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June 2016

Dear All,

 
Suakin, Sudan

 We get stuck into repairs, clean and tidy up.  Bikes taken off the deck and re-stowed back in the forward cabin along with other stuff, now that Martinus and Tim have departed.

 We sort through cupboards etc. and give away any spare food bits and pieces that would be useful to the local people.

 We had a trip down town Suakin and it’s very sad to see the once beautiful buildings all crumbled away and the poverty in which these people live but the people were friendly and courteous.  This must have been a busy thriving Port at one time and it is reportedly the last slave trading Harbour in the World.

 Every morning and evening they swim in the harbour to wash themselves and their cloths as they have no fresh water in their homes.  Even though they are very poor their laughter and shrieks of delight can be heard from the boat - it’s a great leveller.

 There are hundreds of pretty pale blue small jelly fish, so cleaning the water line did not happen and as it turned out the cling ons fell off of their own accord anyway.

 Apart from bird droppings in abundance on the boat, they drop anything from twigs, dried fish, and coconut husks to a complete sloppy wet outer skin of a chicken along with feet, which landed on the lid of the lazarette.  Terry had just minutes before been working in the lazarette, he would have had a horrible splat on the head if it had happened sooner.

 Here we take on another 1,080 litres of fuel which is jerry jugged out to us in canisters over 3 skiff trips.  They have no pumps to pump the fuel into our tanks so they use a hose and suck the first part up by mouth – lovely.  We also manage to have the Davit re-welded and new chocks made.  Albeit they look very industrial they seem to be doing the job and without the – well let’s not go there, so we are extremely grateful to the people of Suakin and Mohammed.

 You can get fresh fruit and veg at the market although there is a limited selection but you will survive and the quality is surprisingly good and the vendors will help you pick out the good items rather than try and sell you the older ones.  They do try and make an effort to display it nicely.  We managed to get Potatoes, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Carrots, Pumpkin and Eggs but there were Egg Plant, Bananas Apples and something else we did not recognise.  You can get fresh meat but we did not try it.

 There used to be around 250 boats come through here a year but now they see only about 10.

 6th April, Catamaran “Sea Child” comes into Suakin the last we saw of them was in Fiji.  

 Mohammed our agent here was absolutely great, getting parts for us, arranging fuel and water (the water maker is playing up again).  He did everything we asked of him and more and we cannot thank him enough, he also gave us some lovely gifts.

 Suakin is a really nice secure anchorage with good holding.  It is also a good place to drop off your guards which Mohammed will help with, he arranged a smart yellow taxi for our guards for a 40 minute drive to the airport.

 7th April we leave Suakin for Port Ghalib in Egypt a 3 day passage.  However, we only get as far as Port Sudan.  The forecasted wind is higher and the seas are up again, so we are pounding into it.  Two particular meaty waves pulled the generator box (with our remote generator inside) out of the fore deck. Terry had to go forward with lifejacket and safety line to try to secure it with some ropes and got a good soaking in the process.

 In the seas we were in and with the sun setting it was clearly not safe to proceed. We decided to head for safe waters in Port Sudan to carry out repairs.

 For three hours there were calls going on between the Harbour Master, our agent, (who Mohammed put us in touch with) and us. .  His first suggestion was for us to anchor at an anchorage over 100 meters deep until the morning!

 Even though we tried to explain our predicament, the Harbourmaster refused to let us in until our agent went to the Harbour Office to pay some money and fill in some forms which he did at 11pm.  Then the Harbour Master agreed to let us in. 

 It was midnight when we entered the Harbour and what a faff.  The mooring buoy they wanted us to pick up and the pull back with a rear line to the shore was too far away from the shore for us, we would have had to join together about six lines to reach it.  So they put us on a big mooring buoy on a single line with another boat but the other boat and us kept colliding at T bone angles so fenders were no use.  After telling us that we could not anchor then said we could –

 “Over there plenty water”

 “Are you sure”?

 “Yes Yes”

 We go aground.

 We pick another spot about the only one you could as its very tight space in this part of the Harbour – please see picture below.  We would not recommend Port Sudan as a stopover or even if you are thinking of dropping your guards off here.  The anchorage has basically been taken up by them extending the commercial dock and they do not really want small boats here.

 

Even at such a late hour the authorities come a board for paperwork etc.  including a doctor, personally we didn’t think the Generator Box needed a doctor, a couple of spanners would cure the problem.  We are eventually left alone at 02.00 in the morning.

 Next morning we are up early and remove the generator and box from the forward deck, secure the generator to the aft rail and set off by 10am, not bad really!!  We head up through the Inland Passage 25 nm to anchor in a sheltered reef for the night (Marsa Fijab) as the weather forecast is for 15 knots and we know what that does to the seas.  We also could not stay where we were anchored in the Harbour as we were being blown onto the dock. 

 Marsa Fijab was a lovely quiet spot.  The only other people were locals who had driven across the reefs in a truck – not sure why but in the evening they started driving back over the reefs and got stuck.  They were still there the next morning.  Unfortunately they were too far away and we could do nothing to help them.

 We have found that although both the grid files and passage weather show for instance 10-15 knots of wind you can expect 20-25 knots.  Also, the seas outside the reefs are steep and at short intervals and get up very quickly – this is the norm for The Red Sea.

 The next two days are calm seas (apart from the last 42 nms) and we make good progress towards Port Ghalib.

 Port Ghalib is very nice, quiet during the day a little noisy at night with music from the restaurants/bars but overall a good place to stop.  The people are friendly and helpful.

 It is a stern to mooring with a line to a buoy on your bow.  Although this way round if you have davits you have to put your dinghy in the water first.  Some yachts have gone bow to the dock – up to you which you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marina is to the left hand side of the picture.  The Marina and Complex was built by a Kuwaiti but unfortunately he died before it was completed and his family are not interested in finishing it.

 It’s clean and tidy and the water is very clear.  You can see many fish just from sitting on your boat.

 There is a fuel dock which is regularly used by the dive boats.

 The Marina and shops do not take credit card but you can pay in US Dollars, UK Sterling, and Euro or of course local pounds cash.

 S/Y LARAGH managed to get a telephone number for a Laundry service (do bargain) and pick up from your boat.  The laundry came back the same day neatly ironed and smelling lovely, a whole lot better than when it went.

 A dongle for our internet was delivered and installed by Vodafone who were based at the Airport.  Do not try and get into your bank details here or Sudan, it will be blocked.  We cannot get our SKYPE up, not sure if this is just us or the area we are in.

 Adam’s supermarket, not that large, is about a 25 minute pleasant walk away and they will deliver to your boat, which we took advantage of and saved ourselves lugging shopping.  They would not take any money from us for this service.  There is a Mini Market at the Marina but the stock is limited.

 We are still using the supplies that we stocked the freezer’s up with in Thailand back in January which means we still have Pork Tenderloin and Bacon, something you will not see after leaving Thailand coming up this way obviously.  The same with alcohol apart from the UAE where you can buy from the Off Licences.  The Restaurants and Bars here do serve alcohol unlike Male in the Maldives.

 Wonder Bar owned and run by an Englishman from London, Luca, serves up good food.  The calamari is delicious and Luca’s Mum who also lives in Egypt makes a few home cooked meals to add to the menu.  There’s even a Costa Coffee here.  

Dave and Katrina of S/Y “LARAGH” are here, we had not really met them before (apart from a brief time in Suakin) but had exchanged E-Mails when we were in UAE regarding recommended stopping places in the Red Sea. It was nice to catch up with them.  They left on 15th April but Catamaran “Sea Child” arrived the next day.

 

 

 

Left to Right – Dave, Katrina, Christine and Terry in Port Ghalib.

 20th April we set off for Hurghada an overnight passage of 111 nm, it was quiet and calm.

 S/Y “LARAGH” is here and we are berthed next to them again – and they thought they had got rid of us!

 When we were back in Port Ghalib we had ordered 4 meat and onion pies from Luca (his Mum had made) to be picked up in Hurghada, as Luca also runs the bar “Papas” here.  Sure enough the pies were duly delivered to our boat, freshly made and still warm.

 We decided to treat ourselves and “Teka Nova” to be professionally cleaned on the outside. This was through Abrahim of “OTAM”.  All the stainless steel was cleaned and polished by machine.  Every piece of stainless was cleaned.  Damage from whatever was polished out.  We thought a couple of guys using our materials would clean by hand but no this was all their own materials and machines they used and we were not ripped off or asked for any baksheesh either.  “Teka Nova” must have felt as if she was having her teeth deep cleaned.  Abrahim also project managed the workers.

 Again we found all the people to be most helpful and friendly to a point when Terry was looking around a Chandlery, the owner was eating his breakfast and offered to share it with Terry.

 At a restaurant we tried Camel Steak for the first time and it was absolutely delicious far better than any good quality beef steak we have eaten.  We also tried Dave and Katrina’s traditional pipe smoking, apple flavour.  It tasted of apple pie without the cream, very nice really.

 

 

 

 

30th April we leave Hurghada for Endeavour Harbour which was reportedly to be calm and quiet.  However, when we arrived (Saturday) it had over 50 pleasure boats, complete with jet skis etc.  We left after 1 hour and decided to do an overnight passage up to Marsa Thelemet just 60 nm south of the Suez Canal.  It was an interesting passage very busy with shipping in close quarters (you can see both sides of the Gulf).  Also, numerous oil wells/rigs – God did they stink but we had a very calm sea and we made good time.

 Sunrise in the Gulf of Suez.

 

 

In the afternoon  completely unforecasted a southerly wind sprung up which rapidly increased to 30 knots (good old Rocna anchor kept us secure), after about 2 hours there was a sudden hot wind which blew for 5 minutes and then the wind died to nothing. The weather is really difficult to forecast. In the morning the wind was forecast as northerly 5-10 knots, which was actually 20-25 knots, but after 3 rough hours it dissipated down to 5-10 knots, so in the end we had a nice last passage up to Suez.

 2nd May was a little bit special as we arrived in Suez. Unexpectedly for us the Red Sea was one of the toughest areas we have been through, as a result since we have been here we have tripled the number of weather forecasts we use.

On our approach to Suez Bay which as you can imagine was packed with ships waiting to go north through the canal, we couldn’t speak to anybody on the VHF radio, we could speak to other ships but not to the canal authority, so via telephone to our agent we got a 'clearance' to proceed right up to our marina which is a distance of about 10 miles through the narrowest part of the canal. We were expecting to get arrested at any moment, but nobody seemed to care. We actually passed through almost 10 miles of canal without speaking to a single person as a southbound convoy of ships was exiting, quite amazing.

 This is the Suez Yacht Club, that’s it, one floating jetty and a few mooring buoys which are the other side of us.  It’s dilapidated to say the least.  However, it may not be pretty but it is a little safe haven with nice people.

 

 
View from the other side of us – ship passing through the Suez Canal

 

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We stayed for a few days while they come to measure the boat to decide how much we had to pay for the canal transit, plus complete lots of paperwork.  We actually got treated very well by our measurer, he made bits and pieces of us shorter and smaller.  Also, Abdo our agent who was a representative of Felix Agency treated us very well and charged us what we had been told.

Karkar the Marine Manager was delightful.  We asked him if he had any children, Yes, 2.  So we gave him some colouring books and colouring crayons and a few other bits and pieces (Karkar never asked for these things).  The next day we were watching Karkar checking he’s crab pots. Low and behold he comes to us and gives us all 8 crabs.  Telling us how “He” cooks them got lost in translation so he comes back an hour later and works in the Galley with Christine.  When the crabs were cooked we insisted that he sat and eat them with us.  So all three of us sat in the cockpit feasting on the spoils.  It was one of those special moments shared.  We gave to Karkar and Karkar gave back to us, proving that not all Egyptians are greedy and just take from you.  However, Karkar warns us that it will be different in Ismailia and Port Said.

 Even Egyptians hate the inhabitants of Ismailia and Port Said, as they are adept at robbing and cheating which they have developed almost to religious levels.  Every Egyptian we have met in our brief time here have been absolutely delightful, helpful and friendly and a real pleasure to meet. Even in the most turbulent areas normal ordinary people continue to amaze us how they maintain their characters and dignity.

 Thursday 6th May, our pilot arrives 5 minutes early and we set off on the first leg of the Canal to Ismailia. We had a pleasant day and our pilot was fine until he got off in Ismailia and wanted more money.  Abdo had advised us how much to pay and no more than that.  Also, the Harbour Master lied about the depth at the dock side, and which Karkar had warned us about, and the line handlers wanted baksheesh for doing very little.  S/Y “LARAGH” E-Mailed us of their horrible problems in Ismailia and Port Said – God what have we got in store………………………….  We are pleased that we saw the good side of Egypt by coming up through the Red Sea.  If you were coming from the Med the first thing you would get hit by is the bad side and you would be forgiven for thinking that they were all like that – such a shame. 

 Bitter Lake, where the North bound and South bound convoys cross in the Suez Canal.

 

 

 

Unfortunately the weather forecast for the Med is not brilliant so we opted to spend two nights in Ismailia and then continue on to Port Said.  Nobody stops in Port Said it is such an awful place (it was 52 years ago when Terry first passed through there).

 At 09.00 on 7th May we slip our lines at Ismailia for the second part of the Suez Canal, with our new pilot on board.  At Port Said the boat to take our pilot off comes along side us but not near enough for the pilot to transfer as they want to know what baksheesh we are going to give them first.  We tell them but they want more, more, and more and make threatening manoeuvres with their boat towards “Teka Nova” insinuating that they will damage our boat and not take the pilot off until we give them more.  In the end we stop “Teka Nova” and they over shoot us and give up.

 We get clear of the Suez Canal at 17.00, all we had to do then is navigate through a fishing fleet, get over in between the north bound convoy, avoid the oil rigs, cross another 2 way shipping lane and one last oil rig, then we were clear for the last frontier and the final push for home - Cyprus.

 At 04.27 hours on 9th May we arrive in Limassol Marina.

 We have met some lovely people on our journey round the world but a lot of it would not have been possible without the efforts of many friends and family who helped us move along the way.  We would like to dedicate this last chapter of our voyage to the following:-

 Ken – A good friend who was mindlessly shot and killed in Venezuela.

 Christine’s Dad – Who sadly passed away whilst we were on passage from Fiji to Pohnpei.

 Gary Chambers – A very dear, special friend and lovely man who sadly and suddenly passed away whilst we were in Thailand.

 Yes, there have been some sad times, stressful moments, worrying times and downright scary times, however the majority have been joyous and amazing, especially the people that we share such good memories with.

 We would like to thank all our family, old friends, all our new friends we made and the brief encounters of people we met along the way, for all your support and encouragement.  All your E-Mails were gratefully received.

 Special thanks go to:-

 Neil Jarvis - who has over the 10 years passed on our positioning reports, sent parts and spares out to us, made sure we received all vital documents, helping Christine’s Mum and many, many numerous other tasks.  Neil we cannot thank you enough, you have been an absolute star.

Philip Stolye -  who has over the last 10 years kept and updated our website for us, an arduous task, thank you so much.

 Terry Bown - for researching parts, sending them out to us his invaluable technical support and general confidante, as well as being a good friend with Chrissy’s help keeping an eye and helping Christine’s Mum.  Thank you both for all your help

 “Teka Nova” – for keeping us safe, warm and mostly dry.

 Well we set out to circumnavigate the world in 10 years and that’s just what we did – 50,000 nms, and 50 Countries - WE LIVED OUR DREAM!! 

 “You can slide gracefully into your grave in a well preserved body, having not done much in your life, OR, you can skid in sideways shouting HALELUJAH WHAT A RIDE!!!!”

 

 

 

Love and Very Best Wishes

Christine, Terry and of course S/Y “Teka Nova”

April 2016

Dear All,

 Firstly, apologies to all who sent E-Mails after our last Newsletter that we did not have time to reply to you before our next passage.

 13th January, we leave Fujairah International Marine Club and head back to the Commercial Docks for our check out.  It was just a reversal of our check in with different personnel from each authorities going “Oh” when they came to us.

 Here though we now take on board our two Security Guards, Martinus, originally from Holland (affectionately known as Tulip) and Tim from the UK.  Martinus is an ex Marine who survived three tours on the front line in Afghanistan, and Tim ex 6 Rifles who fought in Iraq.

 Once cleared we head for the weapons platform roughly 5/6 hours off shore.  The weapons platform is actually a ship and what you do is head for a rendezvous point where upon a fast rib comes out to you.  Whilst you still maintain speed the weapons and armour are transferred from the rib swiftly over to your boat.  This we did during the night hours but it was a very smooth transfer.

 Two days later and before we reach the extended risk area it was time for Martinus and Tim to test the weapons and for us to try on our new outfits of body armour – Oh my God they weighed a ton!

   

 

Although Martinus and Tim had very little sailing experience and this being the first time as Guards on such a small sailing yacht, they adapted very quickly and were very helpful i.e. washing up, lending a hand with maintenance and taking over one of Christine’s night watches after she had a horrible reaction to a dose of antibiotics that she had been taking.

 It came to light that we had not only taken Martinus and Tim on board at Fujairah but also a rodent.  Traps etc. did not seem to deter it.

 21st March at 07.30 we entered the high risk zone, which is from the beginning of the Gulf of Aden to the Straits of Bab el Mandeb, at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.  At the start we were in more danger of being run down by larger ships then encountering pirates.  For a number of years they have had an IRTC, an International Recognised Transit Corridor, which has an East bound and a West bound lane of 5 miles wide each and in between a 2 mile neutral corridor.  We headed for the neutral corridor only to find that all the Commercial ships completely ignored the corridors.  In the end we came out of the corridor altogether and went up the Yemen coast.  At night we could see the shelling.

 Now we have to point out here that we had a print out from an official site off the internet that clearly showed which way the corridors operated, however, Martinus showed us his print out which was the opposite way round, so beware where you get your info from if coming up this way.

 16.15 and hundreds of Dolphins appear and make the most magnificent display of coming out of the water to great heights and spinning plus of course playing in our bow waves.

 23rd March a Japanese Air Force P38 Orion circled overhead and then their Warship 981 came past us and had a chat.  They also said to call them if we required their services/assistance – nice.

 25th March, Good Friday in the Straits of Bab el Mandeb and the sea conditions are getting rough.  The wind was from behind and at one point was blowing 55 knots.  The seas just got meaner, large waves but at short intervals so the boat had no time to recover from the last one, it was relentless.

 To top it all the dinghy engine bracket broke free from the davit and the dinghy was dangerously moving around.  We headed for the Zubair Islands to get some shelter to try and secure the dinghy better, unfortunately we could not stop here as the Islands belong to Yemen and we had weapons on board, which is a no no.  It was an anxious time as the Islands have a Military presence and if they had chosen to come out to the boat we could have all ended up in jail.  The wind was blowing 40 knots so perhaps they did not fancy it.  To try and secure the dinghy, Terry was hauled out in the bosun’s chair to get a lifting strop/harness on the engine to take the weight – worrying time.

 However, two birds thought the dinghy was the safest place to be and held on for grim death and did not budge an inch even when Terry was adjusting the lines and shinning a head torch directly at them.

 At the height of the winds the Raymarine Windex blew off the mast, this was only renewed and fitted in Thailand after the old one (which had been up there for 9 years and survived a cyclone in Fiji) was knocked off when the  mast was taken out in Krabi.

 As Martinus and Tim pointed out no pirate is going to attempt a boarding in these seas.

 27th March saw us at the weapons platform/ship, for the drop off.  The seas were still rough but had dropped off a bit.  They were not so slick with the transfer this time, on about the 4th attempt Martinus yelled “can you get someone who can drive a Rib”.  There was a real danger that we would not be able to decant the weapons in the sea conditions.  Fortunately, eventually, the transfer was made.

 The wind and the seas calm right down and it was a blessed relief and hopefully the dinghy could hold on long enough, only 80 nm until Suakin.  It was not to be as the wind then picked up from the North and we were pounding into the seas, so the dingy was now getting a different beating.  We had to keep doing holding tacks to avoid Islands and reefs.  No one had had much sleep, we were all dog tired.  Funny enough we had not seen any evidence of our rodent since the rough seas started.

 On the afternoon of 29th March we finally make Suakin in Sudan, roughly half way up the Red Sea with the dinghy!! – Oh such relief to be in calm waters.  However, the windlass decided not to work again, so it was a manual drop and sort it out later.  2,152 nm and 16 long days, another 7lbs lost in weight – the most challenging passage to date.  We all slept for 12 hours that night – bliss.

 Martinus and Tim leave the boat here at Suakin, they were a delight to have on board, not only were they great company but they were very professional and they have our utmost admiration and respect – Many Thanks Guys and we hope you had a safe and speedy trip back to the UK and we hope to catch up with you again in the future.

 Martinus on the left and Tim on the right.

 

 

 

 Suakin is a rundown old port, it actually looks as though it’s been bombed, which is such a shame because it must have been quite a nice place at some point.  However, the people although poor are very friendly and our agent Mohammed sorts us out with welders as we discover a major weld on one of the support plates on one of the davits has come apart. We actually think this has happened over a long period and it was only the extreme conditions that made it deteriorate rapidly.  This was actually not the davit or the cause of the dinghy coming free that was the other davit. 

 There were 4 other yachts here but they have all left now, so we are here alone, as you can see quite a nice sheltered spot.  We have seen no evidence of our rodent for about a week now, but we are carrying out a compartment by compartment search hopefully to find a dead body but we will see.

 

 

 

   

 

Now it’s time for the clean/tidy up and repairs to begin.

 Love and Best Wishes

Christine & Terry

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March 2016

Well Christmas and New Year have gone by and we were making the final preparations for our departure to the Maldives.  The flooring was being finished off right up until the day before our departure.

 16th January we finally break free of the Marina after 2 years of the boat (us on and off) being in Thailand.

 We set off to the Simillan Islands (still part of Thailand) to sit and wait for a weather window which came on the 19th January.

 Bearing in mind the boat/us had not been on a long passage for a while and the boat had under gone cosmic surgery and maintenance overhaul, this was going to be a “shake down” voyage.  We would have preferred to have taken more time before our departure for this, however, weather windows and plans further on in our journey dictate we need to go as soon as possible.

 Was the passage to the Maldives pleasant – NO.  The seas were a bit lumpy but we have had much worse in the past.  No, it was all the niggly little problems that reared their ugly little heads.

 I.e. water filling the compartment that houses the low pressure pump to the water maker.  We empty this about 4 times (not easy when the boat is lurching about) – where is the water coming from??  Eventually we discover where, a piece of wood shaving from the new floor had dropped down and plugged a certain hole, albeit we thought we had given everything a good clean out.  Something so small gave us so much grief.

 The list of these silly irritable things went on until 1,505 nm we reach the Maldives at 05.00 on 30th January very tired.  We then have to trawl up and down in the harbour until our agent and the authorities come out to us at 08.45.  All formalities completed and we eventually drop anchor at 10.44, exhausted.  We had both lost around 10lbs in weight in 12 days.

 Just as we were beginning to relax a charter motor yacht to the starboard side of us decide to pick up anchor.  He had 2 anchors out with 150 meters of chain on each anchor in only 9 meters of water!!  Long story cut short one of his chains got caught round the fluke of our anchor, once freed we went back to having a “noon” sun downer, he was still picking up his second anchor ½ an hour later.

 The Maldives are “Two Worlds” within themselves.  The first being what most of us see when we go on holiday there.  You arrive at the airport and either take a launch or sea plane to your Island/Resort of choice.  Once there (being female) you don your swimwear during the day and your little strapless dress for the evening and think nothing of it.  However, if you were to dress like that in the main towns such a Male, you would be looked upon as basically a whore.  Even Christine in ¾ length cropped trousers and T-shirt with short sleeves got some disapproving looks.  All the native women have their legs, arms and heads covered.

 Male town although small in comparison is a busy bustling place where you can get most things fixed/repaired or buy new.  The people are pleasant and helpful and the climate is much better than Thailand plus the water is that lovely cobalt blue.

 One drawback is where you have to anchor (designated area) to go ashore you take your dinghy to a small dock next to the ferry terminal, then catch a ferry to down town Male, a 25 minute trip.  So hauling any supplies back to your boat can be a bit of a task.  Fortunately Christine did all the catering in Phuket and all we required was fresh fruit and veg and of course new/repaired parts for the boat.

 When we were back in Phuket our friends Richard and Lee of S/Y “Before” introduced us to their friends Jamie, Jenna, Leo and Hazel of Cameraman “Sophie” who are roughly embarking on the same journey as us.  So we caught up with them again the Maldives and it was lovely to spend some time with them there.

 After 10 days of completing repairs etc. apart from our rear head, which unfortunately is not repairable we depart Male and head up through the Islands to Uligan the most northern Island in the chain for our check out of the Maldives.

 We stop at 3 anchorages along the way, Malosmadulu Atoll, Dholhiyadhoo and Dhapparu.  At Dholhiyadhoo there is an unfinished huge resort, as the developers ran out of money, unfortunately it is now in a very poor state of repair.  It has 55 security personal overseeing it, who are quite happy to let you roam around.  Some cruisers in the past have been able to tie up to the end of the dock and top off their water tanks but this is no longer the case and Sajid the previous manager is no longer there.

