OLD FRONT PAGES 2008
 
 
Cawongla - 24.December 2008 Pos 33°50 S 150°40 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 31576nm
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU

We returned to Empire and Yamba after 14 days with nice camping-life. We got a taste of the big city Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the scenery around Hawksbury River and the national parks along the coast with nice beaches and huge waves.
Christmas and New Years will be celebrated together with the family Bjurstrom at their farm in Cawongla. It will be a warm and green Christmas with strong gluewine and gingercakes from IKEA. Together with Madeleine and Bror and their Swedish and Finish Christmas traditions we are slowly getting the Christmas feeling. That we already have celebrated a couple of Christmases without winter before, gives us some help getting in to the Christmas-mode.
Heidi's belly is growing and we are looking forward to a new year onboard Empire.

T
hank you to all of you following our travel - and
MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!
MERRY
CHRISTMAS

from Empire  
Blue Mountains-4.December 2008-Pos 33°50 S 150°40 E-sailed dist. from Oslo 31576nm
AND THEN HEIDI GOT COLD FEETS
The plan was to sail south to Sydney and then back north to Yamba. With Heidi’s growing belly and sudden tendencies to seasickness on the ocean, we took to the road instead. Our newly bought Ford Falcon 1994 is running like a clock.
From Yamba we again set the course to the ranch. There Eivind got some more cowboy experience. Even though we actually were on our way south to Sydney, we headed north from the ranch. In Broadbeach / Surfers Paradise we met our friend James from New Zealand. He was visiting there for a short time. Then we headed south towards Sydney.
Sydney is a cosmopolitan city and for a sailor it is difficult to find the way by road. But with a little exercise everything can be done. We also met our friends Betsy and Nat from the American yacht Bahati in Sydney. Bahati is still in Auckland, but Nat is travelling a little around to do his work. We very much enjoyed meeting both our New Zealand and American friends again.
After a couple of days in the big city, we are now heading for the mountains west of Sydney. Blue Mountains is one of many national parks in Australia, so we hope to get our sailor legs in better shape in the different terrain.
Jörn Utzon died the day before we visited the Opera-house. He is the Danish architect of the Sydney Opera. We got the opportunity to write in the condolences-book.




At the National Maritime Museum in Sydney we discovered Kay Cottee's yacht. She was the first woman to sail singlehanded unsupported around the world (1988). Kay Cottee also owns the marina in Yamba where Empire is moored.
Some more cowboy-work at Madeleine's and Bror's ranch did not give the Captain THAT soar butt this time... The Three Sisters is a well known landmark in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Running back up from the bottom of the valley gave Eivind some good exercise.

CLARENCE RIVER - NEW SOUTH WALES
Even though it doesn’t look that way on the chart, it is possible to sail inshore several places along the Australian coast. Morton Bay and the canals south to Southport is most probably not for bigger boats. In the most narrow places we have been sneaking south with slow speed and extreme good lookout – on a rising tide. This is a bit exciting for Norwegians – we are used to SEVERAL meters under our keels.
From Southport to Clarence River we had to sail out into the Pacific Ocean again, for a short night sail. The Aussies are talking about “crossing the Bar” – in most of the river mouths you have to cross a shallower part where the river has left some of its deposits – and the Bar crossing can be exciting, especially because of the Ocean swell and waves. It often looks even more dangerous in the chart. At the entrance of Clarence River the chart tells that that the depth is 2,9 meters.
Yamba is a lovely country-city by the Ocean. Most probably this is where we are going to settle for some months when we return from Sydney by mid December. With Heidi steadily growing it is most probably a good idea to take it easy for some months until the little one is ready for travelling…
At Jacobs Well we had to
wait for less wind and more
water...




