The HALF-WAY Point is nigh at hand > it will seem all "downhill" the rest of the way
06 25.95 S 113 29.16 W
The Pacific has lived up to our expectations of a much gentler ocean than the Atlantic. We continue to enjoy a comfortable ride on the 2 – 3 meter swells that keep you on your toes as you move around Sea Mist but none of that treacherous, short period, washing machine, confused swell environment we had come to expect on the Atlantic (occasionally 4 -5 meters on this passage but even then they are long period, orderly swells).
Not much to report on our passage but I will give one account of our marine mammal friends who paid us a visit a couple of days back.
The Pacific dolphins put on a spectacular show for us on Saturday afternoon with them as close to Sea Mist as physically possible; in fact I heard one whimper when he bumped our hull due to the density of dolphins right at our hull and all around the boat. There were HUNDREDS of BIG dolphins in the show…maybe a thousand or two…hard to tell as the water was boiling with them as they swam, jumped, somersaulted, flipped, body slammed, and dove all around us. What a thrilling exhibition…….the best yet in our 5 years of experiencing dolphins. They stayed with us for 15 minutes or more; Ian eventually got the camcorder going since it appeared they weren’t going to disappear “in a minute”….and I think he got some good footage….not easy to do when you are standing on a rolling/pitching deck.
Each morning I clear the deck of flying fish who have unintentionally committed hari-kari overnight when the flew or were washed on-board. For a few days last week it was a mix of squid and flying fish…perhaps 10 – 20 of each needed to be thrown overboard. The squid were so plentiful and of decent size that we know of one European friend who concocted a great squid recipe and found a better use for the road kill than my approach of “overboard”.
No time like the present to start to plan where we are actually going and what we want to do in the Marquesas. Now that we have done some reading and gained a better understanding of options and sailing versus weather patterns in that Archipelago, we have altered our destination to a different island than Nuka Hiva; we are now headed ever so slightly further south and not so far west to make landfall at Hiva Oa where we will handle (partial) formal clearance into French Polynesia; the full entry process will be handled at Papeete, Tahiti when we get there a month or so later. The arrival port is called Atuona, Taahuku Bay. This will make it easier to get to some of the more south-easterly Marquesas group of islands and not have to fight wind/seas on the nose from Nuka Hiva to get to them….much easier to head North-West given the prevailing winds and seas. We will still have to go to wind about 50 nm (better than 125 nm from Nuka Hiva) to get from Hiva Oa to Fatu Hiva…the most beautiful of all – in fact some travel reporters say that Bay of Virgins on Fatu Hiva is the most beautiful place in all of the Pacific. We are considering making landfall at Fatu Hiva but it is not an official Port of Entry and doing that could put us in serious trouble with French Authorities if they decided to pursue the issue. We may pick up more local intelligence from other cruisers over the next couple of weeks that may relax us about going to Fatu Hiva, first, and not worry about the formal check-in at Hiva Oa until after exploring Fatu Hiva. Stay tuned…..
The Pacific dolphins put on a spectacular show for us later yesterday (Sat) as close to Sea Mist as phyisically possible; in fact I heard one wimper when he bumped our hull with all the density of dolphins at our hull and around the boat. There were HUNDREDS of dolphins in the show…maybe a thousand or two…hard to tell the water was boiling with them as they swam, jumped, somersaulted, flipped, boddy slammed, and dove all around us. What a thrilling exhibition…….the best yet in our 5 years of experiencing dolphins. They stayed with us for 15 minutes or more; Ian eventually got the camcorder going since it appeared they weren’t going to disappear “in a minute”….and I think he got some good footage….not easy to do when you are standing on a rolling/pitching deck.
We have had constant sailable wind since leaving the anchorage in the Galapagos; until the past 24 hours or so, we averaged 200 nm per day with the highest 24 hour period reaching 212 nm; that is tremendously fast passage making. The wind fell off yesterday and backed to coming more out of the East. That has slowed us down to 165 nm in this last 24 hours. We are now showing an ETA at Hiva Oa late on May 5th or early on 6th….time will tell…..and wind will determine! We have remained on a beam reach at 85 degrees off the wind just letting it take us where it will as it swings gradually from South-South-East to East-South-East and back again and again…..that is wind out of 105 to 155 degrees magnetic and our course direct to destination would be 253 Magnetic…..but not being able to make that, we do our best to limit our southing but sometimes we have to go for hours on a couse of as far south as 220 M…..not so productive on getting Distance Made Good to Hiva Oa….but, overall, it is working out terrifically!!
DTG to half way line: 58 nm
DTG to Hiva Oa: 1527 nm
Distance sailed to date: 1416 nm