Marquesas



Circumnavigators!

In April 2014 Baraka crossed her outbound path in the Marquesas when we anchored at Tahuata. We are on our way home, from the Galapagos to Marquesas, to Hawaii, then to Puget Sound. When we were last in the Marquesas in 2008 we were headed westward to New Zealand. This is a bittersweet revisit with many memories of good times in good company.


March 27 - 3d 23m S. 93d 00m W.

First day of our passage was lovely, initial 15 knots winds and flat seas to help us get used to being underway. In the evening the winds died for a few hours, then filled in enough by morning to fly Fat Albert, our asymmetrical, all day. We made a good 117 miles the first day, slower this second day. Now it is 2nd night out, no moon until a sliver early morning, motoring SW. Radar shows a small squall line diagonal to us, 8 miles out, maybe enough to rinse our Isabela grime, very fine volcanic grit tracked aboard. Gribs show squally hotspots ahead in another couple days, but Dave thinks they may dissipate by the time we get there. Winds start filling in after 5 degrees south so we are headed there on a course of 240, then will turn and ride the trade winds west. Tonight we are motoring at 5 knots. We hate using fuel so early, though we expected to, to reach the winds we need. Bonus is our prop wake, a milky-way river of phosphorescent stars, firing and fading, streaming away behind.

Long way to go, 2900 miles. We are happy to have this easy start.


March 28 - 03 48 S, 93 30 W

We discovered an unwelcome souvenir from the Galapagos. Apparently a pelican bent our masthead windvane. The anemometer works ok, but wind direction is badly skewed. We use this to determine which sails to fly and whether we need to set the pole. And I also rely on it when I need to head up to slow the boat, so Dave can set the shaft brake. Last night I pointed too high, based on the gauge, and backwinded the mainsail, which had a preventer set. We effectively hove to. I was unable to bring the bow back around until I restarted the engine. Now we know, and can make allowances for an offset!

This morning's grib shows nasty squall systems forming between 4 and 8 degrees south in a few days, so we are now pedal to the metal motoring quickly south to get under it. No point in staying above it - there is no wind forecast up here. This morning a single freighter crossed our bow 8 miles away, turning on his AIS only when he noticed us. All is well.


March 29 - 04 50 S, 94 50 W - ITCZ!

Horrid night, squally winds 25-35 knots, rain and lightning. Dave fought the sail changes, then gave up and we motored much of the night. We really needed one more reef in the main, but on a moonless night in big seas just eased the main instead. If we'd sailed west with the system, we'd still be in it, so it has paid off to motor south, burning precious fuel. The most recent grib showed us in the middle of it for the past 24 hours. Now we are on the bottom edge and hopefully done with it. On the radio net, the boats a day behind had 40 knots! and Alba got an 8 foot tear in their mainsail. We are again motoring, 10 knots on the nose, trying to get below 5 degrees. The next forecasted set of squalls another day out seems to have disappeared, so we may be able to turn west later today if we find the trade winds. Our lovely stalk of bananas hanging on the bimini frame bruised to mush. Other than that, all is well!


March 30 - 05 46 S, 96 50 W - Better!

Last evening we finally broke south of the ITCZ and stopped the motor. Dave says we motored 39 hours in the past 4 days. Very pleasant winds all night, forward of the beam, lightening today but still sailable. We are helped along by a one knot current. Only 8-10 knots of SSE wind now, but still enough to give us a steady 4+ knots forward the right direction. We are headed 240 degrees, vane steering. Radio nets too light to hear the other boats. We are keeping an eye on the gribs in case the ITCZ swoops back down on us, but right now it looks good, winds filling in a little stronger in another day and clocking SE to a better angle. We are now into passage cadence, getting enough sleep, listening to audiobooks. All is well. 2680 miles to go.


