Arrived in Australia
24 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
Well we made it.....just. We arrived in to Moreton Bay at dawn on Friday the 25th May 2012. 30 miles of Cape Moreton , in a fresh 20 -25 knots Nor easterly our Starboard rudder gave up the ghost as well, we dropped the sails and motored in , thankful that we had two motors allowing us to still steer to some degree, although it was a pretty wonky course. We had our drogue ready to deploy to assist our steering if required , but ended up only requiring to tow a couple of knotted mooring lines on the leeward hull to keep us pointing roughly the right way. Needless to say there was no sleep on Thursday night for anyone. There was a definite sigh of relief as we cruised into the protected waters behind Moreton Island. We had notified Brisbane Harbour of our problems , who had in turn alerted the Water Police who were standing by , in case we needed any assistance , a very reassuring thing , but thankfully not required. We stopped at Tangalooma and I made a jury rigged steering system , using an emergency rudder handle and some strap and rope, connected back to the helm. The water was freezing , and because we had mainly been diving in tropical waters I only had a Shark skin top. The water temp was 19 degrees , everywhere else we had been up till we left Tonga was around 29 degrees, it was a bit of a shock . The air temp was only about 12 and it was raining and blowing, I have never shivered so hard in my life.... but the steering worked although a little vague. We made our way up the Brisbane River and arrived at the customs dock at Rivergate Marina at 1.40 pm local time Friday 25th of May. Customs and quarantine was relatively painless, and .. guess what ? they let us keep our bamboo pole, But we had to give them all our fresh food. We stayed there Friday night , and Nicholas my son , came and joined us for a beer and dinner. Saturday morning we headed off for Hope island Marina on the Gold Coast, where we arrived at about 5.45 pm. We were greeted there , by Danny and Angela ( Adams Parents ) , Sandra & Nicholas , and Jenny and John ( Also Steve & Leanne). It is great to be back in Australia , and as soon as we have repaired the rudders and paid our import duties ,we will be sailing back to Maclean , hopefully with our full crew, Sally Troy Adam & myself , maybe even a couple of extras
22 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
We are just over 300 miles out from Brisbane !! The weather has been very good on this passage so far. We caught another Maui Maui today , so have hung up the fishing line for a while . Fresh fish 5 out of the last 6 days is sure a welcome change. We are sailng at around 6 knots , 260 degrees True with the jib poled out on our bamboo pole, which sadly we probably will not be able to bring into Australia . Tomorrow we may have to start getting things ship shape for our arrival . We are still thinking we will be in Brisbane Friday sometime. We have to go straight to the quarantine dock , I am not sure for how long. I think I can feel a 4X coming on.
Heading for home !
20 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
Well we are just 560 miles from Brisbane , seas are flat and the sun is shining. The breeze is a little light , but better that than too strong. We have been eating fresh fish with brown rice everyday for the past 4 days , but now we have run out of fish again . The hooks got straightened yesterday and we did not even notice , so today I have tied a line to the ships bell, so hopefully we will catch something. Weather forecast looks OK up till Friday , hopefully it stays that way !!Our ETA is Friday arvo, so hopefully murphy will keep well clear in the meantime .Looking forward to catching up with everyone soon. Doug & Adam.
Tonga to Australia
15 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
Friday the 11th May. We planned to depart Tonga today,.... however , after getting organised and clearing customs and immigration , we picked up the anchor . Only to discover we had a old mooring line wrapped on our starboard prop. I dived under and undid the line while Adam held the boat of the shore using the dinghy like a tug. After that we headed for the fuel dock. We approached slowly as their was a small local fishing boat also on the wharf, between us and a larger boat tied up. I got alongside and put both motors into reverse to stop. Oh shit.. the starboard motor was stuck in forward . You should have seen the fishermans eyes bulge as 47ft of boat started charging at him , only to pull up inches short thanks to the port motor reversing as requested. The morse cable in the control housing had come out of its bracket. phew a close shave,but all OK. At that stage we were starting to believe that leaving on a Friday for a voyage was indeed bad luck. We met some KIwis on the fuel dock who were heading to a small bay outside the harbour called Big Mommas , place , we gave them a lift over to their boat and anchored for the night. We went into Big Mommas to spend our last few Tongan dollars on food and beer. We met some more KIwis in there and had a great night , ending up on a boat called Beviamo drinking home made rum with Ross Steve Prickle and Jill, it was a great night, but not such a flash Saturday morning. We eventually pulled anchor and set sail with one reef in the main. Sunday conditions were getting lighter , so we took the reef out. I noticed the helm seemed unresponsive and we were getting a lot of weather helm. On monday we pulled the sails down and I put on the snorkel gear to check the rudders, the port rudder was snapped off in the rudder tube !!! This means it is still there but not connected to the steering anymore . Looks like we will be sailing reefed for a while, so the starboard rudder wont get overloaded. We have only made 390 miles in the last 3 days 600 more to New Caledonia. Adam and I are doing 4 hour shifts , which were a bit tough at first , but I think we are adapting to them Ok. Seas are flat at the moment, and the weather forecast seems good for the next few days. Just on dark I caught an 80 cm Maui Maui ,so we are having Maui fillets with mashed sweet potatoes for tea , tomorrow night fish and brown rice (especially for Sal)
10 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
We arrived in Vavau around 4pm on Sunday the 6th May (we have just crossed the dateline).We got slammed last night by a squall which turned into prevailing winds of 30-40kts. We lost as sail batten, and got a small tear in the mainsail, not to mention a rude awakening at 4 .30 am. Once we had 2 reefs in the main and the jib , we cruised along happily at 8-11 kts. Vavau has an excellent natural harbour well protected on all sides , and is a good cyclone anchorage. We called at the Aquarium Cafe , and met Mike & Lori , who were very hospitable. Check in at Vavau took 3-1/2 hrs on Monday . Sally got on the internet and booked her flight out of Tonga tapu (160 miles south) for Thursday. We cleared customs on Tuesday morning checked out some amazing caves as we left Vavau, we took the dinghy in to one of them, most impressive. We arrived at Nuku alofa on Tongatapu at about 9.30 am wednesday morning after a good nights sailing. We hired a car , as the airport is 21 kms away . We got an old Toyota Corolla for $70 TOP (about $50 aus) for the day. Petrol is $3 TOP per litre.We went out for a polynesian feast and show in a cave on the beach at Lavengatonga. It was very impressive , although the weather was ordinary, rain and wind. On thursday we drove Sally too the airport to say our farewells , the crew is now back to 2. Friday we are clearing customs , getting some fuel and heading New Caledonia, maybe non stop to Australia depending on the weather.
Aitutaki to Tonga
01 May 2012 | South Pacific Ocean
We departed the narrow channel from Aitutaki lagoon in the cook Islands after only 2 days. It is a delightful Island with very friendly people. I could have happily spent a couple of weeks or longer there exploring the extensive lagoon , diving , fishing, they even had a nice little 9 hole golf course .Unfortunately we are already well behind schedule , so we only managed a cursory look at the Island , cleaned and organised the boat , got some good sleep , bought some meat fruit and veg and left 2pm Monday afternoon on the rising tide. Departure tax was $55 per person and it cost $5 per night to anchor in the small harbour. Apparently you are not allowed to anchor in the lagoon. The weather on our first afternoon was reasonable , with 20 -25 knots of breeze , we are running with one reef in the main and a poled out Jib , we made 188 nautical miles in our first 24 hrs averaging just under 8 knots . 632 miles to Tonga !