A Final Blog…
After Thursday Island and Horn Island we left for Darwin. This was our last passage, and it took 5 days. We watched Harry Potter and ate ice cream, and it was a fun final leg. When we arrived in Darwin we had to wait on a pier until we could go through a gate, which filled with water to adjust us to the tide. It was a very skinny gate but we made it without hitting the side of the boat, and we then parked in a slip at a very nice marina. At the marina, called Cullen Bay, there are many restaurants and it is very clean. On our first day we mainly just explored Darwin and got a bit of wifi. It is a pretty cool city and there is a lot to do. One thing we did was go to a wave pool (because there are crocodiles we couldn’t go to a beach) and boogie boarded. It was very fun and we went there 3 times. Also, we went on a bike ride to a national park, except we did not have time to go hiking in it. One of my favorite things we did in Darwin was go to the night markets. This was a market that runs on Saturday and Sunday and there are so many stores and restaurants I didn’t even get to see them all. Also, it was hard to walk around because there we so many people! At the markets I bought kangaroo earrings and crocodile oil. Also, we ate at an Indian place at the marina twice, and it was so good, the best Indian I have ever had.
Our final adventure was at a resort called Bamurru Plains. We drove out inland into Australia and met 2 people in a safari car. They drove us to the resort (after we parked the car) and showed us to our room. We had a sort of tent/bungalow thing and on the inside it was SUPER cool. The walls were made of mosquito nets (or something like that) but you could see through the nets to the outside. We had sleeping bags, but they were good quality, and Mom and Dad had a bed. There was also a couch, table, chairs, and animal skin rugs. As I said, It was really impressive. Each meal was cooked by a chef and was really fancy, like something you get at a nice restaurant. It was delicious! Also, our view was fantastic. We were in the outback, and each morning when we woke up and looked outside there were water buffalo everywhere, wallabies, so many birds, and I even saw 2 snakes (but that was sort of freaky). Something we did was go on 2 safaris. Our guides told us about all the wildlife and my favorite part was a place called ‘the nursery’. Here is where many animals mothers would drop them off with a relative and go out and eat by themselves. When we were there we were lucky enough to see a new buffalo being born. It was adorable and I have never seen anything like it! Also, we went on an airboat. It was a boat but it was powered by a giant fan in the back. We explored a big marsh area and identified many birds and plants. I thought this was cool because I’ve never been on an airboat before.
Finally, the last activity we did was quad biking, and obviously this was the best activity. We rode all around the Outback, and I went 58 kilometers an hour. It was epic and I wish I could go again. Eventually though, we had to leave so we packed up and came back to the coast. This was a Sunday, so we went to a nearby church. The next day (Monday) was packing day! We spend most of the day completely packing all our stuff. It was quite sad actually, because I am going to miss the boat. We also went the wave pool again, but our main focus was packing. Now, today, is cleaning day. After we clean everything we are supposed to go to the airport and then leave.
It is coming to an end! I will be very sad when it’s over, but I am happy to be going home. I don’t want to leave my Dad to sail the Indian Ocean because he will be gone for a long time, but hopefully everything will go okay. I am excited to see my other family and friends. I will always remember this trip because it has been an excellent experience, and I hope to do it again on my own one day.
Writing from the Torres Strait
One thing that happened to us on Alyosha was our engine caught fire and broke, so we had to spend two days in a place called Gladstone. It was a small town and there was not much to do, but we did go to church and got Wifi at a library. After our engine was fixed, we sailed to another place called Hamilton Island, in the Whitsundays. The island was super cool and unlike Gladstone, there was a lot to do. We went to a few of the 6 pools on the island, saw the beaches, and went on a hike to the tallest peak. Another thing we did was have breakfast with koalas. This was awesome, mainly because two colorful birds came to our table and drank our juice and ate our crumbs. Also, they had koalas on trees that you could see and the food was really good too. Sam got another koala for his ‘Fuzz Family’, and we even got a Hamilton Island magnet.
