Last Monday we arrived from our long passage and have been very busy. One of the last thing that I wanted to do was get my first tattoo. So I got my first Swallow bird, which represents my first 5000 nautical miles sailed. I designed the tattoo with the help of a local artist Franswa. I had the swallow bird filled in the Marquises symbols which mean safe voyage, protection of the sole, power and strength, and the eye that sees and avoids danger. I also had 5 of the same points put into the tattoo which represent 1000 naturals each. I spent 3 days working and design the tattoo and finally yesterday I was happy with the design. I went to the Franswa home were he had a little porch room that over looked the bay and was open to the outside air. He took the design from the paper and free hand designed it on to my skin. I was very worried because I always thought tattoo artist traced there designs on carbon paper and then stuck that to your skin. Not in Marquises, they free hand the design and then free hand the design to your skin. After he finished drawing it on me and I was happy he started the tattoo. I have never gotten a tattoo before and it was very interesting feeling the needle work over my skin. It hurt for the first 20 minutes like a hot knife being dragged along my skin and as time went on I just zoned out and enjoyed the sensations. I listened to my music and the buzz of the needle gun. I watch little lizards crawl across the ceiling and all the rosters outside the porch crow. After 1 hour of work the tattoo was done and I was very happy to have my first Tattoo ever. My plans when I left the states was to get a swallow tattoo for each 5000 nautical miles and so I have 5 more to go. Each tattoo will represent the area of the world I received the ink in.
FYI: Click on Pictures to see full size! O yeah I was a little drunk when I wrote this because I had to keep buying beer for the internet service!
Today we spent the day exploring the Island of NuKu Hiva which is one of the Iles Marquises Islands. We hired a very nice man named Tata Mahina AKA Thomas. We meet him in his restaurant which is the second and only other restaurant on the island which is a truck with a porch to eat your meal under. We had gone there for breakfast and enjoyed a pile of French bread, jam, butter, and the best coffee which was served in bowls because he had no cups but ended up being the best coffee to date. We arranged a tour of the island for today which he was happy to do because he said he was the best driver/taxi man on the island. My dad spent a hour talking his price down and we settled on a good price of 18,000 Franks, which is not bad for 3 people.
It was 8am and we started our drive around the island which would take all day. We began up the mountain and stopped just above our anchorage in the bay of Taiohae. As we drove up we passed our Norwegian friends who I am working with to do a pig hunt on the island hopefully. All 3 of them arrived on a 27 foot sailboat that had no motor, little food or water but they made it 3000 nautical miles from the Galapagos. They had 4 people but they bought to much rum in south America and made the other guy go home, true story.
After passing our friends and making our way around the winding roads up the mountain we came into a red pine forest and I quickly felt like I was at home driving through Upper Michigan. Then we traveled for through the old crater of the volcano that once was fire, ash, and lava but today is green pastures for wild pigs, cows, and horses.
After we passed through the old crater we started climbing up the north side of the crater but soon ran into a big problem. Once again like all my adventures into the wild we ran into a road block. The day before there was lots of rain and there was a small rock slid that was blocking the mountain road. We were told that we could not pass because the road was blocked by rock and earth. Well being the engineers and builders that we are we marched up to the problem and said that this is no problem to Thomas.
All we had to do was move a few rocks and compact the earth a little and drop that truck into 4X4 and get ON IT, HUBA HUBA BABY! So we went to work and moved the big rocks and with our hands tossed rocks, mud, and shrubs out of the way. It took about a hour but we made a great road. The first jeep made it over and then the next. The three of us felt great to help out the local people to make it across the earth slid and people thanked us all day. I felt great to fix a problem other than a sailboat related. With smiles on our faces as we continued around the island to the Village called Hatihau. Thomas said we are the best and smiled.
I guess I miss understood Thomas when he said we would take a dirt road and it would be a short cut. What he really meant was that the dirt road or two track was the main road on the back side of the island to his village. As we drove along the two track dirt road we passed a canyon, and meadows of green.
It was so funny as we drove the road had cows, horses, and goats which sometimes blocked the road. It was really interesting when we would drive by the animals at 35 mph and they just stood in one place like nothing was happening. I would think to myself, “if that bull moved 2 feet to the left we would hit him head on and more then likely die”!
