Saturday, 25 July 2015

Mackay, Australia

We left Gibraltar on 1st November 2014 and after sailing 26,374 kilometres we arrived in Mackay in Queensland Australia in the rain just in time for breakfast on 23rd July 2015.  We thought that we would see some amazing places and have some great experiences - and we did. What we didn't expect was to make so many great friends along the way and as we leave the World ARC rally in Australia we will miss them all greatly.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Fiji

The ratchet on our big Penn reel screams as the strong monofilament line is stripped off at high speed. The rod arcs in its holder and the fish makes its first run. In our wake I see the distinctive bill of the famous blue Marlin, the king of game fish, thrashing in the water trying to throw the hook.


Monday, 22 June 2015

Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga is an archipelago of 176 islands, of which 52 are inhabited. In 1900 Tonga signed a treaty of friendship with Britain and in 1970 Tonga became independent. The consequence of this is that it lives off its own resources without the colonial subsidies of most South Pacific Islands. But the great advantage is that its traditions and culture have been preserved without compromise and visitors like us can experience an authentic Polynesian experience first hand.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Niue

The weather is gorgeous.  The sky is overcast with a cool breeze blowing through the anchorage. Overnight we have had a blanket on our beds for the first time since the Canary Islands. I never thought that I would celebrate the cooler weather but here we are on the island of Niue with no hat, no sun tan lotion, and no perspiration. Bliss.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Pacific Storm

The next leg of our journey takes us to Suwarrow in the Northern Cook islands, made famous by Tom Neale, a New Zealander who wrote about his experiences living there alone for many years. Now it is uninhabited, an atoll famed for its wildlife, visited only by private yachts and manned for three months in the year by park rangers who will stamp your passport for a small fee.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Bora Bora

Rain lashes down as we beat upwind, ploughing into a big sea whipped up by the squalls that have been bearing down on us all day. We are sailing parallel to the reef where the swell from the south rolls in. Nine hundred metres deep, only half a mile offshore, this huge volume of water runs full tilt into the shallows and with nowhere to escape it thunders against the coral with a roar and rears up, throwing spray high into the air as it washes over the reef into the lagoon. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Raiatea, the Pearl Regatta

We are in Raiatea, the spiritual capital of the Society Islands, 150 miles west of Tahiti and host of the Tahiti Pearl Regatta.  We enter the pass into the lagoon and dock on the quay in the small town of Uturoa. The central market square has been taken over by the regatta where coloured flags ripple in the breeze and earnest young assistants crouch at makeshift desks over Apple computers, taking our registration forms and our Pacific Francs, issuing us with fluorescent wristbands and T shirts. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Tahiti

Our pilot book states that the southern pass into Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, is accessible at all times – other than when there is a big swell from the west.  We are now accustomed to the swell in the South Pacific; it normally sets from the south, but today - well today it seems to be coming out of the west and I estimate it to be between two and three metres – that’s quite big.  A mile away from shore I scan the horizon through my binoculars and all I can see is surf breaking. Now we are only a few hundred metres away and I can clearly make out the channel markers, and nearby, surfers lie on their boards, waiting to catch the waves – always a bad sign. I am thinking of aborting the entry when I see a catamaran enter the pass ahead of us. There is a gap between the waves and it slips through. We gather in the cockpit, point Juno’s bows at the middle of the pass and run the gauntlet.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Moorea

On watch in the early morning one can truly appreciate the slow and uplifting wonder of dawn. It starts with a faint light in the eastern sky; colour seeps from the horizon, spilling into the clouds, lilac at first, then pink and gold as the kaleidoscope revolves. As the first orange crescent appears above the horizon, the colours deepen and become rich and vivid. On the island ahead the dark peaks light up first, high above they are first to see the new sun; then slowly, the light spills down the eastern slopes, long dark shadows withdrawing into the deep green ravines cut into the hillside. The sun enjoys its first glimpse and now climbs quickly, increasing in power and splendour as it rises to create the new day.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Tuamotos, Fakarava South

We are anchored behind the reef, a million miles from anywhere.  A huge blood red horizon glows in the west, a scatter of black clouds drifts pass like battleships; the sound of the surf on the outer reef is a muffled roar and on Juno all is still. The water is so clear that even at dusk we can see the reef sharks circling the boat. Between us and the ocean is a narrow strip of pink sand, dense with palm trees, a thin finger that stretches out and disappears below the dark surface.