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28/09/2014

Free & BrEasy - Keeling over the Cocos Islands

After a taxing passage from Christmas Island, we anchored off an idyllic coconut tree fringed, crescent shaped sandy beach in Port Refuge, Direction Island in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The passage had been bumpy and fraught with the autohelm problem - if you watched it like a hawk it behaved but the moment you relaxed, it switched itself off! After nearly a week without showers the cleansing azure sea in Port Refuge was heaven sent!On our passage we ended the Free & Breasy Whale Drought. Other boats have been reporting whale sightings all around Australia but apart from one very distant fluke sighting, we have seen nuthin! The sighting started with the observation, a little ahead, of something brown in the water that looked like floating sea weed. As we approached we could see a. read more...


28/09/2014

Starblazer - 28/09/2014 – The annoying, the puzzling and the downright dangerous!

Before you read on, please be assured we are fit, well and unharmed, just a little soggy because it has rained for the past 16 hours!Yesterday, Saturday, passed much like Friday, with a mixture of motoring, motorsailing and sailing.The afternoon was punctuated by three events.I’ll deal with them in time order.Annoying: John decided to make some more water so started the generator then started the water maker.Within 5 minutes the water maker stopped because the generator had stopped, showing an ‘engine overheat’ warning light.It won’t suck up the cooling water even though John primed the system so he suspects the impeller but that will have to wait until the main engine is cool enough to lay on!Annoying/downright dangerous:I started to prepare dinner, potatoes on to boil and beef. read more...


28/09/2014

Firefly - Awaiting wind and rain in Esema Bay, Efate, Vanuatu

Firefly is tucked into the anchorage at Esema Bay awaiting some bad weather. A small system is due to pass over central Vanuatu between midday and about 2200 today (Sunday 28th September) and from the recently downloaded GRIBs it is forecasted to get wet and windy. This blip in the normal great weather has been expected for some time so we have found what we hope is a well sheltered place with good holding - its near a river mouth so the ground is mud and sand and the depth is about 8 metres - this is a much better choice than a deeper anchorage with a coral strewn bottom which is much less predictable.Coming from Erramango, we arrived on Efate at the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila. We spent 2 days there getting hooked up to the internet and re provisioning. We met up with World ARC. read more...


Flomaida II - Kunst an der Promenade von Nouméa
Flomaida II - Kunst an der Promenade von Nouméa
Flomaida II - Eine Seeschlange, die sehr giftig ist, jedoch nicht agressiv- so sagt man!!!
Flomaida II - Eine Seeschlange, die sehr giftig ist, jedoch nicht agressiv- so sagt man!!!
Flomaida II - So schön!
Flomaida II - So schön!
Flomaida II - Moräne, die hungrig aussieht
Flomaida II - Moräne, die hungrig aussieht
Flomaida II - Wer ist das? Hab es noch nicht rausbekommen
Flomaida II - Wer ist das? Hab es noch nicht rausbekommen
Flomaida II - Ziemlich gruselig manchmal die Unterwasserwelt!
Flomaida II - Ziemlich gruselig manchmal die Unterwasserwelt!
Flomaida II - Der Tigerhai sieht doch freundlich aus!
Flomaida II - Der Tigerhai sieht doch freundlich aus!
Flomaida II - Volksfest in Nouméa
Flomaida II - Volksfest in Nouméa
Flomaida II - Komfortables Krankenbett auf der "Wies'n"
Flomaida II - Komfortables Krankenbett auf der
Flomaida II - Alles handgenäht und handgefädelt
Flomaida II - Alles handgenäht und handgefädelt
Flomaida II - Diese Art Hütte ist "tabu" für uns
Flomaida II - Diese Art Hütte ist
Flomaida II - Was so alles auf einem Steinhaufen wächst! Tiara, das Wahrzeichen der Südsee
Flomaida II - Was so alles auf einem Steinhaufen wächst! Tiara, das Wahrzeichen der Südsee
Flomaida II - Große Wäsche meiner Sommergarderobe.
Flomaida II - Große Wäsche meiner Sommergarderobe.
Flomaida II - Nachbarschaftshilfe von Gerd von der Lazy Lady
Flomaida II - Nachbarschaftshilfe von Gerd von der Lazy Lady
Flomaida II - Wer hat wohl Vorfahrt? Nouméa, das Surfer und Kiter Paradies
Flomaida II - Wer hat wohl Vorfahrt? Nouméa, das Surfer und Kiter Paradies
Flomaida II - Haben wir uns da nach Südfrankreich gebeamt??? Nein, es ist Nouméa/Neu Kaledonien
Flomaida II - Haben wir uns da nach Südfrankreich gebeamt??? Nein, es ist Nouméa/Neu Kaledonien
27/09/2014

American Spirit II - Day 264; Laundry on Direction Island, the Dingy Drifts Away & a Visit to Home Island; Friday, September 26, 2014

Up at 6:54 AM. Sunny. The wind was out of the east and the wind speed was down from previous days. Because the wind overnight was blowing too hard our wind turbine did not charge up the batteries like we'd hoped. As I started to cook breakfast our propane tank hit 'empty'; so we switched to another one. Later, Jeremy smelled propane and after checking the hose and valve we determined that we did have a small leak. So henceforth, we'll have to turn off the propane at the tank after using the stove. This is irritating but until we stop the leak we'll have to do so. Breakfast at 9:20 AM consisted of scrambled eggs; potato; chilled mango slices; and bread. Brian from Folie a Deux joined us for breakfast and then went to work on 'enhancing' our fishing equipment. We have been having a hard. read more...


