Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Down the coast to Sydney

We had a great sail for 4 days and nights down the coast from Brisbane until we hit some strong weather coming from the south and decided to duck into Lake MacQuarie to wait it out. We were just 60 miles north of Sydney and had a nice 4 day rest there meeting locals, walking around town and watching races.
The sailing south along the Australian coast is flukey sailing....there are currents and eddies. Sometimes we hit the southerly current going 2-3 knots and flew and sometimes the wind would come from every direction at some time during the day with lumpy seas to motor into. We had to use the engine about 1/3 the time. It was all quite scenic and the coast was far more covered with mountains and cliffs than we expected. The whole coast is quite shallow for several miles out so the swell is not bad.
We arrived in Sydney on Monday, Dec. 8th, in rain and 25 to 30 knots of wind and anchored right at the famous Opera House in Farm Cove which is more impressive than in photos. This place is very well designed! We just left the dinghy at the pier, ignoring...or conviently overseeing a sign that said "no vessels without permission"...we thought they meant really big boats and not little dinghys!!! Anyway they left it along for several hours while we walked all over town and also got tickets for performances.

We only stayed one night at this anchorage. Lots of ferries zoomed past and sightseeing boats drove all around us while we had sundowners. It was so rocky with the swell from their wakes that we kept spilling our coffee!!!
We changed to another anchorage and then got a nice surprize....an email from the Australian Island Packet Dealer who saw us anchor, looked us up on the net and sent an email for us to call him. We had anchored right in his condo's bay and he swam over to visit with a cooler of beer and invited us to dinner. That's Aussie spirit!!! This is gonna be a great place to visit.
We will soon leave this bay called "The Glebe" to go to Cammeray Marina to our mooring for a month to get settled in. We have work to get done on the boat and routine doctors to see. All part of our time in port.

Friday, November 28, 2008

We Spend 2 Weeks in Brisbane

After we sailed from Bundaberg we headed south for Brisbane and expected to spend several days with friends in Mooloolaba on our way but it didn't work out that way. We had to head overnight directly to our marina at Manly which is near Brisbane, Australia, because a big storm system was heading north from New South Wales along the coast. We got docked just a few hours before several days of colorful, wet, loud weather hit the coast causing millions in damage. Worst storm in 30 years!!!

The weather here had been dreadfully dry for ages but since we have been here we have seen more lightning than the whole 4+ years we have owned the boat!!!! We have had rain numbering in feet instead of inches!!! Rivers are swelling above flood stage and mosquitos are swarming. We had pea sized hail that sounded like bullets and we were concerned for our solar panels!!

We finally got a chance to take the train into the city and Brisbane is young and bustling. What an attractive downtown with a huge arcade of many streets and shops and street entertainment. We just weren't used to cities and the noise knocked us over! By the end of the day it was sensory overdose....too many lights and sounds. Guess we got used to quiet islands!

Manly is just a short train ride to downtown Brisbane and we visited there several times. "Brissy" is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and very up to date.

Brisbane City, Anzac Square, A Memorial Park

Here we are after having just run for a ferry on a day in Brisbane with the other cruisers friends from Fast Forward and Catimini in the group photo below.

We really covered the whole city. We ate, drank and caught up on our recent passages and future plans.
It was great to see Brisbane and get a bunch of shopping done especially with the good Australian dollar exchange rate now. We had a toned down Thanksgiving on the boat with Thai Chicken and cranberry sauce and missed family, of course.
Now we are on our way sailing south along the coast to Sydney. We expect to anchor each night enjoying the coastal sights unless the weather window is really good and then we will shoot straight through and go the whole 400 miles!! We look forward to Christmas in Sydney and plan to meet friends there and take our time seeing the sights. We are staying on a mooring in Cammeray Marina just outside downtown.
Here in Australia we have a modem like a cell phone with instant internet access and we are really enjoying the First World priviledges again with instant connections!!!

Wishing everyone safe and blessed holidays....

Lynn and Chuck on Cyan

Friday, November 7, 2008

Arrived in Australia

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Or you can just check www.starsonthesea.com from time to time.
There is a new page on New Caledonia that's just been posted. Checkhere

We took the Port to Port Rally from Koumac, New Caledonia to Bundaberg, Australia arriving Oct 29. We had a brief stop for 4 days at a wonderful sand bar in the middle of the Coral Sea called Chesterfield Reef with 7 other cruiser friends in the rally.
Koumac was a particularly fun visit. The rally folks organized excursions to working mines, and an abandoned mining village, ancient caves, wine tastings and a pig roast before we left to sail west. Lynn celebrated her birthday on the 16th along with Mike on Kokamo who had the very same birthday, tasting French wines, cheeses and pates. What a tough life!!!

