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A family travels from Florida to New Zealand aboard their St Francis 50 catamaran
Still in Tonga
10/08/2008, Neiafu

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Swimming with the whales, snorkeling, exploring caves, we have fun in Neiafu but the weather can be sometimes a little rainy!

10/09/2008 | Matt & Linda Dusanic
Wow, we're sorry to hear you had so much weather - we still remember the conditions between Palmerston and Nuie and Tonga as not a lot of fun.

Enjoy the swimming with the whales - one of our best memories from Neiafu (and there was a great pizza place too!)
Neiafu, a meeting spot and a melting pot
09/15/2008, Vava'u islands (Tonga)

We are delighted to have reached the west milestone of our trip in Tonga, it was a short and almost easy trip (beside the incident with the spinnaker). 90% of every boat we ever met along our Pacific crossing seems to be in Neiafu!!!! 1% stayed in French Polynesia and the other 9% left already for Fidji (like our friends from Silver Curl that we never catch up with since the Marquesas!), but it is a huge reunion place and it is nice to see all those familiar faces around town and yesterday at the bounty bar where Steve (from Orca III) and Glenn (from the Dorothy Mary) played some great music (the best they had yet performed, it was really nice). The kids met again and are awaiting patiently for Malachi, our other friends in the south islands of Tonga who should meet us in a week or so. The weather is a little rainy so we spent a lot of time around cappuccinos sharing our adventures.
Nous sommes tres heureux d'avoir atteints notre destination le plus a l'ouest de notre voyage, ce dernier passage a ete rapide et facile (a part l'incident du spi). 90% des bateaux que nous avons rencontre le long de notre traverse du Pacifique semble etre a Niafu!!! 1% sont restes en Polynesie Francaise, 9% ont déjà quitte Tonga pour Fidji (comme nos amis de Silver Curl avec que nous avons toujours espere rattraper, mais ils vont jusqu'en Australie cette saison , donc voyagent vite!). C'est donc a chaque coin de rue de Neiafu que nous voyons des visages familiers, ainsi qu'au Bounty Bar hier au soir ou Steve (Orca III) et Glenn (Dorothy Mary) ont joue a notre plus grand plaisir (harmonica et saxo).Les enfants sont tous reunis, il ne manque que Malachi, qui sont un peu plus au sud et devrait nous rejoindre dans une semaine au plus.

09/23/2008 | Genevieve
C'est formidable de lire les espisodes de ton voyage.

Un grand bonheur d'imaginer tout cela en ces temps agites tant climatique que economique.

Chere nathalie, je te souhaite ainsi qu'a ton equipage de continuer cette belle aventure avec tant de belles choses.

Bises et a bientot quand meme.

Arrived in Tonga
09/12/2008, Marla Island, Vava'u Group, Tonga

We left Niue at 6am on Thursday the 11th for the 245 mile run to Tonga. We arrived the next day at 2pm for a passage time of 32 hours but lost Friday the 12th completely as it is Saturday the 13th here in Tonga on the other side of the international date line. Very hard to wrap my mind around the concept. A nice passage with lots of wind at first and down to 10 knots at the end. Had too much excitement at first though, two hours out of Niue we wrapped the spinnaker around the head stay so bad I had to go up the mast in the boson's chair to unwrap it. While up the mast getting bruised all over we caught a 16 pound Mahi-mahi just to add more stress to the morning. Anyway after two hours we had the sail back down on deck in one piece and shortly there after had the whisker pole track fixed and we were wing and wing again. Another catamaran that left Niue at the same time as us blew their spinnaker out and then ran over it, so our outcome was better with fish to boot! Its nice to be fast, they and all the other boats that left Niue Thursday (six boats besides ourselves) will not arrive here until tomorrow. so will be at sea for two nights instead of one. Not that we can do much until Monday when we check in to the country. We have been spoiled in places like the Cook islands and Niue for instance where the Customs guy told us to come to the dock at 2pm but he was early and caught us coming back to the dock from the land where we had already been touring the island with friends. It was no problem at all. This is the same Island where one of the other boats had asked the policeman (out of uniform) where he could buy some pot which the whole island knew about within hours and was an ongoing joke with the locals during our stay there. Not in Tonga, here we will stay on our boat until Monday and play by the rules. We would have loved to stay in Niue for another week but the anchorage there is exposed to the open ocean and a low pressure system will move though next week making it impossible to stay there.

10/08/2008 | mariannick
un bonjour de la france, ou il est agréable de profiter de vos photos et commentaires.
les enfants ont l'air épanouis, vous de même.
je vous écris du travail ou le froid et l'hiver s'installe.
il y a parfois des chances que l'on ne c'est pas apprécier. vous voguez sur le plus bel ocean du monde, je vous souhaite de savourer cet instant magique.
now i try to write in english...
heu... heu..
too difficulte but i would like to now...
do you decide to make a stop in polynesia ?
and how long you decide to travel ?

big kiss and bon vent !
11/14/2008 | sarah brown
Hey em wats up with you? How have you been? you definitely need to get a facebook or something that i can contact you with more often. I would call except i dont kno wat will happen. You should call on the weekends before lacrosse season starts in jan. CALL ME GIRL!!!!!! Love ya! Sarah Brown
Niue, a big rock with a big heart!
09/10/2008, Alofi (niue)

