Logs of S/V Bravo Charlie III



Well, it's been a while since we've sent out a log. When the attack on the US happened, I had just gotten back to Moorea, after spending a week in Tahoe to catch up on a few things, and spend time with the kids. It took a while for us to start enjoying our normal activities again; feeling so sad at what happened and feeling strange about being away, living away from the US. Then it didn't feel right to write about what a great time we were having. Truthfully, we think about the situation at home everyday and discuss it with fellow cruisers often. We feel we are extremely safe in the South Pacific. It is unnerving when we check in with the gendarmes at new islands and they tell us they are here to protect us. That's when we started to understand how massive widespread the plots and dangers had become. Needless to say, many boats are changing their cruising plans, leaving out places like Indonesia (Bali) and the Red Sea.

Anyway, we left Moorea a few days after I got back. We had found a great French restaurant in Moorea; the owner was really fun to visit with. We then went to the island of Huahini. It's a typically island in this area; some very nice places to visit and see, nothing spectacular for us. Next was Raiatea and Tahaa, two islands that are enclosed by the same reef. We picked up our friends, Carol and Doug, in Raiatea; they just left this AM. We had a really great time with them. They introduced us to the sport of 'skurfing'....riding a surf board that's being pulled behind our dinghy! Lots of fun and a very good workout! We had one of the best dives ever, in Tahaa. Huge schools of huge fish....for example a 1000+ fish school of ~4-5' baracudda. We're going to go back there next week, and bring our new underwater video camera with us. We're currently at Bora Bora on a mooring bouy in front of the Bora Bora Yacht Club. This is just a small restaurant, but it is a hangout for the cruisers and charters. The Club was just sold to a new owner....Peter Stafford from Lake Tahoe! We haven't heard of him, but maybe some of our friends know him. We've had some nice diving here in Bora Bora.

3 pics from our new video camera are attached. The shark is a nice size black tip reef shark....he looked pretty puny next to the three 7-8' lemon sharks we saw, but didn't get on video. The next is a Titan Trigger fish, a nicely colored, fun fish to watch. The last fish pic is a Napolean Wrasse. The diver in front (our friend Chris) gives you a perspective on the size of the Napolean! We saw a much bigger one in Tahaa...these guys get huge. We had a slow start on this dive, since it was raining and the dinghy ride was a little chilly. But, as usual, we were really glad we went out...starting with seeing 3 whales right when we started our dive! 2 males were rough housing, with a female below them. We were 100'+ away from them, but 2 of our friends were practically right next to them. Our friend had some shrimp he was giving out, so the fish were really gathering around us. Saw two nice turtles among many large black/white tip reef sharks. The last pic is our friends Doug and Carol this morning, before they left for the airport.

We'll be leaving Bora Bora in a week or so, back to Raiatea for provisioning. We jump off for Fanning about 10/14, spending a week in Fanning and planning on getting in to Hawaii about 11/10. We'll be home in Tahoe for Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing family and friends.


Left the moorings at the Bora Bora "yacht club" to sail to the twin islands of Tahaa/Raiatea, about 20 miles away. It ended up being mostly a motoring bash rather than a sailing since we wanted to make it before dark. Our friends Chris and Marcus on Pez Vela left earlier than we did but got there just at dark because their engine (the same wonderful Volvo 2003 we had in Bravo Charlie II) isn't very powerful. We grabbed one of the last moorings at the Marina Iti (actually a French restaurant) and left our dinghy on it to reserve it for them so they had a place for the night. It's too deep to anchor there so you have to use a mooring. I had to swim back to the boat after tying the dinghy up. We observed a charter boat cruising around so it was good that we snarfed up the mooring. Had a nice french dinner at the resturaunt with the Pez's.


We anchored at Passe Toahutu at Tahaa and then Passe Teavapiti at Raiatea and did a bunch of scuba diving with the Pez Vela's. We had the best 'big fish' dive we've ever been on here. Huge, huge schools of several different types of fish. Unfortunately, we didn't have our underwater video camera along.

