About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard Bravo, a Kelly Peterson 46 sailboat with homeport in Seattle, Washington. We headed south in 2010, destined for Mexico and beyond. Cheers, Adam and Cindi


"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Marquesan Rambles Continue...or..."Fear, NOT Loathing, in the Tattoo Parlor"


Well, the Marquesas are delivering on the hype…it is truly beautiful here in this little corner of the big Pacific Ocean. We've been doing a lot of snorkeling, a bit of diving, and a lot of well…not sure what exactly, but there's not a whole lot of stress involved!!!










Hiva Oa

We met our agent and cleared into F.P. in the little village of Atuona, on the south shore of Hiva Oa. Couldn't have been easier…one stop at the local gendarmarie (police station), and we're good to go for 3 months of exploration and adventures. All countries who say that the clearing-in process has to be complicated and/or expensive should take a lesson from F.P. It just ain't that tough!

Atuona is a pretty place. Very neat and clean, a few stores selling the essentials, including a terrific hardware store, and a couple of small hostels and hotels. Things are expensive, but if you need it you can likely find it here. Beer is a bit of a shocker, at $2.60 US per can!!! The bay was chocka block with arriving yachts, just finishing their long passage across the Pacific. It felt like Friday Harbor on Labor Day weekend! We stayed for a few days to take care of business, and happily moved on.

The south pacific islands, and French Polynesia in particular, are known for their beautiful traditional tattoo designs. Your Bravo team figured "what could be better souvenirs than a bit of island ink???"

So one of the items of "business" to be attended to at this stop was to check out the local tattoo scene. Turns out there's a very talented artist, Pue, living near the anchorage. One morning, Cindi and Nicole from s/v Bella Star headed over to Pue's outdoor home to get decorated.


Cindi got a manta/dolphin design going…what do you think???   




















Nicole went with a turtle motif.  I like this shot…Pue's arm looks bigger than her waist!!!  (but he had a delicate touch with the needle)

(Adam and Aaron, awaiting the effects of the tequila to kick in, were to go a week later, but just learned that Pue was already booked….rain check till we get to Nuka Hiva…update to follow!!!)




Together w/ the crew from Bella Star we hired a local guide and 4wd SUV to give us an all day tour of the island. Great way to get the overview, and see how the locals live both on the coast as well as the interior.   Colorful outrigger fishing boats have replaced the panga boats of central and south America. 






We visited a couple of the archeological sites on the islands, including that of the largest tiki in French Polynesia.



Largest tiki, about 8 feet tall

Also found the famous "smiling tiki" in the woods, a very sacred site. Though the little dude is supposedly over 800 years old, we swore he (she?) is wearing glasses!!!   Go figure!!!  (at least he wasn't wearing contact lenses!!!)   A terrific day…guide Frieda spoke perfect English (!!!), and we saw much that we would not have seen on our own.



 
  




Tahuata

After a few days at Atuona, we headed out to the neighboring island of Tahuata, just 8 miles to the south. Here we dropped the hook in a sweet little uninhabited bay, Hanamoenoa. Ringed by white sand beach, and the clearest water we'd seen so far (we watched the anchor hit the bottom in a puff of sandy smoke 35' below us), we wound up spending the next several days snorkeling, diving, and doing boat chores (sanding and varnishing had reached the critical point).


Every morning several large manta rays swam around the bay. One day we quickly put on snorkel gear and jumped in the water with with these beautiful, gentle critters. Not at all shy of humans, they seemed to actually enjoy performing for us, swimming graceful cartwheels around their strange visitors from above. Magical indeed….














Hiking the beach we discovered the abandoned lime grove (limes made available to cruisers by the generous owners), and one day we dinghied over to explore the town of Vaitahu, about 3 miles south of our anchorage.  



Ua Pou


Yesterday, after learning that our appointment with Hiva Oa tattooist Pue was not to happen, we weighed anchor at 4am under full moon, and headed north for the island of Ua Pou, about 66 miles away. It was one of our best sails of the voyage, with a steady 15 to 25 knot breeze, and we dropped anchor in Hakahau Bay, the capital village of the island before 3. On the way we landed a 4' dorado, adding many tasty dinners to the freezer.  The approach to the anchorage bay was spectacular, with large rock spires rising like castles in the mists above the island.






