And so ends the journey. Tied to the dock at Port of Sidney Marina.
Hard to believe but we are anchored downtown Victoria in front of the Empress Hotel. The kids are already ashore for a sleepover with their cousins and we are heading ashore for a party with my former workmates. Met our neighbour in the marina who has recently finished another solo, non-stop passage to now be the oldest person to do so.
Anchored for the night off Sidney. Intention is to head towards Victoria in the morning. We were going to anchor off Sidney Spit but the the gunshots confirmed that the dear hunting is still ongoing.
Moved over to the anchorage in False Creek. A busy place and a bit surreal with all the tall buildings and bright lights.
Fluenta and crew are in the big city ! On the dock at HMCS DISCOVERY for a few days and then likely to anchor in False Creek.
Anchored overnight of Sechelt. Fairly scenic with totem poles along the beach although there is a massive gravel loading facility 700 ft away that supports one of the largest gravel facilities in Canada.
Alongside HMCS QUADRA to attend Remembrance Day with 19 Wing Comox and to catch up with old friends.
An uneventful transit of Seymour Narrows and a nice re-provision and visit with old and new friends in Campbell Harbour.
No bears or cougars sighted at Port Neville. Good progress today as the forecast SE 25-30 kt winds were closer to 5 kt with a bit 15 kt gusts mixed in. Passed through rapids with interesting names like "Whirlpool Rapids" with no drama. Noticeable increase in boat traffic as we get south. Intention is to go through Seymour Narrows tomorrow morning (the rapids can have currents up 17 kts but not surprisingly we intend to go on slack).
Stopped for the night at what is left of the free government dock at Port Neville. Interesting place that was settled in the late 1800's and still has two houses but neither seem to be occupied. The guidebook says to be careful of cougars and bears and that the last cougar attack on the caretaker was thwarted by a boater with a shotgun. We carry a lot of safety equipment on Fluenta but no shotguns ! Slow day yesterday in Johnstone Strait with winds on the nose over 20kts and accompanying waves,
A short but interesting trip to Alert Bay. Spent most of the day at the U'mista Cultural Centre (and the world's tallest totem pole) plus a few boat projects and school. Intend to move further south if the weather permits tomorrow.
Fluenta and crew are across Queen Charlotte Sound and anchored off Sointula near Vancouver Island after an overnight sail from Haida Gwaii.
The highlight of our time in Haida Gwaii was today's visit to SGang Gwaay Island with a hike through the old growth rain forecast to see the the remains of the LInagaay village. It represents one of the best examples of a traditional Northwest Coast First Nations village site. In the season there is a Haida watchman to provide a tour and and control access (only 12 people are allowed ashore at a time so boats sometime need to wait before than can land their crews) but as we are rather "out of season" - nobody else is foolish enough to visit in November - we had the place to ourselves (in fact according to the rangers we are the only people in the 3400 km2 region). Appropriately, the island was enshrouded in mist and fog all day.
Sailed and motored down to Rose Harbour, an ex-whaling station, in preparation for heading to SGang Gwaay tomorrow.
Quite a Halloween for Fluenta and crew. Motored close to the islands in the mist and fog to avoid the south winds. Paused for awhile to watch a grey whale feeding as we passed the site of the 1985 protests that ultimately lead to the creation of Gwaii Haanas Park. We anchored off Gandll K'in Gwaay.yaay (or Hotspring Island) for a trip ashore for a refreshing brief swim (11C water temp, 10C air temp) and a longer soak in the natural hot springs. The island is home to the rare Keens long-eared bats but none were seen (it is one of two known maternity colonies for the species). A brief treasure hunt on the beach in lieu of trick-or-treating (we are the only people in the entire Gwaii Haanas Park so trick or treating would be a brief exercise) and now a pumpkin is being carved.
We are into Gwaii Haanas Park and anchored for the night in Thurston Bay. According to the park staff we are the only boat in the whole park area.
Anchored off the Haida Heritage Centre in Haida Gwaii. We tied up to the dock in Queen Charlotte for a brief stop but decided they were asking too much money for transient moorage. A nice overnight sail from Prince Rupert broad reaching and then close hauled. A productive stay in Prince Rupert despite the storm force winds (and hurricane force outside the harbour) and rain. The manager at the Yacht Club I think wins the prize for the most helpful yacht club manager we have ever met.
Fluenta and crew are in Canada ! We tied up at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club after a bouncy trip from Port Tongass. We had debated waiting for better weather as the US forecasts, the Canadian forecasts and the Gribs all differed but after being up since 0400 on anchor watch it was time go. We blasted across the border as the wind was approaching 30 kts but overall a good short passage.
A bouncy, wet motorboat trip to Port Tongass (where there is no port) as a staging point to go to Prince Rupert.
Alongside in Ketchikan to wait out some weather and then clear out of the US of A.
A delightful stop in Red Bay with our new friends - SV Denali Rose - who epitomize Alaska hospitality. After a bouncy wet motorboat trip to windward we are now pulled over to the side of road, so to speak, in Ratz Harbour for the night. Will continue on early tomorrow towards Ketchikan.
Tucked safely into Red Bay to wait out the latest gale. Almost 10:1 scope of chain in dense mud so should be secure. Heater repairs in progress.
Successfully negotiated Rocky Pass, 16 nm of narrow twisty channels, and now anchored outside Red Bay. On a favourable tide tomorrow morning we will go into Red Bay with Denali Rose to wait out this next gale.
Pulled over to the side of the road on Ketu Strait in preparation for going through "The Summit" and "Devil's Elbow" tomorrow. Great stay at Warm Spring Bay. As usual in our visits in Alaska we wanted to stay longer ! There were natural hot springs a short hike away and closer to the dock they have piped hot water to private baths near the 100' waterfall. We met some of the caretakers, all welcoming and interesting people, and shared dock space with the fisherman also weathered in. One of the fishing boats gave us a whole halibut so the freezer is full again.
Fluenta is on a free dock at Warm Springs Bay in the sun with a light fog in the hills and some fresh snow on the mountain tops. Being in Alaska you never know what wildlife you will see but seeing two deer swimming across the channel with humpbacks performing in the background at sunset was kind of nice. I though the deer were a big log at first but then I realised that the log had four ears which was a bit odd. Wet and windy weather expected starting tonight so a nice place - with natural hot springs - to hunker down and catch up on boat projects and school.
Fluenta is back in Juneau to restock and pick up some boat parts before heading further south. Great trip to Tracey Arm and back. A bit chilly with temps down to 2C and sea temps down to 5.2C but clear skies. Saw lots and lots of humpback whales - up to 14 at once by some counts - putting on a show for us on the way back.
As far as we could get through the ice towards South Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm. After a very Alaskan day (repairing damage from where a bald eagle landed, swimming in 10C water to clean the shag carpet that had grown on the hull, etc) we sailed overnight with hours of amazing northern lights to entertain us and then a sunrise entry over Tracy Arm Bar. Spectacular trip up Tracy Arm with glistening cliffs and white and blue ice. Belated 16th birthday party for Victoria as we drifted through the ice in the sunshine.
Left Glacier Bay for an wet overnight passage to Auke Bay. Fluenta will likely be on the dock here at Statter Harbor for a few weeks. It will be the longest time on a dock with shore power since Mexico in 2014.
Anchored in front of Reid Glacier with the anchorage to ourselves as has been the norm these last few months. A quiet morning catching up on school and maintenance and the teenagers and I did a scramble/hike up one of the near ridges followed by a family campfire on the beach.
Fluenta was in a lot of photos today ! Anchored for the day front row at Margerie Glacier as the ice was open enough to get to a spot where the depth went from 400 to 30 feet. Two cruise ships (1080 to 950 feet long) and two tour boats (170 to 200 feet long) came along to sightsee as well so Fluenta will part of their photos too. Luckily with the height and width of the glacier we were not blocking much of their view.
Fluenta was 1.0 nm from Canada ! Left Sandy Cove at 0600 this morning to motor up to see Margerie and Grand Pacific Glacier. The wind was gusty from the north so we did not feel secure anchoring in Tarr Inlet so one adult loitered in Fluenta while kids and the other adult checked out the glacier. Margerie Glacier put on quite a show with massive chunks of ice collapsing into the water from 200' with thunderous splashes. Lots of ice in the water for the last two miles to the glacier. We arrived after the two massive cruise ships so we had it to ourselves for most of the time and then only later with one megayacht. Heading to Reid Inlet to anchor for the night.
Fluenta is out of the Gulf of Alaska (since arriving in the Aleutians we have been told we should be across the Gulf before Sep so we were grateful it was incredibly calm) and into South East Alaska. Nice calm passage last night with a bit of light air sailing from all angles and then motoring in dead calm with the northern lights on display. At one point we were gybing angles to keep the boat moving and we were pointing towards French Polynesia but decided it was too early to head back yet (only 4600 nm way). We stopped at Bartlett Cove to clear into Glacier Bay (it is a National Park), and used their internet to catch up on some admin/logistic dramas, and motored in the glassy calm to Sandy Cove while the humpbacks and sea lions performed. Very beautiful but a bit of a shock after the more remote parts of Alaska. We have been in Glacier Bay for an afternoon and have seen two 980' cruise ships, multiple tour boats and two megayachts.
Moved up Lituya Fjord to see the effects of the 1958 1,720 foot wave and anchored where Gilbert and Crillion Inlets are supposed to be. Both inlets have disappeared and there are mud flats about 7 ft above chart datum 1.3 miles out from where the beach is supposed to be and Crillion Glacier is 0.9 nm further towards the sea than the charts show (we have Navionics and NOAA charts). Impressive as Crillon Inlet was over 380 feet deep. We anchored Fluenta in 100' (should be about 400' according to the chart) very close to the shore (not an overnight anchorage !) and the kids and I did a minor expedition ashore to walk to the glacier face. Lots of bear (and wolf ?) prints.
