Leg 3 - 2004 Hilo, Hawaii; Rangiroa, Tuamotus; Papeete, Tahiti
Bombed by a Booby!
July 19, 2004
1200 15.45N, 152.12W Log: 78,947 miles
Baro: 1015 Cabin: 84F Cockpit: 87F
Close reaching at 7 knots in 18 knot ENE winds, double-reefed main and genoa
We were sailing along nicely yesterday morning when there was a tremendous explosion on top of the hard dodger. A tired booby bird looking for a place to rest had crashed into the tricolor/anchor light fixture on our masthead, knocking it out of its base. The entire assembly smashed into the dodger, exploded, then the metal remains bounced onto Cynthia's head! Fortunately she was wearing a hat and wasn't injured, but now we have no masthead tricolor light at night.
Our crew arrived at the gate to Hilo harbor at noon on Friday, and by that afternoon we had cleared out with customs and the harbormaster. After starting our orientation we enjoyed a superb dinner together at Café Pesto in Hilo's colorful and historical downtown district.
Saturday morning was rather relaxing. We took last showers, phoned home, finished orientation and Amanda and I said farewells to our Hilo friends Gwen and Mike (they bought us a wonderful basket of local goodies we'll definitely enjoy and remember the Big Island by.) At noon we set sail in winds that have been consistent in the 15-22 knot range. We've managed to get a considerable amount of easting with an initial goal to reach 10N, 150W (same longitude as Tahiti) and have only 366 miles to that waypoint, with an increasing bearing angle, so - so far, so good! On this passage the tactic is always to grab as much easting as possible before crossing into the SE trades which should start on the south side of the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) at around 6 North.
The crew of Pasargada - Jose, left front
Pasagada, Jose Furia's Hallberg-Rassy 36 is just 100 miles ahead, and we are closing. Jose and his nearly all Brazilian crew left 36 hours before us, also heading to Rangiroa and Tahiti. Jose sailed
with us in 1997 on this exact same passage and is eager to show his Brazilian girlfriend Renata the magical islands of the South Pacific.
We've got an interesting and excellent crew again!
Goffredo Pieroni, 64 is a computer science and mathematics professor at the Universita di Udine near Venice, Italy. He purchased his Catalina 320, Lone Star, when he was teaching at University of Texas - Houston, and shipped it to Italy when he moved back a few years ago. He is enjoying cruising the islands of Croatia this season. On his way home from Tahiti he stops to present a paper at UT - Austin on artificial intelligence.
Hunter Crose, 33 sails a Seafarer 24 out of Bluffton, South Carolina. He just completed his residency training in family practice and is taking a break before launching into a career as a family practitioner near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina where he grew up.
Lyle Krehbiel, 60 is a renaissance man. He spends half the year on Maui windsurfing while his son, Scott runs their computer business back home in Leawod, Kansas. His wife, Terry, works with him and also enjoys the contrast between Maui and Kansas. He mustn't forget to wish Terry happy 10th anniversary just about the time we make landfall at Rangiroa! Terry will be meeting him in Tahiti. Lyle and Terry are considering ocean cruising on their own.
Sam Frey, 59 is Lyle's cousin. They went to Kansas State U together and Sam became an architect. His firm specializes in schools, art museums and other interesting projects, but he is starting to think about spending less time working and more time traveling and sailing. This is the longest break from work Sam has ever taken, and his lovely wife Barbara will be meeting him in Tahiti where they look forward to a week long charter with Lyle and Terry, starting at the Moorings base in Raiatea, 120 miles west of Tahiti. Sam is also an artist and has done some amazing charcoal sketches in Hawaii and on passage. He brought a notebook with pictures of his daughters, Angie and Jennifer and his six grandchildren.
Cynthia Wood, 49, grew up in many different Asian countries and now works in software training in the Seattle area. She and her husband, were high school sweethearts, went to the prom together and just celebrated their 27th anniversary. Their 21 year old son is studying computer science and music at PLU in Tacoma. They enjoyed backpacking, white water rafting and sailing together as family.
Curtis Wood, 49 and Cynthia just moved aboard their Irwin 52 which they moor at Shilshole Bay in Seattle. Curtis is CFO of Redapt, a computer reselling company based near Seattle. They have been working hard getting Wind Dancer ready for an August 2005 or 2006 departure for Mexico and the South Pacific. Curtis says they will either sell the boat or go full speed ahead on outfitting her, depending on how they feel after this expedition. They are totally involved in learning everything possible about passage making.
