Saturday, November 26, 2011

Leaving for Tahiti!

ok...we had to jog to town...and only then did we bum a lift...and we got washed down in the dinghy!!

We are getting ready to leave for Tahiti, Papeete. I refused to leave yesterday on the Friday, you know, I am
super superstitious about starting a journey on a Friday...

Johan is outside fixing our main sail, where the fitting broke lose, because it looks like we going to need our main sail in the strong winds ahead. If we can trust the weatherman, it is going to be a slightly tougher sail than the one before! But we'll see and we'll sail...It is raining alot and according to the local people it is quit extraordinary.

We had guests over last night for drinks and snacks, and they sailed this area for four years, and we got the best route from them, so now it is up to Andando, the Big Blue and the Wind!

Andando's turn

With our tummies full of fresh baguettes and lovely cheese, and the memory of the chocolate soft serve ice cream still cold,

we were refreshed and ready for a hard days` work on Andando! The boys borrowed jerry cans from the other boats and started the water run. With our dinghy with no engine and only the two horse power of the oars, the boys set rowing to fill up the 700l in Andando`s tummy.

Johan serviced both engines, and started scrubbing the aft deck. With fresh water, we took the opportunity to abuse it! Not to the boys knowledge of course, but as soon as they empty a can, I fill up a basin and scrubbed Andando`s inside. It took us the whole day to get her feeling good again, after being covered in salt for so long. But a big job is laying ahead of us. Andando`s hull is disgusting! After sailing with Catlyn for two years, I`ve never seen growth like this! Not only is her green beard growing, but these funny looking creatures are stucked to her! I hope we can anchor and dive sometime in the future for a proper rub and scrub. As soon as we reach clear water we can try and get rid of some of our guests, but I would like to really tickle her belly!

After a hard days` work, our energy levels were still so high, and Marco got us into playing Charades! He won the price with his fish, and Joe gave a new meaning to Ice Age…

Ps. I know that some of our friends in SA planned to sail away over the Blue soon…Allan and Ursula with Windward, and Bert and Michelle. Tell us about your plans!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Marquesas - Hiva Oa.

Twenty two days later, 3126 nm from Galapagos, we set foot on land! Everything was moving except the boat and the sea! Our legs were heavy and wobbly getting off at the jetty with our black bag of garbage for three weeks and a bit. But it was so good to smell the ground, the crushed leaves and green from earth, that we soon forgot our bodies. I woke up this morning, in awe with being alive…with the cacophony of roosters, the sweetest sound in a very long time. Last night around seven we set anchor in this quaint little bay, Baia Tahauku in about 3 to 7 meters of peaceful waters, among the towering volcanic mountains. The wonder of seeing these huge mountains in the middle of an ocean, pushing up from deep down is amazing. We broke the last of the delicious bread our Skipper baked the morning with my last sip of red wine from Trinidad.

In desperate need for fresh green stuff, we couldn`t wait to explore the little town, Atuana.

We crossed a little stream coming from the mountains to the sea, and up the hill and around the mountain for about 2km. The exercise was so good...

Andando was laying safely resting in the Bay among two other yachts.

 We found about three little shops, a post office, a bank and friendly French people around. Johan bought a couple of pineapples, tomatoes and a cabbage out of the back of a truck for a lot of money,

 and we found some proviand in one of the shops. Eggs were the most expensive yet…R50 (5 Euros) per dozen! No scrambled eggs aboard,boys! Luckily we still have enough condensed milk left, which we bought in Trinidad for R8 (1 USD) a tin, because over here it costs R28 (4 USD)! I was spoilt again with someone doing my washing. I send in only the really important goods, like the bedding, and I paid 50US$ for only 10kg! When I received it back, half of it was still damp, and we had to put up washing lines in the saloon, with the rain falling outside! No freshly smelling washing hot from the tumble drier. But at least I think she will be able to afford a tumble dryer with my 10kg!

Living Andando

Andando, also a Maverick 40ft catamaran,  is our water home for almost two months now! It took us a short while to get use to the small interior changes on her compared to Catlyn. The height of a door entrance is slightly lower, and Johan keeps on bumping his head. I keep on pulling at a door to free it from its magnet, only to realize that it is kept by two little screws in the wall. Looking for the light switch only to find it at another place etc.

