BLOG

Our Pacific Crossing-Mexico to Marquesas

Our Pacific Crossing-Mexico to Marquesas


The Pacific Puddle Jump 2014….Banderas Bay, Mexico to Marquesas, French Polynesia

Provisioning for the Pacific Puddle Jump from Paradise Marina, Nuevo Vallarta

Thanks to Steve & Carolina from 'Lady Carolina' who hired a tiny white car for the day and invited us to do our provisioning with them. Costco, Walmart, Mega & finally Costco again at 9.40pm. Somehow we all managed to squeeze in and get the job done. I never knew that provisioning is more fun this way.

We expect to depart Banderas Bay, Mexico around mid March and arrive at either New Zealand or Australia in October or November. That is 7-8 months away. We know that French Polynesia is going to be very expensive and that along the way certain products will be unavailable, unknown quality, limited supply or once again very expensive. We expect we will shop at local markets for fruit and veg along the way and staples such as flour and rice should be readily available.

We are stocking up on all the foods we like to eat, drinks such as longlife milk & juices; bathroom & cleaning products; paper products and whatever else we think we may need on board. Perhaps a bottle of wine or 2 and a few beers for "safe arrival drinks". If we buy 8 items then that is 1 item per month. If we buy 32 items then that is 1 item per week. As part of this process we need to go through every cabinet and count what we already have and get creative as to where we can store bulk supplies for the next 8 months.


Checked out….

We checked out of Mexico with the Port Captain on Monday 10th March. We then proceeded to Punta de Mita where we anchored for the night with Lady Carolina, Exodus and Chara. It gave us a chance to do some last minute storage and preparations. We got a good nights sleep before departing for the Marquesas the next day with the afternoon thermals.

The Pacific Puddle Jump begins…..Woohoo!

DIARY NOTES FROM LEANNE

Day 1 Underway…..Spearheading the fleet are the 4 vessels who spent summer in the Northern Sea of Cortez. The afternoon thermals are carrying us out of the Bay even though we are expecting fairly light winds for the next few days. Craig is preparing the handline as the first boat that lands a Yellowfin Tuna gets a 6pack of Marquesan beer from each of the other boats. We are looking forward to our 3 week journey. At least, we hope we can get there in that time. We are loaded with diesel, petrol, LPG, food, drinks, paper & cleaning products, personal products, everything we can think of. True Blue V is heavy but she just wants to go. As soon as the sails went up she hit 7.5knots and we hadn't done any trimming yet. We see the next 3 weeks as having lots to do. Reading books, sails & course adjustment, learning how to use the Windvane Monitor, poling out the headsail, getting the Spinaker out, maintenance, cleaning, cooking, eating, fishing, radio nets and getting weather gribs from the SSB radio.

We had a consistent 15-18knots all day and all night and travelled 120nm.

Day 2 With less than 5knots of wind all day we had sails flapping. Craig repacked the aft cabin and ran the generator making 60litres of water. I vaselined 6 dozen eggs to extend their use-by date. With lots of fresh produce on board we are eating well.

Day 3 I was late getting dinner organised so we put our night watches back an hour. Although day winds were only 4-8knots the night winds were 14-20knots allowing us to sail at a speed of 5-6knots all night. We pointed up into the wind for a comfy ride. I could see Chara & Lady Carolina's nav lights but in the early morning hours we pulled away from them. It was the last time we would see them before arriving at the Marquesas. Our 0700 roll call revealed Exodus 18miles south, Chara & Lady Carolina 12 miles south. My body clock is still getting used to our watch system. I don't find 3 hour watches long enough for a good sleep and I am finding it difficult to sleep during the day.

Day 4 Heading WSW 245degreesM since leaving Punta de Mita. Speed over Ground (SOG) 4-5knots with 10-15 knots wind during the day.

Day 5 Chara are heading south as they want to check out Sorocco Island. The Mexican Navy is stationed there and don't really welcome visitors as Chara found out. Also the anchorage is difficult with large boulders to foul the anchor. Exodus, Lady Carolina & us are going to check out a sea mount at the top of Benedict Island with the view to trolling some lures and catching a fish. Exodus arrives first but can't find the sea mount. We had just passed the area when Exodus called to say Navionics charts were out by 1/2 mile to the East as their review of Open CPN navigation had shown. Too late for us. Lady Carolina are about 11miles behind us.