Next, we sailed to a spot on the mainland called Cairns, but pronounced cans (at least I think) which was our main provision stop before many islands. We went to explore the city and did too small hikes. One was to the Badinga Boulders which was a bit like a waterfall/river/canyon hike and that was really pretty, but the other one was even cooler. This one was called the Josephine Falls, and it was a bunch of waterfalls that carved away at rocks making a natural waterslide. Max, Sam, Dad, and I climbed up the rocks (which were very slippery) and then slid back down them and it was one of the funniest things ever! The next things we did in Cairns was something that we don’t usually do, but because it would otherwise be hard to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, we went on a boat tour. It was an all-day tour, and it gave us food, snorkeling, diving, and a glass bottom boat tour. First, we drove to a spot in the Great Barrier Reef. Next, we went on the glass bottom boat, which was cool because you could see everything underwater, but it was definitely not as amazing as snorkeling. We got dropped off (at two different spots) and we able to snorkel something that is slowly dying. We saw hundreds of types of fish, and many of them were really, really big, we saw turtles, giant colorful clams, and much more. The scariest thing I saw was a 4 and a half foot barracuda (which the tour guides had named Barry) and he looked like he wanted to kill us, he had a huge mouth and it was really scary to be in the same waters as him. Also, at the second snorkeling spot, right in front of our boat’s ladder was a school of enormous fish, about 2 feet each but there were a ton of them. It was cool but also freaky because they were not afraid of people and their large mouths came so close to us we touched them. It was super awesome. I am glad we did the tour because otherwise we would have never been able to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
Anyway, after we left Cairns, we sailed to a place called Lizard Island. The reason it is named this is because the explorer, Captain Cook, named it Lizard Island after all the lizards. Problem is when we went on the hike that was supposed to have all the lizards, I saw none. But that is okay because at the top the view was very pretty. Something awesome about Lizard Island was – the sharks. We could not swim because of the sharks and jellyfish, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t see them. I went to a bait shop (back in Gladstone) and had bought a bag of 2 inch baitfish, and on Lizard Island, I dumped a few in the water. The sharks and giant fish went after my bait and I took some pictures because they were very interesting. The type of sharks were called black tip and white tip reef sharks. Other than that, Lizard Island was not fun, because there was nothing to do except spend the day on the beach, which is what we did for one of the two days we were there. Finally, we left Lizard Island and sailed to the place I am writing this from now, Thursday Island and Horn Island in the Torres Strait. These islands are also pretty unexciting towns, but there are a few things to do. We hiked on Thursday Island to the top of an old battle fort, and Mom and I went into the old jails to see the cells. We also walked basically around the whole island (which hurt my legs very severely) and looked at shops. Now, today we are going back to Thursday Island to provision and we are then leaving for our next place: Darwin!! This is our final destination on our year-long trip that is now coming to an end. I am excited to go home and get warm showers, unlimited water, and Sun Chips, but I will also not want to leave the boat or Dad (whose sailing to Africa) because I am having a lot of fun.
The rest of our time in the Gold Coast was spent on many different beaches, where we collected sands and shells for my collection. After our boat was finished all of its repairs, we went to a place called Couran Cove Resort. This place was pretty cool, it had a lot of things to do for kids like capture the flag and scavenger hunts. Our family won third place in Family Movie Music Trivia, which gave us a voucher for a virtually reality room. It was very cool to go in the virtual reality room because they had many things to do like a VR shark tank (which was very scary), VR racing, sports, and much more. After going to Couran Cove, we went to a place called Tangalooma and we went snorkeling at an old shipwreck of many boats, I think there were 6 or 7 all crashed together. We also sand surfed of the super tall dunes in Tangalooma. Next, we had a passage at sea where we finished The Hobbit for a second time this trip until we arrived at Lady Musgrave Island. Unfortunately, one of the engines starters sort of blew up and we had a mini fire on the boat, so we couldn’t use the Starboard engine on the way. This also meant no hot water. Anyways, when we got to Lady Musgrave we went to explore the very small island, collected our shells and sand, and then went snorkeling and swimming. I am writing this blog from a place called Gladstone where we are getting our Starboard engine fixed for about a day and then we move on to the Whitsunday Islands which I am excited for!
The months in New Zealand are over, and the months in Australia begin! We packed our things from New Zealand and said goodbye because it was time to leave. Next we got on a plane and headed for Brisbane, Australia where we stayed in a hotel for one night before coming back to the boat. When we arrived, we had to get an exterminator to get any bugs off our boat, even though there were barely any. All of our stuff was finally moved back on to Alyosha.
The first big thing we did was go to an amusement pack and water park called Dream World. It was very big and surprising not very crowded because its not Australia’s main season. We did most of the rides and the scariest was a super tall tower drop that I never want to go on again. We ate lunch at a buffet and then did the water park section. Overall, that was very fun.
A few days later we went to a different amusement park called Movie World which was Warner Brothers themed. This park had a lot more roller coasters, and we did them all many times. The scariest one here was called The Joker and we did that at least three times. There were also people dressed as super heroes walking around and many cool shops. I bought jelly beans and an owl pillow for the boat. I think this park was more fun then the other one, but they were both really cool.
Finally, in Australia the other main thing we did was drive to the city of Brisbane and go to a beach. It was similar to Ocean City but much bigger and you could only swim in one section of the beach because of rips and stuff like that. We stayed there for a lot of the day and rode waves it was epic. I like Australia except it is scary at the same time because of dangerous animals, like when we were walking on a promenade the other day and we saw a spider the size of a fist. Other than that, it is a very pretty place and I am excited to sail it!
