Just back from an epic delivery of the beautiful custom built 78ft motor yacht/sport fisher Felina. Our delivery schedule took us from Marina del Rey to Ensenada to check in and then straight down to Cabo. The boat handled magnificently and the lake-like conditions didn’t hurt either. Despite it being November, it is still epic out there on the water! We of course had a few issues to fix along the way and upon arrival but all the spares on board and the redundancy in systems made for a nice delivery.
It has been a bit overcast the last few weeks here in Marina del Rey. We have, however, had some beautiful sailing weather. One to Two foot seas and 12kts of breeze has been the norm for the last 3 days! Took the Beneteau 40 Lynn Lee out to Malibu and back yesterday and it sure was beautiful! Things have been slow in the marina because of the overcast skies, but I still encourage all of you to come out and enjoy the pristine sailing conditions!
So it looks like for some reason a few of my final posts did not make it onto the blog. I will have to try and track down my Tahiti post and get it up here. But, I am not back stateside and am currently in Los Angeles. I am getting back out on the water as much as possible. I taught a lesson on a Hobie sailboat yesterday and am doing a delivery on a Carver tomorrow from Dana Pt up to Marina del Rey. The summer is about to begin and everyone is getting their fleets and crews ready. I am currently figuring out the logistics of all the various work I will be doing this summer so if you are in need of any boat assistance, now is a great time to let me know about it!
Hiva Oa is another beautiful spot in the Marquesas. It is far more industrial than Fatu Hiva but still very rural on our standards. The anchorage was very crowded and we ended up anchoring too close to the freight dock, requiring us to move in the morning incase a ship was going to come in. On Wednesday morning we dinghied to shore where we were picked up by our tour guide Frida for the day. She took us first to immigration to check into the country. All went smoothly there and we were then off to explore the island. We took the main road which runs all over the island up the mountains and down the switchbacks from one side to the other. We saw many little towns and beautiful valleys. Along the way we stopped at a few key locations. One of them was called the smiling tiki. It is a rock carving of a tiki that is smiling and we were asked to identify if it was a man or a woman. We went with woman based on hand placement and the way the hair was done. It turns out we were correct but for all the wrong reasons. Oh well. We also stopped at some petroglifs, as well as a nice beach, and a farm where they were making dried bananas. We were able to sample the bananas as well as buy a lot of additional fruit. At the end of the all day tour, after bouncing along the miles and miles of dirt road, Frida brought us back to the boat around 6 PM.
We had made plans to have dinner onboard our friend’s boat Double Diamond so we stopped by Murar’s Dream, grabbed a few supplies, then took the dinghy to Double Diamond. Andy cooked up his famous chicken coconut curry and the 6 of us told our war stories and conversed over some fine food and bubbly celebrating safe arrival to French Polynesia.
The following morning Andy, Debra, and I, along with Melody and Cassie from Double Diamond, walked the 45 minutes into town. We explored the local shops and bakeries and I splited off with the Double Diamond crew while Andy and Debra hiked up to view the local cemetery. After a few hours of exploring it was back to the boat so that I could pack.
I began what turned out to be a rather lengthily process of putting everything I had in 2 large duffle bags and my backpack. By the time I was finished they were stuffed full and quite heavy. I was worried that they might not make weight for the plane but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best; I did pay the extra $150 for the 2 bag ticket but was still concerned.
After packing, we refueled Murar’s Dream. This is no pull up to the dock and drop the nozzle in. Nope. This had to be done using the 5 gallon cans. We loaded them into the dinghy, headed over to the fuel station, filled the cans, then back in the dinghy to empty them into Murars Dream’s tank. 2 hot sweaty trips later she was full!
After dripping sweat for a few hours Andy and I headed back to shore to use the outdoor shower for a well deserved rinse. It was then time for my going away dinner out at the local pizza restaurant. But, we could not head there without first heading to Double Diamond for Margaritas. Jeff makes a mean Margarita! An hour and a few drinks later everyone was sufficiently boisterous and we disbursed on the dinghies to the dock where the restaurant had sent a car to pick us up. 9 of us squished into the Range Rover and headed up to dinner. I ordered an everything pizza that was piled high with lots of veggies including artichoke hearts and too much other stuff to remember. No olives though! It was absolutely delicious! A few bottles of wine and a few martini glasses of chocolate mousse later, we piled back into the car and it was back to the boats! It was a wonderful last night full of fun and conversation with some of the nicest people on the seas.
Monday at Fatu Hiva we decided to take advantage of the beautiful terrain and went on a long hike. We tried to hike to “le cascade” (the waterfall) which is one of the sites to visit on the island but were never quite successful. We had planned to do the hike on Sunday after church but were advised that the road and trail would be too muddy and slippery, so we postponed the venture until Monday. There are no signs here and it is one of those walk till you hit the big rock and turn left type of things. Although we never made it to the base of the waterfall, we did see it from a distance and got another good hike in instead. The whole island is so picturesque that no matter where you turn, you will enjoy the natural beauty. We found some fruit trees on the side of the road and loaded up with limes, so im sure some lemonadas are in the near future! On the return, we came across some locals scooping up dried coconut meat and laying out fresh meat to dry on a large concrete slab. We were able to learn that the dried meat is then used to make coconut oil and soap which is then taken to Papeete for sale at a semi-annual exposition.
