R Factor Journal 2005

January 10th, 2005

We have spent the last 3 weeks in Cabrillo Isle Marina on Harbour Island in San Diego, California.  We arrived on Friday, December 17th after an eventful but short stay in Long Beach.  We were very excited to see that the marina here was indeed a gated marina.  We also received a nice surprise upon arrival when we learned that we had access to the pool and hot tub located at the Sheraton Hotel right beside the marina.  Upon arrival, we did a few chores and went swimming and enjoyed the hot tub.    The next few days were spent preparing for Christmas including purchasing a real live Christmas tree.  I felt it was important to do all the things we normally did for Christmas on "land" therefore a Christmas tree was a top priority.  Instead of the usual 14 foot tree we had in our house we had a 4 foot tree.  Stockings were hung from the bulkheads instead of the fireplace.  Cookies were baked but on a much smaller scale (not a lot of storage room).  Santa did find us although instead of the fireplace he was required to use some of his "Christmas Magic" since I said all hatches, portholes and companionways would be locked (once bitten, twice shy).  A beautiful turkey dinner with all the trimmings completed the day, although, I think we all could have skipped the small grease fire that happened while Bruce was taking the turkey out of the oven.  

Time to decorate the tree

 

Our Christmas Tree on the boat

 

Were ready for Christmas in San Diego

 

The next few days were spent playing tourist.  We went  to Sea World where the kids and Bruce rode the Atlantis water ride.  I chose not to.  I get wet enough just sailing so the thrill of getting wet at an amusement park does not provide the same thrill  for me as for my children.  They also feed and petted the dolphins.  

A walrus checking us out. There was a new Orca Whale born the morning we went to Sea World, mother and baby Shamu

Keegan patting the Dolphins

We went to Disneyland and California Adventure where I actually went on a roller coaster with the kids for the first time in my life.  The children enjoyed the ride and now that I have stopped shaking it was actually fun.  However, I will never go on a roller coaster again.  Bruce unfortunately lost his favorite hat at Disneyland.  It was an oilskin ball cap which we purchased at Elfin Cove in Alaska.  We realized it the next day.  We went back but, of course, it had not been returned.  

Time to put the kids in the dog pound

Finally we found Mickey

 

We also went to Universal Studios.  It was okay but after going the kids would have rather gone to Disneyland for one more day.  We have heard that the Universal Studios in Florida is really good.   

Spiderman, Spiderman                                                Wait what happen to Keegan!!!!

Sharks seem to be more prevalent on land.

Our final trek was to the Wild Animal Park just outside of San Diego.  This we really enjoyed.  The animals are in their natural habitats and you go around the park on a narrated train ride.  While we were waiting for a good weather window we decided to see the Maritime Museum and tall ships which included the Star of India and the HMS Surprise, the ship from the movie "Master and Commander".

We were going to leave for Mexico last Thursday but a wave of storms has hit San Diego.  The weather seems to be breaking so hopefully we can leave tomorrow, Tuesday, January 11th.  The plan is to leave at 11:00 PM and sail through the night arriving in Enemata, Mexico around breakfast.  We will get our paperwork in order and explore the town before leaving the next morning.  Our destination is Turtle Bay and then Cabo San Lucas stopping for a couple of days before heading to La Paz.  We plan to stay here for a couple of weeks before moving on.  We are not to sure how long this will take as Mother Nature has not informed us of her plans.  Hopefully she will cooperate with us as I am anxious to get to warmer and drier weather.

We have spent the last week provisioning the boat in both food and spare parts since boat parts and certain food items are difficult to buy once we leave the USA.  We have also purchased a complete set of scuba gear for Bruce in the hopes that it will not be taken out of our locker (see Alaska incident).  

January 11, 2005     -    We left tonight at 11:00 p.m. bound for Ensenada. We arrived back at the dock at 3:30 am. The weather was not cooperating with us.  The wave action was very choppy and about 1 hour past Point Loma Jessica got sick while Keegan and Jacqueline clutched buckets.  We decided we would turn around and try again in a few days..

January 13, 2005 - We left tonight around 11:00 p.m. for Ensenada.  The weather seems better and buckets were not required.  We arrived in Ensenada at 9:30 am and cleared customs (actually the marina, Cruiseport Village Marina, did all the paper work for us).  We spent the day walking around and exploring Ensenada.  We met Sheila Copps and her husband who were taking their sailboat  to Puerto Vallarta.  Linda the political tycoon recognized her right away. 

Cruiseport Village Marina and an old ferry in the bay, now a home for the seals

January 16, 2005    -  We left  Ensenada this morning around 9:30 a.m. on our way to Turtle Bay.  This was a relatively uneventful sail.  We arrived January 18, 2005.  On the way to Turtle Bay Bruce and Keegan trolled for fish and they caught a Yellow Fin Tuna.  We BBQ'd along the way and enjoyed a lovely tuna dinner.

We caught a Yellow Fin Tuna

January 24, 2005     - We spent a few days in Turtle Bay.  It was a nice, quite village.  They were a lot of boats in the bay.  We left this morning around 9:30 am.  Again we had a great sail down and  arrived in Cabo San Lucas around 9:30 am January 27, 2005.  On our way into Cabo San Lucas we saw humpback whales jumping as we neared the habour. 

January 28, 2005     -  Today must be our lucky day.  We were visited by Agriculture Inspectors.  Apparently they had come to our boat yesterday but we were not there.  They went through every item in our fridge and freezer putting the entire contents on our floor.  We were told we were not allowed to bring in any beef , chicken, citrus fruit or eggs from the United States..  It was a quick visit.  Not more than 30 minutes later they left with approximately 30 pounds of frozen steaks, hamburg and chicken.  However, they were nice enough to leave us the 3 shriveled up apples that were on our counter.  They were very efficient in that the forms were filled out in triplicate, however, only my copy had the amount of meat confiscated.  Needless to say we went to Costco the next day in order to re-provision.  Here is where my confusion starts.  They took all my meat but when I went to Costco all the meat said US Grade A.  I don't understand.

We spent a total of 2 nights at the Marina at a mere $200.00 US per night.  We then anchored out for a couple of nights for $20.00US per night.  Big difference!

Marina in Cabo

Our boat in the marina

The Beach in Cabo, view from the boat at anchor

 

One of the cruise ships anchored outside of the harbour, all passengers were ferried into the city

Lovers Beach, a great place to go snorkeling, Bruce and the kids saw lots of tropical fish

The Cabo San Lucas Arch

A Humpback whale doing a spy hop on our way out of the bay

January 31, 2005 - We left this morning for a day sail to Los Frails.  The wind was on our nose the entire day.  The waves were over our bow.  We were exhausted!

February 1, 2005     - We left his morning for another day sail to Ensenada de los Muertos.  The weather is a little better.  The wind is still on our nose.  Less water over the bow.