27/09/2014

American Spirit II - Day 263; Historic 'Tour' of Destination Island, Swimming with Sharks & Sun Downer Party on Beach; Thursday, September 25, 2014

Up at 7:10 AM. Sunny. Breakfast at 8:10 AM: scrambled eggs; potato; chilled mango slices; and bread.At 8:30 AM Nexus picked up 8 of our jerry cans - 5 full with diesel and 3 empties. They were going to go to Home Island for fuel for us and a bunch of other boasts. At 8:58 AM I typed up a log. As I was doing this Jeremy called from the cockpit to announce that a sea turtle was swimming by the boat. From the cockpit we saw the turtle raise its head 3 times out of the water to gulf air, then submerge and disappear. At 9:47 AM I tried to send out a log and emails but kept getting disconnected, so I stopped. Will have to do later or tomorrow. At 10:30 AM Joel was picked up by Jonathan from Merlyn of Poole to go work on their generator and alternator problems again. Jeremy and I picked up. read more...


26/09/2014

Celebrate - Enjoying a bit of Paradise

Well apart from those boats having technical problems island life has dropped a few gears and everyone is enjoying the peace and beauty of the place.This has not always been the case; a trip tothe museum on Home Island outlines a very interesting history. The owners of the island for some 200 years originally from Scotland appear to have run the place like a slave colony importing Malaysians as workers on the coconut palm plantations . The family isolated the residents of Home Islandfrom its neighbors. A walk around the island and you see some evidence of this history with warehouses and copra drying sheds. Oceania House where the ruling family lived still sits out on a headland commanding views of the coast and what remains of the plantations on Home and South Island. Despite selling. read more...


25/09/2014

American Spirit II - Day 262; A Slow Day in Cocos Keeling; Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Up at 5:30 AM. Sunrise over Direction Island was cloud impaired. No surprise there. The wind turbine kept us charged up overnight. About time. I spent 20 minutes looking for the key for the dingy motor this morning. I had taken it off the dingy the night before because I was afraid it might get blown off the boat or float off if the dingy flipped over. I finally found it under a pile of sandals in the aft cockpit. This key is magnetic and is needed to start our electronic motor. Breakfast at 7:30 AM. Scrambled eggs; cut up potatoes; mandarin oranges; and raisin bread. Joel had an 'Joel truism' to share over breakfast: 'Fixing your boat in exotic locations - a definition of cruising.'A number of work projects today: fixing the battery generator terminal; fixing the washing machine;. read more...


24/09/2014

American Spirit II - Day 261; Jeremy Has a Unique Pringle Experience and We Arrive at Cocos Keeling; Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Up at 5:00 AM after a good night's sleep. Joined Jeremy in the cockpit. During his 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM watch, while eating a can of Pringles, a wave slapper hit the side of the boat and filled the Pringles can with salt water. Instead of 'fire in the hole' its 'water in the (Pringles) can!' Some stuff you can't make up. Really. Who would have ever thought that it was even possible for a wave to do that? Come on! At 5:16 AM I could see the lume of Cocos Keeling 16.3 miles away. We were going too slow so I let some mainsail out. Boingo Alive was 1.7 miles ahead of us and Sweet Pearl 1.9 miles behind. At 5:30 AM I called Sweet Pearl on the VHF radio and chatted with Tom about their plans on entering the anchorage. The sun rose above the clouds at 7:30 AM. About the same time Boingo Alive. read more...


24/09/2014

American Spirit II - Day 260; Almost There , We're Still Getting 'Pooped' & Our Chart Plotter Chip Reader Fails; Monday, September 22, 2014

On the 3:00 AM - 6:00 AM watch Jeremy got pooped once. At 6:00 AM the wind was 20-25 knots instead of 25-30. Still rough out. The moon was setting in the east; and it was 26 hours to Cocos Keeling. Our speed was 5.3 knots. I slept OK during the night, but it was hot; sweated a lot due to no air circulation in the boat. You can't open a hatch because hundreds of gallons of sea water would then enter the boat. The sunrise was at 7:15 AM Bali start time. The sun rose above the horizon's clouds at 7:30 AM. At 8:27 a 'slapper' wave got me and sent water up to the cockpit hatch opening. We turned the generator on at 8:40 AM. Even though the hydro generator was in the water, since we had slowed the boat for a daytime entry into Cocos Keeling, we weren't going fast enough to generate all the. read more...


