Ships Log:(updated as time permits)
We went out on a Harbor Tour with 3 other Fife boats berthed here in Australia. We were joined by Sayonara, Carina & Saskea. It was marvelous.
New Year's was celebrated on the foyer of the Sydney Opera House At the Lord Mayor's Party. Wow, we had the best spot to view the Fireworks. We were part of the MacDonald's group - it was great to be with our new friends at this special time.
All of us including Daniel were picked up by Peter Warner and driven to their home south of Sydney near Pictin for a visit. It was so quiet and beautiful in the bush. The next day Peter and Justine took us down to Bruce Rosenberg's for visit in Barwol. Bruce has a wonderful home & garden and we had a wonderful time talking about his sailing days on ASTOR. He had even sailed on ASTOR when it was still ADA.
Rob MacAuley organized a day of sailing with a group of 1960's crew sailors. They have stayed in touch with each other over the years and it was great to have them on board. We sailed up and down the harbor and had a terrific time in perfect weather. Peter & Justine Warner who owned ASTOR during the 60's and Bruce Rosenberg were part of the group.
Today we moved over the the CYC at Rushcutters Bay.
Boxing Day - We gathered crew for an outing to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart Race. It was a great day. The wind & weather was just right.
We arrive in Sydney at 1:30 am. Normally we do not like to enter at night, but it is well marked and by now we are very familiar with the harbor so we have no reservations about doing so. We anchor in Farm Cove near the Opera House. The next morning we moved to the Super Yacht Marina near Darling Harbor. Little did we know that this marina was the center of the Volvo 60 Ocean Race. We were in the thick of it - such excitement. We were reunited with our Sydney friends including Mick, Christine & Tahi (born just as we left Sydney in June of last year) on ULU. That night we went to a pot luck on ULU and were happy to see many more cruisers including Clark Beek from Newport!. Ross & Lynette MacDonald came for dinner on Dec. 21. We had not seen them since Fiji.
We got busy getting ready for Christmas doing final shopping and putting up our tree all 18" - a gift from Daniel's mom Janet last year. We had a great Christmas eating homemade fudge and going to the MacDonald's for a big Christmas Dinner.
We all want to be in Sydney for the Holidays and so it is time to move along. We toss of the lines and head for Sydney. Again we have light airs and motor sail most of the way.
Arrive in Coff's harbor after a motor sail in light airs. We tucked in to our old side tie ie and feel right at home. Even some familiar faces Coff's was our first Australian landfall last year. While in Coff's Harbor we went to town, shopped and went to the movies (always a treat after spending so much time in the tropics).
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 23:02:00
Hi to all: We are on our way to Coff's Harbor. That is where we entered Australia last year and where we reunited with Peter Warner. We loved it there last year. They had a nice berth for us and this is where we celebrated Thanksgiving. We also, caught up on some varnishing and I recovered from a cough that I got in Coff's Harbor.
We left at 08:00 yesterday and will arrive about 08:00 today - a short hop.
We really liked the Gold Coast. We went to their Sea World. It is sponsored by the Discovery Channel and is a little less commercial that ours - no Shamou (killer whales). They do have Polar bears and water slides - all in all real nice. We were able to anchor off of their Sea World Nara resort and used it for touch and go. The down town was fabulous with all the designer shops and even a great mall. The night life was good and Daniel and Mariah had fun.
We should be able to find our what schooner lost her rig in Coff's as this was their first stop. We will update.
The weather has been great. The east coast has what they call southerly change come through about every 5 days so we will head for Sydney after the next change. It would be nice to be in Sydney for the holidays. I did get some shopping (we keep it at a minimum) done in the Gold Coast.
