Day 20: Land Ho!

We dropped anchor at 1500 local time today in Baie Tahauka on the island of Hiva Oa, Marquesas. We are so happy to be here. Not only are we barely moving at anchor, this place is beautiful. There are about 15 boats sharing the anchorage with us, including our friends on Cinderella (we last saw them in Costa Rica back in April). We did a quick reconnaissance of the immediate area ashore and bought a fresh baguette and some New Zealand butter at the gas station. We’ll check in with the local Gendarme tomorrow to make things official, then it’s time to explore. For this evening, we’re quite content to have a sundowner, our baguette and brie, and get a much needed FULL night’s sleep! Thanks for following along on our passage. Be on the lookout for our insights on 20 days at sea and our Galapagos post (as soon as we find some decent internet).

Current location: Lat 09 48.215S Long 139 01.925W – AT ANCHOR! Distance traveled: 189 NM

Day 19: Wing on wing

We’re about 125 miles from the island of Hiva Oa. We should arrive sometime tomorrow, depending on the wind. Right now, it is light and from a less than ideal direction so we’re having to head more north than we’d like, which mean more miles. But the seas are calm and we’re having a nice downwind sail on a beautiful afternoon. We’re in a wing-on-wing configuration with the mainsail out on the port side of the boat and the jib poled out on the starboard side. This allows us to sail with the wind right on our tail and make up several degrees of angle toward our destination. Hopefully tomorrow’s update will be the last before we make landfall. Stay tuned!

Breakfast: Steel cut rolled oats w/honey drizzle, cinnamon and dried fruit, cafe au lait

Lunch: Grilled meat on a bun with dijon and hand-prepared relish, chips (it was calm enough to grill!)

Dinner: Meat, beans and cheese wrapped in a crispy tortilla blanket with house-made sour cream, pico de gallo and salsa picante

Evening entertainment: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

Current location: Lat 10 17.495S Long 136 58.603W
Distance traveled: 182 NM

It’s Bastille Day in French Polynesia. There are parties, traditional dances, lots of food and fun. Unfortunately we aren’t there to help celebrate. We’re still a couple of days out. The wind and seas are not cooperating; in fact, they seem to have something against us (and each other). The wind is light and the seas are big and lumpy, making for a very uncomfortable motion. We’re hanging in there, though, with visions of calmer surroundings in our heads. Reports from the boats ahead of us are good and we’re looking forward to finishing this passage and meeting up with the crowd.

Breakfast: Toast and coffee

Lunch: Ham and cheese sandwiches

Dinner: Breast of chicken in a lemon pepper, white wine reduction, served with roasted rosemary potatoes and steamed peas

Evening entertainment: “The Office” and “Modern Family”

Current location: Lat 09 57.937S Long 134 42.486W
Distance traveled: 190 NM

Trying to stand, and walk, on a sailboat constantly rolling from side to side in a big swell… the struggle is real. We’re getting better at it but today has been testing us mightily. Simply standing still is even a challenge. We’ve both developed a touch of tendinitis in our dominant legs (Wags’ left and my right) from constantly bracing ourselves in order to perform such simple tasks as, say, making a meal or brushing our teeth. This is probably the most frustrating part of the passage, in fact. We’re really hoping for smoother seas over the next couple of days so we can finish on a high (and stable) note.

Breakfast: Griddle cakes with LOTS of syrup

Lunch: Nothing… still running on griddle cakes

Dinner: Penne pasta with basil, garlic and parmesan, served with garlic bread

Evening entertainment: “Blade Runner 2049”

Current location: Lat 09 54.722S Long 132 04.104W
Distance traveled: 184 NM

Strong winds (20+ kts) and confused, lumpy seas have returned over the past twelve hours. With a reefed headsail and a triple-reefed mainsail we’re still managing a speed of 7 kts. Unfortunately the winds are insidiously pushing us more south than we need to be so we’re anticipating a necessary jibe sometime over the next couple of days to regain our northerly ground. Other than that, all is well.

Breakfast: Farewell to Eggs – eggs (the last ones), bacon, toast, coffee

Lunch: EMFH (basically, brownies)

Dinner: Ploughman’s plate of meat, cheese and olives

Evening entertainment: “Saving Silverman”

