Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cairns to Cape York

23rd July 2008

Fliss ..........


Sad day today as it's time to say goodbye to Holly. The weather was against us so Pete had to stay with the boat as the forecast said it was going to blow 40 knots, I had worried all night about having to dinghy into the marina from the anchorage in those kind of winds.


I was secretly hoping that her flight would be cancelled and she would have to stay a bit longer!


Holly was sad but excited as she was on her way to Hong Kong for a 2 night shopping trip. She really is lucky as a friend of friend and a local Hong Kong girl is meeting her at her hotel to show her the sights. She'll have a wonderful time!


Pete & I will have to stay in Cairns for a little longer as out boat registration certificate is out of date & Indonesia will not issue a cruising permit without it.


24th July 2008


Pete.......


We had applied for a cruising permit for Indonesia and this entails sending e-mail copies of passports and the ships registration details. Unknown to us, the ship registration document was out of date and we now needed to apply for renewal. This entailed sending an application form by post (Fax not allowed) and then waiting for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to send a Carving and Marking document to our UK Address. Our “home” address is actually my parents address and my dad will scan the form and mail me a copy so that I can fill it in and post it back to the UK after which a new Certificate will be issued. A long winded process that requires us to remain in Cairns where the communications are good.


25th July 2008 to 28th July 2008


Pete .........


So, whilst we are waiting for the Carving and Marking form to arrive, I got on with stripping and varnishing the Companionway and applying a few more coats of varnish to the cap rails. Fliss busied herself with adding to the ships stores that will have to last us until Darwin since there is little in the way of civilisation from here onwards.


We met a nice chap moored in the marina who gave me a lift to the Chart Shop since he was having difficulties describing where it was. A couple of days later, I sent Fliss off to catch a taxi and get three gas bottles refilled. She met the same guy on the dinghy landing pontoon and he told her that she was going to get horrendously lost and it was best if he drove her. The outcome was that the usual re-fill station was closed and they spent almost an hour driving around until finding a place that would do re-fills. Without his help, we would have been eating cold beans for the next three weeks or more.


The Carving and Marking form arrived with my parents and was scanned and e-mailed immediately but arrived with us on a Sunday. We got up early on the Monday and posted the signed form back and did last minute provisioning of food, additional varnish, spare rope, petrol for the outboard, and cheap booze.



29th July 2008


Pete ......


We dropped into the marina at 10:00 to fill one of our fuel tanks and set off at about 10:30 to Green Island ghosting along nicely under headsail alone until we came out of the shelter of Cairns whereby we stuck 2 reefs in the main and were pounding along close hauled at 7.5 knots. The weather forecast told us that it was windy and the automatic wind-speed indicator on Green Island was recording 25 knots gusting 30. With the anchorage at Green Island being some distance from land (behind reefs), we decided that we would give it a miss and headed instead for Low Isles 30 miles distant. We had not planned for such a long passage in breezy conditions and I worried about the dinghy doing a somersault as it had done in the Whitsundays. However after a really good downwind passage and no mishaps, we arrived at 17:00 nicely in time to set the anchor before dark.


30th July 2008 - 31st July 2008


Fliss ..............


All's well here & were chilling, anchored off lovely Low Isles.... it's so small that you can walk around it in 5 minutes! but it does have a pretty lighthouse.


The snorkelling it good and Pete I snorkelled with three huge turtles.... Not that much fish life but we reckon when the tour boats turn up the fish bugger off till they leave. Water visibility is murky but it's due to all the boats whizzing around stirs it up. At 3pm they all leave so we have it to ourselves.... lovely!


About 3:30pm we took the dinghy to a bommie to see if we could see the Turtles again, none in sight we must have been incredibly lucky! Pete got back in the dinghy & I swam back.... just as I reached the boat I felt that I had been stung, damn! I thought I'm in real trouble now as the jelly fish have a deadly sting and you only have a short while to get to hospital....I had a red mark with an obvious sting mark but I must have been stung by an innocent one as I was fine!!!! it just burnt for a while.


Pete...............


We had a lovely couple of days at Low Isles doing a bit of snorkelling and then some walking between the adjacent isles at low tide. The water clarity was not very good for snorkelling but we managed to swim with a group of Turtles and see stingrays and reef sharks as well. We started feeding the Batfish by the boat but they were completely outclassed by the dexterity and speed of Remora (I think that's what they are called). They are grey, sleek and look a bit like metre-long sharks but have a mouth pointing upwards rather than down and have gills along the top of their heads. We eventually had a shoal of them under Naz. We also saw these fish escorting the turtles and I think that they act as cleaners - certainly, the bottom of Naz has now lost its thin patina of Cairns river muck. We are hoping they are catching a ride with us as and that we will find them still with us at the next anchorage.









Remora Fish















Loggerhead Turtle









We had a Sea Osprey sitting on top of the mast the last couple of days, we think its nest is on the top of the lighthouse ashore - very big with a white belly. Also, a large seabird tried to land on our spreaders and misjudged. It fell and tangled in the shrouds before hitting the deck. Having regained its wits, it sat on the guardrail about 5ft from us and seemed completely unfazed by our presence and movements.


The Low Isles are inhabited by a caretaker and some research people and are invaded daily by tour boats that disgorge their loads between about 10:30 and 15:00. The arrival and departure and tourist ferrying are all done to the same schedule each day and so there must be strict regulations about numbers allowed on the island.


1st August 2008


Pete.......


We left Low Isles bound for Hope Island at 07:30 today hoping for a 6 knot passage to get us there with plenty of light to dodge the bommies that clutter the entrance to the anchorage. The wind started off fairly light but and we put into Cape Tribulation thinking that we would not make our destination. However, the Cape offers poor protection and we re-hoisted sail and continued on. Luckily, the wind filled-in in the afternoon and we had another perfect sail to Hope Island arriving at Spring low tides that allowed us fantastic visibility of the numerous exposed reefs enabling easy pilotage into the anchorage.


However, we dropped the anchor in coral infested water and it took a while to hold. Thinking that it would be wise to put a buoy on the anchor, we pulled it back up and caught ourselves a massive lump of coral which took a little while to shake off the anchor. We finally settled down and went to the beach where a sign told us of the local crocodile inhabitants - "Do not go near the water - no swimming". Fliss high-tailed it back to the dinghy leaping the gap between it and the shore with one athletic bound. I might be a pussy when it comes to sharks but.......


2nd August 2008


Pete.....


We had another perfect sail to Cooktown and anchored in 5m one hour before low water. Jim, from a catamaran that had also been at Hope Island came over and began chatting. His boat was 30m away from us and he told us that he was firmly aground. At the change of the tide, we swung away from the wharf and touched bottom and managed to get ourselves pinned to the sand bar with the tide surging in at us broadside. After about an hour and a half, we eventually swung off into the deeper water again.


