This blog is about planning and preparation for a circumnavigation of the world in a 39-foot sail boat followed, hopefully, by a diary of the actual circumnavigation. You can track the progress of Pachuca by visiting http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=VNW5980
Sunday, November 30, 2008
NOON 30 NOV GMT-10. 01S57 149W2. 933 NM FROM TAHITI, 1306 NM TO HAWAII. Noon-Noon: 118 NM. SHOULD CROSS THE EQUATOR TOMORROW.
As you can see South will become North very soon (hemispherically speaking). Will update position tomorrow. Thanks Stephen
Saturday, November 29, 2008
the daily sms;
NOON 29 NOV GMT-10. 03S55 149W19 815 NM FROM TAHITI, 1420 NM TO HAWAII. Noon-Noon: 121 NM.
The picture shows a 12 hour wind prediction for Pachuca around 15 kn from an ENE direction.
The yellow dot shows Pachuca's position in relation to Tahiti ( the yellow ring).
Friday, November 28, 2008
NOON 28 NOV GMT-10. 05S52 148W48. 698 NM FROM TAHITI, 1542 NM TO HAWAII. N-N: 135 NM. STILL MOVING WELL -- WIND ALMOST IDEAL.
NOON 27 NOV GMT-10. 08S06 149W10. 564 NM FROM TAHITI, 1665 NM TO HAWAII. N-N = 120 NM.
Click on this url (web link) to see Pachuca's current location.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
below is an email from Pachuca, sent today. It was a very difficult process to get email working at sea. Perhaps I will outline the problems overcome and processes involved later for any interested "geeks" reading this :). Anyway, without further ado, here is the email.
22 November 2008
We cast off for Hawaii at 10.30 AM. The wind was blowing from off and I didn't like the idea of motoring from my bow-out Mediterranean orientation down wind then making a tight turn to the right to avoid the next jetty and the steel boat on it. I was going to pull the stern of the boat to make the bow point more favourably but we opted for Arnold's suggestion that we pull the bow over and tie the boat side on to the jetty pointing out. This took an hour to arrange but the effort was worth it because we made a calm and drama-free departure.
The wind was gentle but workable. In the afternoon I took some sextant observations of the sun and the sight I reduced put the line of position within 2 nm of where I knew that we were. This was encouraging. We proceeded north at 2-3 kt and passed west of the Tetioroa atoll that lies 30 nm north of Papeete during the early night. I took out a big lump of white tuna that I had purchased in the market on Friday and cooked the lot. We had the fish steaks with white rice, carrots, and soy sauce with a few glasses of chilled white wine and we both thought that it was a pretty good meal. The rest of the cooked fish would be heated for the next night's meal.
Arnold took the first night watch and he had a difficult time keeping the boat moving with winds that dropped below 5 kt at times. Fortunately the sea was calm which enabled him to nurse the boat along. I took over the watch at 1.30 AM to find the lights of Papeete just a glow on the horizon and the wind better. As my watch progressed the wind got better, veered from NNE to ENE so we made good progress during the rest of the night in the direction of N-NNE on an easy beat.
Our plan is to head N until we reach the equator at longitude W147. Anything west of N is to be avoided lest we run the risk of having to beat our way to Hawaii against a NE trade wind.
We were definitely in the tropics. The boat was hot during the day to the point where sleep is almost impossible until nightfall. However, the nights on deck are a delight. Real tee shirt and shorts weather.
23 November 2008
At 9 AM we were 75 nm north of Papeete. This was a great relief to both of us because the wind forecast predicted light winds until we got 2 or 3 degrees (120 or 180 nm) north of Tahiti, and we were afraid of getting stalled in that curious windless bubble that has enveloped Tahiti for about a week. The indications were that we would be able to break into the zone of steady easterly winds without too much trouble. We sailed all day at 5-6 kt heading at about 010 degress off a breeze that went from E to NE. The boat was very warm inside, to the point where we found it difficult to sleep.
As evening approached the wind stiffened to 17-18 kt from the NE. After dinner Arnold took the watch and I tried to get some sleep in the heat. Thirty minutes later we ran into a rain squall and the wind got over 20 kt. I went on deck and we put in a reef for the night. I took over the watch at midnight and the wind had backed even more toward the north and we were beating to windward just slightly off the wind. An hour later I saw Arnold up and about and I asked him to help me put in the second reef because the wind was consistently over 20 kt.
