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Shaaron, Paul and Pete have all agreed to venture the passage to Rarotonga with Bruce. Thanks guys! We are all looking forward to departing NZ before winter arrives and coconut trees, tropical sunshine, and balmy breezes.

We are looking for a brave, romantic and possibly foolish soul to sail with us from Rarotonga/Aitutaki, to loop through the remote Cook Islands and reconnect with the rest of the planet in Niue or Pago Pago. Expect 6 to 10 weeks of enchanting south seas isles, that are otherwise impossible to visit, lightly garnished with trade-wind passages of between one and four days. We anticipate departing Aitutaki late June.

Following right along you might fancy joining us for some more enchanting south seas isles and/or the two day passages between them – Niue, Vavau, Wallis, Fiji (or Pago Pago, Wallis, Fiji).

If you are even mildly interested, or have a friend who might feel so, you know what to do.

Happy Easter!

Bruce & Dinah

AFTER YOU JAMES

One of the gems that came from my parent’s home was a book, a rollicking yarn of a yachting adventure from Denmark to the Caribbean in 1948. The title is “After You Columbus” so the above isn’t entirely original but we hope the journey will be at least as memorable. Out of the same necessity of our Danish friends (you can only leave from wherever you happen to be) we will leave from Auckland for Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Cook wasn’t so bold as to name the group after himself, it simply isn’t done eh. He called them the Hervey Islands after some lord whom he may have owed a favour or wanted one from. Some 50 years later they were renamed in his honour by a Russian! There is evidence of 2000 years of Polynesian occupation and the Spanish “discovered” one of the Islands in 1595. Today 15 islands, and two reefs, make up the Cooks. We hope to visit 5 of them.

The plan so far is to leave Auckland on 14 May (or as soon after as the weather suits). Rarotonga, our first port-o-call, is about 1600nm (9 – 10 days) to the ENE. A day’s* sail to the north is Aitutaki. Next is Penrhyn, four days further northward and only 9° south of the equator. A day’s sailing to the WSW will take us to Manihiki. Another day on is Suwarrow. Our next port will probably be Pago Pago, American Samoa, three days further west. Followed by Wallis Island and then Savusavu, Fiji. Plan B is to go from Suwarrow (to Beveridge Reef), to Niue then Vavau, Wallis and Savusavu. We will finish out the season in Fiji returning to Auckland in November.
* A day is 24 hrs.

Of the Cooks only Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Penrhyn and Suwarrow offer safe harbour. Apparently there are moorings off Manihiki. The trades tend not to blow strongly close to the equator so the other northern cooks, Pukupuka, Rakahanga, etc which don’t have reef passes, are possibilities.

As usual we are looking for crew to accompany us on the passage to Raro etc. The loop through the Cooks is a tad problematic for fly-in fly-outs but you are as welcome as ever. There are airfields at all of the above but Suwarrow, which is uninhabited, and Rakahanga. Only Rarotonga has international connections. From Rarotonga there are daily services to Aitutaki and fortnightly services to Manihiki. Penrhyn is charter only. The fare to Manihiki is eye watering (see Rarotonga Air). Further on everywhere is reasonably accessible. However fares to Wallis are also expensive.

Timing is a WIP. Something like approximately two weeks for each island including the short passages plus the passage to Raro. This would see us back on the grid sometime in August and in Fiji in September.

If you are tempted to join us please get in touch. Or if you just want to share a story about Uncle Fred who spent time there back in the day please do. It’s nice to have a personal connection, no matter how tenuous, when visiting these out of the way places.

 

Dinah & Bruce

HSH

We arrived at Opua yesterday at 12.30 pm. 5 days from Fiji. Yeah! ( and 23.5 hours). On our way to Auckland now. Just caught the first fush of the trup. A kahawai and a trevally. We have re-stocked the potatoes… you know whats for dinner.

Thanks for following this blog. It now goes into recess for its summer vacation. Just like politicians only longer.

Talk to you again next year.

Bruce & Dinah

One more sleep

We are about 100 miles north east of the Bay of Islands and should arrive tomorrow morning. Margarita is rolling along, all possible sail set, in a light northerly. The seas are calm, the moon is full but the water is cold after the spa pool temperatures of Fiji and the tenants are having toilet trouble again. Life is never perfect. Even so we all agree the sailing is rather pleasant. And we will beat that cold front to Opua.

All’s satisfactory onboard.

Da crew

no fish

Late on Sunday the wind will switch to the southwest so the race is on to reach Opua before the souwester. The cloud band ahead of the front is slowly advancing and getting lower bringing sense of gloom that could settle over us like a wet blanket if we let it.

Only 296 miles to go and still too fast for fishing.

All’s alright onboard

half way

For the avoidance of doubt we have passed the half way point between Vuda Point and Opua and are due north of Opua. It’s all down hill from here folks! The weather continues to be favourable if a little sporty. The day’s run to noon was 218 miles. Close to our pb of 225. The wind eased and backed a little in the pm and for a while we hoisted the screecher. The crew have their sea legs. Washing has been entertained (or even attempted) and a few rounds of Rummikub have been played. Sadly our speed prevents any fishing. Life is hard! ETA Opua is some time on Sunday.

The situation onboard? Well there’s nothing wrong with it.

Honking

Within minutes of posting last night the long promised and long anticipated easterly arrived and looks set to speed us South for two more days. The wind has steadily increased to about 25 kts with occasional squalls. With the wind on the beam Margarita is honking along revelling in the fresh conditions and averaging 10 kts for much of today. In the interests of a good night’s sleep have just put in the third reef. We are now abeam of the Minerva Reefs and If the forecast holds we will be in Opua on Sunday.

All’s well onboard

Bruce, Shaaron, Martin & Adrian

wind not

We continue to motor roughly in the direction of New Zealand snatching the occasional passing zephyr to help out. The promised wind seems to be retreating faster than we advance and our attempts to engage have so far come to nothing. It’s still uncomfortably hot. Like the wind the temperature isn’t as forecast. Oh well mustn’t grumble. Better too little wind and too much heat than the other way round.

All’s well onboard

Da crew

We continue to motor roughly in the direction of New Zealand snatching the occasional passing zephyr to help out. The promised wind seems to be retreating faster than we advance and our attempts to engage have so far come to nothing. It’s still uncomfortably hot. Like the wind the temperature isn’t as forecast. Oh well mustn’t grumble. Better too little wind and too much heat than the other way round.

All’s well onboard

Da crew

a gentle start

With all Fijian bureaucrats and reefs safely navigated we leave our shore crew (Dinah and Alan) to recover our tools from a Chinese interpreter who apparently doesn’t understand “lend” and “I must have them back tomorrow morning”. It’s keeping them from further liver damage while we head south.

We are now 23 miles south of the pass motoring slowly southward into a very gentle south westerly breeze on a calm sea. Tonight, once we are clear of Viti Levu, the wind should swing to the east and we can get moving…

All’s well onboard

Martin, Shaaron, Adrian & Bruce