Laura's Blog

<< Previous

1....4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Next >>

05-07-2011

The wind keeps merrilly fooling around... Last night it shifted to the North, which was great. So this meant that I just had to unrig the Genoa from the spinnaker pole. Normally this is no problem at all, but the pole was completely stuck to the sheet rope from all the tape I had wrapped around it - which was to prevent it from fraying through. With a knife I tried to cut off the tape while I was tossed all over the deck like a bouncing ball... In the end I managed to loosen the pole by using the winch. Then the wind turned to the West until I had to come about close which brought me on a course too far South! Back on course, Guppy is still sailing close to the wind at 6,5 knots [12 kilometres or 7,5 land miles an hour], and is now pretty much like a submarine... She just keeps shaking off the overflowing water and sailing forward... Also, I have found a leak right at the top of my wardrobe..! There are still 260 nautical miles to go to Tonga [482 kilometres or 299 land miles].

Laura

 


04-07-2011

Gup and I have decided not to stop in Niue but to go directly to Tonga. Via SSB radio all the sailors who have been to Niue say that the anchorage there is very rough and uncomfortable. But in Tonga it is in a beautiful bay with calm waters and not on the open sea. It sounds really beautiful.. also I am eager to see the [International] Date Line .. hihi. So once again I am going to an island where my parents have been! I too can say that I have been in Tonga before .. But I can't say that I remember for it was a very long time ago! Guppy is not as fast as usual – we could be100 nautical miles further along if I had scraped the growth from her underwater hull back in Bora Bora .. And then from Tonga I would really love to go on to New Zealand, the country where I was born which is so close and yet so far. If I had been at liberty to start my journey when I was thirteen, I could have stopped for a while but sadly now I have to pass by for lack of time…

Laura

 


03-07-2011

I had planned my route to sail close to Palmerston Atoll [Southern Cook Islands], so that maybe I could see it … But sadly it was dark when I went by and all I could see was a small light in the distance .. Then I had to shake myself up to stay alert, being so close to land I could not sleep of course .. But today I could catch up on some of it. There is now a 20 knots easterly wind that is pulling Guppy at about 7 knots [13 kilometres or 8 land miles an hour]. I didn't get much further with my book today - it would seem I am a little reading weary … hihi! Instead I had my daily chats on the shortwave radio and I kept adjusting the sails and correcting my course. The sea breeze has made me hungry – I'll cook something up for myself shortly but I am not yet sure what it will be …

Laura

 


02-07-2011

Yeah - wind blowing since yesterday. But it kept playing games on Guppy so I was busy all day adjusting the sails and correcting course. At times the wind almost died completely and the sails flapped as Gup rolled in the ever-present swell...This rolling can wear out everything fast, so I regularly wrapped tape around the sheet rope that guides the spinnaker pole, to prevent it from fraying through and the sails from coming in contact with the rigging. And when I was about ready to give up a good breeze came back again! This crossing will not end up as one of the fastest on my list... and I haven't seen another boat and not even a single flying fish! All said, it was just another day and I started on Book Three of the 'Millennium' series. I am not the only yacht in the doldrums so I have to be happy that I am still going under sails! On the SSB radio I lhear many comments from other sailors such as: 'I think I will lie here forever and slowly roast! Sigh..' And so we talk to each other to keep our spirits up while we still are rolling. The closest yacht is 140 nautical miles ahead of me [259 kilometres or 161 land miles] and it ran out of diesel fuel. But according to the weather forecasts strong winds will be blowing tomorrow... Well, I hope it will… 

Laura


01-07-2011

Finally some winds... And they are here for awhile. Early this morning there was some light wind but by the time I had all the sails up it died down. Once more I had not much hope that it would be back soon. Then during the day several squalls came over me. A very heavy one, with winds up to 45 knots, I spotted a little late and I had to fight to bring in the halfwinder. It was not so easy to do with Guppy leaning on her side - her gunwales in the water with the sail flapping violently - begging me to take this thing down! Well...I won that battle. Guppy is sailing upright again and the undamaged halfwinder is stowed in its place in the fore-section. Now a steady and constant 15 knots wind is blowing and our speed is a little more than 6,5 knots [12 kilometres or 7,5 land miles an hour ] !... I won the 'Battle of the Flu" and I feel much better today - I just started reading a thick book, "The Girl Who Played with Fire" of the 'Millennium' series... So for now, I am in another world …

Laura

 


30-06-2011

I feel much better today, so things are going in the right direction. But I can't say it is the same with the wind although I did 4,5 knots [8,3 kilometres or 5,2 land miles an hour] under sails for a while, it died down again, so mister Yanmar [the engine] had to be called on duty. An hour later the engine room water alarm went off - a leakage!? There was nothing wrong with the propeller shaft, the valves or the cooling hoses... I kept inspecting for another hour before I found that the engine’s exhaust made from stainless steel was rusted through! I always thought that stainless steel could not rust...? I wrapped several layers of Rescue Tape [silicone tape] tightly around the whole thing, and now it all works again. I also took apart the bilge automatic water pump and found that it was blocked with a cockroach that was stuck inside! But then every evening I am delighted by the beautiful sunsets when the sky turns to orange and purple colours and a few scattered clouds complete the whole scenery. My wish for a crossing with no swell did not entirely come true for there is an increasingly long swell rolling under Guppy. But it does not annoy me yet…

Laura

 


29-06-2011

My sore throat feels better, but I can't remember ever suffering from such a strong cold! Also I did not know that it was possible to catch one in the tropics. I think it was in Bora-Bora that I was infected with the flu... Well, this will come to pass, for sure... Now there is almost no wind and the sea has changed into an endless blue hilly landscape far to the horizon... Like almost every day I talked with other sailors via SSB [ short-wave radio ], and I concluded that I am not the only one who is in the doldrums right now. Oh well, I already accept that this will be a longer trip... as long that there is no high swell in combination with no wind I think it's just fine, really. Nature teaches you to have patience…

Laura

 


28-06-2011

The wind is still weak and blowing straight from behind but all in all, I am on the right course and the sails are not flapping too much.. This will happen when Guppy rocks back and forth faster than the sails can follow, then they briefly shift sides and swing back hard when filled again with wind. Since yesterday I have a sore throat and I also feel pretty tired because I didn't have much sleep last night. I was catching on the other yacht and it was sailing exactly in my radar-alarm range. Early this morning the yacht disappeared behind me over the eastern horizon without having replied to any of my calls.. I have now passed the remaining atolls without running aground...Also I have called my sister Kim to congratulate her on her 13th birthday. Now 'Gup' and I are alone again and I can catch up on some sleep. I just hope the wind won't slowly fade some more so that the sails won't flap even harder from the lack of wind..

Laura

    


27-06-2011

I am on my way to Niue Island. The wind and waves looked pretty inviting at the start but as it usually is, I was kind of irritated with it after a few hours on... The short and steep waves were annoying at first but a little later this feeling faded, so maybe I just got used to it ? Sailing is like somekind of love-hate relationship. It is unpleasant 90 % of the time but the remaining 10 % is worth double and triple in rewards, and that is when you know for sure why you put in all the effort. The wind is blowing from behind at a speed of 10 knots [18,5 kilometres or 11,5 land miles an hour], which is not the best direction for a ketch. Guppy is running at a speed of 4,5 knots [8,3 kilometres or 5,2 land miles an hour], and that is not the speed I am used to from 'Gup' – well, I'll just have to accept it.There were three islands on my route and I have already passed the first one, Maupiti. In my opinion, the other two islands are just two too many since what they really are in fact, is super-shallow atolls which you do not see before you are right on top of them! There is another yacht sailing the same course as me far ahead in the distance... so if it did not sink then that route must be a good one for me too, hihi! I am trying to catch up with her, without too much gain yet, but now it is within my radar-alarm range all the time. Funny thing, I am now heading to an island my parents have never been to with their boat . This means I won't have to answer any of the many questions my father asks me otherwise... questions like '"Is this still there?" " Are Mr./Ms. Y still around?" " How does it look like there now?" Sometimes this can become really funny…

Laura

 


26-06-2011


26-06-2011

Everything is back in its place, the MiniCat, the dinghy, my bike is onboard and I cleared things inside Guppy's cabin so that not everything will fly around once I am sailing on the open sea again! At the yachtclub I met someone who also owns a catamaran but a bigger one, a Hobiecat made from polyester. In the afternoon we rigged it up together and then we sailed around the whole island on it. That was really cool! We almost capsized once but most of the time we sailed mega-fast. In the end when we returned, I was so exhausted that I decided not to go to the dance festival again since I already had seen it once. Instead I enjoyed some quite time aboard Guppy playing guitar and reading. Today I sail out towards Niue, which is a 1050 nautical miles journey or so [1945 kilometres or 1209 land miles]. But before I go I have to be wide awake and I also have to meet for a last breakfast with all the friends that I have made here. Then I will let go of the mooring rope and hoist the sails.

Laura

  


25-06-2011

Last night after storing some fruits I went to the dance festival with the yacht club owner. It was pretty cold and still pretty windy- for Bora Bora! - but this did not hurt the dance performance! It was very different from all that I have seen so far. There were about 55 dancers who made the whole happening really spectacular. This was intensified by the deafening sounds of the drums and of all those other instruments that I had never seen before. Tonight there will be another performance and I definitely want to go and watch it again. Earlier this morning, I went to the traditional canoe race competition. It was very spectacular as they went super fast across the bay in their canoes. Canoe racing is the most important sport here in French-Polynesia, so the people here take it seriously and really have a go at it. But tomorrow I will set sail again - otherwise I would surely stay here forever. This means that I have to make my final preparations today: stowing my bicycle and the MiniCat back inside Guppy, clearing the mess inside the cabin and putting things back into the cabinets and of course refilling the watertank. And then it is on to where the wind takes me... I am thinking Niue.

Laura

 


24-06-2011

This morning I refilled the diesel tank that of course was almost empty from running the engine during my last windless crossing. Since I had to carry all the fuel in jerrycans to Guppy, I was kept busy for quite some time. But in the afternoon I did some great sailing with my MiniCat. There were pretty strong winds blowing but a capsized only one time! I am getting better and better at sailing all the time on just one of the two inflatable hulls! Actually this is not what the MiniCat was designed for! And without knowing it, with my sailing stunts I entertained for two hours all the people at anchorage and on the terrace next to the yacht club. Back on shore near the yachtclub, while I was washing my boat, I listened to the many comments from the people there. For example,I was asked if I did not find the winds to be too strong for a light-weight like me... and an inflatable catamaran... Still, they had to admit that it looked like I was having lots of fun. Pretty exhausted from my energetic sailing, as soon as I was back I hung up my hammock, and then I read a book until it became too dark to keep reading.

Laura

 


23-06-2011

Actually I had planned to set sail again when I was told by the people here that there will be a big traditional dancing festival on Friday and Saturday that I should absolutely not miss! So now I will stay here until Sunday since I would really like to see the festival. The yacht club owner with whom I am good friends now says that it is really beautiful to watch. He also told me that last year the club had been completely destroyed by a heavy hurricane, and now they are very busy rebuilding it. The people here are very kind and they are helping each other. This afternoon I went snorkelling. Here too the rays and blacktip sharks are quite tame and they happily swim around you. Later, when I was back on Guppy, my laptop slipped from my hands and, of course, it fell on my already aching toe, now my toe is all black and blue! Lucky laptop - unlucky me…

Laura

 


22-06-2011

photo's ( look at the dutch site)

www.lauradekker.nl

 


22-06-2011

This morning I felt much better after a good long sleep, but not yet in top shape. Still with some nice wind up I could not resist assembling my MiniCat and go sailing. There were pretty good winds blowing with some strong downwinds coming from the mountains and I was throwned overboard several times as the MiniCat capsized. Now my jaw and my toes are hurting pretty much. My toes again... Aahh , can't I stop banging my toes everywhere? But the sailing was great and I went for it, going very fast! A little bit too fast... after several rides my body reminded me that I had better slow down a little! So I did...Even though I don't usually follow orders easily – not even mine - I can learn from my mistakes, which is something good I think…

Laura


21-06-2011

As often happens my plans for the day ended up to nothing. I posponed my second bicycle tour around the island because early this morning American sailors from another yacht asked me if I would like to go mountain hike. And so cycling became hiking and we did a long walk in the mountains. It is really striking that most houses have a tomb in their gardens where family members are buried – there is no common cemetery here. Back from hiking, I employed my time smartly, I think. Since Guppy is moored very close to a pier, I tied together several garden hoses so I could reach all the way to Guppy with them and I easily refilled the watertank, the Jerrycans [holding 20 litres or 5 gallons US] and the bottles, and this way I can even do my laundry and clean the boat. In the afternoon I did not feel too well, so I spent the rest of the day sitting in the cockpit, but this did not really help. Well, I am sure that things will be better tomorrow. As for today I will go to bed early again.

Laura

 


20-06-2011

For morning exercise I cycled all around the island very early this morning. This went a lot easier than I expected because the main road that circles the island is almost all at sea level. There are only a few hills on the way so it took me about three hours to go around the whole island. And since I had left very early I also was back early. At the yacht club I met the family who runs the club, and even though they speak only a little English and I only a little French, we had very good time anyway. Later they offered to show me some places on the island that are too tough to reach with my folding-bike. From the top of the mountain I have had a great view of Guppy. You can see all of Bora-Bora from up there, all the way to the surrounding islands. I have since tied Guppy to two of the club's mooring buoys so everything feels perfectly safe again.I will bike around the island somemore tomorrow, a little strengthening of the muscles should't hurt. Let's see if I can manage to do it in two and a half hours…

Laura

 


19-06-2011

photo's ( look at the dutch site)

www.lauradekker.nl 


19-06-2011

After a calm night at the mooring-buoy, today I went exploring the island. I cycled to several bays on my bike and I did some shopping on the way too. After my reconnaissance tour I decided that the mooring-buoys, which are also used by several other yachts, are most likely the best places to moor. There is really no better anchorage and to try again to reach the place where the big yacht is anchored is too risky - I definitely won't try it again! Once back on Guppy and still worried about yesterday's incident, I took a dive to check her underwater hull. Everything is fine, Guppy is really strong. Also I have already met some people from another yacht nearby. They had a problem with their computer which I solved, and in return I could use their internet access. Unfortunately Guppy's mooring-buoy is not free, but it is regularly maintained, so tonight Gup and I can enjoy a good sleep without worry.

