Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Cairns To Darwin

10 July 2007 | Darwin
Darwin, 12.25S 130.49 E
Part one
Cairns to Darwin, 1230 miles of blustery down windsailing in busy shipping lanes past desolate coastline. The 3 week journey was a journey of two parts, oppressive grey skies, cold wind pushing us north at 7 to 9 knots then sunshine, big tides, currents and still the wind.
The first day out of Cairns and the anchorage that night at Low Islets was relatively straight forward, arriving at the islets as the Tourist boats left for the day. From then on things got interesting, each day seemed to have some little drama, nothing bad just enough interest to keep us on our toes, keep focused. This cruising life is not just sitting in the sun and cocktails at sunset! At Hope island all we could hope for was that the anchor would hold in such strong winds that we took turns at anchor watch during the night hoping the neighbouring boats or ourselves would not cause havoc by dragging. The reef offered protection from the waves but not the wind, at times it felt like we were anchored in the ocean. On to Cooktown, the last northern coastal town in Queensland, not a lot of deep water to anchor in, went aground twice in the mud before we found just enough water to be able to sleep easy. Captain Cook went there to repair his ship, damaged on a reef, we admired his statue on the foreshore and had a beer in a fair dinkum aussie pub, a lot has changed since his time.
Lizard Island was our next stop, the rain clearing in time to see the island and anchor early afternoon, 51 miles in 7 hours. We were looking forward to Lizard, everyone we met said , "don't miss Lizard, its worth the effort, beautiful". A tropical island with golden sand beaches, we planned to spend a couple of nights, we spent 3, yes lovely island, golden beaches but the wind and rain kept us there. Captain Cook stopped here too, he climbed to the top of the hill to see if he could see a passage out of the reef, he wasn't disappointed he saw what is now the Cook passage. We passed on the walk up to Cooks lookout and walked to the opposite side of the island to admire the Blue lagoon, the deep blue bay tossed with white caps was still worth the walk. The anchorage was crowded with boats, reefs and the odd mooring bouy, one of which was behind us and late at night a large tourist dive boat hooked on to it. That was okay, a bit close but not too close, the problem was they kept a large spot light on us all night, so bright I could see it shining through my eyelids when we swung in front of it. The light woke friends in a boat way across the bay as it shone in their port hole.
Wind or no wind we had to keep moving, the date to be in Darwin was getting closer and closer. We sailed away from Lizard at 3.30am a big day ahead, 85miles the longest day sail of the trip. By 6am the sun was up and we were rocketing along towards Cape Melville. This Cape was one of the milestones of the trip, Gladstone, Townsville, Cairns, Lizard and now Cape Melville. If you run your finger up the coast on a map of Queensland you trace around the lump before the coast straightens on its last run north to Cape York. That lump is Cape Melville, mountains of huge brown red blocks of rock, a landscape gardeners dream. The land seemed so remote and desolate, we wondered when or even if there had been footprints on the sandy beaches we sailed close too. Here at the Cape the shipping lane was squeezed in close to the shore by the Barrier reef and hundreds of vessels must pass this lonely spot each year. We saw several trawlers, ore carriers and pleasure boats just in the 3 hours approaching the Cape but no sign of human habitation or even existence ashore. In fact we were generous enough to move over to let a very large ore carrier slide smoothly by at the narrowest point. That ship headed East towards an outer lane and we turned the corner for Flinders Islands, our first anchorage on the last leg to Cape York.

Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