Showing posts from May, 2014


Author: Mark Date: June 29, 8pm MST Location: 16 07 S - 143 49 W Conditions: 20-22kts @ 110T, 199T COG, 8kts SOG, 3m swell with 7s period We've been making lemonade out of lemons the last 72 hours. It's been one heck of a sail from Nuku Hiva to Tahanea, Tuamotos. If it could break, or break again, it did. Looking back it's almost comical, as I type this only 6 hours away from dropping the hook next to our buddy boats Reme De and Dafne. We delayed our departure from Nuku Hiva to fix our 1st reef line. It chaffed and broke during a previous sail, and we wanted this fixed because we knew we could not sail under full main until we have our Harken cars replaced at each batten in Tahiti. After weighing anchor, we eagerly raised the main to our 1st reef point, unfurled our genoa and set sail for a 545NM journey. Little did we know it would take every ounce of positive thinking to turn what could have been a very sour trip into something we now just laugh about.

“Nuku Hiva? Where in the world is that??”

   As we get further from home, the places and names become less and less familiar.  When I call home to check in with my parents, it usually prompts them to get Google Maps pulled up on their computers so that they can visually see where in the world we’ve brought their grandchildren!!   The Marquesas Islands are the northernmost of the South Pacific, consisting of 10 main islands.  Only six of these islands are inhabited today - Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, and Ua Huka in the northwest, and Hiva Oa, Tahuata, and Fatu Hiva to the southeast.  The islands lie at about the same latitude of The Solomons and are roughly 1,400 km northeast of Tahiti.  Have you even ever heard of these places?  Probably not, unless you are a geography buff or a blue water sailor.  As we are studying about the landscapes, people, and history of these remote islands, I realize that we are seeing places most people will never get to see.  (I also realize that Elizabeth and Michael will have an uncanny knowledge

Fine Dining in Fatu Hiva

View of anchorage at Fatu Hiva from top of mast Coming into our first anchorage in French Polynesia We landed at Fatu Hiva, which is the southernmost island in the Marquesas Islands group after 3 full weeks at sea.  You cannot imagine the scenery - an amazing view, especially after seeing sea and sky for 3 weeks straight!  It was a different world in so many ways - language, culture, and landscape.  I hate to admit it, but I was a little anxious to even step ashore with so many unknowns.  Finally, though, I set out to explore and experience what this majestic island had to offer. A few of the other boating families hiked to a nearby waterfall.  My muscles protested after being fairly complacent for the past weeks, but it felt energizing to stretch and get moving again.  The wall of the fall was at least 300 ft. tall and straight down!  When we got to the pool below, we surprised a group of naked French people!!  They scurried to get to their clothes, but not until everyone go

Land Ho!

Author: Mark Date: May 4, 4pm MST Location: 10 27 S --- 138 40 W Conditions: At Anchor! We made it! Words cannot describe the view and scenery from our anchorage. It is unbelievable. We keep waiting for dinosaurs to pop out around a corner. It's simply the most beautiful anchorage we've seen. It's the most beautiful island we've seen. Stunning. Not a bad start for the South Pacific! In addition, the anchorage is full of our buddy kid boats! Just amazing that we are hooking up with friends from Grenada and Panama. In total we have five buddy boats here at Fatu Hiva. All with kids. All friends from distant shores. As we cracked into the sundowners we had a steady stream of visitors. It's been great. A wonderful welcome after 20 days and 20 hours at sea! Ok, so now the numbers of our trip. We were at sea for 20 days, 20 hours. We sailed 3,053NM, averaged 6.1kts, 147NM per day, and had to motor 15% of the time. Nothing broke that can't

Pool Party!

Author: Mark Date: May 3, 9am MST Location: 10 00 S - 136 09 W Conditions: 3-5kts @ 180T, 260T COG, 5.2kts SOG, 1m swell with 9s period We had a great day yesterday! The kids played in the pool on deck while the ladies read and sunbathed in the afternoon. I went up the mast and serviced the track, fixed all but two of the Harken cars, and cut off 1m of the main halyard along with the two reefs to fix stress points. The main is now able to be used with 1 reef. Not perfect but doable until we get to Tahiti. I'm happy to have that project off the list. It was stressful knowing we had some good beam reach sailing coming up and I really wanted to use the main. Check. We flew the spinnaker nonstop for over a week. In the process, we found out that the Seldon mount for the bottom block sheered a bolt and came off. While not critical, it does serve the purpose of preventing chafe on the spinnaker halyard. It is repairable, but disconcerting how this sheered. The load fr

Iron Spinnaker

Author: Mark Date: May 2, 10.30am MST Location: 09 38 S - 134 10 W Conditions: 6-8kts @ 180T, 260T COG, 5.2kts SOG, 1m swell with 9s period Bummer. We turned on the engine this morning for the first time since leaving Galapagos. I'm not happy about it, but realized we were going to have to motor 'if' we wanted to get to Fatu Hiva in the next 2.5 days vs. 5+ days. Winds have died down, and are heading to zero knots based on the forecast. Our crew needs to leave the Marquesas in about a week so they can be with their daughter for an event in Argentina. So we have some moderate time pressure to get there and give them some time to see the area before flying away. I frankly hate motoring, and usually we don't turn on the engines. On our sail from Panama to Galapagos we spent a couple of days just drifting at 2-3 kts. It was great. We were in no rush and we just relaxed. The morale onboard is high. Everyone is reading the cruising guides for French Polynes

Simply Extraordinary

Author: Sarah Date: May 1, 11am MST Location: 09 21 S - 132 44 W Conditions: 10-12kts @ 180T, 260T COG, 5.2kts SOG, 1m swell with 9s period We are on day 18 now, who's counting though, right??? The upside is I've already read three books, which seems so indulgent these days!! Just finished The Book Thief last night and treated myself to an afternoon matinee! Great movie, but, like usual, the book was WAY better. Yesterday Mali, the kids, and I attempted to make key lime pie with some of the last limes that are hanging in the hammocks in our cockpit. I had the job of finding a couple eggs that could still be used. UGH. We bought them 2.5 weeks ago, unrefrigerated, so they usually last a couple weeks that way. I found two that were 'less' questionable than the rest...hope we all don't get salmonella or something! My, my, my how my life has changed. Thankfully, we had some powdered egg whites that worked well enough for the meringue topping (after w


Author: Mark Date: Apr 30, 9am MST Location: 08 58 S --- 130 11 W Conditions: 10-12kts @ 180T, 260T COG, 5.2kts SOG, 1.5m swell with 9s period I'm sitting here at the helm with Sarah watching the sunrise. It is 6.30AM "boat time". We keep our clocks in sync with the sunrise/sunset while sailing. Our preference is to have sunrise and sunset around 6am/pm respectively. That way it keeps us in a rhythm with daylight hours. The excitement is building. We are less than four days from Fatu Hiva. Overall it's been a good sail. The last half of the trip has been the best. The seas settled and are now on our port stern vs. our beam. We now have wind directly on our stern at 10-13kts. It makes for slow going. We averaged 5.6kts overnight. Two nights prior we averaged 7.9kts - so we have slowed down a lot. We are not in a rush, so it is what it is and we will enjoy the calmer seas and hopefully some fish on the line! We have designated Saturday as boa