24 Nov 2008
We sailed all night in somewhat difficult conditions with the sea rising and sheets of water running over the deck with the occasional burst of spray reaching the cockpit. We had made excellent times of 5.5-.6.5 kt in the direction that we wanted to go. However, the boat got damp inside. Arnold had reported water cascading through the solar powered fan in the head and in the night I swapped the fan for the plastic cover to seal the hole. Water was dripping through the vents into the main cabin and I remembered to spin the air scoops around to face aft. In the morning the vents were still dripping which called for future investigation. Also the cabin hatch leaks when sheets of water pass over the cabin. We will have to either reseal it or get a new hatch. The exhaust fan plug in the head was still dripping, and I suspected that an O-ring is missing. This will be replaced. And of course we were still shipping water into the bilge as we always do when beating into a sea. This would surely be our friend the anchor well, which will be repaired in Seattle. However, there was good news.
The forecastle V-berth area was bone dry. The new hatch that we installed in Opua was doing its job. Also, the plastic inspection hatch leading to the anchor well was watertight due to a job that I had done on it with silicone sealant. Also, an extremely irritating leak over the galley area seemed to have been fixed. To track that down I had removed the ceiling panel over the galley which led me to re caulking the entire perimeter of the main hatch “turtle”.
Because the boat was sealed up the interior was warm and steamy. We were hoping that the wind would veer to the E or even SE as a good trade wind should behave. This would put us on a much more comfortable point of sail.
Arnold reported a noon-to-noon distance of 130 nm for the previous 24 hours.
It seemed that Arnold's lead in moving the “Lifetag” base station from the middle of the cabin to the instrument area above the companion way had paid off. Arnold had visited the pulpit once and we had both put in many hours at the steering station and the man-overboard alarm did not go once.
Pachuca came equipped with 5 electric fans, a legacy of her years in Hong Kong. I had removed the two cabin fans (they are now in my garage, I think) but fortunately left the other three on board. I spent a very hot and sweaty hour moving the fan from the head, where it did no good and kept getting in our way, and mounted it on the port side of the cabin where it can be orientated to cool either the berth or the navigation table. I then repositioned the fan in the starboard quarter berth where we keep our tools, materials, and spares to the starboard side of the cabin so that it can cool either the berth or the galley. The result was good, making life inside the cabin that much more tolerable.
The wind moderated a few knots in the late afternoon and I shook out the second reef and went to a single reef on the mainsail and the jib rolled in small – about no. 4. I wanted to get most of the drive from the mainsail and leave the jib as short as possible to (1) use only the heavier rear section of the sail and (2) minimize flogging stress on it whenever we got careless with or steering and luffed the sail. Immediately the configuration felt right. The boat was moving better with only a moderate heel and little weather helm. For the next hour I forgot the anxieties and discomforts of the passage and enjoyed the simple pleasure of sailing the boat. I told Arnold that we could have been off the W.A. Coast sailing in their 20 kt sea breeze with Rottnest Island that way and Mandurah back that way. We carried this configuration into the night knowing that we could shorten sail if we had to.
That night we had spaghetti. To one of those splendid jars of sauce that Brenda left us I added some black olives, capers, and onion. Yummy!
25 November 2008
The sail configuration carried us well all night. When I woke at midnight for the changeover I noted that the boat speed was about 6.5 kt. Arnold reported that he had dealt with winds of up to 23 kt with no problems. At 1 AM I took over the helm standing up with legs wide apart, wheel close to my chest, watching with pleasure Pachuca punching through the waves under a canopy of stars. The tumblehome hull (i.e. bulges out at the sides) that had caused me so much worry when approaching jetties was providing useful buoyancy to counteract heel. The long slender bow that makes her sensitive to weight at the bow and robs me of interior space was doing a beautiful job of piercing the waves. That big slab of a lead keel that gives me a 2.3 meter draft that I frequently complain about was allowing us to carry the sail with ease. Even the low freeboard of the boat which makes her a little wet on deck was now an asset because it minimized resistance to the wind and the water.
It is all about tradeoffs, and the result is a pretty good windward boat. I shudder at the thought of how we would fare against this wind in one of those beamy, spacious, comfortable, lumbering 18 ton steel boats particularly if it was ketch rigged.
At 5 AM we crossed the line marking the official end of our visit to French Polynesia and entered the territorial waters of Kiribati. The next milestone would probably be the equator, 12.3 degrees of latitude away, each degree representing 60 nm.
Just after dawn we got some serious (though short-lived) rain. I collected half a bucket of rain water. This may not sound like much from a suburban perspective but on Pachuca it meant that I could have my first bath in four days. I stripped down and had a good wash with salt water and shampoo. I then carefully ladled the rain water to rinse myself. After Arnold took over the watch at 6.30 AM I gave myself the facial “works”: shave with mustache, eyebrow, ear and nose trim. Trimming my nose with a sharp pair of scissors in the pitching boat was challenging. Afterwards I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. I would have felt even more pleased if I had been able to collect a bit more water for Arnold, but he reported other rain about.
