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Update Fiji, May 2007


We stayed one week in Savu-Savu - it is quite a nice place. We have moored in the little town to do groceries and meet with the cruisers. The Copra Shed is the gathering place and it is quite picturesque. When tired of the hot harbour we headed out to the Cousteau Resort only 3 miles away and get our dose of snorkeling and swimming.

After a week we got all the cruising permits to visit the islands! We are happy because we also got the permission to go visit the “Lau group”. We think it is going to be very special!
We are going to visit first the genuine villages and people from Fiji and then Viti Levu, Mamanuca and Yasawas Group!

So our plans for the next 4-8 weeks are (subject to all changes the cruising life dictate):


 Depart  Arrive  Nmiles  Course
 Savu Savu  Cousteau resort  3  east
 Savu-Cousteau  Fawn Hrb  30  east
 Fawn hrb  Viani Bay  20  east
 Viani  KIOA  9  north, NW
 KIOA  Rabi Island 12  north
 Rabi Island  Budd Reef  24 east 
 Budd Reef  Qamea Isl  18  south
 Qamea Isl  Matagi/Laucala  -  -
 Qamea Isl  LAU:VanuaBalavu  55  east, SE
 Lau VanuaBalavu  KORO Island  95  west
 KORO isl  Ovalau  48  west, SW
 Ovalau  Benga  66  south, west
 Benga  VITI LEVU  40  west
 Cuvu Hbr  Momi Bay  25  northwest
 Momi Bay  Vuda Point  18  northeast
 Vuda Point  Musket Cove  15  southwest


I hope we can make most of this - all the experienced cruisers say that the cruisng east is the REAL fiji experience and that the Yasawas and Mamanucas are more resort and dollars places with tourists and few genuine villages and people... So we are going for it! The boarts headed this way are:
DIVA, Blue Marlin, Christina, Necessity, Pomona, Elysium

We did a Fiji custom seminar done by Curly, the local cruisers organizer, and a realy funny kiwi with a white beard! Corinna is going by bus to Lambasa for a flavour of the indo-fijian lifestyle and a sugar cane plantation visit.

A week later we left “Viani Bay” (north east from Vanua Levu) where we stayed for one week. The local people were really lovely. We had a great time there and the 4 boys went snorkling and diving with a local called Jack Fisher. He really knows the good diving spotst out in the reefs!

So now we finally got into the sailing rythm again, after 5 months in the Opua Marina, and Corinna had a great time visiting twice the local school in Viani(64 students).
On Sunday we went to the service at the tiny church and afterwards we had lunch with all the family from Jack! It was a nice experience!
We are together with Blue Marlin, Cristina and Necessity (also from Norway).

We then sailed to the island called Kioa. Kioa is an island inhabited by Polynesian originally from the coral reef island of Vaitupu in Tuvalu. Its really a colourful island and the people are very warm and friendly. The women are known for their woven crafts and we could buy lots of nice baskests and a nice pandana straw matt.

Unit the next update - your esslefamily




Out on the dry in Opua - NZ, March 2007

After all the traveling, its time to devote attention to our beloved boat. DIVA is on the dry in the boatyard and getting a new bottom paint, the propeller cleaned and a nice polish of the hull. Small projects inside the boat, plus new batteries for bank one will get DIVA in imaculate condition for her second year out cruising. Corinna, Mark and the boys are homeschooling every day and the afternoons are spent on projects and play with friends. Ohana Kai, Pelikaan, Sea Cardinal and Tradewind are all here and the kids crowd is big again. The boys have a base camp up the hill and the scooters wheels new ballbearings (can you imagine how much they drove them around to go through a set of bearings?!!!) Patricks birthday is comming up and the kids will play in a cirkus training park.

In the evenings planning for Fiji and Vanuatu fill the hours. This is a big island group full of surpirses and options - you could easily spend two years just there!

A few weeks ago Mark met with dear friend Emilio Umeoka in Auckland who now heads Microsoft in S. Asia. Muita saudades! A quick stint to Australia to see YPO friends and check in with our A.T. Kearney office is on in April. Then we are already getting ready to go - sometime late April early May. Time flies!



Wondefull South Island in Sunny Weather, March 2007

After the ferry crossing in windy weather we got to the Golden Bay where our friends Martin, Tish and Reece from sailing boat Kupere live in a beautiful house over viewing the valley of Takaka, just a few kilometers from the beach and the world famous Abel Tasman National Park. Spending three days in their home made us feel the deep tranquility that lies in that valley and this corner of the world. Long evenings with great conversations plus the beauty of the park, the biggest sweet water spring, the dunes and seal pups and Tishes loving hug will stay in our memories forever.

