L’ECLECTIK - Quiet nights (almost) in Ua Pou in the Marquesas Islands…

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Who: Maryline, Jean-Philippe, Chloé, Celia
Where: Ua Pou, Marquesas
Multihull: Fountaine Pajot Lavezzi 40

It was 10 p.m. when a rubbing noise against the hull caught our attention. In spite of the seawall that partially protects the bay, a residual swell was making the anchorage roll. The winds were quite unstable: we had had to set up a stern mooring to keep the axis of the boat in the direction of the swell. In the Marquesas, there are tides. We had anchored at high tide, so we were well stretched forward and aft. But when the tide went out, we found ourselves with slack in both anchor lines. And what we didn’t want to happen happened: the stern line wrapped around the rudder. We had to react quickly to avoid any damage. I had several options, the first one being to cut it free, but after thinking it over quickly, I discarded this idea: we would then no longer be able to maneuver and would be too close to our neighbors. Mary then suggested that I dive down to have a look, but there was no way I was going to risk that! There was too much swell, and I wasn’t sure that I was the only predator here… So there was only one solution left. We had to move the boat backwards to create some slack on the stern. I launched the dinghy, and after several attempts, the line finally came free. But it must have been in the stars that this night was to be full of twists and turns. A little later, the Victron alarm went off, followed by a burning smell. It seemed to be coming from our cabin. However, there was only the inverter in there, and it was turned off. As I opened the engine compartment, I realized that the engine starter battery was about to explode. It was deformed and smoldering. Mary brought me a fire extinguisher and I started to take apart the boiling lugs. A not very green idea then crossed my mind: why not throw the battery into the sea to prevent it from exploding on board? You will be pleased to know that I didn’t go through with this! I finally left it on the bottom step, placed on a stand with a fire extinguisher at hand. The night was short and we got rid of the defective battery first thing in the morning.

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