Starblazer - 02/10/2014 - Arrival in New Caledonia
As usual, I'm afraid my last log describing the passage is rather after the event!We headed inshore overnight on Monday and decided to enter the reef system further north than the waypoint in the hope of flatter seas as they were heading us.The wind piped up and we managed to make a fairly good speed.Sometimes miscalculating is a good thing.If we had arrived at our waypoint at dawn, as we had initially planned, we would have had to struggle against a 2.7 knot current through the pass!Arriving just inside the pass nearly 4 hours later ensured no counter current, a great result following a poor decision.We motor sailed and sailed a fairly zig-zag course, avoiding reefs and shallows, then motored the last few miles into Noumea harbour.The hazards are well marked on the chart however the. read more...
Starblazer - 30/09/2014 – A tale of 2 days
Sunday was horrible, wet all day with no regular wind pattern so we motored. The sun briefly glowed among the clouds just above the western horizon, putting in an apology for an appearance better late than never.At least it suggested the weather was clearing!It finally stopped raining at about 1900.The sprayhood and the bimini, which I’d waterproofed in St Lucia, decided to go into sieve mode (as in the similie ‘leaking like a sieve’) so the cockpit and occupants were soaked.The rain hadn’t quite finished with us as I ran through a short but very heavy shower shortly before midnight. John had spotted it on radar, a cell about 12 miles wide and 3 miles deep. Avoiding it was not an option.Later on during the night John managed to dodge a second one, which was smaller.The other downside of. read more...
Starblazer - 28/09/2014 – The annoying, the puzzling and the downright dangerous!
Before you read on, please be assured we are fit, well and unharmed, just a little soggy because it has rained for the past 16 hours!Yesterday, Saturday, passed much like Friday, with a mixture of motoring, motorsailing and sailing.The afternoon was punctuated by three events.I’ll deal with them in time order.Annoying: John decided to make some more water so started the generator then started the water maker.Within 5 minutes the water maker stopped because the generator had stopped, showing an ‘engine overheat’ warning light.It won’t suck up the cooling water even though John primed the system so he suspects the impeller but that will have to wait until the main engine is cool enough to lay on!Annoying/downright dangerous:I started to prepare dinner, potatoes on to boil and beef. read more...
Starblazer - 24/09/2014 - Espiritu Santo
On Monday we had a great sail from Ambrym to Espritu Santo.It's about 60 miles so we started early (0630) to ensure arriving in daylight.The recommended anchorage, just off Luganville, promised to be bumpy as the south easterly winds blows right in so we headed to the north shore of Aore Island which is more sheltered.Four yachts were on buoys in front of the Aore Resort but the only other pick-up looked decidedly dodgy!We motored along a bit until we inched our way into 9 metres where we dropped the anchor.The underwater profile is very steep, from 30+ metres to less than 1 in a very short distance.To further complicate matters, the holding is poor because the bottom has a lot of coral.We finally set the anchor but had an uncomfortable night, worrying if we were likely to drift inshore. read more...
Starblazer - 21/09/2014 – Cruising Vanuatu
We spent 4 days in Port Vila, including buying SIM cards for the Ipads from Digicel.A word of warning for people following in our wake, they might not work!My iIpad is a version 2, three years old though I have downloaded updates to the operating system, and I got 3G coverage, internet etc.John’s is a version 3, two years old, and he could only access Edge, which is the 2G service and was absolutely useless.Once we left Efate to explore the more northern islands only Edge is available, and that doesn’t work, so we have had no internet at all.We left Port Vila in company with Trillium at about noon on Friday. We had bought some duty free spirits and had to wait for Customs to come and seal the bags containing the bottles.We can’t drink it until we clear out of Vanuatu at Luganville where. read more...