2003 Dec 30 – Jan 14: Nelson to Auckland, NZ

David Radtke, our friend from Russell, Bay of Islands, arrived on the day after Christmas, after a 24 hour bus trip. No flights were available, due to the holidays. He had bought the last ferry ticket to cross Cook Strait. We were very grateful that he had persisted against all odds and discomforts of the trip from Russell, to come to crew aboard ADAGIO. Our passage to Auckland would involve several challenges, including crossing Cook Strait which separates the North Island from the South Island, and rounding East Cape, the most eastern point of land in the eastern hemisphere. David and his wife Susan cruised their sailboat SLOOP DU JOUR for many years before landing in New Zealand. They had crewed aboard ADAGIO for her maiden voyage from New Zealand to New Caledonia in year 2000. David “knew the ropes” aboard ADAGIO, and brought with him a level head and a fun sense of humor.

We departed Nelson Harbor at 1140 hours on December 30. Most of the hills of the Marlborough Sounds have been logged bare, and mussel farms line many of the shores. The wind “bullets” can be funneled down the valleys, so we would choose our anchorages carefully. Three hours later we were entering Croisilles Harbour where we picked up the mooring owned by Dick and Babbie, in Wairangi Bay, inshore of mussel farms. The sunset was framed in the mouth of the inlet whose tree-lined headlands stood in stark silhouette.

The next morning we navigated the treacherous narrows of French Pass at favorable tides, rounded Cape Jackson and headed in to Queen Charlotte Sound. We lowered the anchor in Ngakuta Bay, a beautiful cove, just large enough for ADAGIO to swing. The quarter moon shone ahead, over the bush-clad hills. Fresh breezes died before dusk. The setting sun blazed on the hills astern. Songbirds sang ashore, celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Cook Strait Jan 1, 2004

The first day of the year 2004 we anchored in Umungata, and departed the next morning for Tory Channel. We checked the tide and current tables and ferry schedules, and timed our pre-dawn departure and passage out into Cook Strait at favorable tides and with a minimum of ferry traffic.

The weather forecast for Cook Strait was 15 knots of wind out of the north increasing to 25 knots in the morning. Sea rough. SE swell 2 meters easing. Outlook 25 knots of northerly winds. At 0700 hours we put one reef in the mainsail.

We could see a snow-topped mountain on the South Island off our port quarter, and the rugged coast of the North Island abeam to port. Waves decreased as we came more into the lee of the North Island. The waves had been a bit rough and on the beam. Earlier the wind speed had varied between 15 and 30 knots.

By 0930 hours the wind increased again to more than 30 knots. ADAGIO surfed at 14 knots. The wind was backing to the northwest. By 1015 hours the wind and waves had eased a bit. The seas were more comfortable on our port quarter. An albatross circled as we crossed Cook Strait in good time.

North of Cape Palliser the winds went light, but then we sailed into a new wind. It was the forecast northeasterly wind. We saw that we would be able to tack when we were abeam of Cape Palliser. By evening we were motoring into 1.5 meter seas and 8 knots of NE wind. Our 7 PM log reads: “Motoring into the seas. Quarter moon ahead. Sky clear. Occasional dolphins, shearwaters, albatross. Occasional ship or sailboat out to sea on reciprocal course to ours.”

At three in the morning we passed Cape Turnagain. As the seas calmed, the ride became more comfortable. We continued motoring on towards Napier, estimated time of arrival about noon, January 3, 2004, where we would take on fuel. Sunrise brought dolphins. Abeam of Blackhead Point the seas turned to smooth swells on our bows. Ashore to port were huge, rounded, peaked sand dunes. At 10:30 AM the Inmarsat-C notice reported a 3 meter long submerged log off of Gable Cape Foreland, close to our planned route around East Cape. This warranted watching.

Napier

n Napier we purchased 911 litres of diesel fuel from a Caltex truck, as the fuel dock accepted only Caltex credit cards, not Visa, and it was a Sunday. Napier is the NZ town that was destroyed by an earthquake and completely rebuilt in Art Nouveau architecture.

During the evening we reduced the engine rpms to have a more comfortable ride into the seas. The countercurrents caused uncomfortable seas in Hawkes Bay. We hoped that the seas would smooth as soon as we rounded Portland Island.

At midnight the northerly winds increased to 18 knots. We altered course after rounding Portland Island and the Mahia Peninsula. Early on the morning of January 4 the seas were up to 2 meters high and the winds still on the nose at 16 knots. At 0430 hours we bailed out and headed for Gisborne. Waves washed up the front windows from time to time. The seas were rough enough that we were not sleeping. ADAGIO had been bashing into the wind and seas. After we altered course, the seas were still on the nose, but were expected to diminish as we sailed into the lee of the land. We sailed into Poverty Bay.

A gale warning was in force for the Castle Point region of the coast, south of us. Seas had been calm when we transited the area. A 1022 High over the Tasman sea was sending a ridge onto the North Island. A slow moving and weakening front lay over far south of the South Island. Our local forecast was for 20 knot northerly winds, not at all suitable for rounding East Cape.

Gisborne

We entered Gisborne Harbour Marina the morning of January 4. After many unanswered phone calls to the Harbor Master, Gisborne City Council, we tied up in a slip owned by Fred on the game fishing boat BLACK WATCH, with the possibility that we would have to move to a different location when Fred returned in the afternoon. Fred was most gracious and allowed us to use his berth.

The bashing to windward had tired us out. After much research and talking to the New Zealand Meteorological Service’s weather ambassador, Bob McDavitt, we set our departure date for Saturday. This would give us time to complete some maintenance tasks, visit friends who lived on Great Barrier Island, and then go in to the Westhaven Marina in Auckland on January 15.

Dorothy snorkeled in the Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, East Coast Hawkes Bay Conservancy, as the guest of the Department of Conservation Program Manager for the Gisborne area. We had met him at a cafe near the marina, and I had asked if there were any natural history tours of the area. He said that I could join him for his first day back at work after the holidays. He took me on a tour of the very scenic coastline, including the monument marking the place where Captain James Cook had made his first landing in New Zealand. It is also believed to be where one of the great Maori canoes first made landfall.

This coast is the premier surfing region of New Zealand, and I could see where the surf breaks would be awesome. These are the beaches where the movie “Whale Rider” was filmed. Many of the locals were extras in the cast. The world premier showing of the movie was here in Gisborne, and the audience hooted and hollered as each of them appeared on screen.

The lagoon where I snorkeled is protected from the surf by a reef. A sandy bottom over which grew a forest of kelp, in two to three meters of water, is the habitat for large crayfish, which is what New Zealanders call lobsters. I found many of them under the overhangs and under the kelp. They are the colorful orange and yellow type which do not have claws. The reserve is protecting a population of crays which grow to be a much larger size than the crays that are caught outside the reserve. The crays in the reserve also have abandoned their nocturnal habits and have been observed parading around in broad daylight.

We passed a sign pointing to the “Whale Grave”, where 57 sperm whales were buried by the locals after beaching themselves many years ago.

There is a great deal of pride in this town where many tourists came to watch the first rays of sun of the new millenium. The school children were each given a ceramic tile to decorate before firing, to commemorate the millenium. The tiles have been installed in a waterfront wall, beautiful to see, not far from the lovely river where paddling canoes practice their racing form.

East Cape

On January 10 we departed Gisborne, having enjoyed touring the town and waterfront. The forecast was for winds “SW 15 tending NE in evening becoming SE 20 about East Cape in the evening. Sea becoming moderate in the north. NE swell 2M. Outlook NE 15, but SE 20 about East cape”. These would be excellent conditions for rounding the notorious East Cape of New Zealand.

Captain James Cook named the points of land along this coast in 1769. He first made landfall in New Zealand at what is now the town of Gisborne. He named the location Poverty Bay because the local Maori people seemed very poor. He then sailed south along the coast. At the south end of what he named Hawke’s Bay, Maori took a servant boy but released him after gunfire. Cook called the place Cape Kidnappers. Where Cook decided to turn back north he named Cape Turnagain. North of East Cape he sailed across a wide bay and observed that it was well populated with Maori and looked fertile so he called it the Bay of Plenty.

At 2 PM in 11 knots of a southeasterly wind, we were 4 nautical miles SE of East Island which forms the eastern point of the cape. Seas were slight. A 2 knot contrary current slowed our progress a bit. All was well. We rounded East Cape in 14 knots of SE winds at 3 PM on January 10, 2004. The following wind and seas increased during the afternoon, but in the evening log we entered, “Beautiful rose sunset flaming up from the horizon. Seas easing a bit. Wind speed down. Should be a quiet night as we cross the Bay of Plenty.” The active volcano White Island was abeam at midnight.

At 6:30 in the morning of January 11, our log entry was, “Calm morning with waning moon ahead and rising sun astern. Clouds ring the horizon. We should see the Cormandel Peninsula soon. Our position is 34 nm due east of Mercury Bay.” The weather forecast for the Hauraki Gulf and Great Barrier Island was looking good: “Hauraki Gulf: SW 10 tending E10 this morning. Sea slight, fine weather. Outlook: SW 10, fine with some cloudy periods. Swell increasing to 2.5 m.”

Great Barrier Island

By 3 PM on January 11, we had set our anchor in 10 meters of water at the head of Whangaparapara Harbour, Great Barrier Island. Surrounded by green hills, several boats on moorings and several more on anchor. Helmut & Meryl of the sailing catamaran FALLADO have their house at the head of the bay. We phoned their cell phone to learn that they were still in Picton, waiting for a weather window to come north. They offered us their mooring in this bay, but we preferred to anchor. We slept well.

