Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Refit February 2018

So.... we decided to carry out a bit of a refit on Emotion 2...
We painted the hulls, fitted a rubber and stainless steel rubbing strip, painted the alloy including mast, boom, front beam and radar arch, replaced the rigging, got a new sail cover and she is looking amazing! Thank you Northport Marine Services and Boating Hardware, Fremantle, Perth.








Monday, 17 July 2017

Shark Bay, Western Australia




Cape Peron, Shark Bay, Western Australia

In 2014, when we were bringing Emotion 2 home to New Zealand, I was very disappointed that we didn’t take the time to see some of the wonderful places down the West Coast of Australia.

Now that we have the boat back in Western Australia, we have been able to go back and spend some time in Coral Bay, Tantabiddi and Exmouth.

But definitely one of the highlights has been Shark Bay.  The sheer magnitude of the area is daunting.  Shark Bay spans 2.3 million hectares of which 70% are marine waters!  It is a World Heritage site with an abundance of marine life, including dugongs, dolphins, whales, sharks, rays and turtles.  Coming back to Perth we had the pleasure of Steve and Trub's (Ron’s sister) company and were able to stay a bit longer.  We explored Denham, Monkey Mia and Dirk Hartog, but missed the famous Hamelin Pool         Marine Nature Reserve, famous for its stromatolites.

Snapper for dinner, Cape Peron, Shark Bay








It is also a fisherman’s heaven!  Though it pays to look at the sanctuary zones and restrictions to ensure you are not in a marine sanctuary or fishing out of season.  On the way North, Ron caught some lovely snapper for dinner and toyed with sharks (which he loves).  











We were treated by the most wonderful visit from a humpback whale.  As magnificent as it was to see this beautiful mammal come right up to the boat and swim beneath our hulls, it was also nerve wracking to know that with a flick of the tail we could suffer some serious damage!




Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Coral Bay




We arrived Coral Bay about 9.00am at low tide so we picked up one of the Department of Parks and Wildlife free moorings and waited for the tide to come in.

Entrance to the anchorage in Coral Bay is 4 miles through a winding, narrow and VERY shallow channel so we definitely needed a bit of water below us.

Steph and Sam were due to arrive in Coral Bay at mid day so we started heading in about 11.00.  With our amazing navigation gear and Ron at the helm we made it through the channel without incident.  I called out the depths and watched the charts, calling port or starboard and Ron watched the water and worked the wheel. 

With only one fairlead, we needed to put the second anchor down with no winch… by hand!
We got the text from Steph to say they had arrived and it was scorching hot so we got the anchor down as fast as we could and Ron went in to pick them up!  Yay!!  So good to have the family back on board:)

Coral Bay is an absolutely beautiful spot.  Set up for tourists, the Dept of PaW have made it very accessible to see the wonders.  There are mooring buoys for boats (including dedicated kayak moorings)  to tie up to at all the good snorkelling spots; Shark Cleaning Station, Turtles and coral beds.  Coral Bay is also the home to resident manta rays all year round.





We took the tender back out the channel to the beach where they are known to swim every day.  They are the biggest ray but fortunately do not have a stinging tail.  So in the water we went:)  We were very lucky that the water was very calm that day making it easier to spot them.  This would have to have been the highlight of our week in Coral Bay!

Steph and Sam had come to Coral Bay to go to a wedding so we were on Lucas duty!  What a pleasure:) 

It was a sad day when they left to return to Perth but we will be returning to Coral Bay:)








Sunday, 14 May 2017

Perth to Coral Bay 2017

So what have we been doing…..


We left Perth just after Easter, Wed 19 April and headed 64 miles North to Lancelin.  About an 8 hour sail and we were right back into our 2 hour shifts! The trip North is a lot easier than going South as the prevailing wind is from the SE so perfect for sailing:) It is a totally exposed coastline with big ocean swells though so I felt quite seasick:(  We got there not knowing what to expect by way of an anchorage.  We tucked in behind a low lying island and although safe, it offered little protection from the big swell.  It was a beautiful holiday beach destination with a long white sandy beach lined with rather splendid holiday homes:)


Lancelin
Sunset at Lancelin
Only 50 miles to Jurien the next day.  Once again the wind was behind us so we made good time, about 6 hours. Although there is a marina in Jurien, where we stayed on the way down the coast in 2014, we anchored outside the breakwater.  Couldn’t get away from the ocean swell but it didn’t worry us:)  Another beautiful WA sunset:)




The next leg was 63 miles to Dongara or Port Denison.  We were intending to hole up here until after the weekend as there was a big wind coming and we didn’t want to get caught on this coastline.  We had looked on Google Earth, Google Maps and Navionics and thought there was room inside the breakwater for us.  Again there was a marina there but we had not made any arrangements to stay there and as it was pretty small we didn’t really expect them to have room for us. Once we poked our nose in behind the breakwater we soon realised there was no room in the deep water for us, so back out behind the breakwater for us:)  As with all anchorages on this coast it was rolly but not uncomfortable and very pretty:) We never get sick of these sunsets!


Not wanting to get caught here we left early the next morning to go 38 miles to Geraldton.  There is a good sized marina here so we emailed ahead to request a berth until after the strong winds passed. The hospitality and generosity we experienced in 2014 was in full force once again.  We got an end berth and the crew off a charter boat next to our berth all jumped off their boat to tie us on:)  The cook gave me one of his recipes:) The harbour master said stay as long as you like but the berth is booked on 28 April so if you could leave before then:)  Such an amazing place!

