Vanuatu

The passage from Fiji was hard work and it seems as though the days of champagne sailing are behind us. Unfortunately Si caught a cold the day after leaving Fiji so he was miserable for two days. During the four day passage we were constantly looking over our shoulder for the dark clouds associated with the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ). We thought we had got away but sure enough on day four, the heavens opened and stayed that way for the next 24 hours.

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Fiji

I rate a passage by three important elements; what percentage of time do we spend outside in the cockpit, the number of bruisers I acquire through constantly knocking myself and lastly, how much sleep I get per night (can range from 2 hrs to 7hrs). So the overall passage rating from Tonga to Fiji was “HORRIBLE”. It was overcast and cold, by the time we reached Fiji, my butt was one complete bruise and I was a walking zombie. We also got hit by our first real tropical storm that came out of nowhere.

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Vava'u Tonga

We arrived in Tonga, the Vava’u island group to blue skies and lush green islands. The topography was different to what we both expected but not disappointing. We docked next to the main wharf and watched the procession of local bureaucrats…quarantine, customs, immigration and health come on board for us to fill out their paper work and a chat. They where all very sweet as Si had sustained a burn (cup of hot coffee) on route and needed to get it checked by the doctor. The health guy drove us to the hospital

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Society Islands Tahiti to Bora Bora

We had a wonderful time in the Society Islands. The islands are stunning. They are a mix between the Marquesas with tall lush volcanic mountains and the Tuamotus with lovely coral reefs and turquoise water. Add plenty of blue sky, four of our closest friends from Perth, and you have the ingredients for an amazing 11 days.

After another windless passage from the Tuamotus to Papeete (Tahiti), we arrived with barely enough fuel to spare.

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Tuamotu Archipelago

The passage to the Tuamatu’s was fairly uneventful. Once again, we ran out of wind after the first day and had to motor for the remaining three. If we had of left two days earlier, we would have had too much wind…seems to be a reoccurring theme.

The Tuamatu’s are a group of 78 coral atolls that generally enclose a lagoon. The pass into the atolls are to be navigated with care as they are relatively narrow and have strong currents running depending on the time (high and low tide). Best time to attempt the passes is during slack water, though we never quiet sure when this was, so we went with the flow…literally.

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Marquesas - Niku Hiva

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, Sailing Yacht Woodsia arrived in the mysterious land of Marquesas. The people spoke a strange tongue but they all looked like Kiwis. It is a tropical island with tall volcanic mountains that jut sharply into the deep deep sea (1,185m high and 40 - 100m deep). It was warm and the hills were lush and green, a magnet to clouds that had never seen land (it rained a lot).

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Galapagos to Marquesas - 3200nm

Close your eyes and imagine for three weeks you and one other (recommend that it is someone you get along with rather than someone you fantasise about), are confined to your lounge room, kitchen and bathroom, now divide that space into one third. With the exception of email, you have no contact with the outside world, no television, no newspapers and no internet. You are only able to prepare meals with food that you currently have available to you and the alcohol has been confiscated. By the way you are unable to use the microwave, bread maker, freezer, food processor or toaster. To top it off, at any one time, one of you has to be awake. Having fun yet????

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Panama to Galapogas Islands

After finally leaving Panama, we headed for the Las Perlas island of Isla Pedro Gonzales for a rest before heading to the Galapagos. These islands are approx 35 nm from Panama City and have plenty of wild life and greenery. We anchored in a secluded bay north of the island to avoid the southerly swell. We had two nights of perfect weather. About 500m away there was another island that is a breeding colony for pelicans and other sea going birds. So there was no lack of bird watching to be had. We took the dingy across the reef & bay to the small village. Si wanted to replace the 10 liters of diesel we had used to get there. So after a couple of attempts (first attempt produced a black oily fuel) with an audience of about 20 we managed to get our fuel. Si also picked up a few more bottles of $6 rum……..(don’t ask how much wine, rum, vodka, tequila, whisky & gin we are carrying…for bartering so we say…).

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Panama to Galapogas Islands

After finally leaving Panama, we headed for the Las Perlas island of Isla Pedro Gonzales for a rest before heading to the Galapagos. These islands are approx 35 nm from Panama City and have plenty of wild life and greenery. We anchored in a secluded bay north of the island to avoid the southerly swell. We had two nights of perfect weather. About 500m away there was another island that is a breeding colony for pelicans and other sea going birds. So there was no lack of bird watching to be had. We took the dingy across the reef & bay to the small village. Si wanted to replace the 10 liters of diesel we had used to get there. So after a couple of attempts (first attempt produced a black oily fuel) with an audience of about 20 we managed to get our fuel. Si also picked up a few more bottles of $6 rum……..(don’t ask how much wine, rum, vodka, tequila, whisky & gin we are carrying…for bartering so we say…).

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Mexico (again)

We decided to head back to Isla Majures for a bit of rest and recreation before going back to St Maartin where things would be hectic getting the boat ready. We arrived to find some of the old crew had left but replaced by a group of Canadians that get together each year. We spent our days lying on the beach, drinking margaritas, tequila, and eating great Mexican food.

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