We have been in New Zealand for 3 months now. It is very different in New Zealand than on the boat because on Alyosha we always had a new place to go and something new to see, where instead, in New Zealand we are focusing more on school and getting to know New Zealand better than any other countries we have been in.
I like New Zealand because it is very pretty and clean, and everyone is nice. I also like going on different hikes and bike rides, because on each one there is something new to see. One of my favorite hikes was through an old railway forest. It was very pretty and ended in seeing a big lake. New Zealand is full of activities (we have done many of them) and also a great place to go sailing on our Minicat and Bic One. We even got to enter a regatta on our sailing boat. When I thought of spending a few months in New Zealand at the beginning of the trip I was excited to be back on land and finishing my school work but now that I am here I miss living on the boat because we had much more to do there. Now that we are living on land again it feels like we are at home but without our friends/family and with a prettier view. Speaking of views, we have gotten to see so many new sites, like hundreds of sheep farms, mountains, and rivers. New Zealand has definitely lived up to my expectations and I really like it here, but I also loved living on the water in Alyosha.
I will not forget New Zealand because it is a place I have lived for a long time now. I think I will always remember hiking Ben Lomond, eating at Fergburger, and biking the Queenstown trail. I will also remember it because I had fun! Basically everyday we wake up and do our school work, and then pick some activity to do. Sometimes we bike or hike, sometimes we sail and kayak, and sometimes we do a guided activity like the Shotover Jet or ziplining. All these things are super fun and make the trip exciting.
If I could change anything about the trip I would make our time in New Zealand a little shorter because I really wanted to go to more countries like Papua New Guinea, or Wallis and Futuna. Even though I really like New Zealand, by the end of our time here we will have run out of things to do and places to see, leaving us basically living here like at home which is not the purpose of our trip. New Zealand is a bit like America because they speak English, have shops like Walmart, and eat similar foods, but it is different because here, many people spend their free time outdoors hiking or biking rather than on their phones or inside. Also, here in New Zealand, the shops all close before dinner. This way, families can eat dinner together. I think this is something we should do in America, because you will get to know your family better.
Overall, I really enjoyed New Zealand. I am excited to go back on Alyosha, and also somewhat excited to go back home to Ocean City, but I still will always remember the fun times we had here, like sailing regattas, looking at sheep farms, and shopping in Arrowtown and Queenstown. If I could, I would definitely come back.
We have been in New Zealand for about a month now. So far, it has been fascinating. During our first week, our grandmother came to visit. We did things like visit Arrowtown, eat at Fergburgers, visit a sheep shearing farm, and ride the gondola. We also baked cookies for Thanksgiving which was very fun and delicious. After she left, we had to start homeschool again, and every day we’ve had to do 3-4 hours of work.
We have gone on many hikes and bike rides, so many I can’t count. There are hundreds of walking/hiking trails here. Some other things that we did were mountain carting, kayaking, visiting Dunedin, and even swimming in the lake. One of my favorite things was visiting Dunedin because we got to go to a super cool museum where you could do science experiments and even go in a butterfly room where many types of butterflies live. Also, we watched a sailing regatta and the new Star Wars. It was entertaining.
In the past week, we have mainly been getting ready for Christmas! I hurt my knee hiking, so I have mostly been wrapping presents and cleaning the house while Max, Sam, Dad, and Mom do a bit of biking and walking around shops to buy gifts. So far it had been remarkable in New Zealand, and I am glad we get more time to stay here!
New Caledonia has been my favorite island so far. Something that I liked about New Caledonia was an island called Casey Island. On this island there is a dog named Moose that lives alone and gets fed by the “yachties.” We brought a can of dog food and gave it to Moose and in return he gave us a tour of his island! Moose knew the trails well and in the end we had a great hike. He was so fluffy!
Afterwards we drove the boat around the island and went to a river. We went with some other people that we met on a boat called Dream Maker Two. Their names were Tayah, Shayla, Wendy, and Dean. While the parents talked, we climbed on big rocks and swam in the river.
A few days later we went to a place called Isle de Pines. Isle de Pines is the most amazing place ever! The water is a brilliant blue and there are tall pine trees on the surrounding islands. We had so much fun there! Tayah and Shayla had a kite board so we tries skurfing, which is basically wake boarding. Also, we played on a beautiful beach and at night we had a bonfire and lit off fireworks. It was super fun and I would definitely go back to Isle de Pines and Casey Island if I could!
