Date: August 2, 2007
Location: Avatiu Harbor, Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 21 deg 12 min S, 159 deg 47 min W
Another light wind morning. We arrived and were side-tied on the main wharf by 1240. Later we got space on the pier with the other yachts and med-moored like the rest. Getting in was something of an event. We had lots of help and lots of opinions. All was appreciated.
Date: August 1, 2007
Location: 20 deg 02 min S, 157 deg 42 min W at 1200
Even less wind, if that's possible. We motor-sailed, made water and charged the batteries. We passed one of the outer islands today. And we have two boats in sight.
Date: July 31, 2007
Location: 18 deg 56 min S, 155 deg 48 min W at 1200
Still little wind. We can see another boat!
Date: July 30, 2007
Location: 17 deg 51 min S, 154 deg 00 min W at 1200
Our wind is decreasing. Sigh. We changed jibs, from the small jib to the medium jib. The spinnaker sheet bit Geoff yesterday so no one is eager to get it out again today. The wind is not coming from a good direction for the spinnaker. And that is the real reason we don't have it up.
Date: July 29, 2007
Location: 16 deg 39 min S, 152 deg 02 min W at 1200
We pulled up our anchor and left Bora Bora at 0855. At the 12 mile limit we took down our French courtesy flag and waved good bye to French Polynesia. And who says Arnolds can't catch fish? We catch fish just fine. AND we can do it without putting out a fishing line! Friends on the boat Phoenix left Bora Bora about an hour behind us. They called on the VHF to say Hi and I was giving them a hard time about their being behind us. They explained that they had to deal with the large wahoo they caught, so that slowed them down. Then they asked if we wanted some. Of course I said yes, and told them to deliver it. Ha ha. They said yes. About 40 minutes later they came up on our lee side and tossed over a water bottle attached to a line. A bag with the fish in it was tied to the line. So, in a way, you can say we "caught" the fish. We were all of us pleased with our ingenuity. And we enjoyed the fish.
Date: July 23 - July 29, 2007
Location: Bora Bora Yacht Club anchorage, Bora Bora, 16 deg 29 min S, 151 deg 45 min W
Date: July 23, 2007
Location: Bora Bora Yacht Club anchorage, Bora Bora, 16 deg 29 min S, 151 deg 45 min W
We left Raiatea at 0845. A guy came out to our mooring ball and mentioned that the charter fleet it belonged to would need it. Since we were leaving anyway he just waved at us and wished us a pleasant trip. The trip to Bora Bora was pleasantly uneventful and we were anchored by 1500. It is a different feeling to be anchored in 92 feet of water.
Date: July 22, 2007
Location: Apootii Bay, Raiatea, 16 deg 43 min S, 151 deg 28 min W
We left our mooring in Faaroa Bay at 1325. Claire climbed up the mast to coral watch as we motored our way through the channel heading for Tahaa. As it turned out we spent all of 10 minutes in Tahaa looking for a mooring off the Tahaa yacht club. We were unsuccessful and motored back to Raiatea where we had more luck. We picked up a mooring ball for the night. We were pleasantly surprised to find our friends on Magnum nearby.
Date: July 19 - July 22, 2007
Location: Faaroa Bay, Raiatea, 16 deg 48 min S, 151 deg 24 min W
Date: July 19, 2007
Location: Faaroa Bay, Raiatea, 16 deg 48 min S, 151 deg 24 min W
We left Huahine at 1124 and arrived in Raiatea at 1524. We picked up a mooring thus avoiding anchoring in 22 m of water.
Date: July 14 - July 19, 2007
Location: anchored off Fare, Huahine, 16 deg 42 min S, 151 deg 02 min W
We went swimming off the dinghy and I saw some kids dancing on shore. I made Claire and Alex take the dinghy closer, but we were too late to see much of the dancing. Since watching the Heiva dance contest I've become more aggressive in seeking opportunities to see dancing. While I was stalking dancers I met some fun people, fellow yachties, on shore. They were on a charter boat with a perfectly good Polynesian name, but we ended up referring to it as the good ship Tupperware because Tahitian Yacht Charters chose a vibrant yellow for all the sail covers and awnings. Helen said the white hull topped with the bright yellow covers reminded her of her Tupperware at home and the name stuck. We visited with them several times over the next few days and enjoyed ourselves very much.
We went out to a pearl farm here. Black pearls seem to be one of the up and coming commercial ventures. We also found a stable that did trail rides. All four of us went out and three of us
Date: July 14, 2007
Location: anchored off Fare, Huahine, 16 deg 42 min S, 151 deg 02 min W
We arrived and anchored near the big city of Fare.
Date: July 13 , 2007
Location: 17 deg 31 min S, 149 deg 42 min W at 1200
Left Tahiti and headed for Huahine. We got to use our new gennaker!
Date: July 2 - July 13, 2007
Location: Marina Taina anchorage, Tahiti
We moved the boat down to the anchorage. Our mail started to arrive. The kids were not that excited to see their school books. I think they were secretly hoping we would have to leave before the books arrived and we could spend the next few months trying to have the books catch up to us.
A few days ago was the 4th of July. We were all excited. Claire dug out our large American flag and hung it up. The kids worked out patriotic songs on Claire's new guitar (an early birthday present) in the cockpit. We didn't have hot dogs and chips for lunch, but we did have meat loaf. And that's all there was. I listened shamelessly to the chatter on the VHF hoping to hear about some American gathering, but I was disappointed. A few people were getting together with friends, but no one planned anything general. Drat. We had to find our own fun.
