Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Sat Aug 19 9:12 2017 NZST
Run: 137.3nm (248.5km)

Left Vanua Balava at 0700 on 19 August. Headed to Fulanga , the southern most Lau island. ETA is morning of 20 August. This is last internet access we have until we return from Fulunga. No internet there. The Google Earth picture to this message is Fulunga. See you when we return to civilisation.

Wed Aug 16 7:23 2017 NZST
Run: 113.9nm (206.2km)

After 4 weeks in Savusavu recovering from my back injury, we finally leave to return to the Lau Group. Once there, we will be mostly out of internet range - that's how remote it is. Our location shown on the Google Earth picture is Vanua Mbalava, where we are first headed. Our ultimate destination is Fulanga at the southern most end of the Group. Will try to keep you advised of our travels through SSB radio transmissions. But sometimes propagation will be spotty.

Thu Jul 13 14:33 2017 NZST
Run: 112.1nm (202.9km)

Cut our Lau Group tour short and returned to Savusavu on 13 July. Reason: John injured his back. Will be seeing a doctor. Don't quite know what can be done here except get pain pills. The pain is quite severe. It feels like a re-occurrence of sciatica last had a few years ago after trying to do intense gym work-out. This time pain came on after about 20-minutes of vigorously and continually pulling the start cord on our secondary dingy engine, which wouldn't start. The saying, "I'm getting too old for this", applies here. Didn't want to try and tough it out in one of the remotest part of Fiji in case I ran out of pain pills. So back to "civilisation" we came. I'll be laid up onboard while Leilani stocks up our severely depleted supplies. Then off we go again.

Wed Jul 5 16:39 2017 NZST
Run: 1.7nm (3.1km)

From our last entry, you will know we arrived at Vanua Mbalavu on 24 June after an overnight motor. We went to Nabuvatu Bay. Talk about an all weather anchorage. Probably one of the most scenic, and calm anchorages we've ever stayed in. In fact, we toyed with idea staying for the whole season, it's that peaceful. The caretaker, Filipe, was wonderful to us. He, his sister, uncle, and 4 others who I'm sure are related, live in a group of small huts on the property. The property is owned by the same people who own the Copra Shed and Vunda Point marinas. They are still rebuilding the owners' two houses that were completely destroyed in Winston, 2-years ago. Their huts were also completely destroyed, but were re-built within 3-months after the storm. After giving Filipe and his family sunglasses, shirts, and fishing lures, he brought us 3 lobsters. From our standpoint, it was a great trade.
After 11 days, we reluctantly moved today (5 July 2017). Went around the other side of the island to better known "Bay of Islands". This is the bay with many mushroom looking islets. It's nice, but not as secluded as Nabuvatu Bay. We'll wait for a weather window to sail due south to Fulunga, and other remote islands to assist as many villages as we can. All is well on the boat. Hope all is well with everyone back in the "world".

Wed Jun 28 7:18 2017 NZST
Run: 116.3nm (210.5km)

Today is Tuesday, 27 June. Left Savusavu on Friday at 1200. Dropped anchor at 0945 on Saturday at Nabuvatu Bay on Vanua Mbalavu (pronounced Balavu), in the northern Lau Group. Since then we have been getting our head around how spectacularly beautiful it is. Imagine Waikiki before one hotel, or condo, or road, or house, or restaurant, or shopping mall, was built - and before internet. There is absolutely no tourist accommodation whatsoever! The only evidence of the outside world are about 30 or so yachts anchored in lovely sites around the island. Nabuvatu Bay is a fiord-like bay of blue-green water surrounded by 180mtr high cliffs of jungle greenery. We hiked to the top of the cliffs that give a magnificent heart-stopping view of much of the island. There we distributed some of our glasses and t-shirts and children's stuffed toys to the small settlement of islanders. Everyone was very appreciative of the gifts. Cyclone Winston damage was still visible in the form of destruction of the coconut plantation the settlement managed. Were told it would take about 5-years for the trees to come back and be productive. One of the locals has promised to come by the boat tonight at 7pm with some lobsters. We're waiting for some of the yachts to leave before moving to another anchorage. Long term plan is to work our way south through the Lau Group. I'm out of adjectives and superlatives to describe this place and the people, so I'll sign off for the time being. Stay tune.

Fri Jun 23 10:20 2017 NZST
Run: 3.9nm (7.1km)

Been in Savusavu for 2 weeks resting from our trip up and waiting for a weather window to go to the Lau Group. For the last 3-days we've anchored in front of the Cousteau Resort Hotel, about 5-miles from the main town of Savusavu. It's been lovely, and today we have our weather window to go to the Lau Group. It's 100nm. Because the window is open only until tomorrow night, we will make a straight motor/sail. We'll leave at 1pm and expect it to take about 19hrs. That'll put us in tomorrow morning.

