2019 Tasmania Road Trip with Bill and Ella

We had trouble getting a berth in Triabunna but this little beauty had a permanent home at the marina

Our road trip with Bill and Ella had a 3-day time constraint because that is as long as we could get a berth in the Triabunna marina. So, taking that into consideration we took a northerly scenic route. First stop was Swansea and we arrived just in time for lunch so we convinced Bill and Ella that had to be pie and we’re not talking sugar pie but hearty meat pies. It seems to be a thing in NZ and in OZ. Love it!!  Than it was onwards to Frecynet Park. We opted to do the hike to Wineglass Bay lookout. It was a strenuous uphill climb but it was a treat to sit at the lookout and see the famous Wineglass Bay with 20 or more boats anchored there. We could just pretend it was our boat there.

An Echidna hiding from us. You can’t see me if I can’t see you

From the lookout we managed to do a short hike to a nearby lighthouse. The highlite was the visiting Wallaby who was intent on looking cute and wrangling treats from tourists. Locals were quick to shrug away the obvious pest. We spent the night in a large cabin nearby and opted for some takeout food. And it was Taters with Sour Cream and Sweet Chili sauce. A local specialty and a new unhealthy treat we may have again.

Magnificent trail to Wineglass Bay Lookout

Finally arrived at Wineglass Bay Lookout

Famous Wineglass Bay

The little fellow knows Bill is hiding a cookie

The next day it was on to Bicheno and St. Helens. The highlights were Bicheno blowhole and the Bay of Fire. The blowhole could spray meters of salt water whenever there is a decent swell. We knew if we timed it right you we could get a dousing of salt water spray for the perfect photo op. There were no volunteers in our group of four, water was dreadfully cold for us old folks.

Well maybe I did volunteer for the blowhole spray. Calm day

Just another bird picture

 

 

 

Bay of Fire was a stunning bay with orange lichen rocks in contrast with pristine white beaches. Another place to wander and be in Nikon heaven. We spent a night at the Squeechy Motel. With a name too close squelchy or squishy expectations were not high but we had a cozy night.

What’s Bill taking a picture of? Not Ella this time

in contrast to the white beaches, it was a bay on fire. Can you see Barbie?

Saw this little bird in a flowering tree. Flew like a hummingbird, just a little bigger

 

 

 

On our way back to Landfall we made another stop for pie in Swansea and after a long drive we were back at home. Bill and Ella spent a night on our boat and then we said our goodbyes. They would make their way back to Sydney and we would continue our cruise circumnavigating Tasmania.

It was a great trip. Until next time…..,.

 

2019 Beautiful Lakes Entrance onwards to Tasmania

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After Bill left we continued waiting for a weather window to sail across the infamous Bass Strait. It has a reputation of being a trechorous body of water largely due to the shallow depths, strong currents, and the roaring seas and weather that come blasting out of the southern ocean. Fortunately we could wait indefinately in Port Eden as it offered great protection from the wind. But to get protection from the swell we had to sail across from one side of the bay to the other. It was here that we learned how quickly the wind could change. On one particular day I was sitting in the cockpit talking to my daughter on the Iphone when I noticed the boat starting to point differently, wind picking up and swell increasing. I quickly said goodbye and called out to Denny who was napping. Within minutes we pulled the anchor up and motored against 40 knots wind to get protection from the other side of the bay. We motored at full throttle and we were barely making one knot. With the wind howling and the rain drenching us, we eventually arrived at our anchorage point and Denny warned me that we would only get one shot to drop and set the anchor. If the boat got a chance to turn down wind we would quickly be blown straight into a  mussel farm.  The pressure was on but we did what was needed and got the anchor down without a hitch. We learned that sailing along Southern coast of Australia would require constant vigilance unless we were in an all-weather anchorage and these were hard to find.

We couldn’t  seem to get a weather window for crossing the bass strait and tired of waiting in Port Eden we decided to make a move to Lakes Entrance, a little further south along the coast. Halfway there we hit the notorious wind on the nose sail and we spent a night making very little progress again as we tacked back and forth.  But we persevered and by morning the wind all but died and we were able to motor sail to Lakes Entrance. The sand bar we had to cross had a reputation of being a little daunting. There is a sky cam linked to a website that boats can use to look at the opening swell conditions as they make their way to the entrance. But it was a calm morning when we arrived and we motored into the lake without any problem.

 

Click here for Google Map Link Lakes Entrance

Lakes Entrance

The lovely Sally Forth

Lakes Entrance is a beautiful sheltered lake with many offshoots to explore but it can be a little nerving as the channels can be quite shallow. It took us several hours to get to our final destination, Paynesville. This little town offered great protection from the wind, a public jetty where several boats could tie up and explore the town for a maximum of 4 hours and it was where our friends Mark and Sally on Sally Forth were. We arrived just as the sun was setting and Mark and Sally where at the dock catching lines and giving us a wonderful welcome.

