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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bull's Eye!! and a note to BB

Bull's Eye indeed!!!  ... Unbelievable that we have actually made landfall and that it actually is the landfall that we were aiming for coming across that BIG body of water!!

View of Coramandel Peninsula on our approach to Auckland ...!

Our first view of NZ were of Poor Knights Islands peeking out of the clouds just east of Northland... and our first Kiwis to great us were some beautiful dolphins!  I had just taken over watch (Bill had been on watch all night and even did a jibe to get us around and into Colville Passage which then leads into Hauraki Gulf and finally Auckland Harbour.).  As I was doing my scan of the horizon for other vessels and then scrutinize the surrounding waters for anything we might potentially collide with I saw some very unusual splashes (not like the usual dancing splashes that some waves produce).  Sure enough we were being escorted into New Zealand waters by a school of dolphins!!  They seemed so full of joy as in groups of 3 and 4 they swam furiously within inches of our bow hull and then with a burst of unparalleled energy leap through the air and madly swing off only to come back and do it all again!  I was enraptured... and then just felt I had to wake Bill up to enjoy with me those wonderful creatures.  Thank you, King Neptune, for sending us that wonderful welcome... and perhaps as a parting gift to us at the end of our successful trip over the ocean.

Our 'official' Kiwi greeting committee - dolphins just off Great Barrier Island, N.Z.
What fun they were having!

After being welcomed into Auckland Harbour by VHF radio from Auckland
Harbour Authority and NZ Customs, both of whom had been expecting us
for a few days and were a bit worried about us.  We were buzzed by one
of the NZ helicopters from the Harbour Authority (the fellow that came
to our boat from NZ Immigration said that they like to do that to
welcome incoming world cruisers!!).  We were escorted in through the
last bit of the harbour by a huge tugboat which was on it's way out
to greet and help move in a container ship right behind us.  They took
a bit of time to come over to us and talk a wee bit on the VHF making
sure that we knew which slip to go to for our customs check-in.
Typical Kiwi greeting! (Although we're thinking that the huge container ship that was on our tail and coming up on us really fast may have had something to do with the tug captain wanting us to get the heck out of its way!!).

The Immigration, Customs and Bio-Security people met us at the little quarantine dock and came aboard for the official paperwork etc.  So nice and very quick... we then headed back
out of the harbour to motor across to Gulf Harbour Marina where ourlittle slip was waiting for us.  By dinner time we were all tied up and having a couple of brews in a little pub, which promises to be a favourite haunt of ours, and then a wonderful dinner of gourmet burger for me (fish) and fish and chips
for Bill.  YES!!!

We are arranging to have Terrwyn put "on the hard" for a year and store our sails and bits and pieces and then ... the ocean adventure will continue.

Meanwhile we are eager to explore Northland as that is one area of New Zealand that I did not get to know when living here.  Yes, indeed, we are looking forward to that... as we speak Bill is
getting our rental car so that we can begin our land adventure for the next 3 weeks!


Over the last five months of this blog there has been a faithful, hard working friend behind the scenes making sure that our words were very quickly posted as soon as he received them through Sailmail.  He did this faithfully, even when he was on holidays!!  I'm talking about our lovely BB (i.e. Blog Boy) AKA Gord Choate... friend and fellow world adventurer.  We owe you, Gordo, big time... and these words are for you from us:

Thank you, my friend, for being there, sharing in our journey as someone who really knows
what adventures are all about.  Your participation in this voyage has made it possible for others to share in it as we went along.  There are not enough words of thanks from us to properly let you know how we feel about you and your support for us.  We love you!

Now, here we are - back on dry land and looking for more adventures!

Cath and Bill

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Ships' log

Lat 23 degrees 54 min S

Lon 179 degrees 51 min EAST!!

25 hours, not that we're counting, competitive, calculating or cunning... however it has been a wonderful day/sail/moment. You have to love the open ocean - even light air days with the chute up and drawing; threading a course between Pelorous Reef to Starboard and unnamed shoals to port - 70 miles apart. Course made good - 245 compass, 25 hours with spinnaker up 100% of the time. Cathy having cut her land lubber teeth completely now; doing her watches through the night flying the 'kite' all by herself - even dousing the mainsail solo by starlight. A very happy and proud co-cap awakened me after the fact - next morning. After NZ Darwin is looking very good!

