latest news (ish)

Tue 11 Jul 2006 23:10
penguin+diary-509261 {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com

The last entry had us drinking gin and tonic watching the stars at Ahe
Tuamotu after a
somewhat well timed arrival. These islands are made up of an exterior
ring of coral
of up to 20miles surrounding an internal lagoon, the Pacific Ocean pounds
the outside
coral reef and inside the lagoon the water is flat the coral grows and
everything is perfect
well perfect for growing oysters anyway and coconuts on the moutus, the
lagoon is
used for pearl farming so dotted around the lagoon are wooden sheds raised
on stilts from which the locals ply their trade. About 400metres from us
on a large coral growth was situated an abandoned shed. We made a number
of excursions to this point and spent some time diving for wild oysters
these we took back to the boat to check for
Pearls and to eat the meat, excellent marinated with lime juice. Alas no
black natural
Pearls so I will need work when I return home. Colin considering are
oyster harvesting to be somewhat barbaric did not indulge; he had a far
more laudable use for the old shed
In the middle of the lagoon, at 6-0 clock each morning he was to be found
his Yoga exorcises, whilst the sun was rising a superb setting and away
from the beach
and flies. So admitting defeat as pearl divers we went over to the other
side of the lagoon to a pearl farm to see the operation working and do
some bartering, we meet
A guy called Jerry who came over to the boat in the evening with a bag of
pearls for us
to trade for wine and whisky very expensive for him to buy locally, so we
finally got
our pearls. Their was one other excursion to be made in deference to
Bernard Mortissier
Niamh and I went over to Poro Poro motu to where he had lived with his
family, not much would have changed since he had lived here 40 years ago,
and He had filled his boat with soil and trees ect to become self
sufficient on the island it looked as if their was very little other than
coconuts growing their now. Before returning to the boat we went to the
outside of the reef and swam through the surf on to the coral, Grazed skin
one flip flop and a pair of sun glasses , lost to the surf.
From Ahe we had a further 300 miles to reach Tahiti and are rendezvous
with Jackie on
28 th June, so at 0620 Colin wound up the 40metres of anchor chain and we
set off for
the otherside of the lagoon to sail out through the pass. With wind and
tide once again
with us we were ejected at a rate of knots back out into the ocean. The
next 300 miles
sailing were extremely hard work, we had squalls of 40 knots 2days of rain
then big
seas and very little wind also with lots of rain. So once again we were
very happy to
make it into Papeete Harbour at 2200 on the 25tth. We decided that the
easiest place to
park was the centre of town on the quay wall as we had no wish to motor
for a further
4 miles through the coral pass to the anchorage. By 2300 Colin Niamh, and
I were
enjoying a well deserved G & T we had completed the last 1000 miles which
had been
extremely tough and had achieved our destination. The following morning I
rang Jacky
to let her know that we had arrived safely and she would be meet at the
Papeete is the only real city in the whole of area, so for the first time
since Panama
Their were lots of well stocked shops but being in the middle of the
pacific and being
French they were also expensive, the big covered fruit and veg market was
the favorite. The other highlight was turning up at a bar where some local
were singing and playing guitars, banjo, drums, and anything else that
could make a
rhythm, this was the best live music we had seen for a long time and a
good night was
had by all.
On the 27th we moved Penguin down to the anchorage which was down by the
ready for the my rendevous at 05.40, all went well with the plans, the
flowers had been
bought, two alarms where in my bunk. The first thing that I was aware of
on the 29th was
Colin waking me at 0530, I dashed out of the boat Jackies plane was
already overhead
just preparing to land, 10 yards down the pontoon I remembered the
flowers, back to the
boat and then start off again to catch the bus, a quick walk down the
road and then jump onto the local bus, this got me to the airport at 0610,
I dashed of and rushed towards
the airport. Oh Sh#t the garland of flowers were left on the seat of the
bus, well someone would be able to impress his girlfriend/ wife but it
would not be me.
By the time I got into the arrivals it was 0620, all around people were
being greeted with
flowers, and their right in front of me was Jak looking gorgeous despite
having spent the
last 30 hrs flying. It was fantastic to see her. I don?t think her first
impression of my arrival was quite as good , she had cleared customs 20
minutes ago and had been waiting
my hair had not been cut since the last time she had cut it for me in
January and I had no
flowers and I was late. After sailing 5000 miles to get their the meeting
should have been
carried off with more style.
We got a taxi to take us to the marina were Niamh and Colin were waiting,
Penguin had been parked on the outside pontoon with all the super yachts,
her rightful place but she did look small amongst these flash boats.
That evening Barry and Richard came over to
sample our dorado curry, fish caught off the back of the boat. By nine o
clock Jak was
falling asleep whilst sitting so an early night was in order, they left
happy with the latest Sunday times which they were desperate to go and
The following six days were spent doing the holiday cruising bit around
Tahiti and Moorea snorkeling windsurfing and walking and picking local
fruits. Jak was very
tired from all the organising and traveling and we were glad to take
things easy for
a while. I am afraid it was not to last long as Jo and Nick had been
hatching Plans
and decided to take a year out working in Oz but before that they would
fly to Tonga
and meet up with us all. This meant we had another 1800 miles to sail in
4 weeks,
not a prospect Jak would be looking forward to, this time there would be
Islands we
could stop at to get her feet back on the land.
We set of from a beautiful lagoon on the south side of Tahiti bound south
for the
Austral Islands, most cruising boats head west for Bora Bora but the
Australs are seldom
visited so we thought it would make an interesting route. This was indeed
the case we
were the first boat to anchor in the bay at Rurutu for 3 years and whilst
walking around
the Island which was very beautiful and fertile most of the locals new
immediately that
we must be off the boat in the bay. With little spare time we had all to
quickly set off again for Rarotonga another 600 miles down the track, this
took nearly 5 days, by this time the illusion of sailing in the tropical
Pacific Paradise had been well and truly shattered.How were we to break it
to Jo that the summer back in UK was sunnier than winter in the tropics,
perhaps it was the route I had chosen but we seemed to be passing through
one weather system after another, each bringing wind and rain. It was the
first time that each of us ringing back home was made to feel jealous. We
had a great stop in both Raratonga and Nuie hiring bikes and cycling
around the Islands, Niamh managed to get a dive done in Nuie great fun
especially diving with hundreds of sea snakes in snake gully. The water
was beautifully clear so the snorkeling was good, the prospect of seeing
Shark adding to the fun and apprehension. I managed to swim 40yds up from
behind Colin without him being aware so when I crabbed his legs I think
his heart got a little
extra exercise. Jacky was enjoying our shore visits but she was unable to
work out what
the hell it was that we found enjoyable traveling around at 5knots for
days on end with
nothing but sea around us, but by now Niamh Colin and myself had
established a good working atmosphere and were quite content, although
trying to cook for
4 when the boat is rocking and rolling can be annoying.
So finally on the 26 /6 /06 we arrived in the Kingdom of Tonga at Nuku
Alofa because
of the local time zone we had crossed the date line, so Monday did not
exist for us and it was already Tuesday. Jo and Nick were due to fly in on
Thursday from Fiji, the
Kings Birthday was the 4th July perfect timing. Jacky and I arrived at the
airport to find out the plane from Fiji was an hour late, so finally after
an anxious wait at the airport we
spotted Jo and Nick getting of the plane. Guess what, as they left the
aircraft door they were each given an umbrella to walk across the tarmac
to the terminal, it was raining
Welcome to the sunny tropics. I had not seen them since leaving the
marina at Lymington 10 months ago they both looked great and a big family
hug was had by all.
The first few days were very wet and windy but we stayed moored in the
harbour, the sun shone for the 4th so a good day was had by all the Kings
Subjects . After the celebrations
we set of north this time our attraction was to be seeing Humpback Whales
in the Vavu
group of islands. We had also come across George Gamper in Rarotonga and
his boat was probably still in vavu Nick and Jo would certainly like to
meet up with another Sopley school friend. We now had six adults living
on Penguin we would all have to get along but I am not sure the watermaker
will cope. That?s all folks.
Hello to all the crazy people living in the U.K, cant believe we have been
here two weeks it was awesome seeing the folks again realized how much i
missed dad seeing him again. We have already sailed to 5 islands a couple
were so set back with tribes that live off whats going lots of pigs,
bananas and drugs! One was completely unahabitated managed to run round
with nick in 40 mins and was attacked by a hornet we were expecting a
polar bear to get us coz it was like we were a epidsode of lost. We are
now in quite a lively place and enjoying drinking with the locals and a
lot of Auzy`s and N.Z`s who have been getting me and Nick even more
excited about going over to Auz. We`ve booked our flights for 21st Aug and
already have a massive mission for our birthdays. Hopefully penguin will
make its way over to us for around new year. Tomorrow we are sailing over
to some caves and should see whales crazy stuff. On Friday we been invited
to a local sailing race, do they not realize that the yorkies will kick
their arses.Just a little note to my granny and granddad, because I know
you will get this before the postcard! Hope you are both well and the
little clio is running well. Love you both lots and lots. Love the tanned
Jo x
Howdy am loving it out here is nice to c da fokes too. hope u guys are
good bac home got to b onest ant missing u at all hehe.happy bday ed if
u read tish there is a little sumthing on da way Ave a good summer lv nic

Yes I am here too but if you get this far you?ve probably had enough by
now so I will keep it short.
Love Jak xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

My hero!

A surgeon at work!

The King?s Birthday Parade

Jo doing her Nigella Lawson impression

Clan reunited! (Pity about the sad ol? git on the left!!!)

Domestic goddess!!!