Wind moved further east so moved this morning to Deanbilla Bay off Adams Beach, Dunwich. Another nice anchorage. Went ashore into Dunwich on 2nd and did some exploring at the museum and a couple of art/craft shops. Very interesting place with fascinating history. Was an asylum for several decade in mid 1800s and into 1900s. All of Queeslands inebriates and older people who couldn't support themselves or had deteriorated mental conditions were bundled off to Dunwich. The local aboriginal community living here at the time carried most of the workload to keep it operating.
Departed Dockside and headed out to Peel Island, anchored in Horseshoe Bay. Great sail under genoa. once out of the river and port area. Nice anchorage.
Dropped back in water yesterday and spent night on berth. Left marian late morning heading for Dockside Marina up Brisbane river. Arrived 17.00 on high tide. Berth C14 this time. Spent another great week in Brisbane, bit more exploring. Manager Ken is great, lent us his car one day. Caught up with Tony and Zara for dinner one night, then out for 24hrs with David and Helen who we met in Longreach, some sightseeing in the hinterland and and overnight stay at Helen's in Caboolture. During the week we caught up with Dennis O'Neill again on Bribie Is, he is looking and well and really hanging in at the moment.
Easy trip into Scarborough to lift out. Staff at marina very experienced and haulout went smoothly. Silver light just fitted into the haulout crane . Spent four days doing sanding, fixing antifoul, prop speed, anodes etc. Silver Light in good condition and copper coat working really well. Stayed at cabin in local camping ground, great accommodation. Met a great South African family. Also met up with Lane and Suzie from Bella Vita. Good marina for servicing.
Departed Newport midday to anchor in Deception Bay before going onto hard in Scarborough. Good to be out again, however wind getting up. Wind finally got to around the 30knts level during afternoon and evening, not pleasant. Very bouncy and anchor dragged a bit during night. Relief to have morning arrive.
High tide at 8.30. Departed anchorage shortly after to make our way into Newport Marina. On the berth by 0930 with help from the great staff at newport. Silver Light now tucked away securely for the next 5 weeks while we are in the UK. This will be our last update on YIT for a few weeks. Planning for October on already under way which will see us heading South towards Sydney for the end of December.
Motored across Moreton Bay to Deception Bay and anchored for the night. An absolutely flat sea at night, so quiet.
Left Innskip on beautiful afternoon, great crossing of wide bay bar. Great sailing breeze from port quarter meant we are able to sail with no motor. Wind held right through night into morning before fading as we came into Moreton Bay. Lovely nights sail. Kept regular contact through out the night with a fellow solo yachtie sailing South with us into the bay. Arrived at northern bay on daylight and finally into the Tangalooma anchorage by 10.30am. Great couple of days at anchor including swimming in beautiful clear water.
Decided to go on 23rd and get through shallows. Checked out Gary,s. A bit crowded, lots of boats in a very narrow channel so moved on. Call made to push on down to Inskip. Arrived 1700, wind had dropped back to 10kts so looks like a good call. Expected Southerly came through at midnight blowing 20kts. but due to good holding here have no worries. Silver Light not moving too much so comfortable for next couple of days. Weather and swell forecast looking like a mid Sunday departure across the Wide Bay Bar and then a non stop overnight run down into Moreton Bay - 100 nm trip.
Anchored for the night at Yankee Jacks or South White cliffs or Sheridan Flats as it is also known. Great anchorage shared with 6 other boats of various brands. This is the kick off point for going through the shallow parts of Sandy Straight, decision to be made if we go tomorrow or wait for a day as there is a southerly blow coming through Thursday which will affect the whole area - this anchorage might be a bit more sheltered. However having to go on the high tide means that going a day or two later pushes the transit into mid afternoon shortening our travel for that day.
Motor sailed down to Hervey Bay into Boat Club marina. Departed 0630, arrived 1430. Another nice day travelling. Following sea had built by our arrival time so doing a bit of swinging back and forth in the entrance channel.Took a couple of goes to get into berth due to wind but landed with no major bangs. Will stay in here for a couple of nights to let troughs go through before heading down Sandy St.
Departed Pancake at 5.30am and headed for Burnett Heads. Motor sail again with friendly sea state. Getting along at time up over 7kts. Accompanied by a Leopard 47 cat, GENIET LEWE who departed 30 minutes behind us. Arrived Burnett Hds 1530, not bad for 60 nms. First night on the Bundaberg Marina second night anchored off in the indicated spot. Had David and Janet Hollier from Geniet Lewe over for drinks 1st night, and joined them for dinner 2nd night. A NZ couple who sailed their Leopard from the USA 4 years ago. They are heading to Vanuatu for a couple of months before going back to NZ. Great to be back in Bundaberg where our Aussi sailing experience first began last year.
Motor sailed from Gladstone marina down to Pancake creek today, nice easy 30nm trip. Wind was hard on nose but easy enough to provide some lift without creating too much swell problem. Anchored in the outer anchorage this time as departing early. Several other boats joined us for the night. Nice flat anchorage this time as not much swell further out.
Hauled anchor at 0715 this morning. Had the quite narrow and at times shallow North Channel to navigate on a rising tide this morning. High tide at 0830 and needed to get the 5 nms though it by around that time. No incidents to report but we certainly had to keep a sharp focus and right on the track marked by the chart plotter. Always a good experience. Passed through into the main shipping channel and then up to Gladstone Marina. Very nice marina with lots of room to navigate around, set among beautiful park. Here now for two nights before heading back to Pancake Creek and then hopefully out to Lady Musgrave Island and coral kay.
