We didn’t want to leave Moorea, but this is the life of a sailor. We say a lot of goodbyes. The Swede was coming along with us to the next island, but we thought we had to part ways with our Norweigans. We said a fond farewell / catch you later. And, If that wasn’t hard enough, we had to say one last difficult goodbye yet to go.
Andrew, still not accepting that the end had come, pulled several hundred feet of extra anchor rhode and our storm drogue out of Sonrisa’s stern storage cubby. He nestled Kitty down in the hole and stared proudly at his work. “What do you think?!” He asks me. I look at our shiny new motor wedged into that dark hole and the pile of rope and storm equipment strewn across the cockpit. I look up at the bracket so primly placed on our stern arch still housing the old Mercury 15.
“Why don’t you just put Kitty on the outboard bracket where the Mercury is now?” I ask.
“Well, because the Mercury is there.” Andrew explains; The look on my face only said: ???? “If I can just get a drive shaft, I can fix it and then sell it!”
This is complete insanity. Where are we going to get a drive shaft anywhere between here and Tonga? Even in Tonga? On top of that, how much does a drive shaft cost? I am fairly certain that we cannot sell this motor for the cost of a new drive shaft, whatever it is. And on top of that, part of the reason we bought Kitty was to improve the ease at which we can install the motor onto Grin. How can it possibly be easier to have to unbury it out of the storage cubby every time we want to use it instead of lowering it down from the bracket mount with our lovely pulley system? And where are we going to put the drogue?
I declare that I am not leaving this anchorage with the Mercury on my boat.
Andrew then accused me of being a nag.
He climbs down into Grin, stands below the Mercury, and looks up at me with sad eyes. I unclip the pulley system, heave the Mercury up and off the bracket, then lower it down one last time. It sways and wobbles; Andrew and I strain to manage it in a semi-controlled drop. Andrew grunts and shoves, working it down onto the mount on Grin’s stern. Andrew tightens it down while I climb into Grin and take up oar. For the last time, we row and row and row, dragging the inoperable motor to shore.
Our plan was to hang the motor on the wood fence with a sign that summarize its current status: “free but broken”. We remove the motor from Grin’s stern and begin carrying it over to the fence. The locals watch us with curiosity, edging closer and closer to remain polite but give themselves the upper leg if a free motor is being left on the beach. We no sooner reach the fence then the group closest to our beach landing approaches us pointing and asking “What are you doing with that?” in French. Locals to the right and to the left hover back but watch and edge closer, too.
I explain En Francais that the motor is broken and we will give it to them for free if they want it. The ring leader’s face lights up, “Libre!? Vraiment? Libre?” meaning “free, truly, free?” Oui oui. At this point, his back up posse rush over and they begin speaking quickly in Tahitian all at once. One grabs the repair manual, and two others carry the motor together across the way to what I presume to be their vehicle. As we turn to go, we hear giggling and cheers of “Maruuaru Roa!” We tiptoe through a throng of other locals who keep their distance, but shoot daggers at the group walking away with our broken motor.
“See, that was more fun than trying to fix the damn thing, anyway.” I cajole. Andrew is silent and sullen. He sighs as we up anchor and sail off toward Huahine, the agony of defeat still bitter on his tongue.
We sail 15 hours to Huahine. It is Crystal’s last night watch (of this trip), and the stars come out for their grand finale. She and I do nothing but watch stars our entire six hour watch. We reach Huahine at 9:30 a.m., set anchor and immediately begin exploring. We aren’t the kind to let grass grow under our feet.
A walk through town.
A spin through the nearby resort.
A trip to the beach.
Happy hour and a sunset.
Not a bad day for a passage.