October 30, 2012
Final Approach - Back in Australia
At the time of writing we are sill motor sailing, and have been for 36 hours, with the final 22 miles across Hervey Bay and into Burnett Heads River mouth...stunning clear water, big blue skies and light winds. We had two very large dolphins greet us after our entry into Hervey Bay, both taking delight in being watched. Australia is hiding underneath the cumulus cloud bank!!
Total passage time was 5 days and 12 hours, which is what VPP2 indicated. A little more breeze would have shortened our passage time. We now understand the importance of approaching Bundaberg in lighter winds as the sea state gets dangerous and marginal with any strong winds against current.
After plodding through a major negative current, we picked up the EAC and had up to 1.5 knots with us for some time, decreasing to 0.5 knots, until we came up to the bank.
We had a visit from a very tired Blue Footed Booby, who elected to sit on top of the bimini. Peter had gybed the boat then went on deck to transfer the preventer and got rather a surprise seeing the chap sitting up there, looking some what bedraggled. He got very cross with us every time we gybed and at one stage started squawking in protest. We did warn him of our intentions and advised him to keep his head down!
The Booby slept for 5 hours sitting up there on a gently rolling ship! His mother obviously did not teach him very well with regards to what you don't do in you own nest.....after which he shook his feathers, had a stretch and continued on his merry way!
During the 40 miles across the bay, we have been enjoying all those wonderful Aussie songs, played at full volume whilst we cleaned the boat. The music also drowned out the sound of the engine!!
Peter took the opportunity to start packing away the boat. We decided it was safe enough to take the reefing lines out!
Our last passage saw our clearest skies and a full moon we could actually see! We also had our best sailing and fastest time with a 175 mile day! Most of this was done in 12 hours on an average of 8.5 knots. Woohoo! What a ride!
We advised Customs of our intended arrival in the required time frame and they are waiting to clear us in tomorrow. We departed Noumea with about 12 other yachts..it was a good weather window!! A Beneteau 47, 44 foot Cat and us have been in close proximity (VHF range, not necessarily in sight of each other) throughout the passage. The cat had downloaded a file for Maxsea (not the crack program!!) showing all the currents and eddies so we had some good information. At the end of the day it did not matter as we had to suck up the negative current and just get on with it!
We look forward to a good sleep tonight! Here ends our Pacific crossing.
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