Sometimes we had to "feel our way" over the sea-bottom - luckily on a rising tide. (Empire's
draught is 2,0 m ).
The little girl will not forget this day...! Seaworld, Southport. Real cowboys eat real breakfast. Madeleine and Bror took very good care of us. By the way - avocados grow on trees.
Scarborough -7. November 2008 -Pos 27°11 S 153°06 E -sailed dist. from Oslo 31427nm
COWBOY EMPIRE-CREW
From Bundaberg we had a nice motorsail south through the waterways inside Fraser Island. Then we crossed over Wide Bay Bar out to the Pacific Ocean again, heading south to Morton Bay and the waters outside Brisbane.
Bjørnar signed on for this 10.th visit in Scarborough, before we headed for the road south, to say hello to Bror in Cawongla, New South Wales.
We have had fantastic days together with Madeleine and Bror at their farm. We have not become fully trained cowboys yet, but we are a little bit on the way. We have been chasing cows from the ponny (=hor..)-back and we have seen many interesting animals. Kangaroos have been eating grass just outside the house and we saw (duck-billed) platypusies swimming in the creek. Also koala bears and a few dingos are living on the fields, even though we did not see any.
We met Bror first time when we sailed in the waters around Cape Horn. Then he sailed with Marja and Bosse onboard the Swedish yacht Sawubona. Now we met here – and you have to look good to find more hospitable people!
Captain Eivind riding one of
Bror's ponnies. On a boat you
should not talk about hmhms,
so we name the animal for
"ponny".
The farmer life is a hard life. Bror is originally from Finland, so he brought a Finish sauna with him to Australia.
This time Heidi got the pleassure of celebrating her birthday Australia. Madeleine made a superb "Party-cake" for the day, 4. November. Also Bjørnar's experience from hmhmback riding was rather small - but after a while we even found the 3.rd and 4.th gear on the animal...
Bundaberg - 24.October 2008 - Pos 24°46 S 152°23 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 31251nm

ONE WEEK IN BUNDABERG

No matter what the New Zealanders say – the
Aussies are very friendly people. At least that is
our experience so far. The New Zealanders and
the Australians have the same jokes about each
other as the Norwegians and the Swedes…
After one week in this little and nice city, Heidi
has done her sonarcheck and we have met
many friendly people, both Australian sailors
and citizens.
Bundaberg is a famous city, even though it is
not the centre of the world. The rum made in
the city is well known all over this continent. Only
4 % of the production is sold on export. 3% is
exported to New Zealand and 1% to the rest of the world. No wonder why you may not heard of
Bundaberg Rum.
Now we are heading further south.

The measure column shows
the water level when the river is
flooding. The last big flood was
30 years ago.
Love at first sight...
Finally we could see a kangaroo on its right continent. So far Heidi has plenty of space behind the helm...
Bundaberg - 15.October 2008 - Pos 24°46 S 152°23 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 31236nm
WE ARE IN A U S T R A L I A !!!
We anchored by the quarantine buoy outside Bundaberg Port Marina after a pleasant 5 days sail from Noumea.
We sailed out the Dumbea pass (in the reef around New Caledonia) as the sun was going down. The moon has been shining every night, the last night almost as full moon. The wind has been steady from ESE most of the voyage, which turned out to be 830nm. Heidi has been seasick for the first time ever, so the crabs in the western part of the Pacific Ocean got a lot of food. Maybe the coming crew is the reason to the seasickness?
The fishing has as normal been good. Many “big ones” got off the hook, but an 11kg Dorado ended in the fridge.
In Australia the summer is on its way. It is warmer in the air and in the sea here in Bundaberg than we experienced in New Caledonia even though we are now a little bit further south.
We have already been here 24 hours, but still not seen any kangaroos…
Another Dorado on its way
through the trawler opening.
8 knots is a good speed for fishing.
On the longer voyages we have seen few birds in the middle of the Ocean. On a short leg as this one, we have seen birds all the way. A seasick Heidi in the sunset west of New Caledonia.
New Caledonia - 9.October 2008 - Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 30409nm
AUSTRALIA HERE WE COME
It is time for us to leave the exotic Pacific islands, at least for now. After many emails and many phone calls with the immigration authorities we finally got the visa applications for Australia granted.
The weather forecast looks promising for the 800nm long voyage from Noumea, New Caledonia, to Bundaberg, Australia. We are now ready to meet the big country with hungry crocodiles, angry sharks, poisonous snakes and spiders…
The rig is checked again, as before every longer voyage. The food stocks onboard is so low, that we hope to empty the rest on our way to Australia – the Australian quarantine authorities is supposed to be even more restrictive than other countries authorities we have met so far. Time will show if the rumours are correct…
Finally ready for Australia.
After 3 years most of the treads on the sprayhood was damaged by sun and saltwater
Local wednesday regatta in Noumea It is not always easy to find a wireless net,here we areluckyin one of the parks in Noumea
New Caledonia - 30.Sep. 2008 - Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 30409nm
NOUMEA -OUVEA -PORT VILA -NOUMEA
Loyalty Islands are a part of New Caledonia and is positioned east of the main island Grande Terre. We visited Ouvea on our way to Port Vila. Beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise water is dominating. The sea temperature is a little warmer than by Grande Terre. Even Irene had to take a bath in the 24°C warm water.
The sailing to Port Vila was windier than we wanted, but Irene found her sea legs. She had a good view of what our lives have been like the last years. She is absolutely a tough and sporty Lady at the age of 73.
The local costume is much more visible in Port Vila and Vanuatu than in New Caledonia where the french influense and money is visible all over. Vanuatu is a country with local traditions and nice people. It is sad to think of that we (most probably) have to wait a long time until we can see more of Vanuatu – on our next long trip…
The sailing back to Noumea was in a little more settled weather and the fishing was good. Too bad that the biggest Dorado got away after being hauled halfway into the cockpit. Luckily it was not the only fish on the hook.
Eivind mother has sailed 763nm during her visit. That is a little longer than an average Norwegian sailboat sails through a whole season… When Irene in a few days is boarding the plane, it is with many new experiences in her mind – and with a 35 hour flight in front of her.
All that blood, Arne - but it all
disappered after washing...
Ouvea - the northernmost of the Loyalty Islands.
Irene looks a bit anxious - she has never been the bathing angel... Irene og Heidi practicing their their favorite-hobby - small stones and shells.
New Caledonia - 15.Sep. 2008 - Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 29646nm

