VAN KEDISI APPROACHES VICTORIA

The last post had Dick, Maurie and Dean departing Oahu heading for Victoria. They are still en route and I suspect that they will arrive here by the end of the month. Last week I discovered  that I had inadvertently been missed on Maurie’s email list administered by his wife Maureen as he sends her ham messages. Prior to Maureen departing VK in Rangiroa, some of his writings were included.

Steven showed me how to use a hot spot from my cell phone data so I hope to be able to use it to send today. I have been in Victoria hospice since early last week to work on pain management. The building on the Royal Jubilee campus is so antiquated that WiFi is dodgy  but I hope this works. Timing has been almost perfect for sorting out my neuropathic pain while Dick is still on his way home. My own blog will have a post soon.

June 11 Dick on ham radio~~Hi there. As advertised, the HF radio works and then it does not. Maurie and I are reasonably sure that it is a propagation issue, that is, atmospheric conditions, and not the radio or the connections. Enjoy  it when it happens!
It is getting cooler, especially at night, but still shorts and bare feet. Today the wind has switched behind us and we are on course with both the genoas up in 10 knots of breeze with a cloudless sky above and just a few fluffy clouds on the horizon. Another beautiful day. Heidi will be disappointed – these last couple of days have been idyllic, if a little slow. But speed just means we get cold sooner. What a conundrum, because we always like to get the boat going as fast as the conditions will allow – which is what we are doing of course.
So here we are on the edge of the Pacific High. Marie is also following our position and looking at the wind. Marie says we need to be at 40N and 150W by Tuesday. ha ha – that is 600 or 700 miles by tomorrow??!! not going to happen. There are developing winds. Geoff says keep going north until you get the westerlies. We are getting the grib files now so we have it sorted from our end too.
All good. Fish cakes and Caesar salad for lunch.

Same day also ham radio from Dick~~Still heading north with some east in 9 knot southerly. Geoff says we should get north past the “horses” as quickly as possible. Had to look up the horse latitudes and from Jimmy Cornell’s Ocean Atlas they are from latitude 25 to 35. We are at latitude 31.5N so we still have 3.5 degrees to go north which is 210 n.m. so about 2 days at current 100 miles/day in the light winds. Then hopefully we can head for Juan de Fuca.
We are getting the grib files through the HF radio. There are favourable winds near but tantalizingly just out of reach at the moment. It is still exceedingly pleasant out here. Boat nice and steady, quiet sea, no banging!
We caught a beautiful 35 lb tuna today. Gorgeous fish. Had yellow fins. Too much meat, so we let him go. Provided some excitement. We have photos but no way to send them. We will keep fishing for another mahimahi or smaller tuna.

Maurie~~Things are going well and we have just over 2000 miles to go.  We are starting to think about turning east but a bit cautious about doing it too soon in case we get northerly winds if we get too close to the American coast. It is starting to get colder and we are wearing jumpers and light parkas at night, still T-shirts and shorts during the day.  So far no rainy days just a few nasty rain squalls at night.

Friday 8th June
During the night we have rain squalls where the wind reaches 30 knots.  We have only a small main area and about half a genoa, so it is no problem.  During my watch I took a few more wraps on the genoa just to ease the speed and minimise the pounding, but we still do 6-7 knots, and still heading directly north on a beam reach.  In the morning it is  a steady 20 knots, but the seas are now larger and more confused, so it is not quite as comfortable as yesterday.
We have a new bird, this one never flaps and is always nearby, larger then the blue-grey glider, but flies in a similar pattern, just skimming the wave tops in big gliding loops alongside, then in front, then behind.   It could be a fledgling albatross, it’s big enough. I have a photo so we will look it up.

Later today we see another this size flying the same way but black and white, not close enough to photograph and it doesn’t stay around.
At 10am we have done 157 miles for the day but still 2155 to go and we have a line started on the big chart!

