Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas 2011 from Dennis, Carol and Josh aboard s/v Evergreen currently located on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, USA.
Yep, it is hard to believe how fast this year has gone by and the number of miles we have put under our hull. Like most years, 2011 has had ups and downs,but overall we have had a spectacular year. 

From the now familiar sights of Mexico to the picture postcard lagoons of French Polynesia there are just not enough words to describe what an amazing experience we have had this year.  It has definitely been a life enriching experience for all of us. 

Where's the T Rex?  Fatu Hiva
The Marquessa’s with their lush volcanic peaks reminded us of Jurassic park – right down to the staked out goat. Kind of eerie actually…. After a 24 day crossing we were happy to see land and have fresh food.  We began practicing our French, learning Polynesian words for things and orienting ourselves to cruising in FP.  We caught up with Doug and Carla on s/v Moondance in Nuka Hiva and were fortunate to buddy boat with them the rest of the season.

Dennis on the hooka - Tahanea



The Tuamotus gave us our first experience of entering lagoons thru the reef.  The entrance to Makemo was a little exciting between the current and waves.  We had no problems, but it was similar to eddy lines and waves on the river, only in a sailboat. Josh broke out his spear gun and provided several yummy dinners.  We voted the Tuomotus as best place to snorkel. We did lots of snorkeling, one scuba dive and several dives with our hooka. The water is so clear and there is an abundance of seal life – including sharks.
The Lagoon at Bora Bora



Tahiti and the Societies were next up. By the time we got to Tahiti we were ready to see a real grocery store.  We socialized with other Puddle Jumpers, provisioned, did laundry and boat projects; then headed out to explore the rest of the societies.  We spent about a month in BoraBora – the lagoon is beautiful.  Josh said goodbye to kid friends there and had to put up with just us grownups until our final stop in the Tuamotus on the way to Hawaii.  We made our way back to Tahiti with stops at Huahine and Tahaa.  We reprovisioned in Tahiti, and then headed out to spend some time in Moorea waiting for a good weather window to head back to the Tuamotu’s.



Toau  Josh, Doug, Carol, Valentine, Dennis and Gaston. 
Our last month or so in French Polynesia was spent in the Tuamotu’s on Toau and Rangiroa.  Toau was amazing – the caretakers there, Valentine and Gaston, made our stay special.  Rangiora was our last stop – Josh met up with his friend Max.  They fished like crazy men keeping us in a steady supply of fish. Again, had to wait for a weather window to leave, but made it to Hawaii in 17 days, just in time for Thanksgiving. 

Josh with the Big Fish kids, Alex, Max and Ayla









So, here we are.  Hawaii is beautiful, feels cool to us but I guess it is winter.  The marina is nice and our neighbors have been very welcoming and helpful.  We will be here until June – ish, so come see us.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a Happy 2012,
Dennis, Carol & Josh









Sunday, December 11, 2011

2 and a 1/2 weeks

 Aloha
Evergreen ready for Santa
Our new ride

Can't believe we have been in Oahu for almost
Josh does dishes
Sunset off the lagoon
3 weeks.  We are adjusting to land life pretty well.  We really love our new neighbors here at the marina.  They have been so welcoming and helpful.  We feel very lucky to have ended up here.  Last weekend Melanie and Jon down the dock brought us their jeep to drive while we are here. How amazing is that huh??!!  So, we are mobile.  We went exploring one day, down to Waikiki and then up the west coast and back down the H3 home. 

Josh is back doing math and is doing a good job keeping up with the dishes.  We have done a few projects around the boat, sorting and cleaning (lots of that) mostly.  In total  I did 17 loads of laundry the week we got here. 

The weather has been pretty nice, warm and windy, actually had rain the last couple of days.  Hopefully it is washing off the rest of the salt from the boat. 

I have been offered a job at the hospital in Ewa Beach.  It is 12 hour nights, but is the closest hospital to us.  The rest are all in town - which is an hour and a half commute.  I have an interview in town tomorrow, just to see what is they have to offer.  I would rather work there in the OR, but really don't want to commute on a daily basis, so we will see.














sunset over the marina





In the meantime we are enjoying our new friends and being in beautiful Hawaii.  We miss Doug and Carla, are looking forward to seeing them here in January.  Hope you enjoy the pictures....