Anchored in Lituya Bay after short passage from Yakutat. Great views yesterday with the mountains, including Mt St Elias (18,008 ft) and Mt Fairweather (15,300 ft), lit by sunlight and then the northern lights last night. One of the largest tsunami waves was recorded here in Lituya in 1958 with a 1,720 ft wave. This also is the site where La Perouse (a French explorer following a few years after Capt Cook's last voyage) lost over 10% of his crew when their long boat was swept out of the pass on the ebb tide in 1786. Intention is to spend the day here and then depart to arrive in SE Alaska to meet the favourable tidal currents at Inian Pass.
On the move again this time heading towards Glacier Bay with an intended day stop at Lituya Bay. Nice stop at Yakutat waiting out the weather. We were warmly welcomed by the people of Yakutat and invited to the school opening with a local native dance troop performing. We also had a tour of the big state trooper ship and visit by one of the local police officers who was curious about our travels. Appears that not a lot of sailboats visit here so lots of questions. We also took the time in the rainy and foggy weather to catch up on a lot of maintenance: oil and transmission fluid changes, oil and air filter changes, fixed some wiring issues, installed a new wind generator controller and a galvanic isolator, replaced the traveller lines and greased the windlass, outboard and main furler. Presently sailing in light winds expecting to be at Lituya for sunrise to enter the bay at slack current.
Moved to anchor closer to the village. Only a two mile hike from the harbour to the village but we were reminded several times on yesterday's hike to be careful for grizzly bears. Closest we have ever anchored to a playground so Benjamin is impressed. Also anchored close to the visiting State Trooper boat so booked for a tour tomorrow.
Stopped in the small village of Yakutat to wait for a better weather window to head further south. A nice passage from Prince William Sound broad reaching in 8 to 13 kts of wind and motored the last stretch in absolute calm water with a sunrise over the mountain range inland from from Yakutat.
A short stay at historic Port Etches. Capt Cook anchored here in May 1778. He obtained a few sea otter pelts from the nearby Nuchek village which spread the word about the rich supply of sea otters in Prince Williams Sound leading eventually to the sea otter's near extinction in the area. The Russians opened a trading post at Nuchek in 1783. We had a chance today to go ashore at Nuchek where the Chugach have set up a camp - Nuuciq Spirit Camp - to teach native culture and history. There is still a well cared for Eastern Orthodox church in the village. The caretaker was very welcoming and gave us great tour of the area while talking about the local history and wildlife. Throughout Prince William Sound we have seen sea otters and sea lions but nothing like the density we have seen here. Despite being so much later coming back to Fluenta from Nuchek than planned we drifted for awhile in the rhib to watch and listen to a large pack (pride ?) of sea lions cavort. Much of the time in Prince William Sound we have been the only boat in the anchorage but here we are sharing the anchorage with a 255' tug and a 400' barge that are here on duty to help prevent another Exxon Valdez disaster.
Lovely day at Cows Pens anchorage. All members of the crew over the age of six took turns going paddleboarding to see the wildlife in the very calm conditions. From the boat you could see many sea otters and playful sea lions in the water and bald eagles in the sky. From the paddleboard we also saw black bears and herons. At one point I had seven loud sea lions around my paddleboard.
Finishing off a nice visit to Cascade Bay. Anchored with a view of the waterfall and the warmest water we have seen in Alaska. Paddleboarding is especially nice with calm water and black bears, bald eagles, sea otters and seals and the most amazing density of salmon to watch. The big kids and I snorkelled at the base of the waterfall to watch the salmon and did a small hike but turned around due to the amount of fresh scat.
We had intended to stay out in the quiet wilderness of Prince William Sound (well the loons and glaciers can be a bit noisy) but we had some unanticipated admin drama that needed internet to resolve so we headed to town. Whittier has a permanent population of 300 but is hectic with fishing boats, a cruise ship, tour boats and more. The Harbourmaster was able to find us a place on the dock and our friends from SV Northern Passage now living in Anchorage drove down to pick up Liz and Victoria for a logistics trip to the big city while the boy team cleaned the boat with copious (potable !) water from the dock. A great visit with the Northern Passage crew and then to our delight SV Seal showed up offloading some charter guests giving us time to get to know them and for the kids to have other kids to hang out with. We had been told to look for them by mutual friends (thanks SV Pickles) and they almost have us convinced that really we should settle in Cordova (no, we are still heading to BC but dramas over finding a liveaboard slip in BC is making Alaska pretty attractive plus the skiing is better). Johnathan, Benjamin and I also did the Portage Pass hike which Benjamin managed, thankfully, without needing to be carried.
We had intended to anchor overnight in front of Wellesely Glacier but after we left the calm of Yale Glacier we were blasted with 27 kts of wind funneling through College Fjord making the small anchorage of Wellesely just too dodgy. We anchored in Coghill Bay for the night watching the sea otters and bald eagles.
Great stay at Yale Glacier for several days. We could hear and see Yale Glacier calve from the anchorage on one side and a high alpine ridge with 14 glaciers visible on the other side. Other than the seals and sea otters the only other traffic was one small motor boat far off in the distance. We also did several dingy trips up towards the face of the glacier to feel the awesome rubble of the calving glacier. Despite the 30 kt winds in nearby College Fjord we had mostly calm conditions other than a few hours of 20 kts which filled our anchorage completely with glacier ice for a few hours. Great paddle boarding and brief swim and lots of glacier ice collected for evening scotch.
We had a great stay at Nellie Juan nestled into a quiet nook of anchorage. Very quiet except the occasional loon and the splash of jumping salmon. A few seals came by to visit too. We did three dingy trips to hike and visit the glacier to watch it calve with thunderous rumble similar to the Tanna volcano. Lots of sea otters and their pumps and seals as we traveled up to the glacier. Today we motored up to the College Fiord area in the dead calm. The humpback whales and then pacific white sided dolphins put on a show for us. Lots of bergy bits to get into our deep anchorage in Yale Arm but rewarded with a beautiful view towards Yale Glacier on one side and 8,000 foot mountain ridge and glaciers on the other side. The sea temperature dropped to 8C on the way here but has risen to 10C in our anchorage.
North of 60 ! A few changes in latitude since leaving New Zealand. Anchored in "Nelllie's Rest" - a small very bight near Nellie Juan Glacier in Prince William Sound. Calm and scenic passage from Homer over two nights. A few whales in the distance and lots of puffins with high mountains and glaciers as the backdrop. Two sea otters at the mouth of the bight to welcome us. Motored past the Barren Islands on the first day. These were named by Capt Cook on his travels up here. That guy covered a lot of ground.
Anchored off Homer to deliver our friend Jen (SV Northern Passage) back to her van and for some logistics in preparation for our time in Prince William Sound.
Well that was an interesting little gale. Very scenic in the sunshine with the glacier capped mountains of the Alaska Peninsula on one side and the green hills of Kodiak and Afognak on the other with winds gale force for much of yesterday. Max sustained winds were 37 kts. Winds overnight came down to a more comfortable 30 kts and then to almost zero for our final approach to Seldovia. Anchored in dead calm with the morning twilight. Intend to move into the harbour later this morning to meet up with friends ashore who we cruised with in Mexico in 2012.
Great stay at Geographic Bay and lots of time watching the grizzly bears from land, the dingy and from the cockpit. At high tide we could take the dingy to where the bears were feeding on the salmon and at low tide the shore line was very close to Fluenta - despite being anchored in 80' of water with a 15ft tidal range - so the bears could wander close to the boat. Even had a float plane come over and tie up to Fluenta for a nice visit. Time to get moving east but we found the wind in the strait was building beyond the forecast - peak sustained wind was over 35 ks - and the seas were getting steep so we did the conservative thing and have ducked into Malina Bay for the night along with a bunch of fishing boats.
Anchored in Geographic Harbor. Sunny and calm water made for a beautiful motor into the almost landlocked harbor surrounded by mountains. This was the site National Geographic used when they sent a team to investigate the after effects of the massive volcano eruption in the early 1900's. We have already seen quite a few bears - Benjamin spotted the first one - and we have had our first sighting of tourists since arriving in Alaska. The tourists come and go by float plane so I suspect we will have the place to ourselves later. We will have lunch - more salmon - and head ashore for a closer look (at the bears not the tourists).
On passage from Sand Point towards Geographic Harbor. Just over half the way there but no "halfway celebration" chips as a short 280nm trip this time. Certainly different doing coastal passages as I think we gybed more times yesterday going around the various headlands and island in the shifty winds than the whole 3700nm passage from the Marshall Islands. We had expected light winds but have being making good progress with the winds from 2 to 25 kts mostly very deep behind us although we have also been close hauled for a few hours as well. Sailing along the edge of a big mountain range so that must be affecting the winds. Very scenic with snow and glacier covered mountains and the massive Veniaminof Crater visible for most of yesterday and Mount Chiginagak visible today. Lots of puffins as we round the headlands and the fin whales paid us a visit again yesterday. We had a nice visit at Sand Point. Galactic came in for a logistics stop before heading back out to continue their research so the kids were out fishing and berry picking. The salmon season closed for a few days so the harbour was awash in fishing boats and fishermen. In addition to the salmon the older boy on Galactic caught for us, our new fishermen friends on the docks gave us two more salmon as well as a tour of one of the purse seiners. We also had an interesting tour of the Trident fish processing plant with the Production Manager and their Safety Officer giving the tour. Very impressive facility and nice folks.
A nice time at anchor with our friends from Galactic. Fluenta is on the dock at Sand Point so we can get some diesel and propane before heading further east. Had our first Alaskan salmon - yummy. We have been given two more salmon so the fridge and freezer are still full.
