Port Stevens – We have Guests!!

Saturday 15th March 2008
Our next stop up the coast was the town of Newcastle, the second largest port in New South Wales and a real industrial center. We spent a couple of days exploring the largest sand dunes in Australia and climbing the town’s famous phallic tower (known locally as the ‘Giant Penis’?!). The lonely planet says ‘you gotta love this city’ but Jimmy and I both agreed that two days were enough so we upped anchor and headed on to Port Stevens!
We loved Port Stevens on the way down the coast and it’s still just as great……Long white sandy beaches, quaint little towns and lots of bush walking trails.
The real excitement came with the arrival of two packages at the post office from both England and Florida. My dad sent us a mobile phone and my old digital camera and Jimmy’s dad sent a huge package filled with new running shoes and an underwater camera for me along with dock shoes, running shoes, a new barometer, loads of T-shirts and the all important Loo seat for Jimmy!! It was like Christmas all over again and the boat was filled with and explosion of goodies.
After a week of relaxing on the boat we had some great news that Jimmy’s cousin Mac and his wife Julienne were in Sydney on business and really wanted to come and find us for a couple of days. The sun god decided to bless us with a predicted nine day heat wave and as the temperatures soared we got to work cleaning and organizing realizing how much we’d been neglecting our boat chores lately!

Mac & Julienne were to be our first guests on board since Jimmy’s mum in Galapagos and a couple of cruising friends during the Panama Canal crossing. I was really worried that they’d feel cramped, especially trying to fit Mac’s 6ft 3” frame into our tiny V-birth! However, Jimmy cunningly prepared them that it would be a lot like camping and when Julienne arrived with her own toilet roll I was able to relax that it had to be better than they expected!

With the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky we spent two days showing them around. With the perfect weather, however, came little wind so when we went out sailing we were only able to turn off the engine for a couple of minutes, just long enough for Julienne to take the helm and get a couple of all important Photos. Extra hands also came in handy especially pulling our dinghy ‘Goliath’ up the beach, it weighs a ton and with the big tides here I think we’re going to have to invest in wheels!
We had a great time and really enjoyed having Mac & Julienne on board, Jimmy loved having some fellow Americans around to talk about home and have a break from all the Europeans and Australians! They were great guests and very easy to please, we were sorry to see them go but at least we now feel a lot more confident about having more visitors……So what are you waiting for?!!
Since they left were still experiencing the heat wave with temperatures rising to over 35*C. We’ve made the most of it by having BBQ’s on the now famous ‘Jimmy’s beach’ (yes that’s what it’s called) and searching for the illusive Kuala and Kangaroo – which as of yet we still haven’t been able to find!

Broken Bay and Home & Away Beach!

Tuesday 24th February
Broken bay is just 16 miles north of Sydney harbour and as our cruising guide says ‘this region constitutes one of the world’s great cruising grounds’. We had a beautiful sail up the coast and then another 6 miles into the bay heading up the Hawkesbury River. There are loads of cruiser friendly 24 hr courtesy moorings throughout the bay and along with ‘Helen Kate’ we picked one up off the town of Brooklyn, happy not to have to drop the anchor. Our Dutch friends on ‘Antares’ had rented a house further north for a couple of weeks while their family visited & had invited us all up for a BBQ. The next day we jumped on the train and headed to Gosford where Jasper met us in a huge rented car and took us to their house in Coca Cabana beach.
After living on the boat for so long it’s a really strange feeling to walk into a house with a full size kitchen and Bathroom – everything seems huge. The back porch is bigger than our whole boat and the BBQ grill almost twice the size of our Galley!! We had a great time relaxing in a new environment and it was easy to see that Astrid was going to find it very hard making the transition of moving back on the boat after all this luxury. Their son Marijn, who’s just over a year & a half and lived on the boat his whole life, was over the moon to have so much space to run around in. However, we heard later that he was the happiest of the three to return home to the boat……with cruiser kids it’s in their blood!

