25 April 2010 | Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marqueses
We made it!! We are anchored in Atuona bay where we arrived just after dark and anchored under a bright moon. We are enjoying a celebratory drink before a light dinner and then......SLEEP! No one will be awake driving the boat tonight. I will not be drinking a red bull at 11:00 PM in an effort to ward off sleep.
We had a great sail today. Kurt woke me at 8:30 saying, " hey Maybers. Let's set the spinnaker." After getting the sail set up it was time to savor what would be our last day on passage by unplugging the toilet. After that it was on to bailing the bulge and vacuuming out the salt water leak that is flooding the electrical conduit below the cabin floor.
The day was spectacular. We sailed with the spinnaker and sat on the front deck enjoying the warm breeze and beautiful colored water. The breeze was not our best sailing angle so I was doubtful that we would make it in by dark. But throughout the day it built and our speed with it. By 3:00 PM we had clocked 210 miles in 24 hours which was our best time on the trip.
We wondered would we see a low lying smudge on the horizon, or would the 3500 foot peaks of the islands jump out of the mist. It turned out to be the later as by mid afternoon we were seeing tall dark outlines on the horizon. The islands grew taller and more defined until by late afternoon we were able to see four separate islands about 35 miles away. The wind continued to build and we had some spectacular surfs. The fastest was 18 knots with lots of 14s and 15s. Later we jibed our new spinnaker and put some little holes in the sail as we botched our jibe. Oops. Then the starboard engine starter burned out, the radar failed, and the watermaker lost one of it's pumps. Fortunately we are in an exotic place to make repairs.
As we motored slowly toward the bay bordered on either side by steep dark cliffs, we followed a set of range lights set up to guide boats into the narrow cut. Just when we were discussing if we were too close to the cliff on one side, our radio came to life with a call to "vessel entering Atuona bay this is Mulan." We responded and were guided right to a spot to anchor by a friendly welcoming cruiser.
So we will upload photos and more story later, but for now it's rum and hoo hoo, miso soup, and to bed for a long time.
Cheers to all.