Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Wed Jun 13 18:30 2018 NZST

1745 hrs 13 May 2018. Question of the day: "Is it possible to get sick of mud crab?" Been here 3-days and we thought today would be the last day of our 2 gi-normous mud crabs given to us upon arrival. (See our last posting.) Wrong. This afternoon Alifretti, our village sponsor, and master mud crab hunter, brought us another. And this one surpassed gi-normous as definition of size. It was prehistoric huuuuge. Even Alifretti confided it was one of the biggest he's ever caught. In some ways it was almost ashame to cook it up - almost. It should last at least two days for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Giving Alifretti a spear gun, Hawaiian sling, and fishing pole has paid seafood dividends beyond our dreams. Who needs to hunt when the hunter delivers right to the boat. Other than the mud crab, it was a beautiful south pacific day in the loveliest lagoon in Fiji - blue sky puntuated by white fluffy clouds over emerald green water so clear it was like looking through a window at the soft sand bottom, accompanied by a gentle breeze just to take the heat off. Leilani and I did some walking over a spectacular sandbar that arises at low tide. Waded and swam in warm 26 degrees C pools. Then went over to say hello to Exit Strategy, a $1m catamaran that is the nicest I've seen. Plus we think the name is great. Other than us there are 4 other boats here. Can only see two of them, The others are in different bays. Got to go now. Leilani says our mud crab dinner is ready. Tonight is mud crab chow mein. Answer to the question: if it's possible to get sick of mud crab, we aren't there yet.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sun Jun 10 17:48 2018 NZST
Speed: 1knts
Run: 214.3nm (387.9km)
Avg: 4knts
24hr: 96.9nm

1700 hrs 10 June 2018. Arrived in Falaga at 1500 hrs. 34 hrs, and 196nm after leaving Savusavu Dock. It was both a benign trip weather-wise, but tiring. The easterlies never really filled in. Instead we had SE, but light. The first quarter of trip was hobby-horse bumpy with the S swell. Then the wind began to back to E, and early this monring to NE, and in our final couple of hours into Falaga it actually went W. Out of the 34 hrs, we motored 27.5 hrs. I'm beginning to wonder why we have a sailboat. Maybe we should buy a motor yacht. Last night after sailing for a few hours, I went to start the engine and no water came out of the exhaust. Why don't these things happen in the day with no wind and smooth seas. I immedicately thought, air lock in salt water side of engine. Checked the salt water intake. Good there. Then I thought the impellor may have gone bad because we smelled a burnt rubber smell. Opened up impellor casing, and it was good. Didn't surprise me because it was new in March. After fiddling around for about an hour trying to get the O-ring properly installed - one side kept coming out when other side was fitting into slot - I finally had success. Then I decided to simply start the engine and rev it up and hope by pure force of the engine the air lock would blow out. Success. I can only surmise that after heeling over for a few hours sailing caused the lock. Another reason to only motor and not sail. Our arrival weather could not have been better. Absolutely glassy sea, no wind, but it is cloudy. Still as beautiful as we remember from last season. Tomorrow morning we go do sevusevu - give the chief kava and $50 - and we'll be admitted to the whole island to do what we wish. Then it's setting up logistics to give away 700 sunglasses, 700 reading glasses, and most interesting, 1000 bras. No I'm not participating in the latter giveaway. Will let you know how that goes. Now for dinner and an uninterrupted night of sleep.
Sealife sighting Dolphins - 0 Flying Fish - 0 Cheers John & Leillani

Fri Jun 8 12:42 2018 NZST

1230 hrs 8 June 2018. Been in Savusavu since arriving on 31 May waiting for a weather window to go to Falaga. This weekend is a good one. We plan to leave at 0530 tomorrow. Voyage is 195nm, and we calculate arriving at the Falaga pass by 1500 on Sunday - a 33 hrs trip. It's virtually a straight rhumbline at 142 degrees true (SSE), with the wind being very favourable. Winds predicted to start NE about 12-15kts, and throughout the trip slowly back to N, and NW by arrival, easing in strength the whole way. Will be good sailing in beginning, but probably will have some motoring last half of trip. Better than crashing & bashing. We're told there are currently 5 boats in Falaga. I anticipate several may leave with us as northerly quadrant winds are not usual, so boats take advantage to get south in such conditions. Next post will be from Falaga.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sun Jun 3 14:18 2018 NZST
Speed: 1knts