A couple of days later we headed to one of the southern inlets called America Bay and picked up one of the hundreds of moorings right next to a huge waterfall that pours into the bay. It’s named one of the best anchorages on the east coast of Australia and is extremely beautiful. However it’s not a well kept secret and you’re certainly not going to get any privacy here! Every square inch is taken up with private mooring balls and on the weekend or holidays boats are packed in like sardines with music blaring. We couldn’t really go ashore here as the sides of the bay are sheer rock faces and vegetation and so after a couple of days of being boat bound we decided to head around to Pitt water and re provision.
Pittwater is an inlet that stretches south of the main harbour with Ku-Ring-Gai Chase national park on one side and Sydney’s northern beach suburbs on the other. As we started to motor down the channel we had a call on the radio from Ingvil and Gunnar to say that their engine had broken down and could we give them a tow in. We took them to the closest mooring ball and then decided to sail the five miles to the end of the inlet as we’d be closest to the facilities. We’d never seen so many sail and power boats in one place and every bay was packed full. Luckily we found two free police mooring balls and squatted on them for the week – If the police came we’d tell them it was an emergency!!
It turned out that Helen Kate had shattered a few of the valve springs and bent one of the rocker rods in their engine. After checking out the price of mechanics here in one of the richest parts of Sydney, Gunnar decided that he’d just have to fix it himself! Luckily he was able to order the parts and had them in his hand a day later; he went to work straight away and did a great job. Three days after he’d ordered the parts the engine was back together and chugging along happily. It goes to show that cruisers can do anything when they put their minds to it!
We were all happy to leave the rolly moorings in Pittwater and headed back up to the entrance of the bay to anchor off Palm Beach – the home of the TV series ‘Home & Away’. I grew up with this show in England as it’s been screened five days a week ever since I can remember. We Walked over to the ocean side of the spit and stood outside the surf club looking at the familiar scene of the long golden beach. It’s probably the most beautiful beach in Sydney and surprisingly very few people on it. Hiking up to the light house high on the point we got fantastic views of the whole bay. Looking out to sea it was obvious that this was perfect weather for making our next hop north up to Port Stevens. Southerly winds don’t come along too often and so the very next day that’s exactly what we did!


February 10th 2008

We’ve now moved away from the hustle and bustle of city life, sailing back down the harbour past the Opera House for the last time and into the Suburb of Manly. Manly is a really laid back beach town right by the entrance of Port Jackson with a great surf beach on the ocean side of the town and quiet little harbours on the inside. We were able to anchor off our own private beach in Store Bay which is just a short dinghy ride to the main town and a beautiful anchorage.
We were shocked to find out that we couldn’t anchor too close to shore because it’s a penguin breeding area! I would never have believed that there were penguins in Sydney however we can confirm that we had many sightings of them around the boat and they were just like the ones we saw in the Galapagos Islands. Manly is really popular with Backpackers and tourist who give it a great relaxed holiday feel especially when the sun is out and the bars and beaches are full. We really enjoyed relaxing on the beach playing paddle ball while the braver ones tackled the waves to go surfing.Hiking almost 20 km along the coastal scenic walkway into middle harbor we passed through housing estates one minute and beautiful national parks and beaches the next. It was hard to believe we were so close to the city and civilization, which is probably why the wealthiest of Sydney’s residents choose to live here.

On the 26th of January we celebrated Australia day by wearing our Flip Flops and going to the beach for a sausage sizzle and surfing. The lifeguards were all out competing in their rowing boats racing through the heavy surf and tides around a marker about a mile off shore and then back to the beach without getting flipped by the huge waves in the process. They’re a tough group of people and after seeing that we feel a lot more confident going for a swim! The anchorage increased from three boats to a hundred and everyone was partying and having a lot of fun. The Australians definitely know how to make the most of a public holiday and luckily the sun stayed out all day.

Being in Sydney has been a fantastic experience and we’ve really loved every minute of it. It’s a city that really needs to be seen from the water and being on the boat has allowed us so much freedom, something I don’t think you’d feel staying on land. We’re really going to miss it but our feet are starting to itch and we’re longing for the wind in our sails again. We plan to sail slowly up the coast stopping as much as we can along the way to enjoy the smaller towns and harbours. We’ll spend some time in Brisbane and then Hop up the islands off the Barrier reef to the Whitsunday’s where I first learnt to sail almost seven years ago.

Sydney New Year 2008

After arriving in Sydney a couple of weeks before New year we've spent all our time exploring and taking in all the sights and sounds a major city has to offer. We sailed into the harbour early in the morning as we were determined to sail the whole way past the Opera house and Under the Harbour Bridge without starting the engine. Luckily we had just enough wind to keep us at a steady pace to avoid the constant stream of ferry boats, pleasure cruisers and other sail boats that pack the inner harbour. We fulfilled many cruisers dream that day; sailing past the famous land marks and having our picture taken by all the tourists along the way! Our friends on Helen Kate had already found a great anchorage in Black wattle Bay, just off Darling harbour and right in the heart of the city making everything was accessible by foot.

