20th July 2010.
Hi back again, we have just about jumped the worlds biggest puddle. It has been good but the last few days the wind is right up our arse, the swell hard to port and without a spinnaker you don’t get much worse. So we can’t wait for tomorrow morning at 0930 to be in the bay at Hiva Oa, Marquesas Group.
We left Galapagos and got 12kns SE as soon as we left Santa Cruz and took off for Isabella as the crew reckoned we were mad not to go there. As we got closer the breeze was close to 20kns so we canned going ashore and went West. We had great sailing weather with 20kn ESE to start with and we were trucking along at 9 to 12kns for 3 days but the wind started to come from the East more and more so we needed new tactics as we don’t run with the wind very well. The others had been trailing behind us all the way were now in front and kept hitting us up to put the main up with no reefs, but we found a better weapon. The spinacker, it was like the winged keel on Australia II, all of a sudden we were doing 12kns all day and dropping it for night and sailing jib only through the dark.
We found it impossible to have someone on watch 24 hrs so we slept on the lounge and usually woke to a noise like sail flap or the water banging the floor as we either went down a wave or over one. I still tried to stay awake from 0300 to dawn but it was getting a bit like I couldn’t be bothered. Pretty kicked back and really enjoying myself. Moe wasn’t that keen and we had Vin from the other mob come for a sleep over. A hot shower, a good feed and some cold beers more like it. We were glad to have company and cooked spaghetti bog. (extreme cooking) It was almost done and a wave hit us and the bowl flew off the stove and landed upright on the carpet with half of it staying in the pot and the other half ending up on the floor. Lucky we had heaps. Horror mess. We cleaned the carpet by hanging it out the back transom doing 7kns, worked well. We ended up pretty merry that night and woke up with a hangover. First for the puddle jump. We got rid of Vin the next arvo, he had to throw his gear to the others and then jump in and grab hold of the hand rail, very dodgy in pretty crappy seas but was pretty bloody funny. He reckoned he looked like a penguin as he slid through the water and up on the back step, we thought more like a great big sea lion.
After Vin was gone we had some really windy and stormy days with 30kn plus and we hit our top speed of 16.9kns which is the highest out of both our boats. We used the kite for 11 days and then finally we got caught with a storm. I was asleep and Moe was in charge and we got slammed muchas grande. We ripped the head off the kite and tore the strengthening bead of the tack, spewing. We cleaned it all up and bagged it then got ready for night. It was the stormiest weather so far and all the stories about the Pacific being passive are all bullshit. The swell got bigger and the wind and rain were howling so we set the jib, set our rumbline of 262 degrees and closed all the hatches and doors and had some beers and rums and slept right through the night, best sleep all trip for both of us, and when we woke up we looked outside and decided stuff that and watched DVD’S and listened to Carl Hiassen audio books all day then went back to bed and slept through another night of horror. We were doing 9 to 14 kns every time I woke up and had a look at the log and the storm just kept on. After 48hrs it became quite easy to cook and do stuff so we just did stuff inside like scrabble, Moe can’t count, cheater, still reckons having an extra letter is a bad thing. Using a dictionary is a bit dodgy too. Needless to say she won.
We came out of the storms miles ahead of the other mob and just continued to sail jib only with the fishing gear out and trying to contact someone on the radioes, to no success, and we were feeling pretty bloody lonely. Then on the morning sched time 1500 UTC we got Kittiwake, a couple of good poms I met in a pub on Galapagus, loud and clear as they were leaving Galapagus. We were hooting, it was the coolest feeling just to hear someone close to us, sort of anyway they were 1300nm away. Our mates in Galapagus, Simpatica were soon on the radio and we yacked for ages. It was shithot. Best morale boost you could get. Another thing that breaks up the day is the daily puddlejump nets at 0100 and 1500 UTC, they only go for half an hour but you get to yack with everyone, they must cringe when I get on with gidday mate, hows it going mate, seeya mate and so on. It is pretty cool though as our radio is one of the best and we can hear most people. When we first worked out the frequency thing and that the wind generator put noise on it, we actually received people. Moe and I were ecstatic and since that day we make sure we are up and ready for the net. It is useful to know weather in front and to give boats behind the thumbs up. Its good also because all the boats behind us I have met the people and know what they are like. Kittiwake is a 45’ monohull, the guys on her are great and we have pretty long convos after the net which is like the highlight of the day. Pretty strange but that is how it is at the moment. Little things are really worthy.
