Bruce Willis ‘Die Hard’

Well Spain was excellent and we walked many streets and explored every plaza we encountered, and let’s not forget all the cathedrals, and gardens.  When Travis and I travel, one of us will plan a loose itinerary and the other will map read and “navigate”.  We had planned to visit a couple of gardens, and while I would start to direct us, “ok we will leave here and go left until we come to Calle”, Travis, “yippie Kaye mother …….”.   Without fail every time I would give a street name and they all are called ‘calle’ because we are in Spain, and the word for street is Calle, Travis pies in and interrupts my directions with the Bruce Willis line above.  It never got old.


Well we sure hit the cities with all out Dora the Explorer attitude.  The streets are very old and cobblestones or moorish stone patterns, which although beautiful, not so easy on the feet.  We made a point of exploring neighborhoods rather than touristy areas much of the time.  In doing so we would find interesting ‘Paseos’, or walking paths where parks and cafés would not be busy.  


We did enjoy finding the small markets near our flats, where we would buy cream for coffee, veggies with our rice, beer, and chat a little Spanish with the owners.  They got to know us and that seemed to make it even more enjoyable being in their neighborhood.

we did have a great time in Granada, Madrid, Nerja, Torremolinos, and Seville.  Becky joined us in Seville and took the role of navigator and was spectacular at finding fun.  We toured the museum of the Inquisition, way old building and not so fun a history for the “church” or the non Catholics…..  We all had the same ideas of what to do and explore so we got along great together.  We took the fast train to Cordoba for the day, and great there, becky toured the cathedral, Travis and I soaked in warm Hamamm bath, the we walked the “patio tour”. That was great, and we stumbled onto the royal horse arena and stables.

Well we were able to get back to Sevilla and enjoy PlaZa Hercules, the Macarena with her diamond tears, the Bodega Carbonaria Flamenco bar, and pre Carnaval festivities in a local neighborhood .




Answers to Your Questions about living on a sailboat.

Hello all, I have enjoyed catching up with everyone since our big adventure on the sailing vessel Far Fetched, a Benneteau Oceana 38.5. I have had some wonderful chats with people and I have had many questions about life on a boat in general. I thought I would explain some of my personal experiences living on a sailboat.

Water: What do you do for water?
well water is held in a storage tank for potable water, and this is not always enough for all water needs. We did have a water maker on board but it takes energy(electricity) to make. The water you use in the water maker is sea water not yukky marina water and it runs through a desalinization process and filter. This water does not always taste good for everyone’s taste, but it was ok for me as I bought lemon and lime juice concentrate, and Gatorade powder, and added this to my water. I drank a fair bit of water everyday. Each day I would try to fill and drink at least 2250ml or 72 oz, of water a day , more if out hiking and diving. We only used the water maker twice. Most of the time we had non potable and potable water that we hauled from water sources on shore. We had clear, collapsing water containers for potable and black collapsing for non potable. This seemed to be able to fulfill most of our water needs.
We supplemented this water with rain water we would collect in a bucket, the Crib(dingy), or in zip lock bags from the deck canopy. We also used ocean water while at anchor, to wash our dishes with, then rinse with non ocean water.

Laundry: How did you wash your clothes?
Well some islands and towns actually had laundromats and we used them when available. Everyone was in charge of their own laundry for the most part, but some occasions like when the seas came over the bow of the boat and the hatches leaked and soaked the cushion covers then it would be group laundry and one of us would do those with our own laundry.(Usually Bruce or Myself). So most of the time we would use the bucket method or in my case ziplock bags. That’s right a small plastic bag. I feel compelled to explain why I used the bag vs the bucket. When I say The Bucket, I mean we only had one bucket. This One Bucket was used for the following: holding just caught fish, fish fillets post cleaning, storing fruit, engine parts cleaning and various other uses. (I did use The Bucket also) Enter the Ziplock bag, I would hold it up to the run off from the canopy, and it was enough to launder my bikini, nickers, and tshirts. The trick was to finish the wash before the rain stopped so you could rinse as well.

