Marquesas Passage 2002
30 – April ??, 2002
page is our daily log for the Big Passage across 2,800 miles of the
Pacific from Puerto Vallarta to the Marquesas. But if we happen to miss a
day or two, please don’t worry about us. It’s probably just a temporary
we sail along on this two-week passage you can always click on the
Where’s Raven? button on the
red border at the left. That will take you to a page with four maps
showing our location, as of the last time we used our radio email system.
We usually do radio email a couple of times a day, so the maps should
always have fairly recent info.
probably won’t be able to send photos for this page until after the
passage, when we get to an internet
café in the Marquesas. But we’ll
a few photos: two you might entitle:
“The Crew” and “The Goal.” And one of Mark shinnying up the reacher. Oh,
and here’s our hot new tropical Raven logo, just in time for the South
Pacific . . . coming soon to a T-shirt near you.
Friday, March 29
Today is our last day in
Puerto Vallarta . . . we hope. Not because we don’t like it here, because
we do. It’s just time to get moving.
By the time Mike arrived
last night, we were more than ready to get “on the road.” Mark, Signe and
I had already been working for the last month to get ourselves and Raven
ready to go. The Puerto Vallarta spring weather was getting hotter by the
day, so it was sweaty work in the blazing sun. Signe made her last big
provisioning trip yesterday, for all the fresh vegetables and fruit. It
took three of us to lug it all on board — Signe doesn’t skimp on the
Today, we’ll hoist Mark up
to the top of the mast for final inspections and to replace a worn shackle
on a spinnaker halyard block. We’ll put up the reacher, rig the spinnaker
gear, deflate the dinghy and lash it on deck, lash down the anchor,
deflate the dock lines and fenders (won’t need them until New Zealand in
November!), and all the rest of the last-minute stuff.
This evening, there’ll
probably be a round of goodbye visits to friends, with the obligatory
libations. Better get all the work done today . . .
Day 1 - Saturday,
"It's the bananas!"
That was Signe's comment after we had our second breakdown in an hour,
still inside Banderas Bay and not even sailing yet. Everyone knows you
should never leave port on Friday, so we didn't. But it seems that sailors
also think carrying bananas is bad luck. And we have three bunches!
First, we stopped the engine for a few minutes and then it wouldn't
restart. Seems to be a corroded electrical connection in the starter
circuit, but we'll fix that later. We were impatient to get moving, so
Mark just used the old "screwdriver across the starter terminals" method
and away we went.
Then, as we were putting up the main we noticed the top batten was broken.
Regatta casualty, probably. Down came the main, out came a spare batten
and a hacksaw to cut it to length, and up went the main again after only
20 minutes' work with saw, pliers, and socket wrench. A versatile crew,
Please forgive the technical jargon, which the sailors among you
understand but which may confuse many of you. We'll try to explain as we
We also had to motor over to the anchorage ten miles away in La Cruz, to
pick up an electronic instrument that someone wanted delivered to a boat
already headed to Hiva Oa. The Cruiser Cargo Line strikes again! This is
considered normal, as boats are always carrying mail and equipment for
others, often people we don't even know.
Our departure from Puerto Vallarta was very emotional, with friends
bearing gifts coming to the boat to say good-bye. There were people waving
and taking pictures from the docks and the jetty. One friend gave us
flowers to toss into the water as we left. We could still see them about
half a mile out. We have to admit to a few tears. (Well, for Signe it was
a lot more than a few!) We were leaving behind a country that we really
like and lots of very dear friends.
Just talked with three nearby Puddle Jump boats on the PJ Chat Net:
Cardinal Sin, Onnetar, and Scheherazade. All are doing fine, having a good
time, and sailing well. But we're moving at about 10 knots to their 6, so
it looks like we'll overhaul a bunch of them in the next few days. By the
way, a "knot" is a measure of speed used by planes and boats, equal to one
nautical mile (which is one minute of latitude on the Earth's surface) per
hour. Ten knots is FAST for a sailboat.
Mike and I are having a great time tweaking the set of the sails and
watching Raven carve and surf her way through the waves. We've been
smoking along under full main and reacher (a big jib, out in front of the
boat) since we left Banderas Bay. Our top surfing speed so far is a
spectacular 13.4 knots. Even Signe seems to be getting into it and
enjoying the comfort and speed. We pumped all our fresh water into the
windward (starboard) tank, which gives us 300 gallons of ballast, weighing
about 2,400 pounds. It makes Raven heel (lean to one side) less, keeps her
more upright in the puffs, and makes onboard living more comfortable. The
waves are about six feet high and from two different directions, so we're
still rocking and rolling quite a bit. But no one is seasick, which is a
- Raven under spinnaker (5.4MB)
- Raven under spinnaker (from bow) (5.4MB)
Later . . . in only 10 hours, we've traveled over 100 miles. Whew. It's
dark now and the moon hasn't risen yet, so being on watch on the cockpit
gives you amazing sense of speed and power, as Raven charges along at 10
knots. I've just gone off watch to send this off and then get ready for
the Pacific Seafarer's Net. The beauty of night at sea has to be seen to
be appreciated. We'll tell more about that in future installments.
Cheers . . . Jan
Day 2 - Easter
Sunday, March 31
was a big day today! The Easter Bunny found us 300 miles out at sea! The
guys even got big plastic eggs with matchbox cars in them. They were
talking about having races, but they were too busy eating their chocolate
eggs. The other treat to arrive were several baby mackerel and squid that
flew onto the deck during the night. Mike could not be tempted to have
them with his cereal.
The winds and seas have calmed down considerably. The wind has been up and
down all day, from 10 to 15, and our speed continues to be 8 to 10 knots.
This is all money in the bank, as our serious sailors say. As for the
wildlife, we saw a huge sea turtle, some dolphins, a pair of white boobies
chasing flying fish, and some other tiny birds. Where do they go at night?
Probably the same as we do, they just keep on flying.
our first 24 hours we have covered 214 miles. Sailing wise, this is
closely akin to cruising on I-5. In fact, it is so smooth today that I got
out the beads on the main cabin table and started working on some jewelry.
Big improvement over yesterday's rockin' and rollin'.
This was also the first day of Fishing Season, at least aboard Raven. It
was a bit disappointing even though Mike put out a huge hand line with a
feather lure in the Mexican national colors. He even kissed it for good
luck. This is traditional for Mike, who usually sleeps with the fishing
gear too. No fish so far, so he'll try something new tomorrow.
We finally got to talk to our friends on the Puddle Jump radio net today.
