LAND HO!

I got an InReach message a couple of hours ago and Land Ho was the message! That does not mean then have actually reached the anchorage but it does mean that they can see Hawaii. My understanding is that even though there is a disaster area due to the earthquake and lava flows, where are they will anchor is far from the disaster zone. I read today that the Island of Hawaii’s tourist board is encouraging people to come regardless of the issues.

VK’s ham radio is not working so the only way I am hearing from them is via InReach. As news comes in I will post it but it is very exciting that Dick and his crew are so close.

From Marian, the proud wife of Captain Dick, mother of Steven, crew Heidi Leggereit and Maurie Robertson.

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RANGIROA TO HAWAII PART I

In the April 28th post we had Dick and crew awaiting the departure of Maureen. Here we go thanks to ham radio. 

April 24~~Well, Maureen will be leaving this morning so now looking for the weather window within, say, the next week to head for Hawaii. The local breeze at the moment is NW. Not great for heading north, although it would give us more easting before heading north and trying to stay a bit east of north. Also there is the possibility of heading NE to the atolls Ahe and Manihi, but not high on my list.

This part was intended for Geoff Nevill, another engineering mate of Dick and Maurie. Geoff is doing the weather routing for VK.

Interested to hear what you see on Predict wind. The last Grib files we got showed 8 to 14kn easterlies once we got a degree or 2 further north.
Excellent snorkeling and sealife here at Rangiroa.

April 25~~ham message write-up by Dick which takes us back to Papeete.

Rangiroa Atoll. French Polynesia

April 25, 2018

Van Kedisi was the only boat to be unloaded from the Damgracht in Papeete Harbour. There were some difficulties as the crane was on the opposite side of the vessel and could not boom down far enough to unload the Van Kedisi. However, this was nothing new to the crew, who simply heeled the ship 4 degrees using huge pumps and ballast tanks.
We spent a few days in Tahiti at the Taina anchorage attending to the formalities and getting a fibreglass propane tank filled. New Zealand will not fill fibreglass propane tanks. We bought duty free diesel, filled the water tanks in the frequent tropical downpours, snorkeled on the reef and got accustomed to sweating again.
We sailed the few hours downwind to Moorea, which is guide book spectacular. We hiked along the “Pineapple Road”, an excellent concrete road that appears to be made using coral as aggregate. There are a number of new pineapple plantations under development.
The light north easterly wind was less than ideal for the 200 n.m. passage to Rangiroa Atoll. The best we could do was motor sail on a course that was 20 degrees west of our destination. There were numerous squalls and occasional lightning.
We arrived at the Pass Avatoru, the most westerly of the two passes, at 0815, having watched a pink sunrise as we motored alongside the low lying Rangiroa Atoll. The atoll is huge, about 40 miles by 17. Fortunately, the tide was good for us and we were able to negotiate the pass without encountering any undue current or standing waves.
From the anchorage at Tiputa, the second pass, we joined the punters on the National Geographic Orion snorkeling at the “Aquarium.” Absolutely fabulous. Healthy coral bomies rising 10 m from the sea floor and populated with so many different colourful fish, schools of fish, moral eels and the common black and white tipped reef sharks, who happily have no interest in us.
Lots of bird and fish life inside the atoll, which restored a small amount of hope that some regeneration is going on and the ocean is not as empty as I have been reporting. We joined the lazy dogs and cheerful locals on the bank of Pass Tiputa to watch several species of dolphins surfing and doing flips in the large standing waves. We will definitely leave via the Pass Avatoru during slack water!
Maureen left on Tahiti Air for Papeete and Auckland.

Distance sailed from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ: 17,304 n.m

Distance for proposed voyage to Victoria: NZ – Tahiti 2,220 n.m. ( by ship); Tahiti – Hawaii 2,270 n.m.; Hawaii – Victoria 2770 n.m.

Blog maintained by Marian:    https://sailvankedisi.wordpress.com

Boat location by inReach:      https://share.garmin.com/VanKedisi

April 27~~ham radio.

135 miles first day. 768 to equator
good wind so far but very bumpy.
All moving slow, except Steven having happy hour beer (we can surmise that only Steven had his sea legs) 

April 28~~ham radio.

dolphins at sunset, and a 150 mile day and all good

April 30~~ham radio.

Caught 34″ mahimahi – good for 4 dinners. 162 n.m. day, but we have reefed genny to make ride a bit less uncomfortable.

May 2~~ham radio.

We have a pet bird, Big like a gannet but different colouring. Brought 4 mates today.
The inner forestay broke. We have rigged a replacement until we get to Hawaii. Result of all the slamming. Much quieter and slower right now – more comfortable.

Morning Geoff,
0500 here, 2-10 S, 145-31 W, and the wind has dropped to 6 kn, still mainly east but heading us a little.
Can you get any definition as to where the doldrums are?
Are we there?

Only 88 miles last 24 hours. Adverse current and less wind. It is a cooler overcast day and we are now less than 100 miles from the equator. and i need to put a sweater on!
A bit bouncy again

May 3~~ham radio.

We should reach equator tomorrow.
That will be 900 miles sailed with 1300 to go.
There is a nasty calm patch ahead of us in 4 days,
The inner forestay is the one that the staysail is on. Completely frayed at mast end. Did not fall because of staysail halyard. Hopefully replace in the big island – Hawaii, otherwise Oahu. At least they probably speak English!

Hi Geoff,
Just 10 n.m. to the equator.
We have a waypoint pencilled in at 10N, 148W.
However, we still plan to keep east a bit. Want to avoid the pounding associated with the wind forward of the beam.
Still have the mysterious current 1 kn against.

Hi there,
crossed the equator at 1047 our time. Had a little party.
Motion much better and no slamming.
All well

May 5~~ ham radio.

