26/06/2013 - 12/07/2013 «« page 1/3 »»
|It was shrill silence at one of the bays of the Great Barrier Island. The universe was like a giant shell emerged around us. The sun had long gone down. The Milky Way and the falling stars were clear above us far away from any light pollution of the city. We feel so small and the Earth as a near-perfect defense system works against the harmful effects in the universe, protecting the life evolved here. We saw the swimming fish around Rotor, which were delineated in the light of fluorescent plankton (Bioluminescence). What is this? Fairy Tale or Reality? If you cannot see with your own eyes you really think that this can only happen in fairy tales. How we could live without this for the past couple of years? The Earth is a miracle and the ocean and seas will help us to discover all of this. We would like to start this journey from New Zealand with a Maori quote because the sunrise promises a new adventure for us again:|
The birds call
The day begins
I am alive
Korihi ake nga manu
Takiri mai te ata
Ka ao, ka ao. Ka awatea
Tihei mauri ora.
|Milky Way, Great Barrier Island||Bioluminescence (camera eye view), Great Barrier Island||Maori Sculpture, Waitangi|
During our journey we get to know a lot of sailors. One day a sailor asked us what we expect from the moment when visiting an island. Unanimously responded ANYTHING. If you just wait for an authentic world will surely be a disappointment. Authenticity is already a rarity in the heat of globalization today, and it is possible that local customs viewed barbaric styled from any European point of view. (Or you could say there are good and bad customs, which would in itself sound a bit comical in a culture far away from Europe). But we cannot be selfish towards other cultures where we are just passing through, so we do not expect anything from a remote island. We only collect and store the images we see and it is a journey through time and place. We accept that this is the natural environment and relive the events. We first do the DISCOVERY and then the consolidation always occurs later, usually at the end of a journey. New experiences could occur multiple times on the same path, and looking back on a boat trip itself seems like a dream that provides physical and intellectual freedom and diversity for the eyes. Discovery also prompted the contemporary travelers, they just did not have a good map and they did not know where they were going. Today boating is equipped with maps and modern navigation instruments, but still every day brings something new and unexpected. However, the maps are still not perfect and they should not be followed blindly.
|Auckland by night|
|What is this mess?|
|Under the Harbour Bridge, Auckland|
The sun sets in early. The difference between the daily and nightly temperature is about 8-10 degrees and at night it can even drop to 5 degrees (we installed an engine compartment blower on our SV Rotor). It is June and winter in New Zealand. When we sail in cold, it is like skiing. In New Zealand you have to wait and be ready for the cross to the tropics. This may take a few days or a few weeks. We had to wait. The weather forecasts also announced that the systems act like an eggbeater focusing cold strong southerly winds fresh from the chill of the southern ocean to the midriff of NZ. The lows cannot really be avoided through this ocean cross, but the departure should preferably be timed to avoid the strong lows and the weather bombs. With the southerly wind of a low we are prepared to set off to explore the islands of Melanesia in the south Pacific.
Unfortunately, we have built a sailing nesting dinghy which was damaged. We will fix it later. It was called Rotorka (little Rotor) thus this name is still busy. We named our new inflatable dinghy as Ruby at the Haruru falls which was its first test ride near Paihia just next to Opua.
Towards Opua: Auckland, Islington Bay (Rangitoto Island), Waiheke Island, Great Barrier Island, Marsden Cove Marina, Tutukaka, Whangaruru, Bay of Islands
00:00 35-19.20S 174-07.80E log= 43839.8
00:00 35-19.20S 174-07.80E log= 43839.8
|Hot Springs, Great Barrier Island||East Coast, Great Barrier Island||From Windy Canyon to Mt Hobson, Great Barrier Island |
|Mt Hobson, Great Barrier Island||Spring, Great Barrier Island||Bridge, Great Barrier Island|
|Spring, Great Barrier Island||Sun set, Great Barrier Island ||Spirit of New Zealand, Great Barrier Island|
|Great Barrier Island||Great Barrier Island||Rotor, Marsden Cove Marina|
|Marsden Cove Marina||Finishing lines||Bream Head|
|The three most important things||Rotorka, Whangaruru||Whangaruru|
|Fan tail, Whangaruru||Whangaruru||Cape Brett|
|Hole in the Rock, Cape Brett||Towards Bream Head||Bread from friends|
|Sailing is like skiing in Winter||Mud||Rangitoto in rain|
|Rotor, Great Barrier Island||Woa, Great Barrier Island||Snapper (45cm), Great Barrier Island|
|Sailing Rotorka, Great Barrier Island ||Sailing Rotorka, Great Barrier Island||Collecting rain water, Great Barrier Island|
|Smoke House, Great Barrier Island||Lion, Great Barrier Island||Paddle board exercise, Great Barrier Island|
|Tutukaka||Is this the tropics? Tutukaka||Ruby, Opua|
|Ruby, Paihia||Is this the tropics? Paihia||Rainbow, Paihia|
|Rotor with rainbow, Paihia||Towards Haruru||Haruru waterfall|
|Mangrove, Haruru||Hundertwasser Toilet, Kawakawa||Haruru waterfall|
2. day - 27/06/2013 - Thursday, PreparationWe quickly prepared the outward report for small craft and passenger departure cards for NZ customs (a departure of yachts and pleasure craft advanced information sheet also needs to be submitted 72 hours before departure). We filled the fuel and water tanks and did the provisioning. Fiji officials may claim some of the fresh stocks. We prepared the storm jib, the para anchor and para drogue against storm in the event the weather were not so kind.
