Maunie of Ardwall
Sorry for any confusion over lightning speed passages between Devon and Sydney - the YIT app appears to keep randomly inputting an old Australian entry from about 2 years ago! Anyway, Maunie is definitely staying in the Northern hemisphere this year and is back on her Dartmouth mooring after a good four-day mini-cruise down to Falmouth and back
It's good to be back aboard and doing a proper mini-cruise after a summer of weekend sailing - this working 5 days a week is very overrated!
We left Dartmouth this morning and had a cracking 40nm sail to Plymouth - wind right on the nose, of course, but flat seas and 15-18 knots of wind made it easy. We had forgotten how pretty the coastline is here and the challenges of tidal flows around the headlands makes for interesting navigation.
We have anchored off the pretty village of Cawsand, at the entrance to Plymouth Sound, and tomorrow head for Falmouth, another 40 miles to windward. Hopefully our reward will be a spinnaker run back on Saturday & Sunday.
Maunie is back home! We arrived to tie up to our mooring in Dartmouth at 1440 after an eight hour passage from Weymouth. We started the day flying the Irish Flag spinnaker and wonderful beam reach sailing. Sadly the wind only lasted for a few hours before we resorted to motor sailing. We were entertained by the navy chatting to various boats as they passed within their firing practice range, a tiny bird joining us as additional crew mid passage and finally Laura's excitement at spotting two dolphins as we approached the entrance to Dartmouth. Perhaps it was a welcome home! Ok so we'd have preferred to sail Maunie all the way around the World but it's still nice to be back here! All very well aboard.
Maunie is back in British waters! After 6 weeks on the deck of the mv Dmagracht she looked remarkably clean and untroubled by all those sea miles. The unloading process was way more entertaining (if equally nerve-wracking) than the loading because we were allowed onto the deck of the ship to get Maunie ready for the lift (backstays removed, fenders and lines set). A worrying few minutes trying to free a seized padlock on the main hatch was the only glitch in an otherwise very smooth process.
We are now in Hythe Marina, across the water from Southampton docks, for a few days to refit halyards, sails and canvas. All is very well aboard, though it's only about 10 degrees C!
Well, this is sad - our last YIT report from the southern hemisphere! We're in Newcastle Marina (and have been for a couple of weeks) waiting for the ship mv Damgracht to arrive. We're loading Maunie aboard in the next day or so and she'll retrace her wake across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal, arriving in Southampton sometime in May. The voyage from the UK has been amazing and we've been away for nearly six years so we can't complain about having to return to work. Of course, we'll miss the live-aboard cruising and the sunshine hugely but at least we'll have Maunie back on her mooring in Dartmouth for weekends and occasional longer trips.
Our final couple of days aboard are in driving rain and near gale-force winds, designed, perhaps, to make us feel better about stepping off the boat that's been our wonderful home for so long. So long to all our cruising mates, it's been great knowing you - we suspect we'll be back!
Anchored in Hen & Chicken Bay for the strong southerly to roll in at around midnight. Only 2.5m depth of water but said to be very good holding in mud, according to the pilot book. Well, we dragged, very slowly, about 1000ft until the anchor finally settled into something firmer. Thankfully we had plenty of space around us
Anchored in Hen & Chicken Bay for the strong southerly to roll in at around midnight. Only 2.5m depth of water but said to be very good holding in mud, according to the pilot book. Well, we dragged, very slowly, about 1000ft until the anchor finally settled into something firmer. Thankfully we had plenty of space around us
Our final sail under the Harbour Bridge as we beat out to Rose Bay this afternoon. Anchored in 6.5m in calm water. Heading north to Pittwater tomorrow, but we will be sorry to leave Sydney.
On the only NSW Govt visitor's mooring in Watson's Bay - a tad rolly since it's pretty close to the route used by the high-speed ferries coming into the wharf but easy access to the beach. A great walk up to The Gap, overlooking the ocean, and then to the end of South Head
In beautiful Bantry Bay on visitors' mooring. We moved here at 07.00 after an event-filled night. We were on a visitors' mooring just upstream of the Spit Bridge and a 50ft light-displacement motorboat came and took the neighbouring one. At 04.00 the wind picked up, with some heavy gusts, and the motorboat was shearing around the mooring like a crazy thing – we woke up as we collided. He swung against our stern, damaging the Windpilot (a broken aluminium casting) but no one aboard their boat woke up! When we told them this morning they seemed very unconcerned, in spite of the scratches down their side – “It’s not our boat” said the woman in the cockpit.
In Blackwattle Bay. Shocked to find the rigging-wire, used to lock the dinghy to the public pontoon, had been severed somewhere between 11.00 and 14.00. The thief abandoned the boat when he / she couldn't start the engine; luckily the wind just blew it against the seawall. A river police boat came by so we registered the event with them so they said they'd step up patrols in the area.
We are very relieved not to have lost the dinghy; thank goodness we always take the kill-cord off the motor.
After a few days anchored in Blackwattle Bay (handy for the fantastic fish market), we opted for a complete change of scene. With winds averaging 15 kts, we had perfect sailing conditions for a beat into Middle Harbour. Arriving early for the 14.15 opening of the Spit Bridge, we took one of the visitor buoys. Once through the bridge, we motored up to the beautiful Castle Cove and anchored in 9 metres. The scenery is stunning so all is very well on board.
After a great time in Broken Bay and Pittwater, we took advantage of a good breeze to fly the spinnaker down to Sydney Harbour yesterday - a brilliant daysail. Anchored off Manly and we have some boats around us that we know so it'l be fun to catch up with old friends. All very well aboard.
We moved into Pittwater on Monday and are on a mooring organised by friends Sue and Ian. This is a busy sailing centre with hundreds of moorings and several marinas and yacht clubs to cater to the needs of the locals and people living in Sydney. We can see the attraction - the water doesn't have all the commercial vessels and high speed ferries of Sydney Harbour and there are plenty of places to anchor or moor if the weather blows up. About 600 people live on Scotland Island, just across from us, and many commute by dinghy across to Church Point and then take a car or bus to their workplace.
We plan to stay here for Christmas Day and then think about moving down to Sydney.
We motored to the Head of Cowan Creek, in company with s/v Bravo, and are on visitors' moorings at Bobbin Head. In spite of the proximity of a large marina and being only 40 minutes drive from Sydney, it's really quiet her. It's a really beautiful place with densely-wooded shores but it has been incredibly hot, peaking at over 38 degrees at lunchtime. A very short walk in the gum tree forest, in the heady aroma of warm eucalyptus. was all we could manage in the heat but today it's cooler so we plan a hike in the National Park.
A superb sail from Newcastle yesterday - a close reach with the Irish Flag spinnaker in 15 to 20 knots E backing NE and a gentle sea state. Arrived in Broken Bay at 19.00 and came up to America Bay to pick up a mooring.
The bay is full of moorings (50 or more) which are owned by various yacht clubs for the use of their members but the arrangement is that non-members may use them as long as they vacate immediately if a club member arrives. At weekends and, particularly, over Christmas this place will be full but today there are only 8 boats here, enjoying the sunshine, the mirror-calm water and the beautiful forest which is alive with the buzz of cicadas.
We'll explore further into Cowan Creek today.
We have been in 'stealth mode' for the past few days. We actually arrived in Newcastle, after a beautiful spinnaker run down from Port Stephens with dolphin escort, on Thursday but kept quiet to surprise Adam & Cindi who were returning to Bravo here after their trip to the US. Great to catch up with them with a meal aboard Maunie last night - in spite of their jet-lag they were on great form.
We're enjoying Newcastle and had a really good Hunter Valley wine tour on Saturday - 4 wineries plus a brewery visited, 30 wines and 6 beers tasted. The only snag was that the Yacht Club marina was full, due to a Farr 40 regatta, so we got onto the pontoon next to the Maritime Museum. It is a great location, apart from the wash from the huge tugs as they return from guiding the vast coal ships in and out of the commercial docks. Last night at 4.00am we had a tug in an extra hurry to return to its berth and Maunie was rolled violently and slammed against the pontoon - a rude awakening that's also left a mark on our topsides. Currently awaiting a call back from the Operations Manager at Svitzer, the tug company, to give him some constructive feedback!
That aside, all is well and we will stay another day before heading on to Broken Bay and Pittwater.
The tail-end of a weather system which brought flooding to Victoria a few days ago is still giving us variable winds and, yesterday, a thunder storm with torrential rain for about thirty minutes. Barometer dropped from 1016mb to 1002mb but we are back to blue sky, sunshine and calm this morning and the pressure is rising.
We returned to Fame Cove yesterday and we are just debating when to move south - there has been a big swell (over 3 metres) offshore for the past couple of days but it is supposed to be reducing. The light winds at the moment would mean motor-sailing so we don't fancy rolling in big waves!
After a productive day, in warm sunshine, yesterday recaulking teak decks (the project is nearly complete!!), we motored over to Lemon Tree Passage under grey skies this morning. We are moored alongside the new public pontoon and were told by local sailors to ignore the signs saying "Maximum One Hour Stay". So we've got the laundry done and then have had a very entertaining BBQ with friends Michael and Annick on the German yacht Lucie, plus locals this afternoon, so we have learned a bit more about the place. We'll head off to another anchorage in the morning but the unsettled and showery weather means we won't head further south along the coast until Thursday or Friday.
A fabulous day sail from Crowdy Head to Port Stephens. Although the wind was disappointingly light this morning, it built enough to fly our beloved Parasailor from midday. Once we had the current with us, we made good speed. On a visitor's mooring in Salamander Bay and looking forward to a few days of exploring Port Stephens. All well aboard.
A pleasant downwind sail, Irish Flag spinnaker flying, from Port Macquarie; the crew was on a sugar-rush from Dianne's latest batch of excellent orange and walnut flapjack but the breeze faded so we motored the last hour. We've come into the tiny man-made harbour of Crowdy Head which feels a bit like a ghost-harbour. The fisheries co-operative has closed, the once-busy fishing fleet has gone (just 4 or 5 small and scruffy boats left on the fishing pontoon) and the visitors' pontoon has been condemned. The only new bit of kit is the fuel pontoon (which doesn't actually have any fuel pumps) and it is alongside this that we are moored, as directed by the helpful Marine Rescue team when we phoned them. Long lines and fender-board are deployed as it is a fixed pontoon but the piles are well-fendered and the water is calm.
More rain and light winds are forecast for tomorrow so we may stay here to do some boat jobs before moving on to Port Stephens.
We motored up the Hastings River this afternoon and found a nice spot on a bend, just opposite where the Maria River joins the main waterway. Very rural and peaceful, apart from the buzz of cicadas in the trees, so we weren't expecting to be passed by some reasonably major shipping. The Marine Rescue team made several VHF announcements that a tug was bringing a 60m vessel into the river and it transpires that, unlikely as it may seem, there is a fairly substantial shipyard upstream.
We followed the progress of the tug on AIS and a NSW Maritime Police boat came up to us to warn us of the approaching tow (they were happy that we were anchored well out of the main channel) and it passed us at a steady 4 knots - the tug was the Kotor and the ship was a suction dredger called Pelican.
All well aboard Maunie, enjoying a relaxed Sunday afternoon in the sunshine.
