30/03/2015, Atuona, Hiva Oa
Here's our log of the Pacific Crossing if you're interested....
Sunday 1st March
A busy 5 days since we booked into Paradise Village Marina. We attended the Pacific Puddle Jump party at the Vallarta Yacht Club on Wednesday...didn't have a patch on the parties for the ARC, but it was good to catch up with Eddie (Mooloolaba) & Dave and Rose. We hired a car Thursday & Friday and did our provisioning. Mostly from Costco...what a store! Also we did a fair bit at Mega (our favourite supermarket in Mexico...also Soriana - a great shop). We topped up the diesel tank & got 100 litres extra & 60 litres of petrol for the crossing. We ended back in Vallarta today as when we went outside the marina yesterday to scrub Pannikin's bottom Steve's dive mask had completely cracked. We found another one this morning at the dive shop near Vallarta marina. We also bought some fruit & vege from the Mega store near the marina as well. All ready to go! Got a 2nd opinion from another rigger, Jorge, in the marina here on the cap shroud hangers. They are not cracked...so we don't need to replace. Thank goodness...it would have been a big job to find someone to machine new ones. Jorge tuned our rig as well.
Monday 2nd March
Last minute things - topping up water, strapping down extra fuel drums, sweeping out & mopping etc. Steve visited the Port Captain & paid the $25 for our exit Zarpe. Immigration, Customs & the Port Captain arrived at the boat around 10.40am to complete checkout formalities. After checking our paperwork & looking through the boat for stowaways we were right to go - passports stamped. When then headed to the marina office to pay for our 6 nights - nice folk in the office. Wind had turned on the nose by the time we left the marina, so we had a leisurely sail to Punta Mita where we anchored for the night. Ange put away the last of our provisions & Steve fixed the front head which had not been working & straightened the back solar panel after our rigging work. Quiet afternoon of reading, watching TV & few drinks. Early to bed!! Saw only 4 whales today - a quiet one for Banderas Bay!
Tuesday 3rd March - Day 1
Had a nice sleep in until 8am. Leisurely breakfast while we waited for some wind. Decided to motor slowly out of Banderas Bay while waiting for wind to pick up. The 'Crown Princess' cruise ship arrived as we were departing. A lovely day - but no wind! Two whales were very close as we headed out. Wind picked up around 12.30pm & we had a lovely sail. Checked in with the Banderas Bay SSB radio net at 7.30pm local time. We are the first boat out of Banderas Bay & also 1 boat from La Pas, Mexico & 1 boat from Panama has left also. The SeaFarer's net at 9pm wouldn't accept our log in as we don't have a HAM radio licence. No way for folks back home to be able to track us now...wish they'd told us earlier about the radio licence...frustrating!
Wednesday 4th March - Day 2
Change of watch at 3am & wind died completely. Spent until 7am flopping around & only doing 2 knots. Wind picked up again a little after that & by 9am we were doing 7-8 knots in a bit of rain. Cool & overcast today after a beautiful sunrise. Swell picked up overnight making it an uncomfortable sail around 3pm and continued all night. Wind did drop overnight again & we were back to doing 3 knots. So much side to side boat motion that the brackets holding our batteries all snapped & the batteries were sliding around in their locker! Had to brace them with a heap of blankets until we can replace the brackets!
Thursday 5th March - Day 3
Very uncomfortable night - not much sleep for either of us. Lots of boobies flying around us & a pod of dolphins visited around 2am. The kayak had to be rescued off the stern as wind & swell grew - the waves were trying to steal it! Only 1 cargo ship overnight...heading to Balboa, Panama. Our first flying fish landed on board this morning. Swell has picked up a lot. We've changed our direction to run with it to make things a bit more comfortable (as much as it can be in these conditions!). Slow going overnight - wind dropped completely and we only did speed of 2 -3 knots.
Friday 6th March - Day 4
Picked up lots of flying fish & squid off the deck this morning. Only 1 cargo ship during the night. Radio net at 7.30pm advised we are still the only boat to have left La Cruz. Slow going this morning until 9.30am when wind came up a bit & we launched the gennaker - now doing 5 to 6 knots. Still managed to do 120 miles over the last 24 hours (12 midday to 12 midday). Nice & sunny today for a change. Fishing rod has come out, but no luck yet. Starting to sleep a little better, but still tired. Water is getting clearer & a lovely blue colour. Dolphins came to visit at 2am.
