Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fatu Hiva Waterfall

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We did a couple of hour hike out the back of town to this 200 foot waterfall. I know it doesn’t look like it is 200 feet in the picture, but it is pretty impressive straight drop down. Not a place you’d want to water slide off. It was a bit more of a hike than we expected. Definitely off-road.

fatuhiva2IMG_0026 Here’s the detailed toppo map we used to get there – supplied by our local friend Reva. For any cruisers using it, here’s the key. Bottom left is the bridge. The double lines are the concrete road, the single line the trail. The squares are small houses. The squirrely lines are the stream you cross over – just once.Take the concrete road out of town till you hit the bridge on the map. There are a number of cairns on the trail to mark it – most about 30 feet past where you missed the turn.

fatuhiva2IMG_9994 The trail started out wide and lined with hibiscus hedges around coconut and banana groves.

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Then the trail deteriorated to a little more like bushwhacking.

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Noni fruit along the road. The noni fruit is thought to have medicinal qualities and is grown and exported to make noni juice.

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Healthy looking and  friendly local working horse grazing by the roadside.

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There are lots of various shapes of copra drying sheds around. The split coconuts are laid with the meat exposed to dry. The roof is on slides and moves to the left to expose the shells to the direct sun and to protect them from rain.

fatuhiva2IMG_0010 Not sure who this tiki is, but Chris thinks it’s a fertility goddess.

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We picked up our tapa cloth passport holders at Reva’s house. We gave them 2 of Juliee Veee soccer balls, one for her son and one for the school. I also gave her partner some gloss Epifanes varnish that he wanted for his wood work.

fatuhiva2IMG_0020 He gave me this bone carved necklace that he made in exchange. Really nice people.

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We were visited by the local police or security guy yesterday morning. That’s him in the yellow vest on the right. He was pleasant and took our passport numbers down and told us we had to leave and go to Hiva Oa to check in, as the Hiva Oa gerndarme had called him. He said Monday would be OK. So we’re off tomorrow and will see what the gendarmes have to say.

Paul

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fatu Hiva Sensory Overload

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After being at sea for 3 weeks, Fatu Hiva is quite the sensory overload. Truly majestic green covered (note I didn’t say verdant) volcanic mountains, that go straight down to the dark blue sea. We went ashore our first day and walked up the main concrete drive and were immediately greeted by a group of school kids waiting for class to open back up after lunch.

fatuhivaIMG_9943-001 Chris had a great time practicing French and the kids had a great time practicing English – both with the help of our ‘French for Cruisers’ book. The book has English sentences and saying along with French and French pronunciation. The kids instantly figured out how to use the book and would thumb through it till they could put a question together to ask Chris.

fatuhivaIMG_9947-001 The flowers they are holding were for their teacher.

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One of the kid’s mother, Reva, spoke decent English and brought us back to her house after class started. This is her partner Poie showing me the different woods he stores for making carvings. There’s tau, rosewood and a few others. Reva makes tapa cloth from the various trees and plants around. They are all natural color with traditional Marquesan designs that she paints on them. She is making up some passport covers out of tapa that we will pickup today. Carving for men and tapa cloth for women is a major income producer for the locals. Most of it goes off to Tahitii to be sold to tourists. Note to cruisers, there are no banks on Fatu Hiva and dollars are not really useful. Euros are more or less OK.

fatuhivaIMG_9956 Reva and her husband overloaded us with fresh fruits. Here she is retrieving pamplamouse (aka large, juicy grapefruit) from a tree down the street from her house. We were loaded down with them, along with limes, corossol, and passion fruit. All gratis.

fatuhivaIMG_9965-001 Cleaning and gutting a pamplamouse

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If you look closely at this rock formation, you can see the mothers arms wrapping around the baby

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And now for the story of the Bay of Virgins. Its Marquesan name is Baie Hanavave. The English name is Bay of Virgins. It was originally named by the Spanish as Bahai des Verges, the Bay of Phalli – see picture. The missionaries didn’t see that as a fit name and conveniently added an ‘i’ to get Bahia des Vierges or Bay of Virgins. So the bay holds a little hope for everyone who shows up.

FatuHivaIMG_9989-001  Chris posing on her birthday with the bay’s namesakes

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Georgia tucked up against the deep green in Hanavave.

Paul

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fatu Hiva

fatuhivaIMG_9927 Good Morning Fatu Hiva!

