Archive for the ‘The journey’ Category


fredag, april 11th, 2014

Just before chistmas Ginni and I met up in Auckland to continue our exploring of New zealand. We both had spend some time overseas to expand the budget. First we returned up to Paihia in the northern part, were we spend a couple days at Mark Hudson’s house to prepare our trip. There we met Connor and Ellie from UK, they work for Mark as kayak instructors. Thanks to them we could rent their car for our entire roadtrip which save us time and money instead of buying a car. It already had a name: ”Scooby Doo- the Subaru” and even kayak racks on the roof. Our friend Dave Ramsey had taking good care of our kayaks, hoist up in the roof in his garage while we been gone. Also checking up on s/y Misty which will remain this year in the boatyard in Waipapa.

Soon Scooby Doo got packet up to the brim with camping and kayak gear, water, food and our two kayaks on the roof, we were ready to head south. Our travel companions was three stuffet animals; Moose, Koala and Kiwi.  The idea was to get down to the bottom of NZ’s South Island as soon as possible, hopefully even to Stewart Island which is the most southern part of NZ. From there slowly work our way back up north.

First two days we beating the hightway all way down to Wellington were we took the ferry down to the south Island. Then from Picton we continued driving south along the east coast. In Christchurch we finally took a break from driving and went for a short sightseeing in town. In 2011 Christchurch was hit by a strong earthquake and many buildings collapsed. Some areas in downtown is now transformed into parking lots and it gave a sense of a ghostown. We continued east out on the Banks peninsula and at the very end of the road up on the hills we found a very cool accommodation called ”Onuku farm hostel”. A few buildings with common kitchen, lounges with internet etc. For sleeping they had ”Stargazers”, small huts only big enough to sit upright and with windows in the roof so you could watch the stars at night. The rain was pooring down and we were happy not to camp out in a tent that night. Next morning we did some kayaking along the peninsula in rainy weather. For the night we stayed on a beach camping on the north side of Banks peninsula.

We continued driving south along the east coast, next stop was Dunedin. After a shorter stop in town we went further out on Otago peninsula were we stayed at Portobello lodge. Not far from there layes the Royal Albatross center were the Royal albatross and Yellow eyed pinguins can be seen. Next day we did some nice paddling around the head of the peninsula in clear sunny weather.

We drove last bit down to Invercargill were we stayed for New years eve. The plan after this was to take the ferry down to Stewart Island but the forecast was promise days of strong gales and heavy rain so we decided to drive up to Milford sound on the west coast instead. And rain it came… Not far from Milford sound we stayed at ”Gunn’s camp” a historic place with basic huts and good atmoshere. Milford sound on a postcard shows the stunning fjord with surrounding peaky mountains but the day we were there most of the spectacular mountain peaks was hidden in the clouds. Despite the cold wind and heavy rain we were determined to do some paddling in Milford sound, so we did. Even without seeing the highest peaks it was still an amazing place with vertical mountains  and waterfalls every where. The wind and rain increased and at the end I was really cold in my thin insufficient kayak clothes, Ginni could handle it better in her drysuit. Afterwards we stopped by a coffeeshop / restaurant which also offered hotshowers which was just what I needed. The forecast showed that the bad weather was remaining and the road over the mountain pass will be closed in a few hours, so we started driving back toward Invercargill again. One relaxing day followed in Invercargill, I also supplemented my poor kayak clothes for colder weather which was needed for Stewart Island. In a hardware store in Invercargill (E. Hayes and Sons Ltd.) I was lucky to find Burt Munro’s famous original Indian motorcycle, The ”World’s fastes indian”. We drove down to Bluff, at the tip of south Island. Parked the car and loaded our kayaks on the ferry and went down to Stewart Island.

