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Sailing Adventures
10th May 2011
Final Comments

I am now back home in Tacoma, Washington. I flew from Hiva Oa on April 30th to Nuku Hiva, and then to Papeete. Linda had made my flight arrangements from Papeete to Seattle, and had made hotel reservations at Sofitel in Papeete for a few days, to decompress. The flight from Hiva Oa to Nuku Hiva was on a twin prop that held 22 passengers, and that flight was only a short one. I waited for the flight from Nuku Hiva to Papeete for a couple of hours, and it was a turbo prop that held around 80 passengers and was pressurized, so we could fly high enough to be above the most of turbulence. It was a nice flight and the sky was clear enough to see the atolls of the Tuamotu Archipelago. I didn’t have the best weather in Papeete, with rain falling just about every day, but at 80 degrees it wasn’t a hindrance. I took a tour on a 4x4 into the caldera of the volcano that formed the island of Tahiti. The caldera is about 5 miles across and has numerous waterfalls, which form streams that eventually lead to a lake that has a river that flows to the sea, just east of Papeete.
The flight home started at 12:30 A.M. May 8th, with me arriving in Honolulu around 6:30 A.M., it was raining when I left Papeete and raining when I arrived in Honolulu. I left the ground around 2:00 P.M. and arrived in the rain in Seattle at 10:30 P.M., (remember 3 hour time change.) Linda was there to meet me, after being gone for over two months.
Here are some final thoughts concerning the passage, which I will remember for our trip in the future. I think the passage from Mexico would be an easier passage because of the fact that it is over 1,000 miles less, and being able to supply and stock the boat in Mexico would be much easier. When traveling from the Galapagos Islands to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, the southern trade winds might not be available if they have shifted below your final destination, which means you will spend over 3 weeks in the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) during the passage, versus 4 or 5 days coming from Mexico. I think that having a third person when we make the passage would definitely make things easier. Linda has said she would be much more comfortable with that arrangement and would handle stocking the boat and preparing meals. I will make sure to have my HAM license prior to leaving the PNW, so I will be able to use Winlink for at sea emails to family and friends. The Sailmail program currently limits you to 90 minutes of connection time per week, while Winlink is unlimited. I would use Commanders’ Weather, (http://www.commandersweather.com), for planning and during the passage, as they provide detailed forecasts at a reasonable price. I found that the 6 hours watch from 1 to 7 in morning was not that bad, and it allowed the off watch to get at least 5 hours of interrupted sleep, with the daytime watch being just making sure someone was in the cockpit, and Linda could participate in this, which would allow 1 or 2 hour naps during the day. I would need to check for chafing at least every 2 or 3 days on sheets and sails during the passage. I would have spares for watermaker components along with plenty of filters, and spares for the generator. The weather and sea conditions were much more benign than I expected, even during squalls that had winds over 30 and gusts above 40 the conditions were not as bad as ones I have sailed in the PNW. I think that part of the reason is the mindset that the squalls are not going to last that long and you are not worried about hitting something hard, i.e. shore, along with the fact that the swells are steady and don’t change a great deal, while the wind waves will fluctuate.
I am definitely looking forward to making the “Coconut Milk Run” in Helios, and have been fortunate for the “Drivers Training” (what Linda called my trip) ahead of time. If you have comments or questions please feel free to email me.
Bruce Kilen – helios@harbornet.com



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Diary Photos
10th May 2011  Safari Tahiti 015 A
Waterfall within the caldera on the island of Tahiti

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