We made it into the Hanavave, otherwise known as the Bay of Virgins (more on the name later) just after sunset yesterday. We’d finally thrown in the towel and turned on the motor for the last 50 miles so we could add a knot of boat speed to the wind generated speed and get in before dark. We, unfortunately, were not greeted by beautiful, half-naked Polynesian girls swimming out to the boat. But we enjoyed a great sunset from the Marquesas.

As you can see this is a very small town… the population of the entire island is about 500 or so. Fatu Hiva is the most remote and unspoiled of the Marquesan Islands and Hanavave reportedly one of the most beautiful anchorages. It is definitely classic South Pacific. Right now, we’re enjoying being the only boat in the anchorage.

It is an interesting feeling of accomplishment to have traveled so far (3,000 miles) and be at sea so long (3 weeks), and arrive in a place as exotic looking as this but still end up 1,900 miles from the destination you were originally heading (Easter Island). We’re still working on our navigation skills.

More later.

Paul

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 19

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 125 miles. We are well past the line on our ancient parchment chart that would indicate that we are going to fall off the edge of the earth and have passed into the section that thoughtfully warns "Thar be Dragons". Hopefully we'll see land before we see the dragons. Not to say that we are anxious to arrive, but Chris spent a good part of her afternoon watch standing in the cockpit practicing her best "Land Ho!!" holler, along with the parrot on her shoulder's indignant response of "Who you calling a Ho?".
We had a long visit late yesterday afternoon by herd of dolphin. There were probably 2 dozen of them playing with the bow for a 1/2 hour. We tried to communicate with them, but I am pretty sure they spoke only French.
Last night was very light again. A fair amount of it was a driftathon - with the knot meter reading goose-eggs at times: 0.0. We could have started motoring a few days back and been in by now. But, hey, we've sailed 3,000 miles without motoring, might as well finish it off under sail. We have about 80 miles to go this morning. I doubt we will get in before dark, so that means we go extra slow and spend another night waiting for some light before we head in.
Paul



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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 18

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 118 miles. Our friends on Libertad sent a message telling us we should look closer at the fine print on the glossy Downwind Tradewind Sail brochure. The small print mentions variable winds at times, YMMV.
We had a nice sail yesterday afternoon when the winds came up to 18kts for no apparent reason in perfectly clear skies. Last night was light and a little on the rolly side. We are getting close, with about 180 miles to go. If we can knock off half the distance to the island each day, then with the somewhat rude rules of Calculus, we will never actually arrive.

Paul


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 17

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 76 miles. That's a pretty dismal mileage run for yesterday. Today's will be better - I promise boss, we are trying. Now that we are closer to the Marquesas, we seem to get rain squalls each morning. They are good for getting some decent winds and boat speed. This morning's offered up 28kts of wind for awhile -- in the right direction. We've got about 5 bags of Skittles left and about 295 miles to go. Should work out about right. We pulled the freezer apart yesterday and got at the last of the pressure-cooker pre-cooked meals -- chili and curry. Add a little rice and we at least won't go hungry.
Not a lot to report, Chris says yesterday was a lot like the day before yesterday.
The World ARC Rally boats should be near us somewhere. This is a rally that takes a large group of boats around the world in 15 months. No time to smell the roses or the hibiscus. They are headed to the main anchorage in Hiva Oa. The thing I really dislike about these big rallies is that they bring their own crowd with them. An anchorage that has 5 boats in it and that can take maybe 15 boats nicely, all of a sudden has 35 boats in it. The Marquesas is the last time we should see the World ARC boats, unless they lap us on their way around. The last time we saw or heard any of them was in Puerto Villemil, in the Galapagos.

Paul


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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 16

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 127 miles. We started the Marquesas part of this passage with some great wind. The first few days we were doing 180-190 mile days. Things held up pretty well for 2,000 miles. But now the trades have shut down. Yesterday afternoon and last night was a driftathon. Mostly doing about 2 kts. I put a reef in the main to reduce the slatting and slamming of the mainsail going back and forth. Advance notice on today's noon-to-noon run looks like it will be well under 100 miles. Slow! The last GRIB I looked at showed a little reprieve in a day or two -- from really light wind to light wind. This morning we are up to 3.5kts -- yee-haw!

