24 Aug Papeete, Tahiti, Illes de la Societe – Wednesday, 22 August to Friday 24 August 2001
We flew back to Papeete on 22 August, our 37th wedding anniversary. We didn’t arrive in Papeete on the 22nd as planned, however. We were sitting on a Hawaiian Airlines airplane, ready to fly from Honolulu to Papeete but the airplane was making a most horrible grinding noise in the belly of the plane and nobody seemed to be taking any notice. Don isn’t a particularly passive person, so he asked the flight attendent to call the flight engineer. The flight engineer arrived and assured Don that the noise was normal. Don, in his usual tackful way, answered: “that’s bullshit” but the flight engineer stuck to his story and we proceeded out to the runway for takeoff. The pilot reved up the engine, the plane began to pick up speed and then backed off and we docilely taxied back to the gate. They announced from the cockpit that there was a stuck gage that needed to be checked. “It wasn’t reading properly.” We all got off the plane and waited five hours for another plane to arrive from LA so we could continue our flight. Therefore, we arrived at 0300 on Thursday morning the 23rd and were more than happy to be late.
At 0300 we took a taxi the short distance to Marina Taina and called Rob on our portable VHF. “OK, be right there, was his reply”. We waited awhile and no Rob. Then he called us to say that the dingy was missing. OK, we have learned the art of being flexible so we wait while Rob blows up the 8 1/2 foot rubber duck and goes to look for the Novurania It isn’t too long before he calls back to say that he found it on a reef close by and was coming to pick us up. We were happy to be safely in Papeete and safely back on Starr. By now I figure that you can only worry about things that you can do comething about, not what is beyond your control.
We sleep for a few hours and then go into Papeete to check Starr out of Papeete. We need to do this in order to get a certificate that enables us to buy diesel at a reduced rate (with some local taxes deleted because we are leaving the country)l We also go to the Total (fuel company) office and check out the current price of diesel. It’s a better price than before we flew home, so we feel pretty good. we arrange to bring Starr to the cruise ship dock downtown the next morning to fill her up. We mess about town, eat lunch and go back to Starr and take a nap. We are pretty tired puppies (Papeete is three hours earlier than Seattle, so we are struggling with jet lag, as well).
Friday morning we are at the fuel dock by 0830 as requested, but the fuel truck doesn’t show up until 1000. Our friend, Xavier, from Kauehi in the Tuamotus is on the dock when we arrive (with several of his relatives) and they all help handle lines. They are there to check on the computer that we brought back for Edward and we tell them that we passed the computer off to another friend of Edward’s the night before. They assure us that they will pick it up to take back to Kauehi by Wednesday the week following, when they return. It is wonderful to see them, but I wish that I could speak French and feel like the American dummy who still can’t speak to our friends in their own language. We hug and do the two cheek French kiss, and try to express our affection for them with out words. They understand.
We take on 14,250 liters of diesel @ 40cfp per liter and by 1400 we head off to Moorea. It feels really good to be leaving the hustle and bustle of Papeete. Both Don and I have enjoys the energy and color of the “big city” but are more than ready to head off to places West. It is wonderful to feel the boat moving again.