We couldn't hear anyone from our dock in the marina, so for that, we are
glad we got sprung. It was nice to reconnect with our friends. Most of
them are a little tired, especially the couples who are doing the passage
alone. Our watch system is working out really well, and everyone seems to
be getting plenty of rest. This is especially for me, Signe: I don't have
to stand night watches at all, and just one three-hour watch at noon. Now
that it is flatter, I can even cook a reasonable meal. (Those quesadillas
at lunch were great!! - the crew)
We saw one big ship today that passed about a mile ahead (that's close
when you're at sea) and that is it. The Pacific Ocean covers a third of
the Earth's surface, and it sure feels empty out here. But we are always
watchful lest a ship come too close for comfort.
one technical issue, and there is always at least one on a boat, is that
on Mike's chafe inspection tour, he noticed some red fuzz coming from the
reacher halyard (the rope that holds the sail up). On closer inspection
when we dropped the sail, in 24 hours something had worn through the
leather protective cover, the cloth protective cover and was hard at work
on the strong core of the line itself. Luckily we have several spares, but
simply must find a solution to that problem, because the reacher is
important in our sail plan. It will probably mean a trip up the mast for
Magnificent Mark, who always can bail us out.
Mike is tuning up his 12 string guitar, so I will finish and have a
concert while I fix dinner - Chinese style beef with broccoli. Life is
We love your messages. Keep'em coming.
- Mike's concert under spinnaker (5.4MB)
PS: Conjure up this picture: A guitar concert in the cockpit, while the
sun is going down in a cloudless sky, and the boat is easing along at 8
knots. That was us for the last hour. It's tough out here.
Day 3 - Monday,
Another boring day at sea.
You need to understand, though, that out here at sea 'boring' is good and
'exciting' is very bad. The ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in
interesting times" has a nautical equivalent: "Have an exciting passage."
We prefer to have passages where the fascinating events are meals and
Absolutely nothing happened today - zilch, nada, rien du tout. This is a
good thing, I hasten to add, especially since nothing broke.
I got to take parts of Mark's and Mike's night watches last night because
they were nodding off. We're all just getting into the watch system
rhythm, and working off the sleep deficits we brought on board. We'll be
far more rested in a couple of days. Our watch schedule has worked
perfectly. Mike, Mark, and Jan each stand a three hour watch, then have
six hours off, and the cycle repeats. Signe only stands (officially) one
watch, the noon-to-three, in place of one of the guys. So all three guys
get to have a nice long sleep at night, then a nap or two in the daytime.
Getting lots of sleep on a passage is even better than having ice cubes in
your drinks (no ice until we eat down through a layer in the freezer!).
We ran out of wind at about 10 last night, so down came the chute
(spinnaker) and on went the Iron Jib (our beloved Yanmar diesel) to keep
making progress toward the goal. About 6 a.m. there was more wind, so Jan
and I put up the spinnaker, turned off the engine and got back to normal.
The only other living thing we've seen, besides each other, was a booby
who decided to rest on our spreader. He was too stupid (or smart?) to be
discouraged even by shouting or banging the shrouds. Finally we changed
the angle of the mainsail, which offended his dignity and ruffled his
feathers, so he took off. It is now 5:30 p.m. and he seems to be circling
the roost again. If he only had better toilet habits!
One of the nicest things about a passage is seeing the sun and moon rise
and the sun set. They are always incredibly beautiful and peaceful.
Somehow we never have time to appreciate such things on land. I remember
an article in the local Tacoma paper about the new rabbi who began a
prayer cycle with a prayer to be said on the first spotting of Mt. Rainier
during the day. That's How I feel about sunrises and sunsets. One tends to
get a bit philosophical out here.
bowling along under main and spinnaker at 8 to 9+ knots, in 11 to 15 knots
of wind. The seas and the motion are beautifully smooth and easy. Jan's
says it's like cruising the freeway in a '60 Coupe de Ville, with a
suspension so soft you can't feel the road. The person on watch just sits
in the cockpit with the autopilot control on his lap, twiddling the dial
up or down a few
to follow the wind shifts and puffs. Strenuous, eh? We've been joking
about getting carpal tunnel syndrome from twiddling the dial and thumbing
the winch controls.
We haven't seen any ships for 24 hours, and no sailboats since we left PV.
I think we've passed through the North-South traffic lanes between the
West Coast and the Panama Canal. We're still extremely cautious, however,
and keep a close eye on the radar screen.
The water is beautifully blue and clear, but seems to be devoid of fish,
at least as far as Raven is concerned. Mike still has his fishing lure
out, but no luck except for a scrap of blue fish net. We were hoping for
tuna sushi for dinner tonight, but the guys are just going to have to
settle for lasagna and fresh pineapple. I can hear the complaints already.
(Correction from the guys: We have NO complaints about Signe's wonderful
We all did a couple of boat projects today, took naps, cooked meals,
stared out to sea, listened to the rush of the water passing by, talked to
other boats on three nets and calculated our progress and the route ahead.
Somehow the day passes quickly without accomplishing a lot. Thus it
goes. Not terribly exciting, but we have over 400 miles under out belts.
Only 2,400 miles to go!!
PS: From Jan -- During last night's guitar concert courtesy of Mike, and
again this evening, Signe said she really enjoyed the day! If you know
Signe and the love/fear relationship she's been developing with this
passage, you know that's a major admission. Well, she did have a beer in
her, but she hasn't disowned the remark yet.
Day 4 - Tuesday, April 2
Distance sailed: 661
Distance to go: 2,125 nautical miles
Winds: NE 16 to 18 knots
Boatspeed: 9 to 10 knots
Course: 235 magnetic
Water temperature: 78 F
Yesterday nothing happened. Today all kinds of funny things happened. Mark
stays alert during the midnight to 3 a.m watch by listening to all the MP3
music files on his laptop. (Yes, sailing has changed a bit over the
centuries.) This was all well and good until a Kamikazi flying fish hit
him right in the chest and scared him to death. Bit of a shock, coming as
it did in the middle of a mellow David Grey recording. Later a booby
decided to take up residence on the stern rail, so Mark had to chase him
off with a boat hook. I tell you life out here is really tough!
Early this morning we sailed right past a white float with a red pennant,
which set us to speculating. What was it? Why was it there? Then at lunch
time a helicopter suddenly appeared, circled around us twice, waved
and took off. It had pontoons, so we half expected a visit of some kind.