Sunset at Ensenada de los Muertos

February 3, 2005 - We arrived in La Paz, Mexico.  The charts here are useless because of the last hurricane.  We anchored out the first night.  We next morning we took the dinghy into the marina to see if they had space for us.  They did so we prepared to come in.  We were following the charts and had Jessica on the bow watching to make sure we didn't hit ground or any other sailboats that had sunk during the last hurricane.  We were watching the depth sounder and had started to reverse when we hit bottom.  Good thing it is a sand bottom.   Our charts said we should have lots of depth.  Wrong!  We were trying to find the channel when someone on another boat called us and said the channel was "between the cross and the town pier".  I asked where that was written and the response was  with a shrug "local knowledge".  We finally made it into the marina and docked.

We have been in La Paz now for two weeks and are planning to leave tomorrow, February 21st.  We have been to the local markets, found the grocery stores and most everything we need.  We went to a movie "Los Fockers" (The Fockers).  It was the only movie playing that was in english with spanish subtitles.  The other movies were all in spanish with english subtitles.  To get to the movies we had to take a taxi.  Taking a taxi in Mexico is an adventure in itself.  Traffic signs and signals are more of a  suggestion in Mexico rather than law.  This past week was also Mardi Gras.  We went a couple of times and saw the parade.  It was very loud and very crowded.  There are rides and displays as in any carnival.  However much to the disappointment of the kids candy floss does not taste the same in Mexico.  Jacqueline was especially disappointed as this is her favourite carnival treat in the whole world. 

The kids had fun playing with other kids that were in La Paz.  We met some families on boats called Epic V, Sun Break and Terrapin.  We also caught up with some friends that we had met back in Turtle Bay and Cabo.  They are Walt and Gail on "Windketcher".  We had dinner on their boat.  I have never had hot dogs and hamburgs that tasted as good as they did on Windketcher.  We will miss everyone.  I especially will miss Gail.     

 

We got 4 inches of rain in La Paz today, the water was above our knees in the street here

Keegan kayaking with a friend, Hunter from Terrapin

Beach games in La Paz

We went to the last day of  Mardi Gras here in La Paz.  We went during the afternoon and it was quite enjoyable as the crowds were not there.  The highlight of the day was when Keegan held a  6  foot long python around his neck.  I couldn't watch this but Keegan thought it was a blast! 

Marti Gras Princess

I think this guy is having a bit to much fun

Belly Dancers in Mexico

Some great elaborate floats

Keegan riding the mechanical bull

Strange, before Jessica rode the mechanical bull there was no line ups or spectators. After my 14 year young daughter is riding the bull, we had people lined up to take a ride and all kinds of spectators. We did not like this, especially her dad. 

Jacqueline driving like a Mexican taxi driver

Keegan also wanted to do his taxis driver impression

 

 

February 22nd - Left La Paz this morning.  Time to move on.  

View from our slip in Marina del La Paz

A sailboat mast sticking out of the water, a remnant of the last hurricane

Leaving La Paz

We went to Isla la Partida and anchored at Ensenada Grande.  It was beautiful.  There was great snorkeling.  Even Jacqueline went snorkeling.  I however did not as I was sick with a nasty cold which went through the entire family with me getting it last.  I beach combed instead.  Bruce, Keegan and Jessica got stung several times by jellyfish on the first day.  After the first sting Jessica however stopped snorkeling.  The next day they went again and this time no one was stung by the jelly fish. 

Ensenada Grande

Ensenada Grande

 We went to Los Islotes which is a day anchorage where you can snorkel and swim with the seals.  Jacqueline and I stayed on the boat just in case the weather turned as there was not a lot of protection.  The smaller seal lions were very playful, Bruce touched the whiskers of one sea lion who got close, then the same one grabbed a hold of Keegan's swim fin. Jessica had quite an experience.  She got bit on her bottom by a baby seal who was playing with her.  She was quite shocked, at first she thought her dad was playing a trick on her and went to say something, dad was not even close. It was then that she realized that she had been playfully bitten by a sea lion.

Los Islotes, where we swam with the sea lions, Terrapin in the backgound

February 25th - Arrived at Ensenada de Los Muertos (Cove of the Dead) around 6:00 p.m.  We had anchored here on the way to La Paz.  It is a picturesque anchorage.  We stayed for a few days to bake (homemade bread and muffins) for the passage to Puerto Vallarta and for the kids to do some snorkeling. We also met another Canadian boat "Amani" from Tofino who are also planning to go to the South Pacific soon. They have a 10 year old daughter so we hope to meet up with them at a later date in the South Pacific. 

We had lunch at the Giggling Marlin, the food was very good.   We had a pelican walk into the restaurant and was inspecting everything.  I think it was hoping for a handout. While snorkeling Keegan was playing basketball with a puffer fish under the water.  

February 28th - We had a great sail to Los Frails today.  The wind picked up to 20 to 25 knots and was behind us, this rarely happens and we got to Los Frails to fast. We stayed for a couple of days while the weather settled down. There were 8 other boats at the anchorage. Some of the other boaters were going into a local bar for a drink so we all went in with them.  Turns out the bar was not open and we all ended up back on our boat, all 12 of them. It was a good time. The names of the boats were Amadeus, Mixed Company, Spirit, Gallavant, Summer Rain and Adios. Many of these boats were with us in Turtle Bay.  We had a great time and will miss everyone.  

Catching a Mahi Mahi

March 3 - Leave for Puerto Vallarta with light winds so we were motor sailing. We caught up to a sailboat called Rhiannon which had pulled in the night before in Los Frails who was also on his way to PV. 

March 4 - Its 3:30 in the morning, the boat is having problems and it turns out the motor is over heating. Waited for the engine to cool down for a couple of hours until Bruce could work on it. The lack of wind means the boat is rocking back and forth a lot making for an uncomfortable ride. We are traveling at about 2.5 knots an hour on sail alone which is not enough to steady the boat out with cross waves. After a bit of time Bruce had to change an impeller and now the boat works just fine at normal temperature. We can now motor sail more comfortably.  These things always happen at 3:30 in the morning and on my shift.  I think I'm jinxed!

At about 2 pm we sighted a sailboat on the horizon going about the same direction. We continued to catch up to the sailboat until we were about 2 mile behind it. At this point I believe they must have seen us as they now matched our speed. We called them on the radio and talked to Bob and Marlene from the sailboat Selah. We followed them all the way into Marina Vallarta at 11:30 am on March 5, 2005.

The melecon  in Puerto Vallarta

Jessica getting her hair braided, she used her own comb per mom's orders

Linda got a few braids as well

Jessica lifting off for her first Parasail

She's off and running, literally

She is very high, mom's nervous

Keegan getting suited up

Are you sure it's safe?

Keegan saying to himself, I don't think I want to do this, remember I am afraid of heights

To late I'm off

This is "COOL" Bruce heard him say after takeoff

He is very high now

Safe touch down, mom feels better

We will end up being in PV for one month in total preparing the boat to go across the Pacific.  We don't have alot of mechanical things to do, thank goodness, but still, we are making sure everything is in ship-shape.  We are also provisioning for the voyage.  I have talked to about 5 different people who have been to the South Pacific and some who are going at the same time as us and I end up getting 7 different answers!  Provisioning for 5 people, three of which are children, for an extended period of time (6 to 8 months) is really hard.  As I said everyone has a different opinion so I'm just going to do what I think will work for us. 

