so, we're still here. the freighter arrived today, so we can actually
stock up on things that one couldn't buy anymore, like flour and TP and
sweetened condensed milk etc.
T&H are still waiting for a money wire to get through because their ATM
card didn't work here.
i got my tattoo yesterday, by this guy Isidore who is somewhat famous and
really really good. it was the first time i let someone tattoo me
freestyle and i am very very impressed with the style and cleanliness of
lines and the design itself. all we decided together was the area f the
body, the size (for pricing) and the general theme. I told him i wanted it
traditional marquesian, not girly, symbolism instead of realistic images
and have it to do with the ocean, the fact that i sailed here and will
keep sailing etc. so i got symbols for protection in form of stylized
sharks teeth (some of whivch look like martini glasses), lots of waves,
land promising sea birds, more waves a warrior for power and a fertility
symbol for many good returns from any save trips.... all of it together
looks very very cool.
yeah, isidore is the son of Pere, i ave written that i met her and
befriended her. the other day we made traditional seedneclaces together
and she showed me a bunch of tropical cooking, like how to make
coconutmilk, how to dry fish, several preserve stuff. and every time i go
there she loads me up with fruit. yummm!
on the boat we've mended sails where the seams had chaved during this past
trip, tried to fix some more leaks (that are constant on a wooden boat). i
have a couple of drips right onto my pillow, but i can put a piece of
plastic above my bunk and it is fine. tracy is not so lucky.it is really
really hot here and sometimes i wake up because i roll on my wet pillow.
the beginning of this week we took on water at Daniel's bay, where they
did the survivor 2003 tv show. we met daniel and his wife antoinette who
love americans... he was wearing a 97.3 ALICE radio station cap from San
Francisco. i didn't get a photo of him coz he was working in the garden
and thought he was too dirty and didn't want to be photographed. he's
probably in his late 80s and has done everything from working for the us
forces during WWII to helping custeau on calypso, well, and now providing
preferably american cruisers with drinking water...
it looks like the time here will come to an end soon. i like it a lot, it
makes me want to go home and study my french better and come back for a
so, we're still here. the freighter arrived today, so we can actually
agasin... but after this boring weekend on board it is so nice to walk
around and be bored on land...hahaha
yesterday while there was nothing to do on board and everyone else was
napping, i started drawing, first the quay where we land, then all our
neighboring boats in the anchorage, and i actually got better and better.
i haven't done this in many years and am definitely not as good as Amy or
Todd (sailior friends who sketch a lot and well). but my things are
recognizeable. so topday i have shoreleave again, because maybe tomorrow
we will motor over to Daniel's bay (where they filmed survivor 2003 -
which i hae never seen) anyways there is supposed to be potable water
there, close enough to the beach that we can transfer it to the boat with
a hose. let's hope it's true. so i sat in the caffee at the quay, had a
cup of joe and drew the other side of the parking lot, a boat on a
trailor, an old landrover pick-up and a frangipani tree. then this guy
strats talking to me and it turns out he's a local reporter, so he took my
picture, a picture of my drawing and my name and other details, i might be
in the paper tomorrow....
then i ventured on to the museum that is run by an older american lady,
Rose Gardner (nice name, huh?)who came here 30 yrs ago, fell in love with
the island and never left. she has a good collection of artefacts and
copies of old etchings etc. some of the stuff is her's other belongs to
other families who are loaning it. it was very interesting and i bought a
book she wrote on marquesian seed neclaces and arts and crafts. i had
collected seeds with Pere, the tattooist's mom, now i feel i know what to
do with them.
i wish my french was better because i stutter quet a bit trying to say
something, then an hour later i have the perfect sentence in my head...
bon, i'll wander around a bit more, see if i can make some more friends.
it is nicer and easier when i'm by myself because i can only speak for
myself, it is weird to be associated with a boat that i can not speak for.
plus i think i mentioned that tracy keeps finishing my sentences in more
broken french than mine, no matter if she knows what i am planning on
saying or not.
we'll be here at least til the weekend. we need to buy some provisions
that are not there anymore and might have to wait for the island supply
ship. definitely not before sunday jan 29. so write some more to
hudson@da-prince i miss interaction!
