Since we left Panama we have been observing the weather for the crossing every day. The Southeast trades had become well established. In addition to that the year 2018 is an year of “La Nina”, meaning that the water temperature is below average and therefore the probability of hurricanes is lower. Also, the trade winds are rather stronger in these years. The prospects for this crossing could hardly be better. However, we first had to come from Galapagos to the southeastern trades beginning at 5 degrees south. After the customs formalities in the morning we started to sail south in the afternoon with about 10 knots of wind. Towards the evening the wind dropped as foreseen and we took down the sails so they would not flap and we went to sleep. The next day the same procedure, but this time we started the engine for the night in order to reach the trades the next morning.Our friends started one day later and should pass us later on. Again we sent e-mails among the family boats with the positions and weather observations and miscellaneous. And again, the “Miscellaneous” was the funniest. Dol’Seline, for example, organized a kid’s contest with many small tasks and the first who had completed all the tasks correctly was the winner. The Pelizeno Pirates were unbeatable in their enthusiasm for fast sailing. It took them just 16 days for the entire cing with their 50 foot Beneteau.
As we reached in the Southeast trades we had nice wind every day, sometimes up to 20 knots, sometimes just a bit over 10 knots. Sometimes butterfly, sometimes both sails on the same side. Our 3-hour-schedule for the watches went well.
A typical daily routine looked like this for example:
0700: The kids get up and Lukas warms up the remaining pasta with eggs for breakfast
0800: The others get up and the kids play with their plastic animals
0900: Martin takes over the watch and Lukas sends the morning update to the others boats
1000: We put up the gennaker, then Ela makes banana cake and Lukas goes to sleep
1100: The kids are playing with the tablet, the water-maker is running and Ela is cooking
1200: Lunch, then Martin cleans the dishes and Ela takes over the watch
1300: Lukas plays Lego with the kids, Martin is sleeping
1400: Martin writes his diary and works on the computer
1500: Lukas takes over the watch, Ela goes to sleep, the children enjoy the water in their big buckets
1600: Lukas and Ela work on articles for the website
1700: Martin starts cooking, Ela makes school with the kids, Lukas goes to sleep
1800: Gennaker is dropped, there is dinner, then Martin takes over the watch
1900: Lukas cleans the dishies, Ela helps to put on pajamas and to brush teeth. Off to bed
2000: Ela makes the logbook entry and Lukas sends the evening update to the others
2100: Lukas and Martin go to sleep, Ela takes over the watch and starts to organise photos on the computer
6 hours of sleep then 3 hours of watch…
After about 500 nautical miles La Cigale put the naive question to the group to which island everyone is heading to, or if it was still a bit early for such a question. In fact, most had not thought about it in detail yet. The question was basically whether to go to Fata Hiva or Hiva Oa? Officially you would first have to go Hiva Oa to declare, but in the Cruiser world it has become common to first go to Fatu Hiva, because it is the most windward of all the islands, and risk a possible fine.
Every day we had to warm meals. In the first week we had many fresh things, like melons, pineapple, tomatoes and hot peppers. Then in the second week, the bananas were getting ripe. Every day two small fresh bananas for each of us. Ela made delicious banana cakes, which were always ready for snacking or could be taken for breakfast. In the third week, we switched to cabbage and the “unhealthy” stuff. Ela brought the Joker with the freshly grown Alpha Alpha sprouts.
We celebrated the nautical milestones with a beer or a “Ti punch” with chips. And Martin has brought along something quite exclusive, namely Basler Läggerli.
Concerning fishing: on the second day we caught a good size Mahi-Mahi who gave us two delicious meals. So we were asked tips in the e-mail group and we proudly talked about our pink lure. But when we threw out the lines after a week’s break, we were no longer successful. No fish during the whole day and towards the evening a disappointment: Either the line was not strong enough and broke or we lost the fish before we could take it in, although we had already slowed down …
Despite of that we saw two whales and dolphins passed a couple of times. Again and again we were amazed by the birds on their way in the middle of the Pacific.
We all had different methods to count the days of the crossing. Martin had his diary and his table with the days. Ela maintained the log book. Lukas sent the daily e-mails to the group. Nael was counting the remaining days until Ilian’s birthday. And Ilian himself just took one day after the other. As we attacked the last 1000 miles to Marquesas we had the feeling of “will be there soon” :=). In the last 500 miles the wind dropped to 6-10 knots and the reaction of the crews was different. Some of them had the slogan: use the engine until the wind comes or until there is no more Diesel. Our american friends were using their engine only for 5.5 hours and we had used it for 20 hours only.
After 22 days at sea we reached the Marquesas. The crossing was quicker than expected. Again we had very good conditions. But first we need to relax a bit.