Our advanced technical ground logistics and support group has informed me that duck tape (AKA 100 mile an hour tape) is appropriate for stock car and midget racer body repairs, but not so good for marine steering applications. The bolt that broke on the steering is the one that has worked its way loose before-- the large bolt that goes through the steering arm and the rudder post. I'm pretty sure that it got bent when it was partially out. It was really hard to re-install and using a big socket wrench put a lot of strain on the bent part. The bolt is fat enough that I'm certain it would outlast the boat by 100 years if it had not worked its way loose. After breakfast today I'll stick some epoxy on the ends of it to help convince it to stay in place till we get to Papeete.

About 400 miles to go.



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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 15

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 116 miles. I woke this morning to the sounds of sails coming in and sails going out, then sails coming in again and sails going out again. We were in the middle of a few rain squalls and the winds were clocking around in every direction. Our boat speed was 0.0 to 7.0 kts. Right now its 1.2kts. Looks like we'll be in these rain showers for awhile.
Since our little incident with the rudder I've been checking the steering gear twice a day. Yesterday I looked at it and it seemed like the rudder arm might have a tiny bit of movement in it. So we heaved-to tightened up the four rudder arm bolts. They came in a little bit. Then I decided to check the main rudder bolt. The head is on the backside and I could feel that it was snugged in all the way to the rudder arm casing, as it should be and was at least more than hand tight. I put a wrench on the nut for this bolt. It just spun freely. The rudder bolt has sheared inside the rudder post. Not a good thing. At this point all I can do is make sure that the bolt doesn't work its way out. In my best race car driver mechanic imitation, I used duck tape to hold the loose part of the bolt in. We will probably now haul in Papeete to replace the bolt. That's still another 1,400 miles or so from here.

471 miles to go to the Marquesas.



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Friday, March 20, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 14

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run 125 miles.
You guys may think it is easy to turn out this blog each day on passage. Well it is hard to fit in all of the day's unique experiences in just a few short paragraphs. It kind of reminds of the Cheech and Chong sketch where they are at the first day of school after summer and the teacher asks them what they did on their summer vacation. One of them - I could never figure which was which - answers "I got up, went to the drugstore and looked for a job". When pushed for what he did on the others days the answer is "I got up, went to the drugstore and looked for a job".

After I did yesterday's morning blog Chris noticed that the boom vang wasn't vanging (the vang holds the main sail boom down). The shackle that holds the vang block and tackle to the mast base had failed. Metal fatigue -- it spilt in two. I replaced it with a soft-shackle that I made out of dyneema. These old-style rope shackles are pretty cool. Amazingly strong, easy to make and quiet.

We got visited briefly by a couple of porpoises. We are moving so slowly that they weren't interested in staying to play with the bow wake. Last night on my watch we had an unintentional jibe -- that's when the main boom flys over to the other side of the boat. No injuries -- no damage. The boom preventer clutch was not closed all the way -- this let the boom free when a wave it us a little sideways. I quickly set everything up on the other tack so it looked like to all those watching that I meant to jibe.

Looks like another slow day today. The GRIBs have the wind light and variable for the next forever.

Paul


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 13

Yesterdays Noon-to-noon run was 153 miles.

The tradewinds have decided to go away for a bit. We are seeing winds in the 4 to 13kt range out of the NE, instead of a steady 20kts of SE or E flow. Most of the time we are sailing more toward Hawaii than toward the Marquesas (another destination that Chris is OK with). We decided to jibe and head NW instead of SW as we were getting too far S, about 11*S. This morning we are at 9* 27S. The light winds means we have to watch the course carefully. Every time the wind picks up a bit or clocks a little we point the boat closer to the Marquesas. When the sails are start slatting away as the boat rolls in the swell, we point more northerly. If we see a rain shower anywhere we try and head for the south side of it to pass under it. This gives us a nice boost toward the Marquesas as we can point directly at our target and sail for 2 or 3 hours at 8kts in light drizzle.

We did checkin last evening with the Maritime Net at 14.300MHz - or as Chris calls it the Old Guys Net with BF Antennas. These guys boom in here with crystal clear audio from all over the US. The guy I was talking to was i Tennessee. Its nice to know there's a friendly voice at the other end of the radio if you ever needed it.

All's well on board. 720 miles to go.



