Steen Rally

Follow us on our sailing adventure from France to Australia

30 December 2015 | Sydney
29 July 2015 | Sydney
15 January 2015 | Sydney
22 December 2014 | Sydney
21 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
02 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
21 October 2014 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
01 October 2014 | Fiji
20 September 2014 | Fiji
08 September 2014 | Fiji
24 July 2014 | Neiafu, Tonga
06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
23 June 2014 | Moorea
23 June 2014 | Moorea
15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia
13 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia
10 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia

Barbuda Highlights

14 April 2012 | Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Voahangy
Barbuda, February 24, 2012

Barbuda lies 30 nautical miles due north of Antigua, and because its waters are quite shallow and peppered with reefs, you need to be very good at reading the water colours to navigate thru (as well as a good chart program). This means that very few yachts stop there, and the ones that do generally rave about enjoying miles of unspoiled beaches in uncrowded anchorages.

After hearing such reports from friends, we had to see for ourselves what the Barbudians call the best kept secret of the Caribbean. Our anchorage for the week is off Diana Princess of Wales beach, named after the late princess who apparently used to vacation here, escaping the paparazzi’s. It is by far the most stunning beach, caressed by turquoise waters and covered with creamy-pink sand which runs for miles. There are 2 resorts on either end of the beach: the Cocoa Pt. Lodge, which is off-limits to visitors (they have security guards stationed on a little blue hut in the sand, cute!!) and the K-Club which used to be Princess Diana’s favourite but fell victim to the GFC and is now abandoned. So, basically there are no facilities ashore, and while the beach is open to the public, the land beyond is private property (as the kids found out when venturing inland looking for firewood, and where duly escorted back by the guard!)

Not that this privacy issue bothers us, our days are filled with school, swims off the boat, snorkelling, picnics, and long walks on the beach. MIAOUSS followed us from Antigua, joined by other French family boats ANANDA and ODYSSEY. With others having taken advantage of the good weather and arriving as well, our once quiet anchorage is now looking like Grand Central Station: we count 13 boats one evening! Terry calls it a French invasion, but in all fairness a couple of the yachts are English. Admittedly, they must feel surrendered when the crew from our 4 boats land on the beach for afternoon games and sunset drinks. MIAOUSS pulled out all stops for Xavier’s 12th birthday, organising an afternoon tea on the beach: it was a fantastic team effort, with ANANDA supplying the table and coconut cake, ODYSSEY the pancakes and red wine, VOAHANGY a quiche, chips and white wine, and MIAOUSS more pancakes, the birthday cake and champagne. Many passers-by asked which charter boat we came out of!

One of the highlights of our stay has been the visit to the frigatebird rookery on the other side of the island. It was a bit of an expedition to get there, landing on the beach, driving to Codrington by taxi, being picked up by a guide in an open boat who took us the mangrove lagoon and to the frigate bird colony. Reportedly the largest in the eastern Caribbean, it is quite a sight with thousands of birds nesting in the mangrove. It’s mating season, and the males display “their stuff” by blowing a bright red pouch under their throat to the size of a balloon and clicking their beaks. Some birds have already laid their eggs (one per couple) and are sitting on their nests, some have hatched and parents are busy feeding them, a few are circling in the air and we’re all guessing they’re either arguing for a landing spot or looking for food. The size of a hen, the frigate bird has a wingspan of 6 feet, the greatest area in proportion to their weight of any bird. This means that it is quite awkward on its tiny feet, and finds it difficult to take off if it becomes submerged. Add to it a lack of natural oil in its feathers which prevents it from entering the sea, and you have a bird which is helpless in the water but very fast and graceful in the air. They feed by letting other birds do the fishing and scaring them to the point where they drop their catch, as the food drops the frigate bird will swoop it up mid-air. Anne amazed us and the guide when she said she remembered seeing these birds in the Galapagos, she was only 5 years old back then, even I had to read our logs to remember!

Of equal interest to the kids, was the upside-down jellyfish we found sitting in the bottom of the lagoon. These types of jellyfish don’t swim much, and as they have some kind of algae growing on them, they turn upside down to expose the plants to maximum sunlight. One great characteristic of the Cassiopea (its scientific name) is the lack of long marginal tentacles, and being harmless to humans, they can be picked up easily.
That’s it for the natural science lesson, a delightful lunch of grilled lobster (staple diet here, and at $15 a plate, it’s cheaper than steak!) rounded up the excursion nicely!