Friday, November 25, 2011

112411

Happy Thanksgiving!! Yee Haw We are in Hawaii and boy are we thankful!! We made it to Oahu's Ko'Olina Marina just as it got dark on Wednesday. Typical Morrison style. My last post was Friday the 18th, the weekend was pretty much more of the same, sunny days, cloudy, windy nights. We had big mile days - a record setting 197 miles from Friday to Saturday. It wasn't comfortable, but it was definitely fast. We could had Hawaii in our sights and it looked like a Wednesday morning arrival in Honolulu. Monday night we passed the southern end of Hawaii (the big Island) on my watch. We didn't get the high compression winds we thought we might get, with highs only in the mid to upper 20's. As my watch was winding down, so did the wind, I started the engine, and within minutes the high temperature alarm was going off. So, poor Dennis was rousted out of bed at 0600 to deal with that. Ane that set the tone for our last two and a half days. After working on the engine for 3 hours, it restarted, and then the wind came up, so we were back to sailing. We had been in email contact with a cruiser living in Kona who was helping us find a place to stay here in Oahu. That day after the net when he and Dennis were talking, he told us the channel between Hawaii and Molokai was blowing a gale. We figured we were 20-30 miles out from there, so should be okay. We did however put the second reef back in the main as it was getting dark. I don't think the reef had been in even 10 minutes before the wind jumped to the high 20's/low 30's and the seas built up. We had another wild ride that night, and made up some of the time we lost sailing backwards that morning due to the 2 knots of current against us with no wind. Tuesday we had more of the same engine drill. Dennis had worked on the raw water pump Monday - it had worked its way loose, and was spinning around not pumping. Tuesday we ran the engine for about 4 hours before the alarm went off again, and on it went. Fortunately the wind kept up, so we kept moving and the current finally turned in our direction on Wednesday. Tuesday night to Wednesday afternoon was probably one of the wildest rides we have ever had the winds stayed in the upper 20's and the seas were big. We were taking waves over the bow and into the cockpit fairly regularly, but the end was in sight. The channel between Molokai and Oahu was the culprit - again lots of wind and water funneling through a tight channel - simple physics with crazy results. The entrance to Ko'Olina was straight forward, and we tied up to the fuel dock as directed. The joy of being still, of being able to stand upright, to pee without falling off the head while hanging on for dear life. We found some people down the dock on a commercial tour boat to take pity on us and let us in the showers. What a treat to stand under the water for as long as we wanted. After a beer and gin and tonic we walked to the hotel close by for an overpriced only moderately well cooked meal - but hey, the salad bar was awesome, and I didn't cook it or clean up after it and they served a good California red wine - not out of a box!!!!! Oh the things we take for granted.

This morning as I was waiting for the marina office to open we met a couple on one of our sister ships - hull #29. Debbie and Steve are now our new neighbors and new best friends. So far Oahu has been extremely friendly - like French Polynesia, only in English. Steve and Debbie graciously invited us to join them as their guests at Thanksgiving dinner at the home of their friends on the north island. What a beautiful home and nice people! It couldn't have been better if we had tried to plan it. Dinner was hosted at the home of Gary and Diane. Their backyard goes right to the beach, their home is lovely and welcoming and the food was amazing. Steve and Debbie introduced us to more people than we will ever remember the names of, all of whom were friendly and helped us to feel comfortable and at ease. Josh had kids to hang out with - mostly girls - which kept him occupied and happy.

So we have ended up on our feet - I am hoping to find a job at the hospital that is in the town about 5 miles away, otherwise it is at least an hour bus ride into Honolulu proper. I will be happy with whatever comes up, but it sure would be nice to be closer to the boat. It seems that the tsunami last spring took out about 300 slips at the Ke ehi lagoon marinas, so the downtown marina is full up. That is why we are way out here at Ko'Olina. It is a very nice marina, and the area although resorty is nice and clean and friendly. Target, Home Depot and a grocery store are about a mile and a half walk away, the bus stop is about a mile away and there is a small grocery store/deli a short distance from the marina. Steve and Debbie have already offered rides to West Marine and Costco. So life is good. We have new friends, a nice slip close to the showers and laundry (which is cheap, 1.50 to wash 1.75 to dry), the beach is close and best of all we are still. It was amazingly cool to sleep the whole night through, the right way in our bed and in Josh's case in his bed.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

111811

Well, we made it through the ITCZ. I think I should get the sailing equivalent of a big silver belt buckle for riding the bronco thru the night last night. I stayed on the full 8 (or is it 12) seconds and then some!!! It was pretty wild!! The wind and the seas did their best, but I hung in there. My watch saw winds 18-23kt with gusts to 30. Not too big of a deal except the wind direction varied from 40 degrees in front of the beam to 40 degrees aft of the beam. Made sail trim and windvane setting a challenge. I pulled sail in and put sail out and adjusted the wind vane until I finally settled on the autopilot, the double reefed main and the staysail. With that we had reasonable speed 6-7 kts and only buried the port rail a little bit (Well actually a lot, but everything becomes relative after a while). The seas were pretty big and I got very wet. No rain though lots of clouds. The swell was and still is primarily from the north. The good news though is that the current is finally helping us a little bit - yeah!!! We will probably get to Honolulu on Thanksgiving Day - Kind of a pain as only the captain can leave the boat until customs comes, and then there is a fee for after hours/holidays - wonder if they'll take a check or credit card? Our supply of US cash is minimal. I had good sleep last night before my watch, and again after. It showed as I made pancakes for breakfast (1000 am). Josh is a little seasick again today, but in good spirits. There is actually blue sky out there, maybe we can get a little dried out today. The whole boat could stand to go through a car wash - ourselves included. Dennis cracked the hatch in our cabin this morning, and we got pooped by a wave. I had to tell him that generally I like to wash my underwear in fresh water! My drawer was out so that Dennis could reach the generator controls, which is why it was available to be doused with salt water. I wouldn't be surprised if we sprouted gills.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

