Happy Hogmanay 🥂

We would like to wish everyone a fantastic 2017. May the coming year be full of adventure and happiness; follow your dreams and live every moment. 

We will be celebrating with our friend on s/v Perry and s/v Fieldtrip in Rodrick Bay, Florida Islands, Solomon Islands 🌴 


Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, is not somewhere we wanted to spend too much time. Other cruisers had warned us to be vigilant for both potential theft and for a sudden change in weather which can change the anchorage in a dangerous lee shore very suddenly. 

It took a record six attempts to get the boat safely anchored and tied onto the breakwater with a sternline. We have plenty of experience with ‘Med-style mooring’ after our season in the Mediterranean but somehow our anchor kept dragging and wouldn’t set. When we finally got it in, Seathan and Tyrii rushed ashore in the dinghy to tie the sternline to the boulders on the breakwater. A sudden gust blew us of course and we swung the other way. I drove us back into the right place but managed to unset the anchor in the process, so we had to do the whole thing all over again. Seathan jumped back onboard and Tyrii stayed out in the dinghy, ready with the sternline. He was the star of the show and a great help. We’re very proud of our 11-year old who stays so calm and together under pressure. 

Finally settled in, we locked the boat up and dinghied ashore. The town wasn’t too bad. A bit rough and dirty but the people were friendly and we found a great Japanese restaurant for lunch. It’s amazing how quickly the war is forgotten, American and Japanese expats happily co-existing. Guadalcanal was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific War.

The next day it was time to start working our way through the to-do list: provisioning, gas and diesel refills, immigration, customs, biosecurity, medical supplies, etc etc. 

Late in the afternoon I had gone to the supermarket while Seathan and the boys headed back to the boat. A sudden change in weather meant they had to drop the sternline in the water (unable to retrieve it) and lift the anchor. A big fishing boat that was anchored next to us had started to drag and headed our way. Our buddies on Perry also had to make a quick dash for it and luckily there was no damage and everyone was safe. Rehua and Perry went to anchor around the corner in the other bay that offered some protection. 

Meanwhile I arrived back in the yachtclub (where the dinghy dock is located) and the girls behind the bar rushed over to meet me: “Your husband is gone but he will come back to pick you up later.” Huh ? I noticed Rehua was gone and had no idea what had happened. A big swell crashed into the beach and the dinghy dock was no longer a tenable landing platform. I contacted Seathan by phone and he explained that Fieldtrip (who were still on a mooring in the bay) would pick me up and I would have to spend the night on their boat. I left all my shopping behind in the yachtclub to be picked up tomorrow and waited in the bar … A few hours (and a few glasses of wine) later, the swell had decreased a little and Mark came to pick me up. The jetty was still very wobbly with waves crashing over it. I jumped into their dinghy and we safely made it onto Fieldtrip. 

The mooring had become untenable for Fieldtrip too, so they had to drop their lines and move to the other bay. Now that we were closer, Seathan could come to pick me up in the dinghy and I could sleep on Rehua after all. It felt good to be home and have the family reunited. Being stuck onshore was not much fun. 

The weather calmed down and we had a decent night sleep and the next morning headed back to the main anchorage to continue with our chores. It was hard work and the heat didn’t make things easier. But we got everything done, before the Christmas holidays kick in. We don’t want to stay any longer than necessary in Honiara, so are heading to a nearby island group where we hope to find some nice quiet anchorages for the Christmas period. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us on Rehua 🎄⛵️🌴

Approaching Honiara

Tying a sternline to the breakwater

We hit the town

It’s busy and dirty

Japanese restaurant for lunch

They call this local tree a Christmas tree

The yachtclub and dinghy dock

The fishing boat on our starboard started dragging in the afternoon and we had to lift anchor and leave

Sunset over Honiara

Marau Sound

Before heading to Honiara we stopped in Marau Sound, on the Eastern tip of Guadalcanal. We anchored near Tavanipupu island resort, with a sternline tied to a mangrove tree. The lagoon was stunning with small islands scattered all over and pristine reefs. There were mangroves with crocodiles, but we didn’t see any.

Prince William and Kate stayed in Tavanipupu island resort in 2012, but after spending too much money on upgrades for the royal one-night stay, the previous owner went bankrupt and the resort is now owned by the bank. It’s currently under local management and they are actively looking for a foreigner who can take it on (hint hint, anyone interested ?). There were no guests bar one couple when we went inside the resort. The local chef agreed to cook dinner for my birthday and we had a great night with our two buddy boats Fieldtrip and Perry. 

