Sunday, 17 June 2007

any questions??

I know some of you out there have got questions about everyday life onboard Barraveigh. How I'm coping with day to day situations such as washing when there is no shower onboard, to practical questions about how much fuel to carry, or more importantly how did we know how much rum & beer we would need for this trip?!! ; ) How do I update this site & keep in contact with family at sea with no internet, to technical questions from you sailors out there about cruising - I may just have to get the Captain to answer those as this sailor is still very much a novice with a capital N!!
Email burning questions no matter how trivial (keep them clean - I know what you coppers are like!!!) & I'll post a ques & answer blog.

For info:
New photos will be updated in a couple of weeks when we arrive in Tahiti & finally have internet connection.
Don't forget to read Bobbys articles on
(search under Barraveigh or see previous entry "Bobby becomes a writer" for info). They are fantastic, he has a great knack at describing experiences on the great ocean.

its a miracle!

I'm enjoying this passage! The seas are calm, hardly any swell, the wind has been consistent but I think the fact that it is 4 days long is what has swayed me!! ; ) Its thoroughly enjoyable! It brings home how terrible the Pacific crossing truly was, with those confused seas & being bashed about.
Night watches are strict again, 2 hours about & no sleeping on watch. I'll let you into a secret…Bobby has been caught out! He was 20 minutes late waking me for my watch & sheepily or should I say sleepily(!!) admitted his heavy eyelids had got the better of him!
To keep myself awake on watches I've begun exercising - its only taken 5 months to become motivated!! With a severe lack of room, trying not to sound like Nelly the Elephant (Bobby is sleeping directly below the cockpit) & the boat moving from side to side (swells are not high but we still rock making it hard to keep your balance) its an achievement just to do sit ups & weights! Haven't perfected yoga yet, I'm sure there's a way of getting into position, holding the book & trying to read the next move - I just haven't worked it out yet!! ; ) Jess, I'm improving at suduko, still painfully slow but I did get to level 5 (ok I admit it I did have a peak at the answers!)
Still no luck at catching fish. They are biting; we just have no joy at getting them on the boat. Very frustrating & we have nearly lost all the lure's!! Thai curry just isn't the same without the fish!
We have been sailing wing & wing (also called the butterfly) with the wind behind us. As the winds shifted this afternoon we (that's the Royal "we", should really say Bobby!) put up the stay sail & now hauling arse with 3 sails out. Doing 6.5 knots with winds of 11 knots & increasing. Friends onboard Northern Winds caught us & sailed by a few hours ago, taking photos of Barraveigh as they passed. They are now just a dot on the horizon. The sun is setting & a new moon is rising on what I hope will be our last night before touch down in yet another paradise island!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

its that time again!

After 3 weeks in the Marquesas its time to move onto the next island chain. With the memories of the pacific crossing slowly fading but not totally forgotten I'm in 2 minds about beginning another crossing! At only 4-5 days long it's just a short hop compared to the previous one!

The Marquesan Islands have been breathtaking. Dramatic, stunning scenery, that never fails to amaze. Mountainous & rocky but so very lush & green. The scenery is like something out of Lord of the Rings but with pristine beaches & palm trees. Banana, pamplemoose (similar to grapefruit but much sweeter), bread fruit, lime, mango & coconut trees are in abundance.

Surprisingly it took us 2 days to go onto land after dropping the anchor. As always too many chores! Bottom cleaning took over a week. Barraveigh was awarded first place for being the dirtiest boat in the anchorage! We had growth a meter from the water line as well as underneath!
I can't explain the joy of stepping onto land. The local children met us with cry's "bonbon bonbon" & I soaked up the lush grass tickling my toes. With no local currency, no bank for another 3 islands & a need for fresh fruit, we began trading & bartering. A bottle of rum (bought for $3 in Panama worth $30 here!) for laundry - a good swap in my mind, the thought of hand washing a months worth of laundry was not a chore I was relishing! Another local guy thought he could get the better of Bobby when he took the rum but failed to deliver the goods. Bobby hunted him down & proudly returned with a stock of bananas & a bag of pamplemoose! Lesson learnt - never give up the rum until they bring the goods.

The locals look very similar to the Maori people. They are huge, with the biggest hands & feet I've seen! Their bodies are covered with creative tribal tattoos, some even tattoo their faces. The one surprise, other than their friendliness, is their fluent French. It always takes me by surprise when these huge people start speaking French. Their local dialect suits them better & is great to listen to. Full of vowels & very little else!

Even in the tiniest of villages we are able to buy fresh baguettes & croissants! Fresh bread is heaven, a real bonus as my bread making skills does not appear to be improving!! Happy memories of sitting on the shore looking out at sea sharing freshly baked baguettes, spreading the French butter with my pen knife!

Paradise does come with one drawback - the nonos! Smaller than mosquitoes but just as blood thirsty! They love my sweet English blood & I'm suffering! My back is so badly bitten; it looks like a bad case of the measles. I should be in quarantine! I have made a screen for the bedroom so we sleep in peace, but with the windows closed & no breeze it feels like a prison cell!! Just hoping the itching will end soon or I'll be wearing gloves to bed! It is frustrating to sit on the boat looking at a unspoiled beach but knowing as soon as you step onto it the nono's will attack! I have learnt my lesson, no exercise or hand washing of clothes - both result in a large quantity of new bites!

We have hiked to a number of waterfalls on various islands, including the 3rd highest in the world. If we were anywhere else in the world we would have had to share the crystal clear pools under the waterfall with other tourists but this is the Marquesas & us boaties are the only tourists here!

  • Odds & Ends:
    Mending the entire edge of the headsail (16 meters) with a sewing machine that didn't want to co-operate & a sail so huge I could hardly move it!

  • Eating my lunch on a rock in a shallow stream only to have an eel swim between my feet - yes I screamed!

  • Picking mangos from a tree in a local womans garden. She only allowed me leave once I had filled two bags!

  • Bobby describing his 1st banana since the crossing! "It tastes like lemon meringue"

  • Cooking pizza, scones (from memory no recipe!) & hummus from scratch - still dream of M&S Foods at Brighton station!

  • Eating my first ice cream!

  • Trying to eat a stock of bananas which all ripened at the same time!

  • Sitting in the hammock at the bow of the boat watching the sun set

  • Drinking with our friends in the anchorage as we ended our pacific crossing.

  • Hand washing clothes on shore whilst Bobby killed the nono's landing on my back

  • Finding an English boat with the 2nd series of Life on Mars!

  • Phoning home - bad connection but so very good to hear their voices

  • Finally finding internet connection. After an hour & loosing the connection 20 times I gave in. It can wait

  • TimTams are on the supermarket shelves here! We are hooked on them!

  • Paying $4 for a small head of lettuce! Ouch!

  • Watching a local guy with 1 arm & 1 leg catching octopus - truly amazing especially as Bobby is yet to catch anything with his fishing spears!

  • Making cocktails with coconuts from the beach - when husked the nuts were the size of a football!

  • Falling down the stairs from the deck of the boat. A 2 meter vertical drop hurts but no permanent damage!

  • Sitting in the outdoor waiting room with the locals whilst Bobby saw the doctor about his finger. He is going to need surgery to correct the finger which has now mended itself but it'll have to wait until Oz!

Next stop:
Tuamotus, a chain of atoll islands.
(Explanation: The island is a ring of coral reef with water in the middle which we sail into through a small channel) Home of the black pearls!