Sunday, May 27, 2007

Landfall in Fatu Hiva

On May 13th after twenty-one days at sea we made landfall at the Bay of Virgins in Fatu Hiva, one of the smaller islands of the Marquisses. In the pitch black night with the help of our radar and some other cruising friends we dropped the hook at 2am. Our friends from Guava Jelly came over immediatley bearing island bananas and pamplemousse and after they climbed aboard we toasted our collective good fortune of having made it 3000 miles across the longest open ocean passage in the world. At about 6am after only sleeping a few hours, I woke up and tried to prepare myself for what I was about to see. I padded slowly down the hall and climbed up the stairs into the cockpit I gasped as I looked around to see the steep verdant cliffs. The town itself is very small and the French speaking Marquissens greet you at once to ask if you have anything to trade for their surpluss of fruit. Perfume is very popular. We traded one little Estee Lauder sample for five large pamplemousse (there really tasty version of a grapefruit), twenty-five limes and about sixty little bananas. As far as provisioning at Fatu Hiva, that was it. There was no internet and one phone that only took very expensive phone cards. The water was warm and clear and the day we arrived we spent a few hours in the water cleaning Scholarships filthy waterline. After our work was done we relaxed for a few days. Everyday was exciting as new boats arrived victorious after arriving from so far away. The passage itself went really well. I have talked to a lot of people who disliked their passage and would never do it again but we for the most part had a really good time. How boring are we :) We motored very little and we finally found out how fast this baby can go. Scholarship was made for sailing in the tradewinds and for Mark especially, it was exciting for us to pass other boats that had left the Galapagos before us. Mark used to say he gave up sailing when he bought such a big heavy boat. He will not say that anymore. Scholarship averaged between six and seven knots pretty much the entire trip. And to those of you who are not sailors, that is fast!! So the sailing part was great and we only had maybe four or five days of uncomfotable seas. The rest was easy. The sleeping in shifts takes some getting used to but after a few days we were so tired that we slept like babies when it was our turn. We both read a lot. We watched movies. Cooking was a highlight as was our twice daily check in with other boats traveling to the South Pacific. It was wonderful to know they were all out there, even though we did not see any other boats for nineteen days. Our passage however seemed to be one of the better ones. Many people we have talked to had numerous problems, broken autopilots, jammed sails and even sprained elbows and dislocated fingers. The worst and saddest was the boat that had a damaged bow sprit, started taking on water and were forced to evacuate their boat. This means leaving your home with all you can carry and knowing that it is out there slowly sinking into 4000+ feet of ocean. We only had to deal with some chaffed lines and rips in sails. All of which we fixed underway or in the paradise of Fatu Hiva. As they say, cruising is fixing your sailboat in exotic locations. More soon. Au Revior.


Anonymous said...


andie said...

It is good to hear from you again. I am glad you made it with little trouble.

Becky said...

We sure glad to see the post and to know that you are in port. Being the coastal sailors that we are, we don't envy you the passage, but we sure would love to be in the islands with you. Will try to figure some way to meet up with you in a future port. Enjoy!

Becky and Chris

Melsie said...

Hey you two! I was happy to check your blog and see that you made your passage safe and sound! So unfortunate for the people that had to evacuate their boat--that is really sad. Thinking about you often, and praying that things stay safe for you. Looking forward to hearing more about and seeing pictures from the other side of the world!

Anonymous said...

Whooo Hooo - Congrats on the successful voyage - you guys are rock stars!
Hopefully we can meet up with you in that part of the world and do some more exploring with you soon.


Anonymous said...

Very happy to hear that all is well God is Good!It sounds very exciting its cool you guys get to experience these wonderful parts of the world.I am glad you are safe!Can't wait for the next post!All is well here the music is going well doing some small performances here and there not sure where it will lead to just chugging away!! later

Anonymous said...

about to take my last test of the year for medical school and your blog is a perfect study break. your passage sounded like a grand adventure. sounds like climbing el cap without all the uncomfortableness

Kevin Jones

David G. said...

Relieved to hear you made your passage so smoothly. Good on 'ya, mates!!!! I took the ASA101 certification about 3 weeks ago then prompyly went on a 2 week vacation to Scotland. The walk with Joyn Ficker was fabulous - like a 95 mile long pub crawl! Anyway, this weekend, Loril and I are headed back to San Diego to sail arounf the bay and out into the ocean a bit. Thanks for the referral to Harbor Island Yacht Club. I will be taking the next course or two (ASA 103/104) sometime this summer. Soon, I'll be ready to catch up with 'ya! When will you be headed for NZ? E-mail me at Congratulations!!!!!

mike and mary mccluskey said...

hi mark and liz.
we are heading to south america this fall and will do the inland travel like you did once we get there. will be heading along the same path as you only two years later.

enjoy your news. talk to you soon.

mike and mary
carpe vita

Cindy said...

Happy Birthday, Lizzie!!!
We will have champagne in Bora Bora to celebrate 32 exciting (well, maybe not all of them) years. I kiss you!!! YLM

Amy and Kevin said...

We're so happy to know that your passage went smoothly and you made it 'safe and sound'...whew! We can exhale now :-)
We can't wait until you get a camera again so we can see more great shots of your adventures!
We miss you so much, are loving living vicariously through you and all your journeys (Kevin sooo would have loved to make that passage with you! I'm a bit more of a chicken, you remember nervous nellie here in San Diego :-)) We are looking forward to meeting up with you sometime in the near future. We think about you all the time.
Love: Amy, Kevin & Aiden