Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blue Lagoon

UTC/Local Time:  0600/1800 Fiji

16 56.570 S
Longitude:  177 22.080 E

Update: Monday, May 30, 2011

We spent a lazy day relaxing in paradise and going over our new dive equipment.  Talked to Ted and Marian on Skype, took the dinghy to shore, had a cola at the resort bar, walked along the beach, and met a few local folks.  Came back, watched the sun set, posted some photos on the slideshow above, and now it's time to make some pizza.  Phew!  What a day!

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Safely in Blue Lagoon

 UTC/Local Time:  0600/1800 Fiji

Latitude:       16 56.570 S
Longitude:  177 22.080 E

Update: Sunday, May 29, 2011

The beautiful red sky last night brought a downpour of rain throughout the night and a strong east wind.  We woke to an increasingly overcast sky.  We were planning on leaving this morning, but Russ detected some engine coolant at the bottom of the engine room.  We weren't going anywhere until, he figured out and fixed the problem.  We certainly didn't want to have our engine go down while threading our way through the reefs.

After a couple of hours, Worrall Wind was back in order.  The leaking coolant and Russ's keen eye was a good omen because we were able to prevent a catastrophe that would have happened when we needed our engine most.  The coolant was coming from the hose near the clamp.  While examining the clamp, the camp broke in Russ's hand.


This is where sweating the small stuff is worth the sweat!

By the time we pulled up the anchor at 11:00 a.m., the wind was blowing about 10-15 knots and a high overcast was forming.  It looked like it was clear in the east (direction of the wind), so we decided to take off.  Russ had set 45 way points into the GPS.  The overcast, 1 meter wind waves, and gusts up to 20 knots, and sea spray over the bow,  added to our tension as we snaked our way up the island chain to Blue Lagoon.    There were breaking reefs on the right, on the left, and in front of us.  We motored the entire way.....and didn't hit anything!  Yeah!

I am so thankful that we took our reconnaissance mission three weeks ago on the ferry to chart the trail.  Every point was spot on!  And we were both grateful that we caught the hose clamp breakage, before it became a huge problem.

We reached Blue Lagoon around 3:30, dropped anchor in 43 feet of water, let out 160 feet of chain, and are catching up on things.  Yes!  Our data stick works here!  Internet feast!

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind

Friday, May 27, 2011

Worrall Wind Update-Swam With Giant Manta Ray Today

UTC/Local Time: 0600Z

Latitude: 17 10.309 S
Longitude: 177 11.233 E

Glorious Sunset
Update: Saturday, May 28, 2011
We may have refreshed our memories yesterday with why we love to sail, but last night was not an idyllic memory. Fortunately, the anchor alarm only went off once when the boat drifted beyond the perimeter we had set. But what kept us from a good night sleep was the constant rock and roll of the swells coming in from the west. After being in the flat waters of a safe harbor, we had forgotten about the constant movement of the boat while at anchor.

The stars last night, however, were fantastic and the sea was calm enough even with the swells to see the reflection of the stars twinkling in the water. We woke up with a beautiful apricot dawn,

enjoyed a leisurely morning on the Lido deck (fan tail of the boat), sipping coffee, eating our cornflakes, and reading our books.

After lunch, we lowered the dinghy and followed one of the work boats from Manta Ray resort through the Manta pass.  We left WorrallWind and Rubber Ducky floating in the anchorage.  Ducky let us know the water was 89 degrees F.  Awww!

We caught up with the boat driver Leve. He was looking for the Mantas so that he could bring some divers and snorklers out. We searched with him for awhile. He showed us where the pass was and suggested we drift through with our dinghy as the current was fairly swift. We spent the afternoon, doing three drift snorkels through the Manta pass.

The fish and coral were beautiful, but we didn't see a manta ray and were pretty disappointed. We caught up with Leve at the Manta Ray resort about 3:30. We were just getting a glass of cold white wine and a beer. He called us by name and told us that he was taking a group of snorkelers out and would we like to follow him. He was going to call his ancestors to appear...the ray! Well, okay!

We left our wine and beer with bartender and told him we would be back later. We hopped in the dinghy and made our way out to Manta Ray pass one more time. Leve and the snorkelers jetted in front of us and we followed in their wake. We tied our boat off to the dive boat as Leve called the rays. Manhoney, head manta finder slithered into the water and snorkeled around while we all waited in silence. Then he gave us the sign to get in.

