Who hasn’t ever dreamt of dropping everything to go and see the world ?

This has come true for Pierre and Geneviève Déliac, an out of the ordinary French couple who took advantage of retirement to sail around the world for 4 years (1989-93) logging in more than 30000 nautical miles of thrilling navigation aboard L’Aventure, their 35 feet sloop.
Pierre & Geneviève
Pierre & Geneviève

After a 2 year stop in France, they have cast off the mooring rope since October 1995 for a second trip on L’AVENTURE II, a bigger 41 foot sloop.

This time, they want to explore thoroughly the Southern Pacific Ocean.
The following text is the logbook of this second navigation from Les Sables, France , to Papeete, French Polynesia.

From either a technical or a human point of view, Pierre & Geneviève’s experience will be very useful for anyone preparing the same kind of voyage. It will surely interest others as well.

By Pierre & Geneviève Déliac, adaptation and translation by François Déliac & Christopher Storey.

L'Aventure II

Contact, information, remarks: Contact us

The route

Table of Contents

Preparing for departure

On July 29th 1993, one adventure is ending, when our sloop «L’AVENTURE» moors in the port of Toulon after a 4 year journey around the world. Our plan then is to sell our boat in order to buy a bigger one, and then to leave as soon as possible to meet our friends again, the dolphins of the Southern Pacific. That’s easy to say, but more difficult to do!

avt2.jpg (21359 octets)
Leaving Sables d'Olonne with light wind.

The sale of our boat and the sale of our apartment in Versailles, the choice of the new boat, the discussion with the shipyards, the never-ending formalities with the Treasury, banks, insurance companies, social security, etc.- of course it took more time than expected. But above all, the crowning misfortune, Pierre had to undergo an important operation due to a heavy vascular problems. Under these conditions, it is impossible to leave before October (1995).

Finally, we settle down in our new boat in mid September, and we want to leave on October 15. One month only is very short time to furnish all the boat’s equipment, even with all the experience of our previous trip. In fact, we will have to leave without having solved each problem in detail.

Our new floating palace is a Feeling 416 DI built in Les Sables, France by the Kirié shipyards (the same which built our previous boat L’Aventure). With her 41 feet, she is much more comfortable than our previous 35 foot boat. Her retractable lee-board gives us a very low draught (about 30 inches) and thus will give us access to the most wonderful creeks of the Pacific. Furthermore, the shipyard has accepted to make some special fittings that we asked for; thus the boat will be more adapted for our trip than an ordinary series boat (see the appendix for details).

Before the departure, we had wanted to sail in Les Sables’s area, but a great number of preparations requiring our presence in the harbor made that impossible. Our only trial navigation will be a 4 day tour to La Rochelle.

Finally, the departure date (October 15) is approaching, and a few members of the family are coming for this event. A sympathetic meal in one of the port’s restaurant brings us together and at about 3 PM, we slip the mooring ropes and put to the sea. For the first round, we have 2 more crew members: our son François and our cousin, Jean Barradel.

Off we go once again sailing the seas aboard L’Aventure II, on this Sunday, 15th October 1995.

From Sables d'Olonne to Bayona, Lisbon, and Madeira.

We approach the gulf of Gascogne with a certain dread. Until the Cape Finisterre (NW of Spain), these localities have a very bad reputation. When the weather is bad, the sea quickly becomes very heavy and many ships have sunk here. Of course, before leaving, we had waited for a good weather report, but who knows ?

Fortunately, during the 4 days needed to double Cape Finisterre, we will have very fine weather. In spite of François’s efforts (he is our boatswain), we will have to use the engine several times. We are happy to get away from here in such easy conditions. Near the Cape Finisterre, we meet a thick haze of mist with a lot of Spanish fishermen at work. This makes our navigation hazardous, but everything goes well, and we arrive without any problem at La Corogne, which is the beginning of the West coast of Spain and Portugal. We decide to make a short stop in Bayona, a small town near Vigo, where we arrive on Thursday October 19th in the morning.