We'll keep you updated. Thanks ---Lani
Date: Mon, 03 Dec 2001 04:13:00
Hi to all: I should have written this yesterday - I thought Richard did - he thought I did it. Oh - well,
We are anchor down in Gold Coast which is south of Bundaberg about 50 miles?? Yes, here we are at the Miami of Australia. I thought "oh sure" when I heard people talking about the likeness to Miami, but it is truly amazing. Tall buildings (about 50) right on the beach just like Miami - bigger (I think) than Santa Monica and of course there are no earthquakes here. It is like Miami and Orlando all in one. There are alot of theme parks -Sea World, Movieland, wet & wild and more. Mariah and Daniel are at Wet & Wild right now. They explored town last night. They have been stranded away from town all the time we were in Bundaberg as a taxi ride to town was $26 one way as the shuttle bus did not run at night. So they deserve a few nights out. Richard and I are happy just with the change of scenery. It is sunny and breezy. I am working on my tan and Richard is sanding and varnishing. We are anchored just off of Sea World and so I hope to talk Richard into visiting the park with me. I know Daniel and Mariah will ditch me as soon as we get there - why wouldn't they?
We will be here we think 4-5 days but maybe longer. After this, it is short over night hop to Coff's Harbor. That is where we entered Australia last year and are looking forward to seeing it again.
Well, obviously we are doing great. The news we hear from back home sounds like you are getting the Christmas spirit as winter sets in.
Miss you ---Lani
Date: Dec. 1, 0300 a.m.
Lat: 26.08 S - Long: 153.35 E, Course 165, speed 7 k - motoring, wind NNW 8k, seas 1.5m swell NE -
full moon was a blue moon for the southern hemisphere.
Departed Bundaberg 0500 - motoring in no wind. Lunch was meat pies (Australian style) - Dinner was the usual first night out fare: Chicken/rice bowl and cucumber salad.
We finally are headed south, slowing making our way toward Sydney. We really liked Bundaberg (the rum capitol of Australia) but it was time to move on. We will head for the Gold Coast (Australia's Miami Beach)near Brisbane We still have 16 hours to go. Hopefully, we will make it at sunset. We plan to anchor near Sea World. I will report on the Gold Coast when we get there.
In the meantime here is an update mostly about weather. It seems cooler so far this year and we had 2 good rain showers while we were in Bundaberg. We did not get any varnishing done but still look quite good. Better than last year at this time. We plan to spend a few days at the Gold Coast then on to Coff's Harbor. That is where we hope to get caught up on varnishing and Mariah and Daniel hope to find some night life. They enjoyed the night life last year.
We will update you when we get anchor down.
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 06:22:00
Hello from ASTOR,
We are tied up at the dock in Bundaberg, Australia after a 5 and a half day trip from Port Vila, Vanuatu. We had a great sail with a little bit of everything for weather but nothing horrible. The wind shifted from broad reaching to hard on the weather and back and we had a little rain. We went over the top of the front that dismasted La Violante and missed most of it, we had about 12 hr of 30kt+ winds and 2.5 meter waves. The first 3 days were perfect, flat water, clear skys - some of the best sailing we have had. Our best 24 hr run was about 220 kts. We averaged 185 kts per day. We have finely cleared Quarantine and Customs and can step of ASTOR and explore Queensland, stay tuned.
Cheers, Richard, Lani, Mariah, Daniel
Hi to all: November 15, 0300
Lat: 23-19 S - Long: 156-01 E, Speed 7.4, course: 235, wind 15 true from the east. seas 4 feet from the south east, clear with stars.
What an interesting 24 hours we have had. We motorsailed until 0800, then had a lovely 9k+ sail until about 11:00 when we got a hold of 30+knot winds. We took all sheets down and are now running on a double reefed main and #3 jib. As of 2300 we finally slowed down and the ride is better.
We had Quiche Lorraine for lunch with rissotto parmesean and toast - but dinner in rough weather was ramen soup.
Looks like we should be in Bundaberg tomorrow. Hopefully, after dawn.
