Monday, May 31, 2010

Moorea Bound

Hello All,
We have had a great few days.We split the cost of renting a car with Curious and have been sight seeing around the Island.We saw some awesome water falls yesterday and saw the memorial for the HMS Bounty and its crew at Point Venus where Captain Cook set a telescope to observe the planet Venus.Today we took a a drive south of the Island to check out the world famous waves the surfers like to ride on in Teahupoo.We had lunch there at a really nice Cafe and spent 3 hours there.We drove back to the boat right at dark and were invited for dinner on Futher the troller from Washington.We had a good time visiting with the captain Brian.He plays guitar so I brought mine over and had a little jam session..I am so rusty but was still fun playing.The Canadian boat we met in the atolls showed up tonight so i hope to visit with them tomorrow.
We will leave to Moorea Tuesday morning.That is the next Island over from here and have heard its awesome.My days are numbered here so I will Island hop to Bora Bora.That will be the last Island we will see of French Polynesia and will then will move on to the Cook Islands.
Thats all I know for now so I will write tomorrow before we go.

P.S.Sorry I havent loaded any pics lately.We have made it to the big City but internet is still to slow.I will post some as soon as I can.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Crew

Hello All,
We are still tied up in downtown Papaete having a good time.I was gonna go to the anchorage west of us but Curious showed up this morning and tied up next to us.I want to hang out with them while they are here so my plan is to stay here till monday.I owe them dinner for helping us out so we will go out tomorrow night.
2 nights ago we were givin 5 lbs of Mahi Mahi from a cruiser.Brian from Futher with the troller showed up here and we had a BBQ on his boat with the fish and Delphine made a pasta salad.Brian is from Washington state so we always have fun talking motor head stuff and he is a republican,god bless there is more than one of us out here cruising.
Yesterday I got the news from Jon that he wants to stay on the boat as crew member to New Zealand,I am happy to have him onboard.He is from Basque Country if you are not clear where that is then google it,he has sailed alot and is a good hand.
Yesterday Jon and I went on a bus to the surfing beach that has big waves for surfers, Teahupoo. We met 2 dudes while we were there,one was from France and the other from Australia,they rented a car for the day and invited us to come along to explore more of the Island.We hiked up to see the Lava tubes on the Island right before dark and had a really good time visiting along the way.We hiked 5 miles to get to get up to the lava tubes and got back right at sunset.When we got back we had a visit with a Japanese guy with his son that was going around the world.I talked to him about his route and I hope to meet up with him when I get to Japan.
Curious is talking about renting a car to explore the Island in the next few days and we were invited to come along and split the cost of the car so it should be a good times for the next few days.
I will keep in touch and let you know how it goes.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Old Friends

Hello All,
It has been a lazy few days here.Delphine and I have just been shopping around and checking out the town.Today I will get out my bike and ride down to the other Marina 4 miles away and take a look around.Curious should be arriving sometime this week so we look forward to seeing them again.Infinity arrived yesterday morning and they came by the boat and said hello.I met up with a few of them in the afternoon and had some lunch.They are tied up right next to a beautiful little park about a 1/4 mile from me.They got there anchor chain caught on a coral head in one of the atolls and took a swell and about ripped the deck off the boat so they will be here doing some major repairs.I talked to Tobias yesterday and he is doing well and having a good time with the crew.
John and I are going to swing by and visit them here in just a bit so I will let you go for now.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