After all the vessels arrived the 4 days of parties began in "Bundy". There were games and prizes and Chuck bid $3 on a nice yellow hat got toad #1 who won the race and we won 2 days and nights at a B&B on the beach and, what's best, 2 days rental car to do shopping for provisioning...yeah!!! He also won the stuffed toad in the picture.

On election day they came to interview us because they were looking for some Americans who were watching the election closely and since we had internet connection, we were. The next day we were in the papers with a nice picture. That was a nice welcome since we'd only been in Australia a week!!! Here is a shot of the paper.
We expect to leave Bundaberg and sail south to Brisbane area about mid month taking in some nice stops along the way. We are heading to Sydney for Christmas. The fireworks on the bridge there on New Years Day is supposed to be spectacular and we have a dock reserved.

More Later.....Chuck and Lynn on CYAN

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Caledonia

In Honor of the Forces who by their Presence During the Pacific Wave
From March 1942 to February 1946 Insured the
Freedom of New Caledonia
Her People are Deeply Grateful
We arrived in Noumea September 20th and were lucky to find a place in the marina with sketchy internet. This is the place, where in 1943, Lynn's Dad and her uncle Bud were stationed during WWII and they got the message that she was born on October 16th. Yes, she will get Social Security this year. We promised Uncle Bud some pictures so here they are:

These shots are around Anse Vata, or Vata Cove which is southwest of Noumea.

It's too bad the day was cool and cloudy or

we could have taken shots of the


We visited the museum and aquarium

Next we plan to provision at the wonderful French waterfront market and head up the west coast and down the east coast of New Caledonia to make a circumnavigation of the island. Most of it will be inside the reef which protects us from the ocean swell. This will take about 3 weeks and then we check out for Australia.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vanuatu Visit

In August we sailed to Vanuatu where many of the Survivor TV shows were films.We spent about 10 days in Port Vila, the biggest town in Vanuatu. It's an attractive and enjoyable place. It had quite a presence in World War 11 with many Navy persons and Michner's "Tales of the South Pacific" took place north of here in Luganville. It's fun to try and speak the Pidgin English. CYAN blong nambawan. “Cyan is number one!” Yes nambawan is one word.

This country is about the most "third world" and primative we have been to yet. They have lots of old world superstitions, volcanos erupting, waterfalls, cannibalism until 1969, weird cults that worship WW II soldiers, few clothes, sharks, sea snakes and many other edgy things to watch out for. They are warm and inviting folks but quite simple their cultures and art. Until recently in the 1900s there were loads of different island cultures and languages in the 80 islands. They fought and ate each other and any white folks thinking about settling around. It was hard on the missionaries but they finally had an impact. The more remote islands still share their customs and dancing with cruising visitors. We spent 9 days around the islands north of Port Vila but had to head back when we got a great weather break.

We missed the famous volcano on the island of Tanna but we can’t do everything if the weather doesn’t work out. Malaria is an issue and we are taking meds that make it hard to sleep but ward off the critters in the mosquitos' bite!!! Chuck went on some scuba dives and saw even more unique sealife. He was ecstatic about his dive on the Cooledge, a WW II wreck in Luganville.

On his birthday, Chuck caught this 60" mahimahi that we shared with 2 other cruising boats and one whole half was given to feed 6 local families.
We plan to take off about mid September to visit New Caledonia and we are provisioning now. Shopping is good here in Vila and duty-free booze is cheap so we are making room to take a bunch to Australia.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pictures of Fiji

Go to our website for more photos and info
Lynn And Chuck on CYAN

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vanua Balavu, continued

Bavatu Harbor

This is one of the most beautiful anchorages and quite an interesting visit. After anchoring way back, right between the small island at the south of the large cove/harbor and the cliffs to the west, we came ashore at the boat landing and found the longest and most well built wooden staircase we'd ever seen. This must have been 15 stories high; we should have counted! There is a large coconut plantation covering most of the eastern side. We'd met Tony, in Lakemba. He owns the plantation and the 85' charter vessel, Tau. He gave us a letter of introduction that we presented to Fane, who is his plantation manager. At the staircase top we found the coconut plantation and tiny village of 5 houses, a "sometime" store and an open air church for the workers. Fane gave us a tour of 2 lovely homes with astounding views of the harbor, we bought coconut oil and walked back by the cows, and horses along the road to the landing instead of the tall staircase. We left gifts for the villagers and bought 4 amazing lobsters for $50 from Fane's husband so he could get a new diving mask and spear fish on the reef for his village. We'd offered him Chuck's spare mask but it was too large for him.

For anchoring in Banavu Harbor, we would recommend the eastern anchorage instead of the southern one due to lack of breeze and a few bugs. We do mention that behind the small island at the south, is a nice set of coral heads to snorkel at mid-tide.

