Merry Christmas 2012 from Dorothy and Steve aboard ADAGIO

Click the thumbnail for photo gallery

Four months in Hobart, Tasmania, six months in New Caledonia and two months in New Zealand is where we spent our time in year 2012.  Please click on the photo to see photos of our year.

Visiting with friends, attending festivals and working on ADAGIO in Hobart was punctuated by the arrival of a special guest, Jeanne Socrates of the sailing vessel NEREIDA,  Jeanne found time in her schedule preparing NEREIDA for a single-handed passage rounding her fifth and final of the five great capes and proceeding to Canada, to make a presentation to the Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania.

As we sailed ADAGIO from Hobart to New Caledonia in May, we were challenged by messy weather as we crossed Bass Strait, where we also encountered the most photogenic Albatross of our journey.    We experienced mostly rough, following seas and stunning rainbows as we crossed the Tasman Sea from Sydney to New Caledonia in seven days.

Weather windows developed every month or so, enabling us to sail to the Isle of Pines several times, and we were especially pleased that we were able to sail from Noumea to Isle of Pines with Dorothy’s sister and brother-in-law aboard in October.  A young humpback whale breached several times not far from ADAGIO, the first that our guests had ever seen.  Another first for them was snorkeling in tropical waters.

In November, our dear friend Eva joined us in New Caledonia for cruising, snorkeling, exploring and culinary exploits.  She crewed for us on the passage from New Caledonia to New Zealand where we experienced the nearly total solar eclipse and celebrated Steve’s 70th birthday.

Our wishes for you in the New Year are for fair winds in your sails and a friendly following sea helping you along on your journey.  Take care of yourselves and please contact us from time to time with news of your adventures.  We love hearing from you.

Dorothy and Steve Darden
Whangarei, New Zealand
December, 2012

October 2012: Breaching humpback whales

Click the thumbnail for photo gallery

With Fred & Margaret aboard we identified a narrow window of opportunity to scoot down to Ile des Pins on Monday October 8. As typical the wind was on the nose 13 to 18 kn, so we decided to motor on starboard engine for a bit to see how the weather developed after sunrise. By around 0900 AM the wind had died to 5 kn on the nose. And so it stayed the rest of the day until we anchored in Kuto Bay, Ile des Pins around 1330 in the afternoon.

A lovely day for a slow trip south — no bashing into head seas, and very little salt water on the foredeck. Then excitement broke out on ADAGIO as the engine was stopped, while Dorothy hailed “Whales breaching dead ahead!”. Steve grabbed the Canon SLR and 300mm longest lens, crossing fingers to see another breach. It was a lucky day – two more breaches were captured on “film”.

May 2012: Sydney to New Caledonia

Click the thumbnail for photo gallery

During our Eden stopover we studied the passage weather for the run to New Caledonia. The prevailing tradewinds meant that typically the route from NSW Australia to New Caledonia would be upwind most of the passage. But we hoped to get lucky.  The developing pattern appeared to offer the possibility of “hitching a ride” atop a LOW transiting along 30 degrees south latitude. To catch the ride we needed to depart Sydney as soon as the cold front had passed over on Friday night. Leaving later would cause us to miss the best winds, and would guarantee days of beating into the prevailing SE tradewinds. So we had a blowtorch to our tail to get north to complete Australian exit formalities at Sydney early Saturday morning.

On Friday, 11 May we stopped for the night in lovely Cronulla in Port Hacking, south of Sydney, and contacted Australian Customs in Sydney for instructions.  The forecast for Saturday and Sunday was for 20 to 30 knot southwesterly winds, with swells from astern building from 2 metres to 4 metres.  We were up for that!

At dawn on May 12th we were underway from Cronulla Marina to meet the officials at the Customs buoy just inside Sydney Harbour. Enroute to Cronulla we received Rick’s forecast for the passage from Australia to New Caledonia: 

High pressure should be re-establishing after a brief period of falling barometer. So some post front, unsettled skies, may still be present for a few more hours.

