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s/v Code Blue – Rarotonga, Cook Islands September 6, 2014

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2014.
Maupiti Pass

Maupiti Pass

9-3-14 Rarotonga, Cook Islands

We arrived about 9am on Aug 31st, Judy’s birthday. It took a while to anchor, lay out chain and do a “Med Tie” to the dock. We dropped the anchor and I thought I locked the chain good enough, but it proceeded to drop all 300 feet out while Judy was going up to work on the anchor and I was going back to the wheel to back the boat up close to the dock. Finally I showed Judy how to work the windlass as it’s been a while. Then she got the chain back aboard and things worked out. The harbor is not well protected so after a few days we and several other boats took in some chain and got away from the dock. We shuttle with the dinghy back and forth to the dock. We feel better about not worrying about our windvane bumping into the dock and getting damaged.

On the trip we left Maupiti (See Maupiti Pass pic) at 10:43am, 8-26-14, 10633 miles, start Engine hours 3132.9, motored 4 miles out, then set the sails 3133.8 Eng hrs, 10637 miles. On 8-27 at 4:30am we had no wind, so motored from 10700 to 10711 7:25am, eng hrs 3136.7. Then started the engine at 11,161 miles, 8:30am and went into the harbor on 8-31. Finally shut off the engine at 9:09am, 3137.3 eng hrs, 8-31-14, Sunday, with same mileage of 11,161 miles.

So we did 15 miles of motoring, 513 of sailing, for 528 miles total from Maupiti, French Polynesia to Rarotonga, with 4.7 engine hours.

Check in took a while with customs doing their thing fairly soon, but the health department with their Certificate of Pratique took until 5:26pm. I did the honors of spraying the inside of our boat with insecticide as the boat was very tough to get onto from the dock with the boat surging and distance from the dock so our windvane would not get damaged. He gave me a $5 discount on the normal fee of $25. Finally we could get off the boat and explore around. I was able to pay him with New Zealand dollars as by 4 o’clock still no health guy, so I thought he wasn’t coming and I went to the cash machine a few blocks away with the idea of going to dinner. I got back just in time when he showed up at 4:30pm and said he’d be back in about another half hour.

It was Judy’s birthday so we went out to dinner to a very nice Indian Restaurant, Raviz Indian Cuisine, a few blocks away. We over ordered so had enough for another dinner later. Judy was really tired having not slept much and lost her place in the book reading after the 9pm SSB net.

The two boats, s/v Knot Crazy with Drew and Justine on one side and George on s/v Grace on our starboard side were fairly close with visits and helping each other out. Knot Crazy has a SSB radio but they couldn’t get it to work since they had it installed back in the Caribbean and of course the Pactor Modem would not work either. I was able to help them get the radio working so they could listen to the Isabella Net, then we called the net and confirmed the radio was working fine after some knob settings and frequency settings. They have a DR-7400 Dragon Pactor Modem that has a weird power setting switch in the back. I sent a few emails to the Sailmail group and Jim Corenman responded back with some help. We set the switch correctly and figured out the Dragon was missing another cord to control the frequency of the ICOM M-802 with the computer. The installers didn’t do such a hot job putting it in. We could set the frequency manually but to do it right the cord should be hooked up. Drew and I Finally found part of the 13 pin cord, and then the 9 pin serial port plug, plus the instructions on how to put the two items together. They left on Tuesday the 2nd. So the cord will be hooked up later, hopefully. On Wednesday the 3rd they checked into the Isabella Net, so they know how to work the radio anyway. We wanted to do at least a manual email to Sailmail before they left, but we took a bus trip around the island and they took off early.

George had a crew member he picked up that almost killed him on the cruise from French Polynesia due to poor seaman skills and not following the previous practice session on what to do while at the helm and George got clobbered by the boom, almost overboard. Finally he talked to the Harbormaster and got permission to get him off the boat. All of a sudden he couldn’t find his passport, so the police came and took him off to jail. Finally he “found” his passport and he slept on Grace for the night. The next day he took a flight to Australia. George says when he gets there he’ll have a rude surprise as Australia won’t let him in due to too low of a bank account at home and the harbormaster letting authorities know the guy was planning on working under the table for money once he got into the country.

Wednesday we visited the Whale Museum. We thought it was pretty good, it had a couple of Coconut Crabs on display and a Stonefish also. The coconut crabs get released and traded out for new ones every once in a while. They had lots of info, displays, video, and such on whaling in the old days, plus tagging info on recent studies. Some dive gear displays like double and single hose regulators plus hard helmet dive gear that that can be used to 300 meters of depth, almost 1,000 feet.

Thursday I went for two dives with Rarotonga Dive. Water was very clear with 100’ + visibility. Lots of bommies, not a lot of fish, coral looked healthy. A large old anchor about 7 ½ feet long, from the vessel Endnas and a Devils Scorpion fish near the end was very still for camera shots were the highlights for the first dive. Second dive had a large blue trigger fish that was fed a sea urchin, then saw a Spanish dancer nudibranch. Later a Bird Wrasse posed for a few shots. We had dinner at Trader Jacks Restaurant, a good seafood restaurant, then went for a costume dance show at another place with an award winning drum group, for several years in a row. Friday was email at a Telcom place that was very fast but we burned up 150 MB in a matter of less than two hours, next we signed up for 500 MB. That evening we got picked up near our boat at 4:50pm and taken to Highland Paradise Cultural Centre, Rarotonga’s authentic award winning cultural attraction. They gave a tour of the facilities, talk and demonstration on the sacred marae, buffet dinner with chicken and pork cooked in an underground oven called an umu. Same as how the Hawaiians do it. After dinner, there was a dance performance, telling a story of the settling of the mountain area of Rarotonga. The music and dancing was impressive. We got home about 10:30pm.

Saturday is market day at Punanga Nui, about a block from the boat marina we are at. Lots of vendors, locals, and tourists show up. Some dance and drums were shown at an open air stage. This has turned out on the hot side for the weather this day. Lots of kids near the docks here jumping into the water.

Steve and Judy
s/v Code Blue
Rarotonga, Cook Islands




1. Marie & Greg - September 6, 2014

You are certainly keeping busy and seeing lots. Thanks for all the photos. Stay safe. Marie & Greg

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