A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran

08 May 2013
06 September 2011 | Brisbane
04 September 2011 | 26 02S 155 59E
03 September 2011 | 24 35S 159 23E
02 September 2011 | 23 21S 162 56E
31 August 2011 | New Caledonia
30 August 2011 | 21 10S 168 312E
29 August 2011 | 21 25S 171 52E
28 August 2011 | 21 03S 175 17E
27 August 2011 | 20 17S 178 49E
26 August 2011 | 19 26S 177 46W
25 August 2011 | 18 48S 174 20W
23 August 2011 | Neiafu, Tonga
21 August 2011 | 19 00S 170 22W
18 August 2011 | 19 45S 168 16W
15 August 2011 | Beverage Reef
14 August 2011 | 19 39S 166 06W
12 August 2011 | 18 52S 160 14W
03 August 2011 | Aitutaki
01 August 2011 | 18 18S 157 49W


29 June 2011 | Manihi Atoll
Manihi was an excellent stop with the exception of the coral heads in the anchorage. Entering the pass was no problem for us, a little bit scary watching Free Spirit come in behind us. When the current got a hold of them they were almost sideways in the pass heading for the coral edge several times. Philip had to use full reverse along with his bow thruster each time to keep her off the reef. Later the locals told us they were impressed that we made it in without assistance as most boats get guided in and several windup on the reef each year. Still I felt it was pretty easy and Free Spirit would have had no problem if they had a rudder. The next morning we all headed to town to see about getting Free Spirit a temporary rudder made. We went to the village hall where we met the police man who took us to the village employee who was busy running wires for the Hiva celebration booths on the soccer field. After explaining our situation using Lise-Marie as a translator he said he would meet us on his lunch break. In the mean time we went looking for steel. As it happens they had just piled all the scrap steel at the little boat basin and were loading it on a small outboard powered barge with a front end loader. We found an old steel tank of heavy gauge steel and had the front end loader guy transport it back to the other side of the Motu near the generator station where we planned to do the work. Then back to the soccer field to ask the welder how we could get the station unlocked in order to obtain power. He said we would need permission from the mayor for that and also to allow him to do the welding for us. The mayor was pointed out and she readily granted permission so Phillip got to work with the angle grinder cutting his new rudder from the tank while the rest of us wandered off looking for pearls. Most off the pearls in town had been recently shipped off to Papeete but we found a small place that had some. The guy took us out to a shaded table on the edge of the lagoon laid out several towels placed 8 bags of pearls down each bag containing different grades and sizes of pearls. He then told us to keep track of which bags the pearls we were interested in came from and left us there by ourselves with hundreds of pearls. After 45 minutes of choosing it was time to go looking for him so we could find out how much they would cost as each bag had a range of prices, for instance one bag might say $400, 600, 800 and another would say $1500, 2000 etc.. Prices were in Pacific francs. He was busy eating lunch but came along shortly. I purchased enough for a necklace and was very happy with the transaction. After that we noticed the current was coming in the pass so ran back to the boat to get snorkel gear and did a drift though the pass which was very nice with the clear water coming in. The welder showed up at 3:30pm after work and by dark Phillip had a new rudder. The price for all this work? $0, So Phillip insisted he accept some money. Just before dark we heard drums coming from a nearby building and went to watch the local youth practicing their dance and singing for the upcoming Hiva celebration. Later that night while having dinner aboard Ovive with Free Spirit four local guys stopped by and asked if we were interested in trading for pearls. These guys were not from the village but lived on the outer Motus. We did some wonderful trading with them and Seb and Lise Marie would up talking to them for quite a while. That was our first full day on Manihi. The next day I started my autopilot project which consisted of mounting the rudder sensor Phillip had given me on the port side so we could disconnect the starboard rudder from the picture so I would not have to align the rudders every 15 minutes on our next passage to Tahiti. In the middle of that I went over to Free Spirit to go under water and guide his rudder in while he worked above. That went easy and just as I was finishing my project the guys from the Motu showed up and hung out for a while. They brought us Wahoo, oysters and more pearls as presents and did some more trading as well. They wanted to have me try their boat so we all went for a ride with me driving. You stand in a small enclosure at the bow with a steel pipe in front of you that is led through pulleys directly to a 90 horse outboard. The stick is moved left or right and takes a lot of strength to control the outboard without a mechanical advantage. They told us they might see us later