Category Archives: Kids

In the mangroves

With all the heat and without a breeze we’re not very motivated to do big adventures. But yesterday when it started raining again, we set out on a little trip with the dinghy. The kids wanted to explore the tiny island next to our boat. So we set out with cooling rain and paddled into the mangroves.

Es regnet. Ideal fuer einen Ausflug in die Nachbarschaft.Was versperrt uns da den Weg ?Frische MangrovenwurzelnMehr Wurzelwerk, Licht- & Schattenspiele

We zigzag through the maze of little channels, discover some hidden birds and try (without success) to catch some geckos from a half sunken bamboo jetty. We could definately use a few of those animals on bord to eat away those mosquitos that try to keep us awake at night. Our way is blocked by a piece of an old pontoon that must have drifted in here and we turn around.

Quer ueber die kleine InselUeppige, tropische VegetationUnd raus auf der anderen SeiteAlles entdeckt, geht's wieder zurueck

On the way back we discover a little path that leads through the otherwise impenetrable jungle to the other side of the little island. Unfortunately I only have the small, waterproof camera with me – the big one would have done better shots. But at least there are some nice, colorful pics. Ey ?

A Panorama of SavusavuBruno and Viola at schoolThe neighbour island we explored earlierA view to the west with the marina on the left and the ferry dock in the back

And as I got started with the camera (and it stopped raining) I again went up the mast and took a few more shots. From up there the water looks surprisingly clear. From close-up that’s different and sometimes it also get’s a bit smelly. But I guess that’s just the mud that is exposed during low tide. On the pics you can see the Copra Shed Marina with the little jetties in front. There we spend some of the hotter afternoons when it’s getting uncomfortable on the boat. Well, here we will stay for the next months… Awful – isn’t it ? Also: don’t forget the mosquitos ! ;-)

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Letting nature cook (for) us

The first days in Savusavu went by quite swiftly. The usual routine: getting the laundry done, some basic shopping, getting to know the village, etc.
As we determined before, the people of Fiji are extremely friendly, the Indian population is extremely enterprising and the Curries that one can eat at nearly every place are hot, delicious and affordable.

So the first impression is quite good. And that definately should be so as we’ll be here for the rain season which officially lasts until April. That doesn’t mean, we’ll be stuck here on the mooring but here we’ll have our base and hideout in case a taifun is announced.

Panorama of the Nakama creekSome temple up on the hill ? Needs an investigation...Cooking a breadfruit in the hot springsWe found a POOL !!

As most all hurrican holes, Savusavu has the downside of plentiful rain, slightly muddy water thanks to the mangroves and the bay-in-bay setup and of course: mosquitos.  Not exactly sexy. But it’s ok – especially since we discovered that hotel with a pool ! We’re kind of tolerated but also seemingly the only bathing guests anyway.  On the way towards the pool we got two breadfruits as a present and as our path led us by the hot springs, we dropped one into the boiling water. After our refreshing splash we came back to pick up the nature-boiled breadfruit. Yamyam !

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Levuka, Ovalau island, Fiji

Although we already are anchored at the next postcard island, I still have to post some pictures of Levuka, our first contact with Fiji. I mentioned the funny haircuts but somehow forgot to shoot some pictures of the beautiful ladies of Levuka… Well, those will come later, I guess. Also worth mentioning is that Levuka once was the capital of Fiji ! Hard to believe as it’s a quiet, little Village.

The cowboy-western-style waterfront of LevukaTown center with churchAnd while other governments still argue about it - Fiji is preparing itselfWalking in the shade, along the main street

As we found nearly everywhere else too, there are numerous schools and plenty of kids everywhere. All dressed up in nice, colorful school uniforms. A treat for the eye !

When we picked up the cruising permit, I noticed the schedule of the authority. It has a seminar on climate change for the employees. Yeah – when the big polluters of the earth still are arguing whether or not it’s true, the island nations of this world are getting prepared for the worst.

Schoolyard at midday.School kids posing in front of strange emblem.At the little pond, in the middle of the tropical forestPlaying with the new toy cooking set

Maybe the people of Levuka will also start thinking of getting rid of that awfully noisy Diesel generator located in the center of the village that provides power for the whole island. There would be more than enough sun to power all homes here on the island and as for storage, I suggest to use that huge fuel tank up on the hill. One could use the excess power during midday to pump up salt water and use a turbine to generate power during the night. – Just a thought…. But I guess burning fuel is (still) just too convenient.

Back down towards the villageThe old mason's building. It was burned down because some people beliefed it would be an entrance to hell. (Turns out - it wasn't...)In front of the town hall.Taking the street back towards the sea. Schoolkids ahead.

Alright. Enough of the ranting. There are also some pics of our little hike up the hill to the little freshwater pond. On the way the kids got a little toy cooking set and when we were back on the ship they promptly openend a restaurant on the foredeck. Let’s see if someone can decypher Viola’s menu. It’s a wild mix of german, spanish and english but it shows promise and she’s definately not lacking inspiration. Also  – she’s still just five. :-)

An icecream !! After weeks and weeks without.Bruno and viola opening a restaurant on the foredeckViola's menu is a mix of spanish and german words and lettering. Takes a little vantacy tu reed.Together with the SY Optimist we sail towards Leluvia, our next stop.

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A few days in the past – The island Nuku in Tonga

Before leaving Tonga we spent a few more days at a little, lonely island called Nuku. We were already cleared out so we shouldn’t have stayed but it was just too hard to say good bye. See for yourself…. It’s crazy.

Nuku. Our own little island for three days.Not too bad - isn't it ?The perfect little beachBruno having endless fun in the crystal clear water

Haha.My beautiful little princess.A tropic bird.Splash !

The colors are just unbelievable.But still sometimes it's school timeViola concentrated at workFinally we lift up the anchor and set out towards Fiji...

Posted in Animals, Freedom, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 1 Comment

Utukalongalu market and a few faces of Tonga

The last few hours in Tonga and we spend it in front of the computer. Hehehe.

Nah – not really. We will putter down to the main wharf and clear out of Tonga alright but tonight we’ll still spend one more night around the corner in a quiet anchorage. Tomorrow during the day, we’ll set sails and go to Fiji.

So here are some more pictures for you, taken in the ‘main town’ of Vavau: Neiafu.

A house on the side of the 'main street'We're far away from everywhere it seemsTongan schoolgirlsTongan youth with the traditional uniform

Traditional clothing: black and woven pandanus mats around the waist.a tongan car. Hehe.The computer shop (think of that, next time you enter Walmart or Media Markt)Lady selling vegetables in the market

Another old lady sellin her homegrown saladWe also get some fresh herbsWoven baskets and other beautiful artefactssilhouette of a schoolgirl with a coconut in her hand

Taro rootBoys and girls :-)traditional clothingStreet scene in Neiafu

Also we’ll be without internet of course and have only our SSB connection. But we should be back online beginning next week when we arrive in SavuSavu.

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The island Kapa and the Swallows Cave

Our second stop in Vava’u was anchorage no. 7 in the west of the island Kapa. (Yes, the anchorages here are numbered so the local Mooring base can find it’s ships again.) The was anchorage even more quiet than the one before and the beach absolutely stunning ! We went snorkeling every day and were impressed that there is at least twice the amount of different corals compared to French Polynesia. That gets us even more excited to go further west where the coral is supposedly a lot more diverse than here.

Another beautiful beach of TongaA view of our backyardThe anchorage number seven with boats floating in mid air it seemsThe photographer at the mast head

We again stayed four days and enjoyed ourselfes (more on that in the next post). When leaving for Neiafu we made a stop after about 1.5 miles on the western extreme of the island. Located here is the Swallows Cave that can be accessed by dinghy. One has to stay on the sailboat though as the water is way too deep to anchor in front of the cave. Inside the cave the colors play with the water and as the name suggests, the ceiling is covered with swallow’s nests. A thing not to miss when visiting Tonga.

The entrance to the swallows cave on the western point of the island KapaGui and Bruno setting out for adventureEntering the dark cave (not easy to balance the levels as you see)Holes on the top show part of the vegetation

The birds nesting in the cave give it it's nameAmazing colors made by the extremely clear water A swarm of litle fish hiding out in the caveBack towards the entrance

Posted in Animals, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 2 Comments

The first anchorage at Vaka’eitu

Our first stop outside of Neiafu was at the anchorage No.16 on the western side of Vaka’eitu. A very peaceful little island inhabitated by only one family. We arrived there last saturday just in time to participate in a traditional Tongan feast with a pig roasted over open fire and many roots and vegetables baked in an earth oven. Veeery nice !!

