Motor sailed to Great Mercury Island yesterday. Arrived at Parapara Bay, 5pm. We had a nice trip, dry all the way. 15 minutes after we arrived it started bucketing down with rain and rained all night. Clearing up now so we are heading off to Slipper Island soon.
Left Matapaua Bay at 8am and motored/sailed/motored to Great Barrier Island. Anchored in Stony Bay at 4pm. In having a swim at 4.01pm! Water is 22 degrees, nice for our first swim in NZ for the season :-)
We arrived in Tauranga yesterday and will be here for the month of December. Enjoying time with daughter Stephanie and her partner Jay and awaiting the arrival of the newest family member :-)
We have caught up on some sleep and feeling human again. Now in North Cove, Kawau Island. So nice to hear the Tui calls and other birds giving us a welcome chorus this morning.
We have arrived safely at Marsden Cove. Sitting at Q dock awaiting customs clearance. Yippee!
Within minutes of our last update the wind came up and we were sailing again! Have enjoyed 15-18 knots ENE all day, great sailing on flat calm seas. Grey sky but dry. We now have only 87nm to Marsden Cove and will arrive tomorrow morning. This will be to our last night at sea on this trip. We have just spotted land! Cape Brett is in sight. Yay!
We have had a fantastic sail for the last 4 days. The wind died about 6am so we are now motor sailing. Only 150nm to go now, so will arrive in Marsden Cove tomorrow morning. Yay!
A grey day but great sailing conditions. Making good progress and all is well on board. 225nm to Marsden Cove.
The sea has calmed down and looks quite friendly again. Nice sailing conditions. 280nm to go to Marsden Cove. ETA Sunday.
After a bouncy ride today the winds have calmed down a bit, so we should have a smooth ride for the rest of the trip. Now under the 30 degree south mark, which is always a milestone. 3 days to go!
not comfortable but all ok
Winds slowly built up during the day, still SE so not able to set a course directly for NZ, have been pushed slightly west but made good progress south. Just as well we started heading east on Saturday for 3 days during the southerly winds or we would be half way to Australia by now! Squally rain showers started at 3pm, with gusty conditions and steep choppy waves. Blue sky ahead of us so hope we are out of the rubbish soon. All well on board.
Enjoying the ride. Nice breeze and great sailing conditions. Making steady progress towards NZ
Enjoyed a swim today to freshen up in light winds! calm sunny day. Easterly wind taking us back to NZ as planned. Dream trip so far. Now sailing along in a nice breeze.
Beautiful starry night last night and sunny today after a brief shower early this morning. We have turned the corner and now heading direct for NZ.
Had a lovely sunny day after a cloudy start. Calm seas and very light winds. Motoring all day and making good progress east. Will be able to head south now as soon as easterlies kick in tomorrow.
Have been motor-sailing all night in light winds. Passing just south of Matthew Island now. Seas are flat with a long slow swell, so we are quite comfortable now - happy to be out of the chop we had at the start. We will continue to get as far east as possible today before we turn south towards NZ. Expect to turn the corner tonight when the easterly winds arrive.
Motoring east in light winds. A bit lumpy out here but all well on board.
Sailing east in a good steady breeze. All well on board.
Departing New Caledonia in the next hour! Next stop New Zealand.
Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. After a very long wait, the weather looks pretty good for us to get going tomorrow! We will need to sail east for a few days before heading south so will probably have a 9 day voyage back to NZ, but at least we will be back before the end of November. Yay!
Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. By the time we finished breakfast yesterday the rain had cleared and we had a lovely sunny day. Again! Last night we had coffee on deck while we watched the light show - no thunder, but fork lightening streaking across the sky with millisecond intervals. Quite a show!
Back in Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. What is all that wet stuff falling from the sky? We have not seen real rain in the last two months! Thunder rolling in as well. I am sure we had some jobs we were saving up for a rainy day - I just can't remember what they were!
In Gadji Bay, enjoyed diving at Ilot Ngie yesterday with friends on Seismic Wave. Still waiting for weather to get to NZ, we might be here another week or so!
Now in Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. A lovely spot to wait for the right weather for our trip to NZ. Pacific Star is next to us, waiting for the same weather.
Have decided to wait for better weather before we depart for NZ, so will head to Isle of Pines today.
We have completed all of our jobs and we are ready to depart for NZ. Left the marina yesterday, sitting at Isle Ouen. Will do final check of weather this morning before we decide on departure today or later in the week. Watch this space!
Now in Noumea and will be here for the next few days as we prepare for departure. Laundry to be done, get a haircut, go to the produce market and supermarket for our last supplies, fuel up our almost empty diesel tanks, defrost the freezer, dig out our winter clothes and blankets(yuk!), stow everything away for passage, make some passage meals, change the oil, do mechanical checks and complete the paperwork for departing New Caledonia and more paperwork to give advanced notice of arrival to NZ Customs. And the list goes on. Hoping to depart early next week!
At Amedee. Beautiful sunny day yesterday, saw a couple of dolphins on the way from Kouare. Stopped for a snorkel at Tabu Reef. Very large fish here - some spotted coral grouper well over 1m long, large unicorn fish, huge parrot fish and blue wrasse, sweetlips, thicklips, blue tangs, a long sea snake and just too many more to mention. A fabulous spot! We have snorkelled in many places and have seen the most wonderful things, but this reef still got us very excited! We picked up a mooring at Amedee about lunch time and enjoyed people watching. Two ferry loads of day trippers on shore. Karl had to resuce a couple of novice paddle boarders who got pushed too far out by the wind and had no way of getting back to shore! It was a beautiful starry night last night, punctuated by the sweep of the powerful beam from Amedee lighthouse and backed by the glow of lights from Noumea city. We will head in to Noumea today.
We had an amazing day at Ilot Kouare yesterday. By 8.30am all the clouds had gone, giving us a brilliant blue sky. We went ashore for a walk around the island. The island is only about 400m long and 200m wide, so it is not a big walk to circumnavigate the island, but we were surprised at all the wildlife we saw in such a short time. This island is home to the White-capped Noody. This is a small, dark, almost black bird with a white cap on its head. Heather was standing, reading the sign board about the local Noody birds and felt a strange sensation on her foot....a sea snake was slithering right across the top of her bare foot!!! The snake did not seem to notice the yelp that followed this discovery, it slowly slithered right on by. During our walk we saw several more snakes, but Heather did not stand still for more than a moment for the rest of the walk! Next we saw two small turtles near the shore, swimming along in the shallows. Then sea eagles started screeching at us from above as they protected a large nest. Further on a flock of fairy terns were grazing on the reef, bouncing on air as they fly and pecking tiny fish from the surface of the water. The fairy terns look like the photo negative of the Noody as the terns are white with a black cap. Sometimes we saw mixed flocks of terns and Noddy birds, flying and feeding together. Further around the island we came across dozens of large crabs on the rocks - they scuttled away fast as we approached. Next we saw a baby black tip reef shark patrolling the shallow water by the rocks near shore. Before we knew it we were back where we started, with a bunch of Noody birds. What an amazing little island, so full of life! Later we snorkelled the entire reef on the north side of the island and enjoyed watching all the fish life under the water too. A wonderful place. Sadly we will need to leave Kouare today and make another hop towards Noumea. It is time for us to start preparing for our passage to NZ and we hope to depart next week depending on the weather.
At Ilot Kouare. Managed to drag ourselves away from Isle of Pines yesterday! Our last night at Isle of Pines was a lovely evening, catching up with friends on Second Wind and Pacific Star, followed by dinner and lots of laughs on Distracted. Yesterday we had a lovely sail to Kouare, with a gentle breeze and calm seas. Along the way we caught an 80cm yellow fin tuna! Fresh Tuna for dinner and now 9 more nights of tuna in the freezer. Yum!
Another sunny day in paradise here at the Isle of Pines. The skipper is doing some maintenance jobs today before we head out for a snorkel later. So I decided to write a blog about what we have been up to for the last couple of weeks in the Isle of Pines. Have a read of the blog and you will understand why this place is so special.
Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. Waved goodbye to our friends on Wind Star and Master Plan yesterday morning and the bay emptied out a little. More boats arrived later in the day. We have been here two weeks now and it is hard to leave. Just a lovely place to be. Caught up with Pacific Star last night, good fun.
Kuto Bay. Enjoyed walking up Pic Nga yesterday. This is the highest point in the Isle of Pines, about 260m high. Nice views. Grey skies today, but at least we are not too far from the bakery!
Back in Kuto Bay. Really enjoyed our couple of days at Gadji, especially the snorkelling at Ilot Ngie, where we saw several large adult yellow boxfish. Outstanding! Along with a clown triggerfish, a group of large Smooth Flutemouth and several varieties of large parrot fish including some in shades of purple velvet. Windstar joined us last night on Aradonna for dinner, a lovely evening - especially Margie's lemon meringue pie!
At Gadji Bay, Isle of Pines. Had a lovely sail from Kuto yesterday with dolphins joining us for a while. In the afternoon we snorkelled the drop off on the reef outside Ilot Nene. Teeming with fish and a vast coral garden. Nice clear water. The magic continues! Four other boats in the outer bay with us and four more in the inner anchorage.
Kuto, Isle of Pines. Will head around to Gadji today for a couple of days.
Kuto, Isle of Pines. Will head around to Gadji today for a couple of days.
Back in Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines. Took Pieter and Sarah around to Vao on Tuesday afternoon and visited the produce market at Vao on Wednesday morning. A nice walk through the village. Returned to Kuto yesterday where Pieter and Sarah had one more snorkel with hundreds of fish at Kanumera Bay and enjoyed more Dugong sightings in Kuto Bay before catching their flight to Noumea last night. They were with us for 11 days and the time just flew by! So good to spend time with them showing them some of our favourite spots. Kuto bay is very popular right now, plenty of other yachts enjoying this special place. Enjoyed the company of Windstar and Koolsid last night on Aradonna.
We were very lucky yesterday! A dugong came to play in the bay, just behind our boat. Amazing to see this creature so close. A real treat for us and for Pieter and Sarah.
Absolutely loving Isle of Pines. Snorkel with Pieter and Sarah this morning. White sand, blue sky, blue water. Paradise.
We left Noumea on Wednesday morning, bound for Casy island in Baie de Prony. Head winds all the way but a fairly smooth ride. Arrived at Casy in time for lunch. A few boats we knew were already there and a couple more turned up from the ICA rally fleet. That evening we all went ashore for drinks and nibbles. Had fun with yachties from Malakite, Morepork, Bonnie Lass, Udder Life, Zest and Caprice. Yesterday morning the four of us from Aradonna (we have our friends Pieter and Sarah visiting until 12th Oct) went ashore again to feed the dog, Moose, and went for a very pleasant 1.5 hour walk around the island. The wind turned so we decided to leave Casy and headed down to Anse Majic. Another Gulf Harbour boat, JAMS is next to us and we enjoyed a fun evening with Murray and Carol on Aradonna last night. Will probably stay here at Anse Majic today and then head for Isle of Pines tomorrow. Beautiful full moon last night.
Had a very windy day yesterday, but it did not matter as we hired a car and did a road trip with Pieter and Sarah. Heading off to the market soon and then the Aquarium, so more land based activities today. Will sail out into the southern lagoon on Wednesday probably.
