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Monday, October 22 2018 @ 11:39 AM BST
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Paint, a Proa, and Cruising SE Asia

Read here: manuleleblog.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/paint-a-proa-and-cruising-se-asia/

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Glenn has reached the Philippines

Just received an email from Glenn Tieman. He has arrived in the Philippines from Yap Island.

You can read all about his latest voyage on his Manuleleblog

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Tiny Islands – Through Western Micronesia

 The many small atolls like Kapingamarangi which I’ve visited before have inspired me. They are rings of coral surrounding lagoons 2 – 20 miles across. the islands started as sand spits on the ring of coral reef, but were inhabited by islanders 1000 – 2000 years ago who brought plants and animals and created lovely exotic manmade environments.

They are simple, clear, bright and vividly colorful, in short – paradisiacal, but I’d never stayed at one for more than a month and wanted to in order to get to know the people and life better. This is what I did at Kapinga, where I stayed from November 2013 until April 2014, with the 200 some Polynesian inhabitants, out of the range of TV, motorized transportation, the internet and even radio other than shortwave, although there were difficulties.

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Building new crossbeams in Pohnpei

The slightly inebriated young Pohnpeian exuded, "You guys are the best! You give money. You guys make the world spin! All the money. You are the greatest, you are the ones who do it all! Giving so much money."

Just a stranger on the street of Kolonia, and no, I personally didn't give him money. The capital of The Federated States of Micronesia runs on easy American money. Only ten years ago there were exports, bananas, black pepper, and, for generations, copra, but not anymore. Today the Micronesian drives to his office, entitled "Office of Development and Resources" or some such thing, a few times a week; plays solitaire or Facebook for an hour or two, and his paycheck buys everything he wants. Please read my essay on this very important subject at:

http://manuleleblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/development-assistance/



Still Pohnpei is a pretty ideal place for me at this time; everything I need is here. The scraggly, free-spirited tropical port town sprawls almost randomly over a richly jungle clad, steeply ridged peninsula with the sparkling wide barrier reef-bound lagoon glimpsed through the foliage. On a dry day it rains five or six times. This cascade tumbles down streams and rivers deeply cut into the black basalt bedrock of the island and nourishes economical fresh local island food; several varieties each of taro, breadfruit, limes, bananas, cooking greens, coconut, etc. Free tuna, wahoo, and other by-catch from the factory ships, salted and dried by myself, for my daily meat. There are oysters by the hundreds on the nearby shipwrecks. Thrift shop clothes are nearly free and, for boatwork, most supplies are in the hardware stores. Cheap wifi in the well stocked library. And since roughly one third of Micronesians reside in the US I can, as an American, stay here with a minimum of harassment from the immigration office. Still none of this explains why Manu Lele's been anchored here for two years.

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Manu Rere - Tarawa to Pohnpei

A thousand miles sailing from Tarawa, I arrived at the harbor of Kosrae Island sailing down a hard gale, under two small crab claw sails and pulling the drogue.

The harbor entrance is narrow and faces directly into the wind, so first I let her round up and nearly stop with foresail backed, making it easy to pull the drogue aboard. Then I brailed the mizzen and used only the small mainsail for a controlled run down into the harbor while still easy to snap open the mizzen for beating back should that be necessary.
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More from Glenn Tieman May 2010 part 1

It wasn't easy to get permission to sail to the outer islands of Kiribati. Immigration blocked the process until I complained to the Ministry of Tourism. It's a similar situation in Tuvalu so it isn't surprising that I saw only one other yacht in Kiribati during the four months I was there.

I did eventually get to spend three months at two different remote villages and found the hospitality and friendliness there to be just wonderful. At the first village I was given more food than I could eat; tuna and flying fish, breadfruit, swamp taro, coconuts, bananas, lemons, edible leaves, palm syrup, etc. I dried enough bananas and fish to last for months.

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More from Glenn Tieman May 2010 part 2

Village life continues to be almost completely self-sufficient, almost everything handmade and little light at night but for the golden glow of cooking fires glinting through the trees. Virtually everyone goes barefoot. Canoes are made of hand sawn planks of light breadfruit wood sewn together and painted but using neither metal nor glue. Most houses are made of sticks and leaves tied together with hand made string.