111711

From the ITCZ. Wind is squirrelly - up and down. Its rainy, we are motor sailing. The only thing exciting ( if you can call it that) was we sailed thru a flock of flying fish 3 nights ago - boy do they stink!! I don't leave the cockpit at night (at least not because of smelly fish), so I had to put up with the smell - yuck! Also had a first of burying the aft deck toe rail - never done that before. Goes to show you can get used to just about anything. Actually I just want to be there so the discomfort of sailing like banshees is secondary to my desire to have a long hot shower. Optimistically we could make it by Wednesday, if we can just loose the current and pick up 20-25 kts of wind, it could happen. We should be exiting the ITCZ within the next 24 hours, and will then make our turn towards HI. The northern trades should kick in and off we go. Carla and I missed our SSB call yesterday as I was helping to un reef the mainsail - hoping to get some more speed going (finally gave up around noon and turned on the engine). So, we rescheduled for today. Had to cut it short today because they needed to make some sail adjustments, we'll try again tomorrow. We are only 8 miles north of them now, but they are about 17 miles to the west of us. Might be getting close to VHF range, in which case calls don't have to be scheduled. We can pick up the horn anytime. Josh is feeling a little seasick today - not sure what is different. He is being a real trooper - gets up every day at 0600 for his watch with no qualms. We are really proud of him.
Well, I will try to post this.....

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

111311 From The northern Hemisphere

Well, its Sunday and we are back in the Northern Hemisphere. We crossed the equator around 0600 this morning. Not surprisingly, no one wanted to be woken for the occasion, so it passed quietly. We will probably have a little celebration this afternoon.

The wind finally clocked around to the southeast, so the last two days have been better as far as the motion is concerned. We hosed down the cockpit yesterday to get the saltwater off, things dried out some and I actually made a real lunch (Chinese cabbage salad). It has been nice to be able to open some hatches to cool down and dry out the inside of the boat. Lucky Dennis always seems to get pooped thru a hatch while he is sleeping, so the new rule is to always close the portholes at night!! He says it is a most unpleasant way to wake up - I personally hate having to dry everything out. It was my pillow that got soaked 2 nights ago when it happened last.

It has been pretty uneventful since fixing the diesel leak. Dennis and Josh had to add water to the generator cooling system, but that is a chore that will need to be repeated every couple of days related to the ongoing issues with it. I am pretty sure our batteries are looking forward to shore power almost as much as Josh is!!

We have been making good time 6-8 knots consistently. We have caught up to Moondance in latitude, but they are 36 miles west of us. Our next waypoint is the ITCZ or the doldrums. Brad has us aimed for 8 degrees north 148.4 west. We are hoping it is a narrow band and we get thru quickly and can make our turn to Hawaii. Optimistically we have about 11 days to go. - Pray for us. Right now we are at 00 degrees 30 minutes north 148 degrees 37 minutes west and fighting the counter equatorial current or some such PIA. It is very strong and are doing a ferry to the northeast. Interesting thought for a sailboat.....

Quiet day today. I am nursing a sore left hand, I spilled boiling water on it this morning. It hurts like stink, but I don't think it is going to blister. Amazing really considering how much motion I cook with all the time that I don't get hurt more often. There is certainly an art about cooking on a slant with a moving stove top. We should video it for a reality show - I bet it would be hysterically funny.

Well, that's it for now...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday 111011

Well, here we are, its our fifth day out,and things are finally clicking in.

We left Sunday the 6th around 2pm. It was a beautiful day, the pass was no problem and Josh caught a 34 in approx. 30 lb yellow fin tuna just outside of the pass. That was a good thing even though it slowed us down. When we got back situated Moondance was 6 miles ahead of us. That night for the Pacific Seafarer's net we discovered our SSB was not transmitting. Dennis could hear them, but got no response to his attempts to check in. So... project for the next day. Ideally the winds would have been from the east or southeast giving us a beam reach. Alas the wind has been northeast, so we have been on a close haul. It is better than the death rolls we have had, but still is difficult to move around. On the upside, the Tuna was delicious!!

Monday Dennis cleaned all of the connections on the SSB, and Monday night was successfully heard and checked in. You can follow us on their website www.pacseanet.com. Our call sign is KI6HAI. I haven't navigated their webpage, so cannot give you any hints on exactly how to do it, but it can be done. Dennis thinks the connection was loosened at the deck fitting when I strapped down the water jugs.... I don't know, it is another one of those voodoo things that boats have. Josh discovered Monday night that sleeping in his bunk with this amount of port heel is not possible, so he has moved onto the salon settee until we have a more comfortable tack.