The beachside of anchorage #16The view to the west with some of the small, beautiful islands of Vava'uPreparing for the feastYoga on the beach in the morning hours

Next day we took a hike together with Harald and Veronica from the SY Tagtraeumer – the one other austrian sailboat currently in Vava’u waters. It took some time for us to discover that we actually met before. That was in Mindelo, Cabo Verde in December 2011.

The walk over to the other side of the island leads through beautiful lush tropical forest and the beach on the eastern side is amazing. Unfortunately it was too windy and the sea to choppy to go for a swim.

A little hike to the other side of the islandCrazy vegetationA little window in the canopy throws sunlight at my two girlsA beautiful girl I encountered on the beach :-)

We stayed for four days and then finally said good bye (again) to our friend Dan from the SY Red Sky Night. He took off towards Fiji to press on towards Australia.

Bruno strolling alongViola and Bruno running on the beachThe skipper looks a lot younger with short hair, ey ?A heavily weathered treetrunk

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BoraBora -> Tonga – a few photos

And here are some first pictures from our trip to Tonga. The text is at the bottom of the pictures. Enjoy !

Leaving BoraBoraFinally one pic with the captain...The crew enjoying a nice, quiet sailViola doing some exercises

Music - what would the kids do without music ?Or for that matter: How is cruising possible without Lego ?Some more acrobaticsPainting, cutting, keeping busy.

The capitana relaxing on the aft deck.The only boat we saw in 13 days: a fishing vessel.Bruno and Viola hiding in their fortressAttacking the captain

Time for a bath in the world's greatest pool.Viola, happy and protected under the cockpit roof.Bruno at the chart table with all his favourite 'toys'.Finally !! The wind is back and we are a little bit faster.

Look what we found dangling on our bathing ladder in the morning...It's a 'Portuguese Man-o-War'.Part of the tentacle. Beautiful but deadly !Bruno the scientist loooking at the tentacle with his microscope.

That's how the image on the plotter should always look like: perfect course, perfect speed.Getting ready to enter the Kingdom of Tonga.What's that, the kids are pointing at in the morning ??Oh yes ! Land in sight !!!

The north coast of Neiafu, Tonga.Entering the Vava'u group of islands.Closing in on Neiafu.The first person we see: a boy looking out of an abadoned building.

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Green steel ketch. Twice

This is weird, I thought: That boat there looks exactly like the one we’re waiting for. But shouldn’t it have a german flag ? And isn’t there too many kids on board ? (You never can be sure – it’s been two years since we last met.) So anyway to fulfill my duties as harbourmaster of Opunohu, I row over to say hello. The swedish family is very sympathetic and of course they know which boat we’re looking for: “Oh – you mean the Supermolli ? Well they should arrive any day now.”

Bruno didn’t mind – he was just too happy to have kids around that talk english that’s already quite something. So only minutes later they set out with the sailing dinghy and weren’t seen until late in the afternoon.

Yesterday, we’re installing the new membrane for the watermaker as I see yet another green steel ketch enter the bay. This time it’s no drill. It IS the Supermolli !! Bruno and Viola stand on the foredeck and start chanting while I make a few pictures. As soon as the anchor hits the ground we’re in the dinghy and on our way. Last time we saw each other was in Germany, two years ago. And that also was quite a coincidence – as is the whole story of our boats: It was us who actually wanted to buy the Supermolli in 2009 ! But then things developed differently and we started our voyage with the Rancho Relaxo.

Well now we can stop reading and commenting each others blog posts for a few weeks, I guess.

Posted in Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Sailing, Suvarov | 2 Comments

Back in maintenance mode

It seems we’re back in our old modus: One little boat project every day.
Today, I took the third solar panel off the starboard handrail and put it together with the two on the arch in the back. That position is better as the side-panel always was in the shadow with the current wind direction. So I took the panels off, remounted them and hooked everything up to our old solar charger from the Rancho. That is now maxed out at 20 Ampere during mid-day. We still could use one or two more solar panels but for now it’s good. Not much else going on that would be worth mentioning.

Posted in Hardware, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Diving at the southern pass and on towards Raiatea

On the last day in Huahine we decided to make a little dinghy tour down to the pass in the south of the island. We ride in our dinghy through the crystal clear water of the lagoon and arrive about half an hour later. There are two reefs in between us and the pass. After the first one, the snorkeling gets more interesting and we find some beautiful clownfish.

