Yeah we've arrived at Port Sidney Marine, which will be our home for the next six months. Sure pleased to be in here, this is a lovely marina, with good facilities and a top location. Now we're back in civilisation we plan to go to the cinema, also to see a concert, we've bought tickets to see John Fogerty play in Victoria.
Pulled into Lyall Harbour yesterday. This is where we will spend our last two nights on anchor before heading into Port Sidney Marina where Iolea will remain for 6mths. Sure looking forward to going to the Saturna Pub here on the SW point of this anchorage for dinner, the guides say the pub is well respected for the quality of it's fish & chips and lamb burgers; guess what we're having for dinner tonight.
Well we are now anchored off Vancouver Island in an anchorage called Nanaimo Harbour. This feels a bit like Sydney Harbour back home as it is back in the big smoke. Today's plan is to finally get in the water and change those zincs as the water is a cosy 12 degrees rather than the usual 8 degrees we've b been experiencing.
A functional stop tonight after leaving Desolution Sound to break up the trip south. I've never seen so many jelly fish before. We belatedly realised that was why two local boats had anchored further out where there were no jelly fish.
Well today intense as we traverse the holy trilogy of dangerous rapids around the Cordero Channel being - Dent Rapids, Gillard Passage & Yuculta Rapids. Timing is absolutely critical here as these rapids run up to 14kts and there are vicious eddies due to sink holes, your can imagine what it is like when there is wind against tide! There is a story of a fishing trawler getting one of these wrong and getting caught out badly. In rough conditions when there is a lot of white water there is more air in the water, which means that your boat is not as buoyant and as such sits lower in the water with less freeboard making it easier for water to get into your boat, the air in the water also means you do not have as much control as your propeller does bite as well nor does your rudder which combined affects speed and steerage. On a fateful day that trawler got an eddy so badly wrong that it was capsized. In our case we were anxious to ensure we were early rather than late as when your are heading east the slack water is later with each rapid you go through, if you get the first one wrong you are toast. In our case we were indeed early pushing into 5kts of current, even though it was well after the change of tide. But we managed to get through without issue making the next two rapids easier to traverse. After that we wanted to anchor in Pendrell Sound, not for the beauty as most people argue, rather in our case it was because it is meant to have the warmest water in Canada which meant I could change our zincs. I was hoping for 13 degrees or more rather than the 8 we've been experiencing, alas it was too deep to anchor and had a varying rocky bottom with no other option as a fish farm was placed in the only other possible anchor spot. So we moved onto down to Prideaux Haven which was lovely.
Today we tackled the top half of the notorious Johnstone Strait where 4-5kts currents normally hit 4-5kts, which in a wind against tide scenario would be out right dangerous. Fortunately for us we had a 20kt wind and tide in the same direction so we averaged 10-11kts SOG motor sailing most of the day allowing us to cover good mileage and make it down to Cameleon for the night which had great wild life including bears.
Well after crossing Queen Charlotte Strait in what we expected to be good sailing conditions which were favourable current, favourable 2-3m swell, and 20kts of wind from behind, all being in the right direction we now know why locals fear this crossing so much. The sea state was an absolute shocker. Next time we do this I think we will follow the local fishing boats and hug the coast rather that traverse straight across. That said, it is nice to have finished the crossing and be safely on anchor in Port Alexander.
Our staging point for tomorrow's crossing to Queen Charlotte Strait is Fury Cove. This is a modestly sized anchorage with good anchoring depths and great vista through various cuts to the ocean and some sandy beaches. Its a great place to stage for the crossing.
We decided to anchor in Joe's Bay tonight which is a bomb proof tiny little deep water anchorage. What is bizarre about this place is that the maximum ebb tide out of the anchorage occurs at the top half of the flood tide because there is a large lake that feeds a river through the bay, but the river dries at low so there is no flow. Once the tide comes in though it starts to run strongly and due to the rapids the suds that flow into the bay are like ice bergs, you feel like your boat is sitting in one giant bubble bath. This is definitely an anchorage that we would recommend as a must visit.
Well today's passage was real heart in your mouth stuff as we had to traverse Perceval Narrows which is unpassable for most boat at anytime other than slack tide, which of course never occurs on time. Fortunately we had a 85ft power boat attempt to go through 30mins before us only to turn back at the sight of standing 3m waves that had no backs and were breaking in the pass. 45mins later it was amazing how much it settled, not that the pass was great but at least it was doable. Tonight's stop was in a large well protected anchorage called Shearwater which boasts a resort that is well regarded. We didn't think much of it as it lacked intimacy, was not that pretty and there was too much noice from generators ashore.
Tonight's stop was in the well protected Rescue Bay. This is a large anchorage that could take a lot of boats.
We needed good protection from a forecast 30kt blow from the SE with heavy rain so we pulled into Butedale to tie alongside the public dock for two days to let the weather pass. A functional stop with an impressive nearby waterfall but overall not that pretty; we did see a black bear on shore though which was a bonus.
Our first stop since leaving Prince Rupert is a tiny little anchorage half way through the Grenville Channel called Exposed Inlet. It is a lovely little anchorage that is well protected against all winds except those with some north in them. This whole Grenville Channel passage is fascinating as the tides meet in the middle and can get quite strong, up to 4-5kts. So the strategy is to time your arrival in the centre so that it coincides with high tide, that way you get a free ride in with a flood tide and a free ride out with an ebb tide. Trouble is that like one local put it, the actual current you experience varies so much from the predictions its almost a random event due to the combined effects of wind and rain on water flows.
Woo Hoo! We've arrived in Canada clearing into Prince Rupert. This was the easiest clear in process we've had in 9yrs of cruising, it was all done over the phone. The harbor master's office is new here which means the bathrooms, showers and laundry are also new making this the best facilities we've seen since the recently redeveloped Opua Marina in the Bay of Islands NZ, and quite the contrast to what we saw in Sand Point Marina along the Aleutian Islands.
Wow what a sensationally well protected anchorage, and a great place to cut the passage from Ketchikan to Prince Rupert in half and avoid an overnight passage. This bay is the officially approved spot to anchor when cleared out and in-between the USA and Canada. The route into this anchorage is super tight, not heart in your mouth stuff but definitely tight, and without any chart datum, but locals and cruiser guides assured as we could get in without issue, and we're so pleased we're here.
This was a quick one night stop to clear out of USA, do laundry, reprovision, drop off garbage, and have a meal ashore. Not a place that appeals to us as it is essentially a cruise ship town with up to 5 cruise ships at a time dropping off 15000 tourists.
We so pleased we decided to come into Meyers Chuck to hide from the impending two days for rain and strong SE based winds. We were a little nervous as we have not chart data, but locals assured us it was fine. It is the prettiest of little coves with a small permanent community. Including Steve and his wife Casey. Casey dropped off half a dozen of her famous fresh bakes cinnamon buns this morning, Steve have us a tour up to the Fire Tree, and another local showed us how to skin an otter.
Now that our engine is starting perfectly again we headed further south to Frosty Bay for a night, which was a lovely little well protected anchorage.
We were lucky to make it out of Thomas Bay as our engine wouldn't start, thought it may have something to do with the 1 degree water we went through. Luck has it that we did get it started eventually. Pulled into Port Wrangell and proceeded to search for why the engine wouldn't start. The starter battery was 6yrs old and appeared to have low voltage so we bought a new one, albeit smaller. Turns out it was not the battery. We were told by an electrician that it was our starter motor, which was only 3yrs old so we replaced it with our spare. Turns out it was not the starter motor either, rather a local mechanic (Chris) discovered that is was merely a poor ground connection, which was of course in an incredibly difficult spot to see and access.
We saw no bears in our last anchorage despite having spent two nights in Chaplin Bay; we're starting to wonder about where all the bears have gone. Today we moved down to anchor off the south eastern corner of Ruth Island inside Thomas Bay which is another top spot, one where we got to celebrate Kate's birthday. The water on the way in here was the coldest we've ever seen, the lowest reading we saw was a mere 3.1 degrees celcius. This morning we'll head up to the mud flaps at the face of the receding Baird Glacier.
After our short stay at Warm Springs Bay on Baronof Island with the lovely baths we decided to move to Chapin Bay where we intend to stay for two nights and let some foul weather pass by. The guide books say that there is more bears here on Admiralty Island than any other part of Alaska, particularly Grizzly Bears who like to swim to yachts if they get a whiff of food on the boat. So we are hopeful of seeing Grizzly Bears in their element, albeit not swimming out to Iolea for a free feed.
We had a leisurely motor sail yesterday around to Warm Springs Bay on Baranof Island. Its immediately obvious how popular this stop is with its lovely bay, impressive waterfall a stone's throw away from the relatively new floating dock and the lodges along the shore. The walk up to the lake and the warm baths did not disappoint nor did the wildlife, we saw a black bear fishing along the shoreline; which made us wonder why we did not bring our bear spray with us when we went on our walk. This morning the rain has set in so we will reconsider whether we want to stay rafted up to our friends John & Ivy on Ruby Slippers alongside the dock or move on top our next anchorage.
Our friends from Australia (Gudrun & Oscar) joined us at Sitka a few days ago. After painting the town red we pulled out at dawn yesterday for Appleton Cove via the notorious Sergius Channel. Upon arriving here yesterday we were greeted by two large pods of whales feeding. It was one of those scenes where the whales cirles blowing bubbles then all come together at the same time and rise to the surface with mouths agape; very impressive stuff.
We pulled into Sitka today to get the boat ready for friends from Australia who will be joining us on board for a week. This is the most substantive town we've sailed into so far in Alaska. They also have a small cinema which is a real treat for us, assuming they are showing a film we want to see.
Tonight's anchorage is in Wooded Knoll Cove, which is towards the head of Slocum Arm. Whilst its well protected and seriously pretty we are anchoring in what is essentially one giant rock hand basin. There appears to be no sand, mud, gravel, shale, grass, weed, basically nothing but a smooth hard rock bottom. Fortunately we have benign conditions so 60m of chain with a 100lb bruce is more than enough in 15m of water to keep us held tonight. Interestingly on the way in we thought we saw an uncharted shoal in 120m of water when approaching the northern end of the entrance to the anchorage. We later realised that is was a dead whale that was around 2m underwater lying upside down. Another eye opener was that the Navionics charts were off by a very large margin, and were so for most of the anchorages nearby. If you looked at our tracks on Navionics we have anchored on land. The government charts available via Navionics however were fine, as were the C-Map charts from Jeppersen on our chartplotter.