The low arrived at 5am. We are waiting for the smooth southerlies to do the cross. Expected check out is 8 am tomorrow.
00:00 35-19.20S 174-07.80E log= 43839.8
|Printer setup||Storm Jib||Filling station, Opua|
|Cockpit locker||Cockpit locker with stocks||Life raft|
3. day - 28/06/2013 - Friday, Crossing the ocean
Thanks for all the emails, we had not got time to respond yet.
|Final paper work|
Maori proverb for today which summarizes the first day of the journey:
A choppy sea can be navigated. (He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka.)
It was a variable day and we felt like that we had been on this journey for several days. We turned up at 8am at the customs office. The official decided not to inspect our boat as other boats wanted to check out as well. The day before he wanted to check the boat and asked us if we could go to the marina. We were not happy about this query, because of the predicted still stormy weather forecast and the 2-3 knots of currents in the marina. Finally the paperwork took only 2 minutes and we showed him Rotor through the window.
We were on our way to Minerva reef just after checking out. As part of our first leg of this journey we hope to stop at Minerva reef then head towards Fiji. The distance of the first leg to Minerva is 793 nautical miles.
We had our breakfast on the way. We passed the well sheltered islands of the Bay of Islands and found ourselves in huge swell from the low of the previous day. The wind was only 5 knots in the morning. The swell was chaotic and Rotor was playing Rock and Roll. An albatross was following us. Then the weather started to warm from 5 to 11 degrees. There was finally 16 degrees in the cabin by mid day. Just before lunch the south easterly wind arrived with 13-16 knots. The swell only settled by sunset. We had some squalls in the night, but the windwane steered precisely. Half moon appeared before night and saw some thunderstorms far away. The Milky Way was still amazing. During the night the wind suddenly stopped and when we dropped the main two of the battens had been shaken out from the sails. It was an easy fix, but this have never happened before on Rotor. We saw a freighter then a fishing vessel at sunset.
00:00 34-06.70S 175-00.00E log= 43924.1
|Hit the road!||A bit bumpy||A bit cold|
4. day - 29/06/2013 - SaturdayThe night continued with the appearance of some dolphins and then the wind became easterly in the morning with around 15-16 knots. Despite that we are bit heaver than usual with all the stocks and extra fuel on board, we had a fabulous sailing all day to the north-east with smooth waves. We kept an average 5-6 knots during the day. The first couple of days at sea are always a bit tiring, especially after several weeks at anchor, getting used to the constant motion and night watches. However, thanks for the first day full exercises from the bumpy travel of the previous day, we now found our sea legs and got used to the biceps-exercise required to walk on the deck. It is also approximately 2 Celsius degrees warmer than yesterday.
On a journey like this, you may not see any boats on the way. However keeping an eye on the sea is important as you never know when a boat can appear. We saw a freighter at 3 pm. We checked it on the AIS (Automatic Identification System) and it showed that we might be on a collision course (like 0.2 nautical miles). We called the vessel using the DSC (Digital Selective Call) system. Before this system you needed to call the other vessel (without the knowledge of the vessels name) on on channel 16 on the VHF radio, then we were in the mercy of the redo operator on the other vessel to respond. The beauty of the current DSC system that you can use with AIS is that it gives a buzz to the station of the other vessel VHF radio and therefore needs to be responded. The radio handler responded from the freighter and ensured he watches out (as a sailing boat we had the right of the way). We only had about 400 meters between us when it passed us. It had the sign on it Salzburg which gave us a bit of European memory.
At night the wind dropped to 10 knots and below we were sailing fine, but started the engine as well to give us some extra speed because another low is approaching New Zealand mid next week and we would like to be far away from it. We download the weather map everyday and we saw that head wind (north- east) is also expected from Minerva in a couple of days so we did a route adjustment towards the east that will be shown in our new midnight position tomorrow (midnight position is NZ time).