Arrived at Port Macquarie at 13.00 today (pretty much at HW) after another calm-sea motor-sail in glorious sunshine. More dolphins (including a huge pod of perhaps 40 of them close by) but an otherwise uneventful passage and the bar entrance was calm. Port Macquarie is a busy holiday town and the little marina has seen some recent investment so there's a new pontoon on the river, with self-service fuel dock, and new pontoons being installed in the existing marina. There's a big shopping mall close by so we've restocked on fresh provisions and then had a good walk down to the breakwater before supper. We'll check the weather and either leave late morning to do a 3 hour hop down to Camden Haven or, more likely, move up the river here for a quiet rural overnight anchorage to allow the NE wind to develop a little more before leaving on Monday.
Anchored in 4m of clear water in Trial Bay after a pretty windless 35nm passage from Coffs. Trial Bay splits the passage to Port Macquarie neatly into two but we discovered that the bar to the Macleay River has 'closed up' - basically it needs a good river flood to clear out the shallows but for the moment the leading marks have been removed and depths of only 0.6m have been reported.
Luckily the swell is less than 1m and the breeze has died away again so the open roadstead anchorage is very calm (it probably doesn't get much better than this here). We'll leave for Port Macquarie in the morning to get to the bar at HW (lunchtime) and there we'll wait for a couple of days for the NE wind to arrive properly; we've had enough of motoring!
All well aboard
Arrived in Coffs Harbour Marina after a 64 mile passage from Iluka. This was all motor-sailing with a great deal of current with us (up to 2.1 knots). Plenty of shipping to spot moving from Newcastle to Brisbane along with fishing boats, Rock Lobster Pot markers (close to South Solitary Island) and dolphins. All very well aboard, especially when Thatchers Gold Cider on tap was spotted at the Marina Bar - that is, until we found they'd run out!
Arrived at Iluka, Clarence River, yesterday lunchtime after a very good 35nm sail from Ballina. Judging the timings to safely cross the bars at each river entrance was tricky - we left Ballina at 06.00, HW minus 4 hours, so had about a knot of incoming current at the bar (It's vital to avoid crossing bars with the current flowing out to sea because the waves quickly build up and can become dangerous) and had about 0.75 knots of south-going current along the coast. We arrived at the Clarence River bar at HW plus 1.75 hours with the current still just flowing in to the river (there's roughly a 2.5 hour 'over-run' so that the flow changes direction around 2.5 hours after local HW and LW times) so it all worked out very well.
Anchored in 3m, well sheltered and out of the current and we'll stay here another day due to the wind veering SE / SSE - the town of Iluka is very pleasant and the fishermen's cooperative does great fish 'n' chips. It gives us time to sort a problem with one of the mainsail reefing lines which had become jammed in a block in the boom - a bit of a challenge....
Anchored in Mobbs Bay, near Ballina on the Richmond River, after a lovely 65nm passage from the Gold Coast. A few hours of motoring across a glassy sea we then had quite a spirited beam reach under spinnaker in 15 - 18 knots from the ENE; great to be sailing again!
The anchorage is pretty shallow (max 3.5m) and the mud very soft so it took us three attempts to get the anchor to bite but it's a very peaceful spot. We plan to dinghy across the river to explore the bright lights of Ballina tomorrow before resuming the south-bound passage. All very well on board.
Maunie is back on the move after re-launch. Heading south tomorrow. All well aboard.
On a marina pontoon at the Boat Works. We came up the Coomera River yesterday in torrential rain in order to get a Raymarine technician aboard to resolve a problem with our autopilot, only to be told that ex-cyclone Debbie heading our way. Huge rainfall meant that businesses and schools were closing and there were widespread flood alerts.
Anchoring in a flooding river is a Bad Idea - vegetation and debris can build up around the anchor chain pulling the boat's bow down or breaking the anchor out so we were lucky to get the one remaining berth in the little marina here, tucked downstream of a big motor yacht. As the day progressed and the rain continued to fall, the river turned dark brown and branches, navigation buoys and all sorts of unidentified floating objects swept past us.
Overnight a gales swept through but we were well-sheltered from it. This morning, hallelujah, the rain has stopped and there is a little sunshine so we can dry out! Now we have to find if the technicians have been able to get in to work so that the job we came here for can be addressed.
We completed our 100 nm passage up the coast from Yamba, arriving at the Gold Coast at 0930 (0830, Queensland time). The wind was light so we had to motor/ motor-sail all the way with favourable current only helping for the final six hours. Still, the settled conditions allowed us to pass relatively close to Cape Byron and Point Danger, making the most of any tidal assistance. During daylight we were challenged by some new and disturbing alarms from Constance, the autopilot - another job for the list while we're here; night watches included several fishing boats which we both monitored using radar. Now back on the Gold Coast, we're anchored in Bum's Bay, from where we set sail back in November. Coughs and colds getting better on board so all well.
We arrived safely at Yamba Marina, at the mouth of the Clarence River, at 07.30 this morning having decided to divert here for 36 hours to allow a brief front, bringing northerlies on Sunday morning, to pass. A good passage of 306nm from Sydney, averaging 6.3 knots in spite of some adverse current, but lots of rain and poor visibility - thank goodness for the comfort of the pilothouse, it would have been miserable to have to stand watches in the cockpit.
Di's cough and cold has really hit her hard but Graham's man-flu is being held at bay, just. We'll need to restock at the Yamba pharmacy today!
Made good progress yesterday, with the trick of hugging the shore paying off to gain some favourable current back-eddies at times. Wind dropped away during the night so motor-sailed in calm conditions so both got some half-decent off-watch sleep. This morning we have wind and waves and, unfortunately, the south-going current comes close inshore so we have over a knot against us. We considered putting in to Camden Haven for some r&r but the breeze is too good to waste so we are pressing on, despite the coughing and sneezing of the crew.
The southelies have arrived at last! We are about to leave Manly on a passage to the Gold Coast - 450nm / 3 days' sailing, though we might stop at Iluka about two-thirds of the way up, depending on progress. Neither of us feeling on top form - Di's hacking cough is still plaguing her and Graham has the first signs of a cold which could, of course, turn into full-blown man-flu at any moment - so we aren't exactly fired with enthusiasm at 05.30!
Back in Blackwattle Bay, Sydney after an entertaining sail up the coast. The swell was running at nearly 3 metres and we were entertained at the entrance to the harbour by one of the big double-ender Manly ferries doing a bit of a detour towards Sydney Heads to allow the passengers to enjoy(?) a serious bit of rolling in the waves!
We managed to sail under the Harbour Bridge without starting the engine and it is good to be back in the city. Noticeably warmer, too, but we have gained nearly 10 degree of latitude since leaving Recherche Bay in Tassie. Will be in the harbour for about 10 days - a mix of boat work and seeing more of the sights..
We completed the 72 nm passage from Jervis Bay to Cronulla, arriving at 19.00. The wind was around 20 knots from the SE most of the way so apart from 3 hours of motor sailing to get us in before dark we sailed all day in quite boisterous seas. En route we experienced the exceptional customer service from the Aussies: 1. Dave, the marina manager at Cronulla did his best to find us a space in the full marina and finally installed us on the fuel berth with key left for us in a secret place; 2. Doug, the volunteer Marine Rescue officer on duty today at Port Kembla did everything he could possibly do to identify a VHF radio transmission fault. Both above and beyond the call of duty. We had an entertaining arrival into Cronulla sailing through the very active racing fleet as they tacked around the buoys. Very happy to be in but our legs are a bit wobbly on the pontoon after the last two days.
We left Bermagui at 06.00 and have had good winds from the south with big seas making for some great sailing on passage to Jervis Bay. ETA in the Bay is 20.00. We plan to pick up one of the overnight moorings ready for a much needed sleep before setting off to Cronulla tomorrow morning. Making the most of the southerlies while they last. All well on board.
Arrived safely in Bermagui, moored up alongside a fishing boat at the Cooperative Wharf. The crew were super-friendly and helpful with mooring lines and shore power cable (we were a welcome break from their maintenance work!).
We'll head ashore to explore this afternoon.
=20 Only 15nm to go to Bermagui so we should be in time for Sunday lunch. Good sailing yesterday and overnight with the wind doing exactly as forecast, swinging more to the S and increasing during the night. We're now goosewinged and rolling dead-downwind in a 2m swell so a level table for the lunchtime beers with be a welcome novelty.
Overall, the passage has gone pretty much to plan, with some fast sailing though the adverse current (nearly 2 knots at times) was a pain. We are hugging the coast for the final few miles and it does seem to have taken us out of the tide's grip. We have not managed to get into any really good sleep patterns, however, so a post-lunch siesta may be required.
=20 d: 04/03/17 09:17 GMT+1100 As expected, the wind dropped away to about 4 kts last night resulting in 12 hours of motor sailing. The wind has returned this morning with 14 kts from ESE so we are happily sailing again. Our speed of 5.2 knots SOG is due to about 2 knots of tide against us - not helpful! We have 145 nm to go and after catching up on sleep are both well aboard.
=20 A bumpy, sleep-deprived first night but, so far, the wind is delivering the goods. We are making good speed, goosewinged for most of the night and now reaching. The slightly confused sea conditions meant that Winnie the Windpilot struggled to steer a reliable course so we sacrificed amps to Constance the autopilot and are now running the generator to replace them. All well on board.
We came through the Denison Canal this morning with no hitches (thankfully) and then had a lovely sail once we'd cleared Maria Island. The wind was from the SE giving some good close reaching. We're on a meal stop at Crocketts Bay on the North Coast of Schouten Island before setting off on passage to Bermagui this evening. There are about 12 other boats in the anchorage so we'll wait and see if they all have the same plan. All well aboard.
We arrived at our anchorage of Eaglehawk Neck early this afternoon. At that point there was bright sunshine and from the top of the mast we could see out across the Tasman Sea. By late afternoon a sea fog had rolled in. Tomorrow we will navigate the Denison Canal and then on wards up the coast. All well on board except for sad feelings about our imminent departure from Tassie shores.
Re-provisioning complete, we left DSS and motored 500 metres across to RYCT to fill up with fuel. Then we were ready to say farewell to Hobart, a city we've come to love, and motor/ sail past beautiful scenery with mainly southerly winds and full sunshine. We arrived in this anchorage, Connely's Bay, just as the wind went around to the North East. Tomorrow we plan to head down to Eaglehawk Neck before taking the 'short-cut' through the Denison Canal on Thursday. Both well on board.
We have returned to the Derwent Sailing Squadron marina in Hobart for a few days to restock and do some boat jobs. Removing and rebedding the fore hatch to solve a drip in heavy weather is the latest fun task.
We have thoroughly enjoyed the cruising down the east coast of Tassie and can recommend the island as a brilliant sailing area, even if it does get a tad chilly when the wind blows from the south.
We have returned to the Derwent Sailing Squadron marina for a few days to restock and complete a few boat jobs (removing and re-bedding the fore hatch to solve a drip in heavy weather is the latest fun task). It has been a great week of cruising and we thoroughly recommend Tasmania as a sailing base, even if it is a tad chilly when the wind blows from the south.
Anchored in Alexanders Bay after a lovely sail, goose-winged in 15 knots of southerly wind, up from Daniel's Bay, arriving at sunset (about 8.00pm). The forecast is for brisk northerlies today so we'll move about a mile north-east to Quarantine Bay this morning for shelter. The good news about northerlies is that the temperature will go from mid-teens to mid-twenties.
A lunch-stop anchorage in Daniel's Bay with a 3km walk to Bruny Island Premium Wines winery. Lovely lunch but we were less impressed with the wines which were certainly Premium in price!
In the well-sheltered anchorage of Port Cygnet after a really entertaining sail - spinnaker for a while then a little motoring and finally a pretty brisk beat up the Huon River (watch out for those fish farms). A cold front crossed us as we approached the river so there was suddenly 30 knots of wind and rain squalls. Lots of the wooden boats that we saw at the Festival seem to live here and we are anchored just outside the moorings, close to the Yacht Club.
