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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 21-27, 2008 Cruising the Marquesas...

We left for Ua Pou at 6 AM.  We nearly motored the entire way.  The bonus was that I saw a couple of pilot whales, and lots of fish, while Frank had gone below to talk to his Mom on the Sat phone.  There was hardly a breath of wind, which caused us to arrive 30 minutes after dark.  Each village along the coastline was just too dark to try to approach, so we turned seaward and decided to wait out the night on the leeward side of the island where at least we wouldn't get into the large rollers all night. It is too deep out there to drop anchor, so you just take turns at watch, drifting back and forth avoiding the fishing boats and the shoreline.  About midnight I was watching the shoreline and saw a meteor fall from the sky, and like a Roman candle it spit out some beautiful colors and then fell into the ocean!  I was so excited I started to run down and tell Frank, but he was sleeping and it had already passed so I just had the share the moment with my God and send Him a thank you for the awesome experience.  When Frank awoke for his watch I told him about it, but it is an experience difficult to convey with words; he seemed unimpressed.  When I returned topside after my nap, he excitedly told me that he had witnessed the very same phenomenon and then we had fun sharing each of our experiences with one another, wondering if it had been an anomaly or an actual meteor shower.  Around midnight we decided that even if it would be rough and rolly we might as well head on over to Nuku Hiva and see Ua Pou another time.
We arrived at Nuku Hiva's Baie de Taiohae.  We checked in at the gendarmerie, took our laptop over to the post office, downloaded some pictures, saw that our friends the Martins were online so we called them on Skype and talked for a while getting caught up on events back home.  Sadly we learned that the town of Windsor, CO had been hit with a tornado that nearly wiped out the area.  We have friends there so we have tried getting in touch with them to see how they withstood the storm.   So far we know that the Thompsons and the Rentschlers are OK, but both families sustained quite a lot of property damage and endured heart-stopping experiences. 
After leaving the post office we walked around the little village checking out the local amenities and services.  We soon discovered that we could purchase internet hours here that we can access from our boat, here as well as at many of our future ports of call.  We paid an unholy amount of money for 50 hours, but with this bought some peace of mind.  Each time we lug the laptop to shore in the dinghy we run the risk of an accident. 
This is a neat little island with so much culture, and that is why we think the television series, Survivor, must have chosen it for the site of Survivor Marquesas.  We visited a small boutique/museum owned by a sweet little lady named Rose who came here from California with her husband, Frank, many years ago and stayed.  Rose gave us a short history lesson and showed us some of the artifacts that she had either loaned to or had copied for the Survivor producers.  One was a very old canoe – we took a picture of course.  Then she told us that the TV people had shown up with a large ship, 2 helicopters, took over the entire Keikahanui Pearl Lodge, partied a lot and brought in over 400 people including their own security to guard the Survivor tribes in the two small bays either side if the island, while the poor contestants ate moldy rice and got eaten by nonos – nasty little biting bugs that you cannot see but will eat you alive.   
This past Sunday was Mother's Day so we went to the Keikahanui lodge for a fabulous gourmet lunch.  Really!  I even kept the menu – it was the best meal we have since Paris a few years ago.  This is a five star restaurant.  It probably cost more than we paid in Paris, but we were extremely pleased with the meal and the service.
Monday we did laundry on the boat and sent the two loads of heavy stuff – towels and sheets and pants to the laundry.  They could only wash because the dryer was broken – that was 1,000 francs which translates to $13.50 – so no telling what the price was to dry.  We hung it all up around the boat and when it was nearly dry, the skies let loose with a nice rain shower!  We ran around like ants grabbing laundry down to hang up inside.  It was pretty funny!
Today is Tuesday, May 27, 2008.  A multi-island festival started today.  After we got up early to go get our fresh baked goods, we trotted over to the festival.  There are all kinds of contests; canoe carving, produce (vegetables, etc), judging, sculpture carving, jewelry-making and so on.  There is a lot of free food-tasting which we happily indulged ourselves in, not knowing what some of the things were that we ate.  It was a lot of fun and we ran into several fellow cruisers while there.  Now we are awaiting our turn to get fueled up.  Afterward, we head out and will not have internet access for at least another week.  Our next stop is at the very north end of Nuku Hiva, Baie D'Anaho, said to be the calmest anchorage in the islands.  Then on our way out of the Marquesaswe may stop at Oa Pou before going west.  Next time we get online we will be in the Tuamotus.  So farewell for now.  We will send brief updates from our Winlink address and will be back to sending and receiving emails, via
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Hi Everyone!  We are in a new place and haven't had a chance to write blog updates, however, we have loaded some new photos but the photo page on our website is not working properly.  I have put our pictures into a public domain which you can view at:
We will probably set the website to automatically go there from teh picture page but don't know how to do that yet.  Use the above link anytime and it will have whatever new pictures we have uploaded.  It takes a loooooong time to upload right now because the internet is very slow, but we got 3 new sets out there for now.  Our best to you all!
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

May 20 - You Just Can't Trust Everyone!

Tuesday, May 20th, we awoke at 6 AM to the sound of the horn blast from Taporo IX, the supply ship.  That's when the watermaker quit.  We got about 100 gallons made before it happened so at least we have some water for now.   Thank God, Halleluiah!  We are watching the supply ship's barge go back and forth making deliveries, and have noticed an entire colony of dolphins frolicking and dancing, jumping and spinning all around our boat!  They had followed the supply ship in and were just hanging around.  We want to go in to get our bread and head on out to the next bay over which is supposed to have the best snorkeling in the Marquesas, but we can't get near the dock until they are finished unloading.  We noticed Ralph & Glenda from Our Country Home went into shore and the locals became agitated and made them move their dinghy.  By 10:00 we decided that Frank would run me in and drop me off while the barge went back for another load.  I got to the bakery and was informed by the owner that the people from the other boat had picked up our bread (?!?!); she said they were all sold out and that when the others came she had told them there were no extras and the last bag was reserved for us, but they convinced her they were picking it up for us.  I found out that they had gone to get tattoos, so I went there.  Ralph was lying on the table and Glenda nearly jumped in shock to see me.  I could see that they had about 8 baguettes, and pointed thanking them for picking ours up for us, explaining that we needed to get going.  They gave me some story about picking up extras for their friends on the other boats but they did not have our bread.  What little stinkers!  In my very nicest voice I told them that I'm sure they didn't mean to take our bread (although they had seen us order it), and simply asked how much I owed them.  Glenda reluctantly sold me 3 loaves, whining the whole time about having promised to find some bread for her friends.  Can you believe this?  Isn't it amazing what people will become reduced to – cheating someone out of their bread!  I got back to the pier around 11:00, and we finally headed out.
It was a quick 1.5 mile ride over to Baie Hapatoni.  We were followed by the supply ship and all of her dolphin fan-club.  Only one yacht was anchored there, "Tigress", whose owners (Wendy and Ray from England) were going around scrubbing her hull from their dinghy.  We all waved to one another, and after setting anchor we spotted a very fast approaching official-looking vessel.  Frank said, "Here comes the French Navy, better get our papers out".  It actually was a customs vessel and we did get boarded.  There were four of them, armed to the teeth.  They were all very polite – and very good looking!  One spoke fluent English, and as the others stood around admiring Destiny and commenting on her beauty, he made small talk with Frank, asking him routine questions and checking our papers.  They made several notations, and declared us "Bon!"  I took pictures and they were happy to pose for us.
After their departure Frank was able to get reception enough to get in touch with the installer of  our watermaker.  He hung up telling me that the news isn't so bad.  It is a matter of timely maintenance - some parts are just needing to be tuned up and some replaced.  We are hoping to try to get online soon and order the parts to be shipped to us in Tahiti.  Further good news is that it may continue to work intermittently until it just gives out, so we will keep at it.  While Frank was on the phone I went out to the back of the boat and cut off all of my hair.  It is bleaching out and getting so dry and frizzy that I just could not take it anymore.  No one out here wears makeup, so now with my short frizzy afro I think I look like a boy.  Oh well!
The snorkeling was OK, but probably too late in the day.  There were a lot of strange little things that kept hitting our faces and stinging our bodies – probably more tiny jellies – and there were some large fish eating smaller fish that were feeding on the tiny things so the water was churned up causing poor visibility.  It is a sweet anchorage and quite beautiful so we chose just to admire it from our back "porch".  After dinner we hailed Tigress and invited them over to visit.  They are amazing!  They have lived nearly all over the world and have been to many places we hope to get to in our travels.  They are heading to Australia to settle down for a while.  We have met a large number of cruisers who are headed to New Zealand and Australia, planning to just stay.  We had intended to head to Nuku Hiva tonight but have heard that the winds and seas are not good, so instead of an overnighter we will leave in the morning for the closer, smaller island of Ua Pou.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 17 -19, 2008- The Escape!

