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Not to brag guys, but our years just keep getting better and better. 2017 was our third calendar year of living aboard Starry Horizons for full time travel, and hands-down it was our best year ever.
Here’s a look at the locations and moments that made it so phenomenal.
Definitely a top moment ever for us. So few people have seen a tiny new born baby humpback whale in the wild, it’s not even well documented by scientists. Bonus, I sold the story of spotting the baby whale to Cruising World Magazine and it was published in the first 2018 issue.
One of our favorite stops for the year, the island of Vanua Balavu is full of mushroom rocks and small anchorages in a stunning setting. While there were often other boats near, sometimes we couldn’t see anyone thanks to the geography.
As crowded as it was, the scenery of the Tongariro Crossing made this hike the best of 2017. The view of Ngauruhoe, or Mount Doom (that’s just its name in the LOTR movies), was only just the beginning. Walking past the Emerald Pools and trekking back down into the clouds made the walk hard to forget.
For a three-day road trip, we packed a lot – waterfalls, black and green sand beaches, and a volcano! The Big Island has such great diversity and is small enough that you can do it all in a short time frame.
Surely this experience would never be allowed in the states. Standing on the edge of a constantly erupting volcano while being covered in sulfuric clouds and ash was probably not our best idea ever, but the experience of the view over Tanna and the erupting volcano at night made this experience unique.
We don’t normally take on other crew, but when we were approached by a Fulagan villager who needed a ride for two to Suva, we said sure, why not? Alfreti and Koroi came with traditional Fijian food and helped us navigate into Suva at night and fillet our biggest mahi-mahi. The gifts they left behind, wood carvings traditional to the island of Fulaga, will be a treasured memory.
Landing our Five Biggest Fish
After revamping our fishing gear in New Zealand, we landed more fish this year than ever! We caught one large mahi-mahi in Fiji, plus TWO double hookups of Big Eye tuna – one in Fiji and one in New Caledonia. We’ve been able to share the fish with all of our friends and family that came to visit this year, plus we gave half a fish to the Fijian village of Fulaga and served tuna at my 33rd birthday party. You get some tuna, you get some tuna, EVERYBODY GETS SOME TUNA!!
Our paid crew position aboard Julia not only allowed us the opportunity to earn money and visit family, but we got to sail under one of the most iconic bridges in the world.
Seeing Our Families
We started 2017 back in Texas and spending time in both Houston and Dallas. We saw David’s family again for his grandpa’s funeral in March, unfortunately, and then again in April when we flew out to crew on Julia. My family came to visit in Fiji and David’s family is here with us now. That’s a lot of family time for people who live half a world apart!
Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve
And finally, New Year’s Eve in Sydney Harbour saw us sailing with David’s family under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past the Opera House, and we topped off the day by watching the fireworks in the evening. We could not have gotten a better spot, with a stunning view of the bridge and Opera House.
And on to 2018….
The first half of 2018 will be spent in Australia, exploring the country. The second half will be working our way up through Southeast Asia to Thailand. We can’t wait to share 2018 with you!