The “people” is what makes a town a great place and we loved Paynesville. We were tied to a 4 hour maximum dock for 4 nights and the people didn’t seem to mind as they came for a visit and offered us compliments on our  well maintained boat. It felt good to have people recognize the hours of effort we put into the upkeep of our little home. We were invited for a glass of wine and snacks at a Joe Loci’s house, a local that tried to convince us to sell our boat to him. We spent and afternoon at his home and he served us a bottle of his own brewed Shiraz wine made from scratch. I can tell you it was one of the finest Shiraz wine I have ever had and Denny commented that if wine tasted like that all the time he would drink it more often. We will come back to visit Joe again as much for his company as for the divine wine!

Not too happy about having them hang out there

Besides hanging out with our friends on Sally Forth we took a quick ferry trip to nearby Raymond Island well known for the 300+ Koalas that live there. We celebrated Valentines Day there surrounded by the noisy Cockatoos that seemed to travel in pairs. We could have hung out here for weeks but in 4 days we had our weather window we needed to cross the Bass Strait.

Patiently posing for a picture

Black swans

A little curious

A little grumpy we woke him up. But then they seem to be always sleeping!

And one more Koala picture. We have many more

Crossing the BASS STRAIT

It was a tranquil motor sail across the straits, traversing past the oil rigs in the middle of the night and enjoying the dolphins visiting us by day. And still not a fish on the line. We couldn’t  anchor in the famous Wineglass Bay as the wind and swell were rolling right in.

Rounding the Passage Point to get to  Passage Beach

 

Click here for Google Map Link of Passage Beach

Navigating around the rough coast line

Our first Tasmanian anchorage was in Passage Beach. It offered a good night sleep, beautiful white beach to explore and mussels on the rocks ready for us to pick. As soon as we had our dinghy in the water and we were making our way to shore we were stopped by the water police. We learned that we were required to wear life jackets and have flares, a bailer, anchor, 150 feet of line and a fire extinguisher in the dinghy at all times. Denny had a good chuckle about the fire extinguisher and the police agreed it didn’t make much since in a rubber dinghy. But that was the law! He just explained the rules, gave us a fish ruler so we would know what the fish quotas and minimum catch sizes were.

Harvesting our first feed of mussels in Tassie

Not sure what these interesting creatures are. Macro photography is always fun

From Passage Beach we made our way to Spring Bay where we were scheduled to meet Ella and Bill. Anchoring in Spring Bay wasn’t easy as it was a shallow bay with lots of moorings. Landfall kissed the muddy bottom while we did our anchoring circle, it took a couple of times to finally set the anchor as the bottom had a lot of shells and weeds and the wind was gusting 30+.

Click here for Google Map Link Triabunna

We dinghied to the nearby town, Triabunna. It’s mainly a little town that services tourists wanting to get to book ferry passages to nearby Maria Island. The Island is designed for various levels of cycling tours and an opportunity for people to explore the historic ruins of the convict settlements. The information center offered public showers and for $8 had a glorious hot water wash. There were a few small grocery stores, very full campgrounds, a small tired looking hotel and a small fish and chips takeout (which we did try). We managed to secure a little berth for Landfall so we could do our road trip with Bill and Ella. Getting the berth wasn’t easy as the marina was full. The first call to the Harbor Master was a bust but as we walked around the place we met other cruisers that were leaving the next day. The second call to the Harbor Master resulted in him meeting us as he had some difficulty understanding us via the cell phone. Once we were face to face, able to have a social chat and with the promise of a beer and the understanding that we would take the berth of the boat that was leaving we were set to safely leave Landfall for a couple of days. I will say that coming into the marina and maneuvering into the little berth was a little intimidating  and we were glad that Bill and Ella were there to catch the lines. Next adventure, road tripping with our friends.

2019 Cruising Australia with Bill

Before we post anything further we have to clarify that although I do most of the writing, Denny does all of the photo editing and we both are contributors to the pictures as we both love toting our Nikon cameras around. So the blogging work is shared.

And our friend Bob also asked me to insert this picture he took while visiting us and add the comment:

Dennis working hard

Three generations!

getting ready to watch the Junior World Series Hockey Game at my Dad’s

After arriving in Australia we left the boat on the hard at “The Boat Works” and flew to North America to be with family for the Christmas holidays. This means that I am in Ontario, Canada and Denny is somewhere between South Dakota and Minnesota USA, although I did make a detour stop in South Dakota to get a little quality time with our grandson, Rhett. Besides the beautiful family time, which we can’t get enough of after being half a world away, I was fortunate to be able to drive across Canada with my daughter Allison. She was moving from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to start a new job. She needed help to move herself, her little car and her little bit of stuff to her new home base. It was quality time with my baby girl in a little car for roughly 3000 km or 1800 miles with stops along the way to reconnect with family and friends. Some of the mountain passes where a little icy and treacherous (Ally drove on those occasions) but otherwise it was pretty good driving conditions considering it was middle of the winter. Allison and I can now both say we have been in Canada from coast to coast.

 

 

CHRISTMAS FAMILY PICTURES ( Sad we didn’t get to see my son Dylan)

 

Bottom painting complete. Should have waited for Bill

2019

Denny arrived in Australia a few days before me. He left from  Minneapolis and I left from Vancouver, British Columbia. Once we were both back on the boat in Southport, Brisbane it was work, work, work. Five days of bottom painting, cleaning and getting Landfall back in the water ready for our friend Bill’s arrival.

