08May’09 1339PST ~900knm from San Diego-
We are officially in the tropics now having crossed the Tropic of Cancer yesterday in light airs heading for an imaginary gate at 0degrees N x 130degrees West. We are sailing downwind in a very rolly boat.
13May’09 ~1200local (-2PST) 1461 nm from San Diego-
We’re half way to Hiva Oa, sailing downwind @6.5 knots.
17May’09 1145local (-2PST) N03d49.5m x W129d57.7m-
We appear to have left the ITCZ (doldrums) behind us to the North after days of switching between sails and engine. We are currently sailing a broad reach at ~6knots 229nm from the equator.
The nights have been spectacular the past few nights. Orion to the West at sunset, Saturn dancing like a disco ball, Jupiter in the early morning to the east. Arcturus heading North as we dip South. Polaris lost in the horizon clouds. Mars and Venus dancing together in the pre-dawn morning. Scores of meteors and satellites.
Last night I viewed my first UFO (unidentified floating/flying object). I was just relieving Hans on watch. We were sailing a course of 190d mag. at 5.5-6knots. At 2030local (PST-2) Hans and I simultaneously witnessed the faint glow of a white light just above the horizon due South of us. As we were both looking at it the faint white light did one powerful searchlight sweep from West to East and then disappeared. We fired up the radar and kept an eye out ahead of us for and hour but didn’t see any indication of a ship, or anything else.
We crossed the equator into the Southern hemisphere this evening at 17:30 (PST-2). Although they had never done it before, Hans and Erica weren’t interested in doing the King Neptune ceremony. Instead we took a bunch of pictures, ate a chocolate cake that Erica baked as part of a belated birthday celebration and had a few sips of wine.
Although ‘Babalu’ and her crew appear to fit and sound there is a lot of strangeness happening around her on this long dark night. As I relieve Hans on watch at 2100 (local, PST-2) he tells me that he just saw a bright spherical light (5meters in diameter) apear and wink out in the water, directly in front of the boat. In the next few hours I see more green meteors than I have ever seen before. Normally I see yellow/orange meteors/metiorites, but every third or four one tonight glows green. Several times I also see white lights moving around the sky the way that meteors, satellites and airplanes don’t. I see one white light flash at the top of a dark cumulus cloud 10-15 miles West of us. Very strange.
The it gets even more strange. First, I have to qualify this by saying I am quite used to seeing interesting hallucinations, especially when I am tired or somehow inebriated. I enjoy these hallucinations and I know that they are hallucinations. The ones I see are always based on something that is real seen in a different way such as dancing trees, breathing walls, rolling or pulsing clouds and the occasional pope water skiing through the white caps behind my boat at night.
With an hour left on my watch I had settled down and wedged myself in the cockpit, listening to some music on my I-pod (one eared to keep a listen for the boat). I was looking down at the lit up rectangular white screen on the I-pod and when I looked up I saw a face looking back at me through the lifelines imediately next to the boat. A big round wrinkled leathery brown face about a foot in diameter with large round yellow/brown eyes, two large flat nostrils and a very small mouth. It looked like what I would imagine ET’s dad looks like but rounder head not as elongated. I only saw it for a moment as the boat took a hard wave from port and rolled into a trough of luminescent spray over the spot where the face was.
I have no idea what was going on here as I have never had hallucinations of things that are not there at all. I was well rested and Erica had done a marvelous job of feeding us well. Maybe it was the Indian curry spices acting up or bored Frenchies teasing us with their submarines in this desolate part of the ocean. I don’t know. And what I don’t know concerns me.
We are slowing the boat down as we get close to Hiva Oa so that we won’t have to wake up the Gendarmes on a Sunday.
25 May’09-Tahauku Anchorage, Atuona, Hiva Oa, S09d49.9m x W139d02.1m
At ~0900local (HST +1/2hr) we arrive in Atuona Bay harbor South Hiva Oa. Hans and Erica book a room in the municiple hotel (marinery?) and we all manage to melt the salt in our pores by taking long fresh water showers.
27May’09- Tahauku Anchorage, Atuona, Hiva Oa
We finish our imigration cha-cha with the local Gendarmes. I get a 30 day visa and Erica gets a 90 days visa, no problems in spit of our encounters with the French consalate in Santa Monica, CA. I manage to change my flight back to Hawaii to June 6th and book a flight to Papeete on June 4th.
