Daily updates describing the voyage of the yacht Aldebaran



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9 July
Hi Graham, once they are settled in Tahiti pls ask them to drop me a line, I would come to see them in order to do all their paperwork. best Regards, Cindy
-------- Message d'origine--------

De: Annette & Graham [mailto:grahamc@paradise.net.nz]

Date: sam. 09/07/2011 08:22

À: DITTRICH Cindy

Objet : ALDEBARAN - UPDATE

Hi Cindy,


The current position of the yacht Aldebaran is 13º19'S, 145º09'W. They are currently on their way from Hakahau to Rangiroa Atoll. They will arrive early Sunday morning probably into Avatoru. They plan to stay 2 nights and leave on Tuesday for Papeete. They asked me to ask you if there is anything they should have done or need to do before they arrive or when they arrive please?
I speak to them by radio every evening and can pass any information on to them tomorrow.
10 July

Aunt Natalie is OK with the whale thing-and is wondering if Carl intends to bring a new niece for us home with him!


10 July
The yacht has made very good progress overnight and this morning and they were hoping to enter Rangiroa on low tide at 5.30 this evening but then the wind dropped considerably and they decided they weren’t going to make it, so they are hove to about 25 miles out (14 50S, 147 16W) and will wait there till about 3am when they will go the rest of the way and enter the Tiputa passage on low tide at 6.25am.  They will probably go back to bed then to get some sleep.  There are only two entrances into the lagoon, Tiputa and further west, Avatoru (see attached map) and they need to enter within 30 minutes of low or high tide to avoid the high currents through the passage.  Maps attached showing progress and position in relation to the atoll.

 

It has been very good sailing today with lower sees and a good wind, both from the south east, a warm day with little cloud.  They have had dinner and are going to watch one of Carl’s movies before going to bed (with someone on watch of course).  They plan to leave again on Monday evening which will get them into Papeete in Tahiti on Wednesday morning where they plan to stay at least a week.



 

Till tomorrow

I still update the web page showing yacht locations and trip statistics on a daily basis (otherwise I’ll forget!) if anyone is interested at http://angnz.com/aldebaran/.  There is a link to this from the blog as well
11 July
The yachties had an uncomfortable night sitting stationary rocking around on the open sea (Andrew says they need more practise at that as it is the first time they’ve tried it) under a bright moon and then entered the passage this morning and anchored in the lagoon at Tiputa at 8.30am.  A very pretty place with quite a lot of boats there.  They are beside a large luxury boat complete with helicopter speedboat etc.  There is very little in the way of commerce with one small shop and a couple of very expensive restaurants.  The little shop had very little fruit and veges but did have some of the island grapefruit that they got given in the Marquesas however at US$5 each they didn’t buy any.

 

They went snorkelling this morning and saw a number of sharks and a lot of small reef fish.   They plan to hire some bikes to have a look around tomorrow and then leave tomorrow evening for Papeete.


12 July
Had a long talk with Andrew today much of it about power generation, wind, solar, and fuelled, but we did discuss their activities today as well.

 

They initially anchored behind the little island inside the Tiputa passage and the later moved to be just off the jetty at the adjacent island (see attachment1).  Carl Leslie and Andrew hired bikes and cycled the length of the island to the larger town of Avatoru which is by the only other major passage in to the lagoon.  The island is apparently really nice and very pretty.  Lisa stayed behind as she was not feeling 100% and they think they will clean out the water tanks when they get to Tahiti as the water has been in there for nearly 2 months.  On their cycle tour they stopped at a little café/bar for a drink and Andrew related how they clean the cans in the islands (they have seen it before).  The guy gets the can of soda or coke out and rubs his fingers around the top then spits on it and rubs his fingers around it again to clean it and then hands you the can to drink.   Hygiene has a different meaning in the islands it appears!!



