Alibi reached home safely with the crew sad to see the end of a fantastic trip! Thanks to those who joined the trip along the way around the North Island: Sally, Paul and Charlie. Thanks to those who have followed the blog.
Bits of Alibi have been removed for repair. Tommo’s last job as First Mate was supervising the safe removal of the boom and ensuring no parts were harmed in the process! For ‘harmed’ we mean: lost overboard or dropped to the bottom of the sea! The boom was rather heavier than we anticipated and it took Capn John, Tommo and Charlie to do the job. John has had a few calls from the bloke repairing the boom. It would appear the damage is little more extensive than first anticipated and will require a bit more of a fix up before we can put it back on Alibi. The trampoline repair was effected much more easily than anticipated. Capn John envisaged having to remove all the tracks in order to get it securely fastened back on the boat. However a simple matter of replacing the bolt ropes ensured the existing tracks were up to the job and the tramp is safely back on and we don’t have to be careful we don’t fall in the sea when walking up the front of Alibi.
A big, BIG thank you to First Mate Tommo for devoting the summer to sailing with the newlyweds!
Already discussing the next trip, but that will require getting more time off work or retiring!
After anchoring in Port Jackson on Friday evening we thought ‘relax, we are in home territory!’
Mmm! Well that was not going to happen!
Friday night was wild and not conducive to relaxing. Winds up to 40 knots buffetted Alibi and we had an anxious night. Up several times, setting an anchor alarm on our electronic equipment did not allay concerns as the alarm kept going off as we gradually moved further from the initial anchor spot during the night. Eventually Anne got up and kept an eye on the situation while John got much needed sleep having been up and down most of the night.
When dawn broke we had moved 41 metres from our original anchoring spot and no further. The sun was glorious and the wind died down to around 25 knots so finally we could relax!
The last 2 days we have been around Hautapu and Waimate island, catching fish, cleaning the hull and swimming…. generally enjoying the last few days of Alibi’s 2016 circumnavigation of the North Island.
Our fourth night on passage was from Cape Runaway to Tairua, a distance of 110 nautical miles.
During Tommo’s watch he thought an engine might have caught fire as he smelt burning. After checking we weren’t on fire he realised the smell was emanating from the active volcano, White Island, 15 miles from Alibi’s course.
Today we had a lovely sail, passing behind Mayor Island on our way to Tairua.
Negotiating the entrance to Tairua at low tide we touched the bottom! Having successfully entered the harbour we contacted the Harbour master to arrange a mooring. Oops! The mooring he directed us to snapped as soon as we picked it up.
The ferry master came alongside and directed us to his extra mooring, which we are safely attached to.
An eventful passage which the crew are celebrating in the time honoured tradition – a tot of rum!
Rounding East Cape was like being in the ‘rush hour’. Pitch black apart from stars. We were pursued by a large cruise ship which called us up to let us know her intentions. We kept our course and the ship altered their’s by half a mile, passing by on our starboard.
Shortly after this a large cargo ship appeared to be bearing down on us and when we were half a mile apart they finally answered our radio calls and they took evasive action. Other ships….cargo and fishing boats all were easily avoided as they were well lit up.
Vava’u deja vu! Rounding East Cape into the Bay of Plenty we were met by head on 30 knot winds and very confused seas. Alibi battled through this for the next 9 hours with solid water breaking over the whole boat for much of the day, as we attempted to make our way from East Cape to Cape Runaway – a mere 34 miles! A very uncomfortable and frustrating day! Be careful what you wish for! In the last blog we commented on lack of wind!
Port trampoline trashed!
Main sheet boom fitting broke causing a large block to fly off, fortunately missing Capn John and Tommo who were trimming the sails at the time.
About to start overnight watches for the third night on passage.
Yesterday we caught a tuna while trolling. Yum! Ate tuna steaks last night. Freezer is full so Capn John restrained himself today and didn’t put a line out.
Today we have enjoyed a beautiful sunny day and felt a little frustrated with the lack of wind! If we get enough wind up go the sails….only to have it disappear within a few minutes. That happened around 3 this morning and the engine took awhile to start and Alibi did a 360° before the engine started … right near a reef.
