Macha Sets Sail

We left Newport Beach, CA on June 22, 2102 and are making our way south - eventually to the South Pacific. Along the way we will visit Mexico, Central America, and the Galapagos.

Vessel Name: Macha
Vessel Make/Model: 40-foot Trimaran (Haskins)
Hailing Port: Newport Beach, CA USA and Sydney Australia
Crew: Carolyn Heath, Tony Spooner, Melia Spooner-Heath, Max, Kimber, Lilly, & Griffin Spooner
About: We are an extended family that built our sailboat, Macha, and are now island-hopping our way across the South Pacific.
Extra: So far (July 2017) we have sailed from S. California to Vava'u, Tonga, and we are about to continue west to Fiji. We have seen all sorts of weather and wildlife, and are enjoying meeting not only the locals, but all the foreign cruisers as well.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/heath/
28 August 2017 | Neiafu, Tonga
14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga
14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga
01 July 2017 | Vava'u Tonga
08 September 2015 | Vava'u Tonga
27 August 2015 | en route to Tonga
31 July 2013 | Tahiti
31 July 2013 | Moorea
14 June 2013
09 June 2013 | Hiva Oa, Marquesas
10 February 2013 | Panama City, Panama
25 December 2012 | Panama City, Central America
22 November 2012 | Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica
08 September 2012 | Golfo de Papagayo, Costa Rica
05 September 2012
Recent Blog Posts
28 August 2017 | Neiafu, Tonga

Starlight and flying foxes…

Starlight and flying foxes…

14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga

The up side of paradise

After showing you the down side of cruising in paradise in my last post, I feel I should provide you with a bit more daydream material. The photo shows one of our favorite anchorages in the Vava'u group. We anchor about 30' from shore, in aquamarine water less than 20' deep. To starboard is our own little coral reef, where I just saw my first pair of cuttlefish. They are so cute and full of personality! To port is a view of gorgeous little islands nestled around the lagoon. It's a place so serene and beautiful that one is hard-pressed to stop just sitting and taking in the scenery. May you all find yourselves in someplace equally peaceful very soon!

14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga

What cruisers do while it's raining...

If you're in need of a little pick-me-up, something to put your work day in perspective and stifle those daydreams of cruising the South Pacific, look no further than the accompanying photo! In it you will see Captain Tony stuck below on an incessantly rainy day, repairing the head (toilet). It's a despicable job, but someone has to do it, and Carolyn was very busy doing every chore she could find to keep her occupied elsewhere. Hopefully this lets you resume whatever chore you were tackling with a bit of a smile on your face. Cheers!

01 July 2017 | Vava'u Tonga

Back on board!

Not only are we back on board Macha, but we are back on board with our SailBlogs website! We'll do our best this season to let you know where we are and what we're doing - though only when we have internet access.

08 September 2015 | Vava'u Tonga

Beautiful Vava'u

The people that live in the Vava'u Island group of the Kingdom of Tonga know they have something to be proud of. When the Health Department Officials cleared us in at Neiafu they hand-wrote on our paperwork that we were approved for entry into "our beautiful island of Vava'u". And beautiful it is! The island group is nearly surrounded by an outer reef that keeps the larger waves away while letting the cooling breezes in. It makes it a wonderful place to sail. The islands are close enough together to allow easy anchorage-hopping, and the water is crystal clear in many places. Palms and other greenery line the little top-knot islands with their undercut shores - a bit like Palau. We spent the last couple of days at a most scenic anchorage at Port Maurelle on Kapa Island. The sun was out, the seas were calm, and we finally reaped the rewards of our six weeks of repairs and open-ocean passages. We explored Swallows Cave by dinghy, and found under us huge schools of tiny fish. Their patterns shifted and swirled, and formed a shimmery work of art. The next day we tried to find Mariner's Cave, which can only be entered by diving underwater. After finally locating what looked like "a rock with three sort of stripy marks on it" I dove under to take a look. A bit daunting that - deciding to take the plunge into an opening and trusting you will emerge in an air-filled cave! But there it was, the legendary hiding place of a Tongan princess while invaders scoured the island looking for her. It was a bit magical, floating in the semi-darkness of the cave by myself. We'll return on a calmer day with a lower tide so the rest of the family can enjoy it too. Our much-appreciated crew member, Chris Riegle, left to fly back to the states today. We'll miss his sailing skills, good company and cockpit serenades on his guitar. He experienced both the trials and tribulations of ocean voyaging, and we hope he's returned home with many good memories. Tonight we were treated to a wonderful meal at the home of friends here, and we are so full of fresh fish, watermelon juice and rum that we're heading for our bunks a bit early. Tomorrow will bring another day of arranging for sail repairs, etc., and then an hour or two of sailing to explore yet another local island. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see again the mother humpback whale and her acrobatic calf practicing its belly-up breaches!

