Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Leaving Makemo

Makemo has been a wonderful place to visit, but it is time to get going. Can't believe we have been here over a week all ready!

Doug and his helpers!
We thought about exploring some of the anchorages in the lagoon, but decided to head to the island of Tahanea instead.

Going to have to come back though, the snorkeling is supposed to be excellent.

Kids - very entertaining

We leave today around 4pm to catch slack tide through the pass and will do an overnighter to Tahanea - only 78 miles - so we will be there in the morning.

There is going to be a caravan of cruisers - 5 boats all leaving at the same time heading to the same place! 

Relaxing on the beach

It has been nice getting to know our dock buddies and have enjoyed watching all of the cruising and local kids interact and entertain themselves. Love hearing the laughter!

Trying to sink the kayak
To celebrate Memorial Day, we organized a dock BBQ. Well, we didn't BBQ, but we did have a good time telling our stories and explaining the American holiday to our French friends. Plus, a good opportunity to practice our French.

Nice place to be

We don't have a lot of information about Tahanea, but sure it will be just as beautiful. Looking forward to doing some snorkeling and exploring while we are anchored in the next lagaoon.


We won't have internet coverage again until possibly Tahiti. So no pictures for awhile, but I will be able to update the blog.

Hope you are all well - miss you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Voila' - pictures!

Yes, we made it and we are very happy to be in Makemo, Tuamotus!

Made it - Makemo

And what a wonderful place it is – a big lagoon surrounded by a coral reef. The coral reef is actually lots of small islands (motus).

The village of Pouheva is much bigger than we expected with stores, a restaurant, post office, and it is just a short walk away. Plus, the wharf – a free place to stay!

Land ho - Makemo

Our first view of Makemo – just like a postcard. The lighthouse, white beaches, and the beautiful water - an amazing site for cruisers who have been at sea for days.

Dennis and Carol enjoying the "aquarium"

The water around our boat is just like an aquarium – clear, colorful, warm water filled with lots of fish. And lots and lots of coral!

Relaxing in Makemo

As you can see, we settled right in. There is only room for 6 boats at the dock and we quickly met everyone. We had a very nice greeting and thoroughly enjoyed the free fish and bread that we received on our arrival.

Makemo kids

Most of the boats docked beside us are loaded with kids, which attracts all of the local kids. They are having a great time – as you can see. Plus, all of the cruisers are very generous with our goodies – fruits, candies, and tours of the boats. The dock is a great place to hang out!

Calou passing us and Ua Pou Island

We have been doing some exploring, plus working on a view projects. We are waiting for a slow-moving weather system to pass us. But, we don’t mind – Makemo is a very nice place to be stuck!

My view from Moondance

Tonight is movie night (with a dinner) at the local community center – can’t miss that.

Hopefully, Monday we will be able to move on. Our destination: one of the anchorages in the lagoon. We want to explore the beaches and do some snorkeling and fishing.

So we aren’t going very far, but are expecting wonderful things!

Dennis - Star fruit bounty

Below are some of the photos from our hike up to the Vaipo waterfall – an amazing place!

Resting after the hike

Vaipo Waterfall

Doug enjoying the waterfall

Tiki along the path

Carol - hiking to the waterfall

Beautiful surroundings

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Docked at Makemo - yesterday...

Sorry, I should have updated the blog yesterday, but we were busy having too much fun!

After a night of sailing around the atoll dodging rainstorms, we were able to motor through the pass into the Makemo lagoon. What a ride - I thought we were in the Bermuda triangle! We were a little early on our slack time estimate and the waters from the lagoon and the sea were churned up for sure. But, Doug did an excellent job of manning the wheel and guiding us through the pass (which was surrounded by coral!).

The lagoon is beautiful and huge - 40 miles long and 10 miles wide. If I didn't know better, I would think we were in the Bahamas. Amazing, but there is a dock here that we are allowed to tie up to for free and we had lots of help from other cruisers (thank goodness) parallel parking Moondance in very small spot. As always, Doug was calm and cool!

We spent the day catching up with our friends on Evergreen and Calou, plus meeting other cruisers. You know you are in a wonderful place, when one boat introduces themselves and hands you a bag of fresh Marlin and another gives you a fresh baquette. Gotta love cruisers!