Sure enough, a huge black manta was only 10 feet below us. His fin/wing span had to be twelve feet across and his eyes stuck out in front of him like head lamps. It was thrilling! We swam along with him until he went too deep for us to see. Mahoney, born in Manta, can hold his breath up to five minutes underwater, and we saw him dive easily to thirty feet. He was almost as amazing as the ray. We gave Mahoney a ride back to the resort as the snorkeling guests were still in the water, and Mahoney needed to get back and help unload the supply ship that was coming in. We asked if they were able to see rays everyday? No, and today's ray was the first and only they had spotted. We felt very lucky, but obviously Manta Ray Bay is named for it's home team.

When we dropped off Mahoney, we sat in the remainder of the sunlight, sipping our beer and wine. We watched as seven young men formed a "bucket brigade" to unload the supply skiff. From the boat to the beach, they tossed boxes, sacks, and bundles of goods with practiced synchronization from one man to the next.

Everything is Imported to these Outlying Islands & Garbage is Exported
 One of the men Naka from the village of Soso on the next island over, wanted to know if we had a lightbulb and socket that he could have so he could demonstrate to the children at the school. We said we would look and see what we had. We told him we might have an extra light bulb, but a socket wasn't something we usually carried with us. If any of you cruisers are coming to Soso, maybe you can help out with this electrical science experiment.

The clouds are developing over the island this evening. It's been a beautiful day and the sunset was magnificent.

Red Skies At Night, Sailors' Delight!   Not Always True.
 We'll leave for Blue Lagoon tomorrow.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Worrall Wind Update - Fiji -Shakedown Cruise to the Yasawas

UTC/Local Time: 0600/6:00 p.m.

Latitude: 17 10.315 S
Longitude: 177 112.12 E
Leaving Vuda Point Marina through the Channel in the Reef

Update: May 27, 2011

Today was a great reminder of why we love sailing.. Just a little over one month after our return to Vuda Point Marina in Fiji, we cast off the bowlines and headed northeast to the Yasawa Islands. The sun was out, the wind was blowing 10-15 knots, and the boat was ready to go. The 2 Sail R's were
ready too, even though our hearts were pumping rapidly. It's been seven months since we've been sailing with WorrallWind, and we wondered if we remembered all the things on our check list.

Since our return to Fiji from New Zealand, we've been scrubbing, polishing, reorganizing, shopping,
Bus Trip to Port Denerau

Nadi Market Place

Stacked, Sweet Green Mandarins
working on this project and that. In between boat tasks, we've enjoyed the company of friends, dined out,
Suzi Sidewinder, Roz WorrallWind, Lori Trim

Russ WorrallWind, Ken Trim, David Sidewinder
explored the local area,
Garden of the Sleeping Giant Ho Ho Ho

Beautiful Orchids!

played cards, lounged around the pool reading books, learned to scuba dive, hunted and found some geocaches, and watched the royal wedding and the reports of Osama Bin Laden's demise on the big
screen TV's in the bar.

We've actually been ready to go for the past week, but themweather wasn't quite ready for us. First it was rainy, then too windy, then moderate to strong seas, then a slow moving troph, then high overhead clouds.

All of the reports and visuals looked good to go this morning, so we paid up our bill, unplugged the electricity, disconnected the water, and were eased out of our slip by the marina staff. It was a tricky process as we were rail to rail and bumper to bumper with our slip mates. We waved goodbye,
at least temporarily, to Trim, Sidewinder, and other folks we had met. We'll be back to Vuda in a week or so for final provisioning and fixes before we check out for Vanuatu.

The tide was low, but still deep enough for us to exit the channel even though the reefs were exposed on either side.  Russ had meticulously keyed in all of the waypoints through deep water channels to our first anchorage in the Yasawas.

By 9:00 a.m. the fenders that were needed in the crowded marina to separate us from our neighbors were stowed, and we were motoring across a calm morning sea with no wind to the first
way point. There was a balmy sea breeze on our faces as we headed west.

The wind picked up about an hour into our journey. We raised the main, jib, and mizzen and then cut the motor.  Silence….only the gentle lapping of the water against the hull and the rush of the wind in our ears.

We really hadn't expected to sail today. Our wind vane steering system was not yet set up, but it didn't matter. It was fun to hand steer and to feel the acceleration of Worrall Wind to 6 knots as we
skimmed through the water. Besides we needed to be very alert and on task navigating through the reefs.  Aaah!

We should reach our destination by 4:00 p.m. It's only half way to our ultimate destination at Blue Lagoon where the movie with Brook Shields was filmed. The last part of today's journey will be the most dicey as we thread through some reefs. Fortunately, we are following the waypoints we
recorded on our reconnaissance mission we took a couple of weeks ago on the ferry. When we get to that point, we'll be going slowly, and I will be on the bow.