Ruth and I finished up our PADI certification with Chris. Ruth and I were certified by NAUI 13 years ago but misplaced our C cards when we moved to Incline. NAUI's computer records don't go back that far and they seem to have lost their paper records. So rather than fight them anymore we took advantage of Chris's offer to do a PADI course. She's an instructor and we did the "pool work" in the lagoon and the open water dives out in the passes. We even did a quite realistic navigation dive in the murky water that surrounded our boats the day after some rains and strong currents.


We fueled up and did heavy shopping for our impending northbound trip. The "terror of the fuel dock" is always fun. But some fancy driving by Ruth with the bow thruster made it no sweat. This would be the last diesel we could get before Hawaii and we plan on using a lot of it on the way due to calms or unfavorable northeast trade winds. The town of Uturoa was a-jumping, at least for French Polynesia because coming on Oct 17 was the running of the Hawaiki Nui Va'a, the most important canoe race in FP. They advertise it on beer cans for months before and have major televised coverage. The race is a 3-day race from the island of Huahine to Raiatea to Bora Bora. Several of the legs are across 20 miles of open ocean. The canoes are 6 man outrigger canoes.

Also on 10/15 Pez Vella departed Passe Teavapiti near Uturoa northbound for Christmas Island on the way to Hawaii. That evening we got an Email from Ron Keys of Seattle who was flying in to crew for us on the way to Hawaii. He said that he would be on the 7 PM flight to Raiatea and would call us on channel 22A on the VHF when he got in. Unfortunately, due to flight delays he got in very late and just took a hotel room in Uturoa about 1 mile from where we were anchored.


Ron called us on channel 22 in the morning and we heard him but he didn't hear us reply.possibly some problem with the US/International settings on his radio. So we sent him an Email asking him to meet us at the Uturoa fuel dock at noontime. He got the Email at the local Internet Café and we finally met up. We did some final shopping, got our clearance papers from the gendarmerie and had a last dinner in French Polynesia at a Chinese/French restaurant in Uturoa (see attached picture).


The canoes from the Hawaiki Nui Va'a left Huahine at 730 AM and came in the pass right by where we were anchored at 11 AM after the 20-some mile ocean passage. They were accompanied by an enormous flotilla of pleasure boats of all sizes - more boats than I have seen in one place in all of French Polynesia. After they passed by, we motored out the pass, turned left, put up the sails and set the course for Fanning Island, 1326 nautical miles to the north-northwest. We had the fishing lines out going out the pass and unfortunately I had the drag on Ruth's new rod tightened up too much and we hooked a big fish. It took a bunch of line out and then broke the 100 lb test wire leader. So no fish for dinner but Ruth outdid herself with a fine pork-chop dinner that evening.

noon position - 16 deg 44 min S 151 deg 25 min W


A good day sailing although the wind was very close to dead behind so we had to use the pole and run wing on wing for a while - kind of rolly and a lot of paraphernalia to rig. No fish today even though we altered course a few times to sail through some birds diving. Had New Zealand lamb and Ruth's special Nutella crepes for dinner.

noon position - 14 deg 31 min S 151 deg 59 min W


Wind shifted northeast so we went to a close reach and are still making good progress. We had somewhat of a scare when I found one and then two large hex key bolts on the deck about to fall overboard. Ominously they were the same size and type as the bolts securing the lower swivel of the roller furler to the forestay extrusion. I assumed that the bolts were from the upper swivel. We immediately dropped the genoa to the deck. Boy that sail is a handful. However, the upper swivel had all of its bolts and they were of a different type anyhow. I spent an anxious 15 minutes lying on deck scrutinizing the mast and its attachments with binnoculars. Finally I noticed that the fitting securing the boom vang hydraulic cylinder to the boom had lost two of its bolts. And the third was of the same type as the two found bolts! The bolts were quickly reinserted and now sucured with Loctite!

