Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Passage to Tahiti March 18, 2018

The trip started with plenty of good wind and some rain falling from the sky.

We sailed around this white squall. Water dumping heavily into the sea.

That is the nice part about the ocean, you don't have to stay between white and yellow lines. Sail where the wind is that you want and avoid the nasty stuff if possible. Tack! The dark cloud is now behind us.

This eerie UFO looking cloud was just ahead of that big black cloud.

The wind was good for sailing, but the squalls kept coming.

A big thunderhead off in the distance.

Then suddenly, the skys cleared except for this wild looking spiral cloud. Reminds me of the movie Moana (which means Ocean, by the way)

The winds were getting light and fluky, but the sunsets were still a show in themselves. I love the little color topped finger tip clouds.

And just like that the clouds went away and took the wind with it.

I just can't help myself, when the clouds glow this orange color, I must photograph them.

You would think a sailor would get tired of looking at nothing but sea, sky and clouds, but the amazing thing is, that it is always changing.

Not sure how the sun refracted to make this one crazy little spot turn so orange.

Rain dumping out of a cloud in the distance.

Sail on, sail on, this is what we do.........

Still another amazing sunset. The low clouds over the horizon look like they might be islands, but not this time.

These clouds looked like Mr and Mrs Santa riding their sleigh across the sky.

The next day was glassy calm again. Not a ripple of a breeze! But still that incredible blue!

There are still bumpy swell waves rolling under the water, but no wind waves.

Can you see the cloud reflected in the glassy water? Like a painted ship upon a painted ocean......

There is the cloud that was being reflected.

When we started to get a puff of a breeze, it was the perfect time to hoist the spinnaker!

The spinnaker reflected in the Pacific Blue.

The refraction of the sunlight in the sea, along with some spinnaker glow.

Hangin loose baby, waiting for that next puff! We had very little diesel, so sailing was the order of the trip.

March 25th, Land Ho! Mahetia, a volcanic cone island due West of Tahiti.

The wind finally has come back! Yea! The sea looks quite different now.

Little shinny wind waves on top of the rollers.

Every once in a while a growler rolls up behind us now.

Mahetia, are you getting closer yet??

She has steep greenery on this side.

Which turns into blank black lava rock on the other side.

There are cracks in the rocks, like the lava slowed, then came again later.

We disturbed some Boobie birds swimming on the sea surface and they flew off.

Brown Boobie was circling us for a while. Please leave our lure alone!!

Probably a masked Boobie with a mostly white chest and underbelly.

What is that thrashing in the water?!?!

Yellowfin Tuna, that's what! Nice work Miguel!! Must have been what those Birds were watching!

The night of the 26th we were hit with a squall that brought the boat speed up to 10.2 knots!! That is a bit fast for us!! But the morning of the 27th we see Tahiti getting pelted with some rain in the early morning light.

The city of Papeete is coming into view and the deep crevasses of Tahiti show in the sunlight.

The perfect way to end a 10 day passage, sailing right into the end of the rainbow!

Bye Bye Gambiers

March 13, 2018
It was time to finish up our chores and start saying our goodbyes before heading out to sea, back to Tahiti. I took a look at the depth sounder as we were heading out the pass of Rikitea. It came up to 17 feet at the lowest.

Rikitea village and her huge church!

Rikitea located on the North side of Mount Duff on Mangareva island.

The cliff side of Mount Duff towers above the Meteo weather station on the bluff.

We had to dingy to our friend's house on Taravai through the shallow turquoise water.

Following the shoreline there is a deeper (5 to 6 foot) trough of water to get around the island.

They live by another one of those ancient churches.

Valerie and Herve's house(s) Living room kitchen on the left and bedroom on the right. While their yellow skiff waits to zoom them to town when needed.

We had become such good friends with them and their 7 year old son Ariki (means king). She gave me a black lipped oyster shell and we shared some of their watermellon.

They called us on the VHF radio saying not to leave until they could come for one last visit. Valerie had made us flower lei's to show their love before we sail away.

Mike got one too!!

We sailed over one last time, to our favorite outer motu, Kouaku to say bye to our Austrian cruiser friends.

They had the beach fire ready as the sun was getting ready to set.

Selfie with Christian and Birgit, of Pitufa, and ourselves.

The sunset was quite spectacular that evening as the rays of light glow from behind the cloud.

The sea is turning orange like the sky.

The clouds took the shape of an angel flying, glowing from the sunset.

The next morning we were headed out the West Pass between Mangareva and Travai.

Mangareva behind us with Mount Mokoto in the foreground and Mount Duff behind.

We are beginning to see the sand trails we will follow to get over the barrier reef.

Our beautiful lei's were wilting.

So we made a wish and threw them overboard.

Mike is ready to throw his too.

The flowers disappear quickly in the sea. I think we both wished for the same thing, that some day we would be able to come back again.

Mike with Taravai behind as we head out the pass.

The white sand path out over the reef is clearly visible now.

We follow it all the way out into the ocean.

Feeling a little melancholy, as this was a glorious and delightful stay we had in the Gambiers. The kindness of the people, the beauty of the lagoon, the sandy motus and spectacular sunsets will be missed dearly.

Nana, Gambiers! March 18th.

The sea outside the reef is an incredible color blue!! No photoshop here!

We see a squall to the South, but we are heading NorthWest.

Pretty quickly we forget our sorrows when Mike pulls in a 45 inch Wahoo!! Many dinners for the passage!

Mike practices his filet and release method. The photo makes it look like the fish is giving him a kiss, but no so! Only 900 miles to go to Tahiti!