Based on the midnight position today (NZ time) our remianing distance is 585 nautical miles from Minerva.
00:00 32-13.69S 175-59.10E log= 44047.4
5. day - 30/06/2013 - SundayAfter midnight the wind dropped, so we started the engine and prepared the auto pilot which can be attached to the steering wheel (this pilot came originally with the boat). The auto pilot could not keep up with the waves. We try this auto pilot once in a year hoping that it might work, but we always realise that it is only a toy. However, we had a new discovery this time. We found that the boat keeps the course if we switch off the pilot with locking the pilot attached to the steer. We call this auto ohne pilot technique on Rotor (ohne is the German word for without).
With the easterly wind the clouds of the trade wind appeared, finally we are in the trade wind zone. The temperature is again increased by an extra 2 degrees. We were finally comfortable to drop our oil skin. After the winter sailing we surely be very hot in the tropics.
In the afternon the wind turned into a south-easterly and strengthened. We sail again by around 6 knots. The southerlies brought cold air again by night.
We saw another boat with its navigation lights on. Such a traffic in this part of the world!
By leaving behind the Southern Cross our midnight position showed the remaining distance from Minerva which was 457 nautical miles.
|Trade clouds||Trade clouds||Trade clouds at sunset|
6. day - 01/07/2013 - MondayDuring the day we had a pleasant sail in sunshine and good wind (12 knots). Geza even had a shave. However, the form of the trade wind clouds have changed and predicted changes in the weather (looked like a two years old painting). The barometer has slightly dropped as well. According to the barometer the air pressure was increasing day by day during the passage before. We got a full lecture about how the clouds could change in forms. Just before sunset we saw grey clouds which brought stronger wind. It felt that the low, just before the Norfolk Islands, would call for its army. However, this low is still far away from us.
In the night we could not really sleep well. We had 21-23 gusting wind and we got it now from the east-northeast where we were heading to. It was a bumpy travel. We dropped the mizzen and reefed the main sail. Nevertheless the moon just rise at half past one, therefore under the cloudy sky it was very dark. We still have first class tickets to watch the sun and the moon rises and watching it is always amazing.
Based on the midnight position our distance from Minerva is 343 nautical miles.
00:00 30-47.59S 177-51.70E log= 44176.4
7. day - 02/07/2013 - Tuesday
We continued with our bumpy passage. The wind is now easterly 21 knots with 27-30 gusting. The boat was too fast in the increasing waves and heavily bumped into the sea. The waves came onto the deck and into the cockpit so we became wet. We reined in. There is a dodger canvas which protects the helmsman from getting wet, but there is no other protection than our oil skin when the sails are adjusted. We trimmed the sails a lot in this variable wind. At night we only had a reefed genoa and we still made approximately 3-3.5 knots. We had little time to relax for the night. Our dreams are much more vivid in this environment and after a dream we do not really know where we are for a while.
|It does not look good|
North-east wind is predicted for tomorrow. Our route adjustment to the east is now paying-off. The wind is pushing us towards the west and therefore back to our originally planned route.
Luckily the low at NZ will not really impact us anymore. We are far away from NZ. The daily temperature is now around 22 degree celsius and the nights are around 18 degree Celsius.
Based on the midnight position our distance from Minerva is 240 nautical miles.
00:00 28-58.80S 179-11.88E log= 44305.5
8. day - 03/07/2013 - WednesdayThe waves were still high from the strong wind from the previous day and the morning. Some waves broke just above the dodger, but at least our deck was clean. In line with the weather forecast the wind became north-easterly (direction from Minerva). We are heading into this wind as much as we can, but the waves and currents are against us. We now feel for sailors who are circumnavigating against the trade wind. We had already have enough lecture from this. Although sailing into the trade wind took only a couple of days for us. At least we can really try the boat and it works fine. However, we can still put down a few things to do or check out when we arrive i.e. to find the source of the strange noise from the steering wheel, put back a reserve line for the main (probably we did not tie it properly), pressure water system check, and put back the picture onto the wall which fell off in the stormy weather.
By the night the waves became flat and we had a current with us to help our sailing trip towards Minerva at least for a while.
Based on the midnight position our distance from Minerva is 170 nautical miles.
00:00 27-18.46S 179-36.63E log= 44408.2
|Wind instrument||Grey clouds||Bumpy travel|
|Windvane is good||Something needs to be done||Again|
|Wave||Wave breaks above the dodger||Another wave|
Continues on the next page...