Our new crew member Jade a girl from New Zealand who has never sailed before but is a dive instructor has brought us the title of this blog “I Love Learning How to Live the Good Life”. I don’t know if this is truly the good life but it is a great start on how to let it all go, from our rat race back in America. No more feelings of needing shiny objects, toys, joys of expensive wine and beer. I live to love the sea, the depths of its hidden beauty sixty feet below with only 40 minutes of air to see behind its blue curtain. I live to sail another day with covered decks of salt and slashed hands. The salt burns the cuts but the red bleached sunrises warms the face and makes my pearly white teeth shine. Unlike the rat race back home I finally feel free to sail over the edge of the horizon and fall off it into a new world. I wish to thank my dad and my mom for there passions in life and to let me find myself fifteen thousand miles form the place I was born and raised. I know what makes me happy now and I could never tell you what will make you happy. Only you can find that out for yourself, but I can tell you it starts with a journey not a self help book. I guess like my friend Jade said, its about learning how to love the good life by experiencing it by yourself and through others.
Enjoy Life, you only get one,
Woke early yesterday and dinged over to the coral gardens. But before we could jump in we had to wade through ocean swells breaking on the shallow reef. It was tough getting over the reef because the surge of water would push you off your feet on to the sharp coral. After fighting through the swell and watching Jade jump into the current and rushed out to the sea were the coral garden is I jumped in. A few minutes later we were hovering over some of the most beautiful coral I have ever seen. Every color I could imagine was mixed into the coral with millions of tropical fish. We spent a good hour snorkeling the reef but a big storm started to build up the swell that was breaking over the reef that we had to get over to get back to the dinghy. So being the adventures group that we are we looked for a little gap in the reef to body surf over the coral reef through the break swell. Ben said he would check it out and well we all followed. As the swell lifted us up it broke into a white capped wave and sent us rushing over the reef with just inches between our bellies and the razor sharp coral. Ben and I got caught in a breaking swell and the coral beneath us inches away disappeared in a white storm of bubbles and foam. We just sucked in our guts and swam over the coral and made it safely across.
After such a exciting morning we switch up head sails on Dragonsbane and sailed back to town to get some meat and provisions. We are planning on going back to the grandsons with scuba tanks and getting some good photos and film.
For the last few days I have been enjoying my new crew Jess and Ben from Alaska, Jade from New Zealand, as we see the world from the cockpit of Dragonsbane. I have sailed into the Tonga Island of Vava’u and had a local rum punch at the Bounty Bar as I enjoyed the open mic night as sailors whispered poems and played on there guitars. I then rose the next morning and sailed off our anchor with out using the engine and anchored in a place called Maurelle. Maurelle is located off a white sand beach where I had a BBQ and fire as wild pigs walked by. As the morning sun rose the next day we dingyed over to the Swallow Cave not knowing what to find. The cave was so big that we could motor right in. I dropped backwards off the dinghy and explored the brightest sun beams of light in the cave to the darkest shadows and looked for all the life within. As my eyes adjusted to the shadows and dark I could see the light reflecting off the colored limestone walls and when I looked up I could see carved stone and beautiful shapes. My friend Ben climbed up the wall and jumped into the cave water below. We then motored back with big smiles and drunk on life experience. We ate dinner on the beach as we drank large glasses of kava. “Kava” is a local tea that is used during meetings that will make your tongue go num and put a big smile on your face. I thought it tasted like ground up tree roots. But my tongue did go num and I felt pretty good.
With red bleached skies we join our boat parties the next morning and went scuba diving off the back of Dragonsbane in Mariners Cave. Mariners cave is only accessible by diving 12 feet down and then swimming into a dark cave for 10 feet then coming up into a fog filled cave. As the swell pushes water into the cave it compresses the air and makes it turn milky white fog. Then as the swell goes out it becomes clear as air in less then a second. I dived the cave and enjoyed swimming underwater through the lower cave entrance and watching all the clown fish look at me. After diving all morning we motored back to the anchorage and enjoyed an evening of cocktails and dinner.
The next morning we ate breakfast and decided to sail off our mooring ball with the spinnaker using no engine. We raised the spinnaker and let the wind catch us as we fell off downwind and sailed away to the coral gardens of Tonga. We are in Nuapapu off the Island of Lape. Tomorrow we will hike over the island and walk across the coral reef and jump off the reef wall into the coral gardens. I have been told by all my sailor friends that have seen it all, this is the best snorkeling the world can offer. I will put that to the test tomorrow. But like normal the days have been filled with fixing the Garmin equipment, greasing winches, clean bilges, fixing doors, rewire connections, splice ropes, fix, fix, lots of stuff. But Skinny dipping at night watching the bioluminescence spark off our bodies with music filling the air from Dragonsbane is pretty sweet, O yeah the Rum feels good too!
We are currently in the process of gunk-holing around the Islands of Vava’u. Basically Vava’u is a mass of of small Islands that are all connected by underwater reefs or by land bridges but they can be explored by boat. We are currently anchored in Port Maurelle which was the First place that the Spanish Navy landed. As we sailed from Neiafu which is the city in Vava’u group we sailed by a hump back whale and I was shocked at the size of the whale. It swam next to us for a 1/4 mile and then disappeared. After that wonderful afternoon we spent the evening around a beach fire, ate lamb chops, and potatoes that our friends on Calico Jack gave us, Thank Travis and Joanne. You can see Calico Jack blog at http://www.sailcalicojack.com . So today we are going to go explore a cave that you snorkel into and then do some scuba diving with Calico Jack. Hope all is well with you.