 

 

18th February we arrive in Uligan with the plan of checking out, and filling our water tanks.  Our water maker had been serviced in Phuket and was working just fine until Male when it started to make a loud noise.  On reaching Uligan we used the last of our tank water to flush a cleaning fluid through it.

 Time was ticking past whilst we waited for the authorities to complete our clearance and our water barge/skiff to come along side with 1,000 litres of water.  Whilst we waited we tried the water maker and low and behold it worked fine.  We did still buy the water from the barge as it would have taken an age to fill both tanks otherwise.

 It was such a shame we had so little time to explore and enjoy the Maldives. 

 With our clearance completed we leave the Maldives for the 12 day, 1,463 nm to Fujairah in the UAE.  Although we only got to sail 2 of the 12 days it was quite a pleasant passage.  Yes, we were anxious a little as to regards to our safety as we still had to travel through a portion of the extended high risk area.  There were a couple of occasions when we became unsure of certain boats but they just turned out to be ” honest” fishermen.

 The more scary moments were when we got caught in fishing nets – TWICE!!  We were cruising along at night, 6 plus knots when all of a sudden the boat stopped.  The engine revs did not drop?  We quickly put Teka Nova in to idle and then we saw it, a net wrapped round us.  Visions of the event in Malaysia came back to haunt us.  Fortunately, we were under power and by going in reverse managed to back out of it.  OK, but now we have to find the end of it to get round it.  There was a large fishing boat off in the distance so we followed the net by torch light for an hour until we ascertain that it was attached to the fishing boat.  However, there were another two fishing boats ahead one to our port and one to our starboard.  We proceeded very carefully with eyes peeled, even so we hit another net ½ an hour later.  Again we were able to back out but this time we followed the net to the other end which when we got there had a small flashing light.  These nets were up to 4 miles long, Yes you can see the lights of the fishing boats but you cannot see the little fishing lights at the other end until you are very close, plus you do not know which way the net is laying.  God, are we going to have to go through this every night?  Thankfully not as by the next night we appear to have moved out of the “Fishing Zone”.

 As we moved further north the shipping traffic, with Tankers etc. became busier and like us were not running with our AIS switched on.

 We saw plenty of Dolphins and Christine got to see a small whale that came right up to the boat just as dawn broke one morning.

 Three days out of Fujairah in the entrance to the Gulf of Oman (Arabian Sea) the shipping became manic.  However, we were out of the risk area by then so they and us had our AIS switched on, which made life considerably easier and very interesting watching it all on the computer.  One particular ship’s details that we had a look at actually said they had armed guards on board.

 Before you arrive in Fujairah you must have appointed an agent to assist you with your clearance etc.  This we did before leaving the Maldives.  They were asking us questions that appertained to Tankers and Cargo ships – we are just a sailing yacht with two persons on board and cannot supply most of this information.  I.e. Tanker cleaning certificates, destination of cargo certificates, what was the security level of our last port etc. etc.  We appeared to have got round all that before leaving the Maldives – we thought.  Then over our sail mail 2 days out came a form that we must fill in and fax it to Fujairah before we arrive.  We can’t we are a sailing yacht and do not have a fax facility at sea.  We were beginning to get a sneaky feeling that they were not use to having “just” sailing yachts arriving from other countries. 

 After a few days it was – OK, when you are 2 hours out you must call the Harbour Master, then call again 1 hour out and proceed to the Pilot Station/Area.

In Fujairah you have to check in at the Commercial Docks before going to the Marina.  Fujairah is a very large and busy Harbour with hundreds of ships out at anchor waiting to go in or leave, very similar to Singapore.

 We arrive at the Pilot Station area after duly doing our call in’s.  OK Teka Nova you are clear to enter the harbour without a pilot and dock on B4 where someone will be waiting for you.  Please see picture of dock B4 below.

  

 

 Our feelings at this time were getting stronger that they did not really know what to do or make of us.

 At this point we have to say that they were the nicest and most courteous people we have met.  Everyone from Line Handlers to Customs, Immigration, Coast Guards etc. were extremely polite and friendly, they were such a joy to talk to.

OK, “the problem”, you can see from the picture that we could not get off the boat and in return none of the authorities could get on.  A ladder was produced (not the one you see in the picture attached to the harbour wall – you cannot reach that one from the boat) but no one wanted to give that a try.  Each of the authorities that came to see us their first words were – Oh!

 So paperwork was sent up and down via a shopping bag and rope and question like “do you have any cargo on board”, “can we see your Captain’s Certificate” were asked and answered from dock to boat.  OK, please remain here and we will come back to you.

 We arrived at the dock at 07.50 in the morning after being up from 03.00 – Terry and 05.00 Christine and it was at 12.30 when our agent came back and told us that we needed to go with him to Immigration.  Fortunately, the tide had risen a little and we both braved a ladder up to the dock.

 Once again the people were just lovely.  Immigration asked us if we would like tea or coffee and presented us with a huge tray of treats!! – Picture below.

 

 

 

 

We then proceeded to our agent’s office where upon all the staff came out to shake our hands and chat to us.

 Eventually we were cleared and left the Commercial Dock at 13.10 and set off for the Marina only 10 mins down the coast.

 Yes, we were exhausted and it was the longest check in that we have gone through and the strangest but you could not get angry or fed up because everyone was just so nice and you had to admit that it was actually quite funny.

 So we arrive at the Fujairah International Marine Club, (another 4lbs lost in weight) and again the people could not be more helpful and friendly and it felt good to be in UAE.

The next day we met the Managing Director of the Marina, who could not apologise enough for all the trouble we went through at the Commercial Docks.  Apparently we were the subject of many discussions which resulted in meetings being set up. Apparently they have not had a single pleasure sailing yacht visit within the last year.

 We actually had no complaints until we received the invoice from our agents for $3,000!!  We are a sailing yacht not a Tanker!!  The Harbour docking fees alone were $1,000 plus.

 The MD of the marina was quite shocked at this and asked us to E-mail him with the events and what we had been charged.  He also said that our berthing in the Marina for our 10 day stay (£96.00 per night) would be free of charge and that we were to be his guests, this was unbelievably generous.

 Their generosity continued when 2 very nice rucksacks are delivered to our boat, not only were the rucksacks for us but the contents as well:-

 6 Baseball Caps
2 Windcheaters
2 Fleece Tops
4 Polo Shirts
2 Long Sleeve T-Shirts
2 Short Sleeve T-Shirts
2 Pairs of Sun Glasses
2 USB Cables
2 Adaptor Plugs
2 Torches
2 Mobile Phone Chargers

 Perhaps they saw the state of some of our clothes in the laundry bags and felt sorry for us.

 That’s not all the Guy that dived down and changed our prop anode would not take any money at all from us.

 The temperature here at this time of year is perfect, warm and sunny during the day and very cool at night – lovely.

 Love and Best Wishes

Christine & Terry

S/Y ‘Teka Nova’

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June 2015 


There are quite a few of you that have read/heard some of this Newsletter already so please go ahead and ignore it BUT there are some photos that you would not have seen further down, so have a quick scroll down to see these and the captions.

 3rd January 2015 sees us back in Thailand in Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina.

 Work was still being carried out on ‘Teka Nova’ which needed to be completed before we departed on 13th January.  If we did not depart then we would have been stranded in Krabi for another two weeks owing to the depth over the sand bar outside the Marina.

 We depart with some things not finished and no cobra which fortunately appears to have jumped ship.  We spend two nights at anchor on the way over to the Yacht Haven Marina on Phuket, where the plan was to spend approx. six weeks having our new hard top fitted, apart from the many other jobs that always go with the cruising life.  One of which is to alter the housing/chocks on the Davits to fit our smart new rib, which we are very pleased with.

 
pic1

 
We did get to spend time with our very Dear Friends Bill and Tracy of “Zephyr” before they departed on their voyage around the Cape of Good Hope.

 In the meantime we continue to travel back and forth to Bangkok with ongoing work to our teeth even Valentine’s Day was spent at the dentist, with neither of us being able to eat much more than soup in the evening – very romantic.

 All this visit has been about getting work projects completed on the boat (so what’s new!)  Our new hard top is now complete, 11 weeks in all to fit it, so we were stuck in Yacht Haven Marina for the duration.

 
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We did get a chance to escape the Marina in the meantime for a few days out at anchor for a bit of R and R whilst the hard top was being sanded/painted back at the work shop.  This was off a very pleasant Island with a nice sandy beach about 2 ½ hours from the Marina.

 Unfortunately, Terry slipped and fell, banging his head on the table which split his forehead open (the nose took a bit of a bashing as well).  There was blood everywhere and if we could have got to a hospital he probably would have had around 5 stitches, however, we applied butterfly closures which eventually held and stopped the bleeding.

 pic3

 Also one day we took our new Rib down to the same Island for a picnic and it only took us 45 mins.  We were doing 31 knots and the throttle was still not fully open as we are still running the new engine in (and frightened of going any faster).

 Weather there had been a steamy hot 35 degrees - Whew!!!  Since arriving back in Thailand on 1st Jan, we had had only one small shower of rain, however it was still green and lush there.

 The facilities at the Yacht Haven Marina are not bad.  It’s a huge marina where the big super yachts come in to have work projects completed. We are right at the far end of the marina so thank goodness for our fold down bikes.  The only drawback is that the Yacht Haven is quite a way out of town so you need to hire a car to go provisioning (£20.00 a day).  Provisioning here is very good, lots of really nice foods to choose from both International and Thai.  However, booze is quite expensive and you can only buy it at certain times of the day.  Eating out can be as cheap as chips and extremely good value and good quality for your money.

 Unfortunately, we ran out of time to have the side and back screens fitted to the hardtop.  We needed to depart Thailand by the end of March as ours and ‘Teka Nova's' visa expired by then.  So we had to go down to Langkawi  - Malaysia but took a good 3 weeks stopping and relaxing at anchorages along the way.  You can stay in Malaysia as long as you want, no time limit on you or your boat and you can be there for 7 days before having to check in.

 We had a pleasant enough trip down and back anchoring at different places that were much nicer than when we first travelled up.

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We all know the RYA guidelines on amount of anchor chain/rope to depth.  We all worry from time to time as to whether our anchor is set etc.  So be led by the professionals.  Thai Fishermen think it means how many boats to one anchor you can have.

 The photo below is of 5 fishing vessels each roughly around 70 foot in length weighing around 60 tons each, so that’s 250 tons of boats all on one rope line which was attached to a single rusty anchor which definitely weighed less than our 70 kilo  Rocna.  They happily stay like that for a whole day.  In this photo they are in approximately 10 metres of water, but we have seen them do this in 36 meters of water.  In this area the tide runs at 1 – 2 knots and daily winds are between 10-20 knots.

pic7

 The weather had also changed and the Monsoon season is with us which brings along some really meaty and mean thunder storms and many lightning strikes down to sea.

 So back to the Yacht Haven Marina in June where the new roll down side/back rain and sun shade covers are fitted (which was nicely timed with the rain plonking down) and all of our floors are taken up and re-ply wooded in readiness for a whole new floor going down throughout when we return in November.

  pic8

 Then it was time to start our short trip (3/4 days) over to Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina for our lift out in preparation for returning to the UK/Cyprus.  Again we stayed at some different anchorages and really enjoyed them.

 pic9

 

pic10

 It was also Box Jelly Fish season and hundreds of Fishermen go out and snag them then flip them into the bottom of their boats. We dreaded the thought of them slipping and falling amongst these things.  Its easy pickings as there are thousands of them, the only down side is that you really don’t want to go for a swim off your boat.  They actually eat them here including the tentacles, we have not tried any so far but are told they are not bad.

 Not the best picture but there are hundreds of small fishing boats out there snagging the jelly fish.

 pic11

 There are nicknames for certain Islands, this is called the Chicken’s Head for obvious reasons.

 pic12

We will leave it to your imagination as to what this Island might be called…………………..?

pic13

 So back on the hard (sorry no pun intended moving on from above picture) in Krabi Boat Lagoon and they start straight away on gutting our en suite shower room.  In was originally a Sauna Room which before leaving the UK we changed into an en suite but very basic and have always said that at some point in time along the way we would have it done properly – so now’s that point in time.  Unfortunately, we will not have time to have the interior re-varnished, this will have to wait now until we get to Turkey.

 Best Wishes to you all

Christine & Terry

S/Y Teka Nova  

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December 2014.

Dear All,

This is a much belated Newsletter, so be warned that it is quite long.  For those of you who are new to our Newsletters, if you are sad enough or need something to help you drop off to sleep, you can go to our Website www.terryandchristine.com, where you will find all previous Newsletters back to the beginning of our journey in 2006. 

Back in January 2014, (told you it was belated) we returned to ‘Teka Nova’ in Singapore where she was berthed in Raffles Marina. We enjoyed our time in Singapore but the marina was quite isolated on the western side of the island, however, the Mass Transit Railway was brilliant as well as being like everything else in Singapore, clean and efficient. It was great to catch up again with Mick a Korean Airlines pilot at the time when we first met him in Fiji, who lives in Singapore, plus we got to meet his new wife Kayo. They took us to the best homemade noodle restaurant in Singapore

We departed Singapore for the epic journey, all of 6 nm across the Straits to check in to Malaysia at Puteri marina.  The only tricky part to this journey was making sure we were on a sufficient enough low tide to pass under the road bridge between Singapore and Malaysia.

We stayed in Puteri for just over a week before setting off up the West Coast of Malaysia.  Departing, back under the bridge and through the huge number of merchant ships anchored off Singapore. We estimated that in and around Singapore there must be 1000 ships at any one time.

The first evening of the trip we drop anchor for the night off of Sungai Benut.  Well that’s roughly where we were as you cannot actually see the shore owing to the fact that the water is quite shallow for a long distance from the shore line. It’s not a good idea to sail at night off this coastline due to the huge amount of fishing that takes place everything from large trawlers down to kayaks.  What we did not see was the hundreds of feet of drifting fishing net that was coming down on us on the strong current.  Too late to get the anchor up and we ended up with this thing half down one side of the boat and the other half down the other side. This net was enormously heavy and made of extremely tough nylon.  After a lot of shouting, waving of arms, and gestures etc. the fishermen agree to cut their net for the princely sum of 500 ringets (roughly £100) and of course they want the money first.

They cut the net and we definitely see one half shoot away on the strong current.  However, we are not sure that the other half cleared the boat.  It is now dark and the tide is too strong for us to go over the side and check it out.

The next day we wait for slack water and Terry dons the dive gear and goes over.  The visibility is really bad you can only see a few inches in front of your face.  Terry manages to check the prop and cannot see or feel anything to cause concern, so we decide to weigh anchor and set off for our next destination.

Before pulling the anchor up we always check the gearbox by putting the engine into forward then reverse just to make sureit’s all working as it should be. As soon as the engine was put into gear you guessed it. We heard this great whooshing and graunching sound and knew that we had sucked the net around the prop.

Again, we had to wait until the next day for a daylight slack tide before going over the side.

We only have two small dive bottle which last around 40 mins under normal breathing.

Terry went over and Christine started timing the dive.  This is a very worrying time as there is a great danger that Terry could get caught in the net owing to the poor visibility, which was not good for Christine’s (or Terry’s) anxiety levels.

Christine watched for Terry’s bubbles and kept an eye on the time.

Time was tromping on and Christine was becoming very anxious and then the bubbles stopped close to the 40 minute dive time.  It was for Christine the most awful and horrible feeling to think that Terry was caught in the net, out of air and unable to get to the surface.  Christine dived over the side but could not see anything due to the poor visibility. Christine climbed back on board to get her goggles and fins.  As she got on deck there was a shout from Terry on the other side of the boat.  Christine had never been so relieved to hear this.

Terry had freed/cut the net from the prop but then dived around the boat to check the rest of the hull and found that the net was completely wrapped round the boat and it had caught on a number of the anodes.  Terry had freed it and brought it to the surface wrapped in a big lump around both his arms. At least Terry was on the surface and alive.  It was difficult for him to stay on the surface with the weight, but a combination of Christine pulling with the boat hook Terry cutting, we gradually hauled the net on board.  It had taken 8 sharp knifes to cut it.

We started the engine, weigh the anchor, put the engine into gear and set off again but the prop starts to squeal like a pig.

Again, we wait for slack tide the next day.  Terry saws and saws to get as much as possible out from between the rope cutter and the prop that has tightly impacted itself there, using the last of the air in our second bottle.

Third time lucky and it has freed enough for us to set off, but it has taken its toll on Christine and she starts getting systems of GERD’s (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), that was brought on from the anxiety of thinking that Terry was caught in the net.  However, we continue up the coast which is wall to wall fishing in ever shape and form.  You spend the whole day just trying to avoid them and it becomes very tiring.  Definitely no night sailing.

We stop at Muar Harbour for a night and then onto Admiral Marina at Port Dickson where we spend a week and get the dive bottle re-charged.

Our next port of call was Royal Selangor Yacht Club at Port Klang where we had pre-booked the hammer head jetty, owing to our length and one of the few jetty’s that had electrical supply.

We duly arrive but the booked hammer head was full.  After explaining that we had pre-booked and had confirmation by E-Mail from the Marina Manager who said he would leave instructions for the staff that we were coming.  They then said we would have to go on the remote floating pontoon the other side of the river with no electric supply. What had happened was that the marina staff had let their friends use the large jetty for some reason, and within an hour of us moving onto a remote pontoon berth the hammerhead miraculously cleared of all the boats and the staff arrived to tell us everything was now prepared for us on the hammerhead. 

We cannot describe to you how disgusting the pontoon berth was, it was an absolute disgrace.  Torn bags of household rubbish, bits of old wood, metal and old dinghy’s dumped on it.  The main part of the Marina was not much better.  We had booked in for a week – we left the next day.

Next we headed for Pangkor Marina but new we would not make it in time for the high tide in order for us to get over the sand bar just outside the Marina.  So we anchored for the night in the harbour which was quite pleasant and waited for the high tide the next day to enter the marina.

Whilst checking in at the marina office we bumped into Neal and Ruth of ‘Rutea’ who were checking out (they must have heard we were coming!). We had last seen them in Fiji two years earlier.  So it was a very short Hello, Goodbye, a shame but we knew that there was a good chance of seeing them later in Thailand.

After a stay of three days we set off for Penang via a night stop at anchor in Pualau Talang where we nearly had another incident with a fishing net.

We arrive at Straits Quay Marina on Penang on 21st February – very nice.  However, the GERD’s has really taken hold and Christine ended up going to hospital where they prescribed 9 doses of medication a day for two months.

Here we are told by a fellow cruiser that on our way to Langkawi there is a lovely bay that you can go into and pick up one of the huge mooring buoys for free.  You are not allowed to anchor as it is a National Park and the big mooring buoys are there for the ferries to use when there is a cyclone.  The only downside is that if there is a northerly wind blowing it’s not very comfortable.  Well we arrive on a beautiful warm sunny evening, flat calm, no northerly blowing and none forecast.

We had just finished dinner and were remarking how nice it was, when all of a sudden the wind got up and changed swiftly to a north easterly rising rapidly to around 30 knots

‘Teka Nova’ was slamming up and down, so much so that when Christine stood in the pulpit the bow would go down and the water would come above Christine’s knees.  We have two lines onto the buoy and pay them out as much as possible but the continuous yanking on the lines is beginning to fray one of them.  So we now do a buoy watch through the night with everything set up for a quick start and departure if the lines part.  It is now pitch black and with no chance of seeing any fishing nets/flags we are stuck with the situation, and have to sit it out until dawn. Fortunately the lines held.  Early departure on to Langkawi with strong wind and rough seas on our starboard beam.

We have to say that this was not the prettiest of coast lines to travel up and what with the fishing nets and one thing and another, we are not particular enjoying this part of our voyage – lets go back to the Pacific.

However, the next day is nice and sunny and calms down, as we head for the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club Marina, and the scenery changed for the better as we got closer to Langkawi.  It could not have been more different than the drab outlook we had been seeing, it lightened our spirits.

We stay in Langkawi for 3 weeks before checking out of Malaysia and making our way into Thailand.

First anchorage out of Langkawi for us was Telegar a really nice spot but here we go again.  We watch a Man and his wife drop a drifting fishing net ahead of us.  We called and waved but they just waved back and went off.  We watched this net like hawks.  Just as we decided to pick the anchor up well before the net reached us, the Man and his Wife come back and start to haul it in.  However, they are not quick enough and part of it catches round the anchor chain but they managed to clear it all……………………..how many more times are we going to go through this!!!

On the way to Krabi Boat Lagoon Marina we anchor off Koh Tanga, Koh Talivon, Phi Phi Don and Ko Dam Khwan, all places badly affected by the 2004 tsunami.  The places were all very nice but incredibly busy and noisy with hundreds of tourist being delivered by local boats that do not have silencers on their out boards, but they left by night fall and peace reigned once again.

So off to Krabi, get over the sand bar on a rising tide and up the river to the co-ordinates for the entrance to the Marina…………………we can see the Yacht Masts but were the heck is the entrance.  All we can see is wall to wall green mangroves and trees.  We call the Marina to say we know we are close but can’t see the marina entrance. They tell us they will send someone out in a dinghy to guide us in. The dinghy just appears out of this wall of trees and mangroves.  We look at each other and say “you have to be joking”.  Anyway we follow the dinghy through the gap which we missed because it’s only the width of a Catamaran and you would not have even thought this was the passage way into the Marina entrance.  Catamarans can only do this on high tide not because of the boat draft but because of their width.

A short distance up the river all of a sudden this Marina emerged.  It is a new Marina and is beautifully kept, clean, tidy with lovely flower beds.  The actual hard stand for boats is so clean you could eat your dinner off it.

We had planned to be hauled out here later but there was one slight problem.  Although it is advertised as having enough depth for us, over the past year it has started silting up and it has already lost over 3 feet of water.  So what happened when the tide went down……Yeap, you guessed, we are sitting out of the water and leaning over.  Now you think we would have left the Marina before this happened but we can’t because now we are on a falling tide and we would not have enough time to get back to the sand bar 3 miles away and get over it.  We had hoped that ‘Teka Nova’ would just sink into the mud but obviously there was something more solid down there.

So the next day we leave and sail over to Ao Chalong to check into Thailand. The anchorage is not very pleasant at Ao Chalong, extremely busy and prone to robberies. We moved over to a pleasant anchorage on the other side of the bay where we anchored for 3 days. We then moved around Phuket Island to The Yacht Haven Marina on the north east side of Phuket.

The question now is where are we going to haul out to leave the boat while we go back to the UK.  The Marina’s that have a travel lift that can take our 32 tons do not have enough depth for out 2.7 metre draft.  We put our minds to it and come up with a solution.  If we take ‘Teka Nova’ back over to Krabi on a neap tide, we can just get over the sand bar at high tide.  Yes, we would still touch the bottom at low tide in the Marina but we would not sit out of the water.  We would then have a few days to prep the boat before the lift out and before the spring tides started.  We call Krabi and they agree to work with us when the time came.

Whilst we were in the Yacht Haven Marina, we source our new rib and have the template made for our new hard top.  The canvas sun covers in the cockpit are now rotting away and it’s just not worth trying to repair them anymore.  Also, by having a hard top we can house the solar panels on top and get rid of the awful solar panel contraption on the davits.

We also meet up with Neal and Ruth of ‘Rutea again, and not long after we arrived Bill and Tracy of Zephyr pitch up.  All three boats were on the Puddle Jump Rally (Mexico to Nuka Hiva) back in 2011 and we have been bumping in to each other ever since as we sail our separate ways.  Cruising is such a small world.

After a month in the Yacht Haven Marina, the time has come to move over to Krabi.  We arrive on the Monday and prep for the haul out on the Friday at high tide.  Ok, we back ‘Teka Nova’ into the lifting dock and they put the slings on and start lifting, but there’s a problem this particular travel lift is not very high and when they get to a certain height the straps are no longer tight against the hull and the boat starts to rock.  So back in the water she goes.  After a lot of discussion they figure out how they are going to do it but now the tide is too low and they won’t be able to attempt the lift until the following Monday as they don’t work at the weekend.  We now cannot go back onto the berth.  So for two days ‘Teka Nova’ is stuck in the haul out dock which means the mooring lines have to be constantly checked and adjusted on the rising and falling tides because the haul out dock is solid and does not move with the tides.

Monday arrives and they manage the lift out – whew!!

On Thursday 15th May we start our journey back to the UK via a week in Hong Kong.

Back in the UK we start to prep for the extension and complete inside renovation of Christine’s Mum’s bungalow.  When the builders start breaking ground all three of us decant to Cyprus where Christine and her Mum stayed for the next three months.  Terry returned five weeks earlier to oversee the breakthrough to the old part, fitting of the new kitchen and second bathroom etc. and for him to paint ceilings, walls etc.  It would appear that Christine has started to like hospitals as she tried to cut her finger off, down to the bone, took out a small artery and a nerve whilst in Cyprus.  Christine continued to take part in PISC (Paphos International Sailing Club) events albeit on her own but was well looked after by Steve and Marilyn, Liz and Brain Parker, Di Bradshaw, Tony and Angela and Chas who made sure she always had someone to sit with and chat to.  Christine was also introduced to Yoga by our dear friend and neighbour Sue and has continued to enjoy it ever since.

