Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Tuvalu to Kiribati

Some excellent sailing interspersed by gritty visits to the atol islands of Tuvalu. As we go further west and descent -or ascent (north) more accurately- we are having to get used to the Micronesian way after months of having enjoyed the Polynesian hospitality with welcoming smiles. Instead a raising of the eyebrow is our welcome and a silence awaits our first words. In the end we still find ourselves at the table with enough to eat for a week and the pacific friendly faces of course.

In Vaitupu the local policeman who enquired after our papers subsequently invited us to his home every day of our stay there after and we feasted on the local specialities mostly fish and taro prepared in many different ways mostly with coconut in one way or other.

Nanunia is another paradise island on the way to Kiribati where we had to stay outside an enormous lagoon because the blasted entrance was not deep and wide enough for the Thira. All around the island the coralbarrier dropped straight down to hunderds of meters so we ended up ankered right in front of the lagoon entrance with 2 to 3 knots of current on each tide.

The evening was a little bizar as Andre had received an invitation to dinner for all of us from a 13 year-old girl named June. After having watched a group of man build an outrigger canoa while drinking 'grog' -fermented coconutleave sap- we spent the whole evening being entertained by June without even seeing the adults. A touch of bizar especially as we were fetted with an increcible array of food.

Monday, 8 December 2008


After 6 days of sailing with full night watch Tuvalu is not exactly what I imagined it would be, so far... As we were leaving Fiji rather late in the season and after the weather window that provides save passage... we were on the look out for dead calms followed by sudden squals and rapidly forming gales that may turn into tropical storms or worse. In the end we did get a lot of rain but we had a good passage.

Of course nothing really happens on these night watches... but then there is always the one time.. On the last morning night watch -from 3 to 7am- I was neatly tucked away in my sleeping bag and wearing nothing but my sarong for comfort and using my miners headlamp to read 'sex with cannibals in the Pacific' a sarcastic satire tale by a Maarten Troost on two years of living on an atol in the north pacific, when suddenly the wind increased to the point where I had to take the helm from the autopilot.. while holding up my sarong of course. Now the rain started wipping down as well and Cedric emerged from his cabin to an ever-increasing squall wind. Next I had to get up in front to reef the main sail for which I was not exactly dressed appropriately. To the considerable chagrin of the capitan and my embarrassment I had to go inside to get some shorts on. Oh well... win some loose some..

Going through the reefs to enter the lagoon is a nerve wrecking experience every time and it seems to be getting worse as we progress.. we the GPS map off target by anywhere from 20 to 100 meters.. the GPS positioning of the ship not always accurate with the level of complexity increasing and the number of buoy diminish with each reef passage towards the North Pacific.

Tuvalu is an atoll with too many people and animals and very little atoll -or living space-. Water is everywhere you look but it is not the drinkable kind. Pretty dreary to be honest. The people do not even raise an eyelid when they see us, no welcoming smiles nor shouts of bula. Answering a simple question seems to require an extraordinairy amount of energy resulting in single word and grunt response with minimal armgestures. Sure is different from the Polynesians we have met so far in the South Pacific. Hopefully not indicative for the next and remainder of Melanesian islands to be visited for the next 4 months.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Dramatic Fiji sunset. No more words needed I'd say.

On the reef look-out with hunting party ready at a moment's notice.... Or are they just getting over the Kava day-after?

We had an succesful day of speer fish hunting, snorkling, scuba diving and swimming on the villages' reef outside Beqa island.

After having presented the sevu sevu gift -kava roots- to the chief of the village, we effortlessly joined in with village life.

The advance hunting party.

Part of the catch of the day.

I found a more traditional and less useful way of wearing the headband of the chief of the fisherman clan. A double Winsor, effortlessly tied for the first time in many a year... Some things you will never forget..

Friday, 21 November 2008

http://www.nytimes-se.com and Fiji

Even though I am on Fiji time and hardly in touch with day to day life, fashion, politics and daily news breaking international disasters.. once in a while I get to read some real news.. http://www.nytimes-se.com. Try it for once. By the way I also recommend www.alternet.org, for a more independent and realistic view of the world ;)

Back to Fiji time.. We spent the last week as guests of a Beqa island -pronounced Benga- village. Where the emphatic Fiji welcome word 'Bula', is bellowed from the stomach with shoulder slaps and big smiles, followed by comparably friendly hospitality. We were presented with fish, fruit and vegetable; shared in sailing, spear fish hunting, scuba diving and snorkeling of the village-owned reef and were invited to a traditional Lomo feast (pronounced Lobo) which is prepared underground on smoldering coals and hot stones. We left one morning with big smiles and shoulderslapping after a long night of traditional kava drinking (mildly numbing feeling after a cup or two when prepared with light touch.....) and continuous singing of age old Fiji songs accompanied by guitar and ukalele.

