Sail Mail - March 15, 2015

Location: 13.44.8S - 145.27.7W - 150nm NE of Rangiroa, 450nm SE of the Marquesas
Sea: 6ft - sloppy
Wind: 20-24kts from the north
Last Port: Rangiroa - Tuamotu islands
Destination Port: Marquesas - specific island TBD

Currently riding the fringes of a storm making progress to the Marquesas in sloppy seas and moderate winds. A tropical depression was getting cozy over the Society Islands and Tuamotus so we decided to leave for the Marquesas (600nm to the NE). It'll give use some advantage for our French Polynesia to Hawaii passage.

We spent 2.5 days in Rangiroa on a glassy inland sea IE: windward shore of a Tuamotu lagoon. Entering Rangiroa using the most westerly pass into the lagoon, we anchored off the main town. Much snorkeling was done including some spear fishing. A day later we motored over to the easterly pass and were rewarded. We anchored off what appeared to be a very ritzy hotel. That suspicion was quickly confirmed. Bungalos on the beach coast $600 per night. Who knows what the overwater ones cost. Mean while, we were happy to chill on the boat, and motor into the hotel to get beer and sandwiches when we wanted.

By Saturday night, we were packing up again to get out of there before the storm hit. 4 other boats were anchored off the hotel with us, all of them seemed to be busy with their own weathering strategy. In an attempt to get fuel late on Saturday in one of the most remote places on earth, we motored back over to the main town and went ashore. No luck. Everything closed. So we are taking a bit of a chance heading to the Marquesas. Worst case is we end up having to be smart and sail strategically to make landfall. In our haste to get out of there though, we anchored in 18ft deep water with a lot of coral heads. Bad news because the anchor was stuck. Nothing seems to help so we had to get in the water and manually get it unstuck. Eventually we were free and off sailing.

The night sailing was rough. The weather went from small seas in high teens wind to low 20s wind and very sloppy seas. For this angle of sail, the boat is skimming along at 7-9kts but every minute or so, the windward hull catches a wave and crashes into the next creating a nice slam.

Sunday morning 3/15 shall be known here on forth as the morning of fishing glory. We had one pole trolling behind us with a smaller lure and "hard to see" fluorocarbon line and three hand lines with larger lures with wire line. The pole got three bites in the first two hours on sunlight. On the third time, we pulled in a nice skipjack tuna. First oceanic fish! By the time we were done cleaning the tuna, another fish was on the line which we pulled aboard. Two fish in 1 hour! Before we could even start cleaning the second fish, Jason spotted a patch of birds which we headed towards. As we passed over it, boom! Every line in the water went down (3). We managed to pull in 2 decent sized yellow fin tuna which is the most desirable catch we could get. Whatever hit the third line, broke 350lb mono-filament and stole the lure. Overall score for the day was 4 fish, sacrificing one lure....a worthy trade off. Sushi is definitely on the menu tonight.

As of now, we are making good progress to the Marquesas but the winds seem to be shifting to the north. We may be nearing the edge of the storm which is what is providing the lift. Time to download the latest weather forecast.