We decided to go into Papeete and get tickets to the evening dance contest. I'm figuring out the Heiva. It is a month-long festival and encompasses lots of Polynesian activities. I've gotten a schedule and a programme but both are in French so it's taking me a while to decipher them. The dance contest lasts for 7 nights. There are also pirogue (canoe) races, chant contests, and traditional sporting contests like spear throwing, copra making, fruit carrying and rock tossing. The rock and fruit things are more rugged than they sound. The rock is a boulder and the fruit are whole stalks of bananas tied to poles. I'm just looking at pictures to figure this out, but boulder tossing seems to involve distance and transporting stalks of bananas looks like a race.
The dance contest was an excellent choice for a holiday evening. The contest is held in a small outdoor stadium/stage. Two dance groups and one chant group competed. Only two? I was getting ready to feel cheated until the contest started and I realized that each dance group's performance lasted about an hour. The chant group sang for about half an hour in between the dancers. I'm pretty sure the dancers were telling a story. However, the introductions were in French and the songs & narration were in Tahitian so we were lost. I wonder if I can ask someone. I figure the stories were traditional tales. Both dance groups we saw seemed to have similar elements to their presentations, so maybe they all are working with the same story, or at least with the same theme. The first group had a family who appeared to be traveling. Dad found Mom and the kids a home and then he went out and found plants and maybe battled some guys. He came home with a breadfruit tree. Later he took the tree away and Mom was sad. Then the kids went out and found a new tree but Dad didn't return. While the family was providing the outline to the story, the dance group of about 75 dancers performed too. They were either being various other people the Dad encountered, or they were like a Greek chorus advancing the story. Lots of grass skirts on the girls and tatoos on the guys. Extremely satisfying. The dancers changed costumes often during the performance. Alex and I were having a disagreement about one set of costumes. After the Dad took the tree way, the dancers came out in costumes featuring breadfruit tree leaves. I say that the girls' bra tops were made of breadfruit but Alex is sure that breadfruit is not stiff enough to be useful for foundations. We may never know.
We really liked the first group until the second group performed. Their costumes were better, there were more of them, their dancing was tighter, their girls shimmied better, and the guys were more athletic looking. Their story was hard to follow until warriors killed a bunch of guys and then maybe went after the women. That's a little fuzzy, but we are sure that an important older guy carried a dead-and-not-sleeping girl dressed in white from here to there where a distraught young guy found her and sorrowed. For a while she was up and dancing with him, but she laid down dead again, so perhaps he was just remembering her in happier times. The girls in this group did have costumes with coconut bras. A couple of girls appeared to be in danger of losing their coconuts, but it remained a family show and the girls' anatomy remained hidden. Sort of, how hidden are you in a grass skirt and coconut bra? Both groups had a guy whose job, in addition to chanting, appeared to be to correct wardrobe malfunctions. We watched him tie up loose skirts, clear away fallen grass bits and replace lost headpieces. He did this while the dancers were moving. The dancers never stopped their routines. He had to turn and follow the dancers. We watched him try three times to fix one male dancer's headpiece. The third time the headpiece stayed on after the fixer adjusted something on the band. Meanwhile, the dancer just kept going. I'd give the group extra points on their score just for that.
Both groups had separate dances that featured a single male and a single female dancer. Both were very good. The men did jumps and stomps and made manly warrior moves. The girls pretty much just shook what their mamas gave them. I was impressed. I think if I managed to get myself jiggling like that it would take an hour for everything to stop.
Overall it was a great evening. Alex and I sang patriotic songs through the anchorage as we dinghied back to the boat. It was around 2300, so we didn't sing any louder than the outboard could cover. I couldn't help myself, I channeled Kate Smith when we got to singing "God Bless America." A subdued Kate smith, I didn't want to overpower the outboard. It was a proud moment. And Geoff found one lone bottle rocket somehow left over from last New Year's Eve. We haven't actually set it off yet. Maybe we'll keep it for Bastille Day.
Date: June 30 - July 2, 2007
Location: Quay, Downtown Papeete, Tahiti
On the way back from Moorea we decided to stop at the quay downtown. It was a good way to explore Papeete and not have to worry about how late the busses run. Ruby Slippers came up from the anchorage and we had a good time together trying out dinner on the roulotte. The roulotte was a space near the ferry dock dedicated to food trucks. The trucks set out tables and menus. People decide which one to patronize and sit down. Woe be unto him who mistakenly sits at the wrong table. Each truck uses a different set of tablecloths, so it isn't too hard to tell the areas apart. Geoff enjoyed an artery-clogging fried steak on a mound of french fries while the rest of us tried chinese food. The Heiva was in full swing, so we wandered around the artisan's village and shopped. We also got to see a small dance demonstration. It whet our appetite for more.
Date: June 21 - June 30, 2007
Location: Opunohu Bay, Moorea, 17 deg 30 min S, 149 deg 51 min W.
Moorea was a good relaxing time. We were away from cars and lots of people, away from the urban environment altogether. We even anchored tucked farther up into a bay than the rest of the fleet. We weren't anti-social though. When we arrived and decided to anchor up in Oponuhu Bay we could make out another boat in there also. As we got closer we could see that it was our friends on Double Dutch. We called them on the VHF to ask important anchoring questions such as "How deep is it where you are? and "How much chain do you have out?" We were gratified to be hailed by other friends who were anchored up closer to the reef. I'm not the only one who keeps half an ear on the VHF.
