“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover!” -- Mark Twain
Voyage of Traveler A Three Year Circumnavigation2007-2010 Part 1 of 4 (Click the Play button on the screen and then the video will begin after 40 seconds.)
Voyage of Traveler A Three Year Circumnavigation 2007-2010 Part 2 of 4
Voyage of Traveler A Three Year Circumnavigation 2007-2010 Part 3 of 4
Voyage of Traveler A Three Year Circumnavigation 2007-2010 Part 4 of 4
STUCK IN PARADISE, AGAIN
STUCK IN PARADISE, AGAIN May 15, 2008 Raiatea, French Polynesia
As I like to say, "It's all good, except the bad parts." The good news is that I am in paradise, island hopping between Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora, which are some of the most gorgeous islands on the planet, and in the best time of the year, weather-wise.The bad news is I am here alone and miss Barbara very much.She decided to fly back home to Southern California for a few weeks to "re-charge the batteries" and to see family and friends and take care of a little business.Plus she is off the boat for a much deserved break, as she has been on board Traveler since we left Newport Beach in early July, working hard on boat projects most every day. The other bad news is that I blew the engine and I am awaiting for a new Yanmar 110hp to be shipped from LA, which should take about a month to get here and then another week to install.The head gasket on my 23-year old Volvo blew out, allowing water to get into the cylinder, which then cracked the cylinder head.It did not make sense to put a lot of money into fixing up the old engine, so I ordered a new one.
My friend David LaMontagne was with Barbara and me at the time, as we were cruising from Raiatea to Rarotonga, with a stop in Bora Bora, but we had to return to Raiatea to have the boat worked on. Dave was with us for about two weeks and we had some good times, in spite of the engine problems.
While I am stuck here in paradise, just to pass the time and to have a little fun, I decided to get on another boat for the Tahiti Pearl Regatta, which is a series of four races over four days around Raiatea, Tahaa and over to Bora Bora.I joined the crew of Wizard, a 57 ft race boat from South Africa, and we were the second boat to cross the finish line each of the four races behind a 72-footer named Far Out from England with a Danish owner and professional crew.We had a luau each night at a different location with a Tahitian Dance Show. Many of the boats that raced in the regatta are part of the ARC World Cruise, and I met many people from all over the world with lots of good stories and shared experiences. Just before we left for the first race one of the crew on Wizard asked if I had a pirate costume I could bring."But of course.I carry eight pirate costumes onboard Traveler." So we were fully decked out, with a couple of great pirate flags, too.On the first day of the regatta we had five local Tahitian kids, ages 9 to 12, join us for the race, and we had them all dressed up in pirate costumes, too.A photo of us made the local newspaper."Arrrrrg."
After the regatta, on the way back to Raiatea from Bora Bora and still and onboard Wizard, we decided to stop and anchor for the night at a motu (small island) off Tahaa where there is a great place for snorkeling called the Coral Garden.The Coral Garden is wall-to-wall gorgeous coral in shallow water, ranging from just one to three feet deep, in a small pass between two motus that averages 100 yards wide and is about 500 yards long, with a constant flow of incoming current at about 2 to 3 knots, with thousands of tropical fish.Truly amazing.We also spent one night at the Taravana Yacht Club on the southern tip of Tahaa, where we got to see yet another fabulous Tahitian Dance Show.
More good news: After several weeks of battery problems earlier this year, the four additional solar panels (each at 85 watts) and the KISS wind generator are keeping the batteries fully charged without having to run the engine (which is a good thing since I have none now) or the Honda generator (which is also good because since January it is putting out only 50 hertz and my battery charger only accepts 110 volt AC at 60 hertz.)Although the Honda Generator can no longer be used to charge the batteries, we use it to run the blender to make yummy Banana Daiquiris.
I just wish that Barbara returns soon so we can enjoy this paradise together, and that the new engine arrives quickly so we can be on our way again.
Cruising From Tahiti to Bora-Bora
To better view the photos in the right column, double click on a photo and it will pop up larger with a detailed caption. Or you can single click on the start button to view them as a slide show.
January through April, 2008
This leg of the voyage, from Tahiti to Bora-Bora, will be remembered for the gorgeous islands, friendly Tahitians, fabulous diving, and The Rain.They call it the “Rainy Season” for good reason.We had some rain, at least a shower, almost every day.On a few occasions, it rained very hard (like an inch in just five minutes) with lots of wind (with gusts often up to 40, and a couple of times up around 50 knots.)
