It is hard to believe that Van Kedisi and crew landed in New Zealand well over a year ago. November 4, 2016 to be exact, was the date they arrived in Opua and November 27, 2016 was the last post for the Pacific adventure.

Dick flew home to Vancouver with me last March after more than 14 months away. Transition took some time especially as he was no longer captain of the homeship and had to learn to work on a different team than he had been used to at sea, when his rule was law. Not only that, but a year ago this week, I purchased a home in Victoria so it was a busy time with packing and moving in late June.

Without much real discussion, we kind of thought that VK would stay in NZ and we would become snowbirds. Though I did not know it when I joined Dick for two months in NZ last winter, I soon realized that not only have I tired of long flights, but I have become a real Canadian after 9 years back in Canada from our 17+ years in Saudi Arabia. When I mentioned this near the end of our time in NZ, Dick immediately said, “Well, I might as well bring the boat home then.”

There was still much discussion about how to get VK home. We investigated shipping options but there were many obstacles in terms of timing as VK would have to go from Auckland to Costa Rica on one ship, then find another ship within the weather windows to go from Costa Rica to Victoria. In the end cost was the biggest factor. It was always hard to imagine Dick allowing Van Kedisi to travel on a ship. Thus he is preparing for yet another few legs and many thousands more nautical miles.

Dick departed Vancouver  November 3, 2017 almost a year to the day of his arrival by sea to NZ, this time arriving by air. Staying with his sister Claire and her partner Pat near Waipu, he travelled most days to Whangarei, where he started on his long list of work on VK. This included a new engine installation to match the one done in Curacou in the Caribbean in January, 2016. The preparation alone with getting the old one out along with the myriad of jobs around a new engine installation meant long work days. Maurie

Robertson, a mate of Dick’s from engineering school has joined him several times from Auckland as work has proceeded. Maurie an electrical engineer, will join Dick as first mate. Steven who was first mate with Dick from Tahiti to NZ in 2016, will join the crew along with his Australian girlfriend Heidi. Though Heidi has never sailed before, she and Steven feel that she will adapt fast. I plan to make sure there are ample choices of anti-emetics on board for all of the crew.

Dick spent Christmas for the second year in a row with his NZ family at Claire and Pat’s. Brunch for 16 looked like fun and it took place in summer weather rather than our white Christmas here in Victoria. Rain on Boxing Day meant cancellation of a day sail for several family members but he and our niece Sarah and her partner Clint plus first mate Maurie left for the Bay of islands instead. This allowed for a shakedown cruise with the new engine and naturally there were teething problems.



Dick in our very awkward starboard engine bay. Engine being lifted by crane into VK. New engine in place.

Lest I leave this blog post too long I am going to publish it and add some more photos in the next post which I hope will be soon.

PS You can follow VK by clicking on the Follow button. Also if you click on “Where is VK you can see exactly where they are. This is via InReach, the device that Dick used last journey. He has it switched on~~at least he did last time I checked.




VK in New Zealand

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
― H. Jackson Brown Jr. 


Arrival in Opua, New Zealand~~Steven, Colin and Captain Dick


First mate Steven arrives in NZ~~Shades of Andy arriving in Barbados in Dec., 2013

Dick certainly did all of the above~~he has lived his dream. 17,304 nautical miles or 37,047 kilometres.

Many of you got the short message below and a Word Doc but I will add it too. Now that Dick is in NZ, the saga is basically coming to an end at least for now.

Hi folks from Opua, N.Z.
We made it! Great to be here.
It has been a crazy time since our arrival. Claire and Pat, and Rick came to meet us which was a wonderful surprise.
All our buddies, Russell and Jane on “Ta-B”, Trevor and Jan on “Villomee”, Stuart and Ann on “Time Bandit”, Bill and Jean on “Out of the bag”, Reiner on “Catarina” and Travis on “HeapsGood” are here and there has been a birthday celebration every night. It is exhausting.

Still trying to sort out internet and phone.

The only dark cloud was the All Blacks losing to Ireland today.

All the best


Kadavu Island, Fiji

October 11, 2016


We are anchored in Tuvalu Bay with good protection except from the north-east. We have been waiting out a “weather event”, a rotating storm, that was forecast to develop over Musket Cove on the west side of the main Fiji island of Viti Levu. Musket Cove is our next destination. So we spent a couple of days watching the perfect trade winds that would take us there, but not going as it would not really make sense to sail into the storm. The storm passed over us last night, swinging through 360 degrees and dragging our anchor when it switched.

With the luxury of excellent internet access here in Fiji (after so long without) I have become addicted to the fabulous weather site windyty. I think Victor sent me this some time ago.,-25.483,178.154,5

Everybody asks about bad weather – high winds and huge waves – something like “The Perfect Storm”. The reality so far is that light winds have been the norm. We have very rarely seen anything over 25 knots. Usually we are looking for more wind. We like 20 knots astern. And the wind direction for the last 8,000 miles has been from astern about 95% of the time. However, this next little 1,100 mile jaunt to NZ is anticipated to be anything but astern. The wind-roses show the wind rather equally distributed from all the points of the compass, especially approaching NZ.

November is the month to make the passage from Fiji to NZ according to the gurus. November is the start of summer in the southern hemisphere bringing tropical cyclones to Fiji and hopefully the end of winter storms in NZ. Cold fronts travel east across the Tasman Sea to NZ about every week. It would be a fabulous passage to avoid getting hit by a front – but the main aim seems to be not to get hit by two.

Kadavu Island

Kadavu Island, south from Suva, is great. At the school I watched 50 or so men, aged from 8 to 38 practicing sevens rugby. Wearing my All Blacks hat I told them I was a scout for NZ rugby. I don’t think too many believed that – should have had my clipboard. There is a cash tournament starting on Thursday with local teams and teams from Suva. We may still be here waiting for the wind. Not a bad option.

Kadavu is called New Zealand lai lai, which means little New Zealand. It would make a lot of sense to leave for NZ from here, but there is no place to check out here, so we need to go back 100 miles north to either Suva or Vuda Point. Ah well, so be it.

200 miles from Opua, New Zealand

November 2, 2016

We have the trade wind rig up, twin genoas, and we are hurrying along at 10 knots under 100% overcast skies – trying to get to Opua in the Bay of Islands before the wind switches from north to south. Not sure if we will get there in time, will know more tomorrow. What we do know is that it is a lot colder here than the tropics – 12C in Auckland yesterday. Arggghhhhh – sweater, jacket, pants and shoes……

Looking back, we had a great overnight passage from Kadavu to Musket Cove, home of Dick’s Place, where Marian and I stayed way back in 1980. It is a lot more upscale since then. We sailed to Port Denarau where we picked up Colin for the trip to NZ. We watched the all conquering All Blacks set a new world record of 18 consecutive wins. More importantly, we replaced the steering cylinder and the auto-pilot hydraulic pump, both of which were leaking slightly, leaking enough for us to have no steering when on “standby” if not topped up. These replacements eliminated the banging in the steering system at anchor, and also the auto pilot’s voluntary switching from “auto” to “standby” – a feature that may have kept the night watch on their toes. 

From Port Denarau we sailed north to Lautoka, the sugar cane capital of Fiji. A Fijian customs official gave me a ride into town to add Colin to the Crew List. He said he had just been released from 3 months in jail. He said “A cheeky Indian was annoying him with too many questions,” so he hit him, but only once.

The Yusawas, a popular NZ cruising ground are to the northwest of Lautoka, and armed with a supply of kava we headed there to make “savu savu” with the local chiefs. Well, for some reason they were having a week of no kava. Whether this was the Temperance Society in action or a concession to the Indian community who were celebrating Diwali we were unable to determine. We chatted with Chief Joe and his wife then went back to the boat and had our own kava experience. Kava, made from the root of a local plant, said to be mildly intoxicating and enervating, is drunk with ceremony and is a part of the local village life.

Close reaching against the 15 knot south easterlies for 6 days brought us from Fiji to 250 n.m. north of North Cape, NZ, where the wind eventually switched to the north. Colin, looking for a good night’s sleep after bouncing around in the forward cabin for 6 nights discovered that sailing downwind really is different – “Gentlemen always sail with the wind at their backs.”

Opua, New Zealand

November 4, 2016 

The northerly did not last, switched to south which gave us another night of night watches. The wind changes very quickly here, and soon enough we got a westerly that brought us in to Opua. I watched the sun come up over Cape Brett, last seen from my Dad’s boat almost 50 years ago. Nice to be back, but, man its cold here this morning! 

Thanks to all who helped sail the Van Kedisi from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ:

Marian, Dean, Marie, Mary, Liam, Rick, David, Andy, Steven, Rowley, Barry, Victor, Jamie, Suzanne, Claire, Colin.


Opua, NZ

Distance sailed from Bodrum, Turkey to Opua, NZ: 17,304 n.m

End of ocean passages……….?

