23 January 2019 | Rotoava
06 January 2019 | Fakarava
14 October 2018 | Papeete, Tahiti
19 August 2018 | 16 06.30'S:142 22.78'W, Rarioa, French Polynesia
30 July 2018 | 16 06.30'S:142 22.78'W, Nuku Hiva
25 May 2018 | 08 54.93'S:140 05.9'W, Nuku Hiva
07 May 2018 | 08 54.93'S:140 05.9'W, Arrived; Nuku Hiva
20 April 2018 | 08 33.9'S:134 14.2'W, ~380 nm east of Nuku Hiva
16 April 2018 | 07 18.45'S:120 44.3'W, ~1100 nm east of Nuku Hiva
13 April 2018 | 07 36.2'S:114 05.1'W, 2733 miles west of Panama
12 April 2018 | 07 33.1'S:111 23.7'W, ~ 1800 NMiles East of Nuku Hiva
09 April 2018 | 07 40.1'S:102 33.2'W, ~ 2200 NMiles East of Nuku Hiva
09 April 2018 | 07 01.5'S:097 10.6'W, W of the Galapagos Islands
Off eastbound to Fakarava and Nuku Hiva
09 February 2020
We finally departed Marina Taina in Tahiti on Saturday December 14 after having a couple of Doctor appointments in Papeete. We only went around to the NE corner of the island to a good jump off point, Point Venus that we had been to a couple of other times.
Heading east or North East from Tahiti is usually against the wind so you need to watch and plan your timing to be able to sail in the direction that you want to go... I had been watching closely for a couple of weeks and Sunday looked like the wind would switch to the south of east sometime late Monday. The SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone = NASTY weather!!) was hanging to the south of Tahiti and expected to stay there so we departed Point Venus after a final weather check Monday morning. So off we went. The skies were dark but everything was manageable. In fact, there was another boat off in the distance taking the same track as us.
Our "plan" was to sail northerly with the wind that was still slightly north of east and then turn NE bound when the winds backed. Well, that SPCZ has a mind of its own. It decided to head north from where it had been sitting for days. The weather turned a bit damp and the wind increased and then increased some more. That was accompanied by torrential rain. Not just a 15 minute squall, I mean torrential rain. Pressure washer type rain. ¼ mile visibility type rain. For over 6 hours straight!!! We were double reefed flying our heavy weather Yankee (high cut) Solent. The boat was handling it fine but it was a most definitely a very bump ride. We were close hauled and the waves were reaching 4 to 5 meters. We were flying off the crests of some and with the confused seas we were, well, getting wet. The rain was so heavy we had to shout at each other in the cockpit to be heard. Even though Laurie had recently waterproofed the Sunbrella Bimini over the cockpit it became thoroughly saturated. We could hear the dinghy anchor chain getting airborne in the dinghy high up on the arch but thankfully, the dinghy never budged. (We make sure of that always!!!)
I had noticed an AIS target about 10 miles north of us earlier - a French Commercial Fishing trawler. At around 2 AM I heard someone calling us by name (that almost never happens) and it was them calling to see if we were alright (and probably thinking who is stupid enough to be out here in this weather in a "little" sailboat). I thanked him for calling and ensured him we were fine but complained it was a little "damp". We were in the middle of that heavy weather at the time. BTW; who goes fishing in weather like that?
In the morning the rain let up and the wind turned off. Like 30+ knots to 5 in a couple of minutes. That might sound good but it's not! Remember those 4 meter waves? They are still there and with no wind to fill the sails and keep the boat "settled", it gets a bit uncomfortable. No choice but to fire up the engine and at least work the waves. It was kind of funny actually, seeing the waves smash into each other. Numerous times I though a dolphin or something was jumping but no, they were wave hitting each other and splashing straight up a few feet.
The wind finally filled in from the ESE and we were able to sail towards our preferred destination, Fakarava. When we first left we did not know for sure if we could hold that much "easting" and thought we might need to go more northerly to Rangiroa where we spent Christmas last year. Late in the afternoon the sun started to peak through a bit between intermittent squalls but that was normal.
The balance of the trip was uneventful. Seas were good and we had sunshine occasionally. And in fact, we made water for a couple of hours prior to arriving at Fakarava, North pass. We arrived at the pass just at about slack time (good timing Bob! (Luck)) and entered the Lagoon. The place was much busier than last year when there were only 3 boats in front of the community, Rotava. We arrived on Tuesday, just over 2 days after departing Point Venus having done 284 NM. Our track "looked like a boomerang" to quote a fellow sailor and friend who was watching us on our tracking site.
