Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where do we go from here?

This is one happy family
I'm still having a hard time collecting my thoughts about this whole adventure and wrapping it all up—so I'll wait on that for another post (you can't get rid of me that quickly).  My heart aches thinking that there won't be any large oceans to cover for awhile and that we go back to just being "Kym and Martin."  Not that this matters, but it seems strange that we go back to life as it was before such a grand and unthinkable adventure like what we have experienced this past year.  I'm not just "Kym" anymore after all this.  There is so much more to me now.  So, I have to sort this all out before I just go back to being a housewife and mom (two roles I greatly adore).  I guess this is what you call surreal and leave it at that for now until I get it all sorted out in my head.

Emotions are mixed because every day for the last year I have woken up to a new day knowing what was ahead of me, what was expected of me, and where I was going (for the most part).  Now, it's planning.  Planning on what Martin and I should do with AMARA for the next five months.  Planning on where we should go once we find AMARA her new home, and then planning for the next chapter in our lives—going home to Utah.  It may sound trivial but it will be hard to leave AMARA in Australia while we venture home to our old lives in Utah.  I know she's just a boat, but she has also been our home for the last year and we were anticipating her for a whole year before that.  AMARA has been another member of the family so to speak, and now we are leaving her here while we go home to Utah.
Coming into the harbor in Brisbane
So, what's next?  That's all going to have to go in my next entry, because Martin and I just aren't sure as of yet. Truthfully, we're tired.  Beat.  Exhausted. Because of that, we are slow in making a game plan for what happens next.  What we do know is that we have to figure out where to leave AMARA before next week.  Yesterday we went and visited different marinas around the Brisbane area to see what would be the best fit for our rather large boat.  She just can't go anywhere and we just can't leave her anywhere.  Then there is the matter of security.  We need to make sure she is safe before leaving her.  There is the decision on whether we should pull her out of the water for the season and put her on the "hard," or should we leave her in the water in a marina for her to sit until we return in April?

Then there is the matter of returning in April.  See, this adventure isn't completely over yet.  Just this leg of the race.  We still have oceans to cover and places to visit, but come this time of year, in this part of the world, there are cyclone's to contend with.  So, packing up AMARA is a must in order to wait out the storms.  Then we can be back on our way again come April 2014.  I probably won't be a full-time sailor when I return in April.  I'll just be one that comes to the fun ports and then back home while Martin and his crew make the larger crossings.  Our plan is to eventually make our way back to the Caribbean some time in the Summer of 2014.  

The plan for today is taking down sails, cleaning my side of the hull (which is going to take me days to sort through) and then getting in a visit with a little town named, Brisbane.  We have been here 5 days and haven't even been to downtown Brisbane yet.  So, that is a priority for today.

Hopefully, I can wrap up a few more thoughts running through my head in the next post and highlight beautiful Brisbane. Maybe by then, we'll have a few more things finalized and I can share with you what our next leg of this amazing adventure will entail.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Greetings from Down Under

Our crew is happy...
…and Lily wants to become an Aussie and perhaps take up residence with David and Sue.
There is so much more to post and tell you about our final passage to Australia.  There are so many emotions to dissect and so many thoughts to finalize.  We are busy, busy with so much to do here in Brisbane, i.e., finding AMARA a temporary home for the next few months, cleaning, fixing stuff, more cleaning and even more fixing of stuff.  Then there is saying goodbye to our crew (weep. weep.) and figuring out what we are doing next as a family.  For now though, I just wanted to let you all know that we made it to Brisbane, Australia after a six day passage at sea.

Give me a day or so to collect myself and I'll tell you all about it.  For now, we are so happy to be here in Oz.  It's everything and more!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Exploring the Islands of New Caledonia

After leaving the Isle of Pines, we took off to explore more of the beautiful islands in New Caledonia.  So many remain untouched and pristine.  We couldn't decide which one to visit first.
Before we did… Martin and David had to do a rescue.  A woman and her sons came out on paddle boards and a kayak but couldn't fight the current to get back in to shore.  So David had to load them all up in the dinghy and take them back to shore.
Also, this blog wouldn't be complete without congratulating Martin on his new purchase.  After 40 years, he FINALLY purchased a new pair of fins (on the right).  I think that these may just turn him into a super hero.
Out with the old and in with the new!
Discovering a new island.  The island of Alcamere.
Martin and David anchoring the tender as we go ashore.
Lily loves to play in the sand.
Family Photo.
Me doing what I do best… snoozing.
I can't get over the white beach.  The sand was like powdered sugar.
AMARA keeping an eye on us from the bay.
Toesies in the sand.
Martin doing what he does best… dancing.
Our little angel.
DSCN9838 Next stop.  Brisbane!

