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Bob Majors sailed as Voyage Crew on the Ocean Sailing passage from Auckland to the Kermadecs and Tonga and stayed for the Kindom of Tonga voyage - here are his pictures and commentary..

MY SOREN LARSEN EXPERIENCE
BY BOB MAJORS

When I first told my friends and relatives I was going sailing on a tall ship and would actually be part of the crew, they gave me a kind of funny look. "Bob, aren't you a little old (64) for this?" Or, "Bob, are you going through some kind of male menopause?" My Son told me (after the trip), "Dad, I can't believe you really did something like this."

Why did I do this? My very honest answer is "Because I have always wanted to". I was raised in the state of Colorado in the US - about as landlocked as you can get. I was an officer in the US Navy, but on the air side and never had any sea duty. I have been on freighters and have enjoyed them, but have always wanted to have the sailing experience - especially the blue water sailing experience.

Did I get what I wanted? The very short answer is "YES - and many fold over."

 

In addition to all the great meals that Tracey and Nikki fed us, they
also plied us twice a day with tea and coffee and always some 'goodies'
to boot. Well done Ladies.

I really like this picture. Ulrich on bow watch.  
My watch from the first leg to Tonga- 'Real sailors - trained by Eric!!' Wet and rough seas out of New Zealand (it was June).
I only took a couple of pictures between Auckland and the Kermadecs - I wonder why!!!

Miles has the Captain and Paddy captured. Greg is ignoring it all and
keeping us on course!!

    Kate & Mark enjoying some calm weather.

My especial memories:

At the helm at 0200 under sail between the Kermadecs and Tonga. Could there ever be anything to match that feeling?

To be a part of a team coming together in a 4 on and 8 off watch situation under some stress - rough seas. And this team had some Brits, some Aussies, some Yanks, and even a nice young man from Guernsey - all whom had never seen each other until they got on the Soren Larsen. As good an experience in building human relationships as I have experienced in almost 40 years of doing similar things. And how much of this is brought about by our Captain and his extraordinary crew.

To be exhilarated by being in a very dark cave cut by eons of wave motion while Daphne, our purser, played beautiful music on her flute.

To experience the incredible variety and mix of people that go on these kinds of adventures. This is not your cruise ship to the Caribbean!!!

And, last but not least, to finally get to the T'Gallant and help furl the sails. All I can say is "WOW, and I want to do it again!!!"

Who is this new member of the voyage crew?? - Alex is alive!

  I though I was pretty adventurous to be out doing this stuff at age 64.
But then Ernie blew me away by telling me he was 80. 80 years YOUNG.
Very Well Done Ernie!!!!!
A rocky boat landing at the Kermadec islands. Can you really believe we did this!!!
A great big WELL DONE to Eric and the crew.

 

Eric said JUMP and Adrian did!!
I think we were all glad to get on shore. But my legs were such that I
still thought I was on the ship.
The gals are part of the permanent party on Raoul. I think the one in
the center was Mary who was the leader of the group.
At the Dept of Conservation house. What a nice spread they put out for us

Sunny sailing after into Tonga .

  Did we have a good looking voyage crew or not!!!!!

Sue in the morning at Neiafu - before the dancing and drinking
started!!
This is on 'Euakafa where the Ancient Tomb is where the Chief killed his
wife because she was unfaithful. Even though it ws the Big Tree's fault. We couldn't find the tomb but did find these strange symbols in the rocks along the beach.
We also found the "shipwrecked" couple from London and Munich who had run out of water and food and were living on coconuts. Luckily their fishing boat picked them up that afternoon.
We finally went south to the Ha'apai Group and this is off Uoleva.
Nikki and Chris are getting the kebabs fixed for the beach barbecue.
Phil fixed a great fire and Tracey and Nikki did a fantastic job of
cooking on a hunk of metal. Well done to all. It was a real "blast on
the beach".
Beach cricket at Ololeva. I'm the bats man and Mandy and Bruce are behind the wicket (this is showing my ignorance of the game).
Daphne said we had to have a song before we got underway!!! I think to Mariners Cave, since I passed that one.
This is also at 'Euakafa. I stayed on board in the afternoon and finally
made it to the TopGallant.
This picture should go in the travel brochures. Is this beautiful or
what!!!
I think the look on Sharon's face shows the enchantment we all felt hearing Daphne play this beautiful music while we were in Swallows Cave.
A real Highlight!!
Get that anchor down - So we can get to the beach.
If my log is right - and it might not be - this should be Nuku in Vavau.
At the feast in Pangaimotu.
I think Joe may have had the little pig that I think got named after Kent!!
THIS IS MY SOREN LARSEN EXPERIENCE.

 

Bob (left) seen here drinking beer at a little bar next to the Dateline Hotel in
Nuku'alofa. Deb is next to me and Sharon and Stephen are next to her.

 

I have only two disappointments from my Soren Larsen experience:
1 - I didn't get to meet Fleur and tell her thanks for all her help.

2 - I didn't get to say a proper farewell to Tony - it was rushed when we got off the ship. He is one of the finest men I have ever met and certainly one of the best leaders of people. Please give him my best.

My best also to all of you in Auckland.

To my fellow shipmates - Good Sailing and stay in touch.

Bob.

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Images used in this Voyage Log are mainly taken with Fuji's Finepix 2800.
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