Little Green Boat

Spruce circled the Pacific between 2013-2019: South Pacific Islands, NZ, Australia, Asia, Japan, Alaska , Canada, USA, Mexico then back to French Polynesia in 2020. The plan is to go on to the Indian Ocean in 2021.

02 August 2020 | Kouaku - Gambiers - French Polynesia
02 August 2020 | Kouaku - Gambiers - French Polynesia
20 July 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
30 June 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
30 June 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
21 June 2020 | Tenoko - Gambiers - French Polynesia
21 June 2020 | Tenoko - Gambiers - French Polynesia
06 June 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
06 June 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
31 May 2020 | False Pass - Gambiers - French Polynesia
31 May 2020 | False Pass - Gambiers - French Polynesia
24 May 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
24 May 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
16 May 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
06 May 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
08 April 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
02 April 2020 | Still On Passage

Final few days in Gambiers

02 August 2020 | Kouaku - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
One of the Motus we wanted to visit, before departing north to the Tuamotus, was Kouaku in the SE extremity of the Gambiers Archipelago. Kouaku is an islet situated on top of the fringing reef. Motus typically form where the reef is less deep underwater and currents or wave action accumulate sand and broken coral sufficient to climb, and remain, above sea level. All these things go in cycles, one imagines the motus encountered two centuries ago by early European visitors may well have been in different places from today.
This particular motu has a history of being used as a cemetery for earlier denizens of the bigger islands of Mangareva and Taravai. A tale recounted by Teva, one of the weather men at the meteorological station, told of a white king as head of the peoples of Managareva and a competing Black King, figurehead of those living in nearby Taravai. Both clans were frequently at war with each other. One particularly serious phase of battles rendered many dead and the victims of both groups were interred here.
Today this is a gorgeous south Pacific Location. On the ocean facing side, slabs of coral lie exposed with a sand beach behind. The more protected side, towards the lagoon, has piles of white coral sand built up by ocean swells creeping around the ends of the motu. Photo shows Sue enjoying a soft sand hike in the sun.

Final few days in Gambiers (cont)

02 August 2020 | Kouaku - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
In the distant centre of this photo are the twin peaks of Monte Duff to the right and Monte Mokotu on the left. Their island of Mangareva lies some 8-miles to the north-west from our location. The nearer island on the left of the photo is Aka-Maru, this conceals the larger Taravai in the distance.
The water is rather cool at this time of the year, winter here, but still warmer than the sea off the summer UK coastal waters. Small Black Tip sharks cruise the shallows feeding on shoals of smaller fishes. To the north-north-east lies the open ocean. Fluffy white cotton wool trade wind clouds dance low on the horizon, pointing the way back to distant Mexico, from whence we came in March. In Mexico friends shelter in the northern Sea of Cortez, farther south they have their hurricane season.
The weather looks suitable for Spruce to depart towards the Tuamotus on Wedsnesday or Thursday. Most probably we shall head 450-miles to Hao initially, then on to Raroia another 150-miles to the north-west.
The Gambiers have been a wonderful sanctuary during the past few months while we have done repairs and waited for the world in turmoil to return to some sort of normality. It is time to move on, we may be back here for the cyclone season if we cannot go to New Zealand, but at this stage we just do not know. For now we shall bid a fond farewell and save a plethora of affectionate memories for future stories.

Essential Repairs Completed

20 July 2020 | Taravai - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
Our �"Big Kid�" aboard Spruce, Sue, was a happy girl the day we visited the local meteorological station. Monsieur Teva, the duty weatherman, filled his Met-Balloon with hydrogen for the daily launch, they make and compress it on site, then he permitted Sue to walk �"her�" new toy to the launch site. Once the telemetry package had been attached, Sue let the balloon fly into the sky... surprisingly, without any tears in her eyes.
As the balloon climbs the latex skin expands: pressure reduces with increasing altitude; at around 35,000 feet, the balloon finally pops and a parachute safely lowers the small telemetry payload to sea-level. During the couple hours of ascent, telemetry is transmitted to the weather station and the balloon is tracked. Computers display the information received, both numerically and graphically: Position, Altitude, Wind-speed, humidity, temperature. That information is also transmitted to France for incorporation into France Meteo's global picture of weather data. An unusual lower level temperature inversion soon gave way to temperature reducing with altitude, as is normal. Wind speed was low, so the balloon remained almost overhead during its ascent, although it disappeared from visual sight long before it reached the clouds aloft. Cruisers rely heavily on accurate weather forecasts as we sail the oceans, it is interesting to see the effort that goes into collecting the raw data on which those forecasts depend.

Essential Repairs Completed (cont)

20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
The Taporo, one of the two supply vessels that service Les Gambiers, arrived at Rikitea with our long awaited replacement autopilot aboard. This piece of equipment had taken a roundabout route to reach Andy's clutch: Netherlands, UK, USA mainland, Honolulu, Australia, New Zealand, and finally Tahiti where it joined the Taporo. Maybe the route is more protracted nowadays with limited flights into French Polynesia during the Covid19 crisis.
The original system dated from long before the data network based designs that are available today. Although only a single piece of equipment was faulty we have had to change everything, except the linear drive motor that moves the rudder from side to side. Installing the system is trivial in principal. However, our in-commission cruising boat has lockers crammed full with provisions, spares and tools. Gaining access to run the new cables through the boat, then install and test the new system involved emptying most of the storage space on board. We took the opportunity to conduct a deep-clean of lockers and bulkheads as we revealed each section in turn. Doing this while we continued to live aboard complicated the process farther. We now have a functioning electrical autopilot system once more. This backs up our mechanical wind-vane steering equipment, which, of course, cannot be used when there is no wind.