Conjecture on these two incidents kept us amused all afternoon. (It
doesn't take much!) There was a boat on the radar screen, 15 miles away,
for most of the afternoon, so we've decided the helicopter is a tuna
spotter from a big trawler. This has also provided Mike with an excuse for
not catching anything, believing that all the tuna are in hiding. Or maybe
that ship was a drug runner. Or maybe they're pirates who will come back
to get us tonight!!! Ha! We have a contest going for for the most original
explanation. All entries gratefully accepted. This could keep us
entertained all the way to the Marquesas! Yes, we are easily amused out
In the little-known boat information category: think about four people
being on a boat for more than two weeks, and you realize there is a
mountain of trash to deal with. We're 500 miles at sea, so international
rules say food waste and biodegradable paper get chopped up small and
thrown overboard, but it's never OK to throw plastic overboard because it
takes so long to decay. We see evidence of this ignorance all the time on
the beaches and at sea. So we collect and wash all the plastic wrap and
plastic-coated paper, recycle all the ziplocks if we can, wash out all the
plastic bottles and store them up forward with the sails. They'll probably
be a real smelly treat by Hiva Oa. And we thought we were being so
clever buying things in plastic bottles when we could, to avoid glass
breakage. It's all a learning experience.
useless boat info: After dark, all of the interior lights are red so that
the watch keeper doesn't lose his night vision. This means everything that
is naturally red in color disappears. This makes for some interesting
experiences. How do you tell if the meat is done if you can't tell if it's
still red? Jan can never find his red Colgate toothpaste at night, nor his
red swimsuit. And forget reading a magazine with color photos!
At the moment, we're broad reaching under spinnaker in 18+ knots of wind,
doing 9 to 10 knots. This is a major treat after a long night of motoring
at 6 to 7 knots because we had lost the usually-reliable Trade Winds.
Well, the Trades are back in spades, and we are loving it. It's Happy Hour
and Signe has some great Zydeco music blaring out of the cockpit speakers.
Life is just fine, thanks.
Warm regards from your Raven crew
Note from Signe: In the Sheer Elegance Department - I will probably be
thrown out of the Tacoma Chapter of the Martha Stuart Perfection Club, but
serving our usual one-dish meals on a heeling, bouncing sailboat requires
some special feeding containers. Last year we used big, deep, plastic
cereal bowls - for everything.. This year, Jan found what he considers the
perfect solution - plastic vegetable serving bowls, which have
affectionately become known as The Troughs. They work extremely well, but
I do have to restrain myself from calling " Soooooeeee!" when I serve up a
Day 5 - Wednesday,
Distance sailed: 866
Distance to go: 1,950 nautical miles
Winds: NNE 13 knots
Boatspeed: 7 to 9 knots
Course: 175 magnetic
Water temperature: 79 F
Squid, flying fish, and jibing. That's the Raven entertainment for today.
morning, we found four flying fish and three flying squid on deck. Some
boats would immediately prepare some kind of seafaring dish, but we're a
little more squeamish. Or maybe just better fed by Signe! Later in the
morning, another flying fish, in a very desiccated condition and with one
fin waving in the air, was found behind one of the cockpit cushions. This
was actually a relief, as it provided an innocent explanation for strange
odors that kept us all silently wondering about our shipmates' bathing
habits. We'd love to send photos, but the radio link doesn't allow it.
Then again, maybe that's a blessing . . .
We're all moving just a little slower today. Maybe the watch-standing
fatigue has caught up with us. We're no longer zooming along at a great
rate, but just keeping moving in the right direction is a good thing. The
trade winds are a bit lighter than we had foolishly hoped, but they are
just what the books predict. Last year's fleet had much stronger winds and
thus faster passages, but it looks like this year -- which may be the
beginning of an El Nino cycle -- will be normal-to-slow.
We jibed onto port tack this morning, which means we turned south about 80
degrees and shifted the sails, including the spinnaker, from the left side
to the right. The wind had been moving around clockwise, which put us on
an unfavorable angle, so we were actually going west and slightly north.
Since North is NOT where we want to go, it was time to head south. Now --
at 7 p.m. -- the wind is going back the other direction, so our angle is
again looking less than perfect. We may have to jibe again before sundown.
Besides, we found out toady that we can't run the watermaker when we're on
port tack. Such are the trials and tribulations of the seafaring life.
Oh, I forgot to mention the sudden BANG we heard from the bow earlier
today, then we watched the spinnaker collapse back into the boat. It seems
that a shackle at the end of the bowsprit (the long pole sticking out from
the bow -- see the 'Raven' section of this website) had worked itself
loose, the pin fell out, and the tack (bottom front corner) of the chute
went flying. Half an hour later a new shackle was back in place, wired
shut this time. That'll teach it to misbehave.
Signe is working on another feast in the galley. We can hardly wait. (Then
they decided we had to jibe again right in the middle of the Sweet and
Sour Pork. The nerve! Signe)
Cheers from your brave Raven crew.
Day 6 - Thursday,
Position: 11 deg 12 min N,
118 deg 17 min W
Distance sailed: 1,064 nautical miles
Distance to go: 1,788 nautical miles
Winds: NE 15 to 19 knots
Boatspeed: 9 to 11 knots
Course: 195 magnetic
Water temperature: 80
We've been at sea just over five days and we're one-third of the way to
the Marquesas!! A mere 1,788 miles to go. This in spite of staying on the
wrong jibe angle for over 12 hours last night. Just didn't have the energy
to get the chute down and put it back up on the other side in the middle
of the night. We finally jibed this morning when we found that our
latitude numbers on the GPS were actually going UP! Still, we made good
distance to the west, which we'll need later. Right now, we're charging
south at 9 to 11 knots and racking up lots of miles in the right
direction. We're solidly into the trades now, and the winds are strong and
steady, pushing us right where we want to go. These are the conditions
that Raven loves, and that she was built for.
We've already passed two boats that left three days earlier than we did,
and are closing in on two more. They're all good friends, of course, so
there's a lot of radio banter about looking in your rear view mirror,
throwing water balloons and eggs as we pass, etc. In fact, we never saw
the other boats and they never saw us, and the only reason we know we
passed them is from the position reports we all give during the two radio
nets every day. Even though we won't see another boat until our landfall
in a week and a half, we feel like we're cruising in company and can help
For example, our good friends Bob and Lesley on North Road somehow toasted
their alternator the other day. Happily, they carry a spare, as
electricity is essential for the autopilot (without which the entire crew
would quickly become exhausted), GPS, refrigeration, radios, sailing
instruments, and other essentials. Bob and Lesley had never changed an
alternator, so they got on the radio with Paul from Avventura and Biaggio
of Lil Gem (each about a hundred miles from North Road), who coached them
through the entire process. It took nearly all day, with Bob crammed into
the tight engine space as the boat rocked and rolled in the trade wind
swells and the heat. But thanks to their friends they got it done and are
now happily sailing along again. The cruising community is, as we've often
said, the best part of cruising.
Today was big on wildlife sightings. A huge school of dolphins, maybe 200,
went flying by flipping and jumping in their pursuit of lunch. This was
preceded by a flock of small birds performing the same routine. It must
have been some pretty tasty bait. Today we've seen an amazing number of
birds -- what the heck are they doing way out here, almost a thousand
miles from shore?!
