Steen Rally

Follow us on our sailing adventure from France to Australia

30 December 2015 | Sydney
29 July 2015 | Sydney
15 January 2015 | Sydney
22 December 2014 | Sydney
21 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
02 November 2014 | Cairns, Australia
21 October 2014 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
01 October 2014 | Fiji
20 September 2014 | Fiji
08 September 2014 | Fiji
24 July 2014 | Neiafu, Tonga
06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
23 June 2014 | Moorea
23 June 2014 | Moorea
15 June 2014 | Papeete, Tahiti
14 May 2014 | Marquesas, French Polynesia

Martinique, going with the flow

25 February 2012 | Barbuda
Martinique, FWI

Jan 18-31, 2012

We had high expectations for Martinique: after spending a month in the English islands (I know, they�'re independent now, but since they�'re ex-British colonies, the French cruisers refer to them as English as opposed to the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Barts and St Martin), some with very little in term of infrastructure and limited food supplies; we were looking forward to some shopping for French goodies, maybe wandering in the �"large�" city of Fort de France, enjoying some cosmopolitan atmosphere for a change. Even Marc and Anne added to the list, one wanting new DVDs and the other a new bike, to enjoy before school year resumed!

One thing I am learning about cruising though, is that the best laid plans rarely work out and whatever expectations we may have, are not always met. I�'d like to say that we toured this magnificent island, visited one of the many rum distilleries, enjoyed the January sales and shopped tiIl we dropped�...but we didn�'t do any of it. In Martinique, our schedule was �"sabotaged�" in 3 ways: poor land transportation, strong winds and bad health; which saw us confined to a couple of anchorages, busy with boat based activities instead. Also we had a few friends to catch up with, and luckily , these reunions went according to plans.

We first anchored off the village of St Anne, on the south coast, after a bumpy crossing from St Lucia. The bay is supposed to be one of the best spots on the island, lined by a long white sandy beach home to a few resorts, Club Med being the largest. The local village is very small and quaint, with only 2 streets, a handful of restaurants and bar, our favourite spot being La Dunette for a sunset drink. There isn�'t much to do there but we�'d rather stay here than at the marina at Le Marin around the corner: that requires eyeball navigation, with shoals everywhere, we ran aground twice with the dinghy as we could not see the channel (or would not follow it, depends on the driver!) It took 2 days to get organised: new SIM card for the phone, tried and failed to hire a car (tourists too afraid to go to North Africa this year, so rush to Caribbean�'s instead, meaning no cars for hire for 2 weeks!), public buses are non-existent so we�'d have to use Taxi Collectif (TC) instead which don�'t take you where you want to go! That stuffed up my shopping plans: the only supermarket accessible by dinghy was Leader Price, a discount store with only basic supplies, which we decided would have to do. Once the essentials were dealt with, we caught up with Bertrand (BACCHUS), who kindly picked us up to have dinner with his wife Catherine at their house in the hills of St Luce. It was a terrific night with great company, and so nice to be off the boat for a change.

We then sailed up to Grande Anse d�'Arlet, around the corner and caught up with other friends on GRIKYPAC, who we met 6 ½ years ago in La Rochelle, when we were preparing our previous boats for the transat. We went our separate ways after Portugal (they to Brasil, we to the Med), kept in touch over the years via logbooks and emails, sold our respective old boats and bought new ones at the same time so here we are now: both families starting a new voyage on new cats, meeting in a Caribbean cove! Marc and Remi (both boys so much bigger now!) resumed their friendship, while we made up for lost time with Jean-Louis and Ingrid. As this was the final week of school holidays, the kids made the most of it snorkelling, diving from the wharf with Remi and a bunch of other boat kids, scuba diving and tube riding (courtesy of JL who seriously should consider a new career as a sports instructor), cards playing, �...We have become very good at doing nothing, �"forcing�" ourselves to go snorkelling or walk along the beach. Maybe when Terry runs out of books and I get sick of food experiments, we�'ll venture more ashore!

The weather has been typical of this time of the year: the trade winds have been blowing steadily during the day, air as still as in the evening, rain squalls in the middle of the night (we�'ve been up like yoyos closing hatches). It�'s just as well we�'ve been having a glorious time and having troubles moving on. The wind has been our latest our excuse for staying so long!

And just when the wind eased enough to sail, Terry pulled his back in while lifting the small dinghy on deck, which meant another 3 days of waiting. Of course we all felt sorry for him, but no one minded staying a little longer: Grande Anse is a beautiful place to be �"stuck�" in and Marc and Anne enjoyed their new set of friends. So as the days went by, we revised our plans to do multiple stops along the coast or even tour around the island by car, and having spent longer than we intended here, decided to sail straight up to Dominica instead. It�'s all about going with the flow really!

