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.