Barbuda, 24 février 2012

Barbuda est située a 30 miles nautiques au nord d’Antigua, et vu les hauts fonds et récifs disséminés un peu partout, la navigation s’y fait « a vue », en « lisant » la couleur de l’eau (et à l’aide d’un bon programme de navigation). Par conséquent, peu de plaisanciers y font escale, et ceux qui s’y arrêtent généralement profitent des immenses plages désertes dans des mouillages isoles.

Apres avoir entendu de tels récits, on a décidé de découvrir nous-mêmes ce que les barbudiens appellent le secret le mieux garde de toutes les Antilles. Notre mouillage pour la semaine est au large de la plage Diana, Princess of Wales, ainsi nomme à la mémoire de la princesse qui y venait en villégiature, pour échapper à la pression des paparazzis. C’est de loin la plage la plus splendide, caressée par des eaux turquoises et couverte de sable rose-crème qui s’étend pendant des miles entiers. Il y a 2 resorts, à chaque extrémité : le Cocoa Pt Lodge qui est interdit d’accès aux visiteurs (ils ont même des agents de sécurité stationnés dans une guérite dans le sable, ce n’est pas mignon ?), et le K-Club ou la princesse Diana séjournait pendant ses vacances, et maintenant abandonne victime semble-t-il de la crise financière de 2008. Il n’y a donc aucune installation sur la rive, et bien que la plage appartienne à tout le monde, les terres au-delà sont propriétés privées (ce que les enfants ont découvert quand ils se sont aventures un peu trop à l’intérieur pour chercher de quoi faire un feu de bois et se sont fait sermonnés par le garde !)

Non pas que ces propriétés privées nous intéressent, nous sommes déjà bien occupes avec l’école, la baignade du bateau, le snorkelling, les pique-niques, et les longues balades sur la plage. MIAOUSS nous a rejoints depuis Antigua, suivis de 2 autres bateaux-familles français, ANANDA et ODYSSEY. D’autres voiliers ont également pris l’avantage d'une bonne fenêtre météo et sont arrivés le lendemain, donc notre mouillage jadis très calme et isole, ressemble maintenant à un hall de gare en période de pointe : on a compte pas moins de 13 bateaux un soir ! Terry appelle ça une invasion française, mais soyons justes, il y a 2 bateaux anglais. Il est vrai qu’ils doivent se sentir submerges quand les équipages de nos 4 bateaux débarquent pour des jeux de plage et apéros au couchant. MIAOUSS a remue ciel et terre pour organiser un gouter d’anniversaire sur la plage pour les 12 ans de leur fils Xavier : ce fut un vrai travail d’équipe, ANANDA fournissant la table et un gâteau coco, ODYSSEY des crêpes et du vin rouge, VOAHANGY une quiche, des chips et du vin blanc, et MIAOUSS encore des crêpes, le gâteau d’anniversaire et le champagne. Plus d’un passant nous a demandé de quel bateau charter on venait !

Un des moments les plus marquants de notre séjour a été la visite de la colonie de frégates à l’autre bout de l’ile. Quelle expédition pour y aller : il a fallu débarquer sur la plage, prendre un taxi pour la capitale Codrington, se faire embarquer par un guide qui nous a emmené au fond du lagon, ou se trouve la colonie la plus large dans les Antilles. C’est un spectacle fascinant que de voir ces milliers d’oiseaux niches dans les palétuviers. C’est la saison des amours en ce moment, et les males se pavanent en gonflant la grosse poche rouge qu’ils ont sous la gorge et claquant leurs becs. Certains oiseaux ont déjà pondu leur œuf (un seul par couple) et sont figes sur leur nid, d’autres sont déjà sortis de l’œuf et reçoivent la becquée des parents, quelques-uns tournent en rond et on se demande s’ils cherchent un endroit pour atterrir ou tout simplement de la nourriture. Avec un corps de la taille d’une poule, la frégate a une envergure de 1m80, la proportion la plus grande par rapport à son poids. Ça veut dire que c’est un oiseau assez maladroit sur ses pattes minuscules, et il à du mal à décoller une fois submerge. Comme en plus ses plumes manquent d’huiles naturelles, ce qui l’empêche d’entrer en contact avec l’eau de mer, voilà un oiseau bien impuissant dans l’eau, par contre très rapide et efficace dans l’air. Il se nourrit en laissant les autres oiseaux attraper le poisson et les harcelle à tel point qu’ils lâchent leur proie ; c’est alors que la frégate va descendre en pique et saisir la nourriture en plein vol. Anne nous a épatés quand elle s’est souvenue avoir vu ces oiseaux aux Galápagos, elle n’avait que 5 ans et j’ai du reparcourir mes logs de l’époque pour vérifier !

