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Tom & Kim's Excellent Adventure
A Shore Encounter
04/25/2013, Hiva Oa, Marqueses

We finally went ashore in Hanamenu Bay yesterday after a couple of windy, and therefore high surf days. The winds had subsided and the surf looked manageable for landing our dingy on the beach so we headed off. On the way in were motioned by two men on the beach to come to shore on the right side of the beach. When we got closer we could see why as the left side was covered with rocks! As we came through the surf (not completely under control) the men grabbed our dingy and helped us lift it up the shore to safety. They then led us up the beach to a beautiful fresh water pool that could have been a scene from any South Seas movie. We rinsed the salt water off of our bodies while one of the men rinsed his fishing nets in the cool fresh water pool. He had a bucket full of small fish he'd caught early that morning, and we realized we'd seen him in the bay earlier that morning in a small outrigger canoe. The older of the two men, who was obviously the owner of the property, invited us into his home for a breakfast of the fried fish caught that morning (it doesn't get any fresher!), plantains and papaya from his property, and café au lait. We were impressed by his generosity and were eager to learn more about him. We learned that his family had owned the property for generations, and he spent two weeks out of each month there. The rest of his time he lived with his wife and two boys in Atuona, which the biggest town on the Island (1800 people), and is where we had just come from. He has two sons who live on the Island and two daughters, both of whom had moved with their husbands to Tahiti. His property is set in a valley between two monstrous mountains, and is only accessible by boat. He built each of his various buildings himself, most of which are very simple, open air structures with woven roofs made from bamboo and palm tree fronds. He even has a sleeping hut reserved for guests and weary sailors who want to spend the night. After chatting a while, we realized by coincidence, that we had actually met him on the dock 3 days before when we were getting our bikes out of the dingy for a bike ride. After breakfast he suggested we take some fresh fruit for our next journey. He led us on a meandering hike through his property while cutting ripe grapefruit, papayas and limes from trees. Heavily laden with two bulging bags of fruit, we headed back to our dingy, and again with his assistance getting through the surf, headed back to the boat. All of this before 11:30 - we had the whole day to sail to the next bay, which was only 12 miles away. This has been our most interesting and memorable experience yet - one we expect will be difficult to top! We are now anchored in Hanaiapa Bay, having arrived yesterday afternoon. We took our dinghy to shore in the morning to stretch our legs and explore, and took advantage of fresh water at the dock to do laundry and have a shower. On returning to the boat we enjoyed a grapefruit and a papaya for lunch. Ahhh, the simple life! Our next destination is Fatu Hiva, which is an Island approximately 60 miles south. We plan to hoist anchor at 7:00 this evening for a overnight sail to what we've heard is even more beautiful than Hiva Oa. Is this possible?

05/16/2013 | Dan Christensen
This post is unreal. I kept waiting for the part where you say "and then he had his henchmen" throw bags over our heads and brutally murdered us with a machete"
Hiva Oa
04/24/2013, Hiva Oa, Marqueses