The air and water temperatures are definitely going up. The sea temp
started at 77 degrees F, and now it's up to 80. We had to wear fleece to
keep warm on night watches in the cockpit, but now you only need a
T-shirt. As we go south to the equator, it's going to get a lot warmer.
We've been drinking water and Gatorade like crazy just to stay hydrated.
It is pretty hot here during the day, so the fans are going full time down
below. We've put up side sun screens in the cockpit which helps
considerably in the morning and afternoon. Bathing suits are the uniform
of the day. And night, for that matter
Happy Hour just now, we celebrated The First Ice. We don't have an
icemaker on Raven, so Signe made us eat our way through a layer in the
freezer before we were allowed to make ice. Our ice system is rather
primitive, consisting of some great plastic bags with little pouches to
make individual ice blobs -- a European invention. Of course you know how
stingy Europeans are with the ice, so the blobs are a bit small. Still,
ice is a major luxury aboard, and we really appreciate the little that
We tried making water today, but we're sailing too fast on port tack and
were getting too many air bubbles in the system, which the high pressure
pump hates. Such a dilemma! We'll resolve that issue when we jibe next,
because the Captain insists on showers
all every day. Mike has discovered shower nirvana on the stern of the
boat, harnessed in. Signe has not actually seen this, since she has tried
to preserve his modesty, but he says its the best shower he's ever taken
(alone, anyway). We are the lucky ones to have enough water to take
showers every day. Many boats don't have watermakers and only small water
tanks. One boat had a ration of less than one gallon of water per day per
person for the crossing. Yuck!
is bracing herself in the heeled-over galley, preparing another of her
gourmet feasts, and Jan is going to send this off via the radio email
system. See you tomorrow!
Cheers . . . Jan & Signe
PS: Oh, this morning's body count was ten squid and three flying fish. The
deck is getting a little gooey, with black spots where the squids have
shot their ink. Gotta make some fresh water so we can do a washdown
tomorrow and get all the salt off. We need it. The guys decided all the
squid were attracted to the deck lights we used to jibe this morning.
Day 7 - Friday,
Position: 11 deg 12 min N,
118 deg 17 min W
Distance sailed: 1,126 nautical miles
Distance to go: 1,597 nautical miles
Winds: NE 14 to 20 knots
Boatspeed: 8 to 9 knots
Course: 235 magnetic
Water temperature: 82, up 2 from yesterday
Daily Squid Score: 20
To quote Robin Williams, "It's HOT, DAMN HOT!" The air and water temp are
up again and only the breeze keeps us sane. In the cabin, it's 88 in the
daytime with 75 percent humidity. And it's going to get hotter before it
gets any cooler south of The Line. Good thing we have lots of water for
lots of showers.
Big News of the Day: Squid. Twenty one of them found their way on deck
during the night. One of them was headed into the salon and on top of
Signe, but she was saved by the sun awning! It's only a matter of time
before one finds its way through a hatch and terrorizes one of the
sleeping crew. For lack of fish, Signe's been going through the cookbooks
for appropriate recipes: curried squid on skewers, Mediterranean squid,
squid tempura, squid salad, etc. The crew unanimously voted them all down,
so we'll just have to suffer through Caribbean Tomato Pasta tonight.
Remember that old Crosby, Stills and Nash song, "Southern Cross?" Well,
we're living it. They were singing about seeing the Southern Cross in the
sky for the first time on the way to the Marquesas, "80 feet of waterline,
nicely making way." So we only have 64 feet of waterline, picky, picky,
but we did see the Southern Cross last night for the first time. It was
quite thrilling. The Milky Way is a solid band of stars, and there is also
a constant barrage of shooting stars. Pretty beautiful.
We've been out almost week now and have covered 40 percent of the
distance, but with still a long way to go. I think that idea took its toll
a bit today, and also we lost some sleep last night because of our boat
speed and the waves. The sun is brutal and you can only get away from it
by going below, where it's hot and humid. We put up sun screens in the
cockpit yesterday, which has helped the on-duty helmsman considerably.
trying out a new downwind rig today. Raven is not designed to sail dead
down wind, so are always reaching under spinnaker, reacher, or jib. The
spinnaker chewed through the leather cover on another halyard, so we have
started getting creative for a while. Jan calls our current format the Kon
Tiki Rig. Trying for all the downwind speed we can get, we have the main
to port, the reacher to port, and the jib poled out to starboard. This
gets us 8 knots or so, not as much as with the spinnaker, but the chafe
problem is in abeyance for a while so we can stop worrying.
Because the watch system has worked out well, and because Signe does such
a great job with the meals, we all have managed to get together for lunch,
Happy Hour (note the caps, befitting its importance), and dinner. Some
days, like today, we're pretty tired but enjoy relaxing together in the
cockpit, especially at the end of the day. Everyone is getting along well,
joking all the time. Oops, I've been called for Happy Hour. Gotta
Cheers . . . Jan & Signe
Day 8 - Saturday,
Position: 6 deg 40 min N,
122 deg 31 min W
Distance sailed: 1,277 nautical miles
Distance to go: 1,444 nautical miles
Winds: N 19 knots
Boatspeed: 8 knots dead downwind
Course: 215 magnetic
Water temperature: 83 degrees, up 1 from yesterday
Cabin: 90 degrees with 75% humidity
Those !@%#&*% squid!!
the last few days, there has been a foul, fishy smell in the main cabin.
We've searched high and low, and checked each others' shoes, clothes, and
hygienic habits, to no avail. We checked the deck around the hatches, we
searched under the settees and tables, just in case a squid or flying fish
flew in through a hatch. Nada. Then this afternoon, all four of us went on
a do-or-die hunt and found the evildoer, an elderly dead squid, inside one
of the dorade vents (those air scoop thingys you see on sailboats).
Copious applications of Simple Green brought an end of the smell and
cross-accusations among the crew (joking, of course), with sharp
improvement in the 'atmosphere' aboard.
Spent most of last night and a good part of today motoring through a light
air patch. We love our Yanmar diesel and it gets us there reliably, but it
deadens your senses after a while and the ride is unstable with lots of
rolling in the swells. Thankfully, we're now back under way with the main
and jib pulling us directly toward Hiva Oa at about 8 knots, dead downwind
in 19 knots of wind from the North. Ahhh. What a pleasure to hear only the
swoosh of the water and the creaking of the rigging. Once again, this is
what we came for. Can you tell when we've been under motor for a while? Do
we get a little cranky?
