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Cruising with HappyCat
Huahine, French Polynesia

A sloppy sea, over night sail, and than up around the sheltered Eastern coast brought us to this nice, sheltered anchorage of Fare, Huahine, Crystal clear sandy bottom.
A very good supermarket, and mini street market, on the Friday morning we were there.
Since the weather has turned as predicted, overcast and rain, we decided to rent a car and drive the island.
Lunch at Chez Tara's was just the ticket. Sundays they make a typical Polynesian Buffet, that sounds really worth trying. If not just to see what they do with all these interesting root vegetables!
One can anchor in the bay in front, approximately at 16 48.856S:150 59.573W

Moorea, French Polynesia

Now in the N.W. corner, with a lot more yachts, and Takaoa! Nice to catch up, Deborah always treats one to home baked goodies!
Took the dinghy to the West corner, past the feeding of the rays. Not quit up for joining the group, we carried on to the now closed Club Med.
Though shut now for over 10 years, it seams a reflection of many more resorts to come. And slowly, but surely, nature takes its course, and takes over.
BEWARE of the dogs when walking around the streets. We now know of two incidences of cruisers being bit. Carry a stick?

Jul/04/2012 | mich
So serene. The colors are stunning my dear. ahhh
Cooks Bay, Moorea

A bit of a rolly 4hr. motor sail got us in to this great achorage of Morea. Again the waters are so crystal clear. And the mountains are so dramatic! Such fantastic sheltered anchorages, once through the encircling reef.

Anchored off Tania Marina, Papeete

Back in the water, and a quick motor towards the Marina Tania, where we anchored just in front, near the corals in crystal clear waters of 2m. depth. A beautiful leopard ray hangs around our boat sucking on the ocean floor.
Nice to catch up again with Virgos Child, and also do a good shop in Carrefour, walking distance from the dingy friendly marina.

Haul Out, Papeete

We hauled out in Tecnimarine, to do our anti fouling. An extremely tidy outfit, with great care in the haul out, excellent facilities, being right in the middle of the industrial zone.
Met a fun, lone sailor, Sam, from Northern Ireland. Spent the next week working during the day, painting and polishing HC, and listening to Sam's incredible stories, and historical accounts, at night, over beer at the 'fisherman's bar' and at the roulettes in town. 'Roulettes' are mini vans, that take over a square by the city wharf, at 18:30, providing meals, of Chinese or Steak Frittes, or the local specialty of Poussin Cru. & raw tuna in all sorts of ways, and lovely crepes and ice cream. Its very popular, every night of the week there will be vans, getting busier in the w.e.

Papeete, Tahiti

We all joined up and rented a couple of wheels for the day, and drove around the island. I have never been in a place, where litteraly there is only one road, and that goes around the island. And very few roads leading up into the valleys. Still so undeveloped.
It was a great day, stopping at various points, for views, (and coffee and cake), walk up to a river, Gaugin museum, (for lunch, only) and the high light being the drive up the lush valley of vivid green pastures, with lots of healthy cows, on the neighboring island beyond the causeway.

Jun/18/2012 | Kaaren Beuth
Amazing reading yr blog and congratulations on keeping it you take turns? Hey did you receive the email form Nils some months back, invitation to his and Leannes wedding Sept 1st Umbria? We were not sure if you were still going to be on that side of the world or not.. Nils is back working in Dubai and Leanne joins him there in three weeks. We leave Aug 28th for Rome. Will be away about 5 weeks. Love to hear from you, where you are headed etc and if there is any possibility of seeing you both in Italy, Sept 1st... you can check their web site leanneandnils, bye now, keep safe
k and J
Sail to Papeete

We made sure we had the tides right for the exit, early morning, and taking the lead, we exited, with Virgo's Child, We ladies, would not have wanted it any rougher, the skippers enjoyed the challenge.
Arrived at Venus Point just after dark, and early morning docked our boats at the town quay of Papeete.
Whippersnapper, Whiskers, Ganga, Impiana, Just Jane, all these familiar boats were there. It was wonderful, and as Michael said, it was like a nautical version of Coronation Street!
Although you are smack on top of a busy road, its nice to be in a city environment, with everything conveniently placed, markets, chandlers, eateries etc.
-Picture of Virgo's Child exiting the pass of Rangiroa-

Jul/04/2012 | mich
You mean you weren't standing at the prow?? haha
Rangiroa, Tuomotos

Its amazing to think that there exsists a substantial community on these atolls. Rangiroa is the largest atoll in French Polynesia, with two villages at the base of the two passes, that get you into the large deep lagoon. The snorkeling is great. We discovered Josephine's, a lovely little hotel right on the pass, with a large wooden deck. She provides a delicious meal, or just a coffee, (and wifi).