The next morning we headed over to Port Fitzroy in the center of the island. By noon we had set our anchor in charming Kiwiriki Bay in 8 meters of water. Beautiful. Only one other boat. We had considered anchoring in Wairahi Bay, but there were already a dozen boats anchored there. Before dark, 12 other boats were anchored on the eastern side of the Kiwiriki Bay. We seemed to have the best anchorage on the west side of the bay.

Our January 13 morning log reads, “A mostly cloudy morning anchored in Kiwiriki Bay. Songbirds and cicadas in the bush. The shoreline is decorated with Pohutukawa trees, boughs reaching out over the water. Beautiful forested hills and rocky islands. The Great Barrier Island guide book calls this a “lowland mixed broad leaf forest”. Pohutukawas, the New Zealand Christmas tree, were still in bloom. One tree had a much lighter shade of red blossoms than the others. Some tea tree still with white blossoms.” David and Dorothy walked along the Kiwiriki track ashore, through a successfully regenerating native forest. Many Kowhai trees, some quite large, also a very large Kohekohe tree. Some Kauri trees beginning to tower over the tea trees. Beautiful stream with rounded boulders.

Auckland, Westhaven Marina

On the morning of January 14 we departed for Auckland. Our 9:30 AM log entry reads, “Seas are slight. We have about a .5 knot current going with us, as tide is flooding towards Auckland. Tiritiri Matangi Island is visible ahead to starboard. Waiheke Island and The Noises are ahead to port. Rangitoto volcanic cone is silhouetted on the horizon off our port bow. Occasional outbreaks of sunshine. Rain showers to the north are moving away.”

Even though we had arrived a day before our reservation was to begin, the staff at Westhaven Marina managed to squeeze us onto the end of XWV dock, in full view of the Auckland Sky Tower, blazing sunsets and the Auckland city skyline.

While in Auckland we planned to meet with our sail maker, rig maker, and other marine tradesmen to give ADAGIO a thorough going over and seek advice for some modifications.



Steve had ordered a spinnaker for ADAGIO. We wanted to try it out with the sailmaker aboard. Even with our wonderful sails, we have done a lot of powering, so we hoped the spinnaker would allow us to keep sailing downwind in light breezes. Steve worked with an engineer to resolve some problems with our generator. We consulted with our sail maker regarding solutions for controlling the angle of our boom while reefing the mainsail. Also we needed to improve the hardware for the downhauls on our jib and reacher when sailing off the wind.

Our very good friend David Radtke returned home on Friday. He was good company as well as very experienced crew. After completing our tasks in Auckland, we planned to make our way north to the Bay of Islands, continuing to follow in the wake of Captain Cook, and put ADAGIO in the capable hands of our boat builder for several months, while we prepared our house for sale.

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2003 Nov 28: Christmas in Nelson, New Zealand

On November 28, 2003, after a rollicking passage from Hobart, Tasmania, we arrived aboard ADAGIO at the Customs Dock, “D” pier, in the Nelson New Zealand Marina and were met by Customs and Agriculture representatives at 2330 hours. This was our first visit to Nelson, although several of our friends lived there. Our long time friend from Russell, Eva Brown, came aboard as soon as she could. It was just like old times, and we had much catching up to do. She showed us around town, invited us into her beautiful home and introduced us to many of her friends.

Two very special cruisers whom we had been looking forward to meeting were Maurice and Katie Cloughley, of the sailing vessel NANOOK OF THE NORTH. Their small sailing vessel had carried them on several circumnavigations, including the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea and Soviet Union east coast. They published two books of their travels, illustrated with Maurice’s exquisite woodblock prints and drawings. We made the short walk from the marina to their home. Maurice said that they had never owned a car and that this was their first house. They wanted to be within walking distance of the marina so that after a rainfall Maurice could walk to the marina to throw buckets of salt water onto NANOOK’s wooden decks to preserve the wood.

By December 4 I had completed most of my boat tasks, which consisted mainly of cleaning up salt water which had made its way into places we had never had it before. Just before sunset I biked along the waterfront and then to the grocery store for blueberries for the next morning’s breakfast.

On the way I watched Polynesian paddlers bringing their long canoe ashore after a practice session, and several rowing hulls returning to the Nelson Rowing Club. At the headland, a half dozen people had fishing lines in the water hoping to land a fresh fish for dinner.

The bike trail away from town follows an inlet across from the green cone-shaped hills which rise up behind Nelson, with small cottages nestled among the trees. Our friend Eva’s townhouse is on a hill behind the cathedral in town, and we visited her almost every day.

As I turned towards town, the Highland Pipe Band was tuning up. They marched out to the lawn for a run-through of their bagpipe and drum music. About 10 pipers, aged from their teens to their sixties, formed a circle around a very large drum on which a man beat the time. Nearby I looked into the windows of an arts center, and studied the arts calendar which was posted on the door.

Several casual lawn tennis courts were full of young players, and a concrete series of ramps and hills was busy with skateboards and bikes.

The following afternoon a dozen sailboats left the marina for the Wednesday night race. Nelson certainly is a sporting place, with something for everyone.

I collected calendars of events and brochures at the Information Centre. Holiday activities included music concerts, art exhibits, a ballet performance, and choral music.

Steve was just about back to normal, after suffering from a very sore lower back, so I was feeling more relaxed. We visited with some of our neighboring sailing friends, circumnavigators and locals, to obtain advice about which route to follow through the Marlborough Sounds and north to the Bay of Islands on the North Island. Meanwhile, we had more boat repairs to complete before we could go anywhere. Our tasks list included sending our two headsails to Auckland for cleaning and examination, replacing some of the running rigging, and last but not least updating our web site and perhaps writing a Christmas newsletter.

Our work list contained numerous boat repairs due to events that had occurred during our passage from Hobart to Nelson. I replaced the mainsail furling line and replaced the broken stitches in the head of the mainsail, which had probably been chafed by the reacher halyard during our exciting reacher incident while crossing the Tasman Sea in November.

Steve supervised the workers who reinforced the alternator brackets and reinstalled them and the alternators back onto the engines. This was the third time the Electrodyne brackets had failed. The result was that on the port side, the terminals had shorted on hose wires, fried the alternator, and cooked out grease that our crew member Pete had discovered on the sole of the engine room. This nearly resulted in a flooded engine room due to a seacock we were unable to close. When we get to Allan Legge’s yard in the BOI we are going to re-engineer these alternator brackets for good!

Steve inspected the entire steering system and tightened all the ram securing bolts. None were loose, as each could be taken up less than 1/8 turn. On the pump manifold, the forward input hose again showed a drop of oil. He snugged the inner mandrel and flare; did not try to snug hose to barrel. All else looked good. We don’t want that system to fail on us.

I squeezed through one of the holes under the winch console and removed the Lewmar electric winch controller box for Steve to send off for replacement. It’s a good thing I had lost a little weight during the passage from Hobart. We removed and inspected the second controller box as well. Steve found salt water inside the box, and no wonder, as a drain hole had been located directly beneath where the boxes were mounted, and no doubt salt water had been geysering up through that hole onto the boxes during our passage.

When we had the electric winches working again, Steve hauled me up the mast to send down messenger lines terminated with fishing weights in preparation for reeving the reacher and jib halyards. Steve secured the tails for the messenger lines at the bow. Then we both went in to town for the Nelson Saturday Market. When Dorothy returned to the boat the true wind speed was 31 knots from the north, and had blown the reacher messenger line out of the sheave at the top of the mast and into the water forward of ADAGIO. The messenger line for the jib had been blown half way out, so Dorothy pulled it out the rest of the way, to prevent it from becoming a hazard to navigation in the channel in front of ADAGIO. A second trip up the mast was in order as soon as the wind died.

As I was inspecting the salt water leaks from the chainplates in the starboard hull wet locker, I was puzzled by water having soaked the bosun’s chair that was stowed on the floor of the locker, but found no water standing in the bottom of the locker. I took everything out of the locker, and when I tilted the seaboot that had been directly beneath the chainplate, salt water spilled out and all over the carpet. The boot had been collecting most of the salt water that leaked from the chain plate! Another refit job for Allan Legge.

Before departing Hobart, Steve had cleaned and lubricated all hatch seals, using silicone grease. That’s why we had no leaking hatches during our passage.

We were once again enjoying the cultural diversity of this wonderful country. Our Hungarian friend Eva and her Dutch friend Edi and Kiwi doctor friend David Scott joined us for an amazing evening of “Cantos Nativos, Musical works inspired by Spain and its influence on the musical world”, performed by the local choir called “Polyhymnos”, a very talented group of a capella singers. The guest artists were Paolo and Sara Grossi, Latin Guitarist and Vocalist, a couple from Mexico, also friends of Eva, who have immigrated to New Zealand. The performance was held in the elegant English style Nelson Cathedral, perched on a hill surrounded by a park of enormus trees.

For a town of 100,000 people, the talent which surrounded us was outstanding. There were hundreds of painters, potters, photographers, wood workers, weavers, textile artists — you name it. Several galleries graced every street, and Nelson is the site of an annual international Wearable Art festival, for which they even have an elegant museum. There is also an accredited school of music in Nelson. We were fortunate to have friends there with whom we could share these treasures. Many of the artists exhibited at the Saturday morning market in the center of town, where the farmers also sell their fresh-picked produce. No hustle and bustle here, no traffic jams, no shopping centers. To top it off, Nelson is situated in a “Blue Hole” of fine weather.

