Duet Arrives In Australia

Duet’s Journey So Far
Duet arrived safely in Bundaberg, Australia on December 22nd, traveling directly from Fiji, with a brief stop in New Caledonia to avoid some weather. The trip from Fiji to New Caledonia took approximately 4.5 days, including 8 hours keeping station overnight outside the entrance to the New Caledonia lagoon, which we weren’t comfortable entering in the dark. The journey was 745 miles, Duet averaged 7.1 knots and delivered 1.79NMPG. Conditions were bumpy on departure from Fiji, with SE winds to 25 knots and seas to 10 feet. Things quieted down by the end of the 2nd day and we had an easy ride thereafter.

We departed New Caledonia some 60 hours later on the next weather window, which arrived so quickly that our agent literally checked us into and out of New Caledonia on the same day. This journey took just over 5 days, we traveled 813 miles, averaging 7.5 knots and 1.62NMPG. Duet pulled into Bundaberg Port Marina just ahead of a significant front; our first night at the dock we had lightening, thunder and torrential rain as the front passed. The high then built in strongly from the SE, with winds to 40 knots offshore.

Both these trips were accomplished with just Nancy and Ron aboard, and Duet ran perfectly throughout. We did not refuel in New Caledonia, as we wanted to save time on our turnaround there. Nevertheless, we arrived in Bundaberg with 362 gallons on board, or a 25% reserve on total tankage, courtesy of Duet’s slippery hull and some favorable currents. We even were able to maintain speed during a period of adverse current near the end of our run to Bundaberg (an eddy from the East Australia Current); Ron increased our RPMs to 1790 (versus our normal cruise of 1550-1650RPM) to enable us to arrive before the bad weather. Conditions slowly worsened towards the end of the journey, as wind and seas that started abaft the beam came around to the bow. During the final 24 hours, the wind was NW at 20 knots on the starboard bow, but the swell remained aft, from the SE. Duet just soldiered on, with spray flying over the top of the pilothouse.

Checking in to Australia was very professional and quick, we arrived at noon and by 4PM (on a Saturday no less) we hoisted our Australian courtesy flag. Bundaberg Port Marina is some distance from Bundaberg itself, but walking distance to the small town of Burnett Heads, which has an IGA supermarket. We walked into town the next day to provision, as we arrived with almost no food, per Australian regulations. The IGA kindly gave us a lift back to the marina in their van, as we were loaded down with local fruit and vegetables and some Aussie beer.

So far we have enjoyed Australia very much. Everyone is friendly, it is amazingly clean and we’ve seen our first kangaroo, complete with a baby, known as a joey. We expect to leave for Brisbane sometime in the next week. It is a relatively short journey of about 200 miles. Duet will be berthed at Rivergate Marina in the Brisbane River, where we will await the arrival of the ship to take Duet home.

We wish all our readers a safe and happy holiday season.

Ron and Nancy

Duet, Nordhavn 50#15

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