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01/08/2014

American Spirit II - Day 208; Departed MacKay for Holiday Island Marina and Numerous Whale Sightings; Friday, August 1, 2014

Up at 7:10 AM. Coffee and then I dropped off magnetic keys at marina gate and disposed of garbage. Once back at the boat we got the boat ready to leave. A slow process. Had to take the Rally flag and Dressing flags down;unplug and coil up the 100 foot electric cable; disconnect the electric cable from the transformer; coil up and put the electric cord plugged into the back of the transom away; secure items below so when the boat tilts nothing goes flying or gets broken; take off and deflate fenders; and finally cast off and put away the mooring lines.We turned on the navigation system and it took a while for the system to 'catch' the minimum 4 satellites it needed to give us an accurate position on our chart plotter. Three satellites came up right away, but it took about 10 minutes for. read more...


Till - St. Petersburg - Dressing yachts
Till - St. Petersburg - Dressing yachts
Till - St. Petersburg - Hanse Sailor Crew at restaurant Ship's Bell
Till - St. Petersburg - Hanse Sailor Crew at restaurant Ship's Bell
Till - St. Petersburg - Guided walk through the Hermitage Museum
Till - St. Petersburg - Guided walk through the Hermitage Museum
Till - St. Petersburg - Guided walk through the Hermitage Museum
Till - St. Petersburg - Guided walk through the Hermitage Museum
Till - St. Petersburg - Folk Show
Till - St. Petersburg - Folk Show
Till - St. Petersburg - Folk Show
Till - St. Petersburg - Folk Show
31/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 207; Last Day in MacKay, Australia & Farewell Dinner with II Audeacious; July 31, 2014

Up at 7:00 AM. It was raining at 8:15 AM as I headed to my rental vehicle to drive into town to the post office to mail a package home. Joel and Jeanine were still asleep. I arrived at the post office at about 8:30 AM and mailed the package; then stopped into a computer store and bought a USB device for my computer that allows me to put my Go Pro mini chip into the device to load into the computer. I arrived back at the marina at 10:00 AM; got with Joel and Jeanine and went to breakfast at 11:00 AM. After breakfast I went to the boat to start planning our trip north. This entailed looking at some charts and reading thru some of the pilot books I had on the eastern coast of Australia. I then called a marina at Hamilton Island and made a reservation for the boat for Friday night. With a. read more...


31/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 206; Last Shopping Day, Jeanine Staying On to Bali & Dinner at the Yacht Club; Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Didn't get up until 8:45 AM today. Too much partying last night. Breakfast at Cusa Jacks in the marina at 9:30 AM. French toast, bacon, fried bananas and hash browns. At 10:00 AM NQ Car and Truck Rentals dropped off my rental car. Because they didn't have a car available that would seat more than 2 people, I received one of their 'work' pick up trucks. It had lettering on the sides and back; a red rotating light on top; a radio so I could call them from the car; and a car mobile phone system. Plus the vehicle ran on diesel. Of course the vehicle was stick shift, meaning I had to use my left hand to shift. As they say in Australian, 'no worries.' Which means 'no problem' in American English. We headed off to do some shopping at 11:00 AM, going to a chandlery first, followed by a camping. read more...


31/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 205; Skype Interview with ABC Action News Tampa Ba & Party Time on Seaduced; Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Up 5:45 AM because we have scheduled a skype interview with ABC Action News for 7:00 AM Tuesday local Australian time, 5:00 PM Monday Tampa Bay Florida time. Andrew Doud, the ABC reporter who interviewed Joel and me on our boat before we left Tampa Bay, would be conducting the interview. Jeanine Miami, our skype technical expert and fellow crew member, not only set us up for the interview, she guided ABC news in setting up their own end of the skype interview. Without Jeanine this interview would not have happened. When I got up I read an email that indicated that the interview was moved back from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM. No problem. During this morning 'preparation period' Janet in Tampa forwarded Joel's blog, which has a lot of pictures on it from our trip, to the reporter so he could post. read more...