THE MATE IS BACK ONBOARD
Irene (Eivind’s mother) and Heidi signed on after 35 hours travelling from Norway. British Airways/Quantas almost managed to get the baggage all the way – one package with important parts for the DuoGen generator is missing. It is not the first time Heidi’s luggage has disappeared. When she returned to New Zealand 9 months ago her luggage arrived 5 days later – also that with British Airways. The package is now waiting in the Quantas office in Noumea – we hope.
Irene’s warming up tour, and Bjørnar’s signing of tour, went to Ile de Pins. The island is situated 40nm SE of Grande Terre and is the southernmost of New Caledonia. We had a nice voyage with god winds, but the weather has been a bit chilly. Gale and full heavyweather gear is not very common in these waters. Gale and shorts is more common...
Bjørnar is signing of to be back in Norway for his father’s 60 years anniversary (if his tickets let him get there in time…). Bjørnar will be back onboard later, maybe already somewhere along the west coast of Australia. Empire will probably put the bow in direction of Vanuatu, for a little detour that way.

If it was a biiig fish or if it was
the Captain that wanted to
show how it sounds when a
big fish bite on the hook that
led to the break of the fishing
rod,
we will not tell...

After two attempts we decided not to sail into the lagoon of Ilot Moro. 30cm clearance on the inside of the reef was a little too shallow.
Irene found her sailing skills quiet quick. It is 16 years since she sailed her own boat in the Oslofjord. Baie de Kuto, Ile de Pins. Lovely fine white sand on the beach - protected from the waves but not from the swell form the Pacific Ocean.
New Caledonia - 5.Sep. 2008 - Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 29500 nm

ONE WEEK WITH THE BOYS ON TOUR
Bjørnar signed on last Friday. This is the 9.th time Bjørnar is sailing with Empire since we left Oslo the 3.rd of July 2005. That is a good high-score !
Eivind was very happy to see “people” again, after 6 weeks alone onboard Empire. Last week’s sailing have been in the vicinity of Noumea, since more crew soon is signing on. We had no success with the fishing, so we have been “forced” to eat beef from the supermarked (with good wine, of course).
We have done a couple of walks on shore. Also the kayak has been used frequently. Bjørnar discovered that he must get in better shape when he returns to Norway. Even after more than 3 years on tour with Empire, the Captain had lower heartbeat than Bjørnar when we arrived to the top of the mountain near Baye Maa.
Empire is newly washed and ready to meet Heidi and Irene (Eivind’s mother). They embark tomorrow.
The Captain (and Bjørnar) is really looking forward to their embarking...