Tuesday we discovered diesel in the port food compartment. What a disaster. We unloaded it all, wiped and washed, tore off labels and relabeled with sharpie and put it all back. Only to discover on Wednesday that it was full again. So, repeat the above and add Dennis discovering that some stupid SOB in Evergreen's past thought that fixing a hole in the diesel fill tube with glue and covering it with tape was a good decision. NOT!!! Whomever it was better hope I never find them - it won't be pretty. Dennis cut out the hole and plugged the tube with a wood through hull plug and hose clamp. Today - no diesel, problem solved, food replaced.

The weather has been okay, we had squalls on Monday and Tuesday, no winds above 33knots, was weird to turn upwind, on the way from Mexico we turned downwind during squalls. We have a different sail configuration now, smaller main jib, so turning up feels like I have more control. Probably just my imagination. Mostly the winds have been in the 15-20 knot range. I had a first for me last night - I actually put out more sail. We had lots of wind, but no speed with the partially furled jib, so I put out the stay sail and voila! 6kts. We have been trying to go straight north with as much east as possible. Yesterday we crossed to the west of our north south line from Rangiroa to the equator. Hopefully we will get some southeast winds today (Jamie promised!!!) and will be able to make some of it up. If we continue at 130 miles per day will should be at the equator by Saturday....We'll see.

With the SSB working again, we are able to speak with Doug and Carla daily. It is nice to hear other people. I miss being able to just pick up the VHF and call over. Now we schedule our calls.

So today everyone looks well rested. Josh has been taking the 6-9pm watch at night and 6-9am in the morning. This lets Dennis and I get a 6-7 hour block of sleep, it really makes a difference. He fills in during the day as needed as well. We have been on power rationing, so he has not had as much computer time as he would like. Feeling slightly seasick hasn't helped his desire to look at the computer either. The weather is good, we are cruising along at 6-7 kts at 350 degrees true. A little more west than we would like, but at least we are moving, and at this point everything is functioning properly. Hopefully this will continue so we can settle into some sort of routine. I'll let you know. Now if I can get this to post life will be good!!!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

110311 from Rangiroa

110311
Well, I have been pretty remiss in posting since we arrived in Rangiroa.  We have been here almost 2 weeks now and even have reasonable internet, I have no excuse.  Oh well, I am what I am I guess....
The trip here from Toau went well, no problems, sailed the whole way.  We arrived Friday morning just before slack tide, but entered thru the pass anyway, again with no problems.  We had a dolphin escort for the last 30 minutes or so and just before they left they gave us a real show - jumping and spinning - way cool.  The pass was a little swirly, but totally manageable -at least for us going in. A big schooner left right after us, and going into the current was a bit rougher, they had a pretty wild ride going out.  We anchored just northwest of the pass (Tiputa) in a real pretty bay.
The first week we spent getting to know the atoll and provisioning.  The main town is about 8 miles from us, and getting there is interesting.  There is a magazine close by, but is does not sell beer (heavens to mercy - what to do??:) ), and is somewhat more expensive.   We have been ordering baguettes from there , so at least we have bread which is nice.  We are anchored in front of the Kia Ora resort which has a nice dinghy dock and a helpful front desk.  They called a restaurant to come get us one night for pizza and a taxi to take us to town on another day.  We had a nice evening with Doug and Carla in the bar overlooking the lagoon.  Moderately expensive, but not too bad for a resort.
As I said, provisioning is always interesting, and here the distance to town and lack of public transportation makes it even more so.  On our first attempt we all hitchhiked into town, we were at least halfway there before we got a ride, but we were grateful nonetheless.  There are two reasonably well stocked stores in Avatoru and one about 2 miles from there.  Chez Daniel was willing to give us a ride back to the boats, so we stocked up on immediate needs - beer, soda, eggs, cream, fresh veggies and fruit.  That Wednesday we took a taxi from the hotel into town, did our stop at the gendarmes and then into Avatoru for a big provisioning run.  The taxi driver is very nice - Eugene.  He waited at the gendarmes and took us to the post office.  Chez Daniel was crazy with the arrival of new stock, but the woman who runs it (Elise) put aside beer, soda and eggs (we didn't want them to  be refrigerated) and said we could have a ride back to the boats later in the afternoon.  So, we walked to Magazine Kenny, back to town, had lunch,went to the smaller magazine, then did our shopping at Chez Daniel then waited for an hour and a half for a ride back to the dinghies.  Whew!!! it was a long day.  If you visit Moondance's blog (www.followingmoondance.blogspot.com)  you will see pictures of the provisions on the beach awaiting the dinghies.
Since then we have done some snorkeling and walking and exploring.  Josh's friend Max on s/v BigFish came to our anchorage at the end of our first week here.  He was very happy to see them and has been going nonstop since then.  We first met them in Moorea back in June, and were expecting to catch back up with them when we got back to Tahiti in September.  As it turns out they really like the Tuomotus and have been here all season.  Max (16) has 2 sisters Alex (14) and Ayla (12).  They are a really nice family on a large catamaran.  Josh and Max have been spearfishing and fishing like crazy.  They have even sold some of the fish they caught to the locals.  Quite the entrepreneurs.
It is hard to believe it is November already.  We celebrated halloween with Moondance - watching Charlie Brown and the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp.  Carla made popcorn balls - yum!  The local population had trick or treating for the first time this year.  We would have loved to have gone to town to see it, but it was really rainy and transportation is a real issue.  Elise from Chez Daniel said it went real well.  Tuesday the first was a school holiday - the day of the dead - I guess sort of like Memorial day in the US.  Lots of flowers and such at the cemetery.
We are hoping to get at least one drift snorkel thru the pass in before we leave, and I hope that I can talk Josh and Max into one more fishing expedition.  They have been real lucky catching yellowfin and it would be a nice supplement to our provisions for the crossing.  I think we are going to head out on Sunday - Brad thinks it is a good window to leave.  I am doing all the last minute projects and stowing, and we will do one last provision run tomorrow.  The last thing we will do is put the dinghy on the front deck - at that point we will be pretty much boat bound, but at least it means we will be moving.  I think we are all ready to head north and move into the next phase of our adventure.  Hopefully we will get visitors in Hawaii, and I will find a job quickly.  I will post along the way as I did on the crossing from Mexico.  We will participate in the pacific seafarer's net, they have a website that I will post, I think you can follow us on that as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/20/11