Probably will round East Cape in the early hours tonight.
Position: 40° 31′ S, 176° 41′ E currently just off Cape Turnagain
Dream crossing of Cook Strait with wind and tide in our favour!
Did the 20 miles to Wellington harbour entrance in 2 hours, at times reaching 13 knots! The 55 miles to Cape Palliser from Queen Charlotte entrance, we averaged 8 knots overall. A lot of impressive tide rips even though it was a neap tide.
Accompanied by 4 pods of dolphins in the afternoon and early evening. Magical lying on front tramp having the dolphins playing just below and jumping up to touch Anne’s outstretched hand and splashing her!
A pleasant sail up the Wairarapa coast and the wind has just dropped so we are motor sailing towards East Cape.
We have enjoyed a further 5 unplanned days in Queen Charlotte while waiting for a good weather window to commence the homeward sail.
On Sunday we battened down hatches and almost reached Cook Strait when the rougher than expected seas caused us to turn back. Rechecking the weather forecast, just checked 2 hours earlier, we found it had substantially changed with gale warnings.
The last few days we have visited parts of the Sounds not visited earlier, caught fish and walked to yet another waterfall. Today Annie and Tommo walked a 4 hour section of the track to Punga Cove where John met them with Alibi. A compulsory stop at the seaside cafe for refreshments was had prior to moving to a beautiful anchorage behind Pickersgill Island.
This is our last night in the Sounds and we head out into Cook Strait early tomorrow, Friday. If the forecast is to be believed then we will sail on until around Tauranga unless a change in weather needs us to rethink our plan.
Yesterday we went on a jaunt around a few Marlborough vineyards with a local lady called Helen. She owns a small tour company called Na Clachan which specialises in sharing her love and knowledge of the local wine business that Marlborough is famous for.
The Wolverhampton connection? Well, Helen moved there from Scotland with her family when she was about 8 years old, and moved to NZ about 10 years ago. Another coincidence…she worked as a receptionist in the GP practice in Wolverhampton that Sally, Tommo’s wife, worked in….but before Sally’s time! A very small world!
Our day started with lunch at Allan Scott’s followed by a visit to Framingham, Nautilus, Huia – an organic vineyard and Lawson’s Dry Hills.
Thursday afternoon the weather was benign. Wind non existent and the sea was dead flat! Charlie and Tommo were in charge of Alibi and took her from Resolution Bay to Punga Cove in Endeavour Inlet. Cap’n John and Annie kayaked. The first 5 miles were an easy paddle. Friendly seals on rocky headlands a few feet away merely raised their heads to follow the progress of the kayak. Alibi sailed past on the kayak’s port just after the kayak entered the entrance to Endeavour inlet.
Shortly after Alibi passed the kayak the sky clouded over and Annie made a comment on the ‘grey metal’ appearance of both sky and sea. Within 5 minutes the wind increased to 25 knots, blowing straight at the kayak. There was a mere 1.5 miles to paddle to join Alibi. As the kayak rounded a headland the battle began. A short steep sea made progress difficult with waves swamping the kayak and soaking the paddlers with every wave. After 45 minutes of meagre progress we were getting cold and tired from the wind chill factor and wondered if we would reach land. Narrowly avoiding a capsize. This was no ocean going kayak but a sit upon ‘fair weather’ kayak! Where were Tommo and Charlie? Had they forsaken us for the local bar or were they unaware of our predicament?
Whilst contemplating options Cap’n John was pleased to see a runabout heading our way. We hailed them and they kindly took us aboard and towed the kayak. Once aboard, even with their 60 horse power outboard they were making slow progress through wind and waves. After 10 minutes Charlie appeared in Alibi’s tender looking for us. He had a moment of concern even he saw a yellow kayak in tow without us aboard.
Eventually we made it without further alarm to the safe haven of Punga Cove and Alibi on a mooring. After hot showers we adjourned to aforementioned bar for a jug of Pimms, finishing the evening with a memorable dinner at the Punga Cove restaurant.