The last post included some photos and a letter from Dick. The following is a collection of messages from Maurie Robertson by email and emails, ham radio messages and InReach messages from Dick. Please note that the tracking is not working nor have I figured out where the “Follow” button has gone to. David Greer, engineer of the blog is currently crossing the Atlantic on a cruise ship with Karalee s when I catch up with him in Vancouver in May these issues may be resolved.

Maurie April 10~~We had a good apartment for Sunday night, airconditioned, WiFi, on the waterfront near the Papeete marina, just down from the port.  Pascal, the agent, was great and emailed a map of where we had to be and at what time, to meet MV Damgracht.  After we left the apartment on Monday morning we looked across towards Moorea and there was Damgracht, steaming up towards the reef pass. So we watched the pilot go aboard and the tug come out to meet her and then the docking.  There was going to be an hour delay for lunch so Maureen and I tracked down first Vodafone, but their sims only did Tahiti, Moorea, Borabora.  We trekked through the heat and racetracks they call traffic in Papeete, life in hands stuff and made it to Vini, the other provider whose sims do all the islands, and bought a 500MB data sim for Dick’s wifi hotspot.  So we have 500MB to last a fortnight, so sorry, no photos for now.
We are on the boat anchored at Marina Taina, down the coast from Papeete, inside the reef.  We unloaded Van Kedisi from the ship yesterday afternoon.  Big complication, MV Damgracht’s crane couldn’t unload on the crane side because other boats on the deck blocked the lift.  The crane couldn’t quite reach lowering Van Kedisi over the far side, and had her poised half over the water, not quite clearing the side of the ship.  We all waited like this for 20 minutes while they pumped salt water into that side of the ship to achieve a 2 degree list, then Van Kedisi was hanging clear over the water and could be lowered.  Very interesting.
We are on board and everything is working and nothing is damaged, but we are stuck here until Friday when our fibreglass gas bottle is filled, and our duty free forms come back and we can buy duty free fuel.  Dick endured a big form fillng expedition today to start that procedure.  Maureen and Heidi went to Carrefour Supermarche for perishables and lunch provisions.  We have just finished lunch, a great spread, baguette and brie, salami and fresh salad.
When I say stuck here I mean lazing in the sun under the beautiful island of Tahiti, looking across the reef to Moorea.  If we get too hot, we fall in the water then towel off and find some shade in the breeze.
Maureen and I swam over towards the shore until we could see the bottom, there were small fish, but it is close to a very inhabited shore and the coral is all dead.  We will take the dinghy over to the sea reef later and have a swim there.  There are many small and colourful fish swimming around the marina pontoons where there are live bunches of coral attached to the pontoons. There goes my theory that boat antifouling kills coral.
Dick April 11~~Still at Taina. (Papeete) Waiting for propane to be filled and returned on Friday. There is some snorkelling here inside the reef – I think you did that. Officialdom also takes until Friday to get the inter island clearance. Maurie calls it Blind Bureaucracy. Lots of paperwork but nobody looks at the boat or the crew. We will fill up with duty free fuel tomorrow. Maurie and Maureen off on a bus ride to look around a bit, also tomorrow. Everything working all right except portable VHF only sending and not receiving – but at least that way the people on shore can call the boat.

Dick April 13~~We refuelled yesterday and picked up the propane and last bit of official paper this morning. It has been bucketing down since 0300. Of course, I got up at 0300 to catch water as the downpours have been brief. I need not have done that as it is persistent. We did a trial departure but the rain was so heavy that piloting was tricky among the anchored boats and the chart plotter started to do the silly magnification thing again. grrr. So we came bak to the anchorage and Maurie and Maureen took off in the dinghy in the rain to recharge the internet connection – which was nice as it enabled this email.

Hope all is well.
We are here probably until tomorrow.
I have started up the InRreach.

Maurie April 13~~The day is overcast with rain threatening, wind freshening from the north and the proximity of the sloop behind us in the anchorage suggests we may have dragged closer.  Anyway we are too close so we move.  As we settle into our new space the wind drops and goes more east.  Clouds and rain threaten from over Tahiti-nui and we prepare the boat to catch rain.  Dick goes ashore to fetch the completed fuel papers and is informed by chance of the need for inter-island transfer papers.  Up to the eyeballs in paperwork and not one pseudo-official has even seen the boat.  Maureen and I go shopping in the morning but have to wait under the Marina Taina office for an hour for a downpour to finish and then bumped into Dick muttering about “blind bureaucracy” and checking to see if he can find a 30kg Manson anchor.  No joy, so we decide to wait  for Hawaii.