To prepare to leave by Qilaqila Pass we moved to the larger U shaped cove behind the innermost range marker. There was some current and we set the anchor right in the middle between the big rock on the north of the eastern cut and the center island. The current took us over towards the island and out of the bumps of the waves. It was plenty deep right up to the steep rocks and we ended us spending several days waiting for the right weather. We found the best snorkeling right at the eastern cut at mid-tide and at a tiny beach beyond. Saw beautiful fish and interesting formations.

Cove anchorage 17deg 09.839S 179deg 02.094W

Info on leaving and entering by Qilaqila Pass:

There were 3 markers for this pass on the charts but we only found one at the inside and it was bent over, a white top just barely visible at high tide.

Approach, lining up range markers 17deg 09.502S 179deg 02.948W
Mid-pass Waypoint 17deg 09.361S 179deg 03.384W
Clear, at end of pass Waypoint 17deg 09.228S 179deg 03.908W

The last waypoint is a line up point to enter this pass if coming from the rest of Fiji and the range markers are very evident. We had no problem but we were at full tide in the morning with some overcast and didn't see the southern reef as well as well as we saw the waves on the reef on the northern side.

Our Navionics Gold software was still off by .4 mile in the whole area of Vanua Balavu .

On our return to main area of Fiji we tried to stop at a recommended anchorage called Nanuku Levu, a tiny set of 2 islets on a long N/S reef. The patch of shallow sand was just too close to the western reef and the chop was just too lumpy. We then tried to make it to Laucala by sunset but there was no pass marker as our chart indicated. We decided to heave-to in the 7 mile long bay just south of Budd Reef for the night. We should have motor-sailed in order to have an alternative and took it as a lesson. The next morning we motored sailed the brief 8 miles to the east side of Taviuni where we anchored about 1 mile south of the airport runway.

As a summary, our visit to the Lau Group was one of the best sailing experiences we have ever had and we would encourage cruisers to make this a part of their Fiji visit.

Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Bay of Islands info

We came into the reef by the Adavaci Passage on the west because we were coming from the SW and it worked out fine. Only one beacon on the SE part of pass. Our Raymarine Navionics Gold chart plotter was off by al most ½ mile at this island after being so close on the others.

Approach Pt from sea 17deg 13.616S 179deg 01.096W
Mid-pass WP 17deg 13.550S 179deg 00.805W
Pt on NW reef where other
Beacon should be 17deg 13.456S 179deg 01.035W
SW shoally side to avoid 17deg 13.621S 179deg 01.229W

We passed Vanuahaloa Island on starboard and went north to Bay of Islands. We heard a radio call but thought it was from Lomaloma on the other side of the main island. We couldn't see a village. It was from Daliconi to our East behind an island. They own Bay of Islands and we were supposed to have checked in there first and had sevusevu and got a permit, $25 Fiji each person for 30 days anchoring. It was still well worth it. This village is not named on the chart. We went back 4 days later after Bay of Islands visit to pay. I told them I would spread the word so they wouldn't have to send a boat out to each cruiser to tell them about the permit. The Lau Provisional Office where we got the permit should have told us.
DON'T LET THIS DETER YOU! Bay of Islands was one of our favorite places in all Pacific!!! It was a playground and we were all alone. We were the 3rd boat this year when they had 22 boats by this time last year.

Daliconi Village WP 17deg 13.140S 178deg 57.400W
Anc in 28-34' good
but rocky holding 17deg 13.175S 178deg 57.983W
WP S of Vanuahaloa Isl 17deg 13.243S 178deg 59.722W

Our first anchorage in BOI was the 10 meter deep cove on Calders we called Chuncky Rock Cove. We stayed 3 nights exploring all kinds of hidden nooks and coves in our kayak and snorking mostly on shelves due to the depths.

Anc in 22' close to steep S wall
in OK holding [we stayed
right in place due to current
running from hidden cove at S] 17deg 10.876S 179deg 01.334W

We made a safety circle around it to check depths and these cliffs are straight up and down. The rock formations all around were magnificent as well as the aqua blue coves.

For our 4th day we anchored in Ship Sound. The passage there was exactly as Calders says with good visibility. The best snorkeling was on a large head between Ship Sound and the larger bay north, right in the middle. Apparently mid pass has the most nutritious location for sealife with the water flow. We saw loads of huge fruit bats roosting and flying around.

Ship Sound anchorage in
25' good holding 17deg 10.049S 179deg 00.918W

Our 5th day we anchored at the village [as mentioned above] and had dinner with a family there, then on to the northern anchorages.
Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lekemba Island in Lau Group

Lekemba, Capital of Lau Group

Anchorage is in a "cove" in the reefs on the due west side of the island. There haven't been any markers in recent memory no matter what the guides say and we could barely see, through the trees, the roof of a house mentioned in Calder's that we were supposed to approach towards. We found it a challenge just finding this more shallow anchoring plane [50-75'] by going south along and outside the reefs. There were no references to locate it.

