Galley Wench Tales

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MetEye weather for Australia, December 7, 2016.

Wayne’s raucous giggles caught my attention.  

After all, we were feeling kind of stuck here off Australia’s Gold Coast, wanting to make way South to Pittwater (near Sydney).  Our friend Chris of s/v Scintilla, on a similar track, pinged us, as he’d just discovered instead of leaving soon, it was looking more like days away.  

Wayne was confirming with his own investigation, and as usual, Chris appeared to be spot-on.

So why Wayne’s giggles?

Weather legend from
Love their 35+ knot definition!

The new-to-us weather website for Australia from locals and fellow Pearson 365 sailboat owners Michael and Samantha Hope.  

Until Australia, since Tonga, we’ve relied much more on Predict Wind, especially as it’s particularly well tuned to work far, far away from traditional wifi and cellular data (such as for our weather pow-wows at “Minerva Reef Yacht Club”).  When we’re on passage, with Predict Wind and my Iridium Go satellite wifi hotspot, I get weather updates whenever I want on my Mac, no matter how far out to sea we are.

But… Predict Wind is a subscription (~$99 NZD for 3 months) as is the Iridium Go ($125-150/mo USD).    Now that we’re nearly always in cellular data range, we can get our online weather info from free sources, some of which are more accurate for this area.  

We always want at least 2-3 sources, as observing how well they do or don’t agree with each other gives us a better sense of how accurate the report is likely to be.  Of course, sometimes they all agree and are all wrong!  We remind ourselves what we get is still far better than sailors in the past got, and often these resources helped us dodge some serious weather disasters as well as increased the likelihood of a smoother sail with minimal motoring.

Here’s what we’re using now for in Australia:

For more inland passages, such as around the Queensland Moreton area (ex. from Peel Island to Gold Coast), tides and current are also a significant planning factor.  It’s not hard to find online tide and current sources, and wise to check in with the relevant Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR)* station for the latest and local knowledge.  

*More about Australia’s VMR in a future post.

Back to original inspiration for this post…
What made SeaBreeze so funny?  

If you didn’t yet look closely at the second image in this post, take a look at the definition for 35+ knot winds, which, appropriately, is brown.  Or, if you prefer to poke around the site, scroll down until you find the Weather Legend section on the left hand side, and take a good look at the first description.

Ozzie humor.  Gotta love it!

And, wherever you are, watch out for that brown stuff!

Location Location
We are currently in Australia’s Gold Coast (a city – not a “coastline”), at Marine Stadium (S27.56.790 E153.25.424), Queensland territory. 

Cruising By the Numbers

  • Our November 2016 sail from New Caledonia to Australia, 790 miles
  • Our September 2016 sail from Vanuatu to New Caledonia, 305 miles.
  • Our August 2016 sail from Fiji to Vanuatu, 525 miles.
  • We cruised just under 440 miles in Fiji, between late May and early August.  
  • Our May 2016 sail from New Zealand to Fiji, 1090 miles.
  • December 2015 – May 2016 if we weren’t cruising New Zealand or hunkering, we were making massive road trips from New Zealand’s tip to its tail.
  • From December 2014 – November 2015 we sailed from Northern Florida’s Atlantic side to New Zealand, over 10,000 miles, with more than a few stops in between.
  • December 2013 – May 2014 we sailed 1792  miles from Jacksonville Florida to the Bahamas and back.
  • March 2012 we bought Journey in St. Lucia.  September 2012 we moved aboard, did some boat work, then sailed her to Jacksonville Florida by June 2013, 3762 miles.

Up Next

After Gold Coast, we’ll sail to Pittwater, near Sydney  for boat work, ~400 miles. Weather may force us to stop along the way; we are currently waiting for a good weather window to jump as the next few days 30+ winds are forecast.