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23/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 257: "Friday Light"

After all our partying these past few days and having said our goodbyes to Do Over again, we decided that a quiet day onboard was probably a good idea.So, after a sleep in,catching up on some reading and enjoying a cooked breakfast, we decided that we better do something constructive. Elaine settled for making some modifications to our blog while Roy went to town to stock up on a few things. Nothing too energetic! Tonight we'll settle for A barbecue, movies and popcorn.Nothing like "Friday Light" to wind down for the weekend!. read more...


22/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 256: Surreal to be Back in Civilization

It's wonderful to be back in civilization for one reason only - descent internet!While Elaine spent the entire morning catching up with family, who could actually hear her on the phone for the first time in months, Roy did software updates to every electronic device he could find on Paw Paw. It was so refreshing not having to repeat:"Are you there; Can you hear me" a million times and actually have a descent conversation. Being able to Facetime and see our grandchildren was so special, although upsetting in some ways, as William's little face has changed so much that Elaine didn't even recognise him. We then spent the afternoon getting the remaining officialdom completed and browsing around the stores before heading back to Paw Paw to get ready to meet Nina and Do Over for another. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 256: Surreal to be Back in Civilization
Paw Paw - Log Day 256: Surreal to be Back in Civilization
Paw Paw - Log Day 256: Surreal to be Back in Civilization
Paw Paw - Log Day 256: Surreal to be Back in Civilization
22/09/2016

Exocet Strike - progress 21/22 September 2016

Hello readersSailed all day today, plenty of wind, but had to gybe to keep on course. Wind is now dropping, hopefully it will stay enough to sail.Stella caught a lovely Mahi Mahi, aka Dolphin fish. Spectacular Yellow with a dark blue dorsal fringe, and mottled blue spots. Lovely eating fish, one of my favourites, white flesh, and very tender. Apparently one of the most plentiful and fast growing fish around this area! When reeling them in for the first time you think you've caught a yellow carrier bag they are so bright!Interesting morning. On my watch Stella and I were chatting in the cockpit and she said, look is that another fishing boat. On closer investigation, it was, about 150 metres off, but low in the water, through the binoculars we could see she was awash. No sign of any. read more...


21/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 255: The WARC Drop Outs Reunion

While Elaine spent the morning getting Paw Paw back to normal after our passage from Tonga, Roy serviced our watermaker.Once that was all done we headed to town for a more detailed reconnaissance and was pleasantly surprised to find a very well stocked Fresh Produce market, supermarket, "butchery" and bakery, as well as a lovely café, good clothing stores, a few good restaurants and, most importantly, excellent internet / data services, all very reasonably priced,including Fiji Artisan bottled water for the bargain basement price of 50c per bottle. Once we were back onboard,Roy wasted no time in getting our internet access setup, following which Elaine uploaded all our photographs from Tonga to our website gallery and is now really looking forward to being able to phone / facetime family. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 255: The WARC Drop Outs Reunion
Paw Paw - Log Day 255: The WARC Drop Outs Reunion
Paw Paw - Log Day 255: The WARC Drop Outs Reunion
Paw Paw - Log Day 255: The WARC Drop Outs Reunion
21/09/2016

Firefly - En Route to Cocos

Firefly's anchor was raised at 0700 yesterday morning and we left the anchorage at Anak Krakatoa where we had spent 2 nights. From Puteri Marina in the south of Malaysia it had taken 4 and half days to reach the Sundra Strait. The Strait separates Java and Sumatra and at the closest point there is a great deal of shipping, mainly ferries going back and forth from the busy towns on either side about 16 miles apart. Passing through under engine in the middle of the day was useful as it was a complicated job to weave through them all. Sundra is a long strait and was about another 20 miles on to Krakatoa and 30 miles more to the open sea from that busy point.Anak Krakatoa is a new volcano (formed in 1927) right in the middle of the original Krakatoa caldera, which erupted so vigorously in. read more...


21/09/2016

Exocet Strike - first log of Exocet Strike for some time!

Well here we are in the Indian Ocean. Playing catch up with the fleet after leaving Darwin late due to some necessary repairs and spares.Crossed a very busy shipping lane yesterday, non stop cargo and log tankers on reciprocal courses to and from Australia and mostly China.Stella has caught quite a few fish, a couple of nice Tuna, hoping for some more today.We've seen a few Indonesian (guess) fishing boats approx 200 miles from land, usually tied to a drogue, may well be where our canned tuna comes from!We've also been lucky to see several pods of Dolphins and a big pod of hat we think we're pilot whales! Always exciting to see.Next blog, who knows,John. read more...


