Passage from the Galapagos to the Marquesas

Passage from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas

Saturday 5th. May
After a wonderful 8 days touring the Galapagos Islands we need to turn our minds to the forthcoming 3 weeks crossing to the Marquesas.
We have been told the best market day is Saturday and it is open until 3pm. So we are keen to return from Santa Cruz Island to San Cristobal Island before then.
There are 3 options. The ferry is the first choice because it is the cheapest but it takes 3 hours and doesn´t leave until 2pm. A private motor boat is the next choice but costs §US 850- which seems excessive. An 8 seater light plane is the one we take. It is only a quarter the price for both of us , of the fast boat. It is a great 30 minute flight with some good  views, including seeing Impulsive still anchored as we left her.
We are pleased with the provisions from the market of reasonable quality even though the choices are limited.
Fortunately after the wonderful week of wining and dining on Ocean Spray we both feel ready for lighter and simpler cuisine.

The forecast is fine so we decide to leave on Sunday afternoon. However we both have such a frustrating morning (Ross dealing with Immigration because our agent Pablo is out of town until later in the day, and I have computer issues to write up the blog) we decide to have a pleasant long, lunch and relax. We are both tired and feel better about having a good sleep in preparation for the night watches.

Monday 7th. May

We winch up the anchor at 7am. to leave Cristobal island for the 3,000 n.mile crossing to the Marquesas. It is a lovely cool morning with some cloud and only 7 kts. of wind. Strong currents run around this island and in different directions. We have 20 degrees leeway for sometime. This is why some people suggest arriving here in daylight (eg. Jimmy Cornell).

We take a 210 degree course once we clear the wreck and the nearby reef, heading for between 4 degrees 30 and 5 degrees south, not 250 degrees straight to the Marquesas, to avoid an area of doldrums and to pick up the trade winds. It will take about 2 days to arrive at this position.

Heather, Steve and Scott are cc´d into out daily email on the satellite phone to Bruce so they know where we are and what our next sailing plans are.

Mawali left on Friday so are just ahead of us and another 5 or 6 yachts plan to leave later today.  We will try and communicate with the morning scheds on the HF radio.

At lunch time we pass within 10 n.miles of the Galapagos´ most southern island, Isla Espanola. It seems frustrating not to call in here but we feel we have had an excellent overview of this archipelago. We happen to see a couple of Galapagos (waved) albatross near the yacht which is very exciting, especially as this bird is not seen on the other islands we visited, but does inhabit this island.

Tonight we have a waning full moon which is a perfect start for a few weeks of night watches. It lightens up the sky and makes checking the horizon easier.

Tuesday 8th. May
As when we crossed the Atlantic last year it is exciting when we first set off. However during the next few days it can all seem quite daunting as it sinks in how far we  are tracking.
From early this morning we have been banging into the seas a bit, not directly into it, but with some water over the deck, and some over the pilot house. There are 15kts. of wind.

Every time it looks as though the wind is coming round to the S.E. it comes  back more into SSE. We feel we must resist the temptation to track directly to the Marquesas and go further south. It is a dull overcast day. This morning hasn´t been our happiest time sailing. We are both very tired settling into our night watch routines and Ross doesn´t enjoy this rolly sea.
The wind increases to 20 kts. and our tracking is very uncomfortable, so being only about 35 n.miles from 4 degrees south we decide to come off another 20 degrees. What bliss! With the wind on the beam Impulsive settles down and we can sail with the headsail and mainsail up averaging 7 kts. Also there is a 1.5 kt. current assisting us, so Ross reefs in the headsail a lot for our overnight sailing. (The SOG has been over 9 kts.).