Had a fascinating day today. We took a local short cut through the Piehle Passage as a means for shortening our voyage south. When y9ou first look at this passage on the charts your immediate reaction is no way! But when we read a cruising guide and studied it more carefully it not only made sense but it looked like a lot of fun. Suffice to say that it did not disappoint. Whilst it was tight at times with a few very sharp precise turns required it was fine, very pretty along the way, the exit into the ocean was somewhat heart in your mouth stuff though as we had 10ft seas. We're now safely on anchor at the head of St John Baptist Bay, which is our staging point to make the run down Neva Strait and Olga Strait into Sitka tomorrow. Its a nice anchorage with good holding and swing room.
We moved onto Klag Bay today, anchoring up in the head of the bay. Whilst the charts have generally been okay around here, with only a few errors, they had an island at the head of the bay on the wrong position, it was 300ft further north and 100ft further west than what the charts suggest. Fortunately the depths and coastline etc all seem to be pretty good. Tomorrow we plan to move around the corner and up into Lake Anna to hide from another pending bout of bad weather.
We're thoroughly enjoying our gunk-holing down the SE coast of Alaska. Another day another new anchorage, this next one was just a mere 6nms around the corner to Kimshan Cove via a very tight cut which was not much wider than the length of Iolea. Fortunately the charts were good; which was a stark contrast to the last anchorage which didn't show a drying shoal that was so large you needed to ensure you did not swing any closer than 100m to the 5m contour at the head of the bay. Back to Kimshan Cove though, wow what a sensationally well protected anchorage; your only exposed to a NW wind, the bottom is sandy mud and is as flat as a billiard table with very easy 10-15m anchoring depths. We'll just stay here one night though as we do need to make progress south, and there is a lot of wind and rain coming in 2-3 days which will be looking to hide from via an anchorage as well protected as this.
The weather improved, as forecasted, so we popped around to Didrickson Bay. This is a well protected anchorage with an abundance of wildlife; we have salmon running up streams, bears, deer and eagles. A fishing trawler came in the following morning and set its net from one side of the bay to the other, its in the process of beginning to bring its net up as I type, it will be interesting to see the size of their catch.
To our pleasant surprise we were able to sail the last half of the way into Pelican yesterday. It is another lovely little boardwalk based town, albeit larger than Elfin, that survives on fishing and tourists in the summer. We've been told by locals that we will certainly see bears here down by the bridge and up at the dump. Sure pleased to be here given the weather forecast, which is for winds from the NNE gusting up to 50kts. Wind that strong and from that direction would blow straight into Elfin whereas here in Pelican we are extremely well protected and much further inland. We're keeping our fingers crossed this weather passes through by Sunday night, but according to the EC model there is a chance an even bigger storm gusting from the SW may hit us on Tuesday and Wednesday. So far that second storm looks unstable and may stay further south than forecasted by the EC model. The GFS models says the weather will be fine from Monday on, so we're hoping the GFS is right and that storm does stay much further south.
There is some nasty weather coming so we decided to head into Elfin Cove for a night before moving onto Pelican to hide from the storm. Elfin is a lovely little boardwalk based town that survives on fishing, and tourists in the summer, during winter it has only 6 permanent residents. Its so small there is only one bar and a small grocery store with no facilities other than fuel and water. The outer harbour has a single town dock, which is free. There was plenty of partying going on amongst the fishermen as they had all come back in from out there catching fish.
We motored down from Yakutat to Graves Harbor over night. This anchorage is almost completely land locked with plenty of swing room and good holding. We have friends who saw bears here last time they anchored in this bay, we're hoping to also see bears. The weather forecast is predicting gusts up to 55kts from the NNE on Saturday night. Not sure how this anchorage will fair in that direction and strength. If was clearly NE it should be fine, but if it turns out to be more N than NNE then we may have a problem. So we'll probably head down around the corner on in a day or two past Cape Spencer through the North Inian Passage to Elfin Cove, which everyone unanimously says is a lovely little town that is a must see on your way down the Inside Passage. So Elfin Cove here we come.
Popped down to Yakutat today to stage for our last overnight of the season which will be a short 120nm hop to Graves Bay. A neat little town which we are looking forward to exploring.
Icy Bay is turning out to be the most stunning of anchorages. Apart from the views, looking at the second tallest snow capped mountain in all of Alaska and Canada, and the glacier, there is excursions up inside the glaciers. Yesterday we used the dingy to go up to the face of three of the glaciers. This was the farthest we'd ever taken the dingy, it was 34nms to get there and back. We took precautions knowing it is remote, icy waters, and a long way. We took spare fuel, our 2nd little outboard and spare fuel for that one also. Had lunch prepared, a thermos of tea and one of soup. There was also the VHF, bear spray, air horn etc. Everything worked out sensationally, got to dodge and weave our way through the ice, at times having to stop the engine and move with oars pushing away ice bergs to clear a path. The glacier we stopped at for lunch was cracking loudly, it sounded like deep thunder and lightening. There were hundreds of seals around lounging on the ice bergs, many of which came up close to check us out. Some very weird water up there too. We saw the typical grey glacial water, green, blue and swirling brown waters in 150m of depth which we put down to large chunks of the face peeling off under water. All up this was an extraordinary day. One that was most unexpected as we've not read any other blogs that talked about how much this anchorage has to offer. We'd highly recommend this stop to other cruisers.
As there was no wind forecast for the next 7-10 days we bit the bullet and headed off to Icy Bay yesterday. As expected it was a motor sail at best, but hey we're here now and loving it. No anxious moments had we deferred and stayed in Prince William being concerned about getting weather to head this way, rather we have oodles of time now to enjoy this part of the word. We are anchored off a wilderness lodge with views of a glacier and an 18000ft snow capped mountain. Plan is to dingy up to the face of the glacier before we head further south.
We headed around to Garden Cove anchorage in the SW corner of Hinchinbrook Island to stage for a morning departure to Icy Bay. This bay is large, dead flat, good anchoring depth with a sticky mud bottom, and lovely despite having to share the anchorage with a giant oil freighter/barge, the newest and largest tug boat we've ever see, two fishing trawlers and another cruiser in a trawler. Yes this is the most crowded anchorage we've been to since arriving in Alaska. We've only had to share one other anchorage and that was with just one boat for one night when we were in Whale Bay. All that said, if we weren't planning on going to Icy Bay tomorrow I would've liked to hang around here for quite some time.
As we get ready to head east across the Gulf the weather is top of mind. The great westerly based breeze that has hung around for 7-10 days has ceased. Can't see any decent wind seven days out, so we risk having to motor. Thought it prudent to go into Cordova. This turned out to be a lovely little town and a productive stop. We arrived late afternoon, dropped off 4 bags of rubbish, re-provisioned, topped up our propane, refueled, met up with a couple of cruiser boats we'd met up here. Had a great walk around town and the best dinner i've had in Alaska which was the "Mussels & Clams" dish at "The Reluctant Fisherman". Currently heading back out to stage ourselves to most probably head out early tomorrow morning across the gulf for Icy Bay. Our staging point will be the Garden Cove anchorage in the SW corner of Hinchinbrook Island.
Ducked into Bear Trap Bay yesterday; hoping to see bears of course. Its hard to believe that with each anchorage we visit they just keep getting better. Whilst there is a ton of room in here it still feels intimate as the surrounding Fjord is so high and the nearby waterfall so grand & loud. This anchorage would be one of our top three in Prince William Sound; which are Whale Bay, Fish Trap and here in Bear Trap. The only downside in here is that you don't hold a sat phone signal for long because of the height of the fjord.
We headed out to Snug Corner Cove; which was intended to be a functional stop which cut the passage to our next anchorage (Bear Trap) in half but in the end had a double bonus. It was stunningly beautiful of course but even more so because it was so large an open with seas so flat you could shave in your reflection with clear skies, eagles, seals and otters and all to ourselves. Plus we had pretty damn good internet for a change.
After a fabulous couple of days in Fish Trap we headed east towards the Columbia Glacier. It was sort of weird in that there was a lot of ice coming out of Columbia Glacier that we had to dodge going into Fish Trap, some of it quite large, but on our way into Columbia Glacier there was very little. We put part of this down to the large amount on the way in being rain that had washed it down and king tides. Also on our way into Columbia it was a rising tide but to a false high. When we got to the entrance we were not game to enter as it was not where the charts said it was, and when we looked at the speed and path of two tour boats ahead they were clearly having trouble navigating as there was just so many icebergs clustered so tightly we could not see a clear path into the glacier. So we took comfort in what we saw and headed to our anchorage for the evening which is Emerald Cove in Heather Bay. Once here, Kate decided to go for a kayak and a walk. In preparation she tried using the bear spray whilst on the boat. Wow that stuff sure does spray out in a wide arc! So armed with her bear spray, air horn and VHF she headed out. Once ashore she saw high grass that had been trodden down and extremely large poos so thought it better to retreat to her kayak and walk another day. Funnily once back to the boat she rubbed her eyes and wondered what was stinging, then she remembered her test spray of the bear spray. Oh and of course this is yet another stunningly beautiful anchorage.
Ducked into an anchorage call Fish Trap for a couple of nights. Its called fish trap we think because at the head of the bay it dries at low and the fish get caught in all these ponds; after all you see 5m tides here around springs. Not seen any bears yet, but there are plenty of otters, seals, eagles and salmon jumping. What also differentiates this anchorage is that unlike most anchorages in Alaska it is not a rock/gravel/pebble bottom with poor holding, rather it appears to be good holding mud. It is also so quiet here that we are still struggling with the ringing sound you get in your ears when the silence is so deadening.; which admittedly is pretty standard in all the anchorages we've visited so far.
We started to inch further north into Prince William Sound today. Spent the night in Outside Bay on Naked Island. Apart from another great anchorage, there was one additional nice to have, namely internet. There is a cell tower on the island which has enabled us to do some long overdue Facebook posts and blog updates. Our blog is embarrassingly out of date, so much so that it had not been updated since we were in Vanuatu two years ago. Kate made good progress updating the blog for our passage from Hawaii to Alaska our first month's worth of gunk-holing along the Alaskan coast. Our plan is to have it updated for all of Alaska, Hawaii, French Polynesia, New Zealand and New Caledonia within the next few weeks assuming we can get enough cell coverage during that time.