This morning we passed the half-way point to the big island, Hawaii. All going well, cold beer and fresh mahimahi. 9 days on starboard tack.
However, maybe pushed a bit hard at the beginning and the good old VK slamming took its toll on the leeward rigging – does not like bouncing around.
Inner forestay broke at upper swaging, port shroud has 3 broken strands at upper swaging. Steven up mast, only half-way, and rigged temporary inner forestay.  (as Steven’s mom it makes me a bit queazy to imagine Steven half-way up the mast while bouncing around in the middle of the Pacific~~glad he was there and not just the old farts) 

May 6~~ham radio.

Hi Geoff,
We have the twin genoa rig up for the past 12 hours. Doing 4.5 kn in 9 kn SE on course 355 true. We aim to be in the best position possible when the NE arrives.
Can you have a look on the internet and see what our options are for a rigger in Hawaii?
We need 5/16 inch 1/19 stainless standing rigging. We need a swaged fitting at the top and a STA-LOK fitting at the deck.
Thanks mate

May 7~~ham radio.

We passed through the doldrums last night. WE were not moving for a few hours and then the NE trades filled in at 6 knots. We now have 13 kn and are on course for Honokohau which is 878 n.m. away at 2030 local time. We are staying 10 to 15 degrees high (north) to try to protect ourselves from being headed. So far all good. Hard to believe, what is it, 12  days on starboard tack and probably the rest of the trip. The entire passage on starboard tack.

May 9~~ham radio.

Bumpy night out here, but .5 kn favourable current.
On course 320T doing 6/7 kn with 678 n.m. to go to Honokohau.
Wind currently 16 kn at 90 degrees S.
Cheers
Dick

MISSING PIECES OF VK PREPARATION AND FUN

P1040937

As Van Kedisi follows her course  from French Polynesia towards Hawaii I have been looking back to some of the preparation done prior to my arrival in February in New Zealand. Dick and Maurie along with our niece Sarah and her partner Clint sailed after Christmas to the Bay of Islands but also accomplished some tasks. I suspect that some are out of order but I hope you enjoy the photos anyway. The first commentary comes from Dick along with some explanatory photos. The following photos are of the crew. Take a break

Jan. 9/18

Ha ha

Looks like she should go fast!

We lost a propellor trying to back off a mud bank we were inspecting. Poor Volvo Penta engineering in my opinion. Propellor coming off when in reverse, indeed. Fortunately we found the propellor, hence intentional grounding to replace the prop. First time for everything, eh?!
 P1040934
 Maurie, Sarah Leighton, Clint and Dick Leighton
P1040931

This lovely toilet has a bit of a story too. Dick told me on the phone one day in December that he was thinking of getting a new toilet for the guest heads. Our two toilets were 21 years old and had seen better days. However I could not understand why he would replace the guest heads and not ours. The conversation ended then but on December 20 I received this message:”I found toilets at Burnsco for $329.99 incl. 15% GST.I plan to get them tomorrow.”

It kind of reminded me of the first washing machine we got shortly before Mary was born and truly found it exciting. I think Dick likes them too.
 Life jackets and fish~~both important and fun
I had hoped to add the ham and InReach messages too tonight but having lost a section just now to Cyberspace I consider it wise to publish and post. I am exhausted as happens often. I am doing well but sometimes take notice of my limits of endurance.
Cheers everyone and watch for tomorrow’s post which will take you right up to the present.
Marian

VAN KEDISI HEADS TOWARDS HAWAII

The last post included some photos and a letter from Dick. The following is a collection of messages from Maurie Robertson by email and emails, ham radio messages and InReach messages from Dick. Please note that the tracking is not working nor have I figured out where the “Follow” button has gone to. David Greer, engineer of the blog is currently crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship with Karalee s when I catch up with him in Vancouver in May these issues may be resolved.

Maurie April 10~~We had a good apartment for Sunday night, airconditioned, WiFi, on the waterfront near the Papeete marina, just down from the port.  Pascal, the agent, was great and emailed a map of where we had to be and at what time, to meet MV Damgracht.  After we left the apartment on Monday morning we looked across towards Moorea and there was Damgracht, steaming up towards the reef pass. So we watched the pilot go aboard and the tug come out to meet her and then the docking.  There was going to be an hour delay for lunch so Maureen and I tracked down first Vodafone, but their sims only did Tahiti, Moorea, Borabora.  We trekked through the heat and racetracks they call traffic in Papeete, life in hands stuff and made it to Vini, the other provider whose sims do all the islands, and bought a 500MB data sim for Dick’s wifi hotspot.  So we have 500MB to last a fortnight, so sorry, no photos for now.
We are on the boat anchored at Marina Taina, down the coast from Papeete, inside the reef.  We unloaded Van Kedisi from the ship yesterday afternoon.  Big complication, MV Damgracht’s crane couldn’t unload on the crane side because other boats on the deck blocked the lift.  The crane couldn’t quite reach lowering Van Kedisi over the far side, and had her poised half over the water, not quite clearing the side of the ship.  We all waited like this for 20 minutes while they pumped salt water into that side of the ship to achieve a 2 degree list, then Van Kedisi was hanging clear over the water and could be lowered.  Very interesting.
We are on board and everything is working and nothing is damaged, but we are stuck here until Friday when our fibreglass gas bottle is filled, and our duty free forms come back and we can buy duty free fuel.  Dick endured a big form fillng expedition today to start that procedure.  Maureen and Heidi went to Carrefour Supermarche for perishables and lunch provisions.  We have just finished lunch, a great spread, baguette and brie, salami and fresh salad.
When I say stuck here I mean lazing in the sun under the beautiful island of Tahiti, looking across the reef to Moorea.  If we get too hot, we fall in the water then towel off and find some shade in the breeze.
Maureen and I swam over towards the shore until we could see the bottom, there were small fish, but it is close to a very inhabited shore and the coral is all dead.  We will take the dinghy over to the sea reef later and have a swim there.  There are many small and colourful fish swimming around the marina pontoons where there are live bunches of coral attached to the pontoons. There goes my theory that boat antifouling kills coral.
Dick April 11~~Still at Taina. (Papeete) Waiting for propane to be filled and returned on Friday. There is some snorkelling here inside the reef – I think you did that. Officialdom also takes until Friday to get the inter island clearance. Maurie calls it Blind Bureaucracy. Lots of paperwork but nobody looks at the boat or the crew. We will fill up with duty free fuel tomorrow. Maurie and Maureen off on a bus ride to look around a bit, also tomorrow. Everything working all right except portable VHF only sending and not receiving – but at least that way the people on shore can call the boat.

