Ntombi too

Who: Johan and Francina Botha
Port: London
We were very fortunate to be sailing in Cape Town Harbour at the start of the Volvo harbour race. Even more fortunate to meet Laura Dekker, the youngest sailor to do a circumnavigation.
09 September 2019
29 June 2019 | Denerau harbour Anchorage/Wailoaloa beach/Vuda Marina
25 June 2019 | Beqa island, Robinson Crusoe island, Noisali island
06 June 2019 | https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Ntombi
02 June 2019 | Suva, Fiji
02 May 2019 | Whangarei Marina
23 September 2018
22 November 2012 | New Zealand
27 October 2012 | Tongatapu
28 September 2012 | Tahiti
09 September 2012 | Apataki
01 September 2012 | Atuona, Hiva Oa, Marquesas
26 August 2012 | Hiva Oa
14 July 2012 | Pedro de Gonzalez, Las Perlas
03 July 2012 | Panama
29 June 2012 | Panama
20 June 2012 | Curacao Spaanse waters
20 June 2012 | We left Bonaire at 24h00 in order to arrive at Curacao during daybreak. The sail was very bumpy due to the direction of the waves in the strong wind. We did not sail with the main, but only the headsail with the pole. The wind was mostly from the stern
17 June 2012 | Kralendijk, Bonaire

Apataki Carenage

09 September 2012 | Apataki
The Tuamotu Archipelago is home to the Puamotu people. It is an enourmous arc of exclusively coral atolls lying between the Society and the Marquesas groups. The seventy-six islands have a land ara of 343 square miles spanning a distance of a 1000 miles. The first European who set eyes on the Tuamotus was Jacob LeMaire, a Dutchman (1615).

Raroia is probably the best known because of the raft Kon Tiki who landed here in 1947. The Kon Tiki, captained by Thor Heyerdahl, drifted 4300 miles for 3.5 months from Peru. He wanted to proof that the Polynesians could have originated from America.

The French used the Tuamotus for nuclear testing. This program was initiated in 1963. Phosphate was produced at Makatea before it was exhausted in 1966. The income of the area is from Goverment subsidised cobra production and pearl farming.

We left Hiva Oa island in the Marquesas for the dangerous Tuamotus to haul out Ntombi. We sailed past Tahuata island in squally weather. There was only one cat moored close to the white sandy beach, but we decided not to join them.

We had a nice light wind, but it died down during the night. The wind however picked up between 9 - 10 and unfortunately died down again at noon. The ocean was not as rough as it were from Panama to Marquesas, obviously due to low winds.

The log was still not working, even thought the guys did a splendid job scrubbing the hull. We were able to sail at 4 - 5.5 knots in low winds where we were only able to reach 3 knots before the scrub.

When the wind picked up again, we had a very pleasant sail. The wind changed direction to a South Wester which is peculiar for this time of year. There was funny cotton wool type clouds (Altocumulus) earlier in the day, and when Johan researched the meaning, he found that it means a cold front approaching with unstable weather. There was rain storms all around us, but none of them affected us.

It reminded me of the Israelites in Egypt, before they were lead out by Moses. The Egyptians were hit by plagues whilst the righteous Israelites were unaffected. God is great in His protection of us.

The sky was a very unusual colour of blue just before sunset. It was the most beautiful 'painting' of deep blue background and a few white clouds close to us. It seemed as if we will be out of the stormy area by the morning. The water surface was almost flat, as Johan's dream Pacific.

At 21h30 the simrad (autopilot) went into standby mode. We realised that we were in the strongest wind of the whole trip (40 + knots). Luckily we reefed down to no 3 for the night. We were unable to steer Ntombi and we therefore locked the tiller and let her drift. She went south for a few miles during the storm that lasted for 3 hours. The only damage observed in the morning was one glider on the mainsail. God is great in His protection of us.

The wind was still strong in the morning and we decided to rig the stormjib on the mast. We balanced it with a small headsail and were sailing at an average 4.8 knots. We spent the Sabbath listening to various teachings on audio. I also read a few chapters in the Great Controversy. At Sabbath closing we realised that we were sailing too fast and would reach the pass to the atoll in darkness.

We let out ropes at the stern to slow us down, but it did not help. We were still sailing at 5 knots with the ropes, spitfire and very small headsail. Eventually at 23h30 we were heaving-to. It was such a nice, calm feeling inside the cabin. We slept (obviously with watches) until 5h00 in the morning. We started sailing again in very strong wind. A big vessel passed at our stern. We reached the northern pass of Apataki by 11h30. C-maps is a few hundred meters out with their co-ordinates of the pass.

