Anchor down Thursday around 1PM local at one of our favorite places after a fabulous passage beam reaching all the way.
Departed Majuro Tuesday morning bound for atolls in the Ralik "Sunset" chain. Nice first day's sail on a beam reach making approximately 190 miles under double reefed main and full genoa.
Arrived back in Majuro Sunday morning to take care of some business after a glorious 6+ weeks snorkeling and exploring the interesting WWII relics on Maloelap and Wotje atolls. On our foray to the atolls we added 10 or 12 new species to our nudibranch list, had several close encounters with zebra sharks, octopuses and turtles, and witnessed a newborn yellow boxfish smaller than a dime attempting to learn to swim without the benefit of fins and tail.
Moved to nearby Anearmej Wednesday after being unable to find suitable anchorage under current conditions at the village islet of Ormed due to swell wrapping in to the anchorage.
Back to Anebing Friday night after snorkeling the wreck of the Toyotsu Maru at Egmedio.
Sailed in brisk gusty trades to the anchorage south of the main village on Wotje Islet Tuesday afternoon in order that we may further explore the WWII relics onshore.
Moved north Thursday to Toleej.
Moved Tuesday to Anebing Island. Great protection here and another gorgeous pink sand beach to explore!
Interesting snorkeling Thursday around Bwodao and the cut to the north where we filmed a small sea turtle wedged under a rock that allowed us to assist in lightly cleaning its shell, an eagle ray that was missing its tail hunting for food in the sand, and the nudibranch Dolabrifera dolabrifera. Moved Friday to Anea Island where an 8' zebra shark startled John when it suddenly appeared within a few yards of him. We also witnessed an octopus changing color while sitting atop of a coral head, a very large stingray with broken tail, and a colorful Phyllidia nudibranch. We're happy to be in Wotje where the protection is good during the current trade wind surge conditions.
Checked in at Wotje Island Wednesday after a short overnight passage from Maloelap, RMI. Anchored at well protected Bwodao Island for the night to avoid the heavy smoke coming from the main village.
Anchored Sunday at beautiful Kumaru Island after a nice sail south from Pigeeyato. Snorkeling Sunday and Monday in the lee of the island, the cut to the south, and near the next islet south revealed gorgeous corals, 3 spotted eagle rays, a very close encounter with a turtle, a plethora of grouper, including pretty Chinese and lyretail, huge sling jaw wrasses and parrot fish, pink anemones with symbiotic crabs, big pink jellyfish, juvenile fish of every sort, and a very tiny new (to us) nudibranch which escaped before we could get a photo because we had already exhausted our camera batteries. It really doesn't get much better than this!
Anchored at Pigeeyatto Island after a great day snorkeling the 2 Japanese ship wrecks at Ollot Island and the pristine reefs off the 2 small islets to the north of Ollot that were teeming with fish. Love sailing across the protected waters of beautiful lagoons!
After a rolly Friday night at Tjan, we did a day sail Saturday north to Enea where we anchored in aquiline waters off the pink sand bar to the east. Gorgeous snorkel off the island just to the east of Enea (Talto?) then back to Ollot for the night as there was no protection on the northern islands from the swell wrapping in from the east.
Nice beach walk Friday around Bokanajbirok Island - 2nd island south of Ollot - followed by a beautiful snorkel in the crystal clear waters lagoonside. Moved the boat north and anchored off of native thatched structures in the village at Tjan Island, at the NE point of Maloelap Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at beautiful Ollot Island, Maloelap Atoll, RMI.
Anchor down around 1:45 PM Wednesday at beautiful Taroa Island, Maloelap Atoll in the Marshall Islands after an overnight passage from Majuro. The first part of the passage was marked by heavy rain and squalls gusting 37 knots but bringing welcome SE wind, before later turning NE 20-25+ knots. John caught a mahi-mahi outside the lagoon and also landed a "doggie" (Dogtooth tuna) inside while crossing to the anchorage so he's got a smile on his face and the fridge is bursting.
It is wonderful to be free from the clutches of the North Pacific gyre which is particularly strong in Majuro this year, making it difficult for yachts to escape:) We visited Maloelap twice in 2004, and are happy to see that the gun emplacement on the north beach and two wrecks visible above the water near shore are still here. There is much to explore here!
We were fortunate to arrive in the Marshall Islands just in time to briefly cross paths again with our good friend Jeff Hartjoy, who we first met along with his delightful wife Debbie in the Marshalls in 2004. We picked up a signed copy of his new book "No Turning Back" which tells the story of his trip of his 2015 adventure making him the oldest American to circumnavigate solo, nonstop and unassisted via the Five Great Capes.
We completed our check in to the Marshall Islands on Monday (Sunday in the States as we have crossed the date line again) and have already managed to do oil changes on both the main engine and generator, clean the bottom, replace the spinnaker halyard that met its end on the trip, service the watermaker, refuel by jerry jug ($5.90 per gallon), do 5 loads of laundry, visit telecom to get set up for Internet access, and put in our requests for permissions to visit various outer islands. We've still got some more chores to do - restitch the genoa cover, refill propane tanks, fix a small oil leak on the engine, and rebuild a primary winch - but we're feeling pretty accomplished. Today we meet with the Mayor of Wotje atoll to see if we are respectable enough to be granted permission to visit the atoll.
