This blog covers our adventures in Allusive from 2013 to late 2015.
In 2013 we made a voyage up the East Coast of Australia to Cairns then with the Ecosustainability Rally to the Louisiades Archipelago (PNG) and the return voyage to Tasmania.
In 2015 we cruised to Vanuatu via Sydney, Lord Howe Island and New Caledonia with a return to Bundaberg in Australia in August 2015
Thursday, 4 June 2015
Sydney to Lord Howe
Sydney to Lord Howe Island
We returned to Sydney on Saturday after a couple of days
visiting Andy and Kellie with the last minute perishables to shop for and a
social Sunday lunch with some other Louisiades Cruisers.
The plan was to clear customs Monday morning but we delayed
this until Tuesday afternoon as a large Stationary high was sitting over the
area between Sydney and Lord Howe and wasn’t expected to start moving away
We filled the time in by giving the water maker a test run –
a good thing as the power switch had to be replaced due to damage in transit.
The guys from Rainman were marvellous, turning up to change the switch within
30 minutes of us calling them. Di did some more shopping and we changed the
No.3 to the No.2.
The forecast was now for a trickle of wind starting on
Wednesday morning so we arranged to clear customs Tuesday afternoon.
Sydney puts on a great light show this time every year
(Vivid) so we arranged for some younger friends to join us for a dinner cruise
on Sydney harbour Tuesday night and this proved to be a spectacular night with
the bridge changing colours every few seconds and the Opera House being used as
a projection screen. In Darling harbour water jets had laser lights
intermingling with some graphic light effects visible. On the way back to the
CYCA we arrived off the Opera House just as the fireworks were starting.
Probably because it was mid-week, there were very few private boats on the
harbour so getting to the different venues was easy. Very different I suspect
to the NYE fireworks.
Tuesday May 26th. Last minute jobs then over to Neutral Bay to clear Customs before returning to the CYCA for the night.
Wednesday May 27th
An early start leaving the pen at 0630 and clearing the
heads at 0715 for the 420 mile run to Lord Howe.
The breeze was light but sailable for the first few hours
and we even ran the MPS for a while. This didn’t last long and by midday we
were motoring as progress had dropped below 2 knots SOG. To make matters worse
we had a 1.5 knot current against us and this lasted until dawn on Thursday.
Our first 24 hour run on the chart was 126 miles with the
log showing distance run as 171 miles! The difference being the current!
No fish in the first 24 hours but plenty of Chinese coal
carriers drifting in the deep water of Newcastle waiting to be loaded. These
were up to 100 miles offshore and all were drifting west with the current at SOG speeds of 1 to
1.5 knots; as shown on the AIS ; into the light breeze! At least they were
being carried in the direction they wanted to go.
Life on board has been pretty easy with almost no swell
making getting around the boat simple. Di and I spent most of the day fiddling
on the internet and reading/ snoozing. We have a small Telstra 4G wireless
receiver with good range- excellent when we put it in a sock and hoist it up
We took the shifts during the night fairly casually with no
fixed change times. We find this works best with lots of cat naps during the
day allowing us to stay fresh.
Sailed with full rig until 1600 when we were subject to a
couple of squalls and heavy rain with gusts to 27 knots. We quickly went to two
reefs then three with half headsail. The breeze was now a Northerly and we were
hard on the wind from here to Lord Howe
Friday May 29th
Di rated Friday a 3/10 compared to Wednesdays 8/10 as the
sea state had risen and was very confused. The wind was changing direction and
strength constantly from calm to 20+ knots making progress difficult .In the
end we used the motor to keep us moving and strapped the main down to reduce
the wear and tear.
Saturday May 30th
We arrived off Lord Howe at daybreak and expected to have to
heave too off the lagoon entrance until port control was awake. However the
local policeman had spotted us and called us up at 0630 to let us know he was
on the way out in the RIB to guide us in through the reef entrance to our
mooring. Fantastic service!
We had a bit more sleep the launched the dinghy and went for
a wander ashore to get our bearings. All of the moorings are between .5 and.75
miles from the beach and it feels quite isolated sitting on a mooring only 50
metres from the reef and half a mile from the shore, especially as we are the
only visiting boat here at present!