There you have it! Once again we have an interesting and fun crew who love sailing and learning. Can't beat that!
By the way, after a flurry of applications in the past two weeks, all 2004 legs except Leg 7 in Fiji are now sold out.
Leg 7 is some spectacular inter-island passages and one overnighter visiting our favorite islands in Fiji. Lots of navigation, coral piloting and anchoring experience packed into ten exciting days!
Contact Tracy in our office, 360-378-6131 or email her: email@example.com if you're ready for an awesome sailing and learning experience!
July 27, 2004 1400 00.38S(!) 147.33W Log: 80,028 miles Baro: 1010 Cabin: 89F, Cockpit: 98F
Beam-reaching at 7.4 - 8 knots of ENE winds and flat seas. 855 miles to Rangiroa
Sam has been cranking out a poem per day, and here are some of them:
Day after day of barometric highs
Bring night after night of star spangled skies
Aligning a star upon the sail luff and leach
We race across the Pacific on a moon beam reach
We sail beneath phosphorescent skies, Cassiopeia, Scorpio, the triangle Rankin
All of which are reflected by phosphorescent plankton
Lots of excitement lately aboard Mahina Tiare!
Within hours after the fishing lines went out the other day, we landed one nice mahimahi, followed by two substantial yellow fin tuna!
Day before yesterday we made a mid-ocean rendezvous with past expedition member Jose Furia and his crew on their HR 36. When we had talked about rendezvousing the previous day we had been sailing in very light winds and flat seas, and we talked about both yachts heaving-to mid ocean for a swim and visit. A totally different scenario unfolded when the morning brought intense tropical squalls with
blinding rain and gusts to 37 knots, so we had to settle for sailing past each other a couple of times to take photos and yelling, "See you in Rangiroa" Just before we caught up with Jose, he called on the VHF and said, "See that ship coming up your stern?" There, coming out of a rain squall close by was a huge bulk carrier. Just after we passed we sighted a Japanese fishing boat on our bow, coming out of another squall. On top of that, Jose said they had already sighted two ships that morning, that's more ships than we saw in 12,000 miles of sailing last season!
Pasargada blasting along near the equator
As we sailed through the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) the clouds slowly thinned and squalls became less frequent and the winds, as expected, swung around to ESE, so that we could not quite steer straight for Rangiroa. From the GRIB file forecasts, we expected the winds to remain ESE
until Wednesday or Thursday, so we were delighted when they backed to E and then ENE early this morning. We finally shook all reefs out, eased sheets and the guys have been having competitions to see who can get the highest boat speed!
What to wear on watch in the ITCZ?
What a wretched toll to pay
For permission to sail upon the sea
But for those unwilling to pay the tuition
The sea shall remain a mystery.
I think everyone is over seasickness now. It has dogged a couple crew members, but sometimes it is difficult to tell if it is seasickness of symptoms of dehydration from not drinking enough water in this hot environment. This crew all tried Compazine suppositories or Scopalamine patches, but in the end, Stugeron was the most effective. Thankfully Goffredo, while still in Italy, got my message to purchase a good supply for MT, as it's not available outside of Europe.
It's now time to enjoy the sailing
Lyle in his element
Mahina La Luna*
How bright you are tonight
Mahina Tiare, sail through silvered moonlight
La Luna will guide you, Southern Cross beside you
Where two hemispheres unite
Whence the morning sun is risin'
The equator twill be your horizon
Sail on Mahina Tiare
'neath a ceiling of new starlight
*Mahina means moon in Polynesian
This morning at 0845 we zoomed across the equator, accompanied by the visit of Davey Jones and his assistant to our Pollywogs. Thanks to John Graham who sailed with us several times, Davey Jones had a proclamation to read and even pollywog to shellback certificates for all new initiates, after they gagged down some green goo that was disgusting! Each pollywog had to perform a song or poem, and it was pretty funny, especially hearing Goffredo belt out an Italian opera and Hunter launch into a lengthy Russian sailors drinking song, followed by Curtis with a Monty Python "I'm a Lumberjack" rendition, and not to forget another one of Sam's poems:
I ventured upon the deep blue sea,
Aboard the Mahina Tiare III.
My beard grows long, my body bruised,
But I'm still happy to be aboard this cruise.
Never confused with a salty dog,
At least I'm no longer a pollywog.
So here upon the ocean blue,
I'll eat the green potioned goo,
1400 miles on a port tack,
and I'm pleased to be considered a shellback.
