Thursday, May 28, 2015


A pleasant overnight sail has brought us to the south end of Fakarava.
We timed our arrival with the slack current so transiting the pass was no problem.
I watched our anchor hit the bottom in 40' of crystal clear water.
Do a google search for "Fakarava South Sharks Diving" and see what you get.
Time for a nap.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Atoll, Please.

This morning we sailed to the NW corner of Makemo, dodging coral heads the whole way.
This is the downwind end of the lagoon, so the waves build over 30 miles to this point.
Luckily, we were able to anchor directly behind a patch of reef that blocks the waves.
We are now well staged to exit the lagoon and sail to Fakarava, 90 miles to the west.
We hope to depart in the early afternoon tomorrow and arrive at the south entrance to Fakarava around 10AM Thursday.
S 16*27.2'
W 143* 57.9'


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Monday, May 25, 2015

get outa town...

Yesterday we sailed west across Makemo lagoon to an anchorage near an uninhabited motu.
I stood watch at the bow while Lexi steered. The lagoon is well populated by small coral reefs. Depths averaged about 60 feet, but the coral heads rise straight up to just beneath the surface.
We are at:
S 16*31'
W 143*49'
There are also pearl farms suspended in the lagoon. Mikimoto employs Polynesians to culture black pearls in the Tuamotus.
It's been windy the last few days. Other boats sailing from Marquesas are encountering 25 knot winds and large waves. We are still having our daily radio meeting with nearby boats.
Canoe culture is strong here. The locals paddle their outriggers every day. Not dugout from trees, these canoes are of composite construction and fast. The local paddlers are strong, heavily tatooed and run full carbon paddles.
During our downwind run yesterday an OC-1 caught, passed, and dropped us as we sailed at 5 to 6 knots.
Today we'll go ashore to explore the island. Soon we will exit the Passe Tapuhiria and sail 90 miles to Fakarava.
All is well

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

the maintenance...

Oil changed, oil filter, primary and secondary fuel filters replaced.
I had to go up the mast to replace the spinnaker halyard block that mutinied on the way from Marquesas.
It is rumored that the supply ship is arriving today. This is a popular event on an island that receives supplies only twice a month.
We are scheduled for diving on Saturday. It should be good. It's also the cheapest I've ever seen. The operator is a Frenchman who has lived here 15 years. Yesterday's snorkeling had 20m visibility or better!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Makemo Atoll

Anchor is down at Makemo Atoll!
Our first reef pass was exciting. While the ocean swell continuously throws water over the reef, the 300 square mile lagoon drains through only two passes. We had to time our approach carefully with tidal influence to avoid the max outgoing current of up to 9 knots! As it turned out, we had about 2 to 2.5 knots of current against us and the pass looked like a class II whitewater rapid. Manageable, but with coral reef on both sides of the pass and other reefs once inside, I easily attained "heightened awareness." Luckily, the Lil' Swede (our Volvo diesel) chugged right on through.
We're now anchored in perfectly clear water next to a group of friends we made in the Galapagos. They immediately delivered lunch to us and wished us well.
We sailed 530 miles in 5 days. Not the fastest, but we had light winds and had to slow down further to time our approach correctly.
We are anchored at:
S 16*37.7'
W 143*34.4'
speed: zero.
83* F
wind 10 kts.

Time for a swim and then a nap. This truly is the heart of the South Pacific.
Tomorrow we'll make a few repairs and find the scuba outfitter.


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Sunday, May 17, 2015

push back the schedule...

