Category Archives: Marquesas to Hawaii

Long Awaited Pictures!!

We know these pics are way overdue but we haven’t had internet for over two months!  Here are pics from Toau and Raroia in the Tuamotus, Anaho Bay on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas and a couple pics from the passage to Hawaii. Sorry for not having more to post from the passage but we were naked the entire time and can’t post the pics for obvious reasons….

IMG_0344

Hilo Bay!  Dry Land!

IMG_0328

Message in a bottle at 8N dedicated to the passing of Riley, Alyssa’s loving family dog

IMG_0321DSCF9214

Fresh produce from the farm in Anaho Bay

DSCF9205 DSCF9194 DSCF9192

Anaho Bay.  Ellie anchored in background

DSCF9191 DSCF9187 DSCF9185 DSCF9181IMG_0306

Alyssa carving up our fresh-caught Tuna in Nuku Hiva

IMG_0291

Approaching Hatiheu Bay, Nuku HivaIMG_0288 DSCF9176 - Copy

All that is left of the mahi Lewis caught after processing all the meat

DSCF9174 - Copy

 

Mahi Lewis caught to windward of Nuku Hiv on 50lb test and ocean rod with tiny 4″ jet-head squid lure

DSCF9171 - Copy

Alyssa made a perfect gaff shot near the spine behind the eyes.  She was hungry and made the first shot stick!

IMG_0276

Sunset at Castaway Island in Raroia

IMG_0274 DSCF9166

Sewing projects in Raroia

DSCF9162

Shots from the masthead in Raroia Atoll

DSCF9159 DSCF9156 DSCF9151

Hottie in Raroia

DSCF9148 DSCF9142 IMG_0262 IMG_0260 IMG_0255

Date night on the boat

IMG_0250

Lewis made a custom coconut shaver for making coconut milk (Poisson cru anyone?)

IMG_0247IMG_0242

Lobster trap we set out on the reef.  Instead of lobster we caught a small shark and a few snapper.  Fail.

DSCF9135 DSCF9133 DSCF9130 IMG_0235

This is what happens when you don’t reel in faster than the sharks can swim in Raroia

DSCF9121

Raft #2 (with attached solar panel) found on the windward side of Raroia

DSCF9118 DSCF9114 DSCF9093

Raft #1 found on windward side of Raroia

DSCF9086 DSCF9084 DSCF9077 DSCF9069 DSCF9068 IMG_0195 IMG_0179

Lewis helping process fish for shipment to Papeete on Toau Atoll. This was only the first batch of fish from 3 fish traps.

IMG_0166 IMG_0151 DSCF9062

We constantly had around 10 of these pilot fish cleaning our bottom in Toau and Raroia. They don’t ask for money, so we’re all about it. Check out the visibility; we’re anchored in 40′.DSCF9051

Valentine and Gaston’s kitchen/dining area over the waterIMG_0136 DSCF9010 IMG_0133 IMG_0125 IMG_0091

Makin’ coconut bread with ValantineIMG_0086

Major meat processing from Alyssa’s mahiIMG_0083Alyssa’s Mahi caught on the way from Moorea to Toau (using hand line and a medium sized jet-head squid lure)

 

Land Ho! We’re in Hawaii after Two Weeks at Sea!! – Passage Summary

After leaving Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva two weeks ago and sailing 2,050 nautical miles we have sighted land and are quickly closing with the big Island of Hawaii. This evening we find ourselves 20 miles east of Cape Kumukahi and a mere 40 miles out of Hilo. I can see the bright lava flow of Kilauea off in the distance. What a cool landfall! We will heave-to outside Hilo and wait until daybreak before entering the breakwater and dropping our anchor in Reeds Bay.

