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.

31 December 2017 | Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
24 November 2017 | 35 18.56'S:174 07.90'E, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
20 November 2017 | 35 18.56'S:174 07.90'E, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
15 November 2017 | 33 25.21'S:175 38.59'E, South Pacific Ocean
12 November 2017 | 26 52.92'S:179 44.11'W, South Pacific Ocean
10 November 2017 | 23 39.47'S:178 54.078'W, South Pacific Ocean
08 November 2017 | 21 44.81'S:177 26.87'W, South Pacific Ocean
07 November 2017 | 19 35'S:1175 13'W, South Pacific Ocean
04 November 2017 | N 'N:E 'E, Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
27 October 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga, South Pacific Ocean
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

New Years Day...2018

31 December 2017 | Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Larry Green
The last year has been one of the most exciting, eye opening experiences I have had. The highlight of this past year was the realization of a nearly lifelong dream, sailing across the Pacific Ocean in my own boat. It also included much more, all of which was new and pretty exciting.
One year ago, on December 31, 2016 we raised our anchor at Spanish Waters in Curacao bound for Panama by way of Columbia. We spent New Year’s Day anchored in the Santa Martha Lagoon about 20 NM up the coast from Willemstad. We were the only boat there and left the following morning with a weather forecast that suggested it would be prudent to stop in Aruba and wait for the notoriously lousy weather along the Colombia coast to settle down. Since that stretch of the Caribbean first follows the coast of Venezuela, which we really wanted to avoid we waited anchored off the airport in Aruba for a couple of days before setting out for Colombia, where we spent nearly three weeks in Santa Marta; some getting our torn mainsail repaired (twice), some waiting for weather and some walking around the lovely old city.
Then there was Panama and a visit to the US to check on our health before heading off. At 0200 on the morning of April 28th we left Shelter Bay Marina to meet with our Advisor and the other vessels that would transit the Panama Canal that day with us. By 1830 that day we had been lifted by three sets of locks 85 feet to Gatun Lake, then lowered to the Pacific Ocean by three additional locks and traversed the 48 miles of mostly man-made waterways taking us to Balboa, Panama on the Pacific Ocean. At the time, transiting the canal seemed to be the most interesting experience of my sailing life.
This was my first experience in the Pacific with my own boat. Yes, I had sailed a couple of times on chartered boats in San Diego and Los Angeles but time constraints kept me from venturing far from those harbors. We stayed in Balboa about 10 days, provisioning, shopping and sightseeing the more developed side of Panama. On April 6th, we left Panama and started our voyage across the Pacific Ocean. We would stop in the Galapagos, then sail over 3000 NM non-stop to the Marquesas in French Polynesia, then on to the Touamotus, Tahiti, Moorea, Raitea, Bora Bora, Nuie, Tonga and New Zealand. When we arrived in New Zealand on November 16th, we had been travelling the Pacific for six months and ten days covering 8079 NM. Though the crossing from Galapagos to The Marquesas was the longest non-stop passage we have ever made, it did not represent even half the distance we would travel.
So, you might be wondering what was so exciting and eye opening? Well, for starters imagine the excitement of setting off from the continental shores you have spent a lifetime on and pointing your own little boat south and west heading to a different hemisphere practically on the other side of the earth from where you originated. Not really half way around the world, but more than a third of the 24900-mile circumference of the planet. Now think of you doing that with your wife, two cats and a nineteen-year-old young woman with little experience. And remember most of the time you will be totally on your own. No one around to save your butt should something break or the weather turn on you. To me that is pretty exciting, yet it is also eye opening.
What I learned, which truly surprised me was that it did not seem any different than any other passage. Yes, it was longer, yes we were out of sight of any land or humans for nearly three weeks, but otherwise it was just a great sailing trip with the usual mix of things being perfect and things not being perfect. Eventually you get to the point where most of the people you talk to have experienced the same passage and your perspective becomes clearer. There are a few hundred people every year who have the same (or very similar) dream and decide to go. Along the way we have met young people, old people and people our age. Some are voyaging before they start serious careers, some are enjoying their retirement and some are taking mid-career sabbaticals. The real eye opener was the realization that we are part of a small community of like minded souls, and making this passage is simply the price of admission to that group. Your wealth is not measured by your neighborhood, or the car you drive or even the boat you sail. Everyone is on equal footing regardless of what you may have. Everyone that sailed here has incredible wealth, not much of which has anything to do with their bank account, politics, religion or anything else but the fact that they took their little boat and pointed it this way. They got here. Priceless!
On to 2018 the question is, what do we do for an encore? The short answer is more of the same. A bit longer answer would include the fact that planning too detailed an itinerary is a fool’s errand. Stuff always gets in the way, but we do have a general outline. First, our insurance requires us to stay in this general area until after the Pacific Cyclone season, which ends in May, I think. Next is Charlene needs to get her torn rotator cuff fixed, which is tentatively scheduled for the first part of February. After the fix is physical therapy for at least 2-3 months and the entire healing process can take a lot longer. Before that and while she is recuperating we will visit as much of the country by car as we can, we will get all the deferred maintenance done on the boat and sketch out a plan for the last half of the year.
Right now, we think sailing to Fiji and spending most of the winter there, cruising around the reefs and islands sounds pretty good. Then there is the question after that, do we spend next cyclone season in Australia or go north towards the equator, or come back here? We could do some variation on that theme for the rest of our lives if we want.
If we eventually decide to sail back to the US do we continue on around the tip of South Africa, up the south Atlantic and on to the Caribbean or do we stay in the Pacific, sail to Hawaii, then on to the west coast of North America, maybe visit Alaska then Oregon?
The most eye-opening realization is we do not have to decide. We can take it one day, or more literally, one season at a time.
Happy New Year and ………….more later
P.S. As I finished writing this it is still 30 minutes before the ball drops in Times Square, but dinnertime here on January 1, 2018. The cats were released from jail (quarantine) last Tuesday so all are happy.