Then we were 2 people onboard
again. Bjørnar and the Captain
sailing off the northwest coast of
Grande Terre, the main island of
New Caledonia.

On tour - always smiling !
We found this wreck on the headland of Koniambo. Of course we had to explore the wreck, but we did not "dear" to check if the ships bell was still on the bridge... At Ile Uere we almost felt like in the Oslofjord. Even the Gendarmerie had to anchor on top of our anchor. Captain Eivind had to tell them to move...
New Caledonia-28.August 2008 -Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E -sailed dist. from Oslo 29466 nm

AGAIN BACK IN NOUMEA
Three more weeks with only Captain Eivind onboard. Whale safari and maintenance of the boat have been the main projects also these weeks.
Humpback whales are seen from the dingy, from the kayak and from Empire. With “whale-inspectors” onboard Empire, that was out of battery in their own camera, we could go VERY close – with permission !
There is now almost nothing left on the MUST BE done-, SHOULD BE done- or LIKE TO DO-lists. The main thing left on the SHOULD BE done list, is to redo the mast leach of the mainsail. The mainsail is still to sacky, even after our Galapagos-work. But our good old sewing machine is ready for work, so it will probably not last long before the sail is on the surgery-table. Some other small jobs are also left on the lists, but something should always be on the list – because if you get it all done, something big will probably show up…
Heidi will soon be back onboard, but first Bjørnar is signing on. Bjørnar and Eivind have a short week for themselves, before we again will be many onboard…

Humpback whale in feeding
postion. The mother-whale lies
like this while the baby-whale is
breastfed.


Ready for photo-Humpback-safari...
"Cab you charge our battery? We are identifying whales, and have no more battery in our camera..." Some maintenance work is more important than other maintenance work. This fish was found in the saltwater intake for the toilett...
New Caledonia -8.August 2008 - Pos 22°17 S 166°26 E -sailed dist. from Oslo 29381 nm

NOUMEA - NEW CALEDONIA
The last weeks Eivind has been sailing on his own near the southern tip of Grande Terre, the main island of New Caledonia. Heidi is back in Norway for a friends wedding.
From July to September the Humpback whale gathers inside the reef on the south side of Grande Terre, to give berth and to feed their small ones. A few days ago a 10-12 meter long whale jumped almost out of the water only 50 meters away from Empire. Quiet exciting… Some days later Eivind took the dingy for a whale safari in the same area, but due to too much wind (and no whales) the trip became short.
The Captain has also been doing some maintenance work, and Empire is almost back in perfect shape. Everything get much more tear and wear and the maintenance is a bigger job than with regular coastal sailing. But that is a part of the game on a long voyage…
Empire is now back in Noumea after three weeks in different bays, so that the Captain can get some fresh beef in the fridge. Eivind misses his girlfriend, but is also enjoying a little voyage on his own.

Empire is back in Humpback
waters.




Exercising for comming expeditions...
Whale-safari in Prony Bay. The Captain has to bake his own bread - or flatbread...
New Caledonia - 10. July 2008 - Pos 22'17 S 166'26 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 29313 nm

NOUMEA - NEW CALEDONIA
Our Norwegian friends Mona, Odd, Marte and Martin (7 when he arrived, now 8) arrived in Vanuatu and signed on Empire the 26. June. Together we had wonderful days in Mallao Bay. We also had a nice sail south to Tanna, even though this first leg gave some trouble for inexperienced sea-legs… Martin was extra happy when he caught a 9 kg Dorado.
The active volcano Yasur on Tanna gave us great experiences. The noise from the roaring and exploding volcano made our legs shake. Absolutely crazy. It was not only our youngest crewmembers that thought this was looking a bit like scary.
We also had a great sail from Tanna to New Caledonia. With a little help from anti seasick-pills all sealegs managed much better.
Noumea is a modern city. It differs a lot from the other cities we have seen in the Pacific. The French influence has put their marks on the community.
Today our friends have signed off, heading for Australia by plane. We miss them already and we are looking forward to see them onboard again. Thank you for your visit.