Yesterday the wind died to less than measurable speeds. After starting the engine to make our way, our electric autopilot died. We normally only use this while motoring, and it's nice to not have to sit and steer for 22 hours. But we did.
We motored into the morning where after eating Lexi's banana muffins we accepted the fact that we couldn't reach the Makemo reef pass by the afternoon slack tide. Engine shut down just as the light wind filled in. We're now sailing at 2 knots in perfect silence while the Hydrovane steers. We should arrive at Passe Arikitamiro S 16*36.6' W 143*34.1 at 7 AM.
As of 1230 local time, Sunday May 17
S 16*04.8'
W 143*18.9'
Speed 2 kts.
Course 192* M


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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Chinese Long Liners

0615 local
1315 UTC
S 14*08.8'
W 142*16.5'
Speed 4 kts
Heading 180* M

Spinnaker up all night. We're ghosting along at 4 knots in about 8 knots of wind.
Flat seas, new moon, and light wind made for a quiet night and outstanding stars once again.
We're not going exactly the right direction, but we were sailing so well I chose to let it ride.
Lexi spotted a light right at the horizon that could have been a star or planet rising, but no, it's a Chinese fishing boat that is not transmitting an AIS signal. Most nations require this radio beacon of all boats larger than 60 feet long. She hailed them on the VHF and they actually responded! They passed astern of us by about 4 miles. "I will pass by your rear" was their comment. Long Line fishing boats trail their gear for more than a mile behind them and are generally a hazard to both sailboats and fish.
Since we're sailing so slowly, we probably won't make it into the atoll on Sunday.
There are now 8 boats in our radio group, all headed for the Tuamotu Archipelago.
We ate the last of the tuna. Hopefully we catch a wahoo next.


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Star Gazing and the Swedish Chef

Last night was the brightest viewing of the stars and Milky Way that I have ever seen.
We sailed through the night under full sail towards Makemo Atoll.
Our current radio group consists of four other boats, one of which is a singlehander from Finland who sounds just like the Swedish Chef! Hilarious for us, but frustrating for him because no one can understand his english.

0830 local
1730 UTC
S 12*44'
W 141*46'
speed 5 kts.
course 192* M

All is well.
Our winds are getting lighter.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

On the move again

We have left the Marquesas group and are headed for Makemo atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago.
Politically this is still part of French Polynesia, but geographically very different than the volcanic peaks of Marquesas. It's about a 500 mile trip.

0900 local
1800 UTC
S 10*40'
W 140*52'
Speed 5.2 kts
Course 192* M

Caught a nice tuna yesterday afternoon with one of our new lures from the Nuku Hiva hardware store.
We are enjoying sailing across the wind (beam reach) instead of downwind (running) as we did from the Galapagos.
If we're lucky we should enter the pass at Makemo at low tide at 1100 on Sunday the 17th.

Currently sunny and 85* wind is about 10 kts.


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Nuku Hiva

Anchorage at Tahioae Bay, Nuku Hiva

We rented a 4 x 4 diesel Toyota Hilux (Martin's dream car) and drove around the island. We filled up the water jugs at this "clean water station."

View from the two track road on the north side of the island

This is a banyan tree that is 12 feet wide at the base. The native islanders used to perform ceremonies here 2,000 years ago. I'm not sure exactly what the ceremonies were, but I do know that Marquesans were notorious cannibals.

These petroglyphs date to almost 2,000 years old. They liked mahi mahi back in the day, too.

It took us about 8 hours to make way around the island.

This boat carries a young man who single-handed this Matrix 27 from Panama to the Marquesas. He lost his engine on day 4 and had some extended periods of no wind. Total time en route: 62 days! Even though he ran out of propane and had to burn some of the interior trim wood in his grill to cook, he was very happy with the crossing.

the north side, not quite like NoBo.

mmmmm.... hilux, diesel, 4WD
We sailed to the north side of the island to Anaho Bay. It was gorgeous and isolated. Mart's swimming out to check the anchor. We got all the damn barnacles off the hull, too.

Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva

Leaving Anaho, returning to Tahioae Bay yesterday

We've been doing research and reading a bunch about the Tuomotu Islands, our next destination. We're hoping to leave in the next few days. It's about 500 miles southwest, it will take about 4 days depending on the winds, which have been disappointingly light lately. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

North Side

Pau Hana is anchored well at:
S 08*49.3'
W 140*03.8'

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