1230 hrs 3 June 2018. Those of you who have been waiting breathlessly for our voyage statistics will be releaved your wait is over and you'll soon be able to leave the front of your computer and go to bed and get some well deserved sleep. So, here are the stat NZ to Minerva Reef - 859nm. Time at Sea - 6 days 4.5 hrs. Average speed - 5.78kts Minerva Reef to Savusavu - 444nm. Time at Sea - 3 days 2.5 hrs. Average speed - 6kts Total Trip - 1303nm. Time at Sea - 9 days 7 hrs. Average speed - 5.84kts Total hours at sea - 223 hrs.
Total Engine Run time - 111.5 hrs (you can see we motored exactly half the trip.
Total Fuel consumed - 380 lts / 100 gal.
Average fuel consumption - 3.4 lts/ hr 0.9 gal/hr.
Sealife Sightings Dolphins - 0 (folks this is both amazing, and absolutely disheartening to think after beiing at sea for over 9 days not to see one dolphin.) Flying Fish - only a few - just as disheartening.
These two statistics are examples of how man is destroying animal life at an alarming rate. And this is NOT fake news.
This is the first day since arriving that the sun has been out. It's wonderful. With that I'll get to working on my suntan.
Vinaka Vakalevu John & Leilani

Thu May 31 18:24 2018 NZST
Speed: 1knts
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

1800 31 May 2018. Bula Vinaka. Welcome to Fiji. We arrived in Savusavu at 1400 today after a thrilling and fast day of sailing. All downwind in 18-20kt ESE breeze. Was surfing down 2.5mtr seas and at one point the thrill meter pinned out at 9.74kts. That's our record. Consistent 7's and 8's was the standard of the day. What an end to an otherwise hard working passage. We're both unwinding at the Copra Shed Marina in our same berth we've gotten for the past two years. Everyone working here came out to say hello. It was a wonderful reunion with wonderful people. Over the next day I'll put together some passage statistics, which I know all of you are breathlessly awaiting. I just want the suspence to linger longer. And I'm too tired to put it together right now. So, good night for now.
Sea life sighting Dolphins = 0 Flying fish = 1, actually found on our deck after we tied up to the dock. The first and only one that made it on board. Who knows, it may be the last know one of its species.
Cheers John & Leilani

Thu May 31 7:41 2018 NZST
Run: 52.5nm (95km)
Avg: 120.7knts
24hr: 2896.6nm
Weather: ESE14-16, 1011, S swell 2m, 50%cc

looking forward to sleeping in tonight. Great wx to end the passage

Thu May 31 7:15 2018 NZST
Run: 89.8nm (162.5km)
Avg: 6.6knts
24hr: 157.9nm
Weather: Currently we have 95% cloud cover. SE to ESE winds of 12-15kts. 2.0 mtr SE swell. 1011 on the Bar. 43nm from entrance to Savusavu Bay. SOG 5.8 kts. COG: 350T. Sealife Sightings Dolphins = 0 Flying fish = 0 on the deck Next posting will be from the Copra Shed in Savusavu, Fiji. YeeeHaaah Cheers John & Leilani

0545 31 May 2018. Mother nature decided to give us most memorable last night on this voyage. First, she provided perfect 13-16kts tradewinds out of the SE to ESE all night long. This combined with a following SE 2.0mtr swell made for our fastest sailing times, averaging 6.5 kts with lots of 7's and some 8's on the thrill-meter. For a heavy displacement, full-keeled 40' yacht,, she was galloping along in full stride. Lastly, a bright full moon tracked us the whole way. Around 0500 she lowered a veil of clouds giving a glow like through a curtin of gauze. We are in a timing delemma. There is some opportunity for us to arrive at the Q-dock around 1500. If we miss that and come in at 1630, we have to pay after-hours overtime. Based on best speed & distance calculations, we can make it in time..