After settling in I did a "detailed inspection" to see how the boat faired in the rough weather. Nothing was broken! In fact, after being under the pressure washer for six hours the deck is as clean as a whistle! The only thing that I noticed later was the dinghy anchor chain was no longer in the bow but had migrated to the stern of the dinghy. At least it stayed on board with us!
We had a week before Christmas and our goal had always been to head to NE to Nuku Hiva, in the Marquesas to get out of the rainy unsettled weather for the season. Further from Cyclones too. So I watched the weather for that "opening" to allow us to go. Before we knew it, it was Christmas Day. We had Turkey (ok, a Turkey roll) and trimmings all ready for the special day except...the wind was strong and very squally. With the wind forecast to go northwest and be 25 kts plus, most boats left to tuck in close to shore on the north side of the Atoll. They were still in our visual range. We decided to stay put along with a couple of other boats. Actually, it was interesting watching people's decision making on when / where to move. Most everyone left with the exception of us and 2 or 3 other boats. My reasoning was, the weather event was to be short lived, maybe 24 hours and the "fetch" was not great. I had numerous boats stop by and ask us if we were leaving and I answered "I don't think so". Many answered back maybe they wouldn't. Then; one boat left to go behind the reef and almost right way the rest start to leave like a little parade and all anchored in the same basic area.
On Christmas Day the weather arrived and it was definitely squally but we were fine. The waves never got higher than maybe 18 inches. We were on a heavy mooring meant for larger vessels but none-the-less, we ran a track and kept the anchor alarm on in case the mooring failed. It was lousy enough that we elected to postpone Christmas dinner. I think I had leftovers Christmas day!
We called home in the morning to talk to family and give them our best wishes. When I hung up from Ryan's family I looked outside and this Cruise Ship had arrived and anchored not far away. I could just make the outline of the ship in the heavy rain. So, I watched as they started to deploy their landing shuttles. Out they came and down part way to the water and then stopped. There was no way they could land that thing against the concrete pier as the waves were coming directly from the NW and bouncing off. Not to mention, where are they going to go? Cruise ships do stop in Fakarava all of the time, it has one of the largest passes (if not the largest) of all the Atolls but there is not much to do other than sightseeing, renting a bicycle or taking a tour. But in the pouring rain? Not enough shelter and it was Christmas Day. I assume the locals knew it was coming and may have had a plan but with the weather the way it was; the ship sat there for a couple of hours and then brought the landing shuttles back up and headed off to Nuku Hiva according to their AIS.
I kept an eye on the weather and as New Year's approached, I thought I saw an opportunity to head NE in the making, still a few days away but it was looking promising. We were invited over to another boat for New Year 's Eve drinks and of course we discussed the weather. When I told them we were planning on leaving for Nuku Hiva in a couple of days they thought I was nuts. There were 5 boats wanting to go but no one saw the opportunity. I'm not sure why. There are a couple of factors, Hedonism can sail tight to the wind, tighter that many other monohulls and definitely tighter than cats. But that wasn't really the issue in my eyes, I saw that we would head north and then turn SE for a day or so and then turn almost due north to Nuku Hiva. Some close hauled sailing but not too bad. I was planning on a January 2 departure and we decided to go and anchor near the pass the day prior, New Years day. Once we got there I continued to check weather and decided we would postpone our departure until the morning of the 3rd. We spent the extra day on the beach and Laurie even went swimming...well, she got in the water.
We left on the morning of the 3rd and had a good sail to Nuku Hiva and almost exactly as planned; Northerly, east-south-east for a day and then north east. You can check out our track on the webpage. In fact the wind backed as we turned NE and the last day we were screaming into Nuku Hiva doing 7.5 to 8 kts on a reach. In fact, a good part of the trip we were on a reach. We did the trip in just less than 4 ½ days, a full day quicker than last year. Full disclosure; we motored for about 10 hours one night and 8 hours the next when the wind completely died. The first night the seas were like glass and pretty close to that on the second night of motoring.
We spent a couple of days in Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva and then went around to one of our favorite spots, Anaho Bay. There, as planned, we completed a bunch of annual heavy maintenance items on the boat: remove both Windlass' motors and gearboxes, inspect; remove and service all 6 winches and so on. Changing seals on gearboxes etc. is a lot easier than fixing it after it fails. Something from my airplane days I guess.
