Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts on Anchoring

A fender can be seen floating the anchor chain
WARNING: The following section contains boat geek speak: you may wish to
skip this.

Yesterday, we re-anchored. We have been here for enough days to feel secure
that our anchor will hold. But this anchorage is covered in coral
heads/bommies. So our chain was firmly wrapped and recently the pulling on
the chain has been loud and annoying and preventing a good night's sleep.
Not to mention the wear and tear on the chain, damage to the coral, and
pressure on our bow roller. So, we raised the anchor, moved, and dropped the
hook again.

This time, we tied fenders onto our chain to float it a few meters about the
ground, thus preventing it from becoming wrapped around the coral heads. I
know...some of you boaters from home will talk about the loss of scope and
the catenary effect of this. But...when the chain is wrapped, you lose all
scope anyway, and with a vertical chain, the pressure on the chain and bow
is too great (and too loud) to be comfortable. We've only had to float the
chain one or two other times in the Tuamotus. But many of the cruising boats
have been using this technique throughout their travels.
If you're interested, here is what we've done: we tied the first fender
after we had laid out about 60 feet of chain, then another fender at 80
feet. We had a total of 100 feet of chain/rode in the water, in about 23
feet of water. The first float has been carried under by the weight of the
chain. The second float is just peeking out of the water. We feel this is a
good comprimise of maintaining the scope angle and enabling lots of shock
absorbing within the chain, while making it more difficult to catch the
chain on a coral head. This technique is debated among cruisers, so I
imagine it also to be a conversation among those reading. Our friends on SV
TOTEM have a good description of this technique on their blog - if you'd
like more info and pics, check it out here:

Last night was bliss. We had a good breeze all night, and still pulled as
usual, but the loud CLUNK and abrupt shock of the boat, of chain on coral
was absent. Hurray.

Liva and I explore the exposed reef

Gourmet Delights

Well, I made a braided bread with basil for yesterday's coconut crab beach
picnic. But last night, Anne (SV La Familia - rallied and
raised the bar by making a delicious spice cake. OK... It's on!

So now...what delight shall I make today??


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Banana Bread and Coconuts

With a dozen sharks circling the boat at any one time, we seem to spend more
time looking for other places to swim. We've found a nearby reef that the
sharks do not seem to be interested in. Also, I spend each afternoon on the
beach, playing with the kids from La Familia, lying in a foot of water,
drinking coconuts, in an effort to cool ourselves off!

La Familia brought with them a hand of very ripe bananas, so I've been in
full banana bread mode. We've made 6 or 8 loaves in the past few days and
have shared them with the other boats. I've finished up my stocks of flour
and baking powder. No problem, the other boats here, have helped out, and
we're so close to Samoa, re-supplying will be easy, and cheap!

Banana Bread Delivery
All is well on board. John is still a bit under the weather, but his stomach
pains are manageable and less frequent, so we feel he is on the mend. We're
still flying through the reading material...I've just finished my ninth book
this month! Wow.

The French boat has left, as has Discovery, the small charter boat. We're
now down to three, and Camdeboo is leaving this afternoon, so we'll soon
just be two boats.

We're happy to get on the bandwagon and we are flying our Canucks flad from
the stern - we hear that the Canucks are moving to the FINALS...WOW!
Go Canucks!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Victoria Day

Wishing all of you at home a very happy Victoria Day and Long Weekend!!
Although we are a long way removed from rainy long weekend camping
trips...we're still thinking of you all and hoping for good weather to mark
the beginning of the camping season!!
As you can see, the achorage is full of coral heads...and sharks!
After spending three quiet days along here in Suwarrow, we were pleased to
have La Familia join us on Saturday, shortly after the arrival of Julian and
Annyis (sp?) from France. And yesterday (Sunday), two other boats joined us.
Camdeboo is a Victoria sailing boat, who have had the boat here in the South
Pacific for five years, and whose owner grew up in Lantzville!! They are now
on their way home via Hawaii. And the Discovery is a older converted fishing
vessel, with 9 guests on board from all over the world, including Victoria,

So once again, we are enjoying potlucks on the beach and socializing again.
And even though we have left french-speaking countries, I continue to
practice my limited language skills!

During our days here alone, John had three evenings of severe abdominal
cramping. In situations like these, we are reminded of our isolation. We
have four medical texts on board, but the symptoms did not fit neatly into a
single diagnosis, so we cast about within friends and family for ideas and
advice. The decision we needed to make was whether to stay at isolated
Suwarrow and rest, or if we should weigh anchor and travel the 4-5 days to
Samoa where we could find medical help. Unfortunately, the wind was very
light, so we weren't looking forward to a long sail, bobbing about without

In the end we settled on an inflammed gall bladder, or gall
stones...primarily due to the re-occurrence of pain after meals, although
the pain presented itself in the lower left quadrant of his abdomen...which,
according to our books, was not typical. He has been two days without
symptoms, so he's thrilled to be back to his usual diet, and taking
advantage of all the fish that has been shared with us from other boats! The
other possible diagnoses were also not serious, so we're happy to have
stayed put.