The last few days have been extraordinarily good sailing. We were richly rewarded for our effort of sailing back to the Marquesas with a better wind angle and it also helped that Neptune gifted us a pleasant 13-18 knots of wind most of the way. I have been watching the GRIBS of the NE trades for months and they are almost always blowing 20+ but we lucked out and caught a perfect week with winds in the mid teens. The wind has been on or aft the beam for 80% of this passage. Less than 10% has been close-hauled. Jimmy Cornell, Author of WORLD CRUISING ROUTES, gave spot-on advice when he stated that the passage between the Marquesas and Hawaii is: “a fast and pleasant passage at almost any time of the year.” I couldn’t agree more and I recommend this passage to anyone. With the wind on the beam or just aft the beam for most of the passage the boat is both stable and fast. There are favorable currents almost the entire way and the seas were less than 8 feet most of the time. We made record time with Ellie posting a few 160+ mile days and we even saw SOG over 8.0 knots on a few occasions. Impressive performance from our heavy 30 year old Tartan.

We had a scare with hurricane ANA passing directly through our planned route. It was 2-3 days ahead of us and we were able to use the winds feeding it from the south to sail through the ITCZ almost without a break in the wind. I was hesitant to sail to Hawaii in September or early October for the chance of a late-season hurricane and we delayed our departure until the end of October as a precaution. Had we not done so we may have had to try our storm tactics on the real stage. Luckily Neptune spared us his wrath and ANA continued to move NW out of our path and even ended up helping us along. You can bet your ass I was keeping a close eye on the ITCZ as we made way in the NE trades for fear of another one forming. It was fascinating to watch how ANA formed on the GRIBS. We now know how to identify the early stages of a tropical depression forming on the edge of the ITCZ.

Alyssa is ecstatic to be in tomorrow morning and we are both looking forward to resting up and exploring the islands. First order of business after clearing in with customs will be to find one of those mythical places where you can sit at a table and they bring you a piece of paper with various food items on it. I hear you can even have them cook the food and they clean up afterwards. Sounds too good to be true but we’ll have to go see for ourselves.

Here are some quick stats of our passage:

Departed:
October 10, 2014
Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
08 49 S, 140 03 W

Arrival:
October 25, 2014
Hilo, Hawaii
19 43 N, 155 03 W

Total Miles:
2,062 nm

Time Elapsed:
14 days, 12 hours

Average SOG:
5.9 knots

Best 24 hrs:
163 nm

Worst 24 hours:
110 nm

Equator Crossing:
141 58 W

Doldrums Between:
7.40 N and 8.20 N

Longitude at 10 N:
144 00 W

Strong NE Trades Filled in at:
12 25 N, 145 00 W

Average Wind Speed:
14 knots

Maximum Wind Speed:
28 knots

Minimum Wind Speed:
4 knots (in ITCZ)

West-setting Current:
S of 5N, N of 8N – Average 1 knot

East-setting Counter-Current:
Between 5N and 8N – Average 1 knot

Engine Hours Accumulated:
14

Fuel Consumed:
< 5 gallons

Breakages/Equipment Failures:
Port Dorade Box Screws Failed. No Other Issues.

Fish Caught:
0 (due to the fact our freezer is full of tuna and mahi and we didn’t put the lines out)

Ships Sighted:
0 (we saw one container ship on AIS 15 miles away but no visual)

Hours Spent at the Helm:
0

Fresh Water Produced:
200 Gallons

Books Read:
6

Movies Watched:
12+

TV Episodes Watched:
20+

Favorite Meal:
Fresh Yellow Fin Tuna Sushi and Sashimi

Fights Between Captain and First Mate:
0

Overall an excellent passage! We’re in Hawaii!! See you all in CA soon!

Mahalo!
Lewis & Alyssa

Here’s Alyssa’s Float Plan update from this morning:

We made it!!! The sun is rising as I type this, illuminating the peak of the big island. A massive squall just passed over Ellie, dumping buckets of rain, cleaning the last of the salt off her stainless and decks. The wind died about 4 hours ago and we’ve slowly been motoring around 3.5kts towards the harbor, waiting for light. Lewis and I switched our usual shifts, waking up just before landfall this morning so he will be fully rested and ready to anchor.
I have butterflies in my stomach. The first sight of land yesterday was such an excitement, we were dancing on the side decks and shouting hooray’s. Nothing quite matches the exhilaration you get from making landfall after a long passage. After 2067nm and 14.5 days at sea, it’s good to be back!
We are only 5.5nm from the harbor entrance and should be anchored in about 2hrs. Then we’ll launch the dingy and walk to customs. We got confirmation that they would stay open until noon today to clear us in (another hooray!!). We will likely be very busy once we make landfall, but expect an update either tonight or tomorrow once we’re settled at anchor.
Thanks for being there for us! It’s nice to know you guys are watching our progress, helping us look up random stuff on the internet, monitoring storms and hurricanes in our path, and being our daily entertainment via email. We’ve really enjoyed the company:)

Much love and gratitude,
Alyssa

1550z
243*t
3.5kt sog
19 47.51N
154 59.86W
5kts SW (land effect)
2010 barometer

 

Nuku Hiva to Hawaii, Day 14

 

We have only 115nm to go and are counting down the miles. We have gone 146nm in the past 24hrs. We are keeping up speed around 6kts, only because the wind is expected to die off completely as we near the big island as it rises above the volcanic mountains. We will likely take our time once we are near and motor in at first light so we have plenty of time to find good holding in Reed’s Bay before launching the dingy and for Lewis to walk to customs.

We had another pleasant night with steady winds around 16kts and it has been surprisingly easy to keep our rhumbline course for Hilo. We’ve hardly touched the monitor wind vane for the last 5 days. Today we will be making water, topping off the batteries, charging all our electronics (and cell phone), and cleaning up the messy boat since I expect to be boarded by agriculture and customs. We only have 5 tomatoes left and I threw overboard two small heads of cabbage and a couple cucumbers. I am never buying cabbage again. It’s gross and we don’t use it. I don’t care how well it keeps. lol. I’m looking forward to the farmer’s market in Hilo. It’s supposed to be the best in all of the Hawaiian islands.

The previous owners of Ellie are vacationing on the other side of the big island and are planning to meet up with us early next week. He and two other guys did this same passage but from Tahiti to Kona and it took them 19 days, more hard on the wind. He’s been following our progress and giving us advice along the way. It will be nice catching up with friends on land for a while:)

 

Love,

Alyssa

 

1545z

19 04.39N

153 16.20W

295*t

6.1kts sog

17kts E

2010 barometer

 

 

▶ Show quoted text

 

Nuku Hiva to Hawaii, Day 10

What a rough night.
We’ve sailed 1324nm from Nuku Hiva and have 752nm to go.
As we finished dinner last night, we could see we were approaching a very large squall line. Within 2 hours we had mixed seas, gusts of 20kts winds from opposite directions, long periods of no wind, and lots and lots of lightning. I immediately put our portable gps and vhf in the oven and turned on the engine. I wanted to get through this as quickly as possible and try and stabilize the boat so our sails would not flog when there was no wind. It would downpour during the calms, filling our poorly designed dorade boxes. We’ve tried everything to stop these from filling with water. The drain holes are only on one side and seem to funnel water in, so we’ve plugged those with butle tape. I’ve shoved dish towels inside to sop up the water and stop it from splashing huge amounts of water at a time, but in rough weather like this, there’s no stopping water from coming into our cabin. The most frustrating part is that the dorade vent is directly above our head when we’re sleeping in the midcabin bunk with the lee cloth. When I went to replace the air vent with the cap on the port dorade, the entire teak wood piece came off, pulling the screws from the fiberglass and exposing a nice hole straight into the port cabin. I quickly capped the hole and strapped the wood piece back into place for the time being. How frustrating!!! These things were designed so poorly!!!! I wish I could fiberglass over the entire thing.
The wind finally came back, but the clouds and rain are still present. We’ve fallen off for a rhumline course to Hilo and have 19.5kts on the beam. We are making 6.3kts and are a little queasy from the swell. It was so pleasant the past week, we forgot what it was like to feel like crap at sea with little sleep. It should only stay like this for the next two days and then calm down again.
Propagation has been terrible the past 24hrs, so don’t be worried if I don’t email on time in the next few days. We’ll be in HI in no time with this NE wind:)

Love,
Alyssa

1545 zulu
12 26.53N
145 04.16W
320*t
6.2kts sog
19kts ENE
1009 barometer

Marquesas to Hawaii Day 9 – Riding the NE Trades!