Our power system was managing very well. At 10 AM after almost exactly three full days of sailing the display reported 641 amp hours representing 69 % of our capacity still available. We had been getting a lot of help from the wind charger which was putting out 2, 3, and 4 amps 24 hours a day. During the day the solar panels would make their contribution, providing close to 9 amps in the middle sunny day and even 3 or 4 amps through the clouds. Our plan was to delay a battery-charging engine run as long as possible – when we got near 50% capacity or the “house” bank go close to 12 V. We figured that the hungrier the batteries are the faster the alternator will pour amps into them.
The calculations for the noon report indicated that we had covered 135 nm in the previous 24 hours.
Unfortunately this could wind was not to last. In mid-afternoon we passed through a rain squall (more squall than rain) and emerged with the wind backing even more to the west and speed below 8 knots. We persevered into the night with winds generally moderate from the NE but disrupted repeatedly by numerous squalls. Just before dark we managed to capture one half bucket of fresh water and Arnold was able to have his bath. Dinner was bacon, eggs over easy, and white rice.
End of email
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
NOON 25 NOV GMT-10. 11S39 149W05. 350 NM FROM TAHITI, 1875 NM FROM HAWAII. N-N = 135 NM. GOOD PROGRESS SO FAR.
Pachuca's location can be seen here;
You can move the map around a little with the mouse!
Also here are two wind forecast pictures. Wind is predicted to be from the East, which is just what is wanted.
On the left is the 24 hour, above is the 12 hour forecast. The short lines (or wind barbs) show the direction and strength of the wind.
Monday, November 24, 2008
NOON 24 NOV GMT-10. 13S54 149W11. 217 NM FROM TAHITI, 2005 NM FROM HAWAII. N-N = 130 NM. 20+ KT WIND. DOING 6 KT WITH 2 REEFS
Photo is Bob getting some really fresh water in Tahiti. Will do a map location and wind outlook for Pachuca tomorrow. Please click on photo for bigger view.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
21 November 2008
It is 4 PM and Pachuca and her crew are ready for departure:
Boat cleared to leave
Remaining French francs converted to US dollars
Fuel tanks full
Water tanks full
Gas cylinders full
All boat systems seem to be working OK except a minor glitch with the wind instrument.
We are leaving with a major enhancement: we can get wind and other weather reports on demand for whatever section of the ocean we specify from GRIB files downloaded via the satellite phone. Arnold put a lot of work implementing the system and he reports that it is now working very smoothly.
The winds look good all of the way to Hawaii so we are hoping for a fast (maybe under 30 days) and hassle-free passage.
Hasta luego amigos y amigas
I took the first three photos during my first trip. I could not find the cycle rental store that Robert had seen, so I walked probably more than 10 miles exploring the southern part of the island and took the photos while walking.
The first photo shows a couple fishing with a net. I watched them for a while, and they seemed to be trying to locate fish before deploying the net.
The second photo shows a small island off the SE coast of Moorea. The island is on the reef and seems close enough to swim to. Note the huts on the left side of the island.
The third photo shows part of the Moorea coast, which is typical of the entire coast.
I took the remaining photos during my second trip. With Robert's help I located the cycle rental counter and rented a scooter for the day. I rode around the entire island on the scooter (about 65 km), and to a lookout point high on one of the mountains.
The first photo shows a restaurant on a beach. The pedestrian bridge crosses a river – one of many in Moorea.
The second and third photos show parts of the narrow road to the mountain lookout. It's a different world in the mountains as the pictures show, and not at all what I expected in Tahiti.
The fourth photo shows the lookout at the end of the road in a place called Belvedere. In the distance is one of two beautiful bays on the west coast.
The last photo shows part of an extensive trail system near the lookout. I was OK on this trail until I reached the classic “fork in the trail.” I couldn't decide which way to go, so, I turned back.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
19 November 2008
We were plagued with internet performance problems for most of the day. The wireless network disappeared altogether for about 30 minutes, which suggests to me that they have been having serious problems. After 9 PM the performance was good enough for me to have two good Skype conversations to friends in Perth.
Arnold put in a lot of time on getting the “Ocens” weather service working and made good progress.
With only two more working days before our departure Arnold and I drew up an action plan.
20 November 2008
I dedicated the entire morning to get official clearance and that is what it took. Pachuca now has official clearance to depart on 22 November. Our passports have been stamped. The other task was to get my bond back. I was hoping to repatriate the roughly $3000 AUD to my bank account in Perth but that wasn't possible. So I walked out with $2080 USD in my wallet. This means that I can leave my poor battered and abused Australian bank account alone for 2 or 3 months. (Yep, battered OK. Before clearance this morning I had to take out another 50,000 fcp (Pacific francs) out of my account to pay for our 25 days' stay at the jetty. That translates to roughly $30 AUD per day for a berth with security, power, water, and unbelievable access to the city. Great value!
I checked with Post Restante again today and still no package that was mailed by Yacht Grot on 7 Nov. (However, one of my friend Bob's two letters from Australia arrived the day before.)