After another big shop at Carrefour, air-conditioned, so therefore absolutely no hurry, we find we have baguettes galore at US50c and brie for US13.95 per kg. That makes the lunch menu pretty simple and it even becomes the preferred breakfast for as long as it will last.  All else we buy is fruit, veg and meat for island week. Arriving back we find the boat crew have filled the water tanks from the downpour.
After lunch of guess what, we take the dinghy across to the reef and explore the many coral outcrops with all the myriad of small and colourful fish.  We could do that forever but find the body doesn’t want to, so we go back and dry off.
Momentarily we are comfortably cool.
Reading until dinner, which is one of Dick’s menus, lentil soup. Very tasty.
Thursday 12th April
Today is more paperwork for Captain Dick, completing the inter-island transfer papers, also buying fuel now the duty-free papers are in hand.  Maureen and I pack a lunch and head for the highway, planning on catching a bus to Papeari and check out the Musee Gauguin.
Dick, Steven and Heidi took the boat to the fuel dock arriving to find it closing for an hour for lunch.  They anchored and returned later.  Siesta is alive and well.
Steven and Heidi went snorkelling and saw a bunch of different fish to us also a giant clam alive and well on the reef.  Later we tried to find their spot but found another whole different realm of corals and small fish.  We could still do it forever if bodies allowed.
The bus trip was interesting.  After waiting an hour at the bus stop for the “le bus vert”, the green bus, which a nice lady had told us we needed, we gave up and jumped on the first bus that went to Papara, as far as we had seen any bus labelled as going.  One of our goals had been a swim at one of the places labelled on the map as a “plage accessible au public”.  We found our way to Plage de Mara’a and jumped off a concrete dock into clear, deep water. It was beautiful as the day was sunny and hot.  Some of the local teenagers came and jumped in too as it is the first week of “vacances”.  On the walk back to the bus stop we saw “le bus vert” going towards Papeari.  It think the green bus is the equivalent of our intercity buses.  It probably cost more than the US$2 we paid as well.
The bus dropped us at Carrefour for a few more items and then a chilled smoothie at a stall run by a local lady we have chatted with twice.  She spoke halting English, which she preferred as she had been to Howick as a student on exchange and wanted to keep it up.
Another good day and plans for maybe leaving for Moorea in the morning if the full gas bottle has been delivered to the Mobil station as promised by 8:30am, or maybe 9, 10, or 1pm. Isn’t island time a wonderful thing?

Maurie again April 13?~~Friday 13th April. This is the day we finally get our Inter-island transfer papers and full gas bottle and leave for Moorea.

