Next stop - Australia!
Robert spent two hours or so ‘checking in’ with the Port Captain, Customs and Immigration, and then later in the day, spent another two hours ‘checking out’ with the same people - lots of paperwork and official stamping of documents and passports. The department of Agriculture sent us an official who looked more kindly on our stock of fresh vegetables and fruit than we expected. She knew we were leaving within 20 hours and confiscated this and that, and asked us to boil our remaining eggs in her presence.
We replenished our fruit and vegetables in the excellent market on the quay, avoiding the attractions of the fantastic displays of fish in the hope of eventually landing our own.
Before arriving in
After refuelling in the
marina, Rumpelteazer set off from
The weather forecast was
correct – we had a strong westerly wind for the first 12 hours and had to
motor-sail at 30 degrees to the wind up the west coast of
At tea time
on Tuesday, there was great excitement as an ecstatic Susie landed her first
fish! Robert helped her pull in the
large 25lb tuna which Susie then filleted.
There was fresh sushimi at drinks time and seared tuna for
From Wednesday the winds
moved slightly further to the south west and we were able to sail on a close
port reach, still in very bumpy seas with lots of spray over the decks, but
heading further west. With winds of
between 15 and 25 knots, our average speeds for the three days since leaving
Our weather has been very
varied with over 60% cloud cover, cooler winds and occasional rain squalls. Our once-fantastic suntans have begun to
fade over the past two weeks as we have gradually moved south of the tropics
towards the more wintery weather of the
Night-time sailing has
been wet, bumpy and noisy, enlivened by the arrival of dark clouds carrying rain
and squally winds. As the winds
have moved more to the south, allowing us to sail on a beam reach, the motion at
night has become a little smoother, interrupted occasionally by a large wave
rolling in from the port beam. More
positively, night watches have enjoyed the company of a full moon which has
given us wonderful light from evening to shortly before dawn. We have also had company at night – the
occasional fishing boats off the
board revolves as usual around our watch system – we are now doing two-hour
watches during dark hours instead of three – and the usual preparation of food,
and the cleaning, servicing and mending of things on board. Pippa has taken over the job of
monitoring fluid levels (oil and coolant) and keeps disappearing into the engine
The water-maker, critical to life on board, broke down on Wednesday, due to the pressure guage having cracked. Robert once again came to the rescue and found a way of isolating the guage, and the water-maker worked again.
Mending the generator is bigger problem – the fan belt had started to slip and to shred. Replacing it with a spare fan belt is a difficult project – it is situated at the very back of the generator unit and is extremely inaccessible, particularly in our current bumpy seas - perhaps another challenge for Robert when it becomes calmer. However with two additional alternators on the main engines producing electricity, and only a few days ahead of us, we don’t have much of a problem.
know that once we arrive in Mackay – possibly during Monday 25th May
- ALL our fresh food will be taken away from us. We are in the rather fortunate position
therefore of putting all our best goodies on the menu for the remaining three to
four days of our voyage. Today it
was bacon butties for breakfast, salad with giant Pacific prawns for lunch, and
best NZ steak for supper.