What were we thinking!! We should have postponed preparations until Bill was on board, at least for the sanding and bottom painting.

We started provisioning the day Bill arrived so that he could have somewhat of a say on what we had in the pantry. But the only thing he really asked for was hot dogs and coffee.

 

First anchorage and the pelican was patiently waiting for an easy meal

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent one calm day at the Muriel Henchman Park which is also where we spent our first anchorage in Australia with Bob. That was our starting point for our sail with our goal to get to Tasmania.

Seas getting a little rough

Our first few days of heading South had it’s challenges. We caught a fish and after considerable amount of effort trying to get it on board we lost the fish; a wave crashed through our open galley ports dousing everything with sea water and Denny had to spend time fixing our water maker luckily with success! About 60 miles south of Coffs Harbor the winds turned and it was on the nose. We were making very little progress and unable to get a good weather forecast so we decided to turn back and duck in for shelter in Coffs Harbour

Safety in Coffs Harbour

Click here for Google Map Link

Once we were safely berthed in the marina Denny realized that one of the cars on the sail track was broken. He managed to find a marine store and order the part with only 10 minutes left before closing. It was Friday afternoon and the part would be shipped the next day. We enjoyed the marina hot showers, had a little walk through town and found a quaint little Mexican restaurant where we had dinner. The next day Denny and Bill worked  on replacing the sail track “car” and managed to fix that with some challenges. Before setting sail on our Southerly course, we grabbed a tasty burger and a fine pint of beer and we were off again.

“The Boys” working together doing repairs

Click here for Google Map Link

We had some strong northerly winds, found a current that helped us get to Pittwater before the prevailing southerlies hit us again. Pittwater was busy, hot and lots of activities as it was the Australia Day holiday. We spent a couple of days here, grilling hot dogs, relaxing and waiting for a weather window to keep heading South.

Note the fancy bandage on the finger. Not even coffee is making me feel better

From Pittwater we sailed to Port Eden before the Southerlies made us take shelter again. This wasn’t an uneventful passage either. First we caught the monster fish!! Can’t say what it was as we never did see it but when it caught the lure on the first fishing rod it pulled on the line at great speed and I managed to clip off the top of my left hand pointer finger trying to slow or stop the drag. The HUGE tuna or marlin managed to break free but then snagged the lure on the second fishing rod and went straight down taking the lure and all the line with him. Not a fish we wanted on board anyway but it would have been nice to at least get a glimpse of the fish. We put a new lure on the remaining fishing line but forgot to tighten the drag so somewhere along the way we caught a fish that took our remaining line and lure without us even knowing about it.

On a calm day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before arriving in Port Eden we were hit by a thunder and lightening storm like we have never encountered before. Not the usual wind but a lightening show that lasted for hours. With each lightening bolt we were thankful that it didn’t strike the boat. And somewhere between the thundershowers we also had a squall that caught us unaware as we were sailing with the large 160 jib. We managed to sail through it but Denny had to go forward to untangle lines on the roller unit and going forward during a squall is never a good thing.

This little fellow hitched a ride during the storm and hung around for a while

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link

Came across these little beauties

And then found these. Mussels for supper YUM

We waited in Port Eden for 10 days trying to get a weather window to cross the infamous Bass strait and finally get to Tasmania.  But we didn’t just sit on the boat and do nothing. We went on daily walks, had beers at the local pubs, had some Australian pizza and socialized with some of the locals and other cruisers.

Didn’t make it to the Wooden Boat show in Tasmania on time but saw these in Port Eden

 

 

 

 

An afternoon with Doug and brave Cloe

 

We had a nice afternoon with a man who volunteered to take us into town to buy sparkplugs for our dinghy motor that was acting up. His dog, Cloe was a sheep herder but was deathly afraid of cows.

Beautiful ‘ Sally Forth’

We had ‘happies and appies’ with Mark and Sally on their beautiful Nordhaven 52ft power boat “Sally Forth”. They were also trying to go to Tasmania.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited the museum where we learned all about Old Tom, the killer whale. He was thought to be the leader of a pod which helped the whalers by herding the baleen whales into the bay. The killer whales were then rewarded with the tongue and lips as their share of the kill. We rented a car and did some day trips in search of the elusive Platypus and Koala. Never did see either one but we did manage to come across a Wombat road kill and stopped to have a look as we were desperate to see some Aussie wildlife.

Alas, NO Platypus

 

In the end Bill had to get a flight to Tasmania as his time was running out and Ella (his wifey) was due to arrive soon. He booked flights from a nearby airport with a final destination to Burnie, Tasmania. On his last evening we had a couple of drinks on another cruising boat. It was priceless to see Bill’s face as the local sailor exclaimed he had never heard of an airport in Burnie and further more would never fly there. Bill grudgingly left the next day but we had agreed that if we ever got a weather window we would try and meet again in Tasmania. As it would have it, Bill inadvertently forgot his wallet on Landfall so a meeting up with them in Tassie was a definite. 

More shopping. Where’s Bill?

Is there a resemblance?

The coast is not that friendly

Goodbye Bill, see you in Tasmania!!

