Cetacea

Fri Nov 22 7:54 2019 NZDT
GPS: 16 14S 160 51E
Run: 92.9nm (168.1km)
Avg: 7.9knts
24hr: 188.9nm
Weather: SE wind 23 knts, sea 2.5m from SE, 10% cloud, SOG 6.5 knots, COG 275T, bar 1011

  Bumpy sea overnight, such that you really have to hold on.  Even so, I managed to get a couple cruise bruises.  A 600 foot cargo ship passed 1.5 miles in front of our bow last night.  It was headed to New Caledonia.    It kept me awake for at least 1.5 hours, just watching it on AIS. That pesky tropical depression is still expected to form into a possible tropical cyclone just northeast of the Solomons and head southeast.  We should be well out of its projected path now.

We are now officially about half way to our destination; 445 nmiles down, 455 nmiles to go. Arrival still estimated to be Monday am. More Later - G&T


Thu Nov 21 20:06 2019 NZDT
GPS: 16 14S 162 15E
Run: 85.8nm (155.3km)
Avg: 7.8knts
24hr: 188.1nm
Weather: SE wind 18 - 25 knts, sea 2.5m from SE, 20% cloud, SOG 7 knots, COG 275T, bar 1012

  Just learned that the amazing sunsets and sunrises are due to the fires burning in Australia, which is so sad.  Conditions today have gotten a bit testy with 2.5 m seas, short period (steep), which may last a day or so. Makes galley work not so fun and since we had to leave Port Vila so quickly after arriving there, I have very little pre-cooked for this passage.   I only have salad, broccoli casserole, bean burgers, and sloppy lentil Joes all made.  Tony is looking for a restaurant and dreaming of a steak! More history.  The Solomons became an independent nation in 1978.  Civil war broke out in 1999 between the people from Guadalcanal and Malaita, and the unrest continued through 2006.   New Zealand and Australia provided assistance to restore law and order, and since then it has been more stable.  Hopefully, there won't be any elections or any cause for civil unrest while we are there.  The Solomon people are 94% Melanesian, 4% Polynesian, and 2% Asians, along with Aussie and Kiwi expats.  The tourist industry is mainly focused on the excellent diving and underwater world, created in part by all the WWII wrecks.

More Later - G&T


Thu Nov 21 9:09 2019 NZDT
GPS: 16 23S 163 32E
Run: 95.5nm (172.9km)
Avg: 7.5knts
24hr: 179.1nm
Weather: SE wind 18 knts, sea 1.5m from SE, 0% cloud, SOG 7 knots, COG 285T, bar 1011

  Day 3.  We have had some of the most amazing sunsets and sunrises.  Last night, almost the entire sky turned bright orange.  So far, our conditions have been great; sunny skies, partial moon lit nights, no squalls, and a nice sea state.  No complaints here!  And, so far, we have made good progress at 161 nm/day.  We usually plan on 150 nm/day, and hope for 160+.  The passage from Port Vila, Vanuatu to Noro, New Georgia, Solomons is 985 nm total.  We have 300 down and 685 to go.  At this rate, we should arrive Noro by mid day Monday  +/- 6 hours (Sunday in US).  More Later - G&T


Wed Nov 20 20:21 2019 NZDT
GPS: 16 38S 164 57E
Run: 99.2nm (179.6km)
Avg: 8.1knts
24hr: 194.4nm
Weather: SE wind 17 knts, sea 1.5m from SE, 0% cloud, SOG 7 knots, COG 280T, bar 1011

  Today was a beautiful day at sea with a sunny sky.  The sea was a little bigger today, but the wave period is about 8 seconds (as opposed to 5-6 seconds yesterday) making it much more comfortable on board.  We have not seen any boats, just a few sea birds.

Got our sea legs back and got in some naps today.  Been reading about the Solomon Islands.  There are a dozen or so main islands and over 1,000 islands if you count all the small islands and islets.  They were first inhabited in 4000 BC by the Melanesian and Polynesian people. They were first discovered by the Spanish in 1595, but colonization did not begin until the late 1700s.  In 1893, they became a British protectorate.  In WWII, the Japanese took over parts of teh Solomons, including Guadalcanal and the New Georgia Sound (The Slot), where one of the fiercest battles took place with 67 war ships sunk.  Google "John F Kennedy, WWII PT Boat 109" for a good story.