Wednesday 9th. May is a bright , sunny new day and we are slowly catching up on sleep so both feel much better. It doesn´t take long to settle into the night watch routine provided we make time to sleep during the day. Unfortunately Ross never sleeps as much as he does at home on these long legs. He seems to be alert to every change of movement and noise on Impulsive all the time.
Early this morning Ross notices the furling line for the headsail is chafed right through to the core. This occurred because it was chafing against the wall of the furling drum and also because Impulsive was tracking so fast we reduced  the headsail which puts more pressure on the system than when the sail is right out. So out comes the sail mending sewing kit. Also Ross takes a running block off the last staunchion to put it on the second last staunchion to reduce the angle of the furling line going to the drum so the line doesn´t chafe.
Impulsive now has two headsails of identical size. These sails can be hoisted together and we can sail with them doubled up (ie. as one sail) when we are reaching. The advantage of these sails is that with a following wind you can goose-wing with the headsails and it gives us a larger sail area. Each sail area is 127% of the mainsail area. In rolling seas its sometimes problematic to keep the mainsail out in a running position so with the boom being so heavy this can put a lot of pressure on the gear.

We have tracked 182 n.miles this 24 hours, averaging 7.5 kts, with a 3m. swell most of the time.

Thursday 10th. May
Today we have a slow patch between 1000 and 1400 hours but since then winds are back to 18 to 20 knots and we average 7 kts. Today we track 172n.miles.The swell is up to 3 m. most of the time.
The only  boat issue is that somehow by chocking up the engine room door ( to prevent it falling down again) the strain must have been too great with the rolling and one of the hinges broke away. This is just very inconvenient.

Day 5
This is much of the same until the strong winds and big swells settle down which gives us a relatively tranquil sail and we can relax more. Even at this more relaxed sailing we track 169 n.miles today

Fixing the foil

Early this morning, day 6, Ross notices that the bolts have sheared off in one section of the foil ( this holds the mainsail in position close to the mast).The wind had come round to ESE and the mainsail had been slatting, putting stress on these bolts. To reduce the force on the bolts holding the adjacent sections of foil to the mast he drills holes through this section of the foil so he can put wire through them and then secures them around the mast. Fortunately he is very agile, fit and strong enough to do this while we are sailing. He is lucky he can reach the area and that the seas are calm.
I feel a fresh loaf of bread hot out of the oven is an excellent reward!

It is a quiet day out here today, but Ross has been very busy trying to prevent the sail slatting, keeping in mind our course. The winds are not strong but very variable. We have had very pleasant temperatures. In comparison some days during the crossing from the Panama to the Galapagos were extremely hot. One afternoon it was so hot and humid we did something we have never needed to do before. We ran the airconditioner while we were sailing so we could all get a reasonable rest to be able to manage our night watches.

Each day it is amazing to still see birds out here especially at dawn and dusk. We are so far from land we wonder where they get their strength from.  Flying fish are great to watch as they skim over the surface of the ocean. Often small squid are lying on the deck in the morning. Last night one gave me quite a start when it came in through the hatch above the helm seat. We still cannot work out how it got there.
Today we track 145 n.miles.
Occasionally we watch a video before we begin our night watches. It is quite relaxing.
For night watches we do 3 hours on a 3 off. I  keep myself awake reading – just finished “One Day” by David Nicholls. This is an excellent read, given to us by Matilde on our recent trip. Now I am enjoying the incredible story of “The Discovery of Jeanne Baret” by Glynis Ridley about the first woman to circumnavigate the world in 1765, and then plan to read “After Midnight” by Keun.
Ross has read “Explosion in the Cathedral” about the history of the French in the Caribbean, re-read “To Kill a Mockingbird”, as I did, and “ The discovery of Jeanne Baret”.
Also I have allocated these few weeks to sort out the photos on the computer, especially the thousands we have of the grand children. This is a great way to keep me awake because it is lovely to recollect all these happy times with them.
Night watch can be tiring

Sunday 13th. May
Being Mother´s Day at home it is lovely to have contact with our three children.

We hear from Bruce that the winds are likely to stay in the E.S.E. over the next four days so we can plan to implement our system using the two identical headsails to goosewing using about ½ mainsail for stability. This is the first time we have attempted this method and it is very successful. The boat feels well balanced and there is no slatting. This also gives us a more sedate way of sailing, except when the wind comes around to more on the beam occasionally and Impulsive is then tearing along.

Ross is keen to do the above manoeuvre at our 3am. change over for night watch. I am not happy about this even with the deck light on because the moon is giving very little light now so if anything goes wrong with him climbing up on the fore-deck it would be extra difficult. We wait until morning and fortunately there is no damage from the short periods of slatting.
Bruce also advises us not to track any further south to improve our wind options because that is the area where all the scattered showers and unsettled weather are at present.

