Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ua Poa – Our final stop in the Marquesas’ – Jan 13 – Jan 26 2014

We sailed south from Nuka Hiva 25 miles to the small island of Ua Poa.  In part it was a shakedown sail to make sure that all of the ships systems were operable.  It had been, after all, 7 months since our arrival in Nuka Hiva and apart from a couple of short hops to Daniels Bay, KS had not been to sea.  We arrived in Vaiehu Bay without incident and settled in for a couple of days.  Primarily to clean to hull, which had been fouled badly in Taiohae Bay, which although scenically beautiful, is a nasty harbour full of everything that can grow and cling to the hull. 

Kaija immediately fell in love with this little bay, in part because of a herd of goats inhabiting the nearby cliffs.  They were something to behold…as they romped easily over precipice and precarious outcropping of rock no wider than a weed…but big and small they all did so with fleet feet and flight of fancy…there was no stopping them.  They were the daily entertainment, like having a ringside seat at the circus.  You couldn’t help but smile at their nimble footed prancing to and fro.

The days passed quickly and with a weather window in place, we departed to sail south to the Dangerous Islands, The Tuamotos.

Our first day out was pleasant with easy seas and a comfortable breeze.  All was well until the afternoon of day two of our 5 day passage.  We carry three GPS instruments on board…yes redundancy is a good thing and you would think that three would suffice.  Well normally they would, but about 3 pm on day two…all three GPS units failed to provide a fix.  It seems incredulous, unbelievable that all three unites should fail at the same time.  We were heading to a group of islands so unlike the Marquesas’ in that they are flat atolls and you can’t see them from any distance at all.  They were after all called the Dangerous islands.  We needed to make a decision…sail forward and pray, or turn back and sort out our problem.  Not that sailing back without GPS was ideal, but we could ‘dead recon’ our way and the Marquesas’ are volcanoes that you can see from a great distance.  The choice was a no brainer.  We turned back.

Long about 11pm that night, the GPS units came back to life…don’t ask me…I don’t know…but I was glad to have the systems up and running.  We continued our return to Vaiehu Bay to effect a boat and systems check.  We would miss the weather window…but when in doubt, always always always err on the side of caution…that motto has stood us in good stead for 10 years like the old aviation saying…”there are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are very few old bold pilots”.

We arrived back at Ua Poa, dropped hook, and settled in.  Kaija again had her herd of goats to entertain and I proceeded to tear apart three GPS systems to find the fault.  Over the next few days, the only fault I could find was one electrical connection on one of the units appeared suspect.  But that did not account for all three systems failing.  It was eerie, spooky.  I wasn’t complaining that things were again working, but I don’t like not knowing why things fail.  I decided to leave all systems up and running 24/7 and wait for a failure. 

One week later, everything was still up and running and we once again had a weather window.

We departed for the second time for the Tuamotos and 5 days later arrived without incident in the Dangerous Islands on the remote island of Tahanea.  At first blush…a little bit of paradise…stand by for the next update from the Good Ship KaijaSong and her happy crew.

No comments: