Made it!! Got in a few hours ago - swim, food, beer in quick succession and now some are asleep and some are making plans to go ashore! All looking forward to a quiet, still and restful nights sleep tonight. More to come soon but all are well and happy aboard Patea:)
Edit: photos added to earlier posts!
Neptune has been very good to us this trip, serving up a second tuna yesterday, and today Fletch hauled in our biggest Mahi mahi yet, which will feed us well for the next week while we explore Martinique. Martinique, which is now less than 120 nm away, and we should be comfortably in there tomorrow afternoon for a Sunday arvo swim, beer, and likely a bit of a nana nap! Everyone's ready for a bit of a break from the rolly nature of the Atlantic - its hard to get solid sleep in a place which feels all of the swell generated from as far south as the Antarctic Ocean, and the North Atlantic, with every breeze in between kicking up its own chop. We're all looking forward to some calm times on anchor in the lee of a Caribbean island, and getting some, amongst other thngs, undisturbed sleep - bliss! We're out of fresh fruit now, but the last 2 bunches of bananas are finishing strong (thanks Al for the pro-tip!), so we'll be eating them right up til landfall - perfecto! And did I mention its hot?? The sea hit 29.1 degrees today - we're sooooo looking forward to jumping into it!
Did I mention its getting hot? When we left the Cape Verdes last week the water temperature was 26, and the air temperature similar, quite pleasant, and requiring a light duvet at night. We're 300nm away from the Caribbean, and the sea water temp has gradually risen to 28.5. The air temp ranges between late twentys and the early thirties, with lots of humidity - its darn sticky!! We're all dying to get in the water for a quick swim (the bucket-baths on the back deck are ok, but nothing like an actual swim!), however the drive to get to the Caribbean and get this passage done is much, much, muuuuch higher at this stage! We're zig zagging down wind all over the shop with the wind straight from the east, so we are covering much more distance in the light winds than we'd like to be, but such is the nature of downwind trade-wind sailing. Anyone have a spinnaker pole we could borrow??!
And the winner is..... Mr Hinton!! Nice work Al - we have secured some brown paper and are awaiting expectantly!! Now, about that Mahi mahi.. After ten solid days of consistent wind, we have hit a light patch - the motor came on for the first time earlier today for a couple of hours, and for the second time this trip we sighted another yacht, which we are currently working on passing in the light and shifty conditions - go Patea! Oh, and we may, or may not be now heading for Martinique as a first island - there are rumours that the Mt Gay rum distillery has burnt down, so no need to visit Barbados any more;)
Annnnnnnnnd we're over 3/4 of the way there! Everyone is excited! Izzie has especially done well given we have been sailing now for some 9 days - here longest time at sea to date! We are starting to see the floating seaweed Sargassum, which is seasonally renowned for its density and prevalence in some parts of the western Atlantic and Caribbean seas. Over the last couple of decades, Sargassum has become particularly dense, with land runoff and climate change increasing nutrient availability and temperature, and encouraging growth. Over the summer months Sargassum forms dense mats that cover many kilometers of oceans, impeding boats, blocking pumps and engine intakes, and drastically altering the light regime under the surface of the ocean. Here, Sargassum poses no threat to us, as it clumps together in small lines of tide and wind which we can sail straight through. Sargassum has many benefits too, as it creates floating habitat for a wide variety of marine animals, from tiny crustaceans right the way up the food chain to fish. Culminating in the top of the food chain, the likes of the Mahi mahi, which fortuitously (given that the last of our Mahi Mahi was consumed last night) we hooked and landed another this afternoon:) With the threat of a vegetarian lentil korma curry for dinner tonight now being staved off, Fletch (and I!) are over the moon! Protein sorted, but bananas?? Sheesh. We've had our last apple today, theres a few more oranges left, but its the bananas that are most vexing. We brought with us 4 large bunches, one of which ripened beautifully and provided sweet yummy breakfast for all for 3 or 4 days, as one would expect. But the other three bunches appear to be on strike... We've tried co-cuddling them with different selections of fruit, separating them and leaving them in the sun, iterations of wrapping them in plastic, paper, tin foil, cloth, letting them breath, coddling them, and the height of desperation this afternoon, putting them in the oven. Results?? Nada! We are still dealing with small, hard, green (apart from the oven-roasted black) logs, that are inedible! The best idea on how to ripen bananas, free texted to +8816 3159 1645 at messaging.iridium.com wins a beautiful beer-battered fillet of the freshest Mahi mahi known to man!
Still in the Western Atlantic! And the last of the land meat will get consumed tonight - Fletch is whipping up a bacon pasta special!
Finally, the bananas begin to ripen, and after almost a week of abstinence all are enjoying the deliciousness of a ripe banana on the cereal in the morning- ah the simple things! We caught another little tuna yesterday, but due to the glut of high quality fish we've had on the boat in the last few weeks, the little skipjack got to live another day - be free little fella, be free!! We have just ticked off the 3/5-of-the-way-there 'milestone', with 800 miles to sail - one must celebrate the small things! Everyone is happy and settled to the routine of sailing day and night, but I think we all are starting to get a little bored of the glorious sun sets and sun rises, the fresh air, and the rising temperatures and are looking forward to arriving in the Caribbean. The sea has risen to 27.6 degrees Celsius, and air temperatures hover between 25 and 29, night and day. The duvets have been packed away again, and I don't expect they'll be required again until the Galapagos! The initial plan was to head to Barbados, then on to St Lucia, but we are still charging towards the more northern islands of the Caribbean at great speed, so are considering heading to Martinique instead - with a similar ETA. At this stage, we expect to arrive to the Caribbean in less than 5 days - probably the 14th of December, just in time for a few sat night celebratory drinks - horah!
Mid Atlantic!! At 10:46 am this morning we ticked off 1006.5 nautical miles, with only 1006.5 to go! very exciting! There were celebratory whoop whoops, three loaves of fresh bread were kneaded, including a dried fruits and chocolate loaf (you read about it here first..) and a celebratory 'Mid-Atlantic-Ridge' cake was baked! After stuffing ourselves on fresh bread (so ok, in truth that was mainly me, and I was mainly focused on the chocolate ladened loaf), the cake must wait til after dinner when we've 'made room', following our Dorado dinner.. Ah, 'tis a tough life on the ocean! Wish you were all here!!
Day 4: Mahi mahi!! The clicker on the rod screaming signified a good size fish had hit the lure, and was now running away madly trying to avoid the dinner pan - a quick drop of the headsail and we were pulling in a beautiful 7-10kg female iridescent mahi mahi - all were excited for fresh fish! With dinner for three nights secured we went back to the usual routine - dozing, writing, reading, some art work (Izzie, not the rest of us), and watching bananas ripen expectantly. The last of the papayas were consumed today, but still plenty more apples. oranges and mandarins, along with the 5kg of green bananas that will keep us scurvy free for the next week ahhharrr Thus far, 920 nautical miles traveled, and only a mere 1165 to go. We'll be half way tomorrow, or thereabouts, so may celebrate with a cheeky cocktail! Love to all, the RidingMoreStevenRohr clan
After a couple of hours stop in the most western island of the Cape Verdes, Santo Antao, where we finalised the reefing systems for our brand new main, we were off! Somewhat surprisingly, it was a bit like grand central, with Patea only one of about 300 boats departing the Verdes this season, and in the several hours that we were on anchor, about ten boats passed us heading west, all bound for the Caribbean or South America. With a perfect 15 - 25 knots on the beam we headed out, and slowly managed to catch the other boats on the horizon. The first night we could see three other yachts in the dark nights sky, but by day two all sign of human company had disappeared and we were gliding along in our own company:) Big hook up yesterday, but unable to slow the (no doubt enormous, but unseen!) fish down, we lost our big red'n'black Cantab lure that had secured us so much protein over the last few months. A few hours later and we had the pleasure to watch a small school of dolphins and a large school of truly enormous tuna (>2m long) smashing smaller fish, continually hitting them at speed at the surface and blasting into the air many meters, tail fins thrashing all the way. Everyone was on deck and absorbed by the aerial display, and it was a truly spectacular experience to see these apex predators hunting.
Its day 3 now, and we've been making great progress, averaging about 7-8 knots, and covering about 170 - 190 nm per day. Everyone seems to have found their sea legs, after a potential dodgy last Cape Verdian restaurant meal, and Kath and Iz are baking date and peanut butter muffins to celebrate being a quarter of the way across the Atlantic today! Just 1500 miles to go;)
Leaving the marina and heading onto anchor for a night to go over all the boats systems once more, and mount the new mainsail, then we'll be heading to Santo Antao for a night and then off! If you need to get hold of us urgently in the next couple of weeks, you can free text our sat phone (https://messaging.iridium.com/), or text or call us direct (for a small arm and a leg) at +8816 315 91645. We will endeavour to send a YIT update out every couple of days and you will be able to track our progress that way.
And finally, a massive happy birthday to my 21 year old Niamh, whose birthday on the 3rd, and party on the 7th I am missing - my love is with you sweetie, and I'll talk to you on the day, technology willing!
In the hive of activity that is Marina Mindelo getting prepared for our departure across the Atlantic in the next few days. This is unlike any other marina we ha've been in in that you dont see anyone sitting around lazily enjoying the sunshine and ambience, everyone is running around like mad things fixing, prepping, provisioning. Its cool being here amongst a whole marina full of boats that you know are also heading across the Atlantic soon. Last update before we depart will come soon!
