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A Nordic Breeze

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Vi har försökt att få till en kombination av ett liv i Stockholm och ett mer äventyrligt liv på båt. Vi kommer här att berätta om resans alla äventyr, i såväl med- som motvind.

We have tried to combine a life back home in Stockholm with a more adventorous life on a yacht. Here we will tell you about our adventures.


Vanuatu to Australia and, not the least, a short stop at another of this planets paradises

Vanuatu 2016 Posted on Tue, November 22, 2016 19:46:05

Take off

So…now it was time again. Another longer
passage. This time some 1060 nm from Port Vila in Vanuatu to Bundaberg in
Australia, with a planned stop at Chesterfield Islands in the middle of the
trip. Chico had already left us on a plane to Melbourne for his ten days at quarantine
and Sabina and Ella would fly down to Bundaberg and pick him up there and wait
for Breeze to come sailing in a few weeks later. Two Swedish friends came down
to Vanuatu to sail with me; Torgny and Michael.

The wait for the weather window was over and it
was time to leave early in the morning on the 8th of November. Michael had
arrived only two days earlier but Sabina and I had done most of the stocking up
before the boys arrived, and it was only the last shopping for veggies etc left
to do before take off.

First leg is 587 nm and I was planning on landfall the
11th. Wind the first two days was 8-12 knots true from behind. Not
much sea with that wind speed, but it made my initial calculations with an
average of 200 nM a day crack within the first day of sailing. We also had
some counter current and could only keep an average of 156 nM a day the first
two days.

We now had two options, since I don´t like going in
at night to new places in remote areas – slow down and spend another night out
at sea, or speed up and fire up the engine. When the wind died down to 4-5
knots the third day, it made the choice easy. I have always hated going slow
and rolling around in old swell from the side, so we started motor sailing at
9-10 knots. We made landfall just before a beautiful sunset on the 11th of
November and was greeted by chirping birds and the most beautiful turquoise
water and white sand islets. Sundowner with Entice, Helios and Nimrod

We were not expecting any other boats, but found
three others at anchor when we arrived – two Australian catamarans and one American monohull.
Nothing wrong with sundowners but that had to wait for another day, because we were eager to go
exploring the islands in the morning.


Exploring Chesterfield Islands

Chesterfield Islands, what is that??? Yes, it is
not very well known, but it´s not hard to hit it if you are passing this area
unknowingly. Many wrecks scattered around this reef is the proof of that. The
reefs extend from 19˚ to 22˚S between 158160˚E in the southern Coral Sea halfway
between Australia and
New Caledonia. The outer reef itself stretches approximately 70 nm from the south
to the north and comprises of reefs on the northern part and reefs with small low
lying motus (islets) on the southern part.

It is an atoll, which is really an
old sunken volcano, just like the ones in the Tuamotus. The area belongs to New
Caledonia and is a protected marine and coral reef area. The best description of this paradise is a
mix between Minerva Reef (for the few of you who have been there) and
Galapagos (a bit more well known).

All animals are completely unaware of humans as
being a threat, and you can walk right up to them. There is no other way to
reach these islands than by your own boat, which makes it pristine and unique.
The New Caledonian government is happy to grant you a chance to stop on your
way to Australia, without having to go all the way to Noumea to check in, if
you agree to send them a report of what you have seen and done at Chesterfield.
Not many boats do get off the beaten track to get here though. They only get
15-20 visits of boats a year.

The islands are inhabited by thousands and
thousands of birds, with visits by the big sea turtles coming up to lay
their eggs certain times of the year and we
arrived right in the middle of the turtle season.

Waters outside are amazing with one of the
clearest waters you can find in the world with 30+ meters visibility. Reefs are
healthy and fish are plentiful and huge (AND willing to be speared by your spear
gun whenever you get hungry.There are lots of sharks (a good sign of a healthy
reef) in the water, but they are only curious and wont bother you if you don´t
shoot a fish too close to them. At the turtle breeding season and bird hatching
season, Chesterfield is also a nursery for Tiger Sharks since it is so easy for
them to find food at this time of year.

