Alrighty folks, just signing in to let you know we are now safely tied up to the Q dock at Opua. WE MADE IT - YAY! The Stella Airtronic diesel heater is doing its thing, the crew are adding to that warmth with a well earned rum and coke. What pirates eh! Now for a lovely long sleep, and hopefully some time for bacon and eggs tomorrow before Customs come to clear us in.
You just don?t get magical nights like last night often, and Sasha knew it. After a hearty dinner of Spaghetti Bolognese Mike set the night shift roster. After a few nights of captain favouritism where Sasha netted only one 2 hour shift. She fronted up and said she could do two shifts, both Ross and Tony the crew laughed. Sasha ended up with the 6pm to 8pm shift, Ross was scheduled to do 8pm to 10pm, Tony after that, then Mike who decided to only have one shift last night (well deserved - as let?s be honest he carries us all) and then Sasha was back on at 2am till 4am with Ross finishing up with the 4am to 6am shift. But by the time Sasha got to the helm, after dinner and chatting etc, it was already almost 7pm - half of her scheduled shift was already over. Sasha settled in but told the lads that she would start her 2 hours from that point and the boys shuffled off to get some shut eye. With the sun set, the cabin lights dimmed, along with the chart plotter brightness. Sasha settled in to finish her third audio book of the passage - ?The Five Dysfunctions of a Team? by Patrick Lencioni. Yes, Sasha is weird and loves business management books, a passion she has had since uni. If you have read (or listened to ?The Five Dysfunctions of a Team? I/Sasha highly recommend it, I literally laughed out loud at the fictional characters within the fictional tech start-up executive team, they were so realistic and reminded me often of people I have worked with in the past. The book is a story, that weaves within its (at times) amusing but always interesting plot the principles that make up a good team; T.C.C.A.R is how I am going to remember the model, that stands for Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability and Results - all things that should exist within a team for it to function effectively. Sasha was so engrossed in the the story and the readers entertaining accent of the English introvert who was heading up product development that she stayed on helm till just after 10pm. So many awe-some things happened during those 3 hours, Sasha watched the moon rise, big round and orange. Then at one point she saw a sudden flash in the sky, and caught the end of a shooting star, as she was registering what she just saw she realised all the stars seemed to be moving at pace across the sky, it wasn?t until her eyes adjusted that she realised a very bright large satellite was hurtling past at great speed. She quickly paused the audio book, and changed the app on her phone to the Sky Guide, to just check whether she was seeing a comet, because it was too bright to be a satellite surely? But alas, nothing showed up on her star guide, and Sasha shifted from the helm seat (on the starboard side) to the port cockpit seat to watch the bright light speed away over the horizon travelling south in front of MOONFISH. At that point Sasha checked the time on the plotter, it was just coming up to 10pm, she considered waking up Ross, but decided to stay a while longer, knowing full well this would be her last night at sea for a long time. The main and head sails were in full use, MOONFISH was regularly hitting 8 to 9 knots, and the sea was as flat as an ocean sailor could wish for. Sasha knew these were ideal conditions and that she should relish every moment. Besides, the berths inside were quiet, the lads were fast asleep, she had the whole ocean to herself - or so she thought. About 5 mins into her luxurious mindfulness of being fully present in the moment, out of the corner of her eye she saw lightening quick disturbances in the water to the starboard stern. At first she dismissed them as unusually large flying fish - of which there have been thousands on this trip, with some so keen on meeting Team MOONFISH that they have flown straight into the cockpit, leaving only a message of ?I was here? in smelly fishy scales. The remnants of one flying fish still remains smeared over our windscreen. But after hearing the surface of the water break multiple times, Sasha realised these were no flying fish. She ran inside and exclaimed excitedly ?hey guys I think there is dolphins outside!? and then grabbed the ryobi hi-beam torch and headed back out to make contact. Once illuminated it was clear a pod of dolphins had come to visit. Every once and a while the torch would pick up these highlighter orange things in the water too, which may have been small fish or jellyfish, perhaps that is what had attracted the dolphins. Sasha chatted for a while, enquired about Dippy (the Dolphin who had dropped by a couple of years ago) and sat watching them jump and dive and play in the moonlight. It just doesn?t get better than this, and in case your wondering last night more than made up for both vomits.
We?ll be enjoying white chilli chicken with garlic stir fried rice for lunch today, and taco soup with corn chips for dinner tonight, as this will be our last day of passage. We are less than 14 hours away from reaching the Bay of Islands. The cockpit smells of freshly caught skipjack tuna - no that is not a nice smell (why do you think I am inside typing?). But the boys are excited about the promise of tastier fish varieties and both lures are in the water as I type.
Apart from that Sasha enjoyed the first and only shower of the passage, with all three lads opting to forego such a luxury, Sasha couldn?t believe it, and thoroughly enjoyed putting on fresh warm clothes and eventually (after a tussle with a comb) being able to run her fingers through her hair again? it was so matted from the wind and the salt of the first couple of days she thought her only options would be to shave it all off or resort to dreadlocks. Thankfully after a bottle of conditioner, the minute knots of chaos eventually were tamed.
I think that?s about all for now? we are very grateful for the lovely sunny calm weather New Zealand is putting on for our arrival. We?re very much looking forward to catching up with everyone, eating our full of fresh NZ produce, even though it means the Stella Airtronic Diesel heater will need to be turned on again.
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM! Or should I say GOOD MORNING all 3.4 of our loyal YIT subscribers. SV MOONFISH is back, we (well, really just Sasha) has ingested coffee for the first time on this passage and things are amping up. Settle in folks, boil the jug, gather round your loved ones and get comfy - this is what you have been waiting for, this is what has been missing this passage up until this point. A soliloquy of such epic proportions even Shakespeare would be impressed. But where to start? So much has happened, all of which is a jumbled, hazy, sea-sickish fog of memories from the first four days of passage, which felt much longer than 4 days.
There?s nothing for it, we should start with our tally. We believe it?s currently 7 or 8. That?s the number of yachts we?ve passed on this passage so far, not to toot our own fog-horn (we so totally are) but MOONFISH is one quick cat. We?ve heard more than one conversation on channel 16 over the past four days where sailors have shared that they left Fiji on Tuesday (16 Oct), and in the 20 to 25 knot easterlies they?ve been running their motors to hit an average of 6 knots (and in all seriousness good on them, as that is a safe speed to maintain to ensure they make best use of the weather window). We left on Thursday (18 Oct), two days later than most of the yachts we?ve past, and we?ve hurtled past so many yachts we actually have lost count.
For the first day we ran a three sail reach situation, with a double reefed main, our stay sail (a hank situation on our inner forestay - which we will look to upgrade to a soft luff furler on dynema as that?ll be easier to use) and our headsail on and off. Day four we shook out the reefs in the main, took the stay sail down and furled out the head sail 100 percent, this sail setup has seen us hit highs of up to 17knots, and kept our average speed around 9 to 10 knots. Depending on how light the wind is closer to NZ, this may well be our fastest ever passage home, with 200plus mile days every day so far.
DRAMA ON THE HIGH SEAS - yesterday was full of drama, drama, drama with our beloved auto-pilot, (lovingly referred to as Auto aka Sasha?s betrothed) going on strike. Auto had been complaining a lot, even wailing at times as he struggled to keep MOONFISH on course during the earlier, more lively days of this passage. But then like many overworked employees Auto just quit. Mike was on helm, he quickly put Auto on standby and started to hand steer. Having been in this predicament before Sasha scanned the crews faces to register if they had realised what this meant - they hadn?t (bless their cotton socks). Now, Sasha is all up for some hand steering, but hand steering at night, with 100% cloud cover is hard (i.e. no stars to help keep you on course), and while this has not happened on MOONFISH (yet) hand steering overnight in dark starless conditions can often lead to drawing pointless, foamy whitewash circles on Neptune?s canvas. While Sasha?s mind quickly jumped ahead to long dark nights hand steering, Mike was on the job. Mike quickly diagnosed that a broken drive belt was the issue, and a plan was hatched for Sasha to hand steer utilising the new emergency tillers that Mike had fabricated earlier in the year, cue impressive, percussion-led, superman-like music dum dee dum - is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it?s Super-Mike. This would allow Mike and the lads to remove the steering wheel to get to the Auto pilot drive belt. While Sasha is always surprised at Mike?s preparedness, it won?t come as a surprise to people who know Mike that yes? he had a spare drive belt. So while Sasha (in full wet weather gear), sat on the beanbag on the port stern, tiller steering for the first time ever with mini compass in hand, with eyes glued to the woolies - the lads set to work on replacing the belt drive. As they worked, Ross kept an eye on the chart plotter and using his fingers only so as not to distract Mike and Tony from their work, would occasionally, silently share MOONFISH?s speed with Sasha. Much to Sasha?s disappointment the first couple of times Ross told her the speed it was 5 or 6 knots. Game on thought Sasha and they silently worked together to get a handle on tiller steering MOONFISH in the right direction to maximise speed. Out on the stern port in the wind, it feels like you are going much faster than you actually think - eventually Ross was holding up both hands, with only one or two fingers not used - we were back in the game. Eventually the lads had the replacement belt in, the steering wheel back on, and the team were very happy when Auto was turned on, and with far less whining left into action and saved us all from hours of dark night hand steering. FOOD - so you know from our previous rather abrupt updates we haven?t been in the mood to eat much on this passage? well that all changed yesterday. With more boiled eggs being boiled and a massive chicken potato stew being gobbled down hungrily. We?ve chopped on the Choc Chip Cookies that Mum Watson sent up with Ross - thanks so much for sending those up Barbara. And eaten through most of the apples and oranges which have been more popular than Sasha expected. Boiled eggs are definitely been the preferred snack with everyone enjoying those for breaky. Tonight we shall feast on spaghetti bolognese, which may well be our last night at sea - all depends on how light that wind will be as we get closer to NZ, we have just downloaded the weather and while light it does look like we may get headed a little, so Mike is adjusting our course to adapt to this new information. Bring on a sunny Bay of Islands though, with lashings of cherry tomatoes, and broccoli and silver beat and baby spinach oooh and smoked salmon, any salmon, and Avocados, lots and lots of avocados. And Mike is ever so keen for a pork chop or two at the Opua Cruising Club. Gosh we are lucky to call NZ home, we really do live in an amazing country with so many delicious fresh easy to buy food items. One thing Sasha knows for sure is you won?t find a carrot or a cabbage in her shopping trolley for quite some time.
That?ll do you lot for a while we think. All very well on board - see ya when we get there!
Ok, so Sasha is terribly happy that the sea state has changed! gawd that was horrible! Timmy you really picked the passage to miss - far out! Anyway what a difference a day makes, the sea is calmer, could still do with being a little more calm, but at least we are all hungry again and eating (almost) like normal people. The past couple of days have been amazing in terms of the distance we have covered, can?t complain. But Sasha reckons this is one of the roughest passages she has ever experienced. The lads are all doing well, Mike is getting some well earned sleep, he hasnt slept much over the past couple of days. Ross and Tony are reading. I?m about to do the first ?cooking? (or should I say re-heating of the passage, up until now I haven?t even dared go into the galley - for fear of what might happen in my stomach. But I am pretty sure we are all over our sea sickness now.
With the left overs of the lasagne guzzled down for Lunch today - thanks to Mike who has been passage chef so far, we are finally going to try the Chicken Stew - I think a heap of potatoes, carrots and onions with fresh parsley and free range NZ chicken thighs will go down a treat. Anyway, that?s all for now. All well on board.
All well on board? no vomiting today so that?s a highlight. All of the 6 or 7 boiled eggs have been eaten, so we are going to try our first cooked passage meal tonight? lasagne - fingers crossed? wish us luck Very choppy wind swell seas?. really looking forward to calmer seas. But we are sailing really well, hit 17knots today.
All well on board? Sasha vomits = 2. Tony?s vomits = 2. Mike and Ross yet to donate to the King Neptune charity. It?s REALLY messy and choppy seas. Sasha mac laptop is acting up a bit, so if comms stop that is the likely cause.
that?s all for now? Hopefully by Sunday the ocean and the winds will have calmed a little.
Sat phone connection test using YIT email template via onsatmail account
Just a short note to test our YIT email template again via our onsatmail account. After this I will test our Sat phone connection to make sure that is all good to go. We are currently hoisting the mainsail, and heading out of Denarau harbour? Here we come Opua NZ.
Alrighty folks, we're counting down the hours before we clear out of Fiji destined for the beautiful but rather chilly New Zealand. But before we... ha! ha! 'The Royal We' who am I kidding, we all know this is Sasha, and the three lads on the boat don't even know what I am doing right now as I type this! They think I'm working on offical Customs and Immigration paperwork business, but I'm doing far more important things... I'm trying to figure out how to get my Pappy (Phil d'Entremont) to copy our YIT updates onto our Facebook page, so the world doesn't miss out on my 'Our' passage ponderings. ha ha - so I'm focusing on the the really important things at the moment. Stand by for far more interesting posts, as this post is a test.
Had to share this before I go... as I type this, Ross (soon to have a new nick name that I haven't yet figured out) one of our two crew for this passage is standing by the pole in the cockpit trying to learn how to tie a bow line knot... Mike has just said he doesn't get another beer until he can do it. Tony (our other crew) and Mike have both just opened their next beer. The pressure is on Ross right now!
Ok, so a BIG FAT apology from Sasha who has been super SLACK with YIT updates this season. She blames it on learning how to surf, which has definitely been the highlight of this season and has meant every waking hour has been spent either surfing or watching surfing video's learning how to get better... so yeah, no real excuses, just spent the season being mindfully present in the surf.. heh heh - excellent times!
Also a big congrats is due to YIT (and it's founder Mike) for going user pays, had to happen and we are very glad you have. YIT provides us with a service that keeps our friends and families free from stress while we are on passage, by enabling us to update them on our passage progress - it's a great service that we are more than happy to pay for.
Apart from that the end of the season is nigh so our passage preparation has begun. Mike looks at the weather each morning (Windy, Predict and Metvue) seeking out a suitable weather window for MOONFISH and Sasha has started to plan the passage meals and snacks - more on that later. Looks like we will have the luxury of two crew for our trip home, that means 2 hour shifts overnight - oh the luxury of 8 hours off shift!!
Anyway that's about all for us now, we are hoping to get a few more surf's in before we head back to the cold of NZ, just need this wind to go away!!
See ya Mike and Sash
It’s Friday the 13th, we’ve been enjoying the warm waters of Fiji for almost two weeks now, so what better time to give you a run down on what’s been happening. This is.... dun dee-dee dun dummmm SV MOONFISH reporting LIVE from the tropical South Pacific paradise Musket Cove, AKA Pirate Central.
A few days ago the trades died, it was a momentous moment that Sasha and Mike celebrated with glee as they knew this meant the first of many days of glassy surf were upon them. Little did they know that the powers that be in Australia, New Zealand and the US of A had conspired to ensure multitudes of tiny humanoids would also be eyeing up their own salty drenching in the exact same surf. Not to fear, both Mike and Sasha we’re able to enjoy their first waves, polishing off the rust from eight months of office time.
The swell has increased in size, and the smaller humans have been replaced with highly competent surfers all making pigs of themselves in the surf. It has been so calm that many of the surfing cruisers have been taking their dinghy’s out to the reef breaks. Absolute luxury!
Once you reach your destination the first few weeks after passage are used to settle, ‘move-in’, get into a routine of sorts. Life slows down to a truly manageable pace, reading fills the ‘spare time’, in between stand up paddles, or bursts of stretching and exercise to keep strong enough for long surfs. Sasha is determined to learn how to surf this season, and the common advice she has received is to get ‘paddle-fit’ - so you have enough strength in your arms to catch the wave. So Sasha is out most mornings selecting a distant yacht to use as a marker buoy and then she sets off prone paddling or knee paddling (when she gets tired). After three times back and forth, with breaks inbetween to watch a large school of bait fish be victimised by a gang of larger bully fish in between MOONFISH’s hulls - she is absolutely tuckered out. Sasha’s not so worried about catching the wave, her biggest concern is the pop up, so stand by for hilarious (and probably super frustrated) updates about that.
Mike has been heading to the surf most days, it is after all why we base ourselves here at Musket. He’s enjoying the near perfect conditions.
Apart from that there is food to enjoy, the latest breakfast delight is overnight oats, almond butter, vanilla essence, cinnamon combined with enough almond milk powder and water to get those delicious whole oats all ‘goodgee’ and deliciously soft. It’s such a treat to enjoy what literally is raw cold porridge on the hot mornings here. Half a cup feeds both Mike and Sasha and keeps them full past lunch time.
Apart from that there is BEER.
Hope you are all having a goodie! Happy Friday the 13th.
Just a short note to tell you all, that we are safe and sound and have cleared customs, immigration, bio-security, and health/quarantine. yup! All on a public holiday, apparently the last National Youth Day Fiji will get to celebrate. The Navy guys that boarded our vessel earlier today said something about a national budget, and Youth Day had been cut to help out the budget. Anyway yet again we digress. All well on board, well fed tonight with lovely Ross and Tina beef sausages (YUM), roasted pumpkin, goat feta and pine nut salad, and kumara chips. Will share our big day today in a a few days after we have slept.
Well a lot has happened since we last typed. Yesterday evening, while Sasha was making mash potato to go with Mum Watson?s DELICIOUS beef stew, she heard the faint sound of Mike trying to shout (Mike doesn?t really do loud noises, unlike Sasha who has spent her life perfecting being loud - just ask her parental units) Anyway we digress. Jumping to conclusions in the galley, Sasha straight away assumed Mike had fallen off the boat and was watching us disappear at great speed (because that?s what MOONFISH does) great speeds. But no yet again Sasha?s over active imagination which she wishes she could turn off some times was incorrect. It seems a pod of dolphins had joined us and Mike had spotted them first. Tim, Sasha and Mike all raced up to the bows and enjoyed the view of a decent sized bunch of Dolphins play at the front of the boat. Amazing that they would be so far out at sea, Sasha always assumed that they sort of hung out mostly in harbours etc. Obviously not.
After the Dolphin encounter we all headed inside for a lovely dinner, followed by several homebaked cookies, we made a real dent in our supplies yesterday. Thanks Mum-Watson and Mum-Honeybone - just yummy! Then the shifts started, we are in a routine now, so Sasha started 7pm to 10pm, with Tim taking over, and then Mike doing the graveyard shift to till 4am, and then Sasha getting up again. During Sasha?s first shift she?d had to do a life and death rescue. We?ve been inundated with iridescent blue flying fish, when you are down in the hulls you can hear them smacking into the side of the hulls. Sasha was sitting at helm early last night and all of a sudden there was a BONG sound, and then there was Flippy the Flying Fish, flopping around the cockpit making an awful racket but also leaving a scaly trail wherever he flipped next. These fish are the fishist smelling fish you will ever smell. So it was Super Sasha to the rescue, she ran down to the galley, grabbed some washing up gloves (cause there was no way in hell she was going to touch that slimy Flippy with her hands) and ran back up to see Flippy starting to flip out. She made a first attempt to get him, but he slipped out of her gloves like a bar of soap. She explained to him that she was trying to help, and that seemed to calm him down, second attempt and she?d managed to smack him straight into the davits, but on the third attempt little Flippy was free?d minus about half of this scales. The gloves stink.
This morning we celebrated with Bacon and Eggs for breakfast, after all we are less than 24hours away from Fiji. Hurray! Turns out - hilariously - that Friday (i.e tomorrow - aka the day we wanted to clear through customs) just happens to be a public holiday in Fiji. You would not believe how often Fiji?s public holidays seem to occur on days when we are trying to do something with Customs. Just hilarious. So now we plan to clear in at Denarau on Saturday, yes it will cost us more, but that?s part n parcel of this cruising life we guess.
Chicken soup and garlic bread for lunch.. Sasha better stop typing this and make it soon as there may be a mutany otherwise.
All well on board.
What did you do last night? After a delicious shepherds pie, we watched Mars, glowing like fire in the sky to our starboard. Top speed today has been 16.3knots. Mike and Tim are fighting about who ate all the toffee pops. Sasha thinks it was probably a mistake to put them in the passage night snacks box, because we haven?t even made a dent in the plethora of home baked cookies we have on board - and they really are so much tastier than the bought cookies.
Tim says hello to the Honeybones? and the Williams. We all enjoyed our second luxurious hot shower this morning, and we?re in t-shirts and shorts, enjoying the warmth and sun on on the foredeck. The sea has turned its familiar tropical deep purple, instead of the icy cold deep blue that surrounds New Zealand. After showers we enjoyed coffee and conversations until it was time to download the weather and figure out when this wind was going to change so we can sail into Fiji.
All very well on board.
Sasha?s just started shift, the 7pm to 10pm one, it?s the best out of the lot, because she gets to go to bed at 10pm, get up again at 4am for the last shift which also just happens to include sunrise.
Because the YIT updates have been rather short of late, she thought she?d catch up all 7.5 of you readers out there with what?s been happening in the middle of the ocean over the past couple of days.
Sasha latest pondering while at helm is this.. Megadron (or whatever that massive ?dinosaur? shark was called from the olden days) was apparently a really large shark. So while Sasha stands looking out at the moonlit sea, she wondered what Meg ate. Must have been the giant squid, what else would a shark that size eat that was large enough to actually keep it satisfied. That led Sasha to think, imagine if that shark still existed today, would make cruising around the ocean a whole other ball game.
Okay so as we mentioned a YIT or two ago, the night before last was a squall-ridden black cloud festering fiasco, with Sasha losing the plot at one point when the head sail would not furl away even though she was putting all her effort into it. Later she realised the winch only had one round of the sheet on it, which was the issue, but at the time with Mike ?expressing? with passion the need for us to reduce sail at pace, Sasha (with her new jacket on that really does reduce visibility from nose down when done fully up) just couldn?t figure out what the hell was wrong with the thing. In the shouting chaos with the wind and rain squalling around as it does it was not the time for Sasha to exclaim with excitement that there seemed to be a ?night rainbow? off our starboard. There was no time to stand around and look at it, but it was pretty cool. It was obviously sometime the full moon was doing to the sky - there must be a proper term for it, but it has to be recorded as it is something Sasha will never forget seeing.
The messy seas have calmed now and we all enjoyed a beer with Tim?s chilli con carne the night after the squall ridden night. For lunch we enjoyed ham salad sandwiches, and for brunch as none of us where in the ?get up early mood and eat? we enjoyed bagels with smoked salmon, red onion and capers with cream cheese.
Okay warning people, I?m about to get a bit mushy but I want to capture it here for when we are old and want to reminisce about when we sailed around the South Pacific? Ocean passages are probably the only time Sasha gets to ponder about her life choices, about the world, about everything really. That?s what the ocean and the night sky does, it makes you reflect, it supplies the perspective in large doses. And when it?s done with you, your mind is clean, blown through with salty wind whispers (and sometimes screams). Every night is a dose of therapy, each brings her closer to understanding it all, and realising it all brought her here. Right where she is suppose to be, enjoying the ocean with her people. Living life big. Feeling truly alive (and even scared sometimes) because that?s what it means to feel truly alive, you get to feel everything.
Yesterday was a little tough, Sasha had a splitting headache after the sleepless night. Unsure if it was a lack of caffeine she downed a red bull (yes someone gave Sasha a red bull on purpose) but it wasn?t until Tim handed her some rapid panadol that the headache disappeared just in time to enjoy some music and dancing while Tim made dinner. Mike was chuckling as Sasha boogied to Boy and Bear blasting from the speakers. These are the moments people! These are the moments we will treasure forever.
The boys are sleeping, Sasha?s going to fire up the Sky Guide app and do a spot of star gazing now.
All very well on board LOVE Team MOONFISH
NOTE: just realised this email from earlier today probably didn?t get through, as I had missed a bit in the email template.
A brilliant night sailing, full moon all the way, cruising along at 9?s, 10?s and sometimes 11 knots, right the way through the night. Can?t ask for much more than that.
Sasha did the first shift, 7pm to 10pm, Tim did 10pm to 1am, Mike did 1am to 4am and then Sasha was back on till the morning. Tim was up around 7 or 8am and that?s when Sasha popped back to bed for some more sleep. Everyone seems much less tired today.
Last night we enjoyed another of Tim?s passage meals, Chilli Con Carne where he also cooked up an enormous amount of rice, 1 cup for each of us, suffice to say we have a lot of rice left over.
We?re all ready to reach Fiji now, we?ve spent the day reading, and enjoying the sunshine.
A brilliant night sailing, full moon all the way, cruising along at 9?s, 10?s and sometimes 11 knots, right the way through the night. Can?t ask for much more than that.
Sasha did the first shift, 7pm to 10pm, Tim did 10pm to 1am, Mike did 1am to 4am and then Sasha was back on till the morning. Tim was up around 7 or 8am and that?s when Sasha popped back to bed for some more sleep. Everyone seems much less tired today. Last night we enjoyed another of Tim?s passage meals, Chilli Con Carne where he also cooked up an enormous amount of rice, 1 cup for each of us, suffice to say we have a lot of rice left over.
We?re all ready to reach Fiji now, we?ve spent the day reading, and enjoying the sunshine.
We didn?t get to listen to GHRadio this morning, Sasha and Mike were sleeping and Tim was at the helm. It was a rather sleepless night caused by the messy seas, and MOONFISH hobby horsing through them. Mike and Tim put a reef in the main as the first squall hit, and then later in the night Sash and Mike furled most of the head sail away.
Tim says hi Rach I am very well.
AWOB, but tired.
Before Sasha gives you a run down of yesterday and this morning, she just wanted to give a shout out to Charlotty and Ricky Baker, thanks for your bon voyage gift, and really sorry I forgot it, I hope you and the team at Foodstuffs enjoyed that lovely cheese with a nice refreshing beverage on Friday.