Approaching the open roadstead:
Soundings begin 18deg 12.621S 178deg 50.743W
Approach to spot 18deg 12.653S 178deg 50.607W
Exact spot of anchor 18deg 12.674S 178deg 50.500W
In 54' depth

An 85' sailboat from Savusavu said we were in his exact favorite spot when he comes to pick up charterers so he anchored behind us in about 65'. There is room for 2 boats to swing side by "close" side and the protection was remarkably good in up to 20 knots. We drove the boat in a 400' circle to check safe distance to the reefs and found the center was good in all directions for depth and put out 225 feet of chain.

A dinghy can be motored the 3+ miles to the village at higher than mid-tide and it took us 1 hour paddling over 3-4 spots. We returned and motored outside and it took ½ hour. Wear life vests! We were just outside the surfing type, swell waves…creepy!!!

When we got to the dock on the south side of Nadawa Passage at Tubou village, we were met by 2 soldiers who were adamant that "You cannot come here, go back to Suva!". We just said "Give us a minute to tie to the rocks and we will show you our permit" but they still almost threw us off. When they read the permit and made a radiophone call to someone more official, they turned into all smiles and welcomes, drove us to the barracks, gave us fruit and coffee and assigned a young, "uninteresting" soldier to guide us around town. We had to pry info from other residents because even though he had grown up there he knew nothing of what a visitor would want to see.

We presented our kava gift and had sevusevu with the asst chief but he didn't make the grog, just took the package and our bags of gifts. That was fine with us.

The walk from the dinghy landing was through a little used copra factory guarded by a bull tied on the road blocking our way. We found a place beyond him to carefully creep through the barbed wire fence. The village has a store that opens at 4pm but we weren't around at that time. No other shops were found but fuel and premix is available.

We met some school teachers who told us that the vocational school had wood carving classes and sold their work. The next day we left the dinghy on the beach at the mouth of the spring there, where we thought the dinghy channel was, and walked in towards the village. The school was sold-out of woodwork due to a craft show recently but meeting the head master and seeing his plans for making opportunities for new students was interesting. We got a ride to the grammar school where the teachers had invited us to visit, had a delightful time with kids and walked back for 1 ½ hours in the heat and flies…whew! Then we found the full moon tide had gone waaaay out leaving the dinghy ¼ mile away from water on mud. We killed time waiting 2 ½ hours before we could get to a much enjoyed happy hour. We only stayed 3 nights and 2 days, then left at 5 am in an easy "getout" to sea.

Chuck and Lynn on CYAN

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lau Group Info, CYAN Fulanga, June 08

All waypoints were noted as the boat was actually at that location except where I noted "approximately by sight" when I put in a waypoint at what looked like the right place as we went by it. Disclaimer...this is the best we have and numbers were double checked on the plotter but there are no guarantees!!!

Approach to pass from NE

We approached island from the west and followed the NE side of surrounding reef to the obvious pass which heads SW into lagoon. We stayed to the port [SE] of the pass due to current drifting us NW to starboard, on a slight incoming tide, [1 hour before high tide in Lakemba, the only tide info we had]. Current was only moderate and wouldn't bother anyone but Lynn!! Depth was 14' to 20' in the pass but might be a bit deeper in very center of the 100'+ wide pass. We passed closer to the big rock just inside the pass, than expected and the coral head we saw might have been the eastern of the 2 shown in the "South Pacific Anchorages" book by Clay, our main guide in these islands.

Our Pass Waypoints:

Line up outside pass WP 19deg 07.310S 178deg 32.404W

Middle of pass WP 19deg 07.554S 178deg 32.542W

Big pointed rock close at port [approx location by sight from boat] WP 19deg 07.667S 178deg 32.539W

Just past rock WP 19deg 07.684S 178deg 32.626W

Coral head on SB [by sight] WP 19deg 07.781S 178deg 32.707W

Beside the coralhead WP 19deg 07.807S 178deg 32.688W

Safe inside WP 19deg 07.850S 178deg 32.750W

I know this is more WP's than anyone needs but if I'd had had them on our Raymarine Plotter I would have felt better just looking at them all lined up. Navionics Gold chart was brief on this island but amazingly accurate, being just a bit off east to west.