After leaving Hiva Oa's Traitor's Bay on Saturday morning we went to Hanamoenoa Bay on Tahuata, and set anchor next to Gaviota. Brandon yelled to us, "Welcome to Paradise!", and it was! The water is so crystal clear you can see your anchor and just about everyone else's too. It is rated among the three most beautiful anchorages in French Polynesia. Frank and I jumped in to check Destiny's bottom and I began to feel the familiar burning sensation of jelly fish stings. I scrambled out of the water and applied medicine to my legs and arms then looked back over the rail to discover that the water was teeming with tiny jellies. The sandy beach was so inviting that we snorkeled to shore a little while later and walked around. There are no amenities and nothing else around besides some coconut palms and lime trees. We spent a blissful day just snorkeling around and being lazy. The reefs are burned up yet hold an abundance of parrot fish of all sizes and colors, especially the rainbow and stop-light variety, queen trigger fish and many others that we've seen before but could not identify. The ladies on Casteele had told us that Baie Vaitahu, just around the next point has a nice village with a store where we could find a few groceries and procure fresh water, so we stayed only two days in paradise making an early morning departure on Monday.
We arrived in Vaitahu to find one other sailboat here called "Our Country Home" and we were happy to see that they are American. This is a beautiful village with homes much larger and more well appointed than at the other islands, two dry-goods stores, a post office (no wifi), and a pay phone. The large school is bustling with children. There is an impressive church that seems to be the focal point of the village. One of the stores has a bakery in the front that turns out fresh baguettes each morning. They were already sold out, but the couple from Our Country Home was there and told us you can order it, so we placed an order for 4 loaves to pick up the next morning. Back in the bay, two more American boats arrived, "Baraka" & "Warm Rain". We found that these three were all buddy boats. The other two boats don't seem as friendly - we waved and waved to them but either they ignored us or didn't see us (hard to imagine). I felt a little sad that we finally saw some other Americans and they didn't seem as happy to see us as we them.
We went back into shore to fill our jerry cans at the fresh water faucet to put into the head tank, and then made another trip to top off the jugs. We have not yet put outside water into Destiny's potable tanks and are resisting doing so. Frank continued to fiddle with the watermaker and by 7:30 PM it began to operate. He said he has no idea what he did - we danced a jig, crossed our fingers and held our breath trying not to get too excited, but it was hard not to! We left it on, praying that it would keep working over night.
We had a wonderful dinner, another one of our concoctions; grilled chicken breasts seasoned with salt, pepper and ginger, sautéed onions with pineapple chunks and cashews, added a couple packages of Uncle Ben's wild and long grain rice (already seasoned), diced the chicken and mixed it all together. It was quite good. After dinner we spotted lights coming around the point followed by a large vessel. It came clear into the bay and shined a very bright spot light on us. This, we think, is the supply ship. It dropped anchor to await unloading in the morning.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008 - Hiva Oa

Today is Friday. The anchorage at Hiva Oa is getting rougher by the day, something to do with the full moon coming. Sitting on the back deck watching the sun set and the waves crashing violently to the rocky shore reminds us of a famous lighthouse picture. The sound is unbelievable and when the surf slams the shore it shoots some 40 - 50 ft. up into the air. Spectacular to watch, but no so comfortable when sitting on your boat while it swishes this way and that, or when trying to dinghy to shore.
We love sitting out at night watching the stars; we can see the Big Dipper in the northern sky, and the Southern Cross in the southern sky. When the moon is not too bright the Milky Way is so clear! We have watched dozens of falling/shooting stars flash across the night sky, and feel privileged to be graced with this opportunity. We remain among the minority as nationalities go, and of the 15 + boats anchored here we are the only Americans that we know of. Going to shore is more taxing here
than at any previous anchorages. Although we use a stern anchor on the dinghy when going to the concrete dock, the poor thing just takes a beating when the tide is coming or going. We have heard that this bay has a large shark population so we really don't want to lose our footing! We are heading to town to stock up on fresh veggies and some groceries before our expedition to the tiki gardens. By the way, we bought eggs yesterday for over $6.00/doz! You just can't think about the prices or you
will go insane. We haven't spent any money in over a month, so we can live with it. This island, as do the rest, depends upon the supply ship that arrives once a month for most of their goods. They do bake fresh baguettes daily which are available at several spots, including the gas station up by the dock.

