SailBlogs
Bookmark and Share
Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Arrival in South Fakarava
Bruce
06/15/2011, Tuomotu Archipelago, French Polynesia

We arrived at the South anchorage at Fakarava again. It was an easy sail along the 40 mile channel from the north side of Fakarava to the south side. However when we arrived at the south end the marked channel ended and we were left to our own devices to find our way among the coral heads to the anchorage.

We chose to use waypoints provided by s/v Soggy Paws, which had previously been there. So we dutifully entered the waypoints into our navigation system and made our way towards the anchorage in what was about 50 feet of water depth.

I had mounted a masthead camera, and was watching it, when suddenly the image on the screen changed from deep blue to light beige. I immediately put the boat into full reverse thrust, but it was too late, a few seconds later there was a huge crashing sound as we had run hard and fast onto a rock hard coral head. The depth had gone from 50 feet to 4 feet in just a few seconds. And this was along a route that was recommended as a safe route!

My first reaction was to ask crew to check for any incoming water entering the hull. None was observed. Then we tried reversing off the coral head. We were stuck fast. So we took our stern anchor out with the kayak and dropped it off to port side, with it attached to the spinnaker halyard. By winching in the spinnaker halyard, we were able to make the boat heel enough so that we were free of the coral.

So we gingerly backed out of the hazardous area and found deeper water.

Lesson learned: never believe any "safe routes" given by prior cruisers.

Luckily there was no damage to the hull of Calou, save for some scratches in the bottom of the cast-iron bulb keel.

This photo, of a black tip shark, was taken while diving on the keel to inspect it for damage.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
Dinner at Lucien's house
Bruce
06/13/2011, Fakarava Atoll, Tuomotus

The crew of Charade and we were invited to Lucien's house; Lucien is a French man who has married a Polynesian woman and has lived here more than 20 years. His house looks like a perfect postcard, with decks opening right onto the lagoon.

Lucien (or Lulu), invited John and me to bring our musical instruments. John played violin and I played accordeon. Lulu it tuns out loves jazz and folk music, and plays his own special version of a contra bass, made with a plastic garbage can, a stout stick, and a piece of rope. He can change the pitch of the sound produced by changing the angle of the stick, and therefore, the tension on the rope. He's been playing this homemade instrument for 20 years and he's VERY good at it.



This was followed by some native polynesian dancing by one of Lulu's daughters and the daughter from Charade, Ambre:



Lulu on his garbage can contra-bass, Bruce on accordeon, John on vioilin, and Pascale singing, jammed together, for a set of tunes. It was a memorable evening.




Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
biking on Fakarava
Bruce
06/13/2011, Fakarava Atoll, Tuomotus

Our boat and the crew of Phambili rented bikes for the day and rode about 20 km up and down the atoll; Fakarava is consists of a ring of coral about 200 meters wide (at the largest point) and about 100 km in circumference.

We stopped for a picnic lunch on a sandy beach by the lagoon, and there happened to be a pier with a pearl farm on it.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
06/21/2011 | Elaine Simon
Thanks for your posts. We have cruised San Diego to as far as Panama three times and are planning to begin our puddle jump in March, 2012. I have sooo many concerns, and your blogs have helped me to see that the South Pacific is simply like cruising anywhere, except more so. Thanks again!
CREW WANTED, Tahiti to Hawaii
Bruce
06/10/2011, French Polynesia

As you know, we're sailing CALOU in French Polynesia and making our way towards Tahiti. Our crew member, John, must perform in a concert in July, so he will be leaving us at least temporarily.

We are looking for someone to help us sail our boat from Papeete or Bora Bora, to the northern Marquesas or Tuomotus (for R&R stop and provisioning), and then north to Hawaii.

The route from the Marquesas to Hawaii is described in Cornell's book, WORLD CRUISING ROUTES thus: "This is a fast and pleasant passage at almost any time of the year".

The departure from Tahiti would be some time in early July. Arrival in the Marquesas might take a week, and the passage to Hawaii two or three more weeks.

Candidates should be either known by us or have references.

Interested parties should contact us via email,
b r u c e @ c a l o u . c o m

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
VIDEO: Snorkeling with Shark
Bruce
06/10/2011, Fakarava Atoll, Tuomotus



Pascale, Antoine and I snorkeled over a coral reef while a black tip shark hovered nearby. Later in the clip there's a beautiful group of blue Springer's Desmoiselles hiding in the coral.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
Arrival at North Fakarava
Bruce
06/09/2011, Tuomotu Archipelago

We sailed from Fakarava South Pass to Fakarava North Pass via a channel inside the lagoon today; it was a delightful sail, in fact the most pleasant sailing we have seen ever... perfectly flat seas, 15 to 20 knots of breeze on the beam, sailing at up to 8 knots, warm weather, sunny, and beautiful scenery along the way as the channel follows the eastern end of the atoll.

We departed early morning and arrived here in North Fakarava at 1230 PM, the route covering some 40 nautical miles. We are anchored in 40 feet of water on sand with good holding.

We haven't seen all of the village yet but we found a good grocery store and the boulangerie, and we had an excellent lunch of grilled tuna steaks at an outdoor restaurant in town.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
Diving with the Sharks at Fakarava
Bruce
06/07/2011, Fakarava Atoll, Tuomotus

Today John and I went on two scuba dives, along the reef that borders the entrance channel to Fakarava Atoll. Besides the superb colorful tropical fishes and many varieties of coral, the highlight was the huge number of sharks, mostly black tip and gray sharks, that inhabit the channel. At about 90 feet below the surface, we were surrounded by hundreds of sharks in every direction. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, as the larger ones were bigger than me, but thankfully the sharks paid no attention to us.


colorful Trigger Fish


Springer's Desmoiselles seek refuge in coral


Black Tip Reef Shark


Room with a View


the Pension (Bed and Breakfast) at Fakarava


Sharks in the Water


Bird rests on an Oyster Shell


Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More
Passage to Fakarava
Bruce
06/04/2011, Fakarava Atoll, Tuomotu Archipelago

Because the weather forecast showed a storm system coming in for some days, we departed Tahanea this morning at dawn and made our way 51 miles from there to the South pass of Fakarava today, arriving at 1430. The conditions were excellent, nearly flat water in the channel, as we arrived during the flood with wind coming from astern.

We have anchored on the anchorage on the right side of the channel after you enter the South Pass. Our buddy boats Charade and Callipyge are also here.

Our sail was quite varied, in the morning we had a flat calm and had to motor, but after lunch we had a series of squalls and the wind built to 25 knots so we cut the engine and sailed. It rained a lot so we got out the foulies.

Right now it's 2030 here in Fakarava and the wind is blowing 25 knots in the anchorage but it's flat water since it's well protected from the swell.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
| | More

Newer posts ]  |  [ Older posts ]

 

 
Powered by SailBlogs