Sailing Yacht Coco

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Well, we made it. After almost a year of planning we are currently sailing the Baltic Sea down the coast of Sweden.  To kick off the sailing stories I’ll cover the first part of our journey south, and for anyone contemplating a project like this, I thought I’d also share some thoughts about the process of getting a yacht in the water and ready for an ocean voyage. Building a yacht I’ll… Read More

Those moments of luck in your life when you decide to tack on a side trip after a conference and it turns out to be a plan so cunning it’s worthy of a tail (if you’ve never watched Black Adder then that will most likely go over your head). Oaxaca Mexico; (yes, its actually pronounced Wahaka, very Kiwi) the home of Mezcal, incredible food and a depth of culture one can almost… Read More

Swan 54 Yachting Bluewater Cruiser

Crickey, it starts to get real when the drawings turn up!  The hull construction for Coco, our beautiful Swan 54 is about to start.  I’m pretty stoked that we got to this point, especially after being out sailing last week in a chartered 32 foot Bavaria; we had a 30 – 35 knot easterly with 2 – 3 metres of swell.  I was somewhat concerned that my crew (read wife) was going… Read More

First it was Gabby, and she’s beautiful.  And to be fair, still a very large part of my life, even after two years together.  And with time, my wife has grown to love her as well.  But now its Coco.  Coco is irresistible.  She’s dark, sleek, seductive.  The complete opposite of Gabby, and I kinda like that.  I’m not quite sure how well Coco is going to be accepted into our family;… Read More

Land Rover Defender 110 Expedition

Gabby is home for a visit.  Wicked.  We had her shipped from the UK back to New Zealand late last year and she arrived in Auckland ready for summer.  Getting her back to Queenstown at the other end of the country deserved a road trip (of course) that needed to be written up – so here’s the story of the trip south… We flew to Auckland from Queenstown late in December and… Read More

I have been remiss in sharing with you some thoughts and pictures of the ocean environment while on our recent Indonesian dive trip through the Flores and Banda Sea’s, and Southern Raja Ampat.  I hit the ground with a significant thump upon arriving home after such an incredible diving trip and have struggled to get my fingers attached to the keyboard! Let me say this – the diving in this region of… Read More

Having just returned from 3 weeks sailing 1,200 nautical miles across the Banda Sea in eastern Indonesia on the beautiful yacht Amandira from Sumbawa (near Bali) to Sorong in West Papua, it’s time to share some stories and images of the adventure.  I’ll split this blog into a couple of sections; I’ll start with Life & The People, and follow with The Oceans & the Islands in a couple of weeks. Most… Read More

The irony – it was almost a year ago to the very day when we were planning our expedition to Iceland and there were warnings of a potential volcano eruption in the region.  And can you believe it.  We are about a week away from leaving on our epic expedition through the Spice Islands in Indonesia and it’s happened again.  This one is serious.  Mount Agung in Bali is on the verge of a… Read More

Only 6 weeks to go before we head off.  17 days sailing on Amandira from Mayo Island near Bali, finishing 1200 nautical miles later in Sorong, West Papua.  After sailing through the Komodo National Park, we head eastward towards Maumere and Alor to start some world-class diving in warm 30 degree, crystal clear waters abundant with marine life. From there we hit the volcanic region near Maumere, on the east end of Flores island.  It’s… Read More

Okay, so I’ll be the first to admit it.  I bloody love travel.  I love the adventure of it.  I love the challenge; and it excites the hell out of me to go and see new places and experience new cultures, meet the people, and eat their food (love the food).  I suppose (and being really honest here) I also get a real kick out of photographing new places.  I don’t know… Read More

It’s time to start planning again. Watched a Rick Stein show on Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Northern Greece. It looks good. Great people, food looks spectacular; it smells like an adventure in the making. And it’s heading in the right direction. I feel a plan coming on, a cunning plan indeed. In the interim, there’s been a couple of adventures to keep the soul fed back home; the Land Rover Discovery (the… Read More

Iceland prides itself on key tourist attractions that bring over a million visitors to the island every summer.  Sure there are the glaciers, the amazing sceanery etc etc, but they also sell the hell out of some other must-see assets; namely the whales, the puffins, the reindeer…  and I’ve eaten them all.  Let’s review some of these non-PC eats: Puffin – usually caught in a net (bit like a lacrosse game) and… Read More

We leave you with great sadness Sicily. We loved your rustic Italian style, your food; mamma mia – the seafood (when Jeasus did that cool shit with the fish, I’m sure they must have been Anchovies), the fresh produce, the simplicity in your cooking – molto bene!  Your people are welcoming, your towns are beautiful, your history is deep, the markets are inspiring – going back? “Totes Bro”! Back at London Heathrow… Read More

Sicily, home to some 5m Italians.  Relaxed mix of Mediterranean Greek / Aribic feel and amazing seafood; you are a welcome respite from the rainy days of Iceland!  It’s a cultural lunch to be back in Italy.  Crap trip here, thanks Alitalia for the unscheduled stay in a shitty hotel in Rome.  “You will be our guests for the night” was not what we needed to hear from the transit desk after… Read More

After 3 weeks in Iceland and nearly 7000km of driving, we’ve left Gabby at the airport in Keflavik (hope she’ll be ok!) and we are flying to Sicily for 10 days of downtime with the kids before they go back to New Zealand.  It’s been a full-on trip with non stop moving and I think everyone is a bit buggered…  Here are my thoughts on Iceland: Iceland is spectacular – put it… Read More

Vatnajökull; the largest ice field in Europe covering an area of 8,400 square km with an average ice thickness of more than 3,000 feet.  If it melted, half the world would have pretty wet feet (according to some dude I met).  Anyway, it’s big, really big.  Pretty awesome to drive 200 kms around the south coast and see non stop glaciers spilling off the ice cap.  I figure these United States Navy… Read More

If I was ever going to make a movie about aliens, hobbits or any elfin like creature, the south central highlands of Iceland would be my set.  It’s totally stunning.  Volcanic, steaming, raw, lava fields.  And contrast in the landscape like I’ve never seen before.  It’s a cinematographer’s dream come true.  Peter Jackson picked the wrong country me thinks.  We spent a couple of days in a hut at Landmannalaugar (try and… Read More

Reykjavík, the only real city in Iceland; home to two thirds of the population.  It’s an eclectic mix of old and new reflecting the rapid growth in tourism that the country is struggling to manage.  The city has an undercurrent of young rebellion with late nights, fuelled by drugs and booze that flows like their waterfalls.  Whale meat features on the menu in the slick and eye wateringly expensive restaurants – and… Read More

After leaving the stunning central highlands and a swim in an active volcanic crater(!), heading to some of the more remote areas in the northern fjords bought a new landscape with bumpy roads, deserted fishing villages and another amazing night of the northern lights.  As it turns out, seeing the elusive lights is not as straight forward as one might think, it’s always freaking cloudy here!  So we are lucky it would… Read More

There are 3 types of roads in Iceland.  The red roads: these are the main highways.  Sealed.  The yellow roads: theses can be sealed or not, but generally drivable.  Then there are the white roads.  To be clear, I use the term “road” loosely, very loosely.  In true Icelandic style, half of these roads are not even marked on the map.  They are goat tracks at best.  So when my navigator (aka… Read More