The weather at Christmas in Nelson was splendid during that southern hemisphere summer, and we were enjoying spending time with some of the experienced local cruisers and seeking their advice for our further cruising plans.

Our friends Dick and Babbie, whom we had first met in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand five years ago, lived aboard their sail boat PHARON in the Nelson Marina. Babbie stood for office of Councilor in the local elections and won! So in addition to working for the local TV station, she was busy improving Nelson. Among other things, she and Dick were responsible for the colorful hanging baskets of flowers which line the main street of Nelson, complete with automatic irrigation systems.

We met Robin and Kelly who live aboard Hiscock’s original WANDERER IV, in which they have circumnavigated more than once.

We finally met face to face our friends Adrian Faulkner and Helen Tyson, with whom we had only corresponded by mail and emails over the years. While ADAGIO was under construction, Adrian had provided information about the excellent S.P.A.D.E. anchor. He appeared on the Nelson Marina dock beside ADAGIO one morning and introduced himself. We were delighted to meet him at long last. We visited his home and met Helen, and were invited to join them for Christmas dinner. We offered to bring our traditional Peking Duck with all the trimmings. It was the first time I had roasted a duck aboard ADAGIO.

Our Christmas was a quiet one this year. Santa brought pressies in the morning after breakfast: new sailing gloves, a small toaster, lights for our bicycles, reuseable wine bottle corks, and hats embroidered with the word “Adagio”. We listened to some irreverent but fun Aussie Christmas “carols”, with titles like “Deck the Shed with bits of Wattle”, “Father Christmas Showed Me how to Yodel”, “Santa Never Made it into Darwin”, “Santa’s Moving to the South Pole”, “Australians Let Us Barbeque”, and “Boombah The Snowman”.

At the home of Adrian and Helen, the other dinner guests were Ron, the New Zealand expert on the endangered kakapo ground parrot, and his wife, a young Chinese woman named Rebecca who had been in New Zealand for only six months. Before she had left China, her friends took her out to eat at the restaurants in Bejing which specialized in serving Peking Duck, convinced that she would not be able to find Peking Duck to eat in New Zealand.

So, unable to be in Bainbridge Island to prepare this meal for our daughter Kim and her family, the next best thing was for me to make this lovely Chinese woman feel welcome and at home in her new country, by preparing her favorite dish.

She inspected the jar of hoisin sauce, and approve it, then complemented me on my preparation of the meal, and even suggested an enhancement. She said that in Bejing, thin sticks of cucumber are served with the Peking Duck, to refresh the mouth between pancake-fulls of duck, skin, scallion and hoisin sauce. Rebecca’s husband told me that not very many Chinese families make their own Peking Duck.

Ron told us that the kakapo ground parrots were thriving on an island sanctuary off the coast of the South Island. Every three years or so the rimu tree on which the kakapos are dependent for food bear a bumper crop of fruit and seeds. 2003 had been such a year, and 23 baby kakapos hatched and survived. The male kakapos find a bit of high ground from which to display their attributes, in a performance called “booming”. The females come over to have a look. Out of about a dozen males on the island, four of the males fathered the 23 babies. So those four have what it takes to attract the girls. Kakapo ground parrots have a life expectancy of more than 70 years.

Rebecca worked in China for an international organization for the preservation of endangered species. She told us that in China, work is proceeding to save the Eastern Elephant, the Panda, and raptors.

2003 Nov 22 – 28: Hobart to Nelson, Tasman Sea Passage

On November 22, the Hobart Customs officer had kindly arrived early to check us out, enabling us to take on 1000 litres of diesel fuel and make a 0930 hours departure. After crossing Storm Bay, we rounded Cape Raoul, its spectacular outline silhouetted against the blue sky. By lunch time we had furled the reacher and were passing between Tasman Island and Cape Pillar, some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world, threatened on our port side by dolorite needles and to starboard by the spectacular island on the southeast corner of Tasmania. Soon we were making 13 knots boatspeed in 27 knots of wind. We averaged 10 knots for the next several hours under full main and jib with winds in the low 20’s on our starboard quarter. This was Pete’s first Tasman Sea crossing and the word he chose to describe his experience was, “Sen-SAY-tional!”

An albatross joined us just before sunset and glided with us all the way to New Zealand, bringing an aura of calm over a turbulent seascape, spinning great serene spirals around and around us.

We motorsailed in light winds for most of the second day, to maintain our boat speed, but occasional squalls brought us winds in the mid 20’s. Black and white storm petrels danced above the waves around us, and several shearwaters joined the albatross in patrolling our skies.

After dinner on the third day, Steve entered into the log, “Still making 200nm/day, 469nm since departing Hobart, traveling at 8.35kn over the bottom; 680nm remaining to Cape Farewell”.

Freshening breezes arrived on day three, with showers and rainbows. We were reaching comfortably under full sail and making good speed towards New Zealand, all systems working smoothly. Then a whirring sound came from the direction of the cockpit. The Lewmar mainsheet electric winch had self-activated. Pete quickly took the line out of the self-furler, while Steve flipped off the circuit breaker – whew, no damage done! During our passage from New Zealand to New Caledonia in year 2000, our other electric winch controller had failed in a similar fashion.

Early on the sixth day of our passage from Hobart, Tasmania to Nelson, New Zealand, gale force winds had been blowing in the mid to high 30’s for 24 hours, and the seas were continuing to build but not yet breaking dangerously. The true wind angle was 130 degrees and the angle of the seas similar, so when the crest of one of the largest five to six meter waves broke close astern, ADAGIO received either a noisy strike on the starboard quarter, or a cascade into the cockpit.

The forecast of light winds on the third day had turned into something very different. The stationary high west of Tasmania was ridging in over the Tasman Sea, and a low to the south was moving away from us towards the east. A weak low east of the Australian mainland was expected to move towards the southeast and cross New Zealand’s North Island, but it had been joined by a trio of lows that were now tracking in a more southerly direction, increasing the pressure gradient between the two weather systems, and thus increasing the speed of our winds and the height of our waves.

While Dorothy rested off watch below, Steve and Pete consulted on our heavy weather options before Steve went off watch, looking forward to maybe six hours of sleep. Our watch schedule of three hours on and six hours off was a huge improvement over our normal four hour rotation when just the two of us are aboard. More important was being able to turn the watch over to a seasoned skipper like Peter Cook. This allowed both of us to not only rest but to get some real sleep knowing that we could rely upon Pete to handle anything that arose on his watch – only waking us if sail handling demanded more hands on deck.

We were not having “heavy weather” at this point in the passage. Rather the discussion about tactics revolved around what-ifs. What if the seas continued to build to a point where managing real breaking seas became an issue, say when ADAGIO would be crossing from off-soundings onto the New Zealand continental shelf? Because the winds had been exceeding previous forecasts each day for the past three days, Steve suspected that either the high to the west or the low to the north was moving faster than expected, creating a squash zone. If that scenario developed, we would have less drama if we adopted defensive tactics early before working on deck became more difficult.

Wind wasn’t a worry, nor were large waves. The concern was whether or not the waves would begin breaking such that tons of water would begin cascading down the wave faces. ADAGIO hadn’t seen such breaking waves before, so it was a comfort to have Pete’s experience aboard. From years of Sydney-Hobart and Melbourne-Hobart races Pete was comfortable that the crest-breaks slamming into our starboard side wouldn’t become actual wave breaks for some time, and before that time Farewell Spit on the northwest corner of the South Island of New Zealand should be giving us protection from the seas.

At noon on the fourth day we received an Inmarsat-C message from our ace weather router Rick Shema. Rick advised us to slow down and sail as close to the wind as conditions permitted in order to position ADAGIO as far south as possible. The winds were forecast to back to the SSE and increase, then become more southerly in direction on the fifth day and increase further to 30 knots, gusting to 34. The low to the northwest of New Zealand was forecast to continue deepening and move SE towards Nelson.

Sailing south of the rhumb line would add 100 nautical miles to our passage, but would position the anticipated larger seas on our starboard quarter after we turned northeast onto the final leg to Cape Farewell. Had we continued on the great circle route the new stronger winds and seas would have been most uncomfortable on our starboard beam. Rick suggested a 7.5kn “speed limit” until we reached an aim point of 42 30 S 165 00 E where we could bear off towards Cape Farewell. We trimmed sail for a new autopilot course of 45 degrees apparent wind angle, then confirmed the new course and speed limit via Sat-C back to Rick. We were sending position and local weather reports to Rick every twelve hours, so he could monitor our progress relative to the developing weather situation. The payoff would be well worth it, but the new more upwind course meant a day and a half of increasingly frequent wave slams on our starboard hull.

On the evening of the fourth day, we were expecting the wind to increase to 25 to 30 knots over the next twelve hours. ADAGIO’s boat speed had been a steady 10 knots while the wind had backed to a true wind angle of 85 degrees, and the seas were also moving closer to beam-on angles. Reducing boat speed by a knot or so would make the ride more comfortable, so Steve put the second reef in the mainsail.

On the morning of the fifth day, Dorothy’s log entry read, “True wind speed is 24 to 27 knots, apparent wind angle is 62°, barometer is down to 1010, rainbows to leeward and sunrise ahead”. It looked like the winds were reading Rick Shema’s script so far. The seas had built from 3 metres to around 5 metres, occasionally slamming into the hull broadside or cascading up the front windows and over the top of our coachroof.