March 31 - 06 43 S, 99 18 W - Trades

600 miles down, 2424 to go, not bad for 5 days out. We turned the motor off yesterday and hope to keep it off for 3 weeks. We have found the trade winds! 18-20 on the port aft quarter, we are tooting along at a steady 5+ knots on a 265 course. Sails are reefed down for the night in case of squalls. Last night we had one squall line, but tonight so far is clear. We tried a little wing-on-wing for awhile today, not our favorite point of sail. It's inefficient, and in moderate seas very rolly, sails flogging noisily on each roll. Dave brought both sails to starboard, poled out jib and reefed main, and we are quieter and more comfortable. We have 2 preventers on the main, a short 4-way to hold it down, and a long line from boom to a block at the bow, and back to a stern cleat, to hold it forward. Sort of a pain to gibe, but once set the combination holds the boom fixed and quiet. Sweet. All is well.


April 1 - 07 06 S, 100 47 W

This morning on the Mozzie Net we heard the startling BBC announcement that New Zealand has voted to join the Australian Commonwealth as an 8th territory. This would be akin to the Republicans embracing Obamacare. Then we noticed the date.

Good winds now but biggish seas rolling the boat. If you could stand behind Baraka and visualize the mast as a giant hour hand on a clock, we are rolling from 11 to 2 o'clock, about 90 degrees, every 5 seconds. This is not a smooth roll, but an irregular lurch. Neville calculated that we have another 300,000 rolls to get to our destination! I prefer to think of these as ab crunches. Long lines of clouds roll up and over us, some with rain. Wind building a bit, mostly 20-25 knots, peaking 30. All is well.


April 2- 06 42 S, 103 18 W

Dave says we did a 150 mile day, good for us. Overnight we rode a bit north for a more comfortable ride. Right now we are making 7 knots in 25 of wind, double-reefed main, reefed poled-out jib. 2 boats underway are surfing along at 11 knots! One is a cat, the other much longer than us, so no surprise. A boat 100 miles north is suffering the same large rowdy seas, but in lighter winds, pain without gain. Too much motion now for cooking, reading or any but the simplest chores. I have overripe bananas, but making banana bread requires 2 hands and objects to stay put on the counter, not possible today. Maybe tomorrow. The boat is charging along, getting a workout but not stressed. Dave is happy we replaced the mainsail in South Africa last year. A single wave broke into the cockpit, but otherwise the boat is fairly dry. All is well.


April 3 - 07 06 S, 105 49 W

We are rocketing along at 6-7 knots, reefed down. Lively motion, but we are happy to be making the miles. Gribs show more of the same in the days ahead, with slightly larger seas to 2.7 meters, about 10 feet. This is an average, so we can get waves double that occasionally. A green wave broke over the boat last night, dumping a couple buckets worth of seawater through the main hatch, which soaked a couple cushions and sloshed around the floor until I mopped it up. A good-sized flying fish made it down the companionway hatch. These seas are only half of what we had across the Indian Ocean, so we know boat and crew can handle it.

Passed a couple fishing boats last night, one of which came within a mile. Less than 2000 miles to go. If we keep this up, that translates to about 2 weeks. Each day I check the bins of potatoes and tomatoes, tossing those who have gone renegade. One sulfurous cracked egg announced it was past pull date. All is well.


April 4 - 07 37 S, 108 32 W

We are lurching along, a 157 mile day, 6+ knot average speed. The motion is challenging. This morning making breakfast, my bowl slid across the counter and dumped granola on the floor, and a cup fell over spewing milk powder. This is despite having grip pads under everything. I had to give up the rotting bananas - too rowdy to bake safely, much less mix ingredients. Showering in the cockpit, we are careful not to get too soapy. Who knows where we might end up! The gribs show another 5 days of the same - 2.7 meter seas, though under-reporting our 20-30 knots of wind. Sounds like I'm complaining, but we are delighted with the steady progress. The boat is quiet, vane steering, nothing flogging or groaning. Dave walks the decks daily checking for wear - and the flying fish count. Although moving around requires the monkey swing, we are rested and eating well.