We continued to drive and saw some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen.
It was realy cool as we drove we would stop and get melons, papaya, mangos, grapefruit, coconut, bananas, and a few other fruits I don’t know the names of but ate anyway. They all were right off the trees and we ate them up.
After we stopped for a picnic we traveled to Thomas village and his home where he had to stop and feed the cow goat. He told us to look at his mango tree and left us. We enjoyed a chicken fight as they beat over one another to eat the mangos that fell to the ground. Then Thomas came back with a hand full of fresh limes for my dads Gin and Tonics. Then he used his home made mangos catcher to gather up fresh mangos and gave us a dozen for the boat.
It was getting late about 5pm and Thomas had to stop and get coconuts for his restaurants which we helped him do. Then we drove back down the mountain to the bay we are anchored in. We all agreed that the day was fun and worth the cost. We got into the dinghy and made it back to Dragonsbane to have beers, and eat dinner as we watched the sky clear and the man in the moon smile at us as we smelled the sweet island smells drift into our cabin.
Ok, first all the french studying I did provide me with the knowledge that I suck at speaking french and I learned pretty much nothing. But I will keep at it and hopefully it will stick more in my head like my Spanish. I say that because the first response to a question I had in french I responded with Spanish, oops.
As we sailed into Nuke Hiva Island you could see tall mountains with jagged peaks that looked like the saw teeth of a shark that dripped with fog and clouds rolling down to the ocean. As we rounded into the bay of Taiohae I could hear loud drums being pounded and then the waves being crushed up against the volcano walls that opened up into a bowl that held the town of Nuku Hiva and the sailboats all anchored together. It was a emotional thing to see and hear because it didn’t look real. The colors are so bright, wonderful, and the landscapes are covered in waterfalls and sounds are just thunderous all around. It is just amazing here!
We have made landfall and finished our 3281 nautical mile sail. I am on the Island called Nuku Hiva and looks like the island in Jurassic Park movie. It is a big volcano and we are anchored in the old volcano summit. It is the most beautiful place I have seen to date, or maybe just not seeing anything for 3 weeks could be the cause. But this place is awesome and I am off to eat, drink, and relax.
Current Position: 8deg 54.97min South, 140deg 06.02West
Beer is only 330 feet from the back of my boat!
I feel like I am climbing an up hill battle once again. The wind is blowing only 6 knots and we are crawling to the finish line at 4 knots or less. We are implementing every trick we can think of to increase our speed. We are now running a full main sail, Jib on our port, and a spinnaker off our starboard. The cockpit is so full of lines that we spend most the time coiling and winching in sheets to keep the sails tuned, heaven forbid a squall catch us now. What a grand mess a squall would make of us right now under all this sail. But we are leaning down and stretching our heads to the west horizon as hard as we can to make it to land. We are all tired of the same food and tonight we will dine for the second time on soup, beans, and canned fruit for dessert. We will have one beer each, instead of water to keep up our moral.
Current Position: 8deg 48.4min South, 137 deg 56.65min West
Soup is just an excuse for water to be called dinner!
Another wonderful day out on the ocean and another 160 nautical miles under our belt. We have 200 nautical miles to go but the wind is dropping off to 8 knots and the ocean is very lumpy. Dragonsbane is slowly crawling to the finish line well she sways back and fourth. I guess I will get very little sleep tonight as I roll around my cabin. But the good news is we are almost there. Thank god, because we have nothing exciting to eat and only meat and can goods period.
Current Position: 8deg 43min South, 136deg 15min West
Beer, Beer, BEEEEEEEEEEER, beer!
We only have 360 nautical miles to go and hopefully if the wind stays strong we should be on dry land in 3 days, maybe. To day we are flying the spinnaker and averaging 8 knots per hour. The weather is nice and sky is clear. I am surprised because there is a cyclone below us and hurricane above us. The only issue we had to day was one of our spinnaker sheets chafed through and we had to fix that. Other then that, just looking forward to land.
Current Position: 8deg 33.74min South, 133deg 38.01min West
So, three guys in a boat are drinking BEER! Yup