Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Arrived in Suva, Fiji

We were unable to send an email to the blog due to harbor interference so we finally got an internet hook-up to send this message after it quit raining.

We finally got into Suva, Fiji on Thurs, May 22 after waiting out still another front...this time a warm front with a blast of northern winds that deflected us from our port. The most miserable part of the voyage was having swell on the beam all the way. Folks who went ahead of us and motored thru the 2 days of soft wind early in the voyage got in 3 days before we did. We decided to be purists and not use the motor this time but now we wonder about that decision.

We have wandered around Suva, shopped for trinkets and found nice folks, good cheap food, information on Fiji at the Museum and a nice Anglican Church service on Sunday. After we see some friends coming in a few days, we will take off for island hopping and anchoring out.

Here is a lovely shot of Chuck and his Cannibal Fork. This is a special fork they have traditionally used here only to eat human flesh. By doing this they felt as though they completely wiped out their enemy and killed even his spirit.

Also here is the little bird that visited us 500 from shore while on our voyage.
More coming future ports.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Blow by blow....

After having several nice even days of weather with only the annoying swell to keep things flying, we ran into a stationary front. This got our attention for almost 24 hours..AND THAT WAS ENUF!!! It was mostly overnight that the winds got up to 35 knots steady for long periods...that about 40mph ....then slumped to 27-30 with wild, confused seas. We got chucked all around the boat and slept little. I gotta say that the Podcast stories I downloaded for our wonderful Ipod that Geoff and Marla gave us, were great to keep our minds off the howling wind.

We didn't have any breakage around the boat...just a few more bruises. It's so funny to make coffee by pouring water into a cup placed on the gimbaled stovetop...keep having to aim within the moving rim. This was all not dangerous, just inconvenient and trying on patience having to hold on and brace ourselves with each step.

We did have a darling little land bird come and visit to rest since we were a good 500+ miles from any land. I will post photos when we get to Suva, Fiji and go to an internet cafe. Chuck got him to sit on his finger and gave him some corn chip crumbs. It looks like we will get in about Thurs, May 22 so we are more than half way averaging 100 miles a day. We could go faster but we have to use smaller sails for the windvane to control the boat efficiently. And it also allows for a more comfortable ride than blasting as fast as we can.

Passages are just the price we pay to be able to bring our adventuresome vessel and home to the wonderful areas of the world we so enjoy exploring. When passages go well, all is just wonderful but when they become challenging, it becomes tedious and tense. A big thing for Lynn is to have some moon during her watch....Chuck loves the black, inky night so he can watch the stars. It's incredible how dark an overcast, moonless morning can be. The waves come wildly and you can't tell what the sea looks like. Sometimes it's just as well not to know!!!

Hopefully we will get into seas settled enough to use some new fishing lures. We could catch them now but who wants to clean fish one handed and hold on with the other!!!

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Monday, May 12, 2008

So far, so good...Classic weather window!!!

The weather window we left in, last Sunday, was said to have been "Classic"...meaning it was so good...having enough "wind oomph" from the west and south to carry all the boats that left for Fiji and Tonga to the eastern trade winds about 300-400 miles north. Mainly it didn't have northern winds that are miserable to drive into....blam, blam, whomph!

The only discomfort we got was in the first 36 hours with western wind and eastern swells....boosch, right on the beam...back and forth. It was like trying to sleep in a big tumble dryer. We got more than a few bruises. Lynn got tossed from the cockpit seat right into the floor on her backside, the galley rearranged itself and we were so glad to have those fixed meals!!!

Now in the third day with 850 miles to go we have nice steady but soft 12 knot ESE wind and only a small swell....just right for some "rock us to sleep" movement. We are not breaking any speed records...we were the last boat to leave the dock. Chuck accidentally inflated his automatic life vest and we were trying to install a new co2 cartridge but it never got working again so if he uses it he will just have to blow it up with the mouth pump backup straw.

Our navigation lights stopped working and we checked them before leaving when they worked fine...probably wiring corrosion...since the bow and mast lights all died at the same time. We do have a stern light and foredeck mast lights but we will keep a good lookout for other boats and ships. A big freighter from NZ passed right through the fleet of boats on the first night.