A quick trip back north from Santiago to our new favourite Capo Verdian snorkelling spot for an overnight stay, which was accompanied by a huge pod of dolphins hunting flying fish around the boat and just offshore! We jumped in the water for a close up snorkel, and had to watch our heads as flying fish came careening overhead trying to escape the dolphins - twas a very cool experience!
Oh, forgot to say we shot down to Santiago to pick up our new sail, and our new crew - welcome Connie and Fletch, tis great to have you both back on board! We spent a couple of days here, then headed back to Mindelo, via a couple of stopoffs, to pick up new battens for the sail. Fishing is becoming exceptional, with hook ups every time we put the lures out!
A blustery run down the coast to our next little gem, with sand blows up the hill and a plethora of fish life around the peninsula to the North providing great snorkelling. Oh, and we picked up this little GT on the way here - fish for Africa!! (finally!)
A quick cheeky day sail across to Sau Nicolau, and tuna for breakfast! And likely sashimi for the next week too!
A week already in the Verdes! We've mostly recovered from the lack of sleep on the passage from the Canaries to here, induced by a decent 2-3m spwell, and strong winds the whole way, and Patea rolling along only on a handkerchief sized headsail (as we ripped that in the first 24 hours following a crash gibe - bugger). On the plus side - new boat speed record set - 17.8 knots!!
But we are loving it here - the motto of this island of Sal is 'no stress' and that is certainly proving true. Super super friendly and welcoming people, cool landscapes, and good surf and snorkelling. We've had fun exploring with an Irish family we met first in Morocco so Izzie has had her kid company tank filled up!
New main sail ordered, and now everyone has to cross their fingers and toes that it arrives here - we can't leave until it does!
Safe and sound after a vigorous sail (30-35 knots ALL the way!) - tired crew so a feed and a beer or two then bed - more to come soon!
See you Canary Islands!! After a lovely month we're doing our first proper offshore section and heading to the Cape Verdes islands some 800nm south of here. That should mean an extra couple of degrees water temperature and should move us clearly into the 'tropical' realm - yeehar!! Should be there in about 5 days so don't expect updates til we've arrived! :)
The Canary Islands so far - we've been here almost a month now and while we are back in Spain this a far cry from continental Spain and Europe. The Canary Islands are one of the Atlantic Ocean's offshore island groups, along with the Azores and Madeira, which we didn't visit, and the Cape Verdes which will be our next stop after the Canaries. Sprung up from the deep ocean, this hotspot volcano chain provides a perfect place to stop en route across the Atlantic and each of the islands are a handy day sail away from each other. The landscape is lunar, mostly devoid of vegetation (Kath is missing trees!), and almost all of the towns seem geared towards the huge influx of European tourists that visit here. Patea has been getting a lot of attention from Tim and others with catchups on maintenance and fix ups, and Kath is doing her best to make the boat heavier and heavier with stores to last us as well as possible until the next cheapish place, likely Panama (4 months away!). Weve all been enjoying the slightly warmer water temperatures again and Tim has had his first few surfs of the trip, first successful (??) spearfishing jaunt, and Izzie is learning to bodyboard. It feels much more like we are in an ocean now with numerous sightings of dolphins, whales, turtles and many rays - now just waiting for the trolling success rate to improve.
Los Cristianos - we seem to get stuck here, fixing and waiting for parts for the boat and drawn in by daily sand sculpture marathons. We also say good bye to Gesa here who has been with us on and off since Morocco and has been great to have aboard. We'll miss your capable help, awesome cooking and great company. Hope to see you in the Caribbean!
Our last stop in the sun-baked and sand blasted North Africa, and Essouira provides the stark juxtaposition of wealthy western tourism thrust into the raw world of Maroc culture, harking back to ancient times; living for the locals is day to day, working for what they need, not what they want, seemingly happy with food on their table, hand made fabrics on their backs and In their homes, and smiles on their faces. In the old town, the myriad of tight streets are more tunnel-like than urban, as shop fronts and street vendors thrust their wares into the walkways, narrowing the pathways that are barely wide enough to squeeze a moped down, and the haphazard sheets of tin overhead further enclose the spaces in an attempt to provide some protection from the rains, that, at least in our time, never arrive.
Wares to meet your every need are everywhere- fabrics are hand spun, dyed, woven, knitted, in every colour imaginable, meeting the wide and varied needs of the locals and the tourists.
Pottery, metalware in brass, copper, silver and steel for your every household need, as well as the endless intricate trinkets.
The food markets are where all the local hustle and bustle is, from the expected (fresh fruit and vegetables, dried foods, spices, all piled impossibly high) to the less expected (live animals, selected by the buyer and butchered to order). Animal protein is raw, unpackaged and in your face. The flies do well, and hygiene is in its most basic form. Public toilets are non-existent, as is water for drinking or cleaning your hands - we are glad to have both right there with us on the boat, but still an upset tummy is the norm for us westerners, rather than an unlucky occurrence.
We stayed in the coastal fishing port of Essouira for almost a week, hemmed in by strong winds, but glad of the time spent to explore and make new friends. With wharf space at a premium, we were one of 5 sailing boats all rafted up together to the one and only coastguard rescue boat in the harbour - but everyone assured us that it never leaves the port. We shared the port with several hundred tiny fishing boats, usually manned by one or two locals, who put to sea in most any condition, to catch enough daily to feed the family, and sell to pay for the outboard fuel. The smell of fish cannot be escaped from, nor the dust and grime that seems to blow constantly off the land. 3 weeks later and despite multiple attempts to clean, the grime still continues to run off the boat and rigging.
Morocco, raw, guttural, simple, and in-your-face, but so expansive, diverse and beautiful, it's been an absolute pleasure being here, thanks for having us and sharing your beauty with us foreigners.
We left Rabat in convoy with 4 other boats all planning to get out of the river mouth before the bar closed due to impending swell, and waved goodbye to the friendly locals stationed along the river. We soon decided to abandon our plans of sailing a shorter distance down the coast for the day and instead pushed on to make the most of the great sailing conditions to travel overnight all the way to Essouiara. This did mean however Tim had to spend his birthday at sea, after not a great sleep and lentil dahl for dinner - but Izzie and I whipped a birthday cake so hopefully not all bad?!
After a sparrows fart start, we tore across the fabled Gibraltar Straight at first light, dodging tankers, container ships, fishing boats and a tidal stream to be reckoned with, and arrived three hours later, in...
Magnificent, with your gleaming new marina and opulent waterfront facade, but a street or two back and the real country starts to unveil itself. The sweet, pungent aromas of spices and oils combined in ways that at least this white-boy from Canterbury has never had the pleasure of savoring before. Tangines, served in a hand made pottery dish, and containing a delectable slurry of turmeric, safron, paprika, cumin, and other devine-ness slathered over your favourite meat with colourful veges, and baked to perfection - soooo good!
Medinas were visited, Kasbars admired, camels were chased, and the local 'utes' full of building materials were patted (donkeys and carts). Morocco, you're awesome!!
After leaving La Linea/Gibraltar in a torrential thunderstorm we had a quick sail down to Tarife to spend our last evening in Spain for a while and catch up with friends on Dolphin Dreamer (with Izzies much adored doggie friends and trampoline!).
3 nights in a marina - what luxury! We've only had 1 night in a marina since April so we are revelling in the abundant water and electricity, having shore showers and an easy point for spending 3 days walking and exploring The Rock and town of Gibraltar. It's also Grandma's birthday and Fathers Day too!
A long day, but good sailing, and we're here in Malaga where we will meet Izzies Gran and Grandad tomorrow. And its a Monday night! And its not a public holiday tomorrow! So the shops will be open!!! Very, very excited!!
One of the joys with cruising is getting to properly, decently, solidly, lose track of time. Its a glorious place to be, and one truly appreciates that the working week is well behind you - big ups. The downside, however, is one has no comprehension of what the date is, or what week day it actually is. After a glorious fast run down the coast we pulled in to Adra, dropped the anchor, and skipped ashore knowing the town was stocked with supermarkets, with all the sweet juicy fresh delicacies that they contain - giddyup! We hiked with our backpacks, re-usable grocery bags in hand, a glint in the eye, and high-hopes in our hearts for the freshness that awaited us.... Aaaand, crap - its Sunday, and eeeeeeverything is closed! Expletives were vocalised, and we trudged back to the boat empty handed. Tomorrow. There's always tomorrow! Zucchini stew, here we come!
A bonus, we found an outdoor market with lots of second hand stuff, and Izzie scored half a dozen new trucks, and several new ponies, so someone is stoked!
Ah cruising life - its still most definitely worth it, despite the occasional period one lives in nutrient deprivation!
A quick stop at Cala Gata, a nice marine reserve, a cheeky little snorkel, then onward, on the mercy dash for fresh food..
Long day sailing and snuck into this awesome little hippy hidey-hole, which would have been great to stay and explore, but the crazed look in our collective eyes fueled by lack of fruit forced us to continue on early the next day, in pursuit of a green grocer!! Even the dodgy zucchini is starting to look good - god help us!
