Adventures of Maia | Blog
An adventure, sailing and cruising throughout the world with Laura, Dick and Ellie.
Sailing, Blog, cruising, MAIA, Sceptre 41, sailboat, fun, adventure,
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Yesterday, we arrived at Hanaiapa bay on the North side of Hiva Oa. To our surprise, sv Cool Change (Rick & Cindy) were there, also enjoying the beautiful alpine feeling bay. They filled us in and said a walk on shore was really worth it as there was a paved road to walk along with beautifully manicured landscape. (We took a walk and saw the lovely plants, srubs, trees, flowers, roosters, chickens and even 4 bee hives.) Most of the land is family owned, so we tread lightly. Never picking fruit off trees, sometimes you will be gifted lovely fruit (which we were from Stevens, on Hanamoenoa!)

This morning we had a school of Manta Rays feeding around the boat. They were within 20 feet, such an awesome site. Hannahsea jumped in and swam with them. Generally, when they got close to her, they would dive down a little deeper, but she was able to swim above one for a brief moment, it was awe-inspiring. She said it was magical seeing them come out of the darkness and swim toward her.

Tonight we are heading North to the biggest island, Nuku Hiva (about a 12 hour sail). I am hoping to spend Mother’s day in a calm anchorage. πŸ™‚ Supposedly Nuku Hiva has better internet. Maybe we will be able to post a few pictures!

It is hard to believe that we have been in the Marquesas for over two weeks! We have been enjoying our days here, still feel like we are re-grouping from crossing the Ocean, taking care of some business and also having some fun.

Along with the tropical beauty comes heat, humidity and intermittent rain showers! The sweating can start by 7:00 am (the sun is up around 6:00) and may stop early evening if you are just sitting around with either fans or a breeze. Once you start moving all bets are off. I tend to be especially affected by the heat and have been drinking lots of water (sometimes adding sea salt and lemon or lime for an electrolyte charge) and trying to take it easy in the hottest parts of the day.

It seems to rain mostly in the evenings and nighttimes. However, as the clouds build up so fast, we are always ready to close the hatches and ports. Whenever we leave the boat we close everything down. Most have been brief rainshowers, however we had a night time downpour that was very much appreciated as it gave Maia a much needed bath.

We have spent about half of our time on Tahuata Island, at an beautiful anchorage called Hanamoenoa baie. Beautiful clear water and white sand beach, great for a cooling swim, snorkeling, paddling, relaxing (with our toes in the sand) and projects!

Projects included reorganizing, cleaning the interior and exterior of the boat, hand washing laundry and a few other “boat projects”. We found that these projects worked best while we were at a calm anchorage. Inside “cleaning” consists of normal household cleaning, plus wiping down most of the surfaces inside the boat with vinegar, water and tea tree oil to keep the mildew at bay. Exterior boat cleaning means scraping the bottom to remove barnicles, weeds and other growth. Sacrificial zincs are checked and changed as needed.

As for reorganizing; during the passage it was too rough for Dick and I to sleep in the v-berth (the front cabin, our bedroom) so we had loaded half of the V-berth with storage. To get rid of the v-berth storage we unloaded the starboard aft cockpit storage bin and brought out our inflatable toys (kayak & paddle board – yea!). In went our Jordan drogue (safety device that we will deploy if weather and seas get to rough, to slow down the boat). We also moved some food and supplies from deep storage to accessible storage, which then allowed us to stash some of our other items into the deep storage. Don’t worry if you did not follow all that, basically I was trying to say that it feels good to have our “bedroom” back and the boat organized. πŸ˜‰

We spent about another week on Hiva Oa, at Tahauka Harbor and the town of Atuona. Our time was spent checking into French Polynesia (we can stay 3 months) trying to use internet, shopping and exploring the area. It was about an hour walk (20 min bike ride) into town. There are a couple restaurants, a couple grocery stores, a hardware store, several smaller stores, Post Office, Gendarmerie, museum, nice park…. We were able to pick up veggies and baguettes and a few other supplies. One day we took an awesome hike up to a waterfall. We were out 5 hours and were all were pretty hot & tired when we got back!