Departed GKI anchorage at 0630 this morning. Nice sailing breeze, just coming right from where we had to go. 43 nm trip that ended up being almost 70 nms given we had to tack back and forward across our direct direction of travel several several times. Finally managed to get a straight run along the coast from Cape Capricorn for the last 16 nms as the wind moved east during the afternoon. Did have to use the assistance of the iron spinnaker to make sure we got to our current location before dark. Great days motor sailing though, very relaxing. Anchorage is just inside the North passage into Gladstone Harbour - we can see the lights of the city in the distance. Good anchorage with very little swell considering the open sea is just around the corner of Facing Island. Couple of rums consumed to celebrate a great day at sea.
Udder life and Breeze left shortly after 0600 heading north to the Percy Islands - next year for us. Ay midday we moved across to Svensons beach due to expected wind shift to SE and ready for early departure in the morning. Hauled dinghy back on board and secured everything ready to go to sea. Took a swim mid afternoon, water at 20 degrees, really nice and refreshing.
Still at Leeks Beach. Udder Life - Bavaria 56 from Auckland - with Wally and Celia aboard joined us late morning having come up from Cape Capricorn. They are accompanied by Breeze, a Moody 65 from Tasmania. Enjoyed a good catch up and then drinks and nibbles on Udder Life. Wind came through at 20kts from the SW during the night, all good.
Following day 11th went ashore in the pm to the sailors camp and lit a fire. Enjoyed that along with some music provided by the Ukelele's and guitar played by crew of Udder Life and Breeze accompanied with some liquid refreshment. Great afternoon, and back to the yacht at dusk.
Left previous anchorage before 0900 and motored slowly around to the North side of GKI via the east end. Needing protected anchorage from expected blow coming through. Anchored off Leeks Beach, site of our first arrival at GKI. Again finding other boats arriving during the day seeking the shelter.
Anchored off Long Beach, GKI, along with 20 other boats all seeking the same shelter from the Northerly. Great to be back out here. Water beautiful and clear down to sandy bottom at 6 mtrs. Nice gentle motor/sail across. Great to relax into the anchoring life again after enjoying the land based activity of last week or more. Refueled at the marina - first since leaving Manly on 11/7 - 208 ltrs including topping up 5 jerry cans used over that time.
Moored back in Keppel Bay Marina for a couple of weeks. Hong departed Friday 26th. Spent the weekend getting thiungs ship shape before picking up a rental car and doing a big inland trip to Longreach. What a fantastic journey into Queenslands outback. Learnt a lot about the life of the stockmen and run holders that settled out there. Place is well set up for for people to visit and learn about their life and the land. Also visited the coal museum at Blackwater and tried our hand at gem mining in Saphire and Gemstone. Found some smallish saphires which we will keep. 8/8/19 Now back on Silver Light and ready to head back to Keppel Island and then start our way South again.
Anchored off Svensons beach with a number of other yachts. Spent the week doing trips ashore, a walk across the Island to the cafe - lots of mossies - and a catch up with the other boaties around a camp fire and sing along. Also did some bottom cleaning in the really clear water. Great week with Hong, lots of fun.
Tied up in Keppel Bay Marina for next 3 nights. Our friend Hong from Wellington arriving tomorrow through Rockhampton. Also catching up with Kay and Steven who are staying a few nights in Yappoon.
Anchored off North side Great Keppel Island. Great anchorage, sandy bottom with crystal clear water. Nice gentle 3 hour motor sail up this morning. SW wind slowly dropping as morning progressed. Little wind by time we anchored. Plenty of other cruisers in this stretch. Took run about around to the west end of Island and went ashore to explore. Number of private houses, a backpackers, chalets, glamping and camping sites plus bar/cafe, pizza place and shop.
Anchored in sheltered north side of Hummocky Island after a day sail from Pancake Creek. Departed at daybreak and got in several hours straight sailing before having to resort to the support of the motor again as winds dropped off.ailed through 25 large tankers and various cargo ships from many overseas destinations anchored off Gladstone. All waiting to be loaded with various mineral cargoes. Heard there was a big backlog. Listening to the VHF there are certainly ships there with no dates for berthing, could be weeks. Got into Hummocky well before dusk so enjoyed some sun while anchored. Sthly swell makes itself felt in here a bit.
Stop off in Pancake Creek anchorage on way North. Departed Manly marina with nice SW breeze, sailed up Moreton Bay and out into open sea heading up the East side of Frazer Island. 370nm mile trip lasting some 50 plus hours. Two good nights sailing with various wind changes. Motor had to be used most of the way to ensure we kept moving forward. North end of Fraser Island saw us going through a number of whale pods, including mothers with young and individuals. Had a great close up view of a whale engaged in tail slapping for 10 minutes at 100 meters. Pancake creek a great calm anchorage, lots of boats using it over the time we are here - up to 25 boats.
Left St Helena at 1200 and motored to East Coast Marina, Many. Lots of yachts of all sizes out racing, passed through a couple of dinghy fleets. Manly an easy place to get into and easy to navigate around given its size. In spite of wind in the bay, very calm in the marina. Great service from the marina staff, came out to meet us in their runabout and helped direct us in to berth. Great facilities here. Easy walk into village for shopping at IGA. Will spend next 3-5 days here replacing diesel heater before heading North.
Departed dockside marina heading for NW side of St Helena Island to wait out the SE blow for a few days. Great motor down the Brisbane river and out into Moreton Bay. Short hop to anchorage and settled down for 4 days. Good anchorage, great holding, some minor swell at times.
Motored across to the Brisbane river and up into Dockside Marina. Great trip and arrived on slack tide. Will spend the next week or so here. Mark & Jude left on the 16/6/19 after a days sightseeing and out to dinner a couple of times. Has been a fantastic week with them aboard doing boating things these yachties don't normally do - inland waterways. Now looking and planning the next phase of the adventure.
Moved down to The Sandhills after doing a round of the wrecks and going ashore for coffee at the resort. Signage makes it clear that only resort dwellers and those from cruise ships are welcome. However never got stopped or questioned. Mark and Ian walked up the big Sandhill mid afternoon for some exercise. Had to anchor the dingy a considerable distance off and walk to shore due to shallow depth. Great views from top.