We spent the next few days finding our bearings and walking more than we probably had in the whole pacific crossing so lots of blisters and sore feet. I'd been here around seven years ago on my last visit and was really keen to see all the things I had missed the first time. Poor Jimmy was dragged around the Botanical Gardens, The Rocks (the oldest part of Sydney), Kings Cross and numerous department stores and that was just our first day!

Christmas morning we spent opening presents and preparing for a cruisers BBQ in the park for lunch along with two Norwegian, two swedish, one Dutch and one American boat. Quite a European event which of course consisted of the traditional way too much food but of course it wouldn't be christmas with out that.

For New Year we decided to move out to the main harbour with a view of the Opera house and Bridge to watch the famous fireworks. Our friends on Antares were having problems with their engine so we towed them out into the harbour so they didn't miss out on all the fun. We anchored up the day before and really glad we did as there must have been over a thousand boats anchored around us by New Years eve night. We got a great spot and Helen Kate and Antares came over for dinner and drinks to watch the Finale of 2007. At midnight the fireworks started and lasted for over fifteen minutes. With four identicle sets being fired off from Barges all along the harbour and the bridge covered by an almost constant set of explosions. There were even fireworks going off the top of the tallest building in the downtown area, all syncronised perfectly.

Bluemoon Down Under

Well we finally made it and are now very happily anchored in Sydney Harbour, Australia. We had a tough last sail from Noumea in New Caledonia to Coffs Harbour on the Gold Coast, taking seven days with every weather condition thrown at us. From flat calm and motoring to 40 knots and rough seas, we changed our course three or four times thinking we'd never be able to get further south and to make the boat more stable. But from sheer determination to be in Sydney by Christmas we pulled into Coffs Harbour just before sunset on the last day and celebrated the end of our pacific crossing by getting a very good nights sleep!!
We'd heard a lot of horror stories about checking into Australia, mostly that quaranteen would take just about all our food and give us a lot of hastle about when the hull of the boat was last painted. This never happened however and we we're really pleased with the reception we were given at Coffs. Once the check-in was complete we pulled into a slip in the marina and headed ashore for our first 'Schooner' of beer and English style fish and chips! We made it and we were going to celebrate in style so that night, along with Helen Kate and a lot of champaign we retold stories of our great adventures and planned many more for the year ahead!!


29th October 2007

We arrived in Vanuatu after a rough four day sail from Fiji, lots of rain storms and uncomfortable seas meant that we got little sleep and soaked to the bone. However, arriving at the Island of Tanna, one of the southern islands of the Vanuatu chain, made it all worth while. The beautiful sweeping bay of Port Resolution, named by Captain Cook after his ship, with it’s mountainous backdrop was a welcoming sight and a place we immediately fell in love with. We met up with some friends on a Canadian boat who were heading out that day and they gave us the typical cruiser flyby download of information on what we had to see and more importantly where we probably shouldn’t eat! I’d heard about the island of Tanna and it’s volcano many years ago when I first discovered sailing in Australia. It seemed like yet another unobtainable dream to actually sail there one day. Finally arriving and sitting at anchor in Port Resolution held a certain special significance for me….I’d made it and anything is possible!

Once we felt recovered enough from the trip we inflated the dingy and headed ashore to start exploring. First we had to meet the chief of the village to let our presence be known and be introduced to the community. We were given a tour and were amazed at how perfectly kept everything was, no rubbish lying around and perfectly maintained gardens and tracks. The locals live in ‘cyclone proof’ huts made from wood and grass, most of which lack the luxury of running water and electricity although this doesn’t seem to hinder them one bit. They have a great community mind set where everything is shared equally whether it is work that has to be done or money made, it’s all equally distributed. This appears to work extremely well and we never experienced any sign of jealousy or competition within the village, when someone needed a new house all the men stopped what they were doing and got together to built a new one…..If only that would work in the rest of the world!To get ourselves and the boat checked in to Vanuatu we had to take a four hour truck ride to Tannas capital which just so happened to be on the opposite side of the island. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it allowed us to see the diversity of the land and the people living there. From lush rainforest to baron volcanic plateau’s the scenery changed constantly and each view was more beautiful than the last. The check in process was slow but thorough and we were cleared both in and out at the same time, so no need to come back! This gave us time to grab some lunch of boiled chicken and rice and check out the local market so the guys could buy Kava root to take back to the chief. On the return trip we felt a lot more relaxed that the check in was complete and we could sit back, enjoy the trip and wave at all the friendly faces we passed.
The number one reason to visit Tanna is without a doubt to experience ‘Mount Yasur’ the most accessible active volcano in the world. From the anchorage we could see it glowing all night and were desperate to get up there to take a closer look! The best time to go is just before sunset as you get to see the transition between day and night. We arrived about six o’clock, stopping at the car park to post our postcards in the worlds only Volcano Post, before hiking the last few hundred meters to the edge of the crater. There was nothing that could prepare us for the enormity of what we were to see as we looked down into the boiling mouth of a live volcano.
Molten Lava was being blasted hundreds of feet into the air and then landing on the ridges with a whack of rock hitting rock right in front of us. It gave off the sound of a hundred jet engines starting up as the ground shuddered beneath our feet with every eruption! Amazingly there were no restrictions what so every except our guides telling us where to stand, no protection from shooting lava except our own fear. As darkness fell, the fireworks really started to begin giving us a view of nature’s power at it best. After two hours watching the show our guide had to drag us away as he was getting cold and was worried we’d stay all night if we had the chance…..he was right and it was an experience we'll never forget!


