The Adventure Continues

20 October 2013 | Fulanga, Southern Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Southern Lau Group, Fiji
29 September 2013
10 August 2013 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu
06 July 2013
02 July 2013
01 July 2013
13 November 2012 | Vava'u, Tonga
04 September 2012 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
31 July 2012 | Uturoa, Raiatea
14 June 2012 | Tiputa, Rangiroa, Tuamotus

Island Paradise!

14 June 2012 | Tiputa, Rangiroa, Tuamotus
On Saturday, June 9, six days out of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas, we finally made landfall in the Tuamotus Archipelago - at Rangiroa atoll. The passage was certainly a mixed bag! The first day out (we left Taiohae, Nuku Hiva, on Sunday, June 3, around 2 pm) we had pretty decent sailing, making about 5.5 to 6 knots of boat speed through the water - about 6-7 knots over the ground, with a little help from the west setting current. But over the next couple of days the winds steadily diminished to the point where it was difficult to maintain 3.5 to 4 knots of boat speed; one night, it was so calm we barely made 1 knot - until we started the engine! We motored through the night, and set the sails again the next morning, when the winds were back up to where we could sail again at 3.5 to 4 knots - still pretty slow, especially with half of the 552 miles passage yet to cover! On Thursday afternoon we had perfect sailing conditions - winds were up, the seas were relatively flat (because of the previously calm conditions), the skies were blue - and we were moving along at 6 knots or more on a comfortable broad reach; life was good! But there is no such thing as a free lunch - not even out on the Pacific Ocean! Thursday night late we ran head-long into a frontal system; we knew from our weather data it was coming, but were not sure what the conditions would be like. There were some squalls, and the winds really piped up - to a steady 23-25 knots, and we saw some gusts as high as 28 knots. With the winds came steep wind waves and the swell built back up (2+ meters every 5-6 seconds); it was a boisterous ride! But when we encounter conditions like that, we reef the sails down fairly deep, and Bright Angel sails along smartly (5-6.5 knots) at 10-15 degrees of heel, with the Monitor wind vane handling all the steering work. The boat really handles the rough stuff well - she is very "sea kindly."

As we neared our destination, we were hoping to make landfall at Rangiroa on Saturday morning, along with Desolina and Black Dog, the two other boats we were sailing with from Nuku Hiva (neither of which we had seen since the day we left - but, we "checked-in" by VHF radio or sat phone text message twice a day with our position, course and speed). We wanted to make our entrance through Tiputa Pass into the atoll's lagoon at slack water just after the 8:36 am morning high tide (currents through these passes can be hellacious, with rip tides and standing waves, especially on the ebb). With the high winds Friday and all through the night until near dawn on Saturday, the hardest thing to do was slow the boat down so we would not arrive too soon. With the sails all but furled, we were still moving along at well over 5 knots most of the night. But as morning approached the winds eased considerably, and we were able to slow down enough to reach our destination waypoint (about 2.5 miles off the entrance to the pass) at 7:30 am; Desolina and Black Dog arrived shortly before us and were standing off about 3-4 miles from the pass. Two other boats on the same passage (Blessed from New Zealand, and Water Musick -no, that is not a typo, their last name is Musick - from Walla Walla) got there about the same time as we did and went straight through the pass without any problems, but we waited for 9 am, and the three of us made our entrance into the lagoon (with Bright Angel in the lead) without incident. We anchored in the lee of a small bight of land on the motu (island) just west of the pass, in front of the luxury Kia Ora Hotel (with over-water bungalows which we were told go for $1200 a night). We all decided on a dinner and drinks ashore at the Kia Ora in celebration of a long, tiring passage - very expensive, but well worth it!