The day is fine with a 15-20 knot breeze from the east and we have a comfortable day going north.  Various birds fly by and at 4pm we have another hitchhiker on the starboard rail, the same type as yesterday but a younger bird judging by its plumage.
Saturday 9th June
The wind is more or less constant during the night, but by 3am has dropped  to 10-12 knots and I take out all reefs.  We are doing a comfortable 5 knots in slight seas. At 3:30am a 300m tanker goes by 3 miles in front of us heading west at 16 knots.  He is lit up like a xmas tree, very visible.
Dawn finds us still heading north in 10 knots of easterly wind.  The hitchhiker is still on the starboard rail and we assume it has been there all night.  Dick has been unable to get the HF radio to connect to any shore station so we are relying on Dean’s Inreach for weather and messages, 160 characters at a time.
At 10am we have done 127 miles in the last 24 hours, a little less than the previous day but much more comfortable and I have had 9 hours of solid sleep.  After breakfast and a coffee I am superman.
The HF radio still is not functioning and we suspect the connections outwards towards the aerial tuner and aerial.  We check them all and unplug, clean and replug them. Success!  The radio is again operational and Dick sends and receives messages and downloads the weather grib files, giving us a weather map of the area over the next 6 days.  This shows we could be in for some south winds up to 40 knots about 5 days away.  That  could be fast but uncomfortable, but at least it is from behind.  We can do that without any sails up if we have to.
After a great lunch of pancakes and maple syrup Dick again downloads weather maps for a larger area.  This shows we may be circling a local high, with light winds close to the centre and the 40 knots further out.  We decide to try and stay in the 20 knot zone if we can, but these things vary with time and sure as eggs are eggs we will get one or the other, maybe even both…dead calm and/or 40 knots. Time will tell.
At 3pm the wind drops to 7 knots and comes more from the north.  We are doing 3 knots and 350 degrees, not what we need to get to Canada, but we get what we get.  A flying fish glides away on the windward side and I wonder when we will stop seeing them.  I have seen them off the Northland coast in New Zealand and maybe they will still be there at 34 degrees north.  We will see.
A big black bird glides over the waves towards us and past us. A few flaps and it is gone. I’m going to get this one and dive for the camera, too late it is out of range. Later we see it sitting on the sea just out from the boat and I get a shot. Then it takes off and glides by again, always a little too far away for a good photograph.  I finally get a distant snap of it gliding away.  Another different bird.
It is 5 o’clock, happy hour and the dinner hamburgers have thawed.  If a fee trawls in the forest  and there is no one here to there it does it sake a mound?  Philosophical questions abound.

Maurie~~Monday 11th June cont…
At 5:30 we decide fishing is over for the day, the boat is going fairly slow for trolling lines I think, 3.6 knots, and we walk to the lines tied to the aft rail.  Suddenly the starboard one I am reaching for twangs tight and the reel lets a little line go. Something has hit it and is still on.  I untie it and feel the pressure…this is different.  Reeling it in slowly and then its as if another one has got on, huge pressure, I let a little slide through my fingers.  The fish stays down and I am worried the line or hook won’t hold him.  As we get him closer to the boat he must see it and gives another huge pull.  Again I let the reel rotate through my hand, hard plastic on soft skin I feel it burning and take a tighter grip, the line holds.  Dick finds some sailing gloves and I hold the line in my left hand while he threads the glove onto my right.  Now we are in business.  Dean gets down on the starboard steps ready with the gaff, using a hand to keep the line from chaffing against the backstay.  The fish is near the surface now, some kind of tuna, swimming between the hulls.  We have no way of slowing the boat down substantially, Dick has rolled up the poled genoa and sheeted in the main and jib tight, but we are still doing 3 knots.
We finally tire the fish enough to get him on the surface, and I try and hold him still for Dean to get the gaff into him.  He is a good size and still swimming and wriggling.  Two of us cramped onto the narrow step working with a wriggling fish is too many and in the melee Dean gives a soft curse, the fish has knocked the gaff out of his hand. It’s floating handle end up in our wake.  Never mind, gaffing was always a hit or miss affair anyway.  I hold the fish on the line while Dean puts the left glove on and reaches down, grabs it by the tail with his gloved hand and hauls it aboard.
“That’s too much fish for us,” says Dick.  Dean and I look at each other…catch and release wasn’t part of the plan.  As the game fisherman said in Honokohau Harbor, “Yeah, I’m going to enter the catch-and-release tournament, I’m going to bring it aboard, measure it, tag it, photograph it, then I’m going to kill it and eat it.”
Well, we photographed it, forgot to measure it, and let it go.  Hell, if we’d kept it we wouldn’t be able to fish again for the whole rest of the trip.  It swam away, uninjured except for the hook puncture.

