Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Knotty Lady for Sale

Its time to move into our new boat and someone else can take advantage of all the work we put into Knotty Lady.   She will be missed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Hey guys.   We have been working back in Brisbane for what feels like forever.   Well for me anyway.   I cant wait to get back out on the high seas with our new vessel Bedar.   Nikki has been studying hard and doing a lot of medical exams to meet her goal of becoming an Infectious Disease and Microbiology specialist.  With her qualifications, we hope to make a difference on our next cruise. We hope to make some difference in bringing up certain medical standards in the Soloman Islands and beyond, something Nikki has already achieved in an ongoing project there.

Knotty Lady has been up on the hard while we repair the damage caused by the whale, which you can find in our blog on the August 2012 page.    I am impressed at how the final repairs turned out.   Its much stronger than it was when new with bigger cleats and much more glass in the area than standard.   It has a new railing and the anchor roller has been rebuilt at is was also bent in the incident.  Just need to do the railing and nav lights.

We did not plan to buy a new boat so we were getting Knotty Lady back to great condition for our next cruise.   I even purchased a flexofold prop to increase sailing performance.  To get it to fit I need to remove the drive shaft, and to get the drive shaft out I needed to get the rudder out!   

When I finally got it out I found this corrosion on the rudder shaft.   So that meant a new rudder needed to be built and installed.   The new rudder fits great and has an even stronger shaft than before.   The bearings have been worked and now there is no play either so steering should feel great along with the new prop.   I cant wait to see how she goes when I finally test sail her!

After everything is back to A1 condition she will be put up for sale.  So if anyone is interested let us know soon. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hello guys.  We are back!

We have been a bit slack on updates but be sure to go back a bit as we have updates from Fiji - Vanuatu - New Caledonia.

Bundaberg, Australia 13/11/12 – 27/11/1 

5 days and $9000 later, we have successfully imported Knotty Lady into Bundaberg, Australia. Except for the monies, the process was relatively painless. We had a nice time, relaxing in Bundaberg and eating the best prawns and drinking bundy rum!

The mystery craters – how were they formed? 

We attempted to see turtles laying their eggs at the nature reserve - Mon Repos beach, Bundaberg. Unfortunately terrible lightning storms put a stop to that. Oh well next time.

Fraser island 21/11/12 – 26/11/12 

Time to explore Fraser Island – the largest sand island in the world. and guess what no coconut trees! But many great anchorages! The best thing about sailing the inside of Fraser is the ease of sailing in protected waters – no swell, no seasickness. The top half of Fraser is now a protected nature reserve, so no cars are allowed and you have the whole top half of the island to yourself. Sailors, however, are allowed to drop anchor wherever they please and pay nothing for the pleasure.

We head to the top, Rooney Point for a stroll and a swim. 

So many dolphins here – we watch them hunting small fish close to the shore. 

We sail 15Nm down to Lagoon anchorage. 

We time the tide correctly so we can dingy up the lagoon and into the three estuaries during high tide.  Dinner, Dennis catches a mud crab – using the “ever so lethal” dingy anchor. 

In the evening, we would enjoy listening to the turtles coming to the surface to breathe, one turtle every minute. 

As we pass Platypus Bay, Nikki decides to pull the fishing line in – unsure if there was something on the line, maybe a piece of seaweed, unlikely fish - we are travelling quite slowly (3-4 Kn) in light winds. No, there is definitely a small fish, probably tuna on the line. No, it’s the world famous sport fish, a 6ft black Marlin and Nikki just reeled it in, no problems. Big Marlin are not good for eating, but this size is just right – a steaky fish and plenty to go round! 

Remote Fraser Island.


38 Nm sail to Moon bank sand cay for lunch.

Onto River Heads (on mainland Australia) to pick up our friends, Shane and Lucy.

7 Nm motor to Kingfisher Bay, Fraser island. Slow 2.5hr walk to Lake McKenzie – nice swim and relax. Lazy route back – by taxi. Dinner and drinks at the resort.

We slowly sail through the beautiful Great Sandy Straits – very shallow day sailing. To avoid becoming high and dry - it’s critical to keep an eye for the navigation marks and time your passage on high tide.

Time to leave Fraser and cross the Wide Bay Bar – the notorious long and dangerous pass at the south of Fraser Island. Thankfully the winds are light and we have an easy crossing across the pass, even though we time the crossing wrong and go through on a changing tide!

