Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Arrival In Nuku Hiva

We dropped our anchor in Taioha'e Bay, Nuku Hiva on 4/11 at 21:11 (9:11 p.m.) under a nearly full moon. After sorting things out, opening hatches, and getting SHINDIG and ourselves comfy Captain Rob pulled out "the good stuff" and we celebrated our successful journey and safe arrival in a most appropriate manner.

We celebrate our arrival with shots of cognac and Don Julio Tequila, whee!! The MX courtesy flag will be put away (photo courtesy of s/v SHINDIG)

SHINDIG is getting used to her new location. We think she looks rather spiffy with a lush, green background.

Shindig's background will no longer be the dry hills of Baja. From now on it's lush greenery. Sylvia, Rob and JD, SHINDIG in the background (photo courtesy of s/v SHINDIG)

We've spent the past few days checking in and attending to other necessary details. 

Tom enjoys his first cheeseburger in paradise and ice cold Hinano. (photo courtesy of s/v SHINDIG)

We unloaded a pallet full of Cinnabar's gear and shipped it to Raiatea where we'll meet it at the end of the month. It is now Easter weekend and everything in town is closed until Tuesday so we've decided to head to the nearby Daniel's Bay anchorage for a taste of secluded South Seas paradise. 

Check out SHINDIG'S website for some fun pictures of our voyage: SHINDIGSAILING

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Shellbacks - Sly and Tom 1st Anniversary, Rob and JD 1st Day

Sylvia and Tom became shellbacks about 1 yr ago, Rob and JD today. (Photo courtesy of s/v Shindig)

Capt Rob's New Tattoo - Just To Make Sure We Don't Get Lost

Photo courtesy of s/v Shindig

Rob and JD - Sons of Neptune

(Sylvia, 8 April, 04:00 UTC)
SHINDIG crossed the equator yesterday morning (Apr 7, 08:16) in grand style. The festivities began the night before when Capt. Rob pulled out a couple of big, ice cold bottles of Puddle Jumper Pale Ale from a local Santa Rosa brewery. We all toasted to a great trip so far and to a successful crossing the next morning. Tom took the opportunity to give Rob a "traditional tattoo" in anticipation.

The next morning we opened a number of gifts provided to us by the minions of Neptune. These included shot glasses, shower scrubs (MUCH appreciated!), chocolate and other tasty goodies, shellback (turtle) mascots, wigs for the guys and numerous other great items. We held the official Line Crossing Ceremony where we inducted Rob and JD into the status of Honorable and Trusted Shellback, aka Sons of Neptune. This included minimal shaming with some colorful wigs (nicely done Nancy), masks, minor knuckle flogging with a limp snorkel for good luck, enjoying a bottle of sparkling wine after giving Neptune a slug, and a jump by the ex-slimy pollywogs into the ocean to swim across the equator. We have LOTS of incriminating photos to share once we get a good internet connection. It was a terrific morning followed by another grand day of sailing. Currently we're all hoarding our goodies and bringing them out to share when the spirit moves us.

We are now less than 450 nautical miles from our destination and expect to arrive in a few days. Cinema SHINDIG is showing Moana tonight. All is well aboard the good ship SHINDIG.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Nearing The Equator - Slow and Comfy versus Fast and Miserable

(Sylvia, 6 April)

After a couple of blustery days in a squally zone the weather has mellowed out and for the past day or so SHINDIG has been cruising along in winds that are generally 9-12 knots which is is just enough wind to keep us going, under spinnaker, without getting rolled around too much by the ocean swells. Yesterday morning the wind died, the seas flattened, and Captain Rob suggested it was time to jump in the water. I love the sensation of being at sea with no land in sight; for me the feeling approaches true freedom. Jumping into the open ocean with no sides or bottom in view, only the deep azure of the sea and knowing the closest land is about 5,000 meters away (underneath us), certainly comes in as a close second. Even with no wind there is still a fair amount of current in the ocean, so we trailed a long line attached to a floating fender behind us to make sure nobody got "lost". As we splashed around behind the boat we commented that this perspective (looking up at the boat drifting away) was a little scary even under such controlled conditions (safety line out, someone on board keeping an eye on the swimmers). Tom dropped a quarter into the clear, blue water and watched it reflect light back for about 30 seconds before it disappeared into the 15,000 feet depths. At 2 ft/sec velocity, it will take 2 hrs 5 mins to reach the bottom!

The weather on this journey has been very different than the weather we encountered last year. Overall the winds have been more mellow and the squalls (so far) have been relatively benign. On the other hand it is proving to be a slower trip than last year. Slow and comfy vs fast and miserable...pick your poison. Tom is loving the easy-going pace, watching movies on Shindig's big screen, and looking up various subjects (from the Ctenaphora we saw in the water to the American Film Institute's top 100 movie quotes) on our Wikipedia download. Huge thanks to our friends on SCOOTS for the download, we use it daily.

