Trip Reports

Land Fall (13-Apr-2001-17-00):
5:00 PM local time Friday 13th. 9 48 S 139 01 W. Baie Taahuku, Hiva Oa, Iles Marquises, French Polynesia. Temp. 84, Humidity 84%, cloud cover 100%. Seas calm. Wind calm. Anchor down.

Warmest greetings from the crew of Maverick. Lookout Terry Shrode spotted land on his watch at first light this morning. He had seen it on the radar and the GPS told us we were here, but rejoiced at seeing Cape Balguerie with his own eyes. The Captain was informed upon rising at about 6:45 AM. The wind had perversely gone light the previous afternoon, and after having taken it too slow for a day the crew was forced to motor for six of the last twelve hours of the passage, which was equivalent to all the motoring we had done up to now combined, with the exception of the day of departure. We anchored bow and stern and recorded it in the log at 0951, or 9:51 AM Marquesas time, 1921 Z. The time underway was 26 days, 23 hours, and 35 minutes. We had sailed 3492 nautical miles from the San Francisco channel, or about 3512 from the dock, at an average of 5.4 knots. The time of passage is quite respectable, we feel, despite the fact that, in order to avoid the Pacific High and also to avoid sailing against the SE tradewinds, we had sailed 505 miles further than a great circle route, the shortest path between two points on the globe. We do not regret the course we chose, having had a good look at the SE trades.

In the small anchorage were 19 other cruising boats and many crews we had spoken with on the radio came to greet us. All had departed from Mexico. We immediately prepared to go to the village of Atuona, the largest on the island of Hiva Oa and home to a big percentage of the 1500 people who live there, a mile or two up the road. A cruiser recommended a shortcut which looked like a page from a child's adventure book and involved crossing a stream. We took off our shoes, but needn't have bothered. Ten minutes later the heavens opened and in the next three minutes we were soaked through, shoes and all. The deluge continued for the next four or five hours, but our walk was not a whit the less beautiful for it.

It's Good Friday and when we got to town it appeared that everything was closed. We had a powerful yearning for cold drinks and ice cream and civilization, so were quite disappointed. But further into town was a snack bar, the only establishment of any kind open for business, where we were thrilled to get a couple of beers or maybe more and lunch. We were relieved of $50 US for the privilege, and considered it an extremely prudent use of our cash.

About the mood aboard: Suppose you were an eight year old boy with a bike and you had the dreams that are mostly restricted to eight year old boys about becoming a space pilot or war hero or sailing to the South Pacific, but you didn't know how to tie a constrictor knot or cut a dovetail, and you didn't know about apparent wind or how to take a fix or figure winch ratios or what kind of hose to use in the head or what a passport was. Plus, you only had $7 and your parents wouldn't let you do it anyway, so you just, like, grew out of it. Then imagine that the next thing you know you're a grownup and you don't have any parents and you've done some stuff that turned out pretty good and some other stuff that didn't and you've learned all those things the little guy didn't know and some others too, and saved some money, not much, really, by American standards, and one day you actually back the boat out of the slip and you sail it all the way across the Pacific Ocean and you get to a little harbor that looks just like the ones in the pictures, and the eight year old boy isn't disappointed a bit. He thinks it's just as cool as he imagined it would be. Wouldn't that be excellent?

Next report from this location: Damage Report

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