Hiva Oa! We Have Arrived! South Pacific – Day 25

4.19.18 @ 2300 Zulu Day #26….We have reached Hiva Oa! Latitude: 09°48 N Longitude: 139°01 W Distance to the Marquesas: 0 NM…We’re here baby! Distance from Punta de Mita, Mexico: 3027 NM Weather: Freaking Amazing! Sunny and Tropical with a nice breeze! Winds: E 6 Knots Sea State: Bay Swell 1’ Air Temp: 86° Course: Not moving for a few days! Speed: 0 Knots Barometer: 1011 Crew’s Mood: Over the top excited!
As I stepped into the cockpit for my final night watch of this portion of our journey I was struck by a long missed but familiar fragrance. It’s sweet with earthy undertones. Yes, it’s the smell of land! We are just 56 NM from the Northeast point of Hiva Oa and 72 NM from the bay. I’m delighted yet somewhat sad that this leg of our journey is nearing its end.
Before we left on this journey I had many people ask me questions like “What in the world would posses you to want to get on a boat and spend weeks at sea when you could just hop on a plane and be there within hours?” Well, first let’s discuss air travel these days. It is no longer the luxury form of transportation it once was. These days it is nothing more than a germ filled flying tube full of poorly dressed, poorly behaved, smelly crybabies who whine when they can’t bring their emotional support hamster or peacock on board. Sure, flights are relatively cheap but then you pay $25 per bag to check your luggage, $8 for a cocktail that once was complimentary and let’s not even discuss the overpriced, disgusting, chemical experiment they call food. Yes, it’s true, you get what you pay for!
On the other hand there is Dazzler. She’s an amazing and beautiful lady. She’s rugged and stout. She offers premium accommodations, home cooked meals, amazing water views, private, germ free restroom facilities and the company on board can’t be beat. There’s no lines, no pushing, no crying children and no, “I’m sorry, we’re overbooked. Yes we ruined your vacation and lost your luggage but here’s a voucher so your next trip with us is free.” By the way, giving me a free trip when you ruined the last one is like giving me a get out of jail free card after you forced me to spend a year in prison on a bogus charge. Just saying!
Okay, okay, enough about air travel. Back to the original question. “Why do this?” Honestly, if a person has to ask why we would do this then most likely they won’t understand anyway. Most likely adventure is not a part of their soul. You can see it in their eyes. It’s the look of confusion as they ask the question. They simply don’t appreciate or embrace the adventure of it. The destination is not what it’s about. It’s the journey that gets you there. It’s doing what man and woman were designed to do….explore! It’s seeing and experiencing things that relatively few privileged people will see and experience. It’s living in the moment and activating all of your senses with the sights, smells, sounds, touch and taste of that which surrounds you. It’s about exploring your inner self, facing fears and rejoicing in simple accomplishments like harnessing 8 knots of wind to get it to pull a 32,000 pound boat through the water at 5 knots. You see, for people who have adventurous souls there really is no “destination” because each new place leads you to the next in your quest to see more and experience more of life. This is who we are and why we do it is really very simple…we want to experience all that life has to offer, not just a tiny morsel of it.
Our boat is the vessel that allowed us to take this journey. She performed like an expertly trained athlete. Did she have a few mishaps along the way? Sure, but that is all part of the adventure. You see, the adventure was ALL we experienced along the way. It’s watching mama whales playing with their calves or cheering on a pod of spinner dolphin as they perform an expertly choreographed water ballet. It’s seeing fish fly and birds swim. Its watching the seas as they change from icy blue to aqua green and back again. It’s seeing the sunrise or sunset from a viewpoint that no other in the world is seeing at that very moment because you are the only ones within a few hundred miles. It’s the taste of the salt of the ocean on our lips as we work along side of each other in tense moments trying to fix something that broke and the way we smelled land long before we could even see it.
