Baie Hanaiapa and Baie Hanatekuua

Wednesday 5/8/13 19:30 09 42.084 S 138 59.572 W 42.084S 138 59.572W Baie Hanaiapa and Baie Hanatekuua Posting by Barb: Every day brings something new and we keep saying this is the greatest place so far. Monday morning early we arrived in Baie Hanaiapa. There was a neat little town there and we very quickly got our dingy going and headed for town. We walked the shoreline of the town to one end where Dennis found a local sitting under a tree and he went over to be sociable. The man could speak a little English and they talked for a bit while I explored further. When I came back Dennis was eating Pamplemousse (sweet grapefruit type fruit) and had two more given to him ‘to go’. We explored the town some more and on the way back we were invited in to a local house which he called ‘Williams Yacht Club’. The local ‘William’ was an older man and lived simply in a little hut. We were invited in to his porch and were given cold water and bananas. He wanted us to sign his book. He had several notebooks there with hundreds of comments and signatures from sailors and yachters from all over the world. He gave us a full bushel of bananas, a Papaya and a branch filled with little hot peppers to take back to the boat with us. He wanted nothing in return just for us to sign his book! In the afternoon we were relaxing on the boat when Dennis spotted a couple Manta Rays swimming nearby. He very quickly put on his snorkeling gear and jumped in for a chance of a lifetime to swim with the Manta Rays. I first refused to go in with Dennis as it looked a little frightening. They were huge. There were about 7 of them and one in particular was about 10ft wide and much larger than Dennis. I knew if I didn’t go in I would regret it and Dennis would never let me live it down so I jumped in as well. I stayed close to Dennis (hung on to his shirt and nearly drowned him a couple f times when the rays would come very close) and watched the Rays swim about 2 to 3 feet away from us. They would come at us with mouth wide open catching all the plankton and then when they were near they would dive under and turn upside down showing off their white bellies. It was an experience of a lifetime. Dennis even touched the big one and the ray flipped his fin and dove under. I don’t think the ray liked to be that intimate with Dennis. The man has NO FEAR. On Tuesday we headed to Baie Hanatekuua. It was a beautiful bay with a white sandy beach at the head of the bay. We explored the island a little and took a walk into what used to be a coconut plantation. It now seems pretty deserted with only a few isolated locals living there. We took it easy and basically prepared for a Wednesday night 60 mile sail to the island Ua Huka. I cleaned the waterline of the boat and went out in the dingy to take some pictures. While preparing to haul the dingy back on the boat and deflate it for the night sail, I felt a searing pain on my arm and noticed a blue line. I tore it off and the burning where the blue line was just seemed to get worse. It swelled into a big welt. I was screaming at Dennis trying to figure out what the Hell just bit me. He explained that it was a small Portuguese Man-O-War. Dennis calmly told me that the stinging would eventually stop but if it continued he could pee on my arm and that would make the stinging stop. I opted for the pain. When I looked down at the water line of the boat I noticed that these blue creatures where everywhere. I am glad they weren’t there earlier when I was in the water cleaning the scum off. Nature is fascinating. How could such a small sea creature cause so much pain when only the day before we were swimming with 10 ft wide Manta Rays and we were perfectly safe.
So we are now night sailing and off to the next island in 10 knot warm winds on the beam with the main sail and the 160 jib. The stars are out and it is a wonderful sail. We should arrive there early dawn.

