Month: May 2016

Beach House Ship’s Mini Blog & Position Report – ANCHORED – Raroia Atoll and the Maramu was fortunately a bust!

May 23, 2016

TIME: 2016/05/23 20:52
LATITUDE: 16-04.26S
LONGITUDE: 142-22.04W
BARO: 1015.7
COMMENT: Beach House – ANCHORED – Raroia Atoll just south of Kon Tiki Motu, Tuamotu Islands…. (2 days 18 hours)

Nicely, the winds subsided last night down to 12-16 knots. We’d made enough south-ing to have a lovely just forward of the beam reach the last 125 miles.
We arrived just off Takume (the atoll north of here) around 5 a.m. local time. The full moon showed the low lying islets (motus) and Palm Trees.

This pass is a bit notorious and hopefully the most challenging we’ll see while in the Tuamotus. The slack times were reported to be 6:30 a.m. and around 1-1:30 p.m. Normally, if there are no standing waves (which there were not), we’d just power through any 6 knot current. However, our engines and steering are a bit of an issue at the moment, so extra caution was the order of the day. We didn’t push to hard which meant it took longer and we had a 4.5-4.9 knot current running against us. The atolls are essentially enclosed bodies of water that constantly are fed more water than they can hold over their SEastern reefs.
As such, the passes are always out flowing (especially if there is only one pass like this atoll) and when the tide is rising, it fights the out flow and actual standing waves can form. It looks like a surf site in static motion. Glad we didn’t see that here. I did 7 years ago at the largest atoll in the group – Rangiroa.

After we made a speed of only 1.5 knots over the bottom (our speedometer said 6.5 knots!), we negotiated the pass and the current then quickly abated. It took about 15 – 20 minutes to enter which is a long time.

We were hailed by s/v “Maluhia” and s/v “(I can’t remember). They’ve been here for many weeks. As the best protection is on the downwind side of the eastern shore, we motored across (about an hour) and are now anchored near Dave and Kim on “Malahia” (not too close…:-) in a gorgeous setting with lovely small palm tree encrusted islets. This is the classic look of the approximately 77 Tuamotu Atolls.

We’ve still got the steering issue and will always check it before entering and exiting the reef systems as well as the engine issues to sort out in Tahiti (where will be longer than we want to be).

For now, we hope that our friends who will be here tomorrow or the next day are getting an easier time of it than we had, it sounds like their big winds will be shorter in duration than ours. The classic “Maramu” set up was happening, but convergence zone seemed to jump way north and reform breaking up the pattern. Let’s hope it stays that way.

We’ll try and locate the monument soon to “Kon Tiki” (Thor Heyerdahl’s raft that floated here from South America in 1948) and take lots of photos.
We’ll update the regular Ship’s Blog – photos and all when we reach Tahiti.
For now, feel free to drop us a note and KIT!
Scott and Nikki

Beach House Ship’s Mini Blog & Position Report – En Route Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands to Rairoa, Tuamotu Islands…… Maramu!

May 22, 2016

TIME: 2016/05/22 23:24
LATITUDE: 14-43.71S
LONGITUDE: 140-46.50W
SPEED: 6.9
BARO: 1013.6
COMMENT: Beach House -En Route – Hiva Oa to Rairoa – Tuamotu Islands – Day 2 – 151 nm (122 nm to go) Should be early a.m. arrival.

Whew! Yesterday was light air on a beam reach with 10 knots of Easterly gentle trades. At 4 a.m. local time (why always after midnight?),
Nik woke me up for the first of what would be about 10 squalls in our neighborhood. We took in our headsail and put in a precautionary reef in the main sail. Only two got a piece of us and winds were no greater than just over 20 knots. We also benefited from the full moon and could pretty easily see them. The radar is a big help in determining whether the squalls will hit us or just graze by.

The squall line was quite discernible and we knew this was the harbinger of the south easterlies we would soon encounter. This is what’s known in Polynesia as a “Maramu”. Strong, high pressure winds out of the SE. Usually, these will last around a week. The good news is, this isn’t a whammer! At least not so far. Predictions are actually for it to lessen in about 24 hours, but remain South Easterly.

When we looked at the weather window, we knew we had to bank as much easting as possible, because once this wind hit, we’d be close reaching for Rairoa (which we are now!). At first, the seas were a washing machine and there was little wind for several hours. Once we were clearly on the south side of the squall lines, the winds came fast and the direction changed in an instant. We had 18-22 knots out of the SE and then SSE! which we really didn’t want. Fortunately, “Beac House” aka: Miss Piggy again with her speed, got us far enough south and we’re close reaching in 18-22 knots (wind about 65 deg apparent) with staysail and double reefed main. This is comfortable and we’re directly on heading for the entrance at Rairoa Atoll’s lagoon. We’re keeping a little extra south-ing in the bank in case the winds decide to go back to SSE. The twin Atolls will give us nice cover from the seas when we are about 6-8 miles away. This will be welcome.

There are several other boats behind us and hopefully they will encounter no more difficulties than we have so far. When we speak to them on the radio, though only 120 miles behind us, it’s like we’re in two different oceans regarding the weather.

Hopefully tomorrow, we’ll report successful entrance to the lagoon and anchorage around this time tomorrow.
Scott and Nikki – yet again making fabulous meals under duress….:-)

Beach House Ship’s Mini Blog & Position Report – En Route Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands to Rairoa, Tuamotu Islands……

May 21, 2016

TIME: 2016/05/21 23:25
LATITUDE: 12-34.31S
LONGITUDE: 139-46.79W
SPEED: 6.0
BARO: 1012.6
COMMENT: Beach House -En Route – Hiva Oa to Rairoa – Tuamotu Islands – Day 1 – 165 nm (254 nm to go)

The first day was overall quite nice and remains so. We’ve been able to sail much further EAST than we thought possible which is a really good thing.
The winds that were supposed to shift from the ENE – East to the ESE and SE will arrive sometime late this evening instead of tomorrow late afternoon as the weather files have been saying for the past three days! Hopefully, they’ll yet again change their minds as this is the most fickle set of GRIB files I think I’ve ever seen since a hurricane formed in the Indian Ocean.

Due to the expected wind shift, we’re staying very far east and trying to get south as fast as possible. Tonight, we’ll roll up the big reacher before dark and set the genoa which is very easy to put away.

We’re currently sailing a course of around 175-185 true which is effectively due south. When the winds shift, we’ll have to change course to around 220-230 deg true and we want to keep that new wind as much on our beam or behind us as possible.

Friends on “Jacaranda” and “Blowin’ Bubbles” are a day behind us and hopefully our wind will not get up to them before it changes back to the East. We just don’t get to know yet.

A lovely smooth day with the odd squall going by, but nothing of note…so far!…:-) We do expect more squalls this evening. Hopefully they will be like last night and much ado about nothing. The full moon really helps to see them coming as well.

We should be at the entrance to Rairoa Atoll’s pass on Monday morning. It seems the current should be down around 8-10 a.m. for us, so good timing..we hope.
More on the passes tomorrow.
Scott and Nikki