A quick trip around the corner to Cartagena, with the promise of big city lights and good food to restore our heavily depleted supplies. The last of our fresh fruit and veg were consumed last night (apart from one, somewhat dodgy zucchini that should have been put out to pasture last week), and the promise of crisp apples, sweet nectarines and crunchy carrots provided a heady drive towards the beckoning shores of this mild-mannered town. We roared into the harbour and cast our anchor down metres from what was, I swear, 2 abandoned submarine bunkers from WW2. We were heading to the famed submarine museum of Cartagena, before exploring the wider area, and hitting up the supermarkets for fresh goodness. A long motor across the harbour to the city, however, dashed our dreams of fresh produce, as well as gaining clarity on the truth around the mysterious 'submarine bunkers' - a public holiday and EVERYTHING was closed!! We dejectedly wandered the (actually quite pretty) Cartagenan streets searching for some semblance of a grocer, but had to settle for 2 warm bagettes and a small bunch of bananas from a corner store (which despite our overarching disappointment were delicious!). Restaurants had already closed for the day too, so we meandered back to Patea, and Kath whipped up a delicious pasta, sans veggies and meat - who needs it eh!! Onward down the coast tomorrow to source food, before the scurvy kicks in..
A couple of full day sails and we are making good progress towards the Costa Del Sol, where we will pick up Grandma and Granddad! Tonight we pulled in to Isla Grosa, a marine and terrestrial reserve, but murky water and lack of light precluded a snorkel, dammit!
Puerto Calpe, and a catch up with some new friends on Lodestar and Dizzie - Patea becomes alive with 5 kids creating madness and mayhem under the influence of sleep-dep and sugar whilst diligent parents enjoy cold beverages on the back deck!
Ibiza, you beautiful island full of beautiful people, beautiful anchorages, beautiful turquoise ocean and golden sand, and beautiful new friends! Thank you, you've been lots of fun and gracious with your sharing of amazing vistas, sunsets, and geologic formations, and providing me with my new favourite dive spot (sorry Scandola, your still lovely too).
It is with a glint of sadness that we say goodbye to your shores, and the new, and old friendships formed and cemented. Thanks to Brent, Donna and Jack, Krista and Mikey, for visiting us, and hello to the wonderful new friends on SV Pegasus and Lotus, Oscar, Karin, Albert, Marta, Camiel, Ester, Senna and Taia, we'll miss you guys heaps! Memories of the evening beach barbeques with all the kids running amok will be cherished, and afternoons with the kids swimming between boats to play with new toys will be greatly missed too!
It's been a great month, and quiet different to the Ibeza experience I always thought I'd have, but onward to the mainland today, with 20 knots forecast it'll be fun and fast sailing, fingers crossed!
Update ; 10 knots and big rolly seas - pants! Movie time to keep little people (and big) distracted from the motion..
Last day with Brent, Donna and Jack with us, and the last day for us in Ibeza (boo), so back to Sa Caleta for some yummy food, and a last swim in the lovely warm Ibezan waters. Awesome to have you guys aboard for the last week, and Izzie has particularly loved having Jack aboard, who has driven her to be even more confident in the water! Thanks guys, see you again soon!
Back to Cala Llonga for the last fling with the families on Pegasus and Lotus - Izzies had so much fun with Albert, Marta, Senna and Taia, and a family movie on the beach at night was a fun way to say goodbye. Safe travels and we'll see you again some day:)
After a lot of sailing to find water we settle into this beautiful anchorage on the eastern side of the spot of Formentera.
South Formentera - finally away from the zillions of other boats!
Lovely spot here apart from the busy air traffic and hundreds of wakes rolling the anchorage every day from the superyachts, but now largely to ourselves, apart from catching up with friends from Dolphin Dreamer and Frida :) And a great couple of days catching up with Krista and Mikey and their friends who are holidaying here, including a swim in the freshwater pool where they are staying - luxury!
Hi Ibiza! Rolly but nice secluded anchorage, just us and one other boat!
A few days back in Soller to get the boat sorted, lazybag and main back on, and now a quick evening sail down the coast to get us a little closer to departing for Ibiza tomorrow!
After a very windy and sleepless night, including a fire on the adjacent hills from the earlier electrical storm and a breakaway yacht from a nearby bay, we left Sa Calobra for the last time and headed back to Port de Soller.
Back in beautiful Sa Calobra again, and a proper thunder/rain storm to turn Patea red again with the sahara dust that seems to fall every time it rains here - however the last time we can remember rain was about 2 months ago so definately not complaining!
Just a stones throw from where we were last night...
Into the very busy but beautiful port of Pollenca. We'll stay here a few days as Conny and Fletch are sadly leaving us, we need to pick up the main and do a few other jobs. We've now see all 4 sides of this island!
Terrible anchorage given the dozens of fast ferries that kept coming out of the harbour and rocking us around but worth it for the amazing cave system we got to visit in this little town of Porto Cristo, complete with a classical quartet playing on a rowboat in what is claimed to be the largest underground lake in the world (not sure about that one!).
Sadly we farewelled Lyndsay today who has been awesome to have on board as always. She is off to have fun on bikes next but we hope she'll be back before too long!
A bit of a town and beach day at this lovely quiet town of Sant Jordi. Our awesome visitors found the best restaurant in town and shouted us dinner so was a great evening had by all. Unfortunately none of the pubs in town were showing the Black Caps-Pakistan game the next day but Kath was so glad ;) we could stream it via Radio Sport!
A day stop at Cabrera terrestrial-maritime national park, next time hopefully we can get one of the popular moorings but still managed to fit in a stroll to the castle, fossick on the beach a snorkel and some running races that sadly ended with scraped knees but luckily an iceblock was not too far away, thanks Fletch!
A nice chilled and very light wind sail down the precipitous backside of stunning Dragonera Island. Quick stop for a snorkel then onto this bay for the night. A jellyfish took a bit too much of a liking to Lyndsays inner thigh but a bit of G&T seems to have worked marvels!
After a week in the now much busier Port de Soller, a fixed clutch, replenished food, water, gas and diesel, a couple of good walks, yummy paella, and lots of swimming, we are off again. We are now minus Niamh sadly but still have the lovely Lyndsay and will soon be joined by another couple from NZ. Izzie had a couple of fun days with some Antipodean boys also living aboard their boat and who are heading home to Aus in similar timeframes to us. We hope to see them again!
Some on the boat would say we are back home...in Port de Soller where we spent about a month previously. Back here so that we can get Niamh to her flight tomorrow from Palma, to say hello and goodbye to Pete and Kathleen and their 2 tiny dogs, and to do some remedial work on a couple of boat issues! Not sure how long we'll be here this time!
After leaving our mooring in Asinara before first light, sneaking through the narrow pass just on first light, we were off back across towards Manorca. See you (probably for the last time) Italy, although we've said that before! A mostly mellow crossing, apart from a large electrical storm that stayed around us for several hours overnight (spectacular if not a little unnerving), and a bit of a front that brought 35 knots from nowhere and incurred a bit of damage to our main sail. We made it into the great but by this time of year very busy little anchorage of the outer Mahon harbour, in time for a swim and freshen up.
Back to our old haunt off Donkey Island after a very very (if you ask Kath, uncomfortably) fast trip across the Strait of Bonifacio. The infamous winds of this strait were true to form and Tim was having a great time battling Patea's rudder against the wind all the way!
Last day in the lovely Corsica - too short a time here but its been beautiful, great weather, warm(er) water for lots of swimming, and lots of sunfish!
Lyndsay arrives, yay!
Four days anchored here and day tripping around the corner to the stunning Scandola nature reserve (land and sea) with lots of snorkelling, mountain goats, and stunning geology. Tim and my favourite place so far :)
Oops, sorry, we haven't updated for a while...this is where we've been!
Tucked into a marina for the eve, so we're hauled ourselves up the steep road that leads to the old township, and exploring the narrow streets and old churches. Danielle leaves us tomorrow, after a week of lots of sailing and a little bit of relaxing and walking - it's been great having her along, and hopefully she'll join us again for some of the Atlantic!
The weather is meant to abate in the morning, so we'll head back up the coast to Scandola, where we will get to put an anchor down and actually get in the water this time!
Quick trip up the road to Capo Roso, nestled into the national park and in a nice anchorage surrounded by steep red cliffs, which we scaled and explored for the afternoon, dodging Mediterranean Bush lawyer and admiring the birds of prey circling overhead (falcons? Eagles?). The weather is die to pack in tomorrow, so we'll do.A quick trip up to the Scandola marine reserve and then run for cover at Cargese.
A quick sail up the coast to the Island of Sanguinaires, a nice snorkel, followed by a couple of hours walking around the Island, checking out the historic buildings, fortifications, tracks, and dodging the myriad of young chicks covering the Island. The birds are predominantly large seagulls, and despite the raucous nature of the adults, the fluffy little chicks held great appeal to the younger members of our party! The island is busy during the day with ferry-loads of tourists, but we arrived as the last ferry left so had the whole bird sanctuary to ourselves for the evening:)
We'll continue north tomorrow and look for safe anchorage for the next few days, as the mistral is meant to blow hard from the west during the middle of the week.
After a quick spin around Propriano doing check in formalities (5 mins with the gendarmeries), a quick shop, some beach time, and lots of photographs of the quaint little town, we sailed (and crocheted bumblebee poops - ask Izzie who is stoked with her new crochet set!) our way up the coast to Porto Apollo for the night. We're still feasting on Yellow-fin - just 2 more kilos to go!
