Sunday, July 31, 2016

Running the Passes

Hello from Tikehau!  We are anchored in the beautiful, smaller atoll of Tikehau, Rangiroa's neighbor. We are the only boat here and are enjoying the solitude.  Even though Tikehau is right "next door", getting here was an all day affair.  Over dinner on Friday night, Adrian, David and I discussed and studied the tide tables for Rangiroa, and picked the brains of locals to get an idea of tides for Tikehau. We were told the tides were pretty much the same, so we worked on the Rangiroa tides for entrance into Tikehau.  In theory, you should leave and enter the passes on a slack tide.  Because the water in the lagoons have only the one pass to enter and exit, the tides rip through at incredible velocity, causing rip tides and eddies, and standing waves...fun, fun, fun!

So, again, in theory, we should have left on Rangiroa's slack high tide, which was at 10:00am...however, that would not have given us enough time to sail over to Tikehau and make the 3:00pm slack tide here.  So Saturday morning dawned, and the winds seemed calm.  We decided just to take the boat over to the pass to see what it looked like.  It was about 7:30am when we left, probably around 8:30am by the time we were at the pass.  From inside, it didn't look that bad.  Dave started motoring toward the pass entrance, and the next thing we knew, the boat was swept along in the outgoing tide, and doing 11.6 knots!  Dave says "should we just go?" and Adrian and I just say "yes"!!  While it was a little hair-raising, it only lasted maybe 30 - 45 seconds (but seemed like forever!) because the tide was so strong and just swept us out!  We had to crash over a few standing waves, and then we had cleared that pass!  Phew!!  The first part of the trip over to Tikehau was a bit bumpy, but then as we cleared the top of the atoll and were able to change course toward Tikehau, we had a great reach over in about 15 knots of wind.

We arrived at Tikehau at around 2:30pm.  Perfect, we thought!  We could enter on the 3:00pm slack tide and we would be golden.  Well...Dave's not one for waiting, and while we could see the current RIPPING out, we went for it anyway.  I'll admit, this one had my heart pumping a little (ok...a lot!).  We were full ball on the engines, with Dave keeping the boat in the center of the pass...coral on both sides.  No room for error, or for being swept out the center of the pass.  We were doing 1.6 knots through the water...it felt like we were not moving at all.  I just remember the roar of the engines and the roar of the water, and I was just willing the boat to go forward. EVENTUALLY we made it out of the main rip tide and we were in the atoll!  That was enough for one day...running the passes...not my favorite past time.  But the reward is this:
Cool Runnings at anchor n Tikehau
Today we took the dinghy to shore and explored a bit.  This atoll used to be a coconut palm plantation, so the amount of palms is astounding.  However, it also has a lot of other trees such as pines, making it very "green".  The sand is almost pink...absolutely beautiful!

Pink sand and turquoise water
There is a small settlement here, with a couple of pensions/bed and breakfasts.  There was not a whole lot going today, since it is Sunday.  We were very anxious to find out where we could purchase our daily baguette, and eventually found out that we have to place our order at the bakery in the morning, and then the bread is ready at about 4:00pm in the afternoon  (so no baguette breakfast for us tomorrow!).  We found where the bakery is, it just looks like someone's home (and probably is).  The wind is pretty strong right now, and is forecast to be strong again tomorrow. According to the forecast, it dies a bit on Tuesday, so we will probably use that window to sail to Tahiti.  That will be an approximately 24 hour trip.   Let's hope the weather forecasts are accurate!  I'll have to report on exiting this pass in the next blog update!  Just for the record, it's just me (Gudrun) who has this fear of running the passes...Dave is quite comfortable with them (and I trust his ability completely!).

We were also pleasantly surprised to find a (very slow) WiFi hotspot, so while I have access, here are a few more pictures:
Uninhabited motu in Rangiroa

Updated Hibberd Family Photo!