First night we stayed in a hotel in the main village Oban. This is a fishermans ”down to earth” village, locals with weathered faces and big rubber boots. Next day we went out for a couple days kayaking in Paterson inlet, just south of Oban. To begin with pretty nice calm weather but as later turned in to a strong gale. Our plan for the night was to camp in a hut in the south east part of the inlet but to get there we had to cross a bigger open part of the bay which was too exposed for the wind. The strong wind and rough sea made it almost impossible to get forward (atleast for me), so we had to find shelter in a cove close to Dundas harbour. We put our tent up and camped there for the night. I realized that my 20 years old tent which use to be really good, wasn’t so water proof anymore, we had puddle’s of water inside the tent when we woke up next morning. The wind had eased so we continued down to Ulva Island. This Island is a sancturay for wildlife espacially birds and there you can find a mixture of rare species. We hiked around the Island and later we found a nice camping spot on a beach not far from Ulva Island. Next day the forecast was showing a new gale approacing so we started early to paddle the remaining miles back to Oban. We have seen how fast the wind and sea condition can change down here so no time to waste. The rain didn’t wait long but the wind didn’t get as strong as they promise. We were back in oban before noon but still no sign of strong gales. Instead we went for a hike around the little town of Oban. The day after we took the ferry back to Bluff.



Scooby Doo-the Subaru packet up with kayaks and stuff, we are ready for heading southMoose, Koala and Kiwi checking the map where to goSome where along the roadNo lack of parking lots after the earthquake in ChristchurchOld church under restoration after the earthquake in ChristchurchKebabstand ChristchurchStargazer hut at Onuku farm hostelIn the Stargazer hut you can only sit uprightSimpel kitchen, Onuku farm hostelShelter from the rain in the common kitchen, Onuku farm hostelPaddling in rain along Banks peninsulaBanks peninsulaCave, Banks peninsulaHigh up in the clouds, Banks peninsulaView over Banks peninsulaPoor little bird fetus crash landed on our tentAlternative house projects outside ChristchurchIndustrial buildings, DunedinMorning paddle along Otago peninsulaHotel room InvercargillElephant of corregated plate, InvercargillBurt Munro's original Indian motorcycle inside a hardware store in InvercargillCliften suspension bridge outside Invercargill, built in 1895Ginni trying out the rope swing at Lake ManapouriHuts at Gunn's campHiking signs, Gunn's campNo sandflies beoynd this pointEglinton river along Milford highwaySheeps along Milford highwayGinni twinsToward Milford soundValley along Milford highwayMilford sound on a portcardMilford sound the day we were there, Ginni pointing at were the mountain peak use to be on a clear dayHigh humidity in Milford soundThe strong wind and spray from the waterfall was close to knock me over, Milford soundWet and cold in Milford soundInsane rain, Milford soundThe kayaks loads on the ferry to Stewart IslandView street, Stewart IslandStorage building in Oban, Stewart IslandSmall sailboat, Stewart IslandPaterson Inlet, Stewart IslandTwo kayak nerds ready for paddling, Stewart IslandFirst landfall in Paterson inlet, Stewart IslandAlbatrossGinni prepairing for lunch, Stewart IslandThe mooring can never be too big in these waters, Stewart IslandThe unafraid Weka bird, common around Stewart IslandThe strong upwind made it difficult to get forward, Stewart IslandMy 20 year old tent wasn't as water proof as it use to be, Stewart IslandCooking dinner between the showers, Stewart IslandGinni wrote a postcard on a leaf, as they did in the old daysSings of abandoned settlement on a remote place, Stewart IslandHigh tide in camp, Paterson inletReady for a new days paddling, Stewart IslandFearless bird on Ulva IslandSprouding fernBack in Oban, Stewart Island



fredag, april 11th, 2014

We drove north and passed by Invercargill for the third time. This time we took highway 6 north west toward Queenstown. Finally arrived we stayed at a peaceful campsite a few miles west of Queenstown, beside Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is NZ’s ”outdoor-sports mekka”, a busy town crouded with tourists and hip people, totally the opposite of Stewart Island. Anyway, lots of fun stuff going on around Queenstown and for me it was a good opportunity to try bungy jumping for the first time.