We spent the week snorkeling, hiking, and visiting a local stable. A stiff wind came up while we were there, so we spent some time on the boat too. I was happy we were tucked up into the bay instead of more exposed out near the reef. We didn't feel the wind so strongly. Geoff started thinking that a wind generator might not be a bad idea. Staying put allowed us to catch up on our movie watching. We swapped movies with Double Dutch. We loaned them our Bourne movies and they loaned us Jungle Book. I think we got a fair trade. Oh okay, we borrowed some other non-animated films too.
The kids, with the help of their equally animal-crazy friend Camilla, found a stable that was within walking distance of the boat. Granted, the walk was a healthy half-hour trip, but the walk passed open fields that contained cows and horses. Cows seem to be the same world-wide. They placidly stand, or sit, and eat. Once in a great while they get motivated enough to move a little, and then resume eating. The horses were a family group. We saw several mares and two little ones, a foal and a slightly older colt. The stallion was with the ladies one day, but not everyday. He must have had some guy business to attend to in another portion of their area. The animals were allowed to roam in a very large area. My un-farmerly perspective would say thay had acres of free rein
At the stable the kids enjoyed visiting more animals. In addition to his horses, chickens and regular barn cat, George, the owner, had a puppy and a kitten The horses were the original draw. Claire did get to go riding, but the reason for visiting almost every day was to see the puppy and kitten. George is a kind-hearted man. People dump unwanted animals on the side of the road out away from town. He found the puppy and the kitten that way and took them back to his stable. The puppy follows George around everywhere. I think it's hero worship.
At first the kids were worried about the little ones. George doesn't live at the stable, but the animals do. The puppy and kitten would whine and sound wretchedly pitiful when the kids had to leave. The kids were convinced that the animals would be heartbroken and sink into a lethal depression when George went home. Those babies needed a home, like on a boat, with them! Only parents with hearts of stone would leave poor innocents out in the cold like that. Have I mentioned that the puppy had fleas and the kitten had runny eyes? Leslie & Tron and Geoff & I tore them from the stable and back to our boats. George is also a kind-hearted man. George let the kids bring treats for the puppy and kitten. Our boat stores are now a few cans of sardines lower. The kids bathed the puppy too. They didn't try that with the kitten. Over the week we were in Moorea the animals' condition improved. so the kids became convinced that the animals were happy and that living at the stable was the best place for them.
While the kids and I were enjoying ourselves with animals, Geoff was enjoying himself by hiking. He and Tron, Camilla's dad, and a young man, Tom, found some great hikes up to some high places. Tron and Tom are also firm believers in bush-whacking. The three of them found that the "well-marked trails" all used the same colored markers and that those markers were few and far between. They struck out on their own and ended up looking down on the look-out point they had originally started out to reach. Geoff swears they were follwing pig trails. They would climb up a ridge and look around to get their bearings. The quote of the day is from Tron. They had climbed up a ridge and Tron looked over the edge. "Oh, I can't see the bottom, we're turning back." For their bigger hike they got a guide. George's brother-in-law took them on another hike up to one of the mountain peaks. Claire dinghied Geoff to shore at 0500 to meet up with the crew. They spent a satisfying day climbing up the mountain with the hole in it. As I understand the story, one of the great chiefs won an archery contest by sending his arrow with such great strength and speed that the arrow went through the mountain and farther than anyone else's arrow. Geoff and the guys needed knotted ropes to make the final assent. After all that they declined the offer to be lowered from the top of the mountain down into the hole.
Date: June 9 - June 21, 2007
Location: Marina Taina anchorage, Punaauia, Tahiti, 17 deg 35 min S, 149 deg 36 min W.
We spent time on chores and catching up on errands. That doesn't sound like the typical postcard description of a visit to Tahiti, but it's true. We explored beautiful downtown Papeete in search of boat parts. We did laundry, we mended the dinghy, we grocery shopped and we waited for mail. And we managed to find time to have some fun. Good ice cream was only a short walk in a choice of several directions from the dinghy landing. We had to check them all out. The McDonald's turned out to be a good choice for eveing ice cream as the Carrefour grocery store with the ice cream counter closed at 8 PM. We found Ruby Slippers and Coconut here and the kids were happy with the reunion. I found out that there was a Polynesian Museum not too far from the anchorage. Unfortunately the day we picked to visit the museum was a day that the busses didn't run. The kids were trying to tell me that it was a sign, but I managed to find us a ride with the security guard's friend. The museum was interesting, but i think we would ahve learned more if we knew French. The signs explaining teh displays had paragraphs in French, paragraphs in Tahitian/Polynesian and a sentence or two in English. I'm pretty sure that French is not one of those languages that takes three sentences to say "this is a pirogue." We splurged and called a cab to get us back. We decided to go visit Moorea while waiting for mail.
Date: June 9, 2007
Location: Papeete harbor entrance, Tahiti, 17 deg 31 min S, 149 deg 35 min W at 1200
We arrived at the harbor entrance around noon and then wound our way through the channel down to the anchorage just outside the Marina Taina. We checked in with the port captain to make sure we were clear to continue down the channel first. We notified him of our arrival and gave our mast height. The channel passes in front of the airport runway. We weren't going to interfere with any flights, so we were clear to continue. We were anchored by 1425.
Date: June 8, 2007
Location: 17 deg 09 min S, 147 deg 09 min W at 1200
Motor sailing under blue skies with little wind. Except for Geoff, he found rain. The kids have developed an increased enthusiasm for cooking. They will do more cooking in exchange for less dish washing. Sounds like a fair trade to me.
