Crew Monica Halverson recounts their voyage from Nuku'alofa through
the Kingdom of Tonga.
PART two - below
For Part 1 Click
Part 3 click here
2003 Voyage reports & picture gallerys - here)
Vava', Nothern Tonga to eastern and southern Fiji:
"Having more or less exhausted ourselves on Saturday,
we spent a quiet and relaxed Sunday on uninhabited Euakafa just like the locals do.
Swimming, snorkelling, hiking, and napping on the beach were the order of the day. We
pulled up anchor late in the afternoon and sailed back to Neiafu. With only the lower and
upper topsails set, we did over 6 knots as we manoeuvred our way once again through these
Monday morning is spent preparing to sail to Fiji:
clearing customs; last minute trips to the Post Office, laundry and market; spending those
last Tongan dollars; and, perhaps calling home. Five of us took advantage of the time by
scuba diving. We dove a site called Split Rock which is off of a small rock islet in the
southern part of the Group. The underwater rock formations and coral were brilliant. Two
beautiful lionfish were on display along with a variety of other tropical fish. Visibility
was about 30 meters. It was quite a good dive.
Once everyone was back on board, we began our blue water
sail to Fiji. This is, in fact, why we all chose Soren Larsen as our mode of transport
between these island groups. As luck would have it, the weather delivers a variety of
conditions providing endless sail handling opportunities. Everyone quickly learns the
"ropes" (lines) that control the 12 sails as we set, hand and adjust them again
and again as the weather constantly changes. Of course, handing the sails means furling
them too creating opportunities to climb 80 feet up the foremast to the topgallant yard.
The only thing more exhilarating than the climb is the view once you get up there.
Arriving at all of these South Pacific islands on a tall ship is a very nostalgic
experience. Arriving on the topgallant yard is nothing short of spectacular!
Day-to-day life on the ship entails much more than just
sail handling. We are each assigned to a watch where we are on for 4 hours, off for 8, and
then on again for 4. During watch, we are responsible for steering the ship, bow watch,
hourly safety rounds and some light maintenance work (e.g. brass polishing, deck scrubs,
dishes). When were not on watch, were eating three fantastic meals a day (It
is absolutely amazing what Squiz and Sally Ann can do in the tiniest of galleys which is
constantly moving with their unlimited assortment of spices.); sitting on the sun-drenched
poop deck reading a good book; taking care of personal needs (e.g. laundry in buckets of
sea water on deck, swapping hair cuts, writing journal entries, etc.); watching the
permanent crew perform their daily tasks (e.g. First Mate Sal organizing the activities
for the day; Sail maker Lucy mending a tattered sail; Boson Nick splicing a line; Engineer
Pete repairing one of many mechanical or electrical gadgets on board; Deckhand Rich
setting a new standard for furling the headsails; Ships Carpenter Jimma converting
an ordinary piece of wood into a component of the ship; Second Mate Barry inspecting the
safety equipment; or, Deckhands Dave and Joost climbing around in the rigging with a pouch
of tallow, lashings or other tools needed on the jobs aloft) - always with smiles on their
faces; and, getting better acquainted with our travelling companions from various parts of
the world. (It is no wonder that we are so tired at the end of the day!) Although the ship
has hot, freshwater showers which we must use sparingly, occasionally that just
doesnt suffice. Barry frequently demonstrates the technique of the all-you-can-use
seawater deck shower. Joost recently went a step further and created a seawater bath where
you could soak in the suds as long as you wanted!
Whether on watch or not, we are constantly faced with
some of the most fantastic scenery anywhere. Each sunrise and sunset presents a unique
skyline of shapes (from the clouds) and colors (from greys to blues to pinks, reds and
oranges). The rising and setting of the moon can be equally spectacular. The moonrise on
Wednesday (at about 0400) of this week was truly memorable: a bright crescent moon looking
like a canoe just above the horizon with Venus brightly shining just millimetres away from
the right-hand tip of the moons edge against a star-filled backdrop. The reflection
of the bright lights on the calm sea added to the uniqueness of the view. This combination
of moon, planets, stars and sea can only happen once in a lifetime and we were fortunate
enough to see it! The volume and clarity of the stars on a clear night is truly
magnificent. On such a night, it is not uncommon to see numerous falling stars - boy, if
all of those wishes come true!