Isle of Pines

The next day, we took off for the Isle of Pines to see what all this talk was about.  The trip to Isle of Pines was probably one of our longest and roughest days at sea.  Even in our cruiser guides it states, "Getting there can be a problem, as generally the passage is to windward."  What should have taken us only four to five hours to get to, took us ten hours.  The swells were so large that it felt like we were riding a bucking bronco the entire time as we rode up and down each wave.  It was miserable… MISERABLE!  A few times we thought about giving up, turning AMARA around and heading downwind straight for Brisbane.  However, we just kept saying, "Let's go a little more" that by the time we wanted to head for Brisbane, but by then we were closer to the Isle of Pines and decided to just go for it.

Needless to say, the beautiful white sandy beach and turquoise waters were a sight for sore eyes.  All I wanted to do the minute that we arrived was to just get out and walk around.  So we did just that.

I have to say, that the Isle of Pines does not disappoint and was truly a paradise for us after such a grueling run that day. 

Discovering the Bay of Prony

Our first stop on our way to the Isle of Pines was at Prony Bay.

The Bay of Prony is a beautiful bay that is five miles long and six miles wide that meanders through a lovely little valley.  It has a hard scrub vegetation with loads of red soil heavily scarred by past mining activities and water erosion.  The Bay of Prony is known for the fact that it was once a nickel-cobalt mine and a place where the French brought their prisoners to mine the land.  For tourists, it's better known for its hot springs and great hiking.

The Bay of Prony with AMARA in the forefront.
Going down the river toward the hot springs.  It got a little shallow, so we had to get out and walk the tender down the river.
Our Little Adventurer
Martin isn't so sure about the "hot springs"
The gang
Lily and I decided to bow out of the hot springs and enjoyed it from the sidelines.
Getting back to our dinghy.
The Mangrove trees
That evening, we spent the night in the bay and had our good friends (Lazy Bones) come over and join us for some hors d'oevure and some fun chatting.

Off to another adventure the following day.

Still having a ball in New Caledonia

These photos are strictly for grandparents--sorry to bore the rest of you.

We saw a little carnival in Noumea, New Caledonia and had to stop and take Lily on some rides.  I have been telling Martin this entire trip that the minute we get home, we are taking Lily to Disneyland since she has been a little trooper these past few months.  However, we weren't sure if she would like rides.  Well, these pictures prove otherwise… the kid is ready for Disneyland.

Grandmother Frey and Nana Collins, enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

New Caledonia

The sun setting just over the water as we get closer to New Caledonia.
Yesterday, we arrived in New Caledonia after four days of sailing.  Two of them were directly into large swells and the last two having essentially almost glassy waters.  It was uneventful other than the fact that we kept dwelling on the matter that we are getting down to the last of our passages.  I still can't believe that we are almost to Brisbane!
Noumea, New Caledonia
We have been in the city Noumea, New Caledonia for only a day and stopped to have dinner with 2 other cruising families that we have become quite close.  We were with the families in Fakarava (in the Tuamotos—back in June) and we have kind of followed each other since.  It was great to see them as we were a good two weeks behind them due to the generator going bust and us having to stop in Port Denarau, Fiji a little longer than we would have liked.  We loved catching up with them, swapping "boat talk" (which happens more often than not when cruisers get together) and just enjoying good company with wonderful people.
Dinner with the gang.
The ambiance left little to be desired by the French food was amazing!
None of us had slept the night before because we were on the last
leg of our passage into New Caledonia.
Sleep caught up with Lily a little sooner than the rest of us.
Poor kid.  We drag her everywhere.
Tomorrow we head to Ile des Pins which has also been named "Paradise" by many other cruisers that cross our path.  It is known for it's untouched, white beaches and turquoise bays.  Initially, we decided to just skip it and make New Caledonia be a quick layover before we headed to Brisbane.  However, after dinner last night, we were told (rather scolded) by the other families that it as a "must see."  So, I go dragging my heels a little bit as I am anxious to get to Brisbane, but I also know it will be worth the excursion once we arrive.
*  *  *
You may have noticed if you have been following our real-time map on the blog that it looks as if we never left Fiji.  We're not sure, but we think that when we plugged into the onshore power in Port Denarau, Fiji that we may have shorted a circuit and lost power to our satellite phone.  Unfortunately, the tracker for our virtual map on the blog is hooked up to that sat phone.  The good news is that we have a back up handheld satellite phone.  The bad news is that our tracker can't be hooked up to it.  So, you'll just have to trust us that we are still moving ahead into the deep blue toward Oz.  The bummer is that I won't be able to do many updates while making our passage, because that too was a capability through our now defunct sat phone.