Yesterday we enjoyed quite possibly the best Curried Sausages (a-la-Tim-o-Tei) we think we have ever had the delight to savour. Tim-O-Tei had made these as one of multiple passage dinners in his land-lubber kitchen and we were amazed how tasty fancy Toulouse Beef sausages are when expertly blended with a masala spice blend, and other delicious flavours, even banana featured! And it actually worked! Well done Tim-o-tei, Rach we think he?s a keeper! (BTW Rach, Tim-o-Tei said to say ?2RR: 1,2,1,NOT 8?. For all the randoms reading this, Tim & Rach have got a secret code language going so you are not suppose to understand that. Sasha reckons it might just be Tim relaying his bathroom habits though.. heh heh.
Last night, shifts started again with Tim, 7pm to 10pm, then Mike took over until 1am, then Sasha until 4am and then Tim-o-Tei was back on from 4am through to morning. It was a lovely night, and the boys first shifts were uneventful, as the touch-and-go light wind played with them and our sails. Tim-o-Tei spotted a container ship on his passage, but apart from that it was another quiet night at sea. When Sasha woke for her graveyard shift, she was greeted by a just boiled kettle (thanks Mike), so she brewed a cup of dilmar tea and headed for the helm, Mike had just finished setting the sails, and at that point we were sailing along nicely, Sasha sat on the helm seat, preparing to drink her tea and wake up a little - and that?s when the wind stopped. That?s right, it didn?t just die a little, it was dead. With the head sail limp (or as SeaForth puts it, a big white flappy thing) the boat slowed from 6-7 knots to 2, Sasha let out a little, tired ?aaah crap?, put her tea down and prep?d the sheet and the head sail winch to furl it away. Seconds later Mike turned up in the cockpit again after already heading down to bed, and helped Sasha furl away the sail, and re-set the main, then headed off back to bed (he?s a good lad that Capt?n Mike). Sasha settled in to the helm seat with her cuppa while the motor hummed away. It was to be 3 hours of motoring, while the boys slept, but it was no ordinary shift, it never is when you feel like the only person in the world, in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the night. After the tea had done its job, Sasha decided it was time for a spot of music, so the majority of her shift was spent enjoying a rave party for one - alt-J ?Every Other Freckle? was played about 15 times? new favourite song in Sasha?s books! It?s such a great song! After dancing, it was time to take a bit of a break and listen to a couple of pod casts, she listened to one cast from ?Ctrl Alt Delete? where Tom Chatfied author of 7 books (that Sasha has not read), discussed with the host about his most recently published book ?Critical Thinking?, they discussed the word ?expert? and how a LinkedIn search of the word ?expert? yields millions of hits, but that many self-proclaimed experts are not experts, which led them to discuss how to sniff out bullshit online. Then Sasha listened to one from ?The Slow Home? podcast, which is all about choosing to live slow in our fast world. The host was speaking with Rob Greenfield, who was introduced as an activist who does ?stunts? to bring awareness of things that humans need to know about so they make better decisions. One such stunt was him attaching to himself the average amount of rubbish a New Yorker creates in a month, then he walked around New York for a month with it on. Sasha pondered how people like Rob make their money, Rob?s life is made up of stunts that seem to yield no financial gain, and she always wonders how these types fund themselves, because no matter how alternative your lifestyle, you still need some money. He did mention a girlfriend who works, so maybe that?s it! ha! Rob had shared that 10 years ago he was a very different human, 21 years old with a goal to be a millionaire by 30, he spent hours each weekend cleaning his beloved brand new car, fuelling his ego with possessions. He spoke at length about going through a 6 year transformation, how there was no big catalyst for his ?change for good? - he just started with small changes that he could control, to be a better human and help the world. His first step? Buying a couple of reusable bags, so he never had to use a plastic bag again. It made Sasha ponder about success, and she netted out that success is being able to spend your time as you choose. That?s what everyone seems to be striving for.. hit the big one, get rich and then you can do what you like. I suppose the problem with that is; it could take your lifetime to ?hit it rich?. You could spend your life striving. But Rob seems to think there is another way, he thinks you can minimise how much it costs you to live. How much do you really need? Do you even know? Once you know what you really need, then you know how much you need to earn, and once you know that you can figure out ways to earn that much in the shortest amount of time, freeing up your time enabling you to choose how you want to spend it. ?That?s true success? Sasha thought a she watched her first ever moonset (that?s like a sunset but it?s the moon you are watching disappear). Mesmerised by the american cheddar orange moon on the horizon as it sunk beneath the ocean around 2:30am this morning.
Sasha woke at 9:45am, the boys had helped themselves to yoghurt, muesli and fresh apple slices. The evening before Sasha had realised she had not yet let Fiji know that SV MOONFISH was on the way, so Sasha set to work on the form (thank goodness she had last years on file!) because ya can?t just download that type of thing in the middle of the ocean. Sending the form was another (not so hilarious) drama, because the file was massive, and it took 3 long satellite phone calls to send the damn thing through. But we got our Fiji Customs confirmation email back, so we are all sorted (hopefully). We also emailed Denarau Marina and made a booking for a mooring ball, as we would ideally like to clear through customs there.
Oh thanks to Patricia, Dave and Mike again for your Gulf Harbour Radio morning sessions and the YIT website, we really appreciate all that you guys do. If you are cruiser and you use GHR and or YIT, make sure you send through your annual donation, every little bit helps, and if you are using their services it?s really rather cheeky not to donate something.
We?ll definitely be listening to Monday, we?re keen to hear how that front is moving and whether we?ve managed to get far enough north to miss the 30knot winds it?s going to bring. I?ll try to do a quick YIT update before 7am tomorrow so you know our exact position.
Well that?s all for now, signing off day two of passage, both boys are asleep, Sasha holding down the fort.
All well on board.
Yesterday Team SV MOONFISH left Hobsonville marina and headed to Westhaven fuel dock. After filling up the diesel tanks and petrol cans, Capt?n Mike, First Mate Sasha, and Crewie Tim-o-Tei cleared customs around 4:30pm, we pulled up the main sail and headed out into the harbour motor-sailing. Winds were light, and we all said our non-verbal goodbyes to Auckland city as we made our way past Devonport. Finally we were are on our way! The Auckland team at NZ Customs were awesome! Daniel from NZ Customs made his way down to the fuel jetty and we worked through the simple paper work in no time at all. Thanks NZ Customs you made leaving from Auckland easy, stress free and quick.
Leaving from Auckland at dusk was a new experience, usually MOONFISH departs from Opua (up north), and usually we clear in the morning and spend the most of the day sailing as hard as we can away from NZ. This time our plan was different, spend the night hugging the east coast, to get north. Once at Cape Brett we turned right, happy to head a little bit west of the rhumb line to Fiji, to avoid some headwinds that are forecast to occur in a couple of days.
Today is our first ?real? day of passage, the land is fast disappearing and soon we?ll see 360 degrees of blue. This is the time we all settle in, slow down, and finally have time to think. This year?s preparation has been one of our most challenging, we decided to stay in Auckland so we could work right up to our departure. But what we didn?t account for is the time and mental focus needed to prep the boat and ourselves for passage and 5 months on the hook. That?s why heading to Opua is a good idea in some respects ? as it provides a physical distance from our NZ summer life (i.e. working). And while we missed catching up with our friends; Erica, Dave and the kids, (Hell you guys!! We hope USA is awesome!) we do have to admit we didn?t miss the pre-passage angst that generates amongst the sailors via arduous weather conversations that are part and parcel of this blue ocean cruising scene. Thanks to all the people who helped us as we prepared MOONFISH, Boydy (South Pacific Marine) the stack pack looks awesome, and we?ve already discovered the new netting feature not only allows rain water to drain but also means we can see the weather vane through the stack pack on both tacks now which is really handy. Ian (IMARINE NZ) the diesel heater got a lot of use last night, and kept us toasty warm, we can?t get over how much of difference our new Stella Airtronic Diesel Heater is making! We love it! Thanks to both the riggers who helped us (we really appreciate how quickly you worked) Brett at Focus marine (thank you!) and Steve at The Rigging Shop. Also thanks to Team Sharpe Focus, Pip and Sharpy helped us several times, with Sharpy even heading up the rig to remove our cap shrouds and Pip and Sharpy helping us get our forestay down without it ending up in the drink. You guys are sailing legends! Also Mal-i-Bu and Pauline (Aqua Plumb) thanks for everything you guys have done!! Thanks for the cosy yummy dinner the other night, thanks for the head cleaner, and for keeping Capt?n Mike busy with a job.
Other prep included? Replacing our anchor winch $$$!, repairing cockpit covers, getting the engines serviced, and the outboard, replacing a window, installing new legs to the saloon table ? it now goes up and down and becomes a day-bed, new thingy-ma-bob that manages the engines charge into our house batteries (thanks Ian from I MARINE NZ) purchasing a new code zero furling system $$, boat insurance, Sat phone charged and loaded with minutes (USD$), not to mention boat provisioned with food and drink, new bean bags purchased, and filled at Mum Watson?s house (that was hilarious by the way! Filling bean bags with your partner is akin to putting up a tent with your partner, if you can do it together without wanting to kill each other you really are on to something. Barbara, sorry for making such a mess ? it was Mike?s fault haha heh heh). Turns out bean bags are great on yachts, but the Sun?s UV rays really hammer them, they seem to only last a season before the covers split.
Last night we kicked off passage with some delicious cheese rolls (Aka Southern Sushi), Tim?s mum Margaret made them - Tim says he helped. These things are soooo tasty, they?re a kiwi-tradition; A piece of white bread, is filled with cheese, dijon mustard, onion soup mix and evaporated milk, it is then rolled and baked in the oven. 2 large bags of frozen cheese rolls were delivered (among an unbelievable amount of food that Tim turned up with yesterday). All Sasha had to do was pop them in the oven to heat through. The boys had 3 each and a celebratory beer, while Sasha?s first passage meal, a good old lasagna was heating up in the oven. The lasagna went down a treat with enough left over to feed both boys for lunch today. Then Tim started with our 3 hour night shifts, Sasha took over at 11:15pm. Light winds meant head sail went out, then head sail was furled away, then 8knots meant turn off engine, then 4knots meant turn on engine.. Once around the hen and chicks we turned in towards land to sneak between the coast and Sugarloaf, so the main was trimmed as our reach became tighter. Sasha was pretty chuffed with herself, furling and unfurling the head sail by herself, and trimming the main, for a while there the boat was sailing a long nicely.. but it was touch and go with the wind. Oh and importantly Sasha saw a big container ship on the AIS called Pamela (that?s her mother?s name) which she took as a very good omen. Mike took over at 2:15am, and then plonked onto the bed at 5:15am when Timmy headed back on watch. Sasha woke up at 7:40am and freaked out as she was supposed to be taking over from Tim-o-Tei 7:15am, so she jumped up and got dressed but Tim was sweet as, happy to be watching the sunrise over Cape Brett. We still had internet service then so we posted a photo of the sunrise on our Instagram (Search @SVMOONFISH).
After a nice plunger coffee, we all had muesli, yoghurt, fresh orange and apple slices for breakfast. And now we are planning a blind cookie tasting competition ? as we literally have about 10 litres worth of home-baked cookies on board? thanks Mum Watson and Mum Honeybone! The rest of the day will be spent figuring out what passage meal we eat for dinner. Aaah life at sea is simplistically awesome! AWOB.
We’ll we are off!
Just cleared customs, thanks Daniel! And we just watched Sharpe Focus motor past while we sit at the fuel dock here at Westhaven Marina. Thanks Mal-I-Bu for dropping by to say farewell.... Tim-o-Tei turned up with more food than you can even imagine! Stand by for passage food porn stories! A longer YIT update is overdue and we have so many stories to tell you all about getting MOONFISH ready for passage which we will share over the next few days.
The trials and tribulations of boat ownership is a hard earned badge of honour... or stupidity (Sasha is still trying to work out which one it is). Here we sit, in our marina berth the day after we were suppose to clear customs and leave Auckland for the warm, sunny waters of Fiji. It's a tale fraught with trial-run farewell dinners and gifted home-baked passage cookies that will never see the sea. It's a tale of warmed heart cockles, knotted stomachs, and anticlimactic deflation of spirit. So settle in folks and let us take you on an emotional ride that offers rollercoaster-like peaks and troughs.
Preparing your sailing yacht for off-shore passages is not something you can really explain in words... yes you can write a list of the things you added, worked on, upgraded, removed. You can count up the money that your beloved boat devoured faster than you could make it. But it isn't really possible to truly capture the effort and focus it takes to get a boat ready for offshore passage making (and the subsequent 6 months on the hook) it's such an intricate process, with so many different facets, so many different things to sort out, to plan for, to organise. It's ironic the time it takes to plan for time off. Time is so short when you are in preparation mode, things that should take minutes take hours.. as you traipse around town trying to find that specific little part, or defrost the freezer with a hair dryer. There is always more work to do, and the days speed by ending in evenings where you sit there absolutely mentally and physically drained, as well as disappointed in the fact that you only crossed two things off your to do list that day.
Mike and Sasha (well... mostly Mike if we're being truthful) have spend months getting MOONFISH ready for this years cruise up to Fiji from Auckland, New Zealand. After crossing off a list as long as both their arms, it was finally time to fill out the advanced departure customs form, say 'CARPE DIEM' to Tim-o-tei (our crew for the 'up' passage this year) and mentally start adjusting to the fact that soon we would be on shift at 2am in the morning in the middle of the ocean while the rest of the world slept (well half of the rest of the world).
The day before our planned departure we were looking forward to a delicious home-cooked farewell dinner at Barbara's house (Mike's mum). Barbara had spent the day baking several batches of her delicious chocolate chip cookies for our passage sustenance (Thank you Mum Watson!). The morning had seen Mike and Ian from IMARINE NZ (you'll find IMARINE NZ on facebook) commission our new Stella Systems Airtronic Diesel Heater. The moment that diesel heater was turned on, we were in celebration mode. Weeks of damp wintery-wet had been instantaneously replaced with warm dryness, the boat had this new cosy homely feeling, and Mike and Sasha loved it! Cue warming the cockles of our hearts, all passage long! But our celebrations quickly became commiserations as a final rig check revealed bad news, a single strand in one of our cap shrouds was loose and we'd need to replace both cap shrouds to ensure MOONFISH was safe and ready for the passage. Tim-o-tei was dropping off his passage gear when the rigger came down from the mast, and when Tim and Sasha saw Mike and the riggers face we knew it wasn't good news. It's a weird feeling going from 'I'm leaving tomorrow, and it's going to be a nice toasty warm passage' to... "What? How long will that take to fix, and how much? and when is the next weather window?"
With knotted stomachs Mike and Sasha sat in MOONFISH'S now nicely warmed saloon... Sasha remarked "If it wasn't for this new Stella Diesel Heater, i'd be crying right now" still stunned and trying to process the news. Two more weeks in Auckland, in cold rainy Auckland, thank goodness for that new diesel heater!
Sat phone connection test 2
Our first YIT test update went through like a charm, that was testing our onsatmail account was set up and working (job done, cross that off the list). Now we are testing our Satellite phone connection. We?ve luckily managed to keep the same Sat phone number from our previous two seasons - we use an Iridium 9555 Satellite phone to send our YIT updates while on passage (most people these days have an Iridium Go, which is kind of like a wireless router but one that uses Satellites instead of land based broadband infrastructure. Anyway we have a pre-pay Sat phone sim card, which expires every 6 months, so if you don?t top it up it dies and you have to go get another sim and then top it up (all more cost right?). Because of our delay leaving Fiji last season due to our mainsail tearing, we had to top up our sim card, and the silver lining of that is our sim card didn?t expire. whoop! whoop! here?s to little wins! So it?s the 8th of June here in Auckland, it?s cold, like 10 degrees cold. We?re ready, scratch that, we are desperate to leave for Fiji?s warm azure waters and sunshine. All we need is the weather to play ball. Every morning we review the different weather models and apps; Metvue, Predict Wind, Windy and at the moment every morning is tinged with disappointment - June is racing by and it?s only going to get colder, and the models are not aligning which doesn?t offer a lot of confidence for us to depart. When the weather models don?t align it?s hard to know which one is right, and if you make a call and leave based on one, but end up with the weather from the other, well? let?s just say on the nose wind and big swells for the first three (very cold) days doesn?t sound like anyone?s cup of tea.
This morning is Sasha?s first official day of not working, after over 7 months of computer screens and business (thanks again Foodstuffs - you are awesome!). Sasha now has to take off her project manager hat and put on her Chief Naval Gazer hat. There is a lot to do; provision the boat for 6 months, organise passage breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, get the communications sorted (ticking that box right now), organise the customs and immigration paperwork and advanced notice for NZ and FIJI customs, clean out all the excess surplus weight on MOONFISH (yes that means get the work dresses and high heals off the boat and replace with jandals and togs). And after all that she had to figure out if she?ll have any money left over to buy an icy cold, refreshing, golden-amber coloured, beer at Va and Josie?s epic Musket Cove island bar. Priorities right? Super-Mike has been hard at work getting MOONFISH ship shape for passage, new anchor winch installed (talk about B.O.A.T - Bring Out Another Thousand - or 4!), Watson designed brand new aluminium tillers for the boys to play with as we sail up (we are all excited about those!!!), engine services, head services, Antifouling and prop/rudder prop-speeded, new beanbags (an essential item), new BBQ, new furling system for our screecher/code0 (thank god, as it was always a little ?life and death? trying to furl in those beasts of sails with the old system), new saloon windows, and more? much much more. We?ll say it again owning a boat is an expensive but thoroughly rewarding experience.
mmmm Sat phone YIT update didn?t seem to go through - testing again using internet connection.
Testing! Testing! Is this thing on? That is right you lucky 15 subscribers (and any randoms secretly following MOONFISH that we do not know about) it is that time of year again when we get ready to head off into the blue. Lets see if this update goes through.
Whoops! I didn?t update our lat and long, so here is our position now.
well, we are home! We had a great last bit of passage, with Silveray coming to visit us at the entrance to the harbour. Thanks guys, it was great to see you with full sails up as we motor sailed in.
We are all cleared through customs and bio-security? who had to take the roast chicken that was in the oven, but oh well? we?ll just have to head into the Opua yacht club for dinner instead tonight? Question? why is it so cold here?
well, we are home! We had a great last bit of passage, with Silveray coming to visit us at the entrance to the harbour. Thanks guys, it was great to see you with full sails up as we motor sailed in.
We are all cleared through customs and bio-security? who had to take the roast chicken that was in the oven, but oh well? we?ll just have to head into the Opua yacht club for dinner instead tonight? Question? why is it so cold here?
Hello Folks, apologies on not sending through a YIT update this morning, we have had a very exciting day of sailing today! Today started (for Sasha) at 2:56am when she finally awoke 4 minutes before her shift started. She relieved Mike from the helm and he went to bed, for a well earned sleep. After a good 3 hours sailing Tim-o-tei came up and took over just before 6am. And Sasha went back to bed and had a lovely sleep in until 9am ish. Once up the boys started to explain how exciting the morning (that Sasha had missed) had been. They had caught a skipjack, but not kept it, there had been random fishing boats talking on channel 16 (the first VHF chatter we have heard for days) and they had found more dead baby squid on the nets, which again Mike had thrown at Tim.
Breakfast was a vast array of culinary delights, Tim had left over curried sausages, Mike had an up and go over muesli and Sash drank the bit of left over up and go.
For lunch we settled into a few bits of roasted chicken each that Sasha had popped in the oven, and then we had warm blackberry and apple pies with cups of tea.
After sitting on the deck for a bit Mike and Tim both shouted shark! Tim exclaimed ?it looks dead?.. and then Sasha finally got a glimpse of it and thought it looks like a small manta ray, but then we all clicked! It was a MOONFISH! We kid you not!! We thought it was either a sunfish or a moonfish, we are not entirely sure how to tell the difference between the two, but it had these two big pictorial fins that when above the water looked very much like a shark fin, and a very large round body, with a white underside (which is why Sasha thought it was a manta). Amazing eh! We went from seeing nothing for days to this.. and then.. YES FOLKS it gets better!!! Mike and Tim both managed to spot a killer whale breaching out of the water, fully jumping out of the water! Sasha was in the galley at the time so she missed it, but got up on deck quick smart to see if it would breach again? alas it did not.
Apart from that the boys have been hand steering again today, top speed was taken out by Tim at 16.6knots, he was (to say the least) very excited when he got to shout out that speed! Tonight we are going to have the last of the passage meals, Chilli Chicken and Garlic Fried Rice, and then tomorrow once we are (fingers crossed) nicely tucked up on the Opua quarantine dock we will have roast chicken with roast potatoes and peas! That about covers off today?s excitement, oh! we?ve had a couple of 200plus nautical mile days too, which has been excellent after a very slow windless start. Oh and we are back in shorts and t-shirts today, was a lovely warm day, check out that baro it just keeps going up! All well on board
Today Mike said he had had the best sail of his life! Now that?s something! The boys popped the screecher up this morning, and we made excellent pace all day long, with the boys taking turns to see who could get the fastest speed. Mike won with 16plus knots! Sasha made blueberry muffins, and Tim-o-Tei is currently making his now famous curried sausages on mash for our tea tonight.. it?s smelling really good! We?ve been in shorts and t-shirts today, the sun has shone and the sea state is like that of nice flat coastal sailing. Couldn?t ask for much more? well except another batch of Tim?s mum?s delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies. We ate all of them?. knew there was something we should have rationed! Thanks Marg they were delicious! All well on board.
Had a great nights sailing, sitting around 9 and 10 knots, it was good to get some miles done. Nothing eventful again last night, this morning Mike found a flying fish on the nets, so he threw it at poor Tim-o-tei, gawd those things smell! (the fish, not Tim-o-tei). We all enjoyed hot showers this morning, so we feel very refreshed.
Approximately two and a bit days to go, this will be our longest ever non-stop passage, mostly because the conditions have been so calm and windless.
Apart from that nothing much to report, all well on board.
Going better now that we have more wind. Mike made brunch this morning, fried eggs on top of Sasha?s kibbled wheat toast with baked beans, it was just what the crew needed. Tim-o-tei is in the galley tonight making our left over taco soup into gourmet Parnell-esk cuisine. It?s a little rough at the moment, so we?ll leave it there? All well on board.
Apologies for the delay in this mornings YIT update folks, Sasha had a lovely sleep in again, as Tim-o-tei got up around 6:30am and took over Sasha?s shift which was suppose to finish at 7am.
Another night of motor sailing with very little wind, we may have had a little current against us too, as it was slower than normal motoring too. We were all happy to pop the screecher sail up this morning and get a burst of speed again.
We had Taco soup with corn chips for tea last night, and kibbled wheat toast with marmite this morning. Delicious! Apart from that Tim-o-tei is doing a great job, and is making curried sausages tonight which will be something to look forward too.
All well on board.
Slow progress today, the wind has picked up but attempting to sail the rhumb line is proving difficult, so we have tacked a couple of times today. We had thought we might stop by Minerva, but due to the wind (or lack thereof and the forecasts we have decided not to delay our travels home any further.
Mike made corn fritters for lunch today, with Tim-o-tei and Mike enjoyed while Sash had the left over spag bol.
Sasha?s made a loaf of bread today which is on the oven baking now.
Tonights dinner will be the Taco Soup, with corn chips.
Both Sasha and Mike have both had naps today, while Tim-o-tei kept watch. Haven?t seen any ships or anything today.
All well on board.
A slow motoring night last night, not a breath of wind. Tim-otei started shifts this time 6pm to 9pm, then Sasha did her one shift of the night 9pm to 12midnight, then Miwa did graveyard shift till 3am, and Tim-otei came back on till? well he is actually still up and doesn?t seem to want to sleep, so Sasha had a lovely sleep in till 7:30am, which is roughly around the same time Miwa woke up. We?re heating up frozen pastry raisin scrolls for breaky this morning, the weather is getting colder, we all have t-shirts on now.
All well on board.
Coming to you live with another uneventful day out at sea! Yes that?s right folks SV MOONFISH has NOTHING to report? apart from the fact that the forecast was right when it said light winds? we have NO wind at the moment, it feels like we are coastal sailing.. er.. coastal motoring. The day started with Sasha seeing in the sunrise, another massive sun to add to the sunsets we saw from Musket in the days leading up to our departure. Then at 6am, Tim woke up and Sasha was off to sleep, Mike woke at 6:30am (while Sasha continued to dribble on her pillow) and the boys looked after things until Sasha woke around 8:30am. Top speed last night was 15.7knots.. we were speeding along, and managed a 206 nautical mile day. Our Raymarine chart plotter clicked over 10,000 nautical miles today, so the boys celebrated with a icy cold beer. After lunch Tim-o-tei and MiWa (Mike?s new nickname) both had a nana nap.
We just had Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner which went down a treat, and we will be settling into 3hr shifts from 6pm. Not that we are complaining, as the conditions out here are lovely, but just a few more knots of wind would be lovely! All well on board.
Those of you with attention to detail will have realised the last heading we posted wasn?t correct, Sasha forgot to update it. An uneventful nights sailing, pleasant conditions out here and an extreme difference exiting Fiji yesterday, versus on the 4th of October? there was literally no swell it was very comfortable! We?re enjoying Bircher Muesli with grapes this morning. All well on board
Well, we are off. Tumeric Chicken Stew for dinner, it?s on the hob re-heating now. We only have 50mins on our Satellite phone so we will be keeping these YIT updates relatively short this time around. Especially as we will be using those same minutes to download predict wind weather forecasts.
All well on board, great sailing this afternoon.