Friday, Nov. 25/16. Marian here~~I just talked to Dick on Skype to get a few details on what has happened since he, Steven and Colin arrived in Opua on Nov. 4. I was at North Beach, Haida Gwaii at the time with Elaine and Ted Keating and Suzanne Woeller. We had had some great storms in our off grid cabin and had limited cell coverage by walking on the beach at low tide. But I got Dick’s message and contacted his sister Claire by email. She and Pat eventually drove to Opua from their place near Waipu and were surprised to see a hunded or more boats as at their last visit it was sleepy little harbour. They wondered how they would find Dick but found Trevor and Jan from Villomee who Claire had met when she was crew on VK in Niue. From there she went to the customs office and lo and behold, Dick was there checking in. Rick Lane, crew on VK for many thousands of miles even came up from the South Island to welcome Dick and crew.


There was much partying for the first few days, with many of the fleet who had crossed the Pacific over the same months having arrived around the same time. I remember Dick emailing telling me that he was off to do more liver damage on yet another celebration on day 3. He came back to VK on the first or second day to find that Steven and Colin had gone to the local pub and returned with 4 lovely young Kiwi women. And so it went. They left Opua on November 11 for a two day passage to Whangerai but not an overnighter as they anchored in Tutukaka en route. Whangerai is only a 20 minute drive to Claire and Pat’s so they has time ashore with them, doing much needed laundry and taking hot showers.

As Suzanne and I discovered in Tahiti, VK had no hot water. There were problems with lines to the hot water tank I think back in Curacou, and because they were not going anywhere cold for awhile, Dick chose to disconnect the hot water heater. Once in a NZ spring the task of getting hot water again became a priority alone with several other issues. Dick and Colin spent many hours trying to work out a problem with the fuel line to the port engine but solved it last week. Colin, by the way got too cold in NZ and headed to sunny and warm Australia!

After a few days in Whangerai, they sailed on to Auckland and now VK is in Maraetai, a bay south of Auckland and where Dick learned to sail many decades ago! The family had a “batch” there, cottage in Canadian language. That is where VK and Dick and Steven are anchored now. Rugby with family for Dick, time ashore in a hostel for Steven and then back on board to host family yesterday!

Dick, Sarah Leighton and Clint Nov. 27, 2016

Steven in Fiji

More arrival photos

p1040769Seagulls I think?

Colin and snapper? Plus more birds

p1040787Dick bushwhacking on Waiheke Island with Colin~~more like lava


Sister Claire’s large lemons!

Fiji to New Zealand passage has begun!

Well, nine months almost to the day when Dick left Curacou, he has started his final passage to New Zealand. Yesterday morning he, Steven and his friend Colin Warrick set off in a favourable weather window. I think Dean is doing some weather routing for them and we can all watch their progress by clicking on the link “Where is Van Kedisi?” InReach should show their positions as they move closer over the next 10 days or so to the Bay of Islands. At last I have some photos to post as well. I will post Dick’s messages via ham and in recent weeks, from gmail as at last he was able to use his Alcatel hub for WiFi aboard Van Kedisi.

Sept. 13~~Ham ( all ham until I state otherwise)

Hi everybody, Thanks for the messages. It has been, and continues to be, very frustrating getting a connection on the Ham radio. There is general consensus among the yachties that it is an atmospheric issue affecting the propagation and ability to send messages. My best connection is via Hawaii which is a couple of thousand miles away. So here is a combined message so if I connect maybe I can get one message out.

Rick, I have added your email address to the inReach. But I think anybody can follow the progress on Mapshare – Marian? Not that there has been much progress. We did a bit of a trip to other anchorages here in the Vavau group in Tonga. Nice enough, but maybe we have been spoiled already with the idyllic islands through the Tuamotus and elsewhere.

Back here in Neiafu I caught up with Eric, Lynn and the 2 dogs on “Amaryllis”. Eric is pondering the difficulties of taking the dogs and the boat back to Australia. Australia, unlike NZ, charges Australians the full import duties immediately on entry. David and Jean passed through here too. David left his boat on the hard here and went back to Aus to deal with his divorce. While he was here he organized a fund raiser for Sandy, who organizes everything here, to replace her dinghy and outboard that had been stolen. Also met up with Reiner and his 2 German mates who will help him on the leg to NZ. He wants your contact info in NZ, Rick, which I will pass along.

It is the 3rd world here. They have run out of petrol. They have diesel for a few weeks. It is not known when the tanker will come. The many whale watch outfits here drop tourists in the path of whales here to get underwater photos. And the folk who get photos say it is the most memorable thing they have ever done. However, the whale research folks we worked with in Niue were less than impressed with the Tonga whale “watching” operations. Apparently there are too many licenses issued but the cash grab is too enticing to all involved. Somebody is doing a PHd studying whether the active interaction is good or bad for the whales. It would be interesting to see how they draw conclusions from that! Ha ha, without petrol to power their outboards there will not be much whale watching going on.

We have decided to stay to watch the rugby tonight – NZ/Springboks, and then set off for Suva, Fiji, 460 mile away, on Sunday morning. The downside of this is that the breeze, which is now favourable, will be dying after a day or so. Ah well, what we will do to see the currently awesome All Blacks take on their arch opponent. Like most watchers last week, I thought Argentina were the next best team at half time, but they could not stick with the men in black in the 2nd half.

Lyle, thanks for the Blue Jays updates.
Brian, all the best for your adaptation to your new bovine heart valve – it is awesome what the medical system can do.
Jamie, Rick, all our fellow boat crews send their regards.

Marian, if you can send roach bait with Colin it would be appreciated (little bastards).

Time to wake up young Steven and send him up the hill to get a couple of jerry cans of diesel – may need it motoring part way to Suva!!


Sept. 17~~

We got underway at 0645. About 460 n.m. to Suva.
Great conditions right now – twin gennnies up doing 7 knots on course. Was sunny earlier but high overcast now. Single-hander Matt on “Tamata” within a mile of us also heading for Fiji. We chatted on the vhf. I even checked in with the net this morning and heard Russell and Jane on their way to Niue.

Steven says Colin will be in Vancouver about Oct 18 on his way to Fiji. His list, so far!, is Stugeron, hopefully roach bait and study stuff for Steven and duty free booze. If he could bring another container of Costco nuts that would be great. (I had to include this part~~cockroach bait, sea sickness meds and nuts/booze the important re-supply!)

I took stugeron last night and Steven took the last one a couple of hours ago. All well on Van Kedisi

Sept. 22~~Hi there,
We are safe and sound in Suva. It was an interesting passage. We got lucky near the end. The calm stopped and the wind went all the way around to the south-west, an almost unheard of direction, and blew hard enough to give us a good, if bumpy, end to the passage. We arrived at dawn, a 4 day passage. We were both well all the way and had a very enjoyable time. Motoring over the flat calm sea was nice – we even got to see a very clear green flash at sunset – first time for Steven. The Thai green curry mix with mahi mahi substituted for chicken was outstanding – and we can do it again! Waiting for check-in clearance at the Royal Suva Yacht Club – can take 2 hours or 2 days!


My Ham radio is not working as well as it was. I will poke around, but I have limited knowledge about a lot of it. The good news is that this morning I connected via an NZ station. Just understand that if you do not hear from me for a while that is the problem.

Feels like I am near the end of this odyssey. Next country to clear into will be NZ inshallah! I have an engineers’ lunch date on November 30 and Steven has LSATs on December 4. Wow – a schedule!

Oct. 1~~hello hello: I got up with the alarm at 0500, but it was 0525 by the time I had everything squared away and the anchor up. Enough of the lights in the harbour were working so I could safely find my way out. The lead lights for entering worked just as well for leaving. Kadavu and the Great Astrolobe Reef are east of south, not west as I had thought, so we were hard on the wind all day. Steven got up about 1300. No conditions to study while we were bouncing around. As we approached the north east end of the reef the seas smoothed out in the lee of the reef. The reef surrounds a number of little islands – a bit like the reef around Raiatea and Tahaa. Both the channel markers were missing where we passed through the reef from the outside to the inside. The charting was right on and with the chart plotter and the depth sounder it was all clear. We are anchored up behind one of the little islands. It looks like they are in the process of building a new dock. We will stay here 2 nights. Steven will study tomorrow and I will do boat work and go explore on land.

So heading south was a bit of a taster for the passage to NZ. Indeed, they call Kadavu “New Zealand lailai” – or little NZ. Gathering information for the trip south.  All well – Steven’s night to cook – cauliflower and potato curry. Pineapple for dessert. 4 fish dinners still in the freezer!

Oct. 2~~Second night here inside the Great Astrolabe Reef. Still anchored in the same place. My plan is to stay at least 2 nights wherever we stop so studies can proceed. The water is clear enough here, but not that incredible clarity we have had elsewhere. You could say i am getting a little jaded. You can only see so many incredible atolls and snorkel places! Tomorrow we move on, just a few miles, to a place that Ian from the Suva yacht club showed me on the chart. Supposed to be manta rays there all the time. We will see.


All well here – calmer than last night.

