From full sails, to double reef and storm jib in 15 minutes. With 45 gusting to 50 knot winds in that instant storm with swells of 6-8 meters towering over the whare (deck house).
Lying in the hull of our Vaka trying to get what little sleep possible, only we couldn’t sleep… constantly being thrown out of our beds when you are just falling off into that deep sleep. Kabuummmmb a wave shakes the Vaka! Everything goes flying..including us out of bed! Peia Jr was thrown on the floor, luckily there was a fender below to act as a trampoline sponge, Moko was also thrown out of bed. Meanwhile the rest of us braced against the wall holding onto our beds while our Vaka went on a never ending roller coaster ride. With all the hatches closed from been swamped in water, all you can feel down there is the Vaka doing extreme spin tops and crazy drifting.. it sure does have you worried about your siblings on watch.
For those of us on watch it was definitely a challenge! This is the strongest weather I personally have experienced at Sea, in fact for most of us it was. In full wet weather gear, headlights, life jackets and clipped on. All crew on watch manned the Oe as she was solid fighting the swells. Peia Jr and Paio were both on the Oe when a wave smacked us hard, They were in the air for a good 1min.. Cap was standing at the whare keeping watch while I sat next to him, Lorne was kneeling on starboard side of the whare hiding while we were swamped in a huge wave.. massive kabooombbbB on the whare and white wash was everywhere. Maurai, Moko and Carola’s watch did awesome considering this is their first rocky ride so far for these two. While we were continuously been bucketed in waves, the water was warm but followed by that cold southerly wind our hands were frozen gripping the Oe.
Out of all that Cap was very impressed in Vaka Rangi and how well she rides the swells and managed to keep fairly stable. This was the first time ever in Caps sailing life that he has called the command to drop all sails. Due to not having many experienced crew it was our safest option. So we tied down the Oe at exactly 3:15 am to drift. Yet those on watch must continue to be on deck to keep an eye out for contacts in what very little visibility there was.
While Cap and I sat on the starboard side of the whare during our shift hiding from the cold wind (3am – 6am), we were blessed to see two white birds in this crazy whirl wind storm. I strongly believe they were our Tupuna guiding us safely through this nightmare, not long before it all faded into a dream. The birds were communicating to one another towards the end as if they were to say to us “Its nearly over, you are in safe hands now”.
In the full 12 hours I was awake lying in the whare resting my eyes. I would continuously be checking our speed, barometer, wind direction, course and to jump out to help when needed. With the experienced crew being my brothers Peia jr, Paio, Maurai and myself..the four of us were on call. Meanwhile for our new crew, this definitely was a massive wake up call compared to the last 12 days of calm cruisy sailing. I did ask them what went through their minds during this roller coaster ride?! For Lorne he really thought this was it. Moko thought shit we gotta step up and hold it together meanwhile Carola had only ever dreamt of waves this big never did she think she would be in them. As for myself I wasn’t scared, I was not frightened.. I have so much trust, hope and love in my Tupuna that somehow I knew we that they would guide and protect us. But also been in the arms of my Dad Cap, I knew everything would be okay and that we were all in safe hands.
In just one night we managed to clock more distance than the last 2 weeks.. just unbelievable!
We would like to say a huge Meitaki Maata to The Weather Master Rarotonga for the screen cover of our whare door (deck house). It sure did come in handy last night stopping the waves and rain from entering.
Well today was not as psycho, still large swells following from behind. It was a little easier to get some rest and not being thrown out of bed haha. Thank you Dieter for the delicious chocolate (Carola brought us all the way from Germany), it was a boost of energy we all needed. Big smiles on our faces and ready to conquer the remaining 50 nm to The Kingdom of Tonga.
We are all safe, happy and enjoying the sailing.. to each and everyone of our family members we send so much Aroha across our Moana.
Temanava Terito Macquarie
Sooo there has been a few alterations to our schedule as you are most likely aware of by now…We are currently heading on a course of 277 degrees for the Kingdom of Tonga. Having spent 11days at sea and not yet half way to Aotearoa, we are running low on water and food supply.
Tonga Tapu is still 240NM away, which travelling at this snail speed we are still another 4-5days of bobbing ducks. We were hoping to get there Friday to depart first thing Monday morning, but at this stage it looks more like Monday next week we will arrive. Depending on weather, we hoping to be in Tonga no longer than 2days. That is plenty of time for provisioning and fresh water cleaning of our exteriors and interior. She looks after us while we are sailing our Moana it is our turn to look after her once we get to land. Get prepared and ready to depart again..
Have definitely noticed our new crew perk up a lot more since they were told we are popping into Tonga. The thought of seeing land again has got them all excited. As for us ocean warriors there is nowhere else we would rather be than right here sailing our Moana Nui O Kiva, with a little more wind of course lol. A sailors love, is some good wind in the right direction! The strength of being at sea away for a particular length of time without the sight of land can send some people loopy, crazy huh yet it’s true. No need to worry each and everyone of us is still normal happy little beings, well so we think we are haha.
