Feasts and friendliness – post by Deb

rapa5The island of Rapa is ruggedly beautiful with jagged green peaks surrounding a large bay.  Atop the ridges are the remains of twelve ancient forts built by the old tribes of Rapa, who according to legend, were fierce warriors who waged constant war against one other.  George Vancouver, the first European to “discover” the island in 1791 (small world), estimated that there were about 2,000 inhabitants at the time.  After the missionaries arrived in the mid nineteenth century with their western diseases, the population plummeted to a few hundred.  Today, there are 500 residents who pretty much live off the bounty of the land.   Continue reading “Feasts and friendliness – post by Deb”

Sailing to Rapa Iti – post by Deb

We left Auckland on May 30th, sailing east towards Rapa in the Iles Australis.  It was surreal to watch the city lights disappear on the horizon – hard to believe that the time had finally come to begin our journey.  The weather forecast showed two low pressure systems building, so we sailed southeast to avoid them.  The first few days were slow going due to light winds, but it picked up by day four, so that we were able to average about 150 nautical miles per day.  We headed northeast, hoping to catch the coat tails of the storm and ride them east (low pressure systems rotate clockwise in the southern hemisphere). The winds and seas got progressively bigger and we found ourselves in the middle of a 420 mile wide gale.  No skirting this one unfortunately.

sailingtorapa Continue reading “Sailing to Rapa Iti – post by Deb”

Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb

WildlifeWe’ve spent the last three weeks sailing around the Hauraki Gulf, just off the coast from Auckland.  We visited several islands, doing day hikes and enjoying the diverse birdlife (from little blue penguins to songbirds).  One of the islands, Tiritiri, was reverted to its natural state through years of volunteer effort eradicating non-native species and replanting over 280,000 indigenous trees. Continue reading “Exploring the Hauraki Gulf – post by Deb”

The story so far – post by Deb

It’s been an exciting and hectic six weeks in New Zealand.  Getting Illusion ready for the journey has been a journey in itself. We’ve come a long way, with many milestones to show for it: Continue reading “The story so far – post by Deb”