02Jun2012, Coral Sea 23 49S 163 56E
We are now (Saturday afternoon) about 150 NM from the barrier reef that surrounds southern New Caledonia. Still plugging to windward at a good speed but we think one leg is getting longer than the other after being on a decent heel for 5 days. The swells are pretty benign at 1 to 1.5 metres now, much less than previous days, and Destiny is handling the voyage quite nicely. Other than routine stuff like checking sails, water tanks, and general housekeeping, we have plenty of time for reading, Sudoku, and watching movies. Radio Australia is unfortunately keeping us up to date on politics at home. Our new wind generator is proving to be much better than the one it replaced - in current conditions we are getting 10 to 14 amps, more in stronger breezes. It's looking likely (unless the wind turns to the East earlier than expected) that we'll be inside the lagoon tomorrow evening. Cheers to all
31May2012, Coral Sea 26 34S 161 50E
It's Friday morning and the conditions are a little more civillised. Swell is about 2 - 2.5m and wind is ESE at 20 - 23kn. We are heading to windward which is never ideal but we are stable enough to read, cook, watch movies on the iPad and the new enclosed rigid cockpit cover is keeping us dry inside - Shauna's wearing sheepskin slippers and looking pretty relaxed. Looks likely to be Noumea Sunday overnight or Monday during the morning.
28May2012, Coral Sea
It's Wednesday morning now and we left Coffs Monday mid-afternoon, The first night was a mixed bag: 30-35 knots from SSW and then later very little breeze, so we lost a bit of time there. We are making up for that now with good boat speed 7.5 to 8.0 knots, very quick for Destiny. It looks like being forward of the beam most of the way, which normally gentlemen won't do but it's not a terrible motion at all, and we are making good Easting prior to turning NE at week's end. Too rough for trolling a lure, or at least too rough to land anything substantial at the transom.
27May2012, Leaving Coffs Harbour
We have a good 20 to 25 knot SE breeze that looks likely to stay that way for a few days. We will head off later this morning after Stuart the friendliest Customs officer in the country signs us out. Later in the week we expect that the slow moving high will catch up with us and we will then be on its top edge - meaning contrary, Easterly winds for the last day or two. To get around that we will probably head a little East of the rhum line and then turn NE as the wind shifts around to the East. Well, that's the plan anyway!
It's odd, we feel like we're much later than usual getting away but looking at last time's log we didn't fill our tanks until June 6 and here we are a week or more earlier than that.
We'll try to put up a post every day or two, and hope to be in Noumea by next Sunday.
Cheers to all, and specia thanks to the girls at the clinic who loaned us their cars so we could get around to the supermarkets and so on. And a very special thanks to Peter the Duck for last minute help with the scupper drain (we wanted it clear so the flying fish could block it up again).
21May2012, Coffs Harbour
For the sailors amongst you, we thought we'd let you know what's going on meteorologically. Right now there is a big, diesel-sucking complex high pressure system over Eastern Australia, which is basically giving us fine, mild and sunny weather. But it is unfortunately at the same time killing all useful wind.
So to leave heading NE at the moment would mean heading into the wind and a very weak wind at that. Meaning motoring for several days. Not what we want to do.
Next thing, we are going to get a trough and associated low as the high passes East - this low will bring up 25 - 30 knot winds and 4 to 5 metre seas: we never willingly set off in those sort of conditions.
So we think we'll just have to bite our tongues, sit tight and hop on the Southerly winds that follow the low as it passes Eastwards, as soon as the seas moderate a bit. Trouble is ridiculously easy to find at sea if you're impatient, even without going out looking for it.
Incidentally, a boat called "Taloha" left this morning for Noumea, and I just ran a passage simulation for his course on Buoyweather, and it shows him with no useful or fair breeze for at least 96 hours - less than 15 knots and on the nose - for a big flat-bottomed modern sloop as he is this will mean motoring for three-quarters of his way to Noumea. By the way, "Taloha" is the old "Sunboy" rebadged. Anyone who has followed our blog may remember "Sunboy" as the big Hanse that came from New Caledonia to Coffs Harbour at the same time as us in 2010 and who suffered some rigging failures on passage. The renamed boat has new owners.
Cheers, and we'll try to keep you posted as the Wx unfolds.
John and Shauna
21May2012, Coffs Harbour
We are not hard to please, we just want to be safe and comfortable. The weather offshore here has been close to dead calm this last week, and it looks like we will have a short period of very strong winds and 4 to 5 metre seas between us and favourable conditions for going to Noumea. So we are catching up with friends, doing routine maintenance, getting provisions and meeting new cruising friends. No rush!
The girls from the clinic and their guys asked us to go out to dinner last Friday at a terrific pub restaurant at the Coast Hotel - top food, good prices, and great company: everybody in Coffs seems to be so relaxed!
Back in the marina: Dale and Paula are Americans on "Sunrise" and they are hanging out for a good S to SE breeze, like us, to go to Noumea - we will probably leave at roughly the same time as they do and we are likely to travel at the same sort of speed.
We had lunch today with Bruce and Kay Gilchrist of "Plum Loco", whom we met in Port Vila two years ago. They are locals here, at Bonville, and have a really nice home in a bushland setting (Bruce is a builder) and they really looked after us well - Kay is a fantastic cook.
Other recent friends Julie and Ian on another "Destiny" just left to motor north to Southport and on to Brisbane. They were great company here in the marina.
Please excuse the time between entries - I didn't think my rough language while doing toilet maintenance and oil changes was really of much general interest!
11May2012, Off Cape Hawke
We were up at 0500 today, and dropped the mooring off Nelson Bay beach, quietly motoring out at 0600 with the early morning lobstermen and early charter fishermen. We have had a really very pleasant sail up the coast from there - averaging 5.5 knots in 10 knots of SSW breeze and a blessedly benign 1.5 metre swell. The angle has been a bit far aft to be really what Destiny likes, but consistent enough to avoid too much boom bumping and sail slatting.
The sun is shining, clouds are few, and a large pod of at least 50 dolphins has been shadowing us for an hour or so, riding expertly but effortlessly in the bow wave. There seem to be quite a few youngsters amongst them and it's a very active group.
So far the south-setting East Coast Current hasn't been too troublesome. It's often quite problematic on this part of the coast. We have been keeping a course quite close in to the coast so that may explained the only weak counter-current as it tends to be stronger a bit farther out.
The chart plotter says we should be in Coffs around lunch tomorrow or sooner. Arriving in daylight will be a bonus if that's how it works out.
Cheers for now.