After getting the “good to go” nod from our weather router, we cleared customs and immigration in Noumea on Wednesday 12 October. We sailed south to the island of Ouen that afternoon – the idea being that we would be a little closer to NZ for an early start the next morning. Being a beat down the lagoon Carl cranked on the outhaul – and bang – one of the pulley’s in the boom blew out and we now had a main as saggy as an ………! Not a great start to an offshore passage but a bit of kiwi ingenuity (and a lot of bad language) saw a temporary repair before sunset. Although we couldn’t get hardly any tension across the foot of the main, by the time the first reef was in it wouldn’t really matter so we headed off at dawn.
One of the absolute best things about this passage was we had a full moon. This makes a huge difference – although the stars are not as bright – everything looks a whole lot friendlier when you can actually tell the difference between the sky and the horizon J
We had very pleasant, calm, sunny conditions with a light easterly wind for the first 36 hours – nice to be able to ease into the trip.
Our advice was to get as far south and east as we could in this time so we motor-sailed to get a bit of extra speed on and made good progress. We then needed to go through a trough – took about 24 hours to totally free ourselves from that - and for 6-8 hours it was pretty much like the agitator cycle on the washing machine. Reasonably short ocean swells of about 2.5m saw more water coming across Navara’s decks than we have just about ever seen. A day or so later when it all calmed down revealed so much salt on the stainless that it looked a bit like frost or ice – a good scrubbing was going to be needed. We then had head-ish winds for a couple of days meaning that we swung out west and did a ‘drive-by” of Norfolk Island at dawn on the 4th day of the passage.
Not long after Norfolk we got ourselves into a nice current sweeping down towards NZ and were moving along at over 8k in light winds. We made so much ground one day that Carl had to double check our position!
Once the advance “welcoming committee” paid us a visit – we knew we were getting close.
We were very glad to have received a new AIS (Automatic Identification System) because nearing North Cape there were suddenly boats (big ones) all over the place.
Our first view of home was the very North of NZ and we were very lucky and grateful to be cruising in calm conditions in what can be a very rough piece of water.
We continued to slip down the coast rounding the Nine-Pin into the Bay of Islands at sunset Thursday. Apart from feeling the cold – possum jersey’s are out in force! – it’s great to be home and catching up with friends here at Opua Marina. Our plan is to start heading south back to Tutukaka tomorrow before it gets windier again later next week.
So this is Navara signing off – really looking forward to seeing you all soon.