Cailin Lomhara

Some stories of our life wandering the oceans, along with some random thoughts on matters either important or trivial. Through words and pictures it is our way to share our life a bit, perhaps even what we learn along the way.

17 October 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
07 October 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
04 October 2017 | Niue, South Pacific Ocean
30 September 2017 | Nuie (Island Nation), South Pacific Ocean
25 September 2017 | South Pacific Ocean
24 September 2017 | South Pacific Ocean
23 September 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
18 September 2017 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
15 September 2017 | Raiatea, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
08 September 2017 | Raiatea, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
29 August 2017 | Raiatea, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
23 August 2017 | Raiatea, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
20 August 2017 | South Pacifuic Ocean
15 August 2017 | Moorea, French Polynesia, South Pacific
12 August 2017 | Papeete, Tahiti South Pacific Ocean
01 August 2017 | Papeete, Tahiti South Pacific Ocean
26 July 2017 | Papeete, Tahiti South Pacific Ocean
12 July 2017 | Rangiora, South Pacific Ocean
10 July 2017 | Rangiora, South Pacific Ocean
05 July 2017 | South Pacific Ocean

Life at Sea and other things.....

17 October 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
We are still in Tonga and expect to be here, or there, until about the end of October when we will be seriously looking for a weather window which will take us swiftly and safely to New Zealand to spend the summer out of the South Pacific cyclone belt.
Besides looking for a weather window we are looking for a new shipmate. Our most recent shipmate, Jessica, has moved on to a different boat, a mutually beneficial arrangement. That may sound either a bit strange or perhaps cold to some, so an explanation of the genesis of that comment is in order.
Whenever more than a single soul is aboard a sailboat for any length of time the additional souls will conflict in some way with the original soul.
What occours is pretty simple. Take more than one person and confine them to a space approximately 300 to 400 square feet, for a period of time and if anyone expresses an opinion on any subject there may be discord. The same discord could occur if someone left their socks on the floor, or anything else equally as trivial in the scheme of things. The reality of things as they are is that it does not take much to disrupt the harmony or rhythm of a small vessel. And if you think a 52 foot boat is not a small vessel, you have not tried it.
So we move on, and I am confident we will find an additional shipmate to sail with us before we need to head for New Zealand. It truly is a conundrum, when weighing the benefits of an extra hand, against the harmony of the permanent crew. On the plus side are safety, more hands to share the workload, more sleep for everyone involved and generally a better experience than two people sharing the work of an eight day passage.
On the negative side is the fact that any prospective shipmates are human beings, with all their flaws and strengths that make them who they are, and sometimes, no matter how good they are or how hard they try, the fit is just not quite right;
More later

The Kingdom of Tonga

07 October 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
We had a reasonably pleasant motor boat ride from Niue to Tonga, arriving about 1330 this afternoon. Motorboat ride is used since that is what we did, not much wind and what wind existed was pretty fluky. All told about 39 hours under diesel. However, the 39 hors could be misleading, or simply confusing. How confusing is 39 hours? It is a day and a half plus three hours; except on this trip it was two days plus three hours. Our Longitude is 139° West, quite a bit short of the 180° Meridian. As mentioned earlier for probably political reasons the International Dateline was gerrymandered to bend around and include Tonga. That was fine by me when it was simply an academic discussion. However, when dealing with it in real life, as in Customs and Immigration forms it is a pain.

My calendar suggested the day/date to be Friday, October 6th. My watch, which seems to know what time zone it is in says it is Saturday, October 6th. The fact is it is Saturday, October 7th. I do not know where Friday or maybe it was Thursday, went. I have no idea what happens if we go back.

I was completely surprised by the geology of these islands. I admit to having some preconceived notions about what Tonga would look like. In my mind what I saw was low lying atolls with some palm frond huts and nothing particularly modern. Not what I have seen. First, the 137 islands are grouped around larger islands and none of them are low lying, flat places. They are large rock like, probably a mix of coral and volcanic debris piled up with an incredible array of green stuff. That means palm trees loaded with coconuts, pines, all sorts of flowers and trees growing out of these rocks.

The harbor, at Neifeau is quite contemporary. On arrival at the end closest to the Customs dock was a US Coast Guard ship; a buoy tender. That is the first presence of the US we have seen in over two years. The far end was occupied by a medium size oil tanker, apparently delivering a supply to the local folks. In the middle are about 75 sailboats from several countries. We are now moored in the middle of that crowd. Seventy Five does not really make a crowd, however when you are accustomed to 3 to maybe 10 other boats, it is a crowd.

There are hundreds of small islands accessible by boat, and I suspect our itinerary will include a number of them. That plan is yet to be solidified, though I suspect we will spend three weeks or so here.

One interesting bit of information I learned has to do with the fact that Tonga was never colonized. At first I would think that to be a good thing; it turns out to be a two edged sword. The Kingdom of Tonga ranks among the poorest of the Pacific Islands if not the world. The reason, according to one source anyway, is the absence of a Colonial parent means the citizens do not have automatic access to a a first world passport and the opportunities that could present. Islands that were once possessions of or affiliated with France, Holland, Spain, Great Britain, Australia or New Zealand offer their citizens dual citizenship and with that the opportunity to emigrate, get better jobs and a better education. Those same people who move away sends large amounts of cash back to their relatives in the island nations, enhancing the standard of living. And of course, the former Colonial masters send big money for reasons only they understand. In the Caribbean and the Pacific, we have seen evidence of that, especially in the French Islands.

So the moral to this story is if you are going to be colonized, hope it will be by a guilt ridden country that will educate and train your children and send large subsidy payments because they always have. More later

Niue

04 October 2017 | Niue, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
Here we are another week in paradise has nearly passed and in a few hours, we will be off to The Kingdom of Tonga. Do not laugh or guffaw, it is a Kingdom and a sovereign nation covering a large chunk of Ocean with something like 132 islands, most of which are uninhabited. It is under 250 NM from here, so we will leave tonight, Wednesday and arrive about 36 hours later on Saturday morning. I know, the math does not work until you realize that The Kingdom of Tonga is on the far side of the International Dateline. So when we leave tonight it is Thursday night in Tonga.
In theory the International Dateline is the 180th meridian, i.e. it is 180° East Longitude and 180° West Longitude. Which makes it exactly halfway around the world from Greenwich, England. In practice for some reason, most likely political the Dateline, though not the Meridian, is bent a bit eastward to put Tonga on the far side. The actual Longitude of Tonga is about 174° West.
Niue, which I may have misspelled in previous comments, is a striking and unique island. It is known locally as the rock of the south Pacific as it is, geologically, nothing more than old coral reef that has been pushed above the ocean over the past few million years to a height of about 200-250 feet above sea level. Yesterday we did some exploring, and we will do more today before we leave, and the striking part of the island is that it is really a jungle except for the floor of the jungle or forest is coral. One of the coolest parts of this particular geology is the caves, which are all over and in particular virtually line the coast.
The caves have served many purposes over the centuries, including as burial sites, weaving houses, canoe storage for fishermen and as religious sites. If you drive along the coastal (almost only) road every quarter mile or so there is a pathway leading down to the shore and to either a small beach, a reef or some caves. These are not some path hacked out of the jungle, but well-maintained series of stairs, ladders, and grating to ease ones’ way down. Yesterday we swam and snorkeled in a couple of the pools inside of caves. Extraordinary is the only word that comes to mind.
The people here are the friendliest we have encountered anywhere. And helpful beyond all reasonable expectations. Yesterday we were attempting to complete some electronic paperwork required for entry into New Zealand for the cats. The paperwork was in French which neither of us reads or writes, and the internet connection is better at the Vanilla Shop, so we were there. In frustration I asked the proprietor of the Vanilla Shop if she by chance spoke French. She did not, but said she thought the women over at Alexis (a small shop) spoke some. We went there and it turns out she spoke Portuguese and Spanish, along with English, but no French. She thought a moment and said, I am certain Anne speaks French, let me call her. Soon after we were back at the Vanilla Shop with the good internet and Anne drives up and sits down to help. She does speak and read French, but was not quite up on some of the technical terms in this document, but helped a great deal. No one expected a single thing in return. All were simply good people trying to help. What a great feeling!

Niue also has an International Yacht Club, which we became members of, and now have reciprocity worldwide. The club facility is not up to par with many of the nicer clubs in the world but it has everything you might want.

Niue also has the most interesting pothole problem I have encountered. Within a mile of downtown the roads are perfect, however as you progress further potholes begin to appear, and some have been filled, the further you go the bigger and deeper they become. In some cases, a foot or more deep, and a couple of feet wide. However, it is still beautiful.

One unusual tradition we have encountered here and also in Bora Bora is the disposition of the mortal remains of family members. They have no cemeteries. Most front yards have one or more grave sites, often elaborate and some even with open structures built around them for visiting. At first it was a bit disconcerting, especially if attempting to visualize what such an arrangement would be like in the US, but after a while it is so common that the only ones you notice are the very elaborate sites.

Incidentally, all the vexing little problems from auto pilot to charging the batteries which were frustrating on the sail here, have been fixed. Also, I may have found a solution to my Iridium/satellite communications problem…..but More later

One Island, 8 visitors

30 September 2017 | Nuie (Island Nation), South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
We arrived on Nuie Island late yesterday afternoon. As we were sailing along the coast to the anchorage I commented to Charlene that if one wanted to drop off the grid and never be found this would be the place to do it. It is pretty isolated, about 1100 NM south west of Bora Bora and 300 NM north of Tonga. I think there are a couple of thousand residents. Very few tourists, though airplanes do land here twice a week. They leave within an hour of landing. There are three boats in the anchorage, both with people we have met along the way.
Between the boats there are 8 people, and it appears we are the only "tourists" on the entire island.
We had some great sailing and a few inconvenient things stop working periodically, one squall with 40 kt winds (lasted about 45 minutes) and just enough stuff to make a convert of me. Convert to what you may ask. Well, convert to a believer in the old sailing superstitions that leaving on a Friday invites bad luck on your passage. I will detail the many minor mishaps in an other post that brought me to this conclusion. Clearly there are many other superstitions held by sailors for eons and I am still not sure about many of them, I am sure of the one I purposefully flaunted.
Since it is the weekend, the only internet connection is in a three booth cyber place owned by the local telecom folks which is where this is being written. They have electricity but being related to New Zealand it has a weird three prong plug receptacle for which I do not have an adapter. Thus I am running on batteries for now which are in need of charging, so More later

Vigilance is Good.....

25 September 2017 | South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
Not much exciting or super cool to report. Of course, it is super cool to be sailing in the South Pacific, especially on a crystal-clear night like tonight is. Earlier there was a sliver of a moon but it set some time ago so all we have is billions of stars and other shiny objects in the sky to provide pretty good illumination. The wind is aft of the beam so we are having a very comfortable ride so far averaging a bit over 7 kts through the water. The other really cool natural beauty is the water color. In the deep Atlantic it is a very dark cobalt blue. Yesterday afternoon with the sun on it, the water here was almost translucent and a very light blue, even though the depth is some 16000 feet or a bit over 3 miles.

We are passing through the Cook Islands, presumably named for Captain Cook who did so much exploring and discovery in this part of the world. A quick side note. We took a tour of Bora Bora with a local driver who told us a couple of interesting things. One was that Captain Cook is credited with stopping human sacrifice as was practiced by the native Polynesian people. It seems Cook brought, or paved the way for, a bunch of missionaries whose main argument for conversion was their God did not require that your head be cut off if you did something wrong. I guess when you think about it that way it's a pretty easy sell. Let's see; on the one hand cut off my head, on the other say a prayer and be sorry for what you did, hmmm, which to choose.

Anyway, the Cooks are widely scattered and generally small (read hard to see) so even though the water is deep as noted above, every now and then a speck of dirt pops up with a couple of palm trees and unless you are paying attention you could miss it. Never a good thing to miss where the ocean turns to land. Soon we will be sailing in the Samoa Basin, a part of the ocean I had never heard of until I saw it on the chart. Western Samoa and American Samoa are on the western edge of the basin, only about 725 miles from where we are. Our course actually skirts the southern edge of the basin so we are not off the hook for paying attention just yet. So I guess it is time to pay attention�.....More later

