Category Archives: Passages & Crossings

Passage: Easter to Mangareva

As sad as we were to leave Easter Island early, we were super excited to get to French Polynesia.  This passage from Easter Island to Mangareva, Gambiers is about 1500nm and should take us 12-14 days.

Trip Details:

  • Departed Easter Island on Sunday, 31 March at 10:30am
  • Arrived Mangareva, Gambiers on 11 April at 0900
  • Miles Traveled 1,482
  • Max speed 11.7
  • Average speed 5.6
  • Sailed most of the way, had a few motor sailing days

I know you are already caught up with details of this passage as Matt posted “Real-Time blogs” between 31 March and 11 April.  But here are a few more highlights:

The first 3-4 days were crap!  We got stuck in a whirl pool of confused seas and raging winds.  It was an unbelievable set of days bashing in and day out.  It was uncomfortable and nerve racking hearing our boat smash into these waves and get tossed side to side.  According to our weather forecasts, there was a HUGE southerly storm causing the problems.  We were able to stay away from that particular large stormy beast, but it did cause smaller squalls and poor weather conditions for us.

Storm on passage to Gambiers

Storm on passage to Gambiers

At one point, a smaller storm formed off of our port side, screwed up Otto (our auto pilot), and made the boat do all sorts of crazy stuff.  It took us about 2 hours to get the boat “right” and back on course.  And per usual, this was around 2am.

Storms all around us

Storms all around us

The one that got away

On our 6th night, just before sunset and as Matt was taking a nap, we heard ZING!  We had been trolling for the past 800nm and had no nibbles or bites, nada!  I woke Matt as the reel let out more than ¾ of the line.  It kept on going and going and going.  Damn, a big fish.  It took Matt 1.5 hours to reel this guy in to the boat and he fought him the entire time.  We finally got a look at the fish under water and it was a 400lb Marlin.  Crap.  One: how do we get this guy on board? Two: we don’t have enough space in our freezer for this big of a fish.  We didn’t want to gaf him as that would severely injure or kill him but we did want our lure back!

Matt trying to reel in a 400lb Marlin

Matt trying to reel in a 400lb Marlin

Sucker swam under the boat, got the line caught on either our sail drive or prop and broke the line.  Well, I guess that solves our two problems.  I was riddled with guilt that the poor fish was stuck with our lure in his mouth.  Matt assured me it would rust out within a week.  We did not even get a decent photo of him.

Marlin that got away

Marlin that got away

Another beautiful sunset to end our day

Land a Ho:

For some reason, this passage seemed to drag for me.  Maybe because it was back to back with the other 11-day passage or maybe because of the foul weather, but I struggled.  It was a great relief to finally see the Gambiers on the radar, just before dawn.

Arriving Gambiers

Arriving Gambiers

The feeling of relief was quickly replaced with the feeling of dread as we entered the channel.  It was blowing 35 knots, with choppy seas, and a 2kt current.  We buried the bows at least 2’ in the water multiple times.  Yikes!  Reefs all around us made this a bit treacherous.  However, we arrived with out any issues to an anchorage with white caps.

An anchorage is an anchorage and we were happy to drop 90 meters of chain in 18 meters of water!  Done!  Whoop Whoop!

Pacific Passage to Easter Island

Matt dutifully posted “Real-Time Pacific Passage blogs” while we were at sea.  So, I will not bore you with another rendition of the same passage, but I will give you some highlights.

Technically, this is part II of our Pacific Passage as we started from Valdivia to Robinson Crusoe (500nm) and now from Robinson Crusoe to Easter Island.

The anchor was pulled up at 1030am on 16 March with approximately 1625 nm to Easter Island from Robinson Crusoe.  We anticipated it taking 12-14 days to make this trip.

Sunset Photo

Sunset Photo

A few days we averaged 170 nm a day, but for the most part we averaged 130-150 nm a day.  At the end of the trip we sailed 1,655 nm with a max speed of 13.2 and an overall average speed of 6.2. A remarkable 11-day sail with decent winds.

