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,

one week stopover turns into nine

24 June 2015 | Fiji
C&S
Last we wrote, we were employing new tricks to coax as much boat speed as possible from TabbyCat whilst enduring very light and fickle winds crossing the equator en route to Wallis Island. Wouldn't you know it, as soon as we got south of the equator the light airs disappeared, to be replaced by 20+ knots for the remainder of our trip. As some would put it, the winds are either too passive or too massive! Our last week at sea was spent skirting line squalls and thunderstorms, usually under reduced sail. While very bouncy at times, we endeavored to keep boat speed under 6 knots in order to limit the crashing as we launched off and over waves. Our only casualty boat-wise was a blown out clew cringle on the mainsail. That's the part that holds the sail to the rear of the boom, and it announced it's failure with an almighty bang one afternoon. As it happened, the winds picked up soon afterward, and we spent the remainder of the trip under reefed main, so it didn't affect our speed or mobility in any way.

Wallis is a tiny island about 300NW of Western Samoa and, while an independent nation, is under French protectorate status. It's only about 10 miles by 5, completely encircled by a coral ring, accessible through 4 passages only one of which is suitable for large vessels. We'd been warned to attempt the pass only at high or low slack water, and to be especially wary in heavy weather or poor visibility. The weather was truly miserable as we headed south along the island's east coast early on Saturday morning June 15th, but it magically cleared as we turned the SE corner and motor sailed uneventfully through the pass in perfect conditions at slack low tide. Being the weekend, we knew we could not check in until Monday morning, so we lay low whilst sheltering behind one of the outer islets named Faiola. The next morning we were joined by Pete & Terri on French Kiss who had left the Marshalls a few days before us, but had endured numerous equipment failures en route. A week later we were in the same anchorage when David and Kate on Snufkin arrived. An breakfast reunion, with Susan's world famous scones as centerpiece, was enjoyed by all on TabbyCat. Originally we'd envisioned enough to keep us entertained on Wallis for a week or so, and then we'd be off to Fiji. Boy were we wrong! We absolutely loved our time there. One week turned into two, three, and eventually nine before we finally drug ourselves away. The people we met were amazing, and we feel very fortunate to have had this particular experience. Everyone we encountered was exceeding friendly and generous. Most cruisers, of which there are few since it's off the "beaten track", get about by hitchhiking, and that was a great way to meet locals. In addition, we had our recumbent bikes which we used to great effect to criss-cross the island. They were also a marvelous way to break the ice and start a conversation with people. We became quite well known as "the people with the crazy bikes that you can almost sleep on while riding". Just about everyone that passed in a car gave a friendly wave or honked, while those overtaking did so slowly and respectfully. We were invited to attend a number of local ceremonies, beach parties and dinners. One particular festival on the north end of the island, celebrating St Stephens, included 50 huge pigs which had been barbecued whole in the ground for 3 days prior ......and that didn't even include those that had been prepared in advance for the luncheon to which we were invited. Lots of colorful ceremony, kava drinking, singing and dancing. It was awesome. Although the island is run by the French, and French is the official language, this was all done in the local Polynesian dialect, a mix of Samoan and Tongan. The carvings in the nearby church were wonderful, and the locals were quite happy for us to wander up a series of 6 rickety ladders to the decorated bell tower. Imagine that in the US or UK! The west side of the island is mostly uninhabited, but does have a dirt road running the length of it and includes one of the local highlights, a water filled volcano very reminiscent of Crater Lake in Oregon. In addition we also had a local TV reporter on the boat, interviewing us and the other cruisers in our anchorage for our "15 minutes". Quite the local celebrities!

We have also, FINALLY, at long last ...... been learning to kite board! We have both been wanting to have a go for some time, but the idea became firmly rooted after seeing folks screaming across the surf in BoraBora last year. We've always thought it would be an ideal addition to our water sports inventory, but just never seemed to be in the right place at the right time to get some instruction. Who would have thought that this tiny island, with zero tourist infrastructure, would be the right place? What they do have is a number of French ex-pats and government workers who are very keen on the sport, and a wonderful guy named Ben who came from France as a 10 year old and never left. He's now in his early 30's, and looks like someone straight out of a surfer magazine. In fact he is the local surfing god, and is one of only 3 people on the island who will surf the welcome wave at the entrance to the lagoon, which makes the approach for vessels so intimidating. Anyway, 5 years ago Ben decided that he wanted to learn to kite board during the windy non-surfing months, and so taught himself .... and then started the local kite board association. He took us under his wing, introduced us to his buddy Francois for great prices on new gear, and took time out to give us personal tutoring. Not only that, he gave us the run of his downstairs "man-cave" to hang out in, do internet, shower and use gear storing facilities. Of course it's right across the road from the kiting site, about a 5 minute dinghy ride from our anchorage. What a gent! Needless to say we had a total blast. Having spent some time getting to know how to fly the kite, we are now consistently water starting, making runs, and executing our first turns.

French National Day (Bastille Day) was on July 14th, Wallis National Day on July 29th, and the big party to finish up the winter holiday season was this past weekend. Lots of festivities for all events, so no shortage of things to do on the non-windy days, of which there have been very few. Average wind speeds are usually 15-20, but this year, knowing that there were beginner kite boarders on the island, the wind gods managed to produce 20-25 knots ....... perfect for our newly purchased 7.5 meter kite and twin tip board.

It was with some great reluctance that we departed Wallis a few days ago, but given the consistently high winds of late, a forecast of 15 knots for three days was too good to miss. Ben had been hoping to join us on the trip to Fiji during his 2 week break from school (he's a science teacher), but unfortunately foot surgery, and the need to keep the wound completely dry, precluded that. However we hope that he and his wife Audrey can join us at some future date.

The 2 1/5 day, 400nm passage to Fiji was uneventful and easy. We're back for our third visit, and already into project mode ....which took a back seat to kiting during our time in Wallis. Our major goal in the coming weeks is to get our new cork floor finally laid. It's also been nice to reunite with Pete on French Kiss (with whom we enjoyed way too much beer and pizza on our first night here), and Russ & Olga on Captain's Mistress, whom we got to know while in Wallis.

Will post more photos of Wallis, kiteboarding, and all the projects we've been working on soon. `A bientot....
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
17 Photos
12 May 2018
84 Photos