Bayona is located in Galicia which, like Brittany, is Celtic country. It is a charming little town and we are welcomed by the locals, who seem to like French people (it is not always like that in Spain!). At night, we try a tapas restaurant and have a great dinner with calamares fritos, jamon serrano, almeras, gambas a la plancha, etc. along with a very pleasant local white wine.

The crew in Lisbon : Frankie, Sophie, Pierre & Geneviève (Jean is taking the photo).

The day after, October 20th, we set sail for Lisbon, where François plans to hook up with his girlfriend Sophie Forte. The wind is blowing in a capricious way, from NE to SE, 5 to 20 knots. François, eager to arrive on time in Lisbon, shows a great energy: hoisting and hauling down the spinnaker, starting the engine when the wind is falling in. Finally, we arrive on Sunday 22nd in front of the tremendous opening of the Tage river. We are lying in one of Lisbon’s marinas at 9 AM and François, despite a series of mishaps, finally finds Sophie.

The forecast being very bad, we stay 6 days in Lisbon and take advantage of this stay to visit the city and learn some of Portugal’s history: Belem’s tower, Saint-Georges castle, Bairro Alto quarter, etc.
On Saturday October 28th, the wind turns to NW, and we decide to continue our trip to Madeira. François is very sad to leave us to go back to Paris for work, so we are now 3 aboard with our cousin Jean.

The sea is very rough and our stomachs, accustomed by a week on the mainland, begin to feel queasy. Besides, the favorable winds don’t last more than 24 hours! First, the wind stops, forcing us to use the engine because of the swelling sea, then on October 30, a strong SW gale force 8-9 begins in the middle of the night. This becomes quickly an apocalyptic atmosphere, with great thunderflashes in the sky, thunderstorms, foaming sea and roaring wind. We try to heave to by hauling down all sails, but we can’t roll-reef the genoa completely, because the rope of our Profurl system is not properly fitted and it is out of the question to fix it at night in those conditions. Finally, the boat is hove to, with the genoa hauled inside out, the mainsail close reefed and the helm down. This way, we are drifting and get more comfortable.

Jean feels seasick in all this movement. He starts to fast which makes him loose several kilos. But he stoically does his watches. After a few days, the wind collapses or blows SW (just in front of us), so we often use the engine. On November 3, we celebrate Geneviève’s 60th birthday in high fashion with a fancy meal and a choice bottle of wine. On Saturday November 4th, we arrive in front of the island of Porto Santo, which is about 40 nautical miles from Madeira. We anchor in the harbor, and look forward to a good night sleep. It took us 7 days of sailing from Lisbon, with 2 days hove to during the storm.

We stayed 4 days in Porto Santo, devoting this time to various works aboard. The island is not of great interest, except for the sight of sunny beaches where Nordic tourists shell out small amounts in order to sunburn peacefully. The island is small without any mountains, very dry and without any vegetation, unlike its sister, Madeira.

We leave on November 8th morning for Madeira and moor in the afternoon in Funchal’s overcrowded little marina. There is little room for us and we have to make fast side by side with other boats, sometimes in 5th position! Funchal is the harbor and capital of the island. We find there the typical Portuguese atmosphere, like in Horta, Açores. The streets and sidewalks are covered with black and white paving-stones, drawing different patterns. One can see baroque monuments, small wooden houses... Unfortunately, the whole seaside is spoiled by the horrors of the tourism industry: concrete hotels, cheesy restaurants specializing in the most disgusting grub, rows of apartments resembling rabbit-hutches, etc. Of course, we taste the local specialty, the wine of Madeira, and it is very good.

The inland, that we discover driving a rental car, is much more interesting. It is mountainous with a highest point of 1862 meters (Pico Ruivo) and the slopes are very steep. Rain is frequent and water runs down from everywhere. Vegetation varies depending on the altitude: from banana-trees at sea level to pine trees at the mountain’s top. There is a lot of terraced cultivation irrigated by « levadas » which provides pleasant walks on top of the mountain. We look in vain for the original vegetation of the island. In fact, at the beginning of Portuguese colonization, the island was covered with a huge forest of unknown trees («Madeira» means wood in Portuguese). But the ruler, Don Gonzalves Zarco started a huge fire which lasted 7 years, turning into ashes this natural treasure, in order to replace it with more « profitable » plantations!

