November 2017

Wednesday 1st

Musket Cove, FIJI

We are now waiting for two things: first for the roller reefing foils to arrive from London (see Fiji Haulout) and second for a weather window to do the passage to Opua in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.  In the meantime we are on a mooring ball and not doing much.  The roller reefing parts are due in a weeks time and on Monday we will go back to Port Denarau to collect a sail that is being repaired and collect and fit the parts.

Monday 6th

Port Denarau Marina, Fiji

And here we are back at Port Denarau still waiting for the roller reefing parts, now due on Wednesday. A sail that was being repaired is now ready so that’s a small step forward.  The weather may be ok to leave at the end of the week.

Saturday 11th

Lautoka, Fiji

I think our roller reefing is cursed.  The parts didn’t arrive on Wednesday and when I phoned FedEx I was told that Qantas had lost them in Sydney!  Rather than continue to rack up a marina bill we left Port Denarau on Thursday and motored up here to anchor for a few days before leaving for New Zealand.  With the weather looking good for a departure on Sunday we went ashore on Friday morning to provision for the expected ten days at sea.  After leaving Sheryl and the provisions back on EL Celia and I went ashore again to check out and pick up the roller reefing parts which FedEx delivered to their office in the afternoon.  Good to go?  Not quite, read on…

I was up bright and early on Saturday morning to fit the new reefing parts and rig the repaired foresail.  All went well until I offered up the first of the new foil sections to mate with the old one – DISASTER!!! Alado had sent the wrong sections!!!  They had sent ones that weren’t as wide as the existing ones.  After a lot of angry swearing I calmed down and thought through the problem.  The sail we had just had repaired could be hoisted and used but without a roller reefing system we wouldn’t be able to furl it.  Not an attractive option on an ocean passage.  We could wait another week to ten days for the right parts to arrive, again not attractive as we’d then be waiting for the next weather window and could run the risk of missing our eldest daughter’s arrival in New Zealand.  Being an excellent improviser I decided to see if I could use the new foils.  By about 1700 I’d managed to bodge up a workable furling system using a combination of the new foils and parts from the old system.  Not very elegant but functional.

Having spent all day on a job that should have taken about three hours and will have to be repeated when we get the right parts in New Zealand I wasn’t very happy but at least we can leave tomorrow.  Off ashore now for beer and pizza.

Sunday 12th – Thursday 23rd

At Sea

If you want to read about sea passages then I recommend Joshua Slocum’s “Sailing Alone Around The World”.  Suffice to say we were at sea for eleven nights and arrived in Opua at 0800 on US Thanksgiving Day.  Some of the weather was a bit heavier than we like and over the weekend of 18/19th two boats were lost in a storm a couple of hundred miles to the south west of us.  However, EL just kept ploughing along and whilst we didn’t set any records we arrived safely.  Here is a view taken as we entered the Bay of Islands…

Thursday 23rd

bay of islands marina, Opua, new zealand

As noted above today is Thanksgiving Day in the US.  No sooner had we tied up at our designated marina berth than Jeff and Katie dinghied over from Mezzaluna to greet us!  We were promptly invited to their Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is a shot of Celia with Richard Branson, we still aren’t sure why he was there…