Today we did some hand washing, walk around checks up on deck and downloaded grib files for weather. We will proceed in SW direction to Waypoint ITCZ.

Day 7 finds us travelling well with reefed in main and headsail. Staysail out. We are travelling at 7-8kn boat speed with wind 20-24knots from the NNW. Moon is full at night which makes sailing at night the best. We have adjusted our watch system to start at 7pm and finish at 7am. We are still doing a 3 hour rotation but we have a local radio net with the boats that we are travelling with which commences at 7am. We don't check in to a lot of nets as our lee cloth sea berth is located right beside the SSB radio and checking in interrupts sleep and our watch system.

SLEEP - We are finding sleep is very important to us as it can be difficult to sleep if there are banging/flapping noises or an uncomfortable boat motion such as rolling, radio chatter on the radio, being over tired or caffeine in your system! Just because it is your turn to sleep doesn't mean you are going to get it. Then before you know it someone is calling your name Leanne/Craig, wake up, it's your shift.

We would like to be travelling SSW but can only do so if the wind allows. We have not seen another boat for days. Life on board is starting to get into a routine. We are eating very well and still have lots of fresh food on board. We are drinking lots of water, gatorade or other powdered drinks. We do not drink any alcohol on passage so hopefully we will be healthier in 3 weeks. We might even lose some weight. We are getting email through our SSB radio and also weather grib files for the area we are in and ITCZ. Weather reports show more wind to the west but better sailing angles to the south. Boat is neat and tidy on board.


Day 8 PROBLEMS! AUTOPILOT DIED! 1800hours 660nm from Mexico and 2200nm still to go to the Marquesas AutoPilot died. I hand steered whilst Craig checked out the problem and then checked through every spare part box that might provide a solution. A bolt sheared off in the driving mechanism but in doing so it has changed the shape of the hole that it was fitting in to. The round hole is now an elliptical shape. Although we have lots of spares on board we cannot solve this problem without causing further damage. We will need a machinist. So with darkness now approaching we decided to launch the Monitor Windvane for the first time. The reason we have not been using it is because it is located on the stern which is also where the dinghy davits are and where we haul the dinghy up and out of the water every night. However, for the passage the dinghy has been deflated, folded away and stored up on the foredeck.

By 2200hours (10pm) we had steering again. Yes! With just the headsail poled out, we were sailing downwind with 12-17 knots of wind. We continued into the morning and all was going well until we decided to make sail changes.

Poled out headsail. Headsail 'only' works really well with Monitor Windvane. As Hans from ScanMar says "It is better to be pulled by the nose than pushed by the bum."

That's Craig in the aft locker working on Auto Pilot whilst the Monitor Windvane steers.

The Monitor Windvane was going well until we decided to make changes.

The winds were light and the seas were rolly and once the sail changes had been made the Monitor was not co-operating. As Craig was checking it out the chain broke and was on its way to the bottom of the deep blue sea when it fell into his hand. The link had given away. It was one of those moments when you know your AutoPilot is dead and now your only backup which is the Windvane Monitor has suffered a critical failure and the part is sitting broken in the palm of your hand. Back to hand steering again. Did I mention it is 660nm upwind to Mexico or 2200nm to Marquesas? Imagine being shorthanded and hand steering the whole way? The best steering is done by the autopilot & windvane monitor. The longest distance between 2 points is achieved by hand steering and after looking at our tracks I can prove it. Which way would you go? Luckily we didn't have to make that decision.

Fortunately, Craig was able to bend a link back into place. He then worked over the stern pulling apart the monitor and refitting the chain. It is in place and working again but it still has a weak link. Fingers are crossed that it will last until we get to the Marquesas as once again we have lots of spares on board but not a new chain. We have ordered it and it should be there when we arrive in Nuka Hiva.

Our friends on Lady Carolina are now 100nm in front of us. Chara has also had some problems with his electric in- mast furler which is not working so he has had to wrap his main around the mast to secure it in place when he is not using it. And to top it off he lost 3 lures in 1 day with no fish landed.