Wed May 30 17:36 2018 NZST
Run: 73.7nm (133.4km)
Avg: 6.6knts
24hr: 157.9nm
Weather: Laaaaand Hoooo. It was Matuku Island. Leilani bounded up to the cockpit, took a look, and went back below into her bunk to sleep. Pretty eventful. I had our course set to take Matuku on the port side, and slide up to Moala on our starboard side, and then come up towards Savusavu Bay. About half way to Moala the trade winds decided to thwart our plan by taking a 30 degree hike clockwise to the S. We had to come up into the wind thus heading directly at Moala. As I write, we have turned on the motor to go westward to miss the island. Pretty inconsiderate of the wind, and pretty inconsiderate of Fiji placing Moala right in our way. It has been a beautiful sunny day, clear skies, and we look forward to a gloriously bright full moon tonight.

1700 hrs 30 May 2018. Had a good day sailing in the fabled S. Pacific trade winds. We officially entered Fiji waters at 0830 when I alerted Leilani in the traditional sailors' style for eons of time. I called out in a hardy voice with the wind in my face and pointing N As the dolphin swims (if there were any more dolphins) we have 125nm to go. We're not going to make it to Savusavu in time for regular check-in into the country tomorrow. Refusing to pay (like we did last year) off-hours overtime of more than F$500 instead of less than half that amount for regular check-in, we're going to anchor off Cousteau Resort tomorrow night, and go in Friday morning - like we just arrived. The Resort is about 5nm away from Savusavu town where check-in occurrs.

Wed May 30 6:24 2018 NZST
Run: 6.9nm (12.5km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 165.6nm

0545 hrs 30 May 2018. News flash. News flash. News flash. Just after sending last post the wind went enough SE and gained in strength to 13-14kts that we could turn off the motor after 25hrs and put up sails. We are sailing! Can't believe it. I can actually hear myself think.
Another milestone. We passed back over the 180th meridian where tomorrow is today, yesterday never happened, and the future is near.
Cheers John & Leilani

Wed May 30 5:24 2018 NZST
Run: 85.5nm (154.8km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 171.7nm
Weather: Winds starting to back SE, but wind speed still low at 8-10 kts. Sky clearing and had great full moon last night. 1010 on the Bar. COG: 352T. SOG: 5.8 kts. ETA Savusavu Friday. Cheers John & Leilani

0515 hrs 30 May 2018. Continued to motor throughout the night. Gribs show SE, or at least ESE, winds setting in soon. Hoping to be able to put out sails soon.

Tue May 29 17:27 2018 NZST
Run: 78.1nm (141.4km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 166.6nm

1700 hrs 29 May 2018. The sailing frustration continues. Southerly winds persist. This means it is directly behind us as our course is 348T. They are light at 7-10 kts. The 2.5 mtr southerly swells cause us to roll in an arc of up to 50 degrees. Even if we set the sails, there's not enough wind pressure against them to remain full in the constant rolling. We tried and the headsail would go completely limp with the roll to one side, and when the boat rolled to the other it would flap explosively jarring the whole boat. No way we can keep that up and also keep the rig up. We've been waiting for winds to set to the eastern direction. Based on latest weather forecast, it doesn't look like that will happen until sometime tomorrow morning. We've been motoring since 0430 this morning. The rain has subsided and blue sky is threatening to show itself. I guess that is a plus. There are many things Leilani and I do not agree on, but we do on one: ocean passages in a small sailboat suck. Anyone tells you they enjoy them is either lying or a masochist.
Sealife count: Dolphins = 0 Flying fish = 0 That's all for now. I'm going to crawl back iinto my sea bunk and try not to be thrown across the cabin.
Cheers John & Leilani

OH NO, but keep the faith. The wind WILL come, and I kept telling Paul that when he singlehanded from Mex to Maui. We are busy getting Lela "Fanning Ready." Fueled up yesterday, about 135 gallons (110 in the tank, 10 in our day tank, and 15 gals in jerry jugs). Removed our washer/dryer today to make space for food and water in the v-berth. Walmart yesterday, $400 in all kinds of foods I try to avoid, but will have to eat while underway. Hit Whole Foods for HEALTHY snacks...YAYYY! Spinner dolphins rode our bow wake yesterday, I will ask them to relay a message to their relative to hit you up! Love you guys, I hate the "death roll" too.
Tue May 29 6:12 2018 NZST
Run: 69.6nm (126km)
Avg: 5.6knts
24hr: 133.6nm
Weather: Southerly W 10 kts. 100% cloud cover. Sporadic drizzle. 2 mtr Sourtherly seas. 1009 on the bar. COG: 345T. SOG: 5.8 kts Forgot to give a sealife count yesterday: Dolphins = 0 Flying Fishi = 0 Other than being tired, all is well here. Cheers John & Leilani