We stayed in Vanuatu for 2 days: Friday and Saturday. On Friday, we woke up and drove the dinghy to the Vanuatu Yacht Club which was really just a small shack with a table in it. A man named Stanley was waiting for us in a pickup truck acting as a cab. We got in the back and started down a dusty, bumpy road. It was so bumpy that the next day I had bruises everywhere from being thrown around in the back of the truck. After the crazy and painful 2 hour drive we arrived in a super tiny town with a run down bank and market. We also went to a beach that had pebbles as sand. It was super pretty but really hot! Afterwards, we drove back to the boat and traded sandals for tennis shoes. We were going to hike a volcano! Dad paid for tickets and we took another bumpy pickup truck ride to the base of the volcano. Finally, we hiked around the rim where the lava comes out and waited for an explosion. Then we heard a giant boom! and saw lava splash up from the volcano! It was amazing, but also scary. We stood so close to the edge that one wrong move could mean death. Also, when the volcano exploded it was incredibly loud and frightening. Overall it was very cool and I got tons of great pictures!
The next day we went back to Stanley’s village and brought the children gifts like Uno, coloring books, and bracelets. They barely had anything and they loved our gifts. Afterwards we went to the beach with them where we played in the water and made sandcastles. It was really fun! Finally we had to go back to Alyosha to eat dinner and prepare for our journey to New Caledonia!
My Favorite Moments Through 3 Months
After leaving on June 14th, 2017 for a year of traveling we have already been to French Polynesia, Rarotonga, Niue, Tonga, and Fiji. It’s been a super exciting trip and I am going to share my top 3 fun things I have experienced so far on our travels.
One of my favorite things was on the island of Taha’a. I have already done a few blogs on the Coral Gardens because I have never seen anything like it. We swam through tall coral heads with tons of species of colorful fish. In fact, I even saw an octopus! This was by far the best snorkeling I have ever done and I will always remember the Coral Gardens.
Another awesome experience was swimming with the sharks and rays in Moorea. This was also in French Polynesia. In Moorea we met Robi and Lauren from another boat and we wanted to do something together so both of our families decided to try a snorkeling spot with Black Tip Reef Sharks and rays. It was so cool! The sharks minded their own business but the rays came up to us and let us pet their soft skin! Being so close to the sharks and rays made this experience one of my favorites.
My final favorite experience was going on a jet boat/village tour in Fiji. First, we took a bus ride to the jet boating shop. Here, we got life jackets and the ladies (my mom and I) got sarongs to wear to the village. Next, we went on a a super fun and fast jet boat ride! This lasted a while until finally we arrived at the small village. All the ladies had to wear sarongs to cover their legs. A woman guided us to the village where we attended a kava ceremony. This was to welcome us into the village. Next, we had a delicious lunch and a dance party. When it was time to go we said goodbye and got back on the jet boat. On the way back our driver did 360s and soaked us! This tour was very exciting!
Coral Gardens, sharks and rays, and the jet boat tour were only some of my favorite activities this trip, but there were still so many more! I am sure I will remember this trip forever!
Currently, Alyosha is getting her rudder fixed. Because of this we can’t live on the boat so we are at a resort called Nila. Also, Jepic the dinghy crashed between land and another boat so we now need to fix the dinghy. All of this means that we will have a lot of time on land. In fact we have to wait so long for Alyosha and Jepic to get fixed that we are going to fly to New Zealand for a week or two while waiting…
One of the things we have done while on land is zip lining. The zip line course had 16 zip lines and after riding a few of them we stopped and hiked in an ancient cave. It was really fun! Also, we went on a day trip to a village where we leaned about the culture in Fiji and how people live in Fiji. My Dad brought his drone and the children who were in the village chased it because they had never seen anything like it! The funnest part of the tour was getting to the village because we went by jet boat! It was awesome and on the way back our driver soaked us by doing 360’s.
In a few days we are headed to New Zealand for a week or so. I am especially excited because I will get to skate again! Also, we can order furniture for our apartment! Even though New Zealand will be fun, I want Alyosha to get fixed quickly.