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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 12

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 150 miles.
Lots of little items to fill today's blog. I woke up this morning to a lot sail flapping and banging. The winds pretty much died. There's a 3 foot E primary swell that now has an additional 1 ft NE swell on it. This makes for a lot of sail flapping back and forth when the winds are light. Not good for the sails or the crew. Not sure where our nice tradewinds went, but for now we are making about 2 to 4kts in whatever direction we can. We still have 825 miles to go, so I'm not inclined to motor --- yet. The GRIB predictions don't look good for the wind returning anytime soon, so we may be out here another 12 weeks or so. (Kidding.)
Every few days we run a floating line off the bow for 1/2 hour on each side. This is supposed to keep the fan worms (living in shells) from forming at the waterline. I took a look at the swimstep yesterday. The stern is just covered with 3/4 in - 1 in worms. Pretty ugly and not good for boat speed.

We've tried to hear the Pacific Puddle Jump SSB net in the evening, but there is just too much noise on 8,297MHz.

One of our running backs came loose yesterday. A pin came out near the deck end. It is now appropriately secured with a bungy cord.

Chris wants me to let you know the shower sump pump is not working... and she's not happy about it.

Yesterday morning we decided it was time to fly the spinnaker, as the winds were pretty light. I wasn't sure if the wind goddess was going to allow it, but we went ahead anyway. We don't fly the spinnaker much and it takes awhile to setup all the lines. We raised the sail, lifted the bag and started to sheet it in when the tack line at the deck shook loose. This sent a lot of red fabric flying off to leeward. In the process of getting the sail behind the main so it would be in the wind shadow and we could get it back on deck, we watched the tack line and its snap shackle shake undone at about 25 feet above the water and slowly sail to the surface and head for the 12,000 foot depths. This was connected with one of those large shackles that has a safety on it, so you have to slide it back before you can open it. Can't see how it came apart. The wind goddess then felt sorry for what she put us through and turned the wind back up to 18-20kts and we sailed on without the spinnaker.

Yesterday was another turn-the-clock-back day. Ships time is now on Pacific Standard Time. The Marquesas are on one of those weird half hour time zones. So we'll have 1-1/2hrs more to move the clock when we arrive.

Paul


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 11

Yesterdays noon-to-noon run was 172 miles.

Late last night I was laying in the cockpit on my watch turning the pages on my Kindle. Except for the Kindle backlight, it was really dark. An unhappy flying fish landed on my legs. We were both then unhappy. Once I figured out what it was, I picked up his flopping body and threw him back into the deep. With all the flipping and flopping, he left a fair amount of fish scales and blood in the cockpit, so I kinda doubt that he'll be doing that stunt again.

Late yesterday afternoon we dropped the headsail because the winds were getting light and it was flopping around. We ended up sailing the night under just the main almost DDW (Dead Down Wind). It was rolly, but at least we were making the right course and doing 5 or 6 kts. Its even lighter this morning, so it's either back up with the pole and turning off some, or perhaps dig out the spinnaker. Either way we are going to wait till a rain line that is behind us now passes over. Chris thinks we should turn to port and sail off 1,000 miles to the SW to Gambier. That would be a nice beam reach. I said one major change of destination per passage is enough.

980 miles to go.
Paul


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Monday, March 16, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 10

Noon-to-noon run of 172 miles. Things were starting to look a little bleak last night when I saw that we were down to our last bag of Skittles for my night-watch snack. I knew that I had the stamina to could continue on without anymore, but it just wasn't going to be the same. Then Chris came up with the hidden backup baggie full of Skittles packages. So we can stay out here a lot longer. On Halloween I used to send my kids out with specific directions to go get me Skittles. We tend to do long night watches when it is just Chris and I and the conditions are not too bad. I do 6pm to 1am and she does 1am to 8am. This way we both get a nice long continuous chunk of time to try and get in some decent sleep. It works out well and we don't feel run down day after day. The daytime watches are a little less structured, with both of us getting some sleep time sometime during the day on most days.

We sailed with the genoa on the pole most of the night. It wasn't behaving that well and I didn't feel like going to the pointy end of the boat and messing with the pole in the dark, so at about 5am we moved it to the starboard side and its been sailing pretty well since.

It's about 1,122 miles till Fatu Hiva.



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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Marquesas Passage Day 9

Noon-to-noon run of 175 miles. The winds have become a little more variable now. We've made it past the half way point. We were going to have a big celebration last night but after discussions with the crew representative, it was thought that things might get too out off hand, so we had a scaled down party. No injuries and no one taken off to the brig.
This is, like, a big ocean. There really is a lot of water out here. It is further than driving from the Pacific in California to the Atlantic on the East Coast. And on that trip you get to go 60 mph, instead of 6 kts per hour. I think we are actually past half-way, maybe somewhere on the outskirts of Kansas City now.
Its overcast today. The days alternate between 80% sunny and totally overcast. Had another tropic bird fly by this morning. These are the white gull-sized sea birds with long, thin tails. We saw them nesting when we were in the Bahamas. Not sure what they are doing flying this far out to sea.

