Tag Archives: taravai

Matt enjoying a morning SUP

Taravai Rest and Recovery

What a difference an anchorage makes, after 5 nights at sea and having disrupted sleep. We anchored in Baie Onemea in Taravai.  This is where we dropped the hook 10 months ago with our friends on Agape and Halcyon.  There was one other boat here when we arrived, but we were too tired to go somewhere else.  So, we anchored far out of the bay to have a better view of the sunset.

We woke to a beautiful, calm, flat, bay that had a light breeze.  So beautiful and perfect. Taravai is just what we needed after this long passage.

Taravai Mornings

Taravai Mornings

We spent 2.5 days in Baie Onemea.  Mostly catching up on sleep and cleaning.  The boat was a disaster both inside and out.  We had a perfect view of the sunset each night and were surprised to see a very big green flash on our first night.  Of course, we didn’t capture it on camera, but you have to believe me!

Matt captured a few shots of the sunset while I took photos of him.

Sunset Photos Taravai

Sunset Photos Taravai

It looks like Cousin It at the helm, but that is me :0

Cousin It watching the sunset

Cousin It watching the sunset

Taravai Village

On Sunday morning we motored the 5-miles over to the “main village” of Taravai.  I put that in quotes because there are 4 families that live on this island. They have a church and nothing else.  No magasin, post office, cars, or roads.  However, one of the families is super generous!  They host a Sunday Funday each week where they provide the main course and the guests bring the apps, salads, sides, desert, and beverages.  There are games, music and good times.  We celebrated Matt, Rachel, and Becca’s birthday here last May.

On the way over it was impossible to miss the absolute beauty of the island.  It is incredibly lush and green.  Dozens of shades of green can be found covering the hills.  The Gambiers had a particularly wet season so everything is thriving spectacularly.

Taravai Hillside

Taravai Hillside

Taravai is synonymous with Valerie and Herve who live in the main village.  They served up BBQ’d goat which Matt said was amazing.  We met lots of new people and ran into some other cruisers we have not seen since we arrived a year ago.  There are 4 main islands and lots of motus that make up the Gambiers.  At this time, there are only 15 boats in the entire archipelago and 10 of them are at this anchorage for the festivities.  We are early in the season so I am sure more boats will be coming soon. Last year when we arrived, there were 35 boats in the Rikitea anchorage alone!

Several boats left the next day.  By Tuesday, it was just Sugar Shack in front of Valerie and Herve’s place.  Nice, all to ourselves again!  Matt took advantage of the calm days and went on a long SUP ride.

Matt enjoying a morning SUP

Matt enjoying a morning SUP

Taravai was just what we needed after this passage.  It gave us the chance to rest and recover and then to reengage with other cruisers.  

Matt on watch during sunset

Passage: Marquesas to Gambiers Part II

We left on a Saturday for our 900-mile passage with the hopes of arriving by Friday.  We had strong winds, big seas, lots of squalls, a few rainbows, a large pod of dolphins and a few birds along the way.  Overall it was a great passage, but there were times, many times, where it just seemed endless!

If you missed Part I of this series, click here to read it.

First 24 Hours of the passage

  • 15 February, departed 11:15am, 797 to destination.  
  • 25-28kts of wind coming N of E
  • 2-2.5-meter seas in short increments making a lumpy ride
  • Avg. Speed 6.4, Max speed 12.6 (surfing down one of these big waves)
  • Travelled 155nm, 642 nm to go

Really choppy sea conditions, making it an uncomfortable ride all day and night.  Good, strong winds during the cloudy day which kept it cool for us while at the helm.  At night we had several squalls with lightening on the horizon (which is frightening). We danced with 2-3 reefs at night depending on the wind conditions.

After a short squall, we were gifted with a pretty rainbow.

Rainbow at sea

Rainbow at sea

Matt at watch just before sunset.  He makes this passage look easy.

Matt on watch during sunset

Matt on watch during sunset

This is a good shot of a rain cloud just over the sunset.

Rain cloud

Rain cloud

Here is a shot of a squall that just missed us – ha ha ha!

Rain cloud on the horizon

Rain cloud on the horizon

48 Hours

  • 16 February, 457 miles to go
  • 25-28kts of wind coming N of E
  • 2-2.4-meter seas in short increments, lumpy ride
  • Avg. speed 6.9, Max sped 12.6 (from day 1)
  • Travelled 340 miles, 185nm sailed in this 24-hour period (WOW)

It was another cloudy and dreary day which brought cool weather.  More squalls all night kept us playing dodge-squall.  We did however have an amazing day covering the miles.  We consider a good or average 24-hour period being 120nm sailed.  That is 5kts an hour which keeps us comfortable and the boat moving.  Today, however, we sailed 185 nm which meant we had maintained a 7.7 speed for a long time.  Of course, our “average speed” above includes the speed from day 1 so it does not reflect our great day today.

