The Guest Cabin: (A passengers' unique views above and below decks)


 Ships Log:

14 December 2003 22:18:00 -0000 [UTC]
Arrival: Sydney
We have arrived in Sydney. We left Port Stevens(80 miles north of Sydney) yesterday at first light. Despite a bumpy and windy start, the day turned out fine and we had a wonderful sail, close reaching in 10-15 kts of south easterlies.
Astor loves these conditions and looped along at 8.5 to 9.5 kts the whole way getting us into Sydney Harbor at 5 pm. We sailed up the harbor to the Opera House before dropping sails and now we are anchored in Farm Cove.
Farm Cove is next to the Opera House and is surrounded by the Sydney Botanical Gardens. The spectacular view from Astor is of the Opera House, The Sydney Bridge, The Botanical Gardens, And all of Downtown Sydney - all close up.
Cheers, Richard & Lani

12 December 2003 09:19:00 -0000 [UTC]
Ahoy Port Stevens!
We are safely anchored in Port Stephens waiting for the weather to become favorable. We ducked in here when a southerly front hit (good timing as we were about 2 miles past the harbor entrance). The weather has settled down but it is raining so we will wait.
Sunday is supposed to be good and we are only 80 miles from Sydney so there is no rush.
Cheers, Richard

11 December 2003 19:59:00 -0000 [UTC]
Correction: Port Stevens, not Port MacQuarie
Well, we have had a whole day of motor sailing in light winds until Richards watch. We had the 8:30 (22:30) phenomenon. We were suddenly hit by a 30 k squall with lightning. Richard did a180 turn and ran. About 1 hour later it passed and we returned to our course and continued on just as before motoring in no wind.
Coastal sailing - you just never know!!!
Still not sure where we are headed. We will make that decision in the a.m. when we get the weather info in. Not sure what is happening near Melbourne.
Here's the info 0100 QLD time (1500 Zulu):
Lat: 32 03 Long: 152 45, Course: 184, Speed: 7.2, Wind: 4k SW, Sky: 60% clouds, seas: <1M
All is well on board. We had chili & cornbread for dinner.
Thanks for watching ~~~Lani

11 December 2003 08:52:00 -0000 [UTC]
Correction: Port Stevens, not Port MacQuarie
Just to let you know that we are now headed for Port Stephens not Port MacQuarie. We know that we cannot get into Port MacQuarie. I write these notes between 1 - 4 a.m. so I might get alittle confused.
This morning we waved at Coff's & we are now (13:32 Qld time) off Smoky Cape headed for Port Stephens. However, if this light weather holds we may just go right to Sydney as we are keeping a eye on the low, low off Melbourne.
All is well on board. More when we know where we are going.
Thanks for standing by ~~~Lani

10 December 2003 20:53:00 -0000 [UTC]
Coff's Harbor
I am on my early morning watch. It is a lovely night with a full moon and some coastal clouds. Currently, we are motoring as the wind has gone light. We sailed for about 2 hours yesterday. It was beautiful in light wind with the advance fisherman up going 9+ in 11 knots apparent. The seas are calm and it is pleasant in spite of the motor.
We are enjoying having Carl & Kathleen Cox from the S/V Silverfin aboard. They are excellent crew as they have sailed Silver fin to Australia from the east coast of the US.
Tomorrow we will decide whether we go to Coff's Harbor or press on to Port MacQuarie.
Dec 11, Tues. 1:00 a.m. (0300 Zulu):
Lat: 29 28 S Long: 153 27 E Speed: 7.3 motor sailing Course: 174 Wind: NE, Wind Speed: 3 apparent, Weather 80% clouds, Seas <1m
Thanks for keeping in touch ~~~Lani

10 December 2003 08:23:00 -0000 [UTC]
Astor Heading South
Hi to all,
We just got a weather window and are headed south. The wind is light and the seas are peaceful. We are going to Coff's Harbor and if the weather window holds on we might try for Port Stevens. There is big low near Melbourne so we better get south while we can.
Here's our information as of Dec 10, Tues. 2:00 p.m. (0400 Zulu):
Lat: 128 11 S Long: 153 39 E Speed: 7.3 motor sailing Course: 136 Wind: East, Wind Speed: 13 apparent, Weather 40% clouds, Seas <1m Thanks for keeping in touch ~~~Lani

3 December 2003 07:20:00 -0000 [UTC]
Anchored in South Port
Hi to all,
Astor and crew are safely anchored in South Port (The Gold Coast) about 370 miles north of Sydney. We had a sometimes good, sometimes wet trip down from Bundaberg and arrived here at 6:30 AM. We will be here for a few days waiting for good weather to continue on. Astor, as usual, was happy to be free of the dock and out in the ocean.
Cheers, Richard

