New Caledonia to Australia (Bundaberg) - Day 6 - 24 16.662S 153 50.997E

Mike and Liz Downing
Thu 18 Oct 2012 07:01
Hunting the wind was not successful! Even the little wind we had yesterday afternoon disappeared completely and the sea was smooth and glassy, with a gentle underlying swell, all through the night and up to 13.00 today. So the engine stayed on with the rpm set to keep us going at 5kts. With the lack of wind there was no way we would arrive today (Thursday) so we don't need to rush. Getting in on Friday is okay. Also running at lower revs it uses less oil. Adding oil at sea is rarely easy and we have heard stories from others where their attempts ended up with the oil going everywhere except in the engine! At 13.00 today, having been run almost continuously for 24 hours, the engine was switched off so we could check the oil, but also run the generator to make water and fill the tanks, having had showers first. Checking the oil showed it to be right at the bottom mark, so just okay, but oil needed to be added. Being in a relatively flat sea, our attempt to add it was successful. It took 0.6 litres, which is a lot, but what we expected. While doing all this we set the two genoas again, both poled out (the poles had been left up) to catch any wind that happened to come along and stop us wallowing. So we started sailing again at around 2kts! However, by the time we had finished running the generator and filling up the water tank, the wind had increased to all of 10kts and we were sailing between 4 and 5kts, and in the right direction! Fingers crossed that this continues (but the forecast suggests it probably won't). We don't need much more to arrive at first light tomorrow.

Plodding at along around 5kts over night gave a noon-to-noon run of 114.1 miles, and at noon today we had 88 miles to go. With not a cloud in the sky yesterday, it was a fantastic sunset, seeing the green flash twice as the swell lifted us up at just the right moment. It's been another lovely sunny day today (apart from the lack of wind).

More exciting wildlife over the last 24 hours - found a small dead squid on the deck! Actually we did see a flock of petrels (if 3 constitutes a flock!) and one dolphin at a distance. Being within 50 miles of the coast, we are now seeing ships. At one point we had 5 displaying on AIS and we had to change course to avoid getting too close to one.

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