New Caledonia, starts in Vancouver.
My new position at work changed our schedule to a ‘6-weeks on – 6-weeks off’ routine. (How this is going to affect our cruising is anyone’s guess??). I had been travelling back-and-forth from Brunei to Auckland, for the last 6 months, though this time we decided to rendezvous in Vancouver.
Our last week in North Van was spent tearing around, tidying up our affairs with business, family & friends. We always look forward to going back to the boat, but this time we were even more excited because we were finally making the push out of NZ and into warmer climes of New Caledonia!
Julie scored some great Airline seats. We were flying from Vancouver to Auckland, –direct– for $700 USD, with Air New Zealand. 👍
Packing up all our bags, the taxi to YVR, checking-in, going through Customs & security, boarding the aircraft – it was all going so perfect. The seats turned out to be better than expected and the flight was like 3/5ths full. There was room to spare everywhere, for everyone! Julie and I had the 3 starboard seats to ourselves, and they’re the ones which fold down to form a bed, called a Sky-Couch. This ain’t our first Rodeo, so no sooner had the seatbelt sign gone off, we had those seats transformed into our palatial berth, shoes off, blankets pulled up, drinks in hand, movie on. 14 hours of this for $700 USD?, man-o-man I pinched myself.
“Ah, folks this is your Captain speaking,,, we’re encountering a problem up here on the flight deck. Absolutely nothing to worry about of course, just that I would rather not continue the Journey like this, so I’m making a landing to get things put right. Nearest landfall is Honolulu”
Damn! I knew I should have let things ride,,, should not have pinched myself back into reality. Julie’s headset is off now, asking what’s going on.
“They’re landing the plane” I said.
“What? When now? Why? Where?” I have to admit I was quite impressed, she only missed out the “who” and she’d have nailed every question possible in one sentence.
“Apparently the Captain is not happy to continue the flight because his Radar is goosed and he knows there’s weather up ahead”
And so our plane banks to port with one of those big sweeping, pinned-to-your-seat, turns. In 30 minutes we were on the Tarmac of Honolulu Airport. An hour after that we are back in the air.
We go through the whole transformer thing again with our bed. Roll of eyes at each other, but we’re on our way…again. We were perhaps 45 minutes into our movie when ‘DING DING DING’ announces the beginning of another message over the intercom system.
“this is the Flight Deck speaking,,,ah,, we’re still having issues up here, and with that weather ahead of us, I sure would like to see it.” –long pause– “I’m turning around, we’re heading back to Honolulu. Fasten your seat-belts, ETA 53 mins.”
Even INFINITY has two radars for God’s sake!! I’m not sure whether I should be angry or mildly amused. I looked at Jay for clues. She had the corners of her her mouth raised, we’re all good! As we descend towards Honolulu, we get more information, and the Captains’ calling it quits. We’ll all try again tomorrow.
So it looks like an impromptu ‘mini-break’ in Hawaii will be forced upon us! Not to worry, we’ll survive. 😜
Despite humping around 4 hockey-bag sized hold-alls, full of boat spares, plus all our personal gear, we decided to treat this as a Holiday and go with the flow. It was almost one year ago that we were last on Hawaiian soil, and I realized I missed it. Felt like my soul was home.
We have this wall area on INFINITY in our Salon which has been bare since we moved aboard. We have been on the look out for something to adorn the space, and we found it. 3 Honu’s (Hawaiian symbol for good luck) made out of Hawaiian Koa. Julie has had this special association with the Honu since our time spent in Hawaii in 2014/2015. It was a great opportunity to take advantage of the unique set of circumstances which brought us here again. Purchase made.
It did not take us long to get settled back onboard INFINITY, since it feels more like Home than any place else. We like to leave the boat super clean, so our time coming back can be as enjoyable as possible. We were immediately rewarded with the new carpets we had installed last trip; I had actually forgotten. Jay had the Honu’s up in no time, and they looked great!
Operation “New Caledonia” was in motion. It took us a week to pull it all together. (To do all our last minute shopping, say our final ‘good-byes’ to all our NZ friends, refuel INFINITY, return our rented car, and receive our travel-pack of Nespresso pods). Finally, we were good-to-go!
I wrote a few notes during the transit, and copied them here below; as follows:
June 09, 2018
1600: Got away from the dock, no issues. Commenced Journey at 1600.
1900: Weather turned very cold, have to wear sailing jacket, with a sweatshirt underneath. Feels great to be underway again, like a huge achievement has been accomplished.
Status: 61.5 miles / 57.9 gals. @ 0001. June 10th.
Position: 35 41.9 S / 174 42.7 E
June 10, 2018
1000: Adjusted (tightened) stuffing box gland. Emptied Head-tank
1400: Tx fuel from mid tank – 145 gals
1500: First 24 hours completed. Status below. Daytank now reading 260.
Status: 178.2 miles / 160 gals. @ 1600
Position: 34 11.89 S / 173 15.68 E
June 11, 2018
0300: ER Check. All ok. Daytank 190 gals
0330: wx still up. Uncomfortable, short seas, jerky movements onboard.
0400: moon very bright this morning. luminous
1400: turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day.
1645: Seas still up, but smoother.
2200: TX 140 gals from MID tank. WX indications on radar
Status: 350.2 miles / 320.7 gals. @ 1645
Position: 31 38.08 S / 171 50.27 E
June 12, 2018
0245: ER checks OK.
0300: passing squall, winds 27kts, very loud, lot’s of rain.
0500: wx actually pleasant now, smooth, calm seas, light winds.
1100: tx fuel, 140 gals. Daytank was 110
1140: wx gone to shit, as forecasted. With us for 24 hours.
1800: noticed fwd bilge pump running constantly, motor warm 🤔
1815: decided to isolate the fwd thru-hulls, in case of siphoning effect
June 13, 2018
0145: Tx140 gals fuel from MID. ER checks ok
0200: checked fwd space for water. Seemed same.
0205: opened up bilge bulkhead manifold in ER. Flow activated pump, then stopped.
0300: aft bilge now cycling frequently
0530: wx still rough, 28kts heavy seas.
1300: woke up to calmer seas. Thank God.
1345: aft bilge seems ok, no real gain in level. Aft bilge pump still runs continuous on auto
tx 120 gals fuel from Port tank.
2000: wx moderated as forecasted. Using the ECMWF forecast, bang on for this transit.
2300: ER checks ok. First signs of Stab belt deteriorating. Threads found on floor. 260 Nmtg.
2305: tx fuel – 70 gals from Port Tank.
Status: 666.6 miles / 632.9 gals. @ 1620
Position: 26 57.5 S 169 00.5 E
June 14, 2018
0035: tx filter getting clogged, currently tx’ing 70 gals per fill.
0217: beautiful clear star filled night, spiritual.
1015: Stab belt failed. Changed out for new one. ME hours: 9626
1045: tx fuel from Port tank,
1100: during belt change, noticed the hyd oil cooler pump coupling is loose! Will adjust.
1105: during belt change, noticed the wing engine raw water pump is leaking. Will change out.
2115: tx fuel from Port tank.
June 15, 2018
0255: running water maker, and emptied heads.
0830: passing through Dumbea Passe – Hello New Caledonia!
FWD 450: full
MID 580: tx 145, 140, 140, 140
PORT 680: tx 120, 70, 70, 70
STBD 580: tx fuel 70 gals from Port tank
Once we arrived, I made a phone call to our Agent, that I had prearranged from New Zealand. Chloë Morin is a special young lady, and we were fortunate to work with her. We first heard of Chloë when we were in Tahiti, and the seed was planted that using an Agent may be the best way to enter certain countries. The first (and only other time) we used an Agent, was in Fiji. Both times, expensive but worth it, especially when there is a language barrier.
So, established in our new spot, we hit the Market. Fresh fish is always good. Jay grills our white fish with fresh ground sea-salt, black pepper and lime. Simple, succulent, and superb. Tonight, it’s fresh Dorado!
Wanting to explore a bit further, we took the scooter off the boat, and headed out to see what we cold see. Some of you long-time readers may notice that one of our scooters is now red. Well, there’s a story to that – one which I’ll cover later in the INFINITY maintenance page. The Ocean finally had it’s way with one of them, so we replaced it with this newer one in New Zealand. It’s pretty zippy, and gets the job done. 👍
The Groupama Yacht Race was in full swing while we were in Noumea. The race takes place every two years, and Noumea comes alive with sailboats and yachts of all shapes & sizes. It’s absolutely fantastic. I personally love seeing the Trimarans fly!
The Pastries in New Caledonia are world famous, and I can attest that the reputation is not unwarranted. 😜 To counter the calories, we’d often go for walks along the shoreline. This particular day, Jay and I walked for 8 1/2 enjoyable miles.
After a few weeks of getting to know Noumea, we decided to slip the lines and head to the south of the Island, to Ile des Pins. We overnighted in a secluded cove (Anse Majic) mid transit, and rendezvoused with a couple of cruisers who we had met at Port du Sud, Noumea.
And onwards we press on, finally dropping anchor in Ile des pins.
