CORMORANT's Home Page

A new homepage and updates.                    Scroll to the end for the Dec. 2007 update

 

Links which may be interesting:

Our original web page--the cruise from 1997-2000, our story, and data about the boat 

Our Asanvari power project (July/August in Vanuatu) 

Link to our new page--Cormorant in Vaunuau 

Harry's train club--the Whangarei Steam and Model Railway Club

 Follow our position and weather condidtions when we are underway. Look for ID AB0T, vessel Cormorant.

 

 Us, in beautiful New Zealand

 

 

 newly refinished floor

 

 

 

 

 

 with Laura and Doug on the motel balcony at Te Anau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 CORMORANT at sea--photo taken by the NZ customs plane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            MusketCove, Fiji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   fully restored and on the rails

 

                  in progress

 

    Jane having fun on the jigger

 

    the hydro power station

 

 

  

 

This map does not go as far west as Singapore, but the line stops at about the Kumai River in Borneo.  From there, it was another 500+ miles to the NW, through the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    policewoman Vicki, who     cleared us in and welcomed us to Lord Howe

 

 

    riding Segways in Honolulu

 

the start of the Sydney-Hobart on Boxing Day.  No place for a cruising boat like ours!

 

 

 

   Tasmanian devil--not a pet!

    cliffs near Tasman Island

 

 

 

    Ken and Janet with us in  Vanuatu

 

    Ken and Harry climbing Cook's Look at Lizard Island
 

 

 

 

 

 

    saltwater crocodile--a 100% efficient hunter

 

 

    Aboriginal rock art in the Kakadu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Follow the link to the "Cormorant in Vanuatu" page for details of the hydro project and our 2006 cruise there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

The Voyage of Cormorant 

 

In 1997, Harry and Jane moved aboard our Corbin 39 CORMORANT.  In November, we left Annapolis, Maryland, USA with no plans but to cruise wherever we wanted, stay if we wanted, and to continue "as long as it is fun."

 

JANUARY 4, 2009:  We are in Phuket, Thailand right now and are planning on leaving tomorrow to cross the Indian Ocean and go up the Red Sea.  2008 was a year of Southeast Asia sailing and two trips to the USA for family visits.  We'll post lots of new stories and photos after we reach the Med.

  Finally, an update from CORMORANT (2006)

No, we have not fallen off the edge of the earth, or quit cruising, or gone senile (or at least we don't think so).  We just got busy with boat work and enjoying life.  We are still doing boat work and enjoying life, but lots of folks have asked us to update our web page, so here it is.

Our last update was in 2000, just after arriving in New Zealand.  We spent the southern hemisphere summer cruising in the boat and traveling by land exploring New Zealand.  We loved the people, the scenery, and the culture, and when we found out that we could qualify for a permanent residency visa, we decided to try it.  We don't know for sure where we will "settle", if we ever do, but we love New Zealand and thought it would be nice to have that option when the time comes.  Since you have to apply before you turn 55, and only Jane was still young enough, we had to do it right away.  We did get approved, and it is a long drawn-out story, but the important thing is that on Nov.9, 2005, we passed the final hurdle and got our indefinite permanent resident visa in our passports.  Yea!

MAJOR REFIT OF CORMORANT, and NEW ZEALAND LIFE 2001-2003

 CORMORANT was hauled out in March of 2001 while we returned to the US for a long family visit.  When we got back to New Zealand in August, we found out that our blister repair done in Puerto Rico in 1999 had actually created problems rather than curing them.  With the help of Alan Dodds of Osmosys in Whangarei, we peeled the bottom and waited for her to dry.  And we waited.  And we waited.  Meanwhile, we fixed or replaced almost everything else we could--varnished all the interior wood, rebuilt the hatches, had a stern arch built, new stanchions, new sails, rebuilt the anchor windlass, moved the anchor chain locker aft into the old bow water tank, invented and installed a "remote, no hands on chain" anchor chain flaker, had interior wood joinery done including a computer drawer, new battery boxes (AGMs), and the interior steps redone to make 3 equal height steps.  The bottom did finally dry and Alan put on new layers of cloth with vinyl ester resin, faired the bottom far better than the original, and coved the aft end of the skeg and rounded the forward end of the rudder to cure the chatter we had from the old flat gap.  Lots of layers of epoxy followed.  Then it was into the paint shed for new hull paint and windows. 

