Departed Opua 1900 hrs Sunday April 29 motor sailed overnight 88 NM to Urquart's Bay arriving 0800 hrs next morning. Motored the 15 NM upriver to Whangarei Wednesday to Berth C8 Town Basin Marina.
Arrived Opua 1930 NZT yesterday. On the Q dock waiting for check-in formalities to be completed.
Sailing along nicely on the home stretch. Have taken the last pre-prepared passage meal from the freezer for lunch so will only have a few left over vegies that will be confiscated on check-in.
Been sailing along nicely since yesterday's update. The night sky was clearer and we could see some stars however it was much colder and we needed to wear our thermals. Today has been sunny and we were greeted by a pod of dolphins just after lunch.
Yesterday was quite unpleasant. Gale force winds, big seas and lots of rain. Picture being on an amusement park ride for 9 hours that you can't get off. Your carriage is open, the rain heavy and every so often (when you least expect it) someone throws a bucket of salt water over you. The rain stopped late afternoon and the winds dropped by 5 kts which isn't much but made a huge difference and the seas calmed somewhat. It was great to take off the wet clothes and wrap ourselves in the sleeping bag when we got our 3 hour breaks during the evening. This morning the conditions are more favorable and the crew happier.
This morning marked half way for the passage in nautical miles. We know we are getting closer to New Zealand without looking at the charts as we have put away t-shirts and shorts and are now wearing wind-cheaters and long pants. The wind has been 20-25 kts with gusts of 35 kts and the seas are up again to 3m. A squally overcast start to the day had us harnessed in the cockpit wearing our wet-weather gear with sea spray, the occasional wave and heavy rain giving us a good soak. Visibility was down to about 15 meters at this time although no concern as the boats we are in company with are now quite dispersed.
We motored until 11.15 PM and then sailed at a slow pace until morning. It was nice to hear the rushing of the water along the hull instead of the engine. The night sky was quite clear and it is getting lighter each night as we approach the next full moon. The morning was sunny and we now have consistent winds of 15-20 kts which look like they will stay for the rest of our passage. The seas started a bit confused as the wind increased and the swell at 3 metres made lunch preparation a little challenging but now they have settled. We have full head sail and two reefs in the main making the ride very comfortable. All is well on board and crew are smiling.
The wind came up at noon yesterday and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon of sailing. Put one reef in the main before dark and a second at 10 PM along with a full head sail. Still could see 4 of the other yachts lights for most of the night whilst watching lightning around the horizon in a number of directions. 4.30 AM we took the reefs out and spent a gloomy morning sailing in 100% cloud cover and rain. The wind died at noon but as this coincided with me catching a MahiMahi which had to be landed, prepared and then the cockpit cleaned we rolled around doing less than 3 knots before turning the motor on at 2 PM. Still no wind 4 hours later.
The northerly winds we had on leaving Vuda died out and we motored until 11 PM when the wind picked up to 13-15kts from the East. Had a great sail until 3.30 AM when the wind died out and we have been motor-sailing since. There were 5 other yachts close around us most of the evening their mast lights clearly visible. Toronui and Celine have been within 10 miles of Gigi since we exited Navula Passage and we spoke to both early in the evening on the radio. A very comfortable first night with both of us getting some good sleep. The sun is burning off the few clouds around and it looks to be a lovely day.
Cleared customs and immigration with a noon departure from Vuda Marina. Will have an outgoing tide to help us exit Navula Passage during daylight.
In Vuda Marina. The weather has become much hotter.
Off Denarau again. Plan is to stay a while so that we may do some varnishing. Cooler here and no mosquitoes.
Vuda Marina - will be here for a month as Karen is going to Australia for 2 weeks
Anchored outside of Denarau. Will spend 2 nights here to allow a Nadi visit for fresh supplies from the market
Anchored off Vatia Beach Resort. Ashore for a cold drink and a walk.
Volivoli Point -first time we have taken the dingy ashore as it's usually too windy. Nice Fish & Chips and cold beers for lunch at the resort
Vitu Levu Bay - off Navuniivi Village which we visit each time we come to Fiji. The village was a happening place with rebuilding of homes (only 15 were left from the 72 after Cyclone Winston), repairs to the church and the installation of power poles for electrical connection to the grid.
Lovely motor/sail to Makogai. Anchored off Dalice which suffered greatly in Cyclone Winston. There is only a small number of men here rebuilding all the houses that were lost. The women and children are living in Suva. This was once one of our favourite snorkelling spots but the beach is now littered by broken coral from the cyclone.
