Friday, April 25, 2008

Update from the Cats Paw IV, by way of the middle daughter, Jennifer (my turn to relay info!). A 7 minute conversation today relayed the following information (as far as I can recall from my at-times-faulty memory and my hastily jotted down scribbles):

Mom and Dad (I guess Ann and Barry to the majority of people reading this blog) are still hanging around Tahuata, if my Google Earth can be believed. I put in the latitude and longitude that Ann provided, but that mapped them as somewhere in the middle of that island! I guess you need the minutes and seconds as well to be get the most accurate position, but for now I've put the pin in the most likely harbour. Ann said that they went ashore in a village and were given an assortment of fruits from this wonderful man whose name she wouldn't attempt, as it is a Marquesan name, and they all have very different spelling and pronunciation. She said they were given bananas, oranges, limes and, best of all "pamplemousse", which were juicy and absolutely devine.

Speaking of "pamplemousse", Ann's french is still serving her well, and although the dictionary is pulled out from time to time, she is enjoying much more freedom of communication in french than she did in spanish. I didn't ask,but Barry is probably not having as much luck, as I believe his spanish was much better than his french.

Back to the village. Their fruit provider refused direct payment, but Ann and Barry were going to trade for it with an assortment of items, including some rope, colouring books and tee-shirts. Knowing Barry's tendencies, if he's in charge of the trading transaction, the fruit man will no doubt get more than his fair share of items in trade. Now, if Ann were in charge, the bartering might be a bit more fierce! Apparently, the trade transaction was delayed by the arrival of the weekly ship. It only comes once a week with all the goods for everyone, and the whole village shows up to help with the off loading and picking up of goods. They were given some coffee and were content to wait around and observe the goings ons before continuing with the transaction.

As for future plans, they only have 3 months in the area, as previously mentioned by Trish, so as the area is absolutley riddled with islands, they will have to decide which of the multitude they will visit. Ann tossed out a number of names at me, most of which I have heard before, but none of which I knew precisely where they were. I've therefore tried to plot all the metioned names onto Google Earth. I hope it works as well as Trish's did.

As for the briefly mentioned names, Tahiti was high on the list, as their Ham radio was dropped off there by now absent crew member Bob. Other islands mentioned were Bora Bora, the Cook Islands, Tonga, and eventually New Zealand sometime in November. Mom said they likely wouldn't hit Fiji this time, but I've pinned it anyway, so you can see how far out of the way it is.

And finally for a bit of perspective, here are three pictures that show the three legs of their journey: Canada to Mexico to Galapagos; Galapagos to the Marquesas; and the Marquesas to New Zealand. Certainly adds some appreciation for the feat they are undertaking, doesn't it?

Whew! Quite the 7 minute conversation, wasn't it? Sorry, I've already realized that I tend to blab on as much as Ann does... must run in the family!! I haven't decided if the ability to raphsodize about the most trivial occurences is a talent or a vice. Either way, it is what it is! I hope you enjoy the update, and if you don't, don't read it!! Until next update..... JEN

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hello to all,
Trish here again. I guess the available Internet access in the Marquesas is less than desirable. So I have been asked to continue in posting positions and any other little bits of information that I get from a minute long phone call every now and again. My sister, Jen, may also be joining in on the fun.

I never did post the final destination for the Pacific crossing of Cat's Paw IV so here are a few pics. And just a reminder, to see an enlarged view right click the picture. ( the picture to the right is there current position.)
I guess the first spot they anchored at near Isla Hiva Oa, was in a commercial fishing area so there were sharks and some pollution in the water and it was not very inviting. They are now anchored off of Isla Tahuata. Mom says that the water there is beautiful, very clear and I imagine warm, there is also a gorgeous white sand beach with palm trees for shade to enjoy when they get to shore.
Mom's french is coming in handy, she has even been asked to do some translating. They have also managed to get a 3 month extension so I imagine that by the end of their time in French Polynesia Mom will be jabbering away at the locals.
Here is some information that I got from the Google earth sight.
Tahuata is the smallest of the inhabited Marquesas Islands. It is located 4 km (2.5 mi.) to the south of the western end of Hiva Oa, across the Canal du Bordelais, called Ha‘ava in Marquesan.
The commune of Tahuata consists of the island itself and the nearby island of Moho Tani.