Last night we had a great time meeting up with the Mieco Beach Yacht Club members at the usual Tuesday night dinner out at a local restaurant. There is a very large and active cruising community here this year so it looks to be a very social holiday season. Dryer trade wind conditions have returned to the islands making for wonderful sleeping with fresh breezes! Life is good.
Still can't shake the convergence. Another night and day of squally weather with winds from 9 to 35 knots, NE to SE. 4m swell on the beam and secondary swell aft made for a rolly ride today but now the seas are starting to lay down a bit.
We had squalls all night Tuesday (AS time), but nothing over 25 knots and wind of about 14-15k between the squalls. The biggest challenge was dodging the numerous fishing boats plying these waters, some not using AIS, and the ones that do are transmitting but don't bother turning on a screen for receiving signals. The winds picked up mid-morning Wednesday and much of the day blew 17-20 knots, save one 33 knot squall. We've been seeing boat speeds in the 8's up to high 9's but we're still dogged by an adverse current setting SSW at up to 2.5 knots, putting a serious damper on our SOG.
Nice sailing the last 24 hours with wind in the 8-18 knot range, averaging 10 or 11. Our hitchhiker stayed with us all night and after daybreak decided that the cockpit cushion looked much more comfortable than the winch or deck and made itself at home. It flew off sometime during our morning radio net, only to return an hour later for another short ride atop the bikini looking for breakfast. 370 NM to Majuro.
Sunday brought another night with 25-30 knot squalls and plenty of lightning interrupted by nearly windless spells.
Mostly light wind with confused swell from the west, south, and east made it difficult to keep the sails filled today as we watched the windex spinning in circles when the boat rolled side to side. The seas improved and wind filled in late afternoon so we're making better headway but still fighting an adverse current of 1.5 to 2.2 knots.
We are currently carrying a passenger on board - a brown tern who has decided that one of our winches is a nice resting place. It has not moved the last few hours and is completely unfazed as we move within a foot of it to perform boat handling tasks, turn on lights, and start the generator. We have a bad feeling that it is not well and put out an egg for it to eat (we once saved an exhausted storm petrel this way) but it has not shown any interest. 488 miles to go to Majuro.
A short time ago we made our seventh equator crossing on the good ship White Hawk. No wonder we can't seem to make it further west toward a circumnavigation - we keep going north and south! Not long after an impressive red sunset (Sailor's Delight?) we finally found the wind last night in the form of big squalls packing 25 knots, gusting 30 and of course, the ubiquitous lightning which has dogged us much of this trip. We got a bit of a scare in the midst of the largest squall when our radar display at the nav station conked out. At first we thought that stray atmospheric electrical energy had done it in and put an end to our squall tracking activity but we were relieved to find it working at the helm and the communication problem down below was rectified today. We had pleasant sailing today close reaching in 8-12 knots under cloudy skies but the squalls began late afternoon and we've tucked in a second reef. Though theoretically we should be under the influence of a helpful 2 knot west setting current, instead we find ourselves sailing to weather fighting a 2 knot east setting one! 545 NM to go to Majuro.
Friday night brought more light and variable winds dodging lightning squalls but on the plus side, another meteor shower at 5 AM. More light wind Saturday from every direction on the compass kept us busy with sail adjustments and alternating between sailing and slowly motoring. We've picked up a 3+ meter swell which knocks the wind from the sails and prevents us from sailing through the really light air as we did earlier with flatter seas. There are plenty of clouds about and the lightning started around sunset so it promises to be another interesting night. Majuro 2019 or bust?
Thanks to calm seas we were able to make way under sail with only 3-4 knots of wind Thursday night and John was lucky enough to witness a spectacular meteor shower at 5 AM. The breeze freshened a bit late Friday morning making for a glorious day of 5-6 knot sailing under sunny skies in 5-7 knots of wind, with an occasional brief gust to 8 knots. Wahoo! We took advantage of the pleasant conditions to get the house ready for Christmas - stainless steel polishing topsides. The breeze went lighter and the swell increased around 5 PM but at present we are sailing and enjoying stargazing and satellite spotting yet again.
The decision before sunset Wednesday to take the slightly less favored tack to the east of the rhumb line rather than sailing west into the Heart of Darkness - a huge area of thick black clouds reaching down to the surface - turned out to be a good decision. Unlike the prior two nights we didn't have to run squall avoidance maneuvers but saw plenty of lightening in the western skies. Our big excitement for the evening was coming within a mile of what we think were gill nets lit by flashing red and white beacons at water level and on poles - a hazard to navigation if those lights fail.
Thursday morning brought the return of sunny blue skies and trade wind clouds. Though the wind was only in the 2-3 knot range this morning the seas were so calm we were able to keep sailing and by late morning the wind had filled in to 5-7 knots, allowing us to make 5 knots most of the day. We were visited by small dolphins just before sunset and enjoyed stargazing in the cockpit to top off a wonderful day.
Another squally night Tuesday dodging lots of lightning. Additional excitement was provided by an unidentified ship on AIS speeding up on an intercept course in an apparent attempt to catch us. For over an hour we took evasive action by altering course and speed and were matched each time by the ship which would not respond to our calls on VHF. Eventually we were close enough to clearly see the lights on the ship which flashed us with different colors and about then the AIS signal of a second stationary ship emerged from the huge squall on radar. Though it was worrisome for a while, in the end we surmise that the first ship was a long liner trying to ensure that we did not get behind them and the second was the mother ship. Perhaps neither spoke English.
