Fafner Log

Date: May 1, 2009

Location: 08º 43' S 139º 59' W at 1200 hours

We left Nuku Hiva today and are on our way to Hilo, Hawaii. We almost left yesterday, but with one thing or another it got late enough in the afternoon for us to decide that one more night in Taiohae would be just right. And as it turns out there was another teen lurking in the anchorage. I was ashore with the girls and we ran into his Dad at the dinghy dock. Dad noticed the girls and mentioned that his 15 year old son was on board their catamaran but that son was shy. The girls and I brought some of our books over to their boat to trade and the kids met. We had a nice visit and the kids made plans to go wake boarding behind our dinghy and that was that, a new friend. It was fun to hear the three of them laughing and being silly. So once we decided to stay for one more night the kids took good advantage of the time. Imani is also heading to Hilo in a few days on their way home - they're from Sausalito - so we hope to see them again.

Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Date: April 23, 2009

Location: 08º 54.959' S 140º 05.951' W anchored in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas

Yippee, Yahoo and Yeeha too! Once we arrived here in Taiohae, Nuku Hiva we completed our circumnavigation. Geoff totalled up some numbers - distance from Nuku Hiva to Nuku Hiva = 28,280.8 nm and total distance traveled so far = 34,865.4 nm. We arrived in Taiohae just two days short of exactly two years of when we arrived in 2007. The harbor is full of boats and that's the same, but in even the two short years we were away we are noticing some changes on shore. The town is building a new civic center/marae thing and a new tourist center. More interesting for us directly, there are a couple of cafes (I think at least one was here before, but now they sport large awnings with shaded outdoor tables and chairs and increased hours) on the wharf area near where the dinghies tie to the wall and a lady has a lunch truck set up under the trees by the showers and she makes crepes and soft-serve ice cream. We actually haven't had any of her ice cream yet because we are thinking economy and we get more glace' by going to the magasin and buying a 2 liter tub. Um, we've done that twice already, once each afternoon for the two days we've been here.

We're enjoying being back. And is it bragging if you introduce yourself with "Hello, we're the Arnold family on Fafner and we've just completed a circumnavigation and who are you?"? We'll have to watch ourselves.

Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Date: April 22, 2009

Location: 10º 27.895' S 138º 40.082' W Bai de Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Fatu Hiva is lovely and we are enjoying ourselves here. We arrived to what we consider a full anchorage (8 boats in a small-ish space) Four of the boats were Americans and two them had kids on board! We had to wait a little bit before we could anchor because the shallower areas were more crowded, gee, and one side of this bay has more rocks than sand. Someone was in the act of leaving, so we went in circles and hopefully didn't hustle them too much. We got in and then ate and then sat back and observed. I got to resurrect my neighborhood watch skills by listening to the VHF and looking at the dinghies zipping around. I quickly figured out who belonged with which boat and who knew who etc. It's like riding a bike... Two more boats came in after we did and squeezed in. Late in the afternoon, after we felt settled, we put up our Jolly Roger. The next morning the anchorage cleared out except for the boats who arrived after us. Coincidence?

We ventured ashore looking for eggs and the Gendarme. We found eggs. The lady at the store said the Gendarme was "up over there" but that he was washing his car and that maybe we could find him later. We bought diet cokes and eggs and pork&beans and went for a petit promenade. Another woman from town said that her mother would cook for us if we wanted dinner and we hemmed and hawwed and tried to be non-committal. As it turned out she also talked to another boat and they agreed to poll the anchorage for dinner guests and as it turned all 16 of us went ashore and had dinner at Serge & Kati's house. We had poisson cru and chicken and rice and pamplemousse and cabbage salad and and fresh tomatoes. Serge played guitar and Kati played the ukelele and they both sang. Their granddaughter was talked into dancing. She's 5 and can already shake what her mama gave her much better than I ever could. I think it's in the DNA. We stayed until late and had an excellent time.

This morning Geoff and Claire hiked up to a waterfall and now we think we've done what we'd like to do here and perhaps this afternoon we're off to Nuku Hiva. If we leave this afternoon we should get there tomorrow afternoon, it's about 125 nm.

Date: April 19, 2009

Location: 10º 27.895' S 138º 40.082' W Bai de Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

We made it in today just after sunrise. The anchorage had several other boats in it, most of them being American. The large spires in the harbor look more like tiki heads than anything else. The water is warm, but rather murky. We visited an American boat that had kids on it. They are leaving tonight, but it was nice to talk to other kids again. (Alex)

Date: April 18, 2009

Location: 11º 50' S 137º 47' W at 1200 hours

The wind was down a little today. We are close enough to Hanavave, The Bay of Virgins (more about that later) to contemplate reducing sail in order to arrive after sunrise tomorrow. Unless of course the wind continues to come down all on its own, in which case we leave well enough alone. Decisions, decisions... For those of you with lingual skills, the bay we are heading toward supposedly was originally called "Bay des Verges" after some prominent, rigid, rock formations. The missionaries disapproved of the name and inserted an "i" making the name "Bay des Vierges" instead. We'll take photos and let you decide for yourselves.

Date: April 17, 2009

Location: 13º 34' S 136º 36' W at 1200 hours

Both girls are immersed in school work, so I'm back at the computer. The wind has moved and we have changed course. Both events have produced a better ride. All of the bananas we got in Mangareva went from green to brown in the blink of an eye, so we made two loaves of banana bread this morning. The sun was even out for a while today too. All in all, morale has improved.