We're starting to get preoccupied with the Big Question of where to cross
the ITCZ. That's what we, the great unwashed, have always called the
doldrums, but the scientists didn't think the name was complicated enough
so they renamed it the Inter-Tropic Convergence Zone. It's a wide band of
unstable air just north of the equator, divided between zero-to-light
winds and squalls with too much wind. We can spot the ITCZ using infrared
photo downloads from the satellites that pass overhead (you knew we'd have
that kind of gear, didn't you?), but the trick is to find the place where
it's narrowest and with the fewest squalls. This is no easy task, as the
ITCZ moves quickly and frequently. This morning, we used the Iridium phone
(technology is wonderful) to call our global weather routing service to
ask the same question. They admit it's a gamble, and we'll just have to
pick a spot and take our chances. Not that there's any big risk, as the
winds only rise to maybe 25 knots; we just have to keep Raven under a rig
where it's very easy shorten sail quickly if a squall hits us. We can
track the squalls on the radar, but we can't necessarily avoid them, so we
have to be ready.
After the ITCZ, we'll be back into the trade winds, this time the
Southeast Trades. Our friends aboard other boats that are already there
(ah, the joys of these twice-daily radio nets!) tell us they're having a
great run under fair winds and clear skies. Can hardly wait to get there.
We should break through within two days, even if the ITCZ doesn't
You can tell we're on the downhill part, because Signe has broken out the
cruising and tourist guides to the Marquesas. This is also a good sign, as
it shows she thinks we will actually live long enough to arrive there. A
definite improvement from some of her previous worried states, and we are
duly grateful. The worry hasn't affected her cuisine, though!
News: We have tuna!!! It's sushi tonight! The galley was so hot last night
that we are having cold stuff for awhile.
We have found about the only way to keep cool: we hose off in the cockpit
then let the air dry us and cool us off. We've all done that at least
three times today, and it works really well.
We just saw another huge school of dolphins cavorting. Or maybe it's the
same school and they're going to the Marquesas, too.
See you tomorrow.
Cheers . . . Jan
Day 9 - Sunday,
Position: 4 deg 54 min N,
124 deg 39 min W
Distance sailed: 1,484 nautical miles
Distance to go: 1,245 nautical miles
Winds: E 10 knots
Motorsailing at 8 knots
Course: 215 magnetic
Water temperature: 83 degrees
Somehow today got away from us. We had a very rolly, noisy night, so none
of us got much sleep, thus a late start to the day. It was so bad at one
point that Jan slept on the main cabin floor so he wouldn't get rolled
right off the settee, whence he had retreated because the forward berth
was untenable. All of the berths have lee cloths, which are heavy webbing
screens we can put up to hold bodies into beds when the boat is heeling.
It's still not very comfortable to sleep that way, since you are
unconsciously flexing to keep in a comfy position. We did have fresh-baked
cinnamon buns for breakfast, however, which sort of made it worth while.
Lest you think The Chef has gone all out, our dear friend, Sara Lee comes
to the aid of sailors fairly frequently.
We are getting close the ITCZ, which we mentioned yesterday. Thus the seas
are confused and we're seeing lots of potential squalls on the radar.
Nothing significant, but we had a few minutes of spritzing rain this
afternoon, which felt just like home. Except it was still HOT, DAMN HOT.
We all stood on deck enjoyed the cooling drops, and Mike said, "Who would
have thought that a group of Northwesterners would actually be looking
forward to clouds and rain?"
Big Event of the day was the arrival of a gorgeous 5 foot long,
"short-billed spearfish" (that's what the book calls it) on Mike's line.
Signe missed the whole thing since she was in full nap mode, but we have
the photos as evidence. We would have released it, but it was so tired out
after being dragged by Raven for several miles before we discovered it on
the line, that we didn't think it would survive. Needless to say, we're
having barbecued spear fish for dinner tonight.
Later . . .
My, how plans change quickly when you're cruising. I (Signe) noticed that
the refrigeration system display lights were out and the ice cubes had
melted. CRISIS!! This led to an engine room expedition, getting out
service manuals, etc. Jan finally figured out that the water cooling
system had lost its prime, shutting down the system. Simple fix, and all
is well now. But we'll keep a close eye on it in future, if we know what's
good for our ice cubes! Not to mention a freezer-full of food.
As I type, Jan is again in the engine room trying to find the source of an
engine oil leak. Haven't heard the story yet, but all three guys are
hovering over and there are many plastic bags and rolls of paper towels
going out. It's so messy and sweaty that Jan took off what little clothing
he had on before he dived into the fray.
Latest update: the oil filter was leaking so the guys replaced it. Big
mess to clean up, but that's the end of that problem. Cruisers say the
best definition of cruising is: "Fixing your boat in faraway places."
Well, you can hardly get farther away than the middle of the Pacific!
So . . . quick change of dinner plans: the spearfish will be a treat for
Mike's birthday party tomorrow, so the freezer will come to our rescue for
dinner once again. Followed by friend Sarah Lee's cheesecake, just to
brighten the day for all of us.
With any luck, we'll have some more interesting adventures for you
tomorrow, and fewer repairs to report.
Cheers . . . Your Resourceful Raven Crew
PS: We phoned our son and daughter-in-law tonight, just for evidence that
there is, indeed, something else in the world besides seawater. Our
memories of dry land are fading, and we're starting to feel like we're the
cast of that Kevin Costner movie, "Waterworld." See any Smokers out there
. . . ?
Day 10 - Monday,
Position: 3 deg 2 min N, 126
deg 35 min W
Distance sailed: 1,636 nautical miles
Distance to go: 1,084 nautical miles
Winds: SE 10 knots
Boatspeed 7 knots
Course: 215 magnetic
Water temperature: 83 degrees
Our tenth day at sea!!! Your mind does weird things out here. Tonight as
we were sitting in the cockpit eating spearfish sushi (Mmmmm . . ), it
felt like we were just out for a day sail and we'd be going back to the
dock as soon as the sun went down. Actually we've had a very mellow day.
It's Mike's birthday, so we've been making a big fuss over him. It all
began by Mark taking the first hour and a half of Mike's 6AM to 9AM watch,
which meant he got to sleep in, a rare opportunity. Then we all got clean
sheets and towels. Whee Hoo!!! It takes so little to make life good out
had a squall this morning that brought some serious rain, enough to do a
fine job washing all the salt, fish scales, squid ink, etc. off our decks.
We're not clean enough yet to start collecting rainwater in our tanks, but
one more rain like that should do it. The winds got up to about 26 knots
briefly but that was kind of fun, as we bore off and accelerated. We have
all been rather nervous about crossing the ITCZ because it has a
reputation for bad squalls with big winds, big seas, etc. According to the
satellite photos tonight, we may have passed through it with that one
little squall. If so, it was relatively painless, and we're clean besides.
