12.12.2017

We're underway

Hawaii here we come! We set sails and are under way. See you soon.

Bye Christmas Island

Merry Christmas from Christmas Island

My best wishes for you, my blog readers, with the Christmas Island in the background. Just in case we don't make it to Internet-land until christmas.

Last night

There is always something happening here. This morning a big fishing vessel arrived that produces mor smoke than a factory 100 years ago. It tied up to the freighter at anchor behind us. It looks like the fishing boat delivered a necessary, huge spare part to fix the freighter. Shortly after about 50men were brought out to those ships- we guess to help install whatever it was - and partly crew that was on land.
After breakfast Marcus drove me to the big ship dock so that I could get on land to check out. That was shortly after 9a.m. I returned at 3p.m.! It was a bit scary climbing up that rusted steel ladder - but better than the drive through breaking waves on saturday. I fixed a line to my backpack and took it up with me. Then Marcus fixed the garbage bag to it and I pulled it up. Would have been difficult to take it with me on the ladder. Especially since there were no steps the first 1,5m...
In the third picture you see the right side of the dock. At the very right end, behind those containers, is where I climbed up...

Walking to the town of London, where customs and immigration are located, I noticed that the clouds in the sky have then turquoise color of the lagoon water. So pretty.

Bureaucracy nearly killed me today. Customs needed copies of their clearance form - so I had to return 2hrs later. Of course, the new printer and copying machine in the back of the room is either not connected or already broken. But the guy would have shortened his lunch break to clear me out. Of course I said it does not matter, I come back even later. Boy, what a relief in his eyes. He was very nice though and honest.
The lady who runs immigration however tried to fool me and get money off me into her pocket. Customs warned me and in the end thank god the girl who checked me in did the check-out with the other girl in the office. And I did not have to pay. So for that it was good to come back later as well as the lady was gone. Why she did not clear me out earlier in the morning I have no clue. I guess the lady who would have transferred my money to her account was not there.

But while I killed time between my office adventures I met a really nice girl who runs 3 shops here. She is young, intelligent, a business women (studied economics and tourism in Hawaii) and a really good talk. So that was the upside and it shows me itMs possible. Even here. If you want to. And if you manage to study at a good university.

We are prepared for our trip to Hawaii starting tomorrow noon. We should be out there 7-9 days. We're aiming for Hawaii Big Island. So, one last look at the beautiful stars which won't be as visible in Hawaii because of too much light pollution - and at the boats at anchor that are lit up so bright that I get a christmassy feeling although it's just their regular lights.

10.12.2017

Last leg

So, the way the weather looks like right now we will be able to leave the day after tomorrow and are possibly even able to make it to the Big Island of Hawaii. That would be an awesome place for celebrating Christmas. So let's hope. It will have to be a fast, uncomfortable ride to be in Hawaii for sure before a northerly blow comes through.

09.12.2017

New neighbour

An hour ago a new neighbour arrived, directly from Long Beach (LA). That's a looong way. He wanted to spend christmas at christmas island- like we originally wanted to. He has a small inflatable Dinghy with a 4hp outboard. Because of weekend and holiday on monday he won't be able to check in until tuesday. Then I imagine it impossible getting those 5 people through the breaking waves on board his boat and back with his Dinghy. We told him he'd be better off having something good to eat and a good night's sleep and then head off to Fanning Island. He seemed really disappointed, as are we.

More christmas Island

...Including the known to us wreck in front of the hotel of Rolf plus the hotel site and our delicious lunch.

Christmas Island

Where else can you find London, Paris, Poland and Cook Islands together on one island?
Where the officials are brave enough to be picked up in a Dinghy at the beach where the waves are breaking? Where 5 officials want to come to your boat and have to be picked up and brought back - through the breaking waves in movie like stunts - in 2 groups? Where these officials laugh when they arrive at your yacht soaking wet saying "that was fun" when you said "wow that's quite dangerous". Where the officials ask you for 5 copies of your papers, ask you to copy their paperwork so they don't have to do it in their office, where the only one who really works is the lady from immigration putting her stamp into your passport.

Where you anchor outside the atoll, in the northwest just off of the town London, in the open ocean enjoying the rolling swell coming from the ocean and meeting the windwave coming from the opposite direction building up in the lagoon. At least we're not alone. Our neighbours are 2 freighters, a big fishing vessel, an interisland ferry and a navy ship used for coast guard / police.

Where one side of the island is called "Wreck Bay". Where not only one sailing vessel has been washed ashore while the owners just shortly went ashore to check out. One of those boats, whose wreck now decorates the entrance of a hotel, is known to us. We met them in Fiji in 2014. They were aboard Alita that time - and they stuck to Marcus' head because of the unusual construction they had made on the back of their Beneteau.

Where if you want to go ashore you have the choice of riding through the breaking wave over flat rocky waters to the beach (on days like today impossible) or through the passage - over 2 shallow areas with breaking waves and ocean swell directly against windwave and, what happened to us, strong current - which is quite challenging and slightly dangerous as well (to me scary as hell; I wanted to turn around).

Where the locals smile and greet you when you arrive at the beach asking where you're going. Making sure they have enough time to steal fuel from you. When we beached the Dinghy one guy had that look on his face and he stuck his head to the Dinghy in such a way I felt he was looking for our big fuel tank. That alerted me and reminded us we need to lock the tank to the Dinghy. And we locked the Dinghy to a tree, which does not help much. Well, at least they left enough fuel in the Dinghy for us being able to return to Alita.