We bought some radio headsets called "marriage savers". We no longer have to yell at one another and make spectacles of ourselves while anchoring. Well, we may still make a spectacle of ourselves,
but no one will hear us yelling at one another. ;)

Our tack changed directly into the wind around 2:00 p.m. We pulled in the jib, tightened the main, and turned on the engine. By the time we got to where we thought the reefs were, the tide was high and we couldn't see anything breaking like we did the day we were on the ferry. We could only hope
that the waypoints we had recorded were correct.

It was close to 4:00 p.m. by the time we got to the Manta anchorage and the sun was behind us, not great for seeing reefs or water color changes, so we went very slowly and stayed tightly on our waypoints. We would have been better leaving at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. I stood on the bow while
Russ was at the helm. Our radio headsets worked well, and we could carry on a normal conversation. If you consider this a normal conversation. "Do you see any reefs? I don't see any reefs!"


Home for 2 Nights

When we passed the last waypoint that indicated we had cleared by the reefs, we were both mighty relieved. I'm curious to see when the tide goes out where the reefs are and how close we came to them. We are now anchored in 62 feet of water with 180 feet of chain out. The wind has died, the sun is setting, and there is only one other large sailboat in the anchorage
with us. It's time for a glass of wine.

Oh BTW….we don't have any 3G or WIFI service at thisanchorage, so I will be sending this blog through our radio.  Family and friends should use our sail mail address if you need to get in touch with us while we may not have Internet, not hotmail or gmail. For our cruising friends with SSB radio. We will be monitoring these frequencies for 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon if you
would like to get in touch with us.

2100Z 0500Z (5:00 p.m. Fiji Time)
14.315 for five minutes, switching to alternate frequency
6.150 for additional five minutes, then clearing.

Our VHF will be monitoring 16.  We are sometimes (often actually) forgetful about these times, but hopefully we will be able to connect.

All is well with the 2 Sail R's on Worrall Wind.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fiji - Splash Down!

Look!  A waterline above the water!

After three weeks in Fiji, Worrall Wind is out of the trench,

WW in the "Graveyard"
off the hard, and back in the water...and her water line is now above the water.   With all of our cruising gear, we were low in the water and the barnacles were feasting and attaching themselves to the gel coat.
Barnacle Picnic - Before

Eat your hearts out barnacles, not our gel coat! - After
Our bottom job with high grade international paint, raised water line, new boot and coving stripes, and hull polish cost about $3500 USD.  It would have been 2 to 3 times that amount at home.  So we were pleased.   Even our weathered teak railings look better with a bleach and water scrub down.

Teak Rails - Before and After

The refrigerator is working, and we are chilling down the champagne.

Scuba Dive R's

While we were working on the boat along with Yacht Help, we took time for some fun which is the primary reason for this adventure.  Russ and I took a three day open water dive course with Subsurface Diving and got scuba certified.  Each morning we would leave with the dive boat (small skiff) from our Marina resort out to Beachcomber Island.  It was about a 40 minute ride.

Beachcomber is a beautiful white beached island in crystal clear blue-green waters within the barrier reefs surrounding Fiji.  The resort is primarily for young people.  A dorm room with inclusive meals runs about $30 USD a night!   There is an 80 bed women and 80 bed men dormitory, plus private rooms and bures (little houses).  The population while we were there was primarily young people on spring break from New Zealand and Australia.  Russ and I were probably the oldest people on the island by thirty years!  Yikes.

The first morning of our open water course, was spent in the classroom reading, watching videos, and taking knowledge acquisition quizzes.  The afternoon was spent in the confined fresh water diving pool learning skills....clearing masks, operating our buoyancy vests, sinking, ascending, etc.

On the second morning, we ventured away from Beachcomber to a dive site called Plantation Pinnacles. The first dive was just for fun.  The air temperature was about 88 degrees F.  The water temperature was 90 degrees F.  Beautiful!  Sure beats learning to dive in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our instructor guided us around a beautiful coral head. 

Kini, our Fijian Dive Instructor
We descended by a line down to the top of the coral head, about 15 feet under the water.  Once our ears were equalized, we descended furthur to explore the coral and thick schools of tropical fish.  It was magical - rays, turtles, reef sharks, soft and hard corals. I've cheated a bit here and have added some photos I took at the Fijian Aquarium since I don't have an underwater camera yet.  Nevertheless, we saw all of this and more!

Our second dive of the morning was in shallower water with a sandy bottom where we had to demonstrate in a saltwater environment the skills we learned in the fresh water pool.

