Sunday, October 20, 2013 australia - day/night #5

painfully slow - that's what sums up the last 24h.

unfortunately all the good wind disappeared and when some of of came back we were already fighting the north going current.
the east coast of australia barriers itself with two strong currents - further out east there is the north going current, closer to shore there is the famous east australian current running south. ( i ( i say famous because it's the one that nemo's dad takes down on the way to sydney....for further research watch "finding nemo" :)

so our wonderful penta came to the rescue again as we were only doing 2,5kn with flapping sails. (it was 5,5kn through the water, but the current got good hold of us)

the traffic increased significantly in the last 100nm - i know i have said it a few times already, but AIS is just a great magic invention.

and so we sat on rolling maloo, watched the sun come up and for something to appear on the horizon listening to the australian coast guard checking on ships and yachts. they must have quite a powerful vhf as we picked up mooloolaba coast guard and tincan bay coast guard 60nm off shore.

at 8:00am i went off watch to get a bit of sleep - at 9:30 Mark woke me with " land ho!"

to be honest...i was still half asleep when i went out and saw moreton island to the port side...but when the two dolphins came to say hello i was wide awake!

we will anchor in the bay for the night and go into brisbane tomorrow...

and maybe by then my head will be clear enough to sum up what it feels like to be here as i simply miss the words at the moment. you have to excuse me though - after 3 complete sail changes (meaning all sails in /out/in/out/in/out) within the last hour of my watch and a rolly bed afterwards i am stunned, happy, sad and most of all - a bit tired:)

thanks to our wonderful maloo again for bringing us here safe and sound - tonight's toast will go out to the best boat in the world!

Saturday, October 19, 2013 australia - day/night #4

at first: thank you!!!!

whatever you wonderful people did out worked! just after 4:00pm a nice breeze started and got maloo flying again.
during the night we were doing great speed on a very comfortable short - wonderful sailing!

in the morning hours i changed back to wing on wing aka goose-winging and we're currently still doing good speed heading straight for our waypoint at the top of moreton island.

yesterday at lunch we were not so sure anymore if we would make it for an anchorage by monday night we were so slow, but with now only 155nm to go that should be possible.

the day's highlight so far was definitely sunrise/ often do you get the chance to see the full moon setting in the west and the sun rising in the east horizon to horizon with no land, no cloud no nothing to block the view? it was simply divine!!!!

so if all keeps on going well, we should be in land's proximity tomorrow. wonder how it will feel to see not just land, but the australian continent appear on the horizon....

Friday, October 18, 2013 australia - day/night #3

where is all the wind gone?

since last night 11:50pm we are running under engine. the wind died after a heavy rain squall and we were flapping along only doing 2-3kn.
by now we are pretty sure that we will have to spend another night out. of we're lucky we might make it into moreton bay and anchor there for the night before going up the brisbane river.

to clear officially into australia we will have to go to river gate marina which is only 2nm off the city center of brisbane....but also quite a way up the river. as there is lots of traffic and sand banks and ferries and and and, we will not do the entrance at night....apart from the great views we'd miss out on, we don't like to navigate areas we don't know in the dark.

at least the swell died down a little too making for quite a comfortable ride. still - a bit of wind would be nice!!!!

during the wee morning hours we went over the capel bank...quite interesting when in the middle of the ocean the seafloor rises from 2000m+ to 48m (and in one area to 10nm) below the surface only to drop down again after a view miles. but with no big swell it is hardly noticeable. so much for the day's big news;)

if you can, send us a little breeze - 25-20 from the SE would be perfect! thanks!!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013 australia - day/night #2

the last 24h the wind eased off and changed more to the east, so the night was rather slow sailing.
in the morning we changed sails and poled out the heady to goose wing ....unfortunately the wind slowed even more, so we might be looking at spending another extra night at sea as we do not like to get into the brisbane river too late.

the wind is supposed to come back tomorrow again - let's hope if we make up some time.

apart from that it has been a beautiful sail and the conditions are great! 15-20kn of wind (then 10-12kn), a nice 2-4m swell. life is good on maloo! the only thing i hope for is for the temperature to rise a little. during the night it is bloody cold and also during the day we sit in our wet weather gear to stay toasty.