After a great week in Hobart, it was good to be off sailing again. Just a gentle sail, with the Irish Flag spinnaker, down the D'entrecasteaux Channel to The Duckpond anchorage. The Maunie Crew (Graham, Dianne and Kerry) all suffering from colds so the sailing in sunshine was punctuated by burst of sneezing.
We motored the 20 nm from The Duckpond along the D'Entrecasteaux Channel; this morning it was smooth with 2 k of wind at most. The glassy waters meant that we could spot countless penguins so all were very happy on board. We're back in the same berth at DSS Marina where we'll be based for the next week. Looking forward to Kerry from Sel Citron joining us tomorrow, visiting MONA, the incredible art gallery, meeting up with various sailing friends and, of course, going to the Wooden Boat Festival.
Our 'crew from heaven', Suzie & Roald, have gone off for a few days of land travel so we departed Derwent Sailing Squadron at lunchtime for a great sail under the Irish Flag spinnaker down the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. En route we were entertained by seals who were literally waving tails and flippers at us and amazed by the vast Lavender farms which stretch across the hillside. We've anchored in a very sheltered bay called the Duckpond where we should be well protected in the southerly winds. All very well on board.
Arrived in Hobart yesterday afternoon and we are moored in the Derwent Sailing Squadron's newly-extended marina. Good meal in the clubhouse last night and we are off to explore this morning. Roald and Suzie leave Maunie today for a few days of land travels and we'll head out again on Sunday for few days but return for the Wooden Boat Festival at the end of the week. It is a big event here, drawing up to 200,000 visitors.
Anchored in Port Arthur, near the remains of the old penal colony buildings (now a World Heritage site).
The sail down the coast yesterday took us past the spectacular cliffs and rock stacks at the southern end of the Tasman Peninsula and through the 'Hole in the Wall' between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar.
Yesterday, being the 1st of February, marked the end of Dry January so a couple of cheeky beers were enjoyed in the quaint mock-Tudor Fox & Hounds pub.
There's a strong wind warning for today so we'll stay here and explore ashore before sailing for the bright lights of Hobart tomorrow.
For some reason our last couple of updates don't seem to have worked. We are now in Fortescue Bay, anchored in the tiny Canoe Cove to the NE side. Sending this report form the campsite as there is no internet signal at the anchorage...
We sailed from Maria Island this morning, having experienced some great close-quarters wildlife encounters: a snake (one of three, all venomous, species on the island), echidnas, black cockatoos, wallabies and (our favourite) wombats. Suzie and Roald completed the long hike up Mount Maria whilst the skipper and mate did a somewhat less challenging walk to the beautiful Haunted Bay at the very southern end of the island.
The sail south was a bit mixed as the northerly wind was rather fluky, but we flew the spinnaker for a while and motor-sailed a little in cloudy and rainy conditions The anchorage in Canoe Bay is beautiful and sheltered from all directions; we are tucked behind the wreck of the 1907 Dutch cargo vessel Andre Reboncas (later named William Pitt). The wind will go southerly tonight and tomorrow so we'll hike some of the coastal path and, we hope, see some penguins, and then sail round to Port Arthur, the old convict station, on Wednesday.
Moved last night to a free visitors' mooring off Shelly Beach.
For the first time since we arrived in Tasmania, there are clouds in the sky but we should have a good sail across to Maria Island to explore the National Park.
Alongside a beautiful 1953 classic wooden ketch called Laurabada at the fishermen's wharf at Triabunna. The top of the channel was a bit shallow (only 2.2m at 4hrs after HW) but we were able to give Maunie a fresh water wash to get rid of the salt, refill the water tank and get provisions. Luckily for us Laurabada had ordered a fuel delivery to the quay so we were able to add an order for 80 litres.
Awesome fish and chips lunch from the Fish Van and very friendly folk in the Tourist Information centre.
Anchored in Morey's Bay, Schouten Island. Yesterday saw an epic climb up Mount Amos, overlooking Wineglass Bay - not a particularly high hill but there were some reasonably challenging sections of bare rock slopes to negotiate. The reward was a superb view in bright sunshine and blue sky.
This morning we had a gentle sail down the Freycinet peninsula and we are anchored off the National Park Schouten Island in 8m of clear (but cold) water. The wind has just turned SWSW and gusty so, although we are reasonably sheltered, a 33ft yacht that anchored ahead of us just dragged its anchor and came very close, very quickly. Luckily the crew were still aboard and motored to find another spot.
It is another perfect summer day with bright sunshine so another walk is planned for this afternoon.
Arrived at Wineglass Bay (which is stunningly beautiful) at 10.20am after a great night's sail. Unfortunately our gamble that we'd arrive before the low pressure trough (down to 999mb) backed the wind to the SW didn't quite pay off so the last two hours were motorsailing to windward with three reefs in the main and just the staysail in 35 knots of wind and gusts up to 45, to the accompaniment of confused seas. Lots of water over the deck and over the helmsman! More testing of the deck for leaks - still a couple to resolve....
So it is very good to be here and we already feel better after bacon sandwiches and salad. The wind should drop a little this evening to allow us to get ashore for a walk tomorrow.
All very well aboard.
=20 Having four people aboard does make a wonderful difference to the night watches. Two hours on, six hours off is a big improvement on our usual four on, four off regime. Suzie and Roald are skilled sailors too, so spinnaker hoists and other sail changes go smoothly and quickly, and they are good company to have aboard.
Today has been an easy day but a frustrating one in that the wind was just not enough to sail at any respectable pace so we motored from 08.00 until 19.00. The Irish Flag spinnaker flew for an hour of peace as we consumed the excellent lasagne that we made before leaving Eden but there was then another couple of hours of motoring.=20 The wind has now kicked in so. after an fast hour with the spinnaker, we are back to white sails with two reefs in the main as the wind increased into the mid-20s. The wind is on the beam, though, so at the moment it is lovely, fast sailing in fairly flat waters and our ETA for Wineglass Bay is about 09.00. This will, we hope, be well before the wind goes south westerly.=20 All very well aboard and we are looking forward to landfall.
=20 We left Eden at 06.00 yesterday morning in perfect conditions =E2=80=93 blue sky and calm sea, No wind, unfortunately, but the Bass Strait has a reputation for bad weather so we were happy to take a day=E2=80=99s motoring at the start. at 20.00 last night the breeze filled in from the NE, we hoisted the Parasailor and had a brilliant 6 hour run into the night, with about a knot of tidal assistance. Things got pretty rolly at 02.00 this morning as the tide changed so we reverted to white sails and are currently going a bit too slowly for our liking; a strong westerly is forecast for tomorrow and we=E2=80=99d like to be under the lee of Tasmania (or better still anchored in Wineglass Bay) before it arrives.
We have crew aboard - Suzie and Roald joined us on Thursday evening and, after a final shopping expedition in Eden, we had a brisk test sail across the bay yesterday in a gust 30 knot wind. Anchored back in East Boyd Bay with gusts up to 38 knots yesterday evening.
The window to leave for Tasmania tomorrow looks OK, though with a trough coming through on Tuesday bringing strong westerlies for a few hours, so we'll just check the forecast update this afternoon and make the decision as to when to leave (probably in the early hours of Sunday morning). Meanwhile we are preparing on-passage meals today.
We have just completed another Twofold Bay Shuffle after a busy day in Eden - shopping, lunch at Fisho's, the Fisherman's Club (excellent fish and chips, as you would expect), and a visit to the interesting Eden Whaling Museum.
The reason for the move is that a southerly gale is forecast for later tomorrow. We could probably have shifted in the morning except that a naval vessel is due to come alongside the ammunition-loading jetty here at 07.00 and it'll have a 500m no-go zone imposed around it. Anchored boats already here can remain at anchor but nobody will be able to come into the anchorage until the re-arming process is complete at 16.00.
The wind is from the NE today so we motored across to anchor in Snug Cove, the port of Eden, in bright sunshine. Anchored in 10m of water just outside the local yacht moorings and there's a good set of dinghy steps at the root of the western-most jetty (which has water and power for $25 per night for alongside mooring but it's a rather rough structure suited more to fishing boats that yachts). Walked up the hill into town for petrol for the outboard and a few essentials for us - seems like a very nice, rather sleepy place. At the wharf there is a pretty well-stocked chandlery catering to the fishing fleet and the yachting fraternity and there are some good looking seafood places to try.
Met two boats we know from Opua, NZ, here - Mekyo and Seeker - and there are quite a few others queuing up for the crossing to Tassie. Looks as though we'll all be waiting for another few days at least....
The wind strength and direction continued through this morning and we arrived into Twofold Bay, Eden at 14.00. We're anchored in East Boyd Bay, beautiful for its beaches and rocky peninsular and not so much for its Wood Chip Mill and Wharf. We're currently the only yacht anchored here but suspect this may change when the winds switch to southerly and other boats move across. Pleased to report that across the 133 nm passage, Maunie averaged 7.1 kts (7.6 kts since 01.00) - not bad for a heavy lady! All very well on board.
On passage to Eden. We left Jervis Bay at 19.30 yesterday and, as forecast, the wind increased through the night - up to 30 knots NNE at times. We are running, goose-winged and reefed and making excellent progress, helped by a knot or so of southbound current. Wonderful sailing in the bright moonlight and today has dawned sunny.
We should be in Eden early afternoon.
We moved over to anchor off the lovely white beach at Vincentia. There is one public mooring about 500m along the beach to the east of us. The bay would be pretty exposed to strong SE to N winds but the provisioning opportunities are very good here - a large Coles supermarket and a fuel station are within easy walking distance of the beach, plus the usual holiday stores and coffee shops.
So re-fueled and re-provisioned, we are ready to set sail for Eden tonight.
Just completed another Jervis Bay Shuffle back to the south side of the bay. Flat calm, bright sunshine and hot, hot, hot at the moment but a southerly wind is forecast for this afternoon.
It looks hopeful that we'll get easterlies then a fairly brisk NNE tomorrow night and Friday so that should be our window to get to Eden. The next challenge will be finding a good passage window for the 300nm to Tasmania.
A gentle, sunlit sail across to a public visitors' mooring off the little seaside town of Huskisson. A very good butcher and bakery, plus a rather limited mini-supermarket, allowed us to replenish the vital supplies. There is a public pontoon with a 20 mins maximum stay at the mouth of the river with water taps and, strangely (given the time limit), 240v power sockets but we didn't test the shallow approaches in Maunie.
After checking the 16.00 forecast, we did indeed head out on passage to Eden, looking forward to the forecasted wind blowing 10-15 kt from the N. We knew we'd need to do some motoring which wouldn't be ideal but better than what we actually got: the wind was still from the South, 12 kt and the seas were uncomfortably rolly and confused. We decided we weren't in that much of a rush to get to Eden and agreed to turn around. Having already filed a passage report with Marine Rescue (a good idea for a long/ over-night passage) we called them again to explain our decision; the duty officer chuckled and said 'fair enough, mate!' So we look forward to exploring Jervis Bay for a few days until the next sustained and reliable Northerly develops - not such a bad outcome.
We have just picked up one of five visitors' moorings near Hole in the Wall (an obvious rock formation on shore to our east) having completed what's known as a 'Jervis Bay Shuffle'. The bay is so big (around 8nm north to south) that the wind can quickly build up a sizeable set of waves - this morning the wind has swung around to the south so our last anchorage became a lee shore, whereas here all is calm. A pretty spot, with white sand beaches and dense woodland behind, and the water is clear.