Date: June 7, 2007
Location: 16 deg 48 min S, 145 deg 01 min W at 1200
Pulled up anchor and left Tahanea at 0730. Claire up the main mast as our usual look out. We cleared the end of Tahanea by noon, heading for Tahiti.
Date: May 27 - June 7, 2007
Location: Tahanea, Tuamotus, 16 deg 51 min S, 144 deg 41 min W
We arrived outside Tahanea at daybreak. Claire went up the mast for our entrance through the pass. The pass was straightforward and we chose a spot to anchor and were settled by 0809. We had an 8 shark welcoming committee! The kids were thrilled. We were the only boat there. We spent the afternoon snorkeling around a coral head close to the boat.
As it turns out, we were the only people there at all. The next day we dinghied over to the village near another pass, D'Otua Pass. We found the village but no people. The village is only occupied seasonally, so the copra season must be finished for now. We walked around and looked at the few houses. Everything was tidy and waiting for the people to return. The houses were locked, but the church was open. It looked ready for a service. The bible was on a stand near the altar waiting to be opened and candles were in place waiting to be lit. We decided it was a Catholic church because there were pictures of saints on the walls. We went snorkeling off a coral head between the village and the pass. The snorkeling was excellent. We saw a wide variety of colors, types and sizes of fish. We went to one end of the coral head and let outselves drift back to the other end. We had heard about people doing drift snorkels through passes on other islands, but this current was running out and was strong, so we didn't give it a try. Drifting around the coral head was good enough.
We spent our time in Tahanea snorkeling. We'd wake up in the morning and just pick a direction to go, find a coral head and snorkel. Tahanea is a nature preserve, there is supposed to be a rare Tuamotuan Sand Piper that lives there. We may or may not have seen one. We saw some wading shore birds which we decided we'd call the sand pipers but we don't really know for sure. The fish were plentiful and interesting. The kids got comfortable with the black-tipped reef sharks and ended up chasing them. In fact, the kids went from swimming away from the sharks to swimming after the sharks to trying to herd the sharks. I'm not sure what they'd have done if we had stayed any longer.
For variety we decided to get some coconuts. Claire and I climbed up a small tree, with the aid of wooden slat steps left by some other industrious tree climber. We got three coconuts. Claire and Geoff opened them with Claire's machete and we all tried out the fresh coconut "milk." The next day Alex and I got some more coconuts. We opened all of the cocnuts on the beach and not on the boat. We found out that hermit crabs like coconut. While Geoff and Claire were busy hacking away at coconuts, one bold crabbie came from afar to get close and watched them. He looked determined to get near the coconut husks they were dropping around their work area. The crab would walk over to a husk, handle it, stick his antennae in it and work his way closer to Geoff and Claire and possible crabbie destruction. Alex kept trying to save him from himself by moving him away. He kept creeping back. Alex and I were prying out the coconut meat and putting it into baggies. We offered some to crabbie. He sampled it, tucked it up under his shell with a couple of claws and scuttled away as fast as he could. We think he recognized the coconut for what it was and knew what we were up to the whole time. We set one of the almost empty husks on the beach and five crabs climbed into it to pull off the coconut we couldn't get. The kids shared more coconut with some other crabs on teh beach. We must be their favorite people now.
Our private island eventually became a semi-private island. On our fourth day on Tahanea other boats began arriving. We ended up with 6 other boats in our anchorage and two other boats in a second anchorage closer to the village. Alex perfected a coconut cake recipe that she modified from one she found in Joy of Cooking. We shared our cake and had fun with the company as the boats included friends old and new. The boats were Cardea, Surprise, Sisiutl, Finnegan, Sora Alice, Magnum and Double Dutch.
Date : May 26, 2007
Location: 16 deg 03 min S, 142 deg 39 min W at 1200
Pulled up anchor and heading across the lagoon by 0850. Claire up the main mast watching for coral heads. Headed out the pass at 1015. Motoring, no wind. So we made water, lots of water. We passed between other islands. (Taenga, Kahiu & Tuana)
Date: May 20 - May 26, 2007
Location: Raroia, Tuamotus, in front of village 16 deg 02 min S, 142 deg 28 min W, across lagoon 16 deg 05 min S, 142 deg 22 min W
We arrived off Raroia at 0400. This was our first entrance through a pass into a coral atoll/island. We waited for a good tide current and sun height & position. We had a little bit of current against us and the sun behind us. Claire went up the main mast in the bosun's chair to act as look out for coral heads and shallow water. I sat on top of the dodger with the binoculars watching for channel markers. Alex perched next to the depth instrument to alert Geoff to important changes. Geoff drove. We got through nicely and made our way to the village. We anchored off the village and dinghied in to see what there was to see. Turns out there was an airport. Not just any airport, this airport was a hub. We watched one flight land and transfer passengers to another airplane. I think almost everyone in town was at the airport. Four men were making music in the airport lounge. Two were playing ukeleles , one had a guitar and the last one was playing a washtub. They were playing and singing traditional songs. Little kids were drinking cold sodas and teenagers were walking around pretending not to be noticing each other. We walked around some more, but it was a Sunday and everything that wasn't the airport was closed. We didn't like the anchorage so much so we crossed the lagoon and anchored off a motu on the far side. We all resumed our coral territory positions. Claire was enjoying herself from her look-out perch on the mast. She stayed up for a while taking pictures. After we anchored, she and Alex took the dinghy around to the coral heads near the boat and made themselves a radar target so Geoff could check just how close we were. They also found good places to snorkel.
