We're off Sandy Bay, north of Tutukaka.
Had some great Spinnaker sailing again last night. Wind was pretty steady. We needed to gybe sometime in the night, which is usually straight forward. Unfortunately the pulley block on the Spinnaker socked jammed up.. luckily once it was down. This meant we couldn't open it up again once we'd switched the sheets. An hour later, after taking it up and down twice and replacing the block we were back in action.
Wind dropped early this morning, so back under motor. 30nm to Marsden cove :)
Pleasant sailing down the coast today with Spinnaker back up once the wind filled in.
Currently off cape Karikari, heading for Marsden Cove, Whangerei to clear customs, immigration etc. Hopefully arrive around lunch time, if the wind holds.
So many birds, and 2 ships so far today .. signs of life!
Chicken korma was good tonight - our last pre-prepared meal.
All well on board, as we settle in for a last round of night watches. Chilly night ahead. Hopefully the rain stays away.
I've just added a small tot of French rum to my morning coffee and raised my mug to the southern horizon. Land Ahoy, and a toast to home! We can see Cape Reinga and North Cape emerging from the low cloud in the distance. It's easy to dream as you gaze out to sea, or out the bus window on your way to work. Taking that first step, or giant leap of faith towards making it happen, is often left on an ever increasing bucket list of things to do 'one day'..
One year ago today, we bought a little catamaran to sail us across the ocean, and today she's bringing us home from the most amazing adventure.
As i reflect back on the things we've done, the places we've seen and the amazing people we've met, I focus back on this update, and realise that last night isn't going to make the top 10 most memorable moments list :) Not too much to report. Motoring through the night, with light winds under 10kn, but I think we all had a good rest. A ship came steaming past as Barry and Kirstine changed watches at 11pm.
This morning the sky is a bit grey, and wind is right on the border line, and teasing for a sail hoist, before easing back again.
Plenty of sea life.. baby penguins, seals, albatross, terns, and other birds. Sea temp 16°.
We've been very lucky with current so far, pushing us an extra 65nm since we left. As we get near land, the effects of tide, rather than ocean currents will come into play.. like now we have a bit of tide/current against us.
Some numbers to consider, based on a 5kn average speed (we're currently doing 4.5kn due to that current) North cape: 26nm, ETA 2pm NZDT Bay of island entrance: 95nm, 3am Tue Whangerei head We'll make a plan today. We should have patchy cell phone coverage once closer to the coast (except Kirstine, as we lost her Sim card in Tonga) All well on board, and looking forward to some coastal sailing this afternoon, and seeing family and friends soon :)
Sunday evening, night 6. Still chipping away at the miles, with lighter wind today. Was sunny, and almost warm.
Great sailing with Spinnaker up all day, until after dinner when the wind swung right behind us, and dropped to 10kn - not our favorite or most efficient wind angle, so back on with starboard engine.
Spinnaker lashed to the deck and ready to go back up. Wind forcast to increase around midnight, early AM.
A small bit of excitement today - we saw a ship and some dolphins. And I made a triple decker toasted sandwich for brunch with ham, cheese, banana, egg, onion, chilli.
I created a message in a bottle today and cast that off into the four winds and ocean currents. I would guess it would slowly head west, possibly up into the Pacific or onward to South America and get swept north by the humbodlt current. Would need to find a soft landing somewhere with humans. What are the chances of ever hearing back? Around happy hour time today the sea got really messy, even though the wind was light. The was a lot of current, and peaky chop from all angles, almost like a reef pass or river mouth flow competing against the wind. We also saw quite a bit of brown stuff (?) in the water. It was very bumpy and not very pleasant for about 40mins, and came and went quite quickly. No evidence of shallower water on the chart. Quite weird. Perhaps some underwater activity.
Chilli con carne, with big round courgettes and a light salad for dinner. One more pre prepared meal to go.
89nm to north cape 158nm to Bay of Islands entrance 202nm to bream head, near Whangerei.
253nm to Auckland All well on board. Might get to see the land of the long white cloud tomorrow.
Good morning, how's Sunday going? All good here. Bit of a mixed bag last night. Rain and wind built up to it's peak for Kirstines 11-1am watch. I got woken up by the noise (always sleeping with one ear open ;-) - driving rain and 32kn of wind that had shifted about 45 degrees. The tarpaulin helped, but i think Kirstine got the worst of it and got a bit of a soaking. Times like that certainly make you appreciate a warm dry bed! Barry got lucky with that one, just wrapping up his watch before it got nasty.
By the time I came on at 1pm, the stars where breaking out, and the last nasty black cloud was blowing away to the east, and the wind had eased to 12kn. The remains of the gusty, shifty wind we're still evident in the sea state, so with light wind from behind and the genoa not doing much as we wobbled around, it was sails down, engine on, get on course and into easy watches and good sleep till the morning.
