Outbound Nuka Hiva

Okay, all you Honorary Shellbacks and Virtual Crew...
Pura Vida is underway again!

Outbound Marquesas islands-inbound Tuamotus!

We departed Nuka Hiva last night before sunset...
Our last few days in the Marquesas were spent marveling at the astounding beauty of Taioa Bay, otherwise known as  'Daniel's Bay' to us, Euro-types.
As an unbelievably cheesy and exploitative by-line, this is the location where they shot the "Survivor Marquesas" season of that silly show-apparently they paid off all the locals to "move-out" of their pristine valley for the season!
Miraculously, Daniel's Bay was not spoiled by the notoriety.
No doubt, it's still too damn remote to build an "all-inclusive" resort, so i think it will remain safe--for now.

It was utterly spectacular, secluded, dramatically volcanic...
and a fitting place to bid farewell to these amazing islands.

We spent a few days in the protected anchorage, getting ready to cross and taking on water--by filling our Jerry cans from a fresh water tap, which we found by dinging up a jungle river (going only at high tide, when there was enough water for our hard-bottomed dinghy) and wandering through a valley filled with coconut palms and banana plants, dripping with flowers and sweet smelling vines and fruit trees of all kinds. The property belonged to some Marquesan friends of Mutuk's (whom we have caught up with again) and we were lucky enough to meet them and spend an afternoon with yet another warm generous local family when we tagged along to a wonderful luncheon they made to celebrate Ali's father's birthday...

After lunch, the crews of Mutuk and Pura Vida hurried back to the boats to hoist their dinghies and get out of the narrow bay before the sun disappeared behind the towering cliffs. A weather window had opened and the time was right to make the five day cross to the Tuamotus--so we jumped on it. Deciding when to cross to the "dangerous archipelago" --as they were always called before the advent of GPS--takes some forethought. Jon sent many days pouring over tide charts and maps and reading lots of cruising guides before making the call.

The Tuamotus is made up of low-lying atolls. Small, coral-reef-fringed islands... the highest point on any of these islands is the palm trees that grow there (making them hard to spot from a distance or in any kind of weather or seas) and the only way through the surrounding reefs and into the sheltered waters inside, are through narrow and notoriously difficult passes in the reefs.

Entrances and exits to these passes have to be timed to accord with the tides, which are accompanied by high outgoing and ingoing currents as the water from the ocean enters and leaves the lagoons. Do it wrong and you can easily get overpowered by current faster than your engine or worse, be met by towering standing waves.
I love to surf and all but I have no desire to attempt to use Pura Vida to ride into the lagoon!

When one doesn't have internet available--this is a math/moon/sunrise/sunset game that must be puzzled out before departure so you don't get stuck waiting outside, having to heave-to in the dark, sailing back and forth and waiting for your window--all while you are surrounded by atolls and motus (rocks).

Jon had been looking at the weather and monitoring the various systems in play-highs above us and low pressure swelling up from Antarctica... the trick is, you need enough wind to sail there and you want your timing to be right for making the pass of whatever atoll you're aiming for. Predicting weather--even with advanced weather programs--is surprisingly complicated for the uninitiated, so it was days and days of him humming and hawing and scratching his beard.

We left last night, with good winds.
Pura vida scooted along in second reef, in 18-22 knots.
We were making 7 knots average which was faster than we want if that was our average, a few hours into it we furled the headsail in to slow us to 5.5 which would put us in the Tuamotos in about 5 days.

That was last night.
We made 135 miles in 24 hours--we could have blistered along and it was tempting to do the crossing in less days but we liked our timing schedule and didn't want to rethink it too much and besides, we like to take it mellow on our old girl and her rig so, no sense in screaming along at 7 knots all night!

We are re-finding the familiar routines of passage-making.
Three hour watches and the sea berth is out again...
Fortunately, the weather has been the best we have had in ages, and the sailing has been great.
Winds have been steady, somewhere between 14-22 knots the whole time, so far.
The seas are pretty good, beamy but not too big.
And best of all, the clouds aren't marching along the horizon in nasty looking squalls...
they are high and puffy and floating around up there where I like clouds to be.

Beam seas, as illustrated by Transport Canada, are when the wind and waves are running perpendicular to the boat's direction of travel.

All is well and we are happy to be underway and on our way to a new adventure.

The Tuamotus are world famous for clear water, huge numbers of fish (and sharks!)
and world class snorkeling and diving...

Pura Vida dive team is stoked to put our compressor back together, get those scuba tanks pumped up
and make some bubbles!

I'm keeping our intended atoll a secret for now --but will keep y'all posted as we get closer!


  1. Vi amiamo tutti! Buon viaggio ai Tuamoti! Tu amo tu. Capisce?

  2. And... they're off!! I envy you the clear waters to dive in. We are at the lake in NY where there is NO visibility. Then again, no sharks either:-) Happy sailing! It sounds gorgeous. Lots of love. Can't wait to hear from you from your "intended atoll" xoxoxo, Mom/GS