All is well in Papeete

Hello All,
We have been having a great time here so far.I got my new dingy yesterday,they even delivered it to me down at the key where I am at.After all the tax and local stuff was removed I paid a good price comparable to the US.I tried it out last night with the engine and it works awesome.Delphine and I took a row around the harbor after dinner,it was flat calm and it was very cool to see the city from out on the water.
We had dinner last night with Rose Corser,Rose and her husband visited the Marquesas Islands for the first time in 1972 and later on they moved to Nuku Hiva from California to start a small hotel and catered to cruisers that visited.I got Roses address through one of my cruising guides so when mom wanted to send a package to me I had it sent to rose.Mom sent it weeks before I arrived in Huku Hiva so silly old me figured it would be there when I arrived.After arriving I payed Rose a visit and she told me that if it was a package and not a letter that it could be months before it arrives.So I gave her my email and told her my plans of visiting all the islands and we would keep in touch.2 weeks ago i got an email from Rose and told me my package had arrived and she would air mail it to Papeete when I get here.Well Rose did one better,she emailed me a week ago and said she would be in Tahiti on business at the same time we were planing on getting here and gave me the hotel where she would be staying.When we got the boat tied up the other day I looked across the street and there was Roses hotel.After getting settled in I went over and met rose in the lobby and got my package from her.I bought her dinner last night for doing me such a good favor and we had the best time visiting.
Last night after dinner I went out on the town with the next door neighbors crew John.We hit a few popular clubs and stumbled back to the boat sometime this morning lol.Delphine went out shopping this morning and I dont have a clue what we are doing today but I am sure we will think of something.

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Papeete Tahiti

Hello All,
Its been a few days since I have talked to you.We are in Papeete Tahiti,moored downtown med moor style.We are right down town which is cool.It is a little noisy from the traffic going by but very convenient for all the shops.I was looking for a new dingy and found one not far away and very closely priced to the US.I will make a deal tomorrow morning.
Tonight we met a couple from South Africa,we had dinner with them and visited for a while.They have a crew that was suppose to go to New Zealand with them but they are not going there right away so I may have another person on the boat again to help out if all works out.When we checked in the customs told me that 90 days is all im aloud to stay so by the 16th of june I will have to move on.That sucks , so much to see and no time to see it.We will see how it goes,I am having such a good time.
We have more to do and see and I will let you know what happens.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

65 miles east of Tahiti

Hello All,
We had a descent day of sailing yesterday. I think we made 125 miles in 24 hours, that is pretty average for me. The night had good wind but had squalls also with a little rain. The forecast called for light winds for today and they hit it right on. I have had the engine running in calm seas since 1100 this morning. I was hoping they were wrong but this time they were not. We will arrive in Papeete about 1100 Wednesday and I will find a place to anchor and go check in and check the place out. I am ready to see a real town for a change and take a break from traveling for a bit.
I will let you know what I find out so until then TTFN.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Tahiti Bound

Hello All,
We are under way to Tahiti, we left Toau at 0830 this morning(5-17-2010). The wind is blowing between 15 and 20 knots, we are on a beam reach (wind at our side) and making 5.5 to 6 knots. We hope to be in Tahiti in 2 days. It is a very nice day and seas are about 6 feet.
Yesterday the wind was still blowing 25 to 30, so we just chilled out and I got a few little projects done on the boat. Last night Curious invited us and the local couple that fed us dinner the other night, Gastron and Valentine, Steve fixed an Italian dish that was fabulous and we made the dessert, Moms famous fried bread with cinnamon on top. Gastron and Valentine were very impressed, they don't eat much stuff that doesn't have to do with fish. They were very kind and gave us all Oyster shells and a few pearls for the ladies. Valentine is a pro Pearl farmer and has Oyster beds in the lagoon. We told them we were going to head out today and they said,no, stay a month, don't leave now! lol so we said our goodbyes last night. They are awesome hosts and folks and maybe we will see them again someday. Curious is heading for a few more Atolls before Tahiti so we will hope to see them in a month or so.
I will write again tomorrow and let you know how its going.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Relaxing day at Toau

Hello All,
Today has been pretty low key. We have just been hanging out and enjoying the sun. Yesterday was windy with squall after squall ,more rain than I have seen since I have been in the South Pacific. Yesterday morning and this morning Steve and I went and paddled around in his inflatable Kayak exploring the coral reef and finding new places to snorkel. Last night we had dinner and a movie on Curious. We had Tuna and Delphine made Potato Salad and a Pasta salad and I made the popcorn. We watched Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks, I hadn't seen it before so that was a real treat and an excellent movie.
The weather was much better today so I jumped in the water and cleaned the bottom of the boat. It has to be cleaned about 2 times a month, it is amazing what can stick to the bottom in the tropics in a short amount of time. We are going to have feet up time tonight and just chill out. I don't know what we will do tomorrow but we will think of something I am sure.
That's all I know for now so I will talk to you all soon.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Arrived at Toau

