Marathon to the Marquesas May 27 2007
We are completing our final errands before leaving the Galapagos; Chris wants a haircut, we await a mail drop, laundry, purchase fresh fruits and veggies, a bit of meat, last updates via internet and some nice strolls along the streets of Wreck Bay, San Cristobal Island. Additionally, we needed to officially check out for Barefeet and ourselves. The zarpe for Barefeet was from the Port Captain...okay, one more baseball cap for our collection...it seems the two purchased when we checked-in were of a different style...and now we have the complete set ($10 each). Immigration at the police station for our passports and officialdom is now complete. We have really come to enjoy this place - maybe it's the wonderful people or the pleasant climate or the myriad of critters...but it is a special place for us. One last spin around the anchorage in the kayak to say "hello" to fellow cruisers that we expect to meet further along the way...including s/v Sifar (Geoff and Merel). Serai suggested we meet them because they thought we would all get on great...they were right. Unfortunately, it was just for an afternoon chat since Sifar will leave at 3am tomorrow for Isabella before leaving for the Marquesas...sundowners postponed until later. Crazy to find out that s/v Sifar headed out from the Chesapeake about the same time we did and then to the Bahamas, too bad we did not meet during our overlap in Georgetown...oh well. Their ultimate destination is Australia. A little more kayaking for some final up close views of sea lions, blue footed boobies and pelicans...just never gets old.
5/4 and we are ready to go...stalk of bananas and all (quite the bargain at $5...but very heavy for pack mule Chris). Pulling up the anchor was a bit more white knuckle than desired due to 25 knots of wind in the full anchorage with 150 feet of chain...if only the wind would continue beyond the island. Off we went to begin the 3000 mile passage to the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia...the islands will be a nice reward for the distance but what a distance...20-30 days at sea. Sure enough the wind almost disappeared just off the land...we motored. Motoring is quite the calculation at this point because we do not have enough diesel for even one-third of the trip...plus, some diesel will be needed to run the generator for topping up the batteries (beyond what the solar panels can do). Cruisers that have left ahead of us say that motoring for the first 1-3 days is necessary until you get far enough south to get some wind...then it should be a sail the rest of the way. That is our plan and was confirmed with Commander's Weather.
At the beginning of the passage we start out pretty wound up and excited before we settle into the rhythm of the trip. Just out of the gate we tried several different sail plans; reefed main and jib, main and screecher and main and spinnaker (only sailing up to 3 knots) but finally admitted that motoring was the only option (moving ahead with only port engine...6 knots). The anchor bridle got pretty slimy for the short time it was in the rich Galapagos waters...so we dragged it behind the boat in an attempt to clean it. It sort of worked...but soaking in a bucket of bleach water finished the job. After a lasagna dinner we were treated to an amazing dolphin show. It was much like when we left Las Perlas except the dolphins seemed larger...averaging 5-6 feet. Amazing! The toughest part of night watches for Erin is the first shift (7-10pm) after sunset but before the moon rises...it is soooo very black...as if a blanket has been draped over the boat. There is absolutely no sea to horizon line and sounds take on a new dimension because for a time they are all that you can go on...except for the radar. Quite spooky. Oh, and whales sleep on the surface of the ocean...hit one of those and yikes...who knows what happens next?! Several boats have seen whales ahead of us so they are a real possibility. (approx 125 miles made good today)
Day 2 (5/5) was another light wind day and despite trying wing on wing sails...boat speed only got to 2 knots...on went the port engine again. We started the day with breakfast burritos and ended with steak/peas/potatoes...with some laundry done in between. It was a cold, wet night...no rain but very damp. We actually had fleece and foul weather jackets on during night watch shifts. How do the hours of the day march on for us?! One of the ways time is marked for us each day is through net check-ins on the SSB radio. We actively participate in the net gatherings on 8134 USB; 1330 zulu, 1600 zulu and 2300 zulu. Zulu time is used so that everyone along the 3000 miles is synchronized...we will change our clocks three times on this passage as we cross time zones...zulu stays constant because it is based solely on the movement of the stars (even more constant than Greenwich mean time). (approx 125 miles made good today)