My sister Dana joined us in Tahiti at the Marina Tiana, and then the next day the three of us cruised across the eight mile channel to Moorea, where my sister Melissa joined us at the Club Bali Hai in Cook’s Bay.The highlight was the world premier of “Livin’ The Dream,” written and recorded by Melissa, Dana and Dana’s fiancé Bob. Please see the link above to read the lyrics.It is quite an honor to have a song written and recorded for you, and we were humming the tune for days.Thanks Melissa, Dana and Bob.
After touring Moorea for a couple of days in search of Tati, and having a few cocktails at Muk’s Happy Hour, the four of us set sail for the next island of Huahine.It was a rough 14 hour crossing, with winds at 30, gusting to 35 knots, and eight foot waves on the starboard stern, which bounced us around pretty good, and unfortunately Melissa got seasick.
In Huahine, we snorkeling, kayaked, rode bikes and just relaxed on the beach at the beautiful Te Tiara Resort.We made friends with a couple who were guests at the hotel, invited them onboard Traveler for dinner one night, and the next thing I know, Melissa is cutting and coloring Barbara’s hair on the balcony of their $1,000 per night over-the-water bungalow.
While our bikes were locked to a post near the guest dock, someone stole our wheels and seats.The cost to replace these parts was almost the same as a new bike, so we got ourselves new bikes. This was just the second time in seven months that we were victims of a crime; the other coming in Waikiki when our rental car was burglarized.
Barbara and I made the 25 mile passage from Huahine to Raiatea just the two of us, which was the first time, since we had crew join us on all of the other passages.The conditions were perfect – fair winds and following seas. We entered the pass and motored around to the Raiatea Carenage Boat Yard, where we found an unused mooring for the night.As it turned out, the owner of the mooring had recently sold his boat, and we had that mooring, off and on, for the better part of six weeks.
While there, we made lots of new friends: Sunni and Charlie on Cosmos from Hermosa Beach, CA; Lee and Mary (both renowned pediatricians) and their two teenaged kids, Alex and Lara, on Promise, a Beneteau 47 from Essex, CT; Chris and Maggie on Contigo, a Gulfstar 50 from Pensacola; Nancy and John on Alana Rose, a spacious catamaran from Brisbane, AU.We also re-connected with friends from Marina Tiana, Teresa, Jeff, Giovanni and Stephanie on Haapsalu, a Beneteau 50 from Sausalito, CA
Much time, and money, was spent on charging the batteries.Our trusty Honda gas-powered portable generator failed.You do not want to be running the Volvo diesel for three or four hours a day to keep the batteries up because it is too noisy, hot and fuel costs about $8/gal.So, after much debate and research, we decided to Go Green for our power needs.We bought three large solar panels and a Kiss wind generator, which is both high output and quiet.The panels and the wind generator sit high and pretty on a new stainless steel arch above the dinghy davits on the stern.The solar tilts so we get a much longer peak charging time.The bottom line is that it may take three years or more to recoup the investment through savings on fuel, but we are making power with just the sun and wind, and making ice cubes in our small freezer compartment.Our biggest dilemma is now whether to go with the Banana Daiquiris or the Mai Tais for our sunset Happy Hour and cocktail cruise. Thanks to Fred, Richard and Dominick of Raiatea Carenage, and to Claude and Jean-Claude of Alunox for all your help.Also, a special thanks to Alan for helping Barbara solve the deck leak.
Once again, I had to go back to Newport Beach – from March 20 to April 19 -- to visit with my three kids who were home for Spring Break, to get my house sold, and for the trial in the Estate of Bennett.Thank goodness for probate litigation, otherwise I would be without my boat and still in NB doing estate plans for my clients. For those four weeks, Barbara was on Traveler without me, doing boat projects and doing some reading.For one week, however, Barbara had very welcomed visitors: her sister-in-law Leslie and her daughter Claire from Santa Barbara.Auntie B got to play tour guide and took them up a peak, on a drift dive in the CoralGarden and pearl shopping.They also saw a Polynesian Dance Show and had a fabulous meal at the Taravana Yacht Club, one of our favorite places.
