Goodbye Manly Harbour
06/16/2008, Malou watching model boat races near Manly
Yesterday, we untied from pile moorings in Manly Harbour, motored through south Moreton Bay into the shipping channel at the mouth of the Brisbane River, and headed fifteen miles up the river to Brisbane city center.
Why leave lovely Manly Harbour? Because it only offered two out of the three following:
The economical pilings at Manly are being taken out this August as part of a harbour redevelopment plan, leaving only marina berths. Too bad.
We did hesitate leaving Manly Harbour and the pleasant shoreline towns of Manly and Wynnum. We enjoyed our five-day stay there, blending in with the locals and visitors, walking along the esplanades and parks, and shopping in the small three-square-block town of Manly, going to the Manly Sunday Market. The harbour is in protected waters, deep within Moreton Bay, and the towns have a very easy-going feel. The shoreline is undulating with alternating 'Points' and 'Bays' and you can't see the beach-front resort strips that begin twenty miles to either the north or south.
Anyway, we hadn't even known about Manly before arriving in AU. We had intended all along to go up the river to Brisbane to moor and leave the boat while traveling in the US. I especially, was reluctant to go to the city center. We had checked it out a few days ago, on Friday, and there was an available mooring in a location that seemed secure and fairly pleasant, but it was Urban, right in the middle of things. My first thought walking through the well-planned downtown, past pretty young people on their lunch break eating at outdoor cafes... was that we don't have the wardrobe for this anymore. We've become much more Eddie Bauer Outlet than 'Young Urban Designer'. Steen and I had both lived that lifestyle before; he in Copenhagen and I in Chicago. A long time ago.
Here is a normal breakfast conversation with Malou:
Dad, can I have the outboard? What? Can I have the outboard! You want the outboard? Yes, so I can play a song. The outboard? You want the outboard? Yes. For a song. Oh, the keyboard. Yes, so can play a song.
We are safe and sound in Suva, Fiji
10/03/2007, 18 07.50 S, 178 25.24 E
We arrived in Suva, (major port on the southern island), around one am this morning. Yes, we came into port in the dark, through a channel with reefs on both sides and inaccurate local navigation lights. We normally do not enter harbors in the dark, but beforehand when we looked at the paper charts, it looked like a straight forward approach with range markers.
We made it just fine, but had a difficult time locating the navigational lights, some of which were missing and some the wrong color per the charts; for example, the range markers which should have been 'fixed red' were actually blue.
Attesting to the fact that this harbor can be tricky is the faint outline of a sailboat out on the reef, tilted over, obviously grounded. Steen noticed it this morning, while surveying our new surroundings. The customs officials who came aboard Radiance this morning said the boat had been there for a few days.
As I write this, Steen and Malou have just returned from the local 'yacht club', mostly a restaurant with some outdoor access showers and a bulletin board. While there, Steen ran into a Finnish cruising couple we met in Tonga, who have been cruising for nine years; a very nice couple in their sixties, whom we were hoping to meet up with again here in Fiji. As Steen asked them how their trip went, they said it was pretty rough and that while trying to enter the harbor in the dark, the entrance lights didn't make sense, a rain squall had come up, their computer navigation had gone out and within a minute they had gone onto the reef.
Realization dawned on Steen and all he could say was "I'm so sorry."
The situation was bad; the boat was holed on one side and was completely flooded. While they were calling the Fijian Navy for help, the waves washed the boat even farther onto the reef. Their dinghy had fortunately been inflated on deck, so they were able to get it in the water, but the waves capsized them at least once while heading off the reef toward shore. They are now waiting for both insurance and salvage companies to take care of retrieving the boat. They were able to go back out and get some of their clothes and they've spent the last few days at the laundry mat washing out the sea (and bilge) water.
Most importantly, neither were hurt, and their insurance company has been good to them so far. It's a fairly small community, this cruising fleet, and although you don't want Anyone to lose their boat, it is heart wrenching when it happens to someone you know and someone you've spoken to and smiled at just a few days ago.