I asked Kirstine to wake me up half an hour earlier so we could assess the conditions in daylight and get some sail up. Thought we'd go Spinnaker, but have ended up with main and genoa, and autopilot set to wind mode (106°), doing about 6kn. Course is still west of rum line, by choice, and taking us towards Three Kings Islands and beyond to Kaitaia.
Most calculations see us getting to the entrance of Bay of Islands (220nm away) at night, unless we really speed up, or slow down. Then it's still around 15Nm into Opua.
See how we go. We've told customs we're coming to Opua, and have emailed our "advance notice of arrival" form to them.
Another option might be to press on to Marsden Cove, Whangerei for the morning. Like Opua, Marsden is also a clearance port. We'll see when we get closer and hopefully get cell coverage and call customs when within range. All speculation at this stage.. depends on the wind! I thought I saw a school of dolphins just now, and popped down to see if anybody was stirring to come see. Came back up and nothing. We're they ever there at all? Perhaps time for another coffee.
Barry has just appeared, diligently as ever well before his watch. In his overalls, it looks like he's just stepped out of the workshop :) Looking at our course and the wind, I think we might go back to the Spinnaker for awhile.
All going well, we should have land in sight tomorrow morning.
All well on board. Time for that coffee and a strict eating program to get through the good stuff before we arrive. :)
Night #5. I had to count that on my fingers to figure it out.. it all turns into a bit of a blur after a few days.
We had a good days sailing with the spinnaker. The wind kept picking up, and created a little bit of swell ..enough to pick up regular short surfs around 9 to 10kn, with a top speed of 12kn.
We took the spinnaker down around 3pm when the wind was getting up to 24kn. We wrestled it down and put out the furler. Soon after, the wind was up to 28kn, and has stayed between 20 to 30kn since. We now have a reef in the furler, and doing around 6-7kn+ (just surfed up to 10kn) We're still staying a bit west of the direct rum line course. Current course would put us in New Plymouth, but don't worry, we'll start curving around towards North Cape sometime tomorrow, perhaps coming in past Three Kings islands north of NZ. 220nm to North Cape, and a first glimpse of home! Port engine is back in action after tightening the house batteries alternator belts.
No big full moon rise tonight - It's pretty grey out here as the front approaches. I wonder if we'll get some rain!? I've used a tarpaulin to create some shelter around the helm station, to keep a bit of wind out, and any rain.
Ok, a few light drops of rain just tested out the taupaulin right now as I'm sitting out here typing..
Frozen quiches from the Casino supermarche went down well for dinner.
All well on board. Time for a cup of peppermint tea.
A bit late on the update this morning due to sail changes. With the main and screacher, we couldn't run far enough down wind, and still maintain good speed, so we've switch to just the Spinnaker as the wind has gone north, and will continue around to NW and W as we get closer to NZ.
Kirstine and I did the sail change at the change of our watch, and it went well. (except I got a bit wet). Down wind to Furl screacher, drop screacher to make space for spinnaker, upwind to drop main, downwind to get genoa out, Spinnaker up, genoa in, and set course.. done.
We had a good night, with good sleep, and good speed, averaging 6.7kn since midnight. Wind was between 8 and 20kn.
Forcast is for wind to get up above 20kn this evening, so we'll keep an eye on sail choice. I tightened the loose alternator belt on my 1am watch last night, but no joy. It looks like it's the other alternator, even though the double v belts seem firm. Back in the engine room later..
I see some fruit and eggs on the food list today. 8 eggs to get thru, and 3 papaya and 2 pineapple before they get biosecuritied when we arrive.
366nm to the entrance of Bay of Islands. At this rate it could be a night time arrival. Could be an option to press on to Whangerei. But one thing we've learnt (ok, we learnt lots of things.. ) is that things change, and you're not there till you get there.
All well on board.
Night 4 started with a giant full red moon rising out to Port. It also started with the old Port engine squealing when I started it to warm some water. One of the belts is slipping, and I notice the rev counter isn't working.. im sure it must be related.. but can't see how?? The salt water pump belt is quite loose, but doesn't seem to load up enough to make such a squeal. And plenty water coming out the exhaust. It's a pain in the butt to access, so I'm going tighten the easier to access alternater belts first. One of the alternator's belts is a bit loose. A job for tomorrow...
We've passed Norfolk (and smaller Phililip island) and had a look from about 6 miles away. Saw a plane land, a ship anchoraged off the town, and even picked up Norfolk Fm radio for a good few hours. Heard some news and "Rick Dee's weekly top 40". Also saw a huge whale breaching in the distance.
We've had pleasant sailing since about midday when we turned off the starboard engine .. I think it needed a break! We're currently sailing with screacher and 1 reef in the main with 12-15kn NNE, making for good reaching conditions with wind at 90 degrees. We've got some current with us, pushing us along at up to 7.5kn SOG (speed over ground) at times.