The supermarket is across the road so we checked it out but really only needed a bottle of milk so we decided to walk 3kms to Bunnings:)  We got out of there with our shirts still on our backs and headed back to the boat. A night off cooking…. pizza delivery!


We stayed on the berth for 3 nights and departed for Port Gregory Mon 24 April.  Once again, this was an unknown anchorage behind a reef where we hoped we could get safe shelter.  I would like to come back here sometime as just over the sand dunes is the largest pink lake in Australia:) Very remote and very beautiful but strong winds overnight. 30+ knots at anchor so we put the anchor alert on and slept fitfully through the night.   

Port Gregory



And then it was the overnight leg….. 144 miles to Shark Bay.  As usual I dreaded this leg but we took it in our stride and I have to say Ron and I are getting pretty good at these legs.  By going to Port Gregory first we took about 6 hours off the trip and couldn’t leave until 10am so I was happy!  A bit of an easy morning:)  Had we left any earlier we would have come through the gap at Shark Bay in the dark which we weren’t too keen to do. We started off with perfect wind conditions so we put the mainsail up as well as the jib.  Got along very nicely but the wind came further and further South and dropped below 15knots making the mainsail a bit flukey so we dropped her after a couple of hours.  After 21 hours we arrived at Shelter Bay only to find there was no shelter!  There are not very many deep anchorages in Shark Bay and there was a strong wind so we continued on another 40 miles to Denham. We were shattered and so happy to put the anchor down but also very pleased with our achievement of getting up the coast:)  As you may be able to see from the chart below, Shark Bay is absolutely huge and took us 3 day sails to get across!







Wed 28 April we left Denham to go 45 miles up to the top of the western side of Cape Peron North.  It was absolutely stunning.  They were big tides though so we had to move out into deeper water in the late afternoon.  This proved to be very fortuitous as Ron caught 2 beautiful pink snapper, just like we get at home:)  Fresh fish for dinner!  Not long after a shark came to visit and Ron really enjoyed playing with him until he actually landed him on the deck and then let him go:) 




The wind came up very strong that night so we pulled up anchor and moved to the other side of Cape Peron, another 45 miles, to Guichenault Point.  We got in late that night, in strong winds, and went to bed with the Anchor Alarm on.
Next day was another big leg, 85 miles to Cape Cuvier.  I never thought I would ever anchor here again.  In 2014 we were beating into strong winds and only making 2-3 knots boat speed when Ron said, “I have had enough of this!” He pulled in to what we now know as Cape Cuvier.  There is a salt mine there and we took a bit of a risk in the pitch black of night anchoring there but have now found it is a recognised anchorage for yachts sailing down the coast!  There is not a lot of shelter but it has deep water under the high cliffs so good enough for a quick stopover.  Just as we were approaching the Cape, Ron hooked 3 skipjack tuna at once on his lures!  He managed to land 2 but lost one.  I was very busy on the helm!  I had to reduce boat speed, head out to sea, drop the sail and go forward or back at Ron’s direction!!  

We woke up to dolphins rubbing their bellies along the hull of the boat and feeding off the plankton:)  So beautiful.  It marked the beginning of one of the best legs up the coast.  It was only a 4 hour trip to Gnaraloo Bay and the beginning of the Ningaloo Reef.  It was warmer, calmer and such a beautiful sail.  The anchorage was just in through a passage in the reef and in order to get away from the swell we went up into the head of the bay as far as we could given the depth.  The water was a beautiful turquoise blue and there were campers on the beach.  Naturally I was in the water for a swim as soon as we anchored!  Water was 26 degrees!  Much to my shock, not long after I had got out of the water a 10ft shark swam right beside the boarding ladder! 



Unfortunately the day did not end as well as it started:(  Disaster struck! The snatching on the anchor when we were in bed was tremendous and we were afraid the rope snitch would pull the cleat right off the boat.  We got up and realised we were in very shallow water.  We decided we needed to move into deeper water.  The anchor had wrapped itself around a coral bombie and we were stuck.  Next we heard the most terrible crunching sound:(  The anchor snatched so hard that it pulled the fairlead off the bow of the boat!!  We couldn’t get the anchor up and we had to stop it from doing any damage to the beam running across the bow.  Through sheer persistence and some good old Kiwi ingenuity, we managed to get free, pull the anchor up and decided we would motor through the rest of the night up to Coral Bay!  Both our nerves were completely shot and we considered ourselves very lucky to have gotten away with so little damage!  Luckily we have 2 fairleads!

And 5 hours later we arrived at Coral Bay!  We picked up one of the public moorings just outside the channel and waited until full tide.  It was a hair raising experience 3 years ago with 3 of us watching for bombies off the bow and we were going in with just the 2 of us!  It is very shallow in places and the channel twists and turns around the bombies for 4 miles! But Navionics has a new feature since 2014 called “Boat To”.  We put a marker where we want to get to and put our draft and width into the settings and Navionics plots the safest course:)  We also had the C-map chart zoomed right in to back up the depths and the course:) So with Ron on the helm and me on the depth sounder, calling the depths and the course - we made it through unscathed!!  We got the anchor down just as Steph text to say they had arrived at the wharf!  They had driven 1300kms through the night and all morning!

