Saturday, August 3, 2019

Brisbane, Australia

Sailing has come to an end for me this year but on my way out of Australia, I passed through Brisbane and had a chance to swing by the museum on the Brisbane river downtown near the South Bank. Some great old boats reside there including the HMAS Diamantina, a WW2 frigate built in 1945.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Mackay Australia

Look closely at the photo and you may notice the tide change. It's huge here at about 25 feet and it gets a whole lot more the further you travel north.

We actually arrived here Thursday but after 7 days at sea, my favorite beverage and a long hot shower was a top priority.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Emergency at sea

On Saturday evening our neighboring boat captain, Glen on a Canadian boat called Denicia, called us on the VHF radio to say that he was having heart problems with a severe chest pain. This was in the middle of the Coral Sea, 500 nautical miles from the nearest land. We used our satellite phone to talk to Australian search and rescue which culminated in a plane coming out to visit us the following evening at dusk. They dropped 2 heavy barrels with medication and a satellite phone attached to a 400 metre rope. Originally it was thought that Glen had strained a back muscle but after talking with a doctor he came to the terrible conclusion that he would require blood thinning medicine.
There were 2 cannisters that were dropped off and these were so heavy that they required 2 people to lift them.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Leaving for Mackay Australia

We did some last minute provisioning before leaving Port Vila.
They have a solar farm quite near the center of the town.
Steve and Linda posed in front of a wall of bamboo

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Ok so I know that waterfalls are usually tourist traps but we got to see a lot of Port Vila on the way and it was a beautiful, clear, fast flowing river.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Port Vila market

The morning market not far from the dock is full of fresh fruits and vegetables and a hive of activity.
We have 2 more days here before leaving for Mackay Australia on Thursday.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Port Vila

Here we are, tied up downtown next to the wharf. We actually anchored in the bay just north of here last night, called Hannah harbor so this morning we awoke early and motored 20 nautical miles against the prevailing SE trade winds to get here. After hosing all the salt off the boat and cleaning Alora up, I went for a run north alongside the coast  got a feel for the city. It's very commercial here with lots of tourists, souvenir shops, atm machines, cafes and currency exchange places along the pot holed Street.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Tanna to Port Vila.

Sailed up to Port Vila over night and we are going to rest up today out side the harbor before going in tomorrow.
We had the official meeting with the village people before we left.
They gave us some homemade bags full of fruits and vegetables and we have them lots of gifts including school supplies.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Village people

We traveled on a very rough road in pickup trucks to visit a local village.
Here we were welcomed with traditional dances.
We then sat down to a meal which included taro, banana, yam, choko, fish, chicken and coffee. All locally sourced, gmo free and organic.
School visit

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Climbing the mast

My boat has a 50 foot stick whereas Alora's mast goes 83 feet off the deck.
It was scary as one thing but I had to go up to pull a broken halyard down

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Mount Yasur

Went up to the caldron last night and got within 100 metres of the crater. Scary, windy and cold. Journey there in the back of a pickup truck along these roads that were atrocious.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Port Resolution

We went ashore to clear customs and immigration and got a first hand look at how people from Vanuatu live.
Outrigger canoes cut from one tree using an adze. No stitch and glue here.

Arrived in Vanuatu

Well after just 3 days from Fiji we have made it to Tanna in Vanuatu. We are right next to an active volcano and you can see the vents on the shoreline.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Leaving for Vanuatu

This morning we have to negotiate our way through these treacherous reefs to the start line about one kilometer west of here from the marina. Then we have a 450 nautical mile sailing race to Vanuatu west of here. The forecast is for perfect 15-20 knot SE winds initially dying to variable Monday, and there is a huge penalty if we end up turning on the engine. There are 22 boats leaving here and there are 6 other boats in our category. Most are not interested in competition, at least that is what they say!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Musket Cove Marina

There are 22 boats here in Fiji with us getting ready to sail to Vanuatu at 10am tomorrow morning as part of the ARC around the world rally. There are 25 legs of the rally that are actually races and this next leg over to Tanna will be light winds without using the engine. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Castaway Island

For fans of the movie starring Tom Hanks, the location of the filming was at the Fijian island of Monuriki.
We sailed by there on the way back to Musket Cove.
Nobody lives on the island but they have a shelter for tour groups on jet skis.
You can see the mountain where he tried to kill himself and the beach with HELP etched into the sand. They even have a Wilson soccer ball.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sleeping in a hammock

