Fakarava back to the Marquesas and then Tahiti
18 June 2019
Sorry for the lack of updates. I am writing this "finally" back in Thunder Bay as I sit on-call to go flying. Back to the boat soon!
After doing several dives in the North Pass in Fakarava we were planning on heading further east in the Tuamotus Archipelago to visit other Atolls but the weather outlook was getting a little unsettled. We woke up on the morning of Monday February 4 and looked at the weather and saw that if we left "now" we could probably sail the entire trip to the Marquesas and into drier weather with no worry of "cyclones". It would also keep us within the limitations of our insurance during Cyclone season. So, we got things ready and headed out at slack tide at 4 PM through the North pass and set sail to Nuku Hiva, about 5 days away.
The wind models showed that we could carry an almost due north track for the first 2 days and then tack SE on Wednesday almost a day and then "expect" a wind shift to the SE allowing us to sail close hauled to Nuku Hiva. Sounded good in theory. It was a "bumpy ride" most of the way but we were sailing close hauled so it was expected. I must say, it is nicer sailing downwind.... Anyhow, we followed the plan and tacked to the SE on Wednesday morning (tack Wednesday I called it) and then in the evening tacked back to the north. Of course, I continually updated the wind models. Right on cue (with a small squall line announcing its' arrival) the wind shifted east and then south east. As the wind veered we kept turning more easterly and for a while, were heading south of Nuka Hiva. We continued on this course in case we 'lost" the easterly wind. As it turned out, we didn't lose the SE wind and ended up sailing the final day on a reach arriving in Taiohae Bay, Nuka Hiva at daybreak on Saturday morning. We anchored between two friends that had arrive a couple of weeks prior.
The attached photo of our track shows the "tack" SE on the middle track which is us heading back to the Marquesas. The more westerly track is us heading back to Tahiti. The wind depicted is "today's" wind, not the wind experienced.
We spent almost 2 month in Nuka Hiva with the majority of the time in Anahoe Bay, one of our favorite spots.
During this time I needed to work on our impending Insurance Renewal (no fun at all) and did a few boat chores.
At Anahoe we did a fair bit of hiking and feasted on the many mangoes as well as fresh fruit and veggies from the farmer.
Finally, on Tuesday April 2 we set sail for Papeete. On day one we were able to fly the asymmetrical spinnaker for a few hours. We took it down at night due to squalls in the area. In fact, the balance of the voyage was quite squally complete with lighting both ahead and behind us. In fact, a line of squalls pass through the Marquesas a day after we left and they followed up the whole trip, subsiding in the morning and firing up each night. Put on a nice light show behind us each night but one I would rather have done without. I don't like lightning when I am on the tallest thing around for a couple of hundred miles. It is funny though, unlike "fronts" we see at home that move quickly; this line of squalls just meandered along slowly as if stalking us for several days.
The wind was on again and off again for the first few days.
We sailed through the Tuamotus passing just east of Rangiroa Atoll where we had been for Christmas. Once west of there the wind shifted more northerly and we had a good and fast home stretch run to Tahiti. We arrived at Point Venus at 2:30 PM on Sunday April 7 completing the 773 NM trip in just over 5 days. Of note, as of our arrival we have sailed Hedonism a total of 27,761 Nautical Miles thus far.
On Monday morning we moved over to the marina to prepare Hedonism to be left alone for our visit back to Canada.