Hooray we've arrived in Noumea
31 May 2017 | Port Morelle
🇫🇷 HOORAY WE'RE HERE!! 🇫🇷⚓️⚓️🎉🎉🇫🇷
We made it! 8 days to cross from Coffs Harbour to New Caledonia. It was an average passage with Mother Nature throwing us a vast array of conditions, from almost millpond seas for a whole day, followed by the biggest lightening storm that was the biggest and worst we've ever experienced, it was exploding with huge sheets of lightening that lit up the horizon as it very slowly moved almost parallel to us for hours. At the same time it was also moving ever so slowly closer and closer towards us. The storm happened on our second night out and Bruce was pretty tired so I stayed on watch for almost 5 hours, watching the "sound and light show" at the same time.
I thought it was important that I let Bruce have a good sleep in case he really needed his wits if this storm hit us. I was also hoping that the storm would hit during my skipper's watch and not mine and it did! I finished my long watch and hit the sack.
Two hours later an amazingly loud clap of thunder woke me please a start, I jumped up to find Bruce sitting (dare I say huddled) down below at the navigation table, he said it was so bad, he admitted he was scared sitting outside in the cockpit with lightening cracking loudly as it hit the sea about a mile away, he said he could almost hear the water bubble and hiss. He wasn't going out in it if he didn't have to. There's nothing like being on a yacht with a big 50 foot aluminium mast sticking up into the sky (which would act as a terrific lightening conductor if hit) in the middle of the mother of all lightening storms on the ocean 200 miles from land and a new moon to get ones imagination fired up, it was as black as the Ace of Spades out there and I was off watch 😛. I did mention that he could wake me if he needed me, but secretly I hoped he didn't. So I settled back into bed, hooked up my lee cloth, Bruce kept watch and I slept soundly, it was all over by the time I was back up on deck again.
The winds were pretty close to the predictions, we started off from Coffs with South Westerly winds that moved to South for a half day and then they settled into South Easterlies for most of the passage until 2 days before we arrived at New Cal, when it swung to the East and then North East and was around 20 knots, so this made for a very bumpy last couple of days, being constantly pushed north, the loser we got to New Cal. The swell was about 2 metres and to top off a long tiring day we had to throw in a tack about 20 miles from land, otherwise we would have missed the entrance to the lagoon at Amadee lighthouse and Noumea. The tack meant we arrived at night, Buggar! It's always preferable to enter an unknown harbour in daylight hours but our best laid plans weren't meant to be.
We came in at night and the New Cal navigation aids were very clear and easy to follow, along with our trusty iNavX and Navionics charts it wasn't a problem. We dropped anchor I Baie de Citron at 2130hrs and slept like babes until 0900hrs the following morning.
*** The hilarious thing was that we'd been bounced around so much that when we'd anchored in a calm bay with just a little bobbing, enough to lull us to sleep, our bodies which had adjusted to the bouncing along for the last eight days hadn't adapted to our calm conditions so we kept stumbling and falling over in the cabin and we were still on the boat! We have often taken a while to find our "land legs" when shore after a long passage, but this has never happened when we've still been onboard.
In Laurieton Nth NSW getting the boat ready for our trip.
12 April 2017 | Laurieton Fishermans Co-op Wharf
After 6 months without us on board our little yacht we arrived back from Victoria to a yacht with a lot of mould ... yuk. We dumped our gear and found a motel for the night, ready to tackle the job of scrubbing everything with vinegar and oil of cloves to remove and hopefully deter any more mould growth.
A few days later we hauled out and antifouled whilst we had the yacht surveyed for insurance purposes..
It's a bit of a bonus when your surveyor falls in love with your boat. Ross couldn't stop telling us what a well maintained, well built and safe yacht we had...
We're busy stocking with provisions for our oncoming trip. We are heading for New Caledonia and beyond, where we sail to all depends on the weather. I'm hoping for Fiji, but as long as I can dive, swim, snorkel and go beach-combing I don't really care where we end up. I always say " Our Plans are Set in Jelly"
We won't leave Aus until Mid May to ensure that we are well out of the cyclone season. We will give the yacht a bit of a shake down and sail from Laurieton to The Clarence river and have a look at Illuka and surrounds.
so stay tuned. Cheers Chez