Baie Hanamenu

Sunday 5/6/13 21:00 09 45.871 S 139 08.453 W 45.871S 139 08.453W Baie Hanamenu Posting by Dennis: This is the neatest place so far. We got here yesterday just after dark, not a good plan but it worked out ok. The plotter charts for this area are spot on so that helps a lot. You just get up in the morning and go so “so this is where we are”. Part of the reason we were so late in getting in was that we caught another fish. This time it was a yellow tail tuna. Not nearly as big as the other tuna we caught but the perfect size for us. It takes me an hour to clean the fish and then clean up the boat afterwards. I did a lot better job cleaning this one then the last two, they were kind of hack jobs. When we got anchored we rowed over to a catamaran that was anchored nearby and gave them some of our fish. They welcomed us aboard for a drink and stories of our adventures. They were from New Caledonia and said that we would have to come and visit on our way by. This bay is very long and has very steep sides rising almost straight up out of the water. The bay is not all that deep which is great for anchoring. It has a long black sand beach at the end with an abandoned coconut plantation behind it. We spent a good part of the day exploring the ruins and found a wonderful cool fresh water spring that dumped into a cool crystal clear pool. It was wonderful to climb into the pool and rinse the salt off our bodies. The cool water was so refreshing after hiking around in the heat. While hiking around we found the stone platforms from were houses used to be. We also found a pig trap, which is nothing more than a deep pit with palm branches laid over it and then bait is hung over that. Pigs and horses seem to be a problem because they have gone wild and have totally over grazed some islands. Some of the old homes seem to be very well kept and must be used like cabins by the people from town. I talked to a local guy in Baie Hanaiapa and he said four families live there. But when we were there none of them were home so we had the place totally to our selves.

Blog post

Friday 5/4/13 21:30 09 48.171 S 139 01.857 W 48.171S 139 01.857W 50 days and 4 anchorages Blog posting by Barb: It has been a while since I posted something on the blog and I guess it is my turn. We have been pretty busy exploring, adjusting to the new time zone and re-stocking the boat somewhat. First I would like to say that we have not been able to get access to internet so other than using SSB emails we are not able to send regular emails, make any phone calls or upload any pictures. Our first anchorage in Bai Hanavave, Fatu Hiva was beautiful. The bay is surrounded by mountains and volcanic rock. The top of the mountain is usually cloud covered and makes the island look exotic and interesting. There were about 15 yachts there. The people were friendly and the local kids came flocking to the dingy all wanting a ride to ‘look at boat’. We had no money so we couldn’t buy anything although we looked enviously at the other boats that had all kinds of bananas and other fruit hanging outside in their cockpit. One couple from another boat did give us some ‘grape fruit’ type fruit. Looks like grapefruit but it is much sweeter and not at all bitter. We hiked to the 200 ft ‘waterfall’; Dennis got chased by a wild dog that backed off when I got nasty with him. We socialized with a few cruisers that came by for a visit in their dingy. Our second anchorage was in Baie Hapatoni, Tahuata. We were the only boat there. We shared the bay with a young Polynesian boy that had a hut there and was basically living off the land. We snorkeled (saw a baby shark), cleaned the bottom of the boat from layers of algae and barnacles and basically enjoyed the no stress peace and quiet. When we left we were escorted out by a pod of about 25 dolphins. Our third anchorage was in Bai Hanamoenoa, Tahuata. There were about 6 yachts there. When we were anchoring I spotted a large Manta Ray swimming around the boat. Apparently they show up every morning and people go snorkeling with them. At the head of the bay there was a beautiful white beach. We took the dingy to the beach, walked some and then went snorkeling. We found lots of beautiful tropical fish but most of the coral that we did see was dying or dead. It’s sad to see that. Our forth anchorage was in Baie Atuaona, Hiva Oa. There were about 20 yachts here but in the last day most have left. A young American couple travelling with kids greeted us in their dingy as we were anchoring and they gave us a Baguette and after 10 days with no bread it was heaven to us!! We finally got through customs here. Dennis already talked about some of our adventures here. I will add that on one of our hikes he was accosted by a tied up horse. The horse let me by the trail but he refused to let Dennis pass. He head butted Dennis and then slightly reared up on his two hind legs. The horse’s actions may have something to do with the stray dog following him. Dennis seems to have this love-hate relationship with local animals. We found a place where we could stock up on some fruit. We followed a sign that said ‘fruit for sale’ and ended up at this run down cottage house where we were welcomed by a small, mild mannered man and his 300 lb rough, overbearing wife dressed in a scant bikini. They invited us to sit and chat (no hurry they said) and Dennis followed the man around their fruit farm collecting fruit while I got eaten alive by flies and made small chat with the wife. At first I feared that at any moment the Machetes were going to be pulled out and we would be history, but that did not last long and I got to hear her whole life store while Dennis went about harvesting fruit. So we are $20 poorer but we have a lot of bananas, mangos and sweet grapefruit. He even threw in some weird fruit that when cracked open reveal a nut that tastes just like ‘Almonds’ (she noted that her father mixed them with chocolate and they were delicious!!). Tomorrow we head out to other anchorages. We have 90 days to explore French Polynesia. Hopefully somewhere we will have internet!