At anchor in Baralof Bay to meet up with our friends in SV Galactic (we last saw them in 2014 in French Polynesia). Great passage mostly under sail. Lots of puffins as we left and arrived and then as we approached the Shumagin Islands we saw a greater density and number of humpback whales than even we saw in Tonga. They were surfacing less than a boat length (!) from Fluenta and in the distance lots of breaching. Nice chats with two fishing boats on the VHF radio. Not a lot of sailboats here everybody is curious about our story.
At anchor off False Bay. Later today should be on our way east again after a great two night stop at False Pass. We were adopted by an Aleut family who had their fishing boat on the dock ahead of Fluenta which totally made the visit a delight (and tried to convince us to settle there). The two siblings that run the boat have eight kids between them so lots of fun. The kids went out salmon fishing with the older kids in one of their skiffs and saw a bear. We did not see a bear while we were ashore but the first three people we met warned us about bears - including a truck that pulled over to warn us - and some people travel armed. The village safety officer (a combined police, fire, EMT officer) has maxed out his overtime dealing with bears so is only allowed to respond to "predator" issues if a bear is actively trying to get into a house. The kids still managed to pick some berries without incident and our "salmon fishing" was getting a lovely gift of silver salmon from one of the fishermen. The village has a population of about 50 but now also supporting a group of about 700 at two cannery factories (the cannery workers seem to all be from "away": Ukraine, Cameroon, others)
Out of the infamous Bering Sea (as seen on Deadliest Catch etc) after what ended up as a really nice little passage. We thought we might have to motor most of the way but sailed much of it mostly in light winds. It only got a little more sporty towards the end when the winds went hard on the nose in the mid teens. Nice early morning sail in light air downwind - so quiet I could hear the ducks taking flight to get out of our way and then a whale blew about 100 feet beside me which just about made me spill my coffee. Unfortunately also saw a dead small humpback floating (friends called it into the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline for us). Occasionally able to see the 9000' snow covered volcano and some glaciers during the transit. Now on the dock at False Pass/Isanotski to wait for the weather to turn in our favour for pushing further east. Very much a commercial fishing dock.
After a nice visit to Dutch Harbor we are underway again with a freezer and fridge full of fish we received as gifts. A great time out shooting and fishing with our new friends. We motored for a few hours today and then for most of the day close hauled or close reaching in a relaxing 4 to 8 kts of wind. Just passed and slightly passed through a fleet of 16 fishing ships ranging from 90 to 200' long. So much easier here where the fishing ships have AIS and will talk to us on the radio (and are really friendly even though we are wandering on a varying course following the wind close to their operations).
Fluenta is on the dock at Dutch Harbor waiting to clear Customs. First dock since December and, if we can make it work, first proper shore power since 2014. Lots of bald eagles, a few sea otters and friendly people. On the dock with the designer of our anchor (Rocna).
Fluenta has left the Pacific and is now in the Bering Sea. Sailing in light air along the Bering Sea towards Dutch Harbor. ETA Dutch Harbor Monday morning Alaska time. Lots of snow covered volcanic mountain peaks including an active one in the distance. Plenty of birds and seals near the floating kelp patches. Nice to be sailing in flat seas. Weather forecast has a small craft advisory for this stretch of water tomorrow so glad we should be tied to a dock tomorrow morning.
Heading on a broad reach toward Samalga Pass in the Aleutians. We decided to take Samalga Pass vice the others as appears timing slack water for the currents in the pass will be less of an issue. Just starting to see some of the mountains on RADAR at 35nm. ETA Dutch Harbor Monday afternoon Alaska time. A few whales sighted as well as our first sightings of kelp. Many more birds too.
Good progress today sailing deep downwind with following seas surfing NE. Wind has recently eased a bit so now headed up to a close reach towards Umnak Pass
Pretty bouncy and rolly last night until we made it to SE of the low but now Fluenta is galloping towards the barn. From mid morning we were able to gybe over to port tack and since then have been averaging boat speeds in the mid to high 7's with surfs up to 10 kts with SW winds 20-25 kts tucked to the SE of the low. Nice to be on a broad reach again with following seas. Somehow that had not been a frequent situation since our 2014 Pacific crossing. We were heading for Umnak Pass to enter the Bering Sea but now debating Samalga Pass as less tidal current and can better use the west wind to sail closer to Dutch Harbor.
Sailing since last night making good progress straight towards Dutch Harbor with the settled seas - boat speeds from 7 to 8.5 kts. Less so this afternoon as the steep waves picked up and the wind strengthened to about 28 kts. We have turned downwind a bit to get a more comfortable angle to the waves as well as down to a heavily reefed main and staysail. The low to our west should keep moving north east ahead of us giving us some SW winds tomorrow to push us all the way towards Dutch Harbour. Less than 500 nm to the Umnak Pass (where we intend to pass through to the Bering Sea and then it is about 95nm to Dutch Harbor). No fishing today. Pretty cool watching the albatross swooping down the wave troughs though.
A relaxing day motoring towards Dutch Harbor since 1600Z today as we cross a high pressure ridge. Kids excited they can see their breath in the cockpit. Wind expected to fill in this evening. Over 3/4 of the way there by mileage from Majuro to the pass into the Bering Sea.
There was an error in the latitude in last night's update. Making good progress toward Dutch Harbor as the sea state calms. Lots of traffic as we ended up between six Japanese fishing ships.
Cold front was mild - just some rain and a change in trend upwards on the barometer. By the afternoon the wind was heading us southward and the large swells had caught up with us so gybed over to port tack to put the swells on our quarter and, thankfully, a better VMG to the destination. Still sailing deep downwind for comfort but intend to aim closer to Dutch Harbor by the morning. Decided not a good day for fishing. Getting a bit chillier.
Still sailing due east to mitigate the incoming low. Very consistent winds from SSW all day with a bit of wind against current so somewhat bumpy. Still being visited by dolphins and albatrosses. Hope to start pointing more towards Dutch Harbor tomorrow. Less than a 1000 nm to go so 2/3's of the mileage completed.
Sailing due east to mitigate the incoming low. Sailing again since early afternoon in increasing winds from the SSW. Still being visited by our dozens of dancing dolphins (and more albatrosses). One small bird flew into our cockpit last night. Preps for heavier weather completed today but looks like it will be not as windy as initially expected as we are making good progress east.
1160 nm to go to Dutch Harbor - slightly more than a NZ to the Tropics passage. A fickle day of sailing in NW winds 4 to 10 kts. Recently veered to NE as forecast. Aiming to the south of the rhumb line to mitigate some forecast weather. Sailing where we can to conserve diesel. Still being visited by our dozen dancing dolphins (and some albatrosses)
Making progress ... 1250 nm to go and getting colder. Finally a fish caught today - our worst fish/nm rate yet. Lots of dolphins came to play by the bow for quite awhile just before supper. For folks watching the Predictwind Tracker on our blog note it appears to be working again.
Turned right towards Dutch Harbour as should be clear enough of the high. Moderate fog but amazingly consistent winds from the SW all day. Predictwind current data shows a strong band of favourable current so we are following that giving us a helpful 2+ kts of push. An easy motion on the boat so we took the time to catch up on maintenance. The kid seized a dynmea chafe sleeve on the staysail halyard while I did some more indepth rig, engine and autopilot checks plus other odd and sods maintenance that needed doing. Over half way there by mileage: 1390 nm to go !
Under sail since 0130L today in SW winds ranging from 12 to 17 kts. Feels like the doldrums are done. Came across our first fishing net(s) with AIS. We "saw" the first AIS contact 35nm away and then as we got closer another three AIS contacts popped up. Two were labeled "Net Fishing" and the other two were clearly labeled as buoys and they were spread out 20nm across our path. No ship answered hails or acknowledged DSC calls. We could not see any vessels on radar or visually. I think all four contacts were net buoys but no ship within radar distance which seemed odd. Rather than diverting 10nm around the buoys - rather a pain as we would need to gybe away and back as we were already on a deep broad reach - we approached the line carefully as it was just daylight by then. Nothing could be seen until we were about 100' away when we saw little white marker buoys in a line perpendicular to our path. Turns out the net must be weighted as we managed to sail over it without incident. More fun was seeing a pod of large dolphins followed by a school of tuna beside the boat (hiding from the dolphins ?)
Happy Canada Day from this side of the dateline. Was making decent enough progress northward under power and spinnaker considering stil winds less than nine kts but now a massive tear in our light air spinnaker. Will see if we can move the snuffer over to our 37 year old backup spinnaker and get it into play tomorrow when light again. Now on a broad reach with the the genoa on a running sheet. Mostly light southerly winds today. Crazy currents not helping today. I heard a whale blow nearby in the quiet as we slowly worked our way downwind under spinnaker. Several whales sighted including one that dove a few boat lengths from Fluenta. Still lots of garbage in the water. Canada Day hamburgers onboard. No fireworks.
Mostly under sail since the last report: SE winds for most of the day and then SW later in the afternoon. Wind dropped an hour ago to almost zero so spinnaker down and engine on. Based on barometer, wind shift and the latest surface analysis possible that we were at the crest of the ridge. Need to push further north as forecast shows ridge will widen and form a separate high pressure area about here.
The forecast for a large, persistent area of light winds is changing to be a larger, more persistent area of light winds ... Not fast but very comfortable sailing. We have not seen over 8 kts of wind over the last few days and today the winds have been 2 to 7.5 kts TWS. We flew the A2 spinnaker most of the night before switching back to white sails. After a few hours of motoring we were sailing again on a close reach before 0800 and have been undersail all day in winds 4 to 7 kts. No whale sightings today but a far amount of jellyfish. Calm conditions to do some repairs to the spinnaker and transfer diesel from jerry cans to the internal tanks.
