Skippers log 10: Tonga – Tasmania.
Tonga has been kind with not only her friendly open people, but the island kingdom also gave us a chance to lay at anchor for many peaceful days enjoying the small island of Paingamota and the hospitality of Big Mammas yacht club.
This cruiser’s oasis, a couple of miles from Nuka Alofa’s main harbor, provided clear water and a lovely beach for swimming as well as a shuttle launch into town – so we were able to conduct most of our business from the anchorage with a minimum of fuss.
Nuka Alofa, Tonga’s capital and its largest city, was amid a frenzy of building and reconstruction – much of it as a result of anti monarchal riots back in 2009 when a large chunk of the old town centre was burned to the ground.
Allegations of corruption against the King had caused the otherwise peaceful folk to rise up in an active demonstration against the absolute monarchical rule. They demanded more democratic representation, especially in the business sector and with regard to the doling out of foreign aid.
Tonga is the last monarchy in the pacific, and having never been under a colonial power there is no guilty European country to receive aid from. Australia and New Zealand are large supporters, as are the extraordinary number of different religious organizations that are represented in the kingdom.
After a month in Tonga we made north towards the Haapie Group, anchoring between the islands of Uonukuhihifo and Honukuhihifo – try saying that with a mouth full of brown ale!!
These lovely palm islands treated us to some great shell collecting and whale watching. On one occasion two whales swam around Yukon at anchor less than 10 meters away. Such leviathan treats were to continue, as we made North Northwest toward the Fiji Islands by way of the Bounty boat passage.
We landed at Levuka, the old capital, on Friday the 12th of August around noon.
Fiji was a delight. The old colonial capital Levuka with its picture postcard waterfront was a treat. We enjoyed beers at the old gentlemen’s club, including a game of snooker in the old billiard room with the locals. The small towns always give us a chance to meet the most people and so it was the case here.
After only 3 days it was time to roll, New Caledonia beckons and after six days of changeable weather with enough rain to satisfy us all, we made landfall on the majestic island.
New Cal is surrounded by the world’s largest lagoon and you could spend months cruising the numerous bays and islands within the protective reef. It’s landscape is mountainous and spectacular and the vegetation was beginning to look a bit Australian, with loads of eucalypt trees and dry scrub amid the tropical palms. It reminds us that our destination is near.
Monday 29th It’s time to say goodbye and sail towards Australia.
It was a good feeling as I told Noumea port control over the radio “outward bound toward New South Wales“.
We were fortunate in catching a lovely high pressure cell off the east coast of Australia, giving us northeasterly winds and clear skies and a good easy passage into the small town of Coffs Harbor on the northern NSW coast of Australia.
The log reads: Wednesday 7th of September 2011 04:50 land ho!
The great land mass of the Australian continent loomed slowly up out of the darkness with all its familiar smells and then sights. It was a wonderful feeling for all on board after 17600 miles and 14 or so months we had traversed the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on our little ship to the great southern land.
We came along side at Coffs at 0730 to be welcomed in the warm spring morning by the local inhabitants whom amazingly spoke the same language as me, so a good time was had by all.
Now, a month later as I sit and write this long overdue log down, in the small town of Franklin on the Huon River in southern Tasmania with the crackle of the woodstove behind me (the springs draw long at 43 degrees south), the tropics are once again a far away thing.
We have been welcomed by many people, friends and family some of whom I have not had contact with in the last 16 years. It’s been a homecoming to remember, our trip down the coast of south eastern Australia has been spectacular with friends and family onboard.
We came alongside at Franklin 14 30 on the 20th of October 2011, exactly 16 months to the day after we started from lovely Strynoe which lays 18,746 miles astern of our dear ship.
Yukon has proved herself as a good sea going vessel sturdy and reliable.
Our crew: Sune Blinkenberg, Johannes Brøndum, Ola Brødremoen, Martin Frost, Palle Blinkenberg and Cæcilie Blinkenberg have made this voyage possible and a success with their hard work, tolerance and good seamanship.
Our voyage crew, too numerous to name here, have all contributed in the commitment and belief that sailing on traditional vessels on the world’s oceans is a fantastic way to spend your free time.
To let slip the constrictions and modern comforts that usually surround modern travelers is an act of courage, in which the reward is the memories: good and bad, warm and cold, fast and slow, they are ours to keep.
Aron, Kristopher, Ea and David
New winds are blowing! 26. October 2011
Yukon and family Nash /Lassen have been underway for the previous 16 months and in this time we have visited 22 different countries and countless islands and have sailed 18,700 miles
We have paid host to dozens of voyage crew who have taken the opportunity to sail with us ranging in age from 7 to 78. A good time has been pretty much had by all.
Due to the escalation in piracy in the red sea, in March 2011 we changed our itinerary to a further crossing of the Pacific. The resulting bookings have been disappointing, so with this in mind and due to a desire to try something a little different, we have decided to suspend our voyage to stay in Tasmania for a period of one year. This will give us as a family a break from sailing, time to try life in the Apple Isle and give the boys the opportunity to attend an English speaking school.
We have made no secret of the fact that Tassie has long held an interest for us as an alternative to Denmark and it seems crazy to sail past it, especially when we have our sea-going home with us.
Tasmania has an active wooden boat fraternity; this is partly due to the cooler climate. We found a good place for Yukon in the town of Franklin. Here there is a boat school for wooden ships, and the Wooden Boat Trust is also situated here. It’s a very friendly and active community. The boys’ school is in walking distance, and our friends from the earlier years live just over the hill in Cygnet.
200 years ago people were sailed around the world to Van Diemen’s Land for doing something wrong. We fortunately stopped here by choice, to experience this lovely island.
We would like to thank all those that have followed us and supported us in our world voyage and voyages we have made in Yukon over the years, we have in a sense become a large family of folk that share the love of our little ship and the sea.
Good wishes from Franklin, up the river Huon, Tasmania.