Showering: How did you shower/bathe?
Far Fetched did have a large shower in the head. I only used it twice. Again it takes electricity to pump the water and it also took energy to heat it. It was HEAVEN on the 2 occasions i used it. If we had just had the motor on then the water was HOT. So for the most part we showered off the stern swim platform with a shower bag suspended from the solar panel platform. You get yourself wet, then shut valve on water bag, lather up, then open valve on bag and rinse. If we were in a harbor or crowded anchorage(more than 3 boats) we would shower in our swim wear, if not crowded then no need for swimwear. I must say having short hair made hair washing quick and easy.

Shaving: How do you shave?
Let’s revisit the ziplock bag. Fill it with water, lather up with Bert’s Bees Baby shampoo, shave with razor, rinse razor in ziplock bag, repeat over and over. Voila!! I tried to make sure I did not swim right after shaving so salt water did not sting, plus one of the most feared of all things while out swimming and sailing, Staph infections. That’s right folks I did not worry or fear things like pirates, drowning, sharks or ship wreck, but I did fear getting a staph infection while out there.

Elimination: How do you go to the bathroom on a boat?
Well if during a passage while the boat is heeled over, hold on or you could fall off the seat. I used the head for both solid and liquid, but the boys used a container like a urinal or just stand off the stern of the boat if not underway(sailing). This was a rigid, well followed, rule: no eliminating from the stern while underway! Statistically you have a 5% chance of rescue at night while underway if you fall overboard….

Sleeping.: How and where did you sleep?
We had a bed but while underway(sailing), I would sleep sideways in the bed because i am short and can do so, but otherwise i had slept in the very center line of the boat under the table, wedged between the table leg and the settee bench. Sometimes we had the bench set up with the sea cloth(straps that are hooked onto the cabinet above to hold you from rolling off) to hold yourself in. The motion of the boat would sometimes be so side to side that you would not be able to sleep because you would just roll around. Sleep was in high demand when you are on 2 -4 hour watches with only 2-3 people. When at anchor sleep was easier and often.

the sleeping place

Food: What did you eat?:
Well we provisioned at stores when we had them. Other times while sailing underway we would have at least one hand line out and we almost always brought in a catch, Wahoo, tuna and others.. So the other way to have fish is through spearfishing. Bruce was very adept at this and he even taught Skyler how to “hunt” under water.. We also were able to shop at the local open air markets on many of the Tongan Islands. Sometimes we would barter for food while on smaller islands. We found many times that our barter power would have increased if we had had an cigarettes and more liquor. We did have canned food items that were sought after. I can not speak for Bruce, or Travis, but while under way on passages I was not very hungry, so I did not eat as much. It was nice to be at anchor because then I felt like eating, and we would sometimes have other folks from other boats join us for dinner or join others on their boats. We even held a music recording session in the cockpit one night, I called it “Behind the Helm Studio”, and ALec sang and played the ukalele for us, while I recorded the session(with his permission).
Recreation/downtime: How do you entertain yourselves on a boat? Well we had solar panels that charged our batteries, so on good solar days(most days), we would finish dinner and clean up then sit in the salon at the table and watch movies on my computer screen. We had a great time watching the Fire FLy series. We also read lots of books. We were not big card players, but it would be a great thing to do in the salon of the boat.

So my experience on a sailing vessel was just amazing, I love to camp and do not mind rations of water or electricity, so it was just easy going. If you can just relax when you are done with chores, and know what tasks need to be done and do them when they need to be done, then it is the best adventure ever.
Well Until I think of other questions people have asked, or more stories that I recall, I will sign off for now.

The Other Islands in Tonga

Well I finally took the time to go through the charts and maps i had photos of to really catalog our Tongan journey. This was not easy because there are many islands and we did not have the computer on at all during much of our travel. So I have prepared the names and locations of the islands in chronology with some photos.

Niuatoputapu island and Tafahi island our first Tongan island and check into country.
This island is small and surrounded by amazing coral reefs. On our snorkeling we were seeing turtles and large fish like grouper, and reef sharks. Very healthy coral considering this area was devastated by a tsunami a few years back. The other island, Niuatoputapu, 5 miles away was indeed devastated, but seeing some return.

