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05/27/2012, Nuku Hiva

These are the flowers that you often see women tuck into their hair. They smell SO good. Over the right ear means you're married, left means you're available... or was that the other way round? Men will sometimes wear an unopened blossom.

05/27/2012 | Camilla
Ohhh! You hardly need words! The pictures say a lot ! We are anchored on a beautiful sunny morning and I can read your blog on my phone! Life is good. Meeting CA Rob & kids for a picknic this afternoon in Coles bay. Missing You Two! Love C& D
05/27/2012 | Mom/Susan
Are you wearing a flower Marni? Beautiful - gorgeous day today. Verna and Gerry want to know if some historic boat is still in the harbour down there! Miss you both - love Mom/Susan
05/27/2012 | krystal
WOW!!I am working with a friend on a tropical nursery book organizing photos and had just said to her if we need some flower or plant pictures that i had friends in the tropics...where really are you? We miss you guys, so glad you made it across alright.
05/29/2012 | corrine dax morris
Awesome to hear you made the first leg. So great to read.. and the pictures are amazing. The heat sounds great to us, as it only seems like summer 1 day out of 7 here. I forwarded your blog to Lorraine who you met at our summer party as she was excited to hear you had made the leap. Chat soon with more books. Have an awesome time. Love C D M
05/30/2012 | kendra
Wow, it looks so nice and warm and chill where you are. How long before the next departure?
Willing the mangoes to drop on us...
05/27/2012, Sidewalk near the Catholic Church, Taiohae

So far the mind bullets aren't knocking them out of the trees, but we keep trying.

05/27/2012 | Mom/Susan
Jacob would love to come and see these growing. He ate almost a whole one on Friday!!
Fleurs de Nuku Hiva
05/27/2012, Taiohae Bay

Hibiscus of different colours and varieties are everywhere.

05/27/2012 | Myrna and Norm
Gorgeous flowers so tropical! if you get a mango I bet they will be oozing juice. Hiked East Sooke today & saw swiftsure boats on their way home. Miss you both!! Love Mom/Myrna
Somewhere under the rainbow...
hot. humid. hatches closed. sticky.
05/27/2012, Taiohae Bay

A pictorial interlude while blog content is under construction...

05/30/2012 | susan/mom
Was this taken from your boat? Looks like there are lots of boats in the bay. I am wondering how long boaters stay! Thinking of you both. Love Mom/Susan
Part3 ITCZ and fluky winds
05/21/2012, Half way?Landfall!!

We were downloading weatherfaxes from Pt. Reyes for most of the trip and could see where the ITCZ was. On April 20 it poked up from latitudes further south to meet us. We were at about 07 54 N and 123 09 W, and started heading south rather than southwest, with the idea of crossing the thing as quickly as possible. We did seem to do so: we had one particularly wet and windy night as a series of squalls blew us along with 20-25 knots of wind, and by the next day we were in calm weather, with a few squalls visible on the horizon.
In some ways we got very lucky with this area, as we never had any really violent weather nor were we ever very close to lightening; a boat just 120 miles behind us had several nights of lightning and thunder, which we could see in the distance. Several boats that were about a week ahead of us were caught in really violent squalls of 45 and 55 knots.
Slightly less luckily, however, we did see very light and variable winds from our first encounter with the ITCZ until the last few days of the trip. The wind would come and go and we'd sail if we could, but 'cheat' and use the motor once we felt that the slapping and shock-loading of the empty sails was driving us mad. At first we would rush around when the wind died, trying to make the drifter or spinnakers work, but this led to much frustration when the wind was too light but the swell still too big to keep air in even these sails, and led to a lot of halyard chafe as they whipped and thrashed to the rocking of the swells. Leaving the sails down and drifting was another option, but definitely not while we were in the equatorial counter-current, which was setting us southeast at about 1.5 kts. Eventually we adopted a routine where if the wind fell too light to sail we would motor at 3-4kts but as soon as the wind filled back in to a steady 5kts or so we would sail.
We never had a complete twenty-four hours without wind, it always filled in at least once a day. In the end we put about 70 hrs on Mr. Perkins, and saved ourselves much mental anguish. Around 01 N and 127 W we finally picked up the Equatorial current which gave us a push of up to 1.5 kts in the right direction and also smoothed out the sea, making it much less choppy and allowing us to sail much more effectively in the light winds.

