Adventures at Sea

Vessel Name: TabbyCat
Vessel Make/Model: Maine Cat 41 catamaran
About: Come sail with us: click here for TabbyCat Charters
Extra: We'd love to hear from you at any time. Please be mindful that whilst we are AT SEA our data is limited, so messages should be kept short and we can not receive any attachments.
28 May 2018
12 May 2018 | Oahu Hawaii
07 April 2018 | Bushy Park
05 March 2018
25 November 2017
10 October 2017 | Nuku 'Aloofa, Tonga
23 June 2017 | Whangaeri Town Basin
13 April 2017 | Work done mostly in New Zealnd, with a little done in the Marshall Islands
02 October 2016
12 September 2016
23 May 2016
07 May 2016
22 December 2015
10 November 2015
02 September 2015
24 June 2015 | Fiji
30 May 2015 | Leaving the Marshall Islands
08 February 2015 | Majuro, Marshall Islands
25 November 2014 | en route to the Marshall Islands
Recent Blog Posts
28 May 2018

Scotland

We had a delightful visit to Scotland's Isle of Harris with friends Mike & Jill. The weather swung back and forth between "atmospheric" to "lovely" and we managed to get in quite a a bit of bog trotting and beach walks, not to mention a visit to the Harris tweed shop and the local distillery. The scenery was so dramatic - we were taking 100 photographs a day - making it difficult to decide which photo to use as the header for this blog. If you'd like to see more amazing Scotland photos, click here....

12 May 2018 | Oahu Hawaii

Hawaii 5-0 !

Yes, we really did stop for a day in Hawaii enroute to Scotland! One of the best Ukelele stores in the world is at the north end of Oahu, so we rented a car for the day and enjoyed a scenic drive to the north end of the island. We met Cory of "Hawaii Music Supply" aka "the Ukelele Site" who guided [...]

07 April 2018 | Bushy Park

Whanganui

We spent traveled to Whanganui for Easter. Much chocolate was consumed in the evenings, and good times were had on the black sand beaches with Hadley and family. Rick, thanks for getting the hot tub heated up, that was a real treat! Boz - thanks for being such a great host , cooking and arranging for [...]

05 March 2018

Whangarei Gardens

We were pleased to have Marty & Gabby join us for a week aboard TabbyCat. Since we're currently based in Whangarei, we decided to show them the lovely gardens in the old rock quarry. There are some truly amazing and exotic plants to be seen! We spent the better part of the afternoon there, and didn't [...]

25 November 2017

On the road again....

Since we last wrote, we've had some high adventures, but tonight's missive comes from the not so exotic location of LAX airport. We're halfway through our journey from Whangarei New Zealand to Bocas Panama. Two flights down, two to go.

10 October 2017 | Nuku 'Aloofa, Tonga

Tonga!

After many months of hard work on boat projects, we finally left New Zealand. Stopping on the way to Tonga at South Minerva Reef, we were able to enjoy the Atoll all to ourselves,

Mike's visit to Fiji

01 November 2014 | Viti Levu, Fiji
Mike Sunderland
After a round about journey for Susan and Colin from the wedding in the US, they arrived back to the Vuda Point Marina, Fiji on Saturday 4th October, keen to rest on the cat.

Good friend Mike arrived 1st October at the marina too, and quickly got into the cruising fraternity and world wanderers - volunteering to work a day on Tom and Jenna mono hull (Trade Winds) rusting rub bar and making friends with Paul the Frenchman - TabbyCat's neighbor - also sailing the pacific and living on a catamaran in the marina, until a fresh crew could be taken on

After a welcome home meal, plans were made for the Mamanuka Islands and Yasawa Group - laying to the West of Fiji's Viti Levu. Unfortunately the upholsterers had to show up and do their bit for the new seat covers and return to agree the appropriate foam cushions!! After a crazy boys re-supply run into Lautoka, we were ready for off and left the Marina, pleased to be on the road /sea again.

Light winds, fine weather and clear skies we swiftly cruised into Musket Cove on the island of Malolo Lailail - to sit out the evening with a brief squall and heavy rain!! Oh so cool. After a dull, grey day and a run ashore to resort and marina, we had pleasant time on board catching up on family and friends matters.

Next morning we awoke at 6am to a classic Pacific island day - cloudless blue skies, and time for a 2 hour paddle board adventure, engaging the locals with questions about digging for worms and searching for clams on the low tide coral and an invitation to share Fiji's Independence day with a family, the following day concluding the paddle with the obligatory swim and scrub of the TabbyCat's hulls.

Mooring off the village of Yalobi on Waya Island we prepared the Calva root pepper plant, by cleaning it, drying it in the galley oven and re-wrapping it in a recent newspaper, all in preparation for presenting to Chief Tom the following morning - after a brief ceremony - in local tongue - we had the key to the city and enjoyed the welcome and engaging with the residents, as we wondered round the village and took a peek at the local school. The following day we managed to fight our way (lost the path) to a false summit and took an another amazing view of the Pacific landscape - which Mike missed as he wimped out of the entangled fight to the top.
summit
Armed with fresh vegetables and some shell necklaces from Sarah, we manned the boats, as a squall had blown up and the mooring looked very vulnerable - sailing out of the bay into a strong southerly.
vegetable market
Searching for the best snorkeling since Fakarava's we moored inside the lagoon and explored the reef for a closer look the following day. Distracted by the tin roof kayaks we discussed the potential of sea kayak trips around the Yasawa's and low and behold, round the headland arrived a group of sea kayakers - an Australian outfit called South Seas Adventures. After much kayak discussions we continued on with the snorkeling, but left disappointed for our next destination - The Blue lagoon.

Now safely in the Blue Lagoon - with a number of light weight sailors, we have not seen out on the windy water today - over 30 knots of wind and 12.5 knots max boat speed!! adventure sailing. The morning was spent productively with Mike exploring the bay in Alfie (the kayak) and Col and Susan off on a romantic swim and walk on a deserted beach - finishing off with a snorkel.
To complete the day Mike returned with a collection of wildlife encounters - a young surface swimming Turtle!!, some diving gannets (Boobies to the sailing fraternity, but not appropriately named!) some black heron and some shoals of needle fish - not known in the Hebrides. Once safely moored we celebrated with a cool glass of beer, Tuna melt and a beer - another great day off Fiji on the pacific.

The morning broke with an important date announced to us all - November 10th, Col's B'day!! - not a significant one, I might add, but just a year away!! With this announcement Susan and Mike were rushing round suggesting special things to do to celebrate the old mans event!! We snorkelled off Manna island, selected a restaurant for the evening celebration and walked to the top of the island at dusk - all in preparation for the big event. Mike went walk about, at the mountain top cross, as Colin engaged the island owner clutching her bible! Again mike reported more wildlife encounters this time a resting peregrine, a giant bat swopping around the banana trees and some small mice rushing round the burnt out mountain side. After a period of confusion and "where the fxxxx is mike" we met up at the backpackers and had a very pleasant evening, drinking beers, eating Fiji food and watching/listening to some random dancing, singing and machete wielding - a good night was had by all.

Today was an eventful sail, as we spotted and played with a pod of Spinner Dolphins - diving, darting and jumping between the two hulls at the bow of TabbyCat. Just as quickly they arrived and after 15 minutes of intense observing they vanished - with NO photographic evidence, but clarification that they really did, briefly, sail with us.

An exciting mornings sail brought us to the infamous "Blue lagoon" where we joined a small fleet of fellow cruisers - settling for a calm night. The morning broke early (for some!) and the pang for fresh food and vegies - we want vegies!!, spread through the crew, with a concern for scurvy taking hold. Previously spotting an advert at Vauda Point Marina, we maned the boats and headed out of the bay in search of the said farm. Arriving wet, wind blown and bounced, we found the small mango grove creek and moored by a Cater Marine (Opua Marina, NZ) sail boat, gafrigg, small outboard and painted in bright colours - this was the spot. We were welcomed by the young husband and wife team of vegie farmers and had a full tour of the raised beds, sheltered tomato plants, chickens and fruit trees, as we discussed vegie growing and what would be in season for a scurvy crew. In addition we were introduced to the Ministry of Agriculture team who were advising the farm on Pinapple growing techneques to extend their range and crop portfolio - mainly to supply the scattered resorts with fresh fruit and veg. We could have stayed the day in this beautiful, elevated and well watered garden, but hunger and aching teeth took hold and off to the TabbyCat we headed with our spoils - eggs, 4 bags of vegies and fruit for F$15 - such genuine and welcoming farmers, earning an honest living.

