The Passage to Africa

There aren’t any pretty pictures for this post, but we thought we should talk about it a little anyway. We waited in Réunion for a decent weather window for our departure for Africa. It’s about a 10-day trip, so you’re only guessing about the weather more than three days out, but you do your best. The passage is two parts; getting south from La Réunion to clear the tip of Madagascar and then turning west for Africa. You need a decent weather forecast that allows you to get the southerly part done before a front comes through and gives you southerly winds. We left on a Thursday, with a weather prediction that we had to get south of Madagascar before Sunday morning when a strong front was predicted to come in. And it all worked. We had three delightful days of sailing, some of the best passage days we’ve had. Humpbacks were breaching (in the distance, no photos) as we left La Réunion.

read more The Passage to Africa

Ashmore Reef

We left Darwin on the morning of August 6th, finally getting underway for our long crossing of the Indian Ocean. We had a couple of very nice days of sailing that put us very near to Ashmore Reef, the last outpost of Australia on the continental shelf. For the last six months we’ve never sailed in water deeper than 50 meters, the continental shelf around Australia is just huge. But it all ends at Ashmore – on the east side the water gradually deepens from that 50 meter range to about 100 meters. On the west side it drops off within a couple of miles to 2000 meters. Since the weather was nice we decided to stop for a day. Australia maintains a 24/7 presence at the reef, seems the World Court says that if they’re not there then the Indonesians can make a claim. And there’s apparently a fair amount of oil in the surrounding Timor Sea. So, when

read more Ashmore Reef