The radio is working great! On the noon Goodbye Isabela net, Dave, with the strongest signal, has become net control. 11 boats check in. 1800 miles to go. All is well.


April 5 - 08 00 S, 110 46 W

Seas laying down a bit, enough to open the main cabin hatch again. Days run together, no problems. Dave talks about putting a fishing pole up, but he does not want to clean any catch, and I don't want to cook it. Less than 1700 miles to go, still more than halfway. We are listening to audiobooks to pass the time, rolling along nicely. All is well.


April 6 - 08 17 S, 133 34 W - Halfway

Still rowdy swells but laying down slightly, as are the winds, down to low 20s. We open the cabin overhead hatches cautiously, keeping an eye on the seas. There are confused swell patterns coming from opposing directions, so it is a lumpy ride. Still making very good time, averaging 150 mile days, excellent, boat working but not stressed. Gribs show more of the same. On the daily net, a boat reports that their autopilot and backup have died, and they have kludged together a working unit from the parts. In these seas we cannot imagine hand-steering, and are thankful we have the near-bullet-proof Monitor vane. A lot of modern cruising boats don't have windvanes to steer, instead depending on autopilots, but these conditions day after day seem to be more than an autopilot can handle. Another boat had to sew patches in the shredded leech of their main. All is well.


April 7 - 08 43 S, 115 50 W - Character Building

The 25+ knot winds and big seas feel unrelenting, more aggressive than we'd expected. This Pacific passage is often a lovely milk run. Gribs show more of the same, with seas building a bit more over the next 5 days. A NOAA report states SEAS 8 TO 10 FT IN MIXED SE AND SW SWELL. The dominant swell is from the SE, but the cross-hatching SW swell accounts for our lumpy ride.

I am listening to Frozen in Time, a true story of American flyers lost in Greenland in WWII, and their attempted rescue. Reminds me things could be worse! and helps me keep some perspective. Big roaring seas break off our stern and slew Baraka sideways. The vane takes a slow minute to recover, then soldiers on. Dave and I tweak the vane to find the sweet spot that puts the waves a bit more on our stern, while still not allowing the jib to flog. On the net, a second larger boat has lost their autopilot and are hand-steering. Fortunately, they have a crew of 4.

All is well.


April 8 - 09 08 S, 117 56 W - An Ode

Still making good time though with miserable snap-rolling motion. We wedge ourselves in to sit or sleep. Boat holding up great. 1250 miles to go. We pass the time with audiobooks, video, sleep. Someone once wrote passages are long stretches of boredom punctuated by moments of panic. We find ways to pass the time. All is well.

Sea-sick sailors sing rapturous praises
Longing for landfall in the lovely Marquesas

Steep verdant hills shrouded in mist
Waterfalls and beaches sunlight-kissed
And natives who only rarely eat a tourist

But the siren song that beckons me to it
Is a delicious pale green citrus fruit

For regular grapefruit I've got no use
Of the tasteless pomelo I cannot enthuse
They're no substitute for pamplemousse!

Oh the sweet pulp, o-la-la the fragrant juice
The delicious and delectable pamplemousse!

Marquesan pamplemousse.


April 9 - 09 29 S, 120 26 W

Sea continue large and confused, but so do the good winds, pushing us along. There are small night squalls, not bad. Dave ate the last English Muffin but I won't bake until the seas lay down a bit. Which they will do in another 3 days, yippee! The gribs show winds going lighter and seas settling, though we will go through a patch of squally stuff before then. Dave tries to sleep off watch, but is up and down trying to locate a noisy clang that wakes him each time he drops off to sleep. I go through cupboards and lockers and may have found the culprit - a pot poorly stowed. 1100 miles to go. All is well.