oh well, not much else to maloo standig by on VHF 16!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 australia - day/night #1

wow - so there we are...sailing to australia!

we left port moselle around 03:45pm yesterday afternoon, after a wonderful send off from our beloved Chilli Cats and Lazy Bones (that had me crying) and filling every last cm3 with duty free diesel at the fuel dock.
the weather forecast showed 20-25kn from the SE and 2-3m seas outside the fringing reef of new caledonia.
experience taught us to expect more wind and messy seas with a forecast like that - so we mentally prepared ourselves for quite a ride.

a good hour after leaving we went through the pass and to our surprise, the conditions were as forecasted - the sea actually more comfortable than inside the reef.
maloo started flying along doing 7,5-8kn on 3rd reefed main and 3rd reefed heady and we slowly try to find our way into passage-sailing again.

even though conditions did pick up a little towards the night, a late sunset followed by a bright moon and a very early sunrise again make for a great sail! if it all goes well, then we should have another 4 nights at sea.

and though mark and i had 14 months time to prepare for this....the thought that the next time round our feet will touch land it is going to be australian soil is bizarrely abstract - let's see if in the next 4 days we will be able to bring our heads around to that;)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

nouvelle calédonie - so not like scotland

whoever thought that this big island looks like scotland was probably very very homesick and saw what he wanted to see, or just had too much kava on vanuatu.

we spent the first few nights in the port moselle in noumea - a town so crazily french, that you understand why so many indigenous people sit around scratching their head looking lost.
unfortunately it is not french in a positive way though. we found noumea rather un-charming, but for a stop over it does the job.

after a few days and going through a rather easy customs procedure we left noumea and stopped to the bay the prony on our way to the ile de pines.

here, new caledonia is well and truly beautiful and enchanting. the norfolk pines mixed with coconut palms in front of australian style red soil are a special sight, white and super soft sandy beaches are simply lovely.
we have to admit, that we are a bit tired of sight seeing - maybe because tanna was such a top experience - maybe because emotionally we are too close to australia already and with all the stuff that needed to be arranged prior to departure it was very hard to keep our head here in new cal.
nevertheless we enjoyed a relaxing week with only a little swimming, since the wind and water was tempered according to the season (which is spring)- some amazing snorkeling with the most colorful coral seen so far and magic sunsets.

but the wind is calling our name again....and so we will head off tonight for our last long passage for a while.
we will sail into brisbane and clear in there. however it won't be the end of our trip just yet!!!! - we plan to sail on down the east coast and take our lovely maloo into sydney habour....a pretty lady should be taken to pretty places!

we will post on our blog during passage - so sail with us if you are keen! we, as always, are happy to hear from you on

so - what else to say? maybe....

au revoir noumea, au revoir nouvelle calédonie.....g'day australia, g'day brisbane

sunset in the Baie de Prony

Ile Des Pins

and again without the spoilt view

Monday, October 7, 2013

dreaming of the god of fire

i fell asleep last night...or was it last week? 
and i had the strangest of all dreams: i was walking up a hill so barren that no plant even dared to spread roots on it for it was the home of the god of fire.
and as i walked up i was brought back through time...10 years, a 100 years...maybe a many thousand years - to a time before planes flew through the air or music came out of little boxes, a time before running errands in the rain...a time before time.
and as i reached the top, i suddenly heard a loud voice shouting, screaming from a place so deep down, it sounded like the center of all things - a deep roar. even though i listened hard i could not understand what it said. that made the voice very angry. it threw rocks of fire at me with such a power that i all of a sudden understood my own insignificance, felt it with every bone in my shaken body, with every and each of my senses that i had no control.
and as i saw there was nowhere to go, no where to hide, i understood that i was defeated - nothing i would or could do would contain this force calling out to me. none of men's inventions would ever rise up to compete - as all that men could ever do was to destroy, where as this voice would forever create.

and so i took a deep breath, went a step closer to the abyss and smiled at the voice.

a lot of smoke and ash gently came from the deep as if to show me that my submission was accepted. and as if to reward me for my learning the god of fire rose from the center of all things and warmed me with his intimidatingly beautiful face, letting his firebirds fly through the air and show me, that he would make a new place which one day i could call home.

