Monday, 23 December 2013

Our Journey Home to Kangaroo Island

Fred the very enthusiastic kelpie Pup from Quorn SA

A lunch spot on the MacIntyre central NSW

Hi Folks, We're home...we got back to Kangaroo Island Friday last. Leaving a roasting hot 40's Adelaide to arrive home to a cool 15 and I've been dressed in the jeans and winter woollies ever since, Ants is in his usual tee shirt/shorts and thongs, much more durable then me. Our house was delightfully in really good nick and, thanks to our last tenant Faye, still quite clean despite being vacant for a couple of months. Our amazing Majuro experiences seems to be slowly slipping into the longer term memory banks. I loved the girly time I had with Majuro mates in the last few weeks...especially the muumuu day at Wallaby Downs!!!!. Ants has had a great sail home and a good time catching up with Brisbane mates.

Nyngan....A memorial to rescue helicopters in flood times

A classic Australian country building

The last couple of weeks has been great fun, gallivanting across the Australian countryside.  After I flew into Brisbane, Ants collected me in our hire car and we went back to Break Free for the night. She's moored at Victoria Point, Moreton Bay until we collect her in January. Amazingly enough we can check on the mooring anytime through a local online 24 security camera web site called Point Halloran Storm Watchers.

The following day we called to Jonica, Ants sister, for an overnighter at Ipswich. Jonica has produced some inspired artwork and it was interesting to spend some time with her. After Jonica's we drove down to North Arm Cove, Port Stephens to visit friends Pete & Sandy, Break Frees previous owners. Again like Jonica, Sandy produces amazingly beautiful artwork which I found inspirational! Ants and Peter talked yachts.

Glider at Narromine Aerodrome NSW
From Port Stephens we drove west to Narromine near Dubbo and stayed in a campsite next to an Aerodrome which had just hosted the Australian Junior Gliding Championships and is internationally renowned as a gliding spot! I had never stood up close to a glider before...they are low to the ground and have a huge wing span...awesome looking machines. Ants was chatting to a Czechoslovakian glider pilot who wanted to fly 1000km in a day!

The Paroo River at the Coach & Horses campsite Paroo National Park NSW

Some of the Paroo River residents

Campsite at Coach & Horses, Paroo River

A long drive then to the Coach and Horses Campsite on the Paroo River near Wilcannia...real outback river gum trees, pelicans and kangaroos galore. Oh yes and we used a $12/ 2 person single skin tent (brand new from KMart) with a inflatable mattress for $19 (we have about four tents back on KI) I was shocked that tents are now so cheap!. Leaving there we drove across to Quorn (northern SA) to catch up with friends Anne & Michael and their new kelpie pup Fred....more fantastic dramatic landscapes....its a shock seeing the humongous Australian landscapes again after the Majuro north Pacific flatness and sea views.

Then to Adelaide to stay with Ants's mum. I had my Australian citizenship test  last Thursday morning and  thirty minutes later received a congratulatory  email from the Minister of Immigration. No worries mate! After seeing lots of the relatives in Adelaide we arrived back on the Island in the rain, cold and wind!

We both would have liked to visit Canberra but we're saving a visit until we have more time to spend looking around the city as it deserves a few days at least. Christmas is here so Ants dug out the decorations and we have a tree up.   So........

Ants standing on the deck at home on Kangaroo Island

Jane on deck next to the very alive Kangaroo Paw (yippee)

A holly jolly Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all....
miss all you Majuro people big hug from us Janexxxx & Antsxxxx

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Break Free and the Boys reach Brisbane

Bran and Steve exploring Ebon Atoll
and then being taken ashore by the entire Police force !
The first leg of the trip was 2 days down to Ebon Atoll, the most Southerley in the Marshalls. A great stopover even with the "greeting" from the entire Police Force of  six. Dave , a Mormon missionary from Oz helped us stock up on fruit and veg.
But the Acting Mayor was happy with the permit (and $25)
The Big Blue Sail near the equator

Temporary gooseneck repair
 The second leg across the equator and the Doldrums was pretty easy going but some days of rains qalls made for a bit of excitement. But a reasonably fast couple of days (170 miles in 24 hours!) saw us near the Santa Cruz Islands (Solomon Islands) after 8 days when a missing pin at the gooseneck saw a 24 hour repair stop to replace it. At Graciosa Bay Moses, Titus, and Luke made for an interesting stop, and we topped up the fresh food supply.
Active volcano near Nendo Island in the Solomons

Titus in a typical dugout in Graciosa Bay SI
Luke the Quarantine man with Titus and the crew

Beautiful fresh water spring
The only sign of human occupation at the Chesterfields
Finally a fish rather than broken gear! A Barracouda

What a beautiful baby face

But I need a nap
The Chesterfields were our next stop and great to have 2 nights at anchor, The reef complex is under New Caledonian (French) control but open for yachts to visit. We finally caught a fish rather than losing lures! Barracouda do not have the best reputation but we found it great eating (about 8 meals for the 3 of us over the next week!), The highlight of the stop is however the bird population who show no fear of humans, David Attenborough, eat your heart out, And on top of that turtles all round the boat. Excellent.