At this point we’ve been to the green mountainy islands of French Polynesia and Cook Islands so arriving at Niue was a bit of a shocker. Niue is made from limestone rock so rather than big mountains Niue is flat. Unfortunately, we arrived in Niue at night so we had to find a mooring in the dark. Finally, after our 3 1/2 days at sea we could sleep peacefully. The next day when we went to shore for immigrations and customs we realized there was no dinghy dock and that we would have to pull our dinghy out of the water with a crane. Luckily, there were some people to help us use the crane our first time. Basically, a big crane hook is attached to the dinghy’s shackle and then a button is pressed to raise the dinghy. Next, we had to pull a rope to move the dinghy to a tender parking space. It was hard, but during our time in Niue we became pros at raising and lowering the dinghy on the pier. The rest of our day we spent at the tourist office and around the small shopping center. We also hiked a small trail to a beach where I found very pretty shells. After the long day we went back to Alyosha and watched Star Wars. The next day we rented a car to explore caves and chasms in Niue. There were plenty to explore since Niue is limestone rock. The first cave we went to was huge and had giant stalactites. The next cave we saw was only better. It had a natural pool in it where my brothers and I took a refreshing swim. The caves we went in also were openings to the sea, so sometimes we would get splashed by crashing waves. The next spot we went to was called The Arches and Chasm. It was split into two hikes, the Arches and the Chasm. We did the Arches first which was a 30 minute hike down rocky coral and limestone. At the end of the trail there was a small cave that led to the view. We saw a huge arch made of red limestone with waves crashing behind it. It was so beautiful! We hiked back up the trail for the final hike of the day, the chasm. This was a small hike, about 10 minutes, but this place was the coolest. It was a long pool between to boulders and it was really amazing! We went swimming and snorkeled with colorful fish. Niue raced to the top as the best island we have been so far!
Wrapping the Cooks
We arrived on the island Rarotonga on August 2 after a three and a half day passage from Bora Bora. At first we had no available slip space or anchorage space so Alyosha spend Wednesday night pounding against the seawall. The next morning a boat named Seacrest anchored in the harbor and we called them via VHF to ask if we could tie up the them. Seacrest agreed so we tied up starboard to port and then explored a little bit of Rarotonga. In the middle of that night, Thursday, Alyosha and Seacrest began drifting towards the seawall causing a lot of confusion and racket. Luckily, I slept through this and in the morning I woke up to a new surrounding. Alyosha was now tied to a concrete commercial dock and Seacrest was repositioning their anchor. At this point we thought we had a good spot at the and of this dock when we were told by the harbormaster to move out of the channel. While my brothers and I raced on an inflatable water park, Alyosha was moved to a different spot on the concrete dock. After all this moving around we spent the rest of our Saturday at the local farmers market and going to a few more shops. Then we went back to Alyosha and had some ice cream. On Sunday morning we got some more news. At 6:00 am on Monday a commercial fishing boat was going to take our spot on the dock so we had to leave, yet again. We went to church and waited for an available spot near some other boats. Finally, a yacht named Music left their slip and we had a spot to stay! At last we could relax and not have to worry about moving about on this pretty island!
A Dog Named “Tamanu”
A few days ago we were in Hameene, Taha’a anchored in a little bay. We decided to go on a bike ride so we took out our folding bikes (they fold for easy storage on the boat) and took the dinghy to a small dock in town. We rode for about thirty minutes and then my Dad pulled us into a small restaurant called Hibiscus. My Dad and Mom were talking to the owners while my brothers and I walked to the back deck of the restaurant overlooking the sea. At first we were bored because there was nothing to do but eat, and we had already had lunch. Then I saw the cutest puppy ever! ‘Tamanu’, a small, fluffy, white, cute, and adorable puppy waddled out from under a beach chair. I put my hand out to let him sniff it. After Tamanu met me, all he wanted to do was play fight. He nibbled at my hands, neck, and mainly my shoelaces. Tamanu was an aggressive puppy! At one point Sam was rolled up on the floor while Tamanu grabbed his hair and jumped on his legs! It was hilarious! Playing with Tamanu made me really want a dog of my own!
Reflections after one month…
As of this time our family is one month into our trip. It has been super fun so far! Some of my favorite highlights have been swimming with the sharks and rays, Coral Gardens/snorkeling, and learning to put up the sails. The sharks and rays were very cool because we took out dinghy and rode over to the spot where we supposedly got to ‘hug’ rays. When we arrived tons of black tip reef sharks and big gray manta rays swam around our dinghy (and we jumped in!). It was so cool to be able to snorkel with sharks and pet the soft rays! Another fun thing for Max, Sam, and I was meeting some other kids. While in Moorea a boat named Avanti pulled up and they speak English! On board was a 12 year old girl named Lauren and a hilarious 10 year old named Rob. Turns out they have nearly the same route as us so we’ve been spending a lot of time together; hiking, fishing, swimming, and playing foosball. Although it has been a fun trip there have been hard times also. For example, after swimming for a long time one day my hair turned into a knotted soup and it looked like a lion mane. Mom went through nearly half a bottle of conditioner trying to comb it our and she was at the point where she just wanted to cut it off! Finally, after 45 minutes of pain I had a tangle free head! Anyways, we have been to 5 islands (Tahiti, Moorea, Huahini, Taha’a, and Raiatea) and it has been a fantastic experience!!
