Georgia J


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Kim’s blog 7/27/12:  We leave tomorrow for Kupang on the island of West Timor in Indonesia.  We have added 24 bags of groceries, 5 bags of booze, 536 liters of diesel fuel, 6 gallons of gas and 4 cases of dog food.  The engine and generator have been serviced, the stainless is polished and next 4 dinners are precooked.  There will be 115 sail boats in the rally.  In addition, the Indonesian government has provided two power boats to accompany the fleet and assist with any emergencies.   We expect to be at sea for 3 ½ days to cover the 468 miles of the Timor Sea.
Indonesia will be very different from anything we have experienced.  The country is the 4th most populace country in the world and is the largest Muslim country in the world.  It includes 17,000 islands and over 500 languages.  This is the first time any of us have visited Asia.  We have advised to not wear our watches since Indonesia operates on “rubber time.”
S/v Georgia J, anchored in Darwin Harbor, Australia

Kim’s blog 7/11/12: We are finally in Darwin!  The final passage was actually quite easy.  There no wind or waves and we motored for the entire 23 hours.  We were greeted with mimosa and fruit by our friends on Infini and have anchored in Cullen Bay.  The marinas are full.  Due to the extreme tides, every marina has its own locks, so entry and exit is no easy event.

Darwin is an important cruising waypoint in several ways.  Since leaving San Francisco we have now exceeded 10,000 miles of travel.   About 2,000 of those miles were around the Australia coast.  We are now closer to Africa than California.

The upcoming trip to Kupang, Indonesia of 468 miles seems easy in comparison.  We leave with about 130 boats on the Sail Indonesia Rally (see on July 28th.   Until then, it will be a mad rush to obtain visas, repair the boat and provision.

Kim's blog 7/10/12:

We are on the final leg to Darwin-132 miles to go. We had a great couple of days at the resort in Coral Bay. The food, pool, drinks and service were excellent- a much deserved crew respite. Sharon has improved, but is still moving slowly. There has been endless debate among the cruisers on how to best time this final passage. Darwin has one of most extreme daily tidal ranges in the world. The difference in high and low tide often exceeds 20+ feet. This creates tremendous currents through the passes on our route which can either double our speed or reduce us to a crawl. Today is a "neap tide." Since the moon is only half full, we expect slower current (approximately 3 knots) through the Dundas and Clarence Straits. We hope to be in Darwin by midday tomorrow.

s/v Georgia J
Position at 7/10/2012 02:27 11 04.2 S, 132 01.3 E, Speed 6.2 knots, course 260 M
Motoring on a very hot windless day

Kim's blog 7/6/12:

We are on our way again. Our stay at the Wessel Islands lasted 3 days due to high winds. While trapped on the boat, Glenda cooked, Kim ate, Sharon recuperated and we all enjoyed a 4th of July party. We decorated the boat with American flags, but avoided hanging flags outside so that any Brits in the anchorage would not be embarrassed by their defeat. Sharon is still in pain, but improving.

Our next stop will likely be at Coral Bay in Port Essington. However, depending on weather and crew morale, we may skip Coral Bay and head on to Darwin.

s/v Georgia J
On the Arafura Sea at 11 00.8 S, 135 45.5 E at 08:30 UTC on 7/6/12. Course 367 M, speed 7.2 knots

4th of July in the Wessel Islands

Kim's blog 7/3/12:

Our crossing of the Gulf of Carpentaria has been eventful. We started yesterday with no wind and flat seas. We motored for most of the day in the hot, tropical sun. Glenda was eager to fish, so we set up two rods. During the next few hours, something bit through the line and we lost our lures. We rigged a steel leader and finally got a big fish on the line. In fact, it turned out to be a four foot Wahoo with razor sharp teeth. After about an hour long fight, we got a rope on the monster, lifted him upside down and poured rum into his gills. He was immediately subdued and died with smile. Sharon and Glenda then cleaned the big guy and filled the freezer.
In the evening, the wind came up and I had an amazing midnight sail at 9 knots on flat seas under a full moon. Then the squalls began. Suddenly, we had shifting winds with confused waves hitting from all directions. We have had nothing like this since we crossed the Tasman Sea. By morning, I was thoroughly seasick.

In the afternoon of the second day, the roller furler line snapped allowing the full jib to fly without a reef. After some team brainstorming, we rigged a new line to roll up the jib. Working on the bow was so wet that my life jacket auto inflated scaring me half to death.

