The Straits

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A sad affair to leave Guam, the sun set as we sailed away with green mountains and a rainbow marking our end of stay in the Marianas islands. We passed countless atolls and islands on our way south, weaving through PNG, and past a live volcano in Rabaul. Next we tackled the Torres Straits, with 30-35 knot wind, as we powered through the straits in 18 hours. Bright orange sea snakes, dolphins, jumping fish and countless birds crossed our path and the sea was a beautiful aqua blue all the way into Darwin.

Here is our skipper Jon Sanders blog entry of our jaunt across the pacific, a funny read.

BJ Linda and I are in Darwin.

End of 5000nm long passage from Osaka to Darwin. Trevor and crew will take over from here.It was a wonderful experience. Japan to Australia. Trevor a nice boss. Was so.After the eastern end of Papua New Guinea we fetched trade winds. From New Britain to east end Papua New Guinea and Louisiade Archipelago was fresh south wind. I.E. on the nose. (You get that). Then we turned the corner for Torres Strait and Darwin. Down wind easterly.

It was straight down wind, which means tacking down wind. 30 degrees either port gybe or starboard. (To prevent an accidental gybe with auto pilot).

We tactilely gybed to the starboard, guess what, Port Morseby dead in front. We been weeks in the tropic sun and were sun burnt. They sell beer and yummy land type food. Lets go there. Never been there. (Have you?)

When 3 nm from Port Moresby entrance to the bay and harbour BJ made contact with the Royal Papua Yacht Club, who act as yacht agents.

It is saturday, you will have to anchor until monday to clear in. Checked anchor winch. Wont work. Got damp. 50 ft to anchor in. BJ, is strong. (He is so) reckons that is too deep for him to pull an anchor up. (Me too). What the heck. Keep going. So we did. Still haven’t been to Port Moresby.

A high of 1033+ cooked up strong wind warnings over the top of australia. And Arnemland. 25 to 33 knot. Got a 30 minute rainsquall, 40 to 45 knots. I suppose that is windy. Bloody hell the skinniest bit of the Torres Strait channel, its dark, its raining and a ship coming around the corner. It’s on AIS>. 2 reefs in the main. No. 2 headsail furled to snippet, Torres Strait mid night. Narrow channels. Bj by the wheel pressingB&G auto helm. 5 degrees here 10 degrees there. Linda at the chart table calling the shots. She does that rather well. My job was to relay sitting on the cockpit step. Big responsibility for me. Well it was. 5 degrees left. What did you say, ” 5 left”. “No a bit more”. “what do you mean a bit more”. “Well a bit more” , “whater do you mean” . “Well more”. Meantime there is a May Day out from a Frenchman in Torres Strait. I think he hit the bricks. His epirb went off, picked up by authorities in France and relayed to AMSA.

AMSA organised helicopter rescue next morning. Good AMSA>.

We did not want to reef further in the strait. If it aint broke don’t fix it. Not there any way.

We averaged 230 miles per day for 4 days. Trevor (he owns the boat) reckons we did that last part rather quick. Goes a bloody side faster when he and his son Daniel are racing it. Not all carbon fibre for nothing.

Carbon Fibre has a few faults. My short wave radio won’t work inside the cabin, (Blimey that,s the BBC). Nor hand held GPS. Tropics are hot and the inside holds the heat. Strong if the yacht leaps over the crest of a wave and free falls into the tough. But a worry if it hits a tree trunk or log head on.

Now “Optimus Prime” is in Darwin waiting for the good Trevor to take over. We loved her.

BJ and Linda have gone back to San Francisco. They both own an S&S 34 each, parked side by side. Linda keeps hers more tidy, Spotless according to her. I will tell BJ you said that. – (just did). Bad Jon.

Wherever those two S&S 34s are, is their home. (BJ has a mini trans yacht in France – he races).

My nautical journeys continue, per usual.

Kindest regards

Jon

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Categories: sailing | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Straits

  1. Hey Linda, your friendly Qantas steward here. Honolulu was most relaxing, you should have been at Dukes with us. Love the blog, stay in touch.

    Cheers Ray

  2. raygalea

    Hey Linda, your friendly Qantas steward here. You should have hung with us at Dukes in Honolulu, lots of fun had. Love the blog and your sense of adventure. Stay in touch, the biker steward xRay

    • Hey Ray, wish I could of made Dukes, have to say don’t remember arriving…..damm flight stewards giving me booze…..enjoy your next adventure on your bike!

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