So, where to start, so Denis, the one crew already left again after 4
days. him and holger are old friends, hadn't seen each other in 8 years
and apparently had forgotten how they have way different temperaments.
lucky for everyone involved that they discovered it BEFORE departure here,
i don't knoiw why they didn't realize it before making the plan, and
before having denis travel from france to mexico, to here to meet the
boat. i personally liked him, found him an interesting person and would
have gotten along with him fine.
the other crew Ira from sausalito arrived yesterday, he is pale and looked
tired, so we just had cocktails and dinner and talked and today nobody did
that much either, it is an exceptionally hot day.
yesterday arrived the second cruiseship during our stay, they appear on
the horizon when we have coffee, set anchor when i'm doing dishes and then
decend their cargo upon town for about 4 hrs. some go driving around, some
go for walks, some only are ashore for 1 hr, it is bizarre, all of them
walk down the quay where i have my second round of coffee at a restaurant
if i get to go ashore, and take a photo of their cruiseship. the other
side of the spectrum is much more interesting....
last weekend the surprise was even bigger, there was the NOAA ship
Ka'imimoana from Hawaii and a french navy troop transporter named L9032.
the yanks were here for booze and the froggies for maneuvers in the
djungle (i guess in case there'll be another vietnam....) it kinds ruined
our view for the weekend, which by the way was very very boring. i have
cabin fever on the boat, they don't seem to care, at sea i don't mind, but
i could have hiked around the island by now in all the idle time i spend
aboard just sitting around...
last thursday i went to find the island's tattoo artist to maybe get a
tattoo, but he's out of town, instead i got to meet his mother and his
sister. they were both very nice the sister has a beautiful tattoo around
her waist that he did, she is only 14...
the mother Pere does arts and crafts, coconut carvigs and bead leis etc
and we talked shop a bit coz we own the same dremel tool. she had one arm
and one leg entirely tattooed also. anyways i asked her for a hiking
trail, maybe to taipivai (Melville's "Taipee") and she said, what do you
need a trail, there is a road.... anyways it turned out that her and her
husband were going there in the adfternoon, so i got a ride and back...i
did tell tracy and she came along, but she tends to dominate the
conversations, well, or i am too respectful and quiet....
anyways people are so super nice, pere and her husband gave us bananas,
papayas, mangoes, lychees and lemons, and then they wanted to give us more
but i declined coz we still have so much on board, so i had to promise to
come back the next week (tomorrow) to get more stuff....
one night we also went to watch the marquesian dance troop rehearsal which
was very cool, no costumes, but dancing. the women don't dance but sit on
the ground and do some sort of upper body hula, and sing super in harmonie
etc kinda like the voix bulgares.... the men dance and chant and stomp and
are very warrior like. the one dance was the dance of the pig, presumably
for hunting and they sang in grunts and some of it was like throat
singing, and all the guys needed a break afterwards, were laughing,
caughing, spitting, and then lighting a cigarette.
speaking of, i haven't smoked and rarely craved a cigarette since the day
saturday morning we went to the weekly market at 4:30 am. last time were
there at 6:30 and most stuff was already gone, so this time we managed to
get lettuce and cucumber and tomatoes. there were also hunters again, this
time selling goats, they had them hanging picturesquely from a frangipani
tree at the quay, skinning them right there, unfortunately it was too dark
to take a picture...
sat was holgers b-day and we went to a fancy restaurant and it wasn't
good, then sunday i fell asleep while reading and being bored, so i
sunburned my belly and it itches now.
overall, i think i am missing my peers a lot, someone with the same sense
of humour, someone who understands what i'm saying the first time
(literally or figuratively) ... yeah, ira brought a bunch of parts from
the us also, so we WILL do work on the boat, but lately i feel reduced to
a household aid and am not liking it at all... plus if the tattoo artist
comes back into town tomorrow, i need time off then instead of for the
past 4 days when nothing happened....