Not all work though, we took time to hike, visit the farmer and hike some more. I took a day and decided to hike "off trail" for a day. Well, I followed Goat trails mostly, at least those that were not vertical as so many are! So I made it up much higher than the normal "pass" that I climb for exercise or to use the phone. I have posted some of those photos but unfortunately, it was a bit hazy that day. If the opportunity presents itself, I'll go again on a clear day and with the better camera. The photo accompanying this post is as high as I got, about 3 hours to there. Hedonism is in the background, can you see it? Hint; closest boat to me, you can see Laurie?
And rain? Almost nothing in 3 weeks. All that weather is to the south. We did have one day of rain but that was sorely needed as there has been a major drought going on here for a couple of years. The difference in the lack of vegetation from our first year, to last year and then this year is astonishing. Many fruit trees that normally had fruit had none at all. Others that did were smaller. The mangoes seemed to fair better but even then, they were smaller unless they were in a valley. And after that day of rain? Pretty amazing watching the place start to turn green again, that quickly. They still need lot of rain though.
So that is it for now. I will try to keep the Blog up a bit better. To that end, our Predict Wind tracking page now has a small Blog that I can use for posting smaller updates under way. Hope you like it!
WaterMaker Install Oct 2019
09 February 2020
After arriving back at the boat it took a few days to get organized, put the sails back on, re-pack everything etc. We then turned our attention to the watermaker install. We already had a smaller watermaker that made 7 gal/hour or 26 litres/hour that ran on 12volt DC power. On nice sunny days we could run it on solar energy but after cruising this long, we found that while it met our “personal needs”, it was insufficient to keep the salt off the boat. We like to keep Hedonism is good shape and we have found over the years that the best thing to keep the “stainless” rust free, zippers working and so on, was to give the boat a fresh water rinse after anchoring. Of course the “ideal” situation is to time your dropping of the anchor to be completed 5 minutes prior to a squall. Hard to time that although we have had that happen a couple of times! After doing our fresh water rinse though, our Little Wonder was working too hard to keep up; it would usually take 2 or 3 days to replenish the tanks running maybe 3 hours a day. And, we are very careful not to use too much when we do rinse.
So, back in the spring we decided to upgrade the system. You can buy “off the shelf” water-makers of course in various sizes and complexities. Some you just turn on and forget, they start, make water, test the water going into the tank, flush and shut down all by themselves. Some are not quite that automated but still complex and then there are the KISS units. (Keep it Simple Stupid) I like those; the Little Wonder was one of those. So, to keep the cost down we decided to change out only parts of our existing system and essentially make our own designed water-maker. That sound good but in fact, there are a ton of diagrams and “how to” sites out there. For us the hard part was integrating the old with the new. We could re-use most of the existing plumbing and even the High Pressure regulator and gauge.
Those complex water makers? We hear time and time again that people are having trouble with their watermaker and have absolutely no idea how to fix them with all the electronics and sensors. They usually just had someone else install it and all they know is how to turn it on….
In reality, making fresh water is relatively simple. You need to pump seawater at high pressure (800 PSI) through a membrane that separates the water from the salt. The resulting “salt brine” is pumped overboard and the fresh water goes to the tanks.
So, out “new” watermaker is actually very simple. Like any other system we have a Low Pressure Pump, a High Pressure Pump, membranes and plumbing, valves etc. We do NOT have any automation. To start it up we open the seacock, turn on the LP pump and check there is pressure, turn on the HP pump and then turn the manual regulator slowly up to 800 PSI. We observe the fresh water flow on the flow meter and then take a “sample” after about 3 minutes of running at the kitchen sink where the water flow to during “sample” operation. We test it in a glass with a handheld TDS meter (Total Dissolved Solids) to ensure it is good and then turn a valve to divert it into either the Post or Starboard tank. That simple, no buzzers and bells to break.
So, step one and one of the most important steps when you are in Papeete, Tahiti is to figure out EXACTLY what you need to order, from the new motor and pump(s), lines, circuit breakers, wiring, hoses and various plumbing fittings including high pressure ones and so on because you cannot get anything here!
So I had to follow the whole existing system from the sea cock to the low pressure pump, to the high pressure pump, membrane and so on to check the size of each fitting and hose (1/2”, ¼”, 3/8”) so we could be sure to order what we needed. You cannot easily find SAE sizes here in “France” although there are some around.
We ultimately decide to go with a system that would give us 30 gal/hour (115 Litres/hour). To do this we would need to remove the existing DC Motor, HP and LP pumps, membrane and some plumbing. We would also need to relocate the muffler for the Generator (read: “big job and new exhaust hose) and build a new Fresh Water Flush valve system not mention tear the boat apart and drill new holes through bulk heads for the new plumbing to pass through.
