We arrived safely at the island of Eiao and anchored in Vaituha bay on the morning of 4-23-06 after 21 days and 1 hour on passage. On the final hours of approach to Eiao in the pre-dawn, about 20 miles off, I could just see the islands and interestingly I could also detect the faintest smell of land. Once anchored we mounted a exploratory trip ashore, cracked open a few coconuts and had a soak in a muddy stream. Karl was feeling ambitious so he embarked on a combination summit attempt and goat hunt, the summit was achieved. He forgot to take a radio so we kept a sharp look out for his return as the sun was setting and we had'nt spotted him yet. The surf was really up so he thought he might have to spend the night on shore and lit a fire to ward off some of the bugs. Having seen the fire I went in to pick him up and we had to do a "Navy Seal" pick up as I surfed in a wave and quickly turned out to sea as he jumped in just narrowly escaping a big breaker. Once on board we enjoyed a exhausted dinner of PBJ's and then experienced a major down pour with a few inches falling in an hour or less. I took the opportunity to do some laundry with 10+ gallons of rain water I bucket out of the dingy. We got to bed early with dreams of more than 6 hours of continuous sleep dancing in our heads.
On our second day we all went ashore to climb to the summit at 1888' and then Julie and me trekked the three miles across the island while Karl stalked some of the wild goats and boars on the island with his fishing spear (with one very near miss). During our 6 hour hike we encountered a major down pour that made for some amazing mud. The upper 500' of the island is almost completely barren and looks like a lunar landscape with pumice boulders teetering on soil pedistals and deep ravines cut out of the soft clay. We speculate that the feral goats have destroyed the native vegetation to the extent that the frequent and intense rain storms now make it impossible for anything to take root long enough to avoid the massive erosion. The streams are a thick brew of the caramel colored soil with a little water mixed in. So much sediment is in the tiny stream in our bay that the water is heavily discolored about 1/2 mile off shore and the sediment so thick that it stains your swim suit. The clay mud is tenacious and makes you an inch or two taller as is globs on your shoes. We slipped and slid our way through the jungle on the lower 1000' trying to follow a vague goat track that frequently kept us guessing which way to turn. The terrain is very steep with numerous cliffs, waterfalls and dense foliage making for a orienterring challenge. Once back on the beach we had a soak in the caramel colored creek, cracked open a few more green coconuts for a refreshing drink and went for a swim to shed some of the mud. The surf at the sketchy dingy landing site almost flipped us on the way off the beach and the anchorage continues to be rolly so we think one more day here at Eiao will be enough primitive adventure for a while.
Tomorrow (4-25-06) we will mostly hang out and relax and then in the evening we will depart for Nuka Hiva which will be a nice overnight sail of 10-12 hours. Once in Nuka Hiva we plan to officially check in to French Polynesia, do some shopping, catch up with some of the other cruisers and spend a week or so exploring the island and it's many anchorages before heading to some of the neighboring islands.
Here our our stats from the trip.
Distance sailed: 2820 nautical miles (nm) or 3215 statute miles (mi).
Best daily run: 165.5 nm
Worst daily run: 101.1 nm
Fastest hour: 7.5 nm
Slowest hour: 0.6 nm
Average speed: 5.58 knots.
Hove to: 20 hours (swimming  and waiting for daylight to make landfall ).
Sail plan: Single reef main, 135% Genoa (Port tack 40%, Starboard tack 40%, Wing on wing 20%, Spinnaker <1%)
Motoring: 5 hrs (5 knots)
Charging: 2.5 hrs
Rigging repairs: 2 hrs
Fuel consumption: 4.75 gal
Watches: 147 (49 per person with 74 hrs at night and 98 hrs during the day).
Log book entries: 505
Fresh water consumed: 80 gal or 1.25 gal per person per day.
Skippers Sleep: Best 6 hours and Worst 2 hours in 24 hours.
Broken gear: Blown spinnaker and rigging fitting failure that was successfully repaired.
Excitement: Round ups (1), waves through open port holes (5).
Crew Disagreements/Injuries/Illnesses: None.
Fish caught: 2 in four days fishing.
Casualties: 2 sea birds (flew into wind generators blades).
Ships sighted: 4
We have hundreds of great pictures and are excited to upload the best ones to our blogs at the earliest opportunity.
S/V La Vie