Hi everyone,
We're currently in Suva the capital city of Fiji and are waiting for a weather window to jump to Vanuatu. We finally received our Australian visas from the embassy here so no more waiting around. While we've been here I've begun to set this site up so It may take a while for me to get organised. I will be postdating blogs from our trip so far which may mean they'll be in the wrong date order in the post archives but I'm sure you'll figure it out. Suva has been a lot of fun with despite the constant rain and we've enjoyed the mixed Indian/Fijian culture, especially the curries and great markets. However, It's time to leave and we're really excited to get to Vanuatu and start exploring!

The Kingdom of Tonga

2nd October 2007

After a perfect two day sail from Apia in Western Samoa with 15-20 knots on our beam, we arrived at the small Tongan island of Niuatoputapu or New Potatoes as the cruisers refer to it. We’d heard that we should keep our eyes out for hump back whales at this time of year and just as we were coming up to the pass in the reef we spotted a pod off our starboard bow! There were two adults that appeared to be playing on the surface, they’d lift their tails high into the air and then smack them against the water. Now and again one of them would jump right out of the water and fall back down on its side splashing water twenty feet into the air. An awesome sight so we switched off the engine and let ourselves drift towards them to get a closer look without scaring them off. As we edged closer and closer we started to realize the enormity of their bodies, over twice the size of the boat, and realized what kind of damage they could do to us if they decided to use us as a play toy. We started the engine and gradually moved off towards the anchorage and a safer distance...An awesome sight!!

The pass in the reef was long and thin but with the use of our computerized charts and well trained eyes we managed to maneuver safely through and drop our anchor in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon. We had to wait on board for the officials to come to the small dock and then Jimmy ran ashore in the dingy to pick them up. They were laid back and happy and seemed to be more interested in whether or not we had cigarettes on board to sell them than doing official business! We found out later that the supply ship hadn’t come from the main Tongan islands for a few months and the whole island was out of cigarettes and so they were treated like gold. Our friends on Helen Kate who are both smokers had a really hard time going ashore without being mobbed by a group of nicotine deprived locals! We also heard from a local lady that they had no flour, sugar and salt but that was far less important than cigarettes!!

To complete our check in we had to go ashore and ride in their truck to the main town three miles away to exchange money and pay our fees. The deal did not include a ride back however and so we were left to find our own way along the gravel tracks and over grown paths. From what we’d seen already Niuatoputpu seemed to be the poorest place we’d been to in the Pacific. The locals have to be fully self sufficient, keeping their own Pigs, chickens and horses and fishing everyday. They live in small huts often containing ten to fifteen members of their family in a kind of compound.
The women dry long pieces of a local type of grass to sell for weaving on other islands allowing them to make a small income or do the weaving themselves to sell as mats to tourists. They are extremely friendly people and on many occasions we were invited to their houses for meals consisting of anything from roast piglets, crabs, even horse meat and a variety of locally grown vegetables.

The popular drink is coconut milk which they also use a lot in cooking. On Sundays one family invited all the cruisers to a Motu (Small Island) for a feast on the beach where they provide the main meal and the cruisers each bring a dessert. That’s the kind of feast everyone likes as cruisers are so creative with chocolate brownies, peach crumbles and fudge pudding to name a few!!