What we learnt... listen to a villagers' advice on local natural phenomena. Thus.. especially when told that the tide is coming up, do not continue your exploration along a small beach with very steep rocky cliff blocking off the escape route. And again.. for those that do not learn quickly.. or those that are kava'd, leave when advised to do so with the dingy before the tide comes down, especially when you have a few hundred meters of sharp reef to cross with the dingy in tow.


Thursday, 6 November 2008

In the mean time I was, am and will be... here for a while

Boring Sufa delay - Happy Pueblo Sacbe delay

Another 5th last day in Suva!! First we spent 2 weeks on maintenance and shopping. Then we waited for the new crew member, then for a girlfriend of Cedric, and now Cedric is ill and we have postponed our departure another few days. All very necessary but highly frustrating as the fine city of Sufa is still a city with it usual trappings. I want to sail, anker in tropical locations and meet the real Fijians, not the city adapts who are more western then I am. Well, having got that of my chest, jeje, there is a delay in another part of the world that has given me immense pleasure.

Sustainable eco-village www.pueblosacbe.com close to Playa del Carmen has had its ups and downs on the way to legalising its existence and progress to being able to title my land. But the last hurdles are now clearly defined as the latest delay is caused by the requirements to the village infrastructure caused by some unequivocal decisions by local government on what should and what may not be in the village. Haleluja.
Publish Post

Peter in de Pacific (with admiring female..)

As you do... taking in the sun, enjoying the hot spring water on the weary adventurers' bones..
Obviously making a lasting impression with graying hair, serene facial expression, implied inner strength and limber limbs..

Monday, 3 November 2008

Final preparations for the next leg of the journey

We are finally getting to the end of almost 3 weeks of planning, preparation, maintenance, repairs and shortly.. shopping. This is going to be a major exercise with food and drink enough for 3 people for 5 months. Andre is the new crew member who has joined us from Canada for the next journey into the lesser known and un-explored North-West Pacific. Tomorrow I should not forget to get a yellow fever inocullation as well as some malaria tablets.. both necessary for PNG and Solomons. Cedric's Columbian friend Gloria really enjoyed the sailing last month and has decided to join us for another 3 weeks of sailing around the Fiji islands. That should give us just enough time to start out for the equator, situated another 20 degrees north from Fiji, before the hurricane season really gets going down here. And of course for some major diving (as we are now in the proud possession of two dive tanks!!), snorkeling, swimming, beach combing and hiking

We have met some really friendly kiwi's, sailing around Fiji in a 1930 wooden ketch (two masts) for the winter months every year. Some late night sessions in the local bars as well as a nice evening under the tarp and well protected by the torrential rains are good diversions from the day to day grind of looking for the right equipment suppliers and craftsman. Most yachties are friendly most of the time, even though they seemed to talk mostly, and in this order.. about their own boat, your boat, the weather, the weather, the weather, their journey and ask a little about yours if there is time left... Some are great characters though, and I have a lot of respect for all the individuals, as much as the families, who manage for years to brave the elements, loneliness and/or each other, local hazards and the constant wear and tear of the ocean on the ship, equipment, senses and ones sense of humor.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Some pics from paradaisical Pacific

On the look-out for shallow reef in Vava U, Tonga.

Our welcoming committee in Havai island group of Tonga.. There is no TV here.. Just family, friends, school and incredible natural island paradise they live in. These kids are obviously enthusiastic, nice and unspoiled.. yet.. Today most finished the school exam given to all 12 year olds. In a few months they will travel to one of the larger islands where they will stay with family and friends to start high school.

A bouquet of flowers as found alongside every road. The woman, and some men.., wear a fresh one behind the ear. On the right side signifies your availability and the left that you are taken..