And, 25 days we have dropped anchor in Atuona Bay at Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. The bay is full of cruisers, it’s warm and there’s a nice breeze. We were greeted by Jim and Jeannette of Boo’s Blue who presented us with gifts of French bread, pastries and two Tahitian beers. Our friends on SV Dash, Mike and Kellie, stopped by and Mike even took us to shore for our check in to the country so we didn’t have to fuss with the dink. Our agent from Tahitian Crew, Sandra, greeted us on land and took us to the gendarmerie for our official check in. They spoke little English and we speak little French. Dan presented them with one of his California Highway Patrol patches. They, in turn, tore the patches off of their shirts (velcroed on) and presented them to him. Yep…I was in tears. I already am in love with the Marquesan people. Can’t wait to see what new adventures await us here.
So you see, the destination, or should I say, the current destination is now a part of the next leg of our journey. What we are about to experience here will become a part of our souls. The places, the people, the wildlife will all become a part of who we are as adventurers, as people. When we leave here to journey to the next place we will likely feel and think differently than we did when we arrived because we will have a new understanding of new people, their way of life and their customs. And so the adventure will continue and we will be better for it. THIS, is why we spent 25 days at sea when we could have just “hopped on a plane”.
Until next time…
P.S. We want to thank you all for following us, sending us your comments and cheering us along when things went sideways. You make all this work worthwhile. Now that we’ve arrived at our destination we plan to take time to enjoy it. For you, our loyal followers, it means we won’t be making a daily post for a while. We’re sure you could use a break from us and our daily rants anyway. We will still be posting but only twice a week. After all, we’re retired and this writing stuff is a lot like work. Ha Ha. Make sure you check back though as we will be posting lots of photos of these magnificent islands and the adventures we experience here.

South Pacific – Day#24

4.16.2018@ 0730 hours local, 1700 Zulu Day #24
Latitude: 07°36’S Longitude: 137°26’W Covered Distance Last 24 Hours: 118 NM Distance to the Marquesas: 165 NM Distance from Punta de Mita, Mexico: 2870 NM Weather: scattered clouds 20% Winds: ES-EN 16 knots SOG: 6.8-7.2 knots (First Reef in main, second reef in Jib and staysail deployed) COG: 203°T Sea Temperature: @ 300.9° Kelvin Sea State: ESE 1.5 meters Barometer: 1013 Crew’s Mood: Outstanding, anticipating arrival in Hiva Oa tomorrow mid day. Yahoo!
What about Grape Ape?
For many of our friends who know a little about Grape Ape you will understand. For those of you still in the dark, enjoy the continued story from where we are now. Imagine in your mind a purple haired orangutang looking creature. Do you have it yet. Good now you are caught up.
While working on the many different preparation projects on Dazzler in La Cruz, Grape Ape had a lot of fun with the freedom off the boat and he could come and go as he pleased. We had many rules for his antics off Dazzler as well as curfews. So he had some regulations similar to that of a teenager. Which came with much of the same teenager attitude and drama. Grape Ape loved to play on the jack shaped rocks along the break water of the marina and he loved to hang out in the trees near the roadway entrance to the marina from La Cruz. There was a small row of wild bananas there and some really tall trees that were home to many local iguanas. Grape Ape befriended one such iguana who’s name was Gordo, because he was one of the biggest iguanas around. Grape Ape and Gordo would hang around the trees for hours entertaining themselves with making comments of all the funny looking people walking by and their clothing options they wore. Now let’s be honest, just because Grape Ape has his own dungarees and an I Love San Diego tee shirt, he is not the master of fashion. But his clothes do match if you hear what I’m screaming. Still they had great times hanging out in the trees together. At first Gordo couldn’t believe that Grape Ape lived on a sailboat. But, he soon came around to the idea.
As the time of our departure drew near, Grape Ape spent more time off the boat. You could kind of sense he wanted to get as much land time as possible. One of the things we’ve made very clear to Grape Ape is that when our voyage takes us close to the Micronesian islands we will start a diligent effort to help him find his real parents. But, for now he seems content here on Dazzler.
