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Saturday, September 21, 2013
Sunday, August 11, 2013
We are well and safe with our ‘honey do’ list a mile long...and we are in Marquesas ..where the bad news is there any parts have to come from a long way away. The good news is there is Kevin and WE ARE IN THE MARQUESSES ..this anchorage is breathtaking...the cauldron of a Volcano, dramatic steep jagged sheer mountain sides all round but the entrance way, green and lush,...an oasis in the middle of the ocean, a respite from the heavy Ocean swell, (not always) however it is a safe harbor.
|Taihoe Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marqueses|
A note regarding our SPOT ADVENTURE GPS ...we did send signals every day...however, based on the number of messages I personally received via email being 6 out of 25...it does not appear that it worked all that well and is not something we would recommend to those following our path.
So...how was Passage Making you ask?...I reply...typical...about 99 % boredom and 1 % it's SHEER TERROR! ...and if you can live with that...give it a try!
For you who say...stop your wining...I remind you that I am not
complainin...just reportin...and realize that no one ever heard Columbus say..."What no GPS"??.what do you mean the autopilot isn't working!....I don’t care if the chart-plotter says we are in the Bahamas!...we sailors recognize the awesome abilities it took for these early explorers to do what they did and survive to tell their stories...incredible men all of them!
We are thankful to the Master of the Seas and Maker of the Wind for providing us safe passage. Mr. Murphy for compassion when we were exhausted and near broken and reminding us that we are only human. I'm still not certain what message/lesson I was being taught on day 25...but no worries mate...I have the rest of my life to ponder that.
Since arriving in Nuku Hiva, we have enjoyed many healthy hikes around the Taiohae Bay.
The neatly restored Tohua Koueba, a sacred place venerated by the ancient Marquesans is about 1.5 km of up the city.
Tohua Koueba Traditional Cerimonial Site
Then there are the Sentinels ..a well marked trail going from town to the entrance of the bay. It is an amazing vista of the entire bay looking down from the rim of this ancient volcano
Taiohae Bay from the Sentinels
...a full day motor coach ride around the island. There is actually a hummer on this island...go figure and maybe a total of 10 miles of concrete roads...hahahah ever heard the expression...more money than brains...oh well...the owner said it was too good a deal to pass up.
Traditional Marquesas Tiki Ceremonial Site
We also enjoyed a wide variety of festivals and banquets...these folks enjoy their food!. The highlights so far have been mother’s day, father’s day,
Father’s Day Festival 2013
the June music festival in which Steve (sv Liward) and myself participated with the locals...jammin and havin a ball...
Fete de Mus 2013
The month of July is the Marquesan festival of dance and local music...every weekend is another spectacular show of the various islands dance troupes.
St. Bastille Day Nuku Hiva
The Beautiful Girls of Nuku Hiva
The Manly Men of Nuku Hiva
This little princess stole the show!
Now almost two months after arriving, we have just received our transmission parts and discovered that the key part is missing...so more DHL and more waiting...but all other repairs are completed so we keep a happy face and hope that when the final part arrives we will be able to move the boat.
During the last week of July our good friends Bob and Annette Sv Tempest sailed into Nuku Hiva. It was a happy day for all as we had not seen each other since our days in Shelter Bay Marina, Panama, months earlier. Tempest had been in the marina for over a year and B & A worked hard on rig repairs and interior upgrades including beautiful new bamboo cabin soles.
We decided that an evening of celebration was in order and so attended the final night of the July Festivities of music and dance.
Kaija with her head Lay, Bob and Annette Sv Tempest & Stars of the Show
Finally with only days remaining before our departure for Canada, our transmission parts arrived and with the help of Kevin (Nuku Hiva Yacht Services) and friend Terry we worked feverishly to re-assemble our transmission without all them new fangled tools so commonly found back in the ‘land of stuff’. No hydraulic press to re-assemble the new bearings…I discovered that as the old saying goes…necessity is the mother of invention…the Marquesean version of a hydraulic press is three guys…one holding the transmission shaft with the new bearing sitting on top, the second holding a large steel pipe in place over the bearing and the third, a 13 pound sledge hammer…you get the idea…it was a verrrry scary moment when Terry dropped the hammer….I was busy counting fingers but after repeated efforts we managed to get all the bearings back on the input, output, and intermediate shafts. We finally got it all in the casing and ready to put back in the boat.
