Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/77/8700877/tmp/sess_bjlqigvmnniaap6g1m3bbg2236, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php:1) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php:1) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1
The Voyage of Spectacle Weather

The Voyage

Spectacles

Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

So Far, So Good

Posted by: melissa

Planning and packing to leave the country for 10 months is no easy feat.  Trying to anticipate every need and desire regarding not only personal effects but also possible boat parts and accessories is nerve-racking.  We did the best we could and set off yesterday for a very long travel day … LAX to Houston, Houston to Panama City, and Panama City to Cartagena.  We arrived back at Club Nautico Marina well after midnight.  At first glance, the boat seemed to be intact, so we crashed out without even bothering to make the bed.

We both had some trepidation in leaving the boat, which is now more like our home than anyplace else, for an extended period of time.  Luckily, as a matter of convenience, price and quality of service, Cartagena is a pretty terrific place to store a boat long term.  On the recommendation of marina manager John Halley, we hired a boat sitter named Alberto who was responsible for watching the lines, airing out the boat on a regular basis to minimize mold and rot, scrubbing the bottom to keep nasty barnacles away, and generally acting as project manager for a list of repairs about 50 items long.

After a long sleep, we awoke to find the boat in encouragingly good shape.  We have yet to go through our to-do list one by one with Alberto the boat sitter, but I’m fairly confident that the conversation will go well.  Unfortunately, the one problem that we’ve discovered since our return involves a stowaway of sorts.  Yes, sadly, Spectacle has acquired a minor roach problem.  We don’t seem to be full-fledged infested and the critters are both small and scarce, but it is nonetheless more than a little unnerving.

Club Nautico is just as we remember, and there’s quite a buzz around here as many boats prepare to head toward the Panama Canal and begin the Pacific Ocean crossing.  When we left Cartagena last summer, it was the rainy season – blisteringly hot and intensely humid, interrupted by frequent downpours.  Having returned in the dry season, the days are temperate, breezy, and dry (comparatively speaking).  As I sit here writing this post, I’m looking out on the marina and beyond … it’s a sunny and beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky.  The clubhouse is full of boaters from all over the world … drinking Aguila or Club Colombia beers, playing dominoes and Scrabble, and passing time in anticipation of the passage to Panama.

Yep, Delayed Departure

Posted by: melissa

We woke up this morning to gusty winds which is bad news.  We need to put the headsail back on, which is very difficult in windy conditions.  This chore should take about an hour, and we need to push off the dock by about one o’clock to head to another marina to fuel up, take some final pictures of the harbor, and get through the headlands and out of the bay by dark.  It’s not looking good for that schedule.  And it’s raining. 

Additionally, someone appears to have moved our lines as the stern has bashed into the dock several times this morning.  Getting the boat to stay put in a slip without hitting the dock or the neighboring boat can sometimes be tricky in areas with high winds, frequently changing wind directions, current, and/or wash from the wake of boat traffic.  The crew of other boats who are sharing dock cleats need to untie us to get their own lines free.  They mean well, but our boat is not the usual harbor cruiser sailboat that recreational sailors are used to.  A 20-ton vessel, ocean-worthy for along passages, behaves quite differently than a small recreational sailboat.  We were pretty annoyed to have to go out and fix the lines in the rain.

Arrival in Gold Coast — Welcome to Queensland!

Posted by: melissa

Well, during the passage from Coffs Harbour to Gold Coast, we passed two milestones.  First, we said goodbye to New South Wales, and hello to Queensland.  Second, we left the latitude of 30 and higher behind us.  I am relieved to have re-entered the milder waters and warmer temperatures of the 20s … equator, here we come!

Our departure from Coffs Harbour was delayed by a couple of hours because of the tide.  Low water was at 10:30 a.m. so we waited until noon to give ourselves some leeway.  Plus, Coffs Harbour was hit hard by a recent storm that pounded the harbor and damaged the marina.  The channel entrance was still undergoing some redredging as part of the recovery. 

We went through the breakwater and headed offshore slightly, but only about 2-3 miles to try and avoid current.  As night fell however, we started seeing more and more fishing vessels, and we were forced to go further out away from the coastline to stay out of traffic.  The wind completely died and we were forced to motor as well. 

At dawn, we passed by Byron’s Bay which is the eastern most point of Australia.  By that time, I was heavily into my next book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is a plot driven page turner which is nice on long passages.  Andy highly recommended it, as well as the sequel called The Girl Who Played with Fire.  Evidently there’s a third in this Stieg Larsson trilogy, but we don’t have it onboard. 

