Dransfields on the high seas

09 November 2010
03 November 2010 | Somewhere off Port Stephens
26 October 2010 | Brisbane River
01 October 2010
20 September 2010 | Bundaberg QLD
07 September 2010 | Noumea, New Caledonia
26 August 2010
11 August 2010 | Musket Cove Fiji
26 July 2010 | Fiji
17 July 2010 | Tonga
15 July 2010 | Vava'u, Tonga
30 June 2010
21 June 2010 | On passage to Tonga
25 May 2010 | Tahiti,
20 May 2010 | The Tuamotu Islands
07 May 2010 | Nuka Hiva, French Polynesia
26 April 2010 | En route to the Marquesas
19 April 2010 | The Pacific Ocean
16 April 2010 | The Pacific Ocean
05 April 2010 | Galapagos

Panama to Galapagos

25 March 2010
First Mate Hels
Hello from the Pacific Ocean. I am writing to you on my graveyard shift (2am local time) whilst everyone else on board is peacefully sleeping. We have had champagne sailing conditions all day with 12 knots of south easterly trade winds nicely pushing us along to the Galapagos Islands. With George our autohelm steering all day and no change in wind strength we basically set the sail at 6.30 this morning and have not touched a thing boat wise! We have now been on passage for 5 days and expect to arrive in 2 days. The Pacific (to pacify) has certainly lived up to her name and so far has been a delightful mix of no swell and good sailing. The exception of course, as predicted, were "the doldrums" (officially known as the Intertropical Convergence Zone) which we passed a few days ago using our iron topsail. Thank goodness we have lots of fuel on board as it has definitely come in handy on this passage. We are on track to pass the Equator and salute King Neptune in about 10 hours. It certainly feels weird to have been in one weather system with north easterly trades since leaving the Med then to pass the doldrums and pop out on the other side with a totally different weather of south easterly trades blue skies and a new latlong of such and such South. What does feel good is knowing we are in the"right ocean" and heading for home!! We have settled into a nice routine - JD does the first night shift until midnight and then I take over from 12-3 then JD from 3-6 and then he goes to bed for a while and I do the breakie shift, radio comms, satphone emailing and weather stuff and then we all come together for morning coffee and schoolwork! The afternoons seem to pass with lots of reading for the kids and of course boat work for skipper JD (there is always something to fix, tinker with). Without fail we have a regroup over a G&T at around 5 and then it all starts again. We have not seen another boat for the past 4 days although we are in contact by radio with a bunch of fellow puddlejumpers (see www.pacificpuddlejump.com) which is a group of yachties who transit the Pacificto Tahiti each year leaving Panama or the States around March/April (this timing avoids the dreaded cyclone season which seems to be causing carnage around the Aussie coast and Fiji and Tonga at the moment). There are a bunch of kiddie boats in convoy with us and it is nice to know that the kids are having plenty of socialising without becoming completely mad from 24/7 parent time. There is even talk of a sleepover at the next port which the kids are super psyched about! The boat is packed to the gunwhales with supplies as the consensus is that the South Pacific is expensive and limited in what you can get. There is also a serious amount of miles to cover - Panama was cheap for stuff so we did go a bit beserk on food. I have bought a ridiculous amount of loo paper but already I wish I had snuck in a few more cans of tuna and a few more pasta jars! Zodiac Zoe has developed a taste for pesto and 3 jars is not looking good given we are on jar number 2 already. Skipper JD is already concerned that we may not have bought enough gin, beer and peanut butter!! I only hope that the revolting tasteless salty sweet tea biscuits which we bought as emergency supplies are not required and remain safely tucked in the emergency "grab bag"! The pressure is on the kids to catch some more fish!!! Having caught next to nix on the Atlantic side things are looking up with Bosun boy Jesse snaring 2 tuna the first day on the Pacific side. With Panama meaning "abundance of fish' it is nice to know that an area has not been overfished and novices like us can still catch something! Half the schoolwork packages finally arrived (the other half are totally AWOL somewhere in the Panama postal network) so we are back into it a more formal structure! We are also cooking a lot - lots of bread and lots of experimenting from Jesse our master pastry maker! Hoping this finds you all well and healthy - we love to hear any news via the blog or email so keep up the comments! Nika over and out for now!
Vessel Name: Nika
Vessel Make/Model: Bavaria 46 Cruiser
Hailing Port: Sydney
Crew: Skipper JD, Bosun Boy Jesse, Zodiac Zoe, Captain Tykes, First Mate Hels
About: Hail from Curl Curl on Sydney's beautiful Northern Beaches. Love of adventure, and the good life!
Extra: Saturday 6 November 2010 - we arrive back in Sydney at Middle Harbour Y.C. at 1:00 - the end of the voyage...

Nika Profile

Who: Skipper JD, Bosun Boy Jesse, Zodiac Zoe, Captain Tykes, First Mate Hels
Port: Sydney