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At anchor: Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu

May 12th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Arrived at 14:10 local time. Excellent sail for the last 2 days.

Captain Cook named the harbour after his ship when he anchored here. The locals eat the first European missionaries and ones sent from Fiji but are really friendly now. Impressive local school for 250 children and the village has about 250 people.

We have checked in at the main town on the other side of the island – Lenakel. An all day adventure as the road would been seen as challenging for most 4×4 rallies in UK. There is only 1 bridge on the trip close to Lenakel, the rest of the rivers are forded and it takes a full 3 hours. A short section of about 800yds has concrete the rest is just mud. The middle section goes across the ash plains of the volcano Yasur – very lunar like.

If the rain clears we hope to take the guided tour to the top of the volcano – the world’s most accessible active volcano. Start at 4PM, get there for sun set at 5.30 and then watch the embers fly up into the night sky. [Read more →]

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At Sea: Port Resolution tonight

May 11th, 2011 · Comments Off on At Sea: Port Resolution tonight

We made the 6.3 knot average with ease despite some current against us, so should be tucked up in Port Resolution for the night. Several fishing boats were close to our path in the night. Seemed smaller than many ocean fishing boats and with bright lights perhaps to attract the fish. They appeared stationary and were easy to avoid with all those lights. Past the southern most Vanuatu island, Anatom, just as it got light, guide books say that the cruise liners stop there sometimes. It was covered in clouds with just the lower slopes visible. Now can see Tanna, again lots of mist about so can’t make out any detail.

We have booked our final check in with Des of Opua Offshore Communcations at 16:00 and may not be able to hear folk in NZ at our normal chat along at 19:15 on the old Big Pond net frequency of 8173. [Read more →]

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At Sea: Dawn Princess at Noon

May 9th, 2011 · 3 Comments

Got through to the trade winds at 12:00 yesterday. Great run every since. We averaged 7.5 knots for the first 4 hours and 7.0 for the whole day. If we can make 6.3 overall average we get into Port Resolution on Wednesday before dark otherwise we’ll have another night at sea. Forecast is for the direction to hold but strength to get lighter. There may still be an opportunity for the reacher to earn its keep. We have reached tropical latitudes.

We got a good look at Ile Matthew. It seemed to be pretty close to its charted position. Very steep too so not a good choice for an away from it all holiday home.

We may get to see our first passing boat of the trip. The cruise liner Dawn Princess should be within 4 miles in an hour, she is due into Sydney at 19:00 of the 12th May. We wonder if they will announce our presence to make their customers thankful for their comforts?

Position: 21°57’S 171°18’E [-21.945,171.301]at 11:10 GMT+12 , BST 00:10 10th May 24hr run: 167.3 miles by GPS. 175 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 21:08 Thurs 12th May Vanuatu Local Time Wind: ENE 14 knots Sea: SE swell 2.5m 26°C Sky: 25% cloud cover

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At sea: 8 Knots in Squalls

May 9th, 2011 · Comments Off on At sea: 8 Knots in Squalls

Mixture of motoring and sailing. All sails up in squalls to sail, all sails down to stop flogging in lulls. Squalls were lasting 2 hours now a good bit longer – perhaps we have found the permanent wind. Got out the big reacher yesterday to try and sail in 10 knots of wind but the sight of it chased the wind away – a lot of effort for nothing.

First flying fish on the deck. Should pass Hunter or Matthew in daylight tomorrow. May have to slow down soon to arrive at Port Resolution in the light. Sunrise local time is 06:03 and sunset 17:22.

Position: 24°27’S 172°35’E [-24.451,172.591] at 11:27 GMT+12 , BST 00:27 9th May 24hr run: 124 miles by GPS. 340 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 06:03 Thurs 12th May Vanuatu Local Time Wind: SE 4 knots Sea: SW swell 3.5m Sky: 90% cloud cover with 15-20 knot squalls in rain showers

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At sea: Avoiding Matthew and Hunter

May 8th, 2011 · 1 Comment

We have the fans on in the cabin today. Nearly all blue sky so hot on deck. All the sails down and motoring as the 4m swell from the SW was just flapping the reefed main we usually leave up when motoring. I wonder if we saw our last Albatross yesterday. Today there is no wind, that has led to fewer sightings in the past and it feels plenty hot enough for flying fish. None on deck todate.

Great sail yesterday slightly off course to keep boat speed up. Wind died by 20:15 and we have motored since then. Now that we can head directly for Vanuatu, we can see some tiny islands in our way. We have Ile Matthew and Ile Hunter at [-22.395,172.086] and [-22.343,171.355] respectively. They appear to be owned by New Caledonia. The French have been good at updating their charts in Frecnch Polynesia to make them accurate for GPS navigators. I wonder if these have been updated. You may be able to see if you go into Google Earth. E-mail with the answer would be good. Ile Matthew even has a wreck that is always visible marked at [-22.3417,171.3502], a reminder not to get too close.

