Friday, October 28, 2016

Australia bound

All roads may lead to Tonga, but it's the path you take once you get there, that determines 
where you will ultimately spend the cyclone (hurricane) season.

To escape cyclone season you have a few options.... you can head south to New Zealand 
(or go way north - never an option for us, and few boats do this), or  another option is to 
keep going west, and you'll end up in Australia. To NZL from Tonga is 1,100 miles and from 
Tonga to AUS is 2,000 miles.

The beauty of living on a boat allows you the flexibility to make decisions like this along 
the way.  Pick a destination, face  your  bows in that direction, and set sail!  No flights 
and hotels to book, no bags to pack.  Our intention had always been to go to New Zealand for 
the cyclone season.  During our time in Tonga however, we looked at the various options, and 
tried to make a decision that was right for us.  We talked with many different boat friends 
and got many different ideas on where to head next.  Ultimately we made the decision to keep 
heading west, and rather go to Australia.  Although a longer journey, the many friends and 
family that we have living there also factored into our decision making, providing a nice 
support base for us while there.  Had we headed to New Zealand, it would have been unlikely 
that we would have had time next season to make it to Australia; and, since we had been 
planning to explore New Zealand by land anyway, as opposed to by boat, we still get to do 
that, by flying there from Australia.  Heading to New Zealand means making a commitment to 
staying there for up to 6 months, because it can be as long as the end of May before getting 
a safe weather window to come back into the Pacific, and we weren't quite ready to make that 

Our tracker will show us headed towards New Caledonia, a 1,100 mile sail from Tonga. We have 
just under 600 miles to go.  We hope to be there in about 4 more days, and we've been on 
the go  for 4 days already, making this the longest passage since our Galapagos to Marquesas 
crossing.  We will have 2 -3 weeks in New Caledonia, a French Overseas territory, (which, to 
the delight of the kids, means cheap baguettes again!!) and all the other wonderful things 
about cruising in a French territory like navigational aids vs the sticks we had become used 
to in recent islands that demarcated a reef pass!! 

Then from New Caledonia we will have the last leg of the journey: 900 miles to the land Down 
Under to make it safely out of the cyclone belt for the cyclone season which officially runs 
from November 1st to March 31st.

While it's always tough to be at sea for long periods, we are excited about the new course 
we have set, and are really looking forward to exploring New Caledonia, an island many have 
never heard of, let alone spent time cruising its many wonders.  An exciting bonus for us 
is that we are hoping to meet up in New Caledonia with Bruce Savage,  who also competed with 
Dave in the 1996 Olympics. We have not seen Bruce for over 20 years, and as luck would have
it, he and his wife are currently cruising New Caledonia on their sail boat, so I am sure we 
will be catching up with them over the odd drink in some nice anchorage!
Finally a beautiful sunset pic we took on the 1st night at sea after leaving Tonga....enjoy :-)

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the posts. I've had the best time following your family on this remarkable voyage.
    Mary Osterbrock