Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Coming to the end of this blog

Well, I am sorry it took so long time to publish the last photos. I have spent the last few days just winding down. This has been a great trip for me, and I couldn't have made it without my fellow crewmembers, and since I only had two, you all know who they are. Thanks HÃ¥kan and Jenny! Maiken proved to be a great boat, and I hope to take good care of her in the future. Thanks for reading this blog and follow our way across the Pacific, and if you need to contact me you can always reach me on my email; fredrikfransson@yahoo.com

Take care,


The last set of pictures

Checking out of Fiji in Lautoka

Jenny speeding toward the Malolola pass before the sun set

Leaving the mainland of Fiji behind us

It was rock and roll during our first couple of days aboard

Sunsets means a lot when you are doing a passage

Fresh fish makes good sashimi

Whales! - it is almost impossible to get good photos of them

Flying the Q flag together with the Australian (and the mainsail still looks good)

The last bottle of champagne to celebrate the birth of Dorian and Sally's daughter

It was a windy morning when we made landfall

Staying at the quarantine dock in Manly to clear into the country

Our friend Simon came with bubbly and seafood to welcome us to Scarborough

Well, Jenny's friends brought up the "a tomato for dinner" incident, so I had to make her a proper meal for her last night

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Getting situated in Brisbane

The coffee is brewing and a new day is slowly beginning in Brisbane. It feels a bit strange not have to look ahead anymore, this is where I will stay for a while. The trip over from Fiji was a mixed bag filled with sailing conditions from every part of the spectrum. After a hard night with no sleep we navigated the entrance to Moreton Bay in heavy headwinds with some big waves. The conditions changed to the better when we got close to Manly where we checked in. I really liked the Manly area, so maybe I will keep my boat there in the future. The marinas here are very nice and they make it easy to be liveaboard. Scarborough Marina, where Maiken is situated right now is also very nice, so I will be here at least until I know more about my future here. They have great shellfish here and the shrimp trawlers are coming back into the docks close to Maiken every morning with the good stuff. I had to learn to drive on the wrong (left) side of the road yesterday, with Jenny looking a bit tense at times. I will write some more soon when I have sorted out an address and phone number for me, so you will have a chance to get in contact with me in the future. I have got a lot of positive feedback from having this blog, so I am considering starting another one about my new life here in Australia. If you have been a regular reader on this blog please let me know if you are interested in the new blog, write to yacht-maiken@hotmail.com or fredrikfransson@yahoo.com. I will post pictures later today or tomorrow, so please check back.

Take care,


Monday, October 02, 2006

We've made it!

It is eerily quiet, it is strangely still. Maiken is moored at a marina in Brisbane. The last few days have been quite a study in contrasts. Saturday was the day of the whales. Humpback whales everywhere (well we saw 5 of them in a very short space of time). Freddie jumped up the ratlines with his camera and started pointing where we should go (the winds were non existent so we were motoring). It was the opposite of normal cruising - where you only very occasionally swap direction - I was "doing doughnuts" round whales - cool. After the 4th sighting when I saw another Freddie didn't even bother to come on deck he just told me not to hit it. So whales had become just one more hard thing to avoid.

That afternoon we drank the bottle of champagne we'd been saving for the birth of our friends baby. We've since found out that little Maya was born around this time - congratulations Sally and D - she's gorgeous.

So the idea was that we'd just slowly head towards the Brisbane channel - arrive there at dawn and then spend the day motoring up. Great plan but it didn't account for the early arrival of a quite UNNECESSARY "weather event", with lightning, howling winds, choppy seas and fishing trawlers. Freddie said it's the first time he's had all sails down and we were still making 5 knots. So after 9 days of beautiful weather it was a little reminder about how lucky we'd been. It took us from 8am to 4pm to reach the Manly marina. 4pm on a lovely Sunday afternoon - everybody in Brisbane who owned a boat was out and heading home to Manly marina. There were kids in little dinghys, motorboats, a zillion yachts. Go away silly people, we're sleep deprived gnarly sea dogs and we don't want to bother with the likes of you. Happily we made it without hitting any of them. Another boat had just cleared in (customs and quarantine) so we didn't have to wait for the officials to arrive. We could have waited half a day and checked in without paying a fee (because we arrived on a Sunday) but the lure of a cold beer and steak was too strong. We were still operating on Maiken time though - and were asleep by about 8pm.

Yesterday we moved up to Scarborough marina and caught up with our good friend Simon. Freddie was a little taken aback when Simon's wife Jane called to say that there was a snake in their caravan and she didn't want to go to sleep there. Welcome to Australia Freddie - now the real adventures start!


Friday, September 29, 2006

The Monster from the Deep

26deg21.178S 155deg30.471E

One day we're going to arrive in Brisbane, a few days ago we thought it would be Saturday, yesterday with the light (non existent) winds we realised it would probably be Sunday. Who knows it may take us another 3 weeks.

Light winds, hardly any swell, beautiful sunshine - now this is what I call a passage. People at work you'll see me sometime.

Vegetarians - don't read on.

