We're 50nm from Whangarei Heads and motoring-sailing with the help of a light NW wind from the next front. I expect to be tied up to the Customs wharf in Marsden Cove by 0800 tomorrow morning.
We're 120nm from Whangarei Heads and still motoring so we should be tied up in Marsden Cove for Customs clearance by 0800 tomorrow. It's been one of those magic mornings out here with no wind, an almost cloudless sky, smooth glassy seas and warm sun. A great welcome home!
Beautiful evening out here. We're still motoring and it looks like we'll need to motor all the way to the Whangarei Heads, 200nm from here. Our ETA at the Heads is 0200 Thursday so we'll wait for dawn before heading into Marsden Cove. As soon as we have cleared Customs we'll top up with diesel if necessary and continue on to Gulf Harbour where we should arrive sometime on Thursday evening.
Now heading for Marsden Cove rather than Opua to clear Customs. We're still motoring and it looks like we'll be motoring all the way. We've 260nm to go to Whangarei Heads so we should get there early on Thursday morning. It's a bright sunny day with almost no clouds so looking good for maintaining our tropical suntan!
We've been motoring since midday today when the wind went to the south and dropped to 6 knots. There's still a sizable swell from the SW so we're jumping around a bit. It's been a sunny day, typical of the centre of an anticyclone, but the sky this evening has a liberal dose of cirrus indicative of the approaching front. I'm expecting enough NW wind by tomorrow afternoon or evening to start sailing again. Our ETA Opua is still Wednesday night hopefully before the serious frontal winds arrive.
All OK and here making good progress towards Opua. We're sailing hard on the wind so not making great speed but at least we're heading the right way. Our ETA Opua is now early Thursday morning.
will get light southerly quadrant winds tomorrow. Light signal today as heading to our skip zone.
We've been motoring since 0330 this morning over an almost flat sea heading directly for the Bay of Islands now 500nm away. The sky is completely cloudless. If we can maintain this heading and speed we'll get into Opua after dark on Wednesday evening and into Gulf Harbour on Friday morning. We're all good on board and are catching up on sleep now that the boat is sitting nice and flat.
Now heading only slightly to the west of our course for Opua. The wind and the seas are down a bit so things on board are more comfortable. We got an email last night from Flying Cloud one of the NZ yachts that left NZ for French Polynesia with us back in April. Flying Cloud left South Minerva about 3 hours before we left North Minerva and are now about 40nm somewhere to the west of us. So all looking much more cheerful here this morning.
All ok onboard but very uncomfortable conditions. The wind has been up to 35 knots and we get the occasional wave of 5m that breaks right over the boat. The wind has backed about 20 degrees since this morning but we can't change our heading with it because that would have us sailing even more directly into the waves and we can't do that, they're too big and too steep. So we're going to have to continue on our course of just south of west until the waves moderate, hopefully tomorrow. We're looking forward to reaching the centre of the anticyclone to the SW of us to get some light winds but each time we download the GFS model runs they show the anticyclone centre getting smaller while the circling winds get stronger. So we might miss it all together. We've made only about 100nm towards NZ after leaving North Minerva yesterday morning so not great progress. We're very curious about how the other yachts that left Minerva with us are doing but we haven't seen or heard any of them. Maybe we'll catch up with some of them in Opua. So fingers crossed for better conditions tomorrow!
Tacking towards NZ so making slow progress, 90nm towards NZ in the last 24 hours. After an almost clear sky this morning the cloud is now rolling in from the south so we're expecting stronger winds and probably rain. We'll tack again shortly towards the west.
fantastic radio signal this morning. It was like Mike was next door. If he was it would be colder as he had 20C
We left North Minerva Reef at 0900 this morning together with four other yachts and one power boat plus at least three yachts from South Minerva. We and those that we can see on AIS are making our way very slowly to the west sailing hard into a very light wind. We've just crossed the Tropic of Capricorn and are about to cross the dateline. I'm expecting the wind to slowly strengthen overnight and to back to the SE over the next couple of days. Once through the SE winds we'll be into a high pressure area with light or no winds and once through that we'll meet a weak front with presently unknown but possibly more light winds. So it's looking like a long trip. However, it's not raining, as it was for most of our passage from Borabora to Vavau, and that is a real plus! So we're drifting along in the sun which isn't so bad.