 

2018 Cruising with Bob in New Caledonia and Australia

Bob arrived in Noumea after over  two days of flights originally leaving from Minneapolis. He was sitting at the marina restaurant with his bags patiently waiting for us while we walked the waterfront looking for him. Not sure how long we kept missing each other but we finally made the connection. It took several trips with the dingy to fairy Bob and all his bags out to the boat, maneuvering through some choppy seas trying hard not to get Bob and all his debris wet.  But that wasn’t to be and he got his first experience of wet salty clothes and life on Landfall.  It was like Christmas onboard as we unpacked all the goodies Santa brought for us including peanuts, candies, salsa and lots of other treats. We spent that night in the rolly Noumea anchorage and then we sailed directly to the island of Mato.

Click here for Google Map Link

Can you spot the reef shark. We know Bob can!

Mato is a beautiful anchorage among reefs, clear water and plenty of reef sharks. It was impossible to convince Bob to go snorkeling after the shark sighting even if it was only a little reef shark. We did a quick hike to the top of Mato Island and enjoyed a beautiful view of our anchorage.

Click here for Google Map Link

We spent the night at Mato but had to make a move as the wind was starting to get stronger and this anchorage was only protected by the barrier reef so we were getting the full force of the wind.  Our next anchorage at Ile Ouen was totally different. The water was murky and we were surrounded by red, mountainous terrain.  We explored the shores and after much coaxing managed to get Bob to go for a little snorkel. But it was quick and short. We all saw large grey shark and although they weren’t aggressively hunting they were lurking in close proximity.

Click here for Google Map Link

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DENNY!!

Denny’s birthday was a day away and we were planning to celebrate it with our friends on Atlantis who were waiting in Ile Casy. So we had a great sail and grabbed a mooring close to Atlantis. We had bought humungous steaks and our friends joined us on Landfall. We had such a good time partying and eating Bob’s perfectly barbequed steaks that we didn’t even  think to capture the moment in pictures.

We spent a day exploring the island. There were some great trails which took us all around the island to some nearby wilderness campsites,  the ruins of the resort that used to be there, top of the island where we could see more of the Bay of Prony and found a plaque dedicated to Moose the dog that lived all alone on the Island.  Story has it that the owners of the resort and the dog left the island but the dog not wanting to live anywhere else jumped off the boat and lived on the Island all by himself. He was fed and loved by all visiting cruisers.

Hello to our friends on Atlantis

Click here for Google Map Link

I would rather a hot shower

We wanted to give Bob a good tour of New Caledonia before making our way to Australia so we never stayed more than a couple of days at any anchorage. Next stop Bai Du Caranage for some water play at the cascades and hot pools. Surrounded by all the freshwater it was time for washing clothes and showers.

Never imagined ever having to hand wash clothes

Yes its Denny pulling the dinghy. Maybe Bob had to wash clothes by hand but he traveled in style

Click here for Google Map Link

Its not just sharks to be afraid of

We slowly made our way back to Noumea with a stop in Baie Ue. We were anxious to get ready for our passage to Australia but we decided to slow down our return until after the independence referendum as we weren’t sure if there would be some unrest and violence after the vote. As per Wikipedia “The Noumea accord signed in May 1998 set in motion a 20-year transition that transferred certain powers to local government and laid the groundwork for an independence referendum in 2018.” The result was 56.4% for maintaining the status quo. New Caledonians will have 2 more opportunities in 2020 and 2022 to vote for independence. Luckily there was little fallout from the resulting referendum and we could continue on to Noumea and prepare to do the immigration checkout.

Not seeing any sharks here

Click here for Google Map Link

In Noumea we did the walkabout to customs, immigration and a final visit to Port Captain, last stop for coffee and chocolate croissants and then off to a mooring by Ile Maitre and wait for a weather window. It was a beautiful resort island and a great place to hang out. Denny and Bob jumped in and washed the bottom of the boat so we wouldn’t take any unwanted critters to the land of OZ. Bob was a little hesitant about being in the water but so long as he had Denny for company he seemed to be ok.

Click here for Google Map Link

Time to go to Australia

Our passage to Australia took about 6 days, 36 minutes and we sailed 782 miles. We had some swell and wind but also lots of calm motoring. We caught a Dorado on the way and Bob and Denny took turns for an hour reeling it in only to have to release when we noticed its mate swimming by its side. We just weren’t hungry enough for fish to break the pair as they do mate for life.

TO SEE VIDEO OF BOB’S SAIL TO AUSTRALIA CLICK HERE

Welcome to Australia

Once we were close to the Australian coast we were welcomed by a large pod of dolphins.

We arrived in Southport, checked in the next day and then made our way to the Boat Works where we had planned to haul out the boat.

 

Southport Australia

Click here for Google Map Link

The Boat Works is a great place to work and store the boat while we travelled to North America for the Christmas holidays.

One last hike

 

 

They offer free courtesy cars for use so long as you book them in advance. We took advantage of this and did a few road trips nearby to explore some of Australia before Bob’s return trip back to Minneapolis. We enjoyed Bob’s company, had a lot of laughs, took advantage of his cooking skills and we were grateful for his help during the passage to Australia. Until next time….