By the time I get back I will make a mean home-made bread.. I bake with gusto and varied success, as witnessed by Gloria and Cedric. Luckily their French and South American cooking is enjoyable all the time.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

From backpacking, to travelling, adventuring to exploring

I gave up backpacking a long time ago. Going to and from hostel to campground to hostel with the same transport as all other travelbible carriers (Lonely Planet, etc..) does not really enrich the spirit, knowledge or provides for original local experiences nor immersion in local culture. Travelling is good. Adventuring into the chartered, but unknown is better and exiting. Now we are about to move into the realm of exploring as we are going to touch the untouched by taking the north of equator route to avoid the hurricane season, visiting the North Pacific Kiribati islands, Marshal islands, Caroline group, Salamon islands and an assortment of as of yet unknown island and nations as well as Papua New Guinea!

But first we will finish our South Pacific adventure in Fiji to we should be able to find some great diving and snorkling, as well as another original mix of races, cultures and unique flora and fauna - and in Fiji's case- some political turmoil. Also we can perform necessary repairs and maintenance and stock up for the next 4 month leg of the journey.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Vava U

We have arrived in Vava U, a northern island group of the Kingdom of Tonga. Very beautiful and know for its wales. Especially the humpback wales come from Antartica to breed and calve so with a bit of luck we will see some families mucking about out beyond the west and lee side of the island. Lee, out of the wind, because the trade winds always East to South East in the Southern Pacific. The wales sing their songs towards the reef or steep rock formation to echo and amplify the sounds to their brothers hundreds of miles across the ocean. Mostly the males sing to each other and to call the ladies... They sing the same songs which change over time and with outside influences from wales visiting from other home grounds... sounds familiar..

Last night we went to a Tongan dance and dinner on the beach at the other side of the island. Drank some kava for the first time. The musicians were far to fond of the plant root drink to share much.. but I got offered a cup after presenting myself properly.. unlike the women in our group who were really not welcome to sit down in the first place.. and certainly were not supposed to partake in the sharing of kava. Much to their chagrin of course. There are quite strict customs on who does what and says what etc..

One such custom is that people feel obliged to give possessions away when someone makes a favorable comment. So as I made mention of the truly nice flowers worn by an older lady this morning, she turned around and offered them to me for my wife (I was walking around town with Cedric's girlfriend). This is a sign we are slowly moving into the Melanesian cultural influence and are leaving behind more of Polynesia with every new island we visit.

One big decision to make soon will be.. New Zealand and Australia or north to Melanesian islands to Papua New Genuia to Australia. All to do with finding favorable winds and currents while avoiding the hurricane season.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Kingdom of Tonga to Fiji

Today we are leaving the main island of Tonga to visit the smaller atols and continue to Fiji where we arrive in a couple of weeks. Sofar the Tongan islands are small, green with white beaches and wonderful coral formations. The people are the friendliest sofar. On entering a village, we were ankered on the leeward side of the island and walked the 1 km across, we were invited to a tradional Tongan meal, of which all dishes are cooked in an underground pit above some hot rocks. The kids love the fishhooks with line we brought for them and we also gave some batteries and basic medicine to the family we stayed at. The exchange of gifts and friendlyness is the basis for the mostly barter economy. This of course provoked another exchange of various fruits to ensure our hapiness.. etc.. etc..

Walking around a deserted island in 10 minutes on bright white sandy beach around coconuttree laden island is one of the highlights sofar. Shortly after we topped up a perfect sunny afternoon with watching the tale of a whale.. admittedly some distance away.. but now I have seen one.. more are sure to follow!

Another few days with heavy winds and rain ahead of us to the nothern island group of the Kingdom of Tonga. We may drop in to say hi to the king if we can get past the Royal Guards ;)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Gales, ankerslippage and tonga sunday

We have arrived in Tonga after 10 days of rough sailing. Mostly cloudy with rain.. On our arrival the sky cleared up and we are having some nice sunny weather again.

Rarotonga was great but our 10 day weather enforced lay-up was getting to us a little. The island is great and the fridaynight an excellent way to let off steam. They know how to hit the bottle here.. late night scenes resemble 'the morning after' of Amsterdam Queensday. Cat the vet showed us around biking and hiking the island and it was nice to be able to converse with the locals as they have english as the secondary language and not french.