30/07/2014

Santa Maria - Hapa Saari, Finland, now starts the reason for sailing the Baltic sea

Having cleared out of Russia, it was important to clear into Europe Finland again.  This had to happen at some Customs station, the guys at the customs welcomed us into Europe, Finland, I believe the passports were checked against the schengen database, for any criminal act, then we found a more important reason for the checkin procedure, that is  the skippers blowing in the Alco test device. This made it clear to me why some of the anchored boats all of a sudden were less in a hurry with getting through with their clearance😅Now after three and a half weeks of mileage collecting and tourism, the real fun begins. During the last 48 hours we have had the pleasure of discovering "Den finnska skjĂŠrgĂ„rden", here navigation makes really fun, as we return from the more open sea.. read more...


30/07/2014

Santa Maria - St. Petersburg, RUSSIA

Woke up to get on with my shift, change of scenery, color of water changed to yellow-brown- ish. We are situated in the eastern section of the Baltic sea, heading for Kronstadt, Custom Check in. The clearance procedure went more smoothly than expected. Being the last boat of  the fleet to pass through has its advantages. Ahead of us we have one good hour of channeling, foreigners are asked to keep themselves within the official traffic route. This can only be done motoring, whoch is what we did  most of the time in Russian waters, maybe that's the reason why the fuel was so cheap?Having squeezed Santa Maria in to her berth, it was time to get some information, which Andy from Hanse Sailor happily gave us,  his recommended showers on the 3rd floor I never used though.. read more...


Jennie B - ARC Baltic - Finnish cardinal markers don't have top marks!
Jennie B - ARC Baltic - Finnish cardinal markers don't have top marks!
30/07/2014

Free & BrEasy - Mackay Polar Bears

Life has been so busy this week that we nearly forgot to write the log. Apologies in the unlikely event that anyone has been waiting! We are in Mackay, Australia after a fairly uneventful Pacific crossing from Vanuatu. The winds, as always, varied from light to strong and the seas from flat to rolly. One hundred miles west of the Australian mainland, we entered the famous Hydrographers passage through the Great Barrier Reef.We could only see the ocean around us and wondered where the reef was. The chart plotter confirmed that there was nasty sharp coral less than one mile away. Throughout the day and the next night, we anxiously watched the busy commercial cargo ship traffic pass close by us but we timed our entrance into Mackay harbour perfectly, in the daylight. Mackay is an enormous. read more...


30/07/2014

Jennie B - ARC Baltic - St Petersburg to Helsinki

We changed crew in St Petersburg and waved goodbye to Gesine and said hello to Mick and Gill who are with us for the leg to Helsinki.We had a relatively late start of 1000 from on Sunday St Petersburg as we were planning to sail the 100 nm overnight to reach the Finnish passport control point on the island of Haapasaari.We timed our arrival for Kronstadt badly as the Russian customs person had just gone to lunch when we arrived but by 1600 we were again on our way to Finland.After motor sailing west for a few hours we got enough wind at 2100 to have a lovely sail the rest of the way to Haapasaari. We arrived at 0700 and anchored while we waited for the customs post to open.Clearing in to Finland was very easy but I was surprised to be breathalysed at 1030!Quite a few other skippers. read more...


Jennie B - ARC Baltic - Bockhamn Anchorage in Finland
Jennie B - ARC Baltic  - Bockhamn Anchorage in Finland
29/07/2014

Jennie B - ARC Baltic - Impressions of St Petersburg

A city of contrasts that's the best way to describe it. It's a big sprawling confusing, amazing and impressive place.The centre is dominated by huge imposing buildings built by the Czars. We had our longest stop in St Petersburg but we only had time to just see a few St Petersburg highlights but what highlights they were.A guided tour of a bit of the Hermitage museum, a trip to the Opera, a visit to the wonderful gardens at the Peterhof etc. All impressive but that also contrasted massively with the crumbling or collapsing buildings we saw in other parts of the city.The incongruity of people seemingly living in tiny security checkpoints guarding expensive looking Ferraris and Bentleys and other flash cars.Our final night in St Petersburg we had the biggest and perhaps noisiest crew. read more...


