Sailing the Pacific

09 November 2010
07 November 2010
05 November 2010
26 October 2010
19 October 2010 | Somewhere between Fiji and Vanuatu
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
14 October 2010
03 October 2010
15 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
02 September 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
08 August 2010
29 July 2010
25 July 2010 | Bora Bora
20 July 2010
16 July 2010 | Moorea
16 July 2010 | Moorea, Society Islands


01 May 2010
Baie Hanamoenoa

We set sail last Wednesday for Tahuata Island. Two hours later we arrived at an anchorage called Baie Hanamoenoa, which was rated by Eric Hiscock as one of the three most beautiful anchorages in Polynesia.

The anchorage was quite nice, with a white sandy beach and turquoise water. It was also uninhabited. One morning I woke up to find that James wasn�'t on the boat and I made my way up into the cockpit to see our dinghy perched up on the beach. I guessed James had gone out foraging, as there is often plenty of fruit to be found on the trees of the Marquesas. Sure enough an hour later he came back with limes and coconuts.

It was in this anchorage that Gerald from Whiskers came to our boat after a day of snorkelling and gave me the first shell to start my shell collection, a nice shiny Cowry. Gerald is a devout shell collector and while we were there he found two rare shells, one that is worth $100 and one worth $1000. Who would have thought a shell the size of a thumbnail could be worth so much money!

We set sail again on Saturday and an hour later arrived in Baie Hanatefau. The bay was surrounded by spectacular tall green cliffs sprouting mango trees and coconut palms (scenery which is typical of the Marquesas). As we approached to anchor, we noticed that Australia 31 and Onda were also anchored there. A few minutes after we had settled, Yvonne, Bernie and Pete motored up to our boat in their dingy on their way back from the town in the adjoining bay and asked us over for evening drinks along with Onda's crew Lynne, Wolkmar and Stew. Yvonne plays the flute and I took my guitar over to have a jam. It was a nice evening, we laughed and chattered as Yvonne�'s beautiful flute music drifted up into the balmy night air.

Over the next few days we did some excellent snorkelling. We saw three moray eels, one of which was very small and another, which Pete spotted, that was huge- its head would have been about the size of mine (if not bigger), he was hiding out under a large rock waiting for his victims to come to him. I saw one lucky bright blue fish get away just in time to escape the moray�'s jaws. We also saw plenty of Cowry shells hiding behind the pencil urchins. As we snorkelled around a point between two bays the land formation under the water dropped off into a steep but shelved cliff which lead down into the blue abyss. The face of the wall was filled with life such as stone fish, pin cushion urchins, purple and yellow coral, sea anemones and many other bright fish and interesting creatures.

Bernie had told me at some stage that he wanted to be able to record Yvonne playing the keyboard but didn�'t have the right equipment. Back on our boat we set up a small recording studio with my equipment and the old keyboard that was left on the boat by the previous owners. The next afternoon Pete, Yvonne and Bernie came over for lunch after a snorkel and Yvonne put down a voice and keyboard track to a song she had composed herself about Australia 31. I added a voice track and guitar track and after a long night and early morning on my computer was able to hand over the finished copy to Yvonne the next day.

We returned to Hiva Oa that day and prepared ourselves for our up-wind sail to the Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva, the most lush and awe-inspiring of them all.
Vessel Name: Dagmar
Vessel Make/Model: CAL 39
Hailing Port: Melbourne, Australia
Crew: James Thomson and Isabelle Chigros-Fraser
Hello and welcome to our new sailing blog! Our dream is to sail across the Pacific Ocean this year starting in Costa Rica and finishing in Australia. [...]
As we have been told by fellow sailors, when you live at the mercy of the elements plans are like "Jello and Sand"- wobbly and unsteady like Jello (jelly for us aussies) and when you write something in the sand often it will be washed away with the tide. It is for this reason that we didn't finish [...]
'Twenty years from now you will be more dissapointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain
' I felt my pulse beating with suppressed excitement as I threw the mooring bouy overboard. It seemed as if that simple action had severed my connection with the life on the shore; that I had thereby cut adrift the ties of convention. The unrealities and illusions of cities and crowds, that I was free now, free to go where I chose, to do and to live and to conquer as I liked, to play the game wherin a man's qualities count for more than his appearance. 'Maurice Griffiths, The Magic of the Swatchways.