Makemo is just what you picture when you think of a South Pacific island - clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches lined with coconut palms, and lots of coral - the snorkeling should be excellent. We explored the village of Pouheva and were surprised to find a well-stocked grocery store, bakery, and the locals very helpful. The bakery even delivered our order this morning - fresh chocolate, apple, and plain croissants. Delicious!

We are going to be here for a few days - resting up, provisioning, and exploring. Plus, since we are docked, it is a good time to send Doug up the mast to see if we can rescue our spinnaker halyard.

I should be able to post pictures soon. There's internet here - who knew!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 3 - Getting closer

Yeah, and all is well on board!

We only have 59 miles to go - what a quick trip! Unfortunately, we won't get to Makemo early enough today to hit afternoon slack tide at 5 PM. So, we have slowed our pace and will spend the night looping around or hove-to (which just means backfilling the sails to stop the boat). Either way, we will definitely make the 11 AM slack tide on Monday.

Our friends on Evergreen and Calou are trying to reach Makemo this afternoon, so they will be able to give us lots of assistance when we enter tomorrow. There are advantages to being last place! We are going to have to get used to narrow passes in to the atoll lagoons and watching out for coral heads. It will be a challenge, but we will get the hang of it.

The trip has gone well so far - we haven't broken anything (yet) and the weather and wind have been good. We did get lots of rainstorms yesterday that kept us on our toes, but they were mild and Moondance got a good bath. There definitely has not been any gourmet cooking on this trip - the galley wench has been on vacation!

Hopefully, we will be able to post some pictures one of these days when we get internet access. Maybe Tahiti?

We just wanted to wish our brother-in-law, Eric, a very Happy 40th Birthday! Wish we were there to celebrate (and golf) with you today, plus chocolate cake - yum!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 2 - Well, that will teach me...

On my watch last night, I was thinking how nice our trip has been. Good winds, seas are flattening out, we haven't had to adjust our sails or change our course for hours, and we are making good time. What a treat!

Well, at 4 AM, a storm came through. Not a bad storm, but we had to make some adjustments to the sails and throw everything below that we didn't want to get wet. Since then, we have gone from no wind to a little wind. We had to turn on our motor for awhile, but now we are sailing again and hope that the wind continues to pick up.

So, as my nephew Ryan once said (when he was very young), don't count your chickens before they hatch!

But, all is still well on board Moondance! We sailed 140 miles in the last 24 hours and only have 204 miles to go. We definitely won't make Makemo early, but should hit the pass at slack tide on Monday.

Looking forward to it!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 1 - Good winds

All is well on board Moondance!

We have definitely had good winds for sailing. After 24 hours, we traveled 162 miles with 344 miles to go. We are happy with our progress so far. Of course, with the good winds comes the lumpy seas, so missed out on some sleep and were tired today. Oh well! The seas seem to be settling down some, but hope we don't lose our good wind. We would like to keep up this pace so that we reach Makemo a day early. The tricky part, the passes into the island can only be entered at slack tide so you have to have good timing or wait until the next day - wish us luck!

Other than that, nothing exciting to report. We spent the day getting organized, stashing our bounty of fruit, and napping. Fun, fun, fun!

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuamotus here we come!

Yup, we are finally leaving the Marquesas. We had a great time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and wonderful people, but it is time to get moving.

We spent 2 days exploring and provisioning in Baie d' Hakahua on the island of Ua Pou. We met the nicest native lady there - she picked and picked and sent us on our way with bags of delicious fruit, but wouldn't except any money. We will be sure to visit her on our way north this fall and repay her kindness!

Our amigos on Evergreen and Calou are traveling with us - we are bringing up the rear - of course! We are all headed to Makemo in the Tuamotus. This archipelago consists of 78 islands, all but two of them are coral atolls. Everything we read talks about the beautiful water, white sandy beaches, and excellent snorkeling. Of course, they mention the sharks too, but I am ignoring that part. I am such a chicken!