 

 

Australian turkey? Christmas around the corner!!

Couldnt leave Australia without a picture of a Kangaroo

 

2018 New Caledonia

Click here for Google Map link to Orphelinat Bay, Noumea

2018 New Caledonia – cruising with NZ Dockland 5 friends
It was a beautiful 3-day sail from Vanuatu with wind on the beam at 15 to 20 knots. We managed to clean up a little and managed to get some sleep but we were still feeling the effects of our volcano experience so we needed a quick place to rest and recuperate in Bai Du Caranage. We tied the boat to a mooring and felt very comfortable in this well protected bay. We slept for 12 hours or more and loved the 24 hours of rain we got that washed  all the ash, soot and salt off the decks. The boat seemed a little cleaner but the stainless had taken quite a beating from the acid from the volcano and would need some TLC with lots of muscle varnishing.
After 2 days of recuperating we made our way up the long channel to Noumea, the only place to check into New Caladonia. We timed it so that we would arrive there Sunday evening and be ready to check in Monday morning. Immigration is only open 8:00 to 11:00 in the morning so we would have to get started early. The Bai De L’Orphelinat is full of moorings and we anchored in the outskirts were the charts tell you NOT to anchor but everybody seemed to be doing it. It is not a place one would like to anchor for long as it has a lot of swell and the big boats passing by. The local island ferries would send Landfall on a nasty roll and we had to scurry to hang on to anything that would go flying and cause damage to our teak or cause nasty spills, particularly Barbie’s red wine. Early Monday morning we went to shore taking all our vegetables and with the help of marina staff found the location of immigration, customs and bio securities. Unlike other countries, in New Caledonia, the cruisers are required to go to the physical locations versus having officers come to your boat. Always a challenge to figure out the checking in process. Bio security still had to come to the boat and we managed to get a birth in the marina where we opted to stay for a couple of days to continue with the boat cleaning. Easy access to lots of fresh water, shore power, showers, grocery stores and a short walk to the laundromat. We were aware that many of the friends we made while in Dockland 5 were in New Caledonia as well so we were excited about a Dockland 5 reunion. And so it began. First a visit from our friends from Cava and Bravo and later Kindred Spirits. We spent a glorious afternoon recounting our experiences with the help of a bottle wine and a couple of beers. Fortunately, our berth neighbors were tolerant and didn’t mind the raucous talking and laughter.

Love our friends. Great times

Beach fire, friends, wine and cheese and baguettes. Life is good

Once we had re-provisioned we headed to an all weather anchorage and do some ‘buddy’ boating with our good friends.We soon learned that the wind can blow in New Caledonia. For the most part evenings, nights and early mornings were quiet but then gust up to 20 knots during the day. So, this little anchorage offered little wind protection but great protection from the swell. In the evenings we had fun getting together for sundowners. Denny and I spent one afternoon gathering firewood and then had a great evening beach fire with our friends sharing tasty baguettes, French cheese and pates.

House boat??

 

 

We explored the shores surrounding us and us ladies even did a kayak paddle across the bay where we bought some more baguettes. The paddle back was a little nerving as it was against a 25 knot wind but we made it safely with dry baguettes.

 

 

Anchored with friends

Click here for Google Map link to Ilot Amedee

After 10 days of together in Ile Uerie we headed back to Noumea to re-provision and get propane.
Our first anchorage alone after saying goodbye to friends was to Ilot Amadee. The island had the tallest lighthouse of New Caledonia and also promised to be a great place for turtles. We had a little problem rolling in our jib as we approached the Island and it was just something else for Denny to fix.. Luckily we managed to take it down without any incident. Amadee was a beautiful little island that catered to all the tourists arriving there with the tour boat. Two days of being part of the tourist circus was enough.

View of our boat from the light house

Click here for Google Map Link to Ilot Kouare

Ilot Koure offered some beautiful pristine white beaches and great snorkeling. It was later that we learned there had been a fatal Bull shark attack but that had happened over 3 years ago. But considering that in the last 10 years there have been 10 shark attacks of which half were fatalities, the likelihood of coming face to face with the great beasts is unlikely. It’s still always a little unnerving for me getting in the water. Denny drove a piece of coral up into his heel while beaching the dinghy so what little snorkeling the weather permitted, I did alone.

Denny’s pic of the Eel. Better to coming face to face with a shark

Click here for Google Map Link to Ouatio Pass

We did do a day anchor next to the Ouatio reef pass and the clarity of the water there was unbelievable. We could see the details of the sea bottom in 15 feet of water. I snorkeled around at Denny’s encouragement while he followed in the dinghy. Having him near made me feel a little safer and I spotted many colorful fish, turtles, Manta rays and a couple of small, lazy grey sharks.

Click here for Google Map Link for Ilot Ua

We decided that we should visit Ils De Pins with its teal blue waters and beautiful white beaches. It was just a day sail and the winds were promising not to be too strong even if it was on the nose. We made one stop Ilot Ua and we were here with three other boats so there must have been promoted as a good place to go but mainly for the snorkeling. We just made it a one-night stop and it positioned us well for the day sail to Ils De Pins.

