Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nuku Hiva

Hi there. We have bought an internet card for 4,000 francs, giving us five hours of wi-fi internet anywhere in French Polynesia if there is a tower; as you can see, things are quite expensive here but oh well. The internet is supposedly very slow and skype is iffy. Soooo, I thought I'd sailmail you what is happening and surprise you when I can actually get online. 

We had a lovely slowish lumpy but beautiful sail all night following the silver moon over to Nuku Hiva and are here with lots of boats who sailed over with the first ones who left with Freedom and A Cappella, and it is fun saying hi to them. Most of them are leaving today or tomorrow for the Tuamotus with the goal of getting to Tahiti in time for the June 18 celebration put on by Latitude 38, the popular sailing magazine from the Bay Area. Luckily we are looking forward to being in Tahiti when the island people have their traditional dancing, singing celebration in July and meeting Tom and Paula then. 

This town is beautiful and is a great place to provision when on the way to the Tuamotus. Yummy warm bagettes are plentiful and vegetables to die for! We are getting our headsail reinforced today by a sailmaker from New Zealand but have not been able to locate a refrigeration person, so we are troubleshooting today with some tools loaned to us by another cruiser. Wish us luck! We ran into our Puerto Lucia friends from Britain, Josie and Steve, yesterday, and it was great catching up with them. They left for Daniel's Bay, about 3 miles from here, that is supposed to be wonderful with a great waterfall hike and lovely gentle Polynesian people living life in the valley. That is our next stop. I will keep in touch. S.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nuku Hiva-bound

David and I have decided to leave paradise today and head for the city in Nuku Hiva to get our work done this week if possible. We will frolic in the warm turquoise water this morning, get a few things done, and be on our way this afternoon. Love you

Sunday, May 23, 2010


We sailed over to Tahuata yesterday and found the most beautiful bay of aqua-blue clear water and palm lined pristine white sand beach. There are about six boats here, peacefully enjoying the tranquility, and we look forward to some snorkeling and beach cruising today. The trade winds blow continually, keeping us cool, and the water temp is perfect, so it seems, life can't get much better. It feels like a vacation.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cruising the Marquesas

We had a wonderful sail from Fatu Hiva to Hiva Oa Thursday, coming into the anchorage just as the evening began. Yesterday was spent checking into French Polynesia and buying fresh fruits and vegetables, along with warm French baguettes from the bakery. It was quite an overwhelming morning finding tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, carrots, bok choy, radishes......WOW! I didn't quite realize just how much I missed them!

We found the only public computer in town and it was being used; we need a European adapter for our own computers and the little one we brought into town needed to be charged after being dormant for so long. Sooooo, no internet still. Next week we get to Nuku Hiva. I know there is internet there, and we will be there for a while, hopefully fixing our refrigeration problems, getting our sail repaired, and doing some welding on a fitting which broke during our passage.

We leave for the nearby island of Tahuata today, anchoring with Bambi and Jeff from sv Alexis in Hanamoenoa Bay, and then we are exploring the northwest bays of Hiva Oa, the artisan island of Ua-Huka, and finally resting in Nuku Hiva. We spent a lovely evening on Savannah last night; it was so cool finding them still here and catching up with them. They take off for Fatu Hiva this morning.  -S.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another Day in Paradise

It is difficult mustering up the energy to leave such a heavenly spot on earth. We dinghied over to Omoa yesterday, and, although the entrance was quite treacherous with a big swell coming in, once we landed and secured Worm, we had a wonderful morning. It is a fantastic little village, a bit more pristine and manicured, nestled in another beautiful valley. We found the bakery with the last of the baguettes for sale, wandered up the valley for a while, then came back to the store and bakery for a bit of papaya, fresh french bread, jam, and instant coffee. Flowers adorn every yard and all women wear them in their hair to celebrate the day.

After returning to Hanavave Bay, we snorkeled with Robert and Kelita and found a wonder world of different coral and tropical fish. What a luxury to be able to just leave from the boat and find such abundance. We are told this is the prettiest of all [the islands] and so, we decided to stay one more day to fully appreciate the Marquesas. We are planning on checking into French Polynesia in Atuona, Hiva Oa, on Friday morning.

