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Sailing in my Sarong : Around the World - a 30 year dream. 386 pages, 72 colour
Who: Linda and Bill Anderson. To purchase our book 'Sailing in my Sarong' for $39.95 +postage, see Paypal/visa button below (or email us: valiam1@hotmail.com)
Port: Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
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Valiam goes Sailing around the World
including our recent Caribbean to Mediterranean Interlude on Lati
Current Position - click on positions for log entr
Linda's book "Sailing in my Sarong" A$39.95 + A$10 postage in Australia. (other countries please email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com)
See some more photos
31 January 2013
47 Photos
28 November 2010
70 Photos
Lati's first anchorage with her new crew
03/04/2012, Christmas Cove, St James

Beautiful water - Lee and Linda taken by Bill half way up the mast

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16/02/2014 | Wayne Stocks
Loved reading your blog as I am from Primrose Sands and been here since 1990
16/02/2014 | Linda
Hi Wayne - Primrose Sands is close to our heart. Did you see we anchored right outside our old shack on Susan Bay rd end of January 2013?
Lati sails away
03/04/2012, on the way to St Thomas

Lati's beautiful old geniker - AND she reached 6 knots!

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Lati leaves Coral Bay as an Aussie!
03/04/2012, Coral Bay USVI

She's an Aussie now!

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Lati is ready for her first sail
18 20.61'N:64 42.83'W
29/03/2012, St John, USVI


29 March
Manatee, Coral Bay
Lati is ready for her first sail
The sails are ready. The crew is ready. But the forecast for today was 20 knots and thunderstorms. 'No'says Linda. 'No'says Capt Bill/Underpants. Lee and Linda look up the weather again and it is less windy tomorrow and on the weekend. Up to 15 knots from the East. So we wait. No point in buying ice and cold drinks until just before we leave. Then we raise the Ozzie flag, the Virgin Islands coutesy flag, sing something appropriate, unhook the mooring and dodge the boats in the harbour as the Captain skillfully manoeuvres us out. We have to sail Lati without and engine to St Thomas and the boatyard in Benner Bay. Here we drop the anchor outside the entrance and ask for assistance to be towed in. That's the plan anyway.

Yesterday I enjoyed a pleasant morning at Salt Pond Bay with Lee's friend Patty. We walked to Drunk Bay which Patty said was a real treat and it was. Lo and behold a wondrous sight met my eyes! Sculptures made from Coral decorated the whole cove. So many little people with their boobs and bits. You will have to look in my photo gallery to see them. (click on the little camera)

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Around St John
27/03/2012, US Virgin Islands

Island life is easy going and relaxed as we get to know the locals and soak up our new environment. I do love the way the donkeys roam around feral and free. They haven't stopped long enough for me to do a sketch so I may have to draw from my photos. The houses around here seem to be predominantly pink or turquoise - my favourite colours. Here's a pic of a house in our street along the waterfront with a few goats who also roam around wherever they like.
We hope to sail Lati to the boatyard in St Thomas this week with a bit of a tow either end. The local underwater bottom cleaner Dicky removed many of the barnacles so she should sail quite well.

More photos in the photo gallery

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Checking Lati's sails
18 20.38'N:64 42.49'W
24/03/2012, Coral Bay USVI

Bill is looking forward to sailing Lati around to St Thomas boatyard next week

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Cactus trees and tortillas
22/03/2012, Coral Bay USVI

I loved looking at the fish in this cactus tree while I ate my tortilla with fresh grouper and salsa at the Tourist Trap.

(Pics of Lati and our srrounds in photo gallery)

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22/03/2012 | Campbell Hair
Great to finally see some photos of Lati, wow you do have a bit of work ahead of you, the hair cut looks good Bill, Coral Bay looks amazing. Keep the blogs coming and stay safe.
Regards,
Cam & Annie “H”
Lots of work ahead
22/03/2012, Coral Bay USVI

22nd March
Manatee
Coral Bay
This morning I helped Bill sort and get rid of more junk on board Lati. The 10th garbage bag was filled as well many extra items. We made 2 trips to the dumpster using the inflatable dinghy with the motor. I had to hold her in thigh to knee deep water while Bill waded and walked back forth with all the junk. He has detached most of the many pieces of fishing paraphernalia as he wants Lati's decks and rig to be clear.
The interior is still a bit of a mess but the light is at the end of the tunnel. The woodwork in the saloon and galley will need to be redone as well as sanding, painting and refurbishing including the electrics. Yesterday Bill discovered the engine needs a lot of work to make it go. He spent 2 days pulling the engine out, pulling it apart then put it back together and back in.
The plan now is to sail Lati to the boatyard in St Thomas and tow her in. To enable this to happen, some of the barrier reef will have to be removed, (a local guy is an expert underwater bottom cleaner), the sail track screwed back on the boom and the mainsail attached. We knew she needed a mainsail so one of Bil's bags had one from Oz that he had made to fit to Lat's specs. Hopefully by next week Lati will high and dry in the boat yard where work can begin in earnest. There is a single berth for Bill to camp on her and I will stay with Lee on Manatee for as long as she will have me! The boat yard in St Thomas is about 5 miles away but without a boat we will be using buses, ferries, taxis and our feet to commute. The buses from Coral Bay to Cruz Bay run every couple of hours and there are several ferries a day from Cruz Bay to St Thomas. From the ferry dock to the boat yard it is about 1.5 miles.
It will continue to be interesting, frustrating as well as challenging I expect. In the meantime I have been to a few of the local haunts with Lee. Yesterday we enjoyed lunch at the Tourist Trap, a casual café overlooking the bay high on a rocky hill. The food is all cooked by Larry - the tastiest tacos and tortillas. Lee's friend Mary works there part time and served us with her usual outgoing upfront zaniness. I loved seeing the interesting objects placed in and around the cactus trees especially the fish and the tiara. After lunch Lee drove us in her little Suzuki to Salt Pond Bay, one of the tourist beaches. The sand was blindingly white and the water was so clear and turquoise and I kicked myself for not taking my swimmers with me. I was astounded to see the beach and water packed with tourists and boats. It is such a beautiful little bay that to me seemed to be more the type of place that would be on a remote island difficult to get to.
Skinny's Bar is a popular spot with the locals (and tourists) especially during Happy Hour. Plastic cups of wine are only $2 and the same for beers. Lee had arranged to play cribbage with friends. I looked on but they were playing too fast, totally absorbed, I had no hope of trying to get the gist of it.
So far so good on Manatee and we're all getting along fine. I'm trying to be helpful by cooking some of the meals on board. It's been a bit windy and rainy today. We do hope it wont be raining when we pull Lati out of the water to paint her.

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Settling in - Lati's progress
20/03/2012, Coral Bay USVI

20th March 2012
Coral Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands
Since we arrived here a few days ago we have been welcomed with open arms.
I am continually grateful and feel very cared for by our yachtie friends Lee and Mark whom we met transiting the Panama canal in 2009. We are very comfortable on board Manatee, a beautiful catamaran with Lee. We have a double bed and cabin with hatches to let in the fresh air as well as the loud music coming from the bars on shore at night! We have been eating and drinking ourselves merrily every day. We have met so many of Lee's friends but I cant remember all their names. The crazy Australians who bought 'that boat' has given a few people something to talk about.
Bill has been working hard and has removed at least 10 large bags of rubbish into the big dumpster up the road. Bill says nothing seems to have been removed from the boat in 40 years and certainly no woman's touch to be seen. Amongst a vast assortment of items, a trumpet in a case, lots of tools, spare parts and even an old foghorn he has found. He is now pulling the engine apart. He says he will have to pull it out and to repair it. There are several headsails in good condition, so once the barrier reef has been removed from Lati's bottom, Bill is keen to see how she sails. He even found a small flag with 'Manatee' on it. Lee immediately raised it on Manatee's stern. We will have to take her to a boat yard at some stage for the final stripping and painting.
Lati is moored metres from Manatee so is conveniently located. Coral Bay is a laid back place with a few bars along the foreshore with mostly Americans living on boats or in houses dotted about. Donkeys and goats wander around freely. We saw a donkey eat a cardboard box yesterday. I like donkeys but felt a bit apprehensive to get too close. On Sunday, Lee took us to a beautiful local beach for a birthday picnic for one of the local expats Megan. Lameshur Bay is very beautiful with turquoise water, coral beach shaded by trees. Ruins nearby provided a 'honeymoon' backdrop for some photos of Bill and I. I am not sure of the history of the ruins but the walls are made from different shaped rocks and coral. I saw my first mongoose running very fast into the bushes near our picnic spot. As it was still the weekend of St Patrick's day celebrations, many people were wearing green and we were even given green pina coladas and margaritas on the beach. Someone had a blender working using a lawnmower engine or something as equally inventive. A couple of boats were anchored in the bay. We drove in Lee's bumpy Suzuki down the goat track with Bill squashed up in the back with the eskies. Just before one of the boat left one of the occupants played haunting Irish music on the bagpipes. Lee even enjoyed a little Irish jig on the beach.
Wifi is touch and go but I hope to upload photos for the website today. We now have local phone numbers but we get charged to receive local calls and sms messages as well! Not international sms though and I am so glad we can also communicate with family and friends that way. As per usual I am the communications officer!

(more pics in photo gallery)

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On board Manatee, Coral Bay
16/03/2012, St John, USVI

First morning on board Manatee with Lee. Yes I am in my sarong!

more photos in photo gallery

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Arrival in St John
16/03/2012, US Virgin Islands

After 2 days of airports and planes we are now happily ensconced on board Manatee being well looked after by the lovely Lee. Lati is within metres and Bill is already working hard cleaning up the interior. There is lots of work to be done. Coral Bay is very laid back with many yachties living here permanently. A small bar/bistro and mini supermarket is within rowing distance for all our immediate needs. It is lovely to be here. More photos in the photo gallery.

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Art and Sailing in my Sarong in the News
09/03/2012

With my favourites - my pink nudes.... I'm going to miss going to Rosebed st

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Soon to be at anchor again
08/03/2012

This is where we're going....

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Off to the Caribbean very soon!
29/02/2012

I can now officially say the little yacht Bill purchased on ebay is now an Australian registered vessel named 'Lati' Fortunately we have beautiful friends we met transiting the Panama canal in 2009 keeping an eye on her until we get there.

In the meantime Bill and I are extraordinarily busy meeting deadlines. Bill is working hard completing the deck on our house. He is putting the roof on as I type!

My exhibition 'Scribbling Barefoot'is giving me much joy and I am connecting with so many lovely people both locally and internationally. Tonight I am facilitating a beautiful drawing workshop inspired by the Drawing room at the Matisse exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. I will be loading up my van with gorgeous rugs, fabrics, tables, plants, art materials, chaise lounge etc to create the scene in Eudlo Hall. Talented friend and violinist Claire will be playing and we are lucky to have an experienced artist's model Amanda. I believe in creating a relaxed environment for anyone to explore and experiment with drawing. All marks are as important as each other. It is not the end result and what the viewer perceives that is the most important. It is what the artist feels and experiences during the process that is important. I know myself I have to feel totally free and uninhibited to take risks when drawing.

Each piece I draw from life and in itself is unique representing the location, my mood and the energy of the moment. I have promised myself to commit to drawing on location wherever I am! My book 'Sailing in my Sarong' has many images of drawings I completed around the world. Perhaps I will create another book with even more images of our future adventures.

The drawing above is titled 'Jade'and is currently in my exhibition 'Scribbling Barefoot'at Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland, Australia until 11th March. See the link on the left

You can also see more of my art in my photo gallery (click on the little camera)

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Linda's painting Sortilege in Cocos
19/02/2012, Photos by Marion Jonkers Photography

This painting was completed on board Valiam when we were anchored in the Cocos Keeling Islands (Indian Ocean) It is of our friends Bea and Di's catamaran Sortilege. My friend Jackie is with me in this photo - Jackie sailed to Lord Howe with us a few years ago.

This painting is 380X570mm with cream mount and white timber frame 550X800 behind glass for $425 at Rosebed st Gallery Eudlo
www.rosebedstgallery.com

More pics in the photo gallery

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Beautiful Bronnie - circumnavigators unite!
19/02/2012, Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland

Bronwyn Zemanek (ex La Barca) was there to officially declare my art exhibition 'Scribbling Barefoot' open. We are in front of my luscious pink nudes.

(artworks vary in price and size from $60- $600 - contact Rosebed st Gallery
phone +61 7 54573780 or email rosebedadmin@bigpond.com )

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What to do with a drunken sailor?!
18/02/2012, Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland

Linda having fun with Jackie and Tony. (More pics in the photo gallery)

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Scribbling Barefoot Opening Night
18/02/2012, Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland

What a wonderful night! Glamorous saris, sarongs and fun sailor suits singing dancing enjoying my scribbles with the champagne flowing freely. A huge thank you to Maya, Annie, Amy , Tony, Rob and everyone at Rosebed st Gallery. Jacob played beautiful piano music and Jane Michele's song Ýou make me feel like a Natural Woman' made me cry. Thank you to Annie R for leading us in the gorgeous Polynesian belly dance! And thank you to everyone who gave me such support and shared beautiful words. And the biggest thank you to Bronwyn who flew up from Sydney to help me and officially open my exhibition. And Bill of course who is always there for me.

I will be at the gallery every Sunday and make sure you check out my workshops. Next Friday 24th Bill and I will be speaking about our circumnavigation with a slide show. Pink note donation for drinks and nibbles and I will be signing my book Sailing in my Sarong.

Scribbling Barefoot link on the left !

also more photos in photo gallery
Thank you Marion Jonkers Photography for the beautiful photos

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Count Down to Scribbling Barefoot Opening Night
10/02/2012, Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland

It's all go here in Point Cartwright as I finish off framing my artwork and Bill hammering and building the deck on the house. Paper work for our little boat in the Caribbean is still in progress. With flights in a couple of weeks, we are busy busy but happy busy doing what we love.

Linda's art exhibition is running from 15th Feb to 11th March with the official opening on Friday 17th Feb starting at 6.30pm at Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo. (Sunshine Coast hinterland)
Scribbling Barefoot Opening Night will have live music, dancing and a raffle to raise funds for Sporting Dreams - a charity run by paraOlympian Marayke Jonkers, that helps young disabled people fulfil their dreams through sport including sailing.
The artwork donated in the photo is titled 'Liz's Blossoms' and is pastel on paper framed in black.
Look forward to seeing you at the Opening Night or during the exhibition. I will be there on Sundays as well as workshops. Click on the Scribbling Barefoot link on the left for further details.
My book 'Sailing in my Sarong' will be on sale at the gallery or you can order through paypal on this website. (The button is further down on the left under 'Ships logs')

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Art, Sea and Bubbles
02/02/2012, Point Cartwright, QLD, Australia

Photo: Linda with Maya and Annie from Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo choosing works for my exhibition. 'Liz in Pink'on the left and 'Flotsam and Jetsam'will both be on show. A glass of pink bubbles finished off a delightful afternoon.

Scribbling Barefoot 15 Feb - 11 March : Linda Frylink Anderson

Opening Night 17th February 6.30pm - wear your favourite sari, sarong or sailor suit (shoes optional)
RSVP by 15 Feb rosebedadmin@bigpond.com

Scribbling, squiggling, sketching and doodling are some of the ways Linda likes to draw. With the exuberance and freedom of a child, she explores line to the fullest extent.

Linda recently returned from sailing around the world with her husband Bill on their homebuilt yacht - a 30 year dream finally fulfilled. With her sketchbook and pastels she captured what she saw, the result being a collection of passionately expressive works drawn from life.

Prior to embarking on this action packed voyage, Linda's work centred around the study of the nude and still lifes. Linda's 'Scribbling barefoot' exhibition includes these as well. Linda is an Early Childhood educator and believes children can work through their emotions by scribbling and drawing what they feel and see. During her travels, she had the opportunity to work with underprivileged children conducting art and play workshops. In Mauritius, she worked with a flamboyant wood sculptor dedicated to helping the poor. Both shared a passion in believing that children and adults can express their emotions through art, music and dance. Also a keen photographer, Linda's lively drawings and photos were included in a solo exhibition at Ecole de Sculpture, Bambous, Mauritius.

Linda has published a memoir of her travels featuring her vibrant artwork titled 'Sailing in my Sarong.'

'Scribbling barefoot' is an exciting and lively exhibition showcasing Linda's love of living in the moment, making a dream come to reality.

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Scribbling Barefoot - Linda's Art exhibition
26/01/2012, Rosebed st Gallery, Eudlo, Queensland

I am proud to announce the title of my exhibition: Scribbling Barefoot showcasing drawings I captured during our circumnavigation.

See photo gallery (click on little camera) for Linda's Drawings

Click on ''contents'' for ships logs (or blogs) of our voyage around the world.

Click on map and ''current position'' to see our world circumnavigation route. You may have to download Google Earth 'plug-in
For more information on the exhibtion:
http://rosebedstgallery.com/exhibitions-coming-up/



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New sailing adventure in the Caribbean
22/01/2012

Many people have asked us about our future sailing plans. This has taken an interesting turn just recently when Bill sheepishly announced to me that he had bought an old boat at a bargain price, that 'needs a bit of work' on ebay. After calming down but still feeling unfaithful to our beautiful Valiam , I am beginning to feel excited by Bill's 'project'. This boat isn't nearby. It's in the Caribbean. Crazy crazy crazy. My darling husband said it's to get me to the Mediterranean this summer. "We can have a small boat in the Med and leave her there. In September we come back and sail Valiam to Patagonia. She's much more suited to long ocean passages in the southern hemisphere." We shall see. But anything is possible and if anyone can do anything, he can. Or should I say, 'We can.' So that will be another story.... We fly over in March.

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All the family on board!
17/01/2012

We were so happy to have our whole family on board Valiam for lunch the other day (except for Vashti's husband Craig) A rare occasion these days. So here's a pic of all our descendents! It felt good to be on board even in the drizzly rain. The kids loved climbing around, reading books on Nanny's princess bed and testing the toilet! We even celebrated Tahlia's 2nd birthday...my hasn't time flown as she was born just after we returned from our circumnavigation.

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Beautiful Valiam in harbour
08/12/2011, Mooloolaba

A lovely shot taken by our friend Jack from their unit overlooking the harbour. As you can see the little red boat is our new neighbour!

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Valiam sails out of Mooloolaba for Linda's birthday
04/12/2011

After 18 months (yes it has been that long!) we took Valiam out for a lovely sail with friends. Our original plan to sail to Tangalooma was thwarted due to strong south-easterlies on Friday and Saturday. Valiam gracefully cruised out and even Priscilla went up without throwing a hissy fit! Steve and Dee were on hand as experienced crew so that Linda could be a princess for the day. With much delicious food, champagne and laughter the satisfied birthday girl slept well that night. Thank you Captain Underpants!

photos in photo gallery

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Bird's eye view of Valiam on her mooring
01/12/2011, Mooloolaba

A great photo taken by Annie from her unit.

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Why I want to go to sea
21/11/2011

From my Journal 4 April 2009
page 244 Sailing in my Sarong

At sea, each day is unique. The wind changes, sometimes howling, sometimes almost singing. The sea changes it's colour almost constantly. Midnight blue, to angry bottle green, to calm and blissful turquoise. And the shape and intensity. Soft as silk. Sometimes lumpy and confused. When the sea spits and hisses from those towering crests we know she is in control.
The sky can be blue as blue with pretty, fluffy white clouds, or dark and moody. I love the stars. So many in clusters. There are huge streaky constellations and large glowing radiant points that try to outshine the moon on a clear night. I love the clearness, wetness, and smell. Our senses taste and hear the sea and air. The sun greets and farewells us each day with it's warmth and light. I love the space around us. Just us, Valiam, the sea and the sky.

The sea, once it casts it's spell, holds one in it's net of wonder forever. Jacques Cousteau

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Preparing for 2012 departure
13/11/2011, Mooloolaba

Photo : imagine the pink transformed to wine red....

Recently we have begun to give Valiam some much needed attention. Now that I am active again after recovering from my hip replacement, I can climb in and out of the dinghy, climb on board with ease - such a great feeling! I saw how many things have deteriorated and become rusty so the galley is now ship shape and all offending items have gone to the rubbish tip! Bill discovered a leak of water from the engine and worked out where it came from. He pulled the offending piece of engine out (something to do with cooling water - sorry if you want details I will check again with the captain), had it repaired and installed it again. He did say that it was a very awkward job and he had to be a contortionist to get it done.

A few other jobs are in the process - a new dodger has been ordered but we are not sure if it will be ready in time for our little trip down Moreton Bay to Tangalooma for my birthday in a couple of weeks. (weekend of 3-4 Dec if anyone wants to join us via the Tangalooma flyer or their own boat. Valiam's berths are booked unless you want to sleep in the cockpit). The batteries are a bit worn out after our circumnavigation and also need replacing.I have also purchased some new velvet material to cover the settees. The pink is being replaced by a rich wine red which Captain Bill is happy about.

We haven't decided which direction we will be sailing except towards the Mediterranean. As the Red Sea is not a good idea at present due to piracy near Somalia, we are left with 2 options - across the Indian Ocean again or try to head eastwards across the Pacific. Unfortunately we won't be ready in time to try for Patagonia this summer (Jan- Feb) as we have some major repairs/renovations to do on the house before we leave. If we try the easterly route across the Pacific, it would have it's challenges depending on the weather. It is doable if we zig zag across but there will be some uncomfortable passages I'm sure. I think when we are ready we will let the wind and weather dictate our direction! The next trip will be on a shoe string budget so my emails at sea will be severely limited! No restaurant meals, hiring cars or flights home either.... But I will have a few boxes of Sailing in my Sarong on board to sell along the way!

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Four years ago we set sail to circumnavigate the globe!
31/10/2011

Letting go the lines....
It was a grey overcast day when we finally left our home port of Mooloolaba. At 3pm on Monday 5th November 2007, we finally untied the lines. We had taken so long to get ready there was no-one to see us off. Bill was still bolting the solar panels on that morning with the decks strewn with tools, bicycles, pot plants, and many boxes of cheap Aussie champagne. Everything took so much longer to stow away.

A lone dolphin did slip out of the water for a moment, waving her flipper as we motored by the other yachts in the river.....

From page 12 in my book Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream

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Kids and Kittens find each other in Bali at Villa Kitty
16/10/2011

When Elizabeth suggested Jackie and I stay at Villa Sekar Jepun in Ubud ''right next to Villa Kitty", I did not know what to expect. Greeted with lush greenery, exotic flowers, huge wooden carved 4 poster beds with billowing nets and graceful grey aging elephant statues making water fountains into our very own pool, I was entranced. We were there for the Ubud Writers Festival (to promote 'Sailing in my Sarong') for writers and readers around the globe, young and old. A childrens writing workshop collaborating with well known Australian children's author Meredith Costain, was held within our exotic grounds. Children arrived from local schools excited by a day out. But first to Villa Kitty.
Villa Kitty is a haven for homeless Bali cats who sometimes arrive almost at death's door. But through the dedication of Elizabeth Henzell and her band of helpers including qualified vetinerarians these beautiful creatures blossom and are
carefully adopted to families who have love to give their new pets. The children were ushered in from next door in small groups to learn about the work of Villa Kitty. They had the opportunity to cuddle and play with the kittens who were now healthy and needing the touch and smiles of humans.
Villa Kitty is unique and has a strong connection with our very own Sunshine Coast region of QLD, Australia. Not only does Elizabeth originally come from the Sunny Coast as I do, the funding and equipment desperately needed does also. A strong connection with our Sippy Creek Refuge assisted the establishment of Villa Kitty, and volunteers Sammi Carvill and Kimberley Davis (also happen to be 2 of my Early Childhood Education students at University of Sunshine Coast) recently visited bringing with them an eager group of Balinese children from the Jodie O'Shea Orphanage. The smiles on the children's faces as they cuddled and played with their newly found furry friends lit up everyone's day.
And what did the children write about? The joyful playfulness of the Villa Kitty cats of course!
For more information email villakittybali@gmail.com or see facebook 'villa kitty bali'

photo above: Villa Kitty vet Isa with Jaz and one of the beautiful Bali kittens
more photos in photo gallery (click on little camera)

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Drawing Workshop in Ubud, Bali
07/10/2011

Karen enjoyed drawing the lotus leaves and took a copy of
Sailing in my Sarong back home with her.

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Writers, artists and sumptious food in Ubud, Bali
07/10/2011

What an exciting festival it is here - a mix of minds, thoughts and creativity in the heart of Bali. I am so pleased to be here at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The Opening Night at the Palace was an occassion to remember - I am here with good friend Jackie to share my book ''Sailing in my Sarong'' and my drawings. Today I enjoyed collaborating with Jackie our workshop ''From a dream to Reality" The participants all enjoyed sketching the statues and abundant plants in the garden of Honeymoon Guesthouse. Tonight we are invited to another beautiful dinner with other writers at Casa Lun.a Restaurant, one of my favourites. Yes its all about delicious Indonesian food, sharing stories and words from around the world.

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''Sailing in my Sarong" off to Bali!
05/09/2011, Ubud 4-11 October

Linda is excited to return to her beloved Bali and Ubud the cultural centre for the Ubud Writers Festival in October. www.ubudwritersfestival.com
(see ''Writers" click 'L' )
She will be conducting an art/writing workshop on Friday 7th October titled ''From a dream to Reality - Drawing what we see." Good friend and fellow sailor/artist Jackie will be coming along too. It will be a fantastic opportunity to share with international authors and artists as well as inspire others to make their dream come true.

"Sailing around the world was the main dream then publishing my book was another. It has allowed me to make even more friends via the net as I sit landbound until our next sailing adventure.

I sketched the above drawing in Ubud, Bali when I enjoyed some life drawing at Pranoto's gallery. It is included in my book among the 72 coloured pages of photos and artwork."
Email Linda if you would llike a copy of Sailing in my Sarong : valiam1@hotmail.com
A$39.95 plus postage

"Girl in Green Sarong" pastel on paper.

You can see more of Linda's sketches in the Photo Gallery - click on the little camera on the left.

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High Tea and High Seas
30/08/2011, Linda speaks in Cooroy

This should be fun - eating cakes and sharing our story out in the country today. The Sunshine Coast libraries asked me to speak. Copies of my book "Sailing in my Sarong" will be available for sale

High tea and high seas
Popular speaker and author Linda Frylink Anderson will entertain you with her tales of sailing the seven seas on Wednesday 31 August at 2.30pm.

"It's a story of battling gales and sailing through the world's pirate hot spots; of exploring exotic and remote communities and integrating with the locals; and of experiencing the vastness of the great oceans and making new friends at each destination."

Linda's main message is to follow your dream and not to be afraid to leave the rat race and responsibilities behind.

Escape your everyday by spending an afternoon at Maison de Provence, Cooroy at 2.30 pm, Wednesday 31 August 2011.

Photo above : Linda with Liz Beechmore Cooroy librarian with some of the patrons. (more in photo gallery under 'author talks')


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Two years ago.....
23/08/2011

Reminiscing again... I just can't help myself!

Monday 24th August 2009.
Position: 15 26.17S 150 04.91W.
Time: 6pm. 116 nm to go.

An hour ago we were sipping the last of my homemade pina coladas thinking about what to have for dinner when the fishing line became taut. The captain thinking of the work ahead of him began pulling in the line. "It's a big one!" he pants. When the wriggling large fish came on board we could see it was a huge tuna - 10kg at least! It made a mess in the cockpit and pouring cheap rum into its gills only seemed to make it more excited instead of calming it down. Eventually it became still and Captain Bill became the butcher. Its meat is the darkest I have ever seen in a tuna and the huge chunks Bill cut off looked like steak. I managed to stow most of it away in the fridge and kept a small amount out to cook for dinner. Fried up with salt and pepper, a little lime and accompanied by left over eggplant salsa and caper mayonnaise it was a wonderful meal.

Valiam has had a relaxed sail since we left Rangiroa at 2.30pm yesterday. It took us a while to get through the Tuputu pass. We ended up anchoring nearby waiting for the waves breaking across to subside. Eventually it was calm enough to get through. We have had very light winds mostly around 10 knots from East/North East and have been sailing quietly along at around 4.5-5.5 knots. It's been great for sleeping as we aren't heeling over at all. Tomorrow we may have to motor-sail if we want to make Bora Bora by daylight. We may have to make use of the yacht club barbeque to cook the rest of the tuna!
Comments [1]
26/08/2009 | liam (psycho_liam att hotmail dott com)
pina coladas and giant tuna? ohhhh jealous

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Sharing art, my book and Valiam's voyage
07/08/2011

What an incredibly stimulating few days at the Byron bay Writers Festival meeting many wonderful writers and new friends. I can't believe how much my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' has reached out to embrace so many like minded souls. Life is for living!

more pics in the gallery

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Linda and Bill will be speaking at the Byron Bay Writers Festival!
01/08/2011, Chat Room B Sunday August 7th 10.30am

BYRON BAY WRITERS RESTIVAL 5-8 August

This year's theme is 'Passion' . What a great opportunity to share our story. Have we been passionate? I guess it took some passion to get the boat built and eventually sailing around the world. After dreaming about it for so long (30 years!) and then it took some passion to get my book published only one year after we returned - bang on our 33rd wedding anniversary! I was passionate about including everything as I drew, painted and wrote about what we saw and felt in remote corners of the earth and in the middle of vast oceans.
"I wanted to create something beautiful. Something to treasure for our immediate family as well as a 'thank you' to our global family. My book 'Sailing in my Sarong' is bursting with images, journal entries, emails from children and older people who followed us around the globe as well as my personal thoughts and reflections. And of course Bill's (aka 'Captain Underpants') one liners always make me smile. We are already planning our next voyage hopefully to Patagonia, Chile and beyond. My next book might have to be titled 'Sailing in my thermal underwear'!"

Linda's book Sailing in my Sarong is the most recent couple circumnavigation story published in Australia. (returned to Oz 18 months ago) $39.95
email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com to purchase
(and she will sign it for you with a personal message.)

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14/06/2011 | Cam Hair
Give em heaps at Byron Bay, you two wont have any trouble with the theme passion, how are the plans for the trip to the Med via the Horne going?
Regards
Cam & Annie H
30/07/2011 | Jo Behlau
... thermal underwear... hahahahahaha
Sailing in my Sarong at the Sydney Boat Show
30/07/2011

Bill and I have been standing on stage at the Sydney Boat Show with microphones attached to our heads and a big screen behind us with some of the images and video clips from our circumnavigation. A bit daunting but we got through it! Talking about the very beginning of our dream, building Valiam and recounting our adventures just reaffirms our desire to go cruising again. There were lots of lovely people to chat to about sailing and signing my book at the Boatbooks stand. Tim Stackpool, the MC was great in helping us feel comfortable and sorting technical hitches. Thanks to Christian, Rob and everyone at Boatbooks who have been enthusiastically promoting my book Sailing in my Sarong. If you enjoyed our presentation or missed it, feel free to email us with any questions!
We're just having a fabulous time in Darling Harbour enjoying all the interesting food in Chinatown and the busy busy atmosphere. So different to our quiet life on the Sunshine Coast!

The image on the big screen is comparing 24ft Alouette(1980) and 45ft Valiam(1994) but the same wife who hadn't changed at all! Hmmmmm.....

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30/07/2011 | Jo Behlau
Well done Linda and Bill. Enjoy Sydney and the Boat Show.
31/07/2011 | Tim Stackpool
Was great to see you two. What an adventure! What a book! Looking toward to hearing and reading of your next nautical journey.
Cheers, Tim
Valiam in the news
29/07/2011

This article was printed in the Boat Show lift out of the Sydney Morning Herald.

