PENDANA’s WORLD TRIP UPDATE #1
Apologies in advance for the longer than usual blog!
Planning is progressing well and the Pendana camp remains excited, committed and focused on what needs to get done.
Now before I continue, I just want to highlight some incredible photos taken by Steve D’Antonio way up north in the ice berg belt in Greenland aboard Shear Madness N72 and Migration (http://shearmadness72.com/). I like photography and try where possible to take good photos for the blog (what’s the expression, a picture says a thousand words!) but I have to say that Steve has put me to shame and has set a new standard for us mere amateurs to follow. With Steve’s permission these photos are posted here for your enjoyment. I believe these shots are truly incredible. Well done Steve!
Photos above copyright Steve D’Antonio www.stevedmarine.com
While I am at it, I came across this YouTube video showing what congested waters really look like. Wow, maybe I have nothing to complain about after all.
Moving right along, I must say that both Claire and I are truly humbled and incredibly grateful and thankful for all the comments and emails we have received of support for our trip since we announced our plans. If you missed the blog it can be found here: http://www.pendanablog.com/Pendana-Nordhavn-62-blog/2014/08/25/Pendana-s-World-Trip.
The messages of support have come thick and fast with offers of friendship, houses to stay in, dinners at yacht clubs and cars to borrow. We have received advice on kitty litter trays, where to stow the dog food, clearing customs in Hilo (I think that’s referred to as the Big Island), offers of direct help, support, advice on where to go and what to see, for example the north side of Molakai (Hawaii). The list just goes on and on! All we have to offer in return is a few simple heartfelt words – thank you. Honestly, it is greatly appreciated and I guess this really just illustrates that folks-on-boats (need to trade mark that!) and folks dreaming of being on the water are truly great examples of what makes us all human. Thank you!
Photo above of the Molakai sea cliffs (Hawaii) which are the tallest sea cliffs in the world at 3000ft/914mtrs. Wow, certainly won’t be missing this.
I am pleased to say that the quarantine issues are coming together nicely with all animals having had their rabies shots and associated blood tests. Just as a side note, getting one large dog (50kgs/110lbs) and three cats to the vets is in itself, a mammoth task with the car only just handling the sheer volume. Caesar The Magnificent thinks it’s great fun peering in from over the back into the three cat cages that line the rear seat, while the cats probably think, when is this living nightmare ever going to end. With meows a-plenty, Caesar’s constant exuberance and sheer joy at the momentous occasion of being in the car for only the 5,000th time and Claire calling for calm from those members of the Ellingford pack who wear fur, one can quickly imagine the trip to the vets is not the most leisurely drive.
I have been keen to make sure all quarantine matters from Sydney, Australia to the USA are addressed and that we have a solid plan in place prior to our departure but unfortunately we have hit our first hurdle. A little like a freight train hitting a steal reinforced wall if the truth be told.
We were planning Sydney – New Caledonia – Fiji – Wallis & Futuna – American Samoa – Kiribati – Hawaii – San Francisco etc and so far, I have spoken with all quarantine agencies and associated vets in each of the regions and all is AOK except for (drum-roll please) one region, New Caledonia and Wallis & Futuna (which are either part of France/or controlled by France) are the only areas we have come across that requires a mountain of further tests and shots to be performed on our animals prior to entry. This all means about $4,000.00 in extra costs to satisfy their requirements and while it’s not so much the money (although not great) it’s really the checks and final tests before departure that would be onerous. On top of this, is the mandatory ten day quarantine period for all animals when we only wanted to stay in New Caledonia for five days. At the end of the day it’s a mountain of extra work and hassle which in our view, just simply isn’t worth it!
Au revoir New Caledonia!
So, effective immediately our planned visit to New Caledonia and Wallis & Futuna has now been cancelled and with it, the issues of their quarantine rules and regulations. That was easy! Now, it does need to be said that the folks at quarantine in New Caledonia were incredibly helpful throughout our many conversations. New Caledonia used to be very easy to enter with animals but now they have their new quarantine centre up and running, the new rules that came with it, unfortunately are not. So, Pendana and her crew will now be making a direct passage from either Brisbane, direct to Vanuatu which is around 1,060nms then onto Fiji, American Samoa etc, or from Sydney direct to Vanuatu etc, which is around 1,385nms. The shorter the runs the better as I want to avoid where possible any chance of being caught in weather that is less than favourable – certainly, on our first leg! While I may seem a little cautious that’s probably because I am, especially when it comes to weather. My moto is, “The sea can never be flat enough!” and I know from past experience, the flatter the sea the greater the enjoyment and as enjoyment is what this is about, where I can mitigate risk of adverse weather, I will.
Two options to get Vanuatu.
Vanuatu, here we come!
Caesar trying on his brand new lifejacket and loving it!
We now have our passports back from the US Embassy with the all-important five-year B2 Visa. I have also spoken with two very helpful Customs and Boarder Protection (“CPB”) guys in the USA regarding the visa period and visa waiver we are likely to be able to get on entry and while a six month permit is standard they said we shouldn’t have any issues getting a one year permit. No doubt, this will become an exercise in time co-ordination as we depart US waters and re-enter and then re-apply for another annual permit etc. I was concerned that CPB would get a little sick of us after a while as we are planning 3-4 years in US continental waters but they assured me so long as we were genuine travellers (which we are) and laid out our plans clearly (which we will) then there wouldn’t be an issue. Way to go USA – all sorted!
