In the five plus years I spent living on my sailboat and sailing the South Pacific, I experienced a world that was magical, unbelievably beautiful, and serene. It gives me great pleasure to share those experiences with you, with this selection of documentaries. In the years following my sailing, I continued to film, further adding to my collection.
This collection of educational / historical / cultural videos
offers a virtual holiday to far-away destinations.
A word to my friends who are still at sea,
‘Keep the wind at your back.’
To my friends ashore, ‘Keep the sunshine on your face.’
And to all visitors, ‘Life is short…live the dream.’
There is a one in one billion chance of seeing a UFO – one that is truly unexplainable. More than half of the ‘UFO’ sightings have been dismissed, being found to have ordinary explanations. The rest have been further investigated and very few have a completely unexplainable cause.
This sighting was truly unexplainable. What I saw was an unidentified flying object. I was fastinated and excited to see this object, rotating in the night sky. This was filmed over the San Blas River, Mexico, January 2007.
VIRTUAL TRAVEL DOCUMENTARIES
All documentaries are listed alphabetically for easy searches.
AUSTRALIA – The southern continent
Australia, the land down under, is the world’s largest island, and smallest continent. It offers an arid desert at its center, rain-forests along its coast, tropical land to the north and sub-tropical in the south, with bountiful rivers and vegetation. Australia is probably one of the most intriguing countries in the world and is home to some of the world’s most poisonous and painful creatures – adding to the adventure. It is a land where one can easily get drawn in the magical dream-time of the native people, stand on the edge of the Blue Mountains where eucalyptus oil fills the air, see deserts so red they appear to be ablaze, and listen to the ever moving turquoise sea washing the shores or the gentle breeze as it whispers through the eucalyptus trees…, plus so much more.
BATH, ENGLAND – A Roman Experience
Bath has historically been home to Romans, Georgians, Edwardians and Victorians. It has 89,000 residents today. Prestigious crescents and terraces line the streets. More than a million (1,170,000) litres of steaming spring water, at 46 degrees Celsius, feeds into the pool every day. Tourists flock to Bath by the millions as if in an attempt to keep up with the flow.
In 1727, the gilt-bronze head of Sulis was found in Stall Street, outside the Roman Plaza, and it now hangs in the baths. The ‘taking of the waters’ a drinking of the earth, limestone-filtered, mineral water is now banned. More than 2,000 years ago Celts and Romans, Elizabethan in the 16th century and modern day believers sought out the mineral waters, pursuing medicinal relief.
BELIZE – The Maya of Yucatan
Belize is tucked between the Caribbean Sea and the rainforest to the west. This country is the smallest in Central America and home to a diverse nation. Experience magnificent pyramids and temples, the remains of the ancient Maya city of Caracol, artifacts of tribal wars. Belize is steeped in religions, hierarchy, and a history of ancient civilization that lasted over 2000 years; then suddenly vanished. The culture of Belize is mystical and most definitely fascinating. Beauty, culture, and adventures are at every turn in Belize. Belize inspires this anonymous quote: “Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Eat nothing but fry jacks!”.
COAST TO COAST – Trekking the Wainwright way, across northern England
Alfred Wainwright, in 1973, devised a walk across the north of England whereby the trekker could travel the entire width of England, from St Bees, in the west, to Robin Hood’s Bay, on the North Sea. Trek across three National Parks: Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors. This section of the walk, part 1, encompasses the western half, from St Bees to Kirkby Stephen, taking in the Lake District and the Eden Valley. The great walk is begun by climbing up St Bees Head, a mirror image of Robin Hood’s Bay on the opposite coast. This quintessential English walking excursion leads the trekker into the very heart of the Lake District where the scenery is at its most rugged. Then before long the Lake District National Park is behind and the landscape of the Eden Valley offers a softer look with no great climbs or descents and glimpses of the moors in the distance.
This second half of the walk from Kirkby Stephen to Robin Hood’s Bay, part 2, begins atop the Pennine Range, on the border between Cumbria and to the North Yorkshire Moors where the views are most panoramic. The River Swale leisurely glides along, leading the way eastward and growing in size as it heads towards the North Sea. The Swaledale region is a land shaped by glaciers, ten thousand years ago, comprising grey limestone crags and great gills looking down on green sweeping valleys, interlaced with stone walls, and dotted with stone barns. To the east, copses of thickly grown trees stretch up to another boggy rise, a region that sets the pulses racing for those who revel in solitude.