Busy nature watching day: sailed very close to two sperm whales on the surface (while we were under spinnaker), we have named the tuna that has adopted us "Sashimi" and the the birds are keeping us amused with their antics. Unfortunately also seeing the most garbage in the water than we have seen on passage before. Motored through the night with very light winds and then sailed all day so far with our light air spinnaker with winds from the SW and occasionally SE from 3 to 8 kts TWS.
All is well onboard. We struck sails last night and bobbed/rolled for several hours as insufficient wind to keep the sails from slatting with the leftover swell. From this morning we have managed to sail, albeit slowly in NE, NW, SE and SW winds never above 9 knots for much of the day including a stint with our light spinnaker until the true wind was below four knots - thanks NIRVANA crew for the spinnaker. Kids kept busy with sails in/out up/down tacks etc. Motoring again now in glassy calm. One fish hooked but it tore out the split ring - classic weakest link fails - I finally treated myself to split ring pliers in Majuro and they came with extra rings ... the pliers are nice but noticed that the rings are not robust enough for handline fishing. Luckily I have a good stock of robust hooks so back into fishing tomorrow.
All is well onboard. Light shifty winds for most of the day making for slow progress under a grey sky. Lots of squalls and lightening for most of the morning. It felt more like the ITCZ than doldrums. Presently motoring to charge (not a lot of solar or wind generator charging today).
All is well onboard as Fluenta leave the tropics in nine miles. First time north of the tropics since the Baja Ha Ha 2012. Liz has been writing lots for the blog which you can check at SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca
All is well onboard as we progress slowly north through a large region of squalls. Based on miles to go from Majuro and miles to go now, we are approx 1/4 the way through the passage. About 2250nm to go.
All is well onboard as we progress north. A busy morning for Liz and Victoria with playing "Frogger" to dodge the squalls but they managed to miss most of them. Winds were ranging from 6 to 20 kts. No fish yet. We should pass Wake Island tonight.
All is well onboard as we progress north. We have mostly been heading north or NNE but recently the winds have backed a bit and so heading NNW. We could sail a but harder on the wind but a long ways to go so keeping with a conservative sail configuration. Presently heading towards Russia but not intending landfall there !
A quiet night last night in 16-18 kts close on the wind with just a staysail and reefed main to keep it comfortable as everybody gets back into passagemaking. Winds down to the 13 to 14 kts range and sailing with reefed main and genoa at 45 degrees to the apparent wind. Mostly heading in a northerly direction and we intend to worry about getting our easting once out of the NE trades. Interview with CBC today. Apparently we will be on a morning show in Alberta this weekend. No fish yet. We did not fish passing the reef as the reef fish are reputed to have cigatera and the large number of sharks. We hooked a shark going into Rongerik and a sailboat we talked to near there hooked three in a short period of time.
Fluenta is on the move again. In a few minutes we intend to weigh anchor and head north. Rongerik is a beautiful uninhabited spot - if rumoured to be haunted - and we were fortunate to spend time here working on a bunch of boat projects and waiting for the 'right' weather to head north. Yesterday we finally went out snorkeling and visited one of the small islands: Boobie chicks ashore and big turtles, giant clams, curious sharks and lots of fish around the reef.
All is well onboard but have diverted to Rongerik to make a few repairs and then head north when a good weather window. For anyone looking at Predictwind Tracker, take our position reports with a grain of salt. It appears our Iridium Go is having some issues with its GPS. No fish but, for our first time in seven years of cruising, we caught a shark (we have had many sharks eat fish we have caught but never have hooked a shark directly). We managed to pull him up close enough to remove our lure and set him free. An interesting exercise for sure.
All is well onboard. No fish (yet). Beautiful starry night.
On passage again after a few delays.
A quick trip down to the MIYC moorings for a break from the city and for one of a birthday party on one of the other kid boats.
Arrived Majuro 2130L today after a bumpy and wet 36 hour passage from Majuro. A nice size mahi mahi and wahoo in the, now working again, fridge. Fun filleting with the beam seas in 20+ kts of wind.
Departed Ailuk Thurs mid morning and heading towards the big city of Majuro after a nice two month stint in the outer atolls. Conditions were a bit bumpy close reaching once out of the lee of Ailuk but nice now that we are slightly further off the wind and in the lee of Maloelap.
A lovely time at Enejelar village again seeing friends from our 2017 visit. Now back in front of the main Ailuk village (population approx 200) for a feast with Anious and Emily. We saw the pig for the feast being loaded into a sailing canoe yesterday at Enejalar - not a happy sailing pig.
Back up to Enjelar village where we spent so much time in 2017.
and now back to the "Kid's Kite School" location but with Sweet Dreams in tow (not literarily though) ... Pretty good for bonfires as well.
and now back to the southern end of the atoll to welcome Sweet Dreams to Ailuk. Excited kids.
Moved back to the "kite school" anchorage in the north of the atoll. Nice visit to the village for Anious's birthday feast.
Had a great stay at previous anchorage kiting plus catching up on maintenance projects and school. Back to the south end of the atoll for Anious's (aka Pumpkin) birthday feast tonight. Supposed to get some boisterous weather tomorrow so will likely head back north again.
We have moved a little further north in Ailuk to find a combination of adequate protection from the winds and seas outside the atoll and a good place for the kids (and grown ups) to kiteboard. A quick recce ashore yesterday - looks like a good spot.
Moved further up the atoll in Ailuk for better protection from the building wind and seas. Nice time visiting Enious and Emily again in Ailuk (and fixing his generator) and kiting near the village. Kids making good progress with the kiteboards even in the mid 20 kt winds.
Returned to Aliuk after an overnight passage from Wotje. Fishing report: no fish landed and one beast stripped the hook off one of our lures and bend the two treble hooks on the other.
Moved Fluenta to a potential kiteboarding location behind Bikanol Island.
Anchored in front the main village in Wotje. Relatively quick passage close reaching the whole way in TWS 14 to 18 kts. Winds only turned to the north in the last few hours. One mahimahi caught and in the fridge.
Fluenta and crew has finally escaped the gravitational pull of the city of Majuro and heading towards Wotje.
Anchored at Majuro at noon and all checked in just before 1700. Ashore for the first time in three weeks and prepping tomorrow for a potential tropical disturbance Saturday night (GFS says yes, ECMWF says no, Joint Typhoon Centre expresses concern, official weather report does not ...). Caught another mahi mahi and a wahoo yesterday making it 1 fish per 290 nm (I removed the 300 nm or so we did not fish due to the bouncy weather from the stats). Stats would have been much better if we did not lose both mahi mahi that hook at the same time just before entering the pass to Majuro. Full stats to follow in a blog post but that is rather further down the "to do" list.
In the first time in three days we have eased the sheets a bit and are not hard on the wind as rounding - at a large distance - Mili Atoll. Much more comfortable now. Thankful for our little tough hank-on staysail that has pulled this far to windward. Still a fair amount of wind averaging in the low 20's peaking so far at 28 kts.
Still heading north ... After days of light winds we went through one big squall and as if we had gone through the Alice in Wonderland looking glass the winds changed. Fluenta has been hard on the wind since 31 Dec (our time) in true winds from 15 to 27 kts. Rather bumpy and wet as we blast through the waves plus amazing amounts of torrential rain. The most dense concentration of squalls and electrical storms we have ever seen so we have been stowing some of the electronics at night including the Iridium Go so you may notice the tracking feature on our blog stops working. Appears we have made it north of the ITCZ so hopefully a bit less squally but stronger winds are forecast. 215nm to go (less than a Marblehead-Halifax race)
Fluenta is back in the Northern Hemisphere after just her crew just completed their fourth equator crossing. No party onboard this time as is it 0500 Fluenta time (UTC+13) and everyone but me is asleep. 523 nm to go.
Off and on sailing day with light following winds. Decent wind for the last few hours with a massive squall that is very slowly catching up with us.
Sailing for most of today in decent winds as we start to pass the southern islands in the Kiribati Gilbert chain. Started in approx 4 to 6 kts TWS and then in the afternoon to 9-11 kts TWS. After a large squall this evening the winds died as they normally do behind a larger squall but then they have not come back so far (3 hours later). All the weather forecasts we use say we should be having 9 to 12 kts of wind but alas motoring again. Batteries are fully charged and making water. No fish today but it appears we have adopted a bird that ran into the mainsail this evening.
Weather generally doing as forecast so far ... light winds during the day and impressive squalls at night. Winds so far ranging from 0.1 to 28 kts. Have not caught more fish (yet) but went by a massive bait ball that we think also had whales blowing. Did not detour for a closer look as a massive squall was bearing down on us at the time. A note for anyone following our progress on the Predictwind tracker on the blog (SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca): we have been stowing the laptop and the Iridium Go at night due to all the electrical storms so do not be alarmed if there are no updates. There have been a few updates to the blog since leaving Fiji for those who are interested.
We had a nice quiet Christmas at anchor at Funafuti but with the monsoonal westerlies heading towards Tuvalu it is time get going north. Motoring over a slight glassy swell. 34C in the saloon. Caught another mahi mahi just after leaving the atoll. About 1050 nm to go if we actually followed the rhumb line.
Anchored in Funafuti, Tuvalu yesterday afternoon. Will stay to have Christmas at anchor and then keep heading north
Jeckle and Hyde sailing conditions. Lovely sedate close reaching in 6 to 9 kts of wind with small +/- 10degree wind shift by day but then by night more squalls than not squalls. Winds between 5 and 28 kts and 90 degree wind shifts. Predominate wind direction for much of last of night was straight out of the destination at 20 kts. Less lightening though which is nice. Now making good progress 7 kts down the rhumb line and ten miles from the eastern pass into Funafuti. A fresh mahi mahi in the fridge.