3rd August 2008


Pete......


I got up at 05:30 this morning for the change to incoming tide to use the motor to nudge us off the sandbank before we got pinned against it again. Today, we noted that a local fishing boat had anchored in the yellow-buoyed boat turning area so we followed his example and are now blatantly in a no-anchor zone that gives a depth sufficient to let us swing.


There is not a lot here in Cooktown, the phone that we added credit to to get internet and e-mails has no signal here and the other SIM card that uses a Virgin account does not offer Internet service. There is nothing else apart from a reasonable supermarket.


Our new boat Registration Certificate has arrived with my parents and dad has scanned it and e-mailed a copy to us. With such a large e-mail, we needed our mobile phone to connect to the internet.


We spent a while trying to find internet services here but Fliss "private-eye" Anderson tracked down a backpackers hostel that had computer terminals. A little bit of messing around using the internet to access our Iridium mail and we have received and posted-on the documents.


We met an older chap (65-70+) who writes for Nudist magazines... he advertises for young ladies to crew for him in return they pose naked for articles that he writes..


4th August 2008


Pete.......


We awoke early to the sound of anchor chain grinding against the topsides as the wind opposed the tide. It only did it once but that was enough to incentivise us to get out of bed and get going from Cooktown. We left at 08:00 on a broad reach to Cape Bedford at about 7.5 knots in 15 knots of wind with the sun shining. Rounding Cape Bedford, we aimed for Cape Flattery and poled the headsail out wing-on-wing and slowed down a little for a while before the breeze filled in a little more and we were back to 7+ knots on a relatively stable sea. With the going looking good, we decided to press on to Lizard Island and arrived there at Watsons Bay at 15:30 having easily topped 50 miles. If the sailing keeps like this, it will be most enjoyable.


The beach here has a couple of bench-tables and a tree with a sign hanging on it saying Lizard Yacht Club. We went over for a couple of beers with the rest of the boats in the anchorage to watch the sun set - lovely. I now have the task of carving Nadezhda on something and hanging it with the rest of the memorabilia that adorns the spot. It might be good practice for Carving and Marking boat registration details onto Naz


5th August 2008


Pete ....


Lizard Island is where Captain Cook came in a small pinnace (a small boat) so that he could climb the 358m high hill to scan for a way out of the infernal reef. He was worried that going further North would have him embayed by the closing-in coral.


After carving "Nadezhda - 2008" on a piece of teak, we headed up Cooks hill. We were a bit late for it as the path ascended the leeward side of the hill and we had no breeze to cool us down from the midday sun. The views were great from the top and we could see Cooks Passage clearly from the top. He was really desperate to get out from the reefs here but then had no wind and the swell was threatening to push him back on the outer reefs. Two days later, he was relieved to find Providence channel and scurried through it back into sheltered water again. Be careful what you wish for – the grass is not always greener!







Lizard Island












Lizard Island - Cook's Lookout Sign

















Pete looking out over Lizard Island







We cooled down in the afternoon with a bit of snorkelling but the water here is still very cold and any more than half an hour of it at a time and the hypothermia sets in. At sunset, we went across to the “Yacht Club” and hung our carved memorabilia in the tree.









Yacht Nadezhda plaque at Lizard Island















Lizard Island Commitee members










6th August 2008



Pete.......



We started the day planning our itinerary to Cape York and thereon to Darwin. Then we walked across Lizard Island to the "Blue Lagoon" which is a very blue lagoon that joins the two off-lying islands to the main island. We spent some time scrambling around the shoreline rocks and beaches trying to find an alternative route back via a research centre but eventually gave up when the going got too tough and re-traced our steps back to the dinghy.









Lizard Island lizard


















Fliss en-route to the Lagoon










“Nice n Easy” the nudists turned up this afternoon.


7th August 2008


Pete.......


We set off at 07:00 for the 55 mile run to Ninian Bay on the mainland. As soon as we had got the mainsail up, “Nice n Easy” the nudist catamaran had their anchor up and were following us. After a short while, the wind increased and we tucked in the first mainsail reef having achieved 8.8 knots. About an hour later and the headsail had a few turns in it and three hours into our passage the second slab of mainsail reefing was applied. “Nice n Easy” kept full sail all day and was slewing all over the place in the short steep waves. I called them up on the radio and asked where they were going ... “Oh! Not really sure” was the response. I told them we were headed to Ninian Bay and suddenly, that was where they were going as well!!?!









Jim & Annie - Nice & Easy










We arrived at Ninian Bay with Nice N Easy at the same time - it was very shallow and we could not get close enough to the shore to prevent some chop. Nice n Easy were able to go in much further and got protection from the wind and seas whilst I slept in the lounge listening for the anchor alarm.


8th August 2008


Pete ......


We set of with just the headsail for the short 30 mile hop to Flinders Island. The wind picked up as we ran up the coast to Cape Melville but it was pretty much behind us and a few turns of roller-reefing kept us at a stable 7.5 knots. Nice n Easy took the inside route between Cape Rock and Boulder Rock but we decided to go outside of dangers since the wind had increased and we had less than half the jib out by that point and the seas were beginning to kick-up.


As we rounded the outer dangers (Channel Rocks) the wind was really howling and we reefed to about one-fifth of the jib but were still doing 7.5 knots on a beam reach. Then, the wind really started picking up. With only 4 miles of fetch from the headland, the seas were short, steep and knocking us about such that it was difficult for Charlie (the autohelm) to keep a straight course. The waves were tumbling and bursting across Naz with explosive force and instantly turning into windblown spindrift - we were soaked immediately. The sound of the wind in the rigging changed from a reassuring howl to an nerve jangling scream.


It was at this time that the wooden catch that holds the autopilot gantry to the pushpit decided to fail. The wind and motion blew the gantry aside and promptly dumped the autopilot into the sea. Luckily, the gantry got itself caught-up and the autopilot was tied onto the boat by a lanyard. Fliss was downstairs checking that the hatches were fully screwed down and so I had a couple of minutes of panic trying to keep Naz on course whilst retrieving the parts and lashing them securely back in place.


All in all, we had about 45 minutes of ferocious weather of intensity that we have never seen before. I think that maybe it was something to do with the strong trade winds accelerated by Cape Melville and the associated mountains but the Cruising Guide does not mention the phenomena. We are hoping that this is the first and last of anything of that order of magnitude.


The rest of the passage was quite pleasant but a bit slow as we were cautious about turning out a few reefs in the headsail.


We were invited on-board Nice & Easy for dinner with Jim and Annie.