Blessed to receive another pretty sunset photo.  Photo doesn’t capture the purple and pink sky, but it was pretty!

Sunset at sea

Sunset at sea

Here is a photo of our radar showing us an upcoming squall. Doesn’t that look like fun to go through?  We actually were able to dodge this squall, but it did bring us some good rain and strong winds.

Radar showing a squall in front of us

Radar showing a squall in front of us

72 hours

  • 17 February, 306 miles to go
  • 25-28kts of wind coming N of E
  • 2-meter seas, starting to calm down, longer increments in between the waves
  • Avg. Speed 6.7, Max Speed 12.6
  • Traveled 488 nm, 148nm sailed in this 24-hour period

Sunshine in between the squalls today.  Bright and cheery.  Winds slowed down in late afternoon and evening making it a lot more comfortable.  Funny how you get addicted to the speed.  When you slow down your desire to get there faster outweighs the uncomfortable ride. 

96 hours

  • 18 February, 173nm miles to go
  • 18-22kts of wind coming N of E but winds are starting to shift more E
  • 1.5-2-meter seas, longer increments (9-10 seconds), little calmer, nicer ride
  • Avg speed 6.5, Max speed 12.6
  • Traveled 623nm, 135nm sailed in this 24-hour period

Sunny day, bright and cheery.  A few squalls at night bringing rain, early morning got a double rainbow

A beautiful double rainbow appeared just after sunrise.

Wowza, double rainbow

Wowza, double rainbow

120 hours

  • 19 February, 25nm miles to go
  • 13-15kts of wind mostly E, we lost the Northerly aspect which is frustrating.
  • 1 meter seas in 9-10 second increments, nice and a lot more comfy
  • Avg. speed 6.4, Max speed 12.6
  • Traveled 773, 150nm sailed in this 24-hour period

Wind shifted to East and East of South which makes us point almost into the wind at a 35-38 degree angle, which is really hard to sail. Most boats can point at 50-60 angle, but our stellar boat can do better.  Its’ just not terribly comfortable sail.  On starboard we can do 30-32, but our current port tack is better at 38-45.

This photo is our wind instrument which shows us the angle/direction of the wind (just barely before the 30), the wind speed “13.0” and our boat speed 6.3.  It also has “—” for depth as it is too deep to measure. Our depth gauge stops reading after 100 meters.

Raymarine Wind Instrument

Raymarine Wind Instrument

124.5 hours

  • 16 February, arrived 1545
  • 8-12kts of wind coming E of S making it incredibly difficult to sail.
  • 1-meter seas
  • Avg. speed 6.4, Max speed 12.6

Had to motor sail most the last 8 hours because the wind was not cooperating and came south of east.   It was such a relief to see land.  The island to the left is Mangareva (main island) and the island to the right is Taravai (where we are headed).

Land a ho!

Land a ho!

Entered the NW pass with no current or swell.  Nice, easy, calm, and wide entrance.  Followed our path from a previous trip here.  6kts of wind speed coming south of east. 

Photo of Taravai as we head toward the pass

Taravai approach

Taravai approach

Photo of Mangareva as we head toward the pass (you can see Mount Duff which we hiked last year).

Mangareva, the main island

Mangareva, the main island

Heading to Baie Onemea (where we anchored with Halcyon and Agape last time we were here).

Total Passage Data

  • Average overall speed 6.4
  • Max Speed 12.6
  • Trip distance 800.2nm
  • Total miles sailed 838.9 (up and down waves, through water)
  • Total miles from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas to Taravai, Gambiers = 969nm
  • Time in Total 124.53 hours

And we rest after a yummy pork chop dinner, cold beer, and admire the sunset

Sunset at Taravai

Sunset at Taravai

What do our gauges tell us on a passage?

Sugar Shack has a lot of amazing technology on board.  It keeps track of everything from current weather conditions, direction of the vessel, auto pilot, and more.

Our B&G chart plotter is what I reference most.  It has many screens, but the two I use are this page and the radar page.  This overview gives you all the data you need to know.  Wind speed (true and apparent), wind direction (true and apparent), boat speed, course, longitude, latitude, steering, and VMG (velocity made good).  Along with lots of other important data.

B&G Chart plotter

B&G Chart plotter

Raymarine wind instruments are located outside in the cock pit (one on port and one on starboard).  They show us a visual of the wind direction, wind speed, boat speed and depth.

Raymarine Wind Instrument

Raymarine Wind Instrument

Raymarine auto pilot head instruments are located outside at the helms (one on port and one on starboard).  They provide a lot of useful information in addition to controlling “auto.”  You can set each square to display the information you want, but we have them set to display AWS (apparent wind speed), depth, SOG (speed over ground), DTW (distance to waypoint), COG (course over ground), and AWA (apparent wind angle).  With autopilot we can set it to “wind vane” where it holds the approximate course but based on the wind angle.  You can plus or minus in increments of  “1” or “10” to change your direction.