Enjoyed a lovely sunny day, only 5 knots of breeze, just beautiful in the bay. Have now shifted into the marina. Picking up a hire car in the morning so will be driving on the right hand side of the road again! Will do some shopping and pick up our good friends from the airport tomorrow.
Had SW wind yesterday so shifted to Uere island. No wind this morning, flat calm. Heading into Marina today so we are ready to collect our visitors on Sunday. Looking forward to spending time with Pieter and Sarah.
We enjoyed the last few days and nights at Casy island, in the company of good friends. We are now at Ilot Maitre, a lovely stop very close to Noumea. Had a close encounter with a turtle here while snorkelling and surprised to see Pukeko and Rail birds on shore!
Moved to Casy island yesterday, a small islet in the middle of Baie de Prony. Very tranquil here, even though it is blowing a bit more outside. Having fun with friends from Distracted and other yachties we know in the bay.
Anchored at Mato island. A very pretty spot surrounded by reefs on all sides. It is a bit windy for snorkelling today but we will come back here to explore. The last few days we have been treated to one of the best places ever at the little island of Ua. We have been snorkelling and diving each day - just beautiful. Clear water, corals in pinks and blues and greens, colourful fish, a painted crayfish, turtles. Very special. We walked around the little island on the fine powdery white sand beach. Remains of turtle nests here from the summer, and currently some kind of hawkes sitting on nests built in the trees and driftwood on shore. Have enjoyed the company of Wind Star and KaijaSong. Wind Star and Second Wind now at Mato with us.
Anchored at the beautiful little islet of Ua, in the southern lagoon of New Caledonia. Enjoyed snorkelling the reef here yesterday, stunning coral in pretty blues and greens. Going for a dive here today. Conditions are perfect. No wind, glassy sea, great visibility. Wind Star and KaijaSong came over to Aradonna for drinks last night. Good fun. We can see why this place is a favourite for David and Patricia!
Enjoyed being in Noumea the last 2 days. Cast our votes yesterday at the NZ Consulate. Now that the boat is full of groceries again we will head out to the southern lagoon today.
Now in Port Moselle Marina. Lovely to be back here again. Could not resist the patisserie on the walk back from checking in to immigration. Feels like heaven...Will restock with goodies over the next couple of days in Noumea before heading out to play in the southern lagoon.
A NE breeze developed after lunch yesterday, so we set off for a lovely sail, overnight to Grande Terre. Had 12 hours of great sailing, the wind died to variable 8 knots about 4am so we motored the rest. Along the way, at 1.30am we were called on the VHF radio by a French Navy vessel who saw us approaching New Caledonia. They asked all sorts of questions to gather info about our vessel, which managed to keep us both awake. Looking forward to a good sleep tonight. Sitting in Bay de Prony, will move closer to Noumea tomorrow.
In Ouvea island, Loyalties. 25 km of white sand beach. 25 km of road on this this sliver of an island, which is shaped like a crescent moon. Amazing number of cars running up and down the strip! Very pretty anchorage.
We are now in We Marina at Lifou. All we really achieved today was clearance with Biosecurity. This is great, as now we have been able to buy some fresh vegetables and eggs and they will not be taken off us when we reach Noumea. But we have been advised that we cannot clear Customs or Immigration here. We have two options. The captain can fly to Noumea with both of our passports and do the paperwork and fly back. This can be done in one day, but the cost of flights would be around US$300. The other option is that we have to sail to Noumea as soon as the weather permits. The Biosecurity man telephoned Noumea Immigration and we have permission to stay in the Loyalties until Thursday before sailing to the mainland. We wanted to buy a local SIM card so we could have telephone and internet, but, by the time we finished all the paperwork with Biosecurity it was 3pm. The Post Office closes at 3pm and this is the only place we can buy the SIM card. Oh well, at least we have fresh baguettes and pate!
As soon as I had finished sending the yit update yesterday, the clouds vanished and the sun came out. We were treated to a glorious sunset! The days are warm, but the nights are a bit cooler than we are used to, so today the duvet is back on the bed! We had a blissful nights sleep last night. The first night after doing a passage always feels like a treat! Not having to wake up after four hours and go on watch - we can sleep the whole night. Yay! Today we caught up on many maintenance and cleaning jobs. Our last few days in Fiji were in the Lautoka area, near the sugar processing plant. This factory pumps out clouds of smoke and soot. We try to anchor upwind from it but the wind changes and soon the boat is covered in soot. Being in that position also meant we could not do our washing! So today, with sunny skies, clean air and a nice breeze, the washing got washed and dried and the boat got a good scrubbing. While we were on passage from Fiji, some birds known as Boobies, about the size of the Gannets we have in NZ, decided to sit on our solar panels during the night. They seemed to think it was a nice place for a rest from flying around the whole day. Unfortunately they made a large mess on the solar panels while they were there! Karl did clean the panels a bit each day while we were on passage, but now they have had a thorough washing as well. The island of Lifou has an interesting landscape. Close to the island in most places the water is 500m deep or more. Not very far from the island the water is 6000m deep. Yes 6km deep! The island itself is about 50-70m high and almost a plateau, with cliffs rising straight up from the ocean for much of the coastline. It is apparently a raised coral bed, an ancient reef that uplifted from the sea floor. The limestone deposits formed by all that coral years ago is now weathering into fascinating shapes. Caves have been eroded into the cliffs, with great stalactites hanging down inside the caves. Very scenic and quite unusual. The top of the plateau is covered by a mixture of vegetation and many birds can be heard singing sweetly from where we sit in the bay. There are only a few bays where the water is shallow enough to anchor and the one we are in, Donkin Bay, is well protected from the southerly winds. A very pretty spot.
As were arriving at Lifou island this morning we heard about a tsunami warning, from the earthquake in Mexico. New Caledonia was expecting a tsunami at 7am local time. So we waiting out of the bay for a while until well after that time to make sure we were not near land if there was a surge. Nothing happened, so we went in to anchor. New Caledonia is one hour behind NZ time. We went ashore by the marina. A fairly new facility, we were amazed that the water is so clear, you can see the sandy bottom under the boats and down the fairway. We have never seen water that clean in any marina anywhere before. The marina office was closed as it is only open Monday-Friday, so we proceeded to the Police Station. We found a sliding gate, slid it back and went up to the building, which was locked, but a friendly young Policeman saw us peering through the door trying to read the opening hours and unlocked the door with a smile. After we stumbled through some very poor French sentences, the Policeman switched to English, which was much better! As we were trying to explain to this fresh faced, helpful young officer, exactly what it was we wanted, another man came out, slightly older and clearly in charge. The man in charge asked "Where do you come from?", to which, Karl immediately said New Zealand and Heather immediately said Fiji. The man shook his head as if to shake off our answers and said "I mean just now. Where did you come from just now?" To which we both replied "Fiji". He shook his head again and asked. "I mean, how did you get in here? The gate is locked!" We pointed to the sliding gate that we came through and said that it was not locked. "Oh, said the man, that gate is only for us. Visitors must use the other gate, which is locked. You have to ring the bell and then we come out and unlock it and let you in." He pointed to a gate further on up the road, that we had not seen. We quickly apologised and then he asked what we wanted. We explained that we are on our way to Noumea but would like to look around in the Loyalty islands on the way and we showed him our passports and customs papers from Fiji. The young man took these papers and started to study them like they were something from another planet. The man in charge said "You want to look around by car? You need to rent a car, or do you want to look around by boat?" We answered by boat, and he looked puzzled. "But you already have a boat?" he said. We nodded and he shrugged, as if to say, then what is the problem! The man in charge seemed to have nothing more to say, and, seemingly satisfied that he had given us an education about the gate, he said, "I have only been here one month" shrugged with upturned hands, turned on his heel and left the room. This left us with our now slightly amused and very bewildered young officer. After several more attempts at explaining ourselves, and showing him the email (all in French) we had from customs in Noumea, the young man held up the Fijian customs papers and said, "Oh, I see, you need to get this paper to Noumea." At which point Heather said Yes and Karl said No, each of us interpreting his message differently. Then we clarified again and finally he understood that we wanted to do the right paperwork to give us permission to stay in the Loyalties before moving on to Noumea. He tapped away on his computer for a while and then read the instructions out loud, in French, looked up at us, and seeing out bewilderment, he smiled and translated for us. There is no paperwork the Police can do, the paperwork must be done in Noumea, but yes we can stay at each of the islands in the Loyalties for 2 days. We questioned him on this to make sure and he said, we can stay two days in Lifou, then 2 days in Ouvea and so on, the same for each island. It is no problem. After apologies all round from us, for not speaking French very well, and from him, for the gaps in his English and for his lack of knowledge about boats, we thanked him profusely and said out goodbyes. He then took out his keys and lead us to the locked gate, unlocked it, let us out and locked it again behind us. We tried not to giggle as we walked past the other, unlocked gate on the way back to the boat. The swell was coming in to the bay of the friendly Policemen, so we moved around to the top of Lifou, Donkin Bay. A pod of dolphins came and played with the boat on the way. The water is nice and clear here, anchored in 15m and we can see the anchor dug in well on the sandy bottom. Coral reefs dotted around make nice snorkelling and the water is 25 degrees, so still bearable!
All well on board. Calm conditions, wind from behind so just a gentle sail. 105nm to go to Lifou island, the main island in the Loyalty Island group of New Caledonia. Looking forward to croissants and coffee, maybe followed by some baguettes and bordeaux. Will arrive tomorrow :-)
This position is 6nm north of Aneityum. They have 160m to Lifou.
All well on board. Enjoying the moonlit nights, even in cloudy conditions the moon lights up the sky as clear as day. Sea very calm now. Had only 8-10 knots of wind from behind for a while today so motored for a few hours. Sailing again now with a nice beam reach. Had a mainly sunny day, but high cloud has rolled in now.
better seas today. 310 to go so eta depends on winds (which will be light), so likely sunday am
All well on board. Sea still confused but less wave height. Yesterday we had the boom dipping in the water as we rolled of the big waves, but easier going today.
making progress to Loyalties. Had wind yesterday guting 30
All well on board. Sluggish start yesterday but good run today. Getting used to being in a wobbly world again.
Beautiful sunrise in Saweni Bay. This afternoon we set sail for New Caledonia. Full moon, starry nights and hopefully a steady breeze. We should arrive in the Loyalty Islands of New Caledonia on Saturday.
In Saweni Bay, doing last preparations for passage to New Caledonia. Have spent the last few days catching up with our good friends on Silver Fox. So good to see them here. We met them on the offshore medical course 3.5 years ago and they have had more than their fair share of trials and tribulations since that time. But they are finally here and enjoying the cruising lifestyle. There are 15 boats in Saweni Bay, a few more from Gulf Harbour that we recognise.
It seems hard to believe that we will be leaving Fiji tomorrow (weather permitting). Time has gone by so fast! Next time we will spend more time in Fiji.
Our trip to Fiji this year was mainly focused on seeing the Lau Group, part of Fiji we had not been to before. We certainly saw many islands in the group, but there are still more to see. We also revisited some places we had been to three years ago and renewed our friendships with people in those villages. Along the way we have discovered new places that we love and we certainly wish to return to those places in the future. A big part of what makes a place great for us, is the people we meet. Some of the villagers we have met along the way have been absolutely wonderful, generous people and we look forward to seeing them again.
