Day & Passage to New Zealand LANDFALL!
We are currently motoring up the bay of Islands to the Port of Entry Opua, New Zealand. Not only are we making a landfall but we are observing the hundreds of sharks that surface around us. Jade also caught her biggest fish ever and it was a 12 pound Albacore Tuna, sweet! “Dinner”. We are all so stoked to have made the crossing and I am really stoked to be half way around the world more or less. Thank you all for reading and I will keep up the post. I will be posting all my many pictures and videos of the next few weeks.
Current Position: 02:21UTC, New Zealand, Bay of Islands!
Cheers and I will drink lots of great tasting beer you all!
Jacques, Jade, Jess, Ben
Day 7 Passage to New Zealand “Still Moving But Not Fast”
What a very exciting day spent reading books, talking about nothing or something. I read a book today called the “The Alchemist” it’s a quick read only 165 pages but has great inspiration. I found it very helpful in my own search of being on this earth and maybe it will help you realize your dreams. Speaking of dreams I meet many people on my travels that wish they were motivated to travel more and tell me they will read my blog for that inspiration, at least my last scuba dive with Bull sharks had such a person. I think that if you want to travel buy a guide book of your dream destination and read it from cover to cover. Before you are done reading that travelers guide book you will have booked tickets and will be off on your adventure. I find that having no plan when entering a new country and throwing yourself into it works out and usually has the best stories. I guess like the old saying goes, throw enough shit at a wall something will stick, or maybe that’s what I believe now.
As for today’s adventure we are 141 nautical north of New Zealand moving at about 3.2 knots. The ocean is flat but with wind speeds of 4 knots I m happy to be making the progress of 93 nautical miles in the last 24 hours. Even though we are making a very slow approach to New Zealand the ocean once again yields a wonderful sight. I shall recall the moment that happened a hour ago as Jade pointed it out.
-Jade- O O O a bird, no a shark, shark, shark, NO bird, NO, NO , NO it’s a big ass SHARK. -Ok everybody get on deck!
-What shark Jade?
-That’s a big shark fin!
-Ben- do we have any meat?
-Lets throw out the canned corn beef?
-Ben- runs out of the cabin with stir fried rice and chicken cooked with curry and lashes it to a rope and drags it behind the boat. -Jacques- I don’t think great whites each stir fried rice.
-Jade- I want to volunteer as a great white shark guide.
-Jacques- yup sharks gone and does not like stir fried rice bummer, o well can I have a cookie. -Jess- Yes have two.
Current Position: 33deg 10.2min South, 174deg 24.4min East, COG 152deg M, SOG 3.8Kts, Swell <1 meter, WS kts, WD 78deg ENE, Air Temp 69.5deg F, Water Temp 77.5deg F, Boro 30.07
Go after your Dreams the world will provide,
Day 6 Passage to New Zealand “Scrubbing Dragonsbane Haul”
Ok, so we never got a chance to clean Dragonsbane bottom before we left Fiji. Based on my information I have to clean the bottom of Dragonsbane before we get into New Zealand Waters. So today 230 nautical miles from New Zealand as the wind dies down we heaved to and cleaned the bottom of Dragonsbane. Before I jumped in I was thinking of all the Great White Sharks that are around New Zealand and then jumped into the ocean. Jade, Jess, Ben, and I all took turns scrubbing and scrapping the bottom of Dragonsbane so it is nice and clean. As we drifted in thousands and thousands of feet ocean the water is very clear with jelly fish, and very odd creatures drifting by. I was hoping to see the Dolphins that played off the bow of Dragonsbane last night on my watch but nothing came to see us. After a chilly dip and scrub in the ocean we warmed ourselves up with some apple cider that I had hidden away. I had bought a gallon of apple cider in Annapolis Maryland and Jess found it a few days ago cleaning, it was still good. With the cool weather, and warm apple cider I felt like it was fall, maybe just a little home sick. But we are going to New Zealand were it will be summer and warm. I won’t lie I miss the fall colors and winter snow, but I guess I will have to settle for fresh lamb, cheese, and green landscapes, O yeah New Zealand here we come.
Current Position: 31deg 28.8min South, 174deg 16.5min East, COG 166deg M, SOG: 4.2kts, WS 8kts, WD 80deg ENE, Swell <1meter, Air Temp 68.5,deg F Water Temp 77.7deg F, Clear skies, 234 nautical miles remain
Day 5 to New Zealand
Around 23:30 at night the wind finally died down to 10 knots, so Ben and I did a sail change on the head sail. I decided to put up the drifter light sail and take advantage of its large size and light weight material to hopefully maintain 5 plus knots. We have been struggling all morning with trimming the sails and trying to move at least 5 knots but at times we have only been successful to move 3 to 4 knots in only 6 to 8 knots of wind. The good news is that after my afternoon nap I awoke to 10 to 13 knots of wind and Dragonsbane moving swiftly at 5 to 6 knots. We completed 127 nautical miles in the last 24 hours and have 349 remaining to landfall. Not to much to chat about other then my tour guide book of New Zealand printed in 1975 I have been reading makes New Zealand sound wonderful. It should be interesting how things have changed in the last 40 years. I found the book funny because the writer complains about how busy the world has become back in 1975, I am sure his head would be spinning today. I feel the same way as writer did back in 1975 and a few of the local New Zealand farmers complaining about how the country is over whelmed with population in 1975 with 3 million citizens. Now there is roughly 4 million or so. The one thing I did gather from reading the guide book is that I should try hitch hiking around New Zealand instead of driving it. The write drove everywhere and I think it would be a better adventure if I just hitched all around New Zealand instead, just a thought. Anyway I decided to live more in the moment because it seems that no matter what time in history it is we all think the past is better more or less.