I signed up at AJ Hacketts shop in town which offers a variety of bungy jumps, swings etc. I chose the ”Nevis bungy”, NZ’s highest bungy jump, 134 meter high from a wire cable above the Nevis river. The center is located a few miles out of town up in the mountains. Just the bus ride to get there was an adventure it self with narrow winding gravel roads. Up there we were equipped with harness before we entered the lift cabin which took us out to the platform were we would jump from. Ginni joined me as well for taking pictures. After a short instruction and mounting of  the bungy cord around my legs it was time for the jump. I hold a GoPro camera in my hand to film it. The instructor lead me out to the take-off platform and first at this point I started to feel how deep the abyss was below my feet, this was a contrary to all logic. The instructor told me to smile at the camera in front of me and start counting down. No problem, my eyes refused to look down anyway, I smiled and jumped. A shortcut in my brain made me turn off the camera in the air but I turn it on again just after. I falled for a few seconds and after a while with hardly knowing if I was on the way up or down, but what a nice feeling! On the second bouns I released my feet with a string which turned me into an upright position instead of hanging upside down. A steel wire was send down along the cord and hoist me up again. Next mans turn. Back at the center we looked at the film made by the organizers of my jump and I was impressed how good they made it.

The weather had been great since we arrived in Queenstown and the next day we went for a few hours paddling on the lake Wakatipu. After that we started driving up north, following highway 6 toward the westcoast. We stayed at a campsite beside Lake Hawea for the night, then we continued up to Haast on the westcoast. Even here we were lucky to get thru the mountain pass before they closed the road because of too much rain. At the lodge in Haast we met two Swedish girls who been bicycling along the entire New Zealand and now had the last leg down to Invercargill. We kept driving north along the barren west coast which is windswept by the Tasman sea. We stopped by at Fox glacier and hiked up the trail to the foot of the glacier. From there you can sometimes see Mt.Cook but now it was too cloudy. Further up north we checked out some rare rock formations, were the limestone been shaped from the rough Tasman sea. Some of the trees even grows in a horizontal way because of the wind. From Westport we followed the road north east toward Nelson.

In Nelson we stayed for a few days, partly because some car repairs but also check the place out. Nelson is located on the north part of the south Island and despite the Tasman sea and Cook strait Nelson has some really nice climate. This is also a popular place for art and micro breweries which fits us good. Of a coincidence we met a kayak friend to Ginni in a bar, Oscar from Mexico and his working partners. They work as a kayak instructors in this area and gave us some advice for good paddling places. We went further east to Marlborough sounds which is a muddle of islands and peninsulas. Here you can drive forever on small winding gravel roads, very stunning. French pass and Titirangi to mention some great places we visited during the days in Marlborough sounds which also provided good kayaking. From here we continued to Picton and catched the ferry up to the north island again.

Ginni preparing dinner, outside QueenstownCamping outside QueenstownLake Wakatipu, outside QueenstownFlowers at sunset, OueenstownMetal art, QueenstownReady for bungy jumpbungy jump platform on wire cableFirst guy outView from the platformGetting ready for the jumpDown I goUp I coming againHappy bungy jumpersHappy Henrick at happy hourLake Wakatipu outside QueenstownLake WakatipuPaddling around the small Islands in Lake WakatipuGinni paddling, Lake WakatipuGinni facing the windLast bit to the camping ground thru a cow pastureOn the mountain pass over to Haast, short later they closed the roadSwedish girls we met in Haast, they bicycling thru the entire NZAlong the barren west coastGinni checking the horizon on Tasman seaFox glacier hikeMountain face below Fox glacierHiking up toward Fox glacierLower part of Fox glacierFox glacierGuided glacier tourSpecific rock formations on the west coastStriped limestoneTasman sea beating the NZ west coastWindswept trees on the west coastWindswept of the Tasman seaCoast around WestportSuspension bridge, LyellStreet musician, NelsonStreet art in NelsonWood house, NelsonCamo tree, NelsonOscar and his working partners we met in NelsonAlong the roads in Marlborough soundFrench pass, Marlborough soundsWest part of Marlborough soundToward French pass, Marlborough SoundThe winding gravel roads requires some good concentrationKayak sailing in Marlborough soundsFresh water creek, Marlborough soundsHiking up the fresh water creek, Marlborough soundsFern tree, Marlborough soundHours of driving on gravel roads makes everything dustyThe bay of Titirangi, were we also did some kayakingNarrow passage, TitirangiSome where in Marlborough soundsPaddle thru tunnel, Marlborough soundsThis cave went about 30 meters thru the entire rock