Knock on Wood

24 September 2017 | South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
Sailors are generally a superstitious lot, so much so that there are books on the subject. I would set myself aside from those who knock on wood at every conceivable moment and go so far as to say I am not superstitious. Even though as a child I recall throwing salt over my shoulder to ward off some evil that would befall our household based on something that may of happened at the dinner table. I can, however learn from experience, and some would say my mistakes. A case in point. We departed Bora Bora yesterday which was Friday. There is an old sailing superstition, which Charlene has been warning me about for some time, about you do not leave on a passage on Friday. Kind of like everything in French Polynesia is closed on Sunday. Except Charlene may be right about not leaving on a Friday, no matter what the weather guru says you ought to do. What occurred that you think Charlene is correct in her belief of these superstitions, you might ask. Well for one thing the auto pilot, which steers the boat 99.97% of the time far better than we can quit. Just like that it would not work on Friday. Works just fine today. You may be thinking something along the line of he fixes all the stuff on the boat, so he probably fixed the autopilot. Wrong. What I did was dig out the spare autopilot motor we have been carrying for just such an event, then I took all the stuff stored in the lazzarette (a very large cockpit locker, where all tools, cleaning supplies, buckets etc are kept) out and got ready to install the replacement motor. Jessica, our Canadian shipmate (knocks on wood all the time) was on watch and steering the boat quite nicely when I disappeared under the deck and into the lazzarette. Wanting to check things out before I started the project, I hollered up from the depths of the locker something like "try the autopilot". Jessica, being a good shipmate and member of our crew responded promptly by pressing the button which is marked AUTO. What occurred was nothing short of amazing. There was a familiar thunk, followed by an equally familiar whining sound the autopilot makes while steering the boat. I am, at this point under the cockpit watching the steering mechanism as the autopilot drives the boat; it took a few minutes for me to comprehend a few things. It was Saturday and the autopilot was working without me even touching it, I had spent about a half hour emptying the lazzarette and would spend an equal amount of time, or more putting all the stuff back and most importantly there was no explanation for the autopilot not working Friday, but working just fine now! Two things ran through my head, Charlene was right about not ever, under any circumstances leaving in Friday, and should I go eat one of the bananas Charlene and Jessica bought at the grocery store yesterday? I choose to pass on the banana, not wanting to push my luck, and went forward by the mast to take down our French Polynesia flag. After doing so while turning around I noticed the big fat pin that holds the universal joint connecting the boom to the mast was about halfway out, and it would soon be all the way out, bouncing on the deck then overboard with catastrophic results. A great collective effort ensued to get the big fat pin back where it belonged and secured. Thank God I did not eat the banana. More later
Vessel Name: Cailin Lomhara
Vessel Make/Model: Tayana 52
Hailing Port: Anna Maria Island, FL
Crew: Charlene Green & Larry Green
About:
Both are life long sailors with a shared dream to sail the world. Charlene sailed her previous boat, CatNip, a 35 foot Island Packet catamaran throughout the Bahamas single handed a couple of years ago. Charlene holds a U.S. [...]
Extra:
It has been some time and many miles at sea since this "something extra" was updated. When first written we had not yet spent nearly 3 years in the Caribbean, which we now have, we were not in Panama waiting to transit the canal prior to a Pacific crossing, which we now are, we were not ready to [...]
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Cailin Lomhara's Photos - Main
Some scenes from Tahiti and Moorea and photos of our new shipmate, Jessica
No Photos
Created 18 August 2017
Pictures from the passage to this part of the South Pacific along with pictures we will add of what we see while we are here.
22 Photos
Created 15 May 2017
At 0430 Friday our Pilot/Advisor came aboard and 30 minutes later we were underway headed for a single day transit. Some of the photos are taken inside the lock(s) others of the scenery along the way.
40 Photos
Created 30 April 2017
Our passage to Columbia. Lots of wind, mostly from abaft the beam.
6 Photos
Created 13 January 2017
A beautiful, pretty much uninhabited spot to welcome the new year with it's possibilities
9 Photos
Created 1 January 2017
When all your worldly possessions are aboard your boat/home it rides a little lower than designed. We finally raised the waterline in Curacao
4 Photos
Created 28 December 2016
One of the most unusual islands in it's beauty and charming people. Most of these photos were taken when we were touring the island with Hubert Winston as our guide. There are no marinas and only two viable anchorages, one in Portsmouth, the other to the north in Roseau. We were there through Christmas 2015.
7 Photos
Created 11 January 2016
Some of us, family, friends and folks we have met
22 Photos
Created 3 September 2014
The cats, Buzzi and her cat Bobbi
8 Photos
Created 3 September 2014
Views of places and people we have met along the path.
26 Photos
Created 3 September 2014
Photos of Cailin Lomhara
12 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 29 June 2013