July 2000 - Steering for Australia


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Posted on Wednesday 5 July


On Tuesday (after some delicious fruit salad for breakfast) we went halyard swinging in Vaka’eitu. We had great fun. Then we moved to he Tongan Beach Resort on Wednesday. We had lunch on board. Then, in the evening we watched school children dress upand dance the whole evening long. I was amazing! Supper was choosing it from a long table. It was a traditional Tongan feast. The girls were twirling their hands all soft like, and the boys were all ‘huh, huh ’ all warlike. The boys had grass round the middle and the girls had different costumes on with featheres, sequins and beads. Their dresses were glittery, shiney or plain with different decorations. They had oiled themselves so that their skin looked like plastic. We tasted something called kava. It was a root drink and it tasted like dishwater. After the supper and singing, Andrew played the guitar while we sang different songs.

The next day Andy, Steph and Marc went diving but Marc went snorkelling. Me, Dan, Hannah and Andrea played in the sand. After lunch the others came back. They said they saw a 10-12 metre whale! They said it was VERY rare! That afternoon we went to Nuku. Dan, Andy and I went snorkellling. We saw loads of fish and lovely coral. The only drewback was hat I kept on getting stung by plankton. Then Mum, Dad, Dan and I went exploring on a beach. Dan and I found a HUGE clam shell. We took pictures of Hannah sitting in it. Then the next day we went whale watching to see if we could spot a whale. But on the boat of course. That afternoon we went back to Vaka’eitu. There we saw Travis and Marcelle on another boat. We invited them on board. Today we went to play with Hijacker ’s kids on the beach. We spent the whole time watching one of the boys who was mad. Just watch, listen and laugh is all you could do with him around! He talked funny, he acted funny, he walked funny and he was just funny. Before the Hijackers we had a lovely breakfast on the Tongan Beach Resort. We went kiaking just next to the jetty. Dan kept capsizing me!


We all went onto the beach to have a barbeque with Hijacker. We roasted coconuts. It was DELICIOUS! Then we chased each other around the beach and had brilliant fun. It was amazing how quickly the light changed. One miniute it’s broad daylight, the next minute it’s dark! Then we went back on board, had supper and went to bed. The next day we went to the beach again. The others were snorkelling but I couldn’t because I couldn’t find my mask. Dad had already gone so I couldn’t look in there. But I swam up to the boat Dad was talking on and asked if a mask was in the dinghy, but he said no. While the others were snorkelling, Dad came back. I looked in the dinghy and saw my mask! It was buried. No wonder he couldn’t see it. Then I snorkelled up to the others but they were coming back so I went too. Mum went running along the beach. She came back saying she saw two baby sharks and one lunged for the fish around her feet and nearly bit her leg off! I ran down and saw them! After a delicious lunch on board me and Andrew went for a little snorkell. We saw a lionfish and a HUGE moray eel! It was my first (and maybe my last) lionfish too! This morning our cousins, Andy and Steph all left Lazy Duck and Mark moved in again. It is a bit quiet without them all!


The hot afternoon sun found Hannah and I going with the Hijacker children, Alex, Jimmy and Andy to the pool in the Paradise Hotel. We splashed about there for a while. Soon it got too cold and me, Hannah and Alex (she’s a girl) made a girls’ camp. The boys kept pestering us, but at last they made their own camp. We played a bit. Then in the evening we went to the Bounty Bar to watch a whale film. It was really funny! It talked about the whales changing their graceful song every year, then suddenly up comes a rap song! Everyone there was in hysterics!

The next day the Hijackers came on board. We played the computer. Then we played cards but unfortunately half the pack flew overboard. We managed to rescue some though. Then we all went to Ana’s for lunch. I had fish and chips. Then we played catch upstairs. We saw a pet kitten and the owner let us hold, stroke and pet the little thing. We also saw a nest of eggs. Then we said goodbye to the Hijackers and went back on board.