We are now making 7+ knots on a full main with 9 foot seas slamming us broadside. Clearly this level of problems can only be explained by Glenda's failure to ask King Neptune for permission to take that big fish.

s/v Georgia J
On the Gulf of Carpentaria at 10 58.3 S, 137 28.7 E at 3:00 am local time, headed for the Wessel Islands

Post script: Sharon was hurt on the last bit of this passage. While she was making coffee, a wave hit us which sent her flying into a door frame. At best she has a badly bruised hip and may have cracked a bone. She is able to walk and is resting now that we are at the anchorage at Two Island Harbor.

Glenda's Big Fish
Razor Sharp Teeth

Glenda’s Blog:  Over the Top  6/28/12

We’ve just rounded Cape York – the terminus of an impressive peninsula jutting out of the North East corner of the Australian continent like an arm poised with the answer waiting to be called on. Up here, close in, where the maps’ green hue resolves into individual trees, the raised fist unclenches to reveal fingers of land. Which one is it? We pass cape something and something else, names we’ve never heard of because of their more southerly, lesser position, dwarfed by the fame of the northern most point. The chart tells us which is the renowned cape, but our eyes wouldn’t have known.

Round mounds of land leapfrog over each other in their steady progression north, bounding off the mainland into the sea. Rolling hills to Cape York, the York Island and Eborac Island. It feels momentus, but our monument doesn’t do the moment justice. The flat stubby finger points us north, but we don’t obey. Friends of ours anchored in the cape’s lee and climbed to its top. Maybe Cape York would feel more grand if we were to count its height with our footsteps, muscles marking distance. From the deck of Georgia my eyes are too nimble, I make the trip from the beach to the summit and back again without blinking.

Cape York is the point that marks the division between our trip up the East Coast of Australia in the Coral Sea and our journey west into the Torres Straight/Arafura Sea. Coral Sea one moment, Arafura the next. It’s all the same water so where’s the dividing line? Just another imaginary demarcation to break up the world’s grandeur into understandable chunks. Like the chapters of a book, it facilitates the feeling of forward movement, underscores our steady progress. One becomes another, one is left behind. We move on.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon our new sea looks like the old given the same conditions, a sultry 10 knots means flat, hot and motorful. Time will tell if the Arafura has more to teach us.

Unimpressed with Cape York

Sharon’s log 06/27/12:  We left Cairns on the 14th and since that date we have been in seven different anchorages.  However, we have only been able to go ashore in twice as the crocodiles have kept us away.  At Morris Island, a large croc sunning on the beach greeted us as we pulled in to the anchorage.  We did go ashore, despite the signs warning of crocodiles, at Portland Roads.  Funny what you will do just to be able to eat a meal off the boat, as the one café bolstered our courage.  The anchorages have however al been beautiful and each one unique.  Today we sit in Escape River, literally in the middle of a pearl farm.  Quite frankly, I had no idea Northern Australia is famous for its pearls.  Kim is more than a little relieve that pearls (white ones that is) is about the only precious stone that I happen to be well supplied.

We spent my birthday at Lizard Island (our only other on shore venture).  I have to say it was a strange birthday this year as we had no friends around and I did not have internet or cell service.  Those of you who know me well, know that birthdays are a big deal in our family, so it was a bit, shall I say, lonely. . Kim and Glenda made a valiant effort to be festive.  Glenda made us a simply beautiful breakfast.  Kim had treated me to a spa day before we left Cairns and I am now sporting a very smart Crocodile Dundee (or as I say Dundette) hat.
This passage to Darwin has been long and rather arduous, and we still have a long ways to go.  Our decision to travel in day trips wherever possible has added a lot of time to the journey, but with the many navigational obstacles ad ship traffic it has been the right decision.  Additionally, we all agree that overnight passages are much more tiring.  We still have several of those before we reach our ultimate goal.

We are running out of fresh fruits and vegies and hoping to be able to pick up a few things at our next stop, which is supposed to have a small store.  Either way, we will have plenty to eat.And so the journey continues, with just over 800 miles to go to Darwin.
S/V Georgia J anchored at Escape River

Birthday Burritos

Morris Island where we saw the big croc

Kim’s blog 6/20/12:  We are now in traveling a very remote coastline in northern Queensland.   There are no stores, towns, cell service for most of the remaining trip to Cape York, the northern tip of Australia.  We are traveling only during the day since the area is strewn with reefs.  Fortunately, the electronic charts are spot on and there are navigational makers in the ship channels.  The trade winds here blow 20-25 knots on a slow day.   Yesterday, we had gusts to 41 knots but sailed comfortably with double reef main and reefed jib.