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See us at the Sydney International Boat Show!
13/07/2011, Better Boating Lounge, Darling Harbour, Sydney 29, 30,31 July

This is us at Suwarrow, northern Cooks, with our 'bestest' cruising buddies (ex La Barca) Adam Norris and Bronwyn Zemanek who with their children Jack and Amy became our family during the last leg of our world circumnavigation. One of the last things we did together before our return to Oz was when Bronwyn and I set up a preschool day for the local village children on Tanna Island in Vanuatu.

It probably won't be sarong weather in Sydney in winter! We'll be speaking at the Better Boating Lounge at 4pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Linda's book "Sailing in my Sarong" can be ordered direct from her by sending her an email: valiam1@hotmail.com
Linda will personally sign it with a message to you!

It is the most recent couple circumnavigation published, is filled with 400 images, 72 pages in colour and lots of recent information of 30 countries. And its a great read! You can pick it up anywhere and float off somewhere exotic.......

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Latest Reviews 'Sailing in my Sarong, Around the World - a 30 year dream'
30/05/2011, Boatbooks website

For those of you who dream of sailing the world or need motivation to do something extra special and exciting with your life! After 30 years of dreaming, then the process of building our boat, we finally did it! (and cant wait for our next voyage.....)
Email Linda if you would like a copy! $39.95 plus postage. valiam1@hotmail.com

LATEST REVIEWS:

by Fred Lane
Date Added: Monday 23 May, 2011


What happens when a free spirited, sunny, people minded soul meets a pragmatic, resourceful partner with an equally unfettered approach to life? One outcome is revealed in the pages of this book.

Bill and Linda Anderson have in some ways lived with convention by raising a family in modern Australian tradition, but when the surface is scratched, the unshakeable thirst for adventure and experience is clearly evident. To date, their circumnavigation of the globe has been the highlight.

This was no act of spontaneity, but the fruits of a 30 year dream which took 16 years of preparation. With few resources, they built a 13.7 metre plywood yacht in their back garden; launched it in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia; and embarked on a two year odyssey.

The author writes with a love of the moment. They meet lifestyles far different to the Australian norm, and she absorbs the experiences with a passion, free from prejudice or judgment. They go to places not favored by cruise ships and live life in sympathy with their host countries. The book is characterized by additions of her artwork and warm quotes which sum up her zest for life experience.

Friendships made along the way include those with fellow yachties, who share the common dream. We are given insight into how such adventurers eat, sleep, and enjoy a party. They always seem to have something to celebrate.

Life is not always rosy. In order to fulfill the dream, she has to live with separation from her family, including grandchildren, which are always in her thoughts. She is also proof that you can never conquer sea sickness. It may be kept under control - and the author is an authority on how to do this - but sometimes you just live with it.

She has left us at the end with the fire still burning. Throwing the next log is not too far away
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by Kirsty Watson
Date Added: Monday 16 May, 2011


Well written adventure sail with Linda and Bill...very inspirational and easy to read account of their sailing and land adventures.
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by Ngaire Vernal
Date Added: Monday 16 May, 2011


I loved being "on Board" with Linda & Bill as they discovered small island communities and helped the local people, especially the children, in their journey around the world.

There was such a sense of 'being with them' in all their endeavours and I learned so much about people in places I hadn't heard of.
My own travels have been by air and land and I also found comraderie in this style of travel. Amazing how many friends you can make at sea!
Congratulations on a well written and detailed journey.
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by steve allen
Date Added: Wednesday 18 May, 2011


You can almost smell the suntan cream and hear the waves lapping at the hull. Brilliant book full of insights into the yachty world. Highly recomend it.
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by Judi Goldsmith
Date Added: Wednesday 18 May, 2011


A beautifully written, honest and inspirational account of an incredible adventure. Amazing... thank you Linda for sharing your story, such a personal and sometimes intimate reflection.....found myself drifting off with the imagery...so beautifully described. Love it!
R ating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by Pauline Liebenberg
Date Added: Tuesday 17 May, 2011


Whenever I need to escape my everyday life, I turn to almost any page in "Sailing in my Sarong." It's a great antidote to the stresses and the humdrum, and costs much less than a full cruise!
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]

by Bob Sellars
Date Added: Monday 16 May, 2011


What a marvellous adventure !!!!!! Everyone's dream to sail to remote & exotic destinations,especially in a boat built by one's self.
The book is a beautiful production with Linda's artwork & photographs.
Rating: [ 5 of 5 Stars!]



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Cocos Keeling - Linda's article in Cruising Helmsman
27/05/2011

How I wish for those carefree days! To see the rest of the article go to 'photo gallery' (little camera top left)

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'Sailing in my Sarong' at Sanctuary Cove Boat Show
21/05/2011, Gold Coast, QLD

Bill and I promoting my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' at the Boatbooks stand.
You can order my book through them on line (www.boatbooks-aust.com.au)
or directly from me. If you order directly from me I will personally sign it with a message! Email Linda - valiam1@hotmail.com
(A$39.95 plus $10 postage within Australia. Airmail overseas A$22-$27)

more photos in photo gallery - click on little camera

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Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show
21/05/2011, Gold Coast, Queenlsand, AUSTRALIA

Bill and I are having a fabulous time staying in a high rise apartment overlooking Surfers Paradise and enjoying the Boat Show. I was asked by Boatbooks (www.boatbooks-aust.com) to sign my book at their stand. It's been fun chatting to and motivating would be sailors and cruisers to go out there and 'just do it!'

The photo above is of Martin and Yvonne of SV Marsala who are almost ready to head off

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'Sailing in my Sarong' sails around the coast libraries!
18/05/2011, Sunshine Coast, QLD, Australia

My tour of the Sunshine Coast libraries has now finished and how lovely it has been to chat and inspire people from all walks of life. Thank you to all the lovely library staff who were there to assist me.

In this photo I am with the librarians from Coolum and some of their patrons

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Questions people ask and Favourite Places
08/05/2011, Mooloolaba

The photo above was taken in one of my favourite places - in a restaurant (with La Barca crew Adam and Bronwyn) in Cartagena, Colombia. Note the prolific original artwork on the walls. This was a city of abundant culture - a lovely surprise.

During my 'Author talks' the most common questions are to do with fear and seasickness:
Are you ever really scared out there on the ocean?
It's different once you are out there. I feel safe in our boat - safer than in a car or aeroplane. We are busy navigating, analysing the weather, plotting our position and things happen slowly. I think it's the same as embarking on any adventure, even a road trip. The fear of something going wrong and the preparation is often more stressful than when you are in the middle of it.

When the weather turns nasty we are so busy doing what we have to do, the adrenalin kicks in and we solve the problems as a team. I think fear is being scared of the unknown. When we had something attach itself to the bottom of our keel in the middle of the Indian Ocean in gale force winds in the middle of the night, I was petrified that the 'thing' that was banging against the hull would make a hole. We never knew what it was. We steered Valiam slightly off course and thankfully the 'thing' detached itself.

What about pirates?
We chose not to go up the Red Sea and even in the Philippines, near Colombia and the Caribbean we didn't encounter anything unusual. Sometimes we would see very old boats in odd places and wondered where they were going. We saw many poor fishing boats.

There was one occasion 1000 miles from land between Galapagos and the Marquesas that a big new Ecuadorian fishing boat called us up on the radio. They asked us lots of questions about how many people were on board and where we were going. I was very vague and did not say there were only 2 of us but indicated that we had a large male crew! They wanted to send their small motor boat over to give us fish but Bill said "No!" I kept the conversation polite and said we had been catching our own fish. Valiam sails fast and she was galloping along at about 8 knots at the time!

I think a lot of incidents that are reported about people boarding yachts in harbour are robberies, not acts of piracy. We had no problems anywhere, even in Papua New Guinea. We tended to go to the smaller places and people everywhere we met were friendly and welcoming. We rarely locked the boat when were on board. We don't have anything lying about on deck and as we are high up out of the water and don't have a scoop stern, we are difficult to board. We don't believe in weapons but did buy some capsicum spray in South Africa (and have never used and I don't even know where it is now!)

I get seasick so don't enjoy sailing.
I get sea sick and have to live that each time we are on passage. I take the best drugs I can get (Stugeron/Cinnerazine) which makes life wonderful again. I start taking the medication the night before leaving, eat carbs, little alcohol and try and get a good night's sleep. We try to leave in nice weather.

In 30,000 nautical miles, I was violently sea sick 3 times. Each time it lasted less than 12 hours and I used stematyl suppositories. My enjoyment of travel and exploring new destinations outweighs combatting sea sickness. Once the medication is in my system I am fine and I continue to take them regularly throughout the passage. I can cook, work on the computer, read, watch dvds etc without any problem. Once we are in port (which is most of the time) I stop taking the medication. We spend more than ¾ of our time in port exploring having a good time!

What about immigration and passports?
Most countries are very easy to enter, and don't even require advance notice of our arrival. www.noonsite.com is a website that has all the up to date information about what to do with clearing in. Most countries are free! Sometimes we had to pay $50-$100 but never as much as it costs to clear quarantine into Australia. Australia is the strictest and the most expensive in the world. ($330)

Generally we radio ahead of our arrival and the port captain gives us instructions. If no-one answers we go in and anchor/tie up and ask locals where the 'customs' is. On our circumnavigation the only country where we had to acquire visas in advance was for Brazil. The things we needed to have ready were:
- Ships papers (Australian registration document) Sometimes marinas will ask for Insurance papers
- Crew List (Yes even just for 2 of us! Names, position on the ship, address, passport numbers) You need many copies of these. I think the most we had to hand in somewhere was 9!
- Ships Stamp (not compulsory) - We had one made before we left. It's a circular stamp with the boat name, picture, and registration number. Officials love them!
We found the officials generally very friendly. Many come on board to do the paperwork but some we have to go and find. I always have my small pocket photo album with family photos with me. This assists when there are language difficulties and everyone loves to talk about their children/grandchildren! We NEVER pay bribes nor did we have to. Sometimes there may be extra 'fees' which are usually small when converted to A$. Always ask for a receipt.

Where was your favourite place?
We have many favourite places. The beauty of sailing is being anchored in a huge city with all the culture, restaurants etc then a week later be anchored in a pristine atoll with white beaches and palm trees. It's the contrasts I love. I think I would get bored lying under a palm tree on a beach. We love all the different cultural exchanges meeting ordinary people from so many diverse backgrounds.

For culture we loved Cartagena in Colombia.
For pristine natural beauty you can't beat Suwarrow in the Northern Cook Islands.

When will you go again? Where will you go?
We hope to be cruising again in 2012. We would love to go to Patagonia, Chile and I desperately want to go to the Mediterranean as we didn't get there last time.

How do you finance it?
Before we left for our circumnavigation we sold an investment property so we really lived it up for the first year! Next time we will have to live on the rent from our house. There will be less inland trips and restaurants and more going to the supermarket and cooking ourselves. We have our bicycles on board which is free transport once we get somewhere.

What about communication at sea?
We only have VHF (20 miles) so rely on our satellite phone and lap-top system for emails/weather faxes. Emails at sea are expensive and are restricted to text only. ($2 a minute and download is slow) Friends can send free SMS messages (160 characters) direct to our satellite phone from their computer at home. The satellite phone is fantastic as you can call anywhere in the world anywhere at any time if you need to. We use iridium with Horizon as our server. We also use Globalmarinenet X-gate program to compress emails . Our back up person in the USA was fantastic answering our sms messages any time of the day/night if we needed help. We also use sailblogs for our website. We can also update these at sea. I usually submit the images when we get to port and I have access to wifi or an internet café.

When in port we often buy a local SIM card for our mobile phone. International rates were often very cheap. I remember calling from the Philippines to Australia for 7c a minute!

If you have any further questions don't hesitate to email me : valiam1@hotmail.com
My book is A$39.95 plus postage
HAPPY SAILING!
Linda

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Linda's author talks on the Sunshine Coast
01/05/2011, Noosa, Kawana, Maroochydore,Nambour Queensland

Looks like I will be busy in May! Come along if you are in the area - I would love to share our story with you.

- To see our voyage scroll down to 'contents' in the right hand column
- To see our gallery click on the little camera on the right

- To order my book 'Sailing in my Sarong'(A$39.95 + postage) please email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com

(great Mothers Day gift!)

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Memories of the Caribbean - Happy Birthday Captain Bill! (aka Captain Underpants!)
29/04/2011, Valiam is now in Mooloolaba

This was Bill on his birthday when we were anchored at Hog Island, Grenada. How relaxed we were - where the day started with fresh local fruit,. emails and a skype connection to Australia followed by a swim in clear azure water,a drink at Rogers bar on the beach finishing with chocolate cake I baked and a 'caparinhia' (Brazilian rum drink with lime) as the sun went down. Hopefully next birthday we will be celebrating Bill's birthday in a similar anchorage in a beautiful remote corner of this wonderful planet.

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Linda's Art from around the world
27/04/2011, Mooloolaba, Australia

Linda's sketch of Valiam at anchor in Suwarrow. pastel on paper
Exerpt from my book Sailing in my Sarong...Around the World - a 30 year dream

"The Artist in Me - Drawing What I See
I am passionate about art. When I draw and paint I lose myself in another world. I am seeing things with different eyes. I prefer to draw from life and try to capture what I see; the light, the mood, the colours, lines and textures. Sometimes I just want to capture the lines or sometimes just the way the light falls on the subject. I have always enjoyed drawing the human body but on this voyage I tried to capture landscapes. I also drew animals and birds for the first time. In each instance I would sit near the subject and sketch as fast as I could! If I tried to draw slowly the result would look laboured. It is almost as if I am in a trance as I half close my eyes moving my pastel around on the paper. My pastel would almost move of its own accord as I touched the details of the subject with my eyes."

To see my artwork click on photo gallery (the little camera on the right and scroll down to 'Linda's sketches'. Enjoy. (Many of these images are in my book.)

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Send me back to Suwarrow!
25/04/2011, currently still in Mooloolaba :(

I was looking for an inspirational photo for my desk top now that I am an armchair sailor (sigh) and found this! I can still feel the exhileration of zooming along in our inflatable in one fo the world's most remote atolls. Hundreds of miles from anywhere. No shops. No cars. No nasty man made anything. But of course our man made beautiful yacht Valiam got us there....

To see more beautiful photos click on my photo gallery or better still buy my book! (Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream) A$39.95 plus postage.
Email Linda: valiam1@hotmail.com

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26/04/2011 | Campbell Hair
Hi there Linda & Bill, I just finished reading your book, it is a fantastic read, I lived every moment with you, well done. You now have my other email address.
Regards,
Cam & Annie H
Soiree with Sarongs and Saris
10/04/2011, Figtree Pocket, Brisbane, QLD Australia

Peter Moor and Anne Lord kindly hosted a wonderful evening with friends sharing sumptuous food and sporting colourful sarongs. Although perhaps disappointed that we didn't speak of murderous swashbuckling pirates, our audience was soon gripping their seats feeling somewhat seasick when footage of 20ft waves and 50 knot galeforce winds propelled Valiam accross the Indian Ocean. When shots of our hero Captain Underpants catching huge fish came on there were audible gasps of appreciation.

A sincere thank you to Peter and Anne for supporting my book Sailing in my Sarong. A long overdue promised voyage with us on Valiam will happen soon!

(more photos in the gallery - Linda's author talks)

To order Sailing in my Sarong, Around the World a 30 year dream email Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com
A$39.95 plus postage

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Linda's book in Arana Hills library
07/04/2011, Interview with 4 year old Annika

I had the pleasure of talking about our circumnavigation to Arana Hill's library patrons recently. Geordi and Annika, my nephew and niece followed our voyage and feature in my book 'Sailing in my Sarong.' Their other auntie Corinne is the librarian.
After looking at my book, this is what Annika said:
"Your boat is green. It moves by air. Uncle Bill drives it and you call him Captain Underpants! You went to different countries. You saw a little baby in a bag made of string. Probably she had no bed. I can see Mummy, me, Geordi and Daddy on the boat.(looking at last photo in book) We were having a party and you came back and it was lots of fun."

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Our friends on La Barca in April's Cruising Helmsman
28/03/2011

What a lovely surprise we had when we bought the recent 'Cruising Helmsman' in the local newsagent. Our friend Bronwyn Zemanek's article on practical tips for circumnavigating was in there. Immediately we began to reminisce and miss our cruising life. We met Adam, Bronwyn, Jack and Amy in Bonaire, The Dutch Antilles before we transited the Panama Canal. Numerous references to our friends can be seen in our voyage log from then on when you go to the 'contents' link on the right. (They are heavily featured in my book too!) The above photo was taken just after we left Suwarrow before Adam and Bill put the spinnakers up. We had just been given news of a Tsunami in Samoa but where we were, (500 miles away) conditions were perfect! Here is a shortened extract from my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' Chapter 26.

Tsunami in Samoa
As we were saying our goodbyes to John, Veronica and family on that beautiful sunny morning in Suwarrow on Tuesday 29th September, American yacht Carina called Suwarrow base on VHF radio,
"Suwarrow base this is Carina. A tsunami has just hit Samoa." We all looked at each other. John did not seem concerned as he had received tsunami warnings before. But as further news reached us we were concerned for our friends who were in Pago Pago and Apia.
We had difficulty pulling Valiam's anchor up after three weeks in Suwarrow as the chain had wrapped itself around coral heads several times. To the accompaniment of one of the boys blowing the Suwarrow conch shell we finally departed. Spica and La Barca left before us. At this stage we weren't concerned about the tsunami as we were 500 miles away and the best place was to be out at sea.
A beautiful 10-15 knot south easterly was blowing and the sea was flat. We caught up to La Barca and motor sailed alongside for a while until Valiam sailed ahead. Bill and Adam had discussed pulling up the spinnakers and taking photos of each other. Soon we saw La Barca looking splendid with her new Australian flag spinnaker billowing out. La Barca surged ahead so Captain Bill went into the fore locker to prepare Priscilla our temperamental monster purple and green spinnaker. After half an hour of sweating, Bill got Priscilla up and Valiam began to fly along at 8.5 knots. As we zoomed past La Barca we took lots of photos and video footage and they did the same of us.

Note: The whole article is in the photo gallery

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2nd Edition of 'Sailing in my Sarong' has arrived!
08/03/2011, Mooloolaba QLD AUSTRALIA

Hi all
The 2nd edition of my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' Around the World - a 30 year dream has now arrived. With young Geordi's map and informal reviews in the back it is in keeping with the personal nature of my book. It is a beautiful big 386 pages.
Do spread the word among your friends - A$39.95 plus postage.
To order: email Linda on valiam1@hotmail.com

My favourite review:
'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.' Lao-tzu. In this case, it begins with a single dream of two people - a 30-year dream to sail around the world. Together. In a boat that they built themselves. Crazy, huh? Crazy beautiful! Linda is a first-time book author but you'd never know it to read this gripping, charming, lovely tale. I swear I started reading it on the subway in NYC during a lousy snowstorm (yup, a little escape for this city gal) and I nearly missed my stop! On the way, Linda, a novice sailor, suffers from seasickness, experienced petrifying storms at sea, sailed through pirate territory, and worked with street children, ran art and play workshops, and kept up a blog. Together with her husband aka "Captain Underpants", she sailed in their 13.7-meter plywood yacht named Valiam (a combination of their children's names). Lavishly illustrated with Linda's pastel drawings and many photos, this could have been a coffee table book to thumb through, but has too much substance and entertainment to not actually read.

Nancy Bruning, BA, MPH, New York
http://www.goodreads.com.
www.nancybruning.net

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Linda gives a talk for the View Club, Glasshouse Mountains
16/02/2011, Sports Club Glasshouse, Sunshine Coast Hinterland

photo: Mickey de Lorm, Jackie de Lorm, Linda Frylink Anderson, Heather Burton (vice President of the View Club) with my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' ($39.95 - contact me valiam1@hotmail.com)

I was excited to talk to a group of women in the hinterland today as it was the birthplace of our yacht Valiam. It's been 20 years since we began building her on our then acreage property in Peachester. My neighbour and good friend Jackie remembers us burning down an old goat shed to make a fire hot enough for Bill to melt 3 tonnes of lead to make Valiam's keel in an old bath tub. Jackie and her family crewed for us on many trips to Tangalooma as well as Lord Howe Island in 1999. She was the only person who saw us race into Moreton Bay returning from our circumnavigation after her son Sean (on P plates)drove down the mountain at great speed to see us sail past Caloundra.

Jackie's mum Mickey, a member of the View Club which is a non profit organisation that raises funds for needy families had read my book and asked me to speak. Thank you for a lovely lunch ladies and I hope our dream inspired you too! I look forward to working with you to assist in a project involving underprivilged children.

To reminisce further I quote from my book as we sailed into Moreton Bay after circumnavigating the world:


She's Sniffed the Home Paddock

On Sunday 22nd November, the wind picked up considerably blowing at 25 knots from the northeast.
"She's sniffed the home paddock," said Bill, enjoying the fast sail. Valiam was racing at 8-9 knots. And suddenly there it was. Australia! We could just see the hazy outline of land through the spray.
"Is it really Australia? It feels like when we saw Africa!" I said excitedly. This was a moment to treasure. We were buzzing with elation.
"We did it!" I laughed. I couldn't believe it. It still didn't feel real. I took photos of ourselves and looking back at them we had the hugest grins. In no time at all we were racing into Moreton Bay. It was all too fast for me. It didn't seem real. It was 4pm and we were glad it was still daylight. As Moreton Bay was quite shallow, the wind waves made for rough conditions. I sent SMS messages to family and friends near the Sunshine Coast to reaffirm to myself that we were back in Oz. I was hoping someone we knew could see us. We took the mainsail down to slow Valiam down. She continued galloping past Caloundra. Our wonderful friend Jackie and son Sean drove down from the Glasshouse Mountains to watch us sail past.
"Is that you, with one sail?" asked Jackie
"Yes that's us! We're the only yacht out here." It felt good knowing someone was there to watch us come home. It was a fast wild ride into our home waters, in true Valiam style. We needed to slow her down to navigate the channels through the bay before arriving in Brisbane. Glancing behind Valiam, a dolphin leapt around in the following waves. We were home.

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Grandkids visit Valiam
27/01/2011, Mooloolaba, Australia

photo above Captain Bill (aka Captain Underpants) or in this case 'Pa' showing Caylan and Joe around Valiam. We reminded them of the rule: 'One hand for you and one for the boat.'
more pics in the gallery including Australia Day celebrations - click on little camera


On one of the rare fine days over the Christmas holiday, we took the oldest grandchildren Caylan (8) and Joe (3) by dinghy to visit Valiam. Joe was very excited about wearing a life jacket and was a little hesitant climbing the ladder from on Valiam's stern. Then it was excitement as the children explored both inside and out. Finding the tinned food hidden behind the setees gave the children more thrills especially when I said they could choose ones to eat. They settled on tinned strawberries from South Africa and tinned mandarin from Brazil.

I also presented Valiam with her copy of Sailing in my Sarong. It felt right to place a copy in front of Buddha who sailed around the world with us. Much of the book was written on land although the essence and journal entries, 'What Next' etc were written on board. I flicked through the pages reminiscing once more. I felt quite emotional as the book is about her and she kept us safe sailing 30,000 nautical miles around the world.

To order your copy of my book email me on valiam1@hotmail.com
A$39.95 plus postage

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Sailing in my Sarong personal Reviews
05/01/2011, Mooloolaba, QLD Australia

Copies of my book 'Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream' can be ordered by emailing Linda : valiam1@hotmail.com
Price for 2011 orders: A$39.95 plus postage
Postage rates:
Australia : A$10; NZ: A$15
USA: A$22
UK, Europe, South Africa A$27
India: $18; Mauritius: A$22

INFORMAL REVIEWS:
THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your lovely comments after reading my book - I appreciate them very much after all the hard work!

6/01/2011 Review on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com.

A journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step.
Lao-tzu

In this case, it begins with a single dream of two people--a 30-year dream to sail around the world. Together. In a boat that they built themselves. Crazy, huh? Crazy beautiful! Linda is a first-time book author but you'd never know it to read this gripping, charming, lovely tale. I swear I started reading it on the subway in NYC during a lousy snowstorm (yup, a little escape for this city gal) and I nearly missed my stop! On the way, Linda, a novice sailor, suffers from seasickness, experienced petrifying storms at sea, sailed through pirate territory, and worked with street children, ran art and play workshops, and kept up a blog. Together with her husband aka "Captain Underpants", she sailed in their 13.7-meter plywood yacht named Valiam (a combination of their children's names). Lavishly illustrated with Linda's pastel drawings and many photos, this could have been a coffee table book to thumb through, but has too much substance and entertainment to not actually read.


Nancy Bruning, BA, MPH
New York

www.nancybruning.net
www.forttryonparktrust.org
http://www.linkedin.com/in/NancyBruning
www.blogtalkradio.com/nancercize


10/12/2010 Pauline Lyons: The book is proving to be a terrific read. Learning so much from it and the joys and courage of the sailors on Valiam. Photos and artwork provide added interest.

17/12/10 Shirley Pitcher: What a pleasure it is to just flip through Linda's book - and how that feeling persists as one begins to first read a phrase or two as the pages turn, then a para - and then - Just look at the clock!

Linda has done very well indeed - the illustrations are fascinating, even more than when first seen during the voyage. But for me the most wonderful feature is that Linda has managed to reveal so much about herself and Bill - those valuable yet so often indefinable qualities their quite 'reprehensible rejection' of "responsible attitudes" to say nothing of her glee as she gently and despairingly giggle at us old stick-in-the-muds - her loving ways - her courage - her very considerable practical skills - - Because Linda's account is so interesting, and she is so open as she mentions encounters with family and friends, she draws us all together into a circle of folk who are happy to be together as friends.

30/12/10.Susanne Williamson: I bought Linda's book and have just started to read it. What a great story, I'm loving it and cannot wait for our trip to commence.If all goes according to plan we will join the rally in Darwin in 2011 and travel with the sailors to Indonesia. I'm so excited but we have a big list of 'must do' before we slip the lines.Thanks for writing such a great book.
4/1/2011, Sadly, I finished your book in record time and I have to say I have learnt so much about visiting different countries; I loved your book
and all the information you provided in it.
It now begs the question when will you write the second chapter in cruising??
.
1/1/11 Lesley Wallington :'Sailing in my Sarong' has been my constant companion these last few weeks and I finished it yesterday. I feel like I have been on an epic adventure myself and will miss my night time escape into the world of sea and islands. Thank you Linda for writing this and sharing your travels...she has really done a wonderful thing and should be proud of her courage and capabilities. Linda's descriptions of being alone in the ocean really gave me a sense of how it might be....even though I would be dead scared of the rolling waves and swell (I have always been scared of sailing and the most frightening movie I ever saw was 'The Perfect Storm') I did feel a great sense of longing for such open space and can understand how she must long for it too and find it hard to settle back into land/civilised life. Linda's journal page 246 is a fantastic piece of writing and says it all. I also enjoyed Bills and his Dads emails.

2/1/10 Laraine Bennett: I just want to say how much I am enjoying Linda's book. I have it as my bedside reader which means I read it before I go to bed...if I wake up in the night, and then when I have a cuppa in bed in the morning. I am really savouring your journey, reading bits to my husband every now and then. Your Papua New Guinea section is good and I laughed when you described Kokopo as being like a frontier town...we always say it is like a town from the wild west...so our similarities in description is quite amazing. I admire Linda and Bill's trip and adventurous spirits so much. A real inspiration.

Thomas Fondren: What a great book that tells the truth about sailing! Congrats to Linda and Bill on their circumnavigation. Linda has created memories that she will cherish the rest of her life.

Paulette Crowley: I am totally mesmerised and absorbed reading Linda's book. Totally fascinating, love the art and photos too. Wow, when will I travel again?


25/01/11
Kirsty Anne Watson: I finished Linda's book and now I can't wait to go sailing in MY sarong...great inspiration...thankyou for sharing your adventure.

13/12 Florence Lechot: We were very excited to receive 'Sailing in my Sarong', original presentation with the sarong. It looks really good! Linda must be proud to have achieved it, it must be like having had a 3rd child.... In any case, a
great result. Congratulations.


7/01/2011 Jean-lewis Dick: I think the book will be best sellers in 2011,if you can make the launching in every countries you visited, because the book is fantastic.Waoh congratulation to you and BILL see you in MAURITIUS again

6/12/10 Judi Campton Goldsmith: Linda.. I know you're an awesome Kindy & Preschool teacher - the best I've seen - I know you"re a creative and talented Artist ... I know you're a gifted writer from your Kindy reflections and all those reports I used to type .. what I didn't realise is just how much I would enjoy your book...it's FABULOUS!! Thank you for sharing your story, such a personal and sometimes intimate reflection.....finding myself drifting off with the imagery...so beautifully described. Loving it!

26/11/2010 Peter Robert Albert Anderson: Congratulations and thanks for Linda's book. I have spent many hours picking it up and recalling the events of your voyage as we exchanged emails practically each night. What an interesting, sincere and loving record you have made Linda. I was very touched by your reference to my dear old Grandpa who would have been very proud of his great grandson and granddaughter in law. There is now a place reserved in the Anderson bookshelves next to the James Cook, Joseph Banks, Matthew Flinders and George Anson circumnavigation accounts for the latest circumnavigation account, this one being very close to home. We are enjoying the photos and sketches as well as the text and the publication as a whole.




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Happy New Year from Mooloolaba!
30/12/2010, Mooloolaba

Wishing everyone a positive, exciting and healthy 2011! We hope to see some of you out there on 'the big blue' sooner rather than later.....

My book 'Sailing in my Sarong' is being read around the world. It's been lovely hearing from old and new friends from far flung places around the globe.
Did you know 'Valiam' means 'to be valid' in Portuguese? I guess the book has validated our voyage and it is a pleasure to share our dream with so many. At present only one outlet in Australia is selling them (Boat Books). I am distributing them myself to keep costs down.
A$35 - email Linda: valiam1@hotmail.com.

Last New Year's Eve we were in Townsville waiting for our grand daughter Tahlia to be born. Now she is almost walking! (pic above)

The year before we were sailing the coast of South Africa:

Port Elizabeth, SOUTH AFRICA
My Journal 1 January 2009:
Happy New Year! Leaving Buffalo River Yacht Club, East London was like leaving good friends behind as Yvette and Keith waved us off. It was brisk and choppy with a 15 knot South-westerly when we left. We knew it would change soon but in the meantime I was seasick again (despite medication.) After the south easterly came in, Valiam was more comfortable and she sped along in the current at 10 knots! We slowed Valiam down by Bill taking down the mainsail. By midnight I was feeling well enough for a small glass of celebratory Amarula. Instead of fireworks we watched dolphins swim in phosphorescence trails next to Valiam's hull. Just beautiful.

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Happy Christmas from Valiam crew! Sailing in my Sarong 1st edition almost sold out!
raining but warm
21/12/2010, Mooloolaba, Australia

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has given me such great feedback for my book 'Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream'

I have just posted our family Christmas photos : click on the little camera!

I still have a few copies left. Just email me on valiam1@hotmail.com A$35 plus postage.
( Overseas orders pay with paypal. Aussies direct bankdebit/cash/cheque)
383 pages, 72 in colour


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Sailing in my Sarong - Sunshine Coast news
05/12/2010, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Linda sails the seven seas• Local News
26 Nov 10 @ 05:50am by Ed Randell

AS wedding anniversaries go, a two-year circumnavigation of the globe with your husband in a home-made boat takes some beating.
For Buddina residents Linda Frylink Anderson and her husband, Bill, their 30th wedding anniversary in 2007 will definitely be one to remember as it marked the realisation of a 30-year dream and saw them set sail from Townsville on their round-the-world odyssey.

And, ensuring neither of them has any reason to forget future wedding anniversaries, they returned to Moreton Bay exactly two years to the day after they set sail - this time on their 32nd anniversary - and on November 27, at One on La Balsa cafe at 2.30pm, they celebrated their 33rd anniversary by launching the book Linda wrote about the amazing journey she and Bill completed.