As everywhere in Portugal, the population is very friendly; many people speak a few words in French. They don’t seem to have much money. Terrace farming is still done by hand, there are a lot of odd jobs and every shop has a large staff. Obviously, everybody can get a job and we never see a beggar on the streets.

Our cousin Jean is beginning to feel homesick. The farther he gets from his wife and family, the more he wants to go home. Finally, on November 18, Jean leaves us and flies back to France. The next day, the weather report announces a Northern wind and we set sail immediately, with our usual 2 member crew configuration.

From Madeira to La Palma, Cabo Verde, and Martinique.

The traditionnal "Ti-Punch"

In the open sea, we head for America, but the promised wind is not there. After a day of vain maneuvering in a very light breeze, we decide to sail to La Palma, the most oriental and closest Canary island, where we want to wait for favorable winds.

We reach Santa Cruz, in La Palma, 2 days later at dusk, on November 21st. This harbor was not built for small yachts, and there is little room for us. We moor anyway, helped by a Dutch skipper, and go to sleep.

The day after, on waking up, we discover that our mooring is located down a huge rock cliff that narrows everything around. Being there unexpectedly because of bad winds, we decide to rent a car and have a look at the island. As in Madeira, there are very high mountains (until 2400 m) from a volcanic origin. Depending on the altitude, different plants can be seen: almond trees, vines, orange trees, banana trees, prickly pears, etc. The landscape is imposing, and we can hear «fantastic» in all sorts of languages, but above all «FANTASTIK».

On Friday November 24th, after a 3 day stay, we set out to sea again, hoping finally to find the correct wind to sail to America. But no way, we only have light and changing winds, or no wind at all. We try to wait, drifting, but we get bored with being shaken by the swell; we finally start the engine in order to stabilize the boat and hold on course. Everyday we wait impatiently for the weather forecast on RFI (Radio France International); everyday we are amazed by the untruth of the forecast, which announces winds that we never see, although meteo France’s forecast are usually correct. Because persisting unwillingness of the elements, we decide to head for Cabo Verde islands, which are located about 800 miles SW of La Palma. We arrived at Mindelo, Sao Vicente island, after having using the engine more often than the sails, on December 2nd.

We don’t intend to stay long here. We want to be in Martinique (French West Indies) for Christmas, and we have to cross the Atlantic. Besides, the spot doesn’t seem very interesting. Obviously, people suffer here from a chronic drought, and there is no vegetation over the neighboring hills. Mindelo, which surely used to be a pleasant Portuguese colonial town is now almost abandoned, dirty and tumble-down. Even dogs look dirty and bare. But the population’s kindness finally gives us a good impression of this underprivileged locality. They are Afro-Portuguese Creoles and seem to feel closer to Europe than to Africa. We notice a lot of pretty girls in the streets, seductively dressed. The skipper of the nearest boat, an old man from Brittany living on a 20 feet cockleshell, tells us that many of the men in Cabo Verde sail away for long periods, so that there are more women than men here. And this is the main reason for his presence. He only visits West Africa’s ports and has just arrived from Dakar, where his stay had come to a premature end... His primary interests can be summed up by the following: «Sea, sun and African women». Many inhabitants speak French, making contact easy. We had hoped to listen to the great local singer Cesaria Evora, but as an international star, she is on tour somewhere in the world.

On Monday December 4th, we notice that the trade-winds are rising, with squally weather. At least, it’s time to go! The boat is fully laden with gas, water and supplies bought in the local market. Then, we learn that the country is affected by an outbreak of cholera. What to do ? We are satisfied with sterilizing the water and peeling the vegetables.

The rigging for long periods at sea.

