Monday February 8, Slack tide around noon, to go through the pass. We’re leaving the Tuamotu Islands heading for the Society Islands.
It was a pleasant afternoon sail. After the sunset, Oh my the stars, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross, the lightning! By midnight it was like the 4th of July. 360 degrees of flash. Come 4am, we sailed through a very active, short lived, storm squall, with a downpour of rain, thunder and lightning with 30knots of wind.
Tuesday February 9, Happy Birthday Dylan! The air is much cooler today, the clouds are thunderous, gray with occasional lightning. The main and Genoa are reefed, staysail is full, 20-28 knots true wind, speed over ground 6-8knots. By evening the wind had dropped to 8knots, still have some gray skies all around.
Chocolate day# 8, (actually it was supposed to be yesterday) for dinner we had wild rice, cabbage and Chickpea pilaf.
Wednesday February 3, went ashore this morning, stopped at Yacht Services. Gave them some laundry to wash for us and finally was able to purchase a SIM card for internet! Then we had lunch at a resort the water.
Thursday February 4, rented bikes from Yacht Services, rode at least 18 miles. Stopped for lunch at an outdoors restaurant. We rode to the airport then an additional 10k.
Friday February 5, this morning we moved Trance 6 miles south and connected to another mooring ball there.
February 2, was chocolate day #6, today is Chocolate day #7.
Saturday February 6, we sailed to south entrance of Fakarava, we’ll stay here a few days. There are two resorts here, one is closed, the other one has no TV to watch the football game.
Sunday February 7, Super Bowl Sunday. Mid morning we took the dinghy to pass, the current was slack and about to start flowing into the lagoon. The snorkeling and diving here at the southern pass, is supposedly the best, world class. We drove through, almost to the end, jumped in the water with snorkel gear on, holding onto the dinghy with ropes, then we floated in with the current (dinghy too). So cool! We did this a few times.
This video below was taken from Trance. A school of mixed fish swam by, Dan was feeding then Pepperidge Farms goldfish.
Had sundowners on the boat next to us, s/v Kathryn del Fuego. Russell and Kate, their nanny Chloe, they have 2 boys Hugo and Felix from the UK.
Thursday January 28, On our way ashore mid morning, we stopped by s/v Seneto and s/v Joy to say goodbye, as well as s/v Lenora but they were not there. Those three are leaving in day or so, we may meet up again. Also took our trash and recycling to the dumpsters. The restaurants at the dock were not open yet, so walked to the little grocery store as Dan wanted sponges to use for applying teak sealer. Josephine’s is down the road next to the store so went there. Larissa and Christoph (s/v Lenora, were there so we had lunch with them on deck by the water. Glad we ran into them before leaving.
After lunch we video chatted with the kids, that was great!
Departed Rangiroa around 4:30pm, slack tide. Destination is the atoll Apataki.
Friday, January 29, Happy Birthday Ben! Arrived in Apataki around 11:30am. We are anchored on the far side near the boat yard. There is one other boat here s/v Let it Be from Quebec, Canada, Sylvain and Suzanne. We stopped at their boat to say hello upon returning from a short shore trip.
Saturday January 30, It was discovered when we pulled up anchor at Rangiroa, our Windless was failing. A Windless is motorized winch that deploys the anchor up and down. Dan needed to assist it using a winch handle and when we dropped anchor in Apataki. Today he worked on trying to remove the motor but looks like it’s epoxied to the fiberglass. Project for another day.
Chocolate day #5!
Oh my, the Stars! The Milky Way and the Southern Cross! Stargazed on the bow till the moon rose at 8:30pm
Sunday January 31, Happy Birthday Luke! *Sourdough Notes* Baked a Belle loaf this morning as well as chocolate chip cookies.
Departed our anchorage at 12 noon, to catch the outgoing tide at the pass. Heading for Toau. It is an atoll but there’s a false pass on the north shore we going to. The false pass is around 35ft deep until you get to range markers, then it’s very shallow coral reef. There are 7 mooring buoys here.
Monday, February 1, Happy Birthday Dan! Went ashore and met Valentine and Gaston who live here, often prepare dinner for the cruisers who visit. You can read about them in several South Pacific cruising guides.