The fleet would be more than willing to help them with anything they needed, but since they were insured, they are doing alright and are in a hotel waiting to take care of the business portion. So, the rest of us will go on with our plans, hopefully remembering to take that extra precaution the next time we enter a new harbor, during the day or night.
Almost to Fiji
10/02/2007, 20 miles from Suva, Fiji, 18 16 S, 178 58 E
Our fishing has improved dramatically since we started using a fishing rod instead of just tying line to the taffrail. (not to mention these new green rubber squid) We've actually landed only one fish, but have hooked many, the biggest being the marlin that nearly took my elbow off. Well, not really, but it did leave a scar from where the fishing line got wound around my arm. Needless to say, we were caught totally off guard with that one. The next two or three were the ones that got away. Steen saw at least one of them leap from the water, with our lure and all. Then, last evening before dinner just as I was waking from a nap, Steen yelled from the cockpit something like ..."caught one, I need you up here". Half asleep, I go out and watch him pull the line attached to a dorado. We had never seen a dorado and were totally struck by it's beautiful color(s). It looked like a reef fish, vivid almost electric blue with yellow-green fins and tail. ...Long-story short, we had fish for dinner, but I didn't enjoy it; it's just too magnificent of a fish to whack over the head and eat for dinner.
note: Even if you don't drink alcohol, it's good to keep some on board to pour into the fish gills as you bring it on board. Much more pleasant than taking a wench handle to it. I don't think the liquor affects the flavor, but I'm not sure.
Update: Tues: 1630 Steen hooked two more dorados; he had two lines out at once, (probably not a good idea, we later agreed). We saw their beautiful blue and yellow bodies jump from the water. The first one took the lure but the second one Steen reeled in. We would have much preferred hooking something other than a dorado. Steen reeled it in close while I steered the boat into the wind, slowing her down. As soon as I left the helm to get Steen the gaff hook, Radiance turned back onto a beam reach and the dorado line got caught on the wind vane. The beautiful fish got away and I was glad; I really wanted spaghetti for dinner anyway.
En route to Fiji
10/01/2007, 60 nautical miles east of Oneata Passage
I had been looking forward to reading a recently acquired book about a young woman and her Great Dane; fiction, by a #1 NY Times 'Bestselling Author'... almost 500 pages long, but once I start a book, I like to finish it. I read it today (yesterday) and now I wish I hadn't read it at all. That's saying a lot coming from a cruiser, a breed who will pretty much read anything they can get their hands on. I've read many many books since embarking on this trip; most of them good, but it is amazing the mediocre stuff in print by a "#1 NY Times Bestselling Author".
I would feel bad printing the book title here, since my review doesn't really mean much, and I am not a impartial critic due to my feelings about dogs. (The dog didn't fare well in the end). As much as I disliked the book, it still had value as a time filler / distraction. That's how it goes. Paperback book sales would soar if cruisers actually bought their books. They circulate among the fleet however; the book you traded in Hiva Oa is likely to find it's way back to you, offered as a trade - 3000 miles later in New Zealand.
That's all for tonight. I miss my dog.
A brief stop on our way to Tonga
08/31/2007, Palmerston Atoll, coord: 18 03 S, 163 13 W
Friday Aug. 31st
Hope everyone is well.
We arrived at Palmerston atoll last night (Thurs.) around midnight. We normally don't make landfall at night, but our friends aboard Tuscany were already moored here and they were guiding us in via radio. We could see each others lights as soon as we rounded the northern tip of the atoll. In addition to Tuscany, another boat stayed up waiting for us and also two local men in a dinghy, who escorted us to an exact location for dropping anchor. That was necessary because all the mooring balls were already taken and there is only a very narrow ledge shallow enough for anchoring, before it drops off to thousands of feet. Hm...pretty interesting arrival. Of course, we had no idea that we would be keeping all these people up so late. Lucky for us our friends and local hosts were so accommodating. This morning, our friend Ciel from Tuscany said they really didn't mind waiting up; they had fun dinghying around at midnight with their spotlight and VHF radio.
