Day 668: Dinghy dilemmas

The crew of Egret have been enjoying themselves on Bora Bora, so much so that a damaged dink has caught them unawares

S16 29.18 W152 17.77 Just offshore of Maupiti island, French Polynesia

Scott (YT) and Mary Flanders (MS) left Gibraltar on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete list of all the couple’s blog entries click here 

The crew ofEgrethave been enjoying themselves on Bora Bora, so much so that a damaged dink has caught them unawares.

Friday 18 July am
This has been a fantastic week, Monday was Bastille Day, which all the French Polynesian islands celebrate with gusto. We attended a traditional parade on Bora Bora, which was great fun. The following day we were reunited with our friends that we left in Huahine who were aboard a dive boat on their way to feed a zillion sharks and rays, and we met up with them last night.

Today, however, it’s a different story, the wind has been puffing up all night and we woke up this morning to find our dink upside down. The gas tank, hose, anchor, line, paddles, an oar and a large inflatable fender are all missing. Not good. We have a spare gas tank but no spare hose. The spare hose and its tank went away with our Zodiac dink in Easter Island.

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Friday 18 July pm
Well, mis amigos, we be dinkin again. Mark from N55Myahgave us a lift into town where we ordered a new 24 litre (6 gal) Yamaha fuel tank and hose and bought a fuel primer bulb from a local marine store, which cost just over $500. The only good news was that it would be put on a plane in Papeete and be delivered tomorrow morning.

So let this be a warning to those of you that think sinking your dink motor won’t happen. My only experience may be with two-stroke Yamaha engines but I expect other brands would be similar.

Once we had our dink sitting in her boat deck chocks we removed the engine shroud and gave the engine a thorough water wash down. This particular engine is a commercial unit (bought in Nassau, Bahamas), which only has two bolts that hold the carburettor to the engine (our 8hp Yamaha had four nuts that held the carburettor on). We removed the fuel line, throttle linkage and the two bolts holding the carburettor on and removed the carburettor. Next, out came the two spark plugs and we then ran water into the intake manifold on the front of the engine which the carburettor bolts onto. Yes, we ran water into the engine.

Next we ran water into the two spark plug holes and the majority of the water ran out of the exhaust. We then pulled the starting handle over and over again and water began spitting out of the plugholes. Next we removed the fuel filter from the side of the engine and poured out the water and blew it clean. Before we left we sprayed large amounts of Corrosion Block into the intake manifold and into the spark plug holes, pulled the starter rope slowly to disperse the Corrosion Block. We then headed off with Mark to town.

Once we returned toEgretwe removed the four Phillips head screws from the bottom of the carburettor float bowl and cleaned the bowl.

We then removed the float and needle jet (one screw holds it in), wiped it clean and set it aside. Next we removed one of the jets and blew into the hole that it had left and also into the hole next to it that also has a jet. We then cleaned the water out of the jets and from the body of the carburettor. When the carburettor was spotless and free of water we replaced the jet, float and needle valve and the float bowl. This was easy and took just minutes.

Once clean, fuel was hooked up and mixed at 25-1 (fuel-oil ratio) to give the engine extra lubrication, even though this is a 100-1 engine. We pumped the fuel through the filter on the side of the engine until there was no water droplets coming out, using a jar to catch any spills. We cleaned the original plugs and reused them, r-attached the carburettor, linkage and fuel line, pulled the choke, gave the engine a little gas in neutral and it started on the third pull.

We ran it for 20 seconds (without water) then shut it off and launched the dink. We have been running it ever since and it runs perfectly. We’ll see in time if we have any electrical gremlins but when the same thing happened to the 8hp Yamaha we never had any residual issues.

It pays to have an extra tank and fuel hose for a small dink. We were out of fuel hoses so we used a water line that was previously used for the watermaker overflow, added two Yamaha fuel end fittings we had in stock, an in line fuel filter (from stock as well) and the fuel priming bulb we bought from the local marine store. It my not be pretty but it works. It’s not rocket science folks.

Saturday 19 July
Today was a rainy day spent putzin, we had lunch withMyahMark at Bloody Mary’s and one of the most famous pub/restaurants on the island, Bloody Mary’s. Bloody Mary’s is probably the most beautiful, unique places we have been. Near the entrance is a list of rich and famous folks who have been there. The list is a who’s who of entertainment and sport. The entrance and entire bar and restaurant floor is covered in white sand and it has a traditional thatch roof. Dinner is on ice as you enter. This is what you will eat, what they have fresh – huge pieces of steak and fresh fish.

We also visited our Swedish friends (in the rain) to give them an unused BBQ grill. Later in the evening the swabs taught us to play Texas Hold’em, a type of poker and we took all their chips. Their tears were in danger of ruining our Turkish carpet.

Sunday 20 July
There was more rain this morning.

We have decided to leave on Monday for the small Polynesian Island of Maupiti just 25nm away and on the route to Suvorov Atoll. This is a small atoll with a central mountain and two anchorages. We will enter through a narrow pass with full-time current flowing out. One cruising guide says to enter early in the morning, while another says to enter at Noon (there are just two tides a day here). If the swell is blocking the entrance we’ll keep going to Suvorov.

Monday 21 July am
We startedEgret’slittle Lugger at 02.15am, pulled TK (anchor) from 72ft and cleared the entrance to Bora Bora at 03.15am. It was a gentle ride to the entrance of Mautipi, an island ringed by an atoll with a narrow entrance. The tides continually flow out (south) of the entrance, while waves wash over the low atoll in places, filling the lagoon so the excess has to go somewhere. And it does…big time.

There were current rips well offshore and at times heavy weather – not the light seas we have now, the current runs up to nine knots at the restricted entrance. This morning the breakers were at least 3-4 metres high across the entrance. We passed, thank you. So, now we are on our way to another atoll in the middle of the Pacific. Our first waypoint is a small, uninhabited atoll coming up in 132.6nm, then a second waypoint 507.2nm further to a point just offshore of Suvorov Atoll.

We have been in constant touch with OMNI Bob (professional weather forecaster Bob Jones who suggested we wait a bit (as we did) before departing Bora Bora. Wouldn’t it be great if the weather stayed the same all the way to Suvorov? I’m sure not but we’ll see.

The swabs took seasickness pills last night before bed and are doing well this morning. Soon it will be bacon and eggs for all.

So there you have it, a few more days in the life. And now we begin life at sea.

Picture 1. Parading tattoo
Picture 2. Two beauties



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