Off to explore Ua Pou…..more to follow!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Passage Recap / Polynesia First Impressions





What a welcome sight, after 23 days at sea!
Growth on side of hull from days/weeks heeled over

Well, we've been happily settling into our new reality of life in French Polynesia.  After our landing at Fatu Hiva, we eagerly took the dinghy ashore the next morning to explore the remote, stunningly beautiful setting.  This is the only inhabited island in the Marquesas with no airstrip, so it is the least spoiled by tourism.  The little village at the head of the bay was sweet indeed.  Kids swimming at the dock, a handful of tin roofed houses, 1/4 mile or so of paved road, 1 church, and a primary school...no stores, hotels, restaurants, or businesses of any kind.




Friendly natives would all stop us with a wave and a "bon jour" as we walked around in awe at the fruit growing everywhere, the beautiful flowers, and the rocky peaks all around the valley.  We learned that money isn't the currency of choice here (a good thing, as there is no ATM, and we had no Polynesian francs).  Instead, trading is the name of the game.  They have fruit....lots and lots of fresh bananas, pamplemouse (a tasty grapefruit like item), limes, and coconuts, and we have, well, just about everything else.  Eager for some fresh stuff after 23 days at sea, we began negotiations with one woman at the pier.  We ended up with a large stalk of bananas, 20 or so limes, and about 1 dozen pamplemouse in exchange for one pair of earrings and a pink highlighter pen.  All parties were thrilled with the results!


At the dock we had a few little treats for the kids we met, they really loved the tiny "superballs" we had in our pockets.

They all wanted to come out to visit Bravo, so we took 2 out for a field trip.  The two boys, Felix and Joseph, scrambled aboard, and right away made themselves at home, opening all cupboards, drawers, and nooks and crannies.  It was a bit intense.  They wanted us to give them everything, so we finally settled on a fishing lure and hook for each.  Both seemed really happy with that, and proceeded to play video games on our iPad (they had obviously played before!!!)  Finally we headed back to the dock, with more aggressive Joseph driving the dinghy.  At the dock, things got strange.  Felix had turned away and was crying.  It seemed that Joseph was keeping all of the gifts for himself, and not willing to share.  He was apparently the town bully, and though we explained that the bag was to be shared by them, he was unwilling.  The twit!!  We spoke no French, which didn't help.  Finally, we realized that we were unable to change the social hierarchy of the group, and headed back to Bravo, a bit saddened by the unintended results of an otherwise sweet afternoon.  Even in paradise, being a kid can be a tough line of work....




Felix, Joseph, and iPad

One evening we heard of a family on shore who enjoyed making a bit of $$ by hosting cruisers for dinner at their home (and yes, they would take US$)  So along with the crews of the other 6 boats in the anchorage, from Finland, Germany and the US, we headed over to Serge's place for our first Marquesan meal.



Serge, the Marquesan Clapton, teaches Andy from s/v Murar's Dream a few new chords
The food was fine, grilled fish, chicken in coconut milk, breadfruit, rice, etc, but the real treat was after dinner, when Serge, along with his two beautiful grand kids, broke out his very special carved ukelele and tiny Hawaiian guitar, and played beautiful Polynesian music.  A couple of the cruisers joined in following the simple chord progressions.  A terrific evening for all of us.










Just another tiki in paradise!!!

Swordfish speared from the beach (!!!) delighted the kids

Unfortunately, several days of rain had rendered the trails on the island impassable according to the locals, so we were unable to do a couple of recommended hikes before departing for Hiva Oa to clear in to the country officially....ah well, hikes await on other islands.....  More on Hiva Oa (our current location) in the next post....stay tuned!

Finally, some photos from the passage from Galapagos...

After 6 months, our Ecuador flag was looking a bit tired.  Do ya think???

