A Wedding in the Seychelles – Our one year Anniversary.

Today we celebrate our one year Wedding Anniversary.  Thats right a whole year already.  For those of you that know us well you’re probably thinking exactly what we are ‘where has that time gone’.  For those that do not know us, yes a year ago on the 16th May 2016 we finally tied the knot.

I had given up on the idea of getting married and out of the blue on October 2nd 2015 nearly 12 years after we had been dating Morgan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. 

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His proposal was made on a beach.

image1It was our last weekend before a long 5 week trip and we went away to Port Douglas in Cairn’s Australia for the weekend.  It was to be a weekend of relaxing and kite surfing for Morgan. 

Little did I know he had planned it all and had even set up the go pro’s to film his proposal.  So there we were on the beach and he returned from kite surfing and the long awaited moment came.  I was so happy and of cause I said YES.

We talked about when we would get married and we both agreed sooner was better than later.  So seven months later whilst on a long stop over in the Seychelles we said ‘I Do’.

We didn’t have a big wedding, however we had with us everyone that was special to us.  Morgan had his parents, his brother Jonathan, his sister Anais and his sister Sarah, her partner Stephen and their daughter Tullula.  I had my Mum and Pete.  It was the first time in 16 years that all of Morgan’s family was together in one place and for me it had been 4.5 years since I had seen my Mum and Step dad Pete.  We talked about inviting friends, but considering how special it was going to be to have our families all together for the first time we decided to keep it small and intimate.  It was perfect. 

Our wedding took place on the beautiful beach of Anse Intendance on the Island of Mahe.  It was one of the wildest beaches we had seen. 

The day of our wedding arrived and the skies had opened up and the mountains around us was clouded with rain. Everything was pre-arranged and it felt surreal getting ready to meet everyone at the beach.  As the time drew nearer the skies cleared of the heavy clouds.  I remember feeling completely calm.  It was a moment I had dreamt about, a moment I had wished for and a moment that was finally here. The ceremony was short and sweet and in many respects quite emotional. 

With in 15 minutes it was over and we were on the beach drinking champagne and eating cake.  The day ended with dancing to our own two person band right there on the beach whilst the sun set. Later that evening we had a wonderful meal at the ‘La Scala’ restaurant.

It was probably one of the most simplest weddings imaginable.  It was by far more than I had expected and the perfect day.

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The most amazing setting.

We’re Back…..

After over three and a half years away we are back in Charleston South Carolina.  So much has happened since I last wrote but I’ll leave that for another post.  Right now we are happy to be back where we started exactly four years ago.  Of cause one of our priorities on arrival was going to see how Kata Brava had been behaving whilst we were away.

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Changes in the neighbourhood.

As we drove towards familiar territory changes were obvious.  Smack bang in the middle of what was once the shipyard is now a building….not any building, a college.  So there was Kata Brava sitting in her corner on her own right where we left her whilst the main yard buildings and a few yachts was precariously fenced in on one side of the building and a few other yachts loosely scattered on the other side.  Hmmmmm there’s been some changes around here. 

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Anyway a few days later after the festive holidays we went to see the yard to discuss our future plans for Kata Brava.  Obviously this time around our aim is to get her in the water and to get her moving. However before we can get started Kata Brava needs to be relocated.  Where she’s currently located there’s no longer any security and no power.  We need power to get cracking on the 101 jobs we have to do.  We also will require a container close by to put our tools and equipment in.  So hopefully in the days to come she will be moved and work can commence.

This weekend we’re experiencing a little bit of a cold spell here on the East Coast. So before the cold weather came through we gave Kata Brava a well deserved wash down and a quick sweep through.  We also took this time to start measuring the pit for the holding tank.  This will be one of the first jobs we will need to get onto before the engine can go on order.  We’re happy with the condition of the deck topsides and the bottom paint.  There is minimum small rust spots and she looks just like we left her. Our big girl is looking great and had stood well to the elements for the last few years.  We are happy.    

We have a lot of hard work a head of us and we can’t wait to get stuck in.  Watch this space…….

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Sailing Milestones.

In the last few months we have celebrated two significant sailing milestones.  In December our arrival into Sydney Harbor marked our first circumnavigation together.  It took fours years, two different yachts and 48 000 Nautical miles in between.

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Celebrating 100 000 Nautical Miles.

In April shortly after our arrival here in Fiji we celebrated 100 000 Nautical Miles sailed together.  If someone would have said to me ten years ago when we left together on little Noa that I would accomplished this I would have probably laugh.  I can remember my first sailing experience like it was yesterday.  I was honestly terrified and never thought in my wildest dreams that I could actually do it.  Ten years on I wonder where the next ten years is going to take us. 