Laura

 


18-06-2011

After a windless crossing of 30 hours I arrived in Bora Bora. As it often is with atoll islands, I first had to sail around the whole island to find the small passage in the reef to enter into the lagoon. Still at sea I had spotted a nice place to anchor, and since a big yacht was already anchored there, I believed it was deep enough, but not so! I made it halfway towards the anchorage through the reefs when it became evident I was too optimistic. I suddenly bumped into a large brain coral. Although it was a very soft collision, Guppy was not too grateful to me for that. The same with the second attempt, and after the third one I gave up because it was getting dark. Bye-bye nice anchorage. So then I had to choose between a too deep or a too shallow anchorage. The sea bottom is all the same here,  its going strait down to more than 50 meters [164 feet] deep in a few meters from the island or the coral reefs! Since it was fast getting dark, I went to dock to the first mooring-buoy I could reach. I don't find this an ideal spot to dock because I don't trust those buoys. You never know how long they have been there, and they might have rottened over time. Well then, Guppy is now safe and tomorrow will be another day to look for another place, ideally one 'Gup' can go to without bouncing over corals..

Laura

 


17-06-2011

Although there was not much wind, I had the travel-jitters again so I decided to head for the Leeward Islands. Too bad this means I have to run the engine. 'Gup' and I would rather be going under sails because that is when you can hear the water gently trickling along the hull, and we would be going much faster. But hey!... having it slow at a speed of 4 knots [7,4 kilometres or 4,6 land miles an hour] is nice too, so is watching the mirror flat sea - this is just something else! Because it is so quiet I would normally be able to sleep very well but unfortunately it is not possible for now. The radar system alarm goes off continuously because there are so many ships nearby, and so I have to stay outside in the cockpit. Already we came by the first islands on the route so 'Gup' and I decided to sail directly to Bora-Bora.

Laura

 


16-06-2011

I was actually planning to sail to the Huahine atoll but the ocean is just flat as a mirror! And the weather forecast for the coming days is not much better.. The internet access is really super slow here so no new photos on the website for now. Early in the morning I was getting ready to take my bike ashore to finally make a tour of the island, when a dinghy from the mega-yacht came by. Would I like to come over and meet with them all? So now I know everyone on board, I made conversation and I have helped with some chores and other tidbits onboard – they are really a nice crew. They have been halfway around the world, and they even get paid doing it, and most of the time they have the mega yacht all to themselves since the owner rarely spends time on board. In the evening, I went to lie alongside two other yachts and we had a BBQ which really was mega fun. Someone became totally drunk in a very merry and funny way and so we spent the night limp with laughter. Fortunately, myself I never drink much so this morning I am probably the only one not suffering from a headache…

Laura

 



15-06-2011

I was up late this morning because last night I tried to upload pictures to the website for several hours, unfortunately without any success! I was half awake when a sailor I know from Tahiti suddenly came fulspeed around the corner in his dinghy. He said that he was anchored further in another bay, and he asked me whether I would like to go along with a few other people to a spot where rays and blacktip reef sharks eat out of your hand. Yes, of course I would! So then, as I was in the water over there, they all swam around and sometimes bumped into us, even if you did not have anything to eat with you. And they were certainly not small, that's for sure! At first, I did not feel very safe, but it really was a great experience! Back on Guppy, I take the mainsail of to get it looked over. Someone who works aboard a mega-yacht anchored here in the bay made the offer to me, and since it is not a bad thing to check, I gratefully accepted. You might think that Guppy's sails would be damaged by strong winds, but it's quite the contrary.The sails mostly wear out from too less or even no winds. Of course, I was given a guided tour of the yacht. Wow, it is so mega-big and extremely luxurious! Guppy's main mast (17 meters or 55,7 feet) can only reach to the lowest of five spreaders of the mega-yacht's mast…

Laura

 


14-06-2011

Actually today I wanted to explore the island but early this morning it was already sweltering hot that I did not feel like going. From Guppy I have a beautiful view around me and so I decided to spend my time on the water. It is so invitingly blue and it is so very clear that I almost get the vertigo while swimming. I can see the bottom 30 meters [98 feet] below me! At first, it troubled me that I could clearly see the bottom while sailing with Guppy since it made it very difficult to estimate how deep it was. So it is better to turn on the depth gauge around here because even though you can see the bottom you can't be sure that it is deep enough. I spent the time between swimming dips in the sea and reading, and an attempt at baking some cookies which, of course...you shouldn't forget to go check! And now they are rock-hard, all black and uneatable. Well...the fishes enjoyed them, so my work was not all for nothing! As for fitness training, I paddled around the bay over the reef just half a meter [1,6 feet ] below me, with all that beautiful colored corals…

Laura

 


13-06-2011

Anchors up and heading for Moorea. First, I had to sail through a narrow passage between reefs and breaking waves very close on both sides.. Then after three hours of great sailing, I again guided Guppy through another passage in the reefs. 'Gup' doesn't like sailing between all those breakers but once she is quietly anchored across she feels quite happy again. Moorea is very beautiful too, and I will definitely go exploring tomorrow. I have just met a family that has been traveling around the world by plane for more than one year now. And that includes four children aged between 11 and 15 years old. When I told them about my trip the kids felt like sailing around the world too. But the idea quickly faded when their parents explained that they would have to stay on the boat all the time, with no chance of escape from their brothers and sisters. We met aboard a boat whose owner is a French sailor who has participated in many races before, and who has crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a Hobie Cat (an open catamaran 5 meters/16 feet in length)!! This does not sound like music to my ear, especially after he showed us the movie that was made then. But he really loved it..  

