Blog of S/V Celebrate


Celebrate - Log Day 5 - All Well (Finally!) [From St. Lucia towards Panama]

15 January 2014

Celebrate is having a happy reach after turning the corner off Columbia during the night. Winds have been consistent from the east around 20kts, and seas have been in the 2-3 meter range, except for the big one this morning that spilled the crews' coffee! Finishing the last of the wonderful fresh papaya and pineapple we bought in St. Lucia, and had a great jambalya for dinner yesterday.

Our best news is that our first mate Cathy is finally up and around, after suffering from tummy troubles since our departure from St. Lucia. Charlie and Andy are grateful for the extra watch keeper, leaving a little time to complete our log entries and communicate with family and friends via SSB. As we approach Panama, we are seeing a lot more large ships, thankfully very evident on radar and AIS.

Sailing in company is a lot of fun - 30-35 boats check in every morning and evening with position reports and status of boat and crew. Boats are getting pretty spread out, but we can generally hear most of them on the SSB during the nets. What a great group!  

Celebrate - Log Day 6 - Ode to the Watch Commander

16 January 2014

Celebrate is at 11 08N 76 15W, winds NE 15-18. We had a rolly night, with winds behind pushing us down seas of 2-4 meters. When a big wave comes up behind us, we surf down - sometimes as much as 14 knots! With the wind and waves, Celebrate's "Otto" (the autopilot) was having trouble coping, so we reduced sail to genoa only. Our new pole arrangement is working great, keeping the sail from flapping around as the boat rolls. The other challenge with a rolly boat is keeping coffee cups, and people, upright! Sleeping can also be a challenge.

Many of the boats in the fleet use a small device called "Watch Commander". The job of Watch Commander is to alert the person on watch every 15 minutes (the timer is adjustable) with a beeping sound. This makes sure the person on watch is awake and reminds him or her to do regular checks inside and outside the boat. If the beeping alarm is not reset, a very loud siren is activated that is intended to wake the off-watch - the assumption being that something has happened to the on-watch person and others need to get involved.

One of our crew [Andy] wrote "Ode to the Watch Commander" while on watch
Ode to Watch Commander

We sail, we cruise, we slip along
Through the deep blue ocean, and we hear the song
Of the waves, the wind, and our happy ship
Of the outside world, we care not a pip

Then, a loud discord, another song!
It's harsh, it screeches, it seems all wrong!
What is the source of this audible slander?
A small black box, the Watch Commander

A button to reset, a light, a dial to turn
Such a small thing, yet is makes the crew yearn
To rip, to tear, to throw into the lee
And watch with a smile, the light die beneath the sea

Fifteen minutes you have, a mere quarter hour
To push that red button, to stop the sound so sour
And should you forget, a mere press you should leave
Your box-shaped friend has a trick up his sleeve

On deck fixing things, below in the head?
Watch Commander knows, and it'll make you see red
Just when you thought the first sound was bad
Comes an alarm so loud the whole crew will be mad

Clipped in forward, making a repair?
Or below, around your knees, underwear?
The box cares not, for it has in it's head
That it needs to make a sound that will wake the dead!

Now the whole crew is up, and they're throwing life rings!
You are merely below, taking care of things!
You burst from your perch, on your face you fall
From your place on the floor, "I'm okay" you call

The crew returns to their bunks with a grumble
Who'd have thought such a small thing would make you feel humble
A lifeless object, but in all candor
I think I just saw a smile on the face of the Watch Commander!

Celebrate - Log Day 8 - In Porvenir [End of Leg 1]

18 January 2014

We made it! Celebrate and her happy crew of Charlie, Cathy and Andy crossed the finish line of World ARC Leg 1 yesterday at 3pm local time, after 6 days 2 hours at sea. Charlie used his experience of the area and safely guided Celebrate to anchor at the Kuna village of Porvenier shortly before 6pm. The crew enjoyed a long-anticipated martini in the cockpit. ARC participant American Spirit followed us into the anchorage. Celebrate was the 10th boat to complete the passage, and as of this writing (9:30am) a few ARC boats were as much as 80 miles from finishing.

What a wonderful experience! Aside from the occasional breakage and reluctant autohelm, all went smoothly onboard. As with any passage, we made note this morning of the things we would like to check, maintain and repair while here.

And what a beautiful place! Small islands with little Kuna villages, people in dugout canoes (some with small sails), and crystal clear water. Charlie and Cathy know the area well, and they are anxious to return to a few special spots with quiet anchorages with few, if any, other boats. What amazed me is the number of cruising boats already here - apparently many of which come for the entire season. A true remote community of cruising sailors.

Our plans for the next few days are to move to one of the other islands for a little snorkeling and perhaps some trading with the Kuna people. Of course, ARC has a gathering planned, after which we will head down the coast for the short hop to Shelter Bay Marina in preparation for our passage through the Panama Canal on January 28. During the passage, we intend to stop at at Portobello and perhaps one other place just to see the sights and perhaps have a meal at a nice local restaurant.


Celebrate - Log Day 9 - Memories of Leg 1

19 January 2014

Celebrate is quietly at anchor at Lemon Cay, a beautiful anchorage surrounded by small islands and reefs. Near the entrance a sailboat clearly came to its end on one of the reefs, a reminder that good navigation and careful piloting is essential in the San Blas. We have done a bit of snorkeling, and are working through the list of repairs and maintenance items.

During Sunday pancake breakfast this morning, we were thinking about our 1100 mile passage from Saint Lucia, everyone remembering those unique things that made the trip memorable for each of us. Here are a few:
  • We remember friends sending us off at Saint Lucia, each bringing a bag of fresh vegetables or fruit. How thoughtful!
  • An exciting start to the leg, with a cannon being fired by the Saint Lucia Coast Guard.
  • The while trimming the genoa, the whisker pole got over-stressed and broke at the mast fitting, launching the 12 foot carbon fiber pole across the deck. Since it was still supported by several lines, we were fortunate that it didn't puncture the dinghy, which was stowed on the foredeck. We determined that the repair would require drilling 6 new holes in the pole-end, and screwing it all back together. Where is the best place to drill holes in aluminum so the shavings don't go all over the place? In the galley sink, of course! The repair was successful, and the pole was back in service the following day.
  • I was on watch, very late at night, I heard a thump and flapping behind me. A flying fish had come in the side of the dodger, hit the top, then the back, then the deck. He got pitched back in the sea to fly another day (the fish, not me). That's the only fish story of the trip!
  • Cathy getting better after 4 days in bed with food poisoning. We were so happy to have her back, and going from 6 hour watches to 4 hour watches was such a luxury!
  • Beautiful full moon during the passage, so bright and clear you could almost read!
  • After the moon set, the sky was so dark that the stars were unbelievable. Cathy was first to identify Orion.
  • Squalls. We had a few, but not very violent. Usually we didn't have to reduce sail, we just jumped up and helped steer the boat through the gusts and wind shifts. We saw lots more squalls on radar, passing in front or behind us. Otherwise, the weather was sunny and clear, with seas and wind behind us. Celebrate performed wonderfully in all conditions.
  • Coming down the coast of Columbia the seas built until at times they were 2-4 meters high, but fairly long. Often, we would see a wave come up behind Celebrate, gently lift us and then give us a sleigh ride down. While our usual speed was around 8 knots, we saw as much as 14 knots during surfs.
  • The big waves kicked the boat around somewhat, often overwhelming our somewhat anemic auto pilot. There were times when we had to give the wheel a helpful turn just to get Celebrate back on course.
  • Crossing the finish line was a special moment. We were euphoric! As we crossed, we called on the radio with our boat name, our time of crossing, and just for good measure a little tune from a singing birthday card, "I just want to celebrate!".
  • Finally, at anchor, enjoying first a couple of President beers that Cathy had saved, then martinis all around.
Celebrate will head over to the World ARC potluck beach party tomorrow, and then get ready for the 80 mile run to Shelter Bay.


Celebrate - Log Day 9 - Chichime World ARC Party

26 January 2014

World ARC put on a great party for crews on what would become, for many crews, their last day in San Blas Islands. The event was a pot luck. The diversity of offerings from the World ARC boats was as diverse as the crews, from spring rolls to barbeque ribs, potato chips to potato salad. Celebrate's offering was a team effort of au gratin potatoes by Charlie and Andy. Everything disappeared quickly � clearly an indication that folks were anxious for a change from their usual on-board fare. The World ARC yellow shirts provided an endless supply of coconuts with the generous addition of rum. After lunch, a local Kuna group came to dance and play music for the group. Beautifully dressed and very animated, they seemed tireless! A happy but tired crew returned to Celebrate, carrying 10 loaves of Kuna bread, still warm from the oven. Andy

Celebrate - Log Day 10 - Isla Linton

26 January 2014

After a somewhat rolly night anchored outside Chichime, Celebrate put to sea for a short 40 mile run to Isla Linton. Charlie and Cathy had been to this anchorage 4 years previous, and were interested in seeing if the old research station was still there, as well as a unique French country restaurant accessible via short river and mangrove tunnel. As with many of the good anchorages along the Panamanian coast, it was already filled with yachts, many of which had clearly been there for some time. Celebrate anchored in 40 feet, outside the main group, after the first attempt at anchoring inside was unsuccessful. The old research station was close to being taken over by the jungle, and the monkeys that they had seen in a past visit were nowhere to be seen. The run through the mangroves for dinner was truly unique. Armed with multiple flashlights, a handheld GPS and lots of bug repellent, Charlie piloted Celebrate's tender through the entrance of the river � so shallow that the outboard had to be raised, and then slowly down the river and into the mangroves. The sides slowly closed in until we were literally moving through a tunnel of thick mangroves. Flat, quiet and a little spooky, the effect was completed by a bat flying by our heads and skimming the water in front of us. Eventually, our route through the jungle opened to a mooring area with a number of yachts on mooring balls, and a haul-out that appeared to have been constructed only a short time ago. A short walk brought us to the little French restaurant that Charlie and Cathy remembered. What a great evening! The French management served us well, and eventually the place filled with local cruisers, some of whom introduced themselves and told us their stories. We witnessed a unique method for bug control in the restaurant: along the inside of the roof was a large plastic pipe with holes along its length, connected to a hood over a small barbecue, which was filled with smoky-burning coconut husks. The smoke went up the pipe, out the holes, and gently provided a little smoke in the eating area, driving the bugs away. It was dark when we returned to Celebrate's tender for the return trip through the mangroves, and no moon meant that while the stars were beautiful, it was impossible to see anything without our flashlights. With one light on the GPS and the other on the way forward, we slowly made out way back, carefully following our outgoing GPS track, and safely back to Celebrate. Andy

Celebrate - Log Day 11 - Onward to Shelter Bay

26 January 2014

Our plan for our trip to Shelter Bay was to make a lunch stop at Portobello, just a few miles from Isla Linton. The port has historical significance: it was used as a loading point for Spanish ships to take on gold and other cargo to be transported to Spain. A few decades ago some of the ancient fortifications were recovered from the jungle, and we had a chance to go ashore and check them out. There is something unsettling about looking out a shore gun port and seeing that the cannon is pointed directly at the yacht you came on. After a lunch of hearty soup, Celebrate put to sea for the last 20 miles to Shelter Bay Marina. Through the rain we could see dozens of ships anchored out waiting to go through the canal. World ARC staff were waiting for us at the dock, Charlie expertly reversing Celebrate into it's home for the next few days. The Shelter Bay Marina dock master was also there to greet us, helping to make lines secure. Welcome to Panama! The next few days will be dedicated to shopping, repairs and cleanup. We are scheduled for canal transit January 28. Andy

Celebrate - Log Day 12- Friends & Happy Hours at Super Shelter Bay Marina

03 February 2014

What a super "welcome" for our expert crew, Andy Barrow, & us at our slip in Shelter Bay Marina by Joel of the World Rally, the dock master and our wonderful friends John & Kat Langenheim. John & Kat immediately treated us to cocktails and dinner on the lovely veranda at the dock restaurant overlooking the beautiful boats in the marina. They would move aboard CELEBRATE the next morning to help us prepare for our Canal Transit on the 28th. Yet to come were the yummy rum tasting and the pig roast. For a trip into Panama City we had a delightful lunch at Bennigan's on the Pacific side, shopped at the designer mall, Multi-Plaza, and shared a cab with Brian of American Spirit who was meeting with Davide to arrange his haul out after the Canal Transit. Also, CELEBRATE had it's own 3-D Titanic movie night dinner on-board with special cocktails by our expert mixologist, Andy.

Next, the Canal Transit!


Celebrate - Log Day 13 - Amazing Panama Canal Adventure, Part 1

04 February 2014

The adventure begins with an excellent briefing pre-transit given by Paul Tetlow, including a canal video. Also, Suzana Buraca was there smoothing the way.

The next afternoon was a short stay anchored in the "flats" before the start into the Gatun Locks. Also, our terrific advisers, Ricardo and Irwin, came aboard around 4:30pm and we were off! They were invaluable as the leaders of our Transit Team 2 of 14 boats rafted together in twos and threes to make our way through the locks. We were grateful not to be sharing a lock with the cargo,tankers or cruise ships that use the locks.

At 8pm our great experience of seeing the line handling Locks process and taping oreo cookie packages to the lines to send them to the Canal line handlers was over. Suddenly, we were done with Gatun Locks!

Now, we were so ready to anchor in Gatun Lake, get a hot dinner for the advisors and ourselves, then be ready for the advisors at 6am the next day.

Next, we continue our journey across Gatun Lake passing the Century Bridge and a Smithsonian Nature Preserve toward the Miraflores Locks.

Cathy (with additions from Kat Langenheim)

Celebrate - Log Day 14 - Part 2, Amazing Panama Canal Adventure

05 February 2014

6am at Gatun Lake bright and early in the morning Ricardo and Irwin were delivered to our anchor spot. The instruction was to go at 8 knots until we caught up with our transit rafting partner S/V CLEMENTINA. On the way, we passed by the picturesque Smithsonian Institute Nature Reserve and the very contemporary looking Century Bridge.

When we reached CLEMENTINA and rafted up they kindly allowed us to borrow Augusto from their boat for additional help with our lines through the Canal. Then, it was into the Miraflores Locks, under the beautiful Bridge of the Americas and we were through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific!

Next, anchoring in La Playita below the Flamenco Signal Station.


Celebrate - Log Day 15 - Enchanting Embera Indians!

