Cleared in this morning at Marsden and came up the river this afternoon to Riverside Marina. So great to see so many familiar faces.
Arrived at the Q dock at Marsden at sunset this evening. Wonderful to be back in NZ!
Another great sailing day for a good chunk of yesterday. We slowed down in the evening as the wind shifted to the NW. Caught a nice tuna last evening. Went through thunderstorms this morning and hove to for about an hour. Close lightning strike knocked the lights out on our instruments but they came back after a bit. See some blue sky poking through to the west but also see some squall cells on the radar. Motorsailing now.
Had great sailing conditions over the past day. Some squalls with wind up to 28 knots, but no significant rain.
Had some beautiful sailing yesterday in light winds. We put a fishing line out but no luck. Wind picked up a bit after midnight and there are a few small squalls around (but no lightning).
Got underway again early yesterday evening. Motorsailed overnight as the wind went light and was shifty in sporadic squalls. Wind shifted around to the WSW this morning and we're sailing again. Beautiful conditions for the moment.
Had very nice sailing yesterday and into this morning. Then a big thunderstorm rolled through an hour ago and we have been hove to since then. Did not get a lightning strike, but it was flashing all around. Put the nav computer in the oven and some other instruments in a faraday box in the pilothouse. Had wind up to 26 knots as squalls approached.
Left New Cal for New Zealand late yesterday morning and are leisurely making our way ESE. We are trying to position ourselves further north than our rhumb line in order to weather a front expected tomorrow. We hope to make the turn south to New Zealand tomorrow evening. Conditions at the start were very light and we motored for the first 12 hours. But we're sailing now, though ia bit throttled as we don't want to get too far east before we make the turn. Gorgeous conditions at the moment, but we expect that to change tommorrow afternoon.
Checked out for passage to New Zealand yesterday. Moved to Port Koube on the east side of Ouen Island today to wait until several fronts move through before leaving for NZ on Wednesday. Got hit by a nasty squall on our final approach to the anchorage. Looks like this will be a great place to be in the expected westerlies.
Arrived back in Noumea late this morning. Saw tons of bait balls as we came through the lagoon. Now anchored in Orphelinat Bay near Port du Sud. Hoping to find a window to NZ in the next few weeks.
Starting the move back to Noumea to look for a weather window to NZ. Took advantage of the early afternoon rising tide to move to Baie Uie.
After five wonderful days of diving and snorkeling on the reefs near Kouare Island, we sailed to Bay of Prony, as we are expecting stronger winds over the next few days.
Very pleasant motor sail down to Kouare Island in the Southern Lagoon. Beautiful spot in these settled conditions. We checked out a few potential dive sites this afternoon and hope to dive tomorrow.
Arrived at Mato Island early this afternoon. This place is really well protected and calm. We plan to stay overnight before moving to some islands further south.
Moved from Port du Sud to Baie des Citrons this morning when the wind was light for getting off the dock. We plan to head to the southern lagoon tomorrow, when wind should be less.
Moved to Port du Sud dock for a few days.
Had a nice motor sail to Noumea early this afternoon. Anchored in tight quarters with lots of other boats. Looking forward to provisioning and sampling some French food.
Arrived at Anse Magic in the Bay of Prony late this morning. Beautiful spot and very protected.
Left Beautemps-Beaupre yesterday afternoon and are on our way to the New Cal mainland. We had light winds on the nose and are motoring. Caught a nice mahi mahi just before sundown last night. Conditions very benign so far but decided to wait out the higher winds we're expecting in a bay on the mainland. Winds started to pick up a bit overnight but are still on the nose.
Motored 25 miles to Beautemps-Beaupre atoll earlier today. Very beautiful place. Hundreds of terns swarming around. The birds are still active even at 8 pm at night. Looking forward to exploring in the water tomorrow. Water is quite a bit warmer here than at Ouvea or Lifo. Anchorage very small and shallow (5 meters). But should be fine in these calm conditions.
We moved down the coast to the Mouli anchorage a few days ago and have been doing some interesting diving on the nearby reefs. We're headed out to Beautemps-Beaupre for a few days before heading back here as the winds start to build.
Sailed to Oeuva today and arrived late in the afternoon. We hope to do some diving while we are here. Sky was very overcast for the trip, but didn't get any rain.
Arrived at the Lifou anchorage earlier this morning. Huge anchoring area, which is a good thing as there are about 25 boats in the Loyalties Rally. Looks like a beautiful place.
Arrived off Lifou overnight and are hove to. Very peaceful here in the lee of the island. Beautiful full moon.
On our way to Lifou Island in New Caledonia. We joined the Down Under Rally to the Loyalties so we can check in at Lifou. We're looking forward to exploring the Loyalties.
Arrived back in Port Vila this morning.
Sailed from Epi to Havannah Harbor today in boisterous conditions. Saw up to 26 knots of wind and a few brief showers. Now anchored in very calm Havannah Harbor. Heading to Port Vila tomorrow
Motored into headwinds to Revolieu Bay on Epi today. Revolieu Bay is a bit rolly. We'll see how it goes tonight.