Click here for Google Map Link to Kuto Bay, Isle of Pines

Isle de Pines nearby resort

It was a tack, tack, tack sail to Kudo and we made it shortly before nightfall. There were about 20 boats here and it was a well-protected bay with little or no swell which was comfortable after the last few anchorages. We spent 5 days here and did a few hikes and kayak paddles.

Denny did one death march with me to a nearby town that boasted a cute restaurant but it was closed by the time we arrived. We were not looking forward to the return hike in the sweltering heat and we were lucky to get picked up by a couple of local women and a baby driving a well-used little pickup. Conversation was difficult as they spoke little English and I spoke minimum French. During our hike back, Denny had found a channel lock pliers on the side of the road and he offered this tool to the ladies as a thank you. The look on their face was hilarious but they accepted the gift, which, according to Denny was a useful gift!!

Top of PicN’Ga. Souvenir coins left on the cross

I did a hike to the highest peak in Ils De Pins called the PicN’Ga. Denny was still feeling the pain from the coral cut on his heel especially since the previous day hike. The view was astounding and worth the grueling up hill hike. Five days here was enough and we were looking forward to a couple more days with our friends in Cava, especially since they were looking for a weather window back to NZ.

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for Google Map Link to Anse Majic

 

Mooring at Anse Majic

We made it back to Anse Majic and grabbed a mooring and spent a day with Cava. Shortly after our arrival they found a great weather window for NZ so, sadly, we parted ways. Kindred Spirit had already left for Australia and Bravo would follow suit shortly. And that’s cruising life, meeting amazing people but always saying hello – goodbye. We did another great uphill hike and were amazed at the diverse colors and terrain from the rest of the anchorages in New Caledonia, mainly the red clay deposits due to the extensive mining in the area. We also found a really neat, hidden little paradise that offered a fresh water shower, although it was a cold one. It was also a great place to do hand laundry. Yes it is living the dream hand washing clothes by hand and cold showers where and if you can get one!

Click here for Google Map Link to Baie Du Carenage

Always trying to figure out how things work!

We continued our exploration of the Bay of Prony and anchored in the Baie De Carenage. We found some new hikes here and taking advise from other cruisers, we took a bucket and small bristle brush to wash off the red clay mud and coloring that accumulated on our footwear. The hike brought us to some beautiful waterfalls and to a unique swimming hole with overhanging rocks and pristine clear water that just beckoned us to jump in. Denny took all his clothes off and went in first and was cheered on by a hiker that appeared out of nowhere. It took some convincing for me to follow him mainly because of the cold water but also some inhibition, of which Denny has none. After all the cold water dips we were told of a nearby natural hot spring and it wasn’t hard to find. A gorgeous little man made concrete pool fed by fresh water and a hot spring. We had the warm pool all to ourselves!

Finally a pool with hot water!!

Our friend Bob was coming to visit us and then sail to Australia so we had head back to Noumea, as that was to be our meeting and starting point for our next adventure with Bob!

 

2018 Vanuatu – Tanna Volcano

Click here for Google Map Link

We are currently in Australia and hope to be here for some time. Our first planned destination is Tasmania and we are now in Port Eden waiting for a weather window before crossing the well-known ‘boisterous weather’ Bass Strait. This gives us the opportunity to catch up on the blog updates from Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Vanuatu version of bungy jumping. Yikes!! Glad its not Denny hanging there