"Bill planted the idea of sailing around the world when we first met in 1976," Linda says. "He has always dreamed about doing it and because I love to travel I enthusiastically supported the idea.
"My motivation was to fulfil our dream before I turned 50. I lost my mum to breast cancer when she was 48. Every year after that feels like a gift to me.
"The idea for the book came when I started writing on our website, describing our interactions with people in Papua New Guinea. Our son, Liam, was moved by my writing and suggested that I write a book with photos. Later, other friends said the same after reading the website. We had many people from around the world following our voyage who have now ordered books before it is even released."

Named after their children, Vashti and Liam, Bill and Linda's 45-foot plywood yacht Valiam was their home for the duration of the voyage and was built with the help of a family friend. In the 24 months at sea, the boat endured rough seas, high winds, an unidentifiable "thing" attaching itself to the keel in the middle of the Indian Ocean and various bumps and bruises along the way, but they made it home in one piece and remains moored in the river near La Balsa Park.

So it seems more than appropriate that Sailing in my Sarong - a book of almost 400 pages featuring 400 drawings and photographs - was launched at La Balsa Park, with Valiam bobbing up and down on the water beyond.
"I wanted to have a permanent record of our voyage not only for ourselves but for our family and friends. I wanted to produce something beautiful and tangible like a piece of artwork," Linda says. "It is a sailing around the world story with a difference due to my artwork throughout. I have dedicated it to our children, grandchildren and of course Bill my captain and husband."

Of course, seeing the enthusiasm with which Linda recounts their two-year voyage, it's easy to be sucked in by the romance and freedom of just downing tools, boarding a boat and exploring the world.
There's something so alluring about exotic, far-flung destinations and the thrill of having the world as your oyster as you plot your own course.
And, with the Sunshine Coast's Jessica Watson making headlines after her successful solo circumnavigation of the globe earlier this year, sailing has perhaps become a great deal more prominent in the mind of the average person on the Coast but, for Linda, was the reality as romantic and inspiring as the dream?

She admits there were a few lows during the voyage, such as enduring seasickness and the wild storms out in the open oceans and being scammed by officials in the Philippines - "We were left with no money wandering the streets and three ATMs didn't work! Eventually we cashed an emergency $US10 note Bill had tucked away" - or the heartbreaking decision to head back to the Pacific when they were in the Caribbean: "I desperately wanted to go to the Med but Bill felt we had to get back to Oz. We plan on sailing to the Med next time," Linda says.

But in spite of the countless days at sea with just each other for company and nothing on the horizon but the sun, Linda and Bill arrived home with a wealth of new experiences behind them, some amazing stories to tell their children and grandchildren and even a greater appreciation for their home and the simple things in life.
"Even now I can't believe we did it and can't look at a map of the world without imagining our yacht inching our way around," Linda says. "When we sailed in strong winds toward Moreton Bay, Caloundra appeared so suddenly it just didn't seem real.
"There were so many highlights from the journey and, looking back, I actually loved just being at sea where time slowed down and life was simple. I felt in tune with the natural world and wrote my best then."

So did Bill and Linda have any major sailing experience behind them before they untied Valiam from the jetty an embarked on their voyage on November 26, 2007? Well, not as much as you might think.
Being the instigator of the original idea, Bill had the knowledge and practical experience, but Linda underwent a steep learning curve during the voyage - including dealing with her sea-sickness and her fear of storms. While having Bill beside her was certainly a key to her taking on the challenge, Linda wants to be an inspiration to others who may have long-held dreams that they might be that little bit too apprehensive to fulfil.

"I am an ordinary woman who with an able and confident sailor for a husband managed to circumnavigate the world," she says. "I hope to motivate women in particular to not be afraid of the ocean... It is possible to fulfil a dream. To not be afraid to take risks, and to leave jobs and mortgages and responsibilities behind."

With the disappointment of not being able to sail to the Mediterranean still in her mind, don't be surprised to see Linda set sail again sometime soon to achieve another of her dreams. But completing the voyage and publishing a book about the journey are big enough achievements for Linda... for now at least.
"Bill and I fulfilled a 30-year dream, building a boat and sailing around the world visiting 30 countries and sailing 30,000 nautical miles in two years," she says.
"As a life's dream and autobiography it's been, and continues to be, satisfying for me to have written it all in a book. I am happy that so many people are interested. Only a handful of Aussie women in the past 20 years have written about circumnavigating the world."
Regardless of what happens with her book, Linda has clearly caught the sailing bug and it appears to be a matter of when, not if, she will set sail again with Bill.
"The trouble is once sailing gets into the blood the yearning never stops. We plan to sail again perhaps to Patagonia, Chile. The next book could then be called Sailing in my Thermal Underwear!"

Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream is available in Boat Books in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as well as directly from Linda. Contact valiam1@hotmail.com or her website www.valiam.com.au


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Sailing in my Sarong in the news
29/11/2010, Sunshine Coast, QLD,Australia

Monday's paper - I guess I'm pretty proud I managed to finish the book in a year!

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Sailing in my Sarong Book launch
28/11/2010, La Balsa Park, Point Cartwirght Buddina

Our sailing family reuinited once more - This time Vashti and Liam completed the picture. Bronwyn, Adam, Jack, Amy, Linda and Bill

Many more photos of the celebration in the gallery - click on little camera!

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'Sailing in my Sarong' Book launch a great success!
28/11/2010, One on La Balsa, Point Cartwright, Buddina, QLD, Australia

Photo: signing copies for family friend Bob

'Sailing in my Sarong' was officially released on Saturday 27th November with a wonderful crowd of family and friends. Thank you so much to everyone who travelled far to get there. A special thank you to Bronwyn Zemanek and Adam Norris (La Barca) who drove up from Sydney with Jack and Amy to be my MCs. We were touched when Bronwyn read the first 'review.' She read out the carefully thought out words of Bill's father's email received that day. Dad followed us around the globe on Google Earth and his fascinating historical comments were featured in the book. Bill and I had a wonderful weekend celebrating with them and our family. A big thank your to all our friends around the world and in Australia who ordered copies - Enjoy!

I have created an album of our celebrations. Lots of champagne, laughter and bellydancing! And all those beautiful sarongs!

Here are the words of Dad's email, our first 'review:'
26/11/2010 Congratulations and thanks are for Linda's book which arrived this morning. I have spent most of the day picking it up and recalling the events of your voyage as we exchanged emails practically each night. I have a hard copy of most of your emails to me but lost all of mine to you when my computer blew up on the last week of the trip.
What an interesting, sincere and loving record you have made Linda. I was very touched by your reference to my dear old Grandpa who would have been very proud of his great grandson and granddaughter in law. There is now a place reserved in the Anderson bookshelves next to the James Cook, Joseph Banks, Matthew Flinders and George Anson circumnavigation accounts for the latest cicumnavigation account, this one being very close to home.
Thanks once again Linda and Bill for the book. Mum and I are enjoying the photos and sketches as well as the text and the publication as a whole. Much love from Dad/Mum/Gwen. XXXX

Peter Robert Albert Anderson

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Sailing in my Sarong, Around the World - a 30 year dream to be released 27th November
08/11/2010, One on La Balsa cafe, 2.30 -3.30pm,Harbour pde, Pt Cartwright, Buddina, QLD Australia

Hi all!
Sailing in my Sarong Around the World - a 30 year dream will be released on the 27th November 2010.
392 pages, 72 in colour.
Cost: A$35 (plus postage)
Postage in Australia : $10 (up to 4 books)

Postage overseas (per book):
USA : A$22
UK, Europe, US Virgin Is, South Africa : A$27
India : A$18.40
Mauritius : A$22

How to order books:
Please send me an email to valiam1@hotmail.com
with your details:
Name, address, number of books.
By return email I will send you my bank details for direct transfer.
Overseas friends will receive an email from paypal.

Sailing in my Sarong is also available at Boat Books in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

The blurb again just in case you haven't read it!

Linda and Bill Anderson are living proof that it's never too late to fulfil your dream.
After 30 years of fantasising about sailing around the world, they finally set sail on an action packed voyage that would take two years to complete.
Never mind that Linda suffered from sea sickness, was petrified of storms and had little sailing experience, or that the couple were to make the trip in their home built yacht, this 30,000-nautical-mile voyage was about achieving their dream.
While they gained so much from their adventure, Bill and Linda also gave a lot back to the places they visited - working with street children, running art and play workshops with Linda's photos and artwork filling the pages of this book.
It's a story of battling gales and sailing through the world's pirate hot spots; of exploring exotic and remote communities and integrating with the locals; and of experiencing the vastness of the great oceans and making new friends at each destination.
But above all, the story is one of overcoming a challenge of massive proportions and leaving a tiny part of themselves in every single one of the 30 countries Linda and Bill visited in their swift, yet tough yacht Valiam.
This is their story.


About the author:
Linda Frylink Anderson is an early childhood teacher, university educator and artist.
She and her husband, Bill, have been married since November 26, 1977. Together, they have two children, three grandchildren, one 13.7-metre plywood yacht, and a shared passion for travelling the world. Their yacht Valiam's name was formed by combining the names of their children Vashti and Liam.
Linda and Bill live by the beach on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia with Valiam moored nearby.

Previous entries covering our whole voyage: click on Contents in right column

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10 Favourite Spots around the World
02/11/2010, Cruising Helmsman November issue

What a suprise when I went to my letterbox today to find the November copy of Cruising Helmsman with an 8 page article I wrote! Lovely to see some our photos in there. My book 'Sailing in my Sarong' will be launched on 27th November.

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'Sailing in my Sarong' to be released soon!
19/10/2010, Mooloolaba, QLD Australia

Yes - it is finally happening. We are aiming to launch my book 'Sailing in my Sarong' on 27th November, 2010. This will be our 33rd wedding anniversary. Very appropriate as we left Australian waters on our 30th anniversary and returned from our circumnavigation on our 32nd anniversary! For us an auspicious date!

It is a good juicy book with over 400 images tracing our story back to our first voyage in 1980. Building Valiam, the process ol letting go, our circumnavigation and reflections will all be there.

Please let me know if you are interested so I have some idea of numbers. A$35 plus postage.You can email me at valiam1@hotmail.com
I will have paypal up and running soon. Cheers! Linda


Here's the publicity blurb:

Linda and Bill Anderson are living proof that it's never too late to fulfil your dream.

After 30 years of fantasising about sailing around the world, they finally set sail on an action packed voyage that would take two years to complete.
Never mind that Linda suffered from sea sickness, was petrified of storms and had little sailing experience, or that the couple were to make the trip in their home built yacht, this 30,000-nautical-mile voyage was about achieving their dream.

While they gained so much from their adventure, Bill and Linda also gave a lot back to the places they visited - working with street children, running art and play workshops with Linda's photos and artwork filling the pages of this book.

It's a story of battling gales and sailing through the world's pirate hot spots; of exploring exotic and remote communities and integrating with the locals; and of experiencing the vastness of the great oceans and making new friends at each destination.

But above all, the story is one of overcoming a challenge of massive proportions and leaving a tiny part of themselves in every single one of the 30 countries Linda and Bill visited in their swift, yet tough yacht Valiam.

This is their story.


About the author:

Linda Frylink Anderson is an early childhood teacher, university educator and artist.

She and her husband, Bill, have been married since November 26, 1977. Together, they have two children, three grandchildren, one 13.7-metre plywood yacht (Valiam) and a shared passion for travelling the world. Valiam's name was formed by combining the names of their children Vashti and Liam.

Besides writing this account of their two-year circumnavigation of the globe, Linda captured from life what she saw with her camera and pastels.
Linda and Bill live by the beach on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia with Valiam moored nearby.


This photo was taken on my 50th birthday 4 Dec 2007- our first landfall in Papua New Guinea. We finally let go the lines and we were on our way around the world!

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17/10/2010 | Isabelle
Wow, I didn't know you built your boat, that's pretty amazing. Loved your comment on our blog,that's so funny about the 'fat' thing. Good luck with the book release!
17/10/2010 | Bill and Linda Anderson
This was the comment I left on Dagmar's website:
It's interesting how our social expectations are so different! 'Customer service' and personal space/invasion of privacy in other countries continues to challenge the way we think and react doesn't it? I remember a woman in Tanzania saying to me 'You are so fat!' and she meant it as a compliment because I appeared wealthy.
02/11/2010 | Brother Paul
Similarly, a Chinese friend of mine whom I had not seen for some time said - oh, you are looking prosperous!
When we were in Brazil
04/10/2010

Bill being served a caparinhia

As I type this our son Liam is enjoying the hospitality of friends in Sao Paulo, Brazil. We thoroughly enjoyed our short time in Brazil in 2009. Here is an exerpt from my book. To all our supporters waiting for my book - hopefully if wont be too much longer!

BRIEF SOJOURN IN LIVELY BRAZEN BRAZIL

Brazil appeared on the horizon as a long, grey hazy line, shimmering in the heat. I thought about the major oceans we had crossed from Australia, our home continent. The Pacific Ocean to South East Asia, then the Indian Ocean to Africa. Now after crossing the Atlantic we faced the third and last continent in front of us, South America. I was terribly excited by the thought of dancing the tango and trying Brazilian food. After 11 days of tropical sailing with the wind behind we were looking forward to stopping. As we entered the wide, murky river, the Rio Paraiba, the scenery gradually improved until we arrived in Jacare, Cabedelo on the 17th March.

French Yachties and Caparhinias
The small cluster of yachts which was Jacare Yacht Village was easy to find. The heat was unbearable as soon as Valiam stopped. Our impressions of this part of Brazil reminded us of the Philippines. There were many poor people living in shacks along the water or in small concrete terrace houses packed close together along the paved streets. Unfortunately no-one spoke English and our Portuguese lessons on the boat were no help. We were the ignorant foreigners but everyone was very friendly, and our charades were becoming more inventive.

My email to family 19 March:
Ola! It seems strange to be somewhere hot and tropical after a few weeks at sea after leaving the southern tip of Africa. The world is not such a big place really. We have our little fans going and enjoy our cool showers at the amenities block. Things are quiet during the day and liven up at 4.30pm when the music starts playing. We know when it is sunset because we hear Ravel's 'Bolero' on the saxophone. Our neighbour Daniel has been living here for three years and has heard Bolero every day. He still whistles to it.


One night we dressed up and ventured out into the balmy air to one of the many touristy restaurants strung along the river. Just as the sun was setting, the famous saxophonist Jurandy do Sax walked majestically from restaurant to restaurant playing 'Bolero' on his saxophone. Most of the customers were Brazilians who were elbowing each other to photograph him. After each song they gave a respectful applause. We were not sure of the significance of Jurandy but there was video footage of him as well as huge posters everywhere. He was short, plump with long hair wearing all white and an orange scarf draped around his middle. Bill thought he may have been a soap opera star. We found out later Jurandy do Sax had broken the Guinness Book of records for playing the same tune every day 3,000 times! Within each restaurant other live music was played. The problem was they all played different songs, so it was ridiculously cacophonic and not possible to have a conversation. Just as well, so we had an excuse to use charades with the waiter. We tried a 'caparinhia', a local rum cocktail with lemon for the first time. Deliciouso!

Another night we met French couple, Chantelle and Andre of Gypsy at a small café for dinner. Again we were urged to have the 'best caparhinia' in Jacare. After dinner I spied a night market, so spent a fun half hour looking and buying hand made trinkets using charades and giggles to communicate with the gorgeous Brazilian girl. Next we were urged to go into the restaurant to watch a live show of traditional dancing. Of course we had to order more caparhinias. The costumes looked Spanish but the live music was more folksy. Four couples twirled, stamped and clapped in their frilly hot pink and black attire. It was fun to watch and be part of what obviously appeared to be a crowd of Brazilian tourists. Feeling rather giggly, we arrived back at the boat in one piece without falling in the river. Each evening we continued to enjoy caiparinhas at the Sax café laughing more than yarning with French yachties. Our French started to 'improve' during these 'happy hours'. Roi, the bar tender shared his recipe with us:

Sax Café Caiparinha - traditional Brazilian rum drink:
For 2 drinks:
2 limes
Cold shaker
5 teaspoons sugar
5 measures Pitu rum (white rum)
10 ice cubes
A little cold water
Cut limes into slices. Discard ends. Crush in shaker with sugar (wooden stick). Add ice cubes, rum and cold water. Shake it. Pour into two tall glasses with straw.
Serve with pretty girl, stagger home... (Bill wrote the recipe.)

Brazilian Girls in Bikinis
Riding our bicycles in the heat, we created breeze for ourselves making a bee line for the beach. A crowded but inviting beach café shaded by coconut palms enticed us in. Once ensconced in chairs on the beach in the shade with the sea breeze blowing over us we soaked up the passing scenery. Bodies of all shapes and sizes paraded in front of us in brief swimming costumes. After being in somewhat conservative countries since leaving Oz this was a refreshing change.
We were offered all sorts of wares from pirated DVDs to chocolates, prawns, lotions, nuts, and coconut juice from individual sellers. We knew how to order drinks in Portuguese but food was another matter. With the menu and my dictionary out, I painstakingly translated each word.
"Can I help you?" asked a pretty girl with long dark hair and unusually stunning blue eyes in a brief bikini. Bill's eyes said 'Yes!' Ana and her friend Maria, in an equally brief leopard print bikini were up for the weekend from Sao Paulo. They were incredulous that we had sailed from Australia. Photos and email addresses were exchanged with the possibility of a visit by them to our boat to see the sunset. Gorgeous Ana spoke four languages and was a secretary for a TV company. Alas the girls didn't turn up for sunset drinks. I think Bill was very disappointed.

At one of the waterfront bars we tried to mimic the locals dancing along with a live band. The Brazilians were comfortable and uninhibited in their dancing and clothing, their bodies grooving along holding each other so close it looked like they were making love. Bill and I giggled shuffling around in circles. It seemed the locals went out every night to dance, drink, and socialize. Most women wore brief shorts, tight plunging tops, and high heels. Bill wasn't complaining.

On the 26th March, we started to drag ourselves away, aiming to be on our way to French Guiana the next day. Sailing would be a rest from the constant social whirl of going out every night. But we had plenty of rum on board to make caparinhias!

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Reminiscing again! Suwarrow, northern Cooks
26/09/2010

Today we enjoyed a delightful afternoon yarning with yachties at the home of Julie Fullerton in the rolling hills of Maleny. I had emailed Julie last year when she and her husband Ray and son Sam were cruising the Med on their boat Meander. It was rare for us to meet with Aussies let alone ones who came from our home town. I had hoped to meet up with them but we ended up turning around and heading for the Pacific. After a year of emailing we finally enjoyed a face to face meeting. It's amazing how strong the connection is between fellow yachties. Ray is still sailing Meander back to Oz. We also met Glenys and Greg, who sailed Fancy Free around the world. We reminisced about Suwarrow - one of the Pacific's island treasures. So again I am going down memory lane as this is where we were this time last year:

Suwarrow Island (formerly Suvarov) NORTHERN COOK ISLANDS
ANCHOR: Anchorage Island. Pristine, remote, nature's paradise - There aren't enough words to describe this absolutely gorgeous destination. For three weeks we relaxed in this haven and didn't want to leave. After a dinghy ride through the clearest aquamarine water passing a friendly shark we walked along a small concrete jetty towards a small two storey wooden house nestled behind the coconut palms. The lower storey is completely open with international flags and memorabilia hanging from the rafters. John, Veronica and their four sons lived on Suwarrow nine months of each year. Suwarrow is a National Park and John and his family were employed as caretakers. As caretakers they were expected to survive with very little and live close to and in harmony with nature. There is no refrigeration, telephone, internet etc. All they have is SSB and vhf radio. As Suwarrow is 600 miles from nearest civilisation they often ran out of basic commodities. We presented our pumpkin, bag of flour and jar of French jam. These were happily received especially the jam!

As we relaxed and slowed down into remote island living, the outside world seemed far away. The air was soft and clean, the colours pure and clear and the people kind and warm offering that quality I most admire - generosity of spirit. Suwarrow is one of those rare gems left on this planet and we felt very happy to be there. I tried to capture the colours on film and in my sketch book - turquoise, deep blue, soft aqua, creamy beige, blue grey....

John, Veronica and their four sons included us into their lives here as they do all yachties who visit. Their home was our home and sharing was the way here. We didn't worry about running out of food as John caught fish for everyone. In return I baked cakes and cooked my spicy bami goreng (Indonesian noodles) for our communal meals. The only fishing that is allowed is line fishing - no spear fishing, lobster/crayfish gathering. Coconut crabs live in amongst the old copra plantation and it is also forbidden to catch them. There are plenty of sharks! They are mainly small black tipped sharks reportedly harmless. To keep the sharks away from the anchorage it is forbidden to throw fish and food scraps over the side. On the other side of the island John and the boys feed the sharks there. We were surprised to see how close the sharks swim to shore in shallow water.

We enjoyed hearing John's stories especially about his ancestors who were reputably cannibals. John took us on a guided tour (we followed in our dinghy) of the motu with bird colonies. What a treat! The birds had been nesting on the ground and in low branches and we were privileged to see half grown chicks. The boobie and frigate chicks looked so funny with their little old man faces and big white fluffy coats. On nearby Brushwood Island were many tiny baby terns cheeping in the undergrowth. Parent tropic birds were protecting their young on the ground also. I managed to do a few small sketches of them. With so many birds flying and squawking overhead we were obviously made to feel like intruders. John didn't like to disturb them more than once a week. After a picnic under the trees we took the dinghies to a coral reef to snorkel. What clear water and bright luminous fish and large varieties of coral!

Beach fire bbqs were a nightly ritual with the yachties and John's family joining in each day. Veronica's coconut pancakes made with the flesh of a sprouting coconut were delicious and very popular. With Veronica and some of the women in the anchorage we learned to weave coconut fronds into belts, food platters and baskets. Wearing the belts, we enjoyed belly dancing incorporating Cook Island dancing to the barely audible CD music on the tiny portable DVD player powered by solar panels.
We felt truly honoured to be there. Thank you to the Cook Island people.

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03/10/2010 | Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
It sounds like we really missed out not going to Suwarrow. Oh well... next time ;) I really wanted to try a coconut crab.

I&J
Where were we last September?
01/09/2010

On the 2nd September last year we were about to leave Bora Bora for Suwarrow, Northern Cooks.
Cruising Helmsman (Aussie yachting mag) has asked me to write about this part of French Polynesia as well as Rangiroa so keep an eye out for the articles! Our friends on Dagmar are having a lovely time in this area. Click on their website in my favourite links. James and Isabelle have posted some beautiful photos.

Anyway here's a shot of Bora Bora. I remember the yummy French brie, baguettes and cycling around to poke in little art galleries between the road and the aquamarine water of the lagoon. Do I sound like I miss being out on the water?

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02/09/2010 | Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Yes, you do. We think you need to get out there again as soon as possible, the ocean misses you as much as you miss it :)
love Isabelle and James
One year ago... Rangiroa
14/08/2010, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

I took this photo standing on the beach in Rangiroa. Valiam's turqoise hull blends in with the clear water

I love to reminisce....especially now I have relived our voyage writing the book. We both loved Rangiroa for it's relaxed pace of living on a Pacific island as far from the rat race as you can get!


Rangiroa, Tuamotus, French Polynesia
After a rough ride as the wind rose to more than 25 knots, with uncomfortable wind waves, as well as a squall, we managed to enter the pass at high tide on the 15th August, 2009. It was wide enough and the two white markers were good leads. Our new C Map was spot on which was great in such poor visibility. It was stressful approaching the atoll in those conditions. Anchoring was another drama as there were mooring buoys everywhere and I found it hard to keep the boat pointing in the right direction in 28 knots. It wasn't long though before we were enjoying the obligatory glass of champagne. It was sheltered inside the atoll considering the wind. Until the weather calmed down we were not going anywhere. We had plenty of fresh food and beverages on board and the gendarme could wait. Anchored outside idyllic Kia Ora Hotel, I thought that if we were feeling extravagant we would see what they had to offer. Dinner with Polynesian dancers?
My Journal 16 August:
Sunday afternoon: After falling asleep yesterday afternoon (nothing to do with the champagne) until 10pm, I awoke to a cooked dinner and the galley cleaned up. What a treat! Thank you Captain Bill! The rest of the night was rolly as the wind and swell are still up. We eventually went ashore today after Bill pumped up the inflatable dinghy.
Rangiroa is charming! It reminded me of the quiet seaside 'shacky' type places we used to frequent in the 70s and 80s in our kombi. The locals living in relaxed dwellings along the beach didn't mind if we walked along in their yards to reach our dinghy. The road is ideal for bicycle riding and the tiny local store has all the essentials and promises to have baguettes tomorrow.

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18/08/2010 | Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hey, must be strange being back in the rat race after all those amazing experiences, not sure if im looking forward to that...

Isabelle
Coincidences
08/08/2010, Mooloolaba

This photo was taken of Shanty, now Pink Lady when we were berthed in Kawana Waters Marina between September and November 2007 just prior to Valiam leaving her home port for 2 years to circumnavigate the world. (the long way)

I bought Jessica Watson's book today, 'True Spirit' and recognised the name Shanty. My journal entry:

Thursday 27th September 2007
We were now berthed at Kawana Waters Marina which was much easier to get jobs done on the boat. How I appreciated being to step on and off the boat as well as the hot showers in the amenities block. It was easier for friends and family to visit us too. Next to us is a small yacht called Shanty whose owner Trevor is a friendly chap, often stepping off to work with his brief case. We chatted about our coming voyage and although he said he enjoyed sailing along the east coast, he was now ready to sell Shanty. Occasionally we had a glass of wine together, enjoying the sunsets. We weren't to know then, that Shanty was to become a very famous boat. Jessica Watson's sponsor bought her and she was renamed Ella's Pink Lady. Jessica, a local girl, became the youngest person to sail around the world non stop unassisted in Ella's Pink Lady at age 16.

PS. My editor Yolande is working hard on my book Sailing in my Sarong , so publishing here we come!

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Valiam out for a Sunday sail
07/08/2010, Mooloolaba

Liam and Kath on the foredeck

Last weekend Bill's brother John, who lives in Vienna came to visit with his son Oscar. He had been following our circumnavigation and was keen to go for a sail. Our son Liam and his girlfriend Kath completed the crew. It was a cool overcast Queensland winter morning with a 10-15 knot southwesterly. Kath was keen to see the whales which are currently migrating north. Despite seeing Australia Zoo's whale watching boat disappearing over the horizon and keeping our eyes focused in that direction we didn't see any. A couple of dolphins entertained us just outside Mooloolaba harbour so we had to be content with that.

My manuscript for my book is currently in the hands of my friend Yolande who will be completing the final editing before publishing. I am working hard to get 'Sailing in my Sarong' published well before Christmas. I will let everyone know when it is!

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22/08/2010 | Kath
I'm famous!
Our Cruising Family - La Barca are at the Sydney Boat Show
29/07/2010, Sydney

SYDNEY BOAT SHOW 29 July - 1 August. The Norris Family with their yacht La Barca will be there to tell their story of their 4 year circumnavigation.

I would like write a small tribute to the amazing La Barca family we met in Bonaire, Dutch Antilles in May 2009. We sailed across the Pacific together and formed a very close bond. Bronwyn and I pursued our shared passion for drawing and painting and Bill and Adam shared a passion for a good red, fishing and sailing their vessels as fast as they could! Jack and Amy became our adopted grandchildren and showed me how wonderful it is to be totally free and uninhibited as a child living on a yacht travelling the world.

We were honoured to share La Barca's world circumnavigation celebration in Port Resolution on Tanna, Vanuatu. From my ship's journal 16th November 2009:
The volcano Mt Yasur was billowing smoke as we left for Australia. Climbing the rim was one of the highlights of our visit to Tanna. Celebrating La Barca's circumnavigation was the other highlight. Wearing our exquisite bejeweled saris, sipping champagne while Adam cooked pizzas on an open fire on the cliff top, we looked fondly down at our yachts below. The volcano was a glowing florescent orange. It was an evening to remember always.

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La Barca
28/07/2010, Suwarrow Sept 2009

Here she is leaving Suwarrow on route to Samoa. This was the day the tsunami struck Samoa but we didn't notice a thing at sea.

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SAILING in my SARONG - Book title
26/07/2010, Around the World - a 30 year dream

My book is taking shape and I expect to have the manuscript ready for publishing very soon. Its all very exciting! The drawing on the cover is one I sketched in Kuna Yala (San Blas Islands)

You can contact me by email : valiam1@hotmail.com

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28/05/2010 | Julie Fullerton
Hi guys...how lovely to hear from you. Are you in Mooloolaba somewhere? Sam and I are living in Maleny at the moment. It would be great to catch up. I'd love to hear about the book
13/06/2010 | Dawn Ireland
Hello! I just found your blog, my hubby and i will be retired and full time sailers in a few years. I would love to read your book. Do you have a web-site for it? Are you sending out emails when it is published? Would love to know when it is out. Thanks and enjoy your travels! Dawn Ireland
13/06/2010 | William Anderson
Hi Dawn, my manuscript is almost finished ready for editing. I will let you know when it is published via email. Thank you for your interest and dont leave it too long before you go sailing! Linda
One year ago...............
17/07/2010, Mooloolaba

Photo : that famous mahi mahi just before we arrived in Nuku Hiva, Marquesas after a 17 day passage from Galapagos. 1 year ago!

I have just returned from riding my pushbike to Point Cartwright lighthouse where we met up with friends Steve and Dee (Seren) paragliding from the cliff. Steve phoned half an hour ago knowing we lived in the area. What fun to meet up with our yachtie friends looking out to sea watching Steve fly around. The rest of my week has been very timetabled as I became used to going to work. Bill is about to start work also and is not looking forward to commuting up to two hours each day. Being back in the same jobs feels strange. Our friends are also busy on treadmills with each minute planned and timetabled. Visits are limited and 'scheduled' into busy lives. How I miss the relaxed camaraderie with yachties!

This time last year we were five days into our passage from Galapagos to Marquesas. I can still feel the motion of the boat, the pure smell of the salty sea air, the exhilaration of averaging 7 to 8 knots, catching a large glistening wahoo and savouring the flavour of fresh fish at sea. It was exactly a year ago that the Ecuadorian fishing boat called us up on the radio wanting a chat. I miss the challenge and excitement of our adventure together and will again relish and make the most of our next voyage. Valiam awaits us!

Editing 1st draft of my complete book Sailing in my Sarong. Wont be long now...

From our ship's Journal one year ago:
Position:8 54.996S 140 05.894W
30 July 2009
After a fast 17 days at sea we have crossed almost half the Pacific from Galapagos to the Marquesas! It's good to be here and have that huge long passage over with (3054 nm). We averaged 180 m per day and 7.5 knots overall. (More, as this is in a straight line!!)We are now relaxing and enjoying fresh baguette with camembert accompanied by a cold white wine. We are surrounded by high jagged mountains surrounding the bay. The town is very laid back with everything we need (including wifi internet from the boat even if it's a bit slow). We will be truly relaxed when our fellow yachtie friends join us in 4-5 days. We are very pleased with Valiam's performance - most yachts take 21 days+. We got a shock to see her covered in slime above the waterline and barnacles but all the yachts here have arrived like that. The anchorage is a little rolly but not too bad. We slept well last night.

Not long before we arrived we caught a HUGE mahi mahi. Our fridge is now full of fish. The German family on Spica joined us for a drink last night. The children were in fine spirits after their long passage arriving the same day as we did. The catamaran Bill was stuck on in the Panama Canal as line handler is here also after a 25 day passage motoring some of the way. It's good that they made it here safely. La Barca still has some considerable distance to go and won't be here for a week or two. We hope to meet up with them somewhere along the route back to Australia.