We'll work our way up the coast over the next few days and head to Scondola world heritage site, which is purportedly a-mazing!
Bonsoir! Just arrived in Corsica, after a mirror like crossing from Sardinia, and then 4-5knots of genny reaching for the arvo. Mellowest crossing between countries we've ever done! We're now nestled into a wee forest clad nook in the south west, with a spattering of picturesque cabins poking out from the bush. It looks, and smells, surprisingly, like old leather and wood smoke. I think we're going to like it here..
A surprisingly fast trip across from Minorca to the Island of Sardinia, with the big gennaker up mostly, and comfortably sitting on 6 - 8 knots all the way. Crew performed faultlessly, although there is a rather tired tween on board now! At least 6 pods of dolphins, a turtle, and about 7kg of blue-fin tuna in the fridge being sashimi'd and consumed at an impressive rate:) We've frozen some but the boat will be exclusively piscivorous for the next week I expect!
We snuck in late last night back to Ascinara National Park, where we will stay the night and then head on to Corsica in the morning. Hopefully with a quick walk ashore to let Izzie Chase some donkeys!
A quick call in to this nice little anchorage in Minorca, Thai noodle spicy chicken for dinner, rounded off with a home-made egg custard for desert, a glorious nights sleep, then we're off to Corsica tomorrow - hopefully we'll be there by Friday, weather dependent.
Tucked back into Sa Calobra - the snake - with a glorious full moon about to sprout over the cliffs above us. A quick swim in the morning and we'll boost our way across to Minorca tomorrow, in the invigorating 3 - 5 knot breeze forecast for the next few days.. Fuel supplies allowing, we will start the motor to Corsica on Wednesday, and hopefully catch the back of a dying mistral, arriving into Corsica Thursday night - fingers crossed..
Tucked in to the west side of the large bay that harbours Palma - the Mecca of (expensive) yachting in the Med. Super yachts, check. Beautiful little beaches and coves packed with punters, check. Super expensive everything, check. Ah, the other half certainly seem to be doing just fine here! We'll just pretend for a couple of days and move on before we get exposed for the fraudsters we are, hola!
The plague-ship Patea calls in to a nice we spot just north of Anthradx (how fitting) for the night, before heading to Palma tomorrow. Sorry Dani, the bug that was 'gifted' to Niamh on her flight over 2 weeks ago hasn't quite departed us yet. Bring vitamin C!
A quick sail down to the island of Dragonera - named no doubt due to its profile and menacing cliffs (I'd swear it's a set from the Game Of Thrones), but after a quick visit to land, could equally have been named from the teeming lizard life ashore. Everywhere you look there are lizards chasing each other around the myriad of stone paths and walls that seem to meander around much of the harsh landscape. Friendly little lizards too - one little guy climbed halfway up Niamhs arm before retreating, and then doing it again before skittering off. Izzie on the other hand was a little more cautious of the little dragons running amok! We'll continue around the Majorca coast for a safe anchorage tonight, as Dragonera is no place to be at night!
Ducked 'home' for a couple of nights before heading to Dragonera tomorrow, then on to Palma to pick up Danielle Sunday eve, then onwards to Corsica. Hmmmm, more sticky-dirty-socky brie and baguettes - breakfast of champions!
We've made a plan for the next week, and item one was to go explore some close anchorages, and this little ripper was at the top of that, uh, sub list.. Picturesque? Lovely? Beautiful? Maybe stunning? All adjectives definitely appropriate - we're nestled into this tiny turquoise wedge of the Mediterranean, that somehow manage to squeeze between these towering vertical cliffs, with the teeniest tiniest beach separating the rock faces, behind which then opens out into this massive ravine that goes up into the mountains... Yeah, a piccy tells a thousand words, and maybe thats the best plan..
Fortuitously, Niamh is a serial social medeorite, so check out the facebook page if you want to see a few more:)
Drifted back 'home' after a nice day at Tuent with 5 knots of breeze from behind, and cold beersies in hand, and have been settled back in Port de Soller since.
We'll stay here for a few more days, then start to mosie our way around to Palma, where we pick up Danielle on the 19th, and then begin to head to the Island of Corsica, France. We'll be in touch in a few days:)
Apologies for the hiatus, but we've been relaxing in Port de Soller after Niamh joined us last week, so we've been kicking back on the beach, and enjoying the occasional gelato! Today we sailed up the coast to another lovely little bay, Cala Tuent, which is isolated, small, and just magical. No other yachts to be seen, and a lovely view up the valley to the high cliffs that surround the bay, and much of the island of Majorca. We snorkeled, and whilst Niamh and I explored the coast line, Kath and Izzie stayed in the water for a full 15 minutes before getting out - well done Izzie! Fished, again, unsuccessfully, again - a common theme!
After a relaxing week in Port de Soller, we decided we'd better take Patea for a walk offshore, and the light breeze facilitated that nicely, followed by some unsuccessful fishing (again) - we need to work on that!
After three lovely days schmoozing round Ciutadella and the surrounding areas, horse riding, zoo-trippin, many delish lunch and dinners out, a late-night double-layered heart-shaped chocolate-zucchini-fairy-cake bake-a-thon, and a 5-year-olds birthday party with far more sugar than is wise and prudent, we decided to head further south and escape the beauty, serenity (and gallons of red sand that falls from the sky) that is Menorca. Thanks for the stay - big thumbs up.
After a morning faffing (I mean prepping the boat) we headed out into a dark-grey afternoon sky, and proceeded to romp towards the island of Mallorca, some 35nm away. Despite the late start, we were cranking along, averaging about 9 knots for the crossing, and with good wind and speed (new boat record, and PB 15.4 knots!!!) we decided to carry on down the coast another 20nm to what looked like a better anchorage in the forecast breeze. Snuck into Port de Soller just on dark after the breeze abated later in the run, with a final score of 58nm in 7 hours - an average of 8.3 knots - not bad for an old cruiser :) (the boat - not me). We're now rockin-n-rollin on anchor with a solid swell sneaking in the heads - all going well a surf in the morning may make up for the lack of sleep tonight!
Whats going on?! We seem to be channeling Wellington weather the last few days, and todays 25 to 35 knot downwind ride to our latest anchorage was no exception! Hitting 12 knots boat speed with only the dodger and a hanky on the foredeck - unexpected!
We're tucked away in Ciutadella now, expecting it to blow up to 40 knots for the next few days, so we'll stay put and enjoy some land activities for the duration, including celebrating Izzies 5th birthday on Sunday, which she is very, very, VERY excited about!!
We spent the afternoon wandering around the quant and narrow streets of town, squeezing in some architectural admiration between sampling the miriad of kids playgrounds that seemed to present themselves around every corner (= one happy little lady!). Now we're kicking back enjoying the relative luxury of abundant electricity and plentiful water - may even splash out and have a shower! Ahh, the joys of being plugged into the marina wharf!
Hope everyones keeping warm back home as the autumn hues evolve - its our turn now to start sampling the warm weather of spring - bring it!! And Merry Easter and all that - may the chocolate fairys be generous!!
Notched up our PB on the short downwind leg in 20 - 25 knots - 12.7 knots = :)
Might head to Milorca tomorrow, in prep for Izzies 5th birthday on Saturday - we're hoping to find swimming pools, pony rides, and of course, cake!
A jaunt up the harbour this morning preceded what was both a successful, and hassle free entry into Spain - that gets the big tick from us! A quant little township on a lovely harbour served up the best hot choky I'd had for months, and an actual flat white, appeasing Kath no end! Another 10 day grocery shop (100 Euros including three bottles of spirits and wine - awesomely cheap!), and back to the boat to plan the next leg... TBC!
Hola! 31 hours later (but only 8 hours sailing gurumf) and we're now in Spain! 2 pods of whales, 3 pods of dolphins, one turtle, buzzed by one sea-level jet plane, waaaaay too much ocean rubbish, no fish caught, 2 birds successfully roosting in our saloon, and after too long with the numbing drone of the diesel engine we're tucked into a little bolt hole surrounded by historic (and current) fortifications, with somewhat tired eyes and a beer in hand. And its finally warm! We'll do customs and immigration tomorrow (office hours, and all that), and then start working our way up the coast enjoying the many beautiful anchorages on offer. We'll flip a coin to see which way we go tomorrow:)
After a brisk sprint down the coat in 20-30 knots, we're tucked into a somewhat exposed anchorage in Fornelli passage, that we will be using at first light tomorrow morning, when we head for Menorca in the Baleariac Islands. Hopefully to slightly warmer waters - Izzie and I had a quick swim yesterday - and despite wetsuits, Izzies swim totaled about 12 seconds - the minute she hit the water she was trying to climb up my face in order to launch herself back onto the boat and escape the 15 degree water. It was quite an efficient method to exit, and moderately amusing for any onlookers, although less so for my face.. Good to be in the water though! Wishing I brought a proper dive suit, rather than a surf suit however.. Refreshing!
