Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31 2017 - Daybreak reaches land!

Kathy here again.  Putting out a post since I am getting some questions.  I imagine Steve will post about the trip soon. 

M/V Daybreak reached the customs dock yesterday approximately 3:00am their local time (their October 31st).  They then went to sleep to wait until morning, got through customs yesterday and I assume are now at a marina.  Steve mentioned several days of cleaning up the boat and then off to see some sights!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 27, 2017 - M/V Daybreak at Sea

Just a quick note from home (Kathy) about the crew at sea aboard the M/V Daybreak.

Winds have been around 15-20 knots off the port beam now and seas nice but confused at times.  They are all doing ok.  Cindy was fighting a bit of a fever but all is well tonight.  Steve mentioned they are about 1/3 of the way.  Steve has been using the Satellite phone to communicate one to two times a day with me which has been really nice.  The boat has been operating without issue.

Current estimated arrival is Oct 31st in the morning but timing does change with the changing sea state.  This would be USA Oct 30th as we are a day earlier.

Continued thoughts, wishes, fair winds, calm seas, and a safe voyage........................

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

October 25, 2017 - Leaving Tonga

The crew of M/V Daybreak left today.  Since they are on the other side of the dateline, it is actually Wednesday there!   They are on their way.  Evidently Steve got sick from eating a sandwhich on the flight yesterday but he was feeling better by the time they left today around 10:30am local time.

The link above here to the left is now updated with a link to where they are currently at.  Click on it to see their tracking.

Steve reported 10-15knots on the stern and super smooth seas so all is well aboard.  Steve and Cindy will have some watch hours tonight.

October 24, 2017 - Tonga

Update:  Steve and Cindy are now in Tonga and on the M/V Daybreak.  There is a weather window so they are leaving this morning.  Transit is 6 to 7 days.  I will post in a few days with a weather update and progress report. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

October 23, 2017 - Zip Lining in Fiji

Today we headed to the mountains to do some zip lining.  It was an interesting cab ride through the back roads (dirt) and up into the lush forest.  We were supposed to take a small tour bus, but they never came for us and instead sent a cab.  The cab driver told us a lot of interesting factoids about Fiji, and pointed out many things we would have never noticed.  Once at the zip line facility we saw coffee plants, pineapples, bananas, exotic birds, frogs, salamanders, and hiked to a waterfall which, unfortunately, was not very exciting due to lack of water.  It is heading into the dry season here.

Despite it being the dry season we were treated to a tropical downpour.  On our hike to the waterfall the clouds opened up and it rained about as hard as either of us have ever experienced.  We were completely soaked in a matter of minutes.  It would be hours before we were dry again.

Getting ready to zip.  Got our gear on.

Steve on his first zip.  Unlike the zips we've done before, here the rider
controls their speed by applying pressure with their hand on the lower cable.

Cindy ready to zip inverted.  It's a bit scary.

No hands AND upside down!  Brave!

Crossing the (dry) river.  Looking good....

One of the coolest decks I've ever seen.  The wood for this came out of the forest
we would hike through a little bit later in the day.

A wild pineapple, in it's native environment.

Perhaps the most interesting tree I have ever seen.

And an other

Arriving at the waterfall.  Not much water today.
We missed the rainy season.

These tiny frogs where everywhere around the waterfall.

Cindy crossing on a log.  Why?  To get to the other side!

Cindy stands where there would normally be water flowing.
A VERY large rock in the middle of the jungle.  

Today was a fun day.  The zip lining was quite exhilarating, and beautiful.  We went around the zip line course 3 times, then had lunch, followed by the hike to the waterfall.  The forest is lush, green, and almost jungle like.  The Fijian people are VERY friendly and helpful.

An afternoon well spent.

Tomorrow afternoon we fly out and go to Tonga so we can meet Jerome on "Daybreak", our ride to New Zealand.  We will also meet Paul, the other crew member onboard.  I don't know how much time we will have on Tonga, but we are hoping for at least a couple of days.  Then off to New Zealand!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October 23, 2017 - Fiji

Greetings from Fiji.

Our flight was delayed leaving Seattle due to issues at LA, then we arrived Saturday morning about 40 minutes late due to an additional delay leaving LAX.  Other than that, it was an uneventful flying experience.  The plane from LA to Fiji was the biggest that Cindy has ever been on.  8 rows wide.  There was good in-flight entertainment and we each watched several movies during our 11 1/2 hour flight. 

