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Southern Spars

WanderLust's Sailing Route - Nuka Hiva to Sydney

by Mike Harker on 17 Jun 2007
Mike Harker - WanderLust 3 skipper Wanderlust 3 http://www.h-tv.com
Filmmaker Mike Harker is attempting a three year-long circumnavigation aboard WanderLust 3, a brand new Hunter 49. The yacht is fitted with all the latest electronic gear.

Mike departed in March 2007. Mike is currently in Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas and is hoping to arrive in Sydney in late July, in time for the Sydney International Boat Show at Darling Harbour.


Mike's latest journal entry is below:

The supply ship from Papeete Tahiti, Aranui, arrived this morning bringing much needed provisions and diesel fuel. Just as soon as the ship off loads and leaves the dock, I will drop an anchor in front of the same dock and back the stern up nearly against the wall to be able to take on about 100 gallons of diesel.

I plan to sail solo west towards US Samoa this evening. The goal is to cover the 4400 miles to Coffs Harbor north of Sydney Australia at my planned speed of 1000 miles a week. That should bring me into Darling Harbor Sydney by the end of July, possibly even as soon as July 25.

The Sydney International Boat Show begins the first week of August and my boat will have a 'Place-of-Honor' locked inside the dockage. The boat needs some minor repair and a good detail including bottom scrub and new zincs before she goes into the docks.

The route will keep me in the trade winds and west setting current until near the Australian coast. I just have to plan a route that keeps me off of hidden reefs and small islands.

Nuka Hiva lies at 08* 55' S X 140* W

If I go due west about 1100 miles there is a small atoll with anchorage,
Penrhyn, at 09* 00' S X 158* W. I will rest there for one night.

Manihiki is the next small atoll with anchorage at 10* 26' S X 161* W.

Suwarrow Atoll lies at 13* 20' S X 163* W

Pago Pago US Samoa is at 14* 18' S X 170* 40' W

That is the first leg of 2200 miles which I hope to cover in 2 weeks with ESE winds and a west setting current of about 1.2 knots.

The plan is to continue heading west and stay north of all the reefs and little islands around FIJI and, after reaching clear water NW of the Fiji island of Vanu Levu, angle my course SW to pass all reefs and islands for a clear entrance into the Vanuatu island of Efate and the harbor at Port-Vila. That lies across the International Date Line and is one whole day won - 17* 45' S X 168* 19' E.

From here the path is littered with reefs.

I first have to get through all the reefs, atolls and little islands north of New Caledonia. There are only a few safe passes and I may pass north of the 'Recifs D'Entrecasteaux' at about 17* 45' S X 163* E. There is an option to pass further south through the 'Grand Passage' just north of New Caledonia at 18* 45' S X 163* 30' E. I'll make that decision when I get closer and know the weather forecast.

Due west of there are the treacherous reefs of Chesterfield Island. I don't know yet if I should try to take the 'Grand Passage des Chesterfield' near 20* S X 159* E and go directly south until the 'Recifs Bellona Sud' at 22* S X 160* E before heading towards the eastern coast of Australia, or stay north of Chesterfield. I will check Jimmy Cornell's book 'Routes of the World' and follow his advise.

After the reefs at Bellona there should be a clear shot at Coffs Harbor, 4400 miles from where I am now and about 5 weeks away.

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