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Little Green Boat
Spruce left New Zealand at the end of May 2014. We had a wonderful time in NZ, Fiji and Vanuatu We are now in New Caledonia and will move on to Australia in early November 2014.
Celebration of Arrivals
Andy & Sue
29/Apr/2013, Atuona - Les Iles Marquises

Friends from several vessels came aboard Spruce yesterday for an evening of chat and general bonhomie. The common cause for celebration was all having recently arrived in French Polynesia after sailing from the Galapagos. The photo shows many folks, some we have mentioned in blog postings about the Galloper SSB Net. Quite a few had only previously met over the radio airwaves, so a chance to get to know each other better.


Clockwise from bottom left Bill (Juffa), Barbara (Sea Whisper - Lionel is out of shot), Evelyn (Segwun), Anje (Giggles), Jens (Segwun), Caroline(Juffa - hiding behind hoop), Norma (Minnie-B), Robin (Flapjack), Andy (Spruce), Phil(Minnie-B), Miles, Pauline & Karen (Flapjack). Apart from Lionel also out of shot are Ben (Giggles), Sue (Spruce) and Anthony from Wild Fox who just arrived today and was sleeping instead of partying. Wild Fox was the junk rigged Badger design we posted a photo of when we met in mid-ocean on 16th April. Nationalities represented were from Canada, Netherlands Antilles, Netherlands, Denmark and, of course, the UK.

As of this morning's SSB net session there are still seven vessels at sea: five are making towards Les Marquises, one towards Les Gambier and one to Easter Island. All should be arriving at their respective destinations during the coming week.

News & Updates
08/Jun/2013 | Lindsey
Well done you two. Congrats on the fast passage. You both look fabulous and we miss your shining spirit and school-girl giggles;). Hope French Polynesia is treating you well!
Tour and Tikis
27/Apr/2013, Hiva Oa - Les Iles Marquises

Crews from three boats teamed up today to take an island tour: Minnie-B, Segwun and Spruce. The drive to the north coast of Hiva Oa was largely along unpaved, bumpy, stony tracks. Our driver, Frida, negotiated the roads carefully as we wound our way through a quite spectacular landscape, shaped by volcanic activity long ago. The crags were precipitous, some of the hairpin bends were tight with long drops to the side. Altogether the scenery was breathtaking, lush and tropical. At higher altitudes, the highest we drove was 700 metres, the architectural plants were supplemented by pine forest.

If any doubt as to our Pacific location still existed our arrival at a Polynesian spiritual site expelled it immediately. Stone platforms with Tikis standing proudly erect. The tallest some 2.5 metres and intricately carved with motifs. A Polynesian history that is believed to go back to 800BC with successive waves of migration emanating from these islands. Whole communities setting out to sea in large ocean going canoes to populate other Pacific regions: Easter Island and New Zealand have descendants of those early travellers from Les Marquises.

Flapjack arrived at Hiva Oa this evening. Wild Fox is due in tomorrow morning. Sea Whisper (Lionel & Barbara) invited a few of us over for drinks and nibbles aboard their speedy vessel at sunset. A wonderful opportunity for folks who have only met across the ether to become acquainted. A social gathering aboard Spruce is planned for tomorrow evening when crews from seven of the yachts from the Galloper Net will get together; again, some will meet face-to-face for the first time. This lifestyle is not only about the places we see its also very much about the social side of meeting both locals and other cruisers.

News & Updates
First Taste of Polynesia
26/Apr/2013, Atuona - Les Iles Marquises

Spruce and her crew are now cleared in to French Polynesia. A half mile stroll into the nearby town and a visit to the local Gendarmerie saw our formalities rapidly completed. The on passage work with the French text books bore fruit: we understood the local people and they comprehended our version of their official language. First glimpses of a new culture; not only the French influence from the mother country but also the rich Polynesian heritage. Arms and legs proudly sporting traditional tattoos abounded, colourful flowers behind the ladies' ears and one who wore a pretty floral head dress. Not a show for the tourists but the normal attire of a proud Polynesian people with a long history of seafaring migrations across the Pacific Ocean.

Steak and fries for lunch, expensive but delicious, washed down with a local beer. Internet access bought by the five hour quota, also expensive and slow. A brief shop at the supermarket and roadside stalls. Sensory overload hit a peek by early afternoon. Time for some R&R. Photo shows the anchorage from the beach at the head of the inlet at Port de Atuona.