Thanksgiving; New Zealand Style.....

24 November 2017 | 35 18.56'S:174 07.90'E, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Larry Green
We have been in The Bay of Islands for a week and 1 day and since we are one day and several hours ahead of the US East Coast Thanksgiving was yesterday here. Mind you, New Zealand does not celebrate Thanksgiving as most countries outside North America do not. That is not to say the sailing community does not recognize the Thanksgiving holiday. The Opua Cruising Club, which has a facility adjacent to the marina, on whose mooring we are stuck, had there sixth annual Thanksgiving celebration for cruising sailboats and their crews last night. For $30NZ (approximately $21 US) there was a turkey dinner with all the traditional trimmings, or at least the New Zealand version of many of the menu items found on most tables that accompany a big fat turkey. Desert was brought by the participants, the only part that seemed traditional was a pie like thing that tasted like pumpkin. All the rest was good old fashioned sweet stuff accompanied by ice cream.

For entertainment we were treated to a performance by a local choir, known as Bella A Cappella. This was a group of perhaps 18 or so female singers, mostly middle age, who were really very good. When they were introduced it was noted they were all wearing a gold medal on a ribbon around their neck which was awarded them for being the best New Zealand a cappella group in the country and it was for the third year in a row. Their performance was extraordinary.

No football, no Macy�'s parade and no drumstick on the bird. It was a local turkey, and maybe they come by the no drumstick thing naturally or perhaps it was store bought turkey breast. Doesn�'t really matter, it was a hearty Thanksgiving dinner and it seems all in attendance had much to be thankful for, as I know we do. More Later

New Zealand and the Animals.................

20 November 2017 | 35 18.56'S:174 07.90'E, Bay of Islands, New Zealand
Larry Green
We arrived in the absolutely stunning Bay of Islands, New Zealand on Thursday at 1430h. If I have read the literature correctly there are some 130 islands in the bay, many with beautiful white sandy beaches, lots of coves and other places to anchor, miles of walking trails with waterfalls and some great snorkeling and diving.

