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

French Polynesia, Tuamotus - Part 1

06 July 2014 | Tahaa. French Polynesia
Tuamotus – May 23-June 12, 2014

Part 1: Lagoons and coconuts

French Polynesia consists of 5 different groups of islands: the Marquesas, Tuamotus, Gambier, Austral and the Society archipelagos. All populated by descendants from Austronesians thousands of years ago, they are the results of underwater volcanic activity, their different geographical features reflecting the various evolutionary stage from volcanic island to an atoll. A volcanic island’s life begins in the depth of the ocean with the sea floor bulging over a magma source deep into the earth mantle. That’s what the experts call a hotspot. High islands are extinct volcanos, which sides are degrading and sculpted due to erosion. In the same time, deprived of the liquid magma source, the island growth stops and the volcano starts sinking under its own mass. It is when the volcano starts cooling down that coral polyps begin to colonise the sunlit underwater slopes thus commencing the endless building of reefs around the periphery of the islands. Over time (like millions of years!) the volcanic islands erode away and become submerged, the accumulated coral growth forming a lagoon-encircling reef called an atoll. Younger islands like Nuku Hiva and Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas are at the first stage of erosion and with no fringing reefs, Tahiti and Bora Bora are classified as “high-reef rimmed volcanic islands”, as are the Austral and Gambier groups, while the Tuamotus consist of atolls.

This is it for the geology lesson; I thought I’d share an abridged version of what Anne has been studying for school this month. Our travels will take us through only 3 of the main archipelagos: the Society, Tuamotus and Marquesas which I have written about here. Gambier and Austral islands are too far out of the way for a visit, maybe next time…

Here we are then, saying goodbye to the lofty heights of the Marquesas and heading for the blue lagoons of the Tuamotus. The 3-day crossing was supposed to be mild. Indeed it started well, with just enough wind to make good speed. Then the floodgates opened: squalls after squalls hit us, our mainsail nearly losing a batten in the storm and we ended up pulling it down to the 3rd reef. During one rare break of smooth weather, we were hammered by a rogue wave! Most of the boat was unharmed except for Marc’s computer which was sitting under an open hatch! Salt water inside the boat is every crew worst nightmare, and there is a reason why we always make sure all openings are locked on passage, no matter how smooth the waters are or how hot it gets inside. Marc had only opened his hatch for 30 seconds, dying for some fresh air, when the wave crashed on deck and drowned his most prized possession. We tried to rescue it, pouring alcohol thru, drying it out in the sun, pulling out the hard drive…but we lost the battle. Needless to say that Marc is very unhappy, having lost all his music and photos. His outstanding schoolwork is also missing, but that doesn’t upset him as much!

So it is in a gloomy, annoyed mood that we approached the atoll of Kauehi, our first port of call in the Tuamotus. No words can describe how beautiful the lagoon is, so I will refer you to the photos. Between the blue of the water, the green of the trees, the gold of the sandy beaches, it was a symphony of colours, impressive enough to lift anyone’s mood! We anchored in 5 meters of crystalline water, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the village for 3 days. It was the weekend and indeed the village was very quiet: shops were closed, there was no bar, of course no internet connection, the streets were empty but for the stray dogs and the only locals we found where men drinking in their front yard by the lagoon! All were very friendly and a little drunk after consuming nearly an esky full of Hinano! They offered us a beer in exchange for a chat, which was a nice change since we are often on the “giving “end. A bit of friendly banter led to an invitation to a Polynesian feast for French Mother’s Day the next day. We respectfully declined, feeling like we would be intruding in someone family’s gathering. A young local approached us and asked to trade reject pearls for a bottle of whisky. We said no, on the basis that we didn’t have any to spare and he was quite inebriated already. More importantly, after Customs confiscated the old pearls I foolishly declared in Nuku Hiva, I completely lost interest in trading anything for what are reject items. To my surprise and in spite of our protests, this man gave us some pearls anyway (four, one for each of us) and a shell necklace he had made, all as gifts to thank us for visiting Kauehi. He didn’t want money and the fact that I had nothing to trade for it didn’t bother him at all. He did invite us to join him for a drink at his place later and probably expected us to bring something then, but it was getting dark and the prospect of finding our way among coral heads at night didn’t appeal. Back to the boat, we reflected on how friendly and welcoming the Paumotus are, somehow feeling bad for turning them down. Could we have turned into cynics?

