Voyage 7

Hilo, Hawaii to
Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia
August 24 – September 8, 2017

hawaii-nukuhivatn

Day 1 – Thursday, August 24, 2017

I spent most of the morning thinking about whether I should stay in Hilo for 4 weeks or whether I should just set out for the Marquesas. While I was in Honolulu for nearly a week, I prepared Tahiti Dream for the crossing. I bought most of my provisions in Honolulu. The only thing I would need in Hilo would be fresh vegetables and meats. Most of that would not last all the way to the Marquesas.

At noon, I headed into Hilo and bought my perishables. At 4:30 PM, I raised anchor and sailed north for about 4 nm, then I turned southeast. The north sailing was necessary in order to get on course and to be clear of Leleiwi Point. The GPS reported 2,188 nm to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia.

The wind direction and speed has not changed from what it’s been during the past 2 weeks. The wind is most from E to NE, 10-15 knots. The book, World Cruising Routes, suggests that the best course is to head southeast until reaching 140ºW, then sailing south to the Marquesas. The wind forecast has the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ) at about 12ºN. My plan is to head for 10ºN 142ºW, which, at present speed, will take me nearly 6 days. During that time, I will get a better picture of what the weather will be doing as I approach the areas where the wind is predicted to shift drastically. I’m hoping that I will be able to identify an area in the ITCZ that would give me some winds to sail east by. Once I’m at 140ºW, I should be able to turn south and the tradewinds should carry me the rest of the way to Nuku Hiva and then Hiva Oa in the Marquesas.

0430 UTC – 19º 42.1’N 154º 56.98’W

As the crow flies, at 6:30 PM, I was only 8 nm from Hilo. I continued making a good speed of right around 7 knots. Once it got dark and I knew all the systems were set, I headed below to get some sleep. It shouldn’t be hard to get to sleep because it wasn’t that long ago I was sailing to Hilo over 3 days.

Day 2 – Friday, August 25, 2017

I awoke at 1:30 AM and checked my progress. By setting the helm for a close reach angle of 58º, I found I was a bit north of my intended course. I increased the wind angle to 67º and I will check my course again in a few hours. The sea is a little more rough than when I left Hawaii. Back to sleep.

I was up again at 4:40 AM. I found my course adjusted some 3 hours earlier was just right. I was very close to being on course. Actually, my course is relative. I know it will change once I get closer to my next waypoint, as I’m sure the wind forecast will have changed a bit. I got a cup of tea and enjoyed the clear starry skies as I waited for sunrise.

1600 UTC – 18º 53’N 153º 51.631’W

My 6:00 AM position report showed I’d traveled 80 nm last night. That puts me on pace for 160 nm per day. I know that pace won’t continue, but it is encouraging since I’m not even 24 hours into this new voyage. The boat is doing a steady 7-7.5 knots, with about a 1/2 knot current going against me. Sunrise was at about 6:10 this morning. I was looking forward to a full day at sea.

There was not much going on today. The wind speed and direction stayed mostly constant today. At about 2:00 PM, I lessened the wind angle to the sails because the boat had dropped south of my course line. I lost about 1/2 knot speed with that change.

0400 UTC – 17º 54’N 152º 49.58’W

At 6:00 PM, my position report showed that I traveled 83 nm in the past 12 hours, and 163 nm for my first day. It doesn’t seem like much considering how far I have to go.

There’s not much to do early in this voyage. Since I have the helm set to keep the same wind angle, I’m just watching to make sure I don’t go too far south too early. At 8:00 PM, I headed for bed.

Day 3 – Saturday, August 26, 2017

1500 UTC – 17º 2.5’N 151º 50.55’W

I was up before 5:00 AM. I took my position report early since I had a work assignment this morning IRL. I traveled 73 nm in the past 11 hours. The wind had increased a bit overnight. It was blowing 14-18 knots fairly consistently. My boat speed has been good, mostly 7-7.5 knots. Skies are still clear, but I expect that will change in the next couple of days. On the forecast, I see clouds close to the ITCZ. The wind is also doing interesting things down there as well. I imagine I’ll have to make some course decisions beginning on Monday or Tuesday.