Monday, May 17, 2010

David's Take on Fatu Hiva

This is an excerpt from a sailmail that David wrote to his son, Casey:
As you may have heard by now, we made it. It took us 20 days and 4 hours, which is really good time for a 39 ft. cruising boat, but the trip wasn't all we had expected. All the downwind smooth, warm sailing didn't materialize until the last few days. Most of the trip was with a large side wind swell that bounced us around a lot, and the sky was filled with clouds and squalls most every day. There were times we wondered why we had signed up for this beating!

But we are here and it all seems more than worth it as the place is amazing. Clear water and skies, lots of friendly people (both cruisers and locals) and this island of Fatu Hiva and the bay we are in, The Bay of Virgins, is beyond beautiful. Palm trees everywhere and huge volcanic spires sticking up covered with green grass lining the horizon. It's everything I'd dreamed it would be.

Yesterday morning we went ashore for the Sunday church service and it may have been the most spiritual church service I've ever been to. I sat outside the main door on the steps leading up to the over sized door and leaned against the wall, listening to the goings on. Even though it was all in French, the singing was out of this world, with perfect harmony and guitar and ukulele back up they capture all this area is about. The singing flowed like the ocean and the wind, and you could feel the passion and love the people of these islands have for their surroundings. It was so spiritual with the wind blowing through the palm trees, the morning sun lighting up the bay where we are anchored that even I found tears in my eyes. I could go on and on but must stop as this is getting a bit long for a sailmail.

Fatu Hiva

What a special island Fatu Hiva is. The majestic mountains welcome all who wish to be tranquil and reverent. Yesterday the little church was full of colorful Tahitian tapestries worn by the incredibly beautiful men, women wearing flowers, and bright-eyed children, singing melodic Hawaiian style praises in perfect harmony accompanied by guitars and ukuleles. We sat outside on the grass, looking around at the swaying coco palms and the green-on-green lush valley and it was so spiritual. My heart and soul soar walking along the road leading through the village and up the lush valley to the waterfall. There is fruit growing everywhere; the neat, tidy houses are surrounded by abundance. The feeling is peaceful and the community is tight. Along the road, lemon, lime, Tahitian grapefruit (so sweet), banana, orange, papaya, and mango trees grow everywhere.

Our first night in town we had dinner with some other cruisers at Katy's house; the local food was delicious. Katy's husband, the village minister, played music into the night, and we were inspired to join in on the guitar and drums. I look forward to learning the very easy songs; the language sounds Hawaiian, in fact, this experience reminds me of my own Hawaiian memories. The trades bring fragrant smells and the light on the mountains makes you feel you are in a surreal dream. It was great to hike and feel terra firma, but the water is also wonderful here. I found two turtles cruising underneath me as I snorkled across the colorful coral near the boat; the water temp is delightful.  We will enjoy being here for a few more days until we need to head for Hiva Oa to officially check in. There is no internet on the island, so we are still sending out through sailmail. Love to all of you from the land of plenty! Congratulations to Jesse Obrand for passing the bar exam!!!! That is huge! Happy graduation to Tori, Sky, and Summer. You have accomplished sooo much. Life is good and we love you all so much.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day One in the Marquesas

We arrived yesterday around 6:30 PST after having the time of our lives reaching with the spinnaker; suddenly the gust became major wind, and we pulled the chute down just in time. Big wind happens rapidly around here! This is a whole new adventure in sailing. It is very gusty here in the anchorage this morning, with 25 knots roaring out of the canyon, letting us know who is really in charge here. We do feel comfortable and secure now, after anchoring three times with the help of some other longtime cruiser people we met last night. We had a chance to get to know Dave and Joanna on Mintaka II, along with Jeff and Bambi from Alexis. Great cold beer, ice and tequila for David, champagne and wonderful sushi awaited our arrival to celebrate our crossing. We are the novice sailors of the bunch, and it was inspiring to hear of all the fabulous places there are in the world to find. Robert and Kelita from Freedom brought us some special fruit from the island this morning and readied us for the bartering system the locals prefer to use, and Dave and Joanna brought us a warm baguette on their way back from the little downtown market. We are going to shore for an exploration hike this afternoon with Freedom (Robert and Kelita), along with a few yoga postures on the grassy shore, and are staying into the evening for a local community barbecue. I look forward to someone else's cooking! We are elated to be here. The water is calling to me, so I must say nana (good-bye) and manui (cheers to your health). Wish you were with us to help us speak French and enjoy the magic of our first Polynesian island. Life is good! Our congratulations to Jesse Obrand and FAMILY. What a wonderful accomplishment!!!!! EEEHHAAA!  Major euphoria for all!!!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

They Made It!!!!!

