A sailing blog about a skipper and his yacht

30th March – 3rd May – Passage to Marquesas & landfall at Hiva Oa

by | May 5, 2017 | Voyage Logs | 1 comment

I had a what I think to be a very slow passage following just about the great circle route which differs not a lot in these latitudes from the rhumb route. I’ll not bore you with the full details but I can understand why Connor O’Brien, who was the first Irish yacht circumnavigator, said if he had to sail 5,000 miles in the trade winds that he would die of boredom. Still as the great Moitessier said, cruising is one long game of patience.
I’ll just add trade winds what trade winds! The pilot books had assured me I would be gently wafted from Galapagos to the Marquesas by the SE trades
Leaving the Galapagos I had no wind then a succession of squalls , one which caught me unawares on a grey drizzly morning when the wind went from 10 knots to 35 – 40 in a matter of moments and torrential rain. It was one of those moments which bought to me how alone you are out here and far away from any help. Then the weather improved for some days but I still had a series of grey overcast days with no sight of the sun. The winds were light many days of 8- 9 knots of wind and sometimes lower. At first they were indeed from SE, living up to their name and we could sail along on a broad reach but then they went E even NE so it was dead downwind, a point of sailing that neither Sea Bear nor I agree to like and there was always enough swell to create at times, lively rolling which was tiresome.
It amazed me how quickly weed and barnacles grow on the bottom in these waters. I had started out clean but after a week already had a fair growth and it doesn’t take too much to slow the boat down and make her sluggish and unresponsive on the helm. One day when the wind was only 3 knots i did launch the dinghy and try and scrape some away but there was too much swell and I adjudged it too dangerous.
There is very little boat traffic this way and I only saw 3 boats, one a freighter and two fishing boats, still with a guard alarm set on AIS it does mean you can get some decent sleep.
The last few hundred miles seemed to take forever, I think i know what its like to be in limbo now.
The penultimate day around midday I spied land, at first not quite sure, was it cloud but no a bit later I was certain Land Ho. The Marquesas are high mountains and I was still 45 miles off.

There was no chance to get in before dark that night so when about 20 miles of I hove too and drifted slowly towards them. Dawn I let draw again, what magnificent islands steep mountainous and verdant and largely unspoiled.

Approaching Hiva Oa

Later as I turned into Atuona Bay, Hiva Oa, I met with Thom on another Vancouver 28 just leaving.
I anchored in the bay, I had made it to one of the most remote group of inhabited islands in the world, Gauguins paradise.
2995 nmiles and 34 days

At anchor Atuona Hiva Oa

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