At about 10:00 AM, I checked the wind forecast for the next 4 days. From the forecast, I decided I needed to be farther east when I reach 10ºN than I was originally heading. That means I’m shooting for 10ºN 140ºW. I had to tighten my close reach angle to 55º, which caused me to lose about 1/2 knots speed. That’s a fair trade-off. The forecast suggest that the Doldrums will be more narrow just south of that point and, once past that point, I should be able to sail on a beam reach all the way to the Marquesas.

Unfortunately, when you’re around other people, you can catch a cold real easy. That’s what has happened to me. Sailing is great when you feel well. It’s not that great when you don’t feel well. Considering the fact that I’m several hundred miles from Hawaii, there isn’t much I can to but to push on.

0335 UTC – 16º 4.915’N 150º 49.626’W

I continue to make good progress. The skies remain mostly clear and the seas are moderate. The wind speed dropped back a bit during the day, now blowing under 15 knots. At 7:00 PM, I went to bed, hoping that I would feel better tomorrow.

Day 4 – Sunday, August 27, 2017

I awoke at 4:00 AM. I felt a little better, but not much. There were lots of stars out. I made a cup of tea and enjoyed the fresh air.

1501 UTC – 15º 15.5’N 149º 49.734’W

My position report at 5:00 AM showed that I traveled almost 160 nm in the past 24 hours. I had a beautiful sunrise at 5:50 AM. One thing about heading east in a time zone is you get sunrises earlier and earlier.

At around 10:00 AM, I reviewed the wind forecasts for the next several days. I determined that, at my current pace, I would reach the ITCZ in 2 or 3 days time. I ran the wind forecast forward to 2 and 3 days and picked the spot that I would most like to be at when I made the crossing. This required me to slightly adjust my original course track. I decided to head for 10ºN 144ºW. In 2-3 days, that should be the point the I would meet up with the ITCZ. At that point, if I leave the helm set to a wind angle of 58º off the port tack, the boat should turn south for a bit. Once the wind was steady from the south, I would turn east and head for 6ºN 137ºW. Reaching that point should be another 2 days. Then I should be able to turn southwest and head for the Equator at 140ºW. From there, it would be a straight shot south to Hiva Oa. Such was my plan. I’m sure with the way the wind changes, I will have to make adjustments along the way, but I was quite happy with how my course was looking.

I had a good afternoon sailing. After taking some cold medicine, I was feeling better. At about 5:30 PM, I made another course adjustment. I decided that, since the wind is slowly shifting southward, I would increase my wind angle a few degrees. I’m pretty much planning to cross the ITCZ wherever the wind sends me.

0326 UTC – 14º 13.316’N 148º 58.304’W

The activity around the ITCZ is changing by the hour. It was starting to look like I might meet that area sooner than I had expected. I headed for bed around 7:30 PM, but planned to check my course several times during the night. As soon as the wind shifts to the south, I have to be ready to turn east.

Day 5 – Monday, August 28, 2017

1439 UTC – 13º 9.45’N 148º 19.476’W

I checked my course about every 2 hours last night. At 4:30 AM, I was continuing to turn farther south with my heading. The current wind map shows a dead zone about 250 nm southeast of my position. I’m hoping to avoid being becalmed. It looks like I still have a little more than a day before I have to worry about that.

By 10:00 AM, the seas were more calm and the wind was a steady 12-14 knots. The ITCZ looked completely different than it did earlier this morning. The dead zone I saw had vanished. Winds north of 10ºN were from the northeast and turned west at 10ºN. Winds south of 10ºN were from the southeast and met the north winds, also turning west. The GPS reported that I had 180 nm to go before reaching this zone. The problem is, as quickly as conditions change, by tomorrow this time, the ITCZ will have changed shape again. I have learned that, when sailing long voyages, course planning is continuous.

0302 UTC – 11º 56.75’N 147º 40.228’W

The rest of the day was uneventful. The sea was quite calm and the wind continued at the same strength. By about 6:00 PM, the winds ahead of me had changed again. The convergence zone moved farther south, which meant I would have another 2 days sailing before getting to a point where I could sail directly east. This isn’t a major problem because, on my present course, I’m pointed almost directly at my destination. How wonderful it would be if I could just sail straight there.