CORNWALL ENGLAND – A Cornish Interlude
Cornwall’s unique culture is steeped in Celtic traditions. Cornish blood is Celtic. It is a region of great poets and writers, great gardens and stately homes. Cornwall is best known for it’s pasties, a region of strong culinary heritage, and is surrounded on all sides by the sea. Cornwall, UK, is full of pretty villages, quaint fishing ports, rugged hills, moorlands, abandoned tin mines, and ghosts; always there are ghosts. It has a soft, pretty, southern coast on the English Channel with several broad estuaries and harbours. Along the Atlantic shores of Britain’s extreme south-west tip is a bleak yet beautiful, treacherous rocky coast.
COSTA RICA – A wee taste
Costa Rica is more than a vacation destination; it is an interactive sensory experience, with warm climate, sunny beaches and biodiversity. Imagine majestic volcanoes, misty cloud forests, stunning river valleys, and hundreds of beaches. Costa Rica lies on the narrow peninsula of Central America, neatly tucked between Nicaragua to its north, Panama to its south, the Caribbean Sea to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. Costa Rica’s geography and topography reveal a history of cataclysm with earthquakes, floods and volcanoes shaping its present day landscape. It was once a poor and isolated country that simply exported coffee. Then tourism took off as the new mainspring of the economy. It comes as no surprise that Costa Rica is considered one of the happiest places on earth with the phrase “Pura Vida” saying it all.
FIJI – The Islands of Viti
Fiji’s islands are shrouded in mystery, old legends, mythology and beliefs; many of these that have passed through the generations. Set your internal clock to ‘Fiji time’ then explore exquisite beaches, undersea marvels, lush interiors and fascinating culture. Few words can describe these islands, but imagine a place of swaying coconut palms, white sand beaches, a cloudless sky, sweetly perfumed frangipani, warm sunshine, colorful coral reefs. In Fiji, happiness comes naturally. The friendly cries of bula, bula rings in the air…for this is Fiji.
FRANCIS RATTENBURY – The architect
This documentary covers the life and times of Francis Rattenbury while taking an in-depth look at some of his finest works. No other architect has ever done more for a city than Francis Rattenbury did for Victoria, Canada. First he designed its signature buildings. Then he provided the raciest scandal of the 1920s, leaving his wife for Alma Pakenham, a free-spirited flapper 30 years his junior.
The story of Rattenbury has a dark side. Learn of the man driven to succeed at all costs; oversized ambition, bankruptcies and ruined lives. His life was filled with arrogance, corruption, scandal, addiction, sex, and murder.
FRENCH POLYNESIA – Marquesas Islands
Wyntersea journeyed, 3,500 miles, from the shores of Mexico before arriving in the beautiful island paradise of Hiva Oa, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia. The Marquesas islands are mystical. Towering peaks are often shrouded in cloud as if hiding secrets of long ago. This documentary examines the life of artists Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin who made the Marquesas their final home and died there. Sail into bays on the north shores of Nuka Hiva, where writer Robert Louis Stevenson anchored his sailing vessel, Casco, and into the village of Taiohae, where Herman Melville jumped the whaling ship; which inspired him to write Moby Dick and Typee.
FRENCH POLYNESIA – Tuamotu Islands
When approaching the Tuamotu Islands by sea it offers an image of little more than palm-tree tuffs marking the horizon. The islands, are ‘atolls‘; flat and cannot be seen until one is virtually on their shores. Perhaps that is why, in 1947, archaeologist and anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl crashed into the outer reef of Raroia with his raft Kon-Tiki. There are coral bedded lagoons of crystalline waters, unexplored ring-shaped coral reefs, rare flora and fauna, pink sand beaches shaded with rows of coconut trees. There are pearl farms abound and the secret of pearl cultivation is revealed.
FRENCH POLYNESIA – Society Islands
The Society Islands are divided into two groups: the windward islands, which include the archipelago’s largest island, Tahiti, and the leeward group, which is home to the popular honeymoon island Bora Bora. Eleven of these 12 islands have towering peaks and immense lagoons protected by an outer reef. Inside the reef the manta rays and sharks share a little corner of the lagoon and outside are barracuda, trigger fish, bonita and the giant trevally fish. These islands, deep in the South Pacific, are lightly populated and maintain age old traditions, lifestyle and legends.
