Katie M II
We arrived at Bundaberg Port Marina at 1045 hrs on Tuesday 23 Oct - total passage time just over six days. The big question is whether we will be able to sleep when the constant throb of the diesel, that we've lived with for 3/4 of the trip, finally stops! It is great to arrive at our destination and meet up with so many other cruisers that we know who have converged on Bundaberg. The weather is great, the Marina looks good, everyone is super friendly so.....all is well!!
We had some good sailing with ~10-14 kts of SE wind last night then a bit more motoring and now again some reasonable winds - a nice way to end the trip. Only another 30 nm to go and all is well on board!
We had 7-8 kts of wind at 0300 Hrs and were able to get the boat moving reasonably well. The wind speed has fallen to the point we'll have to start motoring again. Hopefully there is a bit more wind up ahead. All's well on board.
Yesterday's breeze was just teasing us - we sailed for about 3.5 hours and then it was back to motoring. Our previous motoring record for a passage was 90 hours (New Cal to Opua in 2014). That record is about to fall! In spite of that all is well on board!
We have been motoring and motor sailing until 0530 hrs but with the dawn has come some light wind forward of the beam that we can do something with so...yippee the motor is off! All is well aboard.
The wind is almost non-existant so we continue to motor. It is a bright clear morning with just a few low clouds. All is well aboard.
We left Numea at 0915 hrs on Wednesday. We had great wind for the first 16 hours - broad reaching at over 7 kts. However, as per the forecast, the wind has died away and we have been motoring since 0115 hrs. All is well aboard.
We enjoyed our time at Ile Casy in Baie de Prony which included walks, snorkels, a dive on the Prony needle and a side trip to the hot springs (not so hot!) and cascades. Also lots of socializing with other cruisers and a rescue of a kite boarder stuck out in the Baie at dusk after the wind died. We have now moved up to Noumea in preparation for the jump to Bundaberg which may come as early as Wednesday.
We had an easy motor sail across from the Ile des Pins and we are now at Ile Casy in Baie de Prony. We caught a good Spanish Mackeral on the way over and Angela did a great job cooking the fish which we shared with our friends from Peregrine and Nina.
We decided to go from Yate to the Ile des Pins and left at 0430 hrs as it is a 52 nm trip. All went well and we had a mixture of motoring, motor-sailing and sailing and got in to Baie de Kuto at 1400 hrs. As we traversed the eastern end of Havana pass this morning we landed a nice little Walu. We had another strike about 5 nm from the anchorage that stretched the shock cord on my hand line right out to max - clearly something big!! The line went slack before I even got my gloves on....probably just as well - something that big would likely be very hard to handle. I still had the lure so it's all good. It is stunningly beautiful here in the Bay and we are sharing the anchorage with quite a few other rally boats
The conditions for moving south (light wind in the morning - SW winds off the land later in the day) were too good to miss out on so here we are at Yate. The wind accelerated up as high as 20 as we came level with some of the valleys or headlands and at other times fell below 10 kts making for an interesting sail! We are now within striking distance of Bay de Prony or Isle de Pine so we are going to take a lay day tomorrow and walk up to the Dam.
We enjoyed our visit to Ouvea but today we had to pay the piper - a long hard day motor sailing south. We were running short of daylight so we have bailed out at an anchorage 6nm short of our destination (Bouquet Bay).
Moved up to Ouvea. Good downwind sail at 6.5 - 7.0 Kts with just the Genoa in around 20 kts of apparent wind. We are anchored off the Paradise hotel. This is a low atoll so we are out of the waves but still plenty of wind.
As windward passages go this wasn't bad. Apparent wind was between 50 and 60 degrees at 16 - 25 kts - more than we needed but we were reefed down accordingly. Seas were not too bad - 1.5 - 2.0M. There is lots of room for the Go West fleet in this bay which is gorgeous - white sand and crystal clear water. Check in is tomorrow morning after which it is party time!