After three days on anchor hunkered down hiding from wind and rain in the lovely Whale Bay, which is so well protected we didn't see a knot of breeze and the holding was all so good with its sticky mud bottom, we upped anchor and popped around to Snug Harbor on Knight Island. Motoring into this place is like motoring into Jurassic Park. It is even more protected than the other anchorages we've visited, which are all well protected. Unlike our last anchorage (Whale Bay) we are back to a rock bottom though; good thing there is not wind forecast for tonight. The bay is full of life, like lots of anchorages here in Prince William Sound, and interestingly has its own micro climate as we have clear skies outside but steady rain and low lying cloud inside this nook of an anchorage.
We checked out the Tiger Glacier in Icy Bay yesterday morning, the weather was perfect, clear skies and little wind, enabling us to motor up real close to the head of the glacier. Decided not to anchor there last night though despite there being what looked like a good anchorage. The water temperature had dropped to 6 degrees in there, which combined with what little breeze there was made the wind chill factor feel like sub-zero. We were also a little unsure about the idea of not being able to leave when we wanted to due to dense fog, which we've seen quite a bit of in the last 3-4wks, inhibiting our ability to navigate our way out through the thousands of little ice bergs. So we ducked around the corner to Whale Bay, which is absolutely stunning of course, water temperature back up to 10 degrees and ice free. It is so beautiful here we're going to spend an extra day/night before we continue on with our aquatic wander exploring Prince William Sound.
Another day, another stunning anchorage. Today we moved to Otter Bay, expecting to see otters. Whilst we're yet to see an otter or bear here, despite this anchorage having a reputation for an abundance of life, we have seen plenty of fish. We also had the privilege of being chaperoned around the anchorage as we kayaked by the local seal. They really are the dogs of the sea, love a walk and company. Tomorrow we plan to head around to Icy Bay to get an up close and personal with some more glaciers.
We finished our boat jobs in Seward and headed back out, this time to Fox Farm Bay in the SW outside corner of Prince William Sound. This is yet another amazing anchorage; one often used by fishermen to hide from a storm. We're pleased to have the anchorage to ourselves. There is not a knot of wind, the water is as flat and glassy as a mirror, and there is good anchoring depth here albeit not the best holding on gravel/pebble/mud. The vista is of course stunning, as is the wildlife with otters swimming nearby the boat.
Pulled into Seward Small Boat Harbor Marina a couple of days ago for some much needed provisioning and as a base for a train trip to check out Anchorage. They are blessed here with the most stunning views; should be a fun stop.
Sure pleased we moved anchorages yesterday. We headed up towards the head of Aialik Bay to check out the other anchorage recommended by the Pilot Book which was in the SE corner of Coleman Bay Inlet. Whilst that anchorage was much better than Paradise Cove in that you could find suitable depths for anchoring, it felt closed in, there were some odds winds swirling around there, and the bottom wasn't as flat as we'd prefer. Fortunately we found a much better anchorage, which is a tiny cove just to the south of the pass into Coleman Bay Inlet which supposedly had a ranger's hut on the the land. We couldn't see the ranger's hut, but the bottom was very good in that the depths ranged from 15-25m with very steady gradual changes, nice and flat. We dropped in 18m and had no issues holding with 60m of chain out. The little unnamed cove also turned out to offer the best shelter from the forecast E-ESE25kt winds, there was no swell other than a little wake from the odd tour boat from time to time. A top spot that we would highly recommend. Our plan is to head into Seward either tomorrow or the day after, whenever the weather clears.
Having spent the day checking out the Northwestern Glacier we didn't leave ourselves much time to get to our next anchorage which we thought may be either the SE corner Paradise Cove or the SE corner of Coleman Bay Inlet; these are the only two recommended anchorages named in the Pilot Book which says there are no other safe anchorages in the general Alalik Bay area due to the depths. Well the weather went to pot, winds picked up, rain set in as well as some fog so we had no visibility again. As the Pilot Book said the closer anchorage, namely Paradise Cover, was the best of the two recommended anchorages and it was the closest this is where we headed. When we arrived however we were somewhat alarmed to discover there was no area with suitable anchoring depths. The best we could achieve was in 30m on rock with poor holding and with a scope of only 2:1 with the shore a mere boat length off our transom. Why only 2:1 you may ask, particularly given its poor holding on hard rock with a strong wind warning. Well four reasons sprang to mind:-, 1) we know from our experience anchoring in 22m in Fiji in Manta Pass that even 25kts of wind could not straighten our chain; we had 66m out back then to give us 3:1 but there was at least 20m just sitting on the bottom. So with the deeper anchoring here we knew there was no way the chain would lift to the shank. 2) The further we anchored off shore the deeper it got, a steady decrease down to 50m; so we wanted at least some shelf for the anchor to sit on. 3) We didn't want to overload the windlass, once you get to a scope of 1:1 you still have 30m of 10mm chain attached to a 100lb Bruce anchor which makes for a huge load to lift. 4) We had chosen the best protected corner of the bay for the forecast winds, which turned out to be the case. We did think about taking a line to shore and med mooring to a tree, but didn't want the added complication that creates if the wind unexpectedly changed direction. We just put our anchor alarm on with a very tight range. Turns out that all worked fine. But we would not anchor in Paradise Cove again, nor would we recommend this anchorage to anyone. Today we are moving to another anchorage as the winds are forecast to continue increasing tonight. Hopefully will find a better anchorage tonight.
Had an extraordinary day motoring up into the Northwestern Glacier. The range of colours in the ice is phenomenal; everything from bright white, to light steel blue, to grey and a tan brown. We were somewhat surprised that the water temperature was not lower than the 7 degrees we saw as we were motoring around tiny icebergs as you push your way up towards the head of the glacier.
This was an odd day in that it started out with a lovely motor through a tight pass around to the bay which has the Northwestern Glacier at its head. We started with clear skies but things went to pot shortly after exiting the tight pass when a thick pea soup fog rolled in from the east. Apart from the having to deal with visibility that was reduced to one boat length we discovered that our desired anchorage which was immediately to the SE of the mouth to the Northwestern Glacier was nothing like any of our charts suggested. Whilst our charts suggested 5-18m of water we found 40m of water close to shore. So we ended up spending the next couple of hours trying out all of our back up anchorages only to discover they all had problems due to water depth. In a last ditch effort we decided to ignore what the Pilot Charts said and investigate the SE corner of Crater Bay; the Pilot Charts said that no good anchorage can be found in there. Yet we discovered a beautifully protected spot with a fairly level bottom; albeit rock and gravel. It turned out to be one of the prettiest little anchorages we had used and a great staging point for tomorrow's motor up into the Northwestern Glacier.
Another day, another stunning anchorage. We spent last night in an unnamed cove just to the north of Moonlight Bay in the McCarty Fiord at the mouth of the McCarty Glacier. This was an easier anchorage than the last in that whilst the charts were also out by a country mile with much more water than shown, it was easier as the bottom was flatter making it easier to map. As per the norm here in Alaska, there is lots of wild life. Whales, seals, otters, Bald Eagles, Gulls, all manner of life in abundance; and giant sheets of glacial ice.
We ducked around the corner to Pilot Harbor which is up the end of the North Arm to the east of the head of the bay where the Nuka River runs. This was a weird anchorage in that none of our charts bore any resemblance to the depths we were seeing, there was generally lots lots more water than what either C-Map, Navionics, Gov't or the Sonar charts suggested. When we followed the 18m contour oin our charts we saw anything from as little as 8m up to 35m. We must've spent 90mins mapping the bay trying to work out where there was a nice flat bottom that was not too deep. The recommended anchorage in the NE corner was meant to be in around 8-15m but we were seeing 30m+ and that was with us way too close to shore to be able to sleep easily at night. In the end we anchored slightly north of centre of the bay in 25m of water and slept like babies. This north arm is huge! We took off in the morning in the dingy to go exploring. The range of water colours we saw was quite remarkable in that we saw everything from green, greeny-blue, bluey-grey to grey; with next to no visibility, our guess was the water visibility was less than 1m. The most northern end of the bay as the most ferocious waterfall we've ever seen. It was loud enough in the dingy, it would've been deafening if you were underneath it. Whilst we saw seals, otters, lost of birds, there were no bears to be seen.
We had an uneventful eastbound motor sail from Agfonak Island across to the mainland yesterday; although it was tiring due in part to a never ending 2kt current that slowed our progress substantially. Our anchorage for two night here is inside the stunning Tonsina Bay; wow what an anchorage, absolute total protection is all winds is possible inside this beautiful part of Alaska. Its been interesting to note the variability in water temperatures of late. We saw the water temp hit 15 degrees in the mouth of Kitio, and 16 degress inside Kitio Bay on Agfonak Island, whereas here in Tonsina the water temp has fallen back down to 11 degrees which is more typical of what we've been seeing in the bays that are not almost land locked.
Another day another great anchorage. Moved east to inside the eastern arm of Tonki Bay today as our staging point to sail across to the mainland to Tonsina Bay. Whilst the bottom is gravel and does not appear to be good holding the anchorage is so dead flat and calm that it doesn't matter.
Moved further into the larger Izhut Bay to drop anchor at Kitoi Bay which is at the head of the western arm and also where there is a salmon hatchery operating. Despite being a Saturday we managed to get a tour of the facilities, pretty amazing place and well worth a visit. There are apparently lots of bears here which is not surprising given all the salmon here as well as the lush berry filled plants. Plan is to keep moving east and head to the most eastern end of Afognak Island to stage for the sail east to the mainland
Threw the dock lines off after a productive stock in Kodiak and headed east to Afognak Island where we dropped the pick in an unnamed bay immediately to the right as you enter the pass if you were to go all the way into Kitio Bay. Whilst the chart suggested a hard bottom our anchor appeared to set just fine and it appeared to be as flat as a billiard table along the 8m contour. Very nice kayaking here up the two rivers, one of which opens into a largish lake complex where the surrounding land appears to have been logged a few years ago. Whilst we did not spot any bears there are lots of seals, otters and small jumping fish (salmon) here.