20/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands

After our champagne sail across the Koro Sea we arrived in Savusavu Bay early this morning having enjoyed Nina's company the previous day and overnight. As both yachts made their way to Nakama Creek, we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and were pleasantly surprised at the lovely homes along the way. We also passed Cousteau Island Resort and looking forward to visiting it in the coming days. Once we were informed of the correct clearing in process for yachts coming from Tonga specifically, due to the presence of chikengunya there, we anchored off and awaited the officials. After Paw Paw was fumigated, we were allowed to proceed to our allocated mooring ball just off Nawi Island, following which customs and immigration visited us to complete the rest of the process.It was extremely efficient. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
Paw Paw - Log Day 254: The Fiji Islands
19/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific

In the early hours of this morning we sailed into the territorial waters of Fiji via the Lakeba Passage and, with daybreak, enjoyed the sights of the Lau Group of Islands.Since yachts are not permitted to stop at these islands en route to a Port of Entry, we had to continue on to our destination of Savusavu on the Island of Vanua Levu, where we expect to arrive early tomorrow morning. We did, however,get to enjoy our first champagne sail in the South Pacific, in light winds, beautiful flat seas, under blue, sunny skies and gennaker flying - a well earned treat having almost sailed halfway around the world!Tonight we sailed from the Western Hemisphere to the Eastern Hemisphere,where we'll remain until our Atlantic Crossing in 2018, having crossed the 180° meridian and the geographical. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
Paw Paw - Log Day 253: First Champagne Sail in the South Pacific
18/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 252: Nothing Like Sailing in the Tropics in Winter Woolies

Fortunately, with us heading a little more north again, the weather has warmed up slightly.An improvement on yesterday after we had to break out the winter woolies. One would never believe we are actually sailing in the Tropics.We are having a good sail though, all things considered.The weather forecasts have been somewhat accurate with the exception of slightly higher seas today than previously predicted, but nothing too uncomfortable. The only downside is that, as of this morning, we're having to sail wing-on-wing ratherthan using our "Chicken Chute". The price we paid for being too considerate. Last night we encountered a yacht with an inoperable AIS a few miles from us. While they were the stand-on vessel, they refused to hold their course. As we kept altering course to avoid their. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 252: Nothing Like Sailing in the Tropics in Winter Woolies
Paw Paw - Log Day 252: Nothing Like Sailing in the Tropics in Winter Woolies
17/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Days 250 & 251: Tonga Goes "Green" - Inadvertently

Yesterday we spent most of the morning dealing with immigration and customs while clearing out, before heading to Port Maurelle on Kapa Island, where we spent the night after getting Paw Paw ready for our departure this morning. We topped off the day with an impromptu "bon voyage" party together with Nina on Raya (Ros and Rick) as Raya heads south and the rest of us head west.As the afternoon progressed though, more and more yachts arrived in the anchorage, all with the same idea as ourselves - early morning departure for Fiji, having waited weeks for a suitable weather window. As such, we have a convoy!Besides the forecasted weather window, we believe many yachts, including ourselves, decided to leave Tonga as the fuel situation deteriorated. In essence,Tonga has gone "green". read more...


Paw Paw - Log Days 250 & 251: Tonga Goes "Green" - Inadvertently
Paw Paw - Log Days 250 & 251: Tonga Goes
16/09/2016

Firefly - Some Westing at last

It is very early on Saturday 17th September 2016 and Firefly is exiting the Channel between Banka and Sumatra. Since leaving Pangkor in Malaysia 8 days ago we have generally been heading South East. Soon we will turn to starboard and our course will be slightly West of South for the next 200 miles as we head for Krakatoa. Located in the Sundra Strait between Sumatra and Java it will be the only place we will stop in Indonesia. Our plan is to have 2 night respite there, before we venture into the Indian Ocean and sail the 620 mile passage to Cocos Keeling. It will be good to be finally heading West. During this final section of Firefly's circumnavigation we will return to the Caribbean and that it is definitely West of here....in fact it is over 10,000 miles (as the crow flies) West to St. read more...