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Celebrating 100 000 Nautical Miles sailed together here in Fiji.

New Zealand – Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud.

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Our route around New Zealand.

Although I feel we have moved on from New Zealand physically and by blog, I do feel that it does deserve its own mention.  It is a special place and holds a piece of our hearts.  If we ever lived on land somewhere….this could be it.

However what can i say that I haven’t said already.  Its an amazing country.  It has almost every landscape imaginable and the people are super friendly.

New Zealand’s culture is mainly derived from Maori and early British settlers with recent broadening arising from increased immigration.  Historically the country’s economy was dominated by the export of wool, but today the exports of dairy products, meat, wine, along with tourism play’s a significant role. 

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One of the most known wines.

New Zealand produces some of the best wines in the world and we were fortunate to have the pleasure of visiting some of the fine vineyards.  With the fine wine comes the food which is absolutely exquisite.  From the delicious gourmet restaurants to the most lively food halls. I had some of the best meals in New Zealand. 

New Zealand comprises of two main Islands, the North Island and South Island with a few smaller Islands scattered around. Its believe that because of its remoteness it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. Its long isolation meant it developed a distinctive biodiversity of plant life, fungi and animals.  Its interesting to note that unlike its neighboring Island Australia, New Zealand doesn’t have any venomous or really dangerous animals or insects.  This makes it a brilliant location for interior exploration. 

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Lakes in the South island.

Four years ago when we spent a weekend in Auckland we enjoyed it, but I think it was to brief of a visit to really like it.  This time I can say I almost fell in love with the city of Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. 

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Auckland.

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Albert Park, Auckland City.

Auckland is vibrant, lively, almost too busy at times, being the most populous city of New Zealand.  However the CBD is small enough to dash through.  Several times I would wonder through the streets and enjoy the hustle and bustle, the sights and sounds and the smells.  When it got too much its easy to just walk away.  A street or two and it becomes quiet again. I’ve wondered through Albert Park that sits just of the side of Queen street, the main drag in Auckland.  A beautiful location that takes you miles away whilst looking up at the towering city.  Like any city it has its dodgy parts and characters, but thats what makes it real.  I remember the first time seeing a homeless person I felt kinda shock that there was actually homeless people there.  Was I really that naive.  Its a city. 

Auckland sits on the water with commercial shipping and pleasure sailing in abundance.  Its known as the city of sails, and there isn’t a day when there isn’t a boat out on the water.  New Zealand has one of the best yachting facilities on this side of the world and its for this reason that the summer sees an influx of yachts big and small. 

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Rolling green pastures.

Our first weekend in New Zealand we hired a car and just drove.  We ended up on the Coromandel Peninsular.  We must have said wow a hundred times on route.  The rolling fields and rugged coast line was breath taking. I think you have to live life on a boat surrounded by sea and sky to really appreciated the greenery that comes with life on land.    The views was spectacular.  At that time it was still early in the season so the air was cool and crisp.  I hate to admit it but we did enjoy the cooler climates after months in the sun and heat.  Although the continuous rain at times got a little tiring.

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The view from the Coromandel Peninsular.

However when summer came it was absolutely glorious weather.  We were fortunate to have a stretch of hot sunny days on our South Island trip.  Long summer days where we would go from dry canterbury plains to snow capped mountains within a few hours.  The color’s were magnificent browns and blues.  The amazing varied topography and mountain peaks is owed to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.  The disadvantage of this is the countries susceptibility to earthquakes. 

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The views on route to Akaroa.

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Mount Cook.

The icy blue rivers and lakes were breath taking and the beautiful beaches were often picture perfect.  Our only complaint for the west coast of the South Island would be the sand flies and mosquitoes.  We had been warned, but really was not prepared for how bad they were.  Although they can’t kill you they did a brilliant job at spoiling some of the most beautiful camping spots.  Like a miniature housefly thats been kept on a hunger strike and fed steroids, these little critters really could bite. 

However you could travel for miles and although you past many people it never once felt like there was lots of people around.  It felt so big yet in reality it is a small country.

The South Island has eighteen mountain peaks reaching over 3000 meters into the sky.   The highest of which is Mount Cook that stands at 3754 meters.  Although we didn’t actually go to the Fjord lands we believe this part of the South Island is absolutely spectacular.

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The Blue Pools.

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Whangarei Heads.