We're putting a bit of west in the bank for later if necessary by setting a waypoint slightly west of the rum line, and 180nm south of us, to ensure that we've got a good wind angle to make North Cape if the wind goes SW. 380nm to North Cape, and about 3 hrs before we cross from the 20's and over the 30 degree lattitude line as we head south! Out of interest, the furthest north we got was 16 degrees south when we stopped in Savu Savu for a few days.
All well on board, especially after yummy pumpkin tofu soup and corn fritters for dinner.
Good morning. Another lovely sunny morning. A little bit cooler.. temp in cabin is 19C.. about the same as the sea temp.
A few more birds around, mostly flying away from the island, perhaps out for a days fishing. No cries of "land ahoy!" this morning, with Norfolk about 35nm away. The highest point on Norfolk is 320m, so should be visible soon. Perhaps the peak is hidden behind this clouds on the horizon. There's definitely a different type of cloud showing where the island is.
We've been motoring pretty much all night, except for about 40 mins when K turned off the engine when the wind increased and steadied for long enough.
Haven't seen any boats, but we did have a patch of black cloud squalls to dodge around 11pm.
Now, we've got about 12kn of wind which is nice for sailing, but the wind angle is still pushing us further west, so we've got one engine ticking over at 1800rpm to help us point a bit higher to give us a better course, and keep the momentum through the lulls, to try maintain a 5kn average. We had a bit of current against us last night, but that seems to have gone now.
Some big decisions today - like how to cook the eggs for breakfast, and what pre-prepared meal to take out the freezer.
Also what lures to use today? Some really interesting bottom contours around the island should be good for fishing. There some big peaks and ridges rising from 1500m to 100m deep. At the moment were sailing in 1500m of water, along the drop off between the Norfolk ridge and the Norfolk trough. Clever names.
Haven't checked the weather yet, but still waiting for a bit more north in the wind to carry us home.
Norfolk marks roughly half way to North Cape.
All well on board, and settled nicely into the night watch routine.
Sun's down, moon's up and we're motor sailing at 5kn, making our way south on a relatively calm sea. Not quite on course for Norfolk due to SE head winds, but making good progress nonetheless.
Expecting (hoping) wind will swing favourably into the east after midnight tonight, then northerly by Saturday.
We had a lazy day relaxing, resting, eating etc. Two lines out, but no takers. Seen few birds and a big albatross earlier. Quite a few blue bottles in the water.
Chicken fajitas for dinner, with extra chilli for D & K.. down to the last of our pickled homegrown chilli. It's served us well.. starting to think about getting the veggie garden going again when we get back.
It's been so nice the last few months getting good fresh fruit and veg direct from the local market. Coming home it's back to large supermarkets with produce passed thru the supply chain, with each step clipping the ticket until it gets to our table. A different way of living.
The plan for tonight.. keep on motor sailing. If the wind swings, we might get a glimpse of Norfolk later tomorrow.
As I type we've just had a sudden 30 degree wind shift, which puts us almost on course for Norfolk, 90nm away.
It's amazing how the wind can do that out here, under a clear sky with no ominous clouds to influence the wind. I expect it will switch back quite soon..
All well on board.
G'night all. Next update in the morning.
Hello everyone! We've got a sunny morning with 10-15kn ESE wind and the sea state is good... Still long period 2m S swell, and small wind chop.. but not quite enough wind to build the chop into anything too bumpy.
A bit of a mixed bag over night with wind up and down from 8 to 20kn, and shifting quite a bit. We started the engine three times, as we stalled in the big lulls and shifts and had to get back on course.. the autopilot, set to steer by the wind, didn't react fast enough to bear away. Crew did well do deal with the conditions. Overall a pleasant night once the wind eased back a tad for smoother sailing.
I've just checked the weather over a cup of instant coffee and some cookies. Not much has changed in the forcast since we left. Expecting lighter headwinds today, before it goes E on Friday, and keeps going around to the N from there. It seems the next 24hrs will be our slowest period, so might invest a bit of diesel in to our progress if necessary.
A 5kn average should get us into Opua late Tuesday.. but still a lot of wind, water and time between now and then, so we'll see how we go. We're wanted to go close to Norfolk island to have a look, but the with the wind on the nose we're likely to pass a bit further west.
We catered for 7days with prepared meals, plus a few back up meals for days 8+, and then after 10days we're into a good supply of cans, pastas, etc.
A problem we face is that all fresh food, and meat etc will need to be surrendered to biosecurity on arrival in NZ - same as if you were flying in. So catering is a challenge.. you want enough food, but not so much that good stuff goes to waste..So we need to keep eating! Still got 4 pineapples, 4 papaya, 3 avocaods, 20 eggs, ham, French pates, etc.. I might have to set up an eating schedule! :-) Looks like a good day for fishing too, so perhaps some fresh fish to add to the menu. Water temp is under 22C so perhaps getting a bit chilly for mahi mahi.. we've ended up with a good variety of lures.. will have to decide what goes out today.