In February, Barbara and I sailed over to Bora Bora for a three day weekend.We picked up a mooring at the Bloody Mary’s Restaurant and dinghied in for dinner and drinks.A trip to Bora is not complete without a meal at Bloody’s.The next day we rode our bikes around the island, which was only about 20 miles but felt like 30 because of headwinds.The following day we saw the Academy Awards from the elegant Hotel Bora Bora Nui.
We had to wait out the cyclone season, which is from December 1 to April 1, but now that is past us and we look forward to getting back to sailing across the South Pacific.Our friend David Lamontagne of Laguna Beach and the Balboa Yacht Club just joined the crew.He gets to “live the dream” with us for the next three weeks while we cruise to Bora Bora (again), Maupiti, Mopelia and then on for 400 miles or so to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.
Departing Oahu for Molokai and Lanai
Leaving Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Waikiki (October 2007)
In the days leading up to our departure from Oahu, we were very busy provisioning the boat. On one day alone, we bought $3,000 worth of food, and that was a Costco and the Military PX. We also made several last minute repairs and planned the details for cruising the Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.
One of my friends that I met during the 2003 Transpac, Robby Buck, who lives in Hawaii and has extensive cruising experience, was very helpful in advising me where best to anchor and other invaluable “local knowledge.”I suggested that he join us, and he did, so we had a fourth crew member.I pared Brian up with Robby for the watch schedules, and Brian learned much from the master.Robbie has an incredible 77 passages in the Pacific of 2,000 miles or more.
It was bitter sweet to leave the comforts of the Hawaii Yacht Club and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor – where Traveler had been berthed since Transpac.But it felt so good to be a sea, once again, as we left Waikiki on October 11 at 0500, sailed past the buoy off Diamond Head, and started the second leg of our three year cruise around the world.
The passage from Oahu across the Molokai Channel was short, only about 30 miles, but all up hill, beating into the strongest winds and roughest seas we faced so far.
Molokai - Lono Harbor It felt good to ease into the lee of the Island of Molokai and to drop anchor in the protected Lono Harbor.Except for a small local fishing boat, we were the only boat in the harbor, which was quite a contrast from Waikiki. We went ashore in our dinghy and hiked up to enjoy a gorgeous view from a high bluff that overlooked not only our boat in the harbor below, but we could see clear across the next channel to the Islands of Maui and Lanai.We then enjoyed a great barbequed dinner on board and a good night’s sleep.
Lanai -Five Pinnacles The next day, we made the crossing over to the undeveloped west coast of Lanai and dropped anchor at Five Pinnacles, where we enjoyed yet another fabulous barbequed dinner and good night’s sleep – hey, these things are important when you are cruising around.The next morning, we snorkeled around, then hiked around, the rocky shoreline of the Five Pinnacles, which are spectacular lava rock towers.
Lanai - Manele Bay
We pulled up anchor (literally, the windlass was broken, so Brian did it by hand) and motored just ten miles around the island's SW corner to Manele Bay, where we tied up to a slip in one of the many yacht harbors owned and managed by the State of Hawaii.Barbara and I rode bikes to the nearby Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay – very nice – where for the price of a couple of cocktails we were able to see a hula show, hang out by the pool and enjoy the beautiful hotel. We also took the hotel’s free shuttle to their sister resort in the middle of the island, the gorgeous “up-country” Four Seasons Lodge at Koele, where we had more cocktails and appetizers and enjoyed the pool and Jacuzzi.
Provisioning the boat.
Click on any of the photos to enlarge and to see a detailed caption.
Just another sunset in Waikiki.
The evening before departing Oahu.
Ready, set, GO!
Sunrise in the Molokai Channel.
At anchor in Lono Harbor, Molokai.
The bluff above Lono Harbor.
Five Pinnacles, west coast of Lanai.
Cruising the coast of Lanai.
Motoring along Lanai's west coast.
Here Today, Gone to Maui
The fourth day of our cruise of the Hawaiian Islands took us to Lahaina, Maui, where fortunately we were able to pick up one of the Lahaina Yacht Club moorings, for free.Nice to have reciprocal privileges.We rented a car and stayed one night with Barbara’s friend John Del Gatto, who lives in Kula, half way between Kahalui and Haleakala.We got up at 0400 the next morning so we could see the sunrise from the Haleakala Crater, elevation 9,740.Wow, was it cold up there.Brian drove the car down the mountain, following right behind Barbara and me on our bikes.It was quite the long, steep, scenic and chilly downhill bike ride.