First sighting was at 8:55 PST and my whole being filled with delight and excitement!!!! We have done it! The impact of seeing the exotic island ahead came without warning and filled my heart and soul with glee. I yelled," Land Ho!" and David popped his head up from the nav station, looked across the bow and his whole being came to life! I think a sense of relief and achievement are just a few of the feelings we are experiencing now, several hours toward our destination.

We motored all night long and the wind came up just after our initial sighting. The colorful purple, blue, aqua spinnaker is easily carrying us enough to ride the casual waves; we are finally cruising along at 6kts and life is so sooooo good! This reward definitely helps to make the journey much more magical and our enthusiasm is bubbling once again. We have a sundowner date with Mantaka II and Alexis, boats we have been cruising along with, and I am sure we will enjoy sharing passage stories along with cold drinks. How fun to see the land! You will probably not hear from me again until tomorrow, so again, lots of love to Catfish and Larry. You should see this island as we approach. WOW! How excited am I to hike up one of those valleys and smell the fragrant flowers!! My little naked body will certainly miss the freedom to just be as we approach civilization, but it is a small price to pay. Thank you for all the sweet birthday wishes by the way. I felt your presence with me all day long; it was a memorable birthday and I am certainly celebrating life!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Almost There

Location: S 10 08' and W 136 47' We have 123 NMi left to go. Sorry to lag for so long. It seems like this cruising takes an incredible amount of time and energy to keep it going! We put up the spinnaker today and that was a major feat. The wind has dropped significantly and is coming from the east, so we are needing to figure out how to efficiently go downwind and that is easier said than done! Wish it were as easy as you had said.....just wing on wing on down the line! We have been given some calmer seas, along with very little wind and now we are motoring; kind of an anti-climatic ending to a very challenging passage! Hopefully we will make landfall before dark tomorrow and will that ever be wonderful!! We have not fished because we do not want to waste any [time?], so I am trying to be creative with canned goodies and the last of the cheeses and bread. Please give big hugs to Catfish and Larry; wish we could skype but I don't think there is internet at all on this island. Just know that I am with you in spirit. Tell Catfish to pass on some hugs to Rocky, Annie, and Mary as well. I thought about us at the hospital waiting for Tori to be born and am amazed how much of our lives we have spent together. I am so glad you have been here on this planet with me. I will sailmail you next when we arrive. Overall this experience has pushed us to the limits in so many ways, and thank goodness we are about to sail into the beautiful safe harbor, drop anchor, and hopefully share cold beers with some fellow cruisers. I believe this journey is just the  beginning of realizing the dream......think of where we are now. WOW! Paradise, here we come! We send everyone lots of love. Thanks for being there. I luv u

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Suzi's Birthday Message

On this Celebration of Life Day I want to tell everyone special in my life how thankful I am. Thank you for all the love and kindness over the many years; I am so fortunate. We are limited to 90 minutes of sailmail a week, and propagation has been taking so long, we decided to wait a day. We've had great wind, 20 -25 knots pushing us rapidly cross blue water, but big waves continue to knock us around. The Sidewinder dance has been difficult to get into, but we are doing the best we can. Sunshine and blue skies embrace us as we make good progress, and we are getting better at putting the spinnaker pole up and down with the jib, given the rollie conditions on the foredeck. Night watches with starry skies and the exhilarating energy of the seas fill my consciousness, and on this birthday I celebrate an awareness of being alive, enhanced by the circumstances. Enthusiasm gets lost when the weary body tires of the side to side continuous dance, but we do seem to find it again, especially when the seas bless us with a little bit of calmness every once in a while.  Thank goodness I only wanted  to do this passage once in my life! Location: S 07 56  W 131 42.7  We have 447.2 NMi to Fatu Hiva; perhaps we will arrive Friday afternoon. Ah.......that puts a big smile on my face!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Day 15

