Friday, September 9, 2011

As I stood at the helm at midnight, A thought came into my head: Why the hell am I standing here. When I could be home in bed?

We are having a fantastic time, but it would be true to say that time moored in the islands is definitely more enjoyable than bouncing about on the open ocean, so we do struggle to leave anywhere and set sail again

We have been pretty slack at keeping you all up to date with our travels, and we have plenty to tell, but we have very limited or no access to the internet most of the time, so the details will have to wait. However in the meantime here is a brief update on our recent adventures.

After leaving the Marquesas Islands we sailed to the huge Tuamotu Archipelago for a brief one night stay at Rangiroa, the largest atoll of the group. We went snorkelling in the beautifully clear water and saw a number of sharks and a lot of small reef fish. Carl, Leslie and Andy all hired bikes and cycled the length of the island to the Island’s largest town of Avatoru – a very beautiful island. Then off further east on quite a rough voyage to Papeete in Tahiti, and that was different, lots of stores and shops, cafes, etc, we hadn’t seen anything like that since Mexico. Poor old Raleigh got quarantined on the boat again, whereas he had had a free run in The Marquesas. We cleaned the boat inside, outside, and underneath, waterproofed some leaky portholes, upgraded the electrical systems, cleaned out the water tanks, and refilled them, and did a complete food reprovision. We managed to find some time as well to free dive some plane wrecks in the vicinity of the airport in Papeete which was really cool. Don’s friend Bri was with us at that stage and was enjoying himself.

We had a couple of nights stay in a bay on the northern side of Moorea, which is an island just north of Tahiti, where we snorkelled with the stingrays and some sharks, and then sailed north for two days to the Leeward Islands where we spent a month exploring the islands of Tahaa & Raiatea, Huahine, with most of the time spent at Bora Bora. On the island of Raiatea we all hired scooters one day and drove around the island. There were some interesting manoeuvres initially, from the two women in particular , but everyone caught on and we had a great day. Andy always surfs wherever he can and has had the odd minor scraping on the coral reefs but one morning at Raiatea he took on some big surf and came off second best, removing all the skin and some flesh from the top of one hand from the thumb to his wrist. We washed and cleaned it well and it has healed, but took some weeks as we can’t keep him out of the water! Boora Bora was lovely, quite a lot of tourists around but they seemed to keep to themselves a lot to the resorts on the island so it wasn’t that busy. We celebrated Don’s birthday there by climbing the 2000 feet to the top of Bora Bora mountain. Bri left for home while we were here. The dinghy outboard motor decided to die while we were at Bora Bora and we haven’t been able to get it fixed so it is rowing everywhere while in port now!

Then on to Suwarrow in the Northern Cook Islands. We are currently at Suwarrow after a very hot and somewhat choppy passage. The island here is absolutely beautiful but the early afternoons are sooo hot. This is probably the remotest place we have been with only two inhabitants, the local rangers, but there are about a dozen yachts and it is the most social we have ever been. Two nights ago we had a pot luck dinner on the island with an amazing selection of food from the yachts, and last night we had a movie night on shore using Carl’s little projector and his large stock of films and TV programs. Fishing is great here, straight off the yacht we are catching plenty of snapper and gurnard, but you have to pull them up fast as there are lots of small sharks that remove your fish rapidly if you’re not fast enough. Raleigh decided a few days ago to try systemic flea control by eating a cake of his flea control soap. He was not at all well for a few days but with daily contacts via radio with Andy’s dad and on by telephone with Andy’s brother, Simon, who is a vet in Sydney, we worked out a suitable medication plan and after a few says he was fine again.

We plan to leave for Niue this coming weekend and then on to Tonga by September 24 in time for Andy to watch an important World Cup Rugby game that is on in New Zealand at the moment.

That gives a brief update on our travels and we hope to elaborate on the interesting bits in due course.