The next day, after meal, we set sail to America. There is a fresh gale (East- North-east, 6 Beaufort) and we sail before the wind, running 6 knots with a partially rolled genoa. We try a new combination of sails, with our genoa and solent boomed, and no mainsail. This is very comfortable, but the boat lacks some power. Finally, we use the combination experienced many times during our previous trip: the genoa is boomed with 2 booms (one per side) and the mainsail is hoisted with its boom held back on the deck. The boat is stable and accommodated to this configuration, running between 4 and 8 knots (with an average of 6,5) with a 13-25 knot wind. We are not experienced enough to use our spinnaker with just the 2 of us during such a long trip, especially at night... The only problem occurs when there is a squall: the wind may become very high, blowing more than 30 knots with a changing course. Then there is a risk of bringing to, it is thus necessary to roll the genoa (which is easier than taking in a reef in the mainsail), keep a close eye on the automatic pilot, and close all hatchways because of the heavy rains accompanying the squall. Fortunately, these conditions do not last too long. But sometimes, they are rather frequent.

Apart from the storms, life aboard is peaceful and comfortable. The boat rolls, but we get accustomed to that. After a few days, life at sea becomes an easy rhythm. The night watches are organized in the following way: 20h-24h and 03h-06h for Pierre, 0h-03h and 06-08h for Geneviève. We have a lot of responsibilities: looking after the boat, preparing the meals, siestas, contemplation of the ocean... Pierre studies Spanish and Geneviève English. No telephone, no mail, no other noises than those of the sea. Sometimes we fish, using the technique we learned in Polynesia. We always bring back excellent fresh meat: tunas, chrysophryses, etc. We really feel good at sea.

For 10 days, we’ve been running fast, covering about 1500 nautical miles (there are 2100 from Cabo Verde to Martinique). Then, the trade-winds go down. Unlike our previous Feeling 10,90, our new boat needs at least 10 knots to really move forward. We decide to hoist the solent on a boom, along with the genoa and mainsail and gain one knot. It seems that we are not far from Martinique, but like a pretty girl, the island is coquettish and makes us wait! On December 19 at dawn, the island is in sight, haloed by clouds. We set our blue spinnaker in order to make a spectacular arrival, but when we arrive near the coast, a squall is approaching and we have to haul down. We drop the anchor in Saint-Anne’s bay at dusk and have a drink, while admiring the sunset. This little bay is so pleasant that we have a second drink before dinner. For the first time in a very long while, we sleep the whole night long.

The next day, on December 20th, after a short bath, we head for Fort-de-France (capital of Martinique). We double the tiny Diamond islet, that the English used to occupy during the 18th century, naming it « H.M.S. Diamond ». It is said that the Royal Navy still uses this appellation, and this would not surprise us, as, in the past, the English could not see a big rock on their way without making it a fortified base. In the beginning of the afternoon, we arrive at Pointe-du-Bout marina, where we meet again with our friends from the yacht Virgo.

Since Cabo Verde, we have covered 2100 nautical miles in 14 days, at a good average speed of 6,2 knots.

Stay in Martinique

This is our third stay in Martinique and now we know the island well. Next to us is Virgo, a 45 foot sloop that we encountered during our first circumnavigation having a lot of fun in different places of the Pacific. Virgo has a 3 member crew: Patrick and Jocelyne Velasquez and their 15 year old son, Manu. Our first event there is Christmas Eve. First, we go to the nearest church where there is an interesting Creole mass, with nice songs, living pictures and Creole prayers, a little bit difficult to understand for «zoreilles» (foreigners) like us. Then, we have midnight dinner in the large saloon of L’Aventure, cooked by Jocelyne.

An exciting young brunette from Brittany

Surprise, surprise: our son François calls to ask if it’s OK to come visit for a week . He has just changed his job, his apartment and his girlfriend. Obviously, he also wants a change of scene. On December 29th, we go to the airport and fetch François and his new girlfriend, Sophie Joubert, an exciting young brunette from Brittany. We celebrate the New Year with Virgo’s crew and some friends living in a big house near Fort-de-France. We have a good time, with a lot of zouk (local music) and champagne, as usual in the French Caribbean, and we end the party with a collective dip in the beautiful swimming pool of the villa at midnight.