Rangiroa, Tuomotos

We left as a caravan of 4 boats on the overnight passage to Rangiroa, just over 100n.m. It was filled with a couple of really strong squalls. We gently sailed along arriving about 1 hr. before we needed to enter the pass at 13:00 the next day. You could see the breaking waves within the pass, but according to the books, now was the time to go for it. And so we did ... I have to say, my heart was a thumping, whilst HC, skillfully helmed by captain James, maneuvered and surfed down some braking waves!!!
Once inside, the lagoon is huge, calm and surrounded by crystal clear aqua waters! We are anchored in front of the newly renovated Kia Ora resort,
-Picture of Entering through the pass--

Manihi, Tuomotos

Bread baking is Fernando's steady income, especially now that the pearl industry is suffering. ( The lagoon used to have 25 pearl farmers, now their are barely 5 ) When we went to buy bread the next day, he proudly showed us the bakery, begun some 50 years ago by his father. All the equipment comes from France, the mixer was 30 years old! The flour also came from France or Holland. (Aus. flour was no good he said ) He showed us also his little veggie garden, and especially keen he was on his compost pile, with fish meal.
There is no sign of commercial fishing in these waters and the fish life is abundant. We snorkeled down the pass, floating along with the outgoing tide, and our dinghy. Again, Fernando was there to meet us later, and jumped in the water with all his clothes on, to make sure we saw the best things.
That night, Fernanado and Stella, his wife, joined us all for a meal at the resort, where by at the end of the meal, he and a friend sang and played the ukulele, and gave James a demo. on how to dance!
Next morning as we departed, Fernando was at the end of the wharf in the pass, throwing flowers out to sea, bidding us farewell, with his gleaming smile. What and amazing character!
-Snorkeling Through the Pass-

Jul/04/2012 | mich
What a wonderful story you shared! I can picture it well and was keen to see the bakery! His breads sound gorgeous. He alone sounded like such a special man to have met! Flowers thrown out to you upon your departure. What a special man!
Manihi, Tuomotos

The following day, James and a few others went out of the reef to catch tuna, in a most unusual way involving wrapping a rock with bait and leaves and hook and sinking it deep into the ocean. The rock frees itself, and the bait sits deep. No tuna was caught but several leather jackets were. We had a good impromptu feed onboard HC with 9 cruiser friends.

Manihi, Tuomotos

Fun sail down, caravanning with Island Fling and Virgos Child. 4 days and nights later, we timed ourselves perfectly for the slack tide through the coral passage of the atoll of Manihi. We were met at the anchorage by Andy with a couple of baguettes! What service....
Andy had arranged through Xavier, who runs the SSB station of Manihi, to watch the cup final at Fernando's house the following morning.
Fernando transpired to become, in the 3 days that followed, one of the most inspiring and energetic characters we have ever met.
He runs the local bakery, awakening at 2am every morning. On Fridays he bakes 2 thousand baguettes, where by a French Navy vessel distributes them to various atolls!
After the football game that morning, Fernando took us all on a tour of how black pearls are created. Out into the big lagoon we went with our snorkel and finns, not knowing what to expect. In the following 4 hours we were shown tho clinging of baby oysters, barely 1cm long, to diving down to collect a 'rope' of mature oysters, to than taking us to his little shack workshop on stilts over the water, where he showed us the grafting of a mature oyster. The work involved to create these little gems, was amazing with a success rate of barely 40%!! We all had a go at discovering if we were had good 'bon chance' (as he would say), in finding a pearl, and he made sure that we did not go home empty handed.
That night we had a beach BarB, with all the cruisers, 7 boats, which was fun!

Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva

It was decided that we would travel together to the Tuomotos, and our first stop would be Daniels Bay, just a few miles West, on Nuku Hiva. The walk to the water fall is probably the high light, though we did not do it. The anchorage is surrounded by spectacular cliffs. Black sandy beaches ashore. Good holding, as was Taiahoe.
Every day for the last week there have been some serious down pours. Generally, after about 1/2 hr. the warm sun shines again.
-Whipper Snapper anchored in Daniels Bay-

Anaho, Nuku Hiva

We had read a lot nice things about this isolated, but inhabited bay, and left mid day for the 22nm trip. What a slog though, along the Eastern coast of Nuku Hiva. But the scenery made up for the discomfort, and when we arrived to the beautiful anchorage, calm and clear waters, we were happy to have come, to this isolated place, with no electricity or road access, largely unchanged for the last couple centuries
Took the dingy close to the shore and anchored in the shallow waters amongst the reef. So nice to walk the white sandy beach, the only one on the island. Even here the few locals, perhaps ~15 keep their grounds neat and tidy, the grass is cut and watered, the little church is nicely kept.