Hello All,
We made it to Toau Atoll yesterday afternoon. We had an awesome sail from Fakarava. Winds were out of the NE at 15 knots on an almost perfect beam reach. We covered 30 miles in just over 5 hours. Curious beat us here by about 2 hours and anchored up and went in to talk to the family that lives here. Curious arranged for them and us to anchor on some mooring buoys they have placed in the pass. The family here has a few bungalos for rent and a little common area for serving dinners for cruisers that pass through. Steve had arranged for all of us the have dinner with them tonight and I will get back to that here in a minute. This morning we got to go out fishing with Gastron, he is the husband of Valintine, she is the one that fixes the dinners and takes care of the cruisers when they arrive. We didn't catch a thing this morning but we did get really wet by two squalls that passed through while we were out. This after noon we went out snorkeling in the pass. The water was a bit murky and the clouds covered the sun for most of the day but it was still nice to get out and explore. Okay, now back to the dinner we had tonight. She fixed fresh breaded Mai Mai, Sushimi, Tuna with a fabulous sauce to go with it and Fresh Lobster cooked on an open fire and to top it all off she made coconut bread that was out of this world. We had such a good time visiting and our hosts were the best. I must say that was the best dinner I have had in recent memory. Tomorrow night we will have dinner on Curious and have popcorn and a movie after wards.
We will be here till Monday, the wind and the weather is suppose to clear up by then. We will head for Tahiti from here and Curious will be behind us by a few weeks. I will let you know how the next few days go and what we are up to.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Leaving Fakarava

Hello All,
We came back up north from the south pass yesterday. We had a really good time snorkeling both days we were there and while we were in the little village looking around we talked to one of the locals and he told us with the weather that was suppose to come we better get on out of here. We had squall after squall Sunday night out of the north so we were completely exposed to the waves coming across the lagoon. All of us in the anchorage were up at midnight taking a look at our anchors. I myself had to fire up the engine and motor up on my anchor because it was wrapped around a coral head and for the second night was trying to rip my bow off my boat. I got it freed up finally and got to sleep the rest of the night. Monday morning the wind shifted back to the east of which we were better protected with the wind coming from that way and it rained and blew for about 2 hours. Usually squalls are short and wet but these were extremely long.
So after our conversation with the local guy we managed to get our anchors up and came back up north. The trip north was mostly motor sailing until a squall hit us with everything flying. I was doing 7.5 knots with the engine off and the port rail in the water. I was trying to make it up here before dark which we barely made it. The weather up here has been much nicer but with this storm coming by Thursday we will go to the next atoll over tomorrow morning that has an all weather anchorage and spend a few days untill it blows over. The next atoll is Toau, 30 miles away so we hope to be there in the afternoon.
I will write more when we get settled and let you know what's going on.