Raymarine Auto Pilot

Raymarine Auto Pilot

At the Navigation Station Inside

Inside we have another Raymarine auto pilot set to display different setings.  TWS (true wind speed), AWS (apparent wind speed), SOG (speed over ground), DTW (distance to waypoint), XRE (cross track) and Heading.

Raymarine Auto Pilot Nav Station

Raymarine Auto Pilot Nav Station

VesperMarine is our radar display which shows us what is coming within a 24nm radius.  We can set alarms that beep at us if anything comes within a certain radius (like another boat or squalls).

Vesper Marine Radar

Vesper Marine Radar

We use Navionics on every passage which is on the iPad and shows a map of where we are, where we are going, our boat speed, and approximate arrival date/time to either the waypoint or the final destination.  This photo was taken on day 4.

iPad showing Navionics

iPad showing Navionics

We use Open CPN on Matt’s computer.  I could not possibly tell you all that it does, but it is invaluable to us.  We can overlay our course over maps which show us areas to avoid (bommies, reefs), depths, other vessels (their distance to us, direction, size), etc…

Computer using Open CPN

Computer using Open CPN

We use everything we can to insure a safe passage.  It is a blessing that our boat is so well equipped with top of the line technology to get us safe.

Baie Onemea Anchorage off Taravai

What a Bay: Baie Onemea

We found a true paradise on the northern tip just off of Totegegie.  A consistent, soft, cool breeze, crystal clear blue waters, abundant fish, and deserted islands.  But it was time to leave.  Matt and I needed to position the boat for a “jump off” point to Hao which meant we had to leave.  We could have gone to a number of bays, but we decided to go to a very isolated bay called Baie Onemea located on the western side of Taravai.

Lucky for us, this was a bay that everyone wanted to see so our friends on Agape and Halcyon followed us over.  It was an easy journey as we followed our old tracks from Totegegie to Mangareva.  From there, we followed the Navionics chart and tracks from a boat called Pitufa which were remarkably accurate.

A beautiful manta ray swam by Sugar Shack as if to say “come, I’ll lead the way.” I wish the photos came out better.

Manta Rays swimming by Sugar Shack

Manta Rays swimming by Sugar Shack

Baie Onemea Anchorage

This is an exquisite bay!  It has two beautiful beaches with golden and reddish sand, a shallow reef with ample fish to entertain the curious human, and lush, green hillsides.

Baie Onemea Anchorage off Taravai

Baie Onemea Anchorage off Taravai

We spent several lazy days exploring what Mother Nature created here in Baie Onemea.  Lots of snorkeling, paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, coconut hunting, and boat yoga.

One day, Matt, Wilky, and I took our dinghy to the other side of the island to find Valerie and Herve.  We had hoped to get some fresh fruits and veggies for our upcoming passage.  However, they were not on island so we visited Marcel whose house sits down island.

We were able to procure 24 pomplemouse, a dozen oranges, a stalk of bananas, and two handfuls of lemons.  Not a bad score.  I found this beautiful, out of commission glass buoy (mooring).   They used to wrap them with line and use them to mark traps and pearl farms.  They’ve resorted to plastic now which is unfortunate.

Marcel's old fashion mooring

Baie Onemea Anchorage off Taravai

On The way back, we passed by Agakauitai which is guarded by a giant gorrilla MOAI.  It is said that he also guards the remains of several kings.  As you can see from the photos below, the coral reef is very shallow but it creates a breathtaking view from the dinghy.

Angakauitai with a large Gorilla MOAI

Angakauitai with a large Gorilla MOAI

Such a magical place.  It made it all the much sweeter sharing it with good friends.

Baie Onemea anchorage in all its beauty

Baie Onemea anchorage in all its beauty

Sugar Shack “See you Soon” Party

Parting is always difficult, but we are positive we will see our friends on Agape and Halcyon in a few months.  Whether it be in the Society or Tuamotu islands we don’t know.  I look forward to that day!

We had our “see you soon” dinner on Sugar Shack where John and Rachel captured some fun photos.  Top: me, Becca, Rianna (Rachel’s sister who was visiting, and Rachel.  Middle right: Josh, Rachel, Wilky, Rianna.  Bottom right: Andrew, Becca, John.

Sugar Shack's Going Away Celebration with Agape and Halcyon

Sugar Shack’s Going Away Celebration with Agape and Halcyon

Me and my sweetie!

Sugar Shack’s Going Away Celebration with Agape and Halcyon

The boys (Josh and Wilky) being silly

Love the wimsical side of these guys!

Love the wimsical side of these guys!