Next instalment:  Coral Bay












Sunday, 6 November 2016

Crossing the Bass Strait to Tasmania

After returning from Perth on Wednesday night, Thursday I stocked up on supplies, we installed the replacement batteries and the helm seat we had made in Cronulla:) We left the harbour and anchored out on a courtesy mooring at Jibbon Bay, the first National Park in Australia and the second in the world!!!  
Friday marked the beginning of our passage to Tasmania. A pity it was so cold and we were on time constraints as it looked a beautiful coastline to explore. There were whales and dolphins the whole way down the coast:) quite spectacular.  










Stops along the way were Jervis Bay, Bateman's Bay and Eden. We fuelled up and reprovisioned at Eden ready to do the big mission across the Bass Strait.
When researching anchorages and approaches to Tasmania I had unfortunately read far too many reports about the "mythical" Bass Strait and was filled with trepidation. It required 36 hours sailing for a start with just Ron and me which was the longest we had done by ourselves. 
I am happy to say I have done it but am not in a huge hurry to repeat the experience haha! The wind was at 90 degrees to the boat and was around 30 knots so difficult to keep on course without tacking. To keep the sail at an angle to maintain wind we were heading out to sea. To get back on course we were punching in to the seas with the wind on our nose getting nowhere. The wind was meant to shift around to the North which would have been perfect but it really didn't come until too late. In the end we just had to punch into it for a few hours to get in before nightfall.
Our first anchorage in Tasmania was at Lady Barron, Flinders Island. It required crossing a sandbar. The wind being so strong and the water so shallow caused steep short waves and once again we were punching into it. Ron was getting frustrated but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel!  
There were 2 courtesy moorings available but for a boat with a maximum length of 14m so we didn't feel we could go on the mooring, particularly since the wind and current was so strong. Gusting 50 knots! This left tying up to the wharf as our only option. We were pretty sure our anchor wouldn't hold and we were in for a 3 day storm:(
We were both pretty tired by this point but the next hour was one of the scariest hours of my life! The wharf where we were tying up was L shaped with the short end going across the bow and the length of the boat alongside. There was a massive current pushing against the side of the wharf and waves under the boat that were high enough to smack the wing deck!
With just the 2 of us, Ron nudged the boat in, with me at the bow with a rope ready to throw over the pole and a fender in case we were going to hit.  Fortunately, we had put all the fenders down as the stern was pushed in against the wharf by the current and the wind and one fender took all the weight!  The bow was coming in fast to the jetty and the motors were not strong enough against the wind and the current.  The bowsprit held us off and I slung a rope over as fast as I could.  It took a couple of hours in the freezing cold to get tied up and after the endless rush of adrenaline I was absolutely exhausted!
No rest for the wicked though!  We were up again at 4.00am, in hailstorms, to try to get a rope to a second jetty to hold us off the wharf.  The fenders could not keep up with the wind, current and rise and fall of the tide.  Ron, being the Kiwi bloke that he is, cast a fishing line from the second jetty, weighted down with a shoe, attached a rope and reeled it in. Voila!  We had a rope holding us off.  He is truly amazing!
We were in Tasmania!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Casy Island, Baie de Prony




With having decided to spend 2 months in Noumea this year, we were able to see a lot more than in 2015.  One of the highlights was Casy Island.  Not just because it is a beautiful spot but largely due to the island’s tour guide; Moose.  Moose, a most loveable dog, was left on the island when a resort was abandoned by its owners.  This may sound harsh but, in fact, Moose loves his home and doesn’t want to leave.  He is well looked after by visiting boats, can fish for himself and is sponsored by Brent and Ana off the catamaran Impi who have set up a fund to pay for his vet costs.  We were totally amazed when we saw Moose leap off                                                                            the wharf on to the back of a stingray!!
























There are moorings in the bay, just off the jetty.  The water is crystal clear and although not teeming with fishlife, some friendly cod hung around the back of the boat:)  Great spot to snorkel, kayak and paddle board:)


 












Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tanna, Vanuatu

Since leaving Fiji we have struggled with internet and will continue to do so while in Noumea:( So while we are anchored in a spot with reasonable reception I will try to update our adventures since leaving Fiji....
With no deadlines to meet or flight schedules to be in port for, we were able to pick the perfect weather window:) Winds in the right direction, seas big but NOT on the nose and wind speed just right for putting up the mainsail and jib and sailing - no motors:)
It looked like it was going to be a fast trip, averaging 9 knots, making the trip roughly 12 hours shorter - always a bonus in my view! The nights were spectacular! Clear, cloudless skies filled with the constellations of stars and our own Southern Cross to guide our way. I can see why Ron has always said I will love crossings:) I will never love them haha but I certainly loved those beautiful clear, starry nights:) 
All keen fisherpeople on board, we were of course, towing lures behind the boat. Not having had particularly good luck in the past we were somewhat surprised to hear the star drag go off on 2 lines at once! Trub and I were only ones up so we turned the boat up into the wind and yelled, "Fish on!" Ron and Steve came running up and grabbed a line each and started reeling them in. Ron's line was coming up first so Steve got the gaff and they tried to land the fish - looked like a big yellowfin tuna - good eating! After a comedy of errors, the fish unfortunately went under the boat and managed to wrap around the prop:( Not good! Ron had to cut him off and let him go:( Back to the fish on the other line.... Steve and Ron reeled it in and it was a big skipjack tuna - not as good to eat but a good fish nonetheless:)
So we were on our way again... When under sail, we have to feather the props to stop them turning. It soon became apparent that the prop the fish went round had caused a problem and Ron had to do his thing and jam the prop with screwdrivers and vice grips! We dropped the main and turned the starboard motor on for the next 10 hours, averaging 4.5knots. In the morning when the seas had calmed and there was no wind, Ron went over the side with the hubba bubba line connected to the air tank to cut the line round the props. All good! We were underway again, both motors at 1800RPMs to try to make up some lost time:)
I had requested permission to clear in at Port Resolution, Tanna Island, Vanuatu. It is the best anchorage on the island but not the official clearance port. We dropped anchor at 9.00 Thursday morning, 70 hours. 
My impressions of Tanna are; a very pretty island with spectacular rock formations, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches all around the coastline. Port Resolution was a harbour of sorts but  essentially a horseshoe that opened straight out to the ocean, too shallow to anchor around the inside curves of the headland. A steady ocean swell rolled in but not too uncomfortable:)
The most unusual sight was the abundance of fishermen in dugout canoes just sitting on the water in the bay. Some loud voices would start whooping and all the fishermen would start paddling madly and put out their nets. We learned later that spotters on the hill could see the fish bubbling and would yell to the fishermen where to go! The system worked well:)
Customs and Immigration drove an hour over a dusty, gravel road to clear us in and we decided to give them our skippy tuna:) 
Port Resolution is at the base of the volcano so we were fascinated by the bubbling rock pools and spouting geysers from the cliffs below the mountain. We went for a walk up to the 'yacht club' and a wander around the village. A very pleasant experience:)
It was Independence Day in Vanuatu so the whole island was celebrating. We needed to reprovision and hoped to get up to see the volcano so after a couple of lovely days at Port Resolution we headed around to the other side of the island, Lenakel. The winds have to be right to anchor at Lenakel as it is virtually right on the coast with poor holding and huge swells coming over a reef but the conditions were good enough for us to stay until we could clear out on Tuesday. The local markets were open for fruit and veges and we had enough meat to get across to Noumea so we stocked up and relaxed taking in the colours, voices and views of Lenakel:)
While ashore I asked a local driver if he could take us up to the volcano. He agreed for a price so Ron and I went up that evening while Steve and Trub stayed with the boat:) They had been twice before. 
What an absolutely, mind blowing, once in a lifetime experience! It was the main reason we went to Tanna instead of going straight to Noumea and I am SO glad we were able to see it! The drive over the ash covered base of the mountain felt like I imagine driving on the moon would be like! And the volcano..... Unbelievable! We literally walked up the side of the crater like mountain goats and stood on the edge as the ground rumbled and shook and lava spewed out sending showers up into the air! No fences, no viewing platforms from a safe distance! Right on the edge! I will remember that for the rest of my life!




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Monday, 27 June 2016

Vanua Balavu, Northern Lau Group

We made 600L and poured it into 20L containers
Before leaving Savusavu we loaded the boat up with aid for Taveuni and Vanua Balavu.  We learned that many of the villages lost everything and Sea Mercy were still in need of boats to deliver aid and make water.

Our first stop was to Taveuni Island to what we soon discovered was not a yacht friendly wharf.  The organisers for distributing aid on the island arranged to meet us with 2 utes and were there to help us tie up.  Ron put the anchor down and tied the stern to the wharf.  A group of young Fijian boys jumped aboard and created a line to pass the bags of aid along.  Made short work of it!
Aid for Cyclone Winstone

From there we anchored the night in Viani Bay 4NM across the Somosomo passage to Vanua Levu.  We were welcomed by a pod of pilot whales that I first thought were dolphins.  But they were black and their fins and tails were wrong shape.  Viani Bay is a beautiful spot and a safe anchorage.  It is reportedly very good snorkelling but we decided to continue our journey to the Northern Lau group with the intention of returning on our way back.
 
Unloading at Taveuni Island

We carried on around to Sau Bay where our friends, Cathy and Harry, recommended and thought we might stop there.  The wind was blowing straight in and we were not that comfortable anchoring for the night so, we once again decided to press on.

From Sau Bay we crossed back over the Somosomo passage and rounded the top of Taveuni.  There is an island on the Eastern side called Qamea Island where we anchored in a bay about halfway down called Naiviivi Bay.  It has a very shallow entrance with a narrow channel to the anchorage behind but it is well marked and a very beautiful spot.

Sea Mercy Flag
It was another 50NM to Bay of Islands, Vanua Balavu and a bit of a slog getting there as it was on the nose all the way.  We were able to tack a bit when the wind was in our favour and the trip was certainly worth every bit of the slog!  Once again, we were welcomed by pilot whales in the Nggilanngila Passage in to the Bay of Islands. It really was like Thailand without the steroids.  Very beautiful scenery with mushroom islands and peaks.  The weather was not fabulous but we had a couple of days to ourselves to explore after helping out the villages with aid and making water.  We now fly a Sea Mercy flag after our efforts with relief after Cyclone Winstone.

