2019 Cruising East Coast Tasmania

MARIA ISLAND

Click here for Google Map Link to Maria Island anchorage

Wombats everywhere

Triabunna offered ferry services to Maria Island so it only made sense for us to make that our first stop. Not by ferry but on Landfall. The only way to travel around Maria Island is by walking or by bike (there were some spectacular bike trails). And the only accommodation was tent campsites. Maria Island was a historical convict stations site and operated in the mid 1800’s to punish secondary offenders and runaways. We were learning that much of Australia’s history included tales of crime, punishment, hardship and survival in harsh but beautiful places. There was no getting off this island alive. We anchored in Chinaman’s Bay, quite a distance from the main convict station so we didn’t get to see that but we did walkaround and we were welcomed by many, many Wombats that came out to feed late in the evening. These furry little creatures were more interested in feeding than in running away from us. It appeared to us that there were more Wombats than what food was available. They were everywhere and the grasslands were pretty bare.

CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR WOMBAT VIDEO

 

Beautiful salt water vegetation. Site of one of the convict stations

 

FORTESCUE BAY

Click here for Google Map Link to Fortescue Bay anchorage

Fortescue Bay anchorage

A few of the 2500 steps on the trail

The Cape Hauy track started from the bay campground and while we were there, we had a cool, sunny and calm day so we decided to do the 4-hour return track. The well-maintained track wound itself through a variety of terrain  and onwards to magnificent views of steep cliffs and rock formations. A few young boys with rock climbing gear passed us and we later learned that the “Candlestick” and “Totem Pole” sea stacks were popular areas for climbing and absailing.

Long way to go

We found it a strenuous track and I counted well over 2500 steps but it was worth the spectacular scenery. We were looking forward to a shower at the campsite but by the time we were back the office was closed and we couldn’t buy the necessary tokens. Hot showers would have to wait for maybe the next anchorage.

And a long way down too!

If you look closely you can see the rock climbers line

 

PORT ARTHUR

Click here for Google Map link to Port Arthur MAST mooring anchorage

We motored sailed to Port Arthur and grabbed a MAST mooring. These are moorings placed in various locations by Marine and Safety Tasmania and are well maintained. Their website indicates the locations for the moorings and the last time the moorings were inspected. Technically boats are only supposed to be on the moorings for 4 hours but when you are the only boat in the bay it really doesn’t matter how long you use the mooring. The main reason for anchoring here was to visit historic Port Arthur, a penal settlement. Port Arthur started as a small timber station but it grew to be an important penal location for the colonies. This included convicts from Britain who could no longer be sent to the Americas after the American War of Independence. As part of the tour package we got to enjoy a guided walking tour and a one hour boat cruise to Dead Man’s Island (where many of the dead were buried) and to Port Puer (where juvenile convicrts were housed). Port Arthur also had a devastating historical event which took place on April 1996. A young Hobart man armed with a high-powered rifle drove to Port Arthur and went on a shooting rampage killing 35 people and injuring 37 other people. The historic site was a story of many people, places and moments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Click here for Google Map Link to Stewarts Bay

After a couple of nights here we tried to head further South but the wind picked up and it was on the nose so we returned to the bay but anchored in Stewart Bay. A beautiful protected little bay and while we were here we experienced record breaking heat wave of 37C. We didn’t bother to get off the boat just enjoyed a leisurely day while waiting for the winds to come from the North again.

NUBEENA, PARSONS BAY

Click here for Google Map Link to Nubeena anchorage

There wasn’t much to see or do in Nubbena, Parsons Bay but our motor sail by Cape Raoul was spectacular. We had some fog and drizzle but not much wind so we could stay close to shore. There is a very popular Three Capes track which takes several days and it’s 48km of breathtakingly beautiful coastline. We experienced Tasmania’s magnificent coast sitting in our cockpit. It was calm enough that we were even able to motor between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar. I found it to be a little nerving and daunting as I watched the depths go from +100 feet to less than 25 feet and towering rock cliffs on both sides of the boat. Leave it to Denny to even attempt such a feat, nerves of steel!

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 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!

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.

New Zealand 2018

We flew back to NZ and  arrived January 1st. It was good to celebrate New Year’s Day in our home on Landfall. We worked hard to get the boat back in the water and to clean out a storage container that we had in Dockland 5 that was full of stuff that had to go back on the boat. Although we love NZ it was time for us to keep moving west with a few stops along the way. But first we had a few family visits planned.

Our first visit was from Adrianna, Barb’s niece and her 2 friends. What was supposed to be a 2-night visit to include a leisurely sail, somewhere, turned into a one night  dreary, rainy, windy night stay on Landfall, although we enjoyed the time with our short stay company. Can’t predict the weather too far and unfortunately a small cyclone passed through. 