More Later - G&T


Wed Nov 20 8:06 2019 NZDT
GPS: 16 56S 166 25E
Run: 93.8nm (169.8km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 161.4nm
Weather: SE wind 17 knts, sea 1.5m from SE, 30% cloud, SOG 6.5 knots, COG 280T, bar 1011

  Last night was uneventful. Just a bit rolly with short period seas.  Kept one engine on to hold our course and speed steady as we don't want to dawdle on this passage.  Beautiful sunrise this morning.  More Later - G&T


Tue Nov 19 18:09 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 33S 167 41E
Run: 43.9nm (79.5km)
Avg: 5knts
24hr: 119.7nm
Weather: SE wind 17 knts, sea 1m from SE 30% cloud, SOG 6.7 knots, COG 300T, bar 1011

  Day 1 has been a really nice down-wind sail. Kept one engine on until the wind filled in and hope to turn it off very soon.  Not much to report; boring is good.

More Later - G&T


Tue Nov 19 9:21 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 45S 168 19E
Weather: SE wind 5 knts, 50% cloud, bar 1013

  We arrived in Vanuatu on Friday and it was just after 5 pm, so we had to wait to Saturday to clear in with customs.But, we had to finish clearing in with Immigration and Bio on Monday.Got to have a couple days here catching up with our friends Ken & Beth, having dinners out, and re-provisioning.  We really like Vanuatu and look forward to coming back next year.

Unfortunately, with that pesky cyclone brewing up and a good weather window to get to the Solomons right now, we decided to leave.So, we set an all-time record yesterday, as we finished clearing into Vanuatu and cleared out of Vanuatu the same day!  They allow 24 hours before we have to be out of the country, so we are leaving today ~10am.  Should be a 6 day sail for us, arriving the Solomons on Monday Nov 25 (Sunday in US).  We have a beautiful day to start the passage.

More Later - G&T


Fri Nov 15 20:15 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 45S 168 19E
Run: 86.9nm (157.3km)
Avg: 6.7knts
24hr: 159.8nm
Weather: No wind, no sea, no speed, no cloud, bar 1014

On a mooring ball in the Port Vila anchorage. We finally did get to sail today by about noon, although we kept engines on to make sure we got in before dark. Got in at 5:15pm, before sunset.  Missed all the squalls that surrounded us since noon today, although we really wanted to have just one to wash the boat off!  There was a bird that decided to make a real mess of the side of our boat and from the looks of it, it was a very large bird.  Our friends Ken & Beth played welcoming committee here and helped us get onto a mooring ball.  We can't clear in until tomorrow, so we are stuck on the boat tonight, which is fine because we need to catch up on some sleep.


All in all, it was a good passage, with not as much sailing as preferred, but completely missed all the rain storms and squalls along the way.  Most of it was pretty relaxing with no worries about the weather or the boat.  Yeah Cetacea! AGOB (All Great on Board!)Thanks for all the well wishes along the way! More Later - G&T


Fri Nov 15 7:12 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 51S 169 38E
Run: 89.9nm (162.7km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 170.6nm
Weather: ESE wind 2 -5 knts, sea 1 meter swell, SOG 6.5 knots under engine, COG 270T, 5% cloud, bar 1013

Another beautiful night at sea, with a full moon, long period swell, and gentle breeze, although not enough wind to sail. But, that is about to change, as there is a trade wind surge coming and we can see the cloud build up to the south and southeast of us.  So, we should be sailing soon.

About 85 miles to go at 1800 UTC. We now expect to arrive Port Vila by about 6pm. AGOB.  More Later - G&T


Thu Nov 14 18:33 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 52S 171 00E
Run: 103.1nm (186.6km)
Avg: 8.8knts
24hr: 212.4nm
Weather: ESE wind 7-10 knts, sea 1.5 meter swell, SOG 6.75 knots under engine, COG 270T, 5% cloud, bar 1014

Beautiful day at sea, with a sunny sky, long period swell, and gentle breeze, although not enough wind to sail. Looking at the weather forcaste for tomorrow, we decided to put out 2 flippers to give the whale an extra 1 knot of speed, to arrive Port Vila hopefully by about 8pm.

