Wednesday 29 April 2015

Another Island Paradise

We are now anchored in a cove near another small island Taou. It is a beautiful spot with lots of palm trees and sand. I went snorkelling and saw thousands of colourful tropical fish, coral, moray eels and more nurse sharks.
Before arriving  on  passage from Fakarova we saw 15 dolphins that came and played near our bow.  Six dolphins jumped at the same time- an awesome sight! Sorry I didn't have a camera handy.
There is a 3 knot current in the cove so when swimming you need to be mindful and careful.

Tuesday 28 April 2015


As you can see this is truly paradise. Beautiful coconut palms with coconuts everywhere, waves lapping on a white sand beach and warm crystal clear aqua coloured water. On Sunday I rented a bicycle and went as far south as the road would take me stopping regularly to soak in the beauty of the reef on one side of the island and the beach on the other side of the island. There were many coconut plantations along the way with coconuts littering the ground everywhere. I especially enjoy the stops looking out over the reef watching the waves crash into the reef and having the cooling breeze flow over me. I then headed north past the airport to the gorgeous beach photographed above where I swam and then husked a coconut, poked 2 holes in it and drank the milk. I then cracked it on a rock and had a delicious snack and then brought the rest of it back to the boat. I then proceeded to the end of the road where the pass into the atoll is and enjoyed the spectacular view. 
Yesterday we had some unsettled weather and our walk to the pearl farm was a wet one. While there 
We saw nurse sharks attempting to eat the bread thrown into the water for the fish in the enclosure. 
A moray eel dart out from under the coral and then back under the coral again as it is doing here. We looked at all the beautiful black pearls and all the different sizes available. We also saw 

many many different sizes and colours of fish in the enclosure. 
Today we had a tour of the pearl farm. The farm starts by purchasing 6 month old black pearl oysters from a neighbouring island as this atoll is too deep and too big for them to find and harvest the 6 month old black pearl oysters. The oysters are male for the 1st 2 years and then turn female. If they are stressed they remain male. Only male oysters produce pearls. So at 6 months they stress the oysters and they clean them every 6 months to continue to stress them. There is a Japanese who comes to implant the perfectly round balls into the shells with a piece of the black lip from one of the oysters. He has open the shell, implant the lip and ball into the sack in under 2 minutes or the oysters dies. They clean the outside of the oyster shells every 6 months and after 2 years they harvest the pearls and implant another ball the same size as the one they removed and let it grow for 2 years. It was fascinating to learn about this process. To swim out and watch them bring in the net with 20 oysters. Watch them being opened and retrieving the pearls 

Friday 24 April 2015


After 4 days of sailing we arrived in the Tuamotu's. The last night we were trying to slow down and the winds were blowing 20 to 24 knots with squalls up to 30 knots. The sails were well reefed as we wanted to be going 4.5 knots to arrive at the pass into the atoll at the slack tide at 8 AM. We had difficulty going that slow with so much wind. This is a beautiful spot with clear blue waters and sand beaches and lots of coral and fish life. The island is covered in palm trees. It has been very windy here so the palms are swaying in the breeze. We have a great coral reef within swimming distance of the boat. Lots of colourful fish and super coral. Last night we were able to see nurse sharks and black tipped sharks. A memorizing sight. They were in very shallow water and were very easy to see. 

Tuesday 21 April 2015


We left Nuka Hiva (lifted anchor) about 11 AM on April 18.  We are headed to the Tuamotu Atoll Islands where we hope to visit Fakarava, Apataki, and Rangiroa. The atoll of Rangiroa is 40 miles long. The atoll consists of sand islands with a barrier reef to the outside of the atoll.  The sand islands are normally covered in coconut palm trees and form a ring around the atoll.  The atolls were once volcanic islands that have sunk below sea level and as they sank the coral reef grew up to almost sea level while the volcanic island submerged.  Check the islands out on a map on on the internet.  It is fascinating.
The inside of the atolls is protected from the swell by the barrier reef and the water is supposed to be a beautiful blue.  The diving and snorkelling is said to be excellent here (I'm not sure - maybe the best anywhere) as the water rushes in and out of the passes into the atolls with a great number of sea life including hammerhead and white or black tipped sharks.  I'm sure there is every kind of fish imaginable and to top it off you have endless coral reefs.
Back to the blog title. I have been remiss to not be telling you about the dolphins that play on our bow or we see jumping in great numbers as they feed in huge numbers.  As we have approached most of our destinations so far we have been welcomed by these mesmerizing creatures as they frolic and play.  Since leaving Nuka Hiva we have seen them twice and they have played on our bow for at least 10 minutes each time.  They are amazing as they swim a metre from the bow, sometimes one on each side. The other amazing thing is how they rise for air at exactly the same time. Yesterday there was a pair that seemed in perfect harmony and rhythm with their swimming and breathing.  It was certainly fascinating to watch.
Future plans include a meeting of the Blue Planet Odyssey in Tahiti on May 4 to discuss the route we will be taking going forward and the timing of the route. The current plan has us departing Bora Bora on May 27.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Nuka Hiva