Oct. 3 (WiFi from now on)~~Hi there, we are at the island of Ono – still within the Great Astrolabe Reef. I had an excellent snorkel today at one of our stops, but no manta rays. We will spend a couple of nights here. Steven to study and me to work on a couple of boat issues. The starboard water pressure pump is acting up – well, not going at all. One of the 2 new ones I bought when we were in the Caribbean with Patti and Lyle.  (not Patti and Lyle; Cathy and Doug!) Ah well, keep me out of trouble. Steven a bit under the weather, sore throat. It will be good to get the roach bait and stop spraying poison around here. If we can get rid of the roaches for $C104 it will be money well spent. Surely getting an exterminator in NZ will be more. (I sourced a product made in Germany I had seen in some yachting articles online and was able to get it shipped from Ontario via Amazon)

We seem to be back in wifi range again.

The weather has improved. Nice and sunny from time to time. The little islands are picturesque. I talked to a Fijian in his boat today – while i was looking for manta rays. He suggested we go to his island and drink kava. We will see. Trev and Jan sent me an email suggesting another kava drinking family. ha ha

So all is well, except Bob McDavit warns of some wind event on the 9th in Fiji, so I will watch the weather closely and make sure we are somewhere protected for that. maybe after that we will do the 100 n.m. passage up to Musket Cove (Dick’s Place).

Oct. 7~~We are waiting for the weather here in Kadavu. We were to have left at 1400, but have decided not to. There is a lot of uncertainty about tropical depressions forming around Fiji and Tonga. So rather than sail into uncertainty and the possibility of 35 kn winds in Musket Cove we will stay here until things settle down. It is raining. There is good wind for us today and tomorrow, but the possibility of shitty weather on arrival will keep us here. The down side is there is not great wind after this and we may be rushing to get to Nadi by the 20th. So it goes.We have company – a couple of boats that we met in Suva – “Sundowner II” from Edmonton and “Sequoia” from California. Also waiting out whatever is happening.

Oct. 10~~The “weather event” is with us – wind howling, It was blowing into the bay from the north east to start and had us bouncing around. Now it has swung around to the south west which is much better for us – no motion, just a lot of wind. It rained all day. Steven went in to the store in the rain – I posted a couple of photos on Face Book just for kicks. We managed to get the last few innings of the baseball game on the live streaming site so that was great. Go Blue jays! We are anchored in 8m and we believe it is a mud bottom – held really strong when we pulled on it. We have a bit over 60m chain out. Probably stay awake a lot tonight.

Oct.11~~Two more boats joined the 3 of us who have been here the last few days. A 57ft Jeanneau and a 48 year old 65 ft Sparkman and Stevens aluminum ketch called “Rewa” with just one old guy, David, on board. We had a great happy hour on “Rewa”. There have still been occasional winds up to 30 kn and Steven went out for a pee at midnight and here was “Rewa” dragging anchor quickly between us and the Jeanneau. He was just clear of both of us. I was still up too and we used flashlights and the foghorns to wake up David who got control of his boat and re-anchored. We kept watch for a while, but things settled down, and he had re-anchored not upwind of us.

There is some sun this morning. The dinghy outboard is playing up a bit – only runs with the choke – carburetor cleaning looks like it is on the agenda today. it is a good work location for Steven here.

Oct. 12~~Did boat checking and rig maintenance today. Now making water and baking bread. Steven ashore for a ramble.

Oct. 14~~

Attached are a couple of photos of the tournament here on the island of Kadavu, about 100 n.m. south of the main island of Viti Levu.

The village here, Kavala Bay, has one store. There are no roads or cars. No electrical distribution. However, there is a tower on the hill and absolutely excellent wifi courtesy of Vodafone – who, unsurprisingly, were the tournament sponsors. 24 teams! The primary school boasts the only full size rugby field around. The tournament was hugely entertaining – hard ground, hard hits, enthusiastic support for the local teams, yellow cards, red cards – mainly for hard high tackles – but no argument offered to the ref. Excellent. No wonder the Fijians earned the 7s olympic gold medal. And should continue to dominate – the store is 10 minutes walk from the village, the school 15 minutes walk the other way – and everybody walks everywhere. Except the little kids – they all run everywhere. Steven and I were the only honkies. Tomorrow, after the Blue Jays game, we head back north to pick up Colin, 3rd crew member for the passage to NZ.

Oct. 16~~Safely through the Navula Passage at 0600. Timed perfectly – daylight shut down the lead lights when I was almost through – perfect. Now sailing in flat water towards Dick’s Place which is about 10 mils away. Time to make breakfast – Steven sleeping.

Oct. 16~~Dick’s Place. Ha ha – it looks a little different.
There are mooring balls and about 30 boats here. When you and I were here 36 years ago I think there was one boat anchored out here – but, it was the hurricane season when we were here. Got in at 0900. Getting organized to go ashore and checkout the groceries situation – and maybe a restaurant meal!

Back in early 1980 Dick and I went to Fiji on the way home from NZ. We had two weeks and found an ad for a little island off the coast with 8 small huts, a restaurant and general store. After a terrifying speed boat ride over rolling seas with no lifejackets in which we were totally soaked, we arrived Dick’s Place. Back then it was a delightful little spot and we had one of the best weeks ever on a South Pacific Island.



Oct. 17~~Overcast day today, lots of rain this morning.
Watching the Blue jays on the vipbox streaming site. Down 2 – 1 at the
middle of the 5th inning. Still at Musket Cove – will head over to the other side for Colin tomorrow

Oct. 18~~Just motoring away from Dick’s Place now. Heading for Port Denarau which is just south of Nadi. Have relayed the bus instructions to Colin.We got them last night from a US couple who have been here for a few years.mainly overcast here, no wind to speak of. Heard one boat on the net this morning heading for NZ. Starting to focus on that now.



Oct. 20~~I have been living with a small leak in the hydraulic steering system. I believe it is at the seal in the hydraulic steering cylinder, located just behind the Princess suite. I have been dealing with it by simply topping up the hydraulic fluid. I was planning on fixing it in NZ. However, it has become worse so I have to fix it now. Andy and I replaced the seals in 2009. I have a complete spare cylinder. I have booked a berth at Denarau Marina for Saturday night so we will be somewhere secure to remove and replace the cylinder. It means draining the system and refilling it with hydraulic steering fluid and bleeding out all the air. We have also been getting the occasional message on the autopilot that the “drive motor stalled” and stuff like that. I also have a complete new spare drive motor, so my plan had been to get that installed too when I got to NZ. However, in view of the fact that we are draining and refilling the system, and getting these funny messages, I am thinking we will replace the motor here too. It has been working for 20 years! So wish us luck. We will have a week or so to make sure there are no bugs (uh oh, we have other bugs!) in the system before heading to NZ.

Listening to Gulf Harbour Radio on the HF. I will check in with them when we leave and take part of the sched every morning. Have not been able to hook up for email on the Ham for a few days which is a bit worrying as I need to get the GRIB files and routing info from Dean. Hopefully that is just a glitch in propagation at present. I will clean the antenna connection at the backstay and persevere to connect at other times of the day.

Winds mainly from the south at present. On the 29th there is pretty good wind all the way to NZ. However, it does keep changing. The weather for this trip is unlike any that we have dealt with – possibly a bit like the Agean when Dean and I crashed into it for 4 days – but there we got to anchor at night. We will look for a good window – we have time.

Nice sunny day today here at Dick’s Place. We will head back to the anchorage at Port Denarau this afternoon and tomorrow morning Steven will take the dinghy in to get Colin – unless we can get early entry to the berth already.

Oct. 21~~

Steven on dinner duty tonight – thai curry with the last of the mahi mahi. We are in the part to the marina that has the huge super yachts. “Dragonfly”, the monster super yacht powerboat that we saw in Papeete was here yesterday. According to our buddy David on “Rewa” it is owned by the Google guy, whoever he is, and the boat rents for $500,000 per week – plus gas!

Wish us luck that everything works on the autopilot test tomorrow!!

Oct. 22~~Watched the 2nd half of the All Blacks game – NZ on daylight saving time that I had not factored in. No worries, all the action was toward the end – a record victory for these All Blacks.

Boys still out checking out tourist town here.

This came in from Rick Lane who was wonderful crew from Panama to Moorea.

What a great game and of course result. The Aussie coach has had a wee meltdown on TV which has amazed the NZ public. The irony is – the clown depiction of him was done by an Australian cartoonist! Have found these on camera and now on a quest to discover how to down load some from my phone.

Best wishes, Rick (Photos below credit to Rick.) Later I promise to caption these but this is all taking too long today!

Oct. 23~~I got the boys up at 0630 and we made our way north to Lautoka. I had 5 things on my list and thought they would take a long time but I got them all done by 1310 which was when the customs closed for lunch. Got Colin added to the crew list. The boys did the provisioning and then after chilli chicken lunch at an Indian joint we did “top up” shopping. Then off to the anchorage nearby. Looking back at Lautoka we realized that we forgot to pick up the roast chicken for dinner – so the boys are off on a venture to try to get the dinghy close to downtown instead of the long way via the port. Good luck.
With all the moving Steven has not really had the opportunity for LSAT but maybe tomorrow as we head for the Yasawas there will be a chance.