We Love Niue! There are between 1000 to 1500 people left in Niue, most of the 6000 inhabitants left little by little for New Zealand and when cyclone Heta hit in 2004, the population really dropped, leaving a good 50% of the houses abandoned. But the small town of Alofi is very hospitable and one of a kind! Beginning by an original way of lifting your dinghy (lifted on the wharf by a crane that you operate yourself at the great joy of Alec and David, all men get a kick out on this one), Alofi does not seem like much at first but you just get into it and find yourself busy every day (market, weaving class, pool table, the cutest little yacht club, site seeing or just hanging out with cruisers or the locals that are absolutely a joy!). Yesterday we went on a full day trip with 4 other boats; we left early, all 14 of us packed with our picnic in the van, what a wonderful day we had! We first stopped at the Tahava / Matapa site and hiked for about 20 minutes before reaching some amazing caves near the seashore where this gigantic arch (Tahava Arch) open on breaking ocean waves, inside, a small transparent pool is so pretty that you can't not just jump in it. We also explored the other pass that led to Matapa Chasm, a nice snorkeling and swimming spot. The afternoon was spent to visit another site on the south east side of the island, called Togo Chasm: another 20-30 minute hike in the forest took us to a very strange and hypnotic lunar landscape of coral spikes. The wind on the east coast was ferocious and the waves crashing on the rocks where we were standing were mesmerizing, we stayed a long time just watching the power of nature. We finished the day at restaurant where the food was delicious and to top it all we were served by Miss Niue! Emilie and Alec are so happy to find kids again, the days go by very fast.... Tomorrow we are going to a weaving class....
Niue est super! L'ile a entre 1000 et 1500 habitants, la plupart des 6000 habitants present il y a quelques annees ont quitte l'ile petit a petit pour la Nouvelle Zelande et depuis le cyclone Heta en 2004, 50% des maisons sont maintenant abandonees. Mais le petit village de Alofi est acueillant et tres original! En commencant par la levee de l'annexe a la grue (au plus grand plaisir des petits et grands garcons qui s'amusent follement a opere la grue plusieurs fois par jour), les journees passent tres vite entre le marche, les cours de vannerie (ou plutot palm tree weaving), le petit yacht club, deux restaurants, et surtout le contact avec les autres bateaux et les locaux qui sont tres sympas et toujours pres a discuter. Hier nous sommes partis faire un tour de l'ile avec 4 autres bateaux. Un depart tres tot, 14 personnes plus le picnic, masques,tubas, serviettes, le van etait a maximum capacite, quelle rigoalde!Premier stop au site Tahava / Matapa ou une marche d'environ 20 minutes nous a menee a des caves fantastiques en bord de mer ou une arche ouverte sur l'ocean completait le spectacle. De belles petites piscines naturelles d'eau sale nous invitaient a nager, l'eau est tellement transparente les fonds colores sont tres attractifs! Nous avons aussi explore le second chemin qui nous a mene a Matapa, un endroit a ne pas manquer , nage entre les rochers et de jolis poissons tropicaux. Le site de Togo au sud est de l'ile est aussi a ne pas manquer: Apres une marche dans la foret de 30 minutes , l'arrivee dans un paysage lunaire de piques coralliens est hypnotique! Nous avons fini la journee au restaurant ou un delicieux repas nous a ete servi par Miss Niue elle-meme! Demain le marche a 7h et la classe de vannerie....

Arrived in Niue, living the dream?
09/06/2008, Niue

So, I have to be truthful. You are home, on land, and like me two years ago when I was reading avidly the adventures of cruisers, I was saying "lucky them, I would like so much to do that...."it does sure seem like it is all peachy and rosy, the perfect dream! Well I would say 90 % of the time it is but I do hate the 10% left! This morning was one of the prime example of not living a dream: We are still in Aitatuki now since 10 days waiting for weather and the wind is not laying off! We decided to go today in 25-30 knots of wind with a formed sea and 5 meters waves and my stomach is so tight that I am already seasick before departure. I am so afraid, it is not even funny and to top it all we have to begin by getting out of the pass which is a narrow manmade cut very shallow at one point.... So we made it ok... We have the main (three reefs in it), the wind is coming from the back so the movement is not as bad as I thought it would be, but we are still protected by the lee shore of the island, the big bad waves have not reached us yet! The ocean is dark blue with white caps all over! Yesterday two boats tried to leave Palmerston and came back after 15 minutes and the other; 1 was too rough. Right now O'Vive is sliding through at 9.5 knots and we have hardly any sail out!!!! The movement is slightly better and I am feeling a little better as I see that the boat can handle it fine. We are on our third day out , first night, neither me or David could get any sleep (30-35 knots and rough), 2nd night was better and we were exhausted, so we slept much better, and today third day is heaven, the wind came down at 20-25 knots, the waves are down, only 3 meters by now. Two other boats broke their automatic pilot and had to steer by hand, so we feel lucky... and I have my David, never doubting (or at least never showing it) and the kids seeing their dad confident that everything will pass and we will be in a beautiful island soon enough, are never complaining too much and sleep still like babies in a 35 knots wind when it is hammering out there. I know the true sailors are going to laugh at me but I also am sure that a lot of the cruisers have the same stomach ache before leaving, I just thought I will share this with you, lucky guys on land, sleeping tight in your stable bed tonight.....but I still would not change my place with anybody for a million dollars when I am going to see the island on the horizon tomorrow, and the sailboats of our friends waiting for us.... there is nothing like arriving...... It is a firework exploding in your stomach and it makes go away all the little stomach aches.
We arrived in Niue September 6th at 10:30am local time: 581 miles in 72 hours and 15 minutes!

09/07/2008 | Jill Jahn
Sometimes you have to go through hell to get to heaven! Just to let you know your safe bed at home is under a mandatory hurricane evacuation. I think you still have it pretty good. We miss you and stay safe!!
09/08/2008 | Davina Geddes
Your voyage looks to have been rather rough for the last few days, glad you've reached land again.How many more months will your trip take ? Davina

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