Saturday, May 1, 2010

We made it!!

At 4:30 this afternoon, we dropped our bow and stern anchor at Hiva Oa in Tahauku Bay. We're closely anchored here with about 16 other sail boats from around the world. No other Canadian Boats in the anchorage.

We have about a 4 foot ground swell here, and this is considered a good anchorage. It sure is a long way from BC.

This is French Polynesia, a colony (not sure if that is the right word) of France. We will be flying the French flag here, as a courtesy, and also will try to find local French Polynesian and Marquesan Flags.

Already, after sipping cocktails in the cockpit, we realize that this could be the ultimate vacation destination. Lots of cute, small houses, which surely house B&B's or small hotels, yet quiet and unassuming. The scenery is stunning...lush green hills rise steeply from the water's edge. We haven't even got off the boat, and we wonder about real estate prices. Hmmmm....after all, I am also a citizen of the EU!!

We've already met another boat in the anchorage, and got the low-down on the dinghy dock, checkin proceedure and local veggie market. Amazing how friendly cruisers can be.

As I write this a cat has come in and tried to anchor next to us. And we thought we were already too close to our neighbors. As it turns out, he has moved on, and dropped his hook elsewhere. I hope he wasn't too concerned with John's evil eye!

Sleep will come easy tonight. In part, because the cocktails are tasty, but also because the swell is only minor compared to the past 23 nights.


For those that are interested, we arrived in Hiva Oa on Saturday, May 1 at 4:30pm.

Here are your guesses for our arrival time:
Amy: April 30/May 1
Christa: May 1 at midnight
Nola: May 2
Sylvia: May 2

Looks like Christa takes the cake!! Wohoo!

Pacific Crossing - Day 23 - Land Ho

[May 1]

Noon Position:
Lat/Long: 09°51'S / 138°40'W
24 hr distance: 120nm
Distance to Go:

We currently have cocktails chilling in the fridge and expect that we'll be dropping the hook around dinner time. We have the motor giving us a little push, to be sure we're in before dark. Thank goodness (not quite John's exact words, but you get the idea).

Today is a good day. For the first time in 23 days, we can see land!! Hiva Oa showed itself on the horizon mid-morning, and shortly after we spotted a sailboat in the distance. It is the only other boat we've seen this whole passage. Shocking. Not even a freighter or container ship. If it wasn't for the evening 'net' (check in for puddle jumping boats via radio), we would feel pretty alone out here!

Lots to do tomorrow. We plan to stretch our legs, check into the country and complete necessary officialdom, do some laundry and EAT fresh food!! If we find internet ashore, we'll check in and let you know how wobbly we are! Over the next week, we have a few boat projects (of course, something is always breaking around here), and I'd like to catch up on uploading photos, and a few delayed blog posts. So please stay tuned.

Thanks to everyone for keeping tabs on us, reading the blog and for sending us encouraging emails along the way. We really looked forward to hearing from you and your emails brightened our otherwise monotonous days!

[labels: landfall, passage making]

Friday, April 30, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 22 - Counting Down

[April 30]

Lat/Long: 09°39.46'S / 136°40.15'W
25 hr distance: 121 nm
Distance to go: 140 nm

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!! With only 140 miles to go, we expect to arrive at Atuona tomorrow afternoon. We can't wait, and we're already anticipating sleeping without rolling out of our bunks, a long shower, and enjoying our celebratory meal ashore. With ice cream. And beer. Hmmmm...

The wind continues to come from the East (not the South East as we have seen for our entire passage until the last few days), and we are still running under two headsails, or the spinnaker, depending on its strength. Not as fast as the first couple of weeks of our passage, but we're still managing almost 5 knots most of the time, which is fine by us.

[labels: landfall, passage making]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 21 - Fishing is not the same as Catching

[April 29]

Lat/Long: 09°35.15'S / 134°38.07'W
24hr distance: 112nm
Distance to go: 260 nm

We sailed under spinnaker for most of yesterday, turning the motor on when the wind died in the evening. Once again we flew the 'chute' (spinnaker) this morning, but we're now running under the large genoa, poled out to port side, and our stays'l on the starboard. We're happy to be making around 5 knots.

We're looking forward to landfall...only a couple more days now, Wohoo.

