Welcome to the Essle Family Sailing Adventure Website (click here or the banner to see our position) Back to the future in São Paulo, Brazil
Yes, it´s right; we are coming back to Brazil not only for the holidays but for good! A big change in plans, a gybe in our track! The tropics, not the desert!
So here is the summary of what happened in the last few weeks:
We traveled Australia and converged in Sydney to do the Bridge climb, Bondai Beach and other great adventures while Mark flew to São Paulo to get our documents for the visa process in Dubai. Corinna and the boys flew up to Brisbane and had a few days of fun on the Gold Coast attractions. They met Rune and Idun of Blue Marlin-Norway in town and enjoyed the time with Albrecht, Baerbel and Alexandra, Helena, Anabel – Marks cousin who lives in Brisbane.
The A.T. Kearney offer to join the Dubai office was very attractive and we were all set to go but then everything changed. While Corinna was in Australia with the boys, Mark was in São Paulo for only 5 days when fate and destiny took over. Silvio Matos, a great friend and owner of MatosGREY got wind of Marks plans and lured him to join the MatosGREY group as CEO for Brazil to manage the group of companies and to take advertising, communications and marketing to a new level with its client base. This is now a real challenge in an industry that is in the midst of big change, as the media market is becoming ever more fragmented – who is still watching TV??
Yes, we are back in our little apartment (the 100sqm are feeling quite spacious) in busy São Paulo that has become cleaner, nicer but with even more traffic! The economy has been very good for the last 2 years and many things moved ahead while we were gone.
The reception of our friends here has been overwhelming and the days with our family have touched us deep in our heart. It’s good to be back and to embrace loved ones – a grand feeling!
Diva is now lonely sitting in Bundaberg and on the market with Yachtdomain – Wayne and John who have taken such good care of us are watching over her and we miss the friends from our cruising days already.
The boys were accepted in the British school in Dubai and will now take tests for the British school here in São Paulo and we will keep up the German through complementary lessons.
We will be working on getting the logbook and the pictures updated and keep posting news on this site as things happen in our lives. We are all very grateful to all the people we met during these wonderful 2 years on our Circulo Pacifico and to the great memories that will fill our dreams, our hearts and souls forever
Mark, Corinna, Philipp, Alexander and Patrick
PS: Uh our dear DIVA, we miss you already!
UNDERWAY DOWN UNDER
Now we have left DIVA alone in Bundaberg and are traveling by car and plane.
After a great weekend on Frasier Island - the worlds largest island sand dune with amazing vegetation and fresh water lakes - we continued on south to Brisbane to see Marks Cousin Albrecht von Frankenberg who lives there with his 3 lovely daughters - all the same age as our boys.
We had a few wonderfull days together and we took an afternoon to visit the very special Koalabear Nursery outside of Brisbane and got to hug one of them - they are like teddy bears and smell like eucaliptus! Absolutely lovely.
Now we are off to Darwin the northern most city of Australia in the tropical and humid area of the Northern Territory. We will explore the national parks here and have already seen the huge salt water crocodiles that snap wildly at the chicken meat offered to them. Scary!
From Darwin we plan to fly to Alice Springs, Sydney and Back to Brisbane and then a big leap to Dubai in the desert. Until very soon!
We have arrived in Bundaberg, Australia and are delighted with the marina and the hospitality of the Ozzies. But before I tell you about the crossing and the bird sanctuary of Chesterfield Reef let me sum up the trip to the middle east
We will not be moving back to Brazil in January but our adventure changes to the middle east and Dubai where Mark will be working as of January 2008! It is the desert and it is the fastest growing town on earth! Amazingly interesting and we will keep you posted on this site about our land adventure!
But now back to the water. The passage from Luganville to Australia was calm and we flew the Genaker a lot in 10-12 knots of wind. The track leads you past the northern tip of New Caledonia past the Huon reef - a turtle nursery and mating place - and on to a very large submerged island group called the Chesterfield Reef. It is huge - the size of New Caledonia - but it has submerged under the ocean and only coral and sand remind the ships of ancient lands. With waypoints from friends we were able to get behind a set of sandbanks into shallow water and anchored there for 3 days all by ourselves. Hard to describe with words this tiniest strip of sand filled with birds, their nests and chicks who are not afraid at all of us rare visitors. The colours, the smell, the water, the silence at night and the absolute darkness with no lights but the stars will be a long lasting memory. The boys played a lot in the white sands and Corinna found the most amazing shells on her long beach walks.
