|| Tonga to Fiji - July 2001 - A Taste of the Voyage
by Ruth Okey
||I arrived on Tongatapu the main
island of Tonga, tired and apprehensive on Saturday after a long flight from
England. I managed to meet several of the other voyage crew (VC) that evening and we all
had dinner together and discussed or imminent adventure. Sundays on Tonga are very quiet
with everyone going to church (several times a day), luckily Sunny (a friendly taxi
driver) was able to take several of us on a tour of the island. Monday we boarded the
Soren Larsen and my apprehension swiftly disappeared as the permanent crew (PC) introduced
themselves and showed us around.
||The weather on the voyage was very mixed,
from total calm to very windy, cloudy to very sunny and from hot and dry to rain. The
trade winds were rather lacking so we had to motor a little more than we would have liked,
but we still managed some very exciting sailing.
We were visited twice by dolphins playing in the bow wave, one visit
occurred whilst we were motoring and the sea was like a mill pond and the sky extremely
blue. This gave us exceptionally good views of these wonderful animals as pictured. I was,
however, disappointed that we only saw whales in the far distance.
||Before the trip I was apprehensive about
doing watches in the middle of the night, but in many respects these were the best times
of the voyage. Doing bow watch on a clear night when the generators were off was a
beautiful and peaceful experience with only the sounds of the sea and ones dreams and
imagination. One night was very clear with thousands of stars filling the whole sky making
it very difficult to decide whether lights on the horizon were actually stars. Another
sight I will remember for a long time is the crescent shaped moon low in the sky with
Venus shining brightly just to its right.
trip was a combination voyage, sailing around the islands of Tonga, then several days
sailing to Fiji and then more island hopping. We stopped on both inhabited and uninhabited
islands, asking the village chiefs permission to land with gifts of Kava.
||The cabins were functional, comfortable but
small with very little storage so future VC be warned keep your luggage to a minimum or
you will end up sleeping with it! The heads (toilets to you non sailors) as pictured were
kept spotless by the PC. We were given strict instructions on how to take a shower to
conserve water and how to flush the toilet (pump water through it) using as much sea water
as we liked, we all appreciated the push button toilet flush and hotel baths once back on
||The PC were always on hand to instruct and
help us with the day to day tasks. You soon got to know which lines were the easier ones
and that "letting go" was the easiest option, when all hands were called to set
sails. The PC work very hard for very little reward, they are the instructors, the
entertainers and the workers. While we were not on watch or enjoying ourselves ashore they
were cleaning, painting, stripping varnish, fixing fans, doing accounts, stock checking,
mending sails and doing numerous other maintenance tasks that enable Soren Larsen to
continue to sail. This picture shows Lucy is putting a patch on a sail.
||When they get the opportunity the PC do
enjoy themselves and we had excellent acrobatic displays from the monkey rope and jib boom
by Dave, Nick and Yoost.
was excellent, Squiz and Sally-Ann spent many hours planning balanced menus and cooking
for hungry sailors. They have plenty of menu's for banana's so future VC you have been
warned. The home baked bread, cakes and biscuits were very popular.
||Trips on Soren Larsen are a complete way of
life, it is self contained and you have to survive away from many twentieth century
luxuries. During the voyage we experienced several haircuts and changes of image, in the
picture Dave is getting a beard restyle via spotlight by Monica.
The different watches have specific tasks that they usually do, 12 to 4 in
the morning bake bread, 4 to 8 do a deck scrub and 8 to 12 polish the brass, this included
the ships bell that must only be rung at specific times - something that Joe and Colin had
||We visited several villages in Tonga and
Fiji and during one greeting ceremony with a village chief the captain was asked if some
of the villagers could visit the ship. We then had all the village (and possibly the
next one as well) visit, men women, children and babies. We all greeted one another and
our visitors were then taken on a tour, the children pretended to take the helm
whilst more adventurous men made it out on the jib boom. It made a change for me to
be part of the "sight" I am usually the one doing the sight seeing.
||Captain Tony gave us a briefing each day
using the charts to show us where we had sailed and the islands were going to visit. We
also had a demonstration of the use of a sextant (by Barry as pictured) and a discussion
on the theories of sailing. This explained why we often reposition sails and yards during
both sailing and motoring. We also discussed tacking a tall ship, something frequently
done in a sailing dingy but sparingly in a tall ship and not done on Soren Larsen for
several days until the very next day when we put theory into practice, taking in sails and
eventually going about before setting the sails again.
The voyage was full of new experiences and something I hope to do again in
the future, thank you to all the permanent and voyage crew for a varied and interesting
: 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!
Email to escape%40sorenlarsen%2eco%2enz
(send max 4 or 5 picture per email)
Soren Larsen Voyagers Log: P.O.Box 310 Kumeu,
Auckland 1250 New Zealand
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suggestions on the voyage click here.
Contact our Auckland HQ:
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