Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arrival Tahiti

Martin pedalling home with the cabbage in tow, Rangiroa. I'm happy to be in the big city now with great markets and fresh food.
City marina in Pape'ete, Tahiti
This is a big island with a 7,300 ft peak, just like Harney Peak in the Black Hills!
We sailed into the Pape'ete Harbor in Tahiti yesterday afternoon after a fantastic 170 mile sail from Tikehau in 20+ kt winds and settled into the marina that's right on the city front (a city, yes!). We hope to be here about a week and then head out into the Society Islands, the final destination for us in French Polynesia.

We have a few boat projects to take care of, need to do some major re-provisioning, and want to go see a famous surf wave called Tea Huapoo. There's a big traditional festival here right now, Heiva. There will be traditional dance, drumming and best of all, canoe races!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Silver Tip stink-eye

One of these critters swam within 10 feet of us yesterday and gave me the stinkeye. Humbling.
I'm about ready for a dive camera.
Image taken by Clark Anderson/Aquaimages

Friday, June 19, 2015


Anchor up at 0630
exited Rangiroa Passe de Tiputa at 0700
2 knots ebb current hit the northerly wind and set up some pretty big standing waves for us.
The effect of the outgoing tide extended for miles out into the ocean.
Without a cloud in the sky we hoisted full sail and turned west, averaging 6 knots for about 6 hours.
Then the wind let up just enough to prevent our timely arrival at Passe de Tuheiva, Tikehau, so we motorsailed the last 3 hours. All batteries are charged up and the fridge is cold.
We arrived just before slack current and transited the pass with 0.5 knot flood tide. Much better than the morning shenanigans.
A French catamaran followed us in, and as they passed to set their anchor they called out "Is that a Wauquiez? Beautiful!" with a thick french accent. We seldom get compliments as ours is one of the more humble boats on the Pacific circuit, but the French sailors seem to love them. They were made in France and are more common there than in the USA.
No fish.
Anchor down at 1600
A beautiful day's sail in the south Pacific.

S 15*00.439'
W 148*19.323'

PS evidently there is a Manta Ray "cleaning station" here where these massive critters come to get cleaned up by little fish. They tolerate snorkelers!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rangiroa dive shop

 Yesterday the diving was fantastic. We saw a pod of bottlenose dolphins swim by casually at about 70'. This was followed by 10+ spotted eagle rays, a big manta ray and about 50 various sharks trolling the pass into Rangiroa. The finale was a drift into the lagoon on an incoming tide that I can only describe as the human equivalent of flying through blue space.


mellow day renting beach cruisers, going to the grocery, and catching up on "wee-fee" (wi-fi for the frenchies) at the local dive shop.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Two nights ago we shared a Polynesian feast with our neighboring boats. The local family Valentine and Gaston served up Lobster, Wahoo, and one of their pigs to 12 boaters anchored off of their beach. Outstanding meal and great socializing with sailors from San Fran, New Zealand, Anacortes, WA, Littleton, CO, and of course Bozeman, MT.

We are in a period of high winds, so we decided to give up on Toau and do some sailing.
We left our suspicious mooring ball and headed out yesterday afternoon at 1530. We sailed straight downwind in 25 knots, threading between Apataki and Kaukura to arrive at Rangiroa at 0930 this morning.
Yesterday I called a local dive operator to ask about currents in the pass. "No Problem" he said. "It should be slack around 1115. We motored up to the pass to have a look, and ended up motoring into what was like driving up a whitewater river. The ocean swell is filling up the atoll such that the water drains out these passes constantly.
We chose a clean line on the windward side and the old Volvo chugged on in against 3-4 knot outgoing current.
Large melonhead whales leapt and played around our boat as we navigated the tumult.
We are now anchored safely inside the lagoon and it is still blowing hard and raining about 70% of the time.
We're resting up after the overnight passage and enjoying the rain water. The boat and deck gear are very salty so the rinse is much needed.
S 14*58'
W 147*38'


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Tuesday, June 9, 2015


So we tried to leave early for a 40 mile day sail to the neighboring atoll to the west.
Well, the anchor chain was solidly wrapped around a coral head.
Motor to the left, motor to the right, let out slack take up slack...
Bust out the scuba gear at 0730.
Down I go to sort it out and we're off!
We had an easy exit of Passe Garue, the northern pass of Fakarava with one knot of following current.
Our sail was an outstanding reach in about 15 knots of wind. Comfortable and fast sailing at 7 knots.
We are now tied to a mooring in a very unique feature called Anse Amyot on the atoll Toau.
Our current position is:
S 15*48.215'
W 146*09.089'
Anse Amyot is a false pass. Sort of a cul-de-sac in the atoll.
There is a family that lives on the island here who prepares fish and lobster dinner on the beach.
But not tonight. rats. We'll try again tomorrow.
Our information says there is good diving here. We'll have a chat with the locals tomorrow and see what we can find out. We have two tanks on board so if we use them here we'll have to get them filled in Rangiroa.
I'll need to save a little air for future rescues of the anchor.
I'm still not used to the sun transiting the sky in the north.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Best dives of my life

The Tuomotus are amazing. The water is very clear with visibility regularly topping 30m. The wildlife is outstanding. There are sharks, huge tuna (like 300+ lbs), schools of big barracuda and an array of tropical reef fish that all make for a pretty surreal setting. Hands down, best tropics ever. We even had a little black tipped reef shark living under the boat while we were at anchor this week. That made jumping in for a swim pretty exciting. 

The diving has been outrageous. We made several dives in the pass with literally hundreds of reef sharks and some grey sharks, they all hang out and wait for injured or disoriented fish to happen along. The currents are pretty strong so timing the dives with an incoming tide is important to avoid being sucked out to sea.

We're currently in Fakarava, a larger atoll in the central Tuomotos. We've been diving, snorkelling, swimming and basically living in the water as much as possible. Last night we went ashore to this tiny pension on a sand beach with a primitive tiki bar. One of the boaters is a guitarist so he brought an amp and a couple microphones. Two of the local musicians came with their ukeleles and we got to listen to local music as we munched on fresh fish and poulet roti. Throw a tropical sunset in there to top it off and it made for a great night.

We sailed through the lagoon yesterday, dodging coral heads and pearl farm buoys (this is the home of the black pearl), and are now anchored near a small village called Rotoava. The supply ship is here, which is a good thing as we've run out of nearly everything. Propane? Ran out mid-dinner prep a while back. Fresh fruit or veg? Nope. Eggs? Nada. Clean clothes? Uh, nope. Water? Getting low. Fuel? Again, running low. Beer? Not a single one. After the supply ship unloads, we'll have about 12 hours to get everything we need for the next 2 weeks, after that it'll be gone, gone, gone.

We'll be slowly making our way to Tahiti in the next 2 weeks. We'll be there for a bit, doing some minor repairs and reprovisioning for the next 3 months of the trip. Our internet access is quite limited, but I'll update when possible.

Rip some trails for me, Bozeman!

South Pacific multi-tasking: captain catches a tuna and flies a spinnaker!

Makemo Pass: no shortage of reef fish

Midway up the lagoon in Makemo Atoll, at anchor

These pics don't due the underwater scenery justice but these are clams that have algae growing around the lips, results in brilliant colors from black to purple to blue and turquoise.

reef at Makemo

Sweet bivalves

Anchorage at Harifa in Fakarava. Setting of beach party.

Local baguette transport, Makemo

Outrigger canoes are beautiful and we're hoping to get to paddle one. Anchorage at Makemo.