Our clocks are between new cal and NZ time at the moment.. so 1hr behind home.
Ham and eggs on toast for breakfast I think.
All well on board.
Settling in for night #2. Wind and sea state has eased making for a much more comfortable days sailing. The log shows we did 145nm 24hr run (midday to midday) and have averaged 6kn, with a high of 8.4kn since midnight. Not sure when that 8.4kn snuck in!? Wind still up and down.. was down to 10kn, now up to 16kn. Close reaching (autopilot set to wind at 52 degrees) with 1 reef in main and screecher at 7kn+. We switched to the screecher a short while ago when the wind dropped to 10kn, but now it's back and we may need to drop it again with 18 to 20kn apparent.
Not much to see today.. a few flying fish and birds, no boats. Put a fishing line out, but no takers.
Ok .. had to take a quick break from this message to wake Barry to help get the screecher in. Managed to get a good tight roll on the second attempt .. success! It's always a mission to furl it when the wind picks up! Boat speed back down to 5.5kn Yummy beef stir fry for dinner. A change from last night - we ate in the cockpit and didn't have to hold our plates in place :) 210nm to Norfolk waypoint. Looking like lighter wind ahead and possibly going SE, which is exactly they way we're heading, but should go more northerly around Friday morning.
All well on board, with everyone well fed and getting some good sleep through the day.
Good morning. Wind has eased over the last 6hrs down to 15 -20kn, and along with that the sea state has eased a bit too.
Still running with double reefed mainsail, and well reefed headsail, but might get a bit more sail out shortly.
Think we all got a bit of sleep, even though quite bumpy through the night. Kirstine got to see the moon set and the sun rise during her watch. Wasn't too cold on watch - boots, shorts and few layers did the job.
278nm to Norfolk Island waypoint before changing course for Opua. Water is 23.6C Forcast shows wind easing thru the day and sitting around 12kn E to ESE for a couple of days, then shifting more northerly around Friday.. it always seems that we get a bit more wind than forcast.
All well on board.
Settling in for night watches - Daren 7-9, Barry 9-11, Kirstine 11-1 etc on 2 hr shifts. Roast chicken and coleslaw for dinner while our plates try to jump off the table. Still quite bumpy, with wind just starting to show signs of easing below 25kn, and a slight favourable shift to a more easterly direction.
We've slowed down a bit for the night, averaging about 5.5kn with 2 reefs in the main and quite depowered, and little bit of headsail. Much more comfortable than before doing over 7+kn and flying off waves and getting quite a lot of water over the deck and bimini and in the cockpit. Wishing we had a hard top and clears on the sides :) We'll keep comfortable speed tonight and chip away at the miles. 350nm to first waypoint off Norfolk island.
All well on board.
On our way back to NZ. Just left New Caledonia via Dumbea pass. Quite bumpy with wind on the nose at 50 degrees, 25 to 30kn+ Forcast is for wind to ease overnight. Heading for Norfolk island to get a bit further west before aiming for cape reinga. Current course pushing us a bit further west of Norfolk, but we'll sail for comfort for next 24hrs
We're safely in the pass, but couldn't get to Noumea due to headwinds and strong tides.
We'll continue tomorrow morning. We're looking forward to a full night's sleep after 5 nights at sea doing 2 hours on, 2 hours off.
Overall it was a great trip and the weather was pretty much as forcast by predictwind. (Thanks!) In other news, I made a beatiful lure yesterday, carved out of wood and hand painted, with a beak to make it swim deep like a rapala. It swam beautifully. If I was a fish... :) Unfortunately it worked too well and we lost it to a big shark while waiting to enter the pass. We got it to the boat, and cut it free - the hook will rust out quickly and all will be back to normal. It was a nice lure though...
The water temperature has dropped nearly 5 degrees since Fiji, down to 24C .. arctic temperatures! Baguettes, fromage and vin rouge tomorrow :)
We're close! We're outside havanna pass waiting for favourable conditions to enter. A spring incoming tide with SW wind against it could make it quite bumpy. There's also the tsunami warning to consider, which could accelerate tidal flows.
We had a very quiet and easy night under motor.
Kirstine is writing up a list of our supplies, as it's likely they will take our fresh produce and any non NZ meat when we clear in.
In the meantime, we'll commence a feeding frenzy to get rid of as much food as possible :)
Land ahoy as we passed south of Ile Mare of the loyalty islands. 54nm to go to the havanna pass. Aiming to arrive at first light to time the tide and the 40nm around to Noumea.
Quiet, warm, lazy day with winds at 10kn or under. We're motor sailing and expect to continue thru the night.
We still have another boat with us, no doubt with the same plan. It's currently less than a mile behind us. Company for the night.