The other benefit is that it seems slightly cooler, maybe because we've
got the trade winds back again, which makes the heat bearable.
One of Mike's gifts was a "finger kite," about eight inches long. He had
fun flying it from various areas of the boat. Then he decided what he
liked best was tying it to his hat with a big red
tie in a bow under his chin and the kite flying out the top. He has also
been putting plastic ants and a big rubber beetle where some unsuspecting
sailor will find them in the middle of the night. We have laughed a lot on
I made Mike a chocolate birthday cake today, and it is probably the
ugliest cake I have ever made. Even though the stove is gimballed to keep
it relatively level in a seaway, it doesn't really work for cakes. I
thought I could finely balance the two lopsided layers to make one fairly
decent cake. I failed to factor in the heat's effect on frosting. It
smells great, but it is very ugly and very tilted. I think they'll gobble
it up anyway. Talk about an easy to please crowd!
We've really mellowed out on the sailing. For the first week, we were hell
bent on setting new passage records to Hiva Oa. Well, today we sailed
along all day at a slow-for-us 7 knots and loved it. No more of those "Are
we there yet?" questions. The seas have been mild, we've crossed into the
Southeast Trades so the wind is more off the bow now, it's cooler on the
boat, and our enjoyment has gone up enormously. At dinner time, we headed
off in a less-than-optimal direction, just to level the boat for
barbecuing the fish and to make the watermaker happy. This will cost us
some time at the end, but no one seems to care. We're just enjoying the
smooth, quiet, easy motion.
The next big event will be crossing the Equator in a day or two. We've
imagined all sorts of parties to hold, because we're all pollywogs, never
having crossed the Equator by boat. On the old sailing ships, we would all
be tarred, feathered and shaved bald by the more experienced hands. These
days, most cruisers find civilized ways to celebrate and to propitiated
King Neptune, but we found out that Mike brought along a set of
haircutting clippers, so who knows what's going to happen? Watch this
Warm regards from your mellow Raven crew.
PS: Oh, yeah. No breakdowns or crises today. Another reason to feel
Day 11 - Tuesday,
Position: 0 deg 20 min N,
128 deg 27 min W
Distance sailed: 1,826 nautical miles
Distance to go: 890 nautical miles
Winds: E 10 knots
Boatspeed 8 knots motorsailing
Course: 214 true
Water temperature: 84 degrees
Yes, it is starting to get long now. We are almost to the equator and will
cross over it around midnight. It slows down our big celebrations, but
we'll do something after the fact when we are all awake tomorrow.
The winds blew pretty well today, so we sailed for most of the time. Just
about dinner time, the wind slowed way down and we had to turn on the
engine. Thank goodness we have enough fuel to be able to do that from time
to time. The winds have been so light this year that we have used the
engine for quite a few hours.
cloud formations are spectacular out here with all shades of pink, blue,
yellow, grey and white. We feel like we have taken nothing but cloud,
sunrise and sunset pictures, but that is all we are seeing, except for
Nothing much happened today except lots of hose-offs in the cockpit, more
spearfish sushi and chocolate cake for lunch. We're watching the fresh
veggies and fruits dwindling rapidly. I still have a freezer full, but the
salad situation will be a little lacking.
Mark and Mike have a tournament going on their "bass fishing" handheld
computer games. It passes the time until the real fish come on the line.
Something large ate Mike's favorite red feather lure today. We now have
our Alaska bear bells announcing any nibbles on the line. Jan laughed when
I wanted to keep them aboard. I knew we'd find a use for them.
Love . . . Signe
Note from Jan: Last night was one of the best for sailing. Mike, Mark, and
I each had watches with good breezes, gentle seas, and magnificent skies.
The stars were a solid mass overhead, and about 3 a.m. the moon rose as a
thin sliver of silver. It was easy to just sit there in the dark, drinking
in all the beauty.
Day 12 -
Wednesday, April 10
Position: 1 deg 40 min
SOUTH(!!!), 130 deg 8 min W
Distance sailed: 1,984 nautical miles
Distance to go: 732 nautical miles
Winds: ENE 9 knots (it's supposed to be SE!)
Boatspeed 7+ knots motorsailing
Course: 220 true
Water temperature: 82 degrees (down two degrees!)
Notice the SOUTH latitude reported above!
12 began early -- midnight to be precise -- for your Raven Crew when we
were all awakened by The Captain, who happened to be on watch at the time.
We were two miles from the Equator! We stumbled sleepily from our berths,
dressed nattily in underpants and rumpled t-shirts to celebrate
crossing of The Line. A tot of rum was offered to King Neptune with the
Ode to the Sea given by Pollywog Mike Hudson. Then appeared
Signe/Aphrodite (OK, so our command of Greek mythology is weak), dressed
up for the occasion in a Raven t-shirt over a lovely tie dye night shirt.
She was chosen as Chief Anointer and Representative of King Neptune,
because she was definitely the loveliest and most mature of the crew, not
to mention the odd woman out, as it were. In this role, she anointed each
Pollywog in turn with her scepter, gave them a Big Smooch and magically
turned them into Shellbacks. With that, a tot of rum was doled out to each
- well, some more than others - then we trundled back to bed, except for
Shellback Mark Lindeman who had the midnight-to-3 a.m. watch.
The Equator humor thick on the radio, back before we left PV. "Does anyone
know where to find one of those propeller reversing sprockets? You know,
the kind you need when you cross the Equator." "Help! I need a southern
hemisphere toilet conversion kit." Well, we're all watching the toilets
and sinks very closely today. And as far as the propeller reversing
sprocket is concerned, another cruiser told us we're supposed to exchange
one with a northbound boat, if we can find one. We saw a ship today after
going about a week without seeing anything but flying fish, but the duty
officer declined the exchange.
continued the festivities at brunch with mimosas all around, including
some for King Neptune. As a last bow to Mexico, we also had Huevos
Rancheros. This prepared The Crew for the head shaving ceremonies. I know
you are all waiting with baited breath to see if Jan really agreed to it.
He kept us all in suspense as long as he could, then declined the honor,
as did Mark. Mike, having a beard and in need of a haircut, volunteered.
Don't worry, Marsha, we were kind to him. He is now beardless and with a
very elegant haircut - a group effort. Aphrodite even got into the act.
Mike has continued with his surprise gifts. This afternoon he hung a disco
ball in the cockpit. (Every boat needs one!) And he hid a rubber rat in my
galley cupboard. He got the desired scream from me in reaction. I've been
watching for his plastic bugs, but wasn't prepared for a rat!
we are having US Prime sirloin steaks on the barbie after passing a very
sleepy day of motorsailing. We will try to stay awake long enough for a
movie, but we have planned to do this for many nights with no success. It
is still hot and the interrupted sleep takes a toll after awhile. We still
have four or so days before we make landfall. It is a long way to go!!!
