Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Reflections of the Pacific

Current Location: Fanny Bay, Darwin, Australia
Current Position: 12 25.49 S 130 49.08 E
Next Destination: Kupang, Indonesia

The Pacific is the largest ocean in the world. At the equator it measures 11,000 miles from west to east. It covers one-third of the earth’s surface, more area than all the landmasses combined. And scattered throughout are hundreds of islands, of which, even after three years, we barely touched upon.

Our original plan was to cruise in the South Pacific for two years; we liked it so much that we stayed an extra year (and cruised some of the North Pacific). We are always asked what we liked best, or what our worst experiences were. They are not easy questions to answer, the Pacific is just too big, and we experienced so much it’s impossibly hard to pick and choose. But since officially leaving the Pacific on June 28th we got to thinking, and this here BLOG is the result of those thoughts … some of our favorite and less-than-favorite times in the Pacific.

Links to our website, when available, have been provided for those wishing to read more about one event or another.


1,300 days cruising the Pacific (December 3, 2003 – June 28, 2007)
18,350 nautical miles traversed
13 countries visited
182 anchorages
114 nights at sea (62 in year one, 21 in year two, 28 in year three, and 5 in year four)
1,150 hours motoring
12,500+ photographs taken (favorite photo journals Niko Weir)

Longest Passage:
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Fatu Hiva, Marquesas
2900 miles
23 days and 19 hours

Felt like the longest Passage:
Majuro, Marshall Islands to Savusavu, Fiji
1800 miles (at 45 degrees apparent)
15 days and 12 hours

Most miles covered in 24 hours:
Tonga to Opua, New Zealand
175 miles

Most miles covered in a day sail (daylight hours, 11.5 hours):
Lizard Island to Flinders Island (Australia)
83 miles


Best Landfall: Fatu Hiva, Marquesas

Favorite Village: Naviqiri Village, Fiji
Visit 1 (08-22-2005)
Visit 2 (07-02-2006)

Favorite [local] Character: Papa Joanne (Suwarrow, Northern Cooks)

Best Smiles and Love of Laughter: Kirabati

Favorite Local Expresion: “Where are you going?”

Coolest Local Navigation Techniques:
Shallow water reflection creates green cloud- Kirabati.
Ocean Swell pattern- Marshall Island Stick Charts

Most Protected Cruising: Vava’u, Tonga

Best Selection of Anchorages: Bora Bora, French Society Islands

Best Experiences with Marine Wildlife:
1. Snorkeling with Humpback Whales (Niuatoputapu, Tonga)
2. Snorkeling and Diving with Sharks (Fakarava, Tuamotus)
3. Playing with Dolphins (Onotoa, Kiribati)
4. Snorkeling with Manta Rays (Tahuata, Marquesas)

Best “Raw” Native Experience: Nekowiar Festival (Tanna, Vanuatu)

Extremely Unforgettable: Almost being hit by a Lava Ball (Tanna, Vanuatu)

Funny in Hindsight: Sea Snake in our dinghy (Naviqiri Village, Fiji)

Equator Crossings: Three plus a cool Message in a bottle experiment


Scariest At-Sea Moments:
1. Seven hour intense lightning storm (Majuro to Fiji)
2. Hitting a whale at night, with the spinnaker up (Northern Tonga to Vava’u)

Scariest At-Anchor Moments:
1. 68 kts (Tahiti, French Society Islands)
2. Blow in San Martin, Mexico and watching the loss of Koinonian

Biggest Seas: 15-feet rolling side to side (Tonga to New Zealand)

Roughest Seas: Vanuatu to New Caledonia; with one set of waves breaking over the bow and another set on the beam

Most Confused Seas: Gulf of Carpenteria, Australia

Highest Continuous Winds (at sea): 40+ kts (Tonga to New Zealand in a 1041 Mb High)

Unfortunate Health: Chris with a kidney stone right after big blow in Tahiti

1 comment:

  1. Hi there and welcome to Darwin. Ken off TRIM informed me of your arrival through Cruiser Log. I would have come down to the Sailing Club to say g'day, but have been hobbled since a small surgical operation last Friday. If you have time, you must get to the Military Museum as East Point. It details the ombing of Darwin in 1942 by Yamamoto's Pearl Harbour attack fleet. Also go to the Mindil Beach Markets tonight (Thurs). If you need any local info, please call me on cell 0412 893 502. Best of luck on the next leg. David.