Highlight of the day happened as I was about to start writing this .. a whale breached a 30m behind us!! It followed us for about 10mins and was gone. Pretty cool :) Beef rendang, them into the night watches from 7pm. All well on board.
A pleasant night sailing with light winds.
Wind is light and has swung a bit more behind us, so we took down the main sail in the night. It was blanketing the screacher, flopping aound and not being much use.
Slow progress at around 4kn. We really want to be averaging 5 to get in in good time. Might put up the Spinnaker or engine assistance when Kirstine gets up soon.
I woke up to the amazing smell of fresh banana muffins that Kirstine baked during her sunrise shift.. delicious! We have another yacht out to Port, maybe 3nm. Not showing on AIS.
All well on board. One more night! :)
Another steady day sailing along, reaching along with main and screacher in 10 to 15kn Sun popped out for awhile, and it's a bit warmer.. the coconut oil is liquid again. It went solid for the first 2 day! We made a slight detour to pass over the gemini sea mount to try for some fish. Amazing to see tidal streams and turbulence in the water in the middle of the ocean. We found a few areas that we're only 40 to 60m deep. Quite a bit of sea life - we lost 2 lures and landed a nice yellowfin tuna .. all within 10mins! We did a few more passes and got smashed again, unable to stop yet another screaming reel and lost a third lure.. same as the last two. Quite exciting! Kirstine was up next and hooked a big shark.. took about 15min to get to the boat so we could cut it loose. We had about 8 sharks circling the boat by that stage! What a fishing spot. We we're lucky the sea was calm enough to drop by.
After cleaning the fish, we had "tuna 3 ways" - sashimi, seared fillets, and lime marinated tuna. Now we're not hungry for the pre made beef rendang, so snacks for dinner and more fish tomorrow.
All well on board and settling in for the night watches. 2 more nights at sea for us.
Hi to everyone back home! :)
Good morning. We had a pretty consistent night of motorsailing at 5.5kn with the screacher up. Light wind and not too bumpy. Hardly touched the sail, and nothing changed from sun down to sun up. Easy peasy.
This meant a good night sleep. We slept in the bed last night, which was really comfy compared to the prev nights curled up on the settee when off watch.
Wind is at a tempting speed to put up the Spinnaker again.. sometimes above 10, then (like right now) it dips to 9kn. We need to average 5kn to time the pass and passage thru reef and islands on Saturday morning.
We had a friendly visitor in the night. A big gannet or booby spent hours flying around the boat, trying to land. Persistence paid off, and he spent the night on top of the wind generator, holding on tight as it swings around in the wind/waves.
We took some pics in the dark, with flash, which confirmed it as a red footed booby. He's not afraid at all - Kirstine was able to get right up close for some great photos. I reckon he's never seen a human before. Cool to share his open ocean environment.
Looking ahead, we're using weather routing and are sticking a bit north of the rum line to stay in this little bit of wind. We'll head a bit further south of our course to get south of the rum line tomorrow.
By lunch the we should be near a shallower patch of water for the afternoon. Some 1000m patches and two 40m peaks /volcanoes. The chart says 'volcan sous-marin reported 1996'. Perhaps a chance for some fish.
We'd love some fresh fish, but still have plenty fresh and frozen food, which we may lose to biosecurity when we get to Noumea.. seems they are quite strict on some meat and stuff.
Time for a coffee, and to see what today will bring..
All well on board, with good sleep in 2hr shifts. Had a bit of midnight monkey business hanging off the end of the boom doing repairs after a reefing line snapped (chafe).
A bit grey this morning, and wind has eased and swung more East. We're south of the rum line now and still heading a bit south with 2 reefs in the main and full schreecher headsail, running at 120 apparent wind angle. Need to run off a bit to stay on course.. maybe it's Spinnaker time.
We've averaged 7.3kn since midday yesterday, but expect that to start dropping, as wind is forcast to get quite light towards the end, and possibly go South or even SW heading into Saturday.
350nm to the pass south of New Caledonia. Need to keep up the speed if we want to get in before Friday evening.. be nice to have only 2 more nights at sea and get in before the wind switches :) Banana fritters for breakfast I think.
Not much has changed, wind pretty constant, but sea state has eased. Sailing between 7 and 9kn with wind between 105 and 115 apparent. 2 reefs in main, 2 reefs in furler.
We both had naps today, now time to make salad for the rest of that chicken. Then 2 more pre prepared meals before fish/freezer time.
Fusio left a couple hours before us and are about 30nm ahead.
No fishing, too rough. Seen a few birds and flying fish. Haven't seen any boats.
Water is down to 26degrees and we're both layered up with long pants, layers, boots and jackets at night.. it's a bit chilly with the wind.
All well. Next update in the morning.
First night done. We both managed to get some sleep thru 2hr watches. Wind been pretty steady 20-25kn all night but has gone more ESE now.
