Little Green Boat

Spruce left the UK in 2011, arrived in SE Asia during 2015. Finished land/air touring in Asia. Afloat again and getting ready to head east to Raja Ampat and on to Japan and Alaka in 2018.

22 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
21 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
20 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
19 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
14 January 2018 | Biak - West Papua - Indonesia
14 January 2018
14 January 2018
14 January 2018
14 January 2018
14 January 2018
14 January 2018
03 January 2018 | Yapen Island - Cendrawasih Bay - West Papua
03 January 2018
03 January 2018
03 January 2018
03 January 2018
31 December 2017 | Manokwari - Papua - Indonesia
31 December 2017
31 December 2017
20 December 2017 | Dore - West Papua - Indonesia

Thar they Blows

22 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
362 Miles from Biak: 307M to Yap. Monday-Tuesday: A visit from larger denizens came at dusk on Monday. The pod of around 6-8 cetaceans ambled by without paying us much attention. They may have been Sei or Minke whales, their blowing sent puffs of spray upwards, easy to see against the grey background with light winds to disperse the mist. A calf stayed prudently close to one of the females. A large flock of Boobies and Shearwaters made the most of a shoal of fish at shallow depth, no doubt lured by cloudy skies and a gentle patter of raindrops disturbing the surface.

The grey cloud with multitudinous rain showers cleared away over night to leave us with a carpet of stars twinkling brightly. In the south before dawn the Southern Cross and her pointers indicated where we came from, in the opposite direction the pointers of the Plough directed one's eye down over the bow where Polaris must have been at around 5-6 degrees of altitude, but not clear enough above the horizon to make out our northern hemisphere guiding light. Perhaps tomorrow, when we are another 130 miles further north.

The promised wind continues to be elusive. If we get enough wind to sail we shall most likely arrive on Thursday, otherwise a combination of the iron-topsail and a north going current, at over one-knot for the past day, might see us anchored in Yap on Wednesday.

Tropic Bird, Wind, and No Wind

21 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
362 Miles from Biak: 307M to Yap. Sunday: A visit from a pure white tropic bird, tail feather streaming behind brought back memories of our first Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean, when one of his cousins met us 700 miles from Barbados. This chap seemed to want a perch but changed his mind after a few circuits spent suspiciously watching our antics on deck.

As dusk approached the VHF Radio crackled into life and a heavily accented voice speaking English asked sailing boat to avoid him. A brief conversation established the vessel we could see ahead was from the Philippines and moored to an "Artificial Reef". We are always keen to avoid reefs, this one is what we call a FAD (Fish Aggregation Device), a large buoy moored in 4,200 metres of ocean depth. We are still unsure if these hazards are lit at night, if they are some of the lighting must fail. The photo shows one of several passed during the past two days. The industrialisation of the ocean is generating more hazards for small vessels plying the oceans. His kind offer of a fish if we came close was passed up, perhaps if daylight had not been failing.

A mixture of motoring and some good sailing made reasonable progress today. We sailed into the night at six-knots, pondering on lights and FADS.

Monday: The wind ebbed away in the early morning and what is left is coming from astern, light winds from behind make little progress so we shall motor some more, hopefully the wind will return soon.

Wind at Last

20 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
239 Miles travelled: 485M to Yap. Saturday The weather appears to be more like the forecast now...except without the predicted rain! Motoring and anticipating the wind early Sunday morning, if the forecast comes good we should be sailing from sometime tomorrow. Yesterday Glassy seas, Shearwaters, Portuguese men o'war, puffy clouds and sunshine. What a change from yesterday's gloomy thundery demeanour while still close to New Guinea...the downside is we are having to run the engine.

Dawn on Sunday...wind has arrived. Close reach doing around 5kn in the right direction. Hurrah! Fingers crossed we can saolthe whole way from here on.

Goodbye West Papua

19 January 2018 | On Passage to Micronesia - N.Pacific
121 Miles travelled: 545M to Yap. As first daylight came we weighed anchor and departed Biak, the end of almost 4-months in Indonesia. During the night we "crossed the line" for the sixth time, four of those crossings in the previous four months. Such is the nature of cruising in an equatorial archipelago. We moved our ship's time to Yap's time zone, one hour later than in Biak, now we are 10 hours ahead of UTC. The first day's weather was remarkably unlike the forecast. As we headed out into the Pacific a weather cell gave us 26-knots of wind on the nose. Oh Dear! The forecast was or something much lighter. It only lasted an hour and then reduced and backed to give several hours of close reaching at 5-7 knots. Also unexpected. The good and the less good wrapped together.