Early next morning we were invited to a genuine cultural evening and Fijian fest at a small resort, with a water taxi pick-up and delivery home - so that was our evening sorted, so as Susan caught up on her work Colin and Mike explored the bay on paddle board and checked out the disappointing snorkelling. Showered up and dressed up we were collected as planned and joined the crew of 70' Oyster, True Blue and a couple from a resort. Dispite our concerns about a tourist evening it turned out to be an outstanding example of traditionally cooked Fijian food, hospitality and live dancing - the lads (barmen, cooks, boatmen, gardeners) excelling in the knife and fire dancing, which could hit the west end of London with great success - sadly they turned down the suggestion and would not sign the contract that mike had drawn up! Fire dancing A late night and almost too many beers saw us back on the TabbyCat - safe and sound, despite the taxi without any lights, other than that of a cell phone!

Today we are heading back to Denarau for the final fitting of the new cushions and covers. - with a planned stop at Nevarda Lagoon with its tombola beach and deserted island of goats. The wind has dropped to an acceptable and comfortable level, but could do with picking up slightly for a timely entrance to the mooring. A calm and relaxing journey, uneventful so far!

Mike asked about fishing and 2 lines were soon out with just a single bite from the small white spinner, bouncing off the surface. Pulling on his experience as a school boy fisherman, he suggested some weights, to drop the lure below the surface, which he convinced Susan could be an improved technique! An hour later all hell let loose as the winch started to run and the line came alive with a fish!! We landed a giant Mackerel but of the Wahoo variety - 4' long, and weighing over 25lbs!! - photograph attached. Wahoo With blood everywhere Susan jumped into action and island girl had it instantly dead with vodka in the gills, decapitated, filleted and portioned in the deep freeze before you could say "weighted lure" - scary stuff for both Colin and Mike - suddenly a great day was had by all and a magnificent fresh fish meal consumed that evening - "thank you Susan said a beaming Mike, I am quite replete!

Denarau was back to reality or was it opulence as we moored up alongside the super yachts and watched the slaves scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, polish, polish, polish, polish as the owners we coming for a short cruise. We re-stocked, negotiated further fittings and entered into deep discussions with the upholsterers, as Susan and Colin meticulously worked out what was required for the new cushions with the top of the range "Ultra Suede" coverings. While the crew of the yachts partied we explored up river on the paddle boards and kayak, with the hope of finding town and an affordable supermarket - alas it got dark and we returned empty handed. We cooked our humble meal - fresh bread from Susan - and got blasted out by the pre-Dewali firework displays.

Mooring off the marina the following evening, we watched 5 hours of celebratory fireworks - some better than others - before the 2am curfew took over and all went quiet. After further paddle board circumnavigation we watched as the Fruit Bats (hundreds of them) move from one island to another in menacing groups, silhouetted as a Dracula movie would have filmed and suddenly they were gone!!

An early start (Colin having a lie in) motivated Susan and Mike to head South then North in search of the inside passage and the old capital of Levuka, where it all began over 100 yrs ago, as the British set up their first port and settlement off Fiji - now a World heritage site. After a pleasant sail we moored and spent the following days motoring into a headwind, before abandoning the idea and returning with the wind in our sails on a fresh tack with a new plan!!

