Friday, 24 June 2016

3-2016 Tuamotu Archipelago

Hi from Clare, Thursday 23rd June 2016

We left Nuku Hiva last Monday 13th June. By that time Andrew's infected leg was healing nicely, my shoes were repaired and we were fully provisioned. We heard on the radio that fresh fruit and veg will be scarce until we arrive in Tahiti in some twelve weeks time.

We sailed 90 miles to Hanamoenoa Bay on the island of Tahuata. We spent some time here last year so we knew it to be a calm anchorage with crystal clear water. So with a waterproof bandage on his leg Andrew was able to clean the slime off the bottom of the boat in preparation for leaving. However it wasn't all work and no play and we both enjoyed the 28 degree water. We spent two nights here in company with our Aussie friend Tony and crew on 'Tactical Directions'.

It took us 3 days in company with 'Tactical' to sail the 525 miles to the atoll of Raroia in the Tuamotus. During this time we experienced everything from pleasant sailing to absolutely no wind, pouring rain, threatening squalls, brilliant sunsets, flat seas, big swells, strong winds and this cycle was repeated a couple of times; it certainly keet us on our toes.

The Tuamotus is made up of some seventy atolls and the larger lagoons have navigable entrances. We arrived at the pass into the atoll of Raroia at slack water. This is the best time to negotiate the entrance as the incoming or outgoing tide can be as much as eight knots. Once through the pass we sailed five miles in flat water across the atoll and anchored off Kon-tiki Island (named such because a group of explorers in 1947 drifted a raft called Kon-Tiki some 4,300 miles from Peru and landed here). We are still anchored here as it is too beautiful to leave yet.

We went for a dive with eleven other divers last Monday. To do this we left the Kon-Tiki anchorage on 'Tactical Directions' in company with three other catamarans and travelled back to the pass then launched four dinghies full of divers and waited for slack water followed by the incoming tide. When the time was right we descended into an amphitheatre and did a drift dive through a number of raveens and then out into a magnificent coral garden mostly white and yellow in colour. There were many colourful fish and we saw half a dozen harmless sharks. It was a good dive and we may go back and do the coral garden again at a more leisurely pace. The four dinghies picked us up at the end making the drift dive possible as we had covered quite a distance.

We had a pot luck dinner on the beach on Tuesday night with everyone from the anchorage. We had three Australian boats, three Austrian and one Dutch boat. Andrew says it sounds like the beginning of a joke - three Australians, three Austrians and one Dutchman went to the Bar" but this time we all gathered for drinks at sunset. We had a big fire going for cooking and one chap played his guitar and we had a sing along. It was a good night and only came to an end when a rain squall came over and we all scurried back to our boats.

Yesterday in company with 'Tactical' and crew we dinghied down to a pearl farm. The development of the cultured black pearl is the primary resource in the Territory after tourism. The local people are very welcoming and allow the cruisers to walk through the shed and see the process. This particular farm harvests the oysters and impregnate them.
They are then placed back in the water and tended for twelve months until the pearl has been formed. This, probably not unlike the gold or diamond mines, is definitely the unattractive side of the sparkling jewellery industry.


Tony and crew on 'Tactical Directions' left this morning and so now we can slow down a bit. We are quite happy to stay here as we are not in a hurry and there are a few more anchoring spots within the lagoon. The boat hasn't been this still since we left the Panama Canal and so we are just enjoying life to the full. We will post photos when next we have internet access.

Love Candy xx

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Sunday, 12 June 2016

2-2016 Still here in Nuku Hiva

Hi from Clare,                                                                        Friday 10th June 2016

So things don't always turn out the way we plan. Last Sunday we left Nuku Hiva and foolishly I waved good-bye commenting that I would never see the island again – ha ha.
We sailed twenty five miles to the island of Ua-poa. The weather was perfect, the water 28 degrees and crystal clear. The island is very mountainous and is a favourite for rock climbers. From a distance some of the pinnacles look like big chimneys on the mountain; rather spectacular. We anchored in a lovely bay and intended staying there until the weather was right to sail to the Tuamotus. We had both manta-rays and dolphins swimming by the boat. However after two peaceful days we found ourselves heading back to Huku Hiva. Andrew had grazed his shin some five days earlier and whilst at Ua-poa his leg became very inflamed, swelled up and his temperature rose to 38.2 degrees. He wasn't feeling too well and so back to Nuku Hiva and a visit to the hospital.
The Dr said these tropical infection are very common with the Cruising Community, and prescribed a course of antibiotics and the necessary disinfectants to treat the wound; Andrew is now feeling much better.

Our water maker is only producing half as many litres per hour than it should. So Andrew has pulled it apart twice now searching for the problem. It is not the easiest piece of equipment to get to as it is installed behind the engine. So he has been head down and tail up for a couple of days and at the moment the water maker is in pieces on the dining table.
We are both hoping he has found the problem. Fortunately it has rained every day and so the water tanks are full.
Andrew with all the 'O' rings

PS the watermaker is now in full production! WOOHOO

Another problem we encountered was that the engine wouldn't start. One of the earth connections had come off. It took a bit of finding but at the time we were in calm water and not at any risk. The alternator regulator that controls the amount of power going into the batteries has died. This could have been a real problem but Tony on Tactical Directions had a spare and was happy for us to have it as Andrew has helped Tony on his boat on numerous occasions.