I, for one, am glad to be at anchor, and even though it's an unprotected anchorage and the swells are rocking the boat all over the place, I'm still glad to be here. I normally don't mind passages, but this one from Bora Bora to here was not that pleasant; we were sailing directly downwind and the boat was tossed back and forth by steep swells for five days, making my already-queasy stomach that much queasier. I spent most of the passage lying down, sleeping, or in the cockpit reading John Grisham and Robert Ludlow. (Not my typical fare, but easy reading and a great distraction.)
Palmerston Atoll itself: now there's a story. It's got one of those names that evokes murky memories of some dramatic history or some sketchy beginning, (sketchy at least to the Victorian mind). Background info: Palmerston is technically part of the Cook Island chain, a chain of fifteen islands scattered north to south along the longitude of 160 degrees west, an area of over 750,000 square miles of ocean, although the actual land mass off all the islands put together is only 93 square miles. Most of the islands, as well as much of the South Pacific, were discovered by Captain James Cook. (A biography of Captain Cook would be a great read, although we don't have one on board.) "The Cook Islands are a self-governing democratic commonwealth affiliated with New Zealand. New Zealand handles foreign affairs, defense, and subsidizes finances. The Islanders have New Zealand citizenship and speak Cook Island Maori as well as English with a strong New Zealand accent."1
Anyway, there are only 50 people living on Palmerston Atoll. "They are descendants of a patriarchal figure, William Marsters, a Lancashireman who settled here with three Penryn Island wives in 1862. He fathered 26 children, divided the (main) island... into sections for each of the three 'families' and established strict rules regarding intermarriage. The original home was built using massive beams salvaged from shipwrecks washed ashore. Although it still stands, it bears the scars of many hurricanes. Some of the descendants control the island while the rest live in New Zealand and elsewhere in the Cook islands."2
I have to cut this short because the 'Custom's agent' is coming out to the boat to check us in and then we will be dingy'd ashore for lunch and a visit. (Apparently, every cruising boat that comes here is hosted by one of the 3 branches of local 'Marsters' families, headed by either Edward, Cory. or Bob.) The host family serves a free lunch every weekday and sort of adopts the crews while they are here, showing them around the island, ferrying them to and from shore, (through an extremely shallow and coral-filled lagoon), and explaining the local history and lore. Anyway, it should be an interesting visit and we expect to be here for two or three days.
We'll keep you informed.
take care all, Angela
NOTES FROM THE TUAMOTU: dated July 13
Our first stop in the Tuamotu Archipelago was an atoll called Manihi. There are about 400 people living on this atoll and they are very friendly and generous. The Mormons are here too - two young men in white shirts on bicycle. I think Utah sends them out for a two year missionary service. One is from Idaho and the other is from Tahiti.
The locals like to give gifts and so far we have been given two fish, some coconuts, a tour of a black pearl business, some baguettes, fresh oysters, and a hand-made lei that you wear around your head, but this one is made of little pieces of bright orange fabric, so it will last forever. We have been invited to a celebration tonight in the village. The French Polynesia islands all celebrate Bastille Day with France, July 14. They decorate their community building with woven palm branches, and have dancing and food; so that should be fun tonight.
Malou has adopted a coconut as her new puppy. She calls him Rusty, and Steen and I drew on some ears and nose and put on a bungee cord for his tail. Malou is doing very well and seems happy with life and with her new 'puppy'.
Day 4. En Route: Nuku Hiva, Marquesas to Manihi, Tuamotu
Steen and Angela
07/09/2007, Coordinates: 13 37S, 144 03W
Conditions: Wind/weather - 3-5 knots NNE, a few white clouds. 85 dgr F.(90 inside) Sea state - Very long SE swell. 6 ft at 20 sec Boat speed/course - 2.5 knots under drifter, staysail and full main. Course 255
Well, yesterday afternoon, (Friday), the wind died. We knew it would at some point, but it happened about 24 hours earlier then we had hoped for. So, with very light wind and 195 miles to go, we decided to alter destination. The Manihi atoll is farther north than Kauehi and lets us keep the wind close to our beam instead of directly aft. (We don't sail very well directly downwind and probably need a bigger drifter sail, [like a spinnaker but easier to handle], and a whisker pole which holds the foot of the sail out like an arm.) We now think is was a mistake to leave home without a whisker pole and would highly recommend having one.