That's all for now - until next time, farewell from Tikehau!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hello from the middle of nowhere

Hi all....Guds reporting from the middle of the Pacific ocean, anchored inside the second 
largest atoll in the world (still have not figured out which is biggest). 
Sorry It's been a while since an update but we have been enjoying finally doing nothing but
relaxing, reading, catching up on school, swimming, snorkeling and researching our route 
ahead.
This atoll is so large you can't see the other side....it's incredible. We initially 
navigated through one of 2 entrances into the atoll early on the morning of July 21st. 
Since then we have literally chilled for the first time in many months. Up until now it had 
seemed like we had been chasing one deadline after another...always rushing to get to the 
next place....touch it....move on...repeat. We caught a break when Garrick announced after 
a rough passage from Marquesas to here, that he was going to fly out of this atoll on 
the 24th. We no longer now had to continue to rush to get him t o Bora Bora. With that 
announcement Dave and I took the opportunity to replan our way forward and life has 
considerably slowed and quietened down to more of what we had in mind and had dreamed of 
for the last 10 years!

After spending a few days at the anchorage near the atoll passes, we decided to go and do 
some exploring. Yesterday we raised the mainsail, put out Puff, and had a wonderful sail 
across the lagoon to the other side of the atoll. We discovered uninhabited "motus", 
these little islands that are joined by coral reefs, and make up the ring of the atolls. 
We continued close along the inside of the reef, marvelling at the beauty of one motu after 
another. Pure white beaches (that we later discovered to be broken coral), Coconut palm trees
and crystal clear turquoise water. We couldn't stop looking at them, and probably took way too many photos!! We often found ourselves saying to each other .... "can you believe what we are seeing".....so few humans have ev er had the privilege of seeing this remote and uncharted part of this atoll. The charts are vague with no details and state "uncharted" so everything is done by sight and watching the depth sounder!!!!

Eventually we decided that we would simply anchor and stay here overnight. We could not 
resist the urge to anchor off such beauty and in such remote isolation. 
(If you click on our "track us here tab" you can see where we anchored. We were somewhat 
protected and the wind was not too strong. So we took our time finding a good sandy spot 
with no coral heads, and dropped anchor. Dave and Adrian jumped in the water to check the 
anchor, and all looked good! Gaby, being the water baby that she is, was also immediately 
snorkeling around! We then put the dinghy in the water and headed for shore. 
Walking on an uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere was pretty cool! There were no 
other footprints, except ours. The hermit crabs came to check us out instead of scurrying 
away, and a curious eel type creature came to say hello and nearly gave me the fright of my 
life!! Dave and Adrian circumnavigated the motu on foot while the kids and I took a more 
relaxed approach! We can't even begin to describe the color of the water...It ranges from 
dark blue to different shades of turquoise to almost white. This is by far the clearest water
we have seen thus far.....Simply stunning!

After our excursion we had G&T sundowners on deck and watched the sunset. We could hear the
ocean breaking on the reef, and it was nice to know we were safely anchored inside the reef. 
After our fish dinner, the stars came out, and it was the most spectacular view of the stars
 and milky way we have ever seen with the boat being so stable and no ambient light from any 
other boats or a village. We thought what we saw when we were sailing across the Pacific was
 amazing, but last night we literally had an arch over us...stars from one horizon to the 
other. We had to throw in a bit of education and identified planets and constellations! :-)
Now it is morning and we are sipping our coffee and contemplating the days' activities. Bacon
 & egg are on the breakfast menu :) We will probably continue heading down the edge of the 
atoll for a while and then sail back to the other side to another remote anchorage for 
tonight. But then again, we may not.... :-) We are enjoying our new, less stressful, slower 
paced approach to cruising and allowing the day to unfold without to much structure ;)
All the best from Cool Runnings!!!!!!



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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bonjour from Hiva Oa!

NOTE..edit by Dave....THIS IS AN OUT OF DATE ORDER POST THAT GUDS HAD DONE, BUT NEVER GOT POSTED9(suspect internet)..BUT IT HAD SOME GOOD INFORMATION, SO AM POSTING ON HER BEHALF....here goes:

...Wow...we have so much to update you all on!  We finally have (slow) internet access, so hopefully I can post a few decent quality pictures and bring you up to speed on our comings and goings!