Our trip to Makemo is almost 500 miles. We should get their Monday - which is just 4 overnighters. After our last trip, this should be a piece of cake! Of course, we will really miss having Brian on board with us. He was such great crew!

We plan to spend approximately 1 month exploring as many of the islands in the Tuamotus as we can and then off to Tahiti. Looking forward to it all!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Baie de Taioa (or Daniel's Bay) Nuku Hiva

Well, we finally got moving! We only went 5 miles, but at least we are moving again. We spent two nights anchored in Baie de Taioa (Daniel's Bay) along with our buddies from Evergreen. The bay is surrounded by high steep mountains that are just amazing - what a view from our little boat.

We all decided to hike up to the Vaipo waterfall - the books say it is the 3rd highest waterfall in the world. It is a good walk, about 2.5 hours each way, but not very steep just very rocky. I don't know how many times we crossed the river, but it felt good. The ancient Marquesans that used to live up by the waterfall had quite a hike when they wanted fresh fish for dinner.

It was definitely worth the trip though. The waterfall cascades about 2,000 feet into a beautiful rocky pool. A great place to swim and cool off - we guessed the water was about 75 degrees which kept us cool all the way back to the bay. Being that close to the waterfall splashing around down on you was very impressive and loud!

The local folks along the path were very nice to us - offering bananas and helping us find the path. Wish we could have stayed longer, but we left yesterday for the island just south - Ua Pou - which was about a 25 mile motor/sail. We are sorry to report that no fish were caught! We are currently anchored in Baie d' Hakahua where we will spend a couple of days exploring. They have a pizza parlor that we just have to check out tonight - why not?

Next stop (we think) the Tuamotu atolls. Looking forward to seeing those crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches!

Hope everyone is well - we miss you.

PS: Pictures will follow as soon as we have an internet connection again.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Road trip!

We joined the Evergreen crew and rented a 4-wheel drive pickup for a jaunt around the island - and we needed the 4-wheel drive! These mountain roads/trails are pretty rough and steep, but we enjoyed ourselves.
At the top - ugh!
We wanted to drive all around the island, but we didn't make it very far.


The view of the bays and the mountains were spectacular, so we made lots of stops.

Church - Hatiheu
We drove to the small town of Hatiheu - a beautiful little town (on a beautiful bay) on the north side of the island.

Taiohae Bay - what a view!
And then, our big hike over to Anaho Bay and what a hike it was. It took us over an hour (each way) to traverse all of the switchbacks and there was lots of stopping along the way - especially by me.

Anaho - beautiful beach
But, it was worth it. Anaho Bay has a white sandy beach, a coral reef, and was surrounded by steep mountains. Everything you would expect and want from a South Pacific island.

Josh and Carol resting...
The water visibility wasn't great, so Dennis was the only one to go snorkeling. He said that there was lots of coral and fish. Of course, he didn't see the small shark along the beach that we spotted. Those things are everywhere!

This will be a wonderful anchorage to visit as we start our journey north to Hawaii this Fall, plus we still need to see the rest of the island.

We are ready to leave Taiohae bay tomorrow.  Daniel's Bay (Hakatea Bay) will be our first stop and another big hike up to see the waterfall (if I make it!).  Then the island of Ua Pou and on to the Tuamotus.  We probably won't have internet connection for awhile, but we will be able to update the blog (without pictures).  So stay tuned!

We wanted to share this message from our crew, Brian:  " I want to thank you again for the incredible opportunity and experience that the crossing was for me but as much fun as you 2 are my heart wasn't in it. Being home here with Fern I know my decision to leave early was the correct one. I love you both and will miss your company and if you're ever in La Paz you'll know where you can find me. To all you mariners out there....you rock.  And for all you non-mariners out there, if you think it's an easy life, go get your head examined."   

Friday, May 13, 2011

Nuku Hiva

It is hard to believe, we have been here almost two weeks. Time is going way too fast! But we are really enjoying the island, the people, plus catching up with all of our cruiser buddies. Tiki Land for sure! Besides working on projects and being social, we have been playing tourist.

Tiki Land
Pae Pae is on the water front and has sculptures and tiki's (sacred statues) made by local artists and artists from Easter Island.