anywho... you can tell i am a bit frustrated, i hope it will change. it is
so beautiful here and tropical and nice and the boat atmosphere is a bit
of a damprer in any respect, humor, vitality, fun... as it looks now the
plan is to leave here next sunday...
i slept through our first dolphins yesterday, i did see a small pod of pilot whales later, and a juvenile black footed albatross -- huge wing span. i didn't even know that there were albatrii in the northern hemisphere...
pos: 02902N 12308W
totally becalmed between squalls, about 150 mi W of Guadaloupe Island. it made for a beautiful sunrise, lots of interesting cloud layers. the weatherfax isn't working. we might try to motor towards some wind.
pos: 02653N 12107W
wind and rain. for most of the day we're making headway w/ jib top, jib, stays'l, fore and main try. wind swell and cloudcover are building up equally. still no weatherfax capability, jib top down at 2300 -- rain rain rain.
this day got lost in hiding from human interaction. we were sailing somewhat in the right direction all day. sailchange equals tensions -- no fun it's been getting worse rather than better.
the weather sucks. we have another week probably until Vallarta, so we'll see. if this trent of interpersonal tension remains, i will leave the boat in PV. i'm feeling very disappointed and sorry for myself. am trying to stay positive, at the same time making alternate plans.
this morning i saw a rainbow made by the light of the full moon which was right behind us. when the sun rose right in front of us a little later i turned around and the same squall that we had just passed through had a rainbow again, this time from the sun. it was as if we had sailed right through it.
sailing east also illustrated that we finally have wind out of the right direction.
today we're two weeks out. we got our wind, and it is warm enough to make the still occasional rain feel good. we still have a bit too much south in our east. it will be hard to make vallarta. I got into trouble for posting my blog and it showed the boat's e-mail address. i didn't know it would. anyways, i got two mails in response and the owners were concerned. it's o.k. now. To explain to everyone: sailmail goes over single sideband radio, one subscribes to it and is allowed 10 minutes a day. information travels really slow, so mails must be limited to one paragraph and no pictures. also, when one logs on the connection automatically retrieves every incoming mail and then sends outgoing. if there were too many incomings, or god forbid, any spam, it could be potentially impossible to ever send anything out. there is no way to employ a spam guard or block. and there is no way to in the future change the sailmail address because it is linked to the ship's radio call sign. anyways, just so you know, why the address disappeared from the web site and why i didn't answer to any af your personal mails. it was difficult, because i was so happy to hear from you and on the other hand thinking shit, i'm in trouble...
the wind changed again, exactly out of the east...where we want to go... earlier it was blowing hard and we had to reef, now it is light again and rain around everywhere. we're thinking of maybe going to acapulco instead. we've been heaving to either at night or today all day, not to go too far south and miss mexico entirely.
this is the day we decided to turn west and go to the marquesas instead. it might seem a bit funny to the regular traveller, but here are the facts to be considered: the ultimate goal is to go through the straight of magellan. for that we need to use a certain weather window down there. PV was a plan to pick up crew and buy provisions. the way the weather has developed, it is impossible to get to PV or even to Acapulco in a somewhat straight line. there is these two highs that have developed north and east of us and they are merging and stabilizing and there is no chance of the wind direction changing anytime soon. we can't really wait. Holger also had a radio conversation with a weather router who second our opinion. to get to mexico we'd have to basically sail 1700 miles, first way way south and then back up the coast to of latin america. this is stupid because we are losing time and not gain any way on our ultimate course. we consulted via e-mail with the other crew and they are both o.k. with flying to french polynesia instead of mexico (i don't know if i could afford that...)
now that we know that we'll be sailing for some more weeks, we started to employ a proper watch system: 4hrs during the day, 3hrs at night: 0000-0300,0300-0600,0600-1000,1000-1400,1400-1800,1800-2100, 2100-0000. so every couple of days one has actually 8 consecutive hrs off which is perfect for doing laundry, bathing, cleaning up below, making bread, cooking something elaborate and still getting enough sleep.