Date: April 16, 2009

Location: 16º 09' S 135º 10' W at 1200 hours

Mom is worried about the shallow spot we're crossing today. The shallow spot is only 1,200 feet of water. Claire says that if we can time the waves right we'll be able to just drift over it. We're usually in 12,000 feet of water or so. Today has been okay. No one is feeling seasick, but it is so hot in the cabin. The boobies of yesterday have decided that we aren't that interesting so they've left.

Date: April 15, 2009

Location: 18º 41' S 135º 04' W at 1200 hours

We didn't write any messages yesterday, but not to worry all is well on board. We've seen a few sea birds, but otherwise it's been boring. Not that boring is bad.

Date: April 13, 2009

We left today. We are going to Fatu Hiva. It was a little choppy so Claire and I felt kinda sick and took some seasick medicine. I'm wishing I hadn't because I'm now really tired. Mom asked me to write the e-mail saying we left so I'm sitting here trying to type without falling asleep.

Gambier Islands

Date: April 12, 2009

Location: 23º 06.988' S 134º 58.010' W anchored off Rikitea Village, Ile Mangareva, Gambiers

Good news, the Easter bunny knows where the Gambiers are and stopped by to bring us jelly beans and Skittles and pamplemousse. Adventure Bear was trying to spread rumors that there might have been chocolate eggs up the mast, but Claire wasn't willing to go up there and look on the strength of a rumor no matter how hard ABear was urging her. We all think ABear wanted to eat her jelly beans while she was otherwise occupied.

We're still here in the Gambiers, but we hope to be leaving for Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas tomorrow. We thought we might leave today, but the clouds rolled in and the wind was still enhancing the trades and we didn't especially care to chop our way across the lagoon through coral heads we couldn't see out a pass that led to a washing machine. So, today the girls and I went with Christian (our neighbor from the boat Galileo) to visit the coral Cathedral, that un-structurally sound one they don't hold Mass in anymore. We found a sweet 89 yr old man to let us in and show us around. Christian is French and she acted as translator for us. The interior was empty except for the altars and the thing that the priests climbed up to read and preach from. The decoration behind the main altar was stunning. The design was flowers and grapes made out of mother-of-pearl and shells. Unfortunately the altar is hidden behind protective plastic and scaffolding so we couldn't see all of it from afar. Our guide lifted the plastic and let us get really close up though. And he talked about how the building is made of a kind of coral plaster put over a wooden frame instead of cut stones. He gave us a hand-written paper explaining about the cathedral and the girls had a French lesson translating it. We're happy Christian was there to help decipher the handwriting as well as to translate.

Alex was excited to have her birthday on shore for a change. We celebrated her advancement to age 14 with two neighboring boats, Galileo and Azzar. We ate chocolate cherry cake and drank beverages until after dark. The wind was up and it was raining so we just watched the Easter Vigil Mass from the warmth and comfort of our cockpit. I was cheered to see the mini-bonfire outside the gym/church and be able to watch the congregation light their candles and go inside. It reminded me of San Jose.

Date: April 8, 2009

Location: 23º 06.988' S 134º 58.010' W anchored off Rikitea Village, Ile Mangareva, Gambiers

Claire and Geoff and I went for our walk/hike across the island yesterday. It was a walk/hike because part of it was on a road and another part was on a trail through the jungle. We started through town and walked up to a small wooden marker labeled Belvedere. The trails were pretty obvious, unlike what Geoff says he found on Moorea. We climbed past someone's yard and got to the Belvedere. We could see both sides of the island. We enjoyed the view and then continued to the other side. As we passed the someone's house we acquired the company of two dogs. We walked past mango trees, but didn't see any mangoes. Sigh. Our canine companions entertained themselves by chasing chickens around yards. These chickens can really fly. Mango trees can provide refuge. Unfortunately for one chicken, it was not fast enough and one of the dogs caught it. The dog carried the dead chicken around for quite some time before leaving it outside a resortish-looking place. Even though I've been wanting chicken for days I wasn't tempted to keep the extremely fresh meat. Some pioneer I'd make. We tried to get the dogs to go home, but they ended up going with us the whole way. We passed pearl farms and a place where they're digging up coral to make gravel. Then our trail went into the green and we climbed up hill past an old ruin of a building and lychee trees. We all drank some water because Claire shared with the dogs. We had brought our masks and snorkels with us in case the other side of the island had more appealing beaches. It didn't, but Claire used her mask for a dog water dish. Now I feel compelled to sterilize her mask.

Having completed our walk we've done just about all there is to do here. Geoff wants to change the oil and then we'll look at the weather to see when would be a good time to continue. A front has been moving through here for the last couple of days. I think it's my fault for doing laundry and hanging it out to dry on the boat. Hopefully the "Fresh" wind and rain back off and we'll be on our way to Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas soon. In the meantime, I think we need another round of ice cream.

Date: April 6, 2009

Location: 23º 06.988' S 134º 58.010' W anchored off Rikitea Village, Ile Mangareva, Gambiers

The Gambiers are a restful place. After too long the restfulness would probably get to us, but for now it is good to be here. We're moving slowly. Oh, the jellyfish don't sting. The girls have been picking the things up and tossing them to each other. If that doesn't inspire the poor jellies to sting I don't think anything will. So we've all been swimming and snorkeling on the reefs close to the boat. The reefs are only so-so. We're getting particular about our coral and fish. The supply ship came in on Saturday, so the entire town was down at the wharf. We didn't go to the store on Saturday afternoon though so we've probably missed out on the frozen chickens from New Zealand. We're missing meat. We heard that the fish here can cause ciguentaria, no one eats them. The locals aren't fishing off the pier, so we're inclined to believe our informant.