We are 9 days out of the Marquesas and have put 1,200 miles in our wake since leaving Anaho Bay.  We’re officially through the ITCZ and riding the light NE trades over a gentle NE swell.  The ITCZ was almost non-existent with a few squalls just heavy enough to rinse the salt off Ellie’s rigging.  The motor came on for half a day while we bounced and heaved over a mixed swell with less than 5 knots of ground wind.  Yesterday the NE trades started to fill in from the east at 8 knots and we ghosted over the smooth seas close-hauled on a course of due north.  When the wind died we both jumped in the sapphire blue water with one eye out for sharks and the other out for jellies.  We spent the afternoon hanging out listening to music in the cockpit and downing some ice cold Hinanos.  Alyssa made sushi for lunch and we had leftover lasagna for dinner.  We ended our great day by watching Waterworld before turning in.  We are thoroughly enjoying these tranquilo conditions as we know they will not last.  Tomorrow the winds and seas are forecast to pick up so we’ll put the bone back in Ellie’s teeth, put the wind on the beam and make haste for dry land!  We should make Hilo in 6 days if we can keep our speed above 6 knots.  That shouldn’t be a problem as we have picked up the north equatorial current and it will only intensify as we climb north.  We should be back to posting speeds above 7 knots once Ellie finds some more breeze.

We have yet to put the fishing lines back in the water.  We’re still working through the tuna and mahi we caught in the Marquesas!  Our freezer is the size of a shoebox so there is little point in fishing until we make a serious dent in our current supply.  The vegetables are holding up very well and we still have tomatoes, cucumber, pamplemouse and we cut some bananas from the stalk and put them in the fridge so they last a few more days.  The melons rotted right away and the herbs were toast within the first few days.  It’s been really great having the fresh fruit and veggies.  We have barely touched our canned food, which we were both starting to tire of after spending so much time in the Tuamotus without fresh fruit and veggies.

I have been planning our attack on the Hawaiian Islands and getting excited about the route.  We will plan to visit every island between Hawaii and Oahu in the month we have before we fly back to CA.  I hope they rent motorcycles on the Big Island because it’s been waaaay too long and that would be an awesome way to see the island.

We’ll write again in a couple days.  Hope everyone had an amazing weekend.

Manuia,
Lewis & Alyssa

October 19, 2014

800 nm SE of Hilo, Hawaii

11 01 N
144 23 W

Crossed the Equator Twice this Season!

We just crossed the equator and are officially back in the Northern Hemisphere.  Strange…it looks the same…but it is definitely starting to get cooler each night.  We are 4 days out of the Marquesas.  We have covered 550 nm and have 1,400 more to go.  We are making great speed averaging 6.7 knots and making 150 miles per day.  There is a 1.0 knot favorable current pushing us along.  We hope it holds for a while.  We are still sailing on a beam reach in 13-16 knots of wind with steeper seas to 8 feet breaking on the beam once in a while.  The head got pooped (haha no pun intended) so we’re keeping the hatches closed.

We continue to monitor hurricane ANA, currently 600 nm north of our position.  The 72 hour forecast has been upgraded to a full blown hurricane.  The current track has it heading NW at 10-15 knots directly towards Hawaii.  Hopefully it breaks apart or weakens before making landfall.

We have decided to continue to sail NNW towards ANA.  ANA is traveling at 10-15 knots and we are making 7 so the storm should move way ahead of us.  On the surface this may not seem the most prudent decision but if we keep to the south of ANA we will be able to ride tail winds all the way to 10N, effectively eliminating most of the calms associated with the ITCZ, albeit at some degree of risk.  If we instead decide to continue to head due north we will be becalmed within 4 days and be forced to motor for 3-4 days before reaching the NE trades.  We are not carrying extra fuel and we prefer to sail so we have decided to follow closely behind, but outside the fringe bands of ANA and ride her coat tails north.  We will of course monitor the storm path closely and if she stalls or turns we will run like hell!