We walked up a big hill with the Hijackers, Blue Gum and a boat called Quest. Blue Gum was the one with Owen (the mad one) and his little brother Peter. Quest had a 12 year old girl called Katie and a 14 year old Amy. Me and Katie are good friends. We got to the top and the view was spectacular! We had sweets and chocolate. (Yummy, yum!) Then we went back down. After the walk, Katie invited us boats (Blue Gums, Hijackers and Lazy Ducks) onto her boat. We watched a film called Willow. It was about war. There were these funny little people called brownies. They once said ‘your mudder (mother) wassa (was a ) lizard!’ to one another. Oh, they were just hilarious! After we had finished that, we started a film called ‘Home Alone’ It was about a boy who got left behind when his family went to France! Then burglars came. But we never finished it because Dad came and picked us up! (Bother!) On Friday in the morning we went up ther northern cliffs in a taxi. The taxi driver showed us right to the top (we had to walk the last bit through the jungle) and scene was AMAZING! And when I say AMAZING I mean it! We at least 500 feet high! You could imagine the veiw! If you can’t, I ’ll give you another hint, flat, calm sea with lush green island coming out and not a boat in sight (apart from a little fishing boat but that can pass!) That afternoon, we had another race. We came third because a) we had no wind and b0 we were a 20 ton Lazy Duck racing against a 13 ton Wings and a 10 ton Liberty and a 12 ton Sunsail! The other boats we left behind. Wings won, Sunsail came second, and we only just crossed the line before Liberty. In the evening, we had the prize giving. We got a dinner for two in Hunga. Then we watched a boy of 11 fire dancing. He spun sticks ablaze with fire! After that we had supper in Mermaids while watching school children dancing. The girls all graceful and elegant and the boys all loud and aggressive. One boy was VERY quick. It was lovely.


We took the dinghy to Swallow’s Cave. It was really eerie going in. A bit of light was shining in which made the water a bearutiful blue, but in the dark bit, the black closed around you and I decided that I’d rather stay with a grown-up! Me, Mark, Dad and Hannah climbed over the rocks leading to the cave behind. What I am trying to say is that Swallow’s Cave had an entrance at the back leading to a smaller cave but instead of water the ground was squelchy mud so we had second thoughts about walking around in there! Mum came half way along the rocks but went back. When we were coming out, Mark said ‘what’s that’ and he shone the torch on the ceiling. We looked up. There were LOADS of bats sleeping on the roof. Thousands of them. By that time we really wanted to get back to the boat, but snorkellling in there will be one of our best memories.

Oh dear! Silly me! I’ve forgotten about one thing! Before Swallow’s Cave we went onto a boat (a bit like a pirate ship to me, but it wasn’t) called Alvei. We went aboard. It was like a jungle gym for us kids! The showing round was quite boring but up on deck was the BEST. The wheel was like the old fashioned wheels. You can imaging the old pirate ship wheels, you might not have been on a pirate ship but you should know the design. Anyway, the ship was beautiful but down below wasn’t that attractive, but quite interesting. The only problem was that we weren’t allowed to use the play things. What’s the point of a jungle gym when you can’t use it! I don’t know, but I still had a good time!

Now this is AFTER Swallow’s Cave: We moved to Hunga. We went through a pass and it took a little serious concentration because we could run the risk of running aground. But we made it. That evening we went to Club Hunga for supper. It was a set meal of yam (yuck) potatoe (quite nice) octopus (I quite like that) chicken (yum) fish (yum yum) and pork (yum, yum, yum) After supper the people on the next table (us and them were the only people there) got their guitar out. Dad got his from the boat and we sang. I made friends with a girl called Emily. She sang a bit too. We had great fun. The next day we tried to snorkell in the pass. Dad told us to go back to the dinghy which was tied onto a buoy close by, because he had told us to wait while he checked out the current. But he only just made it back to the dinghy and could barely pull himself on because he was so tired. So instead we went to another snorkelling spot. It was quite good there. We saw lots of soft and jagged coral and also saw lots of blue fish. When we got back, we saw Hijacker coming in. When they were anchored, we asked if they wanted to come over for a drink. So they did. In the afternoon us kids went to the beach and made forts because the trees bend down and make caves and there are long sticks which can block the entrance if you put it in the right place. We had lots and lots of fun. At 6:00 pm Hijacker left. We stayed. In the evening we had the barbeque. The parents looked after the food and fire, while us kids (I saw Emily again and made friends with a girl called Rose) played. For supper we had cold pasta, pork and potatoe with melted butter inside. YUM! After supper us kids got an empty can and played ‘kick the can’. Somebody has to close their eyes and count to ten. While he does this the rest go and hide. When the counter finishes counting, he stays in the same place and looks around to see if he can see anyone hiding. The people hiding have to kick the can in the middle before he is seen. The counter, if he sees anyone, has to shout out the name of the person seen The first to be seen counts. If no one is seen, then the counter counts again. It’s a really fun game and a really fun night!


