About The Trip

About The Trip

I'm joining my friends Tony & Margaret, owners of the graceful sailboat "Joalea" to be be part of the crew for the next sailing adventure:  Crossing the Pacific Ocean from Panama starting in April, 2015

I was lucky enough to sail the Caribbean Sea with them for many years, visiting all the beautiful islands from Spanish, US, British Virgin islands to the Lesser Antilles. (Which are a long arc of small islands in the Caribbean Sea extending in a north-south direction from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad and then in an east-west direction from Margarita to Aruba off the northern coast of Venezuela).

"Joalea" just crossed the Panama Canal in late February, 2015 from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Now awaiting her crew to sail further to the French Polynesian Islands,  "The Jewel of World"

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Travel Blog

  • Tahuata May 12, 2015


    Tahuata island is about 20nm south of Hiva Oa. Easy sailing across the 2.5nm width of Canal du Bordelais the wind and sea usually more intense between the high islands but we had a comfortable sailing all the way to the Hanmoenoa bay. Not to many white sandy bay with turquoise water can be found in the Marquesas Islands. The series of three small sandy bay with palm trees behind are very special. We had a beach day, chat with some local boys, tasted the sweet giant pomplem… some of them were bigger that a melon. The locals invited us for spear fishing for the next day.
    The following morning I took a long kayak tour to see all of the small bays around. It was a peaceful paddling, specially when I was followed by some curious fish.

    Day 3

    The island has about 600 inhabitants, with the principal villages of Vaitahu and Hapatoni on the west coast. The centre of the island has a 1500 foot mountain chain
    From our sandy bay, Hapatoni was about 30 minutes sailing, not even enough to catch a fish.
    It is an impressive bay with its shooting up ridges and coconut palm trees.

    Close to the shore, the big under water boulders with some coral formation and the colourful tropical fishes made my snorchaling longer than usual.
    However, the highlight of the day was when Tony noticed a pod of spinning Dolphins nearby.
    Immediately We jumped into the dingy and head out to get closer to them and their show begun. What a show off! We were in the middle of two dozens of dolphins jumping up and air spinning, swimming beside and under of us. One almost missed her jump and ended up in our dingy. The fun lasted about 30 minutes, we were traveling with them all the way out of the bay.


  • HEAVEN ON EARTH May 7, 2015

    As we approached Fatu Hiva yesterday afternoon we were surrounded by a pod of happy dolphins and theirs entertainment lasted until we had the island on our beam. It was time to reel the fishing line in. As I stepped to the reel all of a sudden the line started running. What a last minutes excitement. Couple minutes later a skip jack tuna was on the deck.
    We instantly felt the hart warming welcoming and an offering from the island.

    In the first half of the day our energy was consumed by scrubbing the boat inside and out. The girls did the inside and the boys the outside. We left the Galápagos Island with sparkling boat and now we were doing over time cleanning the stainless from the heavily burned on salt.
    Time to time we had some visit from the nearby anchored sailers for a short story exchange and from some locals small homey restaurant owners for dinner invitation. Most of the sailers were pleased with the meal and with the bill as well. It is cost about US$10-$15 per person a buffet like dinner.

    Fatu Hiva is the most beautiful, unspoiled sustainable island in the Marquesas with its heavy rainfall and lash vegetation. Population of 600 descends of Polynesian tribes. The central range of the mountains stretches from north to south peaking up to 3150 feet at the south end. The eastern side is steep and pounded by heavy surf. Only the west side of the island is usable for anchorage. We anchored at Hanavave bay. There is an other small bay south of it called Omoa Baie .
    Hanavave or “Baie des Vierges” (used to be called) is one of the most breathtaking bay in the world (in my opinion) with its rocky spires near to the head of the bay is the prominent features. The south side and beyond the steep side of mountains covered by towering coconut palm trees and vivid green vegetation, creates a spectacular view for the arrival sailers.
    The interior of the island offers great hiking.

