Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

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We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21, 2010 - Papeete, Tahiti – Enjoying Life, Even When It Rains!

Latitude:        17 32.407 S
Longitude:  149 34.247 W

Garyn and Jessica were able to secure a flight out of Tahiti on Tuesday evening, June 15.  That was good news for all of us.  It meant they could get home and that we would be able to fly home for Abby and Neal’s wedding the following week.

I don’t know exactly where the time has gone since I have not been writing daily logs, but we have been consumed with little projects, reading books, and visiting with friends we have met along the way.  On Thursday, June 17, we started to prepare the boat for the Puddle Jump Reunion/Moorea to Tahiti Rendezvous.  After only a week in port, we needed to take down sunshades, restow stuff we had taken out that works well at the dock, but not at sea, pay our bill at the marina, provision for the weekend, etc.

Each year for the past five years the Bureau of Tourism in Tahiti along with other sponsors like Latitude 38 put on a rendezvous for the cruisers that have been either officially or unofficically crusing the Pacific to Tahiti.  The festivities on the dock begin as soon as the boats start filling up the marina.  Radio voices that kept us company and provided us with advice while sailing the sea materialize in human form on boats whose names have become familiar….

                                                             Trim  (Ken and Lori)

                                                            Sula (Betty and Herb)

                                                       Freezing Rain (Marie and Don),

Windryder, Furthur, Sea Level, Puppy, Mulan, Fly Aweigh, Whosh, Endless Summer, Acapella.  Some of the folks we had already met, but many we had only heard and had yet to meet.  First meetings were more like reunions. “Ah yes!  We’ve talked with you on the radio.  We’re Worrall Wind.”  Everyone knows your boat, but not your person. 

The official party began with a cocktail party at City Hall in Papeete on Friday evening.  We were met at our gate dock by Tahitian Ukulele players who also turned out to be traffic controllers in traditional Tahitian dress.  Once the cruisers were assembled, we paraded to City Hall, blocking traffic in the streets as we did so.  There may have been 200 or more of us ranging in age from 2 – 80, dressed as fine as each could muster.

The party which was originally planned for the garden had been moved indoors as it
was sprinkling.  As we entered city hall we were welcomed by city officials and presented with fragarant leis to wear around our necks.  We were treated to beer, punch, wine, hors d’ouerves, Tahitian music and dance,

and a skipper’s blessing for the regatta the following day.   After a wonderful evening, we returned to the boat for an early turn in.  Ken and Lori on Trim were going to join us at 6:00 the following morning and sail to Moorea with us. 

The official regatta didn’t start until 9:30, but we wanted to get an early start and find a good anchorage and not have to jostle for position with 70 other boats in deeper water between the reefs.

Before going to bed, like the good skippers we are, we pulled up the weather forecast and grib files.  GULP!  It didn’t look promising. There was a big black smudge over the islands with wind barbs all around with 40 knots of wind.   We would check again in them morning.  It was a restless night for both of us.  Ken and Lori showed up at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  We shared the weather information with them and several others on the dock.  By 7:00, Sula, Freezing Rain, Trim and Worrall Wind, all having had enough excitement on the passage to Tahiti, decided that predicted winds of 28 knots gusting to 40, 4 meter (12 feet) seas, rain, lightening, thunder, and squalls  and 70 boats anchored closely together through the weekend, just didn’t look promising…..and usually the gribs and weather reports are understated!  

It was still pretty pleasant on Saturday morning as the other boats with all their flags flying high, left the marina and we stayed put.  Staying was sooooo difficult because we had looked forward to the festivities, but we were trying to exercise some lessons learned from being overly optimistic about weather forecasts and dragging anchor in heavy winds.  We watched as the boats left the harbor and while disappointed believed we had made the wise choice to stay behind.  We had already paid for our meals at the Rendezvous and had decided that if the weather didn’t materialize as predicted, we would take a ferry over the next day, rent a car and join the fun.