The weather has been kind to us and the water has been warm to swim in. Water temperature is 28 degrees where we are now and has been 27 or 26 for most of the trip. As you go towards the southern part of Fiji it does get cooler. But strangely, we still had 26 degrees at the most southern places we went apart from Fulaga where the water was only 24 degrees! Brrrr! The coral reefs and the marine life here are incredible. We have been privileged to see dolphins, whales, turtles, manta rays, sharks, sea snakes and crayfish, along with all the colourful little tropical fish. In this trip we have seen more soft corals and more colourful reef areas than anywhere else we have been. Good food for the soul.
So we get ready to depart, with a tinge of sadness to leave this place, but with much anticipation for the next part of our journey. We plan to sail to the Loyalty islands which will take about 5.5 days. We have not been to this part of New Caledonia before so this will be another new experience for us. Then, at the beginning of October we have some very special friends from NZ coming to join us on Aradonna for a holiday - we are looking forward to seeing them again and showing them some of the places we love in New Caledonia.
We are very lucky people to have these experiences. Life is good!
Shopping trip to Lautoka today with friends from Silver Fox. Now in Saweni Bay, making meals for passage to New Caledonia. Probably departing Monday.
North wind coming in to Saweni bay, so anchored behind Bekana Island, near Lautoka. Next to Silver Fox! We have not seen them since we left NZ, so lots of news to catch up on tonight!
Quiet night at Likuri island, departing soon for Saweni Bay
At Likuri island for the night. Motor sailed all day. In reality we motored, the sails were up just to give us the illusion of sailing. Very light winds all day. Caught a 105cm mahimahi on the way so have fresh fish again. Yum! Heading to Saweni bay tomorrow and will catch up with our good friends on Silver Fox before we leave Fiji.
heading to lautoka to prep for going to the Loyalties early next week
Got the shopping done and left Suva after lunch. Now at Rovodrau Bay for the night, will continue west tomorrow to head toward Lautoka area. Hope to catch up with some friends there before we head to New Caledonia :-)
A beautiful sunny morning in Suva. Managed to get our diesel, petrol and LPG filled yesterday. A bit tricky as the fuel dock is so shallow we can only be there 1 hour either side of high tide. All done. Today is shopping in Suva.
Lami Bay, Suva. Will fill up with diesel today and get more supplies. Waiting for weather window to sail to New Caledonia in the next week, hopefully.
Now in Suva! On Saturday the sun came out and we had a brilliant day. On the way to the Great Astrolabe reef (the 4th largest reef in the world) we had a large pod of small dolphins come to play. The jumped and leaped and played with the boat for quite a while. Our snorkel at the great reef was beautiful. The corals were so many and varied in shapes and colours, it looks like a terraced field of wildflowers! Energised by that encounter, we went back to Vurolevu to see if the manta rays were home. We were in luck! We snorkelled with two manata rays, for ages. The place we went to is known as a cleaning station. The Manta rays hang around while tiny cleaner fish nibble away, cleaning any parasites from the rays. It was amazing to see them, to swim all around them, to watch the cleaner fish pecking away, inside the mouth of the manta rays too! Manta rays are large creatures. These ones were 2-2.5m across, but they are harmless plankton feeders. We got close enough to touch their wings, they feel like black velvet! All of this was before lunch! We still had unfinished business at the village of Naboulwalu, so off we went, back to see the chief. Three years ago he had asked us for some specific things and he was amazed when we delivered them, along with the note his wife had written three years ago. She looked astonished to see her own handwriting! We also told them that we had found a large population of Crown of Thorns Starfish in their bay. They were unaware of this and did not understand the danger. The chiefs wife had some old wet shoes that were falling apart and asked if we could fix them. So back to the boat we went. Karl jumped in the water and grabbed a Crown of Thorns starfish to show the village, while Heather write out instructions on how to kill the beasts and why they should be killed - they are destroying the coral and if the coral dies, the village will have no fish! Luckily, the chiefs wife has the same sized feet as Heather and she happened to have a spare pair or wet shoes on the boat. So back to the village again, to deliver the shoes and the Crown of Thorns speciman and the educational sheet of paper so the chief could teach the rest of the people in the village about this menace. They weer amazed that we could produce a new pair of shoes, the right size, like magic! An promised to gather the village people together that evening to tell them about the Crown of Thorns starfish.
Yesterday, we decide to take advantage of the great weather and sailed to Beqa. The Fijian language sounds different to English, so Beqa, is pronounced Mbengga. We had an amazing sail, 12-14 knots on the beam in flat sea and sunny skies. Scooted along nicely and covered the 45 nm in 7 hours. A wonderful sailing day. Went ashore at the resort for the G&T and listened to the church choir sing for a while. The resort was fully booked, so no room for us for dinner.
Today we scrubbed the bottom of the boat, in preparation for our next passage, to New Caledonia. We then headed out of Beqa and motored all the way to Suva in a head wind. Oh well, we made water on the way and the freezer had a good run - not that there is much left in there! We had run very short of some supplies, especially tonic, which was the biggest crisis! So this afternoon we started off in a taxi, that got stuck in a traffic jam so walked the long trek into Suva, had an enormously long wait at Digicel to get out phone/email working again, shopped for many things, as much as we could carry and got the taxi back, laden with goodies. The nun that shared the first taxi with us told us there was an earthquake in Kadavu a couple of days ago and ever since then Suva has been very warm with north easterlies which is very unusual and must have been something to do with the earthquake. The taxi driver on the way back told us that the western part of Fiji was colder than usual and had hail stones for the first time ever, and he blamed this on global warming! Meanwhile we heard that the King of Tonga had sacked the Government in Tonga. And in breaking news, in fact headline news in Fiji, we heard that a 23 year old man has been arrested and held in prison awaiting a trial for corruption charges because he was caught driving while intoxicated and offered the policeman a $10 bribe. It all feels quite surreal, really. Tonight we treated oursleves to a meal at the Novotel Lami. This has become a bit of a tradition now. This is the third time we have sailed to Fiji and each time we have come here and had dinner at the same spot. It really is the best place to be, if you have to be in Suva that is. We look forward to leaving the traffic jams and the throng of people behind again soon!
Still at Buliya. After 4 days of grey skies and rain showers, we finally got some sun after lunch yesterday. Had a nice snorkel. It felt good to be outside for a change. Today has a bit more blue and calm, so maybe we will get to dive the Great Astrolabe Reef.
Sitting in the rain today, so catching up on emails. We are at Buliya island. There is only one village here, with 120 people plus 60 children (that is how the villagers say it, as if the children are not people!) So you might be surprised that we have internet here. So are we! The internet does not come from Buliya though, but a nearby island called Yaukuve Levu. This uninhabited island has been leased by Australian billionaire Lang Walker and he has built a resort on the island. We are talking 6 star luxury. Private villas, each with their own private deck and their own swimming pool. The one bedroom villa is US$1995 per night, for two people. The 3 bedroom villa is US$4950 per night, for up to 6 people. But if you want real luxury, you book a 3 bedroom luxury residence for US$6950 per night. There are 4, 5 and 6 bedroom luxury residences as well, up to US$12950 per night. If you would like a beachfront luxury residence of 6 bedrooms, it is a mere US$18,000 per night. Of course, on top of this you need to pay for transfer from the airport in Nadi, which is US$295 each way. There are 64 bedrooms in total at the resort, so if you have a big party and wish to book out the whole island, they will do you a special deal - you can book the whole resort for US$120,000 per night! A real bargain for up to 150 guests. The resort is called Kokomo and now the island is referred to as Kokomo island as well. Presumably Lang Walker was a Beach Boys fan. When we were here 3 years ago they were building the resort and about 60 men from Buliya and nearby islands were helping with construction. The resort is now open, with the first half of the plan, and building work has started on stage two. Some of the local ladies have jobs working at the resort now as well, as nannies for the guests with children as well as doing landscaping, cleaning and various jobs in the restaurants. According to the locals here, most of the guests at the resort seem to be from the USA. Movie stars, super models, big business rich list people. Naturally, all of these guests at Kokomo expect to have wifi during their holiday, so the resort has large cell ph towers and we are anchored just a few km away at Buliya :-) This kind of resort is so far removed from how the local people live here that it seems like a different planet. For the last 2 months we have been in the Lau group of Fiji and there are no resorts there at all. Although, we were surprised that most of the villages in the Lau had solar panels, generators and some even had cars. The Lau is not as remote or primitive as we expected. Supply ships from Suva or from Savusavu visit the Lau about twice per month, so they are not cut off from mainland supplies. But village life is basic. Fishing, growing veges, drinking kava. A slow pace and a peaceful life, without stress. Most villagers only need money to buy petrol for the outboard motor. $20 will last them a week or two. So they sell some fish, or kava or mats or tapas or twine or copra to the mainland and get enough cash for the next month or two. Life is simple. In the Kadavu region where we are now, they are a bit closer to Suva and have more regular trips to the mainland and the city, but still life is simple. We can only imagine what the local people here think about the guests that stay in the luxury resort on the next island. They are glad of the job opportunities, but life at this resort would be a culture shock even for us!!
Grey, wet and wobbly, but all is well at Buliya island
Now at Buliya Island. It has been fun visiting villages in Ono and Buliya. We were here 3 years ago, so it brings back many memories. The people in the village are so happy to know that we liked it here so much that we wanted to come back. We gave the chief of Buliya a small Tuna that we caught on the way from Ono. He was very happy and gave us a huge bunch of bananas. Other people in the village gave us paw paws. We managed to buy a pumpkin and some paw paw in Ono this morning, so we have food again for a few days. Tonight we will have some more of the 50cm trevally we caught yesterday. The group of islands we are in right now is the Kadavu region, named after the biggest island of the group, Kadavu. The people in Ono island, which has 6 villages (Ono means 6) is only about a tenth of the size of Kadavu, refer to Kadavu as the mainland. Buliya island is less than a tenth of the size of Ono and they only have one village. When people in Buliya say the mainland, they mean Ono, which is where their primary school children go to boarding school. The people on the large island of Kadavu, when they say the mainland, they mean Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji, where Suva is. So it can get a little confusing! The people in this part of Fiji are warm, welcoming and generous. The kids are great fun and love to hold your hand as you walk through the village. They also love to play, and try to talk a little bit of English. The adults, in general, speak English very well, even though they never use it in village life.
Stilll at Makari Bay Ono. Good signal today
Very calm morning, but grey and gloomy. Might be a good day for baking bread.
Anchored at Vurolevu Island, just north east of Ono Island in the Kadavu group of Fiji. Today we snorkelled for 1.5 hours, did a complete circumnavigation of Vurolevu, about 3km. Amazing corals in shades of jade, lime, lemon, honey, lilac, purple, burgandy, forget-me-not blue, dusky pink, wedgewood, turquoise, and soft browns. We saw a barracuda, 2 eagle rays, a manta ray and Karl grabbed 2 baby lobsters, but let them go again as they were so small! Fabulous spot. We had no wind today, the sea was flat calm. Almost as flat as Holland! We felt like we were in a giant aquarium. Acres of corals and thousands of brightly coloured fish in clear calm water. Magic. For more about our fun and adventures in Matuku and Ono in the last few days, please read the blog. Today we have internet for the first time in 3 weeks, so catching up on emails etc.
Anchored at Vurolevu Island, just north east of Ono Island in the Kadavu group of Fiji. Today we snorkelled for 1.5 hours, did a complete circumnavigation of Vurolevu, about 3km. Amazing corals in shades of jade, lime, lemon, honey, lilac, purple, burgandy, forget-me-not blue, dusky pink, wedgewood, turquoise, and soft browns. We saw a barracuda, 2 eagle rays, a manta ray and Karl grabbed 2 baby lobsters, but let them go again as they were so small! Fabulous spot. We had no wind today, the sea was flat calm. Almost as flat as Holland! We felt like we were in a giant aquarium. Acres of corals and thousands of brightly coloured fish in clear calm water. Magic. For more about our fun and adventures in Matuku and Ono in the last few days, please read the blog. Today we have internet for the first time in 3 weeks, so catching up on emails etc.
About 3hours from anchorage at Ono. Are in d'Urville channel now
Plans are made to be changed and the main driver for change when we are sailing is the weather. With a front and a trough coming together and maybe colliding on Wednesday, we decided to head for a sheltered spot to sit out the wet weather and changing wind direction expected in the next couple of days. So, instead of exploring Totoya island, which has a 6km diameter crater in the middle and a thin rim of land around the outside which does not give much shelter, we sailed to Matuku. We are now anchored in the Matuku harbour. Matuku is also a volcano but inside is a small harbour that is sheltered from almost every wind direction. Many islands in Fiji give good shelter from the usual trade winds, South Easterlies dominate, sometimes a bit more South and sometimes a bit more East. Only a few places have shelter from North and West winds. Matuku is a pretty place, with a multitude of high peaks, 300-390m high rising up all around the tiny harbour. The vegetation is lush and green and the abundant bird life provides a constant song in the bay. Usually we are not great fans of these tiny harbour anchorages as there is no wave action and therefore little aeration or nutrients for coral growth. The constantly calm water in the harbour means these anchorages clog up with run off from the land and this produces the 3 M's. Mud, Mangroves and Mosquitoes. More mud in the water means less light gets through the water, this reduces the visibility for snorkelling and reduces coral growth because most corals thrive in clear water with plenty of sun. The benefit though, is flat calm water and shelter from changing winds. We will stay here for the next couple of days before moving on to the next snorkelling spot! Tonight as the sun drifts below the horizon we have a bay full of large bats flying around. Hopefully they will eat all the mosquitoes! After a very sunny day, and a lovely gentle sail, we now have cloud rolling in, but otherwise, all is calm in the bay.
Notoya and will be moving by wed to avoid the weather coming
We are now at Totoya island, one of the three islands in the western Lau group. We have had a fabulous day getting here. We had to make 63nm today from Kabara to Totoya, there are no other islands in between. So we left Kabara at 6am, when it was just getting light. We got the anchor up and as we turned to head out of the bay, we noticed a very shallow patch with water breaking on it very near to us! What? We did not notice that reef yesterday! Then the shallow patch moved. And blew a fountain of water! Whales. Three whales meandering by, seemingly unaware that we were even there. Possibly Fin Whales, but not 100 percent sure. Very different to the pod of Pilot whales we had seen the day before. So nice to see these magnificent creatures. Many other yachties are reporting whale sightings this year, so it seems like a great year for whales. Then we were off on our fast sailing journey. With 25 knots plus from almost behind, and waves pushing us along, we scooted along and had a wonderful ride. 8-9 knots surfing down waves on a broad reach. Aradonna just loves these conditions. Winds moderated after lunch to around 20 knots. After passing the southern tip of Totoya we had another lovely sail up the west side of the island. We covered the 63nm in just 9 hours. That is very quick for us with an average of 7 knots over the day, so we were very happy. The only mishap on the way was around lunchtime. Yesterday, Heather had made bacon, spinach and feta fritattas, so we would have something quick and easy to eat on our day trip. So at lunch time today, Heather carefully heated up some fritatta, wrapped it in a paper towel and handed it out to Karl in the cockpit. Yum! Karl had not noticed that Heather was getting lunch ready, grabbed the paper towel bundle and threw it overboard, thinking Heather wanted him to get rid of some rubbish!! Oh dear. After a bit of a laugh, and some more heating of the remaining fritatta, we managed to eat our yummy lunch. With such a fast trip we arrived in plenty of time for a swim and a snorkel. The water is not crystal clear here - but better than Fulaga and certainly plenty of coral. Tomorrow we plan to go ashore and explore our surroundings. Totoya is an interesting island. It is in the shape of a horseshoe and is actually an old volcano with the middle blown out. Sea water now fills the crater. There are coral reefs around the outside, enclosing the island in a coral rim. The island is about 6nm (about 10km) across, although the ring of land is only 1km wide in many places as it forms the horseshoe with no land in the middle. The coral reefs are extensive, coming out another 4km from the edge of the land in places. So the diameter of the whole island, including reef is more like 11nm or 20km at the widest point. There is almost more coral than land! Most of the villages are positioned on the inside of the horseshoe, facing into the crater. We are anchored on the outside, but in the bay we are in, there is only a small strip of land, about 250m wide, so we can walk over to look in the crater tomorrow and see where we go from there.
We started the day with drizzle and cloud, but this cleared up by 9am and we got underway. We have had sunshine for the rest of the day until a brief shower around dinnertime. Sailed to Kabara (pronounced Kambara) Island, about 16nm west of Namuka-I-Lau. It was a lively sail, the sea was a bit lumpy and we had 25knots to 30 knots at times from the SE, but we whizzed along nicely and got to Kabara in time for a snorkel before lunch. What a magnificent under water world! Gigantic coral formations, rising 10m high straight up from the sand. A wide variety of corals in shades of blue, lilac and pink. So pretty. The water is so clear here that we can see the anchor and the chain sitting on the bottom in 16m of water. Going ashore was fabulous. We were greeted by a handful of children who helped us to drag our dinghy up the beach and then showed us the way to the village shop. We needed onions and eggs and we were in luck! A very small boy cried in terror when he saw us. Apparently they are not used to seeing white people around here! We had fun giving balloons away to the children and soon felt like the whole village was following us around. More than 15 kids became instant friends, all laughing and playing with balloons. It was such a nice feeling to be in this lovely village with so many happy children. All 15 of them helped us to launch the dinghy again, which caused a bit of confusion and loads of laughter. We learned from one of the fishing men that they have had a very dry season here and have today just received emergency supplies of water via supply ship from Suva. Wow. These people have not been able to grow anything and were desperately short of water, but seemed so full of fun and friendship. Beautiful people.
Have now arrived in Namuka-I-Lau, after a pleasant sail from Fulaga. Yesterday the weather behaved itself and we managed to snorkel near the Fulaga pass. The water is like liquid glass. So clear! Nice corals and fish, but quite a bit of current so we had to be careful not to get sucked out of the pass!! The rest of the Fulaga lagoon has a slightly milky white appearance, similar to the southern lagoon of New Caledonia. This gives an overall impression of turquoise water, which is pretty, but it is not so clear for snorkelling. Today the sea was flat calm and we had 10-12knots easterly breeze as we sailed north, so a perfect gentle beam reach. Beautiful sailing. On the way we sailed through a large pod of Short-finned Pilot whales. It was a family group with adults up to about 5m and babies of about 2m. Following behind this pod of whales there was a pod of dolphins. Apparently bottle nose dolphins often travel together with pods of Pilot Whales. This was a real treat. So nice to see these wonderful creatures. The front that was forecast never showed up. We had cloud this morning that burned off by 8.30am and we have had a mainly sunny day.
Moving off and north today.
Still in Fulaga and the wind is still blowing! It has been very breezy here for the past 3 days, so we have been mainly sitting inside rather than enjoying our surroundings. There are about 50 islands in the Lau group, but only around 15 of these have good anchorages. Fulaga, in the southern Lau, offers more shelter than most anchorages, although the best shelter is found in the northern Lau at the Vanua Balavu group of islands. Most of the islands in the Lau seem to have at least one village. Fulaga has 3 villages. In other parts of the Lau, the villagers go fishing and sell lobsters and other fish to Suva, or they make decorative twine from coconut husks, or they do wood carving, or make tapa, a decorative mat for the wall or table. These villages sell their crafts and their produce to the market in Suva and that is how they earn their money. Some islands offer tourism services for a small fee to yachts, such as land tours or guiding you to a cave or snorkel spot. In Fulaga they have discovered an easy way of making money. They charge each yacht $50 for anchoring in the lagoon! They do not provide any services for yachts, there is no marina or yacht club, there is no water or fuel available, they do not offer snorkelling or diving trips, they do not put on a dance or show or even sing for their money, they just demand it for anchoring. This $50 cash is addition to the $25 bundle of kava that is traditional for sevusevu, the traditional gifting ceremony. We gave them kava, but instead of doing the sevusevu ceremony to welcome us into the village they demanded $50. They said once we gave them the $50, then they would perform the sevusevu ceremony. In other words, they would not welcome us in to the village without the $50. This did not make us feel very welcome at all! If you leave Fulaga to visit another island and come back, they expect you to do sevusevu again, with more kava and another $50! Other villages in Fiji, once you have been welcomed in the first time, you are welcome to come back again in the same season without doing sevusevu again. Fulaga is a pretty place with turquoise water and little mushroom-shaped islets dotted about. It has a sandy bottom, so easy to anchor, but the snorkelling is non existent, unless you like looking at sand. There is a beautiful coral reef around the edge and through the pass, but we need calm weather to venture out of the lagoon to see this coral. Once the weather improves for moving about again, we will visit some of the other islands of the Lau, but it is unlikely we will return here.
Wind has finally dropped in Fuluga
was 30-35 SE yesterday but no swell or surge in the anchorage
Fuluga but did not hear their exact position
We have just arrived in Vulaga (pronounced Fulanga), which is in the southern part of the Lau group of Fiji. We enjoyed our trip hopping down through the multitude of islands in this group and gave away more reading glasses and clothes yesterday in the village of Komo island. We had intended to stop at another couple of islands on the way south, but the wind will be getting stronger from tomorrow night, so we decided to seek the shelter of Vulaga. This area is a ring of islands, all connected by a wide reef. There is one very small pass into the lagoon. Once inside the lagoon the ring of islands offer protection from every wind direction and the water is very calm. We will sit here for a while, not sure how long. There does not seem to be internet connection here, so it could be a quiet time for communications! So far in the Lau group we have been the only boat in the bay at every stop. There are other yachts here, we counted 4 as we came in, and maybe more hiding around the various islands scattered throughout the lagoon. So we look forward to catching up with other yachties here!
Komo Is. Enjoying calm weather
We have arrived safely in Lakeba after a sporty sail south! Started at 5am and expected winds to lighten up but they stayed at 25-30 knots most of the day. At least they were from the right direction, Easterly, so perfect for our 60nm sail south. We enjoyed sailing for a change, it has been so long since we have had a full day of sailing we thought we might have forgotten how! We had some higher gusts of wind and at one point Heather heard an ominous sound.....tinkle tinkle clunk! Something metal had dropped off from somewhere - but where?? Quick action by the skipper identified that the new solar panel had lost two of the four fittings that hold it in place and was now flapping in the wind! Another big gust and it would have been gone!! Luckily Karl got a rope around it in time and secured it before it flew away. We really need to find a competent stainless steel maker when we get back to GH, we are certainly not using those other blokes again!! The anchorage in Lakeba is a nice surprise. No information on the charts, but there is a large v shaped gap in the reef here, very sheltered by the large reef. The water is so clear we can see the anchor on the sandy bottom in 22m of water! Stunning coral garden towards the shore, turtles and other lovely creatures. Worth a visit. Tomorrow we head 30nm further south, to the island of Komo.
on their way south, rather briskly
After a wonderful 11 days in Vanua Balavu, we are getting ready to depart. The wind will be turning more to the east tomorrow, so a good chance for us to sail south. We have been out of the passage and back in, making a track to follow that we know is clear of reefs. Tomorrow we will depart in the dark at 5am and sail down to Lakeba Island, about 60nm south of here. We are leaving early so that we will sail past potential hazards during daylight and arrive in good light to find out way in to the anchorage. For the highlights of our time here in Vanua Balavu, check out the blog.
heading south today so like the forecast backing winds
Beautiful sunny morning and very calm in Susui
A drizzly day here, but we enjoyed attending the local church at Susui. Amazing harmony in the singing here, no musical instruments, just powerful, beautiful voices. The church is a tin shed, 8m x 10m, and has been used by the village as a church since the large concrete structure was blown flat during cyclone Winston last year. 70 people crowded in, including more than 20 children. We were invited to a traditional lunch after church and enjoyed local fish, cabbage and cassava with the family.
At Susui island, Vanua Balavu. Nice sheltered spot here.
Anchored at Susui Island, still in the Vanua Balavu lagoon. Enjoying village visits in this area. We are the only boat in the bay at each spot so far.
Windy night but beautiful sunny morning. Doing our bit with reading glasses and sun glasses for Lomaloma and Sawana villages today. Then on to Namalata tomorrow.
Another sunny day in paradise, Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu
Another beautiful day in Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu
Great day at the village. We had a fairly orderly line of people trying on reading glasses to find the best strength for them. But when the sun glasses went on the table there was no order at all - it was like a swarm of bees around a honey pot! Everybody was very happy! Motored around into the Bay of Islands area this afternoon. Stunning landscape. A bit scary wriggling through all the little knobs of islands but we made it!
enjoying beautiful Vanua Blavu, N Lau group Fiji
Have now arrived in Vanua Balavu, in the northern Lau group of Fiji. This morning we left Matagi at 6.15am, as soon as we had enough light to see. All day we had brilliant sunshine, calm seas and not much wind! We started sailing, but without enough wind our speed dropped to 2.5knots! So it was back to motoring for most of the trip. Sometimes we are not sure why we even bother having a mast on the boat! With the help of our trusty motor, we arrived through the pass into Vanua Balavu with the sun still high, giving us good visibility to get through the reefs. The electronic charts here are out by a long way, so the only way to navigate is by seeing the shallow patches. In fact, out track as we came in, looked like we were going over reefs and some of the anchorages are on land! The main village here is Daliconi, where we are anchored now. We have been to visit the Chief, who is 83 years old and looking good! Tomorrow we have arranged to take reading glasses and sunglasses into the village, to give to those who need them.
We do not seem to have internet here, so it is back to the satellite phone for communication.
on their way to Vanua Balava and will be there this evening.
Still in Matagi Island waiting for the right weather to sail to the Lau Group. Looks like we will be here until early Friday morning. For more about our time in Matagi, check out our blog!
Correct position now shown. Back in wi-fi land here!
Moved to Matagi island today. A horseshoe Bay, tranquil and protected. Will sit here while strong winds pass us by in the next few days and then hop to the Lau group. We loved our time in Albert Cove, swimming with an eagle ray and a huge variety of soft and hard corals. This anchorage is equally beautiful. Lush green hills, white sand beaches. Our snorkelling here revealed more beautiful fish, a resident 2m white tip shark and a ponderous turtle. On shore we have a little black goat and hillsides full of birds. For the last two mornings in Albert Cove we awoke to a resounding morning chorus of birds in the bush. A wonderful way to welcome the new day.
Now in Albert Cove on the island of Rabi. Spent last night at Buca Bay sheltering from strong SE winds. This morning we had blue sky and flat calm so we motored up the western side of Kioa island with only 2 knots of breeze and glassy seas. As soon as we were in the gap between the islands, a brisk breeze sprung up and we had a fast sail. We thought the wind might die again once we got in the lee of Rabi island, but it got steadily stronger as the day went on. As we approached Albert Cove we had 25-30 knots with higher gusts! There was another yacht in the bay, Meerbaer, and these kind people jumped in their dinghy and guided us in through the reefs to get inside the cove. It is heavenly here. Totally protected, calm, good snorkeling and a white sandy beach. Life is good.
Enjoying life in Viani Bay. Eight yachts here, well 3 real yachts and 5 catamarans. Went diving with a few others on Friday. Beach gathering last night with shared food and music session. Locals and yachties with guitars and ukuleles helped to entertain us along with beautiful Fijian singing. Will hang out here for a while and do some more diving in the area.
Now in Viani Bay, in the sunshine. Blue sky and peaceful here, but still blowing like snot outside! As soon as we entered the pass and go to inside the reef it was like a different world. Flat calm and almost no wind.
Finally departed Savusavu after enjoying a week of "town time". Had a boisterous ride today in 2-3m swells and 22-26knots of SE breeze. Now in Fawn Harbour where we sit in tranquility and rain! For more about our visit to Savusavu, have a look at our blog.
After a busy week in Savusavu we are heading out today, towards Viani Bay and hopefully some diving in the next few days. We have filled up with diesel again, this time by taking 4 loads of 3 jerry cans by dinghy to the shore and a short walk to the service station to fill them up. Solar panel appears to be working again. For now! Heather managed to get a haircut yesterday so the haystack is now under control again. Have enjoyed the company of our new friends on Sequoia and Roundabout ll. we all had a nice dinner out last night.
Watched the All Blacks vs Lions rugby last night at the Savusavu yacht club, along with a groups of Kiwi yachties and a band of Brits. The Brits were young guys in their last year of medical school, doing 2 months work experience in Fiji. The lads were gracious about the win to the Lions and we all had a good night. Today we headed out of the Harbour, for a swim and snorkel at Kasunavunavu Point. Great to be back in the water. 27 degrees! Will be back in Savusavu tonight and hopefully get our solar power issues sorted on Monday.
Enjoying life in Savusavu. Some people ask what we do all day, well the days just seem to go! Trips to the supermarket, the butcher, the laundry, the post office, , the ATM, the electronics shop, the marine shop, the ATM, the cafe, the ATM...back to the laundry, the produce market and socialising with other boaties in the bay. Yesterday we walked to the rugby field in the next village to watch the events for National Sport and Wellness Day. They rugby field had been shortened to allow Volley ball games at one end and netball games at the other while touch rugby played on in the middle. Various Government departments had teams. Police, Fire, Water, Bioscurity, Health, Agronomy research and the Ministry for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation! We did our "wellness" activity by walking the half hour each way to the ground. Various little maintenance jobs kept us busy in the afternoon and before we knew it, it was Gin O'Clock again!
Arrived safely into Savusavu at 9am after a pleasant and fast trip from Tonga. Clearance through customs was quick and painless. Have just got back from town with a new SIM card, so we have internet again, plus bag loads of fresh fruit and veges from the market. What a wonderful market, and all about half the price of Tonga. We will be feasting on pineapple, papaya, bananas and long green beans today! Great to be back in this friendly place and the water is 27.5 degrees, much better than Tonga where it has dropped to 25.8 and cooling fast as winter kicks in. Brrr! Bula Bula!
10nm to Savusavu
Perfect conditions today, seas slight, sunny day, good sailing breeze. A pretty day looking at several islands of the Lau group as we sailed by. Looking forward to coming back here to explore once we have checked in to Savusavu, stocked up on supplies again and run a few errands! Many sea birds circling around, a lot more than in Tonga. 95NM to go to Savusavu. Happy day in NZ today, we imagine many parties going on as NZ celebrates winning the Americas Cup yacht race in Bermuda. Congratulations Team New Zealand, you are the best!!! (So glad we don't have to get the cork back in the champagne bottle this year)
Very light winds during the night, but picked up at 5am. Now sailing in a good steady breeze. Have just entered Lakeba passage into the Lau group and have the first little islands in sight. All well on board. 170NM to go to Savusavu
Enjoyed a starry night last night and a sunny day today. Very light winds, so motoring. Pleasant conditions despite the long slow 2-3m swell from SW. Made good progress, now too close to Oneata passage and would arrive during the night. Have changed course to further north, Lakeba passage and will go through this part of the Lau Group during daylight hours en route to Savusavu.
going a little north of line to get better speed and get through the Lau islands
Nice sailing breeze, all well on board.
Now at Haafeva Island, Tonga, ready to set sail in the morning for Savusavu, Fiji, which will take us 4 days and 4 nights of sailing. Looking forward to being in Fiji again. For highlights of our trip so far, please check out our blog.
Now at Tatafa island. Good shelter from NE 30 knots outside and we were lucky to see a whale go sauntering by in the Bay! Caught up with a few of our fellow boaties today. Everyone is thinking of the people on sv Jungle who set off their emergency locator beacon early this morning, just south of the Lau group. We are all eager to hear updates about them. Vessel Vilomee has been tasked with heading for the location of this vessel to see what they can do to help. Best wishes to Vilomee and to the crew of Jungle. Our thoughts are with you.
Stayed at Holopeka Tuesday night, closest Anchorage to the airport. Just as well we were close by...Lene got a text about 5pm to say the morning flight back to Nuku'alofa had been brought forward by 2 1/2 hours!! We had to go ashore in semi dark at 6.30am to walk to the airport! Waved goodbye to Bjorn and Lene and then started our chores to get ready for departure to Fiji. Scrubbed the bottom of the hull yesterday. Washing day today. Hope to depart for Savusavu on Sunday.
at pangai waiting for wx to Savusavu
Back at Uoleva island. International feeling here with yachts from Norway, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and of course our own Dutch flag flying! We had 35 knots plus form E on way down here, but now only 20 knots in the anchorage.
Have spent the last couple of days at Foa island. Great snorkelling on the reef nearby. A bit windy though, 30 knots from the east now, so will move today to a spot more sheltered from the east. Had a nice walk through the village yesterday with Bjorn and Lene.
We had a lovely visit to Ha'ano village yesterday. Met the principal of the school and her husband, plus a volunteer teacher from USA. They gave us bananas and paw paw, then came out to visit us on the boat with their 6 year old son and 9 month old daughter - bringing coconuts for us! We gave them some school supplies and fishing lures, plus milk powder. Today we went for a dive along the reef. Wonderful! So much colour, so many fish. Have now moved down to Pangai again so we can go back to the market in th morning. Bjorn and Lene have decided that this is heaven!
Now at Haano Island. This is the northern island of the Ha'apai group. It has been a cloudy day with a few showers, but improving now. Relaxing day.
Enjoying the snorkelling, the sun, the sand and the warm water at Uoleva Island. The fishing has been ok too, with fresh tuna for dinner the last two nights and a meal of jobfish tonight. Yum! Bjorn and Lene are happy to see the Danish flag flying in the rigging :-)
Collected good friends Bjorn and Lene on Friday morning. Lovely to have them here. Celebrated our wedding anniversaries together. 54 years for them and 2 years for us! After going to the market in Pangai on Saturday morning for fresh supplies we headed over to Haafeva Is for a wonderful snorkel around Koro Island. Attended to Tongan church service this morning - wonderful powerful singing! Now at Oua Island waiting for SW winds to die down and turn back to SE.
Anchored near the village of Holopeka, beside the island of Lifuka. This is near the airport, ready to meet our VIP visitors tomorrow morning.
Had a wonderful sail today from Nomuka Ika. 20 knots SE, calm seas. The SW swell has gone. Caught a Tuna for dinner. Yum! Some socialising with other boaties at Uoleva yacht club. At Uoleva island for the night. Pangai tomorrow.
Left Pangaimotu island this morning at 7.15am. Had a fabulous sail north, with a 10-15 knot SE pushing us along at 6-7 knots. Got to Kelefesia at 2.30pm but a swell from the west was coming in, so the anchorage was very wavery! Carried on to Nomuka Ika. Dolphins came to play with us along the way. Had to anchor on the east side, even though we have SE winds, because of the swell from the west. Quiet here. Managed to get here in daylight, about 5.30pm and in the dry. Cloudy day but the rain didn't start until almost 8pm. No signal for wi-fi here so back on the satellite communication.
motoring out of Tongatapu under the trough.
After a few days of catching up on chores and catching our breath, we are heading north this morning, to start our journey in the Ha'apai group of Tonga
anchored at pangiomotu and had dinner last night. a dozen boats there. nice day
Arrived at Nuku'alofa harbour at 8.30am NZ time, 9.30am Tongan time. Great to be here! Beautiful, calm sunny day. Customs clearance, immigration, health, quarantine all completed within 2 hours. Now we just have to wait until after lunch before we can get our permit to cruise in the Ha'apai group. Meanwhile arranging diesel to be delivered. We used plenty on this trip! Looking forward to getting to the markets for some fresh fruit and veges. Will head over to Big Mamas for a meal tonight, yum!
at the pass to Tongatapu on a glorious morning
All well on board. After light and shifty winds all night we finally got a stable breeze about 8am and started sailing. A beautiful sailing day in calm water. Have made good progress today, in fact now we have reduced sail and slowed right down to avoid arriving in Tonga while it is still dark. We plan to enter the pass into Tongatapu just on daylight. Tonga time is 1 hour ahead of NZ time!
Calm seas, starry night, sunny morning, all well on board. Very light winds, so motor sailing.
Left North Minerva pass at 7.30am, as soon as we cleared the pass we noticed the wind had changed from SE to NE. Wind on the nose again!! Only light wind this time though and very flat sea. We must have a wind magnet attached to our bow...
Motored all day, wind slowly crept further E so now motor sailing.
Just raised anchor at N Minerva and eta Tongatapu Friday am
Enjoying North Minerva, will depart tomorrow for Tongatapu, which is only a two day passage, so we should arrive in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, Friday morning. For more info on what we have been up to in Minerva, please check out our blog.
resting in n Minerva and likely leaving tomorrow with light SE winds predicted.
anchored in N Minerva
Have motored all night in 18-20knot head winds. Sea is now fairly calm. We are now only 5 miles from South Minerva. Have slowed down to wait for better daylight to enter through the pass. We have arrived!! The water is 25 degrees C, so the first thing we will be doing once we drop the anchor is having a swim! Good to be here. The trip was uneventful, more headwinds than we anticipated but no dramas. We will visit South Minerva first and then probably go to North Minerva for a time as well. On our previous trip in this direction we only went to North Minerva. Will stay a few days here before resuming our passage to Tonga - it is only another 2 days from here to Tongatapu.
After a rainy and blowy night it was nice to see blue sky and sunshine from around 10am today. Motoring most of the day, heading straight for Minerva into headwinds. The sea has calmed down enough for us to head into it, so we have made some progress today rather than tacking back and forth. ETA Minerva tomorrow morning - yay!
not enjoying the conditions but only one more day of misery.
Strong head winds and swells slowing down our speed today. Have just made a tack to the east. We would have arrived in Minerva on Saturday but slow progress means our ETA is now Sunday. The bonus is, it is warm here! For the last two days we have been in shorts and t-shirts and really feel we have left winter behind.
looking forward to the conditions easing
Better sailing today as we are north of the Kermadecs and away from the current. Good winds and a nice sail apart from a couple of little squalls and a bowl of soup flying through the cabin spreading tomato soup down cupboards, across the floor and over the bed and pillow! Clean up job kept us busy for a while. Apart from that, plan sailing!
Good sailing breeze yesterday but 1 knot of current against us and lumpy sea, so a bit slow on progress. All well on board. Sea has flattened out now, so getting better speed/
Good sailing overnight but 1 knot of current against us, so a bit slow on progress. All well on board
Back to motoring for a while this afternoon as we passed through a soft patch. Wind coming up again now, but NE so will need to sail NW for a while.
The wind came up a bit just after midnight, having a lovely sail now.
Had some great sailing the first day but motoring today. Both have our sea legs now so feeling good. Starry night and calm seas.
on passage to Minerva. This via relay from Navire as too close for GHRadio.
Departing Bay of Islands, NZ now, heading for Minerva reef and then on to Tonga. Calm sunny day!
Preparing to depart tomorrow morning, heading to Minerva reef.
It looks like we might be waiting in NZ for a bit longer. Some nasty weather possible en route next week. We will post updates when we know more about our departure date.
Celebrated Karl's birthday and Mothers Day with lunch in Paihia on Sunday, then stayed at Urupukapuka Island and had a walk through the bush on Monday. Yesterday we visited the pretty town of Russell, filled up the lpg bottle, got some groceries and did the last of our laundry. We also visited Rodney and Adele, the previous owners of Aradonna. So nice to see them again! Now back in Opua Marina, preparing for departure to Tonga. Maybe we will set sail on Friday 19th May...
Enjoyed a sunny day today. Waved to our friends on Distracted as they set sail for New Caledonia, Bon Voyage! Went to Russell, laundromat time! Walked to Long Beach on the other side while the wash was drying, stunning view. The wind came up so after grabbing a few groceries we scurried across the bay to anchor in Te Ti Bay, in front of Paihia. Another walk and lunch in Paihia, sitting in the sun watching parasailing in the bay. Staying in Te Ti for the night, peaceful here and another night of free parking while we wait for the weather to come right for sailing to Tonga. Maybe the 18th May looks good for departure, but watch this space!
We had a lovely day fishing yesterday, then visited Russell to stock up on fresh supplies and treated ourselves to ice creams! It looks like we will be waiting here until at least the 18th May now. Cyclone Donna in New Caledonia is heading this way. Cyclone Ella is heading to Fiji and a depression is coming from the Tasman sea towards NZ over the next few days. Yuck! Meanwhile we will enjoy our holiday in the Bay of Islands.
Had a wonderful day in the sunny Bay of Islands. Started cleaning the bottom of the boat and then got distracted by the kelp and the rocks....came up with a crayfish for lunch! Will finish cleaning the hull tomorrow! Anchored in Otaio Bay, on Urupukapuka Island for th night. Very calm. Life is good!
Happy to be out of the Marina again for a few days. In Opunga Cove, very peaceful here!
Cyclone Donna has formed and is tracking from New Caledonia to Vanuatu and who knows where after that. So we will not go anywhere this week. We will enjoy the Bay of Islands for the next week and wait until Donna is out of the way. A beautiful blue sky, sunny and calm here in Opua. All is well.
A beautiful calm sea and blue sky this morning, motored all the way from Mimiwhangata to Opua. Arrived about 1pm and have been busy catching up with other yachtie friends who will be heading up to Tonga this month. Clouds rolling in now a bit, but still sunny. Rain and cold wind is forecast tonight but we are happy and snug in our floating home.
Motored for 10 hours up the coast today. No wind! But beautiful day. Anchored in Mimiwhangata Bay. Will leave early tomorrow bound for Opua! Plans have changed again as you can see. Happy days.
Left Gulf Harbour late morning. Finally on our way! Enjoying the sunshine at Kawau Island. Will head further north tomorrow. Watching the weather and waiting for better conditions. Maybe a few days before we sail to Minerva reef. At least it feels like we have begun our holiday now that we have left the dock!
A systems check using the YIT app
Getting ready to sail away. This update is to check that our communication systems are all working and the crew know what to do!
A beautiful calm and sunny day in Vivian Bay at Kawau.
Enjoying the sunshine and the scallops in the Coromandel islands
After a few lovely days in Tauranga we are now at Slipper Island on our way north again. A very pretty spot!
Sitting in Nagle Cove, Great Barrier Island. Watching dolphins play in the bay. Just beautiful!
We are now in Holland. Best wishes to all the yachties heading back to NZ. We wish you friendly winds, kind seas and plenty of fish! Look forward to catching up on your adventures during the NZ summer.
We are really missing the sailing now. Hundreds of beautiful islands and coves long the coast of Croatia. So lovely! Wish we were in Aradonna! Still enjoying the swimming and the view. The water is warm, the sky is blue and life is good!
After a month on the Mediterranean side of Italy, we have now crossed over to the east coast to swim in the Adriatic Sea. While in the Med we did a dive in the sunken city of Baia, an archeological marine park. A little different to diving in the pacific, floating about along ancient roads with statues of Ulysses and Claudio and Octavia looking on!
Have enjoyed exploring the Côte d'Azur. Some amazing and beautiful places here, but we can't help staring longingly out to sea. There was a sailing regatta in Antibes yesterday and as we watched we thought about all you lovely cruisers out there enjoying life on the water. Hi to all!
At Greenwich Marina in Spain, traveling in a camper van this time! Wishing Fusio, Remedy and all the fleet great sailing and plenty of fish on passage to Minerva.
Happy to be safely back in NZ before the bad weather hits. Reflecting on our passage, we are very glad we listened to the weather advice from Gulf Harbour Radio. Some other yachties have been through some terrible weather on the way here but we had a very easy trip, thanks to Patricia and David. For more info about that, please read the blog.
The newlyweds have arrived safely back in NZ! Last night was a beautiful starry night, moonlight from 2am, with calm waters. We watched the sunrise together as we came past Ninepin rock. Now 5 miles from Opua marina. Will stay here in the "winterless north" for a while and wait for summer to arrive.
Have been motoring in glassy seas all day. Wind 2 knots gusting 4! Lots of sailing jellyfish gliding by. Blue sky, sunshine, warm - just gorgeous! Made good time today, only 65 miles to the Ninepin. Should be in Opua early tomorrow morning.
Enjoying a cup of coffee on deck. Sunny skies and the sea is completely flat. Beautiful morning. Motoring now, 146 miles to Opua.
Quiet day at sea, managed to sail most of the day but motoring again now in light winds. Should be in Opua Tuesday afternoon. Very happy with the AB's result, we heard some of it on the radio but reception was not good. Well done team!
Happy Birthday Doug and congrats on becoming a Grandpa! (This makes Heather a Great-Aunt now!) We turned the corner last night, heading towards Opua. Looks like we will be doing a lot of motoring for the next two days in light winds.
Sunny day with calm seas, nice sailing for most of the day but the winds a bit shifty. Very light for a time, followed by a good sailing breeze for a time and then very light again. Keeps us busy with the sails! Heading East for a time now until we pick up the E and NE winds that will point us towards Opua.
A few squalls overnight kept the crew busy but in general the sea has flattened out to less than 1m swell now so much more comfortable. Winds getting lighter and the sun is shining. Getting colder at night now!
Sun came out again by lunch time, still a bit lumpy but making good progress.
Some boisterous sailing yesterday. 25-30 knot winds with higher gusts in a few squalls overnight. Lumpy sea. All well on board.
Motored in light NW winds last night, picked up SW winds and started sailing at 6am. Happy to have full moon lighting our way. Clear skies now after a short shower at 4am.
All well on board, motoring in calm seas, sunny and warm all day, but clouds gathering ahead now. Will start heading SE before dark, ahead of the SW winds expected.
Brilliant first day. Dolphins waved us off as we left, blue sky and steady sailing breeze of 15-20 knots all day, on a beam reach with slight seas. Caught a Mahimahi just in time to have fish for dinner. Beautiful full moon all night.
Departing New Caledonia today, bound for Opua
Ready to depart for New Zealand after a stunning day here in Isle of Pines
Having a ball here and enjoying calm warm conditions while we wait for better passage weather.
At Ilot Brosse, just south of Isle of Pines. Feasting on freshly caught Spanish Mackerel!
Still in Kuto, Isle of Pines. Weather this morning was different to forecast, conditions no longer ideal for this trip. We will wait for more favourable weather. Watch this space!
Ready to depart New Caledonia. Will leave tomorrow morning, bound for Opua. ETA Opua 28th October but this is subject to change depending on the weather. Updates will be sent while underway but do not worry if you do not see an update for a day or two!
Hooray to the All Blacks! Wonderful to watch the AB's game this morning, in bed, while the wild weather howled outside. We are waiting for a good weather window to depart for NZ, looks like Tuesday or Wednesday next week might be OK but watch this space.
Exploring I'le de Pins (Island of Pines) by land and sea. Spectacular white sand beaches - the prettiest spot we have been in since arriving in New Caledonia. More about our travels in the blog.
Relaxing in Baie Ue after snorkelling the coral reef on the side of this protected bay. Glad we had our wetsuits on though as the water is only 23 degrees!
It is still blowing hard here but hopefully the weather allows us to get to Isle de Pins on Monday.
Enjoying a sunny day in Baie de Citron, a beautiful beach that is close to town.
Currently sheltering from 40knot winds in Baie de Saint Vincent. This is a remarkably uninteresting area apart from having plenty of anchorages. More in the blog.
Happy Birthday Mum! Have a wonderful day, we are thinking of you xx
Back in the marina at Port Moselle, Noumea after a wonderful week exploring the southern lagoon with our friends Graeme and Sue.
For the last 3 days we have been in the city of Noumea, we have re-stocked our supplies, had fun with our friends on Distracted and enjoyed the social life on the marina meeting old friends and making new ones! We have enjoyed stunning blue skies, though there is a little cloud today it is still sunny and warm. Back in Baie de Prony for the next few days. Looking forward to meeting up with Malakite tomorrow and the arrival of our VIP guests, Graeme and Sue.
We had a very easy two day passage to New Caledonia and have been enjoying the spectacular southern lagoon area over the last two days. Sunny skies, flat seas, gentle sailing breeze, pretty bays. This is a real boatie playground with so many little nooks to explore, a multitude of protected anchorages and an enticing number of coral reefs. It feels like heaven!
100m of motoring last night and about to go into Havannah Pass.
on passage to new cal. Lumpy for first 12hrs but OK after
motoring away from port Vila heading to new Cal
will they leave today? Stay tuned!
Ready to depart for New Caledonia, just waiting for the right weather now. Looks like we will set sail on Wednesday 16th September at this stage. More about our week in the blog.
Arrived back into Vanuatu on Saturday, now getting ready to sail to New Caledonia. For some insights into our travels, check out the blog.
Watched the Independence Day parade this morning and the parachute jumpers. Celebrations go on all day. Meanwhile we are gearing up for a few changes as we head to Europe. More about our Europe trip is in the blog.
Back in Port Vila. Managed to sneak around Devils Point at slack tide this morning so not too bumpy this time. A wrap up of our Vanuatu visit is in the blog.
A calm evening, just around the corner from Port Vila now. We had an actioned-packed day today - more in the blog.
Now at Nguna (Noona) Island after a day of sailing close to the wind to head south from Epi. Highlight of the trip was catching an 80cm Yellow Fin Tuna on the way. More in the blog.
We waved a fond farewell to the Maskelynes this morning and motored SE into a sporty headwind for 4 hours. Now in Revolieu Bay on Epi Island. Sheltered and pretty here with an interesting reef to explore tomorrow.
Now at Uliveo Island in the Maskelynes, home to 1000 people and loads of clams!
Back in the Maskelyne islands, our favourite part of Vanuatu. Three other boats with us in Awei Island, having fun!
Yesterday we sailed, motored, sailed, motored, sailed and eventually got to Ambym Island in light winds. Stayed the night at Ranon, under the glow of the active volcano, Mt Marum.
Arrived in Loltong Bay this morning, in the northern part of Pentecost Island. We have had a day full of surprises and have been very lucky to witness a once a year event - more in the blog.
Our second night at Asanvari Bay, Maewo Island. A very pretty spot with a waterfall roaring down the mountain in the corner of the bay.
Moved out of the Lolowai lagoon at high tide yesterday afternoon and spent the night in Vanihe Bay. We will explore this bay this morning before sailing to Asanvari Bay on Maewo Island. We had a bit of entertainment yesterday - check out the blog.
Now in Ambae Island, or Aoba Island, depending on which chart you look at! Tucked inside a very protected lagoon called Lolowai. Had a bit of trouble getting inside the lagoon yesterday, read the blog for more...
Yesterday we moved to Lonnoc Bay, Hog Harbour, along with friends from yacht Mawari.
After 6 nights at anchor in the peaceful lagoon behind Oyster Island, we ventured out into the sunshine today for a dive at Aese Island. The last two days have been full of adventure and WOW! moments, especially the Millenium Cave tour, which was more amazing than we ever imagined. More in the blog.
a great place to be in this wx. Oyster is
Enjoying the lagoon behind Oyster Island with 5 other yachts. Trigger, Mawari, Elan, Frieda and a boat with no name but a Welsh couple on board - all very friendly cruising couples sharing information about anchorages, adventures and recommended activities. A good bunch of people! See the blog for more details.
Safely tucked into the lagoon behind Oyster Island. Warm day and pleasant evening, rain is forecast for tomorrow, but wait and see. Previous forecasts of rain have only resulted in a few dry showers!
We are now in Surundu Bay, on Santo Island. A wonderfully sheltered spot, you would never believe it is blowing a gale outside! We have had a busy couple of days since arriving in Santo, to see more, have a look at the blog!
Arrived in Port Stanley, Malekula Island today and will continue our journey north to Santo early in the morning. Highlight of the trip north so far was an amazing day yesterday in the Maskelyne Islands. We were blown away by the generosity of the local people who invited us to share their world for the day. See the blog for details.
Enjoying the tranquility of Vanbuai Bay, Sanko Island in the Maskelyne group. Will stop here for the day and have a dive in the crystal clear water before heading further north tomorrow. In the last few days we have visited Moso Island and Emae Island, distributing clothes, seeds and fishing gear. We even caught a decent fish ourselves for a change! More in the blog.
Safely tucked up in Havannah Harbour waiting for the big blow to pass before we head up to Santo. This is a very picturesque and sheltered harbour with great snorkeling - and the sun is shining - so we are enjoying our time here. Many thanks to all of you who have sent best wishes to us for our wedding. We have had so many nice emails from friends and family as well as the replies posted on the YIT site. Thank you all so much for helping us to celebrate our special event!
In Havannah Hbr waiting until front goes through
In Matapu Bay, Havannah Harbour with absolutely no wind at all. The water is like glass. Overcast and very still as we wait for the front that is due tomorrow. As soon as the front is gone, we will head north, towards Santo Island, about 140 miles up the island chain. Our friends Pieter and Sarah flew back to NZ on Friday, for more about our adventures together, check out the blog.
Enjoying diving and relaxing at Moso Island. Beautiful reef and sheltered from the 30 knot SE winds. Sunny skies and all is well :-)
Happy Days in Vanuatu! All went well for our Wedding on 9th June! For more details, check out the blog!
Back in Port Vila ready to collect our friends Pieter and Sarah who are arriving today and will stay with us for the next two weeks. After a month of mainly sunshine, today is a bit of a grey day, some drizzle and 5 knot NW winds, but still nice and warm at 26 degrees.
After spending the last 3 weeks delivering seeds and fishing gear and educational materials to as many places as possible - we are now taking time to relax and enjoy! There are now 47 villages spread over 11 islands who will be busy planting crops! It is nice to have a slower pace now. Reflections are in the blog...but before we forget - Happy Birthday Jeannette!!
Have been unplugged from communications for the last few days - just soaking up the wonderful world around us! Now in Lelepa Island - for more about our travels, the people and the creatures we have met, check out the blog!
We have found paradise in the Maskelyne Islands. Tranquil bay, clear water, coral reef, colourful fish. Tropical rain forest, sweet bird song, sandy beach. A fantastic place to be.
Had a brisk sail today over to the island of Pentecost. Up to 30 knots in the straits between islands and almost becalmed behind the shadow of Ambrym island, so quite a variety! More info about our impressions - in the blog
The weather behaved well today with 20 knots SE, nice sailing! We took heed of David's comments about the Maskelyne islands and decided 20 knots and poor visibility with passing showers were not ideal conditions. Instead we carried on to Malekula and now safely tucked into tranquil Banam Bay. Tomorrow we head to Pentecost island, aiming to see the land diving!
We left the peaceful Havannah Harbour this morning, with 9 knots of wind and calm seas. Once we cleared the wind shadow of Nguna Island however, we were faced with 30-35knots and 3m swells, beam on, for the next 4 1/2 hours! Winds were much stronger than forecast and from ENE. Swell was uncomfortable, but we made it safely to Emae Island. More in the blog...
Today we had a lumpy ride around Devil's Point in winds of 30-35 knots, gusting into the early 40's. Waves were 3-4m so it was a roller coaster ride for about an hour and a half until we got around the corner. Now in the very protected Havannah Harbour. Tomorrow we are off to Emae Island...for more about our next mission, read the blog!
Our first rainy day in three weeks, but only a little rain and still nice and warm! A short blog today before we depart tomorrow for islands further north.
30m from Port Vila which has a heavy cloud cover
leaving Dillons Bay late tonght for Efate/Port Vila
Enjoying a quiet bay tonight, a nice change from some of the rolly anchorages we have had recently. Dillons Bay is picturesque and the people are friendly. A great spot! For more about this area, see the blog.
Now in Lonanloma Bay, Tanna Island. Tomorrow we will head for Dillon's Bay, Erromango Island. For more about our adventures of the last coujple of days, check out the blog.
Have been exploring the surrounds of Port Resolution over the last couple of days, including a visit to Mt Yasur volcano last night. Tomorrow we will travel inland, across to the southern coast towards Green Point. For more about our travels check out the blog.