Day 3 (5/6) the wind slowly increased and finally reached 15 knots which made it possible to sail at 7-8 knots. A quick word here about provisioning; grocery lists have become a bit different than at home because specific items are not always available. Therefore, instead of listing specific items such as pretzels or dried apricots something more vague is needed...like "snacks." The best snack option to be found in the Galapagos were plantain chips...they look like large bananas but taste like potatoes (don't forget...they can only be eaten if cooked first) and in the chip form they taste much like potato chips...and stay fresh longer than most crackers, etc. We bought a couple of bags for a quick treat and have not been disappointed (speak for yourself Erin ... I think they are kind of nasty). This afternoon we heard from s/v Sifar (Geoff and Merel) on the VHF after their departure from Isabella and it certainly makes the ocean seem smaller to have familiar voices nearby. However, overall, today was a bit slow...reading, napping, some knife sharpening (no, no - nothing like that...just a little maintenance) and capped by the late afternoon sun glittering on the lapis blue ocean...and crostini for dinner (making the most of our fresh tomatoes)...and bringing back fond memories of Fall afternoons spent at 42 Cliff. Now that we have our sea legs under us the meals are a real highlight of the day...and markers of the passing hours. (approx 154 miles made good today)
Day 4 (5/7) was a clear morning and provided a visual on s/v Sifar...too bad the radar missed them. It must have been the lumpy seas...which also explains the pitching boat and slamming boom as the sails fill and empty with each wave pattern...and cause more than desired chaffing on lines (snapping the first reef of the main - aagghh). Spinnaker went up for the day and we made 7-8 knots. Every knot of speed counts on this passage...4 knots means 100 miles per day, 5 knots means 125 miles per day, 6 knots means 150 miles per day and so on. When do you predict we will make landfall? Lunch was a chili and cream cheese dip with tortilla chips followed by lasagna with cucumber salad for dinner. The cucumber salad is fresh and simple...slice 1-2 cucumbers and place them in the fridge soaking in the following; dissolve 1 Tablespoon sugar into 1 cup boiling water then add 1/2 cup vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. An evening check-in with s/v Sifar followed by a beautiful apricot sky as the sun was setting...and we are ready for another night. (approx 151 miles made good today)
Day 5 (5/8) we put out a second fishing line...we are serious about this fresh fish thing...if only the fish were aware of it, too. It was a day with pale blue skies above the deep blue ocean - really spectacular with blue as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, the wind was less than inspiring and we spent 3/4 of the day going 2.5 knots...painfully slow. However, a bit of excitement occurred at 3am (when else do things happen for us) when Erin heard a strange cry behind the boat. With flashlight in hand and harness attached she found a bird was caught in the fishing line...yes, a bird. It looked like a small albatross with webbed feet and a bill rather than a beak. Chris got woken up and together we worked on the bird; Chris held him with gloved hands (seems he did not appreciate our help and showed his displeasure with snaps and pecks)...Chris said it felt like holding fragile egg shells (hallow wings allow long distance flight) and Erin untangled the wings of the fishing line. When finished both wings seemed working when he flew away so hopefully he is okay. (approx 104 miles made good today)
Day 6 (5/9) started with granola, yogurt (made by Chris) and bananas. The wind picked up and seas flattened a bit which made for a pleasant ride. So pleasant that we watched a movie after a dinner of lasagna with an avocado and orange salad (thanks for the movies Lindy, Kevin, Paulina and Gemma). Our friends out in front s/v Serai and s/v Sifar have given us the heads up about potential rain and squalls...so down came the full enclosure and we battened down the hatches as well as double reefed the main and flew the small jib. Good prep made for a quiet night without drama...although wind speeds did get up to 35 knots. (approx 171 miles made good)