It's been a day of wildlife, we've seen dolphins and a dolphin/whale creature with quite a square head. I know Janet B will know what it is. Then at sunset we caught a fish. A MONSTER FROM THE DEEP. I've never seen such a huge beast. It was freakin enormous. I swore quite extensively (which is what salty sea dogs do). Captain Freddie started bellowing orders - get me deadly knives, get me deadly hook. It's a fish he knows as a MahiMahi, it is sometimes called a dolphin fish or dorado, personally I think MONSTER FROM THE DEEP says it all. "We" got it up on board, and I tell you what I had my work cut out I had to avoid getting my dress splattered with blood, as well as keep the buckets of water coming. Blood everywhere. Off went its head and it was still the width of the cockpit. MONSTER FROM THE DEEP, MONSTER FROM THE DEEP. Sorry I'm hysterical.

Anyway Freddie cut off two enormous fillets and then we fed the rest to our resident brown birds. Tonight for dinner instead of having cabbage and onion, we started off with sashimi (yes there is wasabi on board), followed by chunk-of-monster lightly fried. The rest of the monster is in the fridge (yes we're allowed to turn the fridge on which means there is now champagne chilling). Tomorrow is declared national day of monster eating. Rock on!

For the kids
This story is for my young friends who like a story. Especially if it is a true story and ESPECIALLY if it is a true story written by red light (which it is). And the reason for the red light - at night when you're sailing you switch the lights to the special red setting and it means that it won't spoil your night vision.

Anyway last night when I was on watch, I was doing my usual check to make sure there were no boats about. There weren't. The moon had just set and that meant that the phosphorescence started. I don't really know what phosphorescence is - the best way to explain it is that when there are no other lights around (stars are ok) suddenly anywhere where there is movement in the water gets beautiful sparkling lights. Some places are sparklier than others and some nights are sparklier than others. This was a very sparkly night.

Later that evening I went to the toilet (on a boat it is called a head). There isn't a button to flush the toilet, you use a handle to pump sea water through. Anyway as I was pumping, I pumped a sparkly light down the head. It was most unnerving. Kids I think I flushed Tinkerbell down the toilet. I'm not sure whether she lived or not, but it makes me think we should rename the story Peter Bedpan. Then I started wondering about who the Lost Boys were and then I realised I was getting very rude and should stop.

xxx Jen

PS Maybe she's now Tinkersmell.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Day 9

25deg.57.321S 157deg.13.097E

How can you celebrate a birthday on day 9 of a passage? Day 9 where the only fresh food consists of cabbage, onion and a yellow cucumber.

First off get the cruise director to order up calm seas and friendly breezes (tick).

Then relax the stringent - no running refrigeration just for drinks rule.

Then have a cake baked.

Then be allowed a freshwater shower (SHEER MADNESS)

And THEN have chilled champagne served on the forward deck in an icebucket filled with cool seawater.

What a lovely birthday. And guess what the cabbage and onion mixed with tinned cornbeef and packet mash potatoes was fantastic too.

We know we're getting closer to Australia because Maiken is now shadowed by about 10 brown birds (sorry Mum I have no idea what they are).

The wind has died today (day 10) and we are motoring (and hand steering)and hoping that we'll be able to make it to Brisbane by Saturday (it is touch and go). If we don't make it to the waypoint in time then we'll have to do the boating equivalent of a holding pattern for 20 hours.


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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunning on the foredeck

Today was a day of light winds and gorgeous weather. Me and Jenny spent most of the day outside soaking up the sun. We spent yesterday, being Sunday in the church of the Reverend Johnny Cash and ended with an emotional (both crying, we had to take a break outside watching the sunset for a while in the middle) showcase of the movie Flight 93. Back to the sunning, Jenny just showed me her bright red nose as the result of a day in the sun. Well, the sun is setting and we have dinner plans, so this will be a short one.

Take care,


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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Surfs up

23deg29.936S 166deg10.113E

Yesterday the sun came out, the deck dried up and we were able to sit outside. The swell is now going with us which in one way is good (not getting waves breaking over the boat) but the roll isn't consistent, so your brains can roll out of either ear - then you have to spend half an hour running round trying to scoop them up and put them back in again. All very messy.

In the afternoon the swell got up. We've been sailing over a trench that is 5000m deep but during the afternoon we moved into 500m depth, because of New Caledonia and its barrier reefs. The swell became what I call MONSTERS FROM THE DEEP. Once I was convinced that we weren't going to DIE, it was fun. Maiken even surfed a couple for 20 metres or so. I also had a go at a bit of hand steering round this time (one of the lines on the magic wind steering gadget had chafed through so I steered while Freddie fixed). It took a little bit of getting used to but you had to really move the wheel to the right every time a wave came through and then ease right back after that (because then we'd jibe).

So it was a big day for us - we managed to cook a proper meal (roast chicken in the pressure cooker), we had a glass of wine at sunset ON DECK, and we passed New Caledonia (they didn't send a care package out with baguettes and foie gras so we're a bit miffed).

It's now Sunday morning - we've reached the halfway point to Brisbane. The sun has come up, my brains have just rolled out for the 3rd time this morning so I'm off to scoop them up again, Captain Freddie is sleeping in the forward cabin. We're cruising.


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