Dick April 13~~We refuelled yesterday and picked up the propane and last bit of official paper this morning. It has been bucketing down since 0300. Of course, I got up at 0300 to catch water as the downpours have been brief. I need not have done that as it is persistent. We did a trial departure but the rain was so heavy that piloting was tricky among the anchored boats and the chart plotter started to do the silly magnification thing again. grrr. So we came bak to the anchorage and Maurie and Maureen took off in the dinghy in the rain to recharge the internet connection – which was nice as it enabled this email.

Hope all is well.
We are here probably until tomorrow.
I have started up the InRreach.

Maurie April 13~~The day is overcast with rain threatening, wind freshening from the north and the proximity of the sloop behind us in the anchorage suggests we may have dragged closer.  Anyway we are too close so we move.  As we settle into our new space the wind drops and goes more east.  Clouds and rain threaten from over Tahiti-nui and we prepare the boat to catch rain.  Dick goes ashore to fetch the completed fuel papers and is informed by chance of the need for inter-island transfer papers.  Up to the eyeballs in paperwork and not one pseudo-official has even seen the boat.  Maureen and I go shopping in the morning but have to wait under the Marina Taina office for an hour for a downpour to finish and then bumped into Dick muttering about “blind bureaucracy” and checking to see if he can find a 30kg Manson anchor.  No joy, so we decide to wait  for Hawaii.

After another big shop at Carrefour, air-conditioned, so therefore absolutely no hurry, we find we have baguettes galore at US50c and brie for US13.95 per kg. That makes the lunch menu pretty simple and it even becomes the preferred breakfast for as long as it will last.  All else we buy is fruit, veg and meat for island week. Arriving back we find the boat crew have filled the water tanks from the downpour.
After lunch of guess what, we take the dinghy across to the reef and explore the many coral outcrops with all the myriad of small and colourful fish.  We could do that forever but find the body doesn’t want to, so we go back and dry off.
Momentarily we are comfortably cool.
Reading until dinner, which is one of Dick’s menus, lentil soup. Very tasty.
Thursday 12th April
Today is more paperwork for Captain Dick, completing the inter-island transfer papers, also buying fuel now the duty-free papers are in hand.  Maureen and I pack a lunch and head for the highway, planning on catching a bus to Papeari and check out the Musee Gauguin.
Dick, Steven and Heidi took the boat to the fuel dock arriving to find it closing for an hour for lunch.  They anchored and returned later.  Siesta is alive and well.
Steven and Heidi went snorkelling and saw a bunch of different fish to us also a giant clam alive and well on the reef.  Later we tried to find their spot but found another whole different realm of corals and small fish.  We could still do it forever if bodies allowed.
The bus trip was interesting.  After waiting an hour at the bus stop for the “le bus vert”, the green bus, which a nice lady had told us we needed, we gave up and jumped on the first bus that went to Papara, as far as we had seen any bus labelled as going.  One of our goals had been a swim at one of the places labelled on the map as a “plage accessible au public”.  We found our way to Plage de Mara’a and jumped off a concrete dock into clear, deep water. It was beautiful as the day was sunny and hot.  Some of the local teenagers came and jumped in too as it is the first week of “vacances”.  On the walk back to the bus stop we saw “le bus vert” going towards Papeari.  It think the green bus is the equivalent of our intercity buses.  It probably cost more than the US$2 we paid as well.
The bus dropped us at Carrefour for a few more items and then a chilled smoothie at a stall run by a local lady we have chatted with twice.  She spoke halting English, which she preferred as she had been to Howick as a student on exchange and wanted to keep it up.
Another good day and plans for maybe leaving for Moorea in the morning if the full gas bottle has been delivered to the Mobil station as promised by 8:30am, or maybe 9, 10, or 1pm. Isn’t island time a wonderful thing?

Maurie again April 13?~~Friday 13th April. This is the day we finally get our Inter-island transfer papers and full gas bottle and leave for Moorea.