1,305 miles to go till Fatu Hiva.

Paul


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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 8

Noon-to-noon run of 181 miles. When we decided to bail on Easter and hang a right, I grabbed a paper chart I had to check the spelling of Marquisas. It is a US chart based on a French chart. They spell it Marquisas. The French cruisers pronounce it Mar-Key-Sa. The English spelling is Marquesas and the Yanks pronounce it Mar-Cay-Sas. I think I'll just randomly go back and forth in its spelling on the blog.

After noon yesterday we moved the headsail from the starboard side to the port side and put it on the whisker pole. This allowed us to sail a little deeper. With the sail on the other side we were getting a little too far south. I think the boat sails better without the pole, so we will probably move it back over this afternoon (if our schedule doesn't get too crowded with other important meetings).

Very quiet night watches - just not much going on. The waning moon didn't show its face till about 1:00 am last night. The Southern Cross is up there- faithfully pointing south. It was a light night for flying fish suicides and no ship sightings.

Paul



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Friday, March 13, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 7

Noon-to-noon run of 187 miles. There doesn't seem to be any discernible current. Most boats that leave the Galapagos do their passage further north, around 5-6 degrees latitude. We are down at 10*, about 250-300 miles south. Further north you are supposed to enjoy a nice current in your favor, often around a knot. That gives you an extra 24 miles a day for free. The down side to being further north is that the trade winds are typically lighter. I haven't heard a single report from any boats on passage in that area so far, so not sure what is happening up there this year.

There must still be some tuna around, as we saw about .75 miles astern of us another trawler -- our third. It was a 164 foot white Japanese ship the Kineamaru No. 138.

The other day we moved the ship's clock back to catch up with the sun. Boat time is now equal to Mountain Standard Time. This helps to put the sun overhead at noon and lets it set at around 6:30. Every 15 degs of longitude we pass moves the time an one hour. It is hard to believe that we are due south of the mountain states. Take a look at world map and you can see how far east central and south America are.

In the meantime, we'll keep on sailing west.

Paul


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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 6

Noon-to-noon run 197 miles.

Not much going on yesterday and overnight. Winds would run for a 4-6 hours at 22-26kts, then they'd run at 16-18kts -- rinse and repeat. Sunny all day yesterday with clouds this morning. No ships, a few petrels and lots of flying fish. The flying fish always take off in big herds (schools?) breaking the water surface flying into the wind. How do these guys know which way the wind is blowing from underwater? There's no local weatherman and I have yet to see a wind-sock out here. The Shadow might not know, but I bet Wikipedia does. These are the mysteries one contemplates out here.

Distance to go till Fatu Hiva 1837 miles. All is well onboard.

Paul


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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Marquisas Pasage Day 5

Noon-to-noon run 168 miles, this includes 1hr 45mins of hove-to time for repairs.
OK, its getting down right crowded out here. Last night we passed a 351ft Ecuadorian fishing trawler about 5 miles astern of us. At 351ft I'm pretty sure it was not a Sportfisher out for a day charter. It was most likely one of the huge tuna boats with a spotting helicopter onboard like we'd seen in Panama. The helicopter is used to search out the last tuna in the South Pacific -- a bit like strip mining.

We've had a few complaints about customers who are unhappy that they will not be receiving their Easter Island Tiki heads that they ordered from the SVGeorgia Paraphernalia e-commerce blog page (always read the fine print when ordering). We are negotiating a replacement item for them -- up to a 1/3 Marquesian body tattoo. This will include round trip express mailing of the indicated body parts.