Late afternoon we shared a bottle of wine with them as well as Martial who is on another boat here, celebrating Dan’s birthday.
Martial has been here for almost 2 weeks. He’s been helping Gaston build his boat.
Tuesday February 2, Ground Hog Day, he saw his shadow, 6 more weeks of winter!
Departed Toau at 7am, in hopes to catch slack tide in Fakarava around 2pm. Arrived right on schedule, connected to mooring buoy, engine off, relax time!
Monday January 25, took the dinghy over the other side of the pass to the village of Tiputa. Tried to purchase a Travel SIM card at the Poste, but they didn’t sell them. It was a peaceful walk, very few cars, several bikes.
Later back across the pass we had a wonderful lunch at the resort Les Relais Josephine, on the deck overlooking the water. WiFi was good there too, able to upload a blog post and some photos to Facebook.
For dinner we made reservations for dinner at Hotel Kia Ora Resort and Spa. We believe it’s the “fanciest” place on Rangiroa. The meal was exquisite!
Tuesday January 26, with rented bikes we first rode to Gauguin’s Pearl Farm. It was a very comprehensive tour on how oysters are grown and pearls are cultivated. The farm utilities many acres of lagoon water.
The technician is working with two small batches of oysters as they can only be out of the water for up to two hours. With one batch, he’s inserting a mother of pearl seed “nucleus”, on which mother of pearl will grow to make the pearl. With the second batch, he’s removing a pearl. If the pearl is acceptable quality, he will insert another nucleus. If not, the oyster is used for other purposes, like eating and the Mother of Pearl shell is sent away for buttons and other jewelry. They will use the same oyster up to 5 times as long as it continues to produce quality pearls.
The nucleus is a bead of Mother of Pearl. They harvest thick shelled crustaceans from the Mississippi River. These shells are shipped to Japan, where they are sliced, cubed and shaped into spheres.
“Black” Pearls are unique to the Tuamotus and Gambier Islands. White pearls are cultivated in Japan, grayish pearls in Australia.
And of course there a boutique where you can purchase loose as well as mounted jewelry with pearls.
Afterwards we continued to the village of d’ Avatoru.
Then rode back to Les Relais Josephine resort where we returned the bikes and had lunch on their patio by the water.
Sundowner with homemade pizza on our boat with Kate and Will s/v Seneto from the UK and Arianne and Michael on s/v Joy from Holland.
Wednesday January 27, we missed yesterday as a chocolate day, so it’s today, number 4. Dan worked on the water maker plumbing, cleaned strainers, tightened the rudder post packing, lubricated the refrigerator drain pump and more… most of the morning. I was moral support and tool getter. After lunch we planned our next 3 atoll anchorages and timing getting into and out of the lagoons.
Atolls have narrow passes, and should only be entered at or near slack tide (or little current), as water can flow as much as 4-10 knots.
Wednesday January 29, Arrived in The Atoll Rangiroa anchored in the lagoon around 6:30pm as the sun was setting.
Thursday January 21, Went ashore to today good to walk around after being at sea for 4 days. Had lunch near the dock. A cargo supply ship had arrived, they come here every other week. Dan had posted on the French Polynesia Cruiser Facebook page we were here, another boat replied they were parked next to us. We stopped by their boat on our way back. Nice couple, s/v Lenora, Larissa and Christoph, he’s from Germany, she’s originally from Brazil, though her family now lives in Long Island, NY.
Friday January 22, it was a rainy morning so it was clean the inside of the boat day. When the rain stopped, we took about a 7 mile round trip ride in the dinghy to go to the post office. They sell Vini travel SIM cards there, looks like the only way to have internet access here except WiFi at restaurants, which isn’t very strong. Unfortunately the Post Office was closed, won’t open till Monday.
We returned to Trance to pick up a few reusable grocery bags headed to the little food store. The produce selection was better today after the arrival of the supply ship. We purchased cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions and lettuce and frozen salmon filets.
*Sourdough Notes* mixed the dough for a Belle loaf will bake it tomorrow morning.
Evening sundowners on our boat with our new friends from Germany, Christoph and Larissa.