 

Late afternoon they motored up the inside of the atoll and out into the open sea through the Avatoru passage (see attachment2) and were at the location shown by the green yacht (14 55S, 147 44W) when I was talking to them a bit over an hour ago (0400 UTC) (see attachment 3).  They are still motoring as there is no wind and the sea is calmer than they have ever seen it before – about a 1 foot swell, but when they get clear of the islands they should get 8 to 10 knots of wind.  They have a bright moon tonight to sail by and expect to arrive in Papeete on Wednesday morning.

 

13 July
They have made reasonable progress today.  It was dead calm all night so they motored but this morning the wind and the swell came up and the day has been somewhat unpleasant.  The wind is only 12 to 15 knots and the sea about 5 or 6 feet but the sea is right on the bow, they are sailing SW and that’s where the sea is coming from.  Carl and Andrew are feeling a bit shady was the term used but the others are all fine.  They should arrive in the morning at Papeete.  They are currently at 16 29S, 149 01W (map attached) with about 80 miles to Papeete.  Don and Leslie are on duty so Andrew was off for some sleep.

 

Carl Leslie and Lisa are still avid readers with Don and Andrew also reading but not as much.  They have a supply of books on board but also have two kindles and had downloaded a lot of free books from Amazon before they left.  Andrew is currently wading his way through Don Quixote (both books).  Carl also has quite a number of movies and TV programs and they watched a number of them the night they were hove to before reaching Rangiroa.  They also have been watching episodes of True Blood.



 

There may or may not be a report tomorrow night as they will be in port, probably with internet access, but if Andrew comes up on the radio then I will make some comment on their activities.


15 July
Hello all,
 
I sent this previously but it apparently did not go out so...here goes again.
 
Had a skype call conversation with Leslie last evening and not much new to report. They landed in Papeete after a rough passage from Rangiroa and are happy being in "civilization" again where stores and shops, cafes, etc., are pentiful.  Not that they didn't enjoy their previous visits to islands, but there were very few facilities there.
 
The plan is to spend a week or two in Tahiti working on the boat...scrubbing things off the bottom, cleaning, etc., then off to Bora Bora which looks like relatively short passage.
 
All are well and pass on their hellos.
 
Best,
 
Lary
26 July
Thanks Cindy, I'd better start listening for them on the radio. I really appreciate you're help
Graham
-----Original Message-----

From: DITTRICH Cindy [mailto:ppt.cdittrich@cma-cgm.com]

Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 12:32 PM

To: grahamc@paradise.net.nz

Subject: RE: ALDEBARAN - UPDATE
Hi Graham; they left last Friday Papeete. Best Regards; Cindy
-----Message d'origine-----

De : Annette & Graham [mailto:grahamc@paradise.net.nz]

Envoyé : lundi 25 juillet 2011 14:26

À : DITTRICH Cindy

Objet : RE: ALDEBARAN - UPDATE
Hi Cindy,
Are you able to tell me please whether the yacht Aldebaran has departed Papeete? I talk to Andrew every day by radio but we don't when they are in harbour and have good internet access. I last spoke with Andrew a week ago and he said they were likely to leave within a couple of days when their paperwork was completed and he would email me when they were leaving so that we could resume radio contacts again. I haven't heard from him for the past week and suspect that they have actually left and he has forgotten to email me and now they don't have any internet access. I called him on the radio last night but he wasn't there. If you can confirm that they have departed then I will do a daily radio watch again, if they haven't then I won't worry and will wait to hear from them.
Kind regards
Graham Craig

-----Original Message-----

From: DITTRICH Cindy [mailto:ppt.cdittrich@cma-cgm.com]

Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2011 7:38 PM

To: grahamc@paradise.net.nz

Subject: RE : ALDEBARAN - UPDATE

Hi Graham, once they are settled in Tahiti pls ask them to drop me a line, I would come to see them in order to do all their paperwork. best Regards, Cindy
-------- Message d'origine--------

De: Annette & Graham [mailto:grahamc@paradise.net.nz]