On April 26, eighteen days from Mexico, at 21:30 utc we sailed across the equator! We dropped the spinnaker and gave a toast to Neptune (Thanks Michel & Frances) Then we went for a dip in the clearest water we have ever seen. If it had been a little less than six miles deep I am sure you could see the bottom, as it was we saw just how many gooseneck barnacles can attach in 18 days (at least 50 right aft at the waterline).
The trades finally filled in about four days from Nuka Hiva, at first an intermittent 8-10kts then steadily building so that the night before we made landfall we had 15kt SE with the most consistent swell direction of the whole trip. By the time we saw land in the distance, we were making 6-7kts on a broad reach. On the morning of May the 7th Mike who was on watch suddenly perceived a very large island about twenty miles of the port bow. "It was just kinda there, all of a sudden like." For the rest of the day we both hung out in the cockpit watching as the island of Ua Huka slowly took shape. We passed five miles north of it and from there it was a mere thirty-five miles to Nuka Hiva.
We sailed into Taiohae bay dropping the hook under sail amongst forty other cruising boats, all the while breathing in the rich smell of the impossibly green land surrounding the bay.

05/21/2012 | fran & jen
Congratulations guys! Glad to see you've made it safe and sound. We enjoy reading the posts so keep it up. Just have to come up with some cash now so Jen and I can fly down and meet you guys on one of those lush tropical islands.
05/21/2012 | Dad/Norm
Good to hear from you again on the blog & nice to hear the fill-in of the 28 days. Looking forward to hearing it first-hand, when we meet again! New
Zealand?!? Good to hear from you again -good writing! Waiting to hear of the next phase of the adventure. Love, Dad/Norm Mom/Myrna
05/22/2012 | Terry Preston
Great info. Love hearing about your trip....keep 'em coming.
05/25/2012 | Warren
Great to hear your stories - more pics please
Part II – The routine.
A little of everything
05/21/2012, at sea

It only took a couple of days before the at-sea routine seemed like something that had always existed and would never end. We did three-hour watches, 'hot-bunking' most of the time in the starboard settee. It went like this: wake up, stagger and clutch your way forward to the head, where you brace yourself carefully, then groggily pull on clothes (optional but since the cockpit seats are pretty salty, probably a good idea) and flop into the cockpit. Hold on. Make sure we're still going the right way (thanks to Hand of Bruce, the Monitor wind steering gear). Wait three hours and push your sweetie mercilessly out of the bunk and dive in. Repeat for eternity. As it got hotter, we added the changing of the sheets, so that we didn't have to lie in each others' sweat, only our own, slightly less clammy sheet which aired out briefly.
Sometimes Mike would mix things up and appear blinking and confused in the companionway just an hour after he'd gone off watch - he was sent back down but this behaviour continued throughout the trip. When he's on, he's on and when he's off, he's still on. Marni NEVER did this but instead 'slept like a banshee.'
Usually we would both be awake for the afternoon and early evening. And we read a lot. The e-reader has now run for many hours and probably half the paper library has been gobbled up. Mike's favorite read: 2001 a Space Odyssey. Marni's favorite: a creepy tearjerker, Never let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Every day at 0200 UTC we tuned in to the Pacific Puddle Jump net, made up of many boats traveling from Mexico to the Marquesas. This was a great way to talk with other humans and hear how everyone else's trip was going, what kind of weather they had, et cetera. Afterwards, we would switch up to the Ham (amateur radio) frequency 14.300 mhz at 0300 UTC and check in with them, and they plotted our position on the Yotreps web site. This is really an amazing network of people with monster radio signals who between them can hear pretty much anyone in the Pacific. It is really reassuring to know that they are there every day and that if you have a problem they're there for you.
We were happily ticking off the miles for eleven days, moving along at an average of 5-1/2 knots, until we reached the dreaded Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) at about latitude 8 degrees north on April 20.

05/22/2012 | CA
This post made me smile, as I envisioned the watch switches. You guys write your story well!! Congrats - can't wait to see more pics and hear more about the journey. We miss yas! Love from CA, Rob, D and M
05/22/2012 | Mom/Susan
And i thought Mike was such a good sleeper!! Love reading about your trip. Brings you both closer. Miss you both- take care and enjoy. xoxo Mom/Susan
07/05/2012 | Louise
Life in 3 hour chunks, crazy!! And you didn't even take advantage of Mike's 1 hour naps by letting him think he'd actually slept for 3! You are a good woman Marn!!

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Who: Mike Harris, Marni Friesen
Port: Victoria, BC
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