Thursday 10/20 - Well we have been here for 2 weeks on Toau, and plan to leave today for Rangiroa. We have been pretty much boat bound since Saturday as we were scrunched between a high and a low. Which means it has been rainy and windy. Valentine is happy as the rain has filled up their tanks and she has been able to do laundry. We have only been off the boat twice since saturday, so would have preferred a little less rain. But, we got some projects done and Josh has done a good bit of homework. Since Dennis won the battle with the generator last week it has been running well, so we have had lots of power, good thing since the whole solar thing has been off line with no sunshine. The trip to Raniroa is about 100 miles, so we will leave around 4pm to time our arrival there with slack tide around noon tomorrow. It is still pretty windy, so we should have a good sail and may arrive early, seems weird to thing about slowing the boat down....

Our feast last Tuesday night was all we expected and more. Valentine served 2 kinds of raw fish - traditional poisson cru and hot and cold sashimi - grilled tuna and grilled lobster, rice and bread made with coconut milk and chocolate cake for dessert. What a lot of work! Including Valentine and Gaston there were 11 people.

Since then we have done a couple more snorkels, the fish here are amazing. On one a saw not 1, but 2 octopus. Josh has done some more spearfishing, even though Valentine and Gaston tell us to just go get fish from the fish trap.... We did two hooka dives, one outside of the reef which was okay and one on a coral head on the way to the Pink Sand motu. That one was pretty nice, cool coral formations lots of fish and even a lemon shark to check us out. We did that one with Doug and Carla and then afterwards met Valentine and Gaston on the Pink Sand motu for a picnic lunch. Ever the busy people, by the time we arrived they had many piles of dead palm leaves and trash burning, as well as more tuna on the grill. The Pink Sand motu is very cool, small but has lots of soft sand around it. I guess they harvest copra there. One of there dogs entertained us by chasing small reef sharks in the shallows. Gaston says he quite often catches them too!

We had another potluck/bbq last Thursday, seems to be the Thursday thing to do. By then we had 2 different boats in the anchorage, so got to try some different things. The couple from s/v Irene (Finnish boat - made me feel like I was in Crystal Falls) made smoked fish on the grill and a Finnish salted raw fish dish, I made potato salad, Carla made canneloni, Valentine had bread and rice and of course fish, and s/v Evan (a couple from Madagascar with a 3 yr old boy and a 9 yr old girl) brought mac and cheese and a chocolate torte for the little girl's birthday which was that day. I think I could live here.....

We have also done some exploring with Doug and Carla. We went to a motu north of us one afternoon, and to the west of the pass right here by the anchorage. We walked the whole way around that one, picked up several bouys for Valentine and Gaston. The bouys wash up on the motus and Valentine and Gaston collect up the good ones, send them to here family on Apataki who then resell them for them. Her nephew came on Saturday and took the 600 they had collected back with him to Apataki.

Monday when we ventured off the boat we walked around the main motu here. There is actually a small pension here, and my understanding is that it is currently closed because they have no means of transporting people back and forth from Fakarava. They used to have a 22 foot boat that they used, but the motor died. They will be getting a new motor soon, partly financed by the bouys that they pick up. They have quite the managerie here as well, 5 dogs, the requisite chickens, pigs and a pet frigate bird named UmuUmu. The fishing boat that brought the Tuna last week came again (sadly no Tuna) and brought them new coolers and chicken. Valentine shared the chicken with us, she said it was too much for them, and I also think they don't have enough freezer space to keep it.