Sunday was Palm Sunday. The girls and I joined the service. It was interesting, but we feel like we've made up for all our missed Sundays in the last year by attending this mass. We started at the small chapel in town. The priest (a little French guy) blessed the palms and read a bunch of prayers and then we all processed from the chapel to the church across town. The choir sang in French and Polynesian as we processed. We actually were going to the public gymnasium. The Church is structurally unsound, so the community uses the gym. Outside the gym the local dance group - complete with drums and ukeleles - was there to greet the priest and his palm-waving flock. We all went inside and mass began. The singing was wonderful, as Polynesian usual. Because it was Palm Sunday the Gospel was the entire Passion. It was in French. Men from the community read the different parts. Most of the Mass was in French, but the singing was in Polynesian. However, after the looooong Gospel the priest chose to give a looooong sermon. In French. I sure miss understanding the jokes. The congregation would laugh and I'd look at Alex and she'd shrug. A couple of hours later, which for Catholics is an unheard-of length for Mass, we were back out in the sunshine. Everything was closed. We went swimming and later we went for an amble on shore in search of fruit.

We're hoping to go for a hike if it doesn't rain tomorrow. And I have this crazy desire to wash our bed linens and maybe our shirts. And find some meat that isn't tinned. We've got some pamplemousse, ahhhh, bliss.

Date: April 2, 2009

Location: 23º 06.988' S 134º 58.010' W anchored off Rikitea Village, Ile Mangareva, Gambiers

Just in case anyone was wondering, we didn't catch Hamachi yesterday. He's our friend, not food. This morning, before the sun crept over the horizon we could already see some of the islands that make up the Gambiers. We have been conditioned by the Tuamotus on what to expect when entering coral atolls. We were expecting a defined pass between fringing coral reef that we would be entering against (or with) tidal current. Then we expected to dodge coral heads as we crossed the internal waters of the atoll on our way to reach the anchorage. Everyone assumed their coral pass positions. We sent Claire up the mast armed with a hat, long-sleeved shirt and polarized sunglasses. Alex was planted squarely in front of the depth sounder. I was on the bow. All for naught. The Gambiers are older than the Tuamotus and they've had time to sink farther. We crossed into the atoll over a coral ridge that was 30 feet under water. Claire was up the mast enjoying the view. The depths crossing the atoll were around 80-120 feet. Supply ships come in here. Claire did get some action on our approach to the village. There are reefs here that needed avoiding, but the channel is clearly marked with red & green marks all of which appeared to be intact and in place. There are about 7 other boats here. I recognize one of the names from the Patagonia Net. The girls saw a boy driving a dinghy. Now they have to work up the nerve to talk to him. They tried swimming but found jellyfish. Neither girl was willing to touch them to see if the jellies here sting. We haven't seen anyone else swimming... We checked in with the Gendarmes. They are pleasantly relaxed. They checked our passports and had us fill out a customs form. Then they asked us to take the form down to the post office and mail it to Tahiti. And we know we're really back in French Polynesia because we bought a box of 10 frozen hamburgers, a 2 liter bottle of coke and a 2 liter tub of ice cream and spent about $40US. Tomorrow if we're feeling flush we may spring for some Hinano beer.

Date: April 1, 2009

Location: 23º 22' S 133º 16' W at 1200 hours

Today was an interesting day. It started like any other; the sun rose, I tried to listen to the Puddlejump net and Claire muttered about the fish. Today she got out her lure and we trailed it behind the boat. I admit we weren't paying much attention to it because we never catch anything. Until we caught something. The line got taut and jumped and we could see a big fish on the line. Claire yelled for Geoff and they managed to drag the fish alongside the boat and then get it on deck. It was Hamachi. I was in tears. Alex was hiding behind her hands. Claire had the winch handle in her hand and was raising it up to brain Hamachi when he spoke, "Claire, don't brain me with that winch handle for I am a magic fish and will grant you three wishes if you let me go!" We were all stunned. We didn't need to think about his offer for very long. Geoff and I wished to find good jobs that we liked on our return. Claire and Alex wished for interesting classes that they would succeed in on their return. Then we all looked at each other, smacked our foreheads with our hands and said, "What are we thinking?!" And we wished for unlimited ice creams. Hamachi said he would grant our wishes even though Claire hadn't put the winch handle all the way away.

Date: March 31, 2009

Location: 23º 34' S 131º 07' W at 1200 hours

This morning I checked in with the Puddlejump net. I know that the net is primarily for cruisers crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas, but technically we're jumping the puddle too, so I got Liberty to look up their frequency for me and I found them. They are still far enough away that I can't hear all of them clearly. Two boats were within 50 nm of Hiva Oa, a bunch are clustered around the neighborhood of the equator, and a few are still at 07 deg north-ish. I enjoyed myself in a warped sort of way as I gave them our position. I could almost hear the pause as the guy processed 23 deg south. I relented and explained that we're on our way to the Gambiers from Chile. Then I asked if there were any teens in the fleet. Someone thought that there might be a boat with 12/13 year olds. Alex was pleased. Now we just have to find them.

Last night we passed 75 nm north of Pitcairn Island, home of the Bounty mutineers. And we passed 12 nm north of itty bitty Oeno Island. We didn't see either one. The next thing we're avoiding is Temoe Atoll. Finding any of these on an atlas could be a geography challenge.

You'll be interested to know that we didn't get out the lure today and Hamachi swam by to flip his fins in Claire's general direction.

Date: March 30, 2009

Location: 23º 45' S 128º 37' W at 1200 hours

Today we passed north of Henderson Island. We didn't see it because we had clouds with off and on rain and it was 36 miles away. We got some birds today and one of them was a booby. Maybe the island is their home. No sightings of Hamachi the Tuna though. I think he heard Claire talk about her lure. He's crafty that fish.