We would need to purchase and install;
1 HP 115 VAC Motor and High Pressure Pump (~40 pounds)
New 12 VDC Cyclone Low Pressure Pump (to feed the HP pump)
2 New membranes and
Build and install a ¾” Fresh Water Flush assembly
Fresh water Flow Meter
Low Pressure gauge (the Little Wonder did not have one)
We had ordered everything from a supplier that was “supposed” to be knowledgeable and send us everything we needed. He also had detailed installation drawings on his website that did NOT match anything he sold us. We sent a detailed list with the provision that if he had to change anything, please send us whatever we would need to connect the system. Well, the order arrived (see some of the photos in our webpage). First thing I realized that the HP hose was missing. Then upon assembly I found he had changed out a different LP gauge so the fittings were different, the HP pump inlet and outlet sizes were different and so on. Frustrating.
Did I mention the boat was a mess during construction? Check the photos, barely room to sleep!
I spent a few days taking the bus into town and searching around to try some fittings to make it work, at least temporarily. I was able to get our “old” HP hose cut and reassembled to the proper length, I did find a few SAE fittings that were bronze and supposedly “SAE” but made in China (didn’t fit).
Laurie finished most of the hard work, cut up wood for new mounts and epoxied them out in the heat, glassed in the two new mounts on the hull to mount the LP Motor and valves as well as made the mount for the exhaust.
Finally I gave up. Time was ticking by, it had been almost 3 weeks of installing and we wanted to get moving. Staying in the Marina was not cheap. I needed specific Mur-Lok size adapter fittings that were supposed to be in the original order, mounts for the HP motor and different ones for the pump, HP fittings and so on. Finally, I ordered what we needed to be dropped at a UPS Store I used in San Francisco and jumped on French Bee to fly there. Believe it or not, it is actually a cheap way to do it. No import or duty fees upon return; its luggage! Of course French Bee is ultra-cheap. I brought a few extra items back as well to make the trip worthwhile...
I not going to talk about my arrival in San Francisco. Okay, I will…
After heading to the airport in Papeete at 4 am I jumped on the flight and arrived in SFO right on time, about 6 pm local time. I had a “confirmed” reservation at an airport hotel. I picked up my rental car, stopped to pick up a takeout dinner for the room and headed to the hotel…where the girl advised me that people who were supposed to check out that day did not so too bad, no room for me! AND, since the power was shut down in 25% of San Francisco due to the wind and fire danger, there were NO rooms anywhere! I am not happy, my hot supper is getting cold. I explained I needed a room somewhere. I started calling around (as did she) and about an hour later (supper getting colder) she found a hotel with a room but I needed to pay right away to secure it. I did. So off I went to find this place. Even with Google maps I was able to “see it” a couple of times before I finally figured out how to get into the parking lot. The place was…great; it had an “extra roof” as in the Freeway passed over the hotel! At least you wouldn’t get wet walking in from the parking lot! So, as I was approaching the front door I hear this horrendous noise from behind and I turned to see the commuter train tracks right beside me with this train barreling towards me. I guess this is why they still had rooms???
So I finally got to my room and opened by now cold supper (and now warm beer)….
I feel better having told someone that…
First thing in the morning I was off to pick up my treasure at the UPS store and then head to the east of town to a West Marine store to pick up the balance of what I needed. Remember the “power turned off thing”? After I drove across the big bridge I realized that the power was off in the whole area. So here I am, no real clue where I was going, cell service was dropping off as their “back up batteries” were going dead apparently, and no traffic lights working. It was chaos!
I finally pulled up to the “closed” West Marine – no power. I stopped in the parking lot and was trying to figure out what next when I saw and individual leave the store with a package. I jumped out and asked him what was up. He let me know they would do cash sales only but in fact, were open. So off I went. I had to know exactly what I wanted, no browsing and I was escorted by a girl with a flashlight. Well, I got what I needed but to be in the biggest West Marine store and NOT browse, especially after Tahiti, was somewhat disappointing. Kind of like being a kid in a candy store with a blind fold on….
I arrived back in Tahiti with my treasures and got to work with the final assembly. We finished up the AC wiring (read: running wires where we did before and “then said” there was no way to ever fit in another…we did), installed the motor with the new rubber mounts complete with an oil drain system for the new pump. (lesson from last water maker)
Finally, we were ready for a test run and leak check BUT we are near the fuel dock. Fuel would ruin the membranes so we sufficed with doing a fresh water flush. The run went well. Okay, we had 2 leaks, one was my fault - fitting not tightened and the other, the “new HP Relief Valve” was leaking. We got both fixed and then set to modify and re-install the old “guard” that we had to protect the unit from us kicking it.
