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Alchemy II
Time to move on
Sally
July 30 2015, Lord Howe Island

Although the weather's not fantastic for leaving now, the anchorage here is not good for the weather over the next couple of days, so we're heading to New Cal. It'll be a fairly long trip - probably almost 5 days, because the winds won't be from a great direction. We're keen to move on though, and start enjoying some of that tropical Pacific weather! Hope all's well with everyone at home.

Couple more days at Lord Howe
July 29 2015, Lagoon at Lord Howe

Taking it easy today. Weather has settled, and we enjoyed a lovely sunny calm(ish) morning - until the keel stated scraping the coral bed. Oops- not good in a marine park. Relocated after Matt did a bit of reconnaissance work with a lead line, taking some depth soundings.
Looks like we'll probably head off on Saturday or Sunday, leaving a couple of days to do some snorkelling.
Word of caution for those thinking of travelling to Lord Howe: chocolate coasts $9 a block, so stock up at Cadbury's before you leave home.
We're moored to the left of the jetty in the picture, out a fair way, just inside the coral reef.

To stay or go
Sally
July 27 2015, Lord Howe Island

Have spent the last two nights anchored just inside the lagoon with strong south westerly winds blowing straight in. Hasn't made for a particularly comfortable anchorage, but nice to be on a mooring which the local policeman says is rated as okay in up to 70 knots of wind (he did go on to say they'd "lost" a boat from the same mooring recently - had been the owner's fault, using dodgy lines. Somehow in the night the boat had come off the mooring, been pushed out to sea though the very narrow pass, and then washed back over the reef by waves. The people on board knew nothing about it until they were aground! Or so the story goes as told by the policeman. He said the boat was okay in the end).

Matt and Bob have pretty much repaired our poor battered and bruised dodger. Sally has been working flat out on getting computing and HF systems up and running well for better access to weather info. Never seems to be enough time - hoping that'll change before long.s

We're looking like heading off to Noumea either tomorrow (Wed), or Sunday. Had a bit of time over on the island yesterday - very relaxed and friendly vibe. If we're here 'till Sunday it'll be great to do a bit more exploring.

Lord Howe Island - we made it!
Sally
July 26 2015, Lord Howe Island

Finally reached Lord Howe Island. Was looking like an easy day, but in typical fashion, two hours out from our destination, we got hit with more 30kt winds (and just after deciding it would be good to shake out the reef). Made it through the narrow pass into the lagoon at Lord Howe, with very helpful advice from the authorities here. Bit disconcerting to come through a narrow channel with waves breaking over reefs on either side. Bob's headed off to the shore for a bit, Matt and Sally opted for relaxing and a good bottle of wine to celebrate our arrival. Some repairs needed before heading further afield to New Caledonia (and a bit of recovery time). Hopefully this all shows up on the blog okay - it's all been done via our HF radio (no mobile phone or internet access here). Hope all's well with family and friends back home.

Late Lunch at Lord Howe?
Sally
July 24 2015, 30 miles west of Lord Island

We're close now - can see Lord Howe Island in the distance. Fairly quiet night last night, motor sailing with less than 10 knots of breeze. Needed a quiet night, as we'd had a pretty eventful early morning (altercation with a rather nasty wave which had built up in the 30+ knot conditions). Good news is we were able to get a good view of the fourth reef PJs had put in the main sail for us - bad news is that was because there was no dodger left to obscure it (dodger's looking repairable thankfully - Matt had spent a huge amount of time constructing the thing). Looking forward to opening a nice bottle of wine in a few hours.

Half Way between Sydney and Lord Howe
Sally
July 24 2015

All going okay. Lots more wind than forecast. Getting to try out the new number 4 reef. Hopefully at Lord Howe early afternoon tomorrow.

Left Sydney
July 23 2015

5:30am start, heading for North Hoew Island

Heading to Lord Howe Island tomorrow
July 23 2015, Watson's Bay

Way too tired to be writing this (was up until 2:30 last night organising supplies ad storage). Zonked.
Very straightforward clearing through "Border Force Australia" (aka Customs) today, ready to head off very early tomorrow morning, expecting to arrive in Lord Howe during daylight hours on Sunday.

Back to Birkenhead Point from Neutral Bay
July 21 2015, Birkenhead Point

Headed back up the river to Birkenhead Point on Tues morning to do some more work on the boat in flat conditions (Neutral Bay's a great location, but the waves from the ferries turn the boat into something like a Luna Park ride!). Matt up the mast again, but not able to easily fix our wind indicator troubles. Back to the local Whitworths, more $$ spent.
Looking ahead, we'll probably leave for Lord Howe Island on Friday morning.
Picture above is the bridge just north of where we are.