Cindy's largest airplane.  Cool, trendy lighting!
Once in Fiji, we went to the car rental place to get our car, which took FOREVER to get through.  There was nobody at the Bugdet car rental desk when we arrived.  After about 10 minutes the agent finally returned, but then she seemed to be having troubles getting our transaction completed.  It took well over an hour for her to get it done, even though we had booked it online and had our confirmation number printed our for her.  Then, we went to get the car and she could not find one, except a purple Suzuki.  Purple!  She looked at that car for about 5 minutes and then wandered around the lot for a few minutes.  Then, she said, "Follow me. I'm going to get you a different car."  So back inside we went, with all of our luggage.  It took another 10-15 minutes for her to get a different car lined up for us.  Finally, we got out of there with a very small, bright red Suzuki 4 door.  By the way, they drive on the left side of the road here, so it is a very strange experience for Cindy because she has never seen this before.  She has just finished Driver's Ed, and seeing me drive on the "wrong" side of the road is freaking her out a bit...  :-)

Waiting, and waiting.  It seemed to take forever to get our car.
Cindy and I then tried to drive to our hotel, but got completely lost.  I had the mental picture in my mind completely backwards somehow.  I thought our hotel was in one direction from the airport, but it was in the exact opposite direction. Finally, we got oriented and made it to our hotel.  We were there at about 8:30AM, but check-in time was not until 2:00PM.  We then left our luggage in their storage room and went out to drive around around for several hours exploring.  This island is not the lush, green, tropical, jungle-like paradise I had imagined.  It is more open, with fields, cows, flat land, and far more brown than I expected.  I was expecting something like Hawaii, Bora Bora, or Tahiti.  In some ways this place reminds us of Mexico.  We drove through some residential areas and there were dogs running loose everywhere, fences around most of the homes, many with barbed wire on the top, and barred windows.  The houses are small, with metal roofs and stucco siding.  Much like parts of Mexico. 

We drove to Port Denarau, which is where most of the boat-based tourist activites depart from.  We ate lunch and walked around.  It was hot, in the upper 80's.  We are both very tired and decided to take it easy today, so we did not schedule any activity.  We went back to our hotel, but got totally lost again and ended up going the wrong direction.  My internal compass is NOT functioning in the southern hemisphere.  Maybe my orientation system is working, but I have not adjusted to the fact that we are on the other side of the equator?  Hmmmm.....

We went swimming in the ocean in front of our hotel.  The water is very warm, perhaps in the low 80's, so you can stay in the water a long time without getting cold.  However, the swimming was not inspiring.  The wind was blowing and the waves were just big enough to stir up the sand/mud and made the water very murky.  We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and ended up going to sleep about 8:00.  Neither of us could stay awake any longer.  We slept in until 8:30 the next morning.  Wow, that's the longest I have slept in years.  Hopefully, we will be mostly over the jet-lag now.  It is 5 hours earlier here than at home, but it's a day later since we crossed the international date line.

View from our dinner table at our hotel.

The first sunset in Fiji.  Ominous clouds.  It never rained though. 

Our hotel offers a free breakfast, which was good.  After breakfast we booked a half-day cruise to a small island where we spent the day snorkeling, looking at coral, relaxing, and enjoying the beautiful climate.  It was in the upper 80's again, but the nice breeze made it much more comfortable. 

High speed catamaran that took us a very small island for the afternoon.
The very small island, as we approach.

Cindy poses for the camera on "South Sea Island".

Cindy ready for snorkeling

Stand-up Paddle boarding in Fiji

There is a lot of coral on the beach.  Cindy found a creative way to use it.
Cindy dives down to check out two beautiful tropical fish
Close-up of those two fish
Lots of fish to swim with here.

More fish.....

A perfect sunset in Fiji.  Nice!


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 18, 2017- The adventure begins tomorow

Cindy and I leave tomorrow on our great adventure.  Stay tuned for more updates.

I've been getting a lot of questions about how this trip came to be.  Well, when we were cruising in Mexico we met a very nice couple while anchored at Isla Coronados:

Isla Coronados 2016

We bumped into them many other times after that first meeting, and we even went to their marina/resort in La Paz to watch other boats get loaded onto the freighter, after our boat had been loaded:

La Paz 2016

We spent many fun times with Jerome and Karen in Mexico.  But we went separate directions after that last time in La Paz.  They were heading to the South Pacific on their boat, and we were heading back home.   At some point during our times together in Mexico, I mentioned that if they ever needed help moving the boat, I would love to help.  Well, a few months ago Jerome called me and asked if I was still interested.  "YES" was my reply.  He told me about this trip and I said I was definitely interested, but would have to discuss it with my family that evening, as it meant I would be gone for weeks.  The trip would be Jerome, his friend Paul, and me.  Karen was going to be home in Bow (just 10 miles from our home in La Conner).