At 7:00 PM, I was ready to turn in. I adjusted the sail angle to 65º and that gave me almost 1/2 knots greater speed. I’ll probably do the same tonight as I did last night, that is to check on my course every couple of hours. What a wonderful day at sea.

Day 6 – Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1500 UTC – 10º 45.12’N 147º 3.603’W

I was up at a little before 5:00 AM. I checked the helm once last night and didn’t see a need to make any changes. I’m continuing to make good progress and I’m not far now from the ITCZ. After my position report this morning, I decided to add another 5º to the wind angle, so I’m now sailing a close reach of 70º on the port tack. I can tell I’m getting close to the equator. The air temperature is 82ºF and the water temperate is 77ºF.

By about 10:00 AM, the wind speed had dropped some. It was now under 10 knots, but the boat was still traveling at more than 6 knots.

At 2:30 PM, the wind really started to drop off. It was now down to 5 knots at times. I turned the boat to maintain a beam reach, which would give me the best speed for the wind. I was now in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. My hope was that the wind would not die off entirely. I figured I could try to power south as quickly as possible with the beam reach and pick up the south winds sometime tomorrow. I should sleep well tonight because the water is smooth as glass and there is almost no movement on the boat.

0301 UTC – 9º 34.054’N 146º 45.496’W

At the 5:00 PM position report, the wind was still right around 5 knots. My boat speed was 4-6 knots, depending on the wind. I wasn’t too worried. I was thankful to have any wind at all. It was such a peaceful day of sailing.

The wind began to shift farther south. I tried a couple of different wind angles to see where I got the best speed. I was concerned about heading too far west as the wind shifts. I found that I was making good speed with a close reach angle of 70º, so that’s where I put the helm. I’ll watch it again tonight for any necessary course changes. I had a beautiful sunset with the clouds that were to the west of me. At 7:00 PM, I left the helm to the auto-pilot and went below for what I hoped would be a solid night’s sleep.

Day 7 – Wednesday, August 30, 2017

1503 UTC – 8º 45.52’N 146º 22.648’W

It was a very slow night. At 5:00 AM, I recorded my position report and found that I had traveled only 53 nm in the past 12 hours. The wind was still very light this morning with the boat speed just under 5 knots. The one positive aspect is that the current wind suggests that, once the wind picks up, I should be able to sail almost directly toward the Marquesas. That would save me a lot of mileage.

At about 8:30 AM, the wind was increasing to 6-7 knots. My boat speed was now above 5 knots and the GPS reported not 9 days to the Marquesas, but 7 days. The other favorable change was the wind direction. Overnight, the ITCZ dropped farther south, but it seems like the winds are staying up. The forecast suggests that the ITCZ will move north again and the winds to the south should turn more southerly. It was looking like I might sail direct to the Marquesas from here, but it’s probably more likely that I’ll have to head east at some point and then south.

At about 1:30 PM, my visions of being able to sail direct to the Marquesas became just a dream. The wind took a dramatic shift to the south, which had me sailing too far west on the port tack. I had to turn to a starboard tack on a close reach of about 55º in order to try and stay on my current lattitude. Sailing direction for the next couple of days will be interesting as I try to find the best path through the changing wind directions.

0301 UTC – 8º 4.186’N 145º 50.364’W

The evening found me with about the same wind as this afternoon. The difference was that the wind continued to shift more south, which was good for me. I probably have 2 days of sailing east before I’ll be able to head back south again. I headed below at about 7:30 PM.

Day 8 – Thursday, August 31, 2017

1513 UTC – 7º 53.446’N 144º 35.865’W

I awoke this morning to rolling seas and whitecaps. Clearly my sailing on glass was at an end. The wind was blowing, still from the SSE, at 15-20 knots. I am sailing with the current right now, which is quite strong. My boat speed is about 7 knots, but my speed over ground is about 8 knots with the help of the current. I’m about 940 nm from Hilo, but I still have over 1,100 nm to go. It’s questionable whether I will make it to Hiva Oa before I have to leave for my IRL trip.