Sailing with the Code Zero


It was a good sail back with the wind behind us and we were able to sail most of the way over 2 days, getting our big Code Zero sail out.  Fabulous!  Got into Savusavu at 6.00pm with a storm hot on our heels!  We will stay here until we get a better weather window and make for the passage through the reef out of Vanua Levu to destination unknown until we see what the wind is doing.



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Vuda Point to Savusavu, Fiji, 2016

Savu Savu at sunset
I arrived in Nadi just after lunch on Sunday and Ron had a driver waiting to pick me up.  Ron had Emotion 2 in Vuda Point Marina both as a safe place to wait for me and to install the new starter motor once I arrived.  It had been very windy just before I arrived and there was nowhere near the airport for Ron to safely anchor especially since he could only start and run off one motor:(
The weather was amazing:)  Clear blue skies, calm waters and very hot!  My one regret was not being able to swim off the marina!  

Next day Ron’s cheap taxi man picked me up to take me shopping!  This is always an out of this world experience as they do everything for me… carry the shopping bag, barter with the seller, pick the best produce, find what you are looking for and can’t find!  It is kind of hard to accept but really helpful!  So, Vodafone for sims, produce markets for fruit and veg, butcher for meat and supermarket for the rest!  The produce was quite depleted of some things due to the cyclone, especially bananas!  Our favourite!  But still all that I needed:) All done but it took 4 hours!!
Headed out of the marina the next day and set sail for Musket Cove.  We decided to plan our route with the wind to save money on fuel so that appeared to be the best way to go… Midway across the wind changed!  We continued to Musket Cove anyway, dropped the anchor and enjoyed an evening with sea breezes once out of the marina.  Having arrived late afternoon I did not feel like a swim so 3 days in Fiji and yet to get in the water!

Copra Shed Marina



The next day we changed our plans and headed back where we had come from to Lautoka.  I finally had a swim!  It was divine!  The water temperature is 26degs so almost a bath but I just love getting in the salt water! Magic! I felt as though I had finally arrived!
Waitui Marina



We stayed the night and headed off early the next day to begin our journey to places we had not been to before!  A new adventure:)



First stop was a 42NM motor sail through a channel with coral reefs and sandbanks either side to an anchorage for the night.  It was a very hot and sunny day with light winds.  Took about 7 hours with Ron catching a Wahu on the way!
The next morning we had a big day ahead of us so we left about 6.30 to go through the Nananu Passage through the outer reef to make our way to the second biggest island in Fiji, Vanua Levu. The conditions were perfect for sailing so Ron and I put the mainsail and jib up, turned off the motors and made a 10 hour sail across the Bligh Water, through the Vatu-I-Ra Channel and into Wainunu Bay on the island of Vanua Levu.  




It was a long day and although we both loved it, we were both over it by the time we found a suitable anchorage.  There was only one bay on the charts recommended for anchoring and it offered no protection from the SE tradewinds.   We realised afterwards that we may have been better to head slightly backwards and stay at Bua Bay around the other side of the island and made the passage across Wainunu Bay the next day.  Neither of us had wanted to do that though so we sailed an extra 2 or 3 hours to reach the head of the bay at the Northern end which offered some protection from the wind.  The anchor made quite a bit of noise across the seabed so we think it must have been a coral bottom which is why it would not have been a recommended anchorage:(

Although we took turns at the helm, we had a couple of passages to navigate and Ron needed me to look out for coral bombies so for a large part of the hottest part of the day, Ron was at the helm.  That night Ron suffered from disorientation and confusion and was unable to get his words out:(  It was very scary!  We had no internet to be able to confirm but I was pretty sure he was suffering from heatstroke.  It was the second time this had happened to him, both times after being out in the sun on a hot day.  He rehydrated, took some panadol, had a shower and felt a lot better.  We know to watch out for this in the future and in particular, to keep his fluids up!

Once again we needed to make an early start the next morning as we wanted to go through the Nasonisoni Passage through the reefs while the tide was still high and the winds still only at 12 knots.  The forecast had predicted winds to increase to 18knots and we didn’t want to come out of the narrow passage to huge swells.  It was an uneventful passage and although we experienced significant rise and fall at the ocean end, it did not affect us.  I had read a blog where the skipper had said it was their toughest passage yet so we were apprehensive!

Once through it was a 4 hour motor sail to Savusavu, a clearance port and very safe harbour.  Unfortunately the wind was just off the nose so we pointed as high as we could with the jib up and kept the revs down to 1500 and got along about 6 knots.

We dropped anchor, had a swim and have settled in ever since!  It is very pretty here.  There are 2 marinas, one quite derelict with mooring buoys and the other quite fancy but a bit pretentious.  You can anchor at the entrance or further up past the marinas in the creek.  We have stayed out towards the entrance.  There is a nice breeze and we can see all the comings and goings!  There has been a strong wind warning in force and the winds have been up since we arrived on Sunday so there are boats coming in all the time!  It is fascinating!  As Savusavu is a clearance port, many are coming from Tonga and NZ:) Others are just coming in for shelter from the wind.
We went in to town yesterday:)  We offloaded our rubbish, I went to the markets and the supermarket while Ron went to the chandlery and filled up the dinghy diesel drum:)  It has rained every day since we got here but as it is still warm, that hasn’t bothered me:)
The town is very pretty along the waterfront and the stores have all that you would ever need but they are typical island shops with unpainted shop fronts with little or no windows and very crowded narrow aisles.  The people are SO lovely:) They all greeted me on the street, are softly spoken and their smiles light up the world!  
There does not appear to be too much damage from the cyclone here but there are 3 or 4 sunken boats:(  It is the villages on the outer islands which have been most affected:(  Some completely wiped out, others 3 or 4 houses….

