Tag Archives: passage

Huahine - Fare Bay

Huahine Hide Out

We saw a weather window that would allow us to travel the short distance from Moorea to Huahine.  Unfortunately, it had to be a night sail so that we could ensure a daylight arrival to clear the pass.  There are a few well-protected bays on this island that will allow us to hide from the maramu (A “maramu” is strong southerly winds in the south Pacific that occur in the winter).

So, after our wonderful SafarI Mario tour, we prepared the boat for an overnight sail.  We had considered fueling up in Moorea, but the dock was small, the weather was not perfect, and frankly we didn’t “need” to fuel.  Skip that for now and wait until we get to Raitea.

It was not a particularly bad sail, but it was not a good one either.  We anticipated bad weather and high winds with the Maramu, but in actuality we saw on average low to moderate winds.  There was a period of 3-4 hours with high winds at 25 knots, but for the most part we saw 10-15 knots which kept our boat average down to 5.1 knots.

We had following seas which pushed us along but made for a weird rocking of the boat.  It was if Mother Nature was taunting “you can run, but you can’t hide.”  I was not feeling great and was happy to let Matt take the brunt of the shift.  We arrived with plenty of day light and with two boats on our tail.  Kata and Krabta followed us from Moorea but were about 4-5 miles behind us the entire time.

Passage Details

  • Departed Moorea to Huahine on Sunday 30 June at 1600
  • Arrived Huahine Monday, 1 July at 0930
  • Miles Traveled 85.3nm
  • Max speed 12.8kt
  • Average speed 5.1kt
  • Leaving in the lull of the maramu had us over prepared.  We only flew the jib and kept one engine on at idle.  At one point in the night we saw 25kts of wind and with the following seas it gave us a max speed at 12.8.

It was blowing stink as we pulled into one of the many passes.  Once inside, we had a choice of turning right and anchoring in a relatively empty bay with just a few other boats or anchoring in front of Fare, the main village.  We decided to anchor near the main village for a few days, then move to a quieter more remote location.

Once we were comfortable with our anchorage we went to shore to explore.   We were all surprised by how geared the island was toward tourists.  There were several areas outfitted with small vendor booths selling touristy items (shirts, shells, jams, pearls, etc…).  We decided to grab a bite to eat at the Huahine Yacht Club.  We didn’t linger as we wanted to return to the boat and hide from the storm.

Vendor area on Huahine

Vendor area on Huahine

Matt at the helm as we exited the Hao Pass

In Route to Tahiti, with a Slight Delay

It was sad to leave Hao because we did not get an opportunity to explore the island the way we normally would.  Neither one of us got in the water, swam, snorkeled or went diving.  We didn’t change anchorages or see any of the beautiful beaches.  We focused on getting my ankle better, provisioning and doing some internetting.  It just means we will have to circle back to this little slice of heaven.  So, it was time to lift the hook and begin our route to Tahiti.

And the Fun Begins

For the most part, lifting the hook (anchor) is relatively easy.  Matt and I have a good routine down with hand signals that reduce the stress on the boat, anchor, and chain. However, before raising the anchor, we realized it was wrapped around something.  We assumed it was a bombie (coral head).  It was obvious something was off by the direction and pull of the chain in the water.

When we arrived, we dropped the hook in 12 meters of water 8 days prior.  We put out 70 meters of chain and used 4 floats to keep the chain off the sea floor and above the coral heads.  Even when you do everything right, bad things happen.  We were able to lift 20 meters of chain before the windlass ground to a stop.   Matt slowly maneuvered the boat forward, backward, and sideways while I tried to continue to free the chain.  After about 20 minutes, it gave and continued up.

Tangled Up in Rebar

Another 10 meters and we saw what the problem was.  One of our floats had caught on another float that was attached to two 8’ x 8’ pieces of rebar.  WTF!  The rebar pieces each had several floats attached to them.  What a disaster!

Pulled up rebar while at anchor

Pulled up rebar while at anchor

Matt was able to hack one line away to free one of the 8’x8’ pieces of rebar which promptly floated away.  We hated that it drifted away as it might become a problem for another cruiser, but there was nothing we could do as we were still attached to the 2nd piece.

Rebar mess with image from bathroom escape hatch

Rebar mess with image from bathroom escape hatch

After more boat maneuvering and another 40 minutes, we were finally able to bring the last piece all the way up in order to hack the line and release it.  This piece sunk.  Ugh!  Again a potential problem for another cruiser.  Our anchor still was not coming up so Matt had to do some more maneuvering before I was able to lift it up.  And when she came up, she was slightly bent – out new, stainless steel anchor.

Bent anchor shaft

Bent anchor shaft

It was truly a frightening experience because each time Matt backed down the entire bow, bow sprit, anchor roller, and forestay lurched forward and then popped back.  It felt as if the front of the boat would literally rip off.  Luckily, it was more bark than bite.

Leaving the Hao Pass

Finally, on our way, and 40 minutes behind schedule, we pushed the engines hard to get to the pass as close to slack tide as possible. (See blog from 8 August on slack tide).  The ideal time to exit the pass was 1500, but due to our anchor delay we approached at 1545.  We could see white caps and rough water ahead, but there was an outgoing tide.  We approached the pass with 6 kts of boat speed and by the time we hit the center we were going 12kts (so we had 6kts of current).  It also pulled us from the port side of the pass to the center where the waves were more violent.  But we made it out safely.

Matt at the helm as we exited the Hao Pass

Matt at the helm as we exited the Hao Pass

The trip to Tahiti is starting off rough, but we were finally on our way.  The weather forecasts showed little to no wind, so motoring we go.  Two days later we found just enough wind to hoist our large spinnaker.  She was flying beautifully for several hours until a rogue wave bounced the boat and collapsed the sail just enough to catch the clew on a cleat on our bow peak – rip.  Thank goodness it was only a 3’ tear.  We were able to pull the sail down and repair it with rip stop.  However, by the time we were done, we lost the wind.   It took another 30 hours to get the wind back to fly her again – good as new.

Fishing in the Pacific

We have not had much luck fishing (or trolling) since we came through the Panama Canal (March 2018).  We’ve caught several fish, but none that were edible.  In fact, it has been well over a year since we caught an edible fish.  But that all changed on our route to Tahiti.  We caught a small, but fat tuna!

Tasty Yummy Tuna

Tasty Yummy Tuna

Arriving Pointe Venus After Dark

We managed to time our arrival after dark so we had to change our route from Papeete to Pointe Venus off of Mahina.  Normally, we don’t enter a new anchorage at dark as it just isn’t safe.  However, our research and charts showed this bay to be wide-open, deep and protected from the wind and waves.  We also got feedback from cruisers on our SSB net so we felt comfortable with entering after dark.

Route Details

  • Departed Hao on Wednesday 29 May at 1545
  • Arrived Tahiti on Sunday 2 June at
  • Miles Traveled
  • Max speed
  • Average speed
  • We had two days of no wind and had to motor, but then we had two days of light wind and were actually able to fly the spinnaker.

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!