I enjoy the spacious saloon, and our family social around the table a lot of the time. Andando's saloon area is bigger than Catlyns while the kitchen(galley) area is smaller. I am getting used to the different lay out of the galley, and I can imagine cooking up a storm with a nice stove, and not our little temporally gas burner.

We enjoy the bat car system of the main sail. It took us some time to get use to the genoa, but by now she is flying in the wind. We still enjoy the screecher the most, and in these light winds nothing beats her. Our Skipper enjoy the 2 bigger Yanmar engines the most on Andando.

I will not do a crossing without a water maker (if I had a choice)! I really miss our Little Wonder Water Maker! Although we use our water very sparingly, about 700 liters for 4 people for 22 days. We used about 30 liters a day, cleaning, washing clothes and rinsing dishes. Not bad at all! But I will do a lot of things for a long hot shower. I keep on thinking about our Little Wonder. It is able to make about 28 litres of water in an hour! With the 1000 liters in the tanks and the Little Wonder around…life will just be so much cleaner!

My only concern still is the two electrical toilets. I do get anxious, and I listen to every noise slurping and chopping coming from these two monsters…I still think it is a good back-up to have one manual toilet.

Ps. I do miss my green garden which I left on Catlyn. Hopefully my little basil, my avocado tree and my coco palm and my pineapple flower are surviving. If anyone is still out there close to Peakes in Trinidad, please go give Catlyn a huggy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What do we do at sea?

Watching the sunrise's over the Pasific
 It is our nineteenth day at sea, the longest that we`ve ever been at sea without seeing land. Previously, we sailed 18 days from St. Helena to Salvador, Brasil. We are all so good.

We read a lot.....

 We think a lot.....

 I swopped a lot of books at Panama, and we have our two e-book readers we ordered from Amazon just before we left Trinidad, full of a lot to read. We watch movies on the TV, and enjoy the old series, ` Friends` the most. Johan still make the best food aboard, so even though our supplies are thinning, we eat like spoiled sailors.

We eat alot....


Tuna Steaks with Tramezzini's

Chicken Stew with veggies - South African Malay sauce Elize brought us with a visit from London, bought in London.

Make sure you try the recipe of the `Mosbolletjies`. To my French friends, it is really easy and delicious bread kind of recipe.

I still do spend a lot of time cleaning, with a little bit of fresh water, and I have to sweep the floors every day. It is just amazing how the dust from somewhere, maybe our clothes and sheets, and the human hairs and the scraps from all Marco`s improvised toys just dirty the boat. One morning we woke up with stuffy noses and a black dust covering Andando`s deck! We were 1500nm away from the closest land. Is it possible for the polluted air to travel all this way? and yes the Mom's duty of cutting little ones hair...

Marco still has a lot of fun aboard. Of course he can`t do his exams this last term, but with the years` work done, Brainline ( home school program from South Africa) will use his 3 previous terms. I didn`t bother to concentrate on old work anymore and started stimulating him with new Mathematic problems, like Algebra. His Dad is doing Computer Studies with him, and today he is learning to make a spread sheet! He is forced to be creative with only his Nintendo and a packet of small plastic army figures aboard. He collected the cans of empty cold drinks, and made a town for his soldiers. For days it kept him busy. He cut up a piece of card board, I covered the shelves with, into a sword.

 Getting his Dad involved and then his brother, the most beautiful sword was created! Apparently there is a piece left for a shield. Even empty plastic 5lt water bottles became toys! Marco and Joe had their bottle fight in the sun set. Everything aboard Andando is a potential toy!

Joe doesn`t miss a sunset, and in his yoga position he sits on the front deck every evening. He does his Karate kata`s, balancing while Andando moves around in the swells.

He made a kite from scraps on the boat, and soon our whole family was excitedly gathering outside, trying to fly it over the ocean.

He is the one washing down the deck, cleaning our barbeque, and checking the oil.

And we play cards! And we lose every time! Marco and his Dad is a formidable team!

Watching the sunset's in the Pasific

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On our sailing way to Marquesas.

We started lifting the anchor during the morning, but soon realized that the big tourist boat in front of us, was laying over our anchor. We got too close to the big boat, and called out to someone on it to move it slightly out of the way. Their Skipper was not on the boat and the only help we got was from a crew member pushing the boat with their dinghy sideways. After a couple of close encounters, we freed our anchor and were on our way. I had a good feeling that this trip was going to be a better one!

