Saturday, May 08, 2010

Crewing to Marquesas

On our way...left La Paz as crew aboard SV Tango with Holly and Denis on April 14th to head for San Jose del Cabo (N23°03.37' W109°40.21'). After all final details and last minute provisioning were completed, we headed for the Marquesas (Isles Marquises) on April 18th at 08:00. A couple of dolphins appeared to wish us good luck on our journey. A waypoint of N05° W130° was set. Land disappeared totally at 14:30! A summary of the voyage:
  • Spotted a total of 6 boats throughout the trip (3 freighters, 2 fishing boats, and 1 oceanography vessel).
  • Whales, dolphins, flying fish, and blue-footed booby birds visited us. Air horn was used to dissuade landing of these messy and destructive, but cute, birds.
  • Tiny Clarion Island was spotted off in the distance on April 21st - last chance to jump ship!
  • Lots of cloud cover, we were expecting more sun.
  • Lots of confused seas, we were expecting calmer seas.
  • One mechanical failure - generator would not keep running - but was an easy fix.
  • Pretty sunsets and sunrises out in the middle of the ocean, but not as spectacular as seen on land. Well, this sunrise was pretty awesome...
  • Changed course on April 27th to head south towards the equator - in the doldrums the next day.
  • Holly, Jordan, and I got in the ocean to check out prop zincs and have a warm swim at N03°25.860' W125°43.345' as Denis kept his eye on us. I was very surprised to feel so nervous and worried about letting go of the boat!! Temperature of the water was 28°C (82°F). Water below us was well over a kilometre deep and was a beautiful vivid purple blue. We all re-boarded safely.
  • Crossed equator early in the morning at 01:14 on May 3rd!! The southern trade winds were kicking in and cloud cover was finally disappearing.
  • Gazed at the countless stars, distinct Milky Way, the Southern Cross, and bright falling stars from our stateroom hatch on many evenings.
  • 3 large fish got away - but finally this 34 kg (75 lb) Marlin (Shortbill Spearfish) was landed by ecstatic Jordan on May 4th!
  • Change of plans - going to the Marquesan Island called Nuku Hiva instead of the Marquesan Island called Hiva Oa as Nuku Hiva has more anchorages available and calmer anchorages.
  • Constant kathunks, crashes, and loud banging noises, rigging humming, winds whooshing - catamarans are MUCH louder than we expected. Restless nights.
  • Land ho at 08:00 on Saturday, May 8th, after 20 days at sea! Jordan spotted a dolphin off our port side.
  • Total distance travelled was 2,797 nautical miles from San Jose del Cabo to Nuku Hiva.
  • Greatest distance in 1 day was 172 nautical miles.
  • Average speed was 5.8 knots, motored for 4 days.
  • Length of voyage was from April 18/10 at 08:00 till May 8/10 at 12:00 noon Pacific Daylight Saving Time for a total of 20 days + 4 hours.
Anchored at Baie de Taiohae (Hakapehi) (S08°54.969' W140°06.038') on Nuka Hiva at 09:30 local time, which is 2.5 hours earlier than Pacific Daylight Saving Time. This is a large, busy anchorage with lots of boats coming and going (counted 50 cruising boats at anchor one day).

Yellow points in the following picture are Tango's positions every 12 hours (at 12 noon and at 12 midnight approximately). Jordan's son Aaron plotted the position reports on Google Earth and emailed this to us at the completion of our crewing adventure. (Click on it to blow up)


One of two official entry ports (Hiva Oa being the other), Nuka Hiva is a very laid back place. Almost everything is closed on Saturdays and Sundays and most places close for a 2 to 2.5 hour lunch break. Many businesses also close early in the day. Lots of exploring to do before our flight home...

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