As expected in this area between the trade winds, the winds have been rather fickle. Winds have varied from 2-3 kts - when we motor - to low 20's in the squalls. Most of the last 24 hours as been close hauled to close reaching in 6 to 9 kt winds. Will likely stop at Tuvalu to celebrate Christmas at anchor and looks like a wide swath of no wind north of Tuvalu once this light easterly fades away.
Sailed until almost noon and then very light winds. Now motoring in the lighter winds and sailing when the wind rises above around 6kts. One small tuna caught. Hooked something big at sunset but it bent two of the big tremble hooks back. Some lightening after midnight as expected in this area.
On our way north. Forecast winds were for single digit winds and we had 18-22 kts from behind for most of the day. Nice. By the middle of the night the winds are back as forecast ranging from 6 to 9 kts so slow going but not uncomfortable.
Fluenta is back in the water. Slight delay due to a broken travel lift at the yard. Over at Denarau Marina to finish provisioning and transition from yard chaos onboard to prepare for the passage north.
An "unscheduled" haulout at Vuda a few days ago to address a ever so slightly weeping thru hull. Intention is to relaunch Saturday. I have been slack in updating YIT over the last week. We had a nice visit last week to Musket Cove, Cloud 9 and then Denarau last week with our friends in Sonodora.
Waiting for part required for our haulout so escaping the heat and bugs and back out at anchor.
Arrived Vuda Marina.
Anchored outside of Denarau at 0430 in prep for heading to Vuda later today,
Heading towards Nadi. Had a nice sail mostly close hauled or close reaching across the Koro Sea and a bit of beating to windward last night. Now motoring towards Beqa Channel. More traffic than we have seen earlier in the season: cruise ship, ferries and Chinese fishing ships.
After a great visit back to Taveuni Fluenta is back on the dock at the Copra Shed. Now to get Fluenta ready to head north.
Back on a mooring in front of Paradise Resort after a nice visit further north on Taveuni - family visit, Diwali, a wedding, Indian night, waterslide visit (of course) and more.
Moved north and crossed the dateline to be anchored near my parent's place. Shorter commute now.
Anchored beside the ferry dock on Taveuni. Check how close to the dateline we are anchored ! Tried to anchor further north yesterday but it was untenable with the northerly winds. Fun tide rips with the 20 kt winds and 2 kts of current to retreat back to here.
Back on a mooring in front of Paradise Resort to pick up the big kids and Granny who took the bus down the island to meet up with us.
Fluenta is back at the Copra Shed Marina at Savusavu after a very nice stay on a mooring off Paradise Resort.
Fluenta is back at Paradise Resort on Taveuni. Kids were swimming in the pool a few minutes after the mooring was secured ...
Anchored in front of Dolphin Bay Resort after a nice short passage on the inside route between Nasasobu and Dolphin Bay. We first visited Roland and Viola at Dolphin Bay 11 years ago as tourists. Snorkelling and maybe diving on the agenda for the next few days.
Anchored near Dakuniba after a calm motorboat trip from Savusavu this morning with a 0500 departure. No fish caught. Quiet bay with lots of bird song from the mangroves.
Arrived Savusavu early this morning. Nice fast passage - under three days - and Victoria caught a walu just before arrival. A big treat as tied to a dock for a few days to catch up on some maintenance and prepare for guests. Fun to be back to a place where the staff remember us.
Making great progress and past the Lau Group mostly in the daylight and now crossing the top of the Koro Sea so nice to be back in familiar waters. Averaging speeds in the mid 7's all day. ETA Savusavu later this morning as 28 nm to run to Savusavu
Can see why people seek out tradewind passages. Has been a nice day sailing either wing on wing or broad reaching with about 12 kts of wind and sunshine. About a 2m swell behind us. Seas are calming but so is the wind. Forecast with both EC and GFS was to have 1.9 kts of wind by this point so happy we have avoided motoring so far. Nice birthday celebrations onboard with a cake produced by Victoria.
On the road again ... Heading towards Savusavu, Fiji. After not seeing many whales in Vava'u (and so many in Ha'apai) was nice to have a little whale show as we sailed away from Tonga. Enjoying some actual trade wind sailing with the sails wing on wing with the wind and swells from far aft.
Back to town to provision, clear out and fuel up. Was very tempting to stay at Kenutu for another day of kitesurfing as the kids making great progress.
Considerations in modern passage planning: Found an anchorage with 3G coverage (sort of), close to a kitesurfing location and suitably safe in the 20+ kt winds we have been having all day. Progress made on school and admin with the internet and a good afternoon kiting on the Kenutu sand bar.
Anchored near Tapana Island to spend some time with the large group of boats with teenagers. Fun dingy raft-up sundowners. Still boat work to do before leaving for Fiji but hoping to get in some kiting at Kenutu tomorrow.
Back to the big city of Neiafu in Vavau to do some work on the boat, catch up on logistics/admin/school and to clear out of Tonga. Nice if slow passage from Haapai dead downwind in 8 to 10 kts of wind and then close hauled threading our way through Vavau in the moonless dark. Lots of whales to watch during the daylight hours - we even altered course as a pod seemed to converging from our port side and then they dove and reappeared close on our starboard side. Arrived around 0200 but could not find a mooring ball so anchored in almost 100' of water at 0300. A few bites on one of our fishing lines but no fish. The last fish, a wahoo, lasted for five days of lunch and suppers for the family so time to catch another.
After some great whale watching, playing on the beach and kitesurfing at Nukupule we are back at Foa to say goodbye to the nice folks at Matafonua and for the kids to have one last play with the kids ashore. The whales came to say goodbye too as a mum and calf loitered around Fluenta at anchor for over an hour today coming to within a boat length. A bit bumpy with the leftover swells from the westerlies and not quite enough wind for a final kite (I did get to rescue a kiter who unintentionally was heading towards Fiji when he could not get upwind against the current but was drifting down to Fluenta).
Anchored mostly in the lee of Nukupele Island. Lots of whales and can even hear whale song inside Fluenta. Pretty little island and hopefully the wind picks up a bit tomorrow so we can see if the island is good for kitesurfing. We have never heard of anyone anchoring here before so were surprised when a Fijian mini-cruise ship (MV Nai'a) anchored behind us just before sunset.
Anchored near Luangahu Island. Not an ideal anchorage but a nice place to watch the whales around us.
Nice short sail to anchor off Uonukuhahaki Island (Lobster Island East, we think). Lots of whales but none too close this time. One small tuna caught but returned.
Anchored near Tatafa with some protection from the reef for the forecast westerlies tonight. Nice, if slow, passage here today with many whales sighted and one decent size wahoo caught.
Back to Foa Island a few days ago. Anchored off the very friendly Sandy Beaches resort. Lots of kiteboarding for all (excepted Benjamin) and the bigger kids have been camping ashore the last few nights.
Appeared to be taking root at Foa so on a short side trip to the western side of Haapai. Anchored off Ofolanga Island. Lots of whales sighted breaching and several came to welcome us into the anchorage. Amazing water visibility so looking forward to our exploring today and tomorrow.
w: TWS 4 kts TWD 178 Baro 1012.4
Arrived yesterday morning off Foa Island in the Haapai after a bumpy close hauled trip from Vavua. Lots of whales sighted including two who breached by the boat around midnight on a moonless night. Amazing swim with the mum and calve whales today. Photos to follow at some point.
Back to the big city (okay, small town) to resupply and get our local movement clearance to go back to the Haapai. Fun racing last night on the well organised and well sailed SY Darth Vader with a mix of Tongan and Palangi crew (oh, and we won).
Anchored near Nuapapu Island yesterday in preparation for the "Tongan Feast". Tongan feast was fun and shared with a visiting billionaire couple and 17 crew who anchored near us in their 285' ketch.
Fun times swimming into Mariners and Swallows Cave yesterday but with the shift of the winds to the west it was time to move again. Now anchored near Taunga and Ngau in 10' of pretty green water with sand beaches to windward. Looks like a great place to sail Trickle and, maybe, kitesurf if the winds pick up tomorrow.
No kiting surfing winds forecast for awhile and potentially some westerlies so it was time to move. We are now anchored between Nuku Island and Kapa Island in preparation for exploring Mariners and Swallows Cave tomorrow.
Anchored in the lee of Kenutu Island. Thank you Carol and Livia for the waypoints. Very pretty anchorage with lots of snorkeling and kiting potential. Just as we were going through the narrow Fanua Tapu pass we sailed past a humpback mother and calf.
Anchored in the very protected anchorage of Vaka'Eitu. Nice little passage yesterday with a few whales spotted. In the anchorage with two other Canadian boats, one with kids ! Seems the trough has passed through so nicer weather again.
On a mooring at the town of Neiafu. Wow. Lots of boats and idle radio chatter here.
Anchored off Avalau Island in the Vava'u Group in preparation for heading to Neiafu to renew our visas. Nice passage with a 0400 start to ensure a daylight arrival. Lots of whale breaching and one small tuna caught but released. A lot more boats here than the Haapai.
Anchored off Foa Islands in front of the lovely Sandy Beaches Resort. Rather tight to get into the anchorage and just enough swing room between the reefs but very nice. Interesting night here to nights ago when a large squall reversed the winds - we were fine but of the four boats here one boat wrapped their chain around coral and another had to reanchor in the pouring rain at 0430. Not enough wind for kiting but lots to do including snorkeling to see the leopard sharks.
Anchored outside the harbour for Pangai so we can clear in.