Tahauka harbor was busy with all of us cruisers. It is fairly open to swell so it can be rocky and rolly. We try to limit our times in the big harbors, but there is always so much to do and surprise projects to tackle! It was awesome to reconnect with friends from La Cruz in Puerto Vallarta after the 3 plus week passage and excited to see friends from sv Jade Akka (Thomas and Isa) who we had met in San Diego last December.

We have had very little internet access. There is a restaurant/ bar in town that has internet, but it is super slow. (We took care of a little banking, but each time it took hours! So frustrating!) A big thanks to son, Trevor, who has been posting to the blog for us. πŸ™‚

After spending half a day in town, breakfast, (sloooow) internet, shopping for a few supplies and a bike ride around town and up to the local cemetery where painter Paul Gauguin and Belgian singer Jacques Brel were buried. We had a awesome view from above, looking down on the harbor and bay.

When we arrived back at the boat captain Dick noticed that we had no power coming in from the solar panels. He checked the wire and fuse that connect the solar panel controller to the batteries and found that the fuse had melted (not popped !$#x)! We quickly covered the solar panels and Dick investigated. We also remembered that Thomas on sv Jade Akka was an electrical engineer. He stopped over and found that our wire was too small going from the solar panel controller to the batteries. Though the wire and fuse were installed according to the suppliers instructions. I guess the tropical sun is strong at Hiva Oa!

The next day Dick and Hannah went into town in hopes of finding a new fuse holder and larger wire. I stayed on Maia to monitor the solar panels. About 9:00 I felt the wire and fuse and it felt warm, 30 minutes later they felt warmer, 15 minutes later hot and the fuse had melted again! I panicked for a moment as captain Dick had not told me what to do if the problem came about again. Quickly, I came to my senses and covered the solar panels! Once they returned with thicker wire, Dick went to work and replaced the wire and made a fuse holder. We have had no problems since!

Something I did not expect was all the people that also sailed here! We had our group of about 50 Canadians and Americans from the Puerto Vallarta area sailing down, but there are lots more people! People who sailed down directly from the US West coast, others from the East coast, Canada and Europe who came down through the Panama canal! It has been really fun to reconnect with those we knew in Mexico as well as making new friends. However we like it best when there is just a few of us in an anchorage!

We enjoyed a full day at Hanamoenoa Bay, it is a beautiful tropical bay. Temperatures are in the 80’s, the water is refreshing (it is easy to get cold if you stay in too long.) A white crescent beach is backed by lots of greenery. Huge Coconut Palm trees stand above it all.

Last night, we all had a FULL nights sleep after 26 days! The wind has picked up today, so we have been moving around a bit on our anchor, but it is lovely. Our main order of business was to rest and re-group, do some laundry and go into shore.

Late afternoon we pumped up the dingy, took it off the deck and put it into the water. We had a nice row to shore and a perfect beach landing. We had a little celebration, pictures taken, went for a swim and walked along the beautiful sandy beach and enjoyed a green flash at Sunset!

I think it is finally setting in. We crossed the Pacific and are now in French Polynesia!!!

How far did we go? April 24, 9 miles πŸ˜‰

We are at Anchor! We arrived at the Island of Hiva Oa (in the Marquesas) a little after sunrise. The supply ship arrived at the Tahuka harbor just before us. We saw a bunch of boats anchored outside and heard on the VHF radio (channel 16) that things were crazy inside, as all the boats were juggling to make way for the supply ship. We contacted a boat friend Nightide, who were anchored inside, and they said there is no room in the Harbor until the ship leaves.

We decided to temporarily anchor outside in a small bay (part of Traitor Bay). It was nice as our bow was into the wind and and the waves, we were not rocking and rolling much! We had breakfast and were thinking we would be able to move into the Harbor in a couple hours. Then on the radio we heard the captain of the ship say they were not leaving until 4:00 πŸ™

The wind was picking up and we heard other boats were coming towards the Harbor (One Fine Day, Cool Change). There was some radio talk and then another friend boat, Dash, appeared on the radio and suggested an anchorage about an hour away on the Island of Tahuata. We arrived at Hanamoenoa Bay at 2:30 and it was calm! We had a quiet afternoon and Hannah & I swam into the beach at Sunset and we walked on land!!!

How far did we go? April 23, 102 miles; TOTAL miles, 2860! 26 days!