But it’s persisting down, a large cloud hanging low over the whole island, rain in bursts from every direction, Van Kedisi swinging mostly southwards in a northerly, then a burst of heavy rain from the west, then north with heavy rain.  We could have filled the water tanks about three times.
Captain Dick went ashore and got the papers and full gas bottle and back on the boat by 9am with a feeling it had been there since yesterday.  Anyway, island time excelled itself.  Steven and Heidi were doing a run to Carrefour for last minute items and, as we had discovered our sim ration was all used up I went with them to get some more data loaded.  The Vini shop was full of people and it was a take-a-ticket-and-wait-for-your-number system.  I took a ticket and glanced at the number on the display…2.  I had number 12 and the line was still stalled by the time Steven and Heidi had finished the shopping, so gave up on the Vini recharge and we went back to the boat.
Dick winched the dinghy up and secured it and we turned on all instruments ready to leave for Moorea.
Unfortunately the chart plotter came on distorted, in a way that had happened before but we couldn’t get it to work normally so prepared to head out with OpenCPN, a laptop and tablet programme which works almost as well but without many features that allow you to plan and follow a course.
We pulled up the anchor and started to head for the channel just as a real downpour started and wiped out almost all visibility. Dick suggested maybe this wasn’t the day to head for Moorea and we all agreed.  Wait for tomorrow.
So it was a day of waiting, but Maureen and I did manage to slip ashore and catch the Vini shop with only three people there so it was a short wait to get a recharge sim card, and I also bought one for my phone.  Data is expensive here, but at least we can now email, but woe betide a visit to a website with lots of interaction.
Saturday 14th April
The rain has gone, the day is clear with a 13 knot northerly, so straight after breakfast we are off.  We contact Papeete Port Control (VHF Ch 12) each time we pass the end of the airport runway to get clearance to go by with a tall mast.
We weave our way out of the harbour and are excited to see a pod of small black dolphins fishing or playing in the harbour entrance.
Up sails, off engine, and a broad reach in 13 knots to Moorea.  As we sailed along the northern coast an assortment of birds got all excited and were diving into the water, obviously after something but we couldn’t see what. Neither of our trailing fishing lines picked up anything.  We arrive at Cook’s Bay in time for a magnificent lunch under the peaks of Moorea.  A beautiful bay, on a beautiful day.  It doesn’t get much better.
Then, after a swim in the clear water close to the reef, we motor further into the bay and anchor for the night.  HF radio works well and Dick gets the weather for the next 5 days.
It’s looking good for Rangiroa, leaving tomorrow or Monday at the latest.
But who can tell.   I’m with Bruce, an American we met who gave us his account of sailing from Hawaii to the Marquesas. “The wind forecast was accurate to within 180 degrees and plus or minus 10 knots.”
Dick April 15~~Maureen, Maurie and I walked from Cook Bay to the next bay to the west. Cook bay is where we had the rendezvous activities with you and Suzanne nearly 2 years ago. Nice walk. Steven and Heidi brought the Van Kedisi around. Short trip but did involve going outside the reef. Did a comprehensive safety briefing this morning. All good.
The wind is not really favourable. Too much from the north. It is supposed to get more east but still not enough, even waiting 5 days. And we are constrained by Maureen’s departure date of April 24. So we will delay as much as possible. In any event, it looks like we will get to the west of Rangiroa and then tack, motor sail or motor to Rangiroa. This was always a possibility.
It is not as humid as it was at Tahiti – and no more torrential downpours.
Maurie still has 400 MB on his Vini Spot connection so everybody still has a quick check of their emails. I topped mine up too with 500 MB but it was all gobbled up immediately. Fortunately, the HF radio (Ham) is working well. Connected OK to both NZ and Hawaii and got GRIB files and a message from Geoff. Got messages OK on the InReach as well.
Dick April 16~~We had a little trial run on the course to Rangiroa while we were motoring back to the east bay (Cook’s Bay) but decided to wait until morning. Things seem settled, light, so probably motor sailing.
Moorea is very spectacular to look at as you know. Very nice here. Shepherds pie for dinner. Maureen unfortunately turned off the oven safety valve while bread was cooking. Maybe it will make toast! All well, Look for us to be on the move tomorrow.

Maurie April 16~~Sunday 15th AprilDick went ashore before breakfast to the little shop by the jetty in Cook’s Bay and bought bread and pastry for breakfast. The we had a safety briefing ready for going offshore.The wind is still predicted to be more or less on the nose until Tuesday so we may be here another day.  Not so bad as it is the location for the original musical South Pacific, Bali Hai in the song, and very beautiful.Maureen, Dick and I walked from Pao Pao in Cook’s Bay over the ridge to Opunahou Bay, about 5km.  The first 2km was on a concrete road, well made with no cracks because the concrete is 200mm thick and laid over rocks.  Just as well because I had developed a blister and could walk barefoot.  On the Opunahou side there was a stream and a deep pool and we cooled off, I went for a swim and we met a family of locals Sunday walking, their kids jumped in too.   Very cooling.In the meantime Steven and Heidi had sailed Van Kedisi around from Cook’s Bay and pickedp in the dinghy.After lunch, a quiet afternoon, reading, sleeping, crossword.After dinner Dick used the HF radio to get a weather update and send and receive emails.  We will use the HF radio for emails when our Vini data runs out. It works and we can receive replies, but it is slow to transmit and receive, so text only and delete the original from a reply, or better still, send a new email back, so the same text doesn’t go backwards and forwards.Josie, Sara and Laura, we are receiving your emails and it’s good to hear all is well. We’re just conserving data.