Dark Squall!
By the time we completed our second dive and came to the surface, the beautiful blue sky of the morning was turning quite dark as an approaching low was blowing in.  We spent the afternoon in the classroom reviewing, taking quizzes, and our final examination.  Just as we were finishing our exam, our instructor came into the room and asked if we might hurry up a bit as the storm was closing in and they wanted to get the dive boat back to the mainland.  We had been oblivious to  outside conditions.

We went outside.  The sky was black, the wind was 30-40 knots, there were 3 foot frothing wind waves. It was pouring rain and visibility was less than a mile.   The skiffs were bucking on the breakers like crazed broncos.  I took one look at the situation and told Russ and the boat guys there was no way in hell I was getting on their boat in these conditions.  We all waited for about 1/2 an hour and the conditions to calm down....It did...a bit.  Winds were now about 20-30 knots, the waves were only 2 feet high, visibility was worse than before because it was getting dark and it was still pouring.

We were given yellow slickers and the boat captain was yelling for us to come aboard. Looked like a death wish to me.  I was reassured by our dive instructor that it was safe and these guys did it all the time.   I asked myself if I would take Worrall Wind ( 10 times bigger than the skiff) and remembered the liability releases we had to sign saying that we would hold everyone blameless in the event of sinking, dismemberment or death, and decided, no, I still wasn't getting on that bucking boat.  We indicated that the dive boat should leave without us and we would book a room at the resort for the night.

The rain continued pour and the winds kept on howling for a couple more hours into the twilight.  We booked a nice little jungle room.  There was room in the dorm, but since we didn't have any pj's with us we declined this option.  The resort staff asked if we had any luggage as we stood in our dripping swim suits and with soggy towels.  Yes please....our tiny little beach bag which fortunately, I had packed a dry set of clothes was all we had.  We went to our room, took warm showers, got into dry clothes, and headed down to the bar.

Where were you when you heard the news about Osama Bin Laden's demise?
Russ found a dry place to read his book  As I had no book - having left my kindle on the boat, I went to watch the big screen TV in the open air, sand-floor dining pavillion.  While the storm raged on the outside, the small crowd was mesmerized by the news and announcement that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. Not a wet eye in the place. Most of the spring break guests had left, and the arrival ferry was delayed due to the inclement weather.

We had a terrific evening meal with our dive partners, Andrew and Lauren from Australia, who had been staying at the resort.  The following morning, the storm had passed.  The sky was clear and amazingly so was the water.  We did our last two dives demonstrating various skills to our instructor and were signed off as having completed and passed the course. 
Andrew, Lauren, Kini, Roz, and Russ
After a relaxing afternoon on the beach and playing a round of miniature golf in the cool jungle, we returned to Vuda Point Marina victorious.
The 2 Sail R's are now 2 Suba Dive R's

 Reconnaissance to the Yasawas
Our sailing friends Ken and Lori on Trim had visitors from the states, Lori's daughter JD and husband Andrew.  On one of the days of their visit, we  took the ferry out to the Yasawa group of islands to do a reconnaissance. The first of the Yasawa Islands is about 18 nautical miles from Vuda Pt.   Russ and I took our GPS and laptop computer to develop a way point wake trail of the ferry through the various reefs for our future planning. 

Lori and daughter Jesssica, JD
We had a nice day, even though the ferry broke down and the air conditioning in the Captain's Lounge wasn't functioning.  Fiji Sauna time!  Looks like there will be some nice places to visit now that we have marked a safe pathway through the reefs.

Blue Lagoon where the movie Blue Lagoon was filmed.

 Fortunately, we were back in Denarau Harbor when the boat broke down completely.  After an hour's delay we were towed to the dock.  We are looking forward to  returning in our own boats to some of the anchorages we scouted out now that we have a good wake trail.

It's so nice to be back in the water where it is clean.  We have some outside work to finish off, dinghy to lower in the water, wind skirt and sunshades to snap on, some more cleaning outside, some sewing projects, etc. Being in the boat yard for two weeks was pretty dirty, dusty, and muddy, so the inside needs a good wipe down and vacuum as well. 

Once we have established that our freezer and refrigerator are both working well, we'll start to provision for our shakedown out to the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands just off the main island.  We will return to Vuda Point Marina, restock for our longer trip to Vanuatu, make any apparent fixes and repairs, check out of Fiji, and leave some time the first half of June for Vanuatu.

We were rocked to sleep last night in peaceful seas.

All is well on Worrall Wind and with the 2 Sail R's