Position is 175.14 E, 32.06 S

Crew is finally sleeping well and listening to all the podcasts we downloaded.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Great Weather take off for Fiji

We left Opua NZ along with about 20 other boats on Sunday here, but Saturday in US, at 1:30 in the afternoon. We had light winds, 8-10 and only a mild roll in the sea. Most seasoned NZ sailors said it was the best weather window in years so we will see what kind of luck we have.

Lynn fixed at least 6 meals and got them frozen and the voyage has gone smoothly so far. In case folks wonder we have chicken zucchini noodles, tuna and noodles, chili, and beef veggie soup....along with fresh pumpkin pie and loads of Cadbury Crunchy bars we bought with the last of out NZ money. Chuck got addicted to Crunchy bars while here and has to have one every night....and he even gained weight....yeah! He will drop it as easily as usual...lucky metabolism thing!!! We rarely miss a happy hour...ya gotta have priorities!!!

Just for interest our watch schedule is ...Chuck sleeps 7pm-12, Lynn sleeps 12-5am, then Chuck for 2 hours until Radio net check-ins at 7-9am, then Lynn sleeps 2 hours [and she is really ready by then] and we each try to catch a nap. This works out well for us. Of course when the weather gets worked up we make exceptions but that's only occasionally. We are thinking positively here!!!

We will check in with another blog in a day or so....depending on something interesting happening.

4pm location 35 05 S and 174 11 E, still well in sight of land.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Photos of northbound trip

This shows where we were

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sailing north in a round-about way

We left our home-in-NZ marina, Gulf Harbour, the last friday in April...just over a week ago. We sailed SW to Waiheke Island near Auckland, to visit Mike and Christine who we met while touring south island. They showed us around and we visited beautiful vineyards and had dinner after having them out to the boat for a drink.

There was a front coming in so early Sat morning we headed for the security of Great Barrier Island where they chopped up all the huge kauri trees [like redwoods] for English ships over 100 years ago. There must be over 100 coves to anchor in all around this amazingly picturesque location. We just sat out the weather for 2 days in a cove of our own off Fitzroy Bay.

We tried making some headway north but got less than halfway. The 2nd of 4 weather systems in a week came in so we ducked into The Nook 6 miles up the Whangarei River for 2 more days. Next we tried to head north again to try to get to Bay of Islands. That's where all the cruisers are waiting for the right weather to check out.

We only motored 15 miles and the weather whipped up again so we ducked way deep up into Whangaruru Bay overnight and tried to head north again in the morning but only went another 8 miles before the winds started whipping around the cliffs and we ducked into Whangamumu Cove for a wonderful anchorage well protected by cliffs. It all ended up being too little wind or too much rain and wind, always on the nose!!!

I will add a film clip of this astoundingly lush Whangamumu Cove to the Youtube site soon. There are the remains of an old whaling station there, on a creek with a waterfall, to explore. There were rusting boilers still in place where 100 whalers boiled down the fat into oil. Lynn was ready to move there but the government owns it all as parkland and there are no houses.

On Sat May 3 we left serene Whangamumu to head motoring into wind and waves around Cape Brett [big rock with hole in it] towards Bay of Islands to anchor in Russell, reputed to be an old rowdy and sinful whaling port. We'll see how much energy we have left for getting rowdy!!! Mostly we need to dump trash...or rubbish as we now call it here in NZ, do laundry and get some more food while waiting for the right weather window to head to Fiji. Also try to go to church one more time. Religion comes easily when facing the ocean passages!!!

We will post a message here as to when we sail out of NZ...2-3 weeks...and will ask for prayers from the "belivers" who read our posts. It's still storm season and once in a while they still have cyclones in May and June if the water hasn't cooled enough and it's cooling slowly this season.

What took us 3 easy days to sail in Nov has taken 8 days to motor now in the fall weather.....which is ALWAYS changing. AND WE LISTEN TO WEATHER PREDICTIONS FOR THEIR ENTERTAINMENT VALUE!!! They are never right!!! Even the NZ weather folks say they can't guess further than 2 days ahead.

Lynn and Chuck on CYAN

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