We're happy to have chosen Hiva Oa as our first stop on our travels among the Marqueses Islands. Many of our cruising friends arrived within the same time frame as us, so we got together to swap stories of our respective crossings over Happy Hour, or during dinner at a local restaurant. Atuona is the town that is located near 'Traitor's Bay', and is where the official country check-in procedures occur. In Atuona we were able to pick up Polynesian Francs at the local bank, buy a few groceries, and fill up on fuel (one jerry can at a time) at the gas station. There is a fair bit of swell in the bay, so stern anchoring is recommended - in fact stern anchoring at the dinghy dock is also a good practice - to limit the chaos, as it is always crowded. As many as 8 dinghies at a time tie up onto a single post at the small concrete platform. They bump and weave around each other in the swell, so scrambling across each other's dinghies to get to or from the dock is part of the deal. We were feeling adventurous one morning and packed both bikes into our little dinghy (testing our skills at the dinghy dock) so we could explore the Island by bicycle. No mishaps to report! We had a great, if not torturously steep ride uphill on the one-and-only road that follows the coastline. We rode through lush tropical forests and peaceful acreages, passing the odd horse, stray chicken, or dog along the way, and stopping to eat ripe mangoes that had fallen from the trees. When Kim's legs just couldn't take it any more we'd stop and take the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding Islands, bays and mountainscapes. We also took a full-day guided tour of Hiva Oa with friends, which provided us with an opportunity to learn about the history of the Marquesan people and their culture. Yes, it's true¬... cannibals existed until 1900! We stopped to see petroglyphs, visited Paul Gauguin's gravesite, and walked through an ancient ceremonial ruin with the largest remaining tiki on any of the Islands. Today we are the only boat in Hanamenu Bay, which is situated on the Northwestern part of the Island. Once again, the swell is significant (typical in almost all bays on the Marquesas Islands) so we are stern anchoring to reduce the rocking motion. Tomorrow we plan to row to shore and hike up to a nearby river which is supposed to be great for bathing in, and to pick some fruit in the valley to replenish our stock onboard. The water temperature is 36.8 degrees Celsius in the bay, but the swell kicks up the sand, making it too murky to swim or snorkel in. The air is thick with humidity and the scent of the nearby vegetation. What a beautiful place! Sorry but we still don't have internet coverage to upload photos.

05/16/2013 | Dan Christensen
So relieved you didn't get eaten
The Battle of Shellfish Ridge
04/17/2013, Hiva Oa, Marqueses

As we motored the last miles into Hiva Oa to complete our passage, I was surprised by the slower than average speed we were getting. Normally with a throttle setting of 2000 rpm we motor along at 5 knots/hour. That night we were barely making 4 knots. When we put the dingy in the water after anchoring in Traitors Bay it became very apparent why we were going so slow. The whole back third of the hull was covered by a forest of shellfish that protruded from the hull as much as one and a half inches. They also extended down the trailing edge of the rudder and forward along the hull at the waterline. This would not do! A battle would have to be fought for possession of the undersides of our hull! So I donned my mask, snorkel and flippers, armed myself with a kitchen spatula, a scouring pad, and my trusty suction cup handle to attach myself to the hull, and went into battle. This was not an easily won operation. Shellfish and barnacles are not easily removed. However after 3-4 hours in bone chilling 35 C degree water ;) I was able to vanquish the scourge to the bottom of the sea. I should note that the local small fish in the area were definitely on my side and gathered in large numbers to provide moral support (and probably to feed on the readily available shellfish I had dislodged). At times I would have as many as10-20 of these cheerleaders between my mask and the area of hull I was working on. We now have a clean hull - although our bottom paint is getting quite thin along the waterline. (For those non sailors, bottom paint is applied to the hull to reduce the amount of growth that occurs. As the paint is soft, the process of scraping off the shellfish also reduces the amount of paint to prevent further growth). So I expect over the next 6 months until we get the bottom repainted in New Zealand, I will have similar if not quite as extreme battles to be waged on a weekly basis. And you thought it was all laying around in the shade reading books! We have been having a great time here on Hiva Oa. We plan to leave tomorrow for a secluded bay on the north side of the island, and will update you on our land based adventures in our next blog.

04/22/2013 | Glenn Judson
19 days for that passage is a great time. What kind of boat is it?
05/16/2013 | Dan Christensen
Your trip under the boat sounds like a scene from the little mermaid with all of your fishy friends. They were singing a song with a Jamaican crab, right?
We've Arrived!
Kim & Tom
04/17/2013, Hiva Oa, Marqueses

Ahhhhh... we are set comfortably at anchor in Tahauku Bay, Hiva Oa, in the Marqueses Islands. We're situated in the midst of about 15 other sailboats who have all arrived within the past 5 days or so from various ports around the world. The scenery is spectacular, the weather is perfect, and after working on a couple of projects (including fabricating a new piece for the stove, which broke last night - our stove/oven pivots so that it works well in offshore waves, and one of the gimbals sheared off), we're ready for a long, uninterrupted sleep. Tomorrow we go through our official 'check in' procedures, get some laundry done, and switch from 'offshore mode' to 'Island Hopping' mode, converting the interior to more of a comfortable living space. We look forward to stretching our legs and doing a bit of inland exploring, and will blog again soon with some of the highlights. Time to brush up on our rudimentary French - Bonne soiree!

