Por Dos

Family cruising in a Catamaran

Blog + Photos = eBook

16 December 2017 | Brisbane
Mark Morwood
I've finally finished putting together an eBook/photo book from our blog and the thousands of photos we took. It ended up as two volumes so I could at least have half of it done for Marta's birthday a couple of months ago. The eBook is free to download from the following links, or you can just preview the full print version for free online from the same place.

Por Dos Cruising Blog part I - Boston to Bermuda

Por Dos Cruising Blog part II - Bermuda to Brisbane

Brisbane – The End of a Journey

04 November 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
Brisbane was the end of this particular three and a half year journey, but the start of another one. Somewhere in the last part of the Pacific we had decided to try living in Brisbane rather than head back to our old lives in Boston. This was an easy decision for me (Mark) as this was my home town with family still living here, but a difficult one for Marta as she was now adopting yet another country and culture. The kids didn’t seem to mind either way, but were looking forward to getting back in to a regular school with friends who didn’t sail away after a month of getting to know them.

When we made the decision, I don’t think any of us had realized quite how small Brisbane still was compared to Boston, particularly for Marta’s and my professional lives, but that’s a story for another time.

As I write this in August 2017, Alec and Roan are over half way through grade 11 at Hillbrook Anglican School, where they are doing very well and seem to be happy with friends and life. Marta is over half way through her first year as a high school science and maths teacher, after doing a Graduate Diploma in Teaching in 2016. She’s finding it a mixed bag of long hours, frustrating students, and occasional bright spots with good classes and enthusiastic, growing students. I’m still searching for my next job, after a 6 month stretch as VP of Products for a local software company that was not quite ready for me, and keeping busy mentoring local start-ups, learning to glide, and writing blogs …

New Caledonia

30 October 2015 | Isle de Pines, Noumea, New Caledonia
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
Though not strictly permitted as we had not yet cleared in to New Caledonia, we stopped for three nights at the beautiful Isle de Pines. We had a relaxing time with a calm anchorage, white sand beaches, clear water, and a nice bar and restaurant on the beach.

From Isle de Pines it was a longish day sail up to Port Moselle Marina in Noumea, sheltered inside the reef most of the way. In between getting the boat ready for a survey and the actual survey and then haul-out, we managed to get a short trip for 2 nights over to Ilot Maitre, a pretty island just out from Noumea, with Miss Behaving. From their it was all go, as we hauled out at Carenocean for 2 nights so the hull could be surveyed, final agreement with the buyers, and then paperwork to transfer the boat.

It was strange to go to customs and immigration with Richard to help him check “his” boat out of Noumea. So on the 30th of October we left Noumea for Brisbane on our last passage with Por Dos.

Fortunately the weather gods were kind to us. We had a fast and slightly bumpy 195 mile day to get things going, but then the wind and waves settled down and we had a pleasant smooth sail all the rest of the way, first with code 0, then with spinnaker as the winds kept easing. The only stress was when the autopilot started playing up again! We all dealt well with that, though it was the only issue left on the boat that I was leaving unresolved.

We rounded the northern tip of Moreton Island around sunrise on the 5th day of the passage, sailed down the bay, then motored up the Brisbane river to Rivergate Marina.


08 October 2015 | Tanna, Vanuatu
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
It was a quick three-days to Port Resolution on Tanna in Vanuatu, where we were planning a quick stop to see the last volcano of our journey. In fact we had to slow down for the last 24 hours to avoid getting there before light on the 3rd day. We crept in to the anchorage, as the water was a muddy brown color from run-off, so we couldn’t see the depths at all. We weren’t used to that after the clear water we’d had all the way since Panama.

We had notified Customs and Immigration before we arrived, so they drove across the island to clear us in, along with Miss Behaving and another boat that had arrived a day before us. Once cleared in, we went to the local village, Ireupuow, which had been devastated by cyclone Pam just 6 months before. They were busy rebuilding, but trees and crops were all destroyed.

We hired a local guide with a truck to take us, Miss Behaving and another cruising family to Mt Yasur, the active volcano just a 10km drive from the anchorage. It was a very unstructured affair, we were dropped off at the bottom of the path up the cone, with the admonition to don’t get hit by any flying rocks, and don’t fall in. The guide sensibly stayed at the bottom with his vehicle!

The volcano was spectacular. It is a strombolian volcano, and at the time we visited was erupting every 10 minutes or so, sending lava and glowing rocks high into the sky. As the sun set we got a brilliant view looking down into the crater.

After a short 4 day stop in Tanna, it was time to head on to Noumea where we would be meeting the prospective new owners of Por Dos.

Fiji – with Jenny and Cathie

01 October 2015 | Viti Levu, Mololo, Fiji
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
After dropping Samantha at the airport in the morning we picked up Jenny and Cathie in the afternoon, and delivered them to the resort beside Vuda Pt marina where they would be staying for a couple of nights before joining us on the boat for a trip out to Musket Cove for a few nights. As seasoned cruisers, we of course immediately took advantage of the facilities including their hot showers!

It seemed like a very quick one week visit, but we managed quite a few activities as well as some quiet relaxing time. We started with a jet boat ride up the Sigatoka river, which included visiting a local village for a kava ceremony and lunch. For some reason the guide decided I was the oldest male in the group and would be our "chieftain" for the day, and return the welcome we received in the village. Despite being set up for tourists, it was well done with a nice feel to it. The guide was from the village and knew everyone and was very welcoming.

We also sailed out to Musket Cove for a couple of days, where we did a day trip out to Cloud 9 for pizzas and the view, which is spectacular. And of course some snorkelling as any trip to Fiji would not be complete without seeing under the water. All too soon it was time to sail back to Vuda Point and drop mum and Cathie off at the hotel beside the airport they were staying at for their last night before an early morning flight home.

