Posted by: catamarantwooceans | May 10, 2010

Samoa

2.5.10 – Sunday – At 0800 we started working. Winching the chain turned out to be a straneous affair and it seemed as if some part of the chain was stuck in coral. Freyja has taken just a few minutes to raise the anchor. We wave goodbye and continue winching. Slowly, with the occasional manipulating of the engines to move the boat this way or the other, the chain came up, we then pulled on the tripping line, hauled the anchor up and were on our way. The operation took 75 minutes. Got to fix that windlass pronto!

The wind stabilized at around 15 knots from the east, and, positionning the jib to the opposite side of the main we sailed wing and wing on a course of 262 degrees true to Pago Pago. ETA in three days. The day passed pleasantly enough, the fishing reel sang twice but was quickly abandoned by whatever creature tasted it. Just after sunset, as we were using one of the engines in gear to charge the batteries, it shrieked again. I rushed from inside the cabin calling to Michael who sat near the wheel:”Close the throttle!” The problem was I was using the technical Hebrew word (Mits’eret) that he was not familiar with… Tightening the friction nut on the reel had no effect, the line went out all the way and snapped at the end with a bang. This must have been a huge fish so maybe it’s better that we did not get him on board. Perhaps it was one of the lare blacktip sharks, following us all the way from Suvarov?

3.5.10 – Monday – During the night we experienced some squalls. Even with the moon lighting up the scene, those sneaky clouds jump on you from behind, with heavy rain and strong winds. We had 32 knots true more than once. I am sailing “half prepared” for them, with one reef in the main and jib. This way the boat still goes well in the regular 15-17 knots and reefing is quick when the 25+ gusts come.

During the day there are no squalls and we keep going at around 7 knots SOG, GPS showing an ETA at early in the morning Wednesday. Night falls and squalls are with us again. Some of the times I anticipate their arrival and reef in advance, waiting impatiently until the wind come and tells me that I was not just overcautious. At 2130 Michael calls me out from my cabin:”There is a ship close by”. Wow! That’s too close! I try to make out what the meaning of the lights she is carrying; Is it red over white? And where is she heading? Is this a green light hiding between the strong white work lights? Our radar is not working (as so many other thing aboard!) so it is very difficult to understand what course she is taking. With all this a wind shift brings our bows closer to the conflicting vessel, so I jibe and quickly it becomes apparent that she is moving away, later her port side seen with the binoculars. Probably a tuna fishing ship. I, of course, called her on the VHF, giving our position, but no one answered.

4.5.10 – Tuesday – More squalls. At sunrise I am on watch. The wind became lighter, our speed less than 5 knots. Fishing time! Everybody should know by now that on “Two Oceans” we have a trick to get stronger winds. Just start trolling! Success is assured! Now we are going 6+ when the reel sings. Closing the friction nut of the reel, I jump over to the jib sheet and release it to lower speed. Remember that we are sailing wing and wing and that the jib is on the spinnaker pole, so I can’t just head up to wind and stop the boat. Back to the rod and reel, the line is running out steadily. No other choice but to tighten the nut some more. The line stops just a few meters from its end, stretches and… something gives, the rod, bent until now, straightens, and there is no more pressure on the line. I reel it all in to see that the lure with the stainless ring connecting it to the wire leader, just disappeared. Strange! 

5.5.10 – Wednesday – Mercifully we had no squalls during the night. The main concern was passing the three Samoan island, Tau, Olosegal and Ofu, stretching parallel to our course about 80 miles from Pago Pago. Usually things like that are no big deal, but the thing is that one cannot be absolutely sure that the electronic charts are 100% accurate here. Michael spotted the lights of Tau at 2120 and the rising half moon illuminated them somewhat, which confirmed we were safely well off. At 0920 I spotted the island of Tutuila, where Pago Pago is, in the distance. At 1430 we entered the huge harbour, got in contact with the port authority who instructed us to tie on the outside dock of the Malaloa small marina and immediately customs with a man of the port came by. The guy from immigrations followed and all the entry procedures were complited in a jiffy.

First impressions from Pago Pago: A natural harbour, surrounded by green mountains, very noisy with a big fishing fleet operating at all hours, but not smelly as some of the guide books tell.

What now? A lot will happen tomorrow: Michael leaves tomorrow and so decided to take a hotel room tonight. Tomorrow I hope to see the town, find a machine shop that will fix the windlass and move on to Western Samoa.

6.5.10 – Thursday –  At 1530 the windlass arrived. It took me about 45 minutes to put it back in place and arrange all the anchors and chain to their operational positions.

At 1800 I motored out for the 75 miles to Apia, Western Samoa, where I will leave “Two Oceans” for about two months.

Forecast said winds will be less than 10 knots but that does not account for local phenomena influenced by the island. As night fell, it  blew 22 knots with rain… We were running at high speed overtaking some motor vessel, which had its light blink on and off all the time. We sailed around the southern tip of the island  and entered the open waters between Tutuila (Pago Pago) and Western Samoa. The wind stabilized and  I  started the routine of catching 20 minutes naps from time to time,  looking around for other vessels and operating the boat in between.

I timed my arrival for good morning light and by 0830 entered the Apia harbour. A strange thing was that the electronic map, on 1:20000 showed wrong position, wanting to direct me onto the reef. Bigger scale was OK.

Apia marina is a part of the harbour. Good pontoons with water and electricity, but no other services at all. 

I will be flying out early next morning and will probably be back on the boat in late July.

Until then – Adios Amigos!

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