On Saturday, March 19th we took the kids down to the melecon in Puerto Vallarta.  Jessica and Keegan went parasailing.  It looked really fun but there was no way I was going to go!  After that the girls and I went shopping while Bruce and Keegan went tequila tasting.  Yes, you read correctly - even a 12 year old boy in Mexico can get a shot of tequila.  (Check out the kids' journal).

Most of our days are spent home schooling in the morning then doing whatever work needs to be done on the boat.  I pretty much go every other day to a grocery store to get provisions.  Alot of the foods that we are use to are basically non-existent in Mexico, for example brown sugar.  I take a lot of cab rides in order to get to the grocery stores.  If you think our trip is an adventure take a cab ride in Mexico!!!!!

Last week we went swimming with the dolphins.  It was so much fun.  We were in a enclosure.  There were 15 people in all. We went into the pool first and learned alot about the dolphins.  We got to pet the dolphins.  At one point the dolphin "kissed" us and we had a picture taken.  

He's really not that heavy with all of us

Linda a little unsure of a kiss

Kissy, Kissy

OK, I'm done with this big guy now

Even Dad gets a kiss from the big guy

The next day Bruce and Keegan went scuba diving.  They had a lot of fun.  This was Keegan's first time diving.  He went down about 45 feet.  The girls and I went shopping and had our nails done.  It was very relaxing.

It is now April 6th and we were suppose to be on our way.  We are waiting for a wire transfer from our bank in Canada.  Apparently banking in Mexico is still another adventure.  The money arrived last week from our branch to a bank here in PV (the same bank).  Since we did not have an account in the bank they sent our money back to Canada.  Apparently they are unfamiliar with the term wire transfer.  We can't leave PV until we get our money since we have also purchased a new water maker.   We hopefully we be able to leave in about a week.  We may have to adjust our route because of the late start.  No one in Mexico seems concerned about this, only us, however, it is our money.  The normal response we seem to get is the infamous "no problemo".

Our money has been found, apparently returned back to Canada.  We had to put a trace on it since no one knew its whereabouts.  We were then told to do a Western Union wire transfer from Canada.  We were concerned about doing this since they could not do a wire transfer from a bank.  We don't see the difference between a Bank and Western Union so we will try another way.

We will be leaving the marina tomorrow, Thursday, April 14th and heading out to anchor at La Cruz.  We will spend two nights at the anchorage getting back our "sea legs" after being in a marina for more than a month.  On Saturday morning, April 16th (weather dependent) we will take off for the Marquises.  We originally wanted to go to the Marquises via the Cocos Islands and Galapagos but because of delays we have decided to go straight across.  We did finally get a new water maker and it is up and running.  It will make 20 gallons of fresh water per hour compared to our old water maker which made 4 gallons per hour.  Just in case, we will carry our old water maker since it still works.  You never know when you might need it!

The journey will take approximately 22 days, 12 hours depending, of course, on the weather.  I'm hoping it will only take 19 - 20 days but it could take longer.

We are all excited to be leaving .  This feeling may change about the 14th day out at sea but hopefully all will go well.  We will update the website as soon as we can in the South Pacific. 

April 14, 2005

We left the dock in Puerto Vallarta to fill up our fuel tanks.  We carry a total of 525 gallons.  We filled up with 375 gal of diesel and another 20 gallons of gas for the outboard. We then went to the anchorage in La Cruz to get our sea legs back after spending almost 5 weeks dock.  The anchorage in La Cruz was very rolly.  We eventually put out flopper stoppers as we were all (not Bruce of course) feeling queasy.  This was not the way to start of trip to the South Pacific.

April 16, 2005

This morning we have left the anchorage.  Our next destination is Hiva Oa, Marquises.  We had very little wind and motor sailed for the first 8 hours. On Bruce and Keegan's watch tonight, we crossed paths with a freighter.  Although we had the right-of-way if we did not alter our course we would have been on a collision course.  Not always do the rules of the sea apply - sometimes it's just the bigger they are the more right-of-way they have!

April 18, 2005

We traveled 158 miles during the last 24 hours under sail alone.  We are quite proud of this and we think this is a very good start to the trip. We caught a small marlin today, about 5 feet long.  We let him go.  Who wants such a small fish!

April 20, 2005

We caught another marlin today.  This one was a little bigger at about 7 feet.  It was to heavy to throw over the deck so we had to slide it off the back of boat.  I thought Bruce was going to slide off with the marlin.

April 21, 2005

So now the fun begins.  It is in the middle of the night and, of course, it is Jessica and Linda's shift.  We seem to be losing engine power some times.  It loses power then the power comes back.  This goes on for awhile.  Bruce thinks it  might be the transmission as it is as we are applying power.  I'm hoping it is not as I don't really want to swap transmissions out in the middle of the ocean.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention.  We carry an extra transmission -- doesn't everybody?

April 22, 2005

And so the fun never ends!  Our generator has stopped working.  This means we cannot make water or charge our batteries.  Making water is not much of an issue right now as we carry 400 gallons and have more than enough to get us to Hiva Oa.  However, the batteries are another issue.  We need them.  Our autopilot takes a lot of power, not to mention our radar and computer.  We now have to run the main engine in order to charge the batteries.  Bruce can't fix the generator until the Marquises.  Hopefully we will be able to get parts.

April 23, 2005

.Just so we don't get bored our main sail traveler broke.  Bruce jury-rigged a new traveler.  Hopefully this will work. 

April 24, 2005 

Today our boom block connection point stainless fitting has broken.  Bruce, once again, has  temporarily fixed. We are still , of course,  having engine problems.

April 25, 2005

Our engine problems are getting worse, Bruce is trying to fix by changing filters and checking fluid levels etc. Still nothing is working.  We decided to place a call to Vector Yachts for some advice.  They suggested it could be the transmission but to also check the fuel system and rebleed all fuel lines.  Bruce and Keegan rebled the lines.  Not an easy job especially since we have had, up to this point, only wind on our beam thus giving us that "comfortable" side to side motion.

April 26, 2005

We think we have our engine problems resolved.  It seems that we had a loose connection to the lift pump causing air to enter the system. Just in time as we are entering the doldrums.

April 27, 2005 

The doldrums lasted about 4 hours last night and we are now in the SE trade winds. The winds are good.  We are sailing today at 8 knots but we also have the engine on in neutral just to charge the batteries. We are closing in on the equator.  I am patiently awaiting the "rumored" downwind sail as the side to side motion is getting to me.

April 28, 2005

Tonight we celebrated as we crossed the equator at 6:00 pm.  Everyone went from a pollywog to a shellback.  We gave offerings to King Neptune and indulged in a little ourselves..

May 2, 2005

Big event today -  we actually saw another ship. It looked like a fishing trawler about 4 miles off.  I am still waiting for the downwind sail!