Monday 16th April

Awoke in Opunahou Bay and motored out to the pass entrance, anchored just inside the reef.
After breakfast we hauled, Steven climbed up the mast to replace some cable ties which had broken, and he checked everything at the top, all good.  Then we snorkelled out to the reef and watched little fish for about 30 minutes.
After lunch we went outside the reef and deliberated whether to set off for Rangiroa, heading 031 degrees from here in a 070 degree, 10 knot wind. There is a forecast for the wind to go more easterly tomorrow so we decided to go into the supermarche at PaoPao in Cook’s Bay and get some more bread and a bit more cheese and leave in the morning.
We are now at anchor just inside the reef at Cook’s Bay and the plan is to leave sprite and barky in the morning.
Dick April 18 ham radio~~Hi there,
Approaching Rangiroa. Wind has been all over the place with rain squalls. Starboard engine on for most of the passage. We will slowly make our way to the pass tonight with the plan to go through in the morning. Low tide is at 0900.
Dick April 19 ham radio~~arrived Rangiroa Thurs 19 @ 0815
All well. Cheers, Dick
Dick April 20 ham radio~~Good morning, The trade wind is blowing 20 kn this morning, 30 degrees east of north. We are hoping it will tend more easterly by the end of next week. It is typical tropical weather with the same large, dark ominous looking rain squalls lurking around. We could use one to fill the water tanks.
Maureen has her ticket to Papeete on the 24th. We have a number of little jobs to to do on the boat that will keep us busy, and there is the drift snorkel to do in the pass. Local gossip seems to say that the south pass of Fakarava is the best so I should not expect too much – here may be similar to what you and Suzanne saw at Taha and Raiatea. We can top up with diesel here using cans. The place is reasonably busy and there is a 100 passenger National Geographic boat here, the National Geographic Orion, with its 13 RIBs. There are 9 yachts in the anchorage, including 2 on the Round the World Arc, and a couple on “Obsession” who sailed here from Hawaii via the Marquesas. They plan to continue to Tahiti then return to Hawaii in a month or so.
Dick April 20 ham radio~~Well, the clouds moved in this morning but we only got a token amount of water in the tanks. Steven and I bleached the water lines and Maurie and I replaced a poor connection on the solar panels. The sun emerged and we went over to drift snorkel the pass but there was nothing to see where we tried. The tide was not quite favourable – going out a bit instead of in a bit – and we did not like the idea of being swept out though the pass. So we went over to where the 100 National Geographic guests were snorkeling in shifts. And with good reason! The “Aquarium” is magnificent. It is where you would spend all your day, day after day. Lots and lots of different kinds of fish. Healthy coral rising up to 10m from the sea floor. Lovely. I saw a large moray eel staring threateningly from his cave. I swam off carefully. Maurie and Maureen saw a single black tipped reef shark.
Steven now had a number 3 buzz cut.
All well. Slowly preparing for the next leg.
Dick April 21 ham radio~~Lovely day here. Lots of fish and bird activity.
The anode on the starboard saildrive had lost one of its 2 screws. I had a replacement screw, but we had to take the prop off to reinstall the screw. So we moved Van Kedisi into shallower water, 5 m depth, among the coral bomies, so we could dive and pick up dropped parts and tools. Just as well as Steven did drop 2 tools and recover them. All complete now and everything as tight as we could get it, which with all the leverage we used should be good. I don’t really understand why this is all going on – propeller problems. None in the past and this second event this year. Hopefully all over now.
Weather ahead looking better for the passage to Hawaii. Talking to Les on Obsession today he recommends going in to the west side of the big island, Hawaii, rather than Hilo, as Hilo would likely set us up for some windward work to get back around the southern tip of Hawaii. The wind in the Hawaiian islands is predominantly easterly.
Fresh baguettes every day.
I think Maurie April 22 ham radio~~Tuesday 17th April
Up at six and off.  Out through the Cook’s Bay reef, up main, up genoa, close hauled in a 10 knot 080 breeze, heading 015 speed 3.5 knots.  We are making for Tikehau atoll, 175 miles away on a bearing of 031, so that’s no good, we could be 5 days at that rate. So Dick started Stella, and at 2500 rpm we managed a heading of 030 at 5.5 knots.  The sea is slight, little swell, and the day is mostly sunny. Our course takes us right through the middle of Tetiaroa, a small atoll about 40 miles north of Moorea.
According to Charlie’s Charts, Tetiaroa has an interesting history. Once owned by the royal family as a holiday spot, it was given to a Canadian dentist, who eventually sold it and later was owned by Marlon Brando who bought it after the filming of the 1966 “Mutiny on the Bounty”.  According to Charlie’s Charts the atoll has an impenetrable reef, except for small boats, and as we approach it becomes clear that we can’t lay the windward side, so we bear away just as a small shower arrives.  The wind in the shower is all over the place and after the shower has gone so has the wind.  We decide to furl sails and motor around the windward end, a decision which we later question as there was about a 1 knot tide running and rather confused and thumpy seas at the eastern point, then a long lee shore.  As we motored past the reef on the south side we saw three large catamarans in the lagoon, so I guess local knowledge trumps Charlie’s Charts on that one.
The wind had picked up to between 8 and 12 knots for the rest of the day but had backed to 070 with swings to 050 so our average course was about 015, well to port of the track we needed.  Just on nightfall Dick saw a flying fish. We were all eyes for 30 minutes but never saw another one.
Wednesday 18th April
Three 3-hour watches through a clear night found us 50 miles dead downwind of Tikehau.  The wind has dropped so we decide to abandon a landfall at Tikehau, furl sails and motor directly for Rangiroa.  This will mean another night on passage but another day at Rangiroa and a morning pass entrance.
Through the day the wind varies from 4 to 20 knots and from NW to SE, depending on how close we are to the rain squalls which pepper the ocean.  We take advantage of any good winds but mostly we are close hauled with one engine running and 12 knots of breeze from one side or another as we move northeast to Avatoru Pass on the north side of Rangiroa.
Thursday 19th April
Another night of watches.  At 3am the wind rose to 25 knots on the nose and Percy struggled at 2550rpm to make 0.5 knots into a rising chop.  At one stage the autopilot didn’t have enough way to steer.  Happily it died down to a steady 18 knots and rain for a couple of hours and at daylight we were abreast the point and could reach along the north side of the reef to the pass.
The pass is well marked and wide, we came in at 8:15 with a following wind and outgoing tide, so some waves in the entrance but nothing bad, making 3 knots over a bottom easily visible at 14 m.
When it comes to wind prediction, Bruce has a point.
Thursday 19th April
After a lazy morning recovering from the passage we have lunch and Maureen and I go ashore and walk/hitchhike 4 km from Tiputa Pass to the airport.  We enquire if we can buy a ticket fro Maureen for the early flight to Papeete.  Unfortunately the last plane for the day has left and the airport is closed.  We must go to Avatoru, another 6 km along the road and back at the pass where we came in.  There, there is the office which is still open.  While we are enquiring as to how to get there they realise that it will be closed by the time we walk.  One of the airport guys goes and asks the desk lady, who is just about to leave, and she agrees to reopen the ticket booth and sell us a ticket.  We go into her office and look over her shoulder while she issues a ticket.  Her machine cannot read our bankcard, so we have to go across the airport carpark to an ATM and withdraw the cash.  Happily that worked and we thanked the lady for adding 20 minutes to her day for us. “You’re welcome” she said. The atoll people are so friendly and helpful.