Angela: Last night, when the wind died completely, we drifted under bare pole until about 0200 am, on my watch, when a very light north wind picked up. I went down to wake Steen and tell him I was going on deck to raise the headsail. (No one is allowed on deck at night without telling someone.) It took me awhile to find the right halyard for the jib, (actually, I wanted to raise the drifter, but the jib was hanked on and ready, so I tried to raise that instead). When one person, (Steen), is usually doing the sail work, they alone know their system, and I sometimes find it difficult to 'see' how he has rigged things. Anyway, the jib fouled and wouldn't raise so I crawled out onto the bow pulpit, while hooked into my safety harness of course, to see what was tangled, but couldn't find the cause. At this point, I went below, a little embarrassed that I had to wake Steen again and ask his help, but also a little miffed because in my opinion the deck was a mess, with what looked to me like sheets and halyards everywhere. (It wasn't really that messy). I got even more upset when Steen came up on deck, looked at the situation and asked why I wasn't raising the drifter. Well, maybe because it's still in it's bag and I hadn't intended to make a major production out of this 2:00 am procedure...
So, Steen set up and raised the drifter while I sat in the cockpit regretting the loss of our LED headlamp that I had lost overboard while ducking underneath 'his' preventer system of lines strung across the side deck. It's funny what takes place on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean at two in the morning.
Steen: The pacific today is different from anything we have seen yet. The swell is very gentle and very far apart. With no real wind to whip things up, the ocean looks like a large turquoise blanket being gently shaken in the wind.
TINGS WE LIKE: by Angela
Wide mouth canning jars, both large and small. We use them for all sorts of dry goods and liquids; they prevent contamination from bugs and are more spill-proof than tupperware in the ice box. Our favorite use for them at this moment is...very exciting for Steen...yogurt made from a Norwegian yogurt culture, courtesy of s/v Tuscany who received some from friends on a Norwegian boat. Two tablespoons mixed with 1/2 a liter of milk, then heated to 50 C., set for 5 hours in a jar, then put in refrigerator. Ready in 2 to 3 days. It is delicious - thank you Tuscany! Steen grew up eating a creamy yogurt for breakfast with toasted sweetened bread crumbs and sugar. We are now doing the same on Radiance.
This type of sharing of home-made foods and recipes is one of our favorite parts of this cruising lifestyle. Just the other day, as we were preparing to leave Nuku Hiva, a cruiser dighy'd over to ask to borrow some glass jars...and he needed them quickly. His homemade marmalade was melting his plastic jars... I gave him one large jar one small jam jar. He was very grateful and 20 minutes later he returned my small jam jar filled with fresh marmalade.
Steen: The Manihi atoll is at 14 25S, 146 00W. It is one of the smaller atolls, and is not the most visited by cruising boats.
We have 125 miles to go. There is nothing in the forecast that promises more wind in the next 3-days. So we will continue to do 2-3 knots for awhile. Hopefully we will make landfall on July 9th.
Take care Steen
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM!
05/13/2007, 15 40.00 N 115 20.00 W, about 200 miles SW of Soccoro Island
I love you Mom! Have a great day and we will write more as the day goes on.
Day 9 - San Blas to Marqueses
05/13/2007, 15 29.48N 115 46.78W, time 1700
Lots of things on my mind these days, but most importantly, today I'm thinking of my mother. Last night during my watch, I was trying to write a special Mother's Day tribute, but none of the words seemed adequate. Let's just say I will consider myself successful if I can be as patient, loving, and understanding as my mother; and hopefully when my little daughter is older, she will like and love me as much as I like and love and respect my mom.