Our next island in the Kingdom of Tonga was the Vava’au group. There were many to see. Check in at Neiafu and shop for provisions.
We then sailed to Nuapapu. Our latitude and longitude for anchor was 18’42.352’s 174’04.205’w. Nice anchorage and we were near sailing vessel Songline, with Cinda and Fred from Juneau Alaska. Bruce, Travis and I took the Crib over to Kulo a very small island and snorkeled around it. We sayw huge fan coral and huge giant clams!! It seemed prehistoric to be sure.

Near Matamaka

We toured the children’s school on Nuapapu.
After touring the school, we sat for the show they put on for us from the class room. The teacher likes to have the children practice their english, and to hear about other professions from the sailors/cruisers. Most of the families on this island are either fishermen or weavers, so to present the children with other careers is opening their world a little. They did speak English well and they sang beautifully.

The weaving hut

Cinda, Bruce and Fred ready for sing-a-long

Just off the stern of Far Fetched

We left the island and pulled up anchor and sailed to our next destination, Kapa Island and the area called Port Maurelle. This island has a beautiful beach, an area to hike on shore to a farm and village and huge huge white beach, plus a small island called Luakapa to snorkel around. It was safe anchorage out of the wind and had sand bottom to anchor or mooring balls to rent. Our latitude longitude for anchor: 18′ 41.980’south and 174′ 01.788″ west.

What a long beach! Kim on a hike

The hike went through beach, mud road for livestock not vehicles, farm land, then beach again then repeat back again.

The hike through farm land on Kapa(Port Maurelle)

While at anchor here we were gladly joined by Songline, Fred and Cinda, then Mystic, Randy and Jenny. There was a storm on the way whck is why we chose such secure anchorage, and we had agreed to have these guys over for waffles in morning. We did and it was pouring down rain outside while the 7 of us were tucked away down below in Far Fetched, the 38.5′ Oceana sailing vessel we had spent the last month crewing on.

Cinda, Randy, Jenny waffle breakfast.

The photo looks steamed up because all the hatches are closed due to rain yet we are cooking and creating heat. The plan for the rest of the day is Travis wants to satay on boat and make pizza,(Yum), Bruce, Randy, Jenny, Fred, and Kim(myself), will take the Crib(inflatable dingy with outboard) and Dingy(Fatty Knees with oars) to the small island of Luakafa and dive and circumnavigate, then proceed to swallows cave via Crib. Cinda decided to stay on Songline, and the trip to dive/snorkel went great. The entire region had big coral, nice overhanging gardens, big fish and good visibility.

Nice Fish

I finished first because even with my 3/2 wetsuit I get chilled in 82 degree water. Toward the en of my trip around it started to pour down again with big rain, I was cold so I pulled myself into Crib and put my fleece vest on and a hat and hunkered down in the bottom of Crib. Soon after Bruce, Jenny, Randy and Fred all come up. I decide I am too cold to go to swallows cave, so I offer to row the more than a mile back to the comfort of the boat, while they take the Crib to Swallows Cave. I was glad to row so I could warm up, but that is when I saw the lightening off to the south and more wind and rain on its way, so I rowed fast and steady until I safely tied up to Far Fetched.

I am warmed up rowing!

Kapa and anchorage

Well the next day we were all going to head over to another anchorage, Hunga island, again known for very protected and good sandy bottom for anchorage. Its not like it was a race or not but Jenny and Randy pulled up anchor and sailed out of anchorage, we were ready but visited by Jason from S/V YOLO who inquired about the Honda Generator that Bruce has on board. I should mention that our power for the electricity we use is by solar, which keep our battery banks charged, so the last few days we had rain as I mentioned, so we all had to use generators or engine starting to rejuve the battery bank power. Well Jason wanted to know about the generator so we spent a bit of time before we pulled up anchor to leave, and of course we were just sure that Randy and Jenny payed Jason to slow us down on our departure so they would get to pick the best anchorage spot at Hunga Island…..We sail out of anchorage(which is cool as heck by the way), we work the sails to gain on Mystic as much as we could, but we did make gains, however they of course still beat us to anchorage. Songline left after we did and they were not far behind. We were anchored and I dove to look at the anchors for both Mystic and Far Fetched, and came up with a decent report, good sand with some coral around the area. Our Latitude and longitude for anchor, 18’4.990’2 by 174’07.990w Before long Fred had his hammock hung as did Randy, and we were all either diving or relaxing.