On the return journey we are picked up by a lady who runs a restaurant and pension in Avatoru village.  She goes out of her way to take us all the way to Tiputa.  We go to the magazin and buy bread at 66f per baguette.  While we are waiting for Dick to pick us up and are offered a ride by Less and Rainey, a Californian couple from the sloop Obsession, anchored alongside.
Friday 20th April
Dick cooks us a pancake and scrambled eggs breakfast and suggests a boat maintenance morning.  We have discovered a loose anode on the starboard saildrive.  This means the propeller has to come off, something that must be done underwater.  Steven volunteers but not today, he has a sore toe and wants to wait a day for it to start healing.
Instead Dick and I attend to the dodgy solar panel connectors we had agreed needed replacing in NZ, but didn’t get around to.  They had intermittently caused the solar panels to stop charging the day before.  Dick and Steven also ran bleach through the water pipes to kill any microbes that might have an idea of colonising them.
After lunch we explored the snorkelling opportunities and discovered “the aquarium”, an area of abundant coral at the side of Motu Fara, just inside Tiputa Pass.  Definitely the best snorkelling so far.
When we arrived there was a large tourist ship, “National Geographic Orion”, in the lagoon and they were running tourists in large rhibs to the aquarium, so we were watching every imaginable variety of fish in amongst a crowd of every imaginable variety of tourist. We also saw our first black tipped shark, about our size but very benign.
After snorkelling we watched the last of the unloading and loading of the “St X Maris Stella IV”, the supply ship that does the rounds of the atolls and delivers the goods from Papeete and generally takes cargo from one atoll to another.  It looked a bit like a fishing trawler, crane on board and plenty of capacity.
As the sun went down, both these larger ships left through Tiputa Pass and the bay was left to the yachts and the fish.
Dick and Maurie April 22 ham radio~~Saturday 21st April
Another day in paradise. After breakfast Dick, Maureen and I go to the magazin for more bread and find sardines at less than NZ prices but have to wait until after 10 for the bread to arrive.  It arrives but there is a rush for the baguettes and we just manage to secure the last 3. Tomorrow is Sunday, and although the magazin is open the bakery is closed, no bread.  I guess we may have to make it.
Then Dick and Steven move the boat into shallower water so that dropping a tool during the propeller removal is not such a deep dive to recover it.  They weave VK through the bomies to a patch  of shallow sand and anchor.  Then, both in the water, Maurie on the step handing tools, they proceed to remove the starboard propeller, tighten the anode and replace the propeller.  Touch wood it is tight enough, and we all think so.  We decide to dive and check the prop gear at every opportunity.
After lunch we relax. During the prop operation Heidi has explored the local coral and found two moray eels.  Maureen and I try to find them but no, only the usual array of extremely colourful and varied fish, and a small remora-like fish hanging around under the boat. We wonder if it is wanting to attach but is put off by the antifouling.  No moray eels, we’ll have to follow Heidi next time.
A lazy afternoon, reading and sleeping.  I have found an answer to the heat. Keep a damp T-shirt ready to wear and sit in the breeze.
Sunday 22nd April
Still at anchor at Tiputa. The breeze is still in the northeast.  We are getting low on water. Rain comes, hatches closed, squabs inside, tank caps off and ready to collect water. Immediately the rain stops and it’s sunny all day.  Atolls are not renown for having abundant water, so there is no hose at any dock.  We are now using the salt water pump in the galley.
We are worried that the solar charger is not working properly and check a few voltages and currents and decide that it is working ok after all.  We suspect that the HF radio is interfering with the readings.  After a couple of hours of checking connections we change a couple of settings inside the charge controller and decide to keep an eye on it.  Steven and Heidi go snorkelling at the aquarium and see more fish and more sharks, black tip and white tip.
After lunch Dick, Maureen and I go walking through Tiputa village on the eastern side of the pass. It is mostly residential with a few small shops and a couple of churches.  Nearly every building is in need of repair and paint.  We think there is not a surplus of income at Tiputa.
On the way back we snorkel at the aquarium, and see more fish and more sharks.  The biggest is about the size of one of us, but they keep to themselves and are just swimming around like all the other fish.  One little fish is very inquisitive or territorial and seems to want to drive us away.  A pity he is only 6 inches long.  Another day in paradise.
Dick and Maurie April 25 ham radio~~Saturday 21st April
Another day in paradise. After breakfast Dick, Maureen and I go to the magazin for more bread and find sardines at less than NZ prices but have to wait until after 10 for the bread to arrive.  It arrives but there is a rush for the baguettes and we just manage to secure the last 3. Tomorrow is Sunday, and although the magazin is open the bakery is closed, no bread.  I guess we may have to make it.
Then Dick and Steven move the boat into shallower water so that dropping a tool during the propeller removal is not such a deep dive to recover it.  They weave VK through the bomies to a patch  of shallow sand and anchor.  Then, both in the water, Maurie on the step handing tools, they proceed to remove the starboard propeller, tighten the anode and replace the propeller.  Touch wood it is tight enough, and we all think so.  We decide to dive and check the prop gear at every opportunity.
After lunch we relax. During the prop operation Heidi has explored the local coral and found two moray eels.  Maureen and I try to find them but no, only the usual array of extremely colourful and varied fish, and a small remora-like fish hanging around under the boat. We wonder if it is wanting to attach but is put off by the antifouling.  No moray eels, we’ll have to follow Heidi next time.
A lazy afternoon, reading and sleeping.  I have found an answer to the heat. Keep a damp T-shirt ready to wear and sit in the breeze.
Sunday 22nd April
Still at anchor at Tiputa. The breeze is still in the northeast.  We are getting low on water. Rain comes, hatches closed, squabs inside, tank caps off and ready to collect water. Immediately the rain stops and it’s sunny all day.  Atolls are not renown for having abundant water, so there is no hose at any dock.  We are now using the salt water pump in the galley.
We are worried that the solar charger is not working properly and check a few voltages and currents and decide that it is working ok after all.  We suspect that the HF radio is interfering with the readings.  After a couple of hours of checking connections we change a couple of settings inside the charge controller and decide to keep an eye on it.  Steven and Heidi go snorkelling at the aquarium and see more fish and more sharks, black tip and white tip.
After lunch Dick, Maureen and I go walking through Tiputa village on the eastern side of the pass. It is mostly residential with a few small shops and a couple of churches.  Nearly every building is in need of repair and paint.  We think there is not a surplus of income at Tiputa.
On the way back we snorkel at the aquarium, and see more fish and more sharks.  The biggest is about the size of one of us, but they keep to themselves and are just swimming around like all the other fish.  One little fish is very inquisitive or territorial and seems to want to drive us away.  A pity he is only 6 inches long.  Another day in paradise.