Position: 26°32’S 173°13’E [-26.535,173.174] at 11:26 GMT+12 , BST 00:26 8th May 24hr run: 127.7 miles by GPS. 464 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 07:18 Thurs 12th May Vanuatu Local Time Wind: W 5knots Sea: smooth with SW swell 4m Sky: 3% cloud cover

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At Sea: To windward we go, we go

May 6th, 2011 · Comments Off on At Sea: To windward we go, we go

North of 30 now traditionally the end of the westerly airflow and start of the trades – not today! Typically though the depressions don’t bring gale force winds this far north. Gusts last night 20 to 25 so easily handled by the 2 reefs. Past the one third milestone.

Discovered how to stop the mess when eating salad with oil and vinegar dressing on deck with a wind blowing. Mash in a little avocado. Flavour was good as well. It was salad and the last of the sundried tomato & beef sausages for lunch.

Position: 29°00’S 173°28’E [-29,173.466] at 09:02 GMT+12 , BST 22:02 6th May 24hr run: 131.7 miles by GPS. 606 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 09:03 Thurs 12th May Vanuatu Local Time Wind: W 17 knots Sea: NW 1.5m and E 3m Sky: 15% cloud cover

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At Sea: Good News – Wind, Bad News – on the nose

May 6th, 2011 · Comments Off on At Sea: Good News – Wind, Bad News – on the nose

Sailing now since mid day Thursday. Initially a romp with the wind from the east then hard on the wind as it went slowly through the north and upto 25-30 knots for a while. Sea is confused with several 2m swells present but Giselle is getting through it with ease – long may that last.

A bit later writing this today and have just finished checking in with Des at Opua Offshore Communications and chatting with Karen on Red Herring in the Abel Tasman. Des thinks we will stay in the NW airflow tomorrow. I will get our GRIB files when I send this e-mail. Star Dancer 3 reported westerly winds at the latitude of Tanna at the moment – here’s hoping that changes before we get there.

Cabin temperature getting warmer. The Sea temp of 23 is keeping the cabin warm.

Position: 31°00’S 173°47’E [-31.01,173.785] at 11:32 GMT+12 , BST 00:32 6th May 24hr run: 115.2 miles by GPS. 724 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 11:21 Thurs 11th May Vanuatu Local Time Wind: WNW 15 knots Sea: 3 or 4 2m swells! Sky: Sunny

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At sea: No Albatrosses today

May 4th, 2011 · 1 Comment

For my birthday we had Albatrosses flying around us all day.  White bodied ones and black bodied ones always accompanied by a range of shearwaters.  In the morning they often swooped up just in front of the rising sun to give an even more dramatic picture.  But today none so far.  I have been told that they sit on the water when there is no wind as it’s harder work for them to fly or take off so perhaps that why we aren’t seeing them today. More than just us wishing for wind. Air and water temperature already increasing.  A pleasant 23’C as we cook more sausages for breakfast – beef with herb and garlic today.

Paiha bombs proving very popular.  Andy’s supply is being raided by Kirsty when it was clear he was having no sea sickness effects.  Paiha bombs are a sea sickness remidy sold by a pharmacy in the Bay of Islands, North end of the North island.

Position: 33°08’S 174°32’E [-33.128,174.526]at 08:06 GMT+12 , BST 21:06 4th May
24hr run: 128 miles by GPS.
856 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 10:21 Thurs 12th May Vanuatu Local Time
Wind: variable 5 knots Sea: smooth with E swell 2.5m also NNE and SW swells about 2 meters
Sky: 10% cloud cover

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At sea: No YMCA

May 3rd, 2011 · Comments Off on At sea: No YMCA

The tradition at Hardrock Cafes is for all the staff to sing YMCA for any customer brave enough to annouce it’s their birthday.  I can report that so far this tradition has NOT found it’s way to the crew of Giselle for my birthday.  We will see if Andy is as lucky if we are still at sea for his on the 12th.

Got away from Whangarei(Marsden Cove) at 16:00 into a force 5 from the North.  Good progress close hauled off to the NE until 07:00 when the wind dropped.  Motoring for breakfast did allow us to enjoy the beef and sun dried tomato sausages that we had declined to cook the night before.  About level with Opua at 08:00 NZ time and about 60 miles offshore.  We are clear of the shipping lanes and can see quite a prosession of cargo ships going up and down the east coast of NZ.

Position: 35°10’S 175°32’E [-35.166,175.530]at 08:17:00 GMT+12 4th May, BST 21:17 3rd May
984 miles to Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu. ETA at 5 knots: 13:05 Thurs 12th May GMT+12
Wind: NW 5 knots Sea: Lumpy NE and NW swells
Sky: Sunny, Sea:20.5’C already up 1 deg
Reminder if you enter [-35.166,175.530] into Google maps you will see where we are.
Alternatively you can see position on the links on to shiptrak or yotreps – They may take a day for them to update their files.

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We’re Off to Vanuatu

May 2nd, 2011 · 1 Comment

Just about to cast off from Whangarei Town basin make our way to Marsden Cove and check out of New Zealand to go to Port Resolution on Tanna, Vanuatu.  Kirsty and her boy friend Andrew have joined us so lazy watches!  Hopefully will achieve daily e-mails on passage

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