Bodrum to Airlie Beach

30 November 2010
22 November 2010
22 November 2010
21 November 2010
13 October 2010
10 August 2010
02 June 2010
08 May 2010
24 March 2010
09 March 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010
17 February 2010

Papeete, Tahiti to Vavau, Tonga

13 October 2010
Log reading 19,534 nautical miles
View from Malafakalava

Some info for Tahitian trivia buffs: bosom in the local language is "titi".

Andres arrived after a busy Race Week in the Whitsundays but had an awkward journey and hassle because the French Polynesian government's policy of requiring return airfares for all non-EU passport holders. The travel agent had not warned him and a skipper's letter was no good. Poor lad had to part with most of his spending money at the airport. It would take six weeks after he left Tahiti left to get it back.

It was so good to be free of the marina at last. Freshening winds helped us reach sheltered Cook Bay on Moorea. The following day we parked by the fringing reef, where I managed to don diving kit and clean the hull. The water was very clear but the wind and tide required a line rigged from the bow.

Now all sleek again, Fandango visited Opunohu Bay before overnighting to Tairineneva village on Raiatea. Still very gusty but good running for our trip to Bora Bora, where so many resorts have bures on poles over the turquoise water. The lagoon was beautiful and the massive rock in the middle of the island very impressive although not as much as the hillscape of Moorea.

We moored at the Bora Bora "Yacht Club". The latter part more a suggestion rather that a proper title. This tag is a magnet for yachties and is used all round the world to lure the lads in for a lager.

We did two superb dives; the first sighted a big moray eel and the second plenty of sharks, before heading over to famous Bloody Mary's "Yacht Club", ditto. The RAF (rich and famous) dine here, judging by the autographed photos of many well known names. I'm a RIF (reduced in funds) but was welcomed anyway into the sandy floored restaurant for dinner. Very nice and not too pricey.

The 4WD trip around the island and up to a Second World War gun emplacement was good fun and offered great views over the lagoon and fringing reef.

Fandango was now off to Tonga with at least one stop but a calm start for the first few days gave way to strengthening winds and building seas. For the last few days we had thirty to forty knot winds and five to six metre waves breaking on the port quarter. Comfort and safety persuaded me not to head up (turn the boat more into the wind and waves) to hold our course for Nuie. We shot past Palmerston Island, where shelter was doubtful and proceeded to Vavau at the top end of the Tonga group. Photos simply do not convey the situation. Imagine a two storey flat block approaching fast from astern and lifting you up as it passes underneath, with a wet slap on your tail to let you know who's boss. Fandango handled it so well, either steering by hand or autopilot, we were extremely impressed. Not so with the tacho and engine hour meter, which went on the blink again during the quiet spell at the beginning of the trip. So much for the repair job in Papeete.

We arrived just before dawn and held off until we could see clearly to reach Neiafu, the only port here. These islands were very different from what we were used to. Mostly flat topped at around 150 metres. The locals were exceptionally friendly and the brown-eyed girls beautiful. Gauguin should have lived here. Well fed pigs and chickens roamed everywhere. Instead of the haves and have-nots of French Polynesia, the Tongans seemed proud and happy. We have heard better church singing but they were singing their hearts out. Jesus would still have been impressed. Religion seemed to be very strong in regional areas throughout the Pacific. Quilts and fake flowers in the cemeteries and every flavour of Christianity competing with their church facades.

My computer died and internet access was a problem here as everywhere.

After much planning, I was excited to see Heather again and we retreated to the Hilltop hotel to catch up for a couple of days. Then Bernard arrived a few days later. All four of us on board from the Whitsundays.

We sailed out and sampled a few anchorages in the group and could see why a Kiwi sailor had been coming here for years on his own to explore the waters and sandy beaches. On the way back to Neiafu we rowed (how else do you keep the beer belly under control?) to the very beautiful miniscule resort island of (wait for it) Malafakalava. The "sea chicken" toasted sandwiches were excellent with the icy cold beers, as we gazed out over the vivid colours of the water.

Heather and I met up with a former repeat competitor in the rugged Wildtrek Winter Classic, around twenty five years ago. The cold wet conditions of that event versus the balmy evenings of this paradise... and the winner is ...

Andres was in love with a girl from another boat but instead of the last evening in Neiafu following its hoped for course, they spent the night helping to fight a house fire. The house was completely destroyed by the time the last bucket was thrown in the morning but our hero was clearly still smouldering when the sooty couple in their evening clothes returned not long before we were due to sail for Tonga.
Vessel Name: Fandango
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39i (LOA 11.86m)
Hailing Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
Crew: Andrew
About: See "Meet the Crew" in the Blog Locker
Extra: We like our grog but don't smoke.


Who: Andrew
Port: Airlie Beach, Whitsundays (Registered Melbourne, Australia)
There are more albums under Photo Gallery.Thank you to those who contributed photos.It was very hard deciding which ones of so many to show because of limited space available.