Over the last few weeks we have been busily working to install our new Nobletec Time Zero Odyssey charting software with the expert help and guidance of Guy Oliver (The Furuno God in these parts) and Levi Schofield from Olectric Systems (http://www.olectric.com/). Simple enough one would think but not so, as our lovely old VEI screens only run a maximum resolution of 800×600 and Time Zero requires a minimum resolution of 1024 x 600 which meant new screens were required. While the folks from VEI in Florida were keen to help out with the upgrade I decided to go with two new Hatteland monitors (http://www.hatteland-display.com/index.php) instead which were similar in price, have a great reputation and were locally available.
With new software installed, leads made, new backing board to hold monitors finely crafted C/o PSM (our local shipwright) we were set to go and test the system. WOW, WOW, WOW….. I loved Nobletec Version 9.0 but Time Zero Odyssey is like leaping into the 25th century – WOW!
The time before the ‘WOW’ moment was a ‘YUK’ moment.
Playing with the anchor watch – I love it!
I love these new Hatteland screens.
Last one, promise!
There is one more piece of equipment that we will be upgrading but for now will keep that up my sleeve and divulge a little later. This new piece of kit I am referring to will either be a great addition to our safety and incredibly helpful or a complete and total waste of time and money. Stay tuned!
I am planning departing Sydney October 25th for the two day run north to the Gold Coast (Queensland) and to the great, Gold Coast City Marine (promise this time not to go on about how great this place is). The purpose of this trip is so that we can perform the final checks and complete the necessary work on the list below. This will ensure Pendana is prepared as possible to make safe passage across the world’s oceans!
Gold Coast City Marina – What’s not to love!
Repair gel-coat around waterline rub-rail using epoxy and respray;
Repair small gel-coat crack on foredeck;
Repaint non-skid on foredeck (maybe);
Strip down, triple check Davit (Crane on foredeck which lifts tender);
Strip down, triple check Maxwell 3500 anchor winch x 2;
Check every single hose, clamp, through hull, valve, nut, screw and fitting on the boat and replace where required;
Make up spare hydraulic hose and fittings;
Water test portholes and reseal if required;
Water test starboard side saloon window and reseal if required;
Add air vent valve to stern tube;
Replace all water maker/ (Check) membranes/drinking water filters;
Service Hydraulic heat exchanger unit;
Make up stainless steel brackets to hold Jet-ski and install on foredeck;
Visual inspection of Trac stabilizers post upgrade last year;
Barnacle Buster Gens/Aircon; (never heard of Barnacle Buster check this link out, http://www.trac-online.com/pdf/A-C_Small_Boat_Self_Contained.pdf)
Polish Hull and superstructure where required.
As usual we will be using our regulars up north who know and love Pendana led by Andy Giese and Benny from ADG Marine, Gateway Hydraulics, Watsons Engineering, Marine Safe, Seabreeze Industries, Stella Marine (TRAC) and a few other associated services.
Pendana (two years ago) at GCCM.
Now onto something completely different – as with most things in life there appears to be a right and a wrong way to do things as is the case when flying flags. As I would prefer not to embarrass Pendana, her crew or the locals I decided to do some research and quickly found conflicting information as to the rules and regulations around flying flags and flags which are flown.
Pendana will fly her Q flag (Quarantine Flag) once inside 12nms (or is it 200nm?) from a foreign country. The flag will be flown amidships and will be hoisted up the starboard flopper-stopper pole.
Q Flag above.
Next, we have our ships country of origin flag. As Pendana is an Australian Registered Vessel/Ship we are entitled to fly the Red Ensign of Australia and or the Australian country flag (but not both at the same time). Location for this flag is on the stern of the vessel. So far so good!
Red Ensign of Australia
Then comes, the all-important courtesy flag of the country one is visiting and I might say that this is where the confusion starts……This flag, I understand should be smaller than the ships country flag and should be flown amidships starboard side and it is this flag (courtesy flag) that replaces the Q flag once the vessel has cleared customs.
So let us assume we are 12mns from Hawaii, up goes the Q Flag (amidships starboard side), Australian Red Ensign or Australian country flag will already be up as we are in daylight hours (stern) then once we have cleared customs in the USA the Q flag is replaced with the United States courtesy flag or does the courtesy flag get flown on the port side amidships as some sites suggest?
If there is a flag expert out there who just so happens to be reading this blog please let me know if my thinking on this is right or wrong.
We also recently ordered Bianca a child sized cold water survival suit as she was lost in the adult sized suit. Anyway it arrived the other day and she couldn’t wait to try it on. I must say that it was hilarious to watch her get into the suit and jump into the pool. Thankfully she floated face up and was kept nice and warm.
Bianca having a ball!
Bianca relaxing into the float.
Ellingfords going for a swim…believe it or not…..!
That’s all for now, I will post another blog once we are back from the Gold Coast in November with the usual array of pics as between now and then there is a lot that needs to get done.
Safe travels and once again thank you to all who messaged us with words of encouragement!