Journey to the Pacific
We sailed from Opua, New Zealand, in June 2010, with Tim Frost as crew, and headed directly for Port Vila in Vanuatu. The trip took about 10 days and was largely incident free. Lynn suffered from bad seasickness initially but in the last 2 or 3 days, when we were being knocked around by 30 knot winds and a very confused sea, she was luckily feeling much better. Tim paid off in Port Vila and flew back to New Zealand.
From Vila we headed north to the Maskelyne Islands. This was an overnight trip in relatively light winds with patches of rain.
We had Ian Hyde-Hills on board for this leg of the trip. Ian had joined us in Vila and spent most of the night helming Rireana. He eventually went below about 0500 hours after relishing the opportunity to steer his creation in tropical waters for the first time. Ian had generously offered his time to come up to the Maskelynes to provide vocational training in building skills and the use of power tools.
We lived on Rireana at anchor in Sangalai Harbour for the next couple of months (with one return sail back to Vila for Trust work). Then it was back to Port Vila to attend to more work there and to prepare for leaving Vanuatu. From Vila, we sailed south to New Caledonia. We cleared in at Lifou, one of the Loyalty Islands, and then made our way through the Havannah Passage in the south-east corner of New Caledonia and on to Noumea. We spent a couple of weeks on mainland New Caledonia, before setting sail for Bundaberg in Australia.
We were joined for the Australian leg of the voyage by Jim Hawke, an old sailing mate from Auckland, now resident in Queensland. We copped a gale halfway across the Coral Sea and at one stage were caught surfing down a wave at just under 14 knots. That’s not bad for a small boat with a maximum hull speed of about 7.5 knots. We made landfall at Bundaberg after about 6 days sailing where Jim left us.
We hauled Rireana out of the water at Bundaberg and returned to New Zealand for work and more fundraising. We were away for the period of the Queensland floods and luckily Rireana was on the hard (as Jim had advised). As a result of the floods, about 60 boats were lost out of Bundaberg, some never to be recovered. Rireana remained high and dry with our mate in Bundy, Judy O’Donoghue, checking on her every so often.