7th week on the Pacific Ocean: A timed arrival in Gambier

We arrived fresh and vividly after a long crossing. The timing couldnt be better; it was lunch time and we accompanied it with a fresh beer, our first since 7 weeks. Then we set the first foot on the island.

It has been a great, pleasant and remarkable sailing voyage. With the accent on sailing.

Here are the last three daily stories till the arrival. And then some sort of sailors evaluation by the captain why this trip was such a pleasure to sail.

Hard to get (3)

Day 1. Sat May 11 2024

Last days the predictions give very light winds. Sp we would be some days later. OK. The pedictions say the winds will be from the South. So we went to the South, That is really difficult in light winds. Sailing close hauled is difficult, because the wind angle becomes bad by your own speed. And, with a low speed you make much leeway. We had to navigate back and forth: to the WesSouthWest and then to the East South East, and again. Well ou can see our progress on the chart. We will be another 1 1/2 day later in Gambier; that time we spent to get 20 miles to the South on the latitude of the approach of Gambier.
Meanwhile, the predictions change, because especially light winds (small difference in air pressures) are very hard to predict. Now, two of the four models predict that there will hardly be wind in our area…

Our ETA. our estimated Time of arrival? We changed that concept. We made a new abbeviation: EWA, our Estimatied Week of Arrival.

Just preparing

Day 2. Sun May 12 2024

We had good winds today. Or, call it good winds, they were very light, but from the good direction. Our average speed sofar nears the 3 knots. Still slow, but we didnot make that the last days.
However, we are 35 miles from the approach point of Gambier.

Many times in the day the wind drops to practically zero. Then we don’t know wether this will it stay, or pick up after an hour or so? Or will it be windstill the whole day long? The predictions can’t tell, as the fysic forces of wind, pressure and temperature are too subtile. Sometimes we talk like we are superstitious. Like: “don’t say that the wind could drop, because then it will drop.” Or when we have a good speed, someone calculates: “We could be there in 8 hours!” then the other whispers:”don’t say that out loud, you are challenging our chances!”

We are making 2 knots know. Suppose it stays this way, we would get before Gambier early in the morning. So we prepared. Like the navigational stuff: how to approach, the light lines, the buoys, the land marks.
But, don’t think that we do this because we think will be there tomorrow morning. We just prepare. Just in case of

Arrived in Gambier

Day 3. Mon May 13 2024

Early afternoon Ya arrived on the anchor place before Rikitea in Gambier.
Here some numbers.
* It took us 46 days, so 6 1/2 weeks, from Panama to Gambier
* It is 3800 nautical miles and we made 4100.The extra 300 miles were mainly made int the windstill areas
* The doldrums of about 400 miles has taken 10 days, the other 3600 miles took us 36 days.
* The longest day distance was 142 miles, the shortest 13 miles, when we had to tack against very light winds. The average day distance is 90 miles.

* We have left 1 orange, 3 apples and 5 limes. This last day we ate our last piece of cabbage.
* We still have food for 10 days.
* We have 150 liters of water in our tanks, thanks to one time it rained, making us get about 80 liter.
* We only have 38% in our battery bank since the regeneration of the motors didnot work.

Most important, we are 100% happy with the trip and the way we did it together

Preparation is the base

The key to this nice and pleasant long distance sailing, is formed by the crew. The sailing spirit, the positive attitude, the will to adapt, to learn. But that needs a solid base, and the key to that is the preparation. That is not only the ship shape, the right charts and tools. Just as important is a good preparation of the food. You see that most clearly on the vegetable and fruit. From the very buying it (choose the vegetables and fruit that do not rot easily) to transport and the storage (no brewsing.) We, and mainly Pierrot, did it so thorough and carefully, that after 6 weeks we still had a piece of white cabbage. And when we arrived, we even had some fruit left!

The apples were very hard and sour when we bought them. After 6 ½ weeks they still look remarkably fresh. The orange is directly from the Panamese farmer. So not chilled, green when we bought it, and pretty sour. But during the week they riped and we ate them all except for the one here.

The brown color on the skin didnot affect the inside yet. But it is a good sign this is the last stage. In case the rotting process had started, we use our senses: when it looks or smells or tastes not OK, it is not OK


The final part of the voyage

When Pierrot went on watch in the night before arrival, Peter asked him to get to a waypoint before Gambier around 7 o’clock in the morning. From there we could do the 15 miles approach to the anchor place in daylight because it is full of coral reefs, Pierrot managed to regulate the speed that well, that exactly at 7 o’clock in the morning, Ya was only 145 meters away from it! That is a true sailing skill.

We found our way between the coral reefs, and buoys of the pearl fishers nets. 4 hours later we anchored.

We were happy. After 7 weeks we drank a beer. That tasted and, not used to it anymore, we got light in hour heads. Exactly the time and the mood to make a festive photo moment.