07 February 2014

After anchoring at La Playita we were free to take a wonderful World ARC Tour seemingly back in time to the Embera Indian Village on the misty, almost mystical feeling Rio Chagres. The Rio Chagres is a beautiful tropical river surrounded by virgin rain forest. Silence reigns except for the cries of wild birds and animals.

The Embera guided our group to their village in canoes, but they did have outboard engines for the longish 30 minute or so trip. At the village we were greeted by very nice music from a small combo of men playing natural hand made instruments. In the fascinating reception palapa with many arts & crafts, the Chief gave us a warm welcome in Spanish which our guide translated into English for us. The women of the village gave us an interpretive dance made extra special by each one of the natives taking our hands and bringing each one of our group into the dance. We were thrilled!

Also, we enjoyed a festive lunch of fish and plantains in decoratively wrapped banana leaves used as bowls. Then, we were led on a botanical trail near the village and shown herbs of mint, cilantro and basil, along with medicinal plant examples like palm hearts for kidney health.

All-in-all it was a tremendously interesting trip!

Next, crew changes and party, party, party on the "Party Bus".


Celebrate - Log Day 16 - Party, Party on the "Party Bus"!

08 February 2014

It was Friday morning and first we said our fond farewells to our Panama Canal mates Andy Barrow and John & Kat Langenheim. We had a French Toast farewell breakfast and they were off to catch their flights out of Panama. Then it was time to welcome our next shipmate, Randy Brand, from Fairbanks, Alaska. He was going to join us on the "Party Bus" that night. Colored lights flashing everywhere on the Panama Party Bus! With a free bar, live DJ on board and plenty of room for dancing it was a popular night of fun. Some of the best dancing we have seen from our own Paul, Rally Control; Bryan, Darlene and Joel, American Spirit; Dagmar, Flomaida and my own Charlie of Celebrate! A very good time was had by all! Cathy  

Celebrate - Log Day 17- Lovely Las Perlas!

12 February 2014

Leaving our perfect Panama City memories behind us, including Davide of the World Rally as he returns to his homeland of Sardinia, we sail on to the lovely Las Perlas Islands.

What a spectacular sight of 30 plus World Rally boats anchored in front of a beautiful beach at Contadora Island, part of the Las Perlas Islands. In the background, the pretty Villa Hotel Romantica, aptly named with circular patios for the restaurant and bar hanging out over the beach cliff. Between the rendezvous and barbecue our nights were filled with laughter and good times as we prepared to start Leg 2 of the Rally going to the Galapagos. Cheers to Paul, Suzana and Joel for making our stay go so smoothly!


Next, the equator and memories of Leg 2.

Celebrate - Log Day 32 - Big Moon Nights, Sunny Days and the Equator of Leg 2!

13 February 2014

"Some of the most perfect sailing we will ever see", Charlie says, as we left Las Perlas to start Leg 2 of the Rally and head for the Galapagos. It's always fun to see our colorful Gennaker flying. The Rally boats were all taking photos of each other and we have pictures of Skyelark of London, Festina Lente and Nexus. After a few days the wind left us and we had to start the engine and put the whisker pole out on the Genoa. On 2/9 we were sailing with Firefly, Clementina, Flomaida and Lluiton.

Crossing the Equator was such a life highlight on Tuesday afternoon, 2/11, and was celebrated with a special bottle of champagne from our friends Jay & Laurie Ailworth and of course we ate Charlie's favorite brie cheese.

Speaking of brie cheese, such great food was prepared by our crew member, Randy Brand, we could call him our "visiting chef" and Charlie, our "resident chef". After Randy's lemon chicken with capers and pasta Pavarotti and Charlie's shrimp curry and fajitas I feel like such a lucky girl!

Also, Charlie did a day of being the net controller which he set up as a radio call in show for fun!

Along the way we had beautiful big moonlight nights and sunny days. We saw dolphins, sailfish, flying fish and had tiny squid on our deck. For the last two nights several "Jonathan Livingston" seagulls swooped around the boat entertaining each member on watch as the birds turned pink, green and white in our boat lights.

Then, we passed Kicker Rock on 2/12 just as it was getting light with Alpheratz ahead of us and Hebe behind.

Gorgeous Galapagos at last!


Celebrate - Log Day 33 - Sea Lions Galore at San Cristobal, Galapagos

14 February 2014

The sound of barking sea lions filled our ears as we anchored in pretty Puerto Baquerizo at the Island of San Cristobal. Soon with an extravaganza of Spanish speaking officials and two wonderful World ARC agents translating, Ricardo & Yvonne, plus divers to examine our boat's hull we were cleared into Ecuadorian Galapagos in short order.

A waiting water taxi took us into shore and we walked to the charming Miconia Hotel's upstairs open-air restaurant complete with beautiful bay view for a Rally "happy hour". After two Cuba Libre's and an outstanding dinner of mixed seafood barbecue "doubled" on our table grill we really felt "happy".

In the twinkle of anchor lights and the glow of shore lights we arrived back at CELEBRATE in what looked like a fairy land. What a great day!


Next, Kicker Rock...

Celebrate - Spectacular Sharks at Kicker Rock , Giant Tortoises, a Volcano and a Grand Treehouse!

16 February 2014

What an experience! After a great boat ride to the gap of famous Kicker Rock we were up close and personal snorkeling with groups of sharks and eagle rays. A nice lunch was served and then we were off to a close-by beach for swimming and bird watching. What fun!

We took the best taxi tour of our lives with Carlos the previous day to see a preserve of Giant Tortoises (they are big!), visited a volcano that now holds drinking water for the community of 8,000 people and a very grand treehouse in an ancient cottonwood tree. Entering the treehouse is very exciting on a wooden stick bridge high in the air. I have the photos to prove it!


Next...Santa Cruz Island.

Celebrate - Pelicans, Pelicans in Puerto Ayora at Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

20 February 2014

What a colorful and interesting port city with the Charles Darwin Research Station very nearby. We are anchored in Academy Bay right off Puerto Ayora with a stern and bow anchor this time behind S/V Caduceus and with S/V Nexus next to us. Plenty of pelicans plunging for fish right off our boat!

We were excited to hear that our cousins from New York City, Leon and Dixie, were staying at a close by hotel and could meet us for dinner. They picked out a fun Italian restaurant, II Giardino. Soon, Russ, Laurie, Sheldon and Vanessa of Nexus appeared at the next table with their guests from San Diego, John and Lorie.

Also, we visited with a National Geographic Group Tour that was heading up to the highlands. So much to see and learn in the Galapagos!

Charlie and I will miss Joel of the World ARC Rally and wish him the best with his new endeavors at the World Cruising Club!


Next, a diving trip...

Celebrate - Sharks, Turtles and Rays (Oh My!)

21 February 2014

It was a spectacular scuba trip to Gordon Rocks with two excellent dives. The rocks rise directly from about 100' depth so it's a wall dive and is open directly to ocean swell and currents.

The appearance of a school of hammerhead sharks was accompanied by a flukey-current blast of ice-water which made the visibility shimmer. These currents are what make for stunning Galapagos diving by bringing deep water nutrients to the Islands. Also, I got an up-close view of a large sea-turtle that swam away into a dead-end crevice in the rock wall and then had to spend time getting turned around so he could leave. It was very interesting to watch.

The dive was topped off with a school of rays as well as a huge variety of reef-fish.


Celebrate - Smashing Rally Fleet Supper at II Giardino on Santa Cruz!

27 February 2014

Starblazer started the evening by hosting us for Caipirinha cocktails at the open-air Rock Cafe Happy Hour before dinner. So gracious of them, we had a chance to get to know John and Joyce better on our Kicker Rock tour in San Cristobal. Their son from Hong Kong,Richard and his wife, Stephanie, are here in Galapagos for a few days. Very interesting and nice people!

Then Brian and Lauren, a very nice young couple crewing on Dasha Way, joined us too for a very tasty three-course supper at the attractive tropical, two-story Italian II Giardino Restaurant. As we walked up the beautiful stairway to the second floor the World Rally greeters, Suzana and Alex, were there to send us in the right direction with smiles. During our dinner of a shrimp curry appetizer, a fresh fish in coconut sauce entree and tiramisu to finish, Paul of Rally Control, was able to chat with us.

With so many of the Rally Fleet boat crews attending it was a splendid party!


Celebrate - Final Tours and Party Toasts on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos!

03 March 2014

Santa Cruz Island runs the gamut of dry vegetation in the low areas to the lush tropical trees of the "Highlands" just minutes away by car. Our final tour was visiting the giant tortoises in their natural habitat on a farm with protected acreage, viewing volcano craters and walking through large lava tubes. Galapagos will not be forgotten!

Last night our crew member, Randy, treated us to scenic drinks and a fabulous sushi dinner out. For a final toast afterwards, Laurie of Nexus asked us to join in with their crew Sheldon and Ness at the street food fair. Laurie's husband, Russ, was on Ghost helping with their instruments, but he was able to join us a little later. Also, saw Becky of Skyelark for a minute. What a great evening!

Today was the start of Leg 3 to Hiva Oa in French Polynesia.


Celebrate - S/V Ko-Ko & S/V Celebrate and Autopilot Adventures at the start of Leg 3!

04 March 2014

Ko-Ko had to come back from the start of Leg 3 because of auto pilot issues. Anchored near us, Charlie spent the afternoon with them and was able to help identify the problem which could be fixed quickly by a mechanic. They now have a working autopilot and our new autopilot was delivered by Ricardo last night!

Haakon & Ellen kindly invited us for wine at the Rock Cafe and dinner at II Giardino with their new crew Brian & Lauren. With our crew,Randy, we all celebrated!

After our autopilot installation we will see if any customization is needed and then be able to depart the Galapagos.

So far, so good!


Celebrate - Dash Away All & Whales Tales!

15 March 2014

Behind the Fleet by two days to stay at Galapagos for the autopilot installation, we are now within 20nm of the next boat in the fleet. Also, we were a few days without wind, motoring and trying to conserve our fuel running the engine at only 1500RPM's which slowed us.

Finally, we picked up the trade winds at 12 knots (plus & minus). We were sailing along nicely at mostly 8knots when our Genoa sail jammed, so slowing down to 5-6knots with just the Mainsail up.

Fixed the Genoa to deploy about half way so now enjoying 7-8knots of speed again with Trade Winds at a high of 23knots! Yeah!

Whopping Whales Tails from a pod of whales right at our starboard bow a few days ago! What a fun sight!

Happy to be dashing away with the rest of the Fleet!


Celebrate - Fancy Meeting the Rally Fleet here at 116W Degrees and Flying Fish Galore!

18 March 2014

Having caught up with the Fleet we are turning northwards while still sailing with reasonable wind.

Also, flying fish are making for some interesting companions as they flop into the cockpit at night!


Land Ho, the Marquesas!


Celebrate - Dolphin Babies, Red Moons Rising & Self-Lit Night Fish

26 March 2014

A huge pod of Dolphins with babies jumping all around the boat stayed with us for quite a while. It was so entertaining! Also, it was spectacular one night to see hundreds of self-lighting fish for an hour lighting our way. Then, there were several nights of the moon rising red. It was mesmerizing.  What a fantastic trip! Cathy

Celebrate - Revised ETA (Today) for Celebrate

26 March 2014

Greetings!! It now appears we will arrive between 1pm and 2pm today (Marquesas time). See you soon! Charlie S/V celebrate

Celebrate - Land Ho! The Marquesas!

28 March 2014

After 3,000 nautical miles plus from the Galapagos, we have arrived at the Marquesas in French Polynesia as Captain Cook did, by sailboat. Our port of entry is the Island of Hiva Oa where the famous painter, Paul Gauguin, is buried just above our anchorage in the village of Atuono.

We said goodbye to our latest crew member, Randy Brand, who is heading back to his home in Alaska and his wife, Sharon. We saw some wonderful sights together from Panama, through the Galapagos, to the Marquesas. Wishing Randy and his family well in Alaska. Our French Polynesian Flag is now flying! Next, Nuka Hiva... Cathy

Celebrate - Picture Perfect Polynesian Island Anchorage!

30 March 2014

Hanamoenoa Bay has a beautiful beach with a lush tropical island view! It's paradise found! What a great place to relax and have fun after our long passage from the Galapagos. A few Rally boats were here NDS Darwin, Kathea and Hebe but have since left for Nuka Hiva. Chez Nous has arrived and we will "car pool" to the beach. With terrific French bread and some added raspberry jam from our friends, Don & Charlotte Lamp, who saw us off in St. Lucia and joined in Charlie's 60th birthday celebration, "life is very good"!  Cathy

Celebrate - Following the Wake of Solo Woman World Circumnavigator, Pat Henry!

02 April 2014

I met Pat Henry at a neighbor's home in the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico where she now lives. Pat is a delight and was awarded e Joshua Slocum Golden Circle for her solo circumnavigation. Also, my husband and I had read her book, "By the GRACE of the SEA" about her Around-the-World sailing trip. We were enthralled and found it quite helpful for ideas about our own planned circumnavigation.

Pat made her first land fall in French Polynesia at Nuka Hiva, where we are now anchored having followed in her wake, and we have heard the nighttime drumbeats as if from the pages of Herman Melville's "Typee". As our World ARC Rally boat friends came into the bay we felt as Pat had, "reassured by the sight of familiar boats in foreign harbors".

Our hat is off to you, Pat, and we can't wait to compare notes when we come back to Puerto Vallarta.

Celebrate - A Fragrant Flower Lei , Beautiful Bountiful Fruit Buffet, Dramatic Dancers, Drumming & Dinner!

06 April 2014

Fantastic festivities! Each one of our Rally group was welcomed with a lovely flower lei. The bountiful fruit buffet tables were beautifully decorated and had star fruit, freshly cut coconut nuggets, tasty desert breads, papaya, pineapple and melon. It was delicious!

Next, rum punches were served in a semi-outdoor tiki style banquet room and as we sat at the attractive tables set with flowers and pretty tropical cloths we were welcomed by the Mayor of Nuka Hiva.

Then came the exotic Polynesian dancers and drumming. What a show!

Thank you to our own, Alex, of Rally Control for helping with a very special afternoon and evening.

Next, to Tahiti from the Marquesas...


Celebrate - To Tahiti from the Marquesas

07 April 2014

Thanks to American Spirit's Brian & Joel we were able to fuel. It took at least four people to anchor for med-mooring, throw lines to the dock and re-tie the lines on the dock as needed. It was quite a project.

Also, we were able to purchase two new batteries and fix our genoa problems. All-in-all the Marquesas were a great stop for us in many ways.

Now, on to Tahiti with beautiful sailing and Flomaida and Tulasi sailing nearby.

Next, landfall at Tahiti!


Celebrate - Papeete, Tahiti in the Society Islands

09 April 2014

Tahiti is so beautiful with a lush, mountainous terrain. After outstanding downwind sailing for four days we have arrived at the marina to dock med-moor style next to Rally boats Lluiton and Andromeda.

What a perfect place to call "home" for the next three & a half weeks!


Celebrate - Terrific Tahiti Dinner Show at the Intercontinental Hotel

22 April 2014

What a grand view from the Intercontinental Hotel! We started at their Tiki Bar with a sunset cocktail of yummy mango margaritas. The beautiful buffet had every kind of tasty Tahitian dish you could imagine from sashimi to coconuts filled with marinated pork. The two dessert tables were heaven from chocolate fountains, fabulous fruit to pretty pastries. Then came the perfectly performed Taitian dancing and singing show with amazing costumes. We had a wonderful time! Cathy

Celebrate - Tahiti Reef Sharks etc.

24 April 2014

I went for a scuba dive last Saturday and the dive boat anchored just outside the reef near the village of Puna'auia. You could see the bottom clearly with the depth about 40 ft. when we reached the bottom, the white-tipped reef sharks came by on queue. Several came by to check us out, determined we were too big to eat, and departed.

For the remainder of the dive, we explored the edge of the reef to the drop-off. Visibility was outstanding and I saw a number of new reef fish species as well as all the usual suspects. This was my first dive with just a shorty instead of a full wetsuit and it was wonderfully warm with the water about 28C (82F).

I had a grand time!


Celebrate - Treasured Memories of Tahiti

02 May 2014

Black pearls for our 35th wedding anniversary, an ooh-la-la romantic dinner at the Pink Coconut Restaurant with wonderful French wine, Fois Gras and great food! Fun dinners, cocktails and receptions with other "Rally" boaters and a finale circle bus tour of Tahiti with beautiful botanical gardens, a stunning cascading waterfall, ancient worshiping sites and the Tahiti Museum.

Tahiti was not to be missed!


Celebrate - Moorea Lazy Days

04 May 2014

Leaving for Moorea we were accompanied by Rally boats Seaduced, Trillium and Circe. All of us headed into Cook's Bay, except for Seaduced. Moorea is beautiful and a perfect place to recharge ourselves with lazy days. The Cook's Bay anchorage is protected and much less crowded than the bay to the west. There is a cute hotel with thatched roofs called Bali Hai and it has a little restaurant with a convenient dingy dock. Also in walking distance, a fuel station for the dingy, grocery store and snacks. The place is very boat friendly and the nearby visitor center arranges excursions and transportation. Other Rally boats also came into the anchorage later: American Spirit, Folie a Deux, II Audacious and Saphir. It's great to see and visit with all of these boats we know. We are all leaving in stages ending up in Bora Bora to start the next leg of the Rally. Next: Serene Raiatea Cathy

Celebrate - Serene Raiatea

05 May 2014

We left Moorea at sunset for our overnight to Raiatea with Rally boats Starblazer and Sweet Pearl just ahead of us. Some lightening around us but no rain on the boat. At 8am we easily passed through the two islets at the entry of Passe Iriru across from Mont Maufenua and into Baie Faaroa to anchor at one of the most serene places we have ever been. Also, Rally boats Skyelark and Festina Lente are here. Next, Bora Bora... Cathy

Celebrate - Beautiful Bora Bora!

05 May 2014

Beautiful views of Raiatea, Tahaa and our destination, Bora Bora, while at sea making the trip. We arrived at the Maikai Yacht club hooking to a mooring buoy with Teiva from the yacht club coming right over to help us and give us a warm welcome! Rally boats Vivo, Clemintina and Brizo were in sight on the moorings, too. We are looking forward to signing up a dive trip, a helicopter tour and horseback riding trip if there is time. It should be a delightful week!


Celebrate - Giant Anemones and Colorful Clams on Bora Bora Dive

07 May 2014

On my recent Bora Bora scuba dive, I was introduced to lots of new sea creatures. Huge sea cucumbers, perhaps four inches in diameter and two feet long. I saw lots of giant clams which had brilliant blue or purple insides which retracted and closed when I got close�-but weren't very giant at just several inches across. Perhaps the most novel creatures for me were sea anemones, over a foot across, with brilliant red undersides which became visible when they closed up. I hope to dive Bora Bora again later this week.


Celebrate - George of the Jungle, Vavau Adventures in Bora Bora!

10 May 2014

Charlie and I had a super-fun tour in a Jeep open-air 4X4 with George around the Island. What made the trip was not only the stunning sights but George's love and knowledge of his Island. He was so funny, informative and sang along the way so you couldn't help having a terrific time. We were given samples of papaya and bread fruit dipped in coconut milk along with a demonstration of cloth dyeing. Several ultra-steep roads took us up the mountain for spectacular views and George had stopped to get each of the ladies a hibiscus flower to put in their hair for pictures. Also, the historical World War II canon and ancient worshiping sites were very interesting. Such fun!


Celebrate - Perfect Paradise Party for Rally Send-Off from Bora Bora

13 May 2014

Greeted with an exquisite flower lei and a seashell necklace for Charlie along with tropical cocktails from our always gracious hosts Paul and Suzana from rally control we had a happy start to the evening! The Maikai Yacht Club out did themselves with a delicious buffet dinner and a great band with singer. We loved it! A perfect send-off for group one to Tonga via Suwarrow and Niue. Cathy

Celebrate - Waves of Dolphins and Mountainous Water to Suwarrow/Niue

16 May 2014

The waves beside our boat were filled with jumping dolphins at least ten deep on a side that just kept coming for about fifteen minutes. It was incredible to see. Also, we have enjoyed surfing down the mountainous swell(12ft or so). Speed at 11.1 knots is our record!


Celebrate - Notes to Niue

20 May 2014

We are now trying to slow our speed for arrival in Niue on Tueday, but we are having such great wind in the 15 knot range. With a boat as heavy as Celebrate it takes around 15 knots to get moving. We are having such fun sailing! Also, Charlie has had time to prepare some great meals like last night's dinner of jumbo shrimp with capers and herbed butter, served with pasta and Mediterranean vegetables. Yummy!

Next, Niue...


Celebrate - High Commissioner Party and Rally Dinner with Dancers & Singers in Niue!

26 May 2014

What a warm welcome at the High Commissioner's home in Niue. Drinks and snacks on the veranda, a welcoming talk, and insight into life on the island world. Then, we went to a Rally buffet dinner with dancing and singing with the locals and high school students. Food in great variety with local dishes in abundance. It was a festive night ashore for all! Next, passage to Fiji Charlie

Celebrate - Spectacular Sailing to Fiji Islands from Niue!

28 May 2014

Arriving at the Oneata Passage we are in the Fiji Islands! What spectacular downwind sailing we had out of Niue with a wing-on-wing sail set and the whisker pole out. We were seeing 14.1kt of speed surfing on the waves! South Pacific Ocean sailing is great! Nexus and Vivo who had left the anchorage just ahead of us were seeing 16 and 15 knots of speed. Coming into Oneata Passage the wind had clocked around and we were doing 7-8kts of speed on a close then reach. Now, we are slowing ourselves to get into Port Denarau in the daylight hours. To celebrate our Fiji arrival Charlie made crab wraps for lunch with capers, olives and cucumbers. So far, fantastic!

Fiji time is currently 10am on Wednesday, May 28th due to the International Date Line. Cathy  

Celebrate - Edge of the Hemisphere in Fiji!

28 May 2014

It's been said that "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet." But, we are not sure it's true.
Having sailed West for four months, we've just crossed the 180 degree meridian and entered the Eastern Hemisphere. It turns out we have gone East by going West!
Also, we have crossed the International Date Line and lost a day. Yesterday was Tuesday and we will arrive tomorrow, Friday, in Port Denarau. So that makes today what day ?? Changes you don't think of every day.

On to Port Denarau...

Charlie and Cathy

Celebrate - Super Yachts, Restaurants,Luxury Resorts and Amazing Activities at Port Denarau, Fiji

12 June 2014

We arrived just before daylight at the reef entrance to Port Denarau. With an abundance of well lit markers and a huge entrance we decided to make the entry. The good news was we had no problems and were in our marina slip two hours later with a handful of super yachts, the biggest at 223ft, Lady Christine. Eli of the Yacht Help Agency visited within a few minutes to say the customs, immigration and bio personnel would be on board shortly to clear us in. They checked us in quickly and we were on our way, thanks to Eli! Port Denarau Marina reminds us somewhat of Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia because of the handful of good restaurants at the top of the dock with some shopping and nearby resorts. Also, there is a commercial dock for a small cruise ship, ferries and other activity boats at the marina. First, it's off to try one of the restaurants! Cathy

Celebrate - Haul Out, Westin Resort Stay, Back in the Water & the Aukland to Fiji Race boats at Port Denarau, Fiji...

14 June 2014

Haul out at Port Denarau was perfect for our boat repairs, new bottom paint & waxing the hull & topsides. Also, it was a great excuse for a lovely stay at the Westin Resort nearby. Now, we are back in the water and several other Rally boats are coming & going like Flomaida, Dinghy & Hebe. Also, the Aukland to Fiji Race boats are arriving at the marina. This is New Zealand's premier ocean race with gold-plated ocean boats and the first one arrived yesterday afternoon. As the crew left the boat, it seemed like there were thirty beefy guys to do the sailing. How nice! Cathy

Celebrate - Delightful All-Day Car Tour of Native Villages & Major Towns while Circling the Main Island of Viti Levu, Fiji

15 June 2014

Stellar driving tour of the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu. With many native villages and religious temples along the way, we went from the west coast north to Lautoka through the sugar cane fields and mills, then down the rainforest east coast to the south through the national capital of Suva (a very modern busy city) and back up the west coast through to the airport at Nadi and returning to Port Denarau. Our terrific driver, Kamal, from Rosie's Holiday Tours picked us up at 8am and the tour lasted until 6:30pm. Also, we had a great lunch in Suva, drove past the beautiful Ambassadors homes, Colonial style government buildings and saw the Royal Yacht Club. What a wonderful tour! Cathy  

Celebrate - Idyllic Yasawa Islands All-Day Explorer Fast Catamaran Ferry Tour Starting in the Mamanuca Islands

16 June 2014

Stunning scenery starting with some of the Mamanuca Islands from South Sea Island to Volmo showing steep volcanic cliffs, then we cruised by the remote Yasawa Islands with beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons including the famous, "Blue Lagoon". There were cruising sailboats anchored in some of the bays and it was a great opportunity to see where the really good spots to anchor are. It was a long day with check-in at 7:45am at the Port Denarau Marina and returning at 6:30pm, but well worth it for us!

Next, Musket Cove...


Celebrate - Musket Cove First Day Adventures & Final Night Dinner with American Spirit & Drinks with Flomaida in Port Denarau...

18 June 2014

We enjoyed our last night in Port Denarau at dinner with Brian & Joel of American Spirit and Christoph & Dagmar of Flomaida joining us for drinks. Also, Happy Father's Day to all who are celebrating it! In the morning it was an easy two-hour sailing trip over to Musket Cove with sunny weather and a very attractive anchorage/mooring area in the Cove. This is a swim-off-the-back of your boat for a short distance to get to the reef for a snorkeling place, our favorite! What a pleasant tropical island resort with a beautiful beach and lush landscaping! Check in at the marina was friendly and we are now members of MCYC with an interesting burgee. We did learn that our boat was too heavy for the mooring buoy, so we moved just outside the mooring field to anchor. No problem, there is plenty of space and good holding. Then, Charlie signed up for two dive trips and we had a great lunch at Dick's. More adventures tomorrow!


Celebrate - Two Super Scuba Dives near Musket Cove, Fiji!

20 June 2014

Conveniently picking me up at CELEBRATE for the two morning dives plus adding a couple from Norway staying at a different resort, Subsurface Fiji located at Musket Cove Marina did a great job of making the dive trip enjoyable. Out by Mana Island we did a drift dive along a reef wall at the "Marketplace" dive site where we saw black tipped sharks and eagle rays. For our second dive at the "Barrel Head" site, there were spectacular colors of coral and many interesting reef fish I hadn't seen before. Also, the weather really cooperated with calm and super visibility for both dives. Another great adventure!


Celebrate - Flags Up, Fueled Up & Feet Up at Musket Cove Anchorage, Fiji!

26 June 2014

S/V Celebrate is dressed overall to pay our compliments to Musket Cove. We have to say we think they really deserve it for all of the terrific treatment we have received from the marina check-in with "they-will-do-it" provisioning, to Subsurface diving, the boutique shop, Dick's restaurant, the Trader Shop, and fueling up at their dock. We are definitely enjoying having our feet up and relaxing!


Celebrate - Charlie's Reef Diving, Dick's Nightly Music with Masterpiece Margarita's and Fun Anchorage Neighbors at Musket Cove, Fiji!

28 June 2014

More excellent diving with Subsurface Fiji. This trip showcased the Charlie's Reef dive site (my favorite!) and the Gotham City site. Dick's Restaurant has a nightly string combo and the frozen margarita's are a work of art! A Taswell 56 sailboat anchored next to us. They have just finished their world circumnavigation. Also, Flomaida, Brizo and Nexus have just come in to the anchorage. We can't wait to catch up with their stories!    Charlie

Celebrate - Farewell to Friends at Fijian Feast Dinner in Musket Cove, Fiji

06 July 2014

Fiji was our favorite place so far, but bitter sweet because of friends leaving the rally at this point mostly for New Zealand. The World Rally arranged another fabulous dinner for all of us with World ARC momentos for the boats departing the rally. Many of the boats expect to catch up with the rally next year. We will miss them! Now at sea on our way to Vanuatu.

Next: Village Welcome and a Volcano.


Celebrate - Active Volcano Tour at Sunset & Village Welcome in Tanna, Vanuatu!!

11 July 2014

WOW!! Standing at the rim of an active volcano is something not to be missed!! Adrenaline rushes in you as the Mount Yasur cauldron spews up glowing lumps of lava at sunset from two places. A stunningly beautiful sight!!   A lovely, lovely welcome from the villagers complete with coconut milk served in coconuts, gifts for us made out of intricately woven leaves and grasses for hats, handbags, and sachels holding fruits & flowers. Also, there was singing & dancing and a tasty buffet dinner. We felt so warmly welcomed!! Next: Port Vila, Vanuatu Cathy

Celebrate - Awesome Australia Passage! 250 Degrees & 250 nm to go!