i closed my eyes and still could see his light until all of a sudden i found myself in a little village in the middle of a forest. 

little huts made out of palm leaves were spread all over the place surrounded by flowers and gardens filled with wonderful fruits and vegetables. and in these huts lived people with the biggest smiles and the warmest eyes inviting me to spend some time with them. they gave me to eat and to drink from their gardens, they let me sit in the shade of their huts and showed me how to weave baskets from leaves. they laughed with me and also at me for being so far away from what is the soil under our feet, the sun on our skins...the one home we all have in common.
and even though i should have felt ashamed for knowing so little - though i once thought i knew so much, they gave me their hands so i would feel no shame, and told me not to worry, as i was now back to learn again.
as the guys were playing soccer and the girls played volleyball, the pigs, the chicken and the dogs came to sit and watch with me while the sun slowly went to sleep and the darkest night i ever saw set upon us.
and as the laughs went quiet and the birds went to sleep i put my head down to rest on the soft pandanus mats and i could not help but to smile the most sincere smile my face had ever shown, feeling utterly happy and content, humbled and grateful for being allowed to be.

and with this smile i woke up as i found myself out at sea not knowing how long i had slept for. 


we set off from vuda point in fiji on what was the worst trip, mark and i ever had.
in the first 24h we suffered from a bad bad bout of seasickness. funny enough, all the yachts we spoke to afterwards, who travelled roughly at the same time -  without any exception - suffered form sea sickness. i wonder if it had to do with a strange wave frequency.
in the first night out we almost got run over by either a fishing boat or a coast guard ship - i would not be able to tell. i followed their course on the radar, which seemed to go parallel to ours but in the other direction 6,5nm before i could see them. my prediction was that we would pass starboard to starboard with just under 1nm between us. to make sure they would know we are out there i called them on the vhf about 10 times without success. as they were traveling without an AIS signal i could not call them by name....i am pretty sure though they knew i meant to reach them.  as they were supposed to pass they turned and went straight for us. just as i was sure we would lose maloo, they turned behind us and  missed us by 20 meters. after a bit of distance to the event, i do suspect that the crew was having a bit of fun scaring the living hell out of us.
but the night went by and the seasickness got better. in the second night, the snap shackle on the top of our headsail broke. as a result the genoa fell into the water and was dragged under the boat. of course it was 1.00am and the wind had just freshened up - to add worse to bad. it took us about 1,5h to get the sail back on the boat. luckily we managed to keep it whole without tears which is a little miracle in itself. we lashed it down and continued with the main and the engine.
as the sea conditions were too rough to go up the mast and get down the halyard, that was all we could do.
in the face of all drama though, we were very lucky not to get hurt and to keep the sail whole. i am a little proud of mark and myself as we handled the situation well.
and on the up side, we now have a blue headsail dyed with antifouling from our hull....and an immaculate clean underwater boat without any signs of growth ;)
and to have the first small problem after 17.000nm of sailing without issues is amazing.

after three nights we arrived in port resolution on Tanna.
Tanna is the most magical place we have been to on our trip so far, not only because we went up mount yasur, the home of the god of fire. yasur is one of the most active volcanos in the world and nowhere else is it possible to get that close to the "action". a humbling, scary, wonderful experience.

the villages on tanna are some of the most traditional or "kastom" - as the locals call it in pidgin english  - you can visit in the whole of the south pacific. people decided to ignore the many missionaries and instead go back to their roots.
some villages are a bit more open to the western way of life, having found a way of implementing and coexisting our western lifetyle with their own traditions.
Tanna is also home of the "cargo cult" called "john frum"  - wikipedia gives a well written explanation on that one...

we spent all in all 5 days on Tanna in Port Resolution and then moved on to New Caledonia. a fortunately again very uneventful 2nighter brought us to the last country before arriving in Australia. 
almost there!

after three bad days...a beautiful sunrise as a reward (on the way to Tanna) 

walking up mount yasur

safety instructions

flying lava

a magic banyun tree

Lea weaving a basket with me


a kitchen

sharp toy!

passing the gardens

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the village well

fishing with bow and arrow