Anchored in North Minerva reef with seven other yachts. The sun is shining and we're drying out at last. Our departure date from here is weather dependent with a front crossing and a large SW swell predicted for Wednesday which might make the pass difficult to negotiate. We'll assess the situation tomorrow and decide on our next move.
The cloud is slowly breaking up and we've got brief patches of sun, the first we've seen for over two weeks. We were wondering what a sunny day looked like. We're 100nm from North Minerva so will sail slowly overnight to be off the passage at dawn tomorrow. Our present plan is to stay at North Minerva for a couple of days and to leave on Wednesday for Opua, a five or six day passage.
Apart from the first six hours out of Vavau when the wind was light and variable, we've had a great SE wind and near perfect sailing. Still no sign of the sun; we haven't seen it for over two weeks now. We've 250nm to go to North Minerva so we should get there at dawn on Monday.
We left Neiafu in Vavau, Tonga at 1130 this morning after clearing Customs and are now heading for Minerva reef. Last night in Neiafu we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm and very heavy rain. At the height of the storm the thunder and lightening were occurring at the same time so it was right over top of us. The dingy was hanging from the main halyard so Tusi took on an increasing lean to port during the night. This morning the dingy was completely full of rain water. I lifted the dingy last night for the first time ever in Tonga because on Wednesday night another yacht lost their dingy and brand new outboard during the night while on a mooring in Neiafu harbour. If it had come loose it would have been easy to find because it would be difficult for a dingy to drift out of the harbour. The guy that lost the dingy has looked all around Vavau but by this morning had not found the dingy. So maybe it's lift it, lock it or lose it in Vavau now. Our ETA north Minerva is Monday morning.
We arrived in Neiafu harbour at 0800 yesterday morning, cleared Customs and are now on a mooring in Neiafu harbour. Flat water at last but it has been raining on and off here for almost two weeks and is showing no sign this morning of clearing. Our plan is to clear from here on Friday and to head directly for North Minerva reef but the forecast is for very light winds over the period of our proposed passage so at this stage our schedule is somewhat in doubt.
We're 90nm from the north tip of Vavau so still on schedule to be off the western passage into Vavau at dawn tomorrow. The seas have dropped a bit and the wind is now averaging around 20 knots.
Sailing with jib only for the last 24 hours. Very uncomfortable boat motion with big waves from the SE on top of the swell from the SW. ETA the northern point of Vavau dawn Tuesday.
Very rough seas on the beam so a bit uncomfortable. All going well though and still holding on our course to Vavau. Just over 400nm to go.
More easy sailing but hot during the day. Gulf Harbour Radio heavy interference on 8752 and just readable on 8779. All OK on board.
We're now about 40nm SW of Suwarrow heading for Vavau. Perfect sailing conditions with a beautiful evening. The wind is forecast to rise to around 20 knots by Saturday which will give us a fast ride for the second half of the passage. One fish on so far but too big to hold and eventually broke the line. Gulf Harbour Radio boomed in at Suwarrow this morning and a guy transmitting from a yacht near New Caledonia I think sounded like he was standing next to me. We're expecting to arrive in Vavau on Tuesday NZDT.
We anchored at Suwarrow in the northern Cook Islands at 1330 today. Suwarrow is an atoll exactly the same as those in the Tuamotus with sand motus on the fringing coral reef. Suwarrow is a National Park and has two resident rangers, Harry and John. They came on board soon after we arrived and did the customs, immigration and biosecurity procedures. We are in the only allowed anchorage directly inside the motu that the rangers live on and where Tom Neale the New Zealander lived as a hermit for several years. We are the only yacht here. Activities are quite restricted, for example we can't visit any of the other motus without a ranger with us. The most bizarre rule is that we are not allowed to pull up our anchor before midday! We have yet to figure out the logic behind this rule. We'll explore the island where Harry and John live tomorrow mainly to see Tom Neale's house which we understand is still standing. There is a manta ray cleaning station on a nearby reef so we might try to have a snorkel there if the wind drops. At this stage we'll probably leave here on Wednesday afternoon but that depends on the weather. The forecast for today was 12 knots but we've had 20-25 for most of the day.
Near perfect sailing conditions with lots of sun and a 15 knot breeze. We're 150nm from Suwarrow so should be in by lunch time tomorrow. Last night was the first night without multiple sail changes. The only other unusual thing is that the fishing line is out now that the seas have dropped a little from their previous 3-4m. We're all good and looking forward to some flat water.
