Bound for Australia

Vessel Name: Sirius
30 November 2013
30 November 2013 | Coffs Harbour
30 November 2013 | On route New Cal to Oz
30 November 2013 | Noumea
23 November 2013
19 November 2013 | Vanuatu
28 October 2013 | Erromango, Vanuatu
28 October 2013 | Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu
17 October 2013 | Mt Yasur, Tanna, Vanuatu
16 October 2013 | Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu
16 October 2013 | Vanuatu Group
16 October 2013 | Fiji
01 October 2013
23 September 2013 | Tonga
23 September 2013 | Tonga
23 September 2013 | Tonga
18 September 2013 | Tonga
09 September 2013 | Nuie a very small country
09 September 2013 | Suwarrow
09 September 2013 | Suwarrow Atoll Cook Is
Recent Blog Posts
30 November 2013

The Last Leg to Bundabah

Anchored off our land in Bundabah November 21 - to be concluded

30 November 2013 | Coffs Harbour

Arrived Australia Sunday 10th November 2013

It's good to be home at last

30 November 2013 | On route New Cal to Oz

The Last Passage

With winds coming from the south southeast it made heading south quite difficult and not particularly pleasant but we continued staying as close to our desired course as possible. Once again it took a couple of days for most of us to find our sea legs, though Andrew never seems to loose his. Having Scott [...]

30 November 2013 | Noumea

New Caledonia

After spending the Friday night at anchor in the main Noumea bay we were lucky enough to secure a pontoon in the marina and were nicely tied up just in time for Scott, Mark and Jayden's arrival. Scott is my brother, Jayden is his son and Mark is my sister Patricia's youngest son. They joined us to do [...]

23 November 2013

On the way to New Caledonia

On to New Caledonia – the last stop before Australian waters: We waited about 5 days for a weather opportunity to move on to New Caledonia, along with a dozen or so boats heading South, almost all to New Zealand, but a few going our way. By late November, the Summer cyclone/typhoon season comes to the tropics including Vanuatu and New Caledonia, so by late October, all the cruising boats get ready to move on, most South to New Zealand, or some Australia, but a few also head North back across the Equator to Indonesia or the Philippines. We left on Tuesday 22nd October, which would get us into Noumea, Capital of New Caledonia, and the only port of entry by Friday with any luck, in time to meet 3 more family guests there on Saturday 26th. We had been more or less heading West since Panama with the prevailing winds, but now had to make 340 miles to the South West. For a while it looked like we would not be able to sail this way at all, and would have to make the long journey around the top of New Caledonia adding 200 miles to the trip and lots of motoring, but finally the wind had just enough East in it to let us sail to Noumea direct, although this was our first passage sailing into the wind since Belize back in March. We made good enough time to come through the outer islands of New Caledonia on Friday morning and get into Noumea Harbour by sunset. The Harbour was to our surprise packed with hundreds of sailing boats, most at anchor as the two small marinas were overflowing. Who they all were and where they were all going we never really found out. We worried that arriving after hours on a Friday would cause all the usual problems with officials, but not here – this is part of France and the EU, so everything is helpful, easy going and free. The photo is our Halloween party onboard - explanation in the next blog from Noumea.

19 November 2013 | Vanuatu

Port Vila

Just 20 minutes out of Port Vila we had drawn a complete blank on the fishing. This was a big disappointment to Margaret, who was very keen to catch just something ahead of brother Mark and uncle Scott coming onboard in Noumea. Then fish on and the reel buzzed. Margaret hauled it in, Warren gaffed [...]

The Last Leg to Bundabah

30 November 2013
AJ
Anchored off our land in Bundabah November 21 - to be concluded

Arrived Australia Sunday 10th November 2013

30 November 2013 | Coffs Harbour
Carolyn/Cloudy and Wet
It's good to be home at last

The Last Passage

30 November 2013 | On route New Cal to Oz
Carolyn/varied
With winds coming from the south southeast it made heading south quite difficult and not particularly pleasant but we continued staying as close to our desired course as possible. Once again it took a couple of days for most of us to find our sea legs, though Andrew never seems to loose his. Having Scott and Mark to help share the watches gave us a lot more sleep then we had been having in the more recent passages.
The boys continued to fish and caught about 5 good sized tuna keeping 2 and releasing the rest, so fish was on the menu again.
The main highlight of the fishing though was when Scott had a big marlin on, I saw it come out of the water about 6 times and almost skip across the water, unfortunately the excitement was short lived as it snapped the line after a few minutes.
Jayden also has a story about the one that got away, upon hearing his rod whizz out, Scott made sure he was strapped to the boat and Jayden starting reeling the fish in, we could see it was a big Mahi Mahi when it was about 10 metres from the boat it did a huge twist and broke the line. Jayden was a little upset to say the least, maybe that would have been the biggest yet.
We kept a close eye on the weather forecasts, by Wednesday we had decided to skip Lord Howe and go directly to Sydney because the weather at Lord Howe looked a bit dodgy and we didn't want to get caught there waiting for another weather window.
As family members were expecting to hear from us upon arrival in Lord Howe we sent them an email of our changed plans. We then got news that my sister Patricia whom had been battling cancer for sometime, was seriously ill in hospital, so we headed for Coffs Harbour as it was the fastest way we could get to see her. Very sadly we received news that she died that evening. We were lucky enough to have been able to talk to her via the satellite phone, which is something I am very grateful of.
We continued for Coffs Harbour, having one becalmed day where the sea was glassy smooth, we stopped the engine and had a swim in the ocean which was 4000 metres deep. That was the calm before the storm.
We then had the worst 24 hours of the entire journey, with washing machine waves around 3 to 4 metres and winds up to 40kts, it was quite scary at times. We arrived in Coffs very early Sunday 10th.
Customs were very good and the checkin was faster then expected.