By noon the wind has shifted to straight ahead and has become very light. So we start the engine. Shortly thereafter we catch a 3 foot long Wahoo. Then, a little later we drive through a school of tuna and catch two 15 lb yellow-fin tunas. We have tuna sashimi for appetizers and marinate the Wahoo in Marcus's special ginger, rice vinegar and olive oil sauce for the main course. The rest goes into the freezer for another day.

We motor all night and for the next 33 hours.

noon position - 12 deg 18 min S 153 deg 17 min W


There is absolutely no wind. The sea is glassy. Later in the day a 3-knot breeze from the northwest comes up but we elect to continue motoring since we are also going northwest and would have to tack, yielding only 1 or two knots toward our destination. We have been in radio contact twice daily with several other boats (Pez Vela, Remedy, Sailors' Run, Laughter and El Gitano (aka El Hinano)) also headed north. We keep track of each other's positions and weather. Today we anticipate overtaking "Sailors'

Run", who doesn't motor very much because they don't carry much fuel. Early in the afternoon we see them on the radar and alter course to intercept them. A few hours later we "drive by" and shoot some video of their boat and they snap some photos of us. They said on the radio later that you could hear the sonic boom. (But we had mechanical assistance (the "iron jib") and they were actually sailing). Tonight is Ruth's night off from cooking and I make Greg's special jalapeno and mushroom macaroni and cheese. Believe it or not, Kraft Mac & Cheese is highly prized among cruisers because its not sold in French Polynesia. We speak of the precious yellow powder. We've had several of our visitors replenish our stores by bringing a dozen boxes each. The lettuce is holding up well and I change the paper towels that keep it from getting too moldy in the fridge.. There is a fine art to preserving lettuce for weeks on a boat.

noon position - 09 deg 56 min S 154 deg 14 min W


The wind comes up from the northeast and we can sail again. albeit hard on the wind. Bravo Charlie III does pretty well on this point of sail, much better than Bravo Charlie II. We can make decent boat speed heading up to about 40 degrees apparent wind angle and we are heeled over only 10 degrees or so in 10 knots of wind. Bravo Charlie II was awful on a beat and would be heeled 25 degrees and sail up only to maybe 55 degrees apparent wind angle and at a greatly reduced boat speed.

At 10 AM I look out and see a ship! We have been taking with some of the other boats and there is a general belief that there is no one out here but us cruisers since we are far from the normal shipping lanes. I call the ship on 16 and they answer and will pass ahead of us. I asked where they are from but either they don't understand the question or don't want to tell us. They sound possibly Middle Eastern. I think they are bound from Panama to New Zealand or Australia. Today we pass Pez Vela even though they left 2 days before. They are 90 miles to the east of us because they are going to Christmas Island before they stop at Fanning. Pez Vela is a 34-foot boat and it is not surprising that we are faster. We also have a bigger engine. We receive the afternoon weather fax and it shows that we will cross a ridgeline of high pressure at around 5 degrees south of the equator and that the isobars have a big kink in them there, heralding a wind shift to the east or even the southeast. I mention this on the radio at 6 PM and everyone says hooray as we are getting tired of no winds and headwinds, albeit light ones accompanied by very calm seas.

noon position - 07 deg 33min S 155 deg 24 min W


We sail part of the night on moderate north easterlies but start the engine again in the early hours because the wind is dying again. No sign of the forecasted wind shift yet. We will pass close by "Starbuck Island" around 10 AM if we alter course a few degrees to the north so we do so. Starbuck is the only piece of land in 500 miles and it's a 15-foot high sand bank with 1 tree, a few bushes and some dilapidated Quonset huts. It's uninhabited. I would like to know the origin of the name (I think that it is from mythology and may relate to the mermaid logo of the coffee company). Certainly there are no Starbucks on Starbuck. Ruth makes pizza for lunch. We still have some good quality low-grade meat (that's an oxymoron isn't it) in order to make a Stromboli imitation. After passing Starbuck we have good north easterlies again but still no sign of the promised wind shift. We are almost able to lay the rhumbline to Fanning but are off by 10 or 15 degrees to the west. Not to worry.there WILL be a wind shift eventually!

noon position - 05 deg 28 min S 156 deg 04 min W