Day 19 - 20th June - Arrival day

SY Saphir -
Jeff & Doreen
Tue 21 Jun 2022 17:45
09:53S 138:44W

Noon to noon of 157nm - Distance to go of 21nm

The wind increased overnight and we ended up on a broad reach with a double reefed main and poled jib in a SE 24knot wind. Quite an exhilarating last days sail and by far the roughest of the trip. However it helped to keep our speed up and there was no doubt that we were going to be arriving in daylight which for a new landfall is always desirable.

Doreen was the first to spot land at about 09.00 when she saw the island of Mohotani off our port bow which is just south of Hiva Oa our destination. The sea conditions were what can only be described as rough at this point and Hiva Oa soon became faintly visible in the low cloud and mist. We were running down on a Lee Shore, which is always a bit nerve racking, to get to the anchorage at a place called Atona and I started to prepare the boat for arrival. This meant stowing the poles that we use for the Jib when running downwind, preparing the stack pack for stowing the mainsail and other jobs to make sure we were ready for dropping the anchor. It was recommended in the pilot books that we had a stern anchor as well due to the limited room in the anchorage so I got this on deck and assembled and attached the chain and warp.

Fortunately the weather cleared a bit and the seas calmed somewhat so when we arrived and turned into the harbour which gave some protection from the wind it was less dramatic than I had feared. The harbour was quite full of boats anchored in various places and all rolling in the swell but we found a good spot and anchored with our bow to the swell and our stern tied to a large yellow body that other boats were also using. So it was Engine off and time for a beer or two. After spending the rest of the afternoon tidying up and making the boat into our home again I launched the dinghy to inspect the growth on the hull. It was incredible and I am amazed how quickly it has grown on the topsides. The underwater part which is antifouled is Ok it is just the topsides. That will be my first job today after we have cleared in. We can’t have “Saphir” looking like she is ready for the scrap yard!!

The island looks amazing from the water, very lush and mountainous and we are looking forward to our time here. Not sure of the specific plan but to start with we are clearing in today and then will get some supplies and do one or two jobs. The neighbours seem to be really friendly with one person helping us get out stern line onto the bouy when we arrived and another bringing over some fruit and we reciprocated by inviting him aboard for a sundowner last night.

It has been a really great crossing and the generally lighter weather and sea conditions have made it very enjoyable especially for Doreen. However these don’t seem to have slowed us down at all in fact if anything I have learnt that the boat goes faster because the autopilot is not struggling in the bigger seas that you get with stronger winds. It took 19 days and 4 hours to cover a rhumb line distance of 2975 nm which is an average speed of approx 6.47 knots which I am more than happy with for this boat. In fact it is about a day quicker than our Atlantic crossing.

Now it is time to enjoy the islands of French Polenesia which we plan to be in for about 8 weeks and explore all that we can in this timescale. I am a bit “blogged out” for now so this will be the last post for a while but will “blog” something else when we have some news. We have no phone signal at all here so will not be able to make contact by the normal channels until we get some sort of local SIM card or go to a WiFi spot.n But don’t worry we are fine 😀.

Jeff & Doreen