Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hiva Oa to Archipel Des Tuamotu and Rangiroa 2007

Hiva Oa to Rangiroa04/09/07 – Underway again.

Got up and did the final checks, we were not in a great hurry to leave so we had a leisurely breakfast and did a final water run making sure that we had plenty of water. We retrieved the stern anchor and then hauled up the dinghy and at 0945 hours we weighed anchor, Leigh had done the same and he led the way out of Hiva Oa. Once in open water we both set the sails, there was a good breeze and we were off, Leigh headed south-east and we headed south-west as we started to lose sight of each other Leigh called up on the radio and wished us well as we did him. We headed between Hiva Oa and Tahuata islands it was not as rough as it was when we went to the bay to clean the bottom at Tahuata the week before, it was good sailing and we were going about 7 to 8 knots. Going passed Tahuata the wind dropped in places due to the wind being shielded by the mountains; we just enjoyed the view as we slowly sailed past. Once away from the island we picked up to 8-9 knots but as the day drew on the wind died and we were down to 6 knots.
 (Leigh in the distance as we leave Hiva Oa)
(Through the passage between the two islands)

At 1745 hours we had the radio sched, Leigh was just arriving at Fatu Hiva, he was a mile out of the bay, and had to go and get ready to anchor, he said the bay looked beautiful. We talked to Cameron on Timella, he said they had made good time with the winds that he was having, he was going around 6-7 knots which is really good for his yacht. We will be having the radio scheds daily at 0830 and 1745 hours Hiva Oa local time. This ensures that contact is made and we each know that everyone is safe.

05/09/07 – Second day out, good winds gone

During the early hours the wind changed from 120 to 90 degrees, this gives us the tail wind we don’t want. We are now down to 3.5 to 5 knots as the day went on the wind become variable causing the main to jibe; fortunately I have a preventer on so that I can ease the boom across without it slamming across.

Back into the 4 hours on 4 hours of will take a couple of days to get used to it again but we do not have the long treks like we had previous, we are looking at around six days for this leg. We will have to change our clocks again soon to minus 10 hours UTC or GMT time. This makes it Oz Eastern Time 0700 hours, 1200 hours our time, this makes us 20 hours earlier than your time.

Had the radio sched with the other yachts, Leigh said that Fatu Hiva has the best bay he has ever anchored in, he said it was stunning; the only problem is that it is a rocky bottom and he would be setting a second anchor before going ashore. Cameron on Timella is also having to motor sail has no wind at all; Sharon’s broken toe is a lot better the swelling has gone down. However, like all injuries it is the first place that you bump or someone else does and that is easy to do on a yacht that rocks. Another Oz yacht on the net was “Why Knot” Ross, he is a long time friend of Leigh’s and is heading towards Bora Bora.

06/09/07 – You cannot please a sailor

It’s either too rough or too calm, you cannot please us. The weather is actually beautiful sun is shining the sea is calm and rich blue in colour. Yesterday was slow but we did cover 126.9 Nms for the day. It has given me a bit of a chance to experiment with the sails using the rope blocks that I got off Leigh. I tried to wing on wing with the main out one side and the Genoa out the other, this was good for a short while, but I need a whisker pole to make it work. The Genoa kept collapsing under low wind speed.

We decided to change tack and push further west to get more out of the light breeze, changing tack a few times may benefit in the long term, and this was going well until just before midnight. As I was writing up the 2300 hour log readings I heard the boom go against the preventer, the wind had changed suddenly. The wind was changing from side to side, this was too much for George (auto pilot), and he threw in the towel again. I grabbed the helm and changed course to a deeper port tack to stablise the sail then get George back on the job. The wind continued to shift and shortly after Nancy came on watch at midnight the wind disappeared completely and we had to motor sail.

The last few nights we have seen these jelly fish around the boat, they glow a green colour, it is quite eerie seeing these glowing green lights floating passed the boat in the dark of the night, they come in very large groups and they probably show up more because there is no moon and it is pitch black dark. (No I have not been on the grog; it’s a dry ship at sea. Maybe that’s the problem). No they are for real.