To adequately describe the beauty of the Society Islands is impossible. These islands are a monument to the prodigal beauty of nature.
IN THE SAME BOAT
This documentary gives a glimpse into the lives of a diverse group of sailors and sailing couples who spent the winter aboard their sailboats in the Inner Harbour of Victoria, the beautiful capital city of British Columbia. These sailing gypsies hale from all over the globe – Canada, France, New Zealand and the United States. Some have lived aboard their boats for a number of years while for others this is a new adventure.
They tell how they have adopted this maritime lifestyle, other ports they have visited and where they plan to end their sailing journeys. Here is a reflection of the rich variety of personalities found among those who go down to the sea in ships and set out on exotic maritime adventures.
MEXICO – Wyntersea sails Mexico
Discover Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta, Barra de Navidad and much more. The voyage includes 1,247 kilometers along the Baja Peninsula before crossing to the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlán and down the coast to Manzanillo. The country is abound with the beauty of the four deserts down the long finger of the Baja, filled with stark landscape of cactus, and low-lying, walking sand dunes. The viewer is invited to experience this sailing adventure, far removed from exotic resorts and places more commonly visited by land; places often unexplored through traditional travels. See Mexico through the eyes of a sailor. It is the perfect opportunity to get a close look at nature, unspoiled and remote.
NEW CALEDONIA – The Archipelago of Kanak
The archipelago of New Caledonia, which includes the Loyalty Islands and was first populated about 50,000 years ago by the Lapita people; highly skilled navigators who could read the stars and moon, crafters of fine outrigger canoes that carried numerous people and plants across the sea to begin a new life on a new land.
The city of Nouméa is often referred to as ‘a little piece of France in the South Pacific‘ where the French provincial town blends in harmony with the Melanesian culture. The French with their European style combines with that of the Kanak. In many ways the islands remain unchanged, ancient stories are told and retold, the air fills with wood smoke as the evening meal is prepared, the ancient sound of the beating of tapa fills the air, and the rhythmic sound of the drums echo through the valleys.
NEWFOUNDLAND – Canada’s Vinland
Newfoundland, a mere 580 million years ago, once a part of Africa, was formed by continental drift. Human occupation can be traced back 9,000 years ago, to the Maritime Beothuk peoples. It was Icelandic Leif Erickson, who visited in the 11th century and first named this island Vinland. Much later John Cabot arrived, by accident, when he was searching for a western passage to the Orient. He discovered fishing grounds so plentiful with cod one could but dip their buckets in the sea to be filled to the brim; cod fish enough to feed the world for 500 years, before depletion.
NEW ZEALAND – The land of the long white cloud
New Zealand is a country that has it all: The Lord of the Rings landscape, glow worms, glaciers, penguins and so much more. With 30% of the country designated as natural reserve there are extensive green hills and forests full of lush vegetation. New Zealand is a world of legends and myths, ancient Maori burial sites, and Cape Reinga‘s leaping off place of spirits.
There is the concealed world of caves, with rivers and an underground life of its own: filled with eels, cave plants and glow worms. And last but not least is New Zealand’s volcanic wonderland of geothermal marvels, where the air is pungent with the scent of sulfur, with pools of red, green and blue bubble and steam. It is a land alive of activities, enticing people, and volcanoes that could erupt at any moment.
NICARAGUA – Land of Nicarao
Nicaragua is situated in Central America, with Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. This country has the largest freshwater lake in Central America, Lake Nicaragua. Granada’s architecture retains a strong flavour of its early Spanish influence, with its high walled houses built right on the sidewalk edge, enclosing a cool, leafy, open central courtyard. Palms rise amidst a sea of red tile roofs against the backdrop of lake shores and volcanoes. In Nicaragua the air is humid and hot, enveloping visitors with the unmistakable sense of stepping into a tropical Spain. Enjoy the daily life of Nicaragua; from the back streets, to the city of Masaya and into the homes of artisans.