Laura

 

L


12-06-2011

Even though Guppy is very satisfied with her anchorage in the crystal clear and calm waters of Tahiti, I am planning to sail the 20 nautical miles [37 kilometres or 23 land miles] to the island of Moorea tomorrow. Yes indeed this island is almost just around the corner. But French Polynesia is so beautiful that I would like to see even more of its islands. Everything is ready to go - this is the last big city where I can buy all I need for the time being. Today I stocked up on fresh water and refilled the diesel fuel, I checked on the engines and I put in order the entire boat again...unfortunately, there is no one else but me to do this... I also did my laundry here at the marina because I do not have this opportunity all too often. Usually I put all my laundry into a bucked and wash it by hand, always taking care not to use too much of my fresh water. And so I have been busy all day so that now I am back on a wonderfully fresh smelling 'Gup'. And after finishing work, I treated myself to some homebaked pancakes.

Laura

 


11-06-2011

After two days spent running around I moved to a slower pace, and now I have to do all of the everyday things that need to be done... After first refilling the wreck-car with cooling water, I went shopping in Papeete city and then over to the immigration office to clear customs. That is always a mission in and by itself. Mainly because they want you to answer the most mind boggling questions all the time... They ask you for example about the exact date and time of your departure, about where you will go to and when you will leave again, and where exactly you are planning to go to next! If I only knew for sure... Guppy goes where the wind blows, and I go along when I feel like going and not because it is decided on a piece of paper... Anyway, my papers are now full of big-fat rubber stamps...and so I will probably be leaving sometime between Sunday and Tuesday, heading for Moorea island. So after my time in the buzzing city, where they have the same parking problems as in the Netherlands, I was happy to be back on Guppy and a refreshing dive in the water. I think I will have a quiet evening with Guppy and enjoy one of the many movies we are sharing between sailors.

Laura

 


10-06-2011


10-06-2011

We've had an awesome day!! Because the stranded sailor we went to the waterfall with yesterday is away for two weeks, we could borrow his car. But not before he had taken a photo of me with the car. Yes, indeed with his "wreck of a car", wha-ha!! With a girlfriend from another yacht we drove all over the island and we almost reached the eastern point of the smaller island. It was so beautiful, just awesome. However, when we drove up one hill the engine's cooling water overheated and suddenly started boiling, but we managed to go downhill to a gas station just in time. We had to keep on refilling cooling water every 20 km [12,5 land miles] for the rest of the day. It is very expensive over here, everything costs twice or three times as much than in the Netherlands. This is not too surprising if you keep in mind that everything has to be delivered by airplane or boat. When we came back walking, I was so lost in conversation that I did not pay attention and... splash! Of course everyone in the harbour started laughing, and so we went swimming right there. Actually, it was just great to wash off the heat of the day after this long tour by car. Tonight I have an invitation, and this time to a mega sailing yacht of 40 meters [131 feet] lengths! I met its crew yesterday at the barbecue, and so they invited me today.

Laura

 


09-06-2011

Up to now I have met many new people again, and one of them is a stranded sailor who has to work to earn some money before he can continue on his voyage. He has been here for seven months and he knew about a waterfall that is off the beaten track and is in fact only knowned to the locals. Along with a couple of sailors we went over there in his car. It was a huge waterfall that was surrounded by a vast and very green valley, and there was no one else except for us. It was soooooooo beautiful, just awesome, so we went swimming in the waterfall and ate some coconuts. The car was really funny... it almost fell to pieces, and its very old but still working, and the engine had to be started by joining wires. Tonight there will be a barbecue at the marina, so I will go over to meet more people. Being in a place where you can find a McDonald, highways, shops, traffic jams and even more of the same really takes getting used to again. But the island itself is really beautiful, and the water is so clear that I can see my anchor 10 meters [33 feet] below the water' surface just as if it was lying on deck.