Day 7 (5/10) began with banana pancakes and a full rainbow out in front of us. The chaffing issue on the main is still plaguing us and has snapped the second reefing line...since the problem had already been identified this was more easily remedied but we will keep the main down until the seas calm and eliminate the smashing back and forth of the main. Good wind today at 13 knots with 6-7 knots boat speed. We ended the day with a dinner of hamburger patty, greek salad and scalloped onions before moving our clocks back one hour (our first of two time changes). The scalloped onions were an attempt to save almost gone onions into something edible...Joy of Cooking to the rescue...peel, slice and poach 6 large onions (any type) in milk then drain well; preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 4 slices of buttered toast in the bottom of a buttered baking dish; arrange drained onions on top of toast; sprinkle 1/2 cup American cheese on top of onions; beat together 1 egg, 1 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon Paprika (I also added some sage) and pour over the onions; dot with butter and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly...definitely worth a repeat performance. One blip on the radar screen tonight (yes, at 3am) at ten miles away during Erin's shift. Not until Chris's shift did it pass within one mile...guess the guy likes togetherness. Chris had hailed him on the VHF but he seemed a bit sleepy. When Chris asked, "Do you see me?" he answered, "Yes." Next question..."Do you want me to pass in front or behind you?" he answered, "Yes." Hhhhmmm but all was fine. (approx 152 miles made good today)
Day 8 (5/11) the banana situation is getting serious as the bananas are ripening at an alarming rate! And all at almost the same instant. We have been adding them to all we can think of; pancakes, cereal, bread as well as eating them regularly as snacks but it is just not fast enough. Banana bread was made by Erin today and will likely become a staple for several days and several more loaves. Today the air temperature is markedly warmer and drier. We toasted passing the 1000 mile mark after a dinner of bean, cheese and cilantro (last of the fresh herb) quesadillas. We still have a helpful current and have had the spinnaker up all day...clipping along at a healthy 6-7 knots in 10-12 knots of wind...and all night, too. This is somewhat of a gamble (flying the spinnaker at night) because if the wind pipes up the spinnaker is pretty squirrelly to get down and requires work on the deck...luckily that did not happen and we kept making good mileage throughout the night. And what a night it was...a real star extravaganza. Our current equatorial location is second to none for star gazing, according to H.A. Rey in The Stars - A New Way to See Them. We are fortunate that with the poles on or near the horizon, all the constellations can be seen here at one time or another...length of night varies little here and no midnight sun will ever interfere with observations. We have spotted the Southern Cross, Scorpion, Centaur, Antares and the usual Northern hemisphere dippers, and North star. A fun, new discovery has been the star "Gemma"...part of the Northern Crown...small but graceful, says H.A. Rey. The Northern Crown looks like a tiara with Gemma the crown jewel in the middle of the bow. The Big Dipper's handle points toward Gemma, beyond the Herdsman's head. Check it out Gem!! (approx 142 miles made good today)
Day 9 (5/12) the spinnaker is still going strong and keeping us moving at a solid 6-7 knots. Banana bread for breakfast and spaghetti with feta for dinner...and an episode of "24" in the afternoon. Erin forced a nap back into her daytime routine after a tough night last night staying awake without resting during the day...it seems two three hour "sleep shifts" are just not enough. A small but scary hitchhiker found his way onto the fishing line...a man-o-war jellyfish. Although this is a very small version they should never be taken lightly because their sting is terrifyingly painful...and possible even after they die. The two fishing lines were pulled in before sunset...and those crafty, %$#@^&* fish stole a cedar plug off one line and a hook and half a squid skirt off of the other line (it's 80 lb test...not sewing thread). Yikes! Okay, the gloves are coming off and tomorrow we mean business! Again we left the spinnaker up for the night as we try to eek out as many miles as possible before the wind is expected to drop considerably for the next 48-ish hours. Calm night without any spinnaker issues or fishing boat sightings. (approx 143 miles made good today)
Day 10 (5/13) started with our fishing line being pulled nearly all the way out...then another lure snatched...hhhmmm...maybe these lures are attracting fish that are too big?! Quickly re-rigged and the line was back in the water. Banana bread and cereal for breakfast followed by a day of clear skies with wind at 10-12 knots apparent (5-7 knots boat speed). We heard from s/v Serai and they are talking about doing a dive trip in the Tuamotos (are we interested? you bet!)...sounds good...but clearly they are getting closer to land as they are contemplating activities...lucky ducks! Holy cow - we got something on the line!! AND we reeled it all the way in and brought it aboard...a female mahi mahi/dorado/dolphin (whatever name you call it). Pretty nice specimen, too, and now Barefeet is on the scoreboard; fish 5 and Barefeet 1. Dinner was catch of the day in a butter/olive oil/Santa Maria seasoning mix with rice, avocado/orange salad and of course Chris's fresh bread. Spinnaker again stayed up all night and kept speed at 5-7 knots. (approx 129 miles made good today)