After tacking downwind all night, we're now running almost square with the jib polled out and the main tied forward with the preventer (this has been our usual sailing mode since leaving Borabora). We're making good time and have 292nm to go to Suwarrow. If we can keep up our speed we'll get there on Tuesday morning NZ time.
Sunny hot day with light wind from almost directly astern. We're now 115nm from Borabora and on course for Suwarrow. Still trying to figure out how to sleep with the boat rolling in the downwind conditions. Apart from that all is OK on board.
We crossed back to Borabora last Sunday FPT and on Monday morning we did the five forms required for Customs Clearance. Our Clearance (Permis de Sortie) was waiting for us to pick up this morning so after a bit of last minute shopping we loaded the dingy and got Tusi ready for the ocean. We were on our way by 1130 and are now sailing with the code zero and full main. Our next stop, weather permitting, will be Suwarrow 680nm west of us. So all good on board and looking forward to making progress towards NZ.
Good weather in the Leeward Islands has been rather elusive for us but we finally found some during our stay in Boroboro with Daniel and his family. We circumnavigated the island in so far as it is possible to do so, snorkelled all the good spots, dived the manta ray place but with no manta rays and dived outside the reef with the black tip and big grey nurse sharks (at least we think they were grey nurse, Lonely Planet reports them as lemon sharks). Helen, Daniel and his family left for home last Sunday and Keith and Jane my crew for the trip home arrived last Monday. The wind dropped and the rain cleared last Wednesday after several days of gales so we crossed back to Tahaa and Raiatia. We've been doing mostly land-based things, including taking the dingy several km up a river into the interior of Raiatia and visiting the tourist marae ruins on the SE end of Raiatia. We're back anchored in the lee of a small island on the east side of Raiatia that Ngaire's boys adopted, hence now known as Boys' Island. After a walk around the island we intend to visit the main town of Uturoa this morning then motor up the east side of Tahaa and around the top to the coral gardens on the west side of Tahaa ready for a snorkel there tomorrow early before the tourists arrive.
Our passage from Moorea to Huahine with Daniel and his family was a comfortable 80nm motor in an 8 knot easterly but with no fish. After a day in Fare the main town on Huahine we moved south inside the reef to Avea Bay at the SW tip of Huahine. We had a couple of days of good weather, did some shallow snorkelling inside the reef and walked around to Parea a small village on the southern tip of the island. In Avea Bay we had a great lunch ashore with about 80 tourists in a restuarant that specialises in Sunday lunches cooked in an underground oven (a hangi in NZ). We were the only English speakers. Three days ago we crossed to Raiatia. It was a good sail in a 20-25 SE but again with no fish. We arrived at Raiatia as the rain started. It rained and blew for the next three days. Yesterday we sailed around the north end of Tahaa inside the reef to the Coral Gardens, a very shallow channel between two islands running from the outer reef into the lagoon. It's full of coral and small very tase fish. It's a great kids spot. We snorkelled there yesterday and this morning and this afternoon we snorkelled through the pass on the west side of Tahaa. As with all the passes we've dived in the Leeward islands visibility underwater was very poor. There were lots of small fish in shallow and also many live large snails mainly of two apparently protected species. This was quite unusual because in most places we've dived we've seen only empty shells. We intend to cross to Boroboro tomorrow morning.
Shortly after our last post Justin and his family arrived. We spent most of the next two weeks in Cooks Bay and Opunohu Bay on Moorea. The highlight of their visit was, for the kids anyway, swimming with the tame stingrays and blacktip sharks. Justin and his crew left last Friday at 0230 and Daniel and his family arrived on Saturday at 2300. We came back to Moorea on Sunday and have visited the sharks and stingrays twice, both very successful sessions because we beat the bulk of the tourists on both occasions. We spent this morning in Maharepa, the main town on Moorea, and are now back anchored in Opunohu Bay. We're planning to leave for Huahine at 0300 tomorrow morning. So we're all good here with great weather, lots of sun and little wind.