So, where are we going?  The country of Vanuatu (pop 250,000) is a chain of 13 main islands and about 70 smaller islands, located 550 miles west of Fiji and 1,000 miles east of Australia.  Port Vila, Efate, is the capital with 45,000 people.  And, why are we going here?  We have to get Cetacea out of the cyclone belt.  We chose to go to the Solomon Islands for the cyclone season (Nov - April) and will leave Cetacea there and fly home for 3 months. So, Vanuatu is on the way to the Solomons, and we had planned to catch up with our good friends on Eagles Wings who are in Port Vila now.  Cruising plans often change, and planned rendezvous often fail, so this will be special! About 175 miles to go.  AGOB  More Later - G&T


Thu Nov 14 6:54 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 52S 172 34E
Run: 82.3nm (149km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 148.5nm
Weather: SE wind 8-10 knts, sea 1.5 meter swell, SOG 5.5 knots under engine, COG 270T, 0% cloud, bar 1013

We had a bright red sunset while we ate dinner - Indian dahl, rice and nan bread.  Red sky at night; sailors delight - we hope! Overnight we lost our wind and this big fat whale needed to put out a flipper to continue on our path.  But, what a beautiful night at sea with a full moon. About 240 miles to go.  AGOB  More Later - G&T


Wed Nov 13 17:36 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 49S 173 49E
Run: 78nm (141.2km)
Avg: 8.3knts
24hr: 200.2nm
Weather: SE wind 19 knts, sea 2.1 meters from the south, SOG 6.8 knots, COG 270T, 10% cloud, bar 1013

Great day sailing!  The sea got bigger, but it became more organized and less steep (now, 9 or 10 seconds), so it is much more comfortable on board.  Got in some good naps today.  Wind is starting to decrease and become more ESE, so we will likely fall below our rumb line.  Oh no, what will Tony, Mr. Rumb Line, do? Looking forward to another moonlit night.  AGOB.  More Later G&T


Wed Nov 13 8:15 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 46S 175 00E
Run: 156.9nm (284km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 166.3nm
Weather: SE wind 23 knts, sea 1.7 from the south, SOG 6.5 knots, COG 270, 30% cloud, bar 1013

Started out Tues with SE wind 20 knots, sea 1.5 meters from the S, about 8 sec, sunny above, black clouds in front of us, averaging 6.5 knots.  In the afternoon, we went through the trough with rain storms to the north and south of us, but we only got sprinkled on once and did not hit any squalls.  By sunset, we had wind 24 knots, and seas 1.7 meters, on our beam (not very comfortable).  By 10 pm, the clouds were completely gone and the full moon was shining bright.  Except for the uncomfortable sea, it was a glorious night! This morning is a nice sunny day. About 400 miles to go. AGOB (All good on board).  More Later G&T


Wed Nov 13 8:15 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 46S 175 00E
Weather: SE wind 23 knts, sea 1.7 from the south, SOG 6.5 knots, COG 270, 30% cloud, bar 1013

Started out Tues with SE wind 20 knots, sea 1.5 meters from the S, about 8 sec, sunny above, black clouds in front of us, averaging 6.5 knots.  In the afternoon, we went through the trough with rain storms to the north and south of us, but we only got sprinkled on once and did not hit any squalls.  By sunset, we had wind 24 knots, and seas 1.7 meters, on our beam (not very comfortable).  By 10 pm, the clouds were completely gone and the full moon was shining bright.  Except for the uncomfortable sea, it was a glorious night! This morning is a nice sunny day.  AGOB (All good on board).  More Later G&T


Tue Nov 12 9:36 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 46S 177 23E
Run: 1.1nm (2km)
Weather: No wind, 100% cloud, bar 1013

Just cleared out with Customs and paid the marina bill.  Getting ready to throw off the dock lines and head for Vanuatu.  Expect a 3.5 day sail.  We have loved our time in Fiji!  Later G&T


Mon Nov 11 7:06 2019 NZDT
GPS: 17 46S 177 22E
Run: 145.5nm (263.4km)
Weather: light variable wind, 50% clouds, Bar1012

We finally have what looks like a good weather window and plan to leave tomorrow (Tuesday) to sail from Port Denarau, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu.  It should take us a little less than 4 days, arriving on Saturday morning.  We sure have enjoyed Fiji and all our new friends we've made this year.  We are looking forward to seeing our friends, Ken and Beth, on Eagles Wings in Port Vila.


More Later, G&T


Mon Jun 24 12:48 2019 NZST
GPS: 16 47S 179 19E
Weather: absolutely beautiful! nice breeze, flat anchorage, sunny day, can't get any better!