Random notes on our crossing: At 5:30 am Saturday morning in the pre-dawn, you would have found me in the cockpit with flour and bowls, making bread dough. Normally, I wouldn't be up at 5:30 for any reason, especially not in the kitchen making bread; but this kind of domesticity is more my style. For me, it's another interesting juxtaposition of adventuring and nurturing/providing.
As Steen said in yesterday's posting, Saturday was wash day - the clothes, crew, and cockpit. It was great to get some of the salt off. Steen said that we had done a substantial amount of laundry, but I only washed about 20 pieces; he probably just thought it was a substantial amount of clothes because I asked him to hang them up. Just kidding. I wouldn't attempt to do all our laundry during a crossing; It would take ages, not to mention a huge amount of water. Also, hanging the clothes to dry poses a problem, they cannot really hang outside long because they absorb salt from the air, making them almost as unpleasantly sticky as they were before being washed.
The Southern Cross: a constellation low in the southern sky, visible only to those living below about 23 degrees N; I think we first noticed it in the sky near Cabo San Lucas. (Don't quote me on the latitude). It hangs vertically in the early evening, with four bright stars forming a near perfect cross, turning the sky into an enormous sanctuary. Seen from the cockpit, it sits directly to port, making one feel like they should be on their best behavior. Unfortunately, I never studied astronomy, but I wonder if the Jesuit or Catholic missionaries used the constellation as a tool of persuasion when converting the Polynesian and South American natives.
Propane: We received our blog comments via email from Steen's parents, (thank you), and thank you again everyone for your comments. We Loved the Clapton Propane song. I 'sang' it outloud to Steen as I read it. That's great - thank you. By the way, I think my propane information 'correction' from a couple weeks ago was also incorrect. We carry...a 20lb. main tank and, we think - a 3 or 4 lb. backup tank.
Tradewind sailing: As Steen said, at some time during the night last night, we think we hit the NE tradewinds. It felt like Radiance suddenly got on the expressway.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANALISE!!! We will write to you tomorrow.
All for now. Take care, Angela
Stowing, Drinking (coffee) and Waiting
11/18/2006, Winchester Bay, OR 43 40.75 N 124 10.94 W
You may be wondering where in the world we are right now...Well, we are still in our slip here in Winchester Bay, Oregon.
Those of you in Washington state might have some idea why we're still here. The weather has been relentless. We got our first taste of the 'Pineapple Express', (a low pressure system that moves in from Hawaii, bringing buckets of rain), just as we were leaving Tacoma for a 320 mile drive south.
Backtracking just a little? as of the early morning of Nov. 1st, we were homeless in Tacoma. It was still dark, we had cleared out of the apartment and had a van and a small U-Haul trailer full of stuff.
Unfortunately, we still had a storage unit that had to be cleared out, and some other loose ends to tie up.
Graciously, our good friends in Parkland let us stay with them until we got everything all tidied up.
Tidying up everything in your life takes some time. That is especially true when dealing with a pack rat, (me). Countless trips later, between our new and old storage units, and a few to Goodwill, we finally had our stuff paired down to a manageable pile. Our friends helped us get the last of the stuff stowed away and by the morning of Nov. 4th, all there was left to do was sell the Subaru, jump in the van and drive.
At a reduced price, our Subaru drove off with a new owner, we made a couple sandwiches and took off for the boat. On a good note, the Pineapple Express had waited to roll in until we were done moving boxes?on a not so good note, it hit just as we were getting on the interstate.
Under sheets of rain, going about 30 MPH, with our little U-Haul on the verge of hydroplaning, we puttered down I-5. We made it to Salem, OR before giving up and getting a hotel for the night.
So, here we are, 2+ weeks later, still stowing things away on the boat, drinking some good coffee, and waiting for our weather window. The Pineapple Express did pass, but behind it came one low pressure system after another, bringing gusts of wind up to 60 knots. The boat pulled and tugged on her mooring lines, but Malou didn't seem to mind. That's the beauty of being two years old. It's all fun, and time is irrelevant.
Angela Rose Aquino