Jim is married but his wife does not like sailing so he advertises for crew to do long term (6 months or more) cruising up and down the Queensland coast. He is a naturist and writes for a naturist magazine. Naturally, his crew must be half his age and female. Annie does not quite fit the bill since she is 50 years old - only 15-20 years his junior. She is here to spend 1 year cruising with Jim and has come all the way from San Francisco where she has her own boat. However, I think that not all is well in the Nice n Easy camp with the rumours of Annie going AWOL once they reach Thursday Island. We think that we are being followed by Jim since they left straight after us from Lizard Island having spent only half an afternoon there. We are not quite sure what our attraction is but we are keeping our clothes firmly on!!



9th August 2008


after our fright of 230 knots of wind the other day (it's already getting slightly exagerated), we had a quiet day at anchorage at Flinders Island. It was quite gusty there and we simply chilled out and Fliss went for a walk on the beach with Nice n Easy whilst I got some of the Blog text up to date. I think that my staying on the boat put Jims' nose out of joint since, when they returned, he upped anchor and moved about half a mile away!


10th August 2008


Today, we did the 60 mile hop from Flinders Island to Morris Island. The breeze started off quite nice but soon died until about 5 miles from the anchorage - so we ended up motoring about 52 miles which we did not really want to do since we did not want to re-fill with diesel in Darwin.


11th August 2008


The night was quite wild and windy with no shelter from the small sandy cay but it dropped off in the morning and we departed with full sail.


Our original intention was to hop to Night Island (only 21 miles) but the wind increased until we had 2 reefs in the mainsail and were bombing along at over 7 knots so we headed straight for Portland Roads - a distance of 65 miles total. We left at 06:45 and arrived at 15:30 - another great run although the day has been overcast with a few spots of rain. Being in Portland Roads means that we have caught-up the day we spent in Flinders.


There are houses here! This is the only European settlement between Cooktown and Thursday Island (Cape York) and is served by an airfield some distance inland. I am not sure why the settlement is here since there is no big jetty for export of raw materials or produce. We will never find out since we will be off towards Cape Grenville tomorrow morning - weather permitting.


Charlie the autopilot got himself seized today as we were approaching Portland. He got himself on full extension and got stuck. I have encouraged him to work again but think that he requires recuperation and renovation before too much additional work is required of him. We are glad we had the little ST1000 to replace him and also that we have a Charlie II (that requires the plug changed with Charlie I).


12th August 2008


We had another fast sail. I put two reefs in the main before leaving and wished that we had simply used the headsail. After navigating through narrow reefs to keep away from the big ships in the main channel, we hid behind a reef and got the main down and unfurled a small bit of headsail that still gave us 7 knots boatspeed. Turning around the shallows into Margaret Bay (Cape Grenville) we gunned the engine to make progress against the wind for the mile into calmer waters.


We called up a fishing boat that is here in the anchorage after lone fisherman gave us a hearty wave. He has a forecast that says the wind will not abate and told us that it is usually like this at this time of year. He also said that the Mother Ship (Supply Vessel) was coming in today. The Mother Ship "Pacific Endeavour" supplies fishing boats and anyone else up and down the coast from Cairns to Cape York and takes back the fish that have been caught.


I went over to see Don on his small fishing boat that he rents from the owner. He is trying to get back South but refuses to go out in the seas the way that they are at the moment. He lost a stabiliser the other day and almost turned turtle and also has problems with leaking self-steering fluid. Unfortunately, that means that he has no fish but is going crabbing today and promised us some if he is successful.


13th August 2008


We decided to have a rest day today and see what the supply boat could offer us. Also, I wanted to grease and check the Aries and give everything else a once-over since I have not done so in a while.


I called-up Pacific Endeavour this morning - Fliss was running out of Cigarettes as Nice n Easy smoked all of hers. They told us to come over and we went up to the bridge to be foiled by a submarine-like door. We stood outside trying to fathom out how to open it as the people inside ignored us. Eventually, Don opened it for us and they all had a good laugh at our expense - they wanted to know how many times we would walk around the bridge trying to gain access.


We asked if they had some fresh veg and bread and they ummed and ahherd saying that they were on their way home. Fliss went off with the cook and hit the jackpot. The ship is due back home in 2 days and she had more than enough provisions remaining.


We bought 200 fags and they gave us for free:


Bacon, Chicken wings, Pork Mince, 5 loves of bread, 2 packets of muffins, 2 pints of milk, corgettes, huge bag of apples, mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, carrots, oranges, tomatoes & limes... so it pays to talk! just a quick conversation with a local fisherman who tipped us of. Kind eh! they laughed when they passed us the goodies to the dinghy & said hope we don't sink you.


Don the fisherman has just roared off in his tinny (aluminium dinghy) to go crabbing so the spark plug that we gave him must have done the trick. I think that everything on his boat has seen better days!


It is grey and windy here today but not too cold. Not really a day for exploring too far so we will do our checks and jobs.


We invited Don from the small fishing boat over for sundowners along with a solo catamaran sailor. A couple of twenty-something lads also came along from a Cray-fishing boat that is also anchored and working from Margaret Bay. The Crayfish are vegetarian here and must be caught by hand so the main fishing boat is simply storage and accomodation. It tows 3 Dorys to the fishing ground and the fishermen use these as a base for diving. Each Dory is equipped with a compressor to provide air for the divers and a saltwater storage tank to keep the Crayfish alive. Some of the fish are frozen and some kept alive and delivered to a small plane that lands on the beach at low tide whereupon they go to Cairns and then on to China.


The 2 lads were very pleasant and had not been on a yacht before. They ran back to their ship and brought 3 tails of Crayfish for us and a bag of what they called "cockroaches". These were a bit like small crayfish and had been cooked - not bad eating but we don't really like fish and noshed a few just to be polite.


14th August 2008


I went aboard the Crayfishing boat this morning for a look around. Some of the live ones were about 2.5 feet long, are strong and they can really move quickly when disturbed. The lads seemed to really like their work but it must be a very hard life spending up to 5 hours a day underwater wrestling in hand-to-hand combat with these creatures.


Don cooked and gave us a mud crab ..... please - no more fish!





We stayed another half day at Margaret Bay due to the windy conditions and then ran just 8 miles North to Shelbourne Bay today. As we rounded Rodney Island at a fair distance, we headed towards the anchorage and having just furled the headsail and started the engine, we watched the depth go from 5 metres to 2.2 in no time at all. I grabbed the helm and turned away from shore just as we grumbled heavily across something hard and unyielding. Hopefully no damage but whatever it was is uncharted and not shown in our cruising guide or C-Map. However, if you zoom out on C-Map sufficiently, there is a rock shown. The waters are murky here and the light was bad and so we had no chance of seeing the shoals.