By the time all this was finished, it was already mid-July of 2002, and we realized we had not sea tested all the changes.  So we decided not to make the sail up to the islands so late--there was still a lot of New Zealand to see.  Great Barrier Island, 50 miles east of Auckland, for 3 wonderful weeks in September was our favorite, but it was all good.  We had real Kiwi Christmas celebrations each year with our friends Sue and Noel Wordsworth and their family.  We were in Auckland for the beginning of the Louis Vuitton Cup races to determine the challenger for the 2003 America's Cup, and we spent the summer on the Coromandel Peninsula at the Whitianga Marina.   The marina is small and we were one of only 2 cruising yachts there.  We did lots of hiking in the surrounding hills, including a memorable one on which the trail went through an old gold mine tunnel for about a half mile.  Jane's parents came for a visit in February, and we traveled around North Island and South Island, with plenty of time for relaxing too.  We found out about getting 2 bedroom units in motels (in New Zealand, "motel" means a place to stay which has a full kitchen) and stayed in some fabulous places.  All four of us agreed that it was the best trip ever.


FIJI, NEW CALEDONIA, AND VANUATU             May-Nov 2003

3 days on the sea anchor... 

The one question everyone asks is "have you been in any bad, scary weather".  We always say no, not really, but our trip north this year came as close as we want to get.  It had been 2 1/2 years since we made an ocean passage, and although coastal New Zealand cruising is often a challenge--winds of 20-25 are "normal"--we were out of practice for a long passage.  When we left, we chose the back of a low, as is conventional wisdom in New Zealand.  The back of a low brings SW winds to speed the passage north into tropical waters.  As the high fills in, the winds should go around SE and hopefully you are up to the trade wind belt around 25-30 degrees S.  Unfortunately, we were hoping to make a lot of easting and get to Niue, which is back across the dateline from New Zealand.  The high moved quickly and then stalled and became quite strong, so we got steady winds from the NE, our preferred direction of travel, and they were consistently at 25-35 knots.  It was uncomfortable, we were not making our course, and the seas were getting bigger and bigger because of the length of time the winds stayed high and the size of the area they covered.  Both are major factors in raising big seas.  We really have no idea how high the seas were, but lots of boats were reporting to Russell Radio that they were hove to.  Then, at about midnight during Harry's watch on our 3rd night out, he looked up to see a huge wave, way higher than our boat.  He had time to hold on but not much else.  The wave broke over the boat with a tremendous crash, some water came below, and we came close to a knock-down.  Jane woke up quickly and after we checked to see that we both were OK and that the boat was fine too, we hove to so we could rest and think.  We were both tired and the weather seemed to be stationary.  At dawn we decided that, although we were in no danger and the boat was riding well, this would be a good time to try the sea anchor we have been carrying around and that we had even made the effort to rig for sea deployment from the cockpit before we left New Zealand.  It was easy to deploy, feeding out and filling just like the descriptions said.  All of a sudden, it was quiet and calm.  WOW.  We experimented some with a bridle (no good for our boat) and some chain at the bow end of the line to eliminate the worry about chafe.  We still kept watches because there were other boats and ships out there, but it was very relaxed and we were able to rest and recover.  The only problem with using the sea anchor was that we really had to wait until the seas went down in order to retrieve it easily, so we were on it three days.  To get it back, we put on our wet suits for working on the deck, put out about 50 feet of chain on the end of the rode to make sure it stayed well under the keel (and out of the prop), and then motored up to the float on the trip line.  It tripped easily and we hauled it in.  In all, it took about 3 hours, but it was not difficult.  Then we sailed on north, still as close to the NE wind as we could get but still not making a course to either Nuie or Tonga.  Finally, we made Minerva Reef, an open ocean anchorage at about 25 degrees south.  It is about a mile in diameter and about 60' deep.  Only one area has coral heads close to the surface.  In most of the reef you can anchor behind the coral reef on the windward side and easily move as the wind changes.  