After all the hubbub and the lost radar unit caused by the gale on the way to Rarotonga, it seems we were rather lucky.. of the ships arriving after us, one had to come in with failed 3 GPS units and nativagation system (a mean feat of naviation), one lost the use of their engine and came sailing into the very small harbor and was only able to anker in time with the help of various dingies (4pk engines) being used as pushboats. Another we saved crashing into the quay as the anker slipped and mooring lines started to pop by throwing a 2nd anker from the dingy.. and the smallest ship, another 3 feet smaller than ours, came in completely drenched inside with all their electronics out.

Having arrived in Tonga, we got to hear of a dutch couple, crewing a ship to New Zealand who had lost the rudder and had to be towed in at the expense of 30.000 dollar.. Our neighbours at the mooring were thrown onto the side with mast in the water twice and are still drying their belongings, accumulated on a 14 year circumnavigation.

After all this, we almost crashed our boat into the other neighbour and rocky quay in the port of Tonga at the mooring when the 10 knot wind changed direction and the anker started slipping. Stupid you may say.. and rightly so.. Being alone on board, and trying to do right thing.. pffff, hauling in the anker, getting the engine going for forward thrust and having to let the backspring (line to quay) go slowly.. this was not going to be possible for me to do on my own.., going, going... oh oh.. of course I am in control and know what I am doing... eh... ok.. yell for help to the neighbouring boat!! This brought out the owner couple from their siesta who immediately rowed to the resque and together (me doing what they told me to) we saved the day with only a minute to spare.

Having arrived on saterday, the sunday provided well deserved rest and a stroll around town. We came to the right place for that. Walking around is a throwback to a dutch village in the 50ies. Massive and very full churches everywhere, with wonderful harmony voices (maybe not so dutch but you get the picture) and traditionally dressed Tongans inside. Literally everything is closed down for the day, and both radio stations are dedicated to ' god and tonga' (the proclaimed cornerstones of Tongan life) with the soundtracks of 'the sound of music' being the highlight.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

To Nuie and then Tonga

Miss Polynesia and Miss mama-hu Polynesia ( miss grandmother)

Friday, 5 September 2008

Saved by the bell

The last few days the weather has maintained a somber look with new high pressure front coming in, as the 1048 is slowly moving away. Cedric says that in 20 years of sailing and instructing heavy weather sail courses, he never has experienced such a high.. So we are stuck in the paradise of Roratonga. We have met a nice volunteer vet who has shown us the island on a 30 km circumnavigation by bike. People are extremely friendly and open. Besides the islanders of course, which are typical polynesian, especially the new zealanders also known as kiwis are a breath of fresh air. Certainly after experiencing the stuck up toerists spending bucketfulls of money for a week in Bora Bora. They seemed to have gotten contaminated with a dose of snobbyness, probably thrown in for free.

The islands from here on to New Zealand will have even more variety of coral and fish species. Especially Tonga and Fiji are going to be great for snorkling and diving. After leaving the French Polynesian islands there is no more risk of eating poisened fish from the lagoons, so we can start fishing in the lagoon as well. The french deny it, but the nuclear testing done on one of their Tohomutu islands (still off limits) coincidentally occured around the same time in the 60ties and is limited to the area, is when the ciquatera desease developed.

Friday night tomorrow is partynight on the island, saterday night should also be fun but everything closes down at 12 at night in preparation for holy sunday. There are hundreds of churches on the island for up to 6000 people, so you might say they take religion seriously. Another reason for the really sociable people here to gather round, talk, sing and dance.

Gigantic news from Amsterdam. For some reason people at home are running scared of economic resession and have decided to freeze the real estate market. This was not expected nor planned forand becoming a nagging worry in the back of my mind. I am relieved to say that a solution has presented itself at the right moment and I continue my adventure journey carefree while the real estate agent does the impossible and shields me from the daily ups and downs of selling one's home.

Monday, 1 September 2008

40 knots to Raratongo (8 b'fort)

We arrived in the Cookislands yesterday after a 4 day trip with consistent winds of up to 39.6 knots.. Halfway through the radarunit got ripped off the mast. Luckily we had spotted the imminent crash of the 5 kg device from the top of the Thira mast while outside changing to storm sails, and as soon as it crashed on the deck between two enormous waves we were able to recover it. Onwards without radar.

Ever onwards, getting some snippets of news, or rather non-news, from home on the sale of the appartment, left over from a previous lifestyle, anyone interested in an appartment in the center of Amsterdam.., just let me know..