Tomorrows passage is about 200 nautical miles, and with the weather forecast (light winds), we're expecting it to take about 36 hours, so you wont hear from us for a few days - hopefully we'll have cell coverage when we arrive, but no promises! Take care all :)
We're tucked in to a little cove on the eastern side of Asinara National Park, after a rather unexciting trip across the top of Sardinia, in 2-5 knots of breeze. Asinara is an island paradise off the north western tip of Sardinia, with mixed-use terrestrial and marine protection, with some areas completely off-limits to human visitation and only accessavle with a scientific pernit - very cool. We were chased away from the marine reserve by a bunch of burly fellas on a large coast guard cutter, as we took a peak at the marine reserve- oops!
The island has some unique fauna, including marauding herds of donkeys - first noticed as we saiked in and a couple of stumpy-legged donkeys were chasing each other down the deserted waterfront and main street of the picturesque little township we are now anchored of. The sounds of them braying continue to echo around the deserted bay, although i expect that may wear a little thin later this evening!
We originally planned on departing Sicily, and Italy, tomorrow bound for the Spanish Baleariac Islands, however the forcast 20 to 25 is now 25 to 35 knots, so we'll hang here for a few days and enjoy the reserves, whilst depleting ours (the red wine reserve is dire), and head off on Monday: 10 to 15 knots beam reaching forecast, so can't wait to try the big genakker - giddyup!! Happy Friday yous fellas!
We're tucked in to a little cove on the eastern side of Asinara National Park, after a rather unexciting trip across the top of Sardinia, in 2-5 knots of breeze. Asinara is an island paradise off the north western tip of Sardinia, with mixed-use terrestrial and marine protection, with some areas completely off-limits to human visitation and only accessible with a scientific permit - very cool. We were chased away from the marine reserve by a bunch of burly fellas on a large coast guard cutter, as we took a peek at the marine reserve - oops!
The island has some unique fauna, including marauding herds of donkeys - first noticed as we sailed in and a couple of stumpy-legged donkeys were chasing each other down the deserted waterfront and main street of the picturesque little township we are now anchored off. The sounds of them braying continue to echo around the deserted bay, although i expect that may wear a little thin later this evening!
We originally planned on departing Sardinia, and Italy, tomorrow bound for the Spanish Baleariac Islands, however the forecast 20 to 25 is now 25 to 35 knots, so we'll hang here for a few days and enjoy the reserves, whilst depleting ours (the red wine reserve is dire), and head off on Monday: 10 to 15 knots beam reaching forecast, so can't wait to try the big genakker - giddyup!! Happy Friday yous fellas!
A short skip around the bays to get to our next spot, with a quick duck in to Santa Teresa Gallura for some icecream and chocolate - just the essentials! We've navigated the seagrass covered bay and dropped our anchor in the only patch of sand available - viva la algae!
A fast, tight sail from Corsica to Sardinia to test Patea for the first time - 8 - 9.5 knots in 20-30 at 60 degrees apparent = happy!! She moves and its going to be a fun boat to reel off the offshore miles in!
We're tucked into a beautiful little cove surrounded by monolithic rock formations in yellow hues and golden sand beaches - despite the breeze its still a magical spot, although the wind chill is definitely contributing to not swimming in the otherwise balmy 14.7 degree water... Tomorrow perhaps!
Left Gianuttri with the waking seabirds - and in to a bit of Mediterranean chop, but the stormy skies did clear and the sun shone, as it always seems to here. Sailed most of the day in view of the fabled island of Montecristo (i think - anyone know the story?!).So, the end of day 2 - dolphins - check, sun fish - check, 16 hours sailing - check, new country - check (hi France!), small vom from the small grom - check (dammit - but she's chirpy as now so all good!). Must be time for his lordships cream (3 Euro a bottle!), and a bit of a lie down :)
We decided to stay the night in this glorious little nature reserve, tucked into this tiny harbour surrounded by seabirds and lots of unusual calls in the night - very cool. Early start tomorrow though - heading to Corsica!
On our way!! After a number of delays, we dropped lines at 8 this morning and are headed towards the island of Giglio under a beautiful blue sky, a casual 6-10 knots of breeze, and we are tickling along quite nicely under full sail between 6 and 7 knots - perfect!! We'll be in to Giglio just before sun set - looking forward to that first Leffe already!
Boat is bought, prepped (mostly), and ready to go!! Departure, hopefully, next week!!
Just about to round Table Cape on the Mahia Peninsula, then around the lighthouse on the southern-most tip of the Peninsula, and then just 50 miles to go to Napier- we'll be in at first light and waving the Q flag in anticipation- now, how do we explain that we left Tahiti with 4, and yet now there is only three of us...
Tolaga Bay, an unexpected surprise... Not normally a visiting yachts first place to visit, however Paul had to vacate the vessel early- Rory's cooking had the better of him (too many smiked bananas, perhaps?!?), or something like that... Anyway, just received word from the big fella that he is resting up this evening and feeling a million times better, which is great news. Two weeks of no sea legs has paid the price- everyone at MPI go easy on him for a few days as he gets his strength back!
East Cape!! New Zealand!! A very welcome sight to all aboard! The beginning of the end of what has been a mammoth mission, only made possible by at least a dozen wonderful crew who have joined us from all around the world for a week or two, and up to three months for others. Thanks to all who helped made this possible:) We need to get together and have a beer and some food- party in Welly?!?!?!
The winds eased round behind us and we've taken off, sailing the angles she's fantastic on, and with just enough wind too generate a healthy swell from behind, we're surfing every wave and smashing the miles away- have averaged 8.75 knots for the afternoon, stoked!:) Champagne sailing, as they say!! Not so crash hot for the crew though who are passed out below decks- Ellen, normally soldiering on through wind, swell and sickness hasn't risen from bed for the day, and Paul's in the same boat, if you'll excuse the pun.. Rorys trooping on, although feeling a little worse for wear after finishing off the last of our Tahitian smoked bananas- not sure if they're legal in NZ or not but the evidence has been consumed! And along with it any blame for Rorys dodgy tummy, which I'm more likely to attribute to an early hangover from the beers that went down in the heat of the day! Righto, back to the glorious moion-lit, about-to-be-coastal full spray-in-ya-face wind-in-ya-hair big-boat surfing down the east coast!! :)
Just passed over Rumble III- unfortunately no pumice to collect, which is a damn crying shame cos my feet are in desperate need of a bit of TLC after 4 months at sea.. Beautiful sunny day after almost the last week of pretty stormy conditions and rain, so we're drying the boat out- she was starting to resemble a turkish bathhouse with the elevated humidity and piles of random clothing lying everywhere. That said, it probably doesn't smell as good as a Turkish bathhouse... 100nm to go to East Cape, 160 to Gizzy, 230 to Napier- still not sure where our first port of call will be, will see how progress goes and call it when we are a little closer. It sounds like it'll be a struggle to get MPI to clear us on Sunday in Gizzy (sheesh, the nerve!), so we may push on to Napier. In the mean time, the sun is shining, the Titi are circling, Rory's cracked his first beer, and all is quiet below- no chundering for 12 hours now! Awesome. Oceanus signing off...
Just got buzzed by an Orion- Welcome to NZ waters!!
Bit of change of weather since the night before, as 30+ knots, driving rain and seriously lumpy seas tossed us around all night, with pretty much every item that was securely stowed on the starboard side ending up ricocheting around the cabin multiple times.. Hopefully all those other yachts out there returning to NZ are surviving unscathed too. Unfortunately after a super still preceeding 36 hours which was setting up very nearly to be a record chunder-free run for Oceanus, the crew is once again feeding the fishes. Fortunately its easing up a little and hasn't blown more than 30 in the last 90 minutes, and the fishes have gone hungry for the same duration. May the fishes continue to starve. We're having to run straight south in the strong winds, and making great speed towards home, but have our fingers and toes crossed that the impending southerly change is both short-lived and mild, and won't way-lay our arrival into Gizzy/Napier late sat night or early sunday morning.
After another mill pond, mirror-like night at sea with the peaceful sound of a Yanmar diesel purring away in our ears, we're finally into the forecast northerly breezes- building from the NE as forecast, but still awaiting it to come around far enough and pick up so that we can reach straight for East Cape. Its getting coooold too, the crew have pulled out the overalls and jackets for night watch, our resident polar bear (Rory) has taken to wearing t shirts during the day, theres been at least one occurrence of a wooly hat, the duck-down sleeping bags are out, and heavens-to-murgitrude Hannah's Bumble Balm (TM) has solidified, after 4 months of being a liquid- look out, Winter Is Coming!
And we're back on the right side of the date line! With NZ due south of us and a big-arse blow due west of us which is going to take us home in a hurry, I think we're getting ready to come home! Actually, I think all aboard were well and truely ready a few days ago... So we've just got to sneak through yet another light patch, and then we should be homeward bound. Properlike this time. And about a week late. Sorry to all the bosses out there!
And now its died right off again... At least there are storm clouds on the horizon to give us a hurry up in the middle of the night?!?
After most of the day with variable 2-3 knots, and on the motor for all of it, its now back to blowing hard again- on the nose, 15 knots of Southerly. Still making going south very challenging.... Now where are those freakin nor-westers that were forcast? Dum-de-doo.....
On the nose, 15 knots of Southerly, which is making going south very challenging....
24 hours of motoring in breathless, mirror like conditions, which is nice to sleep in, but not great for making distance... Or conserving fuel.. Finally a southerly has kicked in and is building, but its taking us away from where we are trying to get to, doh. Glad the boss is with me, cos we are going to be late home....
