Closing the loop

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Almost six and a half years and 40000 miles later a 50 year old dream was fulfilled by returning to the same place I left for this journey

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Fiji

Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited, and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres.
The majority of Fiji’s islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago.
Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC, and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874.
Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970, when it gained independence as a Commonwealth realm. A republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups d’état.
Fijians first impressed themselves on European consciousness through the writings of the members of the expeditions of Cook who met them in Tonga. They were described as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, builders of the finest vessels in the Pacific, but not great sailors.
They inspired awe amongst the Tongans, and all their Manufactures, especially bark cloth and clubs, were highly valued and much in demand.
Pottery art from Fijian towns shows that Fiji was settled before or around 3500 to 1000 BC, although the question of Pacific migration still lingers.
The population of Fiji is mostly made up of native Fijians, who are Melanesians (54.3%), although many also have Polynesian ancestry, and Indo-Fijians (38.1%), descendants of Indian contract labourers brought to the islands by the British colonial powers in the 19th century.

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Tonga

Tonga stretches across approximately 800 kilometres in a north-south line.
It is surrounded by Fiji and Wallis and Futuna (France) to the northwest, Samoa to the northeast, Niue to the east, Kermadec (part of New Zealand) to the southwest, and New Caledonia (France) and Vanuatu to the farther west.
Tonga was settled from the west and Tongan were as warriers, war with it’s neighbours was the general past time.
The first European contact with Tonga was in 1616 when two Dutchmen encountered a Tongan canoe near the Niuas, resulting in several killed and captured Tongans. The next encounter was more fortuitous to both sides; Abel Tasman, another Dutchman, traded in Tongatapu and landed in the Ha’apai.
The Kingdom of Tonga ironically acquired the name “The Friendly Islands” from Captain Cook in 1777, on his third visit. The Ha’apai locals had prepared an enormous feast for the sailors, which was, unbeknownst to them, to be the lure for a plot to kill the Englishmen and take all their goods. The plan went awry, however, through a miscommunication between the nobles.
None of the previous Europeans had visited the Vava’u Group, so the “discovery” of those islands was left to a Spaniard, Don Francisco Mourelle.
He claimed the group for Spain, but because of concerns in the Americas, Spain didn’t follow up.
The Tongans have retained whatever part of their culture that was not changed by religion

 

 

 

 

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Palmerston – Cook Islands

Palmerston Island is a coral atoll in the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean about 500 km northwest of Rarotonga. It was discovered by James Cook on 16 June 1774.
Palmerston Island consists of a number of sandy islets on a continuous ring of coral reef enclosing a lagoon. There are only 48 people living in Palmerston, all but three[3] descended from an Englishman named William Marsters.
Palmerston was discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, but he did not land on the island until 13 April 1777. In 1863 William Marsters, a ship’s carpenter and barrel maker, arrived on Palmerston from with three Polynesian wives (all cousins) and annexed the island from the British government. He had a large family of some 23 children, whose descendants now inhabit Palmerston.Marriage between first cousins is acceptable now where at the beginning was between half brothers and sisters Though only some 50 family members remain on Palmerston, all of Marsters’ descendants consider the island their ancestral home. In 1954 the family was granted full ownership of the island. Three branches of the family remain on Palmerston.
William Marsters died in 1899 of malnutrition after his coconut trees
were destroyed by a storm

 

 

 

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Society Island – French Polynesia

The Society islands are the most populated islands of French Polynesia  and the better known ones are Tahiti, Moorea. Riatea and Bora Bora.

These island have been flogged to death for tourism and apart for clear waters and the contrast in colours the coral is dead and marine life is very limited.

Islands like Bora Bora are over built with bungalows over the water and have a minipool on each one

As none of these are in my line of interest I don’t give it  a high rating.

And my memories of Bora Bora  will be  as the place where some F&*&^% PR^%@@CK stole my fishing gear.

 


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Tuamotu Archipelago

Darwin’s theory of atoll formation was that as the volcanic portion of the island subsides, the fringing reef is converted into a barrier reef. After the volcanic core has disappeared completely into the lagoon, the remaining reef island is called an atoll
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Raroia, the atoll where the Kon Tiki ended its journey while trying to prove the theory that Polynesians descended from South America has only one narrow entrance with turbulent currents and overfalls. Navigation once inside is fraught with danger due to numerous coral heads through unchartered waters that raises vertically to near the surface waiting to claim your boat. Diving is the primary reason you come to this part of the world, and the remoteness of this inlands force you to partly hibernate or the least to train your brain to stay in neutral for long period of time.

Fakarava is a larger atoll with two navigable entrances to the lagoon. Black pearls are farmed in most of the Tuamotus and are unique to these islands.

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Slides of Marquesas

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Islas Marquesas

The Marquesas are the northern most high islands of the South Pacific and are part of the French Pacific territories. Out of the 10 island only six are inhabited. During the 19 and 20 centuries most of the Marquesian population were decimated primarily to disease introduced by Europeans.
There are no fringing reef on this inlands and the water is deep to the shoreline.
Most people lives in the narrow fertile valleys between steep rugged hills. The interior is largely inaccessible to humans with wild horses, cattle and pigs running free.
The waters around the island have an abundance of lobster, fish and sharks. The remoteness of this island and the expense to get there have kept these islands away from the general tourist.
Nuka Hiva is the largest and most populated of the island with 2375 inhabitants. It is mainly visited by on route yachts seeking to cross the South Pacific from East to West as a place to rest before continuing further to Tahiti.
The most annoying thing on this island are the insects that will bite you to death and will even come and pay you a house visit on your boat. Included are big wasps, small wasps, small flies, large flies, sandflies ticks, and a few others that have not been baptized yet.
So after a longer than expected rest I can’t wait to leave these nasty bugs behind.
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Ecuador to Marquesas

The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the planet, that for most part is a huge expanse of water with a few group of small islands scattered through it. The deepest part drops down more than 11 kilometres in the Mariana Trench.
To cross the Pacific from South America to Australia on a small sailing boat requires primarily a sense of adventure and very few expectations.

