Leela Year Six - Across the Pacific

Well.... to our own surprise here we are

01 October 2020 | Fakarava
24 September 2020 | Fakarava South Pass
19 August 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
02 August 2020 | Papeā€™ete, French Polynesia
09 July 2020 | Papeete, Tahiti
21 June 2020 | Taha'a, French Polynesia
29 May 2020 | Cook's Bay, Moorea
14 May 2020 | Tahiti, French Polynesia
08 May 2020 | Enroute Gambiers to Tahiti
30 April 2020 | Rikitea, Gambiers, French Polynesia
26 March 2020
24 March 2020 | The Gambiers, French Polynesia
08 March 2020 | Taravai Island, The Gambiers
03 March 2020 | Airport Anchorage, Gambier
21 February 2020 | Kouaku, Gambier Islands
17 February 2020 | Rikitea, Mangareva, Gambier Islands
12 February 2020 | Rikitea, Mangareva Island, The Gambiers
25 January 2020 | Nuku Hiva
22 January 2020 | Ua Huka
14 December 2019 | Tahiti

Out There

12 February 2020 | Rikitea, Mangareva Island, The Gambiers
Graham Openshaw
We are now a long way from anywhere, in the Gambier Islands, eight hundred miles SSE of the Marquesas.

After swinging back to Nuku Hiva to resupply and see friends we headed down to Fatu Hiva, the most southerly of the Marquesas, fully intending to go back north to Hiva Oa before heading south to the Gambiers. Fatu Hiva has a dramatic bay (see image) but was otherwise quite limited so we decided to move on quickly.

Anyway, as we were looking at the weather for our sail north we spotted a really promising weather window for heading south so we decided to give Hiva Oa a miss and headed out. It was definitely the right thing to do. We had an amazing sail covering the 800nm in just over five days at an average speed of 6.5kts. There was enough north in the wind early on to allow us to grab some eastings so that we would not get too close hauled as the wind veered south and we managed to maintain an apparent wind angle of about 60deg the whole way, probably our best sailing angle. Apart from a couple of large squalls and the subsequent lulls in the wind it was a comfortable and uneventful passage.

The notable event occurred when we arrived at the Gambier pass. For some months we had been communicating with Birgit and Christian on the sailboat Pitufa. They have posted lots of very useful information on their website, including advice on when and how to visit the Gambiers. Without their guidance I am not sure we would have ventured this far off the beaten track.

Anyway, Pitufa were also using that weather window to get to the Gambiers from the Tuamotus and fate conspired to bring us to the entry pass within thirty minutes of each other. They proposed that we join them visiting the small island of Taravai before heading to Rikitea. We had a lovely week with them there, snorkeling and doing a little gardening for Eduard, a local farmer, in exchange for some fresh fruit and vegetables, something very difficult to find in the Gambiers.

We have both moved over to the main town of Rikitea now to do a little shopping and get some Internet (both with limited success) and to do some much needed walking before our legs atrophy completely due to sitting around on the boat. We would like to go and explore the outer islands but there are uncharacteristically strong easterly trade winds blowing at the moment so we are waiting here and hoping that the more settled summer weather kicks in soon.

The Gambiers are a major pearl farming location now. This has a couple of consequences, firstly navigating between the islands can be tricky, with pearl farm floats and lines everywhere, reminiscent of the lobster pots in Maine, and secondly, Rikitea is a little more 'industrial' than we have seen elsewhere in French Polynesia. It is not terrible but neither is it particularly picturesque. We are a bit spoilt on that score..... Like everywhere we have been in FP, people take great pride in their gardens which are beautifully kept and immaculately clean. I will try and photograph a couple.

The rest of the island looks lovely, with dense tree coverage and there are some great hikes that we are working up to.

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I very much doubt that I will be able to post any photo albums from here so I will work out how to put a few more lower resolution images into these posts.
Vessel Name: Leela
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 38.8
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, NH
Crew: Graham and Janaki
We are a Brit and an Australian now based in the wonderful community of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We have a delightful home there but a couple of years ago we began to feel a bit over-domesticated so we thought we would buy another boat and head south. [...]
Leela, a Bristol 38.8 has turned out to be a wonderful cruising boat for us. Some might find it a little cramped by modern standards but it feels like just the right balance of living space and storage to us. She sails like a dream. She is remarkably well balanced and is comfortable in pretty [...]
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