Driving around on shore it reminds me of parts of Maine or other places in New England with quaint villages and one block towns. They say it is summer here, however I will wait until December 21st which is according to the travels of the Sun the official beginning of Summer. At the moment it feels like winter. It is cold as hell! How cold, you might ask, is that exactly. Inside the boat it is about 60°. Outside, since we arrived (until this morning) it has been raining and blowing like stink. Just outside the entrance to the bay a gale has been raging since the evening after we arrived. It has cleared out so the Sun is shining this morning and the wind is down and it feels like it may get up to the 70�'s.

Besides the weather there is the issue with the animals. Our animals, not the wild ones. Ours, as most know are two of the friendliest cats you could meet. Bob and Buzzi. On arrival here you might think they were mistaken for creatures from Jurassic Park. The short version of the story is New Zealand is making valiant efforts on many fronts to keep out pests and disease, whether it be cats and dogs, or growth on the bottom of your boat or stuff in your freezer.

Months ago, we applied for a Permit to Import Domestic Cats, which was about a 12 hour exercise in filling out paperwork, gathering and scanning veterinary records, obtaining government approved rabies tests, and of course filling out payment agreements. We also had to obtain a guaranteed booking confirmation at an approved quarantine facility, for a nonrefundable fee. It turns out there were a couple of issues with our paperwork.

First, we were told we needed a specific rabies test, performed at least 3 months, but not more than 6 months before we arrived. Said test had to have the results analyzed and certified in a Sovereign Government Veterinary Lab. The blood was drawn in Bora Bora, French Polynesia so, naturally it was sent to Paris, France for analysis. We get the analysis back (the cats are not, and never have been rabid) and send it off to Animal Imports at the Ministry for Primary Industries, a bureaucratic palace, where we had sent the previous volumes of paperwork.

In spite of the test results confirming the rabies free critters, it seems the veterinarian in Bora Bora did not have an RFID chip reader that would read their identity chips, so she used a different identification number on their blood samples. This number appears on many of their health records but, it is not good enough. So we were told we needed a new booking confirmation at the quarantine facility starting December 28th. Why that date? Well, that is six months from the date we arrived in French Polynesia a �"rabies free country�". We were in the Galapagos before that and though the islands are probably rabies free, the home country of Ecuador is not so we had to count the six months from somewhere else.

As most know from the Galapagos we sailed directly to French Polynesia, which took a bit over 20 days. Apparently, the Pacific Ocean is not considered rabies free because we cannot count those twenty days spent at sea towards the six months in a rabies free country.

The bottom line is we are confined to a mooring near the marina in Opua until December 28th, at which time the cats will get to spend an additional 10 days in a quarantine facility before they can be imported. Once they are in the quarantine facility we can move about anywhere we choose in the boat. Once the cats are released from Quarantine they can move about freely as well.

Why go through all this? Well the incentive is that if we do not import the cats with all the crap that goes with it, we would be confined to a single mooring for the entire time we are in New Zealand, which would be limited to six months. No extensions for any reason. If we were to follow the path of not importing the cats and for some reason overstayed the six months or ventured away from our assigned mooring the penalty is the cats. Despite the costs and hassle it would not be worth the penalty. More later�...�...�...�.....