Sadly, we had to leave the Bay of Virgins at Fatu Hiva yesterday, but we have been rewarded with a lovely stay at Hiva Oa, our next port of call!  But before I get ahead of myself...


Monday was probably one of the best days we've had so far...pretty much what I imagined a typical day in a cruiser's life to be! :)  We woke up with the silhouette of our friends "Cheeky Monkey" on the horizon.  They had just finished their crossing and were coming in to anchor after completing their crossing.  After "hello's" and a lay of the anchorage, they went off to do their thing, and Garrick and Adrian went into the village to buy more bacon!

While they were there, the kids' friends, Antoine and Paul paddled over to play.  The kids swam behind the boat and soon Garrick and Adrian came dinghying back and whipped up a lovely breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage and fried bananas! Yum! After breakfast, Dave got in the water, Garrick and Adrian went back to town to take a ride over the mountains to the other village and I took up position on the bean bag on the bow with my book!  Soon one more "boat kid" came over (Lola, from another Lagoon anchored next to us).  She is also French, but her English was also pretty good.  So there we had 5 kids snorkeling, Dave cleaning the hulls and Guds just chilling.  The kids saw fish and a huge Manta Ray!  After a lunch break, the kids got back together again.  More fun on paddle boards, Garrick and Adrian returned from town, and everyone ended up in the water.  It was a lot of fun!

We had been told that it was Liam on "Cheeky Monkey"'s birthday and we had been invited over for a birthday celebration.  Everyone in the anchorage was invited, and in fact, almost everyone came!  There was a fantastic party on Cheeky Monkey and everyone got to meet everyone else!  We had a real United Nations with representatives from New Zealand, South Africa, USA, Germany, France and England!

Tuesday morning dawned with howling wind.  We had gusts of up to 30 knots in the anchorage, but we decided to stick with our plan and head on over to Hiva Oa.  We had to come here to officially check in, and couldn't put it off much longer.  It was very sad to leave our boat friends, Cheeky Monkey and Toomai, since we'd just reconnected, but we had to keep moving.  We will keep in touch with both of them, and have no doubt we'll meet up again.  The sail over to Hiva Oa, while only 45 miles, was not much fun.  The wind was strong, and there were big swells from the side, so it was a rough, rolly ride, but no problem to stick it out for 6 or so hours.  We arrived here at Hiva Oa at about 5:30pm last night.  We'd heard terrible stories about how bad the anchorage was, but we were pleasantly surprised.  I think it was because there were only 7 other boats, here, when usually there can be up to 20!  We were thrilled to see "Mary Ann II", the other boat we were in touch with via SSB during the crossing.  We were anchored and relaxed in no time at all!

We started our day off today with fresh baguettes and then headed into town for our clearing in and provisioning.  We had the most pleasant clearing in procedure we've ever experienced!  After the drama and formalities of Galapagos, this was incredibly laid back and friendly!  The Gendarmerie welcomed us with open arms, big smiles, and lots of stories about cannibals eating little girls (Gaby)!  We are now officially cleared in.  We also provisioned, and have a new supply of fruit, cheese, crackers, canned veggies and such.  It was very expensive, but we are in the middle of nowhere!!

We've also made it up to this wonderful hotel where we are sipping drinks in order to use their wifi signal!  This place is up on the hill overlooking the bay where our boat is anchored.  It is beautiful, and we are enjoying civilization again (even be it with very expensive beer and wine!!).  Tomorrow is Bastille Day (Dave is uploading a video of the celebration on his youtube channel...so search "David Hibberd youtube or Cool Runnings and you should find it) and there is a parade in town at 8:00am which we will definitely go and see.  Then we have planned a tour of the island - apparently there are some great archaeological sites on the other side of the island.  I will hopefully be able to report on that tomorrow!  For now, it's time to end off.  Our thanks again to everyone for all the comments and emails - they definitely keep us going!  Until next time, au revoir from Hiva Oa!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hanamoenoa Bay and Rangiroa