Taiohae, Nuku Hiva

One thing we have never appreciated is that this island is where the NZ Maori's originate from. Its strange to see such likeness, yet they speak French and have a French cultural twist to them.
We have been very fortunate to have anchoreddnear us Des & Carol, from S. Africa, and Terry and Elaine from AU and Andy. We met them in Panama. A very different side of cruising is beginning to emerge, with sundowners and pot lucks and excursions together.
We hired a couple of drivers to give us a tour of this beautiful island. The well built narrow concrete roads take you wind their way through the valleys and ridges, precariously hugging the edge of the road, bringing you down to sparsely settled bays. Here we would alight, to view the catholic churches, with its rustic wood carvings, visit a stone carver, take water from a potable spigot, visit a vegetable grower, or simply take in the tidy hamlets, proud in their simplicity.
Lunch was in the bay of Hatiheu, at an ocean side restaurant. It seamed as though we were the only foreigners in the very quiet hamlet.
We visited an ancient Me'ae, an ancient Marquesan site, arranged for ceremonies and gatherings, with one of the largest banyon trees in the Marquesas. It was huge. Our guide gave us an example of one of the native hakas, the haka of the Pig. He certainly sounded like a honking pig!
Every where we went, everything was tidy, neat, well tended, even the road side seamed to have a regular striming!
The next day, as we went for our walk up the valley from town, beyond the pharmacy, we met an amazingly hospitable young man, called Morris, whose wife is related to the late Daniel, from Daniels Bay. He was tending to his crop of bananas and coconuts, , when we came across 4 barking dogs. Out came the owner, a strapping young man, who in his very little English, began offering us bananas and coconut water. After giving us several coconuts, he made us walk down with him to his house to meet his wife, and on the way hooked off some wild papaws giving us 3 to take home. So generous, happy and proud.
We all came away feeling the joy, the generosity the kindness of the Marquesan people. Unfortunately Nuku Hiva was the only island we visited, We were told Fatu Hiva is a mnd most cruisers go there first.
-Picture of the Catholic Church in Hatiheu-

Taiohae, Marquesas

Our last couple days of sailing were one of our best ever!! All the conditions were perfect, flattened seas, wind on our beam, and again, a little help from the friendly current. We sun rose behind us as we approached Ua Huka. Immediately we could a pleasant, almost sweet scent in the air. A land unlike anything I have ever seen before. Green, yet raw, and dramatic.
And a few hours later at midday, we dropped anchor in the spectacular large bay on Taiohae, in Nuku Hiva. We were in the center of an ancient volcano.
3159n.m. since Galapagos 4014n.m. since Panama. Max. Speed 12.3kts. Average speed 6kts. It was a great crossing,
What we see already seams unique, its tidy, its clean, and their are a lot of smiling and happy faces. Our first landing was to witness right on the wharf, several long wooden tables laid out, and young men busily skinning and cleaning large tunas. Over 50, of which we were able to purchase half a side, for ~$10US! The quality was amazing, Sushi/sashimi, ceviche, a light pink. Next day their was a display of enormous grouper, caught in the deepest oceans, James claims he would struggle to lift one in one hand! At least a dozen of them. And the next day a variety of fish, maji maji, snapper... certainly no shortage of fish here. We believe it must all get flown over to Papeete, to the market.

Pacific Ocean, Voyage to Marquesas, 3200nm

The rest of the journey was a mixture of serious hours of motoring for the first 3 days beyond the Galapagos, with a nice 1-11/2 kts current in our favor, a quick swim was allowed, followed by the rest of the journey with some very nice winds from our rear port quarter. Of course this brought some sloppy big seas, where we were knocked around a bit for a good 5 days. Not a lot of sightings of dolphins, just one group in the distance, and later finally a group came to visit us. One large sea turtle just floating along with the current. And once again a strike on the fishing line, none of us heard, until a while later. It turned out to be a baby marlin!!