Unlike 6 years ago, we decided to stay away from pearl farms and working atolls, preferring quieter anchorages. Kauehi fitted the bill perfectly and what the place was lacking in term of social facilities, it made up in natural beauty. We set off to explore the dinghy in the lagoon and found perfectly clear water with hundreds of fish and clams. Marc and I could have spent hours swimming from one coral patch to the other, while playing with nemos and dories as if they were pets. A perfect introduction to atoll cruising!

One atoll on our list to visit was Fakarava, highly recommended by fellow cruisers. We had no idea where to go there, so stopped at the main village of Rotovoa first. It was dead quiet, for a Monday afternoon and we found out that everyone was waiting for the supply ship due on Wednesday. With internet non-existent, the only source of information was a French man called Aldrich of Fakarava Yacht Services whose advice was to spend time in the southern part of the atoll.

That’s how we ended up in Hirifa, in the SE corner of the atoll. Hirifa: gorgeous setting, best protection from swells and wind, facing a white sandy beach and a snack joint run by Laiza and Toria. We were the only boat there for 5 Days. We had lunch ashore cooked by Laiza: grilled fish, chicken and steak with French fries + poisson cru and fish fritters!! Not very cheap at 2000F per person, but large portions and very tasty. I spent most of the time in the kitchen with her discussing the life of Polynesians. Toria is a retired legionnaire, having served in the French Military for nearly 20 years. Laiza comes from another atoll (Toau) where she ran a guest house for years. She moved to Fakarava, having left her guest house to her kids to run, and bored after a few months on the point she decided to open a snack/restaurant catering for the passing boats (there is no road access). Between that, the production of copra, the tending of fishing traps and pig pens, she tells me they’re both busy enough to keep boredom away! They lack for nothing: solar panels and a generator service all their electrical needs, they shop weekly in Rotovoa ( an hour dinghy ride away), catch their own fish, brew their own beer (made out of sugar, yeast and coconut water) and watch TV via satellite. What more could you want?

The supply ship had just been when we arrived: it stops at the village weekly, but will stop at the southern end on request. That’s when Laiza gets together with her neighbours: the Pension Tetamanu and Pension Tiketite, all 5 miles away from each other. They group their orders to make the 70000CFP that the Cobia charges for the extra stopover worthwhile. When I expressed disbelief at the cost ( especially when freight is charged on top!), she exclaimed “ they’re thieves! These people from Tahiti think they can get away with anything!” And that’s the first of many discussions I will have with her and Toria: the cost of living in FP (high), how much the “franies or metros” (French from mainland France) love it here and try to stay after their work contract ends (generally 4 years for public servants), the changing lifestyle of Polynesian people (all office work in Tahiti, no more traditional homes) and the aspiration to a more western life with financial means the economy can’t provide. Whatever happened to the traditional foods: taro, tropical fruits, fish, coconut…? All too expensive for the city dwellers whose diet now includes tinned corned beef, mackerel and condensed milk! How sadly ironic that we should be the ones eating their simple and traditional fare while the locals can only afford our junk food!

The plan was for other family boats to join us later in the week, so we settled into a routine of morning school and boat projects, followed by afternoon swims in our exclusive swimming pool and visits to Laiza’s. The kids were introduced to coconut smashing and grating, I spent hours watching her squeeze her own coconut cream (she chastised me for using cans, “would never serve tinned coco to my clients!”) and prepare Paumotu fares (poisson cru, fish fritters, Carpaccio…) Unfortunately the wind blew strongly from the south east for most of the week, so snorkelling along the reef was out of the question, as was lobster hunting since the surf was up! It also interfered with plans to meet up with the other families who had landed 45NM further south and were having a wonderful time on an uninhabited atoll.

Instead of hoping they’d come up to us, we thought we’d join the crowd, but the prospect of a rough sail to windward was too much to bear. So we stayed put, only joined by another yacht a week later. We didn’t mind the isolation so much, knowing that ultimately we’d be back in a busy anchorage (Papeete is only 250NM away!). After losing his laptop to salt water, Marc resigned himself to the fact that he’d have to wait a few months before he can get his music and movies back, and to his credit, decided to use the time not only studying but also become more productive on the boat. I can’t say how much of a bonus it is to finally have a proper crew onboard, rather than a teenager: Terry is being bombarded with technical questions and enjoying having an able assistant (no question, Marc is stronger than me), while I now have a kitchen hand relieving me with dishwashing. Who would have thought? Of course, the prime motivation is money, Marc is hoping to clock up enough points so that we are inclined to finance (or at least help with) the purchase of new equipment when back in Oz. Still, it is nice to watch him embrace a challenge, in any case he is acquiring life skills. Anne is following his footsteps somehow: after honing her skills in the galley, she is now stretching her wings outside, learning to drive the 30HP dinghy, handling lines or even helping with the navigation. In her case, boredom is the main factor, she is missing her friends immensely, especially after a very social 3 weeks in the Marquesas. As she puts it “French Polynesia is the loneliest place on earth: no internet, no friends, only French speaking!” If it was up to her, we’d be bashing to windward to have company!

