Our Diary Marquesas Islands

"Ia orana" or, for those not fluent in Tahitian, "Good day, may you live and prosper!"

After 25 days at sea were we glad to arrive and be greeted by the friendly Marquesans on Fatu Hiva. The islands are, as all the guide books say, picturesque and unspoilt.

This time of year there is a steady stream of boats crossing the Pacific most of which keep in touch via an informal SSB radio net. This entails checking in with the "net controller" stating your position, weather, course and speed. You can then call up other boats for informal chats about fishing, recipes, etc. or tap into the expertise of the cruising community if problems arise. We were very fortunate in that we had a surgeon and a dentist in our "net" group in case of medical problems, and lots of other experts on boat systems.

Brett on Interlude started a "quiz time" which made life interesting, especially considering that the boats were spread out across 3,000 miles of ocean and answers had to be relayed to the question master. Sometimes radio reception is not brilliant so exchanges like this were a source of great entertainment:

Foxtrot (question master) "What are the Seven Deadly Sins?"
Interlude "Yeah we've got those"
Altair relaying (because Foxtrot couldn't hear Interlude very well) "Interlude has got the sins."
Foxtrot "OK, Interlude, go ahead"
Interlude then answers the question.
Foxtrot "Sorry, I didn't get all those. What was between covetousness and envy?"
Interlude "Lust"
Altair relaying "Interlude says Lust"
Foxtrot "OK, what was the last one?"

Not surprisingly, questions were kept simple and only one or two questions a day asked - but it was fun! Especially collecting the prizes at the next anchorage!

The crossing was not without its drama. The skipper of Procyon got lifted off, onto a passing freighter, following complications from surgery carried out in Equador (his wife had to continue single handed). The skipper on Sandpiper suffered bad cuts to his hands when his fishing line "exploded" after catching a large shark! Both are now OK. Most people suffered gear failure of some sort; we blew out our mainsail in the last week when we were hit by 40 knot squalls. And the motor on our auto pilot failed (worn brushes) during the first week. We are currently trying to get a replacement. Overall the weather was good steady easterlies for the first 10 days then we were becalmed for 2 days, which gave us time for a swim, 1500 miles from the nearest land! We also had visits from a schools of dorados, killer whales and dolphins.

The last few days were a little tiring with a squall every hour or so, which meant that we had to be alert all the time.

But we've arrived and have visited three of the 10 or so islands in the group. All equally lovely with tropical rainforest, trees laden with grapefruit, bananas, mangoes etc. We were warned that food and goods were expensive and this is correct - so if you are coming this way stock up well.

We will be leaving for the Tuamotus in about a week or so and hope to be in Tahiti by the end of the month where we will be joined by Christine's sister Carol and husband, Trevor for a two week holiday, which will be fun.