The weather window showed a front and we had to move on to Australia. We passed a few other reefs in good wind and the front that was followed by strong southerlies was benign so only 1 day of rough seas and wind that made Diva look like a salt pretzel when we got into the marina.
Customs cleared us and did not object any of our shells and woodcarvings from Vanuatu and Fiji and we went on to give the boat a real good clean up as she now will be left unattended for quite a while here in Australia. We now want to travel the Land Down Under and will focus on the outback in Darwin and Alice Springs.
Mark will be in Brazil from Nov. 24 to Dec 1st and we all fly to Dubai Dec 2nd for a 10 day immersion and house hunting stint. The boys are applying for the schools. We will see friends and family in São Paulo over the Christmas days starting December 12th and we should all be starting our new lives in Dubai by January 6th.
ESPIRITU SANTO - VANATU
From Maewo we crossed over via Ambae to The Champagne Beach and Hog Harbour - probably the best white sandy beaches in Vanuatu. We spend a very lazy week there in a shallow anchorage just off the local small resort. With Arctic Fox on our side we were just snorkelling and swimming all the time. A quick scare when Patrick had a fever and swollen glands had Corinna in a car to the hospital in Luganiville - she got a ride from NZ ambassador to Vanuatu who just happened to be there (and he was in Brazil fro many years before that como são as coisas). False alarm. No problems and Bubi was up and running in no time.
A few bays further south we discovered the blue holes which are fresh water holes ("Cenotes" in Mexico en Puerto Rico) - where the water just bubbles up from under the limestone - it is clear and almost white amidst the lush vegetation - incredible - See the pictures. In Peterson Bay where the boys built yet another fancy beach house or in this case a beach bar - the Flying Onion - we lay behind a small reef. Good company and great swimming!
Slowly we made our way back to Luganville where we tied DIVA to a mooring in front of the small AORE Resort. Luganville is the sleepy capital of this large island and we wanted to leave DIVA in a safe place for Marks trip to DUBAI. There he would meet his colleagues and discuss the future career steps and our next assignment!!
Luganville is world renown for its wreck dive sites Million Dollar Point and The President Coolidge Wreck. As soon as Mark took off for the Middle East the boys went to Allan Powers Dive Company to sign up for a comprehensive PADI open water certification and to dive the wreck! Its 35m deep, so its not for beginners. Given their previous experience trainer Jim worked with them and after a few days took them down to see the submerged jeeps, tanks and all the other curiosities. They were so proud that until today the only want to wear the Coolidge T-Shirt they got! What an accomplishment.
Time to move on to Australia so we will set sail towards the northern tip of New Caledonia and may stop in the chesterfield reef.
Cheers the Esslefamily!
MAEWO - Asanvari Bay - Vanuatu, September 9, 2007
The direct dash to MAEWO took about 8 hours and the sea was calm with little wind. Asanvari Bay just on the southern tip of this long and thin island turned out to be a little piece of paradise. A big waterfall streams out of the steep mountain straight into the bay and we can anchor only 200m away from it in crystal clear water. We can see the anchor and chain laying 12m below us. Large parrot fish cruise by and a turtle breathes in fresh air. On the white sand and coral beach we see a large thatch covered house the Asanvari yacht club, rebuilt a few years ago with monetary help from Australia. Another cruiser organized a small 12V water turbine to be installed up the waterfall and now the Yacht club and the village has power to run the refrigerator and guess what a DVD player - Now our nature loving and living friends can be delighted (and corrupted) by Shreck3, Bruce Willis and other edifying products from our civilization. Still Chief Nelson told us about their customs (Kastom) and his son Nixon took great care of us. Nixon learned to cook in a Luganville restaurant and prepared delicious food for us.
Outside the bay a shallow reef with a great wall provided excellent snorkelling and diving. The light current brought enough plankton for all the fish and filter feeders to feast on the waters riches. Patrick and I went down with the bottles and took a long and relaxed look at all this.
