ende

2021
18
Oct

Arrived in Tikehau

We arrived 2 days ago in Tikehau after a rough last day with winds well above 20 knots (feels more when you’re bashing into it close-hauled), went through the pass with first daylight and were glad to have tracks inside the lagoon from a previous visit. That early in the morning with the sun low above the horizon it’s impossible to spot coral heads under the glittery surface of the sea, so following a GPS track is the only safe way to make it to the protected side of the lagoon.

It’s been blowing hard ever since, but we managed to get the foresail down in between 2 squalls, dry it in between 2 squalls, so we can repair it today: during the rough passage the seams of a previous repair got ripped out–today we’ll put double seams that’s for sure ;-)

2021
15
Oct

Slow start

We had slow start and the wind didn’t pick up until the evening, so we won’t make Makatea in daylight. We have therefore changed course towards Tikehau instead. The wind is now steady from the ESE and we’re doing 5 knots. 108 miles to go at 7:00 local time.

2021
14
Oct

Off to sea!

We’re finally off again! No more Facebook, no more i-net surfing, just emails and blog posts (which are automatically posted on FB) from now on AND lots of blue, turquoise, sharkies, fishies and hopefully some whales :-) The little island of Makatea lies ahead, we should get there tomorrow.

2021
14
Oct

Velvet Paws available in the animal shelter Linz

The animal shelter of the city of Linz (Austria) is also putting our book about Leeloo on display, 5 Euros per book are dedicated to support their wonderful work. Thinking about all those abandoned velvet paws there who are waiting for a new family makes my heart ache… If you’re considering enriching your life with a pet, don’t buy a kitten or puppy from a breeder, but check out your local animal shelter and give an abandoned cat (or dog) the chance to enjoy life again.
Thanks a lot to the folks at Tierheim Linz: https://www.tierheim-linz.at/

2021
14
Oct

On Velvet Paws towards a good cause

Dr. Schneck, the vet in Graz (Austria) who helped us getting all our vaccinations, certificates and titer timings right, has agreed to put up “On Velvet Paws Towards the Horizon” in his veterinary clinic. 5 EUR per book go to a local animal protection organisation.
Thanks Dr. Schneck!

https://www.tierarzt-schneck.at/

2021
11
Oct

Leaving Tahiti

…just for Moorea, so not really a passage, but we had flat seas, a steady breeze and it was a nice sail! All the usually automatised moves took some remembering, but everything went well.

2021
04
Oct

Our article about atoll passes in the Cruising World Magazine

Cruising World has been one of the world’s leading sailing magazines for 30 years, so it’s a bit of an honour to get published there :-) Our article about atoll passes is in the current October issue: “Tackling the Pacific atoll passes” explains the variety of factors that determine currents and gives advice on how to enter and exit atolls safely.

2021
03
Oct

We’re writing for Boating New Zealand!

We already have a nice list of prestigious sailing magazines where our articles are regularly featured, but we’re happy to announce that from now on you’ll find articles made on Pitufa also Down Under! Boating New Zealand, NZ’s number one selling and largest boating magazine, has our article about the pitfalls of modern navigational aids in the October issue. “Blinded by Tech” warns that proper seamanship, watches and a look-out can’t be replaced by gadgets ;-)

Birgit Hackl, Christian Feldbauer: Blinded by Tech, Boating New Zealand, Oct. 2021, p. 124–127.

2021
02
Oct

Ship’s Cat Article in All-at-Sea Magazine

Birgit Hackl, Christian Feldbauer: Ten Years Cruising with a Ship’s Cat, All At Sea Caribbean, Oct. 2021, p. 52–54. Download the whole magazine for free.

2021
21
Sep

Whales!

From July until November humpback whales migrate up to warm waters, where the females give birth in the protection of lagoons, undisturbed by large predators (and hopefully humans). During those months you can often see groups of whales near outer reefs, sometimes in passes or even anchorages. Due to the lock-down we haven’t moved much this year, so we’ve only had our first whale encounter of the season today. We only saw them from far away, some broad, black backs and then the huge tail fins waving good-bye as they dived down. Hopefully we’ll get lucky and some of those gentle giants will come closer to the boat soon!

2021
11
Sep

Common sense

French Polynesia has been in a lock-down now for 2 weeks. Low vaccination rates led to an explosion in cases after the delta variant arrived and really made this lock-down necessary. We fully agree that measures were needed to limit the spreading of Covid here. Yes, it makes sense to prohibit sports events and group activities where people gather. But why harass surfers and paddlers who are out alone? The police seriously goes out into the lagoon to check whether they have filled out a form and somehow carry it with them (you ARE allowed physical exercise, but only with a form in your pocket). Why limit opening hours of shops? The result is that more people crowd the shops at the same time… The police are stopping cars and pedestrians to check whether they carry their forms and I did not see them disinfecting their hands in between checks. Vaccinations are given without appointments, so unvaccinated people are encouraged to queue in front of the centers…

Some common sense–both from the authorities and from the people–is needed in this situation. Avoiding crowds, wearing a mask and washing hands is not that difficult.
We just try to stay away from it all in the meantime in our autonomous little nutshell…

2021
08
Sep

“On Velvet Paws Towards the Horizon” is now available as an e-book!!

Those of ship’s cat Leeloo’s fans who are roaming remote places can now get the kindle version of her adventurous life. Usually internet is way too pricey here in Fr. Poly to tackle big uploads, but Vini (mobile phone provider) gave out lock-down data presents and I used it all up to create an e-book! Available now on Amazon

2021
05
Sep

Article in Yachtrevue Magazine

Birgit Hackl, Christian Feldbauer: Und ewig lockt der Horizont–Zehn Jahre unter Segeln, Yachtrevue, Sep. 2021, see teaser online.

2021
27
Aug

Shark photos

We love sharks :-) Here are some impressions of our encounters and experiences with different species.

We love sharks!

Sharks are relentlessly hunted in many areas for their fins and (cheap) meat. Here in French Polynesia they are protected, but illegal shark fishing boats come into coastal waters anyway, local fishermen kill them as competition and worried parents fear for their children and kill them along beaches. Big species (great whites, tiger sharks) are indeed dangerous for swimmers, but accidents occur seldom. The reef sharks we meet in lagoons are curious and harmless. Bigger species (lemon sharks, hammerheads, pelagic white tips) have become rare here and they are usually only aggressive, when there's blood in the water (when people are spearfishing).

(18 photos)

2021
21
Aug

Lockdown in Tahiti and the Societies

With 2700 cases/100.000 inhabitants, swamped hospitals and full ICU units the government has finally announced a new lockdown for 2 weeks. It’s a bit vague though: people are still allowed to go to work or shopping (necessary things), the international borders remain open, inter-island travel is limited to people with “important reasons” (which is a broad term as any business reason or family reason counts). Tourists are not encouraged to leave the country and still allowed to fly in, but will have to remain in their rooms or their cabins on cruise ships?!
No special restrictions for yachts are mentioned (yet). We hope that fellow cruisers will keep a low profile, respect the restrictions and don’t draw attention to the cruising community here. Otherwise there might be restrictions like during the last lockdown when swimming was forbidden, only one person per boat was allowed briefly ashore to go shopping, etc. Such measures don’t seem to focus on containing the virus, but more on making life miserable. The same goes for the locals of course: going fishing or paddling in a va’a is unlikely to do harm, but still forbidden. Looking out at the usually busy coastal road it seems there’s a little bit less traffic, but still lots of cars on the road…
Cases have been rising explosively over the past few weeks, the lockdown comes very late. We’ll see how things develop.

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