I have been particularly interested in the history of this part of Australia.   We passed (but did not hit) Endeavor Reef where Captain Cook ran aground on a dark night in 1775 almost losing the HMS Endeavor and crew.  We also anchored at Lizard Island where Captain Cook hiked to the top of a mountain to find an escape through the Great Barrier Reef and return to England.   Lizard Island was also the home of an Australian heroine, Mary Watson.  In 1882, Mrs. Watson was on the island with a small baby and two Chinese servants while her husband was away on a commercial fishing trip.  Aboriginals attacked and killed one servant and severely wounded the other.  Although she initially drove the natives away with gun fire, they did not leave the island.   Mary, her baby and the wounded servant put to sea in a large tub used for fish processing.   They drifted for days, landed on an island, but eventually all died of thirst.   Their bodies were found months later along with Mary’s diary detailing the events.  A sad story indeed.

Today, Lizard Island has upscale resort where rooms start at $1000/night.   Fortunately, we were not allowed to visit the resort or restaurant, but did have drinks at the bar where workers and cruisers congregate.
s/v Georgia J at anchor at Owens Channel in the Flinder Islands 14 10.731 S, 144 13.750 E

Kim's blog 6/12/12:

We had a great snorkel trip to the Great Barrier Reef today!

Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling

Three interesting facts we learned at the Great Barrier Reef:

1.  The tiny yellow angel fish mate for life.
2.  The sea turtles we saw eat a type of coral which acts as a narcotic.   They were stoned.
3.  The area covered by the Great Barrier Reef is roughly the size of Japan.

Proof positive that we were there

Weather permitting, we will leave for Lizard Island on Thurday, June 14th.  The passage is 143 nautical miles and should take just one overnighter.  We don't think we will have internet or cell service in Lizard Island or much of the remaining 1300 miles to Darwin.

s/v Georgia J
Currently tied to the dock in Marlin Marina, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Kim's blog 6/11/12:

Today we went to see the "salties" on the Daintree River.  A saltwater crocodille can attack at 35 miles per hour for a 20 foot radius.  The largest we saw was 15 feet and was estimated to be 70 years old.  Our guide said they are extremely dangerous and gave us lots of safety tips.  We will be very careful when using the dingy in this part of Australia.



This Royal Spoonbill appeared more friendly

After our tour, we thought we were safely on the river bank when a large crocodile suddenly charged at Glenda.   Fortunately, she escaped uninjured.


Kim's blog 6/3/12:

We spent a beautiful day today touring Magnetic Island.  We even were able to feed some "Rock Wallabies."   We leave for Cairns tomorrow.  The weather forecast is great and the winds are supposed to be a pleasant 15-20 knots.   The passage of 165 miles should be completed in one overnight.

Rock Wallabies

Kim's blog 5/31/12

Our second overnight trip on the Coral Sea was another rough one.   We started with a wind forecast of 30 knots.  Through most of the day, we had 25-30 knots downwind which made for a fast, but comfortable sail on Georgia J.  By night fall, we were sailing with no jib and one reef in the main.  Just in case the wind picked up, we decided to add a second reef to the main.  Through the night, we jibbed back and forth avoiding the mainland on our left and the reef system on our right.  I was just preparing to jibe again to avoid a reef when wind alarms began sounding.   The wind speed had suddenly jumped from 30 knots to over  40 knots and was gusting to 46 knots.  All hands rallied on deck while the boat speed reached 11 knots surfing down the waves.  We jibbed, but the boat was overpowered and the strong wind immediately rounded us up.  In the dark rain, I lost all reference points for steering and accidentally jibbed the boat twice more. All of this occurred while we headed straight for a reef.  Finally, we were able to get the boat turned around and under control.  Sharon, Glenda and Plato were all thrown across the boat, but no one was seriously hurt.

We were exhausted when we arrived at Magnetic Island this morning.  After food and drinks, we all slept until 5:00 pm.