But it’s persisting down, a large cloud hanging low over the whole island, rain in bursts from every direction, Van Kedisi swinging mostly southwards in a northerly, then a burst of heavy rain from the west, then north with heavy rain.  We could have filled the water tanks about three times.
Captain Dick went ashore and got the papers and full gas bottle and back on the boat by 9am with a feeling it had been there since yesterday.  Anyway, island time excelled itself.  Steven and Heidi were doing a run to Carrefour for last minute items and, as we had discovered our sim ration was all used up I went with them to get some more data loaded.  The Vini shop was full of people and it was a take-a-ticket-and-wait-for-your-number system.  I took a ticket and glanced at the number on the display…2.  I had number 12 and the line was still stalled by the time Steven and Heidi had finished the shopping, so gave up on the Vini recharge and we went back to the boat.
Dick winched the dinghy up and secured it and we turned on all instruments ready to leave for Moorea.
Unfortunately the chart plotter came on distorted, in a way that had happened before but we couldn’t get it to work normally so prepared to head out with OpenCPN, a laptop and tablet programme which works almost as well but without many features that allow you to plan and follow a course.
We pulled up the anchor and started to head for the channel just as a real downpour started and wiped out almost all visibility. Dick suggested maybe this wasn’t the day to head for Moorea and we all agreed.  Wait for tomorrow.
So it was a day of waiting, but Maureen and I did manage to slip ashore and catch the Vini shop with only three people there so it was a short wait to get a recharge sim card, and I also bought one for my phone.  Data is expensive here, but at least we can now email, but woe betide a visit to a website with lots of interaction.
Saturday 14th April
The rain has gone, the day is clear with a 13 knot northerly, so straight after breakfast we are off.  We contact Papeete Port Control (VHF Ch 12) each time we pass the end of the airport runway to get clearance to go by with a tall mast.
We weave our way out of the harbour and are excited to see a pod of small black dolphins fishing or playing in the harbour entrance.
Up sails, off engine, and a broad reach in 13 knots to Moorea.  As we sailed along the northern coast an assortment of birds got all excited and were diving into the water, obviously after something but we couldn’t see what. Neither of our trailing fishing lines picked up anything.  We arrive at Cook’s Bay in time for a magnificent lunch under the peaks of Moorea.  A beautiful bay, on a beautiful day.  It doesn’t get much better.
Then, after a swim in the clear water close to the reef, we motor further into the bay and anchor for the night.  HF radio works well and Dick gets the weather for the next 5 days.
It’s looking good for Rangiroa, leaving tomorrow or Monday at the latest.
But who can tell.   I’m with Bruce, an American we met who gave us his account of sailing from Hawaii to the Marquesas. “The wind forecast was accurate to within 180 degrees and plus or minus 10 knots.”
Dick April 15~~Maureen, Maurie and I walked from Cook Bay to the next bay to the west. Cook bay is where we had the rendezvous activities with you and Suzanne nearly 2 years ago. Nice walk. Steven and Heidi brought the Van Kedisi around. Short trip but did involve going outside the reef. Did a comprehensive safety briefing this morning. All good.
The wind is not really favourable. Too much from the north. It is supposed to get more east but still not enough, even waiting 5 days. And we are constrained by Maureen’s departure date of April 24. So we will delay as much as possible. In any event, it looks like we will get to the west of Rangiroa and then tack, motor sail or motor to Rangiroa. This was always a possibility.
It is not as humid as it was at Tahiti – and no more torrential downpours.
Maurie still has 400 MB on his Vini Spot connection so everybody still has a quick check of their emails. I topped mine up too with 500 MB but it was all gobbled up immediately. Fortunately, the HF radio (Ham) is working well. Connected OK to both NZ and Hawaii and got GRIB files and a message from Geoff. Got messages OK on the InReach as well.
Dick April 16~~We had a little trial run on the course to Rangiroa while we were motoring back to the east bay (Cook’s Bay) but decided to wait until morning. Things seem settled, light, so probably motor sailing.
Moorea is very spectacular to look at as you know. Very nice here. Shepherds pie for dinner. Maureen unfortunately turned off the oven safety valve while bread was cooking. Maybe it will make toast! All well, Look for us to be on the move tomorrow.

Maurie April 16~~Sunday 15th AprilDick went ashore before breakfast to the little shop by the jetty in Cook’s Bay and bought bread and pastry for breakfast. The we had a safety briefing ready for going offshore.The wind is still predicted to be more or less on the nose until Tuesday so we may be here another day.  Not so bad as it is the location for the original musical South Pacific, Bali Hai in the song, and very beautiful.Maureen, Dick and I walked from Pao Pao in Cook’s Bay over the ridge to Opunahou Bay, about 5km.  The first 2km was on a concrete road, well made with no cracks because the concrete is 200mm thick and laid over rocks.  Just as well because I had developed a blister and could walk barefoot.  On the Opunahou side there was a stream and a deep pool and we cooled off, I went for a swim and we met a family of locals Sunday walking, their kids jumped in too.   Very cooling.In the meantime Steven and Heidi had sailed Van Kedisi around from Cook’s Bay and pickedp in the dinghy.After lunch, a quiet afternoon, reading, sleeping, crossword.After dinner Dick used the HF radio to get a weather update and send and receive emails.  We will use the HF radio for emails when our Vini data runs out. It works and we can receive replies, but it is slow to transmit and receive, so text only and delete the original from a reply, or better still, send a new email back, so the same text doesn’t go backwards and forwards.Josie, Sara and Laura, we are receiving your emails and it’s good to hear all is well. We’re just conserving data.

