måndag 8 december 2014

Sweden-Tonga, one way

Sum up of this trip

The first of July last year was the day I set off on this little trip, heading for the open ocean and a vortex of uncertainty. I knew that an adventure was laying ahead but little did I know in what way it would occur and how it would effect me as a person. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know much about sailing at all.

The first lonely sailing was just out of the coast of Sweden and is probably the time that made the biggest influence on my life. The fact that I realized I could concur the ocean on my own with the little boat made my sailing confidence rise to an instinct that the rest of the trip actually became very laid back.

Through out Portugal and Spain I had an amazing time, changing crew all the time, getting to meet lovely people. I hanged around in a lot of hostels and became the center of attention without too much effort, just to mention what I was doing. Morocco was the first time outside Europe with the little vessel which was a very fulfilling feeling and a very interesting visit. '

In the Canary Islands I first came in contact with the real sailing community, which has later shown to be totally amazing. Like a little floating neighborhood we were moving from anchorage to anchorage and everyone helped each other out what ever it could be. Las Palmas was the place were I was preparing for the first ocean crossing. An indescribable  feeling to head out with the cognizance that a month of not seeing any land is laying ahead.

On the other side of the pond were the tropics. Trinidad and Tobago, the absolutely astonishing country in the south of the Caribbean treated me very well and the journey went on towards Panama. 

Panama was just a blur of mixed feeling. It was here I decided to take the big step and cross the trifling little canal with more authorities in control than you can imagine and set sails on the biggest ocean in the world. Despite a cup of coffee in the way and a load of other difficulties we managed to depart towards Colombia. 

I can not say I have seen a lot of South America but the little we saw in Tumaco, Colombia I believe is a good appetizer of what it is and I absolutely loved it.

Sailing the longest passage in the world became a real challenge due to the amount of problems occurred on the way and I asked myself a few times why on earth I was doing this. The second Island in the pacific, Taoata made me think twice and was probably the high light on this trip. With no worries in the world we lived on fruits and became one with the locals who taught us how to live with the nature in the absolute paradise.

The dreaded toamotoes, known for it's dangerous reefs, turned out to be a tropical wonder with the clearest waters I have seen and a plethora of sharks and fish in sparkling colours.

Every Island group in the pacific was completely different to each other and I am glad I got to see a few of them. In Tahiti we saw a bit of the society we know of from back home but it was not a great place. Though the sailing community was huge here and we met up with a lot of friends.

Autitaki in the cook Islands was another amazing Island and so was Niue a bit further west. I had now sailed half of the earth in the little 27 feet vessel and is hard not say I was a bit proud of this deed. 

Exploring caves and snorkel in Niue was a great break brake from the over populated boat and I had a great time there.

I have now moved out of the boat and am located in the capital of Tonga. This little sum up does not describe a pinch of the amazing trip that I have made. I would recommend anyone to the same as me and give sailing a chance, it gives you a feeling of that anything is possible. It has taught me an awful lot about life and I am probably not the same dude that left Sweden almost one and a half year ago.

I would like thank everyone who have support me before and during this trip. Every little bolt and every little word of wisdom has helped me achieve this incredible experience. Thank you every one who has been crew on Yoldia and every one I have met on the way, you have all contributed to make this trip awesome!

It is now time to put the sailing a side for a while and on Thursday I am flying to New Zeeland and from there go further on to Melbourne, Australia, where a new adventure starts.


Some pictures taken by Adeena Gerding: 
see also: http://barefootedgypsy.blogspot.com/

One of the wonderful snorkeling places (Makemo)
The passage in to Autitaki was both shallow and narrow, good visibility and look out helped
We have been catching a few of these during the passages, very tasty fish
Duty free can make anyone happy
I think I lost a bet, probably a bit disappointed about the size
Sail repair is something I got quite good at after crossing half the globe
Adeena and me chilling
An example of how nice the yachting community is, Tahiti

Gypsy boat number one, love it

Lägg till bildtext

In the cooks the cooks they had strong feelings about flying on Sundays
In Nuie nudity was forbidden but it is hard to stop a hippie sailor

onsdag 13 augusti 2014

The Pacific Ocean

Day 28: Friday 11 July, 10:14

The sea anchor is thrown in, the waves are crushing over the boat and transform our little 27 feet vessel into a first class roller coaster. We have 1364 nautical miles (2493 km) to Marquesas, french Polynesia, which is our destination and also closest piece of land. We are located in the absolute middle of the Pacific ocean when the most terrifying thing occur. The fore-stays, the wires connected to the mast and to the bow are falling down. These make half of our rigging and are very important in order to keep the mast in place aswell as holding our sails up to be able to move anywhere. 