Anchored off Cousteau's resort to enable an early start tomorrow morning
Day 8 NZ to Fiji - Arrived safely in Savusavu at 1600 after sailing through the southern islands with gusty conditions. In the morning there was low cloud and drizzle that reduced visibility for a number of hours. At 11.40 we decided to turn on the engine as we wanted to arrive in Savusavu in time for Customs clearance into Fiji. The timing was such that if we didn't burn some diesel we would need to spend the night sailing back and forth outside the pass as it is prohibited to anchor anywhere before customs procedures have been completed. The thought of a full night's sleep won out! Now on a mooring ball in Nakamaa Creek.
Day 7 NZ to Fiji - The wonderful sailing conditions continue. Enjoyed a clear sky last night with thousands of stars. The only disappointment was not landing the fish on my trolling line this morning. With the Islands of Totoya and Matuku now in view we feel that we are on the home straight.
Day 6 NZ to Fiji - Great sailing with full headsail, staysail and double reefed main for the last 24 hours. All well onboard.
Day 5 NZ to Fiji - Before dark last night we reduced our sails to the staysail and reefed main sail. Whilst this reduces our speed it also reduced the heel of the boat and the frequency of waves into the cockpit. We also hoped that this would eliminate the need for sail changes during the night (this wasn't the case). Due to conditions we decided that using the gas was out of the question so had a dinner of dry crackers and Tim Tams and had the evening meal for today's lunch. Lots of sleeping today as the seas and winds have eased a little. A very sunny warm day good for drying the wet weather gear from last night.
Day 4 NZ to Fiji - There are 2 great sounds on a boat. One when the motor turns on and the second when it turns off. Just after 9pm last night we switched the engine off and enjoyed the sound of the water rushing along the hull and the whoosh of the waves breaking alongside. This morning the winds continued to build and the seas have become boisterous and weather squally.
Day 3 NZ to Fiji - Still motoring but making good progress. Expecting winds to pick up late today.
Day 2 NZ to Fiji - our second 24 hour period has seen the wind drop and seas flatten out. Not enough wind to keep Gigi at a respectable passage speed so we have been motoring. It has made for a comfortable ride to catch up on sleep. It was a cloudy night and although we didn't see the moon there was still plenty of light filtering through and the temperature is not as cold as it has been.
Day 1 NZ to Fiji - a light rain shower as we passed Russell. One tack to clear Tikitiki Rock and we were out of the Bay of Islands. The wind was strong from SW and our course being NE meant that Gigi was rolling around all night and we didn't get any sleep so it's catch up today.
Take 2 - Cleared Customs this morning and on our way!
Berth G31 in Bay Of Islands Marina, Opua. Our last stop north until we check-out of NZ.
In Marsden Cove Marina. After checking out we discovered an electrical fault that has prevented our NZ departure.
Overnight sail from Gulf Harbour blew the cobwebs from Gigi and crew. We threw off the lines at quarter past five in the afternoon after the strong SE winds subsided. Motoring out of the Marina we were greeted with a lovely pink sunset which I deemed a a good omen for the passage as they say "Red sky at night is a sailors delight". Conditions were favourable with wind from the rear quarter, slight seas and a bright moon until about 2:30 am. Lovely except that it was really cold - thermals, three top layers, beanies and gloves. We sailed until we passed the first channel markers and anchored outside of Marsden Cove marina at 4:30 for a few hours sleep before our 10 am Customs clearance from New Zealand.
Berth B35 Gulf Harbour Marina. Will spend the winter in NZ with offshore cruising plans on hold till May 2017.
A wet and windy start to 2016 spent in Opunga Cove
Arrived Opua at 13:30 local time Saturday after 195 hours (65.5 hours under motor) and overall it was a good passage. The Customs, Immigration and Bio-security process was efficient with friendly officers and soon after we were tied up in The Bay of Islands Marina. Had a great sleep last night and will spend the next week with the Allpoints Rally and doing a few boat jobs.
At 5PM last night we were positioned about 25nm directly off North Cape. Wind and swell had reduced so we motored directly east for a couple of hours before turning straight for Opua. Cloudless night making for good star-gazing but very cold. This morning the sun is shining, seas are flat and we are motoring along the coast for the finish line. Smiles all round
New Zealand is welcoming us in her own special way by turning on the wind and wave machine. Slow progress on this last leg with a boisterous ride. Expect arrival in Opua will be late Saturday.
Frustrating night. After going through the cold front with a good rain shower to wash the salt off Gigi the winds were SE-S-SW and a strong current against us so struggled to make any miles in the right direction for many hours. You hate to lose any of those miles already in the passage bank.
