09:48.38S 139:01.93W

Quatsino II
Lorna Saunders
Sun 8 May 2016 23:28
Dear Land lubbers and Seadogs
position 9 48’ 38S  139 01’ 93W
Course over ground (COG) 0
Speed over ground (SOG) 0
Arrived Hiva Oa, Marqueses
Day 28 total
Number of fish caught by humans 2
Number of fish caught by Quatsino – cant count that high
Boat time 1314 hrs (UTC – 9.5)
Man of the match so far – Parker, the trusty autopilot
We finally arrived. Yipppeeeee. Got into Hiva Oa, Marqueses Islands at 0800hrs lt, 6/5/16 after 28 days at sea. Gosh, it’s quite a long time to be at sea. George and I agreed, without meaning any offence to each other, we were quite looking forward to some different conversation.
We were given a lovely, warm reception, including gifts of local fruit and fresh french bread, by our friends from the Caribbean on “Amarula”. Their trip from Panama took them 38 days, poor buggers.
Since writing last, it was a progressively slower last 9 days. We finally saw a ship on day 25. So big excitement. Rushed to switch on radar and VHF. We called him up on the radio and eventually he responded. I tried to have a conversation with him, and asked what weather forecast he had, the chatty response was ‘'good”. that was it. no more comms with him!
We were given a couple of real treats, in so much that we saw 2 different sets of rather large whales. One lot was pilot whales, and we’re not certain of the other but they were black with bloody great dorsel fins heading straight for the skys.
Big Bertha, the spinnaker, is running a close second to man of the match at the moment. She certainly pulled her weight for the last 7 days. She’s so big and strong that we seldom fly her, as one puff and she would bring the rig down before she blew out. But she gave us an extra 2 kts fairly consistently, but then we seemed to slow right down. Had we hooked something round the keel? Only one way to find out and that was for George to go over the side and have a look. So warps, some with fenders on, harnesses and lashings were made round George as he embarked on what I can only imagine to be the worst nightmare. Into the deep blue. Luckily nothing around the rudder or prop, but the strangest jelly things had stuck to Quatsino’s hull, amoungst other weird crustations. George did wonder if we should get in and clean them all off (knowing I am a stickler for clean bottoms), “not on your nelly”. This once we were going to have to tolerate the slow down for a few more days.
The last night bought the biggest surprise of them all. George caught his first fish, and it was no mino. A beautiful large yellow fin tuna. I’ll spare you the gory image of him reeling it in in his birthday suit! So 1st meal in the Marqueses was aboard Amarula eating large quantities of sushi and grilled tuna, washed down rather nicely with wine and beer.
Landfall was truly amazing, we timed coming in with the sunrise, and what a spectacle. We have never seen anything like it. Rugged, high rocky mountains, but amazingly green, and for the most, untouched by human hand. There is now a total of 2500 people living on Hiva Oa, (the Europeans came at the beginning of the century with their diseases, combined with the south americans who took folk of as slaves). Just a beautiful island filled with colour, amazing wild flowers, dense foliage of every shade of green, and people who smile, are happy and friendly. Beautiful houses, immaculate roads (think perhaps some EU money may have helped) and 1 restaurant  and one hotel, a couple of small supermarkets ish and no internet. Just bliss.
We plan to spend a month around the Marqueses Islands. I’m sure that it wont be enough time to explore it all, but at least we will get a good look. Quatsino, as always needs a little TLC, but we were very lucky and don’t really have anything major to fix. (Bit of luck really, as there is no where here to buy parts).
We are expecting 2 more boats with friends from the Caribbean to arrive in the next few weeks, so should be fun exploring the islands together, whilst keeping an eye out for each other. The nav is pretty tricky after the Marqueses, and it’s nice to have someone watching for you.