30 November 2017 | Soldiers Point Marina
28 November 2017 | Soldiers Point Marina
18 November 2017 | 32 07.89'S:153 14.90'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
17 November 2017 | 30 49'S:154 26'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
16 November 2017 | 27 34'S:158 09'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
14 November 2017 | 25 26.8'S:160 47.14'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
14 November 2017 | 25 26.8'S:160 47.14'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
14 November 2017 | 23 43'S:163 38.17'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
28 September 2017 | 21 26.723'S:167 03.048'E, Port Vila, Vanuatu - Noumea, New Caledonia
27 September 2017 | 21 26.723'S:167 03.048'E, Port Vila, Vanuatu - Noumea, New Caledonia
16 September 2017 | 17 44.33'S:168 18.61'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
14 September 2017 | 17 45.44'S: 172 16.255'E, Vuda, Fiji to Port Vila, Vanuatu
09 September 2017 | 17 46.275'S:177 11.271'E, Suva to Musket Cove, Fiji
04 September 2017 | 18 07.387'S:178 25.305'E, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
31 August 2017 | 16 23'S:178 16'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
30 August 2017 | 15 11'S:175 22'W, Apia, Samoa to Suva, Fiji
22 August 2017 | 13 49.73'S:171 45.79'W, Hawaii to Samoa
21 August 2017 | 12 57.81'S:171 28.8'W, Hawaii to Samoa
20 August 2017 | 09 23.35'S:170 16.44'W, Hawaii to Samoa
19 August 2017 | 06 16.17'S:169 04.09'W, Hawaii to Samoa

Zephyr at Rest

30 November 2017 | Soldiers Point Marina
Just to make sure that my boat partner Michael knows that Zephyr is safely waiting to come back to Europe next year, we have found a marina that gives you camera access to the boat at any time.
The images are a bit grainy so here is our sign off pic.
2017 was an amazing year!

Safely tucked up

28 November 2017 | Soldiers Point Marina
Zephyr is now safely tucked up on her pontoon at Soldier’s Point, at the end of her, and Micky’s amazing odyssey; having completed a magical passage from New Caledonia to Newcastle NSW, in six days and nigh-on perfect conditions- favourable winds, kind seas and almost unbroken sunshine. The only threatening weather was dodged by the skipper in masterly fashion (see previous entry).

We tied up to the (somewhat elusive) customs buoy in the approach to Newcastle on the afternoon of Sunday 19th, before entering the marina to await the attentions of Border Security and Bio control. The former arrived in the shape of four serious uniformed officers, with an impressive array of detection devices (none of them canine). The previous week’s bust of an incoming yacht concealing 700 kilos of cocaine, in which this Border team had been involved, meant that they were on high alert and taking things pretty seriously. Fortunately the obvious moral rectitude of Zephyr’s crew shone through; so we were spared any, ahem, intrusive personal attention; although the boat, and our paperwork, got a pretty thorough going-over. Next came the Bio man, who removed various items from the stores in a yellow bag, and relieved the skipper of a hefty sum of money (including Sunday overtime) for doing so. Alison then made a dash for her flight home, while Micky Bruce and Jim went into town for an excellent Brazilian dinner (good training for the latter before his son’s wedding in Brazil next year).

The following day we motored up the coast to Soldier’s Point and berthed in the (very well-appointed) marina, where Zephyr will spend the next few months. Micky’s nephew Pete, on his gap year, came up from Sydney for a couple of days; during which we had a lovely sail off the coast, and an afternoon spent moored in a nearby bay where we swam, sunbathed, had yet another delicious lunch, watched dolphins and, and generally mused on the very satisfactory nature of our current situation…..

What a wonderful couple of weeks, a very special experience of the sort that happens only rarely. With absolutely no intention of sparing his blushes, I have to say that Micky has been superb- an accomplished, talented skipper and the most impeccable host one could imagine. Thank you Micky, thank you Zephyr- enjoy a well-earned rest!


Almost there

18 November 2017 | 32 07.89'S:153 14.90'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
Land is not quite yet in sight but the birds are more plentiful and we have less than 100 miles to go - quite a relief given the absence of David and Janette's breadmaking skills.