The seas became rougher as it got later in the day. I continued to make good speed. At about 3:00 PM, I lessened the wind angle because there were times when the wind was pushing me to head north of a 90º course. I don’t want to go backwards.

0323 UTC – 7º 46.368’N 143º 3.512’W

What a difference a little speed can make. At my evening position report, I discovered that I had traveled 92 nm in the past 12 hours. Contrast that with the previous 12 hours in which I traveled only 54 nm. I have about 185 nm before reaching 140ºW. At that point, I can start watching for an opportunity to turn south. Hopefully the wind will continue to be strong. It’s not as comfortable on board right now, but it’s an acceptable trade-off.

At 7:30 PM, I did my final check of the auto-pilot and I headed to bed. I’m not likely to get as good a night’s sleep tonight. I will probably check my course several times during the night.

Day 9 – Friday, September 1, 2017

I lost an hour overnight. During the night, I transitioned back across 142º 30’W, which means I’m on Alaska time now, 2 hours behind the west coast of the U.S. At 5:00 AM, I found the seas were a little more calm and at the position report, I had traveled 75 nm in the past 12 hours. I probably won’t see 92 nm in 12 hours again for a very long time.

1500 UTC – 7º 32.632’N 141º 48.739’W

The wind forecast shows that the area I’m in will continue with winds from the SSE for several days. At a little after 11:00 AM, I decided to turn to the port tack and head southwest for a while. I’m not far west of 141ºW. Since the winds move to the east as I get farther south, I decided to try to catch a better wind angle farther south.

0300 UTC – 6º 44.752’N 141º 28.493’W

At 6:00 PM, so far, my decision to change course earlier today was a really good choice. The wind continues to change direction, but I’m headed toward an equatorial crossing at about 143ºW. I expect the wind will start to move more from the east in the next day or so. I should be at the equator by Monday morning, which should get me to the Marquesas by a week from today. Wave action is pretty active and there are whitecaps, but the wind is generally staying under 15 knots. I wouldn’t mind if it would jump up about 5 knots. I think I’ll sleep better tonight because I’m now headed in the right direction again.

After taking my position reading, I calculated that I was 51 nm from my position 12 hours ago. That seems low, but it is because I was headed eastbound for most of the day, and most recently turned southwest. My actual distance traveled is probably closer to 70 nm. At 8:00 PM, I called it a day and headed to bed. The auto-pilot was set to follow the wind at a close reach of 55º on the port tack.

Day 10 – Saturday, September 2, 2017

1500 UTC – 5º 36.3’N 141º 45.206’W

I was up again at 6:00 AM. I had traveled a little over 70 nm overnight. I was still right on course for my equatorial crossing. The GPS estimated a little over 2 days, so I should be there sometime on Monday morning. The wind was blowing hard last night, but the wind had lessened a bit by morning. I decided to change my wind angle to 60º from 55º. It gave me a boost in speed and I’m still headed in the right general direction as the wind is starting to move from the east again.

Today should be a relaxing day with little to do but watch the water. I don’t expect I will have to make anymore course corrections today.

0300 UTC – 4º 17.05’N 142º 3.33’W

At the 6:00 PM position report, I found that I had traveled 82 nm since the position report this morning. That’s a good day’s sailing. Once I increased the wind angle this morning, my speed picked up and I was regularly at about 7 knots for the rest of the day. The waves aren’t too bad. I’m just skimming along with a good wind. All I need is for the wind to move farther east and I will make excellent time to Hiva Oa. I’m now about 36 hours away from the Equator. That will be a fun crossing. I’ll be able to switch radio channels to the South Pacific channel. Of course, it doesn’t really matter because no one on the simulator except me is on the radio system.

At 7:30 PM, I did my final check of the helm for the night and I headed below for another good night’s sleep, I hoped.