We then decided to drive the Road to Hana and got about half way.We saw a gorgeous waterfall, where Brian jumped from the top to the natural pool of water below 40 ft. below.We also enjoyed the Botanical Gardens there, where we posed for photos with some colorful parrots.
The town of Lahaina is great for strolling around, lots of great restaurants, bars and gift shops, in a scenic, historic Hawaiian whaling town.
I have always wanted to go diving at Molokini, a small island just off Maui, but we got there too late in the afternoon and it was quite rough, so we continued on to Makena Beach on the SW corner of Maui to anchor for the night.
Lahaina Yacht Club.
Haleakala at sunrise.
Top of Maui.
Brian? Up early?
Bike down the crater.
Parrots in paradise.
Feeding the birds.
Botanical Gardens walk.
For my next trick...
Big Adventure on the Big Island
Honokohau Harbor, Kona, Hawaii
As with most big adventures, it began with the passage, this one across the channel between Maui and Hawaii.Like the Molokai Channel, we had to beat into some of the strongest winds and roughest seas yet.Once in the lee of the Hawaii, it was great cruising along the Kona Coast.But just as we throttled back to enter Honokohau Harbor, the engine died.I quickly launched our dinghy, side tied it to Traveler, and towed her in with the dinghy’s 8 hp Yamaha.We knew the water pump was leaking badly, but that was coincidental and wasn’t what caused the engine to stall.We soon discovered the problem was much more serious: salt water somehow got into our fuel tank, then into our engine.It probably got into the tank by waves hitting us broadside so hard and for so long that a few gallons of saltwater found its way through the small vent for the fuel tank, located just four inches below the toe rail amid ship on the port side.The saltwater got past two filters and badly damaged both the fuel injector pump and the injectors.By the time we were done rebuilding those parts and polishing the salt water out of the tank, it delayed us a week and cost about $3,500.Ouch!As the saying goes, “Cruising is best defined as fixing your boat in exotic ports.”
On the brighter side, Brian joined Barbara and me for a fabulous luau and Polynesian dance show at the Kona Village Resort, which, in my opinion, is one of the finest tropical resorts in the world.We kicked things off with a round of maitais at their famous Ship Wreck Bar, then we had three more maitais with dinner.It’s good to splurge once in awhile, and we felt that we deserved it.We rented a car and drove around the island, seeing the Parker Ranch, Hilo, a couple of great waterfalls, and Volcano National Park.At the Volcano House hotel, perched right on the edge of the spectacular Kilaeua Volcano Crater, I put another log on a fire that has been burning continuously for over 135 years.Mark Twain enjoyed the very same fire, just 130 years ago.Pretty amazing.
In Honokohau, the only available berth for us was at the fuel dock, located right at the narrow harbor entrance, so we were awaken early each morning by chartered commercial fishing boats leaving the harbor.One of the boats brought in an 840 lbs. marlin and left it hanging on the scale right in front of Traveler, so Barbara and I playfully posed for a picture as if it was our catch.We had a huge green sea turtle visit us each morning.Another highlight was snorkeling just outside the harbor entrance with a pod of playful dolphin swimming around us.This went on for over a half hour and was our best dive so far on our voyage.
Kona Village Resort.
Ship Wreck Bar.
280 lbs. Marlin.
135 year old fire.
Passage to Tahiti
A Rough and Wet 16-Day Passage
Our friends, Larry Sharpless and Dan Bornholdt, joined us in Kona for the passage down to Tahiti.Larry and I raced together on Willow Wind, a Cal 40, in the 2003 Transpac, and he has seven Pacific crossings, all races.Dan and Barbara go way back to elementary school.
We left Kona’s Honokohau Harbor at sunset on October 27.How was the trip down to Tahiti, you ask?As is often the case for most long ocean passages, it was all good, except for the bad parts.
After motoring south for just a few minutes and with the harbor still in sight, the oil pressure alarm went off.Remember, this is just after spending about $3,500 to fix the engine, so I’m wondering what the problem could be this time.Using a cell phone, we called a mechanic friend in Waikiki who assured us, after some debate, it was most likely just a false alarm (it only happened when the RPMs were low) and to ignore the alarm.Needless to say, this was a little unnerving and not exactly the best way to start a 2,300 mile passage expected to take 16 days.But we motor-sailed through the night, keeping about a mile off the coastline, to South Point, the southerly most point of land in the 50 states.