 On to the Islands...

We had lots of wet clothes to wash and the sea anchor to wash and put away.  Sleep was a priority too.  Still, the wind blew from the NE at 25, and we stayed rocking at anchor within the circle of the reef.  Jane even put another two coats of varnish on the galley cabinets, and still the wind blew from the NE at 25.  Finally, after 10 days, we did what we should have done about 2 days into the trip.  We decided to leave and sail to whatever island we could without beating.  So we missed Niue, we missed Tonga, we missed Savu Savu in Eastern Fiji, and we arrived and cleared in at Lautoka, Fiji exactly 28 days after we cleared out of New Zealand.  Major lesson learned?  Stay flexible and change your destination if conditions make another one more favorable.

In fact, in this season's cruise, we went to Fiji when we set off for Niue, we set off for New Caledonia from Fiji and ended up in Vanuatu, and then we went to New Caledonia when we left Vanuatu for New Zealand and the weather didn't look right.  We did leave from New Cal for New Zealand and make it as planned, and we had a wonderful sail back south.

NEW ZEALAND       Whangarei Steam and Model Railway Club, and Harry's project to restore an old cattle wagon

Most of Harry's time and much of Jane's in 2005-2006 was taken up by Harry's train project.  Like most projects, he started it thinking it would be rather small and something he could start, finish, and feel good about.  However, it is not an exaggeration to say that he has spent at least 2 full days a week on it since August 2005, and since the first of March it has been every day.  The process of taking a rusty metal shell of a train car and rebuilding all the working parts--wheel hubs, brakes, etc.--and also designing and painting and cutting and bolting in all the wood parts is a very BIG project.  The club raised over $13,000 for the restoration, mostly from the Whangarei District Council and the Lotteries Grants Board.  With the help of almost everyone in the club at one stage or another, the top photo to the left was taken as the wagon rolled at Live Day, April 30, 2006.

The cattle wagon was originally built by New Zealand Railways from British plans dating from the 1920's.  The H Class cattle wagon was gifted to the club at the end of its useful economic life.  In its restored state it has the capacity to carry approximately 25 people seated on benches along the sides of the wagon.  The boards of the upper walls are removable to provide windows for the human cargo--a feature not offered to the original passengers, who no doubt held only one-way tickets to the freezing works. For more information, follow the link at the top of this page.

 


VANUATU                                                               

We fell in love with the place on our 2003 cruise, went back in 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 spent the entire season there on the hydroelectric project.  For all the details about that special place and our Vanuatu experiences--the best cruising in the South Pacific--

Harry gets adopted and becomes a chief-- we help build a village boat--and then we are install a micro-hydroelectric power project. 

 See the Vanuatu page for the details and our 2006 cruise there.  Follow the link to Cormorant in Vanuatu   and also the link to the hydro project at www.polari.com/asanvari.htm

 

 

2006-2007

SEPTEMBER 2006 IN NEW CALEDONIA, THEN via LORD HOWE ISLAND TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA.  MARCH TO JULY WE SAILED SYDNEY TO DARWIN, THEN ACROSS THROUGH INDONESIA TO SINGAPORE.

After the entire cruising season spent in the anchorage at Asanvari Village, Maewo Island, Vanuatu (look just above the map for the links to the details), we sailed via the Loyalty Islands to Noumea in New Caledonia, where we waited a week or so for a good enough weather "window" for the open ocean passage to Lord Howe Island.  We must have gotten more used to this cruising/sailing life, because after the passage we wrote an email and said "we had a wonderful passage--mostly good sailing with only one near gale, just 13 hours or so of winds over 30 knots and practically on the nose".  Before our years in New Zealand, the mere prospect of that was terrifying.  We still don't like it, but we know our boat is strong and we can get through it. 

