For starters, Max sent us a quick note about Boston. Our hearts go out to everyone there. it’s awful.
We’d like to share some more positive news with all of you.
Sophie arrived safely at the atoll of Manihi in the Tuamotus last night. We did the 500 mile passage from Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas in 3 days and 11 hours. It was our first offshore passage where Jenna and I were Sophie’s primary crew, and we have to say that we felt pretty comfortable driving the boat by ourselves over a long distance.
We even had to get through a couple of decent problems along the way. Our first night was pretty squally, and at one point we had to get the spinnaker down in 35 knot gusts. No problem. The next night our Raymarine chartplotter and radar integrated display system stopped working, and we sailed 30 hours without our primary electronic charts and no radar. Based on the diagnostics from the CPU unit, Raymarine customer service told us that the system was experiencing a video processor failure and would have to be replaced. I eventually figured out that it was a bad cable and got it working again.
We spent much of the time while the Raymarine was down discussing whether or not we would skip the Tuomotus — an area known as “The Dangerous Archipelego” because all of the islands are quite low (15 feet above sea level) and surrounded by dangerous coral reefs. In order to give us breathing room while we made this decision, we sailed Sophie quite conservatively at night, with 2 reefs in the main and a reef in the jib. It turns out that the boat is pretty darn comfortable when it’s not being pushed. It also helped that a high pressure system came in, and we had no more rain or winds over 20 knots after the first night of the trip.
We were 100 miles away from Manihi at daybreak on the 15th when we got the Raymarine working again, and we decided to go for it and try to make Manihi and it’s narrow inlet into the lagoon before dark set in. We turned on a Yanmar and motorsailed at 8-10 knots throughout the day. We also contacted Xavier, the guy who operates the Sailmail station in Manihi, to see if he could offer us any assistance getting in through the passage, which can experience currents up to 6 knots and has coral on either side. It turns out we didn’t make Manihi until after dark, but Xavier tracked our position via AIS, kept in contact with us on VHF, and even had another boat turn on their AIS so we could see where the anchorage was located. He was very cool.
We got to the anchorage, dropped the hook, and opened a bottle of champagne. It was quite dark. Jenna and Leo made linguine with clam sauce. Leo has decided that he would like to become chef of the boat in order to learn a skill while being able to contribute to our overall effort in a positive way. He is inspired by his uncle Richy, and we gladly accepted his offer.
After Leo’s excellent dinner, we then all fell asleep watching “Bridge over the River Kwai”. Anchoring in a lagoon is like anchoring in a lake. There is no swell. We all slept.
Today we woke up, ate a pancake, cleaned up the boat, did 3 loads of laundry, then guided the kids through a half day of schoolwork. At one point we even saw a 4 foot long shark swimming lazily past Sophie. By the time we dinghied into the little village here, it was during the 1:00 – 300 PM period where French Polynesia apparently shuts down.
It is a pretty little town, but there was nothing open so we went back to Sophie. Lunch consisted of prosciutto and cheese from Costco along with mangos we hand picked in Fatu Hiva, all washed down with a rum coconut cocktail with our first ever hand picked coconut and flavored by hand picked limes. It’s 90 degrees in the shade in the aft cockpit, and the ice maker is on.
I’m not sure what the weather is like in Seattle right now, and I am sure work is as exciting as ever. But we are pretty happy anchored by the palm trees, coral and sand.