We had to wait overnite for the seals to set. Early Sunday morning I poured in the transmission fluid and with fingers crossed and held breath, Kaija started up the engine that had not run for almost two months and everything seemed perfect…that is except for a slight whining sound…we shut everything down…inspected everything in site…found nothing out of place so started up again…and for about 5 minutes everything when all of a sudden we heard a loud snapping sound…something akin to taking a 4 foot elastic band and snapping it…we quickly shut down…again inspected everything in sight…nothing was out of place…I could still turn the shaft by hand…so we started up a third time and for approx. 5 minutes…it all sounded great…then we heard a loud noise, something like throwing a bucket of nuts and bolts into the engine…then everything stopped…and I mean everything…it looked like we had seized up the transmission and the engine…my heart stopped!...so much time…so much effort…so much disappointment.
We removed the transmission, and discovered that the new bearing on the input shaft had exploded…NO WAY!!!...YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS!!!....but yes…it was so. Over the next few days, we managed to find a replacement bearing in Papeete at about 10 times the cost we had paid…flew it in, rented a car and picked it up and got it installed (the Marquesan way). This time we were a little more carefully with something called the ‘Axial play’. You can only guess how hard it is to make minute adjustments of .05 mm with a sledge hammer…but…after repeated efforts…we got er done…re-assembled the transmission, re-installed it in the boat…waited overnight for the new seals to set…and finally, the next morning started up the engine again.
This time, everything was perfect…Hooray and yippieIAA…we were ecstatic…we motored around the bay…and decided that a trip to Daniels Bay was required to give the tranny and motor a ‘road test’.
Daniel’s Bay is home to the third highest waterfall on the planet. With Bob and Annette sailing beside us as we motored along…we made our way into this beautiful anchorage. During the following days, we hiked and swam and shared a wonderful meal with host Tiki and his wife.
Daniels Bay Hike
Vaipo - World's third tallest waterfall (1148 ft) in Hakaui Valley home to elusive Tropical Bird
Traditional Marquesan Lunch with Tike and wife (note the face tattoo's...done the traditinal way....OUCH!
It was finally time to prepare KS for our departure which seemed a much larger task than we thought. However, finally the Sunday morning of our flight arrived and knowing that our new friend Kevin would keep a watchful eye on KS during our absence we said our farewells to our new ‘family’ and boarded the small plane for Papeete en-route Auckland NZ, losing a day as we crossed the international date line, overnight then flight to Los Angeles, again crossing the international dateline, gaining back a day and arriving before we left??? How does that work again???
We are looking forward to a trip back to Canada to visit family and friends in August where we are planning on purchasing a small Motor-home RV for our land touring adventure across Canada and down to Washington to play tourist and visit as many sites as possible, foremost the Smithsonian Museums including my favorite...the Air and Space Museum. We are also looking forward to attending the National Quartet convention in Louisville Ky to visit with old friends. It is the 20 yr that the NQC is being held there and also the final year. Next year it will be taking place at Pigeon Forge, home of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. We will keep y'all posted on our land touring as time permits.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
We arrived in Nuka Hiva, Marqueses Thurs May 23, hook down at 3pm.
Having just completed the longest open water passage between two points of land....we were ready for a break and it was ....well it was almost a perfect passage. Here's the story...
We departed the Galapagos in nearly perfect conditions and a reasonable weather forecast for the next few days.
Our transmission repairs enabled us to motor south and around the remaining Galapagos and all seemed well in our world.
As dusk approached that first nightfal we noticed a large suspicious boat following in our wake. We were further alarmed as they came closer and we saw behind them no less than a 8 additional boats.
We were a wee bit spooked and took measures to insure that no uninvited guests would step foot aboard without our express invitation. (please don’t ask what the measures are...they might be illegal, (ya think?)... but suffice to say we took them).
