Exploring the world’s oceans, coastal communities, & islands

12 April 2019 | Baie des Vierges, Fatu Hiva
08 April 2019 | Land Ho!!!
07 April 2019 | 143nm to Hiva 'Oa
31 March 2019 | 808nm to Hiva 'Oa at 246* Magnetic
27 March 2019 | The Doldrums
23 March 2019 | Pacific Ocean
21 March 2019 | Pacific Ocean
17 March 2019 | Sailing Across the Pacific Ocean!
17 March 2019 | Clipperton
14 March 2019 | 20nm NNE of Clipperton Island
12 March 2019 | 160nm NNE of Clipperton Island
12 March 2019 | Enroute to Clipperton Island
10 March 2019 | Enroute to Clipperton Island
10 March 2019 | Enroute to Clipperton Island
04 March 2019 | Isla Socorro
04 March 2019 | Isla Socorro
28 February 2019 | Isla Socorro
27 February 2019 | Isla Socorro

The first 24 hours

12 April 2019 | Baie des Vierges, Fatu Hiva
It took a while for masts to appear as we approached Baie des Vierges, but we'd heard on the Polynesian Magellan SSB radio net (Poly Mag net) that there would be quite a few boats there. The only other thing we needed to hear from Amora was "pomplemousse awaits". Turns out they were right on both accounts, and soon after dropping our hook, we were welcomed by the crew of Flocerfida swimming over, complete with Romy carrying a pomplemousse (pomelo) in hand. These were friends we'd made on the pacific crossing radio net over the past month and it was great to meet them in person. Two awnings went up over Havili's cockpit, champagne was poured, and many celebratory dives were taken from the deck and ratlines. We managed a snorkel before lunch and searched the coastline for new kinds of fish, corals, urchins, and possibly a lobster - only to find three carcasses of the latter critter, but plenty of the others. It was tempting to admire the coconut palm speckled cliffs and rocky pinnacles from Havili, but shore was close and the anchorage was calm enough for the four of us to squeeze into The Dink. The local kids were blasting tropical house and playing soccer and volleyball right near the breakwater. I started wondering why I hadn't been studying French for the past month during our crossing, but Catherine's a good teacher and translator so got by alright. We had a quick hike a few hundred feet up the valley and caught a view west over the bay at just the right time for a glowing sunset - the water was glassier than we'd seen in weeks, and it's amazing how much the lush vegetation brightens up the pinks, blues, yellows, and reds we'd gotten to know at this time of day.

I couldn't help from getting out of bed at first light the next morning. The peaks were shrouded by clouds, rocks darker than the first day, and the vegetation less yellow - a deep green. I quickly gathered my things for a paddle ashore and run up the valley. It was 7am and the landing place was empty, save one man who arrived by boat just before me. He struggled to push a wheelbarrow while smoking a cigarette. My heart jumped a little when I noticed a gun on his back. An animal's head protruded from the wheelbarrow and the rest of it appeared to be in a large white grain bag.

"Chevre?" I asked him.

"No, couchon."

"Wild...ahhh...naturale? Combien kilogram?"

"Oui. Cent kilogram. You have boolets?" he asked. Then I noticed four tusks protruding from the boar's snout.

"Boolets? Ahh, bullets, no je n'ai pas boolets. J'ai hooks" making a hook with my finger and pretending to catch my cheek.


He wanted hooks, bullets, and rum. We decided to talk "discrete en maisson", and I helped him carry his 12 gauge while he schlepped the wheelbarrow. His name was Teki, and I said I'd be back after running up the montagne. At around 9am I went back and we discussed a local meal prepared by him, but without any currency, it was too much to settle by trades. Instead, he set us up with all the fixings for a local feast that we'd prepare a bateau, a Havili. I arranged to bring back a bottle of rum at 11am and he set me off with two dozen bananas, 5 pomplemousse, 1 jackfruit, a dozen limes, 2 breadfruit, and a few kilos of wild boar that he hacked off for me right there - ribs and some thicker pieces as well. I paddled back excited to share the loot. With fresh food aboard, it felt like the sparser days of the crossing were long behind us, and like we might never leave Fatu Hiva.

