Casting off the mooring lines

This is it:  D Day is upon us

Today is our last working day for the year.  We will be moving on board Take It Easy on Friday, ready for the start of our 8 weeks’ sailing voyage.

We have been studying the forecasts this week.  For our exit out of the Gippsland Lakes and the first leg of our trip round the bottom of the continent, we are looking for anything that has not got any East in it to be able to ‘get around the corner’.  And of course we also have to be able to get across the  Lakes Entrance bar – fun and games!  For a while it looked like we might have been able to go on 5/12/14, but it won’t happen.  At this stage it looks like we will escape early next week, which gives us a bit of breathing space as we both feel wrecked.

It has been a hectic few weeks beforehand, with last minute tasks such as affixing our new AMPAIR wind turbine to the back of the boat.  Stainless steel brackets had to be made to measure at the shipyard.  These were not ready until yesterday afternoon!  Wade and our friend Paul Dow, from the catamaran Skellum, were waiting in Paynesville for the brackets and pole to be finished.  By late afternoon the parts had at last been made.  Wade & Paul beavered away all evening.  By 1.00am the pole was assembled, the brackets fitted, the turbine mounted, wired  and working!  Nothing is ever easy on a boat, and it always, always takes two or three times longer than you expect to complete anything!  However, Ampy the windmill is up…  Phew!  We’ve done the fresh food shopping, packed our clothes, tidied up the house, ‘briefed’ Bengie  the shipcat who was looking a bit nervous, and we are ready to go.

Our goal: return to Lord Howe Island

Our hope it to return to Lord Howe Island, 350 nautical miles (650kms) off the East coast of Australia, about level with Port Macquarie.   For us it means a 2000 nautical miles round trip (or 3700kms).

Here are a couple of maps.  The first is one of Australasia so you get a better perspective of the entire trip.  The red dots show the port of Lakes Entrance and Lord Howe, out in the middle of nowhere.  The second is a blow up of the East coast.  It shows you the starting point down the bottom left hand corner at Lakes Entrance, and a range of possible stopping spots along the coast, with Lord Howe Island, the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs at the top right hand corner.  Click on these to display in full screen.


Map of Possible Trip

Of course, as with any sailing, we are totally dependent on the weather, so at this stage we are not sure about specific anchorages or timeframes.  The plan is to get to Sydney as quickly as possible and either wait there for a South West change to head off to Lord Howe, or sail further North to Port Stephens.  Depending on the wind direction, strength and our departure point, once we leave the mainland and head offshore, the passage will take anything from 48 to 72 hours.  So we need three clear days of right wind conditions to depart.  Like last year, we hope to do the dash across the Tasman Sea before the end of December.  If we don’t get the right conditions by 31/12/14, we will remain on the East Coast and just explore.  But hopefully the weather gods will be kind and we will follow a South West change, which should give us enough time to sail all the way to the beautiful world heritage island of Lord Howe  before the wind swings to the North East.

Life in wonderland

Lord Howe Island

Once there, the fun and relaxation really begins: bush walks, diving, snorkelling, kite-surfing, bird watching, dreaming, fishing, surfing, photography, writing, snoozing, sunning ourselves, more swimming, more photography, heaps of exploring.  Oh yes, and G&T’s and tasty food, some caught by “The Great Provider”, Captain Wadie!

We are also hoping to explore the surrounding isles, including Admiralty Islets and Ball’s Pyramid, which we did not get to last year, and go further north to the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs.  We will just see what the weather lets us do.  Eventually we will leave this paradise to return to the mainland, making landfall where the wind takes us, somewhere along the East Coast.  We have to be back at work on 2/2/15, but we won’t talk about the 4 letter word.


Sleeping on the job!

Now for updates.  We will publish our Sailing news on the website at least once a week so you can follow our progress and check out our latest photos.  In addition, Bird Photo Challenges will continue fortnightly on Thursdays, since they are scheduled ahead of time, as will the One Four Photo Processing Challenge which comes out every Monday.

We will be restricted while offshore with communication.  There is no mobile or internet in the middle of the ocean.  So there will be a few days of ‘silence’.  Once at Lord Howe, the internet coverage is little better than dial up, and there is no mobile service at all, so bear with us, but we will stay in touch and give sign of life.  We love the “Likes” and your comments, so keep them coming!  We just might take longer than usual to respond, but respond we will. 

35 thoughts on “Casting off the mooring lines

  1. Big Trip which I am sure all of you will enjoy. Stay safe and have a great Christmas and New year

  2. Have a really great break. Everything sounds so exhausting to me,but, it makes a good read…..Frank

    • Thanks Frank. It IS exhausting, we are both feeling very tired so kind of glad we are not rushing off tonight. The start of the trip is hard with the overnighter around the bottom of the South Coast past Eden, so a weekend to recuperate before we head off will be good. Take care – Chris & Wade

  3. Wishing you both good weather, a safe trip and a very good time Chris!
    Sydney is getting pretty bad storms presently – I know you’re watching the weather like hawks – so wishing you cast off with the right weather for you.
    Really great hearing about your prep and all that goes into a trip like this. LH looks and sounds amazing. Have the very best time!

    • Thank you so much for your good wishes Robyn. Having announced we’re off to LHI to the world, hopefully we’ll get there, otherwise East Coast here we come… not as glamorous or adventurous, but still a great get away! We had bad lightning storms last night in Melbourne too; the weather is very iffy. Look after yourself and thank you for the opportunity to learn heaps about processing through the One Four Challenge. Great job, and gee, we’ve picked up a few new participants this month!

      • Its a pleasure Chris 😀
        Do travel safely. Im in Sydney this week and there have been thunderstorms everyday!!
        Isnt the challenge great??!! It is fun learning and welcoming our new players. All such fun 😄

  4. Best wishes for a great trip and happy safe sailing. We will keep a lookout for you in case you visit Pittwater

  5. Sounds like a grand adventure. Looking forward to reading updates and seeing all your photographs as the time is right to share. Safe travels! The anticipation is always more exhausting than the adventure. Enjoy!!

  6. Great sailing Chris, Wade & Bengie, here’s to good weather & favourable winds. Have a great time and look out for the LHI hens! By The way I loved the work you did on our favourite tern photo. Quite ethereal. Have fun. Sue

    • Thanks Sue, it won’t be the same without you! And yes, chookie, chookie, come out wherever you are!! There’ll be a post about the woodhen for sure.
      Hope you join us on the return leg from Sydney.

  7. Wishing you all the very best Chris Wade and of course Benji! We will be following your travels with great interest! Will miss seeing “Take it Easy” in Paynesville..but will look fwd to your safe return! Good to hear the new additions have worked out…sure is a lot of work..but worth it! Have a fantastic trip!

  8. Fair winds! Really looking forward to hearing about it all—someday I’d love to see Lord Howe! Totally understand about the internet issue, btw…

  9. Looks like a gorgeous place! I can’t wait to hear all about it. Also plenty of nice places to stop along the way. I love your maps.
    Safe travels and keep us posted with your progress! 🙂

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