Alrighty, shall we try that again? We have completed a very quick and FREE outward clearance at Denarau, and we are now on our way home to New Zealand. Our estimated date of arrival will be around the 28th or 29th of October. The forecast shows some very light wind in parts, so that may slow us down. We will be updating our YIT around 5PM (Boat Time/Fiji Time) and also in the morning (when Sasha get's up, and has had her go go juice).
We have four pre-made passage meals, 1. Chicken Chilli, 2. Taco Soup, 3. Spaghetti Bolognese and 4. a freshly made Tumeric Chicken Stew.
All well on board, looking forward to being home!
So, we're back in Fiji.... we got out about 10 nautical miles in rough 3-5 metre swell, a top wind speed of 30 knots was recorded by ShapeShifter the other yacht that cleared out with us at Vuda yesterday. We had one reef in our mainsail and only had the staysail up. It was rough and uncomfortable but not unbearable. It was definitely the most water we've ever had in the cockpit! Sasha was white knuckled and perched on a beanbag at the back of the cockpit with lifejacket on. But even so we knew the conditions would be tough exiting Fiji, so Mike, Sasha and Tim settled into the cockpit expecting to eat muesli bars and bread rolls for dinner, and not expecting to sleep much for the up coming 48 hours.
Tim was sitting at the helm, he shifted sideways in the seat to take a look at the sails and then said something I can't repeat... all of a sudden all 3 of us were up out of our seats checking out what Tim had spotted... "The mainsail's gone! The mainsail is gone!" Tim said and repeated so we all heard over the wind. Sure enough a large split had appeared and a gaping hole had developed in our mainsail. Crap! It was a quick decision to turn MOONFISH around and head back to Fiji, not before we dropped the mainsail and trimming in our staysail for a depressing motorsail back to our departure destination. First time we've ever had to head back to a port after clearing out... and I can tell you morale was not high...
We rang the Fiji customs hotline and explained our situation, they were great allowing us to pick up Rhumb Coco's mooring ball in Denarau for the night (Thanks Wanda and Pete!). Customs would catch up with us in the morning to reverse our clearance and give us back our arrival documentation so we could clear again once our repairs had been sorted.
So we've been sorting out our options for repair today, removing our sail and folding it up nicely to take off the boat.
Tim will fly home tonight, so we had to fill in a 'crew Change form B'
thIs morning with immigrations so they had the documentation they required. And Mike and Sasha will most likely head back out to Musket while we wait for the repairs....
Plain sailing...... mmmm we think not! But we know it could have been worse, we are all well on board, so we have a lot to be grateful for.
We are off, just getting our lat and long down on YIT so we can measure our daily distances.
TEST to check out onsatmail is working.
The time has come to test all the old systems for our passage home. We are currently motor sailing from Musket Cove to Denarau to pick up our faithful crew Timotei. Yes that?s right!! Timotei is hopping back on MOONFISH for another passage south.. to the cold waters of the Long Wet Windy Cloud.
We listened to Gulf Harbour Radio this morning, albeit through their handy internet radio page. Lots of boats headed off yesterday from here, and the window looks okay, so we are heading out either this afternoon (if we make it in time to the customs office) or first thing tomorrow morning.
More to come as we go through the outward clearance processes here in Fiji? Let?s see if this YIT update gets through.
Here's the latest YIT update from MOONFISH!
We've had a busy old time of late! We thought the cove would empty out after regatta and it would be quiet time, but that just hasn't happened!
We've been into Denarau and had a delicious Japanese dinner at Taka, (level two above the Indian restaurant) with a bunch of cruisers, Sarah, Alex & Matt off Black Pearl and Team Mahia. Yes Malibu and Pauline have finally arrived in the Cove after adventuring all over the northern tip of Viti Levu and the Yasawa's. So we all caught up and heard about their amazing travels.
We caught the $1 bus into Nadi so that Mike could visit a physio and get his aching upper back looked at. The physio counted 9 trigger points/knots in his upper left shoulder, she worked on each trigger point and then instructed Mike to ice it 3 times a day to reduce the inflammation and also to do a set of specific exercises each day too. Too much surfing Sasha reckons! Much to Sasha's delight the Physio made Mike promise that she would be the only one massaging him while he was receiving treatment from her, so Sasha is now off the hook.
We did a heap of food shopping, and Sasha has made three passage meals so far; Chilli Chicken, Garlic Rice, White Wine, Potato & Chicken Stew, and a Spaghetti Bolognese. The vacuum packer is sure coming in handy, as we vac pack each meal and pop it in the waeco to freeze it down. Makes for quick defrosting and re-heating while on passage too!
Mike's changed the oil on both motors, and had given the hulls a good wipe down to ensure there is no growth as that slows down the boat. The anti-foul paint we used is really good and is doing a great job keeping the hulls clean.
Last night we had a GREAT night at the Musket Cove Island Bar, Vasiti and Amelia were working in the bar, and they kept everyone with drink in hand as we had a good old catch up with the old gang, Team Mahia, Team Riada, and Team Taranui 2 are all in the bay at the moment. It was such a great night, and Jack from sailing yacht Hi C's rocked out his guitar and played a great set of songs, with everyone joining in and singing along. It was one of those amazing moments when you realise you truly are in the right place, with the right people. The wind had backed right off, the water was still and Jack was strumming away... it was just such a lovely night. Then out of the blue Team Rhumb Coco turned up too! So as the first lot of mates headed off to bed, Mike and Sasha got another beer and caught up with Wanda and Pete as well. Talk about busy! And here we thought we'd be the only ones here at Musket!
Another amazing moment that we have to share is from a couple of nights ago. Team Mahia had invited us to dinner so we headed over there with four bean salad in-hand and settled in for what is always a delicious meal! Mike was stoked as it was roast pork with the crackling! Malibu and Pauline had turned on the blue lights which light up the water at the back of the boat. Every once and a while as we sat in the cockpit enjoying dinner there would be a large knock sound, as if something was hitting the rudder at the back of the boat. Mike was first to suggest it was probably a manta ray, and then Sasha took a look over the back after a knock and sure enough there was a large Manta Ray doing somersaults grazing on the sealife that was attracted by the blue light. We couldn't believe our luck, and all stood there for some time watching this massive animal literally hanging off the back of Mahia, metres from our faces. It was (you guessed it) AMAZING!
Long time no type! How the hell are ya? Apologies again for not YITing more often, we have been having such a fabulous time its been hard to keep up. The past 6 days have been truly brilliant here, at the magical Musket Cove, our home away from home. The past week has seen us participate in our very first regatta, the 34th Annual Musket Cove Fiji Regatta. And it was AWESOME!
The entry fee was a very reasonable $75 per person, this got you a regatta info pack (per yacht) and each person also receives a special wrist band which entitles the wearer to drink for free when there are designated regatta 'open' bars, and also funds two buffet dinners on opening and closing nights. Not to mention the DJ's and live entertainment, use of the Hobi cats when racing, and all the prizes (spot and winners) that are also provided. The value is fantastic, and it's important we note here just how amazing the Musket Cove team are, their entertainment, bar service and culinary skills made us feel right at home, it was the stuff of days gone by! Great service, entertainment, food and company. Simply amazing.
Kicking off on Friday (15th Sep) evening at the infamous Musket Cove Island Bar, all entered yachts were welcomed with an open bar, and various national anthems were 'passionately' sung by their respective patriotic sailors. A little drama did unfold during the singing, (in-true pirate form), but it was nothing that a cold beer and a bear-hug couldn't sort out.
After that we all headed to the delicious buffet that the Musket Cove team had put together, enjoyed many a icy cold $6 Fiji Gold and even jumped around the dance floor as the night went on. During the night Team SilverRay (one of the three Tim Mumby sister ships in the cove at the moment) offered up their 14 foot race stand-up paddle board to me/Sasha for the SUP race from Namotu Island to Musket Cove the next day. I/Sasha was notably excited to have such a speed-weapon for the race, and decided there and then to stop at 2 beers to be fresh and ready to race the next day.
Saturday (16th Sep) saw a bunch of yachts full of fancy-dressed Pirates head off for Beachcomber for fun and games and a buffet lunch. Sasha was hydrating most of the morning, and Mike was preparing himself to be water-boy extraordinaire. Team Equinox (Fi and Ian) had offered to take us to Namotu on their long boat, not before a quick snorkel for some arty underwater shots by artist in residence Fiona. We arrived at Namotu in time to enjoy the beautiful view from shady hammock swing seats, and hydrated some more while we (Fi and Sasha) waited for the start of the race. The 10km downwind race course was a little daunting for us both, with our goal being to finish... whoa were we stoked to place! Sasha was the first woman in, and Fi picked up 3rd place. We were very proud of ourselves.
Sunday (17th Sep) was a quiet day, a Golf Tournament was played in the morning, and two running races around Malolo were also held, Team SilverRay cleaning up in these! In the afternoon Sasha managed to coerce Colin from SV Lulu to race with her in the Hobi Cat sailing challenge. (Mike has a bit of a shoulder injury (too much surfing) so he had to sit that one out). The wind was really picking up, with a good 15-20knots ripping its way across the race course. Sasha was excited but also a tad concerned about capsizing as there had already been teams that had gone over due to the wind, and a few technical kinks with the mainsheet on a couple of the hobi's. When it was our turn, the race starter allowed Sasha to call the coin toss to decide which hobi we got, we won the toss, and elected the leeward hobi. Then the starter yelled go, and we hopped on quickly, Colin managing the rudder and mainsheet, Sasha up the front managing the jib. We had a great start, and were doing really well until after we completed our first tack and got a decent gust of wind which took us right... yes RIGHT over! The mainsheet had got jammed, and Colin was powerless to reduce the pressure, so we capsized. Sasha was just stoked she hadn't screamed, as Colin had said to her before the race 'What ever you do, don't scream in my ear' It was very exciting, and with the help of the Musket Cove Longboat support crew, we righted the hobi and finished the race, but came a very distant second (there were only two boats racing at a time).
Monday (18th Sep) saw Mike and Sasha aboard Lulu, a sleek Hanse 47ft monohull to compete in the Tauranga Marine Funrace to the sandbank. This was to be Sasha's first time racing a monohull, in fact it was the first time Sasha had ever raced a big yacht. It was a nail biting start with boats (not familiar with standard yacht race rules) doing all sorts of bizarre manoeuvres putting their boats, and the boats around them at risk of prangs and bangs. Unfortunately because of this crazy behaviour team Lulu was forced to do a full turn just before the start line, which disadvantaged us quite some. Once clear of the start line, after clearing the reef, Lulu settled in at a good pace on its way to the first marker. The team urging on the wind gods for just a tad more pressure, which didn't come. We headed around the marker, and back towards the sandbank, many a good tack and gybe being executed by the team on board. It was a great introduction for Sasha to monohull racing, and was also interesting to sail a yacht with electric winches (oooo lala!) and self-tacking headsails (yes please!).
Wednesday (20th Sep) the Fiji Water Round Malolo Classic, a brilliant day! Mike and Sasha were keen to get MOONFISH out and racing for the first time since they have owned her. And the loco Lulu boys were keen to be crew, so we prep'd the boat by taking our SUP's off, and picked them up with our dingy (which was on the davits for the whole race, unlike our competition) and got ourselves all sorted for the beginning of the race. The breeze was perfect for MOONFISH, and we had a great start with Skipper Mike navigating away from the scary cluster of racing yachts all circling behind the starting line. We headed around a small reef with just one other boat, and hit the start line just after the horn sounded with pace. We set the sails and started to knock off boat after boat... including our sister ship Toucan, much to their disappointment. As we rounded the corner we hit a hole, and watched some near misses as boats came to a stop and lost a lot of their ability to steer. All we could do was sit and wait as we watched all the boats we had just passed gain on us from behind, Mike on helm decided to head further out where there was more pressure on the water, instead of hugging the coast. It paid off, and we hurtled down the back of Malolo with a top speed of 15 knots! Mike said that's the closest we've ever got to flying a hull. We nailed a few more monohulls down the long back stretch, and made up ground against our nearest multihull competitor Cactus Island, a very light-looking pod catamaran with two masts. We watched as they tacked onto the home straight and there was a tense few minutes as the crew and Mike discussed when would be the ideal time for us to tack. Mike made the call, and the crew set about tacking, we headed towards the Black Rocks on a tight reach, all of us waiting in anticipation for the turn around them when we would be on a beam reach - this would be our only chance to try and reach Cactus Island... alas the course was too short for us to make the gain we needed. We were very pleased to be the first Mumby home out of the three racing. And were super proud to have received our first ever finish horn from SV Encore. The loco-Lulu boys were chuffed, so were Sasha and Mike, we all had smiles on our dials. Icy cold beers were cracked open, and Sasha popped a tray of rolled cheese toasties into the oven for a snack. Race discussions were had a plenty, with a resounding conclusion that we raced well, and made the right decisions.
After a power nap, we headed out for the closing event at Dick's. Prize giving was another great surprise with Moonfish called out for a spot prize! After photos, we settled in for a delicious buffet. Mike was very happy he could enjoy the roast pig on a spit. After dinner the sand-dance-floor was full, and Sasha headed out for a boogie with Leanne (Team Songlines).
All in all... an absolutely fantastic event! One that we will definitely be participating in again. Thank you Musket Cove, our home away from home! You have a very special place here.
Well HELLO Everyone! Our greatest apologies for such a lag between YIT's! Hopefully everyone in NZ is handling winter ok, we heard that spring is just around the corner, so congrats you made it!
We have been surfing and kiting, and hurting ourselves (ok well.. maybe that is just Sasha) and then resting and healing and then surfing and then hurting ourselves again. Great fun all round, although this pattern is tiring somewhat.
Sasha's first injury occurred when she took Mike's brand new SURF kite board for a kite. It's a directional board, so it's a different way of kiting compared to what Sasha is use to on her twin tip. Anyway, after a successful first session, nailing the carving turns on this lovely $1k worth of board, Sasha made an error in judgement and rode it straight into coral. Two of the three surf board fins (bespoke to the board) were pulled out instantaneously from the impact and lost in the ocean. And many a cut and scrape along the back of Sasha's legs also occurred. Suffice to say after Mike got her back to the boat to 'make repairs' to her and the board, he was less than impressed the board he hadn't even had a chance to try out had been done-over without his participation. That was, until he suddenly realised that this meant a new board would most certainly be supplied on arrival back to NZ as payment for damaging this one.. where does he get these ideas from? After another yo-cheesecake and a banana cake to make up for her error, life on MOONFISH settled down to it's normal cruising pace, and there hasn't been another word about new surf-kite-boards mentioned, much to the delight of Sasha's bank account.
Two days ago after not one, not two but three fun sessions in the surf at Namotu, Sasha managed to maim herself again.
After an excellent session learning how to ride backhand on her birthday present ( a brand new 8.6ft surf SUP), Sasha managed to nail her right shin into her board fin as she came off a nice soft easy right hander at Pools. Yip... nailing life! ha!
Apart from that highlights over the past month include.. finding one of the best ever cos lettuce heads at Denarau, surfing, having an avocado, feta, walnut and pear salad with last nights dinner, walking around Mana island (even if the vibe was a little weird), having leaving beersies with Seaforth and Panthera at the island bar, (even if Sasha did manage to hurt herself there too! gah!), surfing, hanging with Fi and Ian off Equinox, they surf too!, kiting, not dragging in last nights unexpected blow, getting mobile wifi on the boat with 50gb a month (winning!), and promptly wasting that data on watching all the new music video's that have been released on you tube since we left Auckland and, you guessed it.. surfing.
We made it to Musket Cove, we'll hang out here for a while. We've had one fantastic day of surfing, and two great days of kiting on the sand bar.
Our first night in Somosomo Bay.
We headed down the coast, and as we closed in on Somosomo bay we called Cormac up, and he said he would meet us in a boat at the pass. As we got closer we saw Cormac, he’d motored out in his aluminium long boat called Yeah Buoy made by the Chris’s at Bluewater Craft. Just as we reached the cut in the reef the sun came out illuminating the pass, Mike mentioned something about how lucky Moonfish is and Sasha couldn’t help but agree – this boat has damn good juju! We followed him through the pass, into the large bay of Somosomo, and he pointed to a large anchorage and basically said pick where you like. The holding was great, sticky, mud sand.
Once anchored Cormac went and picked up his dad Andrew and Sama one of the team who works at their resort (apparently he’s the guy who fixes everything), and they all came out to check out MOONFISH, it seems like liked what they saw, they seemed genuinely interested in our story, and the boat, it’s designer (an Australian Tim Mumby) and where it was built. Then Andrew invited us back to their Fiji beachouse resort, which we later named the jewel of the coral coast. We all headed ashore on Yeah Buoy and the boys introduced us to the village spokeman, and said we would be back to do sevusevu later. Then we hopped into the truck, which has seating in the back as well, and headed west to the resort.
Sasha and Mike couldn’t believe their eyes, as the truck turned the corner down the driveway, the Fiji Beachouse is one awesome spot! Greeted with smiles, and a really special vibe that we had not yet encountered here in the Coral Coast. The atmosphere of this place is really special, it’s alive with people doing their thing, whether that be surfing, SUPing, kiting, swimming in the pool, relaxing in the sun on one of the many hammock chairs, or sipping on a cool beverage in the bar. The common area’s of the resort were built for an American reality TV show, the bar features a pool and foosball table, there is a balance board on the bar’s porch with ‘Danger’ written on it – the place is just cool. The bar overlooks the pool, which in turn overlooks the beautiful white sandy beach, there is pass a short SUP paddle away, with reef surf breaks.
We sat down with Andrew and Cormac, cold beer in hand, a few minutes later lunch arrived, a delicious marinated chicken salad with fresh crisp salad greens, it was so tasty! And such a treat after the last couple of weeks where veges have been sparce.
After lunch, Cormac (who seems to always be on the go), was up getting his kite gear, talking about a downwinder. A few minutes later, we are in the truck again, this time riding in the back (pretty cool) and heading back to MOONFISH to get our gear. We loaded up the groups kite gear into Yeah Buoy, and headed to MOONFISH, after another tour for the guys who hadn’t seen it yet, we were all sorted, and headed around the coast east. Sasha thought it was quite a long way, and wondered how her body would handle such a long downwind kite, but she sucked it up, and remembered that saying ‘do something that scares you everyday’, and the distance and unfamiliar reefs, plus several reef passes was more than enough to tick that box well and truly.
It was a great downwind kite sesh, the first for Mike! We all headed back to the boat, where Cormac dropped us off, and said he’d be around to pick us up later for dinner. Yes, that’s what these guys are like they are just so chilled, welcoming and so friendly.
After showering, we headed into the village in the tender, tied it up to what is left of the old Jetty, and met Cormac, and Sama there for sevusevu. They introduced us again to the spokesman, and we did our first ever sevusevu by ourselves, well, we were very lucky to have Cormac and Sama showing us the way but we were the only yacht there. The village welcomed us, and asked us if we wanted to try the kava, we politely as possible declined, and said we were heading to The Beachouse for dinner. They seemed ok with that, and we headed off in the truck again, back to our new favourite spot.
Cormac guided us to the blackboard menu, and talked through a few menu items, like the DALO fries, which are Sasha and Mike’s new favourite thing to eat. We ordered the chicken, with dalo fries. Cormac ordered a fish dish, and it was all ready in what seemed like a couple of minutes….. Sasha is still in awe of how quick the food comes out! Dinner was delicious, the fries are so tasty, crispy and just so moreish. The chicken was full of flavour, moist and perfectly cooked. The fish dish came out in a big white sharing bowl, and Sama and Cormac tucked into that. During dinner, Dingo Dean and Scotty popped over with Justin (who had been on the downwinder with us that afternoon), they introduced us to their crew, and the driven to drink (because of them) tour leader Tom… poor fellow haha!
It had been a big day, and Mike and Sasha were pretty tired, so Cormac organised a ride back to the village, and Sasha and Mike hopped in the tender and headed back to MOONFISH for a well earned sleep. It had been one hell of an awesome day. If you get a chance go stay at the Fiji Beachouse, it's such a special place, with so much to do and Andrew and Cormac's chilled out ways just add to the vibe of the place, it really is the jewel of the coral coast, and made our first visit to the south side of Viti Levu 100% amazing!
The next morning, we got up earlier than normal, headed straight to the Pearl café, grabbed two takeaway coffee’s and waited in reception for Team Bluewater Craft to pick us up on their way to work. Both Chris’s greeted us with big smiles, and we hopped in and headed east. It was a great chance to take a look at the coral coast by land. Once at the boat yard, the Chris’s showed us around, they were pretty busy with several jobs on the go, a 15 metre aluminium catamaran, plus a commercial dive boat, and several others. We saw where they cut the aluminium to plan using a plasma cutter, and how each bulk head fits together to make a hull. It was very interesting, and Mike was pretty excited at the possibilities for future projects. We also saw how they build aluminium boat names, and made a mental note to get our MOONFISH font to them so we could get one for our yacht too.
After the tour, Chris junior drove us back, but not before we stopped off at Lisa and Paul’s canal home for a tour, to check out their stunning treehouse right on the waters edge, with beautiful art and designer bamboo furniture. They were busy packing to head to Kadavu for a while. We said our goodbyes and Chris junior dropped us back at the Pearl to cast off the marina lines, and head back out into the Coral Coast. Our next destination was to be Somosomo Bay, to catch up with Andrew and Cormac from the Fiji Beachouse.
Our second night at The Pearl Resort Marina.
We awoke refreshed after the first night sleeping in a marina since we left Auckland. Surprisingly neither of us had a cocktail hangover, must be the great skills of the Pearls bartender. Today was to be our quiet day, of rest and relaxation. Our massage was booked in for 10:30am, we spent several hours there, enjoying a tropical full body massage with a hair and scalp massage to boot! Mike was so relaxed he fell asleep on the table! After our massages we were led to the fully tiled, beautiful steam room, for a good ol’ steam! Then we had luxurious showers under large waterfall showerheads. Once dressed and back in the spa lounge we were greeted with bottled water and herbal tea. So we sat for a wee while longer enjoying the tranquility of it all, re-adjusting to the world in our super relaxed state, reading magazines of tropical destinations, while we sat enjoying a tropical destination.
We returned to the boat, ready for our next adventure; a dinghy ride down the canals. So we took the tender off the davits and headed down the river to take a look at the big houses on the waterways of Pacific harbour. It was a great adventure riding past large resorts, golf courses, and people sitting in their mosquito netted framed rooms overlooking the water.
Later that afternoon we watched the film crew again, unloading from their day of filming. While we were watching in the cockpit, a group of people came down onto the marina finger and introduced themselves. “We are just admiring your yacht” said the woman who we later found out was called Lisa. “Well would you like to come aboard for a tour” Sasha replied. Two minutes later we had a brand new bunch of friends, that’s the greatest thing about cruising, the people you meet are the best part of it all! Lisa and Paul are an Aussie couple with a house they just recently sold in the waterways, they have been coming to Pacific harbour for years, Lisa explained she would be pretty keen to get a yacht and go cruisng too. Lisa and Paul’s friends also hopped on board for a look, Chris senior and Chris junior own Blue Water Crafts, a boat yard just down from the resort in Navua, that specialises in making aluminum power boats. They were super keen to take a look at MOONFISH, as they have always been interested in making an aluminum yacht. Once the tour was over, they said they were celebrating and that we should join them up at the bar, which we did.
What a great random night, we met even more locals once up at the bar, Andrew and his son Cormac had joined the celebrations, they own the Fiji Beachouse a resort further around the coast to the west. Hilariously this is the same place where Dingo-Dean and Scotty are currently staying! Sasha first met Dingo Dean in Melbourne on a group kite surfing tour, and then ended up on a group snowboard trip in Japan with Dean and Scotty. What a small world eh!
We heard many a great sailor tale as Lisa and Paul are sailors, who race quite a bit when home in Australia. The Bluewater Craft Chris’s invited us for a tour of their boat yard the next morning, and Andrew and Cormac gave Mike directions on our ipad as to where their place was, and said we should call them and drop in for a visit too.
Around midnight we got back to the boat, so much for a quiet night! Little did we know that these new friends would be the start of an amazing week of fun and adventures, visiting places we never would have even knew existed if it wasn’t for their friendly welcoming ways. if you're reading this guys, you are AWESOME and you really made our first visit to the Coral Coast an unforgettable one.
Our first night at The Pearl Resort Marina.
During our stay in Beqa we emailed The Pearl Resort to see if they had room for us in their Marina, a 12 berth marina situated on the left hand side of the river at Rovodrau Bay in Pacific Harbour. The General Manager Natalie replied saying yes they could fit us in. Ah! luxury, we booked our full body tropical massages for Tuesday morning via email, weighed the anchor and set off from Beqa to explore the Pacific Harbour.
A short motor sail we were at the mouth of the river entrance, Sasha hailed the Pearl Resort on VHF but got no reply, we don’t think they have VHF either. Then Sasha called Natalie on mobile, it was promptly answered and shortly after that we were called by Frank the Activities and Marina manager and told to say to our starboard side when entering the relatively narrow river mouth. Frank met us at the marina, with a team of guys and they all helped to get us neatly and securely tied up.
That night we went to happy hour and had delicious cocktails, we met Rachel and Tiki, lovely kiwi’s having a wee break from the kids, they had also booked into the spa for massages.
That night we watched the American film crew unloading lots of gear after a long day’s filming a movie called ‘Adrift’, turns out the consultant sailor on the set is someone Team Sky Pond knows, as they sailed with him on passage once. Such a small world. We met another guy from the set, we think his name was Wally, and he owns Bad Kitty, a catamaran back home in NZ.
LAWAKI BEACH HOUSE. Well Sunday was awesome, don't ya just love random cruising adventures that are spur of the moment and wonderful!