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20/07/2010 | Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hey There!

Great to hear from you. Can't wait for the book :) Always good to hear of other yachtie's experiences.

Here is the link for posting multiple images;

http://www.sailblogs.com/wiki/index.php/Multiple_Images_Per_Post

Any questions let me know :)

Isabelle
Valiam in Moreton Bay
03/07/2010, Moreton Island, SE Queensland

After a 7 month rest after her circumnavigation, we took Valiam out for a gallop to Tangalooma and Cape Moreton. Of course the tide and wind were against us on our way to Tangalooma and the ship plotter didn't work but we arrived feeling cool but calm after dark, anchoring down from the wrecks. With a south westerly blowing it was not a good anchorage. It was predicted to become a strong wind warning on Saturday so we only wanted to be in Moreton Bay for 2 nights.
Navigating our way through the sand bars we found the channel straight up to Cape Moreton. Even at half tide we navigated through at 3m at one point. I was not happy to see the bottom so clearly! However once we arrived at beautiful windswept Cape Moreton we were protected from the south west. With only a couple of fishing trawlers for company we enjoyed a magical afternoon and evening. The next morning we were treated to splashes and whales leaping in the far distance. We also received a friendly visit from the QLD water police checking our safety gear!
It was cold so my sheepskin boots, fleecy jacket and woollen beanie remained on! A brisk sail back to Mooloolaba in 5 hours, we just managed to pull up the mooring ropes before dark.
It was wonderful to be back on board again but I do prefer sailing in my sarong!
more pics in gallery

If you are new to our website and want to find out more about our circumnavigation go to older posts.
For a pictorial overview click on the little camera and scroll down the many albums in the gallery.
Click on contents and you will see each post since we began our voyage in 2007.
ENJOY!

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Magazine articles
26/06/2010

 Download julyphillipines[1].pdf_cruising_helmsman.pdf (1.2MB)

Cruising Helmsman July 2010 Edition. Article on the Philippines. Next article will be "Linda's 10 favourite spots around the world"

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Reunited with La Barca crew - Pittwater, Sydney
13/06/2010, Elvina Bay

Winter in Sydney is very different to cruising the Pacific! We drove down to visit Adam, Bronwyn and the children who now live in a gorgeous waterfront cottage in Pittwater. La Barca is on a mooring in view of the cottage enjoying a well earned rest after her circumnavigation. However we did take her out for the day yesterday dressed in our winter sailing clothes. It was a sunny day with many boats out on the harbour. We anchored for lunch at the Basin. Bronwyn was skipper as Adam was working as a skipper of a water taxi. He however did deliver fish and chips to us! Everything is set up for boaties here. 'Cappucino Afloat' is another service! It's been wonderful spending quality time with our 'cruising family' and we hope to see them again soon! We will sail Valiam down in the summer when the winds are more favourable.

We met La Barca in Bonaire, Lesser Antilles south Caribbean in May 2009. When we arrived I was excited to see an Aussie flag and called out 'G'day mate!' Adam buzzed over in the dinghy with Jack and we've been close friends ever since. We sailed together to Kuna Yala, Cartagena (Colombia) and transited the Panama canal together. Across the Pacific we met again in Galapagos, Suwarrow, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and Brisbane. Tanna island, Vanuatu was where La Barca 'closed the circle', flew all her flags and where we helped celebrate wearing saris, cooking pizzas on the cliff top and drinking champagne. A day to remember forever.
After arriving in Brisbane 2 weeks after us last December, we celebrated both our circumnavigations on board Valiam all 6 us living together for 3 days in Mooloolaba - a bond of true friendship!
Of course the champagne flowed once more during our Pittwater reunion. Six months down the track it was good for each of us to 'debrief' , as adjusting to living on the land has its challenges. I think life on the sea was meant to be!

La Barca will be at the Sydney Boat Show in August to share their family world circumnavigation. Go and say 'hi' if you are there!
Valiam will be featured in the July edition of Cruising Helmsman in our article on the Philippines.

We were also pleased to reunite with Spica from Germany recently when they sailed into Mooloolaba. We met Luise Lars and the kids in Galapagos . Spica is now In Townsville and will say hello to Vashti our daughter and family. That's all our cruising news!

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Welcome Home Jessica Watson
06/06/2010, Mooloolaba

It was fun in the sun on Valiam drinking champagne as Jessica motored past. Jen was in the spirit popping on a pink bra over her clothes at the last minute. Good on ya Jess! Congratulations on your achievement of being the youngest sailing around the world non stop , alone, unassisted. Well done.

Valiam stood proud on her mooring with all her around the world country flags up. She looked very colourful. Bill checked our chart plotter and I have been wrong all along. Our circumnavigation Mooloolaba to Moololaba was actually 30,546 nautical miles in 2 years!!

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Valiam's route around the world
19/05/2010, Mooloolaba

Many people have asked us for our complete world route. Sailblogs only displays a small section of our voyage when you click on ''Current Position". However if you download Google Earth you can see an accurate track of our circumnavigation. The flat map shown in this photo is not very accurate but does show our route. A few facts:
Departed home port Mooloolaba 5 Nov 2007Departed Townsville, Australia 26 Nov 2007 (our 30th wedding anniversary)
Countries visited (in order) Papua New Guinea, Palau, Philippines, Borneo Malaysia, Johor Malaysia, Singapore, Sunda Strait Indonesia, Cocos Keeling Islands, Rodrigues, Mauritius, Reunion, South Africa, St Helena, Brazil, French Guiana, Tobago, Grenada, Bonaire, Colombia, San Blas (Kuna Yala), Panama, La Perlas, Galapagos, Marquesas, Tuamotus, Bora Bora (Society Islands),Suwarrow (Cook Islands), Samoa, Fiji, Tanna Is (Vanuatu)
Arrived Brisbane Australia 23 Nov 2009
Arrived back in Mooloolaba 26 November 2009
(32nd Wedding anniversary)
Total nautical miles : 28,395 log book 30,546 on chart plotter Mooloolaba to M'ba
crossed equator 4 times
circumnavigation time: 2 years
fastest passage : Galapagos - Marquesas 3054nm 17 days av 7.5knots
fastest daily run : 224 nm French Guiana to Tobago. 667nm in 3 days
Valiam's length : 45ft 13.7m
beam 4.2m
draft 2.1m
weight : 8-9 tonnes
Valiam is a Gary Lidgard design built from plywood with epoxy overlay. timber/plywood interior and cabin
sail area : 100sqm Saxby Sails, All Yacht Spars Rigging

I am busy working with my editor on my book which I hope will be published this year.
I have also added other yachts with websites we met along the way. Dagmar is currently in Galapagos. (James was one of our line handlers transiting the Panama canal). Bisacyane Bay we met in Suwarrow. Sadly Garry and Lisa lost their yacht in Pago Pago in the tsunami. But they have their lives so they are more fortunate than some. Their story in in the current Cruising Helmsman magazine as well as on their website. Our story "A Route Less Travelled - Philippines" will be published in July edition of the Cruising Helmsman. Here we describe our decision to sail to the Philippines via PNG and Palau after leaving so late from Australia (end November). From the Philippines we sailed to Malaysia and Singapore and then via Sunda Strait Indonesia. It is an alternative route to Cocos Keeling Islands rather than via Darwin if wanting to avoid the cyclone season.

If you have any questions about our voyage you can email us on:
valiam1@hotmail.com

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16/04/2010 | Tito
I just spent 1 hour of my morning reading your story! I've been going back and forward, looking at the photos, and so on. It is so nice and inspiring to understand what goes on every day on a long trip like this.
Thanks for sharing, and I will add you as favorites for future references.
Tito
Sailing in my Sarong
18/05/2010, Around the world - a 30 year dream

I love this photo. Hope to put this one in the book. Taken by Bronwyn Adams of La Barca in Fiji. (Oct 2009)

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Young Sailors
14/05/2010, Mooloolaba, Australia

This is our grand daughter Caylan who is keen to sail around the world with Nanny and Pa next time!
16 May 2010
CONGRATULATIONS JESSICA!I have been following Jessica Watson's journey with much emotion especially now as she sails home after completing her circumnavigation. What a brave young woman! We need more adventurous young people like her. And she comes from our neck of the woods - Sunshine Coast. We are all bursting with pride and look forward to welcoming her to her home town. To sail around the world alone at the age of 16 totally unassisted is a fantastic achievement. Well done Jessica!

Bill jokingly said he would encourage Caylan to do it at 15!! (in the photo above at age 7and a half.) I have been busy working on my book and can confidently say I am half way there now. I still hope to publish in the next few months. My book will be aiming at anyone especially dreamers and women to say 'Hey you can do it!' Yes it does take confidence and guts to sail around the world and some knowledge. I am lucky to have such a wonderful skipper in Bill aka Captain Underpants! My book will be reflective in nature as well as honest as I write about our circumnavigation. I have used our website, journal entries, emails, conversations and memories. I have broached the most talked about subjects of pirates and storms. I am also conveying our emotions as we sailed long passages and made landfalls in some of the most amazing countries. Everywhere we were greeted with warmth and I have been hugely impressed with the human spirit wherever we traveled.

CRUISING HELMSMAN magazine - July issue will have my article 'The Route Less Traveled' featuring the Philippines. I will also be writing an article 'Linda's Ten Top Spots Around the World'. I will let you know when this will be published.

In the meantime we are enjoying the comforts of a house and have had a stream of visitors including Vashti and the children. It's all been lots of fun. We had to move Valiam off her pile berth mooring for a few days as the harbour authority had to dredge the river. Sitting in the cockpit of Valiam at anchor outside the Wharf and the mansions of Minyana Island we felt a surge of happiness to be on board again. She will always be our 'number 1' home.

We still hope to sail the world again in an easterly direction next time via Chile and Patagonia.

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Garden Party for Gena's Sculpture
05/05/2010, Pt Cartwright, Mooloolaba, Australia

We partied on with friends being entertained by Jackie's grandson Kody doing an amazing fire twirling act. photos of the gathering can be seen in the latest album. (click on the little camera)

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Mauritius Sculpture welcomed in Oz
05/05/2010, Pt Cartwright

photo above taken when we rowed to Valiam with grand daughter Caylan to bring Gena's sculpture ashore

I was taken back to September 2008 last night as I welcomed Gena's sculpture to our garden in Australia with friends. The sculpture was given to me by my firend and mentor Lewis Dick and she's travelled across 3 oceans on Valiam and finally made it ashore in Australia last week. This was the story:

A students' work - L'ecole de Sculpture:
Sculpture by Gena
From my journal September 2008
Always aware of his own humble beginnings Lewis is passionate about helping the poor and underprivileged children of Mauritius. His garden and small gallery is full of sculptures made by his students. One sculpture drew my attention each time I went into the garden. It is of a mother with a child on her back. The mothers face is a picture of anger and grief. The 14 year old girl - Gena who carved this sculpture is an illegitimate child. Her mother was shunned by the local Mauritian community as having a child out of wedlock is a big stigma. Her mother pretended the child was someone else's carrying her on her back and went about saying she was the babysitter. Lewis said that this girl got rid of her negative emotions by creating this sculpture. She is now a successful nurse in a local hospital. On our last visit Lewis insisted on giving me this sculpture. The sculpture is now part of Linda's exhibition "Images from around the world" We will eventually place her in the garden at home in Australia.
La Caudan
Port Louis
Mauritius September 2008


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Back on land
17/04/2010, Point Cartwright, Mooloolaba

It feels strange to be sitting at my desk in our house after nearly 3 years. It is still a luxury to have unlimited hot showers, a washing machine, dishwasher, coffee machine, big TV, and constant internet. After spending a week making the house 'homey' after it has been rented by young people while we were gone I finally swam in the ocean enjoying the 2 minute walk to get there! The ocean is still calling strongly and one of the first things I did was plasted a huge map of the world on our living room wall with our circumnavigation route marked. Every time I see a map of the world I think of ourselves being blown around the globe on our small wooden boat. It still feels unreal. I experienced unexpected tears as I packed up my things when we left Valiam. Bill and I reassure each other that we will be cruising again! In the meantime we will get our house renovations underway to gain maximum rental for when we cruise again.

The hardest thing to get used to living in a house again is the huge space to keep clean!! On a boat there is very little housework! Soon our grandchildren will be arriving from Townsville which will be a big distraction from writing my book! It will be fun to take them in the dinghy out to Valiam and maybe have a 'sleep-over'!

To think this time last year we were in French Guiana visiting the Ariane Space Station in Kourou. And only a few months ago we were sailing home from Fiji and Vanuatu. We enjoyed a joyful reunion when the La Barca crew sailed into Brisbane. We spent a few precious days together on board Valiam before they headed south to Sydney. We were pleased to catch up with friends Steve and Dee on Seren in Brisbane recently. We know of several other yachts in Oz who will be visiting us this year. Valiam will be very obvious on her pile berth mooring as soon as the yachts turn into the river at Mooloolaba. We are following the voyages of other fellow cruisers we met:
Dagmar (Aussies) is now half way between Galapagos and the Marquesas.
Wilhlem (USA)is in Brazil and will soon be heading for Ile du Salut, French Guiana
Marcy (USA)has just left Chile and Patagonia for Hawaii
Vire Nord is now nestled in Simons Town, South Africa
Constante (Singapore) is in Martinique(Caribbean) after several months in Brazil planning to head for France
Luna (Denmark) is on their way to New York from Trinadad
Peerliane (France) we think is still in Mayotte near Madagascar.
Impala (UK)is still being repaired in Ecuador after her dismasting near Galapagos last August.
Tara 111 (NZ)is now back in New Zealand after their 11 year circumnavigation.
Infinity (Caribbean/UK) now in Belize.
The crew of Biscayne Bay (Aussies) are now back in Perth.
L'Attitude (Aussies) were sailing around SE Asia and may now be back in Darwin and Sortilege (Aussies) is back in Darwin whilst Bea and Di enjoy a land based break in Tasmania.
Freo Doctor is back in Fremantle
Sepia (Netherlands) is back home after circumnavigating Africa
Rainbow Chaser (USA) back home and will settle in Alaska
Spica (Germany) is in Yamba
Chautaqua (USA) is in Sydney. We hope to see them soon.
We miss the camaraderie and sharing adventures with fellow yachties! We are also very excited to see Mooloolaba's 16year old Jessica Watson so near completing her non stop circumnavigation. I revisited my feelings of when she could see Australia on her chart plotter. Immense feelings of being totally overwhelmed and not quite believing it's true!


Photo above : Sailing in my sarong on the way to Fiji

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Back on board
17/02/2010, Mooloolaba

It's great to be back 'home' enjoying our own space, our own bed and back doing the usual - the dishes, checking the batteries, rowing ashore and best of all listening to the waves and the wind.

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A new little sailor! Welcome Tahlia Lily Rose
06/02/2010, Townsville

Above : My first cuddle with Tahlia Lily Rose. Caylan is so proud to be a big sister!

Yesterday Tahlia Lily Rose entered the world weighing in at 8lb 6oz at Townsville Birth Centre, QLD, Australia. We have been waiting for her arrival since we came to stay with our daughter Vashti and family before Christmas. She is absolutely adorable and the most beautiful baby in the world of course. (The names Lily Rose are those of Bill's grandmother. )We first heard the news that we were to have another grandchild when we were on passage from Grenada to Bonaire by satellite email. We then knew we had made the right decision to come home in time!

Now we have to tear ourselves away and begin driving the campervan down to Mooloolaba. We will then move back on board Valiam. I do miss her! ( I have also written the first quarter of my book of our voyage. My editor will be busy when I return to Mooloolaba!)

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14/02/2010 | Jennifer
Hi, We got your website from J & I on Dagmar- loved reading it! We are on a 42ft. Bavaria 2001 want to know more about the rigging failure on 'Impala'. Do they have a website? We may set off for Galapagos soon! Jen & Dik on 'Sanjola'
I have started on the book!
15/01/2010, Townsville, AUSTRALIA

As I wait for my daughter Vashti's baby to be born I am typing each day working on my book. The first chapter is completed to the first draft stage. It was the most difficult as I went back to the contstruction of Valiam and a short history of our sailing experience up until we cut our ties to sail around the world. It's harder writing it than I thought as I am including lots of 'nitty gritty' bits, the ups and downs along the way as well as choosing photos and art work. My editor Rose has been fantastic and continues to help me feel inspired. It's like sailing around the world again!

Bill has gone to Melbourne to visit his family and hope to be back in time for our new grandchild's birth. Here's us with Caylan and Joseph in Townsville. Sadly Bill has now had his blond sailing locks cut off. (after this photo was taken)

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Land Tour north QLD Australia : to Cairns and the Daintree

08/01/2010, Cairns (Valiam is in Mooloolaba)

After converting our old Misubishi van into a camper in Townsville we were keen to try her out! A fold out futon sofa bed from Furniture A mart fits snugly into it. Underneath we have our belongings - boxes of cooking utensils, esky, small cooker, folding table and chairs etc.

Our first stop was Cardwell just north of Townsville. We have spent many happy bushwalking hoidays on Hinchinbrook island since the 80s. We could only look at this magnificent island from the beach as we reminisced. On to Cairns we stopped at Mission Beach for lunch. We found a perfect picnic spot on the beach and even had a siesta! We arrived in Cairns and were invited to stay at our friends Sue and Mark's place at the back of Edondton. We hadnt seen them for 15 years so it was exciting to catch up. They didn't even fall asleep when we gave our slide show of our voyage around the world. We know our little snippets and stories that go with the slides off by heart now!

Sue took us to Palm Cove which like all popular seaside holiday places become very similar to each other after a while. Ritzy coffee shops and cafes fronting the esplanade with boutiques of expensive clothes next to one another make it look just like Noosa. When we drove to Port Douglas I was disappointed to see another 'Noosa'. However the roads to and from here border the ocean and forests making it a very scenic drive. Our airconditioning doesnt work so we kept the windows open to try and keep cool.

Travelling in North Queensland at this time of the year is not ideal due to the heat, humidity, and stingers in the ocean. The only places we could swim were in swimming pools,freshwater creeks and waterholes. Even then fresh water crocodiles are about. They dont eat humans like the saltwater crocs do! After a short lunch stop at Port Douglas we drove into the Daintree forest via a river ferry. The forest is spectacular and made me think of my favourite children's book 'Where the Forest meets the Sea'.

Our first campsite at Cape Tribulation was quiet and peaceful under shady trees and mangroves that lead to a grey sand beach. The next morning we swam at Masons waterhole accross the road. The waterhole is easy to get to and felt refreshing and cool. We decided to drive right up to Emmagen creek before the road becomes a 4 wheel drive track. The map showed that there was a swimming hole along a track behind a gate. We couldnt find a gate so just followed the creek bed boulders surrounded by climbing vines and ancient rainforest trees. It was cool and shady after the heat of driving in the van. Not wanting to walk too far we found a place deep enough for another nice cold swim.

Travelling around in the van is quite expensive compared to living on Valiam. Fuel is expensive and unpowered campsites are much more than we thought. $25 for a patch of dirt seems a bit much but then again most campsites have facilities such as a camp kitchen, showers and some even have a pool. For those yachties and travellers who plan to do this trip remember the ferry across to the Daintree is $20.

There are cassowaries living in the rainforest that run accross the road. It's important to drive slowly! We saw two run into the bush. Their head plumage is bright blue red and yellow. They make the poor old emu look very boring in comparison.

Last night we camped at Wonga Beach camping ground. The campsites are very natural and are right behind the beach. The only downside are the mosquitoes! They were the most viscious I have ever come accross! Usually I use natural citronella but in this case even hard core Aeroguard only just managed to keep them off our skin. As soon as we sweated however the Aeroguard didnt work any more. As the van doesnt have mozzie screens we didnt sleep very well! To add to the wildlife experience as I was wandering out of the shower block I nearly stepped on a huge long snake! It was black with a yellow belly which I thought was very poisonous. However the camp gardener said it was a tree snake. To prove this the snake then slithered up a tree. Crikey he was long!!! Welcome back to Oz!

Now we are back in Sue and Mark's comfortable house. The pool is great and we look forward to airconditioning tonight and no mosquitoes!!

The photo above was taken in Cardwell at the camping ground.

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Stunning North Queensland Australia
07/01/2010, Wonga Beach

This is Wonga Beach just south of the Daintree

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Christmas and New Year in Townsville
30/12/2009, north Queensland, Australia

31 December 2009
Happy New Year everyone! How exciting - another decade...2010 has a great ring to it!

Every morning I am woken by the small thumping sounds of children running and jumping upstairs. The fan is whirring high above our heads as I slowly get up to enjoy another day with our family. The rainy season has started as we have had regular downpours each day. Our 2 year old grandson Joe is fascinated watching the rain fall from the clouds on to the trees, grass and flowers "having a drink".

We have been busy fitting out our old Mitsubishi van as a camper so we can travel cheaply on land. We purchased a folding futon sofa bed from A mart that fits perfectly into the back. I have made curtains from floral sari material I bought in Fiji. We have bought pots, pans a stove, esky etc and are ready to roll! However due to the rains we are hesitant to go anywhere. Our 3rd grandchild is due in 4 weeks and we dont want to miss the birth! We are planning to go to Cairns and Port Douglas for a look around. Will the travelling bug ever disappear?
As for my book - I have begun making notes and compiling all my journal entries, emails, photos etc. It will be a mammoth task but I am ready for the challenge!
Besides I get to sail around the world again!

26 Decemver 2009
Since arriving by plane in Townsville a week ago we have spent quality time with our children and grandchildren. I have looked forward to this time for what seems like years! The last 2 Christmases we were on board Valiam. In 2007 we were out at sea between Papua New Guinea and last year we were in port in Durban, South Africa. I am feeling content to be with the family but each time I think of Valiam moored in Mooloolaba or receive an email from Yachtie friends I yearn to be cruising again.

Everyone asks whether we are going to look for work! This is not on our agenda at the moment. As long as the tenants are in our house we have a small income to keep us going for a while. We need a few months to just 'chillout' and not commit to anything that requires us to be in the one place for any set time.

I have begun working on my book and have found an editor/mentor who is very supportive and enthusiastic. The book will be the story of our circumnavigation, our sailing history, Valiam's construction, my reflections as well as my sketches. I hope to publish in 2010 and it will be a visually appealing book with lots of photos and drawings!

Above is a photo of us with our daughter Vashti on Christmas day. We are enjoying a bottle of Moet champagne sent to us by our dear friends Florence and Pierre in Switzerland. Thanks guys! We'll see you in a couple of years when we circumnavigate the world the other way around!
(There are more photos in our photo gallery of what we are up to now we are back in Oz)

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Back home in Mooloolaba, Australia
09/12/2009, Mooloolah river, Point Cartwright

Back home.....

It feels a bit strange to be back on our mooring after sailing around the world. Sometimes it feels like a dream. I look around me and see all the lovely things I have collected to remind myself that yes, we have been away. Valiam looks beautiful - her paint may be a little faded but she looks quite pristine after sailing nearly 30,000 miles around the globe.

I have tried to analyse my feelings since our return. The time we are having with family and friends at present makes me feel welcomed and loved but I yearn to be at sea again. Our house after 2 years of being rented out needs some attention and we've been on a treadmill of sorts getting all our paperwork in order (licenses, insurance etc etc). Bill has been busy working on our son Liam's old car that was left to rot in the carport. He is determined to get it roadworthy and registered so we have four wheeled transport. In the meantime we have been riding around on a large old motor bike our brother in law restored for us.

It is busy at the local shopping centre with Christmas shoppers. I can't think about Christmas except in terms of seeing our daughter Vashti, her husband Craig and our beautiful grandchildren Caylan and Joe in Townsville. I haven't seen them for 13 months so our reunion will be emotional. I am planning to stay with Vashti until after our 3rd grandchild is born (due 31st January). As for any further plans they are rather loose at the moment. We may move back into our house in a few months or we may decide to sail Valiam south to Sydney for a month or two. It feels strange to be back. My body is here but my mind is usually somewhere else! Memories from the last 2 years keep sliding into my thoughts. I draw comfort from these and keep remembering my yachtie friend Natalie's comment "Memories are better than things."

Our dear friends Bronwyn, Adam and their two children Jack and Amy are due in Brisbane next week on La Barca. We are so looking forward to seeing them again. It will be good to relive our own homecoming with their return to Oz. They left Noumea yesterday in a good strong breeze and are going well. They are sending us their daily position and asking questions about the conditions of Moreton Bay. This helps us feel we are still cruising!

In the next few months I will be working on my book. I hope to publish it in 2010. The book will be the story of our circumnavigation, as well as featuring my artwork and photography. I will include our early days together on our first boat as well as the construction of Valiam and the final decision to 'let go'. My message to you all out there is - 'Follow your dreams. Make them happen. Life is too short to waste a precious moment'

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Valiam's World Circumnavigation party
29/11/2009, La Balsa park Point Cartwright Mooloolaba

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made our welcome home so special. A day to remember for always. We really appreciate the effort you all made to be there for us (especially my brother Roy and his wife Wendy who flew in as a surprise from Canberra) It meant the I was together with all my siblings which only happens every few years. Thank you so much to everyone for all the beautiful messages - I will reply to you all individually as soon as life becomes a little more 'normal' The above photo shows how ecstatic we were. We are very happy and proud. I think the photos say more than what I can write in words at present. (many in the photo gallery)

This photo taken by Marion Jonkers, Sunshine Coast photographer

(1.)TO SEE OUR WHOLE CIRCUMNAVIGATION SHIPS LOGS GO TO 'CONTENTS' AND CLICK ON WHEREVER YOU WANT.
(2.)ALSO YOU CAN GO TO THE MAP CURRENT POSITION THEN CLICK ON THE SMALL YELLOW BOX. UNDER THAT CLICK ON GOOGLE EARTH AND YOU WILL SEE OUR WHOLE CIRCUMNAVIGATION! (YOU MAY HAVE TO DOWNLOAD 'PLUG IN')
(3.) PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK ON LITTLE CAMERA) HAS ALL THE PHOTOS OF OUR VOYAGE.

I better start working on my book - hope to publish this year! (lots of juicy bits not on the website!!)

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Valiam and crew in the newspaper
28/11/2009, La Balsa park, Point Cartwright, Mooloolaba

Thanks Sunshine coast Daily!

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Valiam has arrived home to Mooloolaba after Circumnavigating the World!
26/11/2009, Mooloolah river Pt Cartwright Buddina QLD AUSTRALIA

Valiam and her crew Bill and Linda have arrived safely in her home port. After a beautiful sail in from Tangalooma she is now berthed on her mooring. The above photo was taken by our friend Jennifer who was positioned at the Point Cartwright lighthouse.

COMPLETED WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATION!

The Captain and crew wish to announce that Valiam has circumnavigated the world.

Valiam has flown around the world in 2 years!
Australia departure passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Townsville: 23.11.2007
Australia arrival passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Brisbane 23.11.2009

Departure home port Mooloolaba: 5 November 2007
Arrived back in home port Mooloolaba: 26 November

30 countries
28,398 nautical miles

Join us to celebrate and welcome home Valiam:
Saturday 28th November 2pm

La Balsa Park (near boat ramp and public jetty)
Marine Parade
Point Cartwright
Buddina QLD

BYO

Captain Bill Anderson
Linda Frylink Anderson (crew)

Email: valiam1@hotmail.com

More congratulations messages:
SO EXCITING !!!!!!
Brrrrraaaavo ! Bravo !
and so sad to miss the celebration of this big tour all around the
world !
I would be so glad to be with you but my mind will be there for sure
and next saturday I ' have a T-Punch ,thinking of you in Nantes !!!!!!!
Thank's for the news
Amicalement

Michèle Durand
Balthazar
(Nantes, FRANCE)

Dear Linda and Bill,
It was such a privilege to meet you both to-day and to have a glimpse
of what may lay ahead for us.
I'm so keen to slip the lines and get out there. As soon as I left
your yacht I called my husband at work and relayed Bill's message "to
just go". I expect we will have big discussions this evening and more plans.
Talk to you soon.

Susanne and Jerry.
Thylacines
(Brisbane AUS)

Well done Valiam and her fun crew.
We are at this moment in Mexico in the town of Porto Morelos up the coast from Belize, we will heading back to Belize later this week and will raise a glass of cerveza to you 3.
Love you all
Mark & Lee
Infinity
(BELIZE)

Hey Bill and Linda,
Congratulations, Just got onto email since weekend, I'm in Buenos Aires, took a pic of the sunset from the plane to West on the night of 22nd, its the sun that was lighting up the pacific the day you got back, will miss following you.
Love
John Anderson
(Vienna, AUSTRIA)

Congrats to both of you! What a fab trip on a fast boat! We're toasting you as we write!
Cheers,
Peter & Ginger
Marcy
Seattle USA (currently in SOUTH AMERICA)


Dear Linda and Bill
Congratulations on your achievement, will miss reading your web page each
day. Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.
I'm sure you are looking forward to seeing our beautiful grandchildren.
They are just delightful children, I am so proud of them.
Love Dawn and Michael
(Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Dear Linda and Bill,

It must feel great to have done this noble activity. Congratulations to you both. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you

Ray Madigan,
Honolulu HAWAII
Hi Bill and Linda,
Welcome back home. Glad to hear you back. I admire your accomplishment for the last two years, I could say its been a big success and you've done a great job. Travelling around the world i guess is everybody's dream and it's a journey of a lifetime. Peter I and my 3 boys are very happy for both of you. Wish you all success, good life and happiness for the rest of your life.
Regards,
Peter, Myra and 3 boys Sunshine coast AUS

Just a congratulations note from an avid sailing reader that has
followed your travels from afar for the past 8 or 9 months. My wife
and I are considering sailing and here is our question:
How much do you think it cost over the two years? We struggle with
trying to budget in advance for something like this. This is why we
followed your trip regularly because we feel that our needs and love
to travel are similar to yours.
Again, congrats on a safe return. I'm going to miss following you
guys!!

Thomas Fondren
Edmond, OK USA

Hi Linda and Bill
CONGRATULATIONS on an amazing achievement!!!! Happy homecoming, hope it's not too difficult getting your landlegs back.
cheers

Marion Jonkers
Woombye AUS

Congratulations and welcome home!
love
Fiona
Sydney AUS

My darlings. I'm so proud and happy for you. I'll be at the celebration--in spirit!
Love,
Nancy
New York USA


"Congratulations and welcome home to QLD"
Linda Cox
Brisbane AUS

We are in Patagonia right now. You can sail here in a couple of weeks no problem with your fast boat. Let us know what cove to meet you in! Pack warm clothes.....

Pete & Ginger
Marcy
Seattle USA
(currently in Patagonia, CHILE)

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Valiam on her way back to her home port Mooloolaba
24/11/2009, Rivergate Marina, Bribane

COMPLETED WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATION!

24th November 2009
Rivergate Marina\
Brisbane

The Captain and crew wish to announce that Valiam has circumnavigated the world.

Valiam has flown around the world in 2 years!
Australia departure passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Townsville: 23.11.2007
Australia arrival passport stamp on board sailing vessel Valiam - Brisbane 23.11.2009

Departure home port Mooloolaba: 5 November 2007
Due to arrive back in home port Mooloolaba: 26 November

30 countries
28,350 nautical miles

Join us to celebrate and welcome home Valiam:

Saturday 28th November 2pm

La Balsa Park
Marine Parade
Point Cartwright
Buddina QLD

BYO

Captain Bill Anderson
Linda Frylink Anderson (crew)

Email: valiam1@hotmail.com


"How do you feel?" "What are you going to do now?" are the main questions asked by family and friends.
I feel tired today from the last few days! On Sunday 22nd the wind picked up considerably blowing at a good 25 knots from the northeast.
"She's sniffed the home paddock" says the captain
Valiam was doing 8-9 knots. We could see the hazy outline of land through the spray.
"Is it really Australia? It feels like when we saw Africa!"
We were buzzing with elation.
"We did it!"
The extra speed got us into Moreton Bay by about 4pm. As Moreton Bay is quite shallow the wind wave made for rough conditions. I sent sms message to family and friends near the Sunshine coast. We took the mainsail down to slow Valiam down. She continued galloping past Caloundra. Our friend Jackie and son Sean drove down from the Glasshouse Mountains to watch us sail past. It was lovely knowing someone was there to welcome us!! A dolphin also leapt around in the waves behind us.