WHAT IS IT LIKE ON BOARD? One small ship in one big ocean. You don't feel so small until you step into the cockpit and look out to the horizon all around you and see nothing but water. Perhaps 1 or 2 sea birds and some cool little flying fish skimming the top of the water but not much else. There's a routine on board in the same way there is in every household. Routines evolve starting with the night roster. 1 on, 1 off, from 7pm to 7am. Then it's time for the local net between Lady Carolina, Exodus, Chara and us where we all check in with out longitude/latitude, course over ground, speed over ground, wind speed and direction, weather, strategies for crossing ITCZ, fishing reports and anything else of interest to report on. At 8am it is time for the Pacific Puddle Jump Net which is for all the boats heading across the Pacific. The person who has just come off watch takes sleeping position in the lee cloth sea berth whilst the other keeps watch. The morning and afternoon passes quickly with breakfast, tea/coffee and filling drink bottles, changing sails or course, repairs and maintenance, reading books or manuals, afternoon net, nap, wash dishes, cooking, music, lunch, running the generator, making water, showers, log book updates, emails and weather checks or simply trying to find something on board.

A WILD RIDE We have been travelling wing on wing which is a downwind sailing strategy. The headsail is poled out on one side and the main is on the other side with the wind coming from behind the boat. After hearing that Lady Carolina and Exodus were experiencing squalls with wind up to 40kts we decided to reef in both the main and the headsail for the night. I was so glad we did when Craig woke me up at 1.30am telling me we had gusts of 38knots. We decided not to further reduce the sail plan as there were no breaking waves and the boat and Monitor Windvane were handling it well. There was more risk in trying to change things. So we rode it out and it was a wild ride for a few hours. True Blue V reached a speed of 10.4knots and the rolly swell dipped the gunnels more than once.


Lady Carolina, Exodus and Chara are heading south to Waypoint 4, 124degreesN/3degreesS as this is where the weather shows the ITCZ receding and an opening will occur to cross the equator. The sooner they get there the better. Unfortunately for us, because of our autopilot problems, the gap has opened up and today found us approx 170nm away from them. We are still sailing wing on wing but pushing more west at 240degreesMagnetic. We have given up making it to Waypoint 4. Instead we will review the latest weather grib files and decide what will be our best strategy for crossing the ITCZ (International Tropical Convergence Zone) and the Equator.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT ON BOARD? Energy and power consumption, recharging the batteries by using solar panels, running the engine or the generator. With more cloud cover towards the equator charging the solar panels becomes more challenging.

Where north meets south there is alot of movement with wind & clouds, seas & currents

We are using our radar at night to see any approaching rain/squalls and then trying to avoid them especially after Exodus reported a lightning strike 100m from their boat. Monitor Windvane uses no power but Fridge/Freezer runs 24hours/day. Other power consumers are Chartplotter & Raymarine electronics, AIS, VHF radio, SSB radio, navigation lights at night and the gas solenoid.

Wake up Craig, it's your watch.

SLEEP We are now making a greater effort to sleep during the day as we are getting tired and grumpy. Apart from no alcohol I have had to cut out my morning coffee until after I have slept as it makes me feel wide awake and doesn't allow sleep even if I really need it. My longest sleep since leaving Mexico has been about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Fatigue is not something we want to have if we have any sort of challenging conditions. We are happier when we sleep and happiness on board is good.

WATER We have the water maker on board but have not been using it much as the rolly seas are causing the feeder pump to suck in air. We know we will have plenty of opportunity to make water as we go.

EQUIPMENT/GEAR/SAILS Continuous sailing shows up any weakness in your gear. ie. our autopilot failure. Chafe is something to be vigilant about with both your sails and lines. We do a daily walk around inspection to check on chafe, wear & tear, loose fittings etc. Yesterday Craig found our headsail furler line has been chafing in several spots where the line leaves the furler drum. Unchecked, a broken furler line may snap and leave you with a sail flapping and no longer able to be rolled in.

FOOD is good for morale. Eat well and life is good on board. This morning is pancakes for breakfast. The challenge on a boat is not to eat all the goodies first such as hard cheese, snickers bars, lollies, pretzels, nuts & granola.

ALCOHOL None and that's the way it should be but we are really looking forward to having an arrival drink in Atuona, Hiva Oa. I'm sure we will have a drink to toast Neptune and Aelous at the equator. After all, a sailor has to keep the Gods happy.

