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Home Port of Seward, Alaska


Restarting the French Polynesian Customs Clock

As absolutely crazy as it seems, we are now three years (36 months) past our last entry into French Polynesia and on Leg 11. Bill, along with three helpers, returned the boat from Fiji to French Polynesia and we've been here ever since. French Polynesian customs rules require that we either pay an import tax of 30% of Wings' value or clear from the country. We needn't be gone for any minimum duration, just "get outta town". So be it.

We've chosen the Cook Islands as our target, a downwind sail of 537nm, and we move about 105nm per day. That puts us at a 5-1/2 day sail. Another pertinent fact is that our 3-year visa is complete on 6 June, so we must be gone by that date.

We've made arrangements for someone to help us crew the boat. Her name is Julia and I've know her for several years. Conni's just met her but we all are extremely compatible. How fortunate! She's got experience and enthusiasm, and if that were all, it would be sufficient. She's bright and funny, too, and seems interested in everything. She'll fly into Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and depart with us back to French Polynesia. She's even taken some extra time from work so will be able to stay with us and enjoy the fruits of her upwind labors by seeing a bit of the Society Islands: Bora Bora, Raiatea, Taha'a, and Huahine.

Preparing for two weeks of blue water sailing has been challenging since it's been a while. We've certainly had some engine issues that give us pause. Our current plan is to replace our much-beloved but ancient NanniDiesel with a new Beta 50HP engine, based on a Kubota tractor engine. It'll provide more power, better performance, and easier maintenance. The Beta company has recommended a shop in Papeete with mechanics who have had a lot of experience in just this type of work. Holy smokes, am I relieved!

Again this year, we fly from Anchorage to Seattle, to Oakland to visit with Conni's dad. From there, we'll fly to Los Angeles, and on to Papeete. We'll take an Air Tahiti flight to Raiatea and stay, as always, at Pension Tiare Nui near Uturoa and the Raiatea Carenage. It'll be like old home week! We've got lots to do, much to fix or repair, but it's all stuff that we've been doing. We'll be hauling our usual 4 blue boxes of gear, my huge Bill Bag, Conni's big duffle, and assorted other containers of stuff.

In the past few legs, I've reduced the number of photos that we post of routine events or places since the site is loaded with them. Still, I want to provide a flavor of what our cruising life is like so I won't disreguard everything that we do. There are still interesting boats, people, and events that are worth sharing with you few.

As of this writing, we're 26 days from departure, and we are working to keep up with our diminishing time here at home.



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