We left Oa Pau about 9:30 on Monday & arrived in Nuka Hiva around 2:30 in the afternoon. We are at Taiohae Bay in the town of Taiohae. Taiohae is the capital of the Marqueses and the most populated village.  Yesterday we had an official welcome from the town's people 

Complete with lays & ceremonial dancing. 
Later we were allowed to choose between learning how to make a bead necklace or weave with coconut palm branches. 

U can see I was into the weaving in a big way. I was determined to replace the woven hat I was forced to leave behind in St. Lucia oh so many years ago so I convinced Jocelyne our teacher to teach me how to make a hat. I also made a bag & a serving tray. 
After Jocelyne made a hat for me I had to make another 

Later we had a traditional Marquesian dance this time with men and women. 

This was followed by our farewell dinner for those boats that won't be part of the Blue planet odyssey going forward. These were boats that signed up for the Pacific Odyssey only. 
On Tuesday we had a talk on the Tuamotu Islands which we plan on visiting on our way to Tahiti. We have a talk this afternoon about weather in the South Pacific. A good part of today was spent cleaning the hull of the boat. 

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Hakahetau Bay (Welcome in Marquesian)

We were to start the drive from Hakahua to Hakahetua at 9 AM. Upon arriving on shore it was determined that S/V OM was drifting. The crew headed out to resecure their stern anchor & it was decided we would all wait for them. At 10 OM came back to report they had reset both anchors & were unhappy with the result so they were going to sail the 4 miles to Hakahetua.  During this time Chapter 2 was observed to be drifting as well & it was determined upon investigation that the strap used for the stern anchor had chaffed through & Chapter 2 was swinging. 
We then started the 45 minute ride over the mountain, past the airport & the white sand beach.
  On route we were told that during the drought a few years back all the donkeys & horses that grazed on the high plateau we were traveling over died due to lack of food & water. Upon arrival we were welcomed by young ladies of about 12 who put a woven necklace around our necks that had flowers attached. We walked through an isle made by drummers & warrior dancers. We were then treated to a Marquesian dance after which the men were taught to do the courting dance of the island. 

Some of the guys really got into the guteral grunts & the hip movements. It was now 11:15 and we were served the welcoming meal of fruit, salted octopus with cookies, and a type of bread or pancake with a fruit sauce or syrup. We had barely finished & the lunch was served which again included octopus, goat, breadfruit, and rice. The joke was they were attempting to fatten us up prior to eating us as their ancestors had done. They were doing a good job. The 2 meals were so close together because we arrived so late. 
Later we were driven to a self contained farm where this German fellow has been making chocolate for 40 years. On the return trip we visited a waterfall which was enjoyed by all 

And learned which plant could be used as a natural bug repellent. Some of us then went snorkelling to an area the children of the community are trying to get reserved as a marine sanctuary. We saw a great number of fish & some coral. Our guide was spear fishing & got an octopus. When we returned we played the local version of Boccie ball with metal balls that are smaller than the ones we use at home. We then watched the warriors perform the fire dance & a dance to the white man. 

The warriors then unburied the pig and other things cooking in the ground since 4 AM. We had a great feast followed by another dance lesson to learn the pig dance. 

Hakahay Bay (

We started the day with a warm welcome from the village people 
It included a necklace presented by the major of the island & the traditional kiss on both cheeks. There was a huge spead of fruits including star fruit, pamplemouse, guava, banana,dried bananas, bread fruit chips, & passion fruit. We were then taken on a walking tour of the town where visited the beach
And then as we proceeded all the local fruit was pointed out to us. We also saw many private gardens filled with flowers & fruits. We visited the local church where they left a strategic opening to allow you to ponder the glory during the service. 
The wood carving inside like in Hiva Oa was breath taking 
We visited an ancient sacred site & then went to the town centre where we were welcomed again
With a a necklace of palm frowns. We taught the importance of breadfruit to the Marquesian people and how a father plants a new breadfruit tree every time a new child is born. We were told how they are stored in the ground for years of drought or famine. They then taught us how to peel breadfruit using a tool made from a shell. We were told the many ways breadfruit can be prepared & were allowed to prepare it
We then sat down to a meal of breadfruit, curried goat, octopus and fruit. Following the meal we were driven to the beach where the flower rocks are found. These rocks have only been discovered in Ua Pou and in Brazil. 

On the way home we stopped at a village where they carve the flower rock. 

