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R/V Tender Spirit: Now Land Cruising
Join us as we discover new cruising grounds with our "boat" the RV Tender Spirit. Swallowing the Anchor doesn't mean giving up cruising!
Preparing for the New Zealand Passage
10/28/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga

It looks like a nice weather window is opening up for us. We are preparing to leave tomorrow, Friday the 30th. Yes, I know it is bad luck to leave on a Friday. Hopefully our liberal bribe of libations will coax Neptune in granting us a safe passage. We are excited about visiting New Zealand and also getting caught up on some boat chores. Tender Spirit will be spending most of her time at Whangarei. We are hoping to do some touring in South Island by land. We are also getting our new furry crew member, which we are really looking forward to. I will post more information about our passage soon. As usual, I will try to remote post every day on passage through the single sideband radio. We do not have access to a wifi signal here in the anchorage so sending and receiving email lately has been more challenging so if you haven't heard from us, hang in there! We will for sure catch up in New Zealand and also post new photos.

2009 South Pacific Adventure
Eua Side Trip
10/27/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga

I jumped ship for a few days and visited my friend Bria who lives in Eua. She is a Peace Corps volunteer. We used to teach together in Gambell and hadn't seen each other in six years. We had a great time catching up. I also enjoyed visiting Eua and meeting the people there as well. It is a rural community. Wealth is pigs, and there were a lot of pigs running around. One thing about rural travel is that one must go with a sense of adventure, humor and a very broad interpretation as to expectations especially when booking accommodations and guided activities. Bria and I had lots to enjoy and laugh about. It is amazing how similar Rural Alaska and Rural Tonga really are.

It looks like we may have a weather window to leave for New Zealand on Friday, the 30th of October. We will see how it develops. I guess it is time to end the vacation mode and finish a few chores to prepare Tender Spirit for this passage.

2009 South Pacific Adventure
Safe Arrival at Nuku Alofa
10/20/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga

We are anchored at Nuku Alofa, tucked into a little motu in about 20 feet of clear water. We had a nice uneventful passage. No wind for most of the night, but lots of current that moved us faster than expected. We wound up drifting around for about 5 hours waiting for daylight. With the reef system, it would have been a disaster to attempt a night entry....something that we refuse to do. Well, all is well. I need to pay a visit to immigration, customs, and the port captain, then some sleep!

2009 South Pacific Adventure
10/20/2009 | Nancy Burley Guthrie
Hi Joan, I'm in Sitka- looking for you and those delicious halibut cheeks- then I hear you are now on a 2 year leave from school. What an adventure, you are amazing (not to mention brave, or crazy or something
!) I wanna go to Cook Islands, did you go there? Keep in touch! Stay safe, have the time of your life! Nancy
07/02/2010 | Bria
Just checking out your site and wanted to say again, that I am SO happy you guys came out to Tonga to visit me. ;-) Love the locator-map, so we can all track your travels! Safe travels back north...keep blogging and we'll all keep watching!
Off-Shore October 20
10/19/2009, Off Shore, passage from Vava'u Islands to Tongatapu Group

All is well on this fine Monday morning. We have just enough wind to fill the sails, so are motoring as well. We have blue sky this morning and lots of stars last night. The stars off shore are incredible. I have never seen such a display when we are on the land, so I look forward to these nights. The Milky Way stretches across the sky. The constellations would be easy to pick out, except I am not as familiar with this southern sky. My constellation guide book was destroyed when the bookcase got a soaking on our Rarotonga to Niue passage. Hopefully I'll be able to replace it in New Zealand. It looks like this is going to be one of those nice easy passages, so we are feeling quite pleased this morning. We are making good time and at this rate will arrive early tomorrow morning.

2009 South Pacific Adventure
10/20/2009 | Geraldine
Have a good trip, see u in Nz. Lol, G&G
Leaving for Nuku Alofa
10/18/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga

Well, we are going to leave today for Nuku Alofa. The weather looks fine. The passage is only about 170 miles and will take about 2 days. We have some great pictures of the sailboat races from last Friday. We also have some great pictures of the pig roast last weekend. I will try to get them blog ready and posted when we arrive at Nuku Alofa.

