14 February 2011 | Langkawi Malaysia
12 April 2010 | Guess
12 February 2010
19 November 2009 | Now Malaysia
11 October 2009 | Off the coast of Borneo Indonesia.
03 September 2009 | Labuan Bajo, Flores Indonesia.
22 July 2009 | Saumlaki Indonesia.
05 June 2009 | Gove
26 April 2009 | Magnetic Island
14 December 2008 | Townsville
31 October 2008 | Townsville
23 September 2008 | Port Clinton
19 August 2008 | Pancake Creek
24 May 2008 | Sydney
27 April 2008 | Hobart
02 April 2008 | Hobart
16 March 2008 | Cygnet

On the move again

24 May 2008 | Sydney
Well when cruising the best laid plans are meant to be broken. After finally having our extra safety equipment delivered (including a $1300 length of rope) and buying a NZ flag, we both decided it was not a good idea to go to NZ and get bashed in the Tasman Sea. We had been checking the 7 day Tasman Sea forecast for a few weeks and it was beginning to look obvious that we had left it too late. There was a constant procession of low pressure systems passing over NZ with high winds. Based on this we decided to travel north for some warmth. Even though Hobart had given us some fantastic weather, it was starting to get colder. Our son Pete was staying with us for a while after his 3 month trip to Europe, it was good to catch up. He was happy to take the initial trip north with us, so Saturday 10th we set off for Eden, a 430 nm (800km) non stop trip. This was to take 3/4 nights. However as with best laid plans problems were just around the corner. After 6 hrs the auto pilot failed giving us 2 choices, go back and get it fixed or hand steer. We decided to hand steer as we had Pete on board to share the task. Most of the time there was little wind and we had to use the motor, when there was wind I managed to get the wind vane self steering working for the first time, this was a relief from the tedious attachment to the steering wheel. The wind vane was amazing, silently keeping us on course for a good 12 hours until the wind died again and we were back on the wheel. All was going well, Jean did a fantastic job of feeding us all and taking her turn at the helm. Slowly eating up the miles we could see the Tasmanian shore slip away to the south of us. We hadn't seen another vessel for days. That was about to change. I knew that approaching Gabo Island ( the scene of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart tragedy) we would see commercial vessels that use this route in and out of Melbourne. I was on watch at 11pm and started to see traffic. It is obviously important to keep a close eye open for ships etc as they move very quickly and can take you by surprise. We have a countdown timer that is set to go off every 12 minutes, prompting us to have a close look around the horizon to check for ships. It takes about 15 mins for a fast moving vessel to come over the horizon and be a danger. After 2 hours on watch and steering I awoke Pete for his turn advising him what to look for, if there was anything he was unsure of he was to wake me. At about 2 am he woke me saying there were 2 ships heading for us and a electrical storm in the distance, I was unsure if this was a dream or reality. I went into the cockpit to check what was going on to see that one of the ships was indeed on a collision course we immediately altered our course by 90 degrees to avoid the ship. For a few seconds both Pete and I thought that it was still coming straight for us but a timely flash of lightning lit up the ship and showed that it was now travelling side on to us about a mile away and no danger, ( sigh of relief) the eyes can certainly play tricks at night. I decide it was best if I stayed on watch with Pete and later Jean to ensure we could pick up all the hazards. There were still a few ships around but our biggest worry was the building storm, I could track it on my radar and it was definitely getting closer to us, we had a couple of options, carry on and hope the storm slid south of us, or run the other way. If we had run it would have taken us back into the main shipping lane again and there was no guarantee we would out run the storm, so we carried on. Fortunately, to our relief, the storm did pass behind us. After 3 nights out from Hobart we arrived in Eden and rested for a few days, it was here we said farewell to Pete who went back to Melbourne by overnight bus. Since leaving Eden we have day sailed up the coast, stopping in at Bermagui, Batemans Bay, Ulladulla, Jervis Bay and last night Port Hacking where we arrived at 11pm. It was very busy compared to the places we have been recently with the city lights and the circling aircraft heading for Sydney airport. We will be heading for Sydney tomorrow (Monday ) so I can get spares for the auto pilot before heading further north, possibly the Whitsundays by July.

My fishing is slightly improving after a few tips from experienced cruisers but more help is still required. Yesterday I decided to double my chances and trolled one lure from my rod and another from a hand reel. After a few hours there was a loud twang and the hand reel had caught something large. I was just about to start pulling it in and yes you guessed the line from the rod went rapidly spewing out. I took the rod and Jean took the hand reel. It took 10 - 15 mins to bring a tuna to the surface but alas it spat the hook out just before I could bring it on board. The one on the hand line also escaped. 10 mins later I had another largish tuna on the rod and the same happened again, just as I brought it to the boat it got off the hook. Any fishing experts out there please tell me what I am doing wrong, its hard work for no reward.

We are currently in Port Hacking which is a southern suburb of Sydney and about 18 miles to Sydney harbour.

To answer a few questions, Hi Frank it would have taken about 10 days to get to NZ but we are both glad we made the decision to travel north as the bad weather there has not let up.

Please flood the comments field especially fishing tips.

Best wishes,

Dave and Jean

Vessel Name: Whistle Down the Wind
Vessel Make/Model: Adams 40
Hailing Port: Melbourne