Ross has checked the fuel and is confident we can now reach the Marquesas if we need to motor the rest of way. Fortunately with the present forecast we should be able to sail most of the distance.

We have a wonderful few days and nights sailing with the sails set as above. At times it reminds us of the exhilarating sail we had up the east coast of Australia during our circumnavigation of Australia in 1999. We are now running down wind.

Exercises are still part of our routine on board, especially during these long cruises. We are certainly using isometric exercises a lot with all the different movements of the boat.
It is lovely going to sleep in our forward cabin in these conditions listening to the sea gently rushing by the hull. ( in contrast to this if the yacht is bashing into the sea it is very uncomfortable and sometimes you can feel yourself being lifted up off the bed, and it is better to sleep in the stern cabin).
We track 154 n.miles today. This is measuring the direct rhumb line to the Marquesas and not accounting for the tacking to deal with the wind changes.
This evening seems more relaxed with another hour of daylight as we have an extra hour today because the time zone changes and we put the watches back an hour.

The following day we track 161 n.miles. So far we are averaging 165-75 nms. / day and have had minimal motoring.
 This evening we have a welcome 15 minutes shower of rain which washes some of the salt off the boat.  Even when the winds drop off a bit we don´t track further south because Bruce has confirmed there are tropical storms in that area with up to 35 kt. winds.

Tuesday is a quiet day sailing but we only total 149 n.miles on the rhumb line. It is beautiful out here without a cloud in the sky and the sky and the sea are amazing hues of blue. Last night we heavily reefed the headsails because of the forecast of increased winds and also partly because the winds came up just before dark to over 20 kts, and round to the s.east, so we are overpowered. During the night the winds are up to 23 kts.
Every night there has been a myriad of bright, shining stars with the moon still giving some light reflected off the water. It is extremely peaceful especially listening to Impulsive gliding through the water.

Today is day 10 which will be the half way milestone. Psychologically these long passages are very interesting. Crossing the Atlantic we had the same reaction, with Scott,  of not talking or thinking ahead for planning the next stage of our trip until we reached half way. The best way to deal with these long tracks seems to be to just deal with the present and not even think about how much further to go or what could go wrong.

Ross watches all the gear vigilantly for signs of wear and tear. With this sail setting there is great pressure on the bracing lines and sheets where they pass through the fairleads and blocks. He has put pieces of hose tubing at the appropriate places. This is the 4th. day of having both the headsails out.
Some of the wire broke where he secured the foil some days ago, so this is replaced with a stronger wire.
Today we track 143 n.miles.

Today, day 11, is similar to yesterday. It is lovely reading in the cockpit as we track over the azure blue Pacific Ocean. The seas are calm and the sails are still set the same, just with adjustment to accommodate the wind changes. We still have the assisting current with us.
The wind comes too far round to the east for us. Normally we would bear off to the south but we are avoiding this because of the tropical storms forecast in that latitude. Let´s hope the wind comes back to the s.east soon! We track 155 n.miles today.
We both enjoy having music on board, especially at breakfast and Happy hour. We have most of our favourite music from home here on the I-pod.

Friday 18th. May
This morning is slightly overcast.


Organizing the sails

The winds are still not completely favourable. We furl the mainsail and the two headsails so we can motor up to 30´ latitude. This is to about 40 n.miles n. west of our present position. Otherwise we are not able to hold the latitude between 7 and 8 degrees to keep north of the thunderstorms and squalls.
Without the mainsail we should be able to hold a higher course. With the mainsail up we need to get enough angle to stop it thwacking, so we would have to sail 10-15 degrees below our desired course, and this angle would have taken us below 8 degrees south in less than a day.
We could try to recover some latitude just by sailing with the two headsails or the spinnaker but the wind occasionally comes around to the north of east which would make it hard to keep the spinnaker set on a westerly course and the clew would keep collapsing.
Once we have achieved the above latitude of 30´ hopefully we can sail the rest of the way to the Marquesas. While we are just motoring, for the first time this leg, Ross can have a decent sleep with out having to worry about the sails.
We are excited to speak with Anna for her 10th. birthday. It is amazing to be able to do this out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with 360 degrees of horizon around us.