In the afternoon Arnold and I went to the grocery store and got everything that we thought that we'd need to complete the provision of the boat. We decided not to buy any more beer (can you believe it?) and will probably run out in about a week. (Gulp!) The plan was to get the vegetables and a few sticks of bread on the following day.
Recharge LPG gas cylinder, Arnold, Friday morning
Rearrange the boat and get everything stowed away for sailing, Robert, Friday afternoon
Shopping for supplies, Arnold and myself, Thurday afternoon and maybe Friday morning
Final banking from a secure internet kiosk, Robert, Friday morning
Water the boat, put away the trolley, lash the boarding boats to the deck, Friday afternoon
Ensure that all laptops, cameras, are charged up
Ensure that clothes washing is up to date
Attached are photos of a demonstration of our hand-crank washing machine that I gave to a giggling Polynesian family.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
After two weeks of no response to my emails to Waterlog, to their official support address and to Margaret in the sales section I telephoned the number advertised on their web site in the middle of their business day. I got a recorded message that simply told me to leave a message. It didn't even identify itself as Waterlog.
This was very disappointing, in particular because I had made it clear that we were about to make a long crossing through the equator and if we ever needed the Waterlog 200 water maker it was now. One would think that a company that has no overseas representation would provide strong centralized support. One would think that a company that makes its sales on the trust of the customers who visit their web site would not betray that trust for reasons of ethics, sound business practice, and reputation.
Arnold thinks that Waterlog is a "garage operation" and I am in no position to dispute that. It certainly appears to be a grossly dysfunctional organization. I won't get vindictive and bad-mouth the company over the internet but my personal advice to anyone is to not buy anything on trust over the internet, particularly from Waterlog. My advice to Waterlog would be to quit jerking people around, wasting their money, and possibly putting them in danger by either facing reality and folding up the business or salvage the business by (a) vastly improving the pathetic instructions printed on the backs of a card (written by a technical boffin rather than a professional communicator) and (b) give strong customer support rather than the current no customer support. This company does not seem to understand that the first thing that customers need is confidence in their product.
I'll keep the unit because maybe one day I'll be able to tinker with it and get it to work. Failing that it can wind up on a wall of my house as a conversation piece and an example of my naivete.
Please don't worry, folks. We will be departing Tahiti with 280 liters of water in the tanks and another 86 liters in containers. That represents 36 days if we use a profligate 10 liters per day between us. A more restrained 5 liters per day will give us 72 days.
I am learning about what I call Tahiti Time. In the morning I walked across town to the Bosch parts place to pick up the fan belt that I had ordered two weeks previously and had been promised for today. The fellow behind the counter stated that “We have a problem.” Through the language barrier I learned that the belt was stuck in the airport and would not be released until Thursday. So I said “Thursday airport Friday here?” Yes. At the time we were planning to depart on Thursday so I asked for and got a refund. Tahiti Time. Later in the morning I cleaned out the refrigerator and ice box and other parts of the boat in preparation for our sail. In the afternoon we visited Morrie's boat and he gave to Arnold and myself a demonstration of the excellent weather service that he gets via his Iridium phone.
Morrie suggested that we consider visiting either London Island or English Harbor on Fanning Island, both in the same group of Line Islands to which Palmyra belongs. On the chart the islands look very very good from an anchorage point of view and it is as tempting as Palmyra was. However, though they are SE of Palmyra we would still have to steer slightly east of North (008 degrees) to reach Hawaii. Although the current reported winds would allow that we are worried about the risk of encountering a beat into a NE wind. Ocean Passages instructs us to steer directly north to cross the equator at 147 W then steer directly for Hawaii, which would give us a course west of north and provide a good point of sail against a NE trade wind.
That night Arnold did some snooping around the weather services provided free by our internet provider and downloaded GRIB files (special files that contain weather data) and a GRIB file viewer. It is a great service that allows us to see detailed wind predictions for whatever section of the world that we nominate, but it is based on normal access to the internet. We still need an service via the Iridium phone for when we are out at sea. Arnold is working on that but is battling some technical difficulties. We could see that the wind predictions are poor for an area to about 120 miles north of Tahiti until Saturday. Based on this we decided to postpone our departure date until Saturday the 22nd.
18 Nov 2008
In the morning I loaded a GRIB file and the viewer to my laptop and had a look at the area around Tahiti. This included a time-lapse (every 3 hours) loop of the predictions until the 22nd. We could see that there is a weak low just south of Tahiti that is stuffing up the winds in an oval-shaped area from just north of Tahiti to the south. The predictions are for better winds on the 22nd and easterlies 10-15 knots all the way through the equator to Hawaii – YES! Maybe a fast passage to Hawaii.
