Sailing Around The World

Archive for August, 2013

Surarrow, Coconut beer, Manta Rays, Crab, and Hammocks

We have been anchored here in Surarrow for the last five days and each day has been a new adventure. To begin the anchorage is perfect with no swells or waves rocking us. The weather has been very sunny and the breeze has been cool. Our first day on anchor here we just slept and read books because it was raining off and on so a nice day off was nice to have. Tuesday I dragged Adam out of bed at 7am to go snorkel with the Manta Rays. It was amazing, we took our dinghy to a small reef just off our anchorage and jumped in. I was surprised to see six Manta Rays swimming circles around the coral reef. Each one of the rays was between six or eight feet wide and swam with us. I would dive down and rub there bellies which caused them to want to be near me more. Then the next day we hiked around Anchorage Island and discovered big pools off the beach on the back side of the island that contained dozens of Black Tipped Sharks. It was interesting because when Charlie the Park Ranger would yell to the sharks and they would swim up like dogs and he would freed them a few chunks of fish. I enjoyed the hike around the island and saw some very cool things.

On Wednesday Adam and I spent the day cleaning Dragonsbane and worked on a few project. I repaired our broken mainsheet traveler with a spare part from our friends John and Sue on Wizard. Looks like I am back in business as far as using the mainsail again. We then enjoyed a pot luck dinner with all the other cruisers and listened to Harry play some live music as the sun went down drinking Rum and coconut juice out of the coconut. It was wonderful chatting with all the other cruisers that have crossed the Pacific. Folks from all over the world were at the party and it was a great time.

Thursday we went for a tour with Charlie and had to give him 2 liters of gas form Adam and I plus 20 bucks. We went to Bird Island and saw thousands of birds. The birds were hatching eggs and there were little baby birds all over too. They looked so fun and I guess you could say cute. Then we went over to Seven Island were I found out that the Island is named Seven Island because there are seven types of coconut crab that live there. The Coconut Crabs were as big as basketballs. They were many different colors that ranged from black, red, purple, yellow and so on. They looked like something out of a alien movie. They were crawling everywhere and would climb up the trees and eat the coconuts. I was very worried about losing a toe to one of these things as I walked around. We then ventured out and went snorkeling in a forest of coral heads that created a amazing forest of coral pinnacles that I swam through and saw sharks, turtles, sting rays, and the most healthy coral I have ever seen in my life. I would put this coral reef on the top of list of best snorkeling I have ever done and is 10 time better then the BVI or Virgin Islands.

Friday I spent the day laying in a hammock as i read my book and napped with the ocean breeze keeping me cool. Then I got up and had dinner with everybody and ate coconut crab. The crab was sweet and had big chunks of crab meat that I smothered in butter. We also had some local coconut beer that Charlie the Ranger made from the coconuts on the Island. After everybody ate we enjoyed Harry and Dan playing music and sang songs. Charlie came out with a pitched of Rum mixed with coconut juice that was chilled. We all circled around the rum and Charlie would fill one glass and we would each get a big shot of rum and juice. This was called a sharing circle and this is how Charlie drinks. So you guessed it, I got smashed.

Today I woke up with a bad hangover, so I went back to bed after I held the SSB Radio Net. I woke up later in the morning and went to shore to collect 26 coconuts so I could make myself a batch of coconut beer. I learned from Charlie that you need 26 coconuts worth of juice, one cup sugar, and one teaspoon of yeast to make a batch. So Adam and I climbed up coconut trees and made coconut beer. I then talked to some nice folks Goran and Anniaree from New Zealand, they gave me a recipe for bread. So I made bread this evening and it turned out great. I also helped a nice America single hander named Jerry find his anchor cap that he dropped in 60 feet of water. Adam scuba dived it and I stayed on the surface to give him reference for were to look. Adam found the part and so we were rewards with a 5th of vodka for our trouble and the guy was one happy sailor.

We will be hopefully off to Niue Island on Monday but who knows I may sail somewhere else or leave leter in the week, who knows.