The forecast suggests the southerly breeze will be short-lived and so we plan to check the update at 4.05pm then head south for an overnight passage of 120nm to Eden. Suspect we'll have to do some motoring but the sea state has calmed.
A cracking sail south to Jervis Bay yesterday. The original plan to depart the day before was scrapped as we had heavy rain and no wind all morning - even the J24s taking part in the Australian Nationals took the morning off!
Once the wind kicked in at about 11.45 we had a couple of hours with the Irish Flag spinnaker flying, until the wind got up to the early twenties, then back to white sails, reefing down as the wind increased. Jervis Bay is huge and there is a long fetch for wind-driven waves to develop so we had a great beat, lee rail in the water, up to the northern beach where the tall trees gave us some decent shelter. Good holding in clear sand in 5m depth.
This is a beautiful place - unspoilt by development on land or marinas and masses of moorings on the water. The golden sand beach in front of us demands inspection.
Today's forecast is for 25-30 knots from the north and 2.5m waves which would mean a rolly, dead-downwind run to Eden (about 18 hours away) so we are going to sit tight, wait for a brief front (with southerly winds) to roll through on Monday morning then do an overnighter Monday night (if the forecast remains unchanged).
All well aboard.
The first leg of the southward route to Tasmania was a short hop down the coast to Port Hacking, south of Botany Bay. A slightly rolly sail but the Irish Flag spinnaker gave us good speed, with a slight detour to windward to avoid a huge Chinese container ship on its final approaches to Botany. The downside was rain for quite a lot of the day.
Cronulla Marina is well-placed (you could get the commuter train from here to Sydney if you needed it), well sheltered and very friendly. The ablutions facilities are pretty basic, though, for $55 per night.
We'll head south 60nm today to an overnight anchorage in Jervis Bay; we need to get to Eden before Sunday night as the northerly winds swing southerly for a few days after that.
Anchored back in the very sheltered Blackwattle Bay as the wind goes southerly.
This was our anchorage for the stupendous NYE fireworks! Hundreds of boats in very close proximity (and 14m depth t this position) but luckily the wind dropped to nothing in the evening. It was just the most memorable event.
We caught the 08.30 Spit Bridge opening to sail only 4 nm across to Watsons Bay. We're very excited to be well positioned to watch the start of the Sydney- Hobart Race as it passes by. With the forecast of NE winds of 20-25 kt, some records may be broken on this year's race. Can't believe we're here to see the actual start which is something that Di's Auntie Brenda has in the past sent videos of. All very well on board.
Happy Christmas from Maunie! We're in Middle Harbour, near Cammeray, on a mooring belonging to friends we met Vanuatu. Yesterday saw us tick off that iconic sailing moment - going under the Sydney Harbour Bridge - and today we'll enjoy the warm sunshine.
This morning we dragged ourselves out of stunning Pittwater; we say this as Sue and Ian have been wonderful hosts during our stay, we've met some great people and experienced the fabulous Woody Point Yacht Club Wed night race as assistant race officers (this is a club for 'sailors with a drinking problem' and the constitution says 'we welcome members from all walks of life - we even welcome ladies and Kiwis'!) So we headed south in the direction of Sydney, flying the Irish Flag spinnaker most of the 20 nm. We arrived at Manly where we've previously caught the ferry and anchored among several boats we know. We did some final provisioning in town and finished the day off with a glass or two in The Four Pines micro brewery where Graham was delighted to down a glass of hand-pulled, non-fizzy real ale (the first since the UK!)
We have fallen on our feet! Sue and Ian, whom we met in Vanuatu when they were guests aboard Sel Citron, have lent us their mooring off Newport at the southern end of Pittwater. Wonderfully generous of them and it is a brilliant spot!
Getting here this afternoon involved a very entertaining beat in rather un-entertaining drizzle and cool 19 degrees - very much like summer sailing in Galloway, to be honest, and quite a refreshing change from all that hot sultry weather last week
We will base ourselves here for a week or so to explore the delights of Sydney by bus and to recce suitable anchorages there for Maunie over Christmas and NYE.
=20 Our first disappointing coastal sail in Australia today - the forecast was for strong winds to start then 15 to 20 knots from the NE but we got very light breezes and had to motor-sail for all but 2 hours of the 12 hour passage. To add to the disappointment we had a substantial colony of flies and butterflies blow off shore and join us. Swatting the flies kept us busy, until Di swatted with too much enthusiasm and broke the fly-swat (a posh telescopic one at that!). The regular dolphin escorts were much more welcome.
We did consider diverting into Newcastle but are pleased that we carried on now that we are on a visitors' mooring in the stunningly beautiful America Bay, close to Pittwater. The wind has swung around to the SE as forecast but we're well sheltered under high wooded cliffs.
We left safely through the bar at Tuncurry-Forster at 0730 and enjoyed another epic sail mainly under Parasailor (aka The Big Blue Monster). Our destination was the spectacular Port Stephens which covers a larger area than Sydney Harbour and offers an abundance of stunning bays, rivers and beaches to explore; we'll have to plan our itinerary carefully to fit in all the spots before moving on. We negotiated another shallow river past oyster beds to our anchorage off Winda Woppa. Our exploration tomorrow will be mainly aboard Dinghy McDingface; can't wait to try the delicious Myall River prawns as recommended by Kerry. All very well aboard.
An excellent sail yesterday to Forster, spinnaker flying most of the way until we swapped it for the foresail to slow down a bit (to get the tide right for the bar entrance). The entrance was a bit frisky - we got the tide right but the 20 knot NE wind and waves made it a bit bumpy.
We decided to anchor as the wooden landing-stage berths on the Tuncurry side of the river would have had the wind pressing us onto them. However as the tide ebbed, we found ourselves in an eddy which pushed us close to the sandbank and we had to do a spot of re-anchoring at 23.30!
Heading further south to Port Stephens (45nm) this morning.
Arrived safely at Camden Haven at 07.00 after a 145nm passage that had a bit of everything - 4 hours of great sailing with the Parasailor, an increasingly brisk night with poled out yankee and main, rain, lightning, passing ships and dolphins playing in our bow wave.
The navigation was a little challenging as we had to take into account favourable (flood tide) conditions at both river entrances, whilst watching the forecast updates for the timing of the northerly winds to suddenly go southerly. The fantastically-helpful East Coast Current gave us a boost of up to 2.5 knots at times so we arrived just after dawn to catch the last of the flood tide and just as the wind began to change direction - perfect!
We're on a free visitors mooring in the river so will inflate the dinghy to explore ashore later. We may be here a couple of nights, waiting for the northerly winds to return.
An overnight stop at the very nice and wonderfully-sheltered Yamba Marina and we're about to head south down the coast for Camden Haven, 150nm away. Timings for favourable conditions at both river bars and the relatively short window of northerly winds before they turn SE tomorrow morning make the navigation planning interesting but the south-going coastal current should give us a decent boost.
On the new pontoon at the village of Ulmarra, a couple of hours further up the Clarence River. The village is full of old wooden houses and the hotel did a very nice lunch. It's hot though - high 30's so thank goodness for a breeze across the water and sunshades rigged over the cabin top.
This will probably be the limit of our inland exploration as we need to return to the southbound sailing; we will probably go back through the Harwood Bridge on Tuesday and, weather permitting, be back on the ocean waves on Wednesday.
The temptation to stop all the traffic on the main east coast Pacific Highway was just too much for us so yesterday we came through the lifting bridge at Harwood and up the mighty Clarence River. The bridge lift involves making an arrangement 24 hours in advance and the operator travels 80km to do the honours. 3 boats went through together and we anchored off the lovely little town of Maclean.
The river is navigable for masted vessels up to Grafton so we'll explore upstream to there but the (free) public pontoon at Maclean has just been vacated so we may go alongside (max 24 hours allowed) for water, provisions and some walking.
Anchored at Iluka at the mouth of the Clarence River. An 'interesting' 110nm overnight passage from the Gold Coast as we had several electrical storms coming out from the coast and bringing 180 degree wind shifts and some amazing lightning displays. The BOM live radar feed on the internet was very useful to judge what was coming and we managed to keep clear of the sparks.
Arrived at 06.30 local time as the fishing fleet was heading in for the beginning of the flood; the bar was very calm. There are a couple of boats we know, Skellum and Taranui, anchored here among a dozen or so visiting yachts.
Anchored in the Marine Stadium anchorage, just south of the Seaway at Southport. This is better known as Bums' Bay as boats tend to live here (though there's technically a 7-day maximum stay, which is sometimes enforced).
The ‘small world’ nature of sailing was once again illustrated when we met the boats Ginelli and Calista (both last seen at Oyster Resort in Santo in September) and Acrux (who we met only via the SSB last season), all anchored here. It’s a great sheltered anchorage though the incessant helicopters, obviously doing joy rides for the Asian tourists, get pretty annoying in the daytime. We’re looking forward to heading somewhere a little less busy!
A few more shore jobs in the next couple of days then we hope to be heading south....
After our relaunch at The Boat Works on Monday following a fantastic but sweltering lift out, we'd anchored off for the final repair on our Generator. Thankfully that was successfully completed yesterday so we've motored/ sailed out to Tipplers Passage where we plan to explore ashore before it gets too busy at the weekend.
Arrived at The Boat Works this afternoon ready for a lift out of Maunie tomorrow through until Monday (bottom scrub, anti foul touch up, generator repair and lots of other jobs on the list) . So far we've seen a very slick operation and excellent customer service. This morning saw more navigation through very tidal, narrow and shallow channels with a touch on the bottom at 1.8 metres; Maunie soon moved off and we considered it preparation for her bottom scrub. After a lunch stop at Tipplers Passage, we sailed/ motored past the pretentious and broadly taste free mansions lining the Gold Coast canal network.
After a fantastic, action-packed long weekend based in RQYS, Manly, we set sail again this morning south across Moreton Bay. Our average speed was 7 kts with just the main and yankee across the bay. We enjoyed navigating through the well marked channels that run among the islands. After a lunch stop anchored off Lamb Island we set off once again under sail with depths averaging 5 metres and continued the wildlife theme by anchoring off Kangaroo Island.
A great sail from Scarborough to Manly, crossing the busy and narrow shipping channel into the Port of Brisbane. We called up VTS control and dodged various ships including the incoming Warship, Darwin. Now happily settled in the section of the marina at Manly belonging to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. We'll be based here for four days to enjoy some city life and catch up with more 'yachtie' friends, Steve & Michelle from Citrus Tart. All well aboard
In Scarborough Marina for a night after a gentle motorsail down the coast from Mooloolaba. Very pleasant and the navigation between the sand bars of Moreton Bay keeps you busy!
=20 Safely in to the Wharf Marina at Mooloolaba after an uneventful crossing of Wide Bay Bar on time at 0800. After that we were quickly under full sail followed by the flying of the Irish Flag just an hour later. When the wind dropped we did have to motor sail briefly but from midday we happily flew along the coast under main, spinnaker and stay-sail with an average of 7 knots. Whilst nothing jumped on our fishing line, we did spot three whales breaching about 3/4 nm away and then we were joined by a pod of spinner dolphins as we approached Mooloolaba. Great to catch up with Rod & Mary from 'Sheer Tenacity' for drinks once we were in as well as wave at various other boats that we've met over the past week or so (it's a small world out here!). All very well aboard.
Anchored in Pelican Bay, inside Inskip Point. Apparently the conditions to cross the Wide Bay Bar were as good as they get today so we hope they will be just as good in the morning - we are heading for Mooloolaba, some 55nm further south, so will leave at 6.30am.
