May 14

The other day I was chatting with someone on another boat. He mentioned he has a dive compressor which he hardly uses - he was complaining about how much space it took up. I said "Do you want to sell it?" Just last week Kate was lamenting the fact that we decided NOT to get a dive compressor before we left the US. When we met Chris and Markus on Pez Vela (thirty-something foot boat) and found out they had one we really felt lame considering our boat is so large and blessed with copious storage space. Kate started saying how we should try to buy one in Papeete, but I pointed out that it would be cost a ridiculous amount of money to buy it there.

Well, yesterday this guy, Gavin, comes by in his dinghy and asks if I am serious. Well I sure never expected he would actually sell it, but OF COURSE I was serious, depending on the price. Well, long story short, by 3pm I had a new dive compressor aboard and was filling my first tank! Its incredibly small, much smaller then any of the compressors I had investigated in San Diego and fits easily in our Stbd. cockpit locker. We did have to move a few items out of there into other places, but it was relatively easy to find the space. Tomorrow I am going diving with Raoul (after I get him to look at my still ailing genset - will it NEVER end?) and after I will fill two more tanks (his and mine). Having your tank filled at the dive shop on land (Centre Plongee) costs $20US! But that's not why I wanted it. The real reason is because most places we plan to visit will not have a dive shop nearby. Plus, it will be easy to find people to baby-sit if we offer to fill their tanks!

Today I got the genset parts (a new capacitor) and installed it but it did not fix the problem. I am deeply depressed about this situation and am really dreading the next month. Having to run the main engine to charge the batteries really sucks as it uses about 4 times as much fuel as the generator for producing the same amount of power, it is noisy as hell whereas he generator is fairly unobtrusive, and it heats up the aft part of the boat. Our new friend Raoul has some experience as a marine electrical technician and says he will come by tomorrow morning to take a look. Unfortunately the only other likely problem is a shorted winding which means the generator end is basically toast. It can be repaired, but it is complex and expensive. There are supposedly capable shops in Papeete who can handle the job, but I am investigating the cost of a new one. One friend thinks they can be had for under $500US. We'll see. At least the engine part of the genset is still running well. What a nightmare.

Tomorrow I will get more diesel to top off our tanks. I have to shuttle back and forth to the fuel station with jerry jugs (6 gallons each) as tying up to the pier is a bit dicey. I watched a 70 foot ketch do so today and it looked very scary. Why risk it. I may borrow another jug or two from another boat so I can get it done in fewer trips. I think we need about 50 gallons of fuel.

We plan to leave Taiohae Bay on Wednesday or Thursday and will stop briefly at Hakui (Daniel's Bay) on the SW corner of Nuku Hiva. We will stay there a day or three and then depart for Raroia on the Tuomotu archipelago. Chris and Markus plan to join us there a few days later. There will be much diving there and we expect the water to be crystal clear (no rivers run into the water in these low atolls so the water is clean and clear).