We were flying our big ‘all black’ spinnaker and were making good time but with this large downwind sail full and flying, that’s the good news...the bad news is it ain’t real easy changing direction and made for difficult evasive manoeuvring.
Kaija & I took up our assigned positions and waited. With engine in gear we were ready to evade or repel as needed. ‘Otto’ was steering the boat leaving me to man the defenses including the whale stopper (just an expression, I have no idea what it could possible refer to, but I assure you ... it works!).
|Fishing Trawler with congo line of fishing boats...WHAT ARE THEY'RE INTENTIONS????|
...they closed in on us...and just when we thought boarding was imminent...they bore off...changed course then continued to motor up on the same course with sufficient sea room...and they started waving and cheering....and it appears after receiving all the salutations and happy smiling faced waves, they just wanted a closer look at at our nice boat and the big black sail. They motored off over the horizon and we shut down the engine and sailed into the sunset. A perfect end to a first perfect day.
The next few days were quite uneventful, pleasant enough getting used to the motion of the ocean and the ‘new’ concept of actually nonstop sailing which we had not done for a long time.
Everything was great...until...day 7...the tranny stopped working. The transmission repair work we had done in Galapagos failed. As a practice we would run the engine every second day for a couple of hours to charge things up and also to make slight course adjustments to keep our cross track to a minimum.
It's was on about the 13th hour...once again, the forward gear of our transmission failed to engage. We were already 850 miles away from the Galapagos and the thought of turning back was only briefly considered...and so we sailed on...
After all, we are a sailboat...duh!
The passage planning taught us that sailing Rumbline (as the crow flies) would be approx 3000 miles, would take 21 - 25 days. ..but turned out to be 3709.7 miles and 26 days. Our best travel day was 174 miles...our worst 54 miles...ouch!...but the real ouch happened on day 25...
For 24 days it was so incredibly glorious...hours of Bliss...what we
termed the Magic Carpet Ride...when the person off watch was trying to sleep and motion mattered...where you had no sense of the waves or of the boat moving...it felt like gliding, at night with no lights, just the stars...a true sensation of floating, like flying, incredible!
Strangely we did not experience much in the way of sea life...no birds flying...no fish jumping...3700 miles and no fish???...about the only thing we could count on was that there were be a scattered few dead flying fish...so something must be out there chasing them.
|Deck Squid....mmm maybe not so tasty???|
....Then there were the long hours with light winds when you were drifting miles off course and couldn't do anything about it... we would face that problem when it happened. All in all so far so good in fact it was terrific...we had managed to make safe passage, always finding a little breeze to keep things moving, because, if we stopped and got turned sideways to the large ocean swells, running 8 - 12 ft and then that elusive wave that doesn't fit...it's bigger and badder than the rest and catches you unaware...so keep the boat moving at all costs...and we had managed to do so....
so...on the afternoon of day 25...our second to last day, being at mile 111.1 away from our destination with light winds...but sailing at 5 kts...with our final destination within reach for a next day early morning arrival, good light excellent visibility...I could almost taste my first baguette.
Then the wind DIED!!!
I mean dead...no a puff...a whisper of air...but we were still in those big lumpy seas...12 to 15 foot swells...no real wave action, just lump and confused seas. With no way to maneuver the boat we got turned sideways quickly and for three hours we were tossed and thrown every which way but loose...oops...and I mean Kaija and I were just holding on, there was stuff flying everywhere...so just when you think it can't get much worse...and we were praying for some wind to sail by...(I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again...when you pray...BE SPECIFIC)
Ol Man Murphy decided to join the crew and have his way...the skies blackened and we could see the line of squalls coming...and then came the first hint of a breeze...