                       
We later learned that 22 boats escaped their moorings and were washed ashore.
Our plan is to stay here until the weather has improved sufficiently to sail 40 miles North to Viani Bay where the snorkelling is meant to be out of this world.


Sunday, 6 December 2015

Emotion2 is returning to NZ


Yes, coming back for some more repairs after an extensive Pacific Islands cruise,
and a catch up with family over Xmas/New Year.
Not sure how long ship and crew will be here but looking forward to seeing them.

I believe they are departing the Gold Coast about now.

Thanks to Barry Hutchins of Lycan Photography who filmed and created this video,
we hope you get some of this on your voyage to NZ.

Apologies to Bazza for my poor re-production. I don't have his talent.

Music is of course by David Gray... a song that became a theme song on our voyage from Thailand.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Nara Inlet, Hook Island, Whitsundays



A beautiful big inlet with tributaries running off it and perfect deep water anchorages in all winds. 

A daily visitor came aboard looking for a snack which Malcolm, Jill and Ron were only too happy to oblige.




Great spot for kayaking.





At the end of the inlet is a beautiful, short bush walk to the Aboriginal caves belonging to the Ngaro people with drawings dated 8000 years ago. 






Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Arrived Whitsundays



We are in the Whitsundays!  After a 6 day crossing which was not so bad we are now enjoying the Whitsunday Islands.  We really only had one 24 hour period where the seas were scary and the remaining days were big seas but made better by clear, sunny days and warm weather.  We averaged 8.5 knots hitting a top speed of 17 knots with just the jib up!  I am learning each time and had 6 evening meals all pre cooked so I only had to heat them up each night.  Just as well as even in the catamaran I was thrown around the galley!  We only used the jib for the full 6 days as we did not want to be overpowered in high winds.  So it all went well.

We cleared customs in Mackay and it was an extremely rigorous procedure.  Apparently they had recently apprehended a yacht with a large stash of cocaine so they were being extra vigilant!  They swabbed every cupboard and bilge with the same swabs they use at the airport and ran them through an electronic drug sniffer!  Quarantine was equally as tough, combing through every nook and cranny for termites and prohibited food.  Having cleared customs 11 times now, I can honestly say it was an extreme experience!  But we were not hiding anything (well hardly anything) so it went smoothly enough.

Steve and Jim, who came on the crossing with us stayed for 5 days and Steph and Sam joined us on the 15th.  Steph’s bump is 24 weeks along and they are both doing well and looking gorgeous:) It is great to see Sam especially as we were not sure he would be able to come.

The weather has been a little disappointing limiting where we have been able to go but we have certainly made the most of it.  Hamilton Island is ridiculously expensive and we cannot go in there to pick up or drop off guests without paying $18 an hour to tie the dinghy up!  We are not allowed to stay in the marina as our public liability insurance is only for NZ$5,000,000 and they won’t accept less than AU$10,000,000!  Never mind we have been able to anchor off and come in the dinghy when we have been going to the airport.

We have been to Airlie Beach which I really like.  It is very pretty with lovely boardwalks to the town one way and the shopping mall the other.  Each about 2kms but a pretty coastal walk both ways.  We are able to get provisions there.

The wind is meant to be dying down over the next 2 days so we will finally be able to see the famous Whitehaven Beach and head out to the Barrier Reef.  Steph has done her research and is hoping to catch a giant trevally and some coral trout!  For me, I am looking forward to the snorkelling and to walk along one of the beaches rated in the top 10 in the world!

Steph and Sam leave us on 28th and Mal and Jill friends of Rons join us on the 26th until 4th November.  After that Ron and I will be making our way down the East Coast of Australia by ourselves!  Pretty much our only time alone together apart from a week in Noumea and a couple of days in Fiji!  We need to be in the Gold Coast by 1 December as his boys arrive for the Tasman crossing come fishing trip on that date and I will be coming home!


Hard to believe what we have achieved so far…. A dream come true and one I still can’t believe I am living and won’t probably believe until I get back home and look at the photos!  And it is not over yet!

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

I love Noumea!

I love New Caledonia!  It is definitely cooler and requires warm clothing in the late afternoon but the cruising ground is amazing!  There are little islands everywhere and many safe anchorages to run to if the wind gets up:)  We can often find an island all to ourselves and they are so beautiful:)  The water is a rainbow of turquoise blues, crystal clear and the sand a beautiful white coral:)  There is an abundance of turtles and we have seen several dugongs!  It is absolutely amazing!  The islands are well set up for families with campfires around the island for campers and day trippers to use.

Ron and I had a week to ourselves here before Rod, Myfil and Amber came.  We loved it.  We did a recon of the area to map out a rough idea of where to take them as we decided against going to the Ile de Pins as we didn’t want the girls to get seasick.  And there was absolutely no need anyway as there is so much to see without going all that way:)

We stayed on the marina for 2 nights when we first arrived and again when Rod and family arrived in Noumea.  The marina is right beside the fish markets and produce markets.  There is live music in the weekends and the place is buzzing with a very festive air.  A great place to provision the boat although we still need to walk to the supermarket for the rest of the provisions.  It is not too far and I take my trolley cart so don’t have to carry it by hand.  Not a bad life!