fredag, april 11th, 2014

Back in Wellington we started driving north toward Napier on the east coast. A pretty cool place with a long sandy beach were we stayed at a friendly hostel. Then further up north to Tauranga,  mostly to meet up with our friend William Redfern as we met in La paz, Mexico couple years ago. He’s now having his boat up in a boatyard in Tauranga and doing some work on it (sounds familiar?). It was nice to see him again. From here we went straight up to Auckland were Ginni would teach a kayak lesson for some people next day. Thanks to Russel and Larraine Williams (Canoe and Kayak) we could stay in their house for two nights. By now Ginni only had a couple days before her flight out of NZ, so we drove alway back up to Paihia and started organize and clean things up. Kayaks went back into Dave’s garage and rest of the gear back on Misty. I drove Ginni to the Kerikeri airport early in the morning and she was gone. Next time I’ll see her will hopefully be in Sweden in a few month.

I returned the car to Connor and Ellie and after that I had a few days of welding work on my neightbour boat ”Oyaragh” which owns by John and Jenny. Dave came by Misty and took me for a whole day motorcycle ride on his cousins huge farm property. Such a fun way to explore the great backcountry of New Zealand. A few days later I flew out of New Zealand myself for work overseas.

The harbour in Wellington were the ferry goes toward the south IslandOld abandoned hutRailway, north IslandBackroad around Mt.RuapehuHouse around Mt.RuapehuImprovement of our unwaterproof tentHiking in fern woodsChopped off fern treeAnother beutiful hike in NZ forestShaggy birds in their nestSmall road on the way northWilliam Redfern we first met in Mexico, now in TaurangaMount Maunganui, TaurangaSailboat seen from Mount Maunganui, TaurangaMost food stores in NZ have a good selection of micro brewed beerSkytower, AucklandMotorcycle ride with DaveHiking up the highest hillMisty in Waipapa boatyard, our basecamp in NZ


söndag, juni 16th, 2013


tisdag, mars 5th, 2013


This voyage have come to it’s end. It’s now early March and Misty is up on the hard in northern NZ since a couple weeks. I’m getting ready to leave our exploring vessel that have been my only home now for 1 1/2 years. Ginni is already back to her kayak buisness in Mexico. It is time for me as well to get a job somewhere, probably over seas. Misty will be parked here until further unknown voyages. It feel sad to winterize Misty and prepare to leave it for a longer time, so many memories together. Other side exciting of what will happend after this, new plans to unfold.

I have owned Misty for 10 years by now and it been my base to return back to every year for new sailing adventures. Together we have explored the Pacific coast of Alaska, Canada, United states and Mexico. In 2012 Misty, Ginni and I crossed the Pacific ocean.

Bye for now Misty, you’ve been a faithful companion.





måndag, december 31st, 2012

1 1/2 month have past since we arrived in New zealand, and so far we only been in the north part. Mostly we been hanging out in the Bay of Island area, were it’s lots of coves and islands to explore. Opua, Paihia and Russell is the towns in this area. At the moment crowded with turists because NZ’s summer holiday peak. We rented a car as well and drove around the northern part of northern island.