Beans. Thats what we need apparently. Something about generating wind when you need it. I'm not convinced to be honest. But more so than Rorys future directions for sailing in windless environments, which entails towing a small barge with solar panels to run the fans on deck. Canadians, eh. I'm awaiting for the electrical engineer to come up with something more practical, but thus far no joy- looks like we're back to praying to Huey..
Argh, 2 hours of glorius SE 'trades' and we're smoking along for a bit, then it drops and we're twiddling the thumbs, dum-de-doo... Still, its the best looking office view imaginable:)
Argh, a couple of hours of wind from 0-5 knots from all the way round the compass, and another freaking fish tearing off with the lure and half my line! Didn't see this one though so it wasn't a marlin! Seems as though the best fishing (well, most productive fishing that resulted in sushi) was Galapagos to Marquesas- haven't eaten fresh fish for over a month! Tis a little wrong.. We're not sick of the vegan-friendly tofu yet either, honest. Its delicious. No really. No where's that biltong gone..
Stopped at the lights, indicator on, looked both ways, then leeeeeeft turn!
Sheesh, did someone say that it was cool??!? Its back to roasting again- where's that coooool NZ breeze gone? And worse still- we ran out of apples today. There was almost fisty cuffs and a mutiny as the realisatyion dawned upon us that that beautiful, crunchy, sweet and juicy apple that I was munching on this morning whilst savouring the sun slowly rising may have accidentally in fact been the last one.... Just quietly, it was rather good! And its only 8 or 9 more sleeps til we get fresh ones so thats not too bad eh?! No need to fret tho mum, we have plenty of oranges and pampelmouse to stave off the scurvy with! Smoking along on a tight reach, still mainly west, and looking forward to that wind shift to push us in the right direction- it'll come tonight I'm sure... Now, wheres my secret stash of golden delicious gone..
Blew past Beveredge Reef yesterday afternoon, and just passing Niue now, to the north. Looks like we'll start to turn for NZ in the next 12 hours as the forecast wind comes around:)
I'm hoping we're into the wind system now that will take us all the way home, fingers crossed.. Its blowing directly from NZ, and there is a distinct chill in the air coming straight of Ruapehu (I'm sure..)- I actually pulled out a sleeping bag for a fleeting moment this morning, but having said that its ridiculously hot now and its not even 11am, so we're definately still in the tropics! We're still smashing west right now, but the wind is meant to gradually move through to the SE over the next 48 hours, and with that we will bend around and point for NZ- cant wait to be back on home shores with familiar faces, bikes, fresh fruit and veg, fine craft beers, and a toilet with legroom that isn't constantly tryin to buck you off!
Had a bit of breeze come through yesterday, blew over 35knots from the south for a good couple of hours, then gradually settled into a more manageable 25 for the rest of the night- good for making miles west, but came at a cost- everyones sealegs washed overboard almost immediately the front hit, doh! Also, the sad remnants of the hand of bananas suffered considerable as we were tossed around- the back deck was partially covered with dismembered, inverted, and squashed bananas- no need to send a banana cake recipe now! It settled down nicely this morning though, and the smiles are back on peoples dials, the breeze is light, and we're close hauled heading straight for home- not quite ready for the final turn to NZ yet, but nice for the miles to be sailed dissappearing at the same rate as our speed. 1600nm to go... As the days tick by, and with the weather having been generally light over the last week, our intended landfall of the end of the month is looking a bit dubious unfortunately.. best we could hope to do it in is about 10 days from here- so maybe the third of Nov at the earliest? See ya when we're looking at ya:)
The bananas have turned! The back deck under the radome is becoming a quagmire of over-ripe mushy bananas, which are being shed slowly and indelicately over the helm as the boat rocks. With safety first, there's a real danger that someone gets conked on the head with one of these sticky mushy projectiles- perhaps its time to crack out the hardhats. If someone texts us a banana cake recipe I'll atempt to resolve the issue, although if I'm on the end of the spatula then the resultant cake may be a H&S hazard in itself- Lyndsay, where are you when Oceanus is in a time of need?!? And Dani, you've deserted us with your banana pancakes recipe!
The wind has slowly dropped all today, and come around to the north east, leaving us flapping under a poled out headsail and rolling in the moderate swell, however there are smiles evident occasionally aboard as all begin to get their sea legs sorted! Movie-night has even been discussed, so all must be feeling perky! Its even been a day of relative gorging as fruit is ripening rapidly and the inevitable light rain of bananas from the hand hanging up on the back deck provide far more than one hungry, and three slightly hungry mouths could want! All is good tho, still no rain (apart from the bananas), and sleep is coming easily too! Righto, back to sailing this boat home- just 1778nm to go!
Its midnight and we've just smoked past Aitutaki at full tilt, her lights shine through the haze of wind and cloud, bright enough upon the horizon. The moon is just starting to rise and we're settling in for a fast overnight run in good breeze, trying to slot between the high and the low when they come through in the next 36 hours. The bonus, it just so happens we're pointed in the right direction and making really good vmg to NZ too- we're headed straight for the Three Kings right now! Crew morale is finally building as the sea-legs start to develop- everyone ate something for dinner and kept it down which is great news! At this rate there'll be a cheeky game of cards or a movie tomorrow night with lashing of custard- you just never know!
After the wind kept building we managed a run of 175nm yesterday which we're definately happy about, although the waves driven by that wind have been a little less than welcome, with most of the new crew bar Rory suffering the consequences of the rolly motion. Needless to say there has not been much eaten over the last 24 hours, but plenty donated to the sea! So the dropping wind and sea will hopefully have some respite for Paul and Ellen! We're heading straight for Aitutaki at the moment, and if the wind direction and speed holds, we will pass it around midnight tonight. Its a pity to blast past such a gem, but with the cyclone season potentially just weeks away, there is no rest for the wicked. And what better time to return to NZ- straight into a nice warm NZ spring will be the perfect transition from the tropical heat we've become accustomed too. Looks like the weather over the next few days is going to be lighter and variable- wish us good luck to pick our way past the impending highs and speed on home.
Finally some wind, although there are some seriously ominous clouds following it, but for the meantime we are reaching along in relatively calm seas with a steady breeze- may the storm clouds stay around us but not on us! Having some problems with the sat phone dongle (who'da thunk ya still need a serial port dongle in 2016?!), so if we stop communicating then don't fret- we'll let you know when we make landfall for sure! See ya'll soon!!
After a very relaxing few days swimming, snorkelling and enjoying the local food and beverages, we departed Bora Bora yesterday morning bound for New Zealand. We didn't get too far before being distracted by the crystal-clear waters of Maupiti- a small atoll 30 miles to the west of Bora Bora; we hove to 50m from shore in mirror-like conditions, and by all accounts the fish and coral life was stunning- lots of sharks and big fish, plus the bonus of the volcanic underwater topography providing a maze of coral and sponge covered caves and swim-throughs- a perfect way to finish our French Polynesian experience. Back on the road now in continuing mirror-like conditions with very little wind, leading to our slowest (yet most comfortable!?) 24 hours yet- about 100nm covered, mainly under motor. Crew are settling in well, and have been spoiled on their first night by the tranquility of the ocean, vibrant stars smeared across the night skies, and a glowing full-moon with which to navigate by- sailing at its most serene.. We'll continue to head west for another 1000 miles or so, before 'fanging a lefty' when the right weather system comes through to sling us home- see ya'll in a few weeks!
After a crew change in Raiateand a night in Tahaa in beautiful Hurepiti Bay (reminded me of Fiordland), we are now in Bora bora, and after three days awaiting the official ok (and doing a bit of diving and exploring on the reefs :), have received clearance from the Gendarmerie to depart tomorrow morning, Monday, on the final leg to NZ, and home, yay! The weather is looking decidedly light, with several highs forecast for the area we're travelling through in the next week, so wish us luck and better than forecast breeze! See you all soon!
A beautiful still night here in Hurepiti Bay, to give the new crew a false sense of security lol!
A beautiful still night here in Hurepiti Bay, to give the new crew a false sense of security lol!
Raiatea and final crew change! Which means we're on the homeward leg:)
Tahaa, via Huahine- all good here, although closer to saying goodbye to the crew, and family, which will be hard- has been an awesome 6 weeks with Kath and Issie aboard (and everyone else, of course!). The new crew arrive tomorrow!!
After yesterdays gloriously smooth 24 hours with 15 knot easterlies and light trades, we've run out of wind and are motoring the last few miles to Huahine, which strikes an imposing image on the horizon with its volcanic structure and towering peaks. Tahaa and Raiatea are beyond in the distance, possibly the target of tomorrows sail, or maybe the next day, depending on the surf forecast! And yesterdays highlight- after a couple of hours of trolling, what did we pick up just on nightfall??? Again?!?!? Another marlin- amazing, and hard to believe that they are that plentiful up here that you can hook up two days in a row!! So after 20 seconds of another monster fish dancing all over the surface of the water and stripping 500 m of my brand new line on the highest drag I dared to use.... ping.... gone again! But once again unbelievable- Rod, you'd be amazed!! And just quietly, they both hit the same type of lure- I have their dietry requirements all figured out for next time in case someone wants to sponsor another trip up this way!! ;)
No whales on the way back from Mataiva, but somehow we hooked up with a giant marlin on the way back to Tikehau, which danced all over the water whilst stripping all 500m of my 80lb braid on the fishing line with full drag on- 10 seconds later all the line was gone and the fish as well! Incredibly exhilarating to watch it jump repeatedly but nothing we could do to stop the mondster fish do the inevitable and disapear over the horizon! Arrived in Tikehau sans fish and no whales sighted, but its been quite a spectacular couple of days fishing wise! We'll be sticking around Tikehau for the next few days before departing for Huahine and then Raiatea for a full crew change, then onwards to NZ.