1 December 2003 22:12 -0000 [UTC]
Out of Bundaberg
We are out of Bundaberg and on our way to Sydney. We will probably stop along the way but we are not sure. We loved Bundaberg and the great weather. Today we are making our way out around Frazier Is. which is a long way and much of it to weather. Just now we rounded the top of it and are headed south and on a 60 degree reach and going fast. The seas are a little rough as we have had some southerly weather over the weekend.
We have great crew aboard: Carl & Kathleen from the S/V Silverfin wanted to go to Sydney and did not want to sail Silverfin there so they are joining us as well as our good friend Dave Lovell who has sailed with us many times before. Dave lives in Pittwater just north of Sydney.
So here's the info at 0300 local time (1600 Zulu):
Lat: 24 41S Long: 153 26E Course: 157, wind: 17 k from the east, Speed 10.9 (with help of the current??), Seas: 2 meter, weather: dark with clouds
We hope everybody had a great turkey day.

8 November 2003 22:12 -0000 [UTC]
Dockside - Australia
Hi to all,
The good ship Astor has arrived safely in Bundaberg, Australia. We arrived yesterday at 5 pm local time and spent the next hour or so checking in with Customs, Immigration and Quarentine. They took most of our food so we had to go out to dinner even though we were ready to collapse.
The trip had all types of weather from flat calm to 35-40 kts in the wrong direction. We got to sail an extra 100 miles or so just to keep it interesting. Even with the extra miles the passage took only 6 days, not bad for a 1200 trip!
We are taking the marina shuttle bus to town this morning to buy food and get our phone up and running. We will be in Bundaberg for about a week of R&R before we push of south towards Sydney. Cheers, Richard & Lani

7 November 2003 21:10 -0000 [UTC]
Bundenberg, here we come
We are 100 miles from Bundenberg. Today was much better sailing. We did 8-9+k on 2 staysails & the weather fisherman in 18k on the beam - just a great day.
Looking forward to getting to Bundy in the late afternoon. We will let you know when we are in. The propagation has been really bad - we have had a lot of trouble getting in but we keep trying.
Here's the info at 0300 (1600 Zulu): Lat: 23 24 S Long: 153 35 E Speed 7.6 Course: 204 Wind: 12 SE Cloud cover: dark Seas: 1 M
Hi to everyone~~~Lani

6 November 2003 8:08 -0000 [UTC]
Miles to go
Yes, we are in the final day or two. The last 2 days have been rough. The high that was predicted was a monster!! We have been sailing for the last 2 days on just stay sails and doing 8-10 in 3-4 meter swells/waves. Yesterday, when we rounded Chesterfield reef (finally) I was on watch of course at 2 a.m. sailing 120 degrees to the wind we were headed for Cairnes at it was rough. So Richard figured out that we should try to "for reach" (sail closer to the wind 70 degrees) and by golly we were doing 8k on the rumbline for Bundenberg and it is a much better ride. We are all happier now. Still no fishing as it is too rough. Besides, I have all this food cooked and ready to eat.
All is well on board and should be getting to Bundenberg on Fri.
Here's our info at 0200 local time (1500 Zulu): We are 12 miles from Kenn Reef
Lat: 20 51 S Long: 155 42 E Speed 6 Course: 224 Wind: 15 SE Cloud cover: dark Seas: 3M+

5 November 2003 7:38 -0000 [UTC]
Nearly Half way
Another short note as the weather is rough. We are on the other side of Chesterfield reef and glad of it.
Here's our info at 0300 local time : Lat: 18 59 S Long: 158 08 E Speed 7.8 Course: 245 Wind: 22k SE Cloud cover: dark Seas: 3M+
We were unable to e-mail earlier as we could not get in, so here's an update
Here's our info at 1300 local time (0200 Zulu): Lat: 19 33 S Long: 157 06 E Speed 8 Course: 208 (rumbline for Bundenberg -384 mi to go) Wind: 22k SE Cloud cover: 50% Seas: 3M+

4 November 2003 19:56 -0000 [UTC]
Nearing Chesterfield Reef
Hi to all: Quick note as the weather has gotten worse. Yesterday we motored al day in no wind until 1700 hr when we finally got into the high. The winds increased to over 20 from the south so we decided to go over (north of Chesterfield reef instead of under it. We about 161 miles from the north point and hope that the winds go SE by the time we get there. We are well rested for the most part as yesterday was easy. Here's our information: Nov.4 0100 hr (0200 Zulu) Lat: 19 42 S Long: 161 22 E Speed 10k Course: 2283 Wind: 18 k A from: S Cloud cover: 100% Seas: 2 M

3 November 2003 19:09 -0000 [UTC]
Going over New Caledonia
It is Mon. Nov.3 0200 local time (0300 Zulu) We are currently going through the Grand Pass at the top of New Caledonia. Of course it is the middle of the night but the pass is 18 miles wide so all is well. Yesterday, we motored all night until 1000 hr when the wind came up then we hoisted all the sails and off we went doing 8-10.1 k in 8-10k. Fantastic as the sea are calm. We are all rested after yesterdays 0100 drill. We sailed in light winds until 1800hr and decided when the wind went light to drop sails all but the 2 staysails and motor through the night. It was a good call as now we still only have 5k. Here's our information: Lat: 18 43 S Long: 163 16 E Speed 6.6 motoring Course: 226 Wind: 4.3k SE Cloud cover: 30% Seas: calm Thanks for standing by ~~~Lani