May 4, 2005

Very rolly sail in some confused seas.  The last 24 hours have been quite bad. Linda not feeling the best.  We should be arriving in the next few days.  Before we left on this trip everyone had asked us what our downwind sail plan was?  Have you ever sailed downwind?  There was a lot of concern about the downwind sail.  I am here to tell you  the "downwind" sail is just a rumor.  It does not exist.  It is up there with leprechauns and unicorns!  So my dreams of a downwind sail are gone, however, if you need advice on beam sailing or on the nose sailing, I'm your gal!!

All in all our sail across the Pacific was rather calm and somewhat enjoyable.  Most of the time we had an average of 15 knots on our beam.  We only had one squall worth talking about that lasted about 8 hours with only 4 of them averaging about 35 knots of wind.  As said above we did not have any downwind sailing.  

May 6, 2005 -  June 8th, 2005 - Marquises Islands

Finally Arrived in Hiva Oa on our 20th day

We just arrived on the island of Hiva Oa in the Marquises. We have traveled 2813 miles in just under 21 days. We had to check in and post our bond, $4500 USD  so that if we cause any problems they have enough money to ship us all home on the next plane out. Everyone is very glad to be in a tropical paradise at last. 

Aranui cargo/passenger ship

For those of you who have emailed us and have not received a response, we are not just sitting under a palm tree drinking coconut milk.  Our satellite email system does not work in the South Pacific and internet access is few and far between.  We will answer all emails and update the website when we are able to have access to internet.

We moved our boat today to get a better position from the swells in the anchorage.  We had to move our stern and bow anchor. Bruce was on the helm, Keegan was at the bow anchor, I was at the stern anchor, Jessica was in the dinghy keeping the boat in position and Jacqueline was our translator to Bruce.  All of a sudden I heard this cry - it was a cry that I have never heard before.  Other boaters heard it and thought that the kids were playing.  I knew differently.  I realized it was Keegan and something was very wrong.  Keegan got his hand caught between the anchor chain and the gypsy.  Keegan was absolutely green having thought that when he pulled his hand out his fingers would still be in the chain.  We then had to rush him to the hospital.  No easy job in  an anchorage.  We had to dinghy to shore.  We then had to hitch-hike into town to the hospital.  Keegan received the best medical treatment in this little village.  They looked at him immediately, did a thorough examination and finally stitched him up. .He required 5 stitches. We were very lucky that was all that was needed.  The next day we had to take him back to the hospital for him to get a tetanus shot.  In our rush to get him to the hospital I forgot to take in his vaccination records.

While in Hiva Oa we spent most of our time just trying to get organized from the passage and catching up on sleep. We did, however, break every rule that us Moms live by.  I have spent my entire years of motherhood telling my children don't get in a stranger's car, don't get in a car that does not have a seatbelt for you, don't get in the dinghy without your life jacket and never never hitchhike!  The first day in Hiva Oa we, including myself, broke every rule.  We dinghied into the dock so that we could go into town and check in - no lifejackets to be found.  We then hitchhiked into town; received a ride from a complete stranger and got into the back of a pickup (no seatbelts anywhere) truck.  I'm sure I will burn in HE**! The kids however found all of this quite exciting.

The anchorage is getting quite crowded.  There are more than 20 boats here.  We have been hit twice by other boats while anchored and have decided it's time to leave.  We had to wait until now in case Keegan had some problems with his hand but everything so far looks good.  We are going to Tahuata Island.  We anchored in  Hanatefau Bay which had unbelievable snorkeling.  Unfortunately Keegan had to wait until Friday to get his stitches out by Bruce. He had the stitches in for a total of 10 days.  The snorkeling was so amazing even Linda went in a few times - lifejacket and all.  (I don't know if this was mentioned but I (Linda) have a small but very real fear of water when I know it is over my head).  We went into town and got 2 wood carved bowls from locals.  The village was very pretty and is my favorite place in the Marquises.

Keegan's hand after a windlass fight, Keegan lost

Yes it still hurts

Tahuata Island, a very tropical paradise

Coconut trees up to the tops of hills?

Jessica Wave Boarding with Shanachie

More Tahuata

Taking out the Stitches

We sailed to Fatu Hiva.  Several boats have tried to get to Fatu Hiva but have not made it.  They are not the die-hard "on the nose" sailors as we are.  We anchored in 100 feet of water which we don't like doing for obvious reasons but the anchorage had over 20 boats in it and space was limited. 

We hiked to the famous water  falls which are 240 feet tall.  The hike was quite a workout and, of course, it rained therefore making the already muddy path more muddy and slippery.  Linda fell numerous times and by the time we got back to the boat was covered in mud - no one else was, just Linda.  There were giant fresh water eels which we did not see when we swam.  Bruce didn't tell us about them until after (good plan). We went to a dinner which was a fundraiser that all the sailors attended in order to raise money for the school children.  The island is quite poor and the school has nothing - they barely have paper and pencils for the children.  They needed this fundraiser and we were all quite happy to help.  They served traditional Polynesian food which meant no silverware.  No silverware to eat with or no silverware to serve the food with.  For those of you who know me (Linda)  personally you will understand immediately how difficult this would be for me.  I don't even eat pizza without a knife and fork.  Needless to say after seeing all these complete strangers put their hands in the food bowls and serve themselves I had very little to eat.  Thank goodness for peanut butter and jam back on the boat. Keegan enjoyed the meal until he noticed that the pork dish he was eating still had the skin and hair on the meat.  He immediately lost his appetite.

Waterfalls in Fatu Hiva

Swimming in fresh water a treat, even if there are giant eels

Rainbow in Fatu Hiva

We have sailed back to Tahuata Island,  Hanatefau Bay.  We did some laundry and couldn't resist to do more snorkeling.

We have come back to Hiva Oa to check out.  Jessica met some 14 and 15 year old girls from Victoria on the boat Peregrinate. Our plan was to anchor outside the break wall,  check out, get a few groceries and be on our way just a few hours later.  While anchoring we heard a call on the radio for someone to help a disabled boat who was arriving from the Galapagos and needed help to get into the anchorage.  Of course we helped but by the time everything was done it was too late to leave so we spent a very rolly night at the anchorage outside the break wall.

Today we sailed to Hanaiapa Bay.  The sail started out great but the winds changed direction - of course, on our nose - 35 knots.  The last little bit was somewhat slow but we eventually made it to a beautiful anchorage that was very protected from the wind. 

Hanaiapa Bay

We left early this morning with  Ua-pou as our next destination.  It was a pretty good sail.  We arrived about 5:00 PM at the anchorage.  We set our bow anchorage and then had to set the dreaded stern anchor. I hate stern anchoring with a passion.  I swear when I die on my tombstone will be the words "Death by Stern Anchor".

Ua-Pou

We arrived in Nuka Hiva this afternoon.  It is a beautiful little village with all the amenities one desires.  On Friday night a local hotel called Pearl's hosts a $10.00 cheeseburger night for all the sailors.  They pick you up at the dinghy dock, take you to the hotel and drive you back when you are ready.  It was so much fun.  There were about 40 of us in total.  I finally got fresh veggies and some fruit.  You have no idea how much you miss veggies and fruit, fresh that is, until you just can't get them.  I went to the Nuka Hiva market which is held every Saturday morning at 4:30 AM.  By 5:00 AM everything is pretty much gone.  I however, determined to get fresh veggies arrived  bright and early at 4:00 AM.  I'm glad I did because they were already selling their goods by then.