Woo Hoo! We've got our generator fixed. Turns out that the reason it stopped producing AC current was the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) had failed. Apparently this was a known problem with Northern Lights 6kva generators. So much so that they kept changing that part regularly for years. We were told by our mechanic that he felt they finally got the right designed AVR as he has not had to replace any of these new model AVR he has installed over the last few years. The total cost for getting that fixed was the usual single boat currency unit. Plan is to stay here for the 4th July celebrations then head out early on Friday to continue our passage east.
Had a lovely combo sail in light winds finishing with a motor into Kodiak's inner marina. Pleased to be in a more substantive town for a change where we can reprovision, hopefully get our genset fixed, and heavens forbid catch a movie at the cinema - woo hoo!
We picked the pick up today to sail east through the notorious Whale Passage, where we hooted along at 10kts thanks to 3.5 knots of favourable current which spat us out the other end, and onto tonight's anchorage which is called Neva Cove. Its a pretty little anchorage that is well protected on the mouth of a small river. Tomorrow we will duck around the corner to head into the marina at Kodiak Town and stock up on provisions, fuel, gas and binge on the internet hopefully for the first time since leaving Hawaii. We're also hopeful we might get our genset repaired.
After four glorious days and three nights in the stunning Geographic Bay we sailed across to Kodiak Island. Inside Geographic Bay we started with zero knots of wind, as we left the entrance though we quickly found ourselves in 30kts, then an hour later we were sailing in deep fog with visibility limited to a single boat length and fortunately a lot less wind. As we approached Kodiak Island the fog cleared and we took aim for our anchorage for the night; which was Onion Bay. The entrance is dicey as it is narrow, windy and has a shallow spot that is a mere 1.6m of water. We got in without issue and were greeted my the most number of otters we've seen so far, we think they should've named this bay Otter Bay instead.
Just when you think it can not get any better it does just that. Yesterday we had a lovely sail from Big Alinchak to Geographic Bay. Had 15-20kts from behind with no swell so we pottered along with just our genoa out doing 6-7kts. Its hard to find the right words to truly capture how beautiful this bay nor its size. Whilst you enter via a very tight pass on inside you are spoilt for choice for anchorages, all with stunning views and bears you can easily watch from the comfort of your cockpit. We sure looking forward to spending three nights here before we sail across towards Kodiak Island on Friday.
Moved to Big Alionchak Bay for tonight. Wow, this is yet another great anchorage with a gently sloping sand bottom, stunning views, and great protection from everything other than wind/swell with any meaningful east in it. Alaska is turning out to be a cruiser's paradise, one where you get every anchorage to your self; which is quite different to what we experiences in the tropics.
We sailed east to Port Wrangell as locals told us that nothing gets in there, that it is an extremely safe anchorage. Whilst it was well protected it was also tight with steep rocky hills suggesting a rock bottom. So despite the anchorage offering great protection and stunning scenery we headed straight back out over concerns our anchor may snag on something. Our next anchorage was fortunately just around the corner. Boy are we glad we decided to pass on Port Wrangell as the anchorage next door, which is called "Agripina Bay" is without doubt the most protected, and stunningly beautiful anchorage we've ever seen; even more beautiful than the legendary Fatu Hiva ("Bay of Virgins") in the Marquesas. You enter via a winding channel into a bay that has the most stunning array of different views, everything from the usual snow capped mountains to lower lying brilliant green shrubs; and we have it all to ourselves. Our timing couldn't been more perfect as the weather is stunning and to cap it off it our crew/friend Mike's 60th birthday today. Sure pleased we could celebrate such an auspicious day with such a stunning anchorage and weather. We brought out the fine china, the decanter for the red, the bottle of champagne stashed in deep storage, and put on a lamb roast for dinner followed by a freshly baked birthday cake. Then to our surprise after dinner Mike manned up and went for a swim in the
Had a surprisingly pleasant sail east to Nakalilok Bay which offered us a great anchorage tucked into the NE corner up the head of the bay. We moved in the morning to the NW corner hoping to dingy ashore but were surprised by 20-25kt winds there so we just headed on out to our next anchorage.
Motored 12nm to Hook Bay to check out a local legend's old digs. Many many years ago a Swedish guy called Smokey Chris built himself a cabin in this bay which also had a nearby log cabin version of the Australian brick shit house which was strong enough to withstand a bear attack. Legend has it that he lived a subsistence life out here only coming into the Chignik town twice a year to stock up on nails and a few other essential items. Each visit he'd end up getting drunk and would try to fight everyone in the town, then walk back home with his supplies. All the locals that spoke of him did so in likeable tones and had clearly a lot of respect for what he managed to achieve. But that was a long time ago, his cabin is now in a state of bad disrepair. Not sure how long we'll stay here, the weather is crap making any move over the next few days a potentially rough passage.
Had another uneventful motor sail today, this time from Kupreanof Harbour anchorage to Chignik Harbour Marina. This is another very safe anchorage. This is a very small town with only 90 permanent residents. Got to hand it to the local fishermen for their hospitality. Their commercial season hasn't officially begun yet, but they still duck out to catch some fish to eat themselves. So we were given a generous quantity of Sockeye Salmon and live Triden Crabs upon their return. Guess what we're having for dinner this evening.
Had an uneventful motor sail today to Kupreanof Harbour anchorage off Pual Island. This is a very safe anchorage, will be good sleeping this evening. Tomorrow the plan is to head further ENE to Necessity Cove for one night to break up our passage to Chignink.
The wild weather has started to ease so we pulled out of the pen and ducked around the corner to Baralof Bay to check out the old cannery. Now this is an interesting place. You go around to the western side of the dock and raft up against a couple of derelict freighters to attain the most wonderfully protected spot. You then clamor across those wrecks to get to the dock and are greeted by an affectionate Husky with the most stunnign light blue eyes and the sole inhabitant of the island; namely "Rick" the Caretaker of the old cannery. He maintains the place and the museum he has set up as well as rebuild all sort of equipment that has been salvaged by the cannery's owner. To call it a museum is actually not right as it has a full working machine shop run by old bet driven drive systems and welding shop. Given all the raw material and old parts here you could make anything you need if you have the skills. All up this was a cracking spot to visit; one we'd highly recommend.
Well Bear Bay is not an anchorage we recommend. You anchor on rock that is poor holding and you get an almighty fetch from the east if there is any east in the breeze at all. So we picked up our hook and sailed east to Sand Point yesterday. The sail was as expected, thanks to local advice, which was if the forecast is for 10-15 expect 30-40 and that is what we got. So we arrived in good time after a rough sail and slept like babies. Took an opportunity to refuel this morning in the most benign of conditions. Its the cheapest fuel we've got in so long I cannot remember; it cost a mere USD383 for 125 gallons. Will take the time to catch up on sleep and boat jobs here as a blow is coming that will keep us here in Sand Point until at least Sunday.
Got up early this morning to move from Kitchen Anchorage around into the next bay to an anchorage called Bear Bay. Had a pretty unwelcome easterly breeze that kicked in shortly after arriving. Thankfully the wind has eased. Looking like we'll have a settled evening here. We'll be up early again tomorrow to head east into Sand Point Marina, where we're hang out until some nasty forecast easterlies pass through hopefully by the weekend.
We moved out of the marina yesterday to an anchorage to the east just around the corner called "Kitchen Anchorage". Wow what a top spot, we took the dingy for a spin into the head of the larger bay our anchorage is off and were pleased to be greeted by a couple of sparring bears that took broke off their dual to check us out. Plan is to chill here for one more night then head further east to Bear Bay, which will be our last anchorage before we head into Sand Point to tie up in the marina there and do some reprovisioning in the Safeway supermarket.
0nms to go to King Cove, yes we have arrived and are safely tied to a great slip in King Cove Marina. Some stats from the trip are: - total passage time was 14.5 days - max boat speed was 10.4kts - average boat speed was 6.6kts - max wind gust was 30kts (i.e. yes we did not experience a single gale) - engine hours were 145 (i.e. 5 days, this is the most we've motored on any passage) - genset hours were 7.7 (well it stopped working 1000nms out of Hawaii) - water consumption from 3 of us was 96 gallons - gear failure was limited to our genset deciding it no longer wanted to produce AC current All up it was a good passage, despite the excessive engine hours which were due to the sea state being not conducive to sailing in the direction required rather than there being insufficient wind. In the end it was all worth it. We had the most stunning introduction to Alaska yesterday afternoon on approach via clear skies yesterday, calm seas and 6000-9000 foot snow capped mountains visible from 70nms offshore; wow wow wow! The winds eventually rebuilt from the north around midnight last night resulting in a boisterous yet slow progress towards King Cove. It is so nice to be here. The hospitality has already revealed itself. We were only in for a few hours, felt like we met most of the locals, were given enough king crab to feed a family of four, as well as freshly caught and smoked salmon with capers plus the crackers to put them on. We're told we should see bears from the marina on the hills nearby. The facilities are basic but there nonetheless. There is also a reasonably well stocked super market at the marina. Looking forward to hiring a car and exploring all the area has to offer.
59nms to go to King Cove; which will make this a 15 day passage. The last few days have been tough; as we've been battling northerly winds and swell whilst trying to go north. The sea state got so bad last night that we could not sail close hauled or tight reaching in 12-15 knots of breeze due to a 1.5m swell with a mere 3.5 second interval which kept killing our speed and ability to point into the wind. This morning however we sighted land; a couple of 6000-9000 foot snow capped mountains. As we exited deep ocean water and got up onto the Alaskan shelf the adverse current collapsed, the sea state improved remarkedly and we were sailing again; this time doing 8.5 knots at 60 degrees apparent wind angle in 12-15kts from the west. We once again found ourselves having the most glorious of sailing conditions with clear skies and stunning views. Alas as we now get closer the wind has died so we are motoring the final leg into King Cove; our ETA is sunrise tomorrow morning. All is well aboard, spirits are high as the scenery is truly spectacular, and the colour of the water here is not blue rather it is a rather odd shade of olive green; go figure hey?
167nms to go to King Cove. This is turning out to be the most frustrating part of the passage. The last three days are full of northerly winds and swells which has ground a progress down to a snail's pace. With only 167nms to go we could normally do that within a 24hr period, but this will take us two days as we have 10-15kts of wind from the north, with three short interval northerly based swells (NNW, N & NNE). We cannot sail northwards in these conditions, so we are motoring WNW, hopeful that a forecast wind change to the NW will play out sooner rather than later. That said, we can't complain as our batteries are fully charged, we've all had long hot showers, our water tanks are full, and we've all been well fed & read. All is well aboard.