Essential Repairs Completed (cont)

20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
July 14th and Bastille Day is commemorated in this distant outpost of French Territory in Polynesia. While on the Champs Elysée there may be the army marching and military hardware, the uniformed national presence here was limited to a few Gendarmes and a former member of the French Foreign Legion who hoisted the tricolour. The local choir sang The Marseillaise; the French Polynesian Flag climbed aloft to the appropriate anthem in Tahitian then finally the blue and white Mangarevan flag joined the others with a song in Mangarevan.
It was a fun day for locals. These cheerful women sported intricately woven head-dresses. A short procession took place with various local departments represented. There may have been no military hardware but a small contingent of construction machinery was represented. This is essential to maintain roads and public facilities, they boasted a single tracked vehicle.
The local school bus, a finely restored old model of vehicle, took a group for a run along the street through the village. Sue was lucky enough to draw a ticket for a ride in the jovially decorated charabanc.

Essential Repairs Completed (cont)

20 July 2020 | Rikitea - Gambiers - French Polynesia
Sue & Andy
Photo from Sonya (s/y Pak-ia-tea - Austria) showing Sue and Andy as they arrived atop Monte Mokotu. In the background is Katie (s/y Bella Donna - UK) with Monte Duff, her summit in the clouds, behind. Maybe this next dry cycle of weather will offer a chance to hike to the top in clear visibility.
Time is running short. We plan to leave The Gambiers towards the end of July. Initially we shall cruise some of the Tuamotu atolls and probably go to the Marquises. There are still many unknown factors that will affect our plans as we go into the next cyclone season. Ideally, we want to go to New Zealand, where we are booked into a marina and need to renew our rigging wires, new sails and replace the cap rails that were damaged beyond repair in Japan. At the moment whether Covid19-free New Zealand will remain closed to foreign yachts is unknown. If venues that are safe from cyclones farther to the west are not open, then staying in French Polynesia would be safest; unless it is an El Nino year cyclones in the Marquises/Gambiers are unlikely. However, the brinkmanship being played out in UK/EU negotiations probably mean there will be no clarity on our status (to remain) before the cyclone season commences. If we did stay beyond the end of October, would we be permitted to remain in French Polynesia until end April 2021, should the negotiations with the EU fail to achieve a suitable deal before 31st December. Wherever we spend the next cyclone season, we do not want to leave Spruce during the present crisis, in case we were not allowed to rejoin her in a timely manner due to new travel restrictions.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges. Both aare working hard, harder than last time, at learning French while in French Polynesia again.
Extra:
During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-18 brought us from Asia to Washington State via the North pacific Rim. In 2019 we aim to cruised BC and then south to Mexico. In 2020 we headed back out into the Pacific with a 3,200M passage to Les Gambiers [...]
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/littlegreenboat
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Spruce's Photos - California, north to south. 2
Photos 1 to 96 of 96 | Main
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sweaty heaps at the top of the hill Santa Catalina
Looking down on the anchorge
looking down on two Harbours
Looking down on the anchorge
Looking down on the anchorge
Two Harbours Santa Catalina
Looking down on the anchorge
Looking down on the anchorge
Looking down on the anchorge
Spruce at santa Catalina
A dusty raod to town Santa Catalina
A Whimbrel
A Wandering Tattler
nearing Santa Catalina Island
nearing Santa Catalina Island
nearing Santa Catalina Island
Sailing away from Santa Rosa Island
Santa Rosa island
A guided hike with Inga on san Miguel
San Miguel
San Miguel
A gu
A guided hike with Inga on san Miguel
A guided hike with Inga on san Miguel
San Miguel
Ice plant San Miguel
Ice plant San Miguel
Elephant seal and Sea lions share a space.
Elephant seal and Sea lions share a space.
Elephant seal and Sea lions share a space.
A guided hike with Inga on san Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
A guided hike with Inga on san Miguel
Another dry beach landing.
San Miguel
Gray Whale
Spruce at San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
bush lupin san  Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
A san  Miguel fox.
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
loco plant, if eaten it makes you go crazy!
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
On a walk to the ranger station San Miguel
A dry Beach landing San Miguel
San Miguel
San Miguel
Elephant seals on the beach San Miguel
San Miguel
Elephant seals on the beach San Miguel
Gray Whale  in the bay.
san Miguel
Cuyler bay San Miguel
Sailing towards San Miguel.
on the way to San Miguel we passed a number of these oil platforms
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
Sue with our new car.
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro bay
A walk on the sand spit Morro Bay
A wlak on the sand spit Morro Bay
Andy on the sand spit Morro Bay
Vulture!
Brown Pelican
Snowy Plover
Long Billed Curlew
Long Billed Curlew
Ice Plant?
Sailing towards Morro Bay
looking down on two Harbours
A walk on the sandspit Morro Bay.
A Marbled Godwit
An evening beach Primrose
Sailing towards Morro Bay
 
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