Showing posts from April, 2015

Tahuata Island

We pulled into Hanamoenoe bay on the west side of Tahuata Island to find quintessential Polynesia. Green, rugged, volcanic mountain peninsulas are on either side of the entrance to the bay. The water is clear and the waves land on a beautiful white sand beach lined with palm trees. Further back from the beach are grapefruit, lemon, mango and banana trees. We met Stephen, a local who lives on the beach. He hunts wild pigs and spearfishes. He offered us fresh coconut and grapefruit from his "garden". The day we were leaving, Stephen's dogs caught the scent of a wild pig. He found it, shot it and dragged it to the cliff edge near the beach. Franck, from the catamaran Funambule, and another Frenchman from the catamaran, Jambon et Buerre, took a dinghy to the rocks and Stephen dropped the pig. As the men hauled it to the dinghy, Stephen climbed down and they all took it to Stephen's house on the beach. We know they had a wonderful dinner that night! We went to Hapato

Arrival in Hiva Oa, Marquesas, French Polynesia

After 22 days of sailing (with only 4 hours of motoring!), we arrived at the island of Hiva Oa, part of the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia! The island is incredibly green and rugged, with an impressive volcanic stone plug peak almost always covered in cloud. Pictures to follow once we get strong internet. The anchorage in Atuona was a bit crowded and as we were not prepared to set our stern anchor (we had just re-attached our bow anchor after the crossing), we anchored outside the breakwater with two other boats. Then, after 22 days, we both went to sleep, at the same time, in the same bed, and for longer than 4 hours! In the morning we went into town and officially checked into French Polynesia. We had a wonderful breakfast of eggs, cheese, and fresh baguette. As we walked back to the marina we noticed the majority of vehicles are Defenders, one of Dina's favourite vehicles. We also noticed there were many horses and they all trotted over to be petted. We started to

Pacific Ocean Crossing.- Day 20

After 11 wonderful days sailing, we entered the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) or The Doldrums. This is a band near the Equator that is infamous for squalls and funky weather. During the squalls, the wind picks up suddenly, at times going from 15 knots to 30 knots in seconds. There is also a sudden burst of an indescribable amount of rain. The sudden squalls were usually too much for the autohelm (self-steering mechanism) to handle, or it was unable to adjust quickly enough, so we usually hand-steered through them. Depending on the strength of the gusts, steering can be quite a battle. Fortunately, the squalls don't last long. Of course the first one was probably the worst. Just before dawn, a squall hit and the wind went from about 15 knots to over 30 knots in seconds. I called for Malcolm and he dashed into the cockpit as the wind went to 50+ knots and the rain dumped on us. The noise was horrendous and the rain so thick we couldn't see the sails. We let the mai

Pacific Ocean Passage Day 11 - Still enjoying it!

We would like to say we are halfway, but we are not always sailing a straight line. We are often sailing more westerly to avoid small areas of little or no wind that are south of us. Soon we will be aiming straight for the Marquesas - either Nuka Hiva or Hiva Oa, we haven't decided which island yet. It has been much warmer. It is usually 27-28° during the day and 26° at night. We have had a few grey days with rain clouds all around. There has been lightening in the distance, so we have scrambled to put our satellite connection, the Iridium Go, the phone, tablet, and handheld GPS and VHF in the oven - our own Faraday Box - to protect them in case of a lightening strike. We have gone through a couple of rain squalls, but no storms or lightening. During one downpour, Malcolm sat in the cockpit and washed his hair using the water pouring off the bimini. We have had wonderful downwind sailing. Until yesterday, our average speed was almost 7 knots per hour. Our maximum recorded spee