As the day progressed, we listened to boats on the radio reporting consistent winds of 30 knots and big seas.  We could only guess what was going on in the anchorage because we could not hear the boats tucked in the bay.  We had a relaxing day on the boat planning our calendar for the next couple of months and still debating whether to go New Zealand or Fiji for the cyclone season.  A couple of boats on the dock next to us that had also stayed behind organized a dock party bar-b-que which we all attended.  There were about 20 of us  on the dock gazing out over Moorea which was totally shrouded in dark clouds, happy with our decision to stay in the marina where the water was like glass.  The rain started about midnight in Papeete. 

We got up at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and could barely see Moorea through the rain clouds.  Nevertheless, the rain had lightened over Papeete, and we decided to take the ferry over anyway.

Herb and Betty on Sula, Don and Marie on Freezing Rain, Lori and Ken on Trim, and we on Worrall Wind, made our way to Moorea across the channel.  It didn’t seem particularly windy while crossing the channel, but the seas were big and close together.   The express ferry had only one of its two engines operating due to some mechanical problems, so the 30 minute ride dragged into 2 hours across the rolling seas.

By the time we rented our cars (four to a car), and drove to the party it was 11:00 a.m.  Tents had been set up so that people could get out of the rain.  When we arrived it was overcast and fairly calm.

There were lots of boats tightly anchored off shore and the beach was filled with slightly soggy cruisers with more clothes on than we had seen in a long time.

Winds had blown throughout the night and some boats had drug their anchors and had some problems, but nothing serious other than a few boats dragging and re-anchoring.

It wasn’t too late to sign up for the outrigger canoe races, so Russ signed up with a group called the Random Paddlers. 

He had been looking forward to this event.  Ken and Lori took the car to the store to pick up some beverages and snacks.  The luau type lunch was still a ways off and we were all getting a little hungry.  They returned with some soft drinks and no snacks….Lori said they had gotten wine, beer, and snacks, but because it was Sunday, the store would only let them leave with soft drinks.

The missionary/religious  influence in FP is still very strong.   Reminded us of when we were in Virginia in the early 70’s and the old blue laws were still in effect.  You could go into a large market but could only buy necessities.  Depending who was at the cash register seemed to determine what was necessary and what was not…really and infringement of civil liberty imposed by religion.

We enjoyed mingling with fellow cruisers, listening to music, watching the canoe races, learning how to make palm frond hats,

 husking coconuts,

 and tattoo art.

Russ and his fellow paddlers, one of whom we knew, Ed from Acapella (front seat), finished their heat in third place, but not good enough for the finals.  Nevertheless, Russ was exuberant that they finished “dry”.
Several of the outrigger canoes flipped dumping all of the paddlers in the water.  I guess they are not as stable as they look.

By the time lunch was served, it was poring rain and the wind was blowing.  Not having had any munchies, we were starving.  Everyone was huddling under the open air tents trying to stay warm and dry. 

The traditional Tahitian lunch included vegetables of tarot root, poi, pumpkin poi, and breadfruit, and some mixed dishes of pork and spinach, beef, fish, and raw fish.  We tried a little bit of everything.  It’s a good thing we had eaten breadfruit before because honestly the breadfruit was horrible tasting the way it was prepared for this lunch.  The tarot and poi was also something we left in clumps on our plates.  It was hard to know whether it always tasted so bad or whether it was prepared poorly.  I suspect the latter although it could be a little of both.

The dishes with meat and fish were pretty tasty.  The pineapple was delicious.  We ate our wet and gooey meal with our fingers which is the traditional Tahitian way of eating and because no utensils were offered.  There were quite a few plates with leftover things folks cared not to eat.  It turned out to be a fairly light and expensive lunch ($35.00 each).

After lunch, there were still the paddle finals, banana carrying, tug o war, and rock throwing contests, but it was difficult to muster up enthusiasm  in the deluge for these activities from our little group.  By 2:00 p.m. we were soggy and cold enough to call it a day. 