From here on everybody will speak english.. that is going to be a little easier when meeting the locals, although my polynesian is getting better everyday. Even so, it is unlikely you will see me return with a local pearl, even though they are beautiful woman, most are not exactly my size.. any meal served here seems te be supersized, breakfast, lunch, late lunch, early dinner and dinner while enjoying island beach life with lush green backdrop and steady 29 degrees with light breeze... who can blame them

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Crossing the equator

A bottle with our message to the world.. and a reason 4 a reunion when it is found!! Shortly after we had the traditional swim and made our offering to Poseidon (some hair, toenail and rum) asking a save passage

Friday, 22 August 2008

A bit of rough

Cedric keeping us on course during one of few unpleasant patches of weather

Bora Bora

Our offering to Poseidon while crossing the equator is paying off hansomely. The atols, coral barrier reefs that are formed around vulcano lava islands from which the island itself has to various degrees been eroded and into the Pacific, surrounded by crashing waves surrounding the lagunas showing off a palate of every color of blue imaginable. To this backdrop we enjoy our daily swim, snorkel and dive adventures and we get to know the Polynesians.
On Raitea I met with Mat, a local art teacher at the highschool and Joseph, descendant from a danish man , named Peder... who shipwrecked a little over a hundred years ago after working in the african goldmines. he used his saved pay, a golden bracelet, to set up shop and refused 'resque'. Today he has hundreds of familymembers named brotherson.
Cedric has followed into the foodsteps of a familymember, sir Alain Gerbaut, who was the first to circumnavigate the world solo between 1923 and 1929, stayed here afterwards.. and has the only commemerative headstone at the port of Bora Bora.
Last night, coming back to the ship with the dingy we encountered 5 mantarays of up to 4 meters dancing around the underwaterlights of the dock of this posh hotel. An incredible sight, more so when we got our snorkelgear and got into the act for some syncronised swimming. After only a few minutes one got so close coming up from the deep on a backward 360 flip that our faces almost touched, before we both spooked and upped to lift our faces from the water together; 'peter's manta kiss'....

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Society Islands

We are travelling to and around the society islands, after Moorea, and Huanini, we are now in Raitea. Later I will clime the mountain and sleep over in my hammock to wake up to the popping open sound of the Raitea flower at sun-up, unique to the mountain of this island as it resists growing anywhere else.. as somany flowers (huaninis or girls) of these islands that are happy to stay and live here in true natural paradise with a touch of french culture and local finesse..

Next stop Bora bora, which should give us a dose of party culture.. not to be missed after 2 months being a nature boy.. they say the Club Med should provide for some fun and social diversion. This of course besides the daily reef snorkel, sailing and island discovery. Each island with its own culture, surprises and varied mix of locals and some other boaties thrown in.

The odd luxury hotel encountered on the way provide for the respite from basic ship amenities and the necessary, and mostly voluntary, replenishment or exchange of books.

Cedric's parents, a really friendly baquette loving french couple who have raised our standard of aperative and day to day cooking to new heights,will leave us in Bora Bora, where a new crew member should join us.. volunteers can apply and join us before 25 August for the trip to the Tonga islands via the Cook islands... etc.. etc.. the coconut milk run as it is known.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Land of legends, cliffs and lush forests. Papeete is the port town of Tahiti and the french influence is recognisable in the people and their culture. The innocence and friendlyness of the other islands negated but still.. on saterday night all the boaties together in the Cockpit of the Excaliber.. a nice group of about 8 guys crewing and or sailing on their own ship together with a group of locals before hitting the town disco..

Moorea is much nicer, tranquil and with beautiful bays, cliffs and reefs. We are mooring in a different bay every day, getting the best of the island. The parents of Cedric have joined us in Papeete for their holiday and immediately where thrown about at the mersey of poseidon with 16 feet swells. They are real troopers and after arrival were up and about to cook the best meal yet on the Thyra!!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Fakarava to Tahiti

