Welcome to Ende City, Flores Island, Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia

08′ 50S by 121′ 30.8E – Flores Islands was conquered by the Portuguese prior to being taken over by the Dutch, hence the name. Flores, like Timor, has a large Christian population as a result of Portuguese missionary efforts. Before the Portuguese arrived, the natives of Flores had already been conquered by the kingdom of a nearby island, Sulawesi. The natives of Flores comprise five separate cultural groups that did not have a lot of interaction with one another due to the rugged terrain that made travel between areas extremely difficult.

The island of Flores came into view several hours before we arrived. At first it reminded us of the Marquesas, with large, dramatic volcanic mountains, the highest of the peaks enshrouded in mist. But as we got closer we saw that, while green with a lot of vegetation, the mountains are not nearly as lush as the Marquesas. Ende is a port town on the south side of the island with 80,000 inhabitants. It is nestled in a bay protected by a peninsula that juts out. As we rounded the peninsula, we were amazing to see that there was a smoking volcano next to us on the shore. The highest peak wasn’t the one smoking, it was a smaller peak only half the size, maybe 500 feet tall. The smoke has a yellowish tint. There are yellow stains around the crest from the sulfur and a jagged line of reddish looking dirt with no vegetation that runs down the face, likely from where lava once flowed down.

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Once we rounded the corner Continue reading

2007 Reflections and Happy 2008!

Wishing all of you and Happy, Healthy, Safe and Prosperous 2008!

We have been doing some reflecting on 2007. It has been the most amazing year of both our lives. The first four months we jumped hurdle after hurdle in trying to get ready to go. It seemed several times that obstacles might stop us, but then at the last minute we were able to overcome these obstacles, leaving a month behind schedule. We want to thank everyone who helped us overcome the various hurdles. We are so blessed to have had so many people help us along the way and we are thankful for your friendship, help, and support. We couldn’t have done it without all the help!

Since leaving we have been to 18 islands in the South Pacific, four places in Australia and one in Indonesia. We’ve been SCUBA diving in all kinds of amazing places, including beautiful reefs, caves, and shipwrecks. Of course, we have seen incredible amounts of sea life on our dives. We went swimming with dolphins and whales and sharks in the ocean. We have been to the rim of an active volcano and walked up a waterfall. We have seen many traditional Polynesian and Melanesian villages. We’ve done a lot of snorkeling, gone on many gorgeous hikes, and taken several island tours, including one on a go cart, one on horseback, and one in a helicopter. We have been to several big celebrations for a country’s local holiday, and twice gotten within a few feet of the country’s president at these events. We anchored on a sunken sailboat by mistake and had to handle getting unstuck very carefully or we would have sunk, too. We got our anchor badly stuck on some coral another time. In Australia we saw all kinds of crazy land animals and ate crocodile and kangaroo. We have been in very rough seas, and once we almost got hit by lightening. Those are all the biggies, but there is much more, too. Here is a list of some of the highlights since leaving home.