Day 11 – Sunday, September 3, 2017

1503 UTC – 2º 53.55’N 142º 16.18’W

I awoke at a little before 5:00 AM this morning. I’m still making a good pace south. The only negative factor is that there is a strong westward current that is skewing my course a bit. This shouldn’t be much of a problem once I get south of the Equator. Overnight, I traveled 87 nm. I have a little over 180 nm to go before I cross the Equator. The weather is clear, it’s about 80ºF, and the wind continues to blow 15-20 knots.

The current is really pushing hard to the west. There is 15º difference between my heading and my course. I’m still not worried because, as the afternoon wore on, the wind direction was continuing to change to coming more from the east. By the time I am south of the Equator, I should be able to almost sail directly toward the Marquesas. The wind speed is continuing to be 15-20 knots and my boat speed has reached 8 knots a few times. I feel like I’m on a race car headed to the South Pacific.

0312 UTC – 1º 27.23’N 142º 33.667’W

This afternoon, I crossed back over the Hawaiian Time Zone line, so the clocks went back 1 hour. My position report at 5:12 PM showed I traveled 88 nm today. In the past 24 hours, I have traveled 175 nm. That’s crazy fast. I am a little more than 80 miles from the Equator, so I will have a celebration tomorrow when I cross into the South Pacific Ocean.

By leaving the helm set to follow the wind, I am turning more south automatically. I will leave the auto-pilot as is and check my heading again in the morning. At 7:30 PM, I headed below for the night.

Day 12 – Monday, September 4, 2017

I was up early this morning. At a little before 4:00 AM, I was just north of the Equator. The current was not as strong, so my course and heading were closer together. My heading is continuing to turn more SSE, which is right on the wind forecasts. During the night, I crossed back into the Alaskan Time Zone, so I was back to being 2 hours behind the U.S. west coast.

1510 UTC – 0º 8.814’N 142º 24.996’W

My position report at 6:10 AM showed I’d traveled 79 nm overnight. I have slightly less than 500 nm to go before I reach the Marquesas. Thankfully, it looks like I will make it before the weekend when I have to take off on a trip IRL.

At 7:24 AM local time, I crossed the Equator at 142º 23.595’W and entered the South Pacific Ocean. Shortly after crossing the Equator, I decided to set the helm on a direct course to the north side of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. The wind direction had change sufficiently that I was mostly on that course with the helm following the wind. At my current pace, I expect to arrive at the Marquesas early Thursday morning. I figured that, if the wind moved south occasionally, it might slow me a little so that I would arrive after sunrise. At least I won’t have to tack again to correct for being off course.

The weather continued to be beautiful. At a little after 11:00 AM, I looked at my original course plan for anchoring at Hiva Oa as my final destination for this cruise. I noted that I had plotted my course around the leeward side of Hiva Oa and my final leg before turning to anchor was directly into the wind. Not very good planning on my part. It was time to re-evaluate what port I was going to call on first in French Polynesia.

The island of Nuku Hiva is farther north than Hiva Oa. I reasoned that the best course would be to sail down the windward side of Nuku Hiva, then sail west along the southeast coast, until I reached Taioha’e Bay, then sail north to anchor at the town of Taioha’e. By stopping at Nuku Hiva instead of Hiva Oa, I should be anchored safely in French Polynesia by Thursday afternoon.

The wind, although mostly from the ESE to SE, has dropped to SSE occasionally. Having the helm set to follow a heading ended up not being a good bet. There were a couple of times the boat speed dropped to under 5 knots when the wind was over 15 knots. The occasional change in the wind was bringing me too close hauled. I reset the auto-pilot to maintain a wind angle of 60º on the port tack close reach. With the extra time I have after changing destinations, I can afford to tack a bit, if necessary, once I reach the islands.

As it got later in the day, I was more and more frustrated.  The strong current came back and the wind returned to being almost exclusively out of the southeast.  Even though my heading was mostly toward Nuku Hiva, my course over ground was almost directly south.  I tried to lessen the wind angle to 55º, but that didn’t seem to help much.  I lost boat speed and was still making way mostly south.