Will we be able to make it? Will we have enough of water for this unfortunate delay? Will the mast hold or are we going to drift at sea forever?

A slight feeling of panic rose on board Yoldia as we with all our strength managed to get the pieces of the rigging on deck in the crazy waves of the pacific ocean this Friday morning. When the adrenalin got weaker me and my crew member Adeena looked at each other and thought, what do we do now?

The Trip to Marquesas

Here is the boat that crashed in to us. Awesome guys,
but they need to learn how to drive
We left the very calm anchorage in Tumaco, Colombia the 13 of June. As we were sailing towards the open, beautiful, humongous ocean, we waved goodbye to our friends and also the very helpful coast guard patrol boat. Everything was perfect, we picked up speed, the sun was shining and we were finally on our way after all these preparations. We had not come far when the same coast guard boat was close behind us again. They said that we needed to turn back to talk to the harbor master in order to clear in properly, some papers were missing. They also asked permission to board the boat which was approved of course. As they approached our boat with their 900 hp speed boat a little maneuvering failure made them crash right in to our bow spread and bent the powerful steel like nothing. 
Tumaco, the military is guarding Yoldia day and night. Quite safe anchorage id say.

We went back to fix the papers that were missing due to a misunderstanding and the coast guard repaired what we thought was the only damages of our boat. Ready to hit the ocean again and slowly slowly we moved out towards what would become the most mind muddling trip of our lives.
The fish in Pacific are crazy, here is a beautiful Dorada

Just a few days had past when I one morning woke up and made a discovery any sailor approaching the longest passage in the world are dreading. We had lost the bottom part of the wind wane, the auto steering the wonderful mechanism that makes it possible to do anything else but having your hand attached to the tiller 24/7 in order to go in the right direction. I summoned a crew meeting, me and Adeena had a serious discussion, we were a couple of days off the coast of Ecuador and a change in course could easily be made. The big question was now if we were going continue the 30 day long passage with 12 hour hand steering each every day or if we were going back to safety.  

We decided to continue.

Due to some new regulations and extra fees for yachts clearing in to Galapagos made us sail pass it without any stop. Close to one of the islands one clear night ten dolphins were swarming in front of the boat making a huge carpet of phosphorescence. The glow was amazing and lit the whole boat up, like sailing in another universe Yoldia bounced over the waves. What an ocean, I have never seen anything like it. Birds, lit up from underneath by the phosphorescence, crazy amounts of shooting stars and massive beautiful fish around the boat.
I had to eat cereal...

A few days later we passed the equator and I had now sailed to boat from cold Sweden to the south part of the globe. Quite crazy when you think of it. Another mile stone of this journey was the 1st of July, I had now been out sailing for one year which is even more crazy. This day was also the day when our next horrible discovery was made. As I was cooking breakfast to celebrate this particular day we ran out of propane. There must have been a leak in the connection or it had not been filled up properly in Panama. Either way we would now have to face the rest of the trip without a functional stove. Since I love to cook and also appreciate a hot nice meal more than few things in this world I did not give up that easy. From now on we had to improvise, cleaning alcohol, kerosene and diesel. When we started with petrol the fire extisningher crawled out of the cubbard and was placed right next to the stove. 

It was a mess, it took hours to heat something but I refused to lower our standards. Depite our duty at the helm, lack of sleep and all the other circumstances that are included when you are sailing a 8 meter boat from the 70s on the biggest ocean in the world we managed to eat a hot meal every day. We even baked bread, high life.

The Pacific ocean is truly alive, we caught a few massive Doradas and loads were dropped due to our under sized fishing hooks. One morning though when we were chilling outside in the sun, 50 squids about 10 cm big attacked the boat. Within a couple of seconds the deck and the cockpit were covered with these slimy little creatures, squirting black ink making a mess you can not believe. You had no time to react before everything was covered, very weird indeed. It made you wonder what was hidden underneath the blue surface.

After a couple of days with strong winds we finally saw the light, we were almost there. Less than 1400 nautical miles to go and Yoldia was flying. Then it happened, the incident that truly changed the trip. 