We are now anchored in 3m depth unfortunately too far from shore. This means that the small fetch is uncomfortable and the tide is holding us broadside to the 30+ knots of wind.


15th August 2008


We departed again at 04:00 in order to run the 80 miles to Mt Adolphus. Luckily, the winds were blowing only 25 knots rather that the 35 knots that we have become accustomed to and ew stormed along with 2 reefs in the main goosewinged with the jib. Fantastic progress bought us to our new anchorage in grey conditions by 16:30


16th and 17th August 2008


We had a couple of days of rest whilst mission control (dad) researched the internet for tidal flows through the Torres Straits. We judged that leaving one and a half hours after low tide anywhere along that coastline would allow you to catch the first of the Westbound flow.

Cairns Visitors

4th July 2008

Fliss....

Happy Birthday me!


We've just spent the last few days getting ready for Holly. Pete's been frantically sanding & varnishing so that when we have a full house (Will & Narena are flying in from Melbourne in weeks time to stay for 9 days) he'll be free to go site seeing with us. It'll be very cosy on-board!


Pete stayed with Naz to carry on varnishing whilst I went to the airport to meet Holly.


After spending 32 hours travelling she was shattered and swore she would never fly that distance again.


In the evening Ian & Cathy from Ariel came over for a birthday drink. I think they now me quite well as they bought me a box of red wine as a gift!


BBQ's chicken kebabs & salad for our intrepid traveller and we all retired for an early night.


Holly had brought me birthday cards & presents from home so all in all I had a wonderful day! I couldn't have asked for more.









Holly












Holly & I had a wonderful week, shopping & just wandering around Cairns. We visited the local Casino which had a small zoo on it's top floor, lots of beautiful birds, crocodiles & rare parrots it was quite expensive for what was their but still lovely to see.


Cairns is a lovely town with a real heart to it and without a doubt set up for the tourists. The streets are lined with people selling boat trips out to the reef, sky diving and many other excursions. Loads of bars restaurants and gift shops.











Replica of Captain Cooks "Endeavour"







As the Cairns waterfront is all mud flats they have a lovely lagoon/swimming pool on the water front where people hang out. They have live music playing at the weekends and loads of BBQ's for people to use. Everywhere is so clean!


The other good thing about the Lagoon is that there are free showers so we all just wandered over there for showers which saved the water we have on-board.


Holly highlighted my hair for me and unfortunately I ended up looking like a dodgy Rod Stewart impersonator! Desperate calls where made to the local hairdresser to fix it, luckily a few lowlights sorted it out. I was very pleased with the end result.


We decided that we would save the sight seeing for when Will & Narena arrive.


We decided that with so many people on-board we would have to go into a marina as we couldn't carry that much water for everyone to have a shower each day. Compared to UK prices it was cheap at $25 (12.50 UK pounds per day) but it's not normally something we would do.


It was great for Holly as she could wander off at night to call her fiancée Leon and catch up with her emails.


Will & Narena arrived early hours on the 11th July so we met them at the airport and then came back to the boat with so much catching up to do we didn't go to bed until the early hours! Needless to say everyone had an easy day the next day.


People were so friendly in the marina and often stopped bay to say hello.


One chap said to Holly that he liked my thongs, Holly was so shocked and came down stairs & said Mum there's a man perving at your thongs. So next time I spotted him I asked what he thought of them & he said he thought they were great!when I explained to the man what thong means in England he cracked up with laughter and Holly just cringed!


We hired a car and visited the interior of Cairns which was absolutely stunning with it's rain forests, waterfalls & lakes.









Narena at Mossman Gorge











We also went off to the Crocodile farm & Cairns Zoo. Great days out & lovely seeing the Cassowaries, Koalas, Red Pandas & Kangaroos which were so tame that you feed at pet them and Red Panda's.









Just chilling!



















Koala at feeding time!




















Cassawari



















"Maude" has a severe case of PMT




















Crocodile feeding time, mind your fingers!









The highlight for everyone was when we sailed off to Michelmas Cay. It's only 23 miles from Cairns it's just a tiny beach which is a bird sanctuary. Before we left a guy next to us in the marina said it's lovely but the birds will drive you nuts as they keep squawking all day, he was right!


The snorkelling was best that I have seen, huge clams, stunning coral and loads of marine life. Holly & I snorkelled with a 4 foot long & wide Humpback Maori Wrasse. Will & I snorkelled with a Loggerhead Turtle for quite some time. The icing on the cake was the Bat Fish that swam around the boat all day. We took it in turns to be in the water with them as Holly threw bread in to feed them, they bumped you out of the way to get to bread and didn't mind you stroking them.. All of us couldn't resist going snorkelling and had to take it in turns as we only had two snorkelling kits.










Batfish















Michelmas Cay Bird Reserve














Will with a giant Clam













We spent two nights there but had to make our way back on Sunday the 20th as Will & Narena where flying back that evening plus it was Holly's birthday.


Will & Nareena kindly took us all out to lunch and then they had to head off for the airport at 6;30pm.


Pete & I bought Holly a birthday cake with candles and the evening we just chilled out and watched movies... Happy Birthday Hols!!!!


Australia

18th June 2008

Fliss.....


After we did our washing we caught the local bus into Mackay to do some shopping (fresh stuff) and are amazed at the locals, everyone is immensely over weight! We had visions of these beautiful sun kissed people looking gorgeous. But it's not surprising looking at the food portions, we struggled to find 2 small steaks as the packs are all super sized and could feed a 3rd world country. We could anchor Naz in storm just using a quiche.

Not wanting to cook yesterday we treated ourselves to a burger. We were stunned when Pete's burger arrived it had; steak, burger, egg, bacon & salad, it was huge!

Tomorrow we'll head off towards the Whitsunday islands en-route to Cairns, can't wait!


19th June 2008

Fliss ...........


Lovely short hop to Brampton Islands.

Gorgeous Island which is a holiday resort! We took the dinghy ashore & saw Kangaroos! The water is brimming with Turtles and little swallows land on the guard rails & just sit their happily chatting away to themselves, Magical!









Brampton Island Resort












Brampton Island Kangeroos......








20th June 2008

Another short sail to Shaw Island, another stunning island with white sandy beaches. This really is the life!



















21st June 2008


Fliss .........

We upped anchor at 11am to head for Airlie Beach. It was really quite blowy at 25 knots so we decided to just pull out the headsail. With wind against tide we had steep waves. Our concern was that the dinghy was surfing down the waves and nearly over taking Naz each time the dinghy slipped back the painter would come up hard. We were nervous that it would snap & we would have to try to get the dinghy back in steep waves, not easy!

Pete attached another line to the dinghy to try to stop the snatching movement. I said that I didn't trust the integrity of two lines tied together, Pete just grunted that it would be fine & to stop fussing.

