We hope you enjoy this photo-journal of our Pacific crossing from Mexico to the Marquesas. The first photo is of Sockdolager and other cruising boats at anchor in Hanavave, Fatu Hiva, southernmost island of the Marquesas. We are currently on the island of Hiva Oa.
It started in Mexico. Three boats were together at the dock in San Jose del Cabo; Luckness, Zulu, and Sockdolager. All were busy busy busy, getting ready for the big jump.
Here’s Craig McPheeters moments before departing for Hawaii on Luckness, a Pacific Seacraft 37 from Seattle. He made it in 20 days!
Here’s the crew of Zulu, a gorgeous gaff yawl that lived in Port Townsend and is now based in Seattle.
And here are the Sockdolagerians.
Our GPS five minutes before departure.
Thanks to a new awning hand sewn, we were protected from the sun’s direct rays most of the time.
A gorgeous sunset and cool temps kept us bundled up at night during the first few days.
Nightfall on the Pacific, and we wonder: how many of these will we have?
The winds were strong on the first part of the trip, and we made a thousand miles in the first 10 days. The cost of such wind is a lot of rolling, an you can see how far the stove is going in its gimbals. (Note also the sea-rails on the stove.)
Sunrise, day 3. The heavy wind vane blade is doing the work. The other object is the flag, rolled up on its staff and protected with a canvas cover. You really don't need to fly flags offshore.
These are waves that will get you wet if they can. There were waves and swell from three directions (NE, E and SE), which kept motion lively and the cockpit often wet.
Sunrise about a week out, still in the NE trades.
For a few days we had idyllic conditions, in true NE trade winds. Jim enjoys the Hemingway-esque look.
Wing and wind on a perfect day in the NE trades, one of the few trade wind days we were to have. We enjoyed every moment of it.
More wing and wing, with the genoa poled out.
Then it got rough again. This was the beginning of a series of squalls that lasted for days.
It was so rough, in fact, that even the flying fish were trying to get into the cabin.
And so were the squid. A lotta things go airborne during the night, and their little carcasses are waiting for you in the morning.
Here are some photos of squalls in the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone.)
Even when it was rough enough to need the entire hatchway closed, the cabin was still cozy and secure.
Cooking means chasing food, and a galley belt frees up both hands for the job.
A salad at sea is delicious, but prep is difficult unless you plan it in advance. We used a plastic bag hung off a knob to put the chopped greens in, then shook it to toss, and very little chasing of food was needed.
Here’s Jim at the ham radio, either checking into the net or sending one of our blog posts. Note angle of heel by hanging items.
Blog posts were written into a notebook, then typed directly into the winlink software on the navigation laptop.
After it was rough it got calm. Very very calm. More than 2 weeks were spent either becalmed or trying to sail in winds less than 5 knots. The red drifter kept us moving for awhile.
The equatorial sun is hot hot hot. Extra shade was rigged every day.
And squalls dogged us for 750 miles as the ITCZ came back again and again.
But we crossed the Equator in style! Here Karen records the event on the spiffy new microphone from Good Old Boat, that we’ll use for an upcoming album of sea chanteys plus recordings from various places as we sail. (More on that album soon.)
Laundry day on the ole Sockdolager. These were washed and rinsed in salt water because the fresh was for drinking only. Although the salt on the clothes was palpable, we still appreciated that it was at least clean salt.
Pasta carbonara and a salad on a calm night, what a treat.
Sunrise from the cockpit after one of those all’s-right-with-the-world nights.
We had a fabulous spinnaker run, but it meant we had to hand-steer.
Here’s Jim in a relaxed moment of hand-steering. Jeez, these photos are making the voyage look like a cakewalk. It wasn't. But there were grand, glorious moments.
About 100 miles out from the Marquesas we were becalmed again after several days of squalls, but (on the bright side) they gave us the best sunset of the whole voyage.
While looking for wind, we saw a sail! And had a nice visit with S/V Gaku, from Japan. Then they motored off and we continued waiting, but after 12 hours the wind came up again.
More flying fish, and bigger ones, landed aboard. One evening Karen heard Jim shriek, “Yeeeeowwwza!” and heard flopping. A flying fish had landed right next to him in the cockpit. At least it didn't go down the back of his shirt, like one did once to Karen. You know, when fish fly and birds swim ya gotta cut back on the beer... but we only consumed FIVE beers on the whole crossing! It didn't taste good when the boat was rolling to her beam ends. This fish was big enough to fry, but we threw it back.
The last 2 days were spent in heavy squalls. Here’s one that contained 40 – 45 knots and pelting rain. The jacket was soon zipped.
But there was a rainbow afterward. And a reefed mainsail can sure catch a lot of water.
Landfall was such a sight for sore eyes… all that green.
Look at the face in the rock beneath and just to the left of the cloud peak.
Happy happy happy!
Here we are coming in to the Bay of Virgins (Hanavave) on our 38th day at sea. Photo was taken by Jon-Louis aboard a French boat.
Finally, the anchor’s down! We are looking kind of stunned here, because we were. (Jon-Louis photo)
First thing to happen was Tucker from S/V Convivia rowing over to welcome us with a fresh coconut, which he thwacked open with a machete (no mean feat in an inflatable) and a pamplemousse, which is basically what all grapefruit want to be when they grow up.
We enjoyed a dinner ashore with our new French friends from two boats, and were hosted in the home of Simone the woodcarver, who made us a sumptuous Polynesian feast. Most of these items were a first taste for us, and we loved everything. There was poisson cru, couchon (pork cooked whole, underground) plus Poulet au coco, rice, poipoi, roasted breadfruit, roasted sweet plantains, and wine. Oh but it was good. The conversation between us and the six hilarious and erudite Frenchmen, all of whom who spoke pretty good English, was as sparkling and good as the food, and made the evening fly by.
After a few days we sailed for Hiva Oa, and who did we meet in the middle of the 45-mile crossing but our friends on Zulu!
It’s hot and humid here, and we are learning to really slow down. All the boats at anchor in the harbor where we are now (Atuona, on the southern side of Hiva Oa) are recovering after their passages, and it’s fun to finally see the boats with whom we chatted on the radio for so many evenings. We're anchored right next to Clover, owned by our dear friend Shane Barry, who soloed her across the Pacific and arrived 2 days after we did. So good to have these reunions! And the emails and comments we got! Loved it.
We're thrilled to have this part of the passage across the Pacific behind us. Let the fun really begin!