Martinique, Antilles Françaises

18-31 Janvier, 2012

On attendait beaucoup de la Martinique: après 1 mois passe dans les iles anglaises (oui je sais, elles sont indépendantes maintenant, mais comme elles sont ex-colonies anglaises, c�'est comme ça que les plaisanciers français les appellent à la différence des iles françaises telles que la Martinique, la Guadeloupe, St Bart et St Martin), certaines dotées d�'une infrastructure et d�'un approvisionnement très limites, on avait hâte de faire un stock de provisions « frenchie », peut être une promenade dans la grande ville de Fort de France, à profiter d�'un environnement un peu cosmopolite pourquoi pas. Même Marc et Anne en parlait, l�'un voulant des nouveaux DVD et l�'autre un vélo, pour en profiter avant la rentrée!

Cependant, on apprend une chose en voyageant; c�'est que les programmes les mieux conçus marchent rarement, et quelques soient les attentes que l�'on a, ça ne se passe pas toujours comme on le veut. J�'aimerais bien vous dire qu�'on a fait le tour de cette ile merveilleuse, on a visité des distilleries de rhum, profite des soldes,�...mais finalement rien de tout ça. En Martinique, notre programme a été sabote de 3 manières différentes : des transports publiques inexistants ou presque, des vents forts, et des problèmes de sante ; ce qui nous a limite à 2 mouillages, et des activités a bord...On avait egalement prevu de revoir quelques amis, et heureusement ces retrouvailles se sont deroulees comme prevues.

On a d�'abord mouille à St Anne sur la côte Sud, après une navigation sportive depuis St Lucie. La baie est censée être une des plus belles de l�'ile, avec une longue plage de sable blanc, bordée de resorts, dont le Club Med (le plus grand d�'ailleurs). Le village de St Anne est mignon et petit, il n�'y a que 2 rues, une poignée de restaus et de bars, notre préféré étant La Dunette pour un apéro au couchant (j�'y ai goute mon 1er ti punch, my god, que ça arrache! Je reste au Kir décidément) Il n�'y a pas grand-chose à y faire, mais on a préféré rester ici plutôt que d�'aller à la marina du Marin au coin de la baie : là il faut naviguer à vue, avec des récifs partout, déjà qu�'on a échoué l�'annexe 2 fois parce qu�'on n�'a pas vu le chenal (on pas suivi, chacun son point de vue). Il a fallu 2 jours pour s�'organiser : une nouvelle carte SIM pour le portable, essaye de louer une voiture sans succès (apparemment cette année les touristes préfèrent éviter la méditerranée pour cause d�'instabilité et viennent passer leurs vacances aux Antilles, résultat pas de voitures dispos pour au moins 15 jours), services de bus non existants donc il nous faudrait prendre les Taxis Collectifs mais ils ne s�'arrêtent pas là ou on veut ! Bref, moi qui avais prévu un gros approvisionnement, c�'est râpé. Il faudra se contenter du leader Price du coin, le seul supermarché accessible par annexe. Une fois pares a l�'essentiel, on a retrouvé Bertrand (de BACCHUS) qui nous a gentiment récupéré au Marin et invite à dîner chez lui avec sa charmante femme Catherine dans leur maison sur les collines de St Luce. Soirée très sympa, non seulement nos hôtes étaient adorables mais c�'était tellement agréable de sortir du bateau pour une fois.

Le mouillage suivant fut à Grande Anse d�'Arlet, juste au coin (2h de nav) ou nous avons retrouvé d�'autres amis sur GRIKYPAC, que nous avions rencontre à la Rochelle il y a 6 ans ½, alors que nous préparions nos bateaux précédents pour la traversée de l�'Atlantique. Nous nous sommes séparés après le Portugal (ils sont partis vers le brésil, nous vers la Méditerranée), mais on a toujours garde le contact par email. Entre temps nous avons vendu nos anciens bateaux respectifs et acheté des nouveaux au même moment, alors nous voilà aujourd�'hui : les familles prennent un nouveau départ sur de nouveaux catas, se rencontrant dans une baie des Caraïbes ! Marc et Remi, si grands maintenant, ont renoue d�'amitié pendant que nous avons repris nos conversations d�'avant avec Jean-Louis et Ingrid. Comme c�'était la dernière semaine de vacances scolaires, les enfants en ont profité à fond en faisant du snorkelling, des concours de plongeons du quai avec Remi et d�'autres nouveaux copains, de la plongée sous-marine et bouée (grâce à l�'aimable participation de Jean Louis qui devrait sérieusement se reconvertir en moniteur de colonie de vacances), jeux de cartes�...Quant à nous, on a commencé à être très doués à ne rien faire, il fallait même se forcer à sortir faire du snorkelling ou se balader à terre. Quand Terry sera à court de bouquins et j�'en aurais assez de jouer dans ma cuisine, on passera plus de temps à terre !