Will keep you updated ---Lani
Hi to all: Nov. 14, 0400
Lat: 22.07 S - Long: 159.27 E Motorsailing @6.3 K, wind 4 true from SE, course 233 seas calm - lots of stars.
Having a wonderful crossing even though we are motorsailing currently - we are making good time. It is now a straight shot to Bundaberg. It has been light airs all day so we dragged our out biggest gollywobbler - "the Dragon" it is about 3000 sqft. Called the dragon because it has the Fife dragon on it in red as does our asymmetric spinnaker which flew all day too. Where was the photo boat/plane?
We have received many concerned (and relieved) e-mails about the news of a de-masted schooner in our area. Not to mention our friend in Sydney got 50 worried phone calls. Thank you all so very much for your concerns. We still don't know for sure if it was La Violinate or not as the port only would report that it was not ASTOR to worried callers. I did not check in on the PMN - I would have to check in at 0900 hr our time and I go off watch at 0600 hr. - besides last year the propogation was not too good - 0900 and all. Miss it though!
Lets see - we had taco salad for lunch and chicken risotto for dinner. We had dinner on deck as we spotted some whales but never got close enough to see what kind. That's probably a good thing as I am still a little whale shy. It is wonderfully warm and calm.
Thanks again ---Lani
Hi to all: Nov. 13 @ 0500
Lat: 20.41 S - Long: 161.08 E Speed 6.6k, course 200, wind 10 true from the NE
We have changed our watch schedules on this trip. That is why my reports are coming to you at this early hour.
Our new schedule goes something like this:
So far so good. Normally, I think I have a rough time getting to sleep - but since (probably hormones) I am awake usually at 3 a.m. it seems to make sense. I think I slept great last night. Richard really likes his time slot and is the most rested on this trip than any.
We are having a lovely sail. Right now the wind is light and we are carrying our asymmetrical (aso, from now on) spinnaker through the night. We rarely do this because if the weather gets bad it is a bit much and is usually a handful. The aso is wonderful as it flys out there in its own wind happy as can be just pulling us along. It is easy to take down too - as it has a snuffer (sock like thing) that you just pull over it - it collapses and poof it is controlled and then you drop the hallyard - all done. Richard does not have to go out on the bowsprit - it all happens on deck. We are loving the aso right now.
Let's see lovely smooth waters so everyone is eating good. Today we had meat pies (Australia style) for lunch and dinner was sloppy joes. We are having alot more beef this trip as the beef in Vanuatu is wonderful and cheap.
Under 600 miles to Bundaburg - but the wind is lighter so we'll see how fast we are. It is really pleasant, so there is not a need to rush.
Hi to all: Nov. 12 @ 0400
Lat:18-43S - Long:163-23 E Speed 9.8 heading 228, wind 20true, direction East
We are just going thru the Grand Pass in north New Caledonia on our way via Chesterfield reef to Bundaburg, Australia. Having a glorious sail. The weather is great (knock on wood - easily done). With the wind on our stern quarter - no bad tummies here. Had ham & cheese sandwiches for lunch and a new one for me: skillet lasagna for dinner.
Richard says we are 700 miles out of Bundenburg. We landed in Coff's harbor last year which is south of Bundenburg - try alittle something different.
(same day post)
Lynette has just e-mailed us that a 80 foot schooner has been dismasted in route from Vanuatu to Australia. Just thought we'd let you know *** IT IS NOT US! *** We are having a wonderful sail and are about 650 miles from Bundaberg. We are listening to the local nets for more info. We fear that it is probably La Violante (sp?) on her way to Sydney as she left Port Villa about 5 days before us - she a sweet old girl built in he 1890's.
We sailed over the top New Caledonia with no problems and all is well here.
11-11-01 - Hi all: Nov. 11, @ 17:00 local time.
17-46 E, 168-06 S speed: 9k wind ESE, @ 14 apparent.