Thought you might be interested in some data of our NZ-Fiji trip:
Total Nautical Miles = 1321
Total Time = 235.5hrs (9days, 19hrs, 26min) (doesn't include several days stop at N & S Minerva Reefs)
Average speed = 5.6kts
Total Engine Run = 111.5hrs (47.3% of total trip)
The most amazing fact is we never took a wave over the deck. In 10 trips we've made up and back, this is a first. A real fact (not fake fact) that it was the most benign trip ever.

Stay tuned for more after we get to the Lau Group.

Wed Jun 14 7:03 2017 NZST
Run: 486.7nm (880.9km)
Avg: 2.5knts
24hr: 61nm

Today is Wednesday, 14 June. We actually arrived in Savusavu at 1215 on 10 June. But our first stop in Fiji was Koro Island on 9 June where we spent the night. This stop was necessitated by the fact we couldn't reach Savusavu in daylight. In Fiji, one never, ever goes into a harbour at night. Anyway, we arrived safely, and actually refreshed after the Koro stop. I will post a more detailed synopsis of the end of our trip on Leilani's Facebook. So tune in there - in a day or two when I actually get around to writing it.

Tue Jun 6 7:36 2017 NZST

We're planning to leave Minerva Reef today (6 June) for Savusavu. Will let you know when we arrive. It is expected to be between 75 & 95 hrs depending on wind. Because of our fuel issue, we will not be using the motor on an unlimited basis. "Chris Legan"

Tue Jun 6 6:00 2017 NZST
Run: 0.1nm (0.2km)

We're planning to leave Minerva Reef today (6 June) for Savusavu. Will let you know when we arrive. It is expected to be between 75 & 95 hrs depending on wind. Because of our fuel issue, we will not be using the motor on an unlimited basis. "Chris Legan"

Sun Jun 4 16:09 2017 NZST
Run: 53.5nm (96.8km)

Since our last communication here is what's happened. On 2 June 2017 at 1230 we arrived at South Minerva Reef. Here are some statics of our passage: Total Miles - 838nm; Total time - 6 days 4.5hrs (148.5hrs); Average Speed - 5.6kts. And here is the most usual statistic: Total Engine Run Time - 94.8hrs (a whopping 63.8% of the trip!!). This has led to our fuel supply issue. After a night of uncomfortable rolling, we left yesterday and arrived at North Minerva Reef after a 6.25hr, 29nm sail in very light winds right up the bum. Not our favourite point of sail. Light winds are predicted over the next week. We will stay at least today (4 June), but that can change once we study the weather charts. There were 18 yachts in S. Minerva. There are 21 yachts in N. Minerva. N. Minerva is essentially a circle with a 2.5nm diameter. If you remember your high school geometry, you'll be able to figure out the interior volume, which I don't and which I can't. But it's huge. So 21 boats is nothing. And there is no rolling here. While it was overcast all yesterday, the sun is coming out now, so we look forward to a lovely day with gentle 10kt winds out of the SW. All is well onboard.

Fri Jun 2 6:12 2017 NZST
Run: 82.2nm (148.8km)
Avg: 6.2knts
24hr: 148.9nm
Weather: 80%cc, light 5-6NE

We are 22nm from South Minerva Reef and expect to arrive around noon. Once there we will be waiting for the first available weather window with sufficient wind to sail to Fiji. According to latest weather maps we have, that could be several days. We are very short of fuel due to all the motoring we've done getting this far. As such we will not be sending or receiving any emails (like this one) until we get to Fiji. The reason is we need to conserve our fuel. To send and receive emails, we need to operate out ship's radio, which takes lots of power. That means we need to run the engine to keep up the battery power. The less we run the engine, the more fuel we conserve. So don't be concerned when you don't hear from us for the short foreseeable future.
Later at net time/ Motoring with sv Pixie beside them. Minerva this morning

Thu Jun 1 16:57 2017 NZST
Speed: last 25 hours 139nm averaging 5.8 (pretty good for motoring). today we've been averaging so far 6+.knts
Run: 64.9nm (117.5km)
Avg: 7knts
24hr: 167.7nm
Weather: 100% cloud cover with sun coming through. Breathless wind. smooth seas. Getting warmer as we're both now wearing shorts and t-shirts.