And as we cross between hemispheres,
Please join me now for a round of cheers!
Hip hip, Hooray!
Hip hip, Hooray!
Hip hip, Hooray!
And may we sail on for many a day.
This afternoon we are sailing along so nicely, that we hate to stop, even for a welcome swim, so I think it will be bottle showers on the stern and keep clocking those miles!
Pollywogs to shellbacks
We're right on track with our teaching schedule and covered diesel engine maintenance this morning. It is sometimes a challenge teaching when we are really charging along and some crew are fighting seasickness, but we've found that holding class in the cockpit and having the queasy person steer if necessary works better than class below.
That's it for now, but we'll pop another update off before landfall at beautiful Rangiroa, Tuamotu Islands.
July 31, 2004 1200 14.33S, 147.33 W
Log: 80, 831 miles, Baro: 1011+, Cabin: 86F, Cockpit: 89
Beam reaching at 8 knots in 20 kt east winds, double-reefed main and genoa
24 miles to Tiputa Pass, Rangiroa!
Finally, after several days (we'd rather not remember how many) the winds have moved from SE to E and we have eased sheets. Instead of slamming into confused head seas, Mahina Tiare is gracefully surging along, occasionally touching nine knots. We've also been watching our arrival time, even skipping swim stops earlier, when it was calmer, with the goal of arriving at Rangiroa before dark tonight. When the winds piped up and we couldn't lay course it looked discouraging, but this crew have become great helmspeople and the miles have just zoomed and now our ETA at Tiputa Pass is 1540, allowing a couple of daylight hours to spare, or wait for the tide if necessary.
In the rough weather we delayed class once and taught below decks instead of in the cockpit which caught sheets of spray from time to time. We even stopped fishing until this morning as Amanda determined it would be too slippery and tricky to land and clean a fish on the heaving deck.
Now with sunny skies, cooler temperatures and beam seas everyone is in the cockpit, chatting, relaxing and seeing how fast they can get MT sailing. We're hearing snippets of things crew want to do once ashore. Some are talking about cold beer, diet Coke, phone calls home etc, but I can only think of one thing, diving in that crystal clear water the minute the anchor is set.
August 6, 2004 0600 17.28S, 149.48W Log: 81,087 miles, Baro: 1014, Cabin: 76F, Cockpit: 70F
At Anchor, Maharepa, Moorea
The winds held and we sailed through Rangiroa's Tiputa Pass at 9 knots, thanks to a 3 knot flood
tidal current. We had excellent sun light to spot the coral patches and anchored off Kia Ora Hotel in the exact location that owner Serge Arnoux had invited me to anchor Mahina I in March, 1975. There were a handful of cruising boats from various countries at anchor, and we ended up next to a sexy looking long and lean sloop named Emma that looked like she might be one of Steve Dashew's designs.
Approaching Tiputa pass - Rangiroa
What does this marker near Tiputa Village mean?
On arrival in Rangiroa Amanda tosses our Aloha farewell flowers from Hilo
In minutes everyone was diving in the crystal clear water and before long the dinghy was launched and I made a quick trip ashore to see if the restaurant could accommodate eight of us for dinner. We were in luck! They had space, and before long everyone was dressed up and headed for the bar which sits over the lagoon. Hunter had spotted a yacht with a Hilton Head, SC hailing port, "Hey that's my home water" and there sitting at the bar was Paul Barrow, from his Slocum 43 Dreamweaver. We invited Paul to join us for dinner and all enjoyed a superb evening. Paul's website is www.sailingadream.com.
The following day was Sunday, and our crew took off exploring and relaxing on shore. We met in the afternoon at the time of flood tide, and everyone piled in the RIB with snorkel gear and VERY slowly, we fought our way out the pass against the current into the open ocean. We all hopped into the water with masks, fins and snorkels and while holding onto the dinghy and had a real sleigh ride as the current swept us into the lagoon at 3-4 knots. We saw thousands of brightly-colored tropical fish and just three sharks, but what a rush!
That afternoon Laura and Bill from Emma stopped by to say hello. They said we had met in 1979 when we had shared an anchorage off Moorea. Since then they had sailed their engineless Columbia 10.2 to South Africa, built a new, larger boat there, then sailed back to the States. They had just purchased Emma, which was Dashew's second Sundeer yacht, built in twenty years ago of aluminum in
South Africa just a few months ago and had only departed Annapolis this March! When they asked if our crew would like to come over for drinks and a boat tour, the answer was an enthusiastic YES! Their sons, Matthew (14) and Paul (11) were nearly done with the school year of correspondence courses which they said they really enjoyed, and were two of the most polite and well-spoken kids you could imagine. Emma was gorgeous below, with typical Dashew attention to design and construction detail.
