October 31, 2023

Noonsite October Sailing News and Updates


Keep life on board as simple as possible, that seems to be the message this month. Dena Hankins and James Lane, liveaboards for 24 years, tell us how much they’ve simplified their life in Portrait of a Cruiser. Alison Gieschen, half-way through a planned 10-year sailing odyssey, discusses in INSIGHTS how little you really need to live happily on board. We also have a huge variety of reports from cruisers around the world this month, thank you to everyone who has contributed and shared their cruising stories.

Take time to enjoy the simple things in life!

Sue and the Noonsite Team


Previous newsletters can be viewed here.


When you first move on board your boat for some offshore long-distance cruising, it can be tempting to fill every cabinet, every bilge, every empty pocket of space with stuff you think you cannot live without. Alison Gieschen, half-way through a planned 10-year sailing odyssey around the globe with husband Dan, has learnt to gradually pare down all the stuff and realized that packing food should be approached with reason and practicality. In this month’s INSIGHTS she shares what she has learnt and what are the best foods for bluewater sailing.

PredictWind have recently recorded two free Atlantic Crossing Webinars for anyone wanting to know how to use PredictWind tools for offshore passages. Webinar 1 and Webinar 2.

When to replace your standing rigging? A primary safety concern for all yacht owners, particularly when undertaking a long offshore passage. The working lifespan of your rigging depends on a number of factors which need to be taken into consideration when deciding to replace these most critical pieces of equipment on your boat. This article by Jimmy Green Marine looks at these factors which include age, workload and physical condition.

Official Noonsite Ropes and Rigging Partner

Promotion ends November 30th

Team Jimmy Green can produce anything from a single replacement stay to a complete standing rigging re-rig. Use our Custom Build tool to order the bespoke wire rigging you require and the 15% discount will be applied on the product page.

Standing Rigging


Dena Hankins and partner James Lane have been living on a variety of boats for the last 24 years and are now very leisurely circumnavigating and exploring in their 9.7m cutter-rigged sailboat SN-E Cetacea, powered only by electricity. They would like to be the smallest electric sailboat in history to circumnavigate the planet, although they say, “being beaten to the record by someone we inspire would be just as satisfying as achieving it ourselves.”

Read their Portrait of a Cruiser here.

  • 200 wet slips enclosed in a cove
  • 24/7 security
  • Long-term secure storage space to accommodate up to 120 vessels
  • Boat Yard with an enclosed 5,000 square feet sheltered space for refits
  • 100-ton travel lift
  • Sail loft
  • Chandlery
  • Hotel & Restaurant

Shelter Bay Marina & Boatyard in Colon, located at the entrance of the Panama Canal and only 50 minutes away from Panama City, offers a prime destination for boat owners.

Positioned just a day's cruise away from San Blas Island and Bocas Del Toro and outside the Hurricane Belt, it is an ideal choice for various boating needs.

The Marina & Boatyard offer a comprehensive solution for boat owners, with a yacht-friendly environment, experienced staff, customized services, and excellent facilities.


"Ocean Drifters, a secret world beneath the waves" is a short film about plankton written, produced and directed by Dr Richard Kirby (Marine Institute Research Fellow, Plymouth University) with a narration by Sir David Attenborough and music by Richard Grassby-Lewis. This is well worth 15 minutes of your time, simply to discover what exactly is going on underneath your keel as you cruise the world. Plankton have shaped life on Earth and continue to influence our lives in ways that most of us never imagine.

An unusually dense plankton bloom off the eastern coast of Thailand is creating an aquatic “dead zone”, threatening the livelihood of local fisherman and resulting in large quantities of dead fish washing ashore on beaches in the Chon Buri region.

Sperm whales are thriving in the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. The Tursiops Association located four groups of sperm whales off northern Menorca this summer, including nine calves – the highest number recorded since 2003.

While it might have been raining non-stop for weeks where you are, in Central and South America lack of water is a major concern right now. The Amazon River has fallen to lowest levels in over a century and Panama is suffering serious water shortages, which is consequently affecting the volume of traffic that can transit the Panama Canal. Significant delays are expected for small boat transits.

Erick Galvez

Your Reliable Panama Canal Agent

Please contact us soonest to start your canal transit virtual inspection in a timely manner.

Phone: (+507) 66761376


The current situation for yachts transiting the Panama Canal can be found in this latest news.


Cruisers against Garbage

World Clean Up Day (celebrated on the third Saturday in September bringing together people worldwide to clean up and care for their communities) did not pass unnoticed by the cruising community in Curaçao. Jean-Marc and Karen from SY Blowing Bubbles report on how they organised an ‘underwater’ clean up at the Spanish Water anchorage, which involved not only cruisers, but members of the Curacao community as well.