Les Tuamotus – du 23 mai au 12 juin, 2014

1ere partie: lagons et cocotiers

La Polynésie Française est composée de 5 archipels: les Marquises, les Tuamotus, les Gambiers, les Australes et les iles de la Société. Toutes peuplées par les descendants d’Austronésiens il y a des milliers d’années, ces iles sont le résultat d’activités volcaniques sous-marines, présentant des variétés géographiques qui reflètent l’éventail d’un processus de transformation d’iles hautes en atolls. Une ile volcanique prend naissance au fin fond de l’océan, ou des remontées de lave accumulées dans le manteau ou elles se sont accumulées s’échappent verticalement vers la surface. C’est ce que les experts appellent des points chauds. Les iles hautes sont d’anciens volcans refroidis, dont les pentes se dégradent et se sculptent du fait de l’érosion. En même temps privées de leur source magmatique, ces iles cessent de croitre et le volcan commence à s’effondrer sous son propre poids. C’est alors que les polypes coralliens commencent à coloniser les pentes sous-marines éclairées et débutent la construction du récif autour de l’ile. Au fil du temps (après des millions d'années), l’ile s’enfonce sous le niveau de la mer et devient complétement submergée. Les iles moins érodées comme Nuku Hiva et Fatu Hiva aux Marquises sont au premier stade de leur enfoncement sans récifs frangeants, Tahiti et Bora Bora sont qualifiées de « iles hautes entourées de récifs », de même que les iles Australes et Gambiers, alors que les Tuamotus ne sont qu’atolls.

Voilà pour la leçon de géologie, j’ai cru bon de partager cette version courte de ce qu’Anne a étudié à l’école le mois dernier. Notre périple nous emmènera à travers 3 des archipels principaux : les iles de la Société, les Tuamotus et les Marquises que j’ai déjà décrites ici. Les Gambier et Australes sont trop à l’écart pour une visite, ce sera une prochaine fois…
Nous disons donc au revoir aux hauteurs des Marquises et partons pour les lagons bleus des Tuamotus. La traversée de 3 jours aurait du être du gâteau. De fait, elle a bien commence avec juste assez de vent pour bien avancer. Puis ce fut porte ouverte aux grains qui se sont succédé sans arrêt, notre GV y a même presque perdu une latte et il a fallu prendre 2 ris. Et lors d’un rare moment de calme, une vague nous a heurtes ! Le bateau s’en est sorti indemne ce qui n’est pas le cas de l’ordinateur de Marc qui se trouvait sous un capot ouvert ! L’eau de mer est un cauchemar a bord, c’est pourquoi on verrouille tous les hublots pendant les traversées, que la mer soit plate ou qu’il fasse une chaleur d’enfer. Marc n’avait ouvert son capot que 30 secondes, ayant un besoin fou d’air frais, quand une vague s’est écrasée sur le pont et a noyé ce qu’il avait de plus précieux. On a essayé de le sauver, en versant de l’alcool à 90deg, le séchant au soleil, retirant le disque dur…mais on a perdu la bataille. Il va sans dire que Marc est furieux, après avoir perdu toute sa musique et ses photos. Il lui manque aussi ses devoirs, mais c’est une moindre préoccupation !

