October 2017

Thursday 5th

Savusavu, fiji

We arrived here yesterday morning after a generally rather pleasant 560 Nm passage.  I say generally, the last 30 hours was fairly sporty with the wind increasing to around 25 Kts. Still, ocean sailing has its rewards not least of all some amazing sunrises.  Unusually Sheryl was on watch for this one…

We are now moored off Savusavu and will spend a few days here before heading to one of the marinas on Viti Levu for a haul out and some repairs and maintenance before heading to New Zealand around the beginning of November.

Late on Tuesday evening we crossed the 180° meridian and are now in the Eastern hemisphere for the first time since 2012.  Have we sailed half way around the world?  I’ll leave it for you to decide.  We bought EL in Stockholm which is about 18 East so by that measure we have travelled 198°.  However, we left the UK from Falmouth at, approximately, 5 West so on that measure we still have a few degrees to go to halfway. Whichever way you measure it we have sailed a long way!

Tuesday 10th October

Bua Bay, Vanua levu, Fiji

We are now making our way from Savusavu to Port Denerau on Viti Levu’s west coast where Emma Louise will be hauled out on Monday afternoon for some much needed TLC.  Last night was spent at anchor off Namena, a small island about 25 Nm south west of Savusavu, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Underway by just after 0800 we had a lovely day motor sailing about 40 NM to where we are now. There were Dolphins, a large turtle and best of all I caught a decent size Wahoo…

Fish and chips for dinner tonight!  Now, as regular readers will know I’m not much of a fisherman, indeed this may be only the second fish I’ve managed to land in the Pacific.  Back in July when we were hanging out with S/V DUENDE in Tonga Mark made me a couple of lures.  Having tried one on many occasions I was on the point of sending it back for a refund when I got the above.  Thanks Mark!

Saturday 14th

Anchored off north Coast of Viti Levu, Fiji

Since Monday we have been day sailing our way around to Port Denerau on Viti Levu’s west coast where we will haul out on Monday afternoon.  In preparation for the haul out I have been ordering spare parts. Our autopilot has not been behaving well this year and whilst I have repaired the hydraulic problem the electric motor that drives the hydraulic motor is somewhat temperamental.  It occasionally sticks and a little percussion maintenance is required i.e. I hit it with a rubber mallet.  So time to get a new one? Well maybe not…

WARNING – RANT FOLLOWS

First of all you need to know what I’m talking about, a small 12v electric motor about the same size as a starter motor on a small car.  How much for a starter motor?  £50? £100?  Not £660!!!!! Which is what Simrad want for a replacement.  Now I’m used to the salesman’s sharp intake of breath and the immortal line “its for a boat. sir” which usually comes with a 100% mark up but 1000%?  You have got to be (lots of expletives) kidding.  At some price point it becomes very well worth the effort to exhaustively examine alternatives and I am.  I’ll let you know how it works out.

Wednesday 18th

PORT DENARAU MARINA BOATYARD

Emma Louise was hauled out here on Monday afternoon.  I am doing a reasonably detailed account of the work being done on a separate page so if you are really interested in some technical stuff and advice on where (or where not) to get work done in Port Denarau click here.  Here is a nice shot Sheryl took of our home being bodily lifted out of the water…

We are scheduled to re-launch on the 26th and I’ll continue with our travels then.  Whilst EL is ashore we are staying at a backpackers hostel close to Nadi airport.  Why?  Because its cheap.

Oh, I nearly forgot.  The autopilot motor that I ranted about above has now been fixed.  I took it to a young Fijian Indian electrician in the boatyard and he spent an hour tightening the brush springs and fitting a new bearing.  Total cost 100 FJD, about £40.  Somewhat better than £660 (and that didn’t include VAT!).

Tuesday 31st

MUSKET COVE, MALOLOLAILAI ISLAND, FIJI

We actually re-launched last Friday, spent one night in Port Denarau Marina and after a provisioning shop on Saturday morning motored over here, about 12 Nm from Denarau.  In all the excitement and business of the haul out I forgot to mention that we have acquired a third crew member for the leg to New Zealand.  The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), of which we are members, runs a Youth Sponsorship Programme for young, Associate members.  To be a Full member you have to complete a 1000 Nm passage in a sailing boat of less than 70 feet.  We qualified crossing the Atlantic in 2012.  However, you can join as an Associate member without a qualifying passage.  To give young people a chance to complete a qualifying passage the OCC sponsors a couple of people a year up to £2,000.  The passage to New Zealand from here is about 1100 Nm so we offered a place to the OCC and the result is the 25 year old Celia Beecham,25, at the top of the upper age limit…

Celia lives in Guernsey and flew into Nadi from London via Sydney and Auckland on Sunday 22nd. After a couple of days getting over a little of her jet lag we put her to work!  We now have freshly painted bottom boards in our dinghy – thank you Celia!

The saga continues here.