Odyssey Logs

BPO Sailors In Their Own Words: Highlights So Far

With Joyful the last boat to arrive in Australia this week, the Blue Planet Odyssey yachts have completed their transit of the Pacific Ocean. In the 9 months since the boats began their voyage they have spent most of their time in the Pacific Ocean, a place many sailors consider to be the prime cruising ground of the world.  I thought it would be interesting to ask them to reflect on their experiences so far which I was able to do during the time I spent with them over the summer in Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Here is the first in a series of short blogs. In their own words…

BPO sailors in Vavau

BPO sailors in Vava’u (photo Klaudia Zayonc)

What has been the highlight of your trip so far?

No Regrets

Zeke Holland

Zeke Holland

Bill Hickson (photo Jan Irons)

Bill Hickson (photo Jan Irons)

Bob Shanks

Bob Shanks

  • Zeke Holland: My favourite was the island of Tahuata, south of Hiva Oa, an anchorage where we were the only boat in the bay, and one family was living there in the middle of nowhere. There were no roads, we went ashore and chatted, got coconuts and swam with manta rays at the mouth of the bay.
  • Bill Hickson:  Arriving in the Marquesas, waking up in the morning and seeing the dramatic landscapes. Another highlight was sailing in Tonga, day sailing between all the anchorages, flat seas, lots of anchorages, just leaving the anchorage and going out for a sail and then coming back again just for the sake of it.
  • Bob Shanks:  The highlight for me was Vava’u, beautiful sailing, super anchorages, lots of sea life, we saw manta rays, whales, caves and blowholes.

Chapter Two

  • Pat Hayes: The Tuamotus were a highlight, they were beautiful and unexpected. Especially at Fakarava, where I went diving with Norm and James, a drift dive through the reef channel with 150 sharks in the channel waiting for the current to go in and out.
  • Janet Hayes: For me it was Palmerston, where we were welcomed into the Marsters family, and it was a true interaction with people remotely.
    Chapter Two crew with Bill Marsters and his family in Palmerston (photo Chapter Two)

    Chapter Two and Tahawus crew with Bill Marsters and his family in Palmerston (photo Chapter Two)

  • Josh Hayes: The Panama Canal, because it is such a feat of construction, so convenient for people and shipping, cool doing that with the boat, and seeing the water going up and down. And also getting a tattoo in French Polynesia, I saw lots of people getting one, I met an artist from Bora Bora who had a US art degree, we spent time together, looked at the book of shapes, went to the market, bought fish and fruit, he said I should choose what I wanted, I chose a traditional Polynesian sailing catamaran and tiki heads which are good luck, to ward off evil.
  • John Hayes: My highlight is only out of a few days on the boat [John had just joined his family in Vanuatu] so it has to be when we went to Ten Sticks Village in Southwest Bay, Malekua, and before we left we got out some frisbees and me and the kids played Frisbee on the beach for an hour, no words, just laughing.
    Chapter Two

    John plays frisbee on beach (photo: Chapter Two)


  • Klaudia Zayonc: The highlight for me was the Marquesas for the scenery, but for the experience, Palmerston, and learning how people live, killing birds, husking coconuts; and also, getting a new family from the BPO.
  • Norm Harlow: I was pretty impressed with the Marquesas.
  • Daphne Lyman: My favourite place was the Marquesas, the landscape, especially after being at sea so long and coming from the Galapagos, beautiful plunging volcanic, green slopes, we had rainbows and dolphins everywhere we went – sailing there is like being in a dream.
Tahawus Marquesas

Norm, Klaudia, Martin and Mirko enjoy the Marquesas

Blue Wind

Blue Wind

James and Ruy

  • James Bellini: For me the highlight was the Los Roques archipelago off the coast of Venezuela, where few yachts stop, en route to the Panama Canal, very beautiful, the towns are charming and the islands unspoilt.

    Another highlight were the Tuamotus, the atoll of Fakarava, sailing inside the atoll, which was so calm and plenty of wind. In Fakarava South, the channel was really amazing, one of the best dives I’ve done, a wall of sharks, we just went floating with the current, and saw every kind of fish.

  • Ruy Rodrigues Pinto: The best was Fakarava, diving with the sharks, the view of the sea.



Rob and Carol (photo: Maggie)

Robert and Carol Harvey: The highlight for us was that whenever you get to personally meet local people like going to church, finding out their daily lives, we have found people to be very friendly and helpful in every place especially Vava’u.

There the islands were full of trees, the anchorages were neat, we took part in Tongan feasts so they could raise money to send kids to school.

We noticed that people were happy even though they don’t have much.

Marquesas - Maggie

Taiohae Bay with Oa Pou in the background (photo: Maggie)


Coming next: In their own words – Since you started the BPO, what has surprised you the most?

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