Saturday 7th March - Day 5
No more boobies trying to roost on the spreaders & solar panel - they've all gone home! Thank goodness... they were leaving lots of poo all over the deck & bimini!! Another sleepless night - very lumpy sea. Spent all day having alternate sleeps. Downloaded weather & emails via sat phone. No fish yet...we did lose a lure to something bit though! Nice & sunny today & the temperature is rising. Another visit from dolphins at 2am.
Sunday 8th March - Day 6
First squall this morning at 5am. 48 knot winds & heavy, heavy rain for 15 minutes. Everything was OK & the deck got a good wash. Still trying to get enough sleep - that's all we seem to do! Seas big...swell probably coming from Papagayo winds in Costa Rica. Been hooting along at 7-8 knots all day, but a current of 1 knot against us. A little bit more comfortable. Dolphins again at 2am.
Monday 9th March - Day 7
Good speed overnight with 15-20 knot winds. Still only 2 boats heading to South Pacific on the net - us & Vitamin Sea from La Paz. More sleeping, eating, sleeping...... Nice & sunny again today. Steve found the stash of Chupa Chubs!! Made some water & generally did nothing apart from read. Both suffering for past few days with headache behind the eyes - dehydrated? tired? sun??? We had "jelly fish bombs" behind the boat overnight.... as the boat sails over them they light up & look like they are exploding - bright green. Very cool!
Tuesday 10th March - Day 8
Sunny day. Good progress overnight until lunch time when wind died. Hoisted gennaker & had a great sail until dusk. Emails from Ange's mum, Dave & Rose & Vitamin Sea - replied to all & checked the weather via sat phone. Time to add some more books to the Kindles! Bumpy again over night. Couldn't check in with the radio net as we had major interference & couldn't hear a thing. Steve saw a pack of Orca behind the boat. Very long dorsal fins & flashes of white - we assume that is what they were! Awesome!
Wednesday 11th March - Day 9
Uncomfortable night again. Speed reasonable. Overcast, cloudy day. Lots of rains around 11.30am, but no wind. Steve scrubbed the cockpit. Wind died just before 1pm. As we hoisted the gennaker the wind suddenly strengthened & completely changed direction, making furling & unfurling the gennaker a real mess. Sheets caught everywhere & also the topping lift came free from the boom. A big job trying to catch it again! There are schools & schools of flying fish today.
Thursday 12th March - Day 10
Slow going now as we have reached the ITCZ - Inter Tropical Convergence Zone. Winds are light, there are plenty of clouds & rain squalls. Managing only 30 miles per 6 hours. Slow day for us as well - lots of sleeping. Steve made bread rolls - hamburgers for dinner! Hoping wind will pick. At this rate we will never get there! Plenty of boats still at La Cruz waiting for weather window. Many of them had a chat with us on the radio net & we had a good talk with Dave & Rose on AUSSIE RULES. Steve was hit in the back by a flying fish overnight! 50-60 dolphins came to say G'Day at 7am!
Friday 13th March - Day 11
Slow progress overnight - only doing 3 to 4 knots by 9am. Gennaker up & had a good run until 12.30pm. Motor then on has wind dropped to zero. Washing & water making day! Nice & sunny. Sea is dead flat. Although we are not making great speed it is nice to have a rest from all the rocking & rolling from the past 9-10 days. Emails sent to Mum, Dave & Rose and Vitamin Sea. No radio net last night - too much interference. The Southern Cross is now visible & getting clearer & brighter each night. 1 turtle went by today! We are just about 1/ 2 way there!
Saturday 14th March - Day 12
Good speed overnight (7 knots +) until around 7am. Lost wind at 9am & put motor on. Not much happening today - lots of sleeping & reading. Overcast & lots of cloud cover due to no wind. No sea life apart from one small black bird. Had line out again all day - no fish! Will reach Equator tomorrow!
Sunday 15th March - Day 13
Crossed Equator just after lunch. Steve performed small ceremony to Neptune & we had a beer!! Slow going again - no wind. A lot of motoring. Clear night sky for the first time in ages - lots of stars!