Saturday January 23, *Sourdough Notes* baked bread this morning.
Made a trip to town to see if the smaller store was open, our friends told us they have fruit. We purchased apples, oranges and a small watermelon.
After returning to the boat we went snorkeling at a shallow area close to the where Trance is anchored. After lunch we dinghy’d over the island Motu Nuhi Nuhi, at the Tiputa Pass to snorkel. This area is a protected underwater aquarium with coral in several colors and little beautiful fish. There are several mooring balls to connect to as to not damage the coral with an anchor.
Sundowners with Kate and Bill s/v Seneto from Southampton UK.
Sunday January 24, lazy Sunday. Made sun tea using an empty rum bottle, looks like dark rum.
For dinner we grilled salmon filets, brushed with pomegranate molasses and foil roasted potatoes on the grill.
Day 1- Sunday January 17, the Tuamotu Islands are mostly Atolls. Destination, Rangiroa. Just before 9am, anchor up, on our way, escorted by a pod of dolphins.
6.7 speed over ground, 13.5 true wind, course over ground 215. Later we deployed the spinnaker, doing 7.4speed over ground with 12.6 knots of wind! It was up til sunset.
We are rationing our chocolate, one half bar every three days. Today is the first of 18 days of chocolate.
Oh my, the stars, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross!
Miles traveled 163 Average Speed 6.8knots Max Speed 11knots
Day 2-Monday January 18, cruising along averaging 6.9 knots, true wind 17-19 knots.
Dan cut one of the “grapefruits” we were given on Hakahau. They looked and tasted like grapefruit one the inside. Sweet and bitter. Several hours later and into the night I developed hives, I believe from that fruit. Odd that I had that reaction.
Baked a banana bread this afternoon. For dinner a new recipe, Cabbage Lasagna. Very good! This one is from The Boat Galley Cookbook. I used canned chicken instead of beef.
Oh my, the stars, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross!
Miles traveled 327.5 Average Speed 6.8knots Max Speed 12knots
Day 3-Tuesday January 19, calmer seas this morning, 13knots true wind, speed over ground 6.8knots. Rolled in the Genoa and Staysail, deployed the spinnaker, gained a 1 to 1.5knots of speed! Then of course the wind shifts, spinnaker down, code 65 up, staysail up. AH! Rain coming, couldn’t see the top of the dark cloud with rain, unable to tell if was going to a squall with big winds, code 65 down, Genoa out, partial cockpit enclosure zipped up. Rain passes, enclosure rolled up, Code sail back up. Our morning exercise routine!
In the afternoon we baked chocolate chip cookies, for dinner Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bacon.
Oh my, the stars, the Milky Way, the Southern Cross!
Miles traveled 485.6 Average Speed 6.8knots Max Speed 12knots
Day4-Wednesday January 20, Inauguration Day! May the country move forward to a more United States than a divided states.
Wind this morning, 13-14 knots, speed over ground 7.6knots, 1-2 ft waves, partly cloudy. Quick rain shower early rinsed off the boat. Three squall followed with winds up to 25knots, more rain. Sails in and out most of the day.
Today is a chocolate day number 2.
By 6:30 pm we arrived at Rangiroa, it’s the second largest Atoll in the world. Dropped anchor near several other sailboats.
Miles traveled 584.2 Average Speed 6.9 Max Speed 12 Trip time 83:29:06 Total miles traveled 16352
Cloudy sky this evening, with storms and lightning in the distance.
Friday January 15, We departed Hakahau late afternoon escorted by several dolphins. Went south along the western shore to the village of Hakatoa. We anchored in 79 ft of water, in a very protected cove, didn’t feel comfortable leaving the boat, just in case the anchor didn’t hold.
Saturday January 16, In the morning we re-anchored closer to the town.
*Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf this morning, my once a week bread bake. The loafs are about 8 inches round.
We went ashore and walk around the small village. The homes have beautiful vegetation around them. There isn’t much here, a small grocery store with very limited hours. A group of 12 or so children ages 10-12, were playing together by the water then closer to what looked like a school yard. Three fishermen came ashore we offered to purchase a fish from them, they filleted it for us. A young boy came over to us a gave us two yellow-green fruits, not sure what they are, they have a citrus smell to them. Guess we’ll find out when we cut them open. Don’t believe they are breadfruit, a Polynesian staple food. Update: they were grapefruits. Really hard on the outside, yellow on the inside, sweet and sour.