Take it easy,

Jacques


Made IT! Suwarrow Island Day 5

After five days of rolling from rail to rail we have made landfall. We sailed right up to the main passage way into the lagoon, through the coral reefs, around the shoals, and dropped anchor 200 feet off shore in the most beautiful ocean green water that I have seen to date. The lagoon water is so green that the bellies of the white swallows reflect the green water which makes there bodies glow neon green as they fly around us. When you look into the water it is littered with 100’s of black tipped sharks and small coral heads. The first thing I did after stowing all of our passage sails and gear was dive into the crystal clear water and swim with the beautiful sharks. I don’t fear them anymore and love to watch them swim around me. It is even more amazing to see them here because the water is so clear it is like looking through air and I feel like I am flying through the air with all these sharks and you can see for 100’s of feet underwater. I think it was worth the sail here so far. I wish you all a good night and I will be watching the meteor shower tonight with a rum in hand. I think it will be a good show way out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Good Bless,

Jacques


Day 4 to Suwarrow Island

The weather out here in the ocean is very nice today. The wind is blowing 15 to 20 knots and swells are lessoning to 1 to 2 meters. We are about 120 nautical miles from Suwarrow Island Northern Cooks Territory and should make landfall at 11:00am tomorrow. I only hope that the passage through the coral reef is not to difficult as we will have to navigate through a strong out going current and multiple coral reefs that block the final passage into the Suwarrow Lagoon. I also hope that the small anchorage in the lagoon has good bottom holding for our anchor, but based on SSB radio reports and my guide books the bottom is littered with coral heads. Bottom line, is that I will be glad to get off the ocean for a few days.

Current Position 2:08utc 13deg 40.6min South, 161deg 29.5min West, COG 285, SOG 5.0 knots

Thanks,

Jacques


Day 3 to Surarrow Island

Last evening was a fun and exciting trouble shouting experience. The wind last evening and leading up to the last few hours has been blowing from 20 to 30 knots and the swells are from 6 to 12 feet high that are very lumpy and tall. That said last evening at the begging of my watch I was picked up by a very big wave that was shaped like a wedge. As Dragonsbane climbed up the wave she spun 90 degrees that cause her to take the hit on the beam and white cap of the wave hit the boom and mainsail. As this happened the mainsail was back winded by a 30 knot gust and my boom preventer that keeps the mainsail on one side boat snapped sending pieces of snatch block into the air. The main came crashing to the other side of the boat and I was drenched by the white cap wave in the cockpit. Adam was sleeping, I got him up and on deck to helm as I reviewed the damage. Because the preventer failed the mainsheet traveler now has a crack in the connection point of the traveler car and the mainsheet pulley blocks. So I lashed a new pulley to the mainsheet traveler rail and connected it to the mainsheet block and tackle. To be safe I took down the main and put up my storm trysail and pulled out my head sail. I am still making 6-7 knots and 220 nautical miles to Surarrow Island. Everybody onboard is doing well!

Current Postion: 02:15utc 14deg 12.7min south, 159deg 29.5min West, COG 264deg, SOG 6.5

Thanks,

Jacques


Day 2 to Surarrow Islandbout 4

Everything is going well and the wind is steady out of the east. We are making 7 knots of speed and have about 420 nautical miles to go.

current position 15dseg 17.97min south, 156deg 01.94min west, cog 272deg, sog 7.3

Thanks,

Jacques


Day 1 to Suwarrow Island

We left Bora Bora at 12:30 in the afternoon and have been sailing about knots. The sea s very lumpy and making us sway back and forth but Adam and I are doing well with the conditions. Wind speed is fifteen to twenty knots.

Current Position 15deg 55.3 min south 153deg 45.7min west

Take It Easy,

Jacques


Last Minute Change Of Plans

Well the great thing about being a cruiser is that you can change your mind fast. I am now going to Suwarrow Cook Island now. The weather is better in north Cook Islands. So we will be leaving from Bora Bora in about 3 hours and it should be a good sail knock on wood.

Take it easy,

Jacques