- TALLSHIP SOREN LARSEN RETURNS IN 2004 TO EASTER ISLAND - PITCAIRN
- MARQUESAS & TAHITI
2 April - 21 May - See more here
25 April. First Mate Sally
Anderson's Web Log report from Easter Island onwards. This is
written at sea a couple of weeks before they arrived at Tahiti,
as they sail towards the Marquesas. In this second instalment
Sally reviews their time at Pitcairn and onwards to the Marquesas:
........."Tues 3rd April
Wind ENE, force two, backing to the NNW. Were atop a high moving through.
1230 Land Ho! Cpt Jim gets the tot of rum. Henderson Island
ahead. Henderson is part of the Pitcairn Islands. (Editors
note: past VCrew may note with interest that Capt Jim has an uncanny knack for being first
to spot land on the distant horizon, eg St Helena, Azcores, Aitutaki, North Cape, Easter
Island etc etc, We feel this is undoubtedly due to his unerring Master's eye, unparalleled
squarerig experience and generally salty demeanour - and not because he has primery access
to the chart and DR position calculations, as some may be suggesting...)
The islands are a British Dependency and four islands make up the group. Ducie Island lies
nearly 300 nm East from Pitcairn, Henderson about 100nm ENE, and Oeno Island is situated
75nm NNW of Pitcairn. Oeno and Ducie are low lying atolls and Pitcairn a volcanic island
while Henderson is a Makatea Island, meaning an old coral atoll that has been uplifted so
exposing the coral rock high above the sea.
arrive off the Northern side around 1400, we have permission
only to land here at the Northern beach as the island is a World
Heritage Site. Unfortunately the swell makes for an unsafe landing.
Underway 1630, motorsailing with light Northerlys.
Wed 4th April
At 0630 a SE wind fills in, Main Engine off. The wind continues to freshen and all aboard
are happy we are now sailing for our arrival at Pitcairn. The wind is now a good force
five and Soren is making 6 knots easily. Great sailing. Jim chats again to Pitcairn on the
radio, we all listen in and it sounds as though they are about as excited as we are at our
arrival. We make a date for afternoon tea. Its a beautiful island, volcanic with
lofty, almost vertical cliffs and lush, dense vegetation. The swell is still heavy and
impressive as it smashes against the rocks at the base of the cliffs.
It is hard to believe it was here over two centuries ago that
Fletcher Christian and eight other mutineers arrived on HMS Bounty, and their colony still
We nearly sail onto the anchorage, but the wind backs
unfavourably. We anchor off Adamstown in Bounty Bay. Its quite stirring being here,
at this fairytale refuge, exciting and rather curious.
The rest of the day is rather
hectic. Before we know it one of the large aluminium long boats
is underway and alongside with over half the population aboard!!
Total Population is 43. The atmosphere is incredible, its
like a long lost family reunion. Everyone's chatting and introducing
themselves, the kids are climbing out on the jiboom, lots of
fruit is received as gifts, including breadfruit (rather ironic!)
and theres cuppas and scones for everyone. VC Irish Geoff(Saunders)
even receives two letters.
The swell isnt easing off and it is decided to bring the
longboat back alongside to pick up our VC and the islanders. The Pitcairners are famous
for their boathandling skills, the landing at Bounty Bay is protected by a small seawall
and it takes great skill to manoeuvre the longboats between the swells to the landing.
There is no safe haven at Pitcairn so this is the only way ashore.
Once ashore, our VC are split up to stay with different families.
Everyone has some wonderful stories and experiences from their time ashore and attached
are accounts from VC Mary, Irish Geoff and Young Geoff.
PC Rob and Troy where lucky
enough to join the crew of one of the longboats to meet a container
mail and empty gas bottles on the Thursday night. Conditions
where rough with a good thirty knots blowing and still the heavy
swell. On the Thursday PCrew Nick and Troy visited the school
and enjoyed an afternoon of sport and blah blah blah. The school
has one teacher and seven students.
We stay all of Thursday and Thursday night and Friday and leave
late Friday afternoon, sooner than expected due to the conditions at the anchorage. The longboat ride out on
Friday, to drop PC and VC back aboard was hair-raising to say the least and the transfer
just as exciting. Unfortunately the conditions wouldnt allow for a final
get-together aboard and our 3 cheers (and a long one, and a short one) would have to do.
It was sad to leave, but what an amazing experience we have had to visit here, definitely
the highlight of the trip for me.