Lessons learned:

1.  Sea room is everything in the Coral Sea.  We have the shoreline on our left, reefs on our right and ships in the middle.  We need to leave lots of room for the unexpected.

2.  Wind predictions can be grossly understated.  We are not sure what hit us.   The radar did not show a squall and it lasted too long to be just gusts.  If we had not put in the second reef before dark, we would not have been able to regain control of the boat.

3.  It is easy to become disoriented at night.  I could not see the wind indicator at the mast head due to rain and dark.  The electronic wind indicator was not visible due to the alarm messages.  I should have stopped and just felt for the wind on my ears to determine the point of sail.  

4.  In the future, we will not attempt to jibe if the wind is higher than 30 knots.  We will tack the boat through the wind and waves so that it does not become over powered as easily.

5.  We will be more eager to add a second or third reef before dark.

s/v Georgia J at Magnetic Island Marina, Queensland, Australia.

PS-  Plato and I saw our first wallaby just outside the dock tonight.  They look like big rats.

Kim's blog  5/26/12:

Yesterday marked the end of an era.  Harold returned to the USA after weeks of faithful service.  After enduring the Tasman Sea and close encounters with kangaroos, he was treated to a few days of cleaning the diesel fuel tanks and winching riggers up the mast.  We did finally make it to Hamilton Island, a cute resort in the Whitsundays.  Before he left, we took a great snorkel trip to Hook Island.   Although the water was cold, we saw the most beautiful coral and fish of our entire trip.

Harold was barely off the dock before Glenda graduated to the aft stateroom where she now resides.

The weather here has been cold, windy and rainy- surprising for the tropics.  We have been using the time to plan our assault on the remainder of the Australia Coast- 1639 miles to Darwin.  We will move the boat about 15 miles tomorrow to Airlie Beach before beginning the big drive north.

s/v Georgia J, at Hamilton Island Marina, Queensland, Australia

Rainbow Lorikeet on Hamilton Island
Another Bird

Kim's blog 5/15/12:

The last 24 hours have been pretty tough.  Yesterday we were motoring in calm winds when the engine began loosing power.  We changed our fuel filters and still where unable to maintain more than an idle speed.  Since we were surrounded by reefs and islands, we tried to contact the Australia Voluntary Marine rescue service to inform them of our predicament.  However, we were on a remote coast line and were unable to reach anyone.   The problem became progressively worse and nothing we tried helped.  We decided to divert to the next major port, MacKay.  Through the night we were just able to avoid reefs and islands and stay on course with only 5 knots of wind.  In the early morning, the wind picked up and we zipping along at 7 knots towards MacKay.   At about 7:30 am, we were able to contact the Voluntary Marine Services.  They dispatched a boat who met us outside the harbor and skillfully towed us to a dock in the marina. 

We hired a mechanic who determined that the problem was a defective injector fuel pump which has now been removed for repair.

I am very proud of our crew for their performance last night.  As we navigated through a mine field of reefs and islands with practically no wind or propulsion, they kept their cool worked together well.  It was darn good seamanship to get here.

s/v Georgia J
Safely tied to the dock at MacKay Marina, Queensland

Kim's Blog 5/13/12

We are on our way around Australia- 30 miles down and only 2000 to go. We left Bundaberg this morning. Our first stop is Airlie Beach, about 330 miles away which should take roughly three days. We are only about 11 miles from the Australia shoreline so we have cell phone and internet- a new cruising experience. As we move up the coast, we expect lots of ship traffic. I currently have 35 ships showing on AIS, my collision avoidance system. Fortunately, we expect to pass the largest commercial port, Gladstone, before dark. As we go north, the Great Barrier Reef is closer and closer to our right or starboard side. We plan to visit the reef, but may take a commercial tour rather than Georgia J.

