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Tonga to Fiji - July 2001 - A Taste of the Voyage
by Ruth Okey
soren.JPG (43701 bytes)   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. 
dolphin.JPG (26115 bytes) 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.

beach.JPG (25331 bytes) 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.

This 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.

head.JPG (28801 bytes) 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 land.
lucy.JPG (36541 bytes) 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.
acrobat.JPG (22713 bytes) 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. 

The food 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. 

hair.JPG (31201 bytes) 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 difficulty with!

visit.JPG (39514 bytes) 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.
barry.JPG (37902 bytes) 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 time.


V146 : see pictures  - on deck through French Polynesia! Here.

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Here is 1st Mate Sally Anderson's Weblog report of the voyage from the Cook Islands:

"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 "Visually 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!

But click here for new shots of Soren in dry-dock at Tahiti.

Bora_anch.jpg (10289 bytes)Bora Bora
anchored off the Bora Bora Yacht Club.





(A word about Crew Mail here.)

Click here for the Web Log report Pitcairn / Henderson to Marquesas.

Click 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:
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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 between Galapagos 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

For a Feedback form to give us your thoughts and suggestions on the voyage click here.

Contact our Auckland HQ:
Phone 00 649 411 8755
Fax 00 649 4118484
Email : escape%40sorenlarsen%2eco%2enz
Postal address P.O.Box 310 Kumeu
Auckland 1250 New Zealand

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Voyage Crew
Comments/   Memories:
UK - Tenerife
NEW: Across the Atlantic
Pacific Wedding 96
Soren's Xmas Card

Check The Time on board: HERE

Picture This: Caption Competition...


Sally's reports:

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20 Tonga-Fiji
19 Cooks -Tonga
18 Tahiti Drydock
17c Pics Society I
17b Bora-Cooks
17a Tahiti-Bora
16a Tuamotos
16 Tahiti
15 Pitcarin Island
14 Easter Island -Pitcairn
13 Sally's reports,
Panama-Easter I.

12 Pieter's Report
11 Galapagos 2
10 Galapagos
9 Panama
8 Panama Pics
7 Venez Islds

6 Grenadines
5 Caribbean
4 Mid Atl 1
3 Santa Cruz
2 To Madeira
1 Bay Biscay

Voyage Crew Memory Modules:

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Paul Huisking reflects on his
Auckland -Panama
Ocean Passage
last year.
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Southern Ocean Picture Gallery
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Voyage Crew Memories
Ian Marshall's Atlantic Crossing Voy 142, Dec 2000
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See pictures of the Curacao - Panama voyage at V. Crew Bob Lewis' own webpage


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See pics from John Homes and Alan Murphy of the Grenada-Curacao leg.

Leaving Charlestown
Picture page.
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ReRigging Topmast

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UK Refit 1:
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Archived Voyage Logs:
A look back on our Year 2000  Global Odyssey from Auckland to the States and Europe...

Auckland to Easter Island

Easter Island to Panama and Miami

Miami to New York

NY, Halifax to

For pictures of
London Voyagers Club reunion
Click here

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Tourism Awards
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