Entre temps, la météo a été typique de cette période de l�'année : les alizés n�'ont pas arrêté de souffler pendant la journée, en se calmant le soir, et laissant place à de gros grains en pleine nuit (qui a passé toute la nuit à fermer/ouvrir/fermer les panneaux de pont ?). Heureusement qu�'on se plaisait ici et on avait déjà du mal à bouger. Les vents forts sont devenus notre dernière excuse pour rester au mouillage.

Et juste quand le vent s�'est calme et on était prêts a partir, Terry nous a fait un faux mouvement en remontant l�'annexe, résultat encore 3 jours d�'attente. Bien sûr on avait mal pour lui, mais personne n�'était désolé de devoir rester encore quelque jours : Grande Anse est tellement sympa, comme endroit ou être coince on ne fait pas mieux et Marc et Anne ne voulaient pas quitter leur nouvelle bande de potes. Les jours passant, il nous a fallu réviser notre programme qui prévoyait de multiples arrêts le long de la cote et même un tour de l�'ile en voiture, et après avoir passé plus de temps ici que l�'on pensait, finalement on a décidé de filer tout droit sur la Dominique. L�'adaptation fait partie de notre quotidien !
Vessel Name: VOAHANGY
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 560
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Terry, 71, skipper, ex-pilot, surfer, aerobatics champion, can fix anything, never sea sick, loves a beer, hates the cold, is happiest anchored off a deserted beach. [...]
VOAHANGY's Photos - Main
84 Photos
Created 20 November 2014
2 glorious months, cruising various parts of Fiji. So many different experiences in one country: lush rainforests, colourful indian towns, blue lagoons, traditional villages, great fishing, fancy resorts... And the best part was sharing the cruising with family and friends. Can't beat Fiji with company! Here is a collection of our favourite moments (and there are a few!!!)
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 12 October 2014
Some of the whales actions we witnessed in Tonga, to read with the Whales action post by Anne!
7 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
Whale watching, snorkelling, bonfires, making new friends...One of the most remote and austere destination, far away from big tourism, with friendly people holding on to their traditions. Weather a bit chilly, but who cares???
46 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
49 Photos
Created 25 July 2014
15 Photos
Created 25 July 2014
9 Photos
Created 25 July 2014
38 Photos
Created 30 June 2014
20 Photos
Created 30 June 2014
72 Photos
Created 28 June 2014
55 Photos
Created 23 June 2014
27 Photos
Created 15 May 2014
37 Photos
Created 11 May 2014
40 Photos
Created 30 March 2014
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 15 March 2014
The time finally came to leave...a month of celebrations and sadness!
30 Photos
Created 5 March 2014
Another holiday within the holiday! Spent 13 fantastic days in Whistler, British Columbia joined by Aussie friends David and Denise. First time on skis for them, perfecting camps for Marc and Anne, loads of fun for everyone.
70 Photos
Created 8 February 2014
Nothing like having family and friends coming for a visit in the sun. Lots of eating, drinking, swimming, laughing...showing everyone our small paradise.
99 Photos
Created 30 January 2014
End of school year in Puerto, many get togethers before flying off to Paris for a family Christmas.
25 Photos
Created 23 January 2014
Day of the Dead festival, a friend visiting from Australia, Anne participating in her first martial arts tournament,...As usual a lot of eating and socialising!
40 Photos
Created 2 December 2013
68 Photos
Created 6 November 2013
Having visitors means putting on our tour guide hat "Voahangy & Co in Mexico", much exploring and eating: ruins, cenotes, beaches, villages, markets,... . I shared Mexican cooking lessons and was repaid with Dutch baking classes from our French guest. We ate a lot of cakes this month! So much sugar, no candies needed for Halloween this year, just parties...
74 Photos
Created 1 November 2013
This is the slowest month of the year in Mexico: hurricane threats, hot and humid weather, torrential rains drive the tourists away and confine the rest of us indoors. It poured for 22 days non stop! We still managed a dive (in the rain) for Father's Day, a day of all you can eat and drink at the local resort for Terry's birthday, and as usual lots of cooking and eating. Just on cue, the weather cleared at the end of the month for the arrival of Marie Suzanne, a French girlfriend. So lots of touring and catching up. Celebrated Mexican Independence Day all month long (it seems), eating black beans and pork verde!
47 Photos
Created 10 October 2013
No excursions this month. Just hanging around Puerto Aventuras, school, friends, ...Sat thru a couple of storms, torrential rains, big winds...Nowhere to go so more time spent in the galley and writing about it!!!
33 Photos
Created 12 September 2013
Holiday month for everyone: visitors from the USA, kids in and out, parties, US National Day celebration, French National Day celebration, Tulum for a night (bliss...) The start of a new food blog meant a month spent in the galley experimenting. Not much in terms of local food, mostly home cooked French. Chocolate cake anyone?
41 Photos
Created 24 August 2013
Holiday Seasons with old and new friends, provisioning and preparing to leave the USA...