29/07/2014

Zoonie - 49:36.91N 06:10.34W Shipping Lanes and land in sight

Day 10 started in a flat, lifeless sea with the residue of fog around us.It really seemed that having lost the volume and depth of the ocean beyond theContinental Shelf it has lost its variety of life and especially the fabulouslapis blue. By afternoon the wind direction was perfect but we could do littlewith only 7 knots.   Signs of modern living;  the Arcadia glides gently by and a big woodencable drum floats by worryingly close. It looks like a bed side on, from whichan old gent in his white cotton nightcap might rise and wave. I am busyfinishing The Lone Star Ranger and my next book will be The Little Coffee Shopin Kabul, about the lives of Afghan women. Ship spotting and PM sights fill ourtime nicely.   Day 11 02.30 am., I am on watch and we are off The Lizard,. read more...


29/07/2014

American Spirit II - Day 204; Tour of MacKay & New AIS Installed on Boat; Monday, July 28, 2014

Up at 5:50 AM today as Jeanine Miami and I are off to an all day tour of the MacKay area. Joel, unfortunately, will be waiting for an electrician to have some work done on the boat. Besides getting a new AIS (Automatic Identification System) installed, we're having our water maker looked at and some antennae's moved around. This new AIS is an improved model from what we've had before, so we're a little more confident that our SSB radio will not blow this one up. Our SSB radio has already fried 3 previous AIS units. This time we're also installing a switch to turn off the AIS when I send out and receive our emails and logs. Hopefully we'll not need another AIS unit before we get home. Breakfast of scrambled eggs, chilled pineapple slices and bread. Preceded by coffee and tea, of course. A. read more...


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 frÄn Tallinn i fin vind kl. 19 nÀra TSS, som Àr fartygsleden. AnmÀlde till Ryska kustbevakningen pÄ kvÀllen att vi gÄr över grÀnsen, inga problem. Snart kommer en bÄt och kollar oss pÄ avstÄnd. PÄ natten dör vinden och vi gÄr för motor. Infarten till Kronstaht Àr spektakulÀr; upplyst staket sÄ lÄngt man kan se och mÀngder av kryssningsfartyg o oljetanker som lotsas igenom! Vi stannar och vÀntar i gryningen men fÄr inte ankra! Efter lite sömn/mat gÄr vi till tullen. Vilket stÀlle! Allt i kaotiskt skick, borde rivts för 50 Är sedan.. Tullen tar sin tid och samtidigt passar lotsarna pÄ köra in/ ut sÄ fort dom kan med gamla plÄtskorvar; det gÀller att ha bra förtöjningar! Pontonerna saknar skydd och avslitna fÀsten av stÄl sticker rakt ut: mycket vÀlkomnande för plastbÄtar.NÀr 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 WĂ€sche gibt es viel!
Flomaida II - Kinder und WĂ€sche gibt es viel!
Flomaida II - Ein Korallengarten vom Feinsten-gesund und " blĂŒhend"
Flomaida II - Ein Korallengarten vom Feinsten-gesund und
Flomaida II - Er hat mich frĂŒh genug gesehen und ist abgetaucht wow!
Flomaida II - Er hat mich frĂŒh genug gesehen und ist abgetaucht wow!
Flomaida II - Gesunde Riffe und glĂŒckliche Fische!
Flomaida II - Gesunde Riffe und glĂŒckliche 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 fĂŒr uns Segler! Riffe ĂŒberall, schön zu sehen aus dem Wasserflugzeug, leider war der Himmel bedeckt.
Flomaida II - Eine echte Herausforderung fĂŒr uns Segler! Riffe ĂŒberall, 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 EindrĂŒcken

Bula vinaka begleitet uns die lange Zeit, die wir hier verbracht haben- 8 Wochen!- Die unglaublich herzliche Gastfreundschaft gibt es ĂŒberall, selbst in den stressgeplagten StĂ€dten Nadi und Suva.Die Überwasserwelt und Unterwasserwelt ist wirklich so, wie man sich die SĂŒdsee vorstellt. Es gibt TraumstrĂ€nde an Regenwaldinseln, transparentes Wasser, gesunde Korallen, eine heile Fischwelt ......und alte Traditionen in den Dörfern, die in den relativ wenigen Luxus Resorts auch vorgefĂŒhrt 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 nÀher!

Der Wind hat nachgelassen und wir mĂŒssen mal wieder motoren. Aber das Ziel kommt nĂ€her. Bald werden wir wissen, ob es den fĂŒnften 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...