May 29

So far today has been an excellent day, and its only 10am! It didn't start that way however. This morning I spoke on the radio with Michael from S/V Destiny on the HF radio. Michael had agreed to check into our new generator end which was sent to Nuku Hiva in care of Rose Corser. The plan was for him to bring it down here to Makemo when he comes, which will be next week. Alas, he reported that the part was stuck in customs on Tahiti and that I needed to fax them (FedEx) copies of my boat's document (US Registration) my passport and my clearance papers (issues when we entered French Polynesia).

I went to the village to use the telephone but first I stopped at the "snack" (French parlance for a small restaurant) where the proprietor was reported to speak English. I asked if I could use here name and address to have the package re-routed to Makemo and she wrote it down for me. I then phoned FedEx in Tahiti where they readily agreed to alter the package's destination (something which would be very hard to do in the USA). I then went to the Post Office and faxed the required papers to FedEx, then I phoned her back and she confirmed the receipt of the paperwork and advised me the next flight to Makemo would be on Thursday. She said she fully expected the package would be on that flight! So in fact, it looks like we will get our new generator end (the part of the genset which makes the electricity, as opposed to the part which drives it - the engine - which is working fine) on Thursday! Much sooner then if it were sent to Nuka Hiva and then brought here by another boat. At least a week sooner!

Then, when I returned to the boat to tell Kate the good news, she was jumping with joy because, on a lark, she tried the washing machine again and it worked! If you've read my journal entry for yesterday you know that I spent hours trying to find the problem only be end up frustrated and exhausted from the effort. I have a theory as to why it is working now, but it is better to just chalk it up to good luck and hope that it continues (the luck that is).

Kate has just gone with Jonah back to the village to pick up our daily bread from the bakery, then she is going to visit some women and try to trade some junk we have for some black pearls. Of course, most people know that the Tuomotus are famous as the place where black pearls are grown. Apparently the people here have tons of them and treat them as currency when bartering with foreigners who seem (for some odd reason) to value them (Kate included). In the last few days 3 or 4 men have approached me holding out handfuls of these things and asking if I have anything to trade. I have asked what they want and they seem to all want music cassettes or CDs, surfboards, bullets (which are illegal) and any electronics like a walkman, or other devices. Frankly, I'm not sure what Kate brought with her to trade, but I am certain it is nothing we really need. In Papeete, nice Black Pearls can go for hundreds of dollars or even thousands for really nice ones. Hopefully Kate will come away satisfied that at least she got something she likes even if they are (probably) not the most perfect specimens.