296nms to go to King Cove. The winds finally eased for us around 4am, had some glorious light wind sailing up to 10am when the wind died and went north so we're motoring now. We are hoping to arrive late on Tuesday
412nms to go to King Cove. Quite a different 24hrs to yesterday. Late in the day the winds built to 25-30kts from the W-WSW, seas built back up to 2.5m from the NW / W / SW, and we've been experiencing swarming squalls. All up a rough wet ride! That said we're making good progress averaging 7.6kts to our destination and the winds and seas are forecast to begin abating in a few hours. All is well aboard.
584nms to go to King Cove. After a slow night of light wind motor sailing, the breeze kicked back in late this morning resulting in some extraordinary sailing conditions that were further enhanced by a vastly improved sea state. Whilst we're pleased with our current conditions, there is a small low pressure system further north that will stunt our progress. We'll either face stiff northerlies or little to no wind if we decide to head NNE towards its centre instead of maintaining our current rhumb line to King Cove.
764nms to go to King Cove. We're hoping this will take 5 days, but the winds in 3-5 days will either disappear or turn northly; if this is the case it will take us another 6 days to arrive. We had a boisterous ride again, whilst roughish it has allowed us to make good progress, averaging almost 7kts SOG despite an adverse current. The temperature has been dropping fast. Water temperature has fallen from 25 in Hawaii down to 8 here. We woke up last night shivering of cold despite three layers of clothing and a blanket. Now that we have switched to our sleeping bags as a blankets instead we're all nice and toasty again. Whilst the nights have been very cold, the skies have been clearing by noon making our enclosed cockpit nice and warm.
Only 913nms to go, yeah! This translates into roughly 6 more days. We had a windy night and a squally start to the day; we've never seen squalls move so fast. The skies have cleared though and we have some glorious sailing conditions at present.
We find a common observation with most passages, generally a mix of good and not so good. The good over the last 24 hrs is the winds have steadily abated to 15 knots, the seas have settled somewhat and we are still sailing. The not so good is that our Northern Lights 6kva generator is no longer producing AC current so we cannot use it to charge our batteries, heat water, or any other AC purpose. We've checked the manual, which is of course silent on this issue in the trouble shooting section. We've also checked for loose wires, tripped breakers etc. All to no avail. If anyone has any suggestions do please drop us an email. All that said, we are still able to charge our batteries, heat water, make water, run AC appliances etc via our inverter, solar panels, wind generator and engine. The cooler water here
The forecast winds finally kicked in last night a little after midnight. We've been having a boisterous ride in rough seas with 20kts from the WSW gusting to 25-30kts at times. Given the emergence of these winds we reduced sail area last night, then again around lunch-time by going from 3/4 of a reef in the main to 1.25 reefs, the heavily furled genoa has been fully furled and replaced by our staysail with a couple of wraps. Whilst the ride is rougher than we'd hoped it is still preferred to motoring. We've been surprised by having to motor 2.5 days already in this passage, which gives us only another 3.5 days more motoring before we risk running out of fuel. Last night's forecast suggested we may have 3-4 days of motoring at the end of the passage; which caught our attention. Fortunately this morning's forecast now suggest this is more likely to be 1-2 days of motoring at the end. Either way we have no doubt we'll get into King Cove just fine.
"What a difference a day makes ..", as the song goes. At dawn this morning the skies were clearing, the wind was shifting to the west, we were able to pull our genoa back out, albeit still motor sailing. As I type though the winds are slowly filling in, so we have just turned off our engine and are cruising along in blissful silence. The forecast is for these light winds to hold until tomorrow morning when they are due to build up to 15-20 from the SW-WSW; which is a forgiving angle given our desired course. The longer term forecast is looking okay except for two potential glitches. Firstly all models suggest the wind will die on us around 2 days out of King Cove, so we are expecting to motor for the last 1-3 days of the passage. Secondly the GFS model is forecasting the wind to briefly shift to the NNE and build to 39 knots around the 3rd June just prior to the winds falling away to nothing; which is odd as none of the other three models are showing that spike nor did the GFS model's previous update, so we're hoping it will disappear when we download our next weather update tonight.
We knew there was a front that we had to go through, and upon exiting that front we would experience northerly winds for a day or two. That is pretty much how it played out over the last 24hrs. As yesterday afternoon unfolded the clear skies were no more, we had 100% cloud cover by late afternoon. At around 8pm we entered the front and were forced to bring in the genoa and motor sail with the main sail only. Apart from the normal rain and high variability in wind strength and direction, it fortunately packed no punch at all. Late this morning we started to exit the front. As expected the winds were northerly around 10 knots. What we didn't count on was the 1.5m southerly swell turning northerly which undoubtedly resulted in the creation of a northerly based current of 1.0 to 1.5 knots. That has slowed our progress north considerably. The good news is that as I type this update the skies are clearing; which we hope means the forecast westerly based winds may arrive sooner than forecasted
Another day of okay sailing conditions, particularly after we jibed this morning as the prior tack had the swell hitting us on the aft quarter which caused an uncomfortable motion and the genoa to flog as we were pinching somewhat. Now that we've jibed the swell is directly astern and the motion is much improved. We were aware of one other yacht that left the same day as us from the same port, namely a 60ft French boat heading for Kodiak, in the wee hours of the morning we sighted a second yacht also heading to Alaska. This one was a 69ft Italian steel boat that left from the Hawaii Yacht Club Aloha Dock on Ohau; they are making their 6th return visit to Alaska. Its nice to know that we are not alone out here. All is well aboard and we are happy with the progress we are making to our destination.
We're back into passaging mode. Last night bang on queue there was the mandatory sail changes between midnight and 3am during a cloudless squall, no point complaining though as its all part of the fun
Woo Hoo! We are well and truly under way. Threw our lines off a little after 4pm then had to motor sail for the first 8hrs in order to make any meaningful progress north. Around midnight last night the wind clocked to the ESE at a steady 10-12kts, which enabled us to turn the engine off and settle into a comfortable beam reach averaging 7-8 knots.
We're almost ready to depart for Alaska. We're currently tied to a slip in the Niwiliwili Small Boat Harbor on Kauai in Hawaii. If the current weather forecast holds we may depart tomorrow or the day after, with the aim of making it as far west as King Cove on the Alaskan Peninsula. Apart from weather, the only potential snag in our plan at present is if a part we ordered arrives late or doesn't fit. We had an unfortunate case of butter fingers when up the mast a few days ago which resulted in our tri-colour assembly falling and smashing on the deck; that was a USD500 mistake! Our replacement part is due to arrive today, so long as it fits, we're good to go again. This passage will be the first time we'll have a crew member. Kate's oldest friend [way back from primary school] Michael will do the passage with us to King Cove then east to Seward; which will be fantastic!
Yeah we know, its been a long time between posts; which means yes we are testing systems as we get ready for our passage to Alaska. We're currently anchored off Kaneohe Yacht Club in what is the best anchorage in Hawaii. Its dead flat here, well protected, and the yacht club facilities are sensational, awesome showers etc which are free and unlimited unlike NZ! There is a bar, food, swimming pool and two tennis courts. What's not to like. We also have our guests from Australia, Michael and Alison, aboard. Michael is going to join us for the passage to Alaska, which will be the first time we've had crew, we are looking forward to having company and being able to get more sleep than we otherwise would on passage.
We made it, woo hoo! Whilst we budgeted 14 days, we nailed it in 13 days. Dropped the pick off Reeds Bay last night around 10pm local time. We didn't go into Radio Bay straight away, as it was very dark last night, no moon, we were super tired, the entrance to Radio Bay is extremely narrow and shallow and the bay itself is tight. We're so pleased to be hear now. Not the passage we envisaged though, which was a broad reach the whole way in gentle 15 knot breeze with 1.5m long interval swell (albeit some crap in the ITCZ), yet we were tight reaching the whole way in 20-35kts with 2-4m short interval confused seas. Suffice to say we were whacked by the time we got in; one beer each and we both crashed last night. Today we moved into Radio Bay, got cleared in, so all good. So now we pop the champagne cork for the belated dose of bubbly.
Whilst it was another night of robust sailing, the seas and winds eased as we got to the same latitude as the bottom of the Big Island. We're steering a course of 300T doing 6.5kts in an ENE15-10kt breeze and a 3m ENE swell. Cloud cover is 30%, we're hoping our last line of squalls just passed us by. We have let out the second reef in the main, brought in our little staysail and let out most of our 130% genoa. We have 80nms to go. Our ETA is around 10-11pm tonight.
Last 24hrs has been robust sailing in 25-35kts from the ENE with 3-4m ENE seas. We have 235nms to go, given we're averaging 7kts over ground this should get us into Hilo around 9-10pm tomorrow night (i.e. 36hrs time).
Last 24hrs has been lovely sailing again, we have 545nms to go which still means at best we may arrive late Tuesday at worst on Wednesday morning
Last 24hrs has been glorious sailing, albeit in a somewhat robust
We had a memorable last 24hrs, not in a good sense. There are times when you need to be careful what you wish for, as we wanted some rain to wash the boat down. We also made the mistake of doing a load of washing at sea; you can always be sure of rain at sea when you are trying to dry your washing. Well once we got above 0830N we encountered a nasty squall that took 5 hours to exit, it had torrential rain and highly variable winds in every regard and terrible seas. When we exited we thought we had hit the 20NE trades early, but that only lasted an hour before we got hit by the next squall which was a an absolute thumper that joined up with the last squall to make a super squall. It has 0-30kt winds, even heavier and more persistent rain, thunder, lightening, horrible seas, it took around 8hrs to exit which was not until we got above 10N. The rain we experienced in that 24hrs was worse than what we saw in Shelter Bay Marina, Colon, Panama in November 2012; which was biblical having rained every day of the month with a dry day being a mere 2" of rain and a wet day a whopping 12" of rain. When we look back at the distance we traveled before we could exit the squall we estimate it to have been around 2-3 degrees in diameter (i.e. unavoidable). Suffice to say that we are somewhat sleep deprived and wet. That said, we had no leeks in the boat - woo hoo!