I climb the second reef and enter the channel but the waves are too big and snorkeling is dangerous. But the surf waves are absolutely amazing. The swell enters the pass and the waves continue to run forever it seems. There are quite some surfers here and they are haveing a lot of fun. Next time we pack the board instead of the snorkel. But it was fun anyway…

Next day we leave to the neighbor island of Raiatea. We want to meet the SY Gobo and the SY Yasoo who both seem to be a little bit stuck here… ;-) The sail is beautiful and very fast with a nice wind of 17-20kn coming from the south. When we approach the peer in Oturoa, the crews of three boats fight to take our lines. After a chaotic maneuver we shut down the engine and have a beer in our cockpit. The crew of the SY Shambala is also here and just around the corner are the boats of our swedish friends.

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Treasure hunt on Huahine

Somehow Bruno found out that there is an old treasure buried here in Huahine. Rumor has it that Coco, the man working in the restaurant has one part of an old map showing the way. Everybody got their pirate outfits on and we set out on the voyage. I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

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Waiting for the whales and new neighbours

As discussed in the last (german) post, we decided to stay in french Polynesia until mid August. A researcher at the Criboe institute told us, the Humpback whales already reached the Austral Islands and seem to be early this year. We hope to see them in a few weeks here in the Society Islands. It’s said that the whales also frequent the Opunohu bay. I can’t wait to see them live in our neighborhood !

Life on the anchorage is also getting a bit more interesting lately. A few days ago the french boats even became a minority for a day or two. That hasen’t happend since we’ve arrived here.  Yesterday we had an austrian neighbour: The catamaran ‘Wild One‘ anchored next to us and together with Martin and part of his crew I went for a dive at the outer reef. Unfortunately there wasn’t much to see. We spotted a lemon shark and a few reef sharks, a big mooray eel and a few fish but missing the colorful coral it wasn’t too exciting. The best was that I got to test our new diving equipmet which was a lot of fun !

The day before a conspiciously small, red yacht entered the bay. Only a short time later Gui, when coming back from a bike ride, ran into Ola und Nina from the SY Ninita !! It’s been a long time since we met each other. One and a half years ago in the Carribean, Bequia it was. So now that crazy swedish couple really crossed the Pacific in their 26 foot yacht. Incredible ! That evening we spent drinking pigwater and telling our stories on the Suvarov.

Also positive: With the parts I brought from Europe, I could repair the LUNAWlan antenna that got damaged during our wreckage in October. Now we finally have a good internet connection again – and WLAN on board. Yay !!

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(Deutsch) Zurueck in der Zeitzone TAHT (UTC-10)

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

Posted in Animals, Coquito, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Rancho Relaxo, Suvarov, Travel | 1 Comment

Viola’s birthday – more photos

Sunday we were celebrating Viola’s fifth birthday. There were all our friends from the anchorage/beach as well as Jean Claude and his daughters, friends from school and more.

The party started right in the morning with the setting up of the slack line, some weird rope game, putting baloons in the trees and while the kids were preparing these things, the skip sneaked out and buried a treasure deep under a coconut palm.

The gang had a lot of fun, searching the park for the hidden hints towards the treasure while the grown ups tried their balance on the slack line. But there was one thing that stole away the attention from the celebration: The puppies !

Somebody left seven little puppies under a tree in the park and they all found food and love with the kids that cuddled and carried them. When we left on monday all but two of the little dogs already had found a new home.

Next day we had to leave towards Tahiti. As usual, there’s not much wind and we were running under engine. Back in Tahiti, we dismounted and sold the windgenerator, the VHF and the fridge. Finally things get moving…

Oh ! And I nearly forgot to mention: I’m gonna fly to Europe !!!! Yessss !!! The Ackerman Foundation sponsored the flight to get Gui’s label Coquito started. So I’ll be in Berlin and Austria the first three weeks of may, starting a business and getting parts for the Suvarov. And of course visiting all my friends and my family – oh, I’m so happy. It’s been two years. I really am excited about that trip. Yay !!

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Viola’s 5th birthday

Yesterday Viola was celebrating her 5th birthday. Later I still have to sort through ~400 photos and find the good ones for you. But now we leave for Tahiti to do some work on the Rancho (again…). Here’s a little preview:

Yes, the Pentax K-5 still has some battery left. It arrived with ‘one bar’ of battery and after one month of use it still works – about 600 photographs later. That’s an amazing battery !

