Mexico To Samoa 2008  
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May 18, 2008

It has been just over two months since we left Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, it seems like yesterday. Most of you have been receiving our daily or weekly updates so we are only going to address the highlights of the trip here. After all, we know that it's all about the pictures anyway!!  Sorry no center fold here.

  The crossing was an incredible self learning experience. Even though it was 26 days it seemed so much less. The first week was full of strong winds and decent sized seas that came from a storm off of Santa Barbara, Calif. We did get into a nice rhythm of our daily activities. Constant sail trimming, following course as best as we could but to also keep a good speed going for comfort. The normal day was the change of the watch from Yvette to Carl at 6am. 8am checking in on the radio net with 15 other boats to make sure that we all were Ok and writing down cordinates with sea and wind conditions. 9am get the boys up for school. 11am Yvette would wake up and make us lunch. The afternoons were just relaxing or reading, and tests for the boys. Dinner would be around 5pm and a last check in on the radio nets. 6pm Yvette would go to bed and Carl and the boys would sit in the cockpit watching the stars come out. 8:30 was bed time for the boys and Carl would do the watch until midnight then get Yvette up for her watch until 6am. One day easily led into the next. The crossing of the ITCZ was uneventful, full of squalls, but no lightning. The winds were light from about 5 degrees North to 5 degrees South. During that stage it was mixed with motor sailing and light wind sailing. At about 6 degrees South we began to feel the Southern Hemisphere trade winds and it was an easy sail down to the Marquesas. Our first stop was Hiva Oa, but that was short lived for only one night as a heavy swell was predicted for the next day and the bay turns into a sea of breakers. We did a nice sail North up to Nuka Hiva, the 85 miles trip was a one nighter. Nuka Hiva was a nice large bay with a few stores to provision at. The prices are absolutely outrages though. After a week at Nuka Hiva we sailed across to the island of Ua Pou (wa poo). There we enjoyed a nice peaceful anchorage and lots of swimming. We met up with a local retired French English teacher that would swim by our boat twice a day for exercise. Xavier would join us every afternoon on the boat for a cold drink and conversation. He even took us on a nice picnic to the "Valley of the Kings".  After the picnic he took us to a few of his friends houses for fresh fish and fruit to help stock us up for the rest of the next couple of weeks. The generosity of the local people is just overwhelming, they have such a giving spirit about themselves. After being there for nearly a week we set sail for the Tuamotus. This a group of islands that have since disappeared and only have the coral reef that was once around them left. They are called atolls. A few of them have a small pass in them to allow us to get inside of the protected lagoon. The lagoons are teaming with tropical fish and coral. Our first stop was Manihi. We came in at slack tide and had no problems even though we had breakers on both sides of the entry. There we set anchor next to our friends on the Pacific Star, Horst, John and Helene. Once our anchor was down they came over to see us and let us know that we are all taking a black pearl farm tour tomorrow right after the local baker drops us off some fresh bread, we felt special. The pearl farm tour was a very special day, we learned so much watching each stage of the black pearl culturing. There we bought a dozen un-opened oysters and as each one was opened we felt like an old gold miner with excitement of what riches were inside. The man that owns and runs the farm Fernando joked with us each time he opened one of the oysters and it had a nice pearl in it that he wanted to keep it. By the time we were done we received about two dozen black pearls. Each one of them were wonderful in it's own way. We actually got 4 that were in very nice shape and color that we have seen at about $150 each on the retail level. Yvette has plans for them all and is already wearing one that has been set into a bracelet. We went on to see a couple of other Tuamotus and then took off for the 3 night passage to Tahiti. It was on this passage that we finally filled the freezer with fish. Kyle landed a nice 50 pound dorado (mahi mahi) and we even had a double hookup and landed two good sized yellow tail tunas. We have now been in Papeete, Tahiti for a week and plan on staying maybe one more. One of the devilish things we did after first setting anchor was walking to a nearby McDonalds, that was a mistake. Four big mac meals, $48!!!!   But we did enjoy them. Each day has been filled with getting our visas, exploring downtown, fixing an alternator, and taking in evening shows of polynesia dancers. Yvette and Helene have been enjoying daily polynesia dance lessons. We will be here for another week and let a storm pass then we are off to Morea and the islands up to Bora Bora. The boys are done with school now and both finished with solid A's.

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    Saying good bye to Mexico                               Carl and our agent checking in with the Gendarmes

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                                         Ancient rock carvings most everywhere

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Very famous Nuka Hiva Tatoo artist                                  Crossing the Equator

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    It's laundry day on passage                                      Fresh Mangos !!