Monday, May 10, 2010

A Coral Atoll

Hello All,
I am up early this morning listening to the rain pour down and the wind is blowing 25 knots. It is not a pretty day so I thought I would write a subject on Coral Atolls. They are quiet a marvel of nature.
They started life as a volcanic Island that rose from the ocean floor. When the volcano ceased to grow any further vegetation took hold and what was left was an Island just like what we are used to seeing in Hawaii. The amazing part of this evolution is that in the tropics a living thing called coral began to attach its self to the outer edges of the island. The heaviest growth being on the windward side because there is more nutrients for them to feed on. Rain fall and natural springs on the island made run off which caused gaps in the coral we now call passes. Over time erosion and just shear weight of the island caused it to settle and finally disappear. The only thing left from this timely process is what we now call an atoll. All of the coral that attached it self over time is all that was left behind. The interior of the atoll is called a lagoon. It is completely protected from the swell of the sea and can be very deep. I have seen 150 feet in some areas. The floor of the lagoon is made up of coral heads and sand. Coral has to live under the water so in some areas it will grow from the depths of the lagoon just below the surface which is why it is such a hazard for boats to navigate. When the sun is over head or just behind these areas of coral they are easy to spot because the water is so clear. Any other time or at night would spell disaster for a vessel. The passes I talked about earlier is how you enter these atolls. Some are very narrow and shallow so when the the tide floods or ebbs massive amounts of water pass through theses openings. Some currents I have seen is up to 8 knots and that is with only 8 inches of tidal difference.
Anchoring in these waters is a challenge to say the least. Near the shore the depths are manageable for anchoring, 30 to 50 feet in most cases. The problem is the bottom is littered with coral heads, most not over a foot tall but enough to have your anchor chain wrap around several times. I have been lucky so far not to get hung up but some folks I have met have had to dive on there anchors and chain to free them.(I am knocking on wood) The land mass of the atoll is widest on the windward side and is where the towns and villages are located. The widest I have seen is maybe a 1/4 mile. The height above sea level is about 4 feet.The vegetation consists of mostly palm trees and the only water supply is rain fall caught off of structures.
The fish that reside in the lagoons of the Tuamotu Atolls are unique only in this place in the world and after snorkeling in this area I will tell you, it is breath taking. Not so long ago this archipelago was avoided because of the navigation dangers but with GPS it has made it manageable to explore. You have to be within 5 miles to see the atoll by eye and I have gotten within 8 miles before the radar picked them up.
That is it in a nut shell and I hope this gives you a better understanding as to where I am in the world.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lots of fun in Fakarava

Hello All,
We made it down to the south pass on Fakarava Atoll yesterday afternoon. Delphine and I made the trip with out Tobias. My beloved crew member of 2 months decided to stay with the boat Infinity. He made some really good friends on the boat and with there mission of doing research of the Pacific Ocean and the many Atolls in the area, they offered him an opportunity that I could not, so Delphine and I will make it to Tahiti and I will look for someone there to replace him. We sailed the boat right down the middle of the atoll with up to 25 knots of wind. There was a channel of sorts to follow to get down here and I talked to other cruisers that did it and they said it was easy with no obstructions. It was a 30 mile run to get down here and it took us 5.5 hours so I was pleased with the time we made. We got anchored by Curious and were invited for a sundowner last night. A Canadian couple that was anchored by us were also invited. They are from the Vancouver area so we had lots to talk about.
This morning at 0300 I was awakened by the anchor chain grinding on a coral head. It was caught in the head so badly that with the wind waves and the squalls that were blowing through it was not letting the boat pitch. I was worried about it taking the anchor winch off the boat or parting the chain so I got Delphine up and started the engine so I could motor up on it and put another 20 feet of nylon line between the boat and the chain so it would soften the load more. About 0600 the wind shifted and the chain was freed. I went back to bed to try to start the morning over again. We were planning on doing a morning snorkel in the pass but the weather is to poor at the moment. We will see what happens this after noon. I am going to write a blog about an Atoll and how they were made and what its like to be inside of a Lagoon and the many hazards associated with navigating within one, so stay tuned.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Biking on Fakahava

hello All,
I had a wonderful day biking around the Atoll. There is a pretty good concrete road system here with a bike trail. I went out to the airport and checked all that out then I kept going all the way out to the pass where we entered the lagoon. It was a fabulous trip, about 7 miles one way mostly on a concrete road that turned to a dirt road or in this case a coral road. I got some really good pictures of the whole trip and when I can post them you will be jealous. lol Last night we heard some music playing in town so we went in thinking there was a party or something. It turns out it was just the local kids with there music blasting playing soccer and volley ball. We watched them for a bit and it was cool to see they were having such a good time. It reminds me of when we used to play in middle school. Almost all of our friends have gone to the south pass to do diving so we are only with a few boats here now. My crew Tobias should be back by tomorrow. I think we will leave here for Tahiti by next week some time. I will take my bike and go south tomorrow and see whats on that end of the Atoll. I will let you know what I find out and I will get more pictures to show you at some point.
I will talk to you later.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Arrived at Fakarava