...did I say breeze...what I mean is it started to blow...and blow...and blow....and within moments it was blowing 30kts...30
KNOTS!!!!!!...YES...LET'S GO SAILING...why isn't ‘OTTO’ holding course????... I had turned the Auto pilot off during this unpleasant tossing and turning with no wind episode as it was just making the drive computer crazy and being the generous Captain I am...said...ok...it's been working flawlessly for 25 days...let's give it a rest....so I shut it off....and now when the wind hits...and we started moving...I turned AUTO on but it wouldn't hold course...after a half dozen attempts it just shut down....
so keeping in mind...we had 24 days of wonderful weather...not always as much wind as we needed or too much wind from the wrong direction...and it was taking longer than we had planned...
but we were safe, the boat was easily managed and nothing was
damaged...all in all a great trip... and then Day 25... it's mid afternoon on May 22...the wind is now howling 30 to 40 knots...for 9 hrs...it blew and blew and blew some more...and it continued throughout the nite till the early light of dawn. Obscuring what should have been an idyllic sail under a full moon it was the longest period we have ever been in heavy weather in all my years of sailing. It was a very humbling experience.
Thankfully we prepared early by reducing sail with a double reef in the main...so when the wind hit...I felt comfortable with the
canvas...however, at about hr 7 of this storm...Kaija looks up and
says..."that's a new crease in the main" referring to the mainsail....I
looked up and said "honey, that ain't no crease ..that's a rent sail...
it was blown from luff to leach ...in other words...the sail was RIPPED INTO TWO PIECES...THE TOP HALF AND THE BOTTOM HALF....
sooooo...after having an almost perfect sail of 24 days...avoiding any real storms and damage...with only 111.1 miles to go...
We have no Autopilot...no mainsail...no forward gear on the tranny...it's blowin 30 kts...dark as Toby"s Arse (is that a word) and we are tired and grumpy...oh boy oh joy can you imagine the fun we were havin now?
I am driving in total darkness...no stars, no moon, no external reference to steer the boat, it's blowin steady 30 and gustin a whole lot higher, totally confused seas 15 - 20 ft. I'm driving like like a blind man...it’s pitch black and I’m trying to navigate by instrument like flying IFR (Instrument Flight rules)...diving after the wind gauge...and digital compass trying not to luff up or load up too much pressure and further damage the rig, or worst case...broach in heavy seas.
Oh and did I mention...that at one point during the night, I had been on the helm for a number of hours (as someone doesn't like to steer at night)(but is excellent in soooo many other ways)...so....I am hand steering with no mainsail and reefed headsail...30 kts...and big nasty lumpy seas...and the WHEEL CAME OFF IN MY HANDS...YUP YOU READ THAT RIGHT!...OFF TOTALLY OFF IN MY HANDS (thank you Beneteau?)
...this is a large 40" destroyer wheel on a 1 X 10 inch steel keyed and sprocketted shaft I'm talkin about...I thought I was delirious...at first it didn't make any sense....you talk about SURPRISE SURPISE SURPISE... and I felt just like good ol Gomer Pyle...(am I dating myself...does anyone remember the Andy Griffin show?)
having the steering wheel come off in your hands while you are blasting along at 8 kts in 30 kts of breeze..is not quite as serious as it happening to you in your car doing 60...but it ain't ideal!...what did you do? you ask??? haha...for those of you who know the boat you know we have 2 steering wheels...a his and hers...a backup plan...redundancy...who knows why it’s there?...but I was sure glad that other wheel was over there looking back at me (thank you Beneteau)
...don't ask...I don't know why it came off...the whole shaft just came out of the pedestal...I turned to Kaija and said...’here take this’...and handed her the steering wheel...(you gotta find humor when you can!)...then hopped over to the other wheel and kept driving.
suffice to say...we landed, well not quite yet...
just as we were approaching the anchorage of Taiohae Bay ...we were blessed with yet another squall and the entrance thru the rocks into the inlet ...
the entrance was a complete white out...no problem..., I've got a good 'GPS fix' to guide me thru the rocks...then the wind shifted on to the nose...
let's see...no forward gear on the tranny...and can't sail into the
wind...mmmmm...PROBLEM!!!...can’t see the entrance...TIME TO CALL KEVIN!
