Jim and Jean are providing a daily update on their crossing from NZ to Australia. We're reporting here in reverse order from usual - most recent at the top - and we'll be updating it daily through their trip.
April 4, 2017
41 miles to go
26° 55 S 153°31
Land Ho! Just eight miles off of the port beam; through the waves breaking over the deck; lies light house and white sand bank of the tip of Morton Island, Australia shining in the morning sun. We have ten more miles of open sea to turn behind the island and into Morton Bay and another twenty-five down the shallow channels of the bay to enter the Brisbane River for the last six to our dock where the motion will stop, customs will arrive and our adventure will finally end.
We agree that the last three days have been some of the hardest we can remember and definitely the worst weather prediction ever.
The sight of land after the days of tumultuous seas is incredibly comforting. We are not there yet but the challenges ahead will be a fraction of what we've been through. Next message will be joyous!
April 3, 2017
180 miles to go
27°23 S 155°43 E
Winds 40 knots; waves 20 plus feet. We are sailing with just a small headsail after going out into the fury to drop the three reefed main a couple of hours ago . The winds are supposed to retreat after midnight and give us a good final day. We are looking forward to that and meanwhile counting off the miles which are much slower with just our staysail pulling us at five and a half knots.- after subtracting the two knot current against us.
It was my day to write the days message but I couldn't because I had nothing good to say about the last 24 hours. It's been a nightmare. Hopefully tomorrow's message will be much more positive.
April 2, 2017
330 miles to go
28°52 S 158° 43 E
The winds dropped yesterday afternoon and, more importantly, the seas settled giving us a broad reach and a steady boat through the night as we crossed through the light winds and rain in the center of the low. We were each able to log a few hours of sleep and woke, if not refreshed, with a bit more in the tank.
We are now on the other side of the low with winds in the upper twenties on our port beam. Onora is racing again at nine knots and getting slammed on the side by waves. These will diminish in the next twenty four hours as the weather system heads to New Zealand.
Life on board is consumed with sail changes, weather analysis, napping, reading , meal preparation, and maintenance all challenged by our environment that is going too fast and constantly going up on two wheels and back down again.
April 1, 2017
491 miles to go
29° 56 S 161°30 E
The last 24 hours have been tough. Winds last night were between 25 - 32 knots and the waves pummeled us like a boxer working on his punching bag. Onora pitched and rolled and plowed on. A "good night's sleep" was something we wished for but never found. So today we are a bit numb and hoping the next 490 miles are not quite so draining. Not much traffic out here on the Tasman although we have seen a couple of ships during the night on their way to or coming from New Zealand. Hope tomorrow's update is a bit more optimistic and that speed keeps up and gets us to Brisbane by Tuesday.
Three forty-seven AM. It always seems to blow harder at night. It is gusting over 30 and waves are washing over the boat that is getting knocked around. Sleeping is difficult for the one off watch. We are knocking off the miles but the sea does not give them up easily.
The good news is that we are over half way with 577 miles to go. More later.
March 30, 2017
702 miles to go
31°22 S 165°14 E
The wind arrived on our starboard beam yesterday afternoon as a front approaches us from the Australian coast. Now the seas are up and the first clouds of the advancing system are here. The strong winds should be below us and we will benefit from the passing system with fresh winds from the north changing to south east when it passes and then moderating for the last two days. Meanwhile we are slicing the waves at nine knots, fast for us.
Last night Jeannie was startled by a thump and a flopping on deck. I later found the cause, a large flying fish had landed which I returned to the sea. We started this trip at the northern limit of albatross and now the water temperature is in the mid-seventies with new sea life.
The wind is up-time to put in the third reef.
March 29, 2017
860 miles to go
32'29" S 167'57" E
Another beautiful sunny day on the Tasman. Our steady Yanmar hums on as the winds are still light and the waves are of a slight swell. These are long quiet days and longer dark starry nights. We listen to our favorite "artist of the day" from our music collection and read, write, eat and sleep. Getting used to being back on four hour watches takes about three days and we are lethargic. So far fishing has produced two big hits that spit the lures and left us rethinking dinner plans. Forecast shows that we may get some decent wind tonight and can give our motor a rest and sail, finally.
March 28, 2017
1053 miles to go
33'50" S 171'34" E
We said goodbye to land for six or seven days when the Three King Islands sank behind us just after dawn. The first day is down and the forecast is holding to light winds and lumpy seas. The two headsails were up for just a couple of hours yesterday; our Yanmar diesel has covered most of the miles with a reefed mainsail to help steady us.
We are adjusting to our four hour watches and the constant motion of our living space. We are off of caffeine to help with the altered sleep schedule. It will take a couple of days.
In yesterday's prefect afternoon we felt the tug as we past the sheltered anchorages of the Cavelli Islands and our favorite, Whangaroa, but after New Zealand clears you out there is no stopping.
Our cell phones are 'no service' and the days of the BBC on single side band are gone so our contact with the world will be suspended for a week. We will read books, change sails, fish and and observe the sea.