We did a lot of snorkeling. We saw fish and sharks and eels. We walked on shore and went over the motu to the ocean side. Raroia is the island that Thor Heyerdahl wrecked the the Kon Tiki on, and I wanted to see what the terrain was like. The shore was full of rough coral, rock, and pounding surf. I can see why his boat broke up. I'm glad we have charts and knowledge of passes. While we were walking along the rocks we discovered eels. Lots and lots of smaller brownish, spotty moray eels. I was charmed. They would swim from rock to rock. If they had to, they would swim across shallow patches and momentarily get themselves out of water to attain a desired hiding place. One larger eel, about 3 feet long, went for Geoff's crocs. The eels didn't like anyone else's shoes. Hhmmm, white crocs are eel magic. We also found larger green morays lurking in the coral heads in the lagoon. Finding the eels was enough for me to call stopping at this island a success.
The kids' friends on Ruby Slippers had been on Raroia ahead of us. The girls had built a shelter out of palm fronds on shore. Claire and Alex found it. They also found its current tenant, a hermit crab and half of the island's spider population.
Geoff had taken our camera underwater and was enjoying photographing both fish and Arnolds underwater. But at the end of a week we were ready to move on.
Date: May 19, 2007
Location: 14 deg 48 min S, 142 deg 05 min W
Mostly sunny and clear, trying not to go too fast.
Date: May 18, 2007
Location: 12 deg 40 min S, 141 deg 21 min W at 1200
More squalls and more wind. Sailing with jib and reefed mizzen, no main.
Date: May 17, 2007
Location: 10 deg 39 min S, 140 deg 40 min W at 1200
No wind and wind, motoring and sailing, clear and squally. A range of winds from 3 to 12 knots.
Date: May 16, 2007
Location: 09 deg 20 min S, 140 deg 09 min W at 1200
Pulled up anchor and left Ua Pou by 1030. Squally day, slow sailing.
Date: May 12 - May 16, 2007
Location: Hakahau, Ua Pou, Marquesas, 09 deg 21 min S, 140 deg 02 min W
A slow place to visit, restful. We went ashore to report in and found the friendliest gendarmes. They supplied us with local maps and brochures. We found a few shops too. On Sunday I went to Mass. I enjoy listening to the singing even if I can't join in. Alex made spice cake and we set up a party with the other boats in the anchorage.
Date: May 9 - May 12, 2007
Location: Taiohae Harbor, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
We returned to Taiohae to do a few chores before venturing onward. The first and most necessary chore was laundry. I hated to pay a large fee to have it washed and there was no laundromat in sight, so two buckets and two hands did the job. The kids shuttled clean clothes back to the boat from shore and strung them up to dry. They hung them everywhere. The boat was a thing to behold. Drying took some time so we were a nautical vision for the rest of the day. Stubborn clothes took until the next day to dry. We celebrated the conclusion of laundry by buying and consuming an entire tub of ice ceam.
We had heard about a museum/boutique that was interesting to visit. We hiked over and ended up chatting with the proprietress, Rose Courser. She has been living in the Marquesas for the last 30 years or so. She and her husband ran a hotel in Taiohae. After he died she sold her interest in it to a hotel chain, but now she's interested in getting back in the business. She showed us her new venture, a yacht club and restaurant. We explained that Geoff and his family had been through the Marquesas in the '70's. Geoff talked about some of the people he remembered. We found out that Maurice who ran THE cruiser stop store had died. Maurice had collected cruisers' notes in several books over the year. Rose had them so we looked for Nomad's entry. We were very happy when we found it. The entry was from 1975, it included the crew of Nomad and described their trip from New York on their way to a circumnavigation.
To cap off the day we made a reservation for a table at the pizza restaurant and thus were not turned away from an empty restaurant.
Date: May 5 - May 9, 2007
Location: Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
This was a beautiful bay. We kept saying we would leave "tomorrow" for a couple of days. We enjoyed the first good snorkeling we found in the Marquesas here. Another boat warned us about stinging jellyfish, but we were lucky and didn't get stung. Every day around dusk two or three large rays would come fishing in the anchorage. They used two projections on either side of their mouths as scoopers to channel water and whatever else they were interested in towards their mouths. They were magnificent.
We went on a great hike over one of the mountains to Hatiheu, the village in the next bay. We walked along a "Polynesian Highway." A polynesain highway is a low wall of stones that marks a pathway. Over time the ground gets worn away into a rut and the path is easy to follow. We walked over with the crew from two other boats, Tori & Piet Han from Double Dutch and Mike & Lynn from Wombat of Sydney. Going up the mountain was steep even with switchbacks. I was jealous of the local man we saw riding his horse. We considered asking if he was a taxi. At the summit we had a great view of the anchorage. We convinced Tori & Piet Han to continue with us down to Hatiheu even though it meant another climb back up and over to return to the boats. It turns out they are as crazy for ice cream as we are, so ourreward for making it to hatiheu was to find a restaurant and sit down for ice cream. On our return trip we picked mangoes and limes from the trees on the pathway. We also got pamplemousse from the people who lived in the bay on our side of the mountain. We need to find out how to get pamplemousseonce we return to San Jose.