Date: sam. 09/07/2011 08:22

À: DITTRICH Cindy

Objet : ALDEBARAN - UPDATE

Hi Cindy,


The current position of the yacht Aldebaran is 13º19'S, 145º09'W. They are currently on their way from Hakahau to Rangiroa Atoll. They will arrive early Sunday morning probably into Avatoru. They plan to stay 2 nights and leave on Tuesday for Papeete. They asked me to ask you if there is anything they should have done or need to do before they arrive or when they arrive please?
I speak to them by radio every evening and can pass any information on to them tomorrow.
Kind regards
Graham Craig
26 July
I’ve been asked if some people have been removed from the ‘family & friends’ list as they haven’t received any yacht updates for some time.  No-one has been removed there just hasn’t been any contact with the crew for a week or more.  They were at Papeete and posted a number of blog entries and were on skype and email a few times.  I last spoke to Andrew a week ago.  They were preparing to leave within 2 or 3 days as that was how long it was going to take to complete their paperwork.  Raleigh had been quarantined on the boat and that was creating a bit of extra paperwork I think.  It appears that the outer islands (ie Marquesas group, etc) are not too worried about dog quarantine but things are different in Papeete.  They were then either going to the small island of Moorea, a few hours north west of Papeete, or to Bora Bora, about a day and a half NW of Papeete and Andrew was going to email me before they left so that we could start radio skeds again.  I haven’t heard anything since, so I emailed our very friendly and helpful customs agent in Papeete and she reports that they left last Friday.  Obviously Andrew forgot to email me or it got ‘lost in the post’ so I’ll see if I can contact them on the radio again and find out what they are up to.

 

Regards to all


27 July
Hi Lary,

 

Thanks for the info.  I also got a long email from Andrew as he wants us to deal with some tax returns for him.  They apparently only went to Moorea yesterday as they had to wait for Carl’s credit card to arrive and then Andrew and Lee were both ill for a couple of days, from eating old cheese they think.  Andrew thinks they may leave tomorrow because the weather is due to deteriorate.  I will do a weather report for them shortly and that will give me a look at the situation.



 

Cheers


 

Graham


 

-----Original Message-----


From: Lary Henkel [mailto:lary76@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 9:10 AM
To: Graham Craig
Subject: Boat folks

 

Hi Graham,


Got an email from Leslie about 1/2 hour ago stating they are in Moorea and all are well.  She will send me another email about a skype when they know more about their timeline.
 
Lary
27 July
We have contact with the yacht again.  Both Lary and I have received emails from the crew today which explains what has been happening.  They were planning on leaving last Friday (and customs/immigration obviously think that they did) but were waiting for Carl’s credit card to arrive by mail and then Andrew and Lisa got quite sick for a couple of days, they think from eating some old cheese.  Anyway with everyone well again and Carl’s card in hand they left yesterday and sailed the 3 hours to the north west to Moorea Island, where they are in a northern facing anchorage so not worth trying radio contact.  I assume that they are in either Opunohu Bay or Cooks Bay which are on the northern coast, but that is purely a guess on my part.

 

They got most of their work done on the boat in Papeete.  Andrew said he doesn’t like being in Marinas though as they spend too much money, but mainly it is because he can't just jump in the water whenever he wants to, to cool down!



Everyone is fine now.  Don’s friend Bri is enjoying himself.  They managed to find some time to free dive some plane wrecks in Papeete which was really cool.  Once the day before Lee and Andrew got sick and another the others went while they were sick.  Lee got a little sad she was missing out on stuff.  Andrew just wanted to stop dry heaving and was happy when it was done.  It hit him more than Lisa but he always eats more cheese than her so that would make sense.

 

They will probably leave tomorrow for Bora Bora, which is one day’s sailing away, as there is some rough weather due on Thursday night that will keep them in port for a week and they’d rather be in Bora Bora than on Moorea.



