I will not leave today. Chitchatty did and I hope he is ok. Remember the swimming man? I found out that he swam from Chittchatty’s boat, but Chitchatty left the swimming man swimming somewhere in the Tuamotus.

I have called no less than 15 people today looking for someone who can help me fix Juniper’s propane control system. I can’t sing or sage it into working anymore. My calls are all dead ends because my tongue is broken. My friend, with the changing eyes, makes one phone call with her working tongue and a man named Jean Francois (JF) is on his way.

I blow up Daisy and row in to get JF at the fisherman’s pier. He sees Daisy and the oars, points to his pot belly and says, “I swim.” I insist not. JF squats inside Daisy with a twisted face and his hands grip onto her rubber edges like she’s a 1970s rollercoaster heading towards the sky.

We make it to Juniper. We can hardly communicate. We draw pictures and point and say things like “rouge,” “violet,” “fire,” “non.” He grunts, he shakes his head a lot, his sweat needs a sponge, he often says, “Je ne sais pas. I’m electrician, non electronics.” And I say, “JF, you do know. The electronic problem is electrical. We must try!”

We find a loose wire on the back of the unit, it’s brown and I can’t find the schematics so we have not a clue where it goes. I try to convince JF that it goes in the one empty slot back there; he says, “Maybe, maybe non, maybe we put and boom, fire!” Together we do something to the system and it shoots out an alarm so loud that it shakes a bird loose from the sky.

JF then decides that we must abolish the propane control system entirely. So we do. We break the connection between the sensor and the hoses going from the tanks to the stove. Now I‘m running back and forth every five minutes sniffing for leaks. JF told me I must do this for two days straight to be safe. The sensor made it so the propane only released when I turned the unit on, now propane is just flowing freely. To play the safest measure, I might just close the tank whenever it’s not in use. I can’t catch fire again.

I ask JF if I should set sail today. “ He says, “Non, the wind it’s 40 knots.” I thought it was a communication error, until another boat sailed into the anchorage. I said, “How was it out there?” They said, “It’s crazy, it’s blowing 40 knots.”

I will leave tomorrow. Friday. When the wind is calmer and the swell bigger, so Juniper can surf. Juniper will surf me to either Huahine or Raiatea. It depends. I am meeting up with some friends.


  1. Terrible not to have your stove functioning properly. I know how you love your morning coffee. Xoxo

  2. Well done, ideas like that sensor are a form of tyranny. Propane is not all that dangerous. Your on your way to being your own person in meaningful ways on this voyage, and control of our physical possessions so we get the utility we paid for is a big one in this weird era.

  3. I was going to send you YouTube links of how to remove the thermocouple sensor (only allows propane flow when hot) but then I didn’t because it’s a safety system. Ah well, looks like you figured it out!!! Be careful!!! (Btw usually the sensor just has some carbon buildup on it, clean it up and it will work again)
    – s

  4. olivia
    if you assume responsibility for everything, turning the propane valve on and off tightly when done is the real solution. this sensor auto switch BS is just plain lazy. forget the sensor/solenoid and become a free person. it’s like those automatic battery switches that regulate charge between the two banks. same deal. can you move thebig red switch from 1 to 2 all by yourself?
    life on a small boat has so few things to actually deal with that it makes little sense to save the ‘time’ when it’s all you have to live a simple life. get rid of everything ‘automated’ and take charge yourself… and make coffee whenever you fucking want to. just make sure your system has no leaks, don’t space the turnoff, and dance with one arm waving free.
    it’s your boat. live it… or give in to technology.

  5. Always fascinated with Olivia’s ability to be both observer and participant . . . performer and audience. I had a propane setup for heater, stove, and refrigerator in Wilma the Wander Van (my adventure vehicle), but did not have any detectors attached. After our ten year journey across N. America, I’m still here to tell the tale. I never allow third-party automated systems to be responsible for my safety. Check your connections regularly.

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