2009 South Pacific Adventure
Harbor Day Today!
10/13/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga

We declared a harbor day today. It's blowing in the 25 knot range with rain. It looks like great weather to dig into a good book or catch up on a few indoor boat projects. We also found some movies to watch. This is one of our favorite past times when using the generator to top off the batteries.

I have added a few new folders to the right. We receive questions about Tender Spirit, our destinations, or general cruising questions. We decided to add some general information articles to the blog. If there is something you would like me to write about, please let me know. I will be adding to the folders as time permits.

2009 South Pacific Adventure
Blog Painting
10/10/2009, Vava'u, Tonga

While we have access to the internet, I took the time to make some changes for the blog. How do you like the new look? Are the folders helpful? What would make it even better?
Thanks so much for all the comments you post. We really enjoy reading through them. It is especially nice to know that you are out there, so please write away!
As I was reviewing previous posts, I realized that my writing has taken a turn for the worse, so I promise to spend more time editing and reviewing new posts before hitting the ole' send button!

2009 South Pacific Adventure
10/11/2009 | ossy
i want to be a member pls
10/11/2009 | mary and john
Love your new look. So glad you are safe after all that has gone on the last couple of weeks. Getting a dog is a great idea - she will bring you lots of joy and keep you moving, even on days when you don't feel like it! we are all doing well. Mekka loves being back here for the summer with the kids and grandkids etc.
10/11/2009 | raylin martin
Love the new look. I have enjoyed every post. Guess I am living my dream through you for now. Might be some time before I get my boat reader to go. Now have to replace all of my electronics, as as thief clean me out!!
Timing our Southbound Passage
10/10/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga

We have been listening to the weather reports and also consulting with Kiwis and other cruisers that have made the passage to New Zealand numerous times. We need to wait a bit longer before contemplating this often rough passage. Cyclone season starts the first of November. After researching storm patterns, we discovered that cyclones rarely occur in the Tonga area before December. New Zealand is still experiencing winter weather patterns and the boats that leave too early get a rough ride. The longer we can wait, the better likelihood that we will have a smoother passage. The boats on passage now are experiencing some nasty weather. By the way, it is still snowing in New Zealand. We are not ready for those temperatures! We have no problem waiting for it to warm up a bit! We prefer to remain here in Vavau where the anchorage is pleasant and protected. Once we head south, we will be stern tied to a rock wall at Nuku Alofa. I expect it will be quite crowded with many others also waiting for the right weather window to go south. We will be joining the crowds soon enough.

After much soul searching, and probably too much time on the internet, we've decided to throw caution to the wind, and get a dog. I have picked out a puppy. She is a toy poodle about 4 weeks old. She waiting for us in New Zealand. The reason we chose a toy poodle is because she will be small enough to be comfortable with long stays on the boat, intelligent, and non-shedding. Her is a blue (dark grey), the color of the black pearls, so we are calling her Pearl. The breeder shows and breeds poodles, so she is already starting with early recognizing her name and early grooming. She will be ready to be picked up when we get to New we will have something to look forward to on this rough passage. It will take a lot more work, time, and money to have the dog because of customs regulations we will have to conform with. This has been a difficult decision, but both Chuck and I really miss having a critter around. It's hard to believe, but it has been almost 5 years since we've had a dog. Even Chuck is making noise that we need the pitter-patter of doggie feet around. We will be training her to bark when the electronic alarms go off because Chuck can't hear them...and I am tired of all night anchor watches! I can't hear the anchor alarm when sleeping either. So our new friend will also have a very important job on board. We can't wait to bring her home!

2009 South Pacific Adventure
10/12/2009 | geoffrey ashby
What a cuty, can I be on the Babysitting list, please!!! Lots of luv, Geraldine & Geoff.

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Adventures of Tender Spirit
Who: Joan & Chuck
Port: Sitka, Alaska
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