The cyclone season in the tropical South Pacific Ocean, officially ends on 30th of April, so we left Australia for New Caledonia on the 1st of May.

Last May, I met Nik and Chelsea in Fiji after they had sailed up from NZ in another boat. They jumped at the chance to do another passage and we added Chelsea’s older sister, Hanna, to the crewwe had to spend their first day doing the mandatory cruise around Sydney Harbour

(fleece and woolly vest, in the middle of a sunny day, is definitely time to leave, for warmer climes)

We picked up a mooring off Watsons Bay, and went for a walk around South Head

coming back to the Watsons Bay Hotel for dinner Customs clearance from Sydney was sounding difficult, so we went up to Newcastle Marina to clear out from therewe left  before dawn to catch the sunriseand enjoyed the pod of dolphins riding our bow waveWe all had a great time sharing the cooking

the East Australia Current was against us most of the way to our stopover at Lord Howe Island, resulting in us taking most of 3 days to cover the 380 miles

But there is was at sunrise for us to enter the lagoon at first lightand pick up a mooring buoyOn the passage I had noticed a piece of aluminium on the cabin roofIt took a bit of detective work with a dental mirror to find out where it had come from, the headboard batten carNik and I had to take off all the other batten cars to get to the top onesneedless to say the broken batten car, did not look like this (only 3 of the balls were left)The rules are that yachts in transit can only stay 72hrs at Lord Howe Island, but since we needed to get new batten cars flown in from the mainland, that rule did now not apply to us. Giving us, what ended up being 8 days to enjoy Lord Howe Island.

There is a bike hire place to get bikes to explore the 5mile by 1.5mile islandplenty of restaurants to go to dinner at

at the end of the jetty, we tied Albert up to were, toilets, hot shower and a cloths washing machineAlbert got a lot of use running us too and from the shoreThe place has a very strong holiday destination feel to it

The water temperature was mild

and the snorkeling a short SUP distance from the boat was exquisite Lord Howe has a unique butterfly fish, that is not found anywhere else in the world

We had days like this and days with 40kt gusts and 75mm of rain

In late autumn the mutton bird chick (shearwater) leave their nest and head out to sea. There where a heap of them wondering around the land and floating past us in the lagoonRonstan did an amazing job of getting the replacement batten cars to us

we were now ready to head off on the 690 mile passage to Noumea, after a weather pattern with 60kt gusts, funneling down North Bay had passed over. I can not remember a situation were the wind generator kept on tripping out, when the output exceeded 20amp, ever before. Not conducive to sleep, as I was worried about the mooring hold and the boat breaking things.

The forecast the next day was a day and half of 10-20kt SWerly, then less than a day of no wind (motoring) followed by a SEerly for the run into Noumea

Which was exactly how it played out for an uneventful 3.5day passage.

I had a birthday mid passage (in the low wind period)

the girls baked me a birthday cakeearly on day 4, New Caledonia appeared on the horizona few days later it was time for Nik, Chelsea and Hanna to fly outso a few days shy of 6mts and 4,165 miles later, I am back in Noumea