Archive For The “Pacific Ocean” Category

2014 Highlights

2014 Highlights

We started and ended the year in world-class sailing locales in two countries: the Hauraki Gulf, where Team New Zealand defended the America‚Äôs Cup, and now in Sydney Harbour, the start of the Sydney-Hobart race. Before visiting New Zealand, our main knowledge of the Hauraki Gulf was that big body of water where the America’s…

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Fiordland

Fiordland

Fiordland has been on our list of special places to visit for nearly as long as we’ve been boating. We were captivated after seeing a photograph taken from way above Milford Sound of a lone boat heading into a narrow channel between soaring, jagged peaks, its long wake slowly heading out for the shoreline. Fiordland…

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Wellington

Wellington

After a three-month circumnavigation of New Zealand’s South Island, we’re back in Wellington. We first visited here in January, after spending a few weeks in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. On our first visit, we arrived in unusually calm conditions for “Windy Welly” and anchored for the night off Oriental Bay, with beautiful Carter Fountain…

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Milestones

Milestones

When we traveled from Fiordland to Stewart Island earlier this month, we rounded Southwest Cape, our first of the five great capes. The other four are Southwest Cape, Tasmania; Cape Leeuwin, southwest Australia; Cape of Good Hope, Africa and Cape Horn, Chile. We also reached 47 degrees 2 minutes, the farthest south we will be…

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Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Before visiting New Zealand, our main knowledge of the Hauraki Gulf was that big body of water where the 2000 and 2003 America’s Cup races were fought. But it actually is a major cruising destination and marine protected area. The 1.2-hectare Hauraki Gulf Marine Park comprises more than 50 islands and includes Great Barrier Island…

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Auckland’s Sky Tower

Auckland’s Sky Tower

Auckland’s Sky Tower stands 1076 feet high and is the tallest freestanding structure in the southern hemisphere. On a clear day, the views from the tower are spectacular. Besides several restaurants and observation decks, visitors also can experience the tower from the outside, either through a Sky Walk or a Sky Jump. Sky Walk participants…

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New Zealand’s Bay of Islands

New Zealand’s Bay of Islands

Even after travelling through the South Pacific, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is a standout cruising destination with many sheltered anchorages, walking trails to viewpoints, and several nearby towns for provisioning or enjoying a meal ashore. Opua, in the Bay of Islands, was our first landing in New Zealand after a 1,200-mile run from Port…

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On the hard at Norsand Boatyard

On the hard at Norsand Boatyard

Last Friday we hauled out at Norsand Boatyard in Whangarei, New Zealand for bottom paint, zinc replacement and other minor work. This was the first time Dirona has been lifted on a rail-trailer, where the boat is pulled ashore while it rests on a track-mounted trailer. All other times we’ve used a TravelLift, that lifts…

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Vanuatu and Yasur Volcano

Vanuatu and Yasur Volcano

Vanuatu, a small country in the South Pacific previously known as New Hebrides, is home to the world’s most accessible active volcano. Mount Yasur, pictured at the top and bottom of this post, regularly erupts in a fireshow that is amazing to experience firsthand. From Fiji, we travelled 475 miles southwest to Analgawhat in Vanuatu,…

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Fiji: Namena Marine Reserve and Makogai Island

Fiji: Namena Marine Reserve and Makogai Island

From Yadua Island, we visited Namena Marine Reserve and Makogai Island on the eastern edge of Bligh Waters. We stopped first at Namena for three nights and dove several times. Namena has some of the best diving in Fiji. The hard and soft coral life was amazing, in particular Dendronephthya in all colors of the…

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Fiji: Yadua Island

Fiji: Yadua Island

After touring through Fiji’s Mamanuca and the Yasawa Groups, we travelled east across the northern edge of Bligh Waters to Yadua Island. We’d initially planned to anchor only one night, to break up the run from the Yasawa Group to Namena Marine Reserve at the eastern side of Bligh Waters. But we liked Yadua so…

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Fiji: The Mamanuca and Yasawa Groups

Fiji: The Mamanuca and Yasawa Groups

A string of islands lie west of Vitu Levu, Fiji’s largest island: the Mamanuca and the Yasawa Groups. The photo above is at Navadra Island, at the northern end of the Mamanucas. We left Port Denarau for the southern end of the Mamanucas, with plans to work our way north through the Yasawas. We were…

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Fiji: Lautoka and Nadi

Fiji: Lautoka and Nadi

After two weeks in Tonga‘s Vava’u Group, we continued 540 miles west to Fiji. We landed at Lautoka, on the western side of Fiji’s largest island Vitu Levu. Most boaters land farther north at Savusavu on Vanua Levu, but James had a flight out from Nadi a few days after we arrived, and this was…

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Diving and flying at Palmyra Atoll

Diving and flying at Palmyra Atoll

Palmyra Atoll, 950 miles south of Hawaii, is a National Fish and Wildlife Refuge where fishing is not allowed within the 12-mile Refuge boundary. Consequently, the fish life in the area is incredible. We’d done several dives there and were amazed at the abundance, health and diversity of the fish and coral life. These dives…

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