Just for variety we have set off a day earlier than planned this time! We looked at the weather files yesterday and saw that there was a danger of sailing into some not-so-great weather on Tuesday. The 'gribs' (wind and pressure forecasts) showed a trough followed 20 knot southerlies as we approached Bundaberg from the north east (with the strong Australian current carrying us southwards). Mmmm, that sounded a bit uncomfortable. A quick email exchange with Bob McDavitt, the weather guru in NZ, followed and he agreed that a Friday departure made more sense, though we'd start with a few hours of motoring until the SW breeze picked up, to get us there on Monday.
So we had a busy evening and morning getting Maunie ready, emptying and defrosting the freezer (the passage meals can all be kept chilled now) and completing the cleaning and re-organising of storage lockers ready for the strict biosecurity inspections. We did manage a trip ashore to another island to take more photos of seabirds plus, especially for Laura, a juvenile black tipped reef shark that was cruising in the shallows just by the beach.
As predicted we're currently motoring in only four knots of breeze on a calm sea with a lazy one-metre, long-period swell so it's a very comfortable way to begin. Lunch was seared tuna steaks (the last of a gift from Sel Citron that we'd had in the freezer) with a few salvageable lettuce leaves from Luganville and the remaining two Vanuatu tomatoes, together with freshly-baked bread rolls. We've been working out our meal plans very carefully so should arrive having used up pretty much everything, meat and veg, that would be confiscated on arrival.
We are really sorry to have had to leave Chesterfield Reef as it has turned out to be the highlight of an already very good season but we are looking forward to the next chapter of our adventure. We'll keep you informed of progress via this blog and our YIT reports
PS – a message to Kerry and Damian on Sel Citron: So long and thanks for the fish! Our emails to you are all bouncing back to us at the moment, with a message from your mail server people saying that we have a 'Bad Reputation'! How very dare they?! We've emailed our mailasail provider to ask them to look into it...