News & Updates
27/Apr/2013 | John Freeland
Congrads! Its been 16 years since I've been in HivaOa. I remember reading Ericson as a guide. The small island just south and a bit west had a farmer/fisherman in the first anchorage named MyMy. He distinctive as he has an injured left eye. He taught me surf landing technique ( go in on the biggest set) and some good spear fishing technique. He'd be worth looking up. Hope you don't miss Fatu Hiva.
29/Apr/2013 | Sprucettes
We'll be in Fatu Hiva later this week.
Nous avons Arrivé
25/Apr/2013, 2,962M logged: Zero Miles to Hiva-Oa

Huzzah! The end of an excellent 3 week passage, all part of the process of easing out of a Latin Culture and gliding into a French one. The frustrations and tribulations of the journey quickly evaporate as that ghostly landfall of the moonlit night-time hardens into tangible rock, mountains and greenery. Excitement and anticipation grows with the shortening distance; realisation that the voyage is truly nearing completion starts to solidify in the mind, no longer a fleeting fancy of the imagination.

Some statistics: Fish caught-3; Lures lost-3; Ships - 2; Fishing Boats - 2; Yachts seen - 1; Average speed - 6.0 knots; Time on Passage - 21 days & 12 hours; Dolphin Pods visiting - 5; Celebratory drinks at sea 3 cans beer & 2 rums; Books read - 7 each; French Vocab learned - we'll find out soon.

The post passage decompression period will take a few days, it always does. Lots of sorting out to be done in reverting from an on passage configuration to a living at anchor mode; things to be stowed, others to be dug out, cleaning to be done. Celebrations at having arrived will take place aboard Minnie-B with Phil and Norma this evening; friends we first met during September 2009 in Maderia, just before they joined the Ralley Iles de Soleille.

The views are stunning; near vertical rock faces coated with tenaciously clinging foliage, billowing clouds formed by moist trade winds pushing over the mountainous terrain, densely cloaking the peaks. At the head of the cove tall palm trees gently sway in the breeze. Altogether a quite beautiful location and far more verdant than the Galapagos Islands; even during their wet season, they are arid by comparison. Perhaps the land just seems at its most beautiful when denied the lush green visage for a few too many days on the ocean blue.

News & Updates
26/Apr/2013 | Daria
So glad to hear you made it. Fast passage, too. 6 knots average is great. What was your best day? Perfect description of landfall. Miss you guys!
29/Apr/2013 | Sprucettes
..Hi Daria, best day was 182M and worst was 104M.. happy sailing for 2013
LAND HO!!
25/Apr/2013, 2,935M logged: 26M to Hiva-Oa

A night of a shimmering full moon to light up our path for the last few miles to our destination, after almost 3,000 miles at sea. The strange animals of the Enchanted Isles astern and the delights of French Polynesia ahead.

The land we are ho-ing is the western end of HIva Oa. A bluff cliff silhouetted against a moonlit backdrop with billowing clouds above. It is still dark here so no photography is possible from a moving platform with slow shutter speeds. Second best, a photo of what we can see on the radar display: the blob on the right is Hiva Oa and the smudge to the left is the smaller island of Mohotani. The nearest land is about 13 miles away and the anchorage and main town of Atuona lies on the south side of Hiva Oa still 26M away:NB The view up the screen is looking West. Apologies for the blurry image but it is difficult to hold the camera steady:-)

News & Updates
The Last century
24/Apr/2013, 2,856M logged: 105M to Hiva-Oa

Ninety-five miles to our landfall waypoint and a further eight miles into the anchorage of Atuona at Hiva Oa; such are these volcanic islands sitting atop oceanic pinnacles. One moment suspended, floating above the blue abyss with unimaginable depths beneath, just a few miles later tugging at an anchor hooked into the seabed less than 20 metres below. Well, another century to score on the ship's log and we will be able to bask in the warm glow of a passage completed. A large chunk of our Pacific crossing under the keel and now far astern.

Our final full day at sea has dawned fine with none of the squalls or rain clouds of the previous two days. Sunshine sparkles on the dancing waves, white caps brightly illuminated under the tropical midday sun and the gurgle of bubbling water streaming past the hull adds a joyful soundtrack.

Of course, the fishing lines are towing in the hope of another Mahi-Mahi being obliging enough to solve our main course question for the next few days. It is hard to believe that tomorrow we'll be anchored along with Minnie-B: no night watches, no pole changes, no reefing sails. Plenty of sleep, a chance to clean the boat through and to open all hatches and port-lights to let the fresh, possibly fragrant, air waft through the boat; airing those corners that have not breathed freely for three-weeks.

Photo shows the happy crew of Spruce celebrating one of those milestones at sea.

News & Updates
25/Apr/2013 | Andy
Well done - hopefully you might even have the anchor down by the time I write this!
Have a glass for us...
- great reading and lovely pictures, Thanks.
25/Apr/2013 | sandi & colin
Fantastic, makes Scotland feel chilly! Take care,

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