I plan for just a few days in the balls Yasawas and then back down to Musket Cove where we will pick our time to go to NZ. Weather very nice right now. Swelly anchorages but hopefully we will find some calm anchorages in the Yasawas.

I managed to connect to NZ on the Ham on 7 MHz last night so that was encouraging. I got an email from Trevor and Jan listing the nets they are currently listening to. I was already listening to Gulf Harbour Radio from NZ where David talks about the weather and Patricia takes position reports. I will report to them on passage too. And maybe to Poly Mag net as well. I heard Stuart from “Time Bandit” on the net this morning and it sounds like he is enroute from Tonga to NZ already.

Oct. 24~~We are heading north with the motor, will anchor in less than an hour. Should show up on the website.
We need to use the kava the boys bought – sure you can’t take it into NZ!
All well. Ham radio still intermittent – hoping it gets better as we approach NZ as the shore station is in Porirua – where Pengellys are by chance.

Oct. 24~~For Dean but I thought it was interesting!

Hi Dean,

Departure is sort of imminent.

I have been playing around on the windyty website. If you go to “tools” and “distance measurement & planning” you can put in waypoints. If you go to the vk website:

you can get the VK’s position (where is VK).

if you were so inspired, you could plot the VK position on a daily basis, and look at the upcoming weather for the next few days. On the menu at the bottom right, there are 2 formats you can select: GFS or ECMWF. ECMWF gives a 6 day forecast, GFS gives 10 days.

The general routing idea from Jimmy Cornell is to head a bit west of south until we get to the longitude of the northern tip of NZ. That way we use the SE wind to blow us a bit west, and then the winds with a westerly component near NZ bring us back.

The ham reception has been intermittent. So best if you can send routing information to both the Ham address and the Inreach. Basically what we are looking for is how far west to go, whether to go east or west if we encounter head winds.

I had been looking to leave later, but it does not look great to wait until the 1st, and if we wait beyond that until say the 5th, who knows if maybe we have to wait many more days.

All our buddies are in motion, 15 boats leaving from Tonga tomorrow (although the wind looks from the south to me…)

We are back at Dick’s Place. Got here just in time to refuel before they closed at 1700. Would not have been a big deal if we had missed – open at 0800 tomorrow. However, We plan to be off at 0600, so that is all good.

Boys are ashore hopefully spending the last remnants of Fiji dollars – hopefully that the store is still open.
We will go ashore for dinner tonight.

We have nearly made our way through the mountain of supplies i got in Panama. Main thing we have a lot of is flour and lentils. Fortunately they go together! Fresh bread and lentil soup every other lunch. (I bet everyone will look forward to a different soup!)

Oct. 26~~We are off to NZ. Looks good. We are through the pass and making 5.5 kn close hauled in the right direction.

Because this has taken so long I am going to post the photos together so they may appear a little small. However I do am off on some passages Sat. with Elaine and Ted Keating and Suzanne Woeller. Our first ferry is under 2 hours long~~Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo then a 4.5 hour drive to Port Hardy where we board another ferry which departs at 6 PM, arriving Prince Rupert the next day at 4 PM. If that all goes well, we take the same ferry overnight from Prince Rupert to Skidegate on Haida Gwaii to start our 9 day adventure.


VK now in Tonga

Soon after my last post on August 23, Dick sent another word document with his latest tales. Sadly there are no new photos so you have to use your imagination or google. 

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

July 24, 2016

Distance to New Zealand: 3,313 n.m.

Distance sailed to date: 6,160 n.m 

Rick left from Bora Bora – to NZ to plant his garlics. Thanks for all the help, Rick.

I got Rick’s dish duty.

Steven drew the cooking lot.

Bora Bora is a spectacular island. There must have been a “big bang” to form those jagged peaks. We semi-circumnavigated, inside the reef, in a couple of hours. It is reported to have 2,500 of those cute frond covered resort shacks over the water that must inspire holidays that have honeymoon type agendas. We snorkeled with the resident rays and black-tipped reef sharks, both with their retinue of remora. Although it is very touristy and manicured the ambience was great and the anchorages and mooring buoys made for an easy life – with the luxury of wifi at the Yacht Club.

Aitutaki, Cook Islands

August 4, 2016

We had been waiting for the right conditions to allow us to negotiate the difficult pass to (and from) the island of Maupiti. However, with the approaching expiry of our 90 day visa for French Polynesia and our appointment in Niue we abandoned the idea of going to Maupiti and made the passage to Aitutaki in the Cook Islands. The first 2 days with trade wind conditions were great, but the next 2 days we motor sailed with a light northerly. On our approach to Aitutaki in the late afternoon the wind clocked around until it was on the nose at 27 knots and combined with an untimely rain squall to limit our visibility. As we were considering our position and our options which included anchoring off what was now a lee shore, stooging around until morning or negotiating the channel in the dark, we noticed half a dozen small outboard powered boats outside the reef! What the heck – turns out they were locals participating in a fishing competition. Encouraged that we were not alone out there, we found the lights to the channel and followed them gratefully to the little harbour where we tied up to the dock. The channel was blasted out of the coral by the US military during WW2. It is only 40ft wide, 3/4 mile long with a reported minimum depth of 1.9m. It is silting up, getting shallower, and as a consequence fewer monohulls are visiting. We were met by the agriculture official who took all our fresh fruit and vegetables.

Aitutaki is lovely!

Very reminiscent of Fakarava in the Tuamotus. Happy, laid back.

English is the language – along with a local language, Cook Island Maori.

Currency is $NZ, with beautiful Cook Island coins.

There are no dogs.

Steven counted at least 10 churches for the 1,700 residents.

The biggest issue appeared to be “No flights on Sundays” according to all the billboards.

There was a bank robbery a few years ago. The safe was not operational, so the bank was keeping the money in a visible locked refrigerator! The suspected out-of-town robbers escaped to sea.

According to Kiwi Greg, the island’s only export down the channel to the freighter is crushed aluminum cans.

Milestone: Maupiti, French Polynesia is half-way around the world from Cokertme, Turkey, where we started three years ago.

Palmerston Atoll, Cook Islands

August 10, 2016 

The 2 day downwind passage to idyllic Palmerston Atoll was notable for the complete absence of life in the ocean – not a bird, fish or mammal was seen.

At Palmerston we were met in the early morning by Bob Marsters and son Andrew who helped us tie up to one of their moorings just outside the reef. Listen to this from “Charlie’s Charts”:

“The Island’s inhabitants have a unique history. They are the descendants of a patriarchal figure, William Marsters, a Lancashire sea captain who settled here with three Penrhyn Island wives in 1862. He fathered 26 children, divided the islands and reefs into sections for each of the three “families” and established strict rules regarding intermarriage. In 2009 the island had a population of about 50 inhabitants including 23 children, all of which are descended from “Father” Marsters. The island “government” is run by Tere Marsters and his wife Yvonne and employs fifteen people (half of the adult population.”

Bob and his family, including irrepressible 4-year old grandson Henry, were our delightful hosts. We were given a tour of the island, the electrical distribution from solar panels, Captain Marsters’ old house and grave, chatted with various people about the school, logistics, government, etc and were spoiled with fabulous fish lunches. The main export is frozen parrot fish fillets to restaurants and hotels in Rarotonga. The wonderful hospitality was such that we stayed an extra lazy day and cancelled Beveridge Reef from our itinerary. We even watched a bit of olympics 7s rugby.


August 24, 2016

Niue, an independent nation with close ties to New Zealand is a limestone rock with a close fringing reef. The only place for cruising yachts is the mooring field at the Alofi town centre off the west coast, managed by the Niue Yacht Club. The population has dwindled in recent years from 5,000 to about 1,400. Some blame is given to the cyclone that demolished many of the buildings 10 years ago.

My sister Claire joined us here. Along with “Villomee” we had volunteered our boats for a couple of weeks to assist with a Whale Research program from New Zealand. We provided the platform for researchers and students on the lookout for humpback whales returning from summer in Antarctica to breed here. The males all sing the same song which we listened to on hydrophones. The guide from French Polynesia reads: “Songs of the humpback males can last more than 20 hours, and can be heard more than 200 km away”. We saw many “flukings” and “breaches.” One evening a humpback as long as our boat cruised slowly past the port side, all lit up with phosphorescence, glowing in the moonlight, he rolled over and seemed to wave a flipper at us. Fabulous.

At the Rio olympics Fiji won the gold medal for the men’s Sevens Rugby. I understand there was a day off in celebration on their return – the first olympic gold medal for Pacifica. Good for Fiji!



Distance to New Zealand: 1,941 n.m.

Distance sailed to date: 7,339 n.m.

As usual I will add messages mainly from ham radio since then. I think there is some crossover from his document but so be it!