22 July 2014

Sensational sailing with every sail up to Australia on our way from Port Vila, Vanuatu. Vanuatu will be missed, but we are happy to be making landfall in Australia. Our smaller group has become quite chummy with Nexus, Boingo alive!, CHIKA-lu, and now NDS Darwin joining in. Also, Charlie has outdone himself with fabulous food we "have to eat" before Australia, like, cordon blu and steak sandwiches for lunch and shrimp for dinner! More exercise needed here!

Next: Mackay, Austrlia


Celebrate - Sydney Side Trip Sights & Boat Show Were So Much Fun!

09 August 2014

After seeing a Platypus near our stop at Mackay, Australia and enjoying catching up with the other rally boats it was time to fly to Sydney, Australia. Thanks to Hugh from rally control, who lives in Sydney, I had many great tips for a terrific visit. I was based at a hotel in the historic area known as "The Rocks" which was close to the harbor and had great restaurants and shopping. At the harbor the boat show was splendid & the boat harbor tour had great views of the Sydney Opera House & the Harbour Bridge. Also, the Royal Botanical Gardens and Mrs. Macquerie's Chair were worth the visit. Beautiful beaches everywhere like Manly and Bondi and all with beach front restaurants with good food and great views. I could live in Sydney!


Celebrate - Helicopter AIS, Glacier Bay like Humpbacks & Sophie's Story Book!

17 August 2014

Just passing Cairns on our passage up to Darwin, Australia from Mackay. The Mackay Marina people were so good to us we gave them three large gift bags of cookies & other treats. They gave us the "Sophie" book, a famous dog owned by Bridget. Great people! Also, we saw a helicopter AIS icon flying around for the first time on our electronic chart. It looks like a helicopter shadow moving around. Much more detail than the boat icons. Two more humpback whale sightings. It reminds us of our sailing trip into Glacier Bay, Alaska with many humpback whales around. They are BIG!!  

Celebrate - On to Darwin thru Albany Passage, Endeavor Strait & into the Arafura Sea

21 August 2014

Fueling up at Cooktown on our way to Albany Passage was an experience as the April cyclone had knocked out the entry markers, so it was seat of the pants navigating through the entry and looking to see what the fishing fleet was doing. We fared well and then at Albany Passage enjoyed the beautiful beach sights. Endeavor Strait had reefs to avoid but we had no problems and headed into the sunny Arafura Sea.

Next: Cape Wessel Cathy

Celebrate - Welcome for Our Expert Crew, Peter Sandover, in Darwin, Australia!

27 August 2014

A super welcome to our new crew person, Peter Sandover, who was formerly with S/V Firefly until they decided to re-route to New Zealand. Paul and Susie have told us they miss him, but we are thrilled that it gives him the chance to join us on S/V Celebrate from Darwin to Cape Town, Africa. Peter will arrive late this afternoon the 27th and begin helping us to prepare for our Bali passage starting on Septmber 2nd. We are so looking forward to having Peter aboard and want to thank his wife Jane, too! Cathy & Charlie

Celebrate - Day trips to Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks

01 September 2014

Our time in Darwin has been limited to less than a week but we have made the most of it. Peter's trips have included a day tour to Litchfield National park where we toured through dramatic scenery, wandered around giant termite mounds and walked to even more waterfalls- a continuing theme on the rally. We even went for a swim at the foot of Florence Falls. The tour was warned off swimming at Wangi falls as a few days earlier a tourist had been 'scratched' (in the words of the tour guide) by a fresh water croc.

Another trip with kiwi friends Paula and Tony took Peter on a boat trip around the Corroboree Billabong where we saw all sorts of water lilies and birdlife including a Jacana . At one point we got very close to both salt water crocodiles (saltys) and the less aggressive fresh water variety. the trip continued on to Kakadu National Park and Ubirr to see many fine examples of Aboriginal rock art and enjoy stunning views across the Kakadu wetlands. On our return we dropped into another famous landmark the Humpty Doo Pub, good beer, and lots of action, well it was Saturday night but fortunately we left before it go too exciting.

Other trips for Peter included a walk around the Darwin Military Museum on East Point and the Mindil beach night market-great street food, entertainers, craft market and a beautiful sunset thrown in.

Charlie and Cathy took a trip to Alice Springs and more about that later.

We are very grateful to Paula for making us all so welcome in her adopted city, introducing us to Tony and Diane and showing us the best Greek Restaurant in town.

The new boy on Celebrate

Celebrate - Amazing Ayers Rock Side Tour from Alice Springs, Australia!

02 September 2014

After welcoming Peter on board CELEBRATE in Darwin and meeting his lovely friends Paula & Diane for a great Greek dinner, Charlie & Cathy were ready to fly out to Alice Springs as a sight seeing base for an all day bus tour to Ayers Rock (now called Uluru/see posted photo). At the amazing "rock' we were able to take several walks around the base with ancient aboriginal paintings in them. Also, we were able to visit another huge rock formation nearby called Kata Tjuta. We finished the day with a sunset view of Ayers Rock with many changing colors and a festive BBQ with a glass of champagne. What magnificent sights!

Charlie & Cathy

Celebrate - Senational Start for the Bali from Darwin Rally Leg!

02 September 2014

What a grand sight our sailing fleet is! With wind in our sails our great looking fleet headed out for Bali together from Darwin, Australia. We have so many fond memories of Darwin, meeting cheerful and hardworking, Keith, who runs the Tipperary Marina (also he has a lovely wife, Lei). Our new crew person, Peter, is aboard and he cooks, too! Also new, Rob of rally control and we have already appreciated his help. The rally sponsored two fun socials and we had a terrific last Thai supper. We must say goodbye to Hugh at rally control who was wonderful to us and we will miss. Good luck to everyone! Cathy

Celebrate - We are Sailing!

04 September 2014

We have finally turned the engine off. The sea breeze that blew us out of Darwin did not last long followed by almost two days of motor sailing. On Charlie's 6AM till 10 AM this morning the South South Easterly breeze started to build sufficient to roll out the genoa and full main (they flap if there isn't enough wind)while still running the motor. By 10AM when Peter came up on watch there was enough wind to hoist the colorful Genniker and after a few adjustments we are bounding along without engine assistance between 5 and 7 knots.

No matter how many times it happens turning off the engine, enjoying the silence and relying solely on sail power is a great moment. That does not mean we have not had any other good moments; there was a beautiful red sunset that filled the sky on Charlie's watch and when Cathy took over from Peter at 2AM and we enjoyed a dramatic setting moon.

Some looking at our yellow brick track might wonder why the zig zag course? after all we have been motoring! Well the Indian Ocean is not as deep as the other oceans crossed and we are periodically changing course to avoid a series of shallow banks (some as shallow as 20 feet) and some production well heads. Peter


06 September 2014

For yesterday's SSB Net Peter suggested the question of the day for the fleet: to find the "Best" word made up only of the first letters of the names of boats currently participating (multi-word names can choose to use any first letter). You could make your word in any language but you must provide a definition. If you invent a word, the definition should be entertaining and/or humorous. EVERY ENTRY IS A WINNER!

I had a great time and hope the other entrants did as well. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL ENTRANTS (WINNERS). They all win a beer on arrival in Bali.

Of particular mention...
From Merlyn: FABALMSAP
From Nexus: BAFLLPASSDANCCLOGMAP {The map you need when bafl'd}
From Ghost: O'Flanagans (an Irish Pub chain)

Also, I received the following entry from Folie a Deux via email:

Cah cah bah mah lah dee lopslings
Used in a sentence
�oh, that�s full of [caca-bama-lade-lopslings]�
Hindi for hogwash[not to be used after 3 or more beers]
Used letter is capitalized
Civetta ii
Boingo alive
Merlyn of poole
folie A deux
nds Darwin
free &brEasy
sirocco of Oz
american spirit Ii
Sweet pearl

Other entries came from Alpharatz (Otorhinolarywtology) and American Spirit (who paid homage to Mary Poppins with SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPEALIDOCIOUS)appear to have found a larger fleet to draw on!

Onboard Celebrate we came up with 'An Anglo flag gaf'- this is what happens when you hoist the ensign upside down.

Charlie and Peter on Celebrate

Celebrate - Approaching the Indonesian Coast

07 September 2014

The light winds we suffered early on on this trip are now over and are now enjoying 20 knots of trade wind sailing taking us towards Benoa Harbor on Bali. Ironically we now have to put the breaks on by reducing sail otherwise we will reach our destination over night, this is not an ideal situation and on this occasion the harbor is closed so we must wait till morning and slack water.

Our route from Darwin has taken us through different seas on the edge of the Indian Ocean starting with the Timor Sea, the Savu Sea and now the Flores Sea. We are now within 15 miles of Lombok as we approach the Indonesian Coast. The air temperature has gradually increased and flying fish are flying again. No fishing yet but some pink lures and line are on the shopping list for Bali.

Now the wind is up we have been experimenting with different down wind sail plans, the gennaker has been given a day off today and we tried the genoa goosewinged it all worked well until we realized we were going too fast!

I am gradually getting to grips with all the electronics on board, with the index finger getting lots of exercise. Although there have been moments when the alarms go off and two attempts by the boat to turn around have been narrowly averted.

Peter on Celebrate

Celebrate - Farewell to Bali

14 September 2014

Before leaving the dock at Bali Marina we and Celebrate were blessed by local guide Aasa and his wife. The ceremony which many boats participated in involved a prayer, a floral offering and a flower placed behind our ears. This together with lots of smiles and farewells made our departure very special. Once out at the start we threw more offerings into the sea to help make it a safe and enjoyable passage. The blessings appear to be working as we are are enjoying a good breeze and more than forecast.

We have left Bali with some very fond memories. Cathy and Charlie took off to a hotel for a battery re-charge. Cathy treated the whole fleet to a memorable birthday party at the hotel roof top bar. The seven seas theme ( Cathy, Charlie, Celebrate, Cocktails, Cake, Champagne and lots of Cheers)was such a fun occasion in a very dramatic location overlooking the coast and the Indian Ocean.

Peter spent some of his down time touring the island and revisiting places he enjoyed with Jane some 20 years ago. The highlight was a 25k bicycle ride down from Mount Batur a dormant volcano to the historic town of Ubud. The trip down narrow roads and tracks took us through traditional villages, past temples, fruit orchards and rice terraces. We met many friendly people on our way. The island has changed dramatically since Peter's last visit with much more traffic and development but the people remain the the most cheerful and hospitable we have had the pleasure to meet. Our enjoyment of Bali was helped enormously by Suzana and Rob of World ARC who took the strain out of the immigration and clearance process as well as organizing some great social events. Well done to both and bon voyage to Rob as he heads back to the UK. Cathy, Charlie and Peter

Celebrate - In the Indian Ocean to Cocos, leaving behind Exoctic Bali Dancers, Diving & a "Unique" Party & more!

16 September 2014

Flying for now in the Indian Ocean at 10kts with all sails up heading for the Cocos Keeling Islands! Beautiful, kind and exotic are all descriptive of Bali and her people. We have such treasured thoughts of our time there. My generous husband, Charlie, hosted a birthday party for me at a lovely terrace with pool overlook bar called "Unique". We are so grateful to Peter for arranging transportation for many of the fleet who joined us! Also, many thanks to those who could attend. You all made the party very special! More special times at the rally dinner with extraordinary exotic Bali dancers and great friendliness among the fleet! Also, Peter & Charlie took a fun diving trip, the first time for the two of them together. More dives to come! For our foodie friends, Cathy is a very lucky girl with some fantastic food from Chef Peter and Charlie! Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Fishing and dolphins

17 September 2014

We are just 10 miles South of Christmas Island, having decided to skip this short stopover in favour of the next. Trade winds are now well set with Celebrate almost on a direct track for Cocos Keeling surfing along at 9 to 10 knots. From previous reports Cocos is one of the highlights of the rally so we are looking forward to an extended stay there; ETA 2-3 days.

Fishing boats have kept our night watches busy, the locals don't bother with, radios, navigation lights or AIS (automatic identification system) leaving us little clue of their intentions. We found one trailing a net almost a mile long and another left a buoyed line across our path as far as we could see; fortunately the line was deep enough to sail over--if it hadn't we would have become a trawler for a while!

Not to be outdone we have now put our own line out but no bites yet: bizarrely one (of two) flying fish landed last night on our pile of fishing tackle, unlike the locals we don't fish at night. So the fish can catch us but not the other way round!

The dolphins visited us en masse today, somewhere between 10 and 100 beautiful creatures depending on who you ask, they appear to jump higher than their pacific neighbors.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Story Time: Lucy (Folie a Deux)

18 September 2014

This week's SSB Game/Competition is to write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost.

I received the following outstanding entry from Lucy on Folie a Deux:

The Deux and the Ratz [pronounced Ducks and Rats]

Once upon a time, there was a group of Adela deux, that lived in a poole on the star of Polaris. They were celebrating the finding of a Saphir mine nearby. Unfortunately a clan of American Ratz, from the land of Oz in the Andromeda Galaxy, had recently landed on the other side of the star, The Alpheratz name was Merlyn and he had recently lente his edible pearl industry to his cousin Darwin, who refused to give it back so he was bankrupt. He was developing a plan to thwart the festina and take the Saphir mine for his own.
Merlyn�s twin daughters Shaya, and Moya were helping him develop this plan.
�We need an Avocet missile, 27,852 Lluiton bags, and a ghost.� They said.
�A Ghost? Are you inferring we free Civetta?�
�Yes, but it is no easy task.� responded the twins.
�What do you propose then?�asked Merlyn.
�First we will deploy the Lluiton bags on the deux to suffocate them, then just in case any of them escape we will bomb the deux�s houses with an Avocet, and if there are any left we will send Civetta down so that all who are left alive run away, never to come back.�

Meanwhile on the other side of Polaris:
The queen of the Deux; Lu, was soaking up the joy of the celebration, when suddenly she heard loud quakcking from all around the poole. �There are designer bags falling from the sky!�
Lu looked around her to discover that, designer Lluiton bags were in fact falling from the sky. �Everyone head to the bomb shelter!� quacked Lu superiorly, as she watched Avocets crash into the Deux houses. Everyone waddled as quickly as they could to the bomb shelter, when they finally all made it inside Lu took count.
�We are all quite lucky ducks that all 27,852 of us are here.�
�Whoever did this needs to be punished!� Quacked one of the ducks from the back
�Okay,� said Lu. �But first we need a plan.