April 10 - 09 34 S, 123 26 W

Winds down slightly to lower 20s, but seas still irregular, a lumpy ride day after day. Made spaghetti last night, tricky in these seas, but we have been eating easy snacks too many days and wanted a meal. On the net we commiserate with everyone else in the same conditions. One boat said they had a pecan pie to celebrate the 1000-mile-to-go mark. Aboard Baraka we celebrate with a fresh change of underware! I'd like to change the bedsheets, but can't see how to do it without somersaulting. Not our easiest passage, but we continue to make very good time, 140 mile days. All is well.


April 11 - 09 40 S, 125 00 W - Better!

Winds down to 18-20 and seas starting to settled out a bit. This morning we gibed to set the boat wing-on-wing and Dave shook the third reef out. He remembered the trick of setting the staysail straight back to help cup the air to keep the jib from collapsing in the rolling.

Not the miserable snap-roll of the past few weeks, but a slower side to side roll. Our speed is down to 5 knots in the lighter winds, but the ride is definitely better. We have already made all the southing we need, so this sail arrangement is pointing us back to our rhumb line. 800 miles to go. All is well.


April 12 - 09 18 S, 127 02 W - Day 17

We've been running downwind for several weeks now and are starting to see the toll, a chafed jib sheet, and today, the beginning of the sacrificial stripe working free on the jib. Right now it is a few tattered strips, but unattended will quickly travel. We rolled the jib up to try to reach the damaged area for repair. No joy, the area is out of reach. We would have to drop the sail to fix it, which means turning the boat to windward in large seas and trying to wrestle the big sail down while rolling. We'll keep an eye on it and hope it holds together until landfall where we can fix it properly. If winds continue dropping we can fly Fat Albert and give the jib a rest. Overall the boat is holding up well, and the motion is now far more tolerable. 700 miles to go. All is well.


April 13 - 08 58 S, 129 03 W - Blood Moon

The Seattle Times (text version) reports tomorrow night's lunar eclipse is called a "blood moon". We only get the headlines and first article line, so we don't know what this means. Vampires?

We wrote our agent at Hiva Oa and she assures us the gendarmerie is open on weekends and holidays for clearance. This coming Sunday is Easter. We are starting to think about how to arrive in daylight, as we can't safely make a nighttime landfall at Hiva Oa.

Winds lighter, to mid-teens. Dave is considering Fat Albert, though to fly it we need to take down the pole, furl the jib, and gibe the main. Maybe reef the main too, plus deploy the spinnaker, a fair amount of work, only worthwhile if conditions are constant, and risky at night if we get squalls. If we can average 5 knots or better we should have a daylight landfall...

Dave made a VMG calculator in Excel. If we sail a bit off the wind, we pick up speed through the water, but too far off our rhumb line, we lose speed toward our destination. His calculator tells us where the sweet spot is. Less than 600 miles to go, all is well.


April 14 - 08 40 S, 131 31 W - Rolling along

The cross-hatching seas continue, giving us some roll, but not bad now, still steady 15+ knots of wind. This morning we gibed the main and doused the jib and pole to fly Fat Albert. The windvane normally does a good job downwind, but we are rounding up in these seas, not good with the spinnaker, so now we are trying the autopilot to stay on a steadier course. Ship time is still Galapagos time, though the Marquesas are 3 1/2 hours earlier. We will change our clocks when we make landfall. All is well.


April 15 - 09 08 S, 133 46 W - Lunar Eclipse

Last night we got a ringside seat for the lunar eclipse. It lasted several hours. The shadowed moon was still clearly visible, a reddish color, then the edge of bright white reflection slowly widened as the moon moved again out of the earth shadow. Out here, with no man-made lighting, the night sky is brilliant. The expeditions by Captain Cook to French Polynesia were made to measure celestial transits in an effort to nail down longitude. He logged the transit of Venus at Papeete.

This morning we doused the spinnaker. It was making me nervous in winds to 20 knots. Dave wanted to leave it up, but our policy is to humor the more cowardly crew, which is usually me. We will fly it again if the winds moderate below 15. Poled out jib in 18 knots is still giving us good time. All is well, just over 300 miles to go.