Date: April 30 - May 3, 2007
Location: Anse Hakatea (Daniel's Bay), Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
Daniel is long gone, but the anchorage is still lovely and the hike to the waterfall is a good adventure. We followed cairns and the adults only got lost once. We were hiking with a French family we met on the catamaran Imagine. They have two boys, Roman and Bastian. The boys and Claire were hiking ahead of the rest of us. The rest of us got momentarily misplaced in a collection of old stone platforms. We were looking around and lost track of the cairns. Meanwhile, Claire and the boys made it to the base of the waterfall. There was a fresh water pool at the bottom. The kids climbed up a rock to look around. The pool was murky, but the boys were hot and Roman dove in. Claire says all of a sudden Bastian started yelling in French and pointing at the water behind Roman. Roman turned. saw the ripples of the thing that was following him and set new records swimming back to shore. It turns out that fresh water eels live in the pool. The eels were four to five feet long. Later we fed the eels parts of our sandwiches. The eels cheerfully came right up to shore. No one, however, felt like swimming.
Date: April 26 - April 30, 2007
Location: Taiohae Harbor, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas.
We lost no time in getting ashore and starting exploring. The first afternoon here the kids managed to find their friends on Aldora and make new ones on other kid boats in the harbor. A woman, who should be sainted, not only organized a hike for all those kids, but she accompanied them as well. Among the five boats with kids between the ages of 8 and 14 she collected 11 kids. They tromped through town looking at stone tikis and they crossed a creek and in general had a good time. Meanwhile the adults were also reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Turns out a great place to find cruisers is the store near the bank. Cruisers will come and buy baguettes and Hinano beers. We sat just outside the store and ran into all kinds of people. We had dinner engagements for the next two nights.
The local outdoor market is held very very early on Saturday mornings. At the market we found produce and fresh fish and pastries. Did I mention that the market started early? Somehow we've found the island of the early risers. The market starts at 0400. Friends warned us that if we showed up as late as 0600 the items would be picked over, that by 0630 the tables were being packed up and by 0700 it was all over and gone. Sigh. We all got up early, had caffeine and dinghied in to seek out fresh food. We bought cabbages, cucumbers and carrots. We found beautiful and tasty pastries too. I was pleasantly reminded of the French baker in Barra de Navidad in Mexico. These pastries included more fruits however. The highlight of the morning was finding the fresh fish. The fishermen went out the night before and had only brought in their catch that morning. Aha, maybe that's why the market happens when it does. The fishermen go out at night, they come in and sell their catch and then they go home and go to bed. We watched some guys cleaning a yellowfin tuna that was about four feet long. We bought two kilos of it. We had it for dinner as sashimi.
Saturday afternoon we hiked around looking for the Herman Melville plinth. We found it, and an old cemetery, and a hotel with a great view and cold drinks. Geoff has a ukelele that he got here in the 70's. We tried to find a woodcarver here to ask about it. The wood carver we found was finished carving for the day. Since he speaks Frech and we don't, we're not sure what else he was telling us. On Monday we found an English speaking guy who also plays the ukeleles. We had Geoff's with us at the time, so he tuned it for us. He said that ours was made in the traditional way. Geoff's has lots of carvings on the ukelele itself and a goat skin drum cover. The modern ones have a shape closer to an electric guitar, no goat skin and not so much carving. They still use fishing line for strings however.
On Sunday the girls and I went to Mass. It was amazing. We found a bi-lingual service. Unfortunately we spoke neither French nor Marquesan. All those years of teaching religion and paying close attention for song-leading paid off. Even though the language was different we could tell where in the service we were. What stood out most was the singing. There was no designated choir, no song leader with a microphone, no organ, everyone in the church sang. What was even better, the congregation added harmonies. Five guys with guitars played, but they just sat together in a pew in the middle of the church. They ended up surrounded by parisioners so the sound came from the body of the people. A nice lady gave us a song sheet in Marquesan that we could follow, but not well enough to really keep up on the songs. Except for the response to the prayers of the faithful, that song was to the tune of "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" and I managed to sing along.
Date: April 26, 2007
Location: Taiohae Harbor, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas; 08 deg 54 min S, 140 deg 06 min W at 1330.
We arrived and even before our anchor was set the kids found their friends on Aldora as we made a pass through the harbor. Geoff says a lot has changed since he was here last. Since that was in the 70's he shouldn't really be surprised. We tried to check in, but bank hours will have us try again tomorrow. We have the whole bond thing to deal with here.
Date: April 25, 2007
Location: 09 deg 09 min S, 137 deg 50 min W at 1200.
What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours...
The fun began not too long after the kids got off watch and Geoff was alone, that makes it around 2000. We've been in the squall zone for the last few days. The anti-squalls we've been having turned into anti-anti-squalls. What does that make them, posi-squalls? These sqaulls had rain. Lots of it. These squalls had wind. Lots of it. I don't need fine wine and roses roses. I know Geoff loves me. The sweetest words I've ever heard in my life were, "Karen I let you sleep because you didn't need to be out in weather like this, besides, I know you don't like it." What a man. He did get me up around 0400 to help deal with the jib. The wind was up and it was too much sail for the conditions. Fine, the same jib that I was complaining about yesterday, not catching enough wind, was now doing its best to hold too much. I'm never satisfied. We even had a touch of lightning. No sound with the lightning, just brightness. I'm glad it was too far away. I much preferred the shooting stars as an evening light show.
Finally the sun started coming up and the water appeared darker than the sky. The kids got up and made a triple batch of pancakes. We all ate and did this and that. The wind went down a little and then came back again. We decided to change jibs. We dusted off the little jib we haven't used since San Diego. And then we took down the main. We were still doing 5-6 knots through the water. At last Sleep-is-for-the-weak, Iron-Man Geoff went to sleep. The girls and I later put up the main, double-reefed. Still later we shook out the reefs as the wind let up. We are so pleased with ourselves.