Baie Athauku

Friday 5/1/13 03:30 09 48.171 S 139 01.857 W 48.171S 139 01.857W Baie Athauku Blog posting by Dennis: I am having a hard time adjusting to the time it gets dark by 6:30 at night and then is light at 5:30 in the morning. I want to go to bed to follow the sun. I just don’t need twelve hours of sleep. Unlike Chile there are lots of Americans and Canadians here. A couple of days ago we were talking to a couple that were from Vancouver area and were crewing on a Shannon 38 pilot house. It was a 1979 and was still in pretty good shape. You know how everyone always said that I was anal about everything, well, all the boaters that make it here seem to be anal too, I fit right in. Barb and I decided that if you are not a little anal you just won’t make it this far. The islands here at truly beautiful. They tend to be so lush and green. The people seem to have a lot of pride in their homes and yards. I am amazed at the number of cars, considering that there is really nowhere to go. Here on Hiva Oa there can’t be more than thirty miles of roads and everyone has Landrovers and I even saw a Hummer. Last night we were walking to the restaurant to have pizza when a woman stopped and offered us a ride. It was an old rusted out Susuki that I climbed into the back of and Barb got the front seat. As we chugged up the mild hill and when around a corner Barbs door flew open, the woman driving did not seem to pay hardly any attention she just pulled over walked around the car and used both hands to lift the door up as she slammed it closed. Any way the two mile walk turned into an adventure all on its own. The pizza was great, the first time we have eaten out in six weeks. We have hired an agent to get our paperwork through customs. It seems like that is the easiest way to get it done and that way we are hoping that we will not have to post a bond. Everyone uses the same woman and you just call her on the VHF radio and she comes down to the harbor and you fill out the paper work. After that we headed to the bank to get some Polynesie Francaises, but it was just after twelve and they were closed until 1:30 so we wondered around town. Almost everything was closed until two in the afternoon, it didn’t matter because we did not have any money anyway. Once the bank opened we exchange our cash and then headed to the bakery and bought some fresh baguette and a couple dozen eggs.

Blog Post

Friday 4/26/13 09:30 10 27.922 S 138 40.114 W 27.922S 138 40.114W Fatu Hiva Blog posting by Dennis: Well we have started to get back to normal. You get pretty sleep deprived during a long passage. I shall let you know what happen the last couple days of the passage. It all started when the auto pilot went out with four days left to go. It is something wrong with the hydraulic system because it can’t seem to move the ram with any pressure on it. The next chance I have to get it fixed is New Zealand. So after that I have been trying to get the wind vane steering to work right. The first thing that that involved was removing the Bimini and the bows for it, more crap tied on deck. It worked kind of but needed constant supervision because at anytime a gust would hit and the boat would round up. So it didn’t allow much sleep at all, I ended up sleeping in the cockpit just so I would be closer when thinks did not work right. One of us would have to sit at the helm all the time. Since we have gotten here I have removed the wind vane and totally taken it apart and cleaned it, the amount of salt that gets into everything is amazing. I hope that it will work a lot better after this. The last night before we got here we were doing really good clipping along at five to six knots, I was at the helm and around 5:30 in the morning I called down to Barb to get up and close the ports and hatches because a large squall was bearing down on us and I could not steer around this one like had the others. I then told her that we needed to take down the spinnaker, she went down below to put away a couple of things and just got back up into the cockpit when wham we were hit with a huge gust. It laid the boat over so that the spinnaker was in the water and the cushions were floating out of the cockpit. I grabbed the main cushion and dragged it back into the cockpit but we did lose one of the smaller ones. Barb yelled shouted out asking if she should let the sheet loose and I yelled back for her to let it go. As soon as she did the boat popped right up and the spinnaker was flogging wildly. Barb grabbed the wheel and I ran forward and snuffed the spinnaker. While I was snuffing the spinnaker I could see that there was a three foot rip, just one more thing to get fixed when we get to New Zealand. The last eight hours we motored in because the wind died down to nothing. It gave us time to make water, charge up the batteries good, take showers, I even shaved for the occasion. Once we were coming into the anchorage it all was worth it, the place is so beautiful. I feel so lucky to be able to come to such a place. Summary of the leg of the trip: Total distance 5420 nautical miles Total time 42 days (six weeks) Avg miles per day 129 miles/day Best day 156 miles Worst day 89 miles Engine usage 49.7 hrs. Most of it used getting out of Chile Number of ships sighted 1 Best part Catching Tuna Worst part Blowing out our spinnaker and loosing our auto pilot