Day 11 (5/14) the air temperature continues to get warmer but is still, happily, on the dry side. Dropped eggs on fresh Chris bread was a good start to the day. We spent the day reading, cleaning, watching another episode of "24," making banana bread (no.2) and drying out bilges. Then whizzzzzzz the fishing line went crazy! Chris ran over and removed it from the rod holder, tightened the drag and still the line flew out. Yikes! A bit worried about what might come next Chris (Chris- don't laugh - you would be scared too if the line is whirring out like a buzz saw - the rod is bent in half in danger of breaking, and you can see the line is going to run out and you are wondering what will happen when it does .... ) put the rod back in the rod holder and whizzzzzz...wabam...the rod, reel and rod holder tore off the stanchion they were bolted to and flew into the ocean...seems the fish have upped the ante on this fishing game. No fun to lose the equipment but much better than Chris being yanked into the water. Plus, Erin was not excited to carve up what must have been an antelope! Good heavens...what keeps hitting our line?! Oh well, now it is just the hand line. Checked in with s/v Sifar and all is well...both of us are clipping along and comparing wind speeds, wave patterns and menus of the day. Dinner for us was lasagna and cucumber salad followed by a quiet sundowner. (approx 143 miles made good today)
Day 12 (5/15) began with a bit more work than expected...and early, too. The spinnaker chafed through and needed to be reset/rerigged...at 6:30am...Erin a bit bleary eyed after a shortening of her sleep shift but we got to it and started making the needed modifications. Of course, there is no silver bullet answer so it is trial and error...first, chafing the furling gear for the screecher, then hitting into the screecher with its own sail, then it burst its "soft" (nylon) shackle and had to be re-tied...ultimately...on a bridle. The bridle is working well but the spinnaker is supposed to be on the bowsprit...improvisation is the only solution. That took 1.5 hours and when we came inside again we heard a new noise (never good). Seems one of the fresh water tanks was draining at a rapid rate (one-half of the tank emptied) into the bilge due to some burst fitting...treasure hunt to find that fitting (bathroom sink), repair it, dry the bilge and keep checking to be sure the culprit had actually been found. Phew - okay, now for the morning cup of coffee! Erin volunteered to be the Marquesas net controller today (8134 USB at 1600 zulu)...not too complicated just a time for folks heading to the Marquesas to check in with their position, wind speed/direction and miles to go as well as any other news or comments...nice way to look out for each other. There are approx two dozen boats checking in...once they arrive at the islands they drop off and new ones are always being added...definitely a constant flow this time of year. Okay, structure is done and now it is time to celebrate passing the half way point (1500 miles)!! We blew the air horn, rang bells and had a feast...hamburg and jalapeno pizza with coconut custard pie (a la Grandma Huntley) for dessert...and a sundowner or two...tunes cranking and chili lights sparkling!! We were wing on wing with spinnaker and jib with calm seas and mellow winds...party on! (approx 115 miles made good today)
Day 13 (5/16) began with very little wind (thank heavens for the current that gave us almost 1.5 knots of speed) and boat speed was 3 knots. Today was leftovers for meals and keeping tabs on the water leak...looks solved. It was a slow day but we did change our clocks for the second time and finally tossed the last of the bananas overboard...just could not eat all of them. We have been reading a lot and both just finished Typee by Herman Melville (thanks Mike). It is a tale of 23-year old Herman Melville who jumped a whaling ship in 1842...chronicling the geography, people and customs of the islands before Western influence...a wonderfully descriptive "must read." We also really enjoyed The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen (thanks Smith ladies)...fascinating story about the World's Fair in Chicago and the many luminaries who crossed paths there; Walt Disney, Frank Lloyd Wright, Olmstead, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill, Susan B. Anthony and sooo many more. It is definitely worth a read. One radar blip of a distant ship tonight and winds did increase to get boat speed back to 6-7 knots. (approx 145 miles made good today)