But all in all looks like a fast transit under a strong high pressure bringing following wind speeds to 30+ kts and total combined seas 4.5 meters. Waves will be a combination of SW wind waves of 5-7 sec period and SW swell of 10-12 seconds.

Click the Day 1 May 12 thumbnail to view the full size passage chart

For the Noumea run, Rick’s passage package was comprised of our routing table plus three charts of our course and wind/sea-state for the first three days enroute. Rick’s forecast for Saturday and Sunday was for 20 to 30 knot southwesterly winds, with swells from astern building from 2 metres to 4 metres.  We were keen to go – but Customs did not arrive at ADAGIO until after 1100.  

Day 1- 12 May 1320: The barometer was falling as we departed Sydney. We had light winds at first as we were sailing north parallel to the coast. Then it was rough going as we crossed the East Australian Current, which decreased our boat speed by a knot.  A small flock of wedge-tailed shearwaters circled ADAGIO, dipping behind the waves with admirable agility.  

Our four hours on, four hours off watch schedule soon became routine.  When not on watch, the most comfortable place to be was in bed.  We had meals available to eat when it suited each of us, and we tried to sleep as much as possible, to be rested for our watch and for any activity which required two sailors on deck at the same time.  

During the first night, off the east coast of Australia, we monitored a Mayday Relay conversation on the VHF radio between a sailor whose boat had become entangled in a large fishing net and a commercial ship whose officer was relaying the messages to the authorities in Sydney.  As the drama unfolded during the night, the captain and crew were lifted off their boat by helicopter from Sydney.  The seas and winds were quite energetic.  That could easily have been ADAGIO caught in the net.

Day 4- 15 May 1320: After three days of what our friend Jeremy Firth likes to call, “ocean walloping”, by 15 May the true wind speed had decreased to 11 knots from astern, so we motorsailed under jib and one engine.  Truthfully, we needed a break from the wind and seas, and going on deck in our foulies to set up for flying our reacher.  The day was  exquisitely beautiful with cumulus clouds all around like moutons grazing in a sky blue field.  The wedge-tailed shearwaters accompanying us were like fighter-jet versions of a tiny albatross.   

We had traveled 197 nautical miles in the first 24 hours, 180 nm in the second 24, and 199 nautical miles during the third 24 hours of sailing.  The following 24 hour runs were 166 nm, 174 nm, 124 nm and 108 nm, as the wind eased.  The Big Fat High pressure system that was ridging over us was blocking the Low pressure systems where the wind was.  Now we were able to do some real cooking for a change.  Otherwise we would have to relinquish our fresh meat to the New Caledonia Agriculture inspector.

Day 5- 16 May 1320: The wind had returned with 16 kn true wind speed!.  Beautiful cumulus puffs surrounded us and occasionally floated above ADAGIO, bringing gentle showers.  The sea swell was still about 3 or 4 metres, but coming from astern and helping us along.  Our reacher was happy as could be.  ADAGIO was dancing among the waves.  A tiny flying fish landed on the aft deck of the boat in the night, with its wings spread beautifully.  We usually have a few flying fish landing with a thump on one of our front windows, and washing up and then down with the waves, but with the winds and seas from astern, there were no  waves washing up our windows.  We were making really good time, so ETA in Noumea was estimated for Friday, unless the wind were to disappear, requiring us to motor.

In one gust of wind the leach line pocket began to separate from our reacher headsail.  We were able to furl the sail before it became an emergency.  Having served us well for twelve years over tens of thousands of nautical miles, the sail had suffered UV damage while it was furled.  We had the sail repaired in Noumea, and since then have stowed the furled reacher in a bow locker when not in use.

