S/V True Companion CSY44

27 June 2014
06 June 2014 | Apia
20 May 2014 | Apia
14 May 2014 | Off Nuka Hiva
20 April 2014 | Taiohae
18 April 2014 | Marquesas
28 March 2014 | In the Blue
20 March 2014 | San Jose del Cabo
15 March 2014
10 March 2014 | Ensenada Los Muertos
09 March 2014
08 March 2014 | San Carlos

Apia 2

27 June 2014
Apia 2
We did finally go up to the immigration office and it was very painless. There were a few forms to fill out which took about half hour all up. One of the forms for the captain to sign however does say that under no circumstances is anyone to be allowed onshore until cleared. Yet we both needed to sign forms.

The big white cathedral in the Albums is a brand new Catholic 13 million dollar replacement for the original which was over a hundred years old and was torn down to make way.
We decide to hire a Taxi for the day to take us around the island. Tukae our driver was a 20 year old Samoan who seemed to know every church we came across and believe me there are plenty. For every village there must have been 3 or 4 and the villages were almost non stop. Churches were of every denomination you could think of. Apparently the big island 'Savaii' has even more. Religion is a big part of the Samoan life, were they live in Family groups.
In front of lots of the house's were burial plots with sometimes granite headstones and quite often roofs over the whole lot. In some cases they took up more room than the smaller Fales, which are the traditional structures for living. They consist of a raised floor and roof but have no walls. When it rains they just hang some sort of protection on the one wall. Originally it would have been woven palm fronds but now, plastic tarps are the go. Now adayshere is also a house on site where each Family group gets a room.

We swam at a couple of places where the water was crystal clear, the fish life of every colour and the coral beautiful and varied. Probably my favourite place for the scenic aspect was what they call 'The trench' or To Sua. It is 2 big sink holes that are open at the bottom to the sea. You can access one via a ladder for a swim as the sea surges in and out. It has beautiful garden surrounding it. Should be a couple of pics in the Samoa Album.
A really cool spot for a snorkel is the Palolo deep marine reserve. It's located just around the corner from Apia marina, come off the dock turn left and walk maybe 200m. Once there you've got about a 50m swim in knee deep water out to the hole. It is inside the reef so well protected and visibility when we went was around 30ft. Fish life is absolutely incredible. There is every shape and colour you can think of and all quite visible from the surface or if you wish take a dive down the coral face to discover more hidden in the structure. Lots of fish that you would be proud to have in an tropical Aquarium. Going to go back for another visit for sure.

Have been back with Sean twice now and could go again if we were staying. Each time I've seen different things. The first time with Sean I was looking at these little things about 150mm long, yellow with black bands. They had pointy little noses and I thought they were eels. Sean seemed to think they were Seahorses even though they didn't have the traditional upright posture, pot bellies and curled tails. On closer inspection I think he was right, they had the tiniest belly and fins in the right spot it's just that they were stretched out like an eel. Even the head was more in line with there bodies than angled like a horse. Pretty cool anyway, we did see a dozen or more, mostly in pairs.
The next time we saw a Turtle vertical in the reef with his nose buried in a nook. He was hanging on to the reef with his back flippers and obviously eating something tasty but I couldn't see what it was. He had a tag in each front flipper so I'm guessing he's a local. Watched him feed for maybe two minutes, then when he finished he noticed us for the first time and ambled off to hide under a ledgein no hurry to go up for a breathe. Again, pretty cool.

Apia has been a good experience and one I really hope to enjoy again with my Beautiful wife someday. The beers are cold, and only 5Tala (around 2 bucks). The food is very reasonable, the seafood is sensational and the people are very friendly.
I'll be back.

