Tahiti, Tuamotus, Moorea, Tahiti - Leg 2 1999
Todd arriving with exactly the right amount
of gear. One WestMarine explorer duffel and one knapsack. That's all that's needed..
June 8, 1999 0645 17.34S, 149.37W At anchor off Tahiti
Log: 22,848 Baro: 1013 Air: 78 Water: 77.0
Our Leg 2 crew are aboard, and in a few minutes I'll be headed in to
clear customs and we'll be setting sail for Rangiroa in the Tuamotu or
The week between expeditions went by all to fast. Amanda and I enjoyed
three anchorages off the reef on Mooera with Amanda working away on her
Galley Companion book which she will be sending off to the publisher later
this year and me catching up on boat projects and expedition correspondence.
One of the most rewarding experiences for us in the past three weeks
since we arrived in Bora Bora has been meeting cruisers at every island
we've visited who have taken our Weekend Offshore
Cruising Symposium. These are the folks that had a dream of cruising,
prepared themselves well and are now living their dreams! We have started
collecting photos of them on their boats and look forward to posting these
on this site.
We had a real fright just before leaving Moorea. I took the instrument
panel out of the binnacle to spray it with WD-40 as it had gotten wet when
breaking waves landed in the cockpit and found the ignition relay's contacts
were all green and corroded. It looked like a sealed part, so I made the
mistake of using water and a toothbrush to clean off the corrosion before
remounting it. Turns out it wasn't sealed, water got inside while I was
cleaning it, and when I started the engine it started smoking! Amanda pried
the cover off and inside we found a coil and contact that were totally
corroded and had shorted out. No amount of cleaning would fix it and the
alternator wouldn't charge the batteries without it.
Bill and Leslie Senn, ex-Weekend Symposium
graduates aboard their gorgeous Esprit 37. Scimitar, ex-Mahina in Rangiroa.
Ghosting into Cook's Bay, Moorea.
New friends Marshall and Dee on Penguin also have Volvo engines and
just happened to have the exact spare part, which they generously loaned
us. That didn't do the trick, so we replaced the alternator and voltage
regulator, thinking that possibly they had blown when we ran the engine
without the alternator working. That still didn't do the trick, so we shut
down all electrical draws that we could including the freezer and fridge
and motorsailed to Tahiti to pick up Leg 2 crew.
Tahiti astern! Leg2-99 crew sailing for Rangiroa.
Yesterday I pulled out the electrical diagram and we deduced that if
we put 12 volts to the voltage regulator terminal that was supposed to
be getting power when the ignition key was turned on, it should make the
alternator charge - AND IT DID!
Then using a multi-tester we tracked the problem down to a tiny light
bulb which was supposed to indicate if there was a charging problem. That
had burned out, breaking the circuit. That was it! As it was an unusual
little bulb which we hadn't a spare for, it just took a minute to make
a jumper wire to bypass the bulb fitting, and everything was OK.
What a relief to turn the fridge and freezer back on!
Once we're underway I'll tell you about our eager Leg 2 crew and a little
about the Tuamotu Atolls.
June 20, 1999 2100 17.29S, 149.51W At anchor,
Log: 23,399 Baro: 1013 Air: 81F Water: 77F
Amanda: Like the passage of the Southern Cross that travels our sky
each night wrapped up in the Milky Way, Leg 2 has slipped by unnoticed
and now its over we're left with moments to treasure. Our passage to Rangiroa,
Tuamotus was mellow, the easterly trades were not their normal 20 knots
and rather than motorsail the 190 miles to arrive before dark on Tues.
night, we enjoyed two lovely nights of light air sailing making landfall
just after first light (and slack water) at Avatoru Pass.
With the wind on our beam, we sailed in against a slight ebb current,
the ocean depth was stunning - we could see the bottom clearly in 75'.
As the anchor pierced the turquoise sea and kissed the sandy bottom the
crew were divining in after it like lemmings falling off a cliff, an underwater
paradise to explore.
Rangiroa, Second largest coral atoll in the
On Thursday we sailed 15 miles away from town to the middle of the lagoon
and anchored behind a tiny islet, the home of one lone shrub. At 45 by
18 miles, Rangiroa is the second largest coral atoll in the world, and
anchoring in the middle was almost like anchoring in the middle of the
ocean. Dozens of sting rays and spotted rays, ever inquisitive, followed
us around whenever we took to the water.
Matthias watching for coral heads as we approach
Motu Nao Nao in
middle of Rangiroa's immense lagoon.
Al and Todd sailing through Avarna Pass. Rangiroa, Tuamotus.
