Well on the 8th May at around 9.30 am we left Marsden Cove, Whangerai, New Zealand heading for New Caledonia. A trip that would take over 900 hundred miles at sea and about 7/8 days depending on weather.
I’ll be honest i was a little anxious as i had only done around 150 miles and 2 days at sea before. This was on courses with tuition on board and never too far from the coast. This at its furthest point would be about 450 miles from any land mass. If anything had broken, engine failed, loss of rudder/mechanicals/injury,etc,etc, nobody would be there to help you, nobody would be able to come to get you. You are on your own. The first three days of the trip started out with unsettled weather with slightly choppy seas but fair winds. We had to head out after a weather front had passed as there was another one due in a few days time so it gave us the maximum amount of time between fronts to sail in reasonable weather.
It took me a while to get my sea legs steady and felt quite sick during the first part of the trip. During the day you are on 4 hour watches and during the night 3 hour watches. When you are feeling a little giddy, not wanting to eat or drink, not wanting to go below deck, not wanting to let the team down, its all a liitle awkard and frustrating. You don’t want to be seasick – you just are.
The second half of the journey improved both in weather conditions and mental/physical conditions. I felt better, sun was out, sea was calmer, it was getting hotter by 2/3 degrees every day we were heading north. Things were looking up !!
I was getting into the swing of the shift patterns and enjoying the night watches. Night watches are always something i’ve enjoyed, especially when the stars are out, clear skies, sails are up and the only sound is the wind and the water moving around you. Something very special about the whole thing. Sometimes very eerie, sometimes peaceful, sometimes scary, sometimes odd noises !! Always special though.
Managed to feed ourselves as Myra put the lure out from the back of the boat and the next day we caught a Wahoo, about 25 lbs so would feed us for 3/4 days easily. This was caught on a lure that Myra had made out of a marigold glove, yes really.
Brian had brought his own rod and reel as he was a keen fisherman, had his own boat back in Essex so was keen to catch a fish or two. First day no luck but after putting his lure out for the second day he struck gold after 15 minutes !! Restled with a Mahi-Mahi for a good 10-15 minutes, dragged it on board, beautiful silver,yellow, blue in colour. Shame we had to kill it and have it for dinner for the next 7 days, it was a lovely fish. Brian was chuffed to bits as it was one of the largest fish he has caught.
After leaving New Zealand i think i saw about 4 ships in just under a thousand miles, a few shooting stars, some flying fish, one landed on board during the night, and a stray , what seemed like a Goldfinch, fly into the boat and sit there looking a little confused, poor thing had probably been blown off course and would never make it back to where it wanted to be.
On the morning of the 15th May at around 9 o’clock we had reached our way point about 20 miles outside of Noumea, from here we had to come in via the lagoon entrance. I didn’t realise but New Caledonia has a larger coral reef than the Great Barrier reef of Australia. Care had to be taken coming in and continuing into the main town of Noumea. The yellow quaratine flag had already been put up so we found our berth and waited to be inspected.
We had made it to New Caledonia !! Around 960 miles at sea, 7/8 days at sea, it felt good to be here !! Looks like there is loads to see and do so must get out those swimming shorts and snorkel the reef !!
A frequent view from the boat.
One thought on “Voyage from New Z to New Caledonia”
It sounds like you are having an absolutely horrid time Simon! I am sure that the first part of the voyage was a real testing time for the sea legs never having attempted anything like this before. I was at my regular Thursday training session at the Burnham on Crouch RNLI station and I was chatting to one of the crew about your adventure. He also had experienced the odd flying fish landing on board the boat and said it was a bit of a shock when it first happened.
I can imagine that the sky at night was ‘out of this world’ with no light polution. When ever we go ‘home’ to NZ we often look at the Southern hemisphere night sky and marvel at the wonder of it all.
Enjoy the rest in lands new and keep us posted on the next stage of your adventures.
David & Rachel