Bonaparte's Pacific Pursuits

Sailing with the Island Cruising Association through Tonga and Fiji

06 July 2015
22 May 2015 | Mystic Sands Lodge, Utungake
12 May 2015 | Pangai
10 May 2015
07 May 2015
06 May 2015
05 May 2015
01 May 2015 | Cape Brett
01 May 2015
01 May 2015 | Opua
30 April 2015
05 April 2015
05 March 2015
05 February 2015
05 February 2015 | Opua
31 December 1969 | Uoleva Island

Neiafu Harbour

06 July 2015
Great week at Vava'u, Diving at Coral Gardens, Mariners Cave and back to Swallows Cave. Fishing has been lean to say the least, very grateful to purchase a couple of Crayfish from a couple of local fisherman passing by early yesterday morning. Found some great anchorages and enjoying the peace and tranquility. Stocked up at the markets this morning, Bonaparte is full of fuel and ready for a monday afternoon departure for Vanua Bulavu, Fiji. Only a 300 mile journey and the weather forecast is looking great. Fantastic to my daughter Jaime on board for this leg of the trip. attending a local feast this afternoon with all the Kiwis from the rally. looking forward the some local fare. That's it from me. Hope the rest of you are enjoying the Auckland weather. Cheers Pete

Last of Original Crew Departing Vava'u

22 May 2015 | Mystic Sands Lodge, Utungake
Seeing a gap in the posts I thought it fitting to write the last post from the original crew. We departed Ha'apai on Monday the 18th after a rolly night at the anchorage near Matafonoa resort accompanied by Duetto. A lovely downwind motor sail all the way through to Eueiki Resort(Treasure Is) which took most of the day.
Hew, Paul and Ploy met us there after a long ( 2 hour) and adventurous transfer from the airport. this involved a blown out tye on the van, picking up a staff member and travel right around an island the long way due to the lowlevel of the tide( according to one local - the other said he got lost??). All of us had a lovely dinner that night and Hew and I stayed at Eueiki while Bonaparte went on too Neiafa to clear with the local port authorities and to drop off washing.
Eueiki is a beautiful island with only a few fales. All solar powered and the rooms could do with a couple of reading lights above the beds. The food was marvellous and too much really. Snorkelling around the reef and a walk over the mountain. There is plenty of room to grow a great garden and there has been in the past and plans for the future. The reef does need some regeneration time as the local vilages also use it to collect fish and octopus and break the coral in the process. No resort boat was available as it was getting fixed at the tme. 3 great days spent there.
On Thursday Pete with crew of Di, Paul; and Ploy picked us up for a snorkel on the way up to Neifa again. We stopped at the /swallow cave which was a great snorkel hundreds and hundreds of small fish on the edge of a great drop off - one for the must do list- photos in Album.
Hew and I were dropped at Mystic Sands resort for our last two nights - lovely room and grounds. I had a snorkel round as they are trying to keep the area as a reserve and the locals have agreed and there are a few pieces of coral and fish to look at - more at a childrens level - but great start. Lovely staff. We had dinner in town at a great restaurant called the Bella Vista. Great food as owner Itallian and good cook and his wife Tongan and access to all the good food. We were joined by the three owners of Duetto and their wives who had just arrived.
Friday we walked to the peak - great look out. Checked out the coffee and internet at Tropicana which were both good and then had an early dinner at Mango Cafe - the yachting and fishing club - then retired to the resort for a last drink.
Will really miss the yacht, the sailing , the company and the beautiful islands of Vava'u. Hard to look forward to the cold, rain, winds and mud at home. I hope Pete and Di will keep up the blog of their travels for all of us to read.

Cycle Trip & Matafonua Lodge

13 May 2015
Busy day yesterday with washing, Internet catch up of emails and walk into town, then back and evening meal ashore at Fins and Flukes.
Pangai still showing effects of cyclone 16 mths ago- photos on camera so I will add tgem later. Houses blown off foundations, boats smashed and schools without rooves.
Today one crew member - Al- leaving at 1 pm and another 2 trying to get flights out but all full until after Monday. They are hoping for an extra flight to be put on on Friday or else it will be the ferry!!
Diane and I off on a cycling trip going North up the Island and found Matafonua Lodge. Stopped for coffee and pancakes - just magnificent. Food great, owners really friendly beautiful position despite grey windy day. Would love to come and stay and may come back for the snorkelling- highly recommend it. Diving and whale watching available. Space to anchor out the front. Using their internet to update blog.