Laura

 



08-06-2011

After an exciting passage between two reefs with many lights and buoys I was neatly moored, exactly at midnight. When I woke up in the morning, and I could clearly see what I had been sailing through by night, I had to swallow... At this very moment I was really taken in by everything I saw around me. On the horizon I could see the island of Moorea, and Tahiti is very beautiful, high, green, and the people are really very kind. There sure is a bit more hustle and bustle in such a big city! After I cleared customs this morning, I met with acquaintances who then told me about the other yachts lying at anchor. Then with a peer from another yacht, we sailed towards the anchorage where we enjoyed a little swimming around the boat. It is so nice and quiet here behind the high mountains where the winds are calm! There are many yachts anchored here but I only know some of them, so I shall be very busy meeting tomorrow. And today I will go early to bed once more.

Laura

 


 


07-06-2011

Going outside without getting wet has become really impossible now! Obviously, Guppy enjoys practicing to be a submarine once more… but not for long since Tahiti is in sight! Right now a cargo ship that does not reply to my calls is heading on a collision course with us. That is always annoying because you never know if they have spotted you! But now Guppy is running fast in the night and the only thing I can really do is to keep watch and wipe the water from my eyes... There are still 35 nautical miles to go [65 kilometres or 40 land miles], so 'Gup' and I have decided to go through the reef-passage near Papeete by night anyway. I hope to have sailed through at about midnight and then I will enjoy a good night sleep. Tomorrow I will sail towards my anchorage which is about five nautical miles further away [9 kilometres or 6 land miles] and surrounded by many reefs which going by in the dark, 'Gup' and I don't find a very good idea…

Laura

 



06-06-2011

While I was running along by the remaining atolls, the wind slowly began to pick up to a speed of about 30 knots [55 kilometres or 53 land miles an hour, force 7 on the Beaufort-scale]. The waves got higher and higher, and even before I was passed the very last atoll, I had to put two reefs in the main and hoisted the storm-jib. Everything that is still loose aboard is now lying on the boat's low side… It is dark - the sky is deeply clouded while the water is heavily pouring over Guppy and me. I hope Mother Nature enjoyed that! Up to now, it looked like I would be arriving by day. But now that I am going much faster, it could be that I will already be there tomorrow evening! So, Guppy and I are now discussing about whether we should sail through the reef passage near Papeete by night… But right now I just feel like catching up on some sleep - if only that big ship hadn't now appeared inside the radar's detection range…

Laura

 


05-06-2011

Another hot and windless day, and I kept looking to the point on the horizon where land should be … my first atoll. And I still could not see any, even though an island usually becomes visible from a distance of 30 nautical miles [55 kilometres or 35 land miles]. But an atoll is so low that you won't see it earlier than in a few miles range, the highest point usually is a palm tree! On my chart there is a wreck to the north marked, with an additional note that reads: "If you gonna run aground, there are worse places than this". Well of course, you also can see it that way too, I said to Guppy, when something finally rose above the horizon. At top speed I climbed up the mast and indeed, I could see a low ring-shaped atoll on the horizon to starboard [right side of the boat]. For a short moment I was very happy, but at the same time I felt trapped between all those reefs… Well aware that dozens of yachts sink here every year, I will keep very good watch! After a big squall hit, which allowed me to catch some water again, I could not see the small island any longer. 

Laura

 


04-06-2011

This morning I first tried to make something with my stock of now rock-hard baguettes. Unfortunately I did not succeed, so right now I turned to eat some muesli..! As soon as I just get to bed, I have to get up again. Flap, flap, flap... winds coming from astern, winds from ahead, and then coming from the side again - all night..! By constantly adjusting the sails with the light and shifting winds, all in all we averaged a speed of about five knots most of the time [9 kilometres or 6 land miles an hour]. But the wind has now completely vanished, and so I had to honestly ask in Guppy's small engine for help. We are not going too fast, but on this way I will save some fuel. I expect to reach the edge of the Tuamotus archipelago tomorrow in the evening. It is both nice and exciting, and probably I will only get very little sleep then.

Laura

 


 


03-06-2011

Because of all the many teasing from hazes and squalls, I have been busy all day adjusting the sails. Unlike yesterday, the sky is clear again today and the light winds between squalls blow Guppy to a speed of five knots [9 kilometres or 6 land miles an hour]. For other things, I try to catch as much sleep as possible because once I sail straight through all the reefs and atolls I will have to check on Guppy every 20 minutes so she does not head directly into a reef! The atolls and reefs are really so shallow that sometimes even the radar system will not detect them. I have now sailed into a new time zone and the difference with the Netherlands is now exactly 12 hours [GMT/UTC -10]. I was lost in the reading of a book when I was startled by something which at first appeared to be a small whale but then it became clear that it was a mega-big dolphin! The dolphin swam side by side with Guppy for a few minutes and then suddenly left to continue on its voyage. What a pity Guppy and the dolphin did not go along together for longer.. I would rather have liked to have time enough to study this animal some more - I had never seen such a huge dolphin before.

laura


     


02-06-2011

As soon as the very last "Have a safe trip" was called out to me from other yachts, Guppy and I had already disappeared behind a huge curtain of rain. There are only light winds and through the drifting coconuts all around, Guppy is peacefully chugging on towards the open sea. It is cold and wet while I pass a mega-big waterfall. At the moment the swell is not as high as it was when I arrived here, but still I would welcome some stronger winds. Most usually when I take down the sails then the wind picks up, and when I try to catch some water then the rain stops.. But also that did not help.. Nature simply does as it likes, and today it decided that Guppy wouldn't be sailing faster than four knots [7,4 kilometres or 4,6 land miles an hour].