NIUE – The Coral Rock of Polynesia
Niue is a Pacific Island paradise like no other. It is one of the smallest countries, the largest raised coral atoll on Earth. commonly referred to as ‘The Rock of Polynesia’, Niue was settled between 400 and 1100AD by Tongans and Samoans. These rugged shores were visited by Captain Cook in 1774. But he did not land on Niue for he was violently refused landing by the locals. In leaving he called it ‘Savage Island‘ and never returned. Niue has captured the interest of writers over many years, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London and, native of Niue, John Pule. Niue is of the grandest coral islands in the world with a rugged coastline of KARRENFIELD crevices stretching more than eight meters skyward, chasms, arched caves and vertical rock faces. Niue’s Washaway Cafe is tucked in a tiny corner of Niue to satisfy one’s thirst. It remains an unspoiled gem in the South Pacific where nature has not been broken.
PACIFIC NORTHWEST – Sailing south of 49th parallel
Between Canada and Mexico lies the appealing cruising grounds off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington, USA. Sail down the Pacific North-West coast, south of the 49th parallel, from Victoria, Canada to San Diego, USA a 1,300 nautical mile journey. Experience sailing into many ports of call; San Francisco Bay with Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterrey, Morro Bay, San Simeon Bay, located just below Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. Journey the twenty miles offshore from Los Angeles to Catalina Island for the annual Buccaneer Days and learn how this island has passed from various landowners including the author of western novels, Zane Grey. Enjoy a visit to the Zane Grey Pueblo.
PACIFIC OCEAN – The sea of life
The Pacific Ocean holds 622 million cubic kilometers of water, varying from freezing in the polar areas to about 30 degrees Celsius near the equator. Slicing its floor are canyon like trenches or deeps, with the greatest known depth, The Challenger Deep, at 11,034 meters, in the Marianas Trench. The Pacific Ocean is a world of its own; where on the surface one can experience the optical phenomenon known as the ‘green flash’ and beneath the vast blue surface are fish and animals, coral reefs, plants and organisms.
PALMERSTON – William Marsters’ Palmerston – Cook Islands
The South Pacific‘s Cook Islands are spread over 2.200,000 square kilometers and are named after Captain James Cook. Rarotonga‘s razor-backed ridges and saw-tooth peaks swoop down into the sea, with a halo of flame-orange coral reef that encircles the island. This Pacific Island was home to travel writer Robert Dean Frisbie. In 1995 the band Split Enz visited Rarotonga and wrote the song ‘Kiss The Road of Rarotonga‘ after a motorcycle accident while there.
500 kilometers north-west of Rarotonga lies the atoll of Palmerston, only two square kilometers in size where it sits like a delicate necklace in the blue body of the Pacific. Though Captain Cook arrived on Palmerston, in 1777, it was William Marsters – a ship’s carpenter and barrel maker – who arrived in 1863, complete with two Polynesian wives, making this island a story tellers’ and a historian’s gem.
POLYNESIAN DANCING – The dance of Polynesia
Polynesians were inspired by the natural sounds of the earth; the pounding of the ocean, the wind rustling the trees, the roll of thunder and the rhythm of rain. They recreated these sounds with drums, conch shells, gourds and harmonic nasal flutes. Chanting became a means of communicating with the gods, done to the beat of music, with hand movements to tell the story. Their
Legends and folklore were retold by way of dance and song. Polynesian dance is exuberant and vibrant and has a long history of cultural significance. These dances are associated with certain events and occasions with multiple dance styles. Laka is the goddess of Hula. The female dancers are wrapped in tapa cloth, decorated with feathers, shells and mother of pearl while the male dancer are adorned with only a few feathers and a loin cloth or penis sheath.
PRINCESS LOUISA INLET, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Princess Louisa Inlet , a remote place on the west coast of British Columbia, is a mere gap of six kilometers long and just a few hundred meters wide. It can only be reached by boat or float plane and it lies at the tip of the long body of water called Jervis Inlet. Sheer cliffs rise a mile high, straight from the water. Steep glacial carved walls of granite rise out of what is often mirror calm water. All around is the thick rainforest; the trees are tall and their trunks are covered with green/blue moss. The forest glades are deeply shaded and one half expects gnomes, elves and fairies to appear from around the trees. The tweeting and chattering of the birds are constant. It is a truly magical place, restful and tranquil.
