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28/07/2014

Firefly - Castaways

After spending a few days anchored off the North Bay of Waya in the Yasawa Group of islands we made an early start to head south back to the west coast of Viti Levu, in order to start our preparations for laying Firefly up and going home for a month. We planned a stop at Monuriki Island where the movie 'Castaway' was filmed, before going onto Malolo and Sunday 27th July ended up being an eventful day. Whilst Rosy has been with us we have increased our efforts to catch fish. Susie bought some new lures and line recently and before we left Waya, Paul assembled the new array of equipment. 2 lines were deployed as soon as we left and within an hour, to our surprise, the 'elastic indicator' was fully stretched out and we managed to land a 4kg tuna. Dealing with the fish once on board was a. read more...


27/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 203; 7:00 AM Church, the Fishing Store, Provisioning and Prize Giving Dinner; Sunday, July 27, 2014

Up at 6:00 AM to go to a 7:00 AM church service at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in MacKay. Jeanine and I departed the boat at 6:20 AM and arrived at the church at 6:50 AM. We're actually getting pretty good at understanding 'Australian English.' If you think that's strange, try watching an Australian movie and see how many words you can't understand. Same goes for UK English and New Zealand English.After the service, the priest read a letter from the Bishop that indicated that some of the parishioners had been killed in the recent plane shot down in the Ukraine by Russia; and that some previous parishioners had been lost in the plane that disappeared a few months ago when a pilot suicided the plane. Both airplanes were from Malaysia. The services ended at 8:15 AM and Jeanine and I then. read more...


27/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 202; Unwinding in MacKay, Australia; Saturday, July 26, 2014

Up at 6:30 AM. I got up then to make sure that Jeanine got up for a 7:30 AM 'walk with the ladies.' Rally Control conducted the daily net at 9:00 AM. After than we had breakfast at a local little restaurant: French Toast, bacon (what we call ham)and coffee. Very good. Jeanine was already in the restaurant with the ladies when we got there. After breakfast I ordered up a car for Saturday afternoon, returning it Monday morning at 9:00 AM. We went to a gigantic mall in the city of Mackay in the afternoon. In the mall were two giant grocery stores, but no movie theaters like in the US. We found a MacDonald's there and had some french fries. Delicious. At 7:00 PM we had dinner with Russ, Laurie, Brian and Lauren from Nexus. Joel, Jeanine and me. A very good meal and great company. After. read more...


27/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 201; Drug Dog Alerts & More Information on Sea Snake We Saw Friday, July 23, 2014

Up at 6:30 AM as we had Customs, Immigration and Quarantine personnel coming to boat at 7:00.At 7:00 AM approximately 10 Australian government officials and 2 drug dogs arrived at the fuel dock where American Spirit II, Saphir and Jazz Player were tied up. The latter 2 boats were inspected first.At approximately 8:00 AM we were boarded by the Australian authorities. The Customs and Immigration personnel were all armed with automatic side arms. What was curious was that each gun had a coiled wire attached to the bottom of them connecting them to each officer. I guess that makes it harder to lose a gun and to have one taken away from you.At any rate, the first order of business was to have a beautiful black dog lifted on board and then down into the main cabin. A little while later one of. read more...


Tomanita II - St Petersburg
Tomanita II - St Petersburg
25/07/2014

Tomanita II - St Petersburg

Seglade från Tallinn i fin vind kl. 19 nära TSS, som är fartygsleden. Anmälde till Ryska kustbevakningen på kvällen att vi går över gränsen, inga problem. Snart kommer en båt och kollar oss på avstånd. På natten dör vinden och vi går för motor. Infarten till Kronstaht är spektakulär; upplyst staket så långt man kan se och mängder av kryssningsfartyg o oljetanker som lotsas igenom! Vi stannar och väntar i gryningen men får inte ankra! Efter lite sömn/mat går vi till tullen. Vilket ställe! Allt i kaotiskt skick, borde rivts för 50 år sedan.. Tullen tar sin tid och samtidigt passar lotsarna på köra in/ ut så fort dom kan med gamla plåtskorvar; det gäller att ha bra förtöjningar! Pontonerna saknar skydd och avslitna fästen av stål sticker rakt ut: mycket välkomnande för plastbåtar.När allt. read more...