Well we're still sailing rather than motoring; which is great. Gotta admit though that this is a weird passage. The typical winds you see on this passage are say 15 knots, the direction being ESE-SE when you are south of the equator and ENE-NE when you're above the equator. Indeed these were the general forecasts we had when we left. What we've experienced on average however is quite different, rather than ESE-SE winds south of the equator we got ENE winds, once we crossed the equator rather than get ENE-NE winds we got S-SE winds. GO figure hey! The strength, sea state and current have been typical though. Now that we are above 6N we can see the ITCZ. What is fascinating is that in 8 years of sailing, having crossed several convergence zones, we've never seen lows/cells/pulses (i.e. bad stuff) appear like a bomb blast then disappear or move with lightening speed off to the west. So our task today is to find the best entry point into the ITCZ; one where it is both least active and narrowest.
Another 24hrs of nice sailing conditions. We're currently steering a course of 005T doing 6kts.
We had a glorious night of sailing, steering a course 000T doing 7kts in 15kts from the ESE with 2m short interval confused seas. Crossed the equator around 8pm offering Neptune a stiff shot of spirits, but abstaining ourselves from joining in on the shot. All is well aboard, although seriously looking forward to lower temperatures and less humidity.
We continue to make good progress maintaining speeds in the high 6s and low 7s. The wind has finally started to clock to the east, which is great, although we have entered the easterly counter current which is causing large variations in current direction and speed which is requiring constant course corrections. The sea state did improve for us for a while, but deteriorated again once we got above 0200S. Although our friends on Kokopelli who are up around 0330N are reporting back to us that they have very settled seas which are less than 1m.
We had another good night's sailing, although more robust than preferred. We keep seeing forecast winds of E-ESE but keep getting ENE-E instead making for a tight reach almost close hauled sailing; which is something we were hoping we saw the back of when sailing up to the Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas.
We had a good night's sailing. Although the wind has been a steady ENE-East rather than the predicted East-ESE. A bit before dawn it also picked up to 20 knots and has stayed at that strength. The west setting current is strong, largely due to the impact of the swell I'd imagine, but at 2-3kts it is requiring a 20 degree course correction. The net effect of wind angle, strength, current and swell is forcing us to sail at a 60 degree wind angle; which is something we were hoping to avoid. Given this experience our plan to take every opportunity we can to sail dead north, even put a little bit of easting in until we get to at least 5 degrees north then we'll reassess the plan. Otherwise we risk close hauled sailing for the last 4-5 days into Hawaii in 20-25 knot winds.
Our 4-5mth stay in French Polynesia has been sensational, but our time is up and today we set sail for Hawaii. One thing we won't miss is the 3500nms of close hauled sailing to the east that we've done to get from Opua NZ to here in Anaho Bay on Nuka Hiva, Marquesas. If all goes to plan we should be reaching all the way to our intended port of entry, which is Hilo on the Big Island. Our expected passage time for the 2000nm run is around 14 days, which should get us there around the 12th December.
Spent that last two weeks exploring the Tahanea Atoll in French Polynesia's Tuamotus. Thoroughly enjoyed all it has to offer, which to our pleasant suprise included swimming with manta rays, and the solitude it brings. Late today though it is time to move on, we are going to sail up to North Fakarava overnight where we will pick some friends from Australia who will join us for two weeks.
We dropped the pick inside the Tahanae Atoll in the Tuamtuos this morning after a two day sail from Papeete. Can't believe how lucky we were to sail all the way on a 10-20 knot westerly given the east-based trades that prevail. Our only gripe was snotty seas for the first day which comprised a 2.5m SE swell that had a 10 sec interval with a 3m swell from the WNW with a mere 4 sec interval; which when combined made for some uncomfortable moments. But that all passed within 24hrs, and we did get to sail the whole way without the need for the mainsail. Our 130% genoa was more than enough for us to average 6.5 knots SOG despite the 0.5 knot adverse current. Suffice to say that it is all soooooo nice to be back in the pristine Tuamotus again. As we dropped anchor we were greeted by three good size black tipped sharks that are still circling the boat, several oversized needle fish and various schools of other reef fish. The visibility is of course stunning; we're anchored in 12m of water yet you could read a newspaper on the bottom if you were that way inclined.
Been chilling in Papeete anchored off the northern corner of Marina Taine for the last week or so catching up on boat jobs. Plan is to finish of the jobs this week, reprovision, refuel and re-booze up for the Tuamotus and Marquesas. If all goes to plan we'll stage for the Tuamotus around Point Venus towards the weekend.
Had a big day of brewing aboard Iolea today. Bottled our first home brew of the season, a Bulldog American Pale Ale with extra hops. Also put a Muntons Dockland Porter in the fermenter. Should be ready to start drinking the APA in a 2-3wks, will be another 5wks before we can sample the Porter though. Suffice to say we will be self sufficient in the brewing stakes by the time we hit the Tuamotus.
We had a glorious sail from Raiatea across to Huahine yesterday. Spent that arvo reprovisioning in Fare then headed down to Baie D'Avea this morning. Will probably stay here for at least 5 days before looking for weather to sail to Papette.
Woo Hoo! we're safely on anchor in Raiatae. Its so good to be back up in French Polynesia and to have this passage behind us. All up we can't complain as most boats that do this passage tend to experience 1-3 gales of 50+ knots; whereas we did not experience a single gale despite leaving in one of the worst two months of the year for gales. It was also a quicker trip than expected, taking us a mere 16 days. Some of the stats of the passage are: Rhumb Line Distance - 2160nms Actual Distance - 2418nms Number Days - 16 Number of Gales - nil Average Boat Speed - 6.2 knots Maximum Boat Speed - 10.5 knots Max Sustained Wind - 25 knots Max Gust Strength - 30 knots Engine Hours - 95hrs Genset Hours - 25hrs Diesel Used - 314ltrs Water Used - 528ltrs Gear Failure - nil
We have 50nms to go. Wow what a night. We didn't expect to have such a rough night this close to Raiatae. We started off close hauled with a fairly steady easterly breeze in the high teens and <1m seas. In the early hours of the morning the wind snapped up to 30 knots in a couple of seconds and the swell tripled in size and shrunk in interval; it was game on! So not a pleasant night by any stretch of the imagination. After sailing close hauled for seven days we are also discovering all of our leaks. We thought we did a sensational job ensuring no leaks from any of our hatches and portholes, what we didn't factor in was leaks from the hand holds on deck and one of the non-opening windows; so we have quite a clean up to do when we arrive. Then this morning just before dawn we had a wave break over the top of our bimini. This was similar to the time Iolea decided to turn submarine on one passage down to NZ when it sailed straight through a huge wave resulting in blue water over the top of our boom. The only good news is that the worst of the weather is west of us, we appear to be sailing along its eastern edge. If the day was clear we might be able to see land by now, as our ETA is today around dusk. All is well aboard.
We have 195nms to go. Another challenging night; as we were close hauled in 15-25kts from the bloody ENE with crap seas. Sure could've done with wind from the ESE instead. That said, last night's squalls appear to have finished, the sun is shining this morning and the wind is slowing clocking back hopefully all the way to the ESE. Our ETA is around dusk tomorrow. All is well aboard.
We have 320nms to go, and our autopilot is still working, woo hoo! These are challenging conditions though; as the wind direction is varing +/- 30 degrees and the strength is ranging between 5 & 30 knots. We have to set the sail configuration for the top end of that range; as it changes so frequently. This means we rarely have enough sail up so our progress is slower that it would otherwise be. With the benefit of hindsight we should've continued dead east for 1-2 more days before turning up; as that would've made these last 2-3 days more comfortable. That said, we should not complain as we have not experienced a single gale, the highest wind gusts we've recorded so far barely hit 30 knots, and we will arrive earlier than had we stayed south longer. So all up that is still pretty good for doing this passage at the worst time of the year. All is well aboard.
Just noticed we've been using the wrong date for the last few posts, oops. We have 450nms to go. Had a good night of close hauled sailing in robustish conditions again. All is well aboard.
We have 590nms to go. Had a great night of sailing in robustish conditions. We had SSE winds ranging from 15 to 30 knots, mostly in the 17-22 knot range, which we sailed at an apparent wind angle of 60 & 90 degrees. This allowed us to sail with a single reef in the main combined with our running back supported stay sail. The great thing about this sail configuration is that it is so forgiving in terms of shifts in wind strength and direction. Iolea just coasts along beautifully at 6-7 kts with this set up. Our challenge now continues to be trading off getting sufficiently north to avoid some lighter winds which set in around our current latitude and continue our progress to the east; as the easterly trades are not far away. Apart from the normal challenges that all yachts face when trying to sail close hauled in 15-25 knots, Iolea has an additional challenge due to our long keel. We are starting to see a meaningful swell from the SE, which will become a material head wind to making progress to the east as it will reinforce the SW based current. For example, when we sailed from New Caledonia down to NZ last Nov we had a 2m swell pushing us west, this swell was enough to increase the 0.5-1.0 knot westerly current up to 2-3 knots. The course correction necessary to offset that drift was a whopping 35 degrees. Here's hoping we can sail the rest of this passage close hauled without having to tack our way into Raiatae. All is well aboard; oh and yes our autopilot is still working.
We have 740nms to go. Had a mixed night of sailing, as a temporary wind shift to the east came in, it all went light and variable, with us needing to turn on the iron sail for 8hrs to ensure we continued to make adequate progress to the east given the pending easterly trades which re-establish themselves on Tuesday. All is well aboard.
We have 862nms to go. Had another good night of sailing. If the forecast hold our challenge is to get as far east and a little further north as we can as in 3-4 days time the easterly trades will have re-established themselves. Whilst this appears doable, there is no escape finishing the passage close hauled sailing, albeit in 15kt winds which should make that final leg bearable. All is well aboard.
We have 980nms to go. Had a good night of sailing until the wind died around 5am. As we've been sailing directly downwind we are wing-on-wing and do not have the benefit of both sails on the same side to stabilize Iolea. With the wind down to 5-10 knots, the seas still up and swells coming from 5-6 different directions plus the wake from any large commercial vessels within a 200nms radius we have an uncomfortable roll. Other than that all is well aboard.
A boisterous night of sailing in 25-30 knots with a 2-3m swell; which is always preferable to motoring. Nothing of note to report, all is well aboard.