The resort of Safari Lodge, claims to be the windsurfing and kite boarding centre of Fiji, offering specialist holidays, and instructional courses , the website showing a team of 8 water sport instructors. Mike tracked them down and E-mailed Warren!! the owner and hot shot, inquiring about instruction. Unfortunately he was on leave and his kite board instructor (singular) was finished for the season. Susan convinced she could kite sail and Colin hesitant that his windsurfing days at the cutting edge were part of his distant past, we decided to visit anyway. After a fast boat ride, skippered by Mike in the dinghy we explored the possible location of Safari Lodge, to find out their was about 6 resorts of different types scattered round the island. We gate crashed a Sunday, after church Kava session, to be welcomed and told "it looks like shit, tastes like shit, but sends you to heaven", so forget about safari Lodge and drink with us!! After a brief encounter, witnessing the modern way the pepper roots are prepared - in a blender - and how to safely eat a meal when the Kava has taken hold, we escaped sober.

The island was empty of visitors and guests and Safari Lodge was very welcoming, meeting Sophie the marine biologists and dive instructor and Peter the relief manager for Warren. Peter hospitality could not extend to kite boarding but he was insistent that we returned early the following morning to support the 4 Kiwi ladies, who were on a windsurfing holiday and had struggled the previous day - shallow reef, on shore chop and heavy winds. We did return to find the ladies were more than competent, Colin had never sailed a short board of modern dimensions and handling qualities, quite unfamiliar to him. Credit where it is warranted, Colin did manage to master both board and sail, Winsurfing while Mike stuck to what he is good at - the loan of Peters personal sea kayak. The rest of the morning was spent helping Susan windsurf, while the elements were not at all co-operative. We all successfully concluded the morning with a brief SUP with Safari Lodge's new boards, making it all look so easy compared with the wind surfing. On the positive side we had full use of the facilities and equipment, for free, and were treated like international water sport heroes!! thanks to Peters hospitality. Warren, we WILL be back?

Next day it rained and rained and rained and the next day it rained and rained and rained with low clouds, low temperatures, high winds and mist. The good thing about being "hunkered down" was Colin's impromptu invitation to a young English couple and 16 month yr old daughter, Rocket, moored in a mono-hull, close by. After much discussion and menu planning Mike asked to borrow (have!) an onion and the plans were set, for a really enjoyable, fun and enchanting evening with Rocket and her parents - James and Jess. Good luck with NZ.

Determined to overcome his mask anxiety, Mike asked to explore a new area for snorkeling, recommended by Sophie from the Lodge. Despite the lack of sunshine and breeze, we gave it a shot and snorkeled along the edge of the reef taking in such a fantastic variety of hard and soft coral and a selection of small fish. Susan always on hand to point out examples of different species and unusual features in the coral. Reef Fish It was a great session, enjoyed by us all - Colin only slightly blue, as he had donned a wetsuit, Susan just one more dive down and Mike with a big smile on his face at the amazing snorkeling he had experienced. Unfortunately, sharing Colin's flippers - one on and a bare foot - and seconds before we pulled ourselves up into the dinghy, Mike turned over, misjudged the coral depth and slashed his foot on a razor sharp specimen, leaving a thin shark trail behind him!! What a pisser, he was heard to say, as Susan jumped into para-medic mode with the hydrogen peroxide and vet wrap - leaving nothing but a slight limp and clean wound - once again thank you Susan for looking after me.

Change of plan - the uphill slog with both motors on and a strong head wind seemed exhausting and very trying for both TabbyCat and crew, so we sensibly turned South and ran back to Vuda Point, running with the sea and the wind in our sails. Great sailing with speeds up to 10.5 knots, far too fast to catch a fish. Nestled into the island masking the picturesque port of Lautoka (with is wood mill and Cane factory!) we moored and took off on our final paddle board adventure - Mike's foot in a water proof (NOT) sock and the setting sun warming our faces and blocking the visibility. All was going well until the shallow reef route ground Mike to a head plant halt - no damage though, to board or body. This was Mike's 10th hour on a board which has convinced him to lead the way and introduce the art of paddle boarding to the Cumbria Canoeists. Empty of supplies Cabin Boy Mike produced a final galley meal from know where - eggs, tuna, a single potato, beans, Salsa and some cabbage!! Finishing off the evening with a movie "Gravity" real scary stuff.

Final destination, Vuda Point Marina, for a get together with Frenchman friend Paul and a final meal in the marina restaurant, before Mikes mid-night, taxi collection from Ali,for the timely 0005 flight to Hong Kong, to continue on with his retirement walk-about.

