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!

View videos

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:)

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

Monday, 22 June 2015

Pacific Islands this year...

Hi All

Yes, Emotion2 is currently in Tonga. The first port of call for an extended cruise of the Pacific Islands.

Emotion2 left Auckland in May with some serious "fisho's" and divers aboard and headed for Tonga via the Minerva reefs.
From the info gathered so far... fish is on the menu!!!

Annie and myself are currently packing our bags, here in freezing NZ, and boarding a flight to shorts, tee shirts, and suncream, tomorrow morning before sunlight.

The boat will sail from Tonga to Fiji, Vanuatu, Noumea, Whitsundays QLD, Gold Coast and then back to NZ.

Crew will be coming and going at various points and destinations.

This is a short one for me (compared to the last voyage)... just 3 weeks away from blizzards, sailing the approximate 4 day voyage to Fiji with Ron and Annie, and spending a bit of time in the Fiji sun, before the next crew change.

Cannot wait!!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Great Mercury Island

Privately owned by two Auckland businessmen, Michael Fay and David Richwhite, the Mercurys are not to be left out by visiting boaties.  The island is open to the public and Mercury Bay, home away from home to Fay and Richwhite is a wonderful, safe anchorage.  Around the back of the island are the most beautiful beaches you will find anywhere with white sand and turquoise blue water.  The fishing is fantastic too.  Many of the beaches have fresh water streams with hoses running down to the beach to fill up your tanks.  Good for doing the washing, too! The closest harbour would be Whitianga, about 20 nautical miles away on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Great Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand

Located approximately 50 nautical miles North East of Auckland city, Great Barrier Island is a boaties heaven. There are a vast number of bays with good shelter and anchorages. Port Fitzroy and Whangaparapara Harbour both have water and fuel at the wharf. Smokehouse Bay is a particularly nice surprise for boaties as there is a potbelly stove with which to heat the water for a lovely hot bath or shower as well as washing tubs and clothes lines to do your washing. The fishing is fantastic, waterfalls, walks, restaurants, shops - it has it all!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hauling Out at Norsand, Whangarei

For those coming to New Zealand, Whangarei is approximately 150kms north of Auckland and has excellent marine facilities and haulout services.  With Emotion 2 being 9 metres wide, we can strongly recommend Norsand Boatyard for hauling out any sized boats and all services once you are on the hard. After finally reaching Auckland and seeing friends and family we were keen to get Emotion 2 out of the water and do some repairs and maintenance.