Current location: Lat 09 16.748S Long 129 35.147W
Distance traveled: 182 NM

The days tick by with a predictable routine… eat, nap, read, eat, evening entertainment, sleep, stand watch, repeat. We aren’t bored, as the weather and seas continually throw challenges at us – a sudden squall, a rolly motion preventing all manner of rest, a line in the prop (okay, that last one was us). During the day, there’s not a lot to see. The sky is blue, the ocean is a deeper shade of blue, the sun is hot. Occasionally a bird, perhaps a shearwater or petrel, does a fly-by as he searches for food. Today a brown boobie attempted to land on our solar panels but promptly slid off and settled for a water landing instead. The swell rolls underneath the boat and as the bow breaks the surface, schools of flying fish take to the air to seek refuge in the next wave. Inevitably, a few end up as casualties on our deck. We haven’t seen much other marine life but we hope to as we get closer to land. After dark the lights come out. Often there is bioluminescence putting on a sparkling show as Gadabout slices through the water. Last night, there was no moon and no cloud cover, and the stars were incredible. Being here, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we can’t help but think how much light pollution prevents us from viewing this full spectacle elsewhere. As we count the shooting stars, we remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to experience it.

Breakfast: Encore of toasted Galapagos panaderia bread w/nut butter, honey and blueberry jam

Lunch: Salad of albacore tuna served between toast points

Dinner: Pan-seared mahi-mahi and black bean tacos w/ranch aioli and fresh cilantro

Evening entertainment: “Brooklyn Nine Nine” and “Modern Family”

Current location: Lat 08 45.266S Long 126 57.533W
Distance traveled: 185 NM

Day 13: Dead Calm

Last night was a frustratingly mixed bag of weather. We started our watch schedule in 12-15 knots of wind with smooth seas (perfect). At midnight it was raining and gusting to 27 knots (not ideal but we were moving). By 2:00a the wind had shifted 180 degrees and was pushing us in the wrong direction. An hour later, it died and left us becalmed and rolling wildly abeam to the swell. We took it as long as we could (which wasn’t long) then fired up the iron ginny and motored the rest of the night. With the wind back to its “normal” direction this morning we were able to turn off the engine and resume sailing. Ah… much better. It’s a beautiful sunny day and we’re nearing our “1000 miles to go” mark. A special treat may be in order.

Breakfast: Unleavened triple berry muffins with creamy Galapagos margarine, coffee

Lunch: Next day curried chicken salad and pepper jack cheese w/rosemary crisps

Dinner: Artisanal Farm to Table Lasagna Redux

Evening entertainment: “Super 8”

Current location: Lat 07 20.414S Long 121 49.568W
Distance traveled: 172 NM

Day 14: Brownie day

Posting two updates today as yesterday’s failed to make it from the composed to the sent file.

For the first time in three days we’ve managed to sail generally in the right direction for an entire day without having to jibe. And, we have less than 1000 miles to landfall. So we’re making brownies to celebrate! That is all.

Breakfast: Toasted Galapagos panaderia bread w/nut butter, honey and blueberry jam

Lunch: Organic cous-cous salad with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta

Dinner: Shrimp sautéed in a butter and white wine reduction, served on a bed of linguine

Evening entertainment: “Northern Exposure”

Current location: Lat 08 20.894S Long 124 22.166W
Distance traveled: 184 NM

Day 12: Hiva Fleet

Progress was a little slower the past 24 hours as we (figuratively) powered through a couple of periods of light winds. We’ve been practicing our French and reading voraciously. The improved sea state is helping us to catch up on some much needed sleep – it’s much easier to do so when you don’t have to tense your entire body every five seconds to avoid rolling out of bed. We’ve been keeping in contact with a group of boats that left the Galapagos around the same time we did. The daily email updates are a good source of information and entertainment. With crews from France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Italy, Hong Kong and Mauritius, World Cup soccer is a frequent topic, complete with the requisite smack talk. Obviously, we have nothing to add since the USA is nowhere near the event this year but we’re rooting for all and will pick sides if/when required.

Breakfast: Nut butter & honey toast, all natural yogurt w/berries, coffee

Lunch: Curried encapsulated chicken and chickpea salad, sweet onion and sour cream potato crisps

Dinner: Chunky corn chowder served with salted flatbreads

Evening entertainment: Episodes of “Bob’s Burgers” and “Parks & Recreation”

Current location: Lat 07 01.081S Long 119 44.320W
Distance traveled: 170 NM

The seas have calmed considerably, the sun is out, and a white tropic bird just cruised past for a closer look at us, all the way out here, 1700 miles from land. Unfortunately, like yesterday, the wind has shifted to the E/NE so we had to again jibe to gain some northerly direction. The swell is more on our tail, though, which makes for a somewhat comfortable ride. No other news to report.

Breakfast: Egg, veggie and sausage scramble, coffee

Lunch: Ham and cheese crepe roll-ups

Dinner: Black bean quesadillas with salsa and homemade sour cream

Evening entertainment: “Intolerable Cruelty”

Current location: Lat 07 03.011S Long 117 42.408W
Distance traveled: 180 NM

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