    We only hiked to the Hanavave waterfall. On our first attempt, we got discouraged by the fact that there were no signs or directions. Fortunately on the way back we met with some young Norwegian sailers who were able to read the universal signs the stone formation (small stone on top of each other). It turned out by following those signs through the lush valley bordered by red hibiscus bushes and filled with banana, mango, passion fruit trees was an easy enjoyable walk. The last part of the hike was more of a vertical hike up to the 200 feet of magnificent waterfall. We were tired and hot from the afternoon sun and heat. The temperature must had been way over 30C and by walking under the canopy of the rain forest every step felt heavier. The refreshing spray of the fall with the deep pond below immediately called for a cooling down swim. Some of the boys were testing their luck by jumping off from 15 meter high cliffs fortunately all survived the afternoon. On the way back we all exchanged stories. It turned out that they had been sailing from Norway on a 32 feet sailboat since graduated from university and heading to Australia. Such a fine young man.

    After we returned to our boat late afternoon we didn’t even have time for a refreshment because of the giant manta rays were feeding in our bay. Jessica and I jumped into the water Tony took the dingy and we all followed the manta rays. They were such a playful giants some of them were at least 15 feet wide. It was intimidating at the beginning when they were swimming strait to me with an open mouth and in the last second turned away. What an unforgettable show and I was part of it. My head was spinning when five of them approached me at the same time and dancing all around me on their own way. Tony and Margaret witnessed the show from the deck of the boat.
    After day like that, I felt like haven on earth.


  • LAND AHOY May 6, 2015

    We left San Cristobal Island on April 20 at 1630 and now we can not wait to spot the towering peek of Fatu Hiva. It’s been 16 days on the sea watching the horizon, the sunrises and sunsets. Sound boring but every day was a new, excited day. We budgeted minimum of 25 days for that leg, according to most of the Blogs on the net.
    Fortunately all worked out well between Bob the NZ weather router’s recommendation and his update, compared to the GRIB file what we had been downloaded from the net through Iridium satellite phone time to time. For the combination of both and Tony’s constant keeping close aye on the chart and instrument made this time a reality.
    Please click page “waypoints” to see the waypoint and the route.

    However on the fishing department the luck had chosen the fishes at this time. The number of fish what we lost on this leg had out numbered what we caught. We lost 12 and caught 4 plus 1 fish head the rest of it’s body was stolen by a shark, poor Jessica, it would have been her trophy. I think the size of the fish are to big for our equipment and ability to keep them.

    At 1330 ( UTC-9.5 Marquesas time) Margaret’s voice broke the quietness “Land Ahoy!”
    18.5 nautical mile ahead of us the contour of the island appeared out of the light cloud.
    What a happy moment! After traveling 3132nm from the Galápagos Island and we were dead on the target.

    “LAND AHOY!” At 1330 (UTC-9.5) The contour of Fatu Hiva the most souther island of Marquesas appeared, after sailing 4100nm from Panama.

  • Felice Cinco de Mayo May 5, 2015

    Since, we all spent several years in Playa del Carmen Mexico, taking a break from sailing,
    “Hoy” (today) calls for celebration! Because today is the Independents day of Mexico.
    We caught a 20 pounds of “Atun” yesterday, just before the sun went down so our dinner menu is set for tonight.
    Tuna sashimi as an appetizer with a nicely chilled chardonnay, followed by pan fried tuna steaks with fresh salad (still from Panama kept well) and a bottle of full body Cabernet Sauvignon to finish it up.

    We enjoyed the dinner so much, it was done to perfection, with a kick of Cabernet we started reminiscing about pass, followed by old stories and lots of lough. What a great evening.
    Jessica shared her delicious Easter chocolate with us, even thou Eastern was long gone it tasted just as good as Easter Bunny had brought it to us last night.
    The sunset was spectacular that night, the sun painted the edge of the grey clouds orange, as she sunk below the horizon we were covered by a blanket of darkness, waiting for the moon turn the light on again.