For those of you following the blog, and Facebook, apologies in advance, as the posts are identical! I find Facebook is quicker with the upload of pictures, so when we do have some internet, I quickly upload some photos there, and then if I still have WiFi, I will come over to the blog to try and do an update. Today, in the interest of WiFi time, I am going to cut and paste my FB posts to the blog!  I was unable to upload multiple pictures to this blog...I tried, but I lost connection right before my 5th picture loaded, and I lost everything I had uploaded!! :(  So I'm going to try again with one or two, and get this post posted!!

Below in red is a quick link to the youtube video Dave took from his cell phone in "Bay of Virgins", from the top of our mast 70ft above the water. This was the 1st spot we anchored in after being at sea for 19 days!!!!!:
Bay of Virgins from top of mast!





Gaby enjoying the anchorage with Cool Runnings in the background
As I had mentioned in my previous post, we spent a blissful 2 days in Hanamoenoa Bay on the island of Tahuata in the Marquesas. This anchorage has the distinction of having a beautiful sandy beach, which is hard to find in this volcanic group of islands, as the islands tend to rise out of the sea with huge cliff faces. When we arrived, there was one other boat in the anchorage, but it left the next morning, and we had the anchorage and the beach all to ourselves! We left there on Sunday, July 17th, headed to the Tuamotus group of atolls. We sailed for 4 days and 4 nights, arriving in Rangiroa early in the morning, on Thursday, July 21st.

Our first approach and entrance into an atoll was a little nerve wracking, but our skilled captain got us in, no problem!! The Tuamotus archipelago had, for many years, been a place to avoid, with the rings of coral reefs being feared by many a cruiser! However, with better charts and GPS navigation these beautiful atolls are now visited by many, or most yachts on the way to Tahiti from the Marquesas. Having read about the dangers of the atolls, we chose one of the larger ones, with a deep, well defined entrance to be our first atoll experience. We still had to be aware of the rip tide (up to 8 knots!!) and eddies caused by incoming or outgoing tides and with the help of tide tables (thank you, Tracy for researching and sending us high and low tides for Rangiroa!!), we were able to time our entrance, and it was no problem getting into this atoll. 2 wrecks at the entrance were just a reminder of what can happen if you don't do this properly!

The pass entrance with a wreck to remind us to be careful!

Our own Polynesian beauty!
But we are now anchored in the second largest atoll in the world. It is stunning...the water is a turquoise that we had not yet seen up to this point. Yesterday we went snorkeling on the reef with some black tip sharks (who were not in the least bit interested in us), and saw tons of amazing, colorful fish. We plan to spend about a week here, just taking some time to relax and enjoy. The kids are doing schoolwork in the mornings, and the afternoons are for swimming, snorkeling and exploring. This is what a cruiser's life is all about!!

There are a few more pictures on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/gudrun.hibberd) if you would like to view them there. Dave is also trying to upload some videos to YouTube.  Just search david hibberd on You Tube.  Thanks also as always for all comments - we read them all and love hearing from everyone!!

The view from our boat


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Bonjour from Tahuata!

We are anchored in the beautiful Hanamoenoa bay on the island of Tahuata here in the Marquesas Islands.  I wish the images we attach were not reduced to such poor quality, because we have so many gorgeous pictures we would love to share with you!   We had a very brief moment of internet access while in Atuona on Hiva Oa, and I had written a long post and was uploading a bunch of pictures, and before I could finish, I lost connection and was never able to post the update with the photos.  So back to Iridium satellite it is...

Since our last post we have left Fatu Hiva after a great reunion with our friends on Cheeky Monkey and a party with almost the entire anchorage on board their boat. It was one of their crew member's birthday and everyone was invited. There were people from all over the world on board that night: South Africa, U.S., New Zealand, Germany, France and England! Great fun was had by all!