Our House batteries which run our 240v system have died.  Rod organised some replacements to be shipped from New Zealand at a good price so we are waiting for them to arrive so we can swap them over.  Rod also sent new cables so it should be a straight forward process.  All going well….

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Santo, Vanuatu to Noumea, New Caledonia 31 August 2015

Crossing from Santo, Vanuatu to Noumea, New Caledonia

After waving off Steve and Trub, Paul and Cush at Aore Resort on the town ferry on Saturday 29 August, Clare, Ron and I prepared for the crossing to Noumea.  The weather window looked good for a fair weather sail - the first one for me!!
Clare’s Birthday - 31 August!  
We anchored Emotion 2 off the Immigration building in Luganville, early Monday morning and Ron dropped me ashore.  A short walk to the commercial wharf to find the Port Harbour Master to pay wharf fees, then the customs office located on the wharf also and lastly back to immigration to obtain clearance.  All clear by 9.00am and ready to set sail.
We had no wind leaving Santo and were fighting a strong current so were down to 4 knots at times in the first couple of hours.Wind picked up around lunch time so we put the jib up and motor sailed at 7.5 knots.  When the wind got up to NE 15 knots we were able to turn off the motors and sail with the main and jib!  Yahoo!
Unfortunately that was the last chance we had to get the main up.  The wind dropped by 1630 and we were in choppy, messy seas with very little wind for the next 8 hours.
A couple of rain squalls early morning 1 September but the day cleared to stunning blue skies and light, variable winds.  1600 presented Clare with a late birthday present:)  Fish on!  And it was a marlin:)  Clare made a valiant effort to bring it in but after an hour of playing we had to make the call to break the line.  We still had 219NM to go and wanted to get inside the reef before dark the following day.
2200 Pacific Dawn passed within 1 NM of us.  Clare was pretty pleased she was not on board!
By 0400 2 September the wind had picked up to 13 knots.  Short waves slapping the wing deck.  Jib up.  Clare spotted Lifou at 0530 and saw out the end of her watch to a beautiful sunrise.
Changed course 0800 to fill the jib.  Wind speed 14 knots, boat speed 8-9 knots.  We were racing to the reef before sunset!
Passed through Yates Pass 1630 and made our way through Woodin Canal in the dark with many vessels on the way.  Had to be very alert on my watch!

We anchored outside Port Moselle Marina at 2352:)  A fast trip and by far the smoothest crossing I have experienced.  I could possibly get used to this!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Turtles, Dugongs and Volcanoes

We have been making our way up the islands of Vanuatu to Espiritu Santo Island where we will spend the remainder of our time in Vanuatu.  Internet signal comes and goes as we make our way around making updating the blog difficult:( But it has been so worth it!  
I have accomplished one of my dreams!  I swam with turtles!  But that is not all…. I swam over the top of a Dugong, otherwise known as a sea cow.  They are enormous and I got a really big fright, despite the fact that I had been swimming around looking for it for the best part of an hour.  It was really only a fleeting glimpse as it took off very quickly and I never really got a chance to get up front and personal but I was so happy!
But the absolute highlight of the voyage North would have to be while anchored in the beautiful Lamen Bay at the top of Epi Island.  We were able to see across to Ambrym Island from where we were anchored and could see the two plumes of the twin volcanoes.  They appeared as two cloud formations.  But that evening was simply wondrous as the sky was lit up by the eruptions.



The weather has been warm during the day and a bit chilly at night.  Showers today and periods of overcast skies but still warm enough to swim and snorkel.  The water is so clear and clean, we can see the bottom from in the boat and the beautiful tropical fish.
We caught only one fish trolling up through the islands, a Mahi Mahi, but it fed everyone for 2 meals so very nice:)  Of course, not being a big fish eater myself, I get to have something easy for myself that I really love - like banana on toast or cheese and crackers haha!
Having been to Port Vila, to a resort, many years ago, I would highly recommend Santo Island instead.  There are more white, sandy beaches and the setting is beautiful.  We will be exploring over the next couple of weeks but we have yet to see Champagne Bay, Oyster Island, Rewi River, the Blue Holes and some other amazing places here on Santo.
We went in to the main town, Luganville, yesterday to reprovision and went to the local produce markets located on the banks of the river:)  The town was small but had everything we wanted, including a hardware store that seriously rivalled Bunnings!  I lost Ron for hours!  The sreets were wider than Vila and the pavements were properly concreted but Santo was not as badly hit by the cyclone so maybe Vila was like that before Cyclone Pam.
The wind is down for now so we are heading to Oyster Island today.  Overcast and drizzly but time for a new spot:)  It is just 12 miles so not too far to travel.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Crossing from Lautoka, Fiji for Vila, Vanuatu