Day 14 (5/17) had good wind at 15-18 knots apparent and boat speed at 6-7 knots but the seas ore lumpy so the wind is periodically dumped from the sails and refilled. Where in the world are the waves coming from...we are at the furthest point from land on the planet...seems strange but definitely wobbly (like being in a washing machine) and our sea legs are being tested. Breakfast of banana bread and cereal then onto some boat projects; top up coolant in both engines, mold patrol with a bucket of water and bleach and check fluid levels in the generator. Chris made a great chicken and veggie curry for dinner that will also provide leftovers for a day or two. Solid wind so we changed from the spinnaker to the screecher at twilight...no need for drama in the black of night on a bumpy sea. (approx 162 miles made good today)
Day 15 (5/18) and we still have the lumpy seas...at least that means we also have wind (15-18 knots)...using the screecher and a double reefed main for 6-7 knots boat speed. Boredom is beginning to set in but an episode of "24" helped to break up the day. A common perch during the day is in the nav seat...much like a bench seat of an automobile. We both fit nicely and have a bird's eye view of the blue ocean ahead as well as the chart plotter with all of its data...but it still carries an eau de lobo (Spanish for sea lion)...I guess it will be a memory made clear for awhile more. Our most common sail dance is swapping between the screecher and the spinnaker as winds increase and decrease. And despite numerous sail dances...issues can still arise. This afternoon as the screecher was replaced with the spinnaker Erin got some dazzling rope burns...so much for hands like rose petals. It took several hours for the sting to go away and now looks similar to if you grabbed a hot skillet handle and quickly let go...no broken skin but blisters are evident. Bugger! On a happier note - we dropped into the three digits (sub-1000 miles) to go to the Marquesas...yippee!! (approx 141 miles made good today)
Day 16 (5/19) began with an egg, cheese, tomato and green chili strata...sure fire cure for the boredom that hovers around us. We have lost our favorable current but continue along at 5-6 knots due to solid winds...but those will likely lessen dramatically by tomorrow so we will make mileage while we can. We are always looking around at ropes and sails to see what might be showing signs of wear and chafe...unfortunately, the top of the spinnaker has torn. Down it comes until we can investigate it tomorrow and up goes the screecher. The screecher is okay but in the light winds we have been having the spinnaker provides an extra 1-1.5 knots. Leftovers for dinner and a quiet night...but gosh were the seas lumpy and loud...tough to sleep. (approx 120 miles made good today)
Day 17 (5/20) began with more egg strata and cereal, the usual net check-ins and coffee. Now it is onto the spinnaker. It seems that the tear is confined to burned out stitching by UV...equatorial sun packs a punch. We pulled it back to the cockpit and used sail tape to secure the ripped pieces and sewed on top of that. Looks good and we are glad to get the workhorse back into commission. It was a slow day...and echoed on the nets...some cruisers traveling at a mere 2 knots boat speed...at least the seas are smoother to compensate. Dinner was hamburger, peas and potatoes...capped off by our now routine sundowner of a glass of wine and a Twix candy bar (we split it - one cookie each). Out of nowhere Chris makes the crazy comment, "Chocolate does not go with wine." Crazy talk according to Erin. The port engine is on low revs and the spinnaker is up as we try to keep forward progress throughout the night. (approx 116 miles made good today)
Day 18 (5/21) started with dropped eggs on Chris toast...always a comfort food for us. We turned the starboard engine on today due to a slow 7 knots wind speed...at least it has smoothed out the sea. We did some laundry, reading and napping. It continues to get warmer each day which encourages us to stay in the shade and makes "shower day" (every other day) a real highlight. Today is shower day...could you guess?! As you know we are down to a hand line for fishing and today, late afternoon we hooked a tuna! Beautiful fish and nice, manageable size. We got him pulled beside the boat but he wriggled away at the last moment...darn...but at least we know that the hand line works. We got an email from s/v Serai (Jason and Emily) - they have arrived in Fatu Hiva after a 25 day passage - kudos guys!! We hope they will still be there when we arrive...in...4-5 days (fingers crossed and rabbit's foot rubbed). Dinner was grilled lamb in a spicy marinade (1/2 cup olive oil; 1/4 cup lemon juice; 1 T sugar; 1/2 cup hot sauce or chili paste; 1 T each powdered ginger, cumin, turmeric and mustard; 2 T sage; 8 cloves chopped garlic) with peas and potatoes...very flavorful and delicious. One engine stayed on all night because we just could not stomach 2 knots boat speed....aagghh.