Tout aussi intéressant pour les enfants, a été la découverte des méduses « inversées » qui vivent au fond du lagon. Ce genre de méduses ne nage pas beaucoup, et comme une espèce d’algue pousse dessus, elles se tournent à l’envers pour l’exposer au soleil le plus possible. Ces Cassoipea (leur nom scientifique) ont pour caractéristique l’absence de tentacules, elles sont donc inoffensives et peuvent être attrapées facilement.

Voilà pour la leçon de science et vie, de retour au village l’excursion s’est terminée par un délicieux déjeuner de langouste grillée (denrée de base ici, à $15 le plat, c’est moins cher qu’un steak !).


Comments
Vessel Name: VOAHANGY
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 560
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
About:
Terry, 71, skipper, ex-pilot, surfer, aerobatics champion, can fix anything, never sea sick, loves a beer, hates the cold, is happiest anchored off a deserted beach. [...]
VOAHANGY's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 20 November 2014
2 glorious months, cruising various parts of Fiji. So many different experiences in one country: lush rainforests, colourful indian towns, blue lagoons, traditional villages, great fishing, fancy resorts... And the best part was sharing the cruising with family and friends. Can't beat Fiji with company! Here is a collection of our favourite moments (and there are a few!!!)
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 12 October 2014
Some of the whales actions we witnessed in Tonga, to read with the Whales action post by Anne!
7 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
Whale watching, snorkelling, bonfires, making new friends...One of the most remote and austere destination, far away from big tourism, with friendly people holding on to their traditions. Weather a bit chilly, but who cares???
46 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
49 Photos
Created 25 July 2014
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Created 30 June 2014
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Created 28 June 2014
55 Photos
Created 23 June 2014
27 Photos
Created 15 May 2014
37 Photos
Created 11 May 2014
40 Photos
Created 30 March 2014
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 15 March 2014
The time finally came to leave...a month of celebrations and sadness!
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2014
Another holiday within the holiday! Spent 13 fantastic days in Whistler, British Columbia joined by Aussie friends David and Denise. First time on skis for them, perfecting camps for Marc and Anne, loads of fun for everyone.
70 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Nothing like having family and friends coming for a visit in the sun. Lots of eating, drinking, swimming, laughing...showing everyone our small paradise.
99 Photos
Created 30 January 2014
End of school year in Puerto, many get togethers before flying off to Paris for a family Christmas.
25 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
Day of the Dead festival, a friend visiting from Australia, Anne participating in her first martial arts tournament,...As usual a lot of eating and socialising!
40 Photos
Created 2 December 2013
68 Photos
Created 6 November 2013
Having visitors means putting on our tour guide hat "Voahangy & Co in Mexico", much exploring and eating: ruins, cenotes, beaches, villages, markets,... . I shared Mexican cooking lessons and was repaid with Dutch baking classes from our French guest. We ate a lot of cakes this month! So much sugar, no candies needed for Halloween this year, just parties...
74 Photos
Created 1 November 2013
This is the slowest month of the year in Mexico: hurricane threats, hot and humid weather, torrential rains drive the tourists away and confine the rest of us indoors. It poured for 22 days non stop! We still managed a dive (in the rain) for Father's Day, a day of all you can eat and drink at the local resort for Terry's birthday, and as usual lots of cooking and eating. Just on cue, the weather cleared at the end of the month for the arrival of Marie Suzanne, a French girlfriend. So lots of touring and catching up. Celebrated Mexican Independence Day all month long (it seems), eating black beans and pork verde!
47 Photos
Created 10 October 2013
No excursions this month. Just hanging around Puerto Aventuras, school, friends, ...Sat thru a couple of storms, torrential rains, big winds...Nowhere to go so more time spent in the galley and writing about it!!!
33 Photos
Created 12 September 2013
Holiday month for everyone: visitors from the USA, kids in and out, parties, US National Day celebration, French National Day celebration, Tulum for a night (bliss...) The start of a new food blog meant a month spent in the galley experimenting. Not much in terms of local food, mostly home cooked French. Chocolate cake anyone?
41 Photos
Created 24 August 2013
Holiday Seasons with old and new friends, provisioning and preparing to leave the USA...
54 Photos
Created 16 July 2013
End of school year performances, lots of baking/cooking for school festivities, Marc hospitalised, first tropical storms testing our nerves, road trip to Belize... Eat ceviche, my latest food addiction!!!
15 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 July 2013