COMMUNICATIONS Keeping in touch, ensuring someone knows where you are and simply having someone else to talk to. We use SSB radio for HF radio nets, emails and getting weather grib files.


CROSSING THE EQUATOR

28/3/2014 2250UTC The Equator Latitude 00.00.00N/S Longitude 128.02.984W

Top left corner show longitude and latitude. We have just crossed into the Southern Hemisphere. YAY!

Crossing the Equator is a big deal as it is the difference between being in the Northern Hemisphere and being in the Southern Hemisphere. It gives you something to look forward to and then afterwards you only have 830miles to go to the Marquesas.

Many cruisers celebrate the crossing. Some get haircuts, shower & shave, some jump in the water and get towed across the imaginary line. Others play music, dance, dress up, prepare a feast, have a few drinks, toast the Gods, or decorate their boat. It's a very individual thing. We had lots of great ideas but in the end we kept it fairly simple. I cooked a feast of 2 Cornish Hens in a white wine sauce, baked potatoes and veges followed by a frozen Snickers bar for dessert. We allowed ourselves to enjoy a drink for the occasion and offered nips of rum to Neptune and Aeolous whilst asking for fair winds and safe passage. We celebrated the occasion with music and dancing to which we recorded with our GoPro.

Celebrations begin at the Equator, Latitude 00.00.00

POLLYWOGS & SHELLBACKS Joyce from Chara tells us that before you cross the equator you are a Pollywog and after you cross the Equator you have become a Shellback. Tim from Exodus tells us that a Pollywog is like a tadpole before it matures. It is quite happy to stay in its own pond but a Shellback is like a turtle which will venture out across the line and travel distant waters.

As a memento I painted up 4 shells which I had on board. On the inside of the shell is PPJ, the boats name, Lat. 00.00 and date of their equator crossing. These will be presented at an unofficial Shellback Awards Potluck in the Marquesas when we all get together.

The Equatorial Counter Current is strong and we have 2 to 2.5 knots working against us. So if there is no wind we are going backwards. With no autopilot to steer us and the windvane monitor which only works when there is wind we started hand steering with the motor on. We were wondering why we were going so slow when we had good RPM. Craig decided to jump in and check out the propeller just to make sure we hadn't fouled it. Whilst the boat was stopped we were still recording 2.5knots boat speed. This current stayed with us for 5 days!

Craig goes in. He described it as eery…. the water was cobalt blue and clear with shafts of light running down into infinity. The propeller was clear. It's just a strong current working against us. It feels like driving a car with the handbrake on.

Day 21 PROBLEMS WITH WINDVANE STEERING - Last night was a long one. I was having trouble sleeping and at midnight I heard Craig swearing & cursing as the gearing on the monitor had come apart and there was no way he could fix it until daylight. So it was back to hand steering for both of us. At least we had some wind in our sails. When I went to relieve Craig from his shift I found the boat surrounded by squalls showing bright orange on the radar. We had wind & rain. I got soaked through and was shivering by the end of it. Hmmm…I think I'm getting tired and grumpy again.

Day 22 Tuesday, 1st April 2014 4degrees30S/130degrees 50W We hope to arrive in another 5 days which will make it 26 days in total and closer to a 4 week passage. Our friends on Exodus may arrive tomorrow and Lady Carolina & Chara are probably 2 days behind them. Craig has put the Monitor Windvane back together again and we are cruising along nicely, hands free, under headsail & staysail. We just got hit by a rain squall. Wind was 35knots when it arrived, rain was horizontal, only lasted 2-3 minutes and then it was gone. BAM!

Day 23 The GAS SOLENOID FAILED today so we are no longer using the gas oven/cooktop. It was only replaced 2 months ago so it was the last thing we expected to fail. We can use the BBQ but it is not as easy or comfortable to use in rolly seas. Whereas this passage has been all about the food, it is now just about grabbing something to eat. We are looking forward to arriving in Hiva Oa.

Day 25 So close and yet so far away. Approx 130 miles to go when the windvane steering dies again. We are now doing 2 hour shifts and hand steering for the rest of the journey. At least we have wind.

Hand steering again!

Land Ho! Hiva Oa. A welcome site after 26 days at sea.

True Blue V arriving at the Atuona, Hiva Oa anchorage located behind the breakwall.