Alors c’est d’une humeur sombre et mécontente qu’on a approché l’atoll de Kauehi, notre première escale aux Tuamotus. Aucun mot ne peut décrire la beauté du lagon, les photos parlent bien mieux. Entre le bleu des flots, le vert des cocotiers, les plages de sable dorées, c’était une symphonie de couleurs tellement impressionnantes que notre moral est remonte illico ! Nous avons mouille dans 5 mètres de fonds et apprécié le calme et la paix du village pendant 3 jours. C’était le weekend et effectivement le village était paisible (mort, d’après l’équipage): les magasins étaient fermes, il n’y a aucun bar, bien sur aucune connexion internet, les rues étaient désertes si on ne compte pas les chiens errants et les seules habitants qu’on ai rencontres étaient des messieurs prenant un verre dans leur jardin au bord du lagon ! Tous étaient très sympas et un tantinet éméché après avoir consomme toute une glacière de Hinano ! Ils nous ont offert une bière en échange pour un peu de conversation, un beau geste pour nous qui sommes souvent ceux qui donnent. Quelques plaisanteries plus tard, on était invités à un repas polynésien pour le lendemain, a l’occasion de la fête des mères. On a respectueusement décliné, ne voulant pas envahir l’intimité de leurs familles. Un peu plus loin, un jeune homme nous a abordés et offerts de troquer une bouteille de whisky pour des perles de second choix. Nous avons dit non, non seulement parce qu’on n’en avait pas à donner, mais aussi car il était déjà bien ivre. Autre raison importante : après la confiscation de vieilles perles que j’avais bêtement déclarées aux douanes a Nuku Hiva, j’ai perdu tout intérêt pour ce qui n’est que rebus. A ma surprise et malgré nos protestations, ce monsieur nous a laissé des perles (4, une chacun) et un collier de coquillages fait main, en cadeaux pour nous remercier de notre visite à Kauehi. Il n’a pas voulu de notre argent et le fait que je n’avais rien à échanger ne l’a pas dérangé du tout. Il nous a même invite à venir prendre l’apéro chez lui plus tard, espérant sans doute que nous apportions une bouteille ou deux, mais il se faisait tard et on n’était pas chauds a l’idée de zigzaguer entre les patates de corail dans le noir. De retour au bateau, on s’est senti un peu coupables de rejeter l’hospitalité des Paumotus, nous demandant si on n’était pas un peu trop cyniques.

Il y a 6 ans on avait visite des fermes perlières dans un atoll « de travail ». Cette fois on a préféré des mouillages calmes voire déserts. Kauehi nous a très bien convenu, et si cet atoll manque d’infrastructures sociales, par contre il regorge de beauté naturelle. Une exploration du lagon nous a amené dans des fonds magnifiques, pleins de poissons et de bénitiers. Marc et moi aurions pu passer des heures à nager d’une patate a une autre, on s’est tellement amuses avec les Nemos et les Dories qui se comportent comme s’ils étaient apprivoises. On n’aurait pas pu rêver mieux pour commencer une croisière dans les atolls !

Un autre atoll sur la liste était Fakarava, hautement recommandé par des amis navigateurs. Sans aucune idée ou aller une fois à l’intérieur, on s’est arrêtés au village de Rotovoa en premier. L’endroit était mort, surtout pour un lundi après-midi, puis on a appris que tout le monde attendait le bateau inter-iles prévu pour le Mercredi. Encore et toujours sans internet, la seule source d’information s’est révélée être un français nomme Aldrich, qui vient juste de lancer Fakarava Yacht Services et nous a conseillé de passer notre temps dans la partie sud du lagon.

C’est ainsi que nous sommes arrivés à Hirifa, dans le coin sud-est de l’atoll. Hirifa : cadre magnifique, on ne peut plus protégé de la houle et du vent. En face : la plage de sable dorée et un snack restaurant dont s’occupe Laiza et Toria, un couple de Paumotus. Nous y serons le seul bateau pendant 5 jours ! On a déjeuné a terre chez Laiza : poisson grille, poulet, steaks et frites + poisson cru et beignets de poissons ! À 2000CFP par personne ce n’est pas exactement bon marche mais les assiettes sont grandes et surtout c’est délicieux ! J’ai passé la majorité de mon temps dans sa cuisine, a parler de la vie des Polynésiens. Toria est un ancien légionnaire, qui a servi dans l’armée française pendant presque 20 ans. Laiza vient d’un autre atoll (Toau) ou elle a géré une pension pendant des années. Elle est venue a Fakarava pour Toria, en laissant la pension a ses enfants, et après quelques mois sur la pointe ici, elle a commencé à s’ennuyer et a décidé de monter un snack pour accueillir les voiliers (le seul accès étant par la mer). Entre ça, la production de coprah, la maintenance des parcs a poissons et des cochons, elle me dit qu’ils ont de quoi s’occuper et elle ne s’ennuie plus ! Ils ne manquent de rien : des panneaux solaires et un générateur pourvoient à leurs besoins en électricité, ils vont s’approvisionner a Rotovoa toutes les semaines (1h en annexe), ils pêchent leurs poissons, fabriquent leur bière (un mélange de sucre, de levure et d’eau de coco) et regardent la télévision par satellite. Que demander de plus ?