You have a moment. when you jump off the dinghy and your bare feet land on soft, pure white, powdery sand. In the exact same instance, you become aware of the afternoon sun warming your shoulders, and your body gliding through the crystal-clear water – and you realize that everything is perfect with the world at this moment in time – as God intended.
The Perfect time to get out the MINICAT!
We actually bought the Minicat in New Zealand but didn’t really have the weather for it. Cue in some sunshine at Isle de Pins et Voila! Julie and I had some great fun together, and I got my sailing fix! It has turned out to be a great activity for the both of us. No doubt the Minicat coverage will increase as we move on. You can read more about the model we bought here.
Back in Noumea – Who mentioned Pastries??
We were told by the local boaters that there was this one place you gotta try in town. Would have been rude not to investigate.
Our last night out, we enjoyed another pleasant evening with Greg & Jane from the 30m M/Y ESPIRITU SANTO
Time & Tide wait for no man. Lines cast off, we are on our way to Vanuatu!
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
It has been over two years since my last blog, for which I am truly sorry.
Truth is, Julie and I we’re ‘down-unda’ in New Zealand, and lost to the world, (in our own world), convalescing after a serious bout of ‘over-boating’. Careful boat aficionado’s, it could happen to you too! 😮
We spent virtually 10 straight months cruising from Hawaii to Fiji – and then another few months from Fiji to New Zealand. We were exhausted, the boat was tired, and it was time we all enjoyed a break. We flew home back to Vancouver a few times, and I of course had to go back to work. INFINITY was also in need of some love and attention after many months of deferred maintenance and hard use. What better place to catch up on things, than one of the World’s boating Mecca’s – Auckland – New Zealand!
First up then, the Stats from the Fiji-NZ transit for the Offshore savants, (and Dreamers alike). The first and last entries (below) were partial days, but we show fairly consistent milage in between. I plan our days at Sea to cover 180 nautical miles per day, burning 150 gallons. As you can see, we were not far from this, (and we usually do better), but this passage certainly could not have been described as ‘favourable’ conditions.
|FIJI – NZ||(2016)|
|nautical miles per day||fuel burn (Gallons per day)|
|Averaging: 1.21 nm/Gal.|
We arrived Opua, NZ, during the dead of night, exhausted but elated. Not much to see, everything closed for the night; so we shut down INFINITY and went to bed. The next morning, bright, full of sunshine and promise, we saw several other boats at the Customs Dock with the NZ Customs Officers already going from boat-to-boat, checking-in the 6-odd vessels that arrived during the night. Formal entry into New Zealand was a straight-forward process. They were expecting us, as I had been in contact with NZ Customs prior to leaving Fiji. That’s the way we like to roll on INFINITY 😉👍
Once checked-in, we decided to press-on down to Auckland, rather than stay in Opua. We had reservations at Gulf Harbour Marina, and were keen to get established in our new ‘home’. Who knew that we were going to spend the next 18 months in Slip N-25?
Our immediate goal was to take some time out from cruising and decompress awhile. After which, I planned our time in New Zealand to be a ‘catch-up’ period – for boat maintenance, visiting my Uncle John (my Mom’s brother), and getting myself immersed back into work. The diesel isn’t going to pay for itself!
The first week we pampered ourselves by doing nothing. In that I mean, we slept-in often, and caught-up on some TV mini-series during rainy afternoons. We hired a car and spent the next 3 weeks exploring the local Township of Whangaparaoa and meeting our Dock Neighbours; which N-Dock coincidentally turned out to be a mini-Nordhavn coterie!
At the end of November, 2016, Work in India was looming, the call had finally come. We decided that Julie should go back to Vancouver and spend Christmas with family. In the end, we flew to Vancouver together and I caught a flight to India from there.
Now, fast-forward 105 days (to Mid-March, 2017). Work completed, money in the bank, and I’m in desperate need of a Jay-fix! We rendezvoused in Hawaii for a week (our self-designated ‘perfect-place’), and then flew back to NZ & INFINITY together.
All good so far right? But this is where things go awry. 😮 With a maintenance plan & some funds in place, we commenced what we assumed to be a routine period of up-keep. Not so fast. Mr. Murphy and the Chaos sisters had other plans! The routine maintenance period turned into a few months of hard work. (I’ve actually written about this phenomenon before, whereby I defined a period of 15 years to be the naturally occurring lifetime of any bolt-on component in a trans-oceanic vessel). Well, many of the remaining components which were not tended to before, (without being repaired or replaced), played “GOTCHA!” this time.
Before you, lays a brief outline of what kept us on the verge of entering the Twilight Zone. 😜
Equipment failures & mediocre luck during the 2016 season
What can I say? It was a challenging time!!**
However,,, we came to terms that we both like to have INFINITY fully operational and looking great, and this was just necessary maintenance after cruising for an extended period of time. And while we were at it, we slotted in a few more projects and vessel upgrades: (a few to be detailed later in our Projects section)
Full varnish of the teak cap-rail
Full vessel waxing, from stem-to-stern.
New Dinghy and scooter covers
New flopper stopper covers
Twin room Cabin revamp
New teak corner on bustle/swim step
New Headliners through the boat.
New Carpets through out the boat
**One thing I can absolutely guarantee a couple considering crossing oceans in their boat is that equipment will break down, and you will get though it. The blessing, or the beauty in this for me, was that these very trying times actually brought Julie and I closer together because we got through all these events together. I came to understand that I can trust my partner in any situation, and she would actually be my number one pick for any ocean transit. After 35 years of marriage (at the time) it was an epiphany for me to realize this. As I write this, I’m both humbled and honoured to have had this time, and these experiences together. So you potential cruising aficionados, get on it, stop dilly-dallying, buy the boat and get out there! The cruising life is full of potential enrichment and experience, even when the chips are down.
To break up the hectic work-scope on the boat, we’d take INFINITY out to the local Islands to keep our souls engaged in the Cruising game, and revive this wonderful lifestyle.
Every blue moon, when you and the universe are connected, the gift of friendship-for-life is bestowed upon us. It happened to us in New Zealand with Murray and Julie Bailey. A chance meeting I guess, fairly innocuous. I’d noticed this guy cleaning his boat one day (80′ custom, ‘AZZARRA’) and we’d exchange the “I’d rather be doing something else” look at each other. This happened on a few occasions and over the course of a week we’d stop and chat. We learned that he too, was happily married of many years, to a ‘Julie’
I began to look forward to our chats, and within a month our door was always open to this most wonderful couple. As often as our schedules would allow, we’d share a dinner together, and of course they invited us to their amazing property looking out over the Hauraki Gulf.
Cruising is, and always will be, most about the wonderful people you meet along the way. My take on it is that if we had not made the bold choice to cross oceans, and visit distant shores, we would not have met the souls who have enriched our lives. It’s actually not about the boat, it’s about the people – the boat is the icing on the cake🧁
With many of the projects, and maintenance, and 5 months behind us, we decided a Road Trip was in order! We had no specific plans other than to head to the South Island. I did a quick scan of Google-Earth and marked out a few places of interest:
Wellington: we had to catch the Ferry there
Christchurch: the location of a Trimaran builder Farrier Marine
Queenstown: I have some friends that live there
So with a very loose agenda in hand, we took off.
Wellington declared itself a Nuclear Free zone in a benchmark vote, which 5 years later was adopted by the whole country. Nuclear powered vessels are barred from entering all NZ ports. The reaction was interesting – New Zealand was officially downgraded from ALLY to FRIEND status. Fast forward to 2018, the US is in the process of approving easier trade and investment agreements. We certainly did not see any evidence that the Nuclear-free decision caused any harm what-so-ever. In fact, the waterfront city was named the world’s most livable City by Deutsche Bank. I believe the factors were cost of living, climate, safety and pollution levels.
Having arrived Christchurch, we discovered the best way to tour the city is by hopping on & off the Tram that weaves its way through the city, stopping at all the attractions.
We found the City to be an eclectic blend of the old and the new. Not too long ago, Christchurch experienced quite a severe Earthquake, and the rebuild process was evident everywhere.
On our way again, next stop, Queenstown!!
And here I have to introduce you to another great friend, Mr. Martin Hardy. Martin and I worked together in Trinidad, Singapore, and China, and we have kept in touch over the years. Turns out he had a property in Queenstown which was coincidently available. “Why don’t you guys stay there” he said. He did not have to ask twice.
In 1986, I was working in Saudi Arabia with another Diver called Stuart Anderson. He had spent some time in New Zealand and kept raving on about this Jet Boat ride, saying I just HAD to do it. Stuart, you were not wrong!
CHECK OUT THIS LINK, HERE.
Julie and spent a few days and nights just walking around Queenstown with no other agenda other than to explore the town at our leisure. Our Digs were only a mile out of town, so there was no rush to do anything. On impulse, we thought we’d check out the ICE BAR. (Actually, I think we had free tickets 😜)
We had heard that this place, called ‘The Cow’ was pretty cool, so on a cool afternoon we checked it out.