Day 19 (5/22) and two dolphin ushered in the day as they swam alongside in the light of the rising sun. This was again a very slow day...the nets confirmed that ahead, behind and beside there is no wind. Several boats have had 45, 60 or 70 mile days...kinda makes the arrival date a bit of a rolling 5 day target. At least the seas are smooth. The wind swung around enough, light though it was, and we were desperate enough for speed that we did several sail changes before noon...combinations of main, screecher and spinnaker. While on deck with the main up and banging (from the newly bumpy seas)..."ping"...and something metal flew off the main, bounced on the deck and promptly went plunk into the ocean. That will be interesting to track down and replace in the future...hhhmmmm. We finally settled on flying just the spinnaker. We keep about 3/3.5 knots boat speed in 7 knots of wind. We had leftovers for dinner and, now, find ourselves screaming along at 4.5 knots...perspective is everything. We got on the VHF at sunset to see if any cruisers are in the vicinity...seems possible after hearing net check-ins today. We got a response from s/v Northern Winds (Bob and Kim). Coincidentally we overlapped at Shelter Bay in Colon, Panama. We will keep an eye out for each other tonight. (approx 105 miles made good today)
Day 20 (5/23) started at 3am (when everything happens). The spinnaker decided it had worked hard enough and let go just below the halyard...and promptly settled under the boat. It was done quietly and not immediately noticed. When we got it up on deck (clew and tack were still attached) it was shredded (possibly from the reef of gooseneck barnacles that have taken up residence on the hull). We got the spinnaker stowed, screecher pulled out and we were back in business...albeit 1.5 knots slower than with the spinnaker. Closer investigation looks like the spinnaker may not be repairable...too bad but gosh did it do us well on the passage! We are now wing on wing with screecher and jib in 12-14 knots wind (5 knots boat speed). A bit scraggly from the busy morning but Erin was again net controller this morning (so much easier the second time around). Everyone is bobbing along and lamenting the 3-day rolling target of an arrival. As the day progressed the wind moved all over the place...and we moved the sails accordingly...it was an exhausting day with multiple sail changes. Dinner was spaghetti with artichoke and feta. Evening clouds kept the radar busy during a slow 7 knot wind night...but boring is okay by us. (approx 113 miles made good today)
Day 21 (5/24) morning broke to a sunny day but still light winds. We watched another episode of 24 and replenished some stores; Chris made a loaf of bread, Erin made salad dressing and Barefeet topped up the batteries. S/v Sifar made landfall today and boy did they sound excited...kudos! More reading and napping finished by spaghetti with artichoke and feta...and a salad of avacado and mandarin orange (yes, into the cans now). We can smell the barn and are really excited to arrive...tick tock, tick tock. Pulled in the hand line at twilight and drat if we did not lose another lure...jeepers...we tried to keep such a close eye on it. (approx 90 miles made good today)
Day 22 (5/25) was another slow day...3-3.5 knots boat speed in 8-10 knots wind. We are so bored at the moment that we can taste it. Just some cleaning, reading and napping. Pizza for dinner and our last Twix at sunset. The night was more of the same in both boat and wind speed. The night "sleep" shifts can become a bit disorienting because the focus is to move Barefeet forward. Erin wakes from time to time madly looking for the chart plotter before realizing that she is in fact horizontal and trying to rest...the brain is on a single focus at the moment. As for Chris, he sets an alarm while on watch but that has gone on the blink...first noticed when the radar alarm woke him...disorienting to say the least.
Day 23 (5/26) started with a Mexican breakfast pizza. Erin was in charge of toppings so it was a bit of a cheese bomb. We then settled into more reading and napping...tough to be motivated at this point. We finished the first season of 24 (one per day...mostly) and can now move onto another series. The afternoon net was a little funny because there are four or five of us really close but not yet into the anchorage...three cruisers made landfall two days ago and we are all a bit jealous. We chat and swap positions but we all sound like basset hounds look...droopy! Dinner was a meze of cheese, crackers, dolmades and olives. Since we finished the Twix Erin decided to keep the sweets going and made rice pudding...with enough for tomorrow, too. Boat speed during the night was 3-4 knots with 10-15 knots of wind...but increased a bit so that boat speed was closer to 5 knots.
Day 24 (5/27) and Fatu Hiva is in view! Holy cow - it really is a beautiful sight (and not just because we have spent 24 days anticipating it)...lush green blankets of palm and other trees covering steep, jagged hillsides with black volcanic rock underneath. The smell of wet earth and a light fragrance of flowers with roosters crowing ashore is almost too much to believe. Water is clear and blue and warm. Put the hook down in 70 feet of water in Hanavave Bay (Bay of Virgins) and then dashed over to s/v Sifar (Geoff and Merel) for a welcome breakfast...pancakes, scones, juice and coffee...awesome! Congratulations to Paulina for guessing our arrival time...a bucket of sea water is her prize!
Later we went on a hike to a nearby 200 ft waterfall with s/v Sifar and s/v Adaggio (Dmitri and Mary). Our legs were willing but our directional ability was lacking...got lost twice. Finally found it...beautiful...with a picnic lunch following a swim in the fresh water pools. Oh, and that little something you feel on your legs...no worries...just big shrimps joining you for the swim. Back on Barefeet we readied for sundowners with Geoff and Merel and our cruising mates of the final few days of the passage s/v Northern Winds (Bob and Kim). Fun evening with wine, chili lights and hot, bubbling dip of beef/cream cheese/Rotel tomatoes with chilis and cheddar cheese. It is great to be here and have so many friendly faces welcoming us.