Location: S 06 degrees 54 min   W 127 degrees 16 min    Looks like we're about 712 NMi from Fatu- Hiva, our first island landing. It looks wonderful, and that is where Freedom is as of yesterday morning. Hanavave Bay is known for its dramatic beauty with the pillars of rock sculpted by nature to form "protrusions that bring to mind the suggestive symbol of virility." Its name use to mean Bay of Penis but the missionaries changed it to the Bay of Virgins. Love those guys! It is known for its petroglyphs in the village of Omoa, along with local art including tapas and wood and stone sculptures. The valley is stunning, and I hope to explore a little. No matter what, it will be soooo nice to stop and just soak up the exotic paradise before us.  More rock'n'roll than one could ever want along, but we do have brilliant blue skies and good wind. Sidewinder is certainly doing her best to sidewind the sea on course. Hope all is well. Love you all. Suzi

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 13 & 14

Skies are mostly blue, so the vast ocean, too, is its usual brilliant blue. The waves are smaller but are coming from everywhere, so Sidewinder has been doing the rock 'n roll dance all night and day. Used to think I loved dancing night and day, but maybe it would be quite nice to stop!

Yesterday we had a day off, cruising quite easily with good wind and following seas, sparkling sun to warm freshly clean bodies, and time to catch up on rest; it seems to be the most difficult part of long passages, getting used to watches and keeping yourself from wearing out. Flying fish still keep us highly entertained, a little cribbage helps us relax, and David is very funny when he makes faces through his new beard.

Trying to cook with the motion is quite challenging, and today might be the last day of somehow resurrecting the food that has now thoroughly thawed. After barbecuing this afternoon, David thinks he may be eating steaks, hamburgers, chicken and sausage nonstop until he pukes; we laugh at the thought of him gaining all his weight back in two days! The biggest frustration is not being able to save anything more than a day. Oh well. We certainly are not starving!

The sea birds out here seem to never have to flap their wings as they glide effortlessly riding the thermals off of the waves; it's amazing to think about how far away they are from land. I wonder where they sleep or do they? Finally we have a little time this afternoon to nap, read, write, and reflect..... Love you mucho

Day 14  Location: S 06 48' and W 124 04'  Hi there, buddy!  Yesterday afternoon brought awesome sleigh-ride conditions with the pole holding up our headsail. Ah, such moments of bliss to fill the soul. The late evening winds picked up, along with the bumps and chop, making the night watch intense side to side motion, which is difficult for Auto.  Being on the helm brings back a vision of riding four huge stallions who are running wild behind beautiful ocean waves ( do you remember that print of a painting you gave me long ago?) I thoroughly enjoy the experience but get quite tired after a few hours. David and I are enjoying the dance of supporting each other in many different ways; I think this is enhancing our friendship big-time. He is such a salty dog these days; you should see his beard!  Love to Leon and Margo with blessings for their wonderful journey. Love to Paula; I hope your stay was great. Love to all.  I miss you, buddy. Cross your fingers we can send this today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 12

Howdy Kris- David here for a minute or so until my coffee is ready. We are presently at 06 degrees 10 minutes So.  and 119 degrees 07 minutes West. We have gone about 1712 miles and have about 1197 to go. For an average speed of 5.5 knts. The seas are a little less rolly today and the sky is clear and beautiful.  Poor Suzi's arms are not looking good these days from getting thrown from one side of the galley to the other. She has cuts and bruises on both arms and looks like she was in a knife fight and lost. But her face is as beautiful as ever so maybe she won that fight after all. I'll let her take over from here and I'll go spell her at the helm as we are giving the auto helm a breather; these bumpy seas make it work over time. Give my love to all the clansmen and you take care. Thanks for doing the updates with the google map and all; it's so cool people can follow us across. 