Other waypoints we noticed inside:

Coral head on port in mid lagoon[By sight from boat on our route NW thru lagoon]WP 19deg 07.818S 178deg 33.605W

Center Lagoon Rock WP [stands out in mid lagoon] Go straight on to village or turn port to "Cove" anc WP 19deg 07.597S 178deg 33.943W

Village anchorage NW of "Onepalm" Isle [ancorage is between it and big black Rocky patch N of anchorage] WP 19deg 07.306S 178deg 36.628W

Coralhead on way to cove from village [approx by sight] WP 19deg 07.967S 178deg 35.118W

"Protected Cove" [Comfy in 32+ knots]WP 19deg 08.325S 178deg 34.844W

Village info

We first anchored at the village in 15-20' for 2 nights for sevusevu, check-in with Chief and permission to fish, swim, explore, etc. There is a big, wide shallow reef [1-3']all along in front of Navindamu village. Take dinghy around to the south towards "Onepalm" Isle [obvious name I gave it!] Go towards a stake at beach. There is a lot of dark grass close in to beach.

Village personality was not as warm as we expected. We'd read that some remote villages just want to know when you are leaving. We wanted carvings and had to pry info out of them. They are just not outgoing but, more private folks. The assistant chief who presented our kava to the chief of this village wouldn't even give his name and was not helpful with info on how to find other villages by track or water. "No way for you to go there!" and we weren't gonna press it.

They did say James Taylor has bought land for an elite hotel here and expects to seaplane in tourists. They asked us to ferry 8-20 church goers back to neighboring island,Ogea Driki [just a few miles away], but we just couldn't do it in 30 knot winds, 15' seas and with no chart of the island. We did give them extra food to feed the folks until 3 days later when they have a break in the weather.

Cove Anchorage

On the way to Cove, as we came from the village anchorage, we crossed 2 slightly more shallow bars at 20' [low tide] depth in what was usually 40-60' depths in main sailing areas. It's really not a cove but feels like one for protection, just off the straight south side of the main island and in a large space between big muffin rocks east and west. There are some little sandy beaches in sight. There are villages on the chartlet and we saw open boats carrying folks but don't know where the village tracks are. In the "South Pacific Anchorages" chartlet, the "cove" was just SE of the "12" meter depth at the anchor. The muffin islets are more spaced out than he shows there and we could get close to shore by 200 meters or so. We didn't see any rocks or heads at all in 16-22' depth anchorage area and we had 150' of scope out for a frontal passage.

Cruisers can help!

They don't have any weather info. We can tell them what we have found from our SSB reports. At the future more remote islands I think we will bring printer copies of weather for a "PR gift". They seemed amazed we knew the weather for several days.

We brought to share:
Teeshirts, reading glasses [bargained for $4 ea in Suva], chisels, sharpening stones, fish hooks and line, hair ornaments, colored pencils [$1 in Suva], drawing [unlined, $.69] stack of notebooks [Lynn hopes to give art and cartooning lessons]

We wish we had brought:
Personals like combs, nail clippers [big and small], fabric wraps [cheap in fabric store in Suva], first aid spray or cream, insect and rash treatment cream, Q-tips, fly strips, pieces of cheap carpet [samples to wipe feet at doorways, cheap in Suva], hair clips and elastic bands for girls, small towels and wash cloths, plastic tubs of all sizes [they made kava is worn out tubs], kava straining cloths [where you get the kava], small gardening tools, cheap cooking tools and containers. They sleep on really worn out foam….any amount, 1-10, of compressed [for space] foam pads would be great, even small ones for kids.

More info coming on other Lau Group islands we visit.
Please comment below if you are a cruiser and this blog helped you. We just want an idea of who stops by!

Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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Monday, June 9, 2008

CYAN Cruising the Lau Group, Fiji

Visiting the Lau Group of islands is a special privilege because we needed a specific government cruising permit and they only give a few to those who really want to go....it was like a job interview. They don't want folks corrupting the traditional, tight-knit villages there. They are very religious, {mostly Methodist} emphasize education {many of the leaders and officials come from there}, and, what we like; the Fiji handicrafts are made on these islands and there is no tourism. Also, of course, there are few charts and no navigation aids like reef markers either. This is gonna be another step up in navigation having only to come inside the reef that surrounds most of the islands by sight alone with good overhead sunshine. The islands are hills in a circular shape made by the remains of a volcanic rim with coral reefs near the green hills and another circle reef outside.

We have known of 3 boats, who were lost crashing into reefs in several locations....gotta be worth the risk. These 12+ islands are some of the best in the Pacific and have the nicest folks, from what we have read by other boats who have gone there in the last few years. In the last few months have they been a bit more lenient with permits.

Lynn got a haircut in a shop in Suva, owned by a nice lady, Tai, whose brother works up in the Government there and they are from the Lau Group. They got us a formal invitation to one of the islands...Thithia...where their relatives are expecting us....this makes our visit more special and helped us qualify for a permit.

Now...for the entry formalities...We have to wear long skirts and Chuck wears a "sulu" [pareau, in French Poly, Lavalava in Samoa, etc] a sarong wrap made for men...he got one in Tonga. Also, we have on board 4 bunches of wrapped Kava root...look like butt-ugly bouquets!!! We are required to greet the Chief of each island.

