LETTER from Eivind & Heidi  _______The Pacific Ocean
Smiling marin iguan
Tuna
A bobbie dropped by
17,5 kg Wahoo
Birthday present delivery
Heidi kajakking at Hanemoenoa bay
Eivind and a giant manta
Peder is trying to open a coconut with a hammer
Tahuata
One of the better anchorages ...
Local friends
 
 
 

Antofagasta – Galapagos – French Polynesia

Safely back in Antofagasta after a nice visit on shore to Peru (See pictures from Peru ), it was time for grocery shopping. We did not know when we would find a good assorted shop with reasonable prices. We also had a visit from Lennart, sailing alone on his Swedish boat Cabo de Hornos . He had left the boat in Piriapolis , Uruguay , and took the plane across the Andes .
Lennart and Peder had time to become good friends before he had to return to his boat , and we head for Galapagos. Antofagasta and Valdivia are two enjoyable Chilean cities where we got to know several nice people – hope to be back another time…
2000nm to Galapagos passed in record time. We had good help from the Humboldt current and 10 days passed so quick we hardly got into the long distance rhythm. We were exited when we anchored in Academy Bay outside Ayora, on the island Santa Cruz. Both because of the numerous animals on Galapagos and the early Norwegian settlers who came there in the early 1920´s.
We do not want to be in a hurry before the hurricane season and we would like to spend some time in Tonga . Everybody that we have spoke to who have sailed across the pacific have told us that Tonga is the real pearl in the Pacific. We were pleased with our 10 days at Santa Cruz . The remaining islands have to wait to our next voyage. Stupid some would say, but on a tour like ours you always would like to stay longer at many places. Unfortunately the economy is not strong enough for unlimited time everywhere. (See pictures from Galapagos)
The 3000nm from Galapagos to Marquesas was also a wonderful crossing. Wind between 6 and 12m/s from ESE gave us god speed. The life in the ocean gave us lots of fun. Among the big fishes we managed to get onboard were a skipjack 15,5kg tuna and a 17,5kg wahoo. Unfortunately we do not have fridge onboard. Some of the delicious fish meat had to be thrown back to sea. No we will learn more about fish salting to be able to enjoy more of the big catches.
On our way to Marquesas we caught up with the Swedish boat Don Quijote. They left Galapagos 6 days before us. Unfortunately we came one day to late for the celebration of Inga´s 26. birthday. As the real sailors do we threw a line to Don Quijote while the boats were under sail. Champagne, self produced squid fishhook, fresh bread and pancakes with blueberry were passed over. The pancakes were gone long before Empire was out of sight, according to Don Quijote web site. Our intension was to invite the Don Quijote crew for dinner but it was blowing to much to safely thaw Don Quijote behind us.
French Polynesia consists of five groups of islands. Marquesas is one of the easternmost groups. After 20 days under sail we anchored outside Autona on the island Hiva Oa. From the ocean the Marquesas islands look like they have been covered by a green velvet blanket. A lot of different fruits are grown here, and the islands are as luxuriant as they look.
The neighbor island Tahuata is separated from Hiva Oa by a narrow sound. It is a short sail from Autona to Hanemoenoa Bay on Tahuata, but we really wanted to catch some fish on the way. A barbeque evening on the beach were not to be despised. Blended by the thought of grilled fresh fish and the sight of the beautiful bay with white beach and palms, the Captain forgot to take in the line. It was first when we were to set the anchor firmly in to the sand that we realized that the fish line was very tight… It was an embarrassed Captain who jumped in the water to clean out the fish line from the propeller. The day after we dismantled the folding propeller to be shore that all the fish line was gone. Luckily the simring seemed to be untouched. So far it seems to be tight.
We were four sailboats in the bay. One day s/y Serafin invited on a daytrip. The crew from Australian s/y Yvonne Elisabeth, Swedish s/y Don Quijote and Empire were gathered onboard Serafin for an exploration of the west coast of Tahuata. In the evening Empire invited everybody for the famous Empire Pizza. It was a memorable day. Especially for Eivind who swam with a giant manta for about an hour and dolphins.
We challenged the other boats on a volleyball match on the beach. Only Don Quijote were fit for fight and we decided to play the girls against the boys instead of boat teams. The mates on Don Quijote and Empire are now training hard for the next opportunity to beat the captains…
(See pictured from Marquesas)

Next stop in French Polynesia was the Tuamotu archipelago , consisting of 78 atolls. We dropped the anchor in Kauehi atoll, a average size atoll. The protected ring reef provide flat ocean in the lagoon. Flat ocean is a quite good description, since we hardly could see the motus on the other side of the ring reef. It looked like we were anchored in the middle of the ocean, when looking away from the small village in font of us.
In the village of Kauehi there are 200 people from 0-10 and 25-100 years. The “missing” 10-25 are going to school on one of the bigger atolls. Among the younger ones Peder was a popular little fellow. They use sign language to communicate. One day Peder invited the local children on a dingy ride to Empire. That was probably the climax of the day both for Peder and the other children.
Tiaihai Pearls is run by Tiaihau Tiaihau, who also is in charge of Tiaihai Transport, Tiaihai Magasin and Tiaihai Snack (the kiosk at the airport, only open once a week when the plane arrives). Together with five other boats we went to have a look at and learn more about the pearl farming. We also participated in the work when the nets with oysters were put back to grow in the sea. Later the king of black Pearls Tiaihau came on a trading visit onboard Empire. You should have seen Heidi's eyes when Tiaihau emptied three bags of pearls on the table on his white cloth. Some of the pearls changed hands that day, Tiaihau left with some things that we have no use for…
We also had time for a dive around the corral heads in the atoll. Warm and clear water makes a dive a bit different than at home in Norway . To bad that the fish disease Ciguatera is found within many of these beautiful atolls. It is plenty of fish but not a good idea to hunt them since it is difficult to tell which one who will make us sick.
Before Tahiti and the Society island, as the next groups of islands are called, we wanted to stop at Taou atoll. The anchorage at Amse Amyot is only a gap in the reef and do not open for access into the lagoon. While we came to Amse Amyot it was blowing a lot, and it was several other boats in the small bay. We decided to keep on going to Papeete and Tahiti .
(See pictures from Tuamotu)
On our way to Tahiti there was a Tsunami warning on the VHF. After the earthquake in Peru , 7,9 on Richter's, a wave was expected to hit Marquesas and Tahiti . Out on the ocean a Tsunami wave is not a threat. For the people onshore and for boats close to the cost a Tsunami is not as harmless. Luckily the Tsunami warning was cancelled.
Papeete is an interesting city with about 100 000 inhabitants. The guest quay in the hart of the city is only 2 meters from the main road, the noise is overwhelming for a pour sailor who has been out of reach of city sounds for a long time. Marina Tahina and the anchorage outside was definitely to prefer.
The water around Thaiti, both outside and inside the reef is fabulous. The sight ( at least this time of the year) is endless. Snorkelling in these watersis like putting your head down in an aquarium. After a few days at Marina Tahina with shopping, cleaning and washing we were done with the city life for this time. The island Moorea is only 10nm west of Tahiti and is attempting with its protecting fjords and beautiful anchorages inside the reef. Peder had got his own wetsuit and will hopefully learn how to swim in a few days at Moorea – before we continue to one of the Cook Islands.

Eivind worked as a pearl diver The anchorage at Kauehi Peder traded an m&m for a black pearl
Tiaihai pearl farm A "small" selection of black pearls Kauehi, with Don Quijote in front of Empire
 
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