Very light and variable winds today in the 1-5 knot range with thick cloud cover but we managed some sailing along with some motoring. With all the wind shifts our recent track line looks like an EKG - straight lines interrupted by dips in the shape of a "V."
Slow day in very light winds after an "interesting" Monday night. Shortly after John declared "This passage has been so peaceful it almost feels like a vacation," (the kiss of death) things rapidly deteriorated. Large areas of convection were showing on the radar and lightening was lighting the skies nearby. We fired up the engine to implement squall avoidance maneuvers but it wasn't long before the engine overheat alarm sounded. Inspection revealed that 2 belts were shredded and a third had slipped off. After making a disaster of the boat to reach the needed parts, repairs were quickly made and we were back in business just in time for the encore production. This time the squalls were much larger and more numerous and we soon found ourselves surrounded by lightening in all directions. For four more hours we motored in circles at full throttle dodging convective clouds that were spitting out spectacular lightning bolts hitting the water on all sides of us many times only a mile away. Each time a semi-circular line of squalls would move on by, marauding replacement troops lined up to chase us down yet again. Twice the B & G instruments shut down and restarted themselves after flashing crazy colors, and the computer - disconnected from the boat at the time - crashed and came back up (whew!) with settings changed and minus some of the data in OpenCPN, our PC navigation program. Around 3 AM we were overtaken by squalls but by then they had expended their electrical energy and we were spared. The forecasts indicate that we should be north of the convergence/ trough at present and the skies, while cloudy, do not look as foreboding tonight but we are already seeing some lightening in the distance so our fingers are crossed. Hoping for a more peaceful night! 1005 NM to Majuro.
Saturday and Sunday brought light and variable winds with some slow but pleasant sailing, some motoring, and a few hours under spinnaker late Sunday afternoon. The benign conditions even allowed us to do a bit of much needed stainless and fiberglass polishing. Had a lovely time both nights stretched out in the cockpit as we sailed along peacefully while staring at the starry skies under "cool" light breezes counting the plethora of shooting stars and busy orbiting satellites while listening to classic rock and vintage surf guitar music. After sunset Sunday the breeze filled in to 8-16k, mostly in the 12-14k range, through the night and much of today with many passing squalls. Wind has been trending lighter in the last few hours but we're sailing along nicely. We're well north of Funafuti, Tuvalu so a stop there is off the table.
On the rhumb line to Majuro, RMI. Departed Pago Pago on Thursday under sunny skies and light trade wind conditions but it was not to last as a new surface trough formed over us and our forecast of 12-15k wind turned in to 4-7k. So the first day we had a mixed bag of some pretty nice sailing in mostly light air, a few hours under half oz. spinnaker, and a half hour of motoring. After sunset the wind filled to 10-16k, mostly 10-12k, with squalls and lots of lightening.
Friday brought glorious sailing as the skies cleared, the wind went forward in the 10-16k range, mostly 12-14k. We were seeing boat speeds in the 8's to low 9's but fighting an adverse current of about 1.5k. The clouds built around sunset and the wind dropped but we sailed peacefully all night making SOG's in the 4k range in 6-7k of wind.
We were forced to turn on the engine at 5AM this morning when the wind went more aft and under 5 knots. The trough has expanded in size so we are seeing plenty of squalls, but not much wind in them - just lots of rainbows, and oddly a bit of hail on 2 occasions!
Departing shortly from Pago Pago, American Samoa bound for Majuro in the Marshall Islands with probable stops in Funafuti, Tuvalu and Tarawa, Kiribati depending on the wind.
Arrived in Pago Pago, American Samoa late Tuesday afternoon local (Wednesday Fiji time). We motored more than we would have liked but overall had a nice passage going the wrong direction. No complaints! Beautiful day here with a nice breeze keeping things cool.
Enjoying a nice view of the Samoan islands of Upolu and Savai'i - which we visited in 2003 - this sunny morning as we motor by in light winds. Yesterday evening our chart plotter/ radar displays stopped displaying data, including GPS, and we had no data input to the auto pilot, causing it to fail. After a few hours of troubleshooting and repeatedly recycling power, resetting, and reconfiguring, we were able to get the display to work with limited functionality at the nav station, though not at the helm, but at least the auto pilot is operational! We've got OpenCPN running separately with CM93 charts and a GPS puck on the laptop so all is well. If you are going to have an auto pilot and instrument failure, the best case is to have it under calm conditions, close to a familiar high island with a well-marked entrance and great postal service, along with phosphorescence and a rising mandarin orange moon to entertain you while hand steering. We're feeling lucky but have some work to do on arrival - 36 miles to go.
Happiness is sailing under tropical skies on a calm moana blue sea listening to the Beach Boys on a great stereo as we pursue an endless summer. Life is good!
We had some peaceful sailing yesterday afternoon enjoying the light cool breeze in the cockpit but the wind shut down in the evening and we've been motoring since last night on calm seas. It is beginning to get light around 4 AM Fiji time and we had a peachy sunrise this morning at 5 AM - a sign that we have made some progress to the east. 166 miles to go to Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Motoring on calm seas. 290 mi to go to Pago Pago.
Departed Savusavu, Fiji bound for American Samoa Friday morning. Sailed nicely in very light winds a good bit of the day and night with one 20 kt squall overnight. Saturday brought winds in the 12 kt range and heavy rain. Winds dropped to 1-2 knots for a short time Saturday evening then went from 1 to 35 knots in a matter of seconds and remained around 28-30 kt, gusting over 30, with lightening for an hour and a half. Winds then moderated to the 20-25 kt range, gusting higher, and remain there, but White Hawk and crew are handling it well going hard to weather.