24/09/2014

Starblazer - 24/09/2014 - Espiritu Santo

On Monday we had a great sail from Ambrym to Espritu Santo.It's about 60 miles so we started early (0630) to ensure arriving in daylight.The recommended anchorage, just off Luganville, promised to be bumpy as the south easterly winds blows right in so we headed to the north shore of Aore Island which is more sheltered.Four yachts were on buoys in front of the Aore Resort but the only other pick-up looked decidedly dodgy!We motored along a bit until we inched our way into 9 metres where we dropped the anchor.The underwater profile is very steep, from 30+ metres to less than 1 in a very short distance.To further complicate matters, the holding is poor because the bottom has a lot of coral.We finally set the anchor but had an uncomfortable night, worrying if we were likely to drift inshore. read more...


24/09/2014

Nexus - Enjoying Cocos Keeling Islands

The water is crystal clear and blue with white sand bottom, and the beaches are beautifully lined with palm trees and jungle. We spent part of the day doing boat work to prepare for our upcoming 2,300 nm voyage but took time for sundowners on the beach with the other crews both nights, and dinner with American Spirit on board NEXUS. We've added a fourth crew member, Finnbar from New Zealand, who is a 22 year old fine arts major with a passion for photography and sailing. We are really enjoying having him on board, he helped us big time with boat work yesterday, and last night he hitched a ride on a police boat to one of the other islands with another young German crew member, and enjoyed a night on the town and either camping or couch surfing for the night. We hope to see him sometime. read more...


23/09/2014

Celebrate - A walk around Direction Island Cocos Keeling

We have been at anchor in this island paradise for a few days. It has been quite breezy (25-30 knots) so our movements have been limited but we have had a chance to explore both Direction Island and nearby Home Island.Direction Island is now uninhabited but has a very rich history. At the beginning of the 1900s a submerged communicationscable was laid between South Africa and Australia connecting UK to the colonies . Cocos was the location of a manned cable station (a sort of terminal) and later a cable was run up to Singapore connecting Asia as well. The cable came ashore inCottesloe, Perth WA (I thought our Perth friends and ex Cottesloe residents would appreciate this)During the First World War the station was blown up by a German cruiser Emden which was later sunk by an Australian. read more...


Flomaida II - Tradition und Moderne- Wäsche gibt es auch hier "en masse"
Flomaida II - Tradition und Moderne- Wäsche gibt es auch hier
Flomaida II - Der Friedhof von Lifou
Flomaida II - Der Friedhof von Lifou
Flomaida II - So eine schöne Kirche!
Flomaida II - So eine schöne Kirche!
Flomaida II - So sieht es an der Hauptstraße der Hauptstadt von Lifou aus
Flomaida II - So sieht es an der Hauptstraße der Hauptstadt von Lifou aus
Flomaida II - Was wächst denn hier aus dem Haus?
Flomaida II - Was wächst denn hier aus dem Haus?
Flomaida II - Unser netter Chauffeur mit Söhnchen Jean-Luc bringt uns nach Wé
Flomaida II - Unser netter Chauffeur mit Söhnchen Jean-Luc bringt uns nach Wé
Flomaida II - Der Trick mit den Handtüchern, damit der Mast nicht klappert, nachdem das Segel unten ist
Flomaida II - Der Trick mit den Handtüchern, damit der Mast nicht klappert, nachdem das Segel unten ist
Flomaida II - Gemeinsam geht es! Und macht sogar Spaß!
Flomaida II - Gemeinsam geht es! Und macht sogar Spaß!
Flomaida II - Das nennt man Nachbarschaftshilfe!
Flomaida II - Das nennt man Nachbarschaftshilfe!
Flomaida II - Xepenehe auf Lifou/ Iles Loyauté / Neu Kaledonien
Flomaida II - Xepenehe auf Lifou/ Iles Loyauté / Neu Kaledonien
Flomaida II - Warten auf die Ladies!
Flomaida II - Warten auf die Ladies!
Flomaida II - Hübscher Besuch auf der Flomaida
Flomaida II - Hübscher Besuch auf der Flomaida
Flomaida II - Ein bunter Wurf
Flomaida II - Ein bunter Wurf
Flomaida II - Ein glückliches Paar!
Flomaida II - Ein glückliches Paar!
Flomaida II - .....und die Mühle zum Cavamahlen
Flomaida II - .....und die Mühle zum Cavamahlen
Flomaida II - Da hatte wohl Jemand zuviel Cava!
Flomaida II - Da hatte wohl Jemand zuviel Cava!
Flomaida II - Zu Besuch beim Schnitzer der Schlitztrommeln
Flomaida II - Zu Besuch beim Schnitzer der Schlitztrommeln
Flomaida II - Gemeinsam wird eine neue Dachdecke hergestellt
Flomaida II - Gemeinsam wird eine neue Dachdecke hergestellt
Flomaida II - Junge Mama mit 4 Jungs
Flomaida II - Junge Mama mit 4 Jungs
Flomaida II - Ein Häuschen im Grünen......
Flomaida II - Ein Häuschen im Grünen......
Flomaida II - Es reicht auch ein zugeschnittener Autoreifen zum Schaukeln
Flomaida II - Es reicht auch ein zugeschnittener Autoreifen zum Schaukeln
Flomaida II - Hier soll es bald Pizza geben ( Sandwich Bay, Malakula)
Flomaida II - Hier soll es bald Pizza geben ( Sandwich Bay, Malakula)