A brunch stop at Garry's Anchorage, Fraser Island, heading south. The anchorage is behind Stewart Island but we learned that the northern entrance to the channel is shallower than it shows on the chart - we touched the bottom even at HW so aborted that and came in the southern channel. Moving on to Pelican Bay.
After a week of R and R, boat work and re-provisioning in Bundaberg, we left this morning to travel south, inside Fraser Island. There are lots of sandbanks to catch the unwary and we had 2 knots of current with us as we approached Great Sandy Straight on the rising tide but the novelty of accurate charts and navigation buoys in all the right places made it easy.
We anchored just as the sun set and are well placed to leave just before the 08.00 high water in the morning to take us through the shallowest section of the channel which is just 0.4m deep at the lowest low tide. We will anchor tomorrow near the southern tip of Fraser Island to able to exit Wide Bay Bar (not to be messed with!) at the optimal state of tide on Saturday morning.
=20 Arrived safely at Port Bundaberg Marina, Queensland. The breeze picked up again this morning so we re-hoisted the Parasailor at 07.00 and had an increasingly sporty ride towards Bundaberg - it was blowing 20 knots when we finally wrestled the sail to the deck.
We have completed formalities with Border Force (Immigration and Customs) which all went smoothly; the officers were very welcoming and friendly. We are now waiting for the bio-security / quarantine inspection but the wait allowed us to cook the last of our bacon and egg for butties of the same name.
Only after this final inspection will we be allowed to go ashore and explore. The marina's quite a way out of town so we suspect the introduction to Australia will be gradual, which is just as well after the past 10 days!=20 All well aboard, we are very happy to have arrived.
=20 After the previous night's squalls, we had a very pleasant sail yesterday. The wind gradually backed to ENE and reduced to 15 knots so the Parasailor was hoisted at 17.00 and carried through the night - a real magic carpet ride at around 6.5 knots of boat speed. At 04.00 however the wind dropped to 8 knots from dead astern and there was a danger of the sail wrapping itself on the rigging so we dropped it and are now motoring the final 30 miles to Bundaberg.
All well aboard and we are looking forward to dawn revealing the imposing foothills of Bundaberg. Oh, apparently there aren't any, it's flat sugar cane growing land so the first mate tells me. Whatever, we should be blowing the froth off the top of a few cold ones by the barbie this arvo.
=20 Last night's increasing wind and seas saw Maunie well reefed down, allowing her to take the rain squalls with gusts of 40+ knot winds in her stride. Conditions have eased this morning so hoping for a steadier 180 nm approach to Bundaberg (ETA Monday morning). All well on board.
=20 Departed Chesterfield Reef at 10.30am yesterday. After a very gentle motor across a calm sea, the breeze arrived at 22.00 and we have had good sailing since, the wind backing almost easterly so we are now broad reaching. Slightly rolly but otherwise all well aboard
=20 Moved anchorages yesterday to the eastern side of the lagoon. This one is a little rolly but is close to islands with yet more species of birds, plus turtles and reef sharks (another boat, Muneera, reported Tiger sharks here when they were gutting fish yesterday).
Departing today for Bundaberg - ETA Monday afternoon to arrive ahead of a trough approaching there on Monday night. Amelie 4 and Muneera also leaving today. We=E2=80=99ll be sorry to leave this magical place.
=20 Still in Chesterfield Reef. Wow, what a place! Dinghied to an island on the reef to photograph thousands of terns, boobies, frigate birds and others we don't know nesting then had two turtles mating only 5 metres from the dinghy as we paddled back towards Maunie. Wow!
This is the southern tip of Chesterfield reef and a good spot to anchor
=20 We arrived in Chesterfield Reef this morning after a fast (for us!) and often slightly lumpy 4 day passage from Luganville. There was a slight sting in the tail after we hove-to just outside the reef in about 10 knots for a couple of hours to wait for the light. At 8.00am, after a brief rain squall, the wind came in at a steady 22-24 knots from the south; David at Gulf Harbour said that a 'surprise' low had popped up out of the trough just south of New Cal. Anyway, that made for a very wet beat down into the southern tip of the lagoon, which was far from calm, and we are now anchored in brilliant turquoise water just 5m deep (how weird is that in the middle of the ocean?) at the very southern tip. There's still a half metre wind chop but it's not bothering us, we'll sleep through anything. All is very well aboard.
=20 After a beautiful sunny day, making good progress yesterday, we have been hove to since 0415, 12 nm outside of Chesterfield Reef. Awaiting good light to enter the passage. All well aboard.
=20 The wind has dropped overnight and with it, thankfully, the swell so our progress is a little slower (and the annoying adverse current has returned) but a lot more comfortable. Blue sky dotted with small clouds so the sun is coming! The spinnaker should make an appearance today if these conditions remain. ETA Chesterfield Reef is tomorrow around dawn.
=20 Another grey day but a glimpse of brightness behind the clouds. Sea conditions continue to be a tad uncomfy but we're making good progress.
=20 Wind: 24 kts SE, 80% cloud cover, 1.5 metre swell.
The roller coaster ride continues but Maunie is galloping along. Winnie, the windpilot is doing a fine job and we've both got used to the conditions. All well aboard.
have 1kt of adverse current but no doubt they are enjoying the speedy conditions
=20 A good but bumpy first night on passage with 25kt SE and 2m swell. We've had almost 1.5 knots of adverse current since evening but are making good boat speed of around 7 knots. All well aboard.
Back at Luganville. Our attempt to clear out yesterday was thwarted by it being Constitution Day, a public holiday, so we'll be at the Customs offices at 07.30 this morning. Departing mid-morning, all being well, to catch the last of the west going tide down the Segond Channel.
ETA Chesterfield Reef is Monday 10th
Anchored off Oyster Island resort with Sel Citron. Leaving at HW (08.00) this morning to go to Luganville for final re-provisioning and to clear out.
Planning to leave tomorrow (Thurs), ETA Chesterfield Reef Monday 10th
Back at the Beachfront anchorage after a lovely spinnaker sail from the east end of Aore Island.
We were planning to leave for Bundaberg tomorrow but the wind looks a little light on Tuesday / Wednesday for this heavy boat so now looking to depart Thursday (better timing for the swift tides in the west end of the Segond Channel too). We'll move somewhere more picturesque in the morning to enjoy the bonus days in Vanuatu
=20 At the lovely Ratua Island resort - great meal last night at the resort. Spending the weekend getting the boat ready for the passage to Australia; hoping to clear out on Monday morning.
Test YIT update No 2 from the poolside, Beachfront Resort
=20 Test YIT update; resting by the pool at Beachfront Resort
Back in Luganville, Beachside anchorage in the calmest conditions - Graham jumped over the side yesterday to snorkel Million Dollar Point as we passed it. This is where the US military dumped Jeeps, bulldozers, trucks and all manner of hardware at the end of the war - an amazing dive site now. Looks as though it'll be a hot day for carrying jerry cans of diesel and bags of shopping!
=20 In Surundu Bay, Santo. Beautiful morning, glassy calm water.
Still anchored at the lovely Port Olry =E2=80=93 crystal clear water and a beautiful spot. The village was celebrating Samna Day for the past few days =E2=80=93 lots of football and music. Planning to move back to Luganville tomorrow.
A lovely sail from Luganville to Oyster Island - beating out of the Segond Channel then a nice reach northwards. The inner pass into the anchorage lagoon is interesting - just 40cm under our keel (2.3m of water and hour and a half before HW) - but the anchorage off Oyster Island Resort is a mangrove-fringed spot of calmness. Will have to check out the cocktail bar later.
Anchored off Beachfront - a slightly choppy anchorage but good holding (just as well, as this is a lee shore). Off to watch the NZ All Whites U20 football team vs. Solomon Islands this lunchtime in Luganville.
Weather is cloudy with 15kts SE wind
Back in the anchorage off the Beachfront Resort at Luganville - and about to go ashore with a big bag of laundry and then on to the market. Thankfully our 22lb Wahoo is now filleted and in the freezer so we'll just need to get some of the local beef - Santo Meat Packers sell big cuts so we'll share a full fillet with another boat here.
Just about to weigh anchor in Vanihe Bay to sail to Luganville. Shame to leave such a tranquil, beautiful place but we need some shops!
We are anchored once again in the tranquil Vanihe Bay on the NE tip of Ambae, hoping that our return trip will include much less rain so that we can explore this beautiful anchorage tomorrow. Sel Citron and Field Trip are our neighbours. Our sail across from Pentecost was a broad reach taking just under four hours. The bonus occurred as we were about to wind in our fishing line before entering the anchorage; we hooked a 22 lb wahoo. Sadly in the process we lost our gaff but at least we didn't lose the fish.
We are anchored once again in the tranquil Vanihe Bay on the NE tip of Ambae, hoping that our return trip will include much less rain so that we can explore this beautiful anchorage tomorrow. Sel Citron and Field Trip are our neighbours. Our sail across from Pentecost was a broad reach taking just under four hours. The bonus occurred as we were about to wind in our fishing line before entering the anchorage; we hooked a 22 lb wahoo. Sadly, in the process we lost our gaff but at least we didn't lose the fish.
Anchored of Bwatnapne village, Pentecost, having left Ambrym this morning. Raining most of the way, with poor visibility at times, and 25-28 knots SE wind between Ambrym and Pentecost with 1.5m waves. Glad to have it behind us rather than bashing into it!
We did stop at Wali Bay en route but the swell was rolling into it so it wasn't comfy - our final anchorage is better but not entirely free of roll so a stern anchor will probably be deployed to keep is pointing into the swell
Torrential day yesterday but the ROM dance was spectacular. Still raining, 1014, less than 5NNE
In Nopul anchorage, Anbrym. Seconf day of the Back to My Roots Festival was also excellent, though we were glad of the advice to take an umbrella. The final day today features the Rom masked dance (unique to Ambrym) â are we likely to see the rain clear away for it?
In Nopul anchorage, Anbrym. First day of the Back to My Roots Festival was excellent, going back for more today!.
Return to the Roots festival sis not start yesterday but will start today! Hopefully!
In Nopul anchorage, Anbrym. Another fun (but rather bouncy) beat down from Pentecost yesterday in 20 â25 knots SE. We are with Sel Citron, Quickstar and Bright Angel in this anchorage, with another 6 yachts visible at Ranon, a couple of miles to the south. All gathering for the Back to My Roots Festival.
In Loltong Bay, Pentecost. A fun (but very wet) beat down from Ambae yesterday in 20 â25 knots SE. Met up with Sel Citron en route (they were in Asanvari, Maewo) and just the two of us anchored here. Hope the weather will left enough to let us explore ashore today
Anchored in Vanihe Bay, Ambae after a good close reach sail across from Luganville. Planning to head down to Loltong Bay on Pentecost tomorrow. Rain is topping up our water tanks. All well aboard as we listen to the bats.
on their way out of Luganville
Back on a mooring at Aore Island, Luganville for the airport run this afternoon. Looks as though weâll have to wait for weather for the passage to Ambrym for the festival as a trough is heading our way.
Off the very smart, French-owned, Ratua Private Island Resort. Had an expensive but delicious meal ashore last night with brilliant entertainment from The Bamboo Band. The resort has two moorings (pink buoys) which are free of charge â they prefer yacht to use these to prevent damage to the sea grass and coral. Lots of turtles around us.