The next day is Monday, January 1st 1996; we set sail to the Grenadine islands. Everyone has a hangover. Manu is on vacation and is delighted to come with us. We head for the South and arrive in the Tobago Cays after a day at sea. The spot is nice as usual, but as overcrowded as the Mediterranean Coast during summer. It is a natural park and spear fishing is forbidden, so we just spend a night and continue our course towards the South, passing beyond Union and Cariacou, and finally moor in a deserted little creek.

We stay in those wild places until we go back to Martinique on the following Saturday. We spend our time bathing, diving on the reef and spear fishing. One night, we have a lobster caught by Manu and 25 other nice fish. We go to the beach and start a big fire, and have a huge fish barbecue. On Saturday January 6th, we sail close to the wind to go back to Martinique. The return trip against the wind with squalls is hard and we join Virgo on Sunday morning at Anses d’Arlet. Jocelyne’s reunion with her son is an evident relief.
François and the bewitching Sophie fly back to France and we sail to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, to meet some other friends. People from Martinique and Guadeloupe keep a respect for distance from each other. In Martinique, they say that during the time of slavery, the most beautiful slaves were first disembarked in their island, then the others were sent to Guadeloupe. Of course, people from Guadeloupe tell the same story the other way round! After a short stay there, we sail back to Martinique and moor on January 21st. Although Guadeloupe is an interesting island, we prefer Martinique, which has less rain and is more welcoming. Fort-de-France is a pleasant town, located in a wonderful bay, rum is finer and tastier there... Finally, in Martinique, we get the impression of being home. In Guadeloupe, we don’t.

We are frequently in touch with the Virgo and other Caribbean friends met during our previous trip. One evening, we are honored with an invitation aboard the US Navy ship Spruance and have a pleasant evening which reminds Pierre of the good old days in the French Navy...

But mostly, we spend our time putting the finishing touches on our boat. As a matter of fact, we have left France with less than one month aboard, and that was far from being enough. One of the engine’s valve which was leaking, is replaced. The fixing of the propeller shaft alternator is strengthened, an extra hatchway is set up, Geneviève makes a sun shade with her sewing machine, extra racks are added in the front cabin, etc. We also have the hull careened by a local shipyard.

Then it is time to think about the next departure. We fill the boat up with all French products that we won’t be able to find again before Polynesia: wine, cheese, rum, etc. and buy different useful spare parts for the boat, knowing that it won’t be easy to find them where we are going.

At the beginning of March, we are ready to leave Martinique.

From Martinique to Los Roques, Bonaire, San Blas and Panama.

A Cuna Indian dressed with molas.

We set sail from Martinique on Thursday March 7th, not without some difficulty; we have forgotten to let the drop-keel down, so that the boat refuses to turn to the open sea, preferring to drift towards the bottom of the marina... As much as we like to consider ourselves old hands at sea, we are putting on a sorry show now ! Realizing the problem, we set the drop-keel properly and manage to get out of this island which refuses to let us go easily... At sea, a fresh breeze asserts itself. We feel in good shape and the wind is stable, so we hoist all sails and proceed at a high speed, more than 7 knots. We cover the 360 miles to Los Roques in 2 days and drop our anchor in Puerto Roques on Saturday afternoon.

We have decided to go to Panama by an indirect route; Los Roques archipelago, near Caracas, Venezuela is an uninhabited natural park, for which Caribbean sailors spare no compliment. Then on our course, off the Venezuelan-Colombian border, 3 islands part of the Dutch West Indies are located: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao («ABC islands»). Pierre has these names in mind ever since his childhood and wishes to have a look at those places. Finally, the San Blas islands, near the Panamean coast, are inhabited by the Kuna Indians, one of the only Indian tribes who has kept its identity and culture, probably thanks to their remote situation in a labyrinth of coral reefs very difficult to explore.