The Empire-crew on their way to
the crater edge...
Odd, Mona, Marte (10) and Martin (8) travelled the long way from Norway and signed on Empire in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
We visited the vulcano Yasur a rainy evening, and did not have the best wiev. But some we could see... Happy children at the beach outside Port Resolution, Tanna, Vanuatu.
Vanuatu - 25. June 2008 - Pos 17'45 S 168'19 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 28857 nm

PORT VILA - VANUATU
We did not sail as far north in Vanuatu as we planned these few days. When we anchored inside the reef in Mallao Bay at Lelepa Island, on the west side og the main island Efate, we found that we could stay there. The gribfiles promised stronger winds from south in a few days and instead of sailing north and then struggle to sail back, we stayed in Mallao Bay.
In Mallao Bay we have been all alone. We had the beach to ourselves and the water both inside and outside the reef was very clear, with lot of marine life.
We sneaked Empire in the small opening in the reef, which was only as wide as about the double of the beam of the boat. Inside the reef there is room for one, maybe two yachts at anchor… This place is probably what you think of as a ”Tropic paradise”, before you have been there…

We are now back in Port Vila. Our Norwegian friends are signing on tomorrow. It is some time since last we had friends from Norway visiting, and we are looking forward to get them onboard!

Skin-diving Heidi...

"Tropical paradise" - Mallao Bay, Lelepa Island, west of Efate, Vanuatu.

Vanuatu - 17. June 2008 - Pos 17'45 S 168'19 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 28834 nm

PORT VILA - VANUATU
The sailing from Fiji to Vanuatu was quick, only a little bit more than three days. The ”trawler” Empire caught so many fish that the fishing reel broke. Josh from the American yacht Bahati was waiting on the dock when we arrived in Port Vila. He was on his way home to start work.
A short sail with Empire to Havannah Harbour on the west side of Efate (the main island of Vanuatu) was his last sail in warm waters for now, before life as an employee begins…
There is many well protected anchorages in Havannah Harbour, and the mangroves is hanging out over the water. There we got to know Kalo and he showed us around in his village.
Nathaniel, who has been sailing with us from New Zealand, and Josh signed off yesterday, and are both on their way home to USA.
The First Mate and the Captain are now looking forward to some “lonely” days onboard, before our friends visiting from Norway soon are signing on. It is a long time since we had friends from Norway onboard, and we are looking forward to their arrival. Meanwhile we will see some more of the northern parts of Vanuatu…

Islanders under way to their
vegetable garden, which is
located at the "mainland".
Kalo (in canoe with rig) is gardener and boat builder. It took him one month to build "Blue Lagoon II".

The Vanuatu people is friendly, smiling and curious,
and like to come by to say "hello"...

Fiji - 6. June 2008 - Pos 17'40 S 177'23 E - sailed dist. from Oslo 28260 nm

VUDA POINT MARINA - FIJI
The last weeks we have really seen some of Fiji . Together with Shawna and Ian from the Canadian yacht Afriki, we sailed to ”deserted” islands and we have spent a lot of the time in the water. We were very welcomed at Ono, one of the islands inside Astrolabe Reef, when we anchored outside the village of Waisomo . Only 2 – 3 yachts visit the village every year.
The Kava ceremony the first night was an interesting experience, and turned out not to be the only Kava night… One of the Waisomo families visited us onboard, and we served “Norwegian” waffles. On shore the family served us Fiji-specialties and we learned about heir way of living.
Mamanuca- and the Yasawa island groups on the west side of the main island Vitu Levu is more turistified, but we still had great experiences. The teacher Ian and the student Eivind spent 4 – 5 hours in the water every day skindiving and spearfishing. We had many goor fish dinners. After a while the student passed the teacher regarding aiming accuracy…
Sandra and Wally are Saturday signing off, flying back to the States, after 5 weeks onboard. Monday we throw off and sail towards Vanuatu , the closest island group to the west of Fiji .

Fresh coconut milk tastes
good.