Now in Port Resolution, at the island of Tanna. Anchored near Neville and Glenys on "ALBA" and Thomas and Annette on "Anke-Sophie". A bit of a blustery day here. Will go exploring on shore later and plan to check out the volcano this evening with our fellow yachties.
wind turned to south so they left Futuna early and are on the way to Tanna, Resolution Bay
Enjoying the rather unusual island of Futuna. Crystal clear water with visibility of 30m plus. Sheer cliffs rise up from the bay, first to a plateau at between 300 and 400m, where the village is. Then the mountain rises up to over 650m high to another plateau at the top. The climb to the village was enough for us! More about our last couple of days in the blog.
Now in Anawamet Bay, locally known as Port Patrick. Cyclone Pam did some damage here, with waves smashing 500m inland, swamping houses and school buildings. If anyone is coming to Vanuatu, the Port Patrick school needs an inverter please. The solar panels work and the battery bank is fine, but the inverter got wiped out by Pam. For more details check out the blog.
Enjoyed 11 hours sleep in our real bed last night, so nice to sleep without being woken up for a watch! For more about our impressions of Anelghowhat village and Mystery Island, check out the blog.
Had a lovely moonlit night for our last night of sailing, with a steady sailing breeze. We stopped about 11.30pm last night, about 20 NMiles from land and let ourselves drift with a tiny sail towards Aneityum at about 2 knots. We watched the sunrise together, it was a special moment, seeing land for the first time in 9 days and seeing the sun rise. Once we had good daylight we motored the final 5 NMiles into Anelghowhat Bay. A lovely protected anchorage. We have arrived!
12nm from Aneityum and waiting for light
Happy Mothers Day Mum! and to all the Mum's out there! We have a beautiful day here, sunny skies, calm seas and a nice SE sailing breeze. Have a great day!
Motored through the night in light variable winds, finally picked up the southerly winds (on the western side of the low) at 7am, so now have sailing winds again to take us to Aneityum. Glad we tracked west of the low, otherwise we would have been beating into northerlies all the way. Wind from behind makes hand steering a little more "hands on", but we are doing well. Having the preventer on helps! On track for arrival into Aneityum early Monday morning :-)
eta Monday in Aneityum
Very calm conditions today meant a chance to fix some things that have broken down along the way. The traveller for the jib sheet block and the salt water pump are now up and running again. Alas we lost the autopilot last night, either the pump or the motor has given up and cannot dismantle it to investigate or we will lose hydraulic steering altogether. Will wait until we are in a bay. Back to hand steering for the next few days at least - but we had our apprenticeship in that last year so we are getting good at it by now! About 300 NMile to Aneityum now, so should arrive early Monday morning.
much more comfortable now
Enjoying the ride now and over the half way mark, yippee. Happy Birthday Martin (I meant to include that greeting yesterday - we thought of you!)
All well on board, shorts and t-shirts now instead of jeans and jumpers. New solar panels keeping up with power needs during the day. GPS on the blink but happily we have Ivan (the iPad). See the blog for why we left NZ 24 hours after we cleared customs.
eta Monday in Aneityum
Lumpy sea but sun is shining and it is getting warmer! Both getting our sea legs now after a couple of days of feeling lethargic.
heading 335 deg M at 5 knots with reefed down sails.
radio very poor and this via relay so no course but heading to Aneityum
Departure day! The sun is shining, all is ready and we are looking forward to our next adventure. Vanuatu here we come! Leaving Opua now and will update our position again in a couple of days.
After a couple of windy days as we moved up the coast, we are now sitting in the Bay of Islands for the next couple of days. Getting a sail repaired before we go. Now scheduled for Saturday departure!
Weather is not so good for the trip right now! Waiting for updated forecasts for moving later in the week.
Ready to depart Gulf Harbour, will head for Marsden Cove in the morning and plan on clearing customs there to depart NZ on Wednesday. Vanuatu bound!
Four weeks until we start watching the weather for departure to Vanuatu.
Just about got everything ticked off the "to do" list, will check everything is working over the next week. Time to get familiar with writing blogs again!
After getting towed in for the last 10 miles on 1st Nov we are now having a few days on land. Have now fixed my error on the last position, must have been the excitement of seeing Coastguard - got the previous coordinates all wrong. This is now the last update for the season!
Near Tiritiri Island and the wind pretty much died. We were limping towards Auckland harbour when Coastguard came out to get us. Currently being towed in by Coastguard. Maritime NZ had alerted them about us having no engine and have been kind enough to coordinate Coastguard and Customs for us. Wonderful people! Aradonna will soon become our floating city apartment and the repairs will begin. We are home!
Sea has calmed down again so the roller coaster ride is over - yay! Had to travel more East than ideal to run with heavy weather, now heading more West again, heading straight for Auckland. We have sunny skies, 15 knots WSW, 1021 Baro, slight seas and only a 0.5m swell now. Doing 5 knots and have 120 N miles to go to Auckland. ETA is now Saturday. Cannot hear Gulf Harbour Radio anymore because we are too close.
For a week we have been wishing for a bit more wind. Well, our wish came true! Blowing like snot (as Patricia would say) yesterday afternoon and overnight, now calmed down to around 25-30 knots SW. Barometer jumped back up from 1011 last night to 1016 now. Today we have sunny skies again. Had a bit of rain last night to wash the salt off the boat. All good. Have now decided to sail directly to Auckland rather than Opua - once we stop we might be waiting for some time to get repairs sorted on engine. 234 Nmiles to go to Auckland. Going 4 knots in lumpy sea.
Wind now from NW, pushing us along at 5 knots. Heading 170M. Blue sky above us but a big bank of cloud ahead. Had a visit from NZ Airforce Orion yesterday. They did a low slow fly-by right beside us and then circled and called us up on the radio to ask our details. All well on board, glad to have slightly stronger winds now and to be making better speeds.
Got becalmed again yesterday evening for a few hours, better wind again now from WSW. Doing 6.5 knots at the moment, heading 160M. Another sunny day. The beautiful weather helps to make up for having to stare at a wobbly ships compass for 4 hours at a time when on watch. Calm seas last night and today, so both got a turn at getting a good sleep.
Slow progress yesterday in light winds but good breeze today, doing 6 knots at the moment. Blue blue skies, not a cloud to be seen, another awesome starry night last night. We are over half way now - yay!
Thanks to advice from several people, we have done our best to preserve motor from corrosion damage. Cannot get it started so no house batteries and no freezer. Eating like mad to chew through meals that are slowly starting to defrost. Finally have a use for all the spare torch batteries we have lugged with us for the last 6 months. Very glad we have manual pump toilets - electric flush would be hopeless right now! Both well, enjoying sailing with sunny skies and starry nights. Good progress yesterday but becalmed right now, so we are sitting in the sunshine with a cup of coffee and waiting for wind!
Engine has not started for a couple of days. Found reason today - salt water in the motor! Need to get urgent advice from engineer to prevent further damage to motor - Dad, have sent you an email to explain. Apart from that having a lovely sail in calm seas. Solar panel keeping power to essential items. Now headed for Opua as it is the closest port. May take a little longer to get to NZ as we were becalmed all day yesterday and have light winds ahead. All well on board.
all is well. have had shws
all well on board
perfect weather yesterday, bit lumpy today but all ok. auto pilot on strike, so keeping busy with hand steering.
hard to hear this morning but all well
We have cleared Fiji Customs and about to depart for NZ. Heading for Marsden Cove with light winds, so it may take 10 or 11 days!
Enjoying Beqa. The weather now looks favourable for a departure on Monday. Will do some more preparation work today and head to Suva on Sunday to clear Customs on Monday.
Had a lovely sail yesterday to Beqa Island. Will stay here and wait for better weather for passage to NZ. With some nasty rain and head winds in the forecast it looks like we might be here another week or so!
Sitting in Suva, wishing we were anywhere else but here! It looks like we will be waiting another week or so for good weather for our return to NZ. More in the blog.
Now in Suva, getting ready to head back to NZ. For more info on our travels, check out the blog.
Still at Ono Island, a beautiful sunny morning with no wind, showers in the forecast so it could be a good rain catching day. The last few days have been rich with village experiences, read more in the blog.
Still at Ono Island, enjoying village life while we wait for better sailing weather. Our recent village adventures are covered in the blog.
Now at Ono Island in the Great Astrolabe Reef. Grey skies for the last couple of days, with a few showers, but that hasn't stopped us sailing, fishing and snorkeling. See the blog for more info.
Now is Gasele Bay, Kadavu. The very friendly locals have invited us to join them in a "lovo" today (similar to a hangi) to help celebrate Mums Birthday - Happy Birthday Mum! For more about our activities in Kadavu, check out the blog.
Now in Kadavu, the fourth largest of the Fiji Islands. Had a wonderful sail today, averaged 7 knots for the 50 N mile trip. For more about our impressions of the last few days, check out the blog.
Motored for 8 hours today to get to Somosomo Bay from Momi Bay, about 50 N miles. No wind all morning and then wind on the nose all afternoon. Heading out early for another 50 N mile run tomorrow to get to Kadavu Is in good light. Hoping for a good sail!
In Denarau marina tonight and hoping to start heading south to Kadavu Is. tomorrow, weather permitting. For a round up of our adventures over the last few days, check out the blog.
Reached the top of the Yasawa Islands yesterday. Well worth the trip, spectacular white sand beaches and crystal clear water. The prettiest spot we have seen so far - just fabulous! More details in the blog.
Back in the Blue Lagoon of the Yasawa's again. About 25-30 knots blowing from the East but 100% blue sky. More info in the blog.
Anchored by the Port of Lautoka, ready for an early trip back to the market in the morning. Check out the blog for more info.
Back in Waya Is after a quick trip up and down the Yasawa island group. Winds of 25 to 30 knots in the northern Yasawa's this morning but much less here. More about the last few days in our blog.
Now in Cuvu Bay, a very quiet anchorage at the south end of Naviti Island. Caught two Tuna on the way here, both just under 60cm so several meals in the freezer!
Now in the northern Mamanuca group, at a pretty anchorage between Navadra and Vanua Levu Islands. We called in to Musket Cove on our way north. Heading up the Yasawa group this week. More about our travels in the blog.
Arrived in Nadi Bay this afternoon after a 55 N mile passage through the northern reef system of Viti Levu. For our impressions of this part of Fiji - see our blog.
Enjoying a peaceful anchorage at Nananu-i-ra Island, on the northern coast of Viti Levu. Making good progress towards the western side of Fiji and having some interesting experiences along the way. More info in our blog.
Now in Naigani Island, slowly making our way towards the western side of Fiji. Had a wonderful dive yesterday and Heather reeled in a 90cm Mahimahi today. More details in the blog.
Arrived safely in Makogai Island this afternoon after a "close encounters" dive at Namena Island this morning. More about our close encounters in the blog!
Now at Namena Island. More about our day in the blog.
Back in Fawn Harbour tonight after an interesting couple of days - more about that in the blog.
Finally got our cruising permit from Customs yesterday, so we now have permission to explore Fiji. Yay! Off to a good start today with a lovely sail. Heather landed two Mahimahi on the way, so had fresh fish for dinner and more meals in the freezer. Plan to dive the Purple Wall tomorrow.
Arrived safely in Savusavu and now officially checked in with Customs. Have updated the blog with more information about our travels.
We are in Fiji. Still have a long way to go to reach Savusavu where we will check in to customs on Monday, but t