Penrhyn article in Cruising World April 2019

We have a few articles accepted for publication in the renowned Cruising World magazine, and the first one has now actually made it into the April issue. This one is about our stay in Penrhyn.

Birgit Hackl, Christian Feldbauer: A Cook Islands Highlight, Cruising World, April 2019.


Matapukurega Festival

There’s a 3 day long cultural festival going on in Rikitea at the moment. Groups from Hao (Tuamotus), Hiva Oa (Marquesas), Tubuai (Australes), Faaa (Tahiti) and even Rapa Nui (Easter Island) have arrived, events take place every evening and it’s great to see and hear the differences in their dances and choirs. The anchorage has filled up with boats, almost 30 are anchored here at the moment.
Unfortunately the weather’s not playing along. It’s blowing hard from the SE, the dancers are shivering while waiting for their performances and the cruisers watch in their foul-weather gear ;-) On the first day it was still sunny, yesterday cloudy and today it’s raining…


Summer’s coming to an end

This year the summer weather in the Gambier hasn’t been great and now it seems that it’s coming to an early end. The second mara’amu (strong southeasterly wind) is bringing chilly airmasses to us and a sniff of winter’s in the wind.
We’ve been really busy between boat projects (e.g. we got new foam from Tahiti and redid our sofa including new upholstery), writing and the usual daily chores. Whenever the weather was nice we got out for some fun activities with friends–sticking to our ‘carpe diem’ approach to avoid getting frustrated in unreliable weather…


Cruising Info on Rapa Iti

Our little cruising guide on Rapa Iti, the southernmost island in the Australs, is finally on-line!


Cruising info on Tubuai

We’ve put a short cruising guide for Tubuai in the Austral Islands onto our blog.


Rainy weather program

This summer we get more windy and rainy weather here in the Gambier than usually. We don’t mind so much as we have plenty of jobs on our to-do list. At the moment the southeasterly’s blowing hard, but we’re tucked into a little, protected bay getting some work done. So far we’ve done engine maintenance (changed diesel and oil filters followed by a thorough bilge-cleaning), maintenance on the watermaker and the past two days were dedicated to sails: the leech line of our yankee headsail had chafed through, so we took the sail down and sewed patches over the damaged parts (fortunately our old ‘Pfaff’ household machine’s up to such work…). Today we stowed it away, got the big genoa up that we use for downwind sailing and rearranged the forecabin.

The weather forecast for tomorrow looks better, so maybe we’ll get off the boat for a change. There are no trails on this side of Taravai, but equipped with a machete, long sleeves and trousers and gloves we should be able to make our own path through the reed;-)



The weather’s back to gorgeous summer conditions here and we’re exploring the more remote islands of the archipelago.


Nasty weather

Just now that we have a visitor (my dad is here) the weather has turned unseasonably nasty in the Gambier. A trough with fronts, strong winds and lots of rain has kept us mostly on the boat for the past 4 days. There were 30 boats in Rikitea, which made life in the anchorage quite exciting when the boats were swirled around in gusts and some of them dragged. Now we hope for some settled weather!


Finally! Photos of our mooring project in Rapa Iti

A Mooring for Rapa Iti

To protect the delicate coral and to make life easier for visiting cruisers, we installed a mooring together with the community of Rapa Iti. This mooring can be picked up at S27°36.808' W144°20.034'. More moorings are planned.

(21 photos)



Ever since we arrived in the Gambier we’ve had perfect sunny, breezy and hot summer weather. We really needed these conditions after the rainy time in Rapa Iti–we had accumulated two laundry bags full of humid clothes (yuck) and due to the lack of circulation the interior of the boat was mouldy all over.

We stayed out on the motus, spent a week doing laundry in the mornings, cleaning furniture afterwards (first with vinegar then with oil, we call it the ‘salad treatment) and we still found time to go snorkeling in the afternoon and hang out with friends.


Back in the Gambier Islands

After a squally night with a few thunderstorms we’ve just crossed the southern barrier reef of the Gambier Islands. We’re motoring against the wind and glad that we’ve arrived. The passage wasn’t smooth, but full of smoothies–we had a ripe stack of bananas and lots of yoghurt (thanks to a thriving Kefir culture), so we made banana-yoghurt smoothies twice a day ;-)


Fast and on course

Finally we’re flying along with 7 knots in SE winds and we’re right on course. Unfortunately the grib shows NE winds for later on–that would be noserlies for us… We hope for the best, 110 nm to go!


Finally on couse

Last night the wind finally switched to the SE and we’re on a direct course to the Gambier. 230 nm to go!



The Gambier Islands lie northeast of Rapa Iti, but so far we’ve only made miles to the east, because we’ve had NNE to ENE winds, so we’re making quite a detour… The forecast predicts easterlies and then southeasterlies so we hope for the best. 310 nm to go!


Bad for sailing, good for baking

The squalls have passed, today we have light northeasterly winds, so we’re neither fast nor on course, but at least it’s calm enough for baking. We had fresh bread for breakfast and now the last nectarines from Rapa have jumped into a fruit cake ;-)
345 nm to go!

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