Tahuata is approx. 61 km² (23.5 sq. mi.) The highest point on the island is Pahio, rising to an elevation of 1,000 m (3,280 ft.).
2002 census population was 682.
The island's chief town is the village of
Vaitahu, located on the western shore. Because there is insufficient level ground for even a small runway, the island is served by the airport on Hiva Oa. This serves to give the island a feeling of much greater isolation, despite its proximity to Hiva Oa.

Archæological evidence indicates that Tahuata was inhabited by Polynesians as early as 200 CE.
In later pre-European times, the
tribes of Tahuata were allied with the tribes from the Nuku province of Hiva Oa, and the island was considered a dependency of that province.
The first
European explorers disembarked on Tahuata in 1595, beginning with the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira at Vaitahu, followed by Captain James Cook in 1774 and Admiral Dupetit-Thouars in 1842, who signed the treaty annexing the Marquesas Islands to France.

I have included a Blog entry that Ann emailed today so enjoy!

The full passage.

Blog entry. written by Ann.

The Midnight Paper Towel Caper

As some of you may know Barry is addicted to paper towels. He has a least one in his pocket at all times, more often two or three. He uses them for whatever purpose he feels moved to, primarily endlessly blowing his nose with no results, as far as I can tell. Then he’d stuff the said paper towel back in his pocket and proceeds on with his day. He wears underwear to bed for the sole purpose of stuffing a paper towel in them so he can find them at a moments notice!!! When we go for a walk I am forever picking up a possibly dirty paper towel that has escaped from his pocket. YECCH, I hate the things; they appear under his pillows, in the laundry and in all sorts of other unexpected places.

Well the other day a paper towel proved to be Barry’s undoing. He had just finished his shift eight to midnight. He was on the toilet when the unthinkable happened. (Just let me digress for a moment, on Cat’s-Paw IV as on many cruising boats you do not put the toilet paper in the head for fear of clogging the beast.) A paper towel, unbeknownst to him once again made an escape from his pocket and plunged into the head. Barry being a little tired, it was midnight, it was dark, made a horrible mistake and assumed one of his other crew members had committed the unpardonable error of putting toilet paper in the head (as if we would) and he flushed. WRONG!!!