ARRIVAL HIVA OA I wondered how I would feel about finally arriving and could feel the tears start to well up in my eyes as the emotions took over. As it was I had nothing to worry about as Steve had planned a big surprise welcome which had us laughing and cringing at the same time. The whole anchorage was entertained.

"Welcome to Hiva Oa"…..and there was Steve in his man-kini, elastic band, tooth floss outfit welcoming us to Hiva Oa. Well done Steve!

And then Tim arrived with 2 French Baguettes…..how cool is that? That will be breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Atuona Bay, Hiva Oa is an official Port of Entry to the Marquesas.


Final Comments on the Passage.

It took us 26 days and 3000 nautical miles to sail from Banderas Bay, Mexico to Hiva Oa, Marquesas.

We had a good trip as far as the weather and wind goes. We enjoyed travelling in a group of 4 boats and although we travelled at different speeds the daily radio nets kept us in touch. It is hard to believe that in this 1 trip we lost both of our auto steering systems. When we pulled the MonitorWindvane off the stern of True Blue V we found that a stainless steel bolt at one of the 4 anchor points had rusted through and sheered off. This will now require drilling out the bolt and retapping the hole. We were lucky to get as much mileage out of the Monitor Windvane as what we did. We did not expect to be so sleep deprived. My longest sleep for the whole passage was 2 hours, 45 minutes. We ate well. Things happen. Generally speaking we coped very well.

Although I have only spoken to a few other cruisers about their trip, I found their comments interesting. One lady cried every day on her passage from Galapagos as the uncomfortable seas & boat motion did not allow her or her husband any sleep. That, and with several equipment failures such as their Chartplotter, she now wants to go back to work. S/V Music with 3 on board reported a boring 21 day trip from Mexico with the only drama being a chafed spinnaker halyard which had them retrieving their spinnaker from the water. I think boring is the way to go. Unfortunately one family of 4 was rescued from sea and their sailing vessel Rebel Heart was scuttled. Their 1 year old needed urgent medical attention and last I heard they were all safe in San Diego. We met these people in La Cruz and our hearts go out to them.

Whilst we were at anchor at Fatu Hiva a small sailing vessel arrived from Panama/Galapago after 45 days at sea. There was a Health & Safety Alert out for them and when Deanne from Exodus recognised their boat name she paddled over to tell them. Deanne then sent emails to their families to tell them they had arrived safely. Well done Deanne! Some cruisers had great trips. Some had crew/captain problems and are getting off the boat. Some had equipment problems. Welcome to cruising.


PASSAGE REPORTS FROM CRAIG

The following emails were sent by Craig to our families back home via our SSB radio whilst underway.


Weather today: Overcast, 100% cloud cover

Temperature: Current Cabin:24 deg C, Current Ocean:26 deg C

Wind: 15-19 WNW

Seas: wind chop 2-3 ft undulating Pacific swells 3ft

Our current location is: 18 47.093 N 112 51.335 W

Heading (M): 225

Current speed(knots): 6.8

Days on Passage: 5

24 hour rhumbline distance made good (nm): 134.2

Rumbline distance to go (nm): 2310

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-15 16:20

Well, we had a better day sailing yesterday due to increased wind that was reasonably consistent in it's direction. Unfortunately it is overcast and the seas are a little sloppy and almost on our beam so a little rolly but making good speed. This is our 5th day on passage and we have finally settled into a routine and our sleeps between watches are becoming better, we both really seem to sleep deeply and well for our 3 hour breaks during the night.

We have taken off a bit from the other three boats with us, still a little bit north of them but further west. I think Exodus, a relatively new 40 foot Lagoon catamaran are a little suprised :)

Haven't been fishing much because the freezer and refrigerator are still quite full. Oh yes and we are eating very well I am certain we have over provisioned. Two of the other boats, Lady Carolina and Exodus have caught Yellowfin Tuna and have been enjoying sashimi and seared tuna steaks!

We will keep sending these daily. It gives me something to do while our weather gribs are downloading.

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Overcast, 100% cloud cover

Temperature: Current Cabin:24 deg C, Current Ocean:26 deg C

Wind: 18-22 NNW

Seas: wind chop 2 ft undulating Pacific swells at 5ft

Our current location is: 17 48.200 N 114 37.621 W

Heading (M): 160

Current speed(knots): 6.5

Days on Passage: 6

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : 110 nm

Rumbline distance to go : 2200 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-16 17:20

Ok, I have changed 24 hour rhumbline distance made good to reflect the distance made good in regard to rhumbline distance to go. The rhumbline distance to our waypoint the previous day is really not relevant. Understand that we sail alot more miles than is reflected in the rhumbline distances, we are not a motorboat and cannot simply straight line to our destination.