Day 8- 19 May 0100: Approaching the reef entrance to Noumea at Passe Boulari, we were  arriving in New Caledonia ahead of schedule so we sailed along under reefed jib at 2 knots, to avoid arriving in the dark.  The passage through the reef and the channel to Noumea was well-marked by lighted navigation marks, but we preferred a daylight entry. Besides, the scenery was too beautiful to miss.  We hailed Port Moselle on VHF 67 and were politely and efficiently guided to a berth on the Visitors Pontoon.  The Agriculture inspector allowed us to keep all of our Australian meat, but took our produce.  No worries because the best open air market in town is adjacent to the marina.  We and all of the other boats who arrived over the weekend made the trek to the other side of town on Monday to search out the Immigration Officer.  

We met many other cruisers at Marina Port Moselle, and heard their stories of woe about broken gear and difficult passages.  These stories would increase in number as the race boats arrived from Auckland and Brisbane during the following weeks.  Sometimes it is not easy getting to New Caledonia.  We shared information about where to buy groceries, where to buy the best patisserie and baguettes, and also which WiFi and mobile phone options were available.  Over the next few months in NewCal, we would stay in touch with the new cruising friends we had made at Port Moselle during that first week.   It was not long before we were enjoying the beauties of the Isle of Pines, and the friendships we had made there during past visits.

May 2012: Hobart to Eden – ADAGIO's fifth Bass Strait crossing

Click the thumbnail for Hobart to Eden photos

To monitor ADAGIO’s position tracking, thanks to the generosity of Roy Barkas and OceanTracker, please click here. For the most recent 90 YOTREPS position reports please click here (courtesy of

At latitude 42 South the Tasmanian winter was fast approaching – it was definitely time to head north. 

It was the best of news that our fellow CYCT and RYCT member Gus Vans-Colina was keen to have a taste of catamaran passage-making. Gus is off-the-charts on all the desirable crew traits – a fun, reliable shipmate, super-experienced and an innovative fix-anything hand. It was our challenge to fit our Tasman passage into Gus’s availability window of 14 April to 27 May, which window was bookended by prepaid airline tickets. That meant we had to ensure that Gus would absolutely be back in Hobart by the 27th (without having to pay for first-class to get a seat home).

Our hopes of departing on or right after April 14th were dashed at the end of March when our testing proved that the major-rebuild of our refrigeration compressor was unsuccessful. The German Bitzer compressor was still leaking refrigerant at the shaft seal. There were no replacements in Australia, so we had to organize shipping a new compressor from USA to Sydney to Hobart. And of course evacuate all the refrigerant, vacuum the system, tear everything apart one more time,  then reverse the process to install the new Bitzer when it finally arrived. Five Aussie boat-bucks burned in that whole episode.

Click the thumbnail for the full size plot of ADAGIO’s track. The satellite tracking is thanks to the generosity of Roy Barkas and OceanTracker

The thumbnail at left shows ADAGIO’s page. Roy Barkas lent an OceanTracker transmitter to ADAGIO and NEREIDA to test. ADAGIO for our South Pacific circuit Australia – New Caledonia – New Zealand. And NEREIDA so Jeanne Socrates could report her positions during the completion of her single-handed circumnavigation – the last Pacific run from Hobart to Victoria, Canada.

This fully-automated position-reporting-monitoring solution was a delight to have aboard. We felt like 21st-century cruisers at last! ADAGIO’s extended family around the world continues to email us with their delight to discover exactly where we are within the last eight hours. OceanTracker reports our position automagically three times/day at 00Z, 08Z and 16Z. 

The Tasman Sea weather was clearly getting tricky, so we focused intently on the prospects for decent passage weather. In the Southern Winter the Tasman gets rowdy and increasingly difficult to forecast. Each week as we studied the weather models, we were seeing a “train” of LOWs from the Indian Ocean across the Tasman to NZ – with precious little space between them. Clearly we prefer to sail ADAGIO in the spaces between the LOW pressure systems.

Equally clearly, tricky weather calls for professional weather routing. For twelve years Rick Shema has advised us on potentially risky passages. Our view is that professional weather expertise is a very high-return investment, returning much more value to us than our yacht insurance. Especially valuable is Rick’s enroute oversight as he knows where we are on the ocean in relation to subtle developments. Yes, we have access to GFS weather models enroute, but that is definitely not a substitute for a professional meteorologist appraising the ocean ahead of us at intervals that we have requested (e.g., two days). Rick’s skills are especially valuable as he knows how we sail ADAGIO, and ADAGIO’s capabilities in relation to wind and seas.