With very little wind, we are frying like hot sausages while the calm crystal clean ocean is glistering in the sunlight..looking so good for a swim right now! AND SO IT IS.. time to drop sails, tie down the Oe and its swim time!! Bombing of the sides seeing who can do the biggest explosion, totally in our element splashing around having fun at exactly S21*38.37 W170*30.87. 2 hours later, Cap calls out this is your last jump.. haha one last jump turns into 10x haha. Typical Children of the Ocean, Born to live and breath the Sea. The Ocean is so clear, opening your eyes looking down to her infinity depths with the sun beams exploring her too.. Shes her own kind of Beautiful.
After an action packed day yesterday Thursday 19th, we are finally catching some wind moving at 5 knots. It was yet another master chief episode on Vaka Rangi for lunch today, Rice Boiled Potatoes with our concoction of beans and chili from a can!! Crew are all full and happily satisfied. while some have a afternoon snooze in the front net, the others are on watch steering us closer to the Kingdom of Tonga.
.. Keep posted for 004 of Vaka Rangi a blog that will blow your minds
Temanava Terito Macquarie
We have had some visitors grace us with their presence on our journey..
Have you ever seen a male and female mahimahi dance together in the Ocean?! Their colours are so unreal like a painting on a canvas, rich iridescent blues, greens and yellows glistening with the sun. For the last couple days they have been following us dancing along side our Oe as she carves through the water.
We have seen two different types on blue bottle jellyfish sail past us and a lacey beanie shaped brown jellyfish of some sort. Boy those blue bottles are big buggers, it puts you off having a shower. The thought of Cap having to pee on you if you get stung, I think I’ll use baby wipes instead haha.
Picture torpidos flying out of the water in all directions..its a amazing sght to see except they are happy humongous tuna having a feed. hmmmm let’s put out the line, yellow fin tuna for dinner sounds good right now.
Boss of the Ocean was on attack mode.. Mr Shark in for the kill! Yummmm tuna, it’s his lunch time snack only I’m sure the tuna are faster than him haha. Seeing him in action breaking the waters surface was my first sighting of a shark while sailing our Vakas, definitely thankful we weren’t swimming at this present time haha ‘shark bait’ lol.
As we gain a bit more speed, Maroro are flying! Wiggling their little tails as rudders across the surface. Thump crash bang at 2am something hit the whare, it’s pitch black so every little sound is taken in by who’s on watch. Half the time its maroro knocking them selves out though. The worst is when they fly into you when you least expect it, ouch its a sold hit!
The odd Manu (bird) flys by to pay us a visit, sharing their love by taking a poo down the sails is their way of saying hello I guess haha.
And with the dolphin’s and whales earlier on in our voyage we have been blessed with the sightings of our Ocean friends.
Well today’s dinner is a typical boys menu. Sausages, chops and mince patties… we have to eat everything before it goes off with this humid heat. From tomorrow on it will be game fishing time otherwise we will be diving into our dry stock of food supplies.
Well our prayers have been answered..fresh fish today! Sashimi mahimahi on the menu for lunch with boiled fish and taro for tea. Master chef Cap was creating magic in the kitchen while I kana our akari and made our fresh tai (coconut cream). The best place to learn to cook is on the Vaka, you have near nothing yet you can create gourmet meals suitable for a king.
At a speed on 0.5 knots we caught our mahimahi! how you might ask?! whats our secret? !haha you probs wouldn’t believe this.. feeding them bits of steak and using chicken on the hook. Yip chicken haha. Anything is possible, when you really want something you will try anything I guess haha.
Cap taught us how to make varaua popo this afternoon, a bread that is usually cooked in the northern group of the Cook Islands. Simple and yet so delicious.. master chef happening right now on Vaka Rangi, stay tuned for our next episode haha….
YAY!!! The wind has finally picked up. We are averaging a speed of 5.2knots headed on a course of 270 degrees with rolling swells of about 4 meters. This is what us voyagers love..to finally be sailing once again.
With this bit of speed the boys have been happy, it’s fishing time.. the line clicked off and all three were pulling in the hand line. Maurai, Moko and Larne weighing at about 25kilos, a yellow fin tuna was caught. Long story short we lost our one and only gaffe haha so to pull this big boy out of the sea onto the Vaka was not something the boys had yet thought about…pulling in the line was the main priority haha. Maurai to the rescue grabbed a paint roller and used it as a gaffe..genius!! Tuna for the next week and we are also drying some to last us longer.. learning the ways of survival on Vaka Rangi!
The nights have been cloudy with a few scowls, it makes it difficult to navigate with your surroundings when you can’t see anything at 4am. The moon is 4 days past new moon now so she’s getting brighter as the nights go by but with all this cloud its just a blur you see in the sky as she sets into the West.