Arrival in Apia

06 June 2014 | Apia
We have dropped the hook and as usual have impeccable timing. It took us 18 days to get here from Taiohae and we have managed to arrive on the first day of a 2 day holiday. Apparently it is Independence Day here in Western Samoa. That being said and despite all the warnings about not arriving on weekends or after hours because of overtime rates for the officials it seems that they haven't been sitting around just waiting to sting us the extra dollar. No it just means that they won't come out at all until after the holidays. We are not official in Samoa till then and supposed to stay on the boat. We did sneak ashore the first night to check in with Emails though. Alan had asked the Port captain and while said no he also said Ok but not really. We took that as don't be seen.
Despite looking forward to sleeping in as long as I wanted to this morning I was up before 6. Apia was up even earlier. First impression when we came in yesterday was of a beautiful busy looking place. From the water we can see lots of construction and also building renovations going on around the harbour which by the way is actually. A bit smaller than both Alan and I were expecting. The harbour itself is roomy but the actual anchorage is smaller by the time you take in the exclusion zones, shoaling and reef.
I came on deck with a coffee this morning around 6 , to the sounds of laughter from the beach. There was quite a number of people out early. Some running, some walking, some fishing and some even swimming. Most of the laughter however was coming from the volleyball court. Not sure from here how much of a court it is really but I can see that the net is held aloft by a person at each end who is probably hoping that the point doesn't go to long. Net up, rally, point, net down and so the cycle goes accompanied by a lot of laughter.
Along with those activities there were also a couple of groups of 5 or 6 people who were practicing back flips on the dark sand. They looked pretty organised, in circles. One person in the middle flipping. In the one circle the fella( I only saw 1 girl) was in the middle and flipping on his own with just the occasional grab of his shirt by one of the watchers. He might go 8 or 10 times then they'd swap. In the other group were the less accomplished, who would run forward 3 steps then leap backwards with the assistance of someone either side holding their arms. A lot of laughs here also. They had plenty of energy cos the kept it up for 2 hours. All looked to be teenagers. There was another little group formed up in knee deep water for a while also. They looked to be the younger ones.
Once all this was winding down a couple of kids decide to kick the volleyball back and forth over the bridge. It didn't seem to make any difference whether there were cars coming or not. Most went over but I did see the ball land on the road a couple of times and smack into the handrail several times. Of course there was plenty of laughter down there too, and only one horn toot, not bad really. hahaha
Today we'll stay on Sara and do a few jobs. Then hopefullyTomorrow we can get legal.
Fifth morning here now and still only 75% cleared into Samoa, we are still waiting on immigration to arrive. We have been ashore several times though and will probably have to go to the office and chase them up as we did with Customs. That's not how it's supposed to work here but seems to be the only way of getting anything done.
Backflip seems to be the national sport on the beach though the numbers are diminishing as the days have gone by.
Onshore, Apia is a tidy town with friendly people.
More to come when actually get a good look around.

Marquesas to Apia Samoa

20 May 2014 | Apia
A bird in the hand
Had a really cool thing happen this evening, just before I went to bed. We had watched an early evening movie 'My super Ex girlfriend', just before it finished I went on deck for a look around. It was very dark on deck but I saw by the stern light a small bird hovering. A couple of minutes later when the movie actually did finish I went back out and he was still there. I put out my arm and he came right in and gently landed on the back of my hand. With the slight roll of the boat he was soon off, but came right back again. Of course Alan doesn't have a camera with a flash and ours was down in the computer bag in our cabin. I tried to get him (the bird) to sit on the cabin top while I went for the camera but he took to the air again.
I retrieved the camera and got back on deck to find him sitting on the lifeline. I snapped a picture or two then offered my hand and he had no hesitation hopping on. COOL. Got another pic then he hopped/hovered back to the lifeline. He must have been a weary little adventurer, that's where I left him and headed for a rest myself. For lack of an better idea I'm going to say he was a Tern of some description.
Needless to say I went to bed with a smile on my face. Way cool.

We are on our 7th night out from Taiohae, the winds have been lighter the last 2 days, 8-10kts from the East. The stronger trades before that were still only to 15kts. Seas have been long and gentle. Sailing under the Square sail and jib out on the jury rigged bowsprit. Braidy has been doing a fine job with the just the occasional adjustment to make us feel like we are in control not him. Hahaha
Even with the lighter winds we have been doing 110 odd miles a day. 125 before that.