Laura


 


01-06-2011

Even though Hiva'Oa and all of its so very kind people are real beautiful, Guppy and I have travel urges again.. There is nothing that will hold us. Guppy feels clean and tidy, the water tanks are full and - not the least that's for sure – I have real original French baguettes on board. Today I will hoist my anchors for the 770 nautical miles route to Tahiti [1426 kilometres or 886 land miles]. With all the reefs and many atolls that lie just above the water surface this will a bit more difficult run! Most of the yachts are staying here for quite some time and so this means that each one goes his own way. And so it is time to go meet new people and to visit more Pacific islands.

Laura

 



 


31-05-2011

Unfortunately, the beautiful sunny day is over and the weather is back to normal which means rain and no winds! However it makes it a nice day to share films or books with the neighbours. That's what we sailors usually do between us, so everyone has something new to read or to watch while on Route. That is why I almost only read books in English which have become as easy to read as reading Dutch is to me. Today I also tried to bake bread again, something that hasn't been going too well for me and at which I haven't been too successfull at doing…really! But now... with the recipe and the right ingredients provided by another sailor, my first home-baked bread is there on my table. It looks like bread and it even tastes like bread... yummy. So, I have not yet been ashore today but I will be in a short while, to enjoy a pizza somewhere with other sailor-friends.

Laura

 


29-05-2011

Without letting me in on it, people here organized the welcome party that they couldn't give me for my arrival. With a girlfriend from another yacht, I was busy cleaning parts of Guppy when someone came knocking (every time I start cleaning someone comes by - but I am almost finished with it now). It was a woman from the island inviting me to come along with her. The people here are actually so kind that you really cannot say no to them. On an open field there was a big party with locals dancing. It was really beautiful. With drums and singing, the people put on some astonishing and beautiful performances. So up to now I have collected four flower necklaces and three beans, the durable kind.. They gave us a whole load of all the delicious food there was to take back with us. We shared it all with the other sailors later in the evening. Of course the evening cosily dragged on, so I went to bed very late. This morning I did not wake up to the usual rain but to sunshine! The weather suddenly became very nice, after the non-stop rain since my arrival! I guess the weather got better because today is Sunday or because I have just finished filling up my water tanks and bottles.. In any case I'll have to get used to it again because it is really very warm now.

Laura

 


28-05-2011

Since mooring I have had a life full of new experiences and I have been busy with many things to do, and I really feel like I have been here for about a week.. Of course, I visited the Atuona village where I was welcomed by the mayor right upon arrival and I have since already collected three flower necklaces... The people here are really very friendly, and they find it sad that they could not organize a big party for my arrival because they did not know the time of my arrival. Actually, this is exactly the reason why I did not want them to know in advance. This way my trip becomes a lot more fun and spontaneous. This morning [May 27th], I went exploring along with a peer from another yacht and a woman who lives on the island. The island really is very beautiful, very green and extremely high. Once you are in the clouds, it gets colder and there are fir trees growing everywhere, which really doesn't make me think that I am now in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Every day a new yacht is coming in, and I get to meet more people all the time. Everyone is wondering how I could make the crossing within 17 days and 22 hours. Except for a big 66-feet yacht, I could not yet find another boat that did the crossing faster than Guppy. And during conversations the question is often raised about how I managed to be that fast. Mostly they conclude that I must have been towed by a whale - or that I am the "Flying DutchGIRL".. Unfortunately being so fast did not prevent Guppy from collecting underwater growth on her hull on the way over here. And so I spent half of my day today under Guppy once again, armed with diving goggles and a scraper..  

Laura

 


28-05-2011


26-05-2011

Guppy is now lying at anchor in a quiet bay near Atuona, and I did the crossing in 17 days and 22 hours! This is the same time I needed to cross the Atlantic Ocean but there were about 800 nautical miles more to go! [1481 kilometres or 921 land miles]. When I sailed into the bay, many of the yacht crews looked very much surprised to see me since they were not expecting me so soon. Some of the yachts that had left two days ahead of me still had not arrived! Yeah, Guppy you are the best! Hiva Oa really is very high, and next to me there is a mountain whose top I cannot even see! That is why it rains a lot over here, so I am very busy now with catching water and cleaning the boat. I did not go ashore yet, it is just odd enough for me now to be looking at land.. But I have to go ashore today since I still have to clear customs.  