Anyone want to look into how many tropical storms that formed near 10N between 130W and 150W have turned back towards the equator?  Or do they all head in a N or NW direction after formation?  This is an important piece of trivia that I would like to know.  First person to email us some data gets a gold star and some booty from the south seas.  Trinkets not wenches – get your mind out of the gutter.

Look forward to hearing from someone with an internet connection!  Remember to send text only to the at sea email address.

L&A

October 14, 2014
23:15z

00 13 NORTH!
142 03 WEST

7.0 knots

333T

Marquesas to Hawaii – Day 2

We are 250nm N of Nuku Hiva and 1,700nm SSE of Hawaii.  All is well.  The weather is pleasant with 12 knots of wind out of the East and seas less than 6 feet.  We are under full sail with the wind just forward of the beam on a heading of due north.  The current is strong and pushing us westward at about a knot so our actual COG is 345-350 True.

It is very hot as the sun is directly overhead at this latitude this time of year.  Even sunscreen can’t prevent burns and we are continually shifting around the cockpit clinging to any shade we can get.  We are looking forward to the cooler climes of the northern hemisphere.

We are watching a developing cyclone very carefully that is forming at 10N, 140 W.  Our course is plotted directly through this waypoint so it will have our full attention.  It is forecast to build in intensity and move towards Hawaii.  We are still 1,000 miles south of it so we are not in danger and it should move on before we reach 10N.  We are watching it closely.

The near-term forecast is calling for excellent sailing conditions.  10-15 knots out of the E and ESE with seas less than 7 feet.  The famed SE trades in all their lovely glory.  Not a bad way to spend a week.  Calm seas with 13 knots of warm trades on the beam is probably the best sailing conditions this planet has to offer.  I just remembered why we are sailing to Hawaii and not New Zealand…

We’ll write again in a couple days.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

NaNa,
Lewis & Alyssa

October 12, 2014

04 42 S
140 26 W

5.5 knots SOG
355 T

Leaving the Marquesas in Our Wake … Setting Sail from Anaho Bay, Bound for Hawaii

Today we are sailing out of Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva bound for Hawaii.  We have overstayed our visa by three months so it’s time to leave before the French Man finds us.  We have 2,100 nm to cover before making landfall in Hilo.  We are hoping for a pleasant passage with 10-15 knots on the beam, gentle seas and puffy trade wind clouds.  The reality will likely be a mixed bag so everyone put in some well wishes and a good word to the weather Gods and we’ll just have to see what Neptune brings.

A few days ago we sailed into Hatiheu Bay, a gorgeous bay with a quiet little village that Robert Louis Stevenson used to frequent.  We landed the dink on a concrete wharf with lots of surge and went into town in search of provisions.  We were ecstatic to see a visa/mastercard logo on the window and quickly scoured the shelves for fresh provisions.  We loaded up with flour, rice, canned veggies, fruit juices, cheese and of course an ample stock of Hinanos.  The kind Marquesan woman who ran the store gave us a ride back to the wharf, we loaded up the dink without dropping anything and headed back to Ellie.  Once everything was stowed we sailed out of Hatiheu Bay and tacked upwind a few miles to Anaho Bay.

