FROM THE LOG #46

From Vanuatu to Australia
With a stop at Chesterfield Reef, New Caledonia

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Area covered in this report
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From Luganville we sailed north a short distance along the east coast of Santo, to Peterson Bay where we stayed at anchor for 10 days. The weather was unsettled with a lot of rain and thunder. Peterson bay is considered a hurricane hole and was a good place to stay.
Luganville harbour:
This used to be a boat - now a beach house.
Neither boat nor house.
Peterson Bay is the location of a resort called Oyster Island, where we could bring our laptops ashore and use their free wifi. On the photo below (left) I'm updating this web site and Peter of s/y Mendana is talking on the Skype. In the middle is Robert from s/y Indali.
Wifi on the beach at Oyster Island Resort
The Highfield family from Hong Kong:
Arni, Cam, Molly, Nancy sails on catamaran "Jade".
We were a dozen cruising boats in the Peterson Bay anchorage. We again met other cruisers, some of whom we had seen the first time a couple of years and several thousand miles away. The cyclone season was approaching and all crews were planning to depart on long voyages to areas outside of the cyclone belt; some would sail south to New Zealand, some north to Marshall Islands and other island groups close to or north of the Equator, and some, like us, would be heading to Australia.
Up the river to the Blue Hole
Which really is extremely blue.
We did some interesting safaris by dinghy 3 kilometres into the jungle on two rivers descending into Peterson Bay and swam in the "Blue Holes".
Aboard Lazy Bones with Gale and Jeff ..
.. we celebrated Mary's (Cartref) birthday.
On the way back to Luganville where we would take care of the clearence procedures before departure to Australia we stopped at Palikulo bay in company with the American yacht Lazy Bones and Australian Cartref. Gale and Jeff arranged a birthday party for Mary. Gale is also responsible for the camera work on the Slave Boys VIDEO, at THIS LINK.
A former fishing station
- now in ruins.
Scorpio and a dive boat
at Aore Resort.
A rainy day in the cockpit.
Diesel is pumped by
hand into Scorpio's tanks.
In Luganville we rented a mooring at the Aore Resort and waited for a week for the weather to improve, but when it didn´t we departed anyway. Before that we filled our fuel tanks because we expected that we would have to motor a lot. The diesel fuel was delivered in 200 litre drums to a wharf, where we took Scorpio alongside, and pumped manually aboard.
A very curious booby at Chesterfield.
Nobody but us in sight
Caught this lobster by hand!
Rush hour at Chesterfield.
Eastern anchorage, Chesterfield
"Sailing" in calm weather.
The tracks in the foreground are
from a turtle, not a tractor!
s/y Cartref, expecting a Green Flash.
Conveniently located, roughly halfways of the 1 100 nautical miles between Vanuatu and Australia is Chesterfield Reef. A breathtakingly beautiful uninhabited atoll, belonging to New Caledonia. This is probably our number one place in the "Atoll Category". When we arrived there were no other yachts in sight, just turtles and birds. Later we found out that the German boat Antje was anchored at the southern end of the atoll. They were short on fuel and had been waiting for wind for more than two weeks. Unfortunately we could not help them as they were powered by an outboard, which uses gasoline.
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Preparing for the fuel transfer.
Cartref approaching for the transfer.
Transfer completed.

After a few days we were joined by three other yachts, one of them our old "Fleet" companion Cartref. We thoroughly enjoyd Chesterfield where the snorkling on the southern reefs was good and lobsters galore. We could catch them by hand where they were hiding under rocks in just 1-2 feet of water!

After almost a week in this paradise, and as the weather charts did not promise better winds for a while, (and we were getting short on beer anyway), we decided to take our chances and set sail for Australia. The distance to Bundaberg is about 550 miles and we motored almost all the way. On the last day we transfered a jerry jug diesel to Cartref. This operation can also be viewed on a VIDEO at THIS LINK.

Cruisers celebrating arrival in Australia.
Lutana II, Aloha, Promesa, Cheshire Cat, Scorpio
Yachts moored at Midtown Marinas, Bundaberg.
(Photo: Peter Lik Publishing)

Our plan was to clear in at Brisbane, but looking at the weather forecasts, I decided to go to Bundaberg instead, 100 nautical miles north of Brisbane. This proved to be the right decision, as Brisbane got it´s worst storm in 70 years. But by then we were already comfortably tied to the dock at Bundaberg, where the weather was fine.

Arriving in Australia we have completed our crossing of the Pacific Ocean, which started in May 2005 after the transit of the Panama Canal. It took 3.5 years, which is more than many cruisers use for a complete circum navigation. The short-time plan is now to repair the mast corosion (see previous report) and then sail south to Sydney for Christmas and New Year.

Stay tuned.

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