Thu Nov 30 14:38 2017 NZDT
GPS: 29 26.166S 153 20.874E
Run: 40.7nm (73.7km)
Weather: Grey skies with periods of drizzle, but still oh so lovely and warm.

Had an absolute cracker of a sail down from Ballina to Yamba yesterday. 14-15k just aft of the beam with a lovely current lift saw Kiapa flying along to her 'resting spot' for summer. Yes, we are going to call Yamba 'home' for the next few months.

Tue Nov 28 19:19 2017 NZDT
GPS: 28 52.746S 153 34.069E
Run: 67.4nm (122km)
Weather: Light and variable winds.

An early start saw us going through the Gold Coast seaway at dawn's crack and after a fairly slow 60nm passage to Ballina we crossed the river mouth bar around 4pm. Off to the RSL for dinner now.

Fri Nov 24 10:16 2017 NZDT
GPS: 27 54.747S 153 25.054E
Run: 2.5nm (4.5km)
Weather: Blue sky all around - lovely lovely.

Moved from Bum's Bay to a much quieter spot on the western side of South Stradbroke Island - the continuous helicopter joy rides made us feel like we were in a war zone! Now we can only hear bird calls!

Thu Nov 23 17:13 2017 NZDT
GPS: 27 56.848S 153 25.455E
Run: 36.9nm (66.8km)
Weather: Beautifully sunny and warm with a light SE keeping things cool

Motor-sailed down the inside channels (on the western side of South Stradbroke Island) to Bum's Bay on the Gold Coast. Had a brief nervous moment when we had to pass under the overhead powerlines, but the weather instruments on top of the mast seemed to clear them quite easily. Phew! Now happily anchored with all the other 'bums', with sea planes, helicopters and jet skis completing the Gold Coast atmosphere!

These are the power lines we had to go under.
These are the power lines we had to go under.
Mon Oct 9 9:21 2017 NZDT
GPS: 27 27.3003S 153 11.4774E
Run: 53.2nm (96.3km)
Weather: Lovely gentle drizzle this morning. Doesn't look like it will last.

We arrived at the fabulous Royal !! Queensland Yacht Squadron on Friday, and have been enjoying familiarising ourselves with all that is on offer at this fabulous club/marina. We plan to stay here for about a month.

Thu Oct 5 19:23 2017 NZDT
GPS: 26 41.292S 153 07.209E
Run: 60.6nm (109.7km)
Avg: 2.5knts
24hr: 60.4nm
Weather: Blue skies, lovely and warm, with a gentle breeze blowing.

We cleared Wide Bay Bar first thing this morning - phew, no dramas. And what a totally FABULOUS sail we had down to Mooloolaba today. Not only was the sailing itself great, but boy, did we see some whales! In the distance, right next to the boat, leaping, broaching, cruising....... we saw it all. Where we are anchored right now has to be in the middle of suburbia as it is possible to be on a boat. See pic!

Where we are anchored - in the middle of suburbia!
Where we are anchored - in the middle of suburbia!
Mmmmmmm, a bit too close for comfort!
Mmmmmmm, a bit too close for comfort!
Wed Oct 4 19:18 2017 NZDT
GPS: 25 48.872S 153 02.326E
Run: 6.1nm (11km)
Weather: Cloudy with 10-15k SE blowing.

Anchored in Pelican Bay ready to, hopefully, cross the renowned (sometimes treacherous) Wide Bay Bar first thing tomorrow morning. This is the 'opening' from the sheltered waters created by Fraser Island back out into the open ocean. This morning, before sailing here, we visited the quaint settlement of Tin Can Bay. Tin Can Bay town is known for the dolphins which come to shore to interact with people, so we went along to participate. It's all very controlled, but I suppose it has to be for the safety of these beautiful animals. The bird life in the surrounding trees was also fab!

One of the visiting dolphins was 8 month old baby Joe.
One of the visiting dolphins was 8 month old baby Joe.
The beautiful,sulphur crested cockatoo.
The beautiful,sulphur crested cockatoo.
Tue Oct 3 14:56 2017 NZDT
GPS: 25 54.11S 153 01.37E
Run: 35.8nm (64.8km)
Weather: Cloudy with a gentle breeze.

Motored through the very interesting shallow channels of the Great Sandy Straits to the west of Fraser Island this morning. Thank goodness for accurate charts and GPS's! The red line on the 2 photos below shows the route we took. Now happily anchored off the small settlement of Tin Can Bay.

The Great Sandy Straits of Fraser Island.
The Great Sandy Straits of Fraser Island.
Thank goodness for modern day technology to help us through this challenging bit of water!
Thank goodness for modern day technology to help us through this challenging bit of water!
Yes, we did get to see wild dingoes on Fraser Island yesterday!
Yes, we did get to see wild dingoes on Fraser Island yesterday!
Sun Oct 1 21:13 2017 NZDT
GPS: 25 23.06S 153 01.708E
Run: 58.9nm (106.6km)
Weather: Lovely and calm here on anchor, but we had 15-20k ESE while sailing today.

Celebrating our first coastal sail in Aussie by sipping on a glass of bubbles while watching sunset. We are anchored off the World Heritage listed largest sand island in the world - Fraser Island. Who knows, we might spot a dingo while exploring ashore tomorrow..

Fri Sep 29 12:07 2017 NZDT
GPS: 24 45.64S 152 23.26E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)
Weather: Hot, with a strong northerly blowing.

We are enjoying playing 'Tommy the tourist' in the Bundaberg region while going through the process of importing Kiapa into Australia. Have you heard of Bert Hinkler? No, nor had we! Well, he is a famous Australian aviator who back in the 1930's was the first person to fly from England to Oz! And he hails from Bundy. The museum that pays tribute to him is well worth a visit. And of course we have also visited the rum distillery. But perhaps most enjoyable was walking through Australia's largest bird aviary.

Sun Sep 17 10:27 2017 NZST
GPS: 24 45.735S 152 23.196E
Run: 150nm (271.5km)
Weather: Light offshore, beautifully warm.....

We arrived safely in Bundy late on Friday afternoon, which meant we had to clear in on Saturday. Contrary to all the stories we'd heard, clearing in was effortless, and NO weekend overtime fees were charged. Oh it is so so lovely to hear all the birdcalls again. So far we've heard lorikeets, maggies, butcher birds, shags, welcome swallows, and even kookaburras. Lovely lovely! This morning we are heading off to the fresh produce markets in Bundy - time to reprovision with some fresh stuff after our fabulous stay in Chesterfield. I'll attach some pics of Chesterfield here, now that we're back online.

Thu Sep 14 9:51 2017 NZST
GPS: 23 20.461S 154 11.001E
Run: 163.9nm (296.7km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 148.2nm
Weather: 20-25k N. Swell 1.5m 70% blue sky.

Tuesday's gallop was slowed down to a comfortable trot yesterday - due to lack of wind and still the strong counter-current. But last night the wind picked up and swung around to the north so now we are happily cantering again. Our rhumb line is Bundaberg rum line.

Wed Sep 13 7:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 21 50.243S 156 10.204E
Run: 199.7nm (361.5km)
Avg: 27.4knts
24hr: 656.5nm
Weather: 15-18k ENE. Swell 1.0m 60% blue sky.

It was a sad farewell to fantastic Chesterfield Reef yesterday morning - what a brilliant time we had there. We are now underway to the land of koalas and kangaroos, the final leg of Kiapa's Pacific Ocean Crossing which started 5 years ago. While the sailing conditions are good, the 2k counter-current is slowing down the gallop somewhat!

Wed Sep 13 0:00 2017 NZST
GPS: 19 53.216S 158 27.090E
Run: 5.4nm (9.8km)

2-3m Tiger shark at Chesterfield reef. I felt much much safer swimming in the water with this shark than with John Hembrose from the Go West Go East , Go F yourself rally. A peaceful yoga picture on Longlines. The picture should be a cage fighter or Last Man Standing"

Mon Sep 11 14:27 2017 NZST
GPS: 19 57.7478S 158 28.402E
Weather: 12-15k ESE. Swell 2.0m 80% blue sky.

Lionel is a happy chappy - he has ticked something off from his bucket list. A swim with a tiger shark! Yip, you read that correctly! We had just returned to Kiapa after a most enjoyable kite session when we saw a shark swimming around the stern. It came up shallow enough to be identified, so quick as a flash Lionel grabbed his mask and slid in off the back steps to have a closer look. A tiger to be sure, about 2m long, ever so gracefully mooching around. And we've got video footage to prove it!

Sun Sep 10 9:27 2017 NZST
GPS: 19 57.7478S 158 28.402E
Run: 5.2nm (9.4km)
Weather: 15-18k SE. Swell 1.5m 50% blue sky.

We have moved to the SE anchorage to check out the snorkelling and little island here. The last few days have been fantastic in many respects, but especially with reference to whales. Any and every time we glance 'out' and watch for a few minutes, we ALWAYS see whales. 2 days ago while dinghying over to a bommie in the lagoon for a snorkel we had a mum and bub practicing their aerial gymnastics with tail and pectoral fin water-slapping about 100m from us. Then while snorkelling half an hour later we could hear them singing to each other. And to top if off last night while watching the sun dip over the horizon we had another stellar performance - full breaching. Can you tell we are having a whale of a time?

Thu Sep 7 8:54 2017 NZST
GPS: 19 53.268S 158 28.020E
Run: 299.5nm (542.1km)
Avg: 18.3knts
24hr: 438.3nm
Weather: 5-8k SE. Swell 0m 80% blue sky.

Man-oh-man, Chesterfield Reef truly is paradise. The sandy islands are covered in birds, and their song fills the background such that we don't want to listen to music. After snorkeling on pristine reef in the afternoon we enjoyed a bottle of bubbly on a coral cay while watching the sun setting and the full moon simultaneously rising. As I said, heaven!!

Wed Sep 6 16:30 2017 NZST
GPS: 15 33.275S 158 28.018E
Run: 719.2nm (1301.8km)
Weather: 5-8k SE. Swell 0m 90% blue sky.

Very VERY happily anchored in the most turquoise of waters here at Chesterfield Reef after a very easy passage from New Cal. It is so unbelievably beautiful here - Kerry, Lionel and I think we are in aquatic paradise. The bird life is amazing with their constant 'chatter' in the background, and we have already snorkeled with whales. We're looking forward to exploring this little slice of heaven.

Sun Aug 20 10:02 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 18.304S 166 50.78E
Run: 2.3nm (4.2km)
Weather: Partly cloudy and very windy!

'Hiding' up The Carenage in Prony Bay as we wait for the strong westerlies to pass. Had a lovely swim in the small waterfalls a bit further up the creek. It's been a L O N G time since we swam in fresh water!

Fri Aug 18 17:42 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 19.848S 166 49.45E
Run: 45.4nm (82.2km)
Weather: Beautiful blue sky, and 'breezy'.

Oops, missed a couple of updates. In the last week since sailing from Isle de Pins we have stayed at Mato Island, Amadee Island, Anse Majec and now in Prony Bay. A strong westerly is forecast, so we are taking shelter in Baie de la Somme for the next couple of days.

The classic outline of Amadee Lighthouse at sunset.
The classic outline of Amadee Lighthouse at sunset.
Sat Aug 12 13:26 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 39.413S 167 26.459E
Run: 8.7nm (15.7km)
Weather: Partly cloudy with a light NE blowing.

Anchored in Kuto Bay, Isle de Pins, where the sand on the beach is as fine as talcum powder. Hitched a ride to the local fresh produce market this morning (~10km away) where we stocked up on bits and pieces, including some local honey. Hiked up the nearby mountain Pic Ngo yesterday to be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views. Loving this beautiful island paradise.

Thu Aug 10 8:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 31.94S 167 25.57E
Weather: Lovely blue sky today.

Still in Gadji, and loving it. Went scuba diving yesterday and saw some AMAZING sea life, including something none of us had seen before, let alone heard of - an electric, flashing, disco clam. You Tube it!! Also saw a Pygmy seahorse, a lacey scorpion fish and an enormous school of barracuda. Loving it here!

Sat Aug 5 8:39 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 31.94S 167 25.57E
Run: 42.1nm (76.2km)
Weather: Cloudy and calm.

Anchored in stunning Gadji Bay, on the north-western side of of Isle de Pins. Even though it's cloudy the water is the most stunning turquoise. The snorkelling is fantastic around here, and catching a crayfish for dinner is a guarantee.

Wed Aug 2 8:29 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 27.23S 166 46.38E
Run: 25.1nm (45.4km)
Weather: Cloudy with a light breeze.

Had a lovely sail down to Ouen Island yesterday - gotta love this sailing inside a huge barrier reef thing. 13-18k in flat water had Kiapa flying along very comfortably. Then, with sunset G&T's in hand we watched some whales breaching in the distance. How lucky are we? There's a huge reef close by which we're told is good to dive on, so plan to do so a bit later.

The view from our backdoor this morning.
The view from our backdoor this morning.
Sat Jul 29 14:19 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 19.801S 166 24.22E
Run: 29.4nm (53.2km)
Weather: Lovely clear blue skies with a 5-10k SE blowing.

We welcome Kerry on board. Sailed out to Isle de Maitre, and enjoyed a lovely snorkel. While the corals weren't too colourful we did see a lot, including huge coral trout, 3 turtles, a tropical crayfish and a very well camouflaged octopus.

Tropical crayfish.
A well-camouflaged occy.
Tue Jul 25 16:13 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 33.031S 166 47.812E
Run: 40nm (72.4km)
Weather: Gloriously sunny and warm with a gentle breeze blowing.

Had a slow cruise from Ilse de Pins to Mato Island yesterday. Were lucky enough to spot 2 whales on the way, and because conditions were calm, we decided to "pull over" and see if we could swim with them. And we did!! They seemed to be resting, and didn't move away at all! How spoilt were we, to swim with these gentle giants out in the middle of nowhere!

Sat Jul 22 7:54 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 31.917S 167 25.346E
Run: 40.9nm (74km)
Weather: 9-11k S, 60% cloud cover

Had a gloriously slow sail from Prony Bay to the northern bay of Gadji at Isle de Pins, where the water is the prettiest turquoise. Sadly didn't see any whales on the way, but did catch a nice size fish as we came through the pass.

Thu Jul 20 9:03 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 20.810S 166 48.827E
Run: 24.9nm (45.1km)
Weather: Very squally conditions with gusts in the high 30's and lovely rain.

Anchored in Prony Bay. Yay, the decks are getting a lovely rinse. We're on anchor watch in these strong gusts, so it's a day for board games.

Thu Jul 13 9:08 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 17.060S 166 25.826E
Run: 29.9nm (54.1km)
Weather: Light SE blowing this morning with partly cloudy skies.

Back in Port Moselle to partake in the Bastille festivities tonight and tomorrow.

Mon Jul 10 9:36 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 33.126S 166 47.823E
Run: 15.6nm (28.2km)
Weather: 10-15k SE. Swell 0m 100% cloud cover.

Back at Mato Island. Weather not the best today - grey and blustery, but hey, at least it's still warm. Lionel is a happy chappy though - he has borrowed a fellow cruiser's hot knife so is having fun with that!

Sun Jul 9 9:21 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 46.662S 166 47.893E
Run: 15.6nm (28.2km)
Weather: 5-7k W. Swell 1m 50% cloud cover.

Enjoyed a glorious day of light wind spinnaker sailing yesterday to reach Kouare Island, New Cal's southern most island bar one other tiny one - yes, we are further south than the famous Isle de Pins! Kouare is the island closest to the outer fringing reef so if the wind stays settled we hope to head out to this reef to snorkel and snare some dinner. Here with 2 other boats - we enjoyed their company while sipping 'Kiapa Cocktails' at sunset last night.

Sat Jul 8 8:48 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 33.082S 166 47.860E
Run: 41.9nm (75.8km)
Weather: 0-2k SE. Swell 0m 80% blue sky.

Anchored in between the reefs surrounding cute little plum-pudding Mato island. This island is unique as the sea snakes slither ashore to shed their skins and lay their eggs. We had one sharing the rock we were sitting on right up at the top for sunset drinks last night. We've been snorkeling a few times, looking for crayfish, but no luck so far.

Sun Jul 2 17:35 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 15.722S 166 13.297E
Run: 8.5nm (15.4km)

There is such a wonderful choice of islands close to Noumea to visit - and all with safe and comfortable spots to anchor/moor. Today we woke up with teeny tiny Ilot Mbe Kouen just there!

Sat Jul 1 8:12 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 12.524S 166 20.504E
Run: 8.5nm (15.4km)

Anchored in extremely peaceful Baie Maa - with our 'cat team' of 6 other Aussie cruising boats. We enjoyed a beach fire and bbq last night, sharing jokes, stories and a sing-a-long with Neville on the guitar. Heading back out to the islands later this morning.

Sun Jun 25 10:44 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 17.604S 166 26.229E
Run: 2.9nm (5.2km)

Back at CNC Yacht Club, watching the nail-biting AC races.

Fri Jun 23 10:33 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 18.755S 166 28.607E
Run: 3.9nm (7.1km)

Anchored off Uere Island which has the most amazing fist-sized-pebble beaches, not sandy beaches like we have found so far. Mont Dore forms a pretty impressive backdrop.

Tue Jun 20 9:18 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 16.647S 166 25.77E
Run: 4.2nm (7.6km)

Anchored off Port Moselle. Thoroughly enjoyed watching the AC racing the last couple of mornings. GO KIWIS!! No wind or surf forecast for the next few days, and it's pretty grey with rain threatening, so instead of heading back out to the islands are going to stay here and do some more exploring on the bikes.

Sat Jun 17 8:56 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 19.951S 166 24.209E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

Moored off Ilot de Maitre, the 'kiting island' our friends have told us so much about. While the wind howled through the night it has now sadly, backed off. This means more swimming and snorkelling today. The image included here shows the extensive reef and sea grass beds that surround the island, which makes for excellent snorkelling. We've seen quite a variety of big and small fish, as well as turtles grazing on the grass. Later today we plan to head back to Port Moselle so that we can watch the AC tomorrow.

Thu Jun 15 10:47 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 19.876S 166 24.261E
Run: 4.1nm (7.4km)

Oops, missed a couple of days of position updates! Since the AC Challenger Cup is over we have headed out to the islands for a few days (until the AC begins on Sunday again). We are LOVING the marine life that comes and lives between our hulls as soon as we are settled - yesterday we had an enormous barracuda, emporor fish, ramoras, a bludger trevally and a turtle. And stunning sunsets, oh my goodness.......

No photoshopping involved here!
No photoshopping involved here!
Thu Jun 8 13:34 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 16.648S 166 25.78E
Run: 7.5nm (13.6km)

Anchored off Port Moselle for the next couple of days. Needed to stock up on fresh produce, wanted to come and watch some of the America's Cup, and also to catch up with some friends. Poor Kiwis - hope they manage to fix their racing machine quickly! Have to include a pic of my favourite little fish I saw when out snorkelling at Ile Laregnere yesterday.

Mon Jun 5 9:06 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 14.44S 166 19.2E
Run: 8.4nm (15.2km)

Moored off the tiny little island of Laregnere, not too far from Noumea. There's good snorkelling to be had close by, so that'll be the order of the day.

Wed May 31 15:23 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 17.08339S 166 26.54047E
Run: 1.1nm (2km)

Spent a couple of nights out at nearby islands and then came back in to Noumea to pop Don and Hugh on the plane back to NZ. BIG thanks to them both for their help with our passage. Tied up at Port du Sud Marina, mainly to have access to that ever precious resource, water! Done all the laundry and have washed all the salts off the deck, but still need to rinse halyards etc. Another reason for coming in to the marina was to try and get to a telly where we could watch the America's Cup. Success, the yacht club across the bay is showing it. Happy days!

A nice big screen to watch the AC on.
A nice big screen to watch the AC on.
Oh so French! Enjoying a strong black coffee with a croissant while watching.
Sat May 27 19:24 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 17.99822S 166 26.31035E
Run: 2.1nm (3.8km)

We love New Caledonia! We have already had more swims than we had in our 5 months in NZ!! Checking in with Customs, Immigration and Biosecurity this morning was a breeze! We thought we may be 'boat bound' until Monday because we were told the government authorities don't work over the w/e here, but oh no, one phone call later Mr Immigration turned up in boardies, singlet and thongs, and 10 minutes later we were all set to go ashore! Right now enjoying a sunset drink and dinner on terra firma.

Fri May 26 12:27 2017 NZST
GPS: 22 16.698S 166 24.991E
Run: 239.3nm (433.1km)
Avg: 8.2knts
24hr: 197.7nm
Weather: 13-15k S. Swell 1m 90% blue sky.

Nearly there! What a glorious night's sailing - 100% the opposite to the night before! The screecher is out, the hairy chests are also out, and we are looking forward to checking in later today.

Thu May 25 7:24 2017 NZST
GPS: 25 04.122S 168 39.235E
Run: 186.6nm (337.7km)
Avg: 9.7knts
24hr: 233.3nm
Weather: 15-18k W. Swell 1-2m confused washing machine 40% cloud cover.

You know the song "Oh what a night"..... well that describes last night for us. We had a good day's sail yesterday and covered a lot of ground, but by sunset the sky was an ominous black and the swell had picked up, and yikes, the radar was showing an awful number of squalls around! Just as well we had bangers and mash for dinner - provided you stuck your banger in the mash it wasn't tempted to fly off your plate!! The boys did an AWESOME job keeping Kiapa trucking along safely, hand steering through gusty squall after gusty squall. Around 3am the wind switched to "on the nose" for the direction we are heading towards, so we made the decision - a first ever for us on Kiapa - to 'heave to' for a couple of hours which meant we all got some shut eye. And now it's daybreak and we can see again, always so much nicer! 145nm to Ile de Pins.

Wed May 24 12:12 2017 NZST
GPS: 27 12.312S 170 29.635E
Run: 243.8nm (441.3km)
Avg: 8.5knts
24hr: 203.2nm
Weather: 20-25k E. Swell 2-3m 90% cloud cover.

As I write this the sun is rising, and what pretty pinky orange hues are highlighting the horizon. The winds have 'settled' in terms of both direction and strength, so as there's no sail adjustments to make, 'the games have begun'. Not the boat speed games of yesterday, but board and card games. So far Lionel is champion. We also enjoyed "Don's Scones" for lunch yesterday. Can you tell all is well on board? 305nm to go. (This msg is not being composed by IridiumGo.)

Tue May 23 7:24 2017 NZST
GPS: 30 26.49S 172 05.83E
Run: 221.7nm (401.3km)
Avg: 9.3knts
24hr: 222.6nm
Weather: 15-20k ENE. Swell 2m 95% cloudy.

Yeehah, we are not wearing socks or slippers - well not during the day anymore. We had a good day's sailing yesterday and an even better night last night. Haha, boys will always be boys! As the swell picked up they decided to turn off the autopilot and take the helm to surf the waves to see who could get top speed. Hugo was the 'winner' with 16.8k. The sky was rather black and ominous looking at sunset, so we reefed the main in the event of the odd squall, and just as well! They marched through around 2-5am, just when Captain Kangaroo was on watch. 520nm to go to Ile de Pins. all very well on board.

Mon May 22 7:30 2017 NZST
GPS: 33 18.255S 173 48.092E
Run: 134.4nm (243.3km)
Avg: 6.3knts
24hr: 152.3nm
Weather: 7-12k ENE. Swell 1m 90%.

We had a great start to our passage to New Cal yesterday. After motoring for a couple of hours to get out the Bay we motor-sailed and then sailed into the night. The wind was light and variable for most of the night which resulted in Lionel eventually unfurling our kick-arse screecher - yeehah. All good on board.

Sun May 21 10:19 2017 NZST
GPS: 35 14S 174 06E
Run: 5.6nm (10.1km)

Yeehah, we are off the dock and underway to the tropics. New Caledonia here we come. We hope the passage will take 4-5 days, all going well. Thanks to Don Salthouse and Hugh Stocker for crewing with us.

Tue May 16 13:41 2017 NZST
GPS: 35 18.73735S 174 7.22797E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

Like everyone else, we are still 'relaxing' in Opua, waiting for the weather gods to organise a nice weather window for us to head north. Looks like the end of this week may be okay - we are looking at Saturday, in the hope the predicted 4.5m swell will have dissipated somewhat when we round Cape Reinga. In the meantime horse and bike riding keep us fit. Oh and of course there's LOTS of lovely socialising going on......

Mon May 8 8:31 2017 NZST
GPS: 35 19.00668S 174 7.16424E
Run: 41nm (74.2km)

Moved up to the Bay of Islands, waiting for the next weather window to head north to New Caledonia. While we wait for Cyclone Donna to dissipate we are enjoying getting out on the bikes - today we a going to do a section of the Twin Coast Trail.

Sunrise in the beautifully still but foggy morning a few hours ago.
Sunrise in the beautifully still but foggy morning a few hours ago.
Wed May 3 12:44 2017 NZST
GPS: 35 50.28304S 174 28.07166E
Run: 3.5nm (6.3km)

Hanging in at Marsden Cove, waiting for the weather further north to improve - like everyone else, we don't like the look of the tropical depression near Vanuatu! This morning we woke up to an interesting new neighbour at the end of our dock - a 2-3m long leopard seal! It's unusual for them to be this far north, but apparently this big mumma has been hanging around for a while!

This gives some idea of how huge she is!!
This gives some idea how huge she is!!
A scary big mouth - this species are known to be quite aggressive.
A scary big mouth - this species are known to be quite aggressive.
Bit of a bummer for Dirk! The seal tried getting in his dinghy (which was in the water) and punctured it in the process!
Bit of a bummer for Dirk! The seal tried getting in his dinghy (which was in the water) and punctured it in the process!
Sat Feb 25 17:12 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 50.818S 174 31.722E
Run: 29.4nm (53.2km)

No wind today so motored down to Urquhart's Bay. Nothing like dropping the anchor, jumping in the dinghy, and free diving for scallops. Dinner is going to be yummy tonight!

Thu Feb 23 17:12 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 25.873S 174 25.05E
Run: 58.5nm (105.9km)

Tacked up in Mimiwhangata with 5 other boats, after a beaut sail from Whangaroa today. We are headed for Marsden Cove and next week we are flying to Nelson to do the Grape Cycle ride with our Aussie mates.. We hope our yachty legs can pedal us around the course. Else we might have to stop at winery.

Sun Feb 19 12:24 2017 NZDT
GPS: 34 59.156S 173 32.210E
Run: 0.3nm (0.5km)

On a mooring at Mangonui. Enjoying chasing the kitesurfing wind and waves on the northern tip of New Zealand.

Sun Feb 12 8:23 2017 NZDT
GPS: 34 59.398S 173 32.279E
Run: 12.9nm (23.3km)

We had a relaxing sail from Whangaroa Harbour to Mangonui - powered by the screecher only - a couple of days ago. This historic whaling town will be our base for the next couple of weeks. We have renewed empathy for hitchhikers because once we had Kiapa here we hitched a ride down to Paihia to pick up our car. It's been ages since either of us stuck out our thumbs!! Thank the lordy it didn't take too long - lovely Kiwis are such friendly and helpful peeps! We are now totally mobile, ready to find the wind for kiting or the waves on the west coast for surfing. Bring it on!

Thu Feb 9 8:39 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 01.899S 173 45.578E
Run: 24.9nm (45.1km)

Saw the unusually shaped sunfish sunning itself at the surface yesterday while underway from Paihia. Quite something!! Now snugly anchored in a very protected bay here in Whangaroa Harbour as buckets or rain wash the decks. We read there are winds of 30k + 'out there', but you wouldn't know it here where we are tucked in.

Mon Feb 6 14:57 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 16.29S 174 05.28E
Run: 202.4nm (366.3km)

Anchored off Paihia in the Bay of Islands. Today is Waitangi Day and we are enjoying watching the various celebrations to mark this auspicious historical event, including about 70 guys manoeuvring the Ngatokimatawhaorua (g'arn, have a go at pronouncing that one!!), the world's largest ceremonial canoe.

Sat Jan 14 12:07 2017 NZDT
GPS: 37 43.45404S 176 4.70755E
Run: 157.9nm (285.8km)
Avg: 3.5knts
24hr: 83.4nm


Call Lionel on +64 (0)204 024 4212

Kiapa, The stunning aqua-coloured Morelli Melvin designed 52ft (15.8M) catamaran, is for sale. Custom built in Schooner Creek Boatworks, Oregon, she is widely recognized as a fast, strong, sleek, performance-oriented cruising cat. Her simple but ingenious design enables true off-shore long distance cruising in saftey, comfort and style.

Fast? Is she ever! Her elegant, light hulls combined with her powerful rig and high tech sails easily push her along at near wind speed or better in light air. And the high bridge-deck clearance means she does so ‘quietly’ and in great comfort, even in the lumpiest of seas.

Professionally custom built to the highest standards and subsequently meticulously maintained, Kiapa is in immaculate condition and ready to sail you away on your next adventure.

Kiapa is perfectly suited to a couple or family. Her spacious interior is appointed with style, combining a traditional nautical theme with a modern European look. The large and well-appointed galley includes a two-door fridge, separate freezer, oven, cooktop, microwave and double sink. The saloon has a gorgeous mahogany fold-open table, easily seating up to 8 guests.

To starboard is the ‘owners hull’ with an airy ensuite which is also accessible from the transom.

To port is a double bed, 2 bunk beds, and a spacious ensuite.

Kiapa is fitted out with high quality electronics, winches, fittings and sails. She has a 12v 40 litre per hour Spectra water maker; 720W solar array (6 panels); sizable 11ft dinghy with 20hp Yamaha 4 stroke outboard, gas BBQ, inflatable kayak, 2 EPIRBs and all the safety gear you need, including a ‘ditch bag’ that the US Coastguard commented on as the “best equipped ditch bag he had ever seen”!

A full colour systems manual is also provided.

She is kitted out with all you need for blue water cruising, but great care has been taken to ensure that there is nothing ‘unnecessary’ and that all her systems are as simple as possible to keep maintenance to a minimum.

Kiapa is currently lying in Mardsen Cove Marina, Whangarei, 140km north of Auckland, New Zealand. This is a great launch destination for Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia or Australia.

The decision to sell has not been an easy one for the current owners. Having lived on board full time and cruised extensively from San Francisco to Mexico, across the Pacific and to and from New Zealand for the past 5 years they are ready for their next adventure. Added to this is that the captain/owner has an old recurring hip injury which is causing some discomfort.

If you would like to be a high performance catamaran owner who does not compromise on speed or quality, and understands what it would take to build such a high quality performance boat from scratch, this is certainly a very special opportunity.

To arrange a showing please contact Lionel Bass (owner) on:-

phone +64 204 024 4212 or +64 21 02216106.

or email:-

A marine lawyer or closing (settlement) agent will be appointed to ensure the documentation is correct.


Kiapa additional specifications, equipment and information-

Designers; Morelli Melvin

Hull and Engines

Length;16.00 m

Breadth; 7.70 m

Air Draft; 21.6 m

Depth; 1.2 m

Place of Construction: Schooner Creek Boat Works, Portland, Oregon, United States 2007

Build; FRP Vinylester and foam sandwich

Engines: Two 3 Cylinder Diesel Universal M40B (40hp) ,Approx 1830 engine hours each

Displacement 9.9 metric tonne

Tankage Holding; 75 ltr stb. 150 ltr port

Tankage Fuel; 2 x 246 ltr (2 x 65 gal)

Tankage Water; 2 x 190 ltr (2 x 50 gal)

Propane Gas; 3x9kg cylinders= 27 kg

Spectra Catalina Watermaker 12v 40ltr /hr

Hot water

1.Propane gas on demand

2.Webasto Diesel HWS


4 x 130W Kyocera solar panels

2 x 100W Schutten solar panels Total 720W

Honda 2000eu 110 petrol/gas generator. Unused

Dolphin 90-265 VAC 220v-110v charger 80Amp

Alternators 100AH Belmar

Blue Sky Energy IPN Pro Remote battery monitor

Projecta 1000W sinewave 220v inverter

Xantrex 1800W sinewave 110v inverter

6 by 230ah AGM batteries = 690ah Discover EVCH6A-A


Furuno Navnet VX2 Radar Chartplotter

B&G Hydra wind and autopilot 2000

Furno GPS – GP32 back up with separate antenna and chartplotter crossover switch

Basic roller ruler and dividers

Miltech AIS transponder and receiver

Richie 5in Binnacle compass

Paper charts from USA to West Coast of Australia

Cruising guides from USA to Australia

Rig: Cap Shroud: 15T Aramid ,  Lower Shroud: 7T Aramid

Mast: Ballenger Aluminium. Boom : Ballenger Aluminium

Carbon forward beam and prodder

Mainsail: Hydranet Radial 383 Spectra Area 92m2

Drifter: New

Jib: Blade Hydranet Radial 383 Spectra 35m2

Small Headsail: New

Screecher: bi-radial, luff 59.5ft, foot 30ft, leech 51ft,7oz 80.6m2

Assy Spinnaker: luff 56.9ft, foot 30ft, leech 50ft 150m2

Dinghy: AB 11ft aluminium,Rigid aluminium inflatable, Yamaha 20hp 4 stroke outboard New:- May 2016


3 cabins, sleeps 6

Starboard hull: Queen size double bed

Port hull: Queen size double bed

Port hull: 2 over/under single bunk beds.


Flooring Douglas fire on composite sandwich

Finish: Awlgrip painted surfaces

Mahogany foam sandwich saloon table

Mahogany cabinets

2 teak folding chairs

Leather saloon couches, seats 7

4 hanging lockers

Navigation station with inside steering

Navigation table and navigator’s chair

LED lighting

Plenty storage lockers

Galley equipment

Glacier Bay 9.5 cubic foot refrigerator 12v

Glacier Bay 2.5 cubic foot freezer 12v

Double sink

3 burner Tasco propane stove

Tasco oven and broiler

Countertops are honeycomb core aircraft granite

110v kettle

110v toaster

110v microwave oven

Deck hardware

Winches: Andersen 2x58, 3x52, 2x48

Various Harken blocks, Spinlock jammers and clutches

Galleymate stainless BBQ

Deck shower with hot and cold water

Custom bimini design

Custom lazy jacks

Mainsail cover

Harken batcars

Primary anchor: Manson 32kg (Rocna)

Secondary anchor: 10kg CQR

Tertiary anchor: Fortress folding.

Primary anchor chain: 250ft 3/8in stainless chain and 50ft 3/4in nylon rode

Secondary anchor chain: 20ft galvanized 3/8in chain and approx. 300ft of 3/4in nylon rode

Windlass: Lewmar V3

Trampoline: Spectra open weave 2007

Bumpers: 4 tubes 2 balls

Various dock lines

Open swim steps allowing for fins

2 sets of UV window screens, one for bright sun, one for mild grey days

Spare lines

Portata inflatable dinghy rollers to roll the dinghy up the beach


1in Straight shafts with PSS seals

Flexifold props and PRM counter-rotational mechanical transmission


Flares USCG minimum

6 Adult life vests

MOB gear; life ring and strobe

Waterproof comprehensive ditch bag including hand water maker

Galerider drogue and lines

Manual fog horn


Electric float switch bilge pumps in engine bays

Manual bilge pump

Laminated emergency tiller

Spare rudder

Comprehensive tool kit

Inflatable 2 person kayak and paddles


Personal effects, clothing, pictures, fishing gear, fishing poles (rods) and reels, surfboards, kiteboards, kites, bicycles.

Master cabin
Master cabin
Expanded saloon table, seats 8
Expanded saloon table, seats 8
Shiny clean bilges, underneath Douglas Fir flooring
Shiny clean bilges, underneath Douglas Fir flooring
Washing machine
Washing machine
Beautiful colour, beautiful water
Beautiful colour, beautiful water
Thu Jan 12 14:40 2017 NZDT
GPS: 35 50.261S 174 28.072E
Run: 55.1nm (99.7km)

Back at Marsden Cove Marina, Whangarei, after 2 lovely weeks out at Great Barrier Island. Tomorrow we drive down to Tauranga to pet/house sit for some good friends of ours. Yay, some doggy and kitten time!

Mon Jan 9 10:04 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 11.066S 175 21.276E
Run: 1.6nm (2.9km)

Anchored in Kaiarara Bay the last couple of nights - another beautiful spot here at The Barrier. Hiked up to Mt Hobson, the highest peak on the island yesterday. Wow, what awesome views from the top. But the 'ole legs are feeling it today - nice and stiff!

Mt Hobson, the highest peak on the island, to the right. With beautiful Sel Citron in the foreground.
Mt Hobson, the highest peak on the island, to the right. With beautiful Sel Citron in the foreground.
Ooooh yes, it was windy on the top!
Oooooh yes, it was windy on the top!
Sat Jan 7 9:33 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 11.931S 175 19.886E
Run: 8nm (14.5km)

What wonderful Kiwi hospitality we enjoyed last night. Went ashore here at Smokehouse Bay, Great Barrier Island to go for a short hike and do some hand washing (there are specially set up laundry tubs with old fashioned wringers attached) and the next thing we are invited to try some freshly smoked (hence the name of the bay) snapper and king fish by a couple of successful fishermen. And on top of that we came home with bags of both fresh and smoked fish! Gotta love the Kiwis.

Wed Jan 4 13:51 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 6.893S 175 25.819E
Run: 6.1nm (11km)

Although it's a super windy day today we are snugly anchored on the eastern side of Great barrier Island, just off the miles long white sandy Whangapoua Beach. Not really the weather for playing outside, so we are doing a few chores indoors.

Tue Jan 3 8:14 2017 NZDT
GPS: 36 08.466S 175 19.576E
Run: 4.3nm (7.8km)

Anchored in pretty Nagle Bay at Great Barrier Island. Close by is little Oyster Island, so of course we had a little 'hunting and gathering' session for hors d oeuvres last night. Yum YUM!! No luck catching snapper off the back step for 'mains' though. Will have to keep trying.

Little Oyster Island off our stern.
Little Oyster Island off our stern.
Thu Dec 29 17:36 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 12.03625S 175 21.05135E
Run: 74.8nm (135.4km)

Oops, suddenly 2 weeks in NZ have flown by and Christmas has come and gone! Hope Santa's sack was full of all sorts of lovely goodies for you! We sailed from Marsden Cove to one of the stunning bays in Port FirzRoy at the Barrier Island today. Glorious conditions - nothing like beam-on 18-22k winds and flat(ish) seas. We calculated our average speed at 10.2k, with my max speed while on the helm at 16.6k and Lionel's 19.1 - bastard! It's pretty busy all around - good to see the Kiwis out and about enjoying their boats too.

Tue Dec 13 14:42 2016 NZDT
GPS: 35 26.09S 174 24.50E
Run: 19.3nm (34.9km)

Just had a glorious 5 hour sail from Moturua Island in the Bay of Islands to Mimiwhagata Beach. And we can see crazeeee Kiwis swimming in the 18 degree water. Brrrrrr, a bit too chilly for us wimps, having enjoyed water temps of 27 degrees for the last 6 months! Lionel is going to try and catch a snapper for dinner again.

Mon Dec 12 19:45 2016 NZDT
GPS: 35 13.13S 174 11.53E
Run: 7.8nm (14.1km)
Weather: 0k . Swell 0m 50% blue sky.

We sailed out of Opua Marina this morning and are now anchored off a small island in the Bay of Islands. Once settled Lionel casually cast a soft bait off the back step and I kid you not, within 3, no make that 2 seconds flat we had dinner on the line. A decent size snapper which we will bbq for dinner. yum YUM!! This island has had a fairly intensive revegetation program and consequently the bird song as we sit here is lovely.

Fri Dec 9 16:41 2016 NZDT
GPS: 35 18.92460S 174 7.15911E
Run: 0.2nm (0.4km)

Here we are, back in the land of beautifully flowering pohutukawa trees.. All in all our passage from Vanuatu went very well - ending by being spoilt with a pod of dolphins surfing our bow waves in the dark of night. The only reason we could seen them was because of the phosphorescence trail they left behind them. Nature's glory, to be sure. We plan to spend a few days here in Opua and will then make our way southwards.

Thu Dec 8 5:51 2016 NZDT
GPS: 35 18.784S 174 07.347E
Run: 175.2nm (317.1km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 193.3nm
Weather: 0k . Swell 0m 100% black night sky.

It's 3am and we have just pulled up on the Customs dock in Opua. Enjoying a lurvely cuppa tea before we head to bed. Had a great few hours of sailing earlier - even had the spinny up for about 4 hours - but ended up motoring the last little while as the wind died off and came more and more from behind. All in all a fabulous passage from Vanuatu. Big thanks to Jo and Mods for helping make it so.

Wed Dec 7 8:06 2016 NZDT
GPS: 33 21.618S 172 09.913E
Run: 187.4nm (339.2km)
Avg: 7.8knts
24hr: 186.6nm
Weather: 7-11k NE. Swell 0.5m 80% blue sky.

Hooray, throwing 'skippy' back yesterday worked! At lunchtime the forecast light ENE wind filled in beautifully, which saw us fanging along too fast to put the lures in the water. This morning the Captain woke up having thought of a slightly different way to configure the screecher - a new attachment point for the sheet - which has resulted in a closer-haul sailing angle. Right now, at 8am Kiwi time, we are consistently cruising pretty close to wind speed....... aaaah, this is the life. With the benefit of hindsight we are pleased we were initially so far west - consequently we are now in this light northerly flow of air, and on the rhumb line. With 150 nm to go we are looking forward to spotting Cape Reinga at some stage this afternoon. Oh and the jury is out as to who is the rummikub champion!!

Tue Dec 6 8:00 2016 NZDT
GPS: 31 07.040S 170 21.811E
Run: 173.6nm (314.2km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 173.2nm
Weather: 3-5k SE. Swell Calm 30% blue sky.

Aaaaaah the old "catch a fish at sunrise" yarn...... well it's true! We've just landed a nice size skipjack tuna but decided to try and bribe the wind gods by releasing it - I say that 'cause we are hoping for more wind than the 3-5k we've had through the night. We've had very light winds to sail with for the last 30 hours, so the iron genoa has been ticking over. Hopefully the forecast ENE fills in, otherwise it looks like we'll be motor sailing the whole way back to Opua (305nm away). Hey but at last we are on the rhumb line, not heading to Tassie anymore! We should arrive in the early hours of Thursday morning. Our buddies Sel Citron are back over the horizon somewhere, not too far away, but we miss seeing their mast light through the night.

Mon Dec 5 7:57 2016 NZDT
GPS: 29 05.610S 168 38.669E
Run: 189.8nm (343.5km)
Avg: 7.9knts
24hr: 190.2nm
Weather: 6-8k SE. Swell 0.5m. 70% blue sky.

What a fabulous day of sailing we had yesterday. Kiapa was in her element, gunning along at 8-9k in 11-14k of breeze and so munching up the miles - pity it was still in the wrong direction! We spotted Norfolk Island around midnight but now, at 6am the island is way back on the horizon. During the night the breeze had a tad more east in it, so we were able to change course and head a bit more towards North Cape. Phew! Right now we are motor sailing, which is good as it gives us the opportunity to make some water, charge stuff etc. Yesterday conditions were comfortable enough to play a few rounds of different board games - Rummikub and Pictionary. One thing's for sure - the 4 of us are hopeless at drawing. When a leopard looks like a spotted cow, a guard dog looks like a pig, a bolt is thought to be a tornado, and a bathing suit a fox we realised none of us would ever earn any $$$ from our sketching. Can you tell all is very well on board??

Sun Dec 4 8:00 2016 NZDT
GPS: 26 20.909S 168 42.361E
Run: 182.8nm (330.9km)
Avg: 7.6knts
24hr: 182.4nm
Weather: 13-16k SSE. Swell 1.0m. 60% blue sky.

Glorious sailing right now - the wind has backed off a tad and the sea state is a bit more settled, and we have a gannet catching the thermals off our heady looking for breakfast. The wind is supposed to get a bit more east in it today, which will be nice - means we can aim a bit closer towards Opua! Our passage buddies Sel Citron are about 10nm behind us and we could see their nav lights during the night. Our crew, Jo and Mods, really are the crew from heaven (sorry Maunies!). Yesterday we were treated to Jo's freshly baked date scones, and a delicious meatball dinner created by Mods.

Sat Dec 3 7:57 2016 NZDT
GPS: 23 56.431S 169 54.912E
Run: 149.7nm (271km)
Avg: 6.3knts
24hr: 150.6nm
Weather: 14-18k SSE. Swell 1.0m. 50% blue sky.

The trades have set in, as forecast, which means Kiapa is slowly zig-zag tacking south. While we are covering good ground we feel like we've got the handbrake on 'cause our DTW (710nm) doesn't reflect this! Currently we are pointing to Norfolk Island!

Fri Dec 2 8:06 2016 NZDT
GPS: 21 48.377S 170 19.170E
Run: 113.7nm (205.8km)
Avg: 7knts
24hr: 169nm
Weather: 5-8k variable. Swell 1.0m. 15% blue sky.

Yeehah, we are underway to Opua. Waved goodbye to Vanuatu with our beautiful turquoise spinnaker which we doused at sunset. The wind dropped during the night so we are currently motor sailing. Sel Citron is about 5nm to port. Saw 2 huge vessels in the night, neither of them on AIS!! Jo and Mods are great company to have on board! Lots of laughs! 831nm to go.

Thu Dec 1 15:57 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.59728S 169 46.31854E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

WE'RE OFF. NZ, here we come. Looking forward to it!

Wed Nov 30 10:24 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.53226S 169 46.32336E
Run: 0.4nm (0.7km)

The forecast tropical depression has arrived here at Aneityum - it's a calm, grey drizzly day. Our water tanks are overflowing with collected rainwater - yah. So we are relaxing some more, doing a 'wasgij' jigsaw while we talk some more shyte! Looking at the forecast ahead we may leave on Friday and do a detour via Norfolk Island........ we'll see how the forecast shapes up after the worst of the TD passes, supposedly tonight.

Doing the wasgij. Can you spot Sel Citron in the background?
Doing the wasgij. Can you spot Sel Citron in the background?
Sun Nov 27 9:28 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.90891S 169 46.35644E
Run: 0.7nm (1.3km)

Mmmmmm, a few sore heads this morning, I'm thinking. We had a mixologists' "cocktail competition" last night between Sel Citron and Kiapa. SC created the 'Salty Lemon', fancily decorated with bright red hibiscus, and Kiapa mixed up a 'Mango Magic' and a 'Kiapa's Coconut Painkiller', decorated with frangipanis and little umbrellas. The verdict is still out as to which creation was the yummiest. And then the dancing began!

Mango magic
Mango magic
Sipping on the Salty Lemon
Sipping on the Salty Lemon
Fri Nov 25 14:48 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.30826S 169 46.61937E
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)

After conferring with The Lemons over a coffee this morning we have decided to stay put here at Aneityum for a few more days. The forecast is for light winds for the next 2-3 days and then big swell .......... also it's a whole lot warmer here!! Aaahh well, that means time for more mangoes and pawpaws!

Welcoming The Lemons into the anchorage this morning with Kiapa's coconut waving dance.
Welcoming The Lemons into the anchorage this morning with Kiapa's coconut waving dance.
Thu Nov 24 17:46 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.59161S 169 46.27815E
Run: 197.5nm (357.5km)
Avg: 6.1knts
24hr: 147nm

Arrived in Aneityum in time for lunch. Had a fast and bumpy sail yesterday arvo, then a slow motor sail through the night (the winds were fluky between Erromongo and Tanna Islands and we had a strong adverse current), but a ripper of a sail this morning which saw Jo getting 14k when on the helm! We will wait here for our mates The Lemons on Sel Citron to arrive, and then we plan to depart for NZ buddy boating together.

Wed Nov 23 9:31 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 44.41220S 168 18.81572E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

The Captain has made the call......... we are off! We plan to sail out of Port Vila shortly and will do an overnighter to the southern most Vanuatuan island, Aneityum. We'll wait there for a weather window to NZ - early indications dictate that may be by the w/e. Will keep you posted.

Tue Nov 22 15:39 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 44.45547S 168 18.81966E
Run: 4.5nm (8.1km)

Moored in Port Vila, doing last minute provisioning, clearing out with Customs and Immigration etc. Our crew Jo and Anthony are on board, so all in all we are ready to begin our passage south to NZ. From here we plan to go to Erromongo, then to Aneityum (Vanuatu's southern most island) where we will sit and wait for a good weather window.

Thu Nov 17 12:35 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 41.59261S 168 16.01248E
Run: 4.6nm (8.3km)

Anchored off Hideaway Island, not too far from Port Vila. Our good friends on Sel Citron are 'next door'. Must be the nearby local school's swimming lessons here in the bay as we can see and hear lots of kids having fun! Just had a lovely snorkel.

Mon Nov 14 14:36 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 44.58849S 168 18.78876E
Run: 10.6nm (19.2km)

Motored in to 'the big smoke' of Port Vila this morning - time to do some laundry, drop off a few bags of rubbish, buy some fresh fruit and veggies and access better internet. Caught a whopper of a wahoo along the way so guess it'll have to be 5 star fresh fish for dinner for the next few nights!

Sun Nov 13 11:24 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 36.60714S 168 14.02419E
Run: 0.8nm (1.4km)

Still anchored off Lelepa Island, and at the minute listening to beautiful singing from the church choir as it carries across the water. Had a swim/snorkel earlier and were treated to a dugong mum and her calf slowly swimming past us. What a treat as it's not often these shy animals come close. Also saw huge huge clams.

Sat Nov 12 9:03 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 36.80363S 168 13.36798E
Run: 2.6nm (4.7km)

Moved to the southern tip of Lelepa Island, close to the village. Went ashore to have a look at the ENORmous limestone cave which forms part of this area's World Heritage listing together with nearby Eretoka Island where Chief Roimata and his 25 wives are buried. Planning on going scuba diving later today.

Fri Nov 4 16:50 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 34.563S 168 12.879E
Run: 12.8nm (23.2km)

Now anchored in 8m over white sand

Fri Nov 4 8:59 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 30.91403S 168 23.84960E
Run: 0.6nm (1.1km)

We are leaving our happy kiteboarding grounds today heading for Havana harbour 10 miles downwind.

Sadly we are saying goodbye to Bart and Lil from Tranquilo after breakfast . They are headed to the northwest passage and over the top of Canada. Brrrrrr

Fri Oct 28 9:59 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 30.69443S 168 23.39096E

We haven't moved very far in the last week as conditions have been excellent for kiting. The wind cranks up around 8am and then backs down around sunset, there's a perfect white sandy beach to launch from, there's no reef to avoid, and it's not tide affected. Oh and the local villagers give us more fruit than we can consume! Heaven!

Thu Oct 20 8:41 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 30.72416S 168 23.38754E
Run: 16.7nm (30.2km)

Anchored in very calm conditions off Nguna, Kakula and Pele Islands which are small islands to the north of Efate. These are also pretty volcanic islands, but extinct volcanoes, so phew, no ash fall around here!! We had a great 6 hour sail to here yesterday - flat water with a nice breeze which had us tacking for the last couple of hours, but hey, who minds when conditions are so comfortable.

Mon Oct 17 9:05 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 44.50978S 168 18.74507E
Run: 145.6nm (263.5km)
Avg: 3knts
24hr: 71.3nm

We arrived in Port Vila yesterday afternoon after a great overnight sail from Tanna. Huh, the ash that changed Kiapa from her pretty aqua colour to grey grey grey chased us away. We had to use buckets and buckets of salt water to try and clean the decks, and luckily we have had a soft drizzle for the last 12 hours to wash the salt off. But boy, the spectacle of the volcano made it all worth while. My bucket list is now one item shorter.

Sat Oct 15 8:06 2016 NZDT
GPS: 19 31.504S 169 29.796E
Weather: 2-5k variable. Swell 0m. 10% blue sky.

wow Wow WOW!! The active volcano, Mt Yasur, which we all come to see when anchored here at Tanna, is truly quite something. We had postponed heading to the summit to wait for 'perfect' weather conditions - our patience paid off BIG time. All day yesterday we could hear rumbling and roaring from the anchorage and when we arrived at the base of mountain we spotted tephra/pyroclastic debris (aka big lava bombs) flying 100's of meters into the air. What a spectacle! Our guide warned us to keep an eye on where these landed....... a timely warning because about 10 minutes later a sizeable piece landed about 25m away from where we were standing. Yikes!! And then the sun set and the real fireworks began (due to the darker sky). Photos will have to follow at a later stage (due to this report coming in via sailmail).

Thu Oct 13 9:09 2016 NZDT
GPS: 19 31.504S 169 29.796E
Run: 52.6nm (95.2km)
Weather: 5-8k variable. Swell 1.0m. 5% blue sky.

Snugly anchored in Port Resolution Bay, Tanna Island for the last few days with our friends on Tranquilo, Speakeasy and Marilyn. We have been made to feel very welcome by the people in the nearby village, having already experienced a little 3 year old boy's special ceremonial birthday party amongst other things. Yesterday some of us took a truck ride to the bigger town of Lenekal on the western side - quite an experience, while Lionel and Bart helped a local fellow install/connect his solar panels to his batteries and inverter. He was SO chuffed because they don't have power here, but now he will have lights at night. I am sure he is going to be the envy of his mates! Today one of the ladies is going to teach me how to hand wash some laundry "the local way". Hopefully the weather will clear a bit so that we can make our way up the volcano.

Mon Oct 3 15:06 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 14.430S 169 46.434E
Run: 79nm (143km)
Avg: 2.6knts
24hr: 61.4nm
Weather: 8-11k variable. Swell 1.0m. 85% blue sky.

Arrived safely yesterday and now happily anchored in the bay near Mystery Island, Aneityum, Vanuatu. It's lovely to see an island nearly totally covered in virgin forest! Went ashore to 'clear in' this morning, and plan to go for a snorkel this afternoon.

Sun Oct 2 8:12 2016 NZDT
GPS: 20 01.951S 170 58.225E
Run: 438.8nm (794.2km)
Avg: 18.6knts
24hr: 445.3nm
Weather: 5-7k variable. Swell 1.0m. 80% blue sky.

The wind has backed right down and is now mostly from behind - even the spinny won't stay up, so we have just started motor-sailing. All very well on board.

Sat Oct 1 8:33 2016 NZDT
GPS: 18 57.909S 177 36.583E
Run: 92nm (166.5km)
Avg: 3.9knts
24hr: 93.2nm
Weather: 8-12k variable . Swell 1.5m . 90% blue sky.

This cat is lapping up the milk..... oh I mean miles ..... in purrrrrfect cruising conditions. Have covered 218 nm in the 24 hours since we left Fiji yesterday morning. Yesterday we lost a monster fish right at the back of the boat, but then at sunrise this morning the good ole squidly-jig-thingo caught us a fab size tuna. Guess we'll be having fresh tuna for the next few meals!! We're on our way to Aneityum, Vanuatu.

Fri Sep 30 8:51 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 45.202S 177 01.729E
Run: 23.2nm (42km)

Farewell fabulous Fiji. Thank you for the AWESOME time we have had in your beautiful island nation. We have departed for Vanuatu.......

Wed Sep 28 8:53 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.22375S 177 22.89151E
Run: 12.8nm (23.2km)

On a mooring at Port Denarau Marina getting all those last minute things done before heading west to Vanuatu. We plan to clear out by the weekend some time.

Mon Sep 26 8:43 2016 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.48717S 177 11.23347E
Run: 4.6nm (8.3km)

Boo hoo, it's our last morning at Musket. Had a great farewell potluck ashore last night - sad to say goodbye to so many great friends. Later today we will go to Denarau Marina and fill gas bottles, do laundry, provision up....... and generally get ready for our crossing to Vanuatu in a few days time.

Thu Sep 22 14:03 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 50.466S 177 11.005E
Run: 4.9nm (8.9km)

After a fabulous 5 days of Regatta activities we are happily anchored off one of our favourite islands, Namotu, searching for that elusive wave. Probably just as well there's not much surf - we need a couple of days to recover from all the fun!

Hoping to leave for Vanuatu soon, but there's no wind forecast for the next week......

Ever popular, the hobie cat racing was a challenge in the super glassy conditions.
Ever popular, the hobie cat racing was a challenge in the super glassy conditions.
Some interesting boats participated, including this double masted but mainsail-less cat.
Some interesting boats participated, including this double masted but mainsail-less cat.
We didn't race on Kiapa - instead we jumped onboard Caro Vita owned by Don Salthouse. And yeehah, we came 2nd!
We didn't race on Kiapa - instead we jumped onboard Caro Vita owned by Don Salthouse. And yeehah, we came 2nd!
Tue Sep 20 7:53 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.20926S 177 11.24039E
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)

Suddenly our time in Fiji is nearly over! Boy, the 4 months have flown by! But not before we enjoy the shenanigans of the regatta here at Musket Cove. Pirate Day, Coconut Olympics, hobie cat racing, hairy chest competitions.....We also welcome Georges, our crew from Paris, on board Kiapa.

Welcome aboard, Georges.
Welcome aboard, Georges.
Oh what a feeling! Celebrating our 3rd place in the Coconut Olympics.
Oh what a feeling! Celebrating our 3rd place in the Coconut Olympics.
As always, the staff at the Island Bar are stars! Ever friendly and happy.
As always, the staff at the Island Bar are stars! Ever friendly and happy.
Fri Sep 16 16:56 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.59164S 177 11.13290E
Run: 74.9nm (135.6km)

Back at Musket Cove after 5-6 weeks of exploring. Lovely to see everyone again. This morning there were around 75 boats moored/anchored here, and while kiting this afternoon about 10 more pulled in. Let the Regatta party begin!

Fri Sep 9 8:50 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 19.14813S 178 12.99917E
Run: 0.4nm (0.7km)

Loving our sojourn here. Anchored up with 4 other cruising boats (all mates) so organised a most enjoyable bbq pot luck on the beach close by. Oh and this was after a great kiting session in the afternoon. Happy happy!

Thu Sep 8 11:11 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 18.82224S 178 12.89535E
Run: 38nm (68.8km)

Yip, it's windy here all right, and that's why we plan to stay here for the next little while! Kiters heaven!!

Wed Sep 7 6:50 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 59.6102S 178 40.9121E
Run: 45.7nm (82.7km)

Up early this morning to get a head start on the typically strong breeze across Blight Water. Spent the night at Nabouwalu (aka Coconut Point) after a great sail down from Savusavu. Nothing like sailing in 15k of beam-on breeze in flat water (due to nearby fringing reefs)!! I suspect today's sail across to Viti Levu will be a tad more boisterous!!

Tue Sep 6 7:42 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 46.67493S 179 20.10533E
Run: 26.2nm (47.4km)

Quick overnight stop in Savusavu - did the laundry and offloaded a bag of rubbish last night and this morning will visit the market to buy fresh fruit and veggies before heading out again. 'Twas lovely catching up with various cruising friends last night, but on on.....

Fri Sep 2 7:38 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 43.650S 179 43.648E
Run: 11.6nm (21km)

We are now at Fawn harbour, anchored up with Bart on Tranquilo. Great kitesurfing to be had!

Thu Sep 1 7:12 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 45.325S 179 53.979E

After 4 fabulous days of diving in Viani Bay we're thinking of moving on...... the wind's up so we'll probably sail down to Fawn Harbour. But what a memorable time we've had here - Rainbow Reef certainly deserves its reputation. The world renowned White Wall was spectacular, as was Jerry's Jelly and the Cabbage Patch, but even more breath taking (in our humble opinion) was the Purple Wall. A true underwater feast for the eyes. Thanks to a fellow diver for sharing his photos (out little camera doesn't go to the depths we dived to).

No photo enhancing here - just a good camera with lights. These truly were the colours of the Purple Wall.
No photo enhancing here - just a good camera with lights. These truly were the colours of the Purple Wall.
There were many shades of purple..........
There were many shades of purple..........
The Cabbage Patch.
The Cabbage Patch.
Tue Aug 30 8:21 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 45.325S 179 53.979E

Woke up to glorious 100% blue sky, a rarity here in the tropics. Off to dive the Purple Wall and Cabbage Patch later today. Yeehah!

Mon Aug 29 16:20 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 45.325S 179 53.979E

As they say in the classics......OMG!!! The scuba diving has been quite simply FRIGGING AWESOME. Those of you who have dived sections of the Rainbow Reef will know what I am talking about, but for those of you unfamiliar with this area of Fiji know that it is recognised as one of the best diving locations in the world - a worthy reputation. Have done 3 scuba dives: The White Wall, Jerry's Jelly and The Fish Factory. All mind blowing. If you read this and are still in Fiji and haven't been here....... you should come!

The very well camouflaged Titan Scorpion fish.
The very well camouflaged Titan Scorpion fish.
We were fortunate enough to see a Blue Ribbon Eel (pointed out to us by our guide). Such a pretty colour.
We were fortunate enough to see a Blue Ribbon Eel (pointed out to us by our guide). Such a pretty colour.
A huge bed of Garden Eels. Of course as soon as one gets close they pop back down into their tunnels.
A huge bed of Garden Eels. Of course as soon as one gets close they pop back down into their tunnels.
Sun Aug 28 14:00 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 45.325S 179 53.979E
Run: 21.1nm (38.2km)

After a great few days in snug Naiviivi Bay, Qamea, including a rather adventurous dinghy ride across the straight to the eastern side of Taveuni to do the scenic Lavena Coasteal Hike, we upped anchor to move on. We had a great (mostly) aft-of-beam sail to Viani Bay, and are looking forward to some scuba diving, including on the famous White Wall of Rainbow Reef.

Thu Aug 25 15:29 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 45.849S 179 46.911W
Run: 24.1nm (43.6km)

Just WHERE does the time go? Maybe something happened when we sailed over the International Dateline? Suddenly it's the end of the week and we have moved from Paradise Resort on Taveuni to stunning Naiviivii Bay on Qamea Island. It's a deep bay surrounded by mountains - very scenic indeed. Went searching for surf yesterday, but it was a bit too windy. So went and socialised in the village instead. Loving life!

Sun Aug 21 7:33 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 56.01100S 179 54.01162E
Run: 39nm (70.6km)

Had an 'interesting' sail across to Taveuni. Stared off motoring in 0.5k of breeze, but the it picked up to a very nice 15k half way across which had us blitzing - all the while in low cloud drizzle which meant very poor visibility. Luckily we caught dinner before we got cracking. Now on a free!! mooring in front of small but stunning Paradise Resort (on the southern tip of Taveuni) where we are allowed to use all the resort's amazing facilities.

Thu Aug 18 9:46 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 46.69956S 179 19.96577E
Run: 3.8nm (6.9km)

In Savusavu for a few days - nice to be back after a couple of years. It's been raining quite a bit, so Kiapa is squeaky clean and our water tanks are full. Hired a car and went on an 'off the beaten track' road trip to hunt down some ancient petroglyphs I'd read about. Awesome inland scenery with wonderfully friendly villagers along the way. Could see evidence of Cyclone Winston here and there.

One of the clearer petroglyphs we saw. I wonder what it means?
One of the clearer petroglyphs we saw. I wonder what it means?
These 2 girls from the village kindly took us through the forest to the petroglyphs site. See the one at their feet?
These 2 girls from the village kindly took us through the forest to the petroglyphs site. See the one at their feet?
The tranquil village of Dakuniba. We hiked into the forest you can see.
The tranquil village of Dakuniba. We hiked into the forest you can see.
Sun Aug 14 17:00 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 48.64749S 179 17.23077E
Run: 47.1nm (85.3km)

Another great day's sail. After an early start (6.15am) we dropped anchor just off Cousteau's Resort 9 hours later. Caught a nice fish for dinner. Tomorrow we'll head in to Savusavu.

Sat Aug 13 16:13 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 52.07178S 178 34.62510E
Run: 38.6nm (69.9km)

Had an absolute rip-snorter of a sail across the notoriously rough Bligh Passage (between Fiji's 2 big islands) today. 20-25k beam-on winds saw Kiapa flying along at an average of 10k, as she (and we) loves to do. Luckily the sea state wasn't too bad, and even though we were prepared with a double reef in the main all went really well. And a bonus was being escorted part the way by a big pod of spinner dolphins - but they whispered to us it was a bit too rough to show off with spins and twirls. Now happily anchored in tranquil Bua Bay, en route to Savusavu.

Spinner Dolphins escorted us safely across part of Bligh waters.
Spinner Dolphins escorted us safely across part of Bligh waters.
Thu Aug 11 18:05 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 18.82842S 178 13.57359E
Run: 32.5nm (58.8km)

Arrived safely at the northern end of Viti Levu earlier this afternoon. This spot, Nananu-i-ra, is well known for its windy conditions, so we hope to enjoy a few days of kiting. The forecast looks promising. After the "busy-ness" of Musket Cove it's delightfully peaceful here.

Wed Aug 10 15:52 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 25.05069S 177 44.74060E
Run: 34.8nm (63km)

Yeehah, we are on our way north! Motor-sailed this morning and are now anchored, very peacefully, off the only stretch of sandy beach in 200km on this NW side of Viti Levu. Even caught a 'mystery' fish for dinner.

Tue Aug 9 17:03 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 45.894S 177 21.814E
Run: 11.3nm (20.5km)

Anchored off Denarau, waiting out the rain. (it's been 3 days now of rain). Kiapa is washed clean and the water tanks are full.

Tomorrow we head around the top of Vitu Levu, the big island and to the NE kiteboarding corner Nanu-i-ra.

Sun Aug 7 8:05 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.41336S 177 11.52964E
Run: 7.6nm (13.8km)

Back at Musket Cove for a few days, waiting for the predicted 4 day "rain bomb" to pass. We were hoping to head north after dropping Steve off on Friday, but the weather gods won't allow this. Hopefully we can watch some Olympics at the resort.

Thu Aug 4 11:15 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 53.02414S 177 11.90251E
Run: 7.9nm (14.3km)

Happily anchored off the world famous Cloudbreak. Well, not quite at the surf break itself, but just behind the reef which picks up the swell. The blue dot in the photo shows our location and to the 'left' is Cloudbreak. It's a gloriously windless day and the surf looks good (but a tad crowded), which is lovely for Steve 'cause he leaves tomorrow.

The blue dot shows where we are anchored. To the north is Tavarua Island, to the NW Namotu.
The blue dot shows where we are anchored. To the north is Tavarua Island, to the NW Namotu.
Tue Aug 2 17:05 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.21073S 177 11.57218E
Run: 20.4nm (36.9km)

Had a totally AWESOME spinnaker sail back to Musket Cove. We'll be here for a couple of days before Steve flies back to Western Australia.

Sun Jul 31 20:58 2016 NZST
GPS: 18 3.14804S 177 17.15583E
Run: 20.4nm (36.9km)

Have been anchored off Likuri Island (better known as Robinson Crusoe Island) for the last couple of nights. Went to the spectacular "cultural show" last night, which, through dance, told the story of Fiji's history from the early cannibal days to the arrival of 'palangis'. Then today we went exploring up the mangrove-lined creek in the dinghy, followed by a stint of estuary fishing - but no luck.

The Fire Dance was quite the sight to behold.
The Fire Dance was quite the sight to behold.
The dance which told the story about welcoming visitors all those years ago.
The dance which told the story about welcoming visitors all those years ago.
Exploring up the mangrove creek.
Exploring up the mangrove creek.
Sat Jul 16 8:30 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.28981S 177 22.84294E
Run: 48.1nm (87.1km)

Back at Denarau Marina for a couple of days to farewell my sister as she flies back to Holland and to welcome Steve who flies in from Western Australia.

Thu Jul 14 8:49 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 04.97S 177 16.629E
Run: 11.4nm (20.6km)

Anchored in 8m on a sandy bottom in a very protected little bay which forms part of the larger Somosomo Bay. Visited the chief of the nearby village with our bunch of kava and to our delight discovered the chief is a 91 year old lady!! Did a beaut snorkel and happy to see evidence of 'coral farming' on 3X4m lattice work, and also to see my favourite little fishies that I haven't seen in ages - the Longnose Filefish. But bummer, not too far from that saw quite a few Crown of Thorns, so donned gloves, bbq tongs and with big breath holds and managed to nab 12. Into a big bucket they went, to be buried on the beach.

My fav little fishy, th Longnose Filefish.
My fav little fishy, the Longnose Filefish.
Looks like an urchin, but it's actually a Crown of Thorns.
Looks like an urchin, but it's actually a Crown of Thorns.
Andi, the 91 year old chief of Somosomo Village.
Andi, the 91 year old chief of Somosomo Village.
Tue Jul 12 8:40 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 56.58278S 177 22.04884E
Run: 21.2nm (38.4km)

Arrived back in beautiful Blue Lagoon yesterday - Lionel is still looking for Brooke Shields! Quite a windy day which meant Vera and I had loads of time to gas-bag while Lionel went kiting. But we did go for a nice snorkel in the lee of the island. Saw a moray eel, a school of squid, clownfish and lots of very colourful little reef fish.

Peek-a-boo to you. Vera chatting to a clownfish.
Peek-a-boo to you. Vera chatting to a clownfish.
Wide blue skies and wide sandy beaches...... great for kiting.
Wide blue skies and wide sandy beaches ....... great for kiting.
Lots and LOTS of colourful little fishies.
Lots and LOTS of colourful little fishies.
Always a bit scary........
Always a bit scary.........
Sun Jul 10 7:53 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 42.534S 177 34.510E

What a FABULOUS place this is, way way at the 'top' of the Yasawas. It is incredibly beautiful, and oh so peaceful. We have snorkelled, explored the surrounding area in the dinghy, the village chief took Lionel fishing at his favourite spot, his wife invited us to her birthday afternoon tea....... we certainly hope to come back.

One of the many beautiful turquoise beaches.
One of the many beautiful turquoise beaches.
Birthday afternoon tea with Ratu the Chief and Wenee his wife.
Birthday afternoon tea with Ratu the Chief and Wenee his wife.
Champagne at sunset on Champagne Beach. Pure heaven!
Champagne at sunset on Champagne Beach. Pure heaven!
Stunning, STUNNING beaches.
Stunning, STUNNING beaches.
Thu Jul 7 14:50 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 42.534S 177 34.510E
Run: 21.3nm (38.6km)
Avg: 2.7knts
24hr: 63.7nm

So now we are anchored up at beautiful Champagne Beach (Yasawairara) and the eager chief of the village has requested kava tonight. I just hope the Kava does not turn our legs into lava...

Tomorrow its diving and kiting...on jelly legs.

Here is a pic of happy fisherman Irene gave free Sunnies on behalf of the Lions Club New Zealand

Thu Jul 7 6:49 2016 NZST
GPS: 16 56.630S 177 22.018E
Run: 19.9nm (36km)

After a beaut few days of 20-25kn winds at Blue Lagoon, we are headed up to Champagne beach on the northern most island of the Yasawas. Blue Lagoon provided kiting, kiting, and more kiting, as well as a visit to Toki and Meri's fabulous veggie farm and a cuppa with chocolate cake at Lo's Tea House. Oh, and a fun sunset 10 dinghy raft-up. And best of all, my sister Vera is here with us.

Sat Jul 2 16:27 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 10.314S 177 11.05098E
Run: 41.9nm (75.8km)

Well, Kiapa has finally broken free of its mooring at Musket Cove and collected Vera, Irene's sister who is visiting us from Holland. We are now anchored off the manta ray pass , waiting to interact with these gentle giants..

Sat Jun 18 0:43 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.68587S 177 11.08755E
Run: 4.5nm (8.1km)

What a fantastic day! For the better part of this morning we were out at Cloudbreak watching the men's Fiji Pro Surf Competition. The conditions were perfect: big surf, no wind, warm sun, and a very festive atmosphere. For those who don't know, Cloudbreak is a reef break, far far offshore, and the only way to watch is from a boat, so we took Kiapa out there, anchored her safely nearby and dinghied over. Together with scores of others! Brazilians and Aussies dominated the quarterfinals, with Gabriel Medina vs Aussie Matt Wilkinson in the final. Much to the delight of the very vocal Brazilian supporters, Medina won.

Thu Jun 16 12:52 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 50.598S 177 11.170E
Run: 5nm (9.1km)

Snakes Alive!! Happily anchored off beautiful Namotu Island, combining going for a surf with watching both a beautiful banded sea snake sniffing out Kiapa's back step, and going out in the dinghy to watch the Fiji Pro Surf Comp at Cloudbreak. All in all an awesome day.

Kelly Slater in a barrel. Yeehah!
Wed Jun 8 7:35 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.243S 177 11.401E
Run: 4.4nm (8km)

surprise surprise, back in Musket. Waiting for surf

Fri Jun 3 12:02 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 50..446S 177 10.964E
Run: 4.4nm (8km)

Anchored off beautiful Namotu Island. It looks like they lost quite a bit of beach and some trees as a result of Cyclone Winston, but the water is as turquoise as always and the surf just as good.. Arms still feel like spaghetti!

Mon May 30 16:15 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.209S 177 11.37E
Run: 12.7nm (23km)

We're baaaaaccckkk at Musket Cove, our winter home, and loving it already. On the way out here from Denarau Marina we deviated to Namotu to check out the surf, and consequently Lionel and I both had 'spaghetti arms' last night! The result of not having surfed/paddled for quite some time! But the water was 27 degrees, everyone was mellow in the surf, and we both managed to catch some waves. Then arriving at Musket Cove we were promptly invited to a pot luck dinner with all the other "old timers" of Musket. It was lovely to see them all again, and to hear their summer-time stories. Yes, it's great to be back.

Wed May 25 0:00 2016 NZST
GPS: 17 46.373S 177 22.95E
Run: 56.6nm (102.4km)
Avg: 3.3knts
24hr: 78.4nm

BULA!! Oops, we missed a day's log! Must be because we have quickly moved on to 'Fiji time'. Well, what a totally fantabulous ending to our passage back to Fiji. We furled the screecher, dropped the main, and hoisted our beautiful turquoise spinnaker for the most glorious 6 hour finale just about right up to where we dropped the anchor for the night. In 6k of wind we ghosted along and since we weren't going to make the 3pm cut-off with Customs and Immigration we decided to 'detour' past the world famous surf break, Cloudbreak. OMG!! The enormous swell we had been sailing with/over (?) since Minerva had reached this reef and while I was sort-of nervously in charge of helming (a bit too close to the break for my comfort) trying to keep wind in the spinny, Lionel was watching the guys being towed in to the huge surf. As the sun started setting we celebrated with beers and champagne. The stuff dreams are made of. Big BIG thanks to Norm and Ian for helping us on this passage.

We cleared in with Customs, Biosecurity, Health - no problemo. Rather than pulling up to the purpose-built dock at Vuda Marina in Kiapa herself, Lionel asked permission to anchor outside and dinghy in with all the filled in paperwork, our passports, etc. (The dock is too small for Kiapa, and the turning circle to get out again is uber- tight!) Usually all these officials want to step on board to check everything for themselves, but he was given the 'okay' to do this. Awesome!! Lionel managed to clear us in very quickly, all good. Norm and Ian disembarked, we sailed to Port Denarau Marina, and here we are, back in our winter home. Smiling Fijians, lots of Bula-ing, frangipanis, warm breezes, Fiji Bitter........ We'll stay here on the dock for a few days, washing the salts off, servicing/checking a few things, refuelling, doing the laundry...... and then we'll head back out to the islands.

Vinaka Fiji, thanks for welcoming us back.

Fiji on the horizon and we finish the passage under spinnaker.
Fiji on the horizon and we finish the passage under spinnaker.
The big-eye tuna we caught on day 1.
The big-eye tuna we caught on day 1.
On one of the really calm days Lionel decided to service our dunny! Go figure!
Tue May 24 6:40 2016 NZST
GPS: 18 34.661S 177 32.292E
Run: 179.9nm (325.6km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 180nm
Weather: 3-5k variable . Swell 1.5m . 30% blue sky.

One of the frequently asked questions asked of cruisers is 'How do you spend the time when it's your watch?' Over the years I've heard all sorts of responses: from sitting diligently at the helm keeping an eye on the horizon and the instruments, to reading, to doing puzzles, to snoozing (with the alarm clock set), to baking, to doing a routine of stretches, to practising knot tying...... Can you work out what I do for part of my shift? "Hello There. Life Beyond Work is Offshore, Sailing So Far Away. Changes in Latitude. All I need are Dolphins and Albatross, Aquamarine. Anything is Possible. It's Almost Full Moon and it's a Starry Night, So Beautiful. Feeling Good, a Change is Going to Come, as i Farewell the Darkness with a Little Ray of Sunshine. So Happy Together." Yip, you guessed it, I enjoy listening to music.

Mon May 23 6:41 2016 NZST
GPS: 20 45.519S 179 02.865E
Run: 198.5nm (359.3km)
Avg: 8.2knts
24hr: 198nm
Weather: 3-5k variable . Swell 2.0m . 20% blue sky.

What a rip-snorter of a run we had from Minerva yesterday up until 4am this morning! 202nm in 22 hours! But bugger, wouldn't you know it, as I came on to my shift at 4am the wind died, so we are bobbing around - I hesitate to start the motors which would be a horrible alarm clock for the crew! But maybe I should, as the sunrise is looking pretty 'spekky' at the moment! But hooray, we had a GREAT day's sailing yesterday.

Sun May 22 6:37 2016 NZST
GPS: 23 37.721S 178 55.752E
Run: 135.9nm (246km)
Avg: 6knts
24hr: 144.9nm
Weather: 15-18k W . Swell 1.0m . 0% blue sky.

After too a short stay at Minerva Reef we are just about to get underway again, and while we would have preferred to stay for a few more days, as is often the case, the weather dictates our movement. A breeze associated with squally conditions has been forecast for today, Sunday, so after the very light wind conditions of last week there is going to be a mass exodus - at last count yesterday there were 24 of us anchored here. I can hear the crayfish breathing a sigh of relief. We had a great day yesterday - very social, with morning tea here, afternoon tea there, sunset drinks with the neighbours..... but best of all was the AMAZING snorkel we had just outside the pass. Stunning corals 'decorated' with antheas, royal angel, clown, trigger and job fish, a school of trevally, peacock trout, sweetlips, and of course sharks. The visibility was around 30m. yip, AMAZING.

Sat May 21 8:06 2016 NZST
GPS: 23 38.970S 178 55.494W
Run: 42.2nm (76.4km)

Happily anchored in Minerva North with about 16 boats. Domino kindly offered the entire fleet drinks on board. What a party! Kiapa may head off to Fiji tomorrow morning. We are hoping for a two day a perfect world.

Fri May 20 14:49 2016 NZST
GPS: 24 11.707S 179 13.434W
Run: 153.2nm (277.3km)
Avg: 4.8knts
24hr: 115.9nm
Weather: 2k variable . Swell 1.0m . 10% blue sky.

How lucky was I yesterday? I went on an International Date - not only with Lionel, but Norm and Ian as well!! And now I am all confused, is it today, or is it yesterday?? (Is there the equivalent of a Shellback/Pollywog in this case?) We hope to make landfall - oh, oops, there isn't any land!! - at North Minerva around lunchtime today.

Thu May 19 7:06 2016 NZST
GPS: 26 08.154S 179 35.479E
Run: 177.1nm (320.6km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 176.6nm
Weather: 3 SE . Swell 1.0m . 60% blue sky.

After listening to various SSB net schedules yesterday and this morning, what I am picturing right now is not quite the ITCZ, but the NMCZ - the North Minerva Convergence Zone. Yip, it sounds like the proverbial 'ants to the honey pot' as those of us who left NZ last weekend get closer and closer to what, I think, is going to be rather a festive anchorage. Those poor crayfish, they must be crawling further back in their holes.....

Wed May 18 7:02 2016 NZST
GPS: 28 22.309S 178 10.934E
Run: 163.8nm (296.5km)
Avg: 6.8knts
24hr: 163.5nm
Weather: 6-12 SE . Swell 0.5m . 40% blue sky.

Yesterday was a combination of a yoga/pilates/aerobics/tai chi day as we reached this way and that, squatted down to retrieve this, stretched out to grab that as we changed sail configurations again and again, trying to maximise boat speed in light and variable wind conditions. (I'm convinced this is the Captain's way of keeping his crew strong, supple and flexible!)The heady was furled, the screecher went out, the screecher was furled, the spinny went up, the spinny was doused, the heady and screecher were goose-winged, then furled, the spinny went up a second time...... all in gloriously warm conditions under blue skies. By dinner time a few squalls threatened, but with these came a gentle SE, so our muscle-building/maintenance routine came to an end. Another good passage-maling day.

Tue May 17 6:59 2016 NZST
GPS: 30 32.631S 177 05.511E
Run: 193.4nm (350.1km)
Avg: 8.3knts
24hr: 198.6nm
Weather: 15-20 SW . Swell 1m . 80% blue sky.

You know the mental image some people have of cruising....... that it's all about the wind in your hair, sailing off over the horizon to a coconut tree lined white sandy beach in the tropics, a nice breeze from behind with a gentle swell to push you along, curled up with a good book while one of the crew keep an eye on the instruments, freshly caught fish bbq-ed for dinner, good company, all the while listening to soothing instrumental music like Ocean Radiance by Ken Davis and Starry Night by Jo Satriani......well if you can imagine that scene, that's what it's been like on the good ship Kiapa for the last 24 hours. Enough said! Long may it last.

Mon May 16 7:37 2016 NZST
GPS: 33 00.660S 175 32.274E
Run: 174.2nm (315.3km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 193.3nm
Weather: 5 kn variable . Swell 0.5m . 55% blue sky.

What a fabulous start to our passage. Blue skies, mountains off to port, and while still in the Bay of Islands we landed our first fish - a nice size bonito, but oops, being 'fussy' fish eaters we decided to release it. And just as well, 'cause WHAM, an hour later, a monster strike. This time a big big-eye tuna! Light and variable wind conditions continued, but with delicious homemade fruit cake (thanks Doreen), visiting albatross', noise-cancelling earphones to make listening to the iPod even more enjoyable, yummily cooked on the bbq (I kid you not) tuna steaks for dinner, followed by an entertaining game of DOH Cranium (thanks Maunie), who can complain?? We've seen quite a few AIS targets, all enormous commercial cargo carriers, so it pays to be vigilent.

Sun May 15 9:59 2016 NZST
GPS: 35 14.3424S 174 06.7464E
Run: 5nm (9.1km)

We cleared with Customs nice and early this morning and are now officially underway to Minerva Reef. The soft grey fog has lifted and we are motoring out the Bay of Islands in beautiful sunshine. Hopefully the wind kicks in soon. There are 4 of us on board: Lionel and Myself, and our trusty crew, Ian and Norm. Here's to a safe and comfortable passage.

Lots of yummy fresh fruit and veggies on board.
Fri May 13 17:42 2016 NZST
GPS: 35 18.67745S 174 7.34827E
Run: 0.4nm (0.7km)

The weather gods still say Sunday morning, so Sunday morning it is!! Winds should be no more than theory

Thu May 12 17:47 2016 NZST
GPS: 35 18.682s 174 07.812E

After looking at the forecast once more we have decided to delay our departure to Minerva Reef (and then Fiji), so no longer leaving today but now on Sunday. Thankgoodness NZ is still enjoying relatively warm weather - mostly still in thongs, sorry, jandals, and boardies.

Mon May 9 12:01 2016 NZST
GPS: 35 18.68204S 174 7.78196E
Run: 41.1nm (74.4km)

On a mooring in Opua. Waiting for a departure to Fiji on Thursday 12 May.

Wed May 4 8:53 2016 NZST
GPS: 35 50.24864S 174 28.13683E
Run: 41nm (74.2km)

We are now in Marsden Cove, Whangarei enjoying some social activities before heading to Opua in the next few day

Tue May 3 6:52 2016 NZST

Nice and snug with Fusio last night in Omaha cove. Today we both sail to Whangerei. Winds should be light.

Sun May 1 21:11 2016 NZST
GPS: 36 23.455S 174 44.08E
Run: 75.6nm (136.8km)

Very happily anchored in a scenic bay off beautiful Sandspit after a pleasant sail from Great Mercury Island. Solo sailing was fun! Irene back on board, as is Brian (aka Brainy), one of our crew for the passage to Fiji. Welcome back on board, Briany, it's good to see you again.

Welcome back on th good ship, Brainy.
Fri Apr 29 18:23 2016 NZST
GPS: 37 0.34337S 175 51.82657E
Run: 0.4nm (0.7km)

So my deck grip is all finished and Kiapa is ready to go. I will sail (and Irene will drive the car) from Tairua to Hauraki Gulf tomorrow and then start to pick up our crew for the passage to Fiji.

'Before and after' the deck grip is stuck on.
The Captain is one happy chappy.
Sticking on th very last piece, yeehah!
Tue Apr 26 18:50 2016 NZST
GPS: 37 0.05614S 175 51.63655E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

Ok, so today we got our new dick grip for Kiapa. All the way from the good ole USA. We will fit the grip to my dick tomorrow and then head north to Whangeriei over the weekend, Then off to Opua to wait for a weather window to Fiji. The crew heading up with us are Brian, Norm and Ian.

Sat Feb 27 13:08 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 59.990S 175 51.597E
Run: 19.8nm (35.8km)

Back in Tairua after a lovely week out exploring the Coromandel Coast, all the while enjoying freshly caught seafood. Now for our next adventure on South Island - we fly to Queenstown later today.

Tue Feb 23 17:33 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 42.968S 175 48.774E
Run: 58.1nm (105.2km)

Anchored at Opito bay. 6 miles south of the Mercs. Tomorrow back to Taiua which is 18 miles away. Tonight is fresh snapper and scallops again. Ho hum

Mon Feb 22 8:19 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 36.088S 174 46.501E
Run: 71.6nm (129.6km)

At last in Great Mercury Islands. Last night we ate Thai spiced scallops and the best snapper EVER. The cook was Dave Chrisp on Furtuna . Well done Dave. We will head back to Tairua on Wednesday and leave Kiapa there while we fly of to South Island to do a cycling, kiting and a great white shark dive. We will be back on Kiapa at end of March

Kiapa at the Mercs
Fay's 1987 AC challenge base . Mercury Island
Tucker Time onboard Kiapa
Sat Jan 30 18:24 2016 NZDT
GPS: 37 03.531S 175 56.205E
Run: 5.9nm (10.7km)

Happily anchored off privately owned Slipper Island, not too far from Tairua on the Coromandel. Have just returned from a scuba dive where we gathered some paua for dinner. Yum YUM. Lionel is cleaning them as I type this.

Bummer the Pohutukawa trees are in the shade.
Bummer the Pohutukawa trees are in the shade.
Sun Jan 10 12:34 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 59.990S 175 51.597E
Run: 27.9nm (50.5km)

After an early 5am start (to ensure we "crossed the bar" coming into the estuary mid morning at high tide) we are now berthed in the spectacularly located, brand spanking new Tairua Marina. We'll be based here for the next month, giving us the opportunity to explore the Coromandel by boat, bike and car.

Sat Jan 9 16:49 2016 NZDT
GPS: 36 40.3850S 175 33.891E
Run: 43.2nm (78.2km)

Comfortably anchored in Kennedy Bay on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula after a very pleasant sail from Fairway Bay. Saw quite a few whales along the way - we think they were Bryde whales. Plenty of wind here, but feeling snug, with aerobatic gannets diving for their dinner all around us. Two other yachts anchored close by.

Fri Dec 11 18:39 2015 NZDT
GPS: 36 37.00954S 174 47.34005E
Run: 57.1nm (103.4km)

Back in our old stomping ground, in the small but fab Fairway Bay Marina - with Sel Citron. Had another great day's sailing down from Whangarei, using both the screecher and the spinny, but not at the same time, haha!! Wanting to catch up with Fusio for a few rumbos.

Thu Dec 10 18:34 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 49.70766S 174 28.92700E
Run: 9nm (16.3km)

Snugly tucked into Marsden Cove Marina for the night. Went diving for scallops for dinner - overall very successful, harvesting some beaut big juicy ones. Sel Citron aka Kerry and Damian are joining us for dinner.

Lionel cleaning scallops for dinner.
Lionel cleaning scallops for dinner.
Tue Dec 8 14:41 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 45.401S 174 20.836E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

All jobs nearly done. Rudders checked, checked the shaft drive seals, checked and tefgelled the sheaves, polished out some scratch marks, re-tensioned the steering bridle, and antifouled the bottom. We will splash tomorrow and then begin to head to the Hauraki Gulf, looking for Santa.

The captain checks the rudders.
The captain checks the rudders.
Antifouling is never a very pleasant job!
Antifouling is never a very pleasant job!
Will we find Santa in the Hauraki Gulf?
Will we find Santa in the Hauraki Gulf?
Fri Dec 4 7:28 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 45.43204S 174 20.79654E
Run: 14.2nm (25.7km)

Out on the hard in the brand spanking new Port Whangarei Marine Centre. Nothing 'wrong', just want to do a general looky looky, checking in-takes, rudders etc. Will antifoul the bottom too since quite a few Kiwi marinas are worried about the spread of the introduced Mediterranean fan worm and want proof of a clean bottom before you can stay with them.

Fab new tammy lifter hoisted our home with ease!
Fab new tammy lifter hoisted our home with ease!
Yikes, the way we are (looks like) precariously balanced ...... Note the bike. This yard offers free bikes for us to use! Awesome!!
Yikes, the way we are (looks like) precariously balanced ...... Note the bike. This yard offers free bikes for us to use! Awesome!!
Tue Dec 1 14:18 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 37.16047S 174 32.10151E
Run: 32.2nm (58.3km)
Avg: 4.4knts
24hr: 105.1nm

In Tutukaka with Kapai and Maunie. Catching up with Ian and Doreen of Sea Bride tonight.

Tue Dec 1 6:57 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 13.244S 174 14.432E
Run: 9.3nm (16.8km)
Weather: 5 kn from E . Seas flat Swell slight . 95% cloudy sky.

Happily anchored in very peaceful Urupukapuka Bay, Bay of Islands. Enjoyed a tasty dinner of freshly caught fish last night with our good mates Graham and Di from s/v Maunie. We are SO looking forward to harvesting all sorts of tasty delectables from the sea!! Off to Tutukaka today.

Fri Nov 27 7:18 2015 NZDT
GPS: 35 18.834S 174 07.365E
Run: 115.4nm (208.9km)
Avg: 4.9knts
24hr: 116.9nm

Yeehah, managed to fly our spinnaker until just before sunset and would you believe it, just after dousing, we landed a nice size big-eye tuna which we promptly enjoyed for dinner. We pulled up on the Q dock around 10pm with the full moon helping see what was what. Big thanks to our (not so) motley crew Ken and Leilei for helping make our passage very enjoyable. It's great to be back in beautiful NZ for summer - we look forward to some land based adventures.

Enjoying a glass of bubbles to celebrate our safe landfall.
Enjoying a glass of bubbles to celebrate our safe landfall.
Ken and LeiLei spot land, yeehah!
Ken and LeiLei spot land, yeehah!
Yummmmm-o, tuna for dinner.
Yummmmm-o, tuna for dinner.
Cafe Kiapa was producing all sorts of culinary delights along the way.....
Cafe Kiapa was producing all sorts of culinary delights along the way.....
The Captain enjoys a beer while trimming the spinny on our approach to NZ.
The Captain enjoys a beer while trimming the spinny on our approach to NZ.
Thu Nov 26 7:38 2015 NZDT
GPS: 33 38.867S 174 15.274E
Run: 156.7nm (283.6km)
Avg: 8.7knts
24hr: 207.8nm
Weather: 5 kn from N . seas flat Swell zero . 95% blue sky.

Morale continues to be high, so no flogging necessary today. With less than 90 nm to go to Hole in the Rock we are hoping to make the Q dock tonight some time. The wind has almost totally disappeared, and after sailing comfortably until midnight, we decided to start the iron genoa around 2am. Hoping the (predicted??) northerly boots in so that we can finish this amazing passage with the flying colours of our turquoise spinnaker.

Wed Nov 25 13:32 2015 NZDT
GPS: 31 23.304S 174 28.086E
Run: 52.1nm (94.3km)
Avg: 8.4knts
24hr: 202.8nm
Weather: 10-12 kn from ENE . seas 0.1 m Swell SW 1.5m . 100% blue sky.

Aaahhh, at last, at last. It's been a long time coming. Three years A GOOD PASSAGE! Kiapa has had a great passage. I could open the sails up and "let her go!" The winds from Fiji to NZ between November 22 and 26 2015 were gentle, not menacing. We flew the spinnaker for 10 hours, the screecher (after I give it open heart surgery ) for days. Kiapa was sailing along at 9-10kn in 10-15 winds.

The normal crashing and slapping during passages stopped, replaced by a gentle hiss of water skimming and caressing the hulls.

I could look out to the ocean's distant horizon, and not look up to the next huge wave about to drench the boat. I am practising my 1000 mile stare again.

The Pacific, at last, lived up to it's name….Peace.

Yesterday I lay on the trampoline and the sun gently warmed me, and I thought there is no other place I would rather be…..out here with my best mate,,,, Queen Irene

Wed Nov 25 7:22 2015 NZDT
GPS: 30 38.304S 174 33.086E
Run: 221.9nm (401.6km)
Avg: 10.4knts
24hr: 249.6nm
Weather: 10-12 kn from ENE . seas 0.5 m . 80% blue sky.

Had a great day yesterday - had the spinny up from sunrise to sunset. In the meantime I worked out we have 2 champions on board! Lionel the champ captain who fathomed a way to fix the screecher, and Ken the card champ who won all the card games! At sunset we 'replaced' the spinnaker with the screecher and consequently enjoyed another comfortable night's sail. Had a pod of dolphins around the boat at daybreak this morning.

Tue Nov 24 10:02 2015 NZDT
GPS: 27 29.147S 175 14.712E
Run: 28.9nm (52.3km)
Avg: 11.1knts
24hr: 266.8nm
Weather: 10-12 kn from ENE . seas 0.5 m . 80% blue sky.

Spinnaker up... yeehah

Tue Nov 24 7:26 2015 NZDT
GPS: 27 04.610882S 175 20.581E
Run: 261nm (472.4km)
Avg: 10.8knts
24hr: 259.7nm
Weather: 10-12 kn from ENE . seas 0.5 m . 80% blue sky.

Reefed the main for the night, just to be sure...... to be sure. Popped the spinny at daybreak and now happily cruising along. About to enjoy our last fresh tropical-fruit brekkie for a while, yum yum!

Mon Nov 23 7:19 2015 NZDT
GPS: 23 19.610S 175 50.186E
Run: 138.1nm (250km)
Avg: 10.6knts
24hr: 254nm
Weather: 15-20 kn from E . seas 0.5 m . 99% blue sky.

This is cruising at its best. Kiapa the Cruiser has become Kiapa the Champagne Cruiser. Up until a few moments ago we had a couple of reefs in the main, but we've "shooken" them out and are now steaming ahead. Can you tell all is well on board??

Sun Nov 22 18:16 2015 NZDT
GPS: 21 20.873S 176 07.842E
Run: 60.3nm (109.1km)
Avg: 10knts
24hr: 240.5nm
Weather: 15 kn from E . seas 1m .

Blew the brand new scheecher. The head of the sail was not properly attached. Kiapa is under headsail again, under a beam reach

Sun Nov 22 12:15 2015 NZDT
GPS: 20 30.150S 176 21.603E
Run: 189.8nm (343.5km)
Avg: 7.6knts
24hr: 181.5nm
Weather: 20 kn from E . seas 2 m . 100 blue sky.

"Kiapa the Cork" (after last night's rather lumpy and boisterous conditions)has morphed into "Kiapa the Cruiser" (in the comfy current conditions). Had Ding and Greg on s/v Chiquita next to us for a little while but they had to 'hove to' to attend to something, so we can't see them any more. All good on board, except that we'd like to have a fishing line out, but going a bit too fast.

Sat Nov 21 11:09 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 53.09S 177 14.45E
Run: 12.2nm (22.1km)
Avg: 3.8knts
24hr: 92nm

We're off! Double reef in the main and doing 9k, but we're still in flat waters!

Getting that main up!
Sat Nov 21 7:58 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.19477S 177 22.90375E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

Departing from Fiji today, just waiting for Customs and Immigration to come and clear us out. It seems like we will be buddy boating with a few others, which is always nice. Hoping for a 5-6 day passage, but as always, safety before speed. Looking forward to catching up with all our friends in The Land of the Long White Cloud.

Throwing out my little garden of petunias, knowing NZ Biosecurity won't approve!
Wed Nov 18 18:49 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.244S 177 22.988E
Run: 12.7nm (23km)

Now In Denarau, after many days of purfect surf. Tomorrow Ken and Leilei from NZ arrive as our crew to help us passage to NZ. Not too sure when we will depart, but soon mama soon.

Thu Nov 12 15:33 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.167S 177 11.383E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

Happy Hindu New Year! Yesterday was Diwali Day, the most revered of festivals celebrated annually by Hindus. We were lucky enough to be invited to Anjee and Kamlesh's home last night to join in the festivities, which included exchanging home made sweets, sharing a delicious meal, and finishing the evening with an almighty and pretty spectacular fireworks show. We felt honoured to share such a special day with our Fijian friends.

Fabulous Fireworks to end the evening
Fabulous Fireworks to end the evening
I made spicy carrot and cranberry combined with condensed milk!! ladoo to exchange. Actually tasted quite yummy, even if I say so myself!
I made spicy carrot and cranberry combined with condensed milk!! ladoo to exchange. Actually tasted quite yummy, even if I say so myself
Tradition has it that homes are beautifully lit up to ward off evil spirits. Anjee and Kamlesh's home looked very colourful!
Tradition has it that homes are beautifully lit up to ward off evil spirits. Anjee and Kamlesh's home looked very colourful!
our hosts Anjee and Kamlesh.
our hosts Anjee and Kamlesh.
When last did you let off fireworks? We had a ball!
When last did you let off fireworks? We had a ball!
Sun Nov 1 8:01 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.171S 177 11.30473E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

Heading from Musket to Denarau today, and back to Musket tomorrow. Winds 10KN SE

Sat Oct 24 8:59 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.181S 177 11.369E
Run: 0.9nm (1.6km)
Weather: Blue skies, wind E 5kn, flat seas

Back on mooring in Musket Cove after 3 days of good surf at Namotu

Mon Oct 19 14:02 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.77155S 177 10.78400E
Run: 1nm (1.8km)

Northerly winds, 15 kn. We said goodbye to Sel Citron after sleeping on their boat to watch the Australian Wallabies just win the rugby at 3 am in the morning.

Sat Oct 10 15:36 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.166S 177 11.385E
Run: 83.6nm (151.3km)

Back at Musket. Winds 25 in, solid. Kitesurfing is the order of the day.

Sun Oct 4 8:52 2015 NZDT
GPS: 18 06.848S 178 24.48E
Run: 70.6nm (127.8km)

We did the shark dive yesterday. AMAZING fish life. Even more amazing sharks. The predominant shark was the Bull shark, but we also saw Lemon sharks and Tawny Nurse sharks. And we saw two 300kg giant cod, or Queensland groupers. What a totally awesome experience which we will highly recommend. Today we are watching Oz vs England with Di and Graham from Maunie in Suva. Go the Wallabies!

Charging of the bulls
One of the 2 enormous cod/groupers we saw.
The wheelie bin full of fish heads is 'towed' into place.
Yip, this is how close they sometimes came! Yikes!
Graham and Di from Maunie. Sorry about the pic being sideways
Fri Oct 2 7:42 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.37780S 177 23.71262E
Run: 13.5nm (24.4km)

In Denarau, with Kerry and Damian, off to Beqa shark dive by car today.

Wed Sep 30 8:31 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.15329S 177 11.40932E
Run: 8nm (14.5km)

Back in Musket. Off scuba diving today as there is no surf or wind.

Mon Sep 28 13:15 2015 NZDT
GPS: 17 53.042S 177 11.933E
Run: 7.9nm (14.3km)

Anchored at Cloudbreak. Wind 6kn in small swell. It's a beautiful day.

Looking for surf
On surf watch at Cloudbreak
Braving the wild seas, as nature intended
Braving the world seas as nature intended
Sat Sep 19 11:16 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Fire on the dock at Musket last night! Yes, the new 57ft Jeanneau Mimu apparently decided to get drunk and then play with his rocket flares at 2am. He succeeded in letting one loose in the cockpit causing a fire. This only damaged Mimu and not to the neighboring boats. The cockpit and bimini has burnt bits... What kind of guy does such things?

Thu Sep 17 11:16 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Regatta Week finished last night. Big party with rum and fireworks. Kiapa raced on both the regatta days. Coming 2nd in both races. We had only Kerry, Craig Hewlett ( of hewlett sugar in SA) , Irene and I on board. We planned to start last over the start line so as to avoid argie bargie with other boats. Then we sailed past all the boats to creep up to 2nd, I was the best racing I have done and having a small crew proved to be less stressful than running 6 or seven people.

So now its back to chasing the surf and Kitesurfing again. What a tough life!

Shipwreck party, third prize to Kiapa
Shipwreck party, third prize to Kiapa
Extra air for conch blowing
Extra air for conch blowing
Start of coconut olympics
Start of coconut olympics
Sun Sep 13 15:50 2015 NZST
No position sent.

In the midst of regatta week. Today we organised the coconut Olympics.. Fun for all!

Sun Sep 13 15:48 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Sun Aug 30 7:47 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 46.172S 177 11.368E
Run: 58.1nm (105.2km)

Kiapa is back in Musket, after Blue Lagoon and Manta Pass. Rob has now left to go back to San Fran. We welcome Adele and Duncan from NZ today

Sat Aug 22 16:43 2015 NZST
GPS: 16 56.713S 177 21.953E
Run: 28.2nm (51km)

Exploring Blue Lagoon for the first time. Had an awesome sail up from Waya North, but as Rob said, advanced navigation skills are needed to negotiate the myriad of reefs. Caught another fish, but in the light of what we caught yesterday we let him go. Lionel and Rob enjoyed a nice kite session soon as we arrived. Tonight we're off to enjoy a 'cultural show'' at a nearby island. Tomorrow Rob and Lionel plan to go searching for Brooke Shields! I'm going to look for Christopher Aitkins!!

Fri Aug 21 16:50 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 16.19.S 177 06.42E
Run: 35nm (63.4km)

Anchored up in Waya north. Motored all way from Musket, but caught 2 beaut spanish mackerels on the way. No wind and we have Sel Citron and Kindred Spirit alongside tonight.

Trying to catch dinner along the way.
Sat Aug 15 7:21 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Today is no wind and low swell. We are going to take Kiapa out the back of the reef and look at Desperations surf which is out the back of Cloud9 bar. We will also try to catch a fish!

Thu Aug 13 6:59 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Kiapa welcomes Rob Novak from Mexico days. Rob is a kiter and keen to improve his surfing. He has come to the right place.

Mon Aug 3 18:41 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Got our woolly socks on for this cold spell. Global warming! Humph

Tue Jul 28 7:48 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 46.168S 177 11.373E
Run: 8.4nm (15.2km)

Mon Jul 27 8:07 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 40.683S 177 06.353E
Run: 12.3nm (22.3km)

At Mana island, going for a shark dive this morning.

Tue Jul 14 7:25 2015 NZST
No position sent.

So, Kiapa is still hanging around musket and the surf breaks. My rib is slowly healing , and I am able to surf again.

We welcome Terri on board today. Terri is from USA ans she surfs, kites, and scuba dives.

Hopefully, soon we will see Robyn and Paul from NZ

Tue Jul 7 8:07 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 50.446S 177 10.953E
Run: 4.9nm (8.9km)

At Namotu, going surfing with the Hitchcock family

Fri Jun 19 7:06 2015 NZST
No position sent.

Going kite surfing today, with Mike Maincheese

Sat May 23 7:41 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 46.235S 177 11.38E
Run: 3.5nm (6.3km)

Back in Musket, going surfing today

Wed May 20 16:27 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 44.299S 177 08.898E
Run: 3.5nm (6.3km)

Anchored off lekileki, had a scuba dive in 27 C water. Yeehah

Fri May 15 10:16 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 46.18S 177 11.368E
Run: 5.1nm (9.2km)

Back at Musket Cove, waiting for big surf to arrive on Sunday

Thu May 14 8:48 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 50.6s 177 11.123e
Run: 5.1nm (9.2km)
Weather: 8 kn E 10% cloud cover

Anchored off Namotu Island on a beautiful sunny day. Brian is having a surf on Namoto lefts. We are going for a snorkel and then off to Cloud 9 for drinky poos

Tue May 12 15:26 2015 NZST
GPS: 17 46.198s 177 11.390e
Run: 11.6nm (21km)
Weather: blue skies and windy enough to go kiting

happily moored off Musket Cove Resort. Brian had a 'dawn patrol' surf this morning, Irene had a kite this afternoon. Mmmmmm, think we'll head to the Island Bar tonight for a bbq.

Sat May 9 14:52 2015 NZST
GPS: 17s 46s 177 22e
Run: 52.4nm (94.8km)
Weather: 0 kn E. waves 0m 30%cloud cover

We arrived safely in this Fijian paradise just in time to clear in with Customs yesterday afternoon - phew! After a 6 day 'roller coaster lumpy bumpy ride' we were happy to step off onto terra firma for a cold beer or 2 - the champagne had already been quaffed when we first sighted land. And for Lionel not being thrown around means he is now much more comfortable with his rib. Big BIG thanks to Anthony and Brian for their fabulous company and help.

Fri May 8 7:02 2015 NZST
GPS: 18s 30s 177 10e
Run: 242.1nm (438.2km)
Avg: 10knts
24hr: 239.8nm
Weather: 22 to 28 kn E. Waves 1.5m, 90% cloud cover

Yeehah, we can see Fiji, only 30 miles to go! The boys could not sleep last night as they were so excited. The boat is sliding along averaging 9 kn with top speed of 14.9kn when Brian was on the helm. It's great to have some good sailing water after the washing machine we have been in for the whole trip. The sail configuration has been triple reefed main and full headsail all the way. The winds were 20-30kn east the whole way. All done on one tack, starboard. Many thanks to the crew who have done a great job, while I lay on the couch groaning when the rocking boat gave my rib acupuncture with rusty daggers!

Thu May 7 6:48 2015 NZST
GPS: 22s 00s 177 00e
Run: 218.6nm (395.7km)
Avg: 9.1knts
24hr: 218.3nm
Weather: 22 kn E. waves 2m 70%cloud cover

250 miles to go to Nadi. We can smell the spume coming out of the barrels from Cloudbreak. Brian has his surf board on deck and is amping to try paddle faster than Kiapa to get there quicker. We should be there by tomorrow. Anthony is the super helmsman and managed to catch another flying fish straight into the dinghy during the night while staying on course. (Our autopilot is on strike.)

Wed May 6 6:46 2015 NZST
GPS: 25s 09s 176 41e
Run: 188.7nm (341.5km)
Avg: 7.9knts
24hr: 189.4nm
Weather: 28 kn E. waves 2m 20%cloud cover

The sea state has settled a bit. Winds still25-30k E with some stronger gusts. The auto pilot has gone on permanent holiday now. Its only 432 miles to go and we should be in by Friday or Saturday.

The crew are giving the poor old captain a ribbing because he is slacking out of all duties..

Tue May 5 6:51 2015 NZST
GPS: 27 51s 176 14e
Run: 362.5nm (656.1km)
Avg: 15.1knts
24hr: 363nm
Weather: 28 kn E. waves 4m 20%cloud cover

Conditions have not changed much - 25-30k ENE with some stronger gusts and 4m+ swell is making for a very boisterous passage. Autopilot is struggling so we have been hand steering - our crew, Anthony and Brian are heaven-sent, doing an AWESOME job. Yesterday Lionel took a tumble while putting a third reef in the mainsail and landed on the corner of something and has broken a rib, poor bugger! He is okay, but understandably on light duties.

Mon May 4 6:53 2015 NZST
GPS: 32 59s 174 59e
Run: 197.4nm (357.3km)
Weather: 14 kn E. waves 1m 40%cloud cover

Fabulous start to our passage to Fiji. lovely breeze, good speeds, all in all very comfortable. but no fish yet.

Mon May 4 6:53 2015 NZST
GPS: 30 16s 176 01e
Run: 197.4nm (357.3km)
Avg: 8.2knts
24hr: 197.7nm
Weather: 20-25 kn E. waves 2m 80%cloud cover

All well on board. Have dropped the main sail and going along under headsail only due to strong gusts and lumpy seas. Have had an albatross keeping an eye on us.

Sun May 3 6:55 2015 NZST
GPS: 32 59s 174 59e
Run: 160.4nm (290.3km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 195.2nm
Weather: 14 kn E. waves 1m 40%cloud cover

Fabulous start to our passage to Fiji. lovely breeze, good speeds, all in all very comfortable. but no fish yet.

Sat May 2 11:12 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 11.854s 174 08.607e
Run: 7.8nm (14.1km)
Weather: Cloudy and calm

. Motoring out of Opua in 2kn of wind , headed for Fiji 1044 miles to go. Irene, Lionel, Anthony and Brian on board

Wed Apr 29 15:26 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 18.633S 174 07.757E
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

On a mooring in Opua, getting ready for a Saturday departure for Fiji. Welcome to both our crew, Brian and Anthony.

Thu Apr 23 9:55 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 18.654S 174 07.607E
Run: 2.6nm (4.7km)
Weather: sunny SE 5

Anchored up in Opua. It's good to be part of the cruising community again. Lots of social activities going on.

Tue Apr 21 18:04 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 16.410s 174 07.472e
Run: 19.8nm (35.8km)
Weather: cloudy 6kn E

. Now in the Bay of Islands , anchored next to Maunie. The sail from Mimiwhagata was interrupted by a humongous strike from a 20kg yellowfin tuna. Irene did well to bring it in, as the code zero (screecher) was out and we could not stop the boat. Tuna steaks with Di and Graham from Maunie tonight.

Sun Apr 19 16:28 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 25.880S 174 25.008E
Run: 28.2nm (51km)
Weather: cloudy 15k se

In mimiwhangata bay. Going to try get some crays tomorrow , the off to bay of islands ( 20nm away)to catch up with Maunie and Nero.

Sat Apr 18 19:29 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 50.229s 174 28.156e
Weather: cloudy 8k W

In Marsden cove, Whangarei, at sunset. A beautiful sail. Maybe Sunday on to the Bay of Islands. We will check out from Opua at the end of the month, heading for Fiji

Sat Apr 18 10:27 2015 NZST
GPS: 35 50.229s 174 28.156e
Run: 57.3nm (103.7km)
Weather: cloudy 8k W

In Marsden cove, Whangarei, at sunset. A beautiful sail. Maybe Sunday on to the Bay of Islands. We will check out from Opua at the end of the month, heading for Fiji

Fri Apr 17 10:19 2015 NZST
GPS: 36 36.454s 174 50.965e
Run: 3.2nm (5.8km)
Weather: cloudy 8k W

Making our way north to Whangarei, then on to the Bay of Islands. We will check out from Opua at the end of the month, heading back to Fiji.

Mon Mar 30 8:50 2015 NZDT
GPS: 36 37.295s 174 47.611e
Run: 0.7nm (1.3km)

Tucked in at Fairwaybay Marina. Awaiting departure for Fiji at the end of April

Mon Mar 9 13:56 2015 NZDT
GPS: 36 37s 174 47e
Run: 56.9nm (103km)

Tucked in at Fairwaybay Marina. Awaiting departure for Fiji at the end of April

Sat Dec 6 14:54 2014 NZDT
GPS: 35 50s 174 28e
Run: 72.3nm (130.9km)

We are now in Marsden Cove, after a wonderful interaction with about 8 orcas in Russell the day before yesterday. What a welcome to NZ! Yeehah

Thu Dec 4 8:21 2014 NZDT
GPS: 34 49s 174 10e
Run: 182.4nm (330.1km)
Avg: 7.6knts
24hr: 181.8nm
Weather: 12 kn W. waves 0m 1%cloud cover

We can see Opua, Its only 29 miles to go! Screecher up doing 9 kn in 12kn of breeze for a beautiful finish to the Passage. Three cheers to the "crew from heaven", (Di, Suzie and Graham)

Wed Dec 3 8:16 2014 NZDT
GPS: 32 11s 174 22e
Run: 180.1nm (326km)
Avg: 7.4knts
24hr: 178.7nm
Weather: 14 kn E. waves 2m 10%cloud cover

On passage along side Sel Citron. 215 miles to go to Whangerei. 8 Dolphins on the bow at dawn..

Tue Dec 2 8:05 2014 NZDT
GPS: 29 54s 175 50e
Run: 178.4nm (322.9km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 179.8nm
Weather: 16 kn S. waves 2m 10%cloud cover

Motoring, and waiting for winds to swing SE so we can get sailing again

Mon Dec 1 8:16 2014 NZDT
GPS: 27 20s 176 09e
Run: 179.3nm (324.5km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 181.1nm
Weather: 16 kn ESE. waves 2m 10%cloud cover

On passage along side Sel Citron. 513 miles to go to Whangerei. A low mileage day due to unplanned detour back to Fiji, to join our friends for a swim in the ocean while they attended to some issues.

Sun Nov 30 8:30 2014 NZDT
GPS: 24 45s 176 25e
Run: 234.2nm (423.9km)
Avg: 9.6knts
24hr: 229.3nm
Weather: 12 kn ene. waves 5m 90%cloud cover

on passage along side Sel Citron. 658 miles to go to Whangerei

Sat Nov 29 7:59 2014 NZDT
GPS: 21 22s 176 37e
Run: 234.3nm (424.1km)
Avg: 9.9knts
24hr: 238.8nm
Weather: 7 kn se waves 1.5m 10%cloud cover

on passage along side Sel Citron. Rain squall in the east horizon. 845 miles to go to Whangerei

Fri Nov 28 8:26 2014 NZDT
GPS: 18 01s 177 10e
Run: 17.1nm (31km)
Weather: 15 kn se waves 1.5m 10%cloud cover

on passage along side Sel Citron

Wed Nov 26 11:09 2014 NZDT
0 >
Weather: 15 knots from SE 1 1/2 m swells. 15% cloud cover. Sunny and hot.

In Denarau , provisioning up for the passage to NZ. Di, Graham, Suzie and Lionel on board. > >

Sun Oct 26 12:49 2014 NZDT
GPS: 17 46.198S 177 11.391E

On mooring in Musket Cove, Fiji

kiapa - - 2702 Sep 2015

Kiapa's 2015 season in Musket Cove Fiji Just WHERE have the last 5 months gone? Have we really had to extend our visa twice already? As the old cliché saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun!!”, and this has certainly been the case for us this winter cruising season. In some respects, this year has been quite different to the time we spent here in Fiji last year. First up, Lionel’s broken rib (from the passage up from NZ) meant our routine of his daily yoga classes Read more...

for cruisers couldn’t begin, and it also slowed us down on the surfing and kiting front. Who would have thought the healing of a broken rib takes about 3 months? Consequently, our penchant for exercise has been somewhat curtailed. However, we have had a lot of fun enjoying the company of friends. Of the 143 days we have been in Fiji we have spent one week back in Australia (more on that later) and 18 days without guests on board……. So let’s see, that adds up to 115 days of visitors………. and we have loved that! Of course all our guests are special, but three groups of friends are extra-special because we go way WAY back, as in 32 years back!! Yikes, that’s more than half my life ago! First up we had an old Uni friend of mine, Brigid, come and visit with her hubby Brandon and their 3 kids. Then we had Mike, who was best man at our wedding, followed by Adele and Duncan – Adele and I used to waitress together in Cape Town 30 years ago! Brandon, Mike and Duncan are all keen surfers, so having the opportunity to surf at either Cloudbreak, Restaurants, Namotu Left, Wilkes or Swimming Pools was a ‘dream come true’ for each of them. Brigid and Adele live in NZ, so we did see them over summer when we were down there, but sharing our home and spending time together here on Kiapa was a treat.
As was the case last year, we have teamed up with the Lions Club (Papakura branch in Auckland) to distribute reading glasses to Fijians who either do not have access to them, or cannot afford them. Overall I think we have held about 7 ‘clinics’ so far, distributing, I’m guessing, over 700+ pairs.
The joy and appreciation of some of these gentle folk is enough to break your heart. One elderly lady needed a +4, and she confided in me afterwards that she had not been able to see clearly enough to read for over 2 years! Can you imagine?? Other news? A major (and somewhat heart-breaking for me) decision that we made earlier this year was to sell our home in City Beach. After renting it out for the last 3 years some quite significant renovations were necessary – an expense we felt we could ill-afford. It sold at auction at the end of May. We flew back for a madly busy 5 days in June, and managed to give away probably close to 80% of our ‘stuff’ to Good Sammies and the like. Thanks to our dear friends who are kindly storing a box or 3 for us. So we are now really, truly “of no fixed abode”. If truth be known this makes me a tad anxious, but then I reflect on where I am and what I am doing………… Moving on to a more light-hearted topic……. Last week was Fiji’s premier sailing regatta, the Musket Cove Regatta. This equates to 5 days of fun in the sun, and while the 2 sailing races are the main focus (I think??), other shenanigans include a Pirates’ Day, Coconut Olympics (which Lionel and I volunteered to organise this year), a hairy chest competition, a quiz night (we were useless!!), a golf competition, some hobie cat racing, and a Shipwreck Party. While we registered for the regatta, we at first thought we wouldn’t participate in the 2 races, rather just enjoy all the fun events. The reason being the surrounding reefs are treacherous, and last year Lionel saw one catamaran T-bone another boat right in front of Kiapa, so he was understandably concerned there may be other skippers with a similar careless attitude out there this year. But once we saw the list of boats entered and also the weather forecast, we decided to have a go (luckily one could enter up until the night before the race). And what an exciting race it was. The course was around Malolo Island, which is quite mountainous, so of course this has an interesting influence on the winds.
We purposely started last over the start line in a light southerly of ~ 8 knots, which died right off in the lee of the island - at one stage Kiapa was going backwards, I kid you not! We then had about 10 k of northerly for half an hour, and then as soon as we rounded the eastern tip of the island we were back in the SE trades of ~ 20k. A small, very fast cat (which is not a cruiser’s home) was first across the line. Kiapa had a very good race with another cat – Kiapa’s ability to point really well into the wind combined with Lionel’s upwind tacking tactics ensured we snuck ahead in the last mile, so crossing the line in 2nd place. Thanks must go to friends Kerry and Craig, who were our knowledgeable and skilled crew. I’ll let the photos on our get jealous blog do the talking re all the other fun and games which all up made for a fabulously successful Regatta.
Our plans from here? We hope to cruise up to some of the Yasawa Islands over the next few weeks, and then from mid-Nov we’ll begin to study the weather (even more closely than we already do) for passage making to NZ. We are planning to head back to NZ via Minerva Reef, but more about that later…….
While I have included a few photos here, you may like to look at our blog if you are interested in some more (photos). See

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