Posted in Uncategorized on 21/11/2014 by ketchkaraka

I’m really terrible at bloging. It is just not my thing…

So a little update for those who care: We’re back in tahiti, settling down for the 2014/2015 cyclone season, i’ll go back to hole up in a very nice spot in the south of tahiti, where the water is crystaline, the people friendly, the surf pumping and where the lagoon is calm enough for me to do some maintenance on the old tub.

I’m starting to work on next year’s crew already, as with the visas restrictions some might have to think about it sooner than later. if you are interestedin coming aboard in 2015, let me know. we’ll stay in french polynesia and go explore the remote islands…

I won’t bother giving news and updates about the past year, there would be way too much to tell, so i’ll just post some pics and leave it at that. if you want more details just send me an email : crewkaraka@hotmail.com.

Oh, one more thing, i am getting into bone carving, so you can find a link on this page for a galery of my stuff so far.





atiheu Hapatoni1 karaka from the sky Nuku-Hiva---27-a pointe venus 2 pointe venus taiohae whales OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAspecial thanks to antoine for the photos i shamelessly stole



Karaka’s winter quarters

Posted in Uncategorized on 09/10/2013 by ketchkaraka

Time for some R and R…
The whole crew have left, i’m on my own with the cat for the near future. Cyclone season starts officially at the end of the month, so i’ll take it easy for now and stay near safety.
I anchored in Haapiti, on the west side of the island of moorea. It is just absolutely lovely here. Haapiti is on the far right on the picture.


I’m inside the lagoon, not very far from the pass.


There is an epic surf break nearby. I’m going surfing regularly,although i’m way out of shape and the reef break is very technical, with even a minor mistake resulting in terrifying wipe outs over shallow reef. This morning it was 6 to 8 ft, glassy, and barreling on the bigger swells… i got slammed on the coral a few times. I lost my board twice already on the break, when the leach broke on a big wipe out. Usually the board washes up over the reef and you have to swim around to go get it from behind.


The break is fairly remote so there are very few surfers on it, especially during the week and early in the day. There is almost no tide so it’s going all day. I can see it from the boat so i usually have a look during the day and paddle over with a kayak when i feel like it.

view from the surf break

That’s the view from the surf break.

I found a free mooring inside the lagoon, so after asking the locals if it was okay i picked it up. I’m in 25 ft of water over sand,near the public jetee, and it is totally free. You couldn’t ask for better.


Every morning a pod of dolphins enter the pass and swim by the boat. They go fast but if i’m ready i can go swim with them for a while. It is whale season so there are whale by the dozen outside the pass.


The little village onshore is very small, with only a couple stores, a couple churches, a soccer field and a school. We’re on the wild side of moorea.

Crew member zack managed to sell his two kayaks before leaving, and the buyer is a french guy living in a bungalow in the next village, a really nice guym and so we’re hanging out and he offered me to use his internet whenever i want. It is a short bike ride away from the jetee so it is very convenient.

This morning after coming back form surfing(sunrise was spectacular and we were only two of us out) i closed the boat, took the cat out, and sprayed for cockroaches, who are getting bold inside… hopefully they’ll be dead by the time i go back.
Over the next few weeks i’ll be taking care of some projects, some fun and some not, such as repainting the topsides and the deck, taking care of my transmission problem, cleaning my fuel tanks, make a sailing rig for the dinghy, service the rigging, make new sail covers, etc etc… i’ll keep myself busy.
In the off time when i-m too tired for surfing, there is great fishing and diving around as well, the water is warm and very clear, with lots of edible fishes in the pass. There is some ciguatera around, but very limited so i can go get some meat… i just talked with a young guy earlier to go together as it is safer in group than alone, eespecislly with the local shark population…

And that’s it for now… i can’t say i’m too unhappy with my lot…

News from Tahiti

Posted in Uncategorized on 30/09/2013 by ketchkaraka

At long last, an update from Karaka… it’s been an epic year and I have been seriously slacking on posting updates and sending news to friends. I guess I have a decent excuse, not only we were on an ongoing intense adventure for most of that time and also there was no or limited internet connection for most of it… anyway, for those who didn’t follow, I’ll start from the beginning, which was around may when we left from Panama… so sit down and get comfy, it is going to be fairly long… hopefully the photos will make it easier to digest… to keep it short I will skip the crew antics and will merely describe our travels…

We stayed several weeks in panama city, despite the polluted harbor and frantic city, as we were working hard to get the boat as shipshape as possible while waiting for the new mainsail.