Recently we sailed further north to Cavalli islands and to the Whangaroa area, which is even more beutiful. Of a coincidence, an old friend from my hometown in Sweden was heading this way to explore NZ on a motorcycle, which came as a good surprise. We met up with him in Whangaroa and he stayed on Misty for a few days.

The big ”End of the world” happening at 21th of December wasn’t so bad after all, at least not here in NZ. Not even a polar shift so far, and I feel sorry for all the Judgement day prophets who been told everybody what will happend.

Ginni ran into some other local kayakers in Bay of Island, which led to more kayak connections for her. It even gave her some work opportunities, which is good news for both of us. She’s my sugar mamma after all…. NOT! (if I wanted one, I should not have choosen a kayak guide, which is knowed to not be the most well payed people…)

What our plans are for next year it’s hard to say by now. Most likely, I have to bite the bullet and find a job somewhere  to extend the budget. Thats life and it’s all ok.

Happy new year, everyone!



tisdag, november 20th, 2012

November 3rd we left Tongatapu and headed SW toward New zealand. Many boats had already left a few days earlier for this weather window, I think we were the last boat that left Tongatapu. We knew a big lowpressure was developing over Fiji and was coming our way but we were hoping to make some distance down south before that and get away from it. On the SSB radio (single side band) we could get some weather info and also talk to other cruisers thru the ”Drifters net”. What we heard, many of the cruisers that left earlier had to go by motor for several days because no wind at all. We had to motored as well but only for a few hours, then we got a nice breeze from SE.

On the third day we passed Minerva reef, a little spot in the middle of nowere were you can anchor in calm contitions. We did not stop, instead tried to get as far south as possible before the lowfront reached us. The wind continued to increase and the waves started to build. During the whole trip we saw fields of floting pumice rocks (pimp sten), probably from an underwater volcanic eruption somewhere south of us. All sizes, but the smallest made the worst problem for those who were running their engine, the rocks could get sucked up thru the water intake.

A couple of days after Minerva reef the wind and waves was rough, we were in the ”squash zone” between two low’s, one south and one north of us. Later we could hear on the  VHF radio the NZ Air force responding to a mayday call from the boat ”Windigo” (we met them briefly in Bora bora), which had capsized and was taking in water.  At that point, their position was only 170 nm north of us. The Air force contacting another boat ”Adventure bound” which was about 50 nm south of ”Windigo” and suggest them to turn around and sail back toward ”Windigo”. Poor people, I was thinking, not fun to turn around in this weather, nor sitting in a sinking boat and waiting for help…

Next day, similar weather. For a whole day and night I was feeling very sick. I can somtimes be seasick in rough weather but normally it’s over in a few hours. This was different and I couldn’t keep any food or liquid inside my stomach that day. Ginni otherhand, which normally use to be seasick during most passages, was feeling ok. Thanks to her I could keep my horizontal position and rest most of that day. A few times some bigger waves came breaking from behind and plashed in thru the closed companionway hatch. Saltwater poored in over the instrument panel and over the rest of the electronics. Trying to stop it with a little rag didn’t help much either. Luckely most of the marine instruments was water resistant and survived, but the navigation computer did not.

Finally I was starting to feel better and the worst sea condition starting to ease. Up on deck I found pumice rocks laying around, even up in the sails. A few small things was missing but in general things seemed to be ok.The wind turned to south which made us going far to the west. A couple days later it was flat calm and sunshine. We started to dry things up. The cockpit lockers was full of saltwater, paint cans, epoxy, lubrication bottles, paint equipment etc, was floating around in a mess. Started up the engine and did go by motor for a couple hours, but slowly the RPM went down, the engine seemed to loss power so I turned it off. Later I found it was the injector nozzles that was clogged.