July 5th- (catching up)
Today we rented a car for the day to do some land exploration of Huahine. In the afternoon, after lunch, we dinghied in from our anchor shop and walked across the street to pick up the rental car. We had about five hours with the car so we immediately started our journey. Following a map, Dad drove us around the island. Our final destination was a town called Fare which is the largest town in Huahine. We parked the car by the water and got out to walk around.
The town included the Huahini Yacht Club and Huahini Yacht Club Restaurant(when we took Alyosha to Fare we stayed near the marina and ate at the restaurant!). Next to the marina there was a small shop with clothes and jewelry. I am always into shopping for clothes and stuff so when I went in and saw a beautiful dress (that fit!) I was excited to make this purchase. We continued walking around and going in various shops selling pearls, pareos (pieces of fabric used as shawls, body wraps, scarfs, dresses, etc.), and plenty of other cool items. At the end of the shopping block there was a giant grocery store that had literally everything inside. When we came to this town with the boat a few days later the grocery store was the main source to provision. This mini shopping trip was really fun and now I am really excited to go to Papeete for better shopping!
A few days ago we took the dinghy over to a snorkeling spot called Coral Gardens. We gathered all our gear; reef shoes, masks, snorkels, etc., and beached the dinghy. If you look up Tahiti there is always that picture of tiki grass huts on stilts above crystal clear water; that was literally what we saw! It was like I jumped into that picture! Anyways, we took our masks from the dinghy and walked through the water to the site sandy beach. There was a trail that we had to walk foes to read the “start” of the gardens (although you could start anywhere). It was lined with coconuts that had fallen from trees and there ere lizards scurrying through the fallen coconuts. Finally, we reached the start of the snorkeling and we put on our masks and trudged through the water. Even before we stuck our heads underwater we could see hundreds of fish circling around our feet. Mom got freaked out by this so he went to the end of the gardens where there were less fish and less coral. The rest of us entered the Coral Gardens.
I’m not sure if it is a type of snorkeling, but my Dad said we would be drift snorkeling and right away I knew what he meant. The current was so strong I had to hold on to Dad for balance. The cool part was that the current allowed you to just float along with all the fish. Once we were all comfortable with the current and stuff, we squeezed through some coral into the “main flow”.
There were so many fish and colors and species in Coral Gardens I can’t describe it! Every two seconds someone would come up and say something like “Look at this giant fish!” or “I see a blue coral!” We saw so many during our first time through we were amazed that every time time we went through there was something new. My favorite species was an octopus I saw on a piece of coral. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get Max, Sam, or Dad to see the huge octopus camouflaged into the coral. After snorkeling a bit at the end of the trail, Mom decided to give Coral Gardens a try and we are proud of her for going through it once.
Still, no matter how hard I try to explain it, Coral Gardens is just too epic for words!
We are in Raiatea, an island in the French Polynesia. So far we have been here for 4 days. If you look out the window of Alyosha you can see a small bit of Bora Bora. I am very excited to o to Bora Bora when we can. We are anchored to a mooring so we can also see the island of Raiatea and the island of Tahaa. I am going to tell you about a night, 2 days ago, when we went out to dinner.
First, we all got dressed and hopped on Jepic, our dinghy, and raced over to the airport restaurant. Unfortunately, since it was only 6:00 pm the kitchen was closed and the only thing being served was a ham and cheese panini. Normally in America going out to dinner at 6:00 pm would be perfectly normal, but on these islands eating later in the night is ore common.
Realizing this, we went back to the boat and waited until 7:30 pm to go out again. We called a cab to pick us spat the Raiatea Marina, and soon enough we arrived at a restaurant called Cubana. The waitress came over and our hungry selves ordered 4 types of pizzas off the menu; a Margarita, a Royale, a 4 Cheese, and a Savory. We wolfed down every bite of the pizzas.
When we were waiting for the waitress to come back over, we noticed the outlines of people dancing in synch and we heard the beat of drums. Mom, Sam, Max, and I decided to go check it out. When we walked over to the scene we saw a flash mob of people in everyday clothing performing a synchronized dance to the drum beat. From far away the people looked like soldiers of some sort, but close up it was a really unique show! When we had seen enough, we went back to our table and ate the ice cream we had previously ordered. Out taxi driver was right on time and he took us back to the marina.
When we got back, we had an issue on our hands; The gate to the marina was locked! Sam noticed a small hole in a metal section of the tall fence. We (the kids) took a flashlight and squeezed into the tiny hole in hopes to find someone to open the gate. The driver began to call around on his cell phone to see if he could find help. The three of us had no luck, but thankfully out driver had found the right person. Shortly, a man the keys to the gate arrived and we made it safely back to Alyosha. It may have been a long and tiring, but it sure was an exciting night!
Welcome to My Blog!
Hi! My name is Sara Butz. My writing starts in the summer of 2016, when we sailed to Bermuda from Annapolis, MD. I hope you like my blog, and please comment below!