We have brought school supplies, 10 pairs of reading glasses [$4 ea at chinese shop], fish hooks, line, teeshirts for kids, craft activity, games and other stuff to share. Fiji has over 300 islands of all sizes and we have several weeks to wander around before on going to Vanuatu....even further into the third world, if possible.

The weather window was flat calm for the trip...which is good because we had to motor east 200 miles from Suva [2 days and nights] into what is usually 15+ knots of tradewinds from the SE. The sea looked like a mirror reflecting the stars!!

We arrived in Fulanga, at the south of the Lau chain, on Monday, Sunday in US. The pass through the reef was narrow and shallow with in incoming tide and it all went well but was touchy while we were there. Depth goes from 600' deep to 30' like a snap and was 14' deep in the channel. No info said that. We skirted a huge coral head right about 5' under water just inside the entry channel and right before the lagoon where the water becomes a deeper blue, cyan actually, and has more dept...35-60' throughout. It has many huge limestone rocks carved by the sea, scattered around that are easy to see. The aqua water allows easy sight of any shallow areas, coral reefs or rocks. We haven't been in aqua water for a long while...Bora Bora we think.

We saw a village directly across the 3 mile wide lagoon when we got out in the middle...Navindamu, and decided to anchor in 20' just outside the low, 100' wide coral and grass reef in front of the houses [at 19 07.3W, 178 35.6S for any followers]. Any other cruisers can write us for the record of GPS locations we are keeping.

On with the entry formalities to the village.

We came ashore with our Kava bouquet and were brought to the Chief and his assistant did the job of laying it at his feet and formally chanting our arrival and welcome, complete with responses from the gathering of folks...now he allows us stay in his anchorage, swim, fish and wander around. They read our permit letter in Fijian while we sat on hand woven matts with crossed legs.

Another fellow pounded our gift of Kava inside an old WW II artillery shell and then we had had a sevesevu [kava drinking] ceremony where we got to drink this funky stuff with all the group. We'd tried it in Tonga...looks and tastes like dishwater and makes your lips and mouth numb but makes you not care too much!!! [Like 2-3 glasses of wine]. After we drink the whole contents of each coconut half-shell cup we are to clap 3 times and they say something like bula bula [but not here...that's only for a high Chief]...like 3 cheers for the new guys!!! Apparently they really welcome us "Yachties" as we are called in these old British empire places like here.

We were given a village tour of the church [altar rail decorated with tools carved by the chief himself], gardens of cassava and kumara, and met a wood carver who carves dolphins very well [are buying 2]. They are having an island church conference today, Tuesday, so we are going fishing and we will give them some gifts and change anchorages tomorrow. There is a low pressure system passing us late in the week, so we won't leave the security here until Saturday.

Pictures coming in a few weeks when we get to Savusavu. They don't even have electricity here. The supply ship comes only every month or two. The store here is smaller than an average USA middle class pantry!! Wish we had brought more gifts now. We have about 5 more islands to cover.

Lynn and Chuck on CYAN.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Arrived in Suva, Fiji

We were unable to send an email to the blog due to harbor interference so we finally got an internet hook-up to send this message after it quit raining.

We finally got into Suva, Fiji on Thurs, May 22 after waiting out still another front...this time a warm front with a blast of northern winds that deflected us from our port. The most miserable part of the voyage was having swell on the beam all the way. Folks who went ahead of us and motored thru the 2 days of soft wind early in the voyage got in 3 days before we did. We decided to be purists and not use the motor this time but now we wonder about that decision.

We have wandered around Suva, shopped for trinkets and found nice folks, good cheap food, information on Fiji at the Museum and a nice Anglican Church service on Sunday. After we see some friends coming in a few days, we will take off for island hopping and anchoring out.

Here is a lovely shot of Chuck and his Cannibal Fork. This is a special fork they have traditionally used here only to eat human flesh. By doing this they felt as though they completely wiped out their enemy and killed even his spirit.

Also here is the little bird that visited us 500 from shore while on our voyage.
More coming future ports.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blow by blow....

After having several nice even days of weather with only the annoying swell to keep things flying, we ran into a stationary front. This got our attention for almost 24 hours..AND THAT WAS ENUF!!! It was mostly overnight that the winds got up to 35 knots steady for long periods...that about 40mph ....then slumped to 27-30 with wild, confused seas. We got chucked all around the boat and slept little. I gotta say that the Podcast stories I downloaded for our wonderful Ipod that Geoff and Marla gave us, were great to keep our minds off the howling wind.

We didn't have any breakage around the boat...just a few more bruises. It's so funny to make coffee by pouring water into a cup placed on the gimbaled stovetop...keep having to aim within the moving rim. This was all not dangerous, just inconvenient and trying on patience having to hold on and brace ourselves with each step.