It was a very scary experience. We saw clear shallow water on the side and breaking waves ahead. Some of our material indicated a 130 meter entrance, but they obviously made a 100 meter mistake. The entrance was also not at the expected waypoint. Neither was the leading degrees working, unless we did something very stupid.

I pulled in the headsail, but made a mistake in the excitement and let it out. Luckily I was able to correct the mistake before we reached the entrance whilst motoring. The wind was very strong and dead ahead (South Easter). Johan stayed close to the one side to ensure that he will be able to make a u-turn in the event that we do not find deep water to go through the narrow opening. We however found deeper water (17 meter) and he basically followed the depth sounder. We depth went down to 7 meter and went up again.

Once we were inside the atoll the waves were building up over a distance of 17 miles (the diameter of the atoll) and reached a height of 2.5 meters. As we go over one wave the nose dives in and another wave breaks over the deck. The following distance of the waves were too short. The heavy waves lasted for about 1/2 a mile until we reached a depth of 40 meters. Afterwards the waves were a little better.

We turned to the south east towards Apataki Carenage. We let the headsail out at 70 % whilst the engine was running to help us sail into the strong wind. There are a few coral heads indicated on the C-map chart. I wanted to go and check the distance on C-maps when I saw we were heading straight at a reef. Luckily Johan was at the tiller and could swerve away. Whilst I was on C-maps Johan saw bouys straight ahead and had to swerve once again. These bouys are placed at the pearl farms. Luckily we were able to avoid hitting any of these.

We needed to tack a few times whilst Johan hand steered to Apataki carenage. At 17h30 we enventually reached calmer waters and could see the shore of a small coral island. Alfred met us in his powerboat and indicated a mooring bouy that we could use for free.

What a welcome site and it really looked like "landfall of paradise".
We were exhausted and went to bed early. We did not even went ashore. The following morning we visited the office to make arrangements for the haul out. It was agreed to haul out the afternoon at 13h00. It was done very professionally and it took only 20 minutes before we started with the powerwash. We saw that the antifouling was actually still in good condition after sailing 13 000 miles. The antifouling was done on the Vaal by Peter Watts and he used Sigma Coatings with Ivory primer.

For the first time since I can remember mosquitos are byting me. It started around 16h30 on Monday. Alfred told me that the wind changed direction and that is causing the mozzies. Well, they truely love my blood. They rarely bite Johan and on the odd occation when they do, it is around his ancles and it does not itch at all. A fellow yachtie told me to stay in the sun to avoid the mozzies. Well it helped a bit, the amount on my body at a single time came down to 1 or 2 instead of 4 to 5. Alfred made a fire with dried coconut 'shells' to keep the mozzies away. We continued this practice of a fire at 16h00 everyday. The smoke is apparently driving them away. I had to however use peaceful sleep and I burned mosquito coils inside the boat. During the day and most of the night I also burned my citronella lamp inside the boat.

On Tuesday morning we continued with the preparation for the first coat of antifouling. Johan removed the propshaft in order to put the bearing back in place. He discovered that the fishing line distroyed the bearing. We ordered a new cutlass bearing from Tahiti, which would arrive at the airport in the village 10 miles away on Friday. We applied the first coat of antifouling.

Johan removed the cutlass bearing bracket. He took it with to the airport in the village to ensure that the bearing that we ordered will fit. When it arrived, he sent it back with the bracket for fitment because it is not standard size. Veronica, a French woman who came to collect their boat papers, took it with her to Papeete. All flights to Apataki was cancelled untill Thursday. We will hopefully get the cutlass bearing bracket and fitted bearing back on Thursday.
Walking to the toilet at night I saw seashells moving around. Johan said it is hermet crabs. There is not sand on the beach, only coral sand, which looks more like gravel or fairly big "stones".

The people on the island is very friendly and helpful. The grandfather is still working very hard to prepare copra. He also goes into the village 3 times a week, delivering lettuce and eggs which is part of the grandmothers farming. Alfred and Paulina provided me with fresh fruit like papaja, figs, lemon, lime and very big grapefruit. Their two sons also lives on the island and the elder son, Tony is the owner of the Carenage. The whole family works together during haulouts. Each one knows what is expected of him and they function like a well oiled machine.

We were invited to a pot luck dinner on Saturday evening. There were traditional Polynesian fish salad, rice, cous cous, octopus oven baked and fried, 'herderspastei', coleslaw and dessert was pumpkin in coconut milk and chocolate brownies. Everybody was speaking French most of the time but we still had a very enjoyable evening.