We are one week into our voyage and still sailing our Cook Island waters. The wind is not exactly in our favour and we have yet another big high coming through which is perfect for all you land people but not something us sailors want right now. We are trying to sail above it so we don’t get stuck with yet another week of bobbing ducks in the middle of nowhere.
It’s currently 3:30 am Monday morning, I’ve just finished my watch. The sky is full of stars. Orion, Torus and Matariki sit to our starboard as the milky way and southern cross sits on our port. It’s moments like these you wish you could take a picture because trying to explain it is impossible. There are so many stars its like a little fairy has flowen past and lit up the sky with her magic wand.
That’s all for now from our little multicultural colourful bunch sailing our deep blue Moana
Ka Kite E Kia Manuia,
Temanava Terito Macquarie
Wow where to begin…
First of we are a colourful bunch of 8. Cap, Maurai, Peia jr, Paio and myself with first time voyagers Moko, Carola and Larne. Definitely a voyage full of jokes and laughter its been a great start.
We departed our majestic island home Rarotonga on Monday 9th November at midday out of Avana passage headed at a course of 252* (degrees) for Aotearoa Nz. Sailing past the Vaka district of Takitumu, trying to recognise whereabouts off the island we are. Seeing someone waving from the reef…it so happens to be my beautiful mum. In just 1yr, 3 voyages on 3 vakas it wouldn’t be possible without the endless support from this incredible woman. There is never a dull moment that’s for sure, shes always full of surprises. Not long after our surprise farewell from mum at the reef, a humpback whale kissed the waters surface. She guided us off the island as we headed for Aotearoa, blessing us on our journey.
There is absolutely no wind at all.. On watch last night we tied down the Oe. Our Moana Nui O Kiva was like glass mirroring the stars from above. This is the best time to learn more about the stars, Cap shared with us his knowledge as a Navigator and more so teaching us navigating stars and constellations. Did you know that Scorpio and Orion are never in the sky at the same time?! While Scorpio sets Orion is rising. Did you also know that the two brightest stars are Canapes and Cerius. To think that our Tupuna found land by celestial navigation is unbelievable, it amazes me every time I am at sea and the more I learn the more I think how did they know all of this. Just beautiful Polynesians they were.
Having no wind at all makes steering very difficult, you need to focus and pay attention to all your surroundings. I’ve been using the swells to help push us along a little..little bit by little bit makes a difference. So umm I sent us around the world twice yesterday, literally took us on a tiki tour haha and I did it again today. Terrible steering, it is nothing to be proud off lol. Can’t say I,ve ever spun a Vaka around in a full 360* twice before though haha
The nights are getting cooler yet we are only 94nm of Rarotonga (not even near half way haha), with no wind we are moving at a average speed of 0.5knots the days are very hot and mugggy…hiding in the little shade you can find is the answer.
Today my wish came true, Cap allowed us to all jump in for a swim! Time too cooool off and have a wash hehe. Of course I was the first one in, no surprises there and the last one out haha. We spent a good 1hr jumping in and splashing about enjoying the moment, once the wind picks up there will be no more swimming. Exploring the depths of the unknown, floating in our Moana Nui O Kiva looking at our Vaka sit ever so peacefully on the water. Totally in our elements. Happiest Mermaid of the day! Our Coordinates were S21*38.9 W161*20.4
Not long after we got out of the water and attempted to use what very little breeze we had to the best of our ability to hold a steady course, we were greeted by a large pod of dolphin’s. Hearing them blow as they gently broke the waters surface with Caps whistling call in the background was something special.
Us pirates and mermaids have been eating like King and Queens. Cap cooked us delicious Spaghetti bolognes for tea tonight. Peia jr and Paio have been great master chefs to cooking chop stew last night and steak stew for lunch today. For lunch most days we have been eating fresh fruits and breakfast consist of tea and coffee with biscuits. I made Cap and Maurai coffee this morning with fresh coconut cream for their milk and fresh honey harvested from Keith for their sweetner.. bit spoilt aren’t they haha.
Well tonight we are watching Te Mana O Te Moana movie, so moving our pillows and sleeping bags up into the whare. Can’t do much else with no wind, It’s a movie night while our Vaka floats ever so elegantly into the night.
Hope that paints a picture for you all of our adventure so far, forever living the dream on our Moana Nui O Kiva with my brothers and sisters. As we continue to whistle for wind, hoping that our prayers will be answered tonight.
Sending much aroha across our deep blue Moana
Temanava Terito Macquarie
Position at 1800hrs 9/11/15
S21 23.6 W160 08.9
Co 250 Spd 4.5
Wind NE 10kts
Our crew, from left to right… Moko, Carola, Roland, Maurai, Paio, Temanava (aka Terito), Captain Peia, and Peia Junior