Moved to Tangalooma today. Tried sailing but had to revert to motor assist after a couple of hours. Glorious day on Moreton Bay. Anchored by 1600 abnd had a quick swim before doing an early evening round of the wrecks in the dinghy.
Left Jacobs Well at 0800, motored all the way to Peel Island. Lunched in Horseshoe Bay after a swim. Anchored for night back in Lazarette. Glorious night with lights of Brisbane twinkling in distance.
Did the Tipplers run and walked across Sth Stradbroke to ocean this morning. Fantastic day on the beach. Left anchorage with 2hrs to run to high tide to get through to Jacobs well. No hickups but depth did hit 0 a couple of times. Anchored just St of the VMR in good depth. Went ashore for quick walk around and then a visit to the local watering hole. Great overnight stay.
Mark and Jude on board last night. Out to dinner in Main Beach. Motored from Mariner Cover this morning and up the broadwater including swinging by Sanctuary Cove for a quick look. Anchored off the end of Tipplers passage. Doing a run into Couran Cove to show M&J and then up to Tipplers Cafe in the morning.
Moved into Mariners Cover to wait for arrival of Mark and Jude Aldridge. Rented car for 24hrs on 8/6/19 to do airport run as well as some shopping. Met up with Christine Bird, ex Busfields, staying with her brother Kevin and his wife Lucy.
Moved from Hope Island to Southport this morning and anchored off beach near Australia Fair. Will stay here for a couple of days before going into Mariners Cove Marina to set up for Mark and Jude from Four Seasons, Waikawa SI, who are flying and with us for a week. More Party Time!!!!. This is as far South as we come this time around, now going to head North for the winter.
Moved at 8.30am to catch tide and move up the Coomera River to Hope Island Marina. Passed Sanctuary Cove on way through, lots of large boats being moved around after the boat show. Mooring here for a few days. Caught up with John and Beth Borsboom for her birthday on 29th. Spent the weekend with them at Merrimac.
Moved into this tight anchorage early this morning while tide was still up. Tight passage to get in with some very shallow areas again, but great once in - very sheltered. Went ashore to the Paradise Point shopping centre for some supplies. Neat little location. Rob & Caroline from Gallivanta joined us for dinner, great catch up.
Spent 2 nights at Never Fail Island before coming down to this anchorage just across from Paradise Point. Visited Couran Marina for a sundowner last night, not great, like having a drink in a morgue. Checked out Tipplers passage on the way this morning, narrow and shallow not much room for us to anchor, but will drop into Tipplers Cafe on the way north.
Left Peel Is. at 10.00am and motored down to the entrance of the main inland passage heading for Southport. Not unlike Fraser Island but a few more twists and turns. Had hoped to anchor up just North of Jacobs well but nothing that really took our fancy. Made the call to continue through as high tide had not long come through. Some very shallow readings - like 00mts - under the keel a couple of times but didn't seem to touch. Ended up anchoring to side of the channel just north of Courans Cove. Great overnight spot, quiet, still, but when daylight comes along this stretch of water is like the M1. We covered 20nm yesterday so have got ourselves into the Southport area a day or so ahead of our intentions.
Left Dockside today and motored down river and out to Peel Island. No sailing as wind right on nose. Great to be out anchoring off again and enjoying the quiet of an anchorage. Dropped the pick in the Lazerette gutter off the North side. Spent 2 nights here in beautiful conditions. Lots of distant night lights from the city and suburbs. This a definite return location.
Motored from Newport to Brisbane port and then up the river to the CBD. Coming in up the river is such a great way to see this city. Tied up in the Dockside Marina just along from the Story Bridge. Spent a week here exploring the sights of Brisbane and learning about its history. Great location with the free city hopper ferry stop only 40 mtrs away. Brisbane is such an easy city to get around with lots of interesting things to see and explore and some great restaurants. We are coming back here before we head North later in June.
Tied up in Northport Marina. Came in for a few days and ended up almost 2 weeks. Really enjoyed the area and people. John & Beth stayed for a couple of days, very enjoyable, checked out some display homes and got in a mornings sailing out from Red Cliffs.
Sailed across to Bribie Island today and parked up just of Bongaree in Pumicestone. Great days sailing on Moreton Bay. Beautiful calm anchorage here. Heading for Newport Marina for the weekend to catch up with John and Beth Borsboom who will be staying on board. Really enjoying the Moreton Bay area and looking forward to exploring more of it.
This afternoon moved South to the Sandhill anchorage off Moreton Island. Beautiful motor sail in 12kts down the coast. Now anchored up in a lovely bay with a slight easterly breeze coming across the Island, 4 other boats anchored across the bay and fantastic view of the sandhills this location if famous for. Will attempt the big sandhill climb in the morning. Just saw four people part way up through the bino's, and given how small they look this climb could a bit of a haul. Across the other side of Moreton bay we can see high rises of Brisbane.
Moved to Tanaglooma yesterday and anchored close to the wrecks. Lovely spot, southerly swell had cleared during the day so nice calm night. Get a great view from here of the ships heading in and out of Brisbane port. In the distance we can see the high rise towers of downtown Brisbane and at night the skyline is well lit up.
Motor sailed south from Moolooaba across the top of Moreton Bay. Took three hours to get to the channel, lovely gentle swells with nice breeze. Changed just as we got to the channel entrance, wind moved SSE and several heavy showers came through with associated gusty wind. Sea became confused and quite bouncy until we hit the NW corner of Moreton Island. Lovley passge down the island to Cowan Cowan. Anchored for night, small swell kept us moving about but manageable.
Now moored up in Mooloolaba at the yacht club marina. Left Tin Can 2 days ago, parked for the night inside Inskip point. Lovely calm anchorage. Left yesterday morning and crossed the infamous Wide Bay Bar at 8.00am. Just over an hour to get through the set waypoints. Bit of a washing machine affect for good part of it, really glad of our Karori rip experience over the years crossing Cook St.
