19 May 2013
We had a good run from Mexico to the Marquesas, making landfall in just under 17 days. We were lucky to have wind the whole way - it's unusual to be able to sail through the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone near the equator. We also had very little rain or squall activity. Our wind died as we were leaving the ITCZ and we motored for a total of 12-14 hours. After that, we had steady wind but sloppy seaS. For our last three days it was a challenge to move about the boat, change clothes or cook meals. So we were happy to set the anchor in Hiva Oa. Since we were at the head of the pack of Puddle Jumpers we were one of the first boats to arrive and got a favorable spot near to the dinghy dock. Each day three or four boats would sail in and our location made it easy for anyone to stop by and say 'Hi' on their way to the dinghy landing.
Our first new friend, Joao, was a surfer from Portugal who had single-handed his Moody 42 from the Galapagos and arrived in the anchodrage about an hour after we did. He was an avid fisherman and when he heard that we hadn't landed a single fish on our trip, he gave us half the mahi that he had caught that morning on his way in. He delighted in sharing fishing tips and upgraded our gear with stronger leaders and bigger swivels (all of our 'bites' had taken our lures, breaking our line). We, of course, invited him to share our mahi dinner. I made a Portuguese style dish with flan for dessert. Joao brought an excellent bottle of Port. The next day Bruce helped him replace his radar cover. He brought over ceviche for happy hour and Portuguese beer.
The third day a boat sailed in that was a sister ship to our Privilege 45 catamaran, AMARYLLIS (which we chartered in the VI for four years and sold in Florida a year and a half ago). Bruce remembered seeing the boat in Grenada in 2008 and meeting the owenrs. We got together for happy hour to get reaquainted and catch up. On the fourth day another catamaran, Lightspeed, arrived. We recognized the boat from when it lived in Great Cruz Bay, St. John in 1998. We had just sold our boat and the owner of Lightspeed bought our mooring. Bruce skioppered the boat for friends of the owner for a one week charter. We dinghied over to explain our history with the boat and the new owners, Dave and Kathy, invited us on board. They had picked up the boat in Nicaragua, sailed it around the Western Caribbean, through the canal, up to Alaska, down to Mexico and across the Pacific. They are now in their third season and had lots of good recommendations about which islands we should visit as we travel through French Polynesia.
For some cruisers it's the 'journey' that is important, and for others it is the 'destination'. Most of us acknowledge that the cruising community is a big part of what makes this lifestyle so rewarding. Bruce and I were part of a community when we lived on St. John and our kids were small. Our social life revolved around the kids and parents and teachers at their small school. We might not have religion or politics in common, but we had our kids' best interests and that was enough. When we left St. John to move to California we missed those easy friendships most of all. Since getting back on boats in 2007, we feel we are once again part of a community of sailors. Everyone in the anchorage at Hiva Oa has made a long journey to get here, a common bond we share that transends nationality or background. We are all so happy to have arrived safely and be part of this special tribe.
On board Lightspeed we thank our hosts for the cold Hinano beer (our first!). I notice a rip in their awning. "You know, I have a sewing maching and we could fix that....