Thank you Colin and Susan for your hospitality and allowing me to share your journeying on TabbyCat - see you at the wedding God Father - April 11, 2015 in Yorkshire. to see the rest of the photos, click here
Comments
TabbyCat's Photos - Main
Chateau Barbeligniere & surrounds
17 Photos
Created 26 May 2018
84 Photos
Created 12 May 2018
a quick stop to pick up a Ukelele!
3 Photos
Created 12 May 2018
Land trip to visit the rellies!
58 Photos
Created 7 April 2018
with Guests Marty & Gabby
29 Photos
Created 5 March 2018
2017
11 Photos
Created 25 November 2017
a small atoll 279 NM southwest of Tonga
20 Photos
Created 10 October 2017
5 Photos
Created 23 June 2017
We call this our Maine Cat 41 "Cruiser Edition"
64 Photos
Created 13 April 2017
Life in the Jungle! Building our dream....
20 Photos
Created 2 October 2016
March - April 2016
50 Photos
Created 4 June 2016
2016 projects in NZ: Windows, Escape Hatches, Cabinets, Floor refinishing, Cabinet re-varnishing, etc etc.
17 Photos
Created 7 May 2016
32 of our favorite photos from 2015
31 Photos
Created 22 December 2015
Our new cork floors & triton shell given to us by locals
10 Photos
Created 10 November 2015
Circumnavigation of Vanua Levu, including a visit to Rambi Island
49 Photos
Created 7 November 2015
July & August 2015
6 Photos
Created 19 August 2015
Marshall Islands from Dec 1, 2014 to May 27, 2015
14 Photos
Created 17 June 2015
138 Photos
Created 12 April 2015
56 Photos
Created 8 April 2015
39 Photos
Created 8 April 2015
7 degrees north of the Equator for the hurricane season!
23 Photos
Created 8 February 2015
34 Photos
Created 15 November 2014
57 Photos
Created 1 November 2014
Whale watching in Niue
19 Photos
Created 9 September 2014
40 Photos
Created 11 August 2014
20 Photos
Created 28 July 2014
from NZ to Austral Islands (Raivavae & Tubai), then on to Tahiti
35 Photos
Created 28 June 2014
Northern NZ
21 Photos
Created 2 May 2014
Wandering about the north island
22 Photos
Created 4 April 2014
Bay of Islands, Great Barrier Island
42 Photos
Created 29 January 2014
Near Auckland, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand
23 Photos
Created 19 January 2014
favorites from USA, NZ & Fiji
50 Photos
Created 25 December 2013
14 Photos
Created 4 December 2013
FIJI
29 Photos
Created 10 November 2013
20 Photos
Created 20 October 2013
Flotilla leaving Whangarei, NZ to celebrate the opening of the new Bridge
17 Photos
Created 31 July 2013
Windows, propeller, facucet, etc
14 Photos
Created 27 June 2013
12 Photos
Created 7 May 2013
Repairs ashore in Whangarei, NZ
19 Photos
Created 16 April 2013
60 Photos
Created 23 January 2013
120 Photos
Created 11 January 2013
Tahiti Moorea Rarotonga Niue
12 Photos
Created 1 November 2012
Sharks & other marine life
13 Photos
Created 26 September 2012
Yet more photos from Rangiroa, where we stayed for 3 weeks...
11 Photos
Created 17 September 2012
More photos from our second week in Rangiroa
12 Photos
Created 6 September 2012
in the Marquesas, French Polynesia July 2012
1 Photo
Created 27 August 2012
August 2012 Rangiroa is the 2nd largest Atoll in the world
15 Photos
Created 26 August 2012
In the Tuamotos, a nation of Atolls- rings of coral islets atop extinct volcanos
17 Photos
Created 23 August 2012
Tahuata & Ua Pou Islands
15 Photos
Created 9 August 2012
Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas, French Polynesia
20 Photos
Created 30 July 2012
Gambier Islands, Tuamotos, French Polynesia, July 2012
23 Photos
Created 12 July 2012
June 2012
26 Photos
Created 26 June 2012

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26 May 2018
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12 May 2018
84 Photos