25/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 200; American Spirit II Finally Sees Humpback Whales, Another Sea Snake, & Arrival in MacKay, Australia; Thursday, July 24, 2014

Around midnight we passed another sailboat to our starboard. Without our AIS we couldn't see who it was. The wind was 20 knots and our boat speed 6.6 knots. We were still motor sailing because the seas were still dead astern and very sloppy.At 12:15 AM I called home and talked to Janet after receiving her email about my cousin. I was on watch until 2:00 AM because we were making 'landfall' in the passage and Joel and I were splitting the nighttime watch as a result. So Jeanine got to 'sleep in.' I got up at 6:00 AM and Joel and I both stayed up as we started making our way thru the entrance to the Great Barrier Reef called Hydrogener's Passage. At 6:25 AM I saw the light house on the left side of the passage. Its light flashed every 10 seconds. Saphir was visible ahead of us about a mile. read more...


25/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 199; Rough Weather Stretch & Cousin/Crewman Richard Volz Passes Away; Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Might as well start with the bad news first. When opening my emails tonight I found out that cousin and crew member Richard Volz died in his sleep July 22nd. Richard was to join American Spirit II on August 6th in Cairns, Australia for the trip to Darwin. When Joel and I first started putting together crew for the legs around the world, Richard was the first to sign up, and asked to fill the 'hardest' leg. He was given Cape Town, South Africa to Salvador, Brazil; and happy as a clam about it. Last November Richard came down to Florida and took a week long shake-down cruise with Joel and I testing out new systems on the boat. And just 2 or 3 months ago he signed up for the Australian free cruising period leg because he was keen to have a shorter leg under his belt before the big one. read more...


Aislig Bheag - Madeira, an unexpected gem in the Atlantic
Aislig Bheag - Madeira, an unexpected gem in the Atlantic
23/07/2014

Jennie B - ARC Baltic - Arrived in St Petersburg

We checked in to Russia at Kronstadt helped by Vladimir who did a great job.It was a painless process which only took about 20 minutes including having the boat searched for stowaways!We stayed on the customs dock just long enough to help Jubilare and Aquilla tie up before we set off on the 15 nm trip across the St Petersburg harbour to the River Union Yacht Club marina.We arrived at 2200 and surprisingly there was an impromptu dock party taking place.One quiet drink and several noisy ones later we fell into bed and slept very well.Paul & Elaine. read more...


Jennie B - The St Petersburg harbour is big and busy
Jennie B - The St Petersburg harbour is big and busy
Jennie B - Water Lilies in the City Marina St Petersburg
Jennie B - Water Lilies in the City Marina St Petersburg
23/07/2014

Santa Maria - Tallin and Tallin - Petersburg

We arrived in Tallin early in the morning in the foggiest weather, all of a sudden a wall rose in front of us, standing at the rudder it was quite unexpected, as I was reckoning it would take a few minutes more. We had reached Pirita harbour, as we entered we had no idea on which side to harbor, obviously I took the wrong direction up the river, until I saw a vessel with the ARC- Flags alongside in the other part of the port. I wasn't bothered, it gave me the opportunity to "cruise" around  in port. Finally we found a place to berth, I was then told to  complete the I maneuver, which I proudly completed to the skippers fullest satisfaction! It seems I don't need any naval patents, as every sailing Swiss, or German for that case, I must have it in the genes?Tallinn was there to. read more...


23/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 198; Green Flash Number 11 and Gorgeos Day Sailing to MacKay, Australia; Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Joel stood the 12:00 AM to 3:00 AM watch, as usual; followed by Jeanine who stood the 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM watch. I relieved Jeanine at 6:10 AM. Sailboat on our port bow, 1/2 mile. The sun rose around 7:00 AM. Jeanine stayed up to watch the sunrise. No green flash, but the clouds had a couple of eyes in them, making the sunrise look like a Mardi Grass mask. Took a picture, but missed the perfect shot. A little late. Put 2 fish lines in the water. Still trying for our first strike this leg. Have a silver spoon and a Rebella in the water. Wind 10-12 knots; boat speed 5.5 knots. On a broad reach. Seas 4 to 5 feet. Shook reef out of main and speed increased to 6.1 knots. Tim from Ghost hosted the 9:00 AM net. Breakfast after the net consisted of, you guessed it, scrambled eggs, chilled fruit. read more...