This is being written as of 1630hrs on 1 June. Or is it 31 May? Since we crossed the 180 degree meridian today, the date line, it is yesterday. But not to cause confusion, we maintain NZ time onboard, so it's 1 June, day 6 of our passage. Been motoring since early this morning before sunrise, and will motor all the way to Minerva Reef, which we calculate arriving at about 1300 tomorrow, 2 June. At that time we estimate to have only 1.5 days of motoring fuel left out of over 5.5 days of fuel upon departure. This has been the most wind deprived crossing we have ever experienced out of now our 10th passage up to and down from the islands. Today we had essentially zero wind, resulting in inky smooth seas. We'll have to stay in Minerva until enough wind fills in between there and Fiji to sail the 3-days to Fiji. Based on current weather charts we're getting, we may be at Minerva 3-4 days. But I'm looking forward to checking off from my bucket list catching and eating Minerva Reef cray (that's lobster for the norte americanos). All's well onboard. We're eating regularly, taking daily showers, and otherwise enjoying a very benign trip.

Thu Jun 1 7:39 2017 NZST
Speed: 5.9knts
Run: 98.8nm (178.8km)
Avg: 6.6knts
24hr: 159nm
Weather: 3-5W, no seas, 100%cc, 1024?,

Minerva tomorrow pm

We've been following along and are heartened to hear that you are nearing Minerva, a place near and dear to our hearts. Wish we were there with you to share in the bounty. Sending you wishes of wind. Lisa and Fabio
Wed May 31 16:45 2017 NZST
Speed: 6.5 average todayknts
Run: 162.8nm (294.7km)
Avg: 6.6knts
24hr: 158.2nm
Weather: NW winds, 8-15kts, 1mtr sea swell.

With no wind, and having motored all night, the first job of the day was to transfer the fuel in our deck jerry cans into the main ship's tank. That added 140lts (36.8 gals for our metric challenged norte americano friends & relatives) to the ship's 380lts (100 gals for you know who) main tank. After 60hrs of motoring since leaving on Saturday, we were starting to have to do some serious fuel consumption calculations. But at noon, things really changed. Unpredicted by our weather charts we download everyday, wind began filling in. Immediately we turned off the engine, and the sound of silence was music to our ears. Initially the winds were light 6-10kts from the NW which gave us a beautiful point of sail of 60 degrees off the bow. Our 3 sails filled and we slid across flat seas at a stately 4.5 - 5 kts. As the afternoon wore on the winds built to 12-16kts and our speed jumped to 6.5-7kts. For our heavy boat, that is trucking along. It's now 1600 and the winds are starting to subside a bit, but we continue to cruise along comfortably. I can't remember better sailing conditions. Flat seas, perfect wind direction and strength for fast and comfortable passage. If it was like this all the time, I might begin to actually enjoy these long passages.

Tue May 30 16:03 2017 NZST
Speed: 5.5knts
Run: 140.1nm (253.6km)
Avg: 6knts
24hr: 144.6nm
Weather: Clear with light and variable winds as of 1400hrs.

Another gloriously sunny, clear day. This morning had great sailing. With the light winds we used the cruising spinnaker. Not Leilani's favourite as it can get out of control easily if the winds pipe up. Good only in winds less than 12kts. Winds in afternoon went very light and variable so the "iron genny" went back on - that an "engine" for you landlubbers. Figure we have about 4 days worth of fuel left, and tomorrow looks like a motoring day again.. But after that the winds should be back enough to sail - otherwise we start thinking about rowing. Temperature keeps rising as we get farther away from NZ. Today the jackets came off. Won't be long before we're in shorts and t-shirts. All good onboard.

Mon May 29 16:48 2017 NZST
Speed: 6knts
Run: 73.6nm (133.2km)
Avg: 7.1knts
24hr: 169.8nm
Weather: 8-15kts winds out of west. sea swell 2mtrs wsw, barometer 1025. clear sky, 10% cloud cover.

third day at sea. sailing conditions continue to be storybook great. gentle winds, calm seas, glorious sun, clear sky punctuated by fluffy balls of cloud. how about that for poetry. it's dinner time now, and we just had our daily hot shower. of course we have hot water. last 24 hrs we did 152nm averaging 6.3kts. for us that's a very productive day toward our destination. tomorrow is forecast to be very light variable winds, so looks like motoring. stay tuned.