0545 29 Msy 2018. Had a wet, busy and tiring nigjht. Drizzled much of the night, just enough to keep everything wet. Busy gybbing back and forth across the rhumbline because the wind was directly behind us, and still is. Tiring because the boat rolled heavily making sleep difficult. Don't let anyone tell you having the wind directly behind you is good. Wind is southerly. Most of the night is was 15-18kts which helped keep the sails full and not flopping and snapping in the rolling motion. But around 0430 the wind dropped to 10kts and the headsail couldn't keep full unless we sailed either due west or due east. So it was rolled up and on came the motor. For past hour we have been going the rhumbline for the first time since leaving Minerva Reel.

Mon May 28 17:42 2018 NZST
Run: 34.1nm (61.7km)
Avg: 3.2knts
24hr: 76.1nm

1700 hrs 28 May 2018. We departed Minerva Reef today at 1130 hrs. A day earlier than originally planned because the weather (at least the wind) was favourable. It was rainy, overcast, dreary, just like NZ in the winter. Winds have been difficult because they are directly behind us; Stherly 12-14 kts. We have to sail off the rhumbline to keep the sails full. But we are doing 6-6.5kts, so can't complain too much. Not much else to report. Cheers John & Leilani

Mon May 28 6:57 2018 NZST
Weather: Since yesterday about 1000 we have a non-stop light drizzle. It continues now. Winds yesterday were ESE - SE 5-7kts most of the day, rising to 13kts for a time early evening. Last night to now it was ESE 5-7kts, with is slightly rising to 10kts now. 100% cloud cover. 1011 on the Bar. Cheers John & Leilani

0600 28 May 2018. Weather has been dismal. See below. No sun. Just enough drizzle keep us in our boats, but insufficient to add any meaningful amount of water through the rain catchment to our tanks. Thankfully, the watermaker is working just fine. Spent yesterday watching 3-movies, reading, and eating. Two boats came in raising the Minerval Reef Yacht Club fleet to 8. One, a converted fishing vessel to a crusing power boat had, for an anchor light, a solid red light under a flashing all around white light. Obviousily, the skipper has never taken a basic boating class as that is not a recognised anchor light under the International Rules for Prevention of Collisions at Sea. And the anchor drop was typically amateur. It slowly came to a stop while two men went forward to the anchor. Boat stopped, anchor was dropped, and the two men returned to the pilot house without the boat backing down to set the anchor. Fortunately, this boat of knuckleheads parked well behind us. Yes, it's scary how some of these vessels survive.
Weather still looks like we leave tomorrow morning for Fiji.

Sun May 27 7:57 2018 NZST

0700 27 May 2018. Yesterday spanned the wind strength spectrum Woke up yesterday to gentle 5-7 winds, completely flat water within the lagoon. While there was 100% cloud clover, benign wind and water conditions, we knew from weather forecasts, were only the calm before the storm. Throughout the day the winds grew, and were blowing a respectable 15kts by sundown. With those increased winds, and rise in tide, the water became chopping which caused a bit of bouncy boat condition. Last night the wind increased to a high of 22kts, and stayed that way until sunrise today. Winds are back down to 15kts. With the increased winds last night the lagoon became very choppy. Boat was hobby-horsing, but all in all it was not too bad. Forecasts show winds continue in the 15kts range and even drops to 10kts for awhile over the next 24 hrs. Then on Monday they go back up to 20+kts for about half a day. Tuesday looks to be the day we leave and run up to Fiji, 420nm away. Should take us 3-days.
With the lumpy conditions, we'll spend the day reading, playing Sequence, and watching a movie or two. Another tough day at the office.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sounds like everything is under control over there. I did the first leg of the "3 day around Oahu race," which isn't. First leg is HYC to KYC. It was brutal, especially at the "washing machine" area between Portlock and Makapuu. Was on my friend's Hobie33, "Mayhem." Was blowing 18-20 w/ 4-7 ft. seas. Everyone seems so relieved when we entered K-Bay and then on to the bulkhead at KYC to tie up for the night. Not doing 2nd leg, we are meeting a co-worker at KMC to use his fuel fob to top off our diesel tank for the trip. Monday we will probably begin our provisioning. Fun...NOT!
Sat May 26 7:24 2018 NZST
Weather: 100% cloud cover. Light 5-6 ESE winds. Will post against this eveniing. Cheers John & Leilani