Current position 29 deg 38.0min South, 174deg 02.2min East, COG 175deg, SOG 6kts, WD 110deg E, WS 11kts, Air Temp 66.2 F, Water Temp 77.3, Swell <1meter Yesterdays air temp was 68 F.
Live in the Moment,
Day 4 Passage to New Zealand “I go up, I go Down”
For the last 4 days my world has been a non stop motion of climbing swells and then going down swells. I feel like I am on a giant teeter-totter with no end in sight. Yesterday well making black beans and rice in the pressure cooker I fell backwards and stopped my fall with my back right heel and today it is black and blue. I also slipped down the companion way and twisted my left big toe. I never thought I could twist a toe but it does happen. Anyway the rest of the crew is earning there passage bruises and are enjoying the motion of the ocean until today. I have finally found Jess, and Jades point at which they wished the rocking would stop, haha WIN! On anther note we had a slow day today only 133 nautical miles completed in 24 hours but I am pointed very hard into the wind trying to make east progress before I run out of wind. Apparently in one of the worlds most dangerous ocean crossing I am about to run out of wind 300 nautical miles offshore, “that sounds about right”. So I am trying to position myself with the wind at my back so I can run down wind into Opua with a spinnaker flying and hopefully with five to six knots of wind I will make five knots of speed. O yeah, Jess is baking bread and it smells great, all our bread we bought the day before we left Fiji had molded on it the next day. SON OF B!
Current Position: 03:10utc, 27deg 32.4min South, 173deg 52.7min East, COG 161deg, SOG 5.5kts, WS 20kts, WD 110deg, Swell 2 meters, Water Temp 79deg F, Air Temp deg F, 1016MilBars
Keep on Keeping on,
Day 3 Passage to New Zealand “Battle in the Bathroom”
Yes, another close hauled sailing day at 20 degree heel, which means we are sailing into the waves and wind at 40 degrees off our port side. Dragonsbane is once again bouncing up and down all the way to New Zealand in 2 meter swells with 24 knots of wind. I am sure that you are asking yourself about the title of this blog and I shall explain. But first you have to know that well passage making on a ocean with waves crashing over the decks and Dragonsbane jumping up, down, sideways, and backwards it makes the practice of shaving your face a some what lethal sport. I for one will have a long haired flavor saver I call my red haired beard.
This afternoon after a few days without a shower I decided it was time to have a wash cloth bath. Now I know that some of you are thinking that a few days is one to many. Well let me tell you why I put up with the stink from under my pits. In order to wash your body I like to strip down to my birthday suit and lock myself into the head/bathroom. Now as Dragonsbane bashes her way through the ocean I like to get a good rhythm of her moving all over. I then fill the little sink with water/soap and anticipate my first washing maneuver. I usually start with my face so all dirt flows down. This requires a two hand maneuver witch is a problem because you have nothing to brace yourself. So I time the swell, wash fast and feel myself being slammed into the door knob and then I lose my balance and hit my head on the low ceiling in front of myself. Ok, good job still standing and my face is clean, screw the rinse as the ocean does that in the cockpit. Now my back, I like to do this maneuver by leaning back on my shoulder blades well having one leg up on the sink for bracing with anticipation of any crazy shift in the boat. Now this sounds like a fool proof plan but it’s once again a no hander situation. I like to use the wash cloth behind my back moving it from left to right and so on. Now because I started the process with my head, the floor, walls, and the edge of the sink is very wet and soapy. Well washing my back Dragonsbane moves sideways and down causing you to brace with your feet but you slip and land on your butt, soap on the door now and a bruised shine from the sink, bump on the back of my head, but your back is somewhat clean. Ok so now the part that you all have been waiting for the front side down to the toes. This is the point that I give up with bracing and balance. I wet the wash cloth and time the swells, wash with great vigor from my chest down to my waist. I then carefully polish my fun zone and risen well. At this point its just a few motions down one leg and the other. During this frontal maneuver your body becomes a pendulum with in a box bouncing from wall to wall, pointy object to pointy object. After completing the wash cloth cleaning maneuvers you should only have a dozen or so bruises and a very well prepped bathroom to be cleaned when you get to shore.