  Yesterday and last night was some of the best sailing we've ever had!  Averaging up to 7.5 knots, frequently hitting over 8 and 9 knots at times, with Cetacea loving it!  Still an almost full moon.  We arrived in Savusavu at 9:30am and are still waiting for customs, immigration, and biosecurity to come clear us in.  Then, it will be time for that traditional "anchor beer". Yeah!  More later - G&T


Mon Jun 24 12:48 2019 NZST
GPS: 16 47S 179 19E
Run: 185.2nm (335.2km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 149.2nm
Weather: absolutely beautiful! nice breeze, flat anchorage, sunny day, can't get any better!

  Yesterday and last night was some of the best sailing we've ever had!  Averaging up to 7.5 knots, frequently hitting over 8 and 9 knots at times, with Cetacea loving it!  Still an almost full moon.  Cetacea passed her sea trial with flying colors - nothing broken after sailing 1,297 nm, which might be a record for us! We arrived in Savusavu at 9:30am and are still waiting for customs, immigration, and biosecurity to come clear us in.  Then, it will be time for that traditional "anchor beer". Yeah!  More later - G&T


Sun Jun 23 7:00 2019 NZST
GPS: 19 22S 179 56W
Run: 164.2nm (297.2km)
Avg: 7.3knts
24hr: 174.8nm
Weather: wind 12-16 knots ENE, sea 1.5 meters E, speed 5.5 knots, heading 350T, cloud 10%, Bar 1020.5

Yesterday was a bit smoother ride and last night was awesome!  The sea settled down, we had wind 12-18 knots, and an almost full moon all night.  It really doesn't get any better!  What a sea trial!  We had "Where II" 3 miles in front and "Scoots" 6 miles behind us all night. This morning, we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise and islands in front of us!  Land Ho!  We're officially now in the tropics.

Tony got our water maker fixed, which turned out to be bad quality filters.  All good on board. We expect to arrive in Savusavu ~8am Monday.

G&T


Sat Jun 22 8:27 2019 NZST
GPS: 21 39S 179 14W
Run: 127.3nm (230.4km)
Avg: 2.6knts
24hr: 63.3nm
Weather: wind 18 to 24 knots ENE, sea 2+meters E, speed 6.5 knots, heading 356T, cloud 10%, Bar 1021

Yesterday and last night were a bit bumpy out here, but not too bad, and the moon was once again wonderful.  We are making good progress toward Savusavu.  Rewa and Scoots are just 10 to 20 miles behind us, as we left 5 hours earlier than they did.  Our water maker seems to be acting up, so Tony is working on that now.  All good on board.

G&T


Thu Jun 20 8:12 2019 NZST
GPS: 23 28S 178 54W
Run: 16.4nm (29.7km)
Weather: wind 14 ESE, cloud 40%, Bar 1023, little chop but no waves

Anchored in North Minerva Reef.  We arrived at 8am yesterday, cleaned the salt off the boat, had a little breakfast, and took a big nap.  Got up in the afternoon and the water was clear as glass because it was low tide and the waves don't come over the reef at low tide unless there are really rough seas.  We are in 50 feet of water and could clearly see the bottom.  This is an incredible place in the middle of the ocean! Last night we had our "fleet" radio net group (Rewa, Scoots, and Gone with the Wind) over for dinner.  Rewa had caught a huge fish, so we had a great fish dinner compliments of Rewa. The full moon came up for a beautiful night and we had a great party.

Today, we plan to go exploring on the reef.  More later - G&T


Wed Jun 19 6:42 2019 NZST
GPS: 23 38S 179 05W
Run: 139.3nm (252.1km)
Avg: 5.8knts
24hr: 139.3nm
Weather: wind 6 knots variable, motorsailing 5.5 knots, heading 080T, sea 1 meter swell, 10% cloud, Bar 1023

Yesterday we had 50-60 dolphin all around us for over an hour.  They were jumping clear out of the water and doing belly flops, especially the juvies, and they were slapping their tails, possibly a feeding behavior.  They were beautiful grey/light grey, with a whitish belly and a little white nose. They were about the size of spinner dolphins, but did not look like spinners.  I have check all my cetacean books and can not identify them, so we decided we've found a new dolphin species! Last night was another beautiful night with a full moon, gentle breeze and sea.  We should be entering North Minerva Reef at 8 am today and looking forward to it!  More Later - G&T