Toomuch to tell really, we are having a wonderful time.. the sailing is incredible.., helming at 20 knots with spinaker on 10 feet waves is a thrill. Today we went diving on the first atol we entered, a 35 meter driftdive with sharks. The atols are very flat coral/sand banks as opposed to the high mountaineous islands of the Marquises. One wave and that is it. Again we meet very friendly people, another language again, and of course the July parties continue and greet us at every island we anker sofar. Contrary to what I thought and you may think.. there is a lot of rain here.. it is the winter season after all.. but the steady 30 degrees make up for a lot >) Another dingy adventure last night when heavy rains almost sank the dingy on our way back to the ship from our visit to another cruisership with a friendly english couple and a crazy drunken crew scotsman.. Luckily we had brought our own wine because the offered wine from a plastic container and the very very bad local rum were not worthy of the freshly caught and prepared tuna cury. Jefrey the american has left us to join his family and girlfriend, in Papeete, Haiti we will be joined by Cedric's parents for a few weeks, after which we have to find another crewmember on the island of Moorea... we both have our preferences.. lets see who shows up!! In the mean time my favorite cousin Miho has given birth to Nina.. congratulations!!!!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


We have arrived in the Marquises of French Polynesia. A journey and a half.. mostly at 30 degrees angle with steady winds and breeze up to 28 knots... The helming of the yacht is an absolute pleasure and one of the best things I have ever done.. The islands are beautiful.. the people serene and the life of a yachtie is something else!

Starry nights, sunrises, sunsets, meals and helming are the highlights as well as the cameraderie on board.. sofar we have had only two off days where once we dealt with a broken engine, finding out that we only have half a bottle of gas left for cooking with one month to go and bits and pieces started to break and malfunction.. and the other day we shipwrecked the dingly landing ashore where everybody else walked for half an hour.. maybe we should have listened.. turned over, wet, being the laughingstock on the townbeach and less funny, a wet computer, telephone and camera of Cedric, the captain. Luckily we did have our passports in a waterproofbox that floats.. and of course a waterlogged motor that took a day of maintenance..

On arrival we immediately got involved in various days of Bastille day celebration.. with traditional dancing and music.. on the way back after one night we seemed to fighting a strong current with the dingy, attempting to row to the yacht.. the motor being out of service.. after about 15 minutes we realised we had thrown the dingy anker on arrival at the dock...

Friday, 13 June 2008

Port aft...

That is the port or puerta vallarta at the back for your landlubbers... (not port as in left..) Off to the 1012 line, on a sublime wave of positive enforcement provided by the dutch teams' historic result against the french, negatively affected by the french captain Cedric and moderated by the third crewmember, Jeramy, an american with german ancestry who is taking all the blame on behalf of the german referee who caused the french defeat.., not..

Every other word will be too much... there is only but to enjoy the moments to come. See you again in the french polynesia.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

A day in sailers' portside life..

'Cedric the sailboat captain' turns out to be a nice guy from France, who is doing a 2 gapyears travelling around the world, away from doing or managing geology surveys on oilrigs in the North Sea and Brazil. The boat, Thira, is well equiped and will provide a home for months to come.

The other crewmember David-the 2nd so far- has left and decided to stay in Mexico with his girlfriend.. apparently she put him to the ultimatum -fuck off or fuck me-... or did he chicken out.. Anyways, another 'Jeramy US Navy man'..., is on the way but we could do the trip with 2 as well..

We do have to leave soon because the hurricane season is on the way.. and considering that the insurance company does not want to insure the ship for our Pacific ocean passage...

Being a sailer... or more apt.. becoming one, we enjoyed a night out on the town with life music, lots of interesting and friendly people and.. a barbrawl, my major contribution being.. getting the Jerome doorman to ward off the unexpected aggresor waving the poolcue he had used earlier on a very composed Cedric.

Besides watching Euro 2008, the ship preparation for departure, going over the equipment and emergencies, and stocking up the pantry (foodstore on board.. jeje) is taking most of our time. Puerta Vallarta is a nice place.. very americanised and the weather is more tropical than dry.. One up for the Caribe.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Unity Consciousness

Just before embarking on my journey across the ocean I must allow for a little contemplation.. this time on the purpose of my trip.. Why, as asked..

Well, Guadelajara was great, I went to great contemporary jazz concert in an old temple, enjoyed the most mexican cities of mexico with mucho culture, clean, a lot of people, wide variety of food and great vistas across the surrounding mountains. After which Puerta Vallarta set me back a bit.. the old town center is one up on PDC, admittedly the sun sets into the ocean as it should do and the mountains provide a suitable backdrop.. as per my dreams.. however.. it is worse than PDC.. enough said.