A bit further afield, probably 20 minutes drive from Queenstown, was this delightful little area known as Arrowtown. “Where History meets Nature”
It was time we were heading back up North again. We took the route heading west, past Milford Sound (sadly) and up the west coast of the South Island, stopping whenever the mood took us (quite frequently as it happened 😜)
Meet Zach Rohland. We first met this fine young man in North Vancouver, dockside, helping his family bring their boat ‘FAMILY TIME’ alongside. Months later, we all met up in San Diego. We decided there, that we would loosely ‘buddy-boat’ down the Mexican coast, and up the Sea of Cortez, to La Paz. We spent months together in 2013 with the Rohlands, and just knew we’d all run into each other again. Cruisers do that. So I wasn’t really that surprised when I got a text saying “where are you, I’m in New Zealand”. Well one can’t leave Divine intervention like that unattended, so after a series of texts, and hundreds of miles of driving over multiple days, we finally met up for one night in Tauranga, North Island. It was like we had seen each other yesterday!
We spent the evening catching up, devouring two large Pizzas, and recounted what each of us had been doing over the last 4 years. Zach had been in this area for a few days and asked if we were going to see Hobbiton while we were so close? Why not? While the whole Hobbit thing does nothing for me, I do think that the Lord of the Rings was Epic, so we put it on the agenda.
Hobbiton turned out to be a great day, and a fun experience. Those impromptu events usually are.
After the the Hobbiton visit, we pointed our car North again, back home to Gulf Harbour Marina, to our friends and INFINITY. We are always happy to rejoin INFINITY, even if it’s been just a few weeks away.
After this downtime in New Zealand, I got a call from work to report on the status of a new-build Diving Support Vessel, which was being built for the company in Norway. It was supposed to be a two or three-day affair. In-&-out. To this very day, (two years later) I’m still working on the same boat. You can read all about the vessel delivery trip, from Norway to Singapore, here.
I travelled back & forth from Auckland to Alesund over the next 6 months, Julie and I patiently waiting for a favourable time to move on to New Caledonia. Finally, we managed a slot when INFINITY was ready for Sea, and I had a clearing of time away from work.
BULA! Welcome to FIJI !
Uncharacteristically, this FIJI Listing is going to be a long one. I warmly suggest you dig into it when you have your favourite beverage by your side, and a clear 35 minutes… : )
Fiji wass our penultimate destination for 2016, and more-than-managed to live up to the magnificent reputation our cruising peers suggested it might be. In a word ,,, Awesome!
AITUTAKI – FIJI (arrived Aug/29/2016)
Total trip time: 7 days, 16 hours
Total trip distance: 1360 nm
Total fuel used: 1012 gals. / 1.34 nm/gal
First things first though. If you have frequented our blog in the past, you may recall our anchor winch failing (almost catastrophically) in Aitutaki, Cook Islands, during our final recovery. Not understanding what mechanical support lie ahead in Tonga, we decided to by-pass Tonga, and head directly to Fiji where support was assured. (I am SO glad we topped-up our tanks with Tahiti’s duty-free diesel when we had the chance ????). However, arriving FIJI under such conditions (an unplanned destination, and the ability for us to change plans quickly), was immensely rewarding.
During our transit to Fiji, I made contact with James Ellingford / N62-PENDANA. James confirmed that Port Denarau Marina was indeed the place to go, and offered to manage our arrival in Fiji with Customs, Agents, and service providers. All was waiting on the quayside when we arrived. Thank-you James!
After the legalities of checking into Fiji were completed, we immediately tore into the Hydraulic Winch problem.
The project got off to a good start. We identified all the parts required, and left the ordering of parts in the service providers hands. We then decided to rent a car for a few days and check out Nadi while our parts were to be flown into Fiji from New Zealand. Not my brightest move. Julie and I usually handle all repairs ourselves. This time however, I decided to hire professionals to quarterback the project as I was exhausted, both mentally and physically from the anchor-failure-drama, and the week-long transit to Fiji. The last two days of which I was on ‘high-alert’ as we threaded our way through Fiji’s insufficiently-charted waters.
It seems there was an issue behind the scenes, between the NZ distributor and Maxwell. Old part numbers conflicting with new Maxwell 3500 HWC drawings. Days rolled on. When I inquired about the delay, only then was I informed about the issue. (The British have a saying – “I was beside myself!“)
In retrospect, I blame only myself. I should have ordered the parts myself (as we always have done) and managed the entire project between us (as we usually do). The delay in receiving the parts was further complicated by the Marina needing our slip for other pre-booked vessels. We played dock chess for a week, moving 5 times during our stay. Ali @ PDM was a star. Ali – God bless you my friend.
Our agent, Josephine Morris (Jo), from Yacht Partners Fiji, cleared the parts through Customs and had them delivered to our boat in hours. Jo continued to provide exemplary service to INFINITY throughout our entire time while in Fijian waters. + 10!
Our hydraulic windless was rebuilt in just a few hours, then function tested and put back into service. I suppose we’ll never know for sure what the exact root cause of the failure was, and I have many theories. But having stripped and rebuilt the unit, I’m convinced of the Maxwell quality and satisfied INFINITY is good-to-go for another 16 years.
We rented a car for a few days, and zipped around Nadi to see what we could see. The Sleeping Giant mountain was repeatedly suggested as something you should see, so we drove out to the Botanical gardens.
Normally, I’m not really a flower guy. Oh I can appreciate it alright, like when Julie and I used to get ‘garden-fever’ when we owned our house, but I thought of this trip out to the Gardens more as something to occupy some time. I was pleasantly surprised by the tranquil energy and vibe of the place. In fact, I’d welcome the chance to visit the local ‘Gardens’ in any future destinations we go to.
The next day we headed out to familiar territory, and tried-out the Sleeping Giant Zip-Line. Just the drive out there was an adventure in itself.
And of course no visit to a new destination is complete without dropping-in to the local Market.
During our stay at Port Denarau, we met a great couple (Gerard & Trish Knight). Yes, Gerard Knight is James Knight’s brother. We enjoyed a fun afternoon together, and invited them over to the marina for some cocktails on INFINITY.
We were asked if a Nordhavn Rally was taking place because there were 5 Nordhavns gracing the docks, 1 x N60, 2 x N62’s, 1 x N75 EYF, and 1 x N78. I t was cool spending time with the Captains, and the owners. As you might have guessed, all good people : )
While sitting at the ‘Rhumba’ at Port Denarau Marina (PDM), sipping our rum & cokes, we watched one of the most wonderful sailboats I have ever seen, slip gracefully into Harbour. A famous quote sprang to mind.
“Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made.” – Robert N. Rose
The vessel was s/v ATLANTIC, and she must be seen to be fully appreciated. While studying the boat from our bar-stools, I had this realization come over me, ‘our days here are going to be cool’. PDM is temporary home for many super yachts, cool yachts, and other fine ocean crossing craft. Pinch me now.
INFINITY next to some big dogs. (Helps us keep our perspective as we travel).
To our Starboard side was Senses, (owned by the dude who owns Google).
To the Port of us was SuRi.
With our windless repaired, and our stores replenished, it was time to move on and discover FIJI. But just around the corner was Musket Cove, a must-see location near Nandi.
The timing our our arrival at Muskett Cove was just perfect. Everyday was filled with fun events, followed by an evening party.
non-stop events, people flying-in & flying out at regular intervals, daily.
Cloud 9. Yes, that’s right. A Bar & Pizza joint right out in the middle of Ro-Ro Reef, opposite Malolo Island. The only way to get there is by small boat (dinghy). You anchor your boat just off the platform, or tie your boat right up to the platform rail as we did. The Bar is surrounded by crystal clear water, around 20’ deep, and ideal for snorkeling. The top level is perfect for diving-off of. Rock music is playing and the vibe just says –“PARTY”–. I loved this place, it was unique and a lot of fun.
Another great cruising event, in another fantastic tropical destination. : ) ????
After regatta week,,, Musket Cove turned into one of the most peaceful & tranquil anchorages we’ve ever been in.
Jay & I went sailing on a Hobie Wave (a small Catamaran) this afternoon, and what great fun!! We had such a fun afternoon, we have decided to buy a small sailing Catamaran for INFINITY. Because we require one which can be assembled on site, our choice is between two models, the MiniCat or the SmartKat. Which one will we choose? Which one would you choose? Our next Listing for New Zealand will reveal all. ; )
Funny story: 27 years ago Julie and I were visiting New Zealand. Our trip to the south island was scuppered because all the Ferry’s were booked solid. So, feeling cold and needing some warmth, we booked 10 days in Fiji instead. 27 years later we find ourselves in the exact same resort! We spent a fun afternoon going down memory lane at the Plantation Island Resort.
Yep, 27 years ago we stood right here (BC) “before kids”.
Our first stop on the Yasawa Islands tour was Navadra Island, which consists of two islands joined together by a small inlet. It’s the perfect Island-get-away that you dream of, and we shared the bay with only a couple of other boats during our whole time there.
From our boat, we had the most stunning view of the hill top beside us. I kept looking at it during my morning coffees, and mentioned to Julie how it was toying with me. “We should climb to the top of that mount”,,, seemed like a good idea at the time.
Monty & Margy (from s/v WHISTLER), got their Drone out and managed to capture some great shots of INFINITY from the air. Note to self: must buy a Drone!