Here, I expected heavier winds after we sailed south of the somewhat protected lee of the point, because wind usually accelerates around large points of land, and sure enough we were hit with winds of 28 to 30 knots.I thought it would last for 20 or 30 miles, then start to ease to the more typical 15 knot trade winds.But the stronger winds lasted more like a thousand miles.And we had to beat into it, with fairly large waves slamming into us broadside the whole way to French Polynesia.
On Day Two of our passage, we took a wave that washed all the way back to the hatch for our aft stateroom, which I left opened a half inch to get some ventilation.The wave dumped on the bed where I was sleeping, soaking our bed, books and other things we had next to the bunk.It took days to get everything dried out.And the rest of the trip we kept the hatch shut tightly, which made it quite stuffy, humid, and hot.
That’s not all.After five days of getting bounced around with the wind and waves, on Day Six we got hit by a big, nasty squall that I expected would last 30 to 45 minutes.It lasted eight days.That’s off and on for eight days, but mostly on.At times we had rain that, I’m guessing, fell at the rate of two to three inches per hour.Even with our foul weather gear, we were soaked to the underpants.And it was cooler than I expected.We usually wore the foulies, especially at night, to keep warm, on both sides of the equator.
At first we were expecting, and then after several days of this stuff, just hoping, that we would have a day or two of doldrums, or at least very light breezes, so that we could take the sails down and go for a swim, especially when crossing the equator.It wasn’t even close.We rarely had wind under 20 knots, and don’t think it ever got below 10 knots, for all 15 days.Our storm staysail, made of very thick sailcloth, was ripped and two of the hanks were badly bent when a big wave came over the bow.We also had two small tears at the luff tape on our main, which grew over the next few days to two large tears.
I covered the vent for the fuel tank, but the smashing waves ripped the cover off and more salt water got into our tank.I kept a watchful eye on the filters, and with a fair amount of effort and near daily attention to the problem, I believe I kept the salt water out of the engine by draining the heavier salt water out of the fuel filters and changing the filters.
We had several deck leaks, and our bilge pump was working overtime, but much more than just from the deck leaks. There was another leak, causing the bilge to fill in about two minutes, then it would get pumped dry by the bilge pump, then fill again, over and over. We discovered that, because we were healed over so far, the through hull for the discharge hose from the bilge pump was just below the waterline, and we had no anti-syphon valve, so water was being pumped overboard and then it was syphoned back into the bilge, continuously. We managed to fix this problem, but running the pump for so many hours caused quite a drain on our batteries, so we needed run the generator to recharge them.
The good parts of this story are (1) in spite of all the bad weather, we ate very well, drank some good wine and all made it safely, and no one got sea sick or hurt, (2) we celebrated Larry’s birthday and then the next day Dan’s birthday, (3) it was fun crossing the equator while at sea, and in so doing Brian and Dan joined the rest of us as “Shellbacks,” (4) we had a fun halfway party and gift exchange, (4) had a really fun Pirate Party, and (5) Brian hooked up to a marlin – very exciting when it jumped near the boat three times, so we all got a good look at it – but it got away after 25 minutes or so, which is a good thing for the fish but even a better thing for us.What were we going to do with a marlin along the side of the boat?Certainly not try to bring it on board.
Landfall at Rangiroa in the Tuamotos was a welcomed relief.This is the second largest atoll in the world.We anchored, then Barbara and I went ashore – it felt so strange to walk on solid ground after 15 days at sea -- to clear immigration at the gendarmerie while the others went diving. We were anchored right off the Kia Oro Hotel, a resort similar to the Kona Village, so of course we dinghied over to have a few beers. After Dan’s fabulous dive with the local dive pros, Barbara and I went on a dive the next morning with the same dive company, and it was incredibly exciting.Nearly 200 feet of visibility, lots of gorgeous coral heads, a pod of dolphin playfully checking us out, and seeing millions of fish and other sea life, including turtles, a large moray eel (a little creepy), a huge school of barracuda that circled us (really creepy), and a black-tipped reef shark (they say this species is harmless to humans, but still, very creepy.)The tide is very strong here and reaches 6 or 7 knots in the two passes, which makes for a memorable drift dive. But the racing tide makes the water’s surface rough, so it’s a little tricky getting out of the water and back into the dive boat.
