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)
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
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.
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.
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…
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 .
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.