Movin On Out

Finally! Finally we’re both well, the boat systems are all working; almost, I haven’t yet run the water maker but I don’t believe there will be any issue there, and we are just waiting for weather.  A cyclone formed NNW of us and we’re watching it. This place; Savusavu Marina has the newest moorings with 3 helix for each one and is quite well protected. Not the best protection in Savusavu but the most secure.  So we wait.

It looks like Monday the system will have moved S of Fiji and the weather will be calm. We plan on heading out to anchor off the Cousteau Resort; a pricey tourist spot that is NOT cruiser friendly, then from there head to Nisioni pass traveling along the S coast of Vite Lenua. This passage is one to have some respect for. When sv Continium was leaving the Savusavu area they had some rough weather and pulled a winch off their mast necessitating a return to safe harbor. Truth be told they screwed up but those things happen when under a bit of duress.

Well… the weather finally did as expected. We motored out to Cousteau and anchored 3 times trying to find a sandy spot. We never found one and listened to the chain gently rub on the coral all night.  Unfortunately we had to anchor in about 20 meters of water and although we have plenty of scope for our system should the anchor be “stuck” I can’t dive that deep to free it. In American Samoa we purchased an electric snorkel but that too will only get me to about 12 meters, a bit shy.

Yet we were lucky, the next am the anchor rose off the bottom with only a few minutes work tugging on the chain a couple of places it was wedged in coral.  For those environmentalists that cringe about anchoring in coral; while we do our best to avoid it, here in the tropics the coral is healthy and need no encouragement for growth. If will soon grow back and cover up any areas we’ve messed with.

We leave early the next day hoping to ensure entering the Nisoni passage about slack tide. While we hope the passage will not be as exciting as entering an atoll we understand there are rips out front and often a goodly current in the pass.

After motoring 3 hours in flat seas (preferable to the alternative here, we reach the pass and luckily we find no obnoxious seas outside and only about 2 kts of current inside the cut. We had tried to pull out the headsail when we felt a slight sea breeze forming but traveling less then 2 kts was not going to help us arrive to time the passage and currents correctly. 30 minutes later we pulled in the sail and continued our motor boat ride to cross the first barrier of our trip to Nadi for the cyclone season.

Tamiriki Anchored S Vite Levu

Tamiriki Anchored S Vite Levu

Again we could not find any sandy place to anchor. But we were blessed with almost no breeze that evening and being far enough from shore no bugs!  And again we were in about 20 m of water with a coral bottom. Around the tropical islands it is so hard to find any anchorage without the coral bottom.  A calm night with sv Spirare and sv Tamariki we all slept like babies looking forward to actually sailing on the following day.

Peter on sv Tamariki couldn’t wait and pulled up anchor first. He’s a 70 ish, and single hander that keeps up with

sv Spirare with all her colors

sv Spirare with all her colors

fully crewed, younger crewed boats.  Serge and I were waiting a bit longer for the breeze to kick in and luckily it did. We all wanted a light air day so we could have a relaxing sail with our Spinnaker ( sv Spirare ) and us our drifter.

Spirare’s went up first and they were off. I wasn’t planning on putting the pole out so we motored a little farther S hoping to achieve a better wind angle. We were not only last in putting up the sail we were soon last in the group. But we’re now cruisers and that didn’t really bother me. Not really. W/ and I thought of adding more sail to keep up but we only thought about it. We didn’t do it. We sailed with the drifter/reacher alone. No staysail, no mainsail. Even Serge is beginning to wonder if we have a mainsail. 🙂

Elysium with her drifter flying free

Elysium with her drifter flying free

The day was “quite pleasant” as W/ is fond of saying. The winds steadily increase all day long only near the end of the day reaching the point we felt it might be prudent to douse the drifter. However with one nm to go we flew it just a little bit longer and as we began to make our approach to the harbor we doused it and motored the rest of the way in.

Oops, something is not right!  The oil pressure gauge is reading low; 20 psi and we never run that low.  I go to check down below. Nothing seems amiss in the engine room. No oil spraying anywhere, all caps firmly in place. I head back up worried. Seems with engines now I am almost always worried. Peter yells over and we can’t hear what he’s saying. I think he is saying we have no cooling water. Fortunately we are in the harbor where there is almost no wind and good water so we shut the engine down. He then indicates we have a sheet (line) in the water and I pull in the sheet and start the engine. Now the oil pressure gauge indicates what we normally see.  Whew!

After we’re anchored Serge swims over. We had picked up a small Tuna on the trip and were sharing it with the our two traveling boats. He swam just because he didn’t want to put the dinghy in the water! How lazy can we all get.  He lost a bet the other day with Joann; Serge saying it only takes 15 minutes to nest and store it and Joann saying more like 30. Seems women often have a much better estimate of the work required around the boat than us guys.

Serge tells me he too has had an issue with the oil pressure senders and he actually has installed a T on his port with a pressure gauge attached. When the panel gauge reads funny he can just check the one that is physically connect.  Another project to add to the list 🙂

As the breeze continued to die and we settled in for the evening, we looked forward to crossing the Bligh waters tomorrow. The other two boats were splitting off not having our schedule and heading to Kadua while we were taking this opportunity of lighter than normal winds to cross this stretch of unruly water. Normally the winds are 10 kts more than predicted and the seas higher. We hoped to sail but if worse comes to worse we are prepared to motor.

Go Slow
Sail Far
Stay Long


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