One thing I can definitely say about the Pacific, DON'T COUNT ON EATING FISH. Have caught nothing since we put that one back before Taiohae. No wonder Noddy had to land this evening, he was probably weak with hunger. Lucky for us we have Lamb Mmmmmm.
The South Pacific swells are just the most awesome Saphire blue topped off with blue skies and a few white fluffy clouds. I just don't tire of the view, everyday is Beautiful.
We have been 9 days out of Nuka Hiva and not seen another boat since leaving the anchorage. Until tonight, then we saw 2 in 4 hours. One sailing North and one South. Guessing their to and from Penryhn Island maybe. Penryhn is another of those places I'd like to visit on 'True Companion'. Mostly because I worked with a fellow from there a couple of years ago, but also I have spoken to a few cruisers who have been there and I just think that I would like to also. Might be a zig zag all over the Pacific to get this list ticked off I know.
Well, I have to confess that Today (Day 12) we finally caught a Tuna. We got a lovely fat yellow fin. Love these fish they taste sensational fresh in the pan with just a little butter. Tuna steaks tonight, Beautiful.

The Boobies are a frequent entertainment during the day. They are a very nosy bird, swooping around the rigging and in the early evening looking for a perch somewhere. Not too many of them actually make a touch down but we have plenty of flybys with the undercarriage down, only to break off at the last minute as Sara takes a rolling swipe at them. Even when there are several wheeling along the top of the waves the are silent, never hear a peep out of them. Of course there's always an exception. That is when they swing by the stern and fly into the fishing line they definitely swear in fine fashion.

Well I'll be buggered. After beautiful Tuna steaks for Tea tonight I was on deck at twilight. Not only did I haul in a big mackerel , but then , but then.
We had 2 Boobies flying around, I think the same pair as two nights before. One brownie speckly one and the other just starting to get a white belly. Well Whitey is a better flyer, at least a better lander anyhow. The other night he had several attempts and came quite close but didn't quite make it.
Tonight he was coming very close. He touched the spreaders but slipped off. Crashed into the Lazy jacks and fell in the water. So, inspired by my friend Noddy's landing of a few days ago, I stuck out my arm and on the third or fourth go round Whitey landed. He looked at me and grabbed my thumb then sat there for just long enough for me to yell to Alan to come up. We were not quite on speaking terms but he wasn't too fussed by my yell. Whitey fell off before Alan got there but As he was taking to the air I reached out and stroked his belly. It felt like wet rubber. Hahaha what a Beautiful week. Whitey came around again missed my arm and landed on the wheelhouse. Can't get rid of him now. When you try and move him on he has a sort of a croak. So they do speak sort of. I wonder if Whitey is going to be in trouble with the missus in the morning for staying out all night.
This morning finds laying a hull. We have 75Nm to go to reach Apia, seeing as we won't make that distance before nightfall we are slowed right down, still making 2.5kts in the general direction with no canvas up.
It's day 18 today and while it has been a great passage, I am really looking forward to getting to Samoa so that I can Skype my Gorgeous wife Nat and catch up to my eldest Son, Sean. Fishing lines are in and will be heading out to dinner with internet. Never though I'd be that cruiser for whom that's a major consideration but Hey.

Back at Sea

14 May 2014 | Off Nuka Hiva
Back at sea.
Midnight of the 14th May sees me coming on watch approx 60 miles WSW of Nuka Hiva. At the same time Nat is back on home soil and preparing to board her flight from Brisbane to Darwin for an overnight stay then home to Kununurra tomorrow evening. Missing you already Babe. Knowing I won't be seeing your smiling spectacled face at 3 or 4 in the morning or anytime in the next few months has me feeling very sad right now.


20 April 2014 | Taiohae
Nuka Hiva, the Marquesas.
We dropped anchor in Taiohae bay on the morning of the 16th of April at around 9.30am after spending several hours of the previous evening laying ahull. We were still managing 1 1/2 kts in the right direction and didn't want to be getting too close before daylight. When I came on watch at 1am we hoisted the staysails and increased our speed to put us at the sentinels for 8.30.
Typically we caught a nice sized Tuna at daybreak on our last day before landfall. We had no hesitation in giving it back to the sea because we were sure looking forward to eating on shore our first night, and so we did after a fair amount of wandering around hungry. It seems our body clocks and Taiohae time didn't match up. That, and the fact the first few places we found after leaving the dinghy dock didn't serve lunch just Dinner kept us on the move till 5pm for the first sitting. Fortunately there was no problem finding a beer at any time of the day so 5 o'clock came round easier than it might have.
I know, I know 5 o'clock for dinner, who would have thought. Nat and I would not usually even be thinking much about what to have by then, but times change and they did on several occasions on the 28 day passage from Mexico.