We got in our chariots, took in some sights and drove around the island.  The wind and surf were picking up.  We stopped at a little beach restaurant for some liquid refreshment that we had eaten lunch in two weeks before with Garyn and Jessica.  On that day, it was so warm and sunny we sat in the shade indoors and gazed out over beautiful blue green water. 

On this day, the flimsy doors were “kind of closed” gapping and flapping as the strong wind whipped through, driving the rain and palm trees sideways.  We were glad to be inside the reef as we watched the raging ocean pounding on the reef and then smoothing out before the water came on shore.

We were also glad we could enjoy a beer together and not worry about our boats dragging anchor or having to head back to the mainland in our boats.

We arrived at the ferry dock about 4:30 to find the ferry office closed with a note in the window saying that our 5:30 express ferry back to Tahiti had been cancelled because of mechanical difficulties. Great!  Now what? 

Fortunately, the slower and bigger, 5:00 car ferry was still going (and would delay until 5:30), and we could get on that with our roundtrip ticket.   While we waited for the car ferry, we visited a little restaurant for cheeseburgers, pizza, fries, and ice cream.  We were all pretty hungry.  We also enjoyed a beautifully lit sky at sunset. 

The large ferry pounded for over an hour across the channel in the dark.  Plumes of ocean spray off of large seas flew up and over the second story windows where we were seated.  We were glad this was a bigger boat than the express boat that had been cancelled, but were still checking out where the life vests were stored.  It was a rollicking ride.  We arrived safely about 7:30 in Papeete with still enough time for more food at the caravans by the yacht docks.

We were glad we had left our boats behind, glad we had not missed the activities, excited that we had had a little different experience from the rest of cruisers, and very happy to return to calm waters and no wind where our boats were safely at rest in Papeete.

Russ and I are now preparing for our return to California where we hope to see famly and friends.  We will be returning to the South Pacific later in July to continue on to Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, Suwarruw, Samoa, and Tonga.

All is well on Worrall Wind.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garyn and Jess on their way to San Francisco

Garyn and Jess were successful in leaving Tahiti last night at 11:45 p.m.  It took Garyn two trips to the airport as he discovered he had Russ's passport the first time around and not his own.  We miss them already.  It was fun having them aboard.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Papeete, Tahiti - Garyn and Jessica are now captive in Tahiti.

Latitude:        17 32.407 S
Longitude:  149 34.247 W

We have been moored at the downtown Papeete Quay (kee) since early afternoon of June 8.  Worrall wind is med-moored bow first.  The Quay has what we call fixed slime lines (they are slimey when pulled up).  These lines are picked up from the quay where they are secured on one end at the quay and the other anchored into the fairway. 

When the boat comes bow or stern first into the quay, the bow or stern is tied off on the quay, then the slime lines are picked up on either side of the boat and and walked back to the opposite end lifting the slimy lines out of the water.  When the opposite end is reached, the slime lines are  then pulled taught from the rear where they are secured to sunken anchors,  and cleated off on the boat,  thus creating a three point tie off system, keeping the boat in a fixed position.

June 8 – We arrived, did some general cleanup, contacted our agent, walked around downtown area and ate out at a little pizzaria.  Papeete is a bustling city filled with sites and sounds unfamiliar to sailors who have been at sea.

June 9 – Our agent  arrived early and started the check in procedure for us.  We did more clean up and exploring.  Russ visited the port captain and found the local hardware stores.  Looks like there are some protests going on around government buildings.  Our limited French doesn’t help us comprehend what it going on.

June 10 – Today was a day of exploration of Papeete.  More protesting.  Still not sure what is going on.  The big open air market near the port has fish, produce, pearls and clothing. 

We discover a lot of fabric stores with tropical prints.  I’d like to buy some material to make some pillow covers for the boat and maybe an outdoor shower curtain.  Our shower sump has not been working well, so we have been taking freshwater showers on deck after dark.  This is not so easy to do in downtown Papeete.   Garyn and Jessica get packed up for their trip home on Friday.  They are looking forward to retrieving their pets, getting back to their jobs, and seeing their friends and family.

