About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard the two BRAVO's; the first boat a Kelly Peterson 46 with homeport in Seattle, Washington. The second is a new Boreal 52, launched in Treguier, France in February 2020.

We headed south from Seattle in 2010, and have been voyaging in one form or another since. 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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Au Revoir Marquesas.....and Bonjour Tuamotus

We left the Marquesas with mixed emotions....we felt like we had just begun to explore these beautiful islands, but the Tuamotus, with their world famous snorkeling and diving beckoned, and our 90 day visa clock for French Polynesia was ticking.  So as soon as our weather window opened, we sailed away from Nuku Hiva on a 500 mile 4 day passage.  It was a terrific crossing, with 15-20 knot winds on the beam for nearly the entire way (save a few quick rainy, windy squalls that blew through, nearly always in the middle of the night of course).  The biggest problem was slowing Bravo down for the last day or so, in order to arrive in daylight, and also at slack tide at the pass into the lagoon.

The Tuamotus are very different from the rugged, mountainous Marquesas.  Instead of a series of obvious volcanoes, visible from 30 miles at sea, the Tuamotus (commonly known as "The Dangerous Isles" for their reputation for eating unwary ships) are atolls surrounding internal lagoons.  Some have entrance passes large enough for yachts like Bravo, others don't.  All are very low, with the motus (land areas) typically not over 2 meters or so above sea level.  Naturally all are worried about rising sea levels due to global warming, which threatens the lowest in the next several years.

Atolls don't show up until you are nearly upon them!!!
The first atoll we stopped at was Kauehi, a midsized atoll (approximately 10 miles long), with one small village located at one end.  Our tide estimator program nailed the tide change, and slack water....exactly wrong.  We entered the pass at approximately maximum current, and had nearly 5 knots against us.  A few large standing waves, whirlpools and boils to negotiate, and we were in!  Now just need to navigate the coral infested waters of the lagoon to our selected anchorage, about 8 miles to the south east.  No worries, we motored gingerly, with a constant bow watch, passing only 2 coral heads en route.

And what an anchorage was waiting for us!!!  We were the only boat for miles around (we heard that there were 2 at the village at the other end of the lagoon, but of course we could not see them), and really had this piece of tropical paradise to ourselves.  Spectacular, it was almost a comical caricature of a perfect Robinson Crusoe hidey hole....palm trees waving in the steady cooling trade winds, clear turquoise waters, coral heads with hundreds of brightly colored fish, and of course the ever present "men in the grey suits" (sharks) keeping a wary eye on us (and us on them!!!)

The water was table top smooth....nestled against the SE shore, facing the SE breezes, there was absolutely no motion aboard.....we could have been on land it was so calm.  Heaven after the passage from the Marquesas.

We got into our regular routine of boat projects in the morning, and snorkeling in the afternoon.  Ahhhh, yes, boat projects.... Anyone who thinks "who are these schmucks, always playing, never working, in their damned tropical paradise....", please take a look at this picture.  Look closely, really closely.  Yup, that's poo, all the hell over everything and everybody.  Unclogging the hoses in the head is never pretty.  After quickly tearing the rubber gloves, my only goal was to keep the crap out of my mouth, and I mostly succeeded!!!  Ewwwwww.......A jump in the clear water after this morning project never felt so good!!!  And the toilet flushes again, oh, so sweetly!!!

The snorkeling was fantastic on Kauehi, with each bommie, or coral head, hosting its own communities of fish.  Many new species for us, very different from those in Mexico and Central America.  Here are a few shots from our snorkel cams......

Shy black tip reef sharks kept a nice safe distance

Marine biologist friend Susan, from 'Honu' holds up a cushion star...a beauty!
After a couple of days a few more boats joined us down at our end of the lagoon.  All good, the area for anchoring was huge, and we enjoyed a few days of snorkeling together with new friends.

One day we went for a hike to the only village on Kauehi, about an 8 or 9 mile walk.  The walk was beautiful, but unfortunately the little town was completely closed down.  It seems that the mayor had just been re-elected, and was in Papeete for a 2 week celebration.  Since he also owns the village grocery store, it was closed until he returned!!!  Ah, island living!

All fresh water for the people living on the atolls is captured rainwaters, into these large cisterns.

Rough entrance into Fakarava N. pass with large standing waves
Finally, after a wonderful week at the Kauehi atoll, it was time to move on.  We set sail for Fakarava, a large (30 mile long) atoll about 25 miles away.  We of course hit both passes wrong, leaving Kauehi and arriving at Fakarava N. with 4-6 knots of current against us.  PERHAPS by the time we leave the Tuamotus in a couple of weeks we'll have this current thing worked out.....Nah, ain't gonna happen!

Fakarava is very different from Kauehi.  We're anchored off the village of Rotoava, one of the larger villages in the Tuamotus.  Winds and a steep chop have been the norm here since we arrived 2 days ago, and we already greatly miss the sweet night sleeps at Kauehi!  We went to find fresh veggies today at the 3 small markets, but there were none to be found.  Or eggs, or lots of other stuff....possibly on Friday, if it is on the supply ship (none was aboard yesterday's ship)   But Fakarava is known for its terrific diving, especially at the south end, so tomorrow we will weigh anchor and move down lagoon, where we hope to spend the next week or so, diving, snorkeling, and exploring the area around the south pass.  Oh, and new boat project opportunities will no doubt present themselves!!!  Cheers!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Outbound Marquesas....Inbound Tuamotus

We've been having a great time here in the Marquesas.  Our last post promised an Ua Pou Island update.  Will do.....here goes if this tenuous internet connection behaves itself!!!