Monday 16th April

Awoke in Opunahou Bay and motored out to the pass entrance, anchored just inside the reef.
After breakfast we hauled, Steven climbed up the mast to replace some cable ties which had broken, and he checked everything at the top, all good.  Then we snorkelled out to the reef and watched little fish for about 30 minutes.
After lunch we went outside the reef and deliberated whether to set off for Rangiroa, heading 031 degrees from here in a 070 degree, 10 knot wind. There is a forecast for the wind to go more easterly tomorrow so we decided to go into the supermarche at PaoPao in Cook’s Bay and get some more bread and a bit more cheese and leave in the morning.
We are now at anchor just inside the reef at Cook’s Bay and the plan is to leave sprite and barky in the morning.
Dick April 18 ham radio~~Hi there,
Approaching Rangiroa. Wind has been all over the place with rain squalls. Starboard engine on for most of the passage. We will slowly make our way to the pass tonight with the plan to go through in the morning. Low tide is at 0900.
Dick April 19 ham radio~~arrived Rangiroa Thurs 19 @ 0815
All well. Cheers, Dick
Dick April 20 ham radio~~Good morning, The trade wind is blowing 20 kn this morning, 30 degrees east of north. We are hoping it will tend more easterly by the end of next week. It is typical tropical weather with the same large, dark ominous looking rain squalls lurking around. We could use one to fill the water tanks.
Maureen has her ticket to Papeete on the 24th. We have a number of little jobs to to do on the boat that will keep us busy, and there is the drift snorkel to do in the pass. Local gossip seems to say that the south pass of Fakarava is the best so I should not expect too much – here may be similar to what you and Suzanne saw at Taha and Raiatea. We can top up with diesel here using cans. The place is reasonably busy and there is a 100 passenger National Geographic boat here, the National Geographic Orion, with its 13 RIBs. There are 9 yachts in the anchorage, including 2 on the Round the World Arc, and a couple on “Obsession” who sailed here from Hawaii via the Marquesas. They plan to continue to Tahiti then return to Hawaii in a month or so.
Dick April 20 ham radio~~Well, the clouds moved in this morning but we only got a token amount of water in the tanks. Steven and I bleached the water lines and Maurie and I replaced a poor connection on the solar panels. The sun emerged and we went over to drift snorkel the pass but there was nothing to see where we tried. The tide was not quite favourable – going out a bit instead of in a bit – and we did not like the idea of being swept out though the pass. So we went over to where the 100 National Geographic guests were snorkeling in shifts. And with good reason! The “Aquarium” is magnificent. It is where you would spend all your day, day after day. Lots and lots of different kinds of fish. Healthy coral rising up to 10m from the sea floor. Lovely. I saw a large moray eel staring threateningly from his cave. I swam off carefully. Maurie and Maureen saw a single black tipped reef shark.
Steven now had a number 3 buzz cut.
All well. Slowly preparing for the next leg.
Dick April 21 ham radio~~Lovely day here. Lots of fish and bird activity.
The anode on the starboard saildrive had lost one of its 2 screws. I had a replacement screw, but we had to take the prop off to reinstall the screw. So we moved Van Kedisi into shallower water, 5 m depth, among the coral bomies, so we could dive and pick up dropped parts and tools. Just as well as Steven did drop 2 tools and recover them. All complete now and everything as tight as we could get it, which with all the leverage we used should be good. I don’t really understand why this is all going on – propeller problems. None in the past and this second event this year. Hopefully all over now.
Weather ahead looking better for the passage to Hawaii. Talking to Les on Obsession today he recommends going in to the west side of the big island, Hawaii, rather than Hilo, as Hilo would likely set us up for some windward work to get back around the southern tip of Hawaii. The wind in the Hawaiian islands is predominantly easterly.
Fresh baguettes every day.
I think Maurie April 22 ham radio~~Tuesday 17th April
Up at six and off.  Out through the Cook’s Bay reef, up main, up genoa, close hauled in a 10 knot 080 breeze, heading 015 speed 3.5 knots.  We are making for Tikehau atoll, 175 miles away on a bearing of 031, so that’s no good, we could be 5 days at that rate. So Dick started Stella, and at 2500 rpm we managed a heading of 030 at 5.5 knots.  The sea is slight, little swell, and the day is mostly sunny. Our course takes us right through the middle of Tetiaroa, a small atoll about 40 miles north of Moorea.
According to Charlie’s Charts, Tetiaroa has an interesting history. Once owned by the royal family as a holiday spot, it was given to a Canadian dentist, who eventually sold it and later was owned by Marlon Brando who bought it after the filming of the 1966 “Mutiny on the Bounty”.  According to Charlie’s Charts the atoll has an impenetrable reef, except for small boats, and as we approach it becomes clear that we can’t lay the windward side, so we bear away just as a small shower arrives.  The wind in the shower is all over the place and after the shower has gone so has the wind.  We decide to furl sails and motor around the windward end, a decision which we later question as there was about a 1 knot tide running and rather confused and thumpy seas at the eastern point, then a long lee shore.  As we motored past the reef on the south side we saw three large catamarans in the lagoon, so I guess local knowledge trumps Charlie’s Charts on that one.