Just wish we had some one to explain the history and the symbolism!

Notre-Dame Cathedral
The Notre-Dame Cathedral of the Marquess Islands was beautiful - just wish we could have seen the inside - next time.

The Cathedral was built using the stones from the other islands in the archipelago, plus amazing wood carvings.

What a place to attend church!

Beautiful Pearl Lodge
We have checking out the 2 restaurants in town - the Pearl Lodge is beautiful and has an amazing view of the bay.

There are also some diners around the dock, plus the roulotte's (roach coaches) serve great food. We are trying to eat like the locals!

tohua Koueva archaeological site
We had a good hike up to the tohua Koueva archaelogical site. A sacred place where the ancient Marquesans lived.

Amazing site surrounded by tikis, banyan trees, and lots of fruit trees.

Star fruit tree

Loved the Star fruit tree, plus the mangos, lime, pamplemousse (like grapefruit), and banana trees.

We are having a great time foraging for our fruit!

Fresh fish!
The local fisherman at work - now that is fresh! We bought ahi tuna fillets for less than $3 a pound. We think that is a pretty good deal.

Scary part - the fisherman throw the leftovers to the sharks. Oh my! They were thrashing around less than 5 feet from the dinghy. I was petrified!

Doug trekking
We have definitely enjoyed the wonderful town of Taiohae, but it is time to get moving. Projects and provisioning are almost done - yeah.

Next stop - Daniel's Bay and a hike up to the see the waterfall - if I make it!

PS:  Our crew member, Brian, flew back to La Paz.  We enjoyed the time we spent with him and appreciated all of his help during the cross.  Miss you Brian!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pictures - finally!

Sorry for the delay, but we are just getting the hang of things around here. Internet is expensive, but we were able to find free access from the boat - it is very slow, but it will do. Don't tell anyone!

Puddle Jumpers celebrating!
There are several other Puddle Jumpers in Nuku Hiva, so we organized a Meet - n - Greet. It was fun listening to everyone tell their stories.

Anchored in Nuku Hiva

Some folks had an easy ride; some folks struggled.

So far, the longest trip declared was 35 days. I am so glad that wasn't us!

Hoisting our French flags - Land Ho!

This has been an excellent place to recover, work on projects, and provision.

It is a lovely town and very easy to walk around.

Getting closer (and warmer!)

Our only complaint, the fresh veggie market starts at 4AM on Saturdays; 6AM on Wednesdays.

Saving the evil spinnaker!
And if you don't get there on time, you won't get the goods. What's up with that?

But, if you do get up early, you can get a fresh chocolate croissant and fresh baguettes (which are delivered in crates everyday). Okay, not so bad!

Flying the evil spinnaker
We have checked in with the Gendarmes, cleared Customs, and gone to Medical for our free Elephantitis pills (don't ask).

Beautiful rainbows!
That should be the end of our "official" duties except for checking out when we leave Nuku Hiva.

We have checked out the 2 restaurants, 2 grocery stores, and the hardware store, plus have been doing some sightseeing.

Heading into a squall
Our projects are going well, but we did have quite a list. Doug was able to figure out why our generator was giving us grief - the fuel pump had failed and the generator wasn't getting enough fuel. It is fixed and running just fine.

My workspace!
The jib seams have been restitched - thanks to the local sail loft (Eric and Daphne).

Doug needs to go up the mast and re-run the spinnaker halyard and check the jib masthead and furler.

We will wait for a calm day before doing this project!

Fresh Yellowfin Tuna - yum

We hope to have everything ship-shape by the middle of next week.

We want to visit a couple of other bays on Nuku Hiva and then sail to the Tuamotos.

There are several other islands in the Marquesas that we want to see, but we will see them when we start sailing North to Hawaii later this year.

Doug and Brian bundled and tethered
I know, I have been chatting for a long time, but it has been a week and I guess I have lots to say!

Thanks for all of your support and wonderful comments along the way.

We just got to read them and loved them all.

Leaving Cabo San Lucas
We miss everyone and think of you all of the time.

Come and see us sometime!

PS:  It's kind of a rainy day.  You know what that means?  No laundry today - Yahoo!