Dick ham radio April 25~~We will leave tomorrow or the next day. Probably no more wifi. Did a trial departure formality today starting with the Gendarmes – and the Gendarmerie was closed – nobody there!!

Dick April 26 ham radio~~Very nice lady gendarme handled all the paperwork efficiently this morning.
Kids just off in the dinghy for last perishables from the grocery store now that siesta is over.
Aiming to transit the Pass Avatoru about 1600 today, April 26. All refueled, water tanks full, ready to go. Propellers and anodes firmly fastened on! The wind is still a bit north of east for my liking, but it gets more easterly as we proceed north.
There have been a few InReach messages but nothing really to report other than all is well except no tracking. Excuse mistakes~~now all typing is left hand only. 
 
Cheers,
 
Marian
 
 

VAN KEDISI NOW IN RANGIROA

Many of you will recall how I kept this blog up for Dick and crew as they crossed the Pacific to New Zealand. Basically I transcribed all forms of messages including emails, ham radio messages and InReach messages. Emails ended last week when they left Moorea, Tahiti for Rangiroa the last stop before the leg to Hawaii. The last post was written as Van Kedisi was being loaded onto the ship “Damgracht.” Maurie (first mate) got some photos from 1.5 NM away and though they are a bit fuzzy they are kind of fun to see. The shipyard was secure so no unauthorized people allowed.

 

 

The crew for the entire voyage is in order of the first photo~~Captain Dick, Maurie Robertson, Steven Leighton and Heidi Leggereit. I thought I would add two more photos of crew plus moms plus wife. Top right is Jenny Leggereit, Heidi and Steven and right below is Maureen Robertson and Marian Leighton. Maureen was crew from Papeete to Rangiroa, Tahiti. Jenny is in Brisbane, Australia and Marian is in Victoria, BC.

 

 

Alicia, the agent in Auckland for Seven Stars Shipping took some excellent photos as VK  was being was actually lifted. Having crew aboard as boats are lifted is strictly forbidden but somehow the tender to the Damgracht was missing, perhaps as it was early evening. So Steven and Dick were lifted still onboard! Heidi picked them up and over the next few days every flew to Papeete.

 

 

While Dick spent several days in a small anchorage near Auckland before departure he wrote a letter that he sent to many of you. Few of you noticed it as was a small white square with “doc” in it at the bottom of the same photos as above. So for those of you who did not notice it or were not on his list here it is. BTW,  I was one of many who did not notice it.  It touched me deeply.

Rakino Island

Hauraki Gulf

New Zealand

March 22, 2018

Marian, wrestling with inoperable, incurable metastasized breast cancer, flew back to Victoria a few weeks ago after a month here in New Zealand..

“Bring the boat back. I am looking forward to all of us and the boat in the same province.”

A few months ago I attended a cancer partners’ support group at the hospital in Victoria. It was something like what I imagine AA to be. One woman, 68, talked about her husband’s cancer diagnosis 8 years prior as having 4 months to live. 8 years later he is still alive and she feels robbed of the last 8 years of her life. “Not happening to us” says Marian.

Marian is to be admired for her “glass half full” approach to recurrent cancer.  As a friend said, “Dick, if that was you or me we would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor.” But Marian is embracing the new life in Victoria, minding 2 year old Edith, connecting with old and new friends, planning another trip to Nepal and possibly going to jail for civil disobedience for opposing the Kinder-Morgan pipeline.

Marian’s positive blog is:   breastcancereh.blogspot.ca

Sailing from New Zealand to Victoria is not the same as sailing from Turkey to New Zealand – the wind is not from astern nearly all the time. There are two routes in Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. The long route, for those with lots of time, takes in Fiji, Philippines, Japan, Bering Sea to Victoria. The more usual route has 3 legs. New Zealand to Tahiti, Hawaii and Victoria. The first leg to Tahiti is 2,220 n.m. on the great circle route but more like 3,000 n.m. actual sailing distance as it is not usually possible to sail there directly. I have been in NZ for several months and the wind has been relentlessly from the east – the direction we want to go. Further, this is a La Nina year, whatever that means. A Google search revealed “an uptick in easterlies”. Under “normal” conditions NZ is in the “variables”. With La Nina, and global warming, it seems the prevailing easterly trade winds near the equator have been pushed further south. Those who have sailed on the Van Kedisi will probably agree – not her best point of sail. Indeed, the legendary cruiser Eric Hiscock with his last boat, a nice looking sloop, abandoned an attempt to get to Tahiti from NZ and ended up going to Fiji and back to NZ.

So, considering all the above, I decided that loading the Van Kedisi on a ship, the “Damgracht”, from Auckland, NZ, to Papeete, French Polynesia, at the end of March, was probably a good idea. 

New Zealand is reasonably enlightened when it comes to visiting boats. Boats are permitted to be here for 2 years, and are exempt the 15% gst during that time. My 2 years are nearly up. After 20 years of doing boat maintenance in non-English speaking countries, it felt like cheating getting work done here. Maurie helped immeasurably with the work. And room and board at Pat and Claire’s beat living in a boat yard. The last challenge, again, is getting the music radio and all 4 speakers working. Van Kedisi seems to devour sound systems the way Marie kills battery powered wrist watches!

It has been great sailing in NZ waters again – trips down memory lane, relatives, engineers’ reunions. My grandfather, Frank William Leighton, who I never met, was a survivor on the SS Wairarapa enroute to Auckland from Sydney when it slammed full speed into Miner’s Head on Great Barrier Island at 8 minutes past midnight in 1894. In the Irish Pub on Great Barrier there is a photo showing a number of people on the deck of the beached ship and he might be one of them. Not such a great sailing trip for them.