We left yesterday for the Northern Island of Vavu’ Tonga. The weather is cloudy and winds are light but at 12 knots I am making speed at five knots. We should make landfall sometime tomorrow morning and check in with immigration one more time. I hope everybody is doing well back home.
Current position: 19deg 33.3 min south, 174deg 8,2min west. COG 319deg, SOG 4.9kts
Well if you have not guessed it I made it to Tonga and have been having a blast with the new crew. We are heading out this evening to make a 2 day passage up to North Tonga Island called Vava’u. I will try and get a passage post out as we go. The weather looks good, should be about 15 knots.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments and I will try to blog more. Here in the capital of Tonga the internet is very slow and sometimes stop working so I will have to wait on the photos. The people here are very nice and the capital is a very small town but has a lot to offer. I am also hoping to go swimming with the hump back whales here as well. I will get some photos.
Take care everybody,
Well still hanging in here as the wind builds up to a 26 knot average. We should make landfall by 2pm tomorrow afternoon if all goes well. Oth Adam and I are doing fin and we are enjoying the wet ride up to this point.
I would like to wish Emily H. and Johnny O. a Happy Birthday. Wish I was there with you both to celebrate.
Current Position: 19deg 21.1min South, 173deg 32.8min West, COG 198deg, SOG 7kts, WS 27 knots
The weather is getting a little better but my weather files show the wind kicking up again this evening 25 plus knots. The swells are smaller today but they still seem to sock Adam and I every watch in the cockpit. The good news is that I put up more sail and I am making 7.5 knots of speed. Another big thing today is that I went into the future. I crossed the international date line and back in the States its Tuesday but for me its Wednesday. Hope the weather gets better but we are making good time as long as the wind stays out of th east.
Current Position: 16deg 54.1min South, 172deg 7.9min West, COG 197deg, SOG 7.5knots, Wind speed 23knots, Waves 2 meters,
I had a great time in America Soma but I have to get underway again. Right now we are about 30 miles offshore and the wind is blowing 25knots out of the east. The waves are out of the east south east direction about 3 to 4 meters in height. So far based on my bearing and the wave direction I am on tack taking waves over the side. I adjusted my bearing but the ocean is all mixed up right now and so far I took two very good ocean showers by waves in the cockpit. The deck is continuously covered in green water but we are making 6 knots. SHould be a very interesting night watch.
Current position: 14deg 50.3min south, 170deg 58.1min W, COG 197 degrees,
We arrived into America Soma Pago Pago last Sunday and have been doing all kinds of things. The first thing we did was buy a few beers and some food for dinner. I cooked up some tuna steaks with fresh potato, and drank two beers. I wanted to take a nap 1 pm so I did and woke up at 2am, I guess I was tired. The next day we jumped on a local bus that cost only a dollar weather you are riding around the whole island or down the street. We went to a waterfall that was located behind the local hospital. It was the first time I took a fresh water bath in almost a year and it was outstanding. I just floated around the pool under the water fall and relaxed. I slept really well that night to.
After a slow start to our visit to America Samo I wanted to go check out all the great provisions at a place call “Cost U Less” and see how cheap thing really are. We took a bus ride that took a hour to go 15 miles but here in America Soma the bus will bring you right to your front door so if there’s lots of people on the bus it will take a long time to get anywhere. Anyway I was so excited to see cheap beer, wine, and huge amounts of bulk dry food that I can load up on when I go to Tonga. I have been told by many sailors that there are very few provisions in Tonga so load up. Then I walked mile down the street and found a store call KS-Mart which had loads of fresh food and good verity of small sizes. After spending all day tracking down the locations of stories and how to get ot them we stopped at a Chines restaurant and had really good food cooked more like Chinese food and not America Chinese food. The sad thing about the restaurant is I wanted to go back today but according the sign on the door it was closed the day after we ate there by the Health Department, true story lol. O well if it was dog I guess it tasted great.
I also went to the America Soma government hospital to get my ear checked out. I thought I may have torn my ear drum free diving. I took 5 minutes to fill out the paper work and got a hospital card from the front desk. I then walked down to the ear doctor and asked to make an appointment. They said come in, they took my weight, blood pressure, and then I walked into the doctor’s office. He looked in my ears, and then sent me across the hall to have my hearing and ear pressure checked by a specialist. After 40 minutes I was done and found out everything was fine. I asked for my bill and they laughed. They said have a great day and be safe. The cost was ZERO Dollars. I then went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned because it only cost 20 bucks but the earliest I could get in was September 15, O well.
I have learned after the last week in America Soma that the Local Soma people are very religious Christians and everything is based on faith. Everywhere you look you see images of Jesus and crucifixes. The people are extremely kind and caring. I don’t lock my dinghy to the dock and people offer to have me to dinner all the time. The people here are very patriotic Americans and with such a small population the small community has lost 40 local hero’s in the wars over seas. The local people tell me we are all American and we all have to contribute to make sure we all have a better future. It is a very wonderful place to visit and I would offer my highest remarks of the kind and special people of America Soma.
Now A few Pictures
This is a picture off the back of Drgonsbane looks out into the harbor. To the left is the Starkiss Tuna Factory which makes the harbor smell like tuna when they open the cooking pots. To the right is the America Soma port and cargo wharf.
Well I found out that you can play 18 holes of golf for $7 bucks and rent clubs for $10. The golf balls were free but the tees were 3 dollars and I was golfing. The course was outstanding and very well maintained. I beat Adam in the first 9 holes and then he beat me in the last 9 holes. But to be honest we both suck but it was alot of fun.