TONGA – The friendly islands
The Kingdom of Tonga, is an archipelago in the South Pacific, were visited by Captain James Cook, in 1773, and named ‘The Friendly Islands‘. Little did he know that they treated him kindly because they wanted to kill him. His life was spared on that day and he later returned; gifting Chief Tu’i Tonga a turtle from the Galapagos Islands. In the Ha’apai island group is where the Mutiny on the Bounty occurred, in 1789, and Captain Bligh was set adrift.
On ‘Tonga time’ are islands awash with gorgeous beaches, snorkelling, diving, yachting and kayaking , hiking trails, rugged coastlines and friendly locals.
VANCOUVER ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA – Vancouver’s Island
This historical 800 mile voyage takes the viewer on a sailing journey around Vancouver Island to the very bays and harbours where George Vancouver, James Cook, Juan Francisco de le Boudega y Quadra, Galliano, Malispina and many other great explorers dropped their anchors, many years ago. Sail into the renowned Nootka Sound where the Nootka Convention, of the 1790s, was held between George Vancouver and Juan Francisco de le Boudega y Quadra.
Desolation Sound is a labyrinth of inlets and narrow channels, tricky Inlets with rapids, steep snow-capped mountains on either side, and forests right down to the tide line. It is a journey into pristine waters along hundreds of miles of wild coastline.
VANUATU – Ripablik blong Vanuatu
Vanuatu was first settled by Melanesians, the Lapita people, over 4,000 years ago. The Portuguese arrived in 1605 but it was with the arrival of the missionaries in the late 17th century that the islands were changed forever. Tanna’s live volcano, Mount Yasur, is the most accessible volcano in the world and although not the highest mountain its night glow has been referred to as the ‘lighthouse of the Pacific’ It has been continuously erupting for over 800 years. To stand on the edge of this active volcano, captivated by its beautiful, strength and life, is breathtaking.
Vanuatu is probably best known for its famous traditional drink called Kava, a mildly intoxicating or sedative effect.
Voted as the happiest place in the world, Vanuatu might be the Pacific’s best-kept secret. The ocean is blue, the beaches are white, and the smiles of the Ni-Van are big and plentiful. If you are in need for a serious dose of happiness, Vanuatu is the place par excellence.
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – a Victorian Christmas
Christmas, as we know it, was introduced into the Western World by Queen Victoria, and her husband, the German Prince Albert, in the middle part of the 19th century; in the form of Christmas trees and cards, presents, holly, lights, garlands and mistletoe. This documentary takes the viewer down the decorated streets of Victoria, amid the Christmas scenes, aboard the horse drawn carriages and into the festive mood with the ‘Parade of Boats‘ on the inner harbour.
THOMAS HARDY – Thomas Hardy’s Wessex
This documentary takes the viewer to the birth place of Thomas Hardy, and the home that he built for his first wife, Emma Gifford. Hardy is known for his richly characterized, controversial, novels “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” and “Far From The Madding Crowd“. After “Jude The Obscure” he never wrote another novel and devoted the rest of his life to poetry.
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright, still considered the greatest dramatist of all time. He wrote more than thirty plays. His reputation did not rise to current heights until the 19th century. This historical documentary is an introductory glimpse into the poet’s life, where he was born, whom he married, where he lived and died. It is all against the quaint backdrop of the Elizabethan town of Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England.
WILLIAM WORDSWORTH – William Wordsworth’s Lake District
This documentary is a biography of the poet William Wordsworth, set against the background of the hills and lakes of the Lake District. Whilst looking at the superb scenery we hear the poetry written by this great man and some analysis of its significance.
William Wordsworth is best known for his beautiful poetic works that encouraged a new appreciation of nature. His most famous poem, “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” celebrated the simple, yet enthralling beauty of natural world as represented by the humble daffodil.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Charles Dickens
In 1843, Charles Dickens decided to write a political manifesto, exposing and condemning the abject misery of the Victorian poor. Instead, he wrote one of the most enduring popular short stories ever written. In one ghostly Christmas night, miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the limitations of his life and beliefs. He learns to pity himself and to love his neighbour.
The moral of A Christmas Carol is that the pursuit of money will not make a person happy. Scrooge devotes his life to amassing wealth, but in doing so misses out on the joys of family and friendship.
Scrooge said, “If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”
Dickens shows a ‘solemn’ and spooky spirit in the ‘Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’. The ghost fills Scrooge with terror. He feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it.