2nd of September 2016, Kwai meets Tiare Taporo
Deep Water Ltd. has been running an operation for ten years that you could call unique. Worldwide there are only a few sailing vessels that actually manage to run a feasible business in sailing cargo and trade. So what is the chance meeting another sailing cargo vessel in this vast Pacific Ocean?
On Tuesday morning we approached the coast of Nassau Island and found the Tiare Taporo drifting near the pass in the reef. Captain Travis, a good friend of mine, informed us that they had just started their operation on shore, while the engineer and he were “addressing some engineering issues in the Engine Room”. The saying: “first come, first served”, also goes for mariners, so we dropped our anchor and waited for our partners to finish their bizz before starting to off load our own cargo for this tiny, but most hospitable island. As there are only 70 people living on the atoll, we rapped up our business within a few hours.
Shortly before departure captain Brad asked me if I wanted to go ashore. “Only if Papa Topetai shows up”, I said. So I jumped on the barge and drove to shore. When I walked down the wharf, my dear friend came walking towards me shouting: “toffe jongens, toffe jongens!”. I was flabbergasted. This 72 year old Polynesian village elder greeted me in my own mother tongue, Dutch. Actually, in the ancient language that my grandfather used to speak. “Toffe jongens”, means so much as, “healthy, strong, and good spirited guys”. Where did he learn this? Well, there used to be a Dutch missionary on the island that taught a Dutch song about thirty years ago, and Papa Topetai still remembered. When I started singing the song, he immediately joined in (second voice!). And there I found myself, on my favorite Cook Island atoll, singing a Dutch song, embracing a dear friend and enjoying life by the full.
While heaving anchor we asked the Tiare Taporo to join us in a photo-shoot of the two vessels off the coast of Nassau Island. After that the two ships headed towards our mutual destination: Pukapuka Island, or Wale, as the islanders call it. Landfall by daybreak.
Because there exists no conflict of interest between the two cargo vessels, we shared the two barges on the island to discharge our cargoes. Because it started raining heavily around noon, all activities were postponed and captain Brad invited captain Travis over for lunch on board the Kwai. A rare occasion for masters in the same trade.
Tiare Taporo finished its work on the same day and set sail for Manihiki. We still had plenty of work to do. Just before nightfall on Friday, we managed to put the consigned cargo on shore. On Saturday we set up our Kwai Store on shore, and by the time this was finished our hold was virtually empty. This meant that we had come to the end of our voyage South and it was time to head for our final destination: Fiji, where the last phase of the refit will take place. Depending on the weather conditions, this crossing will take us about eight days. Arrival is planned for the 11th of September.