We spent an unbelievable rolly night in this anchorage.  No one could sleep.  Our portholes were only about 6 inches from being under water - I told you it was rolly.  The next morning almost half of the boats left to find a calmer anchorage.  We were one of them.  We went to a little anchorage called Daniel's Bay.  This is where the television show Survivor - Marquises was filmed.  It is absolutely beautiful and calm!

Note to Debbie and Dan from Echoes of Summer - we are leaving in the AM for the Tuamotus and although Marquises is beautiful I am somewhat disappointed.  I have searched and searched all the beaches and have not seen "Charles or his horse" anywhere. 

June 12th, 2005 - July 1st, 2005 - Tuamotus

We only went to two atolls being Ahe and Rangiroa.  Going in and out of atolls can be quite stressful.  We usually put Jessica up on the first spreader, Keegan is at the bow and I am somewhere in between. Just after we anchored in Ahe a local came up to us in his boat and wanted to trade whisky for pearls, As we had just arrived after a 5 day sail we said to come back tomorrow, however he was determined to trade for whisky, end result we got some very nice pearls for a couple of liters of whisky.

 Dark coral patch near our boat in Ahe

At least some of the shallow area's are marked in Ahe

Jessica watching out for Coral Heads in Ahe

Leaving Ahe was a trying experience,  Our chain was wrapped around 4 different coral heads and it took us over 1 hour to pull up our anchor, Bruce also had to free dive about 45 feet to determine how to get the anchor chain free.

The snorkeling has been excellent and Keegan and Bruce swam with their first shark!!

While in Rangiroa we spent a productive two weeks getting caught up on home schooling.  Keegan also got certified in scuba diving.  We are all very proud of him.  It was hard work.  We also spent a lot of time snorkeling on the reef with many marine friends including sharks (even Linda snorkeled with the sharks).  We had been told to take squeeze cheese to feed the fish.  Keegan and Jacqueline had great fun feeding the fish especially Keegan who put the squeeze cheese in his bellybutton and let the fish feed off of him.  However, the squeeze cheese works a little to well.  At one point it  became a feeding frenzy and a shark attacked the fish that were swimming underneath Keegan and Bruce.

One evening we went to the Kia Ora Hotel for a dinner and dance show by the locals.  Dinner was unbelievable and the dance show was also enjoyable.  

Rangiroa - Kia Ora hotel

Dinner and Dance

Laundry day, even the teddy bears need a wash

Just prior to leaving Bruce and Keegan had the pleasure of free diving to check another sailor's anchor which was wrapped around some coral.  It took awhile but eventually they had success.

One thing I have noticed is that cruisers are, generally speaking, the unabashed type.  I have seen more naked bodies than  I wish to and am running out of excuses for my children and that the excuse that they are all doing laundry is wearing thin!

July 4th, 2005  

We have finally arrived in Papeete, Tahiti.  There are a lot of boats here that we have not seen in a long time.  It is good to finally catch up with them.  So far most of our time has been dedicated to trying to repair our boat from the passage over to the Marquises.  Our generator has finally broken and we are unable to have it repaired.  We are purchasing a new generator.  Once again, my heroes, Vector Yachts, Sidney, BC. have come through for us and are sending us a brand new generator and a care package of parts that are hard to find anywhere else, especially in the South Pacific.  We are having it couriered over from Canada as it will take less time and cost less money than buying a generator here in Tahiti. I must be a true sailor now as when Bruce opened up the care package and I saw that Vector Yachts had sent impellors I was absolutely giddy!

We have finally installed the new generator and it is absolutely heavenly.  We now have hot water for showers and dishes.  We can actually turn on lights and even run the computer.  The new generator is less noisy and doesn't even vibrate as much.  I will never complain about the noise of the generator again.

The waves breaking over the reef in Papeete    

A cruiser get together, thanks Tequila

The teenagers singing away

The generator finally died

Jessica had a sleepover - 5 teenage girls!!

We are staying in Tahiti for a few more weeks as we are expecting company - Bruce's sisters Liisa and Jeri-lee.  They are also bringing the next year's school work with them and the much needed brown sugar and nibs.  Believe it or not you cannot buy brown sugar in the South Pacific or even Mexico.  As for the candy nibs we have not seen them since leaving Canada.  What's this world coming to!  

While in Tahiti we all (except Jacqueline) got Marquisan tattoos on a boat called Fruity Fruits by a tattoo artist from Nuka Hiva. Keegan and Jessica even got tattoos - do not email me with your concerns as I have already stated above, I am going to burn in HE** anyways! 

Linda getting her tattoo

Jessica getting a tattoo

The finished work on Jessica

Keegan?? Even he is getting a tattoo

Keegan's done

Keegan and Bruce with Aki

Bruce's tattoo

It is the day before Bruce's sisters are scheduled to arrive.  Everything is in order - the boat is cleaned, laundry is done and the generator is working.  All is well on R Factor.  What's this?  The toilet is not working.  Not our vacuflush that we have  been bragging about how these toilets never break!  Bruce is left to fix the toilet while the kids and I go and get groceries.  We were standing in the parking lot trying to juggle all the bags of groceries and decide who would carry what.  A young woman was watching from her car and we must have looked quite pathetic as she offered to take us back to our boat.  She wasn't even going our way but still drove us all back to the dock.  You don't find that everyday.  As we were walking back to our boat and I was thinking we could relax now that everything was done when I was assaulted by a retched smell coming from somewhere.  Not from my boat!!!!  No it can't be from my boat ---- or can it?  It was from my boat.  Apparently fixing the toilet was not as easy a task as Bruce had originally thought.  I couldn't believe it - my boat smelled like a forgotten roadside bathroom.  My kids basically put the grocery bags on our boat and left holding their noses.  Six hours later we had "fixed" the toilet, albeit temporarily, and we all left to get some fresh air.

The next AM the sisters arrived.  It was wonderful to see them.  They had one suitcase of clothes between them and the rest was home schooling - 150 lbs worth, brown sugar, butterscotch chipits, nibs, Canadian whiskey and other assorted goodies.  It was better than Christmas.  The next 10 days flew by with shopping, tours of the island, sailing to Moorea, snorkeling and of course, more shopping.  We were so proud of  Liisa and Jeri-lee who did not get seasick sailing to and from Moorea that we gave them Crew R Factor t-shirts.  This was their first time ever on a sailboat.  However, you are not a true sailor until you have made at least one offering to the sea gods.  After sailing back from Moorea to Tahiti we had to do the dreaded "med tie".  Although our docking skills have improved ten-fold our med tie skills are still a work in progress.  We had to try a second time as our anchor on the first attempt did not hold.  During our second attempt we were all in position - Bruce at the helm, Keegan on the dock, Linda at the anchor, Jeri-lee on the starboard side with her pole, just in case we got to close to the other boat, Jessica in the dinghy - we have no bow thrusters - only our 15 year old daughter, and Liisa on stern lines.  When we got close enough to the dock, Liisa was suppose to throw the stern line to Keegan.  She did this however forgot to keep a hold of the one end resulting in a new line being thrown to short of the dock and immediately floating under the dock never to be seen again.  We thought long and hard about taking away her new Crew t-shirt but in the end decided to let her keep it as she is family and did bring us brown sugar.  Jeri-lee however did fine with the pole and did not lose it - letting her keep her t-shirt was not an issue.  Both sisters were somewhat stressed after the eventful med tie and cocktail hour started unusually early that evening!    