Later today the conditions are frustrating and somewhat disappointing with inconsistency with wind direction and speed. The wind drops out and with a slight swell everything is just “crashing” about. This always makes for fun preparing the dinner and washing up!
There is no improvement in the wind direction or speed so we furl the sails and plan to motor all night and hold the desired waypoint. It is unbelievably calm out here tonight and the sea is flat with one of the most magical starlit skies I have ever seen.

The weather forecast comes in that it will be much the same for the next 36 hours so the plan is to proceed as we are and put the sails out again in the first light tomorrow if possible. We track 140 n. miles today.

Receiving the weather forecast on the satellite phone.

A heavy vibration has set up in the engine room, maybe caused by the prop shaft  or maybe a loose mount which Ross checks. He wonders if one of the prop shaft blades isn´t operating as that was the problem when we had these symptoms once before.

Saturday, 19th. May
There is hardly any wind and it is very variable which adds up to a great deal of frustration for the skipper. We are able to sail but by tracking more south of our course.
Later today Ross dives under the boat to investigate the problem and is disappointed to find one of the three  propeller blades has come off. We think it must have been getting loose for some time, hence the vibrations, and maybe it has just come off because when we start the motor again and get underway the vibrations have ceased.
The  problem is now where to have this fixed. The prop was taken off at Curacao to have it serviced so we assume it hasn´t been refitted correctly.
Reading in the cockpit is very relaxing today, enjoying the balmy weather and the incredible sense of space with a 360 degree view of the horizon.
Ross decides to motor again tonight with the wind being similar to last night but stronger. Our total today is only 130 n.miles.

Sunday 20th. May
Ross is pleased we did not sail overnight with the 2 headsails out, but maybe we could have sailed with the 2 headsails as one poled out to port because of the east winds.
The skipper is very happy as we have had the sails like this since early this morning and have sailed for about 6 hours with winds north of east and up to 21kts. The forecast is for 8 to 13 kt. winds. Ross had thought about using the spinnaker, which is our favourite way of sailing, but is pleased he decided not to with this wind.

The 2 headsails out

The spinnaker sheet is showing signs of wear and tear so needs to be changed from end to end.
It is lovely having breakfast in the cockpit this morning with the following seas and a light breeze to keep cool. The winds are north and n.east all day, 13-18 kts. with some up to the low 20´s.
During the afternoon a cargo ship overtakes us on our port side. Ross radios it on the VHF radio and has a brief chat. It´s destination is Papeete in Tahiti.

I am starting to feel the need to do more exercise. Reading the journal section of our Atlantic crossing reminds me during night watch I used to jog on the spot, visualizing going around the tan. This works well and I certainly feel much better for doing this.

The sails are unchanged at sunset for the overnight motor-sail because the winds are light. At this time it is very rolly for a couple of hours. Also there are a few showers. It is refreshing to go up on deck to clean the windows and some of the stainless. There is quite a build up of salt which is good to wipe off as it is so corrosive.
During the night the wind comes around enough to funnel up between the 2 headsails, which are still set as one, and this causes a lot of flapping. So at our 3am. change over for night watch we furl the double headsail and bring in the spinnaker pole. This should improve our speed.
The distance tracked today is 129.4 n.miles.

Monday 21st May
Dawn breaks at 5.30am now with the last time zone change so Ross is up early to organize the sails. With the wind  forecast mainly from the east, as yesterday, we pole the doubled  headsails out to starboard. The winds are in the right direction and enough to average 5 kts., and 6kts with low revs on the engine, with the slightly better angle and strength forecast tomorrow. There is 1 kt. of current assistance.
We are disappointed to discover the spinnaker pole track that was fixed in Curacao has lifted and buckled. Fortunately we can still use it to pole out the headsail by lifting the mast end of the pole above this area.