0715 hrs 26 May 2018. Not much to report since last post as all we did was eat dinner and went to bed for a good night's sleep at anchor. Today will be day of rest, and probably a game of Sequence, a game introduced to us by our dear friends, Warwick & Lani. A team game best played boys against the girls. Since there's only two of us, there will be no teams, but still boy and against girl.

Fri May 25 18:51 2018 NZST
Weather: Another bright, sunny day with balmy 10 kts E winds whispering over the anchorage. In front of us 1/4 nm away we are entertained by the subdued roar of the ocean curling up in a line of white breaking waves along the reef. We're anchored in 15 metres of water so clear I can see my anchor chain laying on the seabed of mostly white sand interspersed with coral heads. And you ask, would I rather be golfing? Until tomorrow. Cheers John & Leilani

1800 hrs 25 May 2018. I know. You're all anxiously awaiting word on my crayfish hunting expedition. When yachties say, all you have to do is reach under rocks and grab them, that is nothing more than a cruiser legend. So the short answer is we did not find cray. What we did get was lots of leg exercise wading against 10kts of streaming, gushing, bubbling water running into the lagoon from the ocean. When I say "we", I did not mean Leilani and me. I went with Graham & his crew, Peter, from Toronui. This afternoon, Minerva got crowded with the arrival of 3 boats. Now there are 6 of us crammed on the SE side of the 3.8 nm diameter lagoon, all awaiting the big blow that is forecast for Sunday - Monday.

that's cray you found no cray! Seriously, love reading your posts, keep 'em coming!
Fri May 25 6:30 2018 NZST
Weather: 7-10kts SE wind, Currently 50% cloud cover, but if like yesterday, that should clear off once sun fully up. 1013 on the bar. Cheers John & Leilani

0615 hrs 25 May 2018. First night at Minerva Reef. Had more boat movement than at sea. That's the one down side of this place; it's always bouncy at anchor, especially at high tide when the reef is covered and the ocean pours in unabated. And it was calm 7-10 kt winds last night. Can hardly wait until Sunday when the big blow starts and we get up to 20kt winds. We'll have to strap outselves in with safety harnesses to keep from falling overboard. As I mentioned in last post, going crayfish hunting today. Then I will pour our 45 gallons of jerry cans of deck fuel iinto the main tank. Expect to have about 2-days of fuel for the 3-day trip to Fiji. So we should be good on fuel. After that it will be prep the crayfish for dinner, I hope. Yes, days can be hectic at Minerva.

Thu May 24 18:48 2018 NZST
Run: 113.4nm (205.3km)
Avg: 8.9knts
24hr: 212.6nm

1800 hrs 24 May 2018. Arrived North Minerva Reef today at 1330 hrs. Glorious weather conditions of light 4-6 kt SE winds, clear, sunny sky. Only three boats here, including us; Toronui, and a French yacht, Arbutus. N. Minerva is almost a perfect circle, 3.8nm in diameter. With only 3 of us here, it does have an "end of the earth" feel. Toronui caught 2 yellow fin tunas and came over this evening to share sashimi. Nothing like fresh sashimi a few hours out of the water. Tomorrow we go crayfish (lobster) hunting at low tide. Wish us luck. A minor milestone was passed today. Our engine rolled over 8000 hrs. Some think that is alot. For a diesel well cared for, it really isn't. Sea life sightings for today: Dolphin - 0 Flying Fish - Leilani saw about 20. I guess they all live around Minerva.
It will be nice to sleep a complete night for the first time in 5 nights. Will be back tomorrow.
Cheers John & Leilani

Thu May 24 6:00 2018 NZST
Run: 96.6nm (174.8km)
Avg: 7.8knts
24hr: 187nm
Weather: 95% cloud cover. SW winds 5-7kts. Bar 1012. COG 021T. SOG 6.1kts. Been motoring since 0915 yesterday morning. Will be back this evening. Cheers John

0545 hrs 24 May 2018. Just 45 nm to North Minerva Reef. At current speed, 6.1kts, should be at entrance about 1300. Then 2nm across to the southern end of the lagoon as the prevailing winds will be from SE to SW. There we'll stay until at least Monday, possibly Tuesday, to wait the passing of a low before proceeding to Savusavu to check in. That leg should take about 3 days. As I'm just awakening from my 0300-0600 watch, there isn't much else to report now.