Something About Sailing

15 November 2017 | 33 25.21'S:175 38.59'E, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
There is something about sailing that makes it get into your blood. For centuries sailing and the sea have been romanticized and made to look like the most unforgiving environment known, all in the same story. I think both are true and then some. Well, first off let me tell you what got me thinking of this. Earlier I went up to the cockpit to start my watch at 2000h. It is barely after sunset here and so I enjoyed the full evening twilight between the setting sun and dark. There was, across most of the horizon a bank of clouds which seemed to lift off the horizon and show a bright orange sunset color beneath that portion of the clouds. Except there were smaller clouds under the big bank of clouds and with the orange glow behind them these clouds took on the appearance of some different objects; a camel, an elephant a big square block, an apostrophe and a few things I could not imagine were anything but clouds. My first thought was that sight would never be seen on land, only at sea with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Clouds can only hold my interest for so long, mostly because they change or the sun continues to sink and you can�'t really see them. Being a keen observer of my surroundings I started to notice some other things. Let me step back first and describe those surroundings. When on watch, particularly at night I sit in the very back of the cockpit on the leeward side of the boat. That means the wind is blowing from the opposite side from where I am and when the boat is heeled over a bit I am but three feet or so from the water, I can see all the sails and touch the ocean at the same time. I can also see the instruments, chart plotter and radar screen, so I can see what the boat is doing with a glance upward. The sounds I hear are pretty basic sea sounds; the loudest is the water rushing by the hull just feet from my ears. It changes both in tone and volume as the boat speeds up or slows down or a wave passes underneath. The other sounds are more background noise, the wind in the rigging, the creaking of lines moving a bit as they are strained or slacked by the wind, the occasional whir of the autopilot. The one jarring possibility is when a wave bangs into the boat, making a loud crashing sound and everything shudders a bit. That only happens every once in a while, and is most likely a reminder that I am not master of the universe. There is no other noise. No voices from people or machines, no machines, nothing but the sea and the boat. Lest I forget, every half hour the ships clock strikes a number of bells depending on the time. Eight Bells, my watch starts, (and the clock starts over with one bell at half past the hour) Four hours later Eight Bells and my watch is done. So, when the wind picks up a little I see the sails stretch a bit before the boat accelerates and leans into it more. At the same time the sound of the waves from the wake of the boat get louder and the tone changes as they move faster. As the boat heels a bit I am closer to the ocean. It becomes easy to know what the boat is doing without looking at the electronics, simply by listening and feeling the motion. As you can imagine this feeling of the movement and momentum does not happen the first time you set foot aboard a sailboat. But it may happen the first time you sit alone in the dark close to the water thinking about sailing and what it means. One of the things that is awe inspiring is the ability of a small amount of wind to be harnessed to a few square feet of canvas and make a twenty-ton boat feel like it is moving as fast as a freight train. Fast is clearly a relative term; jet planes are really fast and really big and they have thousands of horsepower to push them or they fall down. This boat displaces twenty tons of water, which an engineer could probably describe better than I but basically it means it pushes twenty tons of water out of the way when it moves. Plus, it has to overcome inertia and move its own weight which is not insignificant. We have about 1500 square feet of sail area in three sails. Now consider this. If you were standing on the beach in a 15 kt breeze you would feel it but it won�'t trouble you at all, however it will move this big heavy boat really fast, relatively speaking. The thing about sailing is it is different from any other activity I know. You use all your senses, you must be in tune with the wind and water and it is peaceful. It restores. More later�.... PS: We are 133 NM from New Zealand

The Eight to Twelve Watch

12 November 2017 | 26 52.92'S:179 44.11'W, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
It is just after midnight and I just came below after my evening watch. Tonight, the only reminder that we are in the South Pacific was the stars. Some are the same stars we see in the northern hemisphere, they simply look upside down when picking out a constellation. Some are not visible in the northern hemisphere, one in particular is the Southern Cross. We are actually still pretty far north to be able to see it especially when there are clouds near the horizon and I have yet to see it in its entirety. Our Kiwi shipmate pointed out one of the tips of the cross but the entire cross was not visible.

Why are the stars the only reminder of the South Pacific you may wonder? Well mostly because it is a pretty clear night and getting cold. It is as cold here tonight as I can remember summer nights in Maine getting. It is probably not really as cold as I think it is but I needed long pants and a jacket on watch and I was still cold. I, for one, never thought of the South Pacific as being cold. For most of us the location conjures images of tropical islands, grass skirted girls, clear blue water and balmy temperatures. Well, there is not a tropical island within a few hundred miles, the water is clear but dark indigo blue because it is thousands of feet deep, I have yet to see a grass skirted girl anywhere and the temperature is no longer balmy! The water temperature has dropped nearly 10 degrees, to 79°F. It is still difficult to remember it is Spring here, and Summer arrives less than a week before Christmas.