At first we had planned to spend only a few days in Rangiroa, and then visit the neighboring atoll of Tikehau, but when I asked Linda what day she wanted to leave Rangiroa she said "Never. This is the island paradise I've been dreaming about for years!" So, the revised plan was to spend a week here exploring before heading on to Tahiti. And so far the week has been racing by, with lots yet to see and do. We discovered a lovely little "pension" (hotel - actually these are cabins) called "Josephine's" right on Passe Tiputa with a small restaurant and bar with a deck that overhangs the coral bank on the west side of the pass, run by a delightful French family (mother-Josephine- and daughter, with some very able help from granddaughter Zoey!). We have spent a couple of late afternoons there for drinks and lunch with our friends from Black Dog and Desolina, and more recently, also with friends from The Rose, whom we met in Mexico. When the current is running in the pass, the "show" from the deck is awesome. Dolphins come to play in the standing waves generated by the current, which, as mentioned above, can be quite strong (7-9 knots on the ebb) and schools of brightly colored tropical fish swarm the reefs right under the deck. One day we all rented bicycles from Josephine's and rode the length of the motu (about 5 or 6 miles) to the pass and town, Avatoru, at the other end, and on the way back we stopped and toured a pearl farm; very interesting, and Linda came away with a nice new black pearl bracelet!

Yesterday we went snorkeling with the folks from The Rose off a small moto just inside Passe Tiputa. The site is locally known as "The Aquarium" and for very good reason - the incredible variety and multitudes of tropical fishes of all sizes, shapes and colors in amongst the beautiful coral was almost beyond belief. Reportedly there are some reef sharks in The Aquarium, but we did not see any; however, we did see a couple of morey eels, one with a head the size of a soccer ball! Tomorrow, Friday, we have hired Josephine's son in law, who grew up here on Rangiroa and who runs a tour boat operation, to take all nine of us (from Bright Angel, Black Dog, Desolina and The Rose) on a beachcombing and snorkeling excursion to some of the motus on the windward side of the atoll, about 20 miles away, complete with a picnic lunch from Josephine's; should be fun! That will bring us to Saturday, our scheduled departure date for Tahiti, some 190 nautical miles away; I wonder if Linda will actually agree to leave?