Moe just bought out some hot bread, we both wish we had some Vegemite and some real cheese. In the Americas they don,t have cheddar cheese, weird, you can only get this orange processed crap, parmesan or mosserella, soft goo that is good for nachos or pizza. We have had roast lamb, pizzas, French bread, soups, spaghetti, fried rice, chicken stuff and tuna patties and Moe now loves corn from a can and our fresh food is all but gone. Our last night meal is going to be chicken and chips as we have a few potatoes and a kg of chicken. Here is a tip, when you buy potatoes always get the dirty ones as they last so much better, cucumbers last for ages, beans also and the stay fresh vegetable bags work great. We have got 12 day old coriander still in pretty good nick.
After another day and just closing in on half way we were back in contact with Dolly Grace, they were amazed that we were there and not miles behind, wankers, I reckon Lionell thinks he is Dennis Connor . We were visited by Mark for his sleep over and had a ripper of a night and once again stuck the jib up, autopilot on and carked it. We crossed over the hump at 0915 and cracked another bottle of Moet and had bacon and eggs, Marks eyes were like plates, he chose a good night to come on board. We smoked some Cubans and partied all day. He was pretty keen on staying but his skipper wanted him back that night and it was probably good as I reckon our food stocks would have been devastated if he hung around too long. We went back to fishing, reading, and veging out. We were catching tuna daily but you can only eat sashimi now and then, unless you are a jap I guess, so letting quite a few of them go. Yellow fin tuna around 600 to 800mm and probably 10kg. Good fun. In fact I think I will have a break from this and use one of our very flash lures, it’s a squid with a 10 inch rubber fish shoved up its skirt. Amazingly effective and if the sailfish are around they can’t help themselves. Now that I am thinking about it some sashimi might be nice.
Right, back have set the reel up so heres hoping. We hit a school of tuna one day and I caught 6 in 20 minutes all about 18 inches long, the first one was the unlucky one the rest went back. Moe has caught a couple of rippers and it breaks up the day. Pretty good way to spend the days and even when the storms hit us every night I reckon Moe just looked at it this way, the freaking quicker we go the freaking sooner we will be on land.(its true.. I did) I have learnt a lot about Moe and I think we have only had a couple of blews, usually bought about by her clemsyness. She is doing real well and can handle any type of sea be it 5 metre windblown snot or just the cruisey stuff. She can drive the boat and at present we can’t use the port engine due to a noise in the saildrive, so hoisting, reefing and dropping the sails in 25kns is pretty full on but she handles it and just glares at me when I get excited like I’m a wanker or something. But when I served her up deep fried chips that were perfect and she poured the salt on, in her rush she took to whole top off the container, I thought what a tosser.
We had 2 days of the cruisy stuff as we approached The Marquesas and our port of Hiva Oa. It is mobs better in a storm, just set and forget not up every hour ginning around with the sails or ropes banging, the only thing you can hear in a storm is the wind and boat crashing down waves. We spotted the craggy coast of Hiva Oa at 0930 and just plodded our way to the township of Autona. We arrived with congratulations from people we didn’t even know as we motored in and dropped the anchor. The Dolly Grace beat us there by an hour, we had the highest speed of 16.9kns and we caught 9 tuna to their 1, wankers. Cracked the last bottle of Moet and sat back to enjoy it much to the filthy looks from Moe who couldn’t wait to get on land. There were boats in the harbor that we heard and spoke to on the net and even Cumulus 1 who we last saw at Malpelo Isle weeks ago. Good vibe all around, even if Moe was spewing, I made her wait, don’t muck with the El Capitaine, you would have thought she would know that by now.