Le bateau de ravitaillement, Cobia, venait juste de passer quand on est arrivé : il s’arrête au village tous les mercredis, mais peut faire un stop à la passe sud a la demande. Laiza fait alors une grosse commande et se groupe avec les pensions voisines (Tetamanu et Tiketite), toutes à 5 miles nautiques les unes des autres. Une commande consolidée est essentielle pour justifier les 70000CFP que le Cobia demande pour ces escales supplémentaires. Quand j’ai exprimé ma surprise a la cherté (surtout que le fret est facture séparément), elle s’est exclamée « ce sont des voleurs ! Ces gens de Tahiti pensent qu’ils peuvent faire ce qu’ils veulent ! ». Et voilà la première de maintes conversations que nous aurons avec elle et Toria : le cout de la vie en Polynésie Française (élevé), le fait que les « franies ou metros » (les français de France) adorent vivre ici et essayent par tous les moyens de rester après la fin de leur contrat (généralement 4 ans pour les fonctionnaires), le style de vie qui change pour les polynésiens ( la vie de bureaux à Tahiti, la disparition des foyers traditionnels) et le désir de vivre à l’occidentale avec des moyens que l’économie est incapable de fournir. Qu’en est-il de la nourriture traditionnelle : manioc, fruits tropicaux, poisson, coco… ? ils sont devenus trop chers pour les citadins qui désormais consomment du corned beef et du maquereau en conserve, ainsi que du lait concentre ! Quelle triste ironie de constater que nous mangeons les aliments traditionnels des autochtones alors qu’ils ne peuvent s’offrir que de la junk food !

Le plan initial était d’attendre que des bateaux familles nous rejoignent. On a donc adopte une routine quotidienne consistant à faire l’école et la maintenance a bord le matin, suivis de baignades dans notre piscine naturelle l’après-midi et visites chez Laiza. Les enfants ont appris à briser et râper les noix de coco, j’ai passé des heures à la regarder faire son lait de coco ( elle m’a réprimandé pour utiliser du lait en conserve, « je ne servirais jamais ça a mes clients ! ») et préparer des plats typiquement Paumotus (poissons crus, beignets, carpaccios…) Malheureusement le vent a souffle un peu trop fort cette semaine, du coup le snorkelling a l’extérieur du reef était hors de question, ainsi que la chasse à la langouste avec la houle qu’il y avait ! Sans parler du bouleversement du plan de retrouvailles avec les autres familles qui ont fini par atterrir à 45 miles nautiques plus au sud et s’y sont posées sur un atoll inhabité.

Lasses d’attendre la compagnie, on s’est dit qu’on irait les rejoindre, mais l’idée d’une navigation au près ne nous enchantait pas. Donc on est reste, finalement rejoints par un autre voilier une semaine plus tard. L’isolement ne nous a pas déplu tant que ça, sachant qu’on serait de retour bien assez tôt dans des mouillages bondes (Papeete n’est qu’à 250 miles nautiques !). Apres la perte de son laptop, Marc s’est résigné au fait qu’il doive attendre quelques mois avant de pouvoir récupérer sa musique et ses films. Il a donc décidé non seulement de rattraper son retard à l’école mais aussi d’être plus productif a bord. Quel bonus d’avoir enfin un équipier a part entière au lieu d’un ado oisif : Terry est bombarde de question techniques et apprécié d’avoir un assistant solide (Marc est plus costaud que moi, y a pas photo) et personnellement j’ai maintenant un commis de cuisine qui me relève a la vaisselle. Qui l’aurait cru ? Bon d’accord, la motivation principale est financière, Marc espère accumuler des points pour qu’on accepte de financer (ou du mois l’aider) l’acquisition de nouvel équipement une fois de retour en Australie. Quand même, ça fait plaisir de le voir saisir une opportunité, et dans le pire des cas il acquiert de nouvelles compétences. Anne le suit de près : maintenant qu’elle a prouvé son talent dans la cuisine, elle déploie ses ailes à l’extérieur, et apprend à conduire l’annexe et son hors-bord de 30CV, s’occuper des amarres et même aider son père a naviguer. Dans son cas, le facteur primordial est l’ennui. Ses amies lui manquent énormément, surtout après 3 semaines de mondanités aux Marquises. Elle est la première à dire que « la Polynésie est l’endroit le plus isole au monde : sans internet, sans amis, et des gens qui ne parlent que le français ! » Si c’était à elle de décider, on se ferait chahuter contre le vent pour trouver de la compagnie !

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