Fiu in Adriatic
Australia - 17 July to 20 August 2005
Crossing from Vanuatu to Australia
Another fast crossing - 1300 nautical miles in 6 and a half days. We had good, gale force southerly wind for nearly four days. Reaching or broad reaching with the reduced genoa only. The waves were getting bigger and sometime breaking near us and flooding the cockpit. First four days were overcast, rainy and cold - no fun at all (except for good sailing).
The second last day the sky cleared and wind increased to over 40 kn, waves height was occasionally over 7 m. We were running 'downhill' faster and faster and often achieving 15+ knots. That day achieved Fiu's maximum ever speed of 17.9 kn - it was indeed an exhilarating run - one of the best sailing ever - we covered 240 nm in 24 hrs - another Fiu's record!
In the evening of the last day, when close to the Great Barrier Reef and when the depth started to decrease waves became steeper and higher .. and in few occasions we lost control and FIU was knocked down and completely submerged under the big breaking waves - luckily Susan anticipated that this might happen and closed all hatches and companion way on time. Still, the mess in the saloon was the biggest ever - cans, spices, charts, books, pots and cutlery all on the floor, wet and messy. Even our main notebook used for navigation got wet and when only 20 miles off the GBR we lost our GPS position and electronic charts!! Absolute panic as it was getting dark and in few hours we were supposed to enter the GBR! Without the GPS and electronic charts we are lost - we'll have to sail north along the reef until morning and spend another night on the open and rolling ocean! Luckily Susan has another notebook and hand-held GPS so after 'playing' with these gadgets and cables Ivo managed to get them working and we were able to find the entrance to the GBR and spent the rest of the night sailing through the reef to Townsville.
Clearing to Australia was not a problem and the following few days were spent recovering, tidying up the mess, eating out and enjoying the 'civilization' - visiting spectacular reef museum, watching IMAX movies, shopping. Paul C. and Paul L. joined us here and by the end of the week we sailed north along the GBR to Cape York and west to Darwin.
Great Barrier Reef and sailing to Darwin,
Crew: Paul C, Paul L, Susan & Ivo
This particular trip from Townsville to Darwin via the Great Barrier Reef could also be named the Great Fishing & Eating Expedition.
Paul C rejoined Fiu after an absence of 5 weeks and Paul L alias the 'Great Tassie Fisherman', last sailed on Fiu during our Atlantic crossing.
Fiu left Townsville armed with lures, skirts, hooks, fishing lines, rods and reels an many others tricks in the bag for the ultimate fishing expedition. We also had various maps outlining the no fishing zones in the Great Barrier Reef marine parks.
We had some rainy, windy days to start with but then the second week the weather improved and as we headed up over the Top End, it got hot. We also entered crocodile country and were told to not leave the dinghy in the water overnight, the crocs like to bite them!
We caught so many fish that fish was on the menu every day. Paul L. our big Tassie fiserman had often fish for breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon sneak and dinner! The others were not able to follow him - fish once a day was more than enough.
Next - Indian Ocean Crossing - Cocos Keeling Islands and playing 'Catch me if you can' with a potential first cyclone of the season!