Traveling By Sailboat To A TropRock Show In The Beautiful South Pacific
We pulled up the anchor about 7:30 a.m., and motored towards Bloody Marys. What a cool name for a bar!
We stayed in the very narrow channel and got real close to the Hilton Bungalows. Some were two story’s! As we pulled near the dock of Bloody Marys we saw that Bob Bitchin’s boat and Jessie’s boat were both side tied to the dock, so we grabbed a temporary mooring spot and killed some time.
Frank filled the main water tank that we had depleted over the past six days and I loaded all my gear on the dock.
I played here seven years ago. I dropped my gig bag on the stage and hung my banner. We went back to boat and decided that Frank and would take the boat back to the anchored while Kim and the rest of gang headed to town, we’d meet them later, or so we thought.
The wind was blowing us hard toward the dock so I needed to do a spin reverse maneuver with both engines. As I started reversing I noticed the boat wasn’t responding like it should; I looked down at the engine gauges and realized the port engine was not running.
I tried several times to get it started but we were drifting dangerously toward the reef. I threw the starboard engine in full reverse and spun the wheel hard to starboard. I was making ground and was able to back down way out away, luckily, from the reef. It was a little scary for a couple of minutes.
I spun the boat around and headed for the anchorage. With the wind blowing a steady 25 mph it was tough to maneuver the boat but eventually I got a good spot over sand. We dropped the hook and killed the engine.
The anchorage was more than a mile away from the dock at Bloody Marys. The rest of the crew was waiting for us to meet them in town and had no idea what had just went down with our boat. There was no way to call them. We were not provided with a boat phone or a handheld VHF. Very poor customer service on Dream Yachts’ end in my opinion.
We contacted Jody thru the boat VHF and had her call the base to send a mechanic to fix the port engine. Since my entire crew was in town we decided Frank would stay with the boat and I’d dinghy to the dock and try to find them. I waited in Bloody Marys for about 45 minutes and realized the only was I was gonna find them is go to town, I hopped in a cab. He dropped me off and I began to search for everyone.
By sheer luck Kim spotted me out of the corner of her eye while she was on another taxi heading back to Bloody Marys because she was worried that I wasn’t there and it had been two hours at this point. She stopped the taxi and jumped out and flagged me down. It was a lucky break.
The rest of the crew had decided to go on a two-hour island tour and I had no idea because of the lack of communication tools. Kim and I grabbed a quick snack then hopped into another taxi. As we got back to Bloody Marys, I decided to dinghy our and tell Frank I had found Kim. The rest of my crew showed up so I dinghies over by myself to let Frank know we were all accounted for; what was once lost had now been found.
On my way over in our 8-ft POS dinghy the 4.5 hp outboard died in the middle of the channel. It was raining cats and dogs and I was now adrift. I was freaking out. I got it started several times only to die again. I finally re-primed it and got it started and I limped back to the Cat.
Keep in mind I have to perform at Bloody Marys in a little more than two hours. It was not a good day so far and I was super stressed out by the point. I had no idea how was I was gonna dinghy all six of us back from Bloody Marys in this super undersized dinghy in the rain and get everyone dressed up and back in time to do a sound check.
By this point my hands were shaking.
All of this is due to Dream Yacht Charters’ incompetence and poor boat maintenance. I was fed up with them.
After I finally got back to the boat, I explained to Frank what was up and he informed me that the mechanic had not yet arrived. I didn’t know what to do, then Jeff on a boat beside us said I could tow his dinghy with my dinghy and we could fit three of us in each boat. Great idea!
Towing a dinghy with another in driving rain with a crap engine was no easy feat. I managed to make it across in about 30 minutes. I was ready to head back to the boat all my crew when Bob Bitchin informed me that the mechanic had arrived and Frank was bringing my catamaran to the dock and we could side tie for the night. Hallelujah! Praises! Great Scott! Bigfoot! I was relieved.
After we tied up I took a quick shower and headed in for a sound check. I have an adapter I use for the different settings on the European electric plugs but to be saFe I decided to only plug my multi-strip into their outlets. Thank God I did! As soon as I plugged it in, booooom!, a huge pop and the entire restaurants electric went out. No one bothered to tell me they were running 240 volts. After about 20 minutes they found the breaker and called Craig who managed Bloody Marys. Luckily he had a 240/110 transformer. He ran it over and gave me his very own multi-strip from his home computer. What a great guy!
I got everything set up including my video cameras. I did a two camera shoot with my Canon 80D and my Mevo Camera. I really could’ve used more stage light and I hope I can fix it in post. The one thing I didn’t order was stage lights. My bad! I made due.
Bob Bitchin gave me a heartfelt introduction and I played some acoustic songs to kick off the show, The crowd was receptive.
I played for a while and took a break so I could also enjoy the buffet. What a buffet it was! OMG! Grilled swordfish, steak, tuna in every conceivable way and killer salad bar and awesome deserts! I tip my hat to Bloody Marys and their incredible attentive staff! We love them! They deserve to be congratulated.
Special thanks to Craig for organizing the sound system which rocked and Vehia who owned it and set it all up. I’ll come back and play here anytime. Even the owner shook my hand and he is 81 yeas old. He loved it.
The night was perfect.
The room was full of love and I could feel the energy. Bob pulled me aside after the show and thanked me and reminisced about how many times we’ve done this and how happy he was that I’m a part of it. It really touched me. We both had tears in our eyes.
I wrapped up my gear, headed to the boat and went to bed fairly early. The next day I had to sail the boat from Bora Bora back to the base in Raiatea, a long hike, at least six hours.
We all slept like logs as we knew we couldn’t drag the anchor being side tied to the dock.
My Tour Tales is a regular blog post on the road from touring musician Eric Stone, who writes songs, sings and performs his music all over the world. He is currently in McCall, Idaho.
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