Kevin & Princess Esmarelda
...lucky for us...along come Kevin of Nuku Hiva Yacht Services. (thx to John & Cathy of Mystic Moon)...we have been communicating him regarding getting parts and service for our transmission...lucky for us...he is also the agent here and we were able to raise him on the vhf radio and he came out and towed us in...and the good news was as we were being towed into the bay...we were surrounded by a pod Melon Headed whales, bottle nose dolphins, and off to the one side were three giant mantas...how great is that.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
We have spent the past few days trying to relax and enjoy the remarkable landscape of these volcanic islands. Kaija was in hot pursuit of the very cute blue footed boobie bird and now has photographic proof that they exist,
Kaija and the Elusive Blue Footed Boobie
and for the real thing!...
the marine aguanas are singularly exclusive to these islands and of course there are the huge tortoises...no longer LoneSome George, he died last year and was very old...150 or older...but they are still remarkable to get up close to. The diving can be spectacular...very much dependant on the prevailing weather conditions of the day...and when not optimum, it can be difficult to make out the large schools of hammerhead, the very large manta rays, seals and sealiions, large grouper and snapper, enough to make the hunter drool, but alas no my drooling sailor man...control yourself...these are marine parks....mmmm, I know...leave some for the next guy...I’m all for it!
these cute little guys can grow to 800lbs
Santa Cruz is a large Island with one major town being Puerto Ayora. It is the main harbour and is quite busy. It is unfortunately an open roadstead to the prevailing SE swell. It demands that you ue as stern anchor to keep your boat facing into the waves. The town is great...with newly laid brick roads, they town feels clean and new and the shops are well laid out and abundant. There is an excellent farmers fruit and vegetable market on Saturdays, otherwise there is fresh fish on the docks daily for all.
everybody gets fed at the fish market.
We traveled for the weekend to visit with Jim and Carol in Isabella and spent a day on the water seeing the very dramatic volcanic coast line
West coast Isla Isabella, Galapagos
we sawflightless cormorants,
more blue footed boobies, sea lions, giant mantas and large sea turtles.
Unfortunately, because of the large sea swell we were unable to enter the bay and view the dance of the blue footed boobies...this is a mating ritual dance and is said to be very entertaining. We caught three beautiful yellow fin tuna and enjoyed fresh Ceviche for lunch.
Isabella has a smaller more protected anchorage but the island itself is not as developed as Santa Cruz. We enjoyed a hike to the Wall of Tears built by islands prisoners during the Second WW. We enjoyed seeing more Iguanas than we could count and the occasional tortoise out for a stroll. We traversed along fine flour like sand beaches as the ocean waves curled and crashed along the shore.
There are only 20000 residents in all of the Galapagos Islands....which is a radical increase from the 4000 of only 10 years ago...and of course the thousands of indigenous birds, mammals and sea creatures that call this isolated Island grouping home.
We are very excited about our upcoming BIG LEG...3000 miles to the Tuamotu.
We depart Galapagos at first light and will arrive in The Tuamotos in approx 20 days.
Till then, and till we check in again....thx for being there!
Now for the fun part...gettin this stuff fixed...in the Galapagos????
And here’s where the news gets goods, or at least as good as it can get when you are at the mercy of a mechanic...his name is Ronnie...he’s just a kid...quiet, polite, and man is he good.
He had the transmission dismantled, off in his hands in less than a half hour....are you kidding me????
I was still struggling to remove the hi output alternator, which we discovered had seized...when you see your double pulley belts kinda melted to the pulley....good clue the bearings are shot!.
Anyway...got it off...and away Ronnie went...muttering something about my clutch damper plate ‘no bien’. Turns out the clutch damper plate was broken, Ronnie thought he could fix it...turns out he couldn’t...he’s human...so what...he tried...however, what he was smart enough to do was to call mainland Ecuador and order a new one. This was on a Friday afternoon....it arrived by air the next day....THE NEXT DAY!!!!...he had the alternator fixed already...and was back on Monday to install the transmission...I said something about could he look at the fuel lift pump...and working without being able to see what he was doing...he removed the pump...took it home and returned the next morning fixed like new. Ronnie is a genius! Much thanks to our good friends Jim and Carol on Sv Somerset for that recommendation.