Skip to main content


This is a pretty picture that has nothing to do with the story...!

Between Vavau, a northern island of the Tongas, and Suva, the capital city of the Fiji islands, there is about a week's sailing if I remember correctly. It was the beginning of July 1997. We sailed west to Fiji happy to come close to the end of this 'leg' of the Rally Around The World organised from London in which about 50 yachts took place.

I was happy to be sailing, cruising to be precise, somewhere in the South Pacific where Captain Cook roamed two centuries before. The agreement with the captain/skipper/owner of the sailboat where I was the sailing cook (...or the cooking sailor!) was that I was to leave the boat in Suva. Fiji was the end of a leg and the next one was to sail directly to the Queensland coast. As I wanted to go home to New Caledonia I had to find another crew job with someone sailing from Fiji to New Caledonia.

What do I remember from this passage? The weather was fine. We sailed with fair winds or so, the so-called trade winds from the SW. When we got to the wall of reef running across the way from north to south still a few days sail to Suva, we had to sail through a pass, i.e. an opening in the reef, . As we came across the pass, the captain decided to stop the boat and go for a dive. My goodness, I thought, this is the worst thing you can do... a pass is a place where there is current and sharks hanging around to catch fish coming through it. I knew that from living on an atoll in the Tuamotus, not from books. I said it but it had no effect! Never mind, nothing happened. The captain and the other crew fellow took a dip in the pass named after the captain of the Bounty. William Bligh had come this way rowing in a canoe after he had lost his ship through a mutiny. I have a lot of time for him. That was a sailor! And besides, he had been a crew member on Captain Cook's last trip.

Just as we started going again and as the sea was quiet, and as it was not my turn for anything like cooking or steering on watch, I stood at the bow holding the mast. Well no, the mast held me... as I was staring into binoculars at a school of large dolphins coming through the pass behind us. I counted up to 200 and then gave up. They weren't dolphins but something like rorquals. They veered north after the pass whereas we were sailing west. I lost track of them after a while. It was a fantastic sight but no one on board shared it with me. I don't think it was at all mentioned in the boat log.

As we approached Fiji I was getting really fidgetty. The captain mentioned it. Well yes, I was hoping against all hopes that my boyfriend would come and meet me in Suva. 'Tiss' was a man I had met in New Zealand in 1996. We had shared our hectic lives for a time until I had left in a passionate tearing away move to Polynesia. I used to keep a journal in those days and the whole story of the mad passion I had for him is written in my book called 'Liyan'. I had left in January and this was July. I was still passionately in love with him. I was hoping he was going to come and meet me in Suva because I had sent him a message. How stupid can you be! The first thing I did when we got to Suva was to go and ask at the airline office if he was on an incoming flight. No, there was no one by that name on any incoming flight. Flop.

Popular posts from this blog

251. Stalking Jules Verne

I recently came across photos of a google-plus user from the country of Georgia in the Caucasian mountains, somewhere between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, somewhere between the south of Russia and Turkey. A difficult position for a small country really, being tossed from one to the other in ruling and/or heavy cultural influences. From the dawn of History, however, the Georgians have managed to retain their own personality, cultural heritage, language and… yes, spelling and writing. Georgia in the Georgian language is spelt საქართველო.  This small country remained hidden away from main stream History by bigger bears until, well yes, the advent of internet. And since cables have now been laid in the bottom of the Black Sea by Americans to reach the port of Poti, any Georgian can now tune into internet at will and post photos on FaceBook or Google+ and be seen and contacted by the rest of the world. Nice story!
When I recently saw those photos of Georgia posted on my own google+ …


My mad idea of stalking Jules Verne in his story of travelling round the Black Sea clockwise to avoid crossing the Bosphorus is snowballing. From one idea to another I am now up to figuring a real plan.
1. A group of 3 or 4 people will travel by road from Istanbul following the coast like Keraban and his team did. It means going through the north shore of Turkey, then Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Georgia. To finish off back in Turkey on the south shore of the Black Sea. As I would want to stay in Georgia, perhaps another team could take over from there. I expect my old friend Zara to travel with me. We will need a photographer to make a documentary of this adventure. It will happen at the same speed that Keraban travelled, i.e. in slow motion for us in this century. My main purpose is to encounter and meet as many people as possible. Interactions between people, our small group, and the daily problems of the moment is to be the subject of the documentary. Not visiting famous monuments …


I recently came across a virtual invitation for coffee and since then have met and keep meeting new friendly American bloggers. I find they easily write poetry, play games at writing a story prompted by a silly picture posted by someone else... AND they also write about their nitty gritty daily lives like being pulled up by the police or having their computer crash down and the price of buying a new one. So today is my turn. I can't write poetry but I can tell at great length about my nitty gritty ordinary life.

 On Wednesdays I usually have my grandkids over for lunch and activities in the afternoon, learning how to sew with a sewing machine with my granddaughter and following an online course to learn English with my grandson. Looking after the two of them is very tiring so I asked to have one at a time in turns. Yes but the lady who takes Bertrand to my door said she had not been told of the change so... never mind, don't worry, thank you. Then Binta turned up surprised: ar…