27 August 2015 | en route to Tonga

Another passage underway!

We are at last at sea again, heading from Raiatea, French Polynesia, to Vava'u, Tonga. Our first day had brisk winds and sunshine, the next held stronger winds, rain, and confused seas. Now we are motoring through a large lull, but the SE Trades look to be finding us again. We've acquired a 5th crew member: Bernie the Ternie is a Brown Noddy that landed on board yesterday, full of burrs. His/her feathers were all stuck together, so we caught her and removed about 12 of them. She left in a huff, only to return 15 minutes later and take up residence on the kayak. She's been here all night and is a rather cute, if messy, new friend.

Starlight and flying foxes…

28 August 2017 | Neiafu, Tonga
Starlight and flying foxes…
I was sitting on Macha’s deck one evening, contemplating the stars, when it dawned on me how utterly peaceful it was. Usually the wind, dinghies dashing by, and noises ashore in Neifu’s harbor all add up to a fair bit of background noise and a sense of busyness. But today the wind had completely died away, and the harbor was as flat as a mill pond. There was no breeze, no clanging of rigging against masts, and all the cruisers were either in their berths or quietly stargazing too. Ashore, the world seemed to have settled down and retreated indoors or to sleep. Even the cicadas were silent. Only a few sounds drifted out across the water: one was a group of children singing a song, a bit out of key but also full of laughter. And then a burst of familiar squawking started up. It was a sound I frequently heard in the harbor last year, and had assumed it was chickens or some local birds. Only after taking my kayak along the shore and looking up into a huge tree did I match the squawking to its origin. There was a colony of flying foxes (fruit bats) roosting in the tree! They are such unusual and fascinating animals. A flying mammal…. One can see them flying off in search of fruiting trees around dusk, generally flying in the same direction in a loose squadron. During the day, much of their time is spent hanging upside down from the tree branches, wrapped in their little sleeping bags formed by their own wings. The squawking ruckus seems triggered by any number of things. I have no idea what’s actually going on, but in my imagination they are saying: “This is my branch, find your own!”, or “Can you face the other direction? Your breath smells like rotten papaya.”, or “ Mom, mom, did I tell you about my dream this afternoon? Wake up, it’s really funny and not too long!”, or “Put a fig in it Junior, I’m trying to sleep!”, or “Attention, attention, ripe bananas on Tapana, get them while you can!”.
It felt so luxurious to sit under the stars, listen to the flying foxes’ chatter, and feel the utter peacefulness of the place. Finally, living in the moment!

The up side of paradise

14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga
Beautiful!!
After showing you the down side of cruising in paradise in my last post, I feel I should provide you with a bit more daydream material. The photo shows one of our favorite anchorages in the Vava'u group. We anchor about 30' from shore, in aquamarine water less than 20' deep. To starboard is our own little coral reef, where I just saw my first pair of cuttlefish. They are so cute and full of personality! To port is a view of gorgeous little islands nestled around the lagoon. It's a place so serene and beautiful that one is hard-pressed to stop just sitting and taking in the scenery. May you all find yourselves in someplace equally peaceful very soon!

What cruisers do while it's raining...

14 July 2017 | Vava'u, Tonga
RAIN!!
If you're in need of a little pick-me-up, something to put your work day in perspective and stifle those daydreams of cruising the South Pacific, look no further than the accompanying photo! In it you will see Captain Tony stuck below on an incessantly rainy day, repairing the head (toilet). It's a despicable job, but someone has to do it, and Carolyn was very busy doing every chore she could find to keep her occupied elsewhere. Hopefully this lets you resume whatever chore you were tackling with a bit of a smile on your face. Cheers!

