South Seas Adventures, Log 8-1998, Leg 2
June 29, 1998 0600
17.55 S, 155.51 W, Log 14,551, Baro 1013, Air 82F, Water 78
At sea between Mopelia, Fr. Polynesia and
Aitutaki, Cook Islands
Winds E @ 14kts, broadreaching @ 6.4kts
Leg 2 has provided a perfect change from the boisterous conditions of
Leg 1. with winds averging 15 kts and always aft of the beam.
Our Leg 2 crew are:
Rick Hill, 32 who is on a leave of absence
from Microsoft and is in the
process of designing his dream home near Seattle with his wife Lara.
Bruce Harding, 50 something, a retired
investor from Banff, Alberta who joined us on Leg 8 in New Zealand last year.
Nicholas Lovejoy, 28 who joined Amazon.com
as the fifth employee - now they
have 1500 and he is starting a round-the-world trip with his fiance Barbara
with this expedition.
Barbara Gordon, 32 from Seattle who
worked for Healthy Mothers, Healthy
Babies, a non-profit group in Seattle and who plays a tough game of Ultimate
Frisbee, according to Nicholas.
Pearre and Page Williams, 43 & 37
from Cody, Wyoming where Page keeps the
home fires burning in their log cabin on the river while Pearre commutes
NY & LA making cable television deals. They have plans for ocean cruising,
possibly on sistership to Mahina Tiare in the future.
The first 1.5 weeks sailing from Tahiti through Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea,
Tahaa and Bora Bora gave us postcard perfect anchorages
and passages, and two huge ono, or Spanish Mackerel right out of Tahiti.
Coral piloting was high on this crew's list of learning
objectives, as we threaded our way through the recently-blasted and marked
channel to the far side of Bora Bora to enjoy a secluded anchorage off a
deserted white sand motu where the snorkeling and windsurfing were superb.
We were surprised to find that the Bora Bora Yacht Club was still standing,
contrary to reports we
heard following one of El Nino's cyclones. Being several weeks earlier than
last year we noticed how few crusing boats were about, though the Port Captain in Papeete said
there were many boats in the Marquesas and they expected an average season.
"Threading the needle" thru Coral
Channel, Bora, Bora
On Huahine, Raiatea and Tahaa we saw evidence of
a bizarre tornado, spawned
off a weak (max. forecast winds: 25-30 kts.) tropical depression named Alan
on April 25th that snaked it's way over the islands for two hours resulting
in 17 deaths and 1250 houses destroyed. In talking with our friend Dominique
Goche who owns Raiatea Careenage we learned that 13 cruising boats stored
for the cyclone season in his boatyard were thrown over and that 19
boats anchored off the three islands were blown ashore.
Raiatea Carenage where 13 boats ashore
and 12 on anchor were toppled, blown ashore or seriously damaged.
Robby & Lorraines "Southern Cross"
on Tahaa's Reef
following Tropical Depression Alan.
It was sad to see boats of friends we had met last year
severely damaged, and in the case of Spellbound, a gorgeous Farr 55 from
Honolulu, totalled. Several boats were
dismasted as they sat in their cradles by winds recorded at 135 knots. The
most amazing story was of a 45' German ketch that decided to put into tiny
Mopelia atoll in December when they received warnings of Cyclone Osea over
Amanda in Cyclone-wrecked house, Mopelia Atoll.
They were driven 150 meters into the coconut trees, survived
unhurt, while the boat suffered only one small hole. The owners and the
island populaton were evacuated after the motu was totally washed over,
destroying all but one of the five new hurricane-proof homes and 80% of
coconut trees. The aproximately 20 inhabitants survived by sheltering inside
their concrete water cisterns, but on neighboring Motu One, 55 miles north
out of 12 people were swept to their deaths as the island was totally washed
Dominique Goche. Owner of Raiatea Carenage
The sailboat owners insurance paid Dominique to take a crew of seven
Tahitians, charter a 55'sailboat, and spend 8 days in which they successfully
salvaged the boat and towed it back the boatyard in Raiatea where Dominique
is repairing it.
"I still think that New Zealand is the best place
for a boat during the cyclone season!"
From Bora Bora our plan was to sail to Penryhn, in the Northern Cook
Islands, but light winds and a forecast of less wind changed our course
Mopelia, 135 miles west of Bora.
Barbara & Pearre navigating narrow Coral
Passage, Bora, Bora.