Too early to give an ETA but we expect to arrive in Colonia at Yap no later than Friday morning next week, quite possibly we may do rather better and arrive on Wednesday or Thursday. For now, the infernal combustion engine is propelling us through choppy seas laid atop a Pacific Ocean swell from the north.

Last Port in Indonesia

14 January 2018 | Biak - West Papua - Indonesia
Andy & Sue
When our paperwork was issued at Tarakan in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, with the Port of Biak inserted as our final destination, it seemed but a distant strange name. The vastness of Indonesia never ceases to amaze us. Since that arrival in Tarakan in late August last year, we have logged 2,200 sea miles. Some of those miles were spent cruising around Raja Ampat but many were travelled in our journey across the Indonesian Archipelago: Borneo, Sulawesi, Ternate, Halmahera and West Papua. That is roughly the distance we sailed to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the Cape Verdes to the East Caribbean Islands.
Now we are here in Biak, a smaller town than we expected but a pleasant mixture of the older styles and the modern. Noisy new building work is happening in several places. A walk to the supermarket can be made on decent footpaths, the streets are clean and not litter strewn. This town has a good feel to it. An airport lays just outside the waterfront town’s boundary, the occasional jet or turbo-prop aircraft arrives and departs; usually relatively small planes that cannot carry significant numbers of passengers.
The familiar ferries carry larger numbers of travellers; one arrived at the same time as we entered through the offshore reef that protects the waterfront from waves. As the same ferry left, an hour later, throngs of people gathered along the foreshore waving with arms, shirts and handkerchiefs. Aboard the ship, passengers responded in similar fashion, some precariously stood on perimeter of the Heli-deck with no railings, others were sitting in the landward facing lifeboats, everybody wanting a final glimpse of family and friends. Sad partings after people have been together over the Christmas holidays.

14 January 2018
As we travelled through West Papua, every island village seems to have a prominent church, this one at Kaipuri in the island of Kurudu. Although Indonesia has the largest Moslem population in the world, this part appears primarily Christian. Mosques are seen but mainly in the larger communities. Further west the balance was reversed, apart from the eastern end of Sulawesi, where Portuguese and Spanish colonists settled. The rich blend of ethnicities, religions and customs are far more diverse and complex than a typical guidebook or news item might imply.
We have been treated to some wonderful singing by choirs and congregations over the Christmas period, while tugging at anchor in remote bays.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-16 brought us north into Asia. The past few years cruising has enabled us to visit many countries, meet lots of interesting people and to understand the world a little better.
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Spruce's Photos - Newport Rhode Island
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Australian friends: Kylie, Samantha and Stuart...last seen in Barbados, Dec 2009
the vessel Farallone moored in Newport harbour. WE hear this was the vessel that carried gangster, Al Capone, to Alcatraz.
Super-yachts ashore at Newport. J-Class Hanuman, in the middle. Last saw her in Antigua during Classic Week, April 2010.
Traditional house
One of the large residences on the ocean drive
Anne & Mark wave goodbye after giving us a tour in their wonderful VW Beetle
Old and the New.
Anne, Andy and Mark before the generous tour.
High Tea aboard Spruce.
Peter and Raewyn aboard Saliander. They will be slowly cruising across the Pacific to their home country, New Zealand.
Catacaos getting anchor up ready to depart for the south.
Aytumn colours beginning to show
Bert aboard Heimkehr
Lucas trying his size for helming Heimkehr
A disrupted breakfast at the Seamans Church Institute, maybe somebody burned the toast.
12m yachts racing in murky weather... there
Looking across the stern on Meteor, seen last year in Madeira.
Old ralway carriage
Iconic American sight
Lorraine, her mum (Bron) and Sue aboard Heimkehr: in the wheelhouse. How we long for a wheelhouse when it is cold and wet :-)
Andy and Marlene aboard Heimkehr for sundowners
The dinghy dock on boat show days at Bowen
Graham & Lorraine (Catacaos) with Lucas (Ship
Bert & Marlene, friends from Heimkehr, at Dutch Harbour. The last time we got together was in Bequia, St Vincent & Grenadines 8-months ago.
The sunshin just after sun-up.
More fine yachts racing
The Seaman
An old representation of Narragansett Bay on the wall in the entrance hallway of the Seaman
Andy reading a book in the Seaman
Mrrals in the chapel at the Seaman
Newport Boatshow for four days, coinciding with the Southampton Boatshow in the UK.
A splendid old vessel leaves the harbour at Newport
A view from our window
A buzz of activity during Boat Show at Newport
A sculpture hanging beside the harbour wall
A sculpture showing a dive into a breaking wave
Arriving in the vicinity of genteel Newport. Chairs set out for guests to watch the yachts entering and departing Newport.
One of the 12 metre class yachts heading out for a day