Meanwhile at the ratz base:
�They�re all still alive!?� Squeaked Merlyn furiously. �How is that even possible?�
�It appears they have an underground bomb shelter.� Said Moya.
�Since when do deux build bomb shelters?�
�I believe it was-�
�Nevermind I don�t care, get someone to deploy Civetta.�
�On it.�

In the Deux bunker they started to hear the voices of Civetta.
�Ooooooooooooooooooh!� said the ghost
�Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!� quacked the deuxs.
�Whoever is pretending to be a ghost could you please stop, it�s an awful impersonation, and I can�t focus.� Said Lu.
�Oh whatever, where is Sorrocco?� Sirocco was the deux nuclear war scientist, he came for free with the installation of the bomb shelter.
�Here!� he quaked as he waddled up to the deux queen.
�Is there any way you can obliterate whatever species it was that ruined are celebration? Because if there is, you need to do it now.�
�Yes I believe their base is-�
�I don�t care where there base is, just do your job.�
So Sirocco set off the missile, and the deux waited.

At the Ratz base:
Merlyn was wondering why the deux hadn�t left Polaris never to come back yet. �AAAAAAAAAGH!� he squeaked. He turned towards Shaya and Moya �Nexus time whatever you do it better work!�
Just as he finished his sentence, their base was hit by the Deux nuclear missile, and all the rats died, the end.

Celebrate - Story Time: Folie a Deux

18 September 2014

This week's SSB Game/Competition is to write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost. I received the following wonderful entry from FOLIE A DEUX: Tim, Tracey, Brian and Lucy. The FOLIE of ADELEA II Once upon a time, ADELA was a free SPIRITed CHICA living in the land of OZ. Every MOYA, she would sup on SHAYA, the local delicacy, then she would skip to my LU That BReasy evening when ALPHERATZ, POLARIS, and ANDROMEDA aligned, ADELA saw what she thought was a GHOST. �Aha�, she shouted�..�it is BOINGO�ALIVE, SWEET mother of PEARL! We must CELBRATE your SAPHIR colored eyes and have a FESTINA next LENTE on the V(five or fifth).� But alas, CIVETTA II, second daughter of MERLIN was lurking in a nearby POOLE. She jumped and grabbed ADELA�s designer LLUITON ditch bag. Just then, an AVOCET launched towards the AMERICAN ADELA in a DARWIN like fashion, creating a SIROCCO whirlwind for ADELA to escape. CIVETTTA screamed �the NEXUS time I see you, you will not get away so FREE.� Obviously, this story has earned it�s �DEUX� as an example of when a story NEEDS to be rewritten to DEVELOP SKILLS[NDS].

Celebrate - Story Time: Polaris

18 September 2014

This week's SSB Game/Competition is to write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost. I received the following wonderful rhyming entry from POLARIS: Jan, Sheila, Tom and Luis. Good evening, my name is Merlyn of Poole, with my American Spirit, I lead and I rule, I am a real Alpha animal among the rats I can fight Ghosts and men who are looking like bats. Free & Breasy like a Festina Lente, I Celebrate my Boingo life, Mister NDS Darwin, I�m a survivor, give me Andromeda Five! But there is one thing, I cannot reach in this world, it�s Adela, my Chika-lu, uuuhhhh you sexy Sweet Pearl. Your eyes are Saphirs, so shiny and bleu, I would travel to the Polaris for a Folie � Deux. While I dream that, with you, my life would be better I see you driving away with an Avocet in his fast Civetta I turn my head after you until my Nexus gets stiff, Oh baby, you should know, my Sirocco of Oz has so much to give. It is not as Lluiton as it might appear, But you leave me alone and I need a beer!

Celebrate - Story Time: Merlyn

18 September 2014

This week's SSB Game/Competition is to write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost. I received the following terrific entry from Jonathan on Merlyn of Poole Quest for Sweet Pearl. Adela is 12. She lives in a sleepy suburb in the American mid-west. Although outwardly small and slight she has a fierce imagination and is full of the American Spirit of adventure. One day, she and her two friends Ann Dromeda and Alf Eratz decided that today is the day they start their quest to recover the magic precious jewel known as Sweet Pearl. This famous icon, unique with its wonderful blue colour was on loan from Switzerland at an exhibition in Louis Town in the three friends' home state when it mysteriously disappeared. It was one a freezing cold morning. 'I cannot really believe the Polar Is (ice) is melting when it is this temperature here' said Ann 'Could we wait until tomorrow to start our adventure?' 'We must make a start today' Adela replied. Alf agreed and the three friends headed off for Louis Town to start their quest. 'We are going to need special powers for this mission' said Ann. 'We should consult Merlyn' he has always come to our aid before. So the trio headed for K Mart as at the back of aisle 13, in the corner stood an automatic photo booth. Unfortunately there was a queue at the booth. Someone was inside and there was a cool teenager waiting. Alf was all for going off for an ice-cream when at that moment a grey haired gentleman emerged clutching his photos and the teenager took his turn in the booth. 'Nex (t) us' whispered Adela to Alf. All three crammed onto the little round stool in the booth, pressed their special sequence of buttons and Merlyn appeared on the screen in front of them. Adela explained their quest and Merlyn smiled at the three friends. 'You usually embark on a 'Folie a Deux', he said to Adela. 'It is often just you and Ann but this time it is a gang of three' He continued. 'You are not alone in your quest. You may not have recognised the grey haired gentleman who just left but he is Nigel David Simon Darwin (also known as NDS Darwin), great, great, great grandson of the famous evolutionary theorist and he is looking for exactly the same thing. You need to find the jewel first because he would like to keep it for himself and he is being helped by the powerful wizard Sirocco of Oz. Sirocco is so powerful that if you are not careful he will blow you to kingdom come. 'Where is the jewel now?' asked Ann. 'It is in the land of mystery Shaya Moya (where those tasty oysters come from)' said Merlyn. 'Boingo Alive!!' exclaimed Ann, how far away is that? 'Many miles over the seas' replied Merlyn. You will need to plan your journey. 'Festina Lente' he said and disappeared from the screen. The three friends had no idea what he meant and were completely baffled.

Celebrate - My entry for Story Time

18 September 2014

"Let's CELEBRATE!" said LLUI, "it'll be a TON of fun!"

So everyone pitched in to create the NEXUS of an international party with an AMERICAN SPIRIT TOO.

AVO SET the table and FESTINA LENT A SAPPHIRE and a PEARL to her best friend, ADELA. MERLYN let us use his POOLE.

We were SEADUCED into remembering the GHOSTs of celebrations past...When we would get TOO AUDACIOUS and shout "VIVO!" Just remembering some parties gives one the HEBE jeebies.

It would be FOLIE to say ADIEU but all stories have ends. How's that? Ends! How to you spell it, Honey? Ends...eNDS DARLIN'.

Celebrate - Approaching Cocos Keeling

19 September 2014

Well the blessing and offerings made in Bali are still working! The wind is blowing at 18 knots from the right direction. At our current speed we should be approaching the atoll just after dawn tomorrow. We are heading for the Southern group of islands and plan to anchor within the lagoon in the lee of Direction Island. Cocos is an Australian Dependant Territory, the inhabitants are a mixture of Australian and Malay origin, the former living on West Island and the latter on Home Island nearby our anchorage. All the islands are a ferry ride apart and with a lagoon full of shallow spots,once anchored we will not be moving for a week.

Flying fish are continuing to throw themselves at us: Charlie picked up twelve on this morning's walk/ rig check. No luck with fishing yet but the line snapped taking the lure so there is something out there! Cathy also saw some beautiful phosphorescence on her night watch.

Thanks to Charlie it was game time on the morning and evening radio logs with boats invited to make up a story featuring as many boat names as possible. There were some great entries including a rhyme from Polaris, one from Lucy and another from the rest of the team on Folie a Deux, also Merlyn of Poole rewrote Harry Potter. All the stories can be found on the boat logs and story time on the net will run on for a while.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Sharks!!!! Port Refuge on Direction Island at Cocos (Keeling)

20 September 2014

At about 7.00AM local time we have arrived safely in Cocos Keeling. The wind died as we made our approach and in clear daylight we could pick up the leading navigation marks. We followed the waypoints of a previous World ARC participant which got us in to anchorage without a problem although at one point there was no more than a foot under the keel! There is beautiful turquoise water, palm trees and a sandy beach add to the scene! We have to wait on board till this afternoon for Australian Customs to clear us, so time for a welcoming beer and then we are off to discover the sights above and below the water. Cathy, Charlie and Peterer

Celebrate - A walk around Direction Island Cocos Keeling

23 September 2014

We have been at anchor in this island paradise for a few days. It has been quite breezy (25-30 knots) so our movements have been limited but we have had a chance to explore both Direction Island and nearby Home Island.

Direction Island is now uninhabited but has a very rich history. At the beginning of the 1900s a submerged communications cable was laid between South Africa and Australia connecting UK to the colonies . Cocos was the location of a manned cable station (a sort of terminal) and later a cable was run up to Singapore connecting Asia as well. The cable came ashore in Cottesloe, Perth WA (I thought our Perth friends and ex Cottesloe residents would appreciate this)During the First World War the station was blown up by a German cruiser Emden which was later sunk by an Australian warship Sydney. The exchange was carried out in a very courteous manner with limited casualties and the damage included cutting a dummy cable that was repaired very quickly afterwards. The station finally closed in the 1960s when communications technology advanced sufficiently to dispense with cables. Little evidence of the station or substantial settlement supporting it now remains.

Much of this information is included in an excellent 3 km interpretation trail around Direction Island. One of the more memorable anecdotes was that life on the island was short of luxuries with supply ships more than 3 months apart. Whenever a cruise ship (steamer) passed close by they took pity on the inhabitants, slowed down and dropped off a barrel of goodies picked up by a shore party in a small sailing vessel. This party also brought out messages for home. One package included kittens and another puppies. The ecology of the island has not been the same since!

We have snorkeled in beautiful coral between Direction and Home Island. Charlie and Peter have also made a 'wet' expedition to Home Island in the dinghy. This settlement of some 500 people are all Malays. The community is very organized and tidy (entered for the best kept Australian town 2008-we assume they didn't win) clearly benefiting from considerable support from Australia. We checked out all the local facilities including a mosque and very well stocked supermarket so no problem re-provisioning here apart from beer!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Enjoying a bit of Paradise

26 September 2014

Well apart from those boats having technical problems island life has dropped a few gears and everyone is enjoying the peace and beauty of the place.

This has not always been the case; a trip to the museum on Home Island outlines a very interesting history. The owners of the island for some 200 years originally from Scotland appear to have run the place like a slave colony importing Malaysians as workers on the coconut palm plantations . The family isolated the residents of Home Island from its neighbors. A walk around the island and you see some evidence of this history with warehouses and copra drying sheds. Oceania House where the ruling family lived still sits out on a headland commanding views of the coast and what remains of the plantations on Home and South Island. Despite selling the islands in the 1950/60s the family held onto the house and it was only recently sold. It is now in private ownership and under renovation. On a snoop around the outside of this colonial mansion you can see the white glazed bricks imported from Scotland. Another interesting fact learnt from the museum was that the British claimed the islands as a colony by mistake thinking they were the Cocos Islands which are much further North near India!

Peter took a dive trip a couple of days ago, diving some beautiful coral off Horsburgh Island and a wreck off Direction Island, we saw canons, even a iron. There is also remains of the underground cables once connecting the UK to Australia.

Most evenings sundowners are enjoyed on the beach of Direction Island where we compare notes on our excursions and problem solving. Often a fire is lit extending the conversation and refreshment well into the night. Last evening the sport of hermit crab racing was introduced racing your adopted crab out of a circle in the sand. We can assure you that no local crabs were harmed in this bit of fun.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Off to Mauritius

29 September 2014

Our stop over in paradise has drawn to a close and at 10:15 this morning we crossed the starting line for the next leg to Mauritius some 2300 miles away.

On Saturday we took the ferry to West Island to clear out with the police and customs and do a community farm tour. A group of residents were disillusioned with what the local authority were doing with their state run land so they leased a section to grow fruit and spices (including lemon grass). The group also collect sea salt and coconut palm oil and are now making and selling lots of beauty and condiment products. After the farm visit we went to a clam farm,they export colourful clams to aquariums all over the world. The owner John is a Cluny Ross and direct descendant of the former ruling family and a very interesting character. We then went on to an art gallery and studio in a large boat hauled up on to the shore, the artist and proprietor Emma produced some really good works using plastics washed up on the beach including flip flops (mostly left footed!) and even tooth brushes. She also does workshops with the school kids collecting flotsam from the beach.

After a delicious lunch we went walkabout along the coast, past the hospital with possibly the best view anywhere in the world and a golf course which uniquely uses the grass on the side of the airport runway as fairways .We enjoyed a few drinks at the 'club' where the locals were watching the Aussie Rules footie final (Melbourne won, Sydney lost) and then headed back to the ferry with all our provisions for the next passage that were ordered up ahead and air freighted in . Just before leaving the heavens opened up tropical style and by the time we got back to the dock it was dark so ended up with people and soggy cardboard boxes going everywhere.

It continued to rain for our last day on Direction Island . But the liquid sunshine did not dampen the beach style briefing, BBQ and prize giving. Great food and Charlie won a prize for his morning and afternoon radio shows.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - The Fish Jumped into the Boom! Hey, Diddle Diddle...on Passage to Mauritius

01 October 2014

Flying fish jumping onto CELEBRATE everywhere even into the Leisure Furl boom on passage to Mauritius. When we walked around the deck this morning we found 45 stranded on board, they have all been returned to the sea but sadly with the exception of two all were past saving. Peter did a perfect job of helming (scope for improvement in Peter's view) us to a great start away from Cocos with winds driving the boat to speeds of 9 knots. We are now following a similar route to many of our band of boats; Festina Lente, NDS Darwin, Nexus, Alpharatz, Ghost and Folie a Deux, the three of us on board CELEBRATE are on our regular watch schedule with nice Radio Nets and chatter among the boats. Also, its a little wet from a few squalls, but we are looking forward to sunshine soon! Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Whee! 30kt winds 10+ Speed, Margarita Party for Story Participants & Peter's Boat Icons!!

03 October 2014

Several days of 30 knot winds coming and going have given us some 10 knot plus speeds! What a great ride! Its a pity about the weather, we have been sailing through lots of torrential rain squalls and apart from the odd blue patch its been grey skies since we left Cocos Keeling. Now lets hope for some sunshine! Festina Lente and NDS Darwin are now the closest boats to us, just behind.

