Pacific ocean... crossed!

Today we completed our crossing of the open Pacific Ocean when arrived at the island of Fatu Hiva, the southernmost island of the Marquesas islands. Paul was on watch as dawn broke at 05:42 and was the first to spot the island as we approached from the south west. At this point the island was 30 miles away. The first impression was of the huge vertical cliff on the southern end.

Since leaving Puerto Ayora in the Galapagos on the 23rd March we have sailed and it has to be said, motored for some) 3024 nautical miles in 19 days 1hr. We had scurried around to source extra diesel on our last day in the expectation that we may have had to motor for nearly 2000 miles if there was not enough wind to keep us going at 5.5 knts. As it turned out we only had to motor for the first 3 and a bit days before we got enough wind to exceed the minimum speed we needed to get me to Hiva Oa in time for my flight to Papeete on the 16th April.

The crossing went very smoothly, we had enough a few things to check, replace or repair but overall it was an easy crossing with only a couple of rainy squalls requiring a reef to be taken. For the majority of the time we we sailing in what I christened 'Three sail sailing' mode. Essentially the full set of white sails, mainsail and staysail to port and the genoa poked out to starboard. This set up allowed us to sail downwind, or just 10 degrees off, but leaves little room for manoeuvre if the wind direction changes. We did unpack the Parasailor, just once..., and found that although it was easy to fly, and gives more room to respond to changes in wind direction, it didn't make us faster that the 3 sail sailing and if we were to keep it flying through the night, would need 2 person watches... Sadly it has not yet earned its keep.

We will sail to Atuona in Hiva Oa on the 13th in time for Anne's arrival on he 14th and my departure on the 16th.

The 3 photos attached show Fatu Hiva from about ten miles out, a view into the anchorage just off the village of Hanavave and a picture of the French Polynesia flag above the Quarantine flag we fly before we get cleared in to the country by immigration and customs.

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