It was time for them to leave, much to early, but it was wonderful to be able to see and share our new lifestyle with family.  

Linda got her brown sugar and Butterscotch Chip - A happy Girl indeed    

Med Tied in Papeete

The market in Papeete

The Girls Shopping with Aunt Jeri-lee

Liisa and Bruce Relaxing on the deck during cocktail hour    

 

The drummers getting ready for Geronimo

Geronimo Arriving, failed world record Australia to Tahiti

Geronimo Arrived

The Polynesian dancing

The Polynesian dancing

The Polynesian dancing

The Polynesian dancing

Jessica got a new Coconut top

Sunset in Moorea

R Factor in Moorea

Cleaning shells - Aunt Liisa and Keegan

R Factor in  Moorea

 

Everyone in Papeete

Jacqueline and her friend Amanda from ""Wanderer" 

Keegan and his friend Mathew from "Uhuru"

Jacqueline drawing again

The Tahitian Princess leaving port

The gang exploring the beach with Aunt Liisa

Surfers in Tahiti

 

We are now awaiting our parts for the toilet from our friends at Vector Yacht Services, Sidney, BC and they should be arriving later today or tomorrow.  The plan is to get fuel and provisions and start working our way to Bora Bora, Tonga and then on to Fiji.  However, we are the R Factor and to be true to our name we have just found out that there is a strike in Tahiti.  We are unable to get fuel for our boat and therefore we cannot leave.   We are not alone,  every other boat here is also awaiting fuel.  Ah, the boating life!!!   

 

 

August 22nd, 2005

After 6 weeks we are finally leaving Papeete.  Our destination - Moorea, a mere 22 miles from Papette.  We are all looking forward to the tranquil anchorage in Moorea after the hustle and bustle of Papeete.

Last sunset in Papette

The surf leaving Tahiti

 Keegan helping his sister in Moorea

Even his sister is appreciative

Keegan enjoying his new toy

We have spent 5 glorious days in Moorea.  We have snorkeled and swam with the sting rays and sharks.  The kids have collected some amazing shells.  I wish we could spend more time here but our delay in Papeete has cost us time elsewhere.  

August 27th, 2005

We left today to sail to Huahine.  It is approximately a 15 hour sail.  Just a quick overnight and we will be there. 

We have arrived in Huahine and we are exhausted.  A system came through that no one forecasted and we were caught out in it. We had confused seas and 35 knots of sustained wind.  We rocked and rolled all night long.  Thank goodness it was just an overnighter.  Huahine is beautiful except the anchoring is horrible.  There is absolutely no holding.  We anchored and then re-anchored 3 more times before we felt comfortable.  As it was we did not leave the boat unless there was no wind.  Needless to say we got out of there rather quickly.

 

 August 30th, 2005

We left today for Raiatea.  It is only a 5 hour sail.  The system is still around us but the sail wasn't too bad.  We didn't see much of Raiatea as we home schooled most of the day.  We did, however, have a little excitement when Jacqueline catapulted from the dinghy.  Keegan and Jacqueline had went for a dinghy ride - not an unusual thing.  I was sitting on the deck with Bruce when I noticed Keegan was going a "titch" to fast.  I had just mentioned to Bruce that I thought we needed to let Keegan to know he shouldn't be going so fast when I noticed Jacqueline moving around in the front of the dinghy.  Keegan saw his sister moving around so he slowed down.  As he slowed down Jacqueline let go of the rope and she catapulted right over the front of the dinghy.  She was in the water and the dinghy drove over her.  Keegan had the good sense to immediately put the dinghy in neutral so the propeller had stopped when it hit Jacqueline.  He then jumped out of the dinghy and started swimming to get Jacqueline, swam back to the dinghy to grab the dinghy rope, went back to get Jacqueline, grabbed his sister while still holding the dinghy line, swam back to the dinghy, got her and himself in the dinghy, started the dinghy, picked up the sun hats they were both wearing and proceeded back to the sailboat where I was having a coronary.  Jacqueline was upset that she got wet and Keegan was white as a sheet citing that he would never, never, ever drive the dinghy again. The next day however, he drove the dinghy and to this day no-one has fallen out.  When I think of what could have happened to Jacqueline and how this might have turned out differently I am grateful that I have a son who paid attention during his "dinghy" lessons with Bruce Stott and it not prone to panic attacks.  Thanks Bruce (Stott) for the "dinghy" lessons that we all took and especially thanks to Keegan with his quick thinking!!!!

September 1st, 2005

We have arrived in Bora  Bora today.  This is an important stop in our itinerary since this is where we get our bond back.  This was interesting since when you pay with credit card they are not able to reimburse your credit card.  They want to give you cash however, they didn't have enough cash.  The whole process took over an hour in a bank the size of a closet with 2 tellers and over half of Bora Bora waiting to do their own personal banking.  My father says "patience is a virtue" but my patience was running thin.  

While in Bora Bora Bruce and Keegan went scuba diving.  We, of course, had dinner, lunch and many, many cocktail hours at the famous "Bloody Mary's".  We were hoping to get out of Bora Bora within about 5 days of arriving but another system came through which lasted about 8 days.  Even the army boats came in to Bora Bora to get out of the seas.

 

We celebrated Jessica's 15th birthday

Bora Bora    

Bora Bora

Kids enjoying the day

Kids swimming in Bora Bora

Bloody Mary's in Bora Bora

The Bathroom Water Basin

The Urinal

The Urinal Flush Handle

Everyone at the bar

Keegan helping Jacqueline

 

 

 in Bora Bora with her favourite meal, chocolate cherry cake and of course, a few presents.  We finally left Bora Bora on September 12th her actual birthday with Rarotonga as our destination.

Jessica's Birthday Party

September 12th, 2005

After sitting in Bora Bora for 2 weeks we are anxious to get going.  We are leaving today for Rarotonga.  Hopefully the weather will be good.  Right now, we are leaving in rain so heavy that we cannot even see the bow of the boat.  Not really a good start!

Rarotonga is about a 5 day sail.  The weather has not been great and we are all feeling somewhat queasy and under the weather.  Jessica however feels great!  The seas are about 15 feet, confused of course, and the wind is 20 - 30 knots, on the beam of course.  We saw a waterspout in the middle of the night.  This is always a bit of a concern but luckily for us it was not near us.  Jessica took most of the shifts that first night while the rest of us tried to get our sea legs.  I'm not sure what we would have done if she wasn't feeling so great herself.  She's a real trooper!!!

