Day 232, Year 1: On the Road Again
Date: Tuesday, June 6, 2006
Weather: Sunny, Moderate Tradewinds; Occasional Squalls with Higher Winds
Latitude: 09 degrees 32 minutes
Longitude: 140 degrees 43 minutes
Air Temperature: 84 degrees F
Water Temperature: 81 degrees F
Location: Marquesas to Tuamotus Transit—Day 1

We are sailing along at five to six knots under a double-reefed main and full headsail. The winds are anywhere from 10 to 20, with an average of 15. We have occasional squalls with winds up to 30 knots, but the seas are fairly calm and we are having a great passage to this point.

I must be a vagabond at heart. Every time we pick up anchor for another passage, I hear Willie Nelson softly singing “On the Road Again”. I smile and feel that this is what I was born to do. I’ve learned to love these passages that I thought I would not enjoy. Passages give you time to reflect, away from the hustle and bustle of life an anchorage. There are always so many wonderful things to see and so many great people to get together with when you are at anchor . . . but it can be exhausting. A passage gives you the time to rest up and get ready to go at it again. I love it.

We had decided to leave today, wind or no wind, as we want to be in Tahiti by June 20. That will give us a couple of days to learn the “lay of the land” there before Mark’s sister Mary Ellen and her husband Lee arrive . . . and we can’t wait to see them! Since it is a three to four day trip from the Marquesas to the Tuamotus and another couple of days from the Tuamotus to Tahiti, we needed to leave no later than today to have some time in the Tuamotus. June 20th is only 14 days away. All of the weather reports were saying there would be no wind until at least Friday of this week, but that Windbird “wind cell” returned unexpectedly yesterday and has given us a great ride so far. We have now lost sight of Nuka Hiva and Ua Pou is barely visible. Our next land sighting will be the motu of Ahe in the Tuamotus.

We are sailing in the company of Stillpoint out of Bellingham, Washington, with Ed and Candice aboard. We both left Comptroller’s Bay early this morning. I checked in with the Coconut Net to let them know we were underway, and then we started getting calls from other boats. Renee and Steve aboard Shiraz where leaving Taiohae Bay this morning, as well as George and Barbara aboard Gdansk, and Carl and Minda aboard Carminda II. So we have lots of great company out here. We can see Stillpoint and Shiraz, but not Gdansk and Carminda at this point. We can see another boat about six miles ahead, but not sure who that might be.

As we leave the Marquesas Islands there are many things that I regret not being able to see, but there are SO many things that we did see and experience. When I close my eyes and think “Marquesas”, I think about coconut plantations, pamplemouse, breadfruit, noni, taro plants, friendly people, lush islands with high peaks, beautiful valleys with rushing streams, waterfalls, and the ancient rock structures and tikis that we have seen. There are beaches here, but they are not the white sand beaches that we saw in the San Blas in the Caribbean or in the Galapagos. The anchorages here are deep, so we have not had the turquoise water of the Caribbean or the Galapagos, and we have certainly not seen the birds and reptiles that were the hallmark of the Galapagos. There are brown boobies here and some sort of petrel, but it is rare to see more than a few birds at one time. My summary would be that the Marquesas is about history and subtle beauty, with a few punctuations of grandeur such as the anchorages in Fatu Hive and Ua Pou with those wonderfully beautiful volcanic plugs and spires. We will see more of this in the Society Islands of Moorea and Bora Bora, but what we have seen here has been beautiful.

As we leave I also think of the friendships made with other cruisers. It is wonderful to see Randy and Sherri of Procyon healthy and happy once again. We got to spend time with Doug and Sylvia on Windcastle, and we have made new friends like Ed and Candice on Stillpoint. Meeting Jonah of Araby last night was really neat. He is 28 years old and single-handing a boat with no motor. And he is so happy to be doing what he is doing. There are a number of single-handers out here, most of them very young, and most of them with motor problems. I wouldn’t want to be doing what they are doing, but they are a happy lot. There is one couple aboard a boat named Nymph that are very young and have a one-year old aboard. They ran out of water and fuel on the way here from the Galapagos, but thankfully Necessity and Checkmate, the same Norwegian boats that helped Procyon, went back to give this couple water and fuel. I guess everyone’s level of comfort if very different, and what one would say is irresponsible, another would say is just fine. The bottom line is that cruisers are a fantastic group of people who are always ready to help one another. Nationality plays no role out here. We are all of one world.

Tonight while I am on watch I will write a summary of our experiences in the Marquesas. That will be included in tomorrow’s log. Mark is also working on another Captain’s Ramblings about electronics onboard and other technical details. When we were able to download our e-mail from our judy.mark.handley@g-mail account in Nuka Hiva, we heard from many friends and some people who have sent comments to our website. We will try to include responses to those e-mails in our logs in the next couple of days. We love hearing from folks and value each and every message.

I’ve got to end this log so that I can send it at the magic hour of 06:06:06 on 06/06/06. Not sure of the significance, but it sounds important to me.

060610 Day 232 – Day 236 Marquesas to Tuamotus