The North Island is less mountainous however has volcanoes and plateau’s.  It is with regret that we didn’t see as much as we had hoped to in the North Island.  However the rugged coastline, beautiful beaches and lush interior we did get to see gave us a little insight into its beauty.  I never associated New Zealand with a beautiful beach scene.  I was wrong, as the beach’s are stunning.  Even I can admit to having a swim.  The North Island is blessed with many close of shore Islands.  Although we saw very little of the sailing grounds, we could tell that it has a beauty that can draw you in.  I would say you could spend months if not years sailing around and still not see every bay and cove there is. 

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The Bay of Islands.

 

Perhaps thats what we’ll do the next time we are on this side of the world….we will get lost in the land of the long white cloud. 

Playing Catch Up.

I have been reminded over the last few days that its been a while since my last post.  So here I am playing catch up.  Over the next few days I will get those blog post typed up that I wrote whilst on passage or just after being in some of the most amazing locations on earth.  It’s all there, scribbled in my note pad waiting for me to take the time.  There is no time like the present.  The last few months have been hectic, super busy but once again amazing.  Internet connections haven’t always been good or cheap for that matter.  I guess you can’t have everything in Paradise. 

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Whilst I catch up….this is my view….I’m surrounded by concrete, its different but beautiful in a strange way.

Brazil.

The land of the Caipirinha, endless beautiful beaches and the smallest bikini’s imaginable. IMG_3128Our time here in Brazil has come to an end.  As I write this we are currently sitting in the most southern port of Brazil.  An industrial shipping and fishing port called Rio Grande.  It’s not exactly a pretty location, but its serving its purpose as we sit here on a small rickety fishing dock waiting for the notorious Pampero (Strong Southern Wind from Argentina) to blow through in the next few hours.

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Our arrival in the amazing city of Rio de Janeiro will be a memory that will last forever.  A beautiful sunny and hot day greeted us and the noise of the bustling city surrounded the marina.

IMG_3302Our three days spent in Rio was occupied with all the jobs that comes after an Atlantic crossing and an endless line of visitors.  So unfortunately apart from taking a quick trip up the Sugar Loaf to overlook the city by night and a quick tour of Copacabana beach, we didn’t get to see anything further.  IMG_2835Morgan reminds me that luckily we had done the touristy things nine years earlier…although I am not sure if I am quite satisfied with that.

 

From Rio we went to the beautiful area of Angra dos Reis, what a spectacular area it is when the sun shines.  I say when the sun shines, as the mountainous region seems to harbor every cloud within reach.  We stayed at the Valome Marina for the three weeks and carried out warranty work that rose during the Atlantic crossing.

However during that time we had a much needed week away from the boat where we spent it on the tranquil beautiful island of Ilha Grande.  This area is known as the jewel of the Brazilian South Coast.  The Island is surrounded by beautiful sheltered coves, gorgeous deserted beaches and stunning rain forest.IMG_3560

To spend the days relaxing on the beach or hiking into the rain forest was perfect after the last few busy months.  IMG_3653

 

 

 

 

Before we knew it time was gone, and with guest on board we cruised the Islands for a short week before finishing with a long weekend in Ilha Bella, the St Tropez of the Brazilian Islands.

So to say we have been to Brazil would be an understatement.  We have barely scratched the surface of the best of the cruising area in lightening time.

However the small glimpse of the real Brazil reminds you of the great diversity of this country and makes you thankful for what you have.IMG_3453

‘It’s moments like these that fuels our dreams.’

Tomorrow we continue our journey South……..Ciao Brazil.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil.

Our three day stay in Fernando de Noronha was short and sweet. We had been there before together only last year on route from Capetown to the USA.  However its always nice to return to a place of such beauty and simplicity.

Fernando is located 300 miles of the main land coast of Brazil.  The island is made up of the main island which is 17km2 and around twenty small islands, islets and rocks.  From miles off shore the 323m Morro de Pico can be seen.IMG_2639

A fair majority of the island and its surrounding waters is a national park.  There is an abundance of wildlife.  Clearly seen from the anchorage was schools and schools of dolphins that played playfully in the area and sea turtles that didn’t seem at all phased by the activity around them.IMG_2648

Ashore life is simple and slow.IMG_2677  You have to remember your on island time.  The population is around 1600.  The locals are friendly and welcoming.  Everyone gets around on scooters or buggy’s, some of which have definitely seen their days.IMG_2682

In years gone by the island was used to isolate political prisoners and then during the second world war it became a military base.  Today Fernando seems to tick by on fishing and local tourism.IMG_2717

One of the main attractions on the island is the amazingly stunning beaches with their clean white sand and warm clear enticing waters.

Fernando de Noronha one of Brazil’s best kept secrets.IMG_2663