Poor Barry, the head clogged, what was he going to do, what could he do? Bob and I would be up in the morning clamoring to use the head and if we had to use a bucket it wouldn’t have been a pretty sight. He proceeded to take the head and all the attached hoses apart. Once again all you cruisers out there will understand the difficulties involved in this action. Urine when mixed with sea water creates scale. This sludge attaches itself to the hoses and leaves a small space for all the effluent to flow through. Our hoses had not been cleaned since we got the boat in 2005, so there was a lot of sludge. There was Barry on his knees, in a pitching, rolling boat, in the dark, with his headlamp on, scraping away at the smelly hoses in a vain attempt to find the rogue paper towel. After scraping out ten feet of hose he eventually found it in the very last junction before it would have been flushed into the sea. He spent FOUR hours fixing that head. I felt for him, I really did, but somewhere deep in my heart, I figured that it was payback time for the innumerable used paper towels I had picked up in his wake over the last three years.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bob taking down the spinnaker, we made quite a team!
We made it, wow, unbelievable! It was a wonderful passage. We left the Galapagos on March 25 at noon approx. and we counted March 26 at noon as Day 1, so we landed on Wed. April 16 at 2000 hours so we think it took us 22 days and 8 hours. I will have to figure who won the lottery. Thank you all very much for guessing. It was fun.
The Motley Crew spent a lot of time guessing, every day we would guess how many miles we had done from noon to noon, then near the end we would guess at what time we would hit a certain mileage mark, example, when would we hit 500 miles to go, etc. Once we had seen the first freighter we bet whether or not we would see another boat before we arrived. We actually saw 2 boats on the passage, on during the day and one at night. It gave us something to do.
We also saw the flare, of course, Bob spotted it and we all went up on deck in the middle of the night and hardened up the sails and turned into the wind and motor sailed for 4 hours towards where we thought the flare was.
Barry with his freshing baked loaf, he really is a multi-talented guy!
We called and called on the VHF and also listened on the ham radio emergency frequency. It was very difficult to know what to do when we didn’t see anything else and no answered our calls. We did report it, we used our sat. phone to call our buddy in Victoria who called the Coast Guard there and they called the Tahitian Coast Guard. When we spoke to the Tahitian Coast Guard (fortunately there was someone who could speak English there) he explained that they had broadcast a call and didn’t hear anything so they figured it was a false alarm. I sure hope so; I hate to think that we left someone that was in distress out there, we were a long way away from anywhere.
Looking back on it the passage was like a capsule of time, we were in our own little world. We didn’t know what was going on in the world, there was just the sun, the stars and the water. The boat moved beautifully in the trade winds, we rigged it up as a cutter and beam reached for 1500 miles. When the wind dropped we threw up the spinnaker and flew through the waves at up to 8 knots, mostly averaging 6.5 knots, WOW! From 1500 to 2500 miles the wind was on our aft quarter and we surfed down the swells on a broad reach. The last 500 miles we were sailing dead downwind, not as much fun, much harder to steer and quite uncomfortable with the rolling action. The main was getting beat up, slamming around, the bracket that holds the boom vang to the mast split so we had to take the rigid vang off and Barry rigged up a soft vang. The other big problem that we had is that our 5th crew member (we had 3 human crew, Otto, our auto pilot, and Wendy our wind vane), that would be Wendy decided that she was working too hard and gave up the ghost. Wendy, what a wench, she only worked for 3 days of the passage and then had a hissy fit and quite working, again it was stress that sheared some stainless steel. Those of you that sail will realize what that meant, we had to hand steer across the Pacific, I will admit that I called Otto into use occasionally, but Otto is a bit of a pig when it comes to power so the Captain did not want to put Otto to use very often and for very long.
We had a great time, my brother, whom I was a bit apprehensive about asking to come with us was a perfect gentleman the whole way. Bob and I have argued from the first days of our lives and both of us love to be right and want to have the last word.
I am getting a shower curtisy of the rain on our main.
Bob said that he made a pact with himself before he left Calgary, I am not sure what he promised himself but he was wonderful to have aboard. We could not have asked for a better crew member, always cheerful, always willing to help and did not mind being a butt for many of our jokes. I had thought I would rely on Barry to help offset the “Bob effect” but it turned out that I used Bob to offset the sometimes dictatorial nature of Captain Greybeard!!! There were thoughts of mutiny on occasion when the Captain would get up in the middle of the night and demand of the crew why the sail was flogging and banging around. When the crew wanted more speed and the Captain was erring on the side of caution, rumblings were heard. As we got closer and closer to where Captain Blythe got his come uppance, the crew understood why those on the Bounty mutinied!!
The island we have landed on Hiva Oa, is a gorgeous introduction to French Polynesia. There are the huge high peaks with clouds obscuring the top, last night it just poured from when we landed until about midnight. Today we walked into town; there are flowering shrubs everywhere, fruit trees with pamplemoose, mangos and papayas, coconut palm trees swaying in the fresh ocean breezes. When we got back to the boat a small German cruise ship was disembarking and there were Polynesians in traditional costumes, playing the drums and the conch. It was a wonderful welcome to the area.
I will write more news of the passage in a day or two. Bob has a ticket to Papeete, Tahiti tomorrow so will be there before Barb arrives. I am sure they will have a wonderful time there.

Hiva Oa, we have arrived.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cat's Paw IV has made there destination.
or I guess more appropriately
All crew are accounted for, ecstatic and tired. Ann reports that they have not had much sleep the last few days because they were too excited about reaching land. As they were heading toward the island they had a gorgeous tropical rain for about 20 min. and the crew took advantage by having a warm, fresh water shower, ahhh heaven. Well I will leave the rest to Ann for when she has a chance to get an Internet connection I am sure she will be blogging to her hearts content. I forgot to ask there exact position to post on the map so when I get it I will make sure to put up a picture.
And now for the official winners of the Cat's Paw IV Pacific Crossing contest.
By the crew reckoning they took 22 days and 7 hours to cross by how I have been posting there position they have taken 23 days. Of course the crew is correct but I am going to give a little leeway for others who made the calculations based on how I have been posting the positions on the map.
So the winners are....
Barb Shanks
Jennifer Lange
Lucy McCordick
and the closest crew member was
Bob Shanks (bragging rights forever, YES!!)
If I have some how missed your guess please let me know and I will add you to the list.
Well that is it for me. It was great to be able to keep friends and family updated on the crews progress across the Pacific. I hope you enjoyed it.
Trish Lange
Day 23