Modern technology is amazing. This afternoon Ross has a phone conference with
very clear reception.
Later in the day a persistent and confused swell sets in giving the boat a corkscrew motion which is very uncomfortable. It continues into the night.
Today we track 140 n.miles

Tuesday 22nd. May
Today is one of those days night watch has caught up with me ie being up for 6 hours during the night and with broken sleep. Ross finally wakes me at 1100 hours because he has been waiting to reset the sails. He has noticed the spinnaker pole track is coming away a little further and doesn´t want to put it under any more strain,
So we furl the headsail and put up the mainsail, and then put out the headsail again without the pole. The wind has come round more towards the beam so now we are sailing well with winds up to 20 ks. from the e.s.e.
By the time this is organized Ross is overdue for his rest. He is sleeping better now.
During the day Ross starts to organize to have the propeller fixed. It also means the boat will have to come out of the water to do this.
In the meantime it is apparently alright to use the engine as long as too much vibration is not set up which can cause damage eg the engine can come off its mount or the gear box seals can be damaged. Ross is checking on advice about this, including from Phil, which is very comforting when we are literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We are just hoping we can sail the rest of the way with favourable winds and so not have to use the engine very much. The forecasts from Bruce are encouraging for this. In this situation I wish it was possible to look into the future. As Ross says “we are running out of options”.

The provisions are holding out well. There are still seafood meals and steak in the freezer and some longer lasting fresh foods in the fruit and vege. fridge. The large fruit and vege. fridge (especially with me being a vegetarian) has made an enormous difference to our provisioning abilities for the long passages.
We are vigilant in only throwing all compost and biodegradable rubbish over board but nothing else, especially since we were made more aware of pollution in the sea after our trip to the Galapagos. We still carry minimal rubbish as we are mainly eating fresh food.

We have a lovely day and night´s sailing with enough speed to cut through the waves and swell better and so it is much more comfortable than yesterday. We track 139 n.miles which is less than the average we aim for but under the circumstances we are very happy to be able to sail. We see the new moon edging its way up into the dark sky.

Wednesday, 23rd. May – Day 17
Today we are maintaining just enough angle and speed to keep us going with the sailing. The sea is very calm so with the sail setting still the same it is very relaxing.
Towards dusk the winds come further round to the east and our speed drops so we motor sail for several hours.
Dinner in the cockpit is very pleasant even though it is dark because the new moon is casting its reflections over the water.
 When the wind improves Ross turns the motor off  but very heavy vibrations set up again, due to the propeller not being synchronized with one blade missing. He decides to furl the headsail to stop it slatting, and turn the engine on which stops the vibrating.
We motor sail through the night just with the reefed mainsail up.
Today we have very poor tracking of 125 n.miles. This is disappointing but the winds from the east have not been particularly favourable and we had to come off our course up to 20 degrees. We are limited to our motoring speed by the propeller problem so we are rarely seeing above 4.5 - 4.8 kts on the dial. Also there is very little favourable current now. It feels as though it could still take days to get there but it is reassuring to know there is enough fuel.

Having access to email at times like this is a great advantage. Ross has been able to finalize having the parts for the propeller freighted over and for an agent in Papeete to help organize having Impulsive taken out of the water to have them fitted.

Thursday 24th. May   Day 18
Early this morning the skipper is pleased again. There are e.s.e. winds 18-22 kts. so we take out the headsail and can hold our course averaging 6.8 kts for 3 hours, then 6.5 kts. for an hour. The favourable current has returned.
With these improved sailing conditions for tracking to the Marquesas, and bread in the oven, we are feeling happier.
About midday we have two heavy showers with winds up to 25kts. which then die back to nothing. The conditions then settle back to favourable winds so we can sail most of the day and night, keeping on our course. Ross notices another section of the foil is damaged. He is thinking of looking into a more appropriate system for this. It is a problem with in-boom furling as we use.

Ross is exhausted today after spending so much time concentrating on working out the best tactics to get us to the Marquesas, and he hasn´t had much sleep. Tonight he has slept through me using the winch (which is very loud) when I let out more headsail. He usually is alert to every change in sound and movement even when he is sleeping and comes up on deck to check out the situation.
During Ross´night watch early am there is a persistent squall with winds up to 26 kts. The after math is more of a problem because the winds are so light it is difficult to fill the sails and it changes direction constantly so the sail stays slack. It takes some time to stabilize.