We sadly say goodbye to Laura on Monday when she flies on the (weekly) direct flight from Luganville to Brisbane. Weâd then like to head back to Ambrym (departing Tuesday) for the Back to My Roots festival so will we listening with interest to the weather forecasts for next week.
We moved over to a mooring off the north coast of Aore Island yesterday as a weather front crossing offered the risk of squally conditions. Heavy rain burst during the night but otherwise it's calm.
Thanks to Patricia's recommendation, we went to the abattoir yesterday to buy some great-looking beef mince and steak!
Anchored off the Beachfront Resort at Luganville, Espirito Santo. Arrived here yesterday so enjoyed our first restaurant meal on 3 weeks - lovely! A busy day of laundry, provisioning and refuelling ahead.
se side of malekula. wanting to head to Luganville
After spending yesterday in Banam Bay which included a walk ashore where we were greeted by very friendly villagers and taken to meet Chief Graham in Fartapo, we decided to move further up the coast this morning. Sailing in company with Sel Citron, we managed a fabulous hour and a half of flying the Parasailor before the wind died. We're anchored in Crab Bay in 8 metres of murky water, 15 metres off the beach. Apart from being a little hot, all well aboard.
In Banam Bay where we were welcomed this afternoon by more than 20 Spinner Dolphins leaping 2m clear of the water around us! Weâll head ashore in the morning to meet the locals and to get an explanation of the loud human yelps, cries and whistles from the shore after dark. Herding cattle at night or some kind of Kustom dance????
Arrived in Banam Bay this afternoon - lovely sheltered spot and we had 20+ Spinner Dolphins performing around us for an hour, doing amazing, spinning flips a full 2m out of the water. Will go ashore in the morning to say hello to the villagers.
In Port Sandwich where there is said to live a large hungry shark who isnât averse to the odd human snack. So, despite the heat, no swimming today! The short passage up from Uliveo island was a motor-sail in a light SE breeze; we enjoyed our time there but it was a busy few days so it is good to be able to relax a little.
Anchored in Port Sandwich, Malekula where there is said to be a hungry shark that's not adverse to the odd human snack. Shame, because it's warm and a swim would be nice.
After a very enjoyable and busy 6 days in Ulevio Island, we had a gentle motor-sail up the coast in 7 knots of SE wind and we are happy just to relax and catch up on a bit of world news - there's reasonable internet access via Digicel here
Meskylenes, SE Malakula
Anchored in a very sheltered lagoon off Lutes Village on the west side of Uliveo Island, Malakula. The entrance through the reef was a bit bum-clenchy (narrow and only 4m depth) but the anchorage is deep (17m) and clear. About to go ashore to say hello to the locals.
In Gaspard Bay. After a calm day yesterday, watching 6 dugong around us, last night turned gusty with a couple of rain squalls. The anchorage remains free of any swell but the wind funnels down it.
This morning we started with the plan to motor a short distance to the East Lagoon anchorage off Uliveo (16 deg 32.17 S, 167 deg 50.20 E). We had intended to meet the Chief and headmaster, Jack. This was described as a 10 metre anchorage in the Rocket Guide but we aborted when we found a 2.1 metre depth with rolly conditions. Everything happens for a reason as we instead dropped our anchor in 8 metres at the beautiful Gaspard Bay. We were greeted by two dugongs who have regularly surfaced and then waved their tails as they dived back down. No internet so photos will have to follow. All very happy and well aboard.
Anchored at the Meskylenes off SE side of Malekula
Motor-sailed over from Ambrym this morning in a light 8 knot SSE breeze (and surrounded by a super-pod of dolphins) and navigated up the eastern channel into the Maskelyne Islands where the current was running at nearly 2 knots against us, even though we arrived an hour after local low tide. Anchored in the lovely and very well-protected bay to the west of Awei island. Lots of outrigger canoes, including several under sail, around us.
leaving Ranon today for Malekula/ Meskylenes
Ambrym approx coords of anchorage
In Ranon Bay, Ambrym, off to the Fanla Festival today
In Lamen Bay, Epi, sailing to Ranon Bay, Ambrym, today
Anchored in Lamen Bay, Epi after a brilliant Parasailor sail up from Emae (leaving with an escort of a dozen dolphins) in 20-24 kts SE - pretty much at hull speed the whole time and only one broach when a big wave kicked Maunie's arse! The anchorage is calm and we've had a couple of really big Green Turtles close to us but there's no sign of the resident Dugong yet. We've had a walk ashore and tomorrow move up to Ambrym.
Anchored in Sulua Bay on the West coast of Emae. The bay is wide so ample room for Maunie between two catamarans. Today's passage began with motoring due to wind shadow from land; when the wind arrived we had white sails flying and then the Irish flag giving us good speeds. Sadly another day of no fish on the hook. We look forward to doing more island spotting on our way up to Epi tomorrow.
Anchored in Esema Bay, Havannah Harbour. Beautifully flat water but a nice cooling breeze after a lovely sail up the coast from Port Vila; it was good to be on the move again after 6 nights in the big city. Heading off early in the morning to Epi (about 65nm).
We weighed anchor in Ponamlas Bay at 0340 this morning and set sail for the 74 nm across to Port Vila on the Island of Efate. The wind was astern of us but sadly always a little too strong to fly the Parasailor. We completed the passage under white sails, tying up to mooring no. 6 at 1540. It was great to chat to old cruising friends on Pacific Highway, Bruce and Laura, as they departed Port Vila. It was even better to celebrate with Kate and Paul, on Iolea with a bottle of Champagne, recognising that we'd sailed in tandem all the way from New Zealand. Cheers! All very well aboard.
An 03.00 alarm call and we left the anchorage at 03.40, sailing in company with Iolea for Port Vila on Efate. Good sailing but wind's right on our stern again so goose-winged and rolling a little. All well aboard, looking forward to the bright lights and internet in PV!
on route Erromango to Port Vila Efate
a less exposed anchorage and in fact quite pleasant - Erromango
A very pleasant two hour coastal sail this morning saw us arrive in Ponamias Bay on the North coast of Erromango. Anchored in 10 metres of crystal clear water with the beautiful bay to ourselves. We spent an hour or so experimenting with a stern anchor to reduce the slight roll from a few gentle waves that curled into the bay. Seems to have been successful and we're hoping for a better night's sleep. All very happy aboard.
A fabulous sail from Tanna with the Parasailor flying all the way. Only down side was the failure to land the fish that we hooked (and it was a big one!) A rolly night in Dillons Bay anchorage on the west side of Erromango (our third island in Vanuatu) so planning to explore up the coast this morning.
the rip up the mountain last night was in great conditions. Awesome. Off today to Erromango. P Resolution is a bit choppy.
Anchored in Port Resolution (just a long, shallow bay) in Tanna, with 9 other boats here (several flying Q flags having arrived from New Caledonia). We had a great sail yesterday with the Parasailor all the way, racing against Iolea. Going to do the Mt Yasur volcano tour this evening, so we hope the skies will remain clear for us â it is an expensive trip (about Â£60 each) but a once in a lifetime opportunity...
about 10 boats in Port Resolution Tanna
On passage from Aneityum to Port Resolution, Tanna, ETA 15.00 Lovely sailing with the Parasailor, in company with Iolea and Bright Angel after a rolly night in the anchorage as the front went over and the wind went from NNE to SSE.
off to Tanna today
Still in Aneityum but loving it - excellent snorkelling, good walking and very friendly people. 6 boats here, all waiting for a front to cross us tonight to bring a return to SSE winds for the next passage up to Tanna (a day-sail away).
Can see Bright Angel entering the Aneityum anchorage
Arrived safely in Aneityum, with a minor drama of a fouled headsail furler requiring Graham to scale the mast in 25 knots to clear a wrapped spinnaker halyard. However, we are delighted to be stationary for the first time in a week!
Feels as though we are on the home straight now - 130nm to go to Aneityum and we have a lovely 0.7 knot favourable current pushing us along. Good sailing through the night, though we put in two reefs in the main when it blew up to 25 knots. Still bumpy and rolly so off-watch sleep is hard to get.
Current speed puts our ETA in the early hours of Monday morning. If the sky is clear to allow the full moon to light our way into the bay, we'll attempt a night-time arrival but if there's any doubt we'll hove-to until dawn. Looking forward to still waters!
Yesterday saw the flying of the Parasailor before we erred on the cautious side and returned to full white sails when the wind increased. Yesterday afternoon we had the excitement of three to four whales less than 20m away from Maunie as they headed south. A drop in winds saw some motoring over night. Finally temperatures are increasing with the sea state calming so all well aboard.
Good sailing yesterday but with some rain squalls. Sailed into upper level trough last night so wind died and we started motoring at 0430 NZST. Hoping for the return of the breeze later today. All well aboard.
Good sailing but pretty rolly downwind. A few rain squalls last night saw winds up to 30 kts and seas build to 3m +. Will go back to goose-winged sails this morning (even more rolly) for a better course towards Vanuatu but we're hoping the wind to go more SE or ESE so that should improve things. All well aboard
The second day has seen us start to settle in to life on board. We kept ourselves busy deciding to sail with the yankee and pole but then switched to the Irish Flag spinnaker; unfortunately this suffered a wine glass wrap and was swiftly dropped. We called off flying the Parasailor again due to too much wind. All these efforts were rewarded with a delicious Lasagne! Yes, itâs still slightly rolly but all very well on board.
A good start to the passage. Left Opua at 10.30 yesterday and flew the spinnaker until 17.00 when it all became a bit too sporting for that kind of bravado. Rolly downwind sailing but all very well on board.
Hurrah! Cleared out of customs and we'll be leaving in 30 minutes.
Well the weather had a couple of final kinks to throw at us so we now depart Monday 13th (13 is a lucky number, right?). Window looks breezy but good.
Hunkered down in the marina with the wind whistling in the rigging. NZ Metservice forecast gives 40kt gusting 50kt NE tonight, with rain and big seas out there so we are very happy to be here just at the moment! Friday or (more likely) Saturday looks like our opportunity to escape the cold. All digits firmly crossed.
Great to talk to Lionel and Irene on Kiapa by phone today - they are bearing up as well as can be expected in the 30+ degrees and clear waters of Fiji.
Don't think we've ever seen the barometer so high - 1032hPA. A fantastic sunset last night and calm and sunny this morning - a bonus for those of us still waiting to sail north.
Hoping that there may be window for us later in the week - Thursday, perhaps? So we're heading back into Opua to celebrate Kerry's (from Sel Citron) birthday today then we'll be back into the routine of staring at the weather forecasts.
Broken out of the marina, hurrah, as the blue sky arrived this morning. A cracking sail in cold S 20-25 knots and now anchored in Paroanui Bay. About to brave the water to swim to see how much has adhered to the hull and prop in the past couple of weeks - the fouling in Opua has been really high this year, probably related to all the dredging activities for the marina extension.
Nice to be back sailing again, even if it isn't on passage to Vanuatu.
Our team name in the OCC Quiz night (we came an honourable 3rd) was The Patient Mariners. Still waiting on weather after a tussle with Australian bureaucracy over visitors visas prevented us from joining a small exodus yesterday. The Big Fat High approaching NZ this weekend, together with a low off N Queensland means we will continue to be patient and go cruising in the Bay of Islands for a few days!
Still in Opua Marina, awaiting that elusive weather window to head for Vanuatu. The weather has been pretty impressive here this week with fronts and troughs rolling in one after the other - if you don't like the weather at any particular moment, wait five minutes and it changes! We have quite enjoyed watching it all coming from the comfort of the pilot house, with the fan heater running occasionally but the waiting is beginning to drag.
