Saturday, April 9, 2011

"In preparation for landing, please return your seatbacks and tray tables . . . "

We're almost exactly 150 miles from Cap Matafenua on the northeast corner of Hiva Oa. That's been our way point for the past 17 days and we should reach it sometime tomorrow morning. From there, it's about another 20 miles to Pointe Feki where we hang a right into Baie Tahauku and drop our anchor. From what we understand, there's quite a fleet there already and everyone has a bow and stern anchor out to maximize the room for additional boats. The town of Atuona is close by and that's where we officially check into French Polynesia. We've hired agents to do the paperwork for us.

Fortunately, the wind has filled in some and we're moving quite well. In fact, in the middle of the night we decided we were moving too well and furled the genoa and unfurled the staysail. With just the staysail and reefed mainsail, we were still making over 6 knots per hour. This morning I tucked another reef into the mail and unfurled the genoa again. We're sailing along pretty consistently at about 7 knots now but with the stronger wind comes increased sea height and that makes for rolly conditions.

It's been a great trip. Last night we recorded our best-yet 24-hour run of 170 miles. None of the automatic bilge pumps (3 of them) have cycled even once. We did have a problem with the raw water pump on the genset but I think I was able to fix it. Say, does anyone feel like bringing an o-ring for an Oberdorfer 12VDC raw water pump to French Polynesia? Everything else has worked flawlessly. We've managed to keep good company for each other and about the most serious argument has been about doing dishes - often all three of us volunteer to do them, each trying to justify his/her own position for earning the right.

I have relinquished the position of Net Manager for the Pacific Puddle Jump Fleet. It was getting to be very difficult to recruit Net Controllers but finally some people have stepped up and are keeping it going. Last night 14 boats checked in. There's another good-sized fleet leaving Mexico now and they may be better about sharing the Net Control duties. I haven't been nearly as radio-active as I have in the past: Our new autopilot shuts down whenever I transmit so that means that either Ruthie or Corie have to hand steer when I'm on the radio. They hate to hand steer.

Quite likely our next posting will be from an anchored position off the coast of a beautiful South Pacific island.
At 4/9/2011 7:41 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 07°51.79'S 137°02.97'W

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