A typical morning on "suicide alley"



Heading west into a night of squalls


Typical sail combo...main and poled out genny (often without the main!)


Fresh tuna


Bravo surfing toward Fatu Hiva, shortly after the cry of "LAND HO" was heard!!!


A happy pod of dolphins came out to welcome us to French Polynesia!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - ANCHOR DOWN!!!

Bravo arrived yesterday afternoon (Saturday) at the island of Fatu Hiva. Often said to be one of the most beautiful anchorages in the world, we certainly wouldn't argue based on what we see from the deck. (Google it for some images...we can't post graphics with this radio modem).

Spectacular rock cliffs fringed with dense vegetation and palms surround the bay, and all 7 boats here have room to swing. Though as the new arrivals, we're a bit far from the beach, anchored in 100' depth.

This is not a legal port of entry into French Polynesia, so we will likely move on today to Hiva Oa, (+/- 50 miles downwind from here) to be ready for a required morning clear-in with the powers that be. But wow, it is fantastic to be here, 23 days after leaving the Galapagos. Total distance traveled, 3112 miles. More to follow when we get to internet access. Bravo, out for now, to sleep on a peaceful, flat calm sea for a change!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Days 20 - 22 - FISH ON !!!

We've continued to sail directly downwind, aiming right for the Marquesas. The sail has not changed...still flying the genoa jib poled out to starboard, day after day. Last night we had a few squalls blow through, with winds up to 35 knots. No problem, we just in some of the sail until the squall passes, and then let it back out. The pole remains in place the whole time.

Winds have been pretty light for the past few days, but today began to pick up in the aftermath of the squalls. We're now boogie'ing along at around 6 knots, and if we can keep it up (actually need to keep an average of 5.2 knots), we will make landfall before dark on Saturday. If the winds go light, we'll need to slow way down, to arrive after daybreak on Sunday.

The big events of the past couple of days were in the fishing division. Two days ago we landed a terrific 15# dorado, and then yesterday a 25# tuna found it's way into our freezer. Fantastic to have fresh fish once again.

Now (Thurs afternoon) about 260 miles to go. 2816 miles since leaving the Galapagos. We're getting there!!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Voyage to Marquesas - Days 10 - 13 - And the beat goes on.....

Well, we've passed the 1/2 way mark for the passage. Actually, we've sailed more than 1/2 the distance as we looked for wind in the beginning. But we've now got 1,291 miles remaining, from an original route of 2,902.

Winds have gotten a bit flukey...shifts from SE to E have us jibing the genoa to the port side, poled out with our whisker pole, and running close to dead down wind. Depending on the swell, this can get pretty rolly and uncomfortable, so then we take down the pole, jibe the genny back, and the drill repeats. Yesterday we dropped the main completely, and just flew the poled out genny to port, and the staysail to starboard...pretty cruisy downwind sailing!

Our Hydrovane self steering system had been making creaking, crunching noises for several days. Not good. As the winds and seas increased, the noises got worse, and we could see one of the support tubes, held by a bracket at the stern working back and forth. Not good at all! We really didn't want it to work loose, and the only way to stop the pressure was to remove the rudder. So, in 12' swells, with 30 knot winds, we "hove to", to stop our forward progress, and Adam climbed down the swim ladder to reach and remove the rudder. A bit hairy, but all was quickly secured, and we were back underway w/o a hitch. Now relying on our excellent electric autopilot for steering, no worries.

With the variable winds, our progress has slowed a bit, with today's run at 146 mi, after 7 consecutive at 158-165. But we've had some beautiful sunny skies, and amazing stars at night, especially before the moonrise. Still no fresh fish to report...this area of the ocean is a famous dry spot for fishing. But we have seen 2 large fishing boats on radar since we left nearly 2 weeks ago, and that's all the ship traffic we've spotted....this is is a pretty sparsely populated corner of the planet!

Oh, here's the updated tracking info for folks to check our progress online:

http://www.pangolin.co.nz/xtras/yotreps/tracker.php?ident=K7ST

All good aboard Bravo
Cheers,
Adam and Cindi