Once through into beautiful calm long gentle swells with 8kt offshore wind. Motor sailed down the coast until 1700hrs when we reached here. Great day on the sea. Here now until after Easter. Looking forward to some exploring of local waterways and some land based places.
Arrived here in Tin Can Bay Marina yesterday after motoring down from anchorage at Figtree Creek - just South of Gary's anchorage. Great little marina, very clean and helpful staff. They provide a vehicle you can borrow for up to one and a half hours to do shopping or other bits. Cheryl went to doctor over ongoing stomach bug problem. Could be here for up to 2 weeks until all tests etc worked through.
Anchored South Whitecliffs in Yankee Jacks anchorage. Motored from Kingfisher bay during morning. Very calm here and hot. Surrounded by mangroves on various sandbars interspersed with channels.
Anchored just off the North end of King Fisher Bay next to the wharf. Spent the last week off South Point, Big Woody Island. Cheryl not well so spent some down time. We are now slowly making our way down through the straight heading for Tin Can Bay in 4 days time. All well on board.
Anchored South Point, SW corner of Big Woody Island. Left Hervey Bay marina 2 days ago. Anchored fist night at Sandy Point, anchorage a bit rolly with winds and slight swell from North plus effects of tidal flow. Motored down channel yesterday to current location. Great spot. Thunderstorm passed over last night, bit of rain and westerly winds for a couple of hours. Heading for Tin Can Bay marina over next 10 days - South end of great sandy straights about 50 miles away. Slowly working away at various boat jobs. Crew and boat all well.
Currently tied up in Hervey Bay Boat Club marina, Urangan. Motor sailed here from Bundaberg two days ago just as wind turned to light northerly. Monday picked up part for water maker from engineering shop in Hervey Bay. Spent today in Maryborough, place with a very interesting history, including the connection to Mary Poppins. Off on a driving tour of Fraser Island tomorrow.
After almost 4 months enjoying some land adventures and activity we arrived back in Bundaberg a week ago and moved aboard Silver Light 3 days ago after some cleaning and TLC for the good ship. Great to be home again. Will look to head South into Hervey Bay and into Urangan later this week.
Arrived Bundaberg wednesday 24th and been secured in the marina since then. We go onto the hard stand in the morning and then into dry storage later in the week. WE are leaving Silver Light here for 2-3 months while we return to NZ through until mid January, catch up with family and attend to several other bits and pieces that need doing.
On a berth in Moselle Marina for 2 days preparing for departure to Bundaberg tomorrow morning. Came off hard stand at Numbo yesterday after a week getting keel fixed. Sail now repaired and back on. Weather looking good for trip to Aussi, light winds most of the way so will be some motoring. Justin Throssell and Lyndsay Alderton now with us as crew for the trip so some crew bonding going on.
Arrived Noumea yesterday after two days motor sailing from Ile de Pins - over nighted at Ile Uo. Caught a spanish mackerelon the way through. Got a marina berth for the night at Port Moselle, and now anchored at Numbo bay ready to be lifted out at 0700 at the local yard. Need to check out a slight leak around the keel bolts, get the main sail repaired and change the main valve on the holding tank - full tank and no way to empty, not good. Boat probably out for a week to make sure we are ready for the trip to Bundaberg in a couple of weeks time. Annalise, Darren and kids depart tomorrow, has been a fantastic week with them.
Left Lifou for Iles de Pins and we've arrived. Three days to get here, overnighting at Ile Toupeti and Baie de Yate. Socialised with UDDER LIFE and SHAMAL both nights. All went our separate ways this morning. Annalise, Darren and family arrive tomorrow so just going ashore for a reccie and see what this place is really like. It's much calmer in the bay - we have a very sheltered anchorage here.
Currently anchored in Baie du Gaatcha, Lifou Island in the New Caledonia islands. Arrived here from Fiji earlier in the week. Cheryl and I managed our first ocean passage by ourselves in covering the 630nms in just over 4 days. Bit of rough weather but all went well. Have done some site seeing and re provisioning and getting ready to head to main island in the morning. Cheryl has been excited to dust of her french speaking again and has been helping interpret for other boaties. now looking forward to Annalise and family arriving in Isle de pins on Tuesday, we still have to cover 150 odd miles south to get there, all into the wind which is up a bit at the moment.
Currently on the hard at Vuda. Lift out to check keel after the incident with the coral. Some obvious scars on front and sides at bottom of keel. No damage where keel joins hull and no movement in bolts so all good. Ready to depart for New Caledonia. Being dropped in water Thursday, clearing customs and start heading West. Had 2 nights ashore in one of the chalets they have at Vuda, wonderful. Met up with Ross and Jo Blackman from Sojourn 2 for several drinks Sunday and Monday, they have provided us with some valuable info. for our French stay over next few weeks.
Moored up in Musket Cove Marina. Arrived here yesterday and had to tie up to fuel berth due to strong winds and boats with mechanical problems making it impossible for us to get into our assigned berth. Ended up getting a better one out back.
Joined the coral club yesterday when we first scraped the bottom of the keel and then crashed into an unmarked reef. Came to a dead stop ending up with both of us receiving impact damage when Cheryl crashed into the bench and then the floor and I planted my bottom lip on the helm. Managed to get out without being stuck but
now need to check for damaged under. Nothing obvious inside with keel bolts, frames etc. Another lesson learned.
Anchored in blue lagoon yesterday afternoon after motor sail from Cuvu Bay. Another great anchorage, no swell or roll. Had a sundowner at the Boatshed on shore last night, very nice. Will spend another day here and look to head South again tommorrow.