By 9:00 AM we were stocked and ready for the drive. The first part was so beautiful! It looked as though God had just scooped up handfuls of every type of vegetation and flowering seed and threw it down on this island during its creation. Along the drive we saw ferns mixed with palms, mixed with moss, mixed with pine trees, hibiscus, bougainvilleas, exotic flowers as you would see in Hawaii, cactus, and so on. There were goats, horses and chickens all about. The road went from pavement to dirt
to near solid rocks as we wound up and down, navigating hairpin turns, and was very narrow much like the road to Hana, in Maui. As we passed through to the northern, (leeward) side of the island, the terrain became more rocky, dusty and steep. At times, my heart beat wildly and nearly right out of my chest as Frank negotiated some of the curves while the road angled sharply downward, and we would lose traction. I kept thinking that "treacherous" was too kind a word for this road. We passed several
beautiful bays that just glimmered in the sunlight with hues that we cannot describe, and which took my mind off of the sputtering of my heart! We finally hit a paved road as we made the last skidding turn when we neared the village of Iipona in Puamao bay. We saw the copa drying sheds and began looking for the restaurant, Marie Antoinette. They only cook for the number of guests who have reserved a spot, and they only open if they have patrons booked. It is very small - only 4 long tables.
Ours was set and waiting for us, laden with a standard Marquesan feast. We do not know what some of the food was. These folks spoke no English, but the waiter oinked to tell us one dish was pig (probably wild), and made bleating goat noises to tell us another was goat (these also run wild around the island), there was some raw fish marinated in lime & coconut milk with onion and cabbage much like ceviche , a plate of rice, something that we think was breadfruit cottage fries, bananas cooked two
different ways and something made from coconut that was the size of a small sausage patty, but sweet. Everything was tasty and the meats were covered in delicious sauces, however, we found that they just cook the animal whole and then chop it up bone and all so we had to take care when eating the meat. Behind the restaurant was the gravesite of a descendant of the queen, with two tikis marking the tomb. We took pictures and then went to the ruins. They lay amidst beautiful gardens and are amazingly
well preserved. The area had four nearly intact large tiki statues plus one suspended as though in flight amid a sanctuary, terraces and alters. Some were used for prayer and some for human and animal sacrifices. One had a good petroglyph on the corner. We walked around, took pictures, posed with tikis and then headed back for the 2 hour hair pulling, gnashing of teeth drive back to the bay.

Upon arrival at the bay we found that the surge was getting worse and our stern anchor had let loose leaving our boat in peril of being slammed up onto shore. We hurriedly secured her, returned the rental car and took 4 hour turns at anchor watch. Had it not been such a beautiful night I might have minded, but I enjoyed my watch until the grinding started. I looked at the depth gage and saw that we only had a 1.5 ft. clearance. I could not tell whether our anchor was rubbing rocks on the bottom
or if Destiny's hull was scraping. At first light we shot right out of there, headed for Tahuata Island just a few miles away.

Monday, May 19, 2008

May 14 & 15, 2008 HivaOa

Today we left at 6:30 AM for the 8-hour passage to Hiva Oa, which was home to artist Paul Gaugin who is now buried there. There is a lot of history and several archaeological ruins on Hiva Oa. About an hour into our trip we noticed that the watermaker had been running for a while but was not producing any fresh water. Frank turned it off and said, "damn bananas!". See, according to sailing lore, bananas are bad luck on a boat & we do not usually allow them but nearly all of the other boats had
bananas hanging so we decided to forego superstition in Fatu Hiva. Thinking back, we had bananas on Destiny when the scuba tank crashed through our front windshield. So the dozen or so remaining bananas took a dive into the Pacific immediately.

The sail over was great! We had good winds and made good time, arriving in Traitor's Bay by 2:30 PM. We gathered our documents and cash and went ashore. The walk into the town of Atuona is about 40 minutes - uphill, which we didn't mind because we are craving the exercise. The check-in process is an adventure in and of itself. We arrived at the bank just as the doors were being bolted; closed for the day, so we just got some cash from the ATM. There is only one bank in town by the way so we
were advised to get there at 7 AM the next day when the door opens otherwise we would have a long wait in line. We walked back to the boat to regroup, passing by the Atuona Car Rental building and thought - why not! The fellow there told us he was out of cars but would have one at 6 PM. We wanted a compact, but got a double cab Toyota Hilux pick-up truck for the same cost. No problem! After picking up the car we went for a fabulous dinner at one of the two local restaurants. At dinner we ran
into Mark and Danielle (from Holland), cruising the world on their catamaran Margarita, with their 3 young children.

