05/06/2011, Nuku Hiva
Since we got here Friday AM, we have tried to play the game of Tourist with the help of Rolande and Angus off Periclees. We met them last year in the Sea of Cortez. They brought us a loaf of French bread as we were dropping the anchor and whisked us to shore right after lunch to see the sights and take a tour. Up and down the hills we went once we left the shoreline road. We toured both Friday afternoon and most of Saturday with a trip up into the mountains to visit one of the archeological sights where they used to do human sacrifices. Heaven for bid they put signs us as to where to go and how to get there. We wandered up and up into the hills coming upon several homes along the way. Rolande kept asking for direction using her French language skills. We just stood there and looked dumb. Worked just fine. Once we found the sight, we headed back to town for a lunch of a cheese burger, bacon burger, fries and two cokes for over $20.00. It isn't cheap here but everything has to be brought in for elsewhere and there are the necessary tariffs and duties attached to everything. A coke at your local mini mart is over $2.25. It's the most expensive place on earth so they say.
Today is a day of rest, at least from walking. I've got the generator on recharging the batteries and allowing us to run the water maker. We hold lots of water but I'd rather have the tanks just about full incase something happens than low to conserve weight. You can never have too much water in your tanks. The water that is available in this harbor is non potable--you can't drink it with out boiling it. After our hike yesterday I can understand why. As we went up the road along side the main stream that leads into town, there were lots of pigs and hogs tethered to steel cables over the stream. It is the perfect place to keep them as they lots of food and plenty of water to drink. There were cows down there also as well as horses. It's no wander that the water was undrinkable. Tracy is doing double duty today having washed some clothes this morning and is now defrosting the freezer as the clothes are strung all over the inside of the cabin. We've had rain off and on here since about 0900. It's not bad now so most of the port lights and hatches are now open letting some air in.
Tonight, we've been invited to Periclees for dinner. We'll launch Puff and get Dragon back in the water for the trip over to their boat. We launched Puff yesterday to scrape the hull where barnacles had begun to grow during our journey. Lots and lots of them all along the waterline and maybe 8 inches above it all along the side of the hull. During our trip over, these things just grab a hold and make a mess of your water line not to mention slowing down your speed due to the drag they make while going through the water. They are now gone at least for a week or so till they come back. It's a never ending process out here.
Since Tracy is so busy, you'll just have to wait for the next post for here insight.
05/06/2011, Nuku Hiva
OK, here's the rest of the story. We pushed through the night and passed the first island in the darkness with just a bit of it showing by the time daylight arrived. We've stayed on the same tack for the last 6 o 7 days and just kept on going. As we closed on Nuku Hiva, the winds slowed a bit and wouldn't allow us to get closer than about two miles from the entrance to the harbor. So, about 1030 hours, on came the engine and down came the sails and we slowly motored into the harbor. We were greeted by a VHF call from our friends Rolande and Angus on Periclees. Two great people we met last year while cruising the Sea of Cortez. They'd decided to make the jump earlier than us a had left about a week earlier so they have been here for close to two weeks. As we dropped anchor, they came by with a nice loaf of French bread. What a treat.
With the anchor down and set in the black sand/mud bottom, we set about cleaning and straightening up poor Zephyr. After 27 days under sail, she is not the prettiest boat inside or out. A couple of hours later,she looked much better. A nice lunch of the loaf of French bread and cheese and we were all revived. Periclees called and invited us for a tour of the "town"at the head of the bay so off we went. We toured the town and took hikes to see some of the important places to see. Now it's time to sit back and relax and let the brain as well as the body to mellow out.
We expect to be at this island for a couple of weeks till we get everything fixed or jury rigged until we get to Tahiti. We also want to take a sail to the North side of the Island to see Anaho Bay. Reported to be one of the prettiest places in the Marquesas.
So we are now at 08 55.057S 140 06.388W. We covered 3213 miles in 27 days doing an average of 4.9 knots all in only 651 hours.
