round we go!!

Vessel Name: Bubbles
Vessel Make/Model: Fast Passage 39
Hailing Port: Seymour IN
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs
22 July 2012
10 June 2012 | St. Martin
04 June 2012 | St. Martin
31 May 2012 | Saba Rock
19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua
07 May 2012 | Bridgetown, Barbados
27 April 2012 | Georgetown, Guyana
22 April 2012 | Paramaribo, Suriname
19 April 2012 | French Guyana
13 April 2012 | Atlantic Ocean somewhere off of South America
08 April 2012 | Amazon River, Macapa, Brazil
01 April 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
30 March 2012 | Tapajos River, Brazil
28 March 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
21 March 2012 | Xingu River, Brazil
20 March 2012 | Amazonia, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Para River, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Belem, Brazil
13 March 2012 | Capim River, Brazil
Recent Blog Posts
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs

The final blog, Bubbles sold yesterday

First lets go back to that week in May in the British Virgin Islands… we had over 20 sparkling crew on board Bubbles (all wearing the coral crew shirts) approaching the round-the-world finish line at Nanny Cay. With only a few hundred feet to go the propeller fell off. Not being able to raise sail [...]

22 July 2012

the last leg sail

We had good wind on the morning we set sail to complete the 90 mile last leg (from St. Martin to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands) of Bubble’s circumnavigation. With a full boat, I was on deck explaining some navigational markers to some of the more virgin crew when Trevor at the helm yelled [...]

10 June 2012 | St. Martin

Magic Aboard Bubbles

That night in St. Martin the party aboard Bubbles can only be described as magical. With Christmas lights strung up both in the rigging to light the deck, and in the interior to light below, a special glow illuminated the boat that had carried us around the world. Paddy King lead a conga line of Bubbles [...]

04 June 2012 | St. Martin

The Round the World Pre Party Begins!!

The seven of us woke well before sunup to the Indiana Jones theme song cranked over the Bubbles sound system. Sails were up by sunrise with Paddy King at the helm and brother Joe standing by as we watched the morning light illuminate mountainous Saba's cliffs rising from the sea. With 20 knots of wind [...]

31 May 2012 | Saba Rock

the Sea Hawk 4 takes flight

The day sail to Barbuda was sunny with good wind and buzzing excitement from both new crew and old. Arriving in the poorly charted waters we ran aground, but jumping into a shallow sea full of starfish isn't a bad place to get stuck. Ashore the six of us strolled on an endless beach of pink sand with [...]

19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua

Adding more Bubbles

Bubbles and crew ran completely broke of funds after Carine flew back to Amsterdam. Having neither cash nor credit via any type of card, Diego and I resorted to trading. For a couple dive tanks we got the jib sail repaired, for a regulator we got fresh produce out of a local garden. We were able [...]

Passage to Fiji

19 August 2010 | Tonga and Fiji
Fiji is around 475 nm from Tonga. Given the wind forecasts we looked at we could ride at ~6 knots and get there in 4 days. In order to arrive in daylight we decided to leave Tonga at sunset. Sailing out of the north islands of Tonga under the cloak of darkness was a neat experience. Once you leave port there are only a few lights and there was no moon. We have a handheld Garmin device that shows us where reef and danger zones are so as long as we are paying attention there is no big danger. I have no idea how Cook and the other early explorers were able to navigate these islands and reef with no charts and huge ships.

The first stop on the way to Fiji is a set of new volcanic islands. In seismic active regions of the ocean new volcanoes can pop up as small islands. They can last for years or just a few months. It just so happens that we had a few pop up off Tonga's island chain in 2006. They were 45 miles from where we were which would put us in right at dawn. The wind is blowing around 24 knots and the swell is choppy, so it'll be a wild ride.
We had more wind than anticipated during the first few hours of our voyage, so around 6 AM we decided to heave-to and wait for more light. We were only a mile or two from the known location of the volcanoes and did not want to hit any rocks. An hour or so later we made our approach.
At first there seemed to be very little. We passed the one location marked on the GPS and saw no activity on the depth gauge. A few minutes later we spotted some light green spots off our starboard side and then depth gauge came alive. We headed right for the discolored water and as the gauge registered 40 ft we fell off and came around the side. It was an eerie site to see out in the middle of nowhere and under the morning light. We started to snap some pictures and then the sulfur smell hit us - Cool stuff.
We put Joe in the incubator to catch up on sleep and get over a bug he picked up. This means Alex and I will alternate shifts. Our pattern has become: eat, steer, eat, sleep, eat, steer...

Around 5 AM today (day 2 of our voyage) I was sleeping below and heard the boom come over. Since Alex is usually on top of things upstairs I just figured he was jibbing on purpose. A second later I heard "Jim get up here!" I popped my head into the cockpit I immediately noticed the mainsail was hanging off the boom awkwardly and there were tons of lines in the water off our port side.
"We got lazy jack lines in the water" Alex said.
I jumped on the wheel so Alex could go assess the damage. Apparently the lazy jack lines chaffed off at the top and eventually broke on that last jibe. Luckily the lazy jack lines are only nice-to-have and don't support any core functions of the boat. They surround the mainsail and keep it neatly folded on the boom when it's down or reefed (partially down). This explains the awkward site I saw when I looked at the boom. Anyway, the problem can't be fixed in the darkness so we just pulled the lines in and tucked them in on deck where they'd be out of the way.

On the evening of day 3 of our voyage we reached the outer island chains of Fiji. For some reason the government (militarily overrun in what's called a Coup) doesn't allow tourists or cruisers to stop at these islands. They are not developed and still have tribes living on them. At one point we were joking about the island and said it was the only last natural habitat for unicorns. Let's just say we thought it'd be cool to stop  We came around the island to a spot we saw on the Garmin as a shallow and thought about throwing anchor. We decided to keep going, however, because we'd want at least a full day to explore and we have tons to do once we get to Fiji. The night passed by quickly since we got Joe back. Our pattern changed back to: steer, eat, joke around with each other, read, sleep, eat... much better.
Our next danger to avoid was a spot marked on the Garmin as a huge reef with exposed shipwrecks. The Garmin has funny ways of describing things. Sometimes it says "Dangerous Rock" and one time it even said "Conspicuous Rock" - not sure what it was eluding to. This time it said "Exposed Wreck" - NICE!
The lighting was awesome to see the shipwrecks (yes there were two) and the waves were breaking nice and high. We made a few videos when we got really close and even looked through the binoculars with the video camera. It made for some cool clips we will use later.

We kept on trucking towards the port of Suva into the evening. Joe and I were on deck and Alex was in the galley making a feed. All of the sudden fish started jumping out of the water. Normally, Bubbles scares the flying fish and they jump, fly, and skirt across the water hundreds of feet. These were not flying fish though, these were huge Tuna! Joe and I started yelling at the first few and Alex looked out the porthole to the galley. In total there were around 7 or 8 but they were way cool to see. I would estimate that one was 15 feet in the air at the crest of it's arch. As quickly as it began it ended - no video, no pics, just memories.

We rolled into port around 3 AM. The pass was marked only with a few buoys and one set of range lights. Range lights are two bright lights that you try to line up vertically to follow through a pass. They remind me of the landing methods for aircraft, much simpler of course. The port was alive with cargo ships and cranes moving storage boxes. We threw anchor, tidied up the boat quickly and went to sleep. When we woke up in the morning we realized the port was littered with more shipwrecks. Literally, our anchor neighbor was an overturned boat sitting on the bay floor. I jokingly yelled to it "Hey get some fenders out!" We got our things together and headed to shore - "Fiji, Bubbles has arrived!"

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