We continue to fish...but we don't seem to be having much luck in the catching department this week. We brought in a big flying fish yesterday, but neither of us could fathom eating that which has been stinking up our decks for the last couple of weeks. No thanks. So...we're obviously not going hungry out here! :O)

Thanks for all your comments and emails in the last couple of days. I suppose we must have been sounding pretty down and out. In all reality, we're doing fine out here...couldn't really ask for better conditions (even if it can be uncomfortable), and we're making excellent time. I suppose we've got enough time on our hands to be a little overly dramatic!!

[labels: fishing, passage making]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 20 - Under Spinnaker

[April 28]

Lat/Long: 09°21.14'S / 132°45.24'W
24hr distance: 106 nm
To Go Distance: 372 nm

After 19 days of steady 15-20 knot winds from the South East, we've finally had some change. Yesterday the wind started to lose its strength, the boat slowed, and after several days of sailing under a poled-out genoa and staysail, we decided to bring them both down and hoist the spinnaker. Unfortunately, and we somehow managed to put a rip in the thin sail cloth. No problem. We have tons of fuel, so we simply motored through the night.

First thing this morning, I repaired the spinnaker, and we're now cruising along at 4 knots. Hard to watch our average speed decrease, after these weeks of steady progress at 6 knots. A couple months ago we would have danced for joy at 4 knots!! Funny what a fickle pair of sailors we are. The good news is that along with the wind, the swell has also calmed down considerably. I'm about to mix up a fresh batch of cookies, and bake some bread.

We've been out of bread for almost a week, and yesterday we finished the last of our potatoes. All that's left for fresh food is watermelon, a couple limes, and onions. But our fresh supplies kept better this time, and we still have lots of canned goods about. I'm pretty sure that we could have bought enough BIMBO (think: Wonderbread) bread for the whole passage - it just never goes bad. Eerie. We just finished our last tube of Pringles, so we'll have to be careful with our remaining chocolate, or we could have a crew meltdown!!

[labels: sailing, provisioning, passage making]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 19 - Getting Closer

[April 27]

Lat/Long: 09°13.41'S / 130°58.48'W
24hr distance: 125 nm
Distance to go: 473 nm

We're ready. Ready for the rolling to stop. Ready to walk on land. Ready to eat fresh veggies. Ready to have someone else cook for us. Ready to have clean bedding. Ready for new reading material. Ready to sell the boat.

[labels: passage making]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 18 - Sat Phone

[April 26]

Lat/Long: 08°57.15'S / 128°52.84'W
24hr distances: 140nm
Distance to go: 602 nm

Same same around here. Still great wind. Big swell - close together. Pretty uncomfortable.

As we alluded to earlier, we've switched email providers for our iridium satellite phone, and we're really happy with our new company. Because we are connecting via the sat phone, we require a service that will compress all our emails and files to enable an efficient data transfer. With the old company, Ocens, our daily email upload download took about 7-10 minutes to transfer about 30-40 kb of data. Painful. This included our incoming emails, our outgoing emails and our weather file downloads. Now, with our new UUPlus service, we are able to gather the same date in 1-2 minutes. We're thrilled with the cost savings.

[labels: communication, passage making]

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pacific Crossing - Day 17 - Fishing Again

[April 25]

Lat/Long: 08°42.87'S / 126°32.89'W
24hr distances: 138nm and 144nm

Since our rod is out of commission, we're now fishing with a hand line...a shorth length of 100lb test monofilament, with lure, attached to a bungy cord, and tied to the back of the boat. Pretty primative. But the yellow fin tuna that we caught yesterday didn't seem to mind. Yummy sushi!!

Another puddle jumper lost 3 of his lower shrouds (the rigging that holds up the mast) this week. He has managed to stabilize the rig with lines, and the rig is still standing. He's about 1300 miles away from Hiva Oa, and has enough fuel to motor for 900 miles. It is very comforting to listen to the evening radio 'net', and hear all the support they received from the rest of the puddle jumping fleet. They are doing well, and last night they took a transfer of 50 gallons of fuel from a tanker en route to Cuba from Vietnam. I think the Coast Guard organized it...pretty incredible.

[labels: fishing, passage making]