On arriving at Puerto Roque, we go to see the local authority, represented by a coast guard unit. We have bought visas ($60) at Venezuela’s consulate in Fort-de-France and we are naive enough to imagine that it will suffice. Alas! We are told that we are admitted, but our boat is not. The long visit we had hoped for will not be possible without going through all the hoops of corruption that are placed as obstacles before us. For us, only 24 hours! Finally, we sneak back in and spend 2 days exploring the archipelago. There are plenty of fine coral islands, with sometimes beautiful anchoring, but compared to the Tuamotu archipelago and Polynesia, it seems rather common. In fact, we should have come by the Venezuelan island of Margherita, near Grenada, where we might have obtained a visa for the boat.

Diving in Bonaire

On Monday March 11th, we leave those unwelcoming islands and set sail for Bonaire. There are 94 miles to cover and, we arrive at 6.30 PM, having sailed at a 8 knot average speed. The boat is in great shape! Fortunately, night hasn’t fallen yet, because the anchoring is not an easy one. There is very little room to drop the anchor, in front of the town, a lot of boats are there and the bottom is not good for the anchor. But we manage to do it and moor at the marina the next day. The formalities are quickly done and we begin to explore the spot. If the truth must be told, there is nothing to be found out here: although the majority of the population is of Venezuelan origin, people have a Dutch style of life. After some good scuba diving, we set sail from Bonaire on March 14th and head for the San Blas islands, moved by a fine light NE wind. The next day, we sail off Aruba and Curaçao but we think it’s not worth stopping.

On March 15th evening, we are off the Colombian coast. An American coast guard hails us and imposes a questionnaire on us. No longer the object of suspicion, we are free to continue, the Americans advise us to stay 50 miles from the Colombian coast. It is true that we have heard terrible stories of sailors accosted and killed by drug dealers who proceed to sink pirated ships once their deliveries are made. In the end, we come to recognize the advantages of the American presence.

We arrive on March 19th at night in front of the first islands of the San Blas archipelago. We have to wait at sea until daybreak, waiting for enough light to enter the lagoon and make our way through the coral heads. The spot is magnificent. We find there the fine blue water of coral bottom, many colored fishes, including some sharks, who don’t seem to be very dangerous. But it is said that they might be more dangerous in the open sea.

Then we meet our first Kuna Indians, coming to see us in their narrow canoe built in a tree stem and skillfully handled with a single paddle. We go on one of the islands to visit a tiny village of about 40 inhabitants. It is authentically primitive: nice looking huts made out of coconut leaves, fish, rice and coconuts cooked on fire, no electricity...

Example of mola. To learn more about molas, visit Susan Druding'site.

Their main resource comes from selling « molas », which is a kind of very fine patchwork made by women. They represents animals in a naive style or geometrical sketches with bright colors. Molas are used for dressing by women, 2 of them being sewn as a blouse. They also wear tight bracelets on their ankles and wrists, foulards on their heads and a kind of pareo skirt around the waist. It is a nice race with a fine presence.

It is said that they are the last survivors of the Caribbean race, who would have inhabited those places far before the Indians coming from Asia through Alaska. They are friendly, but do not communicate easily and do not seek contact. We do feel that they live in another world. We appreciate their total integrity. We can leave anything lying about without fear, although they have nothing and surely envy us a lot of gear: fishing equipment, paddles, ropes...

