Bula bula, Savusavu!

September 2016 “GOOOOOD MOOOOOOORNING, SAVUUUUSAVUUUU!” blared a jovial voice over VHF Channel 16. We startled awake, passage weary and bleary-eyed from a few days at sea. The sun had hardly graced the hilltops, but nothing scrubs fatigue from your bones like the excitement of a new country to explore! Savusavu is a cruising haven and […]
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When facing fear becomes a necessity

August 2016 Our pantry stocked with a few fresh vegetables, we slipped our mooring in Neiafu at one o’clock in the afternoon and wound our way peacefully through Vava’u’s mosaic of emerald islands under a sky speckled with cumulous clouds. The beauty of the Vava’u group is undeniable, and left no mystery as to why […]
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Diving with giants: A peak into Tonga’s underwater wonderland

September 2016 I wiggle my toes into the sand, wedging my feet into the course granules of earth. If I don’t, I’ll topple over! I’m squatting beneath the branches of palms and scrub—spending a penny, if you will. On the evening breeze drifts the harmony of a sun-kissed, booze-primed chorus of sailors somewhere down the […]
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Blue sea, blue sky, blue spirit

August–September 2016 Anchor by numberWe said goodbye to David, Hika, their daughter, and their now-operational outboard and motored away from Vaka’eitu through the picturesque mosaic of islands that is Vava’u. The anchorages are known by numbers, rather than their Tongan names, probably to make it less laborious for westerners to make sense of the place, […]
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Just how friendly are the “Friendly Islands”?

August 2016 “Sure, we have a piece of line you can have for your cow. No problem!” We had just finished a breezy clearance process into Tonga after a 2-day sail from Niue, and we smiled as we obliged the random request and pushed off the cement wharf. Ahead was a mooring field where, for […]
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Two fish and one existential crisis

August 2016 This whole voyage has been a leap of faith, a calculated leap in many regards, but a monumental jump, no less. Aside from resting our trust in each other and Red Thread, we’ve also placed immense faith in our individual capacity to land on our feet professionally on the other side of the […]
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Sea serpents and engine gremlins

August 2016 My fists are clenched tighter than the strands of a monkey fist, as I march upright through the water column like a toy soldier shrink-wrapped in neoprene. I always feel a twinge of nervousness when I dive, and when I’m particularly anxious—like now—I revert to this awkward, inefficient posture that belies the fact […]
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Whittled by Mother Nature: The ancient sea tracks of Niue

August 2016 “The Conduct and aspect of these islanders occasioned my giving it the Name of Savage Island.” It was 1774 when James Cook inscribed those word in Resolution’s logbook. The Niueans had managed to intimidate the explorers onward from their tiny island. And it would not be the last time they would succeed in […]
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Two days “to treasure whales” in Niue

August 2016 It’s dawn on our first wake up in Niue. I clamber to the cockpit, wrapped in a Turkish towel for a blanket and feeling the after-effects of just a bit too much “hooray-we-made-it” celebratory rum. I’m hoping to spot a whale or two, and I do, far in the distance. –Jessie When we […]
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He’s one helluva catch: Getting naked ‘n lucky en route to Niue

August 2016 My handsome captain is naked; well, almost. I insisted on it. I want to get this photo right. I’ve been waiting for this moment, for this pelagic fish. Since sometime before we embarked on our voyage, I have wanted to recreate the image that covers The Cruisers Handbook of Fishing, the authority on […]
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Small atoll, big community

August 2016 Splashing alongside Red Thread’s hull raises my attention, and I pop up to investigate. A most colorful fish swims alongside our boat, a grin spread across its face. “Hi there! I’m Betty-Ann. You can call me B-A, as in bad ass.” “I like her already,” I thought to myself. Every morning, B-A climbed […]
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Mighty claws and pointy teeth: Getting acquainted with Suwarrow’s wildlife

August 2016 Prowling for behemoth crustaceans Torches in hand, half a dozen of us followed Harry and Pae through the palm trees. The moon shone fondly over the sea, but the paths beneath the canopy were a web of shadows and tripping hazards. Neil and I were sharing a flashlight, and I stuck close behind […]
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Suwarrow: An island almost to ourselves

July – August 2016 A disheartening start Our sojourn in Suwarrow did not start as we expected. Tired from our passage from French Polynesia, we set our anchor, keen to get some rest but knowing the first order of business was to clear into the country. Rangers Harry and Pae, a friendly father-son duo dressed […]
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In search of our very first coral ring

July 2016 Nine-foot breaking waves clawed at the reef and mammoth swell surged on either side of the disconcertingly narrow pass through the reef—the only way in or out of the lagoon. My fists were clenched tightly around the helm, and I was trying my best to steer Red Thread along the line we marked […]
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A sweat to the summit: The best hike in Polynesia

July 2016 The near-full moon casts an eerie shadow over Maupiti’s stately backbone tonight, and I can hear the roar of surf pounding against the reef. Although lights blink red and green to mark the channel through the narrow reef pass, the beacons are hardly an invitation for vessels to enter or exit this dicey […]
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Sailing Illusion

"The cure for anything is saltwater – sweat, tears, or the sea." –Isak Denesen

Anita Heiss

Author, Poet, Satirist, Social Commentator

sailing sophie

follow our family on our sailing adventure.

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gad·a·bout ˈɡadəˌbout/ noun a person who travels often or to many different places, especially for pleasure.

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Life is too short to say later. And winters suck.