The end for now
So Mårten left this morning.Since we arrived in Noumea we cleared immigration and left for a night out in the archipelago inside the immense barrierreef surrounding N.Caledonia(one of the worlds largest).In Noumea has been a "Swedish colony" of 4 yachts but both Lovisa and Panacea left for Australia this morning.
If last year was lot of oceansailing,this year has been more focused on local sailing,especially on Fiji.We would have liked to spend more time on Vanuatu which seems to be a very exciting islandgroup.
When planning this years trip we choose between sailing Tarita to Australia (Brisbane or Bundaberg -around 600-700Nm),or bringing her to N.Zealand.The choice fell upon "Kiwiland" for different reasons,which means waiting for the right time to sail out of New Caledonia (weatherperpective).The window for sailing to NZ is late October until late November(after frequent SW springgales in NZ and before cycloneseason in the South Pacific).Waiting another month in N.Caledonia is not possibble for me so Tarita will stay in Noumea with John living onboard,and late October Alan Barker(Womble)will arrive and sail her to Whangarei/NZ which is about 900Nm.
After 3 seasons in the South Pacific my persistent impression is that all these islandgroups scattered over an enormous ocean is just fantastic,with French Polynesia(Tuamotos)on the absolute top!The sailing/weather/anchoring and sometimes navigation(Fiji!)is more difficult than at least I anticipated.
Tarita has behaved very well also this year,allthough she has not been up to any real demanding weather.Our main autopilot decided to give up when leaving Fiji,but our reserve(Autohelm 3000)has done the job without complains.Our Icom M-800 SSB radio works well in receivingmode,but has an impaired transmissionsignal.Avionics Radiocommunication Ltd will have a look at it here in Noumea,since being able to communicate with Russel Radio NZ can sometimes be essential.All other main systems have worked well and in N.Zealand Tarita will be hauled out for some servicejobs.
Perhaps Womble will write on the blog under way to NZ,and hopefully I or Bertha will come back some day................