LORD HOWE ISLAND 12 wonderful days...

Lord Howe is part of Australia, so we were able to clear customs and quarantine there.  It is a world heritage area, with high mountains and the southernmost coral reef in the world.  Anchoring is forbidden and most of the lagoon is too shallow anyway, so they have placed a few moorings in the deepest holes.  Since we arrived very early in the cruising season, we got one and were able to stay.  It was rough at high tide, but worth it.  We hiked, rode bikes, explored the palm forests, saw lots of wildlife, and enjoyed the quiet, laid-back atmosphere.  

SYDNEY 

After a 4 day good weather passage we sailed past the imposing Sydney Heads just after dawn.  Then we waited until after rush hour so the bridge over Middle Harbour could be raised, and we motored up the narrow arm to Cammeray Marina, which would be our home base for the next 4 months.  

We had planned a military "Space-Available" trip back to the USA for a week later, but a flight came up and within 48 hours we were on our way--the only 2 civilians on a KC-10 tanker from Sydney to Hawaii.  We had a wonderful trip seeing family, and on our return got "stuck" in Hawaii over Pearl Harbor day, waiting to get a flight back.  It takes time to travel space-a, but it is certainly no hardship.

Back in Sydney by early December, we learned our way around the buses and trains and ferries--we bought weekly passes so sometimes we just rode for the fun of it.  We liked taking the ferry to the end of each line and just seeing what was there.  This is the famous Bondi Beach, pronounced "Bond-I", with the I as in the personal pronoun.  We spent so much time at the Maritime Museum that we joined, and signed up to go our on the replica of Cook's ship, the Endeavour, to see the start of the famous Sydney to Hobart sailboat race.  Then we took our own boat around to anchor in Farm Cove, just off the Opera House, for the New Year's Eve fireworks.  WOW!

TASMANIA 

The day before we were going to leave to sail the boat to Tasmania, we decided to go via air and car instead--unless we wanted to stay an extra year in Australia, there just wasn't enough time to wait for weather and still be able to enjoy Tasmania.  It turned out to be an excellent choice, since we had 3 full weeks of touring the island, and with 4000 miles still ahead of us to sail from Sydney to Singapore, more would have just been too much.   

In Tassie, the best part was catching up with cruising friends Mal and Mieke, on the yacht Moonwatch, whom we first met at Great Barrier Island in New Zealand, Sept. 2002.  They have a beautiful home on the Derwent River in Hobart, and we made our base with them for one week of our stay.  (When we reached Darwin, they came to travel in the territory with us and stay on Cormorant.)  We drove completely around the island, rode every train (of course), and took harbour cruises (of course), and even an airplane trip into the remote area around Port Davey. 

UP THE COAST AND "OVER THE TOP"

 From March to July, we had a great time sailing and exploring coastal Australia, but with so far to go in so little time, we were constantly having to plan ahead.  We did get a full week in the KuranGai park off Broken Bay, in Port Stephens, at "Bum's Bay" near Southport, and up the Brisbane River, tied up to city moorings right off the Botanic Gardens.  We caught crabs in our traps, refreshed our varnish, and enjoyed the cruising life.  After a quick trip to New Zealand to see friends and renew our Australia visas, we returned for a quick haul-out and then a resumption of the northward sail.  Always downwind, we got proficient again at sailing wing on wing.  Sometimes, when the wind was 25 knots or more--which was often--we jib sailed comfortably.  The best part of these long legs of the trip was that we kept meeting up with our good friends Ken and Janet on Aquila.  We thought we had said good-bye in Scarborough, since they were going the South Africa route, but we ended up together in lots of places from Cairns to Darwin.

One memorable day we spent with them was on a nature safari in the Daintree, led by David Armbrust.  For lots of pictures and descriptions of his trip, google his name and Australia Natural History Safari.  The animals are his friends and come right up to his visitors.  Since he limits the tour to 4 people maximum, it is truly a personal experience. 

