Australia to Papua New Guinea
January 5-8, 2018
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
After having been in Cairns, Australia for more than 2 weeks, it was about time to head for my next port of call. I decided to sail north to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and then continue eastbound into Indonesia. Once I decided to sit down and plan this next voyage, I found that I would not be able to leave for at least a couple of days.
Here in Cairns, the wind was blowing out of the north. I checked the wind forecasts and found that the wind was westerly about 100 nm north of Cairns. Unfortunately, during the next couple of days, the forecasts have the winds coming out of the north, which will not help me sailing to the north. By Friday or Saturday, the winds should return to blow out of the west, at which time I’ll be able to sail to Port Moresby on a mostly direct course. I guess I get to enjoy several more days in Cairns.
Friday, January 5, 2018
Today, the wind finally changed from north to east. At 3:00 PM, I raised the anchor, set my sails and headed north to transit the Great Barrier Reef. I checked the extended forecast for winds and it appears that, in about 4-5 days time, the winds will be northerly in the area of Port Moresby. I decided I would make my course to an area east of Port Moresby. This will allow me to sail on a beam reach pretty much all the way to PNG (Papua New Guinea). By the time the wind changes, I should be able to sail west into Port Moresby.
The weather for my departure was great. The sky was mostly clear, wind was blowing about 8 knots and the temperature was about 84ºF. After so long at anchor, I was glad to be headed out to open ocean again.
At about 6:30 PM, I passed the waypoint that I had selected in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. At that point, I turned more northeast bound. I left the navigation to the auto pilot and I headed below for the night.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
01/05/2017 1830 UTC – 15° 35.4′ S 146° 39.88′ E
I was up at 7:00 AM this morning. The wind had shifted overnight to blowing from the northeast. That meant that I was no longer sailing on a beam reach. The sail angle was a close reach, which is not the best angle for good speed. I decided to adjust my course more to the north. I’ll continue on this course, which is still pointed to the east of Port Moresby, until I see a wind change.
The weather was more overcast today, but the wind was stronger and I was making a good SOG of about 8 knots. The seas were getting a bit rougher as well.
At mid-afternoon, around 3:00 PM, the wind was up over 20 knots and my boat speed was about 8.5 knots. I did some slight adjustments to my heading during the day, but the wind was steady off the starboard beam, so my course was still good.
I decided to check the wind forecast and I noted that the forecast northerly wind around Port Moresby wasn’t there anymore. I turned to a heading of 359° and headed directly for Port Moresby. According to the GPS, I have 258 nm to my next waypoint off the coast of PNG. At my current pace, I should be at Port Moresby by tomorrow evening.
01/06/2018 0605 UTC – 14° 17.06′ S 147° 22.33′ E
I had a good day sailing. The ocean swells were getting larger as the day closed out. I headed below at about 6:30 PM, ready for a rocky night’s sleep.
Sunday, January 7, 2018
01/06/2018 1805 UTC – 12° 34.65′ S 147° 20.73′ E
I was up at about 4:30 AM. The wind was still at about 20 knots and the seas were quite rough, but certainly not the roughest I’ve been in on this boat. Once the sun was up, there were fewer clouds today than there were yesterday. I looked forward to another peaceful day at sea, even with the boat rocking.
At about 2:30 PM, the GPS reported that I had 63 nm until my next waypoint, south of Port Moresby. It looks like I will be anchoring this evening at Port Moresby in the dark.
01/07/2018 0615 UTC – 10° 51.46′ S 147° 18.09′ E
Later in the afternoon, it was clear that I would arrive shortly after midnight. I left the auto-pilot in charge at about 6:00 PM because I knew I’d be up again around midnight.
Monday, January 8, 2018
I was back at the helm at about 12:30 AM. At 1:30 AM, I crossed into the shallows that start at about 5 nm south of Port Moresby. It is partly cloudy, but the moon is out, so it isn’t completely dark.
At 2:15 AM, I arrived at the yacht club in Port Moresby Harbor. After getting secured at the dock, I decided to sleep for a few more hours until the sun was up. After breakfast, I’d check in with Customs and Immigration, then explore my new port of call.
01/07/2018 1615 UTC – 9º 27.93′ S 147º 9.1′ E