Date: March 29, 2009

Location: 23º 53' S 126º 23' W at 1200 hours

We've had a day of squalls today. Nothing to write about really, except, well, after one of them passed through the wind changed and well, we had to change our sails. What an imposition. We had the sails set that way since we left Easter Island. Okay, we did move the mizzen once so we've been downwind sailing wing and wing and wing (poled-out jib-main-mizzen on alternating sides of the boat) and we did flirt with gybing the main a couple of days ago, but we've been set until today. Gotta love cruising. Our clouds will probably prevent us from watching the sun set, but we've seen a series of green flashes at sunset since returning to the Pacific. I think it missed us. Speaking of missing us, Hamachi the Tuna was back today. Geoff and the girls saw him. Claire is threatening to get out her lure tomorrow.

Date: March 28, 2009

Location: 23º 59' S 124º 08' W at 1200 hours

Today I saw a creature swim past the boat. It might have been a small dolphin, but it was alone and didn't do any leaping or jumping and ignored our bow wake. It think it was Hamachi, our tuna. It swam past us and then it was gone. No one else saw it so the rest of the crew think I was hallucinating. But I'm not and I'm sure it was him. Claire says she hates that fish.

Date: March 27, 2009

Location: 24º 02' S 121º 55' W at 1200 hours

It's kind of like that short story, oh what was it called, "The Duel"? Back when I got my first teaching job I went out and bought a car. I got a Mazda 323(what they renamed the GLC) hatchback. It was small, but it was mine. How small was it? It was so small that when driving on the highway I swear I could disappear under semi-trailer trucks. I would watch them approach in my rear-view mirror. First I'd see the entire front of the truck. As it got closer I would see less and less of the upper cab and windows until I would only see the grill and front bumper. Finally, all I could see would be the Ford symbol surrounded by dead bugs. Watching squalls approach at night is like that. First I saw the entire black cloud with its streamers of rain hanging down under it. As it got closer I saw less and less of the upper cloud until I saw the streamers right behind me. Finally all I could see was the rain on the water and on the dodger. At least being run over by a rain cloud is cleansing.

Date: March 26, 2009

Location: 24º 03' S 119º 57' W at 1200 hours

Not much happened today. Um, it rained briefly. We're delving into our can collection in search of culinary inspiration. We found a can of strawberries from Egypt. Alex made us a strawberry cobbler with them. Maybe we should watch Ratatouille and close our eyes and chant "Anyone can cook," and see what we can come up with for tomorrow. We found a rusty can of sauerkraut nestled next to some fruit cocktail in the bottom of the can locker. What would the Iron Chef do with those for secret ingredients?

Date: March 25, 2009

Location: 24º 03' S 117º 28' W at 1200 hours

There were stars last night and I watched an itty bitty little slice of the moon come up just before the sun. Today we were sailing along, minding our own business, when a squall of just one fat grey cloud came over to visit us. It had wind strong enough to heel us over and cause us to reduce sail. It made us wet too. It lasted for maybe 15 minutes. Then it sucked all the wind in the neighborhood up into itself and went away. The sky was blue again. The water was blue again. Our sails flopped. We turned on the engine and decided to make water and charge the batteries in gear.

Date: March 24, 2009

Location: 24º 01' S 115º 29' W at 1200 hours

I was all set for some serious navel/star gazing last night. I had my mental list of deep philosophical questions ready to ponder, such as what is the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything? I had a freshly brewed cup of tea. And I had a sky covered by clouds. Who invited them to my heavy, deep and real moment? It's not the same to look up into the lighter and darker greys of the dark sky to examine your place in the cosmos. I was forced to switch to Plan B for my night's musings; what to cook for the next day. Although technically I don't cook, so I think up things to "suggest" to the girls. We used one of the oranges we have left from Puerto Montt, oops now the crew knows how long those have been with us, to make an orange tea bread for breakfast. I also remembered the can of chicken mole from Mexico. The girls recognized Danielle's handwriting on the can (we label the cans with a Sharpee to minimize the fun that could be had should the label come off) and had a Pythagorus memory moment. So for lunch we had chicken mole with rice and negro beans refritas. I had no more culinary inspirations, dinner just may be popcorn

In sailing news, we made it to latitude 24 south, so from here we're basically going west to the Gambiers. Yee ha.

Date: March 23, 2009

Location: 24º 25' S 113º 31' W at 1200 hours

Last night was very clear and because we are heading toward a new moon (it's on the 26th) a sky-full of stars were visible. It's on nights like last night that I enjoy staring at the Milky Way and pondering its beauty and my small place in the universe. I try to find the few constellations I know too, but I usually get lost because there are too many stars and I can't place things. I'm satisfied if I can find the Southern Cross, either of the Dippers and Orion. The cruisers on Surprise were telling us about a fun book of constellations written by Rey, the guy who wrote the Curious George books. They bought a copy for some grandchild and then bought themselves one because they liked it. Maybe I should check it out some time. If tonight is clear maybe I should look for Draco or Aries just to challenge my skills. Nah, I'll stick with recognizing the moon as the moon instead of thinking, in a panic-filled moment, that some huge tanker is bearing down on us.

Date: March 22, 2009

Location: 25º 47' S 111º 54' W at 1200 hours

Hhmmmm, what can we tell you about today, um, we found three stiff flying fish on the foredeck. A squall came through and rained on us a little. Now that we've been on several longer passages we just don't seem to get excited about all those little things any more. We're all looking forward to snorkeling again. Heck, I'm looking forward to water warmer than 52 deg. F.