the first day of summer in the southern hemisphere. we're racing with 6-7 kts towards the ITCZ (the intertropical conversion zone). apparently we need to cross it before longitude12600W. east of that it is not as wide and we're hoping to be able to motor through it in 10-15 hrs while filling the tanks with fresh rain water..... we'll see....
the trade winds! it feels tropical, warm wind, surfing, a bit of a rolly ride. it is mostly overcast so i haven't really had a chance yet to study the stars, also now i need to actually steer the boat because on this downwind course she still steers herself but zigzags a bit more and that makes for a not so comfortable ride for the people trying to sleep. We're wondering what the marquesas will have to offer in terms of provisioning for the trip to Punta Arenas. And i have no idea when i'll be able to use a land connection to go online and send all this.
i did my first trial in baking bread yesterday and it turned out o.k. unfortunately i accidently put 2 tablespoons of salt in it instead of 2 teaspoons full. so, it's a bit too salty, alright... Thinking about food a lot. what do we need, what do we want. al 3 of us are hungry a lot and reluctantly starting to go into the stored we had made for the southern ocean leg of the trip. we hadn't anticipated that we might not make it to mexico and only provisioned for 3 week for that leg and thought of buying as lot of stuff in mexico. We have different fantasies and no real knowledge about the marquesas. they filmed survivor there, it's french, don't they have croissants and good cheese? Do they have electricity? Propane? We're not sure how primitive or developed it is, even though Nuku Hiva has been on the trade routes from California for a long time.
There is the option to also go to Tahiti. Papeete must be a big enough place to be able to get diesel, propane, and a good variety of food stores. But that is further west and apparently not as good a starting point to go south. Definitely now with all the westing we're making, it is clear that we're not going to stop at easter islands, that is too far out of the way. And if we go to Tahiti, we won't make Pitcairn either.
x-mas eve, i got to call my mom on tracy's sat phone. what a joy!
i dished out german x-mas cookies, gingerbread and stollen. i'm sorry i didn't have a tea party this year. beautiful, hot, sunny, tradewind weather.
and back to rain. classic boat design with relatively low feeboard brings you so close to the ocean when sitting in the cockpit. at night it's everything moving by this cockpit, tunnel vision, as if we were stationary. but during the day it's us moving through, with and in it. the great pacific ocean.
light wind out of S. that ain't right! we're sailing back east along the 9th parallel. too much W is no good. We had a stormpetrel as overnight guest.
i was thinking about adventures and why we want to have them and what it means etc.
pos: 0754N 12535W
the doldrums. motored for 10 hrs, now bobbing around waiting for wind. fresh tuna for dinner tonight. reading Melville's "Taipee" in prep for nukuheva.
thunderstorms and lightning with occasional squalls, then no wind. but the equator is coming closer. saw a big green, very bright meteorite.
some sailing, some bobbing, delicious tuna medallions tornado style for lunch. i'm growing sprouts for fresh vegetables and they are happening.
the last day of the year. good riddance! the wind died in the morning, we were going to motor another 70 miles south today, but there is all of a sudden a fuel filter problem, one of the fittings cracked. yummy lunch sandwiches with jade's cheese and my sprouts.
we are anchored out pretty far and every day when on deck we hear this splattering noise, it turnes out that it is a swarm of little fish trying to escape someone who is hunting them under water. one day it was a group of rays, they had a wingspan of 5 ft plus and were at least 4 of them. the little fish jumping out of the water to get away from them, but above the surface there were 5 frigate birds, circeling like vultures and diving for them as soon as they came out of the water. then yesterday the same scenario, only it wasn't rays but mahimahi. poor little fish, they stand no chance.... another thing i want to report is that i saw a tranny girl. aparently this is a usual thing in polynesian culture. she was gorgeous and walked through the village to get her lunch and everybody said hi and it was totally normal. granted this village only has about 500 people living here. everybody has tattoos too, well, the "tribal" stuff comes from here. it is absolutely normal and everybody has them. younger people more so because they are reviving their traditions. i saw these two pig hunters with full body and facial tattoos, absolutely stunning. they had 3 dogs on a leash each and 3 other dogs just running with them freely and they went through town in dog tempo, nearly jogging, and then they were gone, i didn't even have time to get my camera out.