Airlie Beach is a lovely tourist town! It reminded us of Cornwall with the surf shops, trendy bars & cafe's.







Watch out Stingers about!!!









We successfully managed to raise the age limit as it really was full of youngsters on a gap year.

Main reason for stopping here is to re-provision Naz for a trip up to Cairns, which is approximately 12 days from here. Our plan is to do an over-nighter & then hop up the islands.

22nd June 2008

Pete ......

We left Airlie Beach with 2 reefs in the main and a scrap of headsail out, we were doing 7.5 knots close to the wind in about 25-30 knots our plan was to go to Cid Harbour. We had discussed the dinghy before we set off and I thought it would be ok towing since the wind in the anchorage was (obviously) much less than out between the islands. Fliss voted for stowing on deck. Anyway, we towed it and it eventually turned over and broke the line to it. We quickly turned into wind, furled the headsail and started the motor - which instantly coughed and died. I immediately thought that the broken line had wrapped in the prop and so we spent about 45 minutes doing man-overboard drill under sail in steep waves and windy conditions. The real problem was that an upside-down dinghy has nothing to attach a boat hook to securely and although we came right alongside the dinghy on every attempt, Fliss could not quite catch and hold onto it. Eventually, turned my thoughts back to the engine and realised that it would not go even when in neutral. It was a fine time to run out of fuel!!!! I switched to the Port-side tank and we started the engine, dropped the main and got the dinghy back.

After all those shenanigans, the windgen started making funny noises and I had to strap it up to stop it turning. Investigation at our anchorage showed that we had burned-out the primary 50A fuse and molten the fuse-casing - I thought the max output was supposed to be 30A! I have replaced the fuse and casing with a 30A fuse which is the largest spare we have on-board.

So, a few lessons learned........Unless it is really calm, stow the dinghy on deck. Remember to check the engine hours so that we know when the fuel is getting low (I had forgotten about a couple of nights running into Mackay).


Fliss.....

I won't say I told you so.....


23rd June 2008


Lovely day just walking around the island & relaxing on Naz.


24th and 25th June 2008

Pete..........


We set sail from Whitsunday Islands at just gone 9 in the morning and had a superb downwind sail up to the Palm Isles. We had 180 miles to go to our anchorage and dropped the hook at just gone midday yesterday. We had a blinding run of 165 miles in 24 hours with 3 reefs in the main and a reefed headsail. It took a bit of care occasionally as the wind was directly behind us most of the way and sometimes the wrong side of 'safe' from a gybe perspective. It is quite amazing how the seas pick-up even though we are inside the barrier reef.


After we arrived at Orpheous Island, we simply dropped the hook and chilled out for the rest of the day.


26th June 2008


Pete ............


We set off to go between Hitchinbrook Island and the mainland through a narrow channel. The approaches from the South are shallow but the cruising guide showed enough depth following the leading lines at the state of the tide. C-Map did not. So, we tentatively entered with a bit of swell pushing at the aft-quarter and at 2.4m depth, we touched the mud in the hollow of a wave and


turned straight about and ran away!. C-Map showed more depth South of the leading line but, with tidal shifting sands, we decided that we would live to fight another day. We cruised up the Eastern coast of Hitchinbrook Island and have now just dropped anchor off Goold Island.


27th June 2008

Fliss.....


Another short hop to Dunk Island.

Dunk Island is a tourist resort and we feel that it has been slightly trashed by it's guests. Looking along the beach you can see knackered old sun loungers just left to rot in the sun, a real shame, why don't they just clean it up?

A local yachtie rowed over to Naz and asked how the conditions where outside of the anchorage. He had broken one rudder (catamaran) and was trying to make it back to the main land but was concerned as to the strength of the wind and the waves.

Whilst chatting with him he told us that walking across the island he had seen quite a few snakes just basking in the sun.

We decided to go for a walk, Pete made me laugh! He stamped his feet as he walked and talked loudly

to frighten off the snakes he also complained at having to go 1st! He nearly jumped out of his skin when he tripped over a root of a tree! I think it was all done for affect, or was it??


29th June 2008

Pete.........


Today saw us sailing and motoring through the English drizzle and rain just 20 miles to Mourilan Harbour where we anchored amongst a huddle of local boats on moorings in an attempt to keep off the mud-flats. Luckily, the boats all behaved during the turns of the tide and we didn't wake up to the ominous sounds of bumping.


30th June 2008


Today, we woke early and are having to motor towards Fitzroy Island (just 15 NM SE of Cairns). The weather has turned back to sunshine and hopefully the sea breezes will give us a lift later. In the meantime, I might well do some more scraping and sanding.

Fliss....

Another resort island which is being seriously developed. It looked gorgeous from Naz but ashore is just a building site, luckily they are being sympathetic and have left all the trees along the shoreline so the buildings will be hidden.


2nd July 2008

Fliss....


Only 15 miles to Cairns where we'll get ready for Holly's arrival on the 4th July. I really excited about seeing her and counting the hours down.

As we arrived in Cairns we spotted our good friends Ian & Cathy from Ariel anchored just off the Yacht Club. Ian said it was sensible to stay on the boat when the tide changes as the anchorage is known as a bowling alley as yachts drag and then take out other boats on their travels. How many points for a dark catamaran?


New Caledonia to Mackay, Australia

11th June 2008

Fliss ........

We woke up to wall to wall grey and heavy rain, great we thought! We waited for an hour to see if it cleared & at 9am decided that we would just have to go.

We left Noumea in pouring rain & strong squally conditions. We both silently prayed that the whole trip to Australia wasn't going to be like this. As the sun set the squalls disappeared and we had a beautiful starlit night, a little brisk but we certainly on our way!

Pete.....

We were hoping that we had left the gremlins behind and I was relieved to be out of New Caledonia territorial waters. Unfortunately, one stowed away with us and chewed through the Aries steering line at 20:30 last night. I quickly grabbed the cheeky gremlin and threw him well astern as I believe that they can swim no faster than 5 knots. Luckily, the line parted whilst Fliss and I were changing watch, unluckily, it failed right at the bottom turning block and the end of the line got lost inside the tubular arm. We rigged up two strong bungy-cords to pull the tiller in the direction opposite to the remaining steering line (which worked wonderfully to keep us steering in the right direction.) Then I leaned over the stern threading new lines with Fliss holding my feet down. Luckily, we have some cord about the same diameter as the original but I think some more spare of that size would not go amiss.

After the grey and rain of yesterday, the night watch was moon and starlit and quite pleasant and today looks fine. 20-25 knots all the way to Friday when a trough should pass over giving light and variables. Late Saturday is hopefully 15 knot Southerlies for the broad reach to the start of the Reef and a run up to Mackay.