Paul

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 4

Noon-to-noon run 191 miles. Just so our reader doesn't get bored we had some drama yesterday afternoon. Actually two dramas. The first was having a target show up on our AIS (Automatic Identification System for ships)display. This was a Class A AIS (i.e. big ship type) that was 18 miles or so away. The full info on the target never filled in, so we don't know where it was heading or its name. It was the first ship we've seen in 7 days. So there is at least one other boat out here, which was actually comforting due to our next little drama. Chris said she heard a knock in the steering. We had chased a knocking down on our passage from Virginia to the Virgin Islands. In that case it turned out to be the chain for the stern anchor clanking on the side of the aft locker. So I didn't expect any real issues, but climbed back through the man-cave and shown the flashlight on the steering and rudder post. I was a little surprised to see that the main bolt that pins the the rudder arm to the rudder post had worked itself loose. Not a little loose. The nut had come off and the bolt had backed its way out all the way through the rudder post and was just hanging on by a few threads to the other side rudder arm fitting -- none of it was supporting the rudder post. This bolt not only holds the rudder arm from slipping around the rudder post, but it also stops the rudder from falling out of the boat. Something that would ruin your day 1,000 miles from shore.
We furled the headsail and turned the boat up into the wind (heaved-to). The boat settled down nicely in the 18kt winds and 4ft seas. It took about an hour and 45 minutes using a big socket drive to get the bolt back into position and tightened down again. This time I used Locktite on the bolt. We'll inspect it a couple times a day now.

Paul



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Monday, March 9, 2015

Marquises Passage Day 3

Yesterday's noon-to-noon run was 170 miles. It was cold last night - must have gotten down to the mid-70's. Long sleeves and long pants were what was needed. We always see flying fish offshore, but there are some really large herds of them out here. In the morning we see the results of whole families that committed suicide on our decks. I'm thinking of taping the crisis center 800 telephone number to the side of our hull. It might help out some of the younger, more techy flying fish.

Most of yesterday and all last night we flew the genoa out to the port side with the pole. It was decent sailing, but had us pointing just a little too much north of our desired course. This morning we moved the genoa back to the starboard side without the pole. So far, so good.

Got a funny note from our friend Dwyer on Rascal last night. He's the single-hander we met in the Galapagos who is sailing to Chile right now, via Easter Island. I told him that Gentlemen don't sail to Weather, that's why we were turning off and heading to French Polynesia now, instead of Easter. He responded with "thx for everything, good thing I'm a Rascal, not a gent ;-)"

Only 2,375 miles to go to Fatu Hiva.
Paul


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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 2

I forgot to put in the noon-to-noon run for Friday on yesterday's blog. It was 139 miles. Yesterday's noon-to-noon run was 150 miles. We had a fast night sailing downwind with the trades blowing 22-26 kts. Seas are down a bit this morning. We had the main with a single reef in it and the full genoa(headsail) out. Today we'll probably setup the whisker pole to hold the genoa out to windward. This will let us point a little further downwind -- more at Fatu Hiva. The boat has held up well so far, no major additions to the work list, except we lost overboard an expensive, shiny, dorade vent while beating to weather. And a few of my old friend port leaks came back to visit.

Paul

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Marquisas Passage Day 1+4

Slight change of plans. As the saying goes Gentlemen don't sail to weather. We are tired of sailing hard into the tradewinds and getting wet, inside and out. So we were at about the latitude of the island of Hiva Oa, in the Isles Marquises, French Polynesia 2800 miles away, and decided to hang a right and sail downwind to those islands. Downwind is way more comfortable and dry. We are a little disappointed we won't see the big heads of Easter Island -- maybe we will save that for when we get old. Anyway, we are out here to enjoy ourselves and we weren't enjoying beating to weather. So instead of 10 more days to Easter we have 18 or so to Hiva Oa.

Paul

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Easter Isalnd Passage Day 3

Day 2 noon-to-noon run 141 miles. Looks like we ran into the SE trades yesterday afternoon. Knockon teak. Its a little bouncy as we beat into 17kt winds and continue southbound. No ships, no interesting wildlife. Big, bright full moon. Less sleep.
Paul

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Easter Island Passage Day2

Our day 1 noon-to-noon run was about 111 miles. Probably 40% motoring. It has been really light air yesterday afternoon and last night. We had a little real wind when we had some drizzle for a few hours last night. We are motoring at least 50% of the time. It's 7:30am now and looks like the wind is coming up enough to start some sailing again. We should be down in the SE tradewinds in another day or so.
Not much to report on critters. About an hour out of Isabela we saw in the distance a giant Manta Ray get airborne (no pictures, so you don't have to believe me). We've had a few frigate birds dive down to the surface in the wake behind us looking for something that we churned up. Petrels and boobies come by on occasion. Some flying fish. No ships.
All's well onboard.
Paul

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Easter Island passage - Day 1

Left Puerto Villemil around 11am. We got in about 8 hours of slow sailing till the winds shutdown in the evening. Ended up motoring all night. Filled our tanks running the watermaker while the engine was running. A little after sunrise the winds filled in enough to start sailing -- slowly. But it is nicer than listening to the engine rumble. We are on a starboard tack, moving SE.
All's well - OK almost all is well. My back hurts and Chris' toe is looking a little ugly.