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | 5 Comments

Construction works in the aft cabin

The bathroom in the aft cabin was used as a storage space for all that stuff we didn’t find a place for yet. But as the ‘junk room’ got emptier and emptier over the last weeks, we thought it would be time to get rid of the walls and extend our living space. I started fixing the broken kitchen window and as Gui is of no help here, she took the power drill and started tearing down walls.

Again there is some difference to the Rancho Relaxo: On our old boat all the interior was done professionaly and uwing the same wood and brass screws. The Suvarov on the other hand is amateur built and the interior is a wild mix of different types of wood, screws, paints and taste (or lack thereof). In our current case most of the wood is glued together with additional screws that are hidden under filler and paint. That makes things a lot more difficult. But after one day of hard labor, the bathroom is gone and we can think of what to do with the new space and how to integrate the steering cables that run through the middle of the room.

Next day I take the old wood panels and fabricate a mock-up of the new interior. I think that’s a good test to see whether our idea would work. Now we’re gonna sleep one or two times over that and see if we can come up with a better idea. Otherwise we’ll buy wood and start the work.

Posted in Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov, Work | 1 Comment

Dolphins and Circus

At 06:20h in the morning the alarm goes off. Just as the sun jumps over the mountain ridge and bathes the bay in a beautiful golden light. We eat breakfast on deck because a big school of dolphins entered the bay and is playing in between the neighbor boats. When we paddle ashore a little later, we go riht through the middle of a group of 20-30 dolphins that are now going down the channel and back into the bay. At shore a local fisherman gives us a few fish and he follows us to our car. – Yeah, for the first time in two years we got a car ! A very friendly family who’s son goes to the kindergarden with Viola borrowed it to us. The catch is that it has a dead battery, so me and our fisher-friend push the car to start it.

The school is closed for easter holidays but Bruno and Viola go to the Circus-school. There they do acrobatics, play clown and generally have a lot of fun. As it’s the last day, we come early for the pick-up and the group does a presentation for us. Viola’s friend Manoa comes back with us to the Suvarov. There’s a little front approaching and the dinghy ride with five people is not as relaxing as it was during the morning. The three wild ones do a pirate fight across the deck and through the interior of our boat. When the rain starts drumming on the roof, Bruno and Viola get active collecting rainwater.

Uh, and I have some bad news: I was quite looking forward to the return of our DSLR but unfortunately the charger for our good camera stayed in South America. So I continued using the compact camera. And this rather poor replacement did a little dive in Viola’s rucksack. Although the skipper ignored the sore foot and immediately jumped overboard for a rescue mission, it still got a few drops of water. Not more than during a snapshot in the rain but enough for it to wreck the battery. So now we have two compact cameras and a Pentax K5 without charger. The last cameras still in operation are the GoPro and my trusty old mobile phone which from now on will be the primary source of pictures for this blog. Uaaah !

Posted in Animals, Kids, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Suvarov | 2 Comments

Going for a little hike up the hill

Poor Guillermina again has an ear infection and thus the noisy three leave the boat for a little excursion. There is a nice hill just behind the beach and we want to check it out. So we grab a drink, a few apples and some bread into our rucksack and set out in search for an entry to the path that’s supposedly following the ridge up the hill.

After half an hour walk along the road we really find an entrance to the forest and start fighting our way through the bushes and over crumbly earth and loose rocks. It’s not really a nice walk but the view from up here is absolutely amazing. Once we reach the little ‘summit’ we have our lunch and watch the boats down in the anchorage. We can see the surfers at the pass taking the waves, the speedboats zooming past the beach in full speed, etc.

We’re back down at sea level early in the afternoon and enjoy the ‘fresh’ 30 degree Pacific to wash off all the dirt from our trip. It was great – even more so as it was the first proper movement for me after having had a swollen, nearly unusable foot for a couple of weeks now. Well, my ankle is ok but now it’s Gui who’s fighting another infection. *rrr*

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Horses instead of kindergarden

It’s easter and that means, the school is closed. Instead of taking the tour towards the kindergarden with dinghy and bus – Viola and Gui hitch-hike up the valley towards the horse ranch. Viola is doing a four day horseriding holiday and you can’t imagine how happy she is. Every afternoon she returns all dirty and tired but still has enough energy to jump around in the water for an hour or two. Then all the horse smell is gone and she falls asleep while eating dinner. Heh.

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