From Golden Bay we dashed towards the west coast - the rainiest stretch of land of NZ and found the shore and the subtropical forests to be incredible. A helicopter flight to the Fox, Franz Joseph and Tasman Glaciers, NZ highest Mount Cook gave us a top view of the Southern Alps as the mountain range is called. The boys would have loved to jump into the summer snow and the great weather gave us incredible sights! The next day we walked up close to the glaciers and saw the cold water gushing out of the ice cave at its foot. You then realize how glaciers are huge fresh water reservoirs that store water for nature and give it back in a slow and orderly manner. Global warming is starting to change that with dire consequences to us all…

From the Glaciers we drove to central south island to visit Wanaka and Queenstown - the extreme sport capital of the world. Everywhere you see generation-Xers - lads and girls in their late twenties - ready to jump off bridges and canyons or paddle in white water rafts down dangerous rapids, roll down hill in giant zorb balls or whatever else the adventure tourism industry creates every season! We visited the "original" AJ Hackett bungy jump Kavarau bridge and felt the sizzle while watching the jumps into the canyon. The scenery in the area is most spectacular with blue lakes and high mountains. Our chalet motel was a treat and the mundane down town of Queenstown rendered a relaxed evening window shopping. A family river rafting was on the menu the next day into the Skipper Canyon, an old gold mining ground and all got to splash (with wetsuits) in the cold fresh water.

Further south we visited the Fjordland from the town of Te Anau. The Milford sound is really NZ's sugar loaf and rightfully so. Sunny and calm weather made this a highlight of the trip. The next day a delightful 3 hour walk through moss overgrown forests and the stone beaches of the lake stretched every ones legs. The late afternoon was spent in the giant couches of the local (super modern) movie theater to see aerial scenes of the Fjordland and a movie later on for Corinna and Mark.

Refreshed we drove towards Dunedin, NZ University city in the south to visit our cousin Monica who teaches at the university. The town reminded Mark of his University days in Aachen, Germany and we all loved the old stylish houses on the hills. The Otago peninsula had yellow eyed penguins and the magnificent royal albatross for display - a rare opportunity to see these shy animals. Albatrosses fly 500 to 1000km a day around the southern ocean! Quite impressive for sailors like us.

The trip up north through NZ agricultural plains around Christchurch lasted until we made it to the mountains and the little resort of Hamner Springs. In alpine style we took the boys on a horse back ride through the mountains and rivers. After that we had to call our friends Paulo and Bacy to share our joy and memories of Campos de Jordão and Haras Polana. Paulo you would have loved it! The bums were relaxed in the hot springs baths and water slides. From the forested mountains the terrain going north becomes more arid and rough while the road winds on the coast line. The limestone gives the ocean a clear light blue color just like in polinesia and in Kaikora we explored the the amazing whale marine center. The cold and warm currents meet here to bring to the surface amazing sea life. In Picton, the south island northern port we caught the ferry back towards Wellington to have a second go on the Te Papa Museum and the incredible city library. Further up north lies the Art Deco city of Napier - also a great wine producing region in a large valley at the sea shores. Next stop is Auckland and then back home to our dear DIVA in the bay of islands!

See Ya!

En route by car to explore New Zealand
Auckland Maritime Museum- Waitomo Cave Glow Worms -- Mount Ruaperu Crossing - Lake Taupo Trout Fishing - Military Museum - Wellingtons Cable car and TePapa Museum

We have been very blessed with great weather making these landmarks even more special! Auckland received us with a quick shower and a nice dinner with friends Gilberto Gamer and his wife in the Crowne Plaza. The Maritime Museum is very special, sailing hero Peter Blake's feats well documented and the Americas Cup race village still has the aura of the sailing circus that is now getting ready in Valencia, Spain.

The caves of Waitomo are unique and very well prepared for tourism. The glow worms cover the dark ceilings of the caves and look like a starry night. The boys enjoyed the silent boat ride in the submerged river.

We arrived in the afternoon to catch the chair lift up to Mount Ruaperu. There, Alexander and Philipp had their first encounter with real SNOW! At 2100m it resist the summer heat around an active volcano crater! This is the kiwis favorite ski resort and we enjoyed the summer views and a good walk among the rocks.

