Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Turku, 6th of March 2018


The Roaring Forties

At 40S 113W 10.45 am, a rogue wave crashed on Sarema’s stern. It ripped apart the windbreak canvas, flooded the cockpit, and swooshed down the companionway into the saloon, the galley and the side cabin. Pandemonium! On its way through the saloon, the wave drowned our radio, air purifier, battery charger, two inverters, egg-timer, Pekka’s PC, Riitta’s MacBook Air, and the computer we used for navigation and communication. Our desperate attempts at resuscitation resulted in the revival of the egg-timer, but that too stopped functioning after a few days.
The single positive thing that we could come up with while mopping the floors and trying to find a place to dry the soaking clothes, cushions, and mattresses was that this time at least we didn’t get a rope around our propeller!
It has been said that ‘Sailing is like standing under an ice cold shower, tearing up thousand-euro notes’. Our present sentiments exactly! 
On the whole, the Roaring Forties were a huge disappointment. We had thought  that the prevailing and notoriously strong westerly winds would take us speedily to Chile but what did we find: after the squall with the rogue wave that flooded our boat, nothing but confused seas with winds coming from all possible directions, also from the east. But despite the non-cooperation of the winds and the waves, we finally arrived in Puerto Montt, Chile after 34 days at sea. Our good boat Sarema is now on the hard at Club Nautico Reloncavi, and her crew have returned to Europe to recuperate from their (too!) long and arduous season.


Sarema’s homeward-bound journey will continue in the autumn, hopefully under more favourable circumstances! 

Taravai, 19th of January 2018


Leaving the Paradise


Checking out of the Gambier Islands turned out to be a considerably longer process than we had anticipated. On Friday the 12th, when we went to see the gendarmes in Rikitea, their office was closed. It was also closed on Saturday, and when it finally opened on Sunday, the main office in Tahiti that deals with the clearance documents, was closed. So, instead of leaving on the 13th as we had intended, we did not depart until the 19th, the additional delay being due to our decision to wait for more favorable winds before commencing our long voyage to Chile. 


We were at anchor in front of the village on the island of Taravai which we hadn’t visited earlier. The village grounds were like a magnificent orchard gone wild, with avocado, banana, chirimoya, citrus, lychee, mango and papaya trees lining and arching over the footpath that ran parallel to the shoreline. Along the path stood a church, somewhat neglected but still beautiful, dating back to the 1820’s. The entire place had a lovely, old-world feeling about it. 


We spent the few days we still had left of our time in the Gambier Islands swimming, snorkelling, studying the GRIP files in great detail, and trying to defeat Valerie, Ervin and their son Ariki, one of the three island families, in p├ętanque. Although we were clearly beaten by the Taravaians, the competition, not to mention the company, was most enjoyable all the same!


Before we put to sea, Valerie and Ariki garlanded us with beautiful leis which we threw into the sea while still inside the barrier reef. According to Valerie, our return to the Gambier Islands was thus assured!