Christine and her Mum arrived back in the UK on 8th October and we then departed back to Thailand on 21st to oversee/start some work on ‘Teka Nova’. While there we flew back and forth to Bangkok to have dentistry work started, which is going to continue on and off over the next year. The standard of the dentistry (Bangkok International Dental Centre) really put dentistry to shame in the UK, very good work at less than half the price of the UK.  We also fitted in a two day trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to renew our visa’s for Thailand.

Then it was back to the UK for less than a week before flying off to Cyprus until 21st December.

While we are away work has been continuing on ‘Teka Nova’ and we have recently been informed via E-Mail that we have a new crew member on board – A Cobra – Yes, as in SNAKE.

Apparently the Marina staff think it has been there a few months, which would mean it was there when we were last there ……..ahhhhhhhhhh!!  At present they are still trying to find a snake expert (idiot) to deal with it.

We will be back in the UK for Christmas but departing back to Thailand and hopefully not to a new pet on 29th December.  By the end of this year we will have clocked up 21 flights.  It has been quite a busy year to say the least.

Anyway, that just leaves us to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever you maybe.

Love

Christine & Terry (You first…..no you first, please I insist)

 
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October 2013.

Dear All,

 Whilst we were in Dili – East Timor, Pedro took us for a tour up into the mountains.  You need a 4x4 to do this as the road is in very poor condition and it’s more like a safari trip but well worth it.  The views and sights are quite something.  Pedro is also a great tour guide and can tell you about every tree, plant, growing of coffee beans, culture; history etc., his knowledge of the place is extensive.  This particular trip is an all dayer as it takes five hours just to get up there.

 Antonio and Ana were equally as knowledgeable and helpful and we did get to spend a very nice lunch and dinner with them.

 Dili is quite surprising when it comes to catering.  The supermarkets are well stocked with a good variety of meats etc., they even have fish fingers.  There is also a fairly good fruit and veg market along the shore front – of course you have to barter and before you get into a taxi always ask the price first.

 You can get fuel here on the Commercial dock but it has to be brought by truck from the petrol station and pumped onto your boat, this has to be arranged with the fuel company and the Harbour Master as it is a very busy dock for large container ships.  We did this and whilst we were refuelling a container ship called and asked the Harbour Master if he could come along side.  There was a firm NO!! in reply from the Harbour Master – we have a Sailing Yacht alongside you will have to wait.  The dock was about 4,000 feet in length, we were the only boat on it  – Cool!!

 The mooring buoys are free and seem to be in good shape, we were told that they are regularly checked as the Darwin to Dili Rally uses them.

 The climate is very nice, fairly warm/hot during the day but cooling down at night enough to turn the fans off and put a sheet over.

 You can take your dinghy ashore and pull it up on the beach; it is quite safe to leave it there.

 You can also get your Indonesia Social Visa there rather than going to Port Moresby.  Quite a few cruisers have been asking us about Dili, if you would like further info then please feel free to ask us.

 However, if you do go then be sure to contact Pedro who will assist in any way he can and we can give you his contact details.

 The only down sides we found were when going ashore the water’s edge is absolutely filthy, we took bottles of water to wash our feet and legs off and there is an awful amount of rubbish lying around.  ‘Teka Nova’ also grew a horrible green beard.

 Whilst we were here we also receive the wonderful news that Mairead and Michael have a baby girl born on 23rd July – Florrie Bella Craig.

 After 10 days in Dili we set off for Kupang.  No wind – but we are doing  9 knots in low cruising speed, we had the current up the chuff, however that all changed during the night and we were slamming into the seas.

 OK we arrive in Kupang - Indonesia to join the Rally. This is where Blyth completed his epic journey, after being set adrift from HMS Bounty.   We anchor and it’s blowing 25/30 knots.  The seas are up and all the boats (around 50) are being tossed up and down and 2 or 3 dragged their anchors.  It was blowing so hard that some of our washing was blown off the washing line; we think the boat behind us has gained 2 tea towels, a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

 You then sit there (we did until the next day) and wait for Customs, Immigration, Quarantine, Coast Guard, Health and the Port Captain to come out to you (altogether – so it gets quite crowded on the boat).  They want four copies of all paperwork.  You then go ashore (this does not have to be the same day) and see all the same authorities again with yet more copies of your paperwork and its paperwork up the Ying Yang there. 

 Also whilst we were there when the authorities were on board some yachts they were stealing items and demanding alcohol (interesting as they are Muslims).  This was reported to the Rally Organisers who in turn threatened to report them to the police if it did not stop.  It’s not a good first impression of the Country especially as the Indonesian Government is trying to promote tourism.

 Unfortunately, the wind would get up each day and make getting ashore a bit of a trial, which was a shame as it stopped people spending more time ashore and therefore spending their money in shops, cafes, restaurants etc. which the local people look forward to when the Rally passes through as it is a good income for them in their very poor and high unemployment country.  So we decided once we had checked in we would go off to  Rinca where hopefully we would find a calmer anchorage plus we also have to push on to make our plan of arriving in Malaysia/Singapore by mid-September.

 We leave for the two night passage to Rinca (one of the 13,677 Islands that make up Indonesia); the passage was not pleasant, rough seas and big swells from behind.  This was along the Southern passage and is known not to be nice.  However, once tucked up in the anchorage on Rinca, the seas were calm and tranquil even though the wind was gusting.  We have a choice of three very nice beaches one of which had a colony of  wild monkeys, who scampered away into the bushes before you could get within 100 metres of them.

 After three days at Rinca we cut up through the Islands to the Flores Sea and onto Gili Lawah Laut.  Where the Indian Ocean goes through these passes to the inner sea the waters can be torrid and you need to try and do this at slack water.

 Gili Lawah Laut was again a nice anchorage with beach, good snorkelling and very clear water, we could see to 20 metres down.  There were quite a few dive boats that came in during the day, starting around 07.00 am but they all left by nightfall and we were all by ourselves.

 The passage to Gili Aer was strange to say the least.  Lots of wind – shorten the sails, wind dies down – pull out the sails, no wind – Engine on.  Then the whole cycle would start again with seas up and then seas down.

 Anyway we arrive at Gili Aer and pick up a mooring buoy, US$5.00 per night.  We were told that it was wall to wall restaurants and accommodation.  However, looking at the shore line we can only see a few buildings tucked in amongst the trees with wall to wall water crafts of various types and sizes all well maintained in different colours along the beach.  There are boats full of people coming and going including fast water ferries from the main land.

 Off we go ashore and what an amazing sight greeted us.  The main street is sand and about a cars width wide.  Yes, it is wall to wall restaurants and accommodation.  However, it is all built in and around the trees.  Along the shore you have the restaurants and the other side of the street you have the accommodation.  Nothing is more than two stories high and so beautifully built.  Thatched roofs and the use of bamboo is a work of art.  Each one is a little different but they all just flow into one another.

 There are no cars or motor bikes, mode of transport is either walk, bike or Pony and trap the latter are beautifully decorated.  We took a pony and trap ride around the Island (roughly half an hour) with a pony that went by the name of “Oy”.

 This is really a very unusual and delightful place and nothing like we have ever seen before.  Although there are a lot of people here it does not feel crowded and it is not noisy.  There is a broad spectrum of young, older, families and backpackers from many different nationalities.  The food is quite good, with plenty of variety and cheap.  No real shops for catering though.  We managed to find some eggs and saw a few fruits and veg but basically the little shops only sell biscuits and crisps – seaweed flavoured crisps – not bad.  There are a small amount of shops that sell T-shirts etc. but the stock is limited.

 There are two main themes to Gili Aer – water sports and relaxing.  Diving is the main water sport and there are several outfits that will also teach you (PADI).  Or you can just sit/lie at any of the restaurants in their Oh so inviting loungers and watch the world go by.

 If you are looking for a Diving/Relaxing holiday with a difference this is the place to come.  Indonesia is one of the best places in the world for diving.  This is not the holiday for those of you who like shopping.

 After four days we strike out for Pulau Bawean.  When we enter the Java Sea it becomes an extremely busy shipping area.  Vessels of all shapes and sizes, large bulk carries, tankers, cargo ships, ferries, tug and tows, fishing craft (the smaller not having any lights) and floating rafts with flags that you don’t see until you are right on top of them.  Night watches were particularly busy, thank God for the Radar, as at one point we were having to deal with seven vessels from all directions.

 Pulau Bawean, we cannot tell you very much about the place as we did not go ashore in the two days we were there, except it’s a nice big anchorage with various depths and good holding – Oh and numerous amounts of small fishing craft.

 So onto Karimunjawa, again a great deal of shipping and we must have passed at least 70 fishing vessels along the way.  Karimunjawa has a small town with one café.  The shops have very basic goods, we did not see any meat or fish for sale.  It would appear that they are trying to develop/upgrade the water front.  Their wood work is exquisite, what small amount of furniture they have is beautifully handcrafted.

 Belitung was our next stop.  We thought we had come across the Spanish Armada.  Once we grew closer it turned out to be over a hundred fishing boats (on mooring buoys) sitting off the village.  Every night around 18.00 they would set off, as they came past us they would wave, well after the first 50 or so your arm starts to ache a wee bit – we know what the Queen feels like.  Then back they all come at 07.00 the next morning.  Belitung was the first time we had had rain in 8 weeks.

 Then onto Kentar, Senyang, Tunjak and finally our last port of call in Indonesia Nongsa Point Marina.  Nongsa Point Marina is absolutely lovely.  Clean, neat, tidy and quiet.  It is also a resort with a great swimming pool, laundry, showers and a restaurant that is open 24 hours.  The staff could not be more friendly and helpful.  We would thoroughly recommend it and it was a perfect place to finish off our stay in Indonesia.  It is also the first time we see a lettuce and tomatoes since 23rd July, it is now 13th September.

 Nongsa Point Marina arranged our check out for leaving Indonesia, which made life very simple.  One strange request from Customs was that they required a photo of our Engine?????  However, this was no problem as one of the Marina staff took the photo on his Mobile to show to them.

 18th September see’s us crossing the Straits to Singapore our last port of call on this trip before returning to the UK and Cyprus.  The Straits consist of 6 shipping lanes that you have to get across and there are hundreds of ships coming and going but we made it OK, a bit of zig sagging over the last 2 lanes and we did not hit anything.  We anchor a little further away from the actual Quarantine anchorage, tucked up between 2 Islands.  Lyn in Nongsa had suggested this to us as the Quarantine anchorage is rocky and rolly and full of large ships – Lyn was not wrong and as she said the authorities do not seem to mind you doing this as long as you fly your Quarantine Flag.

 The next day we fight our way through yet more ships to arrive at Raffles Marina.  7,000 nm since leaving Fiji and almost 40,000 nm since leaving the UK.

 Apart from working on closing the boat up for our departure, we do manage to meet up with Maireads’s Sister Shirley Ann, her Husband David and their Son Alexander for dinner.  Also we had lunch with Mick Golf and his Wife Kayo, we first met Mick when he was flying into Fiji as a pilot with Korean Airways.

 We also have a “Boat Boy” now, who washes and cleans the boat and the stainless steel.  Amen is from Indonesia and works like a little trojan, the only down side was that he unfortunately left the deck cleaner bottle on its side on one of the coach roofs, which leaked and stripped off the paint that we had not long put on.

Anyway, folks we arrived back in the UK on Monday 30th September 2013. Our next newsletter will pick up from our arrival back in Singapore in January 2014 and cover our trip up the Malaysian Peninsula to Thailand.

July  2013

After spending time in the UK/Cyprus and a lovely Christmas with family and friends we arrive back in Fiji early January 2013.

 Fortunately ‘Teka Nova’ did not sustain any damage from the category 4 Cyclone that passed over the Marina (apart from a couple of scuff marks on the paint work from flying debris and listing 5 degree to starboard in the cyclone pit), unlike a few other boats which were in the water and suffered damage to their hulls from banging in to each other, and other boats in cyclone pits that lost such things as solar panels etc., we actually gained 4 things, top of an Aerial, an instrument cover, a window pane and a pulley.

 Whilst waiting for most of the cyclone season to pass we took a land holiday in New Zealand for 3 weeks.  We really enjoyed New Zealand and would certainly love to go back again.  We also met up and stayed with our old friends Geoff and Geraldine on their yacht “Blue Dawn”.  We had first met them back in 2008 in the San Blas Islands and last saw them in the Galapagos Islands in February 2009.  Thank you Geoff and Geraldine for being great hosts and showing us some of the sights around Auckland.

 On 16th March ‘Teka Nova’ went back in the water and we set off for a two week “shake down” cruise around the Fiji area.  In doing so we bump into Steve and Suzie of “Hiraeth” again.  Apart from Terry going diving with Steve and Suzie we also spend a very splendid civilised afternoon having an English/Welsh tea.  It’s amazing what goodies two boats can cook up from their ships stores, homemade pizza, Welsh cakes, chocolate cake, cupcakes and ginger beer – it’s a hard life!

 Whilst out on our “shake down” a couple of technical problems show up and we plan to get these fixed when we go back to Vuda Marina which we planned to do for re-fuelling and last minute catering for our passage to Pohnpei (Micronesia).  This is a plan change from going to the Marshall Islands.

 On 17th March Eddie (Edward) our fourth Grandson is born, which also is Christine’s Mother’s birthday.

 On 5th April we move round to the fuel dock and just as we finish refuelling all the Marina staff and taxi drivers come and stand on the dock side and sing the traditional Fijian farewell song to us.  We felt very honoured as they only do this if you are liked and respected by them.  It was hard to say goodbye to so many goods friends that we had made whilst spending nearly two years here but it’s time to move on.  As we are exactly half way round the world in theory we are now heading back home.

 From the fuel dock we now have to go to Laukoka and anchor off the commercial docks to then go ashore and clear out of Fiji with all the authorities.  We clear out with Customs and Port Health but have to return the next day to clear with Immigration, as once you have cleared Immigration you only have 1 hour to return to your boat with a Customs Officer, for him to step on your boat have a quick look around then take him back to shore, go back to your boat, pick up the dinghy, pick up the anchor and leave – this we did to the absolute second.

 The reason why we did not clear with Immigration the previous day is that we wanted to be clear of all the Islands and reefs of Fiji before nightfall and we needed an early start to be able to do this.  We leave at 10.00 hours and clear the very outer reef by 15.00 hours (motoring all the way).  We can see clearly where the outer reef is as a very large cargo ship has gone aground on it.  In England when a train pulls into the station and the doors open over the PA system you will hear a voice say “Mind the Gap” – well in these cases of navigating the reefs it’s the “Gap” that you are aiming for – obviously this particular ship “minded” the Gap.

 The passage to Pohnpei started with thunder storms for the first few days and the seas where as they usually are in the Pacific, lumpy and confused – no change there then.  We must get 5 degree north and clear of the cyclone zone whilst we have the weather window as we are still in the cyclone season.

 Our fishing adventures continue – Fishing line put out with a nice new shiny lure.  Something very big takes a bite – the lure goes along with the line, the reel and snaps the fishing rod in half – bye bye fish and fishing rod.  We have now made the decision we are not going to buy anymore fishing equipment, that’s it done we are finished with playing that game.  Just a reminder, in 7 years we have caught 3 fish that have cost us around 400.00 pounds sterling.

 
Whilst nearing the end of our 17 day (2,146 nm) passage we receive the very sad news that Christine’s Father had passed away.

 Our original plan was to anchor at Pohnpei for 4 weeks before departing for Palau.  However, if ‘Teka Nova’ was left at anchor it would have meant that Terry would have had to stay with the boat whilst Christine went back to the UK for her Father’s funeral.

 Fortunately, our good friends Bill and Tracy of “Zephyr” were already in the Marina.  We emailed them asking if we can get ‘Teka Nova’ into the Marina bearing in mind this Marina is very small (large Pond size) and still in the process of being built – could it take our draft etc.?  The reply came back – we think the depth will be OK and Kumar, the owner is going to extend part of the pontoon for you, knowing our circumstances and our need for haste.

 We arrive at Pohnpei commercial dock at 08.45 hours for our check in, they complete our clearance by 15.00 hours.  Just as we slip our lines to make the tricky pilotage to the Marina our GPS stopped working and we could not get it back.  Kumar sent out his boat to come and guide us in.  All the cruisers were there ready to take our lines and help us in.  Everyone was extremely kind. Before leaving for the UK Kumar also arranged for an extra security light to be erected by our boat and told the security guide to keep a close eye on her.

 Here we have to say a very special thanks to Bill and Tracy for all their help and particular in helping us get flights back to the UK.  The internet was very poor and we could not get a signal on ‘Teka Nova’.  Tracy at one point was on the computer at 04.00 hours trying to sort flights.  Within four days of arriving we set off for the 60 hour trip back to the UK.

 After five weeks in the UK we arrive back in Pohnpei and we both agreed that the trip back was the worst we have experienced in aviation terms, involving 6 stops and having an 8 hours layover in Honolulu from 22.00 at night until 06.00 in the morning, trying to sleep on a bench with only a Starbucks open was the worst part of the trip.  Because of the unsociable hours that we were there we could not meet up with any of our friends in Honolulu, it was a shame but that would have been pushing friendships a little too far.

 Many thanks also to Phillip and Leslie of “Carina” who took over looking after ‘Teka Nova’ from Bill and Tracy whilst we were away.

 A few words here regarding the Marina at Mangrove Bay and its owner.  First of all Kumar and his wife are the most delightful people you could ever wish to meet.  They are so helpful and welcoming and will assist cruisers with any problem they might have, they will go to extraordinary lengths for you.

 If any cruisers are thinking of going via Pohnpei do check this place out, whether anchoring outside the Marina or coming in.  As we mentioned the Marina is very small and still in the process of being built.  There are water facilities and toilet facilities, but not quite a shower.  The fuel dock is being built as we write this, however, it is not a problem for Kumar’s nephew (who owns the petrol station) to come with drums and pump it on to your boat, this we did and you know how much fuel ‘Teka Nova’ takes!  There is no electrical plug in for your boat at present.  However, what they lack in facilities (and they will be there in the future) they more than make up in they “Can Do” attitude.  All we can say is thank God for Kumar’s big heart and his little Marina.

 Pohnpei :- is very much a third world Island.  The chewing of Betelnut and spitting the juices out is very popular with the locals and quite disgusting.  Taxis are US1.00 anywhere you go except to the Airport which is US2.00 and you will often be sharing a cab.  Food choice is limited especially fruit and veg.  The supply ship should come in every two weeks but that does not always happen.  The chicken thighs are huge, the biggest we have seen since the Dutch Antillies.  The 3 restaurants we did go to the food was pretty good actually and the Fish Soup at Cupids was delicious, even Terry enjoyed it and he does not like soup.

 The particular Basin we were in before entering the Marina is littered with half sunken ships and wrecks, not the prettiest of sights but apparently there are some beautiful sights in and around the Island, unfortunately, we did not get a chance to see them, Typhoon season is upon us and we must get moving again, also we need to join up with the Indonesian Rally that we have booked up for.

 On 13th June we depart Pohnpei for Palau with a special treat on board – a freshly home baked loaf of bread from Leslie – is it Lunch time yet?.......Oh it was soooooo good.

 The first few days of the passage to Palau we are having trouble sleeping (this is especially not like Christine who can sleep on a washing line anytime of the day), we can only put it down to the recent travelling to and from the UK – time differences and jet lag, we don’t know if we are on our butts or elbows and the time difference is going to change again on route by 2 hours.

 The wind for the entire passage was from the East (directly behind us), so we had the two head sails poled out either side and ‘Teka Nova’ is making good time.

 The passage was pretty much uneventful apart from one lively night, which started off with a very close encounter with a bulk carrier which we were on a collision course with.

 Us on the Radio to the Ship:-  “can you see us, a sailing vessel off your port bow under sail”?

 ……….Er No.

 
So we switch on every deck light we have – “can you see us now?

 
…….Oh Yes!!!!

 
The ship after some chitchat kindly altered course and moved away and around us.  Whew that was close.

 We were sailing along quite happily at around 6 knots when all of a sudden the wind increased to 32 knots and the boat speed increased to 10 knots and climbing.  We reef down the two head sails, and for a while we are still doing 8/9 knots.  It feels as if we are planeing like when we are in the dinghy and not really uncomfortable – just tooooo fast.  Heavy rain is also included in the mix.  This goes on for sometime then we are left with no wind, that’s if you call 5 knots “wind” – ‘Teka Nova’ does not, so the engine goes on.

 There was nothing on the weather grid files to indicate this and nothing really showing on the Radar.  It was almost like the wind decided it was on “job and knock”, and then leaving us with nothing.  Christine wonders if we were in the convergence zone but the convergence zone does not usually behave like that – Yes, it moves North to South and vice versa, form and then just dissipates and you can get some strange weather off them but not moving East to West.

 ‘Teka Nova’ is doing so well we come to a point of having to regulate our speed, for the first few days of sailing around 6 knots has put us ahead of schedule but we need to slow down as we do not want to arrive in Palau at the weekend as you will incur heavy overtime fees from the authorities.

 After 12 days (1,432 nm) we arrive in Palau.  We check in at the commercial docks then move round to Sam’s Tours to picked up our booked mooring buoy – and who is there holding the mooring buoy and ready to take our line – Bill and Tracy of “Zephyr”.

 We are only going to stay in Palau for around 10 days and in that time we need to re-cater the boat right through to Singapore (10 weeks).  So for 5 days we trawl the supermarkets – the dinghy can only take so much in one trip.  However, each day we meet up with Bill and Tracy and have lunch and one day manage a tour of the Island.  Palau is “Lush” it is wall to wall trees owing to the amount of rain – not unlike the UK but 20 times warmer.  Catering here is quite good, you can get most things you want, again apart from fresh fruit and veg which is shipped in and already chilled so needs to be eaten quite soon as it will rot.  They also chew the Betelnut here as well…….ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

 One night we retired to our bed, reading our books, the wind is up, when at around 22.00 hours there is an almighty BANG!  We are up in a flash thinking that ‘Teka Nova’ had broken away from her mooring buoy and hit something.  As it turned out it was a motor cruiser that had broken from its mooring buoy and was now pinned against our anchor housing.  Then the motor cruiser drifted down our side but the mooring line and buoy went down the other side of our boat so she was still caught on us but  in the swells was banging (and getting caught under our guide rail) against us.  Whilst Christine tried to fend her off Terry tried to cut the line that was holding us together and get a line on her.  However, the line was too far down to reach and coupled with the swells became impossible.  Terry put out a call on the Radio and as quick as a flash two Marina boats came out to help – cut the line and towed the motor cruiser away, unfortunately not before the motor cruiser smashed one of our solar panels.  However, if it was not for the Marina staff coming out as quickly as they did it would have been a lot worse and not worth thinking about.

 The owner of the motor cruiser (who was not on board at the time) did come out to see us the next day and paid us cash for a new solar panel which we will have to wait until we get to Singapore to replace.

 After re-stocking ‘Teka Nova’ we go out to anchor in the Rock Islands, it has the feel of a “mini Canada” but again 20 times warmer.

 4th July we leave Palau and arrive at Helen Reef on 6th July.  Helen Reef is owned by Palau and looked after by 3 to 6 Rangers at any one time.  The Rangers are there to monitor and look after the somewhat 300 turtles that come to lay their eggs on the small Island.  It is a very unique place to visit and made all the more special by the Rangers who make you feel very welcome.

 Helen Reef is a huge Atoll with a very small Island sitting at the northern end.  There is only one channel in, which is South West of the Atoll and a bit of a tricky entrance.  First you call the Rangers and ask if you may enter.  In our case they came out to the entrance in order to guide us in.  We arrived at the channel at 17.45, which meant we only had an hour and a quarter before nightfall.  Our plan was to just get inside, anchor for the night then move up nearer the Island the next day.  The Rangers however wanted us to be further into the Atoll – It’s their place and they know best so who were we to argue with them.

 All was well but on the horizon a storm was brewing, so it became a race against time.  The storm hit (Force 8) and night fell along with the rain.  The seas kicked up and it became difficult to see/follow the Rangers small craft.  At one point we thought we would end up rescuing them as they were taking on water badly.  They eventually found the spot they wanted us to anchor in – 50 METRES DEPTH!!  After waiting for the storm to pass over we drop the anchor and all 400 feet of chain!!

The night then passed peacefully enough albeit absolutely pitch black, no markers to get a fix on to see if the anchor is dragging.  The next morning the Rangers come out to guide us through the inner reef, nearer the Island and much swallow waters.

 We venture ashore, puttering along in the dinghy the first thing you notice is the abundant amount of turtles in the water the second thing when you set foot on the Island is the millions of birds and the incredible noise they are making.  There are not many trees here and what there are they are not more than 8 feet in height.  The birds are perched everywhere, from ground level upwards and nesting on every twig.  They don’t mind you and will not attack even when you are right in the faces which is hard not to be.  The black birds with the white heads try and nest in the bushes and trees the Terns at the far end of the Island just nest on the sand.  There are eggs and chicks everywhere, but Oh Boy the smell of Guano is over powering, after a few days you get use to it.

