10/04/2015, Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva
We spent 2 days at Hanaiapa Bay before setting off for the island of Ua Pou about 60 miles north. An early start then a great sail with us arriving into the anchorage of Hakahau around 5pm. The silhouette of Ua Pou is very dramatic with large rock pillars stretching up into the sky. Unfortunately for most of the 2 days we were there cloud covered most of them & we weren't able to get a good look. We walked into the village to find the post office to access internet - it was very quiet due to Easter & we also had a wander around town. Not much here & then back to the boat.
Sunday we sailed across to Nuku Hiva, the largest & most populous of the Marquesas. Again as it was Easter we bypassed the town of Taiohae & anchored in the bay of Hakahaa further to the east. It is a lovely bay with the small village of Taipivai at its head. Monday we had a good walk after rowing ashore & taking a rough track along the hillside which lead us to the road to the village. Again another small slice of paradise with kids running & playing under an abundance of fruit trees & along a beautiful river which divided the town. We were advised that the famous tikis of Taipivai were only 1 ½ hours walk away, but seeing as though we didn't have walking shoes on or any money for water we decided not to do the 3 hour journey. We did spend 2 hours wandering though - so pretty & quiet. We had a nice afternoon on board playing dominoes & watching a local family fish & have fun on the small beach we were anchored off.
Tuesday morning we headed back around to the administrative capital of the Marquesas, Taiohae. There were plenty of boats here & number that we recognised from Hiva Oa. It was good to catch up with them & get the gossip on what the town provided. After checking with the gendarmerie we had a short wander through town which is pretty large (by Marquesan standards) with 2 -3 supermarkets, restaurants & such. Everyone has a horse tied up in the back yard & even some pigs camped out in the storm water drains! We've spent the last 4 days here catching up with other cruisers, eating way too many baguettes & generally having a good time!
10/04/2015, Hanaiapa Bay, Hiva Oa
The last few days have been spent at a fairly relaxed pace - eating, walking, exploring and socialising. We met some of the World ARC people who have been very nice and invited us to join them for the afternoon at "Alex's Place". A local's house that he opens up to tourists and serves meals and drinks while they enjoy his pool and snooker table. The place is in a nice setting overlooking the bay and he picked us up and dropped us back to the boats which was good because his driveway is so steep most of us would not have made it up there any other way.
Our duty free documents arrived on Tuesday which allowed us to buy diesel at half price (bring the cost down to normal prices) so we headed off around lunch time towards the north western side of the island where the guide book said there was a nice bay with a fresh water swimming hole. It only took two hours of relaxed sailing to get there but on arrival the swell and wind were wrapping their way in and making it too uncomfortable so we decided to keep going to Hanaiapa Bay on the top of the island. It took two and a half hours with the motor on bashing into the sea to arrive but it was worth it. The entrance to the bay has a beautiful waterfall and three large caves set into the cliff face. The bay was calm so we dropped the anchor and settled in for the night.
Wednesday we went for a walk into the village at the head of the bay. What a delightful surprise! The people live in a tropical paradise with fruit hanging off trees everywhere, flowers are in abundance, the people are very friendly and there is a calm and relaxed atmosphere with the only noise coming from the odd chicken or goat. After a short distance we came across William who has a sign out the front of his place that says "Yacht Club". He welcomes you in to his house (shack) and gets you to sign his visitor books which he has dating back to the early 2000's. He then gave us a refreshing drink which he makes himself (don't know what is in it but it tasted ok) and then tries to load you up with all the fruit you can carry from his garden.
Back to the boat for a relax for a while before Steve decided to go for his first snorkel in the Pacific. He was happy to find there were heaps of fish and some he had never seen before with nice corals and even a five foot black tip shark. Ange won't go swimming here because she says there are monsters down there - maybe we will have to find a calm coral atoll for her.
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.