Sailing the Pacific

09 April 2024 | Hiva Oa, Atuona Bay
08 April 2024 | 100 miles Northeast of Hiva Oa
07 April 2024 | 235 NM ENE of Hiva Oa
06 April 2024 | 380 miles Northeast of Hiva Oa
05 April 2024 | South Pacific
04 April 2024 | South Pacific
03 April 2024 | South Pacific
02 April 2024 | South Pacific
01 April 2024 | Near Equator
31 March 2024 | ITCZ doldrums
30 March 2024
22 March 2024

Clearing in and checking out Hiva Oa Town

10 April 2024 | Hiva Oa
Kirk Groehnert | Mostly Sunny, a few showers
This morning, being well rested, we got up around 6:30, had coffee and then promptly got ready to go to town and check in.

We were a little worried because there are Zoom meetings with Facebook groups for people making the journey to French Polynesia. During those meetings (plus all the online resources) there is a talk of the need for health insurance of a particular type, a return air ticket, bonds that need to be purchased for repatriation, and other things. Basically, things that make sure you will not be a burden to their society here and that you will indeed leave when you are supposed to.

There was none of that, well except the need for a "dummy" airline ticket to leave the country at some point which is easy enough - just buy an airline ticket and don't pay for it. You have 48 hours to pay and then it gets cancelled on certain airlines. This was the easiest check-in we ever did! What a pleasant surprise! And free!

With that out of the way, we desperately needed something to eat. We found a street side vendor barbecuing chicken. It was delicious and of course we had to get the obligatory French pastries too.

Now that our bellies were full and we feel like we are allowed here, we walked around. It was very cool, almost like if Hawaii didn't have a bajillion tourists and resorts - what would it be like? Still beautiful and much more local flavor. Also very simple. That's pretty much the way Hiva Oa is.

Most everyone is Polynesian speaking French or a native tongue. They don't speak much English but they are very friendly. One of them stopped and gave us ride back to the harbor.

Crystal was trying to talk to a lady who had stopped by the chicken place and she happened to have the most cute little girl with her. Crystal asked to take a picture so she did.

Shopping for items is a little expensive depending on the item. They still use Francs here and it's like 1000 Francs = 9.00 USD which can be difficult to calculate sometimes. Bread is cheap tho, after all they French.

After our adventure in town, we came back to the boat and got a better anchor spot then relaxed with French bread sandwiches.

Arrival Day!

09 April 2024 | Hiva Oa, Atuona Bay
Kirk Groehnert | Rainy
Well, today was the big day, the day we arrive after nearly a month at sea. Weather was not as good as we hoped, raining on and off the entire day. Still, we managed to take a nap after anchoring, get our dinghy in the water, and take a little walk on land. It felt like the land was moving :)

We came back to the boat and it was so humid (not terribly hot tho) that we had to start up the a/c for a while and take a nice shower. It'll be bed time soon and we both get to sleep together again, in the same bed. Nice.

Tomorrow we have to go check in so I spent about an hour printing stuff and getting paperwork in order. This place is so crowded with boats it makes us nervous so we can't stay here long. It's amazing how many people are doing this exact same thing! Too many!

While I was getting paperwork in order for tomorrow, Crystal was busy trying to find where we are going next. There are lots of anchorages that look really nice. We are excited to go explore these islands.

We plan to stay in the Marquesas for about two to three weeks depending on how much we like it. After that, It's the Tuamota Islands which are the supposed to be idyllic crystal clear coral atolls.

Thank you everyone, for your support. It makes our trip more fun and hopefully you enjoy reading about our adventures which have only just begun as we island hop our way to Fiji and New Zealand.

By the way, in the picture you will see how filthy our boat got during the voyage! That is actually algae growing up the sides from heeling so long!

Day 28 - Last night at sea!

08 April 2024 | 100 miles Northeast of Hiva Oa
Kirk Groehnert | Mostly cloudy, 82F
Finally, we are approaching the end of our long journey to get to French Polynesia across this massive ocean. We will have done about 3700 miles which is significantly longer than it would be straight line(3,300 miles) from our starting point, El Salvador. That's because we can't always sail the direction we want due to weather and wind.

They say this is the longest trip a sailor can do without seeing land. Most boats leave from Puerto Vallarta, about a week shorter, but only one other boat left from El Salvador.

We have heard that the harbor we are planning to set anchor in and check in at, is crowded with other yachts so we are, by no means, the only people doing this. Some people even bring their kids and home school them.

