Friday, September 19, 2008


We are now safely back in Mackay - arrived on the 14th September after a six day crossing from Noumea - light winds most of the way - our friends Judy & Peter Tardrew joined us in Noumea for the last leg home.
We are sad that it has ended but now on to the next adventure - I wonder what that will be?

Friday, August 22, 2008


After 5,000 nm we are in New Caledonia - we arrived today 22nd August, and we will spend a few weeks here cruising around the Illes de Pines and other areas and then head back for Mackay.
We spent a week in Nuiatoputapu (northern island in Tonga) and had a fabulous time - meeting the people and especially the children. We cycled around the island - the road almost didnt exist for half of it and whilst trying to miss trees and bushes and not run over the coconuts on the track, I found myself lying in a bush with the bike on top of me - such fun !!!!
The people of Nuiatoputapu are cut off and only have access from a 3 weekly supply ship - they lead still the traditional Tongan way of life -
We did a flying visit to Fiji - so much to see and so little time - snorkeled on Rainbow Reef and the coral and fish were the best we have ever seen - if I had an underwater camera you would have seen the sights too. Met a local Fijian character there whose family owned all the land around the bay and into the next couple as well - took us out to the reef and we anchored on the reef in this little bit of sand - would not have been confident to do it ourselves.
More later when we return to Australia and bore everyone to bits with our stories.

Monday, July 7, 2008


What a gem - we nearly didn’t stop to see it as the wind was blowing from the wrong direction and we couldn’t see any buoys. A call on the radio from Edward and we turned around and came back and are so glad we did.
It is a small motu on the atoll of Palmerston Island (part of the Cook Islands) – all 53 inhabitents live on it and only visit the other motus in the group for a holiday or a fishing expedition. They are all descendent from the the original settler William Marsters – a whaler who acquired the land and brought 3 wives from another Cook Island, Penryn. He lived to 78 years of age and sired 26 children in three families which he kept separated in three houses.
Most of the descendents are either in Raratonga (capital of the Cook Islands), in Australia or New Zealand. The island at the present moment can only support 120 people. The supply ship only comes every 3 – 6 months – so you would need to get your order right!
They can grow some fruit and vegetables in ‘Patches’ which have been specially dug for the purpose of growing some of their own food.
I cannot describe the beauty of this motu and the colours of the water – it is completely untouched and the people live harmoniously amongst the natural vegetation of the island.


An amazing thing happen the other day – we caught a large fish – about 4’ long and 20 kg – it was just about beyond us to bring it in – gave a good dose of gin to knock him out and then we brought him on board and now we have lots of fish.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Vanessa found a lonely coconut at 'Bird Island' at Tikehau in the Tuomotos and brought it back to the boat and named him 'Wilson' - (ref Tom Hanks movie)
Wilson has been travelling around with us since Vanessa went home and so we thought at Huahine that Wilson needed to be reunited with his 'pals' and so David and I took him ashore and replanted him on a beach.
Coconuts are amazing resilient and will grow anywhere so we have great hope that 'Wilson' will survive.


Mandrake is still in French Polynesia ( big place) – currently in Raiatea which is just south of Bora Bora. We will be exiting this part of the world in about a weeks time and sailing west for the Cook Islands and Tonga – a trip of about 1300 nm in all.
For those of you who are huddling under blankets in Melbourne, it has not been all roses here in paradise. The last week has brought strong winds up to 30 knts and rain – making it cold for these parts.
Under the title of Photos in Raiatea, take note of global warming effect on a house here – one more fraction of a degree of warming and he will be underwater. Though he does have position.!!

Friday, June 6, 2008


These are a group of atolls to the south west of the Marquesas – once called the dangerous iles as they are all low lying – barely above sea level with a few palm trees growing on the top of them.
We visited Manihi where a lot of black pearl farming is done. We tried to buy pearls in the village but ‘the man’ wasn’t there – so oh well that’s that. Next day we tried to leave and couldn’t get our anchor up – tried for about an hour. Then we heard that ‘the man’ could fix it the next day. After a very disjointed radio conversation on the VHF the next morning in partial English and French, we gathered that he could come out and try to get the anchor up but we also got the impression that it was connected to us agreeing to go visit his pearl farm.
Out he came and free dived 20 meters on the anchor about a dozen times (this guy free dives to 30 meters and wasn’t a teenager) – after 45 minutes we were free and we asked how much – he wanted rope so David gave him 6 meters of Kevlar rope that we had on the deck. Happy chappy now – so next was the visit to the pearl farm.
Robert and I went out to the farm whilst David stayed on the boat – we weren’t game to anchor again – we were the 21st boat that season that he had to help with the anchor.
Very interesting time and we managed to purchase pearls that we harvested ourselves ie pulled the oysters up from where they grow on the farm (in the middle of the lagoon) and then they were opened and we extracted the pearl from the oyster – that is if there was one in it that had grown. Great time.
We next went to Rangiroa about 500 nm away and swam with reef sharks in the Blue Lagoon.
Next we went to Tikehau and anchored off ‘Bird Island” and swam and snorkeled on the surrounding reef. The local villages are built on the largest piece of land at the atolls and this might only give them 8 miles of road – and they all have cars – dead flat land – so why would you buy a car- where can you go – from one end of the road to the other!!!