There's nothing quite like the feeling of excitement generated by casting off the shorelines for an ocean passage, especially when a farewell party has dragged themselves from their warm beds for our 7am departure. We like to think they were there to wish us well, others thought it might be to make sure we left.
Thanks to you all, although Charlotta was a little disappointed by the poor Scandinavian turn-out - Martin and Lars talked bravely of waving us off over a beer last night, but no sign of life this morning from the Norwegian boat. Talk of sabotaging Kika to indefinitely postpone our departure has so far proved groundless; no problems to date.
A big thank you to all my New Zealand friends. I apologise if I failed to say goodbye to all of you in person, those of you I did see, thanks for bearing with my manic state - with 18 months to prepare the boat for sea again, I still managed to leave too many tasks to the last minute. The anxiety of the preparations has given way to the excitement of the impeding passage.
Great to be back at sea again, with the old traditional routines - blog writing, stuffing the lockers with tea towels to stop the rattling, as well as the more mundane passage planning, weather checking, course adjusting etc. George our trusty windvane self-steerer has been roused from his 18 month slumber by a generous application of engine oil and unusually for the start of passage appears to be working well.
So far we've hugged the coast as we headed north from Whangarei to Cape Brett. We've now passed Cape Brett and our course is set for New Caledonia, with ~ 840 miles to go to Noumea.
The wind so far has been generally light with squally periods. We anticipated the southern wind would bring bitter Antarctic cold, but so far the SW wind has lacked any icy chill, perhaps things will change when the wind shifts to the SE....
Position @ 21:15 18/4/2008: S35°11.7' E174°23.8'
Distance to New Caledonia: 840
Wind SW: 10-15knots