Update from Colin Philp
Onboard Uto Ni Yalo
Distance Travelled: 2023 Nautical Miles
Distance to Raivavae: 376 Nautical Miles East
Bula Viti kei Rotuma
Last night was hell with winds reaching 35knots + and waves breaking right
over the canoe. Thankfully the worst of the weather only lasted a couple of
hours. However the wind and waves still kept us alert all night with a
steady 20 - 25 knots and severe rain squalls which made the visibility so
poor that at times we could not see the bow of the canoe while on the Uli
By 1800 hours we had Raivavae directly on our beam 410 nautical miles to the
North East. Because the winds were North Easterly we were forced to continue
sailing to the West and away from Raivavae.
The worst of the storm hit us at 2300 hours. The barometer pressure dropped
to 1015 and I realised we were sailing right through the front of the Low
Pressure. The rain squalls hit us an hour later and the wind dropped to 20 -
As the storm hit, I logged on to a weather service to check how long the
strong winds were expected to last thinking we may need to reef the sails
An e-mail came through from Nathan Hildebrand our media person in Suva with
a copy of the latest batch of e-mails from our website.
One e-mail caught my attention right away. It was from Herb Kawainui Kane,
co-founder of the Polynesian Voyaging Society in Hawaii and designer of the
canoe Hokule'a, the canoe that started the revival of traditional voyaging
by sailing to Tahiti in 1970.
Herb is a good friend of Ratu Manoa's and was sending us his best wishes. I
was stoked by this message and called Manoa over to read him the e-mail. No
sooner had I read him the message, the wind started to drop. Was this a sign
that this great man's blessing and mana was with us?
I went below deck at 0200 hours and woke up the skipper to relieve me. I
noticed right away the humidity below deck. I stripped off the 4 layers of
clothing I had on and slept in shorts and a T-shirt for the first time in
over a month. It felt great.
Through the night we sailed on a Starboard tack (wind on the right side) and
planned to tack over to a Port tack at first light. By 5.30am the wind was
visibly declining so skipper Johnathan called for us to tack over to Port.
Our compass course was 070True and we were heading directly for Raivavae but
we were now 430 nautical miles away and had to make up the 20 miles we lost
during the night sailing away from the island.
When everyone came up on deck for breakfast, there was a smile on everyones
face when they found out we were heading directly for the island. The sun
was also shining although there were rain clouds dotted around the horizon
After breakfast all the washing started to appear on deck and we played hide
the washing with the rain clouds all morning until the sky cleared and we
could leave our clothes out permanently to dry.
By mid morning the wind was under 10 knots so we raised the Gennaker sail
but by 1300 hours we had to drop it as we noticed a tear in the sail. Just
as we dropped the sail, the wind swung 180 degrees to the West.
We raised the Genoa and Mainsail and continued on at around 6 knots.
Everyone now had T-shirts, board shorts and a cap or T-shirt on. Everyone
was on deck soaking up the sun except for "Stubby" Kelekele also known as
"Sleeping Beauty". Kele is always the first to bed 1 minute after his shift
and spends every spare moment sleeping.
Eventually in the afternoon, even Kele was on deck enjoying the sun. The
shower this afternoon was glorious and not rushed as usual. Several of the
crew lay in the nets between the two hulls on the bow skimming over the
water and occasionally being soaked by a wave as the canoe pitched up and
By 1400 hours, the wind had died to under 5 knots so we decided to start the
outboard and motor sail. The batteries were very low and needed charging
anyway and the outboard charged the batteries while we recharged all our
camera's, rechargeable batteries for torches, mp3 players, computers etc.
To run the outboard, we had to drop the outboard well which the outboard is
bolted to. This means opening some floor boards in the deck, undoing two
large aluminum pins and lowering the outboard well then locking the pins
At 1800 hours the wind had freshened again and we stopped the outboard and
sailed now with all our batteries topped up.
Until my next report.
Vinaka vaka levu
Colin/Uto ni Yalo
Report by Satellite Phone courtesy of DIGICEL
Experiences from the Crew
Today's Featured Crew Member:
Rupeni Seasea - Cook
I am very proud to be the chef of our brave troops. As a chef of this type
of vessel I have the big challenge of working in a very small galley with
only a two burner gas stove.
There is no freezer or cooler so I rely on a couple of Ice chests that only
holds ice for a few days after we leave port.
Tracing back our ancestors is no picnic but a real adventure for me and my
fellow crew members.
On board we are like warriors, we follow orders from our skipper and work
together as one at all times.
One of my duties is portion control knowing we have limited food and a long
journey ahead of us. Much of our food has been kindly donated by sponsors in
Fiji and New Zealand. We cannot afford to waste food as it is too expensive
to buy in the countries we will visit and we are all volunteers on a small
Sailing out in the big ocean is different to anything I have experienced.
You need to adjust to another world as life is not normal.
Apart from my cooking I also help with setting the sails and need to be
alert at all times in case I am needed in the middle of the night to help on
When in bed below deck I like listening to the sound of the waves hitting
What I have learned is that "nothing is impossible" and to achieve my goal I
have to face the cold, strong winds and big waves.
Born: CWM, Suva
Status: Married to Analesi
Education: Lami Primary School - Class 1 to 6
Niusawa Methodist High - Form 1
Lami High School - Form 2 to 6
TPAF - Front Desk Management
FIT - T/C in cookery
Work Experience: Gillette Preston & Associates - Office Assistant
Bad Dog Cafe - Cook
Sporting Record: Triathlon - Noumea Intl 2009, Mini SPG Cook Is 2009,
Paddling - Kaiwai Canoe Club rep V6 Open and Marathon to Fiji International
2006 - 2009, Ocean Swimming - Mana Ocean Swim 3km 2007
Adventure - Cycle from Suva to Nadi in one day in 2005, Crew Uto ni Yalo