Mon May 29 6:24 2017 NZST
Speed: 6knts
Run: 299.3nm (541.7km)
Weather: clear. wind wsw 14-18kts. sea swell 1mtr sw.

sorry about delay getting update sent. noticed i had wrong email address. anyway, it's now our second full day out. left at 0800 saturday morning in thick fog and no wind, motor on 9hrs. since then it's been light winds calm seas resulting in both sailing and motoring. last night wind was strongest we've had but great sailing. all's well with us. just starting to get our sea legs. stay tuned.

Great to be motorisailing along with you both. Hope the winds pick up a bit soon...
Fri May 26 10:03 2017 NZST

Finally!!!! We're leaving tomorrow, Saturday 27 May (Friday 26 May for the Norte Americanos). Looks like a nice ride ahead with no particuarly bad interludes of storms and head winds. Of course, just by saying this, we'll probably get some. We'll try to send an update daily, unless I'm too tired, lazy, or just don't feel like it. Minerva Reef next stop.

Thu May 18 9:02 2017 NZST

I feel like a ping pong ball. Yesterday I pinged and said we're leaving on Friday. Today I ponged - departure delayed. As in past, it's the weather. The low that develops SSE of Fiji on Tuesday is just too uggggly to consider sailing into. While current weather models show it moving SE, it is too big and those kinds of weather patterns too unpredictable to rely on models this far out in time. We'll wait throughout the weekend to follow the prognosis. Hopefully it won't be a long wait. Stay tuned. Your serve.

Wed May 17 16:35 2017 NZST

Looks like we're finally going to leave. Departure set for Friday morning, 19 May (Thursday for all you Norte Americanos). Hopefully I won't suffer too much from sleep deprevation to update you all regularly on our progress. Stay tuned.

Sun May 14 17:17 2017 NZST

Could it be? Could there be a weather window at the end of next week? Looks that way. Presently Friday or Saturday (NZ time) look like possibilities. Will get a firmer handle on the day by Tuesday. This is has been the longest weather wait we've experienced. Global warming must be keeping the waters warmer for longer which in turn causes cyclones. At least that's my simplistic view. Or maybe Neptune has been in a testy mood. Stay tuned.

Wed May 10 9:20 2017 NZST

Our travels so far can be summed up in one word: anxious. Anxious to leave. Anxious about gaining weight from going to bon voyage dinners. Anxious that bon voyage dinner hosts think we are just mooching free meals off them. That's right. We're still stuck in NZ because of bad weather. Cyclone Donna has been creating havoc this past week. As she dies out over next couple of days from a cyclone into a depression moving SE toward NZ, it continues to cause terrible weather conditions to sail away. So we sit tight, watch the weather prognosis daily, with the latest not showing a window to leave until at least late next week. Today we're off to the Auckland Maritime Museum to see how the ancients did it in their outrigger canoes. BTW, we're still available for bon voyage dinners.

Aloha S/V Amazing Grace, Hopefully we will all be departing for the Tropics in good order. Safe sailing and fair winds. Will stay in touch. V/r logan

Aloha Mark, yes, hopefully we all get a good window soon. Travel safe to French Polynesia; wishing you well. We will also be watching your progress.
Fri May 5 8:34 2017 NZST

Yesterday the deep depression NW of Vanuatu was officially named a Tropical Cyclone (hurricane for your northern hemipherers), named Donna. The name doesn't do the destructive potential justice. Anyway, according to latest weather models, Donna may dissapate around Thursday, next week, making Friday, Saturday or Sunday, next week potential for jumping off - finally. Will keep you advised.

Tue May 2 9:48 2017 NZST

Completed my morning survey of several weather sites. It's official: Weather still too grim to leave. The weather models show the depression/potential cyclone NW of Vanuatu definitely migrating SE to below Fiji over next week, making any departure soon out of the question. Latest long term prognosis is no weather window until 13 May. But that being so far out, it could change. Unless there is a material weather change between now and then, I'll refrain from sending these messages out. Will get back when we have a definite "go" date.

Mon May 1 14:54 2017 NZST
Run: 15.7nm (28.4km)

Weather has turned against leaving. The beginnings of a potential cyclone just NW of Vanuatu has put us on hold. Boats up and down NZ are anxiously awaiting a weather break to begin the trek northward. Our weather guru is saying not looking good until at least late this week, and then maybe not. Everyday we check the weather on a website called Check it out. Can see weather anywhere in the world. Will keep you advised as the days roll on.

Fri Apr 28 8:54 2017 NZST
Run: 159.6nm (288.9km)

Not leaving Gulf Harbour for at least a week as weather deteriorated.

Amazing Grace - Awaiting good weather

At Gulf Harbou Marina; watching weather.

Amazing Grace, Tashiba 40