The next morning (Thursday), we gave Mark a ride to the bank and were very glad to have him along because he speaks fluent French! Although the bank opens at 7, they won't do currency conversions or bonds until 8 which meant we waited anyway. We enjoyed watching the locals enter the bank, kiss and greet each other and then take a seat to await their turn. So much more civil than the hustle bustle we are used to. After posting our $3200.00 cash bond, and completing the necessary documentation
we went to the Gendarmerie (the law) for check-in, then to the post office to purchase a stamp ($150) for our passports which gives us a maximum stay of 90 days in French Polynesia, then back to the Gendarmerie for final processing (he licks the stamp and places it on the passport). We found that only Americans must undergo this process. Europeans only need to get their passport stamped; they get to stay 6 months and it costs nothing. Go figure! We had somewhat expected this so there were no surprises
and the process was a breeze compared to Mexico. OK, next - where is internet? It is at the post office, which is open until 3:00 PM. We hurried back over there and purchased a 10-hour internet card for $70.00! Yes, that is $7.00 per hour. The card will give us access at the islands with post offices that have wireless. We are so thrilled to have internet that we will gladly pay that. It has been a month since we'd been online so first we took care of business transactions and then looked
at our website, reading the guestbook like two children at Christmas. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to sign it and to post comments to us. It was a real treat reading them. We then went to read our emails - there are quite a few that have come in from the website - but our battery died before we got more than one or two into them. So if you are writing to us and not getting a response, please forgive us, and don't stop writing us because you will never know what your letters, notes,
comments and emails mean to us out here. It is a precious gift to read them. We will get back to it on the next island that has a wireless signal. We ran into Ian and Julia aboard Moasi (from England)at the post office and went with them for lunch at the other restaurant in town. Thank goodness they are fluent in French as well. We had a wonderful time with them, and learned that each morning a woman sells fresh garden vegetables and eggs, from her truck, in town. Tomorrow while we have the
car we will go for fresh groceries and take a trip to see the tikis and the petroglyphs. Still no watermaker by the way…we are taking sponge baths! Every day however, we say, "Thank you, God for the experience of a lifetime!" We do love this life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 13, 2008 Still in Fatu Hiva

Tuesday,May 13th we decided that if the Peasley's on Imagine hadn't arrived by the day's end we would make an early Wed. departure, and meet them somewhere down the way. We had seen all of Fatu Hiva we could and were looking forward to some new adventures. Most of the boats we had gotten to know had already left and a whole new bunch had arrived, including a three masted 177 ft. schooner named Shenandoah, which was built in (I think) 1908. She was beautiful and carried a crew of 11. This tiny
little harbor was getting quite full. We went into town to deliver the pictures to Justine, who was so happy with them she gave us another tapa cloth of a turtle. She then asked us to take some more pictures of her with her family and some of her with her art. We didn't have the camera, so we agreed and trekked back to the boat for the camera (about 2 miles each way), returned to her home, took more photos, then went back to the boat to edit and print them. By the time we took the new prints back
to her Frank felt that we should ask for a carving. We had spent a lot of time, ink and wear and tear to produce several prints for her so we hoped she would agree. She was again thrilled with the prints, but didn't offer us anything in trade. We felt that because she had asked for all those pictures it would be OK to ask for a small bowl. When Frank mentioned it to her she looked at first like she didn't understand. He went over to pick up a couple to get the point across, then she acted upset.
The mood got real tense real fast. This worried us so we started to leave. Priscilla apparently appealed to her on our behalf, and then picked out a very small imperfect bowl which Justine reluctantly agreed to give us. We took the bowl thanked her profusely and hightailed it out of there!

When we returned to Destiny, Frank resumed his diagnostics on the generator to find that the fuse had broken off just as the previous one had in Puerto Vallarta. I asked him if he had bought a spare after the first incident and the response I got was a scowl and low guttural sounding growl. I let it go. He eventually got out some solder material and the soldering iron and just reattached it. This one should hold! We wrapped up everything and got ready to set sail early morning for Hiva Oa, which
is about 45 nautical miles (NM) due north. By the way, we still are not getting good radio contact so there is no telling when this will get posted!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 12 2008- Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