The only disappointing mishap was a ripped spinnaker.  We were flying our small spinnaker which is good to 20kts of wind.  A squall snuck up on us and as we debated taking it down, POP!

Picture of Spinnaker happy and flying

Spinnaker happy before she wasn't

Spinnaker happy before she wasn’t

Matt and Spinnaker unhappy

Ripped the clew right off the small spinnaker

Ripped the clew right off the small spinnaker

We were thrilled to sail up to Easter island are so looking forward to exploring this mystical island.

This map gives you an idea of where we sailed from Valdivia, to Robinson Crusoe, to Rapa Nui.

Robinson Crusoe and Easter Island

Robinson Crusoe and Easter Island

Hanging out on Robinson Crusoe

Storybook Island: Robinson Crusoe

Not many people have an opportunity to visit this small island.  Chileans refer to it as Juan Fernandez, but it is more famously called Robinson Crusoe island.  The storybook is based on this island.  From Valdivia, Chile to Juan Fernandez is about 500nm and should take us 4-5 days.  We did not expect a lot of weather and were hoping for a good sail.  As luck would have it, we sailed the entire way with the mostly the small spinnaker!

TRIP DETAILS

  • Departed Valdivia on Saturday, 9 Mar at 1415pm
  • Arrived Juan Fernandez on Wednesday, 13 Mar at 0100am
  • Miles Traveled 485
  • Max speed 12.1
  • Average speed 5.5

Very early morning arrival at Cumberland Bay, Robinson Crusoe. Certainly not idea, so we took all precautions entering Bahia Cumberland at 1 am in the morning.  We circled for about an hour trying to determine the best anchorage.  It was extremely deep, even close to the fishing boats, at 40-60 meters.  Not good for anchoring.  It was pitch black, no moon, and only a few street lights on shore.  On the first attempt, we dropped the hook in 26 meters of water.  We sat and watched it and decided we did not feel comfortable with our swing.  The second attempt. we dropped it in 24 meters of water.  We had a little more swing room, but didn’t feel comfortable.  Matt ended up staying awake until day break when we moved for a 3rd time.  Deep, dark blue water.

Cumberland Bay at Robinson Crusoe

Cumberland Bay at Robinson Crusoe

FORMALITIES:

Went ashore and first met with SAG (agricultural department) to ensure we did not bring any fruits, veggies, meats from another country.  Then we stopped in to see the Parque National Arch de Juan Fernandez to get our park passes.  Our last stop was the Armada to clear into the island.  Everything went smoothly.

Decision time.  Go back to the boat and try to catch up on some sleep or explore.  We decided to go exploring.  We only have a few days here so why not make the most of it?

HISTORY OF ROBINSON CRUSOE ISLAND

The archipelago was discovered in the 1500’s by Fernandez, a Spanish sailor of Portuguese origin. There are three islands that make up this archipelago.  Robinson Crusoe, Marinero Alejandro Selkirk, and Santa Clara.  These islands are thought to be between 2 and 4 million years old.

Many unsuccessful attempts were made to colonize the islands.  Two ships from the English corsairs anchored in front of what is now known as Robinson Crusoe island in 1704.  A boatswain by the name of Alejandro Selkirk argued with the captain and was left on the island with only a bible, knife, rifle, pound of powder, tobacco and some clothes.  He remained on the island for 4 years and 4 months before his rescue by an English corsair.  Alejandro’s diary and story were the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s famous storybook “The Incredible and Amazing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.”

TODAY IN SAN JUAN BAUTISTA

Newly constructed buildings now house small tiendas and restaurants along the shore.  It was lovely, but odd because they all looked so new.  We discovered a tsunami destroyed Cumberland Bay and the small town of San Juan Bautista in 2010.

Robinson Crusoe Town

Robinson Crusoe Town