One calm day we took the dinghy through
a small pass to the outer reef on the east side to go spear fishing. Huge Snappers
and Parrot fish, but decided to shoot the not too big ones since I was not 100%
sure if there was any Ciguatera (fish poisoning) there or not. We knew that
some friends of us had been here a month ago and eaten fish they caught in this
area without getting sick, so we felt pretty confident after all.

After
cleaning the fish and throwing the carcasses in the water we had a new friend
at the boat – a small Tiger shark. Small, when we are talking about Tigers, is
3 meters. All other types of sharks are easy to chase away, as long as you act
as a predator and not a prey, but Tigers are the sharks responsible for the
most attacks and accidents on humans in the tropics (and second on fatalities
in the world, behind the Great White). No serious diver/spear fisher feels safe
when having a Tiger shark in the water. Every time we threw something in the
water our friend was there again, so that was the end of my crews daily swims from the boat at that anchorage.

The small
islands stretch kilometer after kilometer at low tide and consists of the whitest
coral sand you can think of…and birds. Birds, nesting in the small trees;
birds, nesting in the bush; birds, nesting in the sand. Brown Gunnets, Masked
Boobies, Frigate Birds, Crested Terns, Black Noddys and many others I don´t
know the names of. It was fun to read in our bird book written by Neville
Coleman that they don´t know where the Masked Boobies have their main breeding
grounds. Now we know. There were hundreds and hundreds of them on the different
islets of Chesterfield. The Masked Boobie always lay two eggs, but only one nestling
survives.

Super moon and turtle watch

Every morning we went to the islets we could see
new tracks from the turtles that had been up during the night to lay their
eggs. Of course we had to go in one
night to see them. This was the time of the super moon and in the dark, with
nearest light pollution some 1000 km away, it was almost like moving around in broad
daylight. One night we saw a big Green Turtle that had just laid her eggs and
we could only feel happiness. Not many of her hatchlings will survive to come
back and lay their eggs, but we were happy that this is one of the sanctuaries in
the world where the turtles still can breed in peace.

Snakes in paradise

Unfortunately,
there were some snakes even in this paradise. We had been there for three days
when we saw two Chinese fishing vessels entering the lagoon. They immediately started
fishing. We think they were diving for Sea Cucumbers and fishing for shark fins. We
emailed the New Caledonian government to warn them, but they have no resources
to send ships or planes for ID. We were asked to observe and take photos but
not to interfere, since they can be dangerous if they feel threatened. We did
not need to hear that twice, since we were alone out in nowhere and would be an
easy target. Nevertheless, we felt extremely sad to see this piece of paradise
being damaged and we really hope that they will be able to stop this fish pouching.


Time to leave

Leaving
this paradise was hard to do, but as always weather decides. A low developing in
the north threatening to bring 35-40 knots to the islands, and potentially
worse, made us want to leave after the next front that was due on the 15th. We
left the islands at first light 5:30 on the 16th in a nice 15-20 knots breeze
from ESE and a benign 1,5 m swell. Winds kept increasing during the next day
and so did the swell. We ended up sailing along in a howling 25-35 knots of
wind from forward of the beam and a 3-meter short choppy swell just aft of the
beam. It was fast, I give you that, but we reefed hard to slow down the boat to
make it a bit more comfortable. Still, making more than 9 knots on average on
the two days of our last leg to Bundaberg made it a short and overcoming pain.
And as always, it makes the getting there so much nicer 🙂



A short video from Breeze visit in beautiful Fulaga

Videos Posted on Mon, June 20, 2016 19:00:11

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Diving at the amazing Rainbow Reef in Fiji November 2015

Fiji 2015 - 2016 Posted on Mon, November 16, 2015 15:28:39

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Roderlösa men inte rådlösa

Franska Polynesien 2013 - 2014 Posted on Sun, May 11, 2014 08:03:21

Så… när vi
trodde att vi äntligen kommit iväg från Tahiti och påbörjat den här säsongens
resa mot Tonga, Fiji och slutligen Australien så tog det slut redan på Moorea.
Vi är nu tillbaka på varvet i Papeete igen. Låt oss börja från början.