June 11 – We rented a car for the day to drive around Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti. Garyn and Jess’s plane doesn’t take off until 11:45 p.m. so we have all day.   While there were many places on the map we were unable to find, we did find some lovely waterfalls and short hike on the north eastern side of Tahiti Nui

a very old church in Tahiti Iti being decorated with fresh flowers

and some beautiful grottos on Tahiti Nui’s South western side. 
We also checked out Marina Taina where we have made reservations for Worrall Wind during our trip back to the states.

We dropped Garyn and Jessica off at the boat around 5:00 p.m., ran a few errands before parking the car, and returned ourselves to the boat around 7:00 to find Garyn and Jess fretting over rumors they had heard from other cruisers that the airport was shutdown and flights out had been cancelled.  Apparently the protests we had been witnessing were public employees.  In particular, the firefighters out on strike  are the reason the airport has shut down.  Big jets cannot land without the firefighters on hand for emergencies.  Whether planned or coincidental, the strike comes just before several big festivals and events, including a solar eclipse,  in French Polynesia that bring in thousands of tourists from aborad.

We got online to indeed find out if their flight had been cancelled.  It had been.  Since we still had the car, Russ, Garyn, and Jess went out to the airport anyway to see if they could talk with a Hawaiian Airlines representative.  The Hawaiian Air booth was dark, no one was around.  Quantas and Air Tahiti had also cancelled their flights, but were in their booths assisting stranded customers.  Strike 1.

It’s a good thing Garyn and Jess still have Worrall Wind as a home base.   Other crew members had just been dropped off and their boats had sailed on. 

June 12 – Garyn and Jess once again tried to connect with Hawaiian Air only to be referred to the website which had no new information.  No there was no one locally they could speak with.  No, they could not or would not inform them of updates.  It was up to them to keep calling and being put on hold.  Strike 2.

Russ and I went to the open market and walked all around Papeete.  We stopped at the tourist center and discovered the Haiva festival down the quay about a mile.  Haiva is an annual dance festival.  With our neighbors, Herb and Betty on SV Sulla, the six of us went to watch the dancing.  It was terrific.  All of the dancers were female from dance schools around the islands and ranged in age from  5 year olds to 60+ year olds.  Boy can they shake their booties!  The costumes were beautiful and the music hypnotic.

About two thirds of the way through the show, it started to sprinkle then soak everyone in the open-air theater.  Spectators and visitors evacuated the stands looking for cover.  By the time we got back to the boat we were drenched.  It sprinkled and rained throughout the night.  As far as we know, there has been no progress made on the strike.

June 13 – Happy Birthday Abby.  We are thinking of you today.

Once again Jessica tried calling Hawaiian Airlines to find out what was going on and if there was any resolve to the strike.  She also wanted to let them know how unsatisfied she and Garyn were with their lack of customer service (helpfulness) in keeping them informed about strike progress and/or rescheduled flights etc.  At one point after going up two levels in customer service and spending considerable time on hold, the representative conveniently disconnected (hangup).   Strike 3!  Woe to Hawaiian when you’ve got assertive twitterers, yelpers, and bloggers on board.

It is hard to fathom why the airline can’t keep their ticket holders better informed, particularly when Quantas and Air Tahiti seem to be assisting their customers with updates, news, and room reservations.  No one blames the airlines, but airlines are in a better position than the stranded, non-French speaking tourist to assist with alternative arrangements and support.  Apparently the other airlines understand this concept.  Hawaiian isn’t getting it.  Their idea of support is to NOT charge a re-scheduling fee when cancelled flights are rescheduled.  Otherwise, travelers are on their own.

Hopefully, the public employees can get their strike resolved quickly.  It is bad for tourism and for stranded travelers.  In two weeks, we ourselves will be heading home for Abby and Neal’s wedding….on Hawaiian Air.    We certainly hope the situation is resolved by then.  For now, while all might not be well with air transportation to and from Tahiti,

All is well on Worrall Wind

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Day 6 & 7 – Now moored in downtown Papeete, Tahiti

Latitude:        17 32.407 S
Longitude:  149 34.247 W

We spent the evening of day 5 in Opunohu Bay on Moorea with Brian and friends on Furthur.  We met other cruisers from Curious and Freestyle and enjoyed sundowners until long after the sun went down, before returning to Worrall Wind.