Following the spinnaker we endured our second gale and came out today with Trade Wind Paradise. However we crossed the 23 degree 45 min South Latitude this morning (the Tropic of Capricorn) and also the International Dateline and the water is cooler and the nights almost cold. Yes, it is happening... we are no longer in "The Tropics" nor the West, but in "The Temperate Latitudes" and "the East". 860 nm to Auckland S SW, forward ho!!

Fair winds


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Cruisin' Rules"

Ship's Log

Lat 23 degrees 23 min S

Lon 175 degrees 24 min W

Yes, there really are such things... many of them being made up as we go along! I send apologies to the actual author of the book "Cruisin' Rules" , Roland Barth, although I know he would heartily approve of whatever mess I make of his work (he is wonderfully self- deprecating...) in fact, this happens to follow one of his original cruisin' rules, I believe it was #14, - "He who holds the paintbrush determines the colour". This one resulted from a number of co-owners including him of a boat who decided that a fresh coat of paint was needed and only two of them showed up on the agreed upon weekend to do the work. Well the absentees were more than disappointed when seeing the results after the weekend of work was done... I seem to recall that one of them called it "Cat's ass brindle" - I leave it up to your imagination as to the resulting colour... thus was born the new rule.

Both Bill and I read this small though powerful and extremely funny book before we left for the open ocean (although C0-cap Bill kindly gave it away to some unknown cruiser along the way without my say - the result is yet another cruisin' rule about books being lent) and many of the rules have guided us both in our journey not only on Terrwyn but in life itself! In fact this was a book that I had recommended to the principals of our Calgary Board of Education schools as an inspiration for them and their staffs and students.

One very important cruisin' rule is Rule #2 "Good though!" ... which was created during a voyage with a number of his friends on board. Each of them took turns in galley duty with each person responsible for cooking one meal in turn. One untalented epicurean created a dish that was particularly distasteful which inspired many critical comments after the meal was eaten. Being very hurt by those comments and bringing that to everyone's attention a new rule was born... that being that no matter how bad something tastes the final comment should always be "Good though!"...or the criticizer would have to cook for a whole week!. When it was next the turn of our unfortunate untalented chef he decided to test the rule and gathered up some of the ship's cat's excrement and made a puree on crackers as a first course. After first bites of the interesting looking appetizer one of the crew blurted out " This tastes like cat shit!!!" and then quickly added "Good though!". We may be close to testing that rule ourselves as we are working our way through the ship's provisions so that once we arrive in New Zealand we should have bare cupboards. After taking a brief survey of what we have left stowed in our quarterberth and under the salon port berth I can see that pork and beans, rice and ichiban noodles may become the major ingredients in every meal for the next 10-12 days (with a bit of ketchup, mustard and peanut butter providing additional interest to the dishes). Interesting challenge for Terrwyn's chef (and diners!!)... no matter what, everything will be "Good though!".

Since both of these rules apply, in our case, to being able to accept decisions made by your co-capn during his/her watch came into play last night when I happened to be on watch. During the evening the wind had died to measly 2-3 knots with a resulting boat speed of 0.03-0.05 kts.