Just after noon on the fifth day, we reached our aim point and were able to alter course towards our destination. The boat motion was much improved, except for occasional underwing slams. The barometer had fallen 10 mb in 24 hours. The true wind speed was steady in the low 30’s. Occasionally a wave would waterfall into the cockpit, draining away quickly through the large scuppers. The waves were the shape of snow-capped mountains and beautiful, parading past. One wave after the other slowly approached our starboard stern, loomed overhead, and finally lifted our stern and gracefully passed beneath us, rumbling and roaring away between our twin hulls.

We had left the reacher set on its furling gear in anticipation of the forecast lightening winds. At watch change Steve told Pete that he wished we had stowed the reacher earlier when the winds first rose above 25 knots. We definitely did not want it to start unfurling now. We had been expecting the winds to go light, rather than to gale force – that was the logic for leaving the reacher rigged. Just five minutes later a small section near the top of the reacher escaped the furl and began loudly flogging in the wind.

Steve changed course, steering ADAGIO as close to dead downwind as was safe, to minimize the chance of seas breaking over the decks. Pete and Dorothy went forward to lower and stow the sail. In the excitement, Dorothy forgot to uncoil the halyard and make it free for running and was left with a rats nest of line. While she unsnarled it, Pete was unable to hold the wildly snaking sail in the increasing winds. When the halyard was let go, the furled sail flew out spectacularly to leeward. When Pete cut the tail of the halyard free of the jammer, the sail sank beneath the boat and trailed between Adagio’s hulls from its furling drum.

Dorothy looked astern and saw a huge wave and black sky. Thinking a squall was upon us, she cried, “Cut it loose!” Steve and Pete conferred through an opening front window port, then Pete calmly asked Dorothy to go forward and tie a rolling hitch around the sail and bring the line back to the windlass which hauled in the sail. A second line was tied around the sail and brought back to the second windlass. Steve operated the two windlasses from inside at the nav station. Pete and Dorothy alternated the lines from windlass to windlass, slowly retrieving the sail aboard over the top of the forebeam, removed the sheets and stowed it in the starboard bow locker. Lots of adrenaline was spilled, but we saved our $10,000 sail from the deep. Soon after this excitement, the true wind speed rose to the high 30’s, gusting to 42. The seas were rough under a starry sky. Some quite large wave slams boomed at midnight, during Steve’s watch, exploding just a few inches from Dorothy as she dozed on the master berth.

The winds were forecast to decrease during the sixth day but remained in the upper 30’s for another 24 hours. Before dinner, Pete found that we were wallowing a bit in the wave troughs, so he unfurled the jib to increase our boat speed and thus the flow of the water over our rudders [no flow, no steer]. Every 30 minutes or so a big wave slammed against our weather hull.

During Pete’s night watch, the sea state had reached the point where we needed to move away from the wave crests more quickly. The autopilot course had ADAGIO angling down the wave faces, so Pete switched to hand steering for a while – “straight down the fall line”, we used to say when skiing. Soon he bested ADAGIO’s old 20 knot speed record, entering into the log, “Cruising nicely, surfing down waves, touched 21.8 knots, gusting 48 knots. Lots of rain squalls visible on radar. Sen-SAY-tional!” Out in the cockpit, two-metre high geysers shot up through the underwing scuppers, followed by a couple of waterfalls into the cockpit.

After we had passed north of the aptly named Cape Foulwind in rain squalls, the wind veered 30 degrees, then backed 100 degrees. We motorsailed to get ourselves out of the increasingly rough seas caused by wind against current.

The wind was right on the nose at 30 knots, as we headed towards Cape Farewell, so we furled all sails. A mainsail batten jammed forward, beneath the feeder, so we could not completely furl the sail. No worries, as the sail was mostly lowered. The wind direction changed again to the northeast, now a nasty wind-against-seas, so we bashed to windward under power. The seas finally decreased as we rounded six miles beyond the end of Cape Farewell.

Western Tasman Bay was placid, as it is protected from the prevailing winds by the Tasman Mountains and the Arthur Ranges. With a sunset flaming from behind Abel Tasman Park to starboard, dolphins played on our bow waves.

The night entry into the port of Nelson was straight forward thanks to excellent navigation marks and up to date charts. Officials from Customs and Agriculture met us at the Customs dock at midnight. They seemed in no rush, in spite of the late hour. After we had been welcomed into New Zealand, we treated ourselves to a congratulatory bottle of red wine then happily ended our watch system and fell into bed, six and a half days and 1300 nautical miles from Hobart.

The Tasman Sea is fickle and unpredictable, with highs ridging in from the west, lows passing to the south, lows coming down from the northwest, lows following highs from the west, and fronts approaching from the west and the south. The frequency with which the forecasts changed reflects the complexity of the weather. Rick Shema picked up the deepening and accelerating low well before it began to show on New Zealand and Australian surface analysis charts. Just one example of where an expert weather consultant can help make life aboard more comfortable.

ADAGIO gave her crew a comfortable ride through the Roaring Forties, and provided us with a safe platform for sail handling and working on deck. The seas were high but mostly regular. The motion of the boat was lurching only with infrequent wave slams onto the windward hull, so we were not being thrown around the boat. ADAGIO sails flat in these conditions, not heeling to wind gusts. The largest beam-on wave slams displaced the boat slightly sideways, but ADAGIO’s long waterline and powerful rudders helped the autopilot keep her well under control through the worst of the weather. Regarding how ADAGIO handles the seastate Pete said, “She is comfortable, much more comfortable than larger monohulls. And she is much better behaved, not the slightest tendency to broach when running down the wave faces. ADAGIO’s autopilot should be able to steer her in just about anything”.

Having achieved a safe and fast passage, we were humbled by the reminder that 350 years ago the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made the same passage, giving his name to Tasman Island, our point of departure, and to lovely Tasman Bay where we completed our voyage.

2003 Mar – Nov: Hobart, Tasmania

Steve visited the Salamanca Market the next day, while I napped, then we had a cook’s night out – naturally at our favorite Hobart seafood restaurant Kelleys. We were so very happy to be back in Hobart and looked forward to seeing all of our friends. There were many items on our To Do lists, so we would intersperse the work with the play. The weather was beautiful and mild — just what we had hoped for.

Soon the Ten Days on the Island Festival would begin – we had booked tickets for about ten events already!

After cruising the east coast of Australia and then crossing Bass Strait, how wonderful it was to have returned to Hobart, Tasmania. We had been looking forward to seeing our friends, indulging our passions for Hobart’s music and arts scene, fine markets and restaurants, and the local cruising grounds.

Our first visitors aboard were our dear friends Peter, Arlene and son Andrew. We took them for a day sail on the River Derwent. Other friends came aboard for the occasional sunny Sunday sail, including Margaret and Gordon, Heinz and Helen, Pat and Roger, Les and Joanne and many others. One day we counted 17 people scattered about ADAGIO’s decks and saloon.

Our friend Sam was in town aboard his immaculate fishing vessel STORM BOY, as were Peter and Barbara aboard their sailing vessel RALLINGA from Port Davey on the west coast of Tasmania. We invited Peter and Barbara to dinner aboard ADAGIO to reciprocate the hospitality they had offered to us at their home several years ago. Kevin and Beth were still in Hobart aboard their Alaskan vessel RED, and Rolf and Debra arrived aboard their Antarctic adventuring sailing vessel NORTHERN LIGHT.

In March we sailed south to North Bruny Island and invited Lesley and Robt Swan for dinner. Their two Kiwi friends Jim Dollimore and Jill Telford, from Warkworth, New Zealand, dined with us, too. The next morning we went ashore for a marvelous B&B breakfast at Robert and Lesley’s Swanhaven on Bruny, then motored around to Apollo Bay for BBQ on the beach with fellow cruisers Margaret and Gordon, Les and Joanne and Patricia and Roger. We motored back to Lindisfarne on a windless late afternoon.

At the end of March we put ADAGIO up onto Hobart’s Domain slipway for four days of repairs and hull and engine maintenance.

Tasmania’s Ten Days on the Island music, drama and arts performances kept us royally entertained, and by contrast we watched dolphins swimming and feeding between ADAGIO and the marina shore while a large seal swam by.

In April we spent two beautiful days of cruising down the d’Entrecasteaux Channel south of Hobart. We helped our friend Margaret and her husband Gordon celebrate her birthday by dining aboard their fun boat, BIRD OF DAWNING, and eating her yummy minestrone soup. I had a cake to contribute to the birthday celebration. The second night we anchored in a snug cove behind a little island, in the shadow of a 1,227 meter high mountain, with clouds and mist flowing around its peaks in the morning’s sunrise. We sailed past a pod of small dolphins and watched a large seal snorting its way through the water.

Some of the anchorages were becoming filled with salmon farm floating pens, much to the disappointment of the boating community.

The weather was so mild that we traveled many times by bicycle, crossing the bridge over the River Derwent and into Hobart and the Salamanca Market on Saturdays. Dorothy particularly enjoyed biking the riverside trail through the forest on the eastern side of the river.

We spent parts of June, July and August visiting relatives and friends in the U.S. Steve’s father passed away at the age of 96, and it was good to be with his mother and sister for a while.

Back aboard ADAGIO in August, we decided to replace our ship’s batteries, and still had a lot of reorganizing to do on the boat in preparation for our passage to New Zealand. We attended concerts almost every day as part of the Conservatorium of Music’s Spring Chamber Orchestra Festival. Wonderful violin and piano, viola, cello and guitar. The audiences were small, so we always sat in the front row. It was a good way to spend rainy days.