Our biggest news is a new person on board. Glenda, a 20+ year old, has greatly lowered the average age of Georgia J's crew. We first met Glenda when she swam through a shark infested anchorage in the Tuamotus to introduce herself. She is extremely nice and has made great progress in polishing our stainless steel. She is on her way around Cape Horn so she may be with us to Darwin, Australia. Of course, Harold is still on board, but he increases the average crew age.

s/v Georgia J - in the Coral Sea on flat seas on a beautiful day
Position 24 15.7 S, 152 07.4 E at 03:46 UTC on 5/13/12
Motor sailing at 6.3 knots, Course 316 M

Bundaberg, Queensland pictures

Watch out for Roos

Kangaroo family behind marina


Salty Sailors

Bundy bugs are look like lobster crayfish mix

Bundaberg Bird

Bundaberg Rum Distillery Tour

Sharon's log 05/02/2012

The last day of our passages always seem to be the toughest. The seas and winds made for a very uncomfortable ride...but a fast one! We had to drop our main sail in 25 knots of wind, which can be quite a challenge, but it all went well. Customs and Bio-security could not have been nicer. Plato made friends with the Bio-security official immediately. We have his official clearance. Customs was delayed, but came to check us in at 5:00 pm, so we could get off the boat. The entire process was handled efficiently and very professionally.

The marina is very nice. The people are helpful and welcoming. Fabulous showers (which do not require $2.00 coins) is a treat. We have an excellent restaurant and a well stocked chandlery. The weather is perfect. What more could we want? Oh, of course we want kangaroos. Harold saw them from a distance this morning (he thinks)
We are off o explore the town of Bundaberg this afternoon. We need banking, cell service, Internet, all the goodies we depend on. The crew is in high spirits. All is well aboard Georgia J.

S/V Georgia J
Safely moored at Bundaberg Port Marina


We are currently 35 miles away from Bundaberg and all of us are very ready to be there. We have had 2 days of big seas and strong winds. Although we are making record speeds for Georgia. That is the good news. The bad news is that it is extremely difficult to move around on the boat. Getting bowls of cereal out this morning was an intricate 2 man operation. (ie: Kim and Harold) WE had to tether Plato inside the cabin, and he actually seems very relieved.

We have just spoken to the authorities, and if we arrive by 4:30. local time, Customs will clear us in today. The 2 hour time difference is in our favor. All of us would love to be securely docked in the marina this evening. The traditional arrival Bloody Marys are ready to go.
If the seas will flatten out just a bit,I plan to cook up one remaining pack of chicken and few fresh vegies I have left. Not sure if Customs will take these items if cooked, New Zealand did.

One more day....then let the kangaroos roll!

Sharon's log 04/28/2012

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, we had our calmest day yet. We had blue skies, sunshine and less than 10 knots of wind. We had dinner in the cockpit for the first time in ages. With just over 400 miles to go, we could almost taste the famous Bundaberg rum (although we hear it is pretty nasty stuff). Suddenly, our latest forecast came in from our weather router, and we are looking at a front and a low heading our way. After an immediate course change, additional analysis and study, a Sat phone call to the router, the purchase of another forecast, we have adjusted our course yet again. The plan now is to go as quickly as we can and cut across the Northern tip of the bad weather. This will give us a couple of days of choppy seas and probable rain, but should allow us to get into Bundaberg before the next low becomes an issue. Our friends on Infini, which is a bit slower and carries less fuel than Georgia, are looking at an even longer ride in less than ideal conditions. So, for the first time since leaving Opua, we pull out the foulies, and look for ways to batten down the hatches even further. Poor Plato had just regained his sea legs which will literally be knocked out from under him again.
One thing I have learned in this past year is that things change out here at a mind boggling pace. The issues you have to deal with are constantly shifting. Saying you have to be flexible and adaptable is a gross understatement. Fortunately, Captain Kim excels at this.
We have regained our lost mileage if not our time, bring on that nasty Bundaberg run!

s/v Georgia J
Position at 4/28/12 14:09 UTC: 24 21.97 S, 157 46.65 E, Speed 6.0 knts, course 291 T. Seas- 15 foot rollers on our stern

Kim's blog 4/28/12:

Today has been a mixed day. The weather was beautiful, the seas were flat and Plato has his sea legs back. We motored most of the day since there was little wind. Unfortunately, we were not motoring towards Australia. A low pressure is supposed to be forming just east of Bundaberg. Our weather router has recommended that we head far north above the low and then turn back southwest to Bundaberg. This would add about three days to our trip - very frustrating since we are only 345 miles from Bundaberg. We are now in the Corral Sea which does have lots of corral in the form of reefs and islands. In addition, we are in French territory due to the proximity of New Caledonia. We receive computer generated weather forecasts (grib files) every 6 hours by radio which graphically depict wind and waves on our maps. We called the weather router (who is in New Hampshire) to discuss what we think is an opportunity to dash to Bundaberg much sooner. We are awaiting their email analysis. I honestly do not know how explorers navigated these waters without satellite phones, email, computer generated weather reports, GPS and accurate charts.