Periodically new rapports about ”Windigo”. A NZ warship and the Hong Kong registrated cargo ship Chengtu had reached Windigo’s position (Adventure bound did as well) but was forced to stand by because to rough conditions. Finally after 24 hours, the NZ warship manage to rescue the couple with help of some long lines. Now Windigo was left to drift around at sea alone. This time I was thinking; Poor people of the next fleet of cruisers, that will sailing down to NZ, knowing it’s a boat floating around somewhere in the dark and risk for collosion… Adventure bound could finally turn back and sail toward NZ.

During the last days the wind changed more to SW. Our westerly position turned out to be favoriable and the last leg took us straight into Opua, New zealand. The sailing from Tonga took 12 days. At the Q dock (quarantin dock), I notice that the rudder was slightly bent and had some cracks in it. In Opua, a few days remained of the ”All points rally”, as we signed up to before leaving Tonga. Seminars, free dinners and games. It was fun to meet up with other cruisers again, some we knew since before and some we learn to know by the radio. We all had some stories to tell.


Read more about Windigo and Adventure bounds story;



tisdag, oktober 30th, 2012

We left Bora Bora and French Polynesia at the end of September and sailed west. Because we were already late in the season we decide  to not stop in Cook Islands or Nuie, instead head straight for Tonga. The weather was variable, a few days of perfect 15 knot downwind to dead calm, then changing to 25 knots wind on the nose. The already repaired wiskerpole broke again and it didn’t come as a suprise. In Tahiti, I had bought a used spare wiskerpole, but a little to short. Now I had to extend it with what was left from the old one by pop-riveting it together. The sailing took 14 days. We arrived in Tonga’s Vava’u group and checked in to Neiafu which is the capital there. We gained one hour in time but lost one day because we had passed the dateline. Tonga’s motto is: ”where the time begins”.

Tonga is a kingdom of 170 islands and they are devided into three main groups; Vava’u group in the north, Haapai group in the central and Tongatapu group in the south. The main capital is Nuku’alofa on Tongatapu. It’s easy to see it’s much more poor then French polynesia. Boats and buildings are old and well used. In Neiafu we got more information about the customs and immigration rules to New zealand. A little bit suprising we realize that we have lots of food we can not bring into NZ, like dried beans, dreid fruit, lentils, seeds, grains etc. We had pretty much of all that because it takes less space than canfood. Luckely we could sell most of it to Lisa at the Tropicana Cafe’ and a couple other cruisers for a reduced price.

After 4 days in Neiafu we checked out and went out to explore the surrounding Islands in Vava’u. Coastlines of limestone cliffs are riddled with caves. Some you can paddle into and some you have to enter underwater. Lots of nice snorkeling as well. Some hikes on the islands gave us plenty of fruits; Mango, Papayas, Bananas and more. After a week, we continued further down to the Haapai group islands, 60 nm south.

In Pangai (the capital in Haapai group) we had to check in again… just to check out a couple days later, before continuing to the other islands, a wierd system the have in all Tonga groups. Not much to see in Pangai, but the small resturant ”Mariner’s cafe’ was a well visited place for cruisers. Misty’s old worn flag was hanged up on the wall among many other flags as a memory.

Next stop, Uoleva Island was a much nicer place and as usual we explored it by walk, paddle and fin. Along the beach we found a little resort well hidden among the trees. Patti, an ex american and ex cruiser, she and her friend Sammy run this little resort. Just small cabins in the bush, and only few meters from the beach, still hard to see from the waterfront.  If you want to escape to a small quiet paradise island in the Pacific for a while and don’t have a boat, this is the place to come to     ( ).

We contiued 25 nm SW to Hafeeva Island ( I sailed Misty and Ginni paddle/sailed her kayak). Great wreck in shallow waters in the bay for snorkeling. Went for a walk into the Hafeeva village, in hope of not being killed and eaten of inhabitans but insted trade some dried beans and seeds for fruit. We ran into Vilitony who turn out to be the minister for Haafeva and the surrounded islands. He invited us to his house where he also had banana and papaya trees. Funny to see locals on this primitive Island, walking around and talking in mobile phones. Still no internet yet.