A few days ago, we arrived in Bermuda, after a 5 day sail. So far, I have had a lot of fun here.
On day one, we ate breakfast at the Dinghy Club, which was pretty bad. (They only served eggs at this place…) We explored town and rode to Elbow Beach on our bikes. The beach was awesome! It had soft sand and clear waters. Me, Max, and Dad snorkeled by rocks in the water, and we saw many cool fish. Our favorite was a deep, metallic green fish, which was about 3 feet big. The dunes of the beach were steep and soft, so we jumped down from them and played in the sand. Another thing that we did was go to a festival, (I don’t know if it had a name or not) which had music, street stands, and lots of homemade art. I had fun there, until our cab driver took us to the wrong dinghy club.
The next day, we tried a new beach called Surfside Beach. It took longer to ride there than Elbow Beach, but we still rode our bikes. In the beginning, the beach was great!! We walked down a long staircase to get to the beach. The sand was softer than Elbow Beach, and the water was more clear. We all thought it was the best beach ever! But then Mom found two Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish. They are the second most dangerous jellyfish in the world, (according to Max), and could put you in the hospital. When I looked around, I did not see one, but about 10 of them! In the water, I saw many more. We decided no more swimming, and had a sand castle contest instead. After the beach, we headed back to the boat to meet Nays and Coach for dinner. (They are our grandparents). At the dinghy club, dinner was different meats, and salad. It was pretty gross. (If you can’t tell already, I don’t like the food at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club). When Mom and Dad looked at the forecast for the next day, they saw that it was going to be rainy and cold, so we planned on going to the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. (a.k.a. BUEI)
Today we went to the BUEI. It was a very cool museum, which taught us all about fish and diving in Bermuda. In the museum, there was a submarine exhibit, where it took you “diving” on a Disney type ride. It was very cool. In the exhibits, there was so many things to look at. There were games, experiments, and short films. After the BUEI, Nays and Coach went back to their hotel, and our family went to the Bermuda Zoo and Aquarium. It was extremely small, but the animals were cool, and the fish were colorful. My favorite were the monkeys. They were tiny and cute! I really wish we had more time to go to the gift shop and finish looking at all the animals.
Today our family went to the Bermuda zoo. We saw cool animals, fish, and birds. My favorite animals were the monkeys and the birds.
Faial Island; Volcano/Volcano Museum
Around lunchtime on another cloudy day, we all drove up to a very interesting volcano museum in our rental car. It was a long drive, and we saw cows on leashes, (one of the strangest things ever). Finally we got to the museum on the other side of the island. It was a pretty long drive. When we got out of the car, we saw a broken down lighthouse in the middle of an ashy, volcanic field. “Where’s the museum?” asked Sam. After walking around a bit, we realized the museum was entirely underground in the volcano! We finally entered into the ground, to learn about Faial’s volcano. The first thing I saw in the museum was a café. This was good news, because we were all hungry. At the café, we ordered Volcano Bombs, which were chocolate, cinnamon, and orange flavored croissants. Dad loved them, but I did not care for them. They were shaped just like volcanic bombs, which are pieces of lava rock that shoot out of an active volcano. Since the bombs were not a hit, I went back to the café and ordered a Portuguese custard tart. It was the best and yummiest dessert I have ever eaten! “Let’s go into the museum!” Max said.
Finally, Dad paid €17, (17 Euros), and we entered the museum. The first exhibit was a temporary exhibit. That exhibit showed us the many types of volcanic rocks, and even had volcanic bombs for us to touch. That first room was the most boring room for me, because all the writing was in Portuguese, so I was confused. That was okay, because the next exhibit was a 3D movie in English. It was informational and too schooly. The movie was about 5 minutes, and when it ended, no one even clapped. “That was literally the quietest ending to a movie.” Sam whispered.Next, we walked into the next exhibit to find a giant moving globe, that showed each of the planets. The touch screen on the side allowed us to see all the details of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. We continued on with a bunch of other exhibits about the Azores, and volcanos. Finally, we reached the gift shop. All of us looked around, to see a bunch of things in Portuguese, like books and posters. The boys immediately left the shop, but Mom and I stayed to buy a traditional Azores coin purse. We said ‘Obrigada’ to the lady at the store, and walked up to the scenic view of the volcano. We took many pictures of the volcano scene because it was very beautiful. Dad saw the lighthouse from earlier in the day, He said we should all go climb to the top of it. When we entered the lighthouse, we all gasped at the sight of the huge spiral staircase that was waiting for us to climb. Eventually, we all made it to the top. On the deck, we saw a beautiful view of the volcano that helped form Faial Island, Azores. It was all great until we realized we had to hike back down the hundreds of stairs in the spiral staircase. Outside of the lighthouse there was a trail to hike to the top of the lava rocks/land of the volcano, and the path back to the parking lot. Adventurous Dad chose to hike. Up. And up. And even more up. Then finally we reached the top. I took lots of pictures of us and of the view, because both were beautiful. And then we had to go all the way back down. On the way back to the parking lot, we took a different route than how we got up, so there was more to take pictures of, and new and to explore. I really liked hiking the volcano, and going to the volcano museum. I think that is going to be one of the best parts of this summer’s trip.