In the afternoon I visited the post office for the 3rd or 4th time hoping to get a replacement manual galley pump sent by Yacht Grot by air mail on Nov 7, 11 days previously on a delivery that Australia Post estimated to take 5 days. Neither it nor two letters mailed by a friend from Australia over a week ago had arrived. Tahiti Time.
At 11 AM I went to the immigration office and found it closed even though the posted hours were from 7AM to 3PM. I knew about their long undocumented lunch breaks so decided to give the man plenty of time to repose after his meal. It 2.15 PM I returned to the office and found it closed. Tahiti Time.
[Note: the next morning I visited the immigration office at 7.05 AM hoping to catch the man when he opened shop. It was closed. I went to a door at the side of the building and saw somebody through the window. He came out, bare chested, munching on his breakfast. I explained our plan to depart on Saturday and asked him for the procedure. He told me to come back tomorrow (Thursday) at 8 AM. I didn't ask why it should be 8 AM when the posted office hours start at 7 AM. Tahiti Time.]
Strangely enough I'm not particularly irritated by Tahiti Time. It is their country, I am their guest, and as a tourist I have to be able to cop it sweet.
In the afternoon Arnold and I went through the inventory of provisions on the boat and marveled at what a great job Brenda of stocking the boat Brenda had done before she left. We compiled a list of final shopping that includes some fresh fruit and vegetables. After that we checked the oil in the engine then started it up to make sure that everything was still OK and that the water temperature sender that we had removed and refitted was not leaking. All was OK except for the insulation that lines the inside of the engine cover that will have to be re-glued.
Just before nightfall Morrie came over with several cold cans of Trinidad beers and the three of us had a great chat in the cockpit. He and Irene depart at about 9AM for Australia and Arnold and I will release their lines. They have been great neighbours and we will hate to see them go. For reasons beyond their control they are running six weeks late and will be sailing to NE Australia during the cyclone season, which is a bit of a worry for us all. For the next three days this will remain an all-Australian jetty but with only one yacht, Pachuca.
That night Arnold and I did some internet research of Hawaii and our tentative plan is to make our entry at Kahului on the island of Maui and spend some time on R&R. From there we will go to Kaneohi on the island of Oahu and stay at one of the three marinas in the area. At Kaneohi Bay is the Marine Corps air station where Arnold was stationed in the 1970's. Nearby is Kailua, where Arnold and Sandra lived near the beach for several memorable months.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Arnold discovered that they were allowing visitors aboard the Earthrace Eco Boat for a voluntary donation so I went for a visit and met up with Morry and Irene who chatting to the girl taking the donations.
I will state here what I think I know about the boat. It was built in New Zealand to crack the world record for a powered circumnavigation of the world. The hull is of carbon fibre and it has two Cummins engines. She did succeed in cracking the world record, circumnavigating the globe in just over 60 days. And she is powered by bio diesel. She is headed for the East coast of Australia then will return to New Zealand.
You can Google "earthrace eco boat" and visit references such as http://marinebiztv.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/earthrace-eco-boat-smashes-round-the-world-speed/.
Enclosed are four photos of the interior of the boat:
- Port and Starboard seat controls
- Irene passing from the galley area to the cockpit
- Robert pretending that he is driving the boat
These are photos of the "biodiesel", "carbon neutral" boat that came in yesterday. I don't know much about it, though Morry says that he saw it in Panama last year and a tourist told Arnold that it can plow through 7-meter seas. Don't forget that you can zoom in to see the writing on the side of the boat by double clicking on the picture.
... I wonder what our reaction would be if we saw this strange craft approaching us on the high seas. I'd probably throw every drop of alcohol I could find immediately overboard.
These are some photos that we took during our car trip around Tahiti yesterday:
- One is of a cosy looking beach
- One shows Tahiti Iti, the smaller island, as we approached it from Tahiti Nui. I am no geologist but I suspect that they were separate volcanic islands that were close enough so that they eventually touched along a front of 2 or 3 kilometers.
- One is of a peninsula with a thatched roof from which Polynesian singing and playing of musical instruments were reaching us across the water.
15 November 2008
The three of us picked up our tiny Renault rented car at 8 AM and soon set of on a round-Tahiti tour. We went clockwise from Papeete along the east cost of Tahiti Nui, the big island, then across to the east side of Tahiti Iti, the smaller island. We went as far as the road would allow a rented car to go but unfortunately were not able to reach our first anchorage at Tahiti. We then went back and did the Western side of Tahiti Iti as far as we could go, then returned to Papeete via the western side of Tahiti Nui. Along the way Brenda had two sessions of wading and swimming (while I had my siestas). In her second session in the water on the way back she once again swam amongst the tropical fish and saw one or two species that she had not seen before. We also checked out a pretty nice botanical garden that offered some interesting walks up the gorge but we just were not prepared for that.
