A day in the life of …

We were talking to friends in Germany and mentioned that we had “finished work for today”. The lady laughed and said “Your life is a holiday. What work do you have?”

Well the last two days we have been anchored in a bay off Tahiti so we wake up late, have fun and eventually manage to drag ourselves in to the cockpit where a negligee clad Heidi serves brunch which takes us through to midday. A few hours of sunbathing, swimming and WhatsApps and it is time for afternoon coffee with the neighboring boat before we all dress in casual smart clothes to visit the yacht club for a sun downer followed by an evening meal on their terrace.

In our dreams!

The day begins with a coffee and French lesson to get the brain working. Yesterday was lequel, laquelle, lesquelles and today s, ss, c & ç so a great way to wake up. The following breakfast is normally combined with a planning conference when we agree “the plan”. Yesterday was meant to be easy with a quick change of the motor and gear oil and food resupply.

Run the engine to get the oil warm and fluid and then extract the oil with the suction pump, twist off the oil filter, new filter on and refill back to the correct level. Easy! It would have been if the suction pump had not developed an air leak, the filter wasn’t on so tight and the spare filter wasn’t the wrong size. But no problem. You can seal an air hole temporarily with an oily tissue, the shop at the end of town can order a new filter from Papeete and they also had a better filter removal tool than our current one. Today the engine oil is changed and now we just need to find some one that sells 20W gear oil.

Shopping began with a stock taking, checking that those items we believe we have agreed with the actual contents of our lockers. The food is all below the seats in the saloon so dismantle everything, empty the cupboards and count. Once we were sure of what we have it was easy to create the “big shopping list” for the next three months.

With all the bags we owned, we took the dinghy across to the marina and walked in to town and to the supermarket to fill two trolleys. Shopping is also good for the brain. If one tin of beef costs 483 francs but you can buy a pack of three for 1456 francs, which is cheaper and is 0.7 kg of milk powder for 634 or 0.8 for 712 better value? Good that we had paid attention in mathematics forty-five years ago.

changing the brushes

Luckily a local friend had agreed to drive us from supermarket to marina so we “only” had to carry the shopping to the dinghy, ferry it back to the boat, lift it onboard, sort, store and document it all. And on the second day it was just a case of buying diesel, gas and oil.

The sun down drinks really happened. They were mixed by Heidi on board and followed by home made hot dogs with a fried aubergine relish and special yogurt sauce. Who needs a yacht club when we can prepare food like this onboard?

And did I mention that at some point during the two days we also dismounted the anchor winch motor to replace the brushes? Or that we found that the leak in the front cabin is from the holding tank?

Real Recycling

We all know about recycling. Don’t worry about how much plastic or other rubbish we buy. As long as we separate it when we throw it away, then we can feel good and be sure that we are “saving the planet”.

But maybe it is better to buy stuff that you can recycle yourself.

Long ago I received a “Jons Adventures” T-Shirt to wear as part of the official team at the bike fair. It was a good quality T-shirt in a nice bright yellow with a discrete logo and was long one of my favorite post-biking outfits. Three years ago it became my smart “shore going” T-shirt and was worn all the time on land.

Eventually, after a few years, there were a few small food stains around the stomach area and a small hole on the neck so it became my “on board” T-shirt; still OK to have on when unexpected visitors dropped in but to be changed before going anywhere.

As the holes grew and the stains increased it became a working shirt, ideal for crawling in to anchor lockers or greasing winches. This is not an easy life for a shirt and the descent to general rag was rapid.

As a rag the cloth continued to be used daily for everything from holding a nearly dead fish to being wrapped around a rope to prevent rubbing. The holes slowly grew, the areas of whole material reduced and the color bleached out until the day we needed a “bike rag” to clean the mountain bikes.

And today, after over seven years, the “T-shirt” is still going strong in its sixth “re-cycle”.

A friend on a neighboring boat makes bags out of used sail canvas. As soon as we saw these, we knew that this was a type of recycling that we needed so ordered a bag with our logo on it. Now we can use “old sails” to go shopping and enjoy the smiles of the stall holders when we say “pas de plastique merci“.

Bay of Biscay Day 2 (Max’s blog)

The second day dawned, me getting up at 4AM in the morning to take over my shift from Dad. Heidi had given over here shift to Dad with a healthy five knots of speed, but during the night the wind had dropped, so Dad and then me carried on with only four knots (I think it was). Got reprimanded by Heidi later on (heh), but what should we do. 

The fog was still out, but the chances of meeting someone were even lower now. Just stick your head out every fifteen minutes or so to check for sounds and sites and then back into the warm interior of Artemis with a good book and tea. Generally you can hear big boats coming from quite a distance, as the noise their engines make can be heard over miles of water. The big risk is other sailing boats, as all of us tend to be rather quiet, but that’s a risk you take sailing. 