Flomaida II - Zum Spielen braucht es nicht viel Zubehör!
Flomaida II - Zum Spielen braucht es nicht viel Zubehör!
Flomaida II - Kinder und Wäsche gibt es viel!
Flomaida II - Kinder und Wäsche gibt es viel!
Flomaida II - Ein Korallengarten vom Feinsten-gesund und " blühend"
Flomaida II - Ein Korallengarten vom Feinsten-gesund und
Flomaida II - Er hat mich früh genug gesehen und ist abgetaucht wow!
Flomaida II - Er hat mich früh genug gesehen und ist abgetaucht wow!
Flomaida II - Gesunde Riffe und glückliche Fische!
Flomaida II - Gesunde Riffe und glückliche Fische!
Flomaida II - Ist er/sie nicht besonders schön?
Flomaida II - Ist er/sie nicht besonders schön?
Flomaida II - Wer hat sich denn da im Korallengarten verirrt?
Flomaida II - Wer hat sich denn da im Korallengarten verirrt?
Flomaida II - !!!!!!!!
Flomaida II - !!!!!!!!
Flomaida II - Da wagt sich aber ein Fischlein besonders nah an den Manta!!
Flomaida II - Da wagt sich aber ein Fischlein besonders nah an den Manta!!
Flomaida II - Ein wenig unheimlich ist das schon! Obwohl die Mantas die friedlichsten Meeresbewohner sein sollen- Hauptsache die wissen das auch!!
Flomaida II - Ein wenig unheimlich ist das schon! Obwohl die Mantas die friedlichsten Meeresbewohner sein sollen- Hauptsache die wissen das auch!!
Flomaida II - Eine echte Herausforderung für uns Segler! Riffe überall, schön zu sehen aus dem Wasserflugzeug, leider war der Himmel bedeckt.
Flomaida II - Eine echte Herausforderung für uns Segler! Riffe überall, schön zu sehen aus dem Wasserflugzeug, leider war der Himmel bedeckt.
Flomaida II - Praktisches Beförderungsmittel und manchmal die einzige Möglichkeit
Flomaida II - Praktisches Beförderungsmittel und manchmal die einzige Möglichkeit
23/07/2014

Flomaida II - Fiji- ein Archipel mit 330 Inseln auf 18376 km2 und fast so vielen verschiedenen Eindrücken

Bula vinaka begleitet uns die lange Zeit, die wir hier verbracht haben- 8 Wochen!- Die unglaublich herzliche Gastfreundschaft gibt es überall, selbst in den stressgeplagten Städten Nadi und Suva.Die Überwasserwelt und Unterwasserwelt ist wirklich so, wie man sich die Südsee vorstellt. Es gibt Traumstrände an Regenwaldinseln, transparentes Wasser, gesunde Korallen, eine heile Fischwelt ......und alte Traditionen in den Dörfern, die in den relativ wenigen Luxus Resorts auch vorgeführt werden, um damit Geld zu verdienen. Dadurch, dass wir mit dem Schiff die Möglichkeit haben, auch an Inseln zu ankern, die ihre Tradition wirklich noch leben, konnten wir diese relativ hautnah erleben. Die kleineren Inseln sind Privateigentum der Familien, die dort leben. Das bedeutet, dass wir um Erlaubnis. read more...


23/07/2014

Sweet Pearl - Vanuatu --> Mackay - 8.Tag - Das Ziel kommt näher!

Der Wind hat nachgelassen und wir müssen mal wieder motoren. Aber das Ziel kommt näher. Bald werden wir wissen, ob es den fünften Kontinenten wirklich gibt und ob wir in Indien landen. Wir hoffen es gibt Australien, wo wir doch so viele Termine dort haben;-). Uns gehts gut und wir erfreuen uns einer baldigen Ankunft. Cheers, Tom. read more...


