May 18th

Wed 31 May 2006 08:16



So here we are on the 18/may engine running at 2200 revs {not usually allowed above 2000] the time is 1100hrs we are desperate to reach Ahe in the Tuamotus before it gets dark, we have 36miles to go and are traveling at 6 knots. The sun goes down at 6 and by 6.30 it will be pitch black, if we do not arrive by 5 we will have to spend another night at sea or end up trying to get into a coral lagoon in the dark with 4or 5knots of current very Scary.

We are just starting  our fifth day the engine has been running at 1600revs for 3.1\2 days we have had no wind since leaving the Marquesas, so now you know why we are so desperate to get in tonight, the prospect of sleeping tonight at anchor with no engine noise will be a real pleasure.[so much for the environmentally friendly sail boat]

Well that’s today story. So now for what has been going on since the last entry.  We are still not able to communicate with the outside world very well, only when we get ashore and either use local phones or internet can we achieve anything, most of the facilities have been very basic, so if anyone who still remembers us, has been trying to contact us we are sorry. Norman our now shore base communications expert is trying to get us another Iridium Phone which will restore our e mail and phone link with home. The other big breaking story that I expect most people already

know of is that Jacky will once again be joining Penguin in Tahiti, [the other reason the engine is going at 2200revs we have an appointment to keep at Papeete Airport.] Jacky will be fully loaded with essential goods to rebuild computers and connect this one to phones, as well as packages from Ireland and Scotland; we are all looking forward to seeing her.   Oh I forgot to mention we have only 20 litres of fuel left and we do 2miles per litre.

The last time I wrote we had just reached Wreck Bay Galapagos, we spent two weeks traveling around the islands, They are a fantastic place to visit for anyone who gets the chance, the wildlife their seems to know that it is the stars of the show and go about their lives aware of us human audiences but not concerned. The Highlights have been swimming around with playful seals, going to Isobella to see the Penguins they are tiny smaller than the boobies, [Blue footed Booby its a sea bird i promise] we also visited a coastal lake area surrounded by lava rocks this was a resting place for large numbers of big turtles. Niamh finally got to see her Hammer Head Shark sadly she was not in the water at the time but on deck as it swam past Penguin going in the opposite direction. We also went for a walk along side a shallow lagoon Swimming in the warm waters were a dozen white tipped reef shark only 4..5ft long there was also a young seal at one end who did not seem worried by the company he was with. The prehistoric Iguanas were either sunbathing or in the water eating, they certainly looked big under water through the glass of a mask. And so it was time to do our final stock up on fresh food the last calls home, Colin got his last surfs in, don’t ask him about any of the wildlife he only saw them if they were either on the beach, riding waves, [dolphins and seals do this when they need some fun] or on the various  paths used to get to beaches.   On the 15 april after lunch we set off to travel 3000 miles to the Marquesas.

During our land visits we had met up with a number of boats traveling the same route as ourselves and after a day or two we connected up with a radio calling net of boats on passage to Marquesas, during the morning call up we gave our positions and current weather, we were also able to keep in contact with other boats and monitor their progress, we had a special interest in a 40ft fast Australian catamaran which had left Galapagos

thirty hours before us. It took us 17days to reach the coast line the aussie was still a day ahead of us, all other boats on the net could not live with Penguins Pace.  Many times we would check in  with the net having flown the spinnaker for 10 hrs the previous day expecting to be catching the aussie only to find he had matched our 24hr run.  Maybe next time we will have him.  Penguin flew across the Pacific in the strong tradewinds, which seemed to be directly behind us always, we covered 190miles plus on many days but we still cant claim to have beaten the 200 mile barrier.  The days we covered around 200miles we were also using the sextant for navigation so no GPS and no accurate log measurement.  So 200miles barrier stands still to be


 We all took turns at fixing our position using the sextant and tables, we had two days each with no GPS the final fixes had Niamh within a mile of our position so she won the prize of the cocktail of her choice at the next decent bar. The result of 17 days at sea is that all three of us can now get a fix. Niamh also spent the time perfecting her Culinary skills and I am sure her family are shocked to hear was quite often to be found with her head stuck in the Good Housekeeping Recipe book choosing the dish she was going to prepare for the evening meal on her turn. Colin proved to be a master bean Chef which was very handy as we still have bag fulls bought from UK when we left. We managed to catch a few fish mainly tuna to help with the fresh stores. On the fishing story by the time we got in we had only one small rubber squid lure left, but we had fresh fish in the fridge. The other big news is we caught an enormous yellow fin tuna in the Marquesas, we managed to stock the fridges of 6 other boats and fill our fridge. As a result we are on a self imposed fishing ban until we get our appetite for fish back.