This morning the wind is more consistent from the SSW, the sun is trying to peek through the clouds and we are back on course.
Some lovely sailing yesterday and last night with following winds and calm seas. Wind dropped at 3:40 this morning and to keep our speed up we are motor sailing. Its much colder now and we are wearing thermals at night on watch. Expecting the wind to pick up and turn southerly later today with gusty conditions. All is well onboard.
Lazy afternoon enjoying the sunshine and reading our books whilst motoring on a very glassy sea. No rolling or banging of sails so almost perfect conditions except for no wind. Wind picked up to 8 kts at 9.30 PM and we were sailing again. Gigi won't be breaking any speed records but the crew are much happier with the engine off. Cruising is of course "slow travel".
Great to turn the motor off yesterday after lunch and hear the water rushing along the hull. Had a clear, starry night with flat seas but wind dropped off again at 11PM so the motor was back on. Lovely sunrise, still no wind.
Lost wind at 3am and have been motoring since. Wind in last hour seems to be building slightly so we hope that we will be sailing again soon.
Motored from Port Moselle Fuel dock past lovely Amadee Island and through Bourail Pass. Cleared the pass at 1315 and had a good afternoon and evening sail with consistent winds of 20 kts. A little bumpy overnight with wind & 2 metre swell but we still managed to get some sleep. Lovely morning with reduced wind and swell and sunny skies.
Checked out the country and hope to leave the dock by 10 am to fuel up and be one our way. Had a great time in New Caledonia.
Port Moselle Marina, Noumea
Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines
Turtles popping up all around Gigi in the anchorage. In company with some ICA Rally boats and lots of local boats here also. Great to have fresh baguettes again.
Spent 6 hours yesterday drifting in glassy blue seas. Started slowly today but the wind has just picked up and we are sailing at 6 kts. Will need to slow down early evening as we can't arrive until 9 am tomorrow.
Past south of Tanna Island (Vanuatu) this morning. No wind and very calm blue seas.
Sailing slowly under clear blue skies
Great moonrise and as the full moon is so close to earth at present it was a very light night. Turned the motor off at 01:30 this morning and have been sailing along nicely since.
Departed Vuda Marina 11:00 yesterday after an efficient and quick customs clearance. Motoed until we were through Navula passage to beat the incoming tide. Very pleasant afternoon sail before the winds changed to be directly behind making it a rolly, noisy night. Turned the motor on again at 10:00 this morning.
In Vuda Marina with customs clearance booked for tomorrow.
Makogai Island - In company with 9 other boats for the first night. This is our third visit to this island. Still very pretty however the Mariculture activities are almost non existent now.
on a Copra Shed Marina mooring in Savusavu
The sun has risen and we have a lovely view of Gau which we sailed past earlier. 60 nm to Savusavu. Will probably need to delay our arrival until Wednesday morning.
The winds have turned SW allowing us a good course through the islands to Savusavu. Got some sleep during the night so the Gigians are feeling good.
Fantastic sailing until 5pm when we had squalls and rain. Gusty night with wind from behind. Too noisy down below to sleep.
Slower progress yesterday as we tried not to lose any ground in the northerly winds.
Light winds during the day just enough to sail. Very sunny and the air temp has really warmed up. Overnight the winds picked up to 20+ kts, down to 15 this morning. Passed the halfway point yesterday. ETA Savusavu Tuesday 19th
Sailed in sunshine during the day and have motored all evening under a clear and starry sky.
Gusty head winds are now lighter from behind. Making good progress and all are well onboard.
We really have left New Zealand! Went off the chart area and needed to change the chip in our chart plotter to the Pacific Islands. 2PM smiles all round as we turned off the motor after 17 hours of motoring. Great sailing all night
Motoring since 7.30 last night in light winds and slight seas which we expect to continue for a couple of days. Great to have Dean from "Local Talent" company during the night and what a stunning moonrise. Better sleep pattern already setting in.
A bit rolly with the wind behind us but a good start to the passage with sunshine and plenty of stars at night. Sailed all night under main only.
Checked out the country and will be on way shortly
Left Gulf Harbour Monday evening at 2015 motor-sailing before the northerlies strengthened and arrived in Urqharts Bay at 0820. Caught up on missed sleep before coming into Marsden Cove Marina where we will wait for a good weather window to head off.
Still in Gulf Harbour Marina
Doing the last minute jobs before we depart Gulf Harbour Marina this Friday
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