Sunday 10th June
A lovely calm night but cloudy, no stars.   When the moon finally came up at 3:30 am it was a faint glow through the light cloud.  Dawn and we are trucking along at 5 knots in 11-12 knots, beam reaching on a course of 025, finally rounding the corner of the high and starting to head east.  The cloud has cleared and we take the chance to do some cleaning and washing as it looks like a good drying day.
At 10 am our daily run is 106 miles, lowest yet because all afternoon yesterday we were doing 2 to 3 knots in 6 to 7 knots of wind.  We have 1970 miles to go, I watched it click down from 2000 to 1999 during my watch.  Is that a millennial jump?  I must check that the plasma flux capacitor on the time machine is working properly.
We are reading, listening to music and really enjoying the sailing, alone on our ocean.  We could be looking for Dryland in “Waterworld”, or waiting to hit the outside wall in “The Trueman Show, but we are certainly not worried about falling off the edge of the world…I don’t think.  Always sailing towards the horizon.  If we ever get there we may  be the first.
All afternoon we have been seeing objects on the ocean surface.  A discarded plastic box-shaped container, a piece of flat material, a spherical black buoy, some fishing floats, a black “albatross”, two birds sitting together.  Flying fish, many different birds.  We are halfway through the last Mahimahi and are trailing fishing lines again.
The wind is dying and going aft as night falls but the sky is clear and bright.  We are watching for the green flash at sundown but so far the horizon has always been cloudy.  We may have to photoshop it in.
Monday 11th June
All night the wind has been below 10 knots.  During my watch it dropped to 6 knots so far aft that VK was below 2 knots.  I altered course to keep the genoa out of the shadow of the main, and when Dick came up we poled it out to starboard.  Later Dean and Dick hoisted the other headsail, now we are doing 3 knots in 7 knots of wind under twin headsails.  Marie has texted Dean that for fair winds we need to be at 40N 150W by Tuesday.  We would have to do 660 miles today, 28 knots but that is where we’re headed.  Geoff also had an Inreach message: “keep going north until the westerly kicks in”.  Now what is that a quote from?  Peter Pan… to Neverland turn left at the third star?  Something like that.  So we stay on a course of 020 at 3 knots which will bring us to 40N 150W when we get there.
At 10am we have done 99 miles for the day, so still almost keeping ahead of our estimate.  This morning there are the black “albatrosses” sitting on the water and more flotsam, none of it close enough to say for sure what it is.
As the day goes by we see mostly ocean and the occasional smallish dark bird flying over it.  At 5pm we have the main and twins out, doing 3 knots in 8-9 knots of warm southerly wind. We are making the most of it as the forecast is for it to rise to 30 knots over the next 2 days.  There is much reading going on.
Tuesday 12th June
During the night the wind died so Dean started the starboard engine and we were doing 3.5 knots with sails slack.  At 3:30am the wind picked up to over 8 knots and when it got to 10 I stopped the engine, the wind kept rising and by 5am we were sailing at 4 knots.
At 10am we are doing 5 knots in 12 knots of breeze slightly starboard of astern.  We are heading 020 at 32 34N, 157 13W and have done 90 miles for the day, and have exactly  1800 miles to go.  Geoff, via Inreach, says “Once through the horses you will get westerlies and can head east”.  Horses?  We think he means “horse latitudes”, which we look up in “Cornell’s Ocean Atlas, just to be sure. “A zone of light and variable winds extends on the polar sides of the trade winds, corresponding more or less with the high pressure areas of the two hemispheres, approximately  between latitudes 25 and 35.  These zones were given the name of Horse Latitudes, because sailing ships that were becalmed in these areas were sometimes forced to kill the animals on board due to the shortage of drinking water.”
So we are heading roughly north in fine weather, again reading, sleeping and totally enjoying it.
The wind stays constant at 16 knots, roughly astern and we make good progress.
Wednesday 13th June
No changes through the night.  We have sail ties ready to reduce sail and tie the hanked-on genoa to the deck, but morning finds us romping along at 8-9 knots in 19-20 knots of wind. VK has no bad habits at this speed and wind direction.
We have fishing lines out, but so far no signs of fish.  We haven’t seen flying fish for a couple of days, although several different varieties of bird are gliding around.  Dean and I have been trying to transfer the fish photos to his iPod and iPhone, both from my Samsung tablet, Android phone and Dicks Mac computer, via Bluetooth.  No connection. We try Wi-Fi. No connection.  We suspect apple arrogance, but it’s probably just our technonability.
At 10 am we have done 140 miles.  The wind is constant but the grib files show light northerlies 4 days out, so we alter course to 025 to try to avoid them.  Time will tell.
All day the wind stays constant, the sky is clear, and we progress NNE.

Dick on ham June 14~~1557 to go to R.Vic
Charging along in 25 kn under grey skies that look like the PNW, but we are at the same latitude as SF and Auckland. June 15~~Still 30 kn southerly with drizzle and grey sky and sea. Heading north, looking for the westerlies. Miles going by fast. No shortage of wind and dismal outlook as we continue north! Welcome to the PNW, eh?!
Yesterday we did 176 n.m. which is up in record territory. We have reduced sail a lot. Dean’s inReach had us doing max 15.8 kn  – lots of surfing down waves. 19 C here this morning. Freezer working well – froze the beer. Made bread yesterday. The passage continues. Wearing long underwear and toque. grrrrr… We have moved out of the 30+ kn wind zone and are now headed more towards Juan de Fuca instead of Kodiak!. Wind down to 20 – 23 and likely to stay that way through the night according to Dean’s inReach.
1330 to go to R. Vic. We are about half way.