Wed May 23 17:36 2018 NZST
Speed: here is first one:knts
Run: 60.5nm (109.5km)
Avg: 6.1knts
24hr: 146.9nm
Weather: 0% cloud cover; W wiind 3-5kts, 1 mtr SW swell. Course 021T. Speed 6kts. That is all Cheers John & Leilani

1700 hrs 23 May 2018. Two milestones crossed today: made it to 25th parallel (latitude 25s) so we are now officiallyl in the tradewinds sector of the fabled S. Pacific; and crossed the 180th meridian (dateline) from E to W longitude where yesterday is today, now is tomorrow, and the future is near, Yes, I've been out here too long. Weather-wise, it's been a glorious clear, sunny day. Leilani did lots of chefing. Her philosophy has always been that it's important to provide a variety of good tasting, wholesome dishes in order to prevent being thrown overboard by hungry, disgruntled crew. To that end she has always succeeded.
Been motoring since 0945 this morning as the wind abandoned us. The upside is we will make Minerva Reef tomorrow mid afternoon. Toronui is joining us there. Will wait until at least Monday before sailing to Fiji after an ugly low passes between Minerva & Fiji on Saturday - Sunday. Decided to go to Savusavu to check into Fiji. Then to Denarau to haul out and fix the shaft seal.
New addition to these missives will be daily dolphin & flyiing fish sighting Dolphins - 0 Flying Fish - 4

Wed May 23 8:33 2018 NZST

0700 23 May 2018. Last night is why we cruisers keep ourselves in top shape. Those who know me, know exactly what I'm saying. In my case that shape is round, which a shape. The wind was up and down and up and down which meant engine off on off on; sails out sails in like a yo-yo. Was running up and down the companion way steps so much I felt like Rocky Balboa. All this meant little sleep both on or off watch. Finally at 0130 the motor went off and we have been sailing on a broad reach with gentle 9-11 kts SW winds, with moderate speeds of 5.5 - 6 kts on a course of 021T to Minerva Reef.
Following on my dolphin observation, another hit me like a wet fish in the face (when there were more fish) as I surveyed the deck this morning. Since leaving NZ 5 days ago we have not had one flying fish on the deck. In the past there was always one or more laying on deck in an advanced state of rigor mortis. Just another example that we (i.e. the human race) are quickly depleting the earth of wild life.
With that we sign off.
Cheers John & Leilani

Wed May 23 7:43 2018 NZST
Speed: 5.3knts
Run: 91.6nm (165.8km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156.3nm
Weather: SW8-10, 0%cc, 1011

good radio signal from John

Tue May 22 17:39 2018 NZST
Run: 62.7nm (113.5km)
Avg: 5.7knts
24hr: 136.2nm
Weather: Today was overcast with 100% cloud cover all day and continues now into the night. Wind was very light E and we motored most of the day. This afternoon about 1600, wind picked up to 9-12 ktrs E and we have been sailing at a stately 4.5 - 5.5 kts. Anticipated arriving Minerva on Thursday, but with slow sailing, we probably won't get there in daylight. So we'll slow down Thursday to arrive Friday morning. Call me "chicken", "scaredy-cat", but going into a reef in the middle of the ocean at night is not my cup of tea. That's all for now. Cheers John & Leilani