Paul, Laura, Bill and Matthew Howell aboard Emma
We all headed ashore to the Kia Ora after dinner and joined the crews of Emma, Dreamweaver and the just arrived Pasargargada. Dancing was our agenda and we were treated to over an hour of continuous Tahitian tamure dance that was creative and superb. With a blue moon and the rustling palm trees bordering the lagoon, this was an unforgettable night!
At first light Monday morning we raised anchor, stopping by Tiputa village long enough to pick up a dozen hot, fresh French baguettes from the bakery, hoist the dinghy aboard and catch the last of the ebb current out the pass before turning south toward Tahiti, 200 miles away. We were blessed with an excellent ENE wind as we sailed close along the western shore of Rangiroa. What a perfect time to practice celestial navigation, with the boat sailing so smoothly!
Cynthia takes a sun site
The winds held for nearly all the night before going light as we approached Tahiti. What a sunrise, with Tahiti ahead and Moorea on the starboard bow and a beautiful backdrop to do the Expedition Test.
After we sailed in Papeete's well marked pass, we were surprised to find only a handful of yachts along the famous, and usually packed downtown quay. Not wanting to go through the hassle of dropping a bow anchor and backing up to the quay, secured by stern lines, we just side-tied to an open spot in front of Customs and Immigrations office, and waited until they opened after their break for lunch. The Papeete port captain, Gerard Teiva, a friend for 30 years spotted us there, coming back from paddling his racing canoe during his lunch break and came aboard to chat. As soon as the offices opened, we cleared in and signed crew off, washed down the boat and filled water tanks.
Amanda reviewing the Mahina Test with crew
As our crew were excited to explore Papeete left them at the dock and told them to meet us at Marina
Taina, six miles away after dinner. Gerard had called the usually-full marina and asked them to find a spot for us so it was a treat to be dockside. Marina Taina has traditionally been jam-packed with local boats, but a new expansion, nearly doubling the size of the marina is nearing completion. Mahina Tiare was dwarfed by 120'+ mega yachts from all around the world, and we were happy to give our baby a thorough scrub down at leisure, and top up fuel tanks by just pulling her to the adjacent fuel dock with dock lines. Another bonus was being able to wheel the loaded grocery trolley right from the huge and excellent Carrefour mega grocery store to the boat.
Fuel dock at Marina Taina
Wednesday morning crew had a look around ashore, oogling the megayachts and checking out Carrefour before we set sail at noon for Moorea. As we were sailing into Cooks Bay, we spotted the unmistakable profile of Convergence, Randy and Sally-Christine Repass' radical Wylie 66 cat-ketch which we had toured just after launching at Pacific Sail Expo in Oakland this April. Randy and
Sally-Christine had just completed their 3500 mile shakedown cruise from their homeport of Santa Cruz, CA to the Marquesas and Tahiti, and we had been trading emails, hoping to meet somewhere in the Societies.
Convergence - Randy, Sally-Christine and Kent Harris's Wylie ketch
We quickly gybed around and caught up with Convergence to learn they were just sailing around the corner to anchor in front of the Pearl Resort before a dawn departure for Raiatea, so we changed our anchorage plans and headed back out the pass toward the Pearl, where our crew got an excellent tour of this state-of-the-art modern fast (230 miles a day!) cruising boat.
While our crew enjoyed an excellent dinner at a little French restaurant just down the beach, Amanda and I had a great time catching up with Randy, Sally-Christine and Kent Harris, their eight year old son, and getting to know Randy's 85 year old parents from the Boston area, Herb and Peggy. Herb founded New England Ropes in 1967, and Peggy skippers their Cape Dory 25 when they cruise these days. Randy founded West Marine over 30 years ago, selling New England Ropes out of his garage nights and weekends in Silicone Valley while working as an electrical engineer during the days. For more details on Convergence, check out www.westmarine.com.
As our expedition was winding up, we taught safely going aloft to check rigging, and crew enjoyed exploring ashore on Moorea yesterday. Amanda and I now have a week at Moorea with our big project job being sanding the decks. We'll give you a detailed maintenance report in anther update.
Sail onto Leg 4!>>