Monday 16th March - Day 14
Another slow night - wind not even up to 10 knots. Same for most of the day too. Put gennaker up at 10.30am & down at 3.30pm due to lack of wind. Changed fuel filter on the motor as there seems to be a blockage & the motor is making funny sounds like we heard on the way up the coast from Panama. Downloaded grib files - still another 3 days of less than 10 knot winds. At this rate we'll be lucky to get there in our estimated 21 days. More great stars overnight.
Tuesday 17th March - Day 15
St Patricks Day!! A Guinness would be lovely right about now. Slow night & day. Put the last of our extra diesel into the tank. Will have to conserve fuel now - not quite a full tank. Only 4-6 knots of breeze over the last 24 hours. Gennaker up at 10am & doing 3-5 knots over the day. Lost another lure to something BIG! Ange kicked Steve's butt in Yahtzee! Caught a small yellow fin tuna just on dusk - finally! Started watching movies on the Ipad at night as we are sailing so slow. Great stars again.
Wednesday 18th March - Day 16
Gennaker up all night - speed varied from 4.5 to 7 knots. No motoring for 2 days!! Beautiful clear night again & sunny day today. Sent emails again today & checked the weather. Another 6 boats have left La Cruz today. Pub dinner tonight - steak & chips!!
Thursday 19th March - Day 17
Another beautiful night with lots of stars. Good speed around midnight 6-7 knots. Movie time again on watch. Gennaker down at 1am & up again at 10am. Wind slowed after lunch, but 1.5 knots of current pushing us along. Radio net tonight had good coverage for a change. No fish, no dolphins, no anything! 2 cargo ships overnight heading for Hawaii.
Friday 20th March - Day 18
Steady speed overnight with gennaker 5-7 knots. Movies again on watch. Clear night apart from a few clouds that blew over us - no wind or rain though. Washing day...sheets & clothes...nice & sunny. Difficult to hear the radio net. Emailed our position to Dawn on 'Destiny' at La Cruz who will report our progress. A lot more boats have left over the past 2 days. Our AIS has stopped working. All connections look good & unit is receiving power. Will have to check it out at Papeete.
Saturday 21st March - Day 19
Slow speed overnight - movies again! Slow during the day also. Only travelled 100 nautical miles in the past 24 hours. Nice & sunny day. Emailed our position to the net as we couldn't hear again. 2 ships passed us heading south overnight. Keep forgetting to fish!!
Sunday 22nd March - Day 20
Quiet night apart from gennaker getting caught up with a wind change. No moon - it's as black as the inside of a cow! Sunny day. Sent a few emails. 'Aussie Rules' are under way. No fish again today. Lots of dolphins jumping & splashing around the boat at midnight.
Monday 23rd March - Day 21
Slow night again after a faster afternoon. Gennaker down at 6am as wind picked up to 15 knots. Didn't last long though & gennaker back up at 10am. Stocked fridge with beer & drinks to have ready for our arrival on Wednesday. At 3pm today only 200nm to go! Emailed Tahiti Crew to advise our arrival date in Hiva Oa. 'Georgia' has really picked up the pace since they left the Galapagos - only 100nm behind us. Cleaned up the boat a bit. Waves big after wind last night. Not much sleep for either of us - uncomfortable again.
Tuesday 24th March - Day 22
Good night with gennaker up. Uncomfortable though with large swell & also messy wind chop. Only about 5 hours sleep each. Nice day - sunny & no clouds. Wind dropped around 4pm & we had to turn motor on. Really messy & rolly with no sails up - ended up sleeping on the lounge - bed to uncomfortable.