WAYA ISLAND / NALAUWAKI BAY
On our next stop, just 15 nautical miles north from Navandra, is Waya Island. We met some wonderful locals there and got some great diving in.
Once we met with the Chief, we were invited to walk around their village. It left a huge impression on us, being surrounded by such lovely people. And by lovely I mean folk without any agenda at all (well, perhaps some Kava or fish-hooks) button attachment to the outside world or even a consideration about it. I found the experience calming, something with a purity about it. I liked it.
While we were on Waya, the was a group of Volunteers from Australia rebuilding the village school that was damaged in the last Hurricane. God bless these guys. While social media prevails with negative stories, as Jay and I travel we consistently see good, bright, positive deeds done by wonderful people.
Back in the water for some more diving.
NACULA ISLAND / BLUE LAGOON
Navigating through the Fijian Islands is done in daylight, and by sight only. Many of these waters are uncharted, which make it easily the most treacherous waters we’ve had to navigate in, by far. Vessels going aground are common. Lately, our navigation is assisted with Satellite imagery, using an iPad app ‘MotionX-GPS HD’. This simple software is a revelation to me and has saved our bacon once already. (entering into Blue Lagoon).
While we were anchored in Nalauwaki Bay, we spent some time with Greg & Karen (s/v ENTICE), and they mentioned a couple of activities they enjoyed during their stay in Blue Lagoon. I have come respect the opinions of other cruisers who have gone before you. It’s usually hard-won knowledge, and something we can capitalize on while cruising to new anchorages. So, when they suggested we venture out to a nearby Island to buy some fresh vegetables, and go mud-crabbing with with Shirley, that sounded like a good plan.
During one of my morning paddleboard excursions, on our third day at anchor,,, behold! What do I see? The sailing vessel Red Thread – who we last saw in Tahiti! I paddled right over and said a big hello to Jesse & Neil, who with cruising with their good friends from the USA, Katrina & Tyler. It was a blast to see these guys again, and just reinforces why international cruising is so cool.
All the food we gathered and caught that afternoon, was cleaned and prepared by Shirley’s family, and we we’re invited to their home to enjoy the feast.
Sawa-I-Lau was yet another, quiet, tranquil anchorage in the Fijian Islands chain. Additionally, the location is also renowned for it’s underwater cave structure, which is open to cruisers.
Slowly, as we threaded our way through the Tuamotus Islands, French Polynesia, and the Fijian Islands, I have been doing more Free Diving and loving it! This cave was only 50′ deep but gave me another safe opportunity to explore. As I approached the bottom, I found a CASIO Waveceptor watch. The strap was broken, but I scooped it up and got the strap fixed for $10. I now love wearing the watch as it reminds me of FIJI.
Just before the sun started to set, I’d get the paddle board out and paddle around the island, which was full of intricate rock formations and shallow waters. I could have spent a month in this one spot.
YASAWA ISLAND / 8-MONTH BEACH
From Sawa-I-Lau, we moved further up North to the tip of the Yasawas Island. Apparently there are beaches there, (8-month-beach and Champagne beach), that are recognized as some of the worlds best – with silky white, powdery sand. In fact, local folklore has it that “it will take you 8 months to wash the sand completely from your hair.”
Well, turns out we didn’t even get a sniff at the beach. We arrived in cloudy unsettled weather and things did not improve once the hook was down. As I was pondering the situation, I saw a trimaran entering the Bay. It looked peculiar at first, and it took me a few seconds to figure it out. It was dismasted!
Once they were settled, they hailed INFINITY on VHF 16, and I paddle-boarded over to their vessel to see what assistance we could provide. Jeff & Jose Allen told me how the dismasting events unfolded, and indeed, they were lucky to be alive. Their Norman Cross designed trimaran suffered some serious damage. We worked out a plan for the next morning. I would provide them with our Satellite Phone and a few gallons of diesel.
Morning came, and over I paddled. Julie and I had invited them over for lunch on INFINITY, but as the morning progressed, so did the weather, and it became increasingly obvious that no lunch-date was going to be had. : (
I wish I could tell you that was the only issue. Not so. While we were sitting there at anchor, a local weather system passed right over us. Seas rose over 5m with breaking waves, sustained winds over 50 knots howled through the rigging. It was getting ugly out there and my cavalier attitude was disappearing fast. INFINITY was pitching up and down wildly and then BANG! Anchor chain running out uncontrolled a-freaking-gain! I ran out of the Pilothouse in terror, and grabbed some 1” nylon line. The reef was only 30 meters behind us! I bent on the 1” line with a rolling-hitch and secured it to our centre-cleat. As more chain began to run out, it was halted by the line. Thank you God. Two more lines soon joined the chain, one to the Port cleat, and one to Stbd. OK, now that that was in-hand, Julie and I went around the boat securing everything. It was kind-of a disaster really. The Flopper-stoppers were both deployed and there was no way we could recover them now. They held strong for many hours but the 6mm stainless-steel wire harness eventually parted. So there we were. Connected to the seabed, pitching and rolling wildly for the 12 hours the Storm Force winds lasted. By luck, I installed separate retrieval lines to the Flopper-stoppers, so we were able to recover them as conditions allowed. It was an altogether horrible experience and probably the worst boating experience we’ve had to date. It’s not all sunshine and Champagne you know. ; )
Savu Savu was a much, much better experience altogether. : )
After the storm force winds abated the the Yasawas, we picked up anchor and cruised on over to Fiji’s Northern Island of Vanua Levu. Here, we were going to see our friends Mike & Cheryl who we met in Hawaii. They have chosen to build a house and settle part-time in Fiji. We were looking forward to see what the appeal was.
The Parade is on! & the town stops. I needed a break anyway, we grab a coffee and watch.
We felt quite charmed with Savusavu, so much in fact, that we found ourselves looking at property. Yep, ‘wouldn’t it be great to own a slice of this heaven?’ Little did we know that this thought process was going to occupy us over a 6-month period. A spending an enjoyable week in Savusavu (promising to return), we picked up anchor and cruised back to Nadi to make plans for our final transit to New Zealand.
The majestic faces of Savusavu,,, just another day in Paradise.
Once back in Nadi, we dropped anchor in Musket Cove again. We have only been there twice before but somehow it felt like coming into a home anchorage. From here, we organized our immigration and refueling to be done at Port Denarau. The forecast was good and we’d soon be on our last leg to Auckland, New Zealand. All-in-all, this Journey has been a wonderful, glorious 8 month period. A lot of work, and a lot of challenges, but one so worthwhile!
Next Listing >> New Zealand.
Rarotonga is the vibrant centre of the Cook Islands and is where government resides. Circular, and only 32 km in circumference, it is dominated by high mountain peaks from which lush rain forests provide a dramatic backdrop to a palm-fringed shore.
The island is almost completely encircled by a reef, however there is no navigable lagoon, or free anchoring here. Avatiu Harbour underwent a huge harbour realignment and dredging project to straighten the east quay and dredge the basin to 10m. This project was completed at the end of 2012 and the harbour has now re-opened to visIting yachts.
The end result is a better arrangement for yachts, however locals warn (and I can confirm!) that the harbour is now even more exposed and open to the north winds and seas brought on by frontal passages, (luckily most of the weather comes from the ESE). (Source: noonsite.com)
TAHITI – RAROTONGA (arrived Aug/02/2016)
Total trip time; 76 hours
Total trip distance; 622 nm
Total fuel used: 498 gals. / 1.24 nm/gal
“Motor Vessel INFINITY, INFINITY, INFINITY,,,,,HARBOR MASTER”
Harbour Master, this is INFINITY on VHF 12 – go ahead.
“Harbor Master here Captain,,,, – Richard wants to say ‘Hello’
“Hey Richard! — How you doing Dude?!”
Of course, Richard, is none other than Nordhavn Dreamer & esteemed Global Entrepreneur, RICHARD BARTON.
Richard has been a casual acquaintance of INFINITY, via the Nordhavn Dreamers website, and we have emailed each other from time to time. Richard understood we were on our way to Rarotonga, reached-out and extended a warm welcome.
He has shown us around the Island, and looked after our importation of our fuel pump. And his wife Willy invited us over to dinner at their beautiful house on the west side of the Island. We’ve also met & hung out with their daughter Trish for a few days. What a great family! It’s wonderful people like this who make our cruising so worthwhile.
This morning, (Aug/09/2016) we installed the new fuel pump for our 20 KW Generator. She’s a go!! However, minor upset occurred trying to remove the stop solenoid. As we unscrewed the solenoid, it came apart in our hands : ( Perhaps it can be rebuilt? For now, I plugged it off and have to stop the Genny by using the manual ‘stop’ on the machine itself. No biggy, apart from the fact that the “auto-shut-down” feature will no longer operate. We’ll have to keep a closer and more frequent eye on the oil pressure and engine temperature. UPDATE: (18/AUG/2016) The fuel-stop solenoid has been repaired, installed, and is working like a champ!)
