31 Oct The 6 day (& night) passage from New Caledonia to Australia – a pondering…
This passage remains a blur, is it night 4 or 3? (on our sail from Port Moselle to Bundaberg). After motoring for the past 12 hours, we are sailing again! It is interesting to me how different the nights and days can be. With the low and highs comes the ups and downs.
The dark nights… with the new moon rising around sunrise, we have had no moonlight. The cloudy obscure nights are difficult, it is hard to see anything. We have seen two boats on AIS, Crazy Love on day 1-2 and Houtmangrecht, a large ship on night 3. On the clear nights the stars do a superb job of lighting up the night. Last night felt warmer and muggier than the previous night. Tonight, feels warmer and the moisture not so intense. We have less clouds in the sky. We just got splashed with a wave, that made me jump. Things have been calm, but now that the winds have picked up, it appears the swell is too.
I’m very grateful for the beautiful weather we have now, unfortunately, this includes the 2 meter (6 foot) swell that has been somewhat behaving itself. By that I mean that it has been tolerable… The sleeping has been difficult, as you get rolled around in the berth, but walking around the boat has been manageable. I think I only have a few bruises so far. Of course, the winds are predicted to pick up, which will mean the swells and the wind waves too. I wonder is it more tolerable because this is our 30 something overnight passage where we have sailed through the nights, so we are getting more used to it? Or has this passage really been mellower? Most likely the truth lies somewhere between the two or with the two.
What it is like to be out here in the middle of an ocean on a 41 ft sailboat, the two of us, my husband and partner in this endeavor? He is the captain; I am the co-captain. After our 3 years and 9 months living on Maia, we appear to have developed a fairly good groove. We have our routines, and both watch out for the other. He is the Captain because he knows and understands all the workings of the boat. When we started out, I wanted to help and learn… but it turns out, Dick is really good at everything and he is used to working alone and I do NOT want to change the oil in the engine or take apart the boat to install a new widget and then put it all back together. I’ll help whenever he wants a helper, which is not often. I enjoy exploring and being social (he does too, but he is just as happy staying aboard working on this or that). During the last several months of cruising, I would go off to play with friends and would come back to have projects completed. It seems to be a win-win for all.
Being out here on the Coral Sea, 400 miles from land is part of our journey. For me, the least desirable part, but to get from here to there… New Caledonia (our 10th country to visit) to Australia (our 11th country to visit), the “passages” are necessary. We need to cross the expanses of Ocean to get to land on the other side. I’m working hard on not being miserable while we are out here. It is not a fear of being away from land for me. It is not the thought of being hit by a rogue wave or being shipwrecked. It is the actual passage, the wind and swell or lack of wind, and lack of sleep that seem to be difficult parts. When the boat is rocking and rolling it is hard to do much of anything. When awake, I find it best to be up in the cockpit, and generally for the first day I sit and stare out at the Ocean. There is an adjustment period that happens. Podcast’s help me make it through the first night shift or two and then as I become more accustomed to the rocking and rolling or as the rocking and rolling subsides, I become able to function more. I can write, play word games, sudoku or maybe even read. Today, I cooked an awesome Sunday brunch. As the wind quiets, the swell quiets, but then the loud engine comes on. Even though I sleep better, the ongoing “hum” of the engine can make me crazy.
To help make it all better I remember what an amazing life we are living. I feel spoiled and grateful for being able to explore and travel to these countries that were never a part of my dreams, but here I am… Currently sailing to the land of Oz, the one country that was my dream to visit since I was a little girl.
Overnight Monday to Tuesday… We are a mere 154 miles from Bundaberg. We had a full day of little wind, so we motored, but took advantage of the quiet and made water. Sails came out just before dinner, so we had a calm and quiet dinner in the cockpit of garlic rice with broccoli and onions. We are using up as much of our fresh produce as we can and hope to have none when we arrive on Wednesday. The calm and light winds have been nice but are expecting the trade winds to strengthen today with a possibility of some showers. Today it was super clear, beautiful, and sunny and the sky is filled with stars tonight.
With one day and one more night to go we are super excited to arrive! We have been studying up by perusing our guides, not sure where we will explore first. Been reading about whales and turtles, need to find out about kangaroos and koalas!!!