Nuka hiva.

We had a great sail racing talabal across to Nuka hiva. A huge bay full of oysters awaited us and a small but sweet town with a few wifi cafes and bars,  post office , hospital and local craft centre.  My favourite was a little snack bar that ran bbqs and had decent enough wifi to call home. 🙂

The locals put on a day of activities;  they showed us their local dances,  gave us food to try and showed us how to make seed necklaces. In the evening their local dance group performed for us and blew us all away. Sadly the food was a bit exotic but it was great fun to meet up with the rest of the rally.

The next day was spent unblocking toilets which on a fragile stomach from last night’s drinking was not too welcome! Amazingly for me and james , we got some help off Ian who insisted on doing the whole procedure. After which his nurse/wife Sindy looked inspected and cleaned up my smashed toe from the day before.

Hugh took me to the hospital the next day and I was seriously impressed by it.  Clean, modern and quick; I just walked in got a ticket and was seen within 5 minutes.  10 minutes later and I was hobbling along to the pharmacy with a list of drugs and bandages. Luckily some of the locals gave me a lift because it turns out walking 2 km with a smashed foot isn’t much fun!

After a pleasent stay in the soggy Marquesas (Andy described it as a warm lake district) we were all looking forward to heading off to the Tuamotos.

Hiva Oa

Hiva Oa has a small breakwater which you can anchor inside if the ferry is not there. Luckily for us it was bank holiday weekend so we managed a few days in the bay before we had to move on.

Here we were reunited with Tiggy of Miss Tiggy. After 3 weeks apart this was very exciting and we were all pleased to have her back!

About half an hours walk around the mountains there is a village with a lovely mix of Polynesian and French influence.  However before we could explore we had to check into the local gendarme.  20 plus yacht crew in a tiny office where the officers only English was “I don’t speak english” followed by a chuckle was certainly an unusal sight here.  The gendarme found it so funny he took several selfies and probably won’t forget us for a while!


Once checked in we could finally roam free. Sadly the post office closed before we got there so we had to wait to get local sims ( this became a long running theme..) but the supermarket wasn’t.  The owner gave us fresh lychees and we got excited about the French food. We spent the rest of the afternoon planning out our stay in the Marquesas by the beautiful pool in the hotel in the mountains.  To be reunited with everyone back home via wifi was much appreciated.


Indeed had Marie Jo the washing lady not lost my favourite teeshirt,  I would only have found memories of Hiva Oa. Dam you Marie Jo.

Ou Pou

After an excitable struggle with the crusing shoot, we arrived along the coast of Ou pou with a pod of dolphins. More spectacular cliffs and another impressive bay.  The anchourage itself was a bit tight with only just enough room for ourselves and the other 4 oysters already there. We had a group dinner in a local pension on the hillside. No menu, just a shown of hands for several options. My steak and breadfruit chips were delicious.

The next morning we walked up to the cross on the hill and were rewarded with stunning views of the bay and village. After a group breakfast we wandered around the small but neat village, complete with not one but two football pitches.  Sadly we had to get to Nuka Hiva for the oyster party or we could have happily stayed longer.


The big crossing 2

Day 7 ish.

Decided to put the twin headsail up. .. 2 hour battle with lines and sails, we were smashing it with 8.5 knots plus.

Day 8.

Turns out eggs can go mouldy.  Suddenly eggy bread doesn’t seem so appealing.

Day 9 ( i think)

Halfway! We celebrated with pineapple juice and pistachio nuts. Far more exciting to us than anyone on land can appreciate!

Day 10.

Sarah noticed a rip in our twin head sails .. after 30 mins with the binoculars we determined it was in fact a rip and not bird shit.  2 hours later it was back up , repaired and helping us cruise along at 8 knots again.  All the while this was happening we had a pod of at least 50 dolphins jumping into the sunset. Absolutely magical.

Day 11.

After a week of rationing out meat , me and Sarah found an extra 3 packs of chicken hiding in the freezer. .. oops!

Day 13
Woken with a face full of water. ..  twice. .  Llyod claims he didn’t know my hatch was there when he threw the bucket. ..

Day 15
We’ve decided our window for boat murder has now passed as we’d now be required to take the body back ashore. Luckily we’re all still getting along!

I’ve lost count of days now but as I sit in the dark waiting for the sun to rise, as we finally approach land I can’t help but be frustrated with this passage. Instead of long rolling waves and consistent trade winds we’ve had a confused sea state, heavy swell and fluky wind directions. The wind has tempted and teased us the whole way… often just not quite enough to sail but just enough to warrant trying. Sail and rig changes have been almost daily.  We’ve been rolled and bashed about for almost 3 weeks now but we’ve remained in high spirits throughout.  The daily ssb net made us feel not quite so alone and to my surprise we’ve actually had to take actions to avoid several boats along the way..