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     At anchor in Nuka Hiva                                         Ham (spam) pizza with, yep an egg

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  What can we say, He was proud of it                         The boys with their pompelmouse (lg grapefruit)

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    Fresh bananas ripening under sail                            No longer pollywogs, but majestic Shellbacks!

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    The spirals of Ua Poa (wapoo)                             Breadfruit everywhere

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  Heave-Ho, Anchors Up                                      So that's why the generator was running warm!!

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The days of the "wodden" dugout are being numbered       Xavier taking us on  picnic, Ua Poa

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    The Valley of the Kings, Picnic                             She's camera shy.    Fresh Star Fruit, yummy

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      South Pacific Evening at anchor                            Blue billed, red footed Boobie on the bow

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   The Atoll of Manihi on the radar                            Bob and Kay's private reserve get's opened

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     That's a big ray !                                                 Private island, ham radio sailmail station. Manihi

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     String of black pearl oysters                                     Delicate surgery, placing culture seed

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       Black pearls and dinner                        oyster, octopus and a squeeze of lime, we all enjoyed!

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      Let's take a coconut break   !!

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     Postcard anchorage                                          Shy, but they know how to ask for bonbons (candy)

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Local store owner/mayor, and she had us over for dinner too!                Catholic church Kauhani - atoll

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  Kyle and his nice 50 pound dorado       Pair of yellow tails, we are eating well

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Coming into Papeete, Tahiti                                The famous "Maltese Falcon" for sale $189 million

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               The local farmers market, handcrafts, produce, fruit, fish, material, snack bars

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   Polynesia dance lessons                                       Helene with her new coronet of fresh flowers

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  Each night they race by, what a sight                        Come on Yvette, I have to have one of these?

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     Fresh Pinapple                                                   The end of another days adventure

June 12, 2008

   After nearly four weeks in Papeete, Tahiti we are now enjoying some very nice peace and quiet anchored in Cooks Bay, Moorea. We are sitting in crystal clear water with three feet of water under our keel. The snorkeling is wonderful, the water temp is 83 and life is good. The stay in Tahiti was prolonged, as we had to wait for a transmission seal from the States. Twelve days ago we left for Moorea, but had to turn around to fix the $2 seal. As luck would have it we couldn't find the right seal and had to wait 10 days for it to come from Seattle. Just in case we had 4 shipped. The first one lasted 25 years so we should be set for a while. Separating the engine from the transmission was a snap and only took four hours, and Carl was able to do it by himself. Even lifting the 500 pound motor wasn't that difficult with the help of two "all thread rods" and four nuts, hanging from a chain.

  The stay in Papeete was fun, and we did get to enjoy some nice Polynesia shows at the local resorts, and at a price that was affordable.  We got to visit with most all of our cruiser friends taking turns in the evenings for dinner, movies and potlucks.  The anchorage just South of the airport was a big attraction for Joel and Kyle, they get such a kick out of watching planes land and take off.

   Last night we took in a very famous dinner and show here at Cook's Bay in the resort of the Bali Hi. Polynesia dancing is so much fun to watch and the drums are just spectacular to listen to. From here we will be moving the whole 3 miles to another bay here on Moorea to explore. All of these bays were made famous by Captain Cook. It is humbling to enter each of these narrow reef passages with all of our electronic navigation systems and to think just how did the early explorers do it with hardly nothing but their own eyes.

   From here we are headed to Bora Bora with a couple stops at different islands between. After Bora Bora we are taking the high road to the Samoas then South to the Fijian group.

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                                         They are just hypnotizing to watch.


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             What a smile, this was one really happy lady!        Every evening race staging from the Liberty

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      One of the world traveling yachts by us.                 South Pacific bungalows, COZY!

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   The ultimate party barge                                           Moorea in the sunset

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At anchor in Cooks bay                                          Afternoon squal brings a daily rainbow

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        Dancing girls of the South Pacific                       OK, I was forced into this, but fun was had

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      Mom, look what we found, can we keep them?            We be jammin

June 10th, 2008

We have been completely enjoying the Society Islands!! Moorea was fun, and very beautiful in a San Juan Island, WA State way. Lush, over grown island, slight sandy beaches, and great hiking. We were anchored in Cook's bay for a few days, then moved the 3 miles West to Opunohu Bay. We were held up there in a great holding anchorage as storm winds that touched in the 30 knot range came by. We caught the end of that system and did the 85 mile sail North to Huahine. We left at 4 pm and held on through the night. It was the most uncomfortable ride we have had so far since leaving Washington. The seas were 12 to 15 feet which is no problem, but the spacing was close, 7 to 8 seconds, we knew it was not going to be fun, but we didn't want to wait for the wind to stop and have to slug our way through sloppy seas, so we went on. The wind was directly off of our stern and the seas were off our beam, just slightly behind us. Needless to say there was not any sleep had that night, but we did make good time.  We are always amazed on how well the Liberty does in that kind of stuff, her weight is just the ticket at 17 tons she doesn't sway fast.