August 23~~We all went to the Yacht Club for the hash at 1700! There were 4 participants! and we split into the “flat” walk and the “hill” walk. Steven and I did the hill and ran back. However, the traditional beer and chips after the run were a lot of fun with the locals. They were encouraged by our attendance and plan to take us to a different trail next Monday. Ha ha. Our dance card is filling up here. Tomorrow, Wednesday, is Trivia night at the Coral Gardens followed by a talk by the Whale Research folks. Thursday night is Claire’s farewell fish dinner. Friday night is rugby again. Getting rushed off our feet – just as well nothing happens on Sunday – well, except the Washaway Bar has Sunday lunch which is fun. Then back to the hash on Monday. It is raining today and they canceled whale watching for the school kids. We had school kids yesterday. They have an oversupply of volunteer boats like us. Of course, everybody wants to go look for whales – especially if they are paying moorage and fuel! Speaking of fuel, I found the problem with the port engine fuel supply and fixed it. It was just a damaged washer but there were a lot of things to eliminate before I got there. Seems standard, diagnosis takes longer than the fix. Nice to have that resolved.

A couple of nights ago there were two whales cruising through the mooring field. In the moonlight, one whale came close by the port side of “Van Kedisi. Just under the surface we could see him clearly as he slowly cruised by. He even rolled over and seemed to wave a flipper at us. With the phosphorescence in the water, and the extreme clarity of the water here, we could see him clearly in the moonlight. Wonderful.

August 25~~We are out looking for whales this Thursday morning and we have school kids with us again – a few of them asleep! It has been a slow morning but there was some excitement with a new born, just 2 days old, “breaching” (jumping out of the water). I am baking a raisin loaf from a recipe I got from Jan. It is not firming up, but I am sure we will get there!

We won the trivia last night – tied with our 3 buddies from the Niue Hash! There was a fund raising sausage sizzle along with the Whale presentation after the trivia.

Nice day out here – the weather is cooperating better than it was. There were some uncomfortable nights for the monohulls.

August 26~~Rugby tonight again – I almost feel sorry for the Aussies, their game seemingly in decline and the All Blacks so ruthless these days. There is huge NZ support here as they all qualify for NZ passports, which also gets them to Australia. An elderly couple picked us up on the way to the airport and they had worked in NZ for 27 years in the cleaning business. They are able to live here now as NZ recently made it possible for people such as them to get the pension and live here. Nice. Everybody here is super-friendly, like Fakarava, and everybody says “Hello” or gives a hand wave if they are driving.

There was a bit of a gap due to ham radio problems so no real info on the passage to Tonga other than it was rough and both Dick and Steven did not feel well!

September 3~~We are here in Tonga and nicely anchored in dead calm water with about 15 other boats including “Villomee” and “Out of the bag”. Dinner not quite so exciting. Not much fresh stuff as the Tongans will take it. A limp lettuce, but, bright spot, sausages from NZ! While I was “down” yesterday the fridges got left off for about 18 hours so that did not help the lettuce or the left over stew. Oh well, at least the papaya was perfect and we have more than enough food.

Unfortunately, we are losing (have lost?) the battle with the F**king cockroaches. There were a very few on board when you and Suzanne were with us – did you see any? – but now they are all over. The passage we just finished seems to have brought them out and we just did a major roundup and killing. grrrr. We got some bait in Aitutaki and for a while it seemed we were winning – dead cockroaches – but now they seem to have developed immunity already. Thinking about fumigation here or in Fiji.

September 5~~

We have now checked in and we are now on a mooring buoy in Neiafu, the main town here in Vavau. Check-in not too expensive – Local $122. Local dollar about .65 $US.
We partied hearty Villomee and “Out of the bag” last night. OOB were to have left today for Musket Cove but wisely decided to wait another day. We will be following in a week.
Overcast and cooler here today. Got some stuff from the market – tomatoes for the first time in months. I may go over to Villomee for a hair of the dog – they are entertaining Kiwi friends on their boats here from NZ. Nearly home for them!


Still September 5~~We have moved back to Port Maurelle, which is not a port at all – just a nice anchorage. We picked up more stuff from the market and had veg. wraps for lunch with fried peppers and onions and cheese. Nice. At the moment we plan to leave for Fiji on Saturday night after the rugby. Nip and tuck to get there in time for the start of the regatta. We will see – watching the weather.

Tonga is 3rd worldly. It has never been a colony – so, as Steven the historian says, no 1st world power with guilt to pay for infrastructure. People seem nice – the customs guy looked at me when I mentioned Malikai Fekitoa, current Tongan All Black – and said he played with Malikai. Ha ha – trading on my All Black cap again.

September 6~~

We are back at Port Maurelle. Steven and i did a one hour walk/run on the island. Felt good. I feel like we are in a bit of a holding pattern here. Basically not going to see much of Tonga unless we axe the Regatta. We will probably go in the local race here on Friday on Villomee, probably check out on Friday too. Then watch the All Blacks on Saturday night then leave directly for Suva. About 450 miles and with the forecast strong SE trade we should get there Tuesday night, Wed checkin 14th, get going, one night enroute and arrive on the 15th the day of the start of the regatta. That is how it looks today!

September 7~~

One of the sailing books talks about the dateline crossing into Tonga where you go from UTC-11 to UTC+13 = skip one day ahead – and too bad if it is your birthday!

Steven and I constructed our route to Suva through the little islands using the best passes as per Jimmy Cornell and Trev and Jan. Looks pretty straightforward, just a question of when.

There were lots of pigs on our run yesterday which took us to a village. Trev and Jan say it is quite corrupt here. There was some major disaster here a few years back where the Govt had hired the wrong boat, probably money under the table, and the boat sank with the loss of all on board.

I have an egg on my right elbow. Whacked it on something a couple of weeks ago. Must have broken the fluid sack. I plan to get it looked at in Fiji.

ONe of the boats that checks in on the net, “Listowell Lady” is 47 miles from Niue with no steering. Their temporary system does not work and there is a leak in the hydraulic system for the main steering. Interesting listening to all the proposed remedies. It seems that cooking oil can be used as a substitute. There is another boat close behind them.

September 8~~We have pretty much decided that we will miss the Musket Cove regatta. Weather and timing not really conducive. So probably we will spend another week or so here and get to Suva, and spend a few days there. Get my elbow looked at and maybe get our teeth cleaned! “Out of the bag” reported on the net this morning they are happily in Suva harbour. They will proceed to the regatta – they plan to race their speedy boat there. Rained last night but not enough to get me out of bed to catch water. I think there is another opportunity coming up at the end of the week.

September 13~~

When we get to Whangarei, planned for some time in mid-November, but weather dependent, it will be necessary for me and Steven to vacate the boat while huge doses of chemicals are infused to kill each and every one of these little cockroach bastards. There is absolutely not one single Buddhist thought given to the possibility that one of them may have been my grandfather. Sorry about that Razzu says Marian! Claire, please keep your feelers out for the cockroach equivalent of the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Other than that, all is well. We watched the All Blacks at a bar in Neiafu, Tonga, but unfortunately the feed crapped out at half time. At that point, I was of the opinion that Argentina were doing better than the Wallabies and the Springboks, but in the second half the Argentineans must have run out of gas and the All Blacks just piled it on. We are scheduled to watch the (hopeful) demolition of the Springboks on Saturday and then set sail for Fiji.

We seem to have fixed the port engine fuel problem. I thought we had fixed the wind instrument too, but it has gone back to its wayward ways. It seems to give accurate speed information, but not direction. Still, that is more than Cook, Hiscock or the Maori canoes had!

And that is all folks! I hope you all enjoy Dick’s messages from afar. It is sometimes hard to believe how far he has sailed since July, 2013 when he and Dean left Bodrum, Turkey. Kath Stewart’s parents left Vancouver last Friday on a cruise ship and are approaching Japan today! Yikes what a difference!


Still in the South Pacific…


VK taken by Dick high up the mast

Almost another month has gone by since the last post and it is still most certainly summer here in Vancouver with the current heat wave only broken briefly. NASA has now stated that this is the hottest year on record round the world. Floods and heat waves causing thousands of deaths and on we go. It was encouraging to see live coral when I was in the Society Islands but I also saw bleached and dead coral.

It seems eons ago that Suzanne and I were on VK though it is only a few weeks. Dick did refer to our time there in his epistle of the last post. But I have to add a few words. We were treated like royalty by Rick and Dick. The boat was spotless, well provisioned and we were to discover that dish washing was off limits as Rick had total control of that part of life aboard. Who were we to complain? Dick cooked for us too though we did get into the galley eventually to at least try to do our bit.

As Dick said, the Puddle Jumpers Rendezvous from Papeete to Moorea, was excellent. We  enjoyed meeting the other sailors, hearing about some of the many adventures as they crossed from Panama to Tahiti. From piracy to trivial pursuit visa ham radio (VK won the most times!) to potlucks and boat problems, it was great to hear first hand how the crossing was for these adventurers. From canoe races to French Polynesian dancers (back in Cook’s days, men jumped ship to stay with women~~I may well have jumped ship myself if I had been part of a women’s crew back then) to the hospitality of the local people, it was a wonderful weekend.

