02 December 2016 (+11 UTC – Eastern Hemisphere)
Dear Friends and Family,
We have have arrived after an almost exactly 4 day trip.
Yesterday and last evening, the seas were calm with a 2.5 meter (8 foot) and 1.5 meter (5 foot) swell from two different directions, but flat seas.
We motored the last 28 hours as we’ve had very little wind.

The island is picture postcard stunning. Google Lord Howe Island for some nice aerial views.
The inner lagoon here is very shallow and we were led in by the local Harbour Police boat which was very nice.
We delayed sending this update to see what would transpire with the local Border Patrol and Customs folks. They told us by email that essentially, we wouldn’t be allowed to do much….Shhh!! Good news…they said “have a nice time” and we had a lovely day ashore.

Their concern is that someone trying to enter the country illegally could come on a boat and then just catch the daily flight back to the mainland and not have gone through immigration (who are not here). As such, they looked at my passport, (they know I have a visa) and Nikki has an Aussie passport, so all is well.
Glad that worked out okay! More on this later when we’re on the mainland.

For now, all is well and we had a lovely dinner ashore and got a little wifi to boot! They have NO mobile phones on this island and it is a bit strange to see people using a phone booth! (kiosk).

We’re watching with Bob McDavit for the next weather window which may be mid week? The trip is 425 miles and should take about 2 1/2 days to Sydney!

Tomorrow, we’ll do some touring and we’ve rented some bikes. We might even do some of the big hikes. Think climbing the mountain at Bora Bora! Yikes!
KIT,
Scott and Nikki

COMMENT: Beach House – MOORED – Lord Howe Island, Australia
TIME: 2016/12/02 00:36
LATITUDE: 31-31.42S
LONGITUDE: 159-03.05E
MARINE: NO
WIND_SPEED: 10
WIND_DIR: NW
CLOUDS: 15%
VISIBILITY: 40
BARO: 1015
AIR_TEMP: 26.7C

01 December 2016 (+11 UTC)
Dear Friends and Family,
The last 24 hours was a turning point as the winds finally began to lighten and the seas calmed down. We are now in very light air and motor sailing directly to Lord Howe which is 185 miles to our SSW. We expect to arrive there tomorrow before noon.

In August of this year, we applied for a permit to visit Lord Howe Island en route from New Caledonia to Sydney, Australia. It is a natural stop as the island is nearly on the direct course and it’s supposed to be a gorgeous and interesting place. We sent the request and were immediately told to fill out the forms and then issued a permit by the Lord Howe Island Council. They even gave us a mooring assignment 4 months in advance! We were thrilled and thought all was well….not so much…

We were told to send them an update as to our exact arrival at least 96 hours in advance which we did. There were some canned statements in the three people’s email that confirmed our arrival about that we couldn’t be checked in at Lord Howe and would have to “check in” when we arrived at a port of entry which of course, Sydney is. No problem with us! Yesterday, I get an email from the Customs and Border Protection at Lord Howe telling us that our stop is to be a “technical stop”.
This means, food, fuel, water, necessities, weather window and off you go! I wrote back that we were given a permit 4 months ago to make this a tourist visit.
There must be some misunderstanding? I received an email back telling me that the local council goofed. They were supposed to tell me we were to check into Sydney FIRST, then come back! Well, this is a small boat in the middle of the ocean and backtracking 500 miles is like asking someone to drive 2000 miles round trip. Not too mention the weather down under around the North Tasman Sea can be WILD to say the least.
In other words, that wasn’t going to happen.

So, we’ve been told that we will be allowed ashore, but we can’t essentially be tourists. I also find this rather odd since most boats that would visit here would come from the East (as we have) and therefore are essentially excluded from this unique stop. As the Islands economy is entirely tourist generated, this makes even less sense. We don’t get to make the rules, so we’ll be there in about 24 hours and find out what restrictions we’ll have on our “technical stop” as our permit is essentially invalid. This is a classic bit of bureaucracy where the “left hand doesn’t’ know what the right hand is doing”. Sound familiar?…:-)
It reminds me of our experience with US Customs in St. John in the American Virgin Islands. As a reminder, we were told Nikki couldn’t enter the USA on a “non commercial carrier” in the Visa waiver program. Ah bureaucrats…got a love em’… That story can be searched back in the Ship’s Blog archives and is why we got Nikki a US Visa!

In any event it will all work out and we’ll take the next “weather window” the last 450 miles of our journey into Port Jackson/Sydney Harbour. We should be there before the middle of the month.
Just yet, another “sea story”…:-)
KIT,
Scott and Nikki

COMMENT: Beach House – EN ROUTE – Isle Amedee – New Caledonia – Lord Howe Island, Australia – Day 3 – 160 nm
TIME: 2016/11/30 21:51
LATITUDE: 28-41.74S
LONGITUDE: 160-33.22E
COURSE: 206T
SPEED: 7.8
MARINE: YES
WIND_SPEED: 8
WIND_DIR: ESE
SWELL_DIR: SSE
SWELL_HT: 2.5M
SWELL_PER: 9
CLOUDS: 35%
VISIBILITY: 15
BARO: 1012.6
TREND: 1
AIR_TEMP: 25.0C

30 November 2016 (+11 UTC)

Dear Friends and Family,
Just as we were preparing this report, we’ve “seen” what we believe is a cargo vessel on our AIS system. He’s going 20 knots and the opposite direction about 15 miles to our left. This is the only vessel we’ve seen on the trip and I’m actually a bit surprised to see even one!

We’ve just hit the half way point and conditions are finally settling down a bit. The first day was really a bit rough and yesterday started to calm.
The big low to our north has moved east and we’re in generally pleasant high pressure conditions with scattered fair weather cumulus clouds now.
We’ve also “headed up” about 10 degrees, but still a bit shy of our direct course due to lumpy seas.

We suspect the winds will remain as they are for the next 24 hours and then likely quit! (or get very light). The next “system” will then be off to our west and give us building northerly’s as we get to Lord Howe – we hope by just after noon on Friday.

The islanders we understand are Seventh Day Adventists and will essentially be closed on Saturday. We’d like to get checked in before then.
Still a bit boistrous, but condtions improving.
I saw another very quick, “Amadon Light” (morning green flash) today. The horizon was crystal clear.
KIT,
Scott and Nikki

COMMENT: Beach House – EN ROUTE – Isle Amedee – New Caledonia – Lord Howe Island, Australia

TIME: 2016/11/29 21:55
LATITUDE: 26-29.47S
LONGITUDE: 162-10.25E
COURSE: 222T
SPEED: 6.9
MARINE: YES
WIND_SPEED: 18
WIND_DIR: SE
WAVE_HT: 0.3M
WAVE_PER: 7
SWELL_DIR: S
SWELL_HT: 2.9M
SWELL_PER: 9
CLOUDS: 65%
VISIBILITY: 15
BARO: 1011.1
AIR_TEMP: 25.0C