We spend some time seeing and scuba diving in these three southern island countries, just off the shore of Venezuela. Then, when a weather window presents itself, we will set sail for Panama.
Aruba to Panama.
We initially sail northwest, go get out of the worst of the rough seas and wind along the top of Venezuela, as well as the logs coming into the ocean at from the Magdalena river, turning west when we are offshore, then curving back in to Portobelo, Panama.
Portobelo, Shelter Bay Marina, Lago Gatun, Balboa Yacht Club (Panama City).
Once again, we make our way through the Panama Canal from the Atlantic side to the Pacific Ocean. After reprovisioning in Panama City, we sail out to the Pearl Islands to wait for a weather window to start our voyage to Ecuador.
We make a stop in Esmeraldas, waiting for a weather window for the long passage across the Pacific to the Pitcairn Islands, 4,000 miles away.
Henderson Islands, Adamstown, Oeno Island.
We make landfall at Henderson Island, but may not stop as there is no protected anchorage. We sail on to Adamstown, again hoping for calm weather as their anchorage is also unprotected. From there, we head to Oeno Island, once again, needing to find a calm day if we plan to stop. If the weather is bad, for all of these, we may need to sail on past to the Gambier Islands.
Our only stop in the Gambier Islands is the beautiful Rikitea, where we will spend a couple of weeks enjoying the protected anchorage and islands.
Bass Islands & Austral Islands
Bass Islands: Rapa and Neilson Reef. Austral Islands: Raivavae, Tubuai
We only stop at one island in the Bass Islands, Rapa, where we spend a few days. Weather permitting, when we leave Rapa, we may stop at the Neilson Reef for a scuba dive, but it has no surface land, so it is unprotected from the swell. We would have to hit a perfect day. From there, we sail north to Raivavae, the first of the two Austral Islands we will visit.
This is just a brief reprovisioning stop before we head northeast to the to of the Tuamotu Atolls. We will pick up some supplies, like bottom paint, but won't apply it until we return from the U.S. the following year, and rejoin the boat on the hard in Apatiki.
Tikehau, Rangiroa, Apataki.
We will come through these atolls during an earlier year in our voyage, but we want to spend more time visiting additional atolls for some wonderful scuba diving. This is also a good location to leave the boat for a few months during Cyclone Season. We will motor on a calm day up to Tikehau, then atoll hope southwest to Apatiki Atoll, where we plan to haul out for a few months. We will fly to Papeete and then to the U.S. from the International airport.