The next day, Corinna went on an 18.5km - 7 hour march across the Volcano craters of called the Tongariro Crossing of the emerald lakes. The 4 boys enjoyed a round of trout fishing on Lake Taupo. See the pictures for results!

On the way to Wellington we stopped at the military museum and got to see and touch all the war stories, equipment and curiosities of the Kiwis in WW1,WW2, Korea, etc. Once in Wellington we quickly hopped onto the cable car and climbed the hill to the observatory and university to oversee the big bay and beautiful city. The TePapa Museum is worth a couple of days and we spent the whole Friday exploring the Museum. An early Ferry to cross the Tasman Chanell to the South Island will have us out of the bed at sunrise.

NZ is quite a country, a real delight for tourists and the people are of the friendliest type we have met!

Cheers and good on ya' - up to the next report!

The Essle Family



Opua, February 1st

Underway to the south Island!

(More pictures in the Kids Corner section)

When you read this we should be on the road to the South Island of NZ. But first things first: Corinna birthday, Feb. 1st. will be spent on a school free thursday and we will enjoy a nice ride to Wangarei after a great breakfast on board. Next week we will arrange things to get going and then we are off! So here is ou update so far (also check the kids corner for Portuguese infos from and about the boys):

After the new years and the visits of Marks parents, life came back to the normal rhythm of home schooling in the mornings and projects and play in the afternoon. Enchanted by the beauty of the anchorages and the fantastic walking trails on the outer islands, we went out already twice for a week “on the hook”. Almost every day we went for an hours walk up and down the steep hills with stunning vistas of the surrounding bays and open ocean, all to beautiful to describe! The boys have discovered secret mud holes where fierce sand ball wars are fought by 3 wild blond islanders. So life is enjoyable and we are away from the marina and the city life.

Last week was the Bay of Islands Sailing Week - a big boat regatta series with more that 60 competitors signed up. We did enjoy the buzz and were reminded of the Ilha Bela Sail Week, where we competed so often in the past.
Mark joined the crew of Cadillac and had some fun at the races. The modern boats sure look sleek and edgy with canting keels and 3DL sails!

Our friends on OHANA KAI have painted their boat bottom and are back in the water – and have Lisas parent visiting. Our boat belly paint job is scheduled for March. By then we should be back from our trip to the south island of New Zealand. We are home schooling in January so that we can take a month vacation in February and go travelling with our little van. Everyone raves about the south and the mountains and glaciers!

Our sailing schedule for this year is now officially changed to Fidji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia with a final stretch to Australia by year end. This way we will be able to enjoy the Pacific more and we will do Alaska and Canada one other time.

Hope you enjoyed the holidays and are fit for the 2007 year to come!
Cheers, The Esslefamily


Opua Marina, New Zealand
35.19S, 174.07E


We have settled in nicely for the season and summer in this beautiful country. We now are proud owners of a car: Mitsubishi-4WD-Diesel-Van that has already taken us to the 90 mile beach and the northern most cape of NZ – Cape Reinga. We now have a cell phone: 006421-2364475, we have wireless internet on the boat, water, electricity and all the amenities we were so used to as land lubbers. Now we can appreciate these things properly and assign them the right value!

The kids are going to the school in Opua, just 5 minutes up the hill from the marina. On Tuesdays and Saturdays the Opua cruising club has a sailing school and Mark is already helping with the boat and kids and the boys are sailing on Splash boats and having a serious ball! On Wednesday night there are weekly races and Mark was able to join the crew of a small but fast sports boat “TITAN”. Our biggest joy is to compete with Stew, on “Snatch”, who sailed with our friends Bochecha, Torben, Horacinho, etc. on BRASIL1 on the Volvo round the world race this year.

So life is good, thank God.

So this year was a very special one for our family and we hope it was also a good one for you! This year we started in Florida exactly a year go and we:

• Sailed 8.500 Nautical miles (that’s approx. 16.000 km!) in two of the worlds largest oceans (Atlantic and Pacific)
• We crossed the equator!
• We crossed the date line!
• Spent 52 ½ days out at sea with no land in sight (but with the beautiful ocean and skies just for us!)
• We sunk one mast and sails in 4000 meters deep water…
• We fished 13 beautiful fish
• We got to know 7 different countries
• Visited 40 different islands
• And we collected a book full of memories and special moments that wil live with us forever

We wish you a wonderful Christmas period with your family and friends and that good memories fill your hearts with love.

Cheers and good on ya’ from the Essle family

Corinna, Mark, Philipp Patrick and Alexander