The next day we sailed to a anchorage along the dotted motu reef. Ashore
exploring Peggy felt she got a taste of what it would be like to be stranded
on a deserted island, she felt remote. Amanda found a large Japanese glass
float and a Coke bottle from Ecuador; to her the world seemed small. Once
back at the main anchorage we went snorkeling in Tiputa pass, first drifting
with the incoming current, power snorkeling, then anchoring the Avon RIB
near the pass markers where we were surrounded by swarms of fish and sharks.
It was exciting, we had brought stale bread which enticed thousands of
fish, so close that they were bumping into us.
Peggy and Amanda relaxing on foredeck.
Each morning we spent 2-3 hours covering one or two topics in detail,
then sail or hike and explore in the afternoons. After a few days enjoying
Rangiroa and exploring the two villages (total population 1,000) we set
sail for Tikehau, 25 miles west, population 300. An Amel Santorin, also
48' long left an hour ahead of us, also sailing for Tikehau. We kept full
sail up, even in 27 knots and had Mahina Tiare surfing along at up to 9.3
knots, passing the Amel easily, and getting some great photos in the process.
We found a superb anchorage, just inside Tikehau's pass to spend the night,
before sailing 7 miles across the lagoon to the picturesque village.
Passing "Jabado" 48 Amel Sharki,
en route to Tikehau.
We've never seen a tidier, prettier village in French Polynesia!
Tiare Tahiti flower that Mahina Tiare was
Flowers lined the streets, surrounded the houses, and even the sand
along the road was raked free of leaves! Everyone we met was cheerful and
smiling, and the azure lagoon and white sand beach framed this picture
of paradise. Amanda and I tracked down Felix the baker and ordered two
dozen loaves of French bread before setting off to explore. Arriving back,
our bread still in the oven, Felix was hard at work. He gladly showed us
the entire process of making French bread and the old brick oven out back
his father had used. We received a private tour of his yard, the 300 laying
hens in cages he had built, the watermelon patch (we bought one), papaya
trees and home-built picnic speed boats. Felix explained that his father
was from Martinique and mother from Tikehau. He was proud of the Martinique
connection and said that was why he worked harder than the laid-back locals.
When we offered him money for two choice papaya he just grinned and shook
his head. After a few days we sailed 166 miles south to Tahiti. With light
winds we motorsailed some, then as the wind filled in we had a great sail
into Papeete, stopping long enough to clear customs, fill the water tank
and pick up some vegetables.
Papeete is gearing up for the Le Fete, the month long celebration of
Tahitian life, so we were happy to set sail in time to make it 17 miles
to our favorite anchorage on Moorea before dark. Here on Moorea our crew
took one day off from teaching to go explore the island on scooters and
jeeps, hiking to waterfalls and up mountains.
It's now our last night, and kind of sad, because this has been such
a fun and eager crew!
Monika and Marthias in action on the dance
Another night of Tahitian dancing, Club Bali
Here they are:
Todd Hatch, 49 a CPA from the Seattle area. Great sense of humor
- never stops cracking jokes! Has a gorgeous wife and family who aren't
that taken with the offshore sailing idea, so he's checking it out on his
Al Maher, 53, a commercial property manager from San Francisco
who has sailed with us at least six times so far including Cape Horn to
Antarctica. Always ready to lend a hand and a good sense of humor, we look
forward to his joining us next year for the Panama Canal.
Monika Praesser, 54 and Matthias Prasser, 61 are live on Lake
Konstanz on the German-Swiss border. Matthias works for Siemens and has
offices in Texas and Germany. Monika is very excited about her first grandchild
which will hopefully be born next week to her daughter Antje who lives
in Ireland. Monika and Matthias race their 30' sloop on Lake Konstanz and
look forward to purchasing a HR 42 and circumnavigating once Matthias retires
in two years.
Peggy Herman, 43, recently retired from a publishing company,
is enjoying gardening and preparing their Hans Christian 48 for ocean voyaging
with her partner,
Quentin Rhoton, 53, the "master blaster" who sailed
up from Auckland with us on Leg 1.
Remember in the last update when I mentioned how exciting it has been
to meet folks who completed our weekend Offshore Cruising Symposium and
are now out here living their dreams? Well the book that we started is
constantly making the rounds now! It seems that nearly every US cruising
boat we're meeting has either completed the weekend course or come to one
our West Marine programs.
Leg 2 crew depart in the morning and after a week we'll be greeting
our Leg 3 crew in Papeete, sailing for Hilo, Hawaii, via (weather permitting)