We are now in Huahine and this is what it is all about, white sandy beaches, great marine life, and even a little town to explore. The Polynesian indigenous people, the Maori's say this is their "belly button" where they all came from. They don't have a lot of good things to say about the French and only speak Tahitian, do not say Merci or Bonjoure here!! They fire back with Marurru or Yuranna!! We have enjoyed anchorages with only two feet of crystal clear water under our keel. There has been a full moon and it is magical to go out at night and see your shadow on the white sandy bottom. We have been snorkeling everyday or hiking. We have seen lion fish, morea's, barracuda, octopus and lot's of beautiful shells everywhere. Huahine is our favorite so far.

Tomorrow we are going to set sail for a 30 mile run to Raiatea which is the hub of the Society Islands. There, we will be taking in a turtle nursery and stocking up on provisions. The North island of Raitea is Tahaa, this is where the best vanilla comes from. We are told that top chefs world wide will only use vanilla beans from Tahaa. We have gotten our hands on a few beans, wow, do they smell good. We will enjoy that area for a week or so before we head up to Bora Bora. We have mixed emotions about Bora Bora, it is going to be so touristy and expensive, we will probably only stay a couple of days there and then head West for a 10 day passage to the Samoas, with a possible stop half way at Savoarov (Sawarrow) if the weather is decent. Our French Visa's expire in a couple of weeks. We will be looking forward to a few American things and the better prices. Come to find out every four years there is a South Pacific Arts and Music show and this year it is in American Samoa, and during the time that we will be there! It sounds like every South Pacific Island will be represented there, with art, music, dancing and outrigger races!

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    Maori Site                                                         View from the chiefs foundation 950AD

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       What a View                                                      Copra (coconut) Drying

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      It's a Good Life                                    Grandma makes new mats for the livingroom

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          Fresh Fruit makes this ladies day!       Think they have Safeway brand Caviar?

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 Hiking group, Vari / Linda / Liberty                             Like sitting in a pool

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       Hey Ma, what's for dinner?                                      The colors of Moorea

July 24, 2008(latest Update)