Laura


 


25-05-2011

Yesterday the squalls have kept me busy for quite a while but they tired down in the evening, just like me. And after a few more teasing hazes they disappeared. This morning the sky cleared up and what shimmered on the horizon grew and became more real all the time. There are still 16 nautical miles [30 kilometres or 18 land miles] to go to anchorage and I am growing more and more impatient with every single mile. Arriving is one of the greatest and most exciting moment and one of the most dangerous. There is a swell of about four metres [13 feet] and Guppy is getting ever closer to... the most present and greatest threat, land!!  I cannot stay still for even one minute and I keep staring at the rocks which are now taking place of what was only water for the past 17 days. It is really unbelievable that those high cliffs are the Marquesas Islands for real! Till now it had been a vague dream that seemed so far away, but now it is very real and so very close.

Laura


 


24-05-2011

Yes, I took another shower this morning and it was a freshwater shower! Early this morning two forceful squalls hit. Of course Mother Nature sent some strong winds along with them, so by the time I had finished wrestling with the sails and I was ready to catch some fresh water, the rain had stopped. The rain itself moved away, but the winds and the clouds remained with the associated waves included. I should have touched wood when I said yesterday that the cockpit was still dry.. Well, after 17 days of beautiful sailing weather, one should expect a punch in the belly. But Guppy enjoys it and she sails good and fast again. And so, the miles just fly by under her keel. I think that 'Gup' and I will arrive at Hiva'Oa island tomorrow in the afternoon my time. My foot is better now, so I can pound on my beloved customs formalities and paperwork once again..

Laura 


 


23-05-2011

Woeshh! I took a shower once again! During my check around, a wave took the opportunity to take me to graze unto the foredeck. Thank you, now I am wide awake and hmm...salty. The wind has picked up and the waves are just high enough that some occasionally jump on the foredeck every now and then. But happily, Guppy can jump over most of them so I could take my guitar with me to the cockpit once more. Playing outside to the whisper of the waves as Guppy cuts through them, sounded so beautiful that it made me totally forget that I was also frying an egg... Unfortunately the big catamaran gained back on me but it won't catch up in any case. Because the land is coming closer and closer, and there are only 350 nautical miles [648 kilometres or 403 land miles] still to go. What a small number compared to what it was at the beginning of this crossing.

Laura

 


22-05-2011

Another beautiful and sunny morning, and there is really no cloud in sight! Guppy is surrounded by dark blue, light blue and even more variations of blue. Once again I took my sextant to 'shoot' the sun and determine my position by this ancient method. This is much easier to do aboard a big ship like the "Stad Amsterdam" than on my rocking horse.. Well, practice makes perfect! Guppy still has 500 nautical miles to go [926 kilometres or 575 land miles], and if the wind cooperates a little, I will drop anchor at Hiva Oa island in about three days. I am not totally getting used to this idea yet.. Iwould like to go running and walking, but trying this as soon as in three days would not be too wise a decision. My foot would rather stay at sea for a little longer to enjoy the rest and well, I cannot really be against its choice.

Laura

 

 


21-05-2011

At the time when most people in Europe are having supper, I just wake-up from my latest nap. The wind again chose to go for the "too-little-not-enough- type-coming-directly-from-the-back", so I went back to fighting with the sails again. I could not catch any understandable word from the short wave radio this morning. And while I sat down listening to the ...beep...noise...crackle..., I took off the dressing from my foot because the whole thing was stuck together again, and I thought that fresh air would be good for the wound's healing. Of course, three minutes later I was taking a few steps and that caused the wound to rip half open again.  Well done, Laura..  And so I had to dress it anew because it was bleeding again. And when my breakfast took some flying lessons a short while later, my morning was then done for me. But... that's the way I keep myself busy here.. I also try to ignore the rolling of the boat and the slow going speed, but for all that, it is really a beautiful morning. Moreover, Guppy increased the distance by 10 nautical miles on the 52-foot catamaran [18,52 kilometres or 11,5 land miles], which is sailing 300 nautical miles behind [555 kilometres or 345 land miles]. 


Laura


20-05-2011

Because of the atmospheric conditions, the daily short wave radio hour is now held at about 5 AM local time which mixes up my whole morning rhythm. After chatting for an hour I learned - with great satisfaction! - that the 52 feet catamaran that departed two days after me is still two days behind me, meaning of course that I must not fall asleep. They really thought they could catch up with Guppy! Well, it is not so easy to catch up with Guppy, and she will keep mowing down the 800 nautical miles that are still left to go [1481 kilometres or 921 land miles]. Even the flying fishes apparently cannot keep pace with her since the cemetery has been empty for the past days. Because there are not too exciting things happening and sleep very well, I have excess energy that I spend walking from bow to stern in the flamingo stance, adjusting the sails as best as possible and cooking dinner of course! This... is often an art of its own. If you make something and leave it unattended for just two seconds, you can be sure that it will fly away and come at you with neck breaking speed! It wouldn't be the only or last time the pasta sauce is dripping down the wall... But once I manage to bring the pot, content included, safely outside, it tastes so much the better.

Laura

 


<< Previous

1....4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Next >>