Trip distance: 860 NM
This post will reflect my crossing journal. That’s why the text might be a bit raw at some points. We took 8 days to cross the sea from Nouméa to Brisbane. our origin destination was Newcastle near Sydney and with the different winds we encountered we planned to finally go to Bundaberg way up north and ended up to Brisbane.
This final destination was not expected and it is great as my new plan to cross Australia will bring me through the Simpson desert.
16/06/16: leaving Nouméa at 12 instead of 10am heading to petrol then to îlot maitre to spend the night at the mooring. Nice little island. From there we can see the lights of the city. Thibault is changing the ropes of the lazy bag. We have dinner and go to sleep.
17/06/16: we woke up at 5:30am, have breakfast, set up the sails and headed up to the pass between the reef. We are out of the lagoon around noon. The waves crashing on the reef are impressive. We turn the engine off. Setup the autopilot to 220° with a wind from 90° to 120° port side at 18knots. The sea is nice we are going around 6 to 7 knots. Our shifts are made for the next 24hours. My shifts are 8pm to 10pm then 4am to 6am then 12 to 2pm. This boat is such a beauty to sail. It’s like a Maserati to make a comparison with a car.
18/06/16: Good sleep full of dreams. Quiet shift from 4am to 6am. Wind still the same. Autopilot still the same. Made 15nm during my 2 hours shift. Good pace. Blood moon setting awesome right at the beginning of the shift. Ended with the sunrise. At night we crossed a patch of bioluminescent plancton 5 meters wide and 100 meters long. I firstly thought about another boat before to realise it was plancton far away as well. It was impressive all the water was green around the boat and far away maybe up to 50 to 100 meters. Now time to sleep.
19/06/16: Everything is going all right. Our average speed is around 6.1knots. After 3 days in the sea we already are almost mid way. All is working well. We’ve crossed two tankers. Saw heaps of flying fishes, got some on hitting the boat. For now we are all good and all dry. Our final destination is evolving from Newcastle to Bundaberg then now with the current winds to Brisbane. A legend says that in french we must not say the word rabbit onboard. Well we had a long conversation about it with Julien while cooking and we said it a lot of time… let’s hope we will survive to this!
20/06/16: Quick storm during my shift. The wind turned so quickly. I was alone outside. Guts 30kts. Broke 2 reefs. We had to put the engine on to go out of it. Maybe the rabbit legend is right…
21/06/16: Weather is better. We are less than 300 nm to Australian coast. Strong westerlies winds. Trying to head to Brisbane but it looks like we gonna further south.Ballina? Coffs harbour? Depending on the winds. I cooked an omelette but the oven is not adjusting with the waves anymore. It’s been a mission but i did it! Took some pictures from out of the boat. Tight a gopro to a rope and throw it away from the boat taking burst pictures. I’ve got some good shots. Julien almost killed by a flying fish that explode itself on the boat 15cm from his head.
22/06/16: In the night i took two shifts because peter needed some sleep. I saw another sailing boat. And spent most of the time pumping the water coming in the front locker which needs some joints replacements and were full of water.At the end of my shift everyone must wake up to pump alternatively. After a brainstorming we created a homemade joint with a yellow fisherman pants. I did this until 4am then go to catch some sleep. I was exhausted. Hard to sleep in the forehead cabin as the waves are huge and I’m flying over my bed. Water is coming inside from everywhere. Hatches etc… Never say the word Rabbit on a boat!!
We are now so close to Australia but so far at the same time. The current are really strong and we hardly can keep going. We turned on the engine but this doesn’t help much. We are stuck at 163nm from Australian coasts. We ended up the day pumping water out of the boat again and checking every locker to remove and dry stuffs. Luckily nothing has been damaged. At sunset we started to head back to Australia after drifting for a few nm to the east. Hopefully tomorrow we can reach gold coast or Brisbane. We all are super exhausted and I honestly don’t know yet how it will work for the shifts tonight as no one slept for the last day.
23/06/16: basic day on the sea. all day with engine. we cooked as the boat was flat. Good relief after those rough days.
24/06/2016: We arrived to Port of Brisbane at the customs, through Goldcoast. We woke up at 3 am and will stay up till late. They gave us our visas and we have been stuck in the quarantine area because it was too late for the biosecurity to check out all the food in the boat by night.
25/06/2016: Out of Quarantine! We are finally ok to come in Australia with the boat after a 3 hours check of the entire boat. I took my bicycle out of the boat and start to put it back together before to head to the city where I will stay a few days in order to organise my Australian trip. I cycled 13km from the Marina to the Backpacker where I’m staying. I was so excited!!!
Today it’s the 27th of June and I will go to buy some camping gear: Mattress and pillow as my two previous one are punctured… I will buy a lifestraw as well because I’m gonna cross some really dry areas without any city.