While Bill snored (sorry, I mean "Made sleeping sounds") away below decks I sat in the cockpit listening to the main sail slatting itself to death with each lazy roll of the boat... after 2 hours of this torture (that is -the sound of the sail flopping not of co-caps sleeping sounds) I decided that I needed to do something about it and I hated to disturb the sleep of my hard working co-cap. Now one of the serious rules of
Terrwyn on the open ocean is Rule #1 - "No one leaves the cockpit when on watch alone without wearing a harness being firmly attached to the jacklines". (which leads from the stern to the bow of the boat allowing one freedom of movement but safely harnessed in). For two hours I sat listening to and looking at that flopping sail until I couldn't stand it anymore. At that moment I went through all of the steps that I would
need to do to successfully put the mainsail to bed and one of those steps required that I go forward to the mast to deploy the jack stays (lines that attach to the boom and when set up ensure that the sail nicely falls into place on the top of the boom instead of flopping all over the deck). Well I headed out with heart in mouth to venture along the side decks, clamber onto the deck top and position myself with bottom firmly planted on our granny bars or mast pulpit (which are there for just that purpose - as a place to be secure when working at the mast). Despite the roly-poly movement I quickly deployed the jacklines... scampered back to the cockpit, released the main halyard and watched as the mains'l settled beautifully into it's place cradled by the jackstays on the top of the boom. Feeling very encouraged by this small success I then grabbed a sail tie jumped out of the cockpit, scampered up to the boom and fixed the sail tie around the boom and then around the flaked sail - "Alison Style"), secured the main halyard on one of the mast winches and got back into the cockpit with a great feeling of success... first time ever doing sailwork all by myself in the dark... without... oh my, I had forgotten one of our cardinal rules about not leaving the cockpit without being harnessed in... gulp!! Then and there I made up a new Terrwyn cruisin' rule - Rule #1a - "It is not necessary to reveal to co-cap the breaking of cruisin' rule #1 if the rule breaker is still safely on board!".

Fair winds from

Co-cap Cath safely on board SV Terrwyn!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Gale

Ship's log 21 degrees 35 min S
Lon 174 degrees 43 min W

It's the morning after. Full sun, SE breeze, 10 kts, Seas 2 mtrs out of the SE Angi (i.e. Minetta) and Nick have left Terrwyn and signed on as crew on SV Shadow in Neiafu with skipper Michael. Michael is a sweet young skipper needing crew to help him sail her ( a Tayana 37) to Fiji and then NZ. Michael is from New York and we all met and partied in Niue, everything was perfect, Michael lost his crew in Tonga and Angie and Nick are perfect for the job. Cath and I love each other (now minus our shirts) and Mike truly needs crew and ours will learn so much more with "comparative anatomy". Terrwyn to Shadow and Fiji added in the balance.

Win, win, win. We will miss our young ( and now all trained up ! ,crew )

Back to "A gale"....

Terrwyn cleared Nieafu customs, harbour master and immigration Saturday, October 15, 07:00 just before a terrific "squall" unloaded a Somerset Maugham Tropical Deluge. Clever Bill saw this major rain as a big squall and maturely suggested we hang on a mooring buoy nearby so Cath could clean the Nieafu Saturday Market in the pouring rain while I squared away the dock lines and did final Terrwyn Sea worthy lock down. And it rained till nearly noon. No problem, just a big squall, aren't we clever and mature to wait this one out in harbour (not having motor or cockpit protection). It stopped storming (paused) around noon and we slipped the mooring and sailed out of the harbour in a light following breeze... very nice! A few light air jibes through the Vava'u islands (Desolation Sound look alikes plus 80 degrees temp) and out East into the open ocean, 3 metre seas, 25 knot N "breeze", lightning and more rain. My goodness a touch of sea sickness and the breeze 'on the nose', right. Comic relief is provided with spy hopping humpback whales showing off port beam distance 100 ft. Amazing, then rapidly scary as we watch their white bellies coming our way. Nothing happens further and we regain our voices and carry on plowing to windward to regain to north of Vava'u proceeding east before heading south for NZ. The waters west of Tonga are reef strewn (and to Bounty Mutiny history) so we chose to head south along the east of the Tonga Chain. Good call as the rain and wind continued all day, all night, all day and all night.

Again, this morning is a new morning. This was no squall but our first "full blown gale". The first night we beam reached due south in 3,000 metres of water 30 miles to windward of Tonga's lee shore. And it howled, seas built, clouds and rain blackened the sun, moon and stars for 48+ hours continuously. Everything below deck soaked up water as we dregged it below with all hatches closed to the green water rolling over our fore deck and both side decks. No squall, I gather, a gale, no blown spume... Beaufort scale?... however 30-40 kts wind with 3 mtr seas everywhere confused, noisy and scary. Daybreak more of the same however we have accustomed to it and enjoying the ride at 7 knots down the pipe so thankful in deep blue water not littered with shoals as to the west of Tonga. It has to "blow itself out" right? Wrong.. Nightime came and- Second verse, same as the first. Then near midnight Cath alerted me to nasty darkness to windward. My goodness. Now it's sheets of rain which calms the waves somewhat and full on phosphoresence roaring along and behind the boat as we surfed down these monsters at 7-8 knots - steady whine and vibration.