The winds had been consistent all the way so we were all pleased that we would final be sailing into a bay and anchoring and we would not be charging across the ocean on our rolling magic carpet. Little did we know that Atuona Bay has a nice rolling ocean swell to rock you to sleep at night, not that we needed any help with that.

  The Marquesas make a very dramatic landfall they rise high out of the ocean are volcanic mountains which are extremely green lush steep and inhospitable there was little sign of life

other than large amounts of sea birds. Atuona Bay where we anchored was the center of a extinct crater so we had a fantastic view to look out on, despite the sound of diesel engines and

dredging. All the locals were friendly and gave us an excellent taxi service from the harbour to the town sat in the loading space of their 4x4s. We stayed  12days visiting the islands spending our time walking around snorkeling  the highlight being the Rays, we were at one point completely

surrounded by about 30 enormous Manta Rays, Collin went out snorkeling with 20 Sting Rays,

his first ever encounter with Rays. The population of the Marqueasas is migrating to all corners

of the world and you certainly got the feeling of being that the rest of the world was a long way

away, it was certainly amazing to think that these Islands had been colonized from peoples

traveling from New Guinea. We walked to a few ruined settlements to look at the Polynesian

stone carvings and areas for their religious gatherings and sacrifices.  The Penguin fruit and veg

nets were replenished with mangoes lemons bananas, and coconuts as well as anything else

vaguely edible that we could scrump on our travels.

   Before leaving Marquesas we heared that  Gypsy Moth had run aground in the Tuamotus and

Efforts were being made to rescue her lets hope it was successful anyway that’s were we are

Going next but with no wind and solid motoring it certainly has not been the best journey. The

Bright side is that there is not much moon and the stars are putting on amazing displays each

Night, we have also been fixing our position at twilight but not  as accurately as the noon fix

We will just have to do more practice.

 So to answer your anxious curiosity, we motor sailed into the pass at 4.30 the tide was rushing

In with us. We had then to motor another 8 miles to anchor in the lagoon near the village, the sun

Set as we reached the anchorage and one of the other yachties came out in his dinghy to guide

Us in through the coral heads which are just below the surface of the water but we were unable

To see because of the light conditions. The anchor went down and the engine went off and complete silence once again was restored. It was time for us to have a well earnt glass of wine and watch the stars come out.  We were anchored in the lagoon at Ahe the home for a period

Of the French long distance sailor Bernard Mortisiere another mile stone in the Journey.

  Well by now it is perfectly obvious we have far to much time to waste and so must you if

You have managed to wayed through this in one sitting. With a bit of luck Colin and Niamh

Might add something to keep litary critics happy  and I am sure Jacky will once again feature

Large when she has got over her Flying adventure . So this is The End       ROB.




  It’s Wednesday afternoon and we’re en route from Apatake (one of the Tuamotu Atolls) to anticipation of Jacky’s arrival in a few days. On that note, I hope you have a good trip Jacky – see you soon!!!

Despite lots of talk on the net this morning about lots of squalls and a building low pressure, we’ve had a very pleasant so far this morning…down wind with 3reefs (with due regard to Norman’s good influence we decided to be particularly sensible this morning!) and a little genoa. Or at least…until now - Rob has just caught a lovely big dorado, and was mid-filleting it, when all of a sudden one of those promised squalls hit. Colin made the big mistake of taking over the wheel from me about 2mins before hand….I’ve hidden myself away merrily down below as the boys are working away up there in rain that would make any Scottish man proud…though he is complaining of feeling cold at the moment! So I’m delighted to report that chivalry is well and truly alive…and all for the small price of a “little cup of tea”.

Rob has filled you in on all our adventures in the South Pacific to date. We’ve been to some really interesting places and met lots of new friends to share “fish catching stories” with. The snorkeling and diving has definitely been the highlight for me….sharks everywhere!!! Even yesterday in Apatake, we were amazed to find whole new species of fish that we had never seen before, so I reckon we’ve got lots more exploring to do in the Pacific yet!   …Niamh


Breakfast guests at Wreck Bay




Yes I do exist


A chill out pool



Underwater beasties….a manta procession





Baby sea-lions play with Penguin



And finally…..the shark!