Paul

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Loading Up at the Organic Farm

pvIMG_9838 Part of Chris’ haul- fresh chiles, or pimientos as they’re called here.

JC, our agent here, setup a taxi to take us up to the highlands to a great farm. This place had an amazing variety of fruits and veggies – way more than in any of the stores here, even when they are stocked: pineapples, papaya, tomatoes, cabbage, spring onions, passion fruit, egg plant, banana, plantain, eggs, mint, basil, oregano, carrots, limes,  peppers, (corn and melons weren’t ready yet)  along with chickens, ducks and geese. All organic and fresh- we picked them from the fields as we walked around.

pvIMG_9824 Fenced to keep the free-range tortoises out?

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Pineapple hunting.

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Green tomato hunting – they ought to last awhile.

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Chris and Dwyer paying up.

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OK, a few more animal photos before we leave. This young sea lion is fully enjoying our anti-seal defenses on the swim step. They’re so much like dogs you want to pet the little ones.

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“Excuse me lady, exactly why did you kick me off the step?”

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And finally, one of the scary looking vegetarian marine Iguana swimming on by the boat- they just swish their tail back and forth.

Tomorrow we’re off for Easter Island.

Paul

Galapagos – We Don’t Want Your Kind Here

beaglegalapagoschart

Stashed his trash in Ecuador, bought new suit of clothes…

J. Buffet 

This is the voyage of the Beagle when Charles Darwin was aboard as they passed through the Galapagos (September, 1835). We’ve now been in the Galapagos almost as long as Darwin was and I’m feeling like I should come up with an earth shattering  theory or two. I haven’t, but it actually took Darwin another 25 years after his visit before he published his theory of evolution. So I guess I have some time.

grace-exterior9 With all the restrictions and costs put on private cruising boats coming through the Galapagos, it is pretty clear they don’t really want us here. The real way to see the Galapagos would be on small ship like m/v Grace above. It is beautiful classic that was the honeymoon ship for Grace Kelly of Monaco. It takes 18 just passengers and it would cost you about $5,800 for an 8-day passage – but I bet you wouldn’t forget it.

Yesterday a German flagged boat came through here. They did not get an Autografo (entry papers for Ecuador) before they arrived, so they were at the mercy of the Port Captain. I told them they needed to contact an agent before doing anything else but they decided to go ashore. Meanwhile the quarantine health officer and someone from the Port Captain’s office came out to the boat. They were not onboard and the next morning they left for the Marquesas having been denied entry here. It seems they were booted out because they had the Galapagos on their Zarpe (check out papers from the last country which states where you’re headed next) but had not applied for the Autografo. It may have been their own fault for nor following the basic rules. But the rules here are not always clear and even if you follow the rules, there are so many restrictions put on a cruising boat that you don’t run into in other places. It’s a tricky one.

villemilP2280098 A local resident, a Sally-light Foot crab

We are getting now ready to make our next hop, westward across the Pacific. This time to Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui. It is about 2,000 miles South and West of here. Although Easter is part of Chile now, it is historically a Polynesian island. The island lies about 2,000 off the Chilean coast. It is a pretty remote place that offers cruising boats like ours only a few difficult open-roadstead anchorages. Our plan is to leave on Tuesday morning - sail as much South as possible, trying not to go West, at least for the first 600 miles or so. Then we’ll check the weather faxes and decide when to turn right and point straight at Easter. Right now there is a wind hole below Galapagos that doesn’t show any signs of leaving. This means we will probably have to motor on and off through the first 180 miles or so – we’ll see. We are expecting about 16-17 day trip, or so.

We were following the blog of a sail boat that left the Galapagos a day before we came to Isabela on their way to Easter Island, Sundancer. They had a very slow first 6 days. I just checked their position and it turns out that after 8 days or so, they decided to turn around and sail back north to Mexico. Apparently they are going to Mexico to do some repairs.

I got another article published in Blue Water Sailing March 2015 issue:

The Cruiser’s Scavenger Hunt
How to successfully navigate the clearing in and out process as you cruise, and the valuable cultural experiences that make it worth the effort

Paul