Anyway, I was totally engrossed when a humpback whale surfaced and blew its spout less than 50 yards away from the boat.  It was startling, but so incredible.  We’ve seen a lot of whales now, and it never gets old.  It’s just amazing to experience such a rare and exotic animal in such natural way … no tour group, no whale-watching guides, no throwing food in the water … just observing a whale doing what whales do, and have instinctually done, for millions of years.  Being that close is like meeting a dinosaur or something.  It’s awesome, in the truest definition of the word.

The sun was shining and as predicted, the weather was really warming up.  I may be able to put away my Newcastle Knights hat and scarf for good shortly!  Unfortunately, 20 knots of wind turned right on the nose, so it looked like motoring the rest of the way.  Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise were quickly in view — it looks like Miami with sky rises and huge white sand beaches. 

The approach to Gold Coast was pretty chaotic.

The approach to Gold Coast was pretty chaotic.

We located the channel entrance mostly by following the 30 or so boats heading in after a Sunday afternoon on the water.  The currents going over the sandbar were weird enough, but the wakes of macho, speed demon, power boats bounced us around as well.  Dinghies, jet skis, fishing boats, whale-watching power catamarans, party barges … it was pretty much total chaos.  But, we turned the corner and followed the very distinct aids to navigation, easily found the marina, filled up with diesel, found our slip, and settled in.

The Passage to Rosslyn Bay

Posted by: melissa

It was a real treat to get to watch the U.S. versus England match on the neighbor’s television, but we couldn’t keep crashing his yacht at all hours of the night.  After missing a lot of great soccer, we decided that we would try to get to our next destination to catch the U.S. versus Slovenia match late Friday night. 

After more research, we decided on Rosslyn Bay as our next stop which would give us easy access to Rockhampton, which hosts the rodeo on Friday night.  Thursday morning, the weather seemed to be calming down a bit and Andy was confident that we could get to Rosslyn Bay by early Friday afternoon.  Rodeo and soccer and a nice location?  I love it when a plan comes together.

We exited the Mooloolah River to find very rough seas, which got even rougher once clear of Point Cartwright.  Since this was our first real passage in many months, we were both a little rusty and popped a couple of seasickness tablets right away. Sadly, it was too late for Andy, who had a minor barf.  The conditions calmed down a lot after a couple of hours getting away from shore, and we settled in for the quick overnight passage.  Around 1:00 a.m., we crossed over the Tropic of Capricorn officially re-entering the tropics.

Andy could not sleep and took the graveyard shift, so I had a luxurious night’s rest.  When he woke me at about 5:00 a.m., I was rested and refreshed and ready for a lovely day of sailing.  Spectacle was humming right along in a comfortable beam reach with a following current.  I had a cup of coffee, enjoyed an absolutely incredible sunrise over Keppel Bay, watched a cadre of container ships disembark from Gladstone, and read J.M Coetzee‘s Age of Iron — a truly spectacular morning.

Sunrise over Keppel Bay during the passage from Mooloolaba to Rosslyn Bay.

Sunrise over Keppel Bay during the passage from Mooloolaba to Rosslyn Bay.

The approach to Rosslyn Bay and the Keppel Bay Marina was a piece of cake.  We tied up, checked in, showered up, rented a car, and headed for Rockhampton.

Hamilton Island

Posted by: melissa

At AUS$110 per night, the marina is prohibitively expensive so we plan to stay three nights only.  Unfortunately, we awoke to rain this morning.  At these prices, you’d think they could serve up some better weather.

Yesterday, we walked around the marina complex area and visited the yacht club.  Andy had a couple of business logistics to take care of so we set off to find an Internet café with a printer and some lunch.  The Reef View Hotel promised a serviceable business center, and Sails Restaurant provided a serviceable lunch.  Afterward, we visited the ice cream parlor and walked the docks looking for familiar boats to no avail.  We took an afternoon rest, cleaned up, went to the yacht club for a sundowner, and hit the Manta Ray Café for a pretty tasty pizza complete with possums sniffing our feet and begging for crusts.

Spectacle at the Hamilton Island Marina

Spectacle at the Hamilton Island Marina


Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/77/8700877/tmp/sess_bjlqigvmnniaap6g1m3bbg2236, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0