Anchored off Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort outside of Savusavu since Friday. Took advantage of the break in the weather yesterday to snorkel the reef and found a new (to us) nudibranch and shell. Heading back to town today to prepare for possible weather window to American Samoa later this week.
We arrived Monday afternoon in Savusavu under torrential rain after an overnight passage from Fulaga. The trip started with light air, about 12 knots, but built as the day progressed to the 20's by early evening. The rest of the trip the wind averaged around 22-25kt, gusting 32kt in the numerous squalls, accompanied by buckets and buckets of rain. There was occasional lightening about, but nothing too close. The seas built to the 8-12' (and then some, as we had some 15 footers on approach) forecast on the Honolulu High Seas while the GRIB had forecast only 1.4-1.7m. Love those folks in Honolulu! Thanks to our deep heavy keel, White Hawk handled the conditions marvelously and we were able to sail fairly comfortably the whole way under double reefed main and full genoa.
We departed the Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu, early Saturday the 6th after having had a wonderful time visiting with friends on Eye Candy and doing lots of snorkeling. We especially enjoyed the gorgeous soft corals, bright sea fans and many species of nudibranchs.
The sail down from Vanua Balavu to Fulaga was fabulous! The seas were so calm we were able to sail the whole way under sunny and starry skies in only 3-8 knots of breeze, arriving just around daybreak. There were dolphins on the bow near Namuka-I-Lau and as there was no moon, we could not see them but could hear them take a breath each time they surfaced. Our time in Fulaga has gone quickly, catching up with friends on Roxanne, last seen 2 years ago in Tonga, snorkeling, and attending the big village celebration of Fiji Day. Unfortunately, the calendar is telling us it is time to get moving north toward Savusavu and beyond to escape the South Pacific cyclone season so we will depart on Sunday, destination TBD depending on the wind.
Enjoying lots of snorkeling in the Bay of Islands taking in the exceptional soft corals, plentiful fish, and new to us nudibranchs. There are so many great spots to explore we could easily spend another week or two here but will head to Fulaga in a few days as the season is rapidly drawing to a close.
Anchored in the beautiful and calm Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu, Fiji - a welcome change after a not-so-fun passage from Ovalau! We're sharing the well protected anchorage with only the cackling birds on shore and the active schools of bait fish swarming around the anchorage.
Bashing to weather from Ovalau to Vanua Balavu.
Came in to Levuka, Ovalau yesterday to top up on diesel before heading off to remote islands. Enjoyed checking out the small museum and seeing the colorful historic buildings of the original capital of Fiji, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Anchored in a beautiful little bay with a white sand beach backed by dramatic rock structure on the north end of Naigani Island, NW of Ovalau. We enjoyed a wonderful snorkel on the extensive reef yesterday and are heading back out today to try to get another photo of the striking parrot fish - or possibly wrasse - that we can't find in our reference books!
Anchored overnight at Curly's "hurricane hole" near Wainaloka village on SW Ovalau, Fiji. Yesterday's snorkel nearby revealed 10 nudibranchs!
Anchored this afternoon at Leleuvia Island, southwest of Ovalau, Fiji where we were greeted by two boatloads of friendly, smiling locals offering use of the resort's mooring for free. Shortly after sunset we watched a spectacular 45 minute lightening show lighting up the sky and sending many bolts down to earth beneath the clouds on the thankfully distant horizon to the southwest of us.
We arrived back in Suva on Monday for fuel and re-provisioning after having had a fabulous time in Beqa, Yanuca, Kadavu, and the Astrolabe Reef swimming with oceanic manta rays, laughing with the dolphins escorting us across the lagoon, glimpsing elusive sea turtles that rightfully hide from humans (locals still eat them even though it is illegal,) photographing "new to us" nudibranchs, flatworms and bottom dwelling jellyfish, and meeting up with good friends on Free Spirit and Wavelength.
We planned to head to Fulaga but the weather doesn't look promising any time soon so rather than wasting time in port we sailed to weather today in fresh 20 knot winds to Nukulau Islet in Laucala Bay, a nice protected anchorage for the night. Sunday morning we will head to the western side of Ovalau to explore the reef while waiting for more favorable weather to make the crossing to the Lau Group.
Beautiful sail to weather on calm seas today from Beqa to North Astrolabe Reef under sunny skies with 10-12 knots of ENE breeze. The lagoon is gorgeous but the surrounding reef is low offering little protection - at low tide think Minerva Reef at high tide - and the swell comes in from all directions creating a washing machine with occasional waves breaking over the stern into the cockpit. We're anchored mid lagoon behind Solo "Island," more aptly named Solo "Rock," home of an old non-working lighthouse inhabited by sea birds. We did a snorkel off the boat today but will move on tomorrow to big Astrolabe or Kadavu in search of a less rolly anchorage. As we always say, if you don't go, you don't know! :)
We arose Sunday morning at 6:30 AM to the harmonious sounds of a cappella singing coming from the nearby Lalati village church in Malumu Bay before moving the boat to the west side of Yanuca Island. We're anchored off a beautiful beach and a small abandoned resort rumored to have been owned by an American that lost the lease. The enterprising care taker is charging a "visiting fee" of $10FJ per person to walk on the beach. Last night we were joined by the 180' Dutch built mega yacht Driftwood which was launched in 2017, and is owned by Nicholas Woodman, the 43 year old founder and CEO of GoPro - net worth 1.8 billion. We have seen lots of toys zipping by but so far have had no invitation to join them for the disco dancing last night or the movie they are watching tonight from the giant theater sized projector screen they have raised on the foredeck. Tomorrow after a morning snorkel we head back to Malumu Bay to meet up with friends.