September 16th, 2005

Have arrived in Rarotonga.  The only good thing about the weather we had was that we had a really fast passage.  The harbour in Rarotonga is small and unprotected.  Trying to get med-tied in this harbour is somewhat a challenge and needless to say somewhat nerve wracking.  However, once tied up we were fine.  Rarotonga is the first english speaking place that we arrived in after the French Polynesian.  They had foods we recognized, spoke english, and the highlight - had a movie theatre. The people are so friendly and the town is so quaint.  I wish we could have spent more time in Rarotonga but the clock is ticking and we need to get moving.

Habour entrance Rarotonga

The Med Moor in Rarotonga

The Market

Chickens are everywhere, in the restaurant

The Beaches

The girls deciding where to shop next, decisions, decisions

Kids at a local playground

A real playground to burn off  kid energy

September 20th, 2005

We are leaving Rarotonga and on our way to Tonga.  This should be about an 8 day sail.  Hopefully the weather will be better.

WRONG - a system is going through and we are once again caught.  The seas are confused and the winds are very light causing us to motor.  Twenty-four hours later the winds are still light but we have put up our spinnaker. We are experiencing our first "down wind" sail. Where to begin.............Since we have never down wind sailed we have not had the opportunity to use our spinnaker.  We pulled it out of the hold (no easy task) and spent 2 hours trying to put the thing up.  We thought we had it in place only to find the lines were twisted.  We needed to take it down and start over.  When we were taking it down it fell into the ocean.  It took us forever to get it back on the boat.  Finally we got the spinnaker in place and life was good!!!(Noticed I said "was good").  We were moving at about 6 knots, no motor and the motion was wonderful. At midnight the line holding the tack down started to fray so Bruce had to go out on deck to repair it.  About 45 minutes later the winds became variable and the spinnaker backed and wrapped around the genoa.  Once again Bruce was out on deck trying to untangle the spinnaker.  He finally got the spinnaker untangled when he noticed a rip in the spinnaker.  Now we had to try and get the spinnaker down, it was about 1:00 am, Bruce was on shift and I was suppose to be sleeping.  Bruce went out on deck once more, safety harnessed himself to the boat and started trying to get the spinnaker down but it had other ideas.  He had a hold of the spinnaker but it kept lifting him off of the deck only to drop him back down.  Keegan then joined Bruce on deck, both harnessed to the boat and both being lifted like a kite into the air and then dropped back down on their backsides.  We got up Jessica since we needed more manpower.  This whole process took over an hour but finally we got the spinnaker down but not before we got a few more rips.  Needless to say our down wind experience was not to positive.  The next day however, the winds picked up to 20 - 30 knots, the seas still confused and we sustained over 9 knots with our genoa and mainsail.  The next 6 days we sailed in these conditions.  We had to slow the boat down to a mere 7 knots since the motion was unbearable at the faster speed.  Then came the rocking.  The seas were so confused that about every 7th wave were hit from another direction causing us to have a 30 degree roll.  

The big event happened on September 24th when we passed the 10,000 mile point.  We were going to have a bit of a party but no-one felt liking eating anything so we quietly patted ourselves on the back and continued sailing.  We finally arrived in Tonga on September 26th however because we crossed the international dateline we arrived on September 27th.  

Tonga is beautiful and when I think of South Pacific I now think of Tonga.  We spent two weeks in Tonga and I think two months would not have been enough time to see it.  The people are warm and friendly.  All of our friends that we had met while traveling through the South Pacific were in Tonga, at least those going to New Zealand.  It felt like a family reunion.  All the kids' friends were there which made Tonga even more enjoyable.

We toured the Tall Ship "Picton Castle" 

While in Tonga we (that is Bruce, Keegan and Ben from Why Not with Jessica along for moral support) went snorkeling in Mariner's Cave which can only be accessed by diving 6 feet under the water.  We also went to Swallow's Cave.  There was a beach party which was lots of fun.  The kids went wake boarding with Why Not and had a blast.  Jessica and Keegan finally got up on the board!!! Jessica, Keegan, Ben from Why Not and Matthew from Uhuru went swimming with the whales - a mother and baby.  This was quite exciting for them!!

We also went to see a Tongan Dance Group at Mermaid's.  It was a lot of fun.  The dancers were amazing especially the children.

Kids at Mermaids playing cards while waiting for the entertainment to start

The dancers getting ready

The lead dancer, while she danced you put money on her oiled skin? For the dance school.

The guys dancing up a storm, a lot of energy here

The girl in the middle was very good

The Fire Eater

Gotta have a swirl of fire for a good show

Kids don't try this at home

 

Nectan playing his bagpipes on Sunday Morning

The sign post to Vancouver, in case we were lost

Ben on "Why Not" lobbing water balloons at us, some nerve!!

Linda had a war accident when a balloon when off in her hands, we managed to save the patient

Ben got just a little to close

Tonga harbour

The Bake Shop, we went whenever we could

Linda and Jacqueline 

 

The highlight for me in Tonga was that Jessica finished her grade 9 school year and Keegan finished his grade 7 school year.  Finally........now we start next year's school work! 

We only had two weeks to spend in Tonga and when we left everyone was sad to leave.  The friends you meet while cruising become friends for life.  You may have only talked to them for a few minutes but the connection made is one that you will always remember.  

October 13th, 2005

We are now heading to Fiji.  Most of our friends are staying in Tonga since they are going to New Zealand.  Some are in Fiji waiting for weather to head to Australia.  The sail to Fiji is about 5 days and the weather actually cooperated for once.   

We have arrived in Fiji and it is sooooooo hot.  This is the hottest place we have been so far.  It is also very humid and doesn't seem to let up.  

Quinn from Tequilla guest DJ at the Vuda Point Yacht Club

First Landing resort by the marina

Musket Cove Pool

Sunset in Musket Cove

Family at the Musket Cove Resort, we dress up nice

Fiji Dancers

These guys are very energetic

Don't fool around with a guy dancing with a spear

The performers singing

Halloween at the Vuda Point Yacht club, Keegan swapping SCUBA story's with Warren "Mico Verde"

The cruising girls

We went to Eco park, complete with friendly Iguana's

Very friendly guys, eh Keegan

Time to feed the turtles

In the rain forest of Fiji

We stopped at a Macdonalds in Fiji, we didn't know what to do with our garbage??

Sunset on way to Savu Savu overlooking one of the many reef's

Small Island during low tide, a couple of palm tree's and sand

While in Fiji we spent our time preparing the boat for our trip North.  We have checked rigging, put up our light air genoa (forget the spinnaker!), checked sheets and generally did a once over the boat.  We have also provisioned since where we are going there are no stores and it is sparsely populated.  Hopefully we will see other boats but it is possible that we won't see anyone until we reach Hawaii.  Having said this, our time in Fiji was not all work.  We did manage to do some Christmas and birthday shopping.  We also went to McDonald's (both times Keegan and I were sick - our systems are not use to greasy food anymore).  We saw a movie in a theatre which is always a treat out here and visited the only Eco Park in Fiji.  This was lots of fun and the kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

While in Vuda Point Marina we reconnected with friends Mico Verde and Tequila.  This was fun since we didn't know whether we would see them again.  