The island of Ua-Pou peaks are “Jurassic Park-esque” incredible!
Wednesday January 13, Went ashore had lunch at a local restaurant. Dan had sushi, I had chicken with rice. Also stopped by the arts center, the book store was still closed. We were hoping to buy a card or birthday card to mail to Dan’s Aunt Helen who will be 95 on the 19th, and we all want her to receive at least 95 birthday cards. Daughter Beth will send a card for us instead.
Another interesting feature about this town, Hakahau, is Manfred the Marquesas Chocolatier. It was a 6 mile (according to my watch) round trip hike on a hilly dirt road. 70-80% cacao organic dark chocolate. http://www.couleurcacao.com
We were greeted by the dogs then by Manfred. He had us sign the blue canapé by the pool. The underside is covered with thousands of signatures from boats that have stopped to visit him. In 2019, there were over 1000 boats, last year there were about 700 boats. This January, 19 people was have stopped by.
The kitchen has a bench at the counter, where he told us his story, and gave us samples of his chocolate. The two guys from another boat (s/v Alexander One) anchored in the bay arrived shortly after us.
Manfred grows all his own cocoa plants, uses no pesticides nor does he add palm oil to his products. A true organic chocolate. There have been chocolateers from France who have come to visit him and view his process. He would not let us see what was the room he works in, not even his wife is allowed in. There’s a store in Tahiti now selling his chocolate, twice the price he sells it for here. He was quite a character, born in Germany, he speaks 3 languages, German, English and French. He arrived here in 1987 from Germany. He used to fly helicopters. We purchased 10 bars 2 each of 5 different kinds. All dark chocolate, some have nuts in them. We spent about $45 US.
On the property were numerous dogs, dozens of cats, and chickens.
We are pulled up anchor late afternoon, going around to the NW side of the island, to Hakahetau. We did not go ashore today.
Thursday January 14, it was a rainy morning. By 1pm it had stopped and we went ashore. We were hoping to have lunch at the local restaurant but it is closed for 5 days as the husband or chef is away on vacation.
Sunday January 10, Happy Birthday Mike! We departed Nuku Hiva this morning, went 25 miles south to the island of Ua Pou. This island is the most populated and has the highest mountains in all of the Marquesas. We are anchored by the town of Hakahau. There are three other boats here.
Monday January 11, *Sourdough Notes* baked a Belle loaf this morning, no banana bread, they are all still green.
In the afternoon we walked around the town here, had lunch at a small outdoor seating restaurant, later had pizza for dinner at the other restaurant in town.
Tuesday January 12, went in town early today to go the bakery for breakfast. Walked around some more.
A supply ship arrived today, took all day to unload. A tank truck came by several times to to filled up, a new car came off, bicycles too. Many people arrived today with their own pickup trucks taking boxes and crates from dock.
For dinner I sautéed zucchini with a green pepper, half a red onion, scallions, some chopped cabbage in Wegmans basting oil. Tossed in rice, topped off with diced fresh tomatoes.
Wednesday January 6, What a day for the history books!
We returned to Taiohae Bay this morning. Went ashore had lunch with John and Bev on s/v Dandelion, our new friends who are from South Africa. They gave us good Atlantic Ocean crossing advice, hopefully places will be open a year from now.
The afternoon was spent updating the blog with slow internet. Also stopped at the farmers market to pick up a few vegetables.
Thursday January 7, our friend John, who dives, replaced the zincs on the bottom of our boat this morning.
Boat inside cleaning day, as well as updating the canned food inventory.
Friday January 8, we provisioned a little today mostly produce, found a canned ham to try, and bottled water.
Heading out to dinner tonight with friends, going to the local food truck. Also known as the take out. All the food is served in plastic to go containers.
Saturday January 9, we are preparing to leave Nuku Hiva tomorrow, going to the island Ua-Pou. We went ashore this afternoon to update our maps, stronger internet.