0259 UTC – 1º 11.675’S 142º 19.46’W

By the time of my 6:00 PM position report, I had drifted about 7 nm west of my intended course track.  With the strong current flowing to the west and the wind being too far south, there was nothing I could do on my current course to correct the drift.  Earlier in the day, I moved the course line west to match my current location.  I decided that was digging myself a hole as I kept getting farther away from my target of 140ºW.  The only resolution was to turn to the starboard tack and head ENE for about an hour.  That should put me close to being back on my original course track.

After I made the course change, I reviewed the forecast for the winds.  The forecast showed that the winds would continue to be mostly out of SE to SSE until about 3:00 AM tomorrow.  At that time, the forecast shows the winds swinging back and being mostly out of the E by about 6:00 AM.  A change in the winds, as is forecast, would be very welcome indeed.

After about an hour on the starboard tack, I returned to the port tack on a close reach at 50º.  I will probably stay under 7 knots being so close to the wind, but I think it’s more important to make my way east.  Once I had the auto-pilot set, I headed below.  Here’s hoping the wind changes as forecast tomorrow.

Day 13 – Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I awoke at about 3:30 AM this morning.  I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that I was still only about 5 nm west of my course track.  That was the situation when I went to bed last night.  The wind must have been favorable enough to keep me headed in the right direction.  The wind speed has dropped a bit and the current has changed to a northwest flow.  Although the current is still pushing me west, it is not as much this morning.  Since the current is coming at me from the port forward quarter, I am losing about 1/2 knot in speed.

1533 UTC – 2º 15.872’S 141º 58.029’W

As frequently happens with weather forecast, the wind forecast I read last night ended up not being all that true.  For most of the day, the wind continued out of the southeast.  The wind speed is the same, but the current moved around to where it was coming toward me on the starboard side by evening.  The boat speed continued at 6-7 knots.

0310 UTC – 3º 28.927’S 141º 43.882’W

The course I was sailing continued to drift west ever so slightly.  At the evening position report, I realigned my course to my current location.  I imagine I will end up west of where I want to be when I reach the Marquesas.  Unfortunately, it can’t be help because of the wind.  I will deal with corrections that get me to the windward side of Nuku Hiva when I get much closer.  For now, my focus is on sailing a little more than 260 nm to my next waypoint.

At 7:30 PM, I made one last check of the helm.  I was at a 58º wind angle close reach on the port tack.  Another day and a half and I should be in French Polynesia.

Day 14 – Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I was up at a little before 5:00 AM this morning.  After checking the helm, I found that I was still close to being right on course.  The wind had dropped some overnight, blowing at 12-15 knots.  The direction has started the shift to more easterly, which helped me stay on course.  The winds must have slowed recently because my morning position report showed that I traveled 83 nm in the past 12 hours.

1525 UTC – 4º 48.381’S 141º 21.443’W

I have a bit over 190 nm to go.  I’m hoping that I will be arriving at the Marquesas around mid-day tomorrow and should be anchored by dinner time.

By mid-afternoon, I had a dilemma to resolve.  At 3:15 PM, I had 212 nm to go to my anchorage.  The GPS was reporting that it would be 18-20 hours before I reach the first islands in the Marquesas, north of Nuku Hiva.  Once I get to that point, I would have another 75 nm to sail to get to Nuku Hiva.  Add to that an IRL work assignment that came up, which will have me busy most of the day, until about 2:00 PM.  If I sail straight through where I am right now, I will not likely reach Nuku Hiva before sundown tomorrow.  I would really like to be able to see the scenery as I’m sailing into Taioha’e Bay.

I decided the best course of action would be to extend my sailing time by about 6 hours.  In order to do that, I decided to turn ENE and sail toward 140ºW.  If I sail this direction until I’m ready to go to bed, then realign my course and sail south again, I should reach the islands tomorrow afternoon.  Then I can sail to Nuku Hiva and be timed to arrive after sunrise on Friday morning.  This will certainly improve my sailing angle as the current has been pushing me west ever since I crossed the Equator.

0325 UTC – 5º 42.167’S 140º 58.171’W

My position report this evening was a little deceiving when calculating the distance from the previous position report.  That distance was only 59 nm.  I probably traveled 20 nm farther than that, but that distance was the result of my turn to the east.  I think the turn will work out well.  I was able to sail just east of 141ºW before turning south again.  The GPS reports I have 19 hours, give or take, before I reach the northern Marquesas Islands.  Hopefully, I should be back from my IRL work assignment by then.