1700 hrs 22 May 2018. After being at sea for 4.5 days I must report a depressing observation: we have seen absolutely no dolphins. When Leilani and I first sailed from Hawaii through the S. Pacific, we were greeted daily by sizeable pods. When we sailed on the Oyster yacht we managed in 2002-2003 from NZ to Fiji, New Caledonia, Brisbane, and back to NZ, we saw dolphins almost daily. When we sailed from Hawaii to NZ in 2010, we saw some dolphins. Sailing between NZ and Fiji these past 3 seasons, we saw occasional dolphins in small pods. So far this year none sighted. Do you get the picture? And what do you guess is the reason dolphins are diappearing. In the Pacific it is primarily Asian (mostly Chinese) fishing fleets. They use nets that are miles long which indiscriminsately scoop up everything in their way. Dolphins are considered trash catch. By the time they arrive on board they have effectively drowned, and then are chucked over the side. So next time you sit down at a restaurant to a fancy fish dinner, at least give a moment of silence for the dolphins who didn't make it. That's my enviornmental / political statement. Otherwise all is good here,

I am convinced our oceans will be pillaged and destroyed by the Asian countries. Look what they are doing to the whales (Japan) and the illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean. BTW, I can say this because I'm Asian and I'm not being racist. Love you two!
Tue May 22 6:36 2018 NZST
Speed: 4.5knts
Run: 138.2nm (250.1km)
Avg: 5.7knts
24hr: 137.1nm
Weather: E7-9, 1012

0600 22 May 2018. Motor went back on at 0330 this morning. Up to then we were getting sailable llight E winds of 7-10kts. Then we fell into a windless hole. At 0600 we arose out of the hole to light E winds of 7-10kts. Once again we're sliding along at 4-5 kts, which is comfortable, but, yes, a bit slow. Bar has dropped to 1012, lowest since leaving NZ. 100% cloud cover, so no bursting sunrise. We are working out a strategy for the ugly low that is forecast this weekend to pass across our path. Need to study latest gribs today and hope to have something planned later today. Of course, whatever we plan will be subject to change as the low forecast is still 3-4 days away. Whether we actually go into Minerva Reef depends on how far down in latitude the low goes, ie whether the worst of it rolls across Minerva, or whether it stays mostly above Minerva. If the former, we may turn W well before and ride below the low and come up to Fiji behind it. If it just touches Minerva, then we'll ride it out there. Decisions, decisions. And you thought cruising was just sitting on the fantail sipping pina coladas. What the heck is a fantail? All's well on board.
Cheers John & Leilani
Later on air. What about staying in Minerva to wait out the trough?

Mon May 21 6:24 2018 NZST
Run: 86.7nm (156.9km)
Avg: 6.9knts
24hr: 165.1nm

0600hrs 21 May 2018. Been motoring 14.5 hrs, with more to go. Zero wind, ocean inky smooth, clear, cloudless sky, 1014 on the Bar. Course is 022T on the rhumbline to Minerva. Averaging 5.8kts.
Developed leak in drive shaft "dripless" Blue Water Shaft Seal. Eventually I'll have to go to Denerau to haul boat to replace the lip seal. Fortunately, I'm able to make repair at sea to stop leak, but seal will have to be ultimately replaced. Also fortunate I have spare seal. Trying to decide whether to proceed to Minerva and make repair there and then to Denerau for final fix, or make repair now and proceed direct to Denerau. I'll make decision once I get updated grib to see how soon sailable conditions set in. I don't have fuel to motor all the way to Denerau. But I do have enough to get to Minerva with a couple of days worth to spare. Stay tuned.
Just goes to show that (1) no matter how well you plan you can always miss a problem, and (2) lucky I carry spares for most eventualities, like this one.
Otherwise all is well on board.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sun May 20 17:48 2018 NZST
Speed: micrologic. i now, because i bought one in 1992.knts
Run: 74.9nm (135.6km)
Avg: 6.5knts
24hr: 156.3nm

1700 20 May 2018. The day started with more sterling S. Pacific sailing. W wind 9-13kts, gusting to 15kts, beam reaching. Clear skies, flat seas, 1014 on the Bar. You're probably getting tired of hearing this reptitive story of great sailing. Okay, here's a change. At 1530 the wind died, boat slowed to a standstill, and on came the iron gennie. For landlubbers, I turned on the engine. Based on weather forecast, looks like motoring for next day or so. There might be enough wind tomorrow to put up the cruising spinnaker. We'll see. Not Leilani's favourite sail, but even she has agreed to let me fly it if winds are down enough for her comfort. Notwithstanding having the motor on, it's been fantastic conditions out here.
Learned of a "trivia net" on SSB from Rewa. Came up for it and we were the only two on. He thought Toronui would be up, but wasn't. In any event, Rewa's trivia question was, what is origin of the saying, being black balled? Since you all have Google, I'll let you look it up. My question was, what brand GPS was the first to break the US$1000 price, and when? Hint, it was sold by West Marine. Google may not have answer, so here it i That's all for now.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sun May 20 6:18 2018 NZST
Run: 94.7nm (171.4km)
Avg: 7.8knts
24hr: 187.1nm