Friday  May 25th.   Day 19
At day break Ross realizes a couple more sections of the foil have sheared off in the squall so we should furl the mainsail. We do this manually heading up into the wind and he ties the sail down onto the boom. We are pleased Bruce has alerted us to many squalls further south and suggested the route he has advised partly because of this. We certainly don´t need any more damage to the boat. We agree with the
name of the Pacific Ocean meaning peaceful in that you don´t expect to have the huge and life threatening storms as you might have in the Atlantic Ocean but it is certainly wearing on all the gear with its heavy rolling and strong and inconsistent swells.

Our sailing options are very limited now. With the forecast for winds from the east and 17 to 22 knots Ross decides to pole the headsail out to starboard using the spinnaker pole track above where it is damaged and with the motor in low revs. We are holding the course and averaging 5.5 to 6 kts. These conditions last all day.

While Ross is resting there is a sudden loud hissing noise which gives me quite a fright. The engine sounds the same and I can´t find anything wrong. As I am reluctantly going to wake Ross I have another closer look in the direction the sound came from and realize it was just his life jacket he wears out of the cockpit on night watch self inflating itself. Problem solved!

From about 1830 hours squally system sessions seem to be attracted to the boat. They seem to intensify in this area then move away and break up. We have reduced the headsail to 1/4 its size to prepare for the squall and turn 40 degrees off course to the s.west to avoid it After 3 hours we are back on course but still have a quall showing on the radar. There has been no rain associated with this, just a series of gusty squalls.
We take the headsail out to half its full size.
The squalls have just about dissipated now. Since it became dark we have been motor sailing with the deck lights on so we can watch the sail closely. We enjoy this very much, especially with the moon in the background. This also throws light over the wash surrounding the boat and you can see the state of the sea.  It somehow seems to give a cosy feeling to being inside the pilot house.
Today we track 131 n.miles.

Saturday 26th. May   Day 20

It is Scott´s birthday today. They are away on holidays so it is lovely to call him and hear some of their news.

On our calculations we should arrive in 2 days. It seems amazing we can now think about our ETA in the Marquesas. I must admit the special bottle of champagne Rob and Di left on board for us to celebrate our arrival is starting to look good!

With weaker winds forecast from the east through the rest of today and tomorrow we have to change the sail setting again. Ross comes up with a very successful plan. One headsail is poled out to starboard using the spinnaker pole which is still attached above the damaged area on the track on the mast. On the port side the other headsail is supported by a block system from the extended boom like a spinnaker pole. We can now sail averaging about 6 kts. It is a lovely afternoon out in the cockpit enjoying this sight.
Tonight we are back to sailing with a single headsail poled out. It is a lovely calm night again but a bit rolly. Yesterday we tracked 132 n.miles
At 0200 hours it is very frustrating but I have to wake Ross out of a deep sleep. It is time to run the generator but the batteries keep loosing their charge instead of increasing it. We can´t risk damaging the batteries so I have to get him up. The problem is easily solved by him discovering that the battery charger circuit breaker isn´t turned on how it usually is and its light isn´t working so I didn´t realize. We are pleased to find this the only problem but I did regret having to wake Ross. Sleep is a precious commodity at this stage of the passage.

Sunday 27th. May

At 0700 this morning we only have 104 n.miles to go. We should arrive very early tomorrow morning.
We bring in the extended boom as with the forecast being for easterly winds in the 10-15 kt. range  we won´t need it. Ross is hoping to fly the spinnaker but the winds are stronger than predicted so this isn´t possible. He has it out ready. Instead we are motor sailing with the joined headsails out to starboard.
It is a glorious day out here, despite a persistent roll, and we are both enjoying having time to read relaxing in the cockpit. We are tired but very excited to nearly be there.

On a domestic note there is very little washing to be done apart from sheets and towels. Ross has lived in bathers for 3 weeks and I have had a minimum of bathers, shorts and tops. All very easy to manage.