Where a local - who does not know you other than he picked up your crew member yesterday and rents him a beautiful little Stand-alone hut in his "hotel" area with excellent service - comes to the Telecom shop with his truck to loan you 26AUD so that you can buy 2 SIM cards and Top Up for internet because you took the wrong wallet with you and left the AUD cash on board and it is impossible to go back to the boat and return. The Telecom shop was about to close and there was no way we would go back and forth again since it took 45 min one way and too dangerous and the shop would be closed anyways. This nice guy from Rainbow Enterprise, Simi (call him on channel 67) took us on the back of his truck, drove us to his hotel where we found Rolf relaxing at his hut. We were served a very good tuna lunch- oh boy and we were so hungry that we almost finished the huge portion. He trusts us to get his money back. Actually he will send his diving boat out to us on tuesday to pick up the cash and bring us coconut- so that we don't have to come ashore. Very nice of him. He made a deal out of our money need by selling us a (I have to admit excellent) lunch. Win-win situation. Haha.

Once on land it's quite nice and peaceful. A long white sandy beach basically surrounds this island. In would love to explore the inner lagoon, but we won't. Too big, too far, too much wind and waves, no fuel. The houses here are by far the simplest I have seen on all islands we have been to. The island is kept mostly clean. They are lucky they have white sand instead of darker mud like so many other places.

About 7000 people live here (that's what customs said). It is very dry with the last real rain having happened about 7 months ago (so I was told). Australia and New Zealand are putting money in here as well- into schools and government buildings. China of course is here as well. So far I have only seen one truck donated by Taiwan - China. And I won't see more cause I can't go to land. I can't even swim ashore through the waves as they are breaking over stones im flat water. That's too dangerous. I don't mind breaking waves over sand , but not over stones.
Generally people seem very friendly and greet you off their motor bikes and out of the cars. Looks like some Indians have moved here from Fiji (I talked to one). Many of the little shops are run by Indians.
People here seem to be a mix of many races / cultures. They have a very distinct language. I found some similarities to the Bislam in Vanuatu, but it sounds a bit more asian. I have no idea, would have to research.

Interesting challenge for us is that the time zone for Kiritimati is the same as for the whole Kiribati islands- so a day ahead. So we're on the same time as Penrhyn and Hawaii, just a day ahead. We get that day back when we sail to Hawaii. Haha. We simply don't change our board time.
Here are some pictures of this unusual place

07.12.2017

At anchor at Kiritimati

This morning at 9.10am, after 4 3/4 days Passage, we safely dropped anchor at Christmas Island. In the meantime I cleaned the boat and went into the water to cool down and refresh. Just now, at noon, finally the officials called us on the radio to come pick them up at the beach. Marcus is in his way.
It's not a good anchorage nor is it good to get to land. We're outside in the waves. Marcus and I want to go on to Hawaii as soon as possible, which is either tomorrow or in a week. This could mean christmas at sea...Will keep you posted.

06.12.2017

Passed the equator

Just passed the equator at 1245 local time. Of course there was some rum for Neptun and me. Cheers
It was a bit difficult to stand in those raging waves while pointing to the equator and drinking some rum . Hahaha

Close to equator

We're about 72nm south of the equator, so passing around noon time. Let's see if I jump in just for the fun. But then again, we would have to take all the speed out and the waves are pretty bad, so probably won't jump..
We're have 180nm to go, so estimated arrival time is noon on dec 7, respective dec 8 local time as Kiritimati has set it's clock forward one day to be with the rest of the Kiribats.

We continue to rush and bounce our way through the ocean. All well on board.

Current position:
01deg10.3S and 157deg 2.1W

04.12.2017

Moving on

We are still sailing with 4-5BF winds and against quite a wave so still bumpy. But we're good underway with the small Genoa that we had bought in NZ as replacement for the big one that we had used all those years before and had started to badly delaminate. From NZ until Penrhyn we had sailed with the original genoa that we still have but knowing this trip is against the wind all the time with 4-6BF we changed to the smaller one in Penryhn which was a good decision.
Around noon we officially left the hurricane danger zone. And in 1,5?or so we'll go from spring to fall by crossing the equator. All good on board.
Position at 15hrs local time:
04deg 30,8S and 156deg 54,8W

03.12.2017

First day

It's been a bit over a day since we left Penrhyn. The ride is a bit bumpy and we're sailing in 4Bf against the wind, but all good on board.
Position at 1330 local time, dec 3rd
06 deg 57,1S and 157deg 40,3W

02.12.2017

Last post Penrhyn

This is my last post from here. We're leaving tomorrow.
One girl from school has gifted ma 2 pairs of earrings with shells that she made for me. That was so touching. I had given her some stuff incl. my favourite hand made necklace and a USB stick with all the pictures on. And I had shown her how to make one of these necklaces herself and made one half way through while I was there the day before yesterday. God bless Elizabeth, I wish her all the best.

Today I talked to one of the boys. Je speaks very good english and kfz me how he feeds his pet, a baby red footed boobie bird. They pick them up from another island and bring them home as a pet. Some of these poor birds are being grilled in the sun instead of in a tree in the shade. They can't fly yet. So, here's the boy and his bird. The first picture shows his brother's and his uncle's bird.
Then there is a picture of a coconut grating machine (take an aluminium pot, drill a hole, stick a grinder through and put a machine in the back).

Last picture: preparation for our next passage: I made 3 pizzas (not in the picture) and a couple of these little bit sweet yeast-dough snacks.