Date: April 24, 2007
Location: 08 deg 59 min S, 135 deg 19 min W at 1200.
Today was boat project day. I worked on sewing new big screens for the hatches using the no-see-um netting. Geoff and the kids worked on re-gluing the handles to the dinghy. And the kids are still plugging away on school work. Only about 260 nm to go.
Date: April 23, 2007
Location: 08 deg 48 min S, 133 deg 14 min W at 1200.
As the net control put it this morning when I described our weather as off and on rainy with two varieties of wind, little or none, "You've found the boat wash." We've found the boat wash. Other boats before us have described hitting this low wind, squally area, but somehow I was hoping it would blow away before we got to it. No such luck. Here we are and here it is. It is discouraging to be getting closer to the Marquesas only to have it taking longer to actually get there. To distract ourselves we made bread today. We made one of the loaves into cinnamon bread and we ate it all. None of us feels guilty about that. However, we do feel full.
Date: April 22, 2007
Location: 08 deg 45 min S, 131 deg 03 min W at 1200.
This afternoon we've sailed into the squalls that those ahead of us have reported finding. Geoff called them anti-squalls because instead of bringing wind they seemed to suck it away. Now we are going even slower. At least the squalls had some rain in them. The boat got a little rinse. And we all took showers. The kids cheated, they mostly used the sun shower with warm water. Geoff and I were being hard core sailors and we used the sqaullwater. I suppose if we were truly being hard core sailors we wouldn't be bathing at all, but we have some minimum standards.
Date: April 21, 2007
Location: 08 deg 38 min S, 128 deg 45 min W at 1200.
That big popping noise you all heard last night around 2230 local was our gennaker saying enough is enough. The gennaker blew out its tack. We still have most of it intact. Geoff called for help and the groggy crew crawled out to assist him. In the end he didn't need help on the foredeck, but I stayed and watched him. It's always good to watch others work. So today we are without our extra gas pedal and missing it. The girls are ready to order a new one. They'd like a white one with a big green dragon on it. Alex is ready to begin creating fashions from the old one. She would like a sundress. I caan't claim this as an original idea. We saw bags and dresses and stuff made out of spinnaker cloth at the last boat show. Alex and I were intrigued. I will check on the viability of the old gennaker before I start hacking it up for clothes though.
Date: April 20, 2007
Location: 08 deg 31 min S, 126 deg 11 min W at 1200.
We've come to another Friday and that means pizza night. This week we've got the last of the cheese and hot dogs masquerading as sausages for toppings. We hope to be in Nuku Hiva by next pizza night so we can re-stock some pizza desirable items.
Date: April 19, 2007
Location: 08 deg 22 min S, 123 deg 44 min W at 1200.
Today we have achieved two big milestones, for us. Milestone One, we are now farther West than San Jose. Ta da! Milestone Two, we have under 1000 nm to go to reach Nuku hiva. Ta da redux! There's supposed to be a good meteor shower coming in the next few days. we're already seeing a bunch of shooting stars. I've made lots of wishes.
Date: April 18, 2007
Location: 08 deg 14 min S, 121 deg 21 min W at 1200
Another day, another 150 miles or so closer to Nuku Hiva. I've gotten out the guide books and am reading up on our destination. The girls and I especailly like one written by a guy from Haalf Moon Bay. He has diagrams of anchorages, history notes, useful local knowledge and a few recipes. The recipes make for good reading; they are informative and amusing. We're dippin into real literature too. Geoff finished re-reading Melville's Typee and Claire has started it. Alex and I are next.
Date: April 17, 2007
Location: 08 deg 05 min S, 118 deg 42 min W at 1200.
Our depth changed for the first time in at least five days. That means there ARE fish out there and we should just be patient. Ha. I think they came by the boat last night to reconnoiter their best avoidance responses to our lures.
Date: April 16, 2007
Location: 07 deg 52 min S, 116 deg 06 min W at 1200
Today we celebrated being halfway to Nuku Hiva. We're starting to sound like the any-excuse-for-a-party Arnolds. So be it. Our celebration began with some preparation. Yesterday we dug out some cokes from beneath Alex's floorboards and put them in the refrigerator. Ahh, nice cool and frosty cokes. We thought that a real celebration called for a break from school work. The girls were in full agreement. We got out the purple yarn that our friends on Pythagoras had given us and made four little yarn people. We made a little purple Arnold family. We used scraps of cloth and made clothes for ourselves. And what's a celebration without food? We drank our cokes, ate an entire box of cheez-its and ate our last bag of frozen mangoes. We were totally decadent and consumed our snacks in the cockpit while watching "George of the Jungle." I think our day off brought good sailing karma because the wind came up. We took down the gennaker and are now doing 7 knots with the big jib, main and mizzen.
Date: April 15, 2007
Location: 07 deg 42 min S, 113 deg 58 min W at 1200.
Today we put up the gennaker. The wind has died down and is coming from almost directly behind us. We took down the main and are going nicely with jib & gennaker and the mizzen. No one is going to gain too much mileage on us, not that we're racing. This was done purely because we don't want to spend valuable hours out here that we could be spending exploring French Polynesia. Our French lessons continue, by the way. We can now ask someone to repeat a sentence or to direct us to a boat.