Peter has suggested a "Margarita Party" (guess he liked Charlie's margaritas) as the prize for the author's boats that wrote stories with each of the boat names in it, Polaris, Folie a Deux (special separate prize for Lucy) and Merlyn of Poole. The invitations have been emailed and we are looking forward to CELEBRATING on CELEBRATE! Any other boat to write a story before Mauritius can join the party. Note to Jane- don't worry about supplies of tequila, we are sailing a dry ship on passage and stocks will be replenished by the time you join us in Cape Town.

Also, Peter has been entertaining us with picking fun icons-symbols displayed on the electronic chart for the various boats near us. For example, there is an oil derect (rig)whose boat identity we will keep to ourselves and a champagne glass (Follie a Deux). He updates them every day when we report our positions on the morning radio net. Thanks, Peter!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Story Competition

04 October 201414

Our SSB Game/Competition continues...write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost.

I received the following outstanding entry from Peter on Adela:

First Encounter*_*_

Commander *Lente* and his wife *Festina* were looking out of the
observation port of the star ship *Lluiton*, on its way to *Polaris* in
the *Andromeda* cluster.

"Not since *Darwin* has such a fundamental *Nexus* occurred in the
destiny of mankind", he said.

"What if they turn out to be some sort of super *Alpharatz* or *Ghosts*
or something equally horrible", she replied.

"The tech boys speak warmly of their conversations with these aliens and
suggest we think of a cross between an *Avocet* and an elderly human - a
sort of feathery, skinny legged, white bearded,*Merlin* figure floating
in a *Pool**e*, carrying a communication device looking like a big
*Pearl* clustered with *Saphir*s, my *Sweet*", he answered with as much
reassurance as he could. "We should show true *American Spirit* and
*Celebrate* our good fortune to be in the right place at the right time".

"I still worry if it was a good idea to allow our daughter to be the one
to greet them, she is so *Free and Breezy*". "*Boingo alive*", he exclaimed "*Adela *is old enough to look after  herself - especially after that '*follie a deux*' with that person "*Civetta*" on Mars last year". "Have you made her practice the formal greeting, their language is complicated", "yes- yes, she bows, slowly, saying '*Chika-lu*', and he, she, it will reply '*Shaya Moya*". "Correct", he replied "and if all goes well, the name *ADELA* will go down in history".

Celebrate - Blue Skies are here, Great winds, more Stories & New Contest on passage to Mauritius!

04 October 2014

Finally, some blue sky,sunshine , champagne sailing here in the Indian Ocean! If the wet and grey had continued we were going ask for a refund! Charlie carried out a poll this morning on the radio net and it appears over 65% of the fleet are enjoying sunshine, we hope the others get their share soon. Also, great boat speed up to 13 knots.
More stories are in from Adela and American Spirit II. The margarita party is heating up!
Another rally boat is now nearby, Free & BrEasy, along with Festina Lente and NDS Darwin.
Our Peter had another new radio net contest idea (well it's Simon Mayo's from BBC Radio 2 Drive Time but we don't think he'll sue) to summarize the day in 3 words. Although happy with the sentiment we are getting a little tired of 'all is well' or 'all well onboard' which most boats use on the nighttime call in. Its to be premiered on tonight's radio net. Should be fun....

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Today's 3-Word Radio Challenge

05 October 2014

Today's evening radio call-in challenge was to give the boat's status report in just three words. A great job for all participants!!

Here are the responses I received:

Adela: [Unprintable in Russian]
American Spirit: Nicely Making Way
Celebrate: Sailing to Margaritaville
CHIKA-lu: Sun Waves Fun
Civetta: Sixteen Foot Waves
Free&BrEasy: In Your Wake
Ghost: Outstandingly Awesome Day
Lluiton: Sand WInd Beacy
Merlyn: Siegfried MahaMahi Kulimombamajulee
NDS Darwin: Sailing Cloudy Sunset
Nexus: Flying to Mauritius
Folie a Deux: Kids 4 Sail
Polaris: Beer Boobies Bluefin
Saphir: Windy Waves Wetwork
Shaya Moya: Big Beautiful BLue
Sweet Pearl: [in German/Luxemburgian?? be verified]

Celebrate - Adela's entry for the Story Contest

05 October 2014

Our SSB Game/Competition continues...write a story containing World ARC Boat Names. This game was suggested by Jan on Ghost.

I received the following outstanding entry from Peter on Adela:

First Encounter*_

Commander *Lente* and his wife *Festina* were looking out of the
observation port of the star ship *Lluiton*, on its way to *Polaris* in
the *Andromeda* cluster.

"Not since *Darwin* has such a fundamental *Nexus* occurred in the
destiny of mankind", he said.

"What if they turn out to be some sort of super *Alpharatz* or *Ghosts*
or something equally horrible", she replied.

"The tech boys speak warmly of their conversations with these aliens and
suggest we think of a cross between an *Avocet* and an elderly human - a
sort of feathery, skinny legged, white bearded,*Merlin* figure floating
in a *Pool**e*, carrying a communication device looking like a big
*Pearl* clustered with *Saphir*s, my *Sweet*", he answered with as much
reassurance as he could. "We should show true *American Spirit* and
*Celebrate* our good fortune to be in the right place at the right time".

"I still worry if it was a good idea to allow our daughter to be the one
to greet them, she is so *Free and Breezy*".
"*Boingo alive*", he exclaimed "*Adela *is old enough to look after herself - especially after that '*follie a deux*' with that person "*Civetta*" on Mars last year". "Have you made her practice the formal greeting, their language is complicated", "yes- yes, she bows, slowly, saying '*Chika-lu*', and he, she, it will reply '*Shaya Moya*". "Correct", he replied "and if all goes well, the name *ADELA* will go down in history".

Celebrate - Story Contest Entry from American Spirit

05 October 2014

I received the following great story from American Spirit for the contest to write a story using World ARC Boat Names:

Once upon a time, in the land of Sirocco of Oz, there was a warrior princess named Jeanine from Miami, AKA the Pop Corn Queen, whose American Spirit was only rivaled by Chika-lu's Germanic resolve and Civetta's dogged determination. She was pursued across the Nexus, as far as Polaris but not quite as far as Alpheratz; by the Ghost of Merlyn. Many said this pursuit was a Folie a Deux; some said it was a false Saphir, but no one doubted that is was a Sweet Pearl of a chase. Once Free&BrEasy, no more could she Celebrate being Boingo Alive; no more was she an Avocet who could fly to Darwin on a whim. But go to Andromeda she went; passing the constellation Festina Lente and saying hello to Lluiton on the way. The one last hurdle to get to her secret home in Adela, the land of steel, was to sneak by the great and awesome Shaya Moya, one of the largest star ships in the fleet. Which she did. Safe at last, she continues on, going where no one from the Marshall Islands has ever gone before. On a 5 month be continued.

Brought to you by...Brian, Joel and Jeremy from American Spirit II

Celebrate - A Starry, Starry Night with Wonderful Winds & Siegfreid "Lloyd Webber" on the way to Mauritius!

05 October 2014

We are back to proper Trade Wind sailing . Stars galore and beautiful moonlight with wonderful winds made for a very pleasant night time watch on CELEBRATE. Plus we had a 200 nautical mile day!

Another addition to the Margaritaville Party is Merlyn of Poole's very own Siegfreid "Lloyd Webber" performing 'World ARC the Musical' as the perfect entertainment for the Margarita Party. We love it!

We had great "words" on the radio net last night summarizing each boat's day in 3 words idea. CELEBRATE's was 'SAILING TO MARGARITAVILLE' (a double entendre especially for Jimmy Buffet fans). To see the other boat's 3 words check out the previous log. I hope Brian and Lucy on Follie a Deux will forgive their parents for 'Kids for sail.' It was fun!

It's Sunday, so Brunch day, Charlie cooked up Huevos Rancheros a Mexican style eggs, rice and beans, very yummy.

Charlie, Cathy and Peterer

Celebrate - "Story Time" entry from NEXUS

06 October 2014

For our evening story time contest using boat names in a story, I received the following entry from NEXUS. Hilarious if you knew the situations!

Here's a story for the call from the crew of NEXUS;

Tom was perplexed when he called Russ on the VHF after another yacht GHOSTED by him in the dark. "The way they keep up with us in light winds using no engine hours just makes my POLARIS go BOINGO if you know what I mean!" "I hear that, its either MERLYN's magic or some SWEET PEARL of wisdom that eludes us" said Russ. "I think we need to apply some good old AMERICAN SPIRIT of ingenuity to this problem and get right to its NEXUS". It's some kind of DARWINian evolution in sailing theory he thought to himself. He sat back in the helm seat and stared up at ANDROMEDA in the night sky. He was amused by the irony of of the bright star ALPHERATZ staring back at him from her forehead. He went deep into thought on the matter...or perhaps he was just sleeping. Suddenly he exclaimed "SHAYA MOYA! I've got it!" He called Tom back and outlined his thinking; "They're running their engines backward with propeller in reverse pitch! That way they make diesel and produce engine hour credits while they run! They both called Tim to CELEBRATE their breakthrough thinking and explained their solution. Tim immediately saw the FOLLY A DEUX before him, but he played along anyway, as he observed dryly; "Well with that logic, all I need to do is sail backward and I get my handicap credits back as well!"

Yeah I know, it's really lame!

Warmest Regards,

Celebrate - Half way to Mauritius and Genniker Woes...

06 October 2014

We are now past half way, making good speed and a direct track to Mauritius. The sun was out again this morning and bright enough for us to get the gennaker out from its bag.

On Celebrate, as with many boats the gennaker is raised in a long fabric tube with a broad carbon (or plastic) neck at the bottom, which resembles an inverted loo (toilet) seat. This system keeps the sail snuffed until you raise the neck and is appropriately named a snuffer. The hoist went well, and the snuffer raised and out popped our pretty yellow, green and blue sail and we sped along with a few extra knots for almost an hour. Then things got tricky; very quickly the blue skies deserted us, the wind speed increased and changed direction. Time to get the spinnaker down PDQ. As we were dropping the snuffer carbon came together with the aluminum mast. Fortunately both crew and the gennaker are intact and live to rise again, however sadly the loo (toilet) seat did not come off so well and surgery is needed- ouch!!!!

We received a new story from Nexus today. This tale involves the tricky subject of handicaps, boat speed and engine hours. It will be broadcast tonight on the radio net but in pursuit of balance we will give the other two protagonists in the story Alpharatz and Ghost the right to reply.

You may have read in other logs that American Spirit has a problem with their forestay, we will leave them to explain this. The decision by the crew of Follie a Deux and Merlyn of Poole to drop back and stand by to offer assistance explains the great benefit of being part of the World ARC rally and the generosity of spirit of its participants.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter
Originally written in English (with American translations)

Celebrate - Eating local food

07 October 2014

On Celebrate we have tried to buy local food when we shop in port. The small supermarkets in Bali and the Malay one in Home Island Cocos Keeling were great for finding something a little different to cook for supper. So far we have attempted with some level of success Nasi Goreng, Satay Chicken, red and green curries.

Last night it was time to cook an Australian dish and Peter pulled out of the freezer some sausages purchased in Darwin called 'Kanga Bangas' Cathy was a little concerned, and Peter put to one side the thought of eating 'skippy' (The bush kangaroo) They were pretty good cooked in a casserole, a little more spicy that the average banger!

We also found some rice paper wraps in Cocos and Charlie is perfecting spring rolls. Some left over sausage will give them that extra spring!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Today's 3-Word Radio Challenge Update

09 October 2014

For the "Boat-Status-in-3-Words" game, I have also received from Sweet Pearl and Adela some clarification:

Chuchich�stli (kitchen cupboard, Swiss German)
Echkatzeschwof (squirrel tail, German dialect)
eddi (goodbye, Luxemburgish)

Jan........... Do it tomorrow
Peter....... Sea swell sucks
Edward... Add more butter
Irina........ Skolka mozhnia spat (Russian) [roughly meaning "always sleeping" which is what sailors do when not on watch.]

Today's evening radio call-in challenge was to give the boat's status report in just three words. A great job for all participants!!

Here are the responses I received:

Adela: [Unprintable in Russian]
American Spirit: Nicely Making Way
Celebrate: Sailing to Margaritaville
CHIKA-lu: Sun Waves Fun
Civetta: Sixteen Foot Waves
Free&BrEasy: In Your Wake
Ghost: Outstandingly Awesome Day
Lluiton: Sand WInd Beacy
Merlyn: Siegfried MahaMahi Kulimombamajulee
NDS Darwin: Sailing Cloudy Sunset
Nexus: Flying to Mauritius
Folie a Deux: Kids 4 Sail
Polaris: Beer Boobies Bluefin
Saphir: Windy Waves Wetwork
Shaya Moya: Big Beautiful BLue
Sweet Pearl: [in German/Luxemburgian?? be verified]

Celebrate - Colorful Genniker Sail Rises Again and We Pass Rodiquez Island

11 October 2014

Only 250 miles to the way point just off of Maurituis. We are expecting to arrive on Sunday, after a 14 day passage. Peter repaired the Gennaker sail and it filled beautifully all day. A spectacular day of sailing with bright sunshine and plenty of wind!
Also, we have told American Spirit II since their forestay incident that when they arrive in Mauritius we will meet them with comfort food and beverages. It will have been an especially long trip for them and some of the other boats that stayed near to them to help.
We are all looking forward to seeing Paul and Joel of rally control and having the fleet reunited in Mauritius with boats dressed overall. Peter spent his honeymoon here and will be enjoying the memories!

Charlie, Cathy & Peter

Celebrate - Pizza and Karaoke fun

11 October 2014

As we approach Mauritius its time to clear out the fridge,freezer and half empty jars. What better way than for Peter to cook up his terrific pizzas for lunch. The pizzas involve Pitta bread bases (or Pitta's Pizza) and a lot of hope that in this rolling sea they stay under the grill long enough to cook the topping without jumping across the saloon. Fortunately they arrived in the cockpit in one piece, right side up and were yummy!

