best I see a cardiologist but could not get appointments at the couple he rang so suggested I go to the main hospital emergency that was a couple of kilometres down the road. His charge, zero, saying he hadn't done anything! Off we peddled and reported into emergency where they had me jump the queue to be seen almost immediately. An ECG, blood test and x-ray later I was declared fit and well. Back to the GP who then made an appointment for me to see an internist, a friend of his, the next day, still no charge. The next day we peddled of to see the internist less than 3 kilometres away. He was a sailor so we spent as much time talking boats and cruising as we did about my medical issue. He recommended an endoscopy to check out my stomach that usually means advanced booking and an overnight hospital stay with associated cost but if we came back the next day, Saturday, he could do it at his facility in the same building without going through "the system" for minimal cost and inconvenience. This we did, arriving at his office at 7am. By 10 I'd been under a light general anaesthetic, the procedure done, a report provided and prescription provided to treat a Hiatus Hernia. Total cost $250 with an invitation to come back at any time. Now that's what I call real medical treatment, certainly vastly different to what I've experienced in Australia.

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Just to reinforce the fact I'll recall a medical incident that occurred last year. I had been noticing a small lump on the left side of my nose up towards my eye that was often irritated as it was right where the bridge of my glasses sit. I decided to get it checked. There is Cardella Clinic not far from the centre of Papeete that houses many medical specialists, including a dermatologist. Morning consultations are for walk-ins, afternoons for bookings so we went one morning. The doctor took a look and suggested I see an ENT surgeon, the one right next door so I joined the short queue. The ENT guy introduced himself as Peppi, took a look and recommended I have the lump removed, most likely a harmless bezel cancer. It would mean a general anaesthetic, he'd have to arrange an anaesthetist and hospital, could my wife drive me home? Well no, we are in a boat and rode into town from Tahiti Yacht Club on our bikes. Peppi walks out of his office and talks to his assistant/secretary then comes back to me. "You look pretty fit and healthy how about we do it here in my office under a local anaesthetic tomorrow morning say 6:30 before my normal opening time of 7"? Sounded good to me, we arrived at 6:15 the next day and he was already set up to start so we walked straight in, he gave me a jab and got to work with the laser sculpt while Sasha watched. A few minutes later i was stitched up and had a small lump of me in a sample jar to take to the main hospital for pathology analysis. Peppi explained, in perfect English, as most medicos here do, that he'd cut out the lump and enough around it to get it all but wanted to make sure by having it analysed. Off we went to the hospital, deposited the sample and a week later got the all clear. Now you'd be hard pressed to see the tiny scar, and the total cost, all up about $300!

Having been away from civilisation, at least from somewhere where most things one requires for comfortable living, boat maintenance and good communications, for over 6 months, the list of things to do and buy was lengthy to say the least. First a trip to the nearby Carrefour to do a bit of a restock of fresh fruit, veg, meat and other essentials like beer. Next to order parts for the generator including the complete internals for two raw water pumps and a stainless steel exhaust elbow to be sent via the US Postal Service to the Tahiti Yacht Club.

We'd noticed that the fresh water pump was occasionally giving a short, momentary, run, indicating a leak on the pressure side if the pump so time to investigate. There was a little bit of fresh water in the bilge, maybe a litre or two so that was cleaned out and we started checking the various hose connections and found that one of the house clamps had broken which I replaced, along with a couple of others that were looking suspect. Next day checked the bilge again, a tiny bit of water, maybe we just hadn't cleaned it all out, next day same again. What's going on, the fresh water pump hasn't been going off and the water was fresh so not coming in from the ocean. After some investigation the water appeared to be coming from the forward compartment, under the bed. Well the line from the water maker runs that way to the forward water tank so the line was thoroughly checked, nothing found. Hmm! We decided to disassemble the bed and check the water tank. First thing we found that the tank tie down was completely lose and yes there was water in one corner of the compartment that the tank fits into. Better take the plastic tank out and check, with the bed disassembled, quite an easy task.

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With the tank empty we took it out and to shore to put water in and see what happens. Yes a crack in the base of the tank so now how to fix. We spoke to a local "expert" who said he had special glue that would do the job, just need to grind out the crack to make a groove and fill with the two part glue consisting of a base and a spray on accelerator. We bought some of said glue and tried it on another piece of polyethylene plastic as we believed the tank was made from. Definitely not satisfactory. Sasha found the name of the tank manufacturer on the net and sent an email asking how to repair in the off chance that someone might reply. The reply was almost immediate; the only way was to have it plastic welded. With the help of Herve at the Club, we found the local water storage tank manufacturer and contacted them. Yes they could weld it, a crew could come the next morning and repair for about $100. We left the tank in the Club workshop and returned early next morning. A two man team arrived with all the gear to do the job. They not only repaired the crack but put a reinforcing weld bead all the way around the base of the tank and tested it, fantastic service. Reinstalled the tank, put the bed back together and ticked off the job.

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Essentially this was the start of what became a long list of boat jobs.

Being away from a source of supply enjoying the remote existence lead to a long list of boat jobs that needed to be prioritised to those requiring attention before Natalie and family arrived and those that could be put off until after.

To Do, Roger's boat jobs

  • Load test batteries & email to Fullriver
  • Buy and replace anchor chain
  • Buy new liferaft - Sea-life
  • Repair gelcoat from dinghy collision
  • Make new snubber lines
  • Replace mast head light
  • Replace D2       rig wire –starboard
  • Replace D1 rig wire - port
  • Repair broken bimini clear quarter window
  • Paint Washing machine
  • Replace outboard gear oil with new extended grease nipples
  • Repair transom of the dinghy where aluminium crack slowly leaks
  • Buy more water maker filters & replace
  • Re-bolt the fitting in the mast
  • Offload boat at the Tahiti YC before Wrightson family arrival
  • Replace raw water pump on generator
  • Replace generator exhaust elbow & hose
  • Refill gas bottles
  • Reglue fitting on aft toilet cabinet
  • Put new caps on transom shower
  • Replace capacitors in the fridge compressor DC/AC unit
  • Replace venetian blinds
  • Replace starter battery
  • Replace seal on the toilet pump