22/07/2014

Nexus - Nexus crossed the finish line

Nexus crossed the finish line at 07:15 on 7/23/2014 Port Vila Vanuatu local time (06:15 Australia local time).Kathea was 4 miles ahead, and Celebrate 1 mile behind.Now making our way through Haydrographer's passage. See you in Mackay!Warmest Regards,Russ and Laurie. read more...


22/07/2014

Zoonie - 48:27.34N 11:12.33W Two days to Falmouth

Day 6 starts with trying to gain speed from the passing squalls – sometimesit works. I had two aims for the day, one to bring the blog up to date andsecond to have a shower and hair wash. Until these were achieved no more readingof Zane Grey’s Lone Star Ranger was allowed.   Dolphins played around the bow and there were frequently whales blowing ata distance as I tapped away.  By the evening I was up to date and sitting in the cockpit while Zooniebowled along in 10 knots of wind and warm sunshine, the best time of that day.The constant wind stayed aft of the beam giving a fine sail and level hull foreasy living below. We supped a beer to celebrate turning onto 66’ forhome.   Two pink balls drifted by, a mile or so apart and about a metre indiameter. They appeared to have. read more...


22/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 197; Great Sailing Day, Half Way to Australia, Ghost Whale Encounter & Folie a Deux Sights a 'Flying Squid;' Monday, July 21, 2014

I relieved Jeanine at 6:10 AM. One sailboat starboard bow 30 degrees, 1-2 miles away. Wind 14 knots, boat speed 7.0 knots.Sunrise at 6:57 AM. Almost saw a green flash, but only 50/50 sure so doesn't count. If no clouds on horizon, would have been sure. We're on a reach now instead of close reach.Good. Wind on the beam instead of forward of the beam. At 9:30 AM we were half way to MacKay, Australia. We figure we'll arrive Friday morning. Joel hosted the 9:00 AM net. Good job Joel! Breakfast at 9:30 AM was scrambled eggs, chilled fruit cocktail and French bread.At 10:10 AM we took out the GPS chart plotter chip we'd been using since February and inserted our 'Australia' chip. Ten minutes later we had 2 fishing lines in the water. Still no luck in catching any fish on this leg. Our noon. read more...


22/07/2014

Celebrate - Awesome Australia Passage! 250 Degrees & 250 nm to go!

Sensational sailing with every sail up to Australia on our way from Port Vila, Vanuatu.Vanuatu will be missed, but we are happy to be making landfall in Australia.Our smaller group has become quite chummy with Nexus, Boingo alive!, CHIKA-lu, and now NDS Darwin joining in.Also, Charlie has outdone himself with fabulous food we "have to eat" before Australia, like, cordon blu and steak sandwiches for lunch and shrimp for dinner!More exercise needed here!Next:Mackay, AustrliaCathy. read more...


22/07/2014

Nexus - Beautiful sailing day in light winds!

Its a beautiful day to sail in light winds, as the seas have calmed and the sun is shining with 13kts of wind on the beam. We're still eating our way through the freezer in preparation for customs and enjoying all of the various combinations of meat you can put in a meal!We have about 112nm to the finish line and 238nm to Mackay after passing through the "Hydrographer's Passage" through the Great Barrier Reef. The passage is a carefully marked series of twists and turns through numerous large and small coral reefs, accompanied by shipping traffic going on both directions from Mackay and strong tidal flows opposing the wind... we're glad the World ARC staff put the finish line outside! So...scary coral heads, imposing shipping traffic, swift currents, darkness...what are we waiting for?. read more...


21/07/2014

Jennie B - On our way to Russia

After getting our clearing out papers stamped by the Estonian police we set off mid-morning on Monday.We sailed for a several hours in a fresh breeze but the wind has now dropped and is on our nose so we are motor sailing again.Still the sun is shining and even at 1830 it's still very hot.We hope to get to St Petersburg tomorrow evening and have only one night at sea.Let's see if the weather cooperates.Paul & Elaine. read more...