After leaving Raitea the sail North up to Bora Bora was a very pleasant sail. It was a simple overnighter with following seas and enough wind to keep us at a nice pace for landfall the next day. Just inside the entry into Bora Bora we were greeted by a friend on their boat that got here threes days earlier. They directed us into a wonderful area for a lovely anchorage. After setting anchor we set out to explore the Island. The little town itself is a bit run down, it is obvious that all the tourist money goes to the resorts and not the town. The people were very friendly, and it was less "Frenchy"  Bora Bora is an incredibly pretty "South Pacific" Island/Atoll. But as we were told, it's a busy touristy place with lots of tourist boat traffic. We did make the dingy trip to the famous "Bloody Mary's Yacht Club/Restaurant" There you are greeted with two very large signs that are filled with the multitude of famous people that have been there. The list included names from as far back as President Roosevelt to more recent names like Johnny Depp. Of the two hundred names, most of them were well known actors and actress's. We all had a drink or a soda and bought two shirts to say we had been there, $100.00 later we left for the long dingy ride back. After just three days we were ready to make the nearly 800 mile trip to Sawarrow. Sawarrow is one of the further most Northern atolls of the Cook Island chain. This island was made famous by a man named Tom Neal that lived as a hermit for over twenty years. During that time he wrote a book called "An island to oneself" This island is what many people dream of,  of all the atolls and islands this island was exactly what you would come to know as one of the perfect "South Pacific" Islands. It is a protected island and has been deemed a "National Park". On this island there is a caretaker and his wife and 4 sons that live there in Tom Neals old house for six months out of the year. This family is one of the nicest people you could every want to know, their hospitality was so warm and friendly. One day they organized a dingy trip to a nesting island that was filled with frigates, boobies and tropical birds. There were young birds from the very recently hatched to fledglings getting ready to spread their wings. One of our greatest memories was made here, we asked one of the caretakers sons to help us find a coconut crab. These crabs are on the endangered list and have been hunted to very low numbers on most South Pacific islands. It didn't take long before one came out of thick palm frond pile with a crab that just takes your breath away with astounding beauty and size. It was a pleasure to enjoy it's timid behavior and hold him closely and inspect such a fine specimen of the crab family.  The next couple of days were filled with exploring and windy anchor watches. We were not able to do any swimming here as the lagoon is filled with sharks. Most any time we could watch a group of 4 to 6 black tip sharks around our boat. Black tip sharks are normally not a problem, but these guys have learned how to "pack up"! At one point we were swimming off the back of the boat and watched a group of 5 about three to four footers that just kept coming up towards us and they seemed to be thinking "lunch". It was the last time we did any swimming at this anchorage!  One evening we all went ashore for a potluck dinner with the caretakers. Veronica the caretakers wife made bread fruit chips and coconut pancakes, they were a big hit. We feasted on the variety of dishes and visited for a few hours before it was "cruisers midnight" 9pm. Two days later we pulled up our anchor along with our sister ship Grace another Formosa Peterson 46, also from the Seattle area. The weather was stinky and the seas were going to be big, but it was time to get out of dodge and do the 3 day passage to Pago Pago, American Samoa. The winds maintained 30 knots for one of the days and we watched the seas grow, but the Liberty just charged along at 7 knots and kept us safe. We heard later on the radio that a couple of cruisers we know behind us one day out of Sawarrow had a "knock down" (mast in the water) One of them was a good friend of ours Mike and Liz on the Arganaut. We quickly got on the radio and contacted them and found out that all was well for them and they and the other sailboat are anchored in Sawarrow. The other sailboat didn't fair as well and badly bent their mast. They will have to motor the 400 miles to Pago Pago when the weather lets up. We may see them when they get here if we are still here and get some pictures of their mast.

    We had a fast sail to Pago Pago, 72 hours and covered 450 miles. Luck was on our side, we made it here two days before the "South Pacific Art Festival" started. This festival includes all South Pacific Islands and is every four years, this time being hosted by American Samoa. We have spent most days watching the 27 countries dancing, weaving, singing and just visiting with them. Some of the people from the visiting countries were just so wide eyed and had never been off of their island. They were so primitive, and so very friendly. Check out the pictures following. Pago Pago (pronounced like the drums "bongo bongo" but with a P) has been a welcome treat for us, their are large stores, American items that we have not seen for a long time and the prices are great! The boys and I even went and bowled a few games and hit some balls at the batting cages, how American is that? The bay of Pago Pago itself is not a real pretty sight, water you wouldn't swim in, trash floats by, and a big Star Kist Tuna cannery plant close by on the water. When the wind changes it smells like someone opened a big can of cat food. After being here nearly two weeks we are ready to make the 80 mile overnight sail to Western Samoa. They are trying to change their name to either Independent Samoa or just plain Samoa. There we will be taking advantage of a brand new marina, with showers, and water and electricity at the docks for only $15 per day. After nearly five months it will be nice to be tied up to land. Samoa is about 5 times larger than American Samoa and should be fun to explore. Farming and industrial is the mainstay of this independent country. They are also known for the manufacturing of car parts for all around the world. We are looking forward to the sail over as the reputation for some great fishing. One of our friends just called us on the radio and caught a nice 20 pound blue fin tuna just outside of Pago Pago harbor.

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At Anchor with romantic Bora Bora in the background         Horst and Julia from Pacific Star

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      Famous guests at Bloody Mary's                           Cool Tiki Man

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          Nesting boobies and frigates everywhere                Can you feed me?

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     Hey, got a newspaper I can read?                        Now that's fresh fish, right off the bone

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   Joel with a large coconut crab                                Mom with her catch, hurry up, it's pinching me!

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      Nice anchorage                                                  Watch your ankles

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        The caretakers, yep, twins in the front               Island Tatoo???   Nope, just a little gecko

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       After 3 hours she's ready to sail                        The welcoming and goodbye commitee

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 The Governer of Am. Samoa at the S. Pacific Festival            Tribal dancers - Tahiti

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   Yvette got involved too !                 Two lovely ladies from Fiji that we'll meet when we get there.

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Australian's, what a hoot they were     New Guinea, yep took Joel to see topless        dancers on his 16th.

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Very proud men from New Guinea                          Great costumes from the Solomons

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    Fresh pork, tarro root and polysami !!               Joels 16th B-Day with Marta of the yacht club



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