Elevation - World Adventures

An occasional blog covering our world circumnavigation.

09 November 2017 | Opua, New Zealand
07 November 2017 | Pacific
05 November 2017 | Pacific
05 November 2017 | Pacific
04 November 2017 | Pacific
03 November 2017 | Pacific
28 October 2017 | Pangaimotu, Togatapu
13 October 2017 | Pacific
10 October 2017 | Pacific
10 October 2017 | Pacific
09 October 2017 | Pacific
08 October 2017 | Pacific
07 October 2017 | Pacific
06 October 2017 | Pacific
05 October 2017 | Pacific
04 October 2017 | Pacific
02 October 2017 | Pacific
27 September 2017 | Pacific
27 September 2017 | Pacific
19 September 2017 | Bora Bora

Bound for BOI - Day 6

09 November 2017 | Opua, New Zealand
Jill
True to form, Huey IS delivering some challenging weather over the next 72 hours. The forecast & Gribs downloaded late on Wednesday afternoon showed that the predicted weekend frontal system has accelerated and is now due to hit Cape Reinga and the NE coast by mid Friday morning (ie our original ETA into Opua). The pre-frontal low is set to produce overnight southerly wind to 20 knots so we've decided to amp up to "Power Yachties" and use the iron sail to get us into harbour safely well beforehand. Coincidently, the only yacht we've seen - SV Ananda with Skipper David, a single hander onboard - called on VHF16 earlier today to share weather information. He mentioned that he had been advised by his weather service to detour SE to avoid the pre frontal conditions and to then tack back towards Opua once the wind swings SE in the morning. As of 2200 local time Wed, conditions were exactly as predicted with 15-20 on the nose. With swell just under 2 metres and the sea state reasonably comfortable, we surged ahead under motor plus 60% main and a steadying sliver of headsail. A very low band of cloud completely blanketed the moon and delivered constant light drizzle. On watch tonight we've opted to sit under the bimini where we can clearly see the instruments on the inside helm station; doing a visual check every 15 minutes to ensure everything is ok and any non AIS targets are spotted.

Sunup revealed a overcast and pale sky and a steel grey ocean, with a lumpy swell of around 2.5 M. We continued to beat into 15-20 knots of now SSE wind; uncomfortable but manageable conditions. The cloud cover began to break up just before 0900 and by 1000 hours there was vivid blue overhead & sunshine although the wind chill factor is positively "Antarctic". At 1152 we got our first look at the Land of the Long White Cloud; by 1414 we were inside NZ territorial waters with our Q flag raised. At 1745 we were alongside the Quarantine Dock at the Bay of Islands Marina enjoying the last of our Tahitian limes in a well deserved Dark & Stormy - Kia Ora NZ ..... we even made it in time to party with our FSC buddy Bruce!

Bound for BOI - Day 5

07 November 2017 | Pacific
Jill
With good wind and a 1 -1,5 M swell for most of Tuesday, we have managed to add a further 183 NM to this passage, placing us 225 NM away from the entrance to the Bay of Islands as at 0800 on 8 November. All going well, we should make landfall ahead of schedule sometime tomorrow afternoon. The Grib files show southerly wind to 20 knots for a period from early morning tomorrow - good old Huey delivering an absolutely not needed headwind - however it seems that this will dissipate as we get closer to land. We will know more later this afternoon when I obtain updated weather information and of course we are both wishing for more benign conditions and nothing on the nose! We will update NZ Border Security of our ETA as we draw closer although we are assuming that if we arrive after 1700 local time we are to just tie up at the separate (no shore access) Quarantine Dock at the BOI Marina and wait for officials to arrive the following morning.

We hit 32.3 degrees south at 0835 thus morning, making us parallel to Fremantle for the first time since November 2014. The days have been sunny with temps in the high teens to low 20s but it is bitterly cold at night and we have both resorted to piling on multiple layers of clothing plus wrapping up in one of our heavy cotton throws - very nursing home chic! Evening attire for me has been leggings, t-shirt, microfleece gilet, zip up hoodie, Freo beanie and my offshore jacket. Paul, who's feeling the cold a little more than me, is fashionably warm in shorts and t-shirt, trackie daks, windcheater, beanie, Freo scarf, his offshore jacket and a pair of very thick socks. Both outfits are accessorised with Crewsaver life jackets and personal MOB pendants; yep, we are serious escapees from the fashion police! Nights like these give hot bunking between watches a certain appeal - we've discovered that out at sea there's truly nothing better than snuggling down into a warm bed after being out on deck in the crisp southern air. The offshore sea temperature has plummeted to a mere 16.4C and my inner Miss Tahiti is seriously hoping that coastal waters will be warmer, or there will be little swimming this NZ summer.

All well onboard.

Bound for BOI - Day 4

05 November 2017 | Pacific
Jill
Monday turned out to be a slow, relaxing day. We continued motorsailing, using the energy generated to also do laundry and make water on the run. As well as having the opportunity to sit and chat about plans for our Kiwi stay, we are using this downtime to really top up our own batteries in readiness for any potential adverse weather as we approach the NZ coast. Watch keeping really messes with your body clock and even though you do get into a rhythm over the course of a long passage, any additional hiatus is a huge bonus.

Coming out on deck at midnight, I was amazed to see how absolutely calm it was - the ocean was literally like undulating molten glass, our wake being the only ripple on it's surface. The sky was clear and cloudless and the now almost oval moon blazed high above, the centrepiece of a scintillating cosmic display. As there was very little to do other than watch the miles drift by, I spent most of my watch stargazing and looking for satellites passing overhead. There has been no shipping traffic, and I've seen only one plane since leaving the anchorage at Tongatapu - it's truly incredible that we are the only ones out here in this moment witnessing these extraordinary conditions. This cruising life certainly delivers some awesome experiences.

