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!