We spent a couple more days on Moorea, then set off for an overnight passage to Huahine which Dick referred to as bumpy. I had not anticipated that for some reason and Suzanne and I were all prepared to share night watches with Dick and Rick. Apparently the Milky Way was spectacular that night too and Suzanne and I did glimpse it but with mal de mer hitting us hard, we did not really appreciate it. But Dick and Rick got us to Huahine while we missed our watches and we woke to sunrise as we entered the atoll. The next days were spent on Huahine, Tahaa  and Raiteaa and every single one seemed to be better than the last. We rarely stepped foot on land and spent our days snorkelling, reading, eating and just plain enjoying our surroundings. Suzanne and I got trapped in coral a couple of times and on both occasions, we could stand up in the shallow water. I know that sounds crazy but the second time was actually a bit scary as it took us an hour to escape as it was impossible to “walk” out with fins on. Suzanne imagined drowning in a foot of water in a coral reef~~interesting headlines I suppose but to be honest the wonders of the reef aquariums we encountered were well worth it. Our snorkel dinghy drifts that Dick treated us to on on the passes coming into Tahaa were the first for both us of and though Dick said nothing came close to their drifts in the Tua Motos, we considered ourselves lucky to see the coral gardens far below in perfectly clear aquamarine water.

Needless to say, we were happy to have made the journey and I can safely say that I have never been in such an amazing sailing area~~very few boats compared to the Med and the Caribbean and of course it makes sense as it is long way from anywhere! There are charter fleets and we were in high season but it was never crowded and we even had places to ourselves on occasion.

On to the VK adventures after our departure. Dick, Rick and Steven carried on to Bora Bora where Rick departed for NZ, having been a valuable and entertaining crew member for many months, starting in Panama. Back to the cold winter of NZ, he visited a doctor for the rib pain he had had since before our arrival, having fallen against the bulkhead and entryway while doing some boat work. I asked him at one point why he did not see a doctor since he had good medical insurance. He said “the doctor might tell me to go home!” Once back in NZ when he finally visited his doctor, it turned out that indeed he did have cracked ribs! These ocean going sailors are truly a tough breed!

Rick stayed for Dick’s 70th birthday and they chose that day to cross from Raiteaa to Bora Bora. But they did celebrate the night before aboard Miss Catana, a boat that that had been one of the 3 boats who together went through part of the Panama Canal months earlier.

Here are a few excerpts from Dick’s ham messages~~still little WiFi.

July 19~~Hi there

We had a nice downwind sail over here to Bora Bora. There were other boats making the passage. we got here about 1400. Steven slept most of the way – sleep deficit after our social time on the town dock at Uturoa. Rick and I both slept after we got here. It is 2300 and we just finished watching a Star Trek movie. We are anchored in 2 m water depth, white sand. With the full moon and no cloud it is like daylight outside with the glow from the white sand under the water. Cool. We have a few boat jobs to do – the sea water pump at the galley and checking the screws again on the genoa foil. Miss Catana was refused entry to Palmerston Atoll, Cook islands, so Moreeta is seeing what that is all about. I will go and try to get internet tomorrow so I can check if they refuse us too. Not sure what they would do if we go there anyway.

Bora Bora looks very cool place to hang out. We may be here a while if Palmerston Atoll is a no go. That would mean a non-stop trip from Maupiti, next door, all the way to Niue. Maybe stop at Beveridge reef, just before Niue. Funny, our planned trip is getting more and more like what Jan on Villomee figured out.

July 21~Am happily reading “Galileo’s daughter”. Great book. Mainly her letters to him – as his letters to her have not survived. Fascinating story and insight to the life and times in Italy during that period. Plague, Inquisition and all.
As you will have gathered from my other messages we have to deal with the starboard saildrive anode before moving on. Not a problem as we are in the right place to deal with it and it is a few days until Rick leaves.
It was inclement weather today with heavy rain.
The bommies nearby have interesting fish – there is a rumour there are rays and sharks nearby.
Bora Bora is quite impressive – The “Spirit Wind” and the “Paul Gauguin” are both here – probably a good time to avoid going ashore!

July 25~~We did as much of the circumnavigation of Bora Bora as can be done, only takes a couple of easy hours, and we now have returned to the shallow ray feeding area that is also populated with black tipped reef sharks – it is quite unique – just one area that must have the right depth and temperature and sand for the feeding ground for the rays. Must have been 20 or 30 rays, maybe half a dozen sharks. Nice swim. And we got to lift the anchor chain off a bommie. All well. Miss Catana anchored just behind us – by chance – have not spoken with them yet. We plan to provision tomorrow, get one can of diesel, check out and head for Maupiti on Wednesday morning. We plan to spend tomorrow night, Tuesday, back at the yacht club where there is wifi.

The weather has been mainly sunny which has been a nice change. There are the occasional rain squalls which help with the tanks. I believe we have seen the 2,500 shagging shacks over the water, and lots of Seados. (We heard when we were on VK that Bora Bora has 2500 hotel huts over the water all surrounding the lagoon.)

Back in the real world we understand that Trump is in command! and the oil price had rebounded from less that 30 to something like 45, and SNC Lavalin shares have risen from the 40 where they were malingering to 55. So somebody out there is optimistic that the bottom is not about to fall out of the world…..

Steven is our cook – i am the cleanup man. All well so far!

July 27~~Today (Wed 7/27) is the day Steven I had planned to sail from Bora Bora to Maupiti – tide right, wave height right. But Bob Mcdavit’s weathergram with its trough, etc has made me wait a day – and maybe a week. It is raining. I am a mass of indecision!!


Voyage Outlooks:
Tahiti to the west
It should be a reasonably quiet and dry weak in Tahiti this week – but may be
more unsettled with a passing trough on local Fri 29 July to Tue 2 Aug, so try
and depart before then.
An active trough with squalls and followed by strong SE winds is expected to
affect Tonga around Mon 1 to Thu 4 Aug. Avoid.

July 28~~Ha ha – waiting for a weather window to move on. I think I missed an opportunity yesterday, but I did not like the look of the weather ahead if we had trouble negotiating the pass at Maupiti and had to carry on to Aitutaki.

Ha ha – waiting for a weather window to move on. I think I missed an opportunity yesterday, but I did not like the look of the weather ahead if we had trouble negotiating the pass at Maupiti and had to carry on to Aitutaki. We kept hearing while that Maupiti, the farthest west of the Society Islands is wonderful but needs a weather window to enter through the one pass and once in, boats can be trapped for days or even weeks waiting to get out.) So we are at the very nice anchorage in Bora Bora on the west side of Toopua island where there is snorkeling nearby, and rays/sharks not too far away either.

There is a social group here too. Gary and Moreeta on “Miss Catana” are here with their repaired rudder bearings after hitting a bommie. Steven’s new buddy Riley on “Vagabonde” is here – he and his girlfriend make sailing videos on Youtube and get some reimbursement for it from some company.  “Blue Heeler” who we last saw in Moorea with Suzanne’s friend Teagan on board is also here – we had sundowners with them last night.

We will not see Stuart and Anne on “Time Bandit” again until NZ. “Villomee” we will see in Niue, if not before. No information on Russell and Jane.

Looking ahead on the grib’s and the tide front I see our next opportunity for Maupiti on the early morning of Sunday, 07/31, where the wind and wave forecast is good and we can arrive at high tide in the morning. We will keep updating the weather forecast with that in mind. “Miss Catana” is also looking at moving, probably on Saturday, so we are sharing weather information. They have a “predict wind” program that they get satellite information for.

Passing clouds most of the time, but occasionally completely sunny. The starboard propeller anode got loose again so I took the prop off again and Steven and I put in new fastening screws and tightened them up really well. We do not anticipate any further problem there. The anode for the fridge is looking a bit tired but we think it will last. I have a replacement for it but it is something better done when the boat is out of the water. We have some minor provisioning to do. I discovered that the dish washing liquid that Rick said was “weak as piss” is actually for dish washing machines! Jamie and I bought about several large containers of it in Panama when we did the major provisioning. No wonder it did not work very well! We still have 3 left.

So we are at the very nice anchorage in Bora Bora on the west side of Toopua island where there is snorkeling nearby, and rays/sharks not too far away either.


July 30~~We tried for wifi yesterday at the Yacht Club but it was not working. This morning after looking at the latest gribs I gave up trying to get to Maupiti. Too difficult getting the wind, waves and tide right to get in and get out again – and we have an appointment in Niue on the 16th. No worries. There is not really enough wind out here but at 1300 we are getting along OK with the full trade wind rig up in 10 to 14 knots of breeze and a southerly swell. Steven has been sleeping since we left. Aitutaki is 480 n.m. on a course of 252. I can see Maupiti off to the north and Bora Bora is fading into the distance. It is partly sunny. The wind is forecast to disappear in 4 days so I am anxious to get there before that happens. Bora Bora was lovely. I went for a good run yesterday from the Yacht Club, and then we went back to the favourite anchorage near the entrance. It is a very small island. It is not possible to do a complete circumnavigation, but the 3/4 circumnav only takes about an hour and a half. 1540 – doing 7 knots in 20 knots breeze – will take in the 2nd genny at knightfall

All well – good to be moving again!