Moved from Lalauwaki Bay to Cuvu Bay yesterday. Beautiful calm anchorage. Met up with Ivy Ruby and Mezzaluna ashore for sundowners. Today will be checking out the Manta rays in the pass between Naviti and Drawaqa Islands. Cheryl checked out and confirmed her skills at getting into the dingy from the water yesterday, going to be needed today.
Left Yanuya Island early and made good progress to Waya Island. Difficult to find a sheltered bay; wind is whipping over the hills, into bays and not stopping for anyone. Anchored in Nalauwaki Bay, which has a village on the shore. Not so keen to visit as I believe they wanted to charge our rally colleagues FJD150 for landing on their beach. In this wind, we'd want to stay with the boat anyway.
Anchored SW side of Yanuya Island. Motor sailed from Musket cove enjoying the 10kt breeze assisting us. Easy days travel and ready for another tomorrow as we head for Yassawas.
Back into cruising now after our unscheduled visit to NZ. It's a great feeling to be back on the boat, which was well looked after at Vuda Point Marina. Left Vuda this morning and now anchored off Musket Cove in preparation to go further north into the Yasawas.
Left Vuda last Monday and anchored the night of Denerau. Picked up Kirsten and Neil Tuesday morning and sailed to Musket cove for the day. They caught the ferry back while we stayed the night. Yesterday sailed back to Vuda where we are now moored up. Unexpected family illness back in NZ means we are travelling back tomorrow for a week or so until it is resolved. Still hope to get to the Yasawas laterin the month or early next month.
Safely ensconced at Vuda Point Marina. The boats are packed in like sardines, Med style but it works. This is where we leave the trusty dinghy that was loaned to us for its owner to pick up next month. All dinghy duties completed. Took the bus to Lautoka Market for fresh veges and fruit - the best I've seen in Fiji. The bus ride was also an experience - another sardine experience - Ian and I thought we were on a seat for two. Wrong! It was a seat for three. Vuda Point Marina is charming - a dug out basin with boats around the edge surrounded by trees and great facilities for boaties. Pictures on my FB page if you're interested.
We were lucky enough to get a berth at Denarau for two nights - fully booked until the end of August - persistence pays off!! Being close to land made it so easy to collect our new dinghy and outboard; have repairs made on the chart plotter; to install the replacement wind generator; to replace our starter battery, and so on; not to mention refuelling and reprovisioning. Had the most amazing help from our agent, Sofi, at YachtHelp; Ifraz and Rav from Ravmarine. They've worked hard on our behalf. Fuel costs much better in Fiji - nearly half the price of Tonga; food on Denarau Island very expensive - only bought necessities. Opted to eat on the boat every night. $10 bottles of wine in NZ are between $40 and $50 here. A bottle of Gordon's Gin is $180. Needless to say, they stayed on the shelves. So glad I made some ginger beer at $2 a bottle. First tasting tonight! Also, our soda stream has proved its weight in gold - sparkling water goes down a treat in these temperatures.
Had a great morning exploring Lautoka market, churches, schools, medical facilities and villages. Motored 10 nm and anchored off Denarau.
Anchored at Lautoka, a little rolly even in the harbour but we're intending to stay overnight. A good motor-sail - the wind and waves came up as we rounded the north west corner of the island. Made ginger crunch with real ginger and also scones. Glad no-one is on board to eat the scones - I need a lot more practice. Ian's such a good sport - he doesn't mind them. If we're happy to leave the boat we'll go ashore and check out Lautoka, where 80% of the population are Indian ethnicity so I'm hoping to find a good curry. A lot of smoke in the air. It's coming from the sugar cane mills - lots of chimney stacks here.
Motorsailed to Ba Roads; anchoring here overnight. No water activities here. Sundowners in the cockpit tonight. And, perhaps an episode of Downton Abbey. LOL!
This is our second night at Nananu-I-Cake Island. Great protection from the sea and part of the northern inland passage across the top of the main island of Fiji. Spent the morning exploring in the kayak. Very pleasant. Burnt our paper rubbish on the shore - left nothing but our footprints. No villages here, only closed up homes waiting for their absent owners to return. Caretakers keep them in immaculate condition. Some smoke in the air as the locals are burning off sugar cane - apparently it's illegal but no-one polices the regulations. Looks like a resort across the bay but we're more than happy where we are. Looking forward to another beautiful sunset tonight.
After a great week at Savusavu, sailed 5 nms and anchored overnight in the bay of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort ready for an early start the next morning to Makogai Island. Arrived before 1600, always our aim, jumped in the water for a snorkel but nothing to see except blue water and an anchor chain. Left Makogai early for Viti Levu Bay on the "mainland" - the only yacht here and enjoying the calm and sheltered anchorage. The next legs will be short hops as we slowly make our way to Denarau through the northern inland passage..
Tied up at Copra Shed Marina, Savusavu. Arrived yesterday after three day crossing from Vavau. Great crossing, wind at 15kts from the SE all the way. Son in law Darren a valuable member of the crew for the crossing. Caught a yellow fin and skip jack during the crossing, nothing like the taste of tuna fresh from the sea. Darren leaving us today and we have a week or so here working through boat stuff and where to next.
Moored back in Neiafu preparing for rally dinner and final arrangements prior to departure for Fiji. Weather looking good for the trip to Savusavu over the weekend.
Sailed to Port Maurelle on Monday. Walked to village. Snorkelled in Swallows Cave. A whale visited us and came out of the water to breathe right beside our boat. Phenomenal!! A fire on the beach to cook lunch today. Socializing in the wild brings out the best in everyone.
Currently on mooring in Neiafu, nicely tucked up in flat conditions. Did overnight sail from Hapai's last Friday, arrived 9.00an. And been enjoying some no moving on time since due to the strong SE blast coming through.
