Very tiring passage - Palmerston Atoll

Posted 31 July 2011

On our second day out we discovered the watermaker electric motor is not working. We suspect the brushes as with a previous inspection of the motor we noted that the brushes were nearly gone. Lesson to ourselves 'make sure the tanks are full before leaving'. We had enough water for this trip and we will be able to get water in Palmerston, but we will not do that again.

We had great sailing for the first three days when the winds picked up, it was blowing between 26 to 32 knots. Our second misfortune for the trip, the wind vane gears disconnected, I guess the winds were too strong for the wind vane. We had trouble before with the gears, but a person from Monitor in San Francisco had a look at it when we where there last year. With the winds so strong and both of us not too energetic, we decided to lay a haul for the rest of that day and the night. In hindsight not sure if this was the correct thing to do, as it was a very rolly night, but we did get some rest.

The rest of the trip (48 hours) was hand steering, not fun after getting used to the wind vane, at least the rest of the trip the winds was great and we had great sailing. We were hoping to reached Palmerston before sunset on Saturday, but we were not that lucky. On Sunday morning we managed to speak to the local people from Palmerston Atoll and they came out to assist us with tying the boat to the buoy.

Tomorrow morning customs and immigration will come aboard for clearing us into South Cooks Islands. First thing after that is to get the water tanks filled up. Dinis said he will be able to fix the wind vane and we already ordered a new motor for the water maker. This spare parts will be send to Fiji, where we should arrive towards end of August. Unfortunately this will cut our time from here to Fiji a bit shorter than we planned, but then we can take our time getting this 2 major issues sorted out.

Meeting great people

Posted 26 July 2011

We had the great fortune in meeting a Canadian family from Toronto area in Bora-Bora. Cornelia and Michael with their three children Zoe (13), Maia (11) and Liam (9) on s/v Gromit. Both Dinis and myself love children and had a great time interacting with the children and their parents. I think it is a great experience for these children learning and experiencing different cultures and languages.

With children, life is never boring and we played card games, snorkeled, watched the kids sailing on a hobby cat, ate great food that they prepared. On our last night before leaving Bora-Bora, Michael caught a big fish, all exited they dinghied over, for us to help identify the fish. It was a big eye jack fish. Dinis and Michael went back to s/v Gromit to clean and fillet the fish. Cornelia and the kids stayed with me and we watched one of the Hornblower movies. We are missing the Gromiteers, but our paths will cross again.

Both sailing vessels left Sunday 24 July from Bora-Bora, although to different destinations. s/v Gromit heading to Suwarrow Atoll and us to Palmerston Atoll. Both Atolls are around 680 nm from Bora-Bora, but Suwarrow in a north-west direction and Palmerston in a south-west direction.

Swimming with sting rays - Bora-Bora

Posted 15 July 2011

Early Friday morning we went to the outside reef to snorkel and we were lucky to see some lemon sharks although they were deeper. Afterwards we went with our dinghy to swim with the sting rays and the experience was just great. I was a bit scared as these sting rays are quite big about 3 to 4 feet in width. A tourist boat was already there and they came prepared with food to feed the sting rays. I was not brave enough, but Dinis had a great time feeding the sting rays. The rays came up towards your face and took the food from your fingers with their mouth which is on the bottom. I did touch the rays and they felt soft somewhat like leather. There were about 12 sting rays swimming around us. Took lots of photos.

Bora-Bora Island

Posted 14 July 2011

We made our way from Tahiti to Bora-Bora by stopping at Moorea, Raiatea and Tahaa Islands. It is really beautiful and much easier to navigate. The coral reefs are very well marked and it is a pleasure to sail around the islands where possible as the reefs around the islands sufficiently stop the sea swells.

There are much more fresh produce around and we did a big shopping in Tahiti. We arrived in Bora-Bora on Monday 11 July and intend to stay here until my visa expires on 28 July. We will sail around the island and just enjoy the clear blue water and the lovely people. We have found the Polynesian people so friendly and polite, helped where ever they could. We are indeed privileged to have been here and experience this lovely paradise on earth.

We are not sure exactly where our next stop will be in South Cook's Islands, but there is enough time to make that decision later.

Arrived in Papeete - Tahiti

Posted 2 July 2011

We had an uneventful trip to Papeete. The first day we had light winds and the following day we had no wind at all. Dinis was very sad for leaving the Tuamotu archipelago, but I was ready for a big city. We arrived Thursday 30 June in a beautiful but very busy harbour. We are med moored at Quai Bir-Hakeim downtown Papeete. Was quite a process to get ourselves settle at the quay as you do not use your own anchor, but instead have to get the line from the quay and then pull the line which is attached to an anchor, you then tie the anchor to the boat and then reverse back to tie the back of the boat to the quay. We were lucky that some of our friends were at the same quay and there was not much of a current which helped us. Needless to say we went for supper with our friends, after such a long time we really enjoyed not having to cook.

For the next two weeks it is festival time, we planned our trip so that we can be here for the famous festivals. Friday morning we watched some canoe races. Quite exiting, young and old taking part in their national sport. In the evening we bought tickets to see the opening show to the start of the festival. There is no way I can try to describe the show, it was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately taking any photos and videos were prohibited. The show started with the fire dances and what is so amazing is that the participants range from about 4 years to about 70 years. The highlight was the dancing, just spectacular, the women so elegant and graceful and the men so strong. The costumes were so colourful and were decorated with seashells, leaves and pearls. So beautiful.

We did manage to get all out propane bottles filled, got most of our groceries. Now the only tasks left are to fill the diesel tanks, do the laundry and find an internet cafe. We will stay downtown until Monday morning and then go to an anchorage about 10 nm south from here.