Las perlas, Panama

We managed to squeeze some quality time in the perlas islands but mostly we had a long wait in the city. Too long actually, the main sail got delayed, and the crew was getting restless… luckily there were plenty of couchsurfers and friends to keep us busy partying and socializing. Most of the crew did get to help on some canal crossing on some other boats.

Pam and Elena, finding time dragging on in panama city


Late night jam session, Panama city

We finally managed to get going around mid may after the new sails arrived. Happy captain with a brand new main sail


On board were still zack and steve, with the remainder being newcomers: pam, louis elena and michaela, making a total of seven. After a few days in the perlas again, we left on the 20 of may. We had no intentions of stopping anywhere before french polynesia, as we were already super late and everybody wanted to spend as much time in the islands as possible. We decided not to go to ecuador after all, and not to stop in the galapagos, mostly because the formalities there are prohibitive and expensive. The trip took 54 days, and that’s a long time at sea… for the details of the trip, you can read zack’s account of it on this link:




Once in the marquesas, we went exploring several islands, while the crew took the opportunity to leave the boat and travel inland and get to know locals. I’m sorry if you are still reading this and would like details, I really can’t be fucked writing everything down… Anyway, in the marquesas we had some good and bad times, good because the place is amazing and the people friendly, and bad because the anchorages are really dodgy and by then there was some tension between the crew. It was pretty intense but I think everybody kept a memorable experience of it.


Hakaui valley, nuku hiva.


Hakaui village, nuku hiva

Marquesas landscape

Zack and louis meeting some local girls at a traditional dancing event.


Karaka anchored in hakatea, nuku hiva.

Three of the crew decided to leave us from in the marquesas. Elena joined another boat, pam hooked up with a local guy and went to live with him for the remainder of her visa duration, and louis decided to stay on nuku hiva as well to hang out with a local family, in order to learn the culture and especially how to hunt in the mountains. So we left only four of us around the middle of august for the atoll of fakarava, where we were to meet up with kim. She flew in from australia. The sail down was wonderful, with near perfect conditions the whole way. The most pleasant passage on karaka for a long long time.

So we picked up kim and cruised the atoll for 3 weeks, taking it easy, diving and kayaking a lot. The place was incredible, but due to the short time we had before flights were due down in tahiti, we decided to limit ourselves to one atoll only. It was pretty magic anyway. I hope the photos are enough of a description.


South side of fakarava, tuamotus



We left fakarava for tahiti on the 6 of september and arrived in papeete on the morning of the 9 . We anchored on the west side of the island in front of the local marina. Tahiti is much more developed than the other islands we visited, so it was a bit of a shock after all this time out, but we adapted quickly to the french supplied supermarkets, abundance of fresh food and hectic way of life. We had a nice party for my birthday on the 11 , and went surfing hung over the next day with some couchsurfers from the galapagos. There is a pass called taapuna just a mile or so south of where we are anchored, with a decent reef break there. The surf is a bit scary as the waves are super fast and steep, sometimes barreling, the water is really clear and shallow, and so falling means being slammed on the coral. It makes you think twice about launching… the locals don’t think twice about it, but for someone used to easy point breaks in central america, this wave is a bit of a challenge. We also went to explore the island a bit, going hiking in the interior.





So that is pretty much it for the trip… michaela left on the 13 , and steve and zack went to explore on land while we spent some time alone with kim. Kim has a job lined up in australia/new zealand guiding tours, and so she flew back on the 20 . We’re not entirely sure what the future reserves for us, she will try to come back whenever she can but due to the distances and the obligations she has back home, it might not be for a while…