Hello All,
I know its been a few days since you have heard from me,I have just been busy visiting with my fellow cruisers. We had a good crossing to Fakarava, the wind was a little light but the seas were calm so the boat moved right along. We arrived here at 1300 on the 2nd of May. We caught the pass right at slack water so entry was a breeze. We got to the anchorage and saw the Infinity was here. We haven't seen that boat since Nuku Hiva. Tobias made a few friends on board so after we anchored he jumped in the water and swam over to say hello. That evening we were invited for dinner on a 56 foot trauller that is going around the world. The owner Brian is from the Seattle area and is a real character so we had a nice visit. There were several other boats invited for the BBQ so we got to meet a few more folks. Yesterday we made it into town and looked around. It is the biggest town on the atoll so there are a few stores and a post office. It is a very clean town and the locals are pretty friendly. Last night we were invited for dinner on Infinity, I think the whole anchorage was there and they even had a local band set up on the stern so we got to dance on deck. I don't know if you remember me talking about this boat a while back. It is a 120 foot ketch with a crew of 16 people. Steve and Trish made it in yesterday morning so they were there having a good time as well.
We met 3 guys from Utah yesterday that just started sailing in September. They bought a 36 foot sailboat in Long Beach and worked on it and got it all ready to go and headed out all the way down the Mexican coast then to the Galapagos Islands then to French Polynesia. Not to bad for coming from the desert. We had them over for dinner tonight and had a nice visit. Tobias jumped on the Infinity for a few days, they were headed down to the south pass about 40 miles from here to do some diving. They will return on Saturday.
Delphine and I will just hang out here at the anchorage, I may even get a book read.
Okay, now you know what I have been doing I will tell you how this beautiful day got started. Sometime last night my raft from the wind waves knocked my swim latter off the side of the boat. When I got up this morning I looked and thought,Oh crap, Davey Jones strikes again. I thought it floated so I was looking behind to see if I could see any thing in the water or on the beach a 1/4 mile away.I didn't see a thing so I told Delphine to get ready, we will go to town and get baguettes and look for the latter on the beach. We looked a little from the boat and she said lets go in and i will walk the beach and you can get the baguettes. Okay deal, so i found a little concrete wharf that was by the big dock and we pulled the boat up and out of the water. I went to the store to get the bread, when I returned i saw the raft was missing. I looked around and saw it was tied to the big dock about a 100 yards away. When I got there I saw the outboard under water and the raft was loosing air badly. Who ever moved our raft was careless and holed it some how. I saw the Infinity dingy coming over to pick up Tobias off my boat and flagged them down. We towed my raft back to the boat and I got it out of the water. I spent all day patching the hole and getting all the water out of the outboard and got it to run again. Delphine didn't find the latter on her walk and now she was stranded on the dock. She hitched a ride to the boat with a fellow cruiser. I figured that wharf I landed the boat on must have been private and I am sure they probably didn't even realize they put a hole in it when they moved it. As for the latter, it is still missing. I thought maybe it sunk under the boat so the 3 guys we had over for dinner dove down with there snorkel gear but couldn't find it. Oh well, I guess I will put it on the missing list. I may take my bike to town tomorrow and explore. There are a few roads here so it will be fun to have wheels again.
I will talk to you all soon.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Leaving Manihi Atoll May 1, 2010

Hello All,
i just thought I would write a quick blog before I head to bed for a bit. We are under way to Fakarava Atoll. The weather is awesome and the wind could be better but we are moving and on coarse so I am happy. We left at 1400 and are expected to be there by 1300 tomorrow. There are a few folks we met in Nuka Hiva that will be there also it will be nice to see them again. After we get settled I will let you know how it went.
I will talk to you all soon