We expect arrive around noon tomorrow. After we find a spot to anchor, we will need to clean things up on the boat and take a much needed rest. The following day (Wednesday) we will check in and explore the town a little and eat at a restaurant.

It will be nice to walk on dry land for the first time in 30 days. We wonder how it will feel.

Last night was the first night we have not had a squall since before crossing the equator. We hope tonight will be another squall-free night.

Day 27- Rough night, fightling with squall and rain!

07 April 2024 | 235 NM ENE of Hiva Oa
Crystal Groehnert | partly cloudy
After a nice easy day sailing, we both thought the night would be the same, we were WRONG.

I saw several rain clouds indicated on radar, but they all disappeared or steered themselves around us; only one hit us. Since we had been through a lots of them, I had it under control, even when Kirk woke up at the end of his rest, I told him that he can wait inside until it passes, no need to get him wet too. I was pretty proud of myself.

But during my second shift, there was this one, I kept my eye on it hoping it will goes around us just like the most of them. But, no, it got closer and closer. I only had time to close all the hatches but no time to put my raincoat on. Wind speed went from 10 knots to 30 knots in seconds and wind direction changed from 150 to 30 degrees. The boat heeled severely and woke poor Kirk up. Half asleep, he got thrown over to the other side of settee and hurt his forearm. Nothing major that needs medical attention, but it hurt. The whole squall last about 5 minutes, I was soaking wet, cold and shaking.

In a way, it was good that this happened and nobody got seriously hurt or equipment damaged. We just add this to our experience box and learn as best we can from it. No training class can prepare us for many of these experiences.

The squalls should be getting lesser and lesser as we get closer to Hiva Oa and we are looking forward to that!

Day 26 - Fair winds, following seas!

06 April 2024 | 380 miles Northeast of Hiva Oa
Kirk Groehnert | Sunny and few clouds, 83F
Today was a nearly perfect day of sailing with the wind on our port quarter (board reach) and about 15 kts which gave us good speed and a comfortable ride. We should have weather like this for the remainder of our 380 miles to the Marquesas, litte less than three days :)

While we are eager to get there, it's not like we are going crazy to get off the boat because of the space or something even after such a long voyage. We want to see these remote islands but also a normal night of sleeping will be nice, without having to do a watch.

We will be at anchor and we expect the anchorage to be pretty crowded with boats like ours. Because there might not be room for us, we were researching alternatives to spend the night at anchor. Boats will be coming and going all the time so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Today we received WiFi phone call from my parents which is always an enjoyable chat. With Starlink we can stay in touch just like home. Starlink has really changed everything now, particularly in the boating world where just a short while ago it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to have internet onboard and even then, it was not as fast. And no, I do not get a commission from Starlink! I should though!

Day 25 - Motoring? Again?

05 April 2024 | South Pacific
Kirk Groehnert | Sunny, calm winds
Yes, unfortunately we had fire up the diesel engine. Last night, it was literally one rain squall after another and all the associated wind shifts with them. It seemed like they would develop, then fall apart and that cycle kept repeating through the night. Some of them were quite intense and large.

This was really wearing us out so about 2am we lowered the sails and started the engine. This way we could be inside, nap, and let the autopilot do the hard work.

This morning and the entire day has been almost no wind so we had keep the engine on. It's a little disappointing but that's the way it goes. We are fortunate to be able to motor when we want to.

We are now about 500 nautical miles from our destination which should be about 3 or 4 more days. Predict Wind promises that wind will be picking up again tomorrow and should be good the rest of the way.

Dolphins are always a good sign and welcome sight. Today we had a visit from a large pod. A little later we saw a flock of birds chasing a school of fish, probably tuna judging by the ones we saw jumping out of the water. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of that since it happened quite fast. I am not much of fisherman either however I have put the rod out today.
Vessel Name: Crystal Seas
Vessel Make/Model: Taswell 43
Hailing Port: Lewes, DE
Crew: Kirk and Crystal
We met in 2014 and have a common love of exploring the world. Both of us have traveled quite a lot but vacations don't really give the opportunity to get to know a place and the people. That's why we thought it would be better to sell everything and live on a boat! And that's what we did... [...]
We live this lifestyle not because we are adrenaline junkies wanting to climb mountains or some other extreme activities. Surely there are people like that in this sport and we have nothing against that. It's just not us and it's not what motivates us to deal with the compromises, uncomfortable [...]
Crystal Seas's Photos - Main
Pictures on land
13 Photos
Created 11 April 2024
13 Photos
Created 16 March 2024
12 Photos
Created 11 March 2024