I have always been interested in the South Pacific Islands and the Polynesian / Melanesian / Micronesian cultures in general. I think many of us have been at one time or another. My own personal interest started in high-school geography class and the wonder blossomed through-out my twenties, and thirties. I travelled internationally for a living, and my interest grew stronger.
But it wasn’t until Jay and I bought our Nordhavn, and we crossed the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii, that my interest in this diverse culture began to be addressed. We were welcomed into Hawaii with open arms and could actually feel the ALOHA spirit radiate through the Hawaiian people. We loved the Bishop Museum and the local Luau’s, and basically any other opportunity which immersed us further into their culture.
But we had a whole world to explore and we were not getting any younger, so onwards we pushed – further south and further west – towards French Polynesia. All through the Society Islands, their own unique culture was immediately evident – from the most open & accepted personal sexuality, to the most amazing display of Tattoo’s. Almost everyone, it seemed, had a Tattoo prominent on their body. This was a revelation to me. I have always respected well intentioned Tattoo’s, especially one’s which told a story. I even considered getting some sort of tribal Tattoo myself years ago, but simply could not justify it.
Once we reached Rarotonga, and I saw with my own eyes, that a major percentage off the population (young & old alike) were adorned with ink. I stood in awe how every persons’ Tattoo was different from each others.
Jay & I were asked if we would mind being interviewed for the Cook Island News, and of course we said ’sure’. It was during the interview, that I noticed Soloman’s Tattoo. I remarked how striking it was, and he asked us if we wanted to hear of his Tattoo’s story. I was enthralled to hear how each symbol represented a certain time or path in his life,,, it was truly unique to him. At that moment, I knew that I was finally going to live-out a life-long dream of getting a Tattoo, one which told my own story. Two days later, my personal canvas was done at Polynesian Tattoo, in Rarotonga. I could not be happier with the results. I will forever be reminded of the wonderful experience we’ve had in Polynesia and fulfilled another dream.
Infinite dreams,,, endless possibilities,,, without boundaries. ∞
My Tattoo is a traditional Polynesian interpretation of my own personal journey: the union of two people, traveling together to foreign lands by sea, guided by the sea-birds and the warrior spirit. Our family is close-by in our hearts. We are all kept healthy from the fruits of the land, the sun, and positive energy.
As always on our travels, we’ve been meeting lots of interesting cruisers. One such couple was Riley and Elayna on s/v La Vagabonde. They have a website and facebook page directing you to their set of You-Tube videos. These guys started sailing completely new, and are now crossing oceans. Talking to them was rewarding and satisfied my sailing fix for another few weeks ! ; )
Rarotonga has been the best Polynesian Island for me yet,,, But it’s all about the boat for me, and Rarotonga is unfortunately limited in the services and moorage it presently can offer passing cruisers. The Port Authorities did the best for us, and we certainly appreciated the efforts they went to to accommodate us. We would love to see a bonafide marina opened up to the cruising public which would surely augment the burgeoning tourist industry on the Island.
This morning (August 19th) we arrived Aitutaki after an overnight passage. The forecast was somewhat favorable, but the reality was different. Of course it was much worse, 20 knots of wind on-the-nose with an posing current made an uncomfortable ride. But we got here safe and sound and we’re currently sitting here nicely at anchor (1030) – there is no way we can enter Aitutaki lagoon, as we draw too much,,, small boats only. Our anchored position is about 750 meters North of the Arutanga Passage (which is the small-boat access into Aitutaki), and just 100 meters off the coral reef. With 60 meters of chain out (in 15 meters of water), this only gives us a 40-meter buffer between us and the rocks. Although we’ve encountered similar anchoring scenarios throughout the south pacific atolls, and we are confident in INFINITY’s ground tackle, this never really feels comfortable. The ‘edge’ is there.
But what to do? Be totally safe and blow off this destination,,, No, gotta do it, but I need to be constantly vigilant, and make peace with the edge.
Rarotonga – Aitutaki
time – 20 hours
miles – 146 nm
ave speed – 7.3 kts
Fuel – 128 gals
mpg – 1.14 nmpg
We called Aitutaki Port Control on VHF 16, and informed them of our arrival. They knew we were here, and I confirmed our anchor position. We spoke to a local contact (Teina Bishop) and we’ll try to hook up with him tomorrow when we go ashore. This afternoon, Julie and I are just lounging onboard INFINITY, reading, eating, relaxing, and watching how INFINITY handles the local weather. Both Flopper Stoppers are deployed.
The next morning we dinghied into the Port, and I noted the 4’ depth in a few parts of the channel. Looks as though it was a good call on anchoring outside the reef! Trina Bishop is a dear friend & business colleague of Richard Barton’s, in Rarotonga. Teina owns a few businesses on Aitutaki, and was a member of local Parliament for over 30 years. He picked us up at the harbour and gave us a tour around the Island.
Aitutaki has been involved in a number of commercial activities, but the only sustainable one has turned out to be tourism. The Island is a shining example of keeping local culture infused with an up-to-date lifestyle, and another great tribute to the Cook Islands. Aitutaki is outstandingly beautiful and was a worthy stopover for us. We probably would have never seen this Island if it wasn’t for INFINITY.
During our stay in all of our destinations, we try to remain flexible and go with what Mother Nature has in store for us. When I looked at the upcoming forecast, it showed days of rain & strong winds ahead. Considering our vulnerable anchoring position, we decided to call it a day. I got on the VHF radio, and canceled our Island Boat Tour we had planned for the next day with Teina, and made preparations to get out of there comfortably, while we could.
Well,,, during the recovery of our anchor, our hydraulic windless failed (perhaps shear pins?) and we had to recover it using plan B, (using the davit,,pulling up 9 inches at a time). This operation took a few hours but we got there in the end. However, now we were in a dilemma,,,our planned destination from Aitutaki was going to be Tonga, but we were unsure of the support we could get there. A Trawlers anchoring capability is a major system which must be 100% fully operational and we needed to get the unit sorted soonest. Next destination then?? Fiji! – 1400 miles away!
We had just purchased some last-minute items ashore, and said good-by to Cindy (our agent) in Tahiti. As we were making our way back to INFINITY, at Taina Anchorage, we both noticed the weather had increased significantly. By the time we had hoisted the dinghy onboard, it was time to get out of the anchorage,,,Pronto. The flopper-stoppers were still deployed but I didn’t have the luxury of time to stow them; the big Catamaran behind us was getting closer by the minute as their moorings were sttetching out with the blow.
Julie asked me when she should come up on the anchor?
“Now” I said, “right now”
I flashed up the main & wing engine’s, and started the hydraulics. As Jay was hoisting the anchor, I lifted the flopper-stoppers just clear of the water, leaving the poles still deployed. We’d be OK for a bit like that. The last look I had at the wind instruments, we were showing 30 Kts, gusting higher.
We managed through the anchorage, and meandered around the Island reef. With Julie at the Wing-Station-Helm, and I stowing the flopper-stoppers, diving equipment and the rest of the cruising ensemble. By the time we were leaving the Tahiti Port entrance I was beginning to think that the journey ahead may turn out to be a pleasant one.
About 2 hours later, I went down below to use the head; and that’s when I noticed 2 ports had been left open,,,
(I’m not even going to go into the circus which followed, but just imagine an 8” hole in the side of your ship which goes underwater periodically). Yep, Cruising in Paradise is punctuated with punishment from time-to-time. It seems we are unintentional disciples of universal balance, the Ying-&-Yang at play once more. Roll-on Rangiroa!!
TAHITI – RANGIROA (Northern Tuamotus Island)
Total trip time; 27 hours
Total trip distance; 208 nm
Total fuel used: 158 gals. / 1.31 nm/gal
Rangiroa is 45 miles long and 15 miles wide, and is the largest Tuamotu, and the second largest atoll in the world. There are two passes into Rangiroa (Avatoru pass and Tiputa pass) but the anchorage that yachts favor is near the Tiputa pass and the KIA ORA Hotel.
ARANUI V – new ship in French Polynesia. Passenger / Freighter
Aranui 5 is a new custom-built, dual-purpose passenger/freighter that sails from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands in French Polynesia on a 14 day all-inclusive cruise. Designed to offer all of the comforts of a cruise liner, while operating as a supply ship, Aranui 5 is classified as a small vessel, accommodating approximately 254 passengers and 103 cabins.
The TA MAEO Tapas Bar Bar is owned and operated by Patrick & Sophie. I phoned patrick on our Satellite phone, and he came and picked us up from the Hotel dock. Thanks Patrick!!
Island life: So, this morning (July 12th), we dived the Tiputa Pass in Rangiroa – which was a ‘drift’ dive. We saw schools of Barracuda, 100’s Black-tip sharks and a Hammerhead Bull shark. The Hammerhead was BIG, looked well-fed, and was totally freakin’ awesome. Later, we took our bikes ashore to explore. We ended up in a small Tavern, met an Australian couple (Aurelio & Gary), and shared a few beers & pizza. Fun afternoon!