April 16 - 09 48 S, 136 07 W - Dolphins

Very nice conditions, we are making 6 knots in 18 of wind just aft the beam, seas much better. 160 miles to go, which should give us a daylight landfall tomorrow, yay! Starting to see more birds.

Dave and I just stood for a half hour watching the Marquesan welcoming committee - a large pod of dolphins cavorting under our bow. They pass in formation, exuberantly looping back and forth and breaking the surface together, synchronized swimming. A tiny baby kept up, exactly parallel with its mum.

Yesterday a large animal leapt repeatedly out of the water, vertical hops and clumsy crashes. Maybe a small whale of some sort. On the net other boats report good fishing. In the big seas we didn't want to clean fish, but maybe now... once the dolphins are away. All is well.


April 17 - Landfall Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Early this morning land appeared, a bluish blur under its cloud hat. All day we motored toward it. Winds have gone light enough that we could not make a daytime landfall without the engine. The steep island is green and folded like a lady's fan falling steeply from toothy ridge to shore. We passed Rocher Thomassaet, a rock offshore that does not appear on our vector charts until we zoom in.

Baraka is now safely at anchor in the spectacular Bay of Virgins. All is well!

We round Fatu Hiva...

...coming to the gorgeous Bay of Virgins.

Of the hundreds of beautiful anchorages, this is the classic - postcard perfect. Sunlight paints the spires golden, while tiny goats climb to the summits.


April 18 - a bit of paradise

Last night goats grazed on the steep hillside above us while we enjoyed dinner in the cockpit. This is the most spectacularly gorgeous anchorage we have seen. Then a full nights sleep with the boat lying still, sweet luxury! This morning we visited Dragonfly and Alba to get local info, and headed ashore. There is a cement quay behind a breakwater. The offices are closed for Easter until Tuesday so our clearance will have to wait. The tiny village has a small store that was to close at 10 am. A helpful cruiser exchanged some of our USD for Pacific Francs, so we were able to buy a loaf of freshly baked bread, and ordered more from the 2 pm baking. We walked up the valley road past neat homes with tethered pigs and copra sheds, then negotiated for some pamplemousse. The kids wanted outrageous money for 10 grapefruit, but settled for an old diving mask. A young woman wanted perfume. I don't have any, but found a bottle of nail polish as a gift. She insisted we accept a hand of bananas and several dozen limes in exchange. The skillful woodcarvers in town have some fine pieces, though we don't have enough francs. They tell us they will trade for rum. Money doesn't seem to mean much here - the cruisers are a welcome source of hard-to-get goods. We will raid the lockers and see what we have. A little fishing gear may net some lobsters. At 2 pm Dave returned to shore and collected not only our bread, but loaves for 4 other boats. As he made the deliveries, each boat made him take ripening bananas to the next boat, so Dave handled the redistribution throughout the anchorage.

Friendly Polynesians ashore, friendly cruisers at anchor. We will enjoy a few days here before moving along.


April 20 - Hiva Oa

We pulled anchor this morning at Fatu Hiva and sailed north, planning to anchor at the north end of Motane. But the bay there had breaking surf all along the shoreline from a NE swell, so we sailed on to Hiva Oa, arriving at Atuona just after sunset. We made it inside the breakwater, tossed the dinghy over, and manage to set anchors bow and stern as night fell. Darkness follows sunset like a light being switched off in the tropics - there is very little twilight, so we were very happy to arrive just in time to get settled. Tomorrow we will head ashore and see about clearing in, though with the Easter holiday it may be Tuesday before we can.


April 23 - Atuona and baguettes

Yesterday Sandra the agent drove us to the Gendarmarie for an easy check-in. Town is a hot walk away - about 4K up a long climb. We managed to score fresh baguettes before the stores closed, found the ATM and a snack shop for pommes frites, then started the long walk home. Soon Red Witch came by in a local truck and gave us a welcome lift.