Current Position: 25deg 18.5min South, 174deg 16.5min East, COG 200deg, SOG 8.4knots, WS 24knots, Swell 2 meters, WD 134deg ESE, Water Temp 84. deg F, Air Temp 62deg F, Completed 180 Nautical Miles in 24 HOURS NEW RECORD
Day 2 Passage to New Zealand
Once again I can report that we have completed 156 nautical mile day and are track to make it to New Zealand by Monday 18th of November. The wind has been maintaining 20 to 24 knots in the last few hours but early this morning we did have a spell of 12 knots winds that appeared to clock to our nose. I thought like always the wind would turn to the direction of were we want to go. But after tacking out the 2 reefs in the main, raising up the staysail, and a full jib we were back up to to 7 knots of boat speed passing the low wind speed slick. We now have 2 reefs in the main, full staysail, and reefed jib making 7 to 9 knots in 23 knots of wind. Lots of ocean water coming over the decks but nothing to worry about. We are holding on to our pants but we are flying!
Current Position UTC03:33, 23deg 07.0min South 175deg 51.3min East, COG 198degs, SOG 7.6kts, WS 20 to 24kts, Swell 1 to 2 meters, WD 135deg ESE, Cloudy/overcast.
COG: Course Over Ground/Heading
SOG: Speed Over Ground/boat speed in Knots
WS: Wind Speed/Apparent Wind Speed
Thanks for Checking up on Dragonsbane and Crew,
Out on the Blue Water Once Again
It feels great to be out on the blue water again with waves crashing over the deck of Dragonsbane as we sail south to New Zealand at 7 knots. We have been reaching speeds sustained speeds of 8 to 9 knots so far as the winds blow 20 to 25 knots. In our first 24 hours of sailing we have made good ground of 165 nautical miles with 941 nautical miles remaining. Not a bad start to our voyage even if we all felt a little sick when we started.
We had the bright idea that after we fueled up and topped up the fresh water tanks we would take our last 20 dollars of Fiji money and buy dollar snacks from the bar. This sounded like a great way to spend that last little bit of coin and get some good junk food. Well we all got 2 ice cream bars, 2 bags of chips, 1 soda, and because we were running around all morning we didn’t eat lunch or breakfast. So guess what we did, we ate all our junk food on the way out to sea. As soon as we were in the 1 meter swell it became very obvious that you don’t start out a 10 day voyage with ice cream, chips, and soda. Good news is everybody is feeling better this after noon and we are excited for what’s to come.
Current Position: UTC 03:10, 20deg 34.0min South, 176deg 51.0min East; COG 201deg, SOG 8kts, WS 24knots, WD 132deg ese, Swell 1 to 2 meters, Cloudy over cast ski
Off to New Zealand
We only have to get fuel and fresh water and we are off to New Zealand. It should take 10 to 14 days given good weather and seas. I am excited and looking forward to the passage and like always I will post everyday showing our progress.
Gearing Up For The New Zealand Voyage
The last three days have been spent repairing, cleaning, and overlooking Dragonsbane right down to the last bolt. I have been watching the weather windows to make our 1400 nautical mile voyage to Opua New Zealand. We will be departing Suva, Fiji on Monday 11/11/13 afternoon for New Zealand. We will sail through the south Pacific Cyclone belt and down to were the gale winds of northern New Zealand blow by at 50 knots. I have been looking forward to this challenge for a few months and its great that it is finally here. It should be a wet and wild ride down. Like always I will post my position and whats going on each day.
Early Start, But a Few Problems Fiji
I woke up thinking that it was five in the morning because of daylight savings time and I actual woke up at six so I already started my day behind. My plan was to get up early and sail to Namena Marina Park to do some finally scuba diving. Realizing the time I quickly grabbed the dinghy and Jess helped me get it on deck. Then we put everything that could fly around the boat away. I fired up the engine and Ben went forward to retrieve the anchor but the windless push button would not engage the windless electric motor. So Ben and pulled the 200 feet of chain up and stored it. Mean while I went back to the helm to discover that the Garmin Chart plotter was not receiving any GPS signal. So I pull the wires off the back cleaned them and plugged them back in and it fired up and worked correctly. I motored through the 100 yard coral passage and out into the ocean. The wind that we hoped for was not there and we had to motor. SO well the ocean was calm I went up into the anchor locker and took apart the wireing on the windless and snapped a power bolt stud off because it was froze in salt. I spent six hours upside down in a small box called the anchor locker and sweated my butt off. The good news is that after drilling the bolt, retapping and installing a new bolt I was able to put a strong patch on the windless. I also cleaned and replaced any bad wire connections. The really crappie thing is that the windless was not working because a small nut holding on the negative wire on the push button switch was a little lose and caused it to stop working. So after six hours fixing the windless that I broke, it only took 30 second to tighten the nut on the push button which caused the problem in the first place.
After all that fun in the sun we approached the North entrance to Namena Marina Park but all the passage markers were missing. So I relied on visual navigation and prayed that my charts were correct. Well I could not see the reefs and the passage was narrow. The chart indicated 30 feet to clear the reef into the lagoon. The actual depth in the passage was 122 feet and I never saw the reef or coral heads. I guess I picked a deep passage then shown on the chart maybe. Who knows, but I cleared through and found the anchorage off of a private Island. We are looking forward to Diving early tomorrow and then off to Suva before we make our big passage to New Zealand.