Sadly we had to leave the ne xt morning, and we had a rather bumpy 7 hour sail over to Hiva Oa, where we had to check in. We we thrilled to find that the normally crowded anchorage had only 8 boats in it, so we found a good spot and that was home for the next 3 days. We had a very pleasant check in process, with the friendly Gendarmerie (police) welcoming us to French Polynesia! The town of Atuona was about a 45 minute walk from the harbour, but we never had to walk it once!! The people are so friendly, we were always offered a lift! The most we ever walked was maybe 10 minutes before some kind soul picked us up!

We arrived on Tuesday night, got all our provisioning, check in and refueling done on Wednesday, and then Thursday was Bastille day. We went into town early on Thursday morning, and were treated to a parade through the town, with the procession ending in a big field, where there was traditional Polynesian dancing. It was great to experience the festivities! Sadly we heard about t he attack in Nice during their Bastille day celebrations.

We then had arranged for a tour of the island, with the end destination being the Iipona archeological site near the village of Puamau, where there are huge stone tiki carvings perched on massive stone pedestals, which are estimated to be over 2,000 years old! The ride there and back was breathtaking, with the road at times being somewhat questionable, with hairpin curves like we've never experienced before! The whole outing was amazing, giving us a great overview of the island, and tiki were fantastic to see.

The kids also hit the jackpot, when we made friends with Stewart and Louise, and their 2 daughters, Eleanor (10) and Hannah (8) on "Skylark". The girls even had a sleepover on our boat the one night! We also finally met up with John and Julie on "Mary Ann II", the boat we were in daily contact with via SSB during the crossing. It was great to put faces with the voices and also to meet the ir ship's dog, Murphy, a cavalier spaniel. Gaby and Ben were thrilled to have a dog to pet again!

Yesterday, after a last, quick trip into town, we headed over to this anchorage. It is simply stunning. We are the only boat here...There was one other boat, but they left this morning (we may have scared them away!). The water is crystal clear and turquoise, the bottom is sandy and there is a beautiful, big, Palm tree lined beach, (where we had sundowners last night). This bay is known for its manta rays. These gentle giants sweep through with their huge mouths open, vacuuming up the plankton. We have not been disappointed...We've snorkeled with them a couple of times, and as I write this, the alarm was sounded again: "Manta!" Everyone is scrambling to get their fins on!!

We have downloaded the weather and it looks like a good weather window to head over to the Tuamotus atolls, about 580 miles from here, if we leave tomorrow morning at about 6:00am. We expect a 4 day passage with good winds of 15-20 knots. While we would love to spend more time exploring the Marquesas Islands, we do need to keep moving to get Garrick to Bora Bora, where he will hop a flight to Tahiti, since he flying out of there on August 1st. But we have no doubt that the next spot that awaits us will be as beautiful as the one before!

So for now, au revoir!

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life is good :)

Hi all...Dave here sipping a beer in the Spectacular Bay of Virgins in Marquesas Island. 

Apparently this is one of the top 3 most spectacular anchorages in the world. The attached pic I took this afternoon does not do it any justice!!!! I also took a video on my phone which is pretty cool and does capture much more so will post when we get internet....Maybe in a few days.....

Yesterday when we arrived we anchored in record time, put the dinghy in the water and were ashore in no time. Everyone was a little off balance walking for the first few minutes.....it was pretty amazing.

Nineteen days at sea almost to the hour....and finally we had arrived!!!! We wasted no time and walked through the beautiful tiny town being greeted by locals. The village consists of around 300 people and is lush and tropical beyond description!!!! The mountains rise up steeply from the sea and are covered in lush vegetation and Palm trees.....very very beautiful!!!!

We ended up taking a walk to a most spectacular waterfall, together with some folks from 2 other boats: a German couple who have a 9 month old son and a 2 year old daughter...now that's hard core!!! The other people were from the boat anchored behind us; the guy was a kiwi, his wife from Bulgaria and there was also a German girl (we think the au pair ?), and they have a little girl, about 4 or 5 years old. That's the cool thing about this...you meet many different people from all over the world!