New Caledonia

30 November 2013 | Noumea
Carolyn/sunny with showers and wind
After spending the Friday night at anchor in the main Noumea bay we were lucky enough to secure a pontoon in the marina and were nicely tied up just in time for Scott, Mark and Jayden's arrival. Scott is my brother, Jayden is his son and Mark is my sister Patricia's youngest son. They joined us to do the final leg to Australia with high expectations and hopes of beating the biggest catch so far (Margaret's 12.7 kg wahoo).
We had a reminder of the wonderful Polynesian dancing with a festival in the main square on the Saturday evening along with plenty of Polynesian food. On the Sunday we did some snorkelling and saw a huge variety of sea life and corals. The boys were readying their fishing gear for the journey and eager to be underway but once again the weather kept us in port for a few extra days. After doing some final provisioning we decided to go out to a small island to wait for the weather there but after doing some more snorkelling and exploring the coral cay we took shelter in a protected bay where we spent another two nights. Here Mark caught his first fish a Mangrove Jack which we had BBQed on the beach, I must mention that Jayden caught a good sized trevally in the marina afew days before which he let go and Scott collected quite a few oysters.
We had a fun Halloween party onboard with everyone wearing get costumes and playing traditional games such as apple bobbing. Sophia and Cameron especially loved having their cousin Jayden onboard they were also very happy spending time with their cousin Mark and Uncle Scott as well.
The weather showed some improvement and we left New Caledonia on Saturday 2nd November bound for Lord Howe island then on route to Sydney.
The boys had their rods out as we sailed through the pass and they both caught a good sized tuna each within the first hour of sailing.

On the way to New Caledonia

23 November 2013
AJ
On to New Caledonia – the last stop before Australian waters: We waited about 5 days for a weather opportunity to move on to New Caledonia, along with a dozen or so boats heading South, almost all to New Zealand, but a few going our way. By late November, the Summer cyclone/typhoon season comes to the tropics including Vanuatu and New Caledonia, so by late October, all the cruising boats get ready to move on, most South to New Zealand, or some Australia, but a few also head North back across the Equator to Indonesia or the Philippines. We left on Tuesday 22nd October, which would get us into Noumea, Capital of New Caledonia, and the only port of entry by Friday with any luck, in time to meet 3 more family guests there on Saturday 26th. We had been more or less heading West since Panama with the prevailing winds, but now had to make 340 miles to the South West. For a while it looked like we would not be able to sail this way at all, and would have to make the long journey around the top of New Caledonia adding 200 miles to the trip and lots of motoring, but finally the wind had just enough East in it to let us sail to Noumea direct, although this was our first passage sailing into the wind since Belize back in March. We made good enough time to come through the outer islands of New Caledonia on Friday morning and get into Noumea Harbour by sunset. The Harbour was to our surprise packed with hundreds of sailing boats, most at anchor as the two small marinas were overflowing. Who they all were and where they were all going we never really found out. We worried that arriving after hours on a Friday would cause all the usual problems with officials, but not here – this is part of France and the EU, so everything is helpful, easy going and free. The photo is our Halloween party onboard - explanation in the next blog from Noumea.

Port Vila

19 November 2013 | Vanuatu
AJ
Just 20 minutes out of Port Vila we had drawn a complete blank on the fishing. This was a big disappointment to Margaret, who was very keen to catch just something ahead of brother Mark and uncle Scott coming onboard in Noumea. Then fish on and the reel buzzed. Margaret hauled it in, Warren gaffed it and Carolyn was on camera. A 12.7 kg wahoo – our biggest fish yet by 2.5 kg, and a good target to beat. The downside is we were still eating it a week later, even after giving away the head and tail. We tucked into the harbour and behind a small resort island where we picked up a mooring buoy from Yachting World, the local boaters ‘can do’ people who run a bar, restaurant, laundry, moorings and anything else you need. To get there we had to go under the power lines, which are charted at 18 metres, but according to the latest pilot book have been raised to 28 m. We had carefully measured the mast again in Erromango – 23 m from water level to top of the mast and thankfully did not cause a blackout. Warren and Margaret had had a day here already on the way to Tanna, so knew their way around. We restocked at the markets, and had - fish for lunch. The next day we rented hobie cat dinghies from the island resort and spent a couple of hours sailing round the bay, finishing with a race home – it is better not to say whether Cameron or Sophia’s team won. In the afternoon we went parasailing. Then our last night was spent at a Vanuatu feast on the small island resort next to our mooring, where we had cocktails round the pool and a local food buffet. Margaret was keen to try Kava - the local witches brew drink made from crushed roots of the kava plant. It is a very popular drink from Tonga all the way to here with groups of men sitting round camp fires drinking it and then doing not really much else. It looks like muddy ditchwater, and sorry to say tastes just like it too - an acquired taste no doubt. After our good byes, we had a few days in Port Vila looking for weather to head South, but the kids had a great time playing with the kids on Pacific Bliss. We all headed out on their boat to a nearby bay for a swim and to watch the local circus act at the restaurant on the beach. Then we caught the bus back into town for Pizza. All the kids did a show onboard the next evening, which included alot of acrobatics inspired by the circus acts. Now final shopping before heading to Noumea, New Caledonia.

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Sirius's Photos -

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