Fri 6th April
Weighed anchor and set sail at 1730, wind is ESE and fresh, course
330 degrees compass. VC Pieter and Kirsten have been putting a lot of effort into their
own website, a photographic journal of the voyage, using their digital camera. The address
Sat 7th April
Wind Ely, force 5, sighted Oeno Island. This is where the Pitcairners pack up and
head for their holidays. We dont stop.
Sun 8th April
Doesnt feel like a Sunday as weve run out of eggs! On leaving Pitcairn we have
discovered some of the beer we purchased is good old Aussie VB! Makes ya homesick!
Mon 9th April
Light winds, 1700 start Main Engine. 2000 wind fills in from SE, Main Engine off.
VC Bill Ferguson has surprised us all with his singing! Tonight we have a sea shanties
night, led by the talented Terri. VC Bill, from Scotland, takes the stage for a solo and
surprises us all with his amazing voice.
Tues 10th April
Wind backs to the East, now a good force four. We still havent sighted a ship. The
only one sighted since Panama was the poor old fishing vessel that lost its chopper right
before our eyes! A rather dramatic sighting for the only one. This was the leg from Cocos
Island to the Galapagos. We have crossed three main shipping routes as well. The great
circle (the shortest distance between two points on a sphere) track from Auckland to
Panama passes very close to Pitcairn and the routes from Sydney and Southern Australia
pass just south of Easter Island.
Wed 11th April
Strong Easterly winds still prevail.
Jims afternoon lecture covers Polynesian Navigation and we all decide to give it a
go starting tomorrow to the Marquesas. Another successful day-workers dinner. The dress up
theme being souvenirs?, and a beautiful chicken based dish is appreciated by all.
Thur 12th April
At 0800 hours the ships magnetic compass is covered up?
Polynesian Navigation, its a fascinating challenge.
The three main skills involved in this traditional style of navigation were
1.Steering a course at sea:
This included relating swell directions, prevailing winds the bearings of the sun and
certain stars to the course desired. Jim has worked out the hourly bearings of the sun and
required stars and we relate these bearings to our course with the aid of a dummy card
atop the compass, otherwise known as a Pelorus, where ahead or "0" relates to
2. Maintaining a running fix of ones position by dead reckoning:
This is an estimation only of the ships position, based on speed through the water and the
course steered which we correct for leeway. This is in relation to a fixed point, such as
a point of origin, or island sighted on the way.
3. Making an island landfall:
We just hope to see it, but the indigenous form of navigation included cloud formations
over high islands, swell formations, the reflection of atoll lagoon colours in the clouds,
bird life, reefs; as deep reefs can change the colour of the sea and shallow reefs can
effect the sea state. Also deep water bio-luminesence which flashes in the water,
apparently lies along the direction of the land.
So if your reading this you know weve made it!!
This afternoon we also conduct a fire drill. The wind veers from
ENE to ESE and is abating.
Fri 13th April
I wonder what the Polynesians did when it was overcast? Dilemma solved. Terri saves the
day with her freshly baked hot cross buns!!
Wind backs to NE and is light. By the afternoon though the sky has cleared and the wind is
strong, a good force six, Soren making 6 knots.
Sat 14th April
Strong NEers all night, wind veers to the East and eases in the day.
0930 Sighted Fatu Hiva, the southern most island in the Marquesas.
Daphne and Mary organise an Easter Egg treasure hunt. Four separate trails of clues, one
for each watch. Clues found all over the ship, way aloft and even one in the heads! We
anchor on the western side in the Bay of Virgins, reputed to be one of the most
spectacular bays in Polynesia. Its stunning. A dip before sunset off the ship and
then Pina Colades followed by dinner on deck and a few more drinks.
Over the next week we plan to visit four of the islands in the
Hiva Oa; the main southern island, Tahuata; where Cook first landed, Ua Pou and then Nuku
Hiva; the main island.
And we hope to make at least one stop at the Tuamotu Islands
before arriving in Tahiti."
To be continued...... Click
here for Part one of this Weblog report Easter Island -
Below are links to Sally Anderson's Web Log reports from
the Galapagos to Easter island:
Part 1 tells of their passage from Panama
to Cocos island - 7/12th Feb. Click here.
Part 2 covers from Cocos
Island to the Galapagos - 13/18th Feb. Click here:
Part 3 recounts their journey
and Easter Island, and their experiment in traditional navigation
methods, 22 - 28th Feb:
Part 4: Continues the passage
to their arrival at Easter
Island, 1st-19th March: Click here.
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