At 0320 Thursday morning we crossed the 180 degree
meridian. Although perhaps not as significant as crossing the equator (no sign of King
Neptune), it still warranted a party onboard. In anticipation of the crossing, we chose to
have the party on Wednesday evening. The "Far Side" was chosen as the theme
since we are in a far-away place and also because we race to the pegboard every morning to
see that days Far Side calendar page. Everyone dressed as their favorite Far Side
cartoon character and Purser Rosie made one of her infamous rum punches. It proved to be a
In addition to working hard and playing hard, we also
find time to learn as much as possible about the theory of sailing. Capt. Tony spent an
afternoon during the voyage explaining the inter-relationships between a ships
design, the sea, and wind; and, how to set the sails accordingly. This included an
explanation of why we spiral the yards which now makes a lot of sense. As it turns out,
all the bracing we do and redo is really important in sailing the ship! Tony also
explained the steps involved in tacking the ship which we were able to take advantage of
the very next day.
Even though we are using the GPS for most of our
navigational needs, we periodically take out the sextant and practice our skills at
Celestial navigation. Most of the time we are able to prove that the GPS is working
It took us three full days to sail to Fiji arriving
Thursday afternoon but too late to clear Customs and go ashore. As such, we enjoyed our
peaceful anchorage initially by watching Dave, Barry and Charlie convert their undefined
facial hair into styling lamb chops sideburns. They now resemble the sea captains from two
centuries ago. (Martin may be responsible for planting the seed which grew into these new
looks when he first donned a Mohawk and then eventually a clean-shaven head earlier in the
week!) We later enjoyed drinks and a lovely dinner on deck followed by some games that
literally "stretched" the participants. As we end this day (Thursday, July 19)
and prepare to begin our exploration of Fiji in the morning, I am ending this VC log
chapter. We will come back to you with a later update on what this group of islands
unfolds over the next several days.
to Part 1 Click here ].
: see pictures - on deck through French Polynesia! Here.
Here is 1st Mate Sally Anderson's Weblog report of the voyage from the Cook
"The Cook Islands were an absolute delight.
Tranquil, easy going, relaxed and inexpensive. V.B at the bar
and a cinema!!! The crew were ecstatic. MORE....
VC John Anderson's account Part
2 of the previous voyage from Bora Bora to the Cook Island and
their stay in Rarotonga HERE
Bora Bora is magnificent. It is probably the most photographed
island in the South Pacific, and rightly so. Entering the lagoon
is stunning, and as we did the cloud cleared revealing the island
in all its splendour.......
Also here is Voyage Crew
John Anderson's account (Part 1) of the voyage from Papeete
to Bora Bora - Click here!
here for new shots of Soren in dry-dock at Tahiti.
anchored off the Bora Bora Yacht Club.
(A word about Crew
here for the Web Log report Pitcairn / Henderson to Marquesas.
here for the Web Log report Easter Island - Henderson.
Below are links to Sally Anderson's Web Log reports from
the Galapagos to Easter island:
Part 1 tells of their passage from Panama
to Cocos island - 7/12th Feb. Click here.
Part 2 covers from Cocos
Island to the Galapagos - 13/18th Feb. Click here:
Part 3 recounts their journey
and Easter Island, and their experiment in traditional navigation
methods, 22 - 28th Feb:
Part 4: Continues the passage
to their arrival at Easter
Island, 1st-19th March: Click here.
VOYAGE CREW RETURNING HOME: Scan and email
or post your pictures of your voyage! If you have an account of your trip or a special
moment then let us a know. Your tales can be included in the Voyage Log!
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