The wind had picked up to between 8 and 12 knots for the rest of the day but had backed to 070 with swings to 050 so our average course was about 015, well to port of the track we needed.  Just on nightfall Dick saw a flying fish. We were all eyes for 30 minutes but never saw another one.
Wednesday 18th April
Three 3-hour watches through a clear night found us 50 miles dead downwind of Tikehau.  The wind has dropped so we decide to abandon a landfall at Tikehau, furl sails and motor directly for Rangiroa.  This will mean another night on passage but another day at Rangiroa and a morning pass entrance.
Through the day the wind varies from 4 to 20 knots and from NW to SE, depending on how close we are to the rain squalls which pepper the ocean.  We take advantage of any good winds but mostly we are close hauled with one engine running and 12 knots of breeze from one side or another as we move northeast to Avatoru Pass on the north side of Rangiroa.
Thursday 19th April
Another night of watches.  At 3am the wind rose to 25 knots on the nose and Percy struggled at 2550rpm to make 0.5 knots into a rising chop.  At one stage the autopilot didn’t have enough way to steer.  Happily it died down to a steady 18 knots and rain for a couple of hours and at daylight we were abreast the point and could reach along the north side of the reef to the pass.
The pass is well marked and wide, we came in at 8:15 with a following wind and outgoing tide, so some waves in the entrance but nothing bad, making 3 knots over a bottom easily visible at 14 m.
When it comes to wind prediction, Bruce has a point.
Thursday 19th April
After a lazy morning recovering from the passage we have lunch and Maureen and I go ashore and walk/hitchhike 4 km from Tiputa Pass to the airport.  We enquire if we can buy a ticket fro Maureen for the early flight to Papeete.  Unfortunately the last plane for the day has left and the airport is closed.  We must go to Avatoru, another 6 km along the road and back at the pass where we came in.  There, there is the office which is still open.  While we are enquiring as to how to get there they realise that it will be closed by the time we walk.  One of the airport guys goes and asks the desk lady, who is just about to leave, and she agrees to reopen the ticket booth and sell us a ticket.  We go into her office and look over her shoulder while she issues a ticket.  Her machine cannot read our bankcard, so we have to go across the airport carpark to an ATM and withdraw the cash.  Happily that worked and we thanked the lady for adding 20 minutes to her day for us. “You’re welcome” she said. The atoll people are so friendly and helpful.
On the return journey we are picked up by a lady who runs a restaurant and pension in Avatoru village.  She goes out of her way to take us all the way to Tiputa.  We go to the magazin and buy bread at 66f per baguette.  While we are waiting for Dick to pick us up and are offered a ride by Less and Rainey, a Californian couple from the sloop Obsession, anchored alongside.
Friday 20th April
Dick cooks us a pancake and scrambled eggs breakfast and suggests a boat maintenance morning.  We have discovered a loose anode on the starboard saildrive.  This means the propeller has to come off, something that must be done underwater.  Steven volunteers but not today, he has a sore toe and wants to wait a day for it to start healing.
Instead Dick and I attend to the dodgy solar panel connectors we had agreed needed replacing in NZ, but didn’t get around to.  They had intermittently caused the solar panels to stop charging the day before.  Dick and Steven also ran bleach through the water pipes to kill any microbes that might have an idea of colonising them.
After lunch we explored the snorkelling opportunities and discovered “the aquarium”, an area of abundant coral at the side of Motu Fara, just inside Tiputa Pass.  Definitely the best snorkelling so far.
When we arrived there was a large tourist ship, “National Geographic Orion”, in the lagoon and they were running tourists in large rhibs to the aquarium, so we were watching every imaginable variety of fish in amongst a crowd of every imaginable variety of tourist. We also saw our first black tipped shark, about our size but very benign.
After snorkelling we watched the last of the unloading and loading of the “St X Maris Stella IV”, the supply ship that does the rounds of the atolls and delivers the goods from Papeete and generally takes cargo from one atoll to another.  It looked a bit like a fishing trawler, crane on board and plenty of capacity.
As the sun went down, both these larger ships left through Tiputa Pass and the bay was left to the yachts and the fish.
Dick and Maurie April 22 ham radio~~Saturday 21st April
Another day in paradise. After breakfast Dick, Maureen and I go to the magazin for more bread and find sardines at less than NZ prices but have to wait until after 10 for the bread to arrive.  It arrives but there is a rush for the baguettes and we just manage to secure the last 3. Tomorrow is Sunday, and although the magazin is open the bakery is closed, no bread.  I guess we may have to make it.