Mataiva- no whales but the largest giant trevally you have ever seen landed! Waaaay too big for 6 of us to eat over a week so we released her to do her thing and looked for more bite-sized fish! :)
Tikehau for a night before heading to Mataiva to chase humpback whales!
Been at Rangiroa for most of the week now- sorry about the delayed update- will be hanging here for the rest of the week then looking to head to the Society Islands and then onward:)
Departed Manihi yesterday afternoon after dropping our Dani at the wharf, where she will spend her last couple of days before heading back to the northern hemisphere- safe travels Dani and thanks for the good times! We're now in passage on the way to Rangiroa to drop of Mikey, whose been a champion aboard Oeanus for the last 5 weeks, and has helped out no end with what was the longest leg of the trip- and he hasn't stopped preparing delicious meals since his arrival! It will be a hard act to follow Steve and Lou (no pressure!!), who we pick up tomorrow from Rangiroa! In the mean time, we are just cruising so that we arrive at Taputi pass shortly after sunrise. See you soon!
Manihi- we're here now! Dani leaves us tomorrow after 8 weeks- she's been there since the start and we'll miss her very much- but in the mean time we drink beers and cocktails and celebrate our arrival in the Tuamotos! Tres bien!!
Only a day away from Ahe or Manihi- TBC depending on arrival time. Been a wet 36 hours of continuous tropical storms, the saloon is like a sauna with the wet weather gear and bodies drying! We're all looking forward to some atol time in the Tuamotos and some feet up and long relaxing days snorkeling and exploring beaches:)
After a waaay too short stay in the Marquesas, consisting primarily of chasing Gendarmes and paperwork (hurrumpf!), we're on the road again, with flights to meet in the Tuamotos. Bit of a rough first night for Kath and Is last night, with an uncomfortably choppy sea state and enough breeze to make it exciting. Looking forward to some actual relaxation in the Tuamotos in a few days time! Today we are celebrating Danielles birthday though, so some frivolity will ensure this evening no doubt! Hugs from all here to all everywhere else in the world, and dont be afraid to free-text the sat phone (00881632648758) from https://messaging.iridium.com/ :)
We snuck in two nights ago about 10pm under a full moon- the end of a long leg, but all safe and well and sleeping soundly! Departing for Tuamotos in the next 24 hours so in repair and stock up mode!
Jesoos, its just there, but we canny see it Jim! 39.75nm to go to the anchorage, and only 26 to the eastern tip of Hiva Oa, but do you think we can see it yet?!?! Beers are on ice and the thermostats turned waaaaaaaaaaaay down..
on the home stretch- 160nm to go!
Still slowly slowly, but not too far to go now- just crossed into the French Polynesian EEZ. Another mahi mahi landed yesterday, so we're eating like kings again! And after 16(?) days at sea, where we saw no sign of humanity whatsover- no ships, no airplanes, no satellites at night even, we were checked out yesterday by a navy boat, and came across a squid fishing vessel last night, and saw a couple of airplanes flashing across the night sky... The pacific certainly has thus far lived up to its name, and also reminded us all that there are still places on this earth you can go and escape most signs of humanity for weeks on end. Unfortunately the pollution cannot be escaped from- there is a horrendous amount of plastic detritus floating in our oceans- please do your best to reduce, reuse and recycle:). 190 nm to go says the plotter- all going well we'll make Hiva Oa, and the small anchorage at Atuona before sunset tomorrow afternoon- see you there!
Bugger. After tearing the clew out our last good spinnaker 3 days ago, and following an astonishingly brilliant repair job to said clew by all, we were flying along again for the last 24 hours, when suddenly this morning there was a *bang*, followed by Danielle's voice- 'f**k!'- the tack of the spinnaker has now blown out of the sail... With almost all our sail tape gone, a repair is not possible, so we are now spinnaker-less and on the slow-boat to the Marquesas... having lost about 2-3 knots of boat speed, our arrival date is now looking more like the 14th, local time. Doh. We're all mildly gutted... Anyhoo, its a lovely day, and if the wind picks up, or blesses us with a 90 degree wind shift *ahem* then we'll be back on track. Not holding our breath just yet... Still, its a nice day. Hugs from 7 degrees south, over n out.
Yet another beautiful sunset followed by yet another moon-lit spinnaker run towards the Marquesas- just 640nm to go til hot showers and cold beers:)
Another beautiful sunset followed by a moon-lit spinnaker run towards the star studded horizon:)
We're into the last third of the voyage, and the trades have gradually snuck behind us, so its downwind on the spinnaker day and night now- hopefully 5 more days to go and we are in the Marquesas! Its coming up on two weeks at sea thus far, and we have not seen one other boat or ship since departing the Galapagos- just lots of big open spaces out here in the Pacific- not even a single plane flying over hear either- its as though the world has stopped completely out there. But I hope thats not the case cos we just ran out of chocolate, which has meant we are onto some unusual mystery packets of Spanish randomness for our sweet deserty treats- most interesting! Bring on the French patisseries I say! Peace out
Broad reaching with spinnaker under beautiful star-filled skies- glorious!
The spinnaker is humnming, and we're surfing every wave, heading pretty much due west, and most importantly, we're halfway to the Marquesas!!! The crew are stoked- its been a long 9 days thus far, so to reach this milestone is a grand thing for all aboard. We're celebrating by cracking open our last pineapple, which seems apt! Now, just another 1470nm to go... Bring on the canned foods.....
Another beautiful day! And getting hotter again, following the anomaly of the Galapagos, where cold at night was quite a shock, being situated directly on the equator and all. Its now back to 'normal' tropical conditions, high 20's and humidity, making deck-time during the day best to be avoided- hiding in the shadow of the spinnaker is the place to be! We're expecting more warmth as we move further away from the cold Humbolt current that drives the cooler temperatures around the Galapagos. The mahi mahi is absolutely amazingly delicious- Mikeys cooking it minimally too perfection and the accompanying greek salads and rice are the finest accompaniment. All on the boat is fine, apart from the alternator which I'm about to attack - slipping belt I'm sure so that will have us generating power effeciently again at night when the solar doesn't help. We're charging through our water supplies too, so the watermaker will be put through its paces in the next few we eks. Fortunately we got it running smoothly in the Galapagos, so all is well. And of considerable concern- tp.. We're on rations of a roll and a half for the next 1760nm til we get to the Marquesas!
Following a couple of days of light-wind sailing, and spinnaker runs during the day, we now have solid trades with a confused sea which is making life aboard Oceanus a little challenging- sleep is hard fought and cherished! Making good speed though, as the average picks up- we're well over a third of the way to the Marquesas now! We celebrated today with fresh mahi-mahi: sushimi now, fillets later, steaks tomorrow and baked the day after! Protein- check! Looking forward to seeing loved ones in Tahiti, albeit likley to be a day later than hoped- perhaps the 12th? Hugs to all from the sunny topics:)
Finally, wind! And we're racing towards the Marquesas after a bit of a slow start- the extra speed is making life on board a little less pleasant, and sleepy that little bit harder to seek, but we'll be into the swing of things soon enough. 2443nm to go!!
Whales yesterday!! Either one or two large (>15m) Sei whales surfaced within 20 metres of the boat four times- just in front of us and going in the same direction- very exciting for all! Still in light winds but making close to hull-speed, and slowly pushing south to where the more consistent wind is purported to be..
With Isla Isabela slowly disappearing over the horizon, with some regret we say goodbye to the wonderful Galapagos Islands, which truely deserves an extra few months to explore and marvel at her many wonders. Wind is slowly starting to pick up and become more consistent, and we are reaching, but following the wind direction as it varies widely between SE and S and heading between SSW and W with the gusts. We'll focus on maximising speed for the next few days, to alternate between VMG and southing, to get us to the more consistent trades. Hopefully we'll see them tomorrow afternoon, and we can get our downwind sails out and start making serious progress towards the Marquesas:) This will be our last communication for at least a few days, but will update you all when we get a chance. Take care all, hugs from Danielle, Lyndsay, Mikey and Tim
Isabela, so short and sweet- you have struck a chord with all of us with your enormity, rugged beauty, charismatic megafauna, and simplistic township with cheap amenities and good food. Unfortunately our time here was always going to be short and sweet, so we now have cast off, heading for slightly more southern climes, and the joys of french bakeries, Agathis trees and coconut crabs:)
Coming to the end of our last day in Santa Cruz- heading to Isla Isabela this evening- the largest, and most remote of the islands, where there is little in the way of infrastructure and services available. Consequently, we have stocked the boat with three weeks worth of fresh produce, and visited immigration this morning for our clearances out of the Galapagos Islands- a sad day! We will depart for Isla Isabela this evening, the largest and most untouched of the main islands, and will enjoy its volcanos, tortoises, iguaneas etc for a day, and then head to sea- next stop the Marquesas! This will take us something in the region of 16-20 days- the longest leg on the trip. But lucky me, Kath and Issie will be meeting us there- cant wait! :) :) Will be fast spinaker runs during the day and poled out Genoas at night to ensure we make good time! We will likely get a forecast every ~3 days or so, and at that point I'll endeavor to update the YIT site with our progress, but as these updates are subject to satellite availability, and electrical and mechanicical vagaries at sea, dont be surprised if you hear from us less often, or not at all! We will definately update you on our arrival at the other end:) Hope everyones is wonderful, wherever you are in the world, and we'll catch you in the Marquesas!! Hugs from Oceanus
Sailing past Isla Sante Fe,. a little islet with a beautiful small lagoon on the northern side, and covered in cactus trees- yup, they're cacti but they have trunks very cool! On the way to Santa Cruz- eta 1500 local time.
