Vaka’etu, Vava’u

Vaka'etu, Vava'u - one family's paradise. Vaka'etu is a small island in Vava'u, one of the three groups of islands that form the Kingdom of Tonga. Vava'u is the northern most of the three groups and is comprised of 70 islands, only 17 of which are inhabited. In Polynesia it is told that the islands were created by the god Maui, who caught the bottom of the sea with his magic hook, fished up, and left on the sea surface what became the islands of…

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Lessons amongst the waves

It was windy here in Odenwald yesterday. We walked through the thick pine forests in the late afternoon, protected from the wind and enduring the light rain. I was glad not to be at sea. Last year at this time I was getting ready to transit the Panama Canal. After that transit, came one of the most arduous sails I've ever experienced. I'll not bore you with the details, but for those interested there's more here. When I moved ashore last November,…

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The Final Passage

The decision to leave Tonga without visiting the Ha’pai group was not an easy one. However, after sitting around in Neiafu or Vaka’eitu, due to unpleasant weather, or motoring and sailing into strong winds under overcast skies we finally said enoughsenough. We both felt a sense of relief once we had made the decision, and wasted no time in making the usual final preparations and clearing out with customs and immigration. We left on a favourable forecast of fresh easterlies at around…

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Another day in Paradise

In the silent stillness of dawn, I motored out of Bora Bora lagoon headed for Raiatea. The perfect reflections of the few other yachts shimmered in Next Chapter’s passing wake, then stilled once more on the glass like surface. I let the engine run slowly, reluctant to make noise. Slight pangs of regret pricked as I cleared the south-western reef marker, and that beautiful island started to fade to grey. It would have been so easy to spend a few weeks there…

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Papeete

A Brief Stay in Papeete There seems to be some negativity about Papeete within the cruising community, but I loved it. The town quay was almost empty, and by the second day Next Chapter had a pontoon all to herself. It was both novel and convenient to be alongside so close to the centre of town. The well-stocked Municipal Market was just a five-minute walk away, and along the way there were enough bars and cafes to keep any thirsty sailor happy.…

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Rolling down the trades, south of Nuku-Hiva…

As Nuku Hiva fades from view, the conditions are much as they were three weeks earlier when I limped in at the end of the passage from Panama. The sea is confused with an aggressive swell from the southeast, which punches the hull and rolls the eight-knot tailwind out of the sails every few seconds. A mug of tea just went flying. my last clean, dry towel caught most of it... At least this time I have a passage of just 760…

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Waiting in Panama

Another day marking time. Rain washes away the overpowering humidity, leaving it in stilled  pools on the litter strewn ground. La Brisas, Balboa, La Calzada de Amador. Names unknown to me just short days ago I now call home, and will forget them as quickly as they fade into a hazy horizon of life. Las Perlas are calling, temptation is strong, yet I wait still, knowing how regret will follow leaving if leaving comes too soon. Before those last minute provisions are…

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