I am happy to say that the unit is up and running very well. We only need to make water now about every 5 days. We could go longer easily but we would need to do a fresh water flush at least every 7 days (we use 5 days) and we like to keep the tanks full. We wired the system up so it will run using generator power or if we are motoring, the engine alternator through our 2000 watt inverter. In theory, we could use it on solar if the batteries were fully charged in the afternoon but it would still be running at a power deficit. We don’t as we need to be nice to our batteries.
And then we were off to Fakarava and Nuku Hiva…..
Summer 2019 in Canada!
28 January 2020
Sorry for the delay in posting to this Blog. I truly hope to keep it up
going forward. You will ALSO note that the new Predict Wind tracker
allows me to do short daily posts while underway!
Preparing the boat to leave it for the Canadian summer at home was not
an easy task. It took 2 ½ weeks preparation at the downtown marina in
Papeete and then we motored around the airport (literally) to Marina
Taina for another 2 weeks where we would leave Hedonism. Preparations
included removing the sails to store in the cabin, service the engine,
generator and other systems, and pack the refrigerator with everything
we could including flour, rice and anything that might spoil over time.
We left the fridge “on” at 6.5C for the time we were off the boat; that
would run (and did) off the solar. The freezer was emptied and shut
down. We arranged for a “guardian” to come and check on the boat weekly
during our absence.
Then we were off to Thunder Bay via French Bee’s A350 to San Francisco
and then to Thunder Bay via air Canada’s Red Eye flight through Toronto.
That was a long day! We arrived and settled in quickly except there was
still this white stuff around!
The summer went by quickly. Visiting the Sheldon, Payton and Atari a
lot, helping Ryan and Crystal build a new “pole barn”, camping with the
grandkids, and going to the fair to name a few. I also did some flying
during the summer including a week flying out of Sudbury, our old home.
I got in a quick visit to North Bay while there to drop off some of
Shawnda’s things to her mom from the storage unit and visit the
cemetery. It was short because I needed to fly up to Timmins that
evening to do a charter to Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay) the next day. I
hadn’t been in Iqaluit since about 2000 when I ferried Mathias’ Mu-2
back from Germany. We left Timmins early in the morning and had to stop
in Moosonee for the customer then a fuel stop in Kuujjuarapik (don’t
hurt yourself) (used to be Great Whale) and then on to Iqaluit.
Southbound we stopped again in Kuujjuarapik for fuel and then on to
Timmins and then Sudbury. 2900 nm in one day. Not bad considering we did
3960 nm in Hedonism but it took a little longer; 29 days.
The summer was fun. We put the trailer in the same park as before,
“Happy Land” in Kakabeka (SP?) Falls. The grandkids visited and swam in
the pool and stayed overnight. Earlier in the season I was in the
trailer when a storm blew through. A “downburst” hit the park and many
trees were uprooted including one that fell on the trailer awning.
Insurance came through but a couple with their retirement motor home
next to me were not so lucky. They were not hurt the motor home ended up
being a write off!
On the camping side, Laurie and I took the grandkids camping out near
North Lights Lake for a few days. We boated, fished and spent a lot of
time on the beach.
I took the opportunity one week to “jump seat” over to Calgary to visit
Shawnda for a couple of days. It was her busy season but none the less,
we had a good visit. I got to see her again at the end of September when
I flew out to drive her Jeep back to Thunder Bay.
And, before we knew it, summer was over. We flew back to Papeete from
Ottawa again via San Francisco. This time however we booked a couple of
nights in SFO so we could provision, pick up some boat parts that I had
waiting for me at a UPS Store and look around. Even took an hour
“cruise” in San Francisco Bay, right by Alcatraz prison.
We arrived back at the boat after the all night flight on French Bee.
All as good except “someone” decided to move our boat in our absence.
Not a problem except they allowed the stern to hit the concrete dock and
damaged the stern. The marina would not own up to it and said it was the
wind…Well, we had been warned about the possibility of north winds and
had Hedonism tied 8 feet off the dock; too far for a normal boarding
ladder. But the damage is done. We did a temporary repair for now but it
will require attention the next time we haul.
So, we unpacked and started putting the boat back together and install
our new Water Maker…..That is another story….
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