After dropping Dan off in town to catch a ride to the airport, we had to wait a couple of hours for the gas station to re-open (they close mid-day for a siesta), and then we had to wait for a slack tide to exit the pass.Finally, we set sail in the late afternoon for Papeete, Tahiti, about 180 miles to the south, on a broad reach in pleasant conditions.We arrived the following night at around 0200, so we laid offshore, circling around, and waited until dawn to cross the pass through the reef.
Papeete, Tahiti We docked at Papeete’s main quay, right downtown, and were surprised to see only one other boat.Where were all the other boats?After clearing immigration, we had breakfast in a café, then went back to clean up the boat.
Brian quickly met a very cute local girl his age named Rochelle, who spoke very little English, and Brian of course spoke no French or Tahitian.Somehow they managed to get to know each other and were soon enjoying a mid-day bottle of wine in the cockpit of Traveler, both smiling quite a bit.Brian bought his Polynesian princess a beautiful bouquet of white, fragrant flowers, and then they strolled together through the marketplace.It was fun watching Brian doing his very best to make our “Livin’ the Dream” motto onboard Traveler a reality.
That same day, we moved the boat about five miles south to the other side of the airport at Marina Tiana and paid about $30 per night to stay on the main dock there.Nice restaurants, showers, good security, and nice neighbors.We met the delightful and capable Liz Clark, who at age 23 is single-handedly sailing her Cal 40 (Google “Liz Clark Swell Voyage” for more) all around the Pacific, surfing and writing stories for sailing and surfing magazines.We invited her onboard Traveler for dinner the night before she departed for Christmas Island and just before Larry had to return to California.
On passage to Tahiti.
Dan's Birthday, too.
Crossing the Equator.
Papeete at Dawn.
Our Day at Teahupoo
For those of you who surf, the legendary Teahupoo (pronounced “cho-pu”) is the Holy Grail.It’s famous for a huge break on a shallow reef, with fast, exciting, thick tubular waves.You should Google “Teahupoo” and then click on some of the videos and photos.Amazing waves.
Brian very much wanted to go check it out and, hopefully, to catch some waves there, if it wasn’t too huge.The day we went was perfect.About head high waves, no wind, and a small, very friendly, group of local surfers.The reef is about a mile offshore, so it is best to get a ride out in a boat.
Barbara stayed in the boat we hired, while Michael and Brian (mostly Brian) had some fun wave riding on body boards.Brian, who had to return to Newport Beach the next morning, said that it was his “best day ever out in the water,” and Teahupoo was the highlight of his three and a half months onboard Traveler.
On the beach afterwards, Barbara found a coconut and then, with her bare hands and a rock, was able to get the husk off, crack it in half, drank the milk and then passed around tasty chunks of fresh coconut.Amazing girlfriend.
Teahupoo City Limits.
Welcome to Teahupoo.
Ready to Get Wet.
Michael at Teahupoo.
...And Split in Half.
Moorea During the Rainy Season
One of the neighboring boats at the Marina Tiana was Haapsula, a Beneteau 50 from Sausalito, with a family of nine (!) who arrived from the Marquesas and the Tuamotus.After most of them had returned to California, Teresa and her 19 year old son, Giovanni, accepted our invitation to cruise with us to Moorea, spend the night onboard Traveler, then take the ferry back.It was a delightful passage, mostly a broad reach in pleasant conditions, and we covered the 12 miles to Cook’s Bay in about two hours.As we neared the pass, we happened to see, close to the boat, a mother and calf humpback whale.
We anchored just 100 yards off the Club Bali Hai (Google it and check out their website), arriving in time to go for a great snorkel on the outer reef and then saw the Wednesday night Polynesian Dance Show, which is very good, followed by a tasty mahi mahi dinner and more maitais at the hotel’s waterfront, outdoor restaurant.
The hotel owners and founders are the legendary Bali Hai Boys, Muck and Jay, who are gracious and fun-loving, long-time friends from Newport Beach, so we have full hotel privileges there, including use of the pool, ice machine, CNN in the lobby, etc.