Maurie June 14~~Thursday 14th June
At 5pm yesterday Dick and Dean lowered the second genoa, tied it on the deck, took down the pole from the windward starboard genoa and gybed it.  During the night the wind increases to 30 knots at times.  At 2am Dean and I rolled up some mainsail to about half and we travelled more comfortably.
This morning before breakfast Dick and Dean again go forward and remove the second genoa, bag it, and remove the temporary forestay.  We are now sailing with very reduced mainsail, full genoa, steering 020 at 7.5 knots with a 25-30 knot southerly wind on our starboard quarter.  The weather forecast is for this to hold for the next 2 days.
The day is fine but slightly cloudy, there are flying fish, and birds, which is a sign there might be predators that we can catch but it’s cold out there and neither Dean nor I feel like going out and setting a line, much less hauling in and dealing to a large fish. We still have a couple of meals of the last Mahimahi in the freezer, so we’ll wait for a day with less spray around.
At 10 am we have done 176 miles, a new trip record and close to the all-time record.  The ocean rollers are giving us a good comfortable ride with half main and reduced genoa.
It has got very cold.  We have been reading, sleeping, playing crib in the cabin all day and at 5pm I decide it is time to put on thermals and beanie.  We are at latitude 38 degrees and it will probably get colder.  I have more layers to go on top but for now I am warm.  Still heading north and still doing 7.5 knots.
Friday 15th June
During the night the wind increased slowly to 30 – 35 knots and we have rolled up more sail, just two small triangles now. At 10am we have a day’s run of 168 miles and 1400 miles to go, we have a new maximum instantaneous speed of 16.4 knots surfing down these big rollers and occasional dumps of spray are landing in the cockpit.  We are in full wet weather gear going out to check sails and instruments as any one of these results in a soaking.
Our weather gribs show this will continue for the next 12 hours and then slowly abate and in the next few days we may be wishing for more wind.  We are at 40 degrees 14 minutes North and no sign of westerly winds.  We may have to go right up to the 49th parallel, the latitude of the Canada-US border to find them.  We are moving easterly where we can but just  right now our course is somewhat dictated by the wind direction, too much east and the rollers are too much on the beam.  Already we have cracked the coffee jug lid and a plastic biscuit container when unexpected lurches landed things on the galley floor.
It is 8pm after dinner and the wind has dropped to 25 knots, the lumpy bits of the ocean don’t have so many white fluffy bits on the top anymore.  We are not lurching so much and we are steering 042 and have 1340 miles to go. All is good.