Fatu Hiva

08 April 2019 | Land Ho!!!
This afternoon, I sat with Tucker in the saloon as he stitched together our new French flag for French Polynesia! Usually one can buy a flag at a marine store in the US, however sometimes people take their own route and draw, or in our case sew, their own! We pulled together some materials and...Voila! A little rough around the edges but just what we need. As he stitched the repurposed blue winch handle cover to a white towel, we heard Sam and Nancy in the cockpit announce, Land ho!

Tucker and I dashed up the companionway and searched the horizon for what I thought would be a tiny blimp of land in the far distance. Instead a beautifully silhouetted mountain range lay just around 40nm away! It was somewhat hazy and low laying clouds obscured and blended the mountains into its backdrop but there was no denying, we were looking at solid, beautiful, Polynesian soil!!

I'm still processing the fact we just crossed an ocean but now seeing land, it feels real. Day after day during the crossing, not too much changed. Ocean, horizon, clouds, daytime, nighttime. After a little while, the small details came the forefront. Little alterations in the direction and size of the swell became more apparent, the slightest temperature change in the wind felt, a different type of bird flew overhead, the size of the flying fish grew and shrunk a couple inches, the clouds became more whispy or became more tower like, the ocean more blue or grey or green, I made a few more pages in a book or Tucker beat me in another game of chess.... Although these small changes were constantly happening around us, it was hard to perceive we were actually making way. But now, seeing an actual landmass in the distance, I can feel the miles Havili has carried us! She has done so well!

I am feeling like a little kid on Christmas Eve. but for now, we are hove to about 38nm away, waiting for the sun to rise to make our landfall. SO SO excited for what comes next!!!

Love, Catherine

Almost There

07 April 2019 | 143nm to Hiva 'Oa
At the current pace we should make landfall on Hiva Oa the day after tomorrow (although that could obviously change very easily). With that in mind I would say that the excitement levels are building on Havili. I personally cannot wait to find out what the Marquesans are like as a people and what it is like to live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I have been browsing Wikipedia on some of my late night watches and found out that they are the most remote island group in the world, in terms of distance from the nearest continent. The closest large land mass being where we just came from, Mexico. On top of that there are only 9000 people that live on the islands so I am expecting a pretty laid back lifestyle, very far removed from the rest of the world. That is alright with me! Beyond the anticipation of arrival everything is pretty normal on Havili. Books are being read, watches are being kept and tuna is being eaten!

The Final Stretch / Middle of the Pacific Ocean Observations

05 April 2019 | 284nm to Hiva 'Oa
Well, here we are, the final stretch. Day 20 of the crossing since Clipperton, day 54 since we left La Paz (and since Catherine and I have set foot on land!!!), and less than 300nm until we make landfall in the Marquesas.

Looking back and counting up the days, it really doesn't feel like it's been that long since I set foot to earth or since we committed to rolling around nonstop. Before the crossing, I remember being most excited and curious about two things: 1) What in the world is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? and 2) What's my mental state going to be like throughout this?

So, I observed, our outer world and my inner world.

As far as my mental state goes, I feel pretty great, surprisingly normal really. Observations/lessons/reflections include: - Our amazing ability to adapt to our surroundings (and how much bigger my comfort zone has become) - You can't control what happens to you, but you have complete control over how you react to your circumstances (i.e., Did I really want to look back on this incredible event and have negative feelings associated with it? Nope.) - The most fulfilling thing so far is realizing how much I've learned about sailing, navigating, weather patterns, the ocean, birds, fish, marine mammals, the earth, myself, free diving, scuba diving, islands, the stars, etc.

