Tearing Across the Pacific, Bound for the Tuamotus

Kaoha Nui,

We are barreling along on a beam reach and have managed to maintain speeds over 6.5 knots for the past 22 hours covering 140 miles since leaving Ua Pou yesterday; this will certainly be a new 24 hour record for us.  Trying to maintain speeds above 6 knots so we can make it to Raroia in under 3 days, a passage that normally takes 4 days.  The toll of maintaining these speeds is a less than happy Princess as the motion is pretty severe.  The weather has been pretty narly.  We saw 28 knots leaving the island and it has rarely dropped below 20 over the past day.  We had some squalls hit us last night just to keep us on our toes.  The forecast is calling for lower wind speeds but it has yet to materialize.  The seas are 10 – 12 feet with 2 – 4 foot wind waves on top.  Once again Ellie has a bone in her teeth and she is roaring towards palm trees, white sand beaches and FLAT WATER!

We received the raw water pump for the engine on Friday afternoon and were up and running 100% by Friday evening.  Despite the fact that a $350 pump cost us almost a grand to have delivered to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific, we went out to pizza to celebrate having our beloved engine back and in good health.  Saturday morning we pulled anchor and sailed for Ua Pou.  We spent the night at Ua Pou to wait out what we thought was the worst of the weather and then set sail for Raroia at noon on Sunday.  The anchorage at Ua Pou was rolly but magnificent with amazing bare stone spires shooting straight out of the lush green mountains.  Our trick is to spend a night in a very rolly anchorage right before a passage to help acclimate us to the rocking so we don’t get so sea sick.  This works 80% of the time but when it’s this rough there is really nothing that can help.  I am struggling to even write this and will need to go back topside soon.

We are anticipating a Wednesday morning arrival at Raroia, a low-lying coral atoll in the Tuamotus.  It’s imperative we arrive both at slack tide AND with the sun high in the sky so we can safely navigate through the tight coral pass and then navigate through the many coral heads that dot the lagoon.

By the way, quick note on the prices in the Marquesas.  We are torching our cruising kitty.  Here are some examples:

a) 1 gallon of diesel or gas (duty free): $10 US
b) SMALL jar of mayonnaise: $11 US!
c) Half gallon of juice: $8 US
d) Loaf of bread: $8 US
e) Single can of Tahitian beer: $4 US
f) Bag of chips: $6.75 US
g) Small can of tuna: $4 US

Don’t even get us started on the crappy wine for $30 a bottle.  We are glad that we stocked up on ample provisions in Mexico but walking out of the store with only two bags of groceries that cost $200 US makes me sick!  In Mexico we could have loaded up a full cart for $200!  Our plan is to eat every last Mexican bean on the boat and pull into Rarotonga while we eat our last granola bar (we hear it’s cheap provisioning there).

That’s our update from the rocket ship Eleutheria.  Speedo is reading 6.9 knots and we are under double-reefed main and a handkerchief of jib.  Will try and write tomorrow.

Lewis & the seasick Mermaid Princess

May 12, 2014

19:24 z

11 31.4 S
140 51.5 W

6.8 knots

185 T

22 knots ESE

10 – 12 ft seas

1010 bar

Thank You

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