Tracy's two cents:
Well, instead of scraping barnacles off the hull from the trip over we went into town and walked up the mountain to see where one can get butane then back across town to the bank. We saw the people off Aeolus that we met in San Carlos. They have been here for about two weeks. I think they are about to leave for the Tuamotos. It was wonderful seeing Angus and Rolande again, they are so nice and such fun to be around. Rolande lost her wallet, so tomorrow she's going back to the gift shop and see if she left it there.
I just changed the sheets on the bed...the sheets had been on the bed for a month and were so sweat filled, the sheets always felt wet. I'll be scrubbing them tomorrow to try and get them back into sanitary condition.
The French bread that Rolande and Angus gave us lived up to all the hype we have heard about the Marquesas and the bread here. It is divine. Worth a three two thousand nautical mile trip...hmmm, I don't know about that, but it is a great reward. Thanks Periclees!!!
The scenery is magnificent, the mountains are sheer clifts and verdant green tapestry of tropical plants. When we walked to the post office, yes, they actually have a post office, we picked some limes on a tree next to the walkway. It was loaded with them and had lots of ripe limes that had fallen already to the ground. The town at the head of the bay is small and very tidy. The standard of living here is obviously much, much better than Mexico. The people seem happy and love their four wheel drive vehicles. Most of the men have beautiful tattoos. Marquesian tattoos are very intricate, do a google search.
I think we will be here a bit as we have repairs to tend to before we leave. When we were putting away the main away, I noticed a back seam had come apart, so out the Sailrite sewing machine will come and the back deck will become a sail loft for a morning or afternoon, fortunately, it is an easily accessible area.
Good to be anchored and not being bounced around, it will be nice to be in one spot for a bit.
05/06/2011, Nuku Hiva
Just a quick message to all you out there that have been following our trek, WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More to come later. Right now, we have to prep Zephyr for some afternoon showers that look like they could start at any time. Man, it's nice to be at anchor again.
05/05/2011, Out on the ocean
This should be our last day out on this portion of our voyage. We covered another 120 miles in the last 24 hours and are now at 07 59.779S 128 21.844W on a course of 241T making about 6 knots in the continuing lumpy seas. We've had another day of no rain and that is just fine though there are lots of clouds around as the day passes. More birds appear over the last day or so as we get closer to shore but fewer flying fish and squid landing on the deck. There are still lots of flying fish, these just appear to be smarter than what we experienced earlier in the voyage. We are both looking forward to finally getting into a harbor where we can drop our anchor and relax without the continual sound and motion that we have experienced since we left so many days ago.
I have sent an email to our agent in the Marquesas as to how to proceed once we get into the harbor so we will see what she sends back. Getting in about 1300 tomorrow at least by our boat time though the Marquesas are about 1:30 minutes earlier than the time frame we have on board at this moment. For some reason, and we don't know why, their clocks run 30 minutes off what the rest of the world has as a time frame. We'll find out tomorrow and let you know what the actual time is out here. We're currently set up at UTC-8 hours or it's like we are in Anchorage, Alaska time. Given the time we get in, we may have to wait till Saturday to get checked in. We're not sure of their hours. Guess we will find out tomorrow.
Tracy's two cents: Another gorgeous day on the high seas. I hope I never forget the blue of the water, so beautiful. As Bill was writing his portion of the blog, I was out in the cockpit looking out over the water and there is some sort of fish that keeps on jumping out of the water. It's about a foot long, not tuna shaped, just what you would think of as fish shape. They are swimming just under the water then dart away, then come back up and start jumping again. I'm tempted to put a drag line out and have fish tacos for dinner, but the seas are so lumpy that getting it filleted would be really challenging.
It is hard to believe that we will be at anchor in 24 hours. A nice long nap...although I haven't been having a problem getting to sleep at the drop of a hat anymore. My body has adjusted to the four and three hour shifts that we have had to learn.