In Swallow’s Cave, Mum taught me about stalactites. This is how stalactites evolve: There is abig rock and drops of water runs through the rock and drips into the water, bringing with it a teeny weeny piece of rock. That teeny weeny piece of rock stocks onto the end of the big rock. Then this repeats. After millions of years a stalactite has been made. It is like a very tall, very slim upside down cone on the roof of the cave. A stalacmite is the same thing, but the right way up. If the drops falling off the stalactite don’t go into the water then the teeny weeny bits of rock stick to the ground, and after millions of years it makes a stalacmite. You can remember which is a stalactite or stalacmite because a stalactite is upside doen and has to hold on very tight!

Posted on 16 July


We went to Kenutu and saw Blue Gum there. Blue Gum came with us to a walk. We went to the beach and disappeared into the jungle which came right down to the beach. We trekked on for about 7 minutes when we came to a ledge which looked down on the crashing waves. Then we turned right and went on. Soon we came to another ledge, but this time of sharp rock. More crashing waves. It was quite exciting. Then on we went. After 5 seconds of walking we came to a clearing. There were shells galore. Big shells, small shells, fat shells, slim shells... Owen even found a perfect shiny cowrie, you know, the lucky ones. We found out that this used to be a camp. There was the ashes of an old camp fire, there were nuts which Duncan opened and tasted and said ‘yuk’! No wonder they were left behind! I found a cowrie too. The bottom was shiny and perfect but the top was a little worn away. Then we went back to the beach but this time on the other side of it where rocks and rock pools, fish and coral lay. We saw these funny little, really flat fish as thin as paper. Maybe even thinner! It was 10cm long and 2cm wide. It looked like a little swimming jelly. It could disappear in any hole, no matter how small. It could be a dot and he could still disappear into it, easier than saying ‘pig’. We saw a man picking up shells to eat. He offered us some but Mum said that no-one will persuade her to cook that! We found some lovely shells and saw lots of feeding sea slugs (yucky)! Then we went back to the boat. At tea-time we went on board Blue Gum. I played with Owen and Peter a bit. Then back on board Lazy Duck.


We arrived back in Neiafu to full up with diesel and water. As Mum was taking the hose out of the water tanks Kiko and Mea turned up in the dinghy! We hadn’t seen them since Tahiti! We told them that there would be some dancing in Tongan Beach Resort. They said they would take a taxi. Then when the diesel tanks were full we left for the Tongan Beach Resort. In the evening we went ashore for a drink. As planned Kiko and Mea were there. We talked until the dancing started. This time they danced outside on the beach. They were the same dancers and same costumes, but it was out on the beach which was much nicer.

There were 8 nationalities and each nationality had to do their own dance. For the Maltese (that’s us) Dad borrowed a guitar and we all sang ‘As tears go by’. It was lovely seeing each nationality do their own song. Well, some sang, some danced and some played games. You might be wanting to know this. Here are all the nationalities in the audience:

1. Brazil
2. Malta
3. America
4. New Zealand
5. Italy
6. England
7. Germany
8. Wales

The waitresses danced as well. After all the dancing and singing we had a feast. All exactly the same as before but on the beach. Soon it was time to go. That night will be a night I will always remember. The next morning we left for New Caledonia. On the way out we saw four whales! It was very exciting. One time a head came right out of the water. They showed their tails too. Then a whale watch boat came along. And who do you think was on it... Kiko and Mea! We waved and so did they. It was very quiet and peaceful out on the ocean. We watched Tonga going smaller and smaller in the distance. The next day we were hit by a squall. It was rainy, rough and windy (every girl feeling queasy into the bargain). It was horrible. But the next day it was nice, sunny and calm (luckily) and it has been really nice. This morning me, Dad and Mum saw dolphins! 50 of them! They all came to play in the bows. It was lovely. They played for 5 minutes. They went just as the video camera came out! I forgot to mention, on the windy stormy night a HUGE wave landed straight on me through the hatch and I had to sleep in the saloon! I was in a pool of water!


Yesterday Dad was feeling tired so I stood watch for two hours for him! It was quite exciting! For two hours I looked around for ships and reefs. I didn’t steer because Max was on. It was great fun! After my watch I filled in the log. I pumped the bilge and then 10 times empty. I wrote down the wind speed, the direction of where the wind was coming from, the number on the barometer, the time when I filled in the log, the course on average, latitude and the longitude. I loved it and hopefully I will do it again today. Afterwards I steered for Mum while she answered the phone. When she came back up again she said I had steered a very good course! So for the watch and steering I was COMPLETELY in charge of the boat on my own up on deck!!


