Blog post

Friday 5/4/13 21:30 09 48.171 S 139 01.857 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 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 http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:09 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 http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:10 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 http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:10 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.

Sailing Adventure

Friday 4/19/13    18:30
12 34.940 S
131 35.105 W
http://maps.google.com/?z=4&t=k&q=loc:12 34.940S 131 35.105W

Blog posting by Barb:

It has been 37 days since we left Puerto Montt. Unless the wind dies down considerably we should be at our first anchorage in the Marquesas which will be the Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva.  It is described as the most beautiful island in the Marquesas. After 40 days at sea it will definitely be the most beautiful island to us!!
The last 2 days of sailing have been quite an adventure. Wednesday morning started out as per usual with calm seas and about 3 – 8 knots of wind. Dennis and I spent most of the day perusing through an ‘Offshore Cruising Companion’ book which he saved for me as he thought I would get a lot out of it. And I have learned a lot!! As it so happened on Wednesday we were discussing how to prepare for squalls and storms. The book described incidents of wind squalls that went from 5 to 60 knots in minutes and then back to 5 knots. I was hoping I would never have to experience that. As night fell the sky looked ominous. We could see threatening weather. Dennis thought it a good idea that we should prepare for the worst. We got everything ready to ‘snuff’ the spinnaker at a moment’s notice if we had to. And he called it just right. The squall came and the winds gusted from 5 to 30 in a minute but we had the sail down just in time. The 30 knots may not seem like much but it is with a Spinnaker that is only designed for 15 knots. We sat in the bow (with our harnesses securing us to the boat) when the driving rain started and we were drenched but the sail was safely tucked away. It all ended pretty quickly and we could hoist the Spinnaker again. We were not quite so prepared for the second squall and we had to snuff the Spinnaker through the 30 knot wind and rain. We got the sail down but not neatly packed away and we just hung on to it making sure the wind did not whip it out of our hands. When we thought it was safe we hoisted the Spinnaker again and everything was fine for a while. Suddenly there was another squall and this caught us totally off guard. Dennis had to steer through that one. The boat was heeled 45 degrees, water came in the cockpit, the Spinnaker was fully extended and the bottom was dragging and skimming through the ocean. This lasted for 3 long long long minutes! Dennis stood at the helm with the wind and rain raging all around us and he controlled the boat as best that he could while I sat in the cockpit hanging on as best I could. I wasn’t afraid for us or the boat but my concern was for the Spinnaker. There is no easy way to sail straight down wind with an average of 5 to 10 knot winds without a Spinnaker. So after surviving that squall we decided it was time to hoist the 160 jib and did so in the middle of the night in total darkness. The boat rocked and rolled, squalls continued to gust in all night and we got little or no sleep. To our dismay, the same happened Thursday night but this time we sailed through the night with the poled 160 jib fearing damage to the Spinnaker. It was a rough, rolly, squally night with little or no sleep for either one of us. So today we have napped and are ready for another night but so far the skies seem clear. But that could change very quickly!!

Bad day

Tuesday 4/16/13    03:30
12 44.617 S
123 47.188 W
http://maps.google.com/?z=4&t=k&q=loc:12 44.617S 123 47.188W

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!

blog post

Tuesday 4/16/13 03:30 12 44.617 S 123 47.188 W http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:12 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!

Another Fish

Sunday 4/14/13    23:00
13 06.163 S
121 10.219 W
http://maps.google.com/?z=4&t=k&q=loc:1306.163S 12110.219W    (link fixed now)

Last night we caught another fish.  We had only had the line out for a little while when Barb saw it jump into the air.  I was down below doing dishes, the diligent galley slave that I am.  So I grabbed the video camera and went on deck and filmed Barb as she hauled the fish to the boat.  There is not a lot of playing the fish that is being dragged at six knots and you have him on a 500 pound test rope.  It is mainly meat hunting.  But never the less it is a little bit of excitement in our day.  Barb kept saying it was not very big at all, but when she got it to the boat it was over feet long.  So I gaffed the fish and hoisted it onto the cockpit were I spent the next two hours cleaning it.  It is really hard to clean a four foot fish, balancing it on a one gallon bucket while the boat is rolling back and forth.  It wants to slide this way and that.  I also need a longer filet knife if I am going to clean things like this.  The meat of this fish was totally white, while the meat of the tuna was as red as beef.  If the tuna was just sitting in a bowl you would think it was.  We ended up with two fillets that were about three feet long and at the thickest part about two and a half inches thick and eight inches wide.  A lot of meat to say the least.  So we fried up some samples last night, fish sandwich for breakfast, and fish tacos for dinner tonight.  We have froze about half of it and will have more fish tomorrow. We did all this while we were still making are 150 miles for the day.  We are still fling the spinnaker almost continuously. At times during the nights when the apparent wind pipes up to twenty knots it is a little much but I seem to be able to keep it under control. It tends to make for very long nights though.
I think that I am ready to get off the boat and walk around for a while.  The lack of sleep and constant movement are starting to work on me.  At times I feel a little too isolated and Barb catches the brunt of that.  I try to sleep some during the day but that is not always that easy.  Today Barb tried to shake me to wake up, but I didn’t wake even when she shook me.  I miss being able to call friends or just stop by and see them.  Sometimes it makes me homesick.  I miss you all!!!