Ua Pou proved to be a fine stop.  We anchored in Hakahau Bay, the capital of the island.

A pretty Polynesian town nestled against the spires and peaks, with typically friendly locals who went out of their way to make us feel welcome.  For example.....we had heard there was a restaurant in town...one that served pizza.  We were drawing blanks as we tried to find it for lunch.  We asked a woman (with our nearly hopeless French).  After she tried to explain the directions into our blank expressionless faces, she finally kicked her 2 sons out of her truck and told us to get in.  She drove us the few blocks to the pizza place!!!  Couldn't ask for more.....or could you?  10 minutes later, as we nursed our $4 beers, her truck pulled up again, and she motioned us over.

Adam powers down another PERFECT mango
We were amazed to see that she had brought an enormous stalk of bananas and a 30 pound box of fresh mangos for us to enjoy...no charge, just wanting to be a good host!!!  Incredible!

The next day, together with our friends Aaron and Nicole from s/v Bella Star, we set out to find a trail we'd read about, going cross island to the town of Hakahetau.  Armed with a bit of water and some granola bars, off we went to do a nice little hike.  So we thought!  After asking several locals how to find the trail (several said there is no such trail, only the 16 km main (dirt) road, a nice farmer finally walked with us to be sure we were off on the right foot.  The trail proceeded to climb 2 ridges as we made our way across the island.  In places it was more of a goat track, and we got lost several times.

The ONLY trail marker on the 10 mile trek

Aaron demonstrates fine rope work...in flip flops no less!!!

This was no cake walk, and we finally arrived at our destination 4+ hours later....pretty much whupped by the jungle heat and rugged terrain.  But it was great to get out and explore a part of the Marquesas that clearly not many people visit.  The views from the spires were terrific, and we happily found a truck to pay for a ride later in the day back to Hakahau.

After Ua Pou we headed over to Nuku Hiva, about 25 miles to the north.  This is the largest island in the Marquesas, and is the archipelago's capital as well.  Taiohae Bay is the primary town, and we settled in comfortably in the huge anchorage, the caldera of an extinct volcano.

First order of business was for Adam and Aaron to find some ink....tattoo ink that is.  We were directed to Francois, a talented artist who agreed to see us that same afternoon....no way to chicken out, or even time for any tequila, it was off to his house to do the deed.

Adam's new ink.....what do ya think???

Aaron went with a manta ray motif....a winner!

Turns out that Francois is the grandson of Daniel, of Daniel's Bay, an anchorage about 5 miles to the west.  He had the logs from past cruisers to the bay, and we enjoyed reading the messages from yachts over the past 25 years who visited. 

Friends aboard Kashmira...still cruising 14 years after this was written!

Saw log entries from several yachts that we know from crossing paths in anchorages in our wake....great!

Taiohae Bay has numerous grocery stores, a hardware store of sorts, a couple of small restaurants.....very pretty.  We stayed for several days.

Adam even found a restaurant who would let him play ham radio for a few days, giving out hundreds of contacts to hams around the world from this rare DX country.

  After hearing so much about Daniels Bay, we decided to head around the corner and see for ourselves.  WOW!  What more can you say???  The place is absolutely spectacular.  Surrounded all around by another volcano's rim, the perfectly protected harbor provides a gorgeous place for hiking, boat chores, and just hanging out.

Tatooed host Teiki strikes a warrior pose...a wild and crazy guy, with his tats done the TRADITIONAL way!
Several people live in the paradise on shore, and all we met couldn't have been more generous sharing their fruit and hospitality with us.  They grow bananas, papaya, pistachio, breadfruit, pamplemouse, limes, oranges, mangoes.....Wild boar, goat, and fish round out their diet....not too shabby.  This place truly defines paradise!

Augustine invited us in for some of his homemade papaya wine and fresh fruits

2 week old papaya wine went down VERY easily!

How do YOU spell paradise???   This has got to be pretty close!!!

Must be the prettiest site for a phone booth in the world!  Serves about 6 houses!

Together with friends from boats Kahiba and Helena May we decided to take the 2 hour hike up to an 800 foot waterfall.  The hike, following ancient paths lined with stone from archeological settlements, was one of the most beautiful we've ever done.  The rich green canyons surrounded us as we forded several creeks, and made our way to the pool at the head of the valley.  Though we're now in the dry season, and the falls were not running too strong, the pool at the base was perfect for a dip.....hard to beat a fresh water bath after a scorching hot jungle hike.  Damn good!

A Rorschach test??? .........nah!

While anchored in Daniels Bay Cindi looked aloft and noticed a bad thing....one of our shrouds had a broken strand of wire.  This is a potentially BIG deal, as the wire shrouds are all that holds up the mast.  We were planning on replacing all of the shrouds as a major project in New Zealand, but this one didn't make it.  Adam went up the mast to inspect, and has rigged a block and tackle to double up the broken shroud.  It should be fine, and provide the required strength until we can replace the shroud in Papeete, Tahiti in 5 or 6 weeks.  It's always something!  Fingers crossed!

Sharks in a daily feeding frenzy when the fishermen clean their catch at the dock.....no worries, just don't fall in!!!

We've just returned from Daniels Bay to Taiohae.  We're waiting for better winds to take us on our next passage to the Tuamoto Islands, a bit over 400 miles away.  Looks like this may be in 2 days, so we'll just have to hang out here in yet another corner of paradise.....life is good!