Ashore I found a terrific place to do laundry, plentiful water and a waist high shelf to work on. We also finally managed to scrub the passage scum off the hull sides, a big job as it seemed welded on. Last evening Alba had a bunch of the Goodbye Isabella net boats over for sundowners, a fun evening to get to know the faces whose voices had become so familiar. We have booked an island tour and will hang here a couple more days before heading on, probably to Tahuata where there are rumors of free internet. The internet here is $25 for a single day.

We are anchored bow and stern at rolly Atuona.

Pretty crane poses.

In town carved tikis guard the storefronts.

We take a tour to visit the smiling tiki.

Local church has a huge tiki drum.

Copra sheds can slide closed for rain.

Rough roads - Dave changes a tire.

View from the island's ridge.

We visit an ancient marae...

with many large tikis.


April 25 - Circumnavigators!!!

It's official, today at noon Baraka crossed her outbound path when we anchored at Vaitahu, Tahuata. We have sailed westabout crossing every degree of longitude! I think we are accidental circumnavigators, never intending to go full circle. It just seemed easiest to keep going west. We were last here almost exactly 6 years ago. Baraka has sailed over 40,000 miles and visited 34 countries. Dave says "nothing to it". Hmmm. We have repaired rigging in New Zealand, transmission in Malaysia, engine in Singapore, sails in South Africa. Our saga is one of persistence and endurance. Along the way we have been enriched beyond all hopes, met great people, visited amazing cultures, and enjoyed a life of real adventure. Still a long way to go to get home, but this is a huge milestone for us. We salute those who went before us, and inspired us to follow in your wakes.

To celebrate, we went ashore to the village and found again the workshop of Teiki Barsinas. Teiki is a master artist and his bone and sperm whale tooth carvings in traditional Marquesan style are in museums around the world. 6 years ago we photographed his young daughters, Thelma and Louise, against a carved tiki pole at their home, and took another photo today. I bought several bone carvings and Teiki gave me a beautiful rosewood tiki at a bargain price. The family loaded us up with pamplemousse and limes. Momentous day!

Thelma and Louise in 2008...

...and again in 2014.

Keiki Barsinas, master carver.

Keiki has work in museums all over the world. He works in traditional materials making traditional designs. We bought several pieces in 2008, and again in 2014. This time he presented me with a wonderful wooden tiki of rosewood.


April 26 - Les Cadeaux

Today we walked back up the hill to Keiki Barsinas' home, to deliver a bag of fishing lures as a thank you for his generosity to us yesterday. Keiki showed us lures made by his grandfather of shell, beautifully polished and inscribed with the Tahuata cross symbol. He has a collection of fine old pieces that will someday be in a museum. We appreciate that these heirlooms are not for sale, and are intended to stay in the Marquesas. Nice to see that not everything has a price!

This anchorage is very protected from seas, but gusty winds blast over the ridge, going from calm to gale back to calm in moments. Good holding, so no worries. Tomorrow morning we will rise before dawn to make a long day trip to Ua Pou, hoping there is room behind the breakwater. If not, we will carry on to Nuku Hiva, arriving after dark.


April 29 - Taiohae Bay, Nuku Hiva

From Tahuata we rose before dawn and had an easy daysail to spectacular Ua Pou, anchoring behind the breakwater. It was a bit rolly, and the freighter was due in another day which would cause us to move, so the next morning we pulled anchor and sailed on to Nuku Hiva, arriving late afternoon. There are maybe 50 boats in the bay, including many we know! Plenty of room, it is a large bay. The woman from Keyif came by and picked up a towel that had been left behind in the Galapagos. She delivered baguettes to the cockpit early this morning as a thank you.