 

Leslie has put a new post on their blog showing Carl getting his tattoo in Hiva Oa, and I have updated their location information on the blog as well.  http://braincloud2011.blogspot.com/

 

I’ll try radio tomorrow when they should be on the open sea


28 July
Talked with Andrew for about 45 minutes this afternoon.  Now that they are out of a harbour with high mountains to the south radio contact is really good.  They left Moorea about 2.30 their time this afternoon and at 4pm (UTC) this afternoon were at location 17 20S, 150 13W about 30 miles from Moorea.  The sea is very calm and there is a light SE breeze so they are using the motor and also have 2 sails up.  The sails only add about 1 knot to their speed but really stabilize the rolling motion due to the sea.  They are going to Raiatea Island which is south east of Bora Bora and is the largest island of the Leeward Island Group (Bora Bora is also part of this group).  They expect to get there midday tomorrow and have gone today because the storm that went over New Zealand a couple of days ago is going to bring them 5 metre waves by Thursday night.  Most of the islands in the group are protected by coral reefs which makes them ideal for sheltering from large seas.  I have attached a map of the area for those who are interested (their position this afternoon is shown by a green yacht).  They plan on spending a couple of weeks in the Leeward group as the islands are very picturesque.

 

The time at Papeete was spent working on the yacht as well as sightseeing.  They checked out the bilge pumps and confirmed that they have at least three that work, checked out the engine, fixed the anchor windlass that broke on the Mexico-Marquesas leg, installed a new hatch cover, sealed a few port holes that leaked, installed a larger inverter (converts 12Volt from the batteries to mains voltage) so that they can now run all their power tools and the vacuum cleaner while at sea, reprovisioned the food etc, emptied and refilled the water tanks and put too much chlorine in so had to empty and refill again (probably a good idea anyway), mended some sails, cleaned the dinghy, and a lot more things I didn’t have time to write down.  They don’t use the motor much which prompted a question from me regarding how often they needed to run it to keep the freezer cold.  Apparently the freezer failed after leaving Mexico but they don’t need it, they have more than adequate refrigeration and use the freezer box in that for what frozen food they need.  They found plenty of fruit and vegetable supplies in Papeete so are stocked up again.  They have been cooking some meals on the BBQ too.



 

They spent most of the time at the main marina in Papeete but had to go to the big marina around the western side of the city (see map attached showing the marinas they stayed at – moorings shown by a blue yacht) to get fuel and were planning on a one night stay but that was when Lisa and Andrew got sick so they ended up staying 3 nights.  It was a large marina, full with more than a hundred boats anchored outside the marina as well.  They really enjoyed viewing and diving to the plane and boat wrecks located near the airport (it is about half way between the two marinas - see photo).

 

The last two nights they have been anchored in Opunohu Bay at the north west part of Moorea (see 3rd map) just inside the reef on the right hand side.  They had an enjoyable walk on the island yesterday and this morning everyone except Andrew (who stayed behind to keep Raleigh company) went off in the dinghy and swam with the stingrays and some sharks.  They hang around the large resorts as people feed them there – Lisa came back really excited over what they had seen apparently.  Don’s friend, Bri, who joined them at Papeete is still with them, apparently enjoying himself and likely to stay for a couple of weeks.



 

Tonight they had noodles for dinner but someone gave them some fish this morning so that will be dinner tomorrow evening. Carl also has his line out in the hope of catching some more fish.

 

That’s about all I managed to note down, so till tomorrow


29 July
The yachties reached Tahaa Island about 10.30 this morning.  They had a good trip, motoring all the way although they were flying two sails for stabilisation.  The wind picked up a bit at dawn and was about 15 knots by the time they arrived.  It is currently 25 or so knots now and due to rise during the night but that will have little affect on them apart from a bit of wind chop, as the reef protects them completely form the ocean swell which is forecast to get up to 5 metres tonight.  It has been raining for most of the day.  They have attached to a buoy in a little bay on the south of Tahaa Island.  This island and Raiatea Island to the south are quite separate islands but both inside the same coral reef.  I have attached pictures showing their trip for the past 2 days and a close up showing their current location and the route they took to get there.  They were grateful to find a buoy to use as the depth of the water goes from 8 feet to over a 100 over a few metres so it is hard to find somewhere to anchor.  They could well be visited by the owner of the buoy asking for payment to use it, but time will tell.  Their current location is 16 40.876S, 151 29.197W.  They went for a walk this afternoon when it stopped raining for a while and quite apart from about 40 or so houses locally, they saw what Andrew described as two brilliant homes.  Both built on the edge of the coral reef with their own jetties.  One even had 3 small boats tied up outside, but they were both tiny shacks no more than 3 metres square and obviously being lived in.  There wouldn’t be a lot of cleaning required in a house that small!  He’ll take some photos if the opportunity exists.  The island is very green and Andrew said it reminded him of the west coast of our South Island.