Pangai, Ha'apai Group

12 May 2015 | Pangai
Lovely sail up to Pangai - caught a big eye Tuna just the right size. Tuna steaks and sashimi for lunch an enough left for poisson cru and steaks for the next day. Motored later in the day as wind too far aft and too light, used the Ray Marine and the ipad to navigate through the entrance and to the anchorage - ipad was really great.
Anchored just before dark at Fins and Flukes - too late for customs. Cleared this morning, the third boat at 1100 - with christmas cake and fizzy drinks and give away reading glasses. Curently at the shore bar catching up on our liquid consumption - in my case one hour to get a smoothee as they had to go into town to buy fruit and fruit juice - no such problem with spirits or mixes. Due to recent cyclone apparently.
Washing also being done and a catch up on the emails - ughhhh.
No otyher plans for the afternoon.

Departed Minerva

10 May 2015
Beautiful sailing in 15kts, swell 2m but not as rough. Left Minerva at midday with incoming tide and snhort choppy crossing at reef entry.. Anchorage inside was lumpy today but ok in past two days. Boat going well and all dry stil.Another minor fix due wear and tear of passage up but all sorted. Remaking bunks for opposite tack. Predicting a 3 day trip to Tonga and lightening winds.

Team Bonaparte endure Liquid Himalayan's on treacherous Pacific PassageClose to Minerva

07 May 2015
Skipper Pete, Di, Barb, Michelle, Alistair and myself are still talking to each other.

Arrived at Minerva Reef at 3am morning after 7 days at sea and waited at the entrance way to the atoll which is only 100 metres wide in the middle of nowhere until daylight. The reef is 3 miles across and the outer ring is only a couple of metres above sea level.Minerva North and South are 780 km from NZ and it is a place that not too many people have had the chance to visit. Public transport is scarce. So are Italian Restaurants. It is a bit surreal being anchored in the middle of the ocean with no land mass around you. Just ocean.

An abundance of sea life with significant shark numbers so no swimming at night, sunrise or sunset. I have been asked to go first into the warm tropical waters with the rationale that after a main course of Tones, Cyril Shark and his mates will be well fed. The swim this morning was devive.

A tough week after the first 2 days of no wind and motoring out of Opua heading east. After that it was a succession of days with 20 knots of breeze sometimes building to 35 knots and some spectacular seaways coming at us from the beam. Frequent visits from Albatross, Petrels and Flying Fish. Just when you thought you were drying out from the last dousing in came another liquid dumper. At least when the water runs down your back it has become increasingly warmer the further north we got.

We looked at the option of hooking east across to the Kermadec Islands (Sunday Islands) and sliding north through these islands, past Esperands Rock to Raoul Island, favourite destination for Johnny Wray and his 'South Sea Vagabonds'. It was becoming increasingly harder on the nose and the breeze clocked north so we opted for the more comfortable course and slid past with the Kermadecs only 60 mile to our east.

Them the breaks so Alistair and I have decided that a trip on Lion New Zealand should be hatched with 'South Sea Vagabond' fans. A couple of days in, around and on the Kermadecs Islands with the biggest hurdle been permission from DOC. Those green Nazi's funded by us the NZ taxpayer consider these treasures theirs so we will need to work a plan. The bastards cut down all the orange trees that were planted on the island by whalers and settlers in the early 1800's. Such is DOC's indecent haste to return these islands to 'their perception'. The best tasting oranges in the world are no more.Take the Auckland Islands:DOC in their wisdom culled the cows that had been habitants for over 100 years. What made the cows happy campers was that they were the worlds only seaweed eating cows having changed their diet to suit their environment. Not good enough for the Green Nazi's. Plonkers.

So a day of looking after Bonoparte the Beneteau 51 footer that is home. A comfortable piece of kit that has been well prepared by Peter and Di as they start their 6 month cruise around the Pacific taking in Tonga, Va'vau, Fiji and the many islands spread in and around these special places in our backyard.

Bonaparte is scrubbed down, dry and cleaned below, the wet weather gear is tied off on the cockpit canopy and we are dining on scrambled eggs, spicey onion and tomato and surprisingly for us youngsters, washed down with a bottle of Chateau Les Vallees Bordeaux. The second bottle cork has popped..... The most tropically warm breeze is blowing through the boat. Our thoughts are absolutely no where near you poor bastards freezing your neather regions off.

Cheers,The Bonoparte Crew.
Vessel Name: Bonaparte
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau Oceanis 50
Hailing Port: Auckland
Crew: Peter Parkin, Dianne Bridgeman, Barb Thomson, Michelle Khan, Tony Stevenson, Alistair Moore
Bonaparte's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 13 May 2015

Who: Peter Parkin, Dianne Bridgeman, Barb Thomson, Michelle Khan, Tony Stevenson, Alistair Moore
Port: Auckland