April 16: We had emailed Rick an alert that ADAGIO would be ready to depart Hobart Saturday April 21st.  Rick advised that Monday 23rd would be the earliest departure time: “The systems are moving with low’s and high’s moving through the Tasman Sea and further south. If departing on Monday, after another low passes by and ridge rebuilds afterwards, you might expect to encounter at least one or two additional low systems while en-route.”

April 19: We wrote to Rick “The GFS outlook for Monday departure looks a bit ‘complicated’ – difficult for us to assess the likelihood of misbehaving lows and squashy zones“. And on April 20th we wrote “After a little study of latest GFS I don’t see an attractive departure earlier than about end of week. That Tasman LOW doesn’t do anything good for us, unless we wanted to go direct to New Caledonia – which we could not due to friends joining us in NZ”. Upper level support for the Tasman LOW seemed to be cut off – the LOW was stuck right on our track to NZ, with another one approaching from the Southern Ocean.
April 23:  We were increasingly anxious to get under way. On April 23rd we were examining a riskier strategy, emailing Rick:

Your thoughts on the likely best days from Thursday 26th through Monday 30th?

I just ran some routings on a Thursday AM departure, tracking northwest around the LOW. I was wondering if it was realistic to think of adapting tactics underway to the actual track of the LOW by changing course more to the NW if the LOW seems to be slowing down. Or if the HIGH approaching from the west looks likely to generate enough of a squash zone to encourage us to get further north of the rhumb.

With customary conservatism, Rick replied:

You like to live on the wild side!

Maybe you can dodge the first low by heading Nerly, but it is unlikely to be able to avoid westerly gale south of the huge second low center (sub 975mb). Plus the unstable atmosphere providing inclement weather for most of the transit.

You may be able to deal with the wind, but the waves will also be huge in the 6-7 meter range (significant waves) with a maximum of 10-14 m.

I’d be more comfortable waiting until the backside of the second low passes into the Tasman Sea, say about your Sunday.

No we don’t like the wild side! To appreciate what we were seeing in the Tasman Sea weather outlook, here is the relevant segment of Bob McDavitt’s WEATHERGRAM for 29 Apr 2012:

(…) That Southern ocean LOW that has been moving along 60S from 150E to 180 over the weekend has a northern semicircle of wind and swell that already extends as far north as 40S = southern North Island.  As the Low makes its way further east on Monday is may throw northwards a secondary low as far as 45S 170W by wed 2 May—Along with SW swell reaching 9 occasionally 13 metres east of NZ . Avoid.

Next Tasman low is likely to deepen off Sydney on Friday 4 May, as the High over NZ moves off.  This Low should deepen and stay in the Tasman on weekend of 5/6 May, allowing a strong N to NE flow to form from New Caledonia to western NZ. Avoid. 

The following video illustrates our weather routing challenge. At this stage we were still on “Plan A” to sail direct from Hobart to Opua/Bay of Islands, then on to New Caledonia. We were assessing the risks of trying to squeeze Adagio into the short “gaps” between nastiness. In the simulation ADAGIO is chasing the first LOW striving not to get munched by the bigger LOW coming from behind us.

Click the thumbnail to view a video of our routing simulation for a 26 April sailing.

In this simulation, repeated every six hours, the Maxsea routing algorithm was using Adagio’s performance polars to estimate how much progress we could make on all possible paths from departure to arrival. Typically such travel-time-optimization means that Maxsea will send Adagio directly into the worst weather, because the algorithm “knows” from our polars that Adagio goes fastest in strong winds (and hence seas). As we were not racing, that is NOT what we want for a safe, relatively comfortable passage.

