We are in Bundaberg Australia !!

Posted 26 October 2011

We are in Australia !!!

We arrived in Bundaberg this morning after sailing for 4 days from Chesterfield reef. The trip was quite rolly for the first 2 days and then we had light winds.

The boat needs to be lifted out of the water for bottom paint and lots of other little maintenance jobs. We will look into that for next week. For now we will do some exploring and get our bearings.

Stay tuned for news from OZ.

Our passage to Chesterfield reefs

Posted 18 October 2011

We all had a wonderful time at Huon, exploring the island. Huon is just a strip of sand with some grass and reefs, the bird life is great, we saw lots of birds and turtles. Steve, Wayne and Dean from s/v Mamalu had a great time spear fishing and gave us some lovely coral trout fillets. Jeff, Sue and Amanda from s/v Xyra invited us all for supper and we enjoyed the evening together.

Bad weather is predicted for Tuesday 18 October and we all decided that it is best to only stay 1 night in Huon and leave first thing on Saturday morning 15 October. That will give enough time to reach Chesterfield reefs 280 nm to the west.

Around 8:00 am we left Huon. S/v Xyra was the first to catch fish and then the rest of us following behind them caught enough fish to feed an army. We had good winds and a strong current in our favour. We decided to reduce sails as we want to arrive at Chesterfield reefs during daytime Monday morning 17 October. Saturday was a lovely day for sailing, but the wind dropped on Sunday and we motored all the way to Chesterfield. S/v Mamalu arrived first on Monday morning and had gone spear fishing by the time Xyra and us arrived around midday.

Chesterfield reefs are beautiful, a welcome oasis in a watery desert, with small islands and beaches. We are currently 6 boats in this anchorage waiting for the weather to improve. Monday afternoon all the cruisers met on the beach for sun downers. It was great meeting all the people.

During the night the wind picked up, I saw some gusts of 26 knots with intervals of rain. I am glad that we are here, the anchorage is good, we have a some swell, but nothing too uncomfortable. They predict another day of strong winds and then it should start to taper down. If all goes well we are planning to leave on Saturday 22 October for our final leg to reach Bundaberg, Australia.

Dinis volunteer to make a fish stew tonight with all the different types of fish that we caught between the 3 boats. Should be good.

Our passage to Atoll de Huon

Posted 14 October 2011

We left midnight Tuesday 11 October for Atoll de Huon which is 286 nm from Espiritu Santo Island. This is the most northern island of New Caledonia. We figured that is would take us 2 and a half days to arrive Friday morning during day time. We had great sailing conditions the swell was small and the wind range from 12 to 18 knots on the beam and later on a broad run. This was great we did our best ever on a 24 hour run of 165 nm, we average 6.25 knots for the trip.

Unfortunately this great sailing conditions made our arrival time at 9 pm on Thursday night, so we decided to hive-to for the night and enter the anchorage in the morning. The wind conditions changed during the night to stronger winds about 20 to 23 knots, which made it a bit more uncomfortable hive-to. Sailing vessels Mamalu and Xyra only left Wednesday morning as they are faster boats. Both of them had to slow down during Thursday night as well to time their arrival time for Friday morning. We all entered the anchorage around 7:00 am local time.

The Atoll exists of one long island which have lots of different types of birds breeding and also lots of turtles. After we anchored and got the boars settled, we all went for a walk on the island. Very beautiful, we took lots of photos of the birds and some of the turtles. Dinis and myself were a bit tired and opted to catch-up on lost sleep after the initial island exploration, the rest went for spear fishing and snorkeling.

Our trip to Vanuatu

Posted 8 October 2011

We left Fiji with s/v Heat Wave on 21 September, after spending some time together sailing to the Blue Lagoon after we cleared out. Heat Wave was heading towards New Caledonia and ourselves towards Port Vila in Vanuatu. We started with very little wind and motored for about 6 hours before the wind settled in for a very comfortable sailing on beam reach between 10 and 15 knots. We only had one night where the seas were a bit confused and we started the engine for about 4 hours. This was one of our more pleasant trips and we arrived Sunday 25 September midday in Port Vila.

We were very impressed with Vanuatu, although the country is poor there is a good feeling and the people are very friendly. Is is also a more rugged landscape. Dinis said that this reminded him of Mozambique. We only spend a few days in Port Vila, doing some provisioning, visiting the spectacular cascades and waterfalls. The water is absolutely crystal clear. We wanted to make our way north the Espiritu Santo Island, as we were meeting our friends from s/v Mamalu.

We did day sailing and anchored for the night at beautiful anchorages all the way. We dropped anchor in Espiritu Santo on October 5th and met us with our friends the next day.

We are planning to stay here a few more days, getting the boats ready for our trip for Australia. We are 3 boats planning to sail together. We will break our trip into smaller passages and stop at Atoll de Huon (about 290nm), then at Chesterfield Atoll (280nm), s/v Mamalu (Steve and his Canadian friends Wayne from Edmonton and Dean from Vancouver) and us will continue towards Bundaberg, Australia (400nm) from there and Jeff, Sue and their daughter Mandy will continue more north towards Cairns.