While Kim is visiting her family in Berlin, I am solo sailing through the Tuoamotus, looking for the coolest places to bring her back to. This archipelago is definitely one of the most beautiful areas of the world!
The Tuamotus are a group of atolls in the South Pacific. Very remote, very beautiful and very dangerous. Before the GPS age sailors avoided most of this area, because it was too dangerous to safely navigate. It is still dangerous if you’re not on your A-game – just this month three boats have been wrecked on reefs here. I saw one of them, when I was coming into the pass here in Rangiroa. It’s a constant reminder to be diligent.
Interesting notes on this journey:
My main sail ripped out of the mast track
Imagine you go outside at 2am and see your main flying in the wind, only held on by the halyard at the top and the foot at the bottom. And your alone. And it’s blowing hard with 6’ waves. But dangerous, that work. You can easily slip and fall in trying to wrangle the main. The only way I could do it was to let the halyard down almost to the deck, with the main spilling aft of the boat, and pull/push it back into the bag. Harder than it sounds, that thing is heavy. We are getting a new track shipped in, it’s and aftermarket tides marine track, they told me this happens after 10 years. Not sure the age.
No sleep – I start to hallucinate
It’s really nerve-racking sailing here solo. I usually sleep in 1 hour blocks, after the sun rises, no sails (drifting), and as long as I’m not within 20nm of land. I’m not sure how others do this… but here in the Tuamotus it’s hard to sleep because you know, if you sleep too long or the wind changes, you’ll loose your boat. At the same time after 36hr of no sleep I start to hallucinate (I know this from my navy days) and that’s no good either.
Sailing on/off anchor
I’ve really been trying to practice sailing on/off anchor, tacking with various sail setups (only jib, reduced jib, etc) and trying to learn the boat a bit better. Even after three years and 20k miles on her… I still have things to learn and I can still be a better sailor. That said, this last journey I sailed off anchor in one atoll, sailed 80nm to the next, through the pass, and sailed onto anchor in between a bunch of boats here. I’m damned proud of that. Too many people rely on the engines far too often. You don’t need them if you’re patient and willing to give it just a little more effort. It may pay off in the long run, as engines only fail when you need them the most.
Ok, enough ranting! Have a great weekend! Kim is finishing up the next episode about our arrival the Ecuador!
Kim and I had a chance to visit one of the outlying islands of the Gambiers last week: Isla Taravia. Wow, the coral here is amazing, but the really amazing thing is the size of the fish here!! Most of the reef fish have ciguatera, and because nobody eats them they get HUMONGOUS! We saw a world record triple tail, and grouper the size of Kimmi.
Since we’ve arrived to Gambiers we have been hanging out with our friends on Agapé (you can visit their Instagram and Blog). We met Josh and Rachel in Boca Chica (Panama) and it’s been 8 months since we’ve seen each other. But, as all good things must come to an end, they left a few days ago and we’ve been working like little dogs!
After Easter Island we spent 3 weeks going around the Pitcairn Island Group:
- Ducie – The most southern atoll in the world!
- Henderson – The most untouched by humans island in the world!
- Pitcairn – Home of the Bounty muntineers (and so welcoming).
- Oeno – The most beautiful, coolest, and northernmost atoll in the group.
We have behind the scenes videos complete for you guys, and tons of pictures, BUT the internet here is so slow. Like… crazy slow. We had to bribe the cafe’s owner to keep our computer for the night to upload our new episode.
Our plan now is to stay here and see this isalnd group for two weeks until the supply ship comes, then purchase 30gal of diesel directly from the ship (at $6/gal instead of $8/gal in the store here).
Then we’re headed to Hao Island in the Tuamotos. Apparently they have cell service there, and we can use our cell phone to upload all the awesome stuff we’re waiting to show you. Cool?
James & Kim
Of all the countries we visited so far, Ecuador was by far the biggest positive surprise.
We wanted to come down here just to jump of to French Polynesia, but we ended up extending our visas and staying for four months to explore the whole country. We had 15kn of wind from the southwest every day and lonely islands to spend the night at. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Only a few days left in Ecuador – then we will set sail for Easter Island. Our next big cruising adventure… ⛵️