We spent 6 days in Vila - provisioning, fueling up and having meals ashore with cruising friends. My parts for my Autoprop arrived on Tuesday (5 days by DHL from England!) and I was able to get that fixed up on Wednesday. We left Vila at 1415 hrs on Saturday Sept 22 - destination the Island of Lifou in the Loyalties. We are sailing with an apparent wind angle of about 50 degrees which is as close as we want to go. We believe the wind direction and heading should get a bit better over the course of today and allow us to lay the NW corner of the island. We expect to be in the anchorage tomorrow morning. Apart from the discomfort of a beat with more wind than we need all is well on board.
Not a bad beat from Gaspard to Epi and then Epi to Emai where we met up with Peregrine. Today we had a great sail, close reaching in 17 - 23 kts. We are currently Esema Bay at the NE end of Havana Harbour. All in all not a bad trip back from Luganville.
We have moved around to Gaspard Bay which offers better protection from the strong south easterly (19 - 21 kts) winds that are blowing in open water.
We have had an interesting trip down the west side of Malakula Island. Last night we anchored in South West Bay. There is a large village (one of three in the bay) that is close to the anchorage and we went ashore and paid our respects to the chief. We also explored the lagoon and had appies with Jim and Debbie from Australia. Today a front was coming through but we forged ahead since strong southerlies are in the forecast for Thursday. The problem with today was that the wind was much stronger than forecast and seemed th head us whether we were heading down from South West Bay or across to the Maskelyne Islands. However we persevered and got to our destination on Uliveo Island by a combination of tacking and then motor sailing 30 degrees off the wind with the staysail up. We have met up with our friends Ian and Wendy on the Cat Outsider who were our leaders on the Makogai school building project of 2016.
We enjoyed our stay anchored off the beachfront resort in Luganville. Not only were we able to do laundry, reprovision, refuel etc. but it was a good place to meet up with cruising friends over a beer and a meal at the Beachfront Resort. We also did a few touristy things such as hire a taxi for a day, swim one of the Blue holes, snorkel Million Dollar Point, Dive on the wreck of the President Coolidge + Martin and four other cruisers did the all day Millenium Cave expedition. We are now moving south down the west side of Malacula and are currently at a beautiful anchorage on the NW coast - Molin Bay. A friendly villager took us to a great swimming hole up the river.
The back to our roots Festival culminating with the Rom dance on Friday was great. On Saturday we moved to Ranon (just 3nm south) and on Sunday Martin hiked to the top of the Ambryn volcano. It was a great hike but unfortunately the caldera was shrouded in mist and couldn't be seen. Today we were underway by 0400 hrs because we had 65nm to cover - we had a great sail, mostly dead downwind to our current anchorage in Luganville Bay on Espiritu Santo.
We had a good day at Banam Bay on Tuesday. Martin helped the chief with a problem with his solar panels and Angela took photos of the soccer team in their new uniforms. We had a good sail across to the NW corner of Ambrym and then a motor sail along the north shore. We are now anchored at Nopul at the NE corner of Ambrym. Tomorrow and Friday we plan to attend the back to your roots custom dance Festival.
We moved up to Banam Bay today. It is a beautiful bay protected from wind and swell in normal prevailing winds. We went ashore by dinghy and met the chief of the one village and his family. Our contact for delivering soccer jerseys and soccer balls for the Butterfly Trust is currently in Santos but we made contact with a friend who will make sure the donations get to the right place. Unfortunately the wind is going to clock around tonight and this is not the place to be in a northerly. We have therefore elected to return to Port Sandwich and let the system go through - we should be able to get back to Banam Bay on Tuesday.
We saw lots of turtles - some of them very big, but the resident dugong of Lamen Bay eluded us. We have therefore moved on. We had a good sail across (15 - 19 Kts broad reaching) and we are now in Port Sandwich on Malukula Island. This is a very well protected anchorage but we will not be snorkelling for dugongs or anything else at this anchorage. The remains of slaughtered cattle were once dumped here and the guide book warns cruisers to stay clear of one or more aggresive sharks that have taken up residence here!
We are now at Lamen Bay on Epi Island. This bay is nicely out of the wind but it has a surprising amount of roll so tonight will be a rolly night! Lamen Bay is famous for it's resident dugong. We plan to have an early morning snorkel to see if we can see him before heading to our next anchorage on Malakula Island.