Oceans are moody and your passage could be the luck of the draw and luck is not following me lately

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Having departed with a few issues that I was not happy with, such as my navigation equipment that was returned to me inoperative after being sent for repairs and substandard work on sail repairs, the additional problems started to put the pressure on.
On the third day of the voyage the bank of batteries that feed all of the equipment on board failed to take a charge and worst, although they appeared to be full, the did not want to give any current back.

A few days before departure and during general checks the generator decided to take on smoking and not being used to it the he might have burned its windings and it became a useless piece of equipment for the trip and would put a bit of a strain on power supply for battery chargers, inverters, water maker and other implements that makes life easier on a boat.

After going into a WTF look and a few F (*& %^$#*) ING, I came to realise that I was not going to have a pleasant crossing. Then I thought that if the Kon Tiki made it I would too.

I shouldn’t have mentioned the Kon Tiki. Everything around me was dying, depth sounders, radios, autopilot, even the F(*&^%$#@#$%^&)ING wind was dying.

All I had left was my iPad to find my way and the Iridium phone. The F(*&&^%$#$%^&)ING iPad was always asking for the password to iTunes.

My mind took me to Panama, where I got hit by lightning last year and only replaced the items that were fried against advice that I should replace everything electronic.

Now my conversion to the “mañana” ideology was paying me back. No place for short cuts here

Power usage was minimised by switching off equipment that I could do without. First to go was the cockpit fridge with the loss of fruit and veggies F(*&^%$#&*)ING.

Catching a fish made me happy for a while and I forgot all of those problems at least temporarily besides of changing my menu from chilli con carne to fish.

I don’t know WTF I was thinking about when I cooked so much beef.
So it was fish on the menu for three days, that’s it, breakfast, lunch and dinner and for snacks.

F(*&^%$#*)ING back to chilli con carne and back to more problems.

The auto pilot was not happy with the lack of power on board so decided to stop steering the boat. More F(*&^%$#*)KS and now I am steering a boat with my hands. My vocabulary is getting shorter and simpler and louder F(*&^%$#)K

I only got a break from 9 am until 2 pm while my solar panels produce just enough current to run the autopilot.

The Galley fridge was the next item to be switched off to minimise power usage but it does not make any difference, and everything around me stop running.

To cheer myself I started to hum my own tune with lots of F(*&^%$#@!@#$%^)ING. Old Luciano couldn’t have done better.

Now to the wind or to the lack of it. It was like a wolf with asthma blowing on the little piggy’s house. One puff at 5 knots 2 puffs at 10 and then down to 3.

I reluctantly put up the Spinnaker. I don’t like to use it because it is a BMF of 200 square meters of it. But everything changed on board for a few days until one day a really big angry wolf without asthma came down and it blew, and F(*&^%$#@#$%^&*)ING blew the F(*&^%$#@!@#$%^&*)K Spinnaker to pieces.

I was left like the boy that someone burst his big yellow balloon F(*&^%%$#@!@#$%^*)K

Now back to use this efing abortion called screecher built by F(*&^%$#@#$%^&)K Quantum Sails of South Africa

By this time all the big problems together with the small problems did not make any difference any more as the wind died for the last two days of the journey and with just enough fuel to get to Nuku Hiva

As with most experiences in life good or bad you always enjoy to remember and tell the story and the hardship is forgotten after the first bottle of rum.

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Leaving South America

Central and South America have been the highlight of my world tour. Perhaps it has to do with the understanding of the current culture, being able to speak the language, feeling at ease with the locals and having the time to try to integrate and break that invisible barrier that exist between the foreigner and native. I could have stretched a few more years by going further into the unknown.

That’s my way of travel, without expectations and make your plans as you go and change them when you want to. Travelling alone has the advantage of providing you with grater choices without having to take anyone into consideration.

Selfish, sure it is, but at 63 you need to give priority to the one that is closer to the edge and I am the one that is walking on it.
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Somehow the mental and the physical states of myself are having a fall out and heading for divorce.while I try to slow down this pre vintage chassis as it goes down the slippery slide.

The time to go forward has come and preparations for the 4000 miles crossing from Ecuador to Marquesas has begun.

The Marquesas is part of the French territorial empire still run by the French as the French do.
I am looking forward to taste again the good things to come out of France like the wine, the cheese and the Baguette.

First comes the checks of all mechanical gear….. , fix one thing today and something else tomorrow, I have a love and hate relationship with Nautibuoytoo and where Murphy is always present

Second thing is the store supplies for the next 6 months starting with alcoholic beverages, coffee, and if you have any room left, get whatever you fancy keeping in mind that weight is a problem for the boat.

And last will be to clear out of this friendly country that will not be too friendly when they find out that my visa expired a month ago.

 

 

 

 

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