Lots on! An interesting road trip to the Chiapas region, wonderful ruins of Palenque, green and lush Tabasco, Anne's birthday, Cozumel by boat, Kids sports graduation...Eat chilaquiles, breakfast with a difference.
26 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
Settling down and mixing with the locals: kids are off to school, birthday parties, more of Tulum, unexpected reunion with fellow cruisers. Eat: black bean soup!
30 Photos
Created 2 July 2013
Not much tourism this month. We finally made the decision to stay for the rest of the year. So it's head down with school, get together with cruising friends ( they're passing thru while we stay behind) and switching to "landlubber's" mode. Resolved to eat at home more often, back to healthier diet.
19 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula by car, to Uxmal ruins and Merida. More of Tulum. Marc's Birthday. Try Flyboarding. Join in the local community of Puerto Aventuras. Xel-Ha. Discover Playa del Carmen. Eat nachos.
27 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Landfall in Isla Mujeres, find our way around our new home in Puerto Aventuras, excursion to Coba ruins, discover Tulum, swim with dolphins, eat tacos...
31 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Our last few weeks (even months) have been spent in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Not much cruising for us, more like enjoying company of new friends, safety of a protected harbor, and relaxing for a while, knowing we don't have to go anywhere for a while...
25 Photos
Created 2 April 2013
2 weeks in an island where time has stood still for 50 years! Road trip La havana - Vinales- Cienfuegos - Trinidad - La Havana. Cruise down the west coast, beautiful beaches, good fishing, diving,... Warm waters at last!!!!
3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 February 2013
To be enjoyed while reading the post!
43 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Exploring Charleston and Savannah
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 December 2012
2 weeks shore leave, driving to Shenandoah National Park: lots of hiking, eating "country style" food, looking for bears, avoiding bears...Long drive across to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to visit the Wrights brothers memorial and Cape Hatteras.
28 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Caught up with friends, left the boat on display at the 2012 Boat Show, toured historic downtown and US Naval Academy, watched a football game...welcome to the US sailing capital!
51 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Unforgetable summer cruising around Block island, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 16 December 2012
46 Photos
Created 17 October 2012
A leisurely cruise from New York to Newport. Quite anchorages, fresh ocean breeze, ...a million miles away from Big City living!
37 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
July and September in the Big Apple. Cruise, Eat, Shop, Walk,...Look at some of our best memories (work in progress, I am still sorting thru thousands fo photos!)
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 3 September 2012
Museums, memorials, parks, bike trails...the most photogenic city.
85 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
First voyage in July, on our way to Washington DC. Passing thru quaint and historical towns, sampling crabs and oysters in hot summer nights... Returned in September, enjoying all Annapolis has to offer (well, nearly), and the spectacle of autumn foliage.
20 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
Where there are some seriously clever people!
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
29 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Shore leave: Make believe, dreams come true, thrills, fast food...Anything goes here!!!
42 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Welcome to America! Our port of entry, last moments with friends, base for a mini-refit, and our first taste of the USA...
18 Photos
Created 30 June 2012
59 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
17 Photos
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33 Photos
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Created 30 March 2012
28 Photos
Created 5 March 2012
40 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
36 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
25 Photos
Created 28 January 2012
49 Photos
Created 8 January 2012
37 Photos
Created 4 January 2012
40 Photos
Created 28 December 2011
What happens during a transat?
40 Photos
Created 14 December 2011
44 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
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Created 19 November 2011
40 Photos
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Created 19 November 2011
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Created 17 November 2011
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Created 30 October 2011
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Created 1 October 2011
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Created 8 September 2011

S.V VOAHANGY

Who: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Port: Sydney