as of now I am on my own on the boat. Steve came back for a few days and that was lucky as he helped me out when the anchor dragged one morning. The boat is now tied to a marina mooring, which is safer while I’m on my own. I have transmission problems still, they have been recurring ever since mexico. During the crossing I managed to locate the problem but not to fix it and so my only option was to engage the transmission into emergency mode, meaning engaging a gear inside it that overtake the clutch, leaving the gearbox in forward mode always. There is no way to put the boat in neutral or reverse. It enables us to motor if we need to, but makes it awkward to do maneuvers such as anchoring or docking. For the past week I have been cleaning the boat up, going through every locker and compartment, taking trash out, vacuuming and eliminating cockroach nests. I’m facing a major cockroach infestation, and so cleaning is essential to get rid of them. Zack and steve are on the nearby island of moorea at the moment, exploring and trying to find another boat to take them further west. Zack will come back on monday to help me take karaka to moorea, about 20 miles away. There I will find a secure anchorage and settle down for the next few months. I had a plan to make a tour of the islands here this fall with a band I met in costa rica, but it fell through as we didn’t have the opportunity to organize it properly while we were at sea. The band is facing the high costs of flying in also, as well as visa issues, so we will try to make it happen next year instead. Check them out on line, their name is: los yukas. The polynesian authorities will let me stay here for up to 18 months before I have to worry about boat importation and other formalities, and so I plan on staying here until the end of 2014. I really have no idea what I will be up to after that. So for now I will relocate to moorea, and hole up in one of the spectacular bays there until february or so.

I will have the boat for myself, taking it easy, going surfing, fishing, kayaking and hiking, as well as making the boat shipshape… I still haven’t repainted the deck after the boatyard in mexico and it is really due now. I will also take care of a long list of other jobs. The cyclone season will start in november and should last until march/april. Cyclones are rare around here but it happens and when it does it is usually pretty violent, so I need to be in a safe spot for that, and moorea , beside being one of the nicest island of the group, is a safe anchorage. My parents will come to visit at the end of the year, and maybe some friends as well. As for after that, I am not fully decided yet. My main plan is to gather a solid crew at the beginning of the year, and take off as soon as it is safe to make a grand tour or french polynesia, visiting as many of the remote islands as possible, possibly gathering data for a cruising guide, but mostly enjoying the diversity and richness of the area. Another thing being discussed is to help Karaka’s friend tara in buying a boat in california, sail across the pacific and resale it in australia. Kim would be part of the trip. We’re not sure yet if the endeavor is worth it in the current market, we don’t want to waste time fixing a boat and we don’t want to lose money either, but there is a chance we could do it quick and make some profit while having a nice trip. Some extra funds would be very welcome as french polynesia is a very expensive place. So we are looking into it. In all cases there are still several months until we could do that so for now, some quite times in moorea for me…



Posted in Uncategorized on 01/08/2013 by ketchkaraka

I’m just terrible with keeping this thing…
Anyway check this link for the latest updates:

On the move again…

Posted in Uncategorized on 19/10/2012 by ketchkaraka

Back from France, dodging the last hurricanes of the season, we are gearing up for our next bout of adventures.
First we’ll explore some nearby island while making sure the last hurricane was really the last, then down to La Paz again for one last party with our friends there. After La Paz, we’ll hop south along the coast and try to be in Costa Rica for the end of the year. After Costa Rica we’ll keep heading further south toward Ecuador, from where we are thinking of taking off around february. After that, well, the vastness of the pacific awaits.

In the meantime, there is a documentary film project happening, with simon, our berlin based filmaker, doing well on his crowdfunding campaign. Check the link here for more info.  http://www.indiegogo.com/karakatheseedofchange/



Posted in Uncategorized on 06/08/2012 by ketchkaraka

All is fine on karaka, after a couple weeks of island hoping in the sea of cortez, with only fish, pelicans and cacti for company, we now made it to loreto,  a small town on the baja coast. We are going to stick around a little while until one of our crew, peter, leaves us and go his way, sometime this week, after that we will make our way to guaymas on the mainland where we are planning on putting karaka in a safe anchorage while we go to france with kim to go visit my family. We’ll probably be gone for september. After we come back, no plans no schedules, we’ll figure ot what we want to do then… most probably we will keep exploring the amazing sea of cortez for a while before making our way south, gearing up for tackling the pacific next…


Taking it easy in la paz

Posted in Uncategorized on 05/07/2012 by ketchkaraka

Still in la paz, back into the cruising life after those months of work is great… we are still going to be around for ten days or so, and then we’ll head north into the sea of cortez…