Well, we are now on day 6 of the passage and we have our routine down and are feeling quite comfortable. You may have noticed from our current heading we are now traveling more or less south, we have decided to do this to get a bit closer to Lady Carolina and Exodus we are about 40nm north of them and a little further west, of course while we do this they are continuing south west so it will take a couple of days to rejoin our little armada. Chara didn't check into our morning SSB net so we are not 100% sure of their position and we are out of range of their AIS transmission so they don't appear on our Raymarine chartplotter.

Last night we had 20-25 knots of wind all night so we jumped along at 6.5-7 knts all night with both mainsail and headsails reefed, it was quite comfortable and quiet and we both slept really well off watch. The full moon (well its full tonight) made the night almost as bright as day.

So all is good and we hope to arrive in Hiva Oa in about 18 days.

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Mostly fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:29 deg C, Current Ocean:28 deg C

Wind: 18-20+ NE

Seas: wind chop 2-3 ft undulating Pacific swells at 6 ft

Our current location is: 10 39.320 N 121 21.305 W

Heading (M): 210

Current speed(knots): 7.0

Days on Passage: 11

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 1619 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-21 19:15

Today marks day 11 of our passage and the last couple of days have been pretty uneventful. Our fishing hasn't produced the goods the lately, best we managed was the smallest Dorado/Mahi Mahi I think we have ever hooked. This is in stark contrast to the crew on Lady Carolina, who landed a 150 pound yellowfin tuna. A herculean effort, hooking the tuna around midnight and finally having it onboard and filleting completed at 5 am.

We are getting to an interesting part of the passage, in the next few days we need to decide where we will cross the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) in order to cross the equator into the southern hemisphere. The ITCZ, also known as the doldrums is an area north of the equator that typically sees a band of light winds interspersed with numerous squalls that can be quite violent although short lived. This band can vary between 50 miles wide and 300 miles wide. Obviously we want to choose the narrowest possible band we can find. Unfortunately for us we have a very slow moving 'blob' of ITCZ exactly where we planned to cross and our weather models indicate it will be around for a few days after we get to our 'head south and cross' waypoint. A dilemma we will wait to unfold watching the weather over the next 3-4 days.

Well thats about it. We have our afternoon radio net about to begin with our little group, we chat twice a day at 7 am and 2pm discuss what we are doing, weather, fishing etc etc.

Until next time!!!

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au


Weather today: Mostly fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:31 deg C, Current Ocean:28.4 deg C

Wind (knots): 18 E

Seas: wind chop 2-3 ft undulating Pacific swells at 6-7 ft

Our current location is: 07 28.7 N 124 57.8 W

Heading (M): 184

Current speed(knots): 6.5

Days on Passage: 13

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 1335 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-23 20:45

13 days on passage now and we are 50 nm on the right side of halfway. Yay!!! Our fresh fruit is just about exhausted but we still have fresh vegies in the fridge good for at least another few days so our fresh provisions have lasted well. Plenty of beef, chicken, ham and pork still in the freezer and of course a frozen leg of lamb we will consider baking for the equator crossing...we will see.

Speaking of the equator we are now heading for our equatorial waypoint at 127 degrees west, it is about 460 nm away on our current heading so we should be there in 3.5 days if we average 5.5 knots, hopefully we can do a little better than that. The dreaded ITCZ or doldrums are still lurking ahead and we check our weather charts we download each morning to look for a quick passage through, right now though it looks like 200-300 miles, lets hope that changes in the coming days.

Our 3 passage buddies are still some 120 miles away from us due to the day we lost fixing the autopilot *and* the windvane but we have managed a bit more west than them and we may get pretty close again by the equator crossing.

Its hot and humid but we are now on a beam reach as of this morning so no more downwind rolling for sometime,that is good news, our current course is way more comfortable.