Ah! A magical clear day, warm sunshine, intense blue water, steady warm wind, and somewhat following seas........that's just what both of us needed as we begin the 12th day of our amazing journey across the Pacific Ocean. Yesterday we were fit to be tied, trying to put our reefed main back up after dropping her the previous night from hell when we had 25+ strong winds and needed to rely a shortened headsail to lessen the load; this helped lighten the helm and slow us down but also led to uncontrollable rolling from side to side. Squalls were constant that night, but luckily yesterday's sunshine helped give us back some strength. Sloppy seas continued throughout the day but it felt much better to have the main back up with the full headsail.

Yesterday afternoon I lost it; after cooking beets and making the last fresh food salad for dinner, I opened the port for a moment to get some air and Sidewinder rolled; I was immediately hit full on by a wave of salt water and was thrown across the galley with the beets flying. Luckily the rest of the food was secured.  I yelled obscenities, David came to help me, and we both decided we wanted to be home, quiet, peaceful, sitting on the back deck with tequila, watching the sunset on Cinco de Mayo. Glad Fergie and Jo Jo are there to do it for us! Today is a much nicer day, and we are back into the spirit of the adventure. We love you all mucho!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 11

Short message today as we are low in energy and praying for sunshine to poke its way out of the clouds long enough to generate some solar power. We will send out this afternoon. So far the winds are holding and the seas are still allowing us to move toward our destination with relative ease, although the waves are still enjoying the nudging, washing machine action which could get annoying if you wanted to go there. We are both steering much of the time, since it is difficult for the auto pilot and the monitor wind vane to get a sense of balance from Sidewinder. (She is definitely earning her name and it isn't her fault!) When the sun shines, it lights up the world of vast blue ocean and gives us a chance to soak up the Vit D and take a deep breath. Watching the shiney silver and blue flying fish get air off of waves is such a trip. Life is good for now as we eat our way toward the Marquesas. :) Love you

Location at 4:00 PM (beginning of Day 11)  S 5 degrees 51 min   W 114 30min

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 10

Hi there!  Location this morning is: S 5 12.5 min and W 111 35.6 min. We have approx. 1,649 NMi left to go. YAHOO!  Yesterday afternoon was a wonderful relaxing time to pull off all the wet, clammy clothes and take freshwater showers with sun basking to follow. Squalls again came along and doused us big-time early in the evening, but by midnight the seas were pretty calm, and Sidewinder slithered along in sleigh-ride style with waning moon and stars above us. Our watches were delightful, enhanced again by iPod tunes delighting our individual souls.

Morning brought puffy clouds, lumpy seas, 10- 14 kt winds, and warm sunshine, making my daily morning meditation on the cabin-top more special. Clouds are again upon us as we fully realize just how much we need to pay attention to every moment because it changes continually. Ah, the sun just appeared again! We are fascinated by the ongoing races between the flying fish; always leaving together, it seems each one strives to make it as far as they can, and believe me, many of them are incredible in speed and distance, banking off of waves and diving at the last possible minute. We must admit, we are entertained easily these days.   Love you, Suzi and David

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Days 8 & 9

Pretty funky rainy day yesterday with Sidewinder feeling like she was in a washing machine. Today is a little better with some sun possibilities on the horizon but the seas still mixed up. Maybe the sleigh ride in the tropical sun will come as we get closer to paradise?!

As the freezer warms we are going to be eating as much as we can (actually, Capt David has quite a job ahead of him to eat all the meat we had frozen! He is already so slim and trim, it won't hurt him to bulk up for the sushi fast at the end ) is off limits for now. Wish I had given Jodie my three pounds of shrimp! There is still some ice left inside, so my fingers are crossed that it will be good for a few more days. Fresh food is on its last leg but we have no complaints; we are certainly fat and happy so far.

We worked most of rainy yesterday in the cockpit on our auto helm, which was sounding quite laborious and found that the bolts holding it in place were way loose. The capt. greased Auto, and I got small and replaced bolts that had bottomed out and tightened them all with appropriate nuts through an impossible little hole. PHEW! Guess at least I am good for something in this amazing mechanical yachting world.

Didn't sailmail yesterday cause we had so much to do and were also very tired when we had free moments so we took turns and slept. Our present location is:  S 04  33.2   W 108 40.8  So far we have sailed (mostly) 1,076 NMi and have about 1,851 to go. A Cappella and Freedom are almost there. YAHOO! Love to you, S&D