Then Dick and Steven move the boat into shallower water so that dropping a tool during the propeller removal is not such a deep dive to recover it.  They weave VK through the bomies to a patch  of shallow sand and anchor.  Then, both in the water, Maurie on the step handing tools, they proceed to remove the starboard propeller, tighten the anode and replace the propeller.  Touch wood it is tight enough, and we all think so.  We decide to dive and check the prop gear at every opportunity.
After lunch we relax. During the prop operation Heidi has explored the local coral and found two moray eels.  Maureen and I try to find them but no, only the usual array of extremely colourful and varied fish, and a small remora-like fish hanging around under the boat. We wonder if it is wanting to attach but is put off by the antifouling.  No moray eels, we’ll have to follow Heidi next time.
A lazy afternoon, reading and sleeping.  I have found an answer to the heat. Keep a damp T-shirt ready to wear and sit in the breeze.
Sunday 22nd April
Still at anchor at Tiputa. The breeze is still in the northeast.  We are getting low on water. Rain comes, hatches closed, squabs inside, tank caps off and ready to collect water. Immediately the rain stops and it’s sunny all day.  Atolls are not renown for having abundant water, so there is no hose at any dock.  We are now using the salt water pump in the galley.
We are worried that the solar charger is not working properly and check a few voltages and currents and decide that it is working ok after all.  We suspect that the HF radio is interfering with the readings.  After a couple of hours of checking connections we change a couple of settings inside the charge controller and decide to keep an eye on it.  Steven and Heidi go snorkelling at the aquarium and see more fish and more sharks, black tip and white tip.
After lunch Dick, Maureen and I go walking through Tiputa village on the eastern side of the pass. It is mostly residential with a few small shops and a couple of churches.  Nearly every building is in need of repair and paint.  We think there is not a surplus of income at Tiputa.
On the way back we snorkel at the aquarium, and see more fish and more sharks.  The biggest is about the size of one of us, but they keep to themselves and are just swimming around like all the other fish.  One little fish is very inquisitive or territorial and seems to want to drive us away.  A pity he is only 6 inches long.  Another day in paradise.
Dick and Maurie April 25 ham radio~~Saturday 21st April
Another day in paradise. After breakfast Dick, Maureen and I go to the magazin for more bread and find sardines at less than NZ prices but have to wait until after 10 for the bread to arrive.  It arrives but there is a rush for the baguettes and we just manage to secure the last 3. Tomorrow is Sunday, and although the magazin is open the bakery is closed, no bread.  I guess we may have to make it.
Then Dick and Steven move the boat into shallower water so that dropping a tool during the propeller removal is not such a deep dive to recover it.  They weave VK through the bomies to a patch  of shallow sand and anchor.  Then, both in the water, Maurie on the step handing tools, they proceed to remove the starboard propeller, tighten the anode and replace the propeller.  Touch wood it is tight enough, and we all think so.  We decide to dive and check the prop gear at every opportunity.
After lunch we relax. During the prop operation Heidi has explored the local coral and found two moray eels.  Maureen and I try to find them but no, only the usual array of extremely colourful and varied fish, and a small remora-like fish hanging around under the boat. We wonder if it is wanting to attach but is put off by the antifouling.  No moray eels, we’ll have to follow Heidi next time.
A lazy afternoon, reading and sleeping.  I have found an answer to the heat. Keep a damp T-shirt ready to wear and sit in the breeze.
Sunday 22nd April
Still at anchor at Tiputa. The breeze is still in the northeast.  We are getting low on water. Rain comes, hatches closed, squabs inside, tank caps off and ready to collect water. Immediately the rain stops and it’s sunny all day.  Atolls are not renown for having abundant water, so there is no hose at any dock.  We are now using the salt water pump in the galley.
We are worried that the solar charger is not working properly and check a few voltages and currents and decide that it is working ok after all.  We suspect that the HF radio is interfering with the readings.  After a couple of hours of checking connections we change a couple of settings inside the charge controller and decide to keep an eye on it.  Steven and Heidi go snorkelling at the aquarium and see more fish and more sharks, black tip and white tip.
After lunch Dick, Maureen and I go walking through Tiputa village on the eastern side of the pass. It is mostly residential with a few small shops and a couple of churches.  Nearly every building is in need of repair and paint.  We think there is not a surplus of income at Tiputa.
On the way back we snorkel at the aquarium, and see more fish and more sharks.  The biggest is about the size of one of us, but they keep to themselves and are just swimming around like all the other fish.  One little fish is very inquisitive or territorial and seems to want to drive us away.  A pity he is only 6 inches long.  Another day in paradise.