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Trip nach Tikehau

Zwischen unseren Corona Impf Terminen haben wir drei Wochen Zeit 😁 genügend um mal wieder den Wind zu spüren. Tikehau ist unser Ziel. Erst einmal am schönsten Ankerplatz von Tahiti Iti ankern, das haben wir schon das letzte Mal nicht geschafft als wir die Insel umrundet haben, und dann 200 Seemeilen weiter. Doch mit hin und her kreuzen wurde die Strecke wieder fast doppelt so lang. Anstatt 22 ganze 40 Seemeilen und dann wars wieder zu dunkel um in den Pass am Riff einzufahren 😪. Macht ja nix, dann eben gleich weiter😁

In der ersten Nacht schläft Neill nie besonders gut, doch dieses Mal musste ich ihn auch gefühlt jede Stunde aufwecken, da eine Squall nach der anderen kam🙈🙈. Und morgens um sechs Uhr zog eine Schlecht Wetter Front auf, die uns sage und schreibe vier Stunden beschäftigte. Unser Windmesser ist ja nicht ganz zuverlässig 😜😜 und deswegen haben wir auch nie mehr als 30 Knoten Wind. Doch dieses Mal stieg er auf 80 und bei 100 Knoten blieb er dann stehen 😲😲 Gott sei Dank war das nur auf dem Display und nicht echt. Neill hatte zwar ganz vorschriftsmäßig und vorsorglich seine Schwimmweste angezogen doch gefährlich war es nie, bloß a bissel rauh 😜.

Am Nachmittag kam die Sonne raus und wir haben alles zum trocknen ausgelegt, auch die Schwimmweste. Aus dem Nichts kam eine große Welle ins Cockpit und alles war wieder patsch nass und plötzlich gab es einen Knall und die Schwimmweste löste aus. Ich musste fast lachen, denn wie oft hatte ich mich schon gefragt, wie die Weste wohl innen aussieht 😲😲? Jetzt wissen wir das auch und auf der Kartusche stand noch “auszuwechseln 2021” also dann alles im Zeitplan 🤣🤣.

Dieses Mal waren wir richtig schnell unterwegs und schon nach zwei Tagen hatten wir die 240 Seemeilen hinter uns gebracht. 😁😁 Was haben wir uns gefreut, als wir dann am Ankerplatz noch die Segelyacht Mikado mit Nicole und Georg gesehen haben. Doch jetzt werden wir uns richtig ausschlafen 😴😴😴 was war das für ein Trip 😀😀👍.

Wir haben herrliche Tage in dem wunderschönen Atoll verbracht, kristallklares türkisblaues Wasser. Es gibt hier auch eine religiöse Gemeinschaft die auf “Der Insel Eden” wie der Abschnitt auf dem Motu heißt Gemüse anbaut.👍 Ich glaube seid den Marquesas sprechen wir davon das anzuschauen und jetzt sind wir da und wegen Covid können wir leider nicht auf das Motu. Aber Gemüse können wir am Strand kaufen, Salat, Frühlingszwiebeln und Zitronenmelisse.

Nicole und Georg haben uns noch die Insel Makeatea empfohlen und am Rückweg wollten wir auch dort vorbeischauen. Doch das Wind fenster brachte nur für zwei Tage Wind und wir hatten ja am 8.4. unseren 2. Impf Termin, den wir auf keinen Fall verpassen wollten, und somit ist Makeatea auf später verschoben 😜.

Sonnenuntergang in Tikehau

Time out in Tikihau

After your first Covid injection you have to wait three weeks for the second. The thought of 21 days in Tahiti was not that appealing so we decided to head north to the coral atoll of Tikihau.

There is a lot of sky on the reef

The wind was against us as always so we tacked to the end of Tahiti before heading hard on the wind the 170 miles to Tikihau. Sail changes kept us fit and occupied as squalls continuously descended on us. A front crossed over us and provided five hours of uninterrupted excitement with wind from every direction and loads of rain.

We reached the pass in to the lagoon on a rising tide but still fought a strong outgoing current to enter the small opening. Once inside we followed the marked fairway before heading off through the coral boms to anchor near a luxury hotel. Our depth meter stopped working so we found a sandy patch, guessed the depth, swam to the anchor to see it was set and subsequently checked the depth with the lead line. It worked for Captain Cook and it worked for us.

Artemis at anchor

At anchor we found the Austrian sailing boat Mikado with Nicole and Georg on board. They have decided to take a break from sailing and go back to work so we were happy to help by taking excess food and herbs off their hands. Nicole admitted that, like other sailors we know, she feels trapped in Polynesia, frustrated at the inability to continue their voyage and homesick. Paradise is not always a South Sea Island. We shared a few drinks and a meal with them before they headed off to a yard to haul Mikado out and fly home.