i talked to some fishermen with tattoos and they were laughing when i said that you have to be 18 in the US or germany to get a tattoo, they had started with 12 and 14 respectively. many women have pretty ones around their ears, moving up their cheekbone.
the other thing i want to mention is the water. every river here has geardia and one can't drink it, so the old polynesian habit of the ladies, sitting in the river and tending to their hair had to be totally abandoned. tjhere is only 2 sources of fresh water on the island that is drinkable, where one can get it directly where the spring comes out of the rock, it is the sunday afternoon excursion of every family to go there either by boat or 4wd. we are still hoping to catch rain. it was raining every day since our arrival until we put the raincatcher out...
i just wanted to write briefly about how one has a lot of time to think at
sea and that i spent many hours thinking about my friends and missing them
etc. now that i am on shore and could actually mail more, i feel like i
don't have the time... well, they are also charging by the minute here...
anyhow, we will be in nuku hiva until the end of the month, so pleqse mail
me to firstname.lastname@example.org if you like.
finally i get to send q proper e-mail....
we arrived in nuku hiva of the marquesas on thursday, jan 12th, it is
beautyful here, paradise, quiete refreshing in comparison to english
colonies. the people qre bequtiful and it is warm and tropical.
unfortunately all the e-mail places where i could post pictures are
broken, this is pretty remote....i'm mailing from the post office with a
on one of my wanderings i saw a guy building a boat in his backyard and
asked if i could come and have a closer look. we chatted a bit and then
his wife took me around on their property, collecting fruit for me. i got
a whole stock of bananas, a sack full of mangoes, ( giant avocadoes, some
papayas and a bunch of very sweet grapefruit they have here. i asked her
if they wanted qnything for it and she just said, no, it's a present, we
have a lot, she said. iand because there was no way for me to carry all
that, the entire fqmily got into their pick-up truck and drove me and my
presents down to the quqay. how totally nice is that!
at sea the winds came out of a-typical directions for the seasons; it
rained to much in most pqrts qnd not enough in the intertropical
conversion zone.... and there wasn't much sea life at all, we saw a total
of 1 baleen whale, 2 small groups of pilots and, 15 pods of dolphins, all
that in nearly 6 weeks.... we saw more than that in the 2 weeks from
bermuda to the azores and the atlantic is supposed to be dead compared to
the pacific... well. i wish i could post some pictures. i also wish that i
could send more updates... it turns out that the boat has subscribed to a
very limited amount of time for the radio e-mail and of course the owners
are using it, and then there isn't much left, and some needs to be saved
for emergencies. so, my apologies that the updates are not happening as
often as promised.
i do however werite stuff down on paper qnd take photos that i'll be able
to show later...
we are planning to leave here next sunday, i think that's jan 22nd
we crossed the equator. it was 04:46am, california time. Neptune couldn't make
it, but T&H came into the cockpit just before to save me from commiting the
pelagic sin of crossing into the other hemisphere sober. that would be
particularly severe since it's my first time in a boat! they brought coffee and
brandy. voyage wise we seem to finally be through the sloppy shit (ITCZ,
doldrums and currents) and are zooming along at 7-8kts in the tradewinds - in
the right direction. i finally get to practise my stars and if we hadn't
forgotten the 2006 almanach i'd be practicing celestial too. we are 700mi from
nukuhiva where we want to reprovision and meet more crew. i hope i can send some
proper e-mails from there, don't know if there is internet or if i'll be able to
post pictures. i am writing a lot, full of thoughts, ideas, plans for new
adventures, businesses, projects... well, so far, so good, happy new year! happy
new hemisphere, (hi urtszi, i'm on your side now). i know i missed some b-days,
but i didn't forget about you all. oh, and i did check the wc drain rotation at
4 miles south and it had already turned but was somewhat hesitant, later at 1
degree S it was as proper coreolois effect.