Tuesday, 30 January 2007

from the British chill to the heat of the tropics!!

Thanks to you all for your messages of support, cards and gifts. They were really appreciated and will be read over & over as I sail the seas.
In true Suzi style, my adventure started before I’d even boarded my flight. With a mixed combination of snow, a closed motorway and more significantly my inability to read flight times, the plane gracefully departed minus one passenger, whilst I enjoyed 5 hours of the same section of M25. After enjoying some more quality family time and a chance to unwind, I finally arrived in Panama City 2 days later than expected.
I am now an official crew member, aka "First Mate Suzi", onboard Barrraveigh, complete with assigned roles and responsibilities from Captain Bobby. In a nut shell I’m going to be chained to the galley (kitchen), cooking & cleaning and have renamed myself “Cinderella”. I have unpacked and settled in, although I can’t believe the boat didn’t sink with all the extra weight from all my books & clothes! Bobby has given me the front berth as my own dressing room, chilling out & Bobby freezone! I’ve made it home with photos and memories of you all.
We are currently moored on the Pacific side of thePanama Canal, very close to the Bridge of America. Huge container ships go past frequently causing us to bob up and down in their wake but so far nothing too bad to make me feel sea sick! The moorings are all full & people arrive daily as they stop to make repairs and stock up on provisions before they continue on with their journeys. It’s a pretty big community of boaters. Everyone is friendly; they meetup for drinks and meals, trade goods & advice…pretty cool!

Other than socialising & sight seeing, Bobby & I have loads of work to do to get everything ready before we leave. I have had my nose in books learning about how to provision a boat and have been having nightmares about it. The price of food and alcohol is huge in the South Pacific Islands so we are aiming to stock up here as much as possible. The dilemmas I now face are highly amusing, with the hot topic of conversation being “How much toilet paper are we going to need for a year??” It took serious tactical negotiations to convince Bobby that the conditioned double quilted velvet roll was an investment, opposed to thin tracing paper!? There are some luxuries us girls just can’t go without. (Ok, yes now I’ll just be grateful not to run out.) Just about got all the first round of purchases & ourselves into the taxi – not that I could see where I was going for the amount of loo roll!! Happy point yesterday when I managed to wedge 32 rollsunder one of the sinks. (All individually wrapped in a freezer bag in case water appears from anywhere!!)
Have you seen how much food comes in tins!! Had any of you heard of tinned butter? I’m yet to find it but they mention it in the books! Not yet convinced about the thought of eating tins of corned beef for the next year but am sure I’ll get over it! I’ve been dutifully writing the contents on each tinin case the label comes off, but did start to question Bobby’s motives when he asked me to cover the eggs inVaseline – don’t ask!!
Flying to Bocas Del Tora (northern Panama on the Caribbean side) for a few days to meet up with Bobby’s friends on a huge catamaran. Should have a few days of luxury and relaxation before getting back to work so we can get out of here and sail south!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007


Less than 12 months ago I packed my rucksack and travelled around Costa Rica for three weeks in a vein attempt to cure a bad case of itchy feet. Unbeknown to me the travel bug was incurable and the trip fed my appetite for more!

Lying on a beach in Tamarindo on the Pacific Coast, engrossed in Ellen MacArthers autobiography, I had my first meeting with "Bobby". Considering Ellen is my inspiration as one best yacht women in the UK, it took more than a typical guy to distract me. Yes I know, prior to this I had never even sailed as far as the Isle of Wight, but hey, any woman who climbs a mast in freak weather conditions deserves attention. Never know, that could be me in a few months….probably waving a rescue beacon!

Bobby, the blonde surfer from San Diego with the killer chat up line of "That’s my boat over there & I'm sailing round the world", immediately caught my eye. Brings a whole new meaning to 'made the earth move' (except we were on the sea!!!).

I spent the rest of my holiday sailing down the Pacific Coast aboard Bobby's boat, Barraveigh a 41 foot Jeanneau. Having returned home and with my tan fading, I promptly rejoined him a few months later in Panama.

I'm packing my bags again, this time it’s a one way ticket, with the final destination and return date unknown! It’s going to be a challenge, & thats just trying to overcome the airlines weight restrictions! I’m sure the rest of the trip will be a breeze - who am I kidding! The trials and tribulations I have faced so far include; how many bikinis do I need and whether Bobby will see mascara as an essential item? Silly question, of course it is!!

