Below the boat’s bow, the water glows a deep and translucent blue. The anchorchain arcs down into it, through shafts of sunlight, to where the sand is patched with sea-grass. With the press of a switch, I start to winch in the chain. Link by link, it drops into the locker. The boat nudges ahead, the chain swings vertical and the anchor itself rises out of the water, glinting and dripping like a fish. Our boat throttles forward and we head out of the almost-deserted bay of Luka Soline, into the morning light, moving south across an island-dotted sea.
The day started like any other in paradise. On the Island of Malolo, Fiji, an incredible sunrise found the horizon dotted with small boats that carried local villagers from neighboring islands to work at our hotel. We too had decided to be afloat that day and reserved three spots on the classic S/V Seaspray, a vessel best known for its role in movies and television shows. It’s not often that you get the opportunity to sail on one of these classic twenty-five meter schooners!
Paradise as a Figian beach
A fast speedboat was to pick us up promptly at 1000 and rendezvous with Seaspray at Mana Island. I rounded up the family and made it to the dock by 9.55 AM, only to discover that the ferry had left with another couple at 9:30 AM. The fact that the speedboat departed without us early, and was required to return and make an extra round trip, should have been our first clue that things might not be right in paradise.
You can learn more about this race here. These photos were from 2010. Looks like a damn goregeous place to sail.
A whale of a tale: Lang Walker’s stunning new 58-metre superyacht, Kokomo, shares the Whitsundays with a female humpback whale and calf during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2010. (photo Andrea Francolini/AUDI)
"Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: There’s possibly no better place to race in the world than the Whitsundays, or better venue for a regatta than Hamilton Island.
"Now on its 39th year, the Iloilo Paraw Regatta is the oldest traditional craft event in Asia, and the largest sailing event in the Philippines. The Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation currently organizes the activities, with leading support from the Iloilo City and Provincial Governments and the Department of Tourism, along with private sector donations.
Activities have been expanded to spread over a week. On the Saturday of the climactic weekend there is slalom racing on a course by the beach to facilitate crowd participation. On the Sunday, the thirty-kilometer distance race is sailed on a course in the Iloilo Strait, running up the coast of Panay and then down the coast of Guimaras, before returning to the finish at Villa Beach. Participant exposure to the events is in the tens of thousands.
The geophysical shape of the Iloilo Strait provides year round breezes. Thus the working sailboat still predominates. In these times of high fuel costs, and polluting oil spills, one can appreciate the simple ecology of the traditional paraw. Nevertheless, the skills needed to sail are far more complex.
The objective of the Regatta is to celebrate the skills of the paraw sailors, and bring a fiesta spirit into their lives. And with the colorful painted sails, this spirit is brought into the lives of participants and tourists as well."
One of my favorite songs and a top 10 song in the Top Sailing Songs list. This video was created by Anne Vetten-Marley, a Coloradan, who sails on the amazing Lake Dillon and the BVI. She also happens to have a British partner and is a big fan of the Willy T. We have so much in common.
The photo montage is a great celebration of the joys of Mountain sailing.
This is one of my favorite sailing photos ever. Big thanks to Gail Johnson from this club in Anglesea for providing it. (To US readers, Anglesea is a big isalnd off North Wales. Thye make 'em tough up there). You can see more here.