Tue Jun 18 6:42 2019 NZST
GPS: 25 25S 179 53E
Run: 180.6nm (326.9km)
Avg: 7.6knts
24hr: 182.9nm
Weather: wind 11 knots E, speed 6 knots, heading 3T, sea 1 meter swell, 10% cloud, Bar 1024

  Yesterday was another pretty day and we had a nice salmon, rice and bok choy lunch for Father's Day.  Last night was another beautiful night of motorsailing under a full moon, with 12-16 knots breeze and a gentle swell.  Cetacea is having a good time on her migration to warmer climate.  We've been able to use our SSB radio and check in with our fleet; Scoots, Rewa & Gone with the Wind.  Looking forward to hearing GH Radio this morning.

G&T


Mon Jun 17 7:00 2019 NZST
GPS: 27 57S 179 10E
Run: 311.6nm (564km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156.9nm
Weather: wind 8 to 12 knots S, speed 6.5 knots, heading 40T, sea 1 m swell, 85% cloud, Bar 1024

We sailed yesterday until the wind died down more and then the whale put out a flipper to continue migration speed.  Last night was an easy ride with a beautiful moon shining through the clouds.  Today is starting off another grey cloudy day, but no stormy weather in sight.    Will decide on whether to stop in Minerva Reef tomorrow morning.  More later.

G&T


Sun Jun 16 7:06 2019 NZST
Weather: wind variable 10 to 22 knts S, sea 1.5 meter NE, cloud 85%, Bar 1021

We had a nice day sailing yesterday with sunny skies, 20 to 25 knts WSW wind, reefed and averaging 7.5 knts.  Reefed down more overnight, winds 15 to 25 knts, and a couple showers with brief 30 knts wind.  At midnight, we saw a UFV (unidentified Foreign Vessel) on our AIS, which then magically disappeared, and we suspect some kind of fishing vessel.

The whale continues to behave nicely.  Our refit solved the problem of banging anchors and squeaking mast (thanks Steve!). The other very noticeable difference is that the boat is so quiet inside.  And, now we have a great backrest on our pilot house berth (thanks Steve & Kim!). The last 2 nights we've enjoyed some of our smoked kingfish (thanks Tim!) with cream cheese recipe (thanks Dave!).

Today is a grey day which we hope will burn off.  Wind has backed around to the S as expected, and will turn more to the SW.  We are headed for Minerva, but may go straight to Fiji depending on weather.  All good on board.

Gail & Tony


Sat Jun 15 7:21 2019 NZST
GPS: 32 19S 177 52E
Run: 184nm (333km)
Avg: 7.6knts
24hr: 183.2nm
Weather: wind 25 - 30 knts WSW, sea 3+ meter NE, cloud 60%, 1030 Bar

We had squalls off and on all night with gusts to 37 knots, but a nice moon.  We are reefed down and sailing at 7 knots.  Cetacea has behaved like the good whale she is!  All good on board.

Gail & Tony


Fri Jun 14 7:15 2019 NZST
GPS: 34 40S 176 22E
Run: 134.2nm (242.9km)
Avg: 3knts
24hr: 72.9nm
Weather: light variable wind, 1.5 m swell, no clouds, Bar1029.9

We had a nice sunny day to start our passage to Minerva Reef, although no wind.  Overnight wind picked up to 10-16 NW with scattered showers, but we only got sprinkled on a couple times. Looks like another sunny day with no wind starting out.  All good on board.

Gail & Tony


Wed Jun 12 11:03 2019 NZST
GPS: 35 50S 174 28E
Run: 11.7nm (21.2km)
Avg: 12.8knts
24hr: 306.2nm
Weather: Sunny, calm

We are clearing out today, heading north to Fiji, by way of Minerva Reef, weather permitting.  Heading for warmer weather!  


Wed Jun 12 10:08 2019 NZST
GPS: 35 43(592)S 174 19(905)E
Run: 8.7nm (15.7km)
Weather: Sunny, calm

Today we are leaving Riverside Drive Marina and Whangarei after 2.5 years. We had a great experience with our yacht refit, especially Steve Eichler and all the other wonderful people who worked on Cetacea. We will miss all the friends we've made here, but we'll be back in 1.5 years, weather permitting :) Gail & Tony


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