04/17/2013 | Lynn and Doug Macfarlane
Congratulations Kim and Tom. We've followed your progress daily and are very excited about your arrival. You've made it safe and sound!! We look forward to following you on the rest of your adventure. Enjoy a well deserved rest! Lynn and Doug Macfarlane SV Miramar
04/17/2013 | Gord
WOW - congratulations you two. That is awesome - we are all very envious! Look forward to some pictures when you get a connection and a well deserved rest!
04/17/2013 | James
Awesome guys! Congrats and well done! I did find the post about the flying fish particularly insightful -- nice one! Rest up and enjoy.
04/18/2013 | Grant
We have been watching daily with interest. Congrats on your safe passage!
04/22/2013 | Brenda McNair
sorry this is late, but CONGRATS YOU TWO!!! Great job! Bill is on his way back to PV tomorrow, to begin his passage in 10 days or so, he will take heart from your story!
One More Sleep
Kim & Tom
04/15/2013, 100 miles to go

..One more sleep, one more radio net check in, one more day;'s entertainment of flying fish squadrons, more night shift,one more starry night at sea, and one more offshore sunrise. We should make landfall tomorrow, either late morning or early afternoon after 19 days at sea. We have been blessed with great weather, excellent winds and a trouble free passage. We wonder if what we've heard is true... will we smell the lush tropical Islands before they're within our sights? We will let you know tomorrow.

El Gordo
04/14/2013, 300 miles to go

We must have the lowest maintenance pet imaginable. He takes up no space to speak of, never gets underfoot, doesn't need a safety harness or tethe in rough weather, and doesn't require a special diet. El Gordo is our Mexican fruit fly, who is so fat and lethargic from overeating (hence the name 'El Gordo' - 'chubby' in Spanish), we're not sure his tiny wings will support his girth. He must have thought he'd died and gone to heaven to find himself aboard our boat with a veritable smorgasboard of fresh fruit and vegetables, right out in plain sight!

Most medium-sized sailboats (like ours) have smallish refrigerators and limited freezer space, which can make it challenging to stow perishable foods for a lengthy passage. The design of our boat interior doesn't lend itself well to fruit and veggie hammocks (which is a common practice), so we devised a stacking set of ventilated bins, which are secured beneath our galley table. Before we set sail we packed it full of almost every kind of fruit and vegetable imaginable (except bananas - its bad luck to sail with bananas onboard!). We even dedicated a bit of space for our eggs (yep, unrefrigerated eggs, its true!. We learned that the best way to extend the life of eggs is to buy them fresh from a source that has never refrigerated them, and to turn them over once a day.)

Protected from sunlight, with plenty of ventilation, and completely out of the way, our stacking bins have worked out perfectly for us. And fortunately, our 'guestimation' on how much to bring onboard for a 3 - 4 week passage ended up being quite accurate. We staggered our consumption by using up the more shorter-lived perishable items first, and expect to have a few items left at the end of our voyage, such as cabbage, cucumbers, onions, apples, and potatoes, even a few eggs! Tom, El Gordo and I should arrive in Hiva Oa fat and happy.

PS Sailing report from Tom-- It doesn't get much better than this. All day trade winds on the beam at 14 to 20 knots. We averaged a speed over ground of 7 knots yesterday and I think we will top that today! Presently have a full genoa and a double reefed main. Seems the boat likes this combo and handles the gusts without rounding up. (You non sailors can ignore this paragraph).

04/14/2013 | Oksanna (Kuc) Dawson
Love reading about your adventure. Continued happy and safe sailing
05/16/2013 | Dan Christensen
Is there a story behind the bananas being bad luck? Or was that a joke?

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