Kite Mount for GoPro


P1060644There are many ways to strap a GoPro on when kiting. You can mount it on your kiteboard, your helmet, your kite strings, or even (*groan*) a selfie stick.

We like the shots we get with our GoPro strapped to the main strut of our kite, near the leading edge and this is the mount I made to do so. I made wide strap out of Crypton Ultrasuede scraps I had aboard from our cushion covers with two strips of 2” velcro. I used some Seam Stick at first so I could take it to the beach and fit it onto a few different size kites to make sure it would work before I sewed it.

P1060647Then I took neoprene from an old old laptop case and made a pocket for the GoPro. In the flap on the open side of the pocket, I put a snap in plastic tarp grommet and some kite string (spectra type). The kite string was cut long enough so that one side could be tied to the pump up loop on the kite and the other side to the GoPro in case the case failed.

With the case and camera mounted on the kite, I outlined the lens of the GoPro with chalk, removed the case, and cut out the lens hole.

We accidentally tested the backup string when we crashed the kite so hard that the camera popped out through the lens hole (!!!) and the string kept the GoPro dangling from the kite while we sailed back to the beach and removed it.

And here is what we get with it. Not as flexible as a drone, but dirt cheap, and very satisfying.

kouen upwind

Article: Is the lagoon half empty or half full?


gilstrap_4I think it illustrates what a navigation geek I am that of the articles I have written my favorite is my most recent in Ocean Navigator titled "Is the lagoon half empty or half full?" My article writing strategy is to write things that I wish someone had told me and if I could time travel back to my 2012 self with only one sentence from the article it would be this one:

"...with the lagoon full, the low water slack will be later than expected and the incoming tide will be weaker or possibly non existent and the high water slack will be earlier than expected and the ebbing tide will be stronger."

Yep, super geek. Direct link to the article (free) here.

New Caledonian Beer Tasting


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Longtime readers might remember our Mexican beer tasting in 2011 with SV Bella Star. We haven’t sailed to any countries that make enough different types of beer to make a tasting worthwhile since. New Caledonia is the first place since Mexico that we’ve sailed to where I saw more than 2 or 3 types of beer on the shelves that were made in the country.



I bought 8 beers and invited the crews of Dream Time and Bella Vita over for a beer tasting. The first beer tasting was interrupted by a squall which sent everyone scurrying for their vessels to make sure ports were shut and anchors well set. Safety first! The second part of the beer tasting happened a little over a week later.


Based purely on labels I arranged the beers from light/fruity, through light, to dark…or at least as dark as the beers. I (Livia) poured the beers and so was the only once influenced by the label or logo.


With 5 tasters on board, and our pirate themed tasting sheets in hand, for you dear reader, we diligently made our way through this most difficult task ;)


There was a fair bit of consensus and in the end the rank ordering was:

1) Number 1 Extra Malt

2) Manta Intense

Tied for 3) Hinano/Manta Gold

4) Havannah

5) Number 1 Zest

6) Number 1

7) Manta Citron (last by a good margin)


We were all fairly shocked that a beer with the words “extra malt” could be our favorite. You might notice that Hinano, a French Polynesian beer, is in the mix. That is because it is also brewed and bottled for local consumption in New Caledonia under the supervision of Brasserie de Tahiti. You’ll also notice that three of the beers are made by Manta and three are made by Number 1. Not as much diversity as 8 beers might sound like at first glance.


A very, very big thank you to Charity and to Jamie & Rose, whose liquid motivation made this possible!

Logbook: Ilot Brosse, Ile des Pin, Nouvelle Caledonie



P1070121Powdery white sand, the kind that is difficult to brush off your skin. The signature pine trees of Ile des Pins. Glowing blue lagoon waters. And, the usual crowd of sea snakes!


Only boaters visit uninhabited Ilot Brosse – boaters and tourists brought in small groups by small tourist boats. We had the island to ourselves each night we were there with only our buddies aboard Dream Time sharing the anchorage.


It was a nice place to for beach walks, beach fires, an amazing view from the cockpit and generally relaxing. The underwater scene wasn’t that exciting. We definitely could have spent longer here but, as we only have 3 months, and guests coming (yay!) we limited ourselves to only three nights.


Logbook: Ilot Maître, Nouvelle Caledonie




P1070062We’ve always enjoyed spending a night or two anchored off resorts, particularly the ones with bungalows. It reminds us that our everyday anchorage view is something people spend a lot of money per night to experience briefly.


Ilot Maître is actually mostly a park, and only partially a hotel. The park portion has zones for swimming only, wind sports only, and then a section you can come into with your motor (dinghy in our case, but skiffs and small power boats also) to reach the beach. It also has moorings for overnight which we used.


P1070063The big highlight of the place for us, is that they have tables, wood BBQs, with nice grills, with prestacked piles of wood to use – for free.


We organized a beach day with two other boats – Nomad and Dream Time, good friends from French Polynesia early days – and lazed about while BBQing, eating and digesting a big lunch and some wine.


The kiting was fun and there were loads of kiters who had taken the ferry over. Too shallow for safety at low tide but great at high tide and surprisingly flat water for the wind strength. I’m sure we’ll be back!


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Logbook and Kite Spot: Ilot Goeland, Nouvelle Caledonie


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We love small uninhabited islands with reef systems we can wiggle into. It’s part of the dream for us.


Ilot Goeland is a little bit of sand and scrub breaking the surface of a large shallow sand bank, a short beam reach from Noumea. It is slightly farther than Ilot Maitre, another kite spot, which has moorings and a ferry service. This means that for the most part, the only kiters or windsurfers at Ilot Goeland are those with their own boats. The exceptions are the occasional hard core windsurfers who brave a few miles of open water to cross between Ilots Maitre and Goeland on their boards. Tough Frenchies! The anchorage at Goeland is also less crowded with local boats than Maitre and we had it to ourselves or with just our friends a few nights.


The anchorage is great holding, sand, with a few isolated bits of coral and grass easily avoided. It gets slightly lumpy at certain tides (ebb against trade winds) but was still comfortable. The kite spot is useable at all tides but certain areas get sketchy (coral) at the lowest tides so you have to change your line when the tide is too low.


If you don’t kite or windsurf you might get bored quickly but the colors of the lagoon in the sun are worth a short visit even for non wind sport people.


This was our first kite spot in New Caledonia and already it was better than anywhere we kited in Fiji…


Nouvelle Caledonie: First Impressions




G0131685Arriving in New Caledonia was like coming home. Not because it is French (although, man, the French know how to pick them), but because it has everything we love about the South Pacific: insanely clear water, jaw dropping lagoon colors, shallow sandy anchorages floating in those colors, uninhabited islands, and great sailing conditions inside a lagoon with easily predictable wind and land effects. 


In addition, because it is French there is a large community of water sports participants which include a strong contingent of women, people sailing their boats in every wind direction, very little restrictions on what you can do as a boater, and not a lot of fuss over what bits of your body are covered. Try telling a French woman (or man) that women have to cover up to be respectful of the locals and you will quickly learn why French colonies don’t play that way. We are not Francophiles by any means and we have been surrounded by French boaters for long enough to know the downsides to these upsides, but still, we love these upsides.


Too bad they only give us North Americans three months… Still, we are going to enjoy the crap out of what time we have here.


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Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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