We had delayed our departure to the end of September. With snow on Hobart’s Mt. Wellington just about every day since our return, the top of the mountain was usually white each morning, and with the snow melting during the day. Our weather was quite unsettled — not at all conducive to voyaging across the Tasman Sea. So we kept working on preparing ADAGIO for sea, and are enjoying our friends and wonderful music performances.

Our friends Peter and Arlene and their son Andrew told us about their plans for for building their cruising yacht. Our cruising friends Jeremy and Penny flew home from New Zealand, where they had been cruising aboard ROSINANTE and sending us valuable descriptions of their adventures. Our friends aboard KATIE KAT were also in New Zealand, looking for a weather window to sail to Fiji. And our circumnagivator friends Beth and Evans contacted us from Fremantle, Australia, where they were hoping for a weather window to sail to Hobart. We were looking forward to meeting them in person, after a 5 year email friendship.

So there we were, monitoring the weather while happily enjoying the company of land-based friends, and keeping track of the whereabouts and plans of our cruising friends. Our Alaskan friends Beth and Kevin kindly annotated our maps of the West coast of the US, Canada and Alaska, as we were considering cruising in that region.

Meanwhile I needed to solve the corrosion problem on our kayak — which seemed not suited to salt water use (although the company claims it is).

On September 8 I phoned Lesley Swan at her home on North Bruny Island and learned that during the previous week’s storm (aboard ADAGIO we were experiencing wind gusts of 50 knots), thousands of farmed salmon had escaped into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, our favorite cruising grounds. The first morning Lesley had caught in her small net 27 salmon, 2-1/2 to 3 kilograms each. Over 20 more were in the net in the afternoon. Dolphins and seals were gorging themselves on the salmon throughout the area. Lesley was hauling salmon up from her boat dock in a wheelbarrow, for her freezer, and for the man in the town of Snug who smokes her fish. She was giving salmon to all of her neighbors, some of whom went out and bought new deep freezers. In exchange, her neighbors brought her huge bouquets of daffodils and freesias, which were in full bloom this time of year.

Our friends James and Jenny live north of Hobart, in the Coal River Valley, where James grows poppies and Jenny is a physician in Hobart. I took two bins full of books that we no longer need to keep aboard ADAGIO, and which Jenny and James and their two teenaged children might want to be reading. James’ spring poppy seedlings were just sprouting through the dark black soil in the fields surrounding their restored sandstone, slate-roofed home. Tasmania is the world’s greatest producer of poppies which are used to make medicinal morphine. The growing and harvesting of poppies is closely regulated in Tasmania. When the poppies are in full bloom, the hillsides are clothed in pale pink blossoms.

This year’s Tulip Festival at the Royal Botanical Gardens was blessed with a day of sunshine, sandwiched between the greatest number of rainy days for a spring season in many years (according to the locals). The University of Tasmania’s Taiko Society performed and showed us their huge Japanese drums. An alpaca farmer was displaying his stock and selling the very soft alpaca wool. Tulips of every color were blooming by the thousands, among other flowers and beneath a wonderful collection of giant trees growing on the expansive lawns where picnickers had spread their blankets and children played chase. We visited with our cruising friends Les and Joanne.

Dorothy enrolled in a Spanish class, and attended several cooking classes at our favorite deli The Wursthaus.

As we had delayed our departure we found that we were in the spring season of “equinoctial gales”. Steve prepared our parachute anchor in case we might need to “park” our boat at sea while we waited for a cold front to pass over us. After three years of cruising, it was high time that I go through the entire boat and take off the items that we were not using, and update our computer-based master inventory, so we would know where everything was located. I was also unpacking the emergency equipment, testing it, and stowing it in more accessible cabinets.

Aboard ADAGIO, my goal was to stow all items which might go flying across the room if ADAGIO were hit by large waves during our passage to New Zealand. I was also trying to move heavy items from the forward areas of the boat to the stern areas, to keep the bows from burying themselves under waves in heavy weather.

By mid November, Steve was recovering from a bout with the flu. ADAGIO was clean, stocked and ready. Peter Cook had agreed to sail with us to New Zealand. His professional skipper’s training and experience, many years of yacht racing, and relaxed Aussie disposition was mightily welcomed aboard ADAGIO. His boss, Peter Roche, demanded a ransom for his release from duties in the form of a copy of the video tape that I had taken of his wedding reception, which had been held at Constitution Dock. I had photographed the reception from the deck of ADAGIO, particularly enjoying the bride climbing aboard the getaway boat in full bridal regalia, and taking the helm while groom Peter raised the anchor.

We had faxed our entry papers to New Zealand Customs, and had prepared our exit papers from Australia. All we needed was our clearance forms so we could purchase duty free diesel at half price and depart.

I was looking forward to being at sea again, seeing our friends in New Zealand, and cruising the best areas there during the southern summer. A deep low pressure system passed over Hobart, bringing peak gusts of 52 knots. We had put on a second bow line and re-rigged the reacher sheets direct to turning blocks and rolled in another 2 turns on the reacher furler to be sure we didn’t have an unfurling disaster in high winds.

On October 10, we attended the Conservatorium of Music’s Gala Concert at the Stanley Burbury Theatre on the campus of the University of Tasmania. The concert is one of many we have attended, enjoying the talents of the music students during their spring time chamber music concert series and graduation recitals.

October 12, the weather was beautiful, and we sailed out onto the River Derwent, carrying aboard Peter and Arlene Cook and their 2-1/2 year old son Andrew, plus Peter’s Mum Bev, Helen and Heinz Vojacek, and Will Howard. A shared meal for lunch was enjoyed underway. A light sea breeze carried us down the river and then quickly back to Lindisfarne Bay by late afternoon.

October 13 was our granddaughter’s third birthday. Happy Birthday Sarah! Her mother Kim reported that Sarah requested a party theme of farm animals. Kim created and executed another of her birthday spectaculars, complete with a cake decorated with handmade (by Kim) marzipan farm animals, a hand made huge cardboard barn for playing in, bandanas, cowboy and -girl hats and numerous farm games, including a “Pig-yata” which was burst by pulling several strings, and balloon pig races. Kim was touched when Sarah brought to the party a photograph of her best friend Mahren who lives in Tiburon, California.

October 23. The weather was sunny and warm — perfect conditions for taking those much delayed photos of the Sullivans Cove area of Hobart. The fishing boats have much character, providing good opportunities for additions to our web site photo gallery. Tied up alongside the inside at Victoria Dock was s/v RALLINGA, owned by Peter and Barbara Wilson who are tin mining and living in the wilderness of Melaleuca, an inlet from Bathhurst Harbor at Port Davey on the southwest coast of Tasmania. They had invited us into their home for our picnic lunch when we were visiting aboard ADAGIO two years ago.

Each year Peter and Barbara make two voyages aboard RALLINGA to Hobart to deliver tin oar and purchase provisions and supplies. We had admired RALLINGA at Melaleuca. We invited them for dinner aboard ADAGIO. They were scheduled to have RALLINGA hauled out of the water for repairs at Woodbridge on the weekend. At dinner we enjoyed tales of their interesting lifestyle, stories of their participation in the conservation efforts to save the endangered orange-bellied parrot, that we had viewed from the windows of their home during our visit. They were fast friends of Deny King, whose life is described in his biography, “King of the Wilderness”. Deny is considered to have been the original pioneer and wildlife conservationist in the southwest of Tasmania.

On September 30 we alerted our weather router Rick Shema that we were ready to begin looking look for a weather window.

On November 2, we received a call on our VHF radio from HAWK, saying they were anchored in Newtown Bay, just across the river from our berth in Lindisfarne Bay. They had arrived during the afternoon, and would make their way over to the MYCT the next morning. We are so please that they have arrived before our departure for New Zealand.

Steve and Evans had been continuing for the last eight years a correspondence which began as both were planning for and executing the constructing of their cruising boats, HAWK and ADAGIO. We studied Beth’s book “The Voyager’s Handbook” while we were preparing for our maiden voyage, and have recommended it to numerous friends. We have followed Beth and Evans’ cruising adventures in their magazine articles for several sailing magazines, and their monthly column in Bluewater Sailing magazine. They first circumnavigated aboard their yacht SILK in 1992-95. HAWK was built for high latitude cruising and launched in 1998. Since then they have sailed from Florida to Newfoundland, then to the Caribbean, across the Atlantic to the British Isles and Iceland, then down the east coast of South America and around Cape Horn to Chile. Beginning in January, 2003, they sailed sixty days nonstop from Patagonia to Fremantle, Australia and finally to Tasmania.

We alerted our crew Peter Cook that our weather router was looking for a departure date for us. Peter was able to book a return flight, NZ to Hobart for November 20. Peter said that a Wednesday, Nov. 12 departure would be best for him, as he was scheduled to drive the Roche Brothers fast cat to Port Arthur on Tuesday morning.

On November 8, Rick sent the message:

Take your time in getting over the flu. The gradient is stacking up to be westerly 30-40 kts next week in Tasman Sea.

So here we were, ready to go, and the weather window was looking not as favorable as originally believed to be. Steve was still a bit under the weather, but still keen to sail on Wednesday if his condition improved. Meanwhile, Beth Leonard wants to photograph ADAGIO for an article for SAIL magazine’s series “People and their Boats”. We invited Beth and Evans to sail with us down to North Bruny Island over the weekend, to give them a feel for ADAGIO under sail, her sail handling gear and procedures. Also, living aboard would give them a feel for ADAGIO’s amenities and comfort.