Later tonight as we approach Fatu Hiva from the west our speed decreases which we think is an adverse current. We track along the north coast of Fatu Hiva (Island) and round Cape Teaitehoe to track down the west coast. The wind drops to 4.5 kts. on this leeward side, and there is 1.5 kts. current against us. The boat speed drops dramatically, sometimes below 1 kt. so this last part of this passage is very slow. Also at this time the C.O.G. instrument begins to jump around unpredictably – what great timing for this to happen. Ross sets up the other computer so we can follow it reliably on this.
It is a little eerie too because the moon has sunk below the horizon and we can just make out the dark shadow of the high cliffs of the island. Thank goodness for the radar. Soon we can see mast lights of boats anchored in Baie Hanaval which is a great relief.
Now all we have to do is anchor. This is possible in 10 – 12 metres of water 200 m. from the shore but it is in poor holding with sand and rocks. Further out the bottom shelves quickly to 30 plus metres. Ross wants to anchor closer in and my knees shake as we venture in closer motoring between other boats. It is very difficult to judge distances at night with the shadows and the other boats mast or stern lights on. Eventually we are safely anchored and are ready to celebrate with our special bottle of champagne. We finally pile into bed at 5.30am ready for a long, deep and uninterrupted sleep.
Congratulations to the best skipper! It  is wonderful to watch how Ross can concentrate for such long periods of time and respond accordingly. I always feel safe with his decisions. He always thinks first rather than rushing into actions.

We have a lovely few days here. To wake up to this exquisite scenery is a treat, with its lush green ground cover, the tall slender palm trees, the high cliffs down to the sea and the huge pillars of eroded rock. Impulsive is surrounded by beautiful deep blue water.
When we eventually go ashore I feel wafty in the head and we both feel heavy in the legs. The locals are very friendly and welcoming. As we row into the small concrete wharf a local man, Mark, greets us and asks if we have trouble with the dinghy motor. We still are even though they tried to fix it in Curacao and Galapagos. Mark explains he is a mechanic and says he can help us. This all takes some time. We are joined by another couple from N.Z. and the husband happens to be a marine mechanic, so he is helping too. He explains that sometimes you can check the carburettor 6 -8 times before it will come right, which it eventually did.

In the meantime Mark´s wife asks if we would like some fresh fruit. She has some English and I have some French so we have fun trading. We come back to Impulsive with the wonderful selection of fresh fruit; a bunch of bananas, papaya, and pamplemousse. We have arranged to meet tomorrow at her home for more trading. Blondine is keen to have shampoo, a sewing kit, perfume (that I don´t have any extra) and more of the gifts I have for children. Also Marc is pleased with his Australian t-shirt and a few bottles of red wine. They are also looking for a new rope for their tinny run-about but unfortunately we haven´t got what they need. The supply ship only comes here once a month. (We were not able to acquire the French/Polynesian currency so trading is what all the yachties seem to do here). Mark is leaving at 4am. tomorrow morning to go to Papeete for the cultural festival there. This is quite an event apparently so we look forward to seeing him there. He has given us his phone number.
Spending time at the wharf having the dinghy motor fixed gives us the opportunity to meet some other yachties. There are two dutch couples from two of the other yachts.

View from the church

During the next couple of days we meet most of the people here. There seem to be up to eight yachts here at any one time. One French family have been traveling with their two small children for two years. I do admire this especially as the parents are doing the little boys schooling as well.
Selwyn, the N.Z. marine mechanic, suggests Ross checks there is no damage to the bracket which supports the prop at the hull. This is excellent advice. There is no damage to the bracket but the serious news is that another blade has fallen off the propeller. No wonder our speed dropped so dramatically coming into Fatu Heva. He also dives with Dave to check the anchor is set securely.

Ross checking anchor by diving with Dave

Our plans now have to change dramatically. We will have to sail directly to Papeete
to get the propeller fixed. We will find a way to return to the Marquesas and Tuomoto Islands next season, maybe on the supply ship, Aranui.