 The Rangers may stay from 6 months up to a year at a time and their supply ship only comes maybe every 3/4 months.  They have no refrigeration facilities so only have fresh meat and vegetables for the first few days after the ship has been, after that they live off the fish they catch.

 The Rangers (five of them, Hercules, Frano, David, Dennis and Petra, plus two dogs and a cat that thinks it’s a dog) ask us if we like fish and lobster – Oh Yes!!

 Us:- “Do you like cakes”?

Rangers:- “Only if they are English cakes.

 So the next day three Red Snapper and one Lobster arrive at our boat and 40 homemade decorated chocolate fudge and lemon cupcakes plus cream are handed over.  All 40 cupcakes were eaten by the end of the day.

 The Rangers do not like to ask for anything but you can see that they live on the bear basics.  A good old rummage on the boat produces them with crisps, biscuits, crackers, maple syrup, lemon juice, mayo, DVD’s, pencils, notepads, cigs, cokes and homemade Hamburgers and the fresh fish and lobster keep coming our way.

 In the meantime a rather large “Gin Palace”  by the name of “Pacific” arrives (look her up on the internet).  The owner is Russian and in the top 50 wealthiest people in the world.  The Captain, 1st Officer and most of the crew are British.  James the 1st Officer comes over  in their smallest Rib which was close to 40 feet in length.  James asks us do we want anything – Fuel etc. – No thank you we are fine but thanks for asking.  The day passes and they launch their helicopter as the owners wife is a keen photographer, our little peaceful world is disturbed by the noise.  Later in the day David the Captain comes over to apologies for the noise and again asks us do we need anything – our washing laundered? beer? wine? – No thank you we are fine but thanks for asking, he gives us a bottle of wine anyway.  They were equally as generous to the Rangers which was nice to see.

 The next day the “Pacific” prepares for their departure but before leaving the crew once again come over to present us with two aerial photos of ‘Teka Nova’ and the Island taken by the owners wife from the helicopter for us.  “OK this is your last chance – please is there anything we can give you before we leave” -  OK we surrender could we have a small bag of ice (both of our freezers are full so Christine has limited space to make ice) and if you have any fruit juice that would be great.

 As you can imagine what we consider a small bag of ice and what they see as small is totally different plus five 2 litre bottles of various flavours of juice.

 Each night the Rangers patrol the Island at regular intervals to record the turtles coming ashore and laying their eggs.  We join them one night and get to see a large female just after she had lain.

 We spent most of our days just relaxing and snorkelling and only doing a few small jobs on the boat.

 On our last day the Rangers invite us over to dinner.  They had cooked up a large amount of various fish, lobster, fried rice and coconuts to drink we supplied the beer.  In addition David showed us six turtles that had hatched the previous night.  The Rangers had gathered them up (there were nine but the crabs got to them before the Rangers) and placed them in a bucket of salt water.  This they do in order to wash the egg smell off them to give them a better chance of survival before placing them in the sea.  We get to handle the baby turtles; they are so cute and funny.

 When we leave we are presented with gifts of shells, a hair comb, embroidered flowers and fresh coconuts for our journey.  The highlight was they said to us “take two baby turtles out to your boat and release them, which will also give them a better chance of survival”.  What a great thing to be able to do.  So we hope Wilson and The Bump (The Bump to be renamed when our dear friend Mairead has her baby), get a good start in life and live to a great old age.

 The next morning we set off the 2 hour passage down to the Atoll exit and onto Dili in East Timor.  We say a final sad farewell to our new found friends “The Rangers of Helen Reef”.

 If any cruisers are passing this way it would be a shame to sail on past without stopping, also stock up onf some goodies for the Rangers.  They will not expect it but obviously anything is very much appreciated and even if you do not have anything to give them, they would still welcome you and give generously of their time.

 On 15th July whilst on passage a few miles stones were covered, firstly it is Terry’s Birthday, secondly we crossed the Equator for the 5th time (all due respects were paid to Neptune and Terry), thirdly we leave the Pacific Ocean after 4 ½ years and lastly we come out of the Typhoon Zone, not bad for one day.

 20th July sees us in East Timor after an OK trip, some parts produced very lumpy seas on the nose and one big sweeper under the keel sent everything flying from one side of the boat to the other which included a medium size torch that managed to find the small gap in the curtain to the sea berth where Terry was sleeping and hit him on the head with a fair whack, producing a lump the size of a Quails egg and drawing blood.

 East Timor is a very friendly Country, although there is 70% unemployment the people are very cheerful.  Checking in with Customs etc. is easy and the authorities are hospitable and welcoming.  We make new friends, Pedro, Antonio and their respective wives (Portuguese), they were extremely helpful and generous with their time and we managed to spend some days/evenings socialising with them.

 Our plan as of writing this Newsletter is to leave here Tuesday 30th July for Kupang where we will join the Sailing Indonesia Rally.

 We hope this Newsletter finds you all well and we look forward to hearing your news.

 
Very Best Wishes

Christine and Terry (lump on head going down, replaced by purple/yellow colouring)

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October 2012

Dear All,

 
Well we guess that quite a few of you are probably thinking that we have sailed off the edge of the World, as we have not written a Newsletter since July 2011!!

 After returning to the UK/Cyprus for three months we returned back to ‘Teka Nova’ early November 2011.

 The reason for not writing a Newsletter sooner is that being holed up in a Cyclone Pit for 7 months, we took the opportunity to repair, replace items and add new toys to ‘Teka Nova’ which does not make for entertaining reading.  We then spent a further few weeks having the hull repainted and solar panels fitted.  The solar panels were supposed to of taken 7 days to complete – five weeks later………….

 The Cyclone season was very hot, humid and extremely wet.  The first rain fall went on day and night for approx. 2 weeks.  Many Fijians lost their homes and some were killed.  The second big rain fall went on for approx... 10 days, the town of Nadi was fifteen feet under water and a nearby village had a 100 acre mud slide, where people were not able to get out for four days.

 ‘Teka Nova’ although planted in her “Pit”, had three deck mounted Air Conditioning Units running and we were the only cruisers who had to have a blanket on the bed at night.  As usual ‘Teka Nova’ did the whole nine yards at Christmas.

 During our time in our “Pit” we did meet up with old friends and of course made new ones and having a good time with them.

 Owing to the solar panels taking so long we had to scrap our plans to explore more of the Fijian Islands (330 of them to choose from), before heading off to the Marshall Islands.  The new plan once we were put back in the water on 26th July 2012, was to make our way up to Wallis Island some 359nm north of Fiji, to re-new ‘Teka Nova’s’ paperwork then return to Fiji and explore the Islands before putting ‘Teka Nova’ back in a Cyclone Pit for our next return to the UK/Cyprus.

 The trip through the Islands before checking out at Savusavu and launching off to Wallis was very pleasant and again we met up with old cruising friends and in particular a couple that we had not seen since being in Moorea in June of 2011.

On 1st August we set out for Wallis (3 ½ day trip).  The first day was not too bad but after that we were punching into it the rest of the way, which made for a rough ride.  However, ‘Teka Nova’ took it with good grace as she usually does, which is more than can be said for the poor little Gecko that had decided to get on board at Vuda Point Marina – he chirped loudly throughout the trip.  Geckos by the way are the good guys, they eat your unwanted insects.  Anyway, he appears to have decided that ‘Teka Nova’ is now his home and can be seen taking a stroll around the wooden guide rail each evening – we are thinking of training him in boat maintenance.

 Wallis was a strange place, although the people were friendly and helpful and everywhere was kept very clean and tidy, there was no centre to the town of Mata Utu on Uvea, it was very fragmented and gave a feeling of not having a heart to the place.  In addition there are no buses or taxis, you either have to hoof it or thumb a lift, which we did, don’t think either of us has thumbed a lift since we were teenagers.  The Customs Office was a couple of miles in one direction and the Police Station in the opposite direction and not where you would imagine them to be – very peculiar.

There were only three other yachts, apart from ourselves whilst we were there.  We did pass Nick of “VAL” on his way out.  Nick is basically a single handed sailor whom has proved a point of why having a steel boat can hold you in good stead.  Nick, before we met him in Vuda Point had spent three days and nights stuck on a reef being slammed from side to side.  When he was hauled out in Vuda Point, although there was extensive denting to both side of his haul, not one rivet or plate split, the whole hull just held together.  So Nick just re-anti fouled “VAL” and put her back in the water to go off cruising again.

 We leave Wallis on 10th August for the trip back to Fiji.  The first 98nm were a bit lumpy but not too bad after that.

 The good news was that for the trip up and back we did not have to run the Generator, the solar panels kept the batteries well charged and even now whilst we are at anchor we only have to run the generator for about an hour, if cooking in the evening as opposed to running it for at least 4 hours a day – so although a painful exercise the solar panels have made up for it, they also make a nice sun shade for our Gecko if he is sitting in the dinghy and they can double up as a heli pad when fully extended….Yeap, they are big.

 Once back in Fiji waters we check out a few Islands on our way back to Vuda Point, where we are picking up two guests, Jonathan and Amber.  One of these Islands is where you can swim with the Manta Rays as they come in through the Pass at high tide to feed and a particular place we wanted to bring Jonathan and Amber.  So we duly set off in the dinghy to the Pass.  We think we will put the dinghy anchor over and hang around until the Rays appear – well it’s always a good idea to attach the anchor chain to something that is actually attached to your dinghy before throwing said anchor over board…………..enough said!!

 We did get to see the Manta Rays and decide its well worth bringing Jonathan and Amber back when they join us.

 Jonathan is the son of one of Christine’s Customers when she worked for British Airways, who has always kept in touch.  Jonathan and his partner Amber had finished University and were taking a year out Backpacking around the World and just happened to be in Fiji when we were, so we thought they might like to join us on ‘Teka Nova’.

 When Jonathan and Amber joined us they did warn us that they did not have much luck when it came to seeing wildlife, to the point where they went to a Koala sanitary and never saw one Koala and several other stories to prove the point.  Well they have one more story to add now, you guessed it…….no sight of the Manta Rays!!  And just to rub salt in the wound we were talking to a couple of cruisers later who had seen them a day later.

 Jonathan and Amber were great guests and we enjoyed their company immensely.  Thank you Guys and Thank you for the goodies you brought us, the Photo Album is well on its way to being ‘Teka Nova’s visitor’s book, it has already been added to.

 After dropping Jonathan and Amber off we head out to drop anchor at Mana Island, where we planned to stay for a couple of weeks whilst we complete some jobs on ‘Teka Nova’ in a lovely setting and get a swim or two in.

 The day after we arrived an Italian boat drops anchor next to us.  There are three people on board one of which is obviously the Skipper who just happens to have an artificial leg.  The Skipper brings the boat in, hobbles up to drop the anchor, hobbles back to the cockpit to set the anchor, hobbles back up to make sure the anchor is set, then hobbles back to the cockpit, where he sits down and un-screws his leg – OK he made his point, he did not need the rest of his crew.

 Our plans are to fly from Fiji to Los Angeles on 30th September, catch a flight up to Seattle, followed by a shuttle and ferry to Whidbey Island on the same day to stay with our friends Dick and Sharon Porter.  We are then booked to fly back from Seattle on 6th October arriving in the UK on 7th October, where we plan to stay for three months, two months in the UK and a month in Cyprus.

 Our future plans once we return to ‘Teka Nova’ in January are to fly to New Zealand and have a land exploration holiday to see as much as we can of all the sights that everybody raves about so much.

 Once we return from New Zealand we will get ‘Teka Nova’ ready as quickly as possible, yes you have got it to sail in the Cyclone season up to the Marshall Islands, checking out at Savusavu. We just need to get a weather window to cover approximately 750 miles to the north of Fiji to clear the Cyclone formation area.

 Assuming all goes well we will cruise the Marshall Islands group and then head west into Micronesia before heading south towards Eastern Indonesia where we hope to join the Darwin to Indonesia Rally which starts at the end of July 2013 and lasts for 3 months.  After that it will be on to Singapore and it will be time to return to the UK again. We have to cover a very large number of sea miles in 2013, so in 2014 we look forward to a more relaxing time in Malaysia and Thailand, perhaps getting some visitor’s from the UK and taking some land tours around China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, while some willing souls take care of renewing all our internal varnish work.  Sounds like a good plan anyway.

 

Very Best Wishes

Christine & Terry

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August 2011

Dear All,

We have a funny feeling that our last Newsletter which covered California, Mexico and the passage to the Marquesas might not have been received by all on our distribution list or that you really had “slashed your writs” as it was sooooooo long. Anyway, if you did not receive it, it is on our website – www.terryandchristine.com

In the Marquesas we only stayed at two anchorages on the Island of Nuku Hiva. The first one being in Baie De Taiohae where we checked in. This particular anchorage was a bit rocky and rolly and not conducive for cleaning the hull, which had picked up large amounts of barnacles on the passage. We also attempted to take on some fuel. The fuel dock is a commercial dock that had a high concrete wall. With the swells that were running into the bay it is best to do a Mediterranean mooring. However, even with the help of Tommy and Fiona of “Phambili” taking our lines ashore we could not get close enough for the fuel line to reach along the decks to the filler caps without doing some serious damage to the boat, (ie the Davits hitting the concrete wall). So we decided to go round to the Northern side of the Island into the calmer anchorage of Baie Anaho, clean the hull and think about how best to tackle the fuel dock on our return to Baie De Taiohae.

The cleaning of the hull took some doing. There was not only at least 6 inches of Barnacles on our semi long keel but the rest of the hull, prop and particularly around the water line had a substantial growth, no wonder our boat speed had dropped considerably on the passage over. We spend six days here, scrapping, scrubbing, washing and polishing.

We do however take a little time out to have a couple of walks along the beach. To get ashore with the dinghy you have to find the gap in the reef. This is not difficult as you can see it quite clearly especially if the sun is out. You anchor your dinghy in about 3 feet of water and wade ashore being careful not to step on the small sting rays that are basking in the shallow waters.

Back on board the boat you get to see Manta Rays (approx. 6 feet across) quite often as they cruise up and down feeding.

It was then back to the Southern side and Baie De Taiohae to do a courtesy visit to the Gendarmarie to inform them we were moving on and of course to try and tackle the fuel dock again. So the plan this time was to put all our fenders high up on the starboard side, drop the anchor at least two boat lengths out and attach a bridle from the chain to points fore and aft on the boat, so that we could come side on to the dock but keep 'Teka Nova' off the wall by tightening up on the anchor and bridle. First of all however we needed to do a “Run By” of the dock to assess the swell/surge conditions. As it turned out it had sufficiently calmed down enough (still not a place you would want to be tied to for any length of time) for us to go along side without using the anchor and bridle, however the fenders took a real bashing, which in turn caused another cleaning job.

The little we did see of the Marquesas was pleasant enough although for us we had been to nicer places, but each to their own. The scenery was lovely and the two places we stayed were well maintained and kept neat, clean and tidy, however the water clarity was poor. Fruit and Veg was a limited choice and you had to be at the market early to get any veg. The two small supermarkets were surprisingly very well stocked and you could get basically anything you needed plus quite a few unexpected products – a little on the expensive side but understandably so as everything has to be shipped in. You could buy fresh white tuna off the fishermen on the dock side at a very reasonable price.

We also get to put some of the boat names to faces of fellow “Puddle Jumpers”:-

Tommy, Fiona and their three children, Annina, Naomi and Cameron of “Phambili”.
James and Kim of “Doin' it”.
Mike and Jan and their crew member Kim of “Fully Involved”.
Chris and Jessica of “Namaste”

All with varying backgrounds and interesting stories to share.

On 8th April we set off to the Tuamotu Islands on a passage of approx. 500 nm, apparently if you put Tuamotu in a search site you will come up with Tomatoes.

The passage to the Tuamotu Islands was one of the most pleasant we have done to date. The winds did not get above 15 kts and the sea state was very slight. Although we only averaged 5.3 knts it was a comfortable ride and we managed to sail all the way. The end to a perfect passage was further rewarded by arriving in paradise. The Tuamotu Islands (our first Island being Ahe) are roughly circular/oblong Atolls of land with lagoons of approx 15 miles across inside, and only have one or two navigable entrance passes. Once inside you can anchor in beautiful clear turquoise waters off of white sandy beaches lined with palm trees.

After spending two weeks at Ahe we decide to head off to another Island called Apataki. In order to get over the bar at slack water at the exit from Ahe and then arrive at Apataki in day light, at slack water with the sun behind us (the majority of the lagoons are not charted, so you have to eye ball your way through the reefs), we are up at 01.00 in the morning. First off, the anchor chain had got caught round a rock/reef which took a bit of pulling out but we managed it in the end, to get out of our lagoon within the larger lagoon was an interesting exercise in the dark picking our way between coral heads. Then we had a 2 hour navigation to the exit, although there were lit marker buoys at Ahe, a few of them were not working, thankfully we had chosen to leave when there was still a ¾ moon. The passage was lively/sporty and 'Teka Nova' made good time, so good that we arrived at the entrance to Apataki a little early with the current against us, but with a few more engine revs (quite a few more actually) we punch our way through the overfalls and get inside, this was then followed by a further 2 hour pilotage in uncharted waters to our chosen anchorage.

Here we have the whole place to ourselves. Upon walking along the shore there were several Black Tip shark that would come right up to the waters edge in only about 6 inches of water. They ranged from tiny baby ones to ones up to approx 4 feet in length. This is where the video camera was worth its weight in gold (purchased for Christine's last birthday present). You had to keep very still as any sudden movement and they would just dart away.

We spend 10 days in Apataki in complete isolation, no internet connection and not seeing any other cruiser or anyone until the afternoon of the day before we leave, when Annie and Patrick a French couple on their boat “Elgantine” arrived. We spent a very pleasant evening having drinks on their boat. They had a little English and we had a little French so we got by. It was the first time we had actually got dressed in over 10 days, (Shorts and T-Shirts). Only wearing swimmers during the day and after our showers in the evening just our underwear – no one to see us and it sure cut down on the washing.
Apataki was a wonderful place to experience true Pacific isolation , and we were sorry to move on.

We leave on 4th May for the 2 day passage to Tahiti. Setting off at 08.30 am for the 2 hour pilotage to catch the slack water at the exit from Apataki. We arrive at the exit and its looks like a witches boiling cauldron. We line 'Teka Nova' up and go for it through the narrow gap in between the reefs. This time we have the current behind us and we shoot through at 8.6 knts (basically in idle) swooshing from side to side. It's like a roller coaster ride at a fairground only we did not scream and put our hands in the air – to busy steering, navigating and holding on.

We knew we would be motoring to Tahiti as there was only 4 knts of wind, if you can call that wind – 'Teka Nova' certainly does not, and its behind us. All was well though and we had a gentle swell until we started getting clear of the Islands, when the seas turned from gently rolling to larger swells and then just plain nasty.

The next day around 16.00 pm there is an almighty BANG under the engine and our revs dip slightly. After doing as much investigation as possibly we could only deduct that we may have had a rope round the prop and the rope cutter had taken care of most of it but perhaps we still had something remaining as there was a definite vibration. The waters were too rough to go over the side and investigate further.

Night drew in and we hit an electrical storm that produced 30 knts of wind on the nose. We arrived in Tahiti the next morning feeling as though we had been on a rough passage for a month, instead of just the 2 days. The next morning Terry dives over the side to inspect the prop – bad news, one of the blades on our Auto Prop had completely unscrewed and fallen off, the loud BANG was the blade hitting the hull. Fortunately 'Teka Nova' is good solid steel otherwise we would have been in serious trouble.

We have to say that we were very proud of 'Teka Nova' as she had carried us through the night, with 30 knts of head wind, hauling her 32 tons of weight and still managed 5.3 knts with only 2 blades to get us to safety.

So we sat on a mooring buoy just outside the Tahiti Yacht Club (near Papeete) to await our new prop blade, which only took just over 3 days by DHL to arrive from the UK, however, we could not get a lift out booked until 1st June at the Shipyard.

Papeete is the capital of French Polynesia, it is a bustling, busy and dirty town – just slightly different from when the “Bounty” was here, but hey they have a Carrfour. Although a small bottle of Bacardi (smaller than a normal bottle of wine) will set you back around 35.00 GBP. Anyone who knows Terry knows this is his favorite tipple, so he is on rationing and thinks there is a war on.

Mike and Jan of “Fully Involved” were there so we spent a couple of lovely evenings with those folks before they left for Moorea. Jan made the best potato salad we have tasted and Mike can whip up a very tasty cheesecake from any ingredients they have onboard.

After being on a mooring buoy for 3 weeks we finally moved round to the shipyard on 31st May where we were lifted out and held in the travel lift whilst they replaced our prop blade and serviced the other two blades. Then put back in the water the same day.

Whilst we were there we met Vaughan and Sharon of “Reality” who were waiting for a new rudder to be made as theirs had sheared off on their way to the Marquesas, the nearest lift out was Tahiti, so they had to travel many hundreds of miles on a jury rigged rudder.

2nd June we set off for the Island of Moorea. We pick a great spot in the bay of Opunohu. The next day we take our dinghy for a 40 minute ride round to where you can feed the sting rays. This is a big tourist attraction. You stand in the sea up to your shoulders in water and about 60 or more 4 foot wide sting rays will come and feed out of your hand. They glide round you and gently brush up against your body and up your tummy to take the food (they are not tame – they are in the wild). In between the sting rays there are several black tip shark who will gladly take any morsel you would like to give them. If anyone had said that we would be standing in water feeding sting rays and sharks we would have not believed them – it was truly an amazing experience!!

Unfortunately the weather was about to get “Lively” and so we make a 2 day dash to the island of Tahaa before the weather sets in. After picking up a mooring buoy off The Hibiscus Yacht Club the wind started to blow and it continued to blow for 4 days and 4 nights – 30/35 knots, gusting 40. We were only a short distance off shore from the club house but the seas were 4 foot plus, which stopped us from launching the dingy to go ashore.

On 8th June the winds died down and we set off on a 1 day passage to Bora Bora. Well the winds might have been down but the seas were definitely not!!

However, once inside the outer reef of Bora Bora we find a perfect spot to anchor with beautiful clear and calm waters.

Here, once again we meet with fellow Puddle Jumpers who are going the same way as ourselves:-

Gary of “DASH”
Gary & Cindy of “Distant Shores”

After spending a few days at anchor we move over to the other side of the bay and pick up a mooring buoy off of the Bora Bora Yacht Club.

Gay of “DASH” has also moved over and Stuart of “Farr Gone” and Tom & Janis of “Tomboy are there. We all have dinner one night at the Yacht Club. The Yacht Club is small and basic but delightful and the people are very friendly. There is no menu so you are not sure what you will get and where the heck they actually cooked it but when it arrives it is beautifully presented and very tasty.

We liked Bora Bora very much but as with all the French Polynesia Islands it is expensive.

Whilst we are here apart from waiting for a weather window (of actually getting some wind) we were waiting for news of Terry's son Gavin and his wife Cathy having the first Grandchild, Christine's Mum having a hip replacement Op and Neil Jarvis our close friend having both his eyes operated on. All three events on roughly the same day.

We are please to say that after poor Cathy endured 64 hours of labour, followed by having an emergency C section and other traumas – baby Charlie arrived, Christine's Mum's Op went well and Neil's eye Ops were a success.

On 16th June we departed for the 700 odd nm passage to Suwarrow (Suavro) in the Northern Cook islands.

Suwarrow was another delightful Atoll, not dissimilar to Apataki. Suwarrow is administered by NZ and has two Park Rangers based there six months of the year (out of Cyclone Season). You are not allowed to go there when the Park Rangers are not in attendance, however if the Park Rangers are not there who's going to stop you?? This was another tricky little entrance into the lagoon. Once in you are then surrounded by Black Tip Shark, who hope they might get fed a tip bit or two from you. These shark are not aggressive and you can swim/snorkel quite safely amongst them inside the lagoon. Outside the lagoon is a different matter, where there are white tip which are aggressive.

The two Park Rangers were special characters. James the head Park Ranger was approx. 7 feet tall, weighed around 22 stone, had a beard, his hair was tied up in a bun and he was missing his front teeth. James was also the Customs, Immigration and Port Health Official. The Club House was a wooden open sided structure where the cruisers could get together with James and John and have Pot Luck. The Rangers lived above.

After spending 5 days in Suwarrow, we make a 5 day passage to Western Samoa. The people were very nice but it was the start of Official Paperwork gone mad and it was particularly difficult to take some of the authorities that showed up at the boat seriously when they were wearing a skirt and Ray- Ban sun glasses – and that’s the men. We were only going to stay for 3 days. It took 2 days to complete the check in and on the third day we had to start the check out procedure. So we can not say much about Western Samoa as we did not really see any of it.

We leave there on 2nd July for the approx 800 nm to Fiji, which involves crossing the International Date Line. So:-

Today became tomorrow and yesterday became today – either way we lost a whole day and instead of
being 12 hours behind the UK we were now 12 hours ahead.

When we said Western Samoa was the start of Official paperwork gone made, Fiji has got to take the biscuit “Its Been Lovely but I have to scream now”!! OK we are not going into the details but its an absolute nightmare that just keeps re-occurring.

Anyway, we find an idyllic spot to anchor for a few days (Musket Cove on Malolo Lailai) before moving round to Vuda Point Marina, where we planned to leave Teka Nova whilst we returned to the UK.