The ship plotter was working so we could work out which way the ships were going as it got dark. In the old days when we used to sail Valiam in Moreton Bay we had no electronic gadgetry - not even a depth sounder! The chart plotter and electric autopilot made it so much easier to negotiate the channels when we were so tired.

Next morning we were at the Rivergate Marina quarantine dock (behind a locked cage!) in the Brisbane River. As we pulled up a young woman named Clare was there to catch our lines.
Elated and tired I said
"We've just circumnavigated the world!"
"If I had known I would have worn my good clothes!" she said.

It wasn't long before Customs and immigration officials turned up followed immediately by Quarantine officials. Everything went well. They were pleased with our prepared paperwork and all the 'quarantine items' that had been sprayed in garbage bags. Not one live insect could be found. I was happy that none of my wooden items or baskets had to be taken away.
"You did a good job on the spraying" she said.
So the only thing they took away were 6 knobs of garlic, a cucumber, 2 onions, a piece of ginger and the spice necklace that was hanging in the cabin.

We are feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything and we are glad we have a few days to get to Mooloolaba to prepare for our official homecoming. As the weather will be unsuitable for us to sail in on Saturday we will be arriving on Thursday. This will give us a chance to secure new lines on to our pile berth mooring in the river. On Saturday we try to tie up to the public jetty (near the boat ramp) for a couple of hours from 2pm to celebrate with our family and friends.

The last 2 days have been busy seeing our family in Brisbane. Tonight we will spend a quiet night at Tangalooma. Tomorrow is our 32nd wedding anniversary. I can't believe it took us 30 years to finally fulfill our dream. But we did it.

Thank you everyone for your messages. I will reply to you all individually when the fuss has died down. In the meantime here they are:

SMS messages as they came in:

(When we could see land - and passed Caloundra, AUS)

We're waving! (Jackie and Sean drove down from Peachester to watch us sail past.)

Woohoo! Keep us posted. Xxx Yolanda (Brisbane, AUS)

Woohoo! How does it feel? Liam (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Waving and having bubbly 4 u. Looking forward to seeing you x Elaine (Mooloolah, AUS)

Buckets of bubbles and much joy x Jenny (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

wow ... around the world!!!! Well done you two.
rain rain rain here. Pete (Melbourne, AUS)

Oh . I thought you were going to do a quick lap of Australia. Expect to see you in Melbourne next week. Pete (Melbourne, AUS)

Congratulations XoXo Liam (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Well done guys! Big hugs. Have a well deserved sleep. C u soon Carol Jerry Erica (Lismore, NSW. AUS)

Welcome home. Well done around the world safely. See you both real soon lol Jen (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

EMAILS:

Dear Bill & Linda, wow, you've made it! It's going to feel very strange for a while until you make plans to get back to the reality of everyday life in Oz. What are you going to do with yourselves now? That is the next big question! Party for while first I suppose. Seen you soon. I can say that now. Love Janet and Isadora (Castlemaine, AUS)


I can't beleive it's already finished!!! What am I going to read when I have two minutes now....? I had my habits of going to your homepage and check the new texts and pictures!
Anyway, good for you, you made it. It's fantastic! No many people have the chance (or enough will) to concretize their dreams. So you can be really proud.
We wish you a good reunion with your country, family and friends.
Cheers and love
Florence, Pierre & co
Steckborn, SWITZERLAND

Dear Bill & Linda,
As I write this I have just had a telcon from Peter telling me of your arrival in Moreton Bay so CONGRATULATIONS on your safe return home from your circumnavigation.
We are all very glad that you two have made it back safely and everyone is proud and happy for your achievement. Glad you're back safely ! ! Love from Dad/Mum/Gwen (Chewton, Vic AUS)

More SMS messages:

Welcome home. In Arnhem land now. C u at xmas? (Yolande, Brisbane AUS)

Congratulations.......glad you both returned safely.....will catch up for a drink would loveto hear about your travels... Louella (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Well done that is a fantastic achievement. I have text Roy to let him know. Xx Wendy (Canberra, AUS)

Congratulations and welcome home! Kath Hughes (Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Hip hip Hooray Hip hip Hoory see you Saturday. Jackie (Peachester, AUS)

More emails:
Wow, congratulations. Wish we could be there to join in the fun.
Leslie & Philip
Carina
Washington, USA

Well done guys! See you when we get back to Brisbane.
John & Jane Tara 3 Wellington NZ

Hey Captain and Crew,Congratulations ! Fabulous news and what amazing memories you both will have of this amazing feat. Enjoy the party...we will not arrive unitl 11th Jan..... Must catch up for a drink. You and the boat.... Awesome...bathe in the glory! Di and Bruce.(Sunshine Coast AUS/previously Singapore)
Dear Bill and Linda, Congratulations to you courageous people. That is a great achievement and you have every right to be very proud of yourselves.Wish we could join you for the celebrations and will certainly be raising a glass to you both on Saturday.Love,Richard and Hazel(Capetown, SOUTH AFRICA)

Congratulations guys! FANTASTIC!Enjoy your celebration and sorry I can't be there.Gill xx (Canberra, AUS)

BONZUR of mauritius
Dear bill&linda
Congratulation for your trip around the world, Am very happy now because you returned back home,
Now I have internet home,i will keep in touch with you many time, because you missed me and family a lot.
Many times we talk about your visit in mauritius with visiters and show picture.
2010 we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of ecole de sculpture of bambous,you will be my guest.
hoping that you &jennyfer family should come at the same time.
waiting for you in 2010
Bye
Lewis,josiane&FAMILY.
(Bambous, MAURITIUS)

Dear Linda & Bill,
Congratulations on achieving your dream! What a wonderful accomplishment!
Linda & Bill we are so proud of you both for daring to reach for the stars!
Thank you also for your emails from around the world. We hope that life on
the Coast does not disappoint now that you have had such a wonderful
adventure.
We both wish you a happy homecoming & good land legs! Love, Alva & Alf Muller.
(Sunshine Coast, AUS)

Dear wonderful brave and good sailors.!!
Good to hear you made it !!And exact two years,Wish you good luck and steady
legs on the land.Sorry but we cannot make it in time to celebrate with all
of you.But tonight we will drink lots of wine to your health.!I did not read
all of your stories but most of them.And I wished to be young again to do
all the wonderful things you both did.You are a team and you are still
together! congratulations!I hope life will be good and happy until the day
you take the boat to Petrus.(And that is not going to happen for ages.)Hope
to see you again once upon a time......Lots of love , Riekje.
(Capelle a/d Ijsell NETHERLANDS)

Dear Linda and Bill
We wish you a big congratulation with the circumnavigation and would wish
that we could be there to celebrate your succes
Best wishes from
The Lunatics
Noenne and Joerge
Luna
(Copenhagen, DENMARK)

CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL INVOLVED!!!! It seems such a short time ago that you departed.
Again, our heartiest best wishes to you both from both of us.
Brian & Robyn
(Gympie, AUS)

congratulations... my time just flies doesnt it.
--luis
(Our GMN provider and fantastic support) USA

Congratulations - see you there next weekend!
Jerry
(Lismore, AUS)

CONGRATULATIONS from Willy and me AND WELL DONE. What next? Life could become boring after this adventure.
But then, I should imagine, having made so many friends during the two years, you would be computer bound for a while.
All the best for the future
Herman and Willy Poelmann
Capetown, SOUTH AFRICA

Wish I could come and welcome you....I am sooooo jealous
keep the emails coming. The real world sucks and I need boat stuff to keep my life on track

I really hope we can catch up again as I did enjoy your company
love Ally
Freodoctor
Fremantle, AUS

Well done guys. we are jealous your already there and can put your feet up. we hope we can make it for the party

cheers steve and dee
Seren
Sydney (currently in Fiji) AUS

Congrats - well done!
Sorry we wont be there in person but we certainly will celebrate with you.
Love from
The La Barca Crew
Sydney (currently in New Caledonia) AUS

Congratulations Captain Bill and Crew Linda to your Circumnavigation of the
world !!!!

Brigitte and Peter
Montville, Sunshine Coast AUS

Hey Bill and Linda!
Just checked out your blog and you're back in Aus! Congrats!! wow must be such a good feeling! I bet you are having a great time catching up with friends and family! Enjoy it, you've certainly earned it!!
All good with me, it's nice to be back but i'm itching to get out there again! Have been out sailing most weekends since i've been back and I think i've got more out of my wet weathers since I got back than on the whole trip! brrr, still not used to this cold climate! bring on summer!
Take care
Nicki xx
(ex crew Seren) New Zealand

many, many, many congratulations!
Wish we could be there to join you,
Love Jude, Don, Kim and Simon.
Hobart, AUS

congratulations Bill and Linda! :)
have a great night, and welcome home

james and isabelle
Dagmar
(currently in Central America)
Melbourne, AUS

Please pass on my congratulations to Bill and Linda for me. I can't even
begin to imagine what that voyage would be like.

Cheers
Michele Helmrich
Brisbane AUS

Congratulations!! -Rob & Natalie
Wilhelm
USA

YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!!
Congrats from us all here in Perth
Prev Biscayne Bay
Garry and Lisa Cross
AUS

Congratulations.
Sadly I will not be there to celebrate as going overseas on Thursday but
sometime next year when all the fuss has died down you can share the
adventures with me over a few quiet drinks.

John Wallington
Byron Bay AUS

Fantastic. Well done to all the crew.
Rick Mensink
Melbourne (AUS)

Dear Linda and Bill - Congratulations with much love from the Aged Aunt who has read all your writings - especially that wonderful last, reminiscing
essay which should be preserved in the family archives - Wish I could be at
least a fly on the wall on Saturday - lots of love -Shirley - whose friends
have heard it all !
(Perth AUS)




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Back in Brizzie
23/11/2009, Rivergate Marina

Reunited with my beautiful sister Yolanda.

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24/11/2009 | Andrew Waldby
Congratulations guys - I have been reading your blogs on & off over the last 2yrs as a fellow Aussie....you lived the dream and accomplished safely and enjoyable....Well done....
WE'VE SAILED AROUND THE WORLD!
22/11/2009, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA

We've arrived safely at 10.15 this morning exactly 2 years to the day we had our passports stamped to depart Townsville 23/11/07. Feeling excited, happy tired and proud. More details later.

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23/11/2009 | Fred & Kathy Lane
Well Bill and Linda! What are we going to do with ourselves now that we cannot follow you around the world! You are an inspiration to us all. Rest a while. Look forward to catching up with you on dry land.
Vanuatu to Australia Days 5-7
20/11/2009, Coral Sea

Saturday 21st November 2009

Position: (at 6am) 25 30.43S 157 39.75E

Nautical miles to go: 267

Total nautical miles since departing Mooloolaba 5/11/07: 28,020
Time: just after midnight

There are many thoughts and memories running thorough my head as I try to nap between the 20 minute look-outs. I just saw the Southern Cross constellation looking clear and welcoming "You're nearly in Australia!" "Beep beep beep beep beep.." Valiam just went off course and jibed. Bill sleepily got out of bed and put Mona Lisa the electric auto helm on 'standby'. I held the tiller. The Southern Cross was now behind us. Valiam wouldn't steer back on course. "We're hove-to" says Bill loosening off the sheets. I used the position of the Southern Cross to steer us back on course and the main sail swung back. We don't like it when she jibes. It's such a big sail and rig swinging above our heads. Bill adjusted the sheets again as well as pressing the 'pilot' button on the auto helm switchboard. "The wind has changed" "Is it coming more from the north now like it's supposed to?" "Yeah" Back on course with the Southern Cross glittering at me from our port side, Bill went back to bed.

I'm going to miss the ocean passages. Even when it's hard or boring, life is very simple out here. It's going to be strange not navigating and recording our position every 6 hours. I will miss the planning and anticipation of each landfall. I can stay in my pyjamas for days on end or my sarong and nothing else. Sometimes we don't comb our hair for days. We don't wash very often! On land this would be unthinkable but out here it doesn't matter.

Today I made a delicious chicken casserole using the last whole chicken in a tin from USA. It's amazing as it tastes like home cooking. I added tinned tomatoes, corn, mushrooms, capsicum and fresh cloves of garlic and chopped onions. A handful of herbs and ground pepper and it is a meal fit for king! With brown rice it was absolutely delicious. We certainly haven't starved on this trip! We went over a shallow patch today (Capel Bank) hoping to catch a fish with our lure. Later on we did catch a fish but it took the lure and broke the elastic rubber hose. It must have been a big one! With less than 300 miles to go we are feeling very excited to arrive back home after 2 years of sailing Valiam around the world. We say to each other "Have we really sailed around the world?" (me) "Its hard to believe. You just pull a few strings and you get there." (Bill) "We've done it. We've worked hard but its just been amazing." Bill smiled at me "We make a good team." It hasn't sunk in yet. I look at the line drawn on our world map to remind me how far we've come. (Nearly 28,000 nautical miles now). I let the memories of the many places float around in my brain. Our lives have been rich with experiences. We feel truly alive. A cruising friend once said to me "Memories are better than things." We should sight Australia tomorrow night. I can only imagine how we are going to feel. Certainly it will be another wonderful memory. I remember when we first saw Africa. I was in awe and felt so proud and excited to have sailed there ourselves. With each landfall however we are busy sailing the boat, navigating and usually communicating with port control. We have to worry about bumping into things after being at sea! Once the stress of tying up or anchoring safely is over we relax and give a huge sigh of relief. Mission accomplished once again. Then there are the formalities. In many countries the officials come on board fairly quickly. There is always a lot of paperwork. I think the record number of crew lists we handed out in one place was 9. In other countries we spend a whole day or more looking for the various departments and trying to communicate in their language. Try Portuguese! In some countries there is no hurry and we do the paperwork at our leisure. The French c ountries are very relaxed. Australia however has the reputation of being the most strict and bureaucratic. When we arrive we will be put into a fenced off quarantine berth. We wont be able to set foot on land until all formalities are completed. Quarantine fees in Australia are the most expensive in the world.. They are also the most thorough at preventing diseases and insects into the country. I will be relieved when my souveniers have hopefully passed quarantine inspection. Its 2am and my shift is finished. It's awful waking each other up at these hours. Its always a nice feeling to crawl into bed after being on watch. It's a bit rolly tonight so I will need to put lots of pillows around myself. When I lie there I can hear the water swishing past only millimeters away. I can hear the rigging creak. The hull bounces and rolls a bit and Mona Lisa moans intermittently. (electric autopilot) I feel safe inside our warm and cosy mobile home. Valiam has taken us comfortably around the world. She is more than just a boat. Our attachment to her is more than for any house we've lived in.

Two more days...

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20/11/2009 | Mona Stefanski
I've been following your blog for over a year and have enjoyed sharing your adventure vicariously. I was following Zac Sunderland's adventure when I heard of you. Thank you for the colorful writings and beautiful pictures. I envy your courage to chase after your dreams. Congratulations on completing (almost) your journey. I will miss following you.
Mona
Tucson, AZ USA
12/10/2010 | Irene Kiwanga
Lind and Bill I feel so proud for you guys congratulations on ainling around the world, you guys are hereos!!!I admire your lovely photos too,bless you guys irene
Vanuatu to Australia Day 2-4 HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIAM!
17/11/2009, 24 03.0'S:164 51.5'E, Pacific Ocean

Wednesday 18th November 2009
Position: 24 03.0S 164 51.5 Time: 5am

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our son Liam who is 25 today! Hip Hip Hooray! Have a great day Liam and we'll see you soon! (Uncle Liam above with Caylan our granddaughter)

All is going well. The seas have been fairly flat with light winds. Occasionally we get a burst of 20 knots or so but generally it's been below 15 knots from the east and northeast. This last week on passage is a good time to think and reflect. We celebrated crossing our longitude line yesterday as we rounded the bottom of New Caledonia. Our friends on La Barca had given us specially labeled "Limited edition Circumnavigation white wine. To be drunk by circumnavigators only". We're circumnavigators!

With 673 miles to go we have just over 4 days of sailing until we see Australia! Our ETA at this stage is Sunday 22nd in Brisbane. We will spend a few days in Brisbane and Tangalooma (Moreton Island) after clearing customs. The plan is to sail Valiam into her home port Mooloolaba on the 28th November. It will be party time! More details will be given re time of arrival as we get closer..

La Barca has reached Lifou, New Caledonia and will spend a week or so in New Caledonia before heading to Brisbane also. Unfortunately Seren has lost her rudder after hitting a reef in Bligh passage, Fiji. Luckily Chautauqua was nearby and is giving them a tow to Lautoka. Both Seren and Chautauqua are also heading for Australia. Tara 3 arrived in Bundaberg last week. We plan to stay in touch with our cruising friends. Special bonds have been formed. It will be lovely to see many of them in Australia.

Not long now.. It will be fantastic to see our family and friends. It's been

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18/11/2009 | Su & Steve
It will be an emotional moment when you sight Oz again I'm sure ! congratulations
S & S
24/11/2009 | Michael
toot toot toot,wow congratulations,what a tough and competent couple of sailors. M
Vanuatu to Australia Day 1
15/11/2009, 21 42.8'S:168 13.3'E, Pacific Ocean

Monday 16th November 2009
En route to Brisbane, Australia
Position: 21 42.8S 168 13.3E Time: 10am
Nautical miles sailed since leaving Mooloolaba 5 Nov 2007: 27,325

It feels strange to type "Brisbane" above. It's hard to believe we are close to reaching our goal - to sail around the world! Valiam is sailing a lot more sedately now than she did last night. She's now going at a comfortable 6 knots whilst last night the wind pushed us along at 7-8 knots. I always find it a bit scary in the pitch black out at sea when Valiam seems to go like an express train! Right now we can see the island of Mare, New Caledonia. Due to time constraints and possible unfavourable weather conditions we have decided to sail past New Caledonia. We sailed here in 2005 from Mooloolaba so tonight we will cross the same longitude. This is not strictly 'closing the circle' but we will celebrate anyway!

We estimate our arrival in Brisbane to be either Saturday or Sunday 22nd. We hope we can anchor off Mud Island in Moreton Bay so we can clear customs, immigration and quarantine during business hours on Monday. The overtime fee is $300 so we want to avoid that. Quarantine fees are already going to be $330 - the most expensive in the world! We have put all our wooden and basket artifacts in garbage bags and sprayed them with insecticide. Hopefully we will have killed any bugs not allowed into Australia. Australia also has strict rules about yachts coming in with growth beneath the waterline. We have anti-fouled in Fiji so we will be fine.

Our last few days in Vanuatu we were very enjoyable. We met many interesting people. Apart from the locals there were a couple of Australians installing a wind generator on the beach. This will be used to power and charge appliances and lights nearby. It was installed some distance from the village so it won't be able to power lights in the village itself. The funding for this came from the Peace Corps (USA). The villagers often talked to us about the Peace Corps doing things for them. In fact the villages close to the yacht anchorage are so used to receiving things they now expect it. Bronwyn and Adam gave Nora from a nearby village their sewing machine. Later Bronwyn found out the village already had 2 other sewing machines but all their needles were broken. I had sent along a huge bag of clothes and toiletries etc. Bronwyn also had donated extras. She spent a day showing them how to use the sewing machine making a few items of clothing. The ladies then asked if she could s end them ear rings for a future circumcision ceremony. It seems that they are used to receiving many donations from foreigners.

Our boat is full of fruit and veges in woven baskets which were gifts from the village. We have 4 huge cucumbers to eat before the weekend! On the last evening Adam and Bill ended up going to the Jon Frum village on their own. Adam was laden down with gifts of kava, clothing, cigarettes, batteries, fishing line etc. The time arranged for the truck to pick them up was 4.30pm. It didn't arrive until 8.30pm! Welcome to Tanna!! Adam's friends Tom and Noah and family were still waiting with a nice cooked meal when they got there. There wasn't much in the way of festivities but Bill said they did sing songs all night accompanied by guitar. He was told Jon Frum had come back in the form of the village cat. (Refer previous entry Jon Frum believers) The cat was watching to make sure everyone was nice to each other! One day the villagers believe that wealth will come to them and that they will be taken to America.

We also met a couple of French photographers. They were traveling the world creating large scenes using local materials. They then choose a grandparent to be photographed amongst the items displayed around them. The photos I saw were amazing. One of the photographers interviews each subject and documents this for the book they will be publishing. For their creative piece on Tanna they built a large helicopter from sticks on the beach. This theme was taken from the Jon Frum beliefs. As we sailed out of Resolution Bay yesterday we could see the large model helicopter on the beach. I wonder what the villagers will do with it once the photographers have left. It will probably be just left there like a lot of other things we noticed. (outboard engines, inflatable dinghy, building materials, etc.) Johnson, one of the 'chiefs' showed us a large hut he had built at the entrance of the village. Standing outside are 2 large tree fern sculptures. He said he had transported these down f rom the volcano area. This building was to be a Cultural Centre. It is now empty and in disrepair. He said the villagers weren't interested in using it.

The volcano was billowing smoke as we left yesterday. Visiting Mt Yasur was one of the highlights of our visit to Tanna. (That's us standing at the bottom of the volcano above) Celebrating our friends from La Barca's circumnavigation was the other highlight. Wearing our beautiful saris whilst Adam cooked pizzas on an open fire we looked down at our yachts below us. The volcano was glowing orange in the distance. It was an evening to remember.

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Volcano and Preschool at Port Resolution Yacht Club
11/11/2009, 19 31.56'S:169 29.75'E, Tanna Is, Vanuatu

12th November 2009

It seems the smaller the place we visit the more involved we become with the local community. There are several villages within 5km of each other here. Everyone knows each other and many are related. The people in the village live together and work together. The teachers live with the same children they teach as well including their own. The yacht club is owned by the village but has some management problems at the moment. It seems that accounting for the money that comes in is a problem. We are quite confused as to who the chief is. At first we thought it was Stanley. But depending on whom you talk to it could also be Russell or Johnson. They are all sons of the chief who has passed on but have different mothers.

Nora, a single mother from a nearby village came to visit Bronwyn on La Barca. (Bronwyn and Adam had spent time with her on their last visit 5 years ago). I baked muffins and joined them. Unfortunately the visit on La Barca came to a quick end because Nora and her 9 year old daughter Melissa felt very sea sick. Nora had brought with her a large amount of vegetables and fruit as well as gift baskets for us. She had carried and walked for at least an hour from her village. We transferred morning tea to the yacht club. Morning tea turned into lunch. I had given Nora a large bag of clothes and women's toiletries to give to the village. She was very pleased. Bronwyn and Adam had decided to give Nora their sewing machine. It was arranged that Nora and the sewing machine would get a lift to her village on the way to our scheduled volcano visit. That afternoon Bill and Adam were busy trying to repair the village outboard motor. They almost got it going but it needed specialized tools .

The day Nora came to visit was our scheduled day to visit Mt Yasur the volcano. The weather looked bleak. When Stanley and Dao (the truck driver) turned up I asked, "The weather doesn't look good Stanley. It's already rained and it is very cloudy. Will we see anything?" He replied "It's ok. It's only a little bit of rain. You will see it" I was not so sure. It was 7000vatu for us to visit and our last money. (Stanley now had 14000 vatu from both boats - about A$140. Some of this money had already been given to the driver for transport) .As the truck bumped along the track it began raining heavily. When we got to the gate the men there said it wasn't a good day to visit the volcano. Two vehicles with tourists came out so I stopped one of them. "Did you see anything?" The Vanuatu man driving said "No. It was very cloudy. It's best you don't go today" When we spoke with Dao the driver he said if we went again the next day we would have to pay for the transport again. I was not happy. I explained we had no money left. I had already expressed my doubts about the weather to Stanley. There was an intense discussion. Adam offered to give some diesel for the next trip. Everyone was happy again. We've also been into Lenakel in the same village truck to clear customs and immigration. This took all day. It's a 2 hour journey each way on a rough dirt road through the jungle. We also drove along the bottom of the volcano through black dirt. Lenakel reminded us of Kavieng in Papua New Guinea. It feels like a frontier town with dirt roads and shops in tin sheds. The bank is in a grubby concrete building and had no facilities to get a cash advance on visa. Luckily we had US$200 left to change. Immigration and customs fees claimed half of it. It was market day. Lots of fruit and veges were for sale. The ladies looked very colourful in their frilly 'Mother Hubbard' dresses. Most of the day was spent waiting around for the truck. When Dao finally turned up to pick us up, another hour or two was spent driving backwards and forwards between various little dusty shops. Not only did Dao pick up other people he was looking in shops himself for underwear and mobile phone cards. As s oon as he had his mobile phone card he began talking to his girlfriend. This went on for a long time as he started the journey home. The road is not very good and he wasn't paying much attention to it. As the road climbed higher I began to feel nervous. I asked him not to talk on the phone any more as it was dangerous. He seemed puzzled but thought he'd better please an old white lady like me.

SCHOOL AT THE YACHT CLUB Yesterday I set up preschool at the yacht club. Bronwyn and I had invited the younger children and their kindergarten teacher to spend the morning with us. Up at 5am I made play dough, finger paint and glue using corn flour and food colouring. At 8am I had a full dinghy of art supplies, books, mats, puppets etc. When Bill and I arrived with all the gear 20 eager faces peered out at us from the couches in the yacht club. I met Miriam their teacher and her assistant Rehab. I explained that school wouldn't start until 9am. "Perhaps you could take the children for a walk in the garden" Whilst they were racing about outside I transformed the yacht club into a preschool. There are 2 young girls Lillian and Julie who are the staff. We had met them a few times before and found them to be sullen and lazy each time. They would eat our food without thanks and wouldn't assist us in any way. I could have delegated that morning but I was happy doing everything myself. I think they were more worried about the mess we would make!

Nine o'clock came around and the children ran in very excited. I settled them down on the mat. We went through introductions and shared some songs. Each song Miriam chose for the children to sing was religious. The children sang beautifully. It almost brought a tear to my eye listening and watching them sing "Jesus gives us paw paw". They enjoyed an Aboriginal song I taught them. When Bronwyn and family arrived Jack and Amy joined the children on the mat. They sand different verses of "Kookaburra sat in the old gum tree' accompanied by Bronwyn on guitar.

When it was time to play and create the children were keen and eager. Play dough was very popular. It took some encouragement for the children to try the finger paint. Their collage work was exquisite. The children carefully arranged and made patterns frangipani flowers and leaves. For paint brushes we used cotton buds. These came in handy later for face painting. The childrens paintings and drawings were mostly representational of their families and village life. It's interesting that children the world over depict a house as a square with a triangle roof. (It doesn't matter if their home is a thatched hut or an 8 bedroom mansion!)

It was a very busy morning with outside games and group photos as well. I enjoyed getting back into a bit of early childhood teaching even if the curriculum was a bit more structured. The children experienced something different and appeared to enjoy themselves. They call both Miriam and Rehab 'teacher'. I asked them to call us Mrs Linda, Mrs Bronwyn and Mr Adam. The children enjoyed Adam's company as he clowned about with the play dough. I think Jack and Amy enjoyed their 'island school experience'. We've taken some great photos.

MT YASUR - THE VOLCANO The volcano didn't disappoint. Last night the sky was clear. It was a night to remember forever. The truck parked at the bottom of the stark landscape. We could see smoke and smell the sulphur. The walk to the crater rim was quite tiring. I couldn't believe we were walking along the crater rim. It glowed orange down inside and rumbled and groaned. At regular intervals it went 'wooomph!' and molten rocks flew up into the air. It was scary and exciting at the same time. We sat in the dark 'moonscape' amongst loose volcano rocks. There was no fence and no safety talk! Watching the volcano snort and breathe like a huge dragon was mesmerizing. We were the last to leave and couldn't tear ourselves away. A torch was essential to find our way back along the track in the dark. I didn't want to fall into the volcano!

LAST DAYS IN TANNA We have a busy intinery the next couple of days before we have to leave. Today Adam is organizing the baking of pizzas at the Yacht club with all the yachts in the harbour. (2 French boats have now arrived). This will be La Barca's Circumnavigation celebration. Organising the pig was too difficult.

On Friday we are invited to the Jon Frum village. Adam's old friends Tom and Noah now live there. It will be a special celebration with dancing and singing. This is what the Lonely Planet guide says about the Jon Frum movement: "In 1936 Jon Frum arrived by sea at Green Point and announced himself to some kava drinkers. They could see that he was the brother of the god of Mt Tukosmera. He told the men if the Europeans left Tanna, there would be an abundance of wealth. They spread the word. It was the beginning of a neo-pagan uprising, with followers going back to traditional dancing and kava drinking - but not cannibalism fortunately.

When US troops arrived a few years later many Tannese went to Efate and Santo to work for them. There they met African-American soldiers, who were colourful with theatrical uniforms, decorations, badges, belts and hats. They had huge quantities of transport equipment, refrigerators, radios, and endless supplies of Coca-Cola and cigarettes. But most of all they were generous and friendly treating the Vanuatu people as equals. Here was the wealth and way of life they had been told about - Jon Frum must be American they thought.Some supporters made radio aerials out of tin cans and wire to contact Jon Frum. Others built an airfield in the bush and constructed wooden aircraft to entice his cargo planes to land. Still others erected wharves where his ships could berth. Small red crosses were placed all over Tanna and remain a feature of Jon Frum villages where flags are raised each evening to this god of their collective imagination."

We will be going to the cult's major centre. The songs are meant to be sung to the tunes of American battle hymns. It should be an interesting experience to visit!!

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Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu
07/11/2009, 19 331.54'S:169 29.75'E, Pacific Ocean

Port Resolution
Position: 19 31.547S 169 29.754E

Sunday 8th November 2009

Above photo: The chief's son Stanley and his daughter Naomi presenting me with a bunch of bananas.

Earlier this morning whilst munching on fresh pineapple I could see steam coming out of a rock crevice opposite us. On the other side of the hill is Mt Yasur the live volcano. We are enjoying many interesting experiences here! When Bill got home last night he said the kava was disgusting. Basically Johnson and Stanley chewed the root and spat it into a bowl and with certain rituals mixed it with water. They then passed the bowl around. He said it did nothing except his lips went a bit tingly. Johnson is the village dispenser and nurse. He delivers babies and gives medicines. He has also been given a 'gift' by his father in that he can prevent weather calamities etc (cyclone hitting village). The kava night is just for men where only "men's things" are talked about. The kava is supposed to slow you down a bit to discuss things quietly and slowly. Johnson and Stanley had bows and arrows made from bamboo and were going off hunting for flying fox last night. Bill said they were invited to taste it today. It's raining here so we don't feel like going anywhere at the moment. I went to bed at 7.30am and had my first good nights sleep in ages. The first night we were rolling around in the swell so yesterda y Bill put out a stern anchor by rowing it out in the dinghy then we pulled Valiam in a straight line so she stays in the one position. So much better!

Saturday 7th November 2009 Bill has just gone with Adam to chew kava with the men in the local village. I am happy to have a quiet few hours to myself. After we went ashore in the dinghy we discovered the Port Resolution Yacht Club. It's a bit like Suwarrow - An open shed like building with flags and bits of coral threaded on fishing line for decoration. No - one was there except for a Norwegian couple renting a thatched bungalow nearby. A mother cat with 3 ginger kittens lay on one of the tables. The surrounding garden is cool and shady. There are many flowers creeping and growing every where. As I sat in the little rough hewn rotunda on the cliff edge I could see Valiam bobbing on her anchor in the harbour along with La Barca and one other American yacht.