Anchored in peaceful Malumu Bay, Beqa Lagoon, Fiji.
The winds shut down to 4-8 knots dead downwind Sunday night and we were forced to motor all night. When the winds picked up to 10-15k from 191 T Monday morning, we tried sailing but ETA for Suva was 8PM. We didn't want to stand off all night so added a little power assist and got the anchor down in Suva harbor just before 5 - in time for a gorgeous sunset with pink and orange sun rays shooting up from behind the misty layers and layers of mountains on Viti Levu. Currently waiting "patiently" for officials to arrive for clearance.
Passing by beautiful Kadavu. Nice to see some patches of blue sky after heavy cloud cover yesterday. 52 miles to go to Suva.
Awoke yesterday (Sat) to a glassy lagoon but by 8AM the winds filled in to 10-12kt. We exited the South Minerva pass bound for Suva, Fiji at 10AM with wind 18-19k and building from 241T, putting it just forward of the beam. The fishing gods blessed us with a nice mahi mahi as we passed about 20 miles west of North Minerva. We sailed in 20-25 knots, with gusts to 28, under doubled reefed main and partial genoa with wind and swell on the beam much of the day but by early evening the wind moved aft and the seas began to align for some wonderful fast sailing with speeds in the 9's. Overnight the winds went lighter - and at times slightly east of south - so we've slowed enough that we might not make Suva on Monday as we had hoped.
Mission accomplished in South Minerva and waiting for a weather window to Suva. Most of the day yesterday (Wed local) winds were 22-27 knots, gusting just shy of 30, from 340T as low passed to the south, but winds moderated over night. Showers, some heavy, yesterday morning but clear all afternoon Wednesday.
Anchor down in lovely, sunny, warm and blue, blue, blue South Minerva Reef at last! We've got the place to ourselves so we're playing the White Hawk "Sunshine Mix" up loud while we launch the dinghy and tidy things up wearing shorts for the first time in 6 months - at least for one of us :) We arrived after dark last night and stood off the NW side keeping watch while fore-reaching away from the reef at 0.7 knts. We waited until 10 AM to make our way back the 5 miles to the pass to enter in good light and perfect calm conditions at 11 AM. We're happy to have survived a passage from NZ without breaking anything - just a cover that chafed through on our Spectra core reefing line. Life is good on White Hawk!
Surprisingly consistent wind the last 24 hours, mostly 16-21 kts from the SE. Nice downwind sailing much of the day yesterday with the wind going forward late in the day and remaining there all night at about 18-20 kts, with gusts to 26. Still dogged by an adverse current of about 1.8 kts. Weak squalls began just after 5AM local this morning. 100 miles to go to S. Minerva.
Fabulous 24 hours. What a difference a day makes! Yesterday we sailed at about 6 kts under mostly sunny skies with 12 knots of breeze and swell on the beam. By evening the winds filled in from the SSE to SSW and the seas began to align. Had a wonderful night with winds mostly 17-21kt, dropping to the occasional 14kt and gusting to 24kt. White Hawk was comfortably humming along (literally at times) downwind with boat speeds in the 8's and 9's, though an adverse current of 1.3-1.9 kts (with us the last 2 days) reduced our SOG. We don't expect this wind to last, but we're happy to have it for now. 262 to go to S. Minerva.
Interesting 24 hours with a bit of everything. In recent hours, the boat was pounding to weather at nearly 9 knots with double reefed main and partial genoa, so we just now furled the genoa and turned on the engine to reduce speed. All well aboard.
We had a slow but pleasant day of sailing yesterday under 6-8 kts of wind until sunset when the wind shut down to less than 5 kts from behind (SSW). We saw mostly 1 to 2 kts overnight so we motored until sunrise when the wind picked up to 6 kts and shifted to the ENE. At present, we are sailing very comfortably to weather on course for S. Minerva under beautiful sunny skies. Wind is continuing to build slightly so we should make some good progress today.
Dropped the dock lines at Marsden Cove, NZ around 11:15 AM Monday. Mostly motored in light air to just past the Poor Knights when winds filled in to 12-15k from SW. Starry night with nice sailing. Clouds building near sunrise today with first squall around 7 AM local bringing wind of only 23k. Winds going lighter as day progresses. All well!
Spending our last night on Kawau Island at South Cove near the old Copper Mine. We've had a great time cruising the Hauraki Gulf. Tomorrow we head to Whangarei to pay our dues and start the boat work.
Fantastic weekend at the Mahurangi Regatta viewing the classic yacht parade and races!
At anchor in lovely Mansion House Bay, Kawau Island, NZ cleaning the bag limit of scallops John nabbed in 20 minutes of diving on the shoals.
Anchored at North Cove, Kawau Island, NZ. Lin Pardey, who lives here and runs the boat yard, dropped by in her skiff Jay Dee to welcome us to the harbor.