Sailed overnight from Ha'apais to Vava'u. 2145 to 0800 the next day. Beautiful moon. Unfortunately, confused seas. Just waiting for those idyllic tropical picture-postcard conditions. For a couple of days been on a mooring in the very safe and sheltered anchorage of Neiafu, which enables a full night's sleep. Today we're renting a car with Jude and Mark to explore the island and it's beaches.
Anchored off Pangai ready for saturdays annual agricultural show. King is visiting. Rally has a dinner ashore sat. night as well. Currently ashore and have been told the rally boats may need to move as we are causing a marine hazard-will have to see. Trying to sought out an outlook e mail problem, but having no luck so far. Will keep slogging away at it.
Anchored off the NW side of Ha'Afeva island. Sailed up from Nomuka yesterday. Anchorage there was a bit rolly, far more sheltered here. Thinking of staying for another night. We lost our dingy and new outboard from the shore at Nomuka Iki the previous night, washed away with the tide. Had it secured but somehow it came loose. Devastating to say the least. One of the fleet has kindly lent us an inflatable in the mean time.
Anchored of Nomuka Iti Island. A bit of a rolly anchorage with these winds. Arrived yesterday 1500hrs after a 0500 departure from Big Mama's at Pangimotu. Rained on and off most of the way, no sign of the sun. Sea was sloppy giving a rolly ride. We did catch sight of a few humpbacks breeching and slamming back into the sea as we got close to this area. Here for a couple of days and then looking to explore the Hapai's a bit more of the next week and hopefully more whales.
To travel north the wind was more in our favour on Friday so we are still anchored at Big Mama's off Pangaimotu Island and plan to leave early tomorrow morning (Friday) for Nomuka Iki.
To travel north the wind was more in our favour on Friday so we are still anchored at Big Mama's off Pangaimotu Island and plan to leave early tomorrow morning (Friday) for Nomuka Iki.
Check out blog for bigger updates. We are planning to depart here in the morning headed for Nomuka, 60 NM away. Wind looking light from the east or south east, might be a bit of motoring again. Still waiting to hear about clearance. Did a fuel run today and bought 120ltrs. in carry cans which we transferred into the main tank - should see us through to Vavau. All good, feel we are still not quite settled into cruising life yet, but can feel it coming on us.
Okay, obviously we are now in Tonga anchored and starting to get into the swing of this island cruising life. Some user issues with getting stuff onto YIT via the iridium during transit. However we have had an adventurous trip with highs and lows so to speak, one could say a game of a number of halves depending on which day you picked. We sure learnt a lot and fair to say at times during events it could be said we were wondering what the hell are doing out here. However now in secure anchorage and looking back it was great. Spent a great 30hrs in North Minerva reef. Had one 24hr period of pure survival mode as a front came throuhg. Silver Light has sure proved herself and we have total confidence in what she can handle. Look forward to updating further as we get out technical knowledge sorted.
Well, that's it we are in the channel heading out of Opua and at last we are on our way to Tonga, yyeehhaa. Looking forward to a great ride, wind behind most of the way. Bring on the warmer temps.
Down to the last few days now. Lots of last minute provisioning, fixing little things like a dodgy wind readout instrument and the main VHF radio, and other things taking up our time. Weather shaping up for a late Sunday early Monday departure and looking like a bit of motoring will be required as we get towards Minerva.
Now moored up in Opua Marina. Since last update have overnighted in Whangamumu and then into BOI at Aawaroa Bay. 20 plus knots between Whangaruru and Whangamumu. Exciting few hours sailing hard on. Now into final days before departure end of next week. Starting to catch up with other boats and crews heading away as part of Rally.
All morning in Pacific Bay working on comms - progress made but not complete, lunchtime left for Whangaruru Harbour where we arrived at 1600 and anchored in the shelter of Motukauri Island. Dolphins swam and played with us for part of the trip. Ian: I neglected to close some of the hatches when raising the sail and water collected from the previous night's rain substantially drenched the inner sanctum. As you can imagine, Admiral NanaSea was not impressed!
Left Kawau Island at 5.15 am and motorsailed most of the way with a short spell of sailing when wind allowed. Now anchored in Pacific Bay, Tutukaka, where we'll stay until after the low passes through on Sunday. Sailed through a huge pod of dolphins that were more focused on fishing than interacting with us.
Left Gulf Harbour after achieving all that we wanted plus catching up with old friends and meeting some lovely new friends - great sail to Kawau Island and now anchored in Mansion House Bay. After checking the weather for the next few days, we've decided to make an early start in the morning to get as far north as possible before the northerly sets in.
Yyeeaahhaa, passed our cat 1 yesterday. Final hurdle to heading off to Tonga. A few last things to tidy away over next couple of weeks. Looking to leave Gulf Harbour Tuesday/Wednesday and start drifting to Opua.
Motor sailed to Gulf Harbour yesterday, beautiful day. Here for three nights while we finalise Cat. one activity. Inspector on board Sat.
Motor sailed out from Westhaven to Chamberlains Bay, east end of Waiheke Island. Now anchored for the rest of the day and evening. Great trip out, relaxing and getting back into cruising mode after a hectic 5 weeks that saw the birth of a new grand daughter as well as a lot of work getting Silver Light ready for the upcoming adventure to Tonga and beyond. Now looking forward to some final prep. at a slower pace and a slow trip up to Opua pending departure.
Countdown time - less than 3 hours before our departure from Auckland on a slow cruise to Opua. The month in Auckland has been successful - beautiful new granddaughter delivered, Thea Olive; and most of the work required for Safety Category 1 Certificate has been completed.
Arrived in Auckland and berthed at Westhaven. Dropped by Motuihe Island on the way back. Now in final preparation mode for going offshore as well as awaiting the arrival of our eleventh grandchild. Will be berthed here for the month of April.
Anchored at Rotoroa Island. Sailed down from Great Barrier today, great sail, 10-12 kt easterly most of the way. Next few days around Waiheke before going back to Westhaven for a few weeks.
