Currently sitting at the fuel dock at the Breakwater Marina in Townsville waiting for customs clearance and quarantine - yes we are flying a yellow flag.
Wow what an adventure we have had in the Louisiades. Unfortunately I don't think I can come close to describing what an amazing place it is and the wonderful people of the Louisiades but we will give it a go to at least let you know what we have been up to for the last 5 weeks - amazing how quick it went and how reluctant we were to leave and now we can't wait to get back there again.
We have broken the adventure into about 4 parts and will upload it over the next week and will try to fit in as many pictures as we can as a picture is better than all the words.
|The Crew Pre-Rally|
|On Our Way - Grafton Passage|
Back to the boat for the very final preparations, let the lines off and finally we are on our way. It is quite a surreal feeling to be leaving Australia and heading to another country as this is my first time doing a truly blue water ocean crossing (unless you count Tasmania as another country!) We departed from Yorkeys Knob and head upwind to the Grafton Passage (don’t they know that cruising boats don’t go to weather!). Once clearing the Grafton Passage we are into the Coral Sea proper. The weather is fine and the winds fair (approx. 15-20knots SE) with a 2-3mt swell running. We dined on a lovely chicken curry before settling in for our first night at sea.The rest of the voyage was pretty uneventful and the time at sea all becomes a bit of a mish mash of events but we all settled in well to the 520nm voyage ahead of us. One advantage of heading north into the tropics is that the weather gets warmer every day which is pretty nice although the cabin was starting to get quite steamy for the last couple of nights of the trip which was a bit uncomfortable but it did mean that you didn’t mind too much getting up in the wee hours of the morning to do your shift as the conditions were a lot more pleasant on deck than down below. The course for most of the trip was a cracked reach and the wind varied from 10-25knots so not all bad however, with the short swell the boat did see a lot of green water and to make it a little tough we were pushing into a 1-1.5knot current, which also wanted to take us north, for a fair whack of the trip. We are now looking forward to what could be a very quick trip home on Sally. We must give praise to Sally as she did an excellent job on the way over and really could not have performed better. We have put in our bid for the winning menu at sea which consisted of Lamb Shanks with a Red Wine Jus accompanied by creamy mash and a side of baby peas and corn – we are still waiting for the results!!
|Lobster Dinner - Duchateau|
|Track into Pnasia Anchorage!|
|The BIG Banana|
|"Hex" at Panasia (Sailau!)|
|Anchorage at Panasia|
|Limestone Caves - Panasia|
After a busy couple of days we are staying on board for a quiet night and will be enjoying Gina’s Tuna Putanesca for dinner.
The action around here never stops and today (Saturday) we are off to Little Panasia Island. The original plan was to go over in the long boat but as it hasn’t arrived we are going to tackle the crossing in our little zodiac – this was always going to be quite an adventure.
|Skull Caves - Little Panasia|
|Walk to the Skull Caves|
Upon arriving back at the village we find that the locals have rescued our little dinghy which had flipped. We at first thought that it was all OK as the motor started first go but that was about it and we ended up getting a lift back with Buddy & Helen from Desire and Little Sally got a tow back with the Altitude team. No major harm was done and after a good clean out she is back and running as good as new (well for a bit anyhow!).
|Official Welcome Party|
Although we have now been in the Louisiades for a few days now tonight is the official welcome party and another Mumu. It was also time to present some donation items from the rally which were very much appreciated and awards were handed out for the Yorkeys Knob to Duchateau