August 1~~The wind has gone lighter and may get a bit more difficult as we move along here. We were doing so well that we thought we may get there in 3 nights but now it does not look like that will happen. Sea state has settled down with the lower wind speed. We have all 4 “trade wind” sails up. This is a 480 n.m. passage and we have 228 to go. It is 0200 on Monday morning.

We had a nice time with Ruth and Carl on “Blue Heeler” – the boat Suzanne’s friend Teagan was on.

Mal de mer seems to be under control for both of us, but we have yet to have a happy hour drink! I’ll make bread today – use some of my mountain of flour.

We have seen lights of a couple of boats on this passage – nobody going our way though. Not much spare time with just the two of us. Keep watch, eat and sleep!

0640 – sunrise, clouds and pink tinge, raining earlier. Wind instrument not giving proper information, a few knots of wind behind and still doing about 5 knots toward Aitutaki.

All well on board VK

August 2~~0300, watch change.
We have been motor sailing in 5 to 8 knots of breeze for most of the past day and night. We are trying to get to Aitutaki before nightfall tonight. Nice and calm out here – we had a feast for dinner, bean soup with rice, lamb chops, onions and cole slaw. Lunch was not bad either with tuna salad, brie and fresh baked bread. No sign of mal-de-mer, even a happy hour drink. We recalibrated the wind instrument and it seems to be functioning fine again.

The Paul Gauguin, 500 ft passenger ship, all lit up, passed close by in the night.

Oh, and good news, the parts you brought for the sea water foot pump at the galley worked – Rick got it working before he left.

August 2~~Well, here we are safely tied up to the dock in Aitutaki at 1930. We pushed it for the last day and a half to make it here tonight and not spend a night at sea stooging around waiting for daylight. The wind was against us at the end and we had to push with both engines. There was a rain squall just at dusk. We ended up navigating the narrow channel in the dark. We only hit the bottom once.

August 3~~

Hi folks,

Happily at anchor with 2 lines to palm trees in downtown Aitutaki.
Even better, NZ Greg who spends NZ winter here will give us a ride to the Boatshed Bar and Grill to watch the super rugby final on Friday night.

We plan to move on to Palmerston Atoll on Saturday, weather permitting of course, then Beveridge Reef and on to Niue by Auwg 15 for the Whaleology thing.

For anybody following, the passage to Aitutaki was interesting, especially as we arrived at dusk with a rain squall and 27 knots on the nose. The passage is accurately shown on Navioinics – 80 ft out on OpenCPN. There is a “gate” with red and green lights and purple lead lights on 146 degrees. The channel is only 40 ft wide and the vessel draft limit according to the local customs guy is 1.9m at high tide. we followed the posts on the north side of the channel with red lights to port until the last 2 at the harbour where we made a dogleg left leaving the last 2 markers to starboard. The channel is silting up – if you hit the bottom at least it is sand. The official said that due to the silting they are getting less boats – only 15 so far this year and 50 5 years ago. The anchorage is very restricted, but we did ok. Now in a great spot.

The agricultural inspector took all our fruit and veg as soon as we arrived, and there are various fees – probably add up to $NZ150 or so. Very nice and laid back here – geography and ambience a lot like Tuamotus.

August 6~~We plan to be off down the channel at 1800 tonight. The plan is to arrive at Palmerston Atoll on Monday morning – after 2 nights and one day at sea. We looked at 2 days and one night, but that would have us arriving at dusk.

We went to the Boat Shed with Kiwi Greg last night and watched the NZ Hurricanes win the Super Rugby. Lazy day today, getting ready. Went for a longish walk and shortish jog with Steven. Chickens everywhere and no dogs allowed on the island. Greg has 3 cats which we saw last night at Happy Hour. Greg said Niue population dropped from 4,000 to 1,000. Population here about 1,700 – and at least 10 churches.

August 8~~We are moored at Palmerston Atoll at 0815 on Monday Aug 08.
We were met by a boat who helped us find a mooring buoy, and will be our hosts – Bob and Andrew. They asked about our last port of call, and want to look at our papers to verify that we did indeed come from Aitutaki. We plan to spend a couple of nights here and arrive at Beveridge Reef on the morning of August 12.

August 11~~We saw our first humpback whale today just outside the reef.
And here at 2240 as we are off to bed we have heard them outside – but not seen in the moonlight. We have the trade wind rig up and after a slow start the wind is cooperating and we are clipping along at 6 knots or so. Villomee, our buddies, were at the same longitude as us this morning and about 20 miles south of us.

August 12~~Editor~~VK and crew were accepted as one of 3 boats needed to help the Niue Whale Research Project.

We are making good progress towards Niue. We were getting 8 knots on Steven’s watch from 2100 to 2400 and I had trouble sleeping through that lot. Rushed up to see what was going on at one stage! All well here at 0800 and just had scheduled call with “Villomee” and “Time Bandit”. Villomee caught a 4ft Mahi Mahi and managed to squeeze it in their freezer. First fish for them since the Tuamotus – and we have not been catching anything either. We have a couple of packs of frozen parrot fish fillets from Palmerston – that is their main business – they supply Rarotonga.

August 16~~No time to write much – they, Whale Research, have lent us a car for the morning so we are off soon. The research people know about Claire and may pick her up from the airport. The airport is quite close town – probably make it there myself. (Dick’s sister Claire from NZ is joining VK for 10 days.) 

We have a fuel problem on the port engine. Steven and I spent time on it yesterday and it is still a problem so that is on the agenda as soon as we get back.

August 17~~Claire arrived OK and all well. It seems there are three boats and 2 go out in rotation. We have tomorrow off – try to fix my diesel problem on the port engine. We drove around the island. More empty houses than occupied houses. Only 1100 inhabitants – 17,000 Niueans live in Auckland, and maybe even more in Australia.

August 18~~well, well, whale research is a lot like fishing. In fact we fished while we searched for whales. We saw 3 early in the day and we saw 2 other small groups ‘arriving’ – so tomorrow hopefully we will see the arrivals. Olive Andrews as on our boat along with 3 others. They all have All Black jerseys to go watch NZ play Australia tomorrow night – where we will go also! It was a nice time on the boat and we shared the lunch making.

So that’s is all good. I have isolated the problem with the port engine fuel system and made a temporary arrangement so we can use the engine. Still do not know exactly where the problem is. Will do further investigation on our day off.

Niue looks like a very poor country. Not at all like French Polynesia. The citizens of this independent country automatically get NZ citizenship.

August 19~~I got a message from Dick asking what  time the All Blacks vs Wallabies game was on~~luckily Wayne and Anne Smith had just arrived from Calgary and he figured out that it was actually on the 20th as a day ahead of us here and Nuie. Rugby continues to be important! 

unfortunately the first game is at 11 pm here – so Olive, who’s whole crew are Kiwis and will be watching the game, made the command decision that whale watching will be delayed until 0900 tomorrow. It is our day off and a guy at the yacht club has some likely source of fuel hose which could help in resolving the fuel issue.

We saw some great breeches today with humpback whales leading out of the water.

August 20~~We all had a fine time at the bar last night with the ABs beating Aust very soundly. The new look ABs look pretty darn good! So it was a late night and then up early for me to meet Brian at the Niue Yacht Club to get the fuel hose and try for fittings. This old palangi (local term for white guys), Terry, had all kinds of bits and pieces so I got some hose and some fittings that are almost but not quite right. So I went through the whole fuel system and replaced washers, applied thread tape and tightened everything up and lo and behold it runs fine. Fantastic.

It was a bumpy night last night and with the wind from the south there was still a lot of swell this morning. It is a bit of a hairy adventure at the dock. There is no protection. The drill is to get the passengers off as best as possible at the steps, then hook the dinghy up to a fixed crane that lifts the dinghy out of the water. Exciting times! Going in by myself this morning I got soaked with the surge as soon as I got on the step. Thank Doug and Cathy for me for the running shorts – they dried by the time I got to the Yacht Club.

So that is it for now but you can see photos of the whales on the Facebook site.







Tahiti and the Society Islands

Wow, I have been back for over 3 weeks from our trip to visit VK and crew but have yet to post here. But it is summer in Vancouver and the days are full with so many outdoor activities that by nightfall I seem to lack the energy needed to coherently write about our time in the magical Society Islands. For today’s post I will add Dick’s recent email word doc and some of our photos. The next post will be a brief description of the two weeks Suzanne and I had aboard VK.