As for the contemplation.. Over the last few years I struggled my way up and down and again... through levels of personal development as there are... persona (persona vs shadow).. ego (ego vs body).. Organism (total organism vs environment) and finally and ever so elusive.. the unity consiousness where all opposites dissolve.. All this most satisfyingly stuborn, and most possibly to my own disadvantage without using any structured and established recognised methodologies.
Besides finding the meaning of life and something useful to contribute to this world, to at least offset all the blessings I receive on a day to day basis, it may be well be the study and traverse of the neverending road of personal transference to the unity consciousness that drives me... Jung, her I come.. or maybe Vedante, or Mahayana Buddhism or Taoism or Esoteric Old Religions or... maybe I will just do it my way..

Or maybe it is yet another way to avoid reality by riding the next wave of exitement, fun and diversion... you decide..

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Respect the ocean

Now I know why I bought two pairs of sunglasses.. so that the nice cheap ones could serve as an easy target to those going through my luggage in the San Christobal de las Casas luggage guardaria.. at least I have the nice expensive ones left.. Apart from this.. everybody is very friendly this oceanside.. same as everywhere in Mexico.. and they actually look up when I walk passed, wispering.. huero, huero.. which says much for the level of tourism, another plus!

In return I also walked into a place in Puerto Escondido where my mp3 player was beefed up with 4gb of my personal favorite mp3 tracks... for 100 pesos.. great service and at least I will have something to bring to the ship that benefits the crew, or so I imagine....

Together with Hillary from Vancouver Island, Canada I explored a bird sanctuary laguna by kayak at 7 in the morning, looking for birds.. we counted 12, and that was including the birds offered on the menu in the restaurant organising eco-kayak tours.. Of course migratory birds fly by in january to march.. Hillary has been living an amazing life filled with volunteer jobs around the world, sometimes paid and more-often not, and now returns to medical school.. an inspiration and much food for thought.. although following cougertracks in Canada/Alaska may not be for me..

Acapulco proves a great disappointment, apart from the everpresent sea in Mexico, seemingly the only nature the average mexican has an healthy respect for, judging by the piles and piles and piles of rubbish next to the roads.. only interupted by church squares, school yards and army barracks. The Quebrada cliff divers proof the point and show how to embrace the ocean with a healthy respect and sence of adventure.. Ever onward, manana to Guadalagara... and then Puerto Vallarta..

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Pacific Coast!!

Decided to forego the pleasures of rainy San Christobal de las Casas and move straight on to Puerto Escondido. Capitalism is winning over socially aware community based concepts .. Even here a small bottle of water is charged at an outrageous 15 pesos.. (1 Euro) and while sipping my badly needed coffee after 18 hours in the bus with another 12 to go... I overheard 2 dutch girls answering their mobiles to calls from the Netherlands!!! (This is a, in the middle of the wild mountains of Mexico, supposedly very much off the beaten track, original indian dominated colonial town..

Puerto Escondido is another story.. laid back surfing town with great bookstore/bar, home cinema at the videostore and affordable... 50 pesos for the night in a cabana under palmtrees.. and a full 3 course meal set me back 60 pesos.. There is no mass tourism.. few obnoxious tourists... and friendly locals who enjoy their life and do not try to earn as much money as possible from you as a dayjob... Anybody from the Caribean coast reading this should consider a move.. I certainly am very pleasantly surprised.. and there are mountains, waves and a sunset... although no cristalblue waters with reefs and white sands... that is a minus...

Another few days mixing it up with the surfdudes before I move on to the yachtie crowd.. (note to myself..... when everybody starts jumping on to their mopeds, and into cars and taxis with their boards to catch the waves in the next bay... just let them go... surfing is not for me..)

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Man vs Wild

Today is the day. It has taken some days of preparation and some fine goodbyes but today is the day my trip gets on the way. I got TV installed just before my trip to Amsterdam this month, in anticipation of watching the Dutch team´s victoryrun in the European Football Tournament.. Being a little nervous I did not sleep too well... and so... ESPN showed a repeat of the 1988 final!! My departure from Tierra Firma in Puerto Vallarta to the Polynesian islands coincides with the first match.. The last time we won the Tournament I was away working in a US summercamp in 1988... so, being away again maybe a good sign.....