Back on board!

01 July 2017 | Vava'u Tonga
Not only are we back on board Macha, but we are back on board with our SailBlogs website! We'll do our best this season to let you know where we are and what we're doing - though only when we have internet access.
We're now on the mooring at Tapana, in the beautiful islands of Vava'u, Tonga. We will spend some time awakening Macha from her hibernation, visit a few of our favorite places here, and then continue the voyage west. We'll head for Fiji and spend at least a couple of months exploring her many islands. Depending on what we find in the way of haul out facilities for the cyclone season, we may stay in Fiji or head on south to New Zealand.

Beautiful Vava'u

08 September 2015 | Vava'u Tonga
C Heath
The people that live in the Vava'u Island group of the Kingdom of Tonga know they have something to be proud of. When the Health Department Officials cleared us in at Neiafu they hand-wrote on our paperwork that we were approved for entry into "our beautiful island of Vava'u". And beautiful it is! The island group is nearly surrounded by an outer reef that keeps the larger waves away while letting the cooling breezes in. It makes it a wonderful place to sail. The islands are close enough together to allow easy anchorage-hopping, and the water is crystal clear in many places. Palms and other greenery line the little top-knot islands with their undercut shores - a bit like Palau. We spent the last couple of days at a most scenic anchorage at Port Maurelle on Kapa Island. The sun was out, the seas were calm, and we finally reaped the rewards of our six weeks of repairs and open-ocean passages. We explored Swallows Cave by dinghy, and found under us huge schools of tiny fish. Their patterns shifted and swirled, and formed a shimmery work of art. The next day we tried to find Mariner's Cave, which can only be entered by diving underwater. After finally locating what looked like "a rock with three sort of stripy marks on it" I dove under to take a look. A bit daunting that - deciding to take the plunge into an opening and trusting you will emerge in an air-filled cave! But there it was, the legendary hiding place of a Tongan princess while invaders scoured the island looking for her. It was a bit magical, floating in the semi-darkness of the cave by myself. We'll return on a calmer day with a lower tide so the rest of the family can enjoy it too. Our much-appreciated crew member, Chris Riegle, left to fly back to the states today. We'll miss his sailing skills, good company and cockpit serenades on his guitar. He experienced both the trials and tribulations of ocean voyaging, and we hope he's returned home with many good memories. Tonight we were treated to a wonderful meal at the home of friends here, and we are so full of fresh fish, watermelon juice and rum that we're heading for our bunks a bit early. Tomorrow will bring another day of arranging for sail repairs, etc., and then an hour or two of sailing to explore yet another local island. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see again the mother humpback whale and her acrobatic calf practicing its belly-up breaches!

Another passage underway!

27 August 2015 | en route to Tonga
C Heath
We are at last at sea again, heading from Raiatea, French Polynesia, to Vava'u, Tonga. Our first day had brisk winds and sunshine, the next held stronger winds, rain, and confused seas. Now we are motoring through a large lull, but the SE Trades look to be finding us again. We've acquired a 5th crew member: Bernie the Ternie is a Brown Noddy that landed on board yesterday, full of burrs. His/her feathers were all stuck together, so we caught her and removed about 12 of them. She left in a huff, only to return 15 minutes later and take up residence on the kayak. She's been here all night and is a rather cute, if messy, new friend.
Macha's Photos - Main
2 Photos
Created 2 July 2017
23 Photos
Created 31 July 2013
6 Photos
Created 14 June 2013
20 Photos
Created 2 May 2013
Thanksgiving 2012 was shared with new cruising friends aboard m/v Elysium in Bahia Culebra, Costa Rica
13 Photos
Created 23 November 2012
A visit with a toddler howler monkey. And yes, you can bring him home with you.
4 Photos
Created 22 November 2012
A little taste of what makes life at sea special.
7 Photos
Created 21 October 2012
A few of the fun things that make oceanographers happy!
7 Photos
Created 8 September 2012
12 Photos
Created 30 August 2012
5 Photos
Created 10 August 2012
Snorkeling and Frigate Birds, Isla Isabela
14 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Isla Isabela seabirds
20 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 3 August 2012