Day 6 – Rays, Sharks, and a Tough Hike!

On day 6, Garyn and Jess decided to go hiking and find the three coconut trail they had seen in their guide book.  Russ and I chose to do some dinghy exploration.   After dropping Garyn and Jess on shore, Russ and I packed a picnic lunch, took sun umbrella, snorkels, and fins, and headed towards the old Club Med property via a dinghy pass through the coral reefs.   Brian had given us some frozen fish chunks the night before to feed the rays.  He gave us directions how to find the the ray and shark hangout along the way.

It took us about an hour with the dinghy to find the sandy white bottom high spot amidst the coral where the reef shark and rays hangout and tourists come to visit.

There were some white mooring balls which we attached the dinghy to.  Russ jumped out first. 

The water was a little over waist high.  There was another tour boat with about 5 people close to ours.  The rays and sharks were circling.  I was a little worried about getting out of the boat, but when I saw that the sharks were standoffish and not remotely interested in the other human edibles, I finally got in the water. 

The rays were amazing.  There were about a dozen or more rays 3-4 feet across who have become accustomed to daily feedings.  They eagerly surrounded us, nudging us, folding their wings up and around us, allowing us to pet them.   

They loved the little bits of fish we gave them.  I tried to feed them like I would a horse, flat palmed, but since their eyes are on top and mouth on the bottom I don’t think they could see where the food was.

I got nipped a couple of times by their toothless jaws.  One of the nips actually broke the skin on my right middle finger.  It was a good thing that was the last piece of fish as I wasn’t inclined to feed them much after that.  And with the sharks around, I didn’t much care to have any blood in the water.

The black tipped reef sharks just kept circling, but never came very close….thank goodness. 

After our ray and shark experience, we motored on to the Club Med property and took a few photos from the water. 

One of the photos (night shot) was taken 16 years ago.  It was the genesis of our dream to return to Moorea. 

There is a similar shot, not exactly from the same perspective,  that we took from the dinghy.  

Returning to this spot wasn’t exactly how we envisioned it.  We did come in our boat, albeit the dinghy, and we would have enjoyed walking the Club Med property, but that wasn’t to be.  Nevertheless, we had returned and the circle was closed.

As we returned to Worrall Wind, it became apparent to us that one of the dinghy pass markers was missing.  We went straight from one post to another, only to find ourselves in the midst of shallow water and coral heads.   Sure glad our dinghy had a hard bottom and we had pulled up the motor.  We tried paddling, but the fetch and current made it too difficult.  We finally had to get out of the dinghy and find a path through the sand and between coral heads until we were in  waist high water and could see a pass out to deeper water.  Russ got  few coral scrapes which I immediately squeezed some fresh lime juice on (I had heard that this was a great anti-coral-bacterial).  When we returned to the boat, we took care of our coral scrapes and ray bites with antibiotic ointments.

Jess and Garyn returned to the boat about 4:00 p.m., hot, muddy, and sweaty.  They had gone on a 15 mile hike without ever getting to the three coconuts because the trail was so overgrown.  They were exhausted.  I think we had the better day.

Day 7 (Tuesday, June 8, 2010) -  We left Moorea around 10:30 this morning and are now tied up bow first on the quay in Papeete. on Tahiti.  We are right next to SV Sula from Paradise Village in Puerta Vallarta.  Papeete is the port city and capital of French Polynesia. 

It is obvious from the structures that the no taller than a coconut tree does not apply here.

Garyn and Jess have gone off to explore.  Russ and I are hanging out on the boat doing some cleanup work and waiting for agent to come and check us in.