On the fishing front, the fish are winning the derby so far. We've dragged 2 lures for most days of the trip, varying between a cedar plug, pink squid, feather squid, and Repala mackerel lures, but have only had one small hit and one bent hook so far. The other day we added a teaser/reflector/noisemaker device to the mix. We remain optimistic, however, that we'll catch a nice and tasty pelagic fish as we get nearer to the islands and the richer fishing "grounds".

At the moment (late afternoon) the wind just died and the guys are enjoying another dip in the Pacific. Once again meal time will be extremely easy and delicious thanks to Nancy's excellent provisioning. It's hot and steamy so a cold ramen and vegetable salad with teriyaki chicken nuggets and toasted cashews is on the menu. We were hoping to hit the equator today but thanks to the light conditions it's looking like tomorrow will be the magic day. It's the last day that Rob and JD get to be Slimy Pollywogs. Sometime tomorrow a.m. they will become trusted and honorable Shellbacks. Let the initiation begin, bwahahaaaaa!

Position: 00 N 132 W, (about 24nm N or the EQ)
Dist. Made Good: ~2,000 nm (in 16 days since Muertos)
Dist. To Finish: ~700 nm (~ 6 days)

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Shindig Crew Dipping In The Azure Deep

At location: 4 N, 130 W (240 nm N of the equator)
Photo courtesy of s/v SHINDIG

Monday, April 3, 2017

Greetings From The High Seas - Over Halfway

(Sylvia, 3 April, 5N 128hW )
AHOY AND BONJOUR! In case anyone is wondering about the seemingly random photo of Tom with the flying fish, it turns out we were the fools of our own April Fool's Day (non) blog post. The photo was supposed to be accompanied by a brilliantly penned post (by yours truly) describing our journey thus far along with a brief tutorial about how April Fool's Day is celebrated in France, and presumably French Polynesia. In France they don't call it April Fools, but rather Poisson D'Avril, or April Fish day. The joke is that you are supposed to pin paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting victims. Tom was doing his daily rounds of collecting suicidal flying fish off of SHINDIG's deck and threatening to pin them to us.
THE JOKE'S ON US: The post never went out due to bad HF radio propagation, however the accompanying photo did. Then, to add insult to injury, the hard drive on Tom's laptop DIED before he was able to attempt reposting, so I fear our April Fool's Day post might be lost forever.

ON APRIL 1ST we were officially halfway on our journey from La Paz to Nuku Hiva. For the most part our sail has been most excellent and we've been very lucky with the weather. This sailing Nirvana has been punctuated with the occasional repair (we seem to get one per day) which began with the Keurig coffee maker which took the three guys (Rob, JD, Tom) two days to troubleshoot and repair. I observed the antics with interest and amusement and wondered how they would ever get the disassembled coffee robot back in working condition. Of course they did, as they have successfully (so far) affected all their repairs. But it's not all geek time aboard the good ship SHINDIG. In between repairs, weather routing, taking noon sights (OMG yes they are using a sextant!) and ad nauseum discussion about where to cross the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, look it up), the chaps have proven themselves to be up to the studly tasks as well. Whenever we need to perform a sailing maneuver such as a gybe (moving the sails from one side of the boat to the other, not so easy with a poled-out jib) they don their life vests and harnesses, jump on deck, and do the maneuver with minimal drama.

WE ARE NOW in the ITCZ and last night was one of our first truly "squally" nights. We'd had a remarkable day, flying the spinnaker (huge downwind sail) since yesterday morning and successfully through the night. I was on the 23:00 - 02:00 watch when at 01:50 I saw a big black monster off in the distance, directly upwind. I turned on the radar and, gah!, a huge squall was bearing down on us! The guys were up in a flash and as they attempted to lower the spinnaker sock (a device used to safely dowse the huge spinnaker) the sock broke, necessitating that we drop the entire acre of nylon directly on the deck without dropping any of it into the water or under the boat which would be disastrous. Naturally it began to rain at that moment. But they successfully dropped, contained and repacked the spinnaker, then we unfurled the jib, and were once again on our way as the squall continued to pass over us. Afterward we had a nice little "crew bonding moment" as we sat in the cockpit, basked in the warm, moist weather (and wet bums) and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. In keeping with our "one breakage per day" rule we determined that the failed spinnaker sock was that day's failure and the rest of the day would be breakage-free. The rest of the morning was punctuated by several more squalls, not too windy but quite wet, and SHINDIG and crew are now drying out and ready for a new day. Another bright note - highest daily mileage of the trip so far: 160 nm.

Next milestone - equator crossing in 400 nm (~2.5 days).

Don't forget to check Captain Rob's daily updates on

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