Shepherd Moon - Paradise found
We have travelled well over 10,000 nautical miles since leaving the UK. There have been times when we've questioned whether it was really worth turning our lives upside down, leaving family, friends and our beautiful home far behind. Not least because there are so many places closer to home to explore.The past four days have totally changed our perspective; we've arrived in paradise. It is difficult to put into words just how beautiful this place is, even photos don't do it justice.We're in Fakarava, one of the many atolls that make up the Tuamotus. A series of elongated islands enclose a massive lagoon, some 30 miles long by 11 miles wide. Most of the gaps between the islands are just shallow channels, where the water from the waves breaking on the fringing reef washes through, but at a. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Two tomatoes
I've just noticed that it's more than a week since we last posted a blog - apologies; we're clearly having too much fun! We have now left the Marquesas (and Jacob, who has returned to the UK to see his girlfriend) and are heading for the Tuamotus. The total passage is around 600 miles and we have 220 miles left to go. The sea is an electric blue, the swell is low and gentle, the wind is on the beam and we are sailing along at a very comfortable 6.5 knots. All is peace and tranquillity, albeit tinged with slight apprehension on Vanessa's part at the navigational challenges ahead. The two tomatoes, as they seem to have been christened, are a group of atolls with only narrow passages into the lagoons. The tide races through these passages at speeds that would challenge Shepherd Moon's. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Fallacies
The past couple of nights have been spent at anchor in the Baie des Vierges, or for those of you that have forgotten your school French, Bay of Virgins. Interesting name. Apparently the early explorers called it Baie des Verges, or Bay of Phalli, due to the shape of the rocky pillars surrounding the anchorage. The missionaries thought that highly inappropriate and so inserted an "i" into the name. Some friends of ours who sailed half way round the World more than 20 years ago, described it as the most picturesque place they visited on the entire trip and so with a recommendation like that, we felt it would be worth the 40 mile beat to windward. It certainly lived up to expectations; it was stunning.The bay is surrounded on all sides by steep, verdant slopes, sheer cliffs and the stone. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Crying wolf
As dawn breaks tomorrow morning we should be greeted by the steep, verdant slopes of Hiva Oa. After 19 days at sea, and nearly 3,100 nautical miles, it will be strange to see something green. The last couple of days have been largely uneventful, or at least they would have been if the Blue Water Runner had remained safely stowed in its locker down below. As it was, it was very nearly the catalyst for a divorce.In fairness to the Blue Water Runner, it behaved impeccably until it was told to stop playing and come inside. While other boats struggled to cope with the repeated wind shifts, having to choose between heading off course or gybing, which with poled out sails is not an easy task, the Blue Water Runner took it all in its stride. There are no poles to fiddle with, just the two. read more...
Shepherd Moon - Blue Water Runner comes up trumps
At last, something interesting to write about; I knew we could rely on the Blue Water Runner. We had been making good progress westwards but out track had slipped a little too much to the south. With the wind coming from just north of east, we needed to gybe if we were to claw our way back north. To do this we needed to roll away the genoa, move the spinnaker pole from the starboard side to the port side, then furl the Blue Water Runner, switch the sheets and then fly that on the opposite side. Since we were going to all that effort, I suggested that perhaps we should first try and fly the Blue Water Runner properly since we would be heading more or less downwind.It is worth noting at this point that everyone on board was in agreement with this decision, at least at the time, although. read more...