that night as they were invited over to Free Spirit for dinner as were we. It turns out that the diner invite was a French/English communication mess up and when they showed up later that night Phillip and Robin were a little shocked to have four uninvited guests aboard. But the shock was only momentary as we went into action to accommodate them with extra plates etc They brought tons of meat for the grill along with vegetables and bread and the rum they had traded for earlier. A good time was had by all with lots of pictures, conversation and of course pearls both as presents and commerce such as when one of the guys asked me for a cigar for his dad after which he gave me some more pearls. About the time they went off to get their musical instruments Dean and I excused ourselves and left the party as I knew I had to dive to the bottom of the Lagoon (about 65' where they were anchored) in the morning and unwrap Free Spirits anchor chain from the coral heads. The next morning I was able to do that and luckily ours came up fairly easily. Leaving the pass was straight forward, just a little bit nerve racking as we were pushed out at 12 knots. The Lagoon water was not very clear except close to the pass similar to our experience 3 years ago in Kauehi but both the wonderful village and the people we met from the outer Motus made it a highlight of the trip so far. Perhaps the fact that it was a new place for me contributed to the experience as well.
Vessel Name: O'Vive
Vessel Make/Model: St Francis 50' catamaran
Hailing Port: Tavernier, Florida USA
Crew: David, Alec, Emilie, Nathalie
About: Captain David, 1st mate, Nathalie and the crew Alec (12) and Emilie (15)
O'Vive's Photos - (Main)
16 Photos
Created 13 May 2009
2009 Family Island Regatta
24 Photos
Created 26 April 2009
We are finishing our 18 months sabatical where it all began, the Bahamas... still with O'Vive which has been shipped back from New Zealand on Dockwise.
48 Photos
Created 29 March 2009
We flew back to the States while O'Vive is on her way back to Florida on Dockwise.
22 Photos
Created 25 February 2009
Lampwork glass beads studio in Whangarei
39 Photos
Created 14 February 2009
13 Photos
Created 9 February 2009
25 Photos
Created 9 February 2009
On our way back, Nelson and the famous Abel Tasman trail.
9 Photos
Created 25 January 2009
South island east coast and meeting in Murchinson with Orca 3 and Malachi
35 Photos
Created 24 January 2009
Alec took the plunge!
17 Photos
Created 18 January 2009
Te Anau, Milford sound,
31 Photos
Created 18 January 2009
Franz Jose glacier, Hokitika,Kunakaiki,scenic road from Haast to Wanaka (near Queenstown),Queenstown, Arrowtown.
68 Photos
Created 10 January 2009
Transfer from North to South island.
23 Photos
Created 10 January 2009
73 Photos
Created 6 January 2009
THrough Kawau island, Mimiwhangata, Tutukaka, Great Barrier island, and an amazing dive at poor night.
57 Photos
Created 29 December 2008
58 Photos
Created 28 December 2008
Nathalie went to visit her family in France.
47 Photos
Created 27 November 2008
Boats we met during our Pacific Crossing
22 Photos
Created 15 November 2008
54 Photos
Created 11 November 2008
En route pour la Nouvelle Zelande
10 Photos
Created 9 November 2008
8 Photos
Created 29 October 2008
78 Photos
Created 15 September 2008
36 Photos
Created 6 September 2008
31 Photos
Created 6 September 2008
37 Photos
Created 16 August 2008
57 Photos
Created 3 August 2008
the two sister islands of Raiatea and Tahaa
49 Photos
Created 23 July 2008
F, between Tahiti and Bora Bora
23 Photos
Created 23 July 2008
8 Photos
Created 11 July 2008
9 Photos
Created 4 July 2008
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 29 June 2008
Les iles des Tuamotus Kauehi, Fakarava et Toau
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 28 June 2008
5 Photos
Created 16 May 2008
26 Photos
Created 16 May 2008
4 Photos
Created 16 May 2008
8 Photos
Created 16 May 2008
French polynesia first islands, the Marqueses
20 Photos
Created 28 April 2008
45 Photos
Created 21 March 2008
12 Photos
Created 21 March 2008
12 Photos
Created 18 March 2008
31 Photos
Created 24 February 2008
From the San Blas to Las Perlas Crossing the Panama canal
41 Photos
Created 21 February 2008
18 Photos
Created 31 January 2008
Chub Cay, Staniel Key, Georgetown
22 Photos
Created 31 January 2008
Our first catamaran was a Manta 42. She was built in St Petersburg and we went to pick her up in November 2000. We spent every summer cruising the Beautiful Bahamas islands (700) from the busy Nassau harbor (We never stay more than 2 or 3 days)to the more remote islands like the crooked islands or the ragged islands (also known as the Jumentos and the friendliest of all , Long Island. We never got tired of the turquoise waters , the kindness of the Bahamians and all the fun we had with all the friends we made over the years.
8 Photos
Created 1 October 2007
We picked up O'Vive end of May 2007 in Georgetown, Bahamas and after a few weeks ,we brought her back home to the Florida Keys in order to get her and us ready for the "Grand Voyage".
1 Photo
Created 1 October 2007


Who: David, Alec, Emilie, Nathalie
Port: Tavernier, Florida USA