Helen returned to Papeete last Sunday after a few days at home. We came over to Moorea last Wednesday partly to find John and Ankalein McIntosh on Katariana, the last boat in our NZ fleet that we hadn't yet met up with here. We've had a couple of great sessions with them swapping stories. The winds have been strong easterlies for the last couple of days so we've been doing mainly on shore things. We'll head back to Papeete tomorrow to get ready to meet Justin and his family on Sunday.
Tahanea in the Tuamotus is definitely my pick of places we have visited in French Polynesia. Shortly after my last post on YIT we snorkeled the western pass again. This time we were surrounded by manta rays feeding on small shrimp-like creatures. The mantas showed no concern about us often coming close enough to brush us with their wings. We stayed with them for about an hour and in the crystal clear water this was a magic experience. We tried to return to the pass again the next day but the wind had increased and the pass was too rough. The big sharks I mentioned in my previous post that we couldn't identify appear to be Silvertips. They have two white patches one on their dorsal fin and one on the top of their tail fin. We eventually left Tahanea on Wednesday last week, a couple of days earlier than we originally intended, so that we could get to Papeete before the head winds associated with the next front arrived. Helen flew home last Tuesday and returns this coming Sunday. I'm here on board in the anchorage just north of Marina Taina and filling in my time with repairs, maintenance and one walk so far into Papeete.
Tusi 2 is presently tied alongside the wharf at Uturoa the main town on Raiatia. Ngaire and her kids flew home this morning so Helen and I are now pondering our options for the next three weeks. Our attempt to return to Moorea last Tuesday ended with us back in Huahine because the 3m seas on the nose were too hard on both the boat and the crew. We returned to Raiatia on Wednesday after a wild night in the anchorage at Huahine. On the way back to Raiatia we hooked a striped marlin and after playing it for close to an hour got it alongside the boat about 10m down. I thought we had it but not so! The braid line I'm using on my new fishing rod slipped off the roller at the tip of the rod and jambed between the roller and it's frame. The marlin gave a kick and both the line and the rod broke immediately. That was the end of our marlin dinners! It was a big fish, over 2m long and probably 80 to 100kg, so we could never have used it all even with our two freezers. Maybe losing it was the best outcome. I've since bought a new rod in Uturoa so we're back in the fishing business, hopefully mahimahi this time!
We're now anchored by Ile Tautau on the NW coast of Tahaa. The attraction here is the Coral gardens, a passage between two motus from the outer reef through to the lagoon. The passage is filled with coral, only 0.5 to 1.5m deep, with lots of tame fish including a couple of giant morays that are happy to be patted and feed. We've snorkelled the passage twice now and will do it a third time this morning. So far we've had the passage mostly to ourselves which is apparently unusual because it's really the only snorkelling attraction for tourists in the whole of the Raiatia/Tahaa island group. We've had bad weather for the last couple of days so that might have discouraged the tourists although the huge resort on the motu on the south side of the passage seems to have very few guests. The trade winds are about to return so it's looking like we'll be in for a long motor into head winds to do the 100nm back to Moorea later this week.
Helen, Ngaire and her kids arrived last Sunday (Monday NZST) and after a day of shopping we moved across to Moorea. We stayed there for three days and fed the cuddly stingrays each morning. The black tip reef sharks, although very interested in the food, stayed out of reach. We were with three other boats that we know so it was a very social time much to the kids' delight. We left Moorea last Saturday (FP time) at 0300 and after landing a 2m short billed spearfish (the first I've seen) we arrived at Huahine in the Leeward islands at 1600. The wind has since risen to 20-25 knots from the ESE. We did a long snorkel over the sand shelf to the inside of the outer reef yesterday (Sunady FP time) which was good for the exercise but totally uninteresting then today we went ashore and explored Fare the main town. We can't find any reason to stay here so we're packed up ready to leave tomorrow morning for Tahaa about 20nm west of here.
We're anchored in Papeete having arrived back here on Sunday from the Tuamotus. Helen flew home on Tuesday and returns on Sunday with Ngaire and her four children. When the wind finally dropped we had some amazing snorkelling at Anse Amyot on Toau Island. With the incoming tide water clarity was 30m and the fish life exceeded anything I've seen anywhere else. We moved inside the Toau lagoon for a few days and anchored in the SE corner. For most of the time the area is uninhabited. We did a lot of kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and exploring the very extensive reef system. There was always a cloud of fish under the boat including three blacktip reef sharks. They were all very keen to be fed. Last Saturday on the crossing from Toau to Papeete we landed a 30kg yellowfin tuna so the freezers are now full!
