13:14.68S 144:42.03W Do the maths and set the sail.

Sat 6 Aug 2016 18:22

13:14.68S 144:42.03W Do the maths and set the sail.

Just before Stephen left Zoonie the evening he was aboard he said two things, first was always keep smiling as happiness is the result and he asked us to visit him before we leave.

So we rowed first to Juliane to say goodbye, “He’s been preparing fruit for you,” Natalie said. Stephen’s garden stretches from one side of the bay to the other and well back up the valley towards the road and Rob found him walking back towards home eating a slice of papaya, he then gave another slice to Rob.

“Are you alone?” he asked Rob.

“No Barbs is with me.” He seemed quite disconcerted to see me walking carefully through his garden, “Come, come this way, I have many young plants growing all around.” I assured him I had avoided all his seedlings and then offered him a packet of small shell pasta by way of a parting gift. I thought it would make a change in diet for him, briefly.

“That is not necessary,” he said handing back the box, but I will keep the card.

Gone were the warm smiles from the rosewood face of two nights ago. The _expression_ on his visage, that reminded me of a young North American native, was one of annoyance. I had clearly got that token wrong. He kindly gave us a papaya and two pamplemousse, Rob wished him well and we left him to his solitude.

There was no one about on Cheeky Monkey so we left our card on their table and rowed back to Zoonie.

On Rob’s third attempt we landed a good size tuna as the shadow of the Marquesan islands disappeared behind us. I donned my leather gardening gloves and took hold of the line and lifted it aboard as Rob held the rod. We have streamlined our retrieval method. Filleting takes place on the deck rather than the chopping board laid on the deck. After all the knife is on the top of the fish so not likely to damage the teak. No more struggling to get the hooks out of the landing net either.

The second fish must have been a whopper as its 3 inch wide jaws bent a horse shoe shape in the wire trace. Since then another identical experience, plus one fish taking all the tackle, has made us realise the fish out here are bigger than our needs and what our tackle can cope with. So we had two days from the fish we caught. I made two suppers with green pepper sauce, we had an appetiser of some raw fish dipped in Balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and lime juice and then a tuna salad for lunch.

On the 4th August the Diva was back on stage before 9.00am and there she stayed for 21 hours giving us over 130 miles on a lovely flat sea, but that didn’t last. The weather is building towards a big blow building up to maybe 30 knots. It has been eating into the twenties all night.

With the Tuamotu Archipeligo coming up we would prefer to take the passage through in daylight, so we divided the distance by the desired speed to get us there first thing tomorrow morning for the 70 mile passage. So first the maths and now  there are two reefs in the genoa to get her speed to around 5.5 knots.

Historically the archipelago has been given the well-earned name of ‘The Dangerous Archipeligo’, because not only is it very beautiful but the islets are composed of coral with narrow passes into the central basin-like lagoons. The coral rims support a frill of palms and white sand provides holding for anchors. The snorkelling in these clear blue waters is idyllic.

Always there is a current coming out through these passes and with a cross wind they can be dangerous.

Before Mr Google, Satnavigation and chartplotters most cruising boats avoided them. But cruising sailors’ confidence is growing sometimes faster than their skills and what is dangerous now is the assumption that modern devices and technology is making cruising here possible and safer. Successful cruising here is dependent on the skill of the yachtsmen and the conditions at the time.

I was not at all keen to make a stop-over in these atolls, I didn’t want Zoonie to join the other wrecks, but as Rob expressed an interest I was prepared to try for an entry into one of the lagoons. However the latest weather forecast put an end to that idea. I was not happy for Rob’s sake but I was relieved.

I may have mentioned Torsten’s visit to install software onto our computer so we can use accurate and free charts we have scanned from the internet. Overlaid with Google Earth these have opened up the world of cartography to the small cruiser. When we get to Tahiti we will buy a GPS mouse for the computer so we can see our position on the chart.

This is a real alternative to paper charts and the chartplotter so in the event of theft, damage, including electrics wipeout from a lightning strike, the computers are a good backup to traditional and modern methods.

When we chatted about the culture of the Tikis, Torsten asked if I had ever read Eric von Daniken’s books including Chariots of the Gods. Well many years ago I did. Eric believed he had evidence from all over the world that beings from outer space may have come to earth and developed cultures for example on Easter Island, the Peruvian Nazca Plains, The Mayan temples etc. It might explain the huge masks the Tikis appear to be wearing over their eyes. I must see if they are on Kindle and have another read.