Travis, Bruce and Snapper Bruce speared(dinner)

We took the Crib out to the entrance to the anchorage area and snorkeled/dove this for quite a ways and then Travis and I swam back to Far Fetched while the others continued their dive. It was a great swim and we saw a school of squid doing their synchronized swim routine, a 5ft reef shark and super good coral.

Travis and Kim Snorkel Hunga Island

Well that night we had Mystic, Songline and Slip Away over for dinner on Far Fetched. What was on the menu you ask? Snapper, lentil salad, rice, and Texas Sheet Cake!! The cake was from Slip Away and the ability to have fresh baked cake is unbelievable to say the least, we were all very happy that night indeed!

The crew of Slip Away, Mystic, Far Fetched, Songline.

Well we had many more fun times and anchorages but I will post this now and continue the rest at a later date. Stay tuned for meeting Aldebaron, picking up Skyler in the Ha’Apaii group, and more photos of paradise.

Kim and Travis Coral Gardens

Randy sailing Fatty Knees

More of the South Island

We really had a great time on the west coast of New Zealand South Island.
The Hostel we stayed in was like a resort i swear. Very impressive and comfortable. We Kayaked from the hostel out to the bay. We also met our new friend Don who lives in Little Akaloa bay near Christchurch on East coast.

We enjoyed or time in the area north of Greymouth called Punakaiki( pancake rocks).
We were then headed to our next camp spot, Lake Mapourika, near glacier area, Franz Joseph and Fox. The area in the picture in distant mountain is the Southern Alps here in New Zealand. It was a cold lake but i put my 3/2 wetsuit on and swam, not for long but swam to enjoy the moment. We did one of the hikes at Franz Joseph and met a fellow hiker, Steve, from Yorkshire England. The hike was pretty tough but the view was well worth the work. We did it in 6 hours and enjoyed getting the view..
The Next few days were on the way to Lake Waitikure and then on to Queenstown and The southern region of South island. We Will update again soon but it is hard to sit at the computer and not get out and enjoy more. To be continued….

Mordor and other photos

Well we are seeing the sights of New Zealand just so you know. We did some good hikes or tramps as they say here. The one that was the most memorable was Tongariro crossing. Memorable not just because my legs were so sore from the vertical climb, but because of the cool scenery, and this is “Mordor” from Lord of The Rings!!. The Tongariro crossing is one of NZ most wonderful one day tramp to do. We really enjoyed the emerald pools.

The Emerald Pools

The clouds among the peaks were very pretty and ominous had we not already checked the weather forecast, 20knt winds, no rain.

Tongariro among the clouds

The day was perfect and we ended with a soak in a hot tub at a backpacker hostel lodge in Ohakune, a really great ski destination in winter and even better mountain bike mecca in summer(now).

map of Tongariro

Well we are in Wellington now and we take a ferry to S. Island Tomorrow. we will continue to journal or way through.
Until next post

Two Ship wrecks and a reef…

Ha'apai ship wreck

We were so enjoying all of the coral we snorkeled throughout the Ha’apai group of islands in Kingdom of Tonga. Some of the coral was just about 1-2 feet from the water surface and forming valleys between the coral. One Island we visited, Ha’Afeva island, showed a large area of coral to navigate through and a shipwreck nearby, this was our destination for the day. We got an early start so we would have the sun in our favor for seeing reefs and shoals. The route Bruce had set up worked well for a comfortable sail with a beam reach. We were able to average around 6.0-6.5 knots(speedy for a sailboat), and up to 7.0 knots. One moment with a wave assisting our speed we say it go to 12 knots(not sure if this was a satellite glitch or real). We had just seen winds come up at around 21 knots and occasional 22 knots and reefed the main sail then the jib, to keep our speed but not get too much workload on the sails and rigging. We were headed for this protected anchorage and just seeing more squall as we prepared to enter the anchorage. We prepared to take down the sails and the Jib had a malfunction with the furling, and it made for a more dramatic entrance than we had anticipated, but we managed well. Only one boat was familiar to us and that was Aldebaran. We were entering the anchorage with bow watch and GPS latitude and longitude plugged in because of the large amount of reefs around the entrance. It was a crowded anchorage with 5-6 other sailboats already there. We found a spot to anchor, did so and the island awaited. Due to rain and cloud cover we had good reading and naps too.