We have been rocking and rolling for days now, ever since the wind really started to blow (13- 20 knots). The swell has been mixed, coming from the North, East and South East! We are very happy the wind is blowing, but rocking and rolling makes everything difficult; sitting, walking thru the cabin, cooking, sleeping…. We have come up with simple meals to eat and spend most of the time in the cockpit, except when we are checking in on the radio net and (trying to) sleep. It seems for most of the passage, we have had either calm with little wind or rocking and rolling with good wind. The other night I was sitting in the cockpit on my night shift and a wave came right over the side and landed on my lap. Surprise!

We have been looking southwest all day, hoping to catch a glimpse of the islands. We were about 100 miles out this morning and are now 35 miles out. Night is here, we have a beautiful half moon with mostly clear skies (until a cloud builds up and comes out of nowhere). At night, it has been amazing how you look around and it looks clear, then 15 minutes later you see dark clouds out in the distance, and before you know it you are shrouded in a cloud bank.

How far did we go? April 18, 124 miles; April 19, 148 miles; April 20, 148 miles; April 21, 140 miles; April 22, 132 miles

We’ve sailed 2050 Nautical Miles, over three quarters of our passage. Landfall is just around the corner! Getting excited, but still keeping our eye on the ball. Last night we got hit with our biggest squall yet. With a double-reefed main and staysail, we did well with winds up to 30 knots. We had rain for about an hour. Between the occasional squalls, the wind has continued to blow around 9 – 15 knots, so we have been able to sail at a steady 4- 5 knot pace.

During the planning stages of our possible new sailing life, Dick and I discussed where we would want to be during our 60th birthdays. Dick wanted to be at the Equator! Well, one year later, he became a shellback. Happy 61st Birthday Dick!

We had a quiet morning, around 11:30 started cooking coffee, bacon, pancakes, eggs & preparing our last mangos for a delicious brunch.

About 12:15 a beautiful pod of dolphins came to visit. We saw them swimming and diving towards the boat and then they swam around us for at least 15 minutes. I went up to the bow and watched as they swam along with the boat, also crossing in front, diving down, coming back up. Sometimes in pairs and other times individually. Such graceful creatures. Hearing them breathe, their breaths sound very human like. They were gray, had white snouts, some had spots and it looked like they had a white belly.

About 2:00 we finished up with our brunch. Dishes to do, a surprise cake to make. Before we knew it it was 5:00 and time to prepare dinner. By 6:00 we were all sitting down around the table in the cockpit. We decided to skip the radio net. It was really nice having the evening together. After tostadas and a yummy gf carrot and pineapple cake (thanks Hannah) we watched the sun going down and enjoyed the different figures we could see in the clouds. Then time to prepare the boat for the night, reef the main and the genoa, raise the staysail.

Once the sun had set we looked at the battery voltage and saw that it was low. We decided to run the engine for two hours to get the battery levels back up to a reasonable level. We have been running the engine about every other day.

How far did we go? April 17, 113 miles

The winds came back and the counter-current is no more! We appear to be in the South Eastern trade winds. We have been moving along nicely for two days. Winds have been up to 12 knots and our speed averaged around 5 – 6 knots. We have had a couple days of smooth sailing, which is awesome! We are all happy.

We are thinking about our Equator crossing ceremony as we are getting closer! What shall we make? How should we dress? As we will become ” shellbacks” the idea of a turtle shell came up. If it is big enough we could all tuck in behind it for a photo. Oh yea, we’ll also need Neptune’s Trident. We all went to work and the props are ready! Sign will be completed once we arrive!

How far did we go? April 14, 69 miles; April 15, 115 miles

-Monday, April 16 – Day 19 – We are in the Southern Hemisphere!

We had an exciting day, in the morning we had squalls and winds up to 20 knots, (but not much rain). Winds continued about 10 knots for the rest of the day.

At 2:53 MST (1453) we passed the equator at a longitude of 127*50’W and are now “shellbacks”!!! We had a fun celebration and ceremony honoring Neptune and acknowledging our right of passage. We drank Hibiscus wine, ate a little dark chocolate and shared it all with Neptune. We are so excited!!! We took lots of pictures, it turned out to be a beautiful sunny and windy afternoon.

How far did we go? April 16, 138 miles

Just after midnight, we began motoring as we noticed that we were actually being pushed backward in the equatorial counter-current. The Winds varied between 2 and 5 knots most of the day. Not enough wind to sail… putt, putt, putt.