28May’09- Tahauku Anchorage, Atuona, Hiva Oa
Doing the tourist thing today. We visited the museum dedicated to actor/musician Jacques Brel. Brel made Hiva Oa his home in the 70’s using his private plane to bring aid and medical suplies to the locals. We also visited the Paul Gauguin Museum, with which I was more impressed. Gauguin came to Hiva Oa in the late 1800’s at the height of French domination of the Society Islands and died on Hiva Oa in the early 1900’s. With grants from the French Atomic Comision and various art trusts the museum the museum recreated many of his works including his house (house of pleasure with pleasure being translated from Marqasan to French to English as ‘orgasam’).
29May’09- Hanaiapa Anchorage, Hanaiapa, Hiva Oa, S09d43m x W139d01m
We sailed around the Western side of Hiva Oa today to the Northern town and bay of Hanaiapa. With the trade winds coming out of the South East this is the leeward side of the island. Hanaiapa sits in a beautiful bay with lush fruit trees and palms growing along the valley floor and goats in the sparse hills. As we came ashore we were met by Comadore William of his self made ‘Hanaiapa Yacht Club’. William invited us to the yacht club on the porch of his house and served us his chilled homemade lemonade and his generosity of mangos, bananas, lemons, limes and chili pepers. We took him out to ‘Babalu’ for a grand tour followed by coffee and cookies.
In the evening the 108 meter ‘Aranui 3’ dropped anchor next to our seemingly tiny boat and began shuttling tourists to shore in landing craft while the locals brought copra and nay-nay fruit to the dock for export.
We had a delightful swim and snorkle around the edges of the bay and met Bruce and Ilean from the trimaran ‘Migration’of Long Beach, CA. The were in their third year of cruising around French Polynesia.
31May’09 (Sun.)- Hanaiapa Anchorage, Hanaiapa, Hiva Oa-
While Hans and Erica went to church in town I had my own services aboard ‘Babalu’ (my church and denomination of choice). I spent the day reading, tiding up the boat a bit and doing a few buckets of sea laundry.
01June’09- Hanaiapa Anchorage, Hanaiapa, Hiva Oa-
We spent the day resting and at 1630 pull up anchor for a night sail to Nuka Hiva.
02June’09- Bai Taiohae Anchorage, Nuka Hiva-
Arrived at 0630 and anchored a short distance from the town of Taiohae’s quay. Hans shuttles me to the dock and goes back to the boat to get Erica. We are in dire need of some of the wonderful local fruits. As I’m waiting I strike up a conversation with a well dressed Polynesian gal named Barbara. She’s a school teacher from Papeete visiting Nuka Hiva for a few weeks. She asks me a if I’d like to help her teach a bunch of Marquasean people english for an hour or so. In return for my efforts she’ll have each student bring some fruit as payment for my time.
I spend a delightful time answering questions and speeking with several Marquasan girls and women. When Barbara returns me back to the quay I’m laden with about 10 kilos of mango, pompamuse (monster grapefruit), lemon, lime, orange and 2 kinds of banana. I was the fruit and take a picture to submit with the IRS when I file my taxes next year.
Hans and Erica and I are having lunch at this little crepe truck bistro on the quay later. I discover the crepe lady is from Berlin and we start talking in German. A few minutes later we see Peter and Elsa, a couple from a Hans Christian that we helped out in San Diego! Small world indead. Still no world from our Austrian friends (Rolland, Cludia and Kim) on ‘Anyway’.
04June’09- Nuka Ataha, Nuka Hiva-
I’m leaving ‘Babalu’ to move forward with my life. Leon drives me 1.1/2 hrs to the airport on the other side of the island. The drive takes a very dramatic route from a lush jungle valley, up a steep ridge, through a pine forest at ~800 meters, across Nuka Hiva’s central grassy cow pasture platue (Plateau DeToovii) over another ridge with a 1020 meter pass, then through a mini Grand Canyon on the dry side of the island to the airport at Nuke Ataha. I fly a medium sized Air Tahiti turbo prop across the Tumamotos to Papeete.
05June’09- Pension Armelle, Punaauiia, Tahiti
I spent a pleasant three days getting used to fresh water showers again, resting and exploring the west side of Tahiti. Last time I was here in 2004 there was a coupe going on with 3,000 gendarmes keeping vigil on the streets of Papeete for riots. All flights out were booked solid for two months out and Shelley Sailer (see Holokai.org crew page) and I were seriously thinking about sailing a dead guys boat back to Hawaii. This time it was much calmer.
06June’09- Honolulu aboard ‘Siesta’
I flew back to Honolulu on the once a week red-eye flight from Papeete to Hawaii. From there I made my way to the big island and started planning what I was going to do with ‘Desire’ and how to get ready for Dan’s arrival. See ‘onDesire telemetry’ for the continuation of the saga.
Also see: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/babalu/
for the continuation of Hans and Erika’s voyage as well as tons of pictures of our trip.