We crossed yesterday from Fakarava to Toau and are now anchored in Amse Amylot a small indentation in the reef on the NW corner of the atoll. There is no shelter here from winds other than from the north although the waves are broken by the surrounding reef. The water is very murky because of the strong current flowing out of the lagoon so snorkelling and paddle boarding are off our list for a while. We have been at Fakarava south for the last several days and what an amazing place that is. With coral sand beaches, wide reefs and channels to explore, clear water, great snorkelling and lots of sharks particularly in the pass where there are hundreds of mostly grey reef sharks but also around the boat. They are friendly and usually came to check us out when we got in for a swim. We fed the parrot fish and sharks off the back of the boat. The winds are forecast to decrease tomorrow before the next front so we'll wait for the front to pass before deciding on our next move.
We're now anchored by the village of Rotoava in Fakarava the second largest of the Tuamotus. We left Rangiroa by the eastern Tiputa pass at 0700 yesterday morning with 3-4 knots of outgoing current and not much wind. The pass is deep so apart from getting pushed around by the current there was no drama. We figured that it must have been about 1-2 hours after high tide because the full outgoing current is about 8kns and also because the standing waves that form with the outgoing tide were still relatively small. We motored the 125nm to Fakarava and hove to off the northern pass at 0200 this morning. We entered the pass at 0700 with 3knots of outgoing current. So despite all my best guesstimates I had the tides wrong at both Rangiroa and Fakarava by 1-2 hours. We'll have a look onshore tomorrow then make our way down the eastern side of the lagoon to the southern pass. If the weather is OK we'll leave by that pass to visit Tahanea, the southern-most island on my visiting list.
We came through Avatoru Pass into the Rangiroa lagoon yesterday at 1200 and anchored 5nm further to the east close to Tiputa Pass the only other pass into Rangiroa. There are 28 boats in the anchorage at present but they are well spread out. We had a brief look onshore this afternoon and spent quite a while watching the current in the pass trying to determine the time of high tide. The tide tables for the Tuamotus are hopelessly inaccurate even when the the wind is light as it has been for a week or more now. When the wind rises the higher swells push a lot of water over the reef into the lagoon and all the water has to flow out of the two passes. With prolonged heavy swells there may be no inflowing current irrespective of the tide and currents in the pass can exceed 8 knots. We entered Avatoru Pass with 4-5 knots of incoming current so we were doing around 10knots over the ground. This current sets up a strong rip inside the pass with short steep waves up to 1.5m high. It was a bit hair raising when we hit this with only 4m water depth! However, we're here now and intend to explore onshore tomorrow before heading to more isolated places further south along the eastern side of the lagoon.
Mike and Helen on board. We're anchored on the south side of Point Venus, Captain Cook's spot for observing the transit of Venus, and are departing in a few minutes on our passage of 185nm to Rangiroa, the largest of the Tuamotus. Our ETA at Rangiroa is 1500 tomorrow Sunday NZST
We're now anchored in a designated anchorage area immediately to the north of marina Taina. We entered through the southern pass, Taapuna pass, and were immediately faced with dozens of locals on paddle boards, kayaks, wakas, etc. Tomorrow is supposed to be a Public holiday so if today was a working day then navigating the harbour tomorrow might be a real hazard. Fortunately I don't think we will have to move from where we are now. I was wrong about the front in my previous report, it is still to the west of us and providing another spectacular lightning display. We also identified the bird that hitched a ride on our outboard, It was a red-footed boobie probably a juvenile. It left this morning then came back for an hour or so then left permanently. We had no luck getting a berth at the marina Taina or getting one of the marina's moorings; all full up according to the marina office. There are literally hundreds of boats, almost all yachts, visible from our anchorage. Many have been unattended for a long time with long weed growth below their water lines. Tomorrow we'll get the dingy into action and explore the place. The main things we need are fuel and internet both of which might have to wait until Friday FPtime.
We're 45nm from Papeete. The front is still moving over us although there is some sun this morning. Lots of lightning last night in a wide band from the N through W to the SW of us. The wind was highly varibable from 5 to 25kns and from the NE to the NW but since 0300 this morning it has stayed at 5-7kns. We've been motoring since then and our ETA Papeete is about 1500 this afternoon. Temperature inside the boat has been 28-29C and humidity 85-90% so we're all looking forward getting ashore.