Unfortunately, on December 6 I had to return to Newport Beach, again, for business, leaving Barbara onboard Traveler by herself for Christmas and New Years.I return to Moorea on January 2.Meanwhile, Barbara is having a mostly good time in Cook’s Bay, getting some projects done and catching up on some reading.She met up with a dive master on vacation at the hotel, and he took her out for a dive at the outer reef to see some sharks. She said the thing that made her more nervous was the four foot barracuda that kept swimming around them.
Then, on the afternoon of Christmas Eve as Barbara was about to dinghy back out to Traveler, a freaky, huge squall with gusts as high as 40 knots and lots of rain.As she dinghied out, by herself, she heard the brake on the windlass had slipped and the anchor chain was paying out fast, with very little sea room for Traveler before she would run aground on a reef.Barbara managed to get onboard, in spite of the crazy wind and rain, stopped the anchor chain from running out any further, and then started the engine to keep Traveler off the reef.After the wind died down some, she check the wind speed gauge and it was still blowing 30 knots! Check the Traveler blog for her own account of what happened.I just spoke with her by satellite phone and all is well.Truly an amazing girlfriend, and I am so lucky to have her with me on this voyage. I am very thankful she was there, and very sorry I was not.
Barbara reports rain, ranging from a brief, light, welcomed shower on one hand, to the Christmas Eve Squall on the other, for 25 out of the past 30 days. But as she says, “You gotta have some rain if you want to see a rainbow.”
Cook's Bay, Moorea
Marina Tiana, Tahiti
STUCK IN WAIKIKI (September 2007)
TRAVELER IS STILL IN WAIKIKI. Before we started our voyage, we had planned to be in Tahiti by now, but Traveler is still at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor next to the Hawaii YC. In the five weeks since we finished Transpac, we had Hurricane Flossie just miss Hawaii, a few repairs to make and I had to return to Newport Beach, twice, to take care of some unfinished business and tie up some lose ends. But I expect to rejoin Barbara and my son, Brian, in another week, and then we plan to set sail across the channel to visit the islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island. Barbara, Brian and I have been snorkling with turtles, kayak surfing, spending some quality time at the Yacht Club and making new friends. While I have been in NB, Barbara has taught Brian to not only cook and clean (skills most 18 year olds still lack), but also to sew!
The Tiki Bar is always open on Traveler
TRAVELER WINS 2ND PLACE IN TRANSPAC
TRAVELER WON SECOND PLACE IN THE ALOHA B CLASS OF THE 2007 TRANSPAC. Against all odds, especially after two major setbacks in our first two days and other troubles along the way, Traveler picked up a Transpac trophy. Just an hour into the race, one of our crew, Scott Schubert, severely sliced his finger with a rigging knife. Thanks to a nearby power boat, he was rushed to Long Beach Memorial where he received eight stitches. Then, six hours after the race started, we re-started the race with Scott back on board, giving our competiton what seemed at the time as an insurmountable head start. Scott was so happy that we turned back and then waited for him at the starting line while he got his finger stitched up that he was near tears. Then on the following day ten miles off the back side of San Clemente Island, we were intercepted by a Navy helicopter and escorted ten miles in the wrong direction to detour around a naval exercise with dozens of ships and aircraft using live ammo. Several days later, on two separate occasions, we lost our steering, but both times we were able to quickly make the repairs. On Day 13 (which is when we expected to finish), we realized we would miss a couple of fun parties at the Hawaii YC and the Waikiki YC. So to lift the crew's spirits, I brought out the pirate costumes and a couple of bottles of really good rum. We had a party on Traveler that day that rivaled any other on the Pacific that week. However, we found it is a little hard to steer the boat with an eye patch on without spillin' yer grog. Arrrrr! Congratulations to the eight-man crew: Michael Lawler, skipper, Barbara Burdick, watch captain, Jim Palmer and David Beek, co-navigators, Scott Schubert, Kurt Roll, Kathy Smith, and Phillip La Plante. See the link at www.transpacificyc.org then scroll down to the second news story ("44th Transpac: Trophies and Tribulations" and then click to see the whole story) and also click on Daily Arrivals, then on Traveler to see more details and photos. Thanks to all of our family and friends for following our progress and sending emails. And a very special mahalo to don and Kathy Aakhus and the Makani Kai YC for the Arrival Party. You all made us feel like rock stars. Mahalo and Aloha, Michael
The Traveler Crew Celebrates After Transpac
Dave Beek, Michael Lawler and Scott Schubert back at the BYC with the 2nd Place Trophy for Transpac