DARWIN 

After a fantastic sail over the top (through the Torres Strait, across the top of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and on to Darwin), we arrived in Darwin and had our anchor down well before 7 in the evening on the fourth of July.  We hit the currents just right and averaged close to 8 knots for the day, some 100 miles in just 14 hours.

We had signed up for the 2007 Sail Indonesia Rally, mostly to make sure we got all our paperwork done and cleared with the hassles and corruption of Indonesia.  The rally was to leave on July 22, so we had a couple of weeks to get visas and do the final provisioning.

But, it was not to be.


A DETOUR BACK TO BRISBANE...

On our second day in Darwin, Harry's enlarged prostate decided to block everything up, so we ended up in the emergency room at Darwin Hospital.  Temporary relief was wonderful, but surgery would be necessary--and he could have an appointment with a GP in two weeks.  It seemed there was not a single urologist in the entire Northern Territory!  Our cruising friends came to the rescue.  Wilhelm and Angela, from Germany, were traveling together with our friends Ken and Janet.  Twenty years ago, they had an exchange student live with them in Germany.  Now she is a doctor in Brisbane.  So, a call to her from them, then she called us on the boat for a phone consult.  She arranged for the best urologist at the best hospital in Brisbane to see Harry on Wednesday morning.  It was now Saturday afternoon, and our boat was at anchor, there was no room in any marina because of the rally, and there were no flights out of Darwin for a week because of school holidays.  

By Monday morning, Ken and Janet had helped us get the boat into the marina slip we begged for and at 11am we were on the Greyhound bus for the 22 hour trip to Alice Springs.  Then via air to Sydney and then Brisbane, but we made it, saw the surgeon, and got everything arranged.  The surgery was a success, and a couple of weeks later we were back on the boat and Harry was regaining strength.  Mal and Mieke came for a visit, and we did a 4 day camping trip into Kakadu, Litchfield, and the Katherine Gorge.  Then on 22 August, we checked out of Australia and sailed to Indonesia.

INDONESIA

 Our main interest was to see the Komodo dragons of Rinca and Komodo Islands, and to go up the Kumai River in Borneo to visit Birute Galdikas' Orangutan Rehabilitation Project.  We did both.  


We have no photos of the dragons, because they are so scary that we stayed on the boat and observed with binoculars!  But we were lucky enough to see two very large ones mating on the beach and to see lots of smaller ones.  Their saliva is so full of toxic bacteria that, if they don't actually kill the prey outright, they die within two days.  No beach barbeques for us.

Kumai was all we hoped for and more.  We spent three nights in the preserve on a "slow boat", sleeping on the top under mosquito netting and listening to the sounds of the jungle.  By day, we saw orangutans both at the feeding stations in the rehabilitation area, and also in the wild.  There were the funny looking proboscis monkeys, with their Jimmy Durante noses and long, silky looking tails; lots of long tail macaques jumped from tree to tree and squabbled in the early morning at the water's edge; hornbills flew overhead, crocodiles sunned themselves on the banks, and our necks were sore from searching the trees. 

We were still about 600 miles from Singapore, so cleared out of the country, set off down the river, and sailed.  

SINGAPORE

These are the busiest shipping channels of the world, and we were glad to have our new AIS receiver, which put little images of every ship on our chart.  At one point, we had over 100 ships less than 10 miles from our location--and that doesn't even count all the local boats and tugs and tows without AIS.  But we made it, and on October 1, 2007, we tied up at Raffles Marina in Singapore.  We lived in Singapore from 1989-91 and have many fond memories, and we are having a great time exploring again.  After a trip back to the US to see family and friends--and go to Harry's 45th high school class reunion--we have moved to the new One 15 Marina on Sentosa Island, so we are close to the city and all the fantastic food at the various food courts.

Plans for the coming year?  We never know for sure, but probably we'll be off to Malaysia in January, then on to Thailand and back to Malaysia and maybe back to Singapore and then....          Perhaps leaving for the Red Sea and the Med. in Jan. 2009 ???