From Haafeva we continued to Nomuka Island. A historical place where the well knowned  ”Mutiny on Bounty” happaned 1789. We also took shelter there for a strong northerly gale there with success. Nomuka have a freshwater lake on the Island, so we carried the kayaks about 50 meters thru the bush and explored the lake as well. The Island beside, Nomuka Iki was unhibated and had a fishingboat wreck on the beach. It suppose to be an old prison on the Island but we never found it. Instead we found lots of coconuts and papaya trees.

From here we sailed the remaining 55 nm down to Tongatapu. This is Tongas most southerly Island and our last stop before New zealand.


fredag, september 21st, 2012

The society islands is the western part of French polynesia and it includes 14 islands. The bigger ones and most known are Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora bora. The volcanic Islands are scenic and lush and surrounded of coral reefs. Coming to Tahiti straight from Tuamotus quickly reminds you that you are back in civilization. Lots of people, supermarkets, cars, motorcycles and traffic jam. Most people are very friendly and after we heard mostly negative opinions about Tahiti before getting there, I must say it gave us a better than expected inpression.

After Tahiti we visit Moorea, Raiatea, Tahaa and now Bora bora. Ginni paddled between Tahiti and Moorea (17 nm) while I was sailing. It started fairly calm but rapidly changed to more than 20 knots and big seas. Even between Tahaa and Bora bora (25 nm) she paddled but in much calmer conditions. Before this trip, Ginni had to talk me into bring this fullsize unfoldable kayaks onboard, but I have appreciate them more and more. I like our rowing dingy but it’s almost useless if it’s windy and bigger swells. It is also heavy to hoist up and down on deck and often a pain to have tied up beside Misty on anchor. More often we leave the dingy on deck and just use the kayaks to get ashore or go exploring. The only problem is when you need to bring big heavy things to and from the mothership Misty, like diesel jugs for example. Of course it would be possible to tow an inflatable little ”barge” after the kayaks. We also have ideas to make a system to easily mount the kayaks together like a ”catamayak” which even could be sail-able.

Coral reefs can be good or bad. They protect the Islands from big swells which also gives better anchorage. Otherhand ending up on a reef with a boat in breaking waves means disaster and big chance of losing the boat. Fortunately we have not experienced that and hope not to. Just a few days ago we grounded on a coral head (again) inside the lagoon of Bora bora. Here you can not trust the channel markers, nor the GPS so it’s mostly navigating by eye. In this case we were on the way to pass a marker which led into a channel, for a moment the wind and the sun made it impossible to see the bottom clear. We passed just a few meters from the only marker and still it led right up on the coral. This was more a trap than aid to navigation. Luckily a powerboat with a some helpful locals came up a few minutes later and pulled us off. We heard we weren’t the first ones who got stuck here and I’m not suprised.

We seem to always stay longer at any place than we planned to and it starting to get late in the season so it’s high time for us to continue further west. Next stop will probably be Tonga. Our plan is to reach New Zealand before the hurricane season starts in November and it’s still another 2500 nautical miles to sail before we get there.

Before leaving French polynesia and heading back out to the primitive life at sea, we sure enjoy our last baguettes with French wine and cheese.



onsdag, augusti 22nd, 2012

I spend a little over a month in Marquesas. Visited 3 Islands (Nuku-Hiva, Ua-Pou and Ua Huka), Ua-pou was my favorite, less cruising boats and spectacular mountain peaks around. My 500 nautical mile sailing to Makemo in Tuamotus took 8 days, much longer than I expected because very little wind. I had 3 days with almost no wind at all. Didn’t want to go by engine either because diesel can be difficult to find before Tahiti. Tho I enjoyed my singelhanded sailing and I was not in a hurry. It was actually a good time to get some more perspective of life.