The combination of British and Australian humour has proved entertaining with the need for translation gradually reducing as we have got to know each other better. With the prospect of arriving in Newcastle at about the same time as the England-Australia rugby match at Twickenham, the tension is mounting.

After 36 hours of limited wind the breeze kicked in nicely last night, with gusts up to 25, which has persisted during today, which has been the first with a cloudy sky.

While the culinary standard has been high we are all looking forward to a meal ashore, which may or may not happen tomorrow, depending on whether we will be allowed to leave the boat by the immigration authorities. Once again Zephyr is arriving in port at a weekend!

After clearing in Newcastle we then proceed up the coast for 50 miles to Nelson Bay where Zephyr will take a well earned rest.

2017 has been the most amazing year for her and I cannot thank the following enough for their help in getting her from UK to Australia: David Sharples, Bruce Baker, Patrick Bellville, Bill Bullard, George Bullard, Chris Copeland, Steve Crook, Janette Danel, Carolan Dobson, Henry Faire, Ali Graham, Aurora Hicks Beach, Jeff Lawson, Gonzalo Nandin, Rob Palmer, Seth Pearlman, Lola Velasco and James Willis.

Looking forward to sailing with you all again!

Oz ahoy!

17 November 2017 | 30 49'S:154 26'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
Well, how lucky are we? To be on a beautiful boat, in a magnificent ocean, with great company and near perfect weather....if this isn't paradise, paradise must indeed be grand! The battle for the cruising ashes continues. The Aussies are in front in the language competition with both James and Micky constantly having to call for replays of what the Aussies just said, though Micky is clawing some ground back in the grammar stakes. The Eton backed team have stolen a hard fought victory in the culinary division, with James proving to be a master of innovation (read desperation) and enlisted Sheena as a substitute fielder and followed Micky's field placements immaculately. The Aussies protested the result on the grounds of outside interference but as they had had seconds, the appeal was dismissed. Proof of how close this competition has been can be demonstrated by the fact that all competitors have gained weight .... On a sailing trip! The sailing test has the Aussies conceding victory with two days to go. Micky outperformed allcomers with a blinding finishing dash of 11.3knts. This followed his runaway win in the Navigation stakes with his parting of the waters effort in avoiding some nasty rain squalls. One observer commented on it being a truly religious experience! The trip may be nearly over, thank heaven for memories, what a tresure they will be. We have logged nearly 800 miles and should reach Newcastle around 1a.m.UTC on 19th.

Snitch, Snatch or Chaser?

16 November 2017 | 27 34'S:158 09'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
Life is grand! With a few hours of watch duty and general support of the duty watch aka lounging on the deck, contemplating the beautiful colours of ocean changing from various colours of blue to silver, encourages me to be grateful for the opportunity to be part of the crew and for annual leave. The blue so deep it reminded me of the colour of new born baby eyes, deep and dark. Reminding me of those many years ago of my children's eyes, and allowing me the opportunity to reflect on how a simple colour can bring loving memories of their infancy to the fore. On the other side of the yacht, the sun was catching the tips of the waves and turning them into the most precious silver colour. Sparkling and glistening, like molten silver, more delight abounded with the sighting of little flying fish. Flitting about the waves like the quidditch ball that J K Rowling wrote about. Now my quidditch knowledge is somewhat limited to the sight of the small ball with wings being very elusive, exactly how those little silver flying fishes are. The small ball is called either a snitch or a snatch, and I believe Harry Potter was a chaser. Both Jim and Micky were unable to provide much assistance in the correct naming convention, however both were pretty sure that the ball wasn't called a snatch. Much mirth between the two of them I am still none the wiser of the "English" meaning of the term. Gourmet meals have been served and enjoyed, three course breakfasts, two course middlings, and last night a feast of prawns cooked by sous chef Micky. As I write this Jim, who has downplayed his skills so wonderfully, we have all been astounded by the culinary delights he has presented today, is preparing his masterpiece for tonight's evening meal. The visiting Gooney Bird, NZ albatross, supervised our travels yesterday afternoon and approved of our mighty vessel and quietly flew away after 30 minutes of gliding and chasing fish. All is well, with more than 495 nautical miles travelled on this leg, we continue to hope for fair seas and prevailing winds. Yours Aye Al

Settling in

14 November 2017 | 25 26.8'S:160 47.14'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
Photo 2

Settling in

14 November 2017 | 25 26.8'S:160 47.14'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
Day 2 of Zephyr's passage from NC to Newcastle and we all agree that this is proving to be pretty special. We have had good winds between 10 & 20 knots from the south-east, beautiful weather and altogether great sailing conditions. All meals have been taken 'out of doors'- that should give a general impression!