I wonder how far away we will be able to see land, probably only about 30 to 50 miles. I'm sure the cats are looking forward to less movement although they have really adapted well, especially Blue. Rocking boat? What stinking rocking boat?! Snowshoe, on the other hand, not so much. I think a lot of his problem is the wad of fur on his feet and he slides around a good bit, so he sleeps a good bit in the cat tree and in the food cubby behind the starboard settee.
You know the French lessons we were going to do all the way over? Never opened the program on the computer, so Jr. High, High School and College French is going to have to do, hopefully our brains have retained enough to order food and ask where different things are. If we can order beer, some french bread and find a bathroom all is well.
More after we anchor at Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia. I just love how that sounds, don't you?
05/04/2011, Out on the ocean
As each day passes, we get closer to our destination of the Marquesas Islands. We have 232 nautical miles left having covered 124 yesterday. We're currently located at 06 55.179S 136 46.861W moving along at anywhere from 4.5 to 6 knots in the continual rolly seas we have experienced for the last many days. Calm seas? Not out here. There is always a roll. It just depends on how you want to take it on your boat. Since we are heading Southwest with the winds coming out of the East, the swells are following right along the track with it. As I have written before, you don't move around the boat without holding on to something. I have the bruises to prove it having taken several big tumbles.
Last night was a quiet night with no rain but continual winds pushing us along our way. We sighted the first ship we have seen since I think day 3 out here. I was on watch and saw what appeared to be a bright star on the horizon. With no Moon, it get plenty dark out here. It seems just a bit to bright, so I kept track of it. About 15 minutes later, it suddenly had lots of lights on it. I went below and grabbed a VHF radio to try and make contact to make sure they could see us on their radar. I also turned on the light on the top of our mast. Hey, every little bit helps. I tried calling them several times with no response. As I watched, the ship slowly turned slightly(at least I think it turned) and passed us off the starboard side a couple of miles away. Out here, that's plenty close enough especially at night. It's really hard to tell which end is which as you watch them come at you. Binoculars make little difference as you roll back and forth in the water. By the time Tracy came on watch at 0300, the ship was nicely behind us and that's a good place for it to be. I'd much rather see them in the daytime than in the blackness of night.
Other than that, we are moving right along with another of the boats in the Puddle Jump about 60 miles off our Port side. We tune into the net to see where everyone is this this batch of crossers. SV Don Quixote is the current net manager and is doing a great job. They even offer a service that if you don't check in in 48 hours, they will notify the Coast Guard for assistance. Most of us(being the independent sorts we are opted out of that coverage. There are some nights when it just might be to crazy on board to connect to the net or the reception might be lousy. We've had both along this trip.
We have the engine running now charging the batteries as we are just no going fast enough of the DuoGen to make enough power for our needs. In the last few days, it's power output has dropped greatly. I even pulled it up out of the water and sprayed it with fresh water to get the salt off it and lubed it with WD-40. So far, no improvement. I guess I'll just have to add it to the list of things that need attention once we get into the anchorage. Tracy's two cents:
I think it is just now soaking into my brain that we are really only two days from landfall. I've heard that you can smell the islands about a 100 miles out. We'll see. I know they have lots of flowers, but....
It's sort of been SSDD out here. Lots of blue skies, blue water and a couple of dead flying fish on deck, this time the wee little ones. Oh, we had a small pod of dolphins come and visit this morning. They spent about an hour surfing the swells around us and crossing over in front of us again and again. They are always fun to watch. These have cute little white patch on the tip of their snout. They are smallish compared to the Sea of Cortez dolphins.
Just think in 48 hours we should be at anchor! We have a lot of cleaning up to do...there's lots of foul weather gear, cushions, lightweight jackets etc. to put away. It take long, but it is too hard to move around on the boat with all the swell action.,
I made a salad of sorts for lunch with chicken, pineapple, onion, a jalapeno and an Asian style dressing that I concocted. It was something different and right now I'm ready for something different.
05/03/2011, Out on the ocean
At the speed we are going, we should be at the islands by early Friday morning. We racked up another 131 miles and have hit 2842 since we left 24 days ago. We're now at 05 50.889S 135 08.416W on a course of 237T with nice winds(17 knots) over the port stern quarter of the boat. It's pushing us along quite nicely. We've even hit over 9 knots during one nice ride.