An unusual stop for Fluenta. We have stopped mid passage for lunch and a snorkel. There is a small indent in the reef just before the Auhnga Mea pass and we have anchored there. Should be able to snorkel from the boat and leave the dingy hoisted. A small (approx two meals for th family) rainbow runner caught so far.
Anchored behind the sandspit connecting Uonukuhifo and Uonukuhaki Islands (West Lobster and East Lobster Islands in Tongan) in about 15 feet of water. Great time kiteboarding off Uoleva Island the last few days but time for a new place. From what we can see it should have great kiting and snorkelling and a possibility of camping ashore on the uninhabited islands (although there are apparently a few pigs).
Anchored at Ouleva after a close hauled sail from the previous anchorage. The winds and seas have calmed down so a pleasant sail. A very protected bay so we are looking forward to the boat not rolling for awhile. We commented that it looks busy - when we realised that we were getting spoilt and perhaps six boats in a massive bay is not really busy. Lots of kid boats here and hopefully Liz and I can get some kiteboarding in.
Anchored in the lee of Ha'afeva island after a vigorous little sail from Nomuka. Quite squally conditions on the passage with winds varying from 19 to 26 kts. Lot of rain. Time to prepare for Canada Day festivities tomorrow.
Anchored off Nomuka Iki after a fast but rather bumpy passage here from Tongatapu. 0330 departure so we could arrive here with good light. Nice passage - whales about a boat length away and we caught two small tuna (both returned) and an approx 30 lb walu (was fun to filet as we rolled).
Anchored off Pangiamotu in Tongatapu. 'Q' flag is up and will clear Customs etc on Monday.
Fluenta was galloping towards Tongatapu for most of the day. The forecast light winds were actually 16 to 20 kts straight down the rhumb line allowing us to stay wing-on-wing with average speeds in the 7's with peaks to the low 9's when given a push from the waves. Classic landfall dilemma: we kept our speeds up in case the forecast light winds arrived and we would be too late for a daylight arrival. Now we have slowed the boat so we do not arrive too early !
Making decent progress wing-on-wing deep downwind towards Tongatapu. Caught a 30+ lb bigeye tuna coming out of the pass at Minerva reef and then later a decent size Bonita tuna.
Trough was not too bad last night. Some gusts but I do not think over 20 kts but lots of heavy rain. Skies have mostly cleared and wind from the west. Time to go ! Intention is to head out this morning towards Tongatapu.
Fluenta anchored at North Minerva Reef this afternoon after a great if occasionally boisterous sail to get here with sufficient light for the pass and to go across the lagoon. Average over 8 kts for several hours and rarely did our speed last drop below 7. Intention is a short stay here this time and once the weather looks better for sailing then depart towards Tongatapu.
Great sailing today. Most of daylight close hauled in 6 to 8 kts of wind. Wind built to about 16 overnight now averaging about 11-12 kts. Turned a bit downwind as will likely divert to Minerva Reef for a day or so to get better winds to Tongatapu.
Nice Fathers Day onboard - some sailing, brunch and maintenance. Sailed for awhile when the winds went between 6 to 10 kts for awhile but mostly motoring in very light winds. Glad we brought lots of diesel - quite a contrast from our 21 day passage from Mexico to French Polynesia when we only motored for 7 hours. Appears from the forecast that we are north of where most of the unpleasant weather is expected to form, although may catch the northern part of the trough, so hope to start sailing again when across this ridge tomorrow. Various blog updates posted (SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca)
All is well onboard. Light air day - motor on all day to get north across this ridge before the unfavorable winds fill in later in the week. Glad we left with our largest load of diesel ever.
All is well onboard. Spent the day either sailing deep downwind wing-on-wing or motoring. Motoring now to make progress north before the forecast unfavourable winds start. Two tuna caught, one returned as too small.
Slowly heading towards Tonga. Very comfortable conditions but slow considering deep downwind. Passed several humpback whales. We are assuming they are going to Tonga too so we think we are going the right way. Two small tuna caught but returned to the sea.
At Marsden Cove in preparation to clear Customs tomorrow.
Intention is to head down the river today to Marsden Cove for a Wed departure towards Tonga.
Our few days stop in Whangarei has stretched to weeks ... Latest thought is to leave tomorrow for Marsden Cove and, perhaps, head for Tonga.
Alongside Whangarei Marina.
Anchored in Urquharts Bay after a nice passage from Tauranga. Sweet weather window in the SW winds.
After a productive six week maintenance period in Tauranga we are heading towards Whangerei for a visit and finish up some remaking maintenance.
Alongside Tauranga Marina to start our month long (or so ...) maintenance period. Nice sail down from Slipper Island close hauled or a very close reach the whole way.
Anchored off Slipper Island (just past Shoe Is of course). Good sail here which especially nice as the forecast was much light winds. No fish landed but hooked something big briefly. It broke our big bungee, ripped off the beefy double hook, snapped one barb of the treble hook and broke the others. Even snapped off the dive fin off the front of the Halco lure.
Move to Peachgrove Bay. Successful stop for scallops on the way - limit of 40 in about 15 min.
Moored in Huruhi Harbour on Mercury Island. Very pretty and a friendly welcome from a caretaker as we came in. Lots of bird song. Already invited to watch the sheep shearing and given coordinates for scallops diving and snapper fishing.
Anchored in Otautu Bay.
Anchored off Mcleod Bay - yoga for Liz and camping for the kids coming up.
Anchor down in Whangaruru to stop for the night. Pretty civilized stuff this coastal cruising. Nice day passage. Dolphins came out to play.
Securely anchored for the leftovers of Cyclone Gita. Should not be too bad this far north.
Moved to anchor off Totara North to see if we can do a minor reprovision here. Won’t be buying too much as fridge/freezer just blew a line and vented all of its refrigerant. Will move tomorrow to a more secure area to prep for the leftovers of Cyclone Gita
Moved out of Whangoroa to Stephenson Is to make water (The water in Whangoroa looks like a mud puddle after all this rain). Had a private dolphin show as we came into anchor - dolphins jumping so close the the boat that the boat was splashed. Pretty rolly in the anchorage but scenic. Spearfishing scheduled for the afternoon.
Anchored in Rere Bay in Whangaroa. Fairly dense fog for the last hour of the passage. Good radar refresher for the crew.
Moved over to near Russel due a gale warning.
Off the dock after repairs and anchored of Waitangi in prep for Waitangi Day !
Moved back to Paihia for some logistics and and admin. Engine still overheating if pushed up to cruise RPM so change of plans and will leave Fluenta in (expensive) Opua rather than the mooring in Whangerei while we fly out for a few weeks.
Moved to the east side of Motura Island in prep for the 20-30 kts SW winds and thunderstorms forecast for later today. Engine still cooperating. No mobile or 3G coverage here so back to the SSB/Pactor for comms. Lots of boats in the Bay of Islands - I think all of New Zealand is here.
Anchored off Urupukapuka Island to meet up with the other kid boats. Engine cooperated. Celebrated with paddleboard trip around Urupukapuka. Christmas lights blinking and AIS left on to help Santa find Fluenta.
Was intending to RV with other kids boats further east but stopped here at Roberton Island (which is actually really nice and one of Capt Cook's anchorages) due to an overheating engine.
Anchored off Waitangi so the kids can attend a sailing camp. Busy place with a large cruise ship (Sun Princess) unloading its thousands of passengers ashore near here.
Finally off the dock after two weeks of boat projects. The diesel now stays inside the injector pump on its way to the injectors and a new steering cable and more. Anchored near Russel and intend to head further into the Bay of Islands tomorrow.
Alongside the 'Q' dock in Opua this afternoon after a lovely downwind sail through the Bay of Islands right to within a few feet short of the dock. Greeted back to New Zealand by dolphins, a shark and baby blue penguins. Also, a Fluenta first, our autopilot made it all the way to from the tropics to New Zealand without failure (the autopilot drive failed on each of the last two trips from the tropics to NZ - we replaced our wimpy Simrad autopilot drive with one from Hy-Pro Drive while we were in the Marshall Islands). Limited new things on the repair list this time: a blown out panel in the dodger, my cover for the rigid SUP is shredded, the safety knife on the pushpit disappeared (it had been there for five years without a problem), and a new leak on the engine's injector pump. A few new things as well on the rebedding list to keep the water out before the next longer passage.
Seas abating and winds have backed so making good progress now. And .. the current that has been hindering us has finally seemed to have gone away. The staysail has been dropped and secured to the deck as now back into genoa range winds.
Able to actually easily point towards Opua now that the wind has backed a bit more. Seas and wind abating so more comfortable(ish) onboard. Still hitting some steep waves that put a lot of water on deck (and into the cockpit).
Making progress towards NZ but rather bouncy hard on the wind into steep but not very big seas.
Tacked over to port tack and sort of pointing at New Zealand. The current remains strong but pushing us westward now off our desired course.
Nice day of light air sailing yesterday with a few periods of motoring as the wind varied from 8 to 3 kts. Motoring now with the wind averaging 4 kts over the last few hours. Still in an adverse current although it is under one knot against us now.
Just started motoring. Have been mostly sailing close hauled or close reaching in the southerly wind ranging from 6 to 9 kts. Lots of bioluminence at night and Walpole Island was sighted on Victoria's watch yesterday's sunrise.
Nice departure from Ire Bay as a dugong came to just as we were weighing anchor and then a pleasant four hour sail through the lagoon where we had a chance to refresh our memory on how to use the storm staysail (and in doing so hoping we never need it). Since 1200 we have been outside the lagoon mostly close hauled or close reaching making our easting in the southerly winds.
Departing Ire Bay in a few minutes for the passage towards Opua, New Zealand. Intention is to head east for a while to take advantage of the forecast southerly winds before turning right towards NZ.