To guide Maxsea away from the worst we located the waypoint shown at 35S 162E to force the Maxsea routing algorithm away from the time-optimal course. We wanted to be positioned enough north of the rhumb line to reduce our exposure to the large seas to be generated by the approaching big Southern Ocean LOW. At time-date 30 April in the video you will see Adagio’s boat icon scampering north of the rhumb line to stay out of the worst of the coming seas.

Frustrating! Instead of sailing to NZ we were eating up Gus’s availability window assessing and rejecting predicted passage weather options. So, after three weeks of this game of low pressure chase-and-run we decided to shift to “Plan B”, to sail north instead of east. We will abandon the NZ stopover, sailing direct to New Caledonia, but hopefully with chance to enjoy Lord Howe Island on our way. Gus’s opportunity clock was ticking – we were down to about 24 days to put Gus where he can fly home to Hobart. We were very unhappy to contact our NZ shipmates Vanessa and Wayne to alert them that their New Caledonia holiday aboard ADAGIO was not going to happen this June. 

0700 May 1: With Gus, Dorothy and Steve aboard, ADAGIO motored out of the RYCT, bound for Maria Island. We wanted to work our way quickly to the northern-most safe anchorage to wait for Bass Strait weather. Wineglass Bay would be great, but Schouten Passage is beautiful as well.

This would be only our second Denison Canal transit, as ten years ago we had been advised that we needed to pass the Blackman Head reef really close aboard. After looking down on the rocks some 3 meters to starboard we concluded ADAGIO must be too wide for the narrow pass. Henceforth on our Bass Strait crossings we always sailed the extra 50 nm around Tasman Island. But this time we had the benefit of Gus’s numerous transits. Gus explained that the entrance was more like 150 meters wide, so there was heaps of room for ADAGIO, and no need to get intimate with Blackman Head. Easy peasy…

May 3: Well, at least we were reducing our latitude. We anchored two nights at Maria Island, then three nights at Brian’s Corner in Schouten Passage.  On May 3rd we were assessing the Bass Strait weather outlook – modeled like the following (the real world turned out not so nice): 

Bass Strait weather outlook for May 6th – click for full size image {GFS model of May 3rd}

We estimated our passage time to Eden at 42 to 56 hours. We were thinking we could go as soon as the winds backed from the NNW around to the West – possibly 1100 EST on Saturday the 5th. It would take us almost 24 hours to sail to northern Flinders Island, which is where a yacht begins to experience the real Bass Strait conditions. We wanted to get closer to Flinders because we were concerned about running out of wind north of Bass Strait. Fortunately Rick Shema was more concerned about that LOW possibly moving south in the Tasman Sea. Rick knows LOWs don’t always do what they are “supposed to”.

We wrote to Rick, “We have moved to 42s 148e. Looks like we might make Eden before the new East Coast Low — if we left tonight”.  But Rick continued to restrain our eagerness:

Too risky. Bass Strait Werly winds 25-30kts gusts 35. Beam seas 2.5-3.5 m. How about making your way slowly northward tonight. Enter Bass Strait no earlier than Friday 0600Z [Friday afternoon 1600 EST for us]. Conditions are expected to abate to Werly 15-25 kts.

May 4: On Friday morning via telecon, Rick Shema recommended that we wait until at least 1600 Saturday to depart for Eden.  After further study of the progress of the East Coast Low then located north of Bass Strait, Rick said that it would make all the difference in the world if we waited a couple more days to depart.  If the approaching East Coast Low tracked a bit more towards Bass Strait, then the conditions could turn nasty, and it would be worth the wait. 

So we waited, enjoying Freycinet in the Brian’s Corner anchorage. By Saturday 5 May the Bass Strait outlook was worsening a bit. We had only three weeks remaining to return Gus safely back to Hobart by the 27th. It was becoming clear that there was no way we were going in to Lord Howe Island – the western reef is a dangerous entry in the conditions estimated at 5 meter SW seas (see above snapshot showing the 5-7 M seas at LH). And once inside the reef it is not fun on a mooring and it is difficult to estimate when you can safely leave again. For Gus to get home from Eden would be a difficult trip,  as the nearest Hobart flights are out of Melbourne, requiring a land journey. And for Gus, making yet another run up to Sydney is just retracing old many-traveled tracks. Fortunately Kate Hansford volunteered to drive from Hobart up to Coles Bay to give Gus a ride, so Steve & Gus commuted to the public wharf in ALLEGRO. We were very sad to loose Gus’s companionship. And as it turned out we made landfall in New Caledonia a week ahead of Gus’s departure deadline. But we could not have known that on 5 May.