Anchored off the abandoned copper mine on the glassy water of Dispute Cove on Kawau Island, NZ feeding a lonely duck and watching 3 yellowtail kingfish swim about the boat. Great Tuesday morning enjoying nature! We're off to dive the scallop beds at slack tide around noon.
Anchored at Bostaquet Bay, Kawau Island. Beautiful relaxing sail to weather yesterday from Putaki Bay, Waiheke on the semi-sheltered waters of the Hauraki Gulf in 10-14 knots of breeze. It was great fun watching the many local boats out enjoying the sunny but cool summer Saturday afternoon and the changing clouds and landscapes as we sailed by the numerous small islands scattered about the Gulf.
Nice sail Saturday from Motuihe Island to Putiki Bay on the south side of Waiheke Island.
Anchored at Motuihe Island, NZ.
Beautiful sail Sunday from Great Barrier Island to Waiheke in 8-18 knots, gusting 23k, with whales breaching and spouting off the NE end of Little Barrier Island. We were hard to weather but it was fun on the protected waters of the Hauraki Gulf. Too bad the open ocean isn't this flat! Monday we explore Waiheke by bus.
Our last night at Great Barrier Island was spent in Smokehouse Bay - a beautiful end to the stay here after the atrocious weather the last few days. The wind finally eased and the clouds broke late afternoon making for a nice peaceful evening taking in the interesting scenery, birds, and Kiwis (the human kind) on holiday being Kiwis - fishing, cannon balling into the euphemistically speaking "refreshingly crisp" water, laughing with friends, and in general just enjoying life. We depart for Waiheke or Kawau Island in the morning depending on weather.
Anchored at Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Island, NZ. All is well.
Sailed Friday from Urquharts Bay, Whangarei to Great Barrier Island in boisterous conditions up to 30 knots. Anchored around 2:30 PM near Quion Is, Port Fitzroy, Great Barrier Is, NZ. Took a dinghy excursion on this beautiful Saturday afternoon with dolphins frolicking around us for over an hour.
Preparing to depart Urquharts Bay, Whangarei for Great Barrier Island, NZ.
Anchored Christmas night in Deep Water Cove, Maunganui Bay, New Zealand and awoke on Boxing Day to the sound of beautiful bird calls. Headed off today for Whangaruru and points south.
Spent a peaceful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at anchor in Paradise Bay, Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
Wind picked up around 3:30 PM Tuesday and we had a fantastic sail on calm seas into Opua. Tied up to the Customs dock just before 10PM and cleared first thing Wednesday morning. Happy to be at anchor after a great 4.5 day passage from N. Minerva. Third time's a charm!
Motoring since 6PM yesterday when winds went ENE and dropped to 4-6k. 75 miles to go to the Bay of Islands.
Pleasant reach in relatively calm conditions since last update - mostly 14-20 knots of wind overnight, dropping to 11k for brief periods. Expecting the winds to go light later today and we may have to do some motoring, but we'll happily make the most of the breeze as long as we have it. 236 miles to go to The Bay of Islands.
Boisterous sailing again yesterday as the wind remained in the 23-26k range, dipping around 20k for short periods, with rough seas and the occasional 15' wave. Conditions moderated after dark, settling in at 15-20 knots after midnight making for a restful night. Nice sailing this morning under blue skies and calmer seas. What a difference a day makes! We feel a distinct change in the air - pleasantly crisp like fall, only it is spring. 415 miles to go to The Bay of Islands.
Came upon a 30 knot squall around 7:30 last night. Winds mostly 24-25k since then with rough seas but making great time, averaging over 8 knots overnight. All is well but wet - had to put the hatch boards in on passage for the first time since leaving San Diego and it is getting chilly so the sweats are on! 598 miles to go to the Bay of Islands.
Departed N. Minerva bound for NZ Friday morning 8:45 AM NZ local. Sailed a close reach under sunny skies and light winds the first few hours with wind, seas, and cloud cover picking up in the afternoon. Cruising along nicely on a beam reach with SOG hitting up to 9.6k at times.
Arrived safely with anchor down before sunset on Saturday at North Minerva Reef. Early AM it appeared there was no chance we would make it in before dark and would have to stand off for the night. Plan B, sailing directly to NZ, was taken off the table due to developing weather systems, but door number 3 magically opened when the wind gods shined upon us with freshening breezes. The good ship WH was up to the task, galloping along at 8-10k to get us in on time for a wonderful night at anchor. At 30, she might not be as pretty as she once was, but she's still a joy to sail!
74 miles to go to North Minerva Reef. Passage weather to NZ looks reasonable so we are considering bypassing Minerva and continuing on. Stay tuned!
Sailing nicely to weather on port tack from Savusavu, Fiji to North Minerva Reef. 210 mi to go.
Departed Savusavu, Fiji before sunset Wednesday bound for Minerva Reef and eventually on to Opua, NZ. Light and variable wind overnight, NE to SE. Currently sailing nicely to weather on port tack.
Arrived Sunday 2PM at Dakuniba Bay, Vanua Levu, Fiji after motoring on glassy seas from Katherine Bay, Rabi.
Tucked in to flat calm Katherine Bay, Rabi Island, Fiji. Landed a mackerel tuna just before exiting the pass at Budd Reef Friday and an 80lb 5' Spanish mackerel in the Rabi Channel off the Florida Reefs during a 30 knot squall with heavy rain, thunder, and lightening.
Anchored last 2 nights between Yanuca and Yavu islands, Budd Reef, Fiji. Heading toward Savusavu today.