s/v Georgia J
Position at 13:52 UTC on 4/27: 25 00.1 S 158 48.2 E Course 332 T at 4.4 knots

Harold's blog entry
Thursday, April 26th at 16:00 UTC, from 26 degrees 21 minutes South, 160 degrees, 42 minutes East, 475 miles to Bundaberg

Life on the Starboard Tack
When we left Opua last Saturday, we set our sails in a fresh breeze from the northeast and headed northwest course toward Bundaberg. This put us on starboard tack, which both wind and course we held for four days as we galloped away from New Zealand.
One gets used to having the boat on a tilt where everything to the left is low and everything to the right is high. Like sleeping (because the bunks are all on the port side), showers (shower is on the portside) and cooking (galley is on the downside). Some things, however, are more difficult on this tack, such as using the head - especially for the guys (it is on the starboard side). Also, it seems we have more leaks on the portside and the bilge alarms go off more often.
Yesterday morning, we cleared through a gentle weather front and the wind changed to the southeast trades as predicted. So we tacked to port and everything has changed. Sleeping is more difficult because we have to build a mountain of pillows to hold ourselves in our bunks. Showers are out (unless we go up on deck), and Sharon claims cooking is more difficult (but we would never know - her cooking is suburb). But seems things are better such as using the head and fewer bilge alarms.
Plato has his issues too. He is used to doing his morning business on the starboard side, so on port tack, that side is usually awash (it is the low side) and that is a big problem. He seems indifferent about which tack he sleeps on because his bed is self-tacking. But I think he prefers port tack because he can keep an eye on everyone and get to his water bowl easier.
And we found it does not matter which tack we are on, or whether we are sailing or not, the big freighters headed to Asia always seem to have the right-of-way at 3:30 in the morning and will not change away from a collision course.
Three more days to go (on port tack)…

Kim's blog 4/26/12 local time:

I have come to realize that sea passages are all about dealing with a series of worries, both large and small. This passage has been comparatively worry free so far. However, here is our current list:

Weather- We know there is a front ahead of us which is supposed to have a 350 mile band of rain and poor visibility. We have reefs in both the main and jib and are prepared for gale force winds if they occur.

Plato- is still a sick puppy. He is hungry, but is unable to keep much down. He will not drink water except when it includes chicken broth. We are watching his hydration and are prepared to give him fluids with an IV. He would drink if he knew this.

Bilge- Our bilge pump is going off frequently. This appears to be the same water in the bilge sloshing around. We believe we took on a bit of water, but nothing serious. Last night a wave did sweep across the foredeck bringing a good quart of water through a vent over refrigerator. The force was sufficient that I checked to see if the life raft had been washed away. (It wasn't) We are checking bilge frequently for water.

Batteries- Our battery monitor will not show more that 90% charge, no matter how long we run the engine or generator. We think the monitor needs to be reset or the regulator needs adjustment. This may have to wait until we are tied to a dock.

Chafe- During the day light we are checking for chafe on all the lines. The main sail halyard shows a chafed spot. If it gets worse, we can replace the halyard underway. If it breaks, I would need to go up the mast to replace the halyard.

Fuel- No worry here. We have sailed almost the entire way and have sufficient fuel to reach Australia if we could not sail.

Food- Sharon cooked 10 days of meals before we left. For the first few days, no one was very hungry. Customs will confiscate any prepared meals when we arrive.

s/v Georgia J located at 27 26.7 S, 163 26.9 E at UTC 12:40 on April 25th making 6.4 knots on a heading of 257 M. 633 miles to go

Sharon's log 04/24/20112

Day 4 and we are approximately 1/3 of the way there. Yeah! Well the sun is still shining, but the last 24 hours have brought its challenges. Yesterday afternoon, our outhaul broke. Of course, this happened during a squall when we already had plenty to deal with. BTW, the outhaul adjusts the foot of the main sail. We were able to reef the main, and Harold was the man of the hour, going forward (tethered in of course) and secured the foot of the sail. Kim and Harold think they can repair this, IF, we get calm enough seas. We have continued to make excellent time.
Kim realized last night that his Asian language skills are lacking as he tried to communicate with a couple of ships. Either they did not understand his Southern English or they chose not to. The scary thing was that we seemed to have awakened them! He finally convinced one of them to alter course to miss us.
This morning, I declared that I was cooking breakfast for myself, and everyone opted in too. Cooking a hot meal is truly a labor of love, as I chase things across the galley. However, breakfast seemed to be the cure all for everyone except Plato. Although he seems to feel better, food is still not working. He is back on chicken broth for the time being.
Our friends on Infini are about 100 miles behind us now, but it is good to check in with them each day.