“¢ Average speed: 5.94 knots
“¢ Best Polynesian Food: Jenna’s Niuan Buffet, Niue
“¢ Best Sea Animal Encounter: Tie between swimming with the whales in Vava’u, Tonga and swimming with the melon headed dolphins in Nuka Hiva, French Polynesia
“¢ Best Polynesian Dancing: Society Islands, French Polynesia
“¢ Best Tattoo artistry: The Marquesas
“¢ Best Wood Carvings: The Marquesas
“¢ Best Yogurt: Mami Nova brand (we found in Tahiti, imported from France)
“¢ Cleanest Fuel: Thursday Island, Australia
“¢ Days on land/days at sea: 141/70 = 33% time at sea
“¢ Deepest anchorage: 100 feet in Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia
“¢ Deepest dive Christi: 130 feet in Luganville, Vanuatu
“¢ Deepest Dive Eric: 102 feet in Niue
“¢ Favorite Dive Spot: Fakarava, French Polynesia
“¢ Friendliest People: Niue
“¢ Least expensive destination: Timor, Indonesia
“¢ Longest passage at sea: 21 days from San Diego to Nuka Hiva, French Polynesia
“¢ Most amazing land destination: active volcano in Tanna, Vanuatu (found in blog under Efate)
“¢ Most boats in a single anchorage: Tahiti, French Polynesia
“¢ Most expensive destination: Bora Bora, French Polynesia
“¢ Most expensive fuel: Cairns, Australia
“¢ Most frustrating check in/check out experience: Fiji (we were unlucky. Most have no issues)
“¢ Most remote from civilization: Suwarrow, Cook Islands
“¢ Most Unique Land Animals: Tropical Dome, Cairns, Australia
“¢ Restaurant with best value for the quality: Chef’s in Nadi, Fiji
“¢ Restaurant with worst value for the dollar: Hotel Bora Bora, Bora Bora, French Polynesia
“¢ Scariest Event: Getting the anchor stuck on the sunken sailboat in Apataki, French Polynesia
“¢ Shallowest anchorage: 10 feet in Moorea, French Polynesia
“¢ Strongest winds: 39 knots during a squall on passage from Australia to Indonesia
“¢ Total distance traveled: 9,959 Nautical Miles (11,452 statute miles, 18,320 Kilometers)
“¢ Total engine hours: 1676
“¢ Total generator hours: 767
“¢ Worst seas: Suwarrow to Niue passage (waves as high as 14 feet not fun!)

It will be very interesting to see what 2008 has in store for us. We hope it is just as good or even better than our wonderful 2007.

Travel Summary April 2007 to December 2007

United States of America to Australia

The maps show the approximate route Kosmos has made. These are straight “point to point” lines, and necessarily our exact path. For example we headed a bit more south on our first passage than the line shows.