Japan is one of the world’s great, but unknown, cruising grounds. Learn more about the wonders of cruising Japan. Konpira Consulting is the cruiser’s partner in Japan, helping clients get off the beaten track to experience the “real Japan.” Our comprehensive support includes handling the clear-in process, preparing detailed passage plans, recommending moorage options, making marina reservations, and arranging land-based sightseeing activities. Learn more about how Konpira Consulting helps cruisers make the most of their time in Japan.

Learn More about Konpira Consulting



A great selection of reports from cruisers in the Pacific have come in this month: SY Sea Bella report on the delights and challenges of cruising the Tuamotus for 6 months; SY Jamala outline the many beautiful anchorages they visited in Fiji; and SV Uhuru of London report on the solitude and adventure of cruising in the Solomon Islands.

There has been plenty of storm activity all over the Pacific this month. October began with category 5 Super Typhoon Bolaven, which impressed meteorologists with its near perfect circular eye, but fortunately stayed out in the open Western Pacific. While Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a below average number of tropical cyclones for the 2023–24 South Pacific season (November to April), New Zealand's NIWA and MetService assessment indicates normal to above normal activity. A week before the start of the south Pacific cyclone season, TC Lola raged over Vanuatu – the 4th TC this year to impact Vanuatu after Irene, Judy & Kevin last season from January to March 2023.

Between October 9 to 25, western Mexico was hit by four consecutive eastern North Pacific tropical cyclones. Three were hurricanes at landfall [Norma was rapidly weakening]. Lidia and Otis were major hurricanes that rapidly intensified on approach to land. The devastation includes Acapulco Yacht Club, with docks completely destroyed and boats piled on top of one another. Cruising boats heading south to Mexico this winter should be aware of debris in the water, missing navigation marks, hurricane damage to docks and limited berth availability. YachtAid Global are providing disaster relief across the communities impacted by these hurricanes.


If planning to visit the Las Perlas Islands en-route from Panama to the Galapagos, check out this useful report from a cruiser who spent some time cruising there this season. Following a spate of attacks on yachts 8 months ago, it is recommended to visit with caution.

French Polynesia has introduced new rules for long term visa holders requesting a Carte De Séjour (temporary resident card). All documents must now be in French which incurs extra cost and delay and a few extra certificates are required. Full details at French Polynesia Immigration.

The South Pacific Yachting Survey for Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu visitors, that we profiled last month, has seen a good response to date for Tonga. More feedback from cruises that have visited Vanuatu is needed. If you have visited Vanuatu in the past or are moving on from there as the season comes to a close, please take a few minutes to take part in the survey. There is a prize draw for all respondents with fully completed responses.

If you’ve had the luck to sail to Vanuatu, or it’s on your wish list, then think about helping the iconic Port Resolution Yacht Club which was destroyed by cyclones earlier this year and needs to get back on its feet. Last month’s newsletter saw 2 donations totalling $400, let’s see if we can generate more support this month.

Palau in Micronesia has a new entry form for visiting yachts, that must be completed and sent in advance. In addition, new navigation aids have also recently been added by the USCG to the main entrance channels to Koror.

Yachts clearing out of Australia should be aware that an appointment is required with Australian Border Force in order to process departure paperwork and several days-notice is required. ABF in Darwin, for example, require at least five-days-notice for departing vessels.

New Zealand’s MPI updated their Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Vessels this month and there are changes which do impact recreational vessels arriving in New Zealand. Find out more details at this news item.


Madagascar now requires not only an entry permit, but also an exit permit which can take over 4 days to obtain. If heading to South Africa, proof that application to enter via OSASA has been made must also be shown before permission to leave Madagascar will be granted.

Located at the northern entrance of the Mozambique Channel and 150 miles from Madagascar, the French island of Mayotte is a popular stopover for yachts crossing the Indian Ocean from Indonesia to Africa. Read this recent report from SV Endless Summer on checking into and out of the island and yacht services there.

Caribbean Sea:

Pretty much every island in the Caribbean has its own cruisers’ Facebook page which have replaced, in many ports, the once popular VHF Cruisers Nets. However, now it seems that WhatsApp groups are becoming the favourite method of finding out weather, local information, communicating with fellow cruisers and assisting with security. Talk to cruisers when you arrive in a new anchorage and see if there is a local cruisers' WhatsApp group you can join.

As is often the case in the low-season, robberies and attempted robberies increase in the Caribbean. Just this month a yacht in St. Vincent was boarded by armed men and the crew held at knifepoint as they stole many valuable items. See Noonsite’s security reports for more incidents that have occurred this winter in the Caribbean.


A fire in the marina complex at Falmouth Harbour in Antigua has destroyed buildings and affected a number of well-known businesses including the Yacht Club Marina according to news reports.


The Costa Rican government has announced an extension of the maximum stay period for foreign tourists visiting on a tourist visa, from 90 to 180 days.

