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Don & Deb's Big Adventure Continues in Oz
We are now living in Melbourne, Australia after selling our beautiful yacht 'Buena Vista' in New Zealand. Even so...the big adventure will continue one way or another!
Buena Vista Needs To Go Back To Tahiti
06/28/2012, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Lots of our mates checked out of Tahiti last week so they could continue westward without going back again after the Rendezvous. Well, we thought our replacement sail was being shipped to Papeete so we did not check out of the country previously and knew we'd have to return. I also ordered a new camera and had my mom ship it from California about two weeks ago. We did have a nice sail back and immediately got the news from our sailmaker in the states that the sail was done and ready to ship. Unfortunately, he was only willing to pay $200 for shipping and just found out that shipping the sail here would cost at least $1,000! Outrageous, I know. After talking it over, Don and I decided that we did not want to put out another $800 to get the sail to Papeete and we did not want to wait the additional how many weeks for it to get here, and then for the cost only to increase once the French Customs officials got their hands on it. We decided to change our sail plans instead. So on the way to Tonga we'll sail a bit further north to American Samoa and get the sail shipped there. American Samoa, as it's name implies, is an American protectorate (or something like that) and it uses the US Postal Service. We think shipment will be about $200 and they will hold it for us until we get there. Some day this problem will go away...I hope!

Swimming With Stingrays Is Fun!
06/27/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

I guess we just like swimming with anything out here. Breaks the monotony, you know. Stingray City is a twenty minute dinghy ride from our anchorage. We wanted to get there early, before many of the tourist boats show up. We were told to bring sardines and wear sand shoes instead of flippers. I didn't know what to expect. I put on my little 3ml wetsuit for extra protection. On the ride over you have to stay in the channel inside the fringing reef all the way or you risk running into one of the thousands of coral heads out there. We rounded a corner and came upon a shallow sandy area and saw a boat stopped there with people in the water standing around. We dropped our little dinghy anchor in 5 feet of water and immediately saw 4 or 5 large stingrays circling in the water next to us. We were there with our mates on 'Southern Cross' and they knew what to do so I followed Vicki's lead. I opened the sardines, grabbed one and jumped in. These stingrays are maybe 3-4 feet across and from nose to end of tail maybe 6 feet. They are soft and rubbery and they come right up to you to be fed. It is so much fun and such an unexpected sensation...a full grown stingray fluttering UP YOU, trying to get close to you to get the food. I know, it's completely unnatural behaviour, they have been trained over the years getting fed by hand repeatedly...but I don't care...IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. Haven't giggled like that in a long time. After a while lots of smaller fish get the sense of food and gather around, then in come the sharks. Black tip reef sharks, 4 and 5 feet long circling around to. Other boats and dinghys show up and now it's a free for all! An experience we won't soon forget.

More Party Silliness
06/24/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

That's Bob on Charisma showing up how to wear our pareos.

Weather Shit Hits The Fan Again!
06/24/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

It was kind of blustery today but the party went on. As the sun went down it threatened to rain but not alot, just a little. After a long fun day we all (all 50 boats full) went to bed. I'm not sure what time it was but I felt some rain coming through the hatch above our bed and I got up to close it. In a matter of seconds the wind went from about 10 knots to about 40 knots. I screamed, 'Don - get's an event!' The boat lurched backwards with the wind and I could feel the long chain grip and tighten. The boat swerved back and forth repeatedly and the rain was coming down - horizontally - in buckets. We both moved up into the cockpit and heard people yelling off in the distance, but the rain was so heavy you couldn't really see anything. We saw spotlights flashing around in front of us somewhere, making the whole scene somewhat unreal. Our anchor seemed to be holding but we started the engine just in case. We heard various voices over the VHF radio, one screaming out in fear and another begging for help. Boats were dragging into each other, getting tangled up with each other in front of us somewhere. Then we saw spotlights flashing a lot closer to our boat, frantic looking things - the light flashing weirdly in the heavy rain. We grabbed our flashlights and went out on our deck in the rain to try to get a better look. A boat was loose and headed straight for us. They didn't seem to have any control over where they went and BAMM, they just landed on us, up by our bowsprit. I ran back to the cockpit and put the motor in gear and motored out to the left (and luckily at the same time Don saw and was able to release their roller furling line from our spinnaker extension pole up at the bow. They spun around us, now bouncing off the starboard side and then flew away from us, on their way to our neighbor 'Shanti Anna'. I watched in horrow? shock? amazement? at 'Morning Star' as it veared away, out of control towards the last boat anchored here before the reef area next to the island. I was really surprised when I saw six or eight hands up in the air on 'Shanti Anna', fending off 'Morning Star' as it bounced off of them. It seems they had been having a movie party and when the shit hit the fan they all came out to keep this out of control vessel from hurting them too much. Lucky. The finale of the story is that a fellow named Pedro who is crewing for 'Condessa' saw this happening and got in his dinghy and got on board 'Morning Star', the out of control vessel. He introduced himself to the owners who were apparently in shock and not capable of helping themselves and he took control of their boat. He took them around the corner into the other bay and helped them anchor there safely. Since then he has earned the nickname 'SUPER PEDRO' Unfortunately, Buena Vista did sustain some damage from the event. The extension pole up front that we attach our spinnaker to is bent and needs to be replaced. Also our toerail on the starboard side has been lifted up and away from the hull a bit and should be removed and reseated. But all in all, no one was hurt and it could have been a lot worse. We'll be submitting a claim to 'Morning Star's' insurance company soon.

06/24/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

Lots of fun including canoe races, coconut husking, pareo wrapping and basket weaving, music and dance. A good time was had by all. THEN...late that night the weather gods had their way. 'As They Do' as our friend Lindsay would say.

Tight But Pretty
06/23/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

The anchorage for the 'Rendezvous' weekend is lovely, but it's not big enough for the 40-50 boats who have crowded inside. We went in and had a quick look around and decided we'd rather be anchored in 85 feet of water than be on top of each other in there. So we went just outside the anchorage next to shore and dropped our hook in extremely deep water. We only have 310 feet of chain so we let it all out and finally we got hooked up. In this beautiful picture Buena Vista is the second boat from the right, next to shore.

07/04/2012 | mike
Wish I were there. Of course I wish I were in the huge ship in the middle!
06/23/2012, Opunohu Bay, Moorea, French Polynesia

It's first thing Saturday morning and there's a mad rush by all of the boats here to get our anchors up and make our way back to the main harbor. Just outside the harbor the race from here to Opunohu Bay on the island of Moorea gets started. We've got nice wind for the race, about 15 knots from the northeast and a pretty good swell is running too. Buena Vista had a great day and passes the finish line in exactly 3 hours with Charisma, Cie La Vie and Ladybug close behind.

More Pretty Girls of Tahiti
06/22/2012, Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia

More of the nice show put on for the Puddle Jumpers.

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Buena Vista's Crew
Who: Don and Debbie Robertson
Port: Ventura, California
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