After almost a week in Pittwater we splurged on a new head for Namani. Something we originally wanted to do in 2011 before we left Maine, but that never quite made it to the top of the projects list... We installed it yesterday and we're still admiring the shiny white thing. Also felt kind of funny zipping across the bay with a toilet in the dinghy...
Over the past few years this blog has brought us in touch with a few fellow owners of an original Dufour 35 of Namani's vintage (the series was built in the 1970's and early 80's). We've enjoyed the exchanges and they have often been helpful as a sounding board for boat questions regarding modifications and repairs. Why re-invent the wheel if someone else has already thought of a good solution?
We left Coffs Harbour on Tuesday (03DEC) morning for an overnight sail to Port Stephens, about 170nm to the south. The weather was supposed to turn nasty again by Wednesday night so this was our chance. We spent most of the day Monday beating into southerly winds and by late afternoon were able to sail directly to our destination without tacking, once the wind had sufficiently shifted to the SE. At that point we were firmly in the East Australien Current, averaging well over 8 knots (remember the turtles in "Finding Nemo"?) and making up for the time we had lost tacking during the day.
A week after our arrival in Australia we're still in Coffs Harbour, slowly "getting settled" into the country with the usual routine: replenish food stores (after having to give up our remaining fresh supplies when we cleared in last Monday), get SIM cards for cell phone and internet access, and open a local bank account (much cheaper to transfer money from Europe/US once and then pay in local currency).
About half-way to Coff's Harbour, our destination on Australia's east coast. Very pleasant sailing these last couple of days, broad reaching under largely blue skies in a 15kn breeze. Sailed a little dog-leg yesterday to get out of some adverse current, and so far the detour seems to have paid off. About 160nm to go until we expect to hit the outskirts of the south setting Eastern Australian Current at about 157 eastern longitude. We hope to make it into port by Saturday morning before a brisk southerly wind sets in behind a west moving low/troff and in front of a following high.
Originally we thought New Caledonia would only be a relatively short stop-over for us, assuming we would leave for Australia soon after Nana's mother's visit at the beginning of October. Well, the weather hasn't been cooperating in terms of a stable window for the 850nm passage to Coffs Harbour and - so far - we're mighty glad about it. We get to go to all those beautiful spots in New Caledonia's lagoon that we otherwise would have missed. And we keep telling ourselves: much better to swim with the turtles than with the crocodiles...
We're on a mooring off Ilot Amedee, about 12nm south of Noumea at the outer reef. Ilot Amedee has New Caledonia's tallest light house at 53 meters and we enjoy watching it's beam sweep over us while we hear the surf breaking on the reef under a starry sky. The Amedee light house features prominently in Jimmy Buffet's "A Salty Piece of Land", a book we read during our 2007/2008 trip in the Caribbean. Nice to finally see it "in person" ;-)
As a good German I like my beer - a commodity that we loath to run low on aboard Namani. I have a preference for "hoppier" tasting pilseners and IPAs - flavors that are hard to come by among the beer brands available and affordable in the tropics. One learns to adjust and gets used to the local lagers but still yearns for a stronger taste from time to time.