Monti (our wind vane) held Terrwyn, broad reach, under hankie sized reefed jib, stay sail and double reefed main. We held the mainsheet to cast off if she rounded up but everything held - thank god for 2 hours steady as a rock, roaring along 240 compass. Good thing as no way we would dare upset the balance that was set. 7.6 knots boat speed, apparent wind 26-30 and no no visibilty. Essentially on autopilot, everyone double clipped in listening and watching the ocean roar past in spraklying phosphoresence.

Amazing! Even this gets a little tiring after 2 days of the same. Cath "retired" to the din below and I watched Monti do his magic throughout the night. Relieved later by Cath, sleep of the dead to awaken to today's South Pacific Paradise. Was I dreaming? That was no dream nor was I sleeping. We survived our first gale. YAHOO on with the prgram NZ here we come albeit at 5-6 not 7 plus knots which is very nice.

Fair winds ,


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"There Comes a Time"

Ships Log

Lat 18 degrees 42 minutes S

Lon 174 degrees 01 minutes W

Ships Log

Lat 18 degrees 42 minutes S

Lon 174 degrees 01 minutes W

Here we are sitting in a beautiful little bay near Neiafu, Vava'u, Tonga... Terrwyn sitting pretty on still turquoise waters where we can see the bottom through 20 feet of water as though it were only 1 foot deep!! Fishes swim around our boat as though we were just another large ocean organism and they accept us as a friend. We are going to explore a cave, Swallows Cave, at the entrance of the bay tomorrow morning with some cruising friends of ours and that, along with a bit of snorkelling near the boat will be the total of our expended energy for the day! Each day seems to meld into the others leaving us with a sense of languor not felt very often back home! Wonderful! However this too shall end, unfortunately and this end is coming very soon as we are planning to leave Tonga for NZ within the next few days (the blog explains why).

love to all and Happy Thanksgiving (a wee bit late)


..and now here's from Billy:

It just happened, a Paradigm Shift... the tide has turned...

We are too comfortable, almost relaxed. Even complaints are raised if a shirt to cover up after 8pm and a temp. less than 80 degrees is sensed. The turquoise waters (bath temperature) and tropical birds from the jungle seem just natural and normal. Days of the month are as immaterial as the days of the week have been since goodness knows when...

We had set aside October to explore Tonga but now will clear immagration in a couple of days and set sail S S by W for NZ.

It's time to get Terrwyn to her new home away from home. A combination of lost Sailmail, fridge conking out, spotty engine control panel, sincs all fut gone, and a prop shaft underwater line tangle have all contributed to a sooner rather than later Tongan departure. Terrwyn needs to be hauled and NZ here we come. Out with the Ocean Passages book, NZ charts and route decisions. Tonga is paradise and we would love to gunk-hole about but life is not fair. Our young crew may explore Tonga on foot and fly home however Terrwyn needs major pit stop ASAP.Unless Sailmail reappears this may be our last entry before NZ. We apologize for no replies as we've not received any email via Sailmail for many weeks at sea. Time marches on and we must as well.

Fair winds from Terrwyn


"The Beginning of the End"

Ships log

from Vavau Group, Tonga

Lat 18 degrees 40 minutes S

Lon 174 degrees 00 minutes W

Neiafu UT +13

Cath is exploring Neiafu's Saturday Market, Nick and Angie (Min) are off and about on "Liberty" doing the same (poor Nick!). I am so fortunate! I'm back aboard Terrwyn stowing fresh produce and picking up forgotten camera's etc - perfect.

Vavau Group is rather like a cross between Desolation Sound and Vietnam jungle; very warm still, protected and exotic with tropical birds calling from behind the impenetrable foliage ashore and a maze of islands and islets everywhere. We arrived yesterday, cleared with Immigration, Health, Customs and picked up local currency (Tonga Pa'anga - 1 Cdn dollar is worth about 1.25 TP) and had our first cold drinks and cheesburgers.