54 Photos
Created 16 July 2013
End of school year performances, lots of baking/cooking for school festivities, Marc hospitalised, first tropical storms testing our nerves, road trip to Belize... Eat ceviche, my latest food addiction!!!
15 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 8 July 2013
Lots on! An interesting road trip to the Chiapas region, wonderful ruins of Palenque, green and lush Tabasco, Anne's birthday, Cozumel by boat, Kids sports graduation...Eat chilaquiles, breakfast with a difference.
26 Photos | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
Settling down and mixing with the locals: kids are off to school, birthday parties, more of Tulum, unexpected reunion with fellow cruisers. Eat: black bean soup!
30 Photos
Created 2 July 2013
Not much tourism this month. We finally made the decision to stay for the rest of the year. So it's head down with school, get together with cruising friends ( they're passing thru while we stay behind) and switching to "landlubber's" mode. Resolved to eat at home more often, back to healthier diet.
19 Photos
Created 13 June 2013
Exploring the Yucatan peninsula by car, to Uxmal ruins and Merida. More of Tulum. Marc's Birthday. Try Flyboarding. Join in the local community of Puerto Aventuras. Xel-Ha. Discover Playa del Carmen. Eat nachos.
27 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Landfall in Isla Mujeres, find our way around our new home in Puerto Aventuras, excursion to Coba ruins, discover Tulum, swim with dolphins, eat tacos...
31 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 13 June 2013
Our last few weeks (even months) have been spent in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. Not much cruising for us, more like enjoying company of new friends, safety of a protected harbor, and relaxing for a while, knowing we don't have to go anywhere for a while...
25 Photos
Created 2 April 2013
2 weeks in an island where time has stood still for 50 years! Road trip La havana - Vinales- Cienfuegos - Trinidad - La Havana. Cruise down the west coast, beautiful beaches, good fishing, diving,... Warm waters at last!!!!
3 Sub-Albums
Created 5 February 2013
To be enjoyed while reading the post!
43 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Exploring Charleston and Savannah
1 Photo | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 27 December 2012
2 weeks shore leave, driving to Shenandoah National Park: lots of hiking, eating "country style" food, looking for bears, avoiding bears...Long drive across to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to visit the Wrights brothers memorial and Cape Hatteras.
28 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Caught up with friends, left the boat on display at the 2012 Boat Show, toured historic downtown and US Naval Academy, watched a football game...welcome to the US sailing capital!
51 Photos
Created 25 December 2012
Unforgetable summer cruising around Block island, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard.
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 16 December 2012
46 Photos
Created 17 October 2012
A leisurely cruise from New York to Newport. Quite anchorages, fresh ocean breeze, ...a million miles away from Big City living!
37 Photos
Created 5 September 2012
July and September in the Big Apple. Cruise, Eat, Shop, Walk,...Look at some of our best memories (work in progress, I am still sorting thru thousands fo photos!)
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 3 September 2012
Museums, memorials, parks, bike trails...the most photogenic city.
85 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
First voyage in July, on our way to Washington DC. Passing thru quaint and historical towns, sampling crabs and oysters in hot summer nights... Returned in September, enjoying all Annapolis has to offer (well, nearly), and the spectacle of autumn foliage.
20 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
Where there are some seriously clever people!
22 Photos
Created 15 August 2012
29 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Shore leave: Make believe, dreams come true, thrills, fast food...Anything goes here!!!
42 Photos
Created 20 July 2012
Welcome to America! Our port of entry, last moments with friends, base for a mini-refit, and our first taste of the USA...
18 Photos
Created 30 June 2012
59 Photos
Created 31 May 2012
17 Photos
Created 25 May 2012
33 Photos
Created 25 May 2012
52 Photos
Created 25 April 2012
19 Photos
Created 14 April 2012
30 Photos
Created 14 April 2012
28 Photos
Created 30 March 2012
28 Photos
Created 5 March 2012
40 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
36 Photos
Created 12 February 2012
25 Photos
Created 28 January 2012
49 Photos
Created 8 January 2012
37 Photos
Created 4 January 2012
40 Photos
Created 28 December 2011
What happens during a transat?
40 Photos
Created 14 December 2011
44 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
22 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
40 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
13 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
18 Photos
Created 19 November 2011
30 Photos
Created 17 November 2011
21 Photos
Created 30 October 2011
18 Photos
Created 22 October 2011
24 Photos
Created 1 October 2011
21 Photos
Created 8 September 2011


Who: Terry, Voahangy, Marc, Anne Steen
Port: Sydney