05/09/2011, Nuku Hiva Island
So today was our third day at anchor here on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. Our friends Angus and Rolande on Periclees took off early this morning for the Tuamotu Islands about 575 miles southwest of here. They have been around the Marquesas for about three weeks and it was time for them to move on. We had a great couple of days playing with them on shore. They even had us over for dinner last night.
At 0900, we went ashore to go about getting checked in now that the Gendarmes were open. There is no immigration here, it's all done by the local police. Actually the National Police. Our agent(signed up for an agent to help us get settled in the islands) met us at the dingy dock shortly after we arrived. You can only check in in the morning. Just about everything closes about 1130 and reopens about 1420. A nice LONG lunch break. Now they do open at 0730 so they still put in their hours. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes and then given a nice tour by Regina, our agent. She not only lives here, but also has a small hotel here in town. We had been told that we HAD TO HAVE our Zarpe(exit documents from Mexico) when we arrived or we would not be allowed into the country. Well, if that is the case, no one told the folks we talked to. All we needed was our passports and documentation for Zephyr. Fill in a few forms and voila, we were done. Now would I leave Mexico with out a Zarpe???? Heck no. As soon as you do that, you know you will be asked for it. That's just Murphy's Law.
Once done and with the town tour under our belts, we headed for the local grocery store to get another loaf of French bread(this time with a nice crispy crust), a coke or two and back to Puff for the ride back to Zephyr. We passed another dingy on it's way into shore from "What ya gonna do"(yes, that is the name of their boat). They are having electrical problems also. They can't start their engine. Their batteries won't even turn their starter though the battery is at full charge. Something is wrong with their electrical lines from the battery or the switch that turns on the battery is bad. He's got a bit of work cut out for him finding the problem.
When we got back to Zephyr, Tracy started in on another load of laundry. This time, we were going to hang it outside. Yesterdays was done inside as it rained off and on all day long. We got lucky today and while it looked like rain most of the day, it never rained. With five loads done today, she is just about done. We are doing it ourselves as the charge for 1 load of laundry is $10.00--Wash only!! No dryers are available. All is put out on clothes lines to be dried. If it rains, well, it just takes longer to dry. The average time for a load of laundry here is two days. It's just too humid to dry anything fast here.
In between loads, she added another layer of our special teak oil/sealer to our pretty teak rails. The trip over had been a bit harsh on it and it needs another coat. She got the top rail done today and we should be able to finish the rest while standing in the dingy tomorrow.
I rebuilt the water generator unit off our DuoGen. It had made a ton of amps for us during the first two thirds of our trip and then it pretty much shut down. The bearings had just a bit too much salt in them and it slowed the revolution of the propeller on the unit. It took a while, but I finally got it apart and then I greased the heck out of it and reassembled it for our next voyage. It should do much better now.
We ran our generator again today so we made more water while it was cranking away on the back deck. We will get more than just a full battery every time we start the generator.
Tracy is too tired to add any comments so you will just have to wait for another day.
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.