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Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Arrival in the Tuomotus
John
05/23/2011

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After a quick three day sail we have arrived at the atoll of Makemo in the Tuamotus. We have been looking forward to seeing this unique place since the beginning of our trip and it is exciting to actually b e here. Our passage was really fast, averaging over 150 miles a day, with the last 24 hours being our fastest since the trip began, at 165 miles. It really helps to have good winds to keep us moving. We did experience a few squalls and I enjoyed watching the sunrise this morning.
Big squall.
Rainbow in squall ahead of us.
Entering Makemo we had to go through our first pass, a break in the coral ring, a channel, where boats can enter the atoll. When we arrived the current was rushing out of the atoll at a quick pace making the entrance too rough for us to get through. So instead we hove to a few miles outside of the entrance and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Two hours later we tried again as the current was now nearing slack tide. This time the surf was much more manageable, although we still were a bit tense as we motored though.
Approaching the pass into Makemo.
Nice looking beach near the pass.
Once inside the pass, it is like we entered a completely different world. The sea is perfectly flat and stretches out for a very long ways. This atoll is actually 40 miles long. A nice surprise here is that we are able to moor to the cement dock instead of having to anchor. This is our first time not anchoring since leaving Mexico, and what a luxury to just be able to step off the boat onto a solid surface.
Calou tied to the wharf.
After we finished docking I noticed a strange looking craft also tied to the dock. It turns out that a French woman, Anne (www.pacific-solo.com), had just completed a drift of 83 days from Callou (Lima), Peru to here. We had a great time talking to her and her parents (who happened to find her near this island and towed her in). Her communications system broke one week into her trip so her family and everyone following her trip at home was very worried about her safety. Her last communication had been about broken parts so they were extra worried. It turns out she was fine and had a good trip, although she mostly ran out of food about five days before arriving here. She expected the trip to take closer to 60 days instead of 83. The problem was she ran did not find the trade winds for longer than planned. Her only form of propulsion was a kite. She is quite the adventurer as she also has rowed across the Atlantic alone. Two years ago she attempted to row across the Pacific Ocean, starting from San Francisco, but a few days out she had equipment failures and had to abandon the trip. She spent last summer floating around on a small iceberg tracking its movement.
Kite boat.
In addition to meeting the charming solo sailor Anne, we also met the famous French singer, Antoine. He had some big hits in France in the 1960s and has lived aboard his trimaran in French Polynesia for the last 21 years.
Local admirer, Anne, and Antoine.
We plan to stay here a few nights, exploring the town and surrounding areas before moving on to the next anchorage in Makemo.
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Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 3 of Passage from Marquesas to Tuomotus
Bruce
05/21/2011

Our second day was another good sail, we made 156 miles in a 24 hour period, like the first day. If this rate continues, we should make landfall at Makemo Island in the early afternoon. That would be nice because we will need good daylight as we enter the atoll in order to avoid the numerous coral heads.

Day 3, which began at noon today, has been highly variable, at times very light winds so we needed to motor, and at times 25 knots and squalls. It has rained off and on all afternoon which we took advantage of to take a fresh water shower on deck.

Now, night time has begun, and fortunately the radar doesn't show any more squalls on the horizon so hopefully we'll have a peaceful and dry night sail.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Day 2 of Passage from Marquesas to Tuomotus
Bruce
05/21/2011

Our first day and night went by quickly, we had a consistent 15 to 20 knots wind on the beam, so we were able to maintain 7.5 knots. Today, at noon, we measured our 24 hour progess since we left Ua Pou and found that we had made 157 nautical miles in that 24 hour period. Not bad considering there was a period of light winds in the shadow of the island where we had to motor.

Our second day has come and mostly gone, it has been very pleasant sailing. We shared a glass of wine at sunset and marvelled how wonderful this passage was turning out to be.

For dinner, we had beef entrecote steaks with green peppercorn sauce, plus chinese long green beans cooked in butter, and couscous.

Our Sat phone terminal was not working today (for me) so my only access to the internet has been via (very slow) sailmail.

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Passage Making to the Tuomotus
Bruce
05/20/2011

We left Ua Pou, the last island in the Maquesas archipelago, and are now sailing towards the Tuomotus, another island chain about 500 miles south west. This passage should take us about 4 days.