Bit bumpy for fishing, still a bit wet with the odd wave breaking on the side of the boat and into the cockpit, but much better than last night.
Still 2 reefs in main and headsail, but might let out some headsail after coffee as wind is more behind us.
All well on board. 508nm to the pass.
We're on our way to New Caledonia, after leaving Vuda Pt Marina this afternoon.
Welcome back to ocean sailing with quite strong winds between 25 to 30kn. Had a reef in the main and 2 reefs in the furler, but still a bit overpowered, so we put another reef in the main, and sailing for comfort with wind at about 108 degrees apparent.. and boat speed between 7 and 9kn. Still pretty wet with the odd wave coming over the boat at 90 degrees.
This puts us a bit north of the rum line, but we're hoping/ expecting wind to ease and go a bit more east and we'll start heading a more south to our waypoint.
Pre cooked chicken with salad for dinner, now settling in for the night. Winds seems to be dipping below 25kn at times now.
605 nm to the pass to get in south of New Caledonia, then still another 40 nm or so around to Noumea.
All well on board.
A quick test before setting sail for New Caledonia. We're at vuda point to clear out this morning. Sad to leave Fiji after 3 months, but looking forward to new adventures ahead. Expecting a 5 day trip to New Caledonia.
Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.
After Kandavu we sailed the coral coast, then yasawas and northern mamanuthas. now back at musket cove for easy access to surf breaks and good kite surfing. Looking at heading to Vanuatu in the next 2 weeks. Tristan and Tayla had an amazing time with us, swimming every day, snorkeling with sharks, visiting villages, and getting into the sailing life.
We've been around Kandavu, and the great Astrolabe Reef. We haven't seen another boat in a week. We've been snorkelling, walking, hanging out in villages, drinking kava, attending Sunday church service and joining the village head for lunch. We've enjoyed our last stop the most. Time to move on now heading around the western tip of Kandavu to the Coral Coast to meet Grant and Hayley and family, then onwards to Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. 80 miles to next stop means an overnight passage tonight, which will be a great experience for the kids.
A couple of days in Suva to restock, pick up Tristan and Tayla, and eat curry. Leaving tomorrow for clear water - kids want to swim! :)
We're coming around the point to enter Savusavu. 5nm to go to get to Nakama Creek to pick up a mooring.
Pleasant sail, at good speed. Slowed down at about 5pm.
Overall a great passage, with better wind than expected. We've arrived 12 hrs earlier than the predictwind weather routing forecast. This is great news because we can clear customs, immigration, etc today, rather than have to spend another night at sea.
Back to NZ time on the clock, and back into the eastern hemisphere.
Nice to sail thru the Lau Group during the day. Some big islands.. looks beautiful and unspoilt. Saw some small dwellings from a distance.
Just starting to prep dinner and we hooked two mahi mahi on the handlines. One was on the lure Tristan made. We got one in, but struggled to wrangle it on board, lost it a few times back in the water, but got it in the end. Bent the gaff hook trying hold it down! Kirstine brought the other one in to the boat. It was quite a bit bigger, and more lively.. jumping out of the water. Got it right to the boat, but lost it trying to get it on board. Good effort all round tho. We dropped the spinnaker when the lines went so we could slow down enough to bring the fish in.
Wind has swung a bit more south and picked up to 18 to 20kn. Not quite on course with spinnaker running at 134 Apparent wind angle, but making good progress to waypoint, zooming along on a moonless night. Will reassess sail choice when Kirstine comes on at 10pm.
70nm to waypoint just of Savusavu.
Pleasant sailing, all well on board.
Sailing thru Lau Group, south of Vanua Balavu, had about 80 dolphins, then a nice fish that threw the hook about 10m from the boat. Desperate for fresh fish - got 2 handlines out now. Doing 6 to 7kn with spinnaker makes it a bit hard to stop to get the fish in. Tried to keep the last one skipping across the surface to the boat. Might try take spinnaker down quickly to stop for the next one. Need this wind and boat speed to make it into Savusavu in time to clear customs, Immigration, health, etc on Monday.. otherwise it's possibly another night at sea. 115 nm to go.. beautiful sailing weather.
wind picked up over night 12 - 20kn S gave us a good sailing angle and nice to get moving again 6 to 8kn. Pleasant sailing, with no moon and super bright stars and milky way. Only one small black bearded squall in the night, but nothing like previous night. Suns out, fishing line out, coffee brewing, kirstine making banana muffins. Wondering how Team NZ went today in americas cup. We're 20Nm from weaving thru the Lau Group of islands and reefs. Nice to do that in daylight. 146nm to Savusavu waypoint. (Cyrus, its another 6nm from there :)
Motoring again. A mix of sailing, motoring and motor sailing today. Really bumpy sea this morning but is smooth now.. amazing how much can change in 12hrs. Hand line and rod out the back, but no luck. Looks like Pho Soup for dinner. With this light wind, it looks like we won't make it into savusavu in time on Monday, unless we get some good wind very soon. All well on board, hoping for a drier, more comfy night tonight.
