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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The Next Chapter

As I sail across the Tonga Trench, this current chapter of my life nears its end. The fires that in the begining burned brightly, the flames driven by winds of discovery and new horizons, are now a deep bed of glowing embers. In those leaping flames, there were many lessons. Now, memories linger in the settling heat. Today is my last day alone at sea. Tomorrow I reach Tonga, where Brigitte will rejoin Next Chapter, and where we will take time to…

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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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Panama to Nuku Hiva

It's been a while since I've written on here. I've been off-line for the past seven weeks whilst sailing from Panama to the Marquesas, in French Polynesia. I had planned to write something for the blog whilst underway, to share that experience of life at sea. However, as it turned out the passage was so all-consuming due to adverse weather, that I spent most of my free time sleeping, or at least semi-comatose. Leaving Panama in June immediately puts you behind the…

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Pacific Crossing

Tomorrow I leave mainland Panama and start the long trade-wind passage to the Marquesas, some 3500 nautical miles to the west. I changed head-sails today after reflecting on the passage from St Martin to Colombia. The sailing angle and wind strength were much the same as I will find on this next leg, that is, a broad reach, and I felt the need for the 150% genoa many times on that earlier leg. So, I removed and stored the yankee, which is now…

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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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