We're 160nm from Papeete. The rain ahead of the next front has reached us but not the stronger winds so far. The front was the reason we left Raivavae a bit earlier than we had planned. A gannet or maybe it was a noddy landed on top of the outboard on the back rail yesterday before dark and stayed with us all night. He took great interest in our sail handling overnight but wasn't the least bit frightened of us. It left a few minutes ago. There was a spectacular lightning display to the SW of us last night presumably in the front but fortunately it didn't catch up with us. The front will be much closer tonight so we might see another display if the rain eases.
Great sailing hard on the wind. Our ETA Papeete now looking like Wednesday FP time (Thursday NZ time). No fish yet this morning.
Great sailing hard on the wind. Our ETA Papeete now looking like Wednesday FP time (Thursday NZ time). No fish yet this morning.
We're now about 40nm from Raivavae heading for Tahiti in very light winds. We're in no rush and don't have lots of fuel so we'll go as fast as the wind allows. We should get into Papeete on either Wednesday or Thursday FP time (Thursday or Friday NZ time).
At anchor in the port on Raivavae packing up to leave for Tahiti later today. This coming week looks like a mix of poor weather with a front on Tuesday or Wednesday. Because of the murky water visibility below the water surface is <1m with no sun and about 2m with sun so the coral bombies are almost impossible to see as we found out this morning when we hit a coral head fortunately drifting at only 3 kns with the wind behind us. No serious damage, just a few deep gouges on the leading edge of the lead on the very bottom of the keel. However, leason learned! There is no anchorage here that is sheltered as the wind turns with a frontal crossing and navigating safely in adverse conditions is impossible because of the almost zero visibility beneath the water surface. So we're moving on. Tahiti is 400nm to the NNW of here so we should get there on Wednesday FP time or Thursday NZ time.
drifting off the passage into Raivavae, having tea before getting the boat ready to enter the pass, the main job being to shift the big anchor and chain from under the aft bunk where it has been stored for the passsge onto the bow ready for use. The island supply ship arrived a few hours ago so the shops will be restocked. All looking pretty good.
The wind finally arrived yesterday at 1000 from the SW at 4-7kns. We hoisted the code zero and sailed at 3-5kns until 2000 last night while the wind backed slowly to the ESE. We motored from 2000 until 0500 this morning when we got our first fish, a small mahimahi. We're sailing slowly now hard on the wind but in no rush with only 100nm to go. We'll enter the pasaage into Raivavae tomorrow morning.
We've been motoring for the last 36 hours and expect to motor through to tomorrow night, Thursday NZ time, when we will arrive at Raivavae. Our fuel is getting down but my latest calculations indicate that we will have just enough to get us there without using the 60L in reserve. Our arrival will be too late to trasit the pass so we'll heave to on the leeward side of the island overnight and enter on Friday morning.
The wind dropped to W 2-3kn last evening as we entered a small high pressure area so we've been motoring since. We've 350nm to go to Raivavae with no useful wind forecast for the next three days as we follow the high. We might be able to motor the whole distance but if not we'll have to stop and wait for wind. We're all happy on board and apart from the engine noise it's very pleasant with an almost clear sky, lots of sun, and a much reduced swell.
The wind started to decrease last evening so we're now in much more comfortable conditions. We're still sailing downwind and rolling in the beam-on swell. We crossed the 500nm-to-go point at 0245 this morning. It's a warm sunny almost-tropical day.
We're making good time towards Raivavae heading directly down wind in W-WSW 20-25 gusting 35kn in squalls. We've got 633nm to go so an ETA of Thursday still looks good. The winds are, however, forecast to decrease over the next few days although remain behind us so it might be Friday before we get there.
The depression is well to the SE of us now, we've got a bit of sun and light winds but the seas are still quite big. The sail feeder on the Liesure furl main has broken so we're sailing with jib only as we have been for the last two days. It's not possible to raise the main so I'll try to make a temporary repair when the seas drop enough to get the fitting off the mast. Otherwise we're all good and catching up on sleep after a very bumpy two days. If I can get the main raised then our ETA Raivavae will be Thursday.