We ventured off the boat again yesterday, mostly just to get off, but also to see if we could burn some trash. They had family here from Fakarava and they had gone fishing. Wow - amazing number of parrot fish, they filleted some, and strung some whole. They will take it to Fakarava and Tahiti to sell. Valentine again shared some fish filets with us - yum. Josh and Doug cleaned the bottom of Moondance yesterday as well.

We will spend the rest of today prepping the boat for the trip to Rangiroa and will go in one more time to say good bye to Valentine and Gaston. We will miss them, but will have great memories of our time here.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tuesday 10/11/11

Saturday was a great day. We left around 1100 for the motu. It was quite the dinghy parade. Gaston and Valentine had their big yellow powerboat to guide 4 dinghies thru the coral across the lagoon to the pearl motu. Before we left Gaston jumped into their fish traps and speared 4 fish for our lunch. The fish trap is incredible, the number of fish - Wow! hard to describe. We were looking forward to lunch!!! The motu is small, but was pretty littered with trash and very overgrown. With Gaston and Valentine we had 13 people. The place looked totally different by the time we left. Valentine says that when the seas get big, the waves break across the entire motu, hence all the trash. We not only picked up garbage, but also raked up seeds from an tree that reminded me of a Russian Olive. Gaston cut down lots of trees with his very sharp machete. We separated glass and plastic, but everything else got burned. Gaston cooked the fish whole over a fire, and everyone contributed a variety of other things to constitute lunch. After lunch we went snorkeling. I didn't see any big sharks, but Josh and Dennis saw some big grey sharks and black tip reef sharks. The only one I saw was about 2 feet long. Sadly the only down side of the day was that the generator was still not working.

Sunday.
Dennis got up and started working on the generator again. It seems the new pump cannot handle pumping the hot water to the waterheater and back, so Dennis bypassed the waterheater. So, the generator was working again, but no hot water. Once that was taken care of, we went for a snorkel by the fish traps. Again - amazing numbers of fish. The fish swim in the trap, then can't figure out how to get back out. This was some of the best snorkeling ever. We saw an eagle ray, moray eels, grouper, an octopus, along with all the usual small reef fish. Josh was beside himself to use the speargun, so when I was done snorkeling, I followed him and Dennis around as they went hunting. Dennis was the first to have success with a 2 foot or so grouper, I finally had to make Josh quit for lunch, but after lunch he went back out with Dennis and got a good sized parrot fish. While they were out after lunch, Carla, Doug and I went in to look at Valentine's pearls. She was willing to trade food/clothes/household items for them. In the end I thing everyone walked away happy. I got a necklace, 2 baroque pearls and some 8-9mm pearls, and Carla got a bracelet a some more 9-10mm pearls. We were meeting for a rematch of risk that evening too. When we all gathered on our boat for the risk game, Dennis was just finishing up making the day's catch into tempura... YUM!!! We called the risk game at 8pm, took note of what/who was where and will continue another night. All in all a busy but very good day.

Monday
Ran the generator a long time to give the batteries a good charge. In the meantime Dennis continued working on the old pump, and finally got it working. He will reinstall tomorrow. Was kind of a cloudy blustery day, so we spent the day on the boat. I made bread - which turned out pretty good. Carla made cookies which she shared -yum!!! A power boat came in early in the morning and gave Gaston and Valentine some yellowfin tuna which they shared with everyone in the anchorage. Again yum!!! I think yesterday's time in the water caught up with Josh, because he ate his way thru 3.5 tuna steaks, salad, bread and 1/2 a pan of rice...Anyone interested in signing on as cook on my boat????? :)

Tuesday
Well the generator is winning the battle again today. I trust that Dennis will persevere and win the day, but it is not pretty. The generator drew first blood and right now is ahead....... Fortunately for me the watermaker is in a cooperative mood, so I was able to change out all the filters with little difficulty. We are supposed to be having dinner on shore tonight, we are looking forward to it. Valentine's feasts are stuff of legend... I'll let you know.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday 10/08/11

