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How we started
Our first yacht
Our view of the cruising life
Passages we've made
Around the world in Dulcinea
Australia to Japan
Japan to Kamchatka
Russia to Alaska
Alaska to Canada
Canada to Australia
STORIES IN ALASKA
Laurence in Alaska
Prince William Sound
STORIES FROM JAPAN
Simply the BEST
Huis Ten Bosch
STORIES FROM AUSTRALIA
Barrier Reef Cruise 2005
STORIES FROM TASMANIA
Antarctica by Ship NEW!
A Spooky story
OTHER CRUISING SITES
| TUVALU TO VANUATU
Ocean , Tuvalu
A sad event in our family back in Sydney necessitates
an urgent flight back to Australia for Lyndall
from Tuvalu. Illywhacker's Pacific Ocean passage
now becomes a delivery trip to Australia without
my cruising buddy.
I was very happy when our eldest son James saved the day
and took 3 weeks off work to help me sail back to Townsville,
his home in North Queensland. He has travelled extensively
around the Pacific Island States and making a quick flight
to Tuvalu was no trouble for him - it took less than a week
for him to arrive!
Daytime departure via the western pass of Funafuti
Click for a larger view
from 8S to 15S during the southern winter in this part of
the world is a fairly safe bet. The SE Trades should prevail
but are affected by the South Pacific Convergence Zone, SPCZ.
Forecasts from Fiji, NZ and Melbourne give detailed coverage
of the position of this 100nm wide belt. Low pressure systems
to the south also produce north extending troughs which may
influence the Trades, either weakening or reinforcing them.
The SPCZ had to be crossed regardless so we expected a few
days of unsettled, squally weather. A change in latitude of
7 degrees was also expected to bring a welcome temperature
Navigation was "interesting" as the area we were
to traverse is shown on the chart littered with banks and
shoals noted as - "rept'd 1930", "breaks",
"pos'n approx" - that sort of thing!
On day 1 James and I motored out of Tuvalu's
Funafuti Atoll then set our sails for a beam reach. It wasn't
long however that the wind increased to 25kts and swung to
the south - we were beating, definitely not what
we ordered. Illywhacker wasn't troubled though and with a
double-reefed main and half-furled jib we made 2 good day's
run of 145 nm each. The skipper and crew weren't pleased though
as the motion was yukky and the waves over the deck managed
at one stage to create a leak below via the main hatch. We
quickly taped around the hatch but the leak was discovered
to be from a badly dogged handle. Water anywhere near my computers
is treated as an emergency!
The wind swung back to the SE on day 3 and we broke out our
fast-reaching rig of jib, reefed main and mizzen. This is
fine until the wind shifts just a few degrees aft, the main
then blankets the jib causing that annoying collapse-then-fill
routine. We then drop the main and run a preventer to a full
mizzen which allow us to travel very easily - we yaw less
and the autopilot soon tells us if we've too much weather
helm requiringa few turns of the jib furler.
There were a few days and nights of rain squalls but we sailed
the full distance with the exception of the last 50nm motor
into Luganville. Vanuatu. The passage of 887nm took us 5 days
15hrs, an average of 6.6kts. (This turned out to be the
best average for any leg).
|James at the helm as we motor into Luganville
||Fresh food markets at Luganville
A really nice Melanesian town, Luganville, formerly Santo, has all
the attractions a cruising yacht needs - fresh food and vegs, great
places to stop for a coffee or beer and on the doorstep of a cruising
paradise. We were disappointed to have to move on so quickly. We
determined to see as much as we could while we waited 2 days for
James' friend David Haynes to arrive as an extra crew. We took a
bus tour around Santo for a quick historical tour (mainly of war
wreckage and disused airstrips). We were taken to the Million Dollar
Point, where after WWII, the Americans offered the Santo Government
all of the unused vehicles and plant rather than ship them home,
for some $15m, an unaffordable sum then so the offer was turned
down. The Americans then bulldozed the lot into the sea causing
the environmental disaster still visible today. US Foreign policy
has improved since - or has it?
On the morning of our departure, David
and James managed a dive on the famous wreck "President Coolidge"
adjacent to downtown Luganville.
|James and Gail (SY Native Dancer) at B47 wreck
||Million Dollar Point dumped war surplus
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