Spending the cyclone season in the South Pacific

I am writing a quick note because of the large number of concerned emails we are getting these days regarding Pam, the big cyclone that hit Vanuatu.

Cyclone Pam, photo by weather.com

Cyclone Pam, photo by weather.com

We are far away and the cyclone did not affect us at all. The islands of Vanuatu got hit very badly and our thoughts are with them. If anyone wants to help, donations to SeaMercy.org are a good choice. DONATE HERE

The danger of cyclones is the reason that we spent almost 6 months in the Marquesas islands which are NOT in the cyclone zone. After losing two great friends in the Cyclone Odile we decided not to take the risk and did the effort of sailing almost 1000 miles upwind, but it was totally worth it!

This was our tactic:P1320709

In november we took advantage of some southerly winds and sailed to Fakarava.  This is the easy part.

Fakarava is a wonderful place to wait for a good weather window, but if you have time you can also get to Makemo and/or Raroia and gain some more easting. If you leave yourself enough time, you have a good chance that some SE or NW will come to your help. We left on the back of a big low and had 5 days of NW. We had to dodge a few squalls, but managed to reach Fatu Hiva in one tack. It took us seven days.

P1320834

Landfall in Fatu Hiva

After that, we had 6 months of lovely easy sailing between islands, enjoying the South Pacific sunshine without worrying about cyclones.

While Tahiti and all the islands west of it had lots of bad weather, we had a total of about 10 days of rain in 6 months. Staying here it was like standing in the sunshine on the top of a high mountain and looking down at the bad weather in the valley.

We had lovely weather, we kept sailing around the islands and made many good friends. We love the Marquesans and it will be hard to leave them.

DSC00905

Christmas Day in Hanamoenoa bay (Tahuata) – Calypso was the only boat there…

New Year's Party

New Year’s Party

So if anyone is thinking about where to spend the summer after the sailing season is over, we would highly recommend Fetua Enana – The Islands of the People.

But now is almost April and we are ready to start a new sailing season in the South Pacific. Don’t ask where are we going because, as always, we don’t know!

Fair winds to everyone

Jasna & Rick

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4 Responses to Spending the cyclone season in the South Pacific

  1. Lars Buur says:

    I have visited Nuku Hiva, Eiao, Hiva Oa and Tahuata. But I never heard of “Fetua Enana”. Where is it? Thank you for you blog posts. I enjoy reading them from my home in Denmark.

    • Jasna says:

      Hi Lars, thank you for reading us!
      Fenua Enana is the original name of the Marquesas islands, it means “The land of people”. This name is used by the locals, but very rarely in the guides, that’s why you’ve never heard of it. But if you ever come back, try to use this name instead of the name “Marquesas” and you will be treated like a hero! I learned 5 or 6 sentences in their language and they really loved that!
      What about you, are you sailing in Denmark now?

  2. David says:

    Hi Jasna,
    Great post. How did you handle the visa situation? Did you have a 12 month visa in advance of arriving in Fr Poly?

    • Jasna says:

      Thanks! We did not have a visa as we are both EU citizens and do not need one. We are lucky, what can I say. But during the cyclone season we met plenty of sailors on a long term visa. I’ve heard that this can now be done in Papeete as well, but don’t quote me on this. If you are planning of coming this way, it is definitely worth getting one before you leave.

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