Per åkte
ned till Breeze tre veckor före Sabina och Ella, för att göra de saker som
återstod på Breeze efter åsknedslaget förra året och för att förbereda henne
för årets segelsäsong. I det ingick bl a upptag på varv för byte av djupgivare
och logg och byte av tätningsringar till det läckande rodret. Men redan vid ankomsten till båten
uppmärksammades nya problem. Batteribanken var död och behövde bytas ut. Fanns
inga AGM-batterier av tillräcklig storlek att få tag på i Papeete, så det var
bara att beställa från Europa. Skulle ta 8 veckor. Kul… då skulle vi bli kvar
till början på juni i marinan innan vi kunde komma iväg, missa en månad av
seglingssäsongen och bli tvungna att stressa igenom den stora oceanens alla
godbitar. Per fortsatte att fixa övriga saker på båten och förbereda för dagen
T (tjejernas ankomst). Listan i övrigt bockades av i snabbare takt än förväntat
så Per kom till slut till den hemska tidpunkten då det fanns tid över till att
tvätta kläder och städa på båten. Men, STOR lycka… två dagar innan Sabina och
Ella skulle anlända åkte Per med en annan båtkompis för att köpa nya batterier
till deras båt, och det visade sig att den affären redan samma dag skulle få in
en laddning med exakt de batterier som vi var ute efter! Hård förhandling med andra
leverantören, men till slut kunde vi komma ur den beställningen och köpa de här
batterierna istället. Installerade allt dagen innan dagen T, vilket fick ses
som ett bra träningspass – varje batteri väger 65 kg och Per fick lyfta ur 8
gamla batterier och in med 8 nya i båten.
Osannolik glädje då allt var klart. Nu kunde vi fokusera på att bunkra
mat och lämna Tahiti innan april månads utgång.

Sagt och
gjort. Vi vinkade av våra kompisar Len och Erin från SV Maestro
och åkte med Rob, Cathrine och Hanna på SV Koa till Moorea. Visade sig vara
betydligt starkare vind och större vågor än prognoserna, 18-20 m/s vind och 3-5
meters våghöjd, men inte något som inte Breeze klarar av. Seglade på i 10 knop
med bara genuan i slör, med vågor som tryckte på snett akterifrån, och njöt i
fulla drag (ja, inte Sabina då, som var sjösjuk som vanligt). Autopiloten
styrde, men vi fick en märklig sidförflyttning på båten i en våg med ett hårt nedslag
(kändes ungefär som en broach) så vi handstyrde resten av vägen för att kunna
parera vågorna bättre. Vid framkomsten till Moorea så kollade vi om det läckt
någonting från den nya roderpackningen och upptäckte att vi dessvärre tagit in
rätt mycket vatten. Pumpade ut och gjorde rent, tajtade bultarna till rodret
eftersom vi trodde att det var därför det läckt. Lät det gå en dag och tittade
igen. Mer vatten. Hmmm… torkade ut noggrannare och såg några sprickor framför
rodret där det sipprade fram vatten. Per dök i och kollade på utsidan och såg
att det var en ca 40 cm lång spricka i skäddan framför rodret! Vi ringde varvet
och bad om ett akut upptag. Vi motoriserade tillbaka till Tahiti i lugn sjö och
de tog upp oss på land så fort som vi anlände.