21/07/2014

Jennie B - Tired after Tallinn

Tired but in a good way.We arrived in Tallinn at 0430 local time after a few spooky hours motor sailing in fog.We tied upin time to join the impromptu drinks party on the dock which set the tone for the next few days.We really enjoyed exploring Tallinn and the surrounding Estonian countryside.We met many wonderful friendly Estonians who are very proud of their country.The crew dinner was the biggest one yet with over 120 guests I think, as usual it got a little blurry towards the end.We spent yesterday, Sunday, nursing hangovers and preparing for the next leg of our voyage to St Petersburg.As usual the WCC team were well prepared with all the information we will need for clearing into Russia. Hans the skipper of our lead boat also gave a fascinating talk on the complicated history of. read more...


Till - Tallinn - Start to St.Petersburg
Till - Tallinn - Start to St.Petersburg
Till - Tallinn - The Wall
Till - Tallinn - The Wall
Till - Tallinn - The Old Town
Till - Tallinn - The Old Town
Till - Tallinn - Arrival
Till - Tallinn - Arrival
Till - Visby - The most beautiful lane
Till - Visby - The most beautiful lane
Till - Visby - The smallest house
Till - Visby - The smallest house
Aislig Bheag - John and Colin enjoying a Poncha with Lorraine and Peter
Aislig Bheag - John and Colin enjoying a Poncha with Lorraine and Peter
Aislig Bheag - Alison relaxing between Porto Santo and Madeira
Aislig Bheag - Alison relaxing between Porto Santo and Madeira
Aislig Bheag - Aislig Bheag in Newlyn
Aislig Bheag - Aislig Bheag in Newlyn
Aislig Bheag - Derek alias Popeye!
Aislig Bheag - Derek alias Popeye!
Aislig Bheag - John, Alison and Eilidh, finally leaving Rhu
Aislig Bheag - John, Alison and Eilidh, finally leaving Rhu
Aislig Bheag - Reflection of Aislig Bheag, Alison and dolphins Bay of Biscay
Aislig Bheag - Reflection of Aislig Bheag, Alison and dolphins Bay of Biscay
Aislig Bheag - Crew on Rhu to Newlyn Leg - complete with mustaches!
Aislig Bheag - Crew on Rhu to Newlyn Leg - complete with mustaches!
21/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 196; Still Sailing to Australia; Sunday, July 20, 2014

At 6:30 AM Jeanine saw a sun rise that had a rainbow around it. Not a halo, a rainbow. She tried to take a picture of it with her phone, but no luck. Too bad. That would have been a cool one to see. Because I was still sick, Jeanine was letting me sleep in past my regular 6:00 AM watch time. Thank you Jeanine.At 8:18 AM we took the reefs out of the main and jib. Wind speed 12 knots; boat speed 7.6 knots. Charlie from Celebrate conducted the 9:00 AM net. Charlie is the fleet's 'Johnny Carson' of net controllers. Its always fun to listen and participate when he's got the mike. Kind of like 'Good Morning Vietnam' with Robin Williams, except on the ocean. I'm not kidding. Our noon position was 17 degrees, 42 minutes South; 160 degrees, 30 minutes East; with 593 miles to go to our next. read more...


21/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 195; Wind Forward of Beam, Brian Gets Seasick and a Freewheeling Wind Turbine; Satuday, July 19, 2014

Up at 6:05 AM. Relieved Jeanine who was on watch from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM. Wind 12 knots, speed 5.5. Wind on the nose. A very rare occurrence in sailing around the world when the wind is from behind you over 90 or 95% of the time. Close reaching. At least we're not beating. We wouldn't beat even if we had to, we'd just sail north of the rumb line and when the low pressure and high pressures passed us the wind would swing around to a favorable direction. You can do things like that when you're crossing a sea or an ocean. We're currently about 32 miles or 6+ hours from our first waypoint, a reef/island called, in French Recifs Entrecasteaux. There are 2 sailboats aft on our starboard quarter; one with a sail up and the other with no sails up and motoring. I put out 2 fishing lines at 7:04. read more...



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