Date: March 21, 2009

Location: 27º 05' S 109º 30' W at 1200 hours

We left Easter Island today just before noon. The anchorage was really rolly and the dinghy landing was, well, um, really challenging. The rest of the family was more than up for the challenge, but I'm afraid I wasn't. There was a cruise ship anchored off Hanga Roa when we arrived. It left the next day but another one arrived at dawn. The first cruise ship sent its guests ashore around the corner to a small harbor in covered tenders. Ha. The new cruise ship obviously had hardier guests. We watched the local fishermen ferry the life jacketed guests ashore 6-8 at a time in their small, open fishing skiffs/pangas. They went into the same cove we were using, surf and all. It set up a bond of brotherhood between the panga guys and the yachties. The locals would give advice on timing the waves to the yachties. The cruise ship guests just smiled. It was all a part of their package. So, we saw loads of moais, got wave riding thrills, had good ice cream and topped off on diesel. What else was left? We are now going to the Gambiers to enjoy some snorkeling in a protected coral atoll. If all goes well maybe Alex can have her birthday on shore this year.

Easter island - Rapa Niu - Isla de Pascua (Chile)

Date: March 19, 2009

Location: 27º 08.804' S 109º 26.165' W anchored in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

But first, about the limericks, Karl gets double extra credit for rhyming Winona with Jonah and Fafner with softener, and Sonia gets multiple style points for rhyming departing with farting. We loved them.

About Easter Island - this morning we dingied around to talk to some of the neighbors. We chatted with the Danes on Sol, who we met in Puerto Montt. Then, in one of those small world coincidences, we discovered that the American cat was a delivery (Australia to Venezula via Aukland, Easter Island and the Galapagos)crewed by the same couple we met in the Cape Verdes. And it gets better, the new boat was the exact same make and model as the last one we saw them on. It was fun to see them again. They gave us some tips about what to see here.

We got ashore through the surf. Really, on good waves the surf breaks across the entrance to the dinghy landing. There are actual surfers out in the water that you need to avoid hitting as you pass them. The ride was too exciting for me. On the way back to the boat I bummed a ride in the cruise ship's dinghy with a HUGE outboard instead of riding back in our dinghy with the rest of the family. They made it just fine too. Alex waved at the surfers and the surfers cheered as our dinghy zipped by riding the waves. Claire loves to run it on a full plane and the surf/swell was an added speed bonus.

We rented a car on shore and spent the day driving around looking at Big Heads. Some of them have bodies too. And hats. Our favorites were in a quarry. The quarry was where the Rapa Nuians would carve the moai. There were 600 or so lying and standing around. We also went to a village site where contestants in a swim-out-to-the-moto-and-retrieve-a-tern-egg contest would stay. The winner got to be Bird Man for a year. He was then accorded privileges almost equal to the king. The village was on the edge of a volcano crater. ABear made friends there with the park rangers and got presents. We also found out what happens to backpackers who stay in exotic locations too long. They go ancient native. We were viewing a row of standing moai and admiring a herd of wild horses that were grazing nearby. I was taking pictures when I noticed a man running amongst the horses. Then I looked again. He was throwing rocks near the horses to herd them away from the moai. But what caught my attention was his attire. He had his long hair in a knot, a homemade quiver on his back and, um, not much else on. He had a teensy weensy frontal piece to a sort-of loin cloth, but his buns were bronzed and bare. After he got the horses to go where he wanted them, he ran barefoot across the clearing and disappeared after them. I don't know if he'll show up in the photos.

Our friends on Tandem arrived this afternoon and we found excellent ice cream cones.

Date: March 18, 2009

Location: 27º 08.804' S 109º 26.165' W anchored in Hanga Roa, Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Well, we could still be out there, bobbing along in the anticyclonic synoptico (Armada weather words), but we employed the iron gennie and arrived today. We got out the binocs and were scanning the island for Big Heads as we came around to this anchorage. Geoff and Claire went ashore to check in and got a weather forecast from the Armada. It looks like we have favorable wind to stay in this anchorage and do some exploring. There were already 5 sailboats anchored here when we arrived; three cats, 2 French & 1 American, and 2 sloops, Danish & Antiguan. We've spoken to the French yachties and they think it's an interesting island.

We're happy to be here, and the Big Heads beckon.

Date: March 17, 2009

Location: 26º 55' S 107º 01' W at 1200 hours

Erin go Braugh,

Sure 'en begorra we be wishin' all o' ye a Happy St. Paddy's Day! In addition to the traditional chorizo chop suey, Alex made green sugar cookies. We found light winds again so we entertained ourselves by writing a few limericks.

The Arnolds, those intrepid yachties,

sailed away at increasing knotties,

until they found a zoo

with creatures, yahoo!

and got charts from the friendly coatis.

There once was a sailboat named Fafner

who was prone to hysterical laughter

the crew was in stitches

till they lost their britches

so they wore sarongs ever after.

St. Patrick's Day, now it is here

let's break out the green food and beer

although there's no fish

to put in our dish

we still have some holiday cheer.

Date: March 16, 2009

Location: 26º 45' S 105º 07' W at 1200 hours

We're back to wind coming more from behind so we're rolling along. Hmmm, how many songs can I think of that involve rolling... like a rolling stone; merrily we roll along; rollin', rollin', rollin', keep those dogies rollin', rawhide! Only 200 miles to go, thank goodness. We need some distraction. This morning I read the kids the instructions for opening the corn flakes bag as translated from Spanish into English. It was interesting, really. It explained something about holding the bag in one hand and making a small scissors cut along the dashed line indicated. I'm sure it was better in the original Spanish.