That evening I told Kathy, Cindy and Kevin about the possible adventure.  Cindy immediately stated that she wanted to go too!  So, I called Jerome back and asked how he felt about that.  He said "sure, if she wants to go, she can".  Wow, what an amazing opportunity for a 15 year old to see some exotic places, and take on some adult-responsibilities at that same time.  Cindy will be standing watches, and helping with boat duties during our 6-7 day passage from Tonga to New Zealand.  She is VERY excited!

This opportunity meant, however, that Cindy would be missing a large percentage of her second year of high school.  Her schedule has some tough classes like Honor's English, Honors Algebra II, Pre-AP Biology, Astronomy, Health Science, Chemisty, Spanish, and Yoga.  She had to go around to all of her teachers and explain this opportunity in order to get their approval.  They all said she could go, and have given her assignments and homework.  So, she is good to go with school.

For me, it means that I won't be working for weeks, and I will be out of touch with my customers.  I've been telling as many as I can about this trip and I think I've covered all the bases.  I have my phone setup with foreign travel service for a month so my phone should work in Fiji, Tonga, and New Zealand.  But just in case, I will be checking email via wifi in the hotels, and from Jerome's boat.  I hope that I have thought of everything related to work.  It has been a hectic few weeks trying to wrap up loose ends and boat projects for people. I've also been working around the house getting things ready for our departure.

Cindy and I each got a flu shot a few weeks ago, just in case.  Our vaccinations are all still good, from our Mexico trip.  We have quite a selection of over the counter drugs just in case either of us gets sick, injured, or sea sick, etc.  I got a couple of prescriptions filled yesterday just in case I have another bout with either hives or cellulitis, both of which happened to me in Mexico.  Hives I can deal with via antihistamines, but cellulitis can be fatal if not treated with a very specific antibiotic.  I will have that antibiotic with me.

I spoke with Jerome yesterday, and his weather router is now looking into the future for our passage from Tonga to New Zealand.  A weather router is a weather professional that finds appropriate weather for yachts crossing oceans.  He thinks he sees a possible weather window opening up around the 26th.  We arrive in Tonga on the 24th.  In general, the weather is still a bit on the rough side for this passage, as it is  spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  There are storms rolling though just about weekly this time of year.  So, we need to find the right "slot" in that storm train so we can get through relatively unscathed.

Tomorrow we fly to L.A. then hop on the 11.5 hour flight to Fiji.  We will cross the international date line, so even though we leave home on Thursday, we land in Fiji on Saturday morning.  Fiji is 5 hours earlier than us, but a day later.  Tonga and New Zealand are 4 hours earlier than us (and a day later).  We might suffer a little jet-lag the first few days, so we are getting up early today and tomorrow to help adjust a bit ahead of time.

I will post an update when we arrive in Fiji, assuming I find some good wifi,


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 2017 Adventure

Steve and Cindy have an exciting adventure that begins next week.  The two of them are going to help relocate a beautiful Nordhavn 60' yacht from Tonga, in the South Pacific, to New Zealand.  In order to get to Tonga they have to first fly to Fiji, where they will have a 3.5 day "layover".  That's enough time to get to explore Fiji and experience the culture.

After several days in Fiji, they hop on a plane that will take them to Tonga.  Once in Tonga, they will be waiting for good weather for the ~1200 mile trip to New Zealand.  The weather could be right for the passage as soon as they land, or there might be weeks of waiting.  So, how much time they have in Tonga is unknown, and will completely depend on the weather.

Once the conditions are right, they will shove off and motor for about 6-7 days across open ocean.  Cindy and Steve hope to stop the boat at the Tropic of Capricorn and go swimming in 2 mile deep water.  After arriving in New Zealand, they hope to spend at least several days exploring before flying back home, and back to real life.

Cindy will be bringing school work with her.  She is potentially going to miss up to a month of school.  Fortunately she is a 4.0 student, so her teachers are all OK with this absence, although she will be bringing homework and assignments so she doesn't get behind.  Her Astronomy teacher is particularly excited because Cindy will get to see the southern sky, from the ocean, where there is NO light pollution to obscure the faintest objects in the night sky.

Follow this blog for updates on the adventure.

The Nordhavn 60 Steve and Cindy will be travelling to New Zealand on.