Made it!

Thursday 4/24/13 18:30 10 27.922 S 138 40.114 W 27.922S 138 40.114WFatu Hiva Blog posting by Dennis: Well we have made it! 5420 miles from Puerto Montt. 42 days The last few days were pretty trying, the auto pilot has died, the wind vane steering did not work for crap. We blew out the spinnaker in a squall. But after all that we are here and it is fantastic. Will write more over the next couple of days. We are going to sleep, totally exhausted.

blog post

Tuesday 4/16/13 03:30 12 44.617 S 123 47.188 W 44.617S 123 47.188W Bad Day Yesterday was a very bad day to say the least. It all started with a very hard night, with winds blowing up to twenty knots and fairly large waves that would kick the stern of the boat around. So when I went off watch at six am I was pretty tired. I was awaked a half hour later when a large gust hit and rounded the boat up into the wind and the boat was suddenly heeling thirty five degrees. Not a good thing when flying the spinnaker! Barb had it all under control but I was awake and ended up sitting in the cockpit for another hour. I then went to bed again and Barb woke me two hours later saying the wind had built even more, so I got up and we ended up taking the spinnaker down in the dark and putting the large jib, 160, out with the pole extended. Then it was back to bed. Two hours after that I woke to the boat rolling back and forth, basically rolling in the swells. The wind had gone down to five knots again. So it was time to take down the 160 and put the spinnaker back up. While rerouting the lines I noticed that one leg of the bow pulpit was broken, great one more thing to fix. Then when we hoisted the spinnaker it proceeded to just come falling out of the sock and ended up in the water dragging alongside the boat. That let the sock go free and it took off flying free about twenty feet from the boat. So I had to lower the sock down into the water and turn the boat into the wind so Barb could catch the sock and drag it onto the boat. Apparently when the sail people installed the spinnaker into the sock they did not tie off the pin in the swivel and over time and use the pin fell off. So I dug around and found a different pin and put it all together. Then we had to try and reload a very heavy wet spinnaker into a very wet sock which took a while. Then I hoisted the spinnaker again and just when I got it up the sock zoomed up to the top taking the hoisting line with it. Now it is swinging fifteen feet off the deck. Luckily I was able to snag it with the boat hook and pull it down before it wrapped itself around something else. By this time I had had it. I came back to the cockpit and plopped down and declared ‘that is it I am done I am not having a good time and I just want to go home!’ Actually it was much stronger then that but you get the idea, I was just finished! After I calmed down and had a great breakfast, of fish tacos, I just went to bed and slept for five hours. When I woke up I was feeling much better and not so depressed. I would never have believed just how hard on things this constant rocking and rolling is. The amount of work that is going to have to be done when I get to New Zealand is growing every day. It is very hard for me to watch as the boat is slowly taking such a beating. Not that the weather we are in is bad at all it is just the constant movement. But here I sit in the middle of the night with the sky lit up with a billion stars and warm glow of the phosphorescent water and I feel so lucky to be here!