 

They plan to stay around these islands in the Leeward Group for the next week or two and will probably move in a few days the short distance to the town of Uturoa which is on the north west of the adjacent Raiatea island.  Uturoa even has an airport and three large marinas!  Incidentally just to update those who are interested in geography, The Leeward Islands which include Tahaa, Raiatea, Bora Bora, etc are part of the Society Islands.  The other half of the Society Islands is called the Windward Islands and they include Tahiti, Moorea and others.  I find these areas interesting as we had never heard of the Marquesas or the Tuamotus, or the Society islands before this trip.  I had heard of Bora Bora and Tahiti but didn’t really know where they were.  I hope I’m not boring anyone with all this irrelevant information.



 

While it was raining today they watched a couple of movies and are planning on another one this evening.  Lisa was cooking the fish, that they had been given yesterday, for dinner and had used a soy marinade with a number of spices included I gather.  They did not know what sort of fish it was so I’ll be interested tomorrow to see if they enjoyed it (or not).

 

We talked about the surf and I asked Andrew if he had actually surfed recently.  He said he had a number of times but it was quite different with the shape of the islands and their reefs.  The waves tend to be very hollow and as they form up over the reef it doesn’t pay to fall off a wave because the coral is close underneath and hard and sharp.  Andrew said he has come out of the water a bit scratched and bleeding more than once, but enjoys it!



 

Till tomorrow


30 July
Another long enjoyable chat with Andrew this afternoon.  Although last night’s location was fine they have moved today to be nearer the action.  They have gone the short distance from the south of Tahaa island to the north of Raiatea island.  They are in a little bay to the west of the airport (see map attached) at location 16 43.679S, 151 28.771W.  Yesterday’s mooring was fine but the new location provides more protection from the wind and closer to civilisation.  Tomorrow they will explore the town and maybe hire a car to have a look around the island.  As expected the sea outside the reef came up over night and although they are some distance from it they could easily see and hear the large surf running.  They watched another movie after dinner last night.  The rain stopped today and they hope that it will stay away.

 

The fish that they had for dinner last hight was really delicious, somewhat difficult to describe but was quite firm and tasted somewhat like well cooked chicken – the marinade that Lisa used really made it.



 

Don has been doing some more checks on the motor and been teaching Andrew a bit more about mechanical things!

 

Today Lary expressed his concern (with good reason) about Andrew’s surfing that I commented on in yesterday’s update, so I brought the subject up with Andrew today.  He says that they are fully aware of the issues of infection from coral grazes and have a good medical kit for these sort of issues.  He said that they question locals about possible local problems and keep them in mind.  Apparently you must wear footwear when wading in the water as there is a potential disease that can be caught from bare feet in the mud.  However he also made a very valid comment that they keep a careful eye on potential local issues but are there to enjoy themselves and experience the local attractions.  They could stay on the boat and be protected from everything on shore and in the water, but there isn’t much point in going at all, if that’s all you do!  So they are being careful within reason.



They will be in the Leeward Islands for at least a week or two and have yet to decide the route from there.  There are two choices: one being Bora Bora to Raratonga (which is in the Southern Cook Islands), then Niue, Tonga, and Fiji; the second choice being Bora Bora to the Northern Cooks, then Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga.  The former course goes to interesting places but ends with Tonga to Fiji against the prevailing weather, while the latter course is slightly longer, goes to the northern Cooks where there is little population, but means they go from Fiji to Tonga with favourable winds.  Time will tell which course is favoured.

 

Till tomorrow,




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