Meanwhile we had been exchanging emails with Rick with the subject line: Adagio to Eden, Dog’s Breakfast, which is descriptive of how the weather models looked to us. Fortunately Rick was successful in persuading us to be patient. Later on Saturday we received Rick’s passage bulletin [ETD is Earliest Time for Departure]:

Summary: Departure recommendation remains at no earlier than 05/1800Z.

The reason 1800Z is suggested as an ETD remains the concern about the low over Tasman Sea moving southward. At 05/00Z, the center will still be NNE of your present location and moving toward east of Hobart. The uncertainty factor is high enough that if the low moves more westward, then the center might pass close aboard your route, providing heavy rainshowers, squalls, gusty and shifty winds 40-50kts, etc. At 18Z the low center, if it moves as forecast, should be just about abeam of Bass Strait. There is still an outside chance of the low movement having a more westward component but that is unlikely if it tracks steady 180 deg Mag. So, the suggested departure time remains at the earliest 1800Z 05 May from where you are right now. Better yet and less risky depart 06/0000Z. Please see forecast table attached.

0500 May 6 [1800Z May 5]: We decided to depart for Eden on Rick’s earliest 05/1800Z recommendation. In the Australian timezone of UTC+11 hours, that meant pre-dawn Sunday morning, 6 May. So we unfurled our reacher in 15 knots of a SW wind and slight seas from astern. An enormous golden orb of a moon had just set.  Several medium-sized albatross soared ahead, as the sky lightened to starboard.  By 0651 hours we were abeam of Wineglass Bay and The Hazards. In 15 to 20 knots of wind speed, under full main and reacher, our boat speed was 9 to 10 knots throughout the morning.  By afternoon the wind speed had decreased to 6 to 7 kn. 

2052 May 6:  We furled ADAGIO’S 1000 square foot mainsail because the Reef-Rite boom furler locking mechanism had released the sail from our first-reef setting. That means we could not be certain that we could reef down safely – and we definitely did not want a full mainsail where we were going. Until that problem was resolved ADAGIO could sail with full or no main; no reefs allowed.

During the night the wind speed increased to 20 to 25 knots, so we sailed comfortably under jib alone – we had in mind Rick’s advice that six hours later into Bass Strait was less risky. We were on schedule, so we were not pressing the boat hard.

During the night we passed another sail boat that was sailing slowly on a reciprocal course. There was no response to our hail on VHF radio.  No doubt the occupants were asleep.  They were a hazard to navigation, not standing watch.  What would you have done if you had been aboard ADAGIO?  Should we have attempted to rouse them?

0800 May 8: Landfall Twofold Bay, Eden, NSW. Our fifth Bass Strait crossing was as Rick had forecast – quite bumpy, with 2.5 to 3.5 meter seas slamming ADAGIO on the beam. Had we sailed 12 or 24 hours earlier we would probably have experienced the same horrible passage described to us in Eden by another boat that left Schouten Passage ahead of us – – 30 to 40 knots of wind with gusts to 60 and nasty seas. Ourselves, we had the uncomfortable irregular beam seas for most of the Strait, until the wind died as we neared Gabo Island. ADAGIO became a “salt layer cake”, but we looked forward to a fresh water wash down at the Eden wharf when we refueled.