I digress. Standing watch at night is probably the most enjoyable part of sailing. During the day, or on a short passage generally everyone on board is up and going about their daily routines or engaged in sailing the boat. Virtually all the cooking and cleaning is done during the day, the cat box gets cleaned out, people socialize and of course do boat stuff, like get weather reports, check in on radio nets do boat maintenance or sail the boat. At night everyone except the person on watch is usually asleep, early. Our sleep habits are disrupted on a passage as all of us are up for 4 hours during the night, then off for eight hours before going back on watch during the day. So naps during odd hours of the day are normal as is getting to sleep early in the evening. Some would find it curious that being alone, on deck of a small boat with nothing in sight beyond that boat, except stars and clouds and periodically the moon would be enjoyable. It is the only time that all you can hear are the sounds of the sea and the boat. It is the only time you can look up and contemplate anything, or nothing, or everything and see the universe in every direction you look. And when you look you see wonderous things like more stars than can be imagined, some of them shooting off in some unknown direction as they burn out (or whatever it is they do) you see bright objects that at first look like stars or planets, but you soon realize they are moving in an odd way and conclude they are NSA satellites spying on you or Google tracking your movements (or whatever it is that they do) and sometimes you see things you can�'t quite figure out so you make something up. Usually an alien spaceship comes to mind since they can take any shape or form and move in whatever weird way they want and no one is there to contradict you or say you could be nuts.

The real beauty of standing watch alone at night on a huge ocean and a tiny boat and the entire universe overhead is you can think whatever thoughts you want, whether serious, what is the meaning of life and why am I here thoughts or what are those aliens up to tonight, I hope it is not my night to go up to their ship or �...�...�...�...�...�....More later

An Unscheduled Stop...Minerva Reef

10 November 2017 | 23 39.47'S:178 54.078'W, South Pacific Ocean
Larry Green
The weather forecast for our passage to New Zealand included a seasonal low pressure system that will wrap itself around the northern part of the country bringing a day or so of 30+knot winds. One choice we had was to sail west until the low was well out of the way then turn south west towards our destination. Well, after looking at the weather maps and similar stuff it occurred to me that we could stop at Minerva Reef, just a few miles out of the way, spend a day relaxing then head back out and not have to sail way west. It probably will not change our arrival in New Zealand the middle of next week.

So the little dot on the map that sows our position is Minerva Reef. It is an uninhabited atoll which is maybe 1 foot above sea level. It is sort of oval shaped with a single entrance to the lagoon which is unmarked (no lights or bouys) and about 50 yards wide. Overnight we were sailing really well in 20 kts of wind but at the speed we were making we would have arrived in the dark; so we took down some sail to slow the boat down and arrived at about 0730 this morning. Our charts do not show this reef, or many others unless you zoom way, way in. Even then what pops up on the chart looks like a postage stamp, has minimal information about the surrounding water, and there is nothing here that would make landmarks.

There is North Minerva and South Minerva, neither of which has any current inhabitants, trees, animals or plants. Just sand and coral sticking up out of the ocean. There is one light on the two atolls, which is currently maintained by the Kingdom of Tonga (some 400 miles away). Fiji also claims to possess these atolls and is a bit further away. We have heard that periodically the one ship of the Fiji Navy comes and shoots out the light. Following that, usually by weeks or months, the one ship of the Tonga Navy comes by and replaces the bulb. This has apparently been going on for years if not decades.

It has been a restful day, where all could catch up on sleep, the boat could get cleaned up a bit and all in all a good decision to stop. The only downside was approaching it. We were no more than 100 yards off before I could discern the land and the entrance. Made it through and found there were about 25 sailboats here, virtually all of them were boats and people we have met along the way. The ironic part was what a small community we are part of. Most of these boats and their crews we have seen in Panama, the Galapagos or the South Pacific Islands. They are from 7or 8 countries, some are sailing with kids, some are couples and a couple are single-handing. Regardless of age or nationality or background we all share a common desire, to see the world, live independently and have a grand adventure. We are doing just that,�...�.... 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