Escaped the gravitational pull of the dock and are out at Ilot Maitre. Latest intention/thought is to depart Saturday for NZ.
Fluenta is actually in a marina ! First time in over a year and ... we may even be able plug into shore power by tomorrow for the first time in almost four years. And potable water at the dock ... and real showers ashore ...
We had a very nice stay in the beautiful Gadji Bay anchorage but were relieved it make it back through the shallows again on our way out. In our two weeks there we were the only non-centerboard monohull in the anchorage (the other monohulls where French built metal centerboard boats) - it is a bit shallow. A good 59 nm daysail today back to Noumea with a night arrival into the anchorage. One decent sized Walu caught on passage - should provide a few meals. Time for some repairs and preparing for the migration south.
Victoria and I did a little survey with the dingy armed with a handheld GPS and depthsounder and found a new spot where we would not go aground at low tide nor swing into anything unpleasant. With the previous spot we would just slightly settle into the sand at the lowest low tide of the next few days. Now we have almost two feet under the keel at low tide which makes for a fun game for kids (and adults) to swim under the keel between the small gap. A good time to grease the Max-Prop propeller mechanism as well as I can set my tools down in the sand as I work.
Last anchorage was pretty but this is one is even nicer but even shallower. 3.6 feet of water under the keel at high tide. Will be a bit shallow at low tide. Can access only on high tide.
Anchored near Isle de Pines. 3 feet of water below the keel. Long day sail with a 0330 departure but managed to sail most of the way. Caught two tuna and one walu.
Trade winds forecast to take a break so we are giving our bodies a break too and have returned to Noumea for reprovisioning. Intending to head out towards Prony and Isle de Pines tomorrow.
Back to Ilot Maitre as the trade winds have returned. Johnathan's birthday today so surfing behind the dingy is on the agenda. Back to kite surfing tomorrow (For the info of people reading this on Facebook, our Yachts In Transit reports are now automatically also posted to Facebook).
The wind has turned off so back to Noumea for reprovisioning and admin.
Back to Ilot Maitre for kiting. The winds are back ! Had about 27 kts TWS and rolly seas crossing the channel between Grand Terre and Islot Maitre. Hoisted the outboard and the dingy for the 30 min passage.
Back to the big city to restock baguettes and French wine ... Trade winds rumoured to return tomorrow.
Nice day passage to Islot Amedee (the location of the biggest lighthouse in New Caledonia at 175 ft tall. Especially impressive as this is one of the few countries we have been to that actually has functioning lighthouses). Highlight of the trip was a mum and child humpback whale surfacing about 20 feet from Fluenta. We saw two small pods of the whales and drifted for awhile to watch them.
Moved to the other side of Kouare Island for the westerly and southwesterly winds. Pretty spot with lots of reef sharks, dolphins (I paddleboarded with about a dozen of them this morning), turtles, sea snakes, ospreys and audi birds (the Audis are protected and this is an important nesting area for them).
Anchored off Kouare Island in the south of the lagoon. Caught a small tuna on the way here. We checked out anchoring off Ndo Island but could not find a spot that we were comfortable with so headed here instead.
Nestled into a pretty anchor spot between the reefs surrounding Isle Mato. Very clear water and already watching the big remora circling under the boat. Three walu (Spanish Mackerel) caught enroute - that should be about ten meals for the family. Victoria and Johnathan pulled one up each and Johnathan processed most of them on the way here.
Back to the big city for resupply and admin.
Anchored off Ilot Maitre in anticipation of the forecast kiting winds. Anchored in 15' of nice clear water and sea turtles swimming by the water.
Back anchored out in front of the big city of Noumea after a brisk downwind sail in 15-20 kts of wind. Kids had a good camping expedition on Isle Bailly.
Moved to an anchorage off Ille Bailly for better protection from the westerly winds.
Anchored off Ilot Maitre in 20 feet of clear water.
At anchor a few hours ago in Noumea. Nice fast sail through the (World's largest) lagoon.
Still heading toward Noumea. Slowing down with the intention of going through the Pass de la Havannah at slack water and daylight.
Fluenta is on the move again. We left Tanna this afternoon and are headed towards New Caledonia.
Anchored in Port Resolution on Tanna. Fun to see the volcano smoke as we arrived. Lots of dolphins enroute and then arrived to find the anchorage full of kid boats including Tikka.
Fluenta is on the move again bouncing along towards Tanna.
On a mooring ball off Port Vila after a five hour hard on the wind sail this morning. More boats here than we have seen total in our whole time in Vanuatu and Tikopia (of course, that if not a very high standard since we have seen very few boats and have usually been the only boat in any anchorage). Reunion time though as we know at least four other boats here already (including Adamaster who was one of the "baby on board" boats with us in Mexico and our rafting up neighbours in Whangarei.) Fluenta is here for a month or so while Liz and kids head back to Canada and I try to fix things onboard.
Anchored in a small bay off the NW of Lamen Island. Very pretty but small'ish entrance and limited room inside the bay. Lots of coral bommies so the anchor chain is buoyed.
Anchored back in Havannah Bay.
Day anchorage to see the burial site of Chief Roi Mata. Normally the Chief Roi Mata tour includes a boat trip but since we have a boat ... we did the tour, with the chairman of this UNESCO site, with our dingy for two of the sites and then Fluenta for the third site.
A rather bumpy upwind passage to Efate last night and anchored early this morning
Back to our our anchorage to the north of Epi Island hiding from the swell.
A belated post. We moved to Paama Island this morning as it is known for its sand drawing but the anchorage was also untenable with the continued SW swell. Consolation prize however was two big wahoo caught within minutes of each other on our way there.
Unplanned move to a new anchorage day as the wind and swell went SW turning Lamen Bay into an uncomfortable lee shore (but perhaps good surfing). Wind backing now back so should go back to normal soon. Hoping we can see Tematou volcano this evening from the anchorage if the cloud lifts.
Anchored in Lamen Bay of Epi Island as we slowly make our way to Efate.
After a rolly night between the fringing reef and island in not ideal holding we are now tucked into a small bay in front of the Lutes village (the main village of the Maskelynes - even tin on the roofs of some of the buildings) with good protection all round and solid holding. As the entrance to the bay is narrow and shallow we took the dingy in ahead with the handheld GPS and depthsounder to do a quick route recce first.
Saw the dugongs at the last anchorage but now moved along. Anchored between Uliveo Island and the fringing reef. Will take the dingy into Lutes village tomorrow to see if we can get Fluenta into the inner basin.
Anchored off Ambrym in the lee of the active volcano Mt Marum
Anchored near Landot on Pentecost Island in hope of seeing the Land Diving tomorrow.
Heading towards Pentecost Island in what is supposed to be calm seas and wind.
Anchor down again just before sunset finally finding a reasonable anchorage.
Buddy boating with Honey who were dropping off some locals on northern Maewo. We tried anchoring in this location but it was totally unsuitable in this wind and swell.
Anchor down Ansanvari Bay. Lots of waterfalls visible during the passage and one visible in the anchorage. Not in atolls anymore ...
Departed Luganville during the night and heading towards Maewo. Forecast on both GRIB models we use show light winds. Getting 14 to 16 kts of wind so sailing around the leeward of Aoba for a more comfortable trip.
Anchor down in front of Luganville. Awaiting Customs clearance. A bouncy passage with lots of unsettled weather. Ironic the biggest challenge was slowing the boat down so as to not arrive in the dark at Luganville.
Wind back on again. Heading towards Luganville, Vanuatu.
Anchor down at Tikopia while we wait for the trade winds to return. Greeted by fishermen in small sailing canoes and given two tuna.
A nice sail last night and through most of the day as the wind eased. As the wind backed rapidly to NE and NW and eased to 3 to 5 kts we motored for a few hours and are now hove-to. Perfect time for a mid-passage beach party with lots of swimming in 9800 feet of water. Intention is to motor the remaining miles to Tikopia in time for a mid morning arrival to see if the anchorage is tenable.
As the winds eased to 4 kts TWS resorted to motoring for a few hours today. Sailing again since late afternoon as the wind came back despite the forecast for very light winds.
Some good progress in the beginning of the day but squally with big, usually unfavourable, wind shifts since early afternoon.
A very pleasant is slow day at sea with the winds in the 6 to 8 kt range. A few squalls overnight. Nice "over halfway" brunch in the cockpit and progress made with the Honda generator. Blog post on the first seven days at sea to be released soon.
A quiet day making steady if sometimes slow progress in the light winds (less then 10 kts most of today). Big wide ocean but just had to alter course to go around a big Chinese fishing vessel at 0100 local time. Lots of reading and a bit of school and baking onboard today.
A squally day and a squallier night. Lots of wind in the squalls and very little after them. Sea state very benign so able to keep sailing in the light winds.
Hello again Southern Hemisphere. Equator crossing was greeted with an hour long 30+ kt squall but winds back to 10 kts. All is well onboard.
Reasonably fast if bumpy day under staysail and reefed main today. Winds eased from an average of 20 kts to about 15 kts an hour ago.
We seem to be out of the ITCZ squally area with now just steady 20 kt winds. Lot of rain in the squalls but clear now.
After a variable, rainy night appears the wind is back on again. Overnight the wind varied from 5 to 26 kts. New-to-us water towed generator seems to be working well.
Fluenta is on the move again heading towards Vanuatu. Should take about two weeks. Presently sailing slowly downwind towards the pass.
On a mooring in Majuro with a sunrise arrival.
Heading towards Majuro to prepare for the migration south. Enjoying being in the lee of Aur Atoll before back into the mixed-up swell.
Anchored off Ollet Island to see if we can find the WWII relics at this location. Reported to be some Japanese zero fighter aircraft and two sunk ships.
