Friday, June 10, 2011

Tied up in Makemo

It's not just the weather that's kept us on the quay so long- in fact it's not even Makemo itself. It's the long even cement slab holding us all together here. Imagine just hopping off your boat to pop by and chat with a friend. No wet dinghy ride to ruin and hassle you. In the 20+ knot winds we've been seeing here, that's something to be treasured. We've enjoyed morning yoga, random walks through town and plenty of social time; movies, dinner and trip planning.

It's been great; not exactly down time though. Diane on Ceildyh held a few writing seminars to help us develop skills to write stories that will sell. We're all looking for ways to increase our cruising kitties. Barb on What Cha Gonna Do continues to coach us in our quest for a "life career", as well as walking us through our yoga poses. And Lauren on Piko is sharing her beading and jewelry talents as well. I do what I can to keep up with these gifted and giving women but I've got a long way to go.

We've also used the stability of the dock to get go up the mast to check some wiring. The VHF has lost it's range- we're reliably communicating with boats within 5 miles, but are lucky to hear anyone more than 10 miles away. (Most boat VHF radios have a range of 25 miles, so this is a problem.) It's not often the solution is so obvious; the cracked cable running to the antenna is in desperate need of replacement. Unfortunately, there's nothing to be done about it until we reach Papeete in Tahiti. Since there are not marine stores- and only sparsely stocked hardware stores, we've started a list of spares, supplies and what-not to pick up while in the biggest city in French Polynesia.

We are feeling quite lethargic and content here in Makemo, but the weather window is opening today and it's time to push away from the dock and embrace the salty sea once more. It's easy to resist, and stay a bit longer. There's always just one more thing to do (like varnish our dinghy boards) but we are not the type to become shackled by comfort and ease. The next motu is beckoning and I'm looking forward to another paradise. Slack water is around 1pm today so we'll shoot out the pass and head to the isolated Tahanea, about 90 miles to the west.

These are from the crazy day with the local kids that I wrote about briefly in the last post.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

On the dock loading photos

Waiting for pictures to upload gives me the perfect chance to write a bit. Well, a small bit- I've resized some of the photos with the hopes of being able to share more of them with you.

So yet again we are waiting for weather to blow over us. They've predicted high winds and rain for the weekend; not a great forecast for snorkeling, playing in the water, or being anchored in a coral strewn lagoon. Lucky for us, we, and our friends, found space on a local public dock to tied up to while we wait it out. It's been strange to have the boat so still- but kinda nice.

The locals have been friendly, maybe a bit too friendly at times. Several kids had a great time playing with Krister, jumping off the boat, throwing buckets of water at each other, and too strange to be a lie, scrubbing the decks.

There is slow, but reliable internet to buy here, so I'll be writing more soon.


We're on our way to Makemo- our first stop in the Tuamotus. It's our third day out and it's been our best passege by far; good wind and sea state- all's mellow and well. We should arrive tonight, but will have to heave-to and wait for dawn and slack tide to enter the atoll. The boat is covered in salt sprinkles due to the sea spray and sun, but I think Brittnay is happy to be back on the open seas. Krister and I are excited to be moving on too. I've been meaning to write another blog post, but I'm so far behind I'm not sure where to pick up again. Every day is exciting and new- wish I could post all our photos. I best start close to where we left off just in case I don't get back to it later.

We arrived in Ua Pou from Anaho and I was surpised by how much grassier and drier it was, no lush green forests like in Nuka Hiva even though they lie a close 30 miles from each other. The anchorage was tight; bow and stern anchors required. We were the fifth boat to squeeze in behind the breakwater- our friends on Piko we not so lucky and found a rollier spot outside. I'd heard that they fit 12 boats in just a few days before our arrival and could hardly believe it. But not more than 2 days later we had a crowd of 14 and plenty of excitement. We could've jumped onto our neighbors boats many times. You'll have to see the pictures, it was just like being in a marina but with out the dock.

We spent a week playing games (Boggle and Scattegories), hiking around town and over to the next bay. I caught up on laundry and meet a few new boats- Nahanni, Noho Anna, Don Quixote, Kitty Wake and La Fiesta. Cruisers are some of the best people I'll ever meet! So friendly, helpful, adventurous and just plain good folks. I'm grateful to have this community of friends along with us for support.

On Friday the only secondary school on the island had their open house. The students study there until they are 14 and then, if they want to continue their education they go to Tahiti. It was a bit like a vocational school; they have a machine shop, where students leared construction techniques, a sewing and needle point class as well as traditional cultural classes. We enjoyed live dance and drum performances by both the girls and boys. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and we were happy to be able to share in the local festivities.

We waited out a weather system over the weekend- 30+ knot winds and 10+ ft seas, and decided Sunday evening would be ideal to move on to the next island chain. Which brings us to our present location Wednesday, June 1st 2011 at 15 48 south, 143 08 west. Our autopilot is sucking down all our juice and so to instead of individual emails, know that we're thinking of you all and appreciate the sat phone texts, and emails. Sending much love!