One day, a few months ago,,, Julie started picking up random coconuts and shaking them, to check for milk. Every now & then, we get Lucky! If we have room in the Sub Zero, we’ll keep them for happy -hour. It takes a few days for them to completely cool, but once they reach refrigerator temperature, the thick coconut husk keeps them perfectly chilled at 38º for hours. I drill a half-inch hole into them and Jay pours in the rum. It’s fun and decadent at the same time. : )
This morning we woke up to a 50’ Beneteau “GOA” anchoring in front of Infinity this morning. Last week, (while in Tahiti Taina anchorage) we had our hook down in front of them. Made me smile seeing a familiar boat sharing a Far-away anchorage together.
The only background noise in this anchorage was small boat craft and children’s laughter (jumping off the pier)
THE BLUE LAGOON
Accessible only by boat, the Blue Lagoon resembles an immense natural swimming pool filled with marine life. We spent a memorable afternoon of snorkeling and relaxing on the pristine beach.
A quick side story to the Blue Lagoon,,, towards the end of the afternoon, the winds started picking up, and virtually changed the landscape and mood in minutes. We knew the forecast wasn’t pretty, but having SO wanted to see the Blue Lagoon, we decided some time there was better than no time there. However, right now it was becoming increasingly obvious our time was rapidly running out.
We jumped into the dinghy and very carefully threaded our way out of the shoal waters, 60HP engine partially lifted to avoid another EPO (Equipment Purchase Opportunity). By the time we got back to INFINITY, the winds were over 30 knots and the seas were building rapidly. I have never seen the bow raise & fall so much in the last 4 years of our ownership. What-to-do? I briefly considered towing it behind but in these conditions I could foresee it turtling, and that would have been an insurance job,,,in the Tuamotus??? I had to go back to Plan A.
Our vessel’s davit is more-or-less centrally positioned, so we decide to go for it – lift the dinghy back to deck. Julie clambered back onboard and positioned the davit to the recovery position, as I motored up to the hook. The hook was rising and falling at least 3 feet, and I quickly realised this was going to be a one-time event. I was inwardly stressing about a shock-load, so the timing had to be ‘just-right’. Fortunately, it all worked out fine, but I have discovered the limits to our equipment. You live & learn. Recovering the anchor was also a memorable event. The wind was howling over our boat at such speed that it was shrieking, making the most horrible noise. I had no choice but to simply tune it out. I couldn’t hear Julie on the bow and had to follow hand signals. The thrusters were way overpowered in this situation, and were useless. Luckily, I had been practising using the main engine and rudder for close quarter positioning over the last few weeks, and this is what got us out of there. There was the very real danger of being pushed into the surrounding coral, as the anchor left bottom. That time I looked back at the waterline and saw Black Smoke out of the exhaust, rudder hard-to-Stbd, wind howling,,, smiling to myself & thinking – I love this stuff and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
Our diving in the Tiputa Pass was awesome and just wet our appetite for more. We heard Fakarava is the place to go for diving, so we planned our exit from Rangiroa.
Although we knew the weather for the transit to Fakarava would be ‘on-the-nose’, it actually proved to be one of the 4 worst (rough) passages we’ve ever had in INFINITY. At one point, I posed the question to Jay, if we should bug-out of there and head back to Tahiti direct. Fortunately we both decided to dig deep, and soldier on. After all, his is what INFINITY was made to do.
Our move to Fakarava was all about the Diving. There are North and South passes to dive and they both have great diving, although the sharks at the South Pass was one of the best dives of my life!
This was something that both of us really wanted to do, but I must admit to being a little apprehensive (sometimes I know too much!) Turns out, coming here was one of the best cruising decisions we’ve made so far.
Fakarava is the second biggest atoll of the Tuamotus archipelago and is considered the Mecca of scuba diving in French Polynesia. The shape of Fakarava Atoll is roughly rectangular and its length is 60 kilometres (37 miles) and its width 21 kilometres (13 miles). This atoll was classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The diving at both passes is excellent.
Pass Garuae (north) is very wide and easy and is near the town of Rotaova, which has 855 inhabitants;
Pass Tumakohua (25nm further south) is a little more tricky to negotiate but well marked.
La Paillote Cafe · Rotoava – Fakarava North
We stopped off at this quaint cafe for some cold beer and wonderful French Panini’s for a few days running. Their little pier was frequently busy with customers and fishermen.
The walk back to our boat always brought a smile to my face. I loved this Island.
Another cool business we discovered in Fakarava North, was:: FAKARAVA YACHT SERVICES
Stephanie and Aldric have set up their Yacht Services business out of their home. You are free to come & go during business hours, to lounge on their porch and surf the net. They monitor VHF 77.
We thought it was a cool idea, and a great resource for us; – our “go-to” couple for info on Fakarava. They also offer laundry / internet access / airport pick-up / bike rental / and all services & requests.
And now, what we came here for – Diving with the sharks!
All short videos can be viewed on INFINITY”s FaceBook page
What a wonderful journey back to Tahiti this was turning out to be. The wind is a cooling 9.5 knots at our stern, assisting us along towards Tahiti. The sky is clear and the stars are shining brilliantly. It would be perfect, if not for a leaking Generator fuel pump which my mind is continually chewing over as we transit. Always something negative going-on in the background, while you are immersed in blissful paradise. I chuckle to myself at times contemplating the Grand-Scheme of things and how there’s an obvious sense-of-humor at play. The Ying-&-Yang – God continues to keep me on my toes.
We’re on our way back to TAHITI, to close out our time in the Society Islands. We need to:
Under Construction… / Visit #2 immanent
The transit over to Moorea is perhaps, 20 miles away. It didn’t take long before we could see her lush mountains contrasted against the azure blue sea. It was a perfect day.
On this particular day, the Pilot House is climate controlled, Adele is heard playing in the background, over the gentle thrum of our engine, and all systems are ‘go’. As we slde into Cook’s Bay, each one of us is secretly looking for King Kong. It’s a surreal experience.
Our day quickly ran into dusk,,, we opened a bottle of wine, played some cards, enjoyed some music, and contented ourselves with an early night.
Morning brought some clouds and a change of pace. We unshipped our fast dinghy and made our way towards the Moorea Yacht Club. We quickly got the lay-of-the-land from the YC staff, and continued our exploration by foot.
Now back at INFINITY, and all safe & sound. Our night unfolded with some Hinano’s & popcorn as we watched a movie on the upper aft-deck. It occurred to me how fortunate we were to be here, as a family, enjoying this prehistoric vista, on May 23rd, 2016.
Next day, some water activities.
On May 15th, 2016, we picked up anchor from Bora Bora Yacht Club at 12-noon, and made our way over to Tahiti. The journey was rather unpleasant, as we had headwinds-&-head-seas throughout the entire journey. Mercifully, the transit was a short one.
BORA BORA – TAHITI
Total trip time: 22 hours
Total trip distance: 152 nm
Total fuel used: 128 gals / 1.18 nm/gal
It’s always great to be heading to a new destination, but the feeling of anticipation was almost palpable with Chloë & Kal. No doubt they appreciated Kiribati and Bora Bora, but Kal in particular was looking forward to the great ‘Metropolis’ of TAHITI.
The Marina Taina was home to some of the most beautiful and current boats in the world.
Though we were enjoying our time at Marina Taina, our time with Chloë & Kal was coming to an end. : (
Over breakfast, we etched-out our plan for the remaining week.
Our son Kal loved the time in city of Papeete, remarking that this was his best time in the two months onboard INFINITY. (I wasn’t quite sure how to interpret that, but we’re happy he found his bliss ; )
After the weekend in Papeete, we departed Tahiti, and transited over to Moorea. (Moorea was great & turned out to be better than expected).
With Moorea under our belts, we headed back to Tahiti to rent a car, and do some exploring!
Intense, but magnificent weather as we get back to the boat at Marina Taina. Moorea in the distance.
With the kids now gone, it’s back to just Julie and I onboard INFINITY, once again. One of the ‘take-aways’ from cruising with your Partner is that you are forced into growing as a couple. We’ve been spending 24/7 together, living in close quarters, and often in strenuous physical and/or emotional conditions. I’m happy to say we are thriving : ) We’ve learned to rely on each other more now (than perhaps we otherwise would), and this continues to build respect, love & trust. With 28 years of marriage behind us, I feel new wonderful horizon’s are in our future.
About a week later, we got word through our agent that some poor weather was due to hit Marina Taina. I checked it out and it looked ugly. In fact, I had one of those gut premonitions that very morning. Coincidence???? God is teaching me well, and Julie and I have agreed to never ignore a gut feeling. 30 minutes later we let the lines slip, & we were outta there. Our exit was intense,,, seas were building quickly and I was seeing gusts of 40 kts, with the wind howling and cold rain sheeting down on both of us as we brought up the anchor. (which was amidst the multitude of bow lines zig-zagging from the rows of med-moored yachts). We kept calm, but I mentioned to Jay how it does not really get any more hairy than that. Over to the more protected Papeete marina we go!
With no real rush on our hands, Julie and I decided to stay put at Papeete Marina, and enjoy the convenience of the city. Several times during our stay, we’d walk to the Bora-Bora Lounge, to enjoy a cold beer. And other days we’d take our scooters around the Island. It was great to have the freedom to do that, and we seem to appreciate the scooters more-&-more as time goes on.