The last front gave us tropical style daily rainfall so we didnt use the water maker for 5 days! When the sun came out we made an excursion with DIVA to the Hole of the Moon Cave 9 Nm north on Maewo. The cave was created when a god took out a round piece of rock and hauled it up into the sky, thus creating the moon. We swam into the cave (a bit eerie) and came out the other end and walked ashore to see the petroglyph wall where the ancestors had painted the rocks with curious images. Around the bend was another drip stone cave where the limestone water makes stalagmites. The lush green from the mountain hills against the blue sky and white clouds are a magnificent sight. BLUE MARLIN and CHRISTINA were with us and we had several Pizza nights and card games.
We are now on Espiritu Santo in the little Peterson bay. In the jungle behind the trees lie the ruins of a big World War II Airfield Figther
2 built by the Americans during the pacific campaign. We are enjoying the sandy beaches and coral and will go explore the blue holes up a river with our kayak and dingy.
AMBRYM - The Rom Dance Festival, August 25th, 2007
Another quick crossing took us to Ambrym - the groups most active volcano island and Vanuatus center of mystique and magic. There a 3 days festival was waiting for us with dancing, magic, food preparation all in a natural setting in the middle of the bush. All our friends arrived there and we were 12 boats in the anchorage. A one hour walk through the coconut plantations past several villages would take us to the site - a magic "terreiro" with a big "tam-tam" wood statue drum in the middle.
The men were stumping their strong feet on the fresh black earth and we could feel the ground vibrating. The chanting and dancing was strong and went deep under the skin. All men were "dressed" in their traditional nambas - a penis seth made of pandana leaves and a black belt.
Some leaves to cover the back - everything else out in the fresh air of the forest! Only the pictures can describe it. We ate their food and admired their traditions and mingled among them for 3 days.
Some dances we were allowed to participate and it was an amazing experience!! An evening
cava drinking session (uff - that one was strong) closed off the festival and off we went!
Now we are "hiding" in the Maskelyne Islands from a weak frontal system due to go through this evening. We will then head back up north to Pentecost and Maewo - the long thin islands of the group where they do the "real original" bungy jumping.
In September we plan to make a quick stop in Luganville for Mark to go meet up with his colleagues at A.T. Kearney to discuss our future assignment. On the horizon we can see the land life again and it will be a great new adventure for sure. For now we are still in our water world amazed by this country Vanuatu. Let the pictures speak for themselves
Cheers, Mark and the Esslefamily
Lamen Bay on EPI
A quick day sail crossing from EFATES Havanna Harbour to Lamen Bay on the western tip of EPI island was blessed with some fresh skip jack Tuna on the trolling line. In Epi we anchored in a very picturesque bay where the turtles swim and peek at you all the time. It is quite different to be in this cristal clear water on a black sandy bottom and beach - everything is volcanic here! The Dugongs come to graze in the bay. They are relatives of the Manatees or seacows (Peixe Boi). We swam around but never got to see them. In the little yacht club on the beach we saw the fotos of the dugongs and we got to hang our Brazilian Flag there! A trip up to the gardens with Adis Jack was very instructive - so many plants that heal so many pains - amazing. The view of the bay stunning.
The canues sail back to their island with only palm leaves as their one-way sails!
The boys had fun with friends from Arctic Fox, and two Australians from Tasmania - Robyn and Christopher. Then Convergence with KentHarris came in the anchorage and the gang built yet another fort up on a rock by the beach. The local boys were engaged in the building and all had lots of fun.
Port Resolution and Port Vila
August 10th, 2007
We really liked Port Resolution! The Volcano with the most spectacular eruptions and the people! We made friends with the Mensori Village and went there 4 times and various exchanges of goods, gift and friendship were made!
See the kids corner for a full account of all the wonderful experiences! Bows and arrows, wild chicken hunt, feast meal etc.
After 9 days it was time to move on for a 130 miles sail to Efate island. The crossing was a bit on the rough side with some squalls and funny winds so we were happy when we got into the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila. The town is an adorable small island metropolis with a French flair and nice citizens, a great Bon Marche, Cafés, baguettes and fromage, the largest fresh product market so we are spending the Vatus with great joy. Prices are accessible but not cheap and anything imported commands a big premium.
We have met a few more kids boats CONVERGENCE with Kent-Harris and Sally Christine, from California, (www.westmarine.com/convergence) BAMIE from NZ with Devin and Dee as well as INTREPID4 whit Christopher and Robin from Australia. Arctic Fox with Cameron has been with DIVA since leaving Fiji so the anchorage is very busy!