8am NZ time. Had shifty wind thru the night, sometimes sailing with main sail and genoa, then changed to spinnaker. Wind always seems to pick up during Kirstines watch. Decided to wrestle the spinnaker down when one squall was giving us 28kn of wind.. luckily it came down smoothly. Lots of surfing over 10kn , with top boat speed of 13.3kn. Lots of rain, wind shifts, lightning and squalls around 6am. Wind gone now, suns out, but sea is very bumpy! Motoring.
Settling in for night watches soon. 2.5 hr watches thru the night. Had yummy beef rendang that we prepared this morning. Caught a nice size skipjack on the handline earlier, but set it free.. was a bit bumpy and rainy for fish filleting. Will try again tomorrow. Lots of birds escorting us tonight, flying in front of the boat feeding for at least 3 hrs. Gannets, terns and some small birds. Forecast still shows wind dropping thru the night down to not a lot by 6am.. 24 hrs of light wind.. but hopefully good for fishing! :)
Just left Neiafu, heading for Savusavu, Fiji. Hoping to get in on Monday. Expecting 24hr calm /light wind patch from tomorrow morning.
Heading to Va'avau - 60 miles away for an overnight passage.
Anchored at Telekitonga island. Took three attempts to anchor, trying to find a good sandy spot between the reefs. No other boats here. Empty island, looks beautiful ashore.. Will have a look in the morning, before continuing north.
Anchored at Ata Island, ready to shoot up to Ha'apai in the morning.
Entering the piha passage on the east side on Tongatapu. 13 days at sea, all well on board after an enjoyable passage, despite some poor weather. Should be in for clearance by 10am.
Land ahoy, we passed Ata island this morning, about 25Nm off to starboard, passed a yacht Gungha about a mile to starboard this morning. Dolphins, frigate birds and 27Â°c water. Nearly there! About to make choc muffins for Kirstines birthday.. don't have any butter tho, so will try with coconut oil!?
Kirstine's birthday today! A year ago today we didn't have a boat, and being here wasn't even in the pipeline. What a way to spend your birthday! Kirstine stayed up to watch the sunrise again.
Motored all night, 80 Nm to go. Really light wind, so slow progress. We're aiming to be outside the piha passage (eastern approach) tomorrow morning.
Had a really good run yesterday in light winds. Had the screecher/genneker and main with 1 reef all day, doing 6 to 7kn+ in 10-12kn E, sailing at 60Â° apparent wind angle. With a bonus 0.5kn current behind us. Wind is under 10kn now, but still doing around 5kn. Lost the current tho. No fish to report, today will be the day, surely!? Kirstine stayed up after her watch ended at 5.30 to watch the sunrise - "I don't want to miss this one!"
Had a good run yesterday doing 5 - 7kn under spinnaker with SE trade winds, but 0.7kn current against us. Current seems to have gone now and we've been motor sailing since taking the spinnaker down at about 1am. I've just seen the wind pop over 10kn, so perhaps more sail up when Shayne comes on watch in 10 mins. Its so nice and quiet when we turn the engine off, and start gliding across the ocean.
We've been having absolutely amazing sunrises and sunsets. Our cameras are full of bright oranges and pinks with dramatic fiery clouds! Plan for today: find some wind, keep chipping away at the miles, and catch a fish.
Cyrus tweaked his ankle on deck yesterday, resulting in an impressive and graceful commando roll onto the trampoline. Voltaren is back in use. Aside from that, all well on board.
318 miles to go.
Sailing again under spinnaker after 24hrs motoring. Nice and quiet again! 4 to 5 knots boat speed, and working the angles to get max VMG. Current is now against us - We had 0.5kn current behind us for last 24hrs, which really helped. For Tristan and Tayla, the water is now up to 24Â° :) We've got one more prepared meal left, then its into the freezer or cans etc.. or hoping for another fish! The only good thing about motoring is good sleep when off watch, and easy going while on watch. 415Nm to go.
Sunny morning, with light winds so we're motoring. On and off wind last night, but had an amazing few hours when we put the spinnaker up at 1am, flat seas and gliding along at 5 to 6kn in 12kn of wind with amazing starry night. Think we all got some good sleep. Shayne saw a huge meteor light up the north western sky last night "like u see in the movies!" Lines out, hopefully a fish today. 509Nm to go!
good sailing today, but sea still bumpy. Motoring now because sea so confused after a squall that sails flogging and wouldnt set in under 10kn. Sea feeling a bit better, so it's probably sails back up after this update and a weather forecast check.. saw whales today and tropical birds overhead, and one flying fish. Saw the small moon set just after the sun, now bright starry moonless sky. Beef satay for dinner.