Two members of the crew (one from each nation, so honours even) succumbed to the dreaded initial sea-sickness, but seem to have recovered reasonably unscathed, which hopefully can also be said of the plumbing facilities....

Standard of cuisine has been exceptionally high, with particularly honourable mention of Micky and Bruce, both of whom have produced food which would not have shamed a full-scale kitchen, let alone a galley listing at 35 degrees. We are being very spoiled...but standards may slip when James takes to the skillet tomorrow, despite serious pre-match training from his wife.

Anglo-Australian banter continues apace. We continue to explore the mysteries of each others' language and culture. Bruce reckons that Micky & Jim look more puzzled by his and Alison's explanations, than vice versa- which proves that Ozzies are more intelligent and better at learning. Hmm. Jim was particularly baffled by Ali pointing at a locker and asking him to get out the pigs. He hadn't realised that there was livestock / emergency food supplies on board. It turned out that she wanted clothes-pegs to dry her towel on the rail. In-depth discussion has taken place of the two nations' terminology for meals. Jim was requested to give an account of his household's daily gastronomic routine and was cruelly mocked by all.

Back to sailing- we have covered 326 nautical miles in 2 days, so if this continues we may hit Newcastle at the weekend. Bruce reckons that would give us bragging rights!

Last night reminded us that Zephyr and squalls are never far apart. As the graveyard watch came to an end a ouple of black towers appeared giving us an entertaining time as we skidded between them - luckily no downpour or nasty gusts.

Micky is not writing this so the rest of can say that he is both an excellent skipper and the perfect host; and the boat is a dream.

Photos of the crew who came on board in Noumea.

Off to Oz

14 November 2017 | 23 43'S:163 38.17'E, Noumea, New Caledonia - Nelson Bay, Australia
After an interlude of a month during which my first grandchild joined the world, Zephyr is back at sea headed for Nelson Bay in Australia. The crew for this leg is Micky St Aldwyn, James Willis (from UK) and two Australian sailors, Bruce baker and Alison Graham who were introduced to us by Paul Jackson. We all got together yesterday and thanks to the efforts of Herve Moal of Noumea Yacht Services, the boat was in good shape and we only had to focus on the all important trips to the supermarket.

New Caledonia benefits from being a French colony and everything that you can buy in Carrefour in Paris is available here.

The competitive spirit for 'cook of the passage' is in full swing and was started by Alison producing some delicious wraps for lunch before we set of. We fueled up and are now motoring through the islands around Noumea . The forecast was for 15-20kts but we are already seeing 30+ so it could be a lively first couple of days, with some nice quieter days in the middle and possibly building up again near the Australian coast.

It is wonderful to be back at sea and this will probably be the longest stretch we will do for some time, since we inted to leave Zephyr in Nelson Bay until March and then to ship her back to the Mediterranean, where my co-owner, Michael Grade, will finally have an opportunity to enjoy her.

Antipodean ribbing is already de rigueur and at this stage the Poms seem to be getting most of it! The picture shows waves breaking over the reef surrounding Noumea as we passed through the entrance.

on the 'sea' again !!

28 September 2017 | 21 26.723'S:167 03.048'E, Port Vila, Vanuatu - Noumea, New Caledonia
18.02 anchored at Port Boise, New Caledonia

Finally we headed out off Port Vila which had become the longest place we had stayed. Micky finally recovering from the minor infection on his shin, probably visited by a fly, turned into quite a nerve-wracking situation. Within 30 minutes of being ok he completely went into high fever and was out of it for four days and ended up with a leg swollen the size of an elephant. When speaking to others it seems to happen more often than we think and not taken care of in time we lose a leg or more...