The kids only have three more days before returning to the states.  We will probably rent a car and do a circle tour tomorrow or Thursday.  There is a lot to see and do here.

All is well on Worrall Wind

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Day 4/5 - Society Islands, Moorea

Sunday, June 6, 2010
Latitude: 17 29.481 S
Longitude 149 51 117 W

Day 4  was a lazy day.  After  renting a car and touring the island the day before, we woke up with no scheduled to do anything.  Very nice indeed.  We read, downloaded and organized digital photos, listened to music, and enjoyed sitting on the lido deck soaking in the views.  Garyn and Jess went on shore for some land time around noon and didn’t return until late afternoon. 

Russ had done some dumpster diving the day before and found an old pair of broken flipflops which he cut up to make pads for the bottom part of the davits where there is ongoing dinghy rub.  He also worked a bit on  cleaning barnacles off of Hydie’s rudder.  About six we all returned to shore for pizza and salads.  There is a little pizza shack with wood oven.  We sat at the bar and were incredibly entertained watching a French woman and young man turning out pizzas. 

It was a small kitchen and the two of them did a choreographed dance with just two long-handled pizza pallets.  Each had his/her pallets.  The thin crust pizza’s only took about two minutes to cook (1 minute in the outer part of the oven and 1 minute on the inner part of the oven.  The oven looked like it could accommodate 3-4 pizzas at any one time.  So every minute., one- two pizzas came out, one to two pizzas were moved forward, and one–two  pizza’s were put on  the outside edge.

During the 1 minute intervals, the young man answered the phone, took orders, collected money from customers, and put balls of dough into a  press of sorts that made instant rounds which he then trimmed, floured, and staggered layers, sprinkled with flour onto a metal work surface.

The woman would flour one of the long handled pallets, lay on a round of pizza dough, sprinkle on the requested ingredients,  All of the ingredients had been prepared in advance and were ready to sprinkle.  The man would then take the his pizza pallet, remove the inside pizzas, shift the outside pizzas to the inside.  The woman would then put her pizza into the outside oven and immediately return it the work bench to flour and make another.  She could make two pizzas in   minute.

The timing was amazing to watch.  They worked steadily in this manner for the hour we were there eating dinner….great pizza’s too.  One of their specialties was the banana pizza.  The dough was covered with a thick whipping cream, piled with squished and sliced bananas and brown sugar.  It was one of the few pizzas that didn’t require the full two minutes.  After one minute in the outside oven, the young man would scoop it up on his pallet and hold up to the hot roof of the oven to bring the bananas and sugar to a golden brown.  When it came out of the oven and was cut and boxed, dark chocolate was dribbled in concentric circles all of the the the top!

We were exhausted watching the pizza dancers, so we came back to the boat, lay in  the hammock, listened to music and tried to count the stars before falling asleep.

Day 5 – Russ awoke early and began to service the engine, changing filters etcs.  He checked the fuel tanks and discovered the starboard tank had some water in the bottom.  He bled off the bottom of the water. After everything was in good order, we pulled anchor and motored  to the next bay over, Opunohu.   This bay does not have any commercial establishments….stores, banks, restaurants, etc.  Snorkeling and diving, and gazing at the uspoiled beauty are the primary activities.  

The water behind the reef where we are anchored is a gorgeous turquoise.  Our anchor which we can see is in about 30 feet of water dug into white sand.  We can see the bottom and have already spotted a couple of rays.  Before lunch we all went snorkeling.  Garyn and Jess went out toward the western reef where they were followed by a curious puffer fish.  Russ and I went toward the shore where there is a huge variety of reef fish living in the coral heads.  I counted at least 10 sea cucumbers.  The shore which is less than 100 yards from the boat is a public beach which has been filled all day with Polynesian families laughing playing in the water.

As I write this blog, Garyn and Jess are snorkeling, and Russ has gone off with Brian from Furthur on a dinghy ride, and I’m sitting in my office on the lido deck, but it’s time to get ready for island happy hour.  The sun is dipping lower in the sky.

All is well on Worrall Wind.