Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

Mahina Expeditions offers offshore sail-training expeditions, offshore cruising seminars and boat purchase consultation.

South Seas Adventures, Leg 7-1998, Log 16

October 30, 1998 1700
27.53S, 167.33W Log 18,986 Baro 1014 Air 77F Water 71
At Sea, between Noumea, New Caledonia and Norfolk Is.

Nouvelle Caledonie children, primitive art and the New Marina in Noumea, Port Moselle.

I've put off this log entry for three days, thinking our headwinds would swing around making typing (and everything) easier than when heeled over 20 degrees and charging into 15-20 kt headwinds and 8' seas. Each wind shift has us changing tacks, trying to find the most efficient heading toward Norfolk Island, home of many of the Mutiny on the Bounty descendants. We have closed the gap down to 69 miles and hope to sight land at first light in the morning.

Our crew are exceptionally patient and hearty, with not a word of frustration about the headwinds or seas. When seasickness struck, this crew really looked after each other. Someone was always handing up water, a paper towel or offering words of encouragement, now they're glad it's all behind.

Here are our Leg 7, Noumea to New Zealand crew:

Yves Page, 51 a pharmacist from Noumea, coordinates new drug studies for World Health Organization in the Pacific. We met on the dock last week when he asked if he could buy Mahina Tiare. Yves and his lovely wife Nicole just sold their 14th boat, a Fountain Pajot 38' catamaran and are considering ocean cruising in three years when they retire.

Andrew Bond, 43 an environmental specialist for the World Bank, based in Canberra, Australia and specializing in the former Soviet bloc. Andrew and Penny, just moved from Washington, D.C. where Penny was the Australian Cultural Attache to the US. They lived on a 50' houseboat with their 5 yr old son, Christian, on the Potomac across the street from Bill and Hillary. Andrew's brother-in-law, Brian joined us on Leg 1, has since retired from Sun, and they talk of cruising together some day.

Bill Bloxom, 39, aka Mr. Veghead, a specialist in chaos control (that what he says!) who is involved in produce import-export,lives aboard a houseboat in Seattle and has an irrepressible sense of humor.

Lenny Thorell, 45 owns a landscaping business in northern Idaho where he and Carole go sailing every chance they get on their Ericson 27, which they plan to trade in on a Crealock 34 and go world cruising, once their kids are off to college.

Jim Phillips, 61 (hard to believe) sails his new Beneteau Oceanus 40 in Michigan and plans to sail to the Caribbean, possibly upgrade to an ocean cruising boat and sail around the world. Single women craving adventure, listen up. Here's a classy guy who raised his two kids singlehandedly after losing his wife to a stroke, while running a thriving dental practice. He runs marathons, plays a killer game of tennis and racquetball, has a great sense of humor, inquisitive mind, and wants to find a person to share the ultimate adventure with. Fax 248-649-0765.


November 17, 1998 1400
35.13S, 174.13 Log 19,640 Baro 1017 Air 74F Water 61

At anchor, Urupukapuka Is, Bay of Islands, New Zealand The headwinds lightened and we made landfall at Norfolk just after sunrise on Oct 31.

We had never met anyone who had made it ashore through the nearly constant heavy breakers, so were delighted to find the open roadstead anchorage in Cascade Bay calm. We were surprised to see Southern Amelia, a containership we met earlier on Wallis Is. unloading cargo into open long boats, as is done on Pitcairn.

Aerial view of historic Kingston first settled in March, 1788.

There are many similarities and connections between Norfolk and Pitcairn where we have twice visited. Neither have safe harbors and most of the population on both islands (Pitcairn 52, Norfolk 1500) are descendants from the Mutiny on the Bounty.

Arriving in Norfolk as cargo ship is being unloaded with lighters. Just like on Pitcairn Island.

In fact the customs and agriculture inspectors who came aboard to clear us in were Bounty descendants, surprised to hear that they were very distantly related to Amanda who has a great aunt from Pitcairn.

As the anchorage was calm and forecast to remain so for 24 hours, our adventurous crew decided to rent a car and go exploring. Well, all but Yves who had a rough time with seasickness and choose to fly back to Noumea. The crew tried every persuasion thinkable but he was soon on the plane. We were sad to see Yves leave. A true gentleman, excellent helmsman and a great conversationalist, he is an addition to any crew.

Yves departure prompted the crew to write a page on how to cope with seasickness for future expedition members. Soon we will post this on the site, but it basically says that on ocean passages most people experience some degree of seasickness for the first 3-4 days. It is essential to keep eating, drinking and standing watches no matter how you feel, this keeps you focused and is the key to getting over seasickness.

Jim Phillips stated it eloquently, "To become an accomplished bluewater sailor one of the disciplines you must master is seasickness response. It will be a challenge for you to prevent and recover from seasickness, but the rewards of mastering this critical area of seamanship will pay off in years of pleasurable sailing."

Norfolk is an emerald gem of an island! We took turns standing anchor watch and exploring from dawn till dark, snorkeling, hiking to the highest peak, visiting every beach, meeting Bounty descendants. An historical but tragic side of the island were the well-preserved prison settlement established by England in 1788 and closed in 1855. A crew visit to the graveyard on Halloween night was bone-chilling!

Norfolks old prison grounds.

In 1856 the Bounty descendants on Pitcairn numbered over 200, more than the 1 by 2 mile could support, so the British government resettled them on the just abandoned Norfolk. In the 60's a conservation program was started and many of the buildings have been turned into fascinating museums.

After only 30 hours on Norfolk the wind shifted to the north, and was forecast to hit 30 knots, so we returned the car and set sail. The winds actually peaked at 40 knots, and on a broad reach Mahina Tiare hit 9.58 knots, barrelling through the night.

The passage to Opua, New Zealand was just under three days with the seas calming as we got into the lee of North Cape. We were racing forecasted 30 knot headwinds, so when the winds died, Mr. Volvo kept us scooting along at close to 8 knots, arriving at the Customs dock in Opua by 1500, clearing in, filling water, washing down and anchoring off Russell in time for an superb dinner at the 150 year old Duke of Marlborough.

The next three days we sailed, practiced Lifesling overboard rescues, heaving-to, towing warps and drogue, and for the first time, set the Para-Tech sea anchor. Setting the sea anchor in just 20 knot winds and 5' swells was a quite a chore, and something that we will practice again on each trip, trying to find easier ways of setting and retrieving it.

Deploying the para-tech sea anchor.

Leg 7 crew were so keen that on Monday they asked if we would let them cruise the Bay of Islands for a week if they rented a hotel room for us. We'll miss that crew!

Leg 8 crew arrived yesterday with gale warnings and 40-50 knot forecasts. Not deterred by wind and rain we departed Russell and choose a secluded bay for the night. After covering Marine Weather and Passage Planning this morning Amanda led the crew on a three hour hike around Urapukapuka and this afternoon we had a great time with each person practicing Lifesling overboard procedures in 25-30 knot winds. Once again we have an eager crew, wanting to learn everything they can in 10 days of sailing down the coast to Great Barrier Island, then to Auckland.

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in the South Pacific aboard Mahina Tiare.

To the next log entry Leg 8:
Beam reaching up Whangarei River at 9 knots!

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