Bank of St. Helena Tourist Card

Virtual Card Payments for St Helena Island and Ascension Island visitors

Here on St Helena, we are majority a cash-based society when it comes to our visitors. At present, International Cards are only accepted in a small number of establishments, including a cash advance service with us at the Bank of St Helena to withdraw money from international cards. There are no ATMs on the island.

Previously, our visitors have either travelled with sums of cash or visited the Bank to draw from their international accounts upon arrival or when needed. There has not been an alternative service – until now.

Bank of St Helena has this year introduced the Tourist Card, an innovative solution to paying for goods and services around St Helena and Ascension using a virtual bank card, available on a mobile device through its own App. Using this virtual card, visitors can tap into the island’s local card payment service known as St Helena Pay, a service available at over 70 establishments in Jamestown and more around the island, as well as 12 locations on Ascension Island.

How to Apply

Step 1 - Complete application online through a secure banking system

Step 2 - Download the Tourist Card App

Step 3 - Load funds on to the Tourist Card (currency used is GBP)

Step 4 - Start spending on St Helena or Ascension, check bank balance and top-up through the online portal

Step 5 - Unload funds from the Tourist Card upon departure (no fees apply)

For more information and to apply visit our website


Rally season is about to begin for yachts Caribbean-bound both from the US East Coast and Europe. The transAtlantic rally ARC+ starts on 5 November from Las Palmas in the Canaries. Find out more Rally news here.

After years of orcas "playing" with yachts along the Iberian peninsula and causing a significant amount of rudder damage, sea trials are underway in the area to test a new acoustic deterrent device, which if successful will be available to yacht owners for the 2024 season.

In South Africa, a new border management authority was officially launched on 5 October. While there is no change to pre-arrival procedures for yachts, which are administered by OSASA, it is imperative that incoming boats follow these procedures correctly, handle PAN timeously (96 hours before arrival), and ensure that all crew members have made any required visa arrangements ahead of time. OSASA remind cruisers that the PAN legislation applies to incoming South African-registered yachts as well, so returning South African skippers are pivotal in showing government that the yachting industry can handle its own affairs.

A German sailor has been rescued by a passing freighter after his yacht sunk hundreds of miles off the coast of Brazil after a collision with a suspected submerged object.


The Corinth Canal in Greece that connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea, remained open this month as an extension to canal operations. It will, however, close at the end of October so that restoration works can begin again - estimated to be completed by March 2024.

Visit our Website


Marine Sifredi (City Marinas and shipyards) placed in San Pietro Island (West Sardinia, Italy) is one of the few harbors in the West Mediterranean with a top-class facility to lift multihulls up to 50 tons, preventing any possible damage due to traditional travel lift operations.

Our Amphibious Croc-Lift can lift both multihulls and monohulls safely, preventing dangerous hull compressions due to the use of cranes or travel lifts equipped with lifting straps.

"As a boat owner, I have always been concerned about lifting my catamaran. My experience at Marine Sifredi allows me to consider hauling and launching operations feasible, even once a year."


Deception Island, located in the South Shetland archipelago off the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Atlantic, is one of the only places in the world where vessels can sail directly into the centre of an active volcano. The whole island is made of lave and cinders, but above 100m it is dominated by glaciers and ash-covered ice. Why Deception? Well it could be because from the outside it looks just like a normal island, however once through the narrow entrance you discover it’s a flooded caldera surrounded by high volcanic walls. Or, because it is often a lot windier on the inside than outside, largely because katabatic winds sweep down from those heights and swirl around inside the basin. Find out more about this mysterious place from this Yachting World article by Tom Cunliffe introducing an extract from Sailing to Antarctica.

Approximately 30 cruising boats a year visit the Solomon Islands, so if you are looking for somewhere wild and untouched to explore then this could be the place. James Ashwell and his crew found the Solomon Islands to be the most memorable adventure of their five-year Pacific crossing. “You’re on your own in the Solomon Islands”, James says. “It feels like something straight out of Jurassic Park. It’s like the pictures in National Geographic magazine years ago”. Read James’ informative, amusing and detailed report on all the places they visited in the Solomons.


The Years Thunder By

A Voyage Across Two Oceans and a Continent

By Nick Jaffe

This is a very personal account of one man’s solo sailing adventure from one side of the world to the other. When Nick Jaffe decided that he wanted to sail home to Australia from Europe, he had no boat, no money and very little sailing experience. Nevertheless, he embarked on an adventure that would span oceans, a continent and four years with a 26ft boat named Constellation.

If you’ve never sailed before and have dreamed about life on the ocean, Nick’s story has it all for you – adventure, adversity and the generosity of others. At times it is a discourse on the meaning of life and at others a battle between a young man, his emotions and the sea – but above all it is a story about a young man’s desire to follow his dream.

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