Hopefully the weather will listen to the forecast.

12th June 2008

Pete ...........

Nice and sunny today and the temperature has warmed up after a nippy night last night which had me rummaging around for my fleece deerstalker. We are still moving along quite happily at around 6-7 knots although it is a lot more comfortable now the seas have eased a lot.

The wind is a little further to the rear than planned and so we are easing South a bit but not by too much. The Southerlies should reach us Sat/Sun and we then will ride them up the inside of the reef. A funny scenario shows the GPS recording a lower speed than our log. I would have expected the GPS to show favourable current. When we cross-check the log with progress on the chart, it concurs, and so the log appears correct. Therefore, we are not sure if we have favourable current - I think we have none at all since the trades are not yet fully established for the winter.

No more gremlins to report but they are sneaky devils and we will keep a close watch for missing food, droppings and other signs.

13th June 2008

Well the wind grew light last night and died away late this morning (after we had set the clocks back one hour). Fliss put the engine on whilst I was asleep and we have been motoring ever since. The forecast is for winds returning from the South later tomorrow with up to 25 knots so we should get a fast run towards the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Then, the winds should ease for a gentle run all the way to Mackay. It looks as though we may very well be entering Mackay around midnight Monday and so I have been studying the approach lights which are quite well organised with red leading lines and a couple of East cardinals.

14th June 2008

Pete ............

We had to motor for a while until the wind picked up yesterday lunchtime. It was a hard slog to windward in 15 knots with the seas becoming quite choppy but we were managing 6-7 knots and were happy bout the progress. As the afternoon wore on, the wind turned more on the beam and we looked forward to a nice evening with the wind forecast to come round in our favour even more.

Not so. Although the wind was on the beam, it increased in a most unusual squally manner of long sustained gusts followed by relative quiet. We already had 2 reefs in the main and wound a large proportion of the headsail away as we experienced 15-35kts of wind. Going at 4 knots in the periods of lull and 7.5 knots in the gusts. Very frustrating. Unreefing was a tedious affair as the average windspeed decreased since I could not be certain that it wasn't simply a false lull. Eventually we had all the headsail out again and I went to bed. Fliss then had to contend with a deepwater shipping route that was almost as busy as the English Channel and got me up to check the course of one boat bearing down on us. There were 3 large boats all in close proximity to us and one that was on a collision course so I turned on the radar, got his position (3.5 miles and coming fast) and called him up on the radio. Even before answering (which took about 20 seconds), he had started an avoiding action. I think the words "Sailing Vessel Nadezhda" struck some COLREGS memories. The chap was a very polite man of Indian descent who said "don't worry, we will be taking care of you".

The wind has continued its fitful decline and the seas have taken little notice of the quieter airs. All very uncomfortable and tiring.

15th June 2008

Fliss .........

Still squally conditions with 2 reefs in the main & a heavily reefed job but we are still romping along at 7 knots. The waves are on the side so were getting wet sitting in the cockpit.

As the sun set the wind eased and the sea calmed down. It's getting very exciting as we pass Australian fishing boats just off the Barrier Reef! We can't help but shout (they couldn't hear us) “G'day Bruce” and “Stick another shrimp on the Barbi” Pete & I decided that we would have a nearly landfall party. We pulled out our British National Anthem and played it at full volume. Our British flag flying proudly and the sun setting made it quite a poignant moment!

We also have a new custom. As we have our sun-downers we also pour one for Neptune. We ask him for the conditions we would like and it has been interesting we ask if he wouldn't mind toning it down a bit, too long a sea maybe? We're not taking any chances!



video


16th June 2008

Fliss.......

At 09:30am land is spotted! Amazing to think that we are running up inside a reef. We have the reef 14 miles to the right of us and the Australian coastline 20 (approx) miles to the left. The wind has completely died so we are motoring.

We're surprised as it's not that warm!

The cruisers gossip is that the Customs & Immigration are very difficult and will fine you at every opportunity, lets hope that's not the case as we have only just submitted our “Notice of arrival”.

Technically it should be sent a minimum of 72 hours before you arrive but there's bean a bit of a cock up on board. Pete copied the email address from the Customs & Immigration website and there was an erogenous character as the end of the email address which Pete didn't notice till today and the email wasn't bounced back as failed.

Once he got the email address right we received acknowledgement from Customs & Immigration. So we have only just given them 12 hours.

We spent the whole day trying to hail Customs & the Coastguard on the VHF but no one responded. We did get buzzed by a Customs plane but they just took a look at us and flew off.

Very different to New Zealand as the Kiwis are on to you as soon as you get anywhere near the coastline.

Given the lack of response on the VHF we decided that we wouldn't attempt to go into Mackay at night so we had a lovely easy sail/motor overnight.

17th June 2008

Fliss...

The amount of tankers anchored off Mackay is unbelievable! It's nearly as busy as Gibraltar!

Finally at 08:00am I managed to contact Customs and they told us where to go to in the marina at 08:15am we are tied up waiting for the officials. We love landfall!!!!!

The Customs/Immigration guy looked at our notice of arrival form and said “I understand that you have been having problems trying to contact us, don't worry I won't imprison you on this occasion” thank god for that!

Whilst Customs & Immigration did their thing I noticed 2 guys from Quarantine looking at Nadezhda

I went outside and the 1st thing he said was that she looked lovely & clean with a nice newly antifouled bottom.

Quarantine spent a good hour going through the boat with a fine toothed comb, even Simon the ships cat got checked over. The Customs guy warned us that we ran a risk that we may loose him.

They picked up our rattan place mats that we bought in Tonga and tapped them on the table to see if any bugs fell out. Nadezhda's interior woodwork was also scrutinised. I suppose they have to earn the $160 they charge!

We got a full bill of health and are now free to explore Australia!

The rest of the day we just lazed around!


Sunday, August 24, 2008

New Caledonia

19th May 2008


Pete .......


It's so much hotter here and yesterday we really felt it. We will have to re-acclimatise before doing too much!.


Yesterday, 10am Fliss called up the port authorities asking if we could go into the visitors berth to clear customs & immigration and he told us to come in. We berthed alongside Nordersund whom we had maintained radio contact with during the passage and I went into the office and was promptly told to leave as there was no space.... anyway whilst I was gone a lady came on board to give us quarantine clearance, she took all our potatoes (sack full), 30 eggs, apples, oranges, onions, bacon & honey, she left us some tatties for dinner, bacon, eggs for supper and told us we must boil the eggs and pots in the their skins.... we reckon they have a deal going on as food here is so expensive. Fliss asked if they burned the food but they said that they heat treat the food and then dispose of it. I think that this means that they will cook it and then eat it!! We told her that we had been told to leave and she had a word with the port captain who then agreed to help us out. I think she felt guilty about clearing us out of nosh. Other cruisers said we should have hidden the food but we're nervous that if customs turned and found food that we hadn't declared then we would either be chucked out or fined.