2 November 2003 8:03 -0000 [UTC]
Astor going great
It is 1:00 a.m. Sunday, Nov.2 and all is well. Yesterday, we had a sweet sail and the wind was light but from the right direction. We were able to do a 70 degree reach with a following sea clocking 9+. It was a piece of heaven!! Tonight it has gone light so we are ghosting along at about 5kts. It is great to be a sea again.
Lat: 16 50 S Long: 165 35 E Speed 5.4 Course: 213 Wind: 6.5k SE Cloud cover: 30% mostly stars.
Evening Report:
Nov. 2, 1300 hr. Last night at 2 (my watch) we had to rally the crew and drop all but staysails and motor until 10 a.m. Then we found some more light airs (currently 8-10k) and put up the main, #2 jib, & advance fisherman and we are doing 9 knots!!! Love this boat.
We all are resting up from the 2 a.m. drill and doing well. Sure is great so far!!
Lat: 17 46 S Long: 164 26 E Speed 9.4 Course: 218 Wind: 10k SE Cloud cover: 90% mostly grey.
Thanks for standing by ~~~Lani

1 November 2003 8:05 -0000 [UTC]
On the move
The time has come for Astor to get out of the Islands. We left Luganville, Vanuatu at 9:00 am this morning and are currently sailing to Bundaberg, Australia. The trip is just under 1000 miles in a straight line. At one oclock we are 30 miles out of Luganville doing 8.5 to 9 kts in about 10-15 kts(about 120 degrees apparent) true wind. Our course is 217 mag which aims us over the top of New Caledonia. It is a beautiful hot day with about 10 percent cloud cover and 2 ft waves.
Our position at 1 pm local time is: 15.51 S 166.47 E. Cheers, Richard

28 October 2003 20:27 -0000 [UTC]
CA News n gossip
We heard there is a nice write-up in the latest Sail Magazine. Clark wrote the article a while ago and no one knew when or even if it would be in the magazine. We have just received the Oct 2003 issue from Mariah, and it looks great! This is one for the collection. Thanks Clark. No one in the South Pacific has seen it, not even Clark.
I just got an another update on the California fires from Mariah, it sounds like all of so-cal is in trouble. We hope all is well back home.
We are still in Luganville, Vanuatu waiting for a weather window to leave for OZ. The weather here has been perfect, sunny and warm (85 air-82 water), but there is no wind between here and OZ, so no sailing. Because there is no wind, the air here looks like LA because of the volcanic smoke from the near islands.
Hi to the whole gang. Cheers, Richard

10 October 2003 23:16 -0000 [UTC]
That Island State of Mind
We have been and still are in deepest darkest Vanuatu. The weather has been spectacular because the South Pacific is having a drought. The islands are still green and beautiful but they will need rain soon. This settled weather has allowed us to get into many of remote anchorages that would not be safe usually. We have not been near a store, phone, fax, news, you name it, for over a week. The only traveler has been just the occasional native in his canoe. Rush hour and commuting has a new definition.
We are currently anchored in Waterfall Bay on Pentecost. The waterfall is reduced but still flowing well. We arrived yesterday afternoon and saw the falls from a distance but when anchored they are out of sight. We are going to walk to the falls this morning for a swim. It's about 10 minutes away, . There are supposed to be pools at the base.
Cheers, Richard

3 October 2003 07:04 -0000 [UTC]
Cruising Vanuatu
We are having a great time in Vanuatu. We are currently anchored in Layman's Bay on Epi Island. You will probably remember from years before that we have been here a number of times. It is famous for the local friendly Dugong that frequents these waters. Last year we were on a tight schedule and did not see him, but the year before we did and enjoyed it a lot. Again, this year we swam with the Dugong and he looks good & healthy. He let us swim with him for a long time. I got to swim along side him as he came up and I think I got closer than last time. He chompped his way through rows and rows of sprouts. There are still lots of turtles and we swam with them "turtle style".
We celebrated our 27th Wedding Anniversary on Oct. 1. The last two years were a bit sidetracked as were transitting in a "white squall" for the 25th and last year Richard was home for a business. That made this year sweeter. I cooked one of our favorite dinners (chicken cordon bleu & chocolate mousse).
We keep meeting up with friends as Cormorant sailed in yesterday afternoon. It was a treat to see them again. We have kept in touch over the years but it was nice to up close with them. We transited the same time back in 2000 and they were some of the first people we met when we arrived in Nuka Hiva in the Marqueses.
We are catching up on varnish and reading books. Love it. Miss you all. Thanks for everything ~~~Lani