Paul took over at 0400; at sunrise he caught a whisper of strengthening breeze and deployed the headsail. Soon after, the sky clouded over and there was a brief shower. I woke and we enjoyed warm zucchini slice and mugs of tea for breakfast. It's now 0800 and we've managed to cover a further 156NM at an average speed of 6.5 knots - pretty good going with such little wind assistance and periods of counter current. We are past the halfway mark and are pleased to be on track to meet our ETA.

All well onboard.

Bound for BOI - Day 3

05 November 2017 | Pacific
Jill
We're sitting in the midst of the still slow moving "BFH" and the wind has petered out to a 2 knot, very confused zephyr. The sea is glassy, the sky is clear and we are motorsailing in order to maintain SOG and make our landfall in Opua on Friday as scheduled. As I alluded to in a previous blog entry, planning for this southerly passage to NZ is quite intricate from a weather perspective and we are aware that there is a potential gale due to hit the Cape Reinga region on Saturday morning when we expect to be tucked up in our Bay of Islands Marina berth. Unlike sailing from Madagascar to South Africa, there is nowhere to hide once past Minerva Reef and speed is now of the essence; luckily we still maintain our powerboaters instinct of having fuel and being prepared to use it! We're currently cruising along at a steady 6.5 knots; as at 0800 this morning we were averaging 7.1 and had ticked off 488 NM of this 1029 NM voyage.

The air is crisp and cool, so much so that my Tahitian Monoi Tiki Tiare hair treatment, with such glorious viscosity when purchased at the market, has solidified. The conditions are actually perfect for motoring as the saloon is remaining at a comfortable ambient temperature even though the engine is pumping out plenty of heat. It's been necessary to pull out a heavy cotton blanket for nighttime sleeping and we have our feather doona, last used in Cape Town, ready and waiting to go. The freezer has now been decommissioned as we work our way through our passage meals; the vegetable locker has just enough by way of salad ingredients for three more lunches and the fridge will soon only contain the bare minimum. Other than a quick clean up which I will attend to as we transit the entrance to Opua, we are shipshape and ready for our NZ inspection.

All well onboard.

Bound for the BOI - Day 2

04 November 2017 | Pacific
Jill
The weather has been great - good, steady wind at 15-20 knots from the east and now ESE combined with a moderate southerly swell of 1-2 M providing perfect sailing conditions. Elevation has been romping along, cracking 7s, 8s and even the occasional 9 - she is clearly loving the opportunity to pick up her skirts and has delivered an average speed of 7.2 knots for the 24 hours to 0800 this morning. The water temperature continues to lower - it's now registering at 21.3 degrees and "Miss Tahiti" is seriously wondering how we will be able to cope with swimming once we arrive in NZ after all our time in the tropics.

It's always intriguing to see how colours change as we roam around this beautiful planet - the sky is now powdery & pale where it kisses the ocean on the horizon, deepening to a vibrant southern summer blue overhead; the sea is a velvety, deep sapphire shade. The still full moon lightens the night and as the cloud cover has almost disappeared, the sky reflects the vibrancy of the cosmos.

All well onboard.

Bound for the BOI - Day 1

03 November 2017 | Pacific
Jill
Planning originally to leave Tonga on 31/10, we've been patiently waiting and watching for what Bob McDavitt called a "Big Fat High" to drift off, opening a good weather window for our passage to the Bay of Islands. The passage to New Zealand is a tricky one from a weather perspective and there has been significant discussion amongst everyone at Big Mama's as to the best way to manage it - some, like us, are opting to head directly to Opua whilst others are planning a short stop at Minerva Reef. We determined that Friday morning was good for us so at 0930 we raised the anchor and motorsailed the long 15NM out of Nuku'Alofa Harbour and out into the open sea. Clearing the protection of the island, we encountered some very boisterous conditions for the first 15 hours as we slowly escaped the clutches of the squash zone that has been sitting over Tonga for several days. A squash zone is a weather event that we have only just become acquainted with - it's a compression of isobars that occurs in tropical southerly highs over 1030mb which results in 30 knot plus winds and 3 meter seas. It's the weather we were caught in on our passage to Vava'u and something that we are not keen on ever experiencing again! Conditions eased overnight and this morning and as at 0800 local time today we had covered 145NM at an average speed of 6.44 knots.

The full moon was a welcome friend in the night as it peeked out from the intermittent cloud cover. It's getting much cooler as we head further south, in fact the water temperature has dipped from over 25 degrees to 23.2 in the space of a day. We're starting to rug up at night and as we continue this passage, I'm sure the layering will become much more pronounced .... assuming that we can find enough cold weather clothing! We've got plenty of rib sticking food to keep us warm - beef in red wine, some braised lamb shanks, a chicken paella, a couple of pasta dishes and plenty of soup. We'll be dining like royalty as we empty our fridge and freezer in anticipation of our inspection by NZ Biosecurity on arrival.

All well onboard.

---------- radio email processed by SailMail for information see: http://www.sailmail.com
Vessel Name: Elevation
Vessel Make/Model: Buizen 48 Mark II
Hailing Port: Fremantle, Western Australia
Crew: Paul & Jill
About:
After deciding to live our dream of sailing the world, one day at a time, we left home in April 2010. Since then, we've cruised the West Australian coast, the Kimberley, Northern Territory to Darwin, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. [...]
Extra: When we're at sea, we are contactable via a slow speed Email service we access through our HF radio. If you wish to touch base, send a message to vnw5919@sailmail.com. No photos or attachments though, as they won't transmit!
Home Page: http://nococonuts.wix.com/sv-elevation
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