After a wonderful week of diving on Dixon Reef and meeting the welcoming locals of Tavendrua, we moved down the coast to Southwest Bay. We're day-hopping back to Port Vila. The SW Bay anchorage is extremely protected from the SE trades.
Sailed overnight from Mele Bay on Efate to Malakula. Very nice sail. Winds became very shifty as we sailed up the west side of the Malakula. A few showers. Anchored in very serene spot near Dixon Reef.
Moved to Mele anchorage today to get our Nitrox certification at the local dive shop. Not rolly at all (amazingly), but very smokey from burning of the fields nearby.
We Were jostled by a 6.1 magnitude earthquake this morning (at about 8:13 am local time) while we were on our boat on a mooring here in Port Vila Harbor. We thought we were being hit by something large (guess we were thinking about that fishing boat in Suva Harbor) or that we were dragging onto a reef
Arrived in Port Vila this morning (local time). Great to be back in Vanuatu.
Getting close to Port Vila. Should arrive today. Saw a very strange cloud streak in the sky to the east just after sunrise yesterday. The streak started just above the eastern horizon and continued a good ways up in a straight line, angled a little to the south from straight up. Then the streak just ended. Never saw the streak actually being made -- just saw it sitting there, and then drifting off to the SE. In case you think we're bonkers, we have a picture to prove it! Began to use the autopilot again yesterday to test out the effect of the new wiring. Autopilot brain now getting adequate input voltage, but motor still running hot and the voltage levels provided by the brain to the motor and solenoid look strange. Will have investigate more when we are in port. At least we have not received any more Rudder Response failures.
Sailing nicely in light wind using Monitor windvane. If all goes well we should make it to Port Vila tomorrow. Spotted glow from the volcano at Tanna off in the distance (saw it through night vision scope). Small rain squalls in the area yesterday, but none came over our heads. Not a drop of rain so far on this passage. Ken finished the wiring project for the autopilot last evening and we will test it out today.
Finally sailing again! Motorsailed for most of the day but shut the engine off last night as the wind started to pick up. Super sailing conditions with very slight seas. Last evening, we sailed by Hunter Island, a giant volcanic rock south of Vanuatu. The night sky was incredible last night. Sliver of a moon with Venus early in the evening and then later on two shooting stars shot across the sky in rapid succession. Using windvane steering now so autopilot is getting a very needed rest. And a milestone was reached last night when Ken actually did some work (swaging wires for the autopilot project) during his night watch. This noteworthy event was made possible by the new watch schedule we started using last year (8 hrs on, 8 hrs off). We both feel so much more alert and rested than with our old schedule (4 hrs on, 4 hrs off). Hope to install new wiring for autopilot today.
Another beautiful day of motoring. The southern cross is disappearing below the horizon (just the last two stars of the tail are still poking up). We put out a scrap of sail last evening to catch a few whiffs of breeze. Wind is supposed to increase a bit today which will be a nice change. We?ve had no further failures on the autopilot after the install of the new motor. But we did discover a wiring problem yesterday during our tests and Ken hopes to fix that today (at least a temporary fix). Also plan to make an adjustment to the autopilot hydraulic pump but that may have to wait until we are in port. We?re now headed for Port Vila.
Motoring in light winds. Installed new motor for autopilot but new motor still running hot. Planning more tests today. Very calm conditions, blue sky. Water temp steadily increasing every day. Saw beautiful sunset with crescent moon last evening. Looks like we will be in good shape with fuel so upped our motoring speed.
Motoring with all sails down. We had an autopilot failure this evening but are able to use the autopilot to control the rudder directly (which puts less strain on the autopilot motor). Rudder steering is requiring constant monitoring of the course, but at least we can do adjustments using the control head inside the pilothouse, as opposed to hand steering out in the cockpit. The benign conditions (light wind and seas) are very helpful right now. (Never thought we?d be glad for no wind!) Ken will tackle repairs in the morning. The failure happened just as we were putting out fishing lines, so had to abort fishing until autopilot healed.
Motorsailing. Looke like we will be motoring for the foreseable future, as we don't see any good sailing wind in the forecasts. Hoping to get north of that low due next week over Vanuatu. But also need to conserve fuel given all of the expected motoring, so we're running the engine at lower RPMs than normal. Getting a little boost from the southerly wind but don't expect that to last. Pleasant temps and didn't need a jacket yesterday when the sun was out. Found a squid stuck to mainsail.
Left this afternoon from Marsden. Wind was 15-20 when we left and seas were not bad (1-2 meters). We were chased by a squall after we exited Marsden, but it squeaked by behind us, so we didn't get any rain. Winds built a bit later in the afternoon and the most we saw was about 26 knots for a brief period later in the evening. Winds gradually dropping overnight. Hope to delay motoring as long as possible. We are sailing east of the rhumb line to get a better angle on the wind. Also, that will put is in a better position to come back west once the trades build in. No moon out, but lots of stars.
Went down the river this morning to Marsden Cove. Planning to leave this afternoon for Vanuatu.
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