Well, here we go off to ??? Hopefully, Bundaberg, Australia as we hope to go over the top of New Caledonia and sail on to Australia. If it is not good we can head down to Noumea. The weather finally cleared & we have better wind direction. Our auto pilot repair seems to be perfect - working as good as when it was new.
Byron, you were wondering about water. We make our own water @ 35 gals/hour. Sounds like a lot but we normally only generate 2 hours a day - so we can keep up with our needs quite well. Mariah loves long hot showers. We took water on only in New Caledonia - last year before arriving in Australia In Australia we did take on water when we were at docks. We love our water and we think it is better than Arrowhead bottled drinking water from back home. Our water maker is by the same company as the watermaker for Catalina Island
Power wise: we use our generator with out exception as our US boat likes 110 volt, every where else is 240 volt. We have a Fisher Panda 8 kilowatt/75 amp generator. It is wonderful. We also have an inverter to create 110 AC from the batteries when the generator is not running.
More later --- Lani
11-6-01 - We are back in Port Villa. It was a slow return from the northern islands as the weather was not good - we tried to leave Lugonville and had to go back and one other time at Epi (where the Dugong lives) we left and had to go back because of bad weather. The weather was not horrible but we are cruising (then without the autopilot) so why push it!
We really like Port Villa. There is good food, great beef, cheap liquor (although- Daniel likes the Fiji beer better) + they have the same format DVD - so we are renting DVD's like mad. As I write I think all of our repairs are done. In addition to the autopilot we found that our water tanks were leaking from a drain plug that corroded away and we had to put on a new float switch on the bilge pump. I think all is repaired & we could go but the weather is bad. SSE winds & I guess there are 3 lows headed out of Australia. So I am cooking and getting food ready for the trip, checking stows, cleaning, and finished some sewing too.
I thought I'd update you about growing vegis etc on the boat. I have a wonderful basil plant and some garlic chives that were a Cmas gift. They are surviving fabulouly. But growing other things has proven difficult. It is hard to have the right conditions with sunlight and being surrunded by sea water. I have tried other things mostly herbs and they did not make it. I cut my basil back when we enter foreign ports as not fresh items are allowed. It looks dead so they never take it and about two days later I have fresh basil sprouting again. Believe me, it is a luxury and the other cruisers are jealous. Other cruisers have sprouts from seeds that they grow as greens. I have the seeds but never ran out of greens of some kind. Besides, most men don't like sprouts that well. I suspect that I will lose my basil and the dirt when we re-enter Australia. Hope not.
As the US is now getting into the holiday season, I can't help thinking of one thing I love about Australia is that Cmas is much less excess. You can shop the biggest shopping center in downtown Sydney and it is not crowded. Of course no Thanksgiving down there. Daniel and I are already planning our Thanksgiving aboard Astor. Last year the turkey (18lbs.) cost A$56.00 and all the checkers and packers came and watched me buy it. I was just happy to find one. They do start Cmas promotions earlier because there is no Txgvg but it is still all low key.
We just got a pkg from a friend in MI - he sent Crouching Tiger, Mr Mom, Pump Up The Volume, and You've got Mail all on DVD's. We are saving them til we can't rent.
Miss you all ---Lani
10-15-01 - As I write today, we are sailing along on a beam reach in a light breeze doing 7.5 kts. We left Lamen Bay, Epi Island (16 degrees 16 min S. 167 degrees 56 min E.) this morning for Banan Bay, Malakula Island (16 degrees 21 min S. 176 degrees 45 min E.). The weather is hot and clear and the volcanos are quiet.