As with the Western Samoan’s the Fijians are very friendly and we are soon invited to dinner at one of the locals houses. There are two things here – most of the locals are very poor and this was true of this particular family and secondly is the tradition to take a gift of Kava and partake in the tradition of drinking the stuff – IT IS HORRIBLE!!! they mix the powder with cold water, which is squeezed through a rag with their hands. It looks like muddy water and tastes a lot worse.

We have decided to spend the cyclone season in Vuda Point ashore in a 'cyclone pit'. This will mean that next April/May we will have the opportunity to cruise some of the fabulous cruising areas within Fiji before moving on westwards towards the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Australia.

We leave Teka Nova in Vuda Point Marina and make the 30 hour flying time back to the UK on 27th July.

Best Wishes
Christine & Terry

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March 2011

Dear All,

Firstly, a reminder of our new E-Mail address – tekanova[at]hotmail.com

Also, we have limited internet connection whilst here in the French Polynesian Islands and may not be able to pick up or send E-Mails for maybe 2 weeks at a time.

HEALTH WARNING – This is a very long Newsletter, which covers California, Mexico and the passage to the Marquesas.

6th November 2010 sees us back on board 'Teka Nova' in Ventura Isle Marina, after our trip back to the UK and Cyprus. Having left 'Teka Nova' for nearly 3 months we start the process of checking her systems and carrying out the usual routine maintenance in preparation for going back out to sea. We do however give ourselves a little time off and hire a car to drive up the coast and visit Santa Barbara. Also Alastair Harkness a friend from the UK on a trip to Los Angeles (BA Pilot) arranged to meet up with us. We spent the day in Santa Monica. Walking along a particular part of the beach front we felt we stuck out like sore thumbs by being dressed “Normally” or was that “Boringly”. There were some weird and wonderful characters there – very entertaining sense of dress. Many thanks to Alastair for taking time out on his short stop over to spend the time with us, it was great to see him.

Whilst in Ventura Isle we spoke to several cruisers regarding the security situation in Mexico, where we had originally planned to spend Christmas. The resulting decision was to spend our Christmas in San Diego instead and wait until we have more solid information regarding improvement in the security situation in Mexico. We wanted to visit Mexico and we had decided that somewhere in Mexico would be our departure point for the Marquesas.

On 1st December 2010 we leave Ventura for Santa Cruz Island for a two night stop over at anchor in Albert's Anchorage. FLIES!! - we have never seen so many and they are so dopey. As soon as we leave the shelter of the cockpit we are covered in them. Terry goes on a killing spree armed with a can of fly spray and the next morning the boat looks as though someone has dumped several packets of currents all over the decks.

On 3rd December 2010 we plan an over night passage down to Santa Catalina (Catalina Harbour), leaving at 22.00 in order to arrive in day light. At around 18.00 thick fog starts to drift in, this is not what we want as we know there is a large fishing fleet out there between us and Santa Catalina, but do we want to put up with these flies any longer – NO!! Fortunately the fog drifts way by 22.00 and we start to pick up the anchor. It is absolutely pitch black and I (Christine) can only just about see the anchor chain coming up with the aid of a torch (our head torches have given up the ghost – another story for later). I can hear a Sea Lion barking near by but can't see him – or was it Terry back in the cockpit conveying some message to me? Thankful for the wonders of GPS, radar and AIS we crept out of the bay and the fog bank, and avoided the fishing fleet.

We spend a night in Catalina Harbour on a buoy, very pleasant, quiet and no flies, before moving round to the east side of the Island to Avalon where we pick up another buoy, for the pricey sum of US58.00 for the night, which you have to vacate by 09.00 the next morning regardless of what time you arrived, or pay more money for an extension. On top of this a four minute water taxi ride to and from you boat will cost you US20.00 (the dinghy dock does not appear to exist anymore or we could not find it). We thought the Irish Sea was the most expensive stretch of water to cross!! Avalon is a very nice quaint place and we had a great breakfast ashore but were we going to spend another night there at those prices – NOPE.

So another over nighter to San Diego and Chula Vista Marina which is right down the southern end of San Diego Bay, where we have chosen to spend Christmas.

We arrive at the entrance to San Diego Bay at 22.30, and complete a night pilotage for the next 2 ½ hours, into San Diego a long channel that winds and twists itself into the bay. This is a pilotage where you really need to concentrate as at night with lots of shore lights and plenty of splits in the channel, it is very hard to pick up the next channel markers, which is not helped when the odd marker buoy that is supposed to flash green every 4 seconds, actually flashes every 2 seconds, plus several consecutive buoys have the same light characteristic. Weird! On top of this the dreaded fog appeared to be coming in as we make our way under the Coronado Bay Bridge but fortunately it holds off and we arrive at Chula Vista Marina in our reserved berth at 02.00 – very tired and with sore eyes.

Terry mentions at the time that it would have been nice to have made this particular pilotage during day light hours, as not only would we have been able to see the massive Coronado Bay Bridge in all its glory, there is also a great Navy presence here, including the Nuclear Aircraft Carrier Ronald Reagan plus the museum Aircraft Carrier The Midway, that would have made the pilotage more scenic – little did Terry know what would transpire the next day.

After having a few hours sleep we get up to check in at the Marina Office. Walking to and from the boat we meet several people who by the afternoon have organised our social calendar for the next month and we are already feeling quite at home.

Now, although we checked with the Marina that they would be able to accommodate 'Teka Nova's 9 foot draft and the pilotage book clearly states there is 13 feet at MLW (Oh you know whats coming next, don't you – flash back to Sydney Harbour Marina), Yeap, by late afternoon we are aground by about 2 feet. Once again 'Teka Nova' is badly listing to starboard and 32 tons of boat is sitting on the bottom and leaning on her fenders and once again we have to get a line from the top of the mast to the opposite dock to keep her upright. This is not going to be the lowest tide either, as on the 21st December it is going to fall a further 2 feet. The Marina staff are devastated and get their guys out to check every berth and depths surrounding the Marina, in order to try and find another berth for us. The deepest they could find was 7 feet at MLW. There has been so much silt built up over the years that they have lost about 6 feet of depth and not realised it. Unfortunately we cannot stay here and the Marina are very sorry to loose us – so are we it was a lovely spot.

So at high tide the next day we make our way back up to the northern end of San Diego Bay to Harbour Island West Marina who have the space and depth for us and so Terry gets to see it all the interesting naval highlights during the day after all.

We are made to feel very welcome by all the staff at Harbour Island West ( 2 English staff) and settle in very nicely.

The two Sundays preceding Christmas they have the “Parade of Boats”. Boats from several Marina's in the Bay area decorate their boats with Christmas Lights etc. and then parade them along the water front at night. This was a great sight, around a 100 boats of all shapes and sizes took part and the effort that they had put into their decorations was quite spectacular. It reminded us of the film “National Lampoons Holiday” only afloat.

We did the whole nine yards as usual on 'Teka Nova' for Christmas. The Christmas Tree, the cockpit lights and of course the full English Traditional dinner complete with Christmas Pudding brought back from the UK along with other goodies. Our turkey weighed 17lbs!! It was the smallest fresh turkey we could get. As usual we had to chop it in half to be able to get it in the oven. The other half we had another Christmas dinner in January plus various other dishes and still plenty left over for Christine to make some Turkey Casseroles and Turkey A' La King in preparation to freeze for our passage to the Marquesas – so we are still eating the darn thing in APRIL!!

Both of us get new head torches for Christmas, now we always have head torches on board but like with everything on board a boat, it either breaks, rots, corrodes, fails or falls off – usually over board. At some juncture, if it has the word “Boat” in the sentence it will do one if not all of these things. Our new head torches come with infra red light, which are great for night watches. You can read, write Newsletters, do a fix (that’s a fix, as on a chart not the other kind, for those of you who are not sailors) and move about the boat without ruining your night vision. Although 'Teka Nova' has red under floor lighting for the night time, this does not include the forward head/loo/restroom. So once you reach this area you either fumble around in the dark or blind yourself silly by switching on the over head light – not anymore!! - such simple things please us.

Whilst we are here in San Diego we take in a few of the sights, one being a visit to the Midway, also the really good Maritime Museum. We also have dinner with Nikki and Dave, these are friends of Gary and Linda of “Rainbowrider” whom we had last met up with back in November 2008 in the Dutch Antilles, really lovely to see these guys again and sorry we were not able to get you down on 'Teka Nova' in Mexico, we hope you will be able to get to us somewhere in the South Pacific.

Also, whilst we are here the heavens open up and we get torrential rain for day after day. If we had wanted that much rain we could have stayed in England. Our cockpit covers in the end could not cope with it. Locally the San Diego River burst its banks causing havoc in the old town and at the main shopping mall.

In the New Year we hire a car and drive to Las Vegas for a 3 night break. When we arrive it is snowing and the pass behind us is closed over night. Interesting place Las Vegas, Terry has been here several times but I (Christine) have not. Glad we went and had a nice break but would not want to go back. We must have been the only people to go to Las Vegas and not spend one dollar on gambling.

On the way back we arrange to meet up with the “Porters” in Riverside and stayed in a beautiful hotel over night. It was great to see them again. These guys get everywhere, you had to be in our Newsletter somewhere, we think you have been in the last three at least. We are sure you will get a mention somewhere in the next one.

By now we have spoken with several more people and reading the letters in Latitude 38 with regard to the Mexico security situation and decide its safe to go.

So on 12th January 2011 we set off for Ensenada – Cruiseport West Marina. Here we check into Mexico, which is made very easy by the Marina staff, who actually drive you to the Port Captain's Office, Immigration, Customs and to buy the mandatory Fishing Permit (which is a bit of a joke for us), this is all courtesy of the Marina – no extra charge and no agent fees to pay.

On 15th January we depart for Banderas Bay – Puerto La Cruz and warmer climates, which was a 1 week passage, 994 miles. Would you believe that there is actually a 2 hour time difference between Ensenada and Puerto La Cruz – we didn't, hence on arrival, shops etc. were not open at their stated times and we just thought, Oh well that’s just “Mexican Time”, until somebody told us about the time difference. Brits, think about if we had a 2 hour time difference between Southern England and Scotland. There is a new marina in La Cruz, but also a very nice anchorage just outside (which is free) so guess where we stayed?

Here we meet up with other cruisers taking part in “The Pacific Puddle Jump” (similar to the ARC – Atlantic Rally For Cruisers with some differences, more on that later). We attend as many seminars, functions and events as possible, which were all well organised and interesting. A great deal of time and effort go into these and by volunteers. Just one example being Neal Schneider of “Rutea”. Neal has taken on the arduous task of setting up and controlling the on passage radio net. Unlike the ARC, where 235 boats leave from the same place on the same day with sections of Boats (roughly 20) with their own Net Controllers, the Pacific Puddle Jumpers (110 boats) are leaving from several different places (California, Mexico and as far down as Panama) at different times over a period of 3 months or so on a single radio net – think about that in logistical terms. So the task Neal has taken on is far from an easy one. Not forgetting that Neal and his wife Ruthie also have to make ready and prepare their own boat for the passage as well. We take our hat off to Neal and thank him for all his efforts and hard work.

We meet several other people, amongst them were:-

Bill and Kat of “ Island Bound”, had great fun going to dinner with you followed by watching Star Trek at the amphitheater – thank goodness for those cushions and the blanket guys.

Kath, Liz and their Mum Jeanette, who are English by birth, living in Canada and holidaying in Mexico (not on a boat). Great to meet up with you.

Lori and Wally (and at one point their friends Sheryn and George Smith) from Canada, likewise holidaying in Mexico and not on a boat. We shared some very pleasant lunches and dinner with them, and actually persuaded them to risk a dinghy ride out to Teka Nova at anchor for lunch.

We also bump into a couple from the Waikiki Yacht Club in Honolulu, Mart and Dorothy Hazlett, who have been told to watch out for us by all our friends back in Honolulu and to pass on all their good wishes, it was nice to be remembered.

Puerto La Cruz is a lovely place to hang out (apart from all the events appertaining to the Puddle Jump), there are plenty of places to eat out at very reasonable prices. This small town is big on live entertainment and the couple of bands we had the pleasure of listening over dinner to were fantastic. Filo's Bar owned by a previous Puddle Jumper and a great musician with his own group were outstanding.

There is a Fish Market here “to die for”. Fresh Yellow Fin Tuna, definitely the best we have had so far.

On 15th February, having completed our technical problem with the new inverter/charger - $3,000 worth a new equipment that does not work (lets not go there – on a par with the Anderson electrical winches almost), we head off down the coast stopping at some very nice spots along the way.

Now beach landings with the dinghy in Pacific waters is a whole new ball game. It equates as a spectator sport with watching yachts docking in marinas. First you need wheels fitted to the back of the dinghy – which we have. You then have to get your technique right and judge the incoming waves. If you don't you can end up very wet and your dinghy flipped over with the engine immersed in sea water in a flash. All was well with our landings until we reached Bahia Tenacatita, where we mis-judged it badly. We both ended up being thrown out, fortunately the dinghy although being full of water stayed upright, so the engine did not get flooded. A guy on the beach gave Christine 9.8 for presentation and artistic content when she went over board. Terry however despite the dunking managed to keep his glasses on, which is quite a feat in itself as Terry has managed to loose roughly 30 pairs of glasses overboard one way or another since we left the UK. The shortest time Terry has kept a new pair is approx 1 hour – the “Porters” can testify to that.

At Melaque we saw how the local fishermen do it. Full throttle, aim for the beach and lift the engine at the very last moment. Result, one Panga beached several yards up and no passer by being killed in the process – luckily.

Our final stopover in Mexico is Manzanillo – Las Hadas, where we are anchored next to Neal Schneider's brother Mark and his wife Wendy of “Wendaway” - this world is getting smaller.

With the last minute provisioning on board, we check out of Mexico (which took 3 hours to complete) and are ready to leave for the passage to the Marquesas.

We wish we had not been put of going to Mexico in December as it meant that we ended up with only having a very short time there. The little of Mexico that we did see was delightful. The Mexican people were lovely and very helpful and we felt perfectly safe.

On 2nd March at 17.40 we weighed anchor, said farewell and waved goodbye to Mark and Wendy and start our approx 3 week passage to the Marquesas.

On passage we are back to clearing off dead flying fish and peeling squid off the decks in the mornings – No Mum & Dad they are not Humbolt squid (which can grow to 2 metres in length and they can be aggressive) – God can you imagine having one of them on your decks.

The first few days were a very warm pleasant sail, at each sunset we saw the “Green Flash”. After that it went to the typical Northern Pacific Seas, with confused wave direction, which makes for an uncomfortable ride. Then having the Equatorial Counter Current against you, followed by going through the ITCZ (you can get any kind of weather/sea state in that area – it is where the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Southern Pacific Ocean converge and their respective trade winds, and can be 200 nm across). The first and second time we crossed this area back in 2009 we experienced no adverse conditions except strange shivering ripples on the sea. This time it was what we call “Hatch Aerobics” conditions - several periods of rain on and off where you are continuously opening and closing hatches.

Going back to talking about things falling off and usually going over board. Well a sheet got caught round one of our winches in the cockpit and tore off the self tailer fitting, which ended up over the side. Now where this winch is situated, in the rear, middle of a centre cockpit, if we threw an object of the same size and weight and tried to get it over board the changes are that it would either have:-

  1. Hit the wooden guard rail and landed in the scupper.
  2. Hit the wire between the guard rail and bulwark and landed in the scupper.
  3. Hit the bulwark – land in the scupper.
  4. Hit the side ladder which is fixed between the guard rail and landed in the scupper.
  5. Hit the Dorado box housing.
  6. Hit the mizzen mast shrouds and various other bits and pieces fixed to the boat.

 

Either way according to “The Law of Gravity, it should have just fallen down and ended up in the scuppers or the cockpit. On boats “The Law of Gravity” does not apply - “SODS Law” does!! Over the side it went.

600 nm out at 04.00 a fair size fishing vessel is a little to close for comfort, going the opposite direction. He did not appear to have any navigation lights or they were obscured by the large number of white deck lights on the vessels. However, all be came clear as to which way he was heading. He was about 300 metres, just past our starboard beam when he turned almost 180 degrees towards us heading on a converging track and by now we could clearly make out details of the boat. It was quite a frightening twist as there was no innocent or logical reason for the turn. We immediately thought that this was a fishing boat with quite a large crew on board who might be thinking of augmenting their fishing income with some part time piracy. A very rapid exchange over the radio and the fishing vessel fortunately turned away. Maybe he was bored and a little curios about us and just wanted a closer look at us. Very scary though, especially with what is going on in the news lately regarding pirates etc.

Night of 11/03 we get to hear about the Tsunami from our Net Controller, Neal Schneider, that hit Japan badly. This also affected Puerto La Cruz, Mexico (amongst many other areas), where quite a few of the Puddle Jumpers were based prior to setting off across the Pacific, either in the marina or out at anchor. All the marinas on the Pacific Coast were immediately closed and all boats with crews on board ordered to leave. The reports were that up to 6 foot surges were felt in the marina and a dock broke away – you certainly do not want to be tied to a dock in those conditions. Tsunami can travel at up to 600 miles per hour, nearly the speed of sound. In deep sea if out on the water you will not even feel a ripple if you are in a 150 feet depth or more.

On 12/03 exactly 2 years to the date, day and within 3 hours of the time, we crossed an exact position from the track line that we made from Galapagos to Hawaii on 12/03/2009 – how spooky was that. Looking back to our Log Book entry, we had the same wind speed, wind direction and sea states – same old, same old.

On 18/03 at 04.40 we crossed the Equator, we duly toast and pay homage to Neptune, for the third time in 2 years, you would think it would be Neptune's turn to buy the round of drinks. However, the galley floor, cockpit floor and down one side of Christine got most of it.

We arrive in the Marquesas at 11.31, on 25th March 2011 after 2,829 nm.

Remind us why we enjoy long passages, apart from being bounced off every conceivable hard surface, wearing half your meals, having most of your coffee run down your chin as though you have just had a trip to the dentist. Having cupboard doors smack you in the head then on the return motion trap your fingers and in the meantime the contents of the said cupboard have now become exocet missiles (tin cans in particular hurt). You get too little wind, too much wind, wind in the wrong direction. You take out one perfectly clean boat and have half a ton of wet salt thrown over the decks and break things that worked absolutely fine before you left. But for some reason best known to somebody else we still enjoy the passages and the sense of achievement we feel when we arrive.

Finally if you have not fallen asleep or slashed your wrists by now reading this, here's a few statistics for us on 'Teka Nova'.

Below are passages that we have completed that have been over 1,000 nm and over 1 weeks duration:-

  1. Galapagos to Hawaii 4,354 nm 30 days
  2. Hawaii to Port Angeles WA 3,083 nm 25 days
  3. Gran Canaria to St. Lucia (ARC) 2,884 nm 19 days - that particular ARC in 2006 stills holds the record for the fastest crossing, with the lead boat (a racer) making the crossing in 11 days.
  4. Mexico to Marquesas (Pacific Puddle Jump) 2,829 nm 23 days
  5. Port Angeles WA to Santa Cruz Island CA 1,296 nm 10 days

 

Mileage to date – 27,469 nm since leaving the UK in 2006 ...........Yawn..........Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Very Best Wishes to you all
Christine & Terry

S/Y 'Teka Nova'

November 2010

After arriving back from Alaska we headed off to the San Juan Islands (Washington) on 2nd July 2010, unfortunately our friends “The Porters” could not join us as they had both gone down with a nasty bug....you keep it guys, we don't want it. We spent a very pleasant week just cruising and relaxing.

The 4th July was spent at Orcas Island – Deer Harbour, watching the firework display from 'Teka Nova'. Unfortunately, we were down wind of the floating pontoon from where the fireworks were being launched, so we ended up getting the fall out all over the decks. Dah.... why did we anchor down wind???

9th July saw us back in Port Angeles for re-fueling and waiting for the weather window for our passage down to San Francisco. We set out on 11th July but had to turn back owing to the weather and sea state going against us. However, this did not turn out so bad as we ended up having a joint BBQ with Michael and Kate (our neighbours on the yacht next to us) and our friends Jean and Dana.

Whilst still waiting for the next weather window, we decide to catch a ferry over to Vancouver Island to spend a day sight seeing around Victoria. For those of you that do not know this area there are hundreds of Islands with hundreds of ferry’s running between them all day. We pitch up at the ferry terminal and duly stand in line to collect our tickets, when we spot two of our old English friends, Christine and John of “Time and Tide” who happen to be catching the same ferry at the same time. We had not seen Christine and John since 2008 in Venezuela!!! They had left their boat in Florida and were touring the USA in an RV. What a fantastic coincidence. It really is a small world. We also get chatting to a nice lady called Katrina Brown on the ferry back to Port Angeles who now regularly keeps in touch with us, which is lovely.

On 13th July we set off once again for San Francisco. No problems until we exited the Strait of Juan De Fuca, around Cape Flattery where the sea swell was increasing. It is a well known trouble spot for sailors. We decided to go approx. a hundred miles off shore in order to get a smoother passage however, we ended up 250 miles off shore without a smoother passage. Added to this there was a large depression with gale force winds sitting right over San Francisco (which actually sat there for 2 weeks) and we could not get into San Francisco without enduring at least 48 hrs of serious into wind sailing and 15 foot swells on our beam. So we made the decision to bin San Francisco and carry onto Los Angeles. In the meantime one of the steering cables broke. Fortunately, we have four independent ways of steering (five if you count the emergency steering) so we could continue without it and decided to fix it at anchor off one of the Islands (Santa Cruz in Smuggler's Cove) that lies approx. 21 miles off the coast of Los Angeles before attempting to go into Ventura Isle Marina. So we arrive at Santa Cruz 10 days after leaving Port Angeles and 1,296 miles to boot.

Steering cable replaced we arrive on 24th July into Ventura Isle Marina , which is roughly 85 miles north of Los Angeles, where on the first night we were well and truly christened by Cormorants roosting on our spreaders – god knows what these things eat but its a lot of whatever it is!!!

Whilst we are here we are told about an Air Show that was taking place just down the coast at Point Mugu, which would have a display by the Thunderbirds, the USAF display team. So we take a day off and anchor off the shore with several other boats. Unknowing to us the yacht anchored next door took pictures of us and E-mailed them to us. After an exchange of E-Mails we arranged to meet up with Rick and Patty upon our return from the UK, which we are looking forward to.

We return to the UK on 12th August as Terry's son Gavin was getting married on 29th August to Cathy Bury. The Wedding was lovely, with the couple tying the knot at Windsor Guild Hall, where Prince Charles and Carmela got hitched, followed by the reception at Royal Holloway University, if you have ever been there you will know what a magnificent piece of architecture this immense building is. Cathy looked stunning and Gavin looked very handsome. It was a great day and one which we enjoyed tremendously. They could not have had a more perfect way to start their married life.

We then set off to our home in Cyprus to spend a few weeks there, enjoying the company of our friends at the Paphos International Sailing Club, before returning back to the UK. As usual we run out of time to visit/get to see all our friends and family but hopefully we will catch folks we missed next time round. To those of you whom we did get to see, it was great and thank for all your hospitality.

So here we are back in Ventura Isle Marina (6th Nov) and starting to prepare 'Teka Nova' for our trip down to Mexico at the beginning of December.

The socks are off the jeans are stowed, into shorts and flip flops – hurray hurray hurray........sorry guys we know the weather in the UK is not so good right now!!

Oh, we know that we are back in California as we saw a dog skate boarding yesterday – we kid you not, its at times like that you wish you had the camera at hand.

Very Best Wishes to you all.

Christine & Terry

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June 2010

'TEKA NOVA' UPDATE

We are back on board Teka Nova after a few months break over the winter in the UK and Cyprus.

We arrived back in Port Angeles, Washington, USA (God's Country as they say over here, (When the sun shines!)) on Thursday 11th March after a two day break with our friends “The Porters” on Whidbey Island, who very kindly picked us and our 6 suitcases up from Seattle Airport. We had been living out of our 6 suitcases, with our cloths somewhere packed around all the boat spares for a few months now. It was getting quite tiring fishing around for clean underwear and coming up with an Engine Oil Filter instead.

We started work to get Teka Nova ready for going back in the water after her winter lay over. Teka Nova was relaunched on 12th April and work began putting back on all the sails, life raft etc etc. Dana and Jean as ever offered their help with anything we might need, including Dana driving our anchor chain all the way to Seattle to be re-galvanised and then going back to pick it up.

Larry and Peg Bingham arrive 4th May on “Bing Bang”, their sons 48' Bayliner Pilot House Motor Vessel and we depart with them on 7th May for the trip to Juneau – Alaska, after shutting down Teka Nova and catering “Bing Bang”.

We headed up through Canada at a fair pace, as we had already cruised this area last season and Larry and Peg wanted to show us as much as possible of Alaska in the time we had with them. They have made the trip on several occasions and thus were the perfect tour guides.

The weather stayed amazingly good for the time of the year. For 3 weeks we enjoyed 60-70 *F with wonderful sunshine. The exception was Ketchikan, where it always rains anyway (155inches per year). Peg and Christine got a good soaking lugging all the washing to the launderette, where it became a toss up as to whether they put the washing in the dryer or themselves.

