The Great Southern Route : 2010 - 2011
CAPTAIN'S LOG 024 | GSR mostly rainforest and it's a Costa Rican National Reser ve, so you can't fish there and a number of Costa Rican rangers patrol it in small boats and spend most of their time confiscating fishing gear from people who come out from Costa Rica, Ecuador and Colombia but the reason other people go there is because it's one of the world's most spectacular dive places and hammerhead sharks congregate there in huge numbers. Apart from the divers and would-be fishermen, the occasional private yacht happens along as does the Government boat from Costa Rica. They filmed the beginning of Jurassic Park there and there are some spectacular waterfalls. In fact the only thing you can get there is fresh water, otherwise there is no provisioning at all but then you're only a few days away from Panama!' Crossing the Indian and Pacific Oceans is an undertaking in its own right, but a circumnavigation is a further step up, a neat thing to do in so many respects, a substantial achievement and a testament to the seamanship and planning ability of those involved. Men and women have sailed and raced around the world, alone and in company, this way and that, for hundreds of years but nobody with any respect for the elements or even the remotest idea of maritime history would venture to suggest that it is easy, or that a safe arrival can be taken diesel or pencils and paper, if you are invited to visit a school. In most places, but particularly in Fiji, the first thing you do when you pull up is go ashore to the village and introduce yourself and normally the chief will welcome you officially and it's really rude not to do that straight away. The cruising is a bit limited in Samoa, but in Tonga you've got the Vava'u Group, which is a little like Palau in some respects. They're not so much coral as limestone atolls and they're just beautiful and well set up for cruising boats and you could easily spend a month there. Papeete in Tahiti is obviously a very good base and now there's a fantastic superyacht wharf and excellent agents. The Tuamotu Archipelago is absolutely superb if you like very isolated islands surrounded by coral and there's usually one entrance and a lot of current and you have to have some local knowledge and you don't do it at night. Pitcairn Island is fantastic, but there's very little in the way of sheltered anchorage. It's a really neat place to visit and it's easy because the mayor and everyone you might need are on-line. Easter Island, which belongs to Chile is also short of sheltered anchorages but is still a great place to go. It's well worth the trip to see the larger monuments and artefacts by taking a taxi out of town but you've got to be careful of the weather. The dodgy thing is getting back out to your boat if the weather comes in. The other place you should visit is Cocos Island, north of the Galapagos Islands (which are well documented so for reasons of space I won't dwell upon them except to recommend that you visit because they're incredibly diverse and interesting). Cocos Island is very small, it's for granted because in many ways the oceans represent our planet's last frontier. For a professional seaman like Marc Grise, with a Merchant Navy background and extensive experience in command of large yachts including three round-the-world voyages, life at sea has been a great success as well as a source of considerable satisfaction. But, whoever you are, and given the requisite degree of competency, time at sea will test and reward you like nothing else on earth. And there is more : as the late, solo round-the-world sailor Bernard Moitessier once said: 'You do not ask a seagull why it needs to disappear from time to time toward the open sea. It goes, that's all.'
2008 - 2009
2013 - 2014