Everything in town was closed so we had a wander around and then headed back to Naz where I grovelled around in the bilges to clean out the popcorn that had spilled there and then rinsed the bilges out to get rid of the wine that had leaked from a bladder and was causing the gas alarm to go off!


Later on today we'll go back into town to replenish the stocks that were taken - maybe we will be able to find our own stores on-sale in the market?? Then, off to the chandlers for stuff to fix Naz.


Once we're sorted we'll head off to other anchorages to see the sights, hopefully get some snorkelling in.










Noumea Harbour





20th May 2008


Pete .......


We woke up in the middle of Monday night with a fresh breeze blowing straight through the harbour entrance bringing a nasty little chop directly in on us. After a bouncy night, we upped anchor immediately and set off on a broad reach under headsail only to Baie de Prony. With 6 knots through the water, we were also lifted by the outgoing tide so that, as we went through Canal Woodin, we were doing over 8 knots.


We are now anchored at the head of Baie de Prony (22 degrees 18 South, 166 degrees 50 East) where there is said to be a waterfall and hot springs - we are just about to go and investigate.


In the meantime, the old autopilot now has a new extension wire and a new, beefier, socket. The gantry for the autopilot/Aries is in the middle of modification and new ropes are being prepared for new boom prevention that will run through new permanent blocks that will be bolted through the deck. It will take a few days to get al this done since we are trying to also see a little bit of New Caledonia whilst we are here.












Baie de Prony





22nd May 2008


Pete .......


Well, it is really nice here at the ahead of the bay of Prony. The hot springs were not so hot but the waterfalls cascading down the hillsides to the high tide line in this sheltered inlet are beautiful and no too cold to have a good jacuzzi in.





Fresh Water Jacussi





We decided to go to the entrance of the bay today and upped anchor at about 13:00. I reversed a bit and then put the engine ahead to motor out down the river. Suddenly, there was a loud mechanical rattling and we immediately dropped the anchor again to investigate. An Austrian couple are in the anchorage and the man came over to help out. At first we thought it was a dropped valve but all seems ok there from what we could see after taking the rocker cover off. Turning the engine over using the battery (without fuel) sounds ok but when it runs with fuel it makes a horrendous noise. I think it is one of the big-ends.


Looks like we will have to wait for clement weather to get out of this bay and off to Noumea under sail. We will probably have to tow ourselves out with the dinghy until the channel widens enough to sail - hopefully our Austrian friend can help with that operation.


Fliss ........


Pete emailed his Dad (British Base Co-ordinator Extrordinairre) to ask if he would research Volvo agents in Noumea,. Thankfully Alan came up trumps and gave us a number of agent in Noumea.


Pete ......


Looking at the guarantee information, it seems that, in order to get my 3rd year warrantee, I should have had an Extended Protection service last month. The two year warranty ran out on the 10th this month. I am hoping to tell them that the engine started making a disturbing rattling sound just before leaving NZ but we had to leave with the weather. Afterwards, it seemed to just sound a bit tappity (which, in fact, it has) and we thought that it was ok at least till we got to Aus. I hope that Volvo will then do repairs under the warranty.


In the meantime, we are stuck up the river without a paddle and waiting for the right wind (or none at all) to get ourselves outta here!


23rd May 2008


Fliss .......


Woke up this morning to dead calm conditions so Pete & I decided to get out before the winds picked up.


As we prepared the dinghy to tow us out our Austrian friend appeared and offered to strap his dinghy to the side of Naz for extra power.


With both dinghy's pulling we managed 3 knots and once we were into a wide stretch of the river our friend said goodbye, we upped sails and headed towards the entrance to Canal Woodin.


Our plan is to pick up a buoy and wait for a weather window to head back to Noumea.


Pete .....


With no engine it meant that Fliss had to jump in the dinghy taking a rope from Naz to attach us onto the buoy, all went according to plan and she didn't get run over by Naz.


Whilst sitting on the buoy we noticed our friends Ian & Cathy sailing past. They eventually

spotted us and sailed over.


They said that they would return in a few days to accompany us back to Noumea & tow if necessary.












Ariel in Baie de Prony





Fliss....


I was going to go snorkelling until Ian (skipper from Ariel) told me about a girl who went diving just off the reef, anyway she got swept further out by the current and ended up being harassed by sharks.. they kept bumping into her and were starting to get aggressive luckily she was rescued before she became shark meat, apparently Tiger Sharks are a real problem in New Caledonia.


We watched a large fish leap 6 foot out of the water yesterday, they only do that if they are being chased. It was big so what ever was chasing it was bigger!!!! needless to say we kept out of the water.


28th May 2008


Pete....


We had a couple of days effort to get back to Noumea in very light winds. We managed 7 miles the first day and then the remaining 20-odd miles the next. Ariel (Ian and Cathy) accompanied us just in case we needed help and they towed us for about 3 hours across the millpond in order to get to Noumea before dark. Luckily, the breeze arrived and we managed to get the cruising chute out and get back a couple of hours before sundown. Yesterday, the engineers came aboard and diagnosed disintegration of the clutch damper mechanism. Never heard of it myself.







Ariel Becalmed
















Under Tow





Fliss....


Pete & I have done so much sailing that normally if the wind dies and we aren't making 4 knots we would put the engine on. We had a great time playing with Naz in light winds and actually enjoyed just ghosting along.


We feel a little on pressure as we don't have a lot of time until we have to be in Cairns to meet Holly. Worse comes to the worse we'll have to run straight for Cairns which would be a terrible pity as we wanted to have a look at the Whitsunday Islands. Fingers crossed we can get the parts quickly and we're not seriously delayed.


Pete.....


Today, I rang Phillippe and he told me that the warranty had expired. I went to his office and we agreed that the problem started in NZ but since my visa had expired and there was a superb weather window, I had to leave with a dodgy noise coming from the engine. The part is due here on Monday and we lift out at 14:00 on Tuesday. The fix should only take 24 hours and then we re-launch and grab the next opportunity to go to Aus. Fingers crossed that it all goes as smoothly as planned! Phillipe Johnston has been a real gem so far and speaks good English.


29th May 2008


Pete...............


I typed up a letter saying that our problem started just before leaving NZ (whilst still under warranty) and stated that we had to leave regardless due to my visa having expired and the perfect weather window presenting itself.


We went over to Nouvelle Plaisance and spoke to the Capitanerie about our haul out. They confirmed that they had received instruction to haul us out at 14:00 on Tuesday and we are now hoping that the firm trade winds that have appeared will dissipate before then. With the arrival of a breeze, we are not so concerned about our battery condition - we have been working on sunshine-only since the engine failed.