Terceira, Azores: Street of Bulls
At 5:30 we arrived at the street of the bull running. We had heard that people may let you into their house to watch from their porch, so we tried to find a kind person to let us in. Someone offered for Mom and I to come in, but because Max, Sam, and Dad are boys, they all thought they were going to fight. In the end we just decided to stay together at this bar, which had a built in metal and wood fence, that protected you from the bull. We all agreed to stay here until we wanted to go, which ended up being halftime. At this point it was about 6:00, and the bulls came out at 6:30, so we had to save our spot from the swarms of people coming to watch the bulls. Finally we were given instructions. One pop: Bulls Out. Two pops: Bulls In. Then we heard a pop. Men in white suits and top hats held onto a long, thick rope. At first I only saw them, and nothing else, so I was curious what was going to happen. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him. He was big and scary, and had little things on the tip of his horns to protect people from getting seriously injured. It came running into the street at top speed, chasing away all the people who wanted to be in the bull run. Now, the bull was charging for the fence we were standing behind. It plowed into it, shaking the wood. People behind the fence took bags and scarfs, trying to get the bull to come closer. It was pretty frightening. The bull backed up, and rammed us again. This time, his protected horn pierced through the wood, almost stabbing the people behind it. It continued to ram the wood, trying to knock it down. Eventually, he moved on down the street.We all were getting hungry, so we decided to leave at halftime of the show, and only stay for one more bull. The next one was a little less violent. I sat up on the roof, far away from the bull. Yay! It ran around, and chased some people. Men with umbrellas did tricks to make the bull run to them, and other men were filming. I heard an ambulance in the distance, coming to the bullfight. Yikes. We started to make our way to the fence door, when we heard the 2 pops. It was scary even though the bulls were in. We were still on the same street they ran on. Finally, we made it into a cab ,and we were off for dinner. It was a pretty crazy night. Click here for our Terceira video!
Madrid and Barcelona
My favorite day that we spent in Madrid was probably the day we did the bullfighting museum, which taught you about the costumes of bullfighters, and how the ring was used, which was also the day we left. I also really loved eating pastries in Madrid. At our first breakfast, we ordered croissants, apple pastries, cinnamon doughnuts, and so many yummy desserts. I can’t remember the name of the place we ate at, but it was really good.
In Barcelona, I loved riding electric scooters by the shore. There were very pretty views we saw, and a very crowded beach. It was so fun to ride on the scooter because it took no effort at all. 😂 We also ate lunch at a very nice restaurant, I got pasta, and then we played foosball in the back room. (I am the family champion). My favorite city out of the two is Barcelona, but they were both nice.
Back in Lisbon
Today we went to another zoo! (It was a lot better than the Bermuda Zoo). It was HUGE! It looked like a castle from the outside. When we went in, the first animals we saw was a photo opportunity with a talking parrot. (Kindly declined). Then we saw pretty zebras, lions, and “Dolphin Bay”. The animals did not have enough room to live, their cages were small, and they looked unhappy, but it was so much more space than the Bermuda Zoo. We went on to see tigers, bears, sea lions, gazelles, lemurs, (the cutest), and much more. My personal favorite was the monkeys. The zoo have monkey exhibits everywhere! They probably had every type of monkey in the universe. The ones that were so cute where the chimpanzees. They played together like humans. 🐵 The baby monkey chased it’s friends until he got scared and ran back to his mama. So cute! Also in the zoo, there we cable cars, which took you on a tour of the zoo from above. The zoo is one place I would like to come back too. 😋
We took a day trip to a place called Lagos. (In Portugal). On the first day we arrived, we checked into our hotel apartment, and played in the pool while Mom and Dad settled us in. Unfortunately the whole time we were in Lagos, Mom had a fever, and was recovering from two broken ribs, so she did not really do anything while we were there. 😞 On the second day in Lagos, all of us but Mom went to a really neat beach, about ten minutes from the hotel. We spent up until lunchtime there. The beach had really cool shells that I collected and am going to bring home! 🐚 We went out to dinner at a place called Pablo’s, which was one of the best meals yet. I ordered onion rings and spaghetti. The next day, we headed back to our boat. ⛵