And the moment you've all been waiting for...what exactly IS in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? - MILLIONS of flying fish, everywhere, every day (definitely the most surprising finding for me) - Four rainbow runners that have followed us from Clipperton Island and are STILL with us! Meaning they've swam non-stop for 20 days and 1800nm, through squalls and waves, jibing and motoring, across the equator and the Pacific (the true champs of the crossing) - Sea birds! Thousands of miles away from land, flying, hunting, and surviving. Definitely sparse, but species spotted include brown booby, nazca booby, masked booby, red-billed tropicbird, and unidentified shearwaters or storm-petrels. We have one brown booby that has joined the crew since ~day 5 and lives on our solar panels, pooping up a storm and messing with our solar energy, but we love him nonetheless and I've learned a lot about boobies from observing him. - A potential sighting of a Longman's Beaked Whale. Occur in tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, one of cetology's greatest long-standing mysteries, and very rare with no confirmed observations of a living one...the mystery continues... - Swarms of short, stubby dolphins that do spins out of the water and are entirely uninterested in our presence (we think they're spinner dolphins) - Rough-toothed dolphins!!! A new & exciting dolphin species for us, swam with our bow for long enough to note their long snouts, jagged teeth, and pink lips! - Crystal clear views of shooting stars, constellations, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, the moon and all its phases, moonrises, moonsets, sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations, rain, lightning - Every single color of our visible spectrum displayed brilliantly by the sky and sea

I could go on and on but Sam's making pancakes and mine is ready so I'll stop there!

Mirror ITCZ, Ship Sighted

31 March 2019 | 808nm to Hiva 'Oa at 246* Magnetic
After turning off the engine at about 5*S 120*W, we had about a day of smooth sailing before another squally night while crossing the mirror ITCZ. While we've been getting weather reports on the morning radio net from SV Let It Be out of Banderas Bay, as well as weather faxes and GOES satellite images, the ITCZ moves around much faster than we do, so avoidance isn't really an option. But being prepared is another story, so when we saw an endless wall of clouds approaching on the evening of the 28th (Happy Birthday Mom!), we put two reefs in the main, furled in a bit of the genoa, and prepared for a night of (mostly) hand steering. Unlike the northern ITCZ, the wind didn't die every time the clouds passed us and we made good way over the course of the night, mostly getting just wind and not too much rain.

About two hours before sunrise I saw a bright light on the horizon, and after a few minutes could tell it wasn't just another rising star. The radio nets have been giving me plenty of practice calling other ships lately, so I put out a few securite calls to see if they'd respond. Nothing. The light was yellowish, and only once did I see faint red from the port running light. It seemed they were headed towards us, roughly at least. Probably 12 miles away, I kept an eye on them and started tracking with radar, but there was too much rain around us to get a consistent return. Without having a compass integrated into our radar, we can only track the boat's relative bearing to us, but that changes often in squally conditions when it's not possible to steer perfectly straight. Thirty or forty minutes passed, and the ship was still off our port bow just slightly farther forward than previously, now 6nm away. More securite calls, and no answer. We turned on all of our deck lights and held our course a bit longer, hoping it would cross our bow before forcing us to make an evasive tack or jibe. Now I could see that it's entire deck was lit up with lights, very bright, and still no running lights. Not wanting to stare at this ship's bow any longer, we turned left, into the wind, and sailed on a close reach with the ship just a few degrees off our starboard bow. Our speed was 5-6 knots, the ship's probably 15, and while this wasn't a huge change in our course, it was enough to keep the ship on our starboard, slowly moving from our bow to beam.

It was nice to see daylight that morning, with that avoidance behind us, and the SE trade winds ahead. Now we're in clear skies with starry nights, new constellations, and a bright milky way, seas calm enough to bring the laptop up to the cockpit at the end of my night watch. So here's to another blog post and another ~800nm of smooth sailing!
Vessel Name: Havili
Vessel Make/Model: Transpac 49
Hailing Port: Los Angeles
Crew: Sam & Nancy
About: https://www.havili.org/
Home Page: https://www.havili.org/
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