November 8 we all went to the Salamanca Saturday market. The weather forecast was for light breezes, with a possible afernoon sea breeze, so there was no hurry getting out on the water. Dorothy introduced Beth to Cary Lewincamp, and she bought his first CD. Cary kindly played his signature piece for her. Steve told Cary about the Apple Music Store, and will email to Cary the information for Cary to submit his CD’s to the store.

November 8, Saturday afternoon, we set off on a mini-cruise down the River Derwent to visit our friends Robert and Leslie Swan at their home on North Bruny Island. A 12 knot sea breeze from the south allowed us to demonstrate ADAGIO’s windward abilities in light air. We telephoned Leslie Swan as we sailed under the Tasman Bridge. She and Robert were sailing in very light airs in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel aboard their lovely 93 year old sloop WEENE’ that Robert restored to its origional splendor. She was such a fast boat, that the local racing committee had elevated her into more and more modern racing classes, as she could beat most of the other boats in the races.

Robert and Leslie lived “gently” on the land, surrounded by wildlife reserve, growing their own vegies, living in a house that Robert built, collecting eggs from their 9 chooks. The kookaburas nest in the trees looming above and around their home. The rare forty-spotted pardelote, shining cookoo and several species of quolls and other marsupials were frequent visitors to their native gardens. They are parents of Amanda Swan-Neal with whom Dorothy sailed in 1998 from New Zealand to French Polynesia aboard the sail training boat, MAHINA TIARE III, owned by Amanda and her husband John Neal.

Robert and Leslie’s only complaint is that the sometimes lengthy waits in the long lines of cars bringing summer holiday makers to and from the island on the ferry can make the trip off of the island for provisions take longer than they would wish. Sometimes they make the trip to Kettering on the mainland of Tassie aboard their own boat to pick up a visiting relative.

Leslie and Robert greeted us from their floating wharf, and helped us tie ADAGIO alongside, using a long line tied from the bow to the shore and shorter lines to the wharf.

Leslie prepared a dinner of fresh lettuces, broadbeans and flowers from her garden, newly-harvested potatoes, and salmon fresh from the net in their bay. Dessert was apple crepes with ice cream and cherries.

Leslie netted more than 50 salmon after a storm broke up one of the salmon cages at the nearby marine farm. Thousands of salmon, weighing six to eight pounds each, escaped into the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and locals bought new freezers to contain the bounty. Farmed salmon do not survive in the wild, and if not caught right away, will wash up dying on the shores.

Before dinner Beth and Dorothy helped Leslie lock the chickens up for the night, to protect them from the native quolls. She gave us a tour of her extensive garden, completely fenced and screened off from the local marsupial grazers. Broad beans, lettuces, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, espaliered apples, leeks, snow peas, strawberries, raspberries and more. A visit to Leslie’s craft cottage showed us the lovely quilts that she makes for hospitalized children and stillborn babies.

Over dinner we enjoyed stories of Leslie and Robert’s circumnavigation aboard their home-built boats, during the 1970’s, and their trip to Chile in later years.

We all breakfasted aboard ADAGIO on Sunday morning, on blueberry pancakes served with real Vermont maple syrup from the maple trees on Evans’ parents’ property in Vermont. Our friends Gordon and Margaret arrived aboard their sailboat BIRD OF DAWNING and joined us for coffee. They had just returned from a three month land tour of southern Australia. Leslie presented us with a dozen fresh-from-the-nest eggs from her chook coop.

The afternoon sea breeze did not make an appearance, so we demonstrated ADAGIO’s excellent motoring abilities back to Hobart, enjoying the excellent views in stunning weather conditions.

Steve’s flu had not improved to the point where he would feel comfortable departing for a blue water voyage to New Zealand, and our weather window is not looking as good as it did a few days ago. So we will pass on this opportunity and wait for the next window. Peter Cook had booked a return flight from New Zealand, and will now have to change the date, when we find another weather window. We are so very pleased that Peter can crew for us on the passage to New Zealand, and know that he is disappointed with our change of plans.

Meanwhile, spring time in Hobart was lovely, the moon was full, and we were surrounded by friends. What more could we ask?

On November 11, a diver cleaned ADAGIO’s bottom of algae. Dorothy collected from the Australian Customs Service the “Application for Clearance and Guarantee to Pay Duty”, as well as three “Outgoing passenger cards” and a “Crew Report” form. We had been instructed to notify Customs 48 hours before our departure so that they could come aboard, stamp our passports and clear us out of the country. Steve needed the clearance form before we could order the duty-free diesel for delivery to the boat at MYCT by truck. Dorothy also made a final visit to our safe deposit box at Westpac Bank on Elizabeth Street in Hobart.

November 14 was Steve and Beth’s birthdays. We all dined at Kelleys Restaurant for the birthday dinner. Before dinner, Beth and Evans invited us aboard HAWK for wine and nibbles.

HAWK is a no-frills boat, easy to maintain and sail. She is alloy, with natural silver finish on the topsides and a blue waterline stripe. The interior is painted white. Evans told me that when passage making, they rarely go forward of the galley and nav station. They sleep in the aft berths at sea. At anchor they sleep in the v-berth forward.

We ere still not seeing a weather window off to the west, which would bring us comfortable conditions for sailing to New Zealand. Numerous heat lows develop on the Australia mainland, and are carried towards Tassie by the upper level jet stream winds. These lows join with fronts extending up from low pressure systems in the southern ocean. These appear between high pressure systems as they pass from west to east, moving rather quickly into the Tasman Sea. What we wanted was a nice, slow moving High that would hold its shape and blocks the cold fronts.

We had faxed our Arrival Advance Information papers to New Zealand Customs in Nelson, and prepared the necessary papers for clearing out of Australia. With clearance papers in hand, we would order duty-free diesel and wine and spirits. But for now, we waited patiently.

The winds are northeasterly for today. There is a high fire warning in Tasmania, and numerous fires are already burning in the state. The air is hazy with smoke.

2003 Feb 20 – 23: Eden to Hobart Again

Our third Bass Strait crossing. We had a very fast passage from Eden to Hobart. Our weather router surprised us on Wednesday saying that our weather window would be open from 4 PM on Wednesday to 10 am on Thursday. It was time to depart. We chose to get a good night’s sleep and depart early on Thursday morning. Our anchor was up by 6 am, then just 40 hours later we rounded Tasman Island. Exactly 10.0kn average speed over the ground from Eden. Eight hours later we were abeam of the Iron Pot at the entrance to the Derwent River. We anchored for a few hours in beautiful Ralph’s Bay to catch up on our sleep before proceeding to the Motor Yacht Club in Lindisfarne across the river from Hobart.

Throughout the passage the winds remained from the NE to ENE from 15 to 30 knots. The wind backed to the North on Friday night, and lightened Saturday morning. The seas were easterly for a while, then gradually came around to the NE and became more organized. Our boat speed was mostly 10 knots with some brief surfing episodes in the range of 13 to 16 knots of boat speed, then once Steve watched the boat speed rise to 20 knots in one big long surf – the current record for Adagio. We began the passage with full main and reacher. At 1:30 AM Friday we furled the reacher, put the first reef in the mainsail and unfurled the jib. We received one tremendous underwing slam which caused the dining table to rise up about an inch (still attached to the saloon floor), and caused the large 22″ computer screen to take a holiday. We used the screen on the PC for the remainder of the voyage with no problems.

Steve’s log entry at 1 AM Saturday was:” Wind came up to 30 just passing west edge of Tasman Island. Throwing a lot of spray from lee bow. Looks like 2kn of current against the NNE seas. Wide band of moonlight from us to base of Tasman Island. Sensation of boat speed is amazing.” We thought we might have to beat across Storm Bay, but the northeasterlies remained and we broad reached in comfort on stbd tack, as the wind died.

We have a great sense of satisfaction at our safe and fast passage. While in Twofold Bay, we anchored next to two sailing cats, one a Schionning design, built in Australia, named “Cats Chorus” for an English couple, and the other a Crowther design, named “Hippo”, home-built by Mike and Jackie of Freemantle. A fourth boat in the anchorage was “Meridian of Sydney” , owned by two Sydneysiders, Paul and June Rodenhuis. All four boats departed on Thursday morning. Cats Chorus had some problem with their steering enroute to Melbourne. Meridian of Sydney had problems with the wiring to their auto pilot as they crossed Bass Strait. They made it safely to Schouten Passage on their way to Hobart. We kept a Ham radio sched with Meridian, and were joined by a land based Ham operator in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Steve visited the Salamanca Market yesterday while I napped, then we had a cook’s night out – naturally at our favorite Hobart seafood restaurant Kelleys. We are so very happy to be back in Hobart and look forward to seeing all of our friends. There are many items on our To Do lists, so we will intersperse the work with the play. The weather is beautiful and mild — just what we had hoped for.

Soon the Ten Days on the Island Festival begins – we have booked tickets for about ten events already!

2003 Jan 31: Sailing south to Eden again

January was coming to an end, and it was high time we cruised Broken Bay and the Pittwater north of Sydney. Steve had arranged for some work to be done on Adagio at the Palm Beach Slipway. On a mooring just off of the Palm Beach Marine wharf, we had a diver clean the waterline, check the zincs on the saildrives and clean fouling from the props and thruhulls. We are surrounded by beautiful yachts of every description, and each afternoon a fleet of sailboats races up and down the channel. Very pretty, with the national park across the water. Lovely pink sunset. Gusty winds in the 20’s all day. After a couple of days on the mooring and a couple of visits by bus to the nearby town of Avalon for fresh produce, we headed for the Cowan Creek area of Broken Bay for some cruising in pristine waters.

