Friday, November 21, 2008

It is 5:53 PM Pacific time. Ann just called and they are in the Bay of Islands and will be at customs in a few hours. They have a following wind and a following sea and they have been sailing the heck out of it to get to their destination. The wind is 20 knots on their beam and it is sunny. They have had some cold weather with the wind in their face. They have had to bundle up to keep warm. They are really happy to finally be there. They have come 1023 nautical miles on this last crossing from Tonga. There are lots of rocks and green hills that they are looking at. Ann sounded excited. I know what a great sight land is after a long crossing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Once again they are without wind and motoring. It is nice and sunny there now. They have been motoring all night and on and off today depending on the wind. They continue to make good headway as you can see and expect to arrive on Sunday morning(it is Thursday there as they have crossed the date line ). Ann indicated they need to keep going as every so often some bad weather comes up and grabs them. They are expecting the winds to shift so they are not heading into them. The forecast is for the winds to move around to the west and then the north. All is well and they sound in good spirits.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just spoke to Barry. They are currently getting wet. They have just put the sails up but have been motoring since 5 PM yesterday. They caught a fish, a Wahoo. Very good eating. Barry said they can't catch too many more or they will have to toss some of their supplies overboard when they get to New Zealand.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ann and Barry are currently in 25 knot winds with a triple reef in the main and the stay sail is up. Winds are from the SE and they are beating into the wind with a speed of 6 knots on a course of 180 degrees magnetic (due south). There is a front coming through and there is some rain. It does not sound like they are having a lot of fun at the moment.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wow, they have gone a long way in 2 days. There is another boat they are in touch with that is on about the same course as they are. They are able to get weather reports from them. They are traveling at 190 degrees magnetic (just west of South) at 3.5 to 4 knots. They were beating into the wind at the time of the phone call.
Being curious I asked their destination. It is Opua. It is the red ballon at the bottom of the page. I also asked if they were stopping at the islands that are 1/2 way. The islands are 100 miles of reefs and Ann and Barry are not stopping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This is Bob. Ann's brother. I was Helmsman Bob on the last big voyage but I am not sure if that name applies now that I am no longer on the boat. Ann called a few moments ago and was very excited. They have departed for New Zealand. For all you sailors out there they are travelling at 6.5 knots with a wind from the east at 15 knots. I have a map with their current location. If you double click on the map you will get a much larger view.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I have to tell you about the rat. It is not our rat, but Bold Spirit’s rat. They think they acquired the rat at the dock at Big Mama’s here at Pangaimotu in Nuku’alofa. The rat joined their ship by jumping on their dinghy at the dock, riding out to the boat and crawling up the lines from the dinghy to the boat.
Well the good folks on Bold Spirit, Cathy and Jeff were petrified that the rat would get below. They shut up all their windows and their companion way, leading to very uncomfortable conditions below due to the heat. They very discreetly asked around for a rat trap, you don’t want everyone in the anchorage to know that you have a rat!! We supplied them with one and they put out peanut butter laced with boric acid and sweetened condensed milk with boric acid. The rat imbibed and left droppings during the night so he was there.

Today we dropped by to see if they had caught the “dirty rat” (a la Jimmy Cagney). We helped them put up their main sail to see if the rat was hidden in the folds of the sail. I was perfectly prepared to scream at the sight and everyone watched with great anticipation while the sail went up, NO RAT. The suggestion was then put forward that the rat could have possibly gotten into their water tanks because they had the tanks open when they were catching water the other day. This idea was quickly squashed by Cathy, perish the thought, some rat swimming around doing his thing in your water tanks, YECH!! We left after Jeff had surmised that the rat may have jumped ship, he was not happy with the boric acid snacks!
We went over to visit Tin Soldier, anchored about 100 meters behind Bold Spirit. Lo and behold they had seen “that dirty rat” aboard last night. Man who would believe it, the bugger had swum over and climbed up their anchor chain, Maybe, maybe not, we will never know! The saga of the rat continues stay tuned for updates.

Pictures are from a tour we took around the island of Tongatapu last Wed. The picture of the tree is where Captain Cook landed in 1777 and they say it is part of the same tree that is growing there, pretty neat. The rocks are huge and were brought here from another island and erected in the twelveth century. How did they do it???
We are hoping to leave for New Zealand on Wed. or Thur. this week. My brother Bob has agreed to do updates for us on the crossing so look forward to hearing from him.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

There is supposed to be a picture here, it is in the Ha'apai Group. I wonder if it will show up. Well I put the picture in twice and it won't work, I give up. I will try sending them to Trish and see if she can put them on for me!!!
Ask and you shall receive Mom. Great pics
Four boats left this morning for New Zealand and five more are about to leave, the lemming effect is in full force!! We have decided that we will wait at least another week before leaving. We had planned to wait until about the middle of the month before leaving as we have been told that the later you leave it the better because it is less likely that you will get a winter storm from the New Zealand area. We have decided to contact a meteorologist in NZ and have him do our weather routing for us. He will send us a detailed set of co-ordinates to follow to go around the lows and the highs and hopefully we will have a passage without too much trauma and some wind, this sounds like a good plan to me.
Last night we had the best time we have had in a long time. Where we are staying is at a cruiser hang out that is run by a couple, the man is from NZ and the woman from Tonga. The hangout is called Big Mama’s, they have a restaurant/bar with ping pong tables, dart boards, volleyball nets, etc. It is on an island that they own, given to them by the king, and they also have some fales, or small thatched cottages for non-sailing guests. You can walk around the island in 20 minutes and there are lovely sand beaches most of the way around.
It was the owners’ 60th birthday and Big Mama threw him this wonderful party. She didn’t do anything for him when he was fifty but she promised him if he lived another 10 years she would do it up right, and did she ever. She invited all the cruisers to a traditional Tongan dinner, all you had to pay for was your drinks. They engaged the guys from the Nuku’alofa police band to play. There was 4 guitarist, 3 horn players, and a drummer. 2 palangis or white people (cruisers) joined in. on fellow on the sax and one on harmonica. It was marvelous. Everyone danced, the people that served the meal, the bartenders and all the cruisers, a cross cultural blast. I have a picture of Barry dancing with this beautiful young island girl, she was gorgeous. We took a picture of all the Bluewater Cruising Canadians that were there and believe it or not there were 7 boats and 21 people in the picture, then we all danced to Take It Easy. The Tongans let loose and danced up a storm, what fun.
We are planning on taking the water taxi into Nuku’alofa tomorrow to check out of the country and fax off our “inward” report to New Zealand. They are the strictest country that we have entered so far. There are all sorts of food you are not allowed, such as fresh fruits and vegs, fresh meat, eggs, honey, any thing that might sprout, they will examine your flour and pastas to make sure you don’t have bugs and on and on. Planning our food intake for the crossing will be tricky. We have contemplated motoring up and down in front of the customs dock and stuffing ourselves with whatever we had left and telling them we would dock as soon as we ate all the food we couldn’t bring in!!! Ah Well. We are also hoping to take a tour of Tongatapu so we will do that sometime next week.