27/11/12 Scarborough 

Our final 100Nm, 16hour sail to our home port Scarborough (just north of Brisbane)

Can you believe it? The end of our pacific crossing – 9086 Nm in 8 months, and countless happy memories!  Thank you for joining us on our travels.  

But whats this, still 2 months to go before work?   Maybe a trip to Europe.   That's a big sail for 2 months.   Nothing goes to windward like a 747.

4/11/12 -7/11/12 New Caledonia 

New Caledonia, is another French island, that has been extensively damaged by successful mining. This South Pacific island, unlike the others we have visited is very rich. 

We have to sail to the capital, Noumea to check in. It has a large affluent town feel to it. We spend our time provisioning and preparing for our final leg, to Australia. Unfortunately as we are running out of time with the South Pacific cyclone season beginning, we do not have time to visit the surrounding numerous islands. 

8/11/12-13/11/12 Final leg to Australia 

Everyone is talking about it, the weather window has arrived and it’s time to go. On the way, we finally manage to download the weather using our satellite mobile phone – no idea why it never worked before. Unfortunately for us, it shows a deep low coming up the east coast of Australia. You don’t want to stay in the South Pacific longer than you have to, in fear of tropical cyclones, and so there is not much we can do, but ride in to it. We start to prepare for our first bad weather. The worst is not knowing how bad it will be when it hits. Strong SE change and bang 35-45Kn wind. We our comfortably sailing only with our 2nd reefed main. Thankfully we do not need to guard the helm as the autopilot is coping quite nicely. Not much for us to do, except watch a movie and get a good night sleep. Weather settles over 24 hours and we are nearly becalmed as we head into home waters.   812 Nm, Av speed 6.2Kn.

Monday, September 24, 2012

23/10/12-26/10/12 Passage to Vanuatu 

27/10/12- 28/10/12 Anatom, Vanuatu 

With light winds, its takes three days to sail, of which we motor half the time, to the most Southern island in the Vanuatu island group - Anatom. 

Vanuatu is one of the poorer islands in the South Pacific. The locals typically live in coconut leaf and bamboo houses.

Like other South Pacific islands, Vanuatu has a history of cannibalism. Anybody for Dennis soup?

Vanuatu are volcanic islands and so generally its beaches are black sands. This white sand beach is supposedly the only one in Vanuatu - which is why this island is called Mystery island. 

A swim around the boat reveals that we are surrounded by Batfish. 

29/10/12 - 1/11/12 Tanna, Vanuatu 

There is just no wind at the moment, so we have to motor 8 hours (46 Nm) to Port Resolution, Tanna. 

Tanna has an active volcano. We were enjoying cocktails until the volcano became a bit too active for comfort - molten lava was being thrown out by the volcano and over our heads. 

Port Resolution is a lovely traditional village with friendly locals. 

A lady sewing in front of her house.

Nikki is giving away some chewing gum to this family. They are so pleased! As is the Vanuatu tradition, they always like to return the favour, the mum gives us a homemade straw basket in return

Roadside fruit and vegetable market.

We have to go over to the other side of the island to do our necessary checkout procedures. All along the ride, locals pile into and out of the back of the Ute for a joyride. 

With the cyclone season approaching, we have no more time to head up north and explore the bigger islands of Vanuatu. We will have to put that on the list for next time! 

2/11/12- 4/11/12 Onwards to New Caledonia 

Light wind sailing to New Caledonia. It would have been very easy had the autopilot not failed - "No Power!" Helming 24 hours a day is not for the faint hearted, it is intensely boring and fatigue sets in. Thankfully we are able to reduce our sail so that our boat becomes nicely balanced. We strap down the tiller and hey presto, you are sailing towards your destination with no hands! Although this is fine in light upwind passages, this autopilot malfunction is a big concern for us, especially as our next leg homeward bound is big and scary. Dennis spends the next day, successfully rewiring the autopilot. 

Time for more fishing! We catch our first Wahoo - 6ft pelagic.

Then soon after, just around one of the outer islands of New Caledonia, Mare islands. Fishing frenzy - We find a massive school of fish, we catch 3 more Walloo and 4 yellow fin tuna in 1 hour. With our freezers full, we stop fishing and continue our sail into New Caldeonia. 