Hello friends and family! We're on our way to Tonga, again. Our little mini circular tour of a small patch of the South Pacific has ended, and we start again. The last 24 hrs was a bit tough, with big winds, steep breaking swells pushing us in the wrong direction. Boat and crew all did well. A new top speed of 14.4kn was recorded. And a max of 42kn of wind.. not quite the 50kn we had leaving Auckland. Sea state is still quite messy now, but we're looking fwd to it cleaning up a bit over next 6 hrs as we follow the wind and curve around to the north again. With the conditions we had 2 on shift for 3 hours rotating last night.. Shayne and Cyrus, and D and K teamed up. No moon, but quite a lot of lightning all around. Suns out, going the right way, all good on board :)
heading west all day to get out of wind, just eased to less than 20. Had over 30kn most of day. Sustained winds over 36kn for long periods, max gust 43kn, breaking 3m swells, so hand steering most of day. Regrouping now, and getting ready to head back north as soon as conditions allow.
another windy bumpy slow night, with a few sail changes currently on storm jib and 3rd reef main sailing at 80 degrees. Too uncomfortable to sail any tighter in the short sea. Tracking weather and expecting this to pass in next 24 hrs. Don't expect much progress till then. A few rain showers from black squall clouds.. think Shayne got the worst of it.
slow bumpy night ahead. Kirstine warming up the pre prepared bolognaise
bumpy night with this NE swell. Had little squall come thru at 4.30am with westerly, then southerly winds and a bit of rain and dark clouds. We've sailed into western hemisphere, and are miles from crossing out of the 30s and in to the 20 degrees south zone. Watches cycles going well around the clock : 1 - 2.30 Shayne, 2.30 - 4 Cyrus, 4 - 5.30 Kirstine , 5.30 - 7 Daren, 7 - 8.30 Shayne, 8.30 - 10 Cyrus, 10 - 11.30 Kirstine, 11.30 - 1 Daren. All well.
Hi to the Haraheke pod , tracking us at KatiKati Primary School - Manatu, Shane, Luke, Edward and the rest of yr 2. We're sailing at about 6 knots now, winds just picked up again. Blue sky, and water is 22 degrees and getting warmer as we get closer to Tonga.
Bumpy night with wind forward of the beam, 2 reefs in Genoa, 1 reef in main sail to manage speed and comfort. Did about 4.5kn at 50 degrees to the wind, in 10 - 12kn. Still heading further east towards kermadec islands to get better position for a NE wind shift in a few days time. 185Nm to Raoul Island. 668Nm to Tonga. Clunk on the steering last night- autopilot cog fell off, quick repair to tighten grub screws, and back in action. Soon after a bird flew into cockpit by mistake.. dazed and confused! Had another yacht for company all night about 7 miles off port beam, same speed and course. Can see little white sail on horizon this morning. No response when we called on VHF. All got some sleep last night. Still working thru the tuna.. fishcakes later.
a good days sailing, still heading a bit further east for better wind angle in a few days. Put a reef in the main for overnight comfort. Mild Thai green curry about to be served.
last msg didn't send on time - that update was 0700. Wind filled in now and engine is off. Sailing full main sail and Genoa, Autopilot set with wind at 70 degrees.
motoring at 4.0kn all night, Genoa up now, motor sailing at 4.8kn, expecting better wind today so we can turn off the engine and glide across a pretty calm sea. All well on board, watches going well. Doing 1.5 hour watches, which fly by, and still allows time for sleep. Better eat some more tuna today. Fishcakes or seared, another tough decision...
pretty quiet, comfy day. Motoring at 4kn with occasional motor sail up to 5kn. Yummy sushi for afternoon tea. Fixed boom with a bit of engineering and team work.
Dropped the spinnaker 9.30pm to put up main and Genoa. Lost the pin holding the boom to mast, repairs deferred to this morning. Motoring, no wind, expected to be light wind till Tues evening. Big bright blooms of fish in the water at night. All well onboard.
spinnaker all day, max speed 11.6kn. Fresh tuna for dinner tonight - caught 20lb tuna this afternoon. So much fish. Sashimi watching the sunset. All well on board entering night #2. Expecting wind to was more this evening.
windy night over 40kn SSW down to 25kn early morning. Storm jib only. All well on board, got some sleep. Dolphins. Darens foot good after dropping gas bottle on it yesterday. Time to put up more sail.
Left Auckland 17.30 today. We're past rangitoto, heading for northern tip of great barrier. 30+ knots of wind from behind. Storm jib only, quite comfortable. Chicken, rolls and salad time.
Nearly ready to go, weather starting to look good to leave. Just watching what happens up north when we arrive! Maybe Saturday departure!
Sea trial for updated engine and electronics. All while keep an eye on the weather situation in the Pacific.
Sailing into Westhaven for engine repairs. 15 to 25kn Southerly.
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