Ahhh, Santa Cruz, a little rolly on the anchor but nice and shallow with good holding so all is good with the world! Heading to the restaurant and some good local food and some more local microbrews- who'd-a-thunk-it?!
Safely anchored in Isla San Cristobal, enjoying fine Equadorian home brews, good food and the crew are off exploring the island while skip focusses on things more of a biosecurity nature!
At the entrance to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno where we will attempt customs, track down our Galapagos advisor, shower and clean 8 days of saltyness from peoples and boat, and maybe find some fresh fruit and a hot feed! All safe and well in the Galapagos! :)
And then the mist cleared for a fe moments just past 8am local time and there they were- the Galapagos! All the crew are asleep so I enjoyed the moment before quietly whspering below where we are, and within a few minutes all the bleary eyes were being rubbed and the faces were beaming and admiring the vast, martian landscape that is Isla San Cristobal:) heading for the south western corner now and immigration- wish us luck!
The equator!!!! The Deckie, the Dutch, Seaman Sal and Salty all cross for the first time!! 1320 local time, Seaman Sal gave us the countdown, and we submitted to Neptune, played dually by our gnome Dave, and by Salty, pressups were undertaken, rum was drunk and shared with the sea, and hair was sacrificed for the betterment of all! Actually several rums were had and frivolity ensued! And the Deckie put together a wonderous ode to the experience! Poem for Neptine for crossing the equator Oh Neptune, great god and king of the sea, At least thats what I think you are, but to be fair I didn't do Greek history, We give thanks for your waves that have been real nice, except for the ones that make our bowel motions visit us twice, Dunno if you're in charge of the winds too, if so thanks for the lack of duldrums- thats out of the blue, So chur big hairy man for whats been a pretty sweet ride, thanks for carrying us along on your equatorial tide, Soon we reach Galapagos, I heard thats also where you hang out, if we see you there, there's a drink on us- our shout, PS I think you're the ultimate hipster, that beard is outstanding, I've now made this very hard to end; I hate shandy Deckie L on the MC :)
Still smoking along- cant believe this wee monohull sits happily between 7-8 knots going to windward, with a full cruising belly and 4 people aboard taking it easy- stoked!
More dodging fishing fleets off the coast off Equador over night, but we made good ground southwards in the last 24 hours so at 2am we tacked onto our new course at 262degrees, heading directly for the galapagos Islands (finally! Crew are stoked!!)The forecast suggests that further away from Equador we get the more the trades will come from the south, then east, so bring on the blast-reaching into the Galapagos!I'd expect we'd look to tickle over the equator tomorrow at some stage, so if you have any particulkar suggestions as to appropriate 'pennance to Neptune' for particular crew aboard Oceanus (!) then free text it to the sat phone (00881632648758) from https://messaging.iridium.com/ :)
After coming pretty close to the Colombia coast last night and starting to see a heap of fishing boats, net markers, and possibly some illicit Colombian narcotics boats (lol) we tacked west at about 2am, hoping that the wind will keep rounding to the south and will allow us to continue West and then start heading WSW to get to the Galapagos, otherwise we'll take west ward shifts and tack back south to the elusive equator, where the sacrifices begin and we pay penance for our sins against Neptune! Any ideas?!?
Slow upwind passage making currently, with consistent winds (yay) directly from where we are trying to get to (arse). Heading west now with a shift, but still fighting to get to the equator and hopefully some more consistent southerlies. May the next forecast look more promising!
Making reasonable time, heading south, and west when wind shifts allow us to tack across. Will be hard slog over the next few days until we get south of the equator and hopefully pick up some consistent South trades!
Making good time, between 5-7.5 knots and heading towards the Punta Mala (Mala Point) one of the most southern points on the Panama mainland, which we should pass sometime around midnight local time here. We'll hold our course as long as poss if this wind will allow, and then bear SSW as the wind allows. Lovin the access to shore-based data- our updates will become far less common as we head offshore, sorry!
position 08 48N 79 35W Having cleared customs last night, we departed Balboa yacht club heading SW making the most of the light breeze on the beam- expecting the wind to turn round onto the nose later today and then hopefully stay with us for a few days of close hauled in light winds- best case scenario! Otherwise we'll be motoring for a fair portion of the next few days to get south and into the trades- bring it on!
position 08 56.3N 79 33.4W We're in the Pacific!! Which means we're on the home stretch now;) Parked in Balboa 'Marina' on a 'mooring', which we discovered at low tide is just a liiiitlr to shallow for us- lucky its a soft mud bottom so no concern, but made for a mildly uncomfortable roll for the bottom hour of the tide when shipping wake comes through. Suggest you closely check depths and anchorage position if moored anywhere but the inside moorings when using this anchorage- and there is a 5m tidal range at neaps, so even more at springs. In for a meal at the yacht club (good ceviche!), and cold one and a final catch up with loved ones before we head to sea tomorrow. Look forward to seeing and speakign to you all soon!
Having cleared customs last night, we departed Balboa yacht club heading SW making the most of the light breeze on the beam- expecting the wind to turn round onto the nose later today and then hopefully stay with us for a few days of close hauled in light winds- best case scenario! Otherwise we'll be motoring for a fair portion of the next few days to get south and into the trades- bring it on!
We're in the Pacific!! Which means we're on the home stretch now;) Parked in Balboa 'Marina' on a 'mooring', which we discovered at low tide is just a liiiitlr to shallow for us- lucky its a soft mud bottom so no concern, but made for a mildly uncomfortable roll for the bottom hour of the tide when shipping wake comes through. Suggest you closely check depths and anchorage position if moored anywhere but the inside moorings when using this anchorage- and there is a 5m tidal range at neaps, so even more at springs. In for a meal at the yacht club (good ceviche!), and cold one and a final catch up with loved ones before we head to sea tomorrow. Look forward to seeing and speakign to you all soon!
Having just completed transiting the Gutan locks, we are now in fresh water and 80Ã¢ÂÂ above sea level- the Panama canal was an awesome experience revelled by all, and a must do for all mariners! All feeling pretty astonished and overwhelmed at the engineering feat, and of course the enormous sacrifice that 20000 people made to complete this engineering marvel- full respect. Amazing sunset to put the final mark on an amazing day. Tomorrow we depart at 6am and begin our journey across the lake at first light, to reach the Pacific coast in the afternoon, and then onward to the Galapagos!
Through the Gatun locks and moored for the night before we transit the lake and second set of locks at Miraflores tomorrow.
Heading to the 'F anchorage', in preparation for our transit through the Panama Canal tomorrow afternoon, which is scheduled for `1700 to 1800 local time tomorrow, which equates to 1000 - 1100 NZ time. Apparently you can watch the proceedings live on the Panama Canal website, if you find yourself particularly bored tomorrow! We will spend a little less than 24 hours on Gutan Lake, before transitting through the PAcific locks, where we will fuel up at Balboa YC and head straight to sea- next stop the Galapagos!
Awaiting confirmation of clearance to progress through the canal,which may happen tomorrow afternoon, fingers crossed.. In the mean time, we are enjoying some of the local highlights- the marina is buried within a national park, with an amazing array of wildlife to be seen, from sloths, to capybaras to crocs and caymans to pumas, and some fascinating moths, butterflies and lots of other big invertebrates! Plus some interesting ruins to explore when its not raining
Leg 1 British Virgin Islands to Panama - done! The team have arrived at Shelter Bay Marina at 1am Saturday 30th July. Here's hoping they can clear immigration on a Saturday and start the canal transit process.
Ran out of wind last night and been motoring into a painful current and no useful wind to speak of. We're only 29nm now away but its slow going!
Only about 45nm and 8 hours away from Panama, all things going well. We ran out of steam last night, after quietly sailing through a seriously intense electrical storm for about 3 hours- it was amazing and beautiful, but also a little bit dry-mouth-esque!
All going well we'll be in Panama about lunch time on Friday, but will depend what we get for doldrums closer to the canal. Have hit 14.2knots so far, and she easily sits between 6 and 10-11 knots going downwind:)
We're firmly entrenched in the middle of the Caribbean- 15 25.6N and 68 45.4W- about half way between Aruba and Puerto Rico- good sailing conditions- 20-25knots of trades and we're making good time- the boat goes great and will happily get up and surf- dont know what we are hitting at the top end, but she is ticking along nicely between 6 and 10 knots!
Completing outfit, provisioning and preparing for the delivery trip in Tortola, British Virgin Islands! Its hot here, and we are racing the hurricane season, so back to the prep!
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