First off I need to make a correction to my last blog entry. Apparently I miss read the text message and it isn't the celery that Bob is worried about but the lack of CEREAL. Oppppps. For those of you that know Helsman Bob that makes a lot more sense. Lets hope the supplies last one more day because if not we may have a man overboard and swimming for shore so he can have his cereal for breakfast, the situation could become that serious. Hold on Bob, just one more day.

This pic is a close up. Not far now.

Yes that is right folks only 75 nm left on Cat's Paw IV's Pacific crossing. (I hope that I have not just jinxed them by assuming that it will only take one more day.)
position: 09 43 S, 137 46 W
speed: 5.5 knots
weather: excellent

I must apologize for the late blog entry. I did write one up this morning and thought I sucessfully posted it but when I checked this evening it did not show up. I was in a big hurry to get out of the door on time for work so I may have pushed a wrong button somehow.

Who will be the big winner???? Check back in a couple days to see who will receive that special Marquesas shell. It could be you!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Text message received this evening. Seems as though the crew are in a good mood. Ann messaged to give an update on the Cat's Paw IV 's supply situation . Apparently the carrots, potatoes, apples and onions are holding out well, I guess scurvy won't be setting in anytime soon. Helmsman Bob is concerned about the dwindling supply of celery. The paper towel situation is critical which has Captain Barry close to panic. But good news, the chocolate stash is holding out very well, Admiral Ann is ecstatic. Can you guess who stocked the boat??
Day 21

This picture is just to show you a bit of the area that Ann and Barry will be exploring over the next few months. I am sure they will be posting many a blog to show us the wonders they discover.

position: 09 29 S, 133 17 W
distance made yesterday: 124 nm
distance to go to destination: 342 nm

Not so smooth sailing at the moment but only because they are sailing down wind and the boat is rocking back and forth and back and forth in a very uncomfortable manner. The skipper ordered the main sail to be taken down yesterday because when you sail down wind it flaps and bangs quite badly with the rocking of the boat. Ann reported that the crew has had poor sleeps due to this motion. The main sail has since been raised again due to a firm request from Admiral Ann but the skipper (or as I like to call him Captain Grey Beard) would only go so far as to raise it with 2 reefs in the main. The rocking is not quite so bad now and they will be making a little more ground with the added sail. The wind was forecast to drop from 15 knots to 10 knots and Ann seemed to think that had happened but it is hard tell when you are sailing along with it instead of scooting along across it.

My theory to all this sails down and up and looking for flares that they can't find is that each member of the crew is trying to make sure that they land in the number of days that they predicted. VERY TRICKY you lot. Haaa haaa I am on to you. (I am kidding of course, well kind of).
There guesstimates are as follows:
Helmsman Bob 23 days
Admiral Ann 24 days
Captain Grey Beard 25 days.
Ann says that they all came up with there number independently of each other so it is cool they are so close together. We shall see who gets bragging rights and in my family that is everything.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 19

09 24 S 129 16 W
heading of 240
*only 581 nm left to go.
Well the crew is getting close and I imagine excited to see there first sight of land, or at least something other than waves, sky, clouds, and stars. There has been no animal sightings, no other ship or boat sightings. Nothing but the big blue, I guess that is why they call it that.
They did try to find the source of the flare but had not luck. There friend Lynn Greentree who has been sending weather reports called the Victoria coast guard when he heard about the flare that was spotted by the Cat's Paw IV. Victoria in turn called the Tahiti coast guard who then wanted to get in touch with the crew. When they did talk it was decided the the flare was probably a false alarm as the Tahiti coast guard had been radioing the area and monitoring for distress calls and nothing was received. So the crew turned around and headed in there original direction by 7 pm that evening and where happy to be back on track for the Marquesas.
There is another sighting of a different kind to report. When Barry was on shift he spotted some kind of space debree streaking through the night sky from north to south. He watched it the whole way and said it had a big long tail.
Well that is all for the time being. Not many postings left for me and we shall find out who the big winner shall be.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 17