Great sailing in Bora Bora's Lagoon.
We were shocked to see how small the island looked, compared to last year.
Many of the thickly-treed islets had totally disappeared, with only low
rough coral remaining.
The houses that were full of pearl farming families from Maupiti, complete
with children playing on the white sand beaches were in shambles, some
with only the rooves and cisterns remaining.
We found six very hungry dogs who eagerly ate the mixture of
corned beef, rice, and crackers that Amanda found in one of the houses,
with a lot of coconuts that I opened. Each house had a large cement cistern,
overflowing with rainwater, so we had a chance to wash clothes in buckets.
The lagoon proved a perfect spot to practice man-overboard procedures with
the Lifesling as well as to learn splicing and going aloft to check the
Yesterday morning we set sail for the Cook Islands, initially to have
a look at the uninhabited Manuae atoll, then on the Aitutaki and Rarotonga.
Our winds have been steady, never over 30 or under 12 and this is comfortable
"Today we are going to work more on
celestial navigation and hopefully catch another fish!"
We have two new places for you to explore in our web site, SUGAR
which is Amanda's view on the arts and crafts of the Pacific Islands and
her upcoming book, The Galley Companion and LATEST
UPDATE which has some
late-breaking news of openings on our expeditions.
July 11, 1998 1600
South Seas Adventures, Log 9-1998, Leg 2
21.12S 159.47W, Log 15,012, Baro 1012, Air 81, Water 77
At anchor, Avatiu Harbour, Rarotonga
Our landfall at Aitutaki was at 0400, so we hove-to on a course that
away from the island until dawn, when we sailed around to the lee side to
check out the pass into the lagoon and anchorage off the pass. We contacted
boat inside the lagoon who said the passage was still only 6' deep and as
Mahina Tiare draws 6'1" we didn't really want to scour the bottom paint
the bottom of the keel and run the risk of getting stuck in the channel.
other option was to anchor off the entrance in 60' - 90' depths with
protection from the SE winds, but a large southerly swell was rolling in
making the anchorage difficult.
Don Silk, Rarotonga Harbourmaster and author
"From Kauri Trees to Sunlit Seas"
We decided not to stop and continued on to Rarotonga, 142 miles south.
SE trades meant that we weren't quite able to lay the island, so we
motorsailed into Raro Thursday afternoon and headed for Trader Jack's, Raro's
craziest waterfront restaurant-bar.
Enjoying TraderJack's dinner, Rarotonga
In a replay of last year, a tropical depression showed up on the weatherfax
from New Zealand on Sunday, and on Tues. we left the convenince of stern-to
mooring and moved out to the middle of the harbor, in anticipation of strong
"We didn't have to wait long for this storm!"
All Monday night and Tuesday
morning the island was blasted by strong winds, deluged by rain that washed
roads out and pummelled by hail the size of golf balls.
Just after dawn on Tuesday the lightning intesified, thunder crashing
simultaneously and the wind increased from 30 to 52 knots in a blinding
storm. Amanda and I were both on deck in a flash and could feel MT being
driven across the harbor toward the rough concrete wharf. I thought our
anchor must be dragging so in terrible visibility I started the engine and
went to 3/4 throttle forward. Amanda quicky pointed that the 3/4" stern
was loose, so I backed off on the throttle. We later found that the 5/8"
dacron gasket line around the bollard had parted (7,000 lb breaking strength)
so Amanda quickly hauled in the 300' stern line and we swivelled into the
next 50 knot blast. A Swan 61 alongside the wharf had their stanchions
smashed and just managed to get off the wharf between the blasts and two
the four boats tied stern-to the wharf smashed into it when their anchors
drug. Once the wind dropped back to 30 we set our 44 lb. Delta retied our
stern line ashore. When I later dove to check our main 75lb CQR anchor,
found that it was totally and completely buried and hadn't drug an inch!
The windy, rainy weather put us behind on our boat chores, so just now
Saturday are we caught up enough to take off on an around-the-island drive
this afternoon and plan to hike across the island in the morning.
Our next expedition is to tiny Palmerston and Niue islands.
Amanda has enjoyed documenting, researching and photographing the Cook Island
women's traditional handicrafts - look for them in Amanda's
Corner "Sugar & Splice" next week!
To the next log entry Leg 3:
At Sea, Between Small Tropical Islands