Special post for Hugh & Evan
July 21 2015

Hi guys. We came across a big ship near Sydney. It was travelling to Aust. full of new cars from Japan just like your Subaru. We were on collision course with the ship so we decided size matters and chose to change course and go behind it. We radioed the captain and he agreed that was a good idea. Hope you guys are all good. Cheers Matt.

Repairs and R&R for the day
July 20 2015, Neutral Bay

Very peaceful quiet night spent anchored off Birkenhead Point marina. Spent most of the day sorting out some minor problems on the boat, including a dodgy wind instrument, which involved Matt going up the mast - hence the picture for today. Managed to find a Whitworths chandlery only a few hundred metres up the road, so managed to spend some dough there.
Evening spent in good company with friends JT & Jackie.
Stayingg the evening in Netral Bay, just south of the bridge with a view straight across to the Opera House. Back to Birkenhead Point tomorrow for more repairs and restocking.

Repairs and R&R for the day
July 20 2015, Neutral Bay

Very peaceful quiet night spent anchored off Birkenhead Point marina. Spent most of the day sorting out some minor problems on the boat, including a dodgy wind instrument, which involved Matt going up the mast - hence the picture for today. Managed to find a Whitworths chandlery only a few hundred metres up the road, so managed to spend some dough there.
Evening spent in good company with friends JT & Jackie.
Stayingg the evening in Netral Bay, just south of the bridge with a view straight across to the Opera House. Back to Birkenhead Point tomorrow for more repairs and restocking.

A more interesting view of Sydney Harbour Bridge
July 19 2015


Eden Sydney in good time
July 19 2015, Sydney Harbour

A brisk sail from Eden got us to Sydney in just under 29 hours. Autohelm did a fantastic job, getting top speed for the day of over 12 knots (sometime in the middle of a very dark night). Celebratory beers as we came through Sydney Heads. Just gone under the bridge now, heading for an anchorage in Birkenhead Point (pretty easy choice over a $132 a night marina berth there!).

Recovered, now we're off again
July 17 2015, East Boyd Bay, Eden

Spent the day at Eden, anchored in the bay on the southern side (hiding from some pretty insistent south westerly winds). After checking the weather, we've decided to head up to Sydney tomorrow, and wait for some good weather to sail to Lord Howe Island. Managed to grab some essential supplies from the town, so all set. Good night's sleep to come, then planning to head off at a time Sally considers reasonable (ie, not before 9am).

Fish & Chips at Eden
July 16 2015

Made it into Eden mid-afternoon. Miserable rainy weather to greet us. Happy to drop anchor for a little while. Rest, recovery and restocking to come.

Are we there yet?
July 15 2015, 6 miles south east of Gabo Island

Not quite. About 40 miles from Eden, so there around early afternoon. Fairly full on conditions overnight, then dodging giant ships in the shipping lane this morning. All okay - bit worn out. Just polished oh Matt's chicken curry for breakfast (was supposed to be last night's dinner). Beats corn flakes.
Believe it or not, you can just spot land near Gabo Island.

Half Way to Eden
Sally
July 14 2015, 60 Nautical Miles West of the Top of Flinders Is

Easy night last night, motoring most of the way. All feeling refreshed this morning after a very luxurious feeling shower (bit of a balancing act, but no injuries to report). Cuppas and toasted sandwiches for breakfast. Thinking we're about half way to Eden from our starting point at Schouten Is. This post is (hopefully) being brought to you, care of the friendly people at SailMail, and our recently acquired HF radio and modem (no internet mid Bass Strait).

Seriously under way
July 14 2015, Off the coast of St Helens

Good breeze behind us (for those who think 30 knots is good...). Matt's keen to report he got best speed of the day - 14.something knots. Not sure how the boat made it to that speed, with the huge amount of gear we've loaded up. Relegated to motor sailing at the moment, as the breeze dropped out. Currently we're about 10 miles east of St Helens. Should be at Eden sometime Thursday morning. Forecast for the rest of the trip looks reasonable.

Easy day
July 13 2015, Shouten Island

A take it easy/get organised day. No one even mentioned anything silly like going ashore and climbing hills. After much checking of the weather forecasts, the decision was made to head across Bass Strait tomorrow.

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