Tuamotus is an archipelago of many atolls spreaded out on a 1000 miles area in a NW-SE direction. In earlier days before the GPS this was not a well visit area for cruisers because of strong current and very low atolls, which are visible only from a few miles distance. Still to enter an atoll can sometimes be exiting because the current thru the pass, and inside an atoll it’s often coral heads spread out like a mine field. It takes a good lookout from above, higher up in the rigging. Best time to enter and to travel inside a lagoon is in the middle of the day when the sun is highest and the coral heads can easily be seen. The climate is perfect, slightly cooler in the water and air and not as humid as Marquesas.

When I arrived to Makemo the ebb current in the pass was like a wild rapid. I had to wait outside for a couple of hours and wait for the tide to change and then I could enter with no problem. Inside the atoll I anchored beside the little village Pouheva which has a small airport close by. Ginni arrived by plane a few days later as planned and it was great to see her again. Stayed at same spot for a few days and then continued to the west side of the lagoon, where we took shelter from the strong wind for more than a week. A good time for some boat maintenance. During the months of July and August the wind can often be strong from SE and even inside a lagoon it can get pretty choppy. It’s important to be on a protected side during the windy days.

We left Makemo thru the west pass and headed for Fakarava 90 miles west. Entered successful the atoll thru the southpass and found a nice anchoring SW of the pass. Fakarava is the second biggest atoll in Tuamotus (after Rangoria) and it’s famous for great diving in the southpass because of many sharks and other fishes. Most of the sharks are reefsharks (white or black tipped) which is in general not dangerous for humans, especially daytime. First we went out to the pass with our kayaks and did some ”kayak snorkeling” (turn the kayak upside down with mask and snorkel) and drifted with the current back into the lagoon. Amazing to see all the colourful fishes, sharks and corals. A few days later we joined Tetemanu diving and did some scuba diving thru the pass as well. After a week we left Fakarava and sailed another 50 miles to Tahanea.

Tahanea is an uninhabited atoll and it is our favorite place so far. We went down to the SW corner and anchored behind a well protected motu (the land around an atoll, made of coral and sand, often with palm trees on it). The water was cristal clear and perfect for snorkeling. From our first experience of coconut hunting we learned that it’s harder to climb a coconut tree than you think. There’s also other methods to get the coconuts down, with long sticks etc. Lots of different crabs live on the atoll and the biggest one, the coconut crab (or Kaveu), can be over a foot wide. Their big claws have capacity to crush a rock. They are meaty and good to eat. We also catch some fish with lure, spear, and scoop-net. We heard about ”lobster walking” along the reef at night with flashlight, though never saw any. Later we realize it might just mean to walk as a lobster instead of actually look for them…

We have heard some stories about the hazards in Tuamotus, where cruisers ending up in big tidal rapids when they enter an atoll or get their anchor chain snapped off after it got snagged under a coral head. For us it seemed to be only successful, until our last night in Tahanea. We were on the way to leave the atoll next morning so we went further NW, closer to the pass and anchored beside a motu on the north side. The wind was light and from the north   so the sea was calm. We knew the wind was on the way to turn but should still be very light. A couple of hours later the wind had turned 180 degrees to the SE and increased to 15-20 knots and the swell was getting bigger. We were surrounded of coral heads but I knew we had some room to swing. Just a little bit later – BANG! the anchor had dragged and the stern hit hard on a coral head. Within seconds the engine was running and the anchor on the way up (in situations like this you don’t want to find your anchor stuck under a coral…). Luckely we manage to navigate out in the darkness, thru the worst part of corals  into deeper water without hitting anything more. Because there are even coral heads spread out in the whole lagoon, which is not marked on the chart, we turned off the engine and drifted with the wind at 2 knots towards the pass. No sleep that night… At dawn we where close to the pass but had to drift around for another couple hours to let the tide turn. We left Tahanea and the Tuamotus and sailed during 3 days to Tahiti. Later after inspection I found a few dents on the rudder and the hull but luckely without any damage on the steering or propeller. Sometimes you are glad for your choice of a metal boat.