We'd been watching the weather, and there was a narrow window for reasonable conditions for the trip to Tanna, Vanuatu, so we headed out the same morning they flew out. We did get a surprise sail by from Shine as we were heading out towards Mololo Pass, which was a very welcome chance to say hi and bye, as they were staying on in Fiji.

Fiji – with Samantha

21 September 2015 | Namena, Musket Cove Malolo, Vuda Point Viti Levu, Fiji
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
The day after picking up Samantha at the Savusavu airport we were off to Namena Island, another of Fiji’s great diving spots. It’s a small island surrounded by reef, with a small resort and dive shop. We were the only boat anchored there, and the resort didn’t seem very busy, so it was just Roan, Samantha and me along with 2 other guests on the dive boat for each of the 2 days we went diving. The weather was a bit overcast so the colours were a bit muted, but the diving was once again great.

After a couple of days at Namena Island it was time to get moving if we were to get to Musket Cove before the annual cruising regatta finished, and we missed the chance to catch up again with a number of the boats we had met at various points across the Pacific. So to keep it interesting for Samantha we did an overnight passage down around the southern end of Fiji, coming back in through the reef the next morning to pick up a mooring at the island of Malolo where Musket Cove is located. We spent an enjoyable couple of days on a mooring at Musket Cove, catching up with friends, including a fun trip out to the Cloud Nine restaurant with Justin and Deb on Miss Behaving along with the crew of Skyus. Cloud Nine is a floating pizza restaurant and bar moored on the inside edge of the reef near the famous Cloud surf break. A fun-filled day with pizza’s, jumping off the roof of the restaurant into the water, and halyard catapulting (see the picture).

Too soon it was time to do the 2 hour sail over to Vuda Point marina on the main island Viti Levu, where we’d be sending Samantha off to continue her travels and picking up Jenny and Cathie (my mum and sister) who were going to be the final visitors on our three and a half year trip.

For a short video of Sam’s visit see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oa-0ht9CifU

Fiji - Savusavu

12 September 2015 | Vanua Levu and Taveuni, Fiji
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
After a 2 ½ day passage from Tonga, we picked up a mooring outside Savusavu under a full moon and waited for daylight to proceed up Nakama Creek to the moorings at the Copra Shed Marina where we went through the normal new country process of: clearing in with customs and immigration, finding out where the closest grocery shop was and getting some fresh veggies, finding out where the nearest marine supply shop was, finding the best deal on a data SIM card and buying one, picking up and sending accumulated emails and finally buying a meal out as a treat - in this case right in the marina.

And in this case we were hoping to do some diving and snorkelling, so we quickly booked a dive the same afternoon for Roan and I to see the hammerhead sharks off Savusavu, and organised a 3 night trip by ferry to Taveuni to dive the famous Rainbow Reef and White Wall. The hammerhead sharks didn't show up, but it was an interesting experience getting back on the dive boat - it was a small landing craft and you exited and entered on the ramp. It was quite exciting with the ramp going up and down in the swell!

The trip to Taveuni was great. A two hour local bus ride, then a two hour crossing of the Somosomo straights on the 50 person ferry "Grace" that was loaded to the gills with people and cargo. I suspect the name must be related to the phrase "there by the Grace of God" as it was one where you checked your exit route carefully as you sat down! We stayed at Maravu, an old 5-star resort that had closed, and then been reopened as a backpacker/cheap hotel resort. Low prices, in need of some maintenance, but great facilities and great staff. Roan and I dived for two days with Taveuni Ocean Sports, another place I would recommend. We dived the White Wall the first day which you can only dive at the right time of the month for the coral to be out with a manageable tide/current. The second day we dived on Rainbow reef. Two spectacular days of diving. Meanwhile Marta and Alec had done a hike to a waterfall and gone snorkelling on Rainbow Reef. It was a great and relaxing mini-vacation.

After surviving the ferry and bus rides back to Savusavu it was time for an excursion to the airport to pick up our first visitor for a while - Samantha. Sam was busy spending 6 months traveling between finishing college (uni) and starting work. If they'd wanted her to start straight away they shouldn't have given her that signing bonus!


02 September 2015 | Tonga
Mark Morwood (Aug-2017)
We had a great 10 days in the Vava’u group in northern Tonga, jumping around from anchorage to anchorage in this tight little group of islands. Highlight of the stay was probably our day excursion to go swimming with the whales. At one point it looked like we might be their first trip of the season to miss out, but late in the day we found a group of 3 whales hanging around that we could swim with. It was very impressive. It’s hard to capture in words, so we have posted a video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDpzWmAB6eQ.

It was also in Tonga that we ended up closing the sale of “Por Dos” to an English couple, Richard and Dawn. I had found Richard through a newsgroup I sometimes posted to, and it turned out our boat was the one they were looking for. They’ll fly out to New Caledonia to do the final survey, and assuming all goes well, close the deal, and then we’ll sail their boat to Brisbane as crew, with them along learning as much as they can. It works out great for all of us. They get a nice learning experience/handover of the boat, we get all our stuff delivered to Brisbane, and neither of us have to import the boat into Australia as they will be continuing on cruising into SE Asia after a year or so.
Vessel Name: S/V Por Dos
Vessel Make/Model: Catana 48
Hailing Port: Salem, MA
Crew: Mark, Marta, Alec & Roan
S/V Por Dos's Photos - Main
5 Photos
Created 11 October 2012
26 Photos
Created 3 July 2012


Who: Mark, Marta, Alec & Roan
Port: Salem, MA
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