Much of the island is national park with some spectacular
scenery and walks through the lush vegetation. Much of the surrounding waters
are also marine park with limited fishing opportunities for amateurs and no
commercial fishing. The island has lots of cement sheet and weatherboard
buildings and has a 1950s feel to it. The vegetation is very lush and dense
with some huge Banyan trees. The main industry is tourism with a maximum of 400
guests allowed on the island at any one time. Many of the larger private homes
act as guest houses. I had an interesting conversation with one man who has
been coming for holidays for the past 20 years. You can only buy real estate on
the island if you have been living here for more than 10 years or have a close
family member who is a resident. This stops land speculation and helps keep
prices under control although he did mention one of his friends who had bought
bought a house with good views for $900k.
Sunday May 31st
We are keen to get an up to date weather forecast and can
get internet at the museum between 10.00 and 2.00 (closed Saturday of course)
so in the morning went ashore to do our chores including topping up the two gas
bottles we had been using ($18.00- v reasonable) and filled up our two 20 litre
diesel cans at $3.00 per litre!
After a frustrating 2 hours battling with the internet we
retired to the boat for a late lunch and to get out of the weather as it was
very showery and the wind was getting up. During the afternoon we managed a
quick walk over to the Old Gulch on the Northern side of the island and a walk
along North beach before picking up our fuel from the jetty. Nothing is locked
or put away. Everyone leaves their paddle boards and surfboards on the beaches
rather than carry them home. The local policeman is responsible for lost
property and is also the local port operations controller and not much else. A
great relaxed lifestyle.
The Big Blow
Monday and Tuesday 1st
and 2nd June
As forecast the winds started to pick up Sunday night we
were quite nervous about what to expect over the next 2 days.
We are moored to one of the 6 Lord Howe Island moorings in
the Northern part of the lagoon that are hired out to visiting yachts. There
are another lot in the southern end of the lagoon. About 50 metres to our west
is the extensive reef which gives protection to the lagoon from the swell, but
not the wind. At low tide the lagoon is only subject to the wind fetch inside
the reef but at high tide there is quite a joggle from the swell remnants that
flow over the reef making the moorings at this time quite uncomfortable. At low
tide the depth under Allusive is less than a metre but the pitch is least so we
shouldn’t bump the bottom.
The moorings are rated to 75 knots for a wind surface area
of 20 square metres. As bow on we would be much less than 20 s m and the
maximum wind gusts we experienced were about 48 knots we calculate we didn’t
exceed 25% of the maximum loading.
When you are sitting this sort of weather out these are the type
of things you think about!
As it turned out it was reasonably comfortable on board once
we had convinced ourselves Allusive was in no danger and we spent the long
hours reading, playing cards, chess and scrabble plus baking bread and
We felt sorry for the two tug crews whose vessels (Seaforce
and Pedro 1) were too big to come into the lagoon. They tried to anchor on the
sheltered side of the island but the wrapping swells were too uncomfortable so
they resorted to steaming backwards and forwards with barge in tow. They are
delivering materials for the airport runway upgrade and a smaller tug and barge come
out to them when the weather is calm to load up outside the lagoon.
Wednesday 3rd June
We managed to get ashore in the late morning at ebbing half
tide and had lunch in the Anchorage café: seafood pie of course! then wandered
around the CBD (post office – closed Wednesday- Thompsons store and the local
Co-op). Lots of people stranded as there had been no flights in or out since
Sunday and the first won’t be in until Thursday. Our walk today took us down as
far as the airport and up to the police station to have a chat with the Simon,
the local cop/harbour master. Weather due to moderate Thursday and swell will
be low enough for us to get out of the lagoon on Friday. At least that’s the
Back to the museum to check emails and then another rolly
night on the mooring.
Thursday 4th June
Wind down to 15 knots, time to do all of our boat checks and
last minute cooking for the passage to Noumea. All looks good for a Friday morning departure.
Now at the museum. this post will be the last until we get to Noumea