San Cristobal, Galapagos

Raised anchor at 5:00a.m. and set sail/motored to San Cristobal, some 45 nm away. Lovely flat seas, we just puddled along. When we were not moving more than 2.5kts. we started the engine. Saw lots of turtles floating about, half asleep.
Upon approaching San Cristobal, you immediately felt it was to be a friendlier place. We sent JD ashore on a water taxi, and made him focus on getting diesel. He came back an hour later, with all sorts of options. We chose a couple, take 4 of the 5gal. cans and go to the fuel station and buy diesel for $3.50pr gal.. Later, give 4 5gl. cans to a water taxi man who can buy you diesel from a fisherman for $4pr gal. 
First step was accomplished with out a glitch. 2nd step was in place when all of a sudden a fellow approached the boat in a water taxi. He turned out to be an agent, enquiring us if we had and agent. If we didn't we needed to have one, and we needed to report to the port police. Started to sound like the same old rigamarole. JD was on the boat at the time, and talked to him directly, at first saying that we did have an agent. I said, under my breadth, John don't lie! We don't have an agent. JD explained that we just wanted to be here a few hours, we were waiting for the weather, leaving tomorrow. Ah, but even if you stay the night you must report to the p.p. If not, you can be heavily fined, said the agent. If not they can even confiscate your boat!! Shoot! He sounded very convincing. Come with me, lets go now to the p.p. Bring along your papers, I will take you there if you want. We were gathering our papers, and JD said, listen let me go alone, and I will talk to him, I will sort this out. I know exactly how these things work. 
Oh Lordie, I knew exactly why I was so happy to leave Venezuela. I am not cut out for this corrupt mentality!! 
Sure enough JD returns an hour later, explaining with great enthusiasm what occurred. After a little chat, and a slipping of $5 to the agent whilst in the water taxi on the way to shore, and another sweet talking to the p.p. lady who is the sister of the 'big' man, he came back that we had assurance that we were able to stay the night, with no fees, and if we needed to buy fuel it would be at $6 Ahhhh only in Latin America!!!
We all went ashore that night for a bite and some wifi, still trying to get these papers scanned to Marylinne in Papeete, to act as our agent in Marquesas. 
When we returned to the boat, a family of sea lions had made themselves at home through out the whole cockpit!!! A major hose down was needed, and through out the night, James kept on lurking out the bedroom window, shooing them off the boat. 
Lovely strong down pour, finished washing the boat down.

Sta. Cruz, Galapagos

Awoke to the sight of land in the distance. Motored through out the night. Little wind and on the nose. Anxious now to get there before night fall. A baby red footed booby sat on the front rail all night, until early dawn, catching a ride. Later 3 gulls landed on the roof, happy to take a break from beating into the wind back to Galapagos. One even decided he preferred to prop himself on JJ's head!!! Great moment.!
Arrived to Sta. Cruz around 15:30, anchored and radioed in a water taxi, which is the only way to get ashore. No dinghy docks. Good system. We were informed that in order to buy fuel, one must get a permit from the port captain. HE in turn informs us that in order to get this permit it must be done via an agent. There are 4 here. Shall I call one up? Yes, the cheapest please. Young chap arrives and begins the long well rehearsed explanation of the different options that lay ahead of us. Though he spoke English he chose to stick to Spanish. Now before we fill in the formalities the port captain must visit your boat, to check the tanks, water, papers, blah blah blah, and how much tonnage are you? O.K. so that will cost $180 for him. Than I, the agent will have to fill in this and that paper, to request the fuel, and you will be charged the international price which is $7.10 pr. gallon!! $4.10 in Panama. And my fee for doing all this is $180, you know there is a lot of running around, its also Easter, and people charge double time, and the fuel service station is only open until midday. I will be going here and there, and I am going to have to expedite this as quick as possible, running all the time! 
Well, when I translated all this to JJ, he picked up immediately that it was high way robbery, a total scam, and said forget it. We go with out your fuel thank you. And we all walked off. I think they were quite shocked that we saw through their scheme, and denied there ripped off service! Though we were instructed by the uniformed port official, he who was collaborating with the agent, that if we left immediately we would be o.k., we decided to stay the night. 
Later that evening Shy and JD went ashore, and found out some scoop, how all the agents are from one family, and they control the whole fuel and port situation!! We set the alarm for 5:00 and left for the neighboring island, San Cristobal where we were told that purchasing fuel was a lot easier and friendlier. 
JD came back with a couple of bags of fruit and veg. a few onions, 1kg. tomatoes, some cucumbers, peppers and radishes, apples, lemons, a few pear's, tomatillos and a couple of avocados, all costing $75!

Equator, Pacific Ocean

Definitely calming weather, clearer skies. Had a clean up of the cockpit, and ready for the big event. At 11:19 we celebrated crossing the Equator! A nice bottle of Spanish Bubbles, clear skies. Still struggling to get to Galapagos, current against us, and wind and swell, is making e.t.a barely reachable by tomorrow, Sat. around 15:00! Already down to our last bits of fruit. Everything ripening so much faster here than on the Atlantic. Hopefully we are in luck, and something will be open over Easter w.e. We need fuel too, with all this motoring we are doing. 
Broccoli pasta for lunch. 
2 mangos left. 1 pineapple, 1 watermelon, 4 passion fruit, and 6 apples! 1 head romaine, some baby carrots and big carrots, 1 head broccoli, celery, 2 peppers, 2 cucumbers, and the frozen string beans I prepared before we left.

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Who: James Joll & Marina Jackson
Port: Napier, New Zealand
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