The conditions need to be just right to get a good night's sleep but it's possible and actually quite restful. There can't be any bugs about, not too much wind and the temperature should be around 20/70. All the planets were in line last night so I slept fitfully until about 3am listening to the waves break on the rocks and sandy shore nearby. After that I could not get back to sleep because I couldn't lie on my stomach.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Swimming with Manta Rays

Words are poor descriptions when it comes to describing the feeling that you get when you swim with one of these majestic creatures. One moment you are in awe, another moment frightened then marveling at the pure beauty of their wings flapping slowly while banking into a new direction. We took our dinghy up to the reef to look for them and then jumped overboard when we saw one. They swam against the current down deep then sometimes near the surface. You could feel that they knew I was close enough following them and I am sure they could have sped away but they were too busy filtering the nutrient dense water. An unforgettable experience.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Narara Island

Early morning. We motored here from Denerau yesterday and anchored in between a couple of islands. Today we hope to swim with Manta Rays not far from here. They are only in one spot before the turn of the tide at 11am.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Denarau day 4

Last night we went out to a Fijian restaurant and had a curry dish from India. Between 1879 and 1916 about 60,000 indentured laborers came to Fiji to work on sugar cane plantations. There are now just as many Indians as Fijians which creates an interesting political situation.

Friday, July 5, 2019


Yesterday I caught a taxi into Suva to trace some of my relatives who used to live here.
I first stopped off at Colova on the Coral coast where my grandfather built his beach house. Now it has been turned into a 5 start resort.
Then I visited the cemetery in Suva where many of my relatives are buried.
Finally the cathedral downtown where my parents were married.

Thursday, July 4, 2019


Just to show you how keen they are on rugby here, take a look at the front page of the newspaper here.
And they are the only country in the world with a 7 dollar note. They printed it because they won the gold medal in the Olympics for rugby.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Denarau day 2

Yesterday we went to the local medical clinic and got a prescription for anti malaria pills for our visit to Vanuatu in 10 days. They have a serious problem with dengue fever too but there is no vaccine for that. Long pants, long sleeved shirts and screens will be our main defense.

One of the boats on our dock is the Google yacht Senses. It is 194 feet long,a can accommodate 12 guests and is available for charter here for a mere $325,000 per week. Lifestyles of the rich and famous.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Denarau Marina

We pulled into our slip at Denarau marina to join the company of many other large pleasure boats including one with a helicopter on the stern. It has all the facilities here so I grabbed the chance to do a load of laundry. We actually got off the boat for a shoreside meal at a restaurant in the mall next to the marina.
The name of the restaurant is Bonefish which is a direct copy of the chain in the USA but has no connection to it. Not too bad.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Motoring to Nadi

We are currently motoring overnight in very little wind and calm seas towards Nadi where we are booked into a marina for a week. We were hunkered down over the weekend with lots of wind and rain off the grid. This morning the weather broke so we visited the local village called "Number 8."

Nabouwalu Bay, Ono island

We did a 140 mile sail SW towards Kadavu, the fourth biggest island here in Fiji. The first 12 hours were quite boisterous with the boat being bounced around as we were sailing on a tight reach. After we started running more downwind we were able to catch some sleep with each of us doing 2 hours on and 4 hours off. It is always nice to sail all the way without having to use the Yanmar.
We are here in Nabouwalu Bay to get protection from the very strong easterly wind forecast for tonight and Sunday along with some very heavy rain. Scrabble, movies and lots of sleep while we sit on anchor watch.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Leaving Taveuni for Kadavu

Some weather is coming through and Sunday is looking like 30 knots and thunderstorms so we are heading out to Ono at the northern tip of Kadavu Island. This is just south of the main island of Viti Levi. It is 140 nautical miles so it will be an overnight trip which is a bit scary seeing it is in Reef strewn Fiji.

More diving

Spent the day doing more diving on Rainbow reef here at Taveuni. What an amazing experience. I'm hooked!
Resort here is very good and run by an Australian couple, Alan and Terry along with 60 Fijian staff. They have a farm attached to the resort and remind you to take it easy!

Monday, June 24, 2019


I've never dived before so I took the plunge here and did my first dive today.

More catching up

I met the so called mayor of Lomaloma when I was there.
Jacob facilitated all the arrangements in the village and it is a different position than the chief. Interesting that women do not generally play a big part in Fijian society.

Here is another glimpse of the bay of islands.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Just off the coast of this beautiful Fijian island now. I have lots of catching up to do because we have had little or no internet connection.
This one was overlooking the Bay of Islands where we just left this morning.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Green footed Booby hitchhiker

Such a beautiful bird stayed with us for more than a day to get a rest.  so unusual to have seen one. The blue footed ones are famous from the Galapagos islands but this one's feet definitely had a green tinge on them.