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April and early May 2010 update for Glenn Tieman

After waiting weeks in Funafuti, Tuvalu, for contrary Northwesterly winds to stop, I was rewarded with several days of smooth sailing bound for Tarawa, Kiribati. Instead of the direct course Northwest I sailed North hoping for continued Easterly tradewinds, which seemed less common further West. Just when I was far enough North to make a turn to the Northwest, the wind came back from that direction so I beat on North. In addition to the contrary winds I also saw that I was being set by a current to the East, very unexpected south of the equator, and not a small current, but one which carried me some 50 miles per day in the wrong direction.

This winter there has been a major El Nino event. The wind just South of the equator changes from the Easterly trades to Westerly and the current also reverses in a flow to the East called a 'Kelvin Wave'. Bad timing. I had zero chance of sailing the 50 miles per day, against fickle equatorial Northwesterlies, required just to hold position. In fact for several days I was swept helplessly directly away from Tarawa. However, I knew that the no-fail way to reach Tarawa was to get far enough North to ride the rock solid Northeast trades. Meanwhile I had lots of food and water and books to read and was perfectly at home. I might even end up visiting Baker Island not far to the East.



There were a couple of very beautiful days and nights at sea while I inched my way north. While trying to take advantage of stormy evening squall winds, they sometimes become so fearsome that it was best to drop the mainsail and heave to for the night, but nothing broke. Otherwise making the best of one or two knots of breeze between calms.

As it happened the current stopped at the equator so I skipped Baker. A few days later the trades came in, and with 150 miles per day instead of 20 - 30, I made Tarawa in just 3 more days. Three weeks total for some 800 miles.


This photo was taken almost a year ago in the Marquesas
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Food and fun at Funafuti

Although Wallis Island had a very beautiful lagoon containing lusciously wooded uninhabited islets I continued on after only two weeks there since there wasn't a good convenient anchorage and the locals, although courteous, were relatively inaccessible (for Polynesians). Plus prices were two to three times those in Tahiti. The best part was spending three days daysailing between the pretty little islets and anchoring alone in stunning spots like in the attached photo, while working out rigging improvements and details like brailing which require lots of trial and error.



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October short update for Glenn's voyage log

I sailed into Apia harbor, the capitol of Samoa, but couldn't stand bringing Manu Rere into a marina which is now required there, so sailed back out to sea and on to Wallis Island where I was a week later when the tsunami occurred. Now at Funafuti, Tuvalu. Glenn
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Glenn Tieman in the Society Islands - 28 August 09

I stayed at Makemo atoll in the Tuamotus for five weeks. In retrospect it was a preferable place for enjoying the month long Bastille Day celebrations as opposed to the more crowded and expensive events in the capital, Papeete. There were sporting contests during the day and contests between two traditional heiva dancing groups at night. Each group included its own music mostly produced from a variety of elaborate drums and hollowed ringing logs, which I really enjoyed. Of course the famously sexy Tahitian dancing was also a pleasure to see. Even the costumes were beautifully made. While the holiday wound down and I prepared to depart, a small cut in my finger became viciously infected, which required antibiotics (free at the dispensary) and a couple more weeks to heal, one sure can't sail an unmechanized voyaging canoe with a ruined hand.

Once the anchor was finally lifted the first twenty miles were across the lagoon, easily avoiding the brilliantly colored coral patches, to anchor near the other pass. Away from town, without the issue of ownership, I stocked up with a supply of coconuts, which are part of my regular diet, before riding the ebb tide out to sea for Tahiti.

After sailing past atolls the first day, then through a stretch of wide sea I hove to at night to await dawn while still 25 miles short of the narrow passage between the last atolls of the group. Most of the subsequent nights of this voyage I stopped as well because the weather was so stormy, so I was happy to see the great Tahiti come into sight and anchor in the quiet shelter of headland and breakwater at the small town of Tautira.

After several pleasant days there, I sailed for Papeete expecting a pleasant scenic daysail but instead learned first hand about Maramu winds accelerated around the island. At first I dropped all sail to await the passage of what I took to be a squall. When I analyzed the wind direction though it appeared to be blowing me toward the nearby shoals so, for the first time, I put up a storm trysail which laces on the mainmast, and using this tiny sail made my way behind Venus Point, off Papeete, into the lee of the island and anchored the next day.


Hans Klaar's Ontong Java
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June 09 Tuamoto Islands

Just a quick message since internet in French Polynesia is 25 dollars for 3 hours. I arrived in the Marquesas over three months ago after a great passage. A papagayo storm gave very steep seas at first, then light sailing for a week. Hove to in the lee of Clipperton Atoll to enjoy the boiling sea life and earthy guano scent. A pretty desolate place. Then excessive wind and fast sailing until crossing the equator. Towed the tyre drogue for several days, which kept things tight and safe. Slower going south of the equator, so during a calm I launched the canoe and took a swim to clean the bottom along the wormshoe.

