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May
28

Our first impressions of French Polynesia

Mangareva is the main island of the Gambier archipelago in the south-east of French Polynesia. Due to their location at the southern fringe of the tropics they have a mixture of tropical and temperate vegetation. The outer reef encloses these handful of islands and protects them from the ocean swell. The lagoon is calm as a lake — an incredible oasis in the middle of… Continue reading »

May
27

Socks-and-soup weather

At the moment a low is passing by south of the Gambier islands sending freezing cold air up here. We’re shivering in temperatures in their low 20s–we’re just no longer used to temperate climates and have dragged the long trousers and hooded sweaters out of their hiding places in the back of the cupboard. Here it’s autumn and we just hope that the winter won’t… Continue reading »

May
24

Pretty Mangareva

During the last week we’ve been trying to catch up with boat projects that have piled up over the past few weeks. We’ve been busy cleaning the waterline (incredible how much grows on a passage and how hard it is to get off), sewing the zipper of the lazy bag, washing and storing sails after the passage, doing the laundry (fortunately there’s a friendly German… Continue reading »

May
24

Garmin GPSmap 4xx — How useful is a mini (4-inch) chartplotter?

On a small sailing yacht, power consumption is a real issue, particularly on passages. A wind generator is typically useless on a downwind course and often the sails shade the solar panels and there might be days with a thick cloud cover. Some electrical devices can be assumed to be running 24 hours a day: the fridge, some instruments (e.g. log, wind, …), a VHF… Continue reading »

May
23

Photos of our long passage

May
21

Pitufa in French Polynesia

Finally we are where we long dreamed to be. We’ll spend the rest of the year exploring the Isles Gambier, maybe some atolls of the Tuamotus, and the Marquesas.

May
20

Rainbow island

The approach to the harbour of Rikitea on the main island of the Gambier archipelago was a bit more exciting than we’d have hoped for being exhausted after 24 days at sea. The wind gusted up to 30 knots when we approached the pass through the outer reef (the archipelago is surrounded by a huge diamond-shaped reef, 20 miles diameter). We had to motor right… Continue reading »

May
18

Arrived!

Arrived. Champagne & tapas. Sooo happy!

May
17

Almost there!

Yesterday the wind got quite strong, in the evening we put the mainsail into the second reef–a wise measure: during the night we had up to 30 knots of wind. The Gambier Islands are just 50 nm away now and in order to arrive there in daylight we now have to deliberately slow down, which feels funny after crawling along for a week wishing for… Continue reading »

May
16

Day 22 and 222 miles to go

We’ve been at sea for 22 days, still have 222 miles to go and expect to arrive in 2 days. We have strong winds now, Pitufa’s rushing fast towards her first South-Sea atoll. We can’t wait to finally get to the Gambier Islands! We’ve started with our ‘French in 30 days’ textbook, Christian’s reached the 3rd lesson, I’m warming up my highschool French and have… Continue reading »

May
15

Rushing downwind!

The whole last week a weak, slow moving front (according to the NOAA forecast) followed us, resulting in fickle winds from different directions and complete calms in between. In the beginning we were glad to get some rest, be able to clean the boat, bake bread, etc., but after a while we got extremely impatient. Being becalmed means either crawling along with flapping, banging sails… Continue reading »

May
14

350 miles to go

For whatever technical reason we could’t post on our blog for a while, but the problem is solved again. Thanks Thomas! After almost a week with light and fickle winds, it seems, according to the forecast, we’ll have good sailing conditions for our remaining 350 miles to go.++++++ Wir konnten fuer eine Weile keine Berichte auf unseren Blog schicken — aus welchem technischen Grund auch… Continue reading »

May
10

post-by-email

It seems our post-by-email feature stopped working. of course exactly then when we’re in the middle of the pacific ocean… all is well onboard.

May
10

Blue, bluer, bluest!

The wind continues to be very light, last night the breeze died almost completely down… We’re now wistfully thinking back to the Med, when being becalmed meant sitting on a flat, mirrorlike sea. On an ocean there’s almost always swell and the waves take a long time to go down. Being becalmed here means rolling heavily with violently flapping sails. Therefore we turned the engine… Continue reading »

May
09

Sloping again

The wind has turned too northerly for our twin headsails (we can only go up to about 120 degrees to the wind with the twins up), so we spent an hour taking the poles down, changing the configuration and are now beamreaching with mainsail up again. Pitufa’s sloping, but this time to the portside–so sitting on the loo’s less adventurous and everything stays in the… Continue reading »

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