Taiohae Bay is open to the south with a little swell rolling in, but protected. The town looks like it has grown in 6 years, lots of new buildings. Last night from the cockpit we could see stadium lights and hear Marquesan drumming, a wonderful homecoming. It does feel a bit like home, returning to a familiar and friendly place. Today we will go ashore, check in with the Gendarmarie and try to arrange fuel and propane. I need to scope out the stores, some supplies are running low. Two freighters arrived overnight so the stores should be stocked soon. We will also try to get internet - first time since the Galapagos. It is expensive, about $4 an hour but will be nice to have as we prepare for the passage to Hawaii. We plan to stay here at least a week, working down a small list of repairs and playing.


May 1 - Once again, prepping for passage

Yesterday Dave hit the pre-dawn market to get lettuce, tomatoes, cukes and daikon radishes. We checked out the stores, finding some good passage fodder, canned stew and frozen nems, what the Polynesians call eggrolls. Then we got busy. Dave transferred fuel and did the oil changes on genset and engine, while I started laundry, and baked granola and english muffins. We each have a list of chores to complete before the next leg to Hawaii, and are starting to get restless to move along. The Marquesas are very nearly paradise, but this might be shaping into an El Nino year, which may mean earlier and stronger hurricanes. Approaching Hawaii in north pacific summer, we'll have to pay attention. The earlier we go, the better, so we are talking about clearing out this coming Monday. Tomorrow we'll take on fuel and fill a propane tank (butane here) and keep working down our lists.


May 3 - market morning

Yesterday we made 2 runs to the fuel dock for duty free diesel, using our 7 jugs. Dave lowered the full jugs down the wall while I placed them in the dinghy, then back to Baraka to transfer into the tanks. We are topped off now, ready to roll.

This morning we got up at 5 am to hit the market, which closes by 7 am , as does the boulangerie! The early bird catches the baguette here. I got green tomatoes and lovely finger bananas, lettuce, cukes, a zuchini, daikon, and cabbages while Dave trekked to the bakery for 5 fresh baguettes, some to be frozen. At the fish market big lemon sharks patrol the wall and have a feeding frenzy when the fishermen toss the entrails and skeletons. Impressive! We are careful not to slip over when climbing off the wall into the dinghy.


May 4 - sail repair

Alba traded us - fresh mahi mahi for a couple baguettes, so we enjoyed a fine dinner last night. Today we pulled the jib down and lugged the heavy Sailrite up on the foredeck. I stripped off the section of sacrificial sunbrella that had shredded on the way here, and cut new pieces. Dave helped me muscle the heavy sail through the sewing machine. It should hold together until Seattle.

Still some small things to do, but manageable, so we will likely clear out tomorrow and leave Tuesday or else early Wednesday, when the winds look slightly better. Sad to go - we are saying goodbye to our cruising life, as the rest of the fleet is headed west, to the Tuamotus and other delights.


May 5 - Clearance from Marquesas

We walked into the Gendarmarie and twenty minutes later walked out with our port clearance to Hawaii, no fees, no hassle. Then we trotted up the hill from the bank corner to a good grocery and found leeks, crisp apples, brie, and salad onions. Back at the Hinano store (so called because of its huge blue posters) we bought our daily baguettes. A little hand laundry and a quick haircut for Dave on the quay, and the chores were nearly done. We made a round of goodbye trips by dinghy. We have known the Mojombo family since Rebak in Malaysia, meeting them in a dozen countries. Now they are turned toward home in Australia. We have learned never to say goodbye - just farewell until our paths cross again. Back aboard we hung laundry, did a small maintenance chore on the head, and enjoyed a gazpacho and baguette lunch in the cockpit. This is again a very relaxed passage departure. Tomorrow we will sleep in, make a final baguette run, rig the boat and get underway when we feel like going. We still need to deflate and secure the dinghy, stow the stackpack, restow the anchor chain lower in the bilges, run jacklines and preventer lines, secure the cabin, the usual last minute passage prep. And I want to make up another batch of gazpacho. We have about 1000 CFP left, and Dave is talking about finding one more stalk of green bananas.

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