Currently anchored in Fitzroy Bay. Nice and calm here. Arrived from Tutukaka on Friday, wonderful days motor sailing,caught a skip jack tuna on the way, almost had a second, 2 seconds from being in the net Biggest issues has been the no coverage from Spark, had to purchase a Vodafone sim to get any coverage. Parked in Smoke House Bay first night and since then been hunkered down in Kaiarara Bay for the gale force easterly that came through. All good now, off around the island in a rental tomorrow.
Anchored for night in Tutukaka after a 13 hr motor/sail down from Mangonui. 83 nm. Nice breeze out of easterly direction until South of Cape Brett and then no wind. Very calm sea most of way. Heading for Great Barrier Friday.
Great sail north - on the way practised heaving to. Success! On mooring in Mangonui thanks to Steve, the harbourmaster, for the mooring. On arrival at high tide, motored a little way up river but the channel too narrow to anchor. Found this out through nudging the edge of the dredged channel on one side and nudging the bottom on the other side. Then, in the dark, Silver Light didn't turn with the tide and was at odds with the other boats - another little nudge but by the boat behind us this time. Put the motor on to re-position ourselves on the buoy, which worked, thankfully. A good night's sleep for both of us.
Now anchored in in Pararako Bay. Spent last night in Western Arm, fantastic spot. Climbed St Pauls yesterday,glad we did it for the views and the exercise.
Moved from Totara North to Whangaparoa due to predicted change of wind to South later. Will take in a meal ashore at the pub of fishing club.
Currently anchored in Totara North. Arrived Whangaroa Harbour 2 nights ago after a quiet 6 hr sail up from BOI's. Spent first night off South side of Milford Island, absolutely flat calm. Went into Whangaroa yesterday and had the compulsory beer at the Marlin Pub. Looking ahead at the forecast weather, seems a week of exploring in and around here is on the cards - few walks, perhaps a kayak or two.
Still hope to get to Mangonui before heading South again later in the month.
Anchored in Opunga Cove, BOI for night. Dropped Kay and Jebs in Opua early afternoon. Thanks guys, really nice to have great boat guests aboard. Just caught up with Trina and Grant from Magic for a sun downer, real nice. Looking good for a sail to Whangaroa tomorrow.
Anchored at Paradise Bay, BOI. for last couple of nights. Kay and Jebs Edwards from Kent have our boat guests for last few days - really nice few days, great guests. Some nice sailing and great fishing. A new level of knowledge to the fishing side of things has been brought to Silver Light, much appreciated Jebs.
On mooring at Opua - parked up for a couple of weeks while doing some land based activity, visiting family etc.
anchored in Orokawa Bay.
Still anchored in same place, wind has settled but lots of rain.
It will be roast dinner at the Russell Boating Club tonight and catching up with some locals. Also great bar prices.
Still anchored up in BOI's sitting out the not so good weather coming through
Silver Light - Tonga - The Friendly Isles
Captain Cook must have been an amazing man. I can't imagine what it would be like for Captain Cook or the Tongans to meet each other 250 years ago. Tonga has me really confused: the towns and villages are basic; Nuku'alofa has a main street that resembles a town. Everything is betwixt and between. One or two shops for the tourists are emblazoned with western paraphernalia such as window dressing displaying items that tourists may like; namely sarongs and shirts, handicrafts made of tapa cloth Read more...
The Chinese here are the most unfriendly people I've ever met. We were trying to buy some eggs from the Chinese stores and when asked if they sold them they said: "NO". End of discussion. Then I'd persevere and asked if they knew where I could buy eggs. Same response: "NO". Later, talking to a Tongan we found that we could buy eggs at the market and they would have known that. The ferry comes into Neiafu (Vava'u Island Group) once a week and this week they forgot a container of chicken and eggs on the wharf in Nuku'alofa so they were at a premium. My new Tongan friend, Mita, told me to write a list of what I needed at the market and she went and bought it for me. She told me the prices are too expensive for tourists so it's true, the Tongans and the Chinese are charging high prices. Make hay while the sun shines! Vegetables, except for yams, are at a premium. We're managing to get a supply of cabbage, carrots, green peppers and tomatoes. We're still eating tuna and mahimahi from the freezer, some we caught and some was given to us. For meat, we buy chicken, which reminds me of chicken in NZ years and years ago when we used to eat it only on Christmas Day. Pork isn't easy to buy even though many piglets and breeders are roaming streets and villages at will - definitely free range - but the tiny piglets are destined for the spit roast; a well-marketed tourist attraction is to attend a Tongan feast on almost any inhabited island. We were thinking if they fattened the piglets just a little bit, they'd get more meat and that would mean more profit, surely!
This year the King is celebrating his birthday in the Ha'apais - another reason for no food stores in the other island groups. All produce is sent to the Ha'apais so that the king can celebrate his birthday in the style that he is accustomed. A wee bit of goss from the Tongan taxi driver. The Tongan Royal Family rules that they want to keep the royal line pristine - really! And they do that by marrying within their family, including first cousins. Currently, King Tupou VI is reigning and he married his first cousin. Eek! However, his older brother, now deceased, had a relationship with two women and offspring with both but they were not recognised in the royal line. If he married a commoner, he would lose all his royal rights. But what about this - the only person he could have married was his sister!!
So, here we are, in a beautiful part of the Pacific with friendly and unfriendly locals, depending on the circumstances; some produce available but mostly not because the King's birthday celebrations are taking all the produce; western prices in shack cafes, taxis plying for trade with the roughest cars ever, and then again, we have to keep our wits about us as the Tongans have got it sussed and know how to take our money off us. The other day, a guy paddled out to sell us some bread and he didn't want money but rope; I ask you, who got the better deal?
Just in case, you're going to stay in a resort in Tonga, check it out. Some of the resorts we've seen are nothing like resorts that are in our minds.