Date: March 15, 2009

Location: 26º 34' S 102º 35' W at 1200 hours

I finally got around to reading Slocum's book about his solo circumnavigation. I was particularly interested in his food choices. Ship's biscuits, tinned meat, potatoes, tea and coffee were his staples. In one passage he rhapsodizes about an onion he is cooking on his lantern. I thought of him this morning as I chucked a couple more stiff flying fish off the deck. I throw them overboard, he ate them. Either I am being too picky or he wasn't being picky enough. Although in light of our fishing skills maybe I should take advantage of the only fish we seem able to catch. I've heard from other people (in addition to Slocum) that they are tasty. I bet they have a lot of little bones. Would that provide some all- important calcium for growing young women?

Date: March 14, 2009

Location: 26º 17' S 099º 46' W at 1200 hours

We have achieved flying fish! In addition to the three stiff ones on the deck this morning, we've seen some singletons flying away from the boat. We're eagerly awaiting watching a group of 30 or so flying in terror from our imposing bulk. More sun and a fresh breeze today. We're practicing standing at an angle to seem upright as the boat has achieved an impressive heel to port. You should see the kids cross the main salon.

Speaking of making our own fun - in honor of St. Patrick's Day, we're challenging you to create limericks. Choose your theme, just keep'em clean.

Date: March 13, 2009

Location: 26º 01' S 096º 51' W at 1200 hours

We've sort of taken today off, just because. Oh, is it Friday the 13th? The sky is still blue, we reached a waypoint - Yippee! - and it's a tad warmer so even I am wearing shorts. Alex is making brownies. All in all a good day. Only catching a fish could improve on it, but we'd need to have the line in the water for that to happen. Maybe tomorrow we'll be ready to try again.

Date: March 12, 2009

Location: 26º 27' S 094º 34' W at 1200 hours

Day 10 - completely demoralizd on fishing front, don't even put out a line today.

This morning we ran into a squall line and in addition to bringing grey skies and a spit or two or rain, when the squalls passed our wind was from a new direction. We aren't sailing downwind any more, at least not for the moment. And, well, this change in our routine of the past 9 days has left me feeling a little off. The boat is only heeled to one side and it's thrown off my rhythm. On the one hand I'm looking forward to sleeping tucked up on one side of our bunk instead of spread out like a starfish with my limbs across the entire thing. But on the other hand, I was just getting good at putting dirty dishes on the counter and then letting them slide into the sink. Hey, you make your own fun out here. The girls are watching their entire library of the TV show "Lost" episodes. (Please don't tell us what happens after Season 3, we'd like to see for ourselves) Sawyer and Michael are out on a raft in the ocean after their failed attempt to escape the island. The girls are relating to the aquatic atmosphere if not the craft. I'm looking at the waves and trying to guess how many knots of wind they might have. Like I said, you make your own fun out here.

Date: March 11, 2009

Location: 26º 52' N 092º 35' W at 1200 hours

Day Nine - still no fish. We're opening a CAN of tuna to make tuna salad tonight. In other animal news, a booby flew around the boat three times this morning, next I need scads of flying fish skittering away from the boat and then I'll really feel back in the Pacific. Oh, and we're on deck in shorts again. Well almost everyone. I'm still wearing jeans, but I'm in short sleeves. Enjoy the full moon tonight. We plan to sit out on deck and howl. Maybe that will attract fish.

Date: March 10, 2009

Location: 27º 18' S 089º 58' W

Claire is trying to find a good time to receive messages. The propagation gods are messing with her mind. Late afternoon USED to be the optimum time, but not yesterday. So she tried early this morning. Nope. Midday. Nope. She's going to try tonight after dark. Not much new here, the fish are still all alive and well and in their ocean. Last night a squid made a suicide leap onto our deck. Claire used him as bait on her lure. The fish weren't interested but the complaining birds were happy. We didn't catch any of them either.

Date: March 9, 2009

Location: 27º 38' S 087º 27' W at 1200 hours

I know you are all wondering, and no, we haven't caught any fish today much less the one living under our boat. In fact we haven't seen him today. Claire is trying out a shiny spinner lure. The birds that came looking for the plastic squid were vocal in their displeasure with the change. Last night we got some good wind and went faster for a while. Now the wind is down, but I'm not complaining because I find I like a more restful pace. Don't tell Geoff and the kids that I prefer traveling at 4 knots to traveling at 7 knots. I might be drummed out of their speed-loving corp.

Date: March 8, 2009

Location: 28º 21' S 085º 02' W at 1200 hours

Our gentle wind is holding and we spent the day under sail power alone. I know, an odd thing for a sailboat to even mention. I was going to say it was an uneventful day, but the shackle on the spinnaker sort of popped and the tack of the spinnaker went free. We socked it and Geoff dug out a new shackle and we were back in business. The tuna came out from under the boat today and did a mighty leap that propelled him completely out of the water. Claire was on watch and saw the entire thing. I'm sure it knew.

Date: March 7, 2009

Location: 29º 28' S 083º 48' W at 1200 hours

This afternoon we got a little wind so we're clipping along at 4 kts. I'm still enjoying the more leisurely pace although I might be willing to admit that listening to flapping is not so restful. I found the Patagonia Cruiser's Net when we were in Puerto Eden and even though we are out in the Pacific now we can still check in and chat. I think Easter Island is about as far as the contact goes. There is another boat heading to Easter Island right now and he has only 150 miles to go. We've been paying attention to his weather. This morning he had 3 kts of wind and I told him that we win because we had 5 kts. I'll have to find a South Pacific Net after Easter Island. Talking to the net keeps me entertained. Speaking of entertainment, Claire's battle with the fish continues. He's still with us. This morning he was jumping and fishing next to the boat. Claire claims it was for her benefit. She's starting to get a look in her eye, sort of a twitch actually. What was it that Ahab would say? And when should I worry?