I will continue to do updates and will post wherever I can get coverage.  

Off to paradise...

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Fiji

The family enjoying a little down time at a resort in the Yasawa islands.
Lily hanging on the flybridge watching Finding Nemo and passing time. 
Taking a little time off and enjoying our time at the Blue Lagoon resort in the Yasawa islands.
Lily has become quite the connoisseur of coconut water.  She prefers it above all else.
Any resort that has a giant blow up swan in their pool is my kind of resort!
*  *  * 
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Martin on the shore of Monuriki island aka. Tom Hanks island.
Before we arrived in Fiji, Martin and I felt that it was only right that we should watch the film Cast Away, starring Tom Hanks, since we knew that it was filmed in Fiji.  In fact, we even watched the making of the movie so that we knew everything there was to know about the island, Monuriki (where the film was made).  Later we just kept calling it, "Tom Hanks' island" because it was easier to remember than Monuriki island.

When we got to "Tom Hanks' Island" we were running out of time and needed to keep going in the daylight in order to anchor in a safe harbor.  However, Martin couldn't help himself and felt so attached to the movie (after we had talked about it's making a thousand times) that he had David hold the boat in place while he jumped off of AMARA and swam to the shore.

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Martin swimming to the shore of Monuriki island.
When he got to the island, we noticed that some other Cast Away diehard had taken the time to spell out "Help Me" using coconuts on the sand.  Of course, we loved that it was there and Martin quickly found it and ran up to it while I snapped photos of his "rescue."
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Martin flagging down a "pretend" plane in order to get rescued.
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Monuriki Isand.  No sign of Wilson.

*  *  *

While in the Yasawa islands, we would stop in just the most random and picturesque spots and go for a swim.  Here, Martin and Lily took a jump in the water together.  Lily is becoming less and less afraid of the water (finally!) and loves to get in and go for a whirl.
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A beautiful deserted beach only reachable by boat.  Love it!
A giant clam shell.
A typical LDS (Mormon) chapel in Fiji
*  *  * 
After traveling through the Yasawa's we headed back to Port Denarau to do some minor repairs on Amara and just in time for Fiji Day.  So, of course, Sue and I had to participate and went out and bought Fiji shirts and press on tattoos of the Fiji flag.  Lily was a hit with the locals because we did a little tattoo on her face with the press on tattoos of the Fiji flag.  Everywhere we went, a Fijian would walk over to her and kiss her on the cheek where her flag was located and say, "Thank you for loving Fiji."  The truth was, we really did!  We have just loved our stay in Fiji and can't believe that we have been here over a month!  Wow does time fly.
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AMARA celebrating Fiji Day.

This will be my last post for awhile now.  We are leaving the land of wi-fi and entering back into the abyss of darkness (aka. no internet).  We have really enjoyed our time here in Fiji (as well as the internet) and will miss the kindness of the Fijian people.  They are such loving and tender people.  

Now we are headed for New Caledonia where we plan to spend a little time there and then quickly head off to Australia!  Can you believe it... Australia?!  My heart aches a little knowing that this leg of our journey will be coming to an end.  We have so loved the South Pacific and will always remember our days here with fondness.  Once we arrive in Brisbane, Martin and I will be taking off to do some trekking in New Zealand and do more discovering in Australia.  We haven't designated a time that we'll return to the states because frankly, we just haven't even talked about it.  Right now we are in the moment and still enjoying our travels.  

Until New Caledonia... keep following us, it's not over by a long shot.