We decided to go explore some more of the island around Hanavave. First we took our empty jerry cans to shore to fill with the indigenous spring water. The children all immediately rallied round us, grabbing our containers and running to the faucets to fill them for us. This frenzied activity made Frank a little uneasy, and when later in our visit we had wanted to do more of the same before heading out for Hiva Oa he vetoed the idea, saying he didn't want to be bothered by all those children.
They are a little over the top with enthusiasm so I readily agreed. Anyway, one of the older girls named Priscilla convinced us to accompany her to her home to see her mother's tapa cloths and carvings. Tapa cloth is made from the inner bark of trees; the lighter cloth is from the mulberry tree, medium brown from the breadfruit tree and dark brown from the banyan tree. The women tap the bark into a flat"cloth" that looks like a mat-like material. Then they create pictures of animals, tikis,
people, scenery, etc., on the cloth. The result looks tattooed. Although we didn't see the process firsthand, these creations are very time consuming, thus very pricey to the consumer. This is the only island where the tapas are still hand made. We had no local currency so we took along a pair of reading glasses, candy, gum, perfume and a Steamboat Springs cap for trading. When we arrived, we looked at several tapas and chose two smaller, less intricate designs; one of turtles and one of a tiki
statue. We traded a small bottle of perfume, the hat and the reading glasses for both. When leaving, Justine (the mom) asked us to take some pictures of her children for her with our camera. We took several, telling her that we would return the next day with the prints. We then went for a hike up the other mountain side of the village. It seems there are 2 cows in the village and we saw them both. There are also a few beautiful, delicate looking, fancy stepping horses around the area. Finally,
feeling pretty wiped out we returned to our boat to do some tidying up, when the generator stopped working (ugh, again!). Without the generator we had no power because it was cloudy out and the solar panels were of no use. Frank got into some pretty intense troubleshooting with that while I printed out several 8x10 pictures of the tapa lady's children. By nightfall we were still without the use of our generator so Frank turned on the engine for a couple of hours to charge the batteries. We settled
in to a restless night. This bay boasts of rolling surges and at times we experienced wind gusts of over 23 kts.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 9-11, 2008 - Hanavave, Fatu Hiva

Hanavave on the island of Fatu Hiva is a wonderful and needed respite for those cruisers who just made a long, arduous passage. Its small bay, Baie Hanavave/Baie des Vierges has had several names. According to legend it was originally named "Bay des Verges" which translates, Bay of the Phalli because of the suggestive shape of the rock pillars that line the entrance. Missionaries in the area disapproved; therefore, an "I" was added to the word verges, transforming it to vierges (from phalli to virgin). The village rests between two steep mountains, and reminds us of Maui because it is so lush and colorful. It is overrun by chickens, crowing roosters and cats. Each modest home has a yard that looks professionally landscaped, and is full of chickens, most have at least one pig and a dog or two and dozens of cats. Unbelievably, with all these chickens running around there are no eggs here. Hibiscus trees tower overhead, as well as wild citrus trees (limes, lemons, oranges, and pamplemousse which resembles a large green grapefruit), banana trees and coconut trees, breadfruit trees, mangoes and papayas and exotic flowering plants of every color grow rampant throughout. You are cautioned not to pick the fruit because the islanders own them. We found out quickly that we are expected to trade for the fruit and for local handcrafted items. Women typically ask for perfume, make-up, earrings, shampoo and clothing. Men ask for bullets, t-shirts, fishing gear, sunglasses. Children follow us everywhere dancing all around us shouting "bon-bon" and "bo-bo", begging for candy and gum. We traded a t-shirt and 3 hotel-size bottles of shampoo to a woman for 7 pamplemousse and a hanging bunch of bananas. We walked to the local policeman's home to report our arrival and to ask permission to stay in Hanavave . Because we had not yet checked into the country in Hiva Oa, he told us (in French) that we could stay until Monday. We do not speak French and he does not speak English, so using hand gestures and stumbling around with the few words we knew, including some that Frank made up (he does that and always gets away with it), we asked the official if there was anything that he needed. He indicated that a shirt would be nice and a pair of sunglasses. I whipped out a colorful t-shirt from my bag and told him we had an extra pair of sunglasses on the boat. He grunted and agreed that we could stay a few extra days until our sister boat Imagine, arrives from Manzanillo. Then he invited us to the village festival to be held on Saturday. We then walked around and took a short hike up the mountain to where the pavement ends. My energy is slowly coming back, thank God. In the afternoon several more boats arrived. We now have 14 crammed into this .5 mile wide bay. There are now 2 German, 1 Canadian, 2 French, 2 Austrian, 2 Dutch, 3 American, 1 English and 1 from Bermuda. The Canadian family, Jay and Marg are cruising with their teenage daughters Jenny and Jocelyn on their 48 ft. Tayana sloop called Malachi, and are anchored next to us. We've met several of the others here and feel a real sense of community.
Saturday, we got up and did some more maintenance on Destiny. We've got water leaking in down the mast into the interior, and along one of the bulkheads on the starboard side behind the settee where we store food. We found the mast leak - Frank tightened the seal around the mast, but can't find the source of the other. So we went to the feast on shore. By the time we arrived the fish and pork had been eaten but we got some excellent roasted chicken. We tasted "coco" - yuk! It is a drink made form coconut that tasted more like garlicky ranch dressing. Frank tried to discreetly put his in the trash. I poured mine over the rice and it made a nice sauce. The islanders gathered under a hut and sang songs in their native dialect. We met some of our fellow boaters and then went on a long hike up the steep mountain. We made it all the way past the cross that is on top. I was amazed that I had gotten past the ills of the last several days and had managed this feat because at times it was so steep we worried about falling backward down the mountain. It was a beautiful hike and took us about 4 hours up and back. We saw panoramas that took our breath away!
Sunday we took it easy and tied our floats to tethers and jumped in the water for some swimming. We were as lazy as possible! Then that evening I made a key lime pie and we went over to have dessert and coffee with Malachi, the Canadian family. What a joy they are! Marg showed us the tapas and carvings that she and the girls, had bought and traded for, while Frank and Jay talked about man stuff up in the cockpit. They were leaving early Monday morning for Tahuata, and we vowed to see one another again down the way.
while at sea:
Skype ID: frank.barb.gladney