We've been sailing to the NNE overnight in variable winds between 15 and 35kn and from between N and SSE. We can now see the depression to the NNE of us. It's moving to the ESE so by midday today we'll be able to turn back onto our course for Raivavae.
We finally got the wind back at 2200 last night, varying between NE and ENE and 5-20kns. We;re still heading just east of north, 020T, to keep on the western side of the depression predicted to develop ahead of us by this evening. We're making good speed in comfortable conditions with no swell and only small waves.
We've been motoring north in almost no wind since last evening in order to cross the high pressure area that was to the north of us. The SW swell is now down to about 2m so apart from the engine noise we're having a very comfortable ride. I'm expecting to be in SE winds by this evening.
Update from our earlier report. We're now heading towards Raivavae a distance of 1080nm. So in seven days we're half way. We're sailing now with the code zero (a large light weight headsail) at between 2 and 7 knots in a light but variable wind shifting back and forth between SW and SE. The seas are flat in that the waves are less than 0.5m but there is a large swell.
We've been motoring in light winds for the last 24 hours and have just turned towards Raivavae in the Australs about 1200nm away. There's a depression developing to the NE of us that we're planning to bypass on it's western side. We presently have flat seas and a sunny day so we're going to stop shortly for a general clean up and boat check over.
A front caught up with us at 2200 last night and gave us squalls to 35kn and rain and long periods between of 10-15kn. The front was gone by 0300 this morning and was replaced by much colder SW-SSW winds of 20-35kn. These winds are slowly decreasing. We're well reefed down but will shake out some more sail this afternoon. The sun is shining and we're all in good shape.
We've been rolling along on a beam reach since yesterday evening with a NNW wind of 15-20kn. We're making good progress and are now 700nm (about 1250km)from Auckland. We're intending to more of less follow our present course probably until Tuesday when we'll turn to the northeast for the Australs.
Comfortable night with wind between W and NW at 15-30kn. Have waves from the NW on top of a SW swell. Making good progress to the east. All OK on aboard.
Motored through the night in WSW 8kn. Front now approaching with NW winds and rain squalls still behind us fortunately. We're making good progress. An earlier suspected cyclone development near Fiji has now been dismissed so we're back to aconfortable sailing mode with no worries other than getting wet in the next front.
Motored through the night in WSW 8kn. Front now approaching with NW winds and rain squalls still behind us fortunately. We're making good progress but are starting to think of stategies for avoiding the new cyclone possibly forming near Fiji. The model forecasts we get on board via satellite phone don't show this feature yet but Dave of Gulf Harbour radio has noted it's presence in one model forecast. Meanwhile we're catching up on sleep while it's relatively calm.
The wind stayed above 30kn gusting 45kn until 0400 this morning. The fun of surfing at 12-14kn had definitely paled by then. The wind then stayed WSW but slowly decreased to the very pleasant conditions we have now. We came through the gale with only minor problems, all fixed now. At 1000 this morning we were 300nm from Auckland, 120nm in the first 24hrs and 180nm in the second 24hrs. So we're all good out here and catching up on sleep!
Reaching overnight on a NW 20-25kn until 1000 this morning when wind backed to west and increased to 35-45kn. Sailing with polled-out jib boat speed 8-11kn, max 14.5kn. Wind backed to WSW at around 1200 and decreased to 25-30kn. We're heading for a point at 35S 160w following a great circle route. So good speed, good course and happy crew! Lets hope it lasts.
Cleared Customs at 1000 this morning and now approaching the north end of Coromandel. All OK on board
We're into our final stage of packing for our passage to French Polynesia. We'll clear Customs in Auckland on Tuesday at 0800. Our plan at this stage is to maintain a course of about 85T until we reach 160w at which point we'll start tracking NE towards Raivavae in the Austral group where we'll enter French Polynesia.
Final pack up tomorrow Monday ready for 0800 clearance from Auckland on Tuesday morning. Our general plan is to maintain a course of around 85T until we each 160w. Somewhere around there we expect to track to the NE towards Raivavae in the Austral group of French Polynesia.
Tusi 2 - Tusi 2
Tusi 2 left Marsden Cove yesterday at 1300 heading for Minerva then Lautoka. After a fast ride last night, over 9 knots for short periods, with a 20-25knot westerly, the wind has now (1400 Wednesday) backed to the SSW and dropped to about 15 so the crew is soaking up the sun.