16/9/12-19/9/12   Fiji 

435 Nm sail to Fiji from Tonga- Usual passage of strong winds, rough seas and mahi mahi. As we enter Fiji, we cross the international date line, and the longitude now reads east. The wind dies and we motor into port, Savusavu, just in time for a cheap and cheerful Fijian Buffet! 

Bula! Fijians know how to make visitors feel welcome. They are full of smiles and waves. Fiji is a large country comprised of two major islands and hundreds of little islands. To do it justice you would need to spend 2 years travelling around, we have only one month! 

20/9/12-24/9/12 Savusavu, Vanu Levu 

Savusavu is a small pretty town, on the smaller major island, and a great place to get some "R&R". Most exciting is the fact this place has well stocked and very cheap fruit and vegetable market - a talking point for all cruisers who have been deprived of such simple pleasures during their earlier travels through the South Pacific. 

Dennis cooking dinner on the Hot springs!

25/9/12 - 26/9/12 Namena Reef 

Good 25 Nm beam sail to Namena reef, Fiji's finest marine park renowned for its excellent marine life. It's a deep anchorage and relatively unprotected with winds funnelling around the island. Unfortunately we were trapped on the boat during our entire stay by bad weather (despite the weather grib predicting no winds!). We had to move our anchor at one point as marked wind changes, our yacht swang within a boat length of a neighbouring yacht - not fun!' 

27/9/12- 10/10/12 Viani Bay, Vanu Levu - a magical spot 

We cut our losses at Namena Reef, and move on to the more protected anhcorage of Viani Bay. Viani Bay is home to the Fisher family, a wonderfully welcome traditonal Fijian family. Jack Fisher, the head of the family, is an awesome bloke and an ideal tour guide. With Jack, we spent a week diving some world  famous spots.

Hello Little Nemo! 

Crown of Thorns - destroying coral at a fast rate.  But having a few of these guys around is normal.

Dozens of False Moorish idols.

Our favourites were the Great White and Purple Wall - impressive 40m deep wall covered in white and purple soft corals, and the Zoo - as it names implies, full of marine life. Totally gutted that we misplace the underwater camera charger and miss out on some awesome Kodak moments.

School bus!

Picking wild pumpkins for some tasty soup.

Jack arranges a day trip to Taveuni island.  

Swimming in the waterfalls.

Good example of a traditional Fijian village.

When we aren't diving we are drinking kava with the locals.  Kava, also called Grog, is a plant root that is ground up and drunk for its sedative effects. We had a few relaxing evenings. 

Dennis becomes ill - too much kava! (the water was probably contaminated). Fortunately Dennis was well looked after at Viani Bay with daily delicious home cooked meals from Jack's nephew, Albert's and Pa's, home. 

A must do and a place we hope to see again.

11/10/12 - 14/10/12 Koro island 

A day sail takes us to the relaxing island of Koro. 

Python - chilling out.

Fun bare back horse riding to be had.

More kava - because we obviously haven't had enough.

15/10/12 - 17/10/12 Makogai island 

A short 4 hour sail to Makogai. 

We still find plenty of time to fish.  Mahi Mahi'a are believed to be life-long mates and swim in pairs. Its therefore always a little sad to catch one, but we are just fishing for dinner. This time both, the male and female, bite at the same time. 

Makogai is an old leper colony. 

It is now a turtle and giant clam reserve. 

Plenty of coconuts to be had. 

18/10/12 - 21/10/12Musket cove 

An overnight sail to Musket Cove.

Plenty of yachties gather here in wait for a good weather window for their next passage. Plenty of drinking to be had at the beachside bar and DIY barbecue  Looking for toilet roll, we discover 10L of spirits in our bilges! We are only allowed to bring 4.5L of alcohol into Australia and so its big party time!

Hangovers aren't too bad when you spend your days swimming, snorkeling and surfing. 

22/10/12-23/10/12 Lautoka 

Over to Lautoka, a busy port on the main island of Vanu Levu, to do our check out procedures. Unfortunately with the Cyclone season coming, it's time for us to move on.

24/10/12 - 26/10/12 Passage west to Fiji 

Unpredictable shifting winds have us spending 24 hours beating into the wind, motoring for 24 hours and nice downwind sailing for about 1 hour.   336Nm Av speed 4.7 Kn