The waterfall was incredible...probably about 200ft high, falling down a sheer cliff face. There is lovely cool pool at the bottom that we all swam in. We've also come at a great time, since July is the month they celebrate Bastille day here in French Polynesia, and the villages are all practicing their dances. Apparently they celebrate all month long. We've had the luxury of watching them practice and as we sit here, we can here the drums fr om the village.

Today we were treated to lunch at a local lady's house. She prepared chicken, goat (yes, goat), rice, Papaya salad and pampelmousse, and bananas- a traditional Marquesian meal. She sat with us and ate the meal with us and told us all about life in this tiny village on this tropical island in broken English...unfortunately our French is extremely limited!!! Pampelmousse is a local fruit that is like a big grapefruit, but a little sweeter. Yesterday one of the villagers gave us 2, so we had already had some for breakfast. It was a great experience!!

Then, as we were walking back to the dock to take the dinghy back "home", we saw another boat anchoring...and the kids realized it was "Toomai", their French friends from Panama!! So a happy reunion this afternoon as the kids reconnected. Paul and Antoine came over to our boat and their mom dinghyed over this evening to pick them up! :-)

Tomorrow we expect the arrival of Cheeky Monkey - the other boat we crossed the Pacific with. They left the Galapagos a few days after us and we've been in touch via email. It will be nice to see them again.

That's about it for now. I'm off to enjoy the drums from the stern of the boat!

All the best,
Dave and the Cool Runnings crew!

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Another landfall pic....this place is spectacular



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LAND IN SIGHT AT 6am

We made it....almost ...6 miles out and attached pic of Ben & Gaby in PJ's :-)

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16 miles to go

Hi all....Dave's last night watch for a few days so thought I would give a quick update ;)

It's 3.54am local time and pitch dark. Ahead of us 16 miles must be a HUGE mountain on a very small island that will be our 1st sight of land in 19 days!!!! We left on June 20th at noon and should arrive at around 7am on July 9th ;)

I have been straining my eyes looking ahead but can't see anything....not even a light as the small village is on the opposite side of the island from our side of approach. It starts getting light around 5am so hopefully in the next hour I will sight our island ;)

Yesterday Guds and I spent the entire day cleaning and tidying the inside of the boat. We always had intentions of cleaning along the way but it never happened so yesterday was a big catch up day. In the afternoon Adrian and Garrick gave the outside decks a good scrub so by evening Cool Runnings looked ship shape again. We did 4 loads of laund ry so all bedding, towels and clothes were fresh when we went to sleep last night;)

In 3 weeks we have managed to exhausted many supplies (especially snacks like chips....:-)....)and have run out of a number of items so will resupply in a few days time with diesel, food and drinks.

We had the fishing lines out all day yesterday but had not even a nibble :(

It's now 4.19am. I turned off all navigation lights and I think I can just make out a faint outline of land which is now 13 miles ahead ;) yaaaayyyyyy!!!!!!!

Time to boil the kettle and make a nice cuppa coffee;)

Guds just woke up so said she will make coffee....even better....think we will sit on the roof ....watch the final stars fade before sunrise and spot the land ahead we have dreamed of reaching for so many years together!!!!!

Our next update Will be from land!!!!!

All the best from Dave and the Cool Runnings crew!!!!



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Thursday, July 7, 2016

185 miles to go

Hello all...Dave reporting with under 200 miles remaining at 6 pm local time...which is -9.5hrs behind GMT or UTC!!!!

As I write this we have Christopher Cross playing the song "when you get caught between the moon & NYC".....the wind has died and we have been motoring since 5am this morning. Seas have calmed a bit so motoring along at about 5knots.

All has gone well since I last did an update. A few highlights I can remember.....