Saturday 16th June
At 3 am the wind increased to 30 knots, rolled up some genoa.  We are still on course 045 and doing 6 – 7 knots.  At 6 am during his watch Dick saw dolphins come alongside and swim with us for a while.
It is now 10 am and our day’s run is 154 miles, not so bad with the true wind angle showing 120 degrees to VK’s heading. At this wind angle there is still the occasional pounding if we go too fast.
We have 1250 miles to go and OpenCPN shows this can be done in 8 days if we continue at this speed.  But we won’t. The forecast is winds of 35 knots from SSE for about 12 hours in a day’s time and then westerlies of 10 knots as a small high approaches from the west.  Then confused light winds.  I guess this is why they call this area “the variables”.  Anyway, that forecast will be out-of-date tomorrow, so we will see.
We are again mostly reading and sleeping, with one or other of us in wet weather gear going into the cockpit to check on wind, course and sails. There has been a light drizzle for 2 days now, we are staying mostly dry but there is always the possibility of a dump of spray right through the cockpit.  Just one of these is a drenching.
We see two birds we haven’t seen for a few days, albatross size, white with black wings both sides, like a large black-backed gull.
After lunch we have a matinee movie “Reign of Fire” (2002).  It’s about stumbling on, and releasing a hive of dragons which burn the world to cinders and hole everybody up in a castle in Manchester.  The characters use the kind of technology seen in “Mad Max” and “Waterworld”.  Long story short the hero and heroine blast the big bad boy dragon… who would have guessed… leaving only female dragons and they  are never seen again. My guess is they petitioned their agent like crazy until she finally  gave three of them parts in “Game of Thrones”. Popular vote here rated the movie 2/10.
The wind is getting up and we are winding the mainsail all the way inside the mast, in preparation for the predicted 40 knots coming tonight. There is a general cargo ship, “SM Long Beach”, crossing ahead of us heading east, 25 miles away.  It’s not lonely out here.
Sunday 17th June
During the night the wind rose to over 40 knots at times.  We had a smallish Laser-sail area unrolled on the genoa and no main, still doing 7 knots.  When I saw  43 knots I rolled it up to a smallish Opti-sail area. Early this morning Dick saw 45 knots and came downwind more.  We are now heading more or less at right angles to our rhumbline course, but safety and looking after the boat is more important. The weather is due to settle down later today.  Two more ships passed astern of us early this morning, 20 and 40 miles away.  It’s getting busy out here.
At 10 am our day’s run is estimated at 153 miles according to Dean’s Inreach.  But we are still heading North, because we have to. We are at 44 30N and 150 30W and could do with some easterly travel when we get a chance.
We decide to not watch the weather, hoping for a break, and instead watch “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople”.  Great movie, Dean gives it a 5/10, Dick and I give it a 7.5. The kiwi connection.
After lunch we check the weather again, the wind is dropping so we unfurl all our sails.  Then it drops to 9 knots…and we still have the rollers from the 40 knots, just no frothy tops.  So, it’s flop flop flop from the sails and 1.8 knots of boat speed.  We start an engine and rock along at 4 knots towards Vancouver.
I see a really small bird like the little storm petrels we see at home on the Hauraki Gulf.  It may be a storm petrel and it’s the same size, the size of a sparrow, flitting across the wave tops.  Another one to try and identify.
At 6pm we are still doing 4 knots in 10 knots of breeze with one engine. But….the wind has shifted to the west and we are now on port tack. This is the first time for the whole trip.  Van Kedisi is unsure what to  do with it, especially since the rollers are still coming from the starboard side. And for once our 4 knots is directly towards our destination.  Van Kedisi is coming home.

Dick on ham June 18~~Hi there,
12C here in the cabin in the north Pacific just over 1000 miles from anywhere. Can I trade in 5 cooling fans for a cabin heater?!
We have the wind on our north side and we are heading towards Juan de Fuca Straight at 5 kn in relatively calm water.
Down to our last box of red wine – obviously should have bought more of them, according to Dean. Ice cold beer just not quite so appealing at this temperature. Maybe hot rums are in order. Very traditional. Ha ha.

I told Dick a couple of days ago that it was hot here in Victoria~~Answer Well, when the crew wake up I will be able to tell them that as we continue north it will get warmer. Ha. Going to be a tough sell! We finished the rum yesterday while motoring so we need it to warm up for G & Ts. Under 1,000 n.m. to go. We are sailing again in a 12 kn southerly. Westerlies ahead in a few days.

June 20 Dick on ham~~774 n.m. to Cape Flattery. Wind has gone lighter and nearly astern so we have slowed down a bit. 14C here at 0600. Grey, but Dean saya inReach says maybe sunshine today. Last time we saw the sun was nearly a week ago. Brian says I should stop whining, Vancouver nice and warm!

June 21 today ~~0600 – 650 n.m. to Cape Flattery. 2nd genny came down at 0200.
Still grey and cloudy but the fog/mist has receded and we can see the horizon.
Motor sailing on course in 8 knots of breeze

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE EVERYONE!

MARIAN

 

 

 

Advertisements

CREW CHANGE AND THEY ARE OFF

“Off at 1000 from Keehi. All well”

That was the InReach message we got early in the afternoon on Wednesday, June 6.  I had not yet seen that message when I  returned a phone message from Dick literally as he, Maurie and new crew member Dean French were putting up the main sail as they headed out from the Keehi, Honolulu Marina.

IMG_3114

Keehi Marina

image1

Keanu point below last land fall until Victoria, BC

As Van Kedisi was being prepared to set sail, former crew members Steven and Heidi had arrived on the redeye from Honolulu to Vancouver. From there they hopped on the Canada Line, a bus and finally a ferry to Vancouver Island where I picked them up. All in all, a very efficient crew change.

IMG_1147

Heidi, Steven and Jake

 

 

HAWAII TO VICTORIA~~THE LAST LEG

 

The following photos are what I have managed to have the crew send. There has been minimal WiFi even since they arrived in Hawaii. The marinas they have stayed in since arriving in the Hawaiian Islands have been government run with a low cost but minimal services. There are very few anchorages in the Hawaiian Islands to start with and it is very difficult to get into the private marinas and probably the cost would be exorbitant even if possible. I will post this slide show and more text tomorrow. They will be leaving for the final leg on June 6th weather permitting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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