We met Stanley who is the one who assists yachties. We found him in the nearby village of small thatched huts. A group of women and children sat on woven mats in the centre of the 6 or so huts. We were welcomed warmly and everyone spoke beautiful English. Bronwyn and Adam had brought photos of their visit with the locals 5 years ago. Everyone gathered around the photos eagerly. One of the ladies in one photo - Nora was found coming back from church. New photos were taken to celebrate La Barca's circumnavigation. I couldn't resist cuddling one of the babies. He was called Ruben and wasn't frightened of me. Stanley's little girl Naomi who has a head of tight blonde curls shyly gave me a bunch of bananas. Bronwyn and I discussed with Nora the idea of inviting the local children to the yacht club to do some art, singing and sharing. As only the year 8s are going to school this week, it's a good time to do something with the little ones.

The volcano was glowing orange last night. I can't wait to see it close up! On Monday we are going to Lenakel (4 hour round trip) to organise the yacht formalities as well as get some local money. The volcano is owned by one of the local families and they benefit from the tourists going there. According to Johnson one of the men in the village "There is a dispute at the moment. About who owns the volcano"

We celebrated La Barca's circumnavigation last night when they negotiated their way in after dark by tooting horns and calling out. A champagne breakfast this morning with everyone wearing la Barca shirts continued the celebrations. Adam was looking at the pigs in the pen in the village thinking about buying one to roast on a fire later this week. I think that's what this evening's discussion whilst chewing kava may be about. Bill said "It will be an experience I've never had. It will be worth going." I can't wait to ask him what it was like when he gets back.

It's so nice to experience this island before getting home to Australia. Life is simple and uncomplicated. One wonders why we have so many material things when the Tanna people we met today seem content with so very little.

Looking forward to our time here.....

Friday 6th November 2009

We are anchored rolling gently side to side in paradise. After an uncomfortable 3 days sail in a strong southeasterly from Fiji we arrived in Port Resolution, Tanna island, Vanuatu. It looks gorgeous from the boat with the volcano glowing at night. Early this morning we could see the island of Tanna with Mt Yasur's distinct outline and smoke. We were apprehensive as we came closer towards the island. We had information from La Barca with approach and entry waypoints. It was a bit disconcerting as C Map is totally inaccurate. As we slowly entered the small harbour the electronic chart showed us going across the reef and land! The GPS way points we were given were correct and our eyeballs confirmed our position.

We look forward to seeing this volcano close up. Apparently we can go up to its rim and see lava, flying rocks and sparks! There is one other American boat here and La Barca will arrive tonight. We have given them the GPS waypoints and they were here 5 years ago. We look forward to a week of learning about the local culture. It looks a bit like PNG. Our friends Adam and Bronwyn and children Jack and Amy will have 'closed the circle' when they get here. A celebration is planned at the little local yacht club. Anyway it is tempting to stay here until our return to Australia! More details later as we explore this island paradise. I'm not sure if there is internet here (probably only in Lenakel)

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08/11/2009 | Jerry
That's a hand, Lynda, not a bunch... enjoy!
08/11/2009 | D. Harvey
Love reading your blog. Hope u have safe passages whereever you go
Fiji to Vanuatu
05/11/2009, 19 15.22'S:171 1.59'E, Pacific Ocean

5th November 2009
Time: 8pm Position:19 15.22S 171 1.59E
It's exactly 2 years since we left Mooloolaba. I remember we sailed out with just the dolphins to say goodbye. It was overcast and a 20 knot southeasterly just like it is now out here. We didn't actually leave Australian shores until 25th November 2007 from Townsville. We think we might be back in Brisbane by the 25th of this month. There is so much to think about and emotions to deal with. I keep imagining the moment we see Australia after sailing Valiam around the globe! But in the meantime we will enjoy the last couple of places. We've never been to Vanuatu so we're looking forward to seeing somewhere new. I guess that's what keeps cruisers going - the anticipation and excitement of experiencing and seeing somewhere new. In 2005 we sailed to New Caledonia and back from Mooloolaba so we will officially 'close the circle' with Valiam in New Caledonian waters. Each milestone is worthy of celebration! I still have a couple of bottles of South African champagne for these occasions. We've done all our sailing without extra crew. We like it with just the two of us - Valiam has enough space for each of us to spread out or find a corner to retreat in.

The sea is still a bit rolly but we are getting used to it. It's a good trade wind and the swells have gone down a bit. We are also only using the jib to make life easy for ourselves. The wind wont drop off in fact it looks like it will increase - so using just the jib stops Valiam going like an express train and makes it less work for the captain. As long as we maintain at least 6 knots we'll be in port Resolution in the morning. If we went fast we would get there in the dark which is no good! We did 155m the last 24 hours. We're a bit tired so it will be good to get there. I just checked outside again. Its pitch black because of the clouds. There is no moon yet and the wind is quite cold. It's easy to feel away from reality when inside with all our comforts. But there isn't much between us and the cold wet ocean..

4th November 2009 The wind is consistently from the SE and stronger than 20 knots most of the time. The grib files are always wrong! (Supposed to be 15-20) It's a bit rolly and bumpy and occasionally a wave from the side splashes into the cockpit. We are inside most of the time. I'm a bit over ocean passages and want to be able to stop for a while! We are sailing with just the jib and averaging 6.5 knots. I'm not sea sick any more - hooray! I've watched 3 movies and we had fish curry for lunch and dinner. We fiddled with the ship plotter program and think we have it working.... It only shows big ships. (Well it's supposed to - haven't seen any yet). Not long ago we saw a rusty boat come close to us. It was motoring very slowly into the waves. It wasn't getting very far and didn't look that seaworthy. It wasn't a fishing boat so we don't know what it was. (Refugees?) I'll be glad when this passage is finished. It's not that comfortable. ETA Friday morning Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu Current position at 6.30pm : 18 33.21S 173 42.51E 3rd November 2009 After anchoring at Muscat Cove (Malololai Island) for the night we went through Wilkes Passage at midday. It's a narrow pass between reefs and breakers into the protected waters of Fiji. The wind has been consistently 20 knots plus with bouncy waves and a side swell. This makes me feel a bit ill but I am controlling it with Cinnerazine (same as Sturgeron) and staying in the most stable part of the boat - starboard saloon. Bill pulled up a long skinny fish with sharp teeth which after describing it to Adam on the radio he said it was a barracuda. He said it was a 'fishy' tasting fish and not his favourite. However Bill cooked it in a bit of butter in the fry pan and it was delicious with potatoes. Position at 6pm 18 03.3S 176 25.6E 396nm to go to Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu. We saw some nice photos the other night of the La Barca family with 2 wee ones there in 2005. They have done well on their 35ft boat. We can't see them any more behind us but will be in contact by email/sat ph sms if we are too far away to talk on radio. We look forward to celebrating their circumnavigation at the little Tanna yacht club with a suckling pig. Bronwyn and I are going to wear our saris.

2nd November 2009 We decided to anchor at Muscat Cove tonight: Position: 17 46.30S 177 11.19E so we are still in Fijian waters! It was getting late in the afternoon to get through the pass and another night's sleep was welcome. It was a bit of a boisterous trip here anyway from Lautoka. We were nervous negotiating the reefs into Muscat cove but La Barca took the lead and we followed as well as checking things ourselves. It looked a bit like Oz here - brown hills, windswept beaches and mangroves. The resort and marina is an obvious landmark. There was no time to look around this trip. Southeasterly trade winds are predicted so we should have a good run to Vanuatu. If the wind is consistent we should do at least 150 a day. But we'll see......

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Departing Lautoka, Fiji
31/10/2009, Viti Levu

Naidu the friendly Lautoka taxi driver
31 October 2009
Vuda Point Marina

This is our last night here. We are all provisioned up with food, fuel and water. Valiam has nice clean painted bottom and ready to go. However she is looking a bit cluttered inside. I have collected so many things along the way, they are hanging up, stacked around and bulging out of lockers... It is very difficult to keep things tidy.

Due to the customs rules in Fiji we have to take the boat up to Lautoka, anchor in the harbour then clear out. We are not allowed to take a taxi into town from Vuda Point (10km away) to get our clearance papers. The officials don't look at the boats in the harbour but if they find out a yacht is still in the marina a fine is issued. (Usually $200) So tomorrow we must sail up to Lautoka before leaving Fiji. We also found out that quarantine fees in Australia for incoming yachts are $330. This is a lot of money. The most we've ever had to pay anywhere else in the world is $50. Rules, regulations and fees are all part of cruising overseas. It's been interesting how different each country is in their treatment of overseas yachts.

During our last shopping trip into town today I had to buy a few more saris. They are so beautiful and not expensive. They will look lovely draped as curtains or made into stunning outfits. The majority of people here are Indian. Bill says he did a head count today.
"Easily two to one. I was watching the people in the street while you were in the sari shop"
It's not only the Indian ladies who wear saris. The Indian lady in the sari shop said
"European ladies come in to buy. And Fijian ladies too."
From what I observed here, the Indian and Fijian population work and live quite happily alongside each other. The Fijians enjoy eating curry and the Indian men wear 'Bula' shirts. (Fijian flowery shirts) However it seems rare that they marry each other. There are some political issues obviously as the Fijian landowners only allow the Indians to lease their land.

On the whole we've found the people here in Fiji extremely friendly and helpful - much more than most countries we have visited. I am looking forward to our next landfall. Tanna Island in Vanuatu looks beautiful. Adam and Bronwyn (La Barca) showed us their slides from the start of their circumnavigation five years ago. I think it may be a bit like Papua New Guinea. We also hope to visit the live volcano whilst we are there

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Getting ready to leave Fiji
29/10/2009, Vuda Point Marina

Valiam is now back in the water where she belongs. Its nice to have our home back to normal again. We did miss our nice big bed! Looking at weather forecasts it is looking ok to go to Vanuatu next week but we will reassess this on the weekend. The grib files we receive from saildocs as well as passageweather.com indicate fairly consistent southeasterlies. There are a couple of lows forming that we need to keep an eye on.

Above is a photo of me modelling my posh sari. I am still learning how to tie them correctly. They are lovely to wear but may be difficult climbing on and off the boat!

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Valiam out of the water - Vuda Point
28/10/2009, Fiji

First Landing Resort
Next to Vuda Point Marina
Fiji
28th October 2009

Valiam is now out of the water propped up in the boatyard a few steps from here. Safety Sstandards are a bit different here. As the travel lift hoisted Valiam up out of the water we were still on board. It was exciting to go for a ride on land! (Brought back memories of dreams we've both had of Valiam driving on land!) Our little budget room is cool, shady and has unlimited water. It is such a pleasure to turn on normal taps and have hot jets of water run down my back! Bill is supervising the painting of antifouling paint. He is pleased with the Boabob Marine workers. They know exactly what they are doing. Not so with one of the tailors in Lautoka....

I felt very excited to see the tailors today. Bronwyn and I went to see Sunil first who operates upstairs in the main shopping street. But alas he had made many mistakes. He cut the wrong fabric for the sari and the sundress fitted very badly. He also made mistakes with Bronwyn's outfits - tops instead of dresses etc. We expressed our dismay and took the fabric he hadn't cut yet. Our first tailor Jtendra however did a beautiful job. Everything was stitched beautifully and pressed. I love my teal coloured sari. (It looks blue in the photo). Even Bill thinks the sari looks elegant!

Both the La Barca family and myself found an embroidery machine place to do our 'Around the World' shirts. It was recommended by the shirt shop but so difficult to find! It is down a back street behind a locked grill door and no sign. We only found the place by driving around with the taxi driver (who didn't know where it was) and jumping out and asking people. Anyway a beautiful young woman named Ranita made our designs on the computer and a row of computerised sewing machines did the job in half a day. Fantastic! Now we have lovely mementos to give to our families and friends.

Valiam should be back in the water by Friday. We had hoped to be on our way to Vanuatu but the weather may be a little unsettled after the weekend. The SPCZ (South Pacific Convergent Zone) is moving quite close to northern Fiji so we will wait and see. We will be ready to go as soon as the weather is suitable. We are hoping to go to Port Resolution but in a northeasterly it is unprotected. We are hoping to have mostly south easterly winds to get home to Oz.

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Yacht on reef - Vuda Point, Fiji
26/10/2009, Viti Levu

Monday 26th October 2009

As we were eating our dinner at the yacht club last night we noticed a green masthead light near the narrow entrance. "There must be another yacht coming in" I said. The mast head light turned from green to red. It was now further towards the right.
I said to the others "I wouldn't come in at night. I hope they know what they are doing"
Bill watched thoughtfully. "They're probably tying up to the buoy out there."
Not long after French skipper Hughes of yacht Lo rushed past us. "I have some very bad news. The yacht out there is on the reef" Everyone at our table watched intently at the red mast head light and barely visible yacht hull in the distance. We all felt upset and thought of what could be done. Already several dinghies had gone out with torches. A local motorboat also went out. We went down to the jetty and saw a man with a mobile phone. He turned to us and said "It's taking on water. The guys are up to waist level."
Adam was keen to take his dinghy out to help. He and Bill took off with a torch and hand held vhf radio. Half an hour later they returned and said the 3 men of the stricken yacht had already been taken off along with their valuables.
Bill said "It's a really nice yacht. Such a shame."
We all felt sad that night. It's something that could happen to anyone.

Monday morning we woke up early getting ready to have Valiam hauled out of the water. Bill went to look at the yacht on the reef. When he returned he said
"It's Bravo. You know the Brazilian yacht we saw in Jacare and in Tobago. They've got their yellow flag up."
I said "They must have been tired and couldn't work out where the entrance was. They must have sailed from Samoa or Tonga" I thought it was risky to attempt to enter a foreign entrance at night. It wasn't long before we saw Bravo being towed in with water being pumped out. The travel lift was ready to pull them out. There was some concern as Bravo had not officially cleared into the country. The officials from Lautoka arrived not long after.

All this was going on when Valiam was supposed to be hauled out. We found out that as Bravo now had the last props we had to wait until another boat went back into the water in 2 days time. Bravo will be in the boatyard for some time. After Bill talked to the guys he said "The sail drive hit the reef which punched it up through the hull. The propeller was twisted and there was a big hole. They blocked the hole with bits of wood and pumped the water out with a big pump brought from the boat yard. They were lucky it happened right outside the marina and boat yard."

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Glitzy Saris and Indian Tailors - Lautoka
24/10/2009, Fiji

The ultimate in Indian dressing - I have had my own sari made too! More pics in the Fiji gallery

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Exploring Lautoka - Fiji
24/10/2009, Viti levu

Linda, Bronwyn, Jack and Amy outside the market in Lautoka.

Saturday 24th October 2009
Vuda Point Marina
Fiji

Considering we are berthed close to other boats it is surprisingly quiet and relaxing here. A gate and pathway to the resort next door "First Landing' makes it feel like a real holiday here. We have been able to access the bar, pool, restaurant etc which is situated in a rainforest type garden. Last night we were treated to a dance display meant for the guests but we got to enjoy agile half naked bodies dancing to music from different parts of the Pacific. One of the girls was really a boy but did amazing hip shimmies!

Valiam will be lifted out of the water on Monday for antifouling and a few minor repairs. We thought it was a good opportunity to do it here where it is quite cheap and we are still in 'boat mode'. Once we are back in Australia family matters will take over and we'll be busy traveling between the Sunshine coast and Townsville. We have booked a room at the resort next door for the 2 nights Valiam will be out on the hard - such a luxurious way to have the boat done! We will even have local workers doing most of the work! (Not like our experience in Durban, South Africa in a dirty boat yard last December!!)

I have been having a great time in Lautoka visiting the Indian dress and fabric shops as well as tailors with Bronwyn. We are having half a dozen outfits made each varying from the exotic sequined sari to strappy sundresses. It is all so cheap and lots of fun. The fabrics are just beautiful and are all from India to cater for the large Indian population here who still dress very traditionally in elegant colourful saris. We wont look the same but it will be fun trying!

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Valiam squeezed into Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
21/10/2009, Viti Levu, Fiji

sardine living! At least the showers aren't far away...Just checked out the resort next door - there's a spa (massage.....) right behind the marina!

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Arrived Vuda Point Marina - Fiji
21/10/2009, south of Lautoka, Viti Levu

The photo above was taken by Bronwyn Zemanek (La Barca) on our way to Savu Savu.

Vuda Point Marina
Viti Levu
Fiji
22 October 2009
Position : 17 40.84S 177 23.17E

Its 7.15am and it's quite bizarre to wake up in the middle of this pond like marina surrounded by a circle of boats. We took the dinghy ashore last night and enjoyed dinner at the yacht club which is right next to the narrow entrance to the marina and looks out to sea. The prices are very reasonable here (about half Oz prices)
We are waiting for the staff to arrive to assist in manoevering us into a berth so we can just step off the boat to use the facilities. I managed to get wifi internet straight away (with the help of visa card!!) Bill is going to investigate haul out for Valiam here to do a quick antifoul job before we sail to Oz. We'll only do it if we can be in and out in a few days.
There are buses into town (Lautoka) and taxis are $F15 (about A$7). We look forward to doing some exploring (and retail therapy !!)

Wednesday 21st October 2009
We arrived in Vuda Point Marina (south of Lautoka) at 4.30 pm after motoring at a minimum of 6 knots since 7am this morning. The channel was clearly marked on our chart plotter and it was a bit like Moreton Bay or inside Fraser Island. When we arrived in this small circular marina we were directed to the central buoy where we had to tie up. We feel a bit like the evenings entertainment in the middle of all the yachts. An email I received from the marina said there were 'plenty of spaces' but we cant see many at all and it will take some manoevering to get Valiam tied up between 2 boats all spaced like sardines in a circle maybe 100m diameter.
We'll have to launch the dinghy if we want to get off the boat this evening. Obviously we arrived just before knock off time and will have to wait till morning to get our allotted sardine space. The travel lift and people working on boats are all very close so I imagine I will access the side gate to the adjacent resort 'First Landing' to lie beside the pool.

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Island hopping down to Lautoka, Fiji
19/10/2009, 17 17.97'S:178 13.02'E, Bligh Water

Tuesday 20 October 2009

We've just anchored in a tight little harbour surrounded by reefs off Nananu-i-Ra island - I thought Nanny's island is easier to say!! La Barca's friends recommended this spot as there is supposed to be pizza and beer ashore. It looks a bit quiet but there are a number of buildings dotted about. Just spoke to an Aussie from Sydney in a small motor boat who said he owned a place on the point. Lonely Planet says this island is occupied by Europeans (white people as opposed to Fijians). After another 5.30am start it's time to relax. (its now 4pm). There's lots of navigating through reefs tomorrow to get to Vuda Point. (near Lautoka) The bloke in the runabout just came back with a couple of beers - what a nice Aussie welcome! Thanks John! Ciao for now Position: 17 17.974S 178 13.021E

Monday 19th October 2009

Valiam is anchored at Makongai Island position: 17 26.465S 178 57.230E. It's peaceful here and there is a small village where there used to be a leper colony. We went for a bit of a snorkel to look at the coral and a few small fish. A small striped sea snake greeted Bill when he descended the ladder of the boat! We had a pleasant sail here and it should be the same again tomorrow where we'll anchor at another island by the afternoon so we don't have to negotiate through reefs at night. We may even reach Vuda Point by Wednesday (10k from Lautoka). Strong winds are coming in again in a few days but we should be safely berthed by then. We'll spend a week at Vuda Point until there is suitable weather to cross to Vanuatu. All is well.

Just out of interest weather guru Bob McDavitt said that this is an 'el nino year' and he doesnt think there will be any cyclones in our path for several weeks or a month

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Saris, curries and fireworks - Savu Savu
17/10/2009, Fiji

Photo: Little Fijian girl eating curry next to us at Watui Marina. The men sitting in a circle next to her are drinking kava

Sunday 18th October 2009

Savu Savu is a happy little town with a mix of cultures. It's been quite festive here the last few days as the Indian community prepared for their Diwali celebration (festival of light) It felt a bit like Christmas with lots of people rushing around doing last minute shopping, buying fireworks and food. The shops shut here at midday yesterday and it's a holiday Monday so we also stocked up on food and you guessed it - fireworks!

We were invited to celebrate with an Indian family who run the restaurant at Waitui marina last night. But after some deliberation knowing it would be a very late night we decided not to go. Normally we would leap at the chance of enjoying cultural activities but we are still so very tired. The time spent at sea and night watches as well as the last bad night at sea have taken its toll. Like old people we need to be in bed at a reasonable time to be able to function the next day!

Instead Adam had the idea of making a fire on the little island opposite and sending off our own fireworks early in the evening and then heading back to our boats. It was very enjoyable watching the sunset next to a fire whilst the children (big boys too) let off the fireworks. Steve and Dee arrived on Seren yesterday so they joined us - a small Aussie gathering celebrating Diwali! All night long there were fireworks so we went to sleep (or tried to) with fireworks going off around us. Early this morning a group of locals began setting up speakers etc in the park opposite. Right on the dot of 8am we were treated to a loud tirade of religious babble. Ready to move the boat further down the river, by 9am they had thankfully finished.

We are now preparing for our day sails down to Lautoka. This afternoon we will anchor 5miles down to outside the Costeau resort then early tomorrow begin sailing to our first anchorage 45 miles away. We expect to be in Vuda Point marina by Thursday or Friday. I am glad we will be able to anchor each night as I am not ready to do any night passages at sea! The weather has cleared and it's a beautiful sunny day. Oh for those who are wondering - yes I did buy a beautiful rainbow coloured glittering sari! The Indian ladies looked so beautiful walking around town and working in the shops Amy and Jack (children on La Barca) were enthralled. We have also been eating fantastic curries every day. There will be more to come as Lautoka also has a large Indian population

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Sunset - Savu Savu
16/10/2009, Fiji

Bill enjoying a red in his favourite enamel mug.

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Savu Savu - safe haven in Fiji
14/10/2009, Fiji

Thursday 15th October
Coprashed Marina (mooring in the river)
Savu Savu
Fiji

Valiam is sitting quietly here in the river with small town noises in the background. The local park is directly opposite where we see locals relaxing under coconut palms. The main street is walking distance away and has everything we need. Yesterday we noticed an interesting mix of shops selling food, cheap items and also Indian shops with glittering saris. I will need to have a wander on my own without Bill! We just received a message from La Barca on our satellite phone (they email using HF radio) that they expect to arrive at 2pm today. They are rested after that traumatic night at sea. We heard customs contact Copra shed marina this morning about the whereabouts of La Barca. So it does look like Fiji customs keeps a close eye on yachts here. We have organized for a cruising permit to sail to Lautoka as there are some islands yachts are not allowed to go to. Curly's Bosun has a chartlet book with waypoints to stop along the way. This will be excellent as we don't want to do any night sailing through the reefs on the way.

Food and drinks are very cheap here. Yesterday we enjoyed a delicious curry for A$4.50 and beer at the marina is A$2. It only costs F$10 a day for the mooring here (A$6) which includes HOT showers! We could stay here for the cyclone season quite cheaply! But once rested we'll be on our way again to get back to Oz. We'll just have to come back one day.

We are still tired and still have to clean up the boat after 5 nights at sea.....all in good time. For the yachties reading this I would like to put in a good word for the lovely Dolly the contact person at Copra shed marina. She assists yachties on the radio, by email and in person with everything we need. Thanks Dolly!

I am putting some photos we took en route to here with La Barca in the album "Fiji" as well as some local scenes of Savu Savu.
Also - very exciting for us : If you click on our position you can see our start of our circumnavigation from Mooloolaba, Oz. Gives me goosebumps!!

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Stormy night in Fijian waters
13/10/2009, Savu Savu, Fiji

Wednesday 14th October
Copra shed Marina
Savu Savu
Fiji
Position : 16 46.677S 179 20.162E

Above photo: rainbow before the 2nd storm

Not long after we arrived I sent this email to the family:

I sit here bleary eyed with a cup of coffee glad the night is over. Just after we passed the date line at 180 degrees at 7.30 last night at an exciting 8 knots the weather turned ugly. There was no way of avoiding the huge black clouds coming towards us. We were now in Fijian waters with islands all about us with hardly any visibility. We had to run with it continuing in the direction of Savu Savu past the first large island. The wind continued to increase to 30 knots and Valiam was flying through the darkness like an express train at 8.5knots. Thank goodness for our chart plotter so we could work out where we were. Out in the open ocean it's easier to deal with this type of weather as we have lots of sea room. Once past the first island we aimed for a patch of open water 20 miles from land. We had to slow Valiam down. She already had 2 reefs in the main and no jib. Bill had to go up to the mast to put in the 3rd reef with me in the cockpit supporting him. We both had full wet weather gear on and were tied on with harnesses. With his head torch he could see what he was doing untangling lines. The wind was screaming in our ears so communication was done by shouting at the tops of our voices. With the 3rd reef in Valiam continued to blast along at 7.5 knots. We could see a couple of boat lights in the distance but couldn't work out which way they were going. Mona Lisa the electric autopilot struggled to keep us on course so Bill had to hand steer several times. It was difficult for him to hold a course by hand and we jibed several times. By 1.30am we had had enough and decided to hove-to. There was absolutely no way we would enter a strange harbour at night in these conditions. We needed to get the jib up again and manoever Valiam in the right position. With the wind roaring and sails flapping we eventually got Valiam steady in hove-to position. She was still sailing along at 3 knots! This was ok as we had enough room now between the islands and we were slowly heading in the right direction towards Savu Savu. We made cups of tea and took turns to be on watch. Bill hardly slept at all. I managed an hour or two. By 7.15am we were on our way again. We had traveled 12 miles towards Savu Savu whilst hove to. Sailing briskly along with just a triple reefed main we were still doing 7 knots. During the latter part of the night we lost contact with La Barca some 20 miles behind us. Later I received a satellite message saying they had anchored behind a headland to rest as they too were exhausted. We expect to see them later today or tomorrow.

After an hour or so we were near the entrance to Savu Savu harbour. There is a very long submerged reef on the starboard side with a beacon near the end. Our electronic chart was accurate. Once in the harbour the relief was enormous. The nasty waves disappeared and we made our way into the harbour not far behind a large red ferry. To our amazement we saw 3 yachts leave the harbour. It's so calm in here that it is difficult to believe the conditions outside!

I had contacted Copra shed marina by email so now called them up on vhf. After finding our way through lots of boats in a creek a friendly man from the Copra shed marina came to meet us greeting us with 'Bula!" in a dinghy. He showed us to our mooring buoy only a few metres from the shore. Within half an hour 3 separate lots of officials were brought to the boat by a marina dinghy completing all the necessary forms with friendliness and efficiency. How relaxing to not be on guard as in previous countries such as Galapagos and Panama.

Although tired we will go ashore shortly to shower and have lunch at the marina clubhouse.

Savu Savu looks like a relaxed friendly town from here with the supermarket and Westpac bank visible from our boat.

All well on board


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On the way to Fiji
11/10/2009, 15 49.3'S:177 04.5'W, Pacific Ocean

En route to Savu Savu, Fiji.
Position at 8am (Samoan time):15 49.3S 177 04.5W.
Water temperature: 27.6 degrees.
215 miles to Savu Savu.
total nautical miles since leaving Mooloolaba: 26,315.
11th/12th October 2009.

The sun is shining brightly and it is already hot as Valiam glides gently over the waves. The motor is chugging away to give us a little more speed as well as charge up the batteries. We are crossing an imaginary date line on this passage as our position changes from West to East at approximately 180degrees and we lose a whole day! La Barca is not far behind and again we have been able to stay within vhf radio range to chat several times a day. In fact yesterday we managed to come close to one another and take photos of the yachts just before sunset as we were passing a small Tongan island called Niaua Fou'ou.

I'm finding ocean passages somewhat tedious at times and feel constantly tired and lethargic. Due to time constraints we can't linger in Fiji as we would like to and feel the pressure to return home before the cyclone season. With just under 2000 miles to go to Australia we will probably arrive around mid November. In many ways I do not want this trip to end and wished we could have stayed longer in some countries but on the other hand I miss the family and look forward to seeing them very much. It's a year since we have seen the grandchildren and they will have grown up a lot in that time. We plan to spend quality time with them when we return.

The future is wide open for us when we return and hopefully there will be opportunities for doing things we didn't have time to do in the rush before we left Australia in 2007. Our life for the last 2 years has been navigating, provisioning, planning, officialdom, anchorages and marinas. We have spent more than 30% of our time at sea which is more than most cruising boats. Valiam is our home, our cocoon and I feel safe within her. I am surrounded by pictures, carvings and memorabilia of our trip to remind us how far we've come. I am used to ferreting for items in lockers and having to put things back again. Email on board has been the best thing for someone like me who likes to communicate regularly with family and friends. It's also been invaluable for weather information, keeping in touch with other cruising yachts and writing to marinas and officials.

I have really enjoyed sailing in company with La Barca over the last few months and know we have made lifelong friends. Bronwyn, Adam, Jack and Amy have been our 'family' at sea. We are keen for our family to meet them in Oz.

Drawing what I see has been therapeutic for me as I tackle subjects I have never drawn before such as the Galapagos marine iguanas and Suwarrow birds. I hope to find time to draw in Fiji. I now use a small notebook and black pen which is easier to transport than pastels or paint. We have taken thousands of photos which I have backed up on an external hard drive as I don't trust our computer! It's been wonderful to have photos of Valiam sailing taken by other yachties. She looks sleek and beautiful and we are very proud of her. We are more than pleased with her performance as she nearly always makes faster passages than most cruising yachts. I remember a friend who circumnavigated the world with his family said 'A fast boat is a safe boat'. I agree with this as we have been able to reach a safe harbour before bad weather hit on many occasions.

The next month we will be reflecting on our voyage and looking forward to our return home as well as enjoy the next few places - Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia. It's nice to know the South Pacific is on our doorstep and we look forward to returning to spend more time here in the future. Our ETA in Savu Savu is Wednesday morning (same day as Oz!)

Keep those emails coming in and DON'T FORGET TO DELETE MY TEXT before you hit the reply/send button! (every kb costs to download with our satellite phone). Look forward to hearing from you with any feedback or questions etc

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Samoan Dancers - Aggie Greys Hotel, Apia
08/10/2009, Samoa

These guys were terrific to watch!

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Waterfalls, Tsunami warnings and Samoan Dancing
08/10/2009, Apia, SAMOA

Typo error?
Apia
Samoa
8 October 2009

My head is full of impressions, thoughts and planning for the next few weeks. This is our last day in Samoa and I am so impressed with the way Samoans are gentle, happy, helpful and honest. I said to Bill we must return to the Pacific to cruise more extensively. It is relaxing to speak English, not watch our back and worry about being conned. We can put our credit cards, licenses etc back into our leather wallets and walk around with them. Valiam is moored in the harbour marina right next to the road and we have never had to lock her. This is great in a hot climate so she has air flowing through her whilst we are out and we don't return to an 'oven'. The people in the shops and banks are genuinely friendly, helpful and efficient. At the post office my post cards were stamped and posted within minutes and not looked at with perplexity at the word 'Australia', as has been the case in most of the countries we have visited on our circumnavigation.

I can hear singing and guitar not far away as today is a holiday in Samoa dedicated to the lives lost in the tsunami. Samoans love to sing and are very religious. On our drive through the countryside yesterday we saw a record number of churches! The men here mostly wear lava lavas (cloth tied around their hips rather than trousers). The policeman who stopped the traffic yesterday at a pedestrian crossing wore a lava but it was fashioned like a pair of business pants with pockets sewn into the straight navy blue fabric.