Fliss...


The Capitanerie was a very sexily dressed young lady, full & heavy make up, low cut disco top & very tight sprayed on trousers with knee high white high heeled boots. Pete and I couldn't help but laugh as we compared her to the Crusty old sea dogs that you see at home.


Pete.................


I am now trying to organise a surveyor that will be acceptable to our prospective new insurers so that we can get that job done whilst we are ashore. Two birds with one stone. Also, I can find a man in the boatyard to straighten a couple of bent stanchions whilst we are there.


Whilst we wait, we can fit new turning blocks for new boom-preventers (do the job properly this time), sand-down some areas and start varnishing and also make a properly fitted mossie net in the front cabin. A shame that we will not see too much of New Caledonia but we can still fill our time.


Yesterday, an American motored over in his dinghy and told us to ensure that our dinghy was locked to the boat overnight due to thieving here. He lives in Noumea and asked whether we would like to join him on Sunday for a tour around the area overland. We are looking forward to a change of scenery.



1st June 2008


Fliss....


Richard & Freddy (Mr & Mrs 65+) picked us up at 9am to go for our hike. Joining us for the walk were another couple again in their 60's. The walk was lovely through the mountains, the soil and rocks are deep copper red the rivers & waterfalls are crystal clear & not that cold. Anyway they stopped and said that it was a lunch stop a lovely spot by the river.


Freddie said that she was going for a swim and I said it was a shame as I hadn't brought my swimming costume.... No problem she said as if we didn't have ours they wouldn't wear theirs! so all four of them got undressed and jumped into the river butt naked..... Pete & I didn't know where to look!!!! the problem was that we would have to do the same!!! Pete went 1st as he doesn't have such an issue with nudity and I followed after 5 minutes of working myself up to it. We have great respect for them as they really do live life to the full!


Richard is a photographer and does all the tourist web sites for New Cal & the other islands... so we posed for him (with clothes on) by the river.... he showed us the picces last night and they are excellent (only two) so Pete and I are famous and will appear on the promotional DVD's for here!!!! we had to sign to say that we were happy for him to use the pictures... We can hear Hollywood beckoning!!!!!


We're getting towed into the lift out slip at 1pm and then lifted at 2pm... they have the parts but Customs are on strike (Bloody French) not what we wanted to hear! The clock is still ticking! & even after the work is done we still have to wait for the right weather window & according to GRIB files it could be in a weeks time, here's hoping that we can be ready to leave.


4th June 2008


Pete ..........


Yesterday, the tow turned up half an hour late but still delivered us on time at 8 knots. The chap neatly turned the nose through the wind and slotted us into the lifting bay like a baby. We were immediately lifted and set down within minutes.


The Surveyor was already there and looked over Nadezhda but my thoughts were that he did not really know what he was looking for/at - we shall see what the report looks like.


The engineers turned up at 06:30 this morning and soon had the gearbox moved away and the clutch taken out. I don't know too much about this type of clutch but it had a circular solid disk with a damping mechanism strapped to the back. A smaller disk was welded to the main disk by small tabs and had completely come away. The only reason that I could see that it would be there was to add additional weight to the main disk. Anyway, the entire disk plus dampers was replaced and the new part had a bulkier main disk and no additional 'strap-on'. So it appears that the original was a bit of a design bodge and the new part has rectified this.


We put a couple of coats of antifoul on today and had a steady stream of visitors (even though we are a distance from town) wanting to know how we are getting on. Very pleasant.


We launch at 07:30 tomorrow morning (Thursday) and it is likely that this really means 07:00 or earlier. Just a bit of antifoul where the props are fitted and we are away after the engineers have tested the repair.


We are looking to get away to Aus sometime early next week. It looks like there will be a large high coming through underneath us to kick the trades into the right direction but we shall know more closer to the time..


Whew! Let's hope that the fix works and we are sorted.


5th June 2008


Pete ................


We were lowered into the water at the precise time and the engineers were there to check that the repairs were ok. There was still a hammering sound coming from the engine and they really should have checked it out before we tried to re-launch (like I suggested). The problem was due to them replacing washers that are no longer needed in the new design of clutch. The heads of the fixing nuts were therefore too proud and were knocking against a mini-flywheel as the damper took out the vibration at idle speed - after finding the problem and then calling Volvo, they removed the washers and a test ashore sounded good before launching "encore un fois" at 13:00. The problem now appears to be fixed


Yesterday was busy with gas cylinder recharging and some provisioning as well as other odds and sods and tidying-up. The yacht services place gave us an 11kg cylinder and a high pressure hose and told us to go and fill our bottles. This involves hanging the large bottle upside down, connecting to our own bottles and opening both valves and waiting. We put a wet tee-shirt over the receiving bottle to keep it cool and encourage the flow. It takes about 3-4 hours for each fill. We also made-up a connector to fit our Calor bottles and now have those full as well. It is now a problem of storing them on deck since we don't have sealed storage space for them. A heavy duty plastic bag should suffice and some good cordage holding them to stanchions should do the trick.


We did not have any time to straighten stanchions but it can wait until Australia.


The surveyors report had all the right headings but was a bit light on detail with no criticisms at all. It mentioned areas that he had not even inspected such as the through hull fittings, sails etc etc etc stating that they were all in good working order. There are a couple of errors in the report but I will correct them and explain to the insurers that these were a result of language barrier, typo and translation.


There is no news from Volvo about their view. I don't expect any and as long as they pay for everything then I don't really care!! The paint was bought locally for the antifouling and will simply add to what was already there. The Aussies will be pleased because they can force you to slip and antifoul professionally on arrival if you have a dirty bum. The paint was expensive as usual but worth doing whilst we were out of the water.


We prepared to leave New Caledonia. The wind turned around to the West and a friend told us that the other side of the bay would be better sheltered and so we moved there (a nice sheltered spot near some moorings) until we decided to leave yesterday. We went with Ian and Cathy on "Ariel" to go to customs then immigration and finally the port captain to check out of Noumea and then returned to the boat to leave. We hauled up the mainsail and then started to pull up the anchor and found that it was immovably fixed to the bottom. After a few goes at shifting it, Ariel came past and offered advice and a short length of chain to slide down our cable to try to get the anchor pulled out backwards. After about 2 hours, we told Ariel to get going since we would have to call a diver to sort it out. I had already tried free-diving on the anchor but the water was too mucky to see and too deep to get all the way down to the bottom. After about another hour and a half, the diver turned up and told us that we were stuck on the biggest concrete mooring block in the harbour. We slackened the chain and he unwound us in no time at all.






Superyacht - Noumea