Between now and the next waypoint, I decided to set the auto-pilot to follow the course direct to the waypoint.  The wind angles are much better with the sail I did to the east.  The boat speed may go up and down, but I’m not really in a hurry, as long as I arrive by Friday.  Once the helm was set, I went below for what should be another good night’s sleep.

Day 15 – Thursday, September 7, 2017

I was awake at a little before 5:00 AM.  It’s hard to believe that I was making such good time that I had to come up with a way to slow my progress a bit.  With my IRL work assignment today that was extended to almost all day, I was also on track to arrive at Nuku Hiva at night, something I wanted to avoid.

I decided to move my entry point into the Marquesas Islands a little to the east.  With that course change, I was sailing on a port tack close reach, at times I was sailing close hauled.  If the wind changed some and slowed my progress, that would be alright.  I wanted to extend my arrival at Nuku Hiva to Friday morning during daylight.

1458 UTC – 6º 57.375’S 140º 35.132’W

At about 2:45 PM, I was about 25 nm from the northern islands and reefs.  I decided to turn south and sail direct to Nuku Hiva.

At about 5:00 PM, I passed the northeast reefs and I was 73 nm from Taioha’e Bay.  It looks like I will still need to slow my progress a bit because that distance can be traveled in less than 12 hours.

0302 UTC – 7º 56.868’S 140º 3’W

After logging my position for my evening position report, I decided to extend my sail to include a cruise around the island of Ua Huka, which is just east of Nuku Hiva.  I should arrive at Ua Huka right after sunrise tomorrow.  After sailing around the windward side of that island, I can sail directly west to Nuku Hiva and should be anchored before noon.

I headed below at about 7:00 PM.  I figured I’d be up early for my arrival at Ua Huka.  At about 7:55 PM, I got an earthquake alert for an 8.0 earthquake that occurred off the southwest coast of Mexico.  The location and magnitude of the earthquake triggered a tsunami alert for the Pacific Ocean basin.  I stayed up for a couple of hours until I saw notices that were predicting wave heights in French Polynesia of about 1 meter above normal.  It would take the tsunami about 9 hours to reach French Polynesia.  Since I would be at sea, I would not be affected.  With at most a 1 meter wave, French Polynesia wouldn’t see any significant impact either.  I headed to bed for a few hours.

Day 16 – Friday, September 8, 2017

I was up at 3:30 AM.  When I came up on deck, I could clearly see Ua Huka off the starboard bow.  It was my first sight of land in more than 2 weeks.  I made it to the Marquesas Islands!  I cruised around the east side, then the south side of Ua Huka.  What a beautiful island, at least what I could see in the moon light.  Then I sailed west toward Nuku Hiva.

1532 UTC – 8º 58.319’S 139º 37.683’W

Sunrise was at about 6:30 AM.  I could make out the mountain peaks on Nuku Hiva in the distance.  I was sailing mostly on a dead run at about 6 knots with a wind speed of 12-17 knots.  This was certainly much more enjoyable than beating against the wind.

I had a very enjoyable sail along the south coast of Nuku Hiva.  I even got to see some sea birds, something the sim developers must have added recently.  I also saw chatter on the chat channel of others seeing dolphins.  Maybe I’ll see some other wildlife on my next voyage.

At about 10:30 AM, I turned north and entered Taioha’e Bay.  There were some pretty good sized swells outside of the bay, but it was mostly calm once I got into the bay.  Once I was well into the bay, I furled the Genoa and sailed only on the mainsail.  That dropped my speed to about 3 knots.  When I was to the anchorage that I had chosen just off the town of Taioha’e, I turned into the wind, dropped the mainsail, and set the anchor.  My official arrival time was 11:06 AM.

This was another great voyage.  The island of Nuku Hiva is breath-taking in the simulator.  I can only imagine what it looks like IRL.  For the next 2 weeks, I will enjoy my stay at Nuku Hiva.  Then it will be time to make my way to one of my favorite islands, Tahiti.

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