The radio sched Leigh informed us that he had left Fatu Hiva, the Gendarmes had stopped him and asked for his passport, and Leigh had said it was on board. The problem is that Leigh has not been able to clear in as yet because he has not been able to get his money from the bank. This is a common problem in Hiva Oa. The Gendarmes in Hiva Oa were not really concerned, they just say clear in when you have paid your bond. Leigh said the money should be sent to the bank by the time he gets to Rangiroa and he will clear in there. Leigh was going to some of the eastern atolls but he said that he could come up with the same problem so he will head straight for Rangiroa and clear in. He was getting good winds and had covered quite a bit of ground. We will probably see him at Rangiroa as we will get there on Sunday morning, (Monday in Oz), and Leigh will get there on the day after.

07/09/07 -  2240 hours

Back into the sea routine again, sleeping better when off watch, that is the best gauge. It is a quiet night still motor sailing unfortunately, each time the wind picks up I stop the engine then start it again when the wind drops away.

The radio sched tonight was a bit scratchy with interference, but that’s the way it goes. We cannot complain really as Leigh is 180 Nms away, Cameron is 230 Nms, and Ross is 320 Nms to the south west. All was well with everyone, Leigh was still getting wind, Cameron, and we were not.

We did have a little wind in the afternoon where I was able to shutdown the engine, I took the opportunity to check the engine oil and water levels and actually found that a water hose had worn through and was leaking water so I repaired that. Also had one of the shower water sump pumps fail, I will look at that one when we anchor.

(Another sun sets)
I once read when researching whether we wanted to do this boating thing that the definition of cruising is repairing your boat in exotic locations. I believe this. We do put all these working parts under the worst conditions, salt air, salt water, and throwing them around like inside a washing machine. One bloke said to me in Grenada, “You need three of everything, one working, one spare, and one in the repair shop”.

At least we knew what we were going into, we had nearly eight years of research, talking to yachties when we had the chance, the Cruising Helmsman magazine is another good research asset as there are stories of others experiences. Ange is getting those for me at the moment, hope she is having a good read; I will have a bit of reading when I get back.

08/09/07 – Archipel Des Tuamotu

As dawn approached we approached the first of the Tuamotu’s, these are atolls north of Tahiti.  We were passing Manihi atoll about two miles off the coast, the wind picked up slightly so I shut the engine down, it took all morning to get passed this atoll then the next was in view Ahe atoll, we went in a little closer to this atoll and scanned the coastline. There is not much land height above water level, the highest land would be no higher than a young adult palm tree that we can see from where we are. As we near the end of the atoll we change course slightly for Rangiroa, we should arrive there in the morning, we figure we sail under reefed Genoa will get us there under this light wind just before low tide which is at 0800 hours in the morning.
(as the sun goes down we prepare for another night)

As night falls upon us the wind picks up to 13 knots, we are going along at 6 to 8 knots under this reefed Genoa. It is wonderful when we do not really need the wind it turns up, but wont complain we get there early we will just have to sail around until we can enter. Rangiroa  is the largest atoll and has two passages  that are not very wide. When the tide changes it rips in and out at a rate of 8 knots causing turbulence in the water to as far out as a mile out to sea. Inside the atoll is another sea basically and can be quite rough in strong winds giving wave heights up to 2 metres. We will see what the night brings.

09/09/07 – Rangiroa

(Rangiroa on the horizon)

I came on watch at 0400 hours Nancy points out two glows in the sky ahead, the two villages of Rangiroa, we are 9 miles off the coast, we are still under the reefed Genoa going along at 7 knots, I reefed in more sail to slow us down some and changed course slightly to take some wind out of the sail. We were outside the pass at 0700 hours, we had a close look at the pass a the waves were turbulent and the rip was heading out to sea for around half a mile. I furled the Genoa and we turned into the wind and travelled along the coastline, had breakfast and then returned at 0800 hours, the turbulence appeared to be worse. I had hoped I had calculated the tide time correctly, I was aware that we may have to wait and extra hour or more for the outflow to catch up. I said to Nancy to give a call on the radio to see if there are other yachts inside that can give us some info. She did and a yachty answered, he was waiting to leave and the dive shop had told him it will be calm around 1100 hours. We thanked him and sailed back along the coast line to use up time. The next thing we were called up on the radio, it was Jerry and Cherry from Simatra, we had met in Hiva Oa, they were also waiting for the tide to leave, they said it was a shame that they were not staying to catch up with us again but would see us in Tahiti. Jerry also told us about the best place to go and there were moorings that we could use for free. We wished them well and thanked them, saying that we would see them in Tahiti.
(You can see how narrow the passage is, there is another passage like this and that is all there is for this atoll where it's waters are 35 Nms across one side to the other)
(Entering the passage and it is tame)
 (This is when Nancy asked me to look at her and smile, I don't think so)
(Looking back)
(The dive boat came out to make sure we are alright)
(A sandy island that we have to go around to where the mooring is)