Next stop Tahiti! (by Air NZ)

Dick

Rakino Island, NZ

I am reading “Sapiens”, thanks Suzanne. The author writes about supposed labour saving devices from washing machines to email. Here’s what he says about email: “We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.”

Distance sailed from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ: 17,304 n.m

Distance for proposed voyage to Victoria: NZ – Tahiti 2,220 n.m. ( by ship); Tahiti – Hawaii 2,270 n.m.; Hawaii – Victoria 2770 n.m.

Blog maintained by Marian:    https://sailvankedisi.wordpress.com

Boat location by inReach:      https://share.garmin.com/VanKedisi

Thank you Dick and I know we all look forward to your return. Many of you are already “followers” but if not and you want to be notified, click on the “follow” button. There is also a link to my blog http://breastcancereh.blogspot.ca

It has taken me awhile to remember how to add photos and so I will save the emails and ham messages etc. for a day or two. Watch for the next post.

Marian

PS I don’t see the follow button but I will investigate and let you know on the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VAN KEDISI PREPARES TO BE LOADED

This will be a short post but I wanted everyone who follows this blog to know that VK will soon be on the move again but for the first time she will travel on a ship. If you read the last post written in early January there was no ship involved. During the months of preparation, Dick and Maurie frequently discussed the unusual winds for the season and sailing in the “roaring forties” may have meant going further south, potentially thousands more nautical miles to an already difficult passage. Seven Stars, the shipping company Dick had been in touch with in the fall, called him again and with some negotiation, it was decided that Van Kedisi would travel by ship to Papeete, Tahiti.

As always with sailing it is possible to tell others when or where the boat will be, but never both simultaneously. Thus the date for departure was reckoned to be mid March to early April. Tickets were bought for the flights to Tahiti for the crew following the loading but those changed at least twice twice I think as the “Damgracht” was delayed due to cyclones on the Australian coast.

Finally Van Kedisi was loaded in the early evening of March 30th and her crew now await flights. Dick says it seems strange to be on land without a boat but soon enough he, Maurie, Steven and Heidi will be aboard along with Maurie’s wife Maureen who will join for a couple of weeks of sailing in French Polynesia.

Maurie took the following photos from 1.5 nautical miles distance away from the dock. I read that no one would be allowed to be aboard the boat as it was lifted but Dick said the ship’s tender disappeared and the only alternate way to depart VK was to get a ride up and then go down the gangplank of Damgracht. The ship is 150 meters long! Heidi met them with our van and now they await the flights and the journey ahead.

I was in NZ for a month  but will save that for another post. I am not sure if Dick left the inReach on so we may not be able to track VK until Tahiti unless some of you techies find the site Maurie had where he was able to follow the Damgracht’s journey to NZ.

The “following photos” really means following later as I do not seem to have the add image link on the toolbar as normal. I am giving up the struggle for tonight but will publish anyway.

image.png

Wow! Somehow I got one here! More to be grateful for.

 

 

 

VAN KEDISI PACIFIC PREPARATIONS

It is hard to believe that Van Kedisi and crew landed in New Zealand well over a year ago. November 4, 2016 to be exact, was the date they arrived in Opua and November 27, 2016 was the last post for the Pacific adventure.

Dick flew home to Vancouver with me last March after more than 14 months away. Transition took some time especially as he was no longer captain of the homeship and had to learn to work on a different team than he had been used to at sea, when his rule was law. Not only that, but a year ago this week, I purchased a home in Victoria so it was a busy time with packing and moving in late June.

Without much real discussion, we kind of thought that VK would stay in NZ and we would become snowbirds. Though I did not know it when I joined Dick for two months in NZ last winter, I soon realized that not only have I tired of long flights, but I have become a real Canadian after 9 years back in Canada from our 17+ years in Saudi Arabia. When I mentioned this near the end of our time in NZ, Dick immediately said, “Well, I might as well bring the boat home then.”

There was still much discussion about how to get VK home. We investigated shipping options but there were many obstacles in terms of timing as VK would have to go from Auckland to Costa Rica on one ship, then find another ship within the weather windows to go from Costa Rica to Victoria. In the end cost was the biggest factor. It was always hard to imagine Dick allowing Van Kedisi to travel on a ship. Thus he is preparing for yet another few legs and many thousands more nautical miles.

Dick departed Vancouver  November 3, 2017 almost a year to the day of his arrival by sea to NZ, this time arriving by air. Staying with his sister Claire and her partner Pat near Waipu, he travelled most days to Whangarei, where he started on his long list of work on VK. This included a new engine installation to match the one done in Curacou in the Caribbean in January, 2016. The preparation alone with getting the old one out along with the myriad of jobs around a new engine installation meant long work days. Maurie

Robertson, a mate of Dick’s from engineering school has joined him several times from Auckland as work has proceeded. Maurie an electrical engineer, will join Dick as first mate. Steven who was first mate with Dick from Tahiti to NZ in 2016, will join the crew along with his Australian girlfriend Heidi. Though Heidi has never sailed before, she and Steven feel that she will adapt fast. I plan to make sure there are ample choices of anti-emetics on board for all of the crew.

Dick spent Christmas for the second year in a row with his NZ family at Claire and Pat’s. Brunch for 16 looked like fun and it took place in summer weather rather than our white Christmas here in Victoria. Rain on Boxing Day meant cancellation of a day sail for several family members but he and our niece Sarah and her partner Clint plus first mate Maurie left for the Bay of islands instead. This allowed for a shakedown cruise with the new engine and naturally there were teething problems.

 

 

Dick in our very awkward starboard engine bay. Engine being lifted by crane into VK. New engine in place.

Lest I leave this blog post too long I am going to publish it and add some more photos in the next post which I hope will be soon.

PS You can follow VK by clicking on the Follow button. Also if you click on “Where is VK you can see exactly where they are. This is via InReach, the device that Dick used last journey. He has it switched on~~at least he did last time I checked.