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!

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