Crossed the 100th parallel

Tuesday 4/5/13    20:00
14 26.343S
108 50.372W
 http://maps.google.com/?z=4&t=k&q=loc:14 26.343S 108 50.372W

On Friday evening we crossed the 100th parallel while we were gorging ourselves on some delicious Tuna sushi. We had the seaweed wraps, the wasabi, the Kikoman soya, Ginger pickles and of course the raw Tuna but we didn’t have the sushi rice. So we used ordinary rice and didn’t cut the sushi rolls but ate it like a burrito. But it tasted just like sushi should!! We probably ate the equivalent of about 60 Tuna sushi rolls.
We have had the spinnaker up now for the last 4 days and will probably have it up until we reach the Marquesa Islands. That’s the only way to sail straight down wind. Not much to do except the occasional tack as we negotiate sailing thirty degrees either side of straight down wind. Now we know why they call this sail the milk run but it’s a good start for me with my very little sailing experience.
We have settled into a routine. Dennis takes the first shift from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am while I sleep and then I take the 6:30 am to lunch time shift while Dennis sleeps (he doesn’t need as much beauty sleep). The wind gusts seem to happen more frequently at night so Dennis is better equipped to handle those in the dark. We are still on Chilean time so now the sun rises at 10:30 in the morning and sets at 10:30 at night. We will soon have to start adjusting our time not that it really matters to us.
Every day we empty out the bunks, bring the cushions outside for the day and hang the sheets on a clothesline Dennis made. We vacuum the cushions prior to bringing them inside. We look like the ‘Beverly Hillbilly’s Clampets’ on water. But our efforts are working as we have gone a night or two without bites or very few. We just can’t stop until we reach land and we can fumigate!!
The weather is tropical now so we spend most of our days in the cockpit and enjoying every minute of it! I am, of course already golden brown, but Dennis is taking a little longer to tan. He has to do it in layers but I don’t see that happening as he lies in the shade every day!

Tuna

Friday 4/5/13    20:00
        17 16.306 S
        99 38.762 W
        http://maps.google.com/?z=4&t=k&q=loc:17 16.306S 99 38.762W

Finally caught Fish

Dennis woke me up early Thursday morning to let me know that he had just pulled in a fish hooked on our trolling line and that I should come out and look to see if we wanted to keep it. It wasn’t a Tuna. The fish was about 3 feet long but shaped like a snake with huge eyes. It was not pretty. It was also dead so we decided that we did not want to keep that one. But at least it gave us some comfort that the lure we were using was attracting fish. We also decided that trolling in the nighttime, when we may not be watching the line, was not a good thing to do.
By mid day the winds had died down and we had to switch from the 160 back to the spinnaker. That meant less rolling and a smoother sail. Dennis noticed that there were some small metal filings on board and made an assumption that there was something going on with the pole we were using for the 160. So you know Dennis, he is all about maintenance to prevent major issues that could result in expensive repairs. So we tore the V-berth apart, dug out tools and parts and proceeded to take apart the pole on deck. Dennis on one end doing the fixing and me at the front of the boat holding and pulling the pole at his command. He did find the problem and he did fix it and it is better than before!! But the way the wind is now, it may be a while before we use the 160 again.
So at 8:00 in the evening we were both sitting on the cockpit enjoying the smooth sail and the sunset and I was contemplating heading down below to heat up left over for dinner. When I got up I noticed the trolling line seemed to have something on the end. I gave the line a little pull and sure enough we had a live fish. We had made the line extra long so that the lure was well behind the boat so it took a little while to pull the line in. I was halfheartedly making jokes about what ugly fish we may have on the line this time. Halfway in Dennis exclaimed “It’s a Tuna!!”  Well that changed everything. Now the pressure was on me to get that Tuna on board. I managed to get it to the side of the boat so that Dennis could haul it in and then I gave him the line. We had previously rehearsed what our roles would be so we would be prepared if by chance we did catch a Tuna.  But all that flew out the window for me and all I could think of was getting that sucker on board. But luckily Dennis remained calm and had to give me very simple instructions of where and how to get the gaff put together. I took the line back, walked towards the front of the boat to bring the Tuna close so that Dennis could hook him with the gaff. And it all went according to plan. As Dennis lifted him out of the water the tuna flicked himself off the hook and line but luckily landed in the cockpit. What a beautiful 20 lb Tuna!!! Stay tuned for pictures in our photo album which we will post when we have internet. Dennis did a great, but very amateur job cutting off our Tuna steaks and we now have enough Tuna for a while and even managed to freeze a couple of meals. We did not waste much!! Within 3 hours we were sitting back and eating the freshest Tuna steaks we ever had that we fried with nothing but a little olive oil and some fresh limes sprinkled on top just before serving it up!! Wow is all I can say! And tomorrow we plan to make Sushi.
It was an experience of a lifetime.