We did have a darling little land bird come and visit to rest since we were a good 500+ miles from any land. I will post photos when we get to Suva, Fiji and go to an internet cafe. Chuck got him to sit on his finger and gave him some corn chip crumbs. It looks like we will get in about Thurs, May 22 so we are more than half way averaging 100 miles a day. We could go faster but we have to use smaller sails for the windvane to control the boat efficiently. And it also allows for a more comfortable ride than blasting as fast as we can.

Passages are just the price we pay to be able to bring our adventuresome vessel and home to the wonderful areas of the world we so enjoy exploring. When passages go well, all is just wonderful but when they become challenging, it becomes tedious and tense. A big thing for Lynn is to have some moon during her watch....Chuck loves the black, inky night so he can watch the stars. It's incredible how dark an overcast, moonless morning can be. The waves come wildly and you can't tell what the sea looks like. Sometimes it's just as well not to know!!!

Hopefully we will get into seas settled enough to use some new fishing lures. We could catch them now but who wants to clean fish one handed and hold on with the other!!!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

So far, so good...Classic weather window!!!

The weather window we left in, last Sunday, was said to have been "Classic"...meaning it was so good...having enough "wind oomph" from the west and south to carry all the boats that left for Fiji and Tonga to the eastern trade winds about 300-400 miles north. Mainly it didn't have northern winds that are miserable to drive into....blam, blam, whomph!

The only discomfort we got was in the first 36 hours with western wind and eastern swells....boosch, right on the beam...back and forth. It was like trying to sleep in a big tumble dryer. We got more than a few bruises. Lynn got tossed from the cockpit seat right into the floor on her backside, the galley rearranged itself and we were so glad to have those fixed meals!!!

Now in the third day with 850 miles to go we have nice steady but soft 12 knot ESE wind and only a small swell....just right for some "rock us to sleep" movement. We are not breaking any speed records...we were the last boat to leave the dock. Chuck accidentally inflated his automatic life vest and we were trying to install a new co2 cartridge but it never got working again so if he uses it he will just have to blow it up with the mouth pump backup straw.

Our navigation lights stopped working and we checked them before leaving when they worked fine...probably wiring corrosion...since the bow and mast lights all died at the same time. We do have a stern light and foredeck mast lights but we will keep a good lookout for other boats and ships. A big freighter from NZ passed right through the fleet of boats on the first night.

Position is 175.14 E, 32.06 S

Crew is finally sleeping well and listening to all the podcasts we downloaded.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Great Weather take off for Fiji

We left Opua NZ along with about 20 other boats on Sunday here, but Saturday in US, at 1:30 in the afternoon. We had light winds, 8-10 and only a mild roll in the sea. Most seasoned NZ sailors said it was the best weather window in years so we will see what kind of luck we have.

Lynn fixed at least 6 meals and got them frozen and the voyage has gone smoothly so far. In case folks wonder we have chicken zucchini noodles, tuna and noodles, chili, and beef veggie soup....along with fresh pumpkin pie and loads of Cadbury Crunchy bars we bought with the last of out NZ money. Chuck got addicted to Crunchy bars while here and has to have one every night....and he even gained weight....yeah! He will drop it as easily as usual...lucky metabolism thing!!! We rarely miss a happy hour...ya gotta have priorities!!!

Just for interest our watch schedule is ...Chuck sleeps 7pm-12, Lynn sleeps 12-5am, then Chuck for 2 hours until Radio net check-ins at 7-9am, then Lynn sleeps 2 hours [and she is really ready by then] and we each try to catch a nap. This works out well for us. Of course when the weather gets worked up we make exceptions but that's only occasionally. We are thinking positively here!!!

We will check in with another blog in a day or so....depending on something interesting happening.

4pm location 35 05 S and 174 11 E, still well in sight of land.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Photos of northbound trip

This shows where we were

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sailing north in a round-about way

We left our home-in-NZ marina, Gulf Harbour, the last friday in April...just over a week ago. We sailed SW to Waiheke Island near Auckland, to visit Mike and Christine who we met while touring south island. They showed us around and we visited beautiful vineyards and had dinner after having them out to the boat for a drink.

There was a front coming in so early Sat morning we headed for the security of Great Barrier Island where they chopped up all the huge kauri trees [like redwoods] for English ships over 100 years ago. There must be over 100 coves to anchor in all around this amazingly picturesque location. We just sat out the weather for 2 days in a cove of our own off Fitzroy Bay.

We tried making some headway north but got less than halfway. The 2nd of 4 weather systems in a week came in so we ducked into The Nook 6 miles up the Whangarei River for 2 more days. Next we tried to head north again to try to get to Bay of Islands. That's where all the cruisers are waiting for the right weather to check out.