I lost two nice yellowfin tuna yesterday the first I didn't see but I was really struggling to get him in with the 250 lb handline the other was easier and smaller but still a solid fish, unfortunately I pulled the hooks on both of them. A real shame as we were really looking forward to sashimi entre's and seared tuna steaks to follow.

Also a great big Happy Birthday to Laura, who turns 13 on Wednesday. You are really growing up fast Laura, a teenager now, wow, I hope you have a great day!!

Well that's about it for now, hopefully less that 12 days to Atuona in Hiva Oa and I tell you I am really looking forward to some ice cold beer(s!) for arrival drinks!!!

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Mostly fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:28 deg C, Current Ocean:28.4 deg C

Wind (knots): 10 SSE

Seas: wind chop 0 ft undulating Pacific swells at 4 ft

Our current location is: 01 04.2 N 127 06.4 W

Heading (M): 218

Current speed(knots): 2.2

Days on Passage: 17

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 965 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-27 17:30

17 days on passage and the equator still eludes us, it is actually about 65 nm due south of us. After almost 3 days motoring south with the wind hard on the nose we had a slight wind shift this morning that enabled us to get the sails back up. We are on a very tight close haul,(i.e the boat is pointing as high into the wind as possible) with light winds hence our low speed over ground. But, we are sailing again and on our rhumbline of 218 degrees magnetic to Hiva Oa. We also have a current that is playing havoc with our speed. Yesterday while we were motoring we had concerns that our speed wasn't as it should be, we started to think perhaps the propeller was fouled. So I grab mask and fins throw the emergency rope ladder over and jump in. This is kinda freaky, the water is crystal clear and cobalt blue and all you can see is shafts of light travelling down into what seems like infinity. So the prop is clear although gooseneck barnacles are beginning to colonize our bottom, guess the hookah is coming out and Leanne and I are cleaning the bottom in some bay on Hiva Oa. When I climb back aboard and stand at the helm I notice we are travelling at 2.6 knts!!! Mystery solved, the old South Pacific current is holding us back!!

Anyway we feel we have broken the back of the passage and are now into the hundreds of miles to go rather than the thousands. Our weather forecasts still have very light winds with us until the 30th atleast so this isn't going to be any record breaking passage, 28 days is apparently the average from where we left in Bandaras Bay Puerto Vallarta and it would seem we will take every bit of those 28 days. 4 straight weeks at sea :/

Well, Leanne is catching up on some sleep and I think I will resume my book in the cockpit and enjoy a beautiful albeit slow day.

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Mostly fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:28 deg C, Current Ocean:28.5 deg C

Wind (knots): 7 SE

Seas: wind chop 0 ft undulating Pacific swells at 4 ft

Our current location is: 00 49.3 N 128 26.8 W

Heading (M): 230

Current speed(knots): 3.0

Days on Passage: 19

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 830 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-03-29 23:35

19 days now and we are now in the Southern Hemisphere. Yayy!!! We finally crossed yesterday at 22:50 UTC, after the officially ceremony regaling Neptune and Aelous and offering them shots of rum we had our own little celebration. Leanne had cooked Cornish Hens (spatchcocks) in white wine sauce and roast potatoes and it was delicious. We made some silly videos celebrating the crossing and had a few beverages ourselves, temporarily relaxing our no alcohol on passage rule.

This rule, is in fact, a very good rule I discovered. After having a big meal and a few generous shots of rum and a couple of beers I managed to fall asleep on the first watch and woke up having wandered about 15 miles of course and totally disoriented not understanding what our track on the chart plotter was telling me!!!

We are still slowly heading toward our first anchorage of Atuona Bay, Hiva Oa. The winds are still very light and as such we are making slow progress. I hope we see some of the South East trade winds soon!! Exodus, the Lagoon catamaran sailing with us has stretched her legs in these light conditions and is now 200 miles ahead of the rest of us which will have her arriving probably 2 days ahead of us with only about 600 miles left to go. We need some wind so we can start knocking of those miles in quick fashion. We are reading up on all our Marquesas guide books trying to plan a rough itinerary of the islands we will visit which is pretty much all of thme apart from two small uninhabited islands in the northern group.

We now have to start practicing our French as well as learning some Tahitian words and phrases. Time to check our sails and decide what we will fly during the night. Until next time!!