Selwyn is very generous with his advice and time. He helps Ross refit the foil for the mainsail and strengthens the spinnaker pole track. We are planning to sail straight through to Papeete without using the motor. To do this we need to wait for a couple of days for the right weather window. With the lack of wind it is idyllic in this beautiful bay surrounded by stunning scenery.
Joanne, Selwyn´s wife and I have a book swap which is such a good idea. We also have a long swim together in the beautiful waters here. Later we all have dinner on Impulsive – it is the least we can do.
We are keen to see the local crafts of sculptures and tapas but the crafts people have taken their collections to the festival. We look forward to seeing them there.
Ross and I have several long walks, one up high where we can look down to the spectacular view of the bay, the village, the valley behind it and the amazing mountainous formations. The other we follow the river into the valley, or the old crater. This is very fertile now and some people are farming here, and growing produce eg bananas, mangos, oranges, limes, lemons and papayas. Somehow we miss the path off to the waterfall but we did see and hear it cascading down one of the high mountainsides.
This small village is unspoiled, with all the gardens being well cared for. This is a constant job with the high rainfall here and the constant humidity. The church is a central part of it, and we enjoy seeing the children playing at the school and later in the afternoon on the beach and swimming in the sea. It seems to be a very relaxed lifestyle for these  children who seem to have limitless energy and look extremely healthy.
Early evening groups of men play boule while the women enjoy a game of bingo.

Blondine´s house

A typical house and garden here

During one of our morning walks we come across a very friendly man. It takes us both sometime to realize he is the local gendarme. This could be a problem. Fatu Hiva is the obvious place for landfall after the long passage across from the Galapagos but you are expected to clear customs and immigration first further north at Taiohae or Atuona in Hiva Oa , or further north still at Niku Hiva. This is not at all convenient from a sailing perspective or for a plan to tour the Marquesas. We decide to take the risk because we have genuine boat problems. The gendarme accepts this – thank goodness for Ross´ French, but we have to meet him the following morning with our passports at the town hall. He faxes all our information through to Hiva Oa and we are expected to go there. It is all too hard to explain we can´t risk this with only one propeller blade and that we have to sail straight to Papeete. Ross tries to contact some one at Hiva Oa to tell them we are unable to get there but is unable to get a connection. Selwyn is going to customs there so he is informing them for us because we think there is a chance they may register we haven´t turned up and may wonder where we are and if all is well considering our boat issues.

We so enjoy our few days here at Hanavave Bay and look forward to exploring more of the Marquesas next year.

A favourite recipe this leg :
This is a simple easily prepared meal in a rolly sea

Garlic prawn and noodle salad – for 2
325 gms. medium king prawns
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
120 gms soba noodles
1 medium lemon – grate 2 teaspns lemon rind, and squeeze the juice
155gms. broccholi florets; snow peas thinly sliced, if available – cook lightly
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

Cook the noodles and drain
Cook the garlic and prawns

Combine all the ingredients and stir lightly through the noodles

Serve with a green salad

Hint: lemons keep for at least 6 weeks if soaked for 5 mins. in a solution of water with a few drops of bleach

Another favourite recipe this leg:
Mussels served with soba noodles: for 2

Cook the noodles, cool under cold water
Drain and toss with  the dressing mixture, the finely diced tomato, spring onion and coriander.

Dressing mixture:
2tblspns oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tblsn. Lemon juice
2 tblsn. Oil
1 tblsn soy sauce

Bring  water with 1 cup to white wine to the boil; add 1 kg.mussels and as they are opening add 1 finely chopped onion, a crushed clove of garlic and a piece of celery and some parsley

Serve them on top of the noodles as soon as they are all open.

Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.

Another favourite recipe:

Risotto with seafood marinara

Cook the marinara gently in a pint of boiling water with a cup of white wine, a clove of garlic and 2 small onions. Add ground pepper.
Then strain the stock into a basin.

In a heavy pan heat a little oil. Saute  a clove of garlic and a small onion.
Add the uncooked rice and stir until it is shiny all over. Then add a large cup of the stock. When this is all absorbed add some more. Stir each time the stock is added.

Saute 2 diced tomatoes. When the rice is soft add the marinara and tomatoes at the last minute.
Serve with grated cheese and crusty bread, and a green salad.

Fish with Henry Langdon´s sea salt rub:

Squeeze lime juice on both sides of fish
Spray pan with oil
Cook one side of fish for a few minutes and turn over. Brush the top side with egg white and coat with black sesame seeds. Sprinke with Henry Langdon´s sea salt rub
Garnish with coriander

Serve with couscous and chickpeas, and salad

Galapagos Islands