Wetnose

S/Y Wetnose

Who: Don & Roslyn Eigler, Jim & Pat Whiting
Port: Gibraltar
06 July 2013 | Toau Atoll, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
01 June 2013 | East of New Zealand
25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
02 November 2011 | Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ
01 November 2011 | Opua, Bay of Islands, NZ
30 October 2011 | Noumea to Opua
15 October 2011 | New Caledonia
13 October 2011 | Ile Ouen, New Caledonia
05 October 2011 | Ile Nemou, New Caledonia
03 October 2011 | Baie de Santol, Lifou, New Caledonia
29 September 2011 | Moulle Island, Ouvea atoll, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
24 September 2011 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
18 September 2011 | Mele Island, Vanuatu
17 September 2011 | Moulle Island, Ouvea atoll, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
16 September 2011 | Port Vila, Vanuatu
16 September 2011 | Port Vila Harbor
11 July 2011 | 24 hours sail W of Fiji
11 July 2011 | 24 hours sail W of Fiji

Leaving Fakarava

06 July 2013 | Toau Atoll, Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia
Jim
We had some good days in Fakarava Atoll in the Tuamotus, but the last two were not among them...we had anchored near the south pass hoping to do the dive with sharks in the pass...rave reviews from our friends. We arrived late in the day, but found a spot to anchor and went to bed. In the morning the skies were gray and rainy, and the wind had switched to mostly northerly blowing 20-30 knots against a very near lee shore. We spent another very uncomfortable 24 hours trying to keep our snubber from chafing through as 1 meter wind waves heaved our bow heavily. By the middle of the next night the wind moderated and backed to easterly, but it was still gray and rainy, so we decided to head back north and out to our next destination. It took most of the day and a 1-hour SCUBA dive to sort out the mess the low coral heads had made of our chain, but by 6pm we were at a nice anchorage along the eastern motu about half-way up Fakarava. Yesterday morning we weighed anchor at 5am and set off for the little false pass at the north end of Toau Atoll, where we are now. It's a very pretty spot, and well-protected from the sea except from the north. This morning we even have had a glimpse of the sun! Winds still SE 20-30, but we're snug and comfortable so we plan to stay here until the enhanced trades die off a bit (Tuesday?) before moving on the Rangaroa, and from there to Tahiti by July 14th.

Go!

01 June 2013 | East of New Zealand
Jim
We've been at sea almost 48 hours. Conditions our first day were wonderful, with slight seas, 12 knts wind on the stbd quarter and a bright moon. We're taking 3-hour watches, so with 4 of us we each have two watches per day with 9 hours off in between. Don has 12-3, I have 3-6, Pat 6-9 and Judith 9-12. If we get tired of the same hours we'll change later on, but Pat gets pretty tired after 9 at night, and loves the morning, so this is a good way to start.

We started by sailing nearly due east, but last night we turned to the south east to avoid the worst of a low pressure system that is predicted to pass our path in about 3 days. No doubt we'll still experience gale conditions for about 24 hours, but after that we should have wind in the right direction to get us a good way toward French Polynesia.

Life aboard our first 48 hours has been pleasant. Yesterday at 1 pm local time Pat was watching episode 4, season 1 of Mad Men, I'd just had a nice shower (but no shave on this trip!), Don was on watch, and Judith was in her cabin reading or sleeping. Her lasagna our first night was wonderful, together with Pat's fresh salad! We'll pull another pre-made dinner out of the freezer tonight.

We've had trouble making contact with the sat phone, but finally figured out that the satellite is probably blocked by the mast. The satellite is over the equator to the north, the antenna is on the starboard spreader, and we're sailing East! Now that we've headed down (to a more southerly course) the satellite has come into view and all is well.

Last night the wind quit at the beginning of my watch, so we rolled up the sails and ran the engine for 3 hours. When Pat cam on watch at 6 am there was enough wind to sail, which we love because the sails steady the boat in the rolly seas. Pat was able to make delicious scrambled egg and cheese burritos before the wind quit again, and we were back to rolling our way southeast.

Get set...

25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
Jim
We're leaving Gulf Harbour in an hour, bound for Auckland. We'll meet Judith there at the Customs dock, clear out, and head for sea!!!

Get set...

25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
Jim
We're leaving Gulf Harbour in an hour, bound for Auckland. We'll meet Judith there at the Customs dock, clear out, and head for sea!!!

Getting Ready!

25 May 2013 | Gulf Harbour Marina, New Zealand
Jim
The crew of the good ship Wetnose has her nearly ready to drop the dock lines and head due east! We're looking for a weather window to get us started on the right tack, so to speak. We'll try to keep this blog as up to date as we can, but don't expect to hear anything for the first 2 weeks after we leave. Our first destination is Raivavae in the Austral Islands. To get there we'll sail about 2000 miles along 36 degrees south, trying to find a happy medium between the roaring 40s and the adverse winds of the southeast trade winds. Aboard will be Don Eigler, co-owner of Wetnose and Director, Fellow and leader of the ruling council of the Wetnose Institute for Advanced Pelagic Studies, Pat Whiting, First Mate extraordinaire, our dear friend and world cruiser Judith Turrell, and me, your humble captain Jim.

A Morning's Adventure, and Recolocation

02 November 2011 | Russell, Bay of Islands, NZ
Stacy
A morning¬'s adventure, and relocation (November 2nd ) ¬- The goal was to leave Wetnose before 8am. As one might expect, coffee was downed, sunglasses found, shoes and hats abound, and into the dinghy ¬- time 07:56. Mission accomplished! First stop, flat whites and a bite at the yachtie¬'s caf√© down the way. As Jim poured over the chart on his ipad (how modern!), we sipped our brews and looked out over the marina with that knowing look of many miles traveled. We saw John, the rallye leader, who asked why we missed the pot luck. When he heard, he played the smallest of violins and said with a gleam in his eye that we missed a grand party. With a new bergie in hand from Windflower, we jumped into the car and rounded the bend (look right, stay left) to the ferry terminal where we rolled across the bay to Russell.

Russell, better known as the ¬"gateway to hell¬" is the home of the second oldest sport fishing club, the Swordfish Club. To the right of the front door is an even more important landmark, Russell Radio, home of the mysterious voices that make mariners feel safe for miles around. So, what were they curious about? Avalon and the Tuna Club (the oldest sport fishing club). Walking through Russell is like a stroll into history. The ficus tree adjoining the policeman¬'s residence was 130 years old; the buildings are white-washed; the walking streets lined with flowers and moss-covered, shade-bearing trees are opposite the Marlborough Hotel that screams, ¬"come have a gin and tonic¬". Birds don¬'t bother to move when you walk up to them; garage doors open to the side ¬- like a roll-top desk; and I¬'m thinking it must be early because the streets are so quiet I¬'m encouraged to whisper as I walk. I was struck by the memorial to war veterans (WWI and II) and the canon that still looks out to sea, ¬"just in case.¬"

We meandered both sides of the strand and I found myself thinking about how people must have walked up and down that path in white frocks and parasols. During the high season, I¬'m sure this place rocks ¬- why else would the head of police be given a home in the middle of the block?!

Inside the Russell Museum, there¬'s a 1:5 scale replica of Cook¬'s Endeavor. Never mind that there¬'s no anchor, and some of the lines don¬'t go anywhere, it¬'s still a great model. Who knew it drew greater depth than Wetnose?! With no opening ports and no fresh water showers, I don¬'t think I¬'d want to stay below decks for long, but the captain¬'s cabin did look to have nice windows looking aft. We weren¬'t allowed to take any photos, as the artifacts came from the community and ¬'folks don¬'t want to see their family artifacts on the Internet,¬' said the curator. The shark jaws and the greenstone weapons were quite startling in quality.

We wondered uphill to Flagstaff, where there is a flag pole¬... that¬'s been cut down 4 times. We¬'re told all that nasty misunderstanding is far behind the town and the Maori, so it should be safe to visit now. The views of the bay are breathtaking! Just opposite is an amazing sundial with a map of the bay done in mosaic. I could almost pick out Wetnose in the distance!

Wait, what¬'s that under my feet making a crunching sound. It¬'s not just any shells used to make that driveway¬... there are oysters in Russell! One MUST explore this further! Come on, Jim, take that right turn down the narrow path and let¬'s see what we can find. Ah, the briny scent of oysters and the fine energy of men at work shucking. Can you say ¬"lunch?!¬" Throw a few dozen on ice and let¬'s catch the ferry. Through the down pour ¬- I didn¬'t see the rain coming - and back onto the ferry we hustled, to return the car on time. Oops, had to run back through Paihia to find gas, then, back for a flat white or soda. I¬'m loving the local brews ¬- sparkling lemon, lime and bitters; and some fruit that I can¬'t remember. Thirst quenching and delicious!

Back on board, we realized that we couldn¬'t shove off without some sustenance. With a delightful salad on the side (so we look like we¬'re being healthy) we had the oysters and a Number One (local brew from Noumea). So having oysters requires some explanation. First we took out all the hot sauce options on board. Then Jim had to show Dave and Joel how ¬'it¬'s really done.¬' The meaty morsels were flavorful and yearned for the lime and lemon juice to perfectly accentuate their deliciousness. I knew that to keep the peace on board, the last should be left to the captain. Good thing, and just in time, as the last little oyster was trying to tear itself in two or is it four?

Now we¬'re ready to lift anchor and meander off to Rangihoua Bay where we dropped anchor for the night. ¬'Quick,¬' said Jim, splash the dinghy in the water for a little RECON. But wait, the BBQ needs to be taken apart and put back together. Joel? Of course, the magician is left to his whily ways and ¬'poof!¬'

Leaving Joel to his magic (which should always be done behind a secret curtain), our fearless captain, Dave and I jumped into the dinghy and off we went to Te Pahi Islands. The first stop had a welcoming sign saying, ¬"private property, do not land.¬" The lava outcroppings made for wonderful tidal pools, oysters clinging to the underside of each crevice, periwinkle snails slowly crawling from one pool to another. Away we go to island #2, and this has a hill ¬- and what must we do ¬- climb it of course! Up the grassy cliff¬... but watch that last step on the backside of the tree as the first step down is a doozy!
Vessel Name: Wetnose
Vessel Make/Model: Van Dam Nordia 19m steel pilothouse cutter
Hailing Port: Gibraltar
Crew: Don & Roslyn Eigler, Jim & Pat Whiting
Extra: Wetnose Institute of Advanced Pelagic Studies
Wetnose's Photos - Main
Every Saturday morning the open market in Port Vila is bursting with blossoms! I arrived at 6:30 am to get these photos
15 Photos
Created 17 November 2009
The village on this small island's northwest corner was leveled by a cyclone in 1993. Today it is a beautiful home to about 200 people. There is a marine reserve surrounding the island. The water is very clear and the reef is thriving.
14 Photos
Created 27 September 2009
8 Photos
Created 16 June 2009
27 Photos
Created 25 April 2009
Jan-Feb 2009 cruise
23 Photos
Created 25 April 2009

S/Y Wetnose

Who: Don & Roslyn Eigler, Jim & Pat Whiting
Port: Gibraltar