We motored against the wind again up the coast and gauged the time, turned around put just a little sail out shut down the engine and slowly sailed back to the pass, when we got there it looked good and we headed in, as we entered and I was concentrating on the narrow waterway Nancy was taking photo’s, she says to me, “look this way and smile”, yeah right, “not just now darling” I said, or some words to that affect. Nancy said “sorry I was just having a blonde moment”.

As we entered the other two yachts were leaving we waved to the first and spoke to Simatra who was leaving second, we picked up a mooring, secured the boat, lowered the dinghy had a shower and went ashore to the resort that has the moorings to see if we were alright to stay. We had lunch there and a couple of coldies then went over to the village of Tiputa in the dinghy the other side of the pass. Being Sunday everything was closed. The people appear to be friendly, they do not appear to be well off like Hiva Oa, the dwellings are poorer looking, by the boat landing the local men were playing boule’s , similar to bowls only they use steel balls and they throw them in the air to land near the jack (if that’s what it is called).
 (Tiputa small boat harbour)
 (The men playing boule's)
(I like his style)

We watched for a while then headed back to the boat,  it was an interesting time getting passed the passage in the dinghy as the tide was starting to come in and the turbulence was a little nerving to get through. We were both a little tired, I had been going since 0400 hours, and as we had turned the clocks back 30 mins then really started at 0330 hours. We had dinner and listened to music with a couple of beers and went off to bed just after 2000 hours.

We had the radio sched, Leigh was just leaving the north of Ahe, and he had been in close fishing and said that he had some fish for us. That’s good my skills in fishing are not that good, we have put lines out with different lures and have not caught a bloody thing. Ross on Why Knot has arrived at Bora Bora, Cameron has had some wind getting along at 6 knots and should arrive at Bora Bora around 0800 hours in the morning.

10/09/07 – Rangiroa

We had a late start this morning as we sat at our laptops updating the notes for this blog and reducing photos after selecting which ones we would post. Leigh called up on the radio sched and said to call on Ch69 VHF as he was only outside the atoll waiting for the tide to enter the pass. He said one of the dive boats waved him in at 1030 hours. I got in the dinghy and helped him with the mooring ropes. These moorings we found out belong to the large tourist boats and you can use them when not in use but have to move if they arrive. Unfortunately last night about 1830 hours one turned up and Leigh had to move. He just anchored off our port beam.

We had a four mile dingy trip to Avatoru Village, which is the location of the other access, we went to have a look around, and Leigh needed to go to the bank to check if his money had come through. After waiting an hour in the que, that consisted of about seven people he was told he had to come back in the morning because the person in the main bank that deals with that is on a day off.
 (This is the resort where we are moored)

(We have sucker fish that like to swim in the shade of our boat)

 (Leigh and Jenny off to the bank to see if they have their problems fixed)
(Island time)

We have found in these islands that the bank the post office have one staff each, when a customer comes in they do not only conduct their business but they have a good chat and they do not do things very fast. At least the bank teller told Leigh to get there at 0800 hours before the women come in. Not that I am saying that women chat more, would I dare say that.

Anyway we had lunch at a little restaurant had a walk around and then hoped in the dinghy to go back, everyone got wet, the wind had picked up and the sea was choppy, we also run out of fuel as I brought the dinghy alongside the boat, well planned? No. Lucky? Yes.
We put some fuel in the tank and headed over to the resort for a coldie and to find out where we can get onto the internet. The resort has internet but only for their guests, there are two other places near the airport and we will visit in the morning. We all decided that we will take the dinghy to the resort and catch a cab we will stay drier.

Leigh gave us some of the fish he had caught so we invited them for dinner last night, we had a couple of coldies, dinner, and coffee and all turned in by 2130 hours.