We anchored in Refuge Bay, just outside the crescent of dozens of moorings of all descriptions. Eight other boats picked up moorings close in to shore. The cruising guide says this is the prettiest anchorage on the Australian east coast. It is certainly as pretty as the anchorages in the Whitsundays. Sandstone cliffs and boulders down to the water’s edge. Many types of trees clinging to rocks and crevices. Wind is moderate and only a slight chop. Much calmer than at Palm Beach.

Over the next few days we explored the creeks and channels and picked up moorings at Cottage Point (Ku-rin-gai Motor Yacht Club) and Yeomans Bay. The previous week had been the height of the boating season for Sydneysiders. Now all was quiet and very pretty. Our timing had been perfect. Dorothy and Steve launched the kayak and Dorothy spent an hour exploring the upper reaches of the bay and Yeomans Creek where there are mangroves. Two very large wedge-tailed eagles allowed Dorothy to paddle quietly up to look at them. They are about a meter high when perched, with a wingspan of more than a meter when flying. Several fish of 6” jumped out of the water from time to time. Beautiful wind- and water-carved sandstone boulders line the shore. Tree-clad cliffs hung with ferns rise up steeply from the shore. A red power cat named “Cappucino Cat” came into the bay selling coffee, ice-cream, hot meat pies, newspapers, sodas and bottled water. The 15’ sailboat nearby must have been really happy, as they couldn’t have any cooking/refrig aboard. Dorothy bought an ice-cream bar. Steve had already bought a newspaper at Cottage Point. The waters were pristine, no litter or garbage anywhere, even after the thousands of Sydney holiday makers over the recent school holidays. We were very impressed. On the weekend, Sydneysiders again brought their boats to these bays.

We returned to Palm Beach on Wednesday and brought Adagio alongside the pontoon at Palm Beach Marine for Simon to apply a temporary patch to the New Years Eve damage to our port bow. In the morning a fairy penguin swam around Adagio, feeding quietly and watching for predators. The following morning we went to Royal Prince Alfred YC for rig check, then a fuel stop. The Royal Prince Alfred YC fuel dock is accessible only through a very narrow entrance between pilings. We would not go in there again. Peter on the fuel dock is very cordial and helpful.

Our weather window was opening for our passage south to Eden. “Sydney coastal waters: Broken Bay to Port Hacking: NE 10/15 increasing to 20 knots in the afternoon. 1-2 m seas with a 1-2 m swell. Friday NE 15/20. Current wave ht. 1.3 m with a 6.5 knot NE wind.” We departed Pittwater on the morning of February 6. Beautiful morning. The seas were down from the day before. As we proceeded south along the NSW coast, we passed several sailboats, some going north, some going south. Dorothy phoned and spoke to Susan Goodall in Russell, New Zealand to inform her of our cruising plans. She and David had just purchased a Whiting 29’ sailboat named “Imagine”.

By early afternoon the wind speed had increased from 6 to 15 knots, and by 5 PM we were sailing happily again before 23 knots of true wind speed. Against a 1/2 knot East Australian Current, we still maintained an average of 10 knots over the ground, with occasional surfing speeds of 15 knots of fun sailing. We chatted on the radio with each volunteer marine rescue service as we sailed past. The woman manning the Port Kembla radio said that we “made her day”, watching us sail by so fast.

At 9 PM we were sailing in 26 knots of wind as we passed Ulladullah, and at 5 AM we had 30 knots of wind speed and a falling barometer. Our anchor was set securely in the sand off the beach at the park just west of Snug Cove/Cattleman Bay, Twofold Bay, Eden at 1015 hours February 7. What a wonderful sail it had been. From anchor at Palm Beach to anchor at Snug Cove was 232 nm in 27 hours, averaging 8.6 knots for the passage. From 1442 hr on 02/06 to 0600 hr on 02/07, distance of 154 nm in 15.25 hrs, our average speed over the ground was 10.1 knots in winds of 18-30 knots. “Fast is fun”.

For a few days we rafted Adagio alongside a party barge, named “SAMBA!”. It was marooned in Eden awaiting engine repair, on its way to Melbourne. This location gave us easy access to the dinghy dock when we wanted to go ashore. However we worried about the ancient electrical wiring aboard SAMBA, and the bright flashing lights displayed when there was a party aboard.

We took Allegro for a spin around Twofold Bay, visiting all the beaches and anchorages, and looking to see if we could still anchor over by the “Chip Mill”, in spite of construction by the Australian Navy of a munitions facility on that side of the bay. We found the access to be free and clear and plenty of space for a half dozen boats or more to anchor. We lunched at the Oyster Bar cafe, walked in to town to use the Internet connection at the Council Offices, then dined at the Waterhouse restaurant – delicious prawns. We were waiting for a weather window for our passage across Bass Strait and on to Hobart. On February 14 the day was overcast and the weather report is a real mixed bag with winds forecast from every direction. Possibly our weather window for Saturday has closed. We connected our shore power. An old ketch named “JOSHUA T “came in with steering problems. We took the bus to Merimbula to buy blueberries at the grocery and to access the broadband Internet connection at “As It Is”, near the post office. A Japanese cruising boat arrived, but we didn’t get the chance to meet the crew.

Two sailing cats arrived on February 15, “HIPPO(CAMPUS”), and later “Cat’s Chorus” owned by an English couple. We spoke to owners Jackie and Ray and crew Tom. They are heading for Melbourne. A cold front was expected to cross the south coast Monday afternoon, so on Sunday we motored across Twofold Bay and anchored in East Boyd Bay. We were soon joined by the crews of the two other catamarans, as well as Paul and Judy from “Meridian of Sydney.” We had all of these crew members (10 guests in all) over to Adagio for sundowners.

Tuesday was a calm, sunny morning, with the full moon setting at sunrise. The previous night we we had sundowners aboard HIPPO, owned by Sue and Mike, son Patrick, crew and professional technical-diver Callum Watts. Sue served us fresh mussels in coconut chili sauce (to die for!). She collected the mussels from rocks near the old whaling station ashore.

Our weather window arrived on Thursday, from the Adagio log: Eastern Bass Strait, Thurs till midnight: E 15/20 strengthening to 20/30 knots during the day. Sea 1.5 to 2 m rising to 2 to 3 m. Southeasterly swell 1 to 2 m. Friday: NE 20/30. Sat: E/ NE 20/30 knots easing to 15/20 knots. At 0630 on February 20, we departed Eden for Hobart. Depart Eden for Hobart in light rain. So three catamarans and one monhull are heading south into Bass Strait: “Meridian of Sydney”, “Cats Chorus”, and “Hippo”.

2003 Jan 1: Sydney Summer Festival

One of the fun aspects of cruising is being able to make spontaneous decisions based on the simultaneous developments of otherwise unrelated conditions. While we were in Yamba on December 29, Steve read in the newspaper of the upcoming phenomenon of the Sydney Harbour New Years Eve fireworks, 445 nautical miles south of us. The current weather pattern read: “A High is over the Tasman Sea and a weak trough is off the northern New South Wales coast”. The outlook for Sunday: “E/NE wind 10/15 knots Sunday, increasing to NE 15/20 knots later in the south. Sea 1 to 2 metres. Swell 1 to 1.5 metres.” These were good conditions for motor-sailing south to Sydney, so off we went towards Sydney the following day. Winds remained in the teens overnight, and we checked in with the volunteer marine rescue service (VMR) radio stations as we sailed past each one. We felt like a relay baton, being handed off from one runner to the next, as our details were faxed from one VMR to the next.

Fishing boats were out in force, their erratic courses making it difficult for us to track them all on radar. The wind had died to 6 knots by 0330 hours. At 0800 hours on Dec. 30, Dorothy wrote in the log: “A beautiful sunny day. Seas are lower, at less than 1 m, and have smoothed out on top. The coastline is beautiful, with long sand hills curving in bays between green tree-covered headlands.” By noon the wind was back up in the teens, and we set the reacher. At 1400 hours we sailed through a hundred black shearwaters soaring over the surface of the sea. At 1400 hours the weather service forecast:” Strong wind warning. Isolated showers. N/NE 20/30 this evening, tending N/NW 15/20 overnight, but strengthening to 30 knots again from the N/NE on Tuesday afternoon. Seas 1.5-2 m increasing to 2 to 3 m in the afternoon & evening on a swell of 1.5 to 2 m.” The winds were in the mid-20’s, and our boat speed was 8-10 knots. By 2230 hours, the wind was gusting to 28 knots.

The Newcastle coastal patrol hailed us to remind us of the strong wind warning, and to say that we could come in to the port of Newcastle if it got too rough for us. The seas were only about 2.5 meters high, from astern. We declined his invitation, as we were making very good speeds. By 2230 hours we were getting gusts to 31 knots, and gusts to 35 knots by midnight. We relayed on the marine radio a PAN PAN message from the yacht “Evenstar” who had lost its steering, as the steering pedestal had pulled out of its mount in the cockpit. We were making 10 to 11 knots speed over ground. The barometer was falling, as a red crescent moon was rising in the east in, in the”rain-catching” position. At 0420 hours, New Year’s eve, Dorothy recorded in the log: “The true wind speed is varying from 27 to 35 knots. Just surfed on a wave, with boat speed over ground 16 knots. Whee!! The seas and wind are abating somewhat. Hailed by Coast Guard Sydney asking us to notify them when we are abeam of Terrigal, then again when abeam of Barrenjoye Head. We passed between Sydney Heads at 0800 hours, and by 0900 hours we were anchored in Athol Bay, Sydney Harbor, the BEST location in all of Sydney for watching the fireworks spectacular. We anchored way out in the deep water hoping to be well away from any newcomers arriving to view the fireworks.