Wednesday 25th March - Day 23
Sighted land at 4.30am - most western tip of Hiva Oa - just a large shadow in the dark. Slowly motored along south coast toward Tahauku Bay & the town of Atuona. Fuel filter definitely blocked, motor starving, so on off, on off. Had to drop the revs back to a slow crawl. Auto pilot jammed. After resetting instruments the chart plotter refused to come on. Everything must be tired - including us! But to prove us wrong the AIS mysteriously started working again! Hiva Oa is very rugged & green. High cliffs falling down to the sea. Into anchorage at 8am. Plenty of boats here, including a number of WORLD ARC boats. Anchorage is VERY rolly with a big swell coming from the south. Stern anchor a must. We were anchored & taking in the views by 9am. After getting the dinghy in the water & across to the dinghy dock (getting out of the dinghy safely in the huge surging swell was a challenge!) we walked into Atuona to check in. The walk takes about 25 minutes up & down some hills - the exercise was great. The town is bigger than what we expected. Went to the bank first - it had 3 ATMs!! Back then to the Gendarmerie to check in. Process was easy & the two officials really lovely guys. To the Post Office then to get some internet credit - service is only available around the post office & wasn't working today! We had a beer each at the small cafe called MAKE MAKE - $6.50 a beer!!! We then walked back to the harbour. We contacted our Tahiti Crew rep to organise our paperwork for duty free fuel. She will see us at 8.30am tomorrow. A quiet afternoon on PANNIKIN reading & catching up on sleep. The price of baguettes is regulated here by the Government - probably the only meal we will be able to afford. Steve is in bread heaven!
Friday 27th March
Spent yesterday morning catching up on computer work, emails (we had 89 of them!) & paying bills. After lunch (baguette of course) a big washing afternoon. There is a bench with a fresh water tap right on the bank at the harbour where you can fill up water jugs or do your washing. Also there is a walled open air shower. Great to be able to wash your hair with two hands & also not worry about how much water you are using! A quiet afternoon watching the local paddling their small one person outrigger canoes - some of the blokes are really fit!!
Today we were up early & walking back into town to find some vegetables & meat. We visited the museum & home of Paul Gauguin, French Impressionist artist who lived here during the 19th century. Then we visited the artisan hall to check out the local handicrafts. Beautiful carvings, paintings, jewellery & materials all for sale - very tempting! We found some frozen steaks & chicken, but lucked out in the leafy greens department. Vegies are very hard to come by, except beans, tomatoes, potatoes, onions & cabbage. Will try again another day - apparently there are a couple of 4WDs that sell lettuce etc near the local park, but they start very early. We headed back to the harbour with our groceries & were picked up by a couple of lovely ladies who dropped us off right at our dinghy - sure saved walking in the hot sun. Another after noon of snoozing & then catching up on more computer work. There is a show of Polynesian dancing at the ferry dock tonight - part of the WORLD ARC festivities. We are going to check it out anyway & hopefully see some local strut their stuff!!
26/03/2015, Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas
We arrived into Atuona yesterday morning at 7am local time after 22 days at sea. The first week was very, very rough & extremely uncomfortable. The last two weeks were very slow with little wind - our average speed was 4 knots. We had beautiful days & nights though & we got plenty of rest. Thank you to everyone who tried to follow our progress...bloody Americans wouldn't let us join their radio net, so we couldn't post our position underway.
Hiva Oa is beautiful...very rugged & green and the locals are lovely & friendly. We checked in at the town of Atuona yesterday morning - about 30 minutes walk away. It is a little larger than we anticipated with plenty of small supermarkets, but as we expected things are very expensive. We had a beer at a small cafe - $6.50 each! Phew!!! Just as well we stocked up in Mexico. Yesterday afternoon we spent relaxing on the boat & had a great sleep last night. It's so good to have more than 3 hours sleep at a time!
The anchorage here is really rough so we have a stern anchor out to stop us rolling side to side. We were surprised at the number of boats here...including a few boats that are doing the WORLD ARC. We will keep an eye on the boats following us...they should be here in about 10-14 days. Maybe sooner as the trade winds have picked up & everyone is having a good sail.
We will spend a little time here at Atuona, cleaning the boat & waiting for paperwork to arrive so we can get duty free fuel. There is plenty of fresh water available, so clothes & sheet washing are high on the agenda!
01/03/2015, Banderas Bay Mexico
We are in the final hours to our departure to the South Pacific and if all goes well with officials and wind we will head out in the morning. To follow our progress across the Pacific log into the PACIFIC SEAFARER'S NET at www.pacseanet.com
* click on link YOTREPS Tracker (on left side of page about half way down)
* then find our call number VJN4131 & boat name PANNIKIN & click track (on right hand side)
You can also use the ship tracker and type in VJN4131
They will update our position as often as we radio them.
Bring on the Southern Hemisphere! We can't wait!