Our last stop in Vanuatu was Tanna. After a long hard day’s sail against prevailing winds we arrived in Point Resolution very early in the morning and set the anchor as the sun was rising. We were determined to finally get close to Mother Nature’s caldron after missing the opportunity to hike to the volcano in Ambrym. We had already checked out of the country and were just making a quick stop. We were aware that we had a great weather window to sail to New Caledonia but only if we left within 24 hours. We quickly got the dinghy in the water and began searching for the Tanna Volcano tour guides. The town was pretty quiet that early in the morning.  We met other cruisers who had already booked themselves a guide and were planning to head to Mount Yasur that afternoon and invited us to tag along. The only instructions we received were to bring a torch, good walking shoes, water and food and meet at a specific location on the beach at two in the afternoon. We arrived at our meeting point early to make sure the tour guide was ok with us joining the group. Signs of the active volcano were everywhere as we spotted kids enjoying warm water baths caused by hot water flowing into high tide pools. The hot springs nearby were used for bathing and cooking.
The tour guide was a young man from a near by village and he explained that we would first do a three-hour jungle hike to the base of the volcano. Although we had not gotten much sleep during our overnight sail passage, we were hyped to explore the flora and fauna and had lots of fun getting to know the people in our group. It was a steady uphill climb but we stopped often and our guide treated us to fresh coconut drinks, sugar cane nibbles and green onions to take back with us. We were given the opportunity to swing from a rope and harness over a valley with heart stopping heights. Only one person volunteered and it wasn’t Denny or me (although Denny probably would have if I didn’t give him an “I’ll kill you myself if you do” look). We arrived at the base of the volcano just before sunset and we were told to sit back and have our picnic and stay well-hidden while we waited for the “licensed” Tanna tour to end. That was an “Oh Oh” moment for us. It was our first inkling that what we were doing was not on the up and up. We were aware that the government had taken over the rights to take people for the volcano tours and that the whole expedition was very expensive with limited time to see the eruptions. But we had tagged along to an already scheduled tour and had been under the impression that it was an authorized one. Denny and I had come too far to turn back and the young guide seemed very knowledgeable and experienced.
We waited patiently and could hear and see Yasur’s eruptions from where we were. The ground shook and the roaring sound of the explosions were incredible. Finally, we got the go ahead to continue up to the mouth of the volcano but not by way of the ‘tourist’ track as there we would be spotted by the posted security guards. We had to crawl and stumble on all fours up the rock face without the use of our flashlights and sometimes had to stop and look up when an eruption occurred to make sure we didn’t get showered with volcano debris. Relief was felt by all when we made it the top and could finally get front row seats to the majestic lava shower that seemed to occur every 10 minutes. The sight was breathtaking and exhilarating and it is impossible to describe the immensity of the thundering force of each eruption. Denny quickly setup the tripod and camera and proceeded to take pictures but then was told that pictures with flash and Iphones could not be used as the security guards had spotted us and were making their way up. We were taken to an outcropping of rocks and told to hide while the guide went down to possibly bribe the guards to let us wander around! The wait was excruciating and we all felt like we were taking part in a commando expedition. Finally the guide returned and advised us that security was staying at the base and we could explore some more but keep camera lights and flashes well hidden. We were given the option to hike to a lookout point which would allow us a better view of the smoldering lava. Only four of us which included Denny and me followed the guide to the higher vantage point. We crawled to the edge and could look down at the molten red lava but before we could get our cameras out Yasur erupted and the wind carried the smoke and dust towards us. We couldn’t breathe, we couldn’t see and had to make a quick exit out of there. I hung on to the guide and with eyes closed, stumbled back to the lower viewing point. Denny wasn’t as lucky and he had to make his own way down with tear filled eyes. We took some time to get our breath back and refocus our eyes before we were given the instruction that it was time to leave. One thing was for certain, we were not going to descend without the use of our torches. We were assured that the route we were taking down was on the opposite side of the security gate and torches could be used so long as we kept them pointing down directly in front of us. The way down was just a mountain of fine ash and sand and we slid, ran, stumbled down the volcano. We felt like we were downhill skiing with little control for what seemed like and endless amount of time but really only 10 minutes. When we spotted truck headlights we were told to turn off our torches until the guide confirmed that it was the vehicle that would take us home. We all felt relieved and elated that our great adventure had ended well. Little did we know that our drive back to the beach was going to take an hour and half over some very dubious washed out roads. There were times where the road was the width of the truck and an inch too far over either side could end badly for all of us. We were sitting in the box of the truck, hanging on to whatever we could and hoping the roll cage would offer some protection if necessary. But the driver was experienced and had taken this route many times. Somebody in our group asked our guide if he had conducted these tours very often and his reply was “No, never before!”. He looked at all our horrified faces and he quickly clarified “never with OLD people” as if that should make us all feel better!!
We arrived back at the beach shortly after midnight and said our goodbyes, thankful to be on our way back to Landfall. Despite the questionable choice of tour guide all Denny and I could feel was awe, exhilaration and very fortunate to be able to get close to a force of nature so powerful, lethal, thunderous and beautiful.
But we had no time to linger in the immensity of what we had just experienced. Our sailing weather window indicated that we had to make an immediate exit and steer a course to New Caledonia. As we had already checked out of the country, we didn’t have the option to wait for the next available window. So although we were exhausted, full of ash and soot, we hoisted sail and left beautiful Vanuatu. Next stop New Caledonia!

We made it

11/16/2018 20:00 Position 27 57.057S 153 25.309E Just a quick note before we head off to bed to let you know we made it. We are anchored right around the corner from where we came in. It is so nice to be sitting still and not having the boat continuously rolling. We are hoping to check in officially on Monday. We did 782 mile trip in about six and one quarter days. Averaged 5.2 knots and motored for 41.5 hours. The wind was on the rear quarter the entire way. Anyway we are here and doing really great. Love to all Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

almost there

Friday 11/16/2018 04:00 Position 27 32.153S 154 31.417E We have been motoring for the last 24 hours. Seas are really flat now, but the boat still has a little roll. All is really well here. Had four more hits on the fishing lures. one was a sail fish that ran the line out and then broke it. It is to bad that we seem to catch them on the small reel. the drag on the reel just gets hot as the fish peels out 600 feet of line. It does not take them long either. the thing just screams. While we where motoring yesterday we were able to make water and each have a hot shower. I was just out checking for boats and saw the largest meteor I have ever seen. It lit up the entire sky, it was amazing. We should be in Australia today but will not do customs until Monday so will not have internet until after that some time. So will talk as soon as we can. Love to all Landfall ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