Thanks for checking back in. We will keep you posted when we get to the Society Islands!
Vessel Name: Bright Angel
Vessel Make/Model: 1990 Mason 44 Hull # 141
Hailing Port: Olympia, WA
Crew: Linda & Bob Hargreaves
Linda and Bob are long-time residents of Washington State - Linda was born and raised in Aberdeen and has lived in Washington all her life; Bob was born in San Diego, and moved to Washington when he was five years old. [...]
After leaving Olympia in August 2010 and sailing down the West Coast to San Diego, Bob & Linda joined the 2010 Baja Ha-Ha fleet and sailed to Mexico, where they spent a year and a half sailing in the Sea of Cortez and along Pacific Mexico. In April 2012 they joined the Pacific Puddle Jump and [...]
Bright Angel's Photos - Main
Every once in a while something will catch my eye that also tickles my funny bone. It could be a twisted sense of humor that makes me laugh, or maybe some cultural rift - who knows!? With apologies to any whom these might offend (and certainly no offense is intended) let me share a few of my chuckles (or in some cases sheer amazement) with you. LOL!
16 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
The remote island of Fulanga (also spelled Vulaga) in the southern Lau Group of Fiji is truly "Paradise Found!" We stayed in Fulanga for 35 wonderful, awe inspiring and relaxing days - and even then, we were reluctant to leave! Fulanga was resplendent with beautiful beaches, magical islands and the friendliest and most outgoing people you can imagine! With no apologies for the bulk of this album and its sub-albums, suffice to say that these are only a fraction of our digital memories of this magical place, and even less of the mental images that we will long cherish! Enjoy!
9 Photos | 14 Sub-Albums
Created 18 October 2013
One Saturday while we were in Savusavu, we took a bus trip with several of our cruising friends to Labasa (pronounced "Lambasa") for the day. Saturday is a big market day in any Fijian town or village, and Labasa is no exception - so there was plenty of hubbub and lots to see at the market. There was also a parade down mainstreet, and plenty of other unusual sights and sounds to stimulate our senses. Here are some of the highlights of that fun day!
52 Photos
Created 29 September 2013
14 Photos
Created 7 July 2013
We visited Auckland several times, and took some interesting side trips on the way back to Whangarei. Here, and in the sub-albums below, are some the highlights.
12 Photos | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 4 July 2013
We were not able to be home for Christmas in 2012, but we did get to have Christmas dinner with cruising friends Bev and Robbie (SV Mersoleil, from Seattle) and other boaters at the Riverside Drive Marina. Even though we were at Whangarei Marina in Town Basin, we got an invite to attend from Bev & Robbie, and were made to feel very welcome. It wasn't "Home for the Holidays" but it was a very nice time, nonetheless!
5 Photos
Created 3 July 2013
Going on walks or day hikes was a favorite pastime of ours in Whangarei, and there were always interesting places to go - around the Town Basin, in the hills and forests behind the town, and to the ocean beaches past Whangarei Heads. Please come along and join us on some of our favorite walks.
7 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
We are not prone to visiting tourist attractions (or "tourist traps" as we sometimes call them), but we succumbed to a few "temptations" while in New Zealand - notably Sheep World (just north of Auckland), going up the Sky Tower in Auckland, and riding the Wynyard Loop trolley, also in Auckland. We hope you enjoy these photos of our visits to these "attractions;" for more information, see our blog post on "Tourist Attractions."
43 Photos
Created 1 July 2013
Linda wrote an "illustrated" Christmas Letter that she sent to family and friends from New Zealand in Dec 2012. That letter is now posted as a blog entry, and these photos are the accompanying "illustrations."
17 Photos
Created 30 June 2013
On December 8, 2012, we departed Opua and headed south to Whangarei. We planned to "park" the boat in Whangarei throughout the New Zealand summer while we focused on "land cruising" (sight seeing), a trip back to the States (in Jan & Feb), and boat projects (including a haulout in April for bottom paint and other jobs). The trip to Whangarei included two overnight stops - the first in Whangamumu Bay, and the second in Urquharts Bay, just inside Bream Head and at the start of the up river trip to the Town Basin in Whangarei. We tied to the dock at Whangarei Marina at 1630 hrs on December 10 - Linda's Birthday, with some help from our friends Bev & Robbie (SV Mersoleil), who then also helped us celebrate the day at Reva's Restaurant, just across the river from our slip. With the dock lines secured in Whangarei, our 2012 odyssey across the Pacific from Banderas Bay, Mexico - nearly 7000 nm all total - had finally come to a successful end, and we we ready to rest!
21 Photos
Created 29 June 2013
Our first stop, where we cleared into New Zealand, was Opua. Before moving south to Whangarei we visited some of the local sights.
17 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Some things in New Zealand take some getting used to - like the lingo, the accent, the place names (at least those in Maori), and some of the unusual things in the grocery stores, about town, and out in the country. Here's a sampling.
21 Photos
Created 24 June 2013
Daniel's Bay (Hakatea Bay) - site of the TV series "Survivor Marquesas" - was our first stop on Nuku Hiva, an overnight passage from Hiva Oa. A higtlight of our stay in Daniel's Bay was the hike up to see Vaipo Falls, with a 2,000 foot drop supposedly the third highest waterfall in the world.
42 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
After leaving Hiva Oa, Hanamoenoa Bay on the neighboring island of Tahuata was the next anchorage we visited. It was a beautiful bay full of surprises - some good, some not so good!
9 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Hiva Oa was our first "Landfall in Paradise" after leaving Mexico, and our introduction to life in the islands of French Polynesia.
14 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Our 28 day crossing from Banderas Bay, Mexico, to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, was the culmination of many months (if not years) of planning and preparation. Shown here are some of final projects in Mexico, as well as some highlights from the crossing itself.
39 Photos
Created 5 August 2012
Just about everywhere you walk in French Polynesia is like being in a botanical garden - the flowers, trees, fruit - it's one of the special treats of being here!
43 Photos
Created 4 August 2012