Shortly after our arrival, we are accosted by a Kuna and, after a long discussion in a bad Spanish, we finally understand that he wishes to be carried with his family on a remote island, that he can’t reach canoeing (although that was their only mean of moving originally!). We think that could be an interesting experience, so here we go with our Kuna and his wife, all their stuff quickly packed in plastic bags and cardboard, and 2 other persons including an old man who is supposed to guide us. Our pilot leads us through a labyrinth of reefs where we would never dare to go. At the beginning, we are frightened, but we finally notice that the old guy knows the place by heart and we let him do the navigation, with the other Kuna steering, because the old man only speaks Kuna. Their route is the shortest one and is protected from the outside swell by the coral reef. We try to follow on the chart, but the Spanish names are unknown by the Kuna who use their own names. For instance, « Devil’s island » where we are going is « tikantiki » in Kuna, which is completely different and does not even mean devil in Kuna! After a day of navigation, the old man carries us to a delightful little mooring, well protected and where there is just room for our boat. This mooring does not exist on the chart... Our Kuna friends are not particularly grateful to us for what we did and their thanks will just be 2 coconuts! Generally speaking, the Kunas like to receive, but do not give anything back, not even friendship. We carefully visit Tikantiki, a big village of several hundreds people. Obviously, modern civilization is appearing: electricity in a few places, gas refrigerator, a few outboard engines, etc. The Kunas have gone without any damage through the time of Indian invasions, Spanish conquistadors, colonization and decolonization. Could they resist modern civilization ?

One day, we take the zodiac to go fishing with our Kuna lobster supplier ($10 per kilo). His gear consists in a mask, fins and a pole with a snare (for lobsters). He dives very deeply, disappearing in the blue water and rarely comes back without a nice catch. We lend him a harpoon and he soon becomes skillful with it. While we took 4 fishes for dinner, he has taken a great dozen of fishes, bigger than ours.

On Thursday March 28th, we leave this place for Chichime the most western island of the San Blas, in order to get closer to Panama. After a few hours of navigation in a fair wind, we anchor in a pleasant spot, near 2 inhabited islands. Soon we are accosted by canoes bringing women coming to show us their molas. Geneviève makes her choice when another canoe appears, piloted by a young Kuna woman all decked out and on display: vibrantly colored bracelets, a mola blouse barely covering an ample bosom, a lovely ribbon tied in her hair, and her cheeks highlighted by dabs of makeup... Upon gaining our attention, the young flower immediately sets to arousing the admiration of the skipper in no ambiguous a fashion: eyes locking on his, torso pressed against the hull in an effort to make contact with him, all the splendor of her upper torso well in view. What could she want? Money? A bit of passing fun with a passing stranger? Pierre, visibly embarrassed, refrains from seeking the answer to such questions. Finally, Geneviève gives the ardent visitor a piece of her mind until the rosy cheeks kitten slowly goes on her way upon realizing that the skipper has no intention of calling her back! Apparently, Kuna society is matriarchal, but we had no idea it is to this extent...

We would have liked to continue our exploration of those attractive islands, but time passes and we have a long distance from here to Polynesia. For this reason, we leave the archipelago on March 30th and set sail to Colon, on the Atlantic side of the Panama canal, where we arrive the next day after a nocturnal stay in Isla Grande.

Stay in Colon and crossing of the Panama canal.

Coming soon.

From Panama to Galapagos islands.

To be continued.

From Galapagos islands to Tahiti.

To be continued.


Appendix: technical facts about l’Aventure II

Engine & Electricity generation:

Special fittings

    The Kirié boatyard has made at our request:

    • a stainless steel portico integrated to the poop balcony bearing the solar panels, the Windbugger, the radar and the GPS receiving aerial, a bow for setting the outboard engine and hold-down clips for the sun shade.
    • The fitting for the refrigerator with a strong isolation, a frigoboat and a 12 V compressor.
    • The modification of the starboard cabin in order to be used as a workroom with arrangements for the tools and supplies.

The portico

The portico (at Raiatea)


Survival equipment


    For long distances, we use a Zodiac with a 8 CV outboard engine.

    For short trips, we have a small plastic boat attached on the deck and easy to handle and moved by paddles. In spite of what you may think looking at the opposite photo, we manage to use this "tupperware" boat at 2 or more persons without capsizing...


    The boat is a sloop rigged with:

    • a full batten mainsail with lazy jacks and a lazy-bag,
    • a genoa fitted with a Profurl roller reefing,
    • a solent and a storm sail set on a shifting stay,
    • an asymmetrical spinnaker for light winds,
    • 2 spinnaker guys.

    The mast has folding rungs which make it easy to climb up at the top without any special gear, as seen on the opposite photo.