Here in Port Vila we visited a great botanical garden with pictures of cannibal feasts, amazing stories of the kastom traditions and so many tropical plants we are meeting old friends from Brazil like Maracuja Passionfruit, Graviola, and only rarely goiaba the boys are killing for those!
The social calendar has been full and movie nights, excursions to a wonderful waterfall and an island tour were all on the menu always as a little crowd of roaring kids followed closely by their amused parents.
We are relaxing here and taking advantage of civilization before we head north to see more of the wild Vanuatu that we have come to appreciate so much. We will keep you posted
We have arrived in VANUATU, July 18, 2007 After just 2 1/2 days of crossing we have arrived at the foot of mount Yasur volcano, the world's most accessible active volcano according to our lonely planet guide! We have yet to get ashore and check in at this island called TANNA (S19.21;E169.29). We anchored in Port Resolution named by Captain Cook and need to go to Lenakel to what promises to be a little adventure with a 2 hour truck ride to cross 20 km to the other side of the island! Stay tuned for the next update. The crossing of 470 Nautical miles (1NM= 1.853Km) was smooth and uneventful (that's how we like them) and the wind a constant 15-20 knots just right out of the south east! Glorious - would Mark say; just about bearable - would be Corinna's evaluation. We are proud to be doing our crossing just the two of us - a couple with our boys and no crew. It is always an accomplishment and when you get there and you are filled with awe to see land after days of blue water. But let me report on the days between the SomoSomo in the Yasawas and the passage. Philipp and Alexander's birthday on July 9th was celebrated with brigadeiros, brownies and a delicious lemon pie all made by Corinna. The day before we were back at the Octopus resort where we had a great dinner with Jan and Eva from NECESSITY plus their visiting friends from Norway. The boys then joined the open air movie night by the pool with all the other kids from Australia and New Zealand that were vacationing in Fiji in their short winter break. The LEGOs that came with the birthday plus new sunglasses, a few books and other experiment-gifts filled the day aboard and we sailed back to the Musket cove in time to do a barbeque on the little bar island of the resort. ARKTIC FOXs Cameron, Tim and Cynthia plus NEW DAWNs Ross and Laura joined us for a great evening under a star filled sky. I hope they will remember it... we sure will! After a few days we sailed back to the "main land" island Viti Levu and checked in the Vuda Point Marina to get our mail and fix the dingy davits that suffered from the swell in the Yasawas. It was time to provision DIVA with fresh food and vegetables and to get ready for the next passage. All our friends got together - Blue Marlin, Christina, Necessity, Arctik Fox and New Dawn - so we were a great community of cruisers for a few days there and the adjacent resort with pool and happy hour bar made the stay a very pleasant one. Well from now on you will hear more of Volcanos, The Ni-Vans People, their Bislama language and all the local rites and kastom, the Nakamal club houses where all men meet, etc. etc. Where are eager o learn more! For now Bula, and Vinaka Vakalevu to all Fijians who treated us so well!
In the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, July 05, 2007
We are currently anchored in a big bay called SomoSomo (it means good water in Fijian) and are happy to have a few nights that are less rolly than the places before. Vunayawa beach lies deserted and beautiful like most of the beaches here. The reef before it is filled with colorful fish. NECESSITY, our Norwegian friends, have caught up with us and are anchored next to us. We made and excursion to the other side of the island where we heard of a plane wreck from world war two - a Spitfire.
