The Sail from New Zealand to Australia

I am still recovering from the sail from New Zealand to Australia. It was one of our longest passages and a challenging trip. The good news is we made it, and are now basking in the warm sun in Australia!

The Route from New Zealand to Australia

Our sail from New Zealand to Australia covered over 1200 nautical miles. We departed from Bay of Islands Marina in Opua, New Zealand aiming for Southport Yacht Club in Gold Coast, Australia.

Map sailing from New Zealand to Australia
Our route across the Tasman from New Zealand to Australia

Our route took us from the Pacific Ocean north up the east coast of New Zealand and then west along the north of New Zealand into the Tasman Sea to Australia. The Tasman Sea, known as “The Ditch” in sailing circles, is infamously rough due to the currents of the Southern Ocean colliding with those of the Pacific. So yes, we expected rough wind and waves and that’s what we got.

Rough Seas

From the first day until near the end of our passage, the waves were like a washing machine. Also known as confused seas, the waves came from every direction. To make it even more uncomfortable, there was no break between waves. The incessant confused waves made me sick a few times the first night and next morning, and I continued to feel sick for a couple more days. It wasn’t until late on the third day that I felt human enough to spend time inside the boat and to eat anything besides crackers.

A rainbow on the sail from New Zealand to Australia
We saw a few rainbows on the passage.
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Thirty Days at Sea From Panama to Polynesia

Our longest passage yet will likely be our longest passage ever if I can choose. I expected the voyage from Panama to Polynesia to be a mix of bad and good. I was correct. Compared to others who did the journey, thirty days at sea from Panama to Polynesia was average. I’m happy it’s over.

Passage Problems

Even on a short sail problems inevitably pop up, so with a 3800 mile+ passage, we knew anything could happen! Since we arrived in Nuku Hiva unharmed and with no major boat damage, we count ourselves lucky but the sail from Panama to French Polynesia was far from perfect.

No wind

Leaving Panama, we expected to have very little wind, and we were right. The first few days of the passage we crawled and we covered very little ground. In fact, many followers noticed our boat do a big circle on our map tracker. It wasn’t a mistake. With no wind and trying to conserve fuel that early in the trip, that was our actual course that day! Fortunately, that section of Panama was the lightest wind we had on the voyage. Unfortunately, it was the end of the warm weather. We were in hoodies soon after!

No Sun

Even worse for us with our new lithium batteries and upgraded solar panels was the absolute lack of sun. While we didn’t have much rain and only a couple minor squalls on the trip from Panama to Polynesia, the clouds followed us for weeks! Fortunately we brought a lot of gas for our generator because we used it! We had to run it early and often to keep our battery – and autopilot and chart plotter – running at night. Which leads us to another problem!

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Cooking on A Boat

A few of you back home ask what we eat on the boat. Good question! It is not as easy to cook or eat as on land. Our equipment is not nearly as good, and resources vary, yet we still eat three meals a day and enjoy them. Here’s how I am handling cooking on a boat.

Challenges in Cooking on a boat

We have a Force 10 stove and a Magma BBQ, both which run on propane.

stove

Cooking on a boat on the Force 10
Force 10 stove

The Force 10 is a common boat unit and has two burners: one only works very hot and the other simply simmers. The oven takes finessing to light sometimes and I never know if the temperature is accurate. Despite that, I make edible bread, banana bread, and even made very tasty cookies once! A cruiser friend calls it her “easy bake oven” which isn’t a bad description of this miniature appliance.

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How to Spend A Week in Martinique

Martinique ranks at the top of the list of islands we’d love to revisit. We spent a week in Martinique, enjoyed the crystal clear waters, delicious French cuisine, and fun culture, and we will be happy to return. Here are my recommendations on how to spend a week in Martinique.

Grand Anse Martinique
Grand Anse view
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