Date: April 14, 2007
Location: 07 deg 27 min S, 111 deg 35 min W at 1200.
We plucked two crispy fish from the foredeck this morning. We were all on the foredeck because we put up the big jib. The wind is down a little and we aren't moving that fast, so out come the bigger sails.
Date: April 13, 2007
Location: 07 deg 18 min S, 109 deg 07 min W at 1200.
It's Friday and that means pizza night. Tonight we still have hamburger and cheese for the pizza. Next week it's going to get more interesting. We have frozen hot dogs, canned chicken and canned tuna. And we have lots of tomato sauce. And we have canned pineapple too. Aha, maybe Hawaiian pizza with hot dogs and pineapple chunks.
Date: April 12, 2007
Location: 07 deg 02 min S, 106 deg 21 min W at 1200.
Today we started to listen to our French CDs. Sacre Bleu! We are tres horrible. Hopefully by the time we get to the Marquesas we can at least ask for cold beverages and ice cream.
Date: April 11, 2007
Location: 06 deg 42 min S, 103 deg 45 min W at 1200.
A beautiful day for Alex to celebrate her birthday! We had moderate winds, clear skies and cake and ice cream. The cake was easy to manage, the ice cream took some doing and was not quite a success. We found this powder stuff that billed itself as instant helado. We like ice cream, we bought some to try. We bought one each of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. All you need to do is add milk to this powder, whip it like crazy and freeze it. Uh huh. First we tried stawberry. We followed the directions and froze it for 5 hours. We ended up with strawberry fluff. It was more like chilly cool-whip than ice cream. For her birthday Alex wanted chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream. So we whipped vanilla helado yesterday and froze it for over 12 hours. It was more solid than the strawberry, but still not familiar ice cream. It tasted sweet on the cake though, kind of like marshmallow. We still have the chocolate. We may still have it when we get back to the Bay Area.
Date: April 10, 2007
Location: 06 deg 15 S, 101 deg 07 min W at 1200.
In the absence of animals we've taken to anthropomorphizing weather features. Specifically, we're naming the clouds. Last night the girls and I spent some quality time watching Big, Black & ugly as he slowly worked his way across our path. In the early evening we can watch to see if any of the clouds have grouped up and gone dark. I can tell you it thrills us no end to watch them build up with possible rain. We appreciated BBU's decision to pass us without sharing any precipitation. The girls were suggesting that BBU might enjoy finding the boats that had passed us, but we remind ourselves that we are not racing. Sigh, we are not the last boat in the group because three more joined up that left the Galapagos after us. We are all sharing our distance to a common waypoint which is for Fatu Hiva. I hope a lot of them are going there instead of Nuku Hiva so we won't be too crowded. Take off in a sailboat to explore and find a traffic jam comprised of other like-minded individuals. Hhhmmmmm...
Date: April 9, 2007
Location: 05 deg 47 min S, 98 deg 28 min W at 1200.
We caught a fish today , and we let this one go too. What we need is a fish identifier. This fish was long and thin and a shiny bright blue. He had a shorter version of our sailfish's nose and a shorter sail-ish fin on his back. We weren't sure if he was good to eat. He looked too "muscley". He also left blue slime on the boat where we hauled him up to look at him. We want short, fat fish, none of these athletic looking ones. Still on the subject of fish, we've spent today scaring schools of flying fish. They rise up out of the water and take off on tangents away from the boat. Usually we only see one or two fish, but once in a while we hit the jackpot and get a large group of 10 to 20.
Date: April 8, 2007
Location: 05 deg 17 min S, 95 deg 50 min W at 1200.
Easter Sunday. Turns out the Easter Bunny finds boats out at sea. Alex says that he rides on teh backs of sea turtles. Claire adds that he had to find some turbo turtles to make it out here to all the boats on their way to the Marquesas. Our Easter celebration centered on food. Claire made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. We ate candy later. For lunch we had real food. We ate some of the eggs the kids colored yesterday and sandwiches. For dinner we pulled out some fresh food, cucumber and potatoes, and a can of raost beef. And then we ate a bag of jelly beans. Did you know a serving of jeey beans is 13 beans? And did you know that one serving of jelly beans contains 150 calories? We laughed ourselves silly over that one. And still finished the bag. I expect everyone will be awake for the 8-midnight watch whether they're on or not.
Date: April 7, 2007
Location: 04 deg 31 min S, 93 deg 20 min W at 1200.
We found wind! Last night we an across some squalls and they brought good wind. After we were out of the squalls the wind held, so oday we are a happy crew under blus skies on a happy boat doing a respectable 7+ knots. The kids were so bouyed with enthusiasm they colored some eggs for tomorrow.
Date: April 6, 2007
Location: 02 deg 50 min S, 91 deg 37 min W at 1200.
Geoff and the kids were discussing the ITCZ. He broke it to them gently that the ITCZ is the scientific name for the doldrums. We have litle wind, so we're not getting very far very fast.
Date: April 5, 2007
Location: 01 deg 42 min S, 91 deg 03 min W at 1200.
Little wind, at least the current is with us. Last night Geoff heard whales, but did not see them.
Date: April 4, 2007
Location: Academy Bay anchorage, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
We pulled up the stern anchor from the dinghy and then had the bow anchor up and were underway by 1300 hours. A little fish had found his way into the water intake filter and caused us momentary excitement because the engine got warm. Claire and Geoff investigated and found little fishie. Claire saved him and we returned him to his natural habitat. Who says Arnolds can't catch fish?!