Well, here we are in Tuau. We made it Thursday around 1000. There are mooring balls here, so we caught one of them, tidied the decks, cleaned up our cabin - we took 2 waves through port holes, then had naps. That evening Doug and Carla came over for drinks to celebrate our anniversary. Must be time to head back to the states, we are out of California wine!!!! Friday Dennis spent the day on the generator - again. Not entirely sure what is wrong. The high temp alarm went off, but it wasn't overly hot. The problem seems to be on the fresh water coolant side (that's where we just installed the new pump). Anyway, still are not sure what exactly the problem is or was, Dennis is putting it back together even as we speak, so we will see. Last night all the boats in the anchorage got together for a bbq at Gaston and Valentine's place. They are the only family that live here on Tuau. They fish and have a pearl farm and maintain the mooring balls. It was a great bbq. Everyone brought meat and side dishes. Gaston set up the bbq -- they use coconut husks instead of charcoal - and grilled the meat for everyone. We also brought in our trash and burned that. Besides Moondance, there are 2 other boats. A couple from Florida who have been cruising for 11 years, and a couple from Germany. So it was a good group of people. I am hoping to trade some food and sunglasses for pearls. Today we are going with Valentine and Gaston to a motu across the lagoon. We will help clean it up, have another bbq (Gaston will cook fish) and do some snorkeling. Hopefully the generator will behave and it will be a good day.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday 10/05/11

Last Friday was Doug's birthday, so of course we had a little celebration on Moondance. Carla made yummy stuffed cannaloni (sp?) and cake and I brought a big salad. We played dominos - again Doug is the supreme winner of the universe, kicked all of our respective butts. I also brought the second to last bottle of California wine. Yum!! The last bottle is for tomorrow - Our anniversary. I will also break out the last arrechera from Mexico. Saturday morning we decided to go snorkel with the rays again, I needed to use the phone, so we planned to stop at the post office at the little town on the way. Well, sadly if the post office parking lot is locked up (which it was), the phone booths are locked up. Our next stop was the Intercontinental resort - but no public phones there either. We knew there was a phone in Haapiti, so we dinghied onward. Of course it is past the rays, which were jammed with people and tour boats but what do you do. It was a quick call to the internet provider, actually talked to a person and resolved my issue - voila! Decided against snorkeling with the rays, too crowded and would have been a cold ride back to the boat. Saturday, I cleaned the decks and the inside of the dinghy - finally. They needed it, and it is a big improvement. Sunday Dennis and I took Doug and Carla's bikes for a ride on a loop from here (Opunohu bay) to Cook's bay. It was a really nice ride. The ride up through the valley with pineapple plantations was hard, but beautiful. We had lunch at the park at the head of Cook's bay - with the locals. Then headed on back to Opunohu Bay. Sunday night I made lamb for the first time. It turned out good, despite the grill going out halfway through. We may not be catching any fish, but the meat here has been good. Woke up to a major rain storm Monday morning, rushed around closing things up. It pretty much rained all day. Rinsed everything off, and gave the towels hung out a good rinse. We had been talking back and forth with Moondance about the weather window, and finally decided to leave on Tuesday. We made a last minute run to the store and left around 1230 on Tuesday. The carnival cruise ship was back at anchor in the bay, and the little town was filled with tourists. The locals had set up all kinds of booths with jewelry and crafts. I saw some of the nicest jewelry yet - sadly still too expensive, but very beautiful.
Tuesday's sail was good, we had to motor some, but the wind finally filled in and we are still sailing. We can see Moondance off our port side. They passed us while we were motoring, but we caught up and passed them under sail. We have been making good time, so will probably make Tuau (two wow) early tomorrow morning. We have heard lots of good things about Tuau, so are looking forward to our time there.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

093011 Moorea continued

093011
Well its the end of September and we are still in Oponuhu Bay on Moorea.  We have been pretty quiet.  We are working on converting Moondance's dvd's to electronic files.  They have 4 books of dvds, so it is taking all of our computing power to get it done.  My little computer will only rip them, it isn't big enough to compress them, so ripping is my piece of the pie.  Dennis and I did go exploring with Doug and Carla on Monday.  We took one of the rare buses as far as it would go to the west, looked at all the shops and had lunch on the beach.  We caught another bus from there back east to Maharepa.  It is one of the main towns here on Moorea.  We needed an ATM, which they had and of course we had to check out the market.  I scored some smarties (not what they are called here, but you know what I mean) for Josh.  He didn't realize we were actually leaving Tahiti on Friday and didn't stock up.  From there we hitched a ride to the "Jus de Fruits".  It is a fruit juice factory and distillary.  They make boxed rum punches and maitais, flavored rums and liquours.  We tasted quite a few and ended up buying a bottle of vanilla flavored rum cream liquour - quite good in my coffe even as we speak.  From there we were able to hitch another ride back to our dinghy.  All in all a pretty fun day.  Josh was happy with his smarties too.
Tuesday we invited Doug and Carla here for a game of Risk.  Four and a half hours later we declared Doug the winner with the most countries.  Whew!!!  Talk about a marathon.  Definitely fun just long.
Wednesday Josh and Dennis cleaned the bottom of the boat and I procured fresh shrimp for dinner. Josh says the hull is as smooth as a baby's butt now.  We will go fast, fast.  Was a pretty hard job because of the wind and current, but they got it done. The shrimp came from a farm at the head of the bay. Doug and I dinghied over and picked up a kilo each.  I made ours into a creole type of scampi over rice for dinner - yum!!
Josh was going to help Doug with their bottom on Thursday, but between generator issues and more wind they decided to put it off.  We had problems with a fuse on one pump, then the freshwater pump crapped out.  Thankfully we had the spare new pump (thank you Corinne), so it was just a matter of replacing it.  Of course it wasn't as straightforward as it should have been, but by the end of the afternoon we were back in business.  We will see what today brings.  It is still pretty windy and a little cloudy.  We are looking at a possible window to leave here on Monday or Tuesday.