But they had a great stay with our friends Pete and Mel in their lovely home in Whangarei Heads and then went off chasing the sun and wineries!!

 

VISIT FROM ALLISON, LEANNE AND SEAN

Our second adventure was a visit from Barb’s daughter Allison and niece Leanne and  her partner Sean. All five of us spent an incredible month on Landfall cruising the Hauraki Gulf.

Not much space for 5 people but we survived and had an amazing time. We will let the pictures tell the story.

Start the visit with a look at Volvo Around the World Races

A Closer Look

First night they were treated to the worlds best tasting mussel, the NZ Green Lipped Mussel. Fabulous

We stayed in Waiheke for a couple of days. It’s a place for wineries so we visited a few. We hung out for a couple of days as we had to wait for another mini cyclone to pass us by while we were in a safe anchorage.

 

Fine day for a nap

A visit to the Winery while we are in Waiheke. But first a little honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the weather settled the kids were anxious to get going so we decided to do a night sail to Mercury Island. None of them had done an overnight passage on a boat so all were excited and all hands on deck. By midnight only Denny was left on watch. I guess the jet lag was still kicking in.

Great Mercury  is a beautiful little island. Not great for anchoring but we managed to grab a buoy and hang out for a couple of days. And oh the fish. We fished and fished and fished some more. We even had a Marlin on the hook but he ran all the line off the reel then jumped out of the water and waved his tail goodbye but not long enough for a pic.

We did a couple of hikes and a day sail to a near by bay so we could hang out on a beautiful beach and do some kayaking.

Another exhausting death march

 

View of our anchorage

Guy time

Me time

 


One last look

We Left Great Mercury with the predictions of BIG wind and headed for Great Barrier. The winds were not bad at all and that was a good thing because our Auto Pilot failed us and from that point on we had to hand steer. Not so bad with 5 hands on board.

We made it to Great Barrier. It was a chance for the young ones to do an overnight track.

From there it was hand steering to the Hauraki Gulf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped and fished on the way.

With some leisure time in between.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then it was a visit to some other Islands along the Hauraki Gulf.

First a stop on the Coramandel Peninsula.

With some more fishing on the way

Until we can’t fish anymore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then on to Rotorua and some nature walks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One more Island Rangitoto to see more volcanic stuff. Our dinghy didn’t work so we rowed the kids to shore and left them there to explore while we worked on fixing the problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last stop Whangarei. Some more hiking, rock climbing and finally a look at some glow worms, a must do!

Can’t capture the picture. But we know the pearly strings are glow worms!

Some people would rather wander around outside than in the caves

Some people just need to climb

It’s worth one last look

A month to remember.

Company has left. The boat is quiet.
Goodbye New Zealand

 

NZ North Island – Tauranga June 1 – 4

Click here for Google map link

On our first attempt to leave the South Island, we only made it as far as Cape Campbell. The wind was whistling through the Cook Strait from the direction we were trying to sail so it made it almost impossible for us to make any headway. We finally decided to go back to Purau Bay and wait it out for a better weather window. We were disappointed but it just didn’t make sense to keep beating into the wind making very little headway.

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Landfall docked in Lyttelton marina

When we arrived back in Purau Bay we decided that we needed to get some fuel as we had used quite a bit trying to motor sail into the wind. We searched the harbor not finding the fuel dock so we headed into the marina in Lyttelton where we found out that the only place to get diesel was in Christchurch. Luckily there was a very lovely couple that volunteered to take Denny and our Jerry cans into town for our much needed diesel. We were invited  to spend a night tied to a temporary docking wharf free of charge and given the combination for the use of the hot showers. We walked to center of town and had a great meal at a cozy little restaurant, Freeman’s Dining Room. We had a goodnight’s sleep before going back to Purau Bay to wait for another weather window.

Sunrise welcoming us to the North Island

Sunrise welcoming us to the North Island

DSC_8494After a couple of days we made our second attempt to leave the South Island and this time we successfully made it to Tauranga but we did have some challenges trying to round East Cape with gusts of 40+ knots. We made it into Tauranga Harbor shortly after sunrise, feeling relieved and happy to be back on the North Island. We did have to get some assistance to tie up to the dock in the marina as there was a 6 knot current.

Tauranga Harbour was a large, well kept, modern marina and although it had everything that we needed it wasn’t a place where we, or particularly Denny, would spend a lot of time in. Landfall seemed a little lost among the large boats with no live aboard people only the occasional weekend cruiser.

We spent a couple of nights, long enough to purchase a few provisions and do a day hike to Mount Manganui. It was a 20 minute walk and a 45 minute bus ride to the  quaint little beach town with many little cafes and restaurants and a large outdoor sea water pool. We did the hike to the top of Mount Manganui and got to enjoy the fabulous 360 view. It was all so vastly different from where we had just come from that it took a while for us to acclimate ourselves to the uber touristy surroundings. We enjoyed the bustling town but we were really ready to finish our circumnavigation so as soon as we got a decent weather window we left the marina and headed for our final anchorage destination, Great Barrier.