Sailmail has been down for weeks now and I apologize for not replying as we have had no email for the same.

Niue was superb, great limestone caves and caverns, sweet warm people and Niue Yacht Club with Commadore Keith - home away from home.

Yes, this feels like the beginning of the end with a month of Tongan local cruising and we make passage to NZ. Gulp!!!

The kids are great, linked up with other youthful sailors and Terrwyn savy (e.g. of the co-caps formality work yesterday Angie and Nick had Pickle (our dinghy) afloat and Terwwyn's Ocean Crossing gear stowed and her anchorage accomodations complete - no mean feat and extremely appreciated the the afterguard!).

On the last passages from French Polynesia we've been lucky with fishing - Skipjack (type of Tuna), Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi (need proper open ocean rod and reel). The weather has been super, variable Tradewind Sou' Easterlies mixed with squalls from everywhere and a few days of swimming in dead calm. Something for everyone. Terrwyn continues strong, fridge is kaput and we struggle to charge all the gadgets on our little 85 watt solar panel (2 computers, 3 phones, 4 cameras, 1 Goal Zero battery and oh yes SSB, wind instruments, GPS and below deck and navigation lights).

What this boat needs is 3x solar panels, a bigger spinaker, real fishing gear, and a working icebox. We are blessed with a great sail inventory, rig and engine,. We are very pleased with our gear - and lucky! NZ is now seeming very close, just under 2,000 n miles away.

Time to meet Cath and check out Neiafu, including the internet cafe and send this update on. Once again thanks for following our Voyage. There's a thousand pictures of paradise and scattered video to be uploaded one day.

All is well on Terrwyn.

Fair winds


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nuie At Last!!

Well we have finally arrived in Niue and we love it! It is a small island of approx. 1500 people self governing but under the auspices of New Zealand. We knew this before we arrived and fully expected to find NZ banks and ATM machines and no problem getting cash... Wrongo!! We have spent the last 2 days trying to get cash and in the meantime everyone in town has opened a tab for us... so No Problem... except our beer tab is getting dangerously close to cleaning out our bank accounts once we do get cash!! We are having to wire money from Canada via Western Express... as they only accept VISA in the bank and Bill's VISA card does not want to work despite numerous calls to VISA and they reassuring Bill that he should be able to get a much as he wants... nope... not happenin'! Oh well such is life when one visits small South Pacific islands!!

Anyway, we hope to be here until our money comes through which may take until October 2nd, 3rd or 4th when we will take off for teh northern islands of Tonga (Va'vau group) - until then we will continue to eat and drink our way through the town of Alofi on Niue building up our tabs as we go... what a great little island!!!

Here are two blog entries that we had written earlier and we were not able to get Sailmail working for the last 2 weeks (not sure why)... so we are sending this from NYC ( Niue Yacht Club not New York City!!) of which we are the 1501st members (most members have virtual membership and have nor never will come here!!). NYC has free wifi access albeit slow so again no photos! Oh well maybe in Tonga!!

Leaving French Polynesia and The Best Little Laundromat in the World!

Lat 16 degrees 32 minutes S

Lon 152 degrees 05 minutes W

Our first night of sailing at the beginning of a 10 day crossing from Bora Bora to Niue Ö nothing really when one thinks about our very first crossing of 6 weeks (35 days) from Victoria, B.C. to Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands!! We now have Minetta and Nick with us who are eager to share the nightly watches (ahhh such youthful enthusiasmÖ one wonders how long this will last!!?!!).

Oh by the way, we found the ulitimate in laundry facilities in Bora BoraÖ a wonderful little place that had wifi, free coffee and tea served while the owner (a charming French man) took our laundry and did it for us for no more than it cost us to struggle through the one poor washing machine which we last experienced! (I donít think Bill will ever get over that one!). Anyway ñ Bora Bora wins hands down in the laundry facilities categoryÖ YAY!!