15/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite

Yesterday we completed the last of our preparation activities for our departure to Fiji, including tracking down Fijian dollars, topping up on some provisioning and inquiring about the correct customs and immigration procedures for clearing out,since we had cleared in to Tonga via Niuatoputapu. At the same time we were grantedspecial permission to avoid taking Paw Paw to theCustoms Wharf prior to clearing due to Elaine's limitations with her back and ankle.Once all that was taken care off, we could look forward to our planned evening event - A boat trip to a Tongan Feast in Utulei Village on Pangaimotu Island, which also included a celebratory kava ceremony.We did not partake in the latter as we had experienced one in Samoa,but everyone on Nina did. Prior to the ceremony though, we. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
Paw Paw - Log Days 248 & 249: A Tongan Feast and Faka Leite
14/09/2016

Firefly - Neptune and Lettuce

Firefly is on passage and has just crossed the equator and headed back into the southern hemisphere.Crewman Jones had not passed this way before and King Neptune visited at about 0430 this morning (Thursday 15th September) officially - a ceremony was held as the virtual line was crossed. Neptune was particularly interested to know if Jones's first name was Davy? He had to drink snapps, was doused with water and Neptune and Crewman Bardell (who has crossed before) then toasted him with a glass of wine.Earlier this year, Paul and Susie laid Firefly up at Pangkor Marina in Malaysia in April and she spent 5 months on the hard while they had the summer at home in the UK. During that time, Firefly has been treated to a complete repaint with Awlgrip and is now looking extremely shiny. She is. read more...


13/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Days 246 & 247: Waiting on a Weather Window

Yesterday morning we eventually got the chaps washed, dried and put back on the dinghy, so it's now resembling something similar to its former glory.We then headed to town to top up our data service plan in the hopes of getting our photographs of Niuatoputapu and Vava'u uploaded to the website as well as make some phone calls to family and friends. Unfortunately the entire communications infrastructure had come to a standstill for no apparent reason, so that idea was abandoned. With the gloomy and cold weather continuing, we decided to warm the cockles of our heart in the Mango Café where Nina later found us for Happy Hour. Then it was back to Paw Paw for another "dinner and a movie"night.This morning, with Elaine's back and ankle playing up again the past few days, she eventually caved. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Days 246 & 247: Waiting on a Weather Window
Paw Paw - Log Days 246 & 247: Waiting on a Weather Window
11/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover

Being a Sunday here in Tonga the custom is church and family time only ie no work of any kind. We, however, did not have that luxury since we're hoping to leave for Fiji later this week and there were things to do.There was one particular task that we have been putting off for months, but had to knuckle down today and get it done.As a result the dinghy makeover was worth the effort.While Roy cleaned the bottom,then the topsides, Elaine made the repairs to the chaps and engine cover. The task was significantly reduced by getting a company here in Neiafu to stitch on all the yellow patches as apposed to us having to re-glue them. It did, however,take the whole day to get it all done,with the exception of washing the chaps. We should be able to get that completed tomorrow and put back on.. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
Paw Paw - Log Day 245: The Dinghy Makeover
10/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Days 243 & 244: From Fishing Contest to Dinner and Rugby

Yesterday we took advantage of being back in Neiafu sooner than we had planned by getting the final preparations for our passage to Fiji completed. In particular,getting the myriad of forms completed and sent offas part of the Advanced Arrival Notice procedure.We also had the opportunity to enjoy the evening festivities at the Mango Café associated with the Fishing Contest that is currently underway here. We were surprised to see the fishing vessel Yellowfin that we'd first seen in Samoa and had come all this way to participate. We later found out that boats come from far and wide for this particular contest. Today Elaine spent most of the day enjoying some "girl time" with Lynda and Karen off Nina,after picking up the overhauled dinghy chaps, while Roy spent the day with the boys.. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Days 243 & 244: From Fishing Contest to Dinner and Rugby
Paw Paw - Log Days 243 & 244: From Fishing Contest to Dinner and Rugby
Paw Paw - Log Days 243 & 244: From Fishing Contest to Dinner and Rugby
Paw Paw - Log Days 243 & 244: From Fishing Contest to Dinner and Rugby
08/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 242: A "Drive-by of the Vava'u Group"

Once Roy returned to Paw Paw after trying to help Nina with a few yacht gremlins this morning, we weighed anchor for our next anchorage off Vaka'eitu Island.Unfortunately after worming our way around all the reefs and dangers to get there, we discovered that the anchorage was really crowded. We did try to shoehorn our way into the only available spot,but when we settled too close for comfort to the shoals with a reduced scope, we decided to leave. With the other two nearby anchorages off Lape and Nuapapu Islands being too exposed,we headed for Kapa Island.Unfortunately we ran out of options there as well due to very precarious looking mooring balls and being a very deep anchorage. At that point we gave up and returned to Neiafu,where we'll stay until we leave for Fiji.While we feel like. read more...