Where does he stay aboard Dazzler, well a few years back now, he was given the choice of where he wanted to call his space onboard. Anywhere except the forward cabin. He chose the Lazarette, but only if Wilson could be there too. You see, he kind of takes care of Wilson like his buddy. I see you are asking who is Wilson. Let’s just say that the last movie he was in really messed his mind up. Not like it wasn’t already a bit sideways. Come on you know that movie with Hom Tanks. What was it called, oh yes, Castaway. Yeah, Mr. Tanks really let him go floating off into the Pacific and they never saw Wilson again. Pretty crappy lack of respect to a surviving Vietnam Vet. Grape Ape and I found Wilson getting a sun tan on a shore at Smith Island near Bahia de Los Angeles in the Sea of Cortez. He’s been part of the gang since.
Off we go, the lot of us,Captain Dan, Jilly, Grape Ape and Wilson. A few days out at sea we sighted a tanker ship bound for Japan. When Grape Ape saw the ship he immediately ran for the lazarette and hid. You see he thought it was the research ship that had taken him away from his parents when he was a few months old. We finally coaxed him out with peanut butter. This was his first time he had tried peanut butter and we still laugh about the shapes his mouth made and the expressions on his face while eating it. LOL To this day we have to watch him in the galley area as he will sneak into the cabinet, open the peanut butter jar and stick his fingers in the peanut butter. We wouldn’t mind so much but opening the peanut butter jar and finding a purple hair on the lid. Well you get the picture. We have used a sharpie to write on top of the jar, “Keep out, this means you Grape Ape!” Needless to say Jilly and I also like peanut butter. Unless you are some one with peanut allergies, Who doesn’t. I mean didn’t most of us grow up on PB&J. Not just because it was a cheap meal from our parents point of view. We actually liked it! You know when you get that, I’ve got to have something to tide me over to dinner urge. Yep, a peanut butter bender does it every time.
Among Grape Ape’s many things we let him do under way, he loves climbing the mast. He knows now how to NOT mess with the mast head electronics because of their importance to OUR floating home on this voyage. But he is an excellent deterrent to the many flying critters that want to take up residency on the top of Dazzler’s mast or radar arch at the stern. So he kind of has a little job. He has even given me some pointers on the skill of climbing. So, once in a while I let him think he is sneaking into the galley to get some peanut butter as a reward. Since we taught him how to use a spoon, he has been much better. We don’t find anymore purple hair on the rim of the jar. But, Jilly gets a little upset, because the galley sink is always getting pilled up with spoons lightly coated with peanut butter. You would think as much as he likes peanut butter he would lick every bit off the spoon. I think he gets distracted when his mouth and face are getting all distorted. I guess it’s a small price to pay when you are out of Mexican papaya. That is his favorite food especially when it is sprinkled with chili seasoning.
A few days ago, Wilson told Grape Ape that there was a prize for the first person who saw the mountains or land ho of the Marquesas Islands. He also told him a story about how pirates would put a man in the Crows Nest high on the tallest mast to sight for other ships and land. The next thing we know, Grape Ape has an Eye patch on and he is at the top of the mast looking for the Marquesas. When I came on watch that evening Jilly left it up to me to coax him down off the mast. Well, I can only tell you that if we didn’t have extra peanut butter onboard, he might still be up there. We also had a long talk about the earth not being flat and that there is a thing called the horizon and how you can’t see more than about 15 miles because of the curvature of the earth’s round shape. He just kind of stared at me like I had three heads. He now thinks he can see forever. Go Grape Ape, Go!
Like I mentioned the other day, Grape Ape was jumping up and down because he didn’t cause the Jib sail to fall off the track and into the ocean. He is a little weird at times and some of the things he does makes you go ewwwww, but he can melt your heart with his big brown eyes and his smile. I am happy for now he is part of our little high seas family. It will be a sad day when we find his real family. But, until then we both put on our eye patch, say argh together while clicking our peanut butter spoons in the air and wait to see land ho!
Until next time. Don’t forget to have lots of fun along the voyage of life.
Captain Dan
PS Grape Ape wanted to write a few words. I’m havng lots ‘o fun on Dazzler. I reely wan 2 thnk U 4 flowing wit mi people’s blog. They tak goood kare O Me. I mis my frends in La Cruz. Gordo and Chris nd Le’a.
PSS What are you going to do. He does his best and it’s from his heart. Besides he has really big finger tips and the keys are kind of small for him.
PSSS The photograph is of Grape Ape’s toy he gave to his Aunt Tina so she could remember him.