Some of our impressions from our drive:
Most of the people live in the narrow coastal belt, as would be expected
Everyone seemed relaxed and happy.
The housing was of pretty good standard with locations that people in the “developed” world would kill for
Lots of children around, and they all seem well cared for
I bored my companions for the upteenth time asking what retirement dreams these people could possible have. Perhaps the word and concept of “retirement”does not exist in their culture.
After dinner on a whim I suggested to Brenda that we visit the adjacent jetty so that I could have a closer look at the catamaran that “lives” there. We crossed the little bridge between the 2nd and 3rd steel pontoons and I got so engrossed in my inspection of the boat's cockpit setup that walking to the stern of the boat and looking up in the dark I managed to drop into the gap between the pontoons. After beer and wine in the afternoon followed by a big meal I was a bit dopey and didn't see it coming. One instant I was dropping through the air, next instant I was in the water. I hit the big chain on the way down and banged my shin and elbow pretty hard but when I managed to climb out by using the chain Brenda knew that I was OK. Fortunately there does not appear to have been any serious damage. I did not have my camera on me. My watch survived the dunking and I managed to dry out my wallet and all of its contents. The next day I verified that my Visa card is still working OK. Brenda did a great job of dressing the shin and we have some pretty powerful antibiotic creams on board. We were pretty sure that no serious infection would set in but we would not be sure for a day or two.
16 November 20008
It was a sad day of seeing Brenda off for Australia. We got off to a late start. I had set my travel clock and Brenda had set her mobile phone alarm to go off at 4 AM so that we could be in the car at 5 AM. At 4.50 AM Brenda heard the birds chirping and had the sense to get up and check the clock. For some reason her mobile phone had not gone off. My travel clock was one hour slow and the alarm eventually went off at 5 AM. Anyway, we all scrambled but because we had done good preparatory work we managed to get to the airport at 5.18 AM.
After a cup of coffee we saw Brenda off with her back pack and ukulele as hand luggage. Later at the jetty I saw what must have been her plane lifting off from the runway at about 7.45 AM. I gave the plane a big two-arm wave hoping that Brenda had a starboard side seat.
Brenda had been with us since mid-July in Eden, NSW, a whopping 4 months. She shared the difficulties of two winter gales in the Tasman, not to mention the trials of putting up with two Grumpy Old Men in a small boat. Arnold and I will miss her greatly and are looking forward to seeing her in Seattle. Attached is a photo of Brenda that I took at Tihiti Iti during our outing yesterday.
We returned the rental car and soon after that I was on the jetty washing clothes using our plastic hand-crank camp washing machine. I noticed a group of Polynesian locals expressing some interest and before long they were on the jetty with me getting a demonstration of the washer. They thought that it was a real hoot and kept laughing. We had a short conversation, I shook hands with the head of the family, and off they went.
I then took photos of a boat that had come in the previous day while we were out. It is designed to travel on biodiesel fuel and be carbon neutral. Apparently there was a lot of fanfare upon it arrival with various government ministers partaking in some sort of ceremony. Morry says that the boat must be traveling slowly because he and Irene saw it in Panama a year ago.
Speaking of Morry, he gave tours of the Lagoon 500 to Arnold and myself. To me the boat had everything except a soul, but that is OK too. It all depends on what kind of experience the owner wants.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
14 November 2008
Arnold caught the ferry to Moorea, rented a small motorbike, and went around the entire island by road. He will present some of the photos in this blog. During the day Brenda and I did some gift shopping and I put in a lot of effort to set myself up with Paypal so that I can put 10 Euros into my Skype account, which will enable me to telephone land lines.
For a day this was an all-Australian jetty (other than a small commercial runabout). I mentioned earlier the arrival of Morry and Irene in a large catamaran. The catamaran is a “Lagoon 50”, about 20 tons, brand new out of France. We haven't been inside of it yet but Morry says that it has 4 queen-sized beds, 4 bath rooms, 5 showers, air conditioning, washer, drier, entertainment centre ... you get the idea. He said that the basic boat cost about $1 million AUD which is what we had figured. However, with the extra goodies the final cost was more like $1.2 to $1.3 million AUD. I asked him if it was cheaper to have the boat delivered rather than shipped. He said that shipment would have cost about $120,000 AUD whereas delivering was going to cost the owner about $70,000 AUD.
Early in the day a Beneteau Oceanis 45 was brought to the jetty and there was a lot of work by a team of people cleaning it up. Morry says that the boat is a new one just arrived from France and it is being prepared for handover. The boat has an extremely wide transom and two wheels.
At night the three of us wound up in that little cafe that we had seen the previous Friday and sure enough the group of local musicians were having a great time playing and singing Polynesian songs. I would describe one of the players as the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele. People were playing bongos, upturned plastic garbage bins for bass, improvised maracas, etc, and some were switching from instrument to instrument. It was very pleasant for us: beers for Arnold and myself, a tall orange juice for Brenda, al fresco in the cool of the evening, surrounded by some Polynesian culture.