We had hoped to fill our jerry cans with gasoline for our outboard motor and generator, but the only store that sells gasoline on the island said they were out. Not to worry, they said, a supply ship was arriving that evening and they would have gasoline in the morning. So we returned to the store this morning, walking about a mile and a half with jerry cans in hand, and when we got there, they had already sold out all of their gasoline.

Such is life in the islands!

For our trip to the Tuomotus, we have brought lots of cash (as much as the ATMs would give us) and plenty of fruit (grapefruit, tomatoes, limes), both of which are difficult or impossible to obtain in these islands.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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05/20/2011 | george + candice/PUMA
enjoying following your blog.

bummer about the gasoline. however maybe when you find some the walk won't be so long.

interested to see if you find gasoline in the Tuomotus.
Anchorage at Ua Pou
05/19/2011

We had a rainfall this afternoon, and as the clouds cleared, we enjoyed this beautiful view of the island's volcanic spires. These sharp peaks are ancient columns of lava which have cooled, and, being harder than the surrounding material, have withstood erosion over the centuries, leaving these fantastic vertical plugs.

We ventured into town to do provisioning for our 4 day passage to the Tuomotus Islands... we need to purchase not only food for the passage, but for the next month, since very little is available on these islands, with fruits and vegetables being especially lacking.

Our last venture was to fill our jerry cans with gasoline to run our generator and outboard motors... to our surprise there was no gasoline availabe anywhere on the island, at least until the next supply ship arrives. Luckhy for us it arrived this evening, so we shoule be able to refill our jerry cans in the morning, and be on our way.

Refilling the jerry cans, by the way, is no small task. We have to carry three 5 gallon cans from the boat, ashore, and then walk about a mile inland to the only store in town that sells it (at $8 per gallon). Then we have to lug the jerry cans another mile back to the dock (each 5 gallon can weighs about 30 lbs). Well, at least we are getting our exercise.


Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Anchorage at Ua Pou
Bruce
05/19/2011

We had a rainfall this afternoon, and as the clouds cleared, we enjoyed this beautiful view of the island's volcanic spires. These sharp peaks are ancient columns of lava which have cooled, and, being harder than the surrounding material, have withstood erosion over the centuries, leaving these fantastic vertical plugs.

We ventured into town to do provisioning for our 4 day passage to the Tuomotus Islands... we need to purchase not only food for the passage, but for the next month, since very little is available on these islands, with fruits and vegetables being especially lacking.

Our last venture was to fill our jerry cans with gasoline to run our generator and outboard motors... to our surprise there was no gasoline availabe anywhere on the island, at least until the next supply ship arrives. Luckhy for us it arrived this evening, so we shoule be able to refill our jerry cans in the morning, and be on our way.

Refilling the jerry cans, by the way, is no small task. We have to carry three 5 gallon cans from the boat, ashore, and then walk about a mile inland to the only store in town that sells it (at $8 per gallon). Then we have to lug the jerry cans another mile back to the dock (each 5 gallon can weighs about 30 lbs). Well, at least we are getting our exercise.


Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Anchorage at Ua Pou
Bruce
05/18/2011

There was a brief rainfall in the anchorage, and as the clouds cleared, we had this wonderful view of the volcanic spires of Ua Pou.

This island is our final stop for provisioning before our departure to the Tuomotu Islands. So we are stocking up on everything we will need, not just for the 4 day passage, but for our month long journey through the Tuomatu atolls. Fresh fruit and vegetables are impossible to find there, and many other things are in very short supply. So we have to stock up on everything from eggs to toilet paper.

We are carrying as many grapefruit, limes, avocados, and bananas as we can carry. All of these are impossible to find in the Tuomatus.

Another thing we needed was gasoline, for our generator and our outboard motor. We were surprised to find out that there was no gasoline available on the island... until the next supply ship arrives. Lucky for us the supply ship arrived this evening, so we plan to fill our jerry cans in the morning.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Arrival at Ua Pou
Bruce
05/17/2011

We made the short passage to Ua Pou (pronounced wa-pu) this afternoon. The island is a delightful anchorage, though very crowded so a stern and bow anchor are required. We have gotten used to setting bow and stern anchors so that this is as easy as a single hook.

We caught a tuna en route, which was very nice. I made fresh fish tacos for lunch, and tuna sushi for dinner.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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