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FW: Update!!

Hello everyone!!!
It's Jen, Barb's daughter. Mom and Frank have landed!! They hit shore in the Marquesas on friday...  All is well, but they have no internet :( .  They are actually in Fatu Hiva and will be doing a small halfday trip to Hiva Oa on tues or wed. Hopefully they will pick up an internet signal there :)  They asked me to send a little message to the blog, to let every one know they made it! I only get a short convo when they call, due to the cost of the sat. radio... so i only have a small amout of info to report to all of ya'll.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thursday May 8, 2008 - In the Marquesas at Last!

Since crossing the Equator our radio signal has been next to nothing. If we get connected we generally only have enough signal to get one or two very short messages out, and if lucky receive 1 or 2 messages before losing the connection. So I don't know when we will get our blogs updated. Alright, OK we made it! 21 days after leaving Manzanillo, Mexico we have arrived in French Polynesia. We have traded "hola" for "buon jour", "gracias" for "merci", and "si" for "oui".
After crossing the Equator we experienced more of the ITCZ with the engine chugging us along through 12+ ft. rollers and very little wind. The clouds once again painted the skies with artful creations that fired our imaginations. We watched the squalls repeat their march across the horizon, giving us occasional showers, and momentary gusts of wind. After two days as if by magic, the spell broke and we hit the SE Trades. Well, well! We cruised in 20+ knots of wind averaging a ground speed of around
7.5 knots. At night we could see the Milky Way so clearly and watched dozens of shooting stars in the sky, and in the bow's wake we watched the beautiful phosphorescence setting off brilliant light displays in the water. I kept wishing there was some way to take a picture of this phenomenon, but it is not possible with our camera at night.

We vacillated on which island to make first landfall; Hiva Oa or Fatu Hiva. Hiva Oa is the capital of the southern group of Iles Marquises, better known to us Americans as the Marquesas Islands, where we could officially check into the country and go through quarantine, buy our bond (required of cruisers it is a deposit of several thousand dollars at the bank to show that you have enough money to fly out if you are not able to sail out by your appointed departure date), and re-provision. Fatu Hiva
is the southernmost island in this group and is the most logical first stop, because arriving there would put us on a course to head northwesterly toward the other islands along the area. It is reputed to be the most beautiful of this group of islands, although not an official entry point. We chose Fatu Hiva. We chose paradise, as untouched by commerce and western culture as it gets. We arrived and set the hook at 21:30 UTC (or GMT/Greenwich Mean Time), or 1:00 PM Fatu Hiva time. The Marquesas
are 30 minutes ahead of Tahiti time, and 9.5 hours behind UTC.

We are exhausted and thrilled to finally be somewhere. Frank is happily having a cigar on the back deck working through a six-pack, which he has well earned. I am nursing something awful that befell me about 2 1/2 days ago and has me down for the count. Extreme fatigue, muscle aches all over and a fever, clammy and aching joints have overcome me like nothing I've ever experienced. Yesterday I could barely get up to man my watches; I told Frank if I fell overboard I doubt I'd have the strength
to swim back to Destiny. I'm taking regular rounds of Advil hoping it will pass soon! I want to get out and enjoy this magnificent island. We don't know how long we will be able to stay here. We've not yet gone ashore because we are spending the rest of the day getting our boat and ourselves back in order. We've heard that right now 3 days is the norm for those not checked in. We would like to be able to stay to see Imagine's arrival, which should be about 5-6 more days from now. There 6 other
boats in the bay, one Canadian, one French, one Dutch, one German, two other American. Very international, eh? Oui!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Greetings from the Equator!