As we napped, our lovely anchorage was being transformed into a nautical traffic jam. By 2100 PM we were surrounded by hundreds of boats of all sizes, some anchored, many still motoring around looking for a place to squeeze in, or, incredibly, asking other boats if they could raft up. The wind was in the high teens, making for some anchoring adventures for these boats that were behaving like they had never anchored before. E.g., one 50-ft powerboat approached us asking to raft-up “because we have a knot in our nylon rode”. We wondered how all these boats would depart after midnight without a huge tangle of anchor lines. Unfortunately, a three-story power boat banged his transom into Adagio’s port bow, making a large gash, as another boat had fouled his anchor rode. The wind was blowing in the mid to high 20’s and boats continued to arrive in this already overcrowded anchorage.

The fireworks were superb, shooting up from five different computer-synchronized barges spaced down the harbour, and blossoming from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, ending in the outline of a dove of peace, flapping its lighted wings on the bridge. Unfortunately, the high winds forced the authorities to cancel the 9PM “for families” fireworks.

On New Years Day we reported the ramming-altercation to the Sydney Water Police, then made our way to Blackwattle Bay where we set our anchor outside about 10 other boats. Anchoring is restricted to the water inside a line drawn from one headland to the next. We were outside that line, so we moved over to Rozelle Bay, which is even smaller, but found a comfortable anchorage just next to a large red Dutch monohull named “Love of Gaia”. We recognized this boat from when it was at Kings Pier, Hobart, while we were in Constitution Dock last year. We hailed the owner to say hello and to invite him and his family of two children to come to ADAGIO for a visit in the next few days. He said that he had sailed to Norfolk Island and back to OZ since we saw him in Hobart. The sunset from our anchorage was superb, graced with the lighted structure of the ANZAC suspension bridge, only a quarter of a mile away.

We were soon off the boat, traveling by dinghy to the Sydney Fish Market marina, where we left her safely and walked to the Sydney waterfront, Botanical Gardens, Opera House and Hyde Park. On Saturday we lunched at the Fish Market with our cruising buddies Laurie and Sally Hohn, then rode in their car for a very special, personal tour of Sydney – particularly the areas that are not on the usual tourista maps. They delivered our mail packets. Sunday night we attended the opening performance of the Sydney Summer Festival, on the steps of the Opera House. A European group, created architectural sculptures with cello tape, used a crane to raise them, and a flying fairy, added elegant fireworks and dramatic sound effects, for a spectacular and wondrous performance. Really difficult to describe what they did – “you hadda be there!”.

Monday we lunched on a platter of sushi and sashimi at the Sydney Fish Market, ordered Festival tickets from Ticketek, then walked to the Maritime Museum for a coffee and fudge cake. In the afternoon we walked the length of Tumbalong Park, enjoying its fountains, children’s play areas and carousel. We spent several hours wandering around the beautiful Chinese Friendship Garden. While not very large, the landscape artists have created an intricate maze of pathways, waterways, lily ponds, waterfalls, a rock “mountain”, temples, tea houses, a dragon sculpture wall and the most beautiful natural landscaping of azaleas, weeping willows, bamboo, palms, grasses and huge stones. The Chinese see animal and human figures in rocks the way westerners see figures in clouds. We watched children and adults parading around the garden in Chinese dress, sometimes quite elaborate. We soon discovered that there is a costume room where for $10 or so anyone can dress the part. The costumed characters added a lot of color to the gardens.

We figured out the public bus system, and visited the Powerhouse Museum today. The highlight at this science and technology museum was a special Star Wars exhibit, based on the theme of the Hero Legend. It was deja vu for us in a way, as we had seen many of the original costumes and models at the Marin County Fair in California some 20 years ago when George Lucas sponsored a special exhibition from the archives.

We spent the next few days visiting the Australian Museum for the exhibition of the extraordinary dinosaurs unearthed in China. Included were the dinosaur fossils with feathered wings, legs and tail. Next was the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the AMP Tower for aerial views of Sydney. At the IMAX theatre at Darling Harbour we enjoyed the Cirque du Soleil circus performance – where the performers were able to do things that cannot happen in the normal circus tent (the 3-D actually works).

We are familiarizing ourselves with the weather patterns in Sydney. With a “southerly change” come high winds. In such conditions today, many of the cruising boats which were anchored in Blackwattle Bay have come over and anchored around us in Rozelle Bay.

Our first concert performance at the Sydney Opera House was by the London Sinfonietta. We did not care for their choice of ultra-modern music, but were transfixed and awed by the architecture which surrounded us. The concert hall and the symphony hall are each suspended from the inside of the reinforced concrete structures which are shaped like flower petals. At night the lighting plays across the lovely sculptural shapes of the exterior and the interior to delight the eye.

Boating on Sydney Harbour is a dangerous thrill, mostly due to the high speed ferries which zip in and out of the passenger terminals, appearing unexpectedly out from behind a headland going at full speed. Plus countless numbers of private boats that don’t seem to have studied COLREGS. We boarded one of these “RiverCats” and headed west up the Parramatta River to the performance of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Fish” at the riverside Theatre. In the evening we attended the Mark Morris Dance Group’s performance at the Parade Theatre, National Institute for Dramatic Arts. A few days later we took our folding chairs and joined the happy crowds on the lawn for the free concert, “Jazz in the Domain”, complete with a huge projection screen for those seated far away from the stage. We could not estimate how many thousands were in the audience, but like us, they were all having a super evening.

Our sailing friends, Sally and Laurie from “Champagne Charlie” fame, introduced us to their friends Jim and Carol who invited us to dine with them at their home in Balmain, one of the prettiest peninsulas on the Sydney Harbor. Those folks who think the Aussies don’t know good food, haven’t dined on Carol’s cooking!

Complacency with our easy life anchored in Rozelle Bay, and being distracted by the high heat of the day, yesterday we ignored the rapidly falling barometer and the weather forecast of “Strong squally southerly change this evening.” Seeking refuge from the 100 deg heat, we went in to town to see a movie, and then to the Symphony in the Domain, complete with the violinist Suzy Parker and fireworks to accompany the 1812 Overture. It was splendid! As we were returning to Adagio after 10 PM, we saw that she was no longer anchored along the north side of the bay, but was on the south side, close to another boat “Conda’s Mate”, which had earlier been anchored near us on the north side of the bay. Both boats had dragged their anchors in the 45 knot southerly winds, while we were in the movie theatre.

Two boats from the Sydney Harbour Waterways were standing by. They had set our second bow anchor. The owners of “Conda’s Mate” arrived a few minutes later, and we determined that we would have to wait until morning to sort out what we thought were fouled anchors. The crews of both boats stood anchor watch throughout the night, during thankfully light to moderate southerly winds.

In the morning, the volunteer coast guard boat assisted the owners of “Conda’s Mate”, John and Sharon, whose propulsion engine was not working, raise their anchor and re-set it on the north side of the bay. We were surprised when “Conda’s Mate” raised their anchor to see that our anchor was not fouled with theirs – both boats had dragged independently, thankfully not colliding. Our anchor was firmly stuck on the bottom, assumedly hooked on something large and heavy. John from “Conda’s Mate” said that he had read on the Internet that the mega-yacht marina on the south shore of Rozelle bay had installed devices underwater to hold the anchors of the yachts when moored stern-to the dock. Perhaps we had hooked onto that. The Waterways boat with a crane tried to free our anchor with no success. They accidentally let go the end of a line we had given to them, the other end is looped around our anchor chain with a large shackle. These sank to the bottom. Our next idea is to hire a diver to try to free it. Steve hoped were are not damaging our aluminium SPADE anchor by pulling on it with great force. Meanwhile, we remained anchored close to the center of the channel, with barges and tour boats passing by from time to time. The wind is forecast to be from the north, with more hot temperatures, tomorrow, followed by a weak southerly change on Tuesday.

On Monday morning The Diving Company, (Simon, phone 0412 072 359) released our anchor which had become entangled in the heavy ship’s anchor chain which has been installed on the bottom of the bay to secure a series of pylons and lines for mooring yachts at the Rozelle Bay Super Yacht Marina on the north shore of Rozelle Bay. We spoke to Richard Morris at the marina (9563 8700) who said that The Diving Company was familiar with the system as they had installed it. Our anchor had not been damaged. Cost for divers A$440. Meanwhile, in the Australian capital city of Canberra, bush fires destroyed 368 homes and killed 4 people.

The next morning the air was filled with smoke from the fires to the northwest of Sydney. Long outrigger canoes from the Sydney University women’s rowing club across the bay, paddled past. We raised anchor in Blackwattle Bay and motored to Westport Marina in Cabarita, on the Paramatta River. We tied up stern to, bows pointing towards the south, in a 150 ft long slip. The Fastcat ferries send a pressure wave which sets Adagio moving in circles, straining against her docklines. Winds turned southerly again, with thunder, lightning and some rain, bringing cooler weather for a couple of days before turning north again for the weekend.

Australians’ favorite holiday is Australia Day. From Cabarita, we took the FastCat Ferry to Sydney to view the parade of ships, the ferrython, tall ships race, and attended the “George and the Sydney Symphony” at the Sydney Opera House. During the afternoon, the weather was very hot, so we saw two really great movies at the movie complex at Circular Quay in between Australia Day events.