07/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 241: "Paw Paw was a bit Poo Poo Today"

While Elaine took a dinghy ride with Nina to visit the works of a local artist at the "Ark Gallery", a little floating art gallery in the anchorage,Roy got busy with some of our Must Do tasks in preparation for our sail to Fiji. Unfortunately Elaine had forgotten that one of those tasks included the much loved one that every sailor looks forward to - fixing a head (aka toilet). Nina and Elaine had no sooner returned to Paw Paw for morning coffee when we were greeted with the beautiful aroma.Needless to say, we decided to abandon the idea because, as Lynda so aptly put it: " Paw Paw is a bit poo poo today". The good news though, is that the head is fixed.A definite highlight of our entire South Pacific experience, however, will be the dinner we enjoyed at La Paella Restaurant. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 241: "Paw Paw was a bit Poo Poo Today"
Paw Paw - Log Day 241:
Paw Paw - Log Day 241: "Paw Paw was a bit Poo Poo Today"
Paw Paw - Log Day 241:
Paw Paw - Log Day 241: "Paw Paw was a bit Poo Poo Today"
Paw Paw - Log Day 241:
06/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales, Whales and More Whales

Today we eventually left Neiafu and enjoyed a slow sail to a beautiful anchorage between Pangaimotu and Tapana Islands.En route we had the good fortune of spotting humpback whales on three separate occasions.On two of the occasions the whales were less than 50m from Paw Paw.It was wonderful to be so close to these enormous, but magnificent creatures as well as watch them breech and swim around us. We were simply in awe when we saw one that was so huge, it was bigger than Paw Paw.Just Spectacular! After getting settled in the anchorage,Roy spent this afternoon cleaning Paw Paw's bottom,while Elaine cooked for ourpotluck "curry dinner" aboard Nina tonight. After a delicious meal,we topped off the evening playing the boardgame, "Would I Lie to You?", with Steve, Lynda and Elaine loosing. read more...


Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales, Whales and More Whales
Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales,  Whales and More Whales
Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales, Whales and More Whales
Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales,  Whales and More Whales
Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales, Whales and More Whales
Paw Paw - Log Day 240: Whales,  Whales and More Whales
06/09/2016

Katarina - Darwin to Lombok - Log Day 1 update

... The wind suddenly picked up and now we are flying, with no waves this is seriously nice sailing, I wish it was always like this!I was afraid it would take us two weeks to get to Lombok, but if we continue like this weshould be there in no time at all.. read more...


06/09/2016

Katarina - Darwin to Lombok Log Day 1

Our first official day in the World ARC Rally and we are excited, however the weather looks fine for sunbathing but not very enticing for sailing. There is hardly any wind at all. We had a spectacular start with all the World ARC yachts trying to fit into this narrow start line between the sail training ship Young Endeavour and the point of Stokes Hill Wharf. With so little wind everybody moved in slow motion. Many different sail combinations were tried by the fleet and after trying to sail for an hour and a half and making progress only courtesy of the current, we have turned on one of our engines. We certainly don't want to still be here when the current turns. We only run one engine to save fuel, it is a long way to Lombok, approx 1000Nm.It is hot, it is very hot we are melting. We. read more...


05/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Day 239: An Unexpected Evening of Fun

Today we had planned to venture further afield by "sailing"to a different part of the Vava'u Group, but weather prevented that unfortunately. Instead,we visited the local Fresh Produce Market and spent the rest of the morning running errands and catching up with cruising friends. Tonight we enjoyed a lovely eveningwith Nina at the Mango Café where the entertainment was provided by the brass band from one of the local schools. The music was fabulous and the children were so enthusiastic, not to mention very talented. Unfortunately we didn't have our camera with us which was a real shame.We did, however,get to enjoy a dance or two - Definitely an unexpected evening of fun!. read more...


04/09/2016

Paw Paw - Log Days 237 & 238: A Glimpse into Local Life

Yesterday we decided to leave the cruisers social scene in Neiafu behind and head out of town to get a better glimpse into local life here. We combined our walk with a hike up Mt Talau on one of the western peninsulas of Uta Vava'u Island.While it was lovely to get the exercise and enjoy the beautiful views over the Vava'u Group, when it was still somewhat sunny, it was definitely an eye-opener to see the level of poverty here, as well as the amount of garbage strewn around. Although Niuatoputapu was poor, it was neat and tidy for the most part and the locals were far friendlier and engaging. We've actually experienced the exact opposite here, with our greetings being point-blank ignored the majority of the time. Our theory for this relates to expat and cruiser fatigue. These islands. read more...



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