Vanuatu is a magic country, its outer islands unspoiled by the modern world. The islands are volcanic and very tropical. The water is deep and gin clear, you can check your anchor in 50 ft of water by just looking over the side. The natives use dugout canoes and paddles. Money is no good, every thing is had by trade. The natives have little and are greatful for anything to help their lives. They seem very happy with their lot, though, and are very friendly to us. (There has been no reported cannibalism since the 1960's)
---- Cheers, Richard
(Note from Lani)
Thought I would update you as I have not written for a while. We are loving Vanuatu. Today we swam/snorkeled with several giant sea turtles and then with a Dugong which is like a Manatee but with a whale type tail. It is giant (9ft) and gentle --- no doubt endangered. Wow - what a day. I did not know I could swim that long. Vanuatu is fabulous. Okay - I like everything new the best but really!!! Great food - tacos hooray!!! They also, have the best beef we have tasted (filet for US$2.25/lb). Really a wonderful friendly country.
Daniel and Mariah are doing great. Daniel had his hair cut today by Mariah. Daniel's Dad brought us clippers when he visited.
Yesterday, we sailed up from the main island about 60 miles doing 9's & 10's on a 60 degree reach. Oh Astor is a happy girl. Our autopilot is still out, but right now we don't care. It is wonderful to helm her again.
Wow - it just can't be better. --- Lani
10-8-01 - Hello all: After an exciting 3 day sail to Vanuatu we are now in Port Vila.
After heading back to Lautoka and officially checking out from Fiji, we motored back to Musket Cove and spent the night there before sailing west in the morning. Leaving Fiji we had a couple bad omens. First, as we motored toward the pass in the reef the diesel started overheating and we had to change the impeller on the water pump. Next we lost pinkie, our favorite lure after the pass. Then we got some breeze and started moving around mid afternoon. The worst thing was at dusk our autopilot started making a bad grinding noise, that's when we realized Richard and Daniel had some hand steering ahead of us. The wind was still increasing and we were easily doing double digits. Richard and Daniel switched off doing 2-3 hours on the wheel. The next day we took down the weather fisherman, so we only had the #3 and double reef main. By this time the seas were 15 feet and we had 30-35 knots of wind from the east and rain most of the time. Richard and Daniel were flying down the waves hand steering and he ended up getting the fastest top speed of 16.59 knots!!!
Two days in, everyone was getting tired and I (Lani) was finally able to help steer. One day out from Vanuatu we got hit by a VERY BIG squall (weather faxes are worthless). We saw lightning and started to alter course to avoid it, next thing we knew we were in the middle of it. In 10 minutes we had winds up to 50 knots continuously shifting in a circle, stronger than the Bass Strait. We also had to take down the jib because half the hanks came off and it was ripping the luff line out. After two hours we made it through and Lani had been steering through the storm for four more hours. We were all exhausted and the wind had finally died so we were motoring the last day in to Port Vila through big seas still around.
Was it worth it? Yes, Port Villa is fabulous GREAT FOOD -REAL FOOD. Even Mexican food - and DVD format matches ours so we had a DVD festival.
We are of course, repairing the autopilot and then off to tour this beautiful country. You have to come here. It is exactly as the people we met from Switzerland said "really the best things (restaurants, shopping & general comfort) since California".
We were at sea for our 25th Wedding Anniversary and what rough seas it was not the best time to celebrate. We have made up for this as we had a lovely French dinner and I found a gold Angel/Banner fish - perfect anniversary gift.
I guess you know that Rhys is not on board anymore. He headed off to California and then on to other worldly adventures. He was a great addition to the crew. We sure could have used him on this last crossing when we lost our autopilot.
Hope all is well with you back at home.
Miss you ---Lani
10-3-01 - Hi all: We are here Port Vila - safe and sound!!! It is beautiful.
Now we have a new Island to explore.
Details to follow. ---Lani
10-1-01 - Hi all: another quick note: Mon. Oct 1 (25th Wedding Anniversary)
1500hrs: 18.01 S, 173.10E
Heading 261, at 9 kts, wind SW @ 18 (now). We are 281 out and have covered 212 to now.
9-30-01 - 2000 Hr - short note as the weather is big and our autopilot is not working.
Lat - 17.46S, Long -175.58E
Heading to Vanuatu.