Had a mixed bag last night. The positive was how splendidly Iolea sailed in the 25-30 knots we got from the cold front that passed us last night. We had a double reefed main and our little staysail out supported by one of our running backs. Iolea glided along effortlessly at 7-8 knots in winds from her aft quarter with ease and was amazingly stable as the seas got more and more confused as the wind built and set in for the night. The negative was what happens after a front passes of course, as the winds died but the swell remained making it impossible to sail unless engine assisted, and even then we couldn't keep a heady up; and the annoying roll that cannot be avoided due to so many swells coming from so many directions. All that said, we are pleased that we weren't further south as that would've been a lot more boisterous. Whilst Kate & I are somewhat sleep deprived, all is well aboard.
What a difference a day makes. We managed to unjam our mainsail without having to go up the mast and our autopilot is still working; woo hoo! Also had some glorious sailing over the last 24 hrs with a fairly full moon over night and clear skies, basically doing 6-7 knots in a tightish reach with 10-15 knots winds and very little swell. Throughout the morning the winds have built up to 20-25kts. The swell is somewhat confused as you'd expect with these winds, but it is only a 1m wind chop. We were on a heading of around 50T most of the night, but have since beared away on a course of around 70T as we don't want too much more north in at present, preferring to favour more easting which also happens to be a faster heading.
There has never been a truer word spoken than "if its going to happen it will happen out there"; which is a line from the film "Captain Ron". We discovered that there may be a structural flaw emerging inside our Whitlock electric auto-pilot drive unit; as there is a cracking sound coming from inside the unit, and we still have 1500nms to go to get to FP. That said it is still working for now at least. Whilst we do have a spare unit, our preference is not to replace it at sea whilst our current one is still working, rather we'll baby it by keeping weather helm to a minimum; and only resorting to replacing it if it really does fail before we get to FP. Our second drama is that our main sail has jammed coming out around the 3rd reefing point. We don't see a real need to go up the mast at sea to unjam it though as we expect to be running most of the way to FP; so the main in somewhat redundant anyway. So for now we're just leaving the small amount of a main out so we at least have some main sail working. If need be we know we can bring the main all the way back in without issue. Apart from being kept busy with these two issues, all is well aboard. We managed to sail around 6 hrs over the last 24hrs, and only recently turned the motor back off now that the centre of the high has passed us and we are starting to see a 5-10 knot NW breeze emerge; but this maybe premature as the wind is still fluky and may take a few more hours to truly settle back in. Oh the other item worth noting is at that we are changing our intended port of entry from Bora Bora to the next island on its eastern side; namely Raiatae, as this will allow us to catch up with friends we've not seen since the Galapagos Islands early in 2013.
Motoring again in lazy 3 metre seas. Its very cold so might put on the diesel heater if the sun doesn't warm us up. Celery and potato soup has been helping. Gradually getting into the rhythm of shifts and a day motoring means showers for both of us. So all good. BTW we passed over the international dateline yesterday so its still Saturday here. A boat in the middle of the ocean is the perfect groundhog day.
Managed to keep sailing all day yesterday, most of which was pleasant sailing despite being somewhat boisterous last night and close hauled all the time. Our aim is to shoot along in between the 32nd & 33rd latitudes, which is why we are close hauled in the SSE breeze that has prevailed most of the last 24hrs. Our understanding is that the centre of the high that is about to pass us is somewhere around 32-33 degrees, so if we stay there we'll avoid the easterly breezes above its centre, and avoid having to sail so far south; our only price to pay is probably motoring through that centre of that high for a day. If we are right though, we should be able to head back up and ride the westerly based breezes on top of the next low that follows this fast approaching high. Well that is our strategy for the next few days. We'll reassess as more weather forecasts become available.
Pleased to be sailing again, albeit wing-on-wing. General conditions haven't changed that much other than a little more wind, allowing us to turn off the motor for a change. We're currently doing 6 knots on a heading of 40T; and are close to our rhumb line for FP. All is well aboard.
Started this passage mostly motor sailing in light 5-7 knot winds and relatively calm yet still somewhat confused seas, only managed to sail for 5hrs so far; hoping for more wind today.
Yes we are indeed casting off the dock lines this morning and setting sail to French Polynesia. Our intended port of entry is either Bora Bora or Raiatae; weather permitting. Expected passage time is around 18 days. First week is looking like calm seas and light winds; after that is the usual lucky dip.
Final preparations for a Wednesday departure for French Polynesia.
Anchored around the corner from Russell. This is a test post as we search for a suitable weather window to sail to Bora Bora (French Polynesia).
Had a glorious sail down from Bay of Islands in a 10-15 knot ENE with a 1m swell from NE. As good as it ever gets in NZ. Will chill here a few days until we haul out at Norsand on the 12th.
Settled in at Opua Marina after one of our best passages to NZ. We arrived yesterday evening. Discovered our drift has an error of around 1 knot so some of those currents we were seeing were not quite as strong as we first thought. Still, taking our error into account, the currents were in the 2-3 knot range going west at times. Good to be here!
The last 24hrs of sailing were as good as it ever gets, 10-15 knot easterly with virtually no swell, it was like sailing on a lake. Our ETA on the Q-Dock at Opua is 6pm this evening.
A glorious night of sailing in a 15 knot easterly with relatively settled seas. The persistent 2-3 knot drift to the west this passage due to west setting current and sea state prompted us to calculate the average course offset we have needed to maintain to counter that drift. It turned out to be a whopping 30-35 degrees. That is well beyond our wildest expectations and that of all four models used by Predict Wind. Those four models all suggested we would be close hauled for around 30% of the trip, but that course offset required to counter the drift to the west has resulted in a passage that is 100% close hauled; despite all of the models? predictions for wind direction being pretty good! All is well aboard.
A boisterous night of sailing in 25 knots of E-ESE winds with crappy seas and that damn persistent 2-3 knots of west setting current. All is well aboard.
Spent the night motor sailing on a course of around 170T, very slow going, wind is in a horrible direction for getting to NZ, swell is no better, and of course there is that ever present west setting current which is anywhere from 1 up to 3 knots. Still all said it is not uncomfortable and all is well aboard.
Got the date wrong of last post so reposting with today's date. Sea state has deteriorated, looks like rain coming, been motor sailing overnight, thinking about tacking south and sailing again soon..
Sea state has deteriorated, looks like rain coming, been motor sailing overnight, thinking about tacking south and sailing again soon..
Sea state has settled making for some lovely over night sailing, with winds generally ranging 8-12 knots, with no squalls. Not seen any traffic so far this voyage. All is well aboard. A cracked fresh water fitting did generate a bit of activity for a while though. Took us a while to realise this was the cause of the bilge pumps coming on so often; all up we lost around 300 litres of water into the bilge; whilst annoying we still have another 500 litres left and we were able to eventually track down and stop the leak so all good now.
Usual first day. tiring but fine. Took NC a little too close to its eastern shelf and ran into 4knot current and nasty sea but ok. Just would give it a wider berth next time.
Ready to head to NZ tomorrow morning at last.
Waiting for a weather window to head to NZ but doesn't look likely for another week so enjoying the sunshine and doing boat jobs.
We arrived a week ago from Port Vila and are lapping up the wonderful food in restaurants and supermarkets. Noumea is like being in the eastern suburbs of Sydney but with a lovely French twist.
In Port Vila waiting for batteries to be delivered from NZ.
Arrived Luganville 9 June after a long motorsail into SE-S winds but otherwise easy trip. Good to be back in the big smoke.
Dnendo Island, Santa Cruz. Greeted by Moses who was fishing in his dugout and shown where the yachts anchor. Another picturesque bay and very quiet. I don't know how we will cope with civilisation when we get there. Even Honiara was pretty low key.
Marau Sound, Guadalcanal Island. Beautiful area home to the two Joe's and two Gus's. The Joe's traded citrus, beans and stories for flour, soap, and clothes. The two Gus's run the Tavanipupu resort. We snorkelled off the resort and saw a devil scorpion fish that looked exactly like the dead coral around it, and the most amazing scarlet-orange anemone with two Spinecheek anemone fish.
Honiara. Arrived a couple of days ago and enjoying eating out and good internet. Honiara not as bad as its reputation. People friendly and helpful. Will head on east over the weekend probably.
Mbilie. Saw our first Manta Ray on arrival. Milton greeted us and helped with anchoring. Nice layback area which is very beautiful. Lisa runs a dive operation on Tambapeava Island and is a mine of information.
Batuna. Pretty village and good market on Thursdays.
Matiu Island. good diving and snorkelling along the wall but keep an eye out for sharks. Seems to be a gathering area and they were quite active around 50 metres off the west of Matiu.
Matimbako Island. Lots of bombies and took some unravelling to get the chain up but really nice snorkelling in the pass on the western side and along the wall on Karikana island. Spectacular Gorgan Fan garden off Kemu island.
LuLu's island. Lulu is a delightful rastifarian local with lovely little carvings, produce, and lobster. He and is friends were all friendly but not pushy - just plain nice people.
Uepi Resort. Giant versions of reef fish we have seen elsewhere. We contacted the Resort beforehand and were able to have lunch yesterday, lobster wraps and apple cake, both excellent. Dive today.
Seghe, small village, large airstrip and Lagoon side bar run by a woman who has lived in Bathurst and Nambucca Heads
Matikuri Island. We had been looking forward to the locally run lodge here but unfortunately the owner died recently and it seems to be closed.
Viru Harbour. For the first time met by women in acanoes wanting to trade f&v for school books and pencils. Nice change from carvers.
Egholo Bay. Met by Boise who arranged a show of carvings, eggs and f&v. Beautiful bay and lovely people as usual.
Munda. We celebrated Paul's 55th with Rod and Brenda on State of Mind Last night. Another picturesque anchorage with mountainous Rendova island as the backdrop.
Lola. island and the easy company of Jo and Lisa at Zipolo Habu Resort. A tranquil setting with a regular evening show of reef sharks, and mullet stirring up schools of fish. Could have happily stayed there foer a week or two.
Gizo with 7 other yachts. The most they have seen this season.
Fat boys resort and our second cooked meal off the boat. So nice to have someone else do it. We stopped in at Sanbis just north of here for pizza a couple of days later and had a long chat with Hanz the owner.
Noro, Solomon Islands for check-in after squall- ridden but otherwise uneventful passage.
Kosrae. A pleasant stop with easy bureaucracy. Tree House Hotel and its river side restaurant are great value.
Just south of Ebeye is some excellent snorkelling. We wish we had found this earlier. We left for Kosrae the next day.