Hela
skäddan satt lös! Med största sannolikhet körde vi på en val på väg över till
Moorea. Vi hade kunnat tappa skäddan och
rodret när som helst, och det var ren tur att det var lugn sjö när vi seglade
tillbaka för den här skadan hade kunnat sänka båten. Nu blir vi kvar i Papeete
ett tag för reparation. Vet inte än hur lång tid det tar, men hoppas på att
komma härifrån i mitten på juni. Men… vi känner oss rätt nöjda och lyckosamma
ändå. Hotell känns rätt ok just nu, och det finns sämre ställen att vara strandsatt
på 😉


Almost no rudder thanks to whale blubber

So… when we thought we finally got away from
Tahiti and started this season’s trip to Tonga, Fiji and Australia we had to
make a U-turn already in Moorea. We are now back at the shipyard in Papeete again.
But, let’s start from the beginning.

Per went down to Breeze three weeks prior to
Sabina and Ella, to repair some of the things that remained at Breeze after the
lightning strike last year and to prepare her for this year’s sailing season.
In this was included among other things a haul out at Technimarine for changing
depth sensors and log and replacing the lip seal for the leaking rudder. But
already upon arrival at the boat new problems appeared. The battery bank was
dead and needed to be replaced. There were no AGM batteries of sufficient size
to get in Papeete, so it was nothing else to do but to order new ones from
Europe, with an 8 week delivery. Funny… then we would have to stay until the
beginning of June in the marina before we could get going, missing a month of the
sailing season and having to rush through all the goodies of this vast ocean.
Per continued to fix other things on the boat and prepare for the G-day (the
girls’ arrival). The list could be ticked off at a faster pace than expected, and
Per finally came to that horrible time when there was time over for washing
clothes and cleaning the boat. However, BIG happiness… two days before G-day,
Per went with another friend to buy new batteries for their boat, and it turned
out that this dealer on the same day would get a shipment with exactly the
batteries that we were looking for! Hard bargaining with the other supplier took
place, but finally we were able to bail out of that order and buy these
batteries instead. Installed everything the day before G-day, which had to be
considered as a good workout – each battery weighs 65 kg and Per got to lift the
8 bad batteries out of and the 8 new ones into the boat. Incomparable joy and
happiness when it was finished. Now, we could focus on stocking food and we
could actually make it out of Tahiti before the end of April.

Said and done. We left our
friends Len and Erin from SV Maestro at the marina and took off together with
Rob, Cathrine and Hanna on SV Koa to Moorea. It turned out to be much stronger
winds and bigger waves than the forecasts, 18-20 m/s wind and 3-5 meter wave
height, but not anything that Breeze couldn´t handle. Sailed at 10 knots with
just the genoa, with wind from the aft quarter and with waves that pushed
obliquely from astern, and just loved it (well, maybe not Sabina, who was
seasick as usual). The autopilot steered, but we got a strange paging on the
boat in a wave with a strike down (felt like a broach) so we hand steered the
rest of the way. Upon arrival to Moorea we checked for leaks from the new
rudder lip seal and discovered that we unfortunately had a lot of water in the
lazarette and in the bilge. Pumped out all the water and dried it clean and tightened
the bolts for the lip seal, since we thought this was the cause of the leak.
Let it go for a day and looked again. More water. Hmmm … dried it out more
carefully and now we saw cracks in front of the rudder where it trickled water.
Per jumped in and checked the outside and saw that there was an approximately
40 cm long crack in the skeg in front of the rudder! We called the yard and
asked for an emergency haul out. We motorized back to Tahiti in calm seas and were
immediately hauled out.

The skeg was loose! We probably hit a whale on
the way to Moorea. We could have lost the skeg and rudder at any time, and it
was pure luck that it was so calm when we sailed back because this could have
sunk the boat! Now we are stuck in Papeete for repairs. Don´t know yet how long
it will take, but hope to get out of here in mid June. But … we feel quite happy
and fortunate anyway. Hotel feels quite ok right now, and there are worse
places to be stranded on than Tahiti 😉

Uppdateringar…..
Så här ser det ut på Breeze nu… Arbetet är i full gång, från
insidan till utsidan och allra högst upp. Allt kommer att bli så bra när det är
klart.

Updates…..
This is Breeze right now. A lot of work under
way…..from the inside to the outside and at the top. Everything will be
better once it is done.