We are now at Emae Island anchored on a patch of sand between the reefs. This is a very beautiful place. We had a good snorkel between the boat and the shore - lots of interesting canyons + 3 turtles. The villagers are very friendly.
We have now left Vila and we are on our way north. First Port of call - Havana Harbour.
We arrived in Port Vila 10:40 a.m. after a good passage with generally good trade wind sailing except for some squally conditions in the early hours of Sunday that kept us busy up and down the reefs. Sunday afternoon and night we had strong SE winds of 18 - 27 kts that kept us barrelling along with just a deep reefed main and staysail. Currently in the Quarantine anchoring area waiting for immigration.
A little bit of a frustrating night. Wind was up and down all night with squalls. Reefs were going in and out all night long. Had a light wind spell this morning and had to motor for a while. Now wind has filled in and we hope it lasts until we get to Vila. ETA late morning or midday tomorrow. All is well on board.
We were able to stop motoring at 1800 hours on Friday and are now sailing in pleasant light trade winds. All is well on board.
We had to turn motor on at 10:00 hrs today because, as forcasted, we have a light wind day today. The forcast calls for the SE trades to come back during the night and carry us all the way to Vila. All is well on board.
We have checked out of Fiji heading to Port Vila. Good trade wind conditions at present. All is well on board.
We have had a good trip south from Blue Lagoon. Landed a good Walu yesterday. We had a great swim with Manta Rays this morning at first light. We are currently anchored at Mana Island.
Currently at Blue Lagoon along with our friends Doreen and Ian. Had a good sail up from Manta Ray pass today in 14 - 19 Kts of E wind. Had a small fish on today but it managed to get away before we got it aboard!
Good sail over from Vuda. Good to be back in Musket Cove....even if it is a bit blustery! Kylie has a flight out on Tues so it's good to be where we can swim and snorkle.
We are currently at Saweni Bay. Will be going into Vuda Point in the morning.
We arrived in Viani Bay on Sunday and left Tues after two great dives on Rainbow reef. We tied to a mooring ball at Paradise Resort (Taviuni)on Tuesday night. The SE trades have picked up today and we had a great 35 nm sail to Koro with just a partially rolled Genoa. We now have this beautiful anchorage to ourselves. Our power issues continue so we are heading west instead of our original plan to go to Fulaga.
We are on the move again! We left Savusavu at 0700 Hrs heading up to Viani Bay. Currently anchored at Fawn harbour. It was a good sail but rainy mostly all day.
We are safely on a mooring bouy at Savusavu awaiting customs clearance. This trip is one for the memory books with some of everything. We used all but 4L of our fuel (100 hours) so that was more motoring than we like but we also had some great sailing - boisterous fast reaching, some hard work to windward, a wind change so fast and violent that I had to cut away a sail and finally a fast run to the barn with the wind behind us - we had it all! We are all well - the crew did great - hats off to Kylie on her first ocean passage. 1295 nm in 11.5 days minus a 2 day stop in Minerva.
Rough night with sudden increase in wind speed with gusts over 40 kts and a sustained period over 30 Kts - this was not on our forecast. We are all well and will be in Savusavu later tonight
We have kept just enough fuel to get into port (6L). We used the rest to motor sail north on Thursday night to get into some better winds. At first light this morning we raised the full main and genaker and have been ghosting along in very light air averaging about 7 kts. We have kept the boat moving and have now been rewarded with slightly more wind that will hopefully carry us in to Savusavu. It is going to be a bit slow but we will get there!
just enough fuel to use on arrival - they hope!
We have motor sailed for a day and a half in search of the illusive SE trades. The wind is slightly more now than it has been so we are trying the Genaker - not really enough but we are rationing fuel now. It was a nice day today - very warm.
turned the motor off an hour ago. There will be no report for a couple of days as Gulf Harbour radio has gone AWOL
via Pilgrim as radio not strong enough to reach Gulf harbour
All well on board. (report came in at 8am)
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