Dick ham radio April 25~~We will leave tomorrow or the next day. Probably no more wifi. Did a trial departure formality today starting with the Gendarmes – and the Gendarmerie was closed – nobody there!!

Dick April 26 ham radio~~Very nice lady gendarme handled all the paperwork efficiently this morning.
Kids just off in the dinghy for last perishables from the grocery store now that siesta is over.
Aiming to transit the Pass Avatoru about 1600 today, April 26. All refueled, water tanks full, ready to go. Propellers and anodes firmly fastened on! The wind is still a bit north of east for my liking, but it gets more easterly as we proceed north.
There have been a few InReach messages but nothing really to report other than all is well except no tracking. Excuse mistakes~~now all typing is left hand only. 


Many of you will recall how I kept this blog up for Dick and crew as they crossed the Pacific to New Zealand. Basically I transcribed all forms of messages including emails, ham radio messages and InReach messages. Emails ended last week when they left Moorea, Tahiti for Rangiroa the last stop before the leg to Hawaii. The last post was written as Van Kedisi was being loaded onto the ship “Damgracht.” Maurie (first mate) got some photos from 1.5 NM away and though they are a bit fuzzy they are kind of fun to see. The shipyard was secure so no unauthorized people allowed.



The crew for the entire voyage is in order of the first photo~~Captain Dick, Maurie Robertson, Steven Leighton and Heidi Leggereit. I thought I would add two more photos of crew plus moms plus wife. Top right is Jenny Leggereit, Heidi and Steven and right below is Maureen Robertson and Marian Leighton. Maureen was crew from Papeete to Rangiroa, Tahiti. Jenny is in Brisbane, Australia and Marian is in Victoria, BC.



Alicia, the agent in Auckland for Seven Stars Shipping took some excellent photos as VK  was being was actually lifted. Having crew aboard as boats are lifted is strictly forbidden but somehow the tender to the Damgracht was missing, perhaps as it was early evening. So Steven and Dick were lifted still onboard! Heidi picked them up and over the next few days every flew to Papeete.



While Dick spent several days in a small anchorage near Auckland before departure he wrote a letter that he sent to many of you. Few of you noticed it as was a small white square with “doc” in it at the bottom of the same photos as above. So for those of you who did not notice it or were not on his list here it is. BTW,  I was one of many who did not notice it.  It touched me deeply.

Rakino Island

Hauraki Gulf

New Zealand

March 22, 2018

Marian, wrestling with inoperable, incurable metastasized breast cancer, flew back to Victoria a few weeks ago after a month here in New Zealand..

“Bring the boat back. I am looking forward to all of us and the boat in the same province.”

A few months ago I attended a cancer partners’ support group at the hospital in Victoria. It was something like what I imagine AA to be. One woman, 68, talked about her husband’s cancer diagnosis 8 years prior as having 4 months to live. 8 years later he is still alive and she feels robbed of the last 8 years of her life. “Not happening to us” says Marian.

Marian is to be admired for her “glass half full” approach to recurrent cancer.  As a friend said, “Dick, if that was you or me we would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor.” But Marian is embracing the new life in Victoria, minding 2 year old Edith, connecting with old and new friends, planning another trip to Nepal and possibly going to jail for civil disobedience for opposing the Kinder-Morgan pipeline.