It was nice, calm and we’re going 7 knots. We were very lucky to have such nice winds. Suddenly out of the blue, some rocky waves, rain, wind, more rain and more wind. Put them all together and you get... seasick passengers! This went on for two days. I read for most of the time. I am reading Anne Frank’s Diary. It is very interesting. On the second day of this foul weather, our beds got wet so me and Hannah were very, very pleased to hear that we were going to sleep in the saloon. This morning I got up and poked my head out of the hatch. I was thoroughly amazed (and pleased) that the weather had again changed and it was nice, calm and pleasant again. When I heard that it was going to be like this for the rest of the trip to New Caledonia I nearly jumped for joy! (It’s lucky I didn’t because then I would have fallen overboard and that would have swallowed up my happiness). I don’t know why, but getting to New Caledonia is like a far off dream or a fairytale. Perhaps it is because I have been out at sea for a week and it has seemed especially long this time to my mind. Oh, I don’t know!


It was VERY exciting. New Caledonia looked lovely. But no matter how fast we were going we never seemed to get any closer! I went down below to read. I have now finished Anne Frank’s Diary and have now started on Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Then I went up on deck again. We were going through the pass and spray was everywhere, so I put my oily jacket on. I went down below again because I couldn’t feel my feet and that was just as well because if I could, wherever my feet touched would turn to ice! I read some more and then finished the book. I now am on ‘Peter Duck’ by Arthur Ransome which is an inch-and-a-half thick. At around 7 we arrived! It was dark and cold and my feet still couldn’t be felt but that didn’t stop me doing a little dance on the pontoon. Then we had a few drinks such as gin and tonic and sprite. Dad didn’t want anything. He just conked! We had supper and had chocolate brownies for pudding, followed by tinned peaches followed by a full night’s sleep!!

Posted on 26 July


Jobs, jobs, jobs. We were doing lots of jobs before Nina, Nigel and Bean came. Stocking up, filling up with water, sending emails, fixing lights, fixing the loos, just ENDLESS jobs. On Tuesday Dad and I went to the airport to pick up Nigel, Nina and Bean. The place was completely empty. Hardly a soul in sight. Then we went to a shop nearby. When we went back to the airport ten minutes later the guests came. We said hello then we went to the hotel to drop them off to sleep. Before they went they gave me and Hannah some comics. Very kind!!

The next day they came on board. They settled in. Next day we all went to the Tapa exhibition. Tapa is beaten bark and then they put ink on it with lots of different patterns. We looked at all the different designs. It was beautiful. There were also different models. Quite small, behind glass. There was also a big model hut. Inside it looked VERY homely. There was a place to put a fire and a plate to put things on hanging from the ceiling. After that we went to the craft centre. In the stone shop Hannah got a free stone. It was beautiful. It was made out of blue Serpentine.

Next day we went to the Cultural Centre. There we watched a vidio about all the cultural things they do. We went to a boutique, looked at beautiful carvings, looked at the tapa, and all the different paintings. It was also very fascinating reading about the cannibals. Disgusting but fascinating. In the afternoon we went to the aquarium. The corals were lovely, especially the fluorescent ones. The fishes were nice too. The biggest fish in the whole aquarium was a 4/5 foot wrasse!! HUGE! It was very spooky when it glided really close to the glass. There were nice shells too. In each tank, big or small, it looked very much like the bottom of the sea with the sand, corals and shells. Bean bought a postcard with fluorescent corals on it.

Next morning we went on a walk. We walked 3 miles all up hill. When we got to the top, we were VERY grateful for the sandwiches for lunch. As we munched away, we watched the spectacular veiw. After 45 minutes rest, we started again. It was quicker as we were going down hill. It took 2 hours but going up hill it took 2.5 hours. When we got back down again, we had a good drink. Then on the next day, we went on a tour. Our tour guide, Olivier let us kiak, swim, picnic and BBQ and walk. Let’s start with the kiaks. We got into the kiaks and kiaked about. Olivie came too and we kiaked down stream. We swam at the end and the water was like ice. Only Mark, Bean and I swam. Oh and Hannah too. Then we kiaked back. Then we went to a place to picnic and BBQ. There we saw a lady and a girl. They were aparrantly friends of Olivier. The girl was playing with a wild baby boar. She was feeding it. I did it too. After a while, it went away. Then we had lunch. There was raw fish, apples, sausages, kiwis, chops and fizzi drinks. Yum yum. After lunch I played a game like tennis with the girl. Soon we had to go. We went back to the boat.

Early next morning we left for Australia. We have been going for a day now and at this rate we might be there in a week.

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