In the evening we enjoyed a BBQ with goat, rice & sausages. 

Thursday 9 April 2015

Ua Pou. Hakahau Bay

We departed Hiva Oa at 5 PM last night & just missed a big rain storm. We sailed all night & arrived in  Ua Pou. Hakahau Bay and dropped anchor about 11AM. 
 Ua Pou as we approached
There is a great beach here. We travelled over with S/V Heron Reach. There are 2 days of planned activities here with the final day ending with a pig roast where they will wrap the pig & everything in leaves & bury it in the ground to cook it. Shortly after I came to shore a big sip left
Maggie is the blue hulled sail boat on the left 

Party time

On April 7 one of the BPO boats Lovesail had a party for the rest of the odyssey. It was a great chance to sit & discuss our past crossing and plans for the future. A lot of the boats that went through the Panama Canal & went on to the Marqueses will now slow down as they were just part of the Pacific Odyssey which ends in the Marqueses. A lot of the boats that arrived prior to us had already moved on to see other islands in the Marqueses as we need to be in Papaetee Tahiti by May 4. 

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Tour of Hiva Oa

On Monday we went on a tour of the island. Our first stop was the smiling Tiki. 
On our way we saw banana growing and the banana flower

Apparently when the missionaries came to the island they discouraged the Marquesian's from worshipping their gods so a lot of the Tikis & their sites were left & forgotten. Today the French in particular are attempting to find a lot of these lost sites. We had lots of photo stops along the way
Breathtaking views 
There are goats on these cliffs. The locals apparently shot the goats up here from the water & rush to get the goat before the Sharks get to it. The Sharks are said to be waiting

We also were able to pick guava and it was delicious. At the far end of the island we visited a very well preserved or restored Tiki site. 

Unfortunately here the heads were cut off the some of the Tikis as were some of the private parts by the missionaries. 
We had a great lunch of chicken with rice and bananas, poppia and pamplemouse. 
Unfortunately on the way home I was in the back of a truck for 1.5 hours bouncing down a very rough gravel/Rock road eating dust & breathing desiel 


At Jacques Berl's grave
Paul Gauguin's grave
During baptism service on Saturday night
Beautiful carving on the pulpit at the church
We visited a wood carver after the church service on Sunday. Here we are hamming it up 

Monday 6 April 2015

In the Marqueses

We arrived on Good Friday at around 11AM local time. We set a stern anchor as that is what is recommended & all the other boats had one so it is required. We headed to shore with the dingy & Rob tossed out the stern anchor for the dingy after tying the line to the boat. For the 2nd time he forgot to tie the line to the chain on the anchor. He went & got his mask & went diving for the anchor but could not find it. We ended up using a rock. While in town everything was closed but we toured around to see what was there. There was a mass going on & the Marquesian singers were phenomenal.  We visited Paul Gaugain's grave in the cemetery. That night we headed out to supper & ended up joining some other BPO boats at a restaurant & had pizza. It was great to reconnect with everyone that was there. 
The next morning we knew that this would be the only time a lot of the places would be open until Tuesday. We visited the Paul Gaugain museum & saw the house he lived in as well as replica's of many of his paintings. We did some shopping & headed back to the boat. That afternoon I took a stab at cleaning all the green slime & barnacles off the boat. A big job. That evening we attended a baptism at the Catholic Church & once again the singing was incredible. The service was in Marquesian & the sermon & a few other parts were in French. On Sunday morning we attended church once again & in the afternoon we all caught up on our email as we had not had internet since March 10.  That evening we had 2 Norwegian young people from S/V Milla over & heard their fascinating stories of their trip so far. 

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Spinnakers are such fun

We have had another slow day with the winds between 6 and 10 knots most of the day. It appears the winds have just picked up so perhaps the winds will increase and we will make some decent mileage today after all.
Things have been slow but busy on board with the changing of sails and preparing for shifts in the night.  The other night it was decided that we were making such good time with the spinnaker up that we would attempt to leave it up all night.  About 9 PM during my shift the wind came up and was over 20 knots so it was decided that the spinnaker needed to come down.  My job is to pull the sock over the spinnaker so there I am looking up and decided that the line connected to the blue line must be the correct one to bring down the sock. Pull as I might it wouldn't come down so Rob was headed forward to help.  I yelled try the other line and lo and behold the sock started to come down.  Back Rob went to control the line and down came the sock slick as a whistle.  I won't be making that mistake again.
We are getting very good at putting the spinnaker(Para=sailer) up and down but often we have a glitch putting it up as the sock or lines get caught in the bellow that go forward from the front of the sail.
We made 135 nautical miles in the last 24 hours at 11 AM in our new time zone.  We all had hoped that the number would have been higher.  Checking just now we have 361 nautical miles to our destination.