Day 13 - Thursday,
Position: 3 deg 0 min S, 132
deg 19 min W
Distance sailed: 2,178 nautical miles
Distance to go: 540 nautical miles
Winds: ENE 6 knots (Trade winds? Hah!)
Boatspeed 7+ knots motorsailing
Course: 223 true
Water temperature: 83 degrees
If I tell you that finding another deceased squid in a dorade vent was the
highlight of the day, it may convey to you some of the boredom we are now
facing. We are now motoring for the third day in a row. The noise gets to
be quite annoying, as does the wallowing in the seas. There is even less
wind than there was yesterday. We were down to 3 knots of wind at one
point during the day. Thank goodness we have enough fuel to get there from
here, even if we motor all the way. The reports from boats ahead of us
talk of lack of wind too. The weather reports say there may be more
tomorrow, but there's no sign yet.
It's too hot to do boat projects or any kind of projects. We nap, we read,
we eat - that's about the sum of it. Big activities today were: shutting
the engine down for a short time to check its vital signs, taking down the
reacher to see how our halyard chafe problem is coming along (still doing
OK) and putting it back up, transferring fuel from the starboard tank to
the port tank to balance the load, lubricating the gooseneck (joint
between the mast and the boom) which has been squeaking unmercifully. Such
is the life of a sailor. No wonder they took up scrimshaw.
It has been our first totally overcast day, which was kind of a relief
from the days of hot sun. We have watched squalls all around us, but
haven't had any scupper-washers yet. We're watching one good one right now
that may be just the ticket. Of course, then we will have to scramble to
close all the hatches.
Mike had a big fish on the line this afternoon, but it got away. We were
all ready for more sushi too. Tomorrow!
Please think of us and send us some better wind. Not too much, though!!
Cheers . . . Your Raven Crew
Day 14 - Friday,
Position: 6 deg 26 min S,
134 deg 27 min W
Distance sailed: 2,374 nautical miles
Distance to go: 327 nautical miles (getting close!!)
Winds: E 12-15 knots
Boatspeed 9-11 knots
Course: 223 true
Water temperature: 83 degrees
WIND!! WE HAVE WIND!!
What a difference a day makes. We woke up to the same old, same old this
morning with another day of motorsailing ahead of us, or so it appeared.
Grumble, grumble, moan, moan, "Can't wait to get there," etc. When what
should happen, but at breakfast time we saw a steady increase in wind from
8 to 12 to 15 knots! We dropped all thoughts of blueberry pancakes, and
Jan & Mike put up the spinnaker. (The mainsail had been up to keep us from
wallowing in the seas while motoring.) With that we took off downwind at
speeds of 9 to 11 knots. Whee! And we've been going strong all day, eating
up those miles toward Hiva Oa. Yes!
about hours, we have definitely fallen into the rise with the sun and
sleep with the dark syndrome. The only issue is that we have kept our
watches on West Coast time, so as we go farther west, there is some
discrepancy. We're not really lazy bones who want to stay in bed all day,
and naps don't count. There is a two-and-a-half (half?) hour time zone
difference from Pacific Daylight Time to Marquesas time, so eventually we
have to get caught up.
Have we told you about the wonder of our Iridium handheld satellite phone?
This is one of life's little luxuries that we have indulged in for this
trip. It is so reassuring to our families when we can call them. And it
feels pretty wonderful to hear a friendly voice who cares about us. Even
out here in the Pacific, there are satellites that will take care of our
needs. It is really complicated and pricey to call us, so don't get your
dialing fingers out quite yet. In emergencies, our son Paul knows how to
page us (also by satellite), then we can call him back. Combined with our
radio email system, Iridium has made our cruises much more enjoyable.
Our latest scientific question is the Missing Squid Dilemma, which has
taken a good deal of mindshare aboard Raven recently. (Yes, we are easily
distracted.) For several days now we have not had our usual nighttime
flying squid visitations and we're wondering why. Not that we're missing
their smelly, decaying bodies, but we do wonder. The theory currently in
vogue aboard Raven is that we have not had a moon for several days, so
they are not attracted to the light and our white hull. Other theories
involve hypotheses such as lower squid populations in the southern
hemisphere, lower water temp, etc. If anyone has any resolution to this
dilemma, please let us know. Inquiring minds and all that.
So that's it from Raven for today. We are looking at a possible arrival in
Hiva Oa on Sunday, April 14th. You'll be the first to know.
Love . . . Signe
Day 15 - Saturday,
Position: 8 deg 37 min S,
137 deg 15 min W
Distance sailed: 2,374 nautical miles
Distance to go: ONLY 115 nautical miles to go!!
Winds: E 19 to 22 knots
Boatspeed 8 to 9 knots
Course: 223 true
Water temperature: still 83 degrees
That was the chant from the cockpit this morning. A prayer to the
Polynesian winds gods? Well, sort of. The wind had already piped up to
20-25 knots, Raven was blasting along at 10 to 12 knots, and The Crew had
started hallucinating about the first frosty Hinano, the signature beer of
At that point I had to appease them with mindless games to keep things
under control. So out came the portable basket ball net with three little
rubber balls. It was suction-cupped to the forward end of the cockpit, and
a lively game of Horse ensued. Of course, Mark was the one who kept losing
the balls over the side. (His secret weapon?) The winning point was a roll
down the shorts leg into the basket. This has been a humor filled trip! At
least it was more successful than my portable billiard table. I didn't
think there would be this much motion. What was I thinking?
We just reefed down for a second time, after flying all day at 10-to-12
knots. The downside is that the seas have been lumpy, making navigating
around the boat a bit tricky. Now I know why we have all these handholds.
I've used them all and done a bit of crawling on all fours too. Hey, I'm
not proud, but we all have some prize winning bruises. We always wear our
harnesses at night, but today has been rough enough that we have worn them
during the day to go on the foredeck to reef the sails. The cockpit is
very protected, so for most of the day we haven't worn them. For sail
changes, the Harness Police (C'est Moi!) insist. Sleeping last night
was like being in a Mixmaster. A flat, quiet night in harbor is really
going to be a treat.
So anyway, a check on the computer navigation software showed that, at
these ridiculous speeds, we'd reach Hiva Oa at 2 a.m., then have to heave
to offshore and wait until daylight. Rule #1 is no landfalls in the dark
-- too dangerous. So, we'll just slow the boat down, right? Easier said
than done. We already had one reef in the main, and just the small jib,
and still she was doing more than 10 knots. Then Mark and Jan put a second
reef in the main (for the first time ever), but that only cut our speed a
fraction of a knot. This boat refuses to slow down! So then we furled the
small jib and set the tiny staysail. That did it, and we're down to a a
reasonable 8 knots, which will get us in at daylight. The motion is a bit
Tomorrow . . . LANDFALL!!! Watch this space.