It’s been a little bit trying for the crew, as we are going super slow. ( I am actually ok with the light winds and slow pace. It is soothing to my soul.) However, we are wondering why we are not to the Equator!? The group that left La Cruz / Puerto Vallarta before us made the crossing to Hiva Oa in around 22 days. It appears that the winds blew more steadily for them (and along with that, they had more squalls).

Late afternoon we took a break, furled the sails and went for a swim. Dick hopped in first and had climbed out onto the swim step, while I was enjoying a dip. He called out “there is a fish bee-lining towards you”. I look up and see this little yellow fish swimming quickly towards me. Next thing I know it is biting my baby toe! Why my toe? We are in the middle of a huge ocean, we had not seen any other fish while we were swimming. Why me? It was the strangest thing!

How far did we go? April 13, 61 miles

We have been out here 2 weeks! Holy cow, it feels as if the time has passed quickly, which is a good thing because we might have 2 weeks left to go! Yikes, that seems a little crazy! 4 weeks on our 41 foot Sceptre sailboat. The only times we will have gotten off is to go for swims. We saw another ship today, it was a freighter heading for South America.

It is really, really beautiful out here. The Water (a deep blue, yesterday when we went swimming you could see the sun rays beaming Deep into it.) The Sky, Clouds , a Green Flash, and Rainbows (we have seen rainbows the last couple days!) Yesterday and today we had Dolphins visit us. Yesterday, one jumped about 8 ft out the water, so amazing! We have seen quite a few different kinds of Birds, almost every day it seems like something new flys by. A couple days ago we had a pair of brown boobies hitchhike a ride on the boom overnight. We see flying fish almost everyday. Thankfully, only a few have landed on the deck. (Late addition, one landed in the quarter berth last night, next to where I was sleeping! Hannah was able to save it and throw it back into the Sea!) We also have seen one sea turtle!

We are very grateful for our Banderas Bay Pacific Puddle Jump radio net, where we check in every night and learn where others are and if everyone is doing ok. The group organized in La Cruz, we had weekly meetings to discuss the Pacific Puddle Jump and the radio net was organized thru the group. Marina La Cruz was an awesome place to be to get ready for the jump. If anyone is considering the Puddle Jump in the future, I would recommend La Cruz as a starting point. Besides our weekly meetings other talks were given that were of great significants to us. There are plenty of stores nearby to do your provisioning, a marine store, sail loft. It is a very friendly place for cruisers.

We have been sailing most of the day today, even though we had super fluky winds this afternoon (it was similar yesterday). We also appear to be in the equatorial counter-current which is flowing against us. We are feeling that we should soon be out of the ITCZ (the Doldrums) and into the South Eastern Trades Winds, where we are expecting more consistent winds. We still have over half our diesel in reserve, to use when needing to charge the batteries and move us in the case of little to no wind.

How far did we go? April 10, 100 miles; April 11, 120 miles; April 12, 35 miles (ugg!)

It is a beautiful clear night. The stars are out and are lighting up the Ocean all around us. I saw a shooting star! There is very little wind (1-2 knots). The Ocean looks like a big glassy pond, except you can still feel the dependable swell. It is the clearest starlit night of the crossing.

As we are still in the ITCZ, keeping our eyes our for squalls. This evening it looked like we might get hit by one, it came within a mile and then retreated. Lightening is lighting up the sky and it is very hot and humid. The weather reminds me of the midwest and Lake Michigan in the summers. Except there are no mosquitos!

It was a hot, hot day, in the 90’s. We had light winds and this morning Hannah and I gybed the sails as the wind had shifted. Winds were coming from the ESE (East South East) a sign that we might be entering into the Southeast Trade winds! Tonight we are motoring as the winds are very light, 2-4 knots. We are going at 6 knots and the breeze is helping cool things off.

We have somewhat settled into our routines, with our nightshifts and Dick & my naps during the day. Dick has been sleeping in half of the V- berth, the other half is storage, I have taken over the Quarter berth and Hannah is sleeping on the settee. When the wind is blowing and the waves are rocking and rolling the boat making it tough to sleep, we have all figured out how to get comfortable in our bunks. Hannah has figured out how to wedge herself with pillows between the table and the back of the settee. I use my feet and back against the different walls. Dick…..

How far did we go? April 9, 95 miles