Nell island pass. Fabulous drift snorkelling and walks across the islands and passes to the west. ( mum's birthday)
Bigij on Kwajalein. Nice getaway spot.
Ebeye island on Kwajalein Atoll. Much maligned but a pleasant surprise. Poor people but happy and basic foodstuffs available. Note: no ATM and bank will not change currency so bring what you need.
Roi-Namur on Kwajalein Atoll is a US military base for tracking satellites etc. no entry beyond the dock without permission.
Enyu on Bikini. Abandoned buildings and construction equipment. Nice reef off the airstrip
Bikini island, Bikini Atoll. Nothing out of the ordinary but still a sense of a cloud overhead.
Tufa island, Rongelap. Good staging spot for Bikini but a bit rolly in northerly winds.
Eniaetok or Long Island which was formed by a rock hitting a bird in flight and breaking its left wing. Great anchorage with protection from northeast to east. Good beachcombing.
Rongelap island and the potential township
Rongerlap, fabulous snorkelling in the pass to our south
Eniwetak in south Rongerik, large turtle and pretty bommies
Rongerik and into the wilderness. Wonderful!
Xmas at Enemanet and Eneko to the north. The Meiko moorings make life easy and the locations are lovely.
Majuro. No more grass huts. Now it's cinder block and cars
Back to Tarawa with a stand of bananas and a huge pumpkin to clear out for Majuro
Butaritari, a layback garden of Eden and the most northern Atoll in this part of Kiribati.
Abiang Atoll, just north of Tarawa
Arrived in Tarawa. On anchor west of the wharf and next to some impressive wrecks and almost wrecks. Tarawa seems quite industrial from this vew point but water colour classic tropics blue-green.
15 miles to go to Tarawa. Expect to be on anchor by 10am this morning. Great trip but looking forward to some sleep. Neptune received gifts of a woven seaweed basket from NZ and mobile from Vanuatu. Response was a NNE but flat seas so we guess they were receiver well.
heading 358T, at 4.0 knots. Another lovely days sailing. The water temperature has dropped from a steady 31.6 degrees over the past few days to 28.5 and so it feels a little chilly this morning. There is even dew on the deck! Just 123 miles to go so will slow ourselves down for an ETA of mid morning on20 Oct.
great copy on Kate just before 1900UTC. They have had great conditions so far and there is no troughing ahead.
heading 000T, at 5.0 knots. Almost perfect day's sailing yesterday with blue skies, flat seas and light breeze. Visiting dolphins topped it off. Today looks like a slow one (or another slow one) but its island time.
heading 358T, at 5.5 knots. The last squall left for the party in Vanuatu yesterday morning and since the afternoon we have been sailing on flat seas in light ENE-E winds. Very pleasant and time to catch up on sleep and do some washing.
heading 006T, at 5 knots. Starting to get used to the squalls over the last 36hrs. They appear to form around the 175th longitude then head west. Problem is that there are so many, about one every 2-3minutes minute of latitude. At times you can dodge them but others it is not possible as they are too big so you just need to plough straight through them. At the time of writing this though we appear to be finally getting some relief from them with squall free skies so far.
heading 37T, at 7 knots. Still trying to get a little bit more Easting in in preparation for NE winds. Encountered our first squalls of the passage around 9-10 degrees of latitude, both short lived with 35 knots of wind and rain.
heading 43T, at 6 knots. Trying to get Easting in in preparation for NE winds. Not too uncomfortable for a close haul but looking forward to breaking away a bit.
Motored most of yesterday until wind came in in the evening. Now beautiful sail. Paul caught a 15kg Mahi Mahi so fridge full!.
Started out yesterday with a lovely 10-15 SW but died overnight and now motoring on glassy sea.
Heading out for Tarawa in Kiribati this afternoon.
Still anchored at Luganville.Plan to head to Kiribati next week.
very hard to hear early in the net. Will try again shortly
Anchored in Aisari Bay, Aore. Info re clearing out from Sola in the Banks. Customs officer away 8 Oct to 1 Nov. Another officer may be in Sola mid October. Not confirmed and will be additional VAT5000
anchored at Luganville. provisioning to go north to Kiribati in a couple of weeks
Still at Port Olry waiting for weather to move to Luganville.
Anchored in Port Olry after a fast sail down from Gaua in 20 knots from ESE.
Anchored at Ureparpara but moving south today
Anchored off Sola, Vanua Lava.
At Lasalave Bay, Gaua. Tucked in behind reefs and comfortable.
sounds like a great place to be., This is on the N end
looks ok for the festival starting tomorrow. Less than a chance of drizzle tomorrow!
Anchored at Ambae vanuatu
At Asanvari Bay. Enjoyed a cave swim-through and dive around the bombie yesterday.
Still at the northern most anchorage in Pentecost. There is the annual sporting event going on at the next down anchorage on Aug 7-11. Sounds like a lot of fun as about 100 competitors will be gathering.
great conditions to enjoy
Anchored off Ambrym Glassy sea.
Anchored off Epi.
Anchored at Emae, which is south of Epi and NE of Havannah
P Vila is a lovely calm anchorage
Arrived yesterday afternoon and moored off Port Vila. Slept very well last night and had our first meal off Iolea since NZ (except for a cultural lunch in Aneityum). Will be here until Saturday when we start north to Ambrym.
On passage from Erromango to Port Vila. Looking forward to a flat anchorage for a change .
At Port Resolution in Tanna. Leaving for Eromango this morning then on to Port Vila Monday or thereabouts. Visited the volcano last night, amazing to walk on its rim as it booms and belches .
Arrived in Tanna yesterday afternoon with Maunie and Bright Angel. 10 boats in Port Resolution, 3 from Fiji. Will go to the volcano this evening
In Aneityum but looking to head to Tanna tomorrow morning
Arrived at 10 am this morning approximately 5 days and 23 hours after leaving NZ so a good fast trip, albeit uncomfortable. The boat is tidy, we are showered and fed, and the blocked head is working again. We will check in to Vanuatu tomorrow morning. Now we are just chilling and enjoying the warmth.
Yesterday was a pleasant surprise. We had been expecting little wind but for most of the day it was around 20 knots from SSE. We have also managed to skirt all the squalls so far so hope that continues. Just 2 days to go.
COG 359T, SOG 5.4 knots, Bar 1017, wind SSE10kn , cloud 50 per cent, seas 1-1.5m easier now but slow. At least no more waves in the cockpit.
COG 000T, SOG 6.5 knots, Bar 1018, wind ESE15kn , cloud 90 per cent, seas 2-2.5m still lumpy.
COG 000T, SOG 7.0 knots, Bar 1019, wind ESE15kn , cloud 90 per cent, seas 2m lumpy. Looking forward to flat water again. We've got soft!
On our way to Aneityum. pos 32 59S ; 173 49E. COG 339, spd 7.0 knots,wind SSE 20knots, seas 2m, baro 1029. Rolly but fine on board.
Ok, definitely leaving this morning from Opua. Will check in with Peter at Northland radio and send in updates to YIT.
At Opua marina now leaving tomorrow, Sunday
At Opua marina looking to leave Saturday at this point
Waiting in the Bay of Islands for a sailing window.
On the dock at Opua. Many thanks to Trish and David for the weather updates on the way down. David's descriptions allow us to visualise the passage of weather which is great.
COG 196T, SOG 5.0 knots motoring, Bar 1019, wind 5kn E, cloud 10 per cent, seas Flat. ETA Opua 6-8pm tonight, Yes!.
COG 168T, SOG 5.0 knots, Bar 1013, wind 19kn SSW, cloud 100 per cent, seas 1.5-2m. Motorsailing on a bouncy ride.
COG 178T, SOG 8.0 knots, Bar 1010, wind 20kn NNW, cloud 100 per cent, seas 1.0m. An eventful previous 24hrs. Our port side halyard used to lift tools up the mast snapped, thought ok no drama as the line had fallen on the deck. Furled in the heady to get ready to pole it out to go wing on wing. Unbeknown to us however there was still a lot of that snapped halyard up the mast. Once the sail was furled it whipped itself around the heady so it could not be unfurled. This resulted in Paul having to go up the mast at sea to free the line. Whilst this all went well we'd rather not have to go up the mast at sea again.
COG 180T, Bar 1014, wind 15kn NNE, cloud 30 per cent, seas 1.0m..
COG 182T, Bar 1014, wind 10kn ENE, cloud 5 per cent, seas 1.5 to 2.5m. time is 3pm Sunday.
COG 193T, Bar 1011, wind 16 kn E-ESE, cloud 10 per cent, seas 0.5m. So far a wonderful sail on easy seas. Cross fingers for the rest of the passage.
COG 224, Bar 1012, Great start to the passage with steady 18SE winds and 1-2m seas, 7-8 knots of boat speed, but sometimes strong current against us SOG 7.4 at present. 80% cloud. All well aboard.
Motoring from Vuda Marina and heading to Opua. ETA Nov 20. Mostly overcast and 12 knots from SW at this time.
In Musket Cove and assessing a Wednesday departure for Opua. Beautiful weather up here at present. Light southeasterly and almost zero cloud cover.
Arrived Lautoka at midday and all checked-in and looking forward to a good night's sleep. Wonderful to be here. We love it already and we are still anchored off the main wharf!
Another day motoring but managed to get sail up at 3am this morning for a soft ride to Navula Pass. ETA Lautoka is 12pm local time.
Oops! We were wondering what those land masses were. Turned right 1am and started the engine. We are motoring in a mirror sea this morning.
Sailing since yesterday morning and following the wind around to N at present. Very pleasant and some helpful squalls along the way. Fridge working again and had a small bird drop in for a few hours R&R. All in all a good 24 hrs.
Sailed overnight in se winds but back to motoring this morning. The fridge raw water pump has decided to play up so that's today's task.
Motoring still. Hoping to come across stray squalls for some wind.
Motorsailing most of the time so having showers, washing. No fish yet but getting warmer. No need for socks!
Running with just the main so still rolly - pole join coming apart so can't use. Wind died for a while last night and we motored for a few hours. Putting the fishing line out today.
Rock n Roll with wind behind but making good time.
On our way to Fiji, YES!.
Waiting in Opua for a weather window to Fiji. Hoping Sunday but looks uncertain.
Yes, we are actually on the water!
On anchor outside Russell in the Bay of Islands. Day clearing. Waiting for next weather window
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