On Tuesday night we had our strongest consistent winds of this leg....15 to 23 knots of wind all night and into most of the morning. We had just the spinnaker up the entire time and were consistently doing over 9 knots. Adrian had a 12.1 knot surf during his nightshift and you could feel the boat literally humming. It's amazing how the noise levels increase when you are sailing over 8 knots consistently!!!!

In the morning the wind was still blowing consistently about 18 to 22 knots and I started hand steering to try and beat Adrian's record 12.1 knot speed. I was soon rewarded with a surf at 14.7 knots down a swell. We had a rooster tail coming out the back of the boat we were going so fast ;)

Sadly the wind died at around noon and sailing at 7 knots felt like we were crawling along!!! That was our best 24 hour run as we did 189 miles. It looked like we could possibly arrive on July 8th!!! Unfortunately that was short lived as wind died throughout last night. By this morning the GPS showed a 10pm arrival so when the winds completely died we decided to just delay arrival to July 9th early morning so we arrive in daylight and get to actually see the beautiful islands we have been dreaming of for the last 3 weeks!!!!!

This afternoon we caught 3 nice black fin Tuna!!!! So dinner tonight is rice and FRESH tuna!!!!!!

Finally I am attaching a beautiful sunset from last night as we still had the spinnaker up...enjoy as we did!!!

Two more nights at sea and we should arrive in the beautiful Marquesas Islands, Bay of Virgins.....Google an image of this bay if you have time.....It looks spectacular!!!

All the best to our family and friends and everyone following our blog.....Thanks as always for your news, comments and encouragement!!!!

Cheers Dave and the Coolrunnings crew!!!!

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Cool Runnings band

Hi all...Dave on nightshift AGAIN!!!! 

This is getting tiring and can't wait for a full nights sleep soon in a calm anchorage!!!! We have 477 miles to cover before that happens!!!!

All is well aboard....obviously we all are talking about seeing land for the first time in a long 3 weeks!!! Our current arrival varies between 7/8 and 7/9 depending on wind and boat speed at the time.

I thought I would attach a picture of Ben and Gaby having some fun....Our very own live band!!!!

Our resident bird (Oreo) flew off at first light this morning after resting on our boat for over 24 hours. She waddled off to the back of the boat....jumped into the water and took off flying a few seconds later!!!

We will be meeting up with a French sailboat that has two kids aboard in Marquesas so will be nice for Ben and Gaby to have some company after being with adults for 3 weeks solid. We met them while in Panama. This boat w ent straight from Panama to Marquesas...not stopping in Galapagos. They took 29 days and have no water maker so hats off to them!!!!

Any that's all for now...the wind is gusting over 20 knots...it's pitch dark and the spinnaker is up with us sailing/surfing along at 8.5 to 9 knots....so I better pay attention!!!!!

All the best to our family and friends around the world!!!!

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Monday, July 4, 2016

"Oreo" our bird passenger through today;)

Here is the pic I forgot to attach from below blog update.

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701 miles to go!!!!

Hi all....Dave reporting with 701 miles to go on July 4th at 6pm.....sadly no fireworks display for us....Maybe just some shooting stars if we are lucky :) Happy 4th July to all in the USA!!!!!

We are at 07 degrees 31 minutes south and 127 degrees 08 minutes west. Winds have ranged mainly between 13 to 18 knots. Sea state...same....confused following seas.....quite amazing so far out in deep 13000 feet ocean!!!! We still have the spinnaker up and are averaging about 7 to 8 knots. We did 176 miles in the last 24 hour period.

Last night at 9pm I heard a loud BANG as the final original spinnaker halyard block separated from the mast. Luckily all the load was immediately transferred to the temporary spinnaker block I had lashed around the mast just below the original block a few days earlier. It was a bit nerve racking having it break just as things got dark. After checking everything with flashlights and binoculars we had a comfort level it should be ok through the night so pressed on. Adrian took over watch at 9pm and worked till 12 midnight and then Garrick worked from midnight to 6am without waking me for my watch. Such good friends..... they took it upon themselves to do the entire nightshift and let Guds and I sleep through!!! I had no idea and woke up at 4am ....came on deck to be met by Garrick saying he "had it" and for me to go rest. Thanks guys!!!!!