s/v Georgia J
Position at 03:12 UTC on April 24:
Speed 7.9 knots, course 299 M, 877 miles to Bundaberg

Sharon's log 04/23/2012 (NZ time):

Day 3 of our passage to Bundaberg and all is well aboard Georgia J. It takes us all 2-3 days to get back into the groove, but we are all settling in now. I have pre-prepared more meals than ever before and so far, all 3 boys (especially Plato!) have had very little appetite. If that does not change, I will be losing lots of food to Australian customs.

We have made very good time thus far, averaging significantly more than the speed we use for planning. We are thrilled to have Michael and Sue on Infini coming behind us. We check in with them twice daily. We are looking at potentially having to divert from our course to avoid bad weather. If we do, we may lose a lot of time. Right now, as Captain Craig would say, "we have money in the bank". We would just like to keep it.

The sun is shining, and we are cruising along at a little over 7 knots. This feels great, but one thing we all understand it that things change very quickly out here.

s/v Georgia J
Position at 23:27 UTC on April 22: 31 41.7 S, 169 59.6 E
Speed 7.9 knots, course 299 M, 1019 miles to Bundaberg

Kim's blog-4/22/12

We are now North of New Zealand where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean intersect. As expected, the conditions are a bit blustery. We had a good day coming up the New Zealand coast. The wind and seas have been fluky with the wind ranging from 5-20 knots. The wave heights have been pretty moderate at around 3-5 feet. Our friends on Infini are about 10-20 miles behind us on the same route. Harold caught a tuna which provided a nice dinner. We also able to get rid of some terrible Brazilian liquor on board by pouring it into the Tuna's gills to anesthetize the poor guy. He died drunk. As normal, Plato and I were both sea sick, but I feel better. Our weather router has recommended a course which takes within 60 miles of Norfolk Island, an Australian property. We are considering stopping there.

s/v Georgia J
Location at 12:30 AM New Zealand time on 4/22: 34 08.0 S, 173 20.9 E
Speed 5.8, Heading 290 M

Voyage plan for New Zealand to Australia
We have completed our navigation planning for the passage to Australia.  Harold arrives on April 19th.  We then hope to leave when the first weather window arises.  We are in New Zealand's Fall season and the weather will deteriorate as we approach winter.  The passage from Opua, New Zealand to Bundaberg, Australia is 1337 nautical miles.  Since we conservatively plan for a speed of 5.5 knots, this works out to a 10 day passage.  We would expect the worst weather to be in the first couple of days as we round the northern tip of New Zealand.  The Tasman Sea intersects with the Pacific Ocean at this point often producing unsettled conditions.   However, we should be past this point within two days so we would hope for an accurate weather forecast for this part of the trip.  As we go farther northwest, we would expect warmer weather and downwind sailing in the Southeast Trades.  Although Australia's cyclone season officially ends on April 30th, cyclones this late in the season are pretty unusual.   If a cyclone were to threaten, we would turn south towards Sydney which is out of the cyclone zone.  There are also two potential islands (Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island) where we could stop if we had problems along the way.  We will be using the services of a professional weather router to chose our departure date and advise us along the way.

We have reserved slip at the Bundaberg Port Marina for a week to check in with customs, sleep, reprovision and make repairs.  We then plan to make a dash up the Queensland Coast to the Whitsunday Islands, a passage of about 300 miles.  The Whitsundays are the premier cruising grounds of Australia with lots of islands, warm weather and white sand beaches. 

We expect cruising in Australia to be very different than anything we have experienced.  This will be coastal cruising inside the Great Barrier Reef which prevents ocean swells.   We also will experience huge tidal fluctuations that create big currents to speed us along or reduce our speed to a crawl.  Finally, we will have traffic.  While crossing the Pacific, we rarely saw more than one ship or boat in a week's passage.   We will need to keep our eyes peeled as we go up the Queensland coastline. Posted 3/30/12

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