Whilst driving around the island yesterday with the La Barca crew we enjoyed the lush landscape and tidy villages. Samoans have fales as part of their homes in their large gardens. Fales are open structures either square or round with a peaked thatched roof. Many are quite large and have lounge suites and household appliances inside. It must be nice and cool - a relaxed place to hang out in full view of everyone going past. Obviously crime is not an issue here with everyone's belongings exposed to all an sundry. We were keen to explore the waterfalls and swimming holes so drove to Piula cave pools in the grounds of a Methodist training college. Whilst driving towards their we listened to reports on the local radio station about a tsunami alert. It became a warning so we stayed where we were as we were parked on a hill in the college grounds overlooking the sea. It was quite scenic actually so we had a picnic next to the church. We weren't allowed to swim in the cave pools. For an hour or so we gazed out to sea looking for any changes in the sea's behaviour over the reefs. It was decided that it was best to continue our sight seeing and head for the waterfalls in the hills. There are several places here where naturally formed rock pools and waterfalls are amazing places for swimming. The 'Sliding Rock Pools' were a big hit with everyone. It was just like a water park with slides except it was all built by nature! A really beautiful place is Togitogiga Falls. It is cool and shady with overhanging rocks and vines. There are two rock pools joined by a waterfall where the adventurous jump down between the two. (not me!)

A quick look at a small section of the coast where the tsunami hit last week revealed most buildings still standing and the Samoans going about their normal lives. We saw one section where some sheds had come down in a river. We weren't inclined to look further along where the low lying resorts had been destroyed. From the misty cool mountains we were back in Apia within an hour. Unfortunately Robert Louis Stevensons house was closed but the grounds looked very impressive from the road.

Last night Bill and I decided to walk up the road to Aggie Grey's hotel to enjoy a show and buffet dinner. The show was excellent featuring men and women singing and dancing traditional Samoan numbers. The young men were extremely energetic and great to watch in their short lava lavas. I particularly loved watching the women's hand movements - a dance and story in themselves. We couldn't eat as much as we would have liked from the fabulous buffet as our stomachs couldn't manage it! We noticed there were less journalists hanging about the place. There were so many there the other day squeezing out every dollar they could out of the tsunami disaster.

Its no wonder our family worries when most of the news reports are so dramatic and the images portrayed are made to look worse with digital enhancing. On the positive side friends of ours on yachts (Seren and Antipodes) have taken donated supplies to Niuatoputapu (we call it 'new potatoes'!) a small Tongan island south of here that was hit badly by the tsunami. The people there rely on boats for essential supplies. I made some room in my clothes locker and we also donated a dozen cans of tinned meat which we thought we wouldn't get through before we reach Australian quarantine.

Today we are preparing for our trip to Savu Savu, Fiji and hope to be on our way this afternoon. We are sailing with La Barca and will keep in touch during the 600 mile passage. We are getting closer to Australia and with all the tsunamis and imminent cyclones hope to get there next month! In my heart I don't want this circumnavigation to end and I am sure I will have mixed emotions as we 'cross the line' in New Caledonia. After Fiji we may go to Tanna Island in Vanuatu then on to Lifou, Isle des Pins and Noumea (New Caledonia). Then it will be the final leg to either Brisbane or Bundaberg depending on which way the wind is blowing. I cant believe we have almost sailed around the world! A look at Google earth (under our position map) reveals our track around the globe. Now wonder we are feeling a bit tired - 27,000 nautical miles in less than 2 years!

I hope you have had time to look at the photos of Suwarrow and there is some more in the Samoa album. (Click on the little camera on the right then scroll down)

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Arrived Apia, Samoa
05/10/2009, Pacific Ocean

Apia Marina
Samoa
Position : 13 49.67S 171 45.5W

It was a relief to arrive safely in Apia at 10.30 am Saturday Samoa time. Harbour control was very helpful directing us into our marina berth. We are now comfortably ensconced between to Tara3 and Antipodes. La Barca and Seren are a few boats down from us on the pontoon. It's a nice change to be able to walk directly off the boat and not have to use a dinghy. We are not used to living so close to other boats but the convenience factor outweighs any of our feelings of 'caravan park like living'. Its great for networking with other yachties about weather conditions and information about places to sail to next.
I am feeling a bit tired this morning as we had many people on our boat last night for a party. Adam and Bill cooked up some of the big wahoo we caught yesterday in a tandoori batter which was delicious. Beer and wine flowed freely as the tsunami survivors told us their stories. All appears normal here in Apia and everyone is very friendly. The locals are anxious about visitors being turned away as the local economy relies on tourism. We are happy to be here and I will have great pleasure injecting funds into the local economy when I go shopping tomorrow! We also invited Liz and Mike on yacht Drina. Liz had written a book in the 80s about her voyage around the world with her family titled "Dolphins at Sunset'. Bil and I have read this book several times and have it on board. I had a long conversation with Liz about publishing and how to go about it when I write my book. It seems a literary agent is the way to go. I will have my work cut out for me next year!
Anyway all is well and we are very happy to be here. It looks like we are able to buy everything we need as most businesses are operating as normal and supplies have not been affected. Some of the other yachties brought lovely salads and fresh guacamole dip etc to go with the fish.
We have already heard the church bells twice this morning before 7.30! Apia is meant to have an extaordinary number of churches. When Bill went ot buy beer yesterday he saw several strange statues outside a church of angels (he thinks) stabbing a people with long weapons and blood spurting out. How lovely....

With the crew of La Barca we spoiled ourselves by going out ot lunch to the Aggie Grey Hotel. The interior is lavishly decorated with many different patterned tapa cloths, fabrics and carvings. The original South Pacfic movie was made here. It was so lovely to sit in a cool comfortable interesting restaurant and be served by happy relaxed staff. We are allowed to use the pool here so that is on our agenda along with the coffee shop with English gossip magazines!
We should be officially cleared in tomorrow by all the various officials that will visit our boat tomorrow.

Have a look at our Suwarrow photo album. (click on little camera then scroll down)

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06/10/2009 | Jerry
So what was Bill drinking, that enabled him to see such strange sights?
Tsunami in Samoa
02/10/2009, 13 41.0'S:169 29.8'W, en route Suwarrow to Apia, Samoa, Pacific Ocean

leaving Suwarrow under spinnaker. photo by Bronwyn Norris (La Barca)

Position: 13 41.0S 169 29.8W.
2nd October 2009, 11.30am.

TSUNAMI IN SAMOA As we were saying our goodbyes to John, Veronica and family on a beautiful sunny morning in Suwarrow on Tuesday 29th September, American yacht Carina called Suwarrow base on vhf radio with news of the tsunami that just hit Samoa. John did not seem concerned as he has had tsunami warnings before. But as further news reached us throughout the day we were concerned for our friends who were in Pago Pago and Apia. Carina and Antipodes had already left Suwarrow and La Barca, Spica and Valiam left Suwarrow around 2pm.

We had difficulty getting Valiam's anchor up after 3 weeks in Suwarrow as the chain had wrapped itself around coral heads several times. There was no choice but for Bill to swim with snorkeling gear to see how to get Valiam's chain unwrapped. Whilst Bill was in the water he called instructions to me to motor around the coral heads and winch the anchor chain up in stages. My heart was thumping as I did not want to run over my husband! I had to run up and down to the bow of the boat and back to the cockpit to steer. Of course the circuit breaker on the anchor winch tripped several times so I had to jiggle the switch inside. After about an hour Valiam was finally free and to the accompaniment of one of the boys blowing the Suwarrow conch shell we departed. Spica and La Barca left a little before us. At this stage we weren't concerned about the tsunami as we were 500 miles away and the best place is to be out at sea.

A beautiful 10-15 knot south easterly was blowing and the sea was flat. We caught up to La Barca and motor sailed alongside for a little while then Valiam moved ahead. Not long after that we passed Spica. Bill and Adam had discussed pulling up the spinnakers and taking photos of each other and soon we saw La Barca looking splendid with her new Australian flag spinnaker billowing out. La Barca surged ahead so Captain Bill went into the fore locker to prepare Priscilla our temperamental monster purple and green spinnaker. After half an hour of sweating Bill got Priscilla up and Valiam began to fly along at 8.5 knots! As we passed La Barca we took lots of photos and video footage and they of us. After a couple of hours we were well ahead and it was getting late in the afternoon so Priscilla came down without getting tangled.

Back to a more sedate speed of 5.5 knots we sailed along and by nightfall we were called up by Carina who could see us just behind them. I think they we were worried we would run them over! By morning we had passed Carina.

It was during these 24 hours we spoke on vhf to everyone sharing information about the tsunami. We had received numerous emails from concerned family and friends. We also received short emails from our friends in Samoa. Unfortunately Aussie friends Lisa and Garry couldn't protect their yacht Biscayne Bay in Pago Pago and she was severely damaged. No one was injured. Several yachts opted to go to sea but most evacuated with money and passports and headed for the hills as there was very little warning. This earthquake that triggered the tsunami was 8.3 on the Richter scale. One American yachtie lost his life in Pago Pago trying to secure his vessel. Our friends on Seren, Tara III and Mudskipper were all in Apia and only had time to run by foot 2km to higher ground. No yachts or lives were lost in Apia. Unfortunately on the other side of the island more than 100 lives were lost. At present all those still in Samoa are involved in the aftermath and clean up. We have been given t he go-ahead to continue on to Apia. The harbour and marina are fine and all shops and services are operating.

As we have been away from shops for almost a month we are looking forward to provisioning with fresh supplies. We also need to fill up with fuel in Apia. Now we are 140 miles away and should arrive around lunch time Saturday. As there has been very little wind we have been motoring since 1oclock this morning.We look forward to having a few drinks with fellow Aussie/NZ survivors in Apia.

The night before we left Suwarrow we had our final beach party. With Luise, Lars (Spica) and Bronwyn and Adam (La Barca) we decided that the dress code would be 'formal'! I put an announcement over the radio to that effect to the rest of the yachts in the anchorage but we 3 yachtie couples were the only ones who dressed up. It felt strange wearing nice clothes, make up etc after being a 'grotty yachtie' for so long. The men wore ties over their t shirts and floral shirts! We were all still barefoot as wearing shoes would be impractical on Suwarrow. After sunset cocktails we enjoyed a communal meal with John, Veronica and family with fresh fish as always cooked in varying ways. (I made a fish curry). I thanked John and Veronica for their incredible hospitality and praised the work they do in preserving the island. Later in the evening I put some belly dancing music on my portable DVD player and handed out pretty beaded scarves. We girls enjoyed dancing and incorporating some C ook Island hip shimmies shown to us by Veronica. What a wonderful last night at Suwarrow.

Feeling a little trepidation as we head closer to Apia we are reassured by our friends waiting there that all will be ok. I don't feel quite as excited about making landfall this time as the local people will be feeling sad after losing loved ones in the tsunami. If there is any way we can assist we will, even if it is only listening and moral support.

As soon as I am able to access internet I will be downloading lots of photos so keep an eye out on the website over the next few days. For those of you who have posted comments they won't go on until then either. (You will have to go back to a month ago to see all the comments.) Thank you to everyone for their concern for us over the last few days. Waiting at Suwarrow for an extra week for La Barca was the best thing we did!

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Last days in Suwarrow, Cook Islands
27/09/2009, 13 14.98'S:163 06.43'W, Pacific Ocean

Suwarrow, 27th September 2009

Yes we're still here in Suwarrow! Island life has certainly been good for us to rest, slow down and recover financially from the exorbitant prices in French Polynesia. We are living on freshly caught fish and whatever stores we have in our locker. It is good to use them up especially anything with dairy or meat in them as Australian quarantine will take them anyway. The downside to living on what we have is that I spend many hours in the galley cooking and washing up. This is hot work and almost impossible without the little battery operated fan. However, our nightly communal feasts are worth it. Nearly everyone is making flat bread now. The dough is like a normal bread dough (yeast is not compulsory but makes it taste better) and can be rolled out into thin pancake sized rounds and fried in a small amount of oil. I let the dough rise once before cooking and this made excellent pocket bread.

La Barca arrived on Thursday 24th after sailing 700 miles without any self steering. It's been wonderful to spend time with Bronwyn, Adam, Jack and Amy again in such a beautiful place. We have got to know the caretakers John, Veronica and the boys really well now and shared many meals ashore. Veronica's coconut pancakes made with the flesh of a sprouting coconut are delicious and very popular. With Veronica and some of the women here in the anchorage we have been learning to weave coconut fronds into belts, food platters and baskets. Wearing the belts, we enjoyed a bit of belly dancing incorporating Cook Island dancing to the barely audible CD music on the tiny portable DVD player powered by solar panels. The day we wove the food platters we used them for a communal feast. It's been good to get involved in the many pastimes here at a leisurely pace. It's interesting that we've still been a bit tired mainly because our almost nightly beach barbeque gatherings don't end until m idnight! The other night we enjoyed listening to some singing and guitar playing by John as well as Luise (German yacht Spica) It was great listening to songs in German, Russian , English as well as Cook Island language.

We will miss this island when we leave in a couple of days. Right now there is no wind and the water is so clear and so still. I decided to take a dip this morning and was rudely stung by a blue bottle. This was extremely painful. Bill poured on vinegar but icy cold water from the fridge was the only thing that took some of the pain away. The welts and pain on my arm lasted about 4 hours. We didn't see any more blue bottles just lazy black tipped sharks swimming lazily by. I have abandoned any more notions of swimming and snorkeling today! Bill went to warn Jack and Amy - it would be extremely painful on a much smaller body..

Yesterday whilst Bill and Adam made repairs to La Barca's autopilot Bronwyn the children and myself went by dinghy to Sister Islands as part of an excursion guided by John. Again I saw baby frigate and boobie birds but this time I had my small sketchbook ready. Bill says my drawings of the baby frigates look like little dinosaurs! I guess they do look like small prehistoric creatures! After a picnic we noticed a huge low black cloud hovering over the anchorage in the distance. By the time it reached us we were snorkeling around a coral reef. It was an amazing experience to be swimming in the pelting rain but underneath, the reef was calm and clear. There weren't many fish because John said some yachties had used spear guns indiscriminately in this area. (Spear guns are prohibited in this National Park). Jack and Amy swam about like little fish but I was pleased they wore their fluorescent life jackets so we could keep an eye on them. When we got back Bill and Adam had managed to make La Barca's autopilot to work and Valiam had collected lots of rain water. We enjoyed a special meal on board La Barca of our last brie, blue cheese, home made pizza and last bottle of South African red wine.

I have recently been in contact with Bob Mc Davitt a New Zealand based weather forecaster for yachties in the South Pacific. We are now on his weekly free mailing list which gives us a comprehensive report of the area we will be sailing in over the next 2 months. It will be a good time to leave Suwarrow in about 2 days. We will be aiming for Apia, Western Samoa to stock up on fresh food and duty free booze! Valiam and La Barca will be sailing close to one another on this final leg hopefully meeting up in various ports along the way.

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Birds and fish - Suwarrow, Cook Islands
20/09/2009, 13 14.98'S:163 06.43'W, Pacific Ocean

Suwarrow Cook Is 20th September 2009

The calendar with its ticks on each day tells us we've been here 12 days already! We are now the 'old timers' as more boats come in. Our beach fire bbqs are now a nightly ritual with more yachties joining in each day. Of course the inevitable question "How long have you been out?" When we say less than 2 years, the same reply "Gosh you're going fast". This gets a bit annoying after the 50th time! We always say we don't feel like we've been rushing and have spent big chunks of time in many countries. I guess not going to the Med has cut our circumnavigation time down. Nevertheless we enjoy getting to know new cruisers as they come by. The German family on Spica arrived yesterday whom we met in Galapagos and spent time with in Nuku Hiva. I can see those children just having a ball here with John and Veronica's boys. We hear from La Barca almost daily and they are only about 4 days away now. Unfortunately their autopilot broke so they have to hand steer. Their 6 year old son Jack is now steering! We look forward to seeing them when they arrive. Then we'll hav e to push on as time is getting away if we want to be back in Oz in November.

Yesterday was a wonderful day as John took us on a guided tour (we followed in our dinghy) of the motu with bird colonies. What a treat! The birds have been nesting on the ground and in low branches and we were privileged to see half grown chicks. The boobie and frigate chicks looked so funny with their little old man faces and big white fluffy coats. On nearby Brushwood Island were many tiny baby terns cheeping in the undergrowth. Parent tropic birds were protecting their young on the ground also. I managed to do a few small sketches of them. With so many birds flying and squawking overhead we were obviously made to feel like intruders. John doesn't like to disturb them more than once a week so waits until there is a large group to go out there. After a picnic under the trees we took the dinghies to a coral reef to snorkel. What clear water and bright luminous fish and large varieties of coral! Suwarrow is truly a nature lover's paradise both above and below the water. We fe el truly honoured to be here. Thank you to the Cook Island people.

I was amazed to learn that there are only 13,000 Cook Islanders living in the Cook Islands. Around 50,000 live in New Zealand. New Zealand still subsidises the Cook Islands and keeps an eye on things. This was obvious the other day when an Air Force plane flew very low over the island 3 times. Next thing we hear "Sailing Vessel Valiam this New Zealand aircraft Orion. Do you copy?" After responding to their call on 16 Captain Bill had to answer many questions about where and when we were in our last 3 ports and the next 3 intending ports. The usual questions about whether we had animals or firearms etc were asked. There was only Seren and ourselves anchored here so Seren was also cross examined. If they flew over now there would be many more boats to interview. They would be back in New Zealand before they had finished! It felt like an invasion of privacy and such loud disturbance to the peace when they flew over. It was a bit like Big Brother watching us!

We don't have to worry about enough food here as John catches fish each afternoon and give us huge chunks for our evening bbqs. Bill has also gone out fishing with Steve several times. As we brought 3 huge pumpkins to the island our diet is mainly fish, pumpkin and whatever tins, condiments we add to it. As our toilet paper supply was getting low we managed to swap 4 big American rolls for a packet of instant mashed potato which 13 year old Jacob on Biscayne Bay loves. Alcoholic beverages are also getting low so there is talk of trying to make wine from coconuts!

I have attached a tiny photo of a baby frigate bird. Lots of photos of Suwarrow will go on the website album when we get to our next port with internet. We would love to hear from our friends and family so let us know any news of the outside world and please send us an email !

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25/09/2009 | Su & Steve
We got the boat ! Hope all well with you, see you soon. S & S
Paradise found - Suwarrow, Cook Islands
16/09/2009, 13 14.98'S:163 06.43'W, Pacific Ocean

Suwarrow Island Cook Is 16th September 2009

As we relax and slow down into remote island living, the outside world seems far away. The air is soft and clean, the colours pure and clear and the people kind and warm offering that quality I most admire - generosity of spirit. Suwarrow is one of those rare gems left on this planet and we feel very happy to be here. I have tried to capture the colours on film and in my sketch book - turquoise, deep blue, soft aqua, creamy beige, blue grey..

John and Veronica and their four sons Jeremiah, Jonathon, Augustino and Giovanni have included us into their lives here as they do all yachties who visit here. Their home is our home and sharing is the way here. We don't worry about running out of food as John catches fish for everyone. In return I have baked cakes and cooked my special spicy bami goreng(Indonesian noodles) for our communal meals. John has promised to take us out to one of the other smaller islands in this atoll to see the bird colonies and Veronica is going to show us how to weave palm fronds. I have asked Veronica if she will show me some Cook Island dancing and in return I will share some belly dancing. Whatever women are left in the anchorage by the time we get around to it will be invited to participate. The men will be encouraged to go fishing!

The only fishing that is allowed here is line fishing - no spear fishing, lobster/crayfish gathering. Suwarrow is a National Park and John and his family are employed as caretakers. A caretaker is not to be confused with National Park rangers. A caretaker here is expected to survive with very little and live close to and in harmony with nature. There is no refrigeration, telephone, internet etc. All they have is SSB and vhf radio. When John and the family arrive in March they are allowed only one pallet of food until October when they are picked up by small cargo ship. Water is rainwater and occasionally it has run dangerously low. They have tried to grow a few veges but it is a struggle. Basically fresh food stuffs are given by passing yachts to supplement their fish/rice diet. The family has run out of propane a few times and has been extremely grateful to the yachts that have brought some more for them. Cooking on open fires becomes a bit tedious for them. However this is their 5th year here and despite the shortfalls in funding from the Cook Island government they enjoy the life. The anchorage is never empty of yachts and John and Veronica and the boys make each and everyone of us welcome. We have enjoyed hearing John's stories especially about his ancestors who were reputably cannibals. Suwarrow was made famous by Tom Neal who lived here for 30 years as a hermit. John says that he has met Tom Neal's Cook Islander wife who interestingly doesn't get a mention in his book "An Island to Oneself".

Another odd thing the Cook Islands dept of National Parks has done is sent 2 spayed female cats to Suwarrow to control the rat population. Unfortunately the bird and small animal population has suffered also. One cat is left and John is seriously considering removing it from the island. In years past before John's time caretakers used to catch the bigger wild birds for food as well as cook their eggs. This is now of course strictly forbidden. Coconut crabs live in amongst the old copra plantation and it is also forbidden to catch them. I haven't seen any manta rays here but plenty of sharks! They are mainly small black tipped sharks reportedly harmless. To keep the sharks away from the anchorage it is forbidden to throw fish and food scraps over the side. On the other side of the island John and the boys sometimes feed the sharks there. We were surprised to see how close the sharks swim to shore in shallow water. We noticed some grey sharks as well as the black tipped ones. (There is a place to burn rubbish but cans and bottles will have to remain with us until the next port)

When we first arrived there quite a few yachts here including a mega yacht Kaori. One night Kaori (2 owners and 7 crew) invited everyone to a party ashore. We enjoyed a feast with everyone sharing food, laughter and stories. There were around 10 yachts here then. Yesterday morning there were only 2 of us yachts left, then the other one 'Watermelon' left leaving us alone. But not for long - our friends Steve, Dee and Nicky arrived a few hours later on Seren. It was very windy the night before they arrived blowing 30 knots (which wasn't on the grib files!) making sleep very difficult with Valiam bouncing up and down in the fore cabin. The wind settled down yesterday to a nice 12-15 knots and we were able to enjoy sundowners ashore with the Seren crew. Every evening the Cook Island flag is pulled down with one of the boys blowing the conch shell. One of the 8 year old twins blew it yesterday making a lovely profile against the sunset.

We have been spending lazy afternoons ashore reading in the hammocks, swimming and generally relaxing. I have managed a couple of drawings including one of the famous conch shell. Tonight we are having a beach bbq with Seren and John and family. I am really looking forward to it. I love listening to John's stories.

I will post the photos I have taken when we have internet again - mostly likely Apia, Samoa our next destination. (This entry and tiny weeny photo of one of my drawings has been sent via iridium satellite phone and GMN.)

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Arrived Suwarrow Is (Cook Islands)
10/09/2009, 13 14.98'S:163 06.43'W, Pacific Ocean

10 September 2009

Yesterday's email to family and friends soon after arrival reads:

'We were anchored safely in front of Anchorage Island at 8am this morning. Position 13 14.98S 163 06.438W The wind picked up yesterday to 15-18 knots ESE so we had to slow Valiam down (yes you read correctly) otherwise we would have arrived in the dark. We hove-to for 8 hours about 30 miles out and at 2am we sailed directly for Suwarrow. The pass wasn't difficult - you just have to negotiate between south reef and Anchorage Island and we found there was plenty of water. Charlie's charts are pretty good. Our C Map (card 2007 official one) appears fairly accurate. Even with a 20 knot SE the pass was fairly smooth. There are 8 boats here including us. We appear to be the only ones from 'Down Under'. Caretaker John and family waved to us as they went off fishing this morning. It looks beautiful wild and windswept at the moment and reminds us of Cocos Keeling. I butchered an Aussie flag to try and make a Cook Island flag but its missing quite a few stars and you can see where I have coloured our big star. I am too embarrassed to put it up!! Apparently John raises the Cook Island flag every day blowing a conch shell! Even though it's overcast, the anchorage is nice and it's lovely to be here.'

I haven't heard the conch shell but the flag does indeed get raised every morning and lowered each evening. The captain has decreed the same rule for Valiam whilst anchored here also! We went briefly ashore yesterday to introduce ourselves to John and Veronica the caretakers. After a dinghy ride through the clearest water and passing a friendly shark we walked along a small concrete jetty towards a small 2 storey house nestled behind the coconut palms. The lower storey is completely open with international flags and memorabilia hanging from the rafters. John and Veronica were sitting in a relaxed fashion at picnic tables with another American yachtie couple. A kitchen opens off the lower level and upstairs childrens voices could be heard. Upstairs is the family's living/sleeping area. Other passing yachts crew had given the children new movie DVDs and John couldn't get them away from the TV screen! We presented our pumpkin, bag of flour and jar of French jam. These were happi ly received especially the jam! We paid our US$50 park fees and our names were entered into the book. After chatting for a while we went for a short walk to the other side of the island. The beaches are strewn with driftwood and coral and even more sharks could be seen swimming lazily in the shadows. A couple of handmade hammocks made from strong nylon fishing nets completed the scene. Around the caretaker's residence (affectionately known as 'Suwarrow yacht club') several 'once useful items' lay about the place - rusty drums, wire, building materials etc. Tom Neal's old hut is in disrepair but houses a 'book exchange' for yachties. Behind the hut there is an overgrown vege garden with a few struggling bean and tomato plants. All water is collected in a rain water tank. John said its ok for us to build a small fire to bbq our meat if we desire. This we may do today after we have rested. We are both quite tired after this last passage and look forward to relaxed lazy days h ere at Suwarrow.

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en route to Suwarrow Is (Cook Islands)
07/09/2009, 14 00.2'S:159 38.8'W, Pacific Ocean

6 September 2009

The motor is chugging away as we have had very little wind for the last 24 hours. How different the sea is to when we left last Thursday! Accompanied by playful dolphins we made our way through the pass of Bora Bora of equally lively waves. We knew it would be windy but wanted a good start for the 685 mile passage as there would be little wind later according to the grib files. (And they were correct!)

7 September 2009 Position: (at 6am) 14 00.2S 159 38.8W It is now Monday morning and the winds are still very light - less than 10 knots. With just under 200 miles to go we are not sure we will make it by daylight tomorrow. It's hard to believe now looking at the gentle sea that for the first 2 days it was a different story. The winds were blowing 25-30 knots, the swells were large and coming from 2 different directions and I was violently sea sick. It was the worst 24 hours of seasickness I have experienced on the whole voyage and we've done more than 25,000 miles! Despite medication the bucket was my best friend for the whole time. Bill had to be on watch the whole of the first night as I was not capable of getting up. It seems a nightmare now and I want to avoid that situation again at all costs! I think after being in a relatively calm anchorage for 9 days then heading straight out into a rough sea is what does it. (The same thing happened when we left St Pierre in La Reunion). So now I will be advocating gentle conditions if possible before heading off! For those prone to sea sickness the only medication that helped at all in those conditions is stematyl. After that I have continued to take Sturgeron (or cinnazine - not available in Australia) 3 times a day which usually works well.

We are looking forward to spending time at Suwarrow Island (originally called Suvarov after a Russian ship that came upon it years ago) one of the most northern of the Cook Islands. We have decided on a northerly route across this part of the Pacific as the conditions further south continue to have fronts with strong winds. Suwarrow Island has a resident caretaker family (John, Veronica and 4 sons) who live there from March to December. The only way to reach Suwarrow is by boat so the yachties contribute items needed by the family (fresh food, cooking oil, propane etc). Suwarrow is a National Park so it will be a nice change from the more populated places we've been to lately. The only concern is if the wind starts blowing strongly when we arrive we may not be able to enter the pass. If that happens we would have to keep sailing another 600 miles to Western Samoa. We are hoping that doesn't happen. Lots of yachts seem to make it in ok and all the recent logs I've read give g lowing reports. It has been called the 'Chagos of the Pacific'.

I am currently reading one of Lucy Irvine's books 'Faraway' which describes her year living on a small island in the Solomons with the Hepworth family. Lucy wrote her first book 'Castaway' after she lived for a year as a wife on a deserted island with Gerald in the Torres Strait. She barely managed to survive that experience so in comparison 'Faraway' is a haven of luxury. Diana and Tom Hepworth sailed their boat Arthur Rogers from England discovering tiny Pigeon Island in the Solomons in 1957. There they made a formal agreement to lease the island for their lifetime. They were trading copra at the time and also set up a trade store for the locals. In the late 1990s, Diana invited Lucy and her 3 sons to live on Pigeon for a year to write her story. I am intrigued by how white European culture survives and occasionally blends with local customs. It is an interesting book and Lucy is honest in her narrative. It seems that living on an island such as this as a European, one must respect and live alongside the local people as harmoniously as possible. Diana who was in her 80s when Lucy lived there had 'her side' of the island and ran it in the manner of expatriates did and still do around the world often treating the locals as a 'different species' rather than fellow human beings. Interestingly her son married a local woman and lived on the other side of the island with their children adopting the local ways with many friends and relatives from neighbouring islands coming and going as they pleased. I enjoy reading books such as this on passage giving me an insight to island living in the Pacific which many people around the world think of as a dream to 'live in paradise'.

Back to reality on Valiam I was rudely interrupted by my computer yesterday telling me it had a virus. As it tried to correct it the screen went blue with all sorts of incomprehensible messages on it. As this computer (the HP) is the only one now that works with email at sea I began to panic. After half an hour of scrolling of numbers it stopped. The screen was still blue asking me type yes or no! I sent sat messages to Liam our son who didn't know and said 'blue screen means death'. By this stage I was really concerned - no emails, no weather grib files etc. I then decided to use the satellite phone to phone my computer savvy brother Paul in Australia. In a calm voice he gave me instructions and I was relieved when the computer rebooted itself and is now running normally. What a relief! I suspect the virus came from a fellow yachties computer. I had used my external hard drive to copy movies and music. Although I had scanned the hard drive before opening the files, it still had to give me a big fright! I will no longer poke my precious hard drive into foreign computers!!

I baked bread 2 days ago which we are enjoying immensely apart from it being very crumbly due to using whole wheat flour. We still have some fresh produce that hasn't gone off yet. It's a matter of planning the menu around items 'about to go off'! I had to use all the tomatoes left the other day after cutting the bad bits off to make pasta sauce. We had this initially with penne pasta then the next time I added eggplants and white sauce to make lasagna. Our stocks of wine and beer are running dangerously low so we are attempting to conserve this until the next port with shops. (Western Samoa or Fiji)

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Maramu - last days Bora Bora
02/09/2009, French Polynesia

2nd September
Bora Bora
French Polynesia

Bill managed to get some more gas from a fellow yachtie via connectors so we'll be right and won't have to eat cold food in the near future. We had some really strong winds come through the anchorage the other night - it was unbelievable- everything rattling and shaking. Our mooring is a fair way out so not only did we cop the strong wind coming through but the extra bit buffeting around the mountain towards us. The jib on the furler came a bit loose and made a terrible racket. Valiam then tried to sail off the mooring heeling over knocking everything over inside. Our Aussie neighbour Steve (Seren) came over when he heard the racket and the only solution was to unfurl the jib between gusts and furl her up again as tight as tight. The wind instrument recorded the highest gust at 62knots! It was a steady 30-40 knots for a few hours. We'll have to tell the yacht club we've tested their mooring for them. It wasn't much fun with me worrying the mooring line would come loose and Valiam sailing over to the reef! Anyway all is much calmer now as we prepare for Suwarrow. We'll have another look at the weather before we decide to go. There are strong trades predicted for another few days but we want to confirm reasonable weather in Suwarrow (if that is possible) in 4-5 days... We have provisioned, seen the gendarme, collected and dismantled the bikes, as well as paid our bill at the yacht club. All is well in paradise!
We were going to leave today but the weather is still a bit unsettled and we're still tired after we got knocked about by that ferocious wind the other night. We've since found out it is a local phenomenon called 'maramu'. We are loaded up with food, fuel and water ready for our 3 week sojourn without civilisation. We've got no pacific francs left and the bikes are packed away so I guess it's a lazy day monitoring the weather. The wind is occasionally howling around the rigging as I type this and no yachts seem to be leaving this morning.