Date: March 6, 2009

Location: 30º 30' S 082º 37' W at 1200 hours

Minimum excitement today. We have close to zero wind and we're making most of it ourselves by running the engine in gear. We prefer to think of it as charging the batteries and making water instead of just motoring. Tandem is with us and they are also motoring. The Gribs suggest that tomorrow we may see enough breeze to fill a sail. Our fish are still with us too. Claire talks to the tuna about how much he'd enjoy chomping on our squid lure. I talk to the tuna about being smart and not taking treats from strangers. Although after swimming with us for 4 days, are we strangers or funny bipedal members of his school?

Date: March 5, 2009

Location: 31º 23' S 081º 35' W at 1200 hours

We're bobbing along out here and strangely, I'm finding it soothing. The rest of the family is more prone to changing and adjusting the sails in order to squeeze the last iota of speed from them. I sat in the cockpit and worked crossword puzzles and smiled encouragement toward them while they set the spinnaker. We'll eventually work our way out of this high and we'll be back to a breezier, faster run. In the meantime, we took a break this afternoon and the kids went swimming. It's okay Grammas, they remained tethered to the boat. While they were swimming the tuna came out from under the boat to swim with them. It's all over now. We can't catch and eat him. I named him. How can you eat a fish you played with?

Date: March 4, 2009

Location: 32º 21' S 080º 24' W at 1200 hours

Earlier today the depth sounder registered something between 15 and 20 feet for about 10 minutes. "Odd," I thought. I pointed it out to the kids. We checked the charts for weird shallows in the middle of the ocean. None. We hypothesized thermal layers affecting how the instrument registers. Finally we decided it must be, ha ha, fish swimming under the boat. Claire got out our handline and began trailing our red plastic squid lure. While she was doing that she looked over the side and saw, yup, you guessed it, a fish swim out from under the boat. It was only about a foot long and had black and white stripes all along its body. It also had cute little fins which definitely put it over into the Fish Are Friends Not Food category. But, the guy swimming on the other side of the boat got Claire going. It bore more than a passing resemblance to the tuna that taunted her on Robinson Crusoe. She's on a mission.

This evening we saw the green flash as the sun set into the ocean. This is significant because 1) it's cool to see and 2) it means we had both sun and a cloud-free horizon. Things are looking up.

Date: March 3, 2009

Location: 33º 24' S 079º 07' W at 1200 hours

Ah, with one thing and then another, our best laid plans to leave on Sunday turned into finally leaving today. We enjoyed ourselves on Robinson Crusoe Island. Geoff, Claire, Florence and I hiked up to see the remains of Selkirk's (Alexander Selkirk was the real Robinson Crusoe)house. Allein and Alex are not big hikers and they each remained on our respective boats. Alex made chocolate chip cookies and I think Allein repaired his main cars. The crews appreciated their efforts. Not much remains of Selkirk's cabin. We could see the rocks he used to form the foundation of his house. It was small. I kept saying that even if I was alone I'd want more space. Geoff pointed out that the outside is very big and that Selkirk would have had to carry each rock up the mountain. I started re-thinking how much room one person could really use. Then we went to what's left of a fort (more stacked rocks!) and found a meteo station. Yippee! We chatted with the friendly man on duty and came away with a print-out of the forecast. Then by expressing weather interest to the armada guys they read the forecast over the VHF a couple of times.

We also met some nice young men on their mission for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Elder O'Neill was from North Carolina and his partner was from Washington State. The poor guy was disappointed that I didn't know where the Tri-Cities Area was. Now I know that it's somewhere in eastern Washington on a river. They were fun to talk to and they claimed it was good for them to use English again. We asked them for a recommendation for a restaurant and they told us to go fishing instead. They claimed they've stood on the dock, dropped their line in the water and within minutes caught tuna for dinner. Little did they know of our fishing talent. We tried to explain, but they laughed and thought we were kidding. Back at the boat the girls got out our hand-line and fished for an hour and a half. When it finally got dark and we were still fish-less I made some mac&cheese for dinner. Claire was especially incensed because there was a remarkably tasty- looking 2-foot-long tuna that circled their lure for the entire hour and a half. He's swim by, laugh at the girls, stick out his tongue, wave a flipper and then casually swim away only to return again and repeat his taunting. The final indignity was the jump he made as they were pulling in the lure. Yup, Arnolds got fishing skills.

I can't resist a math thing. Today is a square root day, or square day depending on your perspective. 3/3/09.

Robinson Crusoe Island - Isla Juan Fernandez (Chile)

Date: February 26, 2009

Location: 33º 38.412' S 078º 49.491' W anchored in Bahia Cumberland, Robinson Crusoe Island

Almost 24 hours later we might be willing to admit that the anchorage does feel a trifle rolly. We use Cabo as our standard of uncomfortable rolliness against which all other anchorages are measured. Cumberland has not yet achieved Cabo rolliness so we are still okay. The kids have been swimming off the boat. They looked at the water temp and it has reached a scorching 74 degrees F. They enjoyed snorkeling around the boat, dislodged barnacles from our depth sounder, and communed with curious yellow-fin tuna. Luckily the fish didn't understand Japanese. The girls greeted the fish as "Hamachi!" and the fish remained swimming with the girls.