While the wildlife was few, the stars have been amazing and we should be so lucky to have the opportunity to cross such a prestigious ocean. Excitement for the marquesas is high!

The Marquesas

I was lucky enough to be on watch when we first sighted land. At first because there were no lights I thought my eyes might have been deceiving me but no…there was definatlty a land shaped silohaute under the stars.

As day broke it only became more atmospheric with the sun starting to rise as we sailed around the bottom of the island.  The tops of the mountains were surrounded by thick mist and the whole place smelt amazingly of wet grass.


After 3000 miles we timed our arrival with oyster blew which was pretty crazy.  The bay of virgins did not disappoint and without a doubt is the most amazing place I’ve ever landed. If you got a kid to paint a fairy tale land,  fatu hiva wouldn’t be far off.


Once there we were treated to home made pastries for breakfast on metereoryte and then after cleaning the hull ( you would not believe how many critters got a free ride)  we all walked up the hill to a local ladies house for lunch.

Desolait can only be described as the marquesas’ top entrepreneur.  For 20 dollars a head she puts on a buffet lunch of  local dishes….ceviche,  goat in coconut milk, chicken, breadfruit and rice.  All of which she gets off her own land and probably cost her about 20 dollars to put the whole thing on.  She must average at least 5 or 6 yachts a day and has been doing this for 15 years she told me. I’m convinced she has a secret palace on the other half of the island.


The big crossing.

3000 miles is a long time at sea. Before I left I phoned home and spoke to my parents who reminded me of this.  They asked what you do for such a long tine… My mum said I should sing rod Stewart ( we are sailing..) , I said I mostly ponder life and eat Chocolate biscuits.  My dad thinks I should ponder 42. Its day 6 ( i think ) and I’ve now done all of these things.. mum there’s way better songs about sailing than rod Stewart( thank God! ) and dad I’m sorry but 42 is just a number!


I’ve actually spent the last few days thinking about how excited I am for Christmas of all things.  And then thinking of all the things I am looking forward to doing when I get home. To give you an insight here is a little list in no particular order….


Sit on the work top and drink ribena,

Have a bath,

Put toilet paper down the toilet,

24 hour tescos,

Friday night Chinese,

Make cheese scones with granny Billie,

Visit granny Jean at her shop,

Go to the boat with gramps,

Visit James at uni,

Go to wagamamas with Jessie,

Watch TV while mum crotchets and dad eats cheese,

See dad’s new band… Finally!

Have Saturday night takeaway with the cousins,

Go climbing with the boys,

Hike to sycamore gap ,

See the Christmas lights in Norwich with Gav,

Laura’s home wedding,

Eat my weight in popcorn,

Play the jukebox,

Have Sunday dinners .. GRAVY.

The Tyne bridge and the angel of the north .



I was fully prepared to be let down by the Galapagos. I just didn’t see how it could live up to its name, but I was blown away.

We arrived in San Cristobal all guns blazing to make sure we didn’t miss the 3 o clock boat inspection.  After weeks of chucking stuff out and getting the boat ready for this, it was all over in a matter of minutes. In fact the officials were more bothered about their free cans of coke than what we had on board.

You can’t roam free in the galapagos so Tiggy and James hired a guide. The intinary was very strict about times and places so after a 4 am start in the poaring rain we were all pleased to arrive at Isle Espanola.  This was my first experience of an proper Galapagos island and probably still my favourite . We saw iguanas, lizards, crabs, sea lions and all kinds of birds. There was so much wildlife you had to watch where you stepped.

We watched a sea iguana swim dangerously close to a blow hole but fortunately (sadly) he was spared. Aparently it isn’t uncommon for them to go for an unexpected joy ride!   The coastline was beuatiful but my favourite thing was getting to see an albatross.  Fabri our guide had been a few days before and they hadn’t arrived yet so we were really lucky.   Birds of the ocean, they fly thousands of miles to meet up with their partners here and then take it in turns to fly 300 miles plus to find food for their young. I think I’ll forever be haunted by the Skelton of the one that didn’t manage…

The rest of the week we visited up to two islands a day and saw frigate birds courting, blue footed boobies nesting , all kinds of iguanas and little lizards trying to assert their dominance at us by doing mini press ups. I’m sure this scares off other lizards but it looks pretty funny!

Every island we landed on , we had a walk and a snorkel. After swimming into currents,  over sharks and being swam at by a seal I decided I much prefered the walks. Not that land was much safer as I managed to be jumped at by a pariculary large crab,  ran at by an iguana and chased by several sea lions. Clearly the next David Attenbourgh in the making. ..

