June 21

Still here on Tahanea and loving it. Nothing new has broken, though some old broken things are still annoying me - like the washing machine. Last time it stopped working I took it apart (which required the removal of half the woodwork in Jonah's room where it is embedded in the cabinetry) and wiggled a bunch of things to no avail. Then I put it back together and it worked. Kate wants me to take it apart again and give it a good talking to but I am not sanguine about the potential results. It took about 6 hours last time from start to finish. I think what really made it work was when I couldn't slide it back into its "hole" and had to kick it in place with great force. But even that (sliding it out) will require much removal of woodwork, doors, bunks, etc. Kate has been doing selected bits of laundry in the sink in a bucket and we at least have clean sheets. We have enough clean towels to last us a month and when we get to Papeete we will have our laundry done commercially (at great expense I might add like everything in French Polynesia). After that who knows. She thinks we can find an appliance repairman who will make house calls (boat calls?) but I am doubtful we can find such a person willing and doubtful he will find anything without removing the unit from the boat completely and taking it back to the shop, which would obviously take a lot of time and we only have (or want to spend) about 5 days in Papeete. We may have a new one shipped to Samoa and make do until then.

Last night we dined at Pez Vela. Markus and Chris put out the dog for us. We had Sushi rolls (Yellowfin tuna) for appetizer and Snapper for the main course. Markus caught a "Duckbill Snapper" yesterday and it was fabulous! The thing looks like a snapper but has this elongated snout that resembles a duck's bill. Caught it right in the pass on a casting rod. Sounds a lot easier then trolling for tuna!

This morning we are going diving again and it is Chris' turn to drive the dinghy. I did not dive yesterday because it was my turn to drive, but Kate reported an amazing dive (see her journal of 7/20/01). We haven't even discussed leaving here yet, so I know we will be here at least a few more days. Other then running low on fresh veggies (we still have onions, some green peppers, sweet potatoes, plenty of garlic and ginger, and a few wilted scallions, oh, and one tomato) we have plenty of food to last for weeks. The real limiting factor is gasoline! We use gas for the dinghy outboard and for the scuba compressor. We carry about 22gallons total when full (5 jugs plus the dinghies gas tank) but have only about 8 or 9 gallons left! I have been surprised at how much gas the dinghy engine uses, and I never planned to have a scuba compressor (we picked it up in Nuku Hiva from another boat last month). Scuba diving also uses way more gas for the dinghy then normal dinghy use because the dinghy is heavily laden with gear which slows it down. Additionally, we have to motor one way through the pass against the tidal flow which is very slow and sucks gas like crazy! In Papeete I will buy some more jerry jugs for gasoline, or perhaps convert one of our on-deck emergency water storage jugs to gasoline.

It is now 5:30pm and I am back to complete the day's journal, and what a day it was! First, unfortunately, Kate had a migraine headache this morning and did not dive. Chris drove the dinghy and Markus and I dove alone. The dive started with us dropping down onto a wall that went from 60ft to 600ft (or more). We went down to about 135ft where 3 or 4 silvertip sharks were milling about. Fortunately they took no interest in us (silvertips are apparently more aggressive then grays, blacktips or whitetips - other sharks we see commonly here). We worked our way West toward the pass moving higher along the wall as we went. Along the way we say tuna, gray sharks, huge snappers and napoleon wrasse (aka Maori Wrasse). When we got up on top of the reef there were huge schools of snapper, surgeon fish, and millions of others whose names I can't remember. The coup de grace was the approach to the pass. As the reef shallows the velocity of the water increases till we were literally flying over the reef in only 12ft of water. Then the reef drops off into the trench which is the pass and we are thrown down to 30ft in the big eddies and downdrafts that occur there. A fantastic dive.

In the afternoon Jonah, Markus and I went fishing in the dinghy and had excellent luck! Yours truly caught not one but three Grouper (of a species known as coral cod) Markus caught one nice grouper and a really big emperor snapper (also known as the duckbill snapper because of its long snout). Then, to top it off, we fed the fish carcasses to the blacktips off the side of the boat and really had some fun! Man do those babies love fish carcass! Markus, sick mother that he is, even got in the dinghy and as the sharks went for the fish carcass he grabbed them by the tail with both hands and tried to haul them out of the water! He is a madman.