Arrived Monday at Budd Reef, Fiji. Anchored at the village anchorage between Yanuca and Maqewa Islands.
Arrived Saturday at tiny Albert Cove at the N end of Rambi Island, Fiji. Nice visit with the one family living ashore in a traditional thatched dwelling. Late afternoon snorkel around colorful pristine corals, including large tables.
Anchored Friday at calm, picturesque Katherine Bay, Rambi Island, Fiji. Explored a small waterfall and interesting snorkeling on the reefs outside the western side of the bay.
Sailed yesterday to the very well protected and remote unnamed anchorage on the NW side of Kioa Island, Fiji. Tucked in at the head of the bay in lake-like conditions surrounded by the sounds of exotic bird calls.
Anchored at Viani Bay, Vanua Levu, Fiji.
Arrived Savusavu, Fiji yesterday afternoon.
Sailing along peacefully this morning enroute to Savusavu after a boisterous beat yesterday bashing in to 17-25k winds and 2.5-3m steep seas of short period.
Departed spectacular Rotuma, Fiji yesterday after a short but sweet visit as the anchorage was becoming precarious. Currently bashing to weather in boisterous conditions enroute to Savusavu to pick up Fiji dollars and fuel.
Arrived off of Rotuma, Fiji 9:30 PM local Monday and stood off over night. We made our way to the anchorage this morning. The officials are not available to check us in until tomorrow but from our vantage point on the boat this island group is one of the most beautiful we have seen and we are anxious to explore it!
Pleasant beam reach under sunny skies and calm seas with 98 miles to go to Rotuma, Fiji.
Sailed all night at 4-5k+ in 8-11k NE wind under starry skies. Increasing clouds this morning and winds occasionally filling in a few knots. 228 miles to go to Rotuma.
Peaceful sailing under clear starry skies in 10k breeze and calm seas last night. 11 shooting stars provided entertainment on night watch. Very light winds this morning of 4-6k, gusting 8k. Sailed until 1:15 PM local when winds settled in at 4-5k and we hoisted the 0.5 oz spinnaker but the wind was too light to keep it flying. Motoring as of 1:30 PM.
Nice night of sailing though slow and a bit rolly. 10 shooting stars, dolphins by the boat, lots of phosphorescence, and a cool, light breeze. Sunny skies this morning. Can't ask for more - well, except maybe a bit more wind, but not too much!
Wind filled in and we decided to bypass Funafuti and sail directly to Rotuma, Fiji, making the course adjustment around 11:00 AM yesterday 10/18 local. Made 200 miles to destination in ensuing 24 hours before wind went lighter and aft.
Slow but nice sailing under sunny skies yesterday and starry skies last night. Calm conditions yesterday allowed us to replace broken engine mounts on the generator at sea. It's looking like another fine day today.
Beautiful but slow sailing under sunny skies and light wind this morning after boisterous sailing yesterday with wind 17-20k, gusting 23k, on the nose. Tacked away on wind shift 2 miles north of the equator crossing a short time ago to avoid atolls and predicted lighter winds to the south. Fighting adverse current of 1.5-2k.
Sailing nicely since 3AM local after motoring much of the day yesterday in 2 knot winds. Still fighting adverse current of 1.2-1.5k, down from 2.5k.
Engine on an hour ago and motoring after a nice night of sailing in light winds.
Sailing in light but pleasant conditions 100 mi NE of Butaritari enroute from Majuro, RMI to Funafuti, Tuvalu. Squalls all day yesterday but improved conditions after sunset. Averaged about 4.5 knots overnight in light winds under mostly clear and starry skies.
Departed Majuro, RMI midday yesterday enroute to Funafuti, Tuvalu. Fast sailing to weather just south of Arno Atoll with speeds up to 10 kt under sunny skies during the day. Squalls began at 6PM and continued through the night.
Anchor watch on a rough night moored at Eneko Islet, Majuro Atoll, RMI after a fun 6 hour snorkel yesterday. Moving to Majuro town moorings at daybreak.
Moored at Enemanit Island, Majuro Atoll, RMI. Waiting for engine parts.
Enroute from Kwajalein to Majuro, RMI. Under motor in light variable wind.
Enroute from Kwajalein to Majuro, RMI.
Anchored between Enmat and Ennumet Islands near Nell on the western side of Kwajalein Atoll, RMI. Stunning both above and below the water!
Anchored at Edgigen (aka 6th) Island, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Omelek Island, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI. Awesome snorkeling!
Anchored at beautiful Bigej Island, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at South Ebeye off of small boat harbor, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at US Army Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
At anchor at Ebeye islet, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Bigej islet, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI.
At anchor off Edgigen islet, Kwajalein Atoll, RMI. Nearby snorkeling rewards with spectacularly diverse marine life.
Anchored at Ennubirr islet Kwajalein Atoll, RMI after overnight passage to weather from Ailinginae Atoll.
Anchored at uninhabited Ailinginae Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Rochikari islet, Bikini Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Romurikku islet, at the north end of Bikini Atoll, RMI. Beautiful beaches, abundant bird life on shore. Underwater we are surrounded by huge schools of fish with great diversity along with the occasional sea turtle sighting.
Anchor down this morning at Enyu islet, Bikini Atoll, RMI.
Arrived yesterday at Eniaetok islet, Rongelap Atoll, RMI. Beautiful calm sand bottom anchorage surrounded by gorgeous aqua water and bordered by a long pink sand beach.