We meet up with other cruisers and Nordhavn owners from time-to-time. Imagine our pleasure when we pulled into Papeete Marina and saw Dick & Gail Branes from N57 – ICE DANCER II. The last time we saw each other was in Ko Olina, Hawaii.
For those of you who may frequent our blog, you’ve come to see our life at Sea is regularly interspersed with periods of repairing equipment. ALL boats are the same, no matter if Power or Sail, mono / catamaran / or trimaran, Fiberglass, Aluminum, or Steel. They all have issues from time to time, and this is just a fact of ocean-crossing boat ownership.
So which components needed attention this month? Fortunately, only three. (so far)
Iridium Sat Phone; this turned out to be just an Admin error from our Airtime Provider. We had renewed our contract for another year, but the airtime credit had not been applied to our account. Once we got to Tahiti, I was able to contact them by email, and once alerted to the issue, they quickly resolved it, and we are back in business. All tested, all working great.
Sub Zero Refrigerator; We had noticed our Fridge temperature rising from time to time and the Nordhavn Owners Group alerted me to the fact that the Condenser Fans have a limited lifespan. We checked the fan, and sure enough it was occasionally stopping. We accepted the fact we would need new ones, and ordered them through Hawaii. Then the Fridge died all together. Through several U-Tube videos, we learned that the failure of the condenser fan could put an additional load on the Start Relay, so we ordered that from Vancouver. The parts should be here soon. UPDATE; Our refrigerator parts arrived about 10 days later, and we immediately got to it.
Shore Power Cable; During a torrential down pour one night, our cable connections had seen enough moisture to short, basically fusing the North-American MARINCO connections together. Marinco spares are hard to find in Tahiti, so we were left with few options. We chose to chop the fused connections out of the cable and join them together, thereby eliminating further connections and making one single shore-power cable, out of the two. To this cable, we installed the 200 amp / 240v connector. It’s a beast! – made specifically for the SuperYacht vessels. We then had a completely separate cable made up with a 32 amp / 220v connection with seems the most prevalent here in the South Pacific marinas. No Marina? = no problem. We use the generator.
After a few weeks ‘free-time’, visiting restaurants and local Bars, we entered a maintenance period on INFINITY. Time for a rub-down and some wax!
Now back to the Fun! 5 short videos (from our Facebook page) of a diving trip we took with the owners of N62 – ‘WALKABOUT’, (John & Veronica – who were tied-up alongside Marina Taina). It is always a pleasure to meet other Nordhavn owners, and we quickly struck up a friendship. They invited us to a BBQ onboard their N62, and the following day, we all went diving together. Great times. : )
Happy Canada Day !
The local diving wet our appetite for something more adventurous. We had heard of the Tuamotos Islands and the great Diving offered there, but we’d have to backtrack several hundred miles to go there, and was it going to be worth it? Of course it was! We pack-up INFINITY ∞ and head for Rangiroa.
Our destination to Tahiti was changed to Bora Bora, when we realized just how close we would have to pass the Island, to land at Tahiti. The decision was unanimous,,, Bora Bora here we come!
During the passage, a few “FIRST’s” were introduced.
The transit to Bora Bora was coincidently more-or-less, the same milage as the Oahu-Kiribati leg, (around 1160 nautical miles each). The weather for the Bora Bora run was much kinder to us this time, winds 15-20 kts and 2m seas. However, the transit was not without incident.
4 days out, right in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, we lost our Stabilizer belt. The belt (which runs a hydraulic pump off the main engine) parted, and could no longer power the Stabilizers. Of course the incident occurred in the early hours of darkness. Chloë woke me up to say the Stabilizers alarmed, and indicated lost pressure.
So the usual Chinese-Fire-Drill ensues. I jump out of bed and check out the hydraulic reservoir; that’s OK. So as I’m scratching my head on what to check next, I see the parted-belt hanging off the main engine.
I’ve done this before, so we commence the drill.
Turn on wing engine, put power to the wing-engine prop, and forge ahead at 3 kts. Next, turn off the main engine (1000 miles from anywhere). Then Chloë and I start dismantling the Belt-guard, and loosening the pump. I had ordered brand new belts in Hawaii, so we were prepared. The new belt went on easy enough, and we tightened it up in good time. Now came a moment of prayer (I’ve got God on speed-dial these days), and we flashed up the main engine. It jumped to Life!! Thank you God. We engage the clutch and resumed our normal 7.5 kts. Once everything looked OK, we secured the wing engine.
The remainder of the transit was rather pleasant & uneventful — until we put the anchor down in Viatape, Bora Bora.
We had dropped the anchor manually, and set it. A while later, we decided to reposition our boat, so we flashed up the hydraulic system only to find nothing operational. Uh oh…
I pulled out our Iridium SAT phone, only to find that not making calls to the USA (I’ll investigate that once we get to Tahiti). The only external comms we had was the Iridium-Go text system. So I text ABT (American Bow Thruster) on my iPad, and say “help!” Perhaps two or three minutes later, I get text responses from both David Wright, and Darryl (from world wide Tech-Support) asking what’s up?
I continued answering texts, one-by-one, going through our system, and twenty minutes later we find the problem!!
It’s almost embarrassing for me to admit I’d missed the actual fault, but the point right here is the ABT TRAC support team are truly with you anywhere in the world. Any trawler I own will have ABT stabilizers,,, the support is that good. BRAVO.
Our fault? The electric COIL had vibrated off the wing-engine clutch. No control signals were getting to any hydraulic equipment. It was a simple matter to slide the coil back onto it’s rod, and we were back in business. This time, I used blue loctite to secure the single nut. You live and you learn. Ain’t boating great?!
The sunsets experienced enroute to Bora Bora were the usual ‘phenomenal’.
A few days before we left KIribati, we met a couple on a Catalina 42 (Bob & Marge) who mentioned a joint interest — Palmyra Island— and gifted us a book about the skullduggery that the Island is infamous for [“AND-THE-SEA-WILL-TELL”]. Julie read the first few pages aloud,,, and we were hooked! I took over as orator, and read a chapter aloud to my audience whenever the mood took us. (perhaps 3-4 Chapters a day). The story had us rapt, as we were cruising around the very Islands under discussion. It turned out to be an intimate and fun family occasion.
As you can see from the next series of photos,,, the scenery in Bora Bora was simply sublime!
So, once we found our bearings, we started to venture into town. The main town is Viatape, which we ended up anchoring right in front of. Perfect for excursions to shore by dinghy.
As we were painfully aware that Chloë & Kal would be with us, for which could be the last time, (in a long time,) we hit the Island in style and did not shy away from the local Restaurants.
For a different vibe, we picked up anchor and moved to the Bora Bora Yacht Club (had to do it!) It turned out to be a great place, and the food was fantastic.
Looks like Paradise right? Yes it was,,, but our time there also had a few mishaps. I managed to polish some rocks with our Z-Boat’s prop (good thing we had a spare), and we lost of of our cockpit cushions during a squall outside the Yacht Club. Julie and I spent a few hours looking for it at daybreak, but no luck. Both incidents were totally avoidable, so we should have known better. This yachting lifestyle is about constant learning and improvement, and never fails to teach us new lessons (and old lessons),,,
KIRIBATI – BORA BORA
Total trip time: 164 hours (6 days, 20 hours)
Total trip distance: 1173.7 nm
Total fuel used: 920.4 gals / 1.27 nm/gal
On to TAHITI!!
On April 12th, 2016, we finally left the Island of OAHU, which had become our home-away-from-home. I was actually unsure if the time would ever come, so great was our time in the Hawaiian Islands. We will remember the consistent warm weather, cooling trade winds, glorious sunsets & the wonderful ALOHA Spirit. Until we meet again, Thank you Hawaii for the last 16 wonderful months. MAHALO.
Pointing INFINITY South into the Pacific waters, we commenced our transit from OAHU to Christmas Island, KIRIBATI.
This trip is a family reunion with Julie, Andy, Chloë & Kal Nemier, all together again, just like the good ol’ times. After our stay in French Polynesia, Chloë departs for Norway, to start her new life with her boyfriend Henrik. And Kal starts his University education back in British Columbia. When will we all meet up again?
As we exited the Barber’s Point channel, we encountered a plethora of shipping, and a complete failure/shut-down of our primary Nav (Nobeltec) system,,, (we’re perhaps 20 minutes into our trip at this stage) No drama. We fired up the secondary Furuno plotter and restarted the Nobeltec again, (after checking all the connections were tight), and had no further issues with it.
The first day out was so rough that it was ‘every man for himself’. Nourishment-wise, no one felt like eating anything anyway. The second day we rallied together to re-heat some Thai leftovers. The third day was better and we managed to bake a Lasagne. We had our first coffee’s of the trip on Day 3. That felt good, I loved that.
Day 4, the Nespresso coffee machine was re-installed in it’s rightful place. For most of the voyage, the weather did not really improve much, with continual heavy head seas & winds. But our sea sickness medication was working & we soldiered on. Our last 24 hours, as closed in on Christmas Island, were thankfully peaceful with calm winds and seas.