Alaska is so vast and immense, it is very difficult to judge distances and heights of the beautiful scenery around you, it can be quite overwhelming just looking at it, especially the glaciers. The glaciers are a wonder to behold. They have a range of blues in them, from pale blue to sometimes quite vivid blues. When you get up close you can hear them cracking loudly and if you are lucky (which we were) you get to see them “carving”.

We get to see such amazing sights, Brown Bears (Grizzly), Black Bears, Sea Otters, Orcas, Humpback Whales, Grey Whales and Eagles. On the second to last morning Peg bangs on our cabin door “There is a grizzly on the beach with her three cubs”. We both scramble like mad out of bed, not really knowing if we had put each others clothes on and rush out on deck and sure enough there was Mum with her three babies strolling along the shore.

The day continued on the same note, where Humpback Whales pass us and Sea Lions with their pups float by on ice bergs on our way up Tracy Arm to our last glacier by boat. We could not get to the face of this glacier as it was “carving” quite a lot, which meant the ice bergs were too thick for us to motor through. Not a great sound hearing them crunch along the boat and being ever mindful that they can wipe out your prop.

Apart from sitting back and enjoying the wonderful sights and scenery, we get to do some crabbing and shrimping. OK so the first time we put the pots down we only got one shrimp and one crab but boy was that crab sooooooo.....good and enough at least for all four of us to have an appertiser. Our efforts (or should we say Larry's) did pay off where we continued to get one or two crabs and on one particular day we hauled in approx. 4 – 5lb of large shrimp and four large crabs. We feasted like kings that night. If you have ever eaten crab that fresh, there is nothing like it..............absolutely gorgeous!!!

We also got to bath in the hot springs. One of which we sat in amongst the natural rock and another which was fed into old fashioned tubs, which reminded us of the old western films – great fun and wonderfully warm.

Unfortunately like all good things they come to an end as we were booked to fly back to Port Angeles on 4th June, after covering 1,962 miles.

We can not thank Larry and Peg enough for the terrific time and trip. They really did put themselves out to ensure we got to see as many of the best things as possible and we really appreciated that.

We arrive back in Seattle, where Dick and Sharron “The Porters” meet us and take us to their home on Whidbey Island for a few days. This time we only had two bags of luggage and NO SPARES for the boat.

As usual we have a fun time with these guys, also our mutual friends from Honolulu, Sally and Jim were over and we get to catch up with them for a day.

8th June “The Porters” drop us off at the ferry terminal with our now four bags......how did that happen!! and we cross over to Port Townsend where we are met by Dana who has kindly come to pick us up and take us back to our boat (via Costco and Safeway, thereby catering Teka Nova for the next month!!)

Well here we are back on Teka Nova and relating stories to anyone who will listen of our Alaska trip, they all appear suitably envious and quite right too.

We plan to depart Port Angeles the first week in July, when we will cruise the San Juan Islands for a while in company with “The Porters” on their new Bayliner Motor Cruiser, or should we say we will follow in their wake and catch up with them at the anchorages – motor vessel verses sailing yacht...Um.

(before we head south).

As usual it will be a sad farewell to all our old and new friends that we have made and met here. We would also like to say a big Thank You to the Port Angeles Boat Haven Marina staff and other support staff in the Port Angeles area, they have really looked after us here and we would recommend this Marina and Haul Out facility to anyone.

..........................and for those of you who have been following our saga of our electric winches.....they are now actually working – for those of you who have not – VERY VERY LONG STORY!!!!!

 

Very Best Wishes

Christine & Terry

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March 2010

Hi All
 
Just to let everybody know that we returned to Seattle Washington yesterday where we were met by our friends Dick and Sharon Porter who helped us with our 6 bags of spares etc plus the odd items of clothes, to finish off our mini refit in Port Angeles Yacht Haven, WA. USA
 
Our outline plans are that we have until the 18 April to finish off the underwater jobs, and then she will be launched. A further couple of weeks will be needed doing sails etc, and then we are taking off as crew with our friends Larry and Peg Bingham up to Juneau, Alaska in their sons trawler yacht. From Juneau we will fly back to Teka Nova. 
 
After some working/cruising we should be ready mid to late July to launch south heading towards San Francisco and then San Diego.  We will then head back to the UK and Cyprus as my son will be getting married.
 
Our next phase will be to cruise around Mexico and then head down towards the Marquesas.........etc.

It was great to see everyone in the UK and Cyprus, sorry we were not able to get round to see all of you this time round.
 
Love
Christine & Terry 

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October 2009

 

Dear All,

You will find in this Newsletter that there will be a great deal about the people we have met up with. We make no apologies for this as they have been and become a key element in making our adventure a great one. Once again their kindness and generosity has been overwhelming, not only do they invite us into their homes for dinner, they offer to drive us anywhere or help us with anything and for that we say many many thanks from the bottom of our hearts to all those mentioned in this Newsletter and in previous Newsletters, we feel we are far better people for having known you all.

OK, the last Newsletter ended with us waiting for our injectors to come back. In the meantime we meet new friends:-

Bill and Carol of “Linda Grace”.

Dana and Jean who live in Port Angeles – more about these people further on.

With the injectors returned cleaned and re-built we set off on 13th July for some cruising around the Puget Sound area.

Our next stop was Port Ludlow, where we dropped anchor. We prefer to be out at anchor and will quite happily not go into Marinas for 6 – 9 months, we are fully self sufficient with the generator, water maker and the dinghy.

Everywhere is just so quiet, peaceful and still. We go for walks ashore, the trees are stunning and the smell of pine is just wonderful. The scenery here is beautiful, albeit a little on the chilly side for us thinned blooded people who have been in the tropics for the last 3 years. We get to see Deer, Raccoon, Seals and Otters.

Terry has his first Birthday afloat (usually back in the UK for his). His Birthday cake is baked and suitably decorated and Terry gets to choose what he would like for dinner – tenderloin steak and my chips and of course followed by Birthday cake and cream, thats if after he has blown out all his candles we still have a boat left.

On 15th July the passage to Sinclair Inlet started out in thick fog but cleared by 13.00 hours and the day became hot and sunny. Agate Bridge proved to be interesting as we had about a 5 inch clearance under it.

The next day we arrive in Filucy Bay and within 3 hours of dropping our anchor a gentleman by the name of Rich has come by our boat with Brie his dog (a Black Lab) that cannot wait to board us and inspect our boat, (would make a good Customs Officer) however, the distance between Rich's dinghy and our boat widens slightly and Brie nearly goes in the drink, Terry successfully prevents this and Brie is onboard big time. Rich then invites us to their house for dinner. His wife Connie at this point does not know this. We duly arrive at their beautiful home after accepting such a generous offer. Connie welcomes us like long lost friends and dishes up the most amazing spread at short notice. They have also invited their friends Peg and Larry. We eat, drink and chat in their amazing garden, again savoring the wonderful smell of pine trees, the beautiful setting and most importantly the company of special people.

Larry and Peg drop by our boat the next day. Larry is a fellow professional aviator and Peg is a qualified pilot, so an interesting duo. They also started out long term cruising which unfortunately got interrupted. They bring on their visit home made cookies and fresh herbs from their garden!!!!

The day after that we meet up with Larry and Peg again and were invited out on their son's motor boat, to view the Bremerton naval facility and have some lunch.

We then set off to Langley Marina (Whidbey Island) to meet up again with our friends Dick and Sharron Porter (we met them originally in Honolulu) and will be known from here on as “The Porters”. After receiving a warm welcome by the Marina (which is quite small and Teka Nova is the largest yacht they have had) and people who just wanted to talk to us (they are very interested in our adventures as very few world cruisers come this way). We spent a few days with “The Porters” at their home. A great deal of Americans fly their National Flag outside their homes, as we drove up their drive they had hoisted a huge Union Jack as well.

We do some fun and interesting things like ride in their Ford Model A with Sharron and Christine in the buggie seat and go to the pictures in a family size local village cinema – we can not remember the last time we went to the movies. We also get to unwrap the many packets containing spare parts etc. and our new folding bikes that we have had sent to their address – it was just like Christmas.

After, “The Porters” join us on Teka Nova for a little cruising. Dick lends us his crab pot and sorts us out with fishing gear to catch salmon.

We end up in Seattle and go to the Boeing Museum of Flight (one of the Concorde's is here), we also get to see the Blue Angels (the US Navy's equivalent of the British Red Arrows) amongst many other great things.

The Porters” depart and we continue to cruise the Puget Sound. When we anchored off Port Townsend, I.D. and Bobbye who were over from Honolulu on vacation meet up with us for lunch, it was just great to see these folks again.

One of our first trips out on our new bikes proved interesting, we managed to confuse a driver at a pedestrian crossing, whereby he shouted out his window... “are you pedestrians or cyclist?”................”neither we're English”, as if that explained everything.

Next we head back to Port Angeles to do the final arrangements for the haul out in October. We get to spend time with Dana and Jean again, also Larry and Peg who drove up from Filucy Bay (with more home made cookies) and we spend a day sight seeing with them – Lake Crescent and Hurricane Rig in the Olympic National Park – spectacular!!

We then set off to Canada (Vancouver Island - Port Sidney Marina) where we meet up with John and Harmony whom we first met in Grenada 2 years ago!! John & Harmony live close to the marina. John had also participated in the Atlantic Rally For Cruisers on his yacht “Ocean Harmony” the same year as us (although we did not know this until we had met with them in Grenada). They introduced us to their friends Gerry and Maxine (Gerry crewed for John on the ARC). Once again we are given the most generous hospitality by these people, invited to dinner and sight seeing, one of the sights was the world famous Butchart Gardens, if you ever go to Vancouver Island this is a must to see.

On the first day we arrived at Port Sidney Marina we voiced our concerns regarding the depth of water in the slip we had been assigned to. We had on several occasions informed them we have a 8' 6” draft. The first morning at low tide we only had 6” under the keel. Once again we informed the Marina as the next low tide was going to be even worse (spring tide). They said they would move us the next day to a slip further out. TOO LATE!! The next morning we wake up and get out of bed .... ahhh, whats wrong with this picture, Teka Nova is listing to starboard and is well and truly aground. The bow has sunk into the mud but the middle to aft section of the keel is resting on a rock and we are sitting about 2 feet out of the water. Teka Nova is also listing over onto the dock putting all the pressure (32 tons) onto the fenders. Two concerns were a) if the fenders burst we would lean even further over and b) if the keel slid off the rock we would be in deep shit. We tied a line from the top of the mast to the opposite dock, this pulled Teka Nova into a more upright position and took some of the pressure off the fenders. The weight was actually bending the dock post over. The tide eventually re-floated us and we moved round to the other slip we had been assigned.

We had set the alarm clock for 5 o'clock in the morning to check the depth and we were already down to 5' under the keel. So at 6 o'clock we up and left with just 2' feet under the keel and still 4 hours of falling tide to go – we would have been aground yet again.

Now back to our fishing:-

Crab Pot – Well its 1 crab and 4 large Star fish (anyone got any recipes for Star Fish?).

Fishing – Nil Salmon and 1 Christmas Tree and a broken reel!!

We head North for the next couple of months (we get approx. 500 miles north of Port Angeles) staying at anchor and only going into Marinas when strong storms are forecast – now it got really wet and cold. It rained so much at one time we had to get up and bail the dinghy out in the middle of the night.

The further north we travel the more it becomes wilderness sailing with very few boats or people around. In the Broughton Islands there are very few settlements, only fish farms and logging camps, All the buildings/homes are built onto floating docks and the normal mode of transport (apart from boat) are sea planes. However, the scenery is second to none and the mountains covered in trees are clearly reflected in the water to make a near perfect mirror image and of course our highlight was that we got to see Black Bears!!

The other thing to note around this part of the world is that the currents can be quite strong particularly in some of the Passes and this can be combined with tide rips, so you have to time your passages accordingly. Some Passes you only have a 15 minute window to navigate through with the penalty of 15 knot currents on the ebb and flood. Also, owing to the large logging trade you find that you are quite often taking avoiding action as to not to hit stray logs – it makes an awfully loud and horrid noise when you do and of course can cause damage to your vessel.

Whilst we are cruising this area (and when it was not raining) we get down to re-painting Teka Nova's scuppers and coach roofs. Unfortunately, Terry manages to get some metal in his eye, which ended up with him having to go to hospital to get it removed - $715 just to be seen by a doctor – thank goodness for travel insurance and after 48 hours his eye was fine.

We also get to catch a Jelly Fish – the first thing we do in the morning is to start the generator to charge the batteries......

CJ - “Um Terry, theres no water coming out the generator exhaust”

TB -“Oh Blow” (or words to that affect, actually it was nothing like what Terry said) “I've only just changed that impeller, can't believe its gone already – I'll change it when we stop at the next anchorage, lets get the engine started and get on our way”

CJ -“Um Terry, theres no water coming out the engine exhaust either”

TB -“Both the impellers could not have gone at the same time surely?”

And no they haven't................what is causing the problem is the biggest Jelly Fish you have ever seen (or we have seen) sucked up into the salt water inlet filter. Trying to remove it became interesting – we can only a liken it to trying to pick up several dozen raw broken eggs. It was slippery and slimy and came out in several bits to half fill a plastic shopping bag. That wasn't all of it, Terry had to then don the dive gear and get the rest of it out the inlet pipe.

On the way south we call in at Bellingham where we met up with our friends from England, Tim and Bernardean who have a house there. Bernardean is originally from the USA. We spend a few great days with them. They drive us to all the stores we need and take us up to Mt Baker where we get to walk in the snow. We really enjoyed ourselves and have some great photos of the scenery from the Mountain.

We head back to Langley via Deception Pass (at the top end of Whidbey Island) – this is one of those Passes you need to time well (half an hour window to get through). Our friends “The Porters” drive a 100 mile round trip to see us go through and take some really good photos of us. Sharron also brings the large Union Jack and vigorously waves it from the bridge – you can well imagine some of the comments she received.

We arrive in Langley at 9 o'clock at night in 25 knots of wind – always makes anchoring much more fun.

Once again we spend some time with “The Porters” before heading back to Port Angeles via Sequim Bay.

Back in Port Angeles a week before our haul out to prepare Teka Nova, after which we have a further two weeks of preparing Teka Nova for the winter before returning to the UK and this is where we come back to Dana and Jean. Dana and Jean have kindly lent us their lovely home to live in and have the use of their vehicle whilst they are away on vacation.

On 21st October we go with Dana and Jean to Seattle Airport and take the opportunity to catch up and have lunch with Jim and Sally Ewing who are in town from Honolulu and of course “The Porters”. This was a lot of fun and the guys had organised a celebration of Christine's birthday with presents and a cake made by the Washington Athletic Club, which was a lovely surprise.

Teka Nova was hauled out on 22nd October – no problems. Her bottom actually looks in surprisingly good condition seen as she was last hauled out 18 months ago. However, we still have a lot of work to do before leaving her and never enough days to do it in, also the rain keeps stopping some of the work that needs to be carried out.

Sunday 25th October we needed to go into Port Townsend to pick up a pump from West Marine and as no one is working in the boat yard that day, we managed to give ourselves an afternoon off and catch up with Mark and Nancy of “Tamara” who live in Port Townsend (the cruisers we met up with in Hawaii who were sailing to Alaska the same time as us – they made it, we didn't). Good to see you guys again and look forward to meeting up with you next year.

We are hoping that we can catch up with Larry and Peg and it would be nice to see Rich and Connie again before we leave for the UK but for now thats all from the crew of Teka Nova until we return to her next March.

Have we had fun and laughed so much with these people? – in SHED LOADS!!

Very Best Wishes to you all.

Christine and Terry

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July 2009

Having arrived in Honolulu Waikiki Yacht Club on 3rd April, we developed a couple of Technical problems and instead of our planned stay of 2 weeks we were there for 5 weeks. Having said that we met the most amazing people. The Yacht Club was second to none – staff and members could not have been more helpful or friendly. We would like to say a very special thank you to :-

 

Kat Petron

Jim and Sally Ewing

Dick and Sharon Porter

Al, Shirley and Terri

Jack Peters

Jay Evans

I.D. and Bobbye

Mike Parsons

 

These people made our stay one of the most memorable of our travels.

 

Technical problems fixed we venture out over to Molokai Island (Lono bay) and drop anchor for a week before going back to WYC to have the rest of our cockpit covers completed. Whilst we were in Lono bay we meet up with Mark and Nancy of “Tamara”, who will also be leaving for Alaska about the same time as us.


So back to the WYC for our covers and there it is a very sad farewell to all the special friends we have made. We also meet up with David and Irene of “Pandora” who are also going to Alaska.


We set off just up the coast to Pokai Bay where we drop anchor for a few days, just relaxing and watching the turtles swim by and the schools of dolphins. We also become quite the celebrities here. People would swim out or paddle out on their surf boards just to come and talk to us. Apparently we had become a talking point on the shore owing to our flag ( Blue Defaced Ensign) and there was a great discussion as to where we were from.

 

We left Pokai Bay and headed off to Kauai Island – Nawiliwili, to position for the passage to Alaska once the weather window appeared. Pandora is already there and Tamara arrived shortly after. A few days later Tamara and us move up to Hanalei Bay (where the song Puff The Magic Dragon comes from).

 

Pandora E-Mails us to say that they are leaving on Wednesday, we then depart on the Friday 5th June, followed by Tamara on Sunday. We are in contact with both boats throughout the passage.


All is going well and then the Gales/Storms start coming across. Now at this time of year there is only supposed to be 1% of Gale/Storms but we are seeing Gale/Storms one after the other from our weather faxes. We suspect this is going to be an El Ninio year. Pandora gets hit by one of these, we turn East to avoid it and Tamara are in a position to hold back and wait until it passes.


Gale passes and we start heading North again.

 

We then suspect we have a rope or something around our prop at this time. We wait for a reasonable calm day and Terry dons the dive gear and goes overboard with me holding tightly onto his safety rope, to investigate. After the third attempt Terry manages to get to the prop and sure enough we have picked up a fishing net (not surprising as there had been an awful lot of debris floating past us). This was duly hacked off and floated away astern of us. Terry thought himself extremely brave when he realised the water depth was 18750ft

 

We carry on North, no wind so we are motoring but one night whilst I (Christine) was on watch, I noticed a fair amount of white smoke coming out of the exhaust. The Engine is running fine and all the instruments are indicating all is well but we are using twice the amount of fuel – so something is wrong. Mark of Tamara was absolutely terrific and talked us through some tests to do on the engine to find the problem. It basically all came down to the injectors which we suspected were gummed up. Both Tamara and ourselves suspected the fuel we purchased in Honolulu was not top quality. Thank you Mark for all your help and the knowledge you passed to us, it was very much appreciated.

 

So we make the decision to bin Alaska and head for Seattle. By this time our friends Dick and Sharon whom we met in Honolulu have returned back to their home in Seattle, although they have now gone on holiday on a cruise ship. However, Dick organises everything for our arrival into Port Angeles and has a mechanic lined up ready on our arrival. Now you will perhaps understand just how special these people are.

 

Well we continue trying to sail to Seattle without using the engine, be-calmed some nights and good winds during the day we do some of the most challenging and some of the best sailing we have ever done. For the first time in 3 years the duvet and our heavy weather gear come out – we were finding it sooooo cold after being in the tropics for so long.

 

The weather pattern does not improve and yet another Gale/Storm is coming our way. This time we can not out run it and we our caught in a Force 9 (45 knots) for 30 hours. Teka Nova handled it beautifully. Everyone who were receiving our Position Reports were worried sick. However, we just got on with it – still playing are customary game of scrabble every afternoon, which has become a daily ritual on long passages with us.

 

We arrived in Port Angeles (24 days 9 hours and 55 mins – 3,-083 miles) at 23.55 on 29th June. Dick and Sharon caught a ferry across to us the next day – it was so good to see them. They drove us around to all the places we needed to go. Then a couple of days later Dick catches another ferry to us once again to assists with anything we needed.

 

So, here we are in Port Angeles with some great people around us, waiting for our injectors to be check and returned – hopefully that will fix the problem and we can be once again on are way. In the meantime we celebrated 4th July with Alex Giron an ex colleague of Christine's and Alex's partner Jennifer, it was really good to see these guys.

 

Thus our onward cruising plans will have to be altered, so for the remainder of this season we will be cruising Puget Sound and the waters to the northern tip of Vancouver Island before returning south to be lifted out in October for the winter, when we will return to the UK and Cyprus. Next spring we will head up to Alaska to Prince William Sound before cruising the inland passage back to Washington where we will be lifted out for another winter. After that we will head south again.

 

Best Regards

Christine & Terry

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April 2009

Dear All,

After transiting the Panama Canal we spent 6 days at anchor at Balboa Panama City, to re-cater etc. The anchorage to say the least was horrid and dangerous at times, with pilot and ferry boats etc. going through at a rate of knots. This would send the yachts rocking and rolling badly. If you were attempting to either leave the dinghy to get on board your boat or the other way round, you could easily end up in the water. This is what actually happened to Terry as he was attempting to get back on board, a boat went pass at high speed and the wake surged the dinghy and Terry went flying overboard into the water. It was only David Simpson's actions that prevented Terry from being slammed between the dinghy and the swim platform.

However, whilst we are here we are re-united with Geoff and Geraldine of “Blue Dawn” and Georges and Annie of “Trio”, which is always pleasant to meet up with old friends.

O n 19th January we depart Panama City (Balboa) for the Las Perlas Islands. We spend approx 6 days cruising the Islands, which were very pleasant. Here we saw Rays flying out of the water, then somersaulting before re-entering which is apparently part of their self cleaning ritual. The locals here hunt iguanas with dogs for food – we gave that delicacy a miss.

On 26th January we set off for the Galapagos Islands, which took us 6 days – 875 miles. The passage was pretty uneventful. However, David did manage to catch a Spanish Mackerel and we had yet another bird join us for breakfast. We of course duly toasted Neptune and asked for safe passage upon crossing the Equator.

We spend 4 weeks in the Galapagos Islands, which were amazing in their own right. The Sea Lions were funny and cute, and they would happily swim with you. They would also have a nap on your swim platform and if you were foolish enough to leave your dinghy in the water they would be in it in a flash.

The Giant Tortoises, Turtles, Penguins, Rays, Iguanas and Blue Footed Booby Birds were great to see at such close quarters. All the Islands we visited were clean, tidy and looked after and the people were very friendly.

The downside is the paperwork you have to go through as a cruiser. However, we had an agent by the name of Bolivar, who was tremendous and arranged for someone to meet us at each Island to do all the necessary paperwork. The other couple of downsides were the anchorages, which were very rocky and rolly (you needed to use the kedge anchor). Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz was particularly bad as this also gets exceptionally busy with the charter boats. Also, not sure if it was the time of year or what but the water clarity was not good. We had to change our water maker filters 3 times whilst we were here.

Once again it becomes a small world and Geoff and Geraldine of “Blue Dawn” have arrived. They are a lovely couple and we were very sorry to have to say goodbye to them when they left. Blue Dawn was off to the Marquesas and so our paths divide. But as they say “never say never”, we just might catch up with them again around New Zealand or Australia, we sincerely hope so.

The other person who pops up in Galapagos is Gasper of who was one of our line handlers through the Panama Canal. Good to see you again Gasper!!

On 5th March we depart for our passage to Hawaii. 4,354 miles, which took us 29 days, 12 hours and 47 minutes (just the 2 of us on board). We knew we would probably have to motor for at least the first 4 days to get far enough north to pick up the trade winds, but we got lucky and pick them up a day earlier than expected.

As we start our passage through the Islands a Sea Lion floats by, completely on his back, with tail and fins in the air, enjoying the sunshine, it was so surreal it could have been something from Alice in Wonderland. We once again cross back over the Equator and toast Neptune and ask for permission to cross from his Southern Kingdom to his Northern Kingdom and for a safe passage.

On our second day out a Red Footed Booby Bird landed on the roll bar of the anchor and stayed with us for 5 days (goes off fishing for breakfast, lunch and dinner). How he managed to hold on with webbed feet, especially in these sea conditions is quite amazing.

9 days into the passage and we have light winds and confused seas, added to which we have the Equatorial Counter Current against us. We probably experimented with every combination of our 4 sails to get the best out of Teka Nova, however, it still feels as though we are in a washing machine.

Fortunately, we have the luxury of 2 separate auto helms, so we run one by day and the other by night, this is in order to give them both equal amounts of torture.

The night of day 9 we get our first sighting of another vessel, followed by an hour later of a 6” flying fish landing in my lap (Christine), which being night time, came as a bit of a surprise. After throwing back the fish, cleaning myself and my MP3 player off of fish scales the night continued uneventfully – too much excitement for 1 night anyway.

Our watch pattern consisted of 6 hours on, 6 hours off during the night (18.00 – midnight and midnight to 06.00) and 4 hours on, 4 hours off during the day. This works for us but everyone finds their own pattern that suits them. On the 6 hour night watches we set up the Radar alarm (so you can actually doze off whilst on watch). The Radar alarm will also go off if a reasonable size cloud is approaching, this gives you time (depending on what mile range you set it) to shorten the sails if necessary.