28/02/2015, Paradise Village Marina, Nuevo Vallarta
All going well we are heading to the South Pacific on Monday. We hired a car for 2 days to get all our groceries, fuel & last jobs done... saved a lot of time & headaches! PANNIKIN is sitting a little low in the water with all our extra food & diesel!!
We are expecting our journey to take around 21 days, arriving in Hiva Oa in French Polynesia around March 25th. Another 2700 nautical miles at sea!
We'll be unable to post blogs whilst we are underway. It may be a while before we can keep you updated.
22/02/2015, La Cruz anchorage
The past two weeks have been taken up with jobs on PANNIKIN, attending Pacific Puddle Jump seminars at Vallarta Yacht Club & also some fun time.
The couple of days at Punta Mita were great. Steve got some fabulous waves & the whale watching was awesome. Every time you looked up you could see a whale... some were close... only 100 metres from the boat & others were on the other side of the bay. One night we even experienced a 10 minute whale song - heard it right through the hull of the boat - they must have been close!
For Ange's birthday this week we took a two day road trip inland to see the round pyramids of Guachimontones near the town of Teuchitlan & also visit the town of Tequila. Most of Mexico's tequila is made here from the blue agave plant & we visited the distillery of Jose Cuervo. We got to taste lots of tequila - yucky!! Then a quick stop for a soak in hot springs one the way home & we were back on PANNIKIN by night fall Friday. We had a lovely dinner beside the lake of Presa La Vega on Thursday night. Their speciality was frog legs - caught from the lake. They were really nice - a cross between chicken & crab!!!
We are still aiming at leaving for the Pacific early March. We head across to Nuevo Vallarta on Tuesday to book into Paradise Village Marina where we will provision the boat & have our rigging work done. It's getting close now!
11/02/2015, La Cruz anchorage
Our gas system installation on Thursday went well. No problems getting the job done which was great. We headed into La Cruz to the canvas man to enquire about getting a bag made to protect the gas bottle & hopefully slow the rusting process (steel bottle). Next stop - the stainless steel man! He's going to make us a bracket to hang the gas bottle on. Ange made a quick pit stop at the local doctor to get a few scripts...easy as! Very friendly guy & nothing was a problem. Bought a BBQ chicken at the local rotisseria for dinner - included baked potatoes, hot pepper, rice, tortillas & salsa - all for $9!
Friday we headed into La Cruz marina on PANNIKIN to get a rigging inspection as requested by our insurance company some months ago. We were assigned a 'service slip' which ended up being a very tight fit. Steve did really well getting PANNIKIN into the pen with no hassles. Two hours after our appointment time the rigging guy finally showed up & we winched him up the mast. All good with the inspection although we will replace the two top shroud hangers which have small cracks. The parts will have to be ordered through Selden in San Diego USA & hopefully they can be installed when we are in Paradise Village Marina at Nuevo Vallarta at the end of the month. We are still waiting for confirmation. After picking up our canvas bag & bracket we headed back out to the anchorage. A bit of a waste of a day unfortunately....lots of hanging around.
Saturday we went to the 'Cruisers Swap Meet' where everyone has boat goods & parts to get rid of. Lots of bits & pieces for sale - it is always good to have a wander around - wishing you had lots of money to spend! Back on the boat we connected up our new gas system & were stoked when the BBQ worked. It hasn't worked on the bottles filled in the Caribbean....so BBQ chook here we come!
Sunday was a quiet day. Ange went into the local markets again for a wander while Steve made water & read his book. A nice relaxing day.
Monday we attended the Pacific Puddle Jumpers weather seminar at Vallarta Yacht Club at Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. We met Dave (Aussie) & his wife Rose (Canadian) & spent the day with them, finishing with a chicken & salad dinner onboard PANNIKIN. They are doing the Pacific this year as well so we will probably see a bit of them over the next 8 months on their boat AUSSIE RULES. We spoke to a rigger at Paradise Village Marina & he will be able to change the shrouds for us when we book into the marina on February 24. A big load off our minds for sure!
Yesterday we jumped on the bus again & headed to Puerto Vallarta to stock up on spare parts, fuses & bits and pieces as they will be very difficult to find in the Pacific. We visited Walmart for the first time - what a big store!!!
Today we are heading up to Punta Mita to chase some surf for Steve. Also it's time we get away from the shops - too much money has been spent! We'll be up there for a couple of days.