After a week in Taiohae drinking the beer, seeing the sights and eating out almost everyday we were ready to be moving again. Taiohae is a beautiful bay and the people are lovely.
Eenie meenie Miny mo. changed our minds several times as to which way we were turning when we left. After finally settling on a clockwise trip around Nuka Hiva (turning right) we hauled anchor. With the anchor nearly off the bottom we spotted a familiar looking boat heading in, One of the ones we had been keeping an eye out for, "Lady Carolina". They came straight over to say g'day and fill us in on the fleets movements. It seems that "Exodus" "True Blue V" and Charra had all come over to see us in Controlleur as that is where I had said we were going originally
As we left Taiohae we had told "Lady Carolina" we were turning right, and that had still been our intention until we got to the Sentinels and had a look at the sea state. It looked good for a quick beat to windward. So after changing our minds so many times in the previous week what harm could one more flip do. Left it was. We snuck in to Controlleur under the cover of a rain squall and were almost anchored before Craig from "True Blue V"spotted us. Of course it was drinks on Sara almost immediately with a potluck on Exodus arranged for the following night after a walk to the Cascade. It was really great to catch up with some of our Sea of Cortez cruising friends in such a distant and scenic location. Thanks guys. Oh , and of course "Lady Carolina" made it around for the potluck also after a quick Internet fix in Taiohae.

Next stop Daniels bay. Now this is really one Bay that you should not miss. We nearly did though due to the tricky entrance. Nothing tricky about it with the right weather conditions and or an engine. Without the engine though you are sailing towards a lee shore before rounding into the bay. Piece of cake for us on the day in the end as we had perfect conditions.
We had lunch at one of the locals houses which was sensational, he was a very animated and loud character with Tattoo's down one side of his face. His name was something like Tahitini. Tahitini's wife cooked freshwater prawns they had caught that morning, these were accompanied with Taro, breadfruit and fried banana all in coconut milk. Excellent excellent, finished off with fresh coconut milk drink straight from the shell via a straw. All the produce was fresh from their garden, Nat even came away with ginger root and Rosemary.
We were ready to leave after 4 or 5 days when we heard on the grapevine that Sally was heading in. Oh well another couple of days won't hurt. We had several walks to the waterfall which was well worth going the last 10m to see the beautiful plunge pool and amphitheatre at the base. You wouldn't know it was there if you didn't swim in past the two big guardian rocks.the water was rather cold which we all loved, although it did give Sally a few problems with feeling very faint and nearly blacking out when we got out of the water. None of us was volunteering to carry her so we fed her up on nuts and chocolate and waited for her to get a head of steam up. After that she was right as rain for the walk back out. May have just been a ploy I think to see who had chocolate.

On a sad note, for me anyway, Nat has decide to fly home from here. The tickets are booked she's on her way home to work. We are Already looking forward to coming back here together on "True Companion". Safe travels Babe and don't forget to send money.

Farewell Nuka Hiva, you too of course Babe.

Random thoughts

18 April 2014 | Marquesas
There is endless amounts of time for all sorts of discussion while at sea, yet at the same time there are not enough hours in the days, I felt.
As an example.
I was wondering what the Boobies think. When they are cruising over the sea looking down. Do they ever think to themselves, geez I'm really hungry but I just don't want to get all wet again today. Or maybe they're worried about the water being too cold.
Then if they dive for a fish and miss, do they then think Crap now I got wet for nothing. Or Maybe they're worrying about how many more times today they are going to get wet.
Then, if they've missed a few times do they start to have some self doubts. Maybe as they spot the next meal they're starting to hesitate, worrying whether they should just wait and see if a dead certainty comes along or maybe the decide that if their odds are low they just play the percentage game and try as often as they can in the hope they'll get lucky early.
Who knows maybe they don't think about anything at all but I doubt it.

My other question is about Pelicans and Hells Angels.
You know when you see a Bikie cruising down the highway on a hot day with his legs out so the wind blows straight up his trouser legs.
Do you think that Pelicans when they are soaring along on a Hot day have the same idea.
Maybe their thinking Geez my nuts are a bit clammy, think I'll dangle the undercarriage for a bit, Get that breeze working for me. You just never know.
Vessel Name: True Companion
Vessel Make/Model: CSY44
Hailing Port: Darwin NT
Crew: Gravel & Natalie Wardrop

Who: Gravel & Natalie Wardrop
Port: Darwin NT