We only motored 15 miles and the weather whipped up again so we ducked way deep up into Whangaruru Bay overnight and tried to head north again in the morning but only went another 8 miles before the winds started whipping around the cliffs and we ducked into Whangamumu Cove for a wonderful anchorage well protected by cliffs. It all ended up being too little wind or too much rain and wind, always on the nose!!!

I will add a film clip of this astoundingly lush Whangamumu Cove to the Youtube site soon. There are the remains of an old whaling station there, on a creek with a waterfall, to explore. There were rusting boilers still in place where 100 whalers boiled down the fat into oil. Lynn was ready to move there but the government owns it all as parkland and there are no houses.

On Sat May 3 we left serene Whangamumu to head motoring into wind and waves around Cape Brett [big rock with hole in it] towards Bay of Islands to anchor in Russell, reputed to be an old rowdy and sinful whaling port. We'll see how much energy we have left for getting rowdy!!! Mostly we need to dump trash...or rubbish as we now call it here in NZ, do laundry and get some more food while waiting for the right weather window to head to Fiji. Also try to go to church one more time. Religion comes easily when facing the ocean passages!!!

We will post a message here as to when we sail out of NZ...2-3 weeks...and will ask for prayers from the "belivers" who read our posts. It's still storm season and once in a while they still have cyclones in May and June if the water hasn't cooled enough and it's cooling slowly this season.

What took us 3 easy days to sail in Nov has taken 8 days to motor now in the fall weather.....which is ALWAYS changing. AND WE LISTEN TO WEATHER PREDICTIONS FOR THEIR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE!!! They are never right!!! Even the NZ weather folks say they can't guess further than 2 days ahead.

Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting ready to go

We are tying up all the lose ends getting ready to leave Gulf Harbour Marina in Auckland to head north to where we check out of NZ in Opua. We will sit there with a whole bunch of others boats waiting for the right weather to shoot out north to Fiji. We will have to leave on the tail of a high pressure system in about 30 knots of wind to get the boost we need and that's hard....to go out into a blow.

We have got the website up to date and loaded some movies all about our great NZ visit. We have downloaded loads of music for the Ipod and 188 Podcasts to enjoy also. They help us stay awake on passages. Fear of boredom???

We plan to use this as our diary and net log cuz we can email updates right from our SSB radio while we are on the ocean.

Please pray that there IS NOT a cyclone this year in May, like there very occasionally can be. We don't want that. We just got new sails!!! And we don't test the life raft cuz we did not get it repacked as we were supposed to!!!

We will keep posting here
Lynn and Chuck

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Outing...Fishing and Camping

Second week in Jan we took off again back to Tongarero National Park area with Marilyn and Ray, cruiser friends. Chuck and Ray enjoyed a try at flyfishing...see the movie clip at the Utube site below. No fish but still had fun!
Also see the one of Lynn/Lexxy being miserable in the cold also on Utube.
Camping in old age is humbling. What in the world are we doing sleeping on the cold hard ground??? We are sooo sore in the morning but we do save money and the scenery is wonderful. We also meet great folks and get to take beautiful hikes....so as long as there are sleeping pills we will camp!!!

We especially enjoyed staying in Te Urewa National Park way up in the mountains. There were great waterfall hikes but we didn't have the right clothes and got quite colld.
After hiking we stopped at Rotorua to scout out the town that smells like sulfer from all the volcanic vents in the earth.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Holidays on CYAN

They weren't much to speak of!!!

We stripped the exterior teak with a scraper and heat gun...well Chuck did that work. Then we taped in preparation to add 3 coats of varnish-like Cetol finish and sat and waited for the weather to clear for 2 whole weeks. There is quite a variety of weather from rainy to windy to stormy and finally it clears for a short while and we see the sun!!
So... just after Christmas we got enuf nice sunshine dry the sanded wood and we got to coat the teak and one of our most dreaded jobs is caught up for at least 6 months. WHEW!!!
We spent Christmas Day and dinner with Jeff and Linda, a local couple we got to know. They included us with their family in celebration and now we havr folks to visit when we travel to the South Island of NZ during the month of March.
For New Years we camped in the back of the station wagon at Waipu village where they had the 137th annual Highland Scottish Games. The town was founded in the mid 1800's by over 900 Scots who finally settled there after trying Australia and Nova Scotia.
We learned to do Scottish country dancing with the locals at a ceilidh or evening of dancing, food, drink and music for New Years Eve.

On New Years Day we watched the traditional highland games, the marching pipe bands, folk dancers, saw the longhaired cattle and clan exhibitions.

There was the caber toss competition but Chuck was too late to sign up...ahhhh!!! These guys are twice his size. He did join the Scotch tasting trials, tho!
Looks like he came in second!!!