Attached are photos of the boats and one of Brenda off like a school girl to go shopping.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
12 November 2008
In the morning we visited another boat shop and were disappointed in what we found. The stock was spotty and inconsistent and the prices were much higher than we are used to in Australia and the U.S.A. We were looking for material for moving the
Our advice to any yachts planning to cruise the South Pacific is to carry as many spares and materials as you can because it is much easier to go with what you've got than to spend hours searching for something that you will never find and if you do find it you'll pay big-time. Ten meters of light 2-core wire was going to cost me over $40 AUD, and we could not find the switch that we could could have used for the planned relocation of the Lifetag system (see below).
In the afternoon Arnold and I got into our stocks and discovered that we had 13 meters of 6-core wire left over from the B&G wind vane, so we began the project of moving the Lifetag man overboard alarm base station from inside the cabin next to the mast to above the companionway with the other cockpit instruments. We had been plagued by the alarm going off while we were seated at the stern steering the boat, waking everybody up in the middle of the night. Eventually we stopped using the system in the middle of the night when we were alone steering, just when we needed it the most. It was our hope that the above-deck location would give good coverage from the steering station hopefully all of the way to the bow. We also moved the audible alarm the the bulkhead inside the cabin, beside the companionway.
13 November 2008
In the morning a large catamaran arrived at the Jetty and Arnold and I helped them tie up. It was “Morry” and Irene, just in from a 25-day passage from the Galapagos. Then had left France for the East coast of Australia to deliver the new boat.
After some last-minute glitches Arnold and I finished the relocation of the Lifetag system, which took more time than the original installation. Enclosed are photos of the repositioned base station and audio alarm.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
You may not be aware that you can get an enlargement of any photo in this blog simply by double clicking on it with the left button of your mouse.
Fortunately for us we arrived in Papeete after 1 October, the beginning of the “low” season for berthing charges here at the Papeete Quai Des Yachts. The charge, including the 10% tax, is 1818 fcp per day, plus a one-off charge of 1000 fcp for the garbage service. That translates roughly to $30 AUD or $20 USD per day, plus the trivial garbage charge. That's cheaper than what I was paying in Adelaide and outstanding value particularly given all of the advantages of the central location.
Today was a holiday in Fr Polynesia, being Armistice Day, 11 November. Brenda and I went to the public beach in front of the Sofitel Hotel, a bus ride up the road. The hotel grounds are private but the beach is public. One of the attached photos shows how the locals get to the beach by walking along the ledge of a wall at the water front. The other photos show the beach scenes, with Brenda in some of them. The thatched roofs in the distance represent part of the International hotel resort. The island in the background is of course Moorea.
10 Nov 2008
Brenda and I did some serious shopping at the super market and I am happy to note that the bulk of the provisioning of the boat has been completed. Arnold caught the ferry for Moorea and he walked his way around which he didn't mind because of the exercise. He plans to return in a few days and will rent a 125cc motorbike. Brenda and I caught the bus for the Lagoonarium which turned out to be a successful outing. We arrived at the back of the market just in time to catch a bus. On the way we must have been giving out that lost tourist body language because a young man across the aisle asked in broken English if he could help us. We explained and his partner who spoke pretty good English told us that they would tell the driver to stop when we reached the place. During the trip we could see some of the passengers discussing our stop and by the time we got to the stop it seemed that most of the people in our section of the bus were concerned about us getting off at the correct stop.
The Lagoonarium is at the end of a long walkway along the shallows toward the reef. At the start of the walk is the best restaurant that I've seen in a long time with its elegant nautical décor. Part way along the walk way there is an offshoot leading to a thatched shelter where people can sit and, as we did, have lunch. At the end of the walkway are entrances leading down below water level from where we can see various groups of fish segregated by mesh barriers. It gave us an opportunity to see a vast array of fish – from sharks to tuna and snappers to reef fish of all shapes, colour, and sizes – that we would not have seen ourselves in the wild. The bus arrived less than 30 seconds after we emerged and he dropped us off directly across from the boat. The entire trip cost a total of 800 Fcp for bus fares and 1000 Fcp entrance fee. 1800 Fcp translates to about $30.00 AUD all-up.
Monday, November 10, 2008
- Captain Robert at the top of the mast trying to "linearize" the wind indicator
- Four-masted "Star Flyer" in for an overnight visit
- The large and modern fishing boat harbour
- What appeared to us to be bush fires at Moorea, which we had been told the day before is unusually dry.
- Strange looking ship "arctic" registered in Nassau which seems to be extremely well equipped for communication.