Anchored in front of the main village at Maloelap. Took the southern pass to give us better light through the pass and less time motoring upwind across the lagoon. Caught a nice dogtooth tuna and a barracuda while crossing the lagoon. Even from our spot at anchor we can see two WWII wrecks, a shore battery and bunkers.
On our way towards Maloelap. A bit bouncy and uncomfortable so very quiet onboard. Caught a nice rainbow runner coming out the pass at Ailuk and then a nicer big yellow fin tuna a few hours ago. Challenging filleting conditions. Fluenta doing well under reefed main and hank on staysail.
Anchored back in front of the main village.
Anchored for better access to a potential good kiting spot. Looks like a quiet place to stay for a few days.
Anchored between Ailuk village and a potential kiting spot.
Moved a few miles south making our way slowly back to Ailuk village for a few days.
Not a big passage today. Moved 3/4 nm to be closer to the kiting spot and the village of seven families where we will be judged (we think) for the spelling bee (in English thankfully) and other "Education Week" activities. Kiting has been good with 15 to 20 kts of wind and both Liz and I making good progress. About 12 kids are are our constant welcoming party and assistants when we go to the beach to set up the kites. For those who are interested the location of our kite launch spot is 10 26.414'N 169 57.562'E
Anchor down at in the northern corner of Ailuk Atoll for better protection from the NE winds that are expected to start tomorrow. Three hour transit across the lagoon dodging the many coral bommies. Fun birthday party with our new friends ashore last night - the RHIB is under repair so Liz and the kids rowed Tickle (the kid's sailing dingy) and I took the SUP. Kiting weather tomorrow ?
Anchor down at Ailuk. Looks very pretty. Nice passage from Aur and the furthest north since the Mexico to Marquesas passage. A bit cheeky to say that it was cold at night with Nova Scotia getting hit by another winter storm but we now need light fleeces at night on passage. Also saw Polaris/North Star again for the first time from Fluenta since heading to the Marquesas.
Moving along nicely now after a few hours of true wind speeds less than 8 kts. Close reaching/close hauled in seas approx 1.5 m long period so pretty comfortable. Just caught a mahi mahi - a first in the dark and with everyone else asleep.
Enroute towards Ailuk from Aur.
Oopps. This doesn't look like Maloelap ... Stopped at Aur as close hauled in 19-21 kts TWS and mixed up seas was not much fun. Hove to off the pass for a few hours for good light and then sailed across the lagoon to this anchor spot. Caught a yellow fin tuna in the pass.
Heading towards Maloelap. Double reefed and hank-on staysail to slow try to slow the boat for a daylight arrival
On a mooring at Majero. Nice sail through the day in decent if shifty winds. Nice squall as we approached the pass [edited to show we are not in Africa]
Mostly nice sailing interrupted by occasional squalls and big calms behind the squalls.
A very slow day in winds varying from 4 to 6.5 kts dead behind. Broach reaching to keep enough winds in the sails to keep the boat moving. On present COG we would end up in Juneau (but it is 3995nm away so I suspect the winds will come back before then and we still intend to go to Majero).
Winds have eased but still making good progress. Squall-free night was appreciated.
Departed Tarawa towards Majero. Nice close reach so far.
Anchored in from of Bikenbeu village.
After a nice New Year's Eve party ashore, we have moved back to in front of the Parliament building.
Anchored off Abato Islet at Tarawa where we hope to celebrate New Year's Eve with some new expat friends ashore. Anchored off a pretty resort that seems many miles from smelly Betio (in fact is only 12 nm away). Dolphins greeted us in the pass to Tarawa and we stopped for lunch off the Parliament buildings to get better light to come this far east.
Enroute from Butariari towards Tarawa. We were slowly sailing close hauled towards Tarawa in winds under ten knots but wind has now eased below five knots. Motoring. Dolphins and a sea turtle came to see us off as we left the pass at Butaritari.
Anchor down at Butaritari
Have departed Tarawa and enroute towards Butaritari where we hope to spend Christmas. Nice fast close reach in the lee of Tarawa so far under genoa, staysail and mainsail.
Anchored off the Parliament buildings. Much nicer surroundings and not getting bashed by the wind chop like in the commercial harbour last night. Anchored in 19' of water and the tide should drop about 7' tonight. Waiting for our paperwork to head out to the outer islands.
Anchor down at Tarawa, Kiribati at 1300L today. Awaiting Customs clearance etc.
Fluent is back in the Northern Hemisphere. Taking a short tactical pause to allow for a daylight entry to Tarawa. Nice day of sailing despite ever decreasing winds and increasing current against us. Found out that our bigger fishing lure (we always drag a big and a small lure on passage to cover our bets) had its two big hooks stripped off of it at some point. They were substantial hooks so it would have been a big fish.
Still on a close reach but the wind speed is slowly diminishing. 2.8nm to the equator.
Still making good progress on a close reach despite the foul current against us. Should cross the equator tonight. After a long absence since our our Mexico to Marquesas passage, we can see the big dipper again at night - plus the Southern Cross and Orion.
After what seemed to be constant squalls since Tuvalu we have had a nice patch of squall free sailing for the last 18 hours or so. Just past the half way to go point.
Squally day and night. Mostly sailing close reach or close hauled. Presently motoring in a post squall calm.
First day at sea almost complete. Mixed bag of motoring in 0.9 kts of wind, motor sailing in 5 kts of wind and screaming along with the wind in the low 20 kts. Heavy rain in squalls. Just had a private airshow from a helicopter from the nearby fishing fleet.
Intention is to depart Funafunti today towards Tarawa, Kirabati. Looks like a light wind but squally trip.
Back in front of the town at Funafuti.
Anchor down off Mateiko. Still the only cruising boat around.
Anchor down at Funafuti. Nice passage.
Another nice day of sailing in light air. Lots of electrical activity overnight. Fluenta fishing drought is over as we caught a 83" long (we broke our scale trying to weigh it) sailfish. Fish now for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the fishing lines are inboard as the fridge and freezer are full. Photos on the blog at: SV-Fluenta.blogspot.ca
The squalls lasted through the forenoon but otherwise a calm sailing day close reaching in light air. Just passed the southernmost island of Tuvalu (Niulakita Island). 140 nm to Funafuti.
Good progress during the day reaching at speeds in the 7's and low 8's. Now slower progress with adverse tide and frequent squalls. Caught and returned a 50+ barracuda. Was rather hoping it was a tuna instead.
Nice first day on passage towards Funafuti
Heading off towards Funafuti, Tuvalu
Alongside Copra Shed preparing to head north towards Tuvalu
Anchored off Savusavu after a fast but rolly passage from Taveuni.
Anchored off Taveuni.
On a mooring bouy off Paradise Resort.
At the Copra Shed, Savusavu
Anchored off Coconut Point on our way to Savusavu. Shallower anchoring so should be easier than it was this morning in 60' this morning without the windlass.
Anchored off Nananu-I-Ra enroute towards Savusavu.
Broken windlass so anchoring is good exercise.
Brief stop at Denarau to wait out a bit of a blow, pick up parts and do some serious provisioning.
Anchored off Musket Cove.
Ready to be hauled out at Vuda Point
Anchored outside of Denerau preparing the boat for our trip to Canada.
Kind of like pulling over to the side of the road to sleep, we are anchored off Gana Point on the north coast of Viti Levu on our way to Nadi.
Anchored in Cukuvou Bay in Yadua.
Anchored on the east of Yadua.
Slowly sailing under bare poles towards Yandu waiting for sufficient daylight. Nice peaceful sail.
Anchored at Makogai to see if we can help with Sea Mercy. We have not been ashore yet but damage to the trees is evident even from a distance.
Fast if bumpy passage with a 0430 departure from Savusavu. Slight delay to standby to help a boat drifting towards the outer reef at Point Passage (turns out he was in sailboat and could sail out of danger rather than the precarious tow we were potentially going to need to do). Speeds into the 7's and 8's and one small Mahi Mahi caught.
Anchored Savusavu 0400L. Nice day sailing either wing on wing or broad reaching
Light air day going sailing either wing on wind or broad reaching in winds from 6 to 9 kts. Winds built up to 10 to 12 kts now that we are in the Koro Sea.
Nice day of spinnaker sailing with our light air spin up from just after sunrise to sunset in winds varying from 6 to 10 kts TWS. Have been wing on wing all night making decent, if slow, progress down the rhumb line towards the Koro Sea with about 10 kts average TWS. Bobby the Boobie Bird has stayed with us on and off all day but appears to have left - perhaps our failure to catch any fish recently has disappointed him.
Most of the day was a nice close reach - boat speeds from the high 6's to the low 8's - as we were under what looked like the clouds of the trough. Wind died once the trough moved off and now going back and forth from sailing in light air from the south (not very productive) and motoring slowly. Bobby the Booby has joined the crew for awhile and spent most of the day on the stbd solar panel and now is sleeping on the aft deck. Kids are enjoying our new "pet" but clean up will be interesting ...
Departed through the pass at North Minerva Reef approx 1100L. Nice close reach towards the Koro Sea
Still anchored in North Minerva but intention of departing towards Savusavu today. Gave up waiting for decent winds to sail to Savusavu but had a nice time snorkelling and spearfishing here.
Anchored North Minvera. Intention is to depart tomorrow for Savusavu
Anchored in North Minerva waiting for a weather window to Savusavu
Still anchored in North Minerva Reef awaiting a weather window with some wind to get to Savusavu. Gribs show 5.4m swells outside the reef. A bit bouncy in the the anchorage but not worse than Auckland Harbour ferry wake.
Anchored in North Minerva
Slowly moving to North Minerva waiting for better light for the pass. Combination of light air sailing and motoring last night.
Motoring over glassy swells