    Only 171 nautical miles to to go to Fatu Hiva the most souther islands of Marquesas. We sailed close to 4000nm from Panama and could not wait to set feet on land again.


  • Marquesas Islands Ahead May 3, 2015

    Today is Sunday Margaret forgot to make Sunday breakfast, well everyday seams to be a Sunday on the boat, the calendar lost its meanings on the passage, only the remaining mileages ahead of us counts. We have 640 nautical miles ahead of us to reach the Marquesas Islands. Apparently they are spectacular, those are high volcanicly formed islands, their sharp outlines are clearly visible from about 20nm.

    I started envisioning our arrival. What would give me the highest pleasure when we get there, stepping on terra firma and being mesmerized by the beauty of the islands or finally shaving off my long beard, would give me the ultimate arrival pleasure. I made an announcement the night before we left Galápagos that I skip shaving until we get the Marquesas Islands. That was an easy promise, now I’m paying for it.


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The Sailboat "Joalea"

JoaleaJOALEA is a 2010 Hylas Raised Salon. The highly regarded Hylas 54 designed by German Frers is one of the premier semi-custom quality performance cruising yachts in the world.  
Joalea (2) 003

JOALEA is a 2010 Hylas Raised Salon.

The highly regarded Hylas 54 designed by German Frers is one of the premier semi-custom quality performance cruising yachts in the world.

Hull #59 was the last of the Hylas 54’s built offering a luxurious 3-stateroom interior arrangement featuring contemporary style varnished teak woodwork with custom details, large navigation center and galley, full width master suite aft, two guest cabins forward and spacious salon amidships. The raised main salon provides a bright, airy living area
with settee to port and straight settee to starboard. DSC_0122 DSC_0119 DSC_0097 DSC_0077 DSC_0074 DSC_0696 The exterior very strong Hylas 54′ fiberglass hull is reinforced with Twaron (similar to Kevlar used in bullet proof vests). On deck there is a comfortable cockpit, wide side decks and a raised salon trunk cabin with large fixed windows and multiple deck hatches and stainless opening ports. The transom has wide built-in steps and swim platform with hot and cold shower and drop down swim ladder. Her long list of builder options includes: Fischer Panda 8KW generator and three zone Cruise Air reverse cycle air conditioning, Selden Electrofurl mainmast, Antal electric primary winches and Side power bow thruster. JOALEA is registered in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. How did JOALEA’s name come about with a Portuguese good luck rooster? We were sitting around the dining room table with family members July 1st Canada day and were trying to come up with a good name for our brand new purchase that would be meaningful to the two of us. There were many ideas given of which some names we wouldn’t dare mention. Then we had a very special thought both of our parents had passed away at the same time and are resting in the same special place and we believe they were instrumental in us coming together. Tony’s father’s name JOAO and Margaret’s mother’s name LEONA, thus JOALEA came about.

As the Legend of the Barcelos Cockerel goes…

A pilgrim was leaving Barcelos on his way to Santiago de Compostela when he was accused of stealing silver from the landowner. For his alleged crime, he was sentenced to death by hanging.

He prayed to Our Lady and St James, the patron Saint for Protection, that justice be done. As a final effort to save himself, the prisoner pleaded for a meeting with the judge. The judge was about to tuck into his roast cockerel, when the pilgrim said to the judge that as proof of his innocence, the cockerel would stand up on the plate and crow three times. The judge ignored the pilgrim’s claim and pushed aside his meal. But, as the pilgrim was hanged, the cockerel jumped up and crowed. Realizing his mistake, the judge rushed to the gallows and found that the pilgrim had miraculously survived due to a loose knot. According to the legend, the pilgrim returned many years later to carve the Cruzeiro do Senhor do Galowhich is now housed in the Museu Arqueologico in Barcelos. Of course there are many variations and embellishments to this Portuguese legend, but the Rooster from Barcelos has become one of the national symbols of Portugal and is said to represent faith, justice and good luck.  

"Joalea" Sailing the World