Over the last few nights we have seen a procession of freighters heading North East from the Cape mostly bound for China and Singapore. One evening we were entertained on the VHF by the various ship's radio officers singing Mandarin songs to each other. Strangely the chapter on karaoke communications is missing from our radio manual. Nuno on NDS Darwin mistook one of the singers for Charlie but Charlie denies it. Today is time for Charlie's World ARC Radio show again. The question of the day is to name a song that sums up your day. For example 'Twist and shout' for those with spinnaker problems or when the waves get high 'Rock Around the Clock' The fleet's response will come tomorrow. Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Alternative story from Adela

11 October 2014

I received the following story from Peter on Adela in response to the "Use many World ARC Boat Names in a Story" contest. I'll let Peter explain how it is different: Hi Charlie, The following story is a variation on your original idea. It was written by Jan as a challenge to see whether people can spot words that sound like the boat names, no actual boat names are included. Some words may have to be spoken with a slight accent (German, Italian, whatever) but I have proofed it and managed to find most of the boat names. Jan has now inserted the boat names in brackets for you only to see, to help modify your story pronunciation accordingly... Kind regards, Peter. Do you know Ingo? He lived a long long time ago. So, maybe Peter knows him. That was in the times, when the world got cold. There was polar ice (Polaris) all the way from Berlin to the Pole (Merlin of Poole). Ingo lived in a place, that will later be known as Adelade (Adela). The people in Adelade had to suffer (Saphir), and all fear rats (Alpheratz) and other wild creatures in the step, there were cheetas, too (Civetta II). Their life was simple, but they had some nice goods that are still known today. That's Avocado (Avocet) and something they would nowadays call American Single Malt Spirits (American spirit) for free and easy (Free&Breezy) nights. One of the most famous dishes around was a feast of lentils (Festina Lente) served with sirloin of goats (Ghost) followed by sweet pears (Sweet Pearl). You still don't remember Ingo? In some things, Ingo was far ahead his time. His dream was to have a self driving 4 wheeled chariot with a big L on the front. His notes about his dream later inspired the engineers of Lexus (Nexus). So he rode out into the desert on a dromedary (Andromeda) trying to find his Lexus. As this fool dude (Folie a deux) was too far ahead of his time, he unsuccessfully wandered for many years. Anyway, roving around and talking to so many people about his dream made him famous, making him the first Celebrity (Celebrate) ever. He even found a nice chick from Peru (Chicka Lu) but roved off again, saying "I need to develop skulls, darlin'" (needs develop skills darwin). . When he eventually returned to Adelade, his friends ran up to him and shouted: "Bro' Ingo, you're alive!" (Boingo Alive). There was a big party for his returning. Even the shy mayor (Shaya Moya) gave a speech in his honour. They sang songs accompanied by a lute on (Lluiton) his adventures.

Celebrate - Pretty Basket of Fruit & Rum Taste Welcome from World ARC in Mauritius!

13 October 2014

Our "Celebration" song played across the finish line on the VHF radio adding to the festiveness of arriving in Mauritius! Also, Joel of rally control, the crew of Alpheratz and crew from CHIKA-lu helped us tie up to the dock. Next, Joel gave us an additional fun welcoming with a bright pink covered basket of fruit and a taste of local rum in World ARC inscribed shot glasses. We loved it! Then it was time to put up the signal flags for "dressing overall" and finish clearing into the country. After a good night's sleep we expect be ready to start sight sighting this beautiful island!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Reflections on Maritius

19 October 2014

Although a new landfall for Charlie and Cathy it was a return visit for Peter. He and Jane had their honeymoon in Mauritius 16 years ago. Many of the local people we have met on the dockside had told us that a lot had changed since 1998 with greater prosperity on the island. We certainly sensed a vibrancy , or perhaps this was something to do with our visit coinciding with the Hindu festival of Diwali or 'Festival of Lights' where they celebrate victory of light over darkness.

Here is an account of Peter's a three day drive across the island rediscovering familiar places and some new ones;

We had a great honeymoon but came away feeling that all was not right in paradise, this could have been the absence of the dodo, ebony forests, or sugar cane fields totally dominating the island's landscape. It could also have been that we found one of the resort golf courses unplayable losing many golf balls in the ocean!

My second trip took me North to Grande Bai to get some diving in then later head down to the South. The center of Grande Bai had not changed and still a beautiful natural anchorage. I came across the Veranda Hotel one of our stops first time round. The views were spectacular, the staff so friendly and the diving good that I stayed two nights and used it as a base to tour the North. Like many of the places visited the outskirts of towns had changed dramatically with shopping centers, new housing and manufacturing sites (including denim, cashmere, processed food). At the heart of the island is a futuristic new Cyber City (I wonder how many of those there are in the world?) It looked like many of the world's computer and financial institutions are here. All the new and existing settlements are connected by a network of highways- so new that one through the mountains is not on the tourist maps yet!

The landscape is still dominated by sugar cane but there are now lots of other crops. The vegetable market in Port Louis was full of locally grown fresh produce. The sugar industry has also diversified producing specialist sugars,rum , bio ethanol and the waste sugar cane is burnt to generate electricity for the island.

Tourism still plays a major part but sadly much of the coastline has be lost to resorts or golf courses. fortunately there are still sections of public beach to enjoy the view.

The later stage of my trip took me South to a tea plantation a walk through the remains of an ebony forest (now mostly pine trees) and then to the historic tea plantation of St Aubin. This visit was principally for my education with an excellent museum but with the added bonus of rum tasting! The plantation dates back to 1819 with a splendid colonial house now a restaurant and I managed to get a room at the Auberge on site. Here I enjoyed the charms of a creole house dating back to 1908 and delicious cuisine eaten on the terrace.

So despite the problems associated with a growing population all is looking better in paradise.


Celebrate - Mauritius Vacation

23 October 2014

While Peter was away touring the island Charlie and Cathy were busy on boat jobs,arranging for spares to be flown in (a very tedious process) celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary (an enjoyable process) and then getting prepared for the margarita party (more about this in another log). So it was a busy time and when the dust had settled they were in need of a proper vacation. We first had an great day on the World ARC tour taking us to Labordonnais a beautifully restored French mansion forming part of a sugar plantation,then to a sugar exhibition within a disused mill and after lunch a stroll around the Botanical Gardens at Pamplemousses one of the oldest in the world with many grand specimen trees.

Then it was time for our own mini tour;taking a rental car we headed South to the traditional resort of Flic en Flac for a hotel stop. The next morning we toured the gorges of the Riviere Noire National Park. We climbed to the top of the park and were treated to dramatic wooded valleys leading down to the West coast and waterfalls. We revisited (for Peter) the hindu shrine at Grand Basin and enjoyed a delicious creole lunch at the Bois Cheri tea plantation overlooking the estate and the South Coast beyond. This was followed by tea tasting of their speciality teas; the one flavored with locally grown vanilla was particularly good. Then back to Port Louis in time to be briefed on the short next stage to Reunion.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Celebrations on "ReVue"...

25 October 2014

Margaritaville in Mauritius!!?
The MARGARITAVILLE PARTY Happy Hour hosted by S/V Celebrate as a prize for ALL-STAR AUTHOR's on the Cocos passage & their Boat Crews & Rally Control drew a crowd!
Also, separate prizes for additional individual stories were given to Lucy of Folie a Deux, Jan of Adela, and Siegfried of Merlyn of Poole for their stories/performance.
Merlyn of Poole's very own Siegfried "Lloyd Webber" performing wonderfully with help from crews 'World ARC the Musical', was the key entertainment!! Also, S/V Celebrate's 3 TV screens were showing a selection of 3D movies with special 3D computer chip eyeglasses. What a change from our normal electonic chart viewing...
Also, greeting guests were Jimmy Buffet tunes, balloons by Peter and plenty of Margaritas, and other iced beverages plus fun food

Then...A dream come true ! Such grand luxury and superb service with wonderful waterfront views at Labourdonnais Hotel for Charlie & Cathy's 35th wedding anniversary in Mauritius! Every single staff person treated us with such thoughtful kindness from the door man, Beenayce, to the customer relations person, Elodie, and the Chef, Nizam Peeroo, with a fabulous custom menu along with our dinner service with Avanish, Catherine and Vicky. Addish and Auith at reception made checking in so easy and the hotel is beautiful with marble floors, glass fronted elevators, a koi pond and wonderful waterfront views from all dining areas. As we were celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary we were upgraded from a luxury suite to the Presidential Suite with Champagne and cake delivery done with a flourish by Sariff and Rajiv. Also, the suite was beautifully decorated and romantically set up with rose petals on the bed and in a drawn spa bath along with many lighted candles. We were so happy!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Wonderful Welcome Party with Gifts in La ReUnion!

27 October 2014

A quiet overnight passage from Mauritius with a few dolphins sighted during dinner. Nexus had kindly alerted us to the dolphins coming our way. For dinner Peter had prepared a sumptuous salad nicoise!
ReUnion was a whirlwind arrival as many of the rally boats entered the harbor at about the same time. After clearing in and some much needed napping it was time for the Welcome Cocktail Reception hosted by the Western Tourist Office at the marina Dodo restaurant. With gifts of local rum, spices, sugars and a band with colorful dancers plus party food and beverages it was quite a festive evening! Our many thanks to all involved.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Breathtaking Helicopter Flight and Haunting Halloween Party in Reunion!

31 October 2014

Between the abysses, wild canyons, waterfalls, volcanoes, rain forest and peaks the helicopter ride shows the fascinating world of Reunion! It was not to be missed!

Haunted costumes, a live band playing jumping music, delicious duck and marlin salad dinners with huge tiramisu for pudding made for a terrific Halloween Party at the Dodo Gourmand Restaurant. Charlie went as Lord Nelson, Peter was the devil with red horns and Cathy was a cow girl along with our pumpkin buckets filled with candy bars to hand out. Many rally boats attended which also made for an extra fun evening!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - On passage to South Africa

03 November 2014

We with 6 other boats left a day early from Reunion to make best use of the weather forecast. So far it has paid off as we have enjoyed good following winds, at night a full moon to guide us and some pretty phosphorescence. Listening to the radio net the boats starting as originally planned appear to have been doing lots of motoring.

World ARC gave us an advisory waypoint keeping us 100 miles South of Madagascar and some less bumpy seas. We are now about 100 miles from this waypoint and are already experiencing some adverse current, stronger winds and some bumpy seas but hope we will miss the worst of it.

There is some positive news on the fishing front. The lures that Brian from Follie a Deux and Tom from Alpharatz helped us with appear to be working. Most of first lure we set got eaten by 'something' but missed biting on the hook. The next day while preparing and eating supper we hooked a fish on a new lure. The large fish (not sure what species)was jumping out of the water on the line. Naively we thought the fish would wait till we had eaten supper but it was too smart for us and jumped the hook- so a very near miss!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Windy and colorful weather

05 November 2014

Celebrate is looking after us well, last night the wind rose to over 30 knots from the East with the occasional gust of 45 knots. Our top speed surfing down a wave was 16.5 knots, not bad sailing with 3 reefs in the main and just a little jib. The only casualty has been Charlie and Cathy's DVD collection which decided to fly around the saloon when one cross wave hit. So tonight when the next low hits us we will be battening down the DVDs as well as the hatches.

Today started for Cathy with a good splash of color;a beautiful orange setting moon and a pink sunrise.

Sadly another lure was lost yesterday, like the day before we got a bite during supper. This time the line with a breaking strain of 250 lbs snapped. We're not sure we wanted such a large fish joining us for supper anyway!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter
Enjoying the ride

Celebrate - Calmer seas

07 November 2014

'Its a little bumpy' has become the most commonly used understatement on the radio net over the last few nights. However after another day of high winds and bumpy seas the wind and waves have abated. At their worst the waves were reported on our weather reports by email as 4.5 metres high caused by a combination of the gale to our South and strong currents. We did not check but they were a dramatic sight. So we are now enjoying a milder current and wind pushing us towards Richards Bay and the delights of the Zululand Yacht Club. Our ETA should be after lunch tomorrow (Saturday).The 'Bring and Braai' on Monday evening sounds fun.

Celebrate continues to look after us well despite the autohelm going on strike for a couple of hours yesterday. It had however just got us through the 'bumpiest' time and understandably needed a rest. A bit of hand steering did Peter some good and like all good computer kit switching it off and back on again finally did the trick.

Not wishing to attract any sympathy from you, nights are getting cooler and the extra layers are being pulled out from sailing bags, the longer (warmer) days as we head South are making it easier to bear.

Still no fish caught (too bumpy to put the line out) but there are the occasional visit of flying fish and dolphins and we are looking forward to our first whale sighting.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Heading for Durban

12 November 2014

Our stay at Richards Bay has been great with a first class welcome from the Zululand Yacht Club . Len one of their Rear Commodores and Joel from World Cruising Club have worked their socks off to help the fleet in at all times day and night, added to this the presentation of a bottle of local bubbly and a club burgee made it one of the best landfalls on the trip. Just before getting in we also got a welcoming committee from a hump back whale who breached about a mile away from us followed by two babies.

The Zululand Yacht Club has lots of character (a proper Yacht Club) and just the place to conclude a bumpy passage. All the fleet have now arrived and are making a start of repairs and plans to explore. We have also met lots of characters over a drink (or two)in the bar and at the Braai (BBQ in English)Liz the club secretary originally from Ireland was a treasure particularly when she with Derry and Margaret from Avocet our very own Irish ambassadors were singing Irish anthems to celebrate their victory over South Africa in the rugby.

In our short stay we have also seen some of the wildlife; yesterday a WARC tour took us to Hulhluwe Game Reserve . We saw many elephants, at one point we counted a herd of 17,white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, buffalo,warthogs, and lesser known Nyala (like an antelope).The lions and leopards did not want to come out to see us so sadly we cannot claim the big five yet (lion, leopard,buffalo,rhino and elephant)

So thank you Joel , Len and Zululand Yacht Club for the great welcome and first taste of South Africa!

We are now (Wednesday) on passage to Durban 80 miles down the coast en route to Cape Town. Another whale came out to keep us company, this time a little closer. Our early departure makes best use of a favorable weather window before another low pressure system blows through. This trip will be a day sail and once there we will wait for the next period of favorable weather.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Reunion; a delightful and special stopover.

01 November 2014

Our week here went very quickly but there was lots to see. .

Surprisingly Reunion is not only a French Department but also part of the European Union. Much of the infrastructure has benefited from considerable investment from the EU. The shiny new road system dominates the lower coastal plateau but makes getting around very easy. Peter hired a car for four days and explored the interior of the island with Sandra, Tom and Frank from Sweet Pearl. We drove and climbed around 400 bends (that's what the guide says and we stopped counting!)to drop down into the green volcanic crater of Circe de Cilaos. After the rather dry savanna low lands and ascent through clouds it's like finding the lost city of Shangri-la. The place is a paradise for walkers. The Circe and town of Cilaos are surrounded by forests with many hiking trails we did a short one before rain stopped play.