The night before in Malumu Bay at the resort there, we had joined Jim and Linaire off SV Panthera for some sundowners. We met Blair the dive guy, and his cute little yorkie puppy Reef at the jetty and quickly found out he was a kiwi too! We headed to the bar, and talked about shark dives and we also met the Canadian managers of the resort. Jim and Linaire told us they planned to head to the other anchorage in Beqa, called Vaga Bay the next day, we thought we would check it out too.
On Sunday morning we headed west from the eastern Malumu bay, around the northern top of Beqa and found Vaga bay. It was pretty gusty looking in Vaga, and we noticed Panthera had anchored further down the coast, (18 24.587S 178 5.313E) so we headed further south around the west coast of Beqa and anchored up next to Panthera.
The Lawaki Beach House cannot be missed when you anchor up here (see photo from anchorage attached) it’s a very well looked after property owned and operated by Christine and Sam Tawake-Bachofner. At first we thought it was a private residence, as there is no signage on the beach front, but then we saw a bunch of people leave with suitcases etc. We attempted to call them up on the VHF, but later (at a delicious dinner there) found out they don’t have a VHF. BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU GOING HERE because it is awesome! Give them a bell on their mobile if you have a sim card +679 992 1621, they’ll be happy to welcome you ashore.
That afternoon Jim headed ashore in his kayak to suss out the place. A great idea before you attempt to dinghy in, as the area is a marine reserve so it’s a good way to familiarise yourself with getting to land. Jim’s mission was to figure out if they were ok with us anchoring there and see if there was any dinner available, Mike had also asked Jim to find out if they had any cold beer in the fridge, as MOONFISH was plum out.
Jim came paddling back after finding out that dinner was definitely available; a set menu of entrée, main and dessert at a cruiser friendly price! The Lawaki Beach House is cruiser friendly, and loves welcoming sailors ashore, you won’t find them in the 2017 Fiji Mariners Guide, but they are planning to get into the next edition. Alas Jim announced that there was no beer, as they don’t have a liquor license, but they were ok with us bringing our own – even better we thought! So wine and assorted drinks were popped into the freezer in preparation.
Jim and Linaire had wanted to come and see MOONFISH, so they headed over in their tender for a sundowner and then we headed into land together on Panthera’s tender. After one hair raising moment, finding ourselves (all of a sudden) on top of a rather large coral bommie (it was dark and our torch skills were a little lacking), Christine came down to the beach with a torch and showed us the way in. There is no path through the coral to the resort, and at low tide it is shallow so bring shoes or jandals with you just in case. The area is a Marine Reserve, and there is a pole outside the Lawaki resort highlighting the sacrificial part of the reef that can be used to tender into the beach. Stay south of the pole in your tender, in other words keep the pole to your port side.
The Lawaki Beach House is such a great place, it has a lovely chilled out vibe, with beautiful lawns featuring stepping stones to the restaurant area, coconut husks have been transformed into hanging baskets with tropical plants overflowing. Christine’s dogs are very well behaved, but will protect the resort early morning and throughout the night, so we were told to be wary approaching the Lawaki Beach House early in the morning as the dogs would come to see who was approaching.
Dinner was great, we had a very tasty pumpkin soup as the entrée with a massive load of garlic bread, then our main was reef fish (Snapper), with rice, and stir fried vegetables, and a massive side salad with fresh tomato, cucumber and lettuce was also presented for each person (Sasha was in heaven!). Dessert was a fruit salad with cute little heart shaped ginger and pumpkin cake morsels. The thing that got us most about this place is the LOVE that goes into everything, it is very well maintained, Christine took us on a tour of the accommodation which is (like everything there) well looked after and presented very well. A great stop, off the beaten track, but not for long so get in and experience it before the whole world turns up!
Gosh food tastes so good after a passage! We just sat down to american style hotcake pancakes, with 100 percent real canadian maple syrup and crispy strips of honey smoked bacon. Mike is now in a food coma in bed. We had a great passage from Fulaga to here. We hooked up a new fish for us, and Mike fried some of it in butter with salt and pepper for dinner last night, it was DELICIOUS! A clean tasting fish, no fishy or salty notes, white flesh that flakes beautifully. We now have a new target species. I wonder if small billed spear fish are also known as walu? Can?t wait to get some internet, we have service coverage here, but the oh-so-smart network providers here won?t let you top up using their website for free, like Vodafone NZ does. So until we can get to some wifi, we have no internet as we can?t top up without internet. Go figure! Mike spotted a whale just as the sun set. With the wind at our aft quarter, it was a lovely easy passage, with the trades staying consistent throughout the night. We hit just over 13 knots at one point. Sasha did the first shift until about 1am, and then Mike took over from then to about 5:30am. We are both ready for a sleep, in fact Mike is already out to it.
Mappy emailed Sasha and explained NZ has quite a cold burst creeping up the country at the moment, with sleet forecast for Mt Wellington! That?s cold for sure! We hope everyone is warm and toasty and inside! The weirdest thing just happened, the boat is anchored, and there is the odd gust, but the wheel just did a 180 by itself! That has never happened before! Must have been some current or something to turn the rudders that quickly! Bit odd eh! All well on board, will be a quiet one today, Mike is asleep and Sasha is about to watch the much anticipated Moana, of which she will probably see a quater of it before she too falls asleep.
This evening we plan to head into for a well earned cold beer at the resort just across the way from where we are anchored.
Well, we are on our way to the Astrolabe Reef, or somewhere south of Fiji?s Viti Levu, and we just caught a fish! We think it is a Short Billed Spear Fish! Bu of Mahia was still in VHF range, so we rang Mahia up and asked what they thought it was, and whether it was worth bringing aboard for eating. Bu said yip, we could fry it or smoke it. What a amazing coloured fish (photos to come), it?s a very thin, long fish, with a short bill, and a dorsal fin almost the length of it?s entire slender back. First time we have ever caught or seen anything like it! It was a iridescent deep purple, almost the same colour as the ocean.
Anyway, that?s all for now, all well on board.
Just realised our last update probably didn?t get through as I forgot one of the templates bits to make the auto-bot do it?s thing, this is our second attempt to send this update. Sorry if it?s a double up.
Firstly a wee apology for the typos in the last couple of YIT updates, I am not sure if it?s the apple auto correct, or Sasha unconsciously typing ?where? instead of ?we?re? or ?were? but she just re-read the last couple of YIT updates and is rather embarrassed by the number of errors. Ah the joys of free flow writing! Today is the day, we are leaving beautiful Fulaga (pronounced Fulanga). Sasha believes the primary reason for the departure is the distinct lack of beer left in MOONFISH?s stores. Captain Mike isn?t 100% sure WHERE we will head, but it looks like North Astrolabe Reef could be a goer, all depends how the sailing is, and how we feel when we get a bit closer.
Sasha is pretty keen to check out The Pearl Resort Marina, with is located on the south side of Viti Levu (Fiji?s main island), and is west of Suva, it?s close to Beqa pronounced Benga. Sasha is hoping there is a spa there, as she has promised Mike and herself a good sports massage. ah Dreams! When you leave a place like Fulaga it makes you think of all the memories you have made there. There are so many things we have done here, we found (in ankle deep waters) the vine like Nama, the miniature grapes that pop in your mouth releasing the salty flavour of the sea. We?ve kited at several different spots throughout the lagoon, we?ve played with whales and sharks, snorkled the most amazing pass, full with all sorts of coral as the current carried us along with ease. Sasha got to see a coral cabbage patch, finally! And it went on for ages! We?ve eaten at the village, things like grated boiled cassava, island spinach, delicate little clams and more. We?ve enjoyed sundowners in quite possible the best ever locations, white sandy beaches on our very own islets. We?ve been on paddle board safaris, and dinghy safaris, listened to the bird song in the mornings, and listened to the fish eating at night. Last night we had our leaving dinner with Team Mahia and Team Riada, Pauline had made a pork roast with crackling much to Mike?s delight. Sasha brought over a butterflied lamb with garlic and rosemary ?injected? into it. We all enjoyed an amazing dinner with roasted kumara and pumpkin, boiled new potatoes (Sasha is still wondering how Pauline managed to have so much root vegetables still), we had peas as well! And then Pauline rocked out a boat made apple and blackberry pie with whipped cream! What a fantastic night, many a giggle was had. One of the best things about cruising is these types of nights, where you get a bunch of people who are just such good sorted and you can chat and chat and have such a fun time.
Anyway, that?s all for now, Tony and Marg from Taranui 3 just arrived at Fulaga with spare eggs, so we?ve gonna head over and see if we can ?purchase? 6. oh yeah! Living the dream!
Firstly a wee apology for the typos in the last couple of YIT updates, I am not sure if it?s the apple auto correct, or Sasha unconsciously typing ?where? instead of ?we?re? or ?were? but she just re-read the last couple of YIT updates and is rather embarrassed by the number of errors. Ah the joys of free flow writing! Today is the day, we are leaving beautiful Fulaga (pronounced Fulanga). Sasha believes the primary reason for the departure is the distinct lack of beer left in MOONFISH?s stores. Captain Mike isn?t 100% sure WHERE we will head, but it looks like North Astrolabe Reef could be a goer, all depends how the sailing is, and how we feel when we get a bit closer. Sasha is pretty keen to check out The Pearl Resort Marina, with is located on the south side of Viti Levu (Fiji?s main island), and is west of Suva, it?s close to Beqa pronounced Benga. Sasha is hoping there is a spa there, as she has promised Mike and herself a good sports massage. ah Dreams! When you leave a place like Fulaga it makes you think of all the memories you have made there. There are so many things we have done here, we found (in ankle deep waters) the vine like Nama, the miniature grapes that pop in your mouth releasing the salty flavour of the sea. We?ve kited at several different spots throughout the lagoon, we?ve played with whales and sharks, snorkled the most amazing pass, full with all sorts of coral as the current carried us along with ease. Sasha got to see a coral cabbage patch, finally! And it went on for ages! We?ve eaten at the village, things like grated boiled cassava, island spinach, delicate little clams and more. We?ve enjoyed sundowners in quite possible the best ever locations, white sandy beaches on our very own islets. We?ve been on paddle board safaris, and dinghy safaris, listened to the bird song in the mornings, and listened to the fish eating at night. Last night we had our leaving dinner with Team Mahia and Team Riada, Pauline had made a pork roast with crackling much to Mike?s delight. Sasha brought over a butterflied lamb with garlic and rosemary ?injected? into it. We all enjoyed an amazing dinner with roasted kumara and pumpkin, boiled new potatoes (Sasha is still wondering how Pauline managed to have so much root vegetables still), we had peas as well! And then Pauline rocked out a boat made apple and blackberry pie with whipped cream! What a fantastic night, many a giggle was had. One of the best things about cruising is these types of nights, where you get a bunch of people who are just such good sorted and you can chat and chat and have such a fun time.
Anyway, that?s all for now, Tony and Marg from Taranui 3 just arrived at Fulaga with spare eggs, so we?ve gonna head over and see if we can ?purchase? 6. oh yeah! Living the dream!
We?ve just moved from this spot. It was a stunning bay, framed by Fulaga?s now infamous rock islets. We had a great time in this spot, and even had 3PM sundowners with Team Mahia and Team Riada on The Most Awesome beach near by, with it?s very own natural harbour bridge, made out of rock. (photo to follow on Insta). This morning, Bu (Malibu?s new shorter nickname) picked us up around 8:30am - we?d planned the evening before to all hope on Mahia and head out the pass for a spot of fishing. WELL! What an epic fishing session! While still watching for reef and rocks as we navigated the pass, the women on the front still spotting exclaimed when all of a sudden out of no where there was two rather large rocks to our port that we hadn?t noticed up until that point. It took a few seconds to register the rocks where large whales, we think they were of the Hump Back variety. The Mahia Whale Watching Tour began then, and we spend a good while following (at a respectable distance) these two massive whales as they played just off the reef of Fulaga. They dove several times, showing us their entire tails, it was so amazing we were all jumping up and down, so excited to be seeing what we where seeing. While whale watching we also spotted one of the largest turtles Sasha has ever seen in the ocean, he was a biggie! Once the whales headed off, it was time for a Shark Snorkel, Sasha was less than keen, but Pauline and Mike were keen, and that encouraged Sasha to go too. We headed back into the pass, where Bu dropped us at the start of the pass (closest to the land) and we snorkelled and drifted from the inside to the outside. It?s a great feeling going with the current, it feels like flying, especially as you fly over large coral heads, and through schools of fish. Sasha spotted the first of MANY reef sharks, hanging around the bottom, not really bothered by us it seemed. Sasha had to grab Pauline?s hand several times for a little more courage, as there were several sharks, and some got a little more curious that Sasha expected. Once at the other end of the pass, Mahia came through the entrance, and Sasha made a quick sprint to the back of the boat, while Mike and Pauline hung back watching all the sea life happen literally a couple of metres under the boat.
It was an absolutely fantastic morning?. once back we moved to another beautiful spot. Soon to be YIT?d as well.
Surrounded by rock islets, many of which seem to be defying physics as they sit on the tiniest amount of rock, and plume out into massive mushroom rock structures above. Such a pretty anchorage. Photos will follow on instagram.
Bula land lubbers! Yes? we are still in Fulaga and just anchored around the corner from our last YIT update.
Yesterday, after several days of prep (more on that shortly) Sasha attempted to make another pineapple and lime yoghurt-cheesecake, this time not baked, and whoa darn was it a goodie. It takes a bit of time because as you can imagine the usual main ingredient cream cheese is NO WHERE to be found here in Fulaga. I have promised Lisa (who we met with her hubby Dan on SV Meari last cruising season) and Roxy (from Team Skypond) the recipe, so instead of the first baked version I am going to give you all the second attempt no-bake recipe here, and then add it to facebook/instagram once we get some internet and can get a photo uploaded of it. She was a beaut!! SV MOONFISH?S Pineapple & Lime Yo-Cheesecake TOOLS YOU?LL NEED 1. Blender (we have a nutribullet on board, and LOVE it) 2. Non-stick 20cm cake tin with a spring base (sorry not sure what to call it, it?s a cake tin where you can release the sides, and the base separates from the sides, making it a hell of a lot easier to get the cheesecake out in one piece) 3. A level of boredom or should I say a desire so strong for cheesecake that it drives you to spend several days making enough yoghurt and letting it sit and drain for days. On a boat this requires significant refrigerator space management, as well as a keen eye in the morning to ensure said yoghurt is not eaten for breakfast by a hungry Mike. Rest assured many a conversation about the gratification of delayed gratification was had.
50g of good butter (do not use margarine. Margarine is horrible stuff, and not worthy of use - this is Sasha-law) THE FILLING 1 litre of thick creamy greek yoghurt (with ALL OF THE WHEY drained out of it) 2 tsp?s of vanilla essence (use the real stuff here too, it?s just better) Two thirds of the Pineapple and Lime drizzle topping (see below) 6 tsp?s of gelatine mixed up with 1 cup (250mls) of hot water and left to swell for 10 mins THE DRIZZLE TOPPING Half a cup of brown sugar (yes you can use white, we just don?t have white sugar on the boat, we never do, Sasha figures the less processed brown sugar is slightly better for you, but has not proof of this) 5 rings of canned pineapple (use fresh if you can get it, nice work if you can get it here in Fulaga!) 3 Tbsp?s of the pineapple juice 1 Tbsp of lime juice (also from a packet, but fresh is best!) Note: We also have passionfruit pulp onboard for yoghurt and cocktails etc, this was a mighty fine addition to the topping as well, if you have it (see photos on instagram which include the passionfruit pulp) PREPARATION OF THE CREAM CHEESE SUBSTITUTE To make 1 litre of thick, creamy, luxurious GREEK yoghurt, there are several stages? INGREDIENTS 1. 800ml water 2. 12 to 13 Tbsp?s of full fat, whole milk powder 3. 3-4 Tbsp?s whey liquid (from your last drained batch of yoghurt) Step 1. In a saucepan mix up 800ml of water with 12 to 13 heaped Tbsp?s of good quality FULL FAT whole milk powder (I refuse to say the brand, but New Zealand ones are best).
Step 2. Heat the saucepan of milk until it is scalding hot - BUT DO NOT BOIL IT (this changes the proteins in the milk, or does something scientifically neat (see kids science is fun!) that means it?s one step closer to becoming thick creamy yoghurt) Step 3. Let the milk cool, Sasha often pours the milk at this point into her Easiyo plastic jar, so the milk-skin that forms, is easier to deal with. Pouring the milk after that milk-skin sets is a little more difficult.
Step 4. Use your little finger to check the milk temperature, when it doesn?t sting your little finger anymore it?s ready for you to add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the whey liquid from your last batch of yoghurt. The milk should be lukewarm, the perfect temperature for the starter culture you are about to add to breed. You can also use a couple of tablespoons of fresh yoghurt, or you can use a store bought starter.
Step 5. Boil kettle, and while that is boiling, add the whey ?starter? into the lukewarm milk and stir gently, then pop the lid on the jar of milk and starter mixture. Note: Sasha actually pours 1 cup of milk out into a cup and adds the starter to that, then mixes, and pours that back into the rest of the jar. Something she read somewhere told her to do that.
Step 6. Now follow the usual easiyo process, pop the boiling water into the easiyo maker thermos thingy, put the jar in there, and leave it for at least 12 hours? yes it takes longer for a milk based yoghurt to set.
Step 7. Once set, set up a sieve, with a cheese cloth (or muslin cloth) laid inside over a bowl, and pour the yoghurt into the muslin cloth. Chuck this whole set up into the fridge, and leave for another 12 hours. The whey liquid will drip into the bowl, leaving thick, beautiful creamy yoghurt in the sieve.
Step 8. Repeat all of these steps to create enough yoghurt to make a nice high cheesecake.
METHOD TO MAKE THE YO-CHEESECAKE 1. Blend or grind up the biscuits, and chuck this powdered biscuit into the bottom of your cake tin 2. Pour in the melted butter, and mix. Then press down the mixture to make the base of the cheesecake 3. Chuck all the (thick as cream cheese) yoghurt into a large bowl, add the vanilla essence, and two thirds of the drizzle topping mix well 4. Add the prepared gelatine, and mix well again 5. Pour the yoghurt mixture over the base and gently drop the cake tin a few times to remove any bubbles 6. Chuck the tin in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or until set. You can tell when it?s set as the cheesecake will wiggle but not slop around 7. Run a knife around the edge of the tin and the set cheesecake, then release the spring tin side and hope like hell the cake stays in one piece.
8. Pour the left over drizzle topping over the top, and it?s really well and truly delicious to eat there and then! 9. But? if you want something reminiscent of the old school KFC passionfruit cheesecake, then spoon a few tablespoons of passionfruit pulp over the top and you have what quite possible is The Best Damn Yo-Cheesecake in the whole South Pacific.
Right, we?ll leave it there for this YIT update, as Sasha is in the middle of baking her first ever cornbread to go with some good ol? american style chili that will be tonight?s dinner, and she needs to check it?s not burning in the oven.
It?s hard to put into words just how beautiful and different Fulaga (or Vulaga as Navionics has it named) is compared to the other parts of Fiji MOONFISH has visited. The place is stunning, a massive milky turquoise lagoon, many white sandy beaches, with hundreds of limestone rock islets, all featuring their very own bonsai garden hairdo. Turtles make themselves known by popping their heads up every once and a while for a breath, only to register the fleet nearby and quickly retreat back to the depths again. Fish often break the water as they feed, and we?ve even spotted the odd baby black tip reef shark skirting around the edges of the islets. It?s funny you know, some of the cruisers in the fleet are loving the isolation and the lack of infrastructure here. Some have voiced their dislike of resorts and places like Musket Cove with the ease and luxury they offer; the hot showers, salt water resort pools, choice of restaurants and cafe and of course the infamous island bar with it?s icy cold beer and tropical cocktails. Others (including Sasha) find it a little disconcerting that the closest store is several days sail away. Cabbage and carrot is but a distant, tasty memory of crunch and nutrition. Sasha never thought she would want for cabbage and carrot so much while in Fiji, (a mainstay vege for cruisers in the South Pacific) but alas here at Fulaga there is none that we can find, there is no store here. Apparently trading is the key here, however it just feels plain wrong taking food from the villagers, although we have traded for some plantain and pawpaw. Don?t get the wrong idea though, Fulaga has to be one of the most well set up villages MOONFISH has seen, the majority (if not all) of the houses have solar panels on poles outside, with inverters inside connected to wired up lighting, but more on the village later.
Sasha loves cruising, loves the adventure, but definitely loves doing it with a stocked yacht, full of eggs, meat, and veg. There is something absolutely wonderful about heading out on an adventure, into an unknown sea but taking all the creature comforts of home with you. Lately however with a distinct lack of fresh veg Sasha has found it a little less inspiring to cook, something that she usually loves to do when she has all the time in the world to cook what every she would like. With only one egg left, that is being saved for another yoghurt cream cheese cake, we had chia seed (our only egg substitute) ripe plantain fritters for supper last night. We didn?t need a big dinner as we had spent the day in the village at a potluck lunch. Sasha thinks today for dinner she will rock out a traditional roast lamb with not so traditional instant mash potato and dried surprise peas, our only ?real? vege on the boat, apart from an onion or two.
We?ve been at Fulaga for quite a few days now, Mike?s been out for a couple of kites off the sand spit, but says the wind is gusty and it?s difficult to stay up wind. We have visited one of the 3 villages twice now, on our first visit we were allocated a host family, Rebecca (mum), with two boys, Dan (13) and John (17), and one little five year old girl named Eleanor. We sat with them, in their lounge room, no bigger than 3 by 4 metres, sitting on the floor on the handmade flax matting, drinking coconuts with straws made by mother nature - pretty cool! It?s hard to put into words how welcoming these people are, and how organised their village is, all the while they have so little when you look at it from a westerners perspective. Yesterday during our second and final visit we offered our host family a little care package; a few of Mike?s board shorts for the boys, as well as lures, hooks and other fishing gear. We added watercolour colouring pencils and some biro pens for Eleanor, and a few t-shirts for Rebecca etc. It was a little sad to see how expected it was when we arrived. Each host family seemed to expect something. The head elders running the village have really thought this ?host? family strategy through and seem to be doing rather well out of it. A couple of the cruisers did note that this was a village not at all in need of the basics, unlike some of the other villages in the Yasawa?s etc. There was plenty of carvings on display for sale, Mike chose a bowl in the shape of a frangipani with turtles and shells carved into it, and Sasha chose a small dolphin. The kindergarten children put on a dance, and asked for donations, then we were asked for donations for the potluck lunch by our Fleet leader, and then asked for more donations for a carved mask that one of the village men had made with all of the yachts names on it. By this point we had no money left. When it was time to leave we were asked by our host family to attend Church on Sunday, to which we declined, as we knew this would require further donations. If you can sense Sasha?s disappointment you?d be bang on the money with my current demeanour, I am all for user pays, and I have travelled enough to know that nothing is free. However I cannot help but feel we were put through the motions somewhat here, and that the path we trod was well worn. Perhaps Sasha?s expectations of the magical Fulaga were a little too idealistic? After all money is what makes the world go around, as much as we?d all sometimes like to deny it. However, there is no denying how beautiful this place is, how unique it is, and how I hope the village elders can retain control over Fulaga?s pristine environment, as this place surely is an absolute natural wonder and we are very grateful and thankful that we can be here and enjoy it.
We made it to our destination Fulaga without any issues, we had a great passage that was kick started around 5:30pm with both reels whizzing off - double hit! We reeled in two massive yellow fin tuna! TARGET SPECIES!! Suffice to say we are very popular at the moment in the anchorage, with many a sailor explaining they really like tuna to us at this evenings beach sundowners. More to come, but now it?s time for sleep. Ps just realised for some reason our lat and long were not updating on the map. We?ve fixed the ones that weren?t showing when we had some internet, hopefully this one works?? oh! and we CANNOT WAIT TO KITE HERE!! IT?S GOT AN AMAZING SANDBAR!!! oh and Clive and Jill, Debbie or SHOEY says hi!
It feels like we are anchored in a massive version of the log flume ride at Rainbows end (without the cave gnomes). We've just come back from a short stand up paddle, around some of the mushroom islands, each complete with their very own rock garden, no doubt the result of a master gardener efforts. The water here is reminiscent of the overly chlorinated bumper boat pool (also at Rainbows End), its milky turquoise colour tricks you into believing this is just one massive stage in some warner brothers movie set. A two minute paddle north from this anchorage finds you surrounded by little rock garden islets, and in the centre a perfect, natural swimming pool made by Mother Nature herself. Sasha can hardly believe this place is real, it all looks too beautiful.
We're here for the afternoon waiting until around 4pm where we will head out of the reef and sail south to our next destination Fulaga. The word is, it's a stunning magical place, where sailors visit intending to stay for a week, but end up there for months - must be some very pretty mermaids to have that sort of effect on the nomadic ways of cruisers. If you get a chance hop on google earth and check this anchorage out, it's just amazing!
All well on board, although we have started to miss broccoli.
Short update to place in the YIT diary, Horse Bay (not Horse Shoe Bay as many a cruiser was calling it over the vhf while we were there). A lovely anchorage, with white sandy beaches, and large grumpy looking crabs. We celebrated Justin's (from Team Lola) birthday on the beach. Snorkling and swimming around here is great, lovely coral, even some staghorn, which we were very surprised to spot.
Community Notice: WE HAVE NO INTERNET SERVICE HERE, so please do not think us rude if you are emailing or texting our cellphones as we can?t get internet at the moment. If you need to contact us please email short emails to moonfish @ on sat mail . com (with all the spaces removed, cause we have received large size email spam to our satellite email inbox, which would prove VERY dangerous if this was to occur on passage as it means we cannot download emails - damn you spammers!) - we check this every couple of days.