One night we were invited to drink Kava with some of the local community, it’s a drink made from a root which is ground up and mixed with water. It is traditionally only the men allowed to join in but because we weren’t from the island they made an exception. Everyone sits in small groups in a circle around the kava bowl and is poured half a coconut shell of Kava and have to drink it down in one go. It looks like muddy water and doesn’t taste much better. If you drink enough it’s supposed to have a hypnotic affect but all we could taste was a peppery flavor that made our mouths tingle. The men would drink a few cup and then break into a chorus of singing which was very overpowering and beautiful, we felt really lucky to be there. Jimmy was very impressed with the Kava and is now keen to buy some for the boat!

After a great week of snorkeling, fishing and BBQ’s on the beach the weather turned bad as storm passed over us and we were hit with heavy wind and rains. At 7 am one morning friends called us to look outside as another sail boat had fouled its anchor and was dragging down on top of us. I hardly had time to put down the radio when we heard the smash as it hit us full on the bow. Their yacht was lying sideways across our bow with its rudder caught on our anchor chain and no one awake on board.
We battled the heavy rain and winds and managed to wake them up and after half an hour of fighting we were able to break them free and move off to safety. Luckily no one was hurt and both boats came out with just bumps and scratches but no serious damage. Later we were to hear ,however, that the same boat went up onto the reef in Fiji loosing its keel and unable to carry on with the crossing. These things happen when sailing and you just have to pray that everyone comes away safely. In countries like these there are very little medical facilities which is why we have to carry full medical supplies on board and be prepared for any emergency.

Once the weather cleared we prepared the boat to head south to the Vava’u Group, the northern group of Tongan islands. We spent a couple of weeks there exploring the islands and meeting back up with a lot of friends that we hadn’t seen since the Society Islands. The Vava’u group is a great place to cruise in protected waters but we were limited to a small amount of time before we had to move on to Fiji.


Coming soon!

Suwarrow, Cook islands

Coming soon!

Huahine to Bora Bora

Coming soon!

Tahiti and Moorea

Tahiti –

Our trip from the Tumotu’s to Tahiti was one of the worst we’ve ever experienced. With a constant onslaught of squalls containing heavy winds, rain and rough seas we were battered and beaten again and again. With winds reaching up to fifty knots and rain so hard it was painful to stand in we really picked the wrong time to make the passage! We were sailing with three other boats: Helen Kate, Silene and Serai but found it very hard keeping visual contact; luckily we stayed in touch over the radio and were happy to know we weren’t the only ones out there. After three days of very little sleep and hand steering the island of Tahiti was a very welcome sight and after a tough sail beating up the coast we limped into the anchorage just off the Tahiti yacht club on the North coast of the island and dropped our anchor in perfectly calm water. We were very lucky that we suffered no damage to Bluemoon but our friends received broken stays and one ripped out mainsail sheet. Once anchored safely we stripped the boat down below of everything that got wet underway and hung it out on deck to dry in the sun, Bluemoon looked like a Chinese Laundry boat!!

Ashore we were awestruck with the huge French supermarkets stocking everything and anything we could possibly wish for especially the European products I’d been without for well over a year. We wandered the isles dazed by all the bright colours and perfect looking fruit and vegetables in such abundance. We treated ourselves to some nice big juicy steaks, fresh French bread and cheese and of course a couple of bottles of wine for our first night back in civilization.
After a couple of days adjusting to the sights and sounds of a busy metropolitan country we moved the boat around to the main anchorage in Lagon De Punaavia on the North western side of the island just south of Papeete. We were just in time to celebrate the 4th of July, American Independence day, on board our friends Catamaran ‘Bare feet’ . Although the Americans were seriously out numbered by the non Americans we had a great time and celebrated in style! The same night we went on into the city of Papeete to watch a huge dance competition of local Polynesian Dancers competing against the other islands. The graceful movements of the dancers, the traditional music and powerful singing made it a really magical experience. Every dance consisted of almost a hundred dancers and depicted a story relating to local traditions that are passed on over the generations. It was very easy to get drawn in by the dancer’s energy and the bright colours that we could have happily stayed watching them all night!
A few days later we took a Safari tour of the island with some other cruisers, and in the back of a land rover we headed into the mountains in the heart of the island. The countryside is extremely beautiful and our Tahitian guide explained to us local traditions and stories of Polynesia’s history. He also explained the meanings behind the tattoos that cover the locals’ bodies and why a person would traditionally get a certain one. Some are to show what family a person belongs to and others mark something that happens in a person’s life, anything from coming of age to the loss of a loved one. Now however, they have become popular with westerners who just pick out the ones they think look the most attractive and have no personal meaning.

While in Tahiti we also took the opportunity to get in some diving and go for a guided tour of an old seaplane and a huge old wooden trading ship. Swimming down to about seventy feet we still had perfect visibility and were able to go inside the plane and out the cockpit window. The ship had been taken over completely by the sea and covered in colourful reef and all kinds of mysterious looking fish, including the biggest Rock fish I’d ever seen. There are a lot of great dive spots in Tahiti many of which are well marked and as long as you have your own equipment and transport it’s very easy to go on your own and see something different every day.

Just a day sail from Tahiti lies the island of Moorea, a very beautiful island and one of our favourite so far. We sailed in through a pass in the reef and anchored in 12 feet of beautiful crystal clear water just off the bay in which they filmed the movie ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’. On one side we were enclosed by perfect live coral reef and on the other a long white sandy beach covered in palm trees….Perfect!! A great thing to do here is to take the dingy to a sandy shallow spit in the bay where we could stand waist deep in the water and feed the sting rays. It’s a bit daunting to start with but once you get used to them they come right up and take food from your hand and as they brushed up against us they felt really soft and gentle. The reef sharks that came along for a look were a little bit more scary but once we were used to them we could swim out among them without a worry. The coral reef here is very beautiful and there’s lots of fish to snorkel around and look at straight off the boat.
Ashore we found a lot of great hikes and exploring under foot from the anchorage is very easy. The local people were extremely friendly and kept stopping their cars to offer us a ride but were shocked when we explained we’d rather walk! They grow a lot of bananas on the island and Jimmy found it his mission to bring at least one stalk home every time we went ashore. The problem is that they tend to ripen all together and so we found ourselves being forced to eat over five bananas and bake banana cake everyday so that none went to waste! Moorea is very popular with tourists especially Honeymooners and it’s easy to see why. There are very few hotels and the ones that are there are very beautiful; with thatched roofed huts stretching out into the ocean allowing great views of the island and each with its own swimming platform into sea. The sunsets here are amazing with the whole sky constantly changing colours that seem to last forever. We were very sad to leave this wonderful place but there’s still so much to see!!

Tuamotu Atolls

Coming Soon!

The Marquesas

Coming soon!

Crossing from Galapagos to the Marquesas

20th March 2007
On Sunday 22nd April, after saying our goodbyes to friends we may never see again we upped anchor around midday and left Isabella Island in the Galapagos to start the 3,000 nautical mile sail to the Marquesas. We’d been listening to weather forecasts on our Single Sideband radio out of New Zealand and felt this was as good a time as ever to head on out. With such a long distance to go there’s no way of predicting what the weather will be like in a week let alone three so we just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best. We only carry enough fuel to motor slowly for about one week so if the wind dies off we have to sit and wait for as long as it takes to come back and if we get heavy winds for long periods of time it may get very uncomfortable as the seas will build quickly in such a large ocean.

Two other boats, Purrfection and Scholarship also left around the same time as us so we plan to keep close radio contact with them twice a day. We also joined the Pacific Cross radio net which included nearly all of the boats making the crossing, every morning we would join the role call of over thirty boats to give our position, speed, course and weather to everyone listening. This gave us some piece of mind and a feeling of being less alone; especially knowing that if anything happened to us then someone could send help.
Leaving the first day on Thursday 17th May we had very little wind and had to motor away from the island, we’d heard from boats up ahead that they weren’t able to sail until the third day and so we slowly left the comforting sight of land behind reluctantly using our precious fuel supply. That night we caught two Dorado fish on our lines and felt a little more confident that we’ll at least get a varied diet! We heard on the radio that night that between the latitudes of 3-8 degrees south the weather is rough and unpredictable and as we’re currently at 1 degree south and our landfall in the Marquesas is at 10 degrees then we would be sailing directly through it!

Our weather forecaster advised us to head directly south to 9 degrees and then turn west and sail beneath it which would just give us a couple of rough days as we pass through. This sounded like a great idea and so we changed our course and headed almost due south.
The prediction was right and the next couple of days were very uncomfortable, here are some extracts from our daily log kept on board to give you an idea of what it was like:

Wed 25th April- Position: S 03*11 W 93*50 – Day 4
Very choppy confused seas hitting us from the side, not nice at all but we are able to sail with winds coming out of the South East. Caroline is seasick and the wind vane is refusing to cooperate so we are hand steering, we hope we can push south of this but looks like it may take a couple of days. We’ve spoken to Scholarship and Purrfection and they’re experiencing the same conditions although with much bigger boats their not getting quite as wet as we are!

Friday 27th April- Position: S 07*18’73 W 99*11’28 – Day 6At 16:20 we’re on a course of 240 degrees sailing with a nice steady breeze of 10 knots from the East and it seems that the bad weather is over with. We’ve started to head more west which means we’re now on a more direct course towards land. All is good on board and our spirits are a little higher. The saltwater tap has stopped working which means the dishes are starting to pile up! We have 2487 miles to go and there’s nothing on the horizon as far as the eye can see. We’re still hand steering for three hours at a time as the wind vane is refusing to work. Today it was warm enough for us to bath with buckets of refreshing sea water over our heads on deck and dry off in the warm breeze. Our fresh water has to be saved for drinking and cooking and a very quick rinse now and again!!

Monday 30th April- Position: S 08*29’5 W 105*01’36 – Day 9
At 08:45 the seas are coming from both south and east pushing us around a lot making it very rolly and even more impossible for the wind vane to work. We’ve tried every sail configuration that Bluemoon has to offer and it doesn’t seem to like any of them. Jimmy has more luck than me and so he gets short periods without having to touch the helm but I find it too frustrating and would rather just hand steer. I’d do anything for a big Auto helm right now as just needing to go to the bathroom means we have to wake the each other up as we can’t leave the helm for a minute!
We’ve just passed over the 2000 miles to go mark, Hurray! Which means that were over a third of the way there on our eighth day out. This morning Jimmy caught two big Dorado’s at the same time on the fishing lines which should last us a few days. We’re having a fishing contest with Scholarship anPurrfection andnd I think we’re now in the lead. Our meals have become the big excitement of the day and take a lot of planning and discussion to prepare.

Friday 4th May- Position S 09*19’02 W 111*45’21 – Day 13
We’re now heading dead down wind with the sails Goose Winged, the head sail poled out on one side and our main on the other. We’re rolling around a lot as the seas are pretty big around 6 ft from our stern but we’re moving at around 6 knots so making good time. Of course we’re still hand steering and getting really sick of it although it does make the time pass quicker as we are always busy. We passed over the half way mark today without a soul in sight. We are the furthest away from land you can probably get anywhere in the world with over a thousand miles of open ocean in every direction…..very strange feeling but also extremely peaceful.
This morning we heard on the Pacific Cross net that a Norwegian boat behind us and about a week out of Galapagos had to abandon their boat and be rescued by a Container Ship. They received some serious damage to their yacht during a storm and we’re taking on water faster than they could pump it out. It’s very scary to think that it could have been any of us and has made us realize how fragile we are out here.

Sunday 13th May- Position S 10*18’50 W 132*56’89 – Day 22
We’re on a course of 270 degrees with the wind from the east at fewer than 10 knots. We have the Head sail poled out and the Mizzen sail up but moving very slowly. This isn’t too bad however as it means the seas have calmed right down and we’re able to watch movies in the cockpit at night while we’re on watch. Today we were passed by another sail boat which this morning we could barely see coming up behind us and by sunset they were just a spec on the horizon in front of us! We took pictures of each other as they passed and shouted messages of good luck. They have a water shortage problem as salt water entered one of their drinking water tanks contaminating it and with five people on board they were rationing to the bare minimum. They are pushing the boat to its limits to get to land as soon as possible to replenish their stores and at the speed they’re moving they shouldn’t have a problem. It did make us feel very slow however as they left us for dust and by night fall we couldn’t see them at all. To lift our spirits we were given one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen and we sat in silence watching one of nature’s greatest shows.

Thursday 17th May - Making landfall at Fatu hiva, Marquesas – Day 25
After slowing down last night to make landfall in the light we have our first glimpse of land at daybreak after twenty five days at sea! The island of Fatu Hiva is the most beautiful sight towering thousands of feet into the air it looks like something out of a King Kong movie with huge pinnacle rocks jutting into the clouds covered in lush green vegetation. We can barely contain our excitement as we motor around the island and head towards our first anchorage in French Polynesia. As we got closer we could make out the anchorage and so many of our friends already there, a very welcoming sight! We were joined by two other yachts also arriving at the same time and finally dropped our anchor in 90 ft of water in the most spectacular anchorage we’d ever seen.

After 25 days of hand steering we were completely exhausted but driven by so much adrenalin from our arrival we dived over board for a fantastic swim in the cool clear water and to scrub away the thick layer of scum that had developed on the hull of Bluemoon over such a long passage! This evening everyone came over to celebrate the end of the longest passage we will ever have to undertake and Norwegian Independence day. We swapped stories of our trip and discussed broken parts and even a few broken limbs received underway…… We made it!!!

Galapagos Islands

April 20th 2007

Arriving in the Galapagos was very exciting. We were a bit worried sailing up the coast due to thick fog and it was difficult to see a way through all the breaking waves to the anchorage in Academy Bay. Luckily friends called us on the radio to direct us in and it all become clear. We dropped our anchor in between the huge research vessels and tour boats and finally we were able to get some rest. The swell was still pretty big in the bay which meant we had to put out a stern anchor to hold ourselves straight so we didn’t roll quite so much. We couldn’t wait to get ashore and start the check in process so we called up the water taxi to come and pick us up, at 50 cents a ride it was easier than using the dinghy. As we rode in we spotted all the huge seals lounging on the back of old fishing boats as they sunned themselves without a care in the world.

As soon as were dropped off in town we went straight to the port captain’s office (after a quick celebratory drink in a local bar of course!) to sort out our check in. We have no idea exactly how the fees for this were figured out as they seemed to be different for every boat. We got the feeling that if they liked the look of you it was cheaper and if not it cost more! Galapagos is owned by Ecuador and it is still run with the South American mentality that they can pretty much do what they like, and they can! As a yacht we are extremely limited to where we can go without paying a small fortune for a cruising permit and taking on a park ranger/pilot. We were restricted to this anchorage and possibly one on the island of Isabella if we smiled sweetly enough!

However, we were here and happy to take what we could get as we could always take private trips and hike wherever we liked. The town at San Cristobel is the largest tourist spot in the islands and the home to the Charles Darwin Research Center. The town is full of gift shops and restaurants with meals ranging from $2.50 to $50 and all great food. There’s a fish market on the waterfront where we watched the seals and pelicans fight over leftovers as the huge frigate birds fly over head waiting for the opportune moment to dive in. The people are extremely friendly and carry on their lives as usual and don’t seem to be affected by all the tourists. On the weekends the locals hold a large fruit and vegetable market where we could restock our fresh produce and sit and eat a breakfast of roast pork and boiled hominy.
Jimmy’s mum, Pat, flew in for a three week visit so we made sure we kept busy doing all the fun touristy things. The research center is just outside town and free to look around. This is where George, the oldest living Galapagos tortoise, is kept and you can get up close and personal to many of the different species of really huge tortoises and Iguanas. We took a day trip in a 4x4 truck to see the tortoises in the wild and visit the volcanic Lava tunnels and craters. It was great to get out and see some of the landscape inshore and a completely different view from what we get on the boat.

From Academy Bay it was a 30 minute walk to a long white sandy beach great for surfing and setting up our volley ball set. It was also home to the giant swimming Iguanas that would lie on the sand and rocks and sunbathe all day long, not the most attractive of creatures with their black scaly skin but fasinating to watch as they jump into the sea and go for a swim!

After the second week on San Cristobel we were given permission to move over to the island of Isabella, just a day sail away which also allowed us to take Pat for a sail. Isabella is a very dry and baron island but we were happy to get there as it's the home of Penguins who swim around the boat and of which none of us had seen in the wild before. We got together with a group of cruisers and arranged a day trip with the yacht club owner in his speed boat to visit the lava archways along the coast and get a closer look at the local wildlife. We were really lucky as we were able to see the famous Blue Footed Boobies doing their mating dance and a close up look at the penguins sunning themselves on the rocks.

On the way back we stopped at 'Seal Rock', a giant out crop which struck out of the water half a mile off land and has become home to a huge group of Seals. We stopped the boat and those that were brave enough, the guys, jumped in to the freezing cold water to snorkel with the thousands of fish which attract the seals so far out. Back in the anchorage we were blessed with daily visits from penguins and seals and if you were quick enough you could jump in and join them as they swam around the boat.

It wasn’t long before Pat had to fly home and leave us to prepare the boat for the 3,000 mile passage to the Marquesas. We were really sad to be leaving these islands but our time from now on would be limited so that we could reach Australia before the Cyclone season begins in November. If we had the time again we probably would have taken a three or four day tour with an organized company to the northern Galapagos Islands. Some friends that did the trip raved about it as they were able to see so much more wildlife and diverse landscape. It was also possible to go diving with the Hammer Head sharks here but with the water temperature being so cold we completely chickened out!!

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