Yesterday we set up wireless internet access from the boat. This morning I downloaded and installed Skype to my laptop. The voice test to Skype failed and we figured that my laptop might not even have an internal microphone. I went out and purchased a headset for about $20 AUD and I was in business. My Skype name is “pachucaman”.
For the last few days Arnold and I have been making trips to the Shell petrol station with our trolley loaded with two 10-liter containers which we would fill up then return to the boat to empty them into our diesel tanks. Today I made the last trip. As of now our main tanks are full with a total of 140 liters of diesel, and we have a reserve of 20 liters in separate containers. I also refilled our outboard motor petrol tank with “Shell Super Sans Plomb” (“Without Lead”, almost a direct lift from one of my high school Latin text books)
We estimate that we used 105 liters of diesel fuel for 37.3 engine running time. This translates to 2.8 liters per hour running at an average of 1200 rpm. We estimate that our 140 liters of fuel will give us 50 hours running time, with another 7 hours from our reserve. That should give us a range of at least 250 nm (plus another 35 nm from our reserve) if we ignore the effects of wind and tide. We expect to use the engine mainly to charge up our batteries. With the amount of sun to be expected in crossing the equator and some help from the wind we hope to average less than 45 minutes per day of battery-charging time.
That afternoon we had a good conversation with Stephen, Brenda's son, via Skype.
The evening was quiet. We watched the Tahitian Princess enter the harbour and berth after dinner. Then the three of us went out looking for some great live music by a group of locals having a lot of fun that we had seen in at an outdoor cafe the night before but found that place closed and followed our ears to other music that turned out to be at the local McDonald's. A group of kids did a great gospel music number. We'll visit that cafe next Friday night in the hopes of spending an hour or two listening to that group over a jug of beer.
9 Nov 2008
This was Sunday and we were reminded how quiet Papeete can be. I had run out of time for my WiFi service and the kiosk sells the cards and which advertises ouvert 7x7 was closed. We had planned to visit the Lagoonarium, an oceanarium near of the airport, but the “truck” bus service to that area was did not run on Sundays. Brenda and I had to satisfy ourselves with a walk to the other side of town to visit the fishing boat harbour, which was very interesting. The fleet impressive its size and the quality of the boats. The shore facilities were excellent with plenty of places to buy fresh fish straight off the boat. This should not be a surprise since Papeete would be the centre of 4.5 million square kilometers of ocean managed by French Polynesia. Arnold had a go at walking up into the hills but was not as successful as he would have wanted because there do not seem to be any maps available.
We all got back to the boat for lunch and after a nap I watered down the boat to cool it down and we made preparations for some mast work. Arnold took the slack on the halyard connected to my safety harness as I went up. At the mid-mast light I put it a new steaming light globe which tested out OK. I then continued up the mast and at the very top I got as comfortable as I could and working with Arnold below made three revolutions of the new Raymarine wind indicator at the rate of 1 revolution per minute to “linearize” the unit. Part 2 of the process was to hold the wind indicator so that it was pointing directly to the front of the boat so that Arnold could make suitable offset adjustments to the unit. Brenda was on the next jetty with binoculars to help me get a good line. We did the best we could and I returned to the deck. Arnold had offset the display a whopping 160 degrees to get it to report accurately where the wind is coming from. But as feared that resulted in the wind direction numbers reported on the chart plotter also being adjusted by 160 degrees so that it now tells us where the wind is going to. Arnold and I have concluded that there is something wrong with the display. The truth will probably have to wait until we get to Seattle. In the meantime we will be able to see the apparent wind direction from the steering station, which is the most important thing.
- ► 2012 (344)
- ► 2011 (288)
- ► 2010 (355)
- ► 2009 (376)
- The Invisible Milestone Approaches.....
- More Good Winds Predicted........
- How to Island Hop..........
- The tiny story...........
- An email from Pachuca !
- The Wind Gods are Smiling.......
- Excellent Reef Knots............
- Blue Water Cruising Again.....
- Departing for Hawaii
- Tahiti 19-20 November
- Gave Up On Water Maker
- Tahiti 17-18 Nov
- More Photos of Earthrace Eco Boat
- EarthRace Eco Boat
- Biodiesel Boat
- Photos of Day Trip
- Tahiti 15-16 Nov, Brenda Departs for OZ
- More Company
- Tahiti 12,13 Nov
- Photos, Berth Charges, and Day at the Beach
- Tahiti 10 Nov
- Photos - Tahiti
- Tahiti 8-9 Nov 2008
- Photos of Papeete Public Park
- Photos of Moorea
- Photos - Moorea
- Tahiti Nov 5-7
- Tahiti, 2-4 Nov 2008
- Papeete Photos
- Town Hall
- Street Scenes
- Tahiti Market
- Cable Break
- Taina Marina
- Tahiti, 30th October to 1st November
- ▼ November (38)
- ► 2007 (43)