Namara Island, Astrolabe Reef.
Eivind is hunting for dinner...
Mamanucas Musket Cove Malo Island. Ian with the catch of the day.
Fiji - 15. May 2008 Pos 18'078S 178'25E sailed dist. from Oslo 27950 nm

SUVA - FIJI
We set of for Fiji 3.of May with our new crew onboard. The weather reports looked windy the second & third day but no more than we could handle. We had a wet and airy leg Monday night with winds up to 25m/s. Nathaniel, Sandra & Wally really got to test their sea legs, and they did pretty well.
Monday morning after 9 days at sea we dropped our anchor outside Suva Royal Yacht Club. After 7 hours of waiting “Pacific Style”, all of the authorities came and the clearance went fast and without problems.
After a couple of days in Suva our impression of the Fijians are that they are a warm, welcoming, helpful and smiling people. Everybody greats us BULA!! (Hello) with a smile in the streets.
It is early in the cruising season, only 3 other sailboats are anchored outside the club. During the coming days we expect many more. Hopefully we will then be at one of the smaller islands – swimming in turquoise water with plenty of colourful fish enjoying tropical days.

Catch of the day - 7 kg dorado,
mahi mahi, dolphin fish.

The work in the rigg continue...
One of Captain Eivinds delicious fish dinners at sea Sunrise over Kandavu, the southernomost island in Fiji
New Zealand - Fiji, May 2008
DAY 10
12. May kl 0745 (UTC+12) Pos 18'07S 178'25E, sailed dist from Opua 1093nm
- dist to Fiji 0nm.
After a calm night under motor for slow ahead, we anchored outside Suva Yachtclub, Vitu Leva, Fiji, in the Quarantene area. After 7 hours at anchor we finally got the visit from customs, immigration, health and quarantene inspectors. 30 more minutes and we were cleared in to Fiji. A lot of papers, but no problems with the clearance... Tomorrow we will explore Suva...

DAY 9
11. May kl 1500 (UTC+12) Pos 19'04S 178'51E, sailed dist from Opua 1030nm
- dist to Fiji 62nm.
We can see land! Kandavu Island, Fiji, is within sight. All crewmembers are shiny and clean after taking a shower in the 29º Celsius warm water, from the Pacific Ocean. Today she was there, finally - the 7,5kg Dorado. Yesterday we lost a BIG fish after a 30 minuts fight.
The pelican hook on the cutter stay broke one night ago. Luckily it did not break a couple of nights before, in the heavy weather...
DAY 6
8 .May kl 2000(UTC+12) Pos 28'55S 178'00E, sailed dist from Opua 660nm
- dist to Fiji 436nm.
The last days we’ve used the engine and sailed for some time. The winds have been variable both in strength and direction. At the moment the wind has stabilized on southwest, and is expecting to increase during the night. The outer edge of a huge low outside the northern tip of New Zealand is approaching. Probably it will give us good sailwind to Fiji. A delicious Whaoo was caught yesterday and a Dorado was the lucky dinnerguest today. All of our crew have now their sea legs in the right position. All well onboard.
DAY 3
5. May kl 1600(UTC+12) Pos 31'57S 176'29E, sailed dist from Opua 254nm
- dist to Fiji 836nm.
Last night gave fresh sailing with winds up to 20m/s, 25m/s in the gusts. 3 reefs and a small genoa gave us some comfort onboard. The wind has now calmed down and the fishing line is out. 2 small Skip Jack tuna has already gone back to the sea because of worms. Some of our new crew have struggled a little to find their sea legs. Good crab fishing can be expected in the area…
DAY 1
3. May kl 1200 (UTC +12) Pos 28'55S 178'00E, sailed dist from Opua 0nm
- dist to Fiji 1088nm.
New standing rigging is in place, and the rig stands like a pole. In last minute we invited 3 of the Bahati crew to join us, as Captain Biscuit (Nat) had to fly home to USA due to illness in his family. Nathaniel, Sandra and Wally signed on in short notice. Instead of several more weeks in Opua, they join us on the voyage to Fiji. The weather window may look a little scary, but “Captain-calculations” tell that it will be a little windy only on day 2 and day 3. After that time will show. It was a bit strange to wave “see you at another Ocean” to our sailing friends at the pier in Opua, as we now are spread for all winds after getting to know each other for some time in the Pacific Ocean and in New Zealand. Who knows when we will meet again...
New Zealand - 27. April 2008 Pos 35'18S 174'07E sailed dist. from Oslo 26857 nm

