Ashore the little town of Nuku Hiva is extremely relaxed, to say the least. Everyone is large and type 2 diabetes must be thriving here. Cockerels crow, large Polynesian women with flowers in their hair flash broad smiles, cheerful blokes with excellent voices sing to guitar and ukelele accompaniment while surf crashes on black sand beaches. Baguettes are fresh daily. The breeze is gentle and there is mist on the crags. Hibiscus, rhododendron, frangipani and bougainvillea abound. Strange, ancient ceremonial sites lie silent high in the mountains.
On the trip out to Galapagos from Ecuador our elderly Ford diesel quite suddenly developed a voracious appetite for lubricating oil. There is no smoke and the engine runs smoothly, as always. The experts say that it is the piston rings and a bottom end rebuild is necessary. I am not convinced. The suddenness of onset of the problem doesn’t seem to fit. If a rebuild is necessary, it will have to wait until Australia, I think. A new engine is the cheaper option in any case. The cost ($20,000 for the engine, plus the same again for installation) is nightmarish. Either way – new engine or rebuild of this one – means cutting out the cockpit floor to remove and replace. Heaven forbid! I am hoping it is a problem with one or more of the valve guide seals, which is a do-able repair. We will see. For now, I am waiting for a drum of lube oil to arrive from Tahiti – that will allow us to run the engine for recharge and landfall approaches, if nothing else.
Meanwhile, this is the loveliest place to sit.