Departed Lautoka, Fiji, 30 July at 12.00 noon having picked up our 2 crew members, Larry and Steve the previous night.  Went out through the Malo Passage at 1400 hours. Put the mainsail and  jib up with the wind at a steady SSE 16 knots and sailed at 7 knots. Wind steadily increased from 16 knots to 25 knots that day and boat speed averaged 9 knots. 
The next day the winds got up to 38 knots with boat speed reaching as high as 15 knots.  Took the jib down at midnight to reduce power.  Big seas.
The highest boat speed was on 2 August at 16.1 knots in SE 20 - 28 knots wind.
Anxious to get a break from the big seas and the high winds we passed Tanna at 2000 hours but could not risk putting our anchor down without having cleared customs so we moseyed up slowly in the lee of the land from Erromango Island where we took the mainsail down.  Pulled up the jib and motorsailed to Port Vila, arriving at 0800 hours on 3 August.
Yet another crossing that scared the sea boots off me, with an accidental gybe and a round up, both in high winds and big sea.  Both caused by rogue waves!  Even Ron felt more than a bit anxious at times on this passage!
Ron took my 2000 to 2200 watch and I did his 0800 to 1000 watch in return.  That seemed to take the edge off my nerves and I can once again say - “I did it!”

Ron is still promising me a smooth crossing next time:)

http://www.emotion2.co.nz/p/pacific-islands-2015.html


Friday, 10 July 2015

Musket Cove/Plantation Island

Luckily we have missed the rain:) it has been hot but on the boat there is always a lovely sea breeze and easy to have a quick dip if too hot:) walking into town however is sweltering! We had trouble getting our cruising permit so had to go into town on 3 occasions. 

While waiting to pick up Suze we went to Musket Cove/Plantation Island where I had my 50th:) it was stunning and very nostalgic:) 

We picked Suze up from Denerau Marina which is the hub of the tourist industry. All cruises and excursions leave from there and it has all the major hotels along the waterfront. There are now a lot of beautiful homes with their own jetties and boats in manmade canals with beautiful bougainvillea hedges:) very pretty:) Geoff and I went in to Nadi to the local markets to provision up the boat. At Denerau lettuce cost F$22.50!!!! At the markets they were 2 for F$2.00! Well worth the trip:) 

Geoff's 60th birthday was on the 9th so  I shouted the 4 of us dinner at the restaurant on Plantation Island where we had my 50th dinner. Lovely atmosphere with coloured lights and tables out on the sand and a lovely Fijiian crooning on the guitar:) It was very low key and a perfect evening:) 


We headed out to the first of the Yasawa Islands yesterday and will have our first village experience! When we anchor we must take a sevu sevu (koha) of kava root and lay it on the beach. A village man then takes us to the chief who performs a kava ceremony and then tells us we are welcome in his village. Only then may we swim, fish or visit the village. I am nervously excited! 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

We are in Fiji

We finally cleared Tongan Customs mid afternoon Friday 26 June.
Not the easiest of processes... helps if you have fresh fish to offer (especially on arrival).
Having said that, what wonderful, friendly, smiling people...
and when you say Kiwi... they knew more about the Super Rugga than I did.

Cost us a small monetary bribe to the Customs man, to anchor at a beautiful peaceful spot around the corner for the night, but it was serene and peaceful; in the end a good deal for all.

0700 Saturday, Ron raised the anchor with his new hand remote...
which meant I didn't have to get out of bed. (I was peering out the side window just in case).
I'm becoming redundant.

Well, not really... because we thought we had a 4 day/4 night trip ahead,
Pretty tough for 2 people.. so I'm no longer redundant.

For this trip, we decided to change the watches the 3 of us did from Thailand to Australia,
which were 3 hours up (alone) then 6 hours down. The 3 hours up, especially at night, was pretty tiring, although part of that was because we had no Bazza (Autopilot), and it was pretty rough a lot of the trip.
This trip... Bazza is working constantly.... so no hands required on the wheel.
And just 2 hours up/4 hours down for this trip... such a difference!!!

Almost all of the trip was in 2-3 metre confused swells/seas, but the wind was constant from the East/South/East and constant between 15-25 knots.
This meant we were sailing with the wind 30-60 degrees forward of aft, and we sailed almost the entire trip under sail alone, with no motors. (just looked at logbook... 10 hours recorded).

Awesome!! considering we are talking about over 600 nautical miles.

The reason the high mileage... given there were just the 3 of us, we decided to sail south and sail around the bottom of the Lau group of islands and reefs, then back north again to Viti Levu.
Given the sea conditions for the entire trip, this proved prudent.
(For all our fisho followers... Ronnie was not able to put a lure out for the entire trip until the Navalu Passage!!!  where he was successful... more later... I'm eating fresh Wahoo!!)

So, back to where we started...
Left Tonga 0700 Saturday
Arrived Navalu Passage (Lautoka, Fiji) 1100 Tuesday.

Ron reckons it's the fastest trip ever, and probably won't be beaten, unless you take on the Lau reefs of course!

For myself personally, the best was the final night, my watch, 0300-0500, big swell slightly on the quarter, 24 knots of wind, 45 degrees forward of aft, full main, jib furled about 20%...
surfing for 2 hours at 10-12 knots!
The boat was in perfect sync with all the conditions, and she was smoking!!
With Bazza working it's arse off, I could stand either side of the boat and just feel it happening through my legs on the deck.
Surfing a 60 foot, 10 tonne Cat, at night, under an almost full moon, hitting 12's in 20-24...
very hard to describe what that feels like.

Bye for now. Try and update again tomorrow, with some pics also.

Love to all from R,A,G on Emotion2 at Lautoka, Fiji