Sunday, April 10, 2011

At 1130 this morning . . .

. . local time, Rutea pulled into Baie Tahauku, the small bay just outside of the town of Atuona, on the island of Hiva Oa in French Polynesia. I first spotted land just after daybreak and it took us about 6 hours from then to the time we dropped our anchor. The last time we weighed anchor was on March 23 at 1030 local time at Punta de Mita, in the state of Nayarit, in Mexico. Our elapse time for the passage was 17 days, 22.5 hours, not bad for a big old heavy boat with an amateur crew.

The boat did great with just a few minor hiccups. It took me a while to figure out the new autopilot but once I did it worked great - for the most part. On four separate occasions, it shut down for no apparent reason and the display read, "Can Not Find Computer". A simple reboot and we were back on line. That did make me nervous, though. We also had an issue with the raw water pump on the genset, but I think I already mentioned that. Some of our lines and sheets took some abuse but nothing chafed through. From my perspective, it was almost a perfect trip.

The little bay we're in - and I'm not exaggerating when I say little - is surrounded by dense green fauna and a few well-kept houses. There are fourteen boats anchored here in a space that you would expect to hold about four. Most boats have bow and stern anchors out and the water is very shallow. The boats from France only have bow anchors out - the cruising community is rife with anecdotes on French cruisers, most of them unflattering. The eastern side of the bay is the wharf for the inter-island freighter, which arrives twice a week, bringing in supplies. We haven't seen it yet but apparently it's pretty large and has to maneuver in very close quarters (avoiding the French boats). We hope it arrives soon as we'd like to fill our diesel tank and the island only has a small supply - it goes quickly after the freighter leaves. It's hot and humid here.

Our good friends from Vancouver, BC, Beth and Norm on Sarah Jean II are anchored right next to us and I mean right next to us. They had left about four days before us and had similar good luck on their crossing. They came aboard shortly after we had our anchors down - it was great to see them again. Also here is Fred and Cinda on Songline with whom we have chatted on the radio but haven't met face to face until today.

I don't know how long we'll stay here but I think I'd like to get moving. I'm just not that comfortable anchoring close to other boats in the first place and in the second place, the holding here is poor. There is a professionally-guided tour of the island and we think we'd like to do that. I've got some maintenance issues to deal with as well so it's possible that we could be here a week but I hope not. I'll have to get used to the notion of 'island time' which means everything takes longer than it should and there are few good reason to hurry.

There's a light breeze coming in through the new opening ports I installed last summer. I remember working hard to convince Ruthie that all the portlights in Rutea's hull needed replacing and that she'd appreciate them once we got to the tropics. Even though they were a lot of work to install, we sure appreciate having them now that we're in the tropics.

We do our official check-in with the authorities tomorrow and get to see the town of Atuona. We'll let you know what it's like. Until then, I'm practicing my French, mon amis.

A demain, tout le monde!
At 4/11/2011 12:08 AM (utc) Rutea's position was 09°48.21'S 139°01.83'W

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  1. Hola! votre francais est tres bien, Neal - bonne chance avec les 'authorities' demain. Nous sommes tres `busy`avec Intrepid II - and now my French has deserted me! Congrats on crossing the South Pacific - we hope we follow in your wake not too far in the future. We will follow your blog in the interim - heading home to Victoria soon, leaving Intrepid in Guaymas for the summer. Carol and Kelly

  2. Congratulations! So glad to read your daily posts and know that you are safely there. Can't wait to hear more, and see some PHOTOS!!


  4. it is mes amis. Mes is my when the noun is plural.