Most of you will know that we lost our tender and outboard, life jackets and other bits and pieces. The update is that we have purchased replacements in NZ and they are about to be freighted to Savusavu to meet us there when we arrive. Yay!!
Silver Light - Passage to Tonga
Ten days at sea with a 30-hour stop at Minerva Reef (North Minerva). The trip of a lifetime with a couple of lovely cruising days, one which we had to motor most of the day but the others saw us pretty much in survival mode. The boisterous seas, like a huge agitator washing machine tossed and pummeled us as we tried to negotiate our way between the cockpit, cabin and head. Imagine this, you're standing on a 45 degree angle in the head, watching the toilet heave one way then the other, trying Read more...
The normal nausea hit me for the first few days; best position is horizontal but then again when on watch the fresh air is good. Prepared passage meals were a Godsend; one-pot meals with everything in it, pop it in the oven, heat it up, dish it up, eat and that's dinner over for another night. The very worst day I ended up getting a small block of cheese and crackers in my cabin and for a good day and a bit when the hunger pangs struck, I nibbled at the block of cheese, had a cracker or two, and washed it down with water. Did the trick and, in the conditions, it seemed like a banquet! Had one happy hour on the very last night before arriving in Tonga. Didn't feel like it before that! Can't say I made up for it but I did have two rums and they were good!
Minerva Reef was amazing for so many reasons. The first boat that got there was approached by the Tongan Navy and told the Navy was conducting an exercise and they'd have to leave immediately. Well, yachties always have something up their sleeves and they told the Tongan Navy that they were the first boat of a fleet of 30, guests of the King of Tonga, all of whom had been invited to a Royal Dinner on the 30th June and showed them the invitation. Had to consult the Commander of the Ship now - the message came back that the Navy would conduct their exercise elsewhere and for the yachties to enjoy Minerva Reef for as long as they wished. The sea-life was out of this world - painted crayfish in particular. It was pouring with rain when at low tide we jumped in the dinghy to go for a walk on the reef but it was all part of it. Hard to believe that we were standing on a reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean thousands of feet deep!! The sheltered circle of the reef was 20-30 metres deep and a huge circumference. This shelter from the waves was a great respite in what was really a gruelling trip.
Slowly, the temperatures started to warm up and layers peeled as we travelled north. In NZ, I started with 4 layers on the top and three on the bottom; after Minerva Reef much warmer and now in Tonga very warm. When we could start moving around the boat, we found that it wasn't that watertight. We arrived with heaps and heaps of washing that Big Mama took care of at $5 per kilo (weighed when wet we found out).
Have got to say, the whole trip in perspective was great - a bit bumpy, but not that bad. Life goes on, we all survived, our boats did us proud and we learnt heaps. The sight of land was the best feeling and we arrived on a glorious day in Tonga!
Silver Light - Comms and Passage Planning
Four weeks and we're still not quite on top of our comms and downloads. Nearly there. IridiumGo and PredictWind are great but the setup is something you wouldn't believe. Ian has been working on this almost non-stop. These apps will enable us to download weather forecasts from satellites when on passage or from anywhere in the world. Very slowly, of course. Apparently you start the download, prepare and eat breakfast, then, voila, you have the latest forecast for your specific area in the Read more...
The plan is that we leave Opua and sail to Minerva Reef, sheltering and exploring in both South and North Minerva; however, it looks like the wind may die out part way up and we'll have to motor part way. Not to worry, we have 400 litres of fuel - 200 litres in the tank and 200 ltrs in gerry cans. If we stick to 1500 rpms we'll be right. After a couple of days at the Minerva Reefs, we'll set sail for Tonga. We're one of 32 boats on the Island Cruising New Zealand Rally to Tonga. This week of preparation has seen us all meeting one another and helping each other out by sharing whatever skills. A great social time as well as lots of hard work going on; not to mention purchasing replacement items and spares. Self-sufficiency has a whole new meaning!! Burnsco Marine must be doing a great trade.
At the moment, it looks like we'll be leaving Opua Sunday night or Monday morning. Just watching that weather forecast.
Silver Light - Stress free Safety Category 1 - Yeah right!
List after list after list. Then lists of lists. Rationalising lists. Striking items off lists then adding three items for every one struck off. Tetchy with the system, with partners, with workload, with weather. Just under 100 pages with 5-10 tasks to be completed on each page of the Safety Regulations of Sailing 2017-2020 as prepared by Yachting New Zealand. Other sailors saying to us: Oooohhhh, Cat 1, we know what that's like! The first time is the worst. Well, this is the first Read more...
The benefits of Cat 1 are that we know our boat inside out, we have spares from here to Africa when we only need them to the Pacific Islands!! Every mechanical item has been serviced and/or replaced and the old parts kept as spares. Sails have been serviced, repaired and storm sails have been made. (Please note we don't plan to sail in storms but we're prepared if they happen upon us.) Life rafts and life jackets have been serviced - our jackets now have a light and a hood attached but the intention is never to deploy them in the ocean. We wear them on passage though. That brings me to the 36-page manual I wrote about the boat and safety guidelines for Silver Light - who will ever read it. Nonetheless, we have it now. If you come to sail with us, it may be a prerequisite to read it before any refreshment is offered! Do you think I'm joking? Comms and navigation - all devices have been bought however the connectivity side of things took a week to get them all talking to each other and for a greater understanding of all that they're capable of. We can download the latest weather forecasts in the middle of the ocean miles from anywhere, talk to, send text messages to, and email anyone, anywhere in the world. That is, if we have time to spare in between watches, sleeping and eating. And amongst the benefits of Cat 1, I must commend the support and assistance of our Cat 1 Inspector, along with his wealth of experience and knowledge, and his availability to answer questions and queries throughout the whole process to gain this sought-after certificate.
The downside of getting Cat 1 is some of the outdated ideas and some of the costs involved however the concept is above reproach.