Another big gale heading our way at the weekend then, we hope, a window next Tuesday or Wednesday. Watching the forecast models intently! Meanwhile, getting on with things that were in the to-do-in-the-tropics section of the boat-work lists and tonight there is the Opua Cruising Club quiz to keep our grey matter ticking over.
We have been able to hear a few boats on the Southern Cross Net but it is pretty noisy in the marina. Hoping that there will be a few people still on the net when we finally leave.
Anchored in Urapukapuka Bay after waving Kiapa off on the start of their passage to Fiji this morning. Beautiful but windless day in the Bay of Islands but we had a large pod of Bottlenose dolphins to play with en route to the anchorage.
Back on our Opua mooring after a busy and expensive day yesterday. After trying every option (including fitting another course computer of the same vintage) we had a new autopilot fitted - this one comes complete with a fancy colour display and a much better solid-state compass. Brief trials in the afternoon were successful so we will go sailing today (once the fog lifts!) to give Constance II a proper work-out.
Meanwhile, quite a few boats left Opua yesterday and more will go over the next few days - the weather window looks as though there'll be too much motoring for our tastes so we wait for a big gale to come through next Thursday then see how things look after that.
In Otaio Bay, Urapukapuka Island, after a short and gentle sail yesterday. Boat jobs and baking, plus planning recipes for the passage. Weather still incredibly settled (some heavy rain overnight but still no wind) so weâre enjoying the Bay of Islands.
In Twin Lagoon Bay, Roberton Island in very calm conditions. Lovely to be back out in the Bay of Islands â there are too many yachties discussing weather forecasts and fretting about visa expiry dates in Opua! Here weâve had a swim in clear (and not too cold) water and enjoyed a walk ashore.
Weâre in no rush to leave NZ, which is just as well because the forecasts for a passage to the tropics doesnât look great at the moment and we have just discovered that Constance our autopilot has lost her sense of direction. Sheâs a game old girl but needs some expensive transplants so the cruising fund is about to take an unwelcome battering.
Back on our mooring in Opua after a bouncy but fun sail up the coast yesterday. One huge rogue wave hit us and drenched the helmswoman but otherwise it was a very good trip.
In Admirals Bay, Whangaruru after a very entertaining 12 hour, 74nm sail from Great Barrier. Wind just aft of the beam and 25-28 kts at first, moving astern and moderating during the day to allow us to fly some more colourful sailcloth.
Highlight of the passage was the arrival of about 30 dolphins - a 'superpod' according to our resident marine biologist who tells us that normal pods number no more than 8 or 9, so this was a gathering of several of them - who played with us for about 30 minutes. Magical!
Anchored in Smokehouse Bay in Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island after a good sail up the west coast - a bit chilly, though, so we're looking forward to returning to the Tropics! Smokehouse Bay is usually full of boats over the summer but today there are just five of us. Off to explore ashore this afternoon then a hideously early start tomorrow to sail northwards to the Bay of Islands before the wind turns northerly on Sunday.
Anchored in Shoal Bay, Tryphena Harbour, Great Barrier Island after a gentle downwind sail - two periods of Parasailing interspersed with motoring. We arrived at 15.00 and rowed ashore to explore; with typical Barrier friendliness we were almost immediately given a lift to the excellent Irish Pub in Tryphena village and perched in the back of a pickup truck on the way home. Love this place! Tomorrow we'll sail up to Port Fitzroy.
Beautiful day with flat calm seas to motor round from Oneroa to Man o' War Bay for an awesome wine tasting and platter lunch in the garden. Two key moments of the day featured the launch of Dingy McDingface, our new Zodiac tender and the first sighting of a Blue Penguin for Laura.
A very entertaining sail out from Auckland in 30 knots of wind - perfect conditions for our niece Laura to remember her helming skills. She's joined Maunie to sail up to Vanuatu in May.
Anchored off Little Oneroa beach in Waiheke and pleased to report that the wind has calmed to southerly 10 knots this evening.
Anchored in Oneroa Bay, Waiheke Island, after a couple of nights in Fairway Bay marina (and a great evening with Kerry & Damian aboard Sel Citron). We'll stay around Waiheke over the weekend and then head into Auckland on Monday.
A cracking day which began at 04.00 when we weighed anchor from Urupukapuka Bay to take advantage of the NWerly. Sadly it never quite managed to reach the forecasted 15 knots but we grabbed every chance we could to fly the Parasailor. Bonus visit from eight dolphins who posed for a GoPro video shoot (both above and below water). Anchored in North Cove, Kawau Island, just as it got dark.
On the mooring and it's a particularly wet kind of day. So we're studying charts and planning the trip to Vanuatu... More immediately, we're heading south towards Auckland for a couple of weeks - the forecast suggests we'll have favourable NW winds on Tuesday and Wednesday so we'll set off Tuesday morning and have an overnight anchorage en route.
Three relaxing nights anchored here in bright sunshine, calm winds and flat water (except for when the tourist trip boats go past with their stories over the PA systems). A verdant and bird-song accompanied walk ashore on Moturua Island provided a lovely break from a few boat jobs; the deck hatch over the galley has yielded to combined pressure and is now removed for drying out and then re-sealing to solve the deck leak.
Anchored in Matauwhi Bay close to the town of Russell. 35-40 knot NE winds plus heavy rain forecast for the next two days so we hope that the water will be a bit calmer here than on the mooring in Opua (where wind against tide can kick up quite a chop). Lovely lunch in the Duke of Marlborough yesterday, hunkered down with a list of indoor jobs for the next two days.
Arrived in Awaawaroa or Pipi Bay after a lovely hour's sail from Deep Water Cove. Sadly, visibility wasn't as good as we'd hoped to check out the dive site. Took advantage of sea breeze in the late afternoon to head back in the direction of Opua. Sharing the beautiful anchorage with five other boats.
A spectacular sail out to Deep Water Cove in bonus winds as the sea breeze came in. The Cove is the site of HMNZS Canterbury, a popular dive spot so we're looking forward to looking down through the clear water tomorrow. We share the anchorage with five other boats nicely spaced out. Bright sunshine - perfect!
Back in the Bay of Islands after motor-sailing south yesterday in a rolly, 2m swell. Met two boats last seen in Fulaga en route - Domino (Jean-Pierre and Marie) and Oyaragh (Callum and Jess). Small world!
Heading back to Opua tonight.
Anchored off Milford Island / Wairopo Island in Whangaroa Harbour, a beautiful and well-sheltered spot. Fantastic spinnaker reaches from the Cavelli Islands in bright sunshine and 15 knot easterly.
The swell builds up at the relatively-narrow harbour entrance, particularly on an ebb tide. Wouldn't want to attempt it in a strong NE'ly.
Anchored in Papatara Bay (aka Horseshoe Bay), Motukawanui Island in the Cavelli Islands after an excellent spinnaker run up the coast in bright sunshine. A beautiful, rugged bit of coastline.
Anchored off the Veronica Channel for a great bbq with Peter and Angela ashore last night. Heading north to the Cavelli Islands today in glorious sunshine.
Back on the mooring in Opua after a lovely overnight sail from Fairway Bay, Gulf Harbour, on Sunday. Here to get our aft fridge fixed, we hope, then the rugged coast north of here begs exploration.
After a very enjoyable month of city life in Auckland, we are back out sailing. Anchored out in Huruhi Bay off the village of Surfdale on Waiheke, just 100m from Citrus Tart (Steve & Michelle), last seen in Fulaga. Planning a walk ashore today.
We aim to start heading north towards Opua at the weekend once brisk northerly winds forecast for Friday swing round to the SW as a front crosses North Island.
Moved to our new temporary home at Pier 21 Marina, really close to the centre of Auckland. Ithaka is our next door neighbour with Obsession opposite; we've been given a warm welcome by all the other boats. Pier 21 is a very small marina with only about a dozen cruising yachts and a few live-aboards.
An overnight stop in the little Fairway Bay Marina (35 boats) just next to the massive Gulf Harbour Marina (over 1000 boats!). Heading into Auckland tomorrow.
Third time lucky? Hope the map will be right now....
Not anchored off Montevideo as the previous update suggested! An extra digit in the lat / long methinks!
A good sail down the coast from Tutukaka, with a dolphin escort for 15 minutes. Anchored in North Cove, Kawau Island for the night. Very sheltered and the bay is ringed with small and large batches (holiday homes) each with its own jetty.
At last our engine has been returned to health! Anchored out in Urapukapuka Bay with Kiapa, heading down to Tutakaka this morning. Spell-checker is confused.
Arrived Opua at 16.20. Perfect timing ' the wind blew us into the Bay of Islands, with up to 30 knots in some big rain squalls, then quit as we got close to the final approaches to Opua, leaving us with just 5 miles to motor at slow speed. The diesel stocks lasted! Clear in and biosecurity checks all went smoothly and, as we were expecting to have to wait until tomorrow morning to complete them, it's a bonus to be in a marina berth. Of to the Opua Cruising Club for a meal and some celebratory drinks!
Ran out of fuel, to all intents and purposes, at 15.30 yesterday. A few litres left in the tank for final manoeuvres into Opua. So, hoisted the Parasailor spinnaker and ghosted along for a while then the wind came up in the evening and we had great sailing. At 01.30 we switched to white sail (goosewinged) as we were up to 18 knots ' peaked at 22 knots but seems to be dropping now. Concerned we'll run slap bang into the middle of the low just as we approach the Bay of Islands and end up unable to get in!!
Continued motoring/ motor sailing south for NZ! 180 miles to Bay of Islands. ETA Opua Thursday late afternoon. With all this motoring we were seriously worried that we'd run out of diesel before the northerlies arrived. Then, yesterday afternoon, our AIS showed a ship, the m/v Victoire, a tanker on passage to Tahiti, approaching at 12.5 knots from our starboard with a CPA of 800 ft.. After calling her to confirm that we had seen her and would alter course to starboard to pass behind her, we explained our predicament with the fuel and the oncoming weather and asked if they might be able to let us have 25 litres. Knowing that it would be impossible to stop the 285 ft tanker, we suggested they drop a not-quite-full can into their wake, with a retrieval rope attached, and we'd chase it and pick it up with the boathook. Which is exactly what happened. The Victoire didn't slow down at all but did quite a scary s-turn towards us; we saw the can hit the water at their stern and picked it up in a textbook man-overboard manoeuver. Bless the captain and crew of the Victoire and thanks to whoever was looking kindly upon us to send a tanker to cross our bows! All well aboard
Wind dropped overnight so motoring towards 30 51s 173 59e then will turn south for NZ! Expect to be motoring all day then N wind kicking in tomorrow. 310 miles to Bay of Islands. All well aboard.
Delighted to sail for six hours yesterday pm before returning to motor sailing through the night. Frustrating that southerly wind and lumpy seas prevented us from achieving a more direct course to our waypoint 30s 170e; instead had to tack in stages. All well aboard.
The wind finally returned at about 17.00 yesterday so we hoisted the Parasailor spinnaker for the second time on this passage and had great sailing through the night. Wind steadily increased and backed from NNE to NNW so at 03.30 we did the Discretion vs Valour calculation and swapped back to white sails; it slowed us by a knot but proved to be the right decision as we hit rain and, briefly, 20 knots of wind at 06.30. Still making for waypoint 30s 170e to meet the south-westerlies. All well aboard
Great sailing throughout yesterday until the wind dropped at 22.00 when we started motor sailing. Now making for waypoint 30s 170e. All well aboard
Good sailing since yesterday afternoon but into rain showers now so the wind speed is up and down. Making for waypoint 26s 173e. All well aboard
Wind finally arrived late yesterday afternoon so we managed to sail apart from 3 hours of motor-sailing during the night. All well aboard, nice not to listen to the engine.
