Anahata is now in Nuku Hiva, Marquesas. we arrived 3 weeks ago after a fantastic 20 day crossing of the South Pacific. Anahata is an amazing boat that continues to exceed my expectation all the time, doing many 180 mile days. Our best day on crossing was 189miles and that was with the main reefed. Given one or two more days of consistent winds I was convinced that we were going exceed 200 miles in a day.
Leslie Cramer, a friends from BVIs, joined me on the crossing from Galapagos. It was really nice to have company. The days just seemed to slip by. During the initial part of the trip I was concerned about finding the wind. Leslie had a flight booked 27 days after she arrived in Galapagos so I was concerened that we would get across in time. This was due to the fact that for the two weeks before we had left the trade winds had almost completely disappeared and some boats had to travel almost 100 miles west and 300 miles south to pick up the trades. that was the extreme of Anahatas motoring ability so you can understand concern.
Thankfully we picked up wind 30 hours after leaving San Christobal, Galapagos. We spotted a squall and just headed straight for it, picked up 10 knots breeze which never left us and just kept building. We basically sailed SW until we got to 6Degrees South and then headed west until we were 900 miles out from Marquesas before heading o the rum line to Hiva Oa, Marquesas.
Before we left Galapagos, we were talking to other cruisers and learnt that they were establishing SSB radio nets. We were happy to hear this as we joined in. When you are out at sea far away fro land the only people who would be able to come and help you would either be another cruiser or a passing ship. We suspected that there were going to be very few ships out in the South Pacific. This was born out by or experience out at sea.
Sinking of Nirvana Now
A week into the trip we got to experience the necessity of SSB radio. Some cruising friends, Bob and Mona on Continuum were sailing 500 miles ahead of us. During one of our SSB checkins with them, Bob informed me of a developing situation with a Canadian Boat Nirvana Now. Bob told me he was going to be checkin with Randy and Dawn on Nirvana Now an Hour later. So I joined into their chat and was able to get the low down of what was happening. The gyst of it was they had called a Mayday as the forestay was pulling out of the deck plus the ruddy quadrant and emergency tiller had failed. Continuum who were 130 miles away from Nirvana immediately decided to divert to Nirvana now. During our 3 way discussion I suggested they we checkin every two hours. Having been out at sea by myself when things have gone wrong, the psychological help that of having a regular check was a real help. I could only imagine what Randy and Dawn must have been going through after they called a mayday.
Here is link to Randy and Dawn’s story of Nirvana Now as told by them.
Continuum was able to get to Nirvana Now the following Morning and get randy and Dawn falsely aboard Continuum. Nirvana Now was sunk to not be a hazzard to Navigation on directions from US Coast Guard. They are now looking for a replacement yacht.
Leslie and I were fortunate to be able to host a dinner onboard Anahata for the crew of Continuum and Nirvana Now when we got to Hiva Oa. We all felt that although the price of Satellite Technology is hard to beat as compared to an SSB, the rescue of Nirvana now would not have happened without SSB or Ham radio.
The next point of interest on the passage was when we got to catch up to our friend Markus on Himene. He is from Finland and is singlehanding on a small 28ft double ended boat. I first met Markus when we went through the Panama Canal together. Himene left Galapagos 5 days ahead of us and after he caught a 20kg Tuna and he offered to give us some we decided to stop by. AS it happened we passed him one night and we and had to double back a bit and head north 10 miles. Markus put together a package of tuna attached to a plastic water bottle. he dropped it over board as we sailed up behind him. Unfortunately we missed the pickup and Markus start his engine went back picked up the tuna and threw it to us as he motored by us. Thanks Markus for a great feed of Tuna.
Leslie and I had not been fishing for most of the trip as we had a lot of fresh provision coming out of Galapagos. In the last week I decided to give it a go. The first day I had the line out something really big hooked the line. and ran the line out really fast. it heated up the reel it was going out so fast as i had the drag tightened all the way in. It was getting to the point that i was almost out of line when thankfully the line went slack and the leader came off. In the distance I saw something jump have no idea what it just really big.
Next day went back to the Cruiser fishing book to revisit the fish knot as this was the second time we had lost the leading as the knot had come undone. Put the line out again with a much small lure. Everyone on the radio nets kept going on about Pink as being the right colour so Pink it was. Just after dinner that day right at Dust the rod went off again. Something really heavy. turned out to be a 5ft Wahoo. Only got to see the fish as it got close to the stern of the boat. It looks a lot like a Baracuda … a lot of big teeth. As I was trying to reach through the push pit with rod in one hand and gaff in the other i dropped the gaft when it got caught up in monitor self steering. So there I am looking at this 5ft wahoo with a lot of big teeth off the back of the boat thinking how the hell am i going to get it aboard. Eventually I grapped a rag that just happened to be handing grabbed the wire leader line and yanked it over the stern rail. Thank fully the mouth missed me on the way through. somehow got it into the cockpit behind the wheel. It completely filled the cockpit from one side to the other side. Leslie then got me a knife and I was able to stick it into the wahoo’s brain which killed him instantly. 3 hours later the fish was all filleted and cockpit cleaned up and we were able to get back on sailing track.
Anahata was sailing like a demon ticking off the miles. she has a great sail inventory with Asymmetrical and Symmetrical spinnakers. as the wind began to drop in the last week this gave us a lot of options to keep the boat moving.
Engine Failure and arrival
In the last couple of days of the trip we faced a dilemma when would we arrive Sunday night or monday. kept thinking monday morning but we kept sailing faster than we expected. On the Saturday evening we were on the bubble and decided to go for it.we started the engine and motored over night kbow that the wind was supposed to arrive the following morning. as the wind built in the morning we launched the symetrical spinnaker, we were still motoring sailing. constantly looking at ETA time trying to get in before dark. at some point in early morning something happened to the engine was t sure what and shut down the engine and concentrated on sail trim and handsteering to maximize our boat speed. bY mid day the island was in site.With 3 hours of day light we were off the corner of the island with 10 miles to go. we thought we were in good shape. decided to drop the spinnaker. Bad move. so sooner dropped the spinnaker tried to start the engine, engine immediately over headed. it turns out that earlier in the day the main crankshaft pully gear had stripped its key and had fallen off. we had no pulley belts onto the coolant pump or alternators. no engine again so we had to sail in again. this would be the third time that that Anahata had lost her engine approaching a destination.
At this point we were in VHF Radio contact with Continuum who had arrived that day in Hiva Oa. They said we could sail into the outer anchorage. Problem was the wind dropped and as we got closer to the mountains so we had to sail diagonally away from the island to keep moving. By the time we got to the entrance it was dark and the wind had completely disappeared. having faced this problem we had prepped the boat…removed the inner forestay and rolled up half the genoa so it was not overlapping the mast so it was easy to tack. as we approach the very narrow entrance the wind was completely died and reversed its direction coming straight down the valley toward us. it felt like tacking back up the lagoon into QCYC expect with breakers and rock on either side. We would get to a certain point and the wind would completely disappear and push toward the rock on the one side. We bailed out once and sail out as we had got to close to the rocks. I told Leslie we would try once more or we would bail and sail onto the next island Nuku Hiva which was 100 miles away and a much easy bay to enter. Second time we got in just enough so had we got 45 ft depth that we were able to drop the anchor. Had the most uncormfable night at abnchor of the trip sitting in the outer swells of the entrance.
In the morning we were able to fix the engine and motor into the inner harbour and re-anchor. we had crossed the pacific. 3200 miles. Thanks Leslie for a great trip.