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:28 deg C, Current Ocean:28.5 deg C

Wind (knots): 14 E

Seas: wind chop 2 ft undulating Pacific swells at 6-8 ft

Our current location is: 06 00.0 S 132 45.0 W

Heading (M): 230

Current speed(knots): 6.0

Days on Passage: 22

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 418 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-04-02 23:55

22 days of sitting on a yacht in the middle of the ocean, we are counting down to arriving in our inbound port of Atuona Bay Hiva Oa. It has been a long passage and very tiring with only two of us on board. Imagine, if you can, 4 weeks with the longest period of time you get to sleep is perhaps 2 hours 45 minutes and then you are on watch again. The daylight hours really dont offer much opportunity to sleep with the sun beaming in and the warmth and humidity not really conducive to a good slumber. Add to that 3 meals to be had, our twice daily radio schedules with the boats we are travelling with and you are basically left to the nights. Two, three hour shifts on watch each and two slightly shorter opportunities to sleep... and then you have to wake up part way through to furl sails because of a squall the watch keeper has just picked up on radar..... oh well enough whinging.

Unfortunately we have lost a total of almost two days due to various problems, most to do with auto pilot/self steering units. Lots of other little thing also, chafe on a couple of lines, a gas solenoid that was only a couple of months old packed it in today so no oven or cook top. Luckily I do have a spare that I may fit tomorrow or may just wait until we drop the anchor so it is BBQ's until I decide to fiddle around in the gas locker recessed into our side deck to replace the crapped out solenoid.

We are on a good run now and it looks like consistent winds behind us until we arrive, perhaps Saturday afternoon (it's now Wednesday) or more likely Sunday morning. Our travelling buddies are hoping to arrive Friday. Exodus our catamaran friends who sprinted away from us all in a series of very light wind days dropped the hook in Atuona Bay a few hours ago and we are very envious of them. The others suggested a party on Saturday night if we arrive then but honestly we just want to sleep when we get in!

I hope our next report in a couple of days time will see us very close to our inbound port. Stay tuned!

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au



Weather today: Fine

Temperature: Current Cabin:30 deg C, Current Ocean:28.8 deg C

Wind (knots): 12 E

Seas: wind chop 1 ft undulating Pacific swells at 4 ft

Our current location is: 07 44.7 S 136 06.0 W

Heading (M): 215

Current speed(knots): 6.0

Days on Passage: 24

24 hour rhumbline distance made good : nm

Rumbline distance to go : 195 nm

UTC Date and Time: 2014-04-04 23:45

We sit here enjoying a beautiful South Pacific afternoon, a few fluffy clouds in an otherwise clear sky, gentle rolling swells and quite warm. In another 3 hours we begin our penultimate watch, on this, one of the longest ocean crossings on the planet. We had our afternoon radio call a couple of hours ago and Exodus has told us the small anchorage of Atuona Bay is quite crowded with 15 boats anchored currently. Apart from them all the other boats have come from Panama or Galapagos, yachts in those locations typically head off sometime in February. Our group it seems will be the first crew to arrive from Mexico. Chara and Lady Carolina made landfall this afternoon and will go through the clear in process tomorrow. We should arrive at our waypoint on the south east end of Hiva Oa about daybreak on Sunday morning all going well. From there it is only a short 18 mile hop to the anchorage. Yep we are getting excited, a big arrival party for our group is planned for Sunday afternoon/night and are we sure looking forward to it. That and a good nights sleep.

We just started the generator to make some water and get our tank close to full before we arrive. Time has come for the cleanup down below after such a long passage, we will spend this afternoon and tomorrow getting True Blue V sparkling and ship shape down below so we don't have to bother with it once we arrive. We have enjoyed the crossing it has been relatively trouble free apart from the self steering problems and it has been a tremendous accomplishment for us. All that being said it has been tiring. I don't think we understood how sleep deprived we would feel. All is well with us and we hope it is also with all you guys. Our next email should be from Atuona Bay, Hiva Oa. Bonne soiree!!

Cheers!

Craig and Leanne

SV True Blue V

www.truebluev.com.au


Sunday, 6th April 2014 Atuona, Hiva Oa after 26 days at sea and 3000nm. Arrived safe and well, currently at anchor. It's awesome to be here. Within 1 hour of arriving we were sitting on Exodus with Lady Carolina enjoying cocktails. I think it was 10am but it sure felt good. Cheers!

True Blue V 2016