 12/09/07 – Rangiroa

 (Waterside Cafe)
 (Gannets with a fish)
 (Bringing down the coconuts so they don't hit tourists)
 (The view from my bed in the cabin)
 (Map of Rangiroa)
 (The other passage water is running and people fish)
 (This is the second passage by Avaturo)

 (Powerful tourist boat going through the passage)
 (Tourist ship the Paul Gauguin)
 (Little and large, Paul Gauguin and Alana Rose)
(Three pretty ladies)

This morning after doing a few chores we went on to Leigh’s yacht “Mi Querida”, (which is Spanish for my mistress). Leigh wanted to show me the benefits of getting a spinnaker or whisker pole to pole out the foresail, so we sailed around the lagoon within the atoll of Rangiroa. When we got back we anchored and had lunch. After lunch we hired a couple of bikes from the resort and cycled into the village stopping on the way at an internet place to check on emails and I updated the blog with some photos. The village is four miles away so it was a decent ride there and back.

One of the amazing things at Rangiroa is the amount of vehicles, some being large 4x4’s one being a Hummer. The most distance they can travel is the four miles along a single road with a few short streets in the village of Avatoru itself. This is the same for the other side of the pass in the village of Tiputa. The vehicles have no way to travel between the two villages because of the pass. There are water taxis for travelling between the Tiputa and Avatoru. The small airport is busy two or three times a day with aircraft bringing in tourists or locals from Tahiti. The attraction to these atolls is the diving and the black pearls; they have a black pearl farm in Avatoru. There are plenty of places for tourist to stay, the two top of the range places is Kia Ora where we are anchored off or the Novetel resort. The resort staff tolerate us yachties, one of the staff said that all the facilities are for the guests not outsiders, but I guess our money is as good as anyone else’s.

The local people are very friendly, when you pass someone they always say with a big smile “bonjour”, and it is the same when you walk into a shop. The cost of living is very high and it makes you wonder how some of the people survive. Some catch fish and hang the fish on a timber rack on there front yard by the road to sell to people passing by. Some of the houses are in great need of repair; being so close to the salt water on both sides rusts out the colour bonded roofs. A lot of the older vehicles are suffering the same from the salt air.
(Check the rust in this 4x4)

Rangiroa is a beautiful place as you can see from the photos. One could spend quite a lot of time here sailing from location to location within the lagoon which is more like another ocean. There are eleven anchorages listed in the pilot guides that we have, the one we are at is the most sheltered, and it can be very uncomfortable at times. They say if you get winds from the south or west the waves can get as high as two metres. I don’t think I would like to be here for that. Once you are in here you cannot leave until the tide is right, so you could be trapped in when conditions are bad.

We are leaving tomorrow around lunch time on low tide and commence the trip to Tahiti which is about 200 Nms, so we should be there in two days. This will be the crunch time when we will have to decide what we are going to do in regard to where to leave the boat whilst we return to Oz for the wedding. Cyclone season is coming around and we do not want to be caught up in that. We may leave the boat for a month somewhere between here and Tonga, then return and make a run for it to New Zealand away from the cyclones. We may then either travel back to some of the islands that we have missed or return to Oz. We have the major repairs to the starboard gearbox and I think now that it would be better to replace the gearbox itself as I think it has got worse with the propeller turning as we sail along because we cannot lock it off by putting it in gear. The boat will also need a few other things to be done; I would like to replace many of the hoses on the boats systems such as the heads and sea water systems. So as you can see there are some decisions to be made.
 (Jenny and Leigh getting the drinks)
 (The resort dinning and bar room)
 (The usual sundowners)
 (A very nice beer and they come in 500ml bottles)
 (Unsettled weather coming time to move out, they say it is not a good place to be in strong winds)
(Another part of the resort)
Leigh and Jenny are staying here for around ten days, Leigh has a confirmed booking now for being hauled out in Raiatea he has until the 1 November to get there. We may catch up with him there if not I am sure we will catch up somewhere next year. When Leigh finally gets his yacht back to Oz, which may be next year, he said that he would like to go to some of the places that we would be at and catch up again if we do not bump into each other in the next month or so.

This is a great life although sometimes it has it’s moments with the rough seas and things that go wrong, but we have met some great people along the way and I suppose it relates to the sign I saw in a bar at Bonaire, “Vows made in storms are all forgotten in calm waters”. Isn’t that the truth?


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