A typical day on Teka Nova whilst on passage on our own, consisted of:- at dawn a patrol of the boat to peel off squid and remove flying fish from the decks and coach roofs. On one particular evening whilst cooking a sizable Flying Fish came through the galley hatch and missed landing in the frying pan by cms – talk about having fresh fish to eat. The mornings are then given over to our general routine maintenance, cleaning of the boat and fixing anything that might have come loose or needed replacing. This is an aerobic exercise in its self owing to the sea states as they had by now got up to 20' foot from 3 different directions. Any addition physical exercise after this (unless playing with trimming sails) was purely optional or just madness. After lunch we would either read books, listen to our MP3 players, watch a video or play scrabble/chess etc.

For the last 12 days of the passage we are only on a reefed down Genoa and still hit speeds of 9.9 knots, with winds of 25 – 30 knots.

We arrived in Hawaii – Honolulu (Waikiki Yacht Club) on 3rd April, to an exceptionally warm welcome.

Everybody, is friendly and helpful, including Custom Officials. The Security Guard at the Custom's Area, tells you to have a nice lunch, even though its 09.00 am. Shop Assistant's actually want to help you.

The choice and quality of food is very good. You can get four different colours of cauliflower – purple, green, yellow and white. You could do some serious damage to your waist line here. Across the road from the Yacht Club there is a huge Shopping Mall with all the big names.

Fire Engines on a call out tow a boat with them...........how much water do they use?

For those that may be interested in joining us our outline sailing program is as follows:-

Mid June Arrive Kodiak bay Alaska

Mid July Arrive Seeward Alaska

Late July Enter inland passage at Cape Bigner/Cross Sound, close to Glacier Bay

Aug/Sept Inland passage

End Sept Seattle

Oct/Nov West Coast to San Diego

Dec To Mexico for haul out

 

Very Best Wishes

Christine & Terry

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March 2009

We are planning to leave the Galapagos Islands on Wednesday 4th March after being here for approx. 4 weeks,
we will not go into details at this time as we will leave all that good stuff for our next Newsletter which hopefully will be
when we reach Hawaii.  Below is our Sailing Plan for 2009 and early 2010.

 7 Mar - 7 Apr              Passage Galapagos - Hawaii  4000 miles

7 Apr - 1 June              Hawaii

1 June - 18 June           Passage Hawaii - Kodiak Alaska 2100 miles

18 June - 1 July            Kodiak Area

1 July - 6 July               Passage Gulf of Alaska  650 miles

6 July - September       Inshore Passage to Vancouver

September - Nov         Vancouver - San Diego

30 Nov - 4 Dec            Possible passage to North Mexico

Early Dec                     Boat lifted out

Mid December Return to UK

Mid January 2010        Cyprus

April                             UK

May                             Return to Teka Nova

 

Very Best Wishes
Christine & Terry

 

Jan 2009

Firstly, Many Thanks to all who sent us Christmas Cards and Wishes, it was very much appreciated. Communications from the time we left Venezuela have been restricted by lack of Internet and E-Mail facilities, so this Newsletter will be somewhat longer in order to let friends and family catch up with what has been happening to us.

We left Puerto La Cruz – Venezuela on 10th October 2008 for a short distance of 5/6 miles to Isla La Borracha, where we stopped overnight at anchor. This was to clean the prop and check other systems, water maker etc. after being in the marina waters for approx. 3 months, before heading off to Tortogua.

Saying goodbye to our friends that we had known for so long now in Puerto La Cruz was especially hard.

The passage to Tortogua was pleasant enough, apart from Terry quite badly injuring his hands (long story), which got him out of most duties including the washing up – pleased to report that his hands healed quickly and he is OK now.

After taking fishing lessons from Paul of “Dream Weaver” we duly cast our line. Paul had said that we would sure as not catch something where the sea bed shelved off after leaving Isla La Borracha. Sure enough we did, however, whatever it was, it took our complete line with it. We now estimate that our fishing exploits have cost us around £600 for one fish that was caught on the ARC back in 2006.

On approach to our chosen anchorage on Tortogua we were surrounded by the biggest school of dolphins we have come across – literally 100’s of them.

We dropped anchor in approx. 30 feet of water and it was so clear you could actually see the anchor on the sea bed.

After a couple of days we headed off to Los Roques. This had to be the worst passage we have done to date. We were surrounded by big mean thunderstorms, with huge lightning strikes to the sea. One would pass then break up, only to reform and come back towards us (watching them on the Radar) we felt as though we were being stalked. On top of this one was blocking the southern entrance to the Islands and you need to have good visibility to navigate in owing to the reefs, which do not have any markers. We eventually get in and anchor at 08.40 in the morning after 14 hours and 40 mins and a passage of 85 miles, which ended up being 110 miles owing to altering course several times to avoid the thunderstorms. As neither of us had got any sleep through the night we were exhausted and retired to our bed for a well earned sleep.

The next day we were sitting there relaxing and admiring our beautiful view, when a weather warning comes over the Radio. Hurricane Omar was expected to pass quite close to the northern side of the Islands and to expect up to 90 knots of wind. No boats were allowed to enter, leave or navigate within the Islands – Deep Joy!! So we set about stripping the top sides, and lashing down as much as possible. We had no time to strip the sails off as the wind was already up to 25 knots. We then sit and watch the wind indicator rise. Fortunately, it only reached 40 knots and our big new Rocna anchor held fast.

We spent a further 10 days cruising around Los Roques Islands which are absolutely beautiful – no shops etc, only the odd fisherman’s house (apart from on the main Island).

Christine got to celebrate her birthday here, with Champagne and one of her favorite meals – fried eggs and chips!! One of her birthday presents was a hair cut courtesy of Terry with the 1” blade on the hair cutters.

We then sailed to Los Alves for a couple of nights. Equally as beautiful as Los Roques only with 100’s of amazing birds. There was one particular bird (not sure what as we are not too good with our bird varieties) that had bright yellow webbed feet that actually sat up on the tree branches, how they managed to stay on the branches without any claws to hold on with we do not know.

Our next passage took us to Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles. Where upon looking for a mooring buoy (no anchoring here) we are being hailed over the Radio by Gary and Linda of “Rainbowrider”. Also here are Jeff and Una of “Dragonfly”, both boats were with us in Puerto La Cruz.

Well Gary and Jeff jump into their dingy and kindly hand up the mooring buoy line for us. Teka Nova is secured, however, at one point Jeff is hanging off our bow sprit and then Gary ends up falling in the water. As Gary goes overboard, Jeff just causally says “Oh there you go” and carries on talking to us whilst Gary is struggling to get back in the dingy. It has to be said that both boats had arrived a couple of hours before us and had already sampled the contains of the beer cooler – entertainment valve scored a 10.

Bonaire is a delightful place, the people are friendly, even Customs and Immigration!! The food in the restaurants is particularly good here. We also spend a couple of evenings with Gary and Linda (who have their friends Nikki and Dave on board for a holiday) and Jeff and Una. Also Duncan and Janet of “Consort” who arrived a few days after us.

We can only spend a week here as we need to get to Curacao to pick up our spares that we had shipped down from Miami. All the spares are in preparation for after the Panama Canal as there will be virtually no technical support after that.

So we get to Curacao and anchor out in Expanse Water (remember we are anchored quite away out from the shore).

“Consort” is here also and thank goodness that Duncan and Janet have been here before as checking into Immigration and Customs is a bit of a trek and we would probably still be wandering around lost if it was not for these guys.

Downtown Curacao has a flavor of Amsterdam mixed with the Caribbean, with a little American in the way of Denny’s and Tony Roman’s. Quite nice really although parts are Industrial.

We hired a car and set off to pick up our shipment. We arrived at Florida Express and to collect our shipment where we have to do the following (this will probably amuse all Christine’s friends and colleagues in the freight industry):-

1. We have to take a staff member of Florida Express down to Customs.

2. We bring a Customs Officer and the FE staff member back to FE.

3. The Customs Officer checks our shipment and we pay our bill.

4. We take our shipment and the Customs Officer back to where we have moored our dingy.

We had planned on ferrying the shipment bit by bit in the dingy to Teka Nova. However, the Customs Officer says he has to go with us and all of the shipment to Teka Nova to ensure that it all goes on board………..OK small dingy……….large shipment………plus three adults (the Customs Officer is a big guy) – this is not going to work.

Fortunately we have a hand held Radio with us and call “Consort” – HELP!! Duncan comes with his dingy and we divide the shipment across the two. The Custom Officer looks at the dinghy and decides that maybe he will skip the ride to Teka Nova and trust us to put all the items on board, without him being there.

5. We then have to drive the Customs Officer back to Customs.

We spend a few pleasant days here. Dinner on “Consort” before they left which was a really lovely evening, thank you Janet and Duncan. Low and behold “Rainbowrider” pitches up and the socialising continues.

Unfortunately, whilst we are in Curacao we received an E-Mail which showed how bad the security situation had deteriorated in Venezuela with the tragic news that a dear friend of ours (Ken of “Chill”) has been shot and killed whilst at anchor in Isla La Borracha. We have known Ken and Cathy for the past two years, and the first season in Venezuela they very kindly looked after Teka Nova whilst we were in the UK. Cathy and Christine spent many hours together, walking and feeding the marina cats and shopping. We were truly devastated to receive the news of Ken's death and our hearts and thoughts were immediately with his wife Cathy.

We leave Curacao on 13th November for the San Blas Islands, (or as the Kuna Indians prefer them to be called Kuna Yala). This is approx. 620 miles and a 4/5 day trip. We take 5 ½ days and clock up 680 miles. We did just about every sail combination and wind angles, including polling out the head sails for some good old down wind sailing.

On the 4th day a little bird decides to hitch a lift. He makes himself at home and feels quite safe to even sit on Christine’s knee. He spends the entire night with us tucked up asleep under a piece of kitchen roll in the cockpit with his head tucked under his wing. All night we are being so careful as to not tread on him. Changing sails and changing watches never bothered him.

On the way we cast our fishing line out – we are not giving up. We get a bite – fairly small fish who puts up a good fight and gets away, followed by a second bite which turned out to be the contains of our slop bucket that we had just emptied over the side.

On the 5th day we are motoring along (no wind) reading books in the cockpit when all of a sudden the fishing line whizzes and the rod is bent double. We look round “HOLY SHIT” there’s a dirty great big whale sitting on our starboard quarter ………..Oh my god we haven’t caught this thing have we?? No No our line is over there but we have caught something.

We start reeling our fish in, whilst keeping a very wary eye on the whale, who is slowly dropping back………….thank God.

We duly land our 3 foot Mahi Mahi (we have the photo) and thus breaking our “Duck” and supplying us with 10 fish suppers!!........Yeah Ha!!!

Well we arrived in San Blas (Eastern Holandes Cays) on 18th November and it is quite magnificent. Pacific Islands in the Caribbean and no Mosquitoes. The Islands are covered in coconut trees, which you are not allowed to take as this is the Kuna Indians main crop. The Kuna Indians are quite pleasant and friendly and will come along side in their dug outs selling eggs, fruit, fish, molas etc. We later find out that Lisa the master mola maker is an infamous transvestite…………umm.

There are approx. 374 Islands, most of which are not inhabited and those that are have no electricity or running water apart from the odd Island. The Kuna Indians live in huts made from bamboo and coconut palms for the roof. The only furniture are their hammocks. Nestor one of the Kuna Indians kindly showed us around his home and village, it was quite unique.

We spend several very pleasant weeks here including the Christmas holidays which were celebrated in true style, with roast turkey and all the trimmings, a Christmas tree and lights strung up round the cockpit at anchor off one of the Islands.

We also, once again make new friends:-

Alison and Derek of "Kalida"

Georjes and Annie of "Trio"

Geraldine and Geoff of "Blue Dawn"

On 28th December we headed off to Panama - Isla Linton for a couple of nights before heading on down to Colon in order to start the process of our transit through the Panama Canal and pick up some spares etc.

"Blue Dawn" and "Trio" are here and we spend a few days/nights socialising with them. Terry volunteered to be a line handler on "Blue Dawn" for their Canal passage. This is a good idea to do as it gives you a understanding of what to expect and what you are required to do.

In the meantime our friend David Simpson joins us on Teka Nova for a holiday and be one of our line handlers. We also recruited a Spanish cruising couple Gaspar and Inma of “SA Palmereta” as we require four line handlers plus the Skipper. Gaspar and Inma were great company and we thank them very much for all their help.

We are duly given our transit date and time for 11th Jan at 18.20 pm. However, our Pilot did not show up until 20.00 pm and we set off for the first three locks (upward locks) that evening (six locks in all over a 48 hour period). Before entering the first lock Paula and Ken of “Suzanne” have to raft up to us for the transit, this is the usual way for small vessels to go through the locks – we were the controlling boat, which means that Teka Nova does all the engine and steering work for both boats. At 23.00 pm we are through the first three locks and our pilot secures us to a huge mooring buoy for the night in Gatun Lakes before taking his leave of us. Our next Pilot arrives at 07.00 am the next morning to take us across the Lakes and through the Canal to the next set of three locks (downward locks) which was approx. 30 miles. Once again “Suzanne” has to re-raft to us before we enter the locks.

On the last lock our Pilot asked the Lock Controller to pan the web cam onto us, we know quite a few of you got to see us go through this lock. Geraldine of “Blue Dawn” very kindly spent 4 hours recording the web cam pictures onto a video with music for us. It was an amazing event and when the last lock opened we got to see our first sight of the Pacific.

We are at present anchored near Balboa about 20 minutes taxi from Panama City. For the last week we have been involved heavily in catering the boat for the next 2 months to take us through to Hawaii, via Los Perlas and the Galapagos Islands, plus doing loads of last minute jobs and collecting a few more spares.

The next Newsletter will cover our most testing sailing passage the 4,000 mile passage from Galapagos to Hawaii, will be we hope the longest we will ever undertake, and the 2,500 mile passage from Hawaii to Alaska will probably be the most demanding.

Very Best Wishes to you all.

Christine & Terry

S/Y Teka Nova

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

16th June 2008

Dear All,

We arrived in Venezuela on Monday 9th June. We sailed direct from St. Thomas - US Virgin Islands. The winds were good which gave us a good work out with all our new equipment. The passage took 3 1/2 days - 500 miles.

Our future travel plans are:-

17th June Venezuela to Orlando
29th June Orlando to UK
7th July UK to Cyprus
31st July Cyprus to UK
2nd Sept UK to Venezuela

Hope you are all well.

Best Wishes
Christine & Terry
Teka Nova

 

19th November 2007

We left Puerto La Cruz - Venezuela for Margarita. Motor sailing all the way as winds and seas were right on our nose. We dropped anchor at 21.00 hours after 14 hours of punching into it. We only intended to stay for one night but the weather forecast for the next few days was not in our favour, so we sat it out for 9 days along with approx 110 other boats that want to head north. However, Harold and Diana of 'Zephrus' have joined us, which makes our stay pleasurable and of course always fun if these two guys are around.

29th November 2007, gives us the weather window to set off to Los Testigos for a night stop before heading straight up to Antigua on a 3 day passage - 360 miles.

We arrive in Antigua on the evening of 2nd December, tired (3 hours on and 3 hours off watches) but Ok after a pretty uneventful passage. We decide to stay for 7 days, however, once again the weather is about to change and we need to take the opportunity of 2 days of weather window to get to the BVI's. So on 5th December we pick up anchor for a 2 day passage to Tortola.

The seas were lumpy and once we started to get in amongst the Islands it became quite busy with ocean liners. At 02.00 hours on 6th December Ocean Liner 'The Crown Princess', doing 18 knots tried to run us down from astern. We tried to contact the vessel by radio but no reply. So we gave him 5 flashes on the search light, which sorted him out and he reluctantly turned to port. Now we are not saying he was close but the gentleman in cabin 204C should really close his blinds at night!!

For those of you who are not sailors:-

The overtaking vessel is the give way vessel, added to this we could not turn to starboard as we had another Ocean Liner coming up on our starboard side. We could not turn to port as the 'Crown Princess course alteration would have to be to port owing to the position of the other Ocean Liner. If we alter too soon we could place ourselves back in danger.

Anyway we arrive safely in Village Cay - Tortola - guess which Ocean Liner is docked here also!!

Here we are measured for our new set of sails and that is one of the reasons for being here. We also check with the boatyard to be hauled out in March for re-antifouling plus replacing the shaft, which got bent in Antigua. In addition, have a second auto helm fitted - all work we planned to have done in the BVI's.

We also meet up again with John and Christine of 'Timentide' who we got to know in Venezuela and old friends Dave and Jan of 'Irie' ex 2006 ARC.

After negotiating with boatyards etc. and making sure we were set for Christmas, we take a 10 mile leisurely sail (with Irie) over to Norman Island to pick up a buoy in 'The Bight'.

Here we spend a pleasant 3 days with 'Irie' and new friends Larry and Elisabeth of 'Singoala'. It is also where we find we have a problem with the generator. The generator starts and runs fine but is not putting a charge through to the batteries.

After a few days of staying in bays on a couple of different Islands we head back to Village Cay Marina to get someone to take a look at the generator. Bad news - we need a new one - Oh well it is 25 years old and they have an average life of approx 10 years, so its not done too bad - c'est la vie. As the new one cannot be fitted until early Feb, we set off to visit a few more Islands and get in some really nice sailing.

On 22nd December we go into Virgin Gorda Yacht Marina for Christmas.

With our Christmas Tree and Cockpit lights up we sit back, relax and watch the comedy about to unfold before us.

The comedy being the charter boats with people onboard who have little or no experience in sailing or boat handling.

Well we saw just about everything over the next 3 days. The poor Dock Master by Christmas eve had lost all his pateience, sense of humor and Christmas spirit.

Just a couple of example:-

1. Yacht coming into jetty bow first, one man on the helm one man on the bow. The helmsman asks the bow man to tell him when they are nearly there. There is a great thud as the bow connects with the jetty and the boat is jolted violently backwards. 'Ok we are there' shouts the bow man.

2. Medium to largish power boat (Gin Palace), reversing onto jetty with a pontoon on the starboard side and another Gin Palace the other side of the Pontoon.

The Gin Palace is about to cut it abit to fine round the end of the pontoon - not a problem as this can occur quite frequntly especially if the wind is pushing you on. Just gently go back out and try again.

Dock Master:- 'Go forward please sir'

Gin Palace is still coming in reverse.

Dock Master: 'Go forward please sir'.

Gin Palace is still in reverse.

On the 5th time of the Dock Master telling him to go forward he is now at screaming level and waving his hands frantically in the air, shouting Go forward!!, Go forward!!.

At this point the Gin Palace goes into 'FULL' throtle ahead, however his wheel is over to port. As the Gin Palace hauls forward and to port the sun anwing supports connect with the other Gin Palaces anchor which is in its anchor housing on the front of the boat - but not for long. The long and the short of it was that the anchor (albeit pulled from its housing) won and the Gin Palce with the sun awning became a convertibule - Och!!

When the last boat was coming in on Christmas eve the last thing we heard the Dock Master shout was 'Did you get any instructions before you took the boat'?

Harold, we now know what you mean about the BVI's!!

Christmas day was peaceful and quiet and yes we had the traditionl Roast Turkey with all the trimmings plus Xmas Pud, all cooked onboard Teka Nova of course.

New Year's Eve was spent in Trellis Bay on Beef Island. Entertainment on shore followed by a firework display.

We then set off back to Norman Island and picked up a buoy in 'The Bight'.

Along comes a charter catamaran with 3 ladies and 3 gentleman roughly around our age upwards. They drop anchor in front of us. By the time the boat has drop back they are quite close to us but not too bad, however they are even closer to the shore.

A great debate then takes place on the 'Cat', which resulted in one of the gentleman diving over board to check to see if the anchor is holding - by the way this particular gentleman has only got 1 arm.

In the meantime (its quite windy - 25knots plus), one of their roll up sun mattress blows over board and drifts past us on its way to the shore. This is followed by another gentleman in the dingy to go and retireve it, which is then followed by the one armed man floating by on his back to assist.

The mattress is retireved but the one armed man can not get into the dingy, as he is holding on by the one arm his got and does not have another for the guy in the dingy to haul him in by. So he is hanging over the side for the journey back to the 'Cat'

One of the ladies is standing on the sten of the 'Cat' ready to take the dingy line. The man with the one arm manages to get on the stern of the 'Cat' just as the lady takes the dingy line and gives it a good pull, however as she gives it a good pull her elbow comes out and knocks the one armed man back into the water - it doesn't end here...........

A few moments later the dingy comes past again with the 3rd gentleman and the one armed man. This time to retireve a shoe that has gone over board. The shoe has now drifted onto the shore, so the one armed guy jumps out to fetch it. However, the dingy has gone aground and the one armed man needs to give it a good shove before he trys to get in. The shove works but they are back to the senario of the one armed man having to hang over the side (this time at the front) for the journey back to the 'Cat'. As they go past they shout to us 'You know we charge for this kind of entertainment'

Anyway now its dark and the wind is still around 25knots plus and the sea is choppy. All six of them decide to get in the dingy and go ashore to the bar.

Well the first thing we heard was ahhhhhhhhhhh as the first wave must have come over into the dingly, followed by someone shouting 'This was one hell of an idea'!!!

Entertainment value - Priceless!!!!!!!!! for everything else there is Barclaycard.

Over Jan and Feb, we have our new sails, second auto helm and new generator fitted, plus a rigging check and some replacements to that as a result. In between we have had friends and family visit us, which has been great plus get to see some lovely places and get some great sailing in. Also met up with Paul and Mhairi old friends of Terry's who happened to be chartering a boat out here.

On 4th March we were hauled out for the re-antifouling, new sea cocks, new water maker and a new anchor housing for the big new anchor we bought. We will be out of the water for just over a week - if were lucky (Carribean time), after which we have Terry's daughter coming out to visit, followed by the new davits fitted to Teka Nova. Hopefully, that will tick off all the big items we had planned for the boat before going through the Panama Canal next year.

5th March had dinner with Bob and Sally of 'Exceat' ex 2006 ARC, which thinking about it we probably have not seen them for a year now. Great to see you guys.

We are still really enjoying this life and are both well.

Thats all our news for now, please let us know your news, we would love to hear from you. Please bear with us if you do not get a response for some days as the internet connection is still as frustrating as ever, up sometimes but mostly down or intermittant and of course we could be out at sea where connection is not possible.

Also we have discovered that we have not been receiving some E-Mails that have been sent to us, apologises to anyone that has not receive a response from us, we are not ignoring you, please don't give up and try again.

Very Best Wishes to all

Christine and Terry

 

Date: Friday 26th October, 2007

Pleased be advised that our Mobile phone does not work in Venezuela, at present we can only pick up E-Mails.

24th May 2007

After being launched back in the water we visited, with Neil Jarvis onboard, a couple of bays around Grenada before departing on an overnight passage to Los Testigos Islands (90 miles). We had a fabulous night sail averaging 7.5 knots. Teka Nova was going like a train, what a difference the wash off and re-anti-foul made. When we started reaching speeds of 9 knots plus we thought it would be a good idea to slow her down. The auto-pilot coped all the way.

Los Testigos Islands were lovely, only 168 people live on the mainland. You first have to check in with the Coast Guard (friendly and helpful) before anchoring off the Islands. The snorkeling was particular good.

On one particular day we were both reading in the cockpit, when we noticed a fishing boat of medium size with 10 men onboard getting very close to us, we began to panic when they started throwing lines onto our boat. We then noticed that they had Teka Two (the dinghy) in tow. Teka Two had come untied and drifted out to sea, neither of us had noticed. The fishermen went and retrieved it and brought it back to us. If it had not been for the fishermen we would have quite wrongly thought Teka Two had been stolen. The fishermen well deserved the beers we were able to give them.

Los Testigos Islands are well worth a visit if you are sailing in the area.
If you are not sailors, sorry, its the only way to get there! There are no planes, no hotels, no shops etc. We stayed there for 4 days along with a German and a Dutch yacht and Fabio of "Amandla".

On 3rd June at around 06.00 the Dutch set sail, followed by the German yacht, then us at 06.50 and Fabio awhile later to Margarita (Porlamar).

Well once again we had a great sail. The winds picked up and we started to catch the German in his lighter weight fibre glass yacht and make on the Dutch concrete yacht. We just drew level with the German when the winds dropped and he pulled away from us but we are still making on the Dutch.
Fabio is no where in sight and concerns are raised (we had no need to worry as we find out later the reason).

The winds pick up again and we take the advantage of this. We catch and overtake the Dutch yacht. The German just slips into the harbour before us but we have our anchor down and the beers out before him. The Dutch yacht comes in and salutes us shouting over "you won".

Now we have to say we were not really racing but this was a bit of fun and we have never caught up, let alone overtaken another yacht, so we were particularly pleased with Teka Nova's performance.

About an hour later Fabio sails in, grinning, he has caught a big fish, (hence his delay) and invites us to dinner to share his catch, what a gentleman.

Fabio starts with sushi - he has marinated the fish with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and capers. This was followed by lightly baked fish and vegetables - it was absolutely wonderful and a perfect end to a perfect days sailing.

The latest update on our fishing is still nil to us and 2 lures and a complete line to the fish.