After clearing into the country I went to Tahuata Island where people gave me lots of fruit and were friendly, though not intimately so as in some other places, great hiking in the jungle mountains, and swimming in the clear waters. Then one night a young man came to the boat and threatening me with knife and speargun and robbed my laptop. The mayor knew who it was and we reported it to the gendarme in nearby Hiva Oa, but it awaits a judge from Tahiti. Never got the computer back.

Now in the Tuamotu Islands, atolls, enjoying the psychedelic coloured lagoons and drumming / dancing practice at night. The night of arrival I was hanging offshore, within sight of the lights of the village, awaiting dawn and misjudged. Waking 10 seconds before shipwrecking, put the helm hard over and brought out the bamboo pole while Manu Rere took glancing blows off the concrete like dead coral, then slammed stopped with the bow up 20 degrees. I began working the bow around with the bamboo while she continued to pound and grind. The bamboo missed the ridges and went into deep water with my frantic weight behind and I went overboard and over my head, even though the boat was on 18 inch deep ridges. A very jagged reef.

Thinking, "God, I'm going to lose the boat" I climbed onto a block of coral and resumed pushing the bow around to seaward, then pushed her forward and swung onto the stern. With the bamboo I pushed her the rest of the way off the rocks, unsheated the mizzen, which was aback, and she was ghosting back out to sea.

The saving grace was that it had been very calm for a week so the sea was flat. Hitting the windward side of a barrier reef like this ordinarily means being pounded by 8 to 10 foot swell and certain loss. As it happens there is no significant damage, that is no penetration of the fiberglass to the wood. Life too has its jagged ridges and depths these days.

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Prepared for Sea

Floating in the body temperature sea, with hotter swirls licking over my back, my gaze up through the palm fronds and hardwood branches follows two foot long scarlet macaws fighting in the canopy then dropping and sweeping away in unnaturally spectacular pairs. Just off this popular beach, Manu Rere rides alone at anchor against a backdrop of heavily forested mountains beyond the calm clear sweet waters of Gulfo Dulce. After more than a month here at Puerto Jimenez, school vacation is over so the beach is no longer so often brightened by children wading into the water giggling "que rico", and my visa is nearing the end as well, so its time to go.

During one week of my time here I sat daily on the grass behind the beach hand sewing a new mizzen sail together. Great way to meet the locals. Some gregarious young men, who work as tour guides to the neighboring corcovado national park, helped me procure used water jugs for the large supply my coming passage will require. The next project was another improvement to the rudder mounts which will be the key to control and comfort during the coming weeks of running down the trades and following seas. Finally Manu Rere was beached for three days in order to receive a coat of bottom paint; scraping the bottom in the ocean far from land is a task which I have done before but will eagerly avoid. The trickiest part of beaching is keeping her from digging herself into the sand for which I don't yet have a great technique. Fortunately an American spending the winter here brought a shovel and helped out.

Upon leaving Costa Rica, in a few days, for the Marquesas, I will sail most of the way along the 10 degree north parallel in order to benefit from the tradewinds and favorable current, and avoid the contrary winds and extra wide doldrums closer to the Americas. This will also allow me to at least sight, if not visit, the very isolated Clipperton Island, surely a welcome break in the otherwise almost 4000 miles of sea and sky.

Polynesia, here I come.



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Between Honduras and Costa Rica

I sailed from San Lorenzo, Honduras on Sept 20th, at the end of my three month visa, and had a nice trip down to Costa Rica. There were various conditions to deal with but that doesn`t much bother me anymore. Sea the attached maps for a more graphical view of the passage.
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Exploring the Gulf of Fonseca

After a last foray to the market for provisions it was already noon by the time Manu Rere was sailing out of La Union, El Salvador. The timing was awful since the morning land breeze had ended and the contrary sea breeze just beginning while a contrary flood tide was making the beat hopeless. Just as I was preparing to anchor at the edge of the channel the tide turned so that I was able to make it behind little Zacatillo Island at dusk where I anchored in three feet of water. Straight into the sea to scrape the bottom but in the opaquely muddy water this was all but impossible. Although the village ashore looked inviting I sailed with the tide at dawn for the gulf’s outermost island Meanguera where more transparent seawater could be expected.