One thing we have found, not that we didn't already know, was that Zephyrs decks leak like there were holes drilled though them. Since we have been on this port tack, the space above the tool cabinet leaks down on everything that is on the workbench and then onto the floor. I have to put a cover over the computer on the nav station to make sure it stays dry. We take an occasional wave over the side but the rains over the last few days have really brought it home that we have a problem. It's leaked ever since we bought Zephyr but not to these proportions. I guess it's time to pull out the caulk guns and try and close up some of the gaps between the teak planks. It's like I have said before, we get to these places that look so pretty only to spend most of our time fixing things. This trip, we have been lucky(I think) in what has gone wrong. OK, we lost the use of our genoa sail about the third day out having had the top bearing yanked out by the spinnaker halyard. An easy fix once I can get up the mast. We may have lost the use of our spinnaker having found a nut on deck that I think holds the bracket to he top of the mast for it. Again, we won't know till I get up there. When we took down the forestaysail on the third day, I found the halyard(rope that pulls the sail up)was VERY chafed about 3 feet above where it attaches to the sail. All I can think of is that when the sail was first raised, the halyard was over the top of the metal forestay that the sail attaches to. I took out some duct tape and put two covering over where the chafe was and have inspected it regularly ever since(found no more chafe). The "start" batteries for the engine need replacing as they don't hold a charge well. Alright, we start the engine once a day and let it run for an hour or so to top them off. Since we started doing that, no more problems plus it also charges the main battery bank at the same time. Two blocks on our boom vang (holds the boom in a more or less horizontal position) exploded during the trip so far. We simply took them off and remounted the rig a bit differently and it will be fine till we get to the islands. We've heard that many boats have had problems with their electronic autopilots. Since we are using a Hydrovane, it requires no electricity and has done a beautiful job. It's steered Zephyr about 95 % of the trip. Maybe not in the straightest of lines but it allows us to sit back and relax a bit as we go up and over the constant swells we have faced since we left Mexico. Having to rely on an electronic autopilot invites problems plus you have to run your generator or engine to keep the batteries that it uses topped up. It take a tremendous amount of power to run them and they are notorious for breaking down. One boat out here carries 4 electronic autopilots just incase one dies. He can swap them out at a moments notice. Give me my Hydrovane any day!!
As we listened to the net last night of the remaining puddle jumpers, we heard of one catamaran losing the use of one of it's rudders(he'd just had it fixed in La Cruz) and another that has lost most of its battery power and is limping along. This is an endurance test of not only yourself but of the equipment you have on board. Another turned back several weeks ago due to an engine problem. Once fixed, they will start out again but they were well over 1,000 miles off the Mexico coast when the turned around.
And so the days pass. Some sunshine and some cloudy days. The cloud cover changes out here so fast that I can come down below with it being totally clear to type this and come back to total overcast skies.
Tracy's two cents:
I've been getting extra sleep, instead of staying up in the cockpit during my off watch times, I've been coming down and getting 3hr. naps on the starboard settee. It is much more comfortable there than it is in the stern stateroom on our regular bed. Back there you feel like you are laying on a trampoline with someone jumping on it constantly.
The port tack we are on isn't the most comfortable right now as the swells plus windwaves are up to 8-10'. One really has to figure out where they are going to put their feet while moving around inside or out. We look like. drunken sailors and drunken kitties as we walk across the main salon.
I looked at the mileage we had left to go last night and realized that it was the same as the Denver to Albuquerque trip we made so often to see my parents over the years. We just need to crank up the turbo engines and sail at 75mph.instead of 5-6knots. We are now in Pueblo, Colorado on my imaginary trip to New Mexico. Pretty soon we will be in Walsenburg queing up to have lunch or dinner at one of the best hamburger and chocolate milk shake joints in Colorado. Hmmm, a cold, freezing milk shake, yum. Ok, ok, just let me hang on to my fantasy a little while longer.