Back in Opua
We are back in Opua, where we five months ago first called New Zealand. Many cruising yachts are gathered here, all waiting for the right weather window for their voyage.
The first Scandinavian yacht to depart will be Swedish Yaghan. She is throwing off for Australia sometime this morning.
We met Yaghan and Heléne and Arne first time in Mar del Plate 1½ year ago. Now our corses go in differnt directions...
When it comes to us, we have to await the departure as the Captains rigg inspection discovered broken strands in the port lower top shroud and the starboard lower shroud. The standing rigging is 8 years old and we have decided to replave all standing rigging. Hopefully we have the job done by thuesday, depending on the riggers that are pressing the terminals. The rest of the work we do ourselves.
Empire is stocked up and ready. When the rigjob is done, we hope the weather will allow us to set sail pretty soon..

The port lower top shroud has 4
(almost 5) broken strands.

The work in the rigg continue...
Rough seiling between Whangarei and Bay of Islands on our way towards Opua.
New Zealand - 14. April 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19E sailed dist. from Oslo 26763 nm

The Norwegian fleet together in Whangarei, almost
We left Auckalnd Thursday, and arrived in Whangarei Saturday, after a couple of nice stopovers at anchor and a nice motorsail along the coast. Almost all the long-voyaging Norwegian yachts that have been the hurricaneseason in New Zealand, are gathered in Whangarei. From a total of 7, only Xanadu is missing. She is already in Opua. The crews of Villvind and Menja are also missed, but both yachts are here in Whangarei.
We have all had different plans during the months in New Zealand. We have met some of our Norwegian sailorfriends during our stay in Auckland. Never the less it was fun to meet all the Norwegians again, before we are spread all over the Ocean.
The individual plans vary. Only Empire has the plan of sailing back to New Zealand also for the next hurricane season.
The autumn is getting in on us, living in the southern hemisphere. We hurry slowly north towards Tropical waters…

Thelma heading towards
Auckland City.



First Mate Heidi. Calm and flat sea on our
way to Whangarei.
Captain Eivind.
New Zealand - 27. March 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

Easter shining in Auckland
There are two years since Empire last was on the hard. Even though the anti fouling Sea Hawk from Trinidad has done a good job we thought it was time for refill. After four days on the hard Empire has got three layers with not as poisonous anti fouling… Empire is clean and shiny, the sea valves are greased and much more.
Before we took Empire out of the water Eivind gave the engine onboard serious service. Originally it was only the nozzles which he intended to maintain. When one of the did not come out it lead to full service on the hole cylinder top and the above lying camshaft.
During our days on land we also inspected the toilet hoses. That was a good idea, in the hoses there was plenty of deposits in the houses. Luckily we had a look at it now – and not during a voyage after the hoses has been totally blocked…
Eivind has one week left as marine technician at Ovlov Marine. After that we head north to Opua and the Bay of Islands.
We have been in Auckland for a while now and look forward to sail back to the Pacific Islands.

Empire

 

 

After four days on the hard with painting, polishing and general maintenance work we felt it on our bodies
New Zealand - 3. March 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

Change of Plans
•  we do not sail to Australia (this season)
In January we visited Sverre Erik in the Norwegian sailboat Vagabond Virgin in Whangarei. During a conversation with the harbour captain there she said “but can't you just come back next season…”
That is how it all began, and we changed our plans. Instead of sailing to Australia after a short visit to Pacific after the cyclone season we have decided to sail back to New Zealand a second time. But after that we will keep to our earlier plan, just one year later… Christmas 2009 will most likely be celebrated in Thailand. Se calendar 2009
We will get more time in the Pacific, we will be able to see more of New Zealand and we will have more time along the coast of Australia.
When we informed the families back home they weren't excited… “But, then it will take one more year before you get home…” – smart heads concluded! We have said it before, and it will be written several times – the only thing that is definite about a plan is that it will be changed.