Marian’s positive blog is:

Sailing from New Zealand to Victoria is not the same as sailing from Turkey to New Zealand – the wind is not from astern nearly all the time. There are two routes in Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. The long route, for those with lots of time, takes in Fiji, Philippines, Japan, Bering Sea to Victoria. The more usual route has 3 legs. New Zealand to Tahiti, Hawaii and Victoria. The first leg to Tahiti is 2,220 n.m. on the great circle route but more like 3,000 n.m. actual sailing distance as it is not usually possible to sail there directly. I have been in NZ for several months and the wind has been relentlessly from the east – the direction we want to go. Further, this is a La Nina year, whatever that means. A Google search revealed “an uptick in easterlies”. Under “normal” conditions NZ is in the “variables”. With La Nina, and global warming, it seems the prevailing easterly trade winds near the equator have been pushed further south. Those who have sailed on the Van Kedisi will probably agree – not her best point of sail. Indeed, the legendary cruiser Eric Hiscock with his last boat, a nice looking sloop, abandoned an attempt to get to Tahiti from NZ and ended up going to Fiji and back to NZ.

So, considering all the above, I decided that loading the Van Kedisi on a ship, the “Damgracht”, from Auckland, NZ, to Papeete, French Polynesia, at the end of March, was probably a good idea. 

New Zealand is reasonably enlightened when it comes to visiting boats. Boats are permitted to be here for 2 years, and are exempt the 15% gst during that time. My 2 years are nearly up. After 20 years of doing boat maintenance in non-English speaking countries, it felt like cheating getting work done here. Maurie helped immeasurably with the work. And room and board at Pat and Claire’s beat living in a boat yard. The last challenge, again, is getting the music radio and all 4 speakers working. Van Kedisi seems to devour sound systems the way Marie kills battery powered wrist watches!

It has been great sailing in NZ waters again – trips down memory lane, relatives, engineers’ reunions. My grandfather, Frank William Leighton, who I never met, was a survivor on the SS Wairarapa enroute to Auckland from Sydney when it slammed full speed into Miner’s Head on Great Barrier Island at 8 minutes past midnight in 1894. In the Irish Pub on Great Barrier there is a photo showing a number of people on the deck of the beached ship and he might be one of them. Not such a great sailing trip for them.

Next stop Tahiti! (by Air NZ)


Rakino Island, NZ

I am reading “Sapiens”, thanks Suzanne. The author writes about supposed labour saving devices from washing machines to email. Here’s what he says about email: “We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.”

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

Distance for proposed voyage to Victoria: NZ – Tahiti 2,220 n.m. ( by ship); Tahiti – Hawaii 2,270 n.m.; Hawaii – Victoria 2770 n.m.

Blog maintained by Marian:

Boat location by inReach:

Thank you Dick and I know we all look forward to your return. Many of you are already “followers” but if not and you want to be notified, click on the “follow” button. There is also a link to my blog

It has taken me awhile to remember how to add photos and so I will save the emails and ham messages etc. for a day or two. Watch for the next post.


PS I don’t see the follow button but I will investigate and let you know on the next post.














This will be a short post but I wanted everyone who follows this blog to know that VK will soon be on the move again but for the first time she will travel on a ship. If you read the last post written in early January there was no ship involved. During the months of preparation, Dick and Maurie frequently discussed the unusual winds for the season and sailing in the “roaring forties” may have meant going further south, potentially thousands more nautical miles to an already difficult passage. Seven Stars, the shipping company Dick had been in touch with in the fall, called him again and with some negotiation, it was decided that Van Kedisi would travel by ship to Papeete, Tahiti.

As always with sailing it is possible to tell others when or where the boat will be, but never both simultaneously. Thus the date for departure was reckoned to be mid March to early April. Tickets were bought for the flights to Tahiti for the crew following the loading but those changed at least twice twice I think as the “Damgracht” was delayed due to cyclones on the Australian coast.

Finally Van Kedisi was loaded in the early evening of March 30th and her crew now await flights. Dick says it seems strange to be on land without a boat but soon enough he, Maurie, Steven and Heidi will be aboard along with Maurie’s wife Maureen who will join for a couple of weeks of sailing in French Polynesia.

Maurie took the following photos from 1.5 nautical miles distance away from the dock. I read that no one would be allowed to be aboard the boat as it was lifted but Dick said the ship’s tender disappeared and the only alternate way to depart VK was to get a ride up and then go down the gangplank of Damgracht. The ship is 150 meters long! Heidi met them with our van and now they await the flights and the journey ahead.

I was in NZ for a month  but will save that for another post. I am not sure if Dick left the inReach on so we may not be able to track VK until Tahiti unless some of you techies find the site Maurie had where he was able to follow the Damgracht’s journey to NZ.

The “following photos” really means following later as I do not seem to have the add image link on the toolbar as normal. I am giving up the struggle for tonight but will publish anyway.


Wow! Somehow I got one here! More to be grateful for.





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!