Next stop: Honiara for provisioning and some pre-Christmas shopping 🌲

Rehua and Perry anchored near Tavanipupu island resort

Sunset over Marau Sound

Looking for crocs

The lagoon

Tavanipupu island resort

The perfect low hanging palm tree

The royal bungalow

Front view

Inside the royal bungalow

Private jetty for the bungalow

Birthday girl

Afternoon excursion to a nearby desert island

Kids gone native

A trip to the weekly local market

Local canoe with sail

Red sky at night, sailor’s delight

Santa Ana Island, Solomons

From the Reef Islands we sailed to Santa Ana Island, just off St Cristobal. The two day passage was one of the most uncomfortable crossings on our trip with lots of squalls and an annoying beam-on swell. Our buddy boats Perry and Fieldtrip had similar experiences and just like us were happy to arrive in Santa Ana. We were welcomed by dozens of kids. The village was much bigger than any we visited in the Reef Islands and at least two thirds of the occupants were children. Just imagine the noise as they all swam to our boats during the day to come and hangout in the water off our stern. 

One day we walked to the other side of the island to visit the oldest ‘Kastom’ house in the Solomons, where sacred bones of important ancestors lay stored. Women were not allowed in, only men. There’s plenty of ‘taboo’ traditions still alive in the Solomons, these islands have a strong history of black magic and superstition. Spooky!

One of the many reefs we sailed past, this one was in the middle of some very deep water

We are welcomed by local kids who were fishing on the reef

The reef around Santa Ana, view from the cockpit

A warm welcome, lots of kids everywhere

Local Santa Ana girls

It’s a one hour walk to the other side of the island

Excitement all round when we reach the village on the other side

Girls and women are not allowed near the kastom house and stay behind an imaginary boundary

But the boys are allowed to get close

Inside the ancestors lay buried

Spooky skulls, scary stuff

Many traditional carvings

The second kastom house

Reef Islands, Solomons

The Reef Islands were absolutely gorgeous. We anchored in several spots and visited many villages. This is one of the most remote places we’ve been to. There’s no tourism at all and only a handful of yachts stop here every year. The people were extremely friendly and welcoming and the surroundings just stunning. 

After a short daysail from Ndendo, we arrive in the Reef Islands

We find our buddy boats s/v Perry and s/v Fieldtrip

Local canoes welcome us and are curious to meet us

Kids in the village near our first anchoring spot

Girls preparing food

Pigs are a key source of income

Canoes are the main mode of transport

We go for a drift dive with Perry and Fieldtrip

On Saturday we walk to a nearby village to watch a football match, the walk is about an hour through mangroves and jungle

Local kids show us the way

The inter-island football match

The boat kids play in the sand and have an audience watching them

Next day we visit another village

We ‘tok tok’ with chief Chris

The boat kids play while the locals watch them

Chief Chris shows us his carvings

Tyrii amongst the village children

The entire village walks us back to our dinghies

Our dinghies are anchored on the reef in front of the village

Goodbye waves

Some beach time to build a camp

Later in the week , a visit to yet another village

A shipwreck on the reef

How many kids can one fit on one board?

Squid around the boat, or are they aliens ?

We sail to the other side of the lagoon

Eyeball navigation to avoid bommies

We anchor in 2 metres of crystal clear turquoise water

Next to the perfect little desert island

Morning light

Same island, different light at noon

The locals come to play in their canoes

Paddling fast

Rehua against the sunset

Ndendo, Solomon Islands

From Vanuatu we sailed to the Solomons and we arrived in Ndendo Island, the most western island, where a temporary clearance was possible. The very deep bay made anchoring tricky and a long dinghy ride into town proved unnecessary as the officials were getting ready to come to our boat. The Customs lady searched the boat but found nothing illegal. We were stamped into the country and after a brief trip up the river, to splash around in a natural spring, we weighed anchor early the next morning and headed for the Reef Island, in search of two buddy boats.

The jetty with shipwreck in front, at Lata, Ndendo

The officials come onboard, the Customs lady is on the left

Paperwork done and they’re off again

Dinghy trip up the river

Natural spring

Within lush vegetation

Rehua anchored in the deep bay at Ndendo

Banks Islands, Vanuatu 

We left Vanuatu more than a month ago and on our way out, we stopped in the Banks Islands. We sailed past Vanua Lava and spotted twin waterfalls. We headed closer to the shore and searched for some shallow water to anchor in. Soon after, we were welcomed by Kerele in his canoe who invited us ashore to meet his family. We passed a lovely afternoon swimming in the waterfall and meeting Kerele and his family and the next morning we set sail again. Our plan was to head north and east towards the Marshall Islands but the weather didn’t play ball, so, after a few uncomfortable hours, we changed course and headed to the Solomons instead … 

Twin waterfalls

The village next to the waterfalls

We are welcomed by Kerele and his family

At the waterfalls

Refreshing swim and play

Rehua at anchor

Tuna for dinner

The lush and green coastline

Two girls in their canoe

We set sail for the Solomons


After an uneventful and for once peaceful downwind sail, we stood off the SE tip of Guadalcanal for a few hours until daylight and we could distinguish reef from passage. I half expected a (black and white) American destroyer with Robert Mitchum at the con to loom out of the darkness… klaxons screaming.. air-raid, nope, it’s over, and looking at the place you would never know what had transpired here. There’s probably enough rusting hardware under us to throw the local variation out and change our soundings as we sail through, looking at our surroundings it reminds of Tonga uninhabited coastline overgrown with tropical vegetation. And yes, this time there are parrots flying around!