At the Pancake Rocks on the
west coast of South Island
WOW.....
Auckland Skyline Bayswater Marina, Auckland
New Zealand - 23. February 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

Camping on South Island
We invited Sverre Erik from the Norwegian sailboat Vagabond Virgin to join us for a trip tp South Island. We filled up the car with camping gear and headed south. The plan was a 10 days expedition hiking in some of the scenic reserves on the South Island.
We visited the tiny village Norsewood and the Danish settlement Danevirke on the North Island before we took the ferry across Cook Strait from Wellington to Picton on the South Island .
The first five days we had lovely weather and summer temperatures. In Abel Tasman national park we walked for two days with tent, primus, sleeping bag, beef, red wine and bacon and egg on our back. We discovered that it is heavy to carry all you want when hiking. It is much easier to have it onbard...
We camped further south on the west coast in wonderful nature, but it got colder. We saw the Fox glacier through rain and fog. We crossed South Island via Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, before we headed north to catch the ferry.
South Island has a rich nature and 10 days camping passes quickly. Guess we have to go back to South Island before we leave New Zealand for good…

At the Pancake Rocks on the
west coast of South Island

Eivind, Sverre Erik & Heidi Abel Tasman National Park Low Tide... Arthur's Pass
New Zealand - 31. January 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

Thelma, 1897

During the weekend we have sailed regatta. Not in our own boat but on a much older and bigger lady. Thelma was built in New Zealand in 1897 by the Logan brothers. She was at that time their biggest boat with her 60 feet , bowsprit not included.
Thelma has just been refurbished and was put back in the water before Christmas. The regatta is held every year in connection with Auckland Anniversary Day. We were lucky to crew her.
The weekend was more exiting than expected, to times we could have lost the rig. First the starboard running backstay broke. One hour later when it was replaced, the port running backstay broke – when we crossed the finishing line. Thelma doesn't have a permanent backstay...
We discovered a crack in the mast above deck and Thelma took in water which had to be emptied by hand. The electrician hadn't installed a big enough fuse to allow both pums to work at the same time…
Los of fun and action in summerweater and good bris around Auckland. Thelma did great despite the problems - she won

Eivind climbing the mast to fix
the running backstay.
Whaitangi, Thelma's four year older and some feet smaller sister Thelma Thelma
New Zealand - 12. January 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

Surfing Raglan, New Zealand #1

After New Year celebrations and almost finished work on Vagabond Virgin in Whangarei, we headed back to Auckland and Bayswater Marina. Also this time it was a quick sail experience. 75nm sailed in 11 hours.
While the Captain went back to work for Ovlov Marine Heidi used the opportunity to go surfing outside Raglan on the west coast of New Zealand . Josh from Bahati was the teacher and was also kind to lend out his extra surf board. One time has to be the first, but after to days Heidi was able to stand on the board – at least for a little while… Ragland has one of the worlds longest left-hand brakes and is definitely not only for beginners. When the waves increased the last day we found it more interesting to look at the real skilled surfers playing in the waves.

Heidi at Wainui Beach, Raglan,
New Zealand surf spot number
one

Whale Bay, was it because of the view that the bay got it's name? Manu Bay outside Ragland, known for on eof the worlds longest lef-han brakes Surfers on their way to find the wave of the day
New Zealand - 12. January 2008 Pos 35'43S 174'19Ø sailed dist. from Oslo 26672 nm

HAPPY NEW YEAR from Whangarei
The New Year is for us already 12 hours old when the champagne is opened in Norway. We can tell that so far Year 2008 looks promising.
We celebrated New Years Eve in Whangarei together with other sailors around the table in Empire. The fireworks were next to nothing, but one or two champagnes were fired.
Heidi is happy to be back onboard after a teerible long flight from Oslo. The journey was estimated to last for 30 hours, but it took Heidi almoast 45 hours to arrive in Auckland. The luggage arrived three days after that, incuding Christmas presents, Christmas cake and milk chocolate to Eivind.
The Captain has been working during the Christmas holidays on the Norwegian boat Vagabond Virgin in Whangarei. In the beginning of next week we will be back in Auckland, where work for Ovlov Marine is waiting.
We look forward to a new sail year onboard Empire. We will stay in New Zealand until April. We hope to do some labour, some travelling inshore and some sailing in this period. After that Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand is on our wish-list for 2008.

Eivind & Heidi

Town Basin Marina,
Whangarei
 
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