22 November 2009 | Tutukaka
11 November 2009
10 November 2009
07 November 2009
07 November 2009
03 November 2009
01 October 2009
29 September 2009
05 September 2009 | Nuku'alofa
27 August 2009
27 August 2009
23 August 2009
16 August 2009
12 August 2009
09 August 2009
08 August 2009
08 August 2009

To Niue

16 August 2009
After our very eventful lobstering adventure, we decided to leave Beveridge reef for Niue island, 140 miles away. The alternative was to wait several more days for the winds to die down before we could venture out again. All three boats left together, just after 10 am on August 14th. Tane did one final pass dive by hanging onto the ladder of Kena and dragging behind as we left, and then we set our sails for the day and night passage. Contrails was the first to land a fish, a skipjack tuna, and then a short time later, Content caught one as well. I was at the helm several hours later when I saw a few birds, frigate birds high above, and some larger fish splashes so I called out to Tane and Tomas, both down below, that there were fish around. They both came up to the cockpit just in time for a triple strike --- all three lines had a fish on within seconds. From there, it was a bit of a bun fight as we were hand steering so I had to remain at the helm. After a bit of confusion, we managed to land two beautiful yellowfin tuna---the third managed to throw the hook and get away.

We separated somewhat from the other two boats during the night, then on Tane's watch, we went storming past Contrails. By morning, we were all very close together rounding the bottom end of Niue and it was a race to the finish---we just managed to get in first. The anchorage, if you can call it that, is very deep, completely unprotected from the north through west. There are several moorings provided by the Niue Yacht Club, all of which were full when we arrived. In fact, there was a waiting list of three boats ahead of us. This meant we had to find a place to anchor for the next few days as we waited. This made us somewhat nervous, as there's essentially no sand, plenty of coral crevasses, and the place has the reputation of being an anchor-eater. We managed to find a relatively shallow spot (50 feet) and Tane and Tomas dove overboard to check the bottom. We seem to be holding OK for the moment. By the evening of our arrival, three boats had left (friends we now know well on Honeymoon, Thumbs Up, and Julia Max), so now we three boats are next in line. Several boats will be leaving tomorrow (Monday) so we're hoping for a mooring sometime soon, at which time we'll feel much more secure.

We did have a nervous moment when the large schooner, Wayward Wind, pulled up her anchor to move to a mooring ball. Their anchor was across the coral in front of us, and they had to move back and forth to free it, forcing us to back up rapidly, paying out more chain, in order to avoid being hit by them.

Niue is very different from most of the other islands. It's very flat, unlike most of the Cooks, the Marquesas, and the Society Islands, which all feature volcanic peaks. Apparently it was once an atoll, which is formed when the sea floor subsides, but then the sea floor has since risen a few hundred feet. The result is a limestone (coral) island with a reef most of the way around (although with no lagoon), with caves and arches in many places.

The visibility in the water is at least 75 meters. Right now, there are humpback whales everywhere. We had a great sushi/sashimi celebration with the tuna from all three boats on Victory Cat last night. During the party, you could hear loud whale blows all around us---the whales come through the mooring field and amongst the boats. This morning, at 4 am, I was woken by the sound of whale calls reverberating through the hull of our boat. First a long deep moaning call from an adult, then a softer, higher and shorter squeaky reply from a calf, over and over, moving around both sides of us, for at least an hour.

We rented mountain bikes yesterday afternoon, and today circumnavigated the island. The total distance is over 60 kilometers, in company with Nick and Marls from Content, and Jim and Barbara from Contrails. It rained most of the day, which kept us cool, as we stopped at many sites to go out onto the reef, to walk around the edges of huge deep pools in the limestone at the inner edge of the reef, and to explore the dense jungle that covers much of the island. Here and there, there are houses on the island side of the road, and in manicured lawn patches cut out of the trees on the sea side, there are graves --- there must be thousands of them all around the island. We started at about 11 am, and stopped at the Washed Away cafe and bar, an open air place above a little beach, for dinner and beefs at 5 pm. The remaining part of the ride back to the boats, 10 kilometers, was in the gathering dark until, toward the end it was almost completely dark. Needless to say, we had no lights, so it made for yet another interesting night experience.

Another feature of the anchorage, and diving and swimming here, is the large number of sea snakes. They can be seen in the water around us, we saw them in the limestone pools and caves, and apparently they can appear in large numbers when you're diving. One boat told us today of finding a sea snake in their engine intake line, and there are reports of them crawling up into galley and head sinks. We probably need to be vigilant when sitting down on the head.

We're hearing that there will be some severe convection activity in the Tonga - Niue area next weekend, right about when we'll be considering the passage to Tonga. This could make life a little too interesting!
Vessel Name: Kena
Vessel Make/Model: Ganley Pacemaker 40
Hailing Port: Tutukaka, New Zealand
Crew: Roger, Sally, Tane, Hunters all
About: The Hunter family: Roger, originally from Tutukaka, New Zealand Sally, from Tasmania, Australia and Tane is from New Mexico.
Extra: This leg of the trip is from Puerto Lucia, Ecuador to New Zealand.
Kena's Photos - Main
Playing in the world's smallest independent nation.
47 Photos
Created 15 September 2009
A few picks of Roratonga, where we picked up Tomas, and of the incredible Beveridge Reef
20 Photos
Created 1 September 2009
Our adventure in the islands of Tahaa and Raiatea in The Society Islands
18 Photos
Created 5 August 2009
Mystical Bora Bora in French Polynesia
31 Photos
Created 5 August 2009
The Sailing Rendezvous in Tahiti and Moorea, plus a little of Huahine
35 Photos
Created 5 August 2009
Our journey through the coral atolls of the Tuamotus in French Polynesia
65 Photos
Created 19 June 2009
Tahuata, Ua Huka and Nuku Hiva
48 Photos
Created 12 May 2009
25 days of open seas and our first few days on Hiva Oa
51 Photos
Created 28 April 2009
Our journeys to Puerto Lucia, Cuenca, Guayaquil and about
55 Photos
Created 25 March 2009
Our journey through the Galapagos Islands.
50 Photos
Created 17 April 2008
37 Photos
Created 17 April 2008
14 Photos
Created 18 March 2008
49 Photos
Created 6 March 2008
46 Photos
Created 22 February 2008
58 Photos
Created 26 January 2008
Mazatlan South
58 Photos
Created 9 January 2008

S/V Kena

Who: Roger, Sally, Tane, Hunters all
Port: Tutukaka, New Zealand