Notes on our passage to the Marquesas.
Too damn long! I’ve read sailing logs about couples that slow their boat down when they get close to land because they have gotten in such a groove that they don’t want their pleasant little routine to end. Not us, we were dreaming about baguettes by the middle of the trip and it only went down hill from there. We had multiple evenings of “what restaurant would you be eating at, and what would you order, if you could be there now.” Dreaming about food was a definite pastime. Mind you, we eat well on passages, very well, but you dream about the things you can’t possibly make: ice cream, artesian bread, donuts. Not to mention Five Guys, we all missed great burgers.
Our trip started slow, very slow. For the first 12 days we didn’t see winds bigger than 9 knots and even those days were few. We praised our spinnaker daily to squeeze a few knots out of the wind. We motored when we could, we sailed slowly and we bobbed for a few days not making much more speed than the current was taking us. We had several swim calls, taking advantage of the flat seas to swim off the boat, take the kayaks out and burn off some energy. I’m a little nervous swimming when the closest land is several miles below you, but my kids are all fearless. The boys swam around the boat when all the sails were flying, trying to keep up with the 2 knot speed. Ana cannon balled off the stern everyone had a good time cooling off in the cobalt, crystal clear, mid ocean water. These were silver lining moments in a series of otherwise slow days.
On Day 12 our luck changed and the trades finally made their presence. While we loved the speed of 160 knot days, we missed the idle days of the boat not jostling around. Instead we balanced, held on and watched the miles click by. On day 17 we celebrated Porters Birthday afloat. Not the most exciting of days, but we saved some of his favorite foods: smoothies, bacon and pancakes for breakfast, lasagna for dinner with some frozen stashed ricotta cheese and finally peach crisp with canned peaches and UHT cream. We had schools of Dolphins check us out and seabirds trail in our wake, but otherwise our wildlife sightings were confined to the gecko we had as a stowaway on board and would show himself every few days. He’s still with us and we aren’t totally sure what to do with him.
The wind died down again after a good 5-6 day run and we were back to downwind sailing, with our head sail poled out and a preventer on the main, sailing wing and wing, trying to get every half knot of speed we could coax from the sails. Down wind isn’t the fastest point of sail, and the boat rocks a lot more, so it isn’t our favorite, but at least we didn’t have to motor. These were slow days, but we practiced our French, had epic conversations about everything under the sun and spent endless hours watching the nightly star show.
With less than 500 miles to go we got the wind back and we had some nice sailing with 15-20 knot of wind, our comfort zone. Just to make it interesting we had three squalls the last night out and while we were racing along at 10 plus knots we were dreaming of a good night’s sleep and a flat anchorage.
It was definitely not a fast passage and after 24 days at sea we were so happy to see those lofty peaks of Hiva Oa. We had a few medical setbacks during the passage, but all in all it was another successful passage. The end tally was one sprained wrist (Michael), one boiling water burn (Amy), zero breakage (another amazing feat for such a long passage), 60 plus movies watched, 25 plus books read, a little Spanish, a little French, 3 landed yellow fin tunas, 75 gallons of diesel burnt, 10 lbs of chocolate eaten, 2 swim calls, and finally 5 very tired, salty sailors.
We will be in and around the Marquesas for the next month and then on to the Tuamotus, 400 miles to the south.