On passage Suva to Opua, motoring. After a good start yesterday, with a 3 hour spinnaker reach, the wind dropped away so we have been motoring since 14.00. All well aboard, hoping to find some wind later today.
Ready to depart Suva
Wishing we had moved to the other anchorage, as per our last post, but the visibility in persistent rain was very poor. Yesterday the sun came out at last after days of rain and the wind dropped so we went into town. On our return we were greeted with the terrible news that Maunie had dragged her anchor (firmly bedded in for 10 days!) as a rain squall came though and she scraped past a large metal mooring buoy. Lots of scratches and scores on the hull but luckily no serious damage thanks to quick thinking by fellow yachties on Obsession and Navara.
A sad end to a really varied and interesting cruising season but we are departing tomorrow (Tuesday) for NZ. We'll update YIT each morning on passage.
It is certainly Soggy Suva this morning. Hoping to move to the Tradewinds anchorage for a change of scene today if the visibility lifts!
Still enjoying Suva in fine weather. Steadily getting Maunie ready for the passage to NZ so refilled fuel and water tanks yesterday; just watching the weather forecasts for that elusive perfect window. Tomorrow is Fiji Day and apparently there are some events taking place at the University today so we'll go and have a look.
about 8 cruising boats in uva
A really cracking sail up to Suva this morning in a 16 knot wind from the East - arrived at 13.30. Ashore to explore the delights of the Royal Suva Yacht Club and supper with Sel Citron and Kiapa this evening - they are here by car having done the Bega shark dive this morning.
Wind calmed in the night and it looks like a beautiful morning. Leaving for Suva at 07.00, ETA mid-afternoon
Gusty winds and some rain showers overnight, clouds look as though they may be breaking up a little this morning. Our anchorage is pretty sheltered but the gusts sweep around either end of the island (which lies N ' S) so we are swinging around the anchor a bit. Still aiming to sail to Suva tomorrow so as to be able to watch the England Australia game on Sunday morning.
A really lovely sail, even though it was hard on the wind with a couple of tacks, into Herald Pass on the west side of the Astrolabe Reef and then to the anchorage to the west side of Namara Island. It was fun chasing the windshifts and picking our way through the waves, hand-steering the whole way, proper sailing. Should be very well protected here from the stronger E winds forecast for tomorrow. All very well aboard.
Had a great couple of days in Vunisea, meeting up with the family of Bis and Joanna from Fulaga. Planning to move back up to Dravuni, North Astrolabe, today to wait out Friday's winds before moving up to Suva (hopefully on Saturday)
Glad we moved to the west end of Kadavu yesterday - ashore to explore this morning
Sailed across to the SW corner of Kadavu, anchored at Vunisea. Very poor visibility in drizzle was not great for weaving past the coral into the anchorage - thank goodness for good Google Earth images and a track from s/v Navara to follow.
There is reported to be a supermarket, a bottle store and a veg market here so we look forward to exploring these delights tomorrow! Meanwhile, good internet signal viad Vodafone.
Back to Ono to find the slow internet connection and to look at the forecasts for any hint that the clouds might lift!
It seems that we haven't seen blue sky since about last Wednesday but at least it's dry and cloud base has lifted this morning. Yesterday the excitement (apart from a very good banana cake and the gift of a fish from a local fisherman) was the arrival of the Fijian Navy. A patrol boat came steaming into the bay at full speed towards us but suddenly slowed and did a U-turn when we put our AIS transponder on; they were obviously looking for someone but thankfully it was not us! We'd really like a return to sunshine and blue sky to let us explore the Kadavu coast.
Note to the YIT technical team ' the offline feature on the Google App Launcher, where we could enter our data onto the normal form and copy it onto a plain text email, seems to have stopped working; nothing happens when you click on Logon.
Anchored in a mangrove bay near the shop (there is just one and it's fairly basic, though Tui the owner kindly gave us some veg from his own garden). Have just returned from sevusevu at Kavala where we were warmly welcomed and the kava was pounded there and then. The ebbing tide threatened to leave the dinghy high and dry on the shallows in front of the village so we had to make an early exit after four rounds of the bilo or else, we suspect, we'd have been there all night! Shame about the dismal weather as the bay looks stunning and we can't see anything but the lower slopes of the hills surrounding us. No internet access here.
This bay looks like a Scottish sea loch, complete with fir trees (plus palms). Unfortunately the weather is distinctly Scottish too - strong gusts and heavy rain. At least we didn't feel the tsunami wave travelling from Chile - it was forecast to reach Fiji during the night. Hoping for betther weather soon!
Anchored off Nabouwalu village - had a good hike up over the hills to get a view of Kadavu yesterday. Planning to had another day here with some snorkelling.
Anchored in the west side of Ono island; completed our sevusevu in the village (70 inhabitants) this afternoon.
Anchored just off the little uninhabited island of Namara ' very clear water with good coral and fish life so great snorkelling. We plan to be here another day or two before heading south to Ono
Anchored of Dravuni Island, Astrolabe Reef. A large cruise ship with 1900 passangers has just anchored 800m away so the village (pop 120) is ready to entertain! They have installed an impressive set of steel piles and added floating pontoons to them last night so the visitors can get ashore with dry feet. May just have to go and watch the fun!
Oops! Cocked up the longitude on the last update - this is the correct location of Dravuni!
Left Leleuvia at 02.00 this morning and had a brilliantly fast sail down to Dravuni in the Astrolabe Reef with a 20+ knot ENE wind giving us a lovely beam reach. Anchored of Dravuni village, about to go ashore to present our sevusevu.
Arrived at Leleuvia island this afternoon in mirror-calm conditions. Brief rain and then wind has swung around to the south this evening. Met Darrel & Sonia on Donella here so great to catch up with them over Happy Hour drinks in the very friendly resort (which provides free moorings).
Arrived at Leleuvia island this afternoon in mirror-calm conditions. Brief rain and then wind has swung around to the south this evening. Met Darrel & Sonia on Donella here so great to catch up with them over Happy Hour drinks in the very friendly resort (which provides free moorings).
Ghosting along under spinnaker past Livuka, Overlau, in a very gentle breeze, The sea's flat calm so at least the wind isn't being shaken out of the sails. Heading for Leleuvia island.
Arrived safely at Makogai anchorage at 16.00 after a really lovely sail ' a beam reach with flat sea. Perfect.
Anchored off the Cousteau resort near Savusavu and about to depart for Makogi. Flat calm at the moment so hoping for some breeze as we clear the point and head SW.
Returned to Savusavu for re-provisioning and the first restaurant meal in 10 weeks - wonderful Indian cooking at the Surf and Turf!
Back on one of the moorings in Viani Bay for a few days of boat work and admin. Calm as for the past 4 days but the trough went through last night so we had brief heavy rain and the wind has swung around to the SW. We'll wait another day for the sky to clear before heading towards Savusavu for a decent re-stock of provisions, gas and diesel. Have just posted a video of the new canoe building project in Fulaga at www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrPpfdjNydY
Arrived safely at Matei anchorage, Taveuni, at just before midday ' ashore for a quick shopping expedition so we now have beer and some wine to accompany a meal featuring fresh, crunchy vegetables! Wonderful.
A magic carpet ride of a passage ' the wind steadily dropped through the night but the sea also calmed to 0.5m waves so our beam reach gave us a very steady 15 degrees of heel and a comfortable motion. Taveuni, with its usual covering of cloud, and Qamea are in sight. We'll probably have to motor through the passage between the islands but that'll recharge the batteries nicely. We plan to anchor near the airport at Matai to get ashore for pizza, beer and some shopping!
Very sad to leave Fulaga after seven and a half weeks! Lovely sailing conditions, though, for the 175nm passage to Taveuni - departed at 06.40, ETA mid-morning Saturday
Cold, windy and wet here in Fulaga! The past couple of days have been particularly unpleasant and we are getting tired of the wind whistling in the rigging. However there's great shoreside entertainment and activity with the final stages of the construction of a new dugout sailing canoe ' we've been donating materials and fixings as well as labour so we're hoping for a launch this week. This is the first canoe to be built here in 7 years so it's wonderful to see it happening ' a few photos and descriptions on our blog www.maunieofardwall.blogspot.com The weather looks to remain windy and unsettled through until the weekend so we'll be here for another week we think.
Still pretty breezing in Fulaga but it seems to be calming this morning. Yesterday a Government ship arrived with officials representing every department and commission (21 of them) so over 100 people were ferried ashore through the narrow boat pass on the SW side of the island as the main pass was too rough for the ship. The poor villagers have had to feed them and find them places to sleep overnight whilst they carried out inspections and had meetings with the elders. It'll be interesting to find out what has been said and promised!
Yesterday the wind came up in the morning and it has blown like snot since ' occasional gusts up to 30kts. We're back in the village anchorage where we have excellent shelter from the wind chop but, even so, it's a wet dinghy ride ashore. The villagers are all complaining of the wind and the cold and it's certainly not what was on the brochure! Ah well, plenty to do ashore ' we climbed 'The Mountain' (about 200ft but the highest point on the island) yesterday and, apart from nearly being blown off it, were rewarded with wonderful views of the surf crashing onto the southern reef.
We're having our host family aboard for lunch today then back into the village for a fundraiser this evening.
Thanks for the relays! Last night evryone saw on dark, a large fireball about the size of the moon, traverse the sky from E to W and then explode in a fireball. Accompanied by a sonic boom.
Yesterday was a perfect, calm day with bright sunshine and today's setting up to be pretty similar, though the breeze clocked around to the SE overnight. Sorry not to be able to add a photo as the anchorage is stunning ' we are surrounded by mushroom-shaped rocks, their bases eroded into impossibly narrow necks in some cases, and the dawn lights made them glow pink. Wow!
We've moved over to a quiet anchorage in the ESE of the Fulaga lagoon for a rest from all the village activities! Beautiful morning and a stunning location.
Now into our 4th week in Fulaga and still loving it. Shame about the weather, though. Its been really quite chilly in the evenings and we haven't seen a proper sunny day for nearly a week! Off into the village today to help distribute reading glasses, brought by Sel Citron, to those who need them.
They were on radio relay duties this morning - thanks from GHR
We've moved over to the Sandspit anchorage in the ESE of the Fulaga lagoon. A big village picnic took place here yesterday - 14 yachties plus about 35 locals enjoying wonderful crab (both land and sea crabs, all cooked in a lovo earth oven) and fish, plus 'pot luck' dishes from the yachts. Ana's birthday (from Ithaka) was celebrated with a great cake made by Ma the baker. Quite a day!
Wonderful day in Fulaga yesterday. We joined the women of all three villages for their annual fundraiser - each contributing to a communal fund to buy new school uniforms for every child. Singing, dancing and much silliness; hugely entertaining.
On the way back to the boat we joined in a volleyball game with 6 locals; this soon attracted a crowd and we had about 22 people so teams rotated and it all got quite competitive! The folks here are wonderfully welcoming and are delighted to have the addition of us yachties in their community.
Arrived safely in Fulaga having sailed with Ithaka from Qamea; the wind changed quickly to SW and increased to 15 knots at 08.00 so we had a good final sail in. Arrived just at the same time as the German boats Anico and Antares so there was a stately four boat procession through the pass into the lagoon. After a recovery this afternoon we'll head into the village in the morning to present our sevusevu and meet old friends.
A really good passage so far - sunshine and a