Saturday, May 03, 2008
After nearly 4,000 miles of sailing, we have reached 0 degrees latitude, at 4:31 Pacific time/00:31 UTC. Now that may not sound like much to some of you, but let me tell you the last 16 days that we have been out at sea far surpasses anything else Frank and I've ever done. We are literally in the middle of the ocean. It has been a surreal journey getting here. We still have quite a few miles ahead of us to next landfall. There is a pagan ritual that must (or should) be performed to appease
the gods of the sea, to thank them for getting us here and to ask for safe passage from here. We do this not because we believe in pagan gods or their rituals; it is just what sailors do. We heard that we must make offerings to Neptune. Anyone who has not previously crossed the Equator is a Pollywog and must be inducted and baptized by the sea or plunged into it at this juncture. We both were pollywogs before today. So I baked a cake, and decorated it with an N and an S, divided by a line, depicting
the Equator. We then dressed like fools; Frank like Neptune, wearing a bed sheet and a mardi gras necklace with a lobster on it, carrying our boat hook as his scepter, and a "crown" that I made him from a visor that identified him as Neptune. I wore a visor with Pollywog written on it. We said some ritualistic sounding stuff while pouring a bottle of red wine into the sea from N - S and E - W, we went forward and doused each other with sea water from the anchor washdown hose, then we sat on the
swim platform and splashed our feet about, dangling them in the water while Frank drank a couple of beers and I ate a piece of cake tossing a piece to Neptune for good measure. No way were we jumping in! We took a picture of the Chart showing the 0.00 degrees latitude to commemorate the occasion as well. After all the pomp and circumstance, we feasted! We grilled a couple of steaks, had twice baked potatoes, green beans and more Equator cake. We each wanted to call someone form the Equator so
Frank called his mom and I called Jen, my daughter. It is nice that we can do that because we are having difficulty getting radio signals strong enough out here to transmit as often as before.
Now we are in the Southern hemisphere and headed for the Marquesas Island of Hiva Oa. The winds were great for a while, and then kicked up to over 22 knots so that Frank had to reef in the sails. Now we are losing our wind and bouncing along again in very confused seas. Things are tossing about that have not been previously uprooted. It is the middle of the night and neither of us will probably get much if any sleep. We must have forgotten something in our ceremony to Neptune!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Two weeks ago today we left Manzanillo for the 2800+ mile voyage to the Marquesas. We are 1710 miles into it, a mere 3.2 degrees north of the Equator. There is no turning back now! We are smack dab in the middle of the Doldrums. Yesterday they began and for a while we had seas so flat you could water ski out there. Wind dropped to under 2 knots at times. Obviously there was not much sailing going on. The skies were painted so many beautiful colors, and dotted with some of the most unusual
and beautiful cloud formations either of us has ever seen. I enjoyed this peaceful serene day very much. We took advantage of the calm and set about performing little maintenance items up on deck. Then we took a break and sat together up on the fore deck for a while doing nothing and thinking nothing - just being together and enjoying the moment. It was very emotionally and mentally healing and soothing for me.
Then in the afternoon the squalls kicked up again, forming lines across the horizon, as though each was awaiting its turn to come out of the gate. A couple glanced us, just delivering a fine mist. Then we entered a big wet one. Winds picked up and we happily released the sails. Not only did we get a good hour of sailing, we got a good cleansing as well. This was also our first opportunity to test the integrity of the new window. We are happy to report no leaks! It rained on and off all through
the night, got a bit rocky again and it became difficult to stay dry. We'd open the hatches when the squalls passed and then close them again as an unexpected one would sneak up on us. It was so black during the night that the clouds obscured all traces of stars and moon. During Frank's watch he saw the lights from 2 different vessels. We couldn't tell what they were, only that they were well lit. I came on watch during the intercept with the 2nd one. Frank was anxious because no matter which
direction he maneuvered Destiny; the other vessel seemed on a collision course with us. We flashed the 3-million candle power lantern at him and tried to hail him on the VHF, but he did not respond. We could not seem to get a fix on his direction, but finally just began driving around to the point that we were out of his path. After Frank went to bed I encountered yet another of these vessels. Same drill, except this one didn't try to play chicken with me I didn't wake Frank, but concluded these
guys are real jerks! Besides, where on Earth are they coming from? We think they were some Asian commercial fishing trawlers.
Today has been a replay of yesterday as far as the wind, weather and seas are concerned. Afternoon squalls drift by but we haven't yet been drenched like yesterday. All is well in our world. Hope all is well in yours too. Unless something dramatic happens, we probably won't write again until we are at the Equator.