Low and behold, another sign.... The other program I watched was on Discovery Channel; this guy from Man vs Wild survives on a deserted Polynesian (!!!!) island and finds his way out on a selfmade raft.. after being surrounded by tiger sharkes.. At least I know what to do know.. make fire, fish, eat cocos, make a raft and signal with knife in case of ship approaching withing 10 miles...

Ever onward.. tonight to San Christobal de las Casas, in the mountains of Chiapas.. where I may meet some revolutionary Zapatistas..

Hasta pronto.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Saying goodbye´s

Saying goodbye is more involved than anticipated and more so as the dentist is keeping me longer than expected.. Wednesday I am off to Palenque, San Christobal de las Casas in the mountains and Oxaca on the west coast, from where I travel to Puerto Vallarta, port of departure.

Today´s surgery tops it all. I actually lost weight by way of sheer size of extracted roots... Recommended afterparty... 3 days inside with blinded windows, hefty dose of antibotics, Ibuprofen that you can only get on dentist recepy (a first in Mexico where you can walk in and buy Steroids, Viagra and everything else at the Farmacia Similar).. and mouthwash. I am adding a few hours of internet and selected reading for personal pleasure.

Genie found its way in the jungle.. a really nice place with lots of space and friendly people.. I am going to miss her, although I now know that I am more of a cat person, it was really much harder to say goodbye than expected. Pumi is going back to Ale the day I leave.. she will definately be missed..

Enough sob stories for this year... giving away most of my stuff is fun though.. the bazaar is a non-starter.. It feels better this way.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Polynesia via dentistchair

Ouch, this week I shall be a feature (or fixture) in the dentistchair.. better now than somewhere on the South Pacific ocean. Maybe I should not have waited for four years after all.. Ouch again.

Mi querida Genie (see pic later) will have a new home in the junglespa (http://www.visitcancun.com/) a few k´s in from Puerto Morelos. The apartment will pass on to owner of neighbouring Cafeteria and my carefully selected items of interior design and furniture will find there way to new owners by way of a bazaar this weekend.

It is always nice to know howmuch you are needed and missed when you announce your departure to your employer.. obviously not.. within a day a new dive instructor has leaped into my still warm wetsuit.. which leaves me one excuse less to hang around beloved Puerto Morelos (http://www.almalibrebooks.com/ , THE Riviera Maya bookstore... for background info on the village).

After only a few years I already find it difficult to say goodbye to the enchanting village.. with all the beauty, nature, peace, friendliness and aggrevations of a Caribean fishermans village surrounded by national park reefs and mangroves. Where else will I walk the streets and know every other person.. (PS: a few days later.. Diabolical.. because I really like the friendlyness but abhore the accompanying gossip and knowitall that comes with the lack of personal activity and interests.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Amsterdam... Puerto Morelos... Polinesia..

My visit to Amsterdam was a warm bath.. Very nice to be with my parents.. be there for my dad´s 70th birthday,.. the rascal has just bought another 650 motorcycle.., friends and my beloved Amsterdam.. It also allowed me a fresh breath from the village life of Puerto Morelos. Being a dive instructor and living in the Caribean can be considered adventerous.. but the day to day routine does not really provide a lot of stimuli.. apart from the odd resque operation at high sea.. a shark once in a while and silly customers who think they can dive and are determined to get injured or worse.. Actually, it is not a bad way to go..the deep blue.. narcosis.. dreams.. sleep.. eternal blizz..

And so.. a longtime dream come true.. With a newly acquired waterproof sailsuit, flashlight, diveknife, a lot of positiveness and a fair measure of opportunism.. I will sail from Puerto Vallarta (Pacific Coast Mexico) to the isles of Polynesia in the South Pacific. Remarkable easy... well at least it was to catch a bearth. Not one week after my registration on www.findacrew I found myself pondering various offers for passage across the oceans.

My next challenge is to find somebody to take over the rent of my appartment, a new home Genie, organise a bazaar to sell or give away my belongings, the dreaded dentist and give up my job in order... I should not forget to buy a guidebook of some sort in case I get ditched on an island somewhere.. buy some booties for on the boat.. and not eat my dutch sweets before getting on the boat..

Monday, 19 May 2008

Riviera maya Mexico..

After 4 years on the Caribean coast of Mexico it is time for adventure...