After a shaky start, I’m now realizing that the boat & crew are actually pretty well sorted. And it’s funny how it can take a rough transit to substantiate that. I actually like these longer passages because they enable you to fine tune your vessel. During the transit, the boat’s operation has primacy in my thoughts. It allows me to capture what’s important to make the boat go; (what is really paramount, and what’s just fluff). I have a totally revised TO DO list, now that another 1160 miles has passed under the keel.
As we are approaching Christmas Island, 24 miles out. I’m sitting in the salon in total air conditioned comfort, my iPad mini beside me showing our present position, and it occurs to me that I have everything I could ever want right here. My family is upstairs and we are all enjoying this wonderful experience of visiting the South Pacific together. Next week, we’ll see Bora Bora, Raritea, and Tahiti. I feel so very fortunate to be able to enjoy this ‘once in a lifetime’ experience as a family. Who says God is not great? Right now, I’m sitting in the awe and wonderment of it all.
The day before we headed out, we decided to grab some diesel, basically to stem the generator use. (During the transit and during much of our time at anchor, the generator was running 24/7 for Air Conditioning). Well, that refueling event turned out to be a hairy adventure. No photos, no time for that. The surge was so great at the commercial dock, that we were ‘live-boating’, and actively repositioning the fenders for much of the time. Don’t ever want to see a ‘next time’.
We had one other issue during our stay. The plastic PEX fitting underneath our Hot-Water tank let go. Chloë heard the mid-ship’s bilge pump running, and alerted me to the noise. Naturally this took place at O’Dark thirty, as I pumped out the space and spent 20 mins rummaging around the engine room for spare fittings. Luckily we had one, and we were back to “Fully-Operational” status inside 30 mins.
Our stay in Christmas Island stretched out to 7 days. We chilled-out a few days, BBQ’ued and swam off the bustle. The Island tour & picnic took a day. And of course ‘Island Time’ played a role with our clearance, immigration, banking and diesel delivery. It’s easy to account for the days clicking-on by.
OAHU – KIRIBATI
TOTAL TIME FOR JOURNEY: 168 hrs (7 days)
TOTAL MILAGE FOR JOURNEY: 1153.6 nm
TOTAL FUEL FOR JOURNEY: 979.6 gals / 1.17 nm/gal
We crossed the Pacific Ocean to visit the Hawaiian Islands & our friends on the Big Island (Karen & Bob Moles – hi guys!). The transit to Hawaii would break up an otherwise huge undertaking (voyage to New Zealand), and also provide a last stop for any spares & servicing that this intermediate journey would uncover. Our initial research suggested that Oahu would offer a great Base and entry point to the Hawaiian Islands.
We arrived Oahu, Ko Olina Marina on November 17th, 2014. Thanks again to our crew Ron Okada & Frank Balm (you know you guys were awesome, don’t you?!). On November 18th, we had guests arriving, flying in from Vancouver.
We spent the first day a-walkin’ & a-talkin’ around the Marina grounds. Jay and I have come to love Ko Olina.
A DAY ON THE BEACH
For purely medicinal purposes, refreshments were in order.
The next day, was my 50th Birthday. Awesome. I received many cards, gifts and messages of good will. Indeed, Jay and I are very lucky to be surrounded by such great people in our lives.
Such great times tend to gravitate around my Birthday. On November 19th, 2012, we received word from Transport Canada that ‘INFINITY’ had officially been registered to us. In 2013, we were fortunate to celebrate in La Paz, Mexico (with the Fubar), and now in 2014, we celebrate with family and great friends in Hawaii.
Next morning, time to shake the cobwebs off, and take the boat out for a burn along the western shore.
another day, we went for a car ride on the eastern side of the Island
Diamond Head (had to,,,) Diamond Head is one of those ‘gotta-do’ things in Oahu. It’s basically an old Volcano crater which was turned into a Miltary Strategic Point. Because of it’s uniqueness and the spectacular views it offers, it has become a bit of a tourist attraction. A walk for tourists which is a series of many steep stairs and has several lookout points across the island & coastline.
and back down to Waikiki
PEARL HARBOR We are all familiar with the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the Japanese, causing the beginning of World war two, but it was an emotional journey to visit the harbor where it all took place and see all the artifacts in the museums there. It personalized the tragedy and gave us a whole new understanding of the event.
On to our Luau. We chose the Polynesian Cultural Center for this and we were not disappointed. The show after the dinner was spectacular,,, really was.
Steve and Joanne have said their goodbyes, and Lynn & Steve remain for a few days more on the good ship INFINITY. This is a shot of our last night together,,, good times!
Dec 26th, 2014 – I went back to work (Middle East again), and Julie flew to Vancouver for Christmas with the family.
Feb 15th, 2015 – Harley is back onboard INFINITY! Click on the link HERE to see how it all transpired.
Feb 28th, 2015 – INFINITY ∞ Haul-out. ON THE HARD
Once we recovered from Harley’s import into Honolulu, we got busy on INFINITY ∞ We had 5 days to make it happen, before I had to get back to work. After 2 1/2 years, it was great to get her out, and give her some attention.
May 1st, 2015
After a couple of months back at work, Julie and I were reunited once again, (perhaps for the 124th? time). I go earn the cruising chips and Julie stays onboard and tends to INFINITY’s every need – a job she excels at. Before our guests arrive, we immerse ourselves in the Hawaii we’ve grown to love. Here is what was happening locally.
Meet Kevin, Ko Olina’s local Puffer fish. He surfaces every few hours to try his luck. He’s rarely dissappointed. He’s often thrown some fresh fish from a local catch.
Another Charter boat brings home a prize. This Yellow fin was actually typical,,,(honestly). Kevin is going to be happy!
Occassionally, Julie and I would venture into Honolulu, visit West Marine and then go shopping,,, I fell instantly in love with this bad-boy – the 2015 INDIAN ‘SCOUT’
White Party at Ko Olina’s sea-side lawn area. It was around 9pm, and Julie and I had just finished our new Battery Bank installation. We took Harley for a walk and look what was happening on the grounds! It was crazy and magical at the same time. It sure looked like fun & everyone we spoke to was having a great time.
This was no ordinary reunion, this one was special as it marked the first time my Dad & his wife Joan, had been onboard INFINITY. We were fortunate to have my brother-in-law – Jean-Pierre Daspe, also join us. We spent a week lazing around Oahu, before heading off to KAUAI
OK, another night at the Golf Club. It’s local, it’s handy, and the views are easy on the eye.
JP, getting some water time in.
A day out to Manoa Falls
Well, it’s been a busy month, and you’ll see it’s about to get busier ; )
Two days after our arrival back to Ko Olina, (from KAUAI), my Dad and Joan departed Oahu, heading back to Canada. JP followed a few days later. That left 4 clear days for Julie and I to prepare INFINITY for Jan & Emily’s arrival.
Jan Lacock, and her daughter Emily, are our dear friends from North Vancouver who came out to visit us on May 21st, 2015.
We met this wonderful woman, who happened past our boat (paddle-boarding) just after anchoring in Hanelei Bay. We invited her onboard for coffee and discussed many things local to the Island. (Horror of horror’s, Kelly – I’ve misplaced your details – I’m so sorry) In true Island spirit, she lent us her car for the weekend. Just incredible,,, Island people are so good.
With some wheels, we got touring around the Island to see what we could see.
Do you remember the film “The Descendants”? We recognised many places on the Island where different scenes were shot. It was kind of cool to associate these places we were going to, with the Clooney movie. We all liked the movie, and loved KAUAI.
A few days later, we had to pick up sticks, and head back to Oahu. The forecast was poor, and guess what? Bang-on this time : ( Bye-bye- KAUAI, I shall see you again sometime.
The day after registration, I ran my first Marathon. You can read about it here
We spent the next few days relaxing arond Kailua Bay.
Flying over Kilauea, we saw live lava flows
the flight over the island took us over some beautiful pools & waterfalls
Another day, we went hiking around the Volcanoes National Park
wandering through the Thurston Lava Tube, kind-of cool.
Views from the Thomas A Jagger Museum
INFINITY / PENDANA Rendezvous
When we learned that N62 Pendana was passing through Hawaii during their Pacific transit, we thought it would be cool to hook-up, and finally meet up with the Ellingford’s.
Two Ocean-crossing Thoroughbreds in Hawaii
Hawaii – the Rainbow State (you’re not kidding!)
Reflecting back, we ended up staying a couple of weeks in Hilo, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The anchorage was well protected, and access to the shore (by dinghy) was painless enough. The next two photos of Infinity were taken by James, from Pendana.
Well, time to head back to Oahu. This guy has to head back,,, to go to work. Is it really that time already?
Our transit back to Ko Olina was blissfully calm, and highly unusual for the Alenuihaha Channel.
This is the last stop, the end of the road for the FUBAR 2013 Rally
thanking God for enabling this great experience for us
As the morning progressed, so did the fog. We arrived Mag Bay by Radar
Entering San Diego Harbor, we came within 500m of the US Military presence. They were everywhere,,, Cool!
Jay and I have decided to enter the FUBAR 2013 Rally!