MOFO: The Big Paella, Gilmour Ensemble

Today 19 January at MOFO began with The Big Paella cooking demo. Like our first experience with Moorilla cooking instruction, today’s session was taught by Vince Trim {that’s Vince on the right. On the left is The Source executive chef Phillipe Leban. Vince runs the Moorilla functions, wine bar and café}. In addition to top-drawer cooking expertise, Vince is an engaging and very effective coach. And yes, Vince’s Paella is every bit up to the Paella we enjoyed during our two November weeks in Barcelona. For good reason, The Source is a big deal in Australian cuisine – reviewed here.

For us the big musical winner today was the Gilmour Ensemble

{with composer Russell Gilmour on the left} – a Hobart post-classical quartet comprised of cello, violin, woodwinds, and xylophone. Surprisingly, the Gilmour Ensemble plays only the compositions of Russell Gilmour (Hobart Conservatory of Music). We just loaded up on their music at iTunes – do check it out.

ABC Classic FM says “Tasmania’s premiere new music ensemble”. That’s true. PS If you have time to only try one track we would recommend “Pink Chesterfield #2” from their first album Seven Things I’ll Do Tomorrow.

MOFO: Nick Tsiavos, Liminal

Well, MONA FOMA 2012 is just getting started, but today gave us goosebumps. Composer Nick Tsiavos performed Nick’s Liminal at St. Mary’s Cathedral. We and a couple hundred other lucky concert attendees were completely entranced. We were positioned front-row center, sandwiched between the ABC mikes and recording gear.

You could hear a pin drop in the cathedral until the standing ovation. 

The Liminal album can be purchased on iTunes at “Nick Tsiavos Liminal“, performed by the same stars that we enjoyed today:

  • Nick Tsiavos – contrabass, composer
  • Deborah Kayser – soprano
  • Adam Simmons – saxophones, wind instruments
  • Peter Neville – percussion
  • Eugene Ughetti – percussion

ABC Radio National recorded today’s performance of Liminal, so keep an eye on ABC Classic FM for a reprise of today’s concert.

For another perspective on Nick’s music, visit the Jouissance website for the previous album. The site features quality audio samples so you can “try before you buy” the album on iTunes. Performers Kayser, Neville and Tsiavos intersect the Liminal group artists. From the album blurb:

Jouissance was formed to explore the dialogues between ancient chant and contemporary culture. The musicians share a fascination with the mysticism, sensuality and rapture found in the works of Hildegard of Bingen , Peter Abelard and the Byzantine Rite .

MOFO: Gabriella Smart, Tuba Skinny and eMDee

Tuba Skinny
Click the thumbnail for photo gallery

The entire MONA FOMA 2012 (MOFO) program PDF is here – we’re using the iOS app and the PDF program on our iPads.

MOFO began for us with the Gabriella Smart afternoon workshop on the John Cage prepared piano Sonatas and Interludes on Thursday afternoon at the amazing Baha’I Centre auditorium. Gabriella is doing two candlelit midnight performances Friday and Saturday.

The Friday opening street party was launched by ‘high tech didgeridoo meets drum’ eMDee.

Then we had a far-too-short taste of the remarkable New Orleans sextet Tuba Skinny before we cycled home with the last of the sunlight. You can buy the latest Tuba Skinny release ‘Garbage Man’ via direct download here.


…launches this week in Hobart. Togatus posted a typically Walshian communication describing the festival, as follows:

“Woody Allen once said, ‘We should all be careful to confine our opinions to matters of which we are completely ignorant.’ Well he didn’t actually. I made that up. I’m thinking to myself, who am I to not follow Woody’s advice, even if he didn’t give it? Had Woody said what I said he said, he would have been following his own advice. He is, after all, ignorant of ignorance. I am, however, a Zen master of not knowing. That’s why I built a museum. I didn’t know it was hard. Actually it wasn’t. I didn’t know anything about art either. But I learned a bit. Now I know what I don’t know. Ignorance comes in many guises. Of these, the unknown unknowns remain mostly unknown to me. I don’t know much about music either. I don’t know what I don’t know. But Brian and his musical mates know what they don’t know and they want to know it. Hopefully, while they learn it, they’ll teach it to me. And you.”

— David Walsh

We just bought festival passes, so see you at MONA FOMA 2012.