Later in the evening we had a local Marquesian dinner at one of the local’s homes. The previous day Debra and I had dinghied around coordinating with all the boats in the anchorage and we were able to coordinate a good crowd of people to attend the dinner. 13 of us rendezvoused at the dinghy dock and walked up the street to the home of Serge and Kati. There was laid out a feast of chicken, fish, breadfruit, papaya salad, red and yellow bananas, and, of course, rice. They had set up a large banquet-style table, so we were all able to sit together. At first, Serge was off conducting a mass and training others how to conduct the prayers, but on his return, he, along with one of his granddaughters, became the entertainment. He broke out ukulele-style instruments and played and sang for us all. Andy, along with Serge’s granddaughters joined in playing instruments and singing. Later in the night Serge brought out some of the wood carvings (Tiki) which he does. He uses a very hard wood known locally as steel wood, and it is almost rock-hard and extremely dense-much more so than even teak. The carvings were very neat and I am sure he will have a good showing at the Tahiti exposition.
After we were all well-fed and entertained, we all dinghied back to our respective boats for a good night’s sleep. In the morning we are off to Hiva Oa.
We made it! We arrived at Fatu Hiva Island (Marquesas) on Saturday 4/13/13. The entire trip took us 21 days and 2 hours. This is quite amazing considering I guessed that it would take 21 days 4 hours! We averaged about 6.3 knots. Not too shabby! The journey as a whole went well with minimal breakages and problems. The biggest thing to note was a failed impeller/water intake on the generator. We were able to open it up and get it fixed in a matter of a few hours. If that hadn’t been fixable, things would have been much different. Other than that, no serious breakages or line chafing. Just the usual auto pilot shut downs and overpowering wind gusts in big seas. By the end, we were all definitely ready to be here though! It is very exhausting and hard on the body trying to live your daily life while constantly bouncing around or being healed over. I am looking forward to my first night’s sleep in 21 days on a flat bed! But, first things first! As soon as we anchored Andy and I went into the water to scrape all of the barnacles off of the hull. If you do not get them right away, they quickly calcify and then are nearly impossible to get off. We spent a couple hours under the boat with the snuba rig scraping and cleaning and got most of the barnacles off. The hull is still green with algae growth, but that can wait until tomorrow or the next day. For dinner tonight we are grilling some Dorado that we caught and enjoying a nice bottle of Two Hands Ares wine to celebrate.
Fatu Hiva is a beautiful picturesque island that reminds me of scenes from the movie Avatar. It is very lush with lots of foliage and green everywhere. There are no beaches here but instead huge cliffs and skyscraping rock formations. The anchorage is very deep so lots of chain is needed and although it is clam, the wind howls through in excess of 30 knots so you need to be prepared for that. It also likes to turn from bright sun to torrential downpours in a matter of a few seconds. Those of you who have spent your whole life in CA have never experienced anything like it. Those of you with some east coast experience might understand. In a few seconds there is like 3 inches of water on the ground and everything is absolutely soaked. You had better hope you didn’t forget to close a window! We plan to be here until Monday or Tuesday and then we will head over to Hiva Oa to officially check into the country. We would consider staying longer but there is no way to get money here and we don’t have much in the way of French Polynesian Francs. We traded a fishing hook and some wine for a bundle of bananas, limes, and grapefruit but don’t have too much more that we want to trade at the moment. There are some great hikes but they generally involve a boat ride or car ride and that costs money! We will see what we can do and then will be heading out!
The time has come for us to depart the Galapagos. All of our paperwork is done, we are filled up on fuel, the food has been stocked, the boat has been thoroughly cleaned, the bottom scraped, and the laundry is being picked up in the morning; and Saturday we are off! The Galapagos has been a great adventure and beautiful place to explore but it is time to move on. I am excited to get moving again. This leg of the trip will be 3000NM and will take us across the Pacific Ocean to the Marquises Islands. We hope to be able to make the trip in 21 days. If we are under that would be fantastic and if we are over it will likely be due to a lack of wind. We do not have enough fuel on board to motor so we will be sailing most of the time and if the wind dies, we will be forced to sit and wait. There is a group of 7 boats that will all be leaving the anchorage on Saturday and we will keep in touch along the way. We will quickly be out of eyesight however due to the different speeds, exact courses, and the vast size of the ocean! Every morning and afternoon there is a radio network set up that all of the boats in the area chat on and trade valuable information so we will all be participating in that as well.
When we leave the Galapagos, which are located at about 1 degree south latitude, we will have to head SW to get down to the trade winds which currently can be found at about 5or 6 degrees south. One we get down there we will start heading more West and hopefully ride the trade winds the entire way across. I will miss you all over the next few weeks and will not be able to communicate until we get to the Marquesas and only then if I can find internet. We will however be blogging on our sailblog almost daily while we are underway. If you wish to follow our progress you can check out www.sailblogs.com/member/murarsdream.
Hope everyone has a great few weeks and I will talk to you from the other side of the puddle!