And sure enough there it was with rudder, flaps and cockpit - the engine half inside the cockpit... We heard the pilot saved himself before the crash. On land is a retired couple who used to live on the big island and now live in the most beautiful simplicity you can imagine. They built a thatch hut, and have a garden like a dream. They gave us some mandioc and both looked healthy and content despite their age! You can see that they work every day and live on a very low carbon footprint! The days before we were anchored in a channel between two islands Nagara and Naka Cuvu) to be protected from a passing cold front. It did pass in only 2 hours so it was very quick and we had no hassle. The current was strong and Diva would dance to the short choppy waves. The locals again were the friendliest and gave us fruit and a delicious Papaya-Lemmon jam, hmm! The boys set up a stone workshop on the beach with the many beautiful lime stones in green, red and grey color tones. Corinna filled another ice cream jar with shells - I hope we can display these beauties once we are back on land. The highlight was a snorkel dive with giant manta rays! We anchored DIVA off the pass where a strong current brings lots of little plankton and tiniest fish and the filter feeder rays skim the water for their food. They are easily 3-4 meters in wing span and with their black backs and white bellies they look magnificent. We jumped in the streams of salt water to paddle hard to get a glimpse of this big underwater plane and its escort pilot fish ticked under the wings - normally you only get this in the national geographic channel! It's good for the boys to experience nature up close and personal. Navadra was a special spot - the last of the Mamanuca Group. Tom Hanks Cast away was filmed just around the corner and we were at this island for 5 days enjoying the excellent snorkeling and the deserted beaches. The boys built a whole fort on the cliffs of one of the islands together with their friend Cameron from ARCTIC FOX. On Camerons birthday he got a "Parabens pra Voce" sung from the dingy and we had lots of cake on their boat. In the evening Corinna made her special Pizza. Ross and Laura from NEW DAWN from Alaska joined in as well. This place will stay in our memories - the light blue water, the rock cliff, the fort... hard to describe all the beautiful moments. The wind was on the strong side and the anchor proved its sturdiness!
When we are alone without other kids around the boys feel homesick and miss their friends in Brazil a lot. Whenever we get an e-mail they all cheer and are starting to write their own more and more.
Thanks for all the kind messages and we hope to hear from you soon
Cheers, the Essle Family
Fiji - Namata Bay, Matangui, The Lau Group and Yanuca! Paradise lives up to its reputation, June 2007 From Viani Bay we sailed inside the reef to the island called Kioa. Kioa is an island inhabited by Polynesian originally from the coral reef island of Vaitupu in Tuvalu. We anchored in front of the village in 20 meters sand. 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. We went to church to hear the singing and it was superb. Lucky as we are on Tuesday the village had many fijian chiefs as visitors so we were invited to join the singing and dancing that happened in the afternoon. Wow - so strong and intense it would drive tears out of your eyes and you can feel the pride of this comunity! The Schoolmaster got some of the gifts we bought in SavuSavu - what a tidy school! The canoe makers here are famous and we could see them at work! All in all a realy great comunity experience for all of us. From there we crossed the SomoSomo straight towards Qamea island to enjoy the sandy beaches and the tremedous snoklelng and diving out there. There the local Family is headed by George Mitchell - "King George" and his son Thomas. Very friendly and again they took us to their family gathering on sunday and we had a potluck with the cruisers. This time we went to the open air service on sunday. The Matangui resort is nice and friendly to cruisers if you come and ask first. We decided to anchor in the beautiful Matangui island just across the reef - the snokeling and diving a highlight again! The Horseshoe bay on the open side of the Matangui island is calm as a lake and a real treat for snokelers. We had a barbeque on the beach and loved the tranquility - until now a high point of our trip. To the west we had an easy sail to the landing to buy some groceries at the local "store" and Corinna took a cab to Matei and buy more in the mini market. The beaches at Nuku Balauvu Point and Naiviivi bay looked quite nice as well but we didn't stop. The exit through the pass was easy again and we had a wonderfull overnight sail to Vanua Balavu. We had to slow Diva down but it was surely one of the nicest crossings we made! In Vanua Balavu we enjoyed the bay of islands alot - quite a unique topography - although there were no beaches and the snokling limited. Our friends on Christina visited the other side and liked the bays there. W took the bus-truck to the other side and the main town LomoLomo and got a feel for the place. Quite laid back people and a different pace. Here the ciefs still call the shots and there is little interference from central government. We then crossed the 172 miles to Beqa directly with good wind on the tail and made it in 24 hrs. We headed straight to the Yanuca Island as the bay in Beqa gets quite gusty with SE winds and has little attractions. In Yanuca you can anchor in 8-10 meters of coral and sand - you can see the sandy patches where to drop the hook. On the eastern beach you see the green roof of the resort and you are welcome by Sharon from Hawaii and they have cold beers and serve sandwich lunch and buffet homemade dinner. We went with Moses from the resort to do or SevuSevu cerimony at the village - a pleasant 20 minute walk across the island. Now we will take the pass out to go on to Lautoka. We will probably make a stopover at CUVU harbour where a large resort is to make the trip a bit shorter. All the best, cheers Mark and the Esslefamily!
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