We had a lovely afternoon sail although no wind to speak of but it allowed Min to jump in the water and duplicate what I did on our crossing through the Tuamotos. It also allowed me to make quite a nice meal of rice, couscous (with almonds, raisins, prunes, onions, cumin, cinnamon etc. etc.), shrimp and snow peas with onions and garlic to add a little flavourÖ finished off with a nice rose wine et voilaÖ a lovely dinner at sea ñ actually quite relaxing!

Nick and I took first watch (8pm to 12 midnight) and had a special delight of being able to watch the moon rise (What a Wonderful Night for a Moondance ñ thanks Van Morrison) ñ OK no dancing but we sure watched it in awe!! The moon is a lovely companion on these long night watches, although she outshines any stars around her, save for the very brightest, which makes star gazing rather fruitless.

This type of weather ñ no wind to speak of or what wind there is seems to swing around the compassÖ is statistically less than 1% of the time in this area ñ most of the time it is a brisk SE Trade Wind of between 15-20 knots of wind (light airs from the NE)Ö we are hoping that the wind will fill in by morning to about 10-15 knots and we will begin scooting across to Niue. Right now Nick is at the helm and we are doing 0.15 knots in a 0.5 apparent wind (hmmmmÖ if my math holds true that means we really have only approximately 0.3 knots of wind) ñ itís amazing that we are sailing at all!!

I guess we should enjoy the peace while we have it!

Fair Winds

Cath and Bill and the crew of SV Terrwyn

Sleigh ride to Niue!!

Ship's Log

Lat 13 degrees 56 min S

Lon 159 degrees 42 min W

I swear Neptune knows when Co-cap Cath is on watch! Every time I am on watch, it seems, the winds pipe up, the seas become menacing, and I experience at least one unexpected downpour...! Oh well, 99% of solving a problem is recognizing that we have a problem - hence on my watches I now take my rain gear, complete with sou'easter (rain hat)all in fashionable sunshine yellow, I make sure all sheets and lines are clear and ready for action, give clear directions to whichever crew member is on watch with me and then hold tight with a big smile on my face :-) No problem!!!

The other night was no exception - I had mid- watch and came up at 100 hours (Bill and Nick had the 1st watch from 2000 hours until 100 hours) listened to their watch report that all was excellent with clear starry skies good wind and Monty, our Monitor Wind vane, was holding us on our course. Min was sleeping so with conditions so ideal I just let her sleep... yup you guessed it, as soon as Co-Cap Bill and Midshipman Nick were below decks nicely in their berths all H--- broke loose. A huge front rapidly moved in and set Terrwyn on her side, heeling 20-30 degrees with gusts of wind coming on our starboard at times up to 35 knots. On went my rain gear and I thought I would sit it out, but back up came Bill and Nick ready to furl the jib and reef the main (we already had one reef in)... that set her back on her feet and we were able to ride out that little storm quite nicely.

So last night I was ready on my watch for the worst and ... Neptune did not disappoint me... another nasty little (?) front came through with all of the above... the only difference was that I had already furled the jib (with Min's help) and we had wisely put 2 reefs in the mainsail. Now I would never want to enrage Neptune by thumbing my nose at him... but I did feel a need to give a gentle wave of acknowledgment to the ol' boy!

Onward with our adventures as we head for the Palmerston Atoll where we have decided to make a brief stop although one of us will need to be on anchor watch at all times as we will be anchoring in very deep (i.e. 9 fathoms) of water outside of the lagoon as the pass is too shallow for us to go through. We have about 300 nm to go to Palmerston, so should be there in a couple of days... after that we will head on to Niue (the smallest self governing nation in the world and we belong to their largest little yacht club, NYC (Niue Yacht Club), of 1500 virtual members in the world... funnily none of the local yacht club members even own a boat :-)but they provide wonderful mooring buoys and huge smiles of welcome to us weary sailors!

Oh must go... Bill is waiting in the cockpit for happy hour before we have our Sunday Dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes, corn and coleslaw... mmmm that makes me hungry just writing it! Oh and don't forget the Sunday dinner bottle of wine :-)

Fair winds

Cath and Bill and crew
SV Terrwyn