Napping in the cokpit

Travis at helm in Speedo

So the next day was exploring day on the island. The island had a terrific agricultural presence with fields of Taro, Tapioca, coconuts, and bananas. On our walk we found one of the village folk, Peter, came out to greet us and asked if we wanted any papaya or mangoes etc, so we asked for a few things on our shopping list you know like drinking and meat coconuts, 2 mangoes, and 3-5 papaya, so here is how it went. Peter takes us on a walk through the jungle and crops. He climbs a tree and pulls down 3 drinking coconuts then slides down the tree then walks us to the cooking area where there are meat coconuts and his brother and dad cut the husk off so we can easily drain them later. He offers us cooked tapioca inside a banana leaf and we drink a fresh coconut before he gathered papaya and mangoes for our crew, then we also asked for bananas, so he cuts off a huge bunch of the tasty things and we are all carrying something.

Peter the ultimate shopper

Peter getting coconuts

"I know right Nice coconuts"

Wow what a great grocery store!!! Thanks Peter!
Well we enjoyed the fruits and then the next day was snorkel the ship wreck that Peter told us about.

What a wreck

I think the other boats thought we were heading for a wreck with the reef but they did not realize we were going to anchor out near the wreck and we were not actually leaving the area yet, so when we put out our anchor I am sure they were relieved that we were not attempting to add another wreck to the reef. So Bruce headed off in one direction with the speargun to continue grocery sshopping, while Travis, Skyler and I headed to the other direction and we all snorkeled and dove for nice coral views then headed to the shipwreck and wow was this cool to see so close without needing scuba gear. Skyler stood on the bow deck with his legs in the water and his torso and head above the water. It was fun but we all swam back to Far Fetched and made way to sail to our next destination.

Nice times to recall and share with others for sure. My first shipwreck but not my last…
So our next destination, Nomuka’Iki
stay tuned gotta go enjoy more of Sydney…

The photos that we share

Hello all and I wanted to send out some photos today while I have good internet connections.

We finished our Tonga sailing on November 4th which we thought was November 3rd long story. Anyway I flew to Sydney on Tues November 8th and enjoying fresh veggies and cappuccinos.

Last on Far Fetched

white sandy beach uninhabited island

Some of the islands we sailed to in the Vava’u group and the Ha’Apai group were uninhabited and the coral was huge and beautiful. Some of our anchorage was a little tough for rest because of the swell and rocking of the boat. We put out a stern anchor (back and side of boat), to help keep the boat facing into the swells to decrease the rocking sideways so you dont roll as much while trying to sleep. We had 30 knot winds we were trying to get out of and we were thankful for the safe but rocking anchorages. One island had so many birds it was amazing. We also were able to snorkel right from our boat. Swimming and snorkeling reading, eating and bread making and baked brownies, not a bad recipe for island enjoyment.

Bird Island

Coral on my mind

Well we have way more photos of really beautiful islands and sandy beaches. I will post few more and hope you all enjoy the photos. Currently Far Fetched will be on her way to Minerva Reef about 250 miles south of Tonga then continue on her way after stopping there to head to Opu in Bay of Islands New Zealand. The crew Bruce the skipper, Travis the engineer/1st mate, Skyler the deck hand and galley assist. We wish them a safe passage. I am keeping and eye on the weather but not sure how to interpret some of the info. Will post more as I get it. I leave for Auckland Nov 21 to meet up with Travis to continue our travels on land. I want to thank Zoe back in Portland for a card she gave to me before I set sail and here is why. She included this quote from Mark Twain: Twenty years from now
you will be more disappointed by the
things that you didn’t do
than by the ones you did do

So throw off the bowlines
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sail.
Discover. Mark Twain

I kept this with me in my bunk area and read it often and breathed in the moments…
Keep it up I shall.