Daily Log: Maupiha’a to Upolu Island, Samoa, Port Apia

5-11-2017 Thursday 4:00 pm

We pulled anchor from Maupiha’a just before noon yesterday anticipating a 7-day sail to Western Samoa, Port Apia on Upolu Island. Once outside the lagoon, it was clearly not going to be a gentle sail. The cockpit was soaked in no time.

5-12-2017 Friday 11 pm

The cockpit continues to get regularly soaked from random waves spraying up over the cockpit combing. Eric and Bryce had to replace the starboard dodger window cocking as last night the window popped out. Fortunately, the glass didn’t break and was saved from falling overboard by the lifeline. One of the things we’ve learned during our travels is that when moving or actively sailing, things onboard have a greater probability of breaking. It’s much less expensive to stay put in one spot like we did in French Polynesia, yet while there we still felt like we were traveling because we were actively living in a different culture.

We’ve been fortunate that rain is light. Cockpit duty is much more pleasant when it’s dry even with the occasional saltwater splash. We haven’t changed the sail setting since departing. Staysail is rigged for broad reach/downwind sailing with the main substantially reefed. No genoa. Even so, we’re clipping along at an average of 6.5 knots. The seas and movement of the boat are rough enough that we wear our life jackets in the cockpit and expressly at night…if it’s especially rough, we tether our harnesses to the cockpit. If work needs to be addressed outside the cockpit at night or in heavy weather, Eric has set-up our fore-to-stern deck lifelines in which we attach ourselves with a harness tether. We also require someone to watch the working sailor from the cockpit. We don’t want to lose anyone overboard…EVER!

5-14-2017 Mother’s SunDay 10:45 pm

Bryce made chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, which we all enjoyed tremendously, gobbling down without restraint. It rained all day long with very bumpy seas. Incredibly hot inside the boat with all the port lights and hatches closed tight, I preferred to remain outside in the cockpit, by myself. Fortunately, I’ve been re-enjoying tremendously the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Romantic historical fiction at it’s best! Engaged by the story, I didn’t even notice my unpleasant soaking shorts, wet jacket and damp straggly hair. The guys watched a movie below in the sauna, while I escaped into 18th century American Revolutionary times with the occasional glance up to check for obstacles or changes. I was also often interrupted by a large dip in the swell where I had to physically hold on! WEEEE!

Mid-passage neighbour passing within one mile to our stern.

5-19-2017 Friday 4:45 am

Arrived in Port Apia in the dark. It is never recommended to approach a new and unknown harbor at night, yet we went against our better judgment and entered anyway, eager to escape the heavy swell. We were all fully awake and at the ready with Eric at the helm, Bryce up on the mast, Trent and I scouting at the bow. Having been contacted earlier by phone from Curtis in Australia, when we hailed the Apia Harbor, within minutes a small boat came into view to escort us to a slip in the marina. It was amazing to go from heavy movement into a completely calm environment within the timeframe of an hour. Still dark, we tied-up to the dock, quickly tidied-up the sheets, hooked-up our electrical line and took much needed fresh water showers on the aft deck. Bryce and I washed down the very salty topside, solar panels, dodger and interior cockpit with fresh water until it was spotless. All the salty cockpit cushions were removed, unzipped, sprayed down with fresh water inside and out and left open to dry. At around 9:30 am, the officials started to arrive: health quarantine, biohazard, and customs. With no complications, we were instructed to visit the immigration offices in town across the way. Departing French Polynesia, Samoa was our first port of entry. Having studied in advance the sites to see, we were excited to explore.  Leslie

Port Apia Marina, Samoa


8 thoughts on “Daily Log: Maupiha’a to Upolu Island, Samoa, Port Apia”

  1. Wonderful pic’s and narrative. I’m feeling you from the calm, mild weather of northern California, yet can feel the sailboat’s motion up and down in one of those tropical storms. Wow! I like your description of your safety procedures. I guess living on the high seas produces “emergency response protocols” and along with it, wisdom! (This has been a message from the mysterious Dr. Alitok)

    1. Dr. Alitok, Thanks for reading about our adventures. Today in Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu, we’re feeling quite a lot of the holy spirit. Even in a relatively protected harbour, the boat is bouncing all over the place due to the heavy winds and getting back to the boat from shore ends up being pretty wet. Yes – safety procedures are necessary. We carefully pick our weather windows to sail in relatively calm conditions, not wanting to jeopardise our family’s safety…safety is number one. Hugs to you all, Leslie

  2. Good to read a well-written account of a pleasant and peaceful voyage! When all is said and done it should make a great video/movie for the voracious TV appetite! And glad to read you are staying away from all those adventures when things go terribly wrong. You are missing nothing here. California is acting like it wants to become an independent country is all. Water shortage much improved here after big rains earlier. Well done!

    1. Thanks Jim – It’s always great to hear your thoughts about our blogs. We also appreciate hearing about what’s going on at home. Rain in California is good! Leslie

  3. Hi, I’m new to cruising but have decided to sell my home in Northern California and buy a motor yacht. 48′ maybe bigger. I’m basically retired, but want to make a life style change! Love reading your story,, way too adventurous for me, but a huge inspiration!

    1. Claire,
      My advice to you, buy the smallest boat you can live comfortably in. Saves a lot of money. Secondly, buy as new as you can afford. Any money spent fixing up a boat is not recovered. Basically, newer boats hold their value better than older ones, and have fewer repairs, usually, at least initially. If you buy a common model, you’ll often find a support group to help you maintain it. Parts are also easier to get for the more popular makes/models. The Sacramento River looks like a fun adventure. Maybe the Delta, Stockton, etc. If your feeling brave, take crew and go up to the San Juan’s in Washington. BC is just within reach after that. Another option is to go south to the Sea of Cortez. If I wanted a bit more exotic, I’d maybe see if I could buy or rent a small power boat in Fiji, maybe something in Denarau. So many little island paradises to see in that drier corner of Fiji and a powerboat (diesel) might be the best way. I’d leave the boat in Vuda (Vunda) during cyclone season. making arrangements ahead of time. All the best,

      1. One more thing: take it slow. Live on and take the boat out often, knowing it takes at least about two years to break you and the boat in. Don’t rush any part of it, the selection, the buying, the alterations, the learning. Taking your time, in the end, is more efficient and leaves you more satisfied. Be comfortable with each step before proceeding. It isn’t a race. It’s a lifestyle with a thousand small things to learn, all simple, but required. You’ll be a mini-expert in all sorts of ways you can’t imagine right now. I usually get frustrated having to learn about yet another thing, but feel satisfied in the learning, after the fact. To take away some of the pain, one sailor told me that every problem provides an opportunity to meet someone interesting, someone with whom you’d never otherwise had the occasion to make their acquaintance. I like that approach.

        Take care,

  4. Thank you for this lovely account of your sail to Samoa. I know the discomfort of the constant spray of sea water. Thank goodness it’s clean that far out. When I sailed, I stayed outside the whole time, wet or dry. I know too the thrill of coming down a huge swell. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to sail in massive swell. It was nice of the harbor folks to guide you in. They told me that you’d have to wait. I hope return to Samoa and meet the nice folks I had spoken to regarding your arrival. Much love

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