8 17 W 125 20 S
heading 250
speed 6 knots
I talked to Barry this morning and he was happy to report two new boat bests for the last couple of days.
April 8th there distance was 152.2 nm
April 9th they went a total distance of 153.8 nm.
Sometime during Bobs shift he spotted a flare off in the distance, so they have changed direction to search and assist. Barry explained it is there duty as a fellow boat to try to find the vessel and offer what assistance is needed. Nice to know that they are watching out for each other out there. Check the blog in a couple of days and hopefully they can fill us in on what happened.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Day 15

07 31 S 120 31 W
heading 255
average speed 7 knots

distance on April 7, 145 nm
distance on April 6, 148 nm

Bob spotted a freighter on his watch yesterday. They were in sight for about 2 hours and it was approx. 3 miles away. This is the first boat/ship they have seen since being out in the big blue.

Ann mentioned that there had been a few incidents with the spinnaker which has gotten Barry's heart rate up. Ann insists they were no big deal. I am sure it is somewhere in between.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Day 13

07 22 S 115 34 W
heading 255
speed 6.5 knots
distance covered yesterday 126 nm

Talked to Ann and she says things are going smoothly. The wind has been more consistent and is starting to come more from the west so they should make some good ground today. Helmsman Bob is really getting the hang of things and doing a great job on the boat.
A New limerick sent by text message from the ocean blue.

The Motley Crew

There once was a man from the Knife,
who bought a boat with his wife.
To sail the world was his dream.
His goal was to use no steam
Not sure he's cut out for the life

There once was a lady, Admiral Ann.
She was married to a quiet man.
They sold there home to sail oceans blue
What he was getting into he never really knew.
she'll circumnavigate if she can.

There once was a dude from Cowtown,
who left his job and flew down
to join the crew of the Cat's Paw IV
As they sailed across the ocean floor
To the Marquases they were boun.

this Motley Crew of the Cat's Paw IV.
Left the Galapagos for a distant shore.
Captain Barry, First mate Ann and Helmsman Bob,
together the three made quite a mob.
They've sailed a 1000 miles and quested more.

composed by the, Motley Crew

April 3, 2008

Friday, April 04, 2008

Day 11
6 55 S 110 48 W
heading 245

speed 4.5 knots

wind from the SE

Talked to Bob Shanks today and he sounded still very happy to be out there an d in great spirits . He says they are under sail and all is well.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Day 9

*Yet again the crew of the Cat's Paw set another boat best for distance covered in a 24 hour period... 151 nm. Wow.

Lat. 5 45 S Long. 107 16 W

heading 255

under motor (did not get a speed)

time of call 7:02 mst

weather forecast is for winds from the SE 12 to 14 knots.

Talked to Ann this morning and she says that all is well. The crew are in good spirits and the shifts system they have set up is working good. They are getting enough sleep as long as they are disciplined enough to go to bed once their shift has ended which Ann did not do yesterday and hence was a bit grumpy today. She was busy trying to figure out where the other boats that are crossing at the moment are so they don't run into a surprises.
At the time she called the wind was swinging a bit and being fickle so they had decided to take advantage of the not so perfect sailing conditions to fire up the engine. Having the motor running allows them to charge up the battery bank and turn on the water maker both of which they need to do anyways.

Ann sent a text message to help put this crossing into prospective for those of us who are land lubbers. Imagine you decide to do a road trip that started somewhere in BC directly south of the Yukon/Alaska boarder and finished in Dryden, Ontario. Fun right, well then imagine you had a top speed of 10 km/hr!! When she texted yesterday at around 2pm she figured they had reached Regina, SK. Today she is hoping to be in Moose Jaw, SK. Heee hee.

Thanks to those who have emailed your guess. The crew have made there guess offical but I won't post it for awhile so we can all make our own minds.