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paying ransom in nuku hiva

Posted by on August 20, 2013

May 31 – June 1, 2013

Late afternoon on Friday, we bid a temporary farewell to our buddy kid boats (s/v Sueño and s/v Flour Girl), departed Puamau Bay, Hiva Oa, and sailed overnight to Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva. Our friends would be joining us in a day or two, but we needed to catch up with s/v Calico Jack who was in Nuku Hiva and had a propane tank that belonged to us.

When we had been in Fatu Hiva, we had learned that s/v Nirvana had been out of propane for about 3 days. Therefore, they’d been unable to do any cooking. We offered our spare propane tank, and told them they could return it to us the next time we saw them.

However, Nirvana is trying to get around the world on a faster track, and they ended up leaving French Polynesia well before us. Therefore, before departing Nuku Hiva, they passed our empty propane tank, along with 5000 CFP (~$55 US), off to our friends on Calico Jack. While we were in Hiva Oa, we received a ransom email from Calico Jack. All in good fun, they stated that they had our propane tank, and we had 72 hours to pay the ransom and retrieve it. I replied with a parlay request, stating that we’d be in Nuku Hiva by high noon on Saturday, and we could negotiate at that time.

Just before our arrival, I’d had a bit of a struggle with shaking a reef from the mainsail. Colin was at the halyard, and I was at the stern trying to free a batten that was caught behind a side stay. As the boat went over one swell, another batten swung towards my face and whacked me across my upper lip. Within a matter of seconds, the fat lip I’d received, gave me the perfect look for dealing with some pirates!

As we got within VHF range, we spoke to Calico Jack on the radio and discovered that there would be no deals. Therefore, we hoisted our huge Jolly Roger flag in preparation for being boarded. Shortly after dropping the hook, Calico Jack approached us holding the propane tank out over the water, threatening to drop it. They got a kick out of our huge pirate flag. We informed them that our boat used to be the Black Pearl.

Calico Jack lowered their dinghy and boarded our vessel along with the propane tank. We paid our ransom with a few rum drinks. It was all great fun!

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