Sailing Through Paradise: Hilo, Hawaii to Rangiroa, Tuamotus
Leg #4, June 1997
June 29, 1997, 1200
02 06' N, 146 47'W, Log 4777, Water Temp 85.5F
Broad reaching in 17kts of NNE winds at a comfortable 7.5 kts
ETA Rangiroa: 7.5 days, Sunday PM. 24 hr runs: 142, 152, 158, 160, 159,
Gloriously consistent tradewinds have found Mahina Tiare's crew enjoying
storybook sailing conditions; wind abaft the beam, smooth sailing and days
that don't seem long enough and star filled nights under the Southern Cross.
The often testy ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) between the NE and
SE tradewind belts amounted to only a day of overcast (cooler) conditions
and a couple of good washdown showers. We had been planning (on Jimmy Cornell's
advice in World Cruising Routes) to sail SE in order to cross the equator
at 145 W, but after analyzing weatherfax charts from Honolulu and Auckland
decided yesterday to change course directly to Rangiroa, as the possibility
of SE headwinds seemed slight. This was confirmed last night when the midnight
watched spotted a weak and distant light. After a general call on VHF Ch
16, we had a great chat with the Duat II, a 41' Cheoy Lee sloop enroute
from Bora Bora to Hilo and home to Vancouver, B.C. Duat's skipper said
that they have encountered only fresh NE winds since leaving the Society
Islands and that El Nino conditions are prevailing west of Tahiti with
the South Pacific Convergence Zone sitting uncharacteristically over the
Societies, bringing squally weather and stronger winds than normal.
The days seem to pass so quickly! Each morning we concentrate on one
subject. This morning we covered landfall, tidal current, anchoring and
dealing with customs upon landfall. Amanda spent two mornings teaching
both three-strand and yachtbraid splicing, and everyone got it!
Leg 2 crew learning splicing.
Two mornings ago we covered storm procedures, practiced heaving to and
deploying 300' of 3/4" warp astern in a U, as we would if we needed
to slow Mahina Tiare III down in downwind storm conditions. This afternoon
before heaving-to for a mid-ocean swim we will deploy our Galerider and
Delta drogues off the stern to try another method of slowing a surfing
boat down in storm conditions. We have an extensive list of things to do
(besides exploring ashore) once we are anchored inside Rangiroa's turquoise
lagoon including coral piloting, anchoring (we will be testing three new
anchors) trips to the masthead for rig inspection.
Rangiroa is a favorite spot of mine, and I'm looking forward to this
visit just as much as in 1975, six or seven visits ago! This is the second
largest coral atoll in the world, a necklace of palm trees, white sandy
beaches and awash reefs, with only 1000 residents subsisting on mostly
coconuts and fish. There are a few small guest houses and a hotel consisting
of thatch huts on the beach - a real South Seas dream island! Most of our
crew are scuba divers and are looking forward to diving the pass with a
local dive operator. Visibility to 200', 85 degree water and hundreds (sometimes
thousands) of sharks as well as brilliant corals and tropical fish are
a compelling attraction.
Back aboard, we have only 122 miles to the equator and a ceremony, complete
with certificates (courtesy of John Graham, Leg 1, former ship's captain)
verifying the initiation that will turn our crew of Pollywogs into Shellbacks.
Who are these Pollywogs?
Fiji Goss, 22 and a pre-med student from Boulder has grown up spending
summers racing and cruising the Maine coast on his families 51' Sand sloop.
Always positive and eager to learn and pitch in.
Jose Furia, 31 a Microsoft Software Design Eng. from Brazil, but living
near Seattle - wants to learn everything and dreams of cruising someday.
Missing his 4 yr old daughter Luiza.
Randy Quarry, 45 is waiter and bartender from Seattle who is planning
on buying a cruising boat and sailing to warmer waters to show his 7.5
yr old daughter, Gemma some of the world.
Rick Ellis, 46 is a strategy consultant from Victoria, Canada who is
planning departing within the next two years for Mexico and the South Pacific
with his wife Dyan on their 38' sloop.
John Kutschka, celebrating his 50th on this adventure is a sales engineer
in the biotech industry who is planning on buying a larger boat and setting
off on cruising adventures with his wife Lauren in 2000.
Joe Eisele, a 50ish lawyer from Idaho and SoCal who can talk and tell
jokes at least 20 hrs per day says hi to his 8 yr old son Nik and his friend
Corey. Well, that's it from Paradise! Next update will be from the South
Pacific, closing in on Rangiroa.
To The Next Log Entry:
Log #5 - 7/05/97