We were busy cleaning up the boat and somehow we managed to throw out my new Orthaheel thongs. This was a loss but not to worry I still had my Teva rubber sandals, an essential piece of kit for a yachtie. Although both soles were loose, I was running out of options and so I wore them shopping in the pouring rain. The ground was muddy and one sandal was flicking mud up the back of me. By the time I left the supermarket It was nearly fully off so I removed it and put it in my bag. When I was half way home I realised that I had lost the other sole. I retraced my steps but could not find it; now I was in real trouble. The following day, wearing the last pair of shoes I have on the boat, I went for a walk with friends. It started to rain and so we ducked for cover under the verandah of the supermarket. Low and behold there was the sole to my sandal right out the front of the supermarket. I guess I didn't find it the day before as there would have been a car parked there. I am one happy person and my sandals have been washed and waiting for repair so I can continue on my merry way. Of course I had all these really helpful suggestions like making a pair of sandals out of and old car tyre, but I didn't jump at that.

Kevin, the local Yacht Agent, and Andrew at Happy Hour

Tonight Tony on Tactical and his crew Garry and his partner Karen are coming here for drinks. Today is probably the nicest day we have had for a while so hopefully it won't rain. We are waiting for the right weather to head for the Tuamotus. At present there is a big swell coming from south of Tahiti so we will wait for that to abate.

Love Candy xx   

Friday, 3 June 2016

1-2016 Return to Our Cruising Life

Hi from Clare,                                                 Wednesday 3rd June 2016

We are now back on the boat in Taiohae Bay Huku Hiva and very pleased to be here after ten months in Australia.

Just a quick update on the Breast Cancer scenario. I underwent surgery, 15 weeks of Chemo, 5 weeks of Radiation and will be on Hormone Therapy for the next 5-10 years.
I consider myself fortunate as I had very few side effects from the treatment. I also had terrific support from Andrew, family and friends. A special thank you to Denise and Colin Wilson who made us very welcome in their home throughout the time. It was also very heartening to receive many emails and well wishes from our cruising friends, so thanks guys, all the hugs were well received.

The Cruise ship is in
So here we are in Nuku Hiva almost twelve months to the day of arriving here last year. We never imagined leaving the boat at anchor for such a long period. However it was well looked after by Kevin from Nuku Hiva Yacht Services. He reported back to us weekly completing a check list that he and Andrew devised before we left. Fortunately Taiohae Bay is considered one of the safest bays in French Polynesia throughout the Cyclone Season. We left a Satellite Tracker on board and so Andrew could see that Eye Candy was just happily bobbing around here. The boat is in good condition, the anti foul has survived quite well. Upon arrival our water line was heavily coated with barnacles which Andrew has been scraping off every day. Our two year old anchor chain hasn't survived so well. The ten metre section between 40-50 metres has been rubbing on the sea floor and is badly pitted and corroded. We will have to replace this when we get to Tahiti in about three months. Today there is a large cruise ship here and so the drums are beating and the local people are welcoming the visitors ashore. It is a beautiful sunny day and quite a festive sight.

The music makers
Andrew received a very rousing welcome back on our daily Radio Net. He has been missed but hasn't as yet resumed his position as a Net Controller. However I'm sure it won't be long before he is back on the air. We are slowly getting into cruising mode
We arrived here a week ago on Wednesday, the following night we had drinks with Jeanette and Neil on “Echo Echo”. Although we hadn't met them we felt we knew them as we have been following their Blog covering their journey from Panama to the Marquesas.
Andrew had also sent them a couple of emails from Kiama.

Early Tuesday morning we welcomed into the bay our Aussie friend Tony and crew member Garry on “Tactical Directions” . They had completed their 4000 mile trip from Panama to Marquesas. We joined them for a celebratory beer at about 6.30am (can you believe it?) followed by a cooked breakfast ashore. We spent the morning familiarising Tony and Garry with the town and helping them with some much needed shopping. That night I supplied dinner and Tony supplied drinks on “Tactical Directions”. We had a fun night but I must say we were a little worse for wear the following morning. Last night we had drinks with some of our new Radio Net friends. Brian and Yoko hosted the evening on “Pia” and Oliver and Vivian on “Maryanne” joined us also. It is always great to make new friends especially as a lot of our long standing friends are sailing on to either Australia or New Zealand this season. Tonight we are having a BBQ with Tony and Garry on “Tactical Directions”. Tony is supplying the meat and I am supplying nibbles, a salad and garlic bread. We are already giving ourselves a lecture to stay away from the rum – let's hope we are listening to such sage advice.

We still have a few jobs to do but at the same time looking for a weather window to sail the 500 miles to the Tuamotu where we will have clean water, good swimming and snorkeling – we can't wait.

Love Candy xx