I promise to send regular updates throughout my intrepid adventure from life aboard Barraveigh. Fingers crossed my supply of Cadbury’s will see me through the difficult times on the ocean but the challenges will only make the magical moments all the more breathtaking.
I’m ready to navigate my way through the steep learning curves (that’s for you Dad!) and attempt recipes for meals when I have no ingredients (Colin I need tips!)

For now its back to the packing…


Proposed plans for 2008

07/02/08 Leave UK

09/02/08 Arrive Brisbane OZ. The plan is to have some “Suzi only” chill time in Noosa (north of Brisbane)

01/03/08 Return to Barraveigh in FIJI
As always the next proposed section of plans are written in pencil & very much subject to change. So much depends on weather, boat repairs, captain/crew demands & wishes! ; )

April 2008 – leave the marina & spend a month exploring more glorious Fijian islands. From there we will spend the year making our way to Thailand, via Vanuatu, Papa New Guinea, Bali & of course many other fabulous far flung places but listing them all will only make you green with envy!

More from me & boat life in March until then I’m off to pack my bikinis, say my farewells to the grey & wet UK, get myself ready for sun, sea, surfing & a PADI diving course!

Actual route taken in 2007

21/03/07 Panama City (Balboa Yacht Club). Arrived Las Perlas Islands, Contadora
23/03/07 At anchor Espirito Santo
25/03/07 At anchor Rio Cacique
29/03/07 Left Las Perlas Panama
06/04/07 Arrived Galapagos, Santa Cruz, Academy Bay
18/04/07 At anchor Isabella, Villamil
24/04/07 Left Galapagos
17/05/07 Arrived Marquesas Islands, Fatu Hiva, Bay of Virgins
23/05/07 At anchor Tahuata, Hanamoenoa
26/05/07 At anchor Hiva Oa, Hanamenu
29/05/07 At anchor Nuka Hiva, Taiohae
06/05/07 At anchor Nuka Hiva, Hakatea
10/06/07 At anchor Ua-Pou, Hakahau
13/06/07 Left Marquesas
17/06/07 Arrived Tuamotu Islands, Kauehi
26/06/07 Left Tuamotu Islands
28/07/07 Arrived Society Islands, Tahiti, Arue Lagoon
13/07/07 At anchor Moorea, Cook Bay
14/07/07 At anchor Moorea, Opunua Bay
17/07/07 At anchor Huahine, Avea Bay
23/07/07 At anchor Huahine, Fare Pass
30/07/07 At anchor Raiatea
01/08/07 At anchor Bora Bora, outside Bloody Marys
11/08/07 Left Bora Bora & the French Polynesia Islands
16/08/07 Arrive Cook Islands, Palmerston
22/08/07 Leave Palmerston
25/08/07 Arrive Niue
07/09/07 Leave Niue
09/09/07 Arrive Tonga,Vava’u Group At anchor Neiafu
12/10/07 Leave Tonga
14/10/07 Arrive Fiji, Savusavu
25/10/07 At anchor Suva
01./10/07 Arrive at the marina Lautoka
05/11/07 Leave Fiji onboard s/v Golden Opus
12/11/07 Arrive New Zealand, Auckland

Proposed plan for 2007

The plan is to join Bobby as he sets sail for the second leg of his round the world trip. We will be setting off from Panama City and hope to end up in New Zealand or Australia in Dec 2007. This will entail sailing across the South Pacific Ocean which is a four week crossing without touching or in fact seeing land! Hope I remembered to pack my sea legs!

The weather can be a friend and foe, equipment continually breaks or gets stolen (not sure if having a copper on board is going to help but heres hoping!)
Plans aboard Barraveigh have to be flexible so the plan at present is:
26th Jan Arrive on the boat in Panama City

  • 26th Feb Leave Panama via the Perlas Islands
  • 10th April Arrive Galapagos Islands
  • 25th April Leave Galapagos Islands to sail across the South Pacific (4 week crossing)
  • 25th May Arrive French Polynesia Islands
  • 26th May Sleep all day!!!!!

From the French Polynesian Islands we sail to many other groups of islands including Society Islands, Cook Islands, Fiji etc before arriving in New Zealand or Australia in December 2007