Abandoned Pitcairn & Anchored Mangareva 23:07.0S 134:58.0W

Blue Hound
Phil Marks & Rosy Jensen
Sat 4 May 2019 00:21

On Tuesday 9th April we were ready to depart from Isabela. We were boarded by the Immigration official, a sniffer dog and his handler.  The latter checking that we were not stealing any Galapagos tortoises! After the necessary stamping of papers we set sail at 1 p.m. towards Pitcairn Island

Our first problems hit within the hour the engine elbow was leaking (fixable) then in the next 24 hours we discovered that the main diesel generator was not charging the batteries and the inverter was broken. Fortunately we had a backup petrol generator but no spare inverter. Phil managed to wire up a solution so the laptop would stay charged.

Day 6 - the main staysail forestay sheared off at the mast head. This was a real blow as we had bought a new sail in January and installed it on a second hand furling gear. We managed to get it all on deck and strap it down. Quite a feat considering it is longer than the boat! Our sail area reduced but we still had 3 sails hoisted so all good but slow.

Day 22 - 200 miles to go and the weather forecast shows a low stitting over Pitcairn with strong northerly winds. The anchorage has poor holding and exposed to the north so there was no question that we had to abort and continue on to the island of Mangareva, Iles Gambier. a further 450 miles.  The weather forecast for this passage showed a maximum of 25 knots wind speed. If only...

As we had seen no other vessels by eye or via the AIS since leaving Galapagos it is reasonable to believe there is little interest in the weather in this vast empty area. Our last few days of this passage was the most testing either of us have encountered.  We experienced many severe squalls and a gigantic thunderstorm. The maximum gust we saw was 64.6 knots - a mini competition to see which of us could see the highest figure! Our wind vane steering did us proud while we sat below enjoying cheese and biscuits.

Now anchored off Rikitea, Mangareva in the Gambier Islands, enjoying some tranquility and enormous local grapefruit! And of course doing repairs.