Although it seemed as if we have too much time on our hands waiting for the cutlass bearing, we were very busy every day. We found a water leak that Johan fixed. He serviced the Yamaha engine and found parts seized due to the salt. He replaced the broken glider on the mainsail, fibreglassed the broken batten as well as the drawer. I made a cover for our small scatter cushion, packed the pasta in plastic bottles, scrubbed the floor with fresh water, etc. There is never a dull moment and always lots to do on a boat.

The owner of the catamaran Moemoea Nui (meaning Dream Big) that was hauled out on Saturday told Johan that the recommended route to New Zealand is via Tonga. He has sailed this route a few times already and Johan appreciates his advise.

We will most probably only leave on 25th for Tahiti.
Vessel Name: Ntombi
Vessel Make/Model: Bruce Roberts, Offshore 45
Hailing Port: London
Crew: Johan and Francina Botha
About: Johan is the captain and qualified diesel engineer with experience in MTU, Detroit, DAF, etc engines.
Sailing in Mauritius in 2003 changed our perception of sail boats. The focus therefore shifted from motor boats to sail boats. We bought a Holiday 23 after completing our Yacht Hand and Day Skipper licence with Ocean Sailing Academy in Durban in 2006. We sailed her on the Vaaldam and the dream [...]
Ntombi's Photos - Main
Sailing Whangarei to Tauranga and back
4 Photos
Created 18 July 2021
Exploring the Western side of Viti Levu
31 Photos
Created 11 July 2019
13 Photos
Created 3 July 2019
Photos taken in Suva and surrounding suburbs
34 Photos
Created 9 June 2019
It took us 11 days, leaving Marsden Cove Marina on 18 May at 10:30. arriving in Suva, Fiji on 29 May at 10:30 am.
11 Photos
Created 4 June 2019
Very convenient marina in the town basin. Our home for 5 years
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2019
5 Photos
Created 12 May 2019
Photos taken on walks in the morning, and the surroundings after we went back into the water (whale rock damages). Waiting for the weather window to sail to attempt to sail to Auckland again.
12 Photos
Created 5 May 2013
Pictures taken of the keel being fit back on after it got loose when we hit whale rock
10 Photos
Created 5 May 2013
Pictures taken during our visit at Petrus and Alicia in Greymouth in January 2013
25 Photos
Created 9 February 2013
Pictures of New Zealand and the people we met
30 Photos
Created 20 December 2012
Photo's taken from the time we left Tongatapu until we arrived in New Zealand
20 Photos
Created 6 December 2012
Sail from Tahiti to Tongatapu island, part of Tonga
75 Photos
Created 5 November 2012
Sail from Hiva Oa, Marquesas to Apataki in Tuamotu
64 Photos
Created 9 October 2012
Photo's taken whilst sailing from Apataki to Tahiti, as well as photo's taken during our stay in Tahiti
99 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
Sail from Las Perlas to Hiva Oa
44 Photos
Created 20 September 2012
Sail from Balboa yacht club, Panama City to Las Perlas
76 Photos
Created 20 September 2012
More photo's of the canal transit and the stay at Balboa yacht club
71 Photos
Created 10 July 2012
Stay in Colon and Balboa as well as the transit through the canal
124 Photos
Created 3 July 2012
Trip from Curacao to Shelter Bay marina in Panama
39 Photos
Created 1 July 2012
Trip from Kralendijk Bonaire to Spaanse Waters Curacao
37 Photos
Created 1 July 2012
Trip from Trinidad to Kralendijk, Bonaire
39 Photos
Created 18 June 2012
84 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
Short visit to Storebay in Tobago with nice snorkeling reefs and white beaches
24 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
Trip from Fortaleza to Tobago. Visit in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago
57 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
Photo's from the trip between Ascension island and Fortaleza, Brazil
15 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
Photo's of the trip from Ascension island to Fernande de Noronha, Brazil
33 Photos
Created 27 May 2012
12 Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Voyage from Cape Town in South Africa to Saint Helena Island in the Atlantic Ocean
25 Photos
Created 15 April 2012
Photos from the day we took ownership to the day Ntombi was transported from Vaaldam to Richardsbay to sail in the Indian Ocean
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 28 December 2011
Photos of Ntombi when we took ownership
6 Photos
Created 28 December 2011

Ntombi too

Who: Johan and Francina Botha
Port: London
We were very fortunate to be sailing in Cape Town Harbour at the start of the Volvo harbour race. Even more fortunate to meet Laura Dekker, the youngest sailor to do a circumnavigation.