Not to be forgotten, Port Vila's fantastic colourful market with so many fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before and all displayed in the most creative ways. Salads and nuts (one by one) all tied up with a piece of thin bamboo through them; the different herbs, the bundling up of the cassava, the colours of the local flowers, mostly pinks and oranges, and all this 24 hours a day when the different families take their turns on the stands. Also found the amazing Mama's market where all is hand made by the ladies themselves, so this going from their dresses and you can see them sew away all day on their sewing machines to the beautifully handwoven baskets and carpets.. somehow.. I did sneak some onto the boat :-)

Another must do, other than touring the island which has so many diffent trees, the smiles of everyone we encountered along the roads, the white sandy beaches, the snorkelling where the most colourful clams can be found is to do a 'cava' trip at Ponga Point... this is the greetings drink to island life, but it definitely does more to the brain than just tasting this not so innocent not so nice tasting roots drink from the coconut shell..

The first two days of sailing as we left Port Vila were fantastic and then no wind and waves straight up the nose...as the dark is hitting in, we have decided to go for anchor tonight before we go zigzagging through the little rocky islands tommorrow - direction Noumea. We arrived in this amazing natural bay with tall thin trees around the whole bay and we heard the singing of so many different birds while the sunset hit in... and ...as we had just anchored off we were greeted by a dolphin right next to the boat ! Most amazing anchorage ever !!

Last night's sunset with our extraordinay encounter with the lonely blue whale just swimming by on this golden flat ocean, has definitely been the highlight of the whole trip ! At one point he/she popped up his/her head and then went down under... it really is the most fascinating thing to see.

Also today's treat was when we saw thousands of birds coming by in a straight line and when one would look on port side from back to front of the boat, all we could see were these quite small dark coloured birds flying low over the water, quite a spectacle too.

Strange as it is, but after 2 months of sailing now, my time on the boat has come to an end on arriving at Noumea as Sydney has become too far as dates have to be met. Micky is into becoming a grandfather and me back to the house in Malta, which must get going. The only good thing is:- not to sleep next to my lifejacket for some time !

It has all in all been the most extraordinary experience and hope to do it again ... Once the Pacific, always the Pacific...

Fare well Vanuatu

27 September 2017 | 21 26.723'S:167 03.048'E, Port Vila, Vanuatu - Noumea, New Caledonia
We ended up staying 8 days in Vanuatu, and while some of that was enforced by another infected leg, it did give us some great opportunities to get to know the island of Efata a little.

Vanuatu was for many years jointly controlled by France and UK leaving an independent nation whose first foreign language is English, unless you grew up in a French speaking family! The legal system is English but respect is paid to the Napoleonic code. When occupied the Franch gendarmerie and English Bobbies ran the island together.

Port Vila, the capital, is slowly seeeing the signs of development but still the hub of the city is the main fruit and vegetable market, which operates 24/6,

Arriving yachts have to clear customs, bio-security and immigration, before being released into the nurturing arms of the Yacht World Marina, which has ster-to docking or several moorings. Run impeccably for 40 years by Elsie and Leimara, it provides same-day laundry, fuel, an excellent bar/restaurant and an in-depth knowledge of where to get anything fixed.

A tour of the island by car found greta diving and snorkelling, unbelievably beautiful beaches, some impressive ranches and a least one 5-star 17-room hotel. The people are all extremely friendly whether you meet them on the road, in the market, or in their villages. It was our favourite place so far.

We left on Tuesday in glorious sunshine ad 20 kts Easterly which carried us nicely until the night time squalls. For once we did not escape a serious downpour and winds gusting up to 35kts. With both of us in decent health for once, the relief of a dry-out morning was enormous and we gradually warmed up as the wind lessened throughout the day to leave a glass-like surface by 16:00. The sun was starting to dip down to the horizon and flocks of birds were skimming the surface searching for their last meal.

In the midst of this sea of tranquillity the glass was broken by the spurt of a blue whale, travelling alone and seemingly asleep. We got close enough to be reminded once again of the magnificance of these creatures as they roam the oceans with such commitment and purpose.

Off we go - 500 miles to Noumea!
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shipman 50
Hailing Port: Lymington
Home Page: www.yachtzephyr.com
Zephyr's Photos - Main
the boat
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Created 22 August 2014