Hello from Landfall

11/12/2018 06:00 Position 24 15.540s 162.17.420 Hi Folks just thought we would let you know we are doing great. Winds have been 10 to 20 on the rear quarter so it has been a rolly but pretty quick ride. We have done over 300 miles over the last 48 hours, the best Landfall has ever done over that long of a period. We caught a big mahi mahi yesterday. He ran almost all the line off the reel, over 600 feet, but after an hour we got him next to the boat. Then we saw its mate swimming right next next to him, they mate for life. So we let it go. Not an easy task while hanging over the side of a sail boat. But it was nice to see it swim away. All is good on board, we will send when we can Love you all Dennis, the Queen, and Bob ————————————————- Do not push the “reply” button to respond to this message if that includes the text of this original message in your response. Messages are sent over a very low-speed radio link. The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete the original message text and these instructions from your reply. Replies should not contain attachments and should be less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length. This email was delivered by an HF private coast station in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht owners. For more information on this service or on the SailMail Association, please see the web site at: http://www.sailmail.com

2018 Vanuatu. Visit from NZ friends Pete and Mel

Click here for Google Map Link – Lakatoro

Lakatoro would have been a nice anchorage but while we were there the weather was nasty. Denny and I had a long dinghy ride to the dock and from there a 3 mile walk to the airport where Pete and Mel would be arriving. We did manage to find a ride and it was a

Burned out hulk of an airport

good thing we did because I wouldn’t believe we were at the airport. It was just a burned out building, open to the elements and no security or gates. There were a couple of people hanging out with their luggage and that was the only evidence that we were in the right place. We waited and waited and waited. Finally Denny found somebody that looked like he was an airline employee and asked about the flight schedule. He informed us that the flight had been cancelled due to thunder and lightening storm in Port Villa. So we headed back to the boat not knowing where Pete and Mel were. We finally got a text that explained they were delayed, and then one saying they were on the way. The wind had worsened so we arranged a water taxi for them as the dinghy ride would have been a wet one. With the wind howling there wasn’t much to do except take a little tour of the nearby village. We decided not to stay in Lakatoro any longer and sailed to the next anchorage that was a little more protected.

Click here for Google Map Link – Crab Bay

Crab Bay was a little challenging to get into as there was coral everywhere. The little hole we anchored in wasn’t very large with minimal swing room, so we put out a second anchor to keep us from swinging. It was still very windy out but we were sheltered and felt no swell. There was a nearby nature reserve with a trail so we decided to do some exploring.

We found another shipwreck on the beach which is always sad to see. We couldn’t find the story about this boat on the internet. One of the planned stops during our friends visit was to do the volcano hike on Ambrym. The hike would take 10 hours through some rough terrain and uphill and it would have to be guided. We decided we would do it in 2 days and hire porters to carry our food, sleeping bags and camera equipment. This would give us more time and energy to enjoy the hike and the volcano. We got a weather window so after 2 days in Crab Bay we set sail for the next Island, Ambrym.

Click here for Google Map link – Ambrym

 

 

 

The link to google map will give you an idea of our less than desirable anchorage and the distance we would have to hike to the Volcano. Google describes Ambrym as one of the most active volcanoes in the New Hebrides and one of five lava lakes in the world. We were all pumped to go. 

We took a hike through the village looking for a guide, along the way we made friends with a village dog or I should say he made friends with us.

Our Buddy Flea

We named him Flea for obvious reasons. He followed us everywhere and was even prepared to jump in the dinghy with us. From the boat we could see him trying to swim towards us and  made it half way before giving up. He then started barking and pacing back and forth on the shore for a long time (Mel’s offering of cookies may have something to do with Flea’s persistence)

 

It was a hot and humid stroll around village and we were starting to second guess our ability to do the walk. We  came across a cozy, little Cava bar where we could celebrate our success. We found somebody who had the experience and knowledge and willing to take us to the volcano Caldera but the weather wasn’t cooperating. There were low lying clouds and it was coming from the wrong direction which would probably hinder our view of the lava lake in the crater once we reached the top. We weren’t willing to do the hike without being able to actually see the volcano. We waited for a day but weather wasn’t improving nor did it look good for the next couple of days. However, it was a  good sail (motor) window to head back South to the main Island, Efate. There were no available flights from Ambrym to the main Island that Pete and Mel could take in order to catch their connection to NZ so we decided to abandon the Ambrym hike. We hope to come back someday and do it. The night before we left we did see some Dugong swim by the boat and on the day we left Pete, who was in charge of fishing, caught us an Albacore Tuna so we were happy with that. The passage back to the main island Efate was an overnight motor but that was better than a beat against prevailing wind.

Clouds hanging over Ambrym

 

 

Click here for Google Map link – Havanna Bay

Back on the main Island we spent the time enjoying food from some nearby restaurants and resorts. Pete and Mel had friends that had a little cottage near where we were anchored so they were able to get off the boat for a little while. I did end up with a very nasty infection from a small cut on my ankle that appeared to be nothing at first. The cut became swollen, red and from there the symptoms worsened and I had fever and chills. It was going to be a hospital emergency stop for me but luckily Pete and Mel’s friends had the proper ointment and antibiotics and by morning I was cured. But it does stress the importance of keeping small cuts clean and having appropriate medication for these instances. The outcome could have been very bad for me if appropriate action wasn’t taken quickly.

We enjoyed our time with our friends and 12 days seemed to go very fast. They were back to NZ and it was time for us to head to New Caledonia with one stop on the way, our last chance to see an active volcano in Tanna.