Anaho Bay is a magical place.  I cannot improve upon the description by Robert Louis Stevenson so I will quote from his book, IN THE SOUTH SEAS.  Here is the excerpt from his landing on the schooner, CASCO in the late 1800’s.
“The CASCO skimmed under cliffs, opened out a cove, showed us a beach and some green trees, and flitted by again, bowing to the swell. The trees, from our distance, might have been hazel; the beach might have been in Europe; the mountain form behind modelled in little from the alps, and the forest which clustered on their ramparts a growth no more considerable than our Scottish heath. Again the cliff yawned, but now with a deeper entry; and the CASCO, hauling her wind, began to slide into the bay of Anaho. The cocoa-palm, that giraffe of vegetables, so graceful, so ungainly, to the European eye so foreign, was to be seen crowding on the beach, and climbing and fringing the steep sides of mountains. Rude and bare hills embraced the inlet upon either hand; it was enclosed to the landward by a bulk of shattered mountains. In every crevice of that barrier the forest harboured, roosting and nestling there like birds about a ruin; and far above, it greened and roughened the razor edges of a summit.  Under the eastern shore, our schooner, now bereft of any breeze, continued to creep in; the smart creature, when once under way, appearing motive in herself. From close aboard arose the bleating of young lambs, a bird sang in the hillside; the scent of the land and of a hundred fruits or flowers flowed forth to meet us; and, presently, a house or two appeared, standing high upon the ankles of the hills, and one of these surrounded with what seemed like a garden…It was longer ere we spied the native village, standing (in the universal fashion) close upon a curve of beach, close under a grove of palms; the sea in front growling and whitening on a concave arc of reef.  For the cocoa-nut tree and the island man are both lovers of the surf.”

Anaho Bay is perhaps the first place we have sailed that has matched the description verbatim as it was written by the writers and explorers 150 years ago.  How RLS describes this beautiful bay is exactly how we found it.  There are still only a few homes on the hills and there are still a few natives living behind the white sand beach beyond the concave curve of reef.  There are no stores or commercial buildings.  No doubt this lack of development is due to the absence of a road into the bay.  There is only a trail and most of the locals still use the horse as the means of transportation.  The first night here we were intrigued by what sounded like a small child crying only to discover a few goats on the hillside.  If this beautiful bay were anywhere other than the remote Marquesas it would be inundated with tourist development.  What a wonderful experience to be able to anchor in the same place as RLS and see it as he saw it.

Perhaps more interesting is the wild history of this place before RLS and other white men set foot on the beach.  Just imagine the scene when this bay was inhabited by many hundreds of cannibals.  Drums beating a deafening roar as the warriors carry stained baskets full of long-pig up to the ma’ea.  Before any white man set foot on this island there were thousands of warring cannibals.  The whites introduced disease, the Asians an opium vice and between the two wiped out 90% of the population in less than a century.  All that remain are the overgrown ruins of volcanic stone paepaes (living platforms) and ma’ea (temples).  I think hollywood should make a movie about this island and reenact all the scenes that would have taken place.  I’d certainly go watch it.

Yesterday we walked along the beach and hiked over the isthmus to the windward side of the island.  There we found a small organic farm run by a few friendly locals.  We had a nice chat with them in our limited French and their limited English.  We were able to buy a stalk of bananas, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, green onions, lettuce, green beans, basil, cilantro, parsley, hot chili peppers, pamplemouse, melon and the worlds smallest watermelon.  Then we had the privilege of breaking our backs hauling all our fresh provisions up that hill and around the bay in the blazing heat.  I think we’ll both be sore for a week but it was worth it to have amazing fresh produce for our long passage to Hawaii.

On a more tragic note, I spent the next day huddled over in a cold sweat with terrible food poisoning.  I didn’t think twice about the delicious melon the friendly farmers were serving us.  Alyssa only had a few bites while I had three slices!  I didn’t see that he was carving them with a filthy machete that was probably laced with all sorts of unsanitary flavoring.  Once I was sick Alyssa said to me, “ya, I was really surprised you kept eating them. Didn’t you see all the flies in that shack?”  Thanks babe.

We’re almost finished getting Ellie ready to go to sea again.  Alyssa is baking up a storm and I’m procrastinating my job of stowing everything.  To be quite honest I am not ready to leave the Marquesas.  I wish we could stay here longer to get to know the locals and spend more time exploring.  We could hide out for another three months and then clear in again.  But the Marquesas only have a couple anchorages that are completely protected from the swell and Alyssa will probably kill me if I don’t get her to civilization soon, so sail north we must.  I have a feeling we’ll be back again someday.

We will send updates under way.

Ka Oha Nui Anaho!

Lewis & Alyssa

October 10, 2014

Anaho Bay, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas, French Polynesia