Hi folks,

One month and 2 days since I was last on the Internet.
Probably really slow internet too as it is a nice day here in Raiatea and the bar is full. The 4 masted “Spirit Wind” is tied up right here and the bar is full of wifi seekers.The trades are blowing in the high teens, sun shining, passing rain squalls filled the water tanks and the VK is ready to move on tomorrow.Hope all is wellGood luck to the NZ 7s at the olympics – first time for rugby at the Olympics since the debacle in 1924


Tahiti, French Polynesia

Fakarava Atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia

May 23, 2016

 It seems to be an island code here: “Make eye contact, smile, say Bonjour, hello or whatever!” Not one of the local people, young or old, walking, riding a bike or in a car, will pass you by without looking you in the eye, smiling and saying something nice. Wow.And we solved the mystery of what the 806 happy residents of Fakarava Atoll do here: Coconuts, black pearls and tourists……and religion…….white guys, white shirts, ties, bicycles……

After a week of inertia and minor repairs, we let go the mooring buoy at Rotoava Village and followed the markers 30 miles around the inside of the atoll to the south pass. An excellent series of lighted red and green markers led us around the atoll – and the electronic charting was all perfect, which was a bit of a surprise after all the talk about the charting being off. The 6 mooring buoys on the NE side of the south pass were occupied so we proceeded carefully to the SW anchorage where we anchored in 4m of water in a “bommie” field (bommie = projecting coral head).

Fabulous. The drift snorkel through the south pass hanging onto the dinghy absolutely lived up to the advance billing. Healthy coral in pastel shades like a garden – mauve, pink, blue, yellow, white. Large fish, shoals of fish, brightly coloured fish at the bottom and on the wall of the pass. Piper and good sized fish with yellow fins in your face on the surface. Lots of tan coloured black tipped reef sharks nearby minding their own business and occasional “other” sharks that made us eyeball the fastest possible scramble into the dinghy. The incoming current carried us along like doing a fly-by. We spent a few overcast days enjoying this underwater spectacle at low slack water. And we wondered about the lady in the small village who was happily standing knee deep in water feeding the black tipped reef sharks as if they were chickens or puppy dogs.

Meanwhile, back in the real world – All Blacks 39, Wales 21.

Raiatea, Society Islands, French Polynesia                                                     

I should explain about time.

In Vancouver, Can-Dive Barry said “January to November, to go from the Caribbean to New Zealand!”

“Well, how long do you think it should take? Don’t forget I am retired and will be traveling though some of the most beautiful places in the world.”

“Ah, yes, I was thinking in project time – Get her done.”

Sailors bear with me: There are constraints. There are tropical cyclones in the south pacific during the southern summer, November to April – so not a good time to be here. And in New Zealand it is winter from June until November, (or November until November according to Marian) so it is not good to arrive in NZ until late November.

So while it may seem that we are just doddling along in paradise, the real answer is – Yes, we are just doddling along in paradise! Besides, after an ocean passage it is nice to have a few days rest.

I take my All Blacks cap off to Stuart and Anne on “Time Bandit”. We were anchored off Pointe Venus, Tahiti, and they called us on VHF 16, “Hi Van Kedisi, we are approaching your position (they were 2 days passage from the Tuamotus), we will be there about 1800, we caught a fish, dinner on our boat at 1830.” And there was even bread pudding for dessert!

Pointe Venus – so named after Captain Cook set up an observatory there in the 1700s to observe the transit of Venus.

Marian and Suzanne arrived in Papeete – 13 hours from Vancouver – a similar trip that took Jamie 13 days from Nuku Hiva! After a couple of nights at the anchorage at Marina Taina, we made the nice tour inside the reef alongside the airport to the down town marina in Papeete.

Here, at the Bora Bora Bar, we got to watch the 3rd test of the game they play in heaven – All Blacks 46, Wales 6.

We joined the Pacific Puddle Jumpers Moorea Rendezvous Rally. There was not much wind at the beginning for the 15 n.m. sail to Moorea, but the wind filled in enough for the trade-wind rig. We anchored in Cook Bay and enjoyed the dramatic landscape, socializing and the organized activities.

I thought the Rendezvous event might be a bit hokey, but it was really excellent. What made it excellent was the local people. They were all invariably genuine and happily engaged in the dancing and the canoe racing in which we all participated. We were in a photo finish for 3rd, 4th and 5th in our heat in the canoe racing.

With Marian and Suzanne we did a bumpy overnight sail from Moorea to Huahine. From here it sounds like a bit of a travel-logue, which I try to avoid. We had a nice day passage to Tahaa and Raiatea, in the Society Islands and we explored all the best snorkeling sites and sailed round inside the lagoon until it was time for Marian and Suzanne to get back on the airplane. Steven arrived and we are now stationed at Tahaa and Raiatea for the next little while. These two islands are within a common fringing reef and it is possible to sail around Tahaa without going outside. It is like summer holiday sailing in the Gulf Islands of B.C. or the Hauraki Gulf in N.Z. – nice anchorages and flat roads for the occasional jog.

July 18, 2016 (July 19 already in NZ)

Well, Happy Birthday to me – 70! Celebration (hardly the correct term – “acknowledgement of a milestone may be more appropriate”) will be the short passage to Bora Bora.

Looking ahead, without internet for many weeks, the route starts with another short hop to Maupiti, followed probably by Suwarrow or Palmerston, Niue and Tonga. Seeing lots of Kiwi boats now….


 Distance to New Zealand: 3,343 n.m.

Distance sailed to date: 6,130 n.m.

“Once a man’s three-score-and-ten was exceeded, he was on the slippery slope to complete incapacity.” Elizabeth George

“The trick was to recognize a good thing when you saw it……..” Daniel James Brown, “The boys in the boat.”

“Harmony, balance and rhythm. They’re the three things that stay with you your whole life. Without them civilization is out of whack. And that’s why an oarsman, when he goes out in life, he can fight it, he can handle life. That’s what he gets from rowing.” George Yeoman Pocock (“The boys in the boat”)



Downtown Papeete, Tahiti


An early morning outrigger canoeist out training but taking a break riding in our wake


Our first view of Moorea~~once the rain and clouds disappeared it was a different place!

IMG_0350Sun coming out!P1040529Our canoe team plus manager minusP1040540

Polynesian dancers~~amazing!


scenic tour past Moorea


Heading along the coast on the scenic tour


Coast of Moorea


One happy captain!IMG_4045

Early evening in our anchorage near the reef


First mate Rick


Departing Moorea for an overnight passage


We could drop off the boat and swim with stingrays!


Blues forever


More blues as we got closer to anchor nearer the reef


Canada Day at Huahine


Hoping for a tuna!


Inside the reef~~the passage was between the two motus or small islands you can see



Heading in to anchor close to the reef and mottoIMG_4056

A glimpse of Bora Bora between two motus


An exclusive resort (US$1000/night)


Sunset from our bay where we were the only boat


So many greens!


Departing our bay


The coast of Raiteaa~~inside the reef of course


VK in a perfect secret anchorage


Captain and first mate at sunset our last night


Sun sets behind the reef~~my favourite sunset the last night


Back to civilization


Ice cold beer at the Raiteaa outdoor airport

IMG_4080Boat taxi service for the Raiteaa AirportP1040567

I think Suzanne was enjoying it all!

P1040521Our canoe team getting ready to race

P1040513This full figured Polynesian man was our master of all ceremonies

Off to Papeete in an hour!

Jamie sent me a few photos and a short write-up this week to share. Suzanne Woeller and I are off very soon to head to LAX then the non stop red eye to Papeete on Air France. French Polynesia coming up!

The Long Way Home…
As Dick put it, the longest water taxi ride in history, even spanning a time change. Two days of motoring, followed by 2 days of reaching in somewhat confused seas brought us to Fakarava. Having enjoyed the island very briefly, I boarded a plane to Papeete. On advice from a cruiser in Fakarava, sought out “Pension Fifi” Having no idea where it was, hired a taxi at 1500 Fr to basically get a ride across the street. “Pension Fifi” was a very no frills accommodation – but the hosts were friendly and I met a couple of sailors in the the same boat as I so to speak, stranded due to Air Tahiti strike. Spent the next 3 days trying to spend as little money as possible while trying to get a refund for my cancelled fare from Nuku Hiva to Papeete. Finally succeeded on third day after waiting 4 hours for my number to come up. At least the office was open! Finally, it was time to leave. Flight to Auckland where Dick’s cousins kindly picked me up from the airport, put me up at their home, fed me breakfast and lunch and provided and mini tour of the city! They were kind above and beyond the call of duty. Next night, 12 hour overnight flight to LA, a mind numbing 8 hour wait in the airport, and a final 3 hour flight on Air Canada to Vancouver. Air New Zealand makes Air Canada look like a third world airline, just saying. Number one son picked me up from airport, then the next day a final seaplane flight back home to Saltspring. All in all, 14 day journey from door to door. I am very thankful that Captain Dick made a gallant effort to get me on my way!

IMG_1618 (1)




Jamie and a big tuna!


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Off to the airport with chaufeurr Steven who heads to Tahiti July 3 to sail with Dick to New Zealand. Update on our return in July.