After having arrived at the french Navy base in the early morning, the only thing we could think of was our ship. We knew that today would be a calm day but tomorrow big swell would set in and then a rescue attempt would be impossible. The pilots of the helicopter spent hours on the phone trying to find someone who could help us. Gui went off to get two mobile phones so we could stay in contact. When we reached the marina Taina our rescuers were already there and packing the ‘Vaimiti 9′ with all gear needed. TEN minutes later we were underway towards Tetiaroa.
During the hours we spent on sea we made scetches and discussed possible ways to get the boat off the reef. When we finally arrived just before sunset we saw that she was actually nearly on dry land. The images I made just before we got into the helicopter showed a different picture. So there was absolutely no way we could pull her off the coral, we need to get a crane or a – excavator. And luckily Ti Ai Moana by coincidence also had a special excavator on exactly this island. And it can go through 2m of water ! After we got the permission (this island is private and owned by the son of Marlon Brando) next morning this big yellow beast made its way through the lagoon while Yann and Sebastian were tying ropes around the Rancho Relaxo.
With the help of the digger and the 1500HP of the Vaimiti 9 the 12-ton Rancho Relaxo finally started moving. And when her back was already touching the water and the excavator only needed to retreat – it happened. The arm touched the mast and it immediatly broke. Now we had a new challenge: To get the broken rigging of our ship on the deck before the waves again put her onto the reef. The wires and ropes were cut and the pieces of the mast and boom put on deck. And finally with extremely violent motion the Rancho hit the water – and stayed afloat.
On the inside the ship was a mess but nothing was broken. The rigging was gone, so was the boom, our handrails, the sprayhood and many other little things. But it had no hole – after spending two nights on the reef.
Right now we’re back in the Marina Taina in Tahiti. We try to get some order into the chaos on deck and calculate our options. It probably will take a few days for us to get to a decision as how to move on. Luckily nobody got hurt. And lucky us we have this amazing tank like ship that keeps us save.