We are now in Savu Savu hoping to leave in a few days.  We are waiting to get fuel.  Getting fuel is not quite as easy as one would think.  We had to order the fuel truck with the exact amount of the fuel we needed (apparently they don't take extra fuel back).  We were told it would arrive on Tuesday but received a call on Monday afternoon saying that it would not arrive on Tuesday but would arrive on Wednesday.  Hopefully it will however, we are in Fiji and Fiji time is very different than the rest of the world.  Once we leave Savusavu our destination is Funafuti, Tuvalu (find that on a map!!)  

Savusavu                                                                    Our boat in Savusavu

Keegan celebrating his 13th Birthday in Fiji

The mad hair cutter

November 28th, 2005

We have finally left Savusavu after getting 1500L of fuel.  We are bound for Funafuti with care packages for Curly and Roger of  Dorcas Sue.  Apparently they are in Funafuti trying to get a friend's boat ready to sail back to Fiji and are desperately waiting for the parts that we have on board not to mention the corn flakes and peanut butter.

December 3rd, 2005

We have arrived in Funafuti after motoring 80% of the way.  We gave the care package to Dorcas Sue and they were quite happy to receive them.  We didn't see them for a while and our best guess was they were on a sugar high from the corn flakes and peanut butter.  Funafuti is a small but quite pretty village.  We hired a taxi and took a tour of the island.  We went from one end to the other and it took a whopping hour including our stops.  The total cost for the tour was $10.00.  Needless to say the island is not very big!  We spent a week here while doing home schooling, swimming off  the back of the boat (it is very hot in Funafuti) and a few sundowners with Dorcas Sue and Blue Tango.  We are preparing to leave for Tarawa, Kiribati.

Ocean side of atoll in Funafuti                                    Part of the tour - using garbage to fill in the low spots

Naked kid carrying fish to the house                            Even the pigs need a good view of the ocean

The main airstrip beside main road                            The parliament building and airport (must cross from runway

Sunset in Funafuti                                                    

Crossing equator on way to Tarawa

December 19th, 2005

We arrived in Tarawa this morning.  Yesterday we crossed the equator into the northern hemisphere and of course paid tribute to King Neptune.  The anchorage in Tarawa was quite rolly with winds of 30 knots blowing.  It was quite unnerving anchoring here since the wind was blowing so hard and all around us were boats that had been blown onto the reefs (as many as 10 that we could see).  We spent the next two days trying to check in.  It is quite the procedure here in Tarawa with nobody really knowing what is going on.  Apparently even people in the same department don't communicate with each other. We received plenty of blank stares but no instructions as to what we were to do except it was made clear that we needed to check in.  We then spotted  what we thought was a local police officer and asked him where to go to Immigration.  He looked at us blankly and then stated he had no idea what immigration was or where it was located.  Finally an employee from the local bank helped us and took us directly to the Immigration building not 100 yards from where we were standing. After purchasing a few veggies we were off to Abemama, an island about 100 miles south of Tarawa. (You are not allowed to stop at any Kiribati islands until you have gone to Tarawa to check in - hence the backtracking).

Wrecks behind our boat                                            A fairly recent large wreck 200 meters from our boat

Deluxe bus, most are vans in Tarawa                            The 7-11 bakery, usually not open

December 22nd, 2005

We have arrived in Abemama.  It was a horrible sail.  It wasn't as if it was rough it was just horrible.  We motored most of the way since we had winds on or our nose of about 15 knots with squalls coming through at over 35 knots.  At about 2:30 a.m. a squall hit us. The winds shifted and increased to over 35 knots causing us to heel more than normal.  This resulted in about 50 gallons of seawater to come up through our galley sink drains and flood our floor.  Our companionway stairs also somehow became detached and flew into the galley.  This has never happened before and needless to say it was quite alarming.  We finally arrived in Abemama and were anchoring when our windlass decided it wasn't going to work.  We then spent 30 minutes or so bobbing around while Bruce and Keegan tried to fix the windless, at least temporarily, so that we could anchor.  We finally anchored and started the clean up from the night before.  It took us over 2 hours to wash all the dishes that were in the cupboards in the galley since the seawater got into everything.  We pumped out the water with a shopvac vacuum.  It filled at least 8 times.  We then scrubbed the floors since as you can imagine everything was covered with a film of salt. 

The next day we went in to the village to check in.  The police officer was not to be found.  We then went back to the boat and started preparations for our visitor who was scheduled to arrive on December 24th.  This involved decorating the boat and of course, baking Christmas cookies and squares, not to mention placing a Coca Cola in the fridge in the hopes it would get cold for the "big guy". On Christmas Eve we had a small potluck supper with Tom and Jane from Promise and Wally and Liz from Blue Tango.  It was nice to spend Christmas Eve with friends.  On Christmas Day we went into the village with the other cruisers for church.  This is no easy task here.  It involves dingying in and then walking the dingy in the rest of the way because of the large tides while hiking up the mandatory long skirts women are required to wear and holding my dessert (for the after church luncheon) and trying to drag the dinghy and not fall in the process.  Jacqueline somehow managed not to get wet at all while being piggybacked by her big sister.  By the time we got to shore we were all wet and covered in sand and salt.  We then made our way to the church.  The church is a large building with a thatched roof,. no walls and a cement floor.  Everyone sits on the floor for the service and lunch.  After church lunch was served.  The guests (cruisers) and men eat first and then the women and children eat second.  After lunch there was a competition hymn sing.  All in all it was a full and fun day.  We made our way back to the boat, same procedure minus the dessert, and opened our Christmas presents.  Bruce then went to turn on the generator but it wouldn't start.  That's right, our brand new (it is only 4 months old), very expensive generator did not work.  He spent the next few hours trying to get it to work but no luck.  I then started to cook our Christmas dinner and just like last year had a small yet scary fire in the oven.  This seems like it is becoming a tradition out here, one I would like not to have.  All in all Christmas was a success even in Abemema.

Getting ready for X-mas Eve Party                            The cruisers, Blue Tango and Promise

We took a tour of the island.  We rented a flatbed truck and us and Blue Tango did the grand tour of the island.  It took about 4 hours going from one end to the other.  It was quite interesting but very hot sitting in the back of the flatbed.  Mary and George and their family came along and were our tour guides.  Just a note, generator still not working.  Bruce has reinstalled our old water maker (runs on battery - 4 gallons per hour compared to 25 gallons per hour and is 110 V).  We are lucky we carry an extra water maker as there would be no way we could get fresh clean safe water here in Kiribati.  The rest of our time is spent home schooling the kids.   

Local dance competition - Linda has finally covered her thighs properly

The local meeting place and Church                        Other riders during the island tour

A typical home in Abemama

Giving a cigarette to the ancestors                                Tossing a cigarette on the beach

Rubbing sand on our cheeks to become an "Islander"

 

More Islander homes                                                Typical construction of a meeting place - no nails

Collecting "toddy" tree sap - like maple syrup?

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