The view from Mount Managanui

The view from Mount Managanui

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NZ south Island – Purau Bay May 11- 23

 

Click here for Google Map link

As we motored into Purau Bay it appeared that there were quite a few sailboats anchored there but as we came closer we realized that most yachts were on moorings. We did manage to find a fairly well protected anchorage away from the moorings in 10 feet of water. From this anchorage we were able to take the ferry across to Lyttelton and check out the earthquake devastated marina (which is only now being rejuvenated), the small grocery store and lots of quaint little restaurants. Lyttelton is only a short underground tunnel away from Christchurch which is where most people work and shop.

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Purau Bay, view from our boat

Sheffield Pie ShopWhile we were in Purau Bay we decided this was a good place to jump off the boat and do a little road trip. We rented a car in Christchurch and planned a route that would take us coast-to-coast traversing the Southern Alps via Arthur’s Pass. Our first stop was the Original Sheffield Pie Shop as we have garnered a love for the traditional NZ meat pies. We were not disappointed, bloody good pies!!

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Arthur’s Pass

The road slowly wound its way up into the foothills of the Southern Alps and the scenery changed constantly. But the pictures can better describe that. To make our road trip a little more NZ authentic we did follow a sheep transport truck for a little way as we wound our way up through Arthur’s Pass and little did we know at the time that the stream of water being dumped out of the truck was actually liquefied sheep dung. After a while we started to get an odor in the car and during our first stop we realized the odor was very distinct outside of the car from even 10 feet away. Oh well, no worries, it’s a rental!

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Creative ways to divert water and rock landslides from the road

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Of course we saw sheep sheep sheep

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We managed to do a stroll on one of the many on the southern Alps treks

DSC_8330 DSC_8432 DSC_8428We made it all the way to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and by the time we reached there we were tired, it was getting late and we didn’t feel like driving anymore so we made the decision to spend the night there. We were a little anxious about leaving the boat anchored without us being on board but we checked the weather and there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about for the next 12 hours or so. Noahs ark

Noahs ark 4

Our room number !!!

Noahs ark 1

Our hostel room wall decor

We found a great Youth Hostel, Noah’s Ark. Each room was identified by an animal versus a room number. We got the keys for the ‘Pig’ room. Hmmm was it because we hadn’t showered in a week or more, looked a little scruffy or maybe had some sheep dung residue? Whatever… we had a great meal at a nearby restaurant,  took advantage of the hot showers and had a great night’s sleep. We made our way back to Christchurch via the same pass and made a few other pit stops along with another stop at the Sheffield Pie Shop. We made it back on Landfall before nightfall and all was well in Purau Bay.

We were fortunate to be back on the boat as the next evening a weather system passed through bringing with it gusts of 50+ knots of wind. It all happened very quickly. I was standing in the galley and could hear and feel the wind picking up. I suddenly felt the boat moving and at the same time the anchor alarm went off. Dennis was on deck within seconds and quickly started the motor realizing we were dragging the anchor. There was a large Otago University research boat anchored behind us and we were drifting towards it very quickly. Dennis had the boat in full throttle trying to keep Landfall from crashing into the research boat. I radioed the captain to alert him of our predicament and to determine where their anchor was in relation to our anchor. He turned his spotlight on us and advised us that it was safe for us to pull in our anchor. I quickly went on deck with a jacket for Denny as it was cold and raining very hard and he was out there with just pants and t-shirt. I ran forward and proceeded to bring in the anchor and luckily we were in shallow water so it didn’t take much time for the windlass to raise the anchor.  Thanks to Denny’s quick reaction to our predicament, we managed to avoid a collision. We moved to the center of the bay and re-anchored hoping that we could set the anchor despite the driving wind and rain. We put out about an 8 to 1 scope and we were successful in re-anchoring. The weather front only lasted about an hour and we were soon back in calmer weather conditions but we didn’t sleep well that night. All the while we were dealing with avoiding a collision and re-anchoring  we were aware that there was another boat in the same predicament. It was our first experience with the anchor dragging and we were thankful that we were on board when it happened despite the fact that we had a 4 to 1 anchor scope out in only 10 feet of water. It was also the other boats first time dragging anchor and we figured it may have been attributed to some very fine sand in spots. Incidents like that make us more aware of how quickly things can take a turn for the worst when mother nature unleashes it’s fury.

We had to wait a couple more days for a weather to make our way to the North Island and after the anchor dragging incident we were hesitant to get off the boat so that  made the wait seem to go on forever.