All went well and we adjusted the halyard position every 2 hours so as not to risk any chafe. We will take the spinnaker down shortly to do a close inspection before going into nightshift tonight.

Yesterday we had an awesome treat with tons of dolphins swimming all around us for at least 30 minutes.....jumping, playing and observing....was so special!!!!

We also caught a Mahi Mahi and a few other big somethings that got away!!!! So last night was a fish mix ala Garrick.....very delicious!

Today as I walked into the salon I was greeted by a big seabird sitting on the floor (pic attached) ..... it looks like a youngster and has been with us all day resting under the table. We had to barricade the salon entrance as it wanted to go back inside ;) Not sure if it intends to spend the night....We are probably the first humans it has seen as with webbed feet I think it lives on the ocean full time.

Anyway that's about all our news for now....just dipped under the 700 mile mark at 699 miles to go!!!

Huge thanks to everyone for their news e-mail, blog comments and we'll wishes.....they mean so much to us and keep us going with something to look forward to!!!!

All the best from the Cool Runnings crew!!!

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Friday, July 1, 2016

1172 miles to go

Hello all with 1172 miles remaining till we see land again!!!!! 

It's 1am on Saturday July 2nd as I write this. We are at position 06° 16' south and 119° 38' west. Winds are light 5 to 10 knots from behind us as we continue straight on the rumb line for Marquesas.

With the winds this light and in rolling seas we have taken down the spinnaker as it just ends up flogging and have opted to motor for the last roughly 32 hours straight. As a sailor it kills me to motor and I hate doing it.....but if I did not we would all go crazy going so slow....and I would surely be lynched by the crew or worse voted off "the island of Coolrunnings"!!!!!

We can motor non stop at low RPM's (1800) for about 8 days and nights which gives us a motor range of about 800 to 1000 miles assuming easy seas. If we had to motor directly into heavy seas you can likely halve that range. Luckily we are motoring with the swells and winds which helps! Base d on the weather outlook we may only get wind again on Sunday so will likely keep motoring another 24 to 36 hours. We monitor fuel use and engine hours very carefully. The beauty of a catamaran is we have two diesel engines and only use one at a time to do this kind of motoring.

The engines are work horses and keep running steadily for days and days if needed. We had a little scare late yesterday afternoon as we motored along. I was in the shower when the engine went from 1800 RPM's to 0....(along with my heart)......it just stopped for no apparent reason. I quickly made it up on deck and we suspected Gaby whom was sitting at the helm station had accidentally hit the stop button ....but we opened up the engine room and checked everything was ok before attempting a restart. After verifying all looked normal we fired her up and sure enough she purred to life....phew....We all celebrated!!!!

Thank goodness the last few days have gone well and the seas finally s ubsided late yesterday afternoon with the light winds. In celebration we broke out a big steak from the freezer and had a wonderful bbq/braai!!! Followed by our 1st movie night at sea. Unfortunately adults and kids could not agree on a movie so kids watched "night in the museum" in Ben's cabin and adults watched "borat" in the salon. It was fun and by 9pm the movie was done and we were tired and off we went to bed and respective night watches started. Guds had the 1st shift.

Motoring on nightshift is easy as there are no sails to watch over....All you have is the constant purr of the engine...make sure the autopilot is on course....watch for shooting stars ;) On last night's watch I saw 4 shooting stars. If you are not writing emails and just look out you are almost guaranteed of seeing at least one or two ;)

Well not much else to update on at this stage....same old same old way out at sea in the vast Pacific ocean ;)

All the best to everyone and hap py 4th July weekend to all in the USA!!!!! We will miss the always spectacular fireworks and I have contemplated foreign off and old flare for our 4th July....no one out here to see it....so still thinking it over:)

Thanks as always for your blog comments, emails and well wishes!!

Picture attached of our BBQ dinner ;)

Kind regards
Dave

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