0600 20 May 2018. I have to keep pinching myself to make sure I'm not dreaming. Another night of wonderful sailing. W winds on the beam at 12-15kts, smooth seas with just 0.5mtr swell, clear sky, 1013 on the bar. Course is 015T, and averaged 6.5kts for last 12hrs. For us that is very good. Toronui has been out of VHF range since yesterday. Now Rewa is in range, and sited her a few miles to our west, also heading for Minerva Reef. With the great sailing, needless to say all is well onboard.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sat May 19 18:09 2018 NZST
Run: 82.6nm (149.5km)
Avg: 7.2knts
24hr: 173.1nm

1800 18 May 2018. Another great sailing day. A bit livelier today than yesterday. Had 15-18kts WNW with gusts to 21kts. Made great headway. Toronui is paralleling us within VHF range, so spoke with them today and gave them info from my morning grib. Winds have dropped within last hour to 10-13kts. That will make tonight comfortable if it holds. Neither of us like boistrous winds at night. But we're reefed down in any event. Just had dinner (chili & salteen crackers - a gourmet delight & easy on the stomach - right). Will check in tomorrow morning.
Cheers John & Leilani

Sat May 19 6:42 2018 NZST
Run: 85.3nm (154.4km)
Avg: 6.8knts
24hr: 163.8nm

0600 19 May 2018. After benign first day, had a busy first night which included about 7hrs motoring from 1900, and then several sail changes rest of night, from putting up to taking down sails as wind went up and down from 8-10kts WSW to 15-20kts W to WNW. Both of us are ak bit tired from being interrupted from our off-watch sleep time.
Currently, weather is fine, Difficult to determine cloud cover % as it's still dark, but I do see stars. W swell 0.5mtr, wind W 15-17kts apparent. Averaging 6.2kts, heading 024T. Bar is steady last 24 hrs at 1016.
We're running parallel 12nm east of rhumbline in anticipation of NW winds that our grib chart shows for 21 & 22 May.
It's pretty comfortable sailing on a beam reach. Both of us are well.
Cheers John & Leilani

Fri May 18 18:12 2018 NZST
Run: 59.9nm (108.4km)

It is 1800hrs 18 May, and we have been out for 9hrs since leaving Gulf Harbour. Could not have asked for a nicer start. Have had 10-13 kts wind from W so have been on beam reach all day with all 3 sails up. Clear sky, following sea, less than 0.5mtr sea. Have traveled 55nm on a course of 021T. Our next waypoint is N. Minerva Reef. All is well aboard. Will check in tomorrow.
Cheers John & Leilani

Tue May 15 16:25 2018 NZST
No position sent.

Hello all. We continue to wait for a weather window to sail to Fiji. Nothing looks flash at this time. Will keep you advised. In meantime, I was interviewed on Hawaii program called Law Across the Sea hosted by a former law partner. Here is link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lPetqSyZnw&list=PLQpkwcNJny6nbbMit_-n62DnNpcNhhXbI

Sun May 6 8:06 2018 NZST

The house has been emptied and cleaned to rent out; all our wordly possessions are crammed into a 3.5m x 4m storage box; boat is stuffed to the cabin top with 18-months of supplies, we've moved onto the boat; and now we do what cruisers do alot - wait. There are three things cruisers wait for: (1) good weather; (2) boat parts; and (3) arrival of boat contractors to do work. We're waiting for number 1. It looks like we won't be getting away before next weekend. Expecting northly winds all this coming week. Hopefully the wind will shift around the following week. Will keep you posted. Cheers. John & Leilani

Amazing Grace - Awaiting good weather

At Gulf Harbou Marina; watching weather.

Amazing Grace, Tashiba 40