I am re reading Ron Falconer's book 'Together alone' where he took his family to live on an uninhabited island for a few years. (Caroline atoll directly north of here). He had spoken to Tom Neal who was the hermit on Suwarrow for many years (now dead) and was inspired by him. It's interesting how they survived with an annual trip to Tahiti for supplies including building materials, chooks etc in their little 28ft boat! They also had a dog, cat and 2 parrots! We are looking forward to spending time in Suwarrow as it will be our last remote island on this trip.
Well it seems a lazy day on board - no pacific francs left and the bikes are packed away.

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Bora Bora by bicycle
30/08/2009, French Polynesia

Sunday 30th August 2009
Bora Bora Yacht Club
French Polynesia

Bora Bora Yacht Club is really a restaurant with a pontoon for dinghies that offers a few services such as: mooring (for 5000XPF per week), laundry, a shower and water (1000XPF per week). There is no club house as such or meeting area with book exchange or anything like that. The yacht club makes its money from the restaurant which caters for the well heeled tourist who likes to dine on the waterfront. The staff however are very friendly and helpful. As the bar and restaurant is too expensive for the average yachtie's budget socializing tends to be on each other's boats. There are quite a few boats here and several coming and going daily so we haven't got to know many people really. Our Australian friends Steve, Dee and Nicki on Seren are here and we've met our nearest neighbours Hans and Glenn who each have interesting Polynesian hand made catamarans.

These 2 catamarans stand out due to their traditional style. Ong Tong Java the catamaran belonging to Hans was built in Gambier, Africa and is made of solid timber. It s 70ft long and very impressive with its huge open wide planked platform. One night we were invited on board to enjoy a real wood bbq he made on the deck. It was lovely - just like camping! Glenn's catamaran Manu Here is a Warram design he built in California. He is proud of being a minimalist having no engine or plumbing on board. He sails into every harbour and washes his dishes in the sea. Both cats have basic toilet amenities in the open air. Have put some pictures of these boats in the French Polynesia album.

Bora Bora is less touristy than we thought with many small houses lining the quiet road and a few shops grouped together in the local town Vaitape. Vaitape is 3km from the yacht club so we have installed our bicycles ashore to easily go to the supermarket to buy food. (including delicious baguettes!) Most of the tourists seem to be ensconced in the resorts which are built on the motus (small islands in the lagoon). These are mostly bures that hang out over the water for large amounts of money ($1000 a night). We have our own waterfront bure without the price tag!

Bicycle is by far the best way to travel and see the place. We have gone half way around the island poking into galleries and meeting local artists. We met Alain Despert who moved here from France 35 years ago and enjoyed speaking with him and viewing the art he had in his gallery. I also bit the bullet and decided to have my hair done after 8 months of neglect. The small hairdresser around the corner is managed by a petite French woman originally from Paris. It was an enjoyable morning observing the locals (mostly gay men) having their hair done. If only my French was better to enjoy the gossip!

As strong winds are predicted the next couple of days we will stay here until Wednesday. We will then aim for Suwarrow island one of Cook Islands most northern outposts. Suwarrow is where NZ hermit Tom Neal wrote a book "An island to oneself". The island can only be reached by boat and is a national park. A caretaker family John, Veronica and their 4 boys look after the island making sure yachties that call in behave! Apparently they are very welcoming and their open plan area by their home is affectionately known as 'Suwarrow Yacht Club'. As John's family are stationed there for half the year (not in cyclone season) they rely on the yachtie's generosity in supplying much needed items such as fresh fruit, veges, sugar, matches etc and most recently a yacht took them some much needed propane. No spear fishing is allowed and John apparently supplies the yachts with fresh fish. It looks like a beautiful place in the logs of other yachts and we are looking forward to going there. It's about 700 miles from here. We will stay about a week then most likely head for Apia, Samoa. So it will be around 3 weeks away from shops, internet etc!

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Polynesian Catamarans
29/08/2009, Bora Bora

Ongtong Java

We met cruisers Glenn on warram cat Manu Here (from California, USA) and Hans(Swiss) on African built Ongtong Java. Both beautiful hand made timber boats.

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Warram cat - Manu Here
28/08/2009, Bora Bora

Glenn on Manu Here from California

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Beautiful Bora Bora
26/08/2009, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Wednesday 25th August 2009
Bora Bora
Position: 16 29.542S 151 45.768W

We really appreciate a full night's sleep even after only 3 days at sea! Cruising teaches us never to take anything for granted! Yesterday we began motoring just after dawn as we were only sailing at 4.5 knots. But only an hour later the wind picked up and we sailed all day at around 6 knots - a dream sail with the boat barely heeling. We had tuna steaks for breakfast with tinned tomatoes and tuna and sweet potato lasagna for lunch. By mid afternoon we could see the towering peaks of Bora Bora in the distance. We entered the lagoon accompanied by playful dolphins at around 4.30pm. There are a number of yachts here outside the yacht club on moorings, and the only one I could see was the furtherest one from the club. I managed to pick it up with our hook and we were safely tied up by 5pm. After left over tuna lasagna and a bottle of chilled Chenin Blanc (we still have a few bottles from South Africa) we were ready for an early night. Our nearest neighbour is a mega yacht of at least 100ft! Our Australian friends on Seren will be arriving today so we look forward to catching up with them.

Although one of the more touristy islands the scenery is still beautiful. Soon we will go ashore and look for an eatery called Le Patisserie for a brunch treat. We also need to check in with the yacht club (its 5000XPF per week = A$70) but we will have SHOWERS, laundry etc. The French are very civilized as we have wifi once again from our boat. I have put a few more photos in the French Polynesia album. Enjoy!

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Rangiroa to Bora Bora
24/08/2009, 15 26.17'S:150 04.91'W, Pacific Ocean

Monday 24th August 2009.
Position: 15 26.17S 150 04.91W.
Time: 6pm. 116 nm to go.

An hour ago we were sipping the last of my homemade pina coladas thinking about what to have for dinner when the fishing line became taut. The captain thinking of the work ahead of him began pulling in the line. "It's a big one!" he pants. When the wriggling large fish came on board we could see it was a huge tuna - 10kg at least! It made a mess in the cockpit and pouring cheap rum into its gills only seemed to make it more excited instead of calming it down. Eventually it became still and Captain Bill became the butcher. Its meat is the darkest I have ever seen in a tuna and the huge chunks Bill cut off looked like steak. I managed to stow most of it away in the fridge and kept a small amount out to cook for dinner. Fried up with salt and pepper, a little lime and accompanied by left over eggplant salsa and caper mayonnaise it was a wonderful meal.

Valiam has had a relaxed sail since we left Rangiroa at 2.30pm yesterday. It took us a while to get through the Tuputu pass. We ended up anchoring nearby waiting for the waves breaking across to subside. Eventually it was calm enough to get through. We have had very light winds mostly around 10 knots from East/North East and have been sailing quietly along at around 4.5-5.5 knots. It's been great for sleeping as we aren't heeling over at all. Tomorrow we may have to motor-sail if we want to make Bora Bora by daylight. We may have to make use of the yacht club barbeque to cook the rest of the tuna!

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26/08/2009 | liam
pina coladas and giant tuna? ohhhh jealous
Map of French Polynesia
21/08/2009, Pacific Ocean

We are now in Rangiroa which is in the Tuamotus.
Next we'll be in Bora Bora - Society Islands

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Artists and cycling around Rangiroa
21/08/2009, French Polynesia

Linda with local artist Arno in his studio

Rangiroa
French Polynesia
Friday 21st August 2009

I think I could live here! (Except for the expensive prices!) Bill assembled the bicycles yesterday so we took a ride to the local village Avoturu about 10 km. We passed the beach on one side, the lagoon on the other and a number of little boutiques and cafes beside the road. It is such a low key place with no traffic, dusty little side roads with chickens pecking about and friendly locals calling "Bonjour".

Earlier in the day Priscilla and I went by dinghy to a small art boutique we had noticed the previous day. We strolled through the yards of the dive shop and other homes (nobody minds) under coconut palms and past friendly dogs until we found Arno's studio. Arno was very pleased to show us his work and describe his techniques. He uses all natural pigments mixing his own colours and bases his paintings on French Polynesian tattoo designs. See his website: www.tableauxdeterres.com. He has swapped a French life in Lyon for a relaxed life living in a bungalow on the beach devoting himself to his art. He also introduced us to the lady next door 'Mamie' who creates very beautiful jewelry from shells, pearls and woven string.
Bill and Don (Chautaqua) have gone by dinghy with a few jerry cans to buy diesel at the village. The winds are light for the next week or so and we think we may leave for Bora Bora on Sunday.
It's nice to come to a place and 'feel at home'. As cruisers we always look for places where we feel comfortable and welcome. Not only do we have our 'home' with us wherever we go we need to feel happy to be part of the local community. As with every day life on the land shopping for food needs to be done and access to water and fuel is needed to maintain our 'mobile home'. Somewhere comfortable to relax away from the boat is also important. No-one is poor here which is a nice change. Bill often says he hates feeling like 'a rich bastard' when interacting with the locals. The pressure certainly is off when there are no touts and where not everyone is trying to sell us something.
The temperature is perfect with soft balmy breezes in the evenings and the water is 27 degrees - ideal for a dip from the back of the boat. I can't help thinking that our return home is looming closer and I do hope we can maintain our relaxed attitude to life.

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Pearl Farm and local village Rangiroa
19/08/2009, French Polynesia

This man is drilling a hole through the pearl I bought. (photo by Don - Chautaqua)

Rangiroa
Tuamotus
French Polynesia
Wednesday 19th August 2009

Rangiroa is really proving to be a restful haven. The weather has moderated so the anchorage is still and the water is so clear we watch with fascination the fish and manta rays that swim around the anchorage. Our American friends Don and Priscilla on Chautaqua arrived on Monday after some nasty weather. A wave caught them sideways and they are still cleaning up the turmoil of their belongings and food being flung around the cabin. However after a good rest yesterday they were keen to explore the local area with us. Besides we still hadn't been to see the gendarme. As the French navy had come past earlier taking photos of the yachts and asking if we needed any assistance we thought we had better let the local authorities know we are officially here.

The four of us walked along the road as we had previously been informed that the Gendarmerie was just north of the Kia Ora resort. After some time and some distance we were getting rather hot and sweaty. We then began flagging down vehicles to find out where it was. Eventually the mini bus from the Gauguin Pearl farm stopped. So in we hopped into the lovely air-conditioned bus and received a free lift to the Gendarmerie. It was not 'just north' but 6km away near the village of Avoturo! The French gendarme was very pleasant and friendly and after photocopying our passports and filling in a form he kindly phoned a taxi to take us the rest of the way into the village. After a 10 minute taxi ride we were charged 1600 pacific francs (about A$16!!).

Avoturo is charming. The locals live in small beach side simple dwellings with everything open, bright curtains blowing in the wind to reveal the turquoise blue water behind them. What a view to live with every day! We found the bank, ATM machine and a small supermarket. Amongst the local houses are half a dozen small restaurants and tourist shops. After Priscilla and I bought some bright cotton fabric for A$5 m we found Phillipa's Pizza restaurant overlooking the water. Whilst eating our pizzas we were wondering how we were going to get back to the boats without an expensive taxi ride. We then came up with the idea of visiting Gauguin's Pearl Farm which advertised free transport. Priscilla asked our charming restaurant host if would phone them for us. After lunch our transport arrived to take us to the Pearl Farm.

It was a most interesting visit. Our guide was Italian and spoke English for us as he explained how the black pearls are created. Technicians were performing 'operations' as we watched fascinated as the fake pearl made of shell and a scraping of DNA was carefully inserted into the mother shell. We also witnessed the pearls being extracted by another skilled technician and graded into different containers.

Of course I wanted to buy one of these beautiful pearls! A conveniently located boutique is on the premises showcasing the most expensive pearls costing 1000's of euros to the humble flawed one I bought with leather necklace for 20 euros. After our free ride back to our dinghies we thought that the bicycles would be a great idea for around here. There are a couple of little art shops along the road as well as the viewing area of the Tiputu pass where the dolphins dance during the outgoing tide. A small inexpensive café is nearby overlooking the water and the fish serving burgers and local fare. After a few more days of resting we'll be ready to sail to Bora Bora around 200 miles away. We are able to buy wifi airtime here and use the computers on the boat. Unfortunately they are starting to object to the salt air and buttons are jamming on and only one USB port works on this computer now. We hope they last till we get back to Australia!!

I'm just going to go for a swim now from the boat to look at the fish swimming around the coral close by. There are a few small sharks but they are harmless....

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Giving birth to a pearl
18/08/2009, Gauguin Pearl Farm Rangiroa

This is how it is done - a beautiful pearl being extracted.

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Exploring Avoturu
18/08/2009, Rangiroa, French Polynesia

Church grounds and small altar overlooking the Avoturu pass

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Arrived Rangiroa, Tuamotus
16/08/2009, French Polynesia

Tahitian bure or private yacht?

Rangiroa
Tuamotus
French Polynesia
Sunday 16th August 2009

Our email to family just after arriving reads:
Finally anchored 2pm Saturday 15th August, Rangiroa, French Polynesia. We left Nuku Hiva, Marquesas 4 days ago and have had a variable trip as far as the wind goes - no wind then too much wind!!!
Position :14 58.13S 147 38.17W
We just couldn't get to one of the smaller atolls such as Tikehau or Ahe at the right time. Anyway it still fairly laid back and pleasant here.
After a rough ride as the wind rose to more than 25 knots and uncomfortable wind waves as well as a squall we managed to enter the pass at around high tide. It's wide enough and the 2 white markers are good leads..Our new C Map was spot on which is good in poor visibility. The pass is a piece of cake really...(only say this afterwards as it was quite stressful approaching the atoll in these conditions.) Anchoring was another drama as there are mooring buoys everywhere and of course the circuit breaker tripped on the anchor winch. It was hard to keep the boat pointing in the right direction in 28 knots but we are now enjoying the obligatory glass of champagne.

It's quite sheltered in here considering the wind. We're not going anywhere until the weather calms down. Plenty of fresh food and beverages on board so we'll be fine. The gendarme can wait and we are not in a hurry to go ashore as yet. We are anchored outside the Kia Ora Hotel so I guess at some stage when we are feeling extravagant we'll see what they have to offer. (Dinner with Polynesian dancers??)

There are a couple of tourist cats, a navy ship, another tourist ferry thing and 7 of us yachts. (No -one we know - yet...)

Au revoir
Back to my champagne and brie. (I will close my eyes to the mess and turmoil inside - even our bed got a bit wet - yes it was a little rough today....)

Sunday afternoon
After falling asleep yesterday afternoon (nothing to do with the champagne) until 10pm, I awoke to a cooked dinner and the galley cleaned up. What a treat! Thank you Captain! The rest of the night was a bit rolly as the wind and swell are still up. We eventually went ashore today after my wonderful captain pumped up the inflatable dinghy (less tippy in these conditions than the wooden one). Rangiroa is lovely! It reminds me of the quiet seaside 'shacky' type places we used to frequent in the 70s and 80s in our kombi. The locals living in relaxed dwellings along the beach don't mind if we walk along in their yards to reach our dinghy. The road around here is ideal for bicycle riding so captain extraordinaire will assemble them perhaps for tomorrow. There's even a little lean-to we can leave them locked to ashore. The little local store has all the bare essentials and promises to have baguettes tomorrow.
As a treat we had lunch at the Kia Ora hotel overlooking the lagoon. The yachts (especially the pretty turquoise one) look gorgeous in the foreground adding to the picturesque postcard landscape. There were many honeymooners at the resort gadding about in brand new 'cheeky' bikinis. Our waiter 'Jean Claude' was dressed as a woman in miniskirt, plucked eyebrows and long hair tied with a flower. Men such as these are quite common in this part of the world ('mahus'). I believe it is part of Polynesian culture to ensure there are enough 'female' helpers around the home by bringing up a son as a girl (often the first born)..... We also found out the buffet dinner with Polynesian dancer show is A$140 so we may give it a miss...

The wind should lessen in a few days. It's certainly nicer in here than out there in open sea! We won't sail to Bora Bora until we have good conditions. In the meantime Rangiroa seems a lovely place to explore.

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18/08/2009 | bro
are you doing vanuatu, fiji ? enjoy your home run
Marquesas to Tuamotus Day 3
14/08/2009, 13 29.65'S:145 18.01'W, Pacific Ocean

Position:13 29.65S 145 18.01W.
Time: 3pm. August 14 2009.

As with all projected sailing plans, they rarely go as envisioned. Yesterday and last night we had barely any wind so Valiam drifted quietly along at 3-5 knots. It was great for sleeping! We are now quite relaxed and now quite enjoying this passage even if we are not sure where we are going to end up! After my glorious description of Tikehau we probably won't make it by high tide tomorrow. Our other 'small atoll' alternative is Ahe but we maybe there too early so guess which one is in the middle? Rangiroa - the largest and most developed atoll in the archipelago. Our chart plotter gives high tide at around midday tomorrow which will possibly make Rangiroa the best option for entry into its pass. It's all new to us anyway and will still be pleasant.

The wind is blowing at a gentle 10 knots, the sky is blue with white fluffy clouds and the sea is whooshing past Valiam's hull with an occasional gentle slap. The winds are expected to increase to 20 knots from the SE tomorrow so if we end up at Rangiroa by this time tomorrow we will be anchored outside the Kia Ora Hotel, the best protected anchorage from the south. I guess being in a more developed atoll will have its advantages - fresh baguettes, internet etc. Being 2nd largest atoll in the world there will be plenty to explore. It may be time to pull out the bicycles as well as the big inflatable dinghy!

Apologies for the repeat of my last ships log on the website - a glitch with the satellite transfer which sailblogs will be fixing (if they haven't already). If we are going to be in Rangiroa I will be able to post some nice photos of the aquamarine waters, coral and marine life.

It was so calm last night we had a sit down dinner of steak (from Brazil bought in Nuku Hiva), mashed potatoes and fresh beans. Lovely! Our whole bunch of bananas hanging from the back of the boat are now going ripe all at once. I have already made banana cake and have just made some yoghurt. Fruit salad will be next! Bananas are supposed to make you feel happy! (Except if you are trying to catch fish I suppose).

All well on board. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode in the life of 'Valiam goes cruising around the world!'

To Bill who made comment: We use GMN Xgate program to receive and send emails via our satellite phone to our laptop. They work with sailblogs our website provider. We simply send sailblogs our latest ships log and they post it on the website automatically. When we are connected to the internet on land we go direct to our website link and update the website ourselves posting photos etc. Go to www.globalmarinenet.com
cheers Linda

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15/08/2009 | Bill
I just came accross your blog. You appear to be able to up date your blog even at sea. Can you share with me how you do that. I enjoy your comments and I continue to follow your messages. But how do you do it?
09/05/2011 | sal gorge
Fantastic story. per chance would you know how to get in touch with tom neal's widow or his family. I am a movie producer and interested in film rights for his book. an island to oneself. thanks very much
Marquesas to Tuamotus Day 1
12/08/2009, 10 31.70'S:141 26.15'W, Pacific Ocean

Position: 10 31.70S 141 26.15W.

12 August 2009.

French Polynesia Time:9am (Australia Thurs 4.30am).

Back at sea again and the adjustments and tiredness that comes with it! When I look at our map of the world and how far we've sailed it makes me feel tired! Unfortunately boats aren't like cars or trains - they don't travel in a steady straight line. We roll, we sway we bump and weave about through and over the waves. Fred the wind vane is steering us to save power but he doesn't steer as straight as Mona Lisa (electric autopilot).

We didn't leave Nuku Hiva until after 2pm yesterday as we want to arrive at Tikehau in the daylight. Even then we will have to wait until slack tide to enter the pass into the atoll. The Tuamotus were also named the Dangerous Archipelago due to the number of reefs and the difficulty of navigating into the atolls. Now with GPS and chart plotters it is a little easier but eyeball navigation at close quarters is still the best. We chose Tikehau as it is smaller than Rangiroa and on the north western end of the Tuamotus and in a direct line to Bora Bora. We have received information from an Australian yachtie that it is a very nice place - a national park and the pass is 'a piece of cake'. We look forward to swimming in aquamarine waters looking at the marine life and hopefully a calm anchorage. Charlie's charts gives a good description and diagram of how to get in and where to anchor. The Lonely Planet says: "TIKEHAU pop 406/ lagoon 461sq m Tikehau is almost too good to be true. Time has eroded it away into a sweeping, twisting motu of white and pink sands that engulf little bays and forgotten nooks. The lagoon is as blue as you'll find anywhere in French Polynesia and the pass houses an exceptional abundance of fish. The islanders are grouped in a village of Tuherahera, in the southwestern atoll, leaving the majority of the paradisiacal motu untouched.." Sounds good to me! There are a few resorts, a post office and a small airstrip so it isn't as quiet and isolated as some of the atolls but it will do us. We don't have a lot of time and we wanted to pick one that seems easy to get into and is on the way.

The stars were brilliant last night and Jupiter is still dominant in the sky. We should reach Tikehau by Friday morning.

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Leaving the Marquesas
10/08/2009, Pacific Ocean

Taiohae Bay
Nuku Hiva
Marquesas
10 August 2009

After an hour of motoring through some nasty choppy water we're back in the main town of Nuku Hiva. It really is a lovely relaxed place as no-one is in a hurry and there are very few tourists. Everyone says 'Bonjour' when passing each other along the footpath. The fridge and larder are stocked up with fresh meat, cheese, baguettes, fruit and veges. I sent a few postcards off at the post office that appeared to be a lot more efficient than in Galapagos. Apparently the postcards I sent from Galapagos haven't arrived in Oz yet (but the parcel did - how do you figure that out??)

It's only a short hop of less than 600 nautical miles to the Tuamotus. I remember that used to be a terribly long way for us! (distance of New Caledonia to Australia!!) We have chosen a small atoll called Tikehau which is right in the northern tip west of Rangiroa. The water is reputably a clear aquamarine and the snorkeling/diving superb. We just looked at the grib files and it looks like a 20 knot easterly will be blowing us there. We have to wait until slack tide before entering the pass into the lagoon.

I would like to put in a good word for Veronique who manages Nuku Hiva Yacht Services and speaks excellent English. She is always ready to assist the yachties and nothing is too much trouble. She does a lot of things for nothing and gives excellent advice. Merci beaucoup Veronique!

The majestic landscape of the Marquesas will forever stay in my mind. It really has been a wonderful visit to a remote place not many people come to.

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17/08/2009 | Liam
look there's a rope swing!
Valiam anchored Daniels Bay, Nuku Hiva
10/08/2009, Marquesas

She's been getting around!

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Living in Paradise - Nuku Hiva
07/08/2009, 8 56.65'S:140 09.82'W, The Marquesas

Here's a photo of the nasty eel that bit my foot. Photo by Pak SV Althea Ann

'Daniel's Bay'
Baie de Taioa
Anse Hakatea
Nuku Hiva
Marquesas
Position: 8 56.655S 140 09.823W
7 August 2009

Through the main hatch I can see a whole bunch of green bananas hanging from the boom with rugged rock mountains taking up the whole viewing space. 'Daniel's Bay' is incorrect as Daniel who used to live here with his wife Colette have both now passed away. 'Mort' explained Tongi the current part time occupant of the shack type dwelling behind the beach. The bay is small and almost totally protected by the sea. We are closely surrounded by the majestic beauty of the rugged peaks which light up at night by the full moon.

It feels like camping here. Most nights, several of us yachties make a fire on the beach to cook and share food. The other Australians (Seren) made damper on a stick whilst the German family (Spica) cooked 'Stocke brodt' (yeast dough on a stick). Luise who speaks 7 languages brought her guitar and sang in German and Russian whilst her children Marlena and Tils sang. We met local man Tongi and his cousin that evening and invited them to share our meal. Tongi is a handsome Marquesan with a long lean body but very few tattoos. He wears an impressive necklace made from pig's tusks. It is part of the joy of sailing into remote places meeting people from such diverse cultures. I will miss this when we return to Australia. We have promised ourselves to continue cruising to new places and countries as soon as we can.

Whilst anchored in our first port of call in Taiohae Bay we hired a 4 wheel drive vehicle with the yachties from Tara 3 and Spica. There were 6 adults and 2 children piled into an Indian car with an open back with bench seats. Lars (skipper of Spica) drove this vehicle all around Nuku Hiva up and down extremely high mountains and single lane hairpin bends. The French have certainly spent a lot of money building roads here! Unfortunately half the road around the island was dirt so the lucky occupants in the back of the car (including me at one stage) were covered in dark brown dust making us look like the black and white minstrels! Luckily we stopped for lunch at Chez Yvonne's in Hatiheu before the full dusting occurred. Hatiheu is at the top of Nuku Hiva and one of the most beautiful little bays I have ever seen. The beach is black sand curving between extremely high rock pinnacles one of which actually has a statue of Madonna on its peak! The landscape as in everywhere here on Nuku Hiva is lush, green with many bright tropical flowers and fruits. Nestled back from the dirt road is a quaint wooden church as well as the local mayor Yvonne's restaurant and pension. Local teenagers ride up and down the road bare back on horses. Our meals at Chez Yvonne's were huge helpings of goat stew and pork which was delicious. It was also the most expensive meal we have eaten on this voyage. (A$70 for 2)

Driving around the island of Nuku Hiva gave us a better perspective than always viewing places from the sea. We came across several ancient historical sites of villages long gone. Huge moss and lichen covered rocks were piled up and built into walls, squares, wells, sacrificial pits (?) and several carved statues were still standing proudly. We noticed carved human skulls as part of the decorations which made us wonder if there were indeed human sacrifices in those days. Surrounding the historical sites were huge rainforest trees and unusual flowers with pink and white thin tentacles in bunches. The Marquesas feels like a Garden of Eden.

Whilst anchored here in Daniel's bay we took ourselves off for a long walk to the famous Vaipo waterfall. Steve, Dee, Nicky (Seren), Jane and John (Tara 3) came with us. The walk itself took 2.5 hours each way. Not far from here is a small village of 6 houses each with large unfenced yards of green grass, lush trees, flowers and fruit literally falling on the ground. (pamplemousse - grapefruits, limes, star fruit coconuts, bananas and other local fruits) Chickens ran around and skinny dogs barked at us. Several horses were tethered to trees on quite short ropes. A lady pointed the way along a track to 'le cascade'. We had to cross several fast flowing creeks on our way removing our shoes each time. At one crossing a thin log had been tied across to hang on to. Steve and Dee had gone ahead and then it was my turn. Already feeling nervous about falling in I tentatively put my foot in the water. Just after I made the next step I felt something grab my foot. At first I thought it was Bill playing tricks but then realized it felt like a mouth around my whole foot. I screamed pulling my foot out of the water swinging precariously on the log. No-one realized what had happened until I explained that something had bitten my foot! After getting to the other side I noticed some grazing and a mark where the mouth had been. We all came to the conclusion that it was most likely an eel.

After that bit of excitement we came across some more wildlife in the form of a family of wild pigs. We eventually got to the waterfall which did not disappoint. The huge basalt rock pinnacles each side of the valley made it feel a bit eerie. At the edge of the water fresh water crayfish appeared to be waiting and watching us. Steve cut open a few coconuts and after drinking the juice and munching on the white part Bill and John fed bits to the crayfish. I was the first one to plunge into the icy cold water braving whatever other creatures there were in the dark depths! I swam across the pool towards the rocks. As I climbed the rocks I saw a hidden pool with the waterfall plunging into it from an enormous height. (It's meant to be the 3rd longest in the world) As it had been fairly dry the cascade wasn't enormous and refreshing to be under. We hadn't had a shower for weeks so this was very good!

On our way back (no more biting things) a lady in the village sold us some fruit. After we had recovered from the walk, Jane came over with a photo of the eel from yachties on the British boat here. Apparently when they had crossed the same creek they had to fight off the eels! One of the local guides feeds them bread so now the eels must grab anything on the end of human anatomy!

We plan to stay here another day or so before heading towards the Tuamotus. A stop at Ua Pou may be nice along the way. Even though we are in paradise we are sometimes restricted by where we can get internet connection so we can pay bills to maintain our house in Australia. Full reality will come soon enough and after 2 years at sea I think it will be difficult for us to adjust to being 'normal' people. As cruising yachties we are clearly identified and this is our lifestyle that comes with it. It's mostly fantastic but we also have to do dreary things like maintaining the boat, washing our clothes etc. Water here is difficult to get as the supply is contaminated in Taiohae Bay. Yesterday Bill filled six 20 litre containers by dinghy at the tap in the village as it is good water here. (From a spring) Being mindful of water use we wash all our dishes etc with salt water. We usually have sponge baths ourselves when water is scarce. We plan to go to the village tap today to wa sh our clothes. Everything takes longer when living on a boat but as we don't have regular jobs this is our work!

(As this update is sent by satellite phone there wont be any photos until the next time we can get internet.)photos on there now - French Polynesia album...click le petite camera

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08/08/2009 | Jerry
Oops, that w--- word!
Exploring Nuku Hiva, Marquesas
04/08/2009, French Polynesia

Today we will pull up the anchor and motor 5 miles to the next bay called 'Daniel's Bay' by yachties but Baie de Taioa on the charts. A group of yachts plan to meet in Anse Hakatea for a beach picnic/bbq tonight. We hope to get some nice spring water from the river and walk to Vaipo Waterfall reputably the 3rd largest in the world. I will get my sketch book out to try and capture the magnificent scenery.

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Magnificent Nuku Hiva
02/08/2009, Marquesas French Polynesia

We enjoyed a self drive tour with 2 other yachts' crews yesterday (even if the back passengers were covered in dust.) What an amazingly scenic island. (or should I say breathtaking!) More photos in the photo gallery. (Just click on the little camera!)

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Valiam anchored Nuku Hiva
30/07/2009, Marquesas, Pacific Ocean

Valiam amongst friends most who have also just done the mammoth passage from Galapagos. We are close enough to shore to receive wifi (with antenna) and it's a short dinghy ride to the shops and facilities. Tomorrow we visit the gendarme to officially clear in to French Polynesia.

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Arrived Marquesas!
29/07/2009, French Polynesia, Pacific Ocean

French Polynesia
The Marquesas
Nuku Hiva
Bay Taiohae
Position:8 54.996S 140 05.894W
30 July 2009

After a fast 17 days at sea we have crossed almost half the Pacific from Galapagos to the Marquesas! It's good to be here and have that huge long passage over with (3054 nm). We averaged 180 m per day and 7.5 knots overall. (More, as this is in a straight line!!)We are now relaxing and enjoying fresh baguette with camembert accompanied by a cold white wine. We are surrounded by high jagged mountains surrounding the bay. The town is very laid back with everything we need (including wifi internet from the boat even if it's a bit slow). We will be truly relaxed when our fellow yachtie friends join us in 4-5 days. We are very pleased with Valiam's performance - most yachts take 21 days+. We got a shock to see her covered in slime above the waterline and barnacles but all the yachts here have arrived like that. The anchorage is a little rolly but not too bad. We slept well last night.

Not long before we arrived we caught a HUGE mahi mahi. Our fridge is now full of fish. The German family on Spica joined us for a drink last night. The children were in fine spirits after their long passage arriving the same day as we did. The catamaran Bill was stuck on in the Panama Canal as line handler is here also after a 25 day passage motoring some of the way. It's good that they made it here safely. La Barca still has some considerable distance to go and won't be here for a week or two. We hope to meet up with them somewhere along the route back to Australia.

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