Anchored at N Loto islet, Likiep Atoll, RMI. Yesterday sailed down the lagoon with an escort of dolphins then swam with a sea turtle and clouds of fish. Topped the day off watching phosphorescent critters blinking alongside the boat at anchor.
Idyllic anchorage at well protected Jeltoneej islet, Likiep Atoll, RMI. Magical snorkeling over ever changing habitat.
Tamol islet anchorage, Likiep Atoll, RMI. Nice but a bit rolly due to wrap coming up the reef from the south.
Jebal islet overnight anchorage in front of graveyard. Likiep Atoll, RMI. Small village and copra station ashore.
Entrance Island day anchorage. Likiep Atoll, RMI. Awesome snorkeling.
Anchor down in beautiful protected bight of Likiep Island, Likiep Atoll, RMI.
Safely moored at Enemanit Island, Majuro Atoll, RMI watching a beautiful golden moonrise above the island palms.
Very light winds the past 24 hours but now pleasant sailing enroute from Ailinginae to Majuro, RMI.
Enroute from Ailinginae to Majuro, RMI
Beautiful morning in protected anchorage off of E reef of Ailinginae Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Tufa Island, Rongelap, RMI.
Anchored at Busch Island, Rongelap Atoll, RMI.
Anchored at Enialo Island, Rongelap, RMI.
Anchored at Eniaetok Island, Rongelap Atoll, RMI.
Anchored off Kabelle Is, NE Rongelap, RMI.
Anchored off Labaredj Island, NE Rongelap, Marshall Islands.
Enroute from Rongerik to Rongelap. Sailing nearly dead down wind under main alone. Beautiful day.
Beautiful day anchored off Bigonattam Island in idyllic Rongerik Atoll, Marshall Islands.
Nice sailing over night making good time in calm seas.
Auto pilot repaired at sea yesterday. Sailing in very light winds, calm seas enroute from Majuro to Rongerik.
Becalmed and adrift to conserve fuel after motoring 10 hrs enroute from Majuro to Rongerik.
Nice morning on mooring at Enemanit islet, Majuro, RMI.
On mooring at Majuro, RMI.
Sailing close hauled bound for Majuro, RMI.
Another equator crossing! Sailing to weather E of Aranuka, Kiribati. Will fall off soon and sail between Aranuka and Abemama. May bypass Tarawa and sail direct to Majuro, RMI.
Sailing peacefully in very light wind under 41% waxing moon.
Passage from Nukufetau, Tuvalu to Tarawa, Kiribati. Boisterous much of the day with wind up to 23k on the nose, but also a few spells as light as 10k. Conditions have improved last few hours.
Enroute from Nukufetau, Tuvalu to Tarawa, Kiribati. Beautiful beam reach under starry skies.
Anchored at N end of Lafaga motu, Nukufetau, Tuvalu.
Anchored S of Coal Island, Nukufetau, Tuvalu.
At anchor in front of Funaota motu, NW side Nukufetau, Tuvalu. Isle used for pig farming project. Gorgeous snorkeling nearby.
Anchored off of Coal Is. surrounded by amazing shades of turquoise, aqua, and blue. Beach walk on soft, deep peach sands of Entrance Island. Nukufetau, Tuvalu.
Anchored off unnamed motu S of Lafaga, Nukufetau, Tuvalu. Beautiful calm night with 99% waning moon shining on the water.
Anchored at gorgeous Vasamotu, Nukufetau, Tuvalu.
Outside pass Nukufetau, Tuvalu waiting for good light.
Yesterday wind mostly ESE 20-25k, gusting mid 30s. Seas 3m, some 4m sets. Big squalls after sunset. Winds went light overnight.
Last 24 hr wind mostly 20-25k, gust low 30's. Seas 3m, some 4m sets. Gribs called for 16k, 1.6m. All well.
Departing momentarily for Tuvalu.
At anchor Faioa, Wallis. Depart early tomorrow for Tuvalu.
Anchored off Mata Utu in delightful Wallis.
Boisterous but not unpleasant sail in confused seas yesterday & overnight. 88 mi to go to Wallis.
Enroute from Pago Pago to Wallis. Nice downwind sail in pleasant conditions.
Preparing to raise anchor in Pago Pago bound for Wallis.
Anchored in Pago Pago harbor.
Nice sail in light breeze overnight. Motor on just before 5AM local. 36 mi to go.
Sailing to weather bound for Pago Pago. Sunny skies, pleasant conditions.
Anchored in lovely Niuatoputapu Sat. around noon after easy sail under big moon.
Beautiful sail reaching in calm seas. 98% waxing moon lighting the way over night.
wind will hold and get a little stronger to speed them to Nuituputapu
Anchored at Ovaka for night dive last night.
a mile front passing the hapaais
will lighten tomorrow, but strong today
Wind shifted from NE through NW, S, now SE starting late yesterday and overnight. Standing off Pangai, Haapai overnight.
Thurs clear, wind NE 10k T. Overnight 12-20k T. All is well.
Wed afternoon & eve clear, wind NE 10k.
Boisterous night sailing to weather in confused seas.
Had another great night of sailing with 98% moon. Anchor down 9AM in S. Minerva. Have the place to ourselves.
Great night sailing. Wind a bit more aft, seas moderating.
Sailing comfortably after boisterous night due to ENE swell.
Motored until 4 AM in very light wind. Sails up now and engine off.
Light winds. Motoring.
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