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  • Dana Point, California, USA
    W117°41, N33-27
    Feb 27 – May 20, 2006
    commissioning process
  • Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
    W116-37, N31-51
    May 20 – Sep1, 2006
  • San Diego, California, USA
    W117-14, N32-42
    Sep 1, 2006 – Apr 28, 2007
    Trip to Catalina Island
  • Taiohe, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
    W140-6, S8-55
    May 19 – Jun 1, 2007
    Island tour, horseback riding, Marquesan Feast
  • Anaho, Nuka Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
    W140-05, S8-50
    Jun. 1 – Jun.3 & Jun 27, 2007
    Hiking, swimming with dolphins
  • Fatu Hiva, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia
    W138-40, S10-27
    Jun. 4 – Jun. 6 & Jun 28, 2007
    Hike to waterfall
  • Manihi, Tuomotu Islands, French Polynesia
    W146-02, S14-28
    Jun 9 – Jun. 19 & Jun. 29 – Jul. 1, 2007
    SCUBA diving, hiking
  • Apataki, Tuomotu Islands, French Polynesia
    W146-25, S15-20
    Jun. 19 – Jun. 25 & Jul. 2 & Jul. 6, 2007
    Kosmos stuck on a sunken sailboat, hiking, snorkeling
  • Noth Fakarava, Tuomotu Islands, French Polynesia
    W145-49, S16-04
    Jul 6 – Jul 19, 2007
    SCUBA diving, bike ride around island
  • South Fakarava, Tuomotu Islands, French Polynesia
    W145-24, S16-30
    Jul 19 – Jul 24, 2007
    Snorkeling
  • Tahiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia
    W149-38, S17-33
    Jul 25 – Aug. 6 & Aug. 10, 2007
    Heiva cultural festival, island tour
  • Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia
    W149.51, S17.29
    Aug 6 – Aug. 10, 2007
    Island tour, snorkeling
  • Tahaa, Society Islands, French Polynesia
    W151.20, S16.35
    Aug 14 – 16, 2007
    Island tour, snorkeling
  • Bora Bora, Society Islands, French Polynesia
    W151.45, S16.31
    Aug. 16 – 29, 2007
    Island tour, snorkeling
  • Suwarrow, Cook Islands
    W163-6, S13-14
    Aug 31 – Sep. 11, 2007
    Snorkeling, diving, visit to bird sanctuary island
  • Niue
    by W169-55, S19-00
    Sep 12 – 21, 2007
    Diving, cave explorations, island tour
  • Vava°u, Vava°u Islands, Kingdom of Tonga
    W174-00, S18-39
    Sep. 26 – Oct. 11, 2007
    Diving, island tour on a go kart tour, hiking, swimming with whales
  • Suva City, Viti Levu, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
    E178-25 E, S18-07
    Oct. 12 – 16, 2007
  • Nadi & Lautoka Cities, Viti Levu, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
    S17° 46 by E177° 23 & 17° 36S by 177° 27E
    Oct. 17- Oct. 25 & Oct 31 – Nov.1, 2007
    Island tour, helicopter ride, day visits to nearby islands
  • Vanua Levu, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji
    E177° 03, S17° 27
    Oct. 25 – Oct 27, 2007
    Hiking, diving
  • Waya, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
    E177° 08, S17° 20
    Oct 27 – Oct 31, 2007
    Hiking
  • Efate, Shepherd Islands, Vanuatu
    E168° 18, S17° 44
    Nov 3 – Nov 13, 2007
    Island tour, visit to volcano, waterfall
  • Aore and Espirtu Santo, Shepherd Islands, Vanuatu
    15° 35S, 167° 08E
    Nov 13 – Nov 19, 2007
    SCUBA Diving on WWII wrecks
  • Cairns, Queensland, Australia
    S16° 55, E145° 46
    Nov 21 – Dec 7, 2007
    SCUBA diving, boat haul out, animal sanctuary, butterfly sanctuary
  • Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
    S16° 28 by E145° 28
    Dec 7 – Dec 11, 2007
  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia
    S14° 40 by E145° 26
    Dec 11 – 17, 2007
    Diving, snorkeling, hiking
  • Horn & Thursday Islands, Torres Straits, Australia
    10° 35S by 142° 14E
    Dec 18 – Dec 21, 2007

Welcome to Cairns, Queensland, Australia

On days 6 and 7, the seas went from really uncomfortable to quite miserable. Seas were 10 to 12 feet and confused, with lots of those nasty big beam waves. While Eric was in the shower we were hit with one of those big waves. Eric said the boat rolled over so far on its side that the porthole (window) was completely underwater. Jaime said one of the most memorable moments of his time with us is standing at the back of the boat watching the huge waves go up way over the top of Kosmos.

On days 8 and 9 we had several neighbors drop by to say hello. Here are shots of a couple of them (notice the lime green feet).

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Of course, they were kind enough to Continue reading

Vanuatu to Cairns Dolphin Show

Today is day five of nine on the passage from Vanuatu to Australia. To celebrate making it to the halfway mark, we had a pod of dolphins come and do a show for us. Eric and Jaime spotted the dolphins at about 14:30 (2:30 pm). We went outside to get a better look. There was a big pod of them surfing the waves around us. Many of them stuck their noses out of the water and dived down, arching their backs out of the water, as they surfed along. A couple of them even turned mid stream so we could see their belly arch out of the water instead of their backs, which was exciting because we haven’t seen them do that before. Out of nowhere, one of the dolphins fully jumped straight up out of the water, fully vertical to the sea, and several feet up. We were all stunned. After that initial breach, the dolphins put on quite the show for us. There were several more fully body breaches like the first one. There were several partial body breaches where they seemed to stick their heads up out of the water to say hi. They would sometimes dive forward off the top of a cresting wave, which would send them flying up about a foot above the descending water level before they plunged back into the ocean. They seemed to be having a lot of fun playing in the waves and showing off for us.

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All the other dolphins we have seen seem to Continue reading