Showing no fear   (Brian is very brave!)

Break Free at anchor

And still more
From the Chesterfields it was a 4 day sail South West to Brisbane. The 25 knot forecast trough turned into 24 hours of 30 plus knots and pretty ugly waves but except for the three of us not enjoying the rough close reach it was actually quite safe and as it calmed down we had an easy sail into Moreton Bay. In fact the last 27 miles took less than 4 hours as we screamed across the bay and up the Brisbane River in flat water at 8 to 9 knots. What a finish. The next day Customs and Quarantine were efficient , even if a bit expensive at the $330 minimum charge.Then Brian and Steve flew home and I am on the boat resting up for a few days waiting for Jane to fly in on December 11.
For those interested the trip was 2450 nautical miles done over 20 sailing days at an average speed of 5.2 knots (122 NM per day) and we used about 130 litres of diesel by motoring for just more than 100 hours.
No damage other than the pin that fell out of the boom and dry decks 80% or more of the trip.
A big thanks to our friends on Westward 2 and Imagine who kept in daily contact on the HF radio with forecasts and just that feeling of "we know you are out there"

Sunday, 1 December 2013

A quick update from Majuro

One of my pastels at the recent Jambo Arts Exhibition...sold this one hence pink sticker!

Ingrid and myself having a rest from being the Entertainment officers at the Jambo Arts exbo
Ants, Steve and Brian are thankfully nearly in Moreton Bay after just under three weeks of sailing in Break Free. The weather yesterday for them was big seas, rough with high winds....Ants mentioned I would not have liked not pleasant. The weather has settled down now and I can now mention the FISH word as they caught a big one on the way into one of the Chesterfield atolls. This set of atolls are very low lying uninhabited sea bird colonies ?600 nm NW of New Caledonia in the Coral Sea.  I am hoping Ants will have some photos of the big trip....will keep you posted.

I have been really busy firstly with work as I have prepared and given a presentation on my curriculum which was well recieved. Then I exhibited at the 7th biannual Jambo Arts exhibition. I must was good fun and I'll miss Jambo Arts....I have one last big event before I leave on the 11th and thats the WAM graduation on Thursday next....the ceremony is in the morning and I am going canoe sailing in the afternoon. Should be fun also!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Ants does a little side trip

Jane found a shallow reef near Ejit Island
Ants got offered a trip around 13 atolls and 15 villages so of course he could not refuse.Because of the drought emergency in the North of the Marshalls food aid is being sent to these atolls and his role was to check the quantities as they left the ship and sign off on the shore. All up 154 tonnes of food worth close to half a million USD so quite a job.
The boat "Aemman" is 150 feet and 400 tonnes with a 600HP Yanmar and did 10 knots.
The trip was about 1100 NMs and visited,   Tabal on Aur Atoll, Ollot and Kaben on Maloelap , Wotje , Mejit Is, Ailuk, Likiep, Ebadon and Mejato on Kwajalien Atoll, Wotho, Ujae, Lae, Lib Is and finally Majkin and Mae on Namu Atoll. If you search them the names will sort of come up but is Ollot actually Wollot . Always a guess on the real name.
"My" ship the Aemman on a smooth evening 
My helpers with some neat stacks

Note the high quality anchor chain on the winch
When you look at the anchor chain you can see the maintenance is fair only but the nice clean Yanmar purred at 650 revs and the trip went smoothly. Entering reef passes by moonlight, with radar but no depth sounder is interesting. I just watched quietly.
Lowering one of Aemman's tenders

And fuel drums the same

One of our crew in pirate "get up" going back to Aemman

Aemman alongside at Likeap Atoll
Some of the food cargo shifted in the hold

Some dead machinery on Ailul Atoll

The engineer with his 600HP Yanmar

Captain John on the bridge
2 tonnes or more of recycled batteries

Ants trying to be artistic

Coconut crab and breadfruit I had for brunch

Bad weather near Wotho Atoll

A traditional caoe at Lae Atoll

Traditional canoe and a modern load carrying catamran

Lib Island kids unloading beans

And thier big brothers

Watch out for global warming!
I kept in touch with Jane by HF radio and a couple of Sat phone calls and on the last day she sailed BreakFree out to meet me. Nige Glen and Sofie were also on board to meet me. After Aemman anchored one of the tenders transferred me to BF for a sail, a lovely way to finish the voyage.
Jane sailing out to meet me

Nice sail trim

Back into Majuro after 11 days