We arrived in Prickly Bay, Grenada on Sunday 1 April
after a 30 day passage from St Helena to the Caribbean.
Our arrival in Grenada marks the completion of our circumnavigation.
stayed a week in St. Helena, climbed the 700 steps of Jacobs ladder,
saw the Napoleonic sites and did several walks in the hills and
forests. Important in its day as a staging
post for provisions in days of sailing ships, then
steam ships, and later as a base for transatlantic
cables, the island now has little of its strategic importance but is
still unique for it's beauty, history and the wonderful welcome that is
extended to the few that visit.
arrived in Richard's Bay, South Africa, in early November. We
spent most of December/January waiting for favourable weather in order
to sail around the coast from Durban to Cape Town. We took
advantage of this to explore the country by land, incl. a
trip to the Drakensberg Mountains, a safari in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi
Game Reserve and a short road trip along the Cape Peninsula. Although
we were struck by the beauty of South Africa and by the great
variety in landscape, culture and ethnicity between various regions and
greatly enjoyed our time here we are now excited about our next long
voyage from SA to the Caribbean via St Helena.
islands off Madagascar's North-West coast proved to be
our favourite destination of this season. In particular the
around Nosy Be is a sailor's dream: a cruising ground with reliable
winds, short passages between the many beautiful islands, some
spectacular anchorages, fantastic food and colourful markets. Here
we caught up with our friends Eaglewing & Petrel and
few happy weeks cruising in company with their gang.
is an island group that marked the middle of our Indian Ocean passage.
It has the reputation of an island paradise, as it is remote
uninhabited. Amongst sailors, Chagos is famous for being home to an
almost permanent community of cruisers with some yachts staying more
than a year. We were very taken by the beauty of the islands, the
clarity of the water and the abundance of marine life. Although we
couldn't see ourselves staying here for months - let alone
we greatly enjoyed our two weeks of days filled with fishing,
snorkeling, swimming and the almost nightly bbqs ashore with
Keeling is a typical atoll with a ring of small islands formed
coral beaches and palms that surround a lagoon. At the entrance to the
lagoon the depth changes from ocean depths to tens of meters very
quickly, with dramatic changes in the water colour. A highlight of our
stay was swimming across The Rip, a pass were currents driven by the
trade winds push into the lagoon, and onto the shallow reef that
provided the best snorkeling we have ever experienced with an abundance
of reef fish and some very colourful coral.
accounts of Christmas Island mention the Phosphate works which
dominate the anchorage, but fail to mention the fantastic scenery and
wildlife on the island and the very welcoming island populations which
consists of Chinese, Malay and Australians. We rented a car and took in
some of the sites (the island is less than 9 miles square). After 26
days at sea, we enjoyed all the island had to offer: well
supermarkets, laundrettes, free hot showers, an open air cinema, and
several ethnic restaurants.
spent two days in the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila after an overnight
sail from Tanna. It's an interesting, bustling place with a very
sheltered anchorage right off the town. From Port Vila we
what turned out to be our longest passage so far: 3882 miles in just
over 26 days. We considered stopping at several places along the way
(Port Moresby, Thursday Island, Darwin, Ashmore Reef) but in the
end to keep going as conditions were good. We have included
from the passage here.
days from Opua, we arrived in the beautiful island of Tanna, in
southern Vanuatu. We spent a very enjoyable few days here, met lots of
the local people, saw the volcano and were invited to a circumcision
ceremony. After Tanna, we went north to Port Vila from where we will
head for the Torres Strait.
sister Erika and her boyfriend Markus flew out to NZ in February for a
three week visit. Together we traveled some 3000km by car. After a few
days in Auckland, we first headed north taking in Northland
the Bay of Islands, before driving south to explore the central North
an enjoyable nine day passage from Neiafu, Vava'u, we arrived in NZ
just after midnight on 26th October. Our goal for the season achieved!
The plan had been to get to NZ before the nominal start of the southern
hemisphere hurricane season in November.
the way into Tonga we caught one of our biggest fish, a 20kg dorado.
The day after arriving we entered an informal harbour race, and came
third - winning a introductory scuba dive. We spent about two and a
half weeks in Tonga and really enjoyed it, but left earlier than
intended to catch a favourable weather window for the often tricky trip
to NZ. We hope to return to Tonga some day, as it is one of the most
beautiful places we've been. They may have been called "the Friendly
Islands" due to misunderstanding by Capt. Cook, be we also found them
to be just that.
as 'the rock', Nuie is one of the largest coral islands in the world.
It is also the smallest nation state, with a population of about 2000
citizens. When we got arrived, Nuie was still recovering from the
effects of a large cyclone which had hit earlier that year. (images now
island was our only stop in the Cooks and is a large atoll with a
population of about 50 people. Very beautiful and isolated, it was one
of the highlights of our Pacific trip. The islanders are incredibly
hospitable and amazing fishermen who enjoy hosting visitors, allowing
them to share their ways of life. On our last night there we were woken
by a group of whales 'blowing' as they swam through the anchorage.
most cosmopolitan part of French Polynesia, this is a group of about
six or so principal islands, including the famous islands of Bora Bora
and Tahiti. The town of Papeete is the biggest town for about 4000miles
and we enjoyed it's bustle, a real contrast to the ruggedness
the Marquesas and the remoteness of the Tuamotus.
extensive group of coral atolls, the Tuamotus are part of French
Polynesia and lie between the Marquesas and the Societies. The atolls
are sparsely inhabited, remote and very beautiful. We visited three
atolls - Ahe, Apataki and Toau.
islands are high, volcanic, fertile and dramatically beautiful. Our
landfall in French Polynesia was the eastmost of the islands - Fatu
Hiva. We arrived in 'the bay of virgins', which is the the most
stunning anchorage we've been in.
weeks in the Galapagos - and we could have spent months there. The
famous wildlife is all around. Sea lions, penguins, pelicans, iguana,
turtles, sharks and rays - and that is just in the anchorages. Ashore,
we also saw the giant tortoises, albatross, blue-footed boobies and
the bureaucracy nor the transit of the canal are as painful as the
rumours we had heard suggested. It takes about a week to organise as
the system is really set up for ships rather than yachts, but it is not
difficult. It is a great day out - with some anxious moments - as you
first rise into the Gatun Lake via 3 locks, travel for about 25 miles
through a flooded jungle, and then descend into the Pacific.
(images now archived)