We sailed across the reef looking for the isle of Eden. Here a religious cult have their community far from the “rest of the world”. The village was closed because of Covid but on the beach a man sold us succulent, fresh vegetables and herbs all grown on this tiny palm island. The next island belongs to the 74 year old Frenchman “Claud”. He is at anchor off the beach and uses the island as his base for sailing trips to Alaska and Antarctica. Claude has been sailing for forty years, has travelled the world but still insists that he only speaks French.

The wind turned so we once again crossed the stunning blue waters inside the atoll keeping a permanent watch for the coral boms and pinnacles that crop up without warning and that can rip the bottom off your boat. With the sun over your shoulder they shine like underwater lights but when it is overcast or the sun is in front of you, then they can be hard to identify and Heidi has to stand at the bow watching carefully.

As I write this we are anchored off the tiny village. We walked all round town in a few hours yesterday including visiting the airport just after the last house. The people are friendly, the shops have no eggs and everyone hides in the shade. A traditional Tuamotus village.

And tomorrow we plan on heading back to the city after our “holiday”.

Bay of Biscay Day 1 (Max’s blog)

So, the big crossing, the one that a lot dread, the bane of sailors of yore,… and a bit more of some sayings like that. In modern times it is still interesting, as the winters can be rather harsh and in summer you’re out in the middle of the ocean with not a lot of information coming in other than from passing ships or satellite phones (which we didn’t have). 

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Impfung gegen Corona

Ihr fragt euch jetzt sicher, warum schreibe ich jetzt über die Impfung gegen Corona?

Für uns war eigentlich immer klar, dass wenn wir die Möglichkeit haben uns impfen zu lassen, dass wir es schnell in Anspruch nehmen. Wir haben auch gesagt bekommen, dass wir als Segler doch das geringste Risiko haben an Corona zu erkranken. Das ist bestimmt etwas wahres dran, denn unsere sozialen Kontakte sind nicht so breit gefächert. Doch glaube ich ganz fest daran, dass wenn sich alle impfen lassen die Pandemie schneller in den Griff zu bekommen ist.

Ganz offiziell im Impfausweis

Wir sind hier in der glücklichen Lage, bereits eine Impfung bekommen zu haben. Ich hoffe, dass es spätestens nach Ostern, wenn die Hausärzte dann auch impfen dürfen, auch in Deutschland schneller geht.

UK to France (Max’s blog)

Max.

Max joined us as crew for half a year and sailed on Artemis from England to the Canary Islands. Here are the blog posts he wrote about his time on board.

So, I had been promising to write a blog about my time on Artemis with Dad and Heidi forever now. It seems like Dad has given up pestering me for a blog (but it’s understandable on his end) and now I feel bad for nearly letting two years go by without writing it. First of an apology from my end to both my captain (Dad) and his first mate (Heidi) for dragging this out so long. But I should still be able to get a rather good recap of all the things we managed to do together, as sailing for that long is rather memorable (and I still have the unedited four day crossing of the Bay of Biscay). 


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Pandemic in Polynesia

Today we received an email saying

It is great reading your blog – what a fantastic trip and I am sure you must be thinking what timing compared a pandemics and lock downs in the populated parts of the world !  Have you seen much impact on your travels because of COVID or are you pretty much missing it ?

Until now, we have tried to avoid too much Covid-19 or Corona or pandemic or whatever in our blogs. It appears to be all the rest of the world writes about so we don’t need to add to the flood of negative news spewing out of the media and Internet. But just this once.

Our current plan is to sail round the world. We had thought we would now be in New Zealand cycling the 3000 kilometre trail from north to south. Polynesia was going to be where we would visit a few islands and atolls to get a flavor before continuing on downwind. But instead, because of border closures further west, we have now been here almost a year and it appears we will be staying a while longer. So yes, the pandemic has massively impacted our travel plans.

Our “refugee pass”. Thank you Hiva Oa!

But it is equally true that we arrived in the perfect place at the correct time. French Polynesia spent most of last March and April in lockdown. We were at sea for 54 days so missed the whole affair and were declared “virus free” on arrival during the last days of April. The border was officially closed so we spent a few months in “official limbo”; we could not clear in to the country but were allowed to stay and move freely among the hundreds of islands. Sort of high end refugees.

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Cycling Tahiti-Iti

When we told the neighbours that we were off to explore Tahiti-Iti with our bikes they commented “We have bikes on board and should use them but they are so much work to assemble.” They were correct on both counts. You should really use your bikes to see the islands you visit and yes it is a bit of work. Needless to say while we enjoyed two days exploring the island they remained on board, sweated in the heat and missed the fun.

Tahiti-Iti is the small, less populated half of Tahiti. Far from Papeete life is a little slower here and it has more the feeling of the outer islands. We are currently anchored in the lagoon so can start and end each day with a swim in clear refreshing water. Just across from us are some houses with gardens running down to the sea so we asked at one house if we could leave our dinghy at their dock and assemble our bikes there. No problem! (of course – this is Polynesia)

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