Saturday, September 20, 2014

September 19, 2014 -

We had a nice day today diving on the shipwreck.  Apparently it's the Sea Adler that sank here in 1917.  It was a German warship from WWI.  We found the canon as well as 3 anchors today.  Also swam with sharks while we were there.  I tried to get a good picture of Wolfie with a shark, but he still has some common sense and doesn't seem to like to be between the shark and myself.  No whales buzzing us today, but it is still a great dive.

The locals gave us almost 20 tern eggs yesterday; we used them for French toast and banana bread today.  They were nice and fresh!  I used them in an almost 2:1 ratio since they are kind of small.  There are tons of birds on the motu by the pass and apparently if you take an egg from their nest, they lay another, like chickens.  

Then we went and played volleyball at the beach with a local family and brought them in dinner.  There are two other boats here also who came in.  We had a very nice time.  Then we came home to unwind and another set of cousins stopped by at the boat, offered us lobsters, and played a little guitar and sang traditional songs.  It was very nice.  We offered for them to come play volleyball with us tomorrow, then come over to the boat for dinner with their nice lobsters and we'll cook for them.  Very nice, friendly, and hospitable people here.  There are 15-16 locals here depending on whom you ask.  

The sea turtles are starting to come to shore and lay their eggs.  They drew pictures; these appear to be HUGE turtles!!  Would be GREAT to get to go watch that, but it's on the ocean side and usually occurs at night.  Two of our friend boats got to see it when they were here a few weeks ago.  Would be fun to see.  Would also be fun to see them hatch.  Integrity did find an eggshell washed up on shore.  Maybe it was old, unlikely that they are hatching this time of year.  

We are watching the weather, may be leaving here around a week from now or so unless weather changes in that time, which it frequently does.  We are having a nice time, and lots of nice things to do here while we watch the weather.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Great Birthday - 16

Had a wonderful birthday today! Thank you for all the birthday wishes! We started by sending an exploration out to shore. Not much was found besides an old TV and a run down outrigger, but it was a wonderful walk to a small, bird-infested motu. 

During the kids "quiet time" the adults made a run for the dinghy and shot out to the pass for some diving. We heard rumor that there were 100-year-old shipwrecks right outside the pass so, of course, that was the first place we went. Although we didn't find a full shipwreck, we were able to dive on a few scattered engine parts. 

The awesomeness intensified when a mother and baby humpback whale decided to swim by. We later stopped by shore one more time to meet the locals and they quickly whipped together a beautiful shell necklace as a gift. 

We have a volleyball game planned for tomorrow. Yes! Mama had delicious pizza ready by the time we got home. Just as I thought the day was coming to an end, another local from across the lagoon shows up with a couple of coconut crabs. We top off our already stuffed bellies, finishing off a perfect day. 

Excited for more fun filled plans for tomorrow!

(Finally 16!!)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nice Atoll -

This is a wonderful atoll.  The beaches are sandy, the water is warm, and there is hardly a soul around. All the other cruiser boats have pretty much sailed on westward.

It is Cassidy's Sweet Sixteen birthday, and we are all enjoying teasing her about growing old.  She has really fallen in love with the cruising lifestyle, and is the person I call for when things get rough.

Looks like we should have a nice weather window coming up in a few days to make our hop to Atutaki.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We are at Maupihaa -

A beautiful atoll with a tight pass! The pass was so tight that I was quite concerned that we could actually hit the edges. Now there was about a 20 knot cross wind, and about a 5-knot current flowing out, so it was not ideal. But I figured it would be good practice for the next pass.  Atutaki's pass is only 40 feet wide, 6 feet deep, and about 1/2 mile long.  I don't think that we will be attempting that pass.

We had a nice spinnaker run down here, a little bumpy, but very pleasant!


We made it to Maupihaa today as 3 boats were leaving.  We sailed under spinnaker for maybe 30 hours?  Good sail, but that was only 100 miles pass to pass.  Like going from LA to Bakersfield.

Impressive how everything slows down out here!!  The pass felt very small!  Narrow on both sides, I got pictures (lot of good that does us right now since even with Internet I can barely share them). 

Beautiful beach we walked all afternoon/evening, finding shells, crabs, an eel, a small reef shark, etc.  We are well, have heard incredible things about the locals here, only 20 adults live on this atoll, no supply ships, no airport, etc.  Very rustic, hospitable, friendly and happy people willing to share their culture. They definitely appear to do copra and probably some pearl farming it looks like.  So, maybe tomorrow we'll seek out some locals and see how it goes.  We brought extra rice, flour, sugar, etc. onboard to trade or just supply these more remote islands.

Good night, Shannon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shipwreck -

So after we had put Bora Bora about five miles behind us, a "Pan Pan" came over the radio. A Pan Pan is similar to a Mayday but without the immediate risk of death. We answered and were told by the boat in distress (Monteverde) that they had lost their rudder, an engine, and were taking on water and that they were at the pass of the island that we were heading to.  I let them know that we were on the way and that we would let the authorities know. I called Bora Bora Gendarme (police) and was answered by Tahiti. I let them know the situation, and they tried to contact the boat in distress. As it turned out we were the only boat that could hear Monteverde so we acted as the relay. About 10 minutes after receiving the Pan Pan, Monteverde called to let us know that there was already a half a liter of water in the hull. I told them no problem that we were on the way. I updated Tahiti, and they asked if we could tow the boat to Bora Bora, I let them know that we probably could, thinking there really wasn't any serious damage, and thinking they could probably motor back with their good rudder.

About an hour later Monteverde called and said something to the effect that the water was at the top of the hull. I asked them to repeat and it became clear that they were half sunk. I asked if they had a dingy, and they did, and they stated that they had already started to prepare to leave. They asked if they should abandon the ship, and I told them "no" that the catamaran would not sink. 

Then I called Tahiti and let them know we had a problem. Monteverde was sinking!  Somehow the conversation that we had about the 1/2-liter was actually 1/2 meter. (Shannon actually said that is what she thought she had heard). I told him that we were increasing to full speed, and the additional catamaran that was with us increased also to 9 knots. Tahiti said they would have someone out of Maupiti and to the sinking vessel within 10 minutes.

In summary the people were rescued by a passing fisherman, we were the second boat on the scene and found the catamaran listing at about 30 degrees, with most of the bridge-deck underwater. As I swam up to the boat I noted that one engine was missing its entire prop, and the other had a badly chewed prop. Both rudders were gone, and the dagger-boards had been sheared off. The port hull was basically totally underwater. The dagger-board casing on the port hull had broken free thereby creating a large hole. The starboard hull had some holes around the dagger-board area.

Very interesting day!