With a lovely wind on the beam, for a change and a current pushing us, we did a beautiful 174nm for our first day! Our spirits were high, and not even the ice cold wind at night could dampen it. The days were sunny, but still the cold wind prevailed. We saw two whales playing in the distance and some Pacific spotted dolphins enjoying the surf. Soon we caught a skip jack tuna. It must be this cold water!

We were not prepared for the cold nights, and everyone was huddling together for some warmth. It is unbelievable that we can be on the Equator and it is so cold!
Our fifth day at sea, we saw a fishing boat on the horizon, and by now the sea life also died down. We hardly see any birds, only the odd swallow with a dash of white on its tail, and every now and then some flying fish. Even the phosphor in the waves at night disappear, while the thick fog envelopes Andando every night. We wipe her down in the mornings with the fresh water from the fog, trying to get rid of the white salty crystals covering her. With the swells slightly smaller and the wind down @ 4 to 6 knots we decided to start cleaning all the stainless steel. We rubbed it with our vinegar cloths and brushes and soon all the stanchions were rust free!

Soon we realized that the closer we sail to the Equator the stronger the current. It ranges from 2 to 3 knots! In the light wind Andando needed a motor running most of the time @ 1200 rpm to reach our planned average of 5.8 knots per hour for the trip, with her screecher sail out. Johan also took out the storm jib, and they fixed it onto the boom, creating even more wind onto the screecher. Now I just need to hang out Marco`s boxers and we will be surfing.

It was our Skipper`s born day, 12th of November 18, 2011! What a challenge to make a day special for someone in the middle of the Big Blue. I baked a cappuccino cake the previous day, and icing the cake with milo and icing sugar, (no cocoa aboard) and one of Marco`s 11 year old candles, and four left over silver balloons. We woke him with our deep voices, and a poem from mom, a letter from Joe, and some secret message from Marco. I succeeded in hiding a Toblerone from the boys, and being without chocolates and sweeties for two weeks now, it was a big present!

 I think his biggest gift was when our satellite phone rang for the first time ever, and his sister, Elize wished him a happy birthday from London!

Ps. Jaco our son left South-Africa to work in Palm Beach, Florida, and I missed packing something special into his bags. Good Luck Jaco, see you soon !!!

Last post for Galapagos

Isn`t it amazing how much you can do, if you have a limit of time? Why do we waste so much? Before I get carried away… We had only one day before we sailed away to Marquesas, Marco`s born day at Galapagos, and we loved it so much! With the diesel and water filled

and my 25kg of washing done for me, we were in the little town looking for a place we can create a memory. With a couple of choices, we went to one of the back streets, and found a place with wooden tables and yellow table cloths. Local people were already enjoying their lunch. This was going to be it! I noticed that we were the only Gringoes, and I also noticed the same juice on all the tables with a white plate with the same food, rice and chicken. A black board stood at the entrance with the three wooden steps, and written on it, 6$ and the word, `pollo` which I knew is chicken in Spanish! As soon as we sat down at the yellow table cloth, I just caught a glimpse of the black board vanishing into the back door of the restaurant.

We ordered four of the meals on the black board, not understanding the rest of the Spanish, but the guy with the pin stripe moustache said ,`Sorry, the special is finished.` And it is back to the menu, with 9$ a dish. In broken Spanish sign language I showed him all the other peoples` juice and plates, and politely gave him back his menu. Getting my family from their wooden chairs, we will be on our way! With business on its way out, he very quickly told us that he is just going to find out, maybe… Soon we were having what the people were having, for 6$ and so were a lot of new local guests arriving!

Popcorn and soup was our entrĂ©e! From now on that will be the way we eat our soup… After the delicious rice and chicken with a touch of salad, we enjoyed a pink sweet desert, something like a mousse, and the big glass of orange juice on our yellow table cloths!

The rest of the day we illegally walked into the Nature Park, just following the beaches, where the big Galapagos sea lions were basking in the sun. Marco swam with them, while they play in the water. We saw the iguanas sitting on the black volcanic rocks, the blue footed boobies and grey pelicans looking for something to eat. We ended the day watching the sun go down over Frigate Point, where the statue of Charles Darwin stood etched in the last rays. We knew we had to leave this magical place…

Ps. We were offered an illegal tour to three islands and the Nature Park for 150$, but we didn`t want to risk being in trouble in a faraway country with a language we didn`t understand. Illegal because you need a Park Permit to enter the Park,  USD 100 per person when clearing in.