Day 16 - Sunday,
Total distance traveled:
Passage time: Exactly 15 days
Average speed: 7.9 knots
Best day's run: 243 miles
Worst day's run: 162 miles
Raven anchored in Tahahutu Bay, Hiva Oa
Nous sommes arrives! We're here! We did it! We survived!
arrived just before noon today, after exactly 15 days at sea. I wish we
could send you a tape of the scene at dawn when we first spotted land.
Even though we knew that our computer navigation was going to get us here,
it is still a very small blip in a very big ocean and what if we'd made
some error of calculation. It was very reassuring to hear the age
old cry, "Land Ho!"
As it became lighter, we realized that King Neptune had one more little
surprise for us - a huge black squall cloud bearing down on us. Mike had
been watching it for a couple of hours and had all the preparations made
to slow the boat down if the wind really piped up. He and I rolled in the
reacher (our big "fronts'l") and unrolled the smaller jib. The main was
already double reefed from the night before, when we wanted to slow down
so as not to arrive before dawn. The big cloud finally gave us 30 knots of
wind and buckets full of rain, but only briefly. During the strongest
gust, Raven accelerated up to 12 knots!
the squall cleared we had full sunlight on the beautiful island of Hiva Oa.
It is all volcanic, so it looks a lot like those mountainous parts of Maui
and Kauai with green jungle on the steep slopes, but without all the
roads, houses, hotels, or people. It is very green with groves of coconut
palms going up the mountainside. The highest peaks had rain clouds
hovering over them, adding to the dramatic effect. Oddly enough, after not
seeing another sailboat the whole time out, we followed a catamaran,
Pacific Bliss, into the bay. They had come down from San Diego and were
making landfall after 21 days.
entrance to the small harbor is very hard to distinguish, but one of our
friends guided us in and told us where there was room to anchor. There are
about a dozen other boats here, anchored fairly close together. We are all
anchored bow and stern, which saves space and keeps the boats' bows
pointed into the small swell entering the harbor. There are four other
Puddle Jump boats here, so I know we will be seeing a lot of them once we
get rested up.
We had big plans to splash the dinghy and take a long walk ashore, but
instead we all spent the entire afternoon taking naps. I guess we were
more tired than we thought. It is also strange to realize that we are
really here after all our travels. Haven't quite gotten used to that part.
It is definitely nice to have the boat only rocking gently in the swell,
instead of flying all over the place.
The Marquesans are quite religious, so everything was shut today, Sunday.
Tomorrow we will go to town, about a 30 minute walk away, check in and see
the sights. The check-in process may take awhile since it is our first
check in in French Polynesia. First we will visit the gendarmes to turn in
our "zarpe" (check-out paper from Mexico) and have our crew list checked.
Then we will get a boat "passport" that we will show to the gendarmes in
every other port that we visit. We have to post a bond to the equivalent
of air fare out of here for each person (so the French can ship us out of
here, if they want!), so a trip to the bank, figuring out how to pay it,
etc. will be in order. But that is the only fee we'll pay.
will send out one or two more daily logs, summarizing our passage and
telling you what we discover ashore. And as usual we will be writing
longer episodes of our adventures from time to time. Thanks again for
being faithful Raven fans.
Cheers . . . Signe
First Day in Hiva Oa
a good night's sleep, your Raven crew woke up early and our thoughts went
"Hiva Oa . . . FRENCH Polynesia . . . French bakeries . . . French
bread!!" So Jan and Mark immediately hopped into the dinghy and buzzed off
to the local store. After a short wait for it to open at 7:30, they came
back with TWO fresh baguettes!! And, yes, they were just as good as in
Paris. Guess what we had for breakfast.
Then off into town to check in with the gendarmes, do a little shopping,
have some lunch cooked by someone else, and so on. The town of Atuona is a
half-hour walk uphill from the harbor, but the Marquesans have a
reputation for giving rides to tired cruisers, who haven't walked farther
than the length of their boats for several weeks. We didn't even hold our
thumbs out, but a Toyota pickup driven by a smiley Marquesan woman,
already having picked up several other cruisers, stopped and the four of
us piled into the cargo bed. Zip and we were in front of the Gendarmarie,
which was closed, naturally. No problem, we're in Paradise so we'll just
Walked right through the cute little town, which took ten minutes, and saw
all the tropical/colonial architecture, with lots of flowering shrubs and
hibiscus hedges. Changed money, bought a plane ticket for Mark, and then
Signe's unerring craft radar locked onto an "artisanat" shop and she
bought a gorgeous shell necklace. Then a Marquesan wood carver and his
wife picked us up, sort of at random, and drove us to their home to see
his wonderful carvings. Of course, we succumbed to a beautiful turtle
carved in rosewood. It was only 11 am, and already Signe's day was
Had a delicious lunch at the Snack Make Make ("mak-ay makay"), including
raw fish salad, chicken curry, lemon chicken, and for Mark and Mike a
couple of burgers and fries. The raw fish salad ("poisson cru") was the
big hit, as were the frosty Hinanos. We're really getting into this place.
Split up after lunch, with Jan going to the internet service and then back
to the Gendarmarie, and the crew doing the food, beer, and soda shopping.
Jan got us mostly checked in, but still has to go back and buy stamps ( as
in tax stamps) at the Post Office when it opens again, and then back to
the Gendarmarie for a final time. Sigh. But at least there's no hurry and
we can get it done any time in the next few days. Tomorrow we've signed up
for an all-day tour around the island in an air-conditioned truck, with
special stops at the archeological sites. We'll tell you more later.
This will be our last daily update. In a few days, after we've had our
full quotient of full night's sleeps and done a little more touring, we'll
send out another regular website update. We'll give you our final thoughts
on the passage, too. For now, we'll just say . . . it was easier and more
comfortable than we expected . . . we had some of the best sailing of our
lives . . . the nights were unbelievably beautiful . . . and a few days
and nights were uncomfortable, but not too bad. Overall, we'd rather not
do such a long passage very often, but we have to do it to get somewhere
as wonderful as the Marquesas, we'd sign up in a minute.
Warm regards from Jan, Signe, Mark, and Mike
PS: Learned a little general-purpose Marquesan: "Kaoha" for Hello, and "Te
ko'u ta'u nui" for Thank You, Goodbye and lots of other things. This has
earned us some nice smiles from the various Marquesans we've tried these
phrases on. Over the next few days, we'll find out if they like our making
the effort to speak their language, or if the smiles result from the fact
that we're really saying "My left shoe is deaf."
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