Tandem arrived early this morning. Before we were up, in fact. I was making tea and I looked out a window and saw them. Geoff and Claire gave Florence a ride in to shore to chat with the Armada. Thus cementing in the Armada's mind the idea that the six of us are actually traveling on one boat, FafnerTandem. When talking with the Armada guys in Puerto Montt we went separately. We were asked, "And what about Tandem?" Allein was asked, "And Fafner?" We just laugh.

While on shore Geoff and Claire found out all kinds of cool stuff. They got a map of the Island and found out about some good hikes. The Navy supply ship is in town, so there is lots of activity on the dock. And this afternoon there is a regatta. We are watching two of the contestants right now. They are sailing around the supply ship. The contestants are small open fishing boats and they put up neon-colored sails. Their booms appear longer than their masts are tall. We watched one boat gybe. Aiiieee! There a contest too for the largest langostina (lobster). I might need to be in on the judging for that one. "Wait here guys, I'm just going to take these back to my boat to examine them more closely..." Later this evening in town there will be musica electronica. And then tomorrow the supply ship leaves. I guess then we'll have to make our own fun.

Date: February 25, 2009

Location: 33º 38.412' S 078º 49.491' W anchored in Bahia Cumberland, Robinson Crusoe Island

We arrived this afternoon in another grey and windy day. At least we could use that wind to our advantage. And to be fair to the weather gods, we did get some occasional sun. There are two moorings available here but they are currently occupied by a sailboat and a fishing boat, so we anchored between them. The Chilean sailboat "Skedaddle" waved to us and pointed us in the direction of our anchoring spot. We'll have to go over later and be friendly. Tandem was following us, but they planned to leave Marina Oxxean later that same afternoon and then they might have stopped to anchor and catch the morning tide. We arrived first, not that we were racing... We've heard from a reliable source that this can be a rolly anchorage. After the past few days of downwind sailing it seems pretty calm to us so far. Tomorrow we'll go and check in with the Armada and scope out touristing possibilities. The guidebook mentioned that the Forestry Office had educational things to share. I'm excited. The girls can't wait. For tonight we'll have to make due with admiring the flora from afar.

Date: February 24, 2009

Location: 36º 10' S 077º 15' W at 1200 hours

Bon Mardi Gras! Or is it Bon Temps Roulee!! I'm agitating for some tastebud treat to celebrate, but the resident chefs are only offering cold ravioli. Alex claims that she already baked bread today and that I should be satisfied. I want more. I'd like some more sun too please. Our southern weather isn't giving us up quite yet. The grey and wind hung out with us for the last 24 hours. So the bad news is that it was a less than ideal day on the water morale-wise, but the good news is we were smokin'. If all goes well we may just get in to Robinson Crusoe tomorrow.

Date: February 23, 2009

Location: 38º 53' S 075º 43' W at 1200 hours

The wind is up a little (from behind, as our usual) so we are rolling a little more but we are also going faster, so perhaps it's a fair trade off. Ask again in a couple more days of rolling though. Not much new around here. We must be in a post-Oscar funk. Too much partying with Brad and Angelina.

Date: February 22, 2009

Location: 41º 00' S 074º 27' W at 1200 hours

We didn't lead clean enough lives to catch the tide perfectly on our exit through the Canal Chacao. We got to spend quantity time slowly creeping against the current while dodging ferry traffic between the mainland and Chiloe. Since we've already passed graduate level froggering in Singapore we weren't really exercised about this, except for the one ferry that needed to be different and embarked on an intercept course. We blinked first and altered our course. As the boat passed us we saw lots of flashes from what I assume were cell phone cameras. We waved.

This morning we crossed the line between the Southern Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. We saw the dashed line right there on the water. At 1130 it was foggy and drizzly and we were running the radar so we wouldn't be surprised by anything. At 1140 the wind shifted 180 degrees. By 1145 the port side of the boat had blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds and the starboard side was grey from sky to water. At 1200 we were sailing and later in the afternoon we put up our gennaker.

I understand it's Oscar Night. I haven't seen any of the nominated films but that won't stop me from celebrating in the proper spirit. I think I'll just nip into my cabin and take out my sequined ball gown to parade around the salon in. Alex can be the fawning commentator and Claire can be fashion critic. Geoff will have to settle for being my escort. Little does he know I packed a tie. This will be fun. I knew there was a reason I brought that dress.

Date: February 21, 2009

Location: 41º 30' S 72º 59' W at 1200 hrs

We left Puerto Montt today just before noon. Yesterday I went to the Aduana and looked particularly pathetic and the man in the green suit got on the phone and called Santiago and spoke lots of Spanish and the upshot was - if I came back in an hour I could have a magic piece of paper that would let me get our heater part out of the Post Office without paying duty. I spent part of that hour in the Cathedral thanking Jesus, Mary, God the Father and St. Jude for all their help. I got the part, two rotisserie chickens and a box of wine and caught the bus back to the marina. I was so pleased with myself. Geoff doesn't do pathetic well. I don't think the man in the green suit would have called Santiago if Geoff went to check on the package.

While I was gone a Swiss family on a huge (70 foot) motor-catamaran arrived looking for fuel and a berth. They left France on November 7 and got around the bottom of South America via the Straits of Magellan to arrive in Puerto Montt yesterday. The boat is a Sun Reef 70 built in Poland. It's name is Jambo and I think their website is Jambololo. If you get a chance, check it out. Very posh. Today they were getting fuel (only 15,000 liters) before they were going to move to the dock. But they had a slight problem. It's a new boat and it was missing a hose clamp on the fuel vent line, so they got 100 liters of fuel in the bilge. Insert Polish joke here.

So we are on our way to Robinson Crusoe Island.