Saturday, June 19, 2004

Arrival in Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

We arrived in Fatu Hiva last night, and woke to find out how spectacular these islands are. Total time for 3000 miles - 21 days - much faster than the Atlantic. We are anchored in Baie de Vierges The cliffs rise steeply around us and are completely covered in palms and other dense vegetation. There are bizarre basalt rock formations and a glimpse of a hidden valley though a gap in the cliffs at the head of the bay. We had a delicious, very welcome, and with our stores - very exotic, chicken curry on Bagpuss to celebrate our arrival (they had arrived earlier the same day). It’s a windy place – while having dinner their anchor dragged – luckily we dragged out of the bay. Great fun resetting the anchor in 30+ kts! We really enjoyed our first full night sleep in 3 weeks!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

En route: 2

On the basis that everyone really only wants to hear about things breaking and go wrong - I spent 4.5 hours working on the engine yesterday . The access to the engine is appalling and the sea-state is very rolly. I fell across the cabin on 2 occasions - choice language - and today am stiff and sore with 2 skinned knuckles. The engine was overheating and until it was fixed, we had limited means of charging the main batteries. Looks like it is ok now.

Right now we are about 1000 miles from the Marquesas - approx 2/3 of the way after 2 weeks. The weather has been very favourable and we have been making good speeds - our average daily run over the last 9 days is 150nm - faster than our max run on the atlantic. The twin head sails are really effective. We also got a generous amount of current - which made all the difference. We've seen several whale s - a sperm whale and a frisky humpback that hung around for about 3-4 hours. We have also caught 2 dorado and will probably put the line out again tomorrow. The nights have been great - the moon is now waning and will rise about 3:00am so it is not much good to us. The stars are fantastic, the southern cross is now high in the sky, as well as other unfamiliar ones. We can still see part of the Plough - now barely visible over the horizon.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

En route to Marquesas

We have done about 25% of the 3000 miles from the Galapagos to Marquesas, 6 days done. The sailing is great - 15kts of wind, broad reaching all the way so far. There is no swell like in the Atlantic so the motion of the boat is pleasant. We made 160 miles yesterday - which is a tie with our all-time record. The moon is full tonight and visibility is excellent. There are about 15 boats on the 3000 nm route at the moment, all spread out but in radio contact. It is quite a good community, and we know many of the yachts ahead of us. So far we have had an uneventful trip – we caught one dorado and had a close encounter with a frisky humpback whale - this lasted about 3-4 hours and then he lost interest. It made some very close passes, repeatedly swimming from dead behind us, turning on its back as it passed below so all we could see was a white blur, and then turning sharply in front of us – so sharply that its enormous tail flukes would break the surface – really impressive and a bit nerve-wracking. This is close to the area where the Robinsons “Lucette” and the Baileys yacht were lost to whale collisions.