Another day we drove up early to the Circe de Salazie on the other side of island and after driving past many waterfalls cascading down the slopes and up a pass we came to Hell-Bourg an even more special place. The guide book says it has been recognized as the most beautiful village in France and we wouldn't dissagree. Historically it was the haven for African slaves escaping their masters and the sugar plantations, it later became a retreat for the wealthy and writers living in Creole style villas and bungalows. These homes have been beautifully restored,we spent hours walking around them. At one particular house the Maison Folio three generations of the family maintain their house and gardens and act as guides around their own bit of living history.

On our way back we called into the capital Saint Denis where they again conserve many Creole style houses, a number former residences of sugar barons and traders. We enjoyed a couple of hours walking the streets and taking in the French culture (and pastries)

The highlight of our stay was a helicopter ride organized by Charlie and Cathy where we flew over and within all the Circes. The pilot took us (very!) close to water falls, wooded ridges and gorges. We also revisited the dormant volcano of La Fournaise seen on the coach tour . This time the clouds had lifted so we could enjoy the view of the crater and across the lava flow down to the coast. We took lots of pictures but sadly they don't really capture this thrilling adventure.

We have enjoyed our short stay in Europe, next stop Africa!

Celebrate - Extended stop over in Durban

18 November 2014

Our 'short' stop in Durban lasted almost a week- Wednesday to Monday waiting for a suitable weather window to head further South. It became clear shortly after we arrived that it was not going to be a quick turn around so we with the other 6 storm bound World ARC boats made the most of it catching up with boat jobs and exploring what turned out to be a delightful city.

The marina is right in the centre of the city with a dramatic backdrop of the high rise business district. The marina facilities are jointly owned by the local yacht clubs, including the Point Yacht Club and the Royal Natal YC. We enjoyed both club's hospitality; our arrival coincided with regular Wednesday night sailing in the harbour. We were even invited to join in but were happy to just watch and join the locals in the club afterwards and the PYC's club supper. Not wishing to show favoritism and making good use of our temporary membership of both clubs we also tried out the RNYC enjoying an enormous Sunday buffet lunch. The marina staff have been extremely helpful making our stay here a very pleasant one.

Our gourmet tour of Durban extended beyond the marina and one evening with Sandra, Tom and Alex from Sweet Pearl we visited a new local restaurant called Moyo built out on the beach. It specialized in local cuisine, including ostrich, kudu and chakalaka ( a spicy vegetable dish)There was lots of entertainment thrown in, we got our faces painted and treated to traditional singing and dancing and some not so traditional.

To understand the local geography we took an open top bus ride through the historic parts of the city and out to the leafy suburbs and the new development sites including the dramatic football stadium built for the World Cup. To work off some the calories Peter also took a walking tour of many of the architectural treasures of the city. Durban formerly Natal (because it was discovered by Vasco da Gama on Christmas Day) is known as the Garden City and is full of historic parks and squares, new development also appears to respect this tradition. There are some great examples of Victorian and Art Deco architecture and well curated museums recount the city's development and the horrors of Apartheid. There is still evidence where the Indian and African races were segregated from the whites and Peter's excellent guide Judith filled in many gaps in his knowledge of the period. Ghandi practiced law in Durban and there are monuments to his involvement in fighting for the civil rights of it's inhabitants.

So after city dwelling for a while we are now back out at sea heading down the coast. Celebrate is sailing within sight of land about 10 miles off to make optimum use of the favorable Agulhas current which runs down the whole coast. An added advantage is we get a rolling picture of the changing South African landscape and have just sailed past a waterfall cascading into the ocean.

We hope to now head straight for Cape Town but some adverse weather forecast may dictate another stopover- not much of a hardship!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Mossel Bay Fuel Stop on Passage from Durban

21 November 2014

We are continuing our passage down the South African coast after our a great stay in Durban. Two other rally boats left shortly behind us, Sweet Pearl and Polaris. To get a break from motor sailing into the wind and bumpy seas they decided to have stopover at East London. The next boats coming out of Durban right after were Andromeda, Chika-lu and NDS Darwin. We decided to keep going as the wind had dropped to under 15 knots and the sea state was better as well, for a while we were enjoying 3 knots of Agulhas current under us bringing our boat speed up to over 10 knots.

We can report leaving the Indian Ocean and entering the Southern Ocean having now passed Port Elizabeth and St. Francis Bay and are sailing towards Plettenberg Bay. The only noticeable changes are that the sea temperature has dropped by 10 deg(F)the favorable current has gone and we need even more extra layers for the night watches. To welcome us into a new ocean this morning we had a visit from dolphins, seals and possibly a shark's fin popped up beside the boat. Our track now takes us to the fishing port of Mossel Bay (about 90 miles) for fuel and probably a day of rest before proceeding to Cape Town. We have been motor sailing since Durban so our fuel consumption has been high. Looking at the latest weather reports or grib files we should have more favorable winds to take us round Cape Agulhas and onto Cape Town.

For those sailors amongst you the compass variation in these waters is over 26 degrees adding an extra challenge to our navigation and the auto helm's track.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Short stop over and still heading South

21 November 2014

Our visit to Mossel Bay was very short. We arrived at sunrise around 5AM, waited until the fuel dock was open to refuel at 8AM and by 10AM we we out at sea again. Our short stay was not a criticism of the place, everyone was very efficient and friendly at this pretty fishing port. Sadly the harbour was not geared up to accommodate us and Celebrate did not look at home moored up beside and against trawlers and huge tractor tyre fenders. The fuel dock was part of the fish market and a trawler was landing its catch as we re-fuelled. They told us that fish they catch is bound for Spain. We sailed over lots of gas well heads on our way in so their other local industry is exporting gas to who knows where.

The sea life continues to impress us, while on the dock two large seals splashed around us and as we left a huge school of dolphins (at least 20) escorted us out. A Southern Right whale broke the surface just behind us and Peter saw another 3 on his watch.

The coastline is constantly changing with extensive forests, sand dunes and now cliffs. We expect to see more variety as we now approach Cape Agulhas the most Southerly point of South Africa and our adventure. In the next few of weeks we hope to explore more of this interesting coast and countryside only this time by land. By early tomorrow we will have turned the corner and then head North around the Cape of Good Hope (not the most Southerly point).

We should be in Cape Town tomorrow before the sun drops over the yard arm!

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Three oceans in three days

23 November 2014

Early this morning we rounded Cape Agulhas the Southern most point in Africa and then at around 11AM in blue skies and a following strong breeze we sailed round the Cape of Good Hope. The best sailing of our passage by far. So after the Indian and Southern its now back to the Atlantic Ocean.

The landform at Cape Agulhas was flat but now as we sail up the West Coast steep peaks and cliffs drop into the ocean and we have just got our first glimpse of Table Mountain. Plenty more to follow.

Charlie, Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - In Cape Town

26 November 2014

Well we have arrived safely in Cape Town and the last two days or so from Mossel Bay were the sunniest and most enjoyable of the passage. The wind came round from the South as we turned the corner so enjoyed some fantastic down wind sailing at last a fitting finale for our Indian Ocean adventure and Peter's time on Celebrate.

The view of the Cape of Good Hope from the water was spectacular. We picked a good day to round it, with the wind in the other direction it would not be so much fun. To avoid the shipping lanes into Cape Town we had to stay close to the shore between Hout Bay and Green Point and a range of peaks called the Twelve Apostles. We sped past them as the wind picked up to over 30 knots. Fortunately as we approached Green Point there was a wind shadow giving a gentler ride into the city with time to enjoy the natural drama of Table Mountain and Signal Hill and the man made city skyline particularly the new curvy football stadium built for the 2010 World Cup.

Our marina at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is right in the historic center surrounded by old dock buildings and some new waterside apartments. There is a dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain which literally hovers over the city. Seals swim around the dock and they appear to be far better behaved than the sea lions of Galapagos!

So far on land we have cleared customs and immigration (you have to do this in every port you visit in SA) and started lots of boat jobs. Charlie has set up a number of maintenance projects with a local sail maker and rigger. We have begun to explore the waterfront finding a venue for a Thanksgiving Dinner. Today we ventured out for lunch at the Royal Cape Yacht Club and found a very warm welcome-we will probably be back!

So there is now a break from sailing for a while with time for Cathy and Charlie to go on Safari and Peter with Jane who, arrives on the 1st December to do some exploring for a couple of weeks before heading back to the UK.

Since arriving a number of other World ARC boats have joined us; Polaris, NDS Darwin, Andromeda, Sweet Pearl, Festina Lente and Lluiton. Shaya Moya was already here and more will follow...

Celebrate - Happy Thanksgiving

28 November 2014

The original plan was to 'celebrate' Thanksgiving in a restaurant on the waterfront, unfortunately Cathy is a little poorly so we decided to move the festivities on board. Peter roasted chicken all the way from Mauritius and with the vegetables on board we cooked up a good meal, added to this a bottle of South African sparkling wine from Hubert on Chika Lu and a chocolate bear from Sandra and Tom on Sweet Pearl (Swiss chocolate of course) it turned out to be a fun and festive meal.

Life in the Victoria and Alfred Marina continues to be entertaining with more yachts arriving, and seals swimming around us. The dock is home to a number of dragon boats training for a regatta. The boats normally found in Chinese harbors are large paddle driven vessels with a crew of around 16; a helmsman at the stern and a drummer at the bow to keep the paddlers in time. There can be as many as four racing around the dock at any one time with drums and crew making quite a sound. The name of the dock is not a mistake; it was originally named after Prince Alfred who laid the foundation stone for the first dock then later it was extended in the presence of Queen Victoria and re-named- Albert had nothing to do with it!

Peter has done some exploring around the Cape, first walking around the coast to Green Point, through a new park and past the World Cup football stadium then bussing around. One of the highlights was a walk around the historic Cape Malay settlement on the slopes of Signal Hill where freed slaves once lived. All the houses are brightly colored apparently to celebrate the resident's freedom and now home to many South Africans of Malaysian and Indonesian origin. A second walking tour took Peter to Imizamo Yethu a township on the outskirts of Hout Bay. We were taken around by Ken a resident the trip was very moving, considerable work has been done to raise the living standards of the 4000 families from one room sheds with no sanitation to 2 and 3 bed bungalows with kitchens and bathrooms. Much of the support has come from an Irish developer and Sir Bob Geldof has been to see it and taken an interest. There are lots of emerging local crafts and enterprises, new schools being built but it is clear that much more is needed to raise the standards still further.

Charlie,Cathy and Peter

Celebrate - Thank you Cathy and Charlie

05 December 2014

After three months of sailing the Indian Ocean it's time for me (Peter) to say farewell to the team on Celebrate and return to dry land (for a while)I have enjoyed every minute of the adventure including the bumpy passage from Reunion to Richards Bay. Charlie and Cathy have been such generous and splendid hosts. The farewell party you put on for me was very special. I will miss our chats and sorry I didn't learn more American!

My departure does have a silver lining as I will be spending the next two weeks with Jane driving the Garden Route and we catch up with Charlie and Cathy for a spot of wine tasting in Stellenbosh before we fly home.


Celebrate - A Fond Farewell at Cape Town and New Beginnings

08 December 2014

After about 6,500 nautical miles from Darwin, Australia we have arrived at Cape Town, South Africa, as the early sailors did. We are staying at the beautiful Victoria and Alfred Marina with a stunning view of Table Mountain as a backdrop.

We said goodbye to our latest sailing partner, Peter Sandover, who is heading back to his home in the UK after he and his wife, Jane, enjoy several weeks of touring here. We have seen some wonderful sights together and wish Peter and his family well.

Our dressed over all flags are now flying!

Charlie & Cathy

Celebrate - Stellar Safari joined by American Friends at a Jewel of a Camp in Northern South Africa!

14 December 2014

Our friends from Washington State in the US, John & Priscilla Cadwell flew into Cape Town to join us for a safari trip. They had previously seen us off in St. Lucia as we began the rally. We all flew to a safari camp in northern South Africa and stayed for 5 amazing days and had the grandest of times! Our safari adventure began the minute we were picked up at the airport by our terrific ranger, Schalk, in an open-air Land Rover. Within seconds of entering the Game Reserve we were sighting giraffes, zebras and impalas. As we arrived the General Manager, Kate, was greeting us with elegant welcome drinks and telling us the intriguing story of the Camp and how it started with the Endangered Species Center. Our stand alone bungalows had wonderful territorial views and what a location! Directly across from the river with wildebeest and steenboks grazing and the big cats growling overnight! The extraordinary daytime and nighttime elephant rides with lion prides, hippo, nile crocodile, buffalo herds and white rhino sightings really exceeded our expectations!

Next: Stellenbosch wine trip with Peter Sandover and his wife, Jane...

Charlie & Cathy

Celebrate - Wondeful Wine-Tasting with Peter & Jane in Stellenbosch, South Africa!

15 December 2014

Our terrific former crewman, Peter Sandover, and his lovely wife, Jane, drove us to the Stellenbosch wine country and treated us to an overnight stay at the Oude Werf Hotel which is a historic downtown mansion filled with Victorian antiques and grouped collections of artwork. Our first wine-tasting stop was before dinner at the classic and comfortably styled Wijnhuis wine bar just a few feet from the hotel down a side street. With two white wines, a rose and three reds to taste, plus a cheese and meat board it was all very satisfying and the sauvignon blanc was our favorite! In the morning we drove to the Tokara Winery for more tasting and a great lunch with a beautiful view over the vineyards. Our favorite wine here was a reserve chardonnay. Also, we had time to purchase some special olive oil, visit a craft store and the charming botanical gardens at the University. Charlie and I had such a perfect time. An enormous thank you to Peter and Jane!

Charlie and Cathy

Celebrate - Party Time in Decemeber for the Fleet in Cape Town!

23 December 2014

December 1st started with a festive party on CHIKA-lu! A few of Hubert's friends from Germany were there as well as fleet sailors. One of the wonderful aspects of the World ARC is the chance to get to know people from around the world. Next up, on December 2nd was the send-off party for our crew member, Peter, held at a local Belgian restaurant, Den Anker. Peter's wife, Jane, was able to attend along with most of the fleet. Peter had been with the fleet since the beginning of the rally in St. Lucia. It was a great time for everyone to get together. Then, Lucia, on NDS Darwin with her family gave an exceptional "Happy 17th Birthday" party. As Mimi and Ollie left from Saphir, Avocet gave them a terrific send off on December 8th. We are now looking forward to Christmas dinner on Folie a Deux. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Charlie & Cathy