On the last day we climbed to the top of barthelome in what can only be described as lunar landscape. The view from the top was breathtaking though. Unfortunately so were the 300 plus stairs!  We saw the mini penguins and they were super cute but super uninterested in us. In fact I was surprised by how most of the wild life here was so unbotheted by our presence. .. it was almost like we weren’t there.

To have seen and explored all these amazing islands is something I will never forget.


Leaving the galapagos.

For starters you can’t just leave somewhere like the galapagos.  You must first notify Regine 2 days in advance who notifies our agent Ricardo who sorts it all out with someone else… who gives Ricardo a piece of paper to give to Regine who passes it on to us to say we can leave. Few!  Regine has to do this for 30 boats… and that was just for leaving.  I don’t even want to think about entering!

She must be some kind of wizard because we all manage to get our zarpes  ( leaving tickets) and with a little ( alot) of help from Gav we manage to get the boat ready and fit for the 3000 mile passage that awaits us.

Provisioning for such a passage would be tricky anywhere but there’s no 24 hour big tescos here so have to order our food through another agent who gets it flown in from Equador and delivered to the boat.. which sounds like a glammed up tesco’s delivery until you realise they’ve given you all the nearly out of date stuff and shitty looking fruit and really it’s just like a tesco’s delivery.  A few hours wandering around the fruit market later and our fruit issues solved, we were not to rest just yet as a rogue taxi driver decided to ram our dingy with his flag pole.  Standing on Safiya’s dingy in a swelly ancourage while trying to patch a large hole is not easy… And sadly didn’t work.  Luckily the magical Regine kicked Ricardo’s ass in to gear once again and found us a dingy repair man.  It unfortunately meant we set off 6 hours later than we’d planned but that’s sailing!

Leaving the galapagos and friends behind was not easy.  Especially knowing we wouldn’t see some for a long time and others for a really long time.  And yet again I come to the conclusion that saying good byes is the hardest part of Sailing. I can deal with broken dingys,  leaking engines,  squalls and late night shifts but saying goodbyes won’t ever get easier.

However, as I sit on watch writing this the sun is about to come up and I’m full up on chocolate biscuits trying to work out which saw doctors song was their “one hit wonder” so It’s not all bad.  And I am very much looking forward to the marquesas where we will be reunited with the fleet and internet coverage so we can be reunited with loved ones back home.


To my friends and family that read this I’m sorry it’s been so long since I last posted…. 3000 miles is a long way! After a great  (but rolly ) passage I am very pleased to be enjoying the marquesas. Wifi here is not great so I will go back and add the photos later!

Love to you all,



Journey to galapagos

Day one.

In true boat style, the instruments decided to pack in just as we were getting ready to set off. We managed to narrow it down to something blowing the sea talk fuse in the course computer so the first 6 hours of our trip were spent running around plugging and unplugging raymarine equipment.  Already worried about our batteries and the alternator it was a bit of a shaky start but by the end of the day we managed to isolate the issue and get our instruments back. During all this time we were surrounded by huge rays. They like to jump out the water , some flapping their fins, some bearing their bellies, some doing back flips. Just amazing.

After a day of rushing around we were rewarded by the most beautiful sunset and a night sailing under the stars.
We traded some chocolate for a fish off the local fisherboys enroute so I had breaded snapper for the first time. It actually wasn’t bad!

Day two.
Today we tried out the twin headsail. After 2 hours of rope setting and wrestling with the halyard to get it up, we had a great sail.  The two sails balenced each other out nicely so once we locked off the wheels little helming was needed. Almost like having the auto helm back!

We had a drive by delivery of limes and fuses off calliope and then followed them into the sunset. Tiggy treated us all to fillet steak. Life is good.


Day 3.

Back to the raymarine mystery. 3 hours later still a mystery. Tried the tuna we caught yestersay. Safe to say not a big fan but filled up on fried rice instead 🙂
We’ve now added Shanties to our little oyster flotilla. Wind is starting to die.. think it’s all motoring from now on.

Day 4.

Bacon sandwich for lunch and spaghetti bolognase for tea. Yum yum. Saw a shark and attempted to raft up to calliope for 5 o’clock cocktails .. Sadly it was a little too bouncy so we ended up having a swim instead. Followed by the most incredible sunset.  We really are so privaledged to be here. It’s just beautiful.


Day 5.

We crossed the equator aussie style with red and blue in honor of the Melbourne demons. We’re now officially south of the equator which is pretty cool.

Day 6.

Galapagos !