We have anchored between two small islands in Marau Sounds, Marapa and Tavanipupu, one side is village the other a resort. The villagers come out to trade their hard grown vegetables for a tee shirt or some shorts for a naked Picanini, tough life! The other side the villagers paddle across to work in a resort fit for a King and Queen; so much so that Willie and Kate visited in 2012, the owner at the time borrowed heavily from the local bank to upgrade the accommodation for our and their Royals. They stayed for one night and a few months later the bank repossessed the resort and installed their own man, such is life under a Solomon Government.

That’s all for now.


P.S. After our little shakedown the other night the boys have upgraded Earthquakes to Volcano status for sheer power 🙂


Last night we were shaken out of our beds. Around 5am the boat started shaking and our immediate thoughts were that we had started dragging and had hit a reef. All four of us sprinted out of bed and gathered in the cockpit. We were not on a reef and still anchored in exactly the same spot. The boat kept vibrating and shaking for at least one minute. We soon realised it was an earthquake, having felt it once before in Vanuatu. Our two buddy boats had also woken up, lights on. We talked on the VHF to make sure everyone was ok and went back to bed. A few smaller aftershocks followed. It’s amazing you can feel an earthquake in the water.

So anyway: we’re ok! We moved from Santa Ana to the Three Sisters Islands a few days ago. These islands are uninhabited apart from one family. They were subject to some ‘black magic’ long ago and not many locals dare to come here now. That suits us and we’re enjoying the peace and quiet of this anchorage.
VooDoo Rules!

Santa Ana Island

We left the Reef Islands on Wednesday and set sail for Santa Ana. The weather forecast looked fine and this 230 mile crossing certainly wasn’t anything we hadn’t done before. But boy, was it uncomfortable. 

Somehow, the swell managed to make us feel like we were in a washing machine. The kids and I reverted to our preferred sailing position: laying flatout on the cockpit sofas reading our kindles. Luckily nobody got seasick. 

One thing the forecast can never predict accurately: squalls. We got plenty on this trip and it makes for stressful sailing, having to take sails up and down all the time and adjusting course with each strong gust (some were over 40 knots and hit us all of a sudden). At night, we heard roaring thunder and giant balls of lightening were electrifying the sky in the distance. Scary.

For the first time in three years I wondered why we were out here, and, I was faced with a strong desire to sell the boat and head back home. Seathan reminded me it was my idea in the first place to sell our house and go sailing. Ehmmm. Yes, I guess that’s true.

My friend Sarah, who admitted she had similar thoughts during this passage, compared it to childbirth. I immediately knew what she meant. A rough passage is indeed like childbirth: you just forget how bad it was as soon as it’s over. Something in your memory blocks it all out. We dropped anchor in the stunning bay of Santa Ana Island and I was happy again to live on a boat on the other side of the world.

We were welcomed by the locals in their canoes and marvelled at the beauty of the reef and the coastline. Santa Ana is a coral island and quite different from the sandy atolls we were staying at in the Reef Islands.

First things first: we went to see the chief of the village to ask permission to anchor in his bay. We were made to feel very welcome, but he did have some specific requests: did we have spare reading glasses and perhaps some tools for carving wood. We promised him we would have a look.

Back at the boat, trading started as soon as we settled down and the requests were very specific and somewhat unrealistic. The cost of fresh produce had increased significantly, especially in comparison to the Reef Islands. People came over in their canoes with a bunch of wilted spinach or five green beans and asked for a t-shirt and some perfume in return. I don’t think so. They are obviously used to more handouts here and apparently a cruise ship stops here once a month. It’s hard to believe but it must be true. The cruise ship stays for one day and this gives the villagers a chance to sell their woodcarvings, perform a traditional dance and trade anything else they have. At least it’s an opportunity for the village to get some income.

After a good night’s sleep everyone was full of beans again and it was time to get on with a priority repair job: fixing the genoa. Unfortunately it got shredded during one of the squalls. Seathan temporarily fixed it at sea with special sail repair tape but it needed proper stitching. Our buddy boat ‘Fieldtrip’ kindly let us use their sewing machine and our other buddy boat ‘Perry’ had some repairs to complete as well.

So while the men were busy fixing sails, the mums and kids went off for a walk through the jungle to see the freshwater lake. Apparently a crocodile lives there but I suspect that’s just a story because the village kids who accompanied us all happily jumped in the water and splashed around without a care in the world.

Back at the village we did some more chatting (‘tok tok’) with chief John. I had given him some reading glasses as a gift but he wasn’t too happy with them; they weren’t strong enough and could I get him another pair. No, that’s all we have but you’re very welcome.

They certainly are a lot pushier here than in the Reef Islands. The village kids come and hang around the boat all day and keep climbing onboard. It’s sweet that they are so keen to socialise but it can be quite disturbing when you’re trying to do school or when you’re having a quiet family lunch. We’ve started to feel like caged animals in the zoo.

So, we probably won’t stay here for that long and we might look for an anchorage near an uninhabited island next 😀