A couple of days later we were chatting to the Dutch:-

Dutch: “You were sailing very well and fast that day”. “But our boat is very heavy, she is made of concrete and weighs 26 tons”.

Us: “We are steel and weigh 32 tons”.

YEAH!!!!!!!!!

We stay in Margarita, at anchor for approx. 3 weeks whilst we have a sun cover made for Teka Nova and covers for Teka Two.

Whilst we were there an unexpected storm bounced off main land Venezuela and came through the anchorage. Teka Nova started dragging her anchor and we just managed to start the engine in time to avoid hitting another yacht by inches. The wind got up to 50 knots, yachts were dragging their anchors everywhere and some collided with others, (approx. 80 yachts in the anchorage), Genoa sheets were being pulled out of their furling and shredded and sun covers were ripped to pieces. We were OK and did not sustain any damage but had to hold Teka Nova on engine power for an hour and ferry glide around our anchor, as we could not get the anchor up in the weather conditions.

On 26th June we pick up anchor at 05.15 and head for main land Venezuela – Puerto La Cruz (Bahia Redonda Marina) to berth Teka Nova for the hurricane season and the trip back to the UK.

We had concerns regarding coming to Venezuela owing to the bad write ups surrounding the area. However, we are very pleased we came and the local people are really friendly and try to be helpful. You just have to be careful about walking out of the Marina at night etc. Really no different to some parts of the UK and in St Lucia, Rodney Bay people were mugged in the Marina, you just have to be sensible. There is a good write up in August’s edition of “Compass”. So don’t be put off it’s a great place to come.

There are a great bunch of cruisers down here, majority are Americans who are very sociable and great company to be with – we are having a “blast”
with these guys. .

On 17th July we head back to the UK. Once again, unfortunately, we were not able to get to see everyone we would have liked to. However, many thanks to everyone for your hospitality and putting up with us, especially Neil Jarvis who ended up with us for an extra 2 weeks owing to Christine having an accident and damaging the base of her spine.

A special thanks to Geoff Green who got Christine back on her feet and moving around again.

We arrive back in Venezuela on 17th September.

We would like to say a huge “Thank You” to:-

Cathy and Ken of “Chill”, for looking after Teka Nova in our absence.
Diana and Harold of “Zyphrus”, for sorting out an apartment for us to stay in, whilst Christine recovers.
Sue and Rick of “Panacea”, particular Sue for lugging all the Radio equipment from the USA that we had ordered.

Many thanks Guys!!!

We will stay here for a few weeks, whilst we carry out maintenance tasks on the boat, changing oil and fuel filters etc. the usual stuff and wait for the hurricane season to pass. We will probably go out for 1 or 2 day sails to the islands close to Bahia Redonda before heading north to St. Martin.

Very Best Wishes
Terry and Christine

 

Date: Thursday 24th May, 2007

Dear All,

Firstly, we have our mobile phone back and working, although we are unable to retrieve our voice messages from it, text messages are OK.

Our website is back up and running, many thanks Philip.

WARNING this is a long E-Mail as we have not written for so long - apologies.

SPECIAL NOTES

We would like to send our Love and Very Best Wishes to Terry and Nicola Flinn of "Flinesse" and James of "Apparition" for a safe and speedy Return ARC. Good Luck guys and let us know how you got on.

Hi Paul Tyminski, how are the repairs going - let us know how you are getting on please.

UPDATE

After spending New Year in Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua with Terry's daughter Julia and her friend Clare, the weather (strong winds and high
seas) finally allowed us to poke our nose out. We took the girls on leisurely sails to bays around Antigua. This was very pleasant and relaxing time for us, especially sitting on deck and watching Julia and Clare swim a couple of miles a day (they are both triathletes). They were great company and the best anchor party team (sorry to the rest of you guys), it must be all that muscle in the arms.

Then came the three stooges - Terry, Mike and Chrissy. Well what a laugh we had, it was something crossed between Benny Hill and Black Adder. So off we take them to Guadeloupe, calling in at the Saints, Dominica, Martinique, where we bumped into Bob and Sally of "Exceat" and then Rodney Bay in St.
Lucia, where sadly their time with us was up.

At this point we still had our fuel contamination problem. So we bit the ballet and opened up all 4 fuel tanks and pumped £600 worth of fuel away.
Then got down to cleaning the tanks, which took all in all about 6 days.

However, on the good side we re-met up with:-

Terry and Nicola Flinn of "Flinesse".
Bob and Sally of "Exceat".
Brian of "Scraatch".
John and Chris of "Sara II" who we had first met in Portugal on our way down to join the ARC. They have since re-crossed the Atlantic back to the Azores
(19 days) and are currently waiting for the weather window for the crossing back to the UK - Good Luck guys and have a safe journey.

Terry Flinn and Terry Baverstock were in the RAF together - small world.

Here we also made new friends:-

Tom and Colette of "Prim Teaze of Leith".
Terry and his wife of "Misfa".

All above were ARC yachts.

We then left and headed back to Antigua to pick up the "Boys"- Terry (he who came back for more), Geoff (neckachief that doubles up as a spare Q flag) and Tim (I'm in the Pink). Here we also bump into:-

Bob and Sally of "Exceat" again - hope you guys are well and that we catch up soon.
Brian of "Scraatch"
Ray Travis of "Malika"

Tony and Kay White, who were on holiday in Antigua and thought they would just pop along to Nelson's Dockyard to see if we were around. Tony was a colleague of Terry's with Monarch. Great to see you guys, please keep in touch.

We leave Nelson's Dockyard with the boys only to get a rope (an entire slim
line) wrapped round our prop. Fortunately, we have our diving gear onboard and after half an hour of both us cutting and sawing we managed to get the prop free.

Once again, we take leisurely sails around Antigua with the "Boys", as they only have a short time with us. Again this was a delightful week, spent with three very dear and gentle friends. We guess they must have enjoyed themselves as they are already talking about another "Boys" week with us.
Come on "Girls" what about a girls trip!!!

Here we have included a note from Geoff Green:-

February 19th 2007

"In what became known as, ‘The Boys Trip to Antigua’, Terry Bown, Tim Melton and I joined Teka Nova at English Harbour. Apart from a one day outing, this was my first proper sail; eight days on the ocean waves. Christine and Terry never failed to amaze us; Christine produced fantastic meals on a cooker the size of a matchbox and Terry’s ability to overcome problems on board and still make our stay great was remarkable. My cough, which I’d had for months, disappeared and I experienced the best sleep I’d had for a very long time. Secluded coves, swimming off the boat in turquoise seas, magical white beaches, sundowners at the end of the day and a memorable trip around Antigua. Fantastic.

Thanks a million to you both. Much love, Geoff"

We finish up in Falmouth Harbour where we are along side with the likes of
:-

Leander
The Maltese Falcon
Le Grande Bleau

Check them out on their websites.

Here, we once again meet up with:-

Brian of "Scraatch"
Terry and Nicola Flinn of "Flinesse".
Tom and Colette of "Prim Teaze of Leith", who introduce us to new friends:-

James of "Apparition".
Peter and Clare of "Lady Sarah".
Jan and Dave of "Irie" - hope the new mast is performing well.
George and Janice (sorry can not remember their boat's name) and Lucy their Westie who also did the ARC.

Great photo Colette - many thanks for that.

Unfortunately, after all our efforts with the fuel tanks, we still have the problem. So we order a fuel conditioning and polishing unit.

Time to go back to the UK and do a whirl wind tour to catch up with as many friends and family as possible.

Many thanks to you all for your understanding that we had a very limited time but it was great to see all of you that we did manage to get to see.

On 8th April it was back to the Caribbean - tough life.

After we arrived back at the boat in Antigua, we were joined by Peter and Lynne Mallen. We headed south back to Guadeloupe, The Saints, Dominica, Martinique and then St Lucia - Rodney Bay where we collect the fuel conditioning unit. From there we started further south into new water for us, first being Soufriere Bay (still in St Lucia) where the Pitons are. If you have not heard of them there a a set of pointed hills that made a fabulous back drop whilst we were at anchor.

On the way down (between Antigua and Guadeloupe) we came across a pod of Sperm Whales (30 - 40 feet in length) who gave us a wonderful display of jumping out of the water, doing somersaults then crashing back down again.
A little scary at one point as they were quite close and we were in the middle of them but a fantastic sight. Sorry Colette what was that you were saying over the Radio - didn't quite catch it!!!!!

Then down to Bequia (Beck-way) - population 5,000. When you hear the Conch Shell being blown it means one the the local fishermen have just come in with their catch and you go and buy it from them. So far our efforts of fishing have produced a big fat zero!! Thanks Martimus for the tips, we will let you know how we get on.

Peter and Lynne depart for the UK, hope we did not wear you guys out too much and that you enjoyed your trip as much as we did.

We stay in Bequia a few days to fit the fuel conditioning unit. Fuel unit fitted we then proceed to pass all the fuel through. Next day we sample our fuel.............we have clean fuel for the first time in 5 months. We can also condition and polish other boats fuel!!! There are quite a few boats around who do not know they have the fuel "bug" problem and it is only discovered when the engine stops. We have been fortunate (albeit painful) whereby we have a system that allows us to to be able to draw off the bad fuel from the bottom of the fuel tanks, thus keeping it away from the engine. Now having this new unit means we do not have to do this every other day. It cleans fuel at 500 litres per hour and you don't have to stand and watch it.

Next stop was Union Island - population 2,000, where Christine saw a cute baby turtle as we were getting ready to drop the anchor - no I didn't drop it on him but Terry nearly ran him over. Christine's colleague back in UK
(Martimus) believes we have missed an opportunity here as an alternative to the fishing........."knock them out, crush they shells and hay you have turtle soup".

Onward to Carriacou - not sure of the population but they all seemed to be very tall and there were quite a few handicapped, very strange place, also had a run in with the customs officer. One of the great things about the Carribean is that you have "boat boys" come out to your boat selling fresh bread, fruit and veg etc. beats queueing at Tescos. In Carriacou we even had our wine delivered £3 a bottle and home delivery - not bad.

Then down here to Grenada, St David's Harbour - saw a couple of large turtles float by us on the way. People here are very friendly and try to be helpful.

We have been hauled out to have Teka Nova's bottom scraped and re-anti-fouled. She has more growing on her bottom than there is growing on the coral reefs. The shaft to the prop also needs to be re-aligned as a result of the rope in Antigua being caught around it - it actually bent it!!

We have also met up with Susan and Nick of "Flying Start". Its great listening to Susan and Nick, they have quite a few funny tales to tell, which have had us in stitches - a great couple.

"Flying Start" was the yacht that came across the immigrants whilst on the ARC. They stood by them throwing bottles of water to them until a rescue ship could pick them up - 14 hours, in seas with big swells. They were awarded "The Spirit of the ARC" trophy, which was well deserved.

Susan and Nick introduce us to new friends:-

John of " Ocean Harmony" from Canada who was also on the ARC. Safe journey home and hope to see you back out here soon.
Randy and Cheryl of "Latest Caper" from America.
Bud and Jude of "Trixolar" from America. Many thanks Bud for organising the fish supper trip for us all.

And so the socialising continues........................

Neil Jarvis joined us on 22nd May, when we will start heading for Venezuela for the hurricane season.

Well we are going to wrap this up for now, as you are probably bored by now (or have fallen asleep) with all our babbling.

Miles to date since leaving the UK - 6,265

Hope this E-Mail finds you all well.

Very Best Wishes
Terry and Christine

Date : Mon, 1 Jan 2007

Dear All,

We hope you all had A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Firstly, our mobile has given up and we are currently without one that can
be used outside of Antigua for incoming calls or test messages. We have
however, set ourselves up on SKYPE - our address is terryandchristine69

As per our previous E-Mail we arrived safe and sound in St Lucia on Friday
15th, crossing the finish line at 07.07am. Offical time, 18 days, 22 hours,
6 mins and 59 secs. We came 145 overall (235 boats), which was a creditable
achievement for a 32 ton steel cruising yacht rallying with plastic light
weight yachts.

The week before the ARC was amazing, over 200 boat crews working every day
to prepare their boats for the crossing and partying every evening. It was
quite a unique sight to see and be a part of such a huge level of effort
involving every boat on every pontoon, very hard to describe in words.

Some yachts had it harder than others i.e. the boat opposite us an Oyster
56' had rats onboard which they only managed to get rid of the day before
the start. For us the late delivery of the fruit and veg meant we were not
able to carry out the planned crew training day including testing our new
pole that we only managed to get whilst in the Canaries. We did however,
fair very well in our Safety Check Out and were one of the only 20% of
yachts to pass first time.

The departure from Gran Canaries was terrific with the dock sides lined with
thousands of people waving and cheering all the boats off and bands playing.
It was interesting to watch 235 yachts trying to leave through a narrow
exit within a period of approx. an hour - no collisions reported.

For our particular group of boats the start time was 13.00 (26th Nov). We
crossed the start line at 13.05, you incur penalties if you cross earlier.

Well we were off and on our way, all hoping for a good crossing with
sightings of whales and dolphins and catching a few fish.

The first 24 hours we sailed very conservatively in order to allow the crew
to settle into a routine of watch keeping and becoming familiar with the
boat.

The first few days saw very light winds with varying directions due to the
lee effects south of the Canaries. Our tactics were to sail south west
until south of 20 degrees north, which we anticipated would put us at least
50 miles into the trade winds belt.

Whilst we were still north of the trade winds the sea states became very
challenging with high swells coming from more than one direction and strong
winds (we believe a few of you saw pictures on the ARC website and read some
of the experiences of other yachts). Life onboard became harder as we were
being thrown around all the time, whilst we still had to cook, eat and try
and get some sleep with no real respite until arriving at St Lucia.
Although we have to say Ian Johnson appears to be able to sleep through any
conditions and became the envy of the rest of us.

We did get to see dolphins and catch one fish, which the two Ian's cooked
and was very tasty indeed. We used lures to try to catch fish but the
overall score favoured the fish in terms of lures lost against fish caught.
There were quite a few flying fish that landed on the boat and at one
particular time came through our hatch and landed in our bed.
Unfortunately, we did not get to see any whales, however this could have
been viewed as fortunate as a couple of boats were hit and lost their
rudders.

Overall we faired well (just a broken bracket fitting for the pole and a
fuel contamination problem) compared to other boats who lost steering,
masts, autopilots or rudders. Unfortunately, three yachts were totally
lost, although all crew were picked up safely. It was also sad to hear that
a skipper of a non ARC yacht tried to commit suicide by jumping over board
and one ARC skipper that had to be taken off owing to medical reasons.

On arriving in Rodney Bay, St Lucia each yacht was met day or night by ARC
staff members bearing fresh fruit and rum punches - guess which was the most
popular. Also yachts that had already arrived would sound their horns or
sirens and give a warm reception to each yacht, particularly if a yacht had
had a very difficult crossing - it was again great to see and be a part of.
More parting followed over the next few days.

We arrived in the morning so all the crew retired to a local restaurant for
a good full English breakfast - after their rum punch of course.

In general on Teka Nova we had as a crew a relatively easy passage, with two
people on watch for most of the time which meant a minimum rest period of 6
hours between watches. Manual steering for the majority of the time, meant
that watches passed quite quickly. We had no major traumas and we only once
had to have all the crew up at the same time. The crew were kept quite busy
while we changed and tried to perfect our downwind sailing techniques and
the best use of the pole, which was an invaluable piece of equipment, the
loss of which when the pole fitting broke affected our sailing performance.

The Atlantic crossing experience remains one of the World’s great Ocean
crossings and completing it in our own yacht was a truly great adventure for
us. It was great to hear that many of you were following our progress on
the internet and thank you once again for your E-Mails and messages of
support.

We departed St Lucia (Terry and Christine) on 21st December for a night stop
at anchor off Martinique in a lovely bay, where we thought we had died and
gone to heaven. The next day we carried on to Dominica and the following
day to Guadeloupe. On 23rd we set off for Antigua and that’s when heaven
stopped, for 7 hours and 45 mins we battled seas with high swells from
different directions and at one point came close to being knocked down.
However, we arrived in one piece and spent a lovely Christmas at Nelson’s
Dockyard in English Harbour where there was an all day champagne party. We
of course cooked roast Turkey onboard and had Christmas Pudding.

On 29th Julia (Terry’s daughter) and her friend Clare arrived to spend 10
days. New Year’s Eve was great, once again a party on the Dock side (too
many rum punches) followed by an excellent firework display.

That’s all for now.

Best Wishes
Terry, Christine and Teka Nova

Dear All,

We forgot to mention we logged 2,884 miles on the ARC crossing.

Since leaving the UK on 18th Sept and arriving Antigua on 23rd we have done
5,332 miles.

Best Wishes
Terry and Christine

 

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006

Dear All

Many thanks to you all for your kind messages. We are currently berthed in
the very prestigious Nelsons Dockyard, English Harbour, Antigua, where we
will be staying over the Christmas holiday.

We will be writing at greater length over the holiday as we currently have
decent internet access, but its Christmas Eve and 6pm here in Antigua with
the temperature around 30 degress (centigrade I am pleased to say). It
unfortunately feels very unlike Christmas which is a shame as its our
favourite time of the year. We will just have to go to the champagne party
tomorrow here at the marina and celebrate how lucky we really are

This message is to wish you all a very special and happy Christmas and we
very much look forward to speaking and sending messages to you all in the
New Year

With lots of love and best wishes

Terry and Christine xxxxxxxx

PS Important message our mobile phone has packed in completely and we are
unable to replace it over the holiday, so if you need to contact us please
use email or the sat phone

Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006

Dear All,

Just a short note to say that we arrived safe and sound on Friday 15th at
07.07am.

An amazing trip and adventure.

We will update you all with more details when we get up to Antigua - the
internet here is painfully slow.

Many thanks to everyone for your messages of Good Luck and Congratulations
we will respond to you all as soon as poss.

Very Best Wishes
Christine, Terry and Teka Nova

Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2006 

Dear All,

Well we are here in Gran Canaria, have been for just over a week.

All our crew are on board and we are working them hard on preparing the boat 
for the ARC, which departs on Sunday 26th, so the next time you will hear 
from us will be from St Lucia we hope.

The marina is absolutely buzzing, its very hard to discribe the atmosphere 
here. All the yachts are busy preparing, with people up their rigging and 
the potoons are scattered with every part of a boat you can think of, 
coupled with catering being delivered, not to mention the partying!!!

Thank you to everyone who have sent their best wishes for our trip, once 
again its great to hear from you guys.

You can follow our progress on www.worldcruising.com or on Goggle search ARC 
and there is an active map. We are yacht number 79.

Best Wishes - Terry and Christine

>Date: Tue, 07 Nov 2006 22:57:37 +0000
>
>Hi All,
>
>Firstly, we would like to thank everyone for their E-Mails and Text 
>messages, they have been great and mean a lot to us. Please forgive us if 
>we take awhile in responding as it is not always easy to get to internet 
>cafes or pick up wireless on the boat.
>
>Our last update left us in Vigo with bad weather. The bad weather 
>continued for a further six days of Force 10’s and continuous rain. Towns 
>and villages around Vigo were badly affected as rivers burst their banks 
>and sent debris and mud into houses.
>
>Finally the weather window appeared for 26th October. We prepared the boat 
>for our departure, doing all the final checks, one being the bow thruster – 
>nothing – the switch had packed up and we were going nowhere.
>
>Now we know a lot of you sailors out there will be saying “so go without 
>it”. However, manoeuvring 32 tons of boat, in shallow, small marina’s with 
>wind picking up the bow is not a lot of fun – ask Terry. Also, it maybe 
>great for us to know we have something very solid around us but other 
>owners of fibreglass boats don’t share the same point of view, especially, 
>if they think you are going to hit them, not of course, so far that we 
>have.
>
>Anyway, as the big beautiful Swedish yacht that we had been following since 
>La Corruna slipped its lines and waved goodbye we felt we had been left 
>behind.
>
>Ordered a new switch, which arrived the next morning and Terry fitted 
>within 20 mins, meant we were on our way.
>
>27th October – Vigo to Porto – 85 miles.
>
>28th October – Porto to Porto Da Nazare – 105 miles.
>
>29th October – Porto Da Nazare to Cascais – 75 miles.
>
>Since way back in Audierne dolphins have joined us at night and played in 
>our bow wave. Its great to see them and passes the night watches away. 
>However, on first sighting them at night their white trails through the 
>water do look as though you are being torpedoed. We also have small birds 
>that catch lifts off of us and one particular little fellow spent the night 
>in our rib.
>
>We are now beginning to meet up with other boats that are doing the ARC and 
>the comradeship is great and encouraging. I.e. Mark a Dutch guy had been 
>let down by his crew and had no one to do the trip to Cascais with. 8 
>youngster from another yacht whom he had never met before split their crew 
>in half and went with Mark. This was a good job as they got knocked down 
>and lost their electrics and autopilot, not good at the best of times but 
>would have been worse if Mark had been on his own.
>
>John and Vanessa Ross joined us in Cascais on 31st. We had the boat lifted 
>out for final checks and anti-fouling before the ARC. That’s why we know 
>Teka Nova weighs 32 tons – must drink more beers.
>
>4th November – Cascais to Cabo De Sines – 60 miles.
>
>5th November – Cabo De Sines to Lagos (that’s Lagos as in south Portugal, 
>no we did not take a wrong turn and end up in Nigeria – thank you to those 
>that were concerned about this).
>
>The entry into Lagos was abit hairy. We had encountered 3 metre swells as 
>we turned the point around Cabo De Sao Vicente and this made the entry 
>difficult if not dangerous. At one point the dip in the swell took us to 
>1.4 below the keel and then a swell picked us up and through us into the 
>entrance – whew………..we are in.
>
>Lagos was sunny and warm, shorts and t-shirts, which was great as we had 
>just heard that it was minus 4 last night in the UK. However, that night 
>Lagos experienced heavy storms. We woke to find large amounts of debris 
>floating down the river into the marina and surrounding the boats. We 
>spent all morning clearing branches, bamboo, bottles, cans and god knows 
>what else (as it did not smell too good either) from around the boat, it 
>was like after a hurricane.
>
>Jeff Nellist arrived that afternoon – we are now five onboard.
>
>We hope to set off for the Canaries on Wednesday 8th, which will take 
>approx. 4 to 5 days non-stop.
>
>So that’s our latest news – we would love to hear your news.
>
>Love – Christine, Terry, Jeff, John, Vanessa and of course Teka Nova.

 

>Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 11:30:07 +0000
>
>Hi All,
>
>As you are aware we have left the UK.
>
>Set off on Monday 18th Sept from Gosport to Yarmouth with Mairead and 
>Katrina. We were nearing Yarmouth when the throttle cable broke, 
>fortunately we have a back up steering system and the next day we continued 
>across channel to Cherbourg, a good sail averaging 7 knots.
>
>Fixed the throttle cable at Cherbourg but were weather bound for a few days 
>and Mairead and Katrina have to return to the UK.
>
>23rd September - Cherbourg down the Aderney Races (12 knots) to Jersey - 51 
>miles.
>
>24th September - Jersey to Paimpol - 62 miles.
>
>25th September - Paimpol to Roscoff - 75 miles.
>
>Now back on track and caught up on time from being weather bound, so able 
>to slow down.
>
>26th September - Roscoff to Aber Wrach - 35 miles.
>
>27th September - Aber Wrach to Camaret - 60 miles - were badly caught in 
>overfalls on the south end, 15ft waves and we became a submarine rather 
>than a sailing boat, however, Teka Nova coped extremely well and got us 
>safely through. Weather bound in Camaret for 5 days.
>
>3rd October - Camaret down the Raz Du Sein to Audierne - 32 miles. For 
>those who are not aware of this particular passage it has to be timed 
>carefully and in good weather conditions.
>
>4th October - Audierne to Pornichet - 110 miles, once again having to catch 
>up on time and weather bound again in Pornichet.
>
>10th October - Pornichet to Port Joinville - 43 miles.
>
>11th October - Port Joinville to La Rochelle - 70 miles, and weather bound.
>
>14th/15th October - Decided to bite the bullet and cut across the Bay of 
>Biscay to Gijon - 285 miles.
>
>16th/17th October - Gijon to La Corruna - 145 miles and again weather 
>bound.
>
>20th/21st October - La Corruna to Vigo - 125 miles which took 21 hours of 
>manual steering owing to the sea state, upto 6 metre swells from two 
>directions, got into Vigo at 2am . This was the most tiring passage to 
>date.
>
>We were pleased to meet up the next day with Ian and Alice Herve, sailing 
>friends of ours who have their own yacht here in Vigo. They were a very 
>welcome sight and it has been great to have contact with people we know. 
>They are going to winter their yacht here and are off back to the UK on 
>Friday. We have been very lucky that they have their car here and we have 
>been able to take advantage of their generous hospitality which has made 
>life a lot easier for us as the marina is in quite a remote location.
>
>The weather since we have been here has been absolutely dreadful winds up 
>to Force 10 and driving heavy rain. We aim to leave here on Thursday and 
>take around three days to get to Lisbon, stopping each night on the way. We 
>will be meeting up with John and Vanessa Ross there who will be staying 
>with us from Lisbon until we complete the ARC (Canaries to St Lucia).
>
>Love and Best Wishes to everybody
>
>Terry and Christine