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Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 23 & 10 hours – LAND HO!

Day 23 & 10 hours – LAND HO!
(Sunday April 27, 2014)

We slowed the boat down – pulled in the jib, mizzen was already dropped - and kept 2 reefs in the mainsail. We arrived at the island of Hiva Oa in the dark and mosied slowly toward the anchorage in Atuona. By the morning light, we pulled out the sails and reached the mouth of the anchorage. The dark volcanic cliffs resonated green and lush as the sun rose higher and the clouds enveloped the top of the cliffs – it was a beautiful sight to behold! - even Carolyne eagerly got out of bed and joined us on deck to inhale the glorious view.

We motored into the anchorage – there were 20 boats bow and stern anchored. We saw shallow depths of 1.5' below our keel and decided to drop anchor closer to the entrance – not exactly behind the yellow markers which indicate space left for the delivery ships that come in to drop off provisions – but we were told another ship wasn't expected for a couple weeks. We have never ever anchored in such a crowded area – so close to other vessels. It is a bit intimidating. Damn scary!

Our Route:
Jim hated the sails slapping in the wind and preferred a beam reach approach (mas o menos) which took us well south of the Socorro Islands. Most boats went more northerly – some passing north of the Soccoros. And it helped that we conferred with our friend, Evan, who said go South West. Our route is snake-like because we went where the wind took us... sometimes not very fast (I think I mentioned previously that we had 10 days with 10 knots of wind or less)... ours was certainly not a direct approach. We saw our fair share of squalls, but no thunder and no lightening. Overall, our passage weather-wise was very good... even though we motored through the ITCZ for 2 days because we saw lots of rain, 2 knots of current against us and no wind at all.

We talked to several friends – they complained of horrible conditions while sailing the Pacific and one even threatened to sell his boat before he arrived. They had hired weather people to direct them – and they were instructed to head due west. The conditions were so uncomfortable they couldn't cook a single meal and sustained on peanut butter sandwiches the entire trip... and it took them over 25 days to arrive even though they motored through the ITCZ. Those of us that headed south and a tad west experienced much better sailing, less wind but enough to push us across and we arrived here faster... Carolyne and I made delicious meals, including homemade bread, hand-made tortillas for breakfast tacos, meat spaghetti ladled over brown rice pasta, pork chili stew with cornbread muffins, fresh peanut butter cookies and fried cherry pies, my grandmother's recipe.

Tooting our own horn: 4-5 boats left 1 to 3 days ahead of us. We were the first one here. Our second night here and most still under-way. Yeah Hotspur!

Internet is $20US a day – very expensive – and rumor is that it doesn't work very well. We'll get some photos posted when we can. But YAY! We're here!!

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