Quote by Adeena Gerding, from the blog BareFoot Gypsy

"With another big squal moving in, we decided to reduce our sails - a task made rather difficult with our jib no longer furling and the massive waves crashing around us. As the captain tried to bring in the spinakker pole, we noticed something was very wrong... and when he started bringing the jib, the whole of our front rigging came in too. 

Both forestays that held up the mast as well as the sails were completely detached - the only logical reason could be our collision back in Columbia... but we'd never thought of checking the mast head... The sails began flapping around like crazy. As the ocean threw us on a crazy rollercoaster ride, we tied everything up and threw in the drift anchor before the next big squal hit.

the rigging is coming down, quite unpleasant

It took the whole day to bring all the rigging onto the deck and secure it. And when we finally sat down exhausted, doom settled on us like a plague . Our trip was no longer about speed or enjoyment - it was now about survival. We were 1346 nautical miles (2493 km)away from land and at very real danger of loosing our mast. Without a mast we'd have nothing to keep sails up - we'd have no choice but to drift at sea until we finally, hopefully washed up on land somewhere... We had 80 liters of diesel on board - but that wasn't going to get us very far.

We had adjusted to a life of constant steering- we had adjusted to making fires to cook our food - but this was too much - this we could not handle!!! We talked about calling a mayday or plotting a rescue mission. We talked about leaving Yoldia to float off into the abyss. We knew our chances of finding another boat were slim - but we'd be ready for it."

Sailing with the main sail only is quite tricky

It is quite facinating how the mind works,some way or another we managed to adapt to all these crazyness. Every little minor sucess was counted as something amazing and in the end I have to say that the trip wasn't too bad. The Pacific treated us with perfect weather, fair winds and a lot of sunshine. Ofcourse a special thanks must be given to my lovily crew member Adeena . We were an absolute dream team in my point of view and whenever I had a bad moment or felt down she was there to support and the other way round. 
Almost there, what a feeling

On the 3rd of August land was rising in the distance. After 50 days of sailing, it is hard to explain the feeling to see such a beautiful saviour on the horizon. Among luxuary as fresh water showers and scrambled eggs we were also going to be able to leave the area of 8*2.5 meters after this eternity at sea. As we motored into the bay of Hiva Oa we saw quite a few other sailing boats and the sight of other people was actually pretty strange. When the anchor was dropped we both sat down totally exhausted, just looked at each other and thought, we made it.

Hiva Oa

torsdag 12 juni 2014

The Real Deal

Pacific here we come

Pacific is on our door step and this time it is happening for real. Leaving Panama was in short a bit of mess. My burning wounds happily recovered really fast but I think that was the only thing that went in the right direction. During the trip here, Colombia we even sailed backwards due to the current and no wind. Anyway my crew and me kept the mood up during the 15 day long trip, the short little distance to Tumaco in Colombia. 

I have to say that the Pacific Ocean is absolutely amazing, dolphins and whales are swarming around the boat along with jumping sting rays and sharks. We even got one of the latter on our hook, it was a big one, over a meter that we sent back to its home. 

Tumaco really made up for our lack wind and luck during the passage. It happened to be the most loveliest little town, with amazing, helpful people. We spent more than a week here and had time to get to know the city, dancing salsa and hanging out before it was time to make the boat ready for the big trip.

Since I have not been able to scare my South African companion Adeena off yet, she will be joining me for the next big trip to French Polynesia. It will take about 30-40 days, who knows I have stopped to estimate time of travel by now. But the boat is filled with fresh water so it can take as long as it likes. 

Cheers mate!

pictures by Adeena http://barefootedgypsy.blogspot.com/2014/06/time-to-leave-for-real-this-time.html

Out door shower are the best!

Even when you use too much soap
Finally out on the ocean again

Some tuna for dinner!

Plans change quickly, suddenly we are off to Colombia instead of Ecuador, land as land.

Our french friends on Djerpi that we hope to meet again in the Pacific

Definition of chill

Panama flag is down

Still pretty without wind

Seriously though where is it...


Fishing lines getting tangled

Ja mannen


Just chilling

Land Ahoy!

Some are more excited about land than others!

A whole fan club

Lovely breakfast at our welcoming friends restaurant 

 I have got a feeling tourists are not very common here in Tumaco...

So are beers though!

Best anchorage ever 

Soon time to go...

A bit of water... As I said I have stopped to estimate time of travel. Time to sail on! See you in a couple of weeks.