The Hike to the top of Bora Bora by Josh

The hike to the top of Bora Bora (aka THE true hike true hell)


As you can guess I did a hike, real surprise there. My family and I were in Bora Bora and we heard about a hike to one of the peaks. My dad being a seasoned hike from hell picker says, “Let’s do it”. The reasons why I did it: I would never hear the end of it if I didn’t go; My friend Jayce who I had recently met was going to do it; We heard some 11 year old girl had done it (that’s why I would never hear the end of it) and I liked a challenge. Bora Bora had three peaks, the highest peak was all cliffs and even with climbing equipment it was volcanic so the rock was crumbly and you couldn’t climb it. The second highest was thirty-five feet higher than the smallest peak. We went to the smallest peak which was 2300 ft high, so it was still really high.
The people going on the hike were my mom and dad, Jayce, our friends Doug and Carla, and I. We all got up at 8:00, to me it felt like 6:00 and it could’ve been for fast I was moving. The fun of it all started before we even got on land. From the anchorage to town and the trailhead was about a mile or two and we had Jayce in our dinghy. With the added weight it was too much for the sacrificial rubber ring on the prop. We were trying to get on a plane and all of a sudden we were going much slower. The ring was there so if something like that happened you don’t lose the gear box and the prop. You still have to replace the prop but it lets you go slow to get to where you’re going. We still went to the hike and Doug and Carla would stick with us on the way back. What a great way to start the day.
 We got to the dinghy dock and got some more food from the store. We got all set and on our way, at first we were along a road through some houses then it turned into the trail. We heard that is was a good idea to get a guide so we wondering how we did that when a local guy standing on the side of the trail near the start just started walking with us, problem solved. My mom and Carla only went for the first tiny bit of it and then turned around to get to the store to get some beer before it stopped selling alcohol. The guide we had was probably around 60 to 65 years old and wore cheap $2 flip flops and he was just casually walking. My friend and I were 13 and 14, had good shoes on, and were doing everything we could to keep up with him. Since we really couldn’t keep up with him he waited for us. My dad and Doug were slower than us so at one point we went ahead because we could easily see the trail and we were careful. I would say that the first part of the trail was around 45 or 50 degrees steep and some places where they had ropes were about 60 to 70 degrees. The second part of the trail was steeper or it just seemed so because we were so high but I’m pretty sure it was steeper.  There were a lot of trees on the side of the trail so there were roots and oh my god I love roots because they were sturdy handholds and sometimes like ladders. On the first place with ropes we were freaking out like “are you sure it’s THAT way” but it wasn’t that bad. During that hike I am pretty sure I broke the world record of how many times you could say the word terrify in any form. I’m sure Jayce wanted to strangle me because I was saying it so much.
When we finally made it to the top it was all worth it by far. We were 2300 ft off the water and had 330 or 340 degrees of clear view around us. We met some people on the way up who said it wasn’t good it was amazing and I would say it wasn’t amazing it was absolutely spectacular. Just below the top we ran into a couple who were from Detroit and had gotten engaged a few days before while they were in Bora Bora. The couple joked that for their honeymoon they would go to mars to top Bora Bora. We spent a pretty long time up there to rest and just look.
When everybody finished taking pictures we all thought “crap now we have to go back down”. In my opinion it was longer and worse because I slid on my butt down a lot of it. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I stepped down and my leg visibly shook, so next time I sat down to rest I stuffed my face with some peanuts that I brought and it got better. The food may have made me feel better but it didn’t make anything less terrifying. I find it funny that we thought it was scary going up the ropes, until we had to go down them. Jayce and I had gone ahead again and we stopped every once and a while and waited for my dad and Doug with the guide. As we got farther down it got easier and we were going faster so we went on ahead. We were so happy that we were done that we went straight to the store and bought some water and snacks to tide us over until we got back to the boat. Overall it took Jayce and me 5 hours and took my dad and Doug 6 hours.
Doug said it was the hardest hike he had ever done, for me it was the scariest I had ever done and right up there with the hardest. Over the summer my dad earned the title of, “not allowed to pick anymore hikes” and only one of them was harder. When we got to the boat we all jumped in the water to clean off and cool off. I took the next couple of days off from doing anything. I decided that no matter what, I wasn’t doing any hikes for another two months and banned my dad permanently from picking hikes.

Here is some visualization

                                                          70 deg     60 deg           45 deg