Our last morning in Bavatu Harbour was a rather special one. We?ve been cruising with Mahia, Lola, Taranui 2, Sharpe Focus, and Lulu, and to communicate with them we?ve all been on a specific VHF channel so we can keep in touch, but not annoy the rest of the ICA fleet. Anyway around 5:30am on the morning of June 27th 2017, Lola announced that the Kiwi?s had done it, they had reclaimed the America?s Cup. What followed was a round of hoots and yahoo?s on the VHF, and then Mal-ibu on Mahia announced that a champagne breakfast was in order, with eggs, bacon and bubbles a must! We all headed over, Sasha had made up some special baked beans, with chilli powder and some fried onion, Pauline on Mahia had been hard at work making a lovely fruit salad and scrambled eggs, someone (Sasha is not sure who) made beautiful corn fritters, another person had bought sausages, and many had bought bacon which the boys got sorted on the BBQ. With bubbles and pineapple juice, coffees and teas in hand and a massive cruiser potluck breakfast (a first for Mike and Sasha) we toasted to Team New Zealand, and tucked into the food. It was an absolutely superb way to celebrate the win, and all enjoyed another great communal meal, with lots of different dishes to try. After breakfast it was time to head ashore to the yacht club building that was uninhabited, due to the fact it was still being rebuilt from cyclone winston 18 months ago. The flag pole required the flags to ensure the moment was appropriately acknowledged, so we all headed over on the tenders, and raised the NZ flag, and a silver fern flag, and took our photo to capture the moment. Then it was time to adventure around the yacht club building. Tony off Taranui 2 told us it had been a great place to meet, have a cold beer, and do a spot of barbecuing, alas it was still in rebuild mode when we visited it, but we did manage to jump off the dive board / plank that had been constructed over the edge of the stone cliff, which was great fun.
After that it was time to weigh anchor and head to the next anchorage further east, just as we headed out of the mouth of the anchorage, we saw a large number of the ICA fleet heading for Bavatu, so our timing was perfect to stay away from the crowds. Last night anchored here at Horse Bay, after a much needed afternoon nap Mike and Sasha welcomed team Mahia and team Lola aboard for drinks, which turned into a BBQ for dinner. Now we plan to head back to the Bay of Islands, which we skipped as the entire ICA fleet were heading there when we up?d anchor at Daliconi village. Each bay is as stunning as the next, with crabs running along the white sandy beaches. Mike and Sasha do enjoy the calm bays of the Lau, and have seen abundant fish life on their snorkelling adventures, with many a turtle, and even a Nemo or two! They are also pretty excited about getting to some of the outer islands to the amazing looking kite and surf spots around the Lau too.
On Sunday the 25th of June, we up?d anchor and headed away from Daliconi village, after a wonderful feast, and not after we headed into shore in the morning to give Simeti (who we met up the hill) a little thank you parcel for giving us a drinking coconut and showing us around his property. Simeti was so lovely, that he went down and got another coconut for us - Sasha was a little worried that we were taking a limited supply of food from Simeti and his family because cyclone Winston from 2015 had wiped out most of the coconut trees. Here?s some facts we have learnt? it takes 3 years for a coconut tree to fruit, and a coconut tree apparently grows one frond for each of it?s years of lift, so a 12 year old coconut tree has 12 fronds, if (of course) it doesn?t get them all blow off by a cyclone. Any way we said our goodbyes, and Sasha asked Simeji?s wife how they cooked the taro leaf dish, as it was sooo delicious, apparently you just take the taro leaf, cover it with the juice of the coconut, then boil it, and then take your canned corn beef, and chopped onion and wrap up the beef and onion in the boiled coconut leaf and then bake it. Just delicious! Anyway, we headed out of the anchorage, and motored past most of the rally fleet all heading to the Bay of Islands. We plan to do that later, once the crowds have gone. We instead motored around the point and headed to Bavatu Harbour, where Colin from the sailing yacht Lulu introduced himself by heading over in his tender. Turns out Colin and his wife Glenys berth their boat in the same marina as Pete and Margo (the parental units we are still trying to adopt) and they also know our mates Clive and Jill! It?s one small world that?s for sure! Colin was coming over to let us know they were heading up the hill (nay MOUNTAIN) for a walk, and wondered if we would like to join, as they had been here before and could show us a great lookout spot over the Lau?s bay of islands. We accepted the invite, and shortly after headed into the tiny little bay, with a very small jetty and met them all in there, Mike and Marcia (friends and crew on Lulu) were there as well, so the six of us set off, up a dirt road, that soon became two narrow concrete paths, (driveway-esk). We all thought the place looked like something out of Jurassic Park, and walking (Nay climbing) up the road it felt like again we had wandered into some botanical gardens, with purple and green flax type shrubs looking too perfect, and too placed to be natural. Eventually the road gave way to a large clearing, that reminded Sasha of some type of apocalyptic battlefield. Large coconut trees lay strewn around like a game of pick up sticks, we later found out that most of these victims were over 100 years old. Cyclone Winston had wiped out over three quarters of the plantation. A derelict virgin coconut oil processing plant looked more like something out of a zombie movie, the only thing that moved was the hundreds of geckos (not sure of spelling sorry - tiny lizards), those and the ANTS! As soon as you stopped moving they were straight onto your feet, and right up your legs. We all took a few more sprays of the insect repellent that Team Lulu had cleverly brought with them.
We walked on, through very healthy looking cows, horses and funny looking orange sheep, which we later found out were a hybrid ?goat-sheep?. When we reached the small village, surrounded by a volcanic stone wall (reminiscent of Cornwall Park in Auckland), Colin shouted out a few ?Bula?s!? and we were greeted by Filipo a tall, slender Fijian man with a neat bunch of short dresdlocks situated at the back of his short shaved head. Filipo okay?s us to walk up to the lookout that overlooked the Bay of islands (photos to follow on Facebook and Instagram) but said if we wanted to walk around the houses on the edge of the cliff he would need to take us. A great days walk, with some epic look out photos taken, a real adventure. Team Lulu were super organised, and had brought with them a pile of neatly folded t-shirts and a cap, which they gave to Filipo after he said his goodbyes and pointed in the direction of the staircase that would lead us back down to the jetty. The staircase (photo also to follow) was like something out of a salvado dali painting, dotted with all sorts of tropical plants, it felt like we were walking through a massive bird aviary sanctuary. That evening we invited the Lulu team aboard to check out MOONFISH and have a few sundowners. Sasha made yet another great recipe from the Boat Galley Cookbook, this time one of the three refried bean dips, it?s a warm dip, with cheese, onion and some spices, and it went down a treat, and reminded Marcia and Glenys of them time in Mexico and Las Vegas, which led to a number of great travel stories, and made Sasha extra proud, because it sounds like the dip tasted just as it should have.
Well, we have to cut this short, as Mike is staring at Sasha right now, wondering why she is not ready to head over to Sharpe Focus for drinks and dinner.
Catch ya! Team Moonfish out.
Warning, long update ahead, grab a cuppa and enjoy. Oh how the world is a different place with a full tummy and a good night?s sleep! Yesterday Sasha and Mike woke refreshed after a very peaceful night?s rest. There is no need for duvets or sheets, it?s so hot and humid the air is enough of a blanket. On the morning of Friday 23rd June 2017, they enjoyed a hot cuppa in the saloon and with renewed spirit familiarised themselves with Lau charts, ?Fun and Frustrations in Fiji? by David Mitchell, and the Fiji sections in ?South Pacific Anchorages? by Warwick Clay, and ?The Pacific Crossing Guide? by Michael Pocock and Ros Hogbin.
As promised in the last short YIT update (posted to ensure family knew we were safe and sound) here is a rundown of the passage from Tonga to Lomaloma, Daliconi Village. Moonfish left Neiafu harbour, in Tonga?s Vava?u group mid-morning on the 20th of June in a leisurely state. There had been much radio chatter among the ICA fleet about the lack of desire to arrive at our destination in the dark, due to the unfamiliar route through Vanua Balavu?s infamous reef system. As mentioned previously, MOONFISH is not a sailing yacht that likes to go slowly, in fact her inability to do so has never really been an issue for us, until this passage. So, Sasha and Mike sat at Neiafu and enjoyed a relaxed morning, watching, as the rest of the rally fleet left, and then leisurely untied themselves from the mooring ball and headed out the harbour, to Faihava passage, where they did their 180 into the wind (close to Tungasika island) to put the mainsail up, with two reefs in. With backs to the land, they said their goodbyes to Tonga, and dreamed about the stunning turquoise blue lagoons of the Southern Lau in Fiji. A short while later as they sailed out into the big blue in togs, one of the reels let out the tell tail 'whizzzzzzz' sound and the small amount of headsail was quickly furled away to slow down the boat and better manage its position in relation to where the fish and (importantly) the fishing line went (no one wants a prop with fishing line wrapped around it in the middle of the ocean). Mike jumped on the reel and Sasha was on helm, maneuvering the back of the boat based on Mike?s instructions, so Mike could best reel in, whatever had taken the lure. Turned out to be yet another Skipjack, just as unappealing as the first one we caught. We know you can bleed them, and they can be great eating, but with a freezer full of good NZ meat, and with our taste buds ruined by mahimahi and yellowfin tuna, we threw it back. At this point we had a couple of yachts in sight, and we didn't even spare a thought to the other 28 yachts out further ahead. However, as evening succumbed to night we had reached the rest of the fleet, that is where the ?fun? began. Sasha took a photo of the chart plotter with the AIS lit up like a Christmas tree, it was one of those moments that wouldn't be believed unless there was ocular proof. To be in the middle of the ocean, the middle of nowhere and be surrounded by boats so much so, that it's like your sailing in a harbour (a really rough one) is a very weird feeling. There were yachts everywhere, and not just one or two, but twenty odd to try and avoid, in the pitch black, with no moon until the Cheshire cat's grin appeared in the early hours of the morning. At one point, we had a yacht showing up on the AIS plotter as very close to us, but with our night vision well and truly adjusted we couldn't see anything close by. At that point, Mike took out the flood light and pointed it in the direction of the mysteriously close yacht. This was to be one of the most frightening moments so far aboard MOONFISH, as both Mike and Sasha laid eyes on a boat very close to the stern, with NO lights on. Sasha got on the radio, (which had been very well used over the past several hours by a lot of the fleet checking on the courses of boats around them as their routes converged) and called the yacht on 8VHF, but there was no reply, again she called but nothing. The with angst she tried 16VHF saying the name of the boat and then repeating "You have no lights! You have no lights! Finally, a sleepy voice answered and all of a sudden, they were completely flooded with light, not just the tri colour on the top of the mast, but a bright light that flooded the entire front deck of the boat. Mike turned on the motors, increasing our speed and the space between us and the yacht, and we watched as the lights of the yacht joined the glow of the other yachts at a comfortable distance.
On the second day Sasha made a fresh pineapple and lime baked cheesecake, made with yoghurt cream cheese, a ginger nut base and a pineapple and lime drizzle. It became dinner and fresh out of the oven, it didn't really taste like the flavours melded well. Lunch was the main meal of that day, delicious fried plantain chips, Japanese cucumber salad (thanks to yet another recipe from the Boat Galley cookbook) ? which is proving to be a very worthy galley comrade) and Mexican mince and beans. During the night while Sasha was on shift, the wind up our butt, was shifting. As Mike went for a well-earned (and needed) sleep, he said to Sasha 'just keep an eye on the windex, we don't want to crash gybe'. Famous last words! About half way through Sasha's shift, as she lay in the saloon watching a movie. Caveat: she was being responsible, she had her alarm set for every ten minutes to do a visual check, and had the iPad set up with a mirror image of the chart plotter, so she could keep track of speed, heading and the boats on AIS. The one thing she couldn't keep track of in the saloon was the windex. And guess what? The wind shifted. A rookie mistake, that Sasha will never make again. MOONFISH's big mainsail (albeit with one reef in it) back winded. The preventer worked as it should have (stopping any major crash gybe from happening), however it was a big eye opener for Sasha, as the force of the sail back winded, made it impossible to steer. Sasha was forced to turn off the auto pilot and try to correct things manually, in in the hope that she could correct the yachts course and in doing so correct the sail. Alas, the sheer force meant there was no way she could correct the situation through steering. In a panic, Sasha screamed for Mike to wake up as she was holding the steering wheel as far as it would turn and it was futile. She was too frightened to let it go of the wheel to go wake Mike up in a more pleasant manner, just in case it sent the boat hurling in some other unwanted direction. Bear in mind all of this would be ok, and far less stressful if it wasn't for the large number of yachts surrounding us, at this point we had completed a right angle turn and were heading directly towards a yacht. Mike woke up, hopped up into the cockpit and slowly and smoothly eased the preventer, and then slowly pulled the traveler so the boom eased its way across to the other side, then he sorted the wheel and got the boat back on track, and turned auto back on and went back to bed. Sasha's panic slowly subsided, and tiredness took its place.
Mike took over helm around midnight as this coincided with us reaching our first waypoint, which meant we were getting close to Fiji's reefs, and navigating the boat would become more complicated with set routes required to be followed to ensure we stayed off the reefs ? our primary objective, apart from hitting other yachts.
After one early morning requirement for Sasha to get up to steer 180, (to take the wind out of the mainsail), so Mike could put another reef in, Mike woke Sasha around 7am to help look for coral bommies as we motored into the final reef system, before Daliconi village. After MOONFISH had cleared the last major reef pass, Sasha climbed down from sitting on the stack pack (one of the highest vantage points on MOONFISH) and was walking back to the cockpit where Mike was, when they both noticed a yacht motoring quickly to their port side. Way out of the line of all the other yachts. The cautious fleet was following one by one in a line navigating through the reef passes. The yacht was heading straight towards the reef, Mike had just called them on 16VHF to warn them when all of a sudden it was too late, the yacht hit the reef, it?s bow well out of the water, as it tried in vain to motor itself off the bommie. Mike slowed down and turned around to offer assistance, one of the men from the yacht jumped in the water. Sasha got on VHF8 and called to all the yachts behind, some of which had started to follow the stricken yacht. ?Do not follow X yacht! Do not follow X yacht!? Shortly after the yachts reformed the single file line, and slowly made it through the pass, while the man in the water made it to MOONFISH's transom, to discuss options, and ask what the tide was doing and discuss whether we could get a line to their yacht to tow it off. At that point, a local fishing long boat turned up, along with a large monohull with a much larger engine than MOONFISH, and offered a tow. So, Sasha and Mike moved on, as there was a bit of rubber necking going on, but not before Mike offered assistance again via 16VHF to the yacht and said we would go anchor up and sort out a plan with other yachts that could help. Just after anchoring, the yacht was towed to freedom, much to the relief of everyone. This was one of the most sobering moments we have had so far aboard MOONFISH, to make it all that way and then come unstuck in the last 30mins of the passage is heart wrenching, and Sasha couldn?t help but think about how horrid it would be for MOONFISH to be in that situation, our home? stranded, and in such an unfamiliar place. Thank goodness, the yacht in question was very sturdy, and only needed a little patch up job on the keel.
With the drama over, we surveyed our new neighbourhood, Daliconi Village, and tried to calm down a little as the adrenalin was in full force. Mahia with Mal-ilbu and Pauline (the first boat to make it to the final waypoint) were anchored off to our starboard, and low and behold in front of them was Sharpe Focus with Pip and John on the stern, welcoming us with a friendly wave, (We first met Pip and Sharpy at Swashbucklers in Auckland, New Zealand, on the evening that Mike had put his house up for auction, we were sitting in the bar, tending to a much needed calming beer, as the house was sitting with the sole bidder but had not reached the reserve, and they had 24hours to make a decision as to what they were going to do, suffice to say we were anxious as the house sale was required to fund getting MOONFISH to Cat 1 status). Anyway, Sasha was sitting on the stack pack (it holds the mainsail when not in use), to get a better view of any potential coral bommies that may cause issues if we swung on anchor. Her long-distance eyesight isn't the best, so it took her a while to figure out that it was none other than Sharp Focus. It was good to see them and while we waited to start the clearance process, Pip and John rode over in their tender to catch up, they were in good spirits and happy to be adventuring around the beautiful Lau.
A short while later the Biosecurity and quarantine officials came on board, the quarantine lady was a local from Daliconi village, but the Biosecurity man was from Suva, which must be cooler in climate than Daliconi, as he suffered badly from the same affliction as Mike, and could not stop his face from sweating. Poor man, Sasha gave him several handy towels to manage the moisture.
Next was the Yacht Help agent Eli who came aboard selling us a Fiji SIM card that we can?t seem to get working here due to a lack of coverage, then three customs and immigration women who completed our clearance and approved our Fiji Cruising Permit, enabling us to cruise all around Fiji. It was nice for once not to shell out several hundred dollars to clear a country, as it had all been taken care of via the Island Cruising Association fee we had paid to be on the rally. Once we were officially accepted into Fiji we headed over to Mahia, and enjoyed a cold beer, our reward for one of the most challenging passages (according to Sasha). We were all so tired that one beer was enough to feel the affects, and as Mike opened another, Sasha thought it prudent to get an early dinner sorted so there was some substantial food in everyone?s tummies before bedtime, (which turned out to be 6pm). Sasha headed back to MOONFISH around 3pm and started preparing yet another fuss free, awesome, cruising recipe from the Boat Galley book, plainly called Chicken and Rice Casserole, Sasha thinks it should be called Creamy baked Italian Chicken & Almost Risotto. Sasha knows she is going on and on about this Boat Galley Cookbook, but it really is such a great reference on a boat. The recipes often require American brands, but what is so good is the substitution chapter, that tells you how to make virtually any of the American shelf stable products if you don?t have them. This recipe called for something called ?Good Seasons Italian dressing mix? and a 10 ounces (yes there is a measurement conversions chapter too!) of cream of mushroom soup, two things not aboard MOONFISH. So, Sasha made up the substitute ?almost? Good Seasons Italian dressing mix with all the base spices and herbs she had provisioned, and then made up a substitute version of a cream of mushroom soup with milk powder, oxo chicken cubes, the dressing mix, and a can of mushrooms in butter plus a few other ingredients. Then she wacked it in the oven for 45mins to bake, and headed back to Mahia for another beer. Malibu, Pauline, Pip and Sharpy came to dinner that night, and with a few cans of Ratatouille we had a very tasty after passage meal that everyone enjoyed. Sasha was rather pleased with herself, especially after the baked cheesecake didn?t turn out as flash as she had hoped. After our early dinner, Sasha sent a very tired looking Pauline and Malibu home so they could get the rest they needed, and Pip and Sharpy left too so that Mike and Sasha could settle in for the night. Before bed, Mike and Sasha had a cuppa and tried the cheesecake again, this time with a little splash of maple syrup in the pineapple and lime drizzle. WOW! What a difference that made! Perhaps it was the tired state their taste buds were in, or perhaps after the overnight chilling of the gingernut base and yoghurt cream cheese filling but the cheesecake was far more delicious than the fresh out of the oven ?warm? version, and very easy to eat indeed. It was then that Sasha decided it would be good enough to share, and promptly made a mental note to bring a large slice over to Mahia in the morning so they could try it.
More to come, about our adventures visiting Daliconi village, and tips and tricks on how to use up left over Italian flavoured rice for dinner. PS ? hello to our Australian contingent, Auntie Patty and Uncle Craig, we hear from Mappy you are reading our updates, and think we are very adventurous, after this passage Sasha thinks she?s probably just a little crazy doing this ha!
All well on board. What a passage!! Scary with 30 odd yachts all making the same passage, several near misses, one boat ran straight up on to the reef as we watched it. More to come. Just know we are safe and sound, and very tired. Will have a big sleep tonight and share all the goss tomorrow. Ps.. Sasha attempted to make a fresh pineapple and lime baked cheesecake during passage, with boat made yoghurt cream cheese, and a ginger nut biscuit base? filling was nice, base was nice, however together they are NOT a match made in heaven.
We just had a lovely Boat Galley recipe EARLY dinner on MOONFISH with Malibu and Pauline from Mahia and Pip and John from Sharpe Focus. It was a raving success, and was just what Team Moonfish and team Mahia needed before heading to bed. Team Sharpe Focus has been here a day already, and so they are ready to party, but they get why we need to have an early night. Sleep tight everyone, till the morrow.
Sasha?s just taken over on shift, it?s 11pm. It?s official we have left Neiafu, Vava?u, Tonga, and are on our way to the Southern Lau, in Fiji. We?re scheduled to check into Fiji in a small village called Dalicon.
This morning occurred at a leisurely pace, we woke up naturally and had a morning cuppa, tidied the boat, and made up the aft cabin on the starboard side to sleep in. You see the forecast is for the trade winds to blow right up our butt the whole way, with 3 to 4 metre short swell and while a non-sailor may think, yay the wind is with you the whole way? we know that sailing in the lee, or sailing with the wind up your butt is not ideal. MOONFISH likes to sail angles (Sasha supposes all yachts do), wind across the boat, or beam reach is a favourite wind angle, so today we have gybed over the rhum line twice, in-between the other yachts in the ICA rally, to sail at angles in an attempt to have a bit more of a comfortable ride. Yes? comfortable ride, that?s the other thing? we?re not looking for speed during this passage, which is very unusual for us. We are dawdling along at 6 to 7 knots on purpose which not only feels wrong but also has a tendency to make us feel seasick with these type of sea conditions and wind angle.
You see this passage will take us about 2 days, (2 nights), if we go too fast, we?ll reach our unfamiliar destination in the dark, and that is never wanted when coral and reefs are about and only visible to the eye when the sun in high in the sky. So we will meander, and loiter under the stars for two nights, pondering life?s big questions, and thinking about normal people back home, sleeping in houses, in normal beds.
We had muesli with fresh sweet banana and apple this morning, Sasha baked the last of the croissants for lunch, and we had mexican inspired beef and beans tonight, with Tongan grown onions and green bell peppers. It always a good feeling to have a full belly as that seems to stem the seasickness a little.
Not much else to report, all well on board, Mike?s asleep, Sasha?s on watch for the next wee while, and she?ll just keep a look out as we yet again cross the rhum line and slowly sail around the other rally boats, all sailing a more direct line on the rhum line.
Well here we are at Malafakalava, yup great name eh? We've finally eased our way into the more relaxed pace of cruising life, it took a couple months to fully unwind.
Sasha always takes some time to find home. Especially after a passage, when home becomes transport, and accomodation. An old flatmate in Manly use to call it reconnecting with your house... she use to enjoy doing the dishes, because she said it connected her with her home. Sasha guesses there is something in that, just doing a simple task and being aware of your surroundings, slowing down, and being grateful for where you are and all the amazing things you get to experience.
We had Malibu and Pauline over for dinner last night. We had beef stir fry, onions and cabbage in a soy, oyster, and fresh grated ginger sauce, with garlic fried rice. Something Sasha has just learned how to make. Steamed rice, cooked in chicken stock, then fried with fresh minced garlic, it's so delicious, that it's hard to believe it's so simple to make. Sasha also managed to burn to a crisp some island kumala fries she had popped in the oven for starters.
Sasha has just read the above to Mike, who was less than impressed with Sasha's waffle. He wants me to let you all know he has mastered the double back roll kite trick, and is looking for a lucrative sponsorship, he suggests Steinlager would be a suitable sponsor.
That's all for now, we better go do something.
After leaving Pangai, Ha’apai Beach Resort, we headed north to the Haano Island, at the top of the Ha’apai group. When we got there we were the only boat anchored (however that never lasts long as yachts do seem to multiply once one anchors). We were situated right by Mushroom rock, where we had surfed on little knee high waves on our standup paddle boards last year. Eager for another afternoon of messing around in little waves, we got the SUP’s (Stand Up Paddleboards) out and headed for Mushroom rock. Alas the swell was even smaller than last year and the waves just weren’t enough to get a ride. We carried on closer to shore, volcanic rock rose out of the still lagoon waters, weary and battered from days when the swell must pummel it. The smell of hot rich wet earth was so apparent that Sasha mentioned to Mike, ‘gosh it smells like the Winter Gardens in the domain’. To which Mike replied ‘what are the Winter gardens’. Mental note for Sasha to take Mike to the Winter gardens, although she is not sure how good they are during Summer? We continued on around the rocks to the sandy beach just shy of the village, and had a swim, and walked the beach. By this time there were several yachts headed to the anchorage, so we headed back to the boat, for some dinner.
One of the boats that anchored, ended up being Cooee too (not sure of how that’s spelt). Andrew came over in the tender and invited us aboard for a drink after dinner, which was nice.
The next afternoon the boys from Kittiwake turned up, and so did Darren and Kirstin from Savanna Safari, and all four yachts decided it was going to be a good evening for a night sail to Vava’u. So we headed off in convoy style, north to Neiafu. Kittiwake took the lead, with Savanna Safari, then Cooee too up anchored, and we followed suit. By the time we caught up with Cooee Too, they were ready for us with pirate hats on, swords, pirate flag and matching ‘ARRHHHS!’.
The night sail was fantastic, with the sails set, and a full moon we were humming, hitting 9 and 10 knots. Soon we were in front of the pack, and as night fell, and the lights of the other yachts faded behind us, we settled in to watch a few movies with 10 minute checks as Auto took the helm. We left Ha’apai around 5:30pm, and reached Neiafu at around 1:30am in the morning. We had a little trouble spotting a free mooring, but eventually found one and settled down for some sleep.
We've been anchored out at the beautiful Kenutu Island for the past few days. We had the whole place to ourselves for our first night here, and had a great kitesurfing session on the sand cay at low tide. The first morning we awoke to see the entire ICA (Island Cruising Association) rally on it's way out to Kenutu, all following in a line with Windflower at the front. It was quiet cute, like a whole lot of ducklings following in a row behind their mother. (photo to follow on facebook SV MOONFISH).
Yesterday we took Will and FX from Kittiwake out to the sand cay and we all went kiting, it was perfect conditions, and we were all exhausted afterwards. Well earned icy cold beers were our reward.
That's all for now, TEAM SV MOONFISH out.
It's official, WE LOVE TONGA and we have found paradise! We are in a place called the Blue Lagoon, and OH MY GOD is it heaven! We'll post again tomorrow with a proper update as we've had some amazing adventures, night sails, and market trips. Currently we are anchored here.... we are the only boat, surrounded by blue azure waters, and glorious sauna hot heat and sunshine. Cooie Too kindly gave us a drinking coconut, which we have used to make our first tropical cocktail, fresh juicy limes, Malibu, and drinking coconut juice, and a dash of passion fruit. So simple yet so thirst quenching. We are thoroughly enjoying our first real night anchored by ourselves, alone in this wonderful blue lagoon. The heat, sunshine, and company are all so perfect.
All well on board. Arrived in Pangai this morning and have had the busiest day since we left! Got into Pangai harbour and the customs officials cleared us almost immediately, which was great as we were all in need of a shower and cold beer, which happened once we were cleared.
More tomorrow on the last bit of our passage just wanted to let everyone know we are safe and sound and anchored off the Haapai Beach Resort.
Been a hum dinger of a day for sailing, consistent trade winds from the sou east have meant we have been screaming along with our mainsail and about half of our headsail furled out. Pappy dâEntremont tells me via email that the extended family are reading this, so hello to Hectorine, it sounds like your our number one fan in Canada. Hopefully one day Sasha and Mike get to hear about your sailing adventures. Yay weâve gone global! Mike and Sasha have been pondering the passage to Tahiti that the ICA (island cruising association) has planned for 2018â¦ weâre not sure if we want to do a 15 day passage, that would be pretty hard on the old brain and body. Sasha would need several weeks just to properly provision for the passage. It wouldnât be the little hop, skip, jump like it is up to the South Pacific. There would be serious prepared meals required, with frozen vege playing a big part. Weâve only been at sea for ten days and Sasha is seriously craving fresh, crisp vegetables. We still have a few apples to last us until we get to Pangai, but man on man Sasha is kicking herself not grabbing celery, as that stuff lasts for weeks once chopped and in the fridge. A corn, black bean and canned tomato âsaladâ will feature in tonights dinner, as we are out of all the fresh vege now. Weâre keen to meet up with everyone now, and see how everyoneâs liking Tonga. Also pretty keen to see how the lads on Kittiwake are going, from the sounds of it, Gert from Winds of Change, a large lagoon catamaran took them under his wing while they were at North Minerva, and invited them to have showers, and enjoy a lovely spread of salmon etc. Everyone in the fleet has been helping them out with water etc, very cool indeed. I think everyone is taking their hats off to them, as apart from a few new tech gadgets they are doing this in a boat what would be a similar size to Johnny Wray. Talk about adventure.
Anyway, not much else to report, the chart plotter is saying we are 6 hours to our first waypoint into the Haapai group, should make for an interesting night, falling our track from last year to ensure we donât hit coral in the night. All well on board
An uneventful night sail, with Auto doing all the hard yards. Sasha started off at 6:30pm and went through to 10pm, Drew took over from 10pm to 12:30ish and then Mike was up to do a long four hour shift (much to the appreciation of Sasha who needed the sleep), then Sasha was up at 4:30am to take over from Mike. Weâll sail past NukuâAlofa today, the southern Tonga group. Weâll have one more night sail and then we should be at Pangai. All well on board.
Well weâve left Minerva, and are on our way to Tonga. It was a slow start with not much wind at all, but all of a sudden we had a little more blow and MOONFISH was off, with mainsail and screecher close hauled, making close to wind speed on the rhum line. Arrrrrrh! thatâs how the modern day pirates do it! Itâs pretty cloudy today, so all of us are adding a layer over the shorts as itâs a tad bit cool. The last of the passage meals tonight, another cottage pie. yum! All well on board.
Just realised this update may not have gone through.
What a lusciously relaxed day we have had today, cup of tea in bed while reading the last pages of Castaway. Mike has started reading An Island To Oneself, he reckons we should head to Suvarov, where Tom Neale (the Author and Protagonist) spent his time alone on his own island. There are several sailors that come to visit Tom during the course of his stay there, so why not take MOONFISH up to Rarotonga and venture to itâs outer islands. Would be an amazing adventure to go see the actual place Tom carved out an island life for himself.
Weâve just had Corn, Onion and Cheese fritters for lunch, which went down a treat. And now we think we will all retire for a snooze or read in preparation for the eventual passage north.
Last night the boys from Kittiwake came over for some beers, and told us of their plans to head of that night, which they did. Weâll see them either on the way up or when we get to Pangai.
All well on board.
Cuppa in bed this morning 5th June, and then straight into downloading the weather forecasts, and listing to the cruisers on 08 VHF all talking about what the wind is doing. The boys are preparing MOONFISH for the passage to Tonga, getting the screacher ready, and putting away any gear thatâs lying around. Weâre leaving today! dum dum de da de! North Minerva youâve been great, but itâs time for us to seek out Pangai because weâre running out of beer! The wind has swung to a south, sou east, which should do us nicely once it fills in on Tuesday and hits the 10 to 15knots predicted in the Euro forecast model on Predict Wind Offshore. Weâll keep an eye out for the Kittiwake crew, and settle back into passage shifts, now with a working Auto! yay! All well on board.
What a lusciously relaxed day we have had today, cup of tea in bed while reading the last pages of Castaway. Mike has started reading An Island To Oneself, he reckons we should head to Suvarov, where Tom Neale (the Author and Protagonist) spent his time alone on his own island. There are several sailors that come to visit Tom during the course of his stay there, so why not take MOONFISH up to Rarotonga and venture to itâs outer islands. Would be an amazing adventure to go see the actual place Tom carved out an island life for himself.
Weâve just had Corn, Onion and Cheese fritters for lunch, which went down a treat. And now we think we will all retire for a snooze or read in preparation for the eventual passage north.
Last night the boys from Kittiwake came over for some beers, and told us of their plans to head of that night, which they did. Weâll see them either on the way up or when we get to Pangai.
All well on board.
Well Drew The Crewâs fish pie went down very well last night, our last dinner at South Minerva. We motor sailed up to North Minerva today, only took a couple of hours. Sasha made blueberry muffins which were a sweet distraction from the lack of sun today.
The sleep quality at South Minerva wasnât the best, due to the high tides being unfortunately timed, in the middle of the night. This means the swell from the ocean rolls over the reef and right into the anchorage making the boat sway more, which means more noise, clanks, and bangs etc. So Mike and Sasha had another broken sleep. The wind swung 180 again last night so our anchor alarm app went off as well. But it was all worth it in the morning when the boys spotted a bunch of large angel fish swimming around at the back of the boat. Sasha enjoyed her morning coffee with them down on the transom, throwing them the odd bit of muesli which they seemed very keen on.
With the way the wind is playing up at the moment, Mike thinks Monday morning might be the most opportune time to leave North Minerva and head up to Pangai, Tonga. Sasha is looking forward to another day of sunshine on the nets, Castaway by Lucy Irvine is almost finished and Will from Kittiwake gave Mike an old book that tells the tale of a shipwreck at Minerva, so Sasha thinks it will be rather fitting to read that one next, while we are anchored in the place it all took place.
All well on board.
Yesterday evening we had the three young lads from Kittiwake on board for some beers, and a large pan of roasted pumpkin and kumara. More sea tales where told, and Red and FX seemed a little more tired than during our earlier Lunch. Will the skipper was full of life (as always) and told a mean story or two. Later that night Mike dropped them back to their yacht and then Team MOONFISH settled into bed with cups of tea, a chocolate biscuit (or two) and books.
As the tide hit high around midnight last night MOONFISH started to rock more than usual which kept Mike and Sasha awake, while Drew (Sasha found out in the morning) had a fantastic sleep.
Sasha made the morning cuppaâs and looked outside to survey the anchored boats. Kittiwake was no where to be seen, and for a second or two Sasha strained to scan the reef to see if they had dragged as the wind had swung 180 in the night, and they had anchored very close to the reef. Sasha could see no evidence of anything untoward and quickly assumed the boys had left the atoll on daybreak to start their journey towards North Minerva.
In between answering some calls from yachts outside the reef asking for waypoints, Sasha finally got to sit in the beanbag up the front, and enjoy her first tropical âsun timeâ with her kindle. GAWD IT WAS ENJOYABLE! The boys headed off for a spot of snorkelling, where Kittiwake had said there was some sharks which had shown signs of aggression, so they took their spear with them, but saw nothing.
Anyway, gotta cut this short as the boys are having beers and chatting and Drew is in the galley cooking his famous fish pie with the smoked fish he bought with him.
All well on board, we will look to head to North Minerva tomorrow.
As we motored at sunset into South Minerva yesterday, a familiar accent came over the VHF. It was hard to distinguish what was being said, but we had that issue the first time we met Will from Kittiwake. One night back in the Opua yacht club, during our long wait for a weather window we met Will from Hull, and his crew FX the french contingent (short for Francois) and Red from Cornwall (we guess he is named so because of his reddish hair) at the Opua Yacht Club. Mike had met Will earlier, and learned of their lack of a tender, Mike offered them a ride home that night, as they were planning on swimming across the dark mud brown Opua channel to get back to their boat, Kittiwake.
During our 5 day passage from Opua to South Minerva, there were a couple of times when we pondered how the three young lads on the small yawl had gotten on, after leaving over 5 to 6 days before we left. They had seen the unsettled weather, but figured by the time they reached that part of the ocean, the worst of the weather would be done and dusted. When Will called us on the VHF, we couldnât believe it was that very same yawl. They had got in the day before we arrived, and had spent 13 days at sea, some of that time hove-to waiting out the weather bomb that hit them. Will sounded pretty happy when we identified ourselves as MOONFISH, heâd remembered us, and explained he had a small issue of salt water in his water supply and could we spare some fresh water. We obliged the next day and in return the bought over some of Raglanâs best roasted coffee with the name of Kittiwake spelt on the bag which has come in very useful for this update. They also had gathered several crayfish which Drew cooked up and we all enjoyed a nautical tale or two about their adventures while slurping down icy cold beers and crayfish with two dipping bowls. One was a simple wasabi, mayo and cracked black pepper dip, the other was Balsamic and Apple Cider Vinegar with salt, pepper and finely chopped shallots from Drewâs garden. Both accompanied the crayfish very well. This morning before all the crayfish and beer, Super Mike set to work on fixing Auto, which he accomplished after a few bloodied smashed fingers while attempting to get stubborn bolts and nuts etc loose. Sasha is very happy to have Auto back, however we still need to test him to make sure heâs back up and running.
After lunch, after Mike and Sasha cleaned up the boat, and washed down the cockpit (crayfish is pretty messy eating), we put away the screecher, and got out the snorkel gear, and went over to Kittiwake to pick up Drew who had swum over with the lads after lunch to sail the boat slightly closer to the reef (as they have no tender, so that makes it easier for them to swim to the reef) then Sasha, Mike and Drew headed off down to the Sou western section of the atoll to check out the sealife. We saw a heap of large parrot fish, and many brightly coloured smaller fish, all frolicking in the coral, and we also spotted a turtle. No sharks were seen, but we know they are there.
Anyway, thatâs enough of an update. Hope all is well at home, we hear Team NZ is doing okay, but Oracle is going be some stiff competition. Keep the updates coming Mappy :) All well (and very rested) on board.
We are just arriving at South Minerva Reef, there is one boat showing up on our AIS, but it does not detail a name or size. I guess we will find out soon enough who they are. Drew cut up the Tuna, and unfortunately it was red as meat, we did bleed it but obviously not enough. Drewâs been nibbling at some of the meat he marinated in lemon juice. Sashaâs not so game to try it, after tasting her fair share of Skipjack, and Yellowfin, she knows which one she prefers by far.
Tonight the crew of Moonfish will feast on Burritos at a little mexican joint off the coast of South Minerva known as the MOONFISH cafe. Crew are all rested, and will enjoy a day in the sun tomorrow. Sasha has already planned to settle into a beanbag on the foredeck, with a nice vino, and her kindle, she is currently reading CASTAWAY, go read the book summary if youâre interested, itâs about this man and woman who head off for a year on a desert island in Torres Strait (top of Australia), the women gets so epically malnourished her anus collapses and falls out. Haha, who on earth would want to go through that? More to the point, who would write a book about it! haha. Hope you are not eating when you read this.
We are now in a westly longitude, oh the warmth and sun is glorious! Another great night motor sailing, Drew started and Sasha got up at 10pm to take over. Sasha had a decent sail for about an hour, with mainsail and headsail up. She used the constellation Lyra for most of the night to keep MOONFISH on course. Lyra is a compact constellation, marked by the 5th brightest star in the sky, Vega. Vega is the star Sasha used for most of last night. Mythologically Lyre was the lyre (the worlds first turtle shell seven string guitar) of the great musician Orphenus, whose venture into the Underworld is one of the most famous of Greek stories. It was the first lyre ever made, having been invented by Hermes, who used cow gut tied across it to create itâs seven strings. Sounds like this rockSTAR guitar got Hermes out of quite a few tricky situations during his rockSTAR youth, when he stole some of Apolloâs cattle, as he managed to calm Apollo with his soothing music and swapped the lyre for the cattle he had stole. Bit of a bargain Sasha reckons, here take my turtle guitar with cow gut strings, and I will take your cows.
Anyway we digress. After a decent sail with no motor hitting 8 and 9knots at time, the wind disappeared so Sasha started up the motor. Mike (who couldnât sleep anymore) got up at 2:30am and took over from Sasha, he furled the headsail away, and motored through to the morning, when Drew took over around 5:30am. A peaceful uneventful night sail, with quite a bit of 6 and 7 knot travelling, we believe we have hit some unfavourable current.
In other news SASHA CAUGHT THE FIRST FISH OF THE PASSAGE! Yes we have a rather large Tuna on board now, Mike was on Helm, Sasha grabbed the rod, and Drew gaffed it once Sasha finally reeled it in. Sasha did try several times to relinquish the âhonourâ of the rod job, but Mike kept saying, no itâs your fish, and Sasha was pretty glad when the silvery Tuna arrived at the surface. We think itâs a Pacific Blue Tuna, it kinda looks like a massive Skipjack to Sasha, but Drew spent some time on a Tuna boat and is pretty sure it is a Blue Tuna. Weâve taken photos so we will work out exactly what is is when we get some internet. What ever it is, we are eating Tuna Sashimi for lunch today, and no doubt weâll have some Tuna steaks on the BBQ at South Minerva for dinner tonight.
All well on board.
Whales, whales and more whales. We sighted whales this morning, wellâ¦ Drew did. And then this afternoon while we sipped cold beers, and enjoyed a twistie or two Drew all of a sudden was standing, and pointing, and we had whales way too close to the boat. Sasha was steering (with her toes) and humming along at 8 to 9 knots at the time. Mike and Drew raced to the starboard side of the boat and watched MASSIVE whales cruising along leaving MASSIVE footprints. So so cool. Sasha canât believe her luck. Last night she went to a rave party with the greek gods, well mostly just Bootes and Hercules, and the semi circle of stars between the two. Apparently the Corona Borealis as it is named marks a golden crown worn by Princess Ariadne of Crete when she married the god of Dionysus. The crown is supposedly made by Hephaestus the god of fire, and it was studded with jewels from India. Anywayâ¦ so last night Sasha was enjoying herself at a rave of the gods, and this afternoon she is spending it with WHALES. Best day so far.
The kumara is chopped, and ready for the oven for roasting, the chicken will be marinated in harissa paste, and the last of the cabbage will be sautÃ©ed. Spirits are high on SV MOONFISH, see ya tomorrow.
ps - how is the Americaâs cup going? Pappy & Mappy perhaps you could email us on email@example.com and let us know.
We heard Peter Mott from Northland Radio giving us an update yesterday on the SSB, which was good.
Last night, Sasha started watch at 6:15pm and went through to 9:45pm, then Drew hopped on helm, and was taken over by Mike who woke up around midnight. Mike did a marathon 4 hours on helm, and woke up Sasha at 4am to start her shift, Sasha did 2 hours and got Drew up. An easy night of shifts for Sasha and Drew this time around. Around 8am this morning Drew woke up Sasha and Mike as he had spotted a large pod of whales, so all crew were on deck this morning watching the whales. Apart from that a very uneventful night of hand steering while motoring and the mail sail up, but itâs not doing anything except flapping about. Weâre not complaining as we are loving the conditions out here, but an wee puff more wind would be ideal. Apart from that, a large flying animal of some description decided to bomb us overnight, so Sasha spend the first part of her morning scrubbing the deck which was covered in brown splatters, suffice to say she does not feel like breakfast any time soon.
Right my turn to helm, so better let Drew get some sleep.
All well on board.
Another lovely day of motor sailing. We have had our black asymmetrical genneker up all day, itâs given us another 1 to 2 knots on top of one motor. Sasha cooked up her signature mexican omelette for lunch today, kumara, chilli beans, eggs, sausage, paprika, garlic, onion, cumin, cayenne pepper, and tabasco sauce, topped with tomato relish. Tonight we are having the last of the prepared (store bought) meals, another lasagna, weâre not 100% inspired, as itâs got pork in itâ¦ who puts pork in a lasagna? I mean really, itâs just so wrong. Oh a happy note the cottage pie was really good. All well on board, hand steering away. Ps, hi to Vicki and Brett and the Pattison family, and also to any Foodies peeps enjoying the adventure.
Arrrrrrh me hearties, weâve raised the BLACK! Thatâs right, secret weapon two has been deployed. Our beautiful black asymmetrical genneker is up along with our mainsail, the motors are off, and we are sailing nicely in calm flat waters that are turning more indigo purple by the hour. Last night shifts went as follows, Sasha kicked off the 2 hour hand steering night shifts at 5:15pm, then Drew took over at 7pm through to 9pm, then Mike hopped on the helm at 9pm through to 11pm, then Sasha was back on and after a lovely cup of tea made by Mike, was able to continue through to 3am, a four hour shift, but with only the mainsail up and the motors humming it was quite easy to keep the boat pointed towards the warm north. At 2:45am Sasha woke an already stirring Drew, who hopped out of bed and took over. The previous night the boys had had a pretty tough time with Auto going on strike which meant neither of them got much sleep, so Sasha was glad she was wide awake for the graveyard shifts so both lads could get a decent sleep.
Last night the sky was crammed full of stars, shooting stars became the norm. The boys have both seen flying fish, Sasha is still waiting to see her first one.
Drew spotted a tropic bird this morning, a great sign we are heading in the right direction. Weâll pass the Kermadec islands today, theyâll be to our east.
Apart from that hello to Mum Watson, Tina and Ross, Mappy and Pappy, hope you are all well and enjoying the updates.
All well on board, so well in fact that Super Mike as we speak is sitting up on the foredeck in a beanbag sunbathingâ¦ howâs that for Pirate Life!
Super Mike has figured out what is wrong with the auto pilot, and will need to take the steering wheel off to complete repairs, so we are hand steering to Minerva, where we can take the wheel off. Cottage Pie with steamed broccoli and carrots for tea. All very well on board, have to make these YIT updates quick sorry, as Mike is on helm, and Sasha needs to take over so he can have some dinner.
First day done and dusted, we had the screecher up all night, Sashaâs top speed was 16knots, Drew had 14knots, and Mike had 15.5, it was a quick, black as night sail that is for sure. Only a sliver of a moon, so starlight showed us the way. We started from behind the fleet, and quickly made it to the front. Aaaah, true MOONFISH styles. However it hasnât been all plain sailing, early this morning, Drew was on the helm, just about to finish his graveyard shift (12pm to 3am), Mike was resting in the saloon, and lucky Sasha was fast asleep in the aft starboard berth, when Auto started to play up. Auto has been fine since Mike installed his new, fancy dancy gyro compass just before we headed off last season, but something caused him to have a spaz out last night, which is odd because he usually handles speeds up to 17knots easy. So Mike hand steered from 3am to 6am, and then Sasha took over until 9am, when Drew hopped back on. Breakfast was had, marmite toast and yoghurt and muesli. And ever since then Mike (soon to be SUPER Mike yet again) has been working on the auto-pilot. Heâs checked the motor, and the drive, and thinks the issue is an old cable from the original 2010 install of the auto pilot system. So itâs hand steering for now, fingers crossed we get it sorted, otherwise itâll be one long night of hand steering, but hey if Johnny Wray can do itâ¦ so can we.
Well we are finally off! And what a fantastic start! Screecher is up, as is our main sail, and we are enjoying a lovely sail. Lunch was champagne ham and castello cheese sandwiches, with fresh iceberg lettuce and tomato. And one of the prepared meals (lasagne) is almost ready to come out of the oven, weâll enjoy that shortly with some steamed broccoli (gawd we are gonna miss broccoli!) Apart from that the plan tonight is 3hr shifts, starting at 6pm with Mike the Skip, then Sash the BEST mate takes over at 9pm, Drew the crew getâs graveyard from 12pm, and then Mike is back on at 3am, because (and I quote) it seems like that is the natural wake up time for Mike these days.. heâs been preparing his body clock for the last week now.. hehe hardcore sailor! Sasha plans to send a YIT update each evening around 5pm, and each morning after her shift. Please note that many of the yachts on the ICA (Island Cruising Association) rally are using PredictWind this year, so if you want to track the fleet (not us, as we are using YIT), then head to the ICA website and you might be able to find some info on how to find the map that shows the rest of the fleet out here with us.
All well on board, Sash, Mike and Drew.
Well, we're still alive, having used the pressure cooker for the first time. Sasha made a delicious Chinese Beef which tasted like it had been simmering away for a day, but the handy dandy pressure cooker cooked it up on the smallest hob, at the lowest setting in 40mins, just enough time for a beer before dinner.
It's 9:20am, we're all checked out, thanks to Opua Customs officers, and we've just watched some of the fleet leave the marina on their way out into the bay. We'll be off soon, Mike's just taking one last look at all the weather forecast models, and then we'll weigh the anchor, possibly raise the black, and we'll be off on our adventure into the big wide blue.
test to check YIT email template for when we head offshore.
Yes, we are still here, and yes we like hanging next to Pirate Island, in the very brown waters here at Opua.
We've had a busy few days waiting for the unsettled weather up in the islands to stop. It's the same each morning, Mike or Sasha (Sasha admits it's mostly Mike) hops out of bed, pops the kettle on and then we settle in under the warm duvet with the ipad to check out the weather forecast models, PWE, PWG, GFS (Global Forecast System), and ECMWF (European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts). This morning was no different to other mornings, conflicting forecasts from the different models. This morning Mike expressed surprise at how different the PWG and PWE were compared to the GFS and ECMWF forecasts. Both of the PW (Predict Wind) forecasts show consistent trade winds up in the islands, where as the others (Sasha who is writing this can't remember if it was both GFS / ECMWF) show a high, which turns into a system over the forecasted period, and covers a large area including part of our route up to Tonga. It's enough to be concerned and delay our departure yet again. Mike and Sasha are happy to delay, as there's no reason to rush, we're on cruiser time. However it is a bummer all these delays, because we are eager to get into warmer waters, and also because Drew our crew arrived yesterday and we were all pretty keen to get started on the adventure. Unfortunately it looks likely it will be another week of waiting, and Drew will most likely head back down to do some more work in normal land.
Apart from that we celebrated Pauline (SV Mahia's) birthday in true style yesterday with carrot cake, and dinner, pizza's from the Opua General Store, very tasty!
Sasha had a minor freak out this morning, much to the entertainment of both Mike and Drew, when she opened up the beautiful looking toasted muesli that she purchased from BinInn in Glenfield, only to find both bags had webs in them. Sasha couldn't see any actual insects, but it was enough to get both bags dumped into a rubbish bag, which was promptly sealed and removed from the boat. SV Moonfish has never had any issues with weevils, and Sasha is determined to keep it that way. This was the first every purchase from Bin Inn, so she's not sure she'll be going there again.
Apart from that, Sasha better hurry up and finish her herbal tea at the Opua cafe and call Mike for a pick up, as the boys are keen to head out into the bay again, for a fish.
Ah, we remember this, chilled out sunny days in the Bay. The sweet sweet luxury of time. Tui chorus and tourist boats each entering and exiting our awareness. It has been like summer the past couple of days, sitting in togs, enjoying the sunshine, reading while sipping on cups of tea, or the odd icy cold beer.
Yesterday afternoon we played with a pod of large dolphins as we motored into our current anchorage. One very large cheeky one kept scratching his back on our newly anti-fouled bow, much to Mike's dislike. Our cruiser mates Jill and Clive told us about dolphins doing this last year, but yesterday was the first time it has happened to us.
We anchored up in an empty bay and enjoyed the serenity, overlooking a perfect yellow sandy beach with calm water lapping at its shore. Later that afternoon a kingfish made his presence known by breaking the water under our nets. Sasha was preparing to sautée scallops for Team Roam, who were coming for dinner. That kingy couldn't believe his luck to get a feed of scallop-scraps for tea.
Then Team Roam SUP'd over, uggs and all for dinner. It was nice to get to know Mick and Liss better, and hear more about how they navigate through this cruising life we all love so much.
Today Sasha continues to read the Shark Man book Malibu and Pauline lent her. Mike is busy learning how to splice dyneema, so far he has made large and small single braid dyneema loops, such a cool skill to have when you live on a boat!
We've heard about a couple of boats that have turned around after departing for Tonga last week. Good call we reckon. We're thoroughly enjoying the Bay of Islands, it's a stunning place to hang out and chill before an ocean passage.
Donna... my mother warned me about hanging out with girls like you! Sounds like such a sweet and innocent name doesn't it? Well, that cheeky bird has had the nerve to delay our departure to the warm azure waters of Tonga! In all seriousness though, we're happy to wait out Donna's demo-derby right here in the calm, safe waters of the Bay of Islands. It's nice and sunny here and has warmed up considerably since the Arctic blast stopped yesterday - boy that was cold! We're spending the extra prep time getting ourselves well and truly prepared. This morning we listened to the ICA sked, then took the tender into Opua marina to do a load of washing (great facilities here), which is when Sasha unconsciously decided to wash SV MOONFISH's completed advanced arrival form for Tonga. It's important to ensure your custom forms are always extra clean, and wadded into a small, wet paper ball in your jacket pocket. We use sensitive surf powder, it does a great job. There is nothing better than filling out custom forms, especially when you get to do the same form twice! Apart from that debacle Super Mike has fitted the new ball valves to the cooling circuit for the shaft seals, polished the stainless tillers, and picked up the furling gear, now altered with a smaller endless loop so hopefully the loop won't jump off the furling drum anymore.
Smashing Sasha has tested the Sat phone, and successfully downloaded the offshore predict wind forecast files, thanks to John at ICA for the tips. Both Sasha and Mike have learnt a little more about forecast models. PWG and PWE are the ones we'll be downloading while on passage (about 40KB via Sat phone, who knew the Satellite image we were downloading was so huge? Now we know and won't be doing that again). PWG and PWE are great because they cover both the American and European weather forecast models. PWG (G for Gringo heh heh, actually it stands for Global) is the American based forecast while PWE (E is for YOU GUESSED IT, YOU'RE SO SMART! it's E for European) model. Also IMPORTANTLY Team SV Moonfish donated our $50 bucks to the good lass and fellows at YIT and Gulf Harbour Radio. You lot do a fab job, and any cruisers out there reading this, who use YIT should donate tomorrow because it's an awesome service Mike, Patricia and Dave provide, well worth you chucking a few bob their way. Happy to read P & D will be enjoying some cruising this year between mid-May and July, we guess that means that GHR transmissions will not occur over this time? We listened to the recording of today's GHR weather analysis via their website, and will attempt to live stream it tomorrow.
We've also been into Pahia with Malibu and Pauline, yes Malibu is back, but this time with his lovely wife Pauline, and on their own boat Mahia... gawd it's gorgeous inside and out! They have been working so hard to get the boat so pristine and their efforts have really paid off! Mahia is a stunner. That's about it for now, Sasha will attempt to blow up Opua with her brand new pressure cooker tomorrow, so stay tuned, and apologies in advance. Hopefully see you tomorrow still with eyebrows.
Made it to Opua, safely anchored and all is well.
A stunning ly cold sunrise met us at the mouth of Tutukaka harbour this morning at 7:40am. With hot cups of tea in our bellies, and our new Gull evotherm core insulation technology cold weather gear on (thanks Mike at NZ sailing net, we are so warm!) , we up anchored in pursuit of Opua.
We made it to Tutukaka harbour just before sunset. Great sail up the coast today, with bacon & egg wraps for brunch. Hope to reach Opua tomorrow.
See ya later Auckland! We're off up north, stand by Opua, Team SV MOONFISH is on the way!
Tonight is our last night at the marina. Tomorrow we start our way north to Opua to join the ICA rally up to the pacific islands. Today we spent the day with Mike's family, dropping off Mike's company ute, and leaving Sasha's car with Tina and Ross to take to the farm for winter (Thanks T&R!). We did a final shop for a few final bits and bobs, and then Mike's mum Barbara dropped us back to the boat (thanks for the sausage rolls today Barbara, and the lovely chocolate chip biscuits).
Being keyless, and carless has a slight unease to it, but Mike and Sasha settled in for their last dinner in the marina, Tarragon Chicken with white wine, roasted golden kumara & flash boiled broccoli. It was delicious. Sasha loves cooking, when SV MOONFISH is so well provisioned, there isn't a spice, or ingredients she could want for right now, the cupboards are packed full :)
Hello.... is this thing on? Hello? Testing 1, 2, 3!
Well we're back!!! After 6 months of building up a cruising kitty, a new meal kit brand launched on time to plan, and SV MOONFISH just back in the water today after some hard yakka from Super Mike to clean her bottom and ensure all is ship-shape.... we are on the final countdown, office work will fade into oblivion in one week, and 6 months of glorious TIME, luxurious TIME to do and think and feel whatever we like will once again happen. Oh the joys of life at sea! Stand by.... more random adventures will be posted here as we travel from Opua, NZ... back up to the South Pacific on our beloved cyber Catamaran SV MOONFISH.
Safe and sound back in our marina berth at Bayswater marina.
Yet another container ship zoomed past early this morning. We attempted to tack, trying to get a good angle into Opua, but alas it was not to be, and we tacked back to port-tack to head further down the coast, in an attempt to get a better angle later today. Itâs been one COLD night, we have swell hitting our starboard bow, so itâs a pretty uncomfortable bumpy ride. Really looking forward to seeing NZ, some land, a really long hot shower and a nice cappuccino with cinnamon would be really nice about now. We are motor sailling yet again.
All well on board.
We arrived at 8pm 23rd of Oct, at the Opua quarantine dock, we tried to eat all the bacon and eggs on board, but only got through two of the four packets of bacon. We have already been visited by Jo from NZ customs, and we are now awaiting the MPI officer, and then we'll be off to anchor somewhere, or perhaps to another wharf to give the boat a good fresh water clean. Safe and sound.... HOME.
Weâve sighted (on AIS) another container ship Ningbo Dawn 807ft long! We must be getting close to home â thank goodness, as this messy sea is enough to make Sasha a landlubber. Sasha has slept most of today away, and figured out today that this is the longest passage she has done so far. Our passage up to Tonga was broken by a peaceful 2 day stop at Minerva reef. Next time Sasha will recommend a stop at Norfolk Island for a day or two if the weather gods allow it.
The current plan is to continue on a course of 135 until later on tonight or early tomorrow morning, and then tack towards NZ. Our current ETA into Opua is tomorrow afternoon 23 rd October 2016 which will mean it took us 6 days to get to NZ from New Caledonia. Longer than we had hoped, but a lot of it has been with the wind on our nose.
All well on board.
Another choppy night of motor sailing, the seas have calmed somewhat this morning, which is a welcome change. We had our 3rd cargo ship pass by last night â Bright Hope a 558 ft ship. The last of the frozen croissants are in the oven baking, and weâll cook up a big Spanish omelet with fried kumara and salami for breaky when everyone is up.
All well on board.
Weâve been motor sailing with a SouâEaster all day, it has recently gone straight south over the past couple hours. The sea has looked like black liquid metal all day long, and the sun looks like one mega magnet taunting the sea upwards in arbitrary formation â fun to look at, not fun to sail in. Dinner tonight is pizza that we bought from the Casino Supermache in Noumea. Damn good supermarkets there! All well on board.
We are in the 30âs!! That southerly has well and truly arrived. Weâve been motor sailing in choppy seas all night. Weâve been headed a few times, so have adjusted course from 108 to 100 and back again as needed over the night. A very rough night, sleep was a challenge as the sea state is messy, short broken swells.
All well on board.
We motored past Norfolk Island this morning, looks like a pretty cool place to visit, maybe next time. We had one large, lone dolphin come out to welcome us and he stayed with us for about 10mins, playing at the bows, turning upside down to get a good look as us. We also found a dried squid upfront this morning, I wonder what was chasing it, must have been something big to jump up on to the boat. Weâve been motoring all day, in very calm seas. Sasha made bacon and egg cupcakes for breakfast (after the croissants were eaten up), and then made banana and dark Toblerone chocolate muffins for afternoon tea. The steak is out and thawing nicely, weâll eat that with some sautÃ©ed cabbage, and zucchini.
All well on board.
Land Ho! Good morning NORFOLK ISLAND, great to see you and the sun this morning. Morning Patricia and David, we will be tuning in to GHR this morning, but wonât call in unless you need something from us.
We have hit the high, weâve watched the baro move from 1017 to 1021 since leaving New Caledonia, and as it rose the wind died off (as expected). We have motored on one engine for the majority of the night, with very calm seas so everyone has got some peaceful rest. The curried sausages that Tim-otei cooked up were delish â ps thanks to Erica and Dave for donating all the meat for our passage home, we have so much, not sure we will get through it all. We will have fillet entrecote tonight, which I think is French for Scotch fillet. Sasha has pulled out some frozen croissants this morning, and popped them in the oven, so itâll be the last of our yummy French Organic Blueberry jam on warm freshly baked croissants this morning.
All well on board.
This morning we listened to GHR, thanks Patricia and David, great job as always. Tim-otei (first time listener this morning) thinks you guys deserve a medal for providing such a great service. Can we ask, did SV INTRINSIC (Lex and Jo) call in? We know they have your 8.750 freq, but we are not sure they found todayâs transmission on 8.779 freq. They left New Caledonia the same day as us, from a pass south of where we left from. We are not sure if they are on YIT? Weâd just like to know how Jo and Lex are going.
Weâve been sailing very well again all day today, seas have calmed somewhat from yesterday. Much less chop.
Muesli and yoghurt this morning, the last of our French baguettes as chicken sandwiches for lunch. And Tim-otei is cooking dinner tonight, Curried Sausages with mash potato.. yum! Weâve all had naps tonight, and are ready to rock for night shits. We have set night shifts for the first time, which Sasha is loving as she is on the sunrise shift, but also because she can prepare better if she knows when she is on shift.
All well on board.
Good morning everyone. We had a consistent easterly wind all night, and have made great progress with another 200 plus NM day. We had to divert course at about 3am as we had a large container ship called JASMINE just forward of our starboard bow. Back on track now. All well on board.
Hi to Patricia from Gulf Harbour Radio! Patricia, Sasha intends to send a YIT update during her morning shift (3am to 6am) each day of passage, so we donât have to call in on our SSB, as our historical transmissions havenât been too clear (apologies for that). We are looking forward to hearing you guys loud and clear now we are away from land.
It has been an interesting first day, as we make our way from Noumea, New Caledonia to Opua, New Zealand. Early this morning (6:30am) the boys (Mike and Tim-otei) whipped the main sail and head sail up. A few hours into our sail, Mike made the decision to get the Screacher up (aka code zero), so the boys pulled that out of the forward hatch and we were soon hoofing it along (10-11knots) thenâ¦ the Screacher halyard snapped! Drama, drama drama! Nah, not really, the crew acted quickly and calmly; Mike and Tim headed up the front and pulled the sail out of the water, and then got to work removing the snapped halyard from the mast, which they achieved. Sasha stepped up to helm, starting the port engine once the sail was clear of the water, she then removed the screacher sheet off the stern starboard winch and retrieved the halyard block off the bit of halyard that lay on the starboard deck. Our secret speed maker and favourite sail is now out of operation, until we can get another halyard sorted. Luckily the sail is not damaged at all. One thing that Sasha has learned today, (after Tim read it out of one of our Boating New Zealand magazines â GREAT MAGS THOSE!!) is that rope makers reckon once you tie a knot in a rope it can reduce its strength by half. Sasha didnât know that until today â ya learn something everyday! We had a quick breaky this morning, so we could get sailing early; museli, greek yoghurt and fresh fruit. Lunch was freshly baked baguette chicken sandwiches. Weâve nibbled on a few chocolate biscuits for morning and afternoon tea, and the spiral lasagna is re-heating in the oven as we type. Our pre arrival form has been emailed off to NZ customs, with an ETA of 25th October, 0700 hours, letâs see how accurate our best guess was.
Sasha has downloaded the SSB metservice weather maps, and we are keeping an eye on all those low weather systems way down south.
All well on board.
We are off!! Got a very muffled transmission from GHR this morning (it will get clearer as we get further away from Noumea). Bring on Opua, New Zealand!! Mike, Sasha and Tim-oteh! On board and all are well.
Sitting on a mooring at Ilot Laregnere... We have cleared out of Noumea, and we head off first thing tomorrow. The current predict wind passage forecast has just (this avo) changed from 5-6 days to 8 days. We hope that is wrong! It's going to be one interesting passage home that's for sure! We be listening to GHR from tomorrow morning on, and will be downloading the metservice ssb weather maps too to keep tracks on what's going on down there in the south!
PUBLIC NOTICE: For anyone reading this blog, please note it has recently come to our attention that Sasha's description of SV SKYPOND's beautiful interior may have been comprehended by some readers as a negative one. Please note Sasha never intended this, Sasha thinks SKYPOND's luxurious, Scandinavian interior design is beautiful, and very stylish. Sasha likened it to an IKEA show home, because Sasha thinks IKEA is very stylish, well designed, functional with clean modern lines.
Sasha promises to be very clear from now on to avoid any possible miscommunications.
Ps - All our love goes out to Carl and Roxy (Team SV SKYPOND), we think you two are awesome, and Carl we wish you a speedy recovery.
Anchored at Baie de l'Orphelinat, yesterday we motor sailed into Noumea harbour from Ilot Maitre, where we'd had a rather large night catching up with Team SV ROCKSTAR, as well as new friends Dudley, Tanya and their wee 2.5year old boy Ocean (who seemed to love all the attention), and of course our old friends SV SEACUCUMBER, er I mean COMBOVER, er I mean SEACOMBER, it was to be our last big bash with Erica, Dave and the twins, as they all fly home on Monday. We want to wish them a safe journey home, and thank them for all the tips and tricks they have shared about New Cal, you guys really did make our time here awesome! Ps Erica thanks for feeding us so often too! We owe you 100 dinners. Yesterday our crew for passage arrived safe and sound - albeit a tad bit whiter than we remember him! Tim is on board and ready to rumble! We are keen to head out to Maitre island so we can get him in the water for a well earned kite!
We are actively looking at the weather models every morning, and Captain Mikey is discussing weather window possibilities with Lex and Dave (two very experienced sailors) to nut out the best possible option for us.
Last night we had a delicious farewell dinner in Baie de Citron with Team SV SEACOMBER last night.
All well on board.
Lots of kiting at Ilot Maitre, Mike's practicing his unhooked rally's and backroll kite loops and Sasha is practising switch to toeside carves with a front kite loop. Having a lot of fun! Super Dooper Timmy (our crew for passage back to NZ) flys into Noumea on Saturday, so we'll start to look for a weather window after that, bring on (semi) early mornings again listening to GHR for some weather window advise.
Ile Tenia - a beautiful small island that we SUP'd right around this morning. Stunning white sandy beaches on its western side, crystal clear waters for hundreds of metres out. Turtles are EVERY WHERE here! To spot them is so easy, just paddle around until you see a black spot in the otherwise crystal clear aqua blue waters, then paddle to it.... Stop and wait for the turtle to come up for a breath, and watch it freak out when it takes a look around and spots you.... Man they can move! On our search for some waves, we stumbled upon this epic kiting spot.... There is literally hundreds and hundreds of metres of clear blue water, much of it is waist deep.... Now all we need is some wind! Bacon and eggs for breaky this morning.
Ile Ducos, Baie Des Moustiques. We sailed into this bay, for a quiet place to eat the bacon and egg pie Sasha had just baked from scratch (including her first ever attempt at flaky pastry). The water is murky, and the hills surrounding us looked like something out of a western movie, complete with some pretty randy palomino looking horses. The pie was good, even though the flaky pastry did need to be about twice as thin. We enjoyed a super-quiet night here, with frozen beer slushy (our in-built freezer isn't working -we think it needs re-gassing) so the Waeco is on and in full force, and all our beer is frozen - doh! The water was so still you could see the stars in it. And when Sasha woke in the middle of the night, she looked up through the hatch above their berth and there was Orion in all his glory framed perfectly by the hatch. Just magical! In the morning we enjoyed coffee (Mike had a tea) in the cockpit, and watched Mr very randy Horse get real up and personal with his two Mrs Horseys - he was able and willing, but the two mares seemed less than interested, perhaps it was the presence of a very cute little baby foal they were shielding that stopped any hanky panky.
Ilot Maitre, another small island from the coast of Noumea, this one has a resort on it, so the coast is somewhat ruined by gawdy looking over water bungalows. Apparently the kiting spot here is pretty epic, but there was no wind when we got there. We had a quiet night here, with a small cheese platter and a movie.... A much needed quiet night as we have been very sociable lately.
Ile Nga, or Ile Laregnere. This wee island off the coast of Noumea city is a gleaming example of the French's positive influence. This island is stunning, white sandy beaches, and NZ Doc like infrastructure enabling the public to enjoy a night or two camping ashore (not that we would do that, as there were sea snakes EVERYWHERE!). The moorings here really are first class, they are very well maintained. The surrounding waters are teaming with sea life, turtles galore, Gar fish, and massive snapper looking isn, that literally sit under the boats hoping to pick up a scrap or two of leftovers. Hilariously we were woken up at 7:30am by a pound honk of the New Caledonia Navy, saying we (and the other 3 or 4 boats) had to move as there was going to be an explosion. Sasha didn't believe Mike at first when he tried to coax her out of bed, she thought it was some imaginative story Mike had thought up to get her up earlier than usual. But as it turns out, we all pulled up our picks and headed away as the weekenders from Noumea who had left the night before had found some old mine, or bomb from some past war, and the navy were there to detonate it. A tad scary, and we watched as we motored away, but we didn't see any pyrotechnics.
Baie de Citron - this is where we saw our first dugongs! Slowly eating their way through the 50kg of sea grass they eat every day! We also spent quite a bit of money here, the aquarium is awesome, albeit small. It has a wonderful selection of sea animals to look at, Jo (from SV INTRINSIC) and I spent a good 15mins just watching the mudflat crabs, they have one claw bigger than the other, there were white ones and colourful red/blue ones, and they seemed to be playing some sort of swap game with their sand hole homes. We had enjoyed a well earned cold Number One beer with Team SEACOMBER, and ate massive baguettes filled with hamburger patties, French fries, cheese and more! Baie de Citron is like Mission Bay on steroids, there are bars and restaurants as far as the eye can see. It would be a fantastic place to cycle around. One day while we were anchored here Mike dropped Sasha ashore, to walk over the hill towards Noumea city, she found a small shopping mall and did a quick shop at the Casino supermache, two large locally made chocolate bars were a must, as the chocolate here is soooo delish! She then stopped by the bakery and picked up beautifully light, and fluffy croissants. Produce is so much better than Fiji, the options are endless, but you do pay! Brocolli was $10 bucks a kilo in the local Carrefour supermache. But it's offset by all the cheap as French cheese! We will be so cheesed-out by the end of our time here!
Baie De Prony, Rade De L'ouest - we are on the mainland! And making our way to Noumea. Sasha is only a tad bit excited about hitting up the Noumea supermarche - CAN'T WAIT. Yesterday was a looooong sail, from Kunumera Bay, and the wind was not exactly assisting us in getting here, We tacked twice to attempt to get an angle that would be beneficial, but alas, it was a long hard slog with both motors going. On our way out of Kunumera Bay, Mike taugh Sasha how to raise the main sail, with one reef in it... Reefing (by herself) is a new skill, she can now add to her piratey ways. This morning we discussed how many nautical miles we had clocked up, Our new chart plotter, installed a few months before we left NZ has clocked up almost 5,000 NM, so Mike reckons we'll be close to 4,000NM overseas. Something to add to the LinkedIn profiles, Sasha thinks! Last night we ate cheeseburgers, on boatmade soft white rolls, we've found some pickles that taste exactly like McDonald's pickles, so our homemade burger effort was pretty close to McD's, but probably a heap healthier! We'll swing by Casy Island today, to feed the resident dog some sardines, apparently that is the thing to do. All well on board.
Another historical Yit position update, we up anchored and via Brush Island, re positioned to the much calmer Baie De Kunumera, what a stunning bay! With it's own exotic looking Tor. Mike and Sasha thought this place was very similar to The Beach in that Leonardo Cuppucino movie. One of the two resorts (Oure Tera) is nestled in the corner of a beautiful sandy lagoon beach, Mike and Sasha enjoyed a Kroneburg Beer here, and sat and watched a French family play pétanque. Mike and Sasha walked the length of the beach that evening, proudly (naively)saying Bonjour to every passer by, it wasn't until two French women looked at them strangely that they started to question if they were saying it correctly...it wasn't until the barman said a cheery Bonsoir that they realised they had been using the wrong word to say hello to people that evening. It was at this moment she had paid more attention to her Pappy's French lessons.
We've got a bit of catching up to do with our yit anchorages. This is a retrospective update for the 24th of Sep when we were anchored in Baie de Kuto. It's a beautiful white powdered sandy beach, fringed with pines and coconut trees. The ferry from Noumea comes in every couple of days (or so) and drops off a group of holiday makers who accomodate themselves in one of two hotel-resorts at this end of the Ile de Pins. We've watched many turtles here, some with Ramora (shark sucker fish) stuck to their belly, catching a free ride. We have spoken to several of the cruisers who have spent several nights here, and they say that the dugong are always around slowly making their way like underwater cows, eating the plentiful sea grass. One local currently a guest on SKY POND told us to be wary of horny male dugongs, as they are known to grab unsuspecting humans from behind, and drag them down to the bottom of the ocean floor for a bit of nookie... Sasha wasn't too keen to swim with the dugong after that story. Mike and Sashawalked along the main road, to both shops, the first was well stocked for dry goods, but we had heard the 2nd storefurtheralong was better stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. We scored a massive bag of 100% Arabic ground coffee from the first (it has a better selection of coffee and can be identified by the CROCS shoe sign outside - yes no country is safe from the global crocs phenomenon). The second store is opposite the ruins of an prison dated back to the 1800's, looking at it, one can see the French influence in it's high stone walls and castle like turrets. Mike and Sasha ventured up the stairs and in, to be confronted by a very large Sandy brown Bull, he was chained, but his poop was everywhere and that made Sasha a little nervous as she didn't actually see what he was tethered too... Perhaps that chain around his big horns was just for looks.
Gps location is from my iphone, so it may be a little off.
All good anchored up at the Isle Of Pines, it's beautiful here. No wind, so looks like a day to go diving and hang with the turtles. Sasha is keen as to see a dugong - so she's keeping her eyes peeled. We are fast running out of fresh food, so we'll be heading to the closest store soon.
Motoring along, been a quiet night, Mike did a longer watch, Sasha started at 2:40am. We have cellphone coverage here which is cool, so I'll post a couple Instagram pics.
We have very calm conditions tonight, as we make our way to the mainland of New Caledonia. Our final destination will be Isle Of Pines, apparently it has it all, it's like a mini New Cal with all that it has to offer in one small-ish location. We just finished vacuum sealing all the dolphin-fish, aka dorado, aka Mahimahi fish that SV SEACOMBER caught, they caught two, and offered us one, so in the middle of this becalmed sea, we motored up to their stern, backed up, and while Mike was at the helm, Dave dropped a massive MahiMahi into the fishing net Sasha was holding up off the stern of MOONFISH. She was a little surprised at how heavy the massive fish was, and was a tad worried she was going to drop it, but we got it into the boat, Mike whipped the filets off, and Sasha finished up making them into portions, removing the skin and bones and packing them ever so professionally with our handy dandy vacuum sealer. Photos galore to come once we have Internet - check them out on our Instagram account SV MOONFISH. Apart from that, Sasha is first up tonight - on watch, from 8:15 till 11:15pm, Mike will be on until 2:15am, then Sasha will do up until 5:15am. We have lots of company with SV INTRINSIC and SV SKY POND ahead of us, and SV SEACOMBER just off our port side.
A big huge apology to Mike's family who are apparently (surprisingly) waiting with baited breath for the update we promised a few days ago. So much has happened I don't know where to begin!
Ouvea is beautiful, the beach is powder white sand, the water is milky electric aqua blue. There does seem to be some sort of algae bloom in the water, in parts close to shore as there is this light green 'stuff' floating, it's not sea grass, it's something else, and it does pong a little at times. We have been super social since we got here, hence the lack of updates, we've met new friends, and caught up with our old buddies from SV SEACOMBER (Erica, Dave And the twins Jazzy and Zoey). Last time we caught up we were all at Great Barrier Island, and we were saying how cool it is, to sit on the very same boats as we did back then, but in a completely different country!
Before I start on today's cruiser story, I have to relay our adventure to We the township near Qanono, on the eastern side of Lifou. The ICA had organised a bus for 1000 CPF each return. We were quite e cited to see a supermarket (supermache) because we had heard good things. WELL LET ME TELL YOU!!! We were like kids in a candy store! French gooey cheese and large loaves of crusty fresh white bread filled our shopping baskets, frozen gourmet sausages, mini pork meat balls, and whole chickens also made it into our baskets, along with decadent muesli, local beer and several different types of potato chips. We were in heaven!
Now on to Ouvea, our new friends Pip and John from SV SHARP FOCUS (a mono hull yacht Mike refers to as a wolf in sheep clothing - because it's a super racy yacht, with water ballast and carbon mast) lent us their super racy full size road bikes, in return for a go on our SUP's (stand up paddle boards). So Mike and Sasha went off for a bike ride to check out Ouvea, it was one looooooong ride, and when we finally reached our destination the store was closed - haha! We were pretty happy we'd brought water with us! On the way back the racy-ness of the bicycle seats were a tad too much for these sailor bums, and we were both just a tad bit tender the next day. While we'd been off cycling around, our friends on another boat had been dealing with a medical emergency, and after some time, it was decided it was time to get the patient off the boat, into an ambulance and off to hospital for observation, a few days later and one appendectomy- the patient is doing much better, and will be reunited with her boat soon. (I've purposely been vague about names here, for privacy reasons). All I can says thank goodness for Pip and her awesome FRENCH speaking talents!!
Lots more to fill you in, but we are heading off the boat to go check out a sink hole! I promise to write a better update soon, as we are planning on heading off to the mainland this evening with SV SEACOMBER - it's about a 20hr passage. I'll write a proper update then, and post once we get to some Internet access.
We have been in Ouvea for one night and two days now... A lot to write, will make sure we post a proper update tomorrow. All well on board.
SKY POND REUNION! I repeat! SKY POND REUNION! Tuesday was one of those days when you realise you are not only in the exact right place, but you are surrounded with all the right people. We had such a great day on Tuesday, with countless belly aching laughs, and as so often happens, the whole day was a series of impromptu, serendipitous happenings, that concluded with one of the best, most entertaining, dinner parties we have had all season. It all started, early Monday morning as we made our way into Gaatsha Bay, Lifou we saw a familiar boat pop up on our AIS, it was SKY POND, and we were super excited to see them again, after our thoroughly enjoyable (hilarious) adventures together trekking across Naveti Island, (Yasawa, Fiji) from our anchorage at Somosomo Bay to find the elusive world war II plane wreck. Unbeknownst to us, Roxy on SKY POND had tried several times to hail us on VHF that morning, but we must have been out of range as we did not hear the calls. The SKY POND team had figured we were ignoring them, and they then pondered what they had done to cause offence. After one of the most super efficient customs and bio security clearances we have ever experienced (the whole fleet was cleared by 9:30am Tuesday morning â Nice work ICA and New Caledonia Immigration Officers, you guys are a well oiled machine!) Roxy attempted to hail us again, we heard it this time, and finally chatted about the possibility of catching up and finally having that wine Roxy and Sasha had chatted about as we watched the sunset at Nanuya Island, Blue Lagoon many weeks ago. Once cleared Mike and Sasha headed to shore to meet some of the other people from the ICA fleet, as everyone had gone ashore to the âpetit marcheâ that the local village had put together for our arrival. John off Windflower (ICAâs head honcho) said over the radio, it was a VERY petit marketâ¦ (very petit, as in not much of anything) but the locals were planning on getting there to add to the local fruits and vegetables later in the day, to make it less petite. We met Becâs and her family from QUICKSTAR, a very fit, young family from Sydney, also having the adventure of a lifetime. Sasha and Becâs traded a few yoghurt making tips.
Then a little later Mike and Sasha got the SUPâs out and headed straight into the wind, to the north east end of the bay to get a closer look at the rocks and coral on the waters edge. As we made our way back along the shore, Mike noted that a women walking along the pure white-powdered beach might be Roxy, as we paddled closer we confirmed it, and the days reunion started. Carl trundled down from the petit marche, and we mentioned that today would be an opportune time for them to finally come and have a look aboard MOONFISH as they had expressed interest way back at the Blue Lagoon. At the same time Carl and Roxy introduced us to Jo and Lex, a couple from the monohull INTRINSIC, which had been moored at Musket Cove while were we there too. Turns out that Jo is the mother of Michael, the builder who did all of the renovations on Sashaâs house in Auckland, we concluded over VHF (after Jo had made the connection) that itâs such a small world, and Sasha 100% agreed. Sasha invited Jo and Lex to have a look aboard Moonfish that afternoon with Team SKY POND, and eventually everyone was aboard, having a tour and a cold drink. Sasha had just popped a date and maple cake in the oven (one of the only cake recipes in the Edmonds cook book she found that didnât require eggs), so the sweet smell of baking was wafting through the cabins as she took the guests on the tour. That fragrant sweet air was quite possible the catalyst that got us an invite to dinner on SKY POND that night.. (that cake and of course our witty, intelligent conversational skills). We finished our drinks and all headed over to SKY POND for a tour, as Mike and Sasha had not yet been aboard. What an amazing Seawind catamaran, it literally looks like its interior was designed by IKEA, youâd swear you were walking around a Scandinavian apartment, everything is beautifully finished, and there is a place for everything. Sasha loved the glass door (massive) shower best, as well as the BBQ area in the cockpit, which was centrally placed on the stern with plenty of bench space around it. Carl and Roxy were excellent hosts. Lex and Roxy got to work in the galley, Roxy made a very tasty salad, and Lex taught Roxy how to make his famous puttanesca pasta sauce. Sasha and Mike had donated the big piece of Waloo (Thanks for the fish SV ROAM!) , so that got added to the pasta sauce too. We all sat down to a delicious dinner, and chatted and chuckled effortlessly. There were some hilarious moments as Roxy attempted to translate our Kiwi-English into American English. Who knew America donât have âteaspoonsâ? Or that ânapkinsâ are âserviettesâ. Then we demolished the Date and Maple Cake which was a rip roaring success, it reminded Sasha of Sticky Date Pudding, but a cake version. Roxy again was perplexed, âWhatâs âSticky Date Pudding?â to which Sasha replied, âSomething you definitely need to try when you get to New Zealand!â This morning we are making our way north from Lifou to Ouvea, apparently its an absolutely stunning atoll. We are hopeful we will see our friends Erica and Dave and their little, twin, blonde munchkins from SV SEACOMBER up there. Weâre coming guys! All well on board.
WE MADE IT TO LIFOU! The last 24hours we did around 178 nautical miles, we are both stoked with how Moonfish handled herself during this passage, she kept us safe and sound. Early this morning Sasha spotted our destination land on her morning shift, and soon after that Mike was up to takeover. We are safely anchored up, and there are a handful of boats here. Lifou looks like a very interesting place to go and explore, dotted with coconut trees, more buildings than I expected, a seashore of bright white sand beaches framed with rock at each end, and a road that winds up and over the hill. It is idyllic. Weâll take a lot of photoâs and load them onto our instagram and facebook account once we get a New Caledonia SIM cardâ¦. Not sure when that will be. We are tired, but just had a big breakfast of baked beans, scrambled egg, and the left over roasted kumala, fried in butter. It was GLORIOUS! Now Mikeâs got to work cleaing up the boat from passage, and Sasha has a massive box of dishes to clean. Showers after that, and then a well earned afternoon movie and who knows maybe even a nana-nap. Oh and three big daddy of flying fish came aboard last night, Mike found one in the cockpit, and one on the foredeck, and as Sasha was bringing down the mainsail there was one even in the sail! All well on board.
Apologies weâre a little late with this evenings YIT update, Iâll keep it short and sweet. The chicken went down very well! We have been sailing all day with two reefs in our main sail and no head sail out. Just before dark we were slowing a little so Mike shook out one of the reefs. We saw our first big container ship pop up on our AIS, but did not view it with our eyes. Mike spotted a sharkâ¦ mmm getting closer to sharky waters eh! Oh and in the past 24hrs we did 195 nautical miles. All well on board.
LAND HO!!! At 7am this morning we had completed another 195 Nautical Miles in the past 24 hours, which we were pretty stoked with considering we slowed down to 4-6knots over night to be a little more comfortable. Still have two reefs in, and only a sliver of headsail out. This morning when Sasha woke at 6:30am, she hopped out into the cockpit and saw land!! Mike exclaimed âReally?â as he had been on watch for the past few hours. We both soon figured out that our SUP surf boards had hidden that beautiful thing called land from him, as he sat inside the saloon for the morning watch. Fortuna Island looks like your typical flat top mountain island, and it is currently sitting to our starboard. Coming up on our port forward side is one of Vanuatuâs most Southern Islands (it probably is the most southern island within Vanuatu). I canât determine on the chart what the islands name is, but we will past its northern bays in a few hours time, Anlaghen Point on the eastern side, and Anewamet Bay, and Itchepthav Bay on its northern side. We both relayed to each other how comforting it was to see landâ¦ even if itâs not our destination country. Last night Sasha went off to sleep around 7-8pm ish, and Mike did first watch, Sasha was up around 11pm for her watch, and Mike headed off to our port aft berth for a well earned sleep. At 3am, Mike got up, boiled the kettle and noted that Sasha was fast asleep on the saloon couch, even the whistle of the kettle didnât wake her. She was keeping watch though, she was putting her iphone timer on for 12 mins, having a sleep and then getting up and looking for any lights on the horizon. As soon as her head touched the pillow after each check, she was out like a light again. Sasha would like to point out here how much she loves Auto Pilot, if Auto (as we call him for short) will do her the honor she will marry him, thatâs how much she loves Auto, that wedding would surely make the papers eh? Chicken is pretty much thawed, and will go in the oven in a few hours time, with some kumala â we reckon it will be like having a Christmas lunch, except rather a lot less fancy. A shout out to everyone enjoying our updates, we think there must be a backlog of emails sitting on our sat phone, as it keeps telling us there is a heap to download, which we will do once we get to a place with internet, as downloading all that will zap our sat phone minutes, although we do seem to be receiving short emails, and Mappy we did get your email saying bon voyage. All well on board.
Long day sail today, one teeny tiny flying fish came onboard, we gave him a respectable burial at sea. Eggs and baked beans went down well for breaky, paw paw for lunch with some cheese and crackers, and then Sasha baked a loaf of bread for tea, which went down nicely with peanut butter and strawberry jam, yum. We now have two reefs in our mail sail, and only a smidge of head sail out for the night time, the swell has definitely increased, it was a good 3 metres earlier today, itâs coming and going a little. All well on board.
We listened to GHR this morning, thanks guys for the weather update, we really appreciate all the info you provide.
Well it happenedâ¦ it had to happen eventually, and last night, after uploading the YIT update, Sasha finally joined the large group of people who have barfed over the side of a sailing boat. The sickness left as quickly as it arrived, and once dinner (canned chicken soup) was well and truly (and unwillingly) donated to King Neptune, Mike grabbed Sasha a Sea Sick Bomber that MALibu had bought and a refreshing glass of water. Sasha took the first watch, now 100% alert as the pills have 150mg of Caffeine in them. And Mike tried to get some sleepâ¦. Rather difficult in these conditions. Mike took over (I guess) around 8:30ish, Sasha did sleep, then got up and stood watch from 11pm to 2:45am, Mike then helmed from then until 7am. Apart from that weâve made excellent progress, 212 nautical miles in the past 24hours. Plans for a roast chicken dinner tomorrow are underway, with a frozen chick now being defrosted in the fridge. That with roasted Kumala will be a tasty treat! And once Mike wakes up, Sasha will make some scrambled egg muffins in the muffin tray, and in the spare muffin holes head Bake Beansâ¦ gotta love shoving food in the oven and not having to worry about it falling all over the place.
All well on board.
. Never in Sasha'??s wildest dreams did she think she would be on passage, on a 48foot catamaran between tropical Fiji and exotic New Caledonia. But here she is, typing up our first YIT updates for that exact passage! Isn'??t it amazing what a journey life can be, when you let it show you the way? Today started with a cup of tea for Mike, and a plunger coffee for Sasha, followed (after a few hours of sailing) by boat-made greek yoghurt, soaked whole oats and fresh pawpaw. We cracked open a dry brown coconut for morning tea, and cur and scraped the hard coconut meat out from both halves of the shell. What a great filling snack! We lunched at noon on fresh bread roll sandwiches with cheese, fresh tomato, and branston pickle.
Our last few days in Fiji were not the greatest (except for the last couple of awesome surfs we had at Namotu with friends!) we have both had upset tums, but no idea what caused it, after a couple of good night sleeps we'??ve come right, but it was a tad bit worrying knowing we had a passage coming up. A massive thank you to Dan and Lisa on Meari, who gave us not only their activated charcoal pills, but also another homeopathic remedy, that really did seem to do the trick!! Thanks guys!! Feeling rather under the weather, we headed for Lautoka (Fiji'??s second largest city) for passage provisions, and to officially clear out of Fiji, our home for the past 70 odd days. We walked right past Mcdonalds (considering our health) which was hilarious emanating a curry smell (we were game enough to go in and find out why). We headed to the other end of town after tendering in the Lautoka International Wharf. Mike dropped the stern anchor off the back of our faithful dinghy as we were concerned that the rising tide may wedge our dinghy under the wharf. Our destination was Ajax Fasteners, as a few days earlier Sasha was closing the galley hatch on the side of the boat, and the handy dandy turning bolt fastener thingy that seals the hatch, fell straight off in the sea '?? never to be seen again! Super-Mike has since tethered every single hatch fastener, as they are rather unique, and we don'??t have any spares. Yet another thing to sort out once we get back to New Zealand. After stopping at a watersports store, and receiving a hand drawn map of Lautoka, we made our way to Ajax, and picked up some standard bolts that fit the hatch seal thingy, so we could seal the hatch for the passage. A note to all your cruisers out there, apparently there is NO chandlery in Lautoka'?¶Good times.
The Lautoka Market lived up to it'??s reputation as one of the best markets to visit Endless stalls filled with all the South Pacific classics; white cabbage ($1.50 to $2.00), red cabbage ($8 for some unknown reason!?), carrots, onions, herbs and spices, hot peppers, green beans, eggplants, Kumala, potatoes, coconuts, pineapples, mangoes, kava root, taro, giant pale orange pumpins being sliced apart by men with machetes, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, and island spinach all available in LARGE quantities. We picked up enough to last us until we get to New Caledonia, the land of cheese and baguettes! As I type this I am trying to drink a glass of Ginger Ale, remind me to add to my list of things to get for the boat a Tommi-Tippy cup for me to use on passage!! I am wearing more of it than I have drunk! All well on board.
Been a few relaxed days here on SV MOONFISH, our sister ship turned up at Musket a couple of days ago, and anchored just behind us. Barry the owner of TWOCAN (a play on two cans, as in aluminium cans) came over with his friend to tell us the tale of TWOCAN and we were happy to oblige with our own boat story. We showed Barry around our boat, and he returned the favour. It was like the twilight zone hopping onto TWOCAN, it was our boat, but everything was back to front and brightly coloured like the Toucan bird the boat is named after. It was so cool to be the only boat in Musket cove with a sister ship also anchored up. And it was so interesting to look around the boat and see the differences in layout. The coolest thing Sasha found was the cutlery drawer under the saloon table, and after living for years without one drawer on MOONFISH she very excitedly showed Mike who gave a look of exhaustion at the thought of having to fabricate a drawer. Heh heh! It will happen!
Yesterday we briefly caught up with Team Bravado, what a cool bunch! They are one of the boats heading to New Cal shortly so we're keen to hear our plans for departure. We haven't checked out Lautoka city, so we are planning on exiting Fiji from there, it's free, and we've heard there is a McDonald's there and we are both just a little interested in tasting a Fijian Big Mac, you know, purely for scientific research purposes, a compare and contrast study with NZ's Big Mac's.. Hehe we haven't had 'real' junk food for months and months - please forgive us.
We spent yesterday afternoon kiting on the 14 metre of the sandbar here at Musket, the wind just kept picking up so Sasha handed over the 14 to Mike, who had a great SESHion but also had to retire when the wind got so strong he was fully depowered, and fully lit.
Today we enjoyed egg rolls for breakfast, and went into the trader for salt, as we have run out of that, then he wind just dropped and we headed out to Namotu for a SUP surf at swimming pools. The swell was affected by the wind, and Mike could see the wind at Cloudbreak heading our way, so we headed back to MOONFISH and weighed anchor back to musket, icy cold beer in hand. Sash whipped up a cheese and pepperoni pizza on the remaining chia seed and cumin boat-made tortilla.
That's all for now, we are loving Musket Cove, and Fiji and really enjoy all this place has to offer, kiting, surfing, snorkelling, and an Island Bar! It really is a magical place.
Ps... Happy Father's Day Pappy!
This is a long one, so for our massive audience of readers out there, it may pay to grab a cup a, and settle in...
We know we haven't YIT'ed for a while, sorry about that, but with Fiji Data SIM cards being so darn cheap ($25 Fijian for 9GB!) we've been posting away on our SV MOONFISH Facebook and Instagram pages instead. But there are several things we need to document from our last couple of weeks, very important things (as always).
Firstly thanks to Greg M for sharing the most interesting story of the pilot from the plane wreck we snorkelled on. It turns out no pilots were harmed in the making of our cross-island trek / snorkel adventure. The pilot was rescued, and it was only after marrying a local Fijian and having children, that his brother turn up looking for his long lost dead body. Happily they reunited much to the pilot's brothers amazement, and the pilot explained he was quiet happy where he was and wasn't coming home. Ha! What a great piece of history!
Another important milestone is that we have well and truly mastered the coconut! Thanks to MALibu, our trusty coconut stick, duck tape and our machete have come in very handy at certain coconut groves around the place. Mike managed to get three nice orange/yellow drinking coconuts down from one tree the other day, and then we set about learning about coconuts on YouTube. We learnt that all coconuts have a wee monkey face on one end, with two eyes complete with eyebrows, and a larger mouth hole. The other end has three ridges that meet and form a kind of seam. We now know that you can cut the husk off, find the face end, poke a hole in the mouth and one of the eyes and the delicious coconut milk will run out easily, filling up one large glass, we share the milk, then Sasha sets to work with the empty coconut to crack it in half (similar to cracking an egg), you hold the coconut in one hand with the face at one end, and the seam at the other, exposing the equator of the coconut shell, then using the back of a good quality chef knife you work your way around the equator tapping the shell, eventually the high pitched tap will all of a sudden go 'thud' this indicates you've cracked it, then you just keep tapping until you can see the shell breaking into two halves. Grab a spoon and eat up all that glorious spoon-meat. So tasty and so good for you! And best of all FREE.
Apart from that Mike and Sasha have spent a lot of time at Musket Cove, kiting, surfing with Dave Kalama and the Google boat crowd (Sasha SUP surfing) and generally hanging out, and thinking bout food, the boat and the improvements/additions we want to make when we get home, and food.... Yes, food has been quite a large part of Sash's thoughts. You see our food stores are getting on the low side (this is not a request for people to start sending food up, there is plenty of food here). What we mean is we're starting to run out of some of our favourite basics (Chilli Flakes, Tomato Paste, Wraps, Baked Beans etc). The most interesting thing is the provision list Sasha has started to prepare for next season, there are so SO many things Sasha would do differently. The major thing Sasha has learnt is that you have much more time to cook when you are not working full time. So this means, ingredients that you never thought - in a million years - you'd use, all of a sudden become desired, the ability to whip up some orange and date scones is no longer a weekend 'might do' in between all your weekend life-admin that you need to squish into two days because the week days are a hazy blur of computer screens and management meetings. All of a sudden if you feel like eating brownie, you can just stop reading your book, or decide not to head out for a paddle and instead you can instantaneously make brownies, and something that use to feel like a hell of a lot effort (i.e. Fish cakes) is now akin to making toast. What a strange but thoroughly enjoyable transition! So what does this mental foodie shift mean? Well it means that what was provisioned on the boat, and what Sasha needs on the boat are two very different things now. With the foresight now achieved from the hindsight of our first provisioning efforts the following list provides some of the key things we will ensure are always on the boat from next season on...
SPICES AND HERBS - these are absolutely essential to add much needed flavour and variety to boat-meals! Let me tell you there 'ain't' no Greggs/Masterfoods spice rack up here... in any store Anywhere!!! Massive opportunity for someone to brand up the spice/herbs industry up here... It's rather limited from what we have seen, you'll have no issue getting ground chilli, curry, mustard seeds, fenugreek (whatever that is!) but that's about it. And in terms of volumes, we'll be buying 3 to 6 jars of each for our next season, as 1 or 2 is just not going to last the 6-8 month time frame, because we are cooking almost every night, and we have gone through truckloads more herbs and spices than we estimated.
Nutmeg, onion powder, garlic powder, onion flakes, thyme, bay leaf, way more chilli flakes, a whole heap of smoked paprika, ground coriander, cardamom, cumin (a small mountain of the stuff! As it is ideal with eggplant, and there is a crap load of eggplant in the South Pacific), ground ginger, dry mustard powder, oregano, mint. It's good to get your spices in small jars, but get several jars of each, that way they'll be fresher than one large bulk jar.
STOCK, PASTES, & TOMATO (canned) - these are the bases of so many delicious, comforting meals, it pays to not run out... We have run out of all three!
Stocks, get a mixture of the jelly type concentrate (it's versatile) and some cubes. Both are better than tetra packs full of liquid stock, as they keep a long time and take up hardly any space/ weight. Bring FISH, CHICKEN, and BEEF stock, as well as Vego if you're that way inclined,
Pastes, tomato paste... Bring it in the tube, in the punnet, and in the little tins.... I definitely did not buy enough! But that's because we have a lot of burritos/mince type meals.
HARISSA PASTE is the solution to all of the world's problems! I cannot do it justice with words! It makes everything taste better, chicken, mince, or even vegetable based dishes.. It is one of the best things ever invented and we will be buying 5 to 10 jars of the stuff for next season!
Other pastes I will make sure we have on board are, Thai Green Curry paste, Red Curry Paste, and Mexican Spice Packets (even though this can also be made up from the spice list above). Miso soup paste is another thing we never had while working, but now on the boat, we want it!
We did alright on this front, although there are quite a few extra's we now desire... Whole corn, (we bought a heap (14-15 cans) of creamed core for fritters, it would be nice to just have a side of whole corn with a meal once and a while. Tomatillos because Posole Mexican Soup is awesome! Way more Mexican/ Salsa beans, and refried beans (20-30 cans) because we love Mexican flavours. On that note Jalapeno's, because cheese poppers are yum! Way more tuna and salmon - yes you can buy it here and tuna is relatively cheap at $1.65 per 100g tin, it's just we are eating far more of it than we expected, because we are not catching fish anywhere near as much as we thought we would, and because Tuna and Salmon fish cakes are rather tasty. Oh and sardines because Sasha loves sardines on toast, that's King Oscar hand packed premium Norwegian brisling sardines, not Brunswick which is the only type of sardine you can get up here and that stuff is cat food! Yes there is a major difference, try KinOscar you'll understand. Canned Mushrooms are also something we would never usually eat, but we would have used them if we'd bought 'em!
Way more Continental Surprise Peas, 200g packets... We'll get at least 10 - 15 packs next season. They are just brilliant, are surprisingly fresh tasting (we suppose that's why they are called what they are called) they are always on hand for that meal where fresh vege is scarce, and very tasty with some butter, rubbed mint, salt and pepper stirred in, or as an additional ingredient for a flash of green in the pot!
Instant mash potato, great as a stand by side, or to thicken soups, chilli con carne etc.
Falafel mix, at least 5 of them, and perhaps a couscous (for carrot and couscous salad - a la Rockstar recipe), and way more polenta for polenta chips, and corn bread. Also quinoa for salads.
THINGS TO BAKE
Apple and Blackberry canned - for pies, strudels, crumbles, muffins, puddings etc.
Grainy bread mix, because we both miss vogels toast, intact I just did some internet research on this and Kibbled Wheat is the answer to making a bread like Vogels, somKibbled Wheat will definitely be on the provisioning list for next season.
Orange essence (for those date and orange scones I was talking about earlier)
Raisins for cinnamon scrolls, and 5-10 big bags off hem because the raisins you can get in NZ are sweet and juicy and delicious and the ones up here are nothing like that!
Chocolate Chips, because we both miss Mike's Mum's homemade chocolate chip cookies (Barbara, how about a Sunday avo chocolate chip cookie session when we get back so we know how to make them?)
Way more easiyo packs, we've only been using Greek yoghurt for breakfast with muesli, but with a muslin/cheese cloth you can make savoury and or sweet yoghurt cheese, and when your cheese options are down to Edam or Tasty.... Yoghurt cheese starts looking pretty damn tasty! A side note: I have one more pack of easiyo yoghurt, so I did a bit of Internet research and it turns out I can make my very own yoghurt with a couple of tablespoons of my previous yoghurt batch, and a litre of milk (made from milk powder in our case)... I made my first batch of really 'home/boatmade' yoghurt yesterday, it set really well, and now I have it sitting in a colander on a piece of paper towel to remove some of the whey so we get a really thick creamy Greek yoghurt, I've already had a sneaky taste, and Oh My God!! Who knew milk and a couple tablespoons of yoghurt could make such great yoghurt!! All you do is heat up the milk on the stove top, to scalding (but don't boil it), then pop it in your easiyo jar, and wait for it to cool until it's lukewarm, then mix in (softly) a couple of generous tablespoons of yoghurt that is FRESH and you know has live cultures in it, and then incubate in the easiyo thermos thingy for 12 - 18 hours, the longer you leave it the tarter, more acidic the yoghurt is. SO easy!! And no I didn't use a thermometer.
Way, WAY more muesli, 20 packs, nay 30 packs. Sasha misses muesli. And it is so SO expensive here.
WAY MORE 'Healthy' SNACK FOODS
Raw nuts, we ran out of these almost on getting to Tonga, depending on how long almonds, walnuts, cashews etc last, we would probably buy 5kg of each for next season.
Oh and we will definitely be making up a Travellers Belly/ Digestive wellbeing food kit because not only has Sasha been struck down with an upset digestive system twice, but several of the yachties we have met have also had upset stomachs. And as I type this Mike is experiencing his first upset yum, we think it might be the eggplant. Our happy digestive kit will include.. Apple Sauce, Rice, probiotics, natural antifungals (such as oregano oil, coconut oil (or Caprylic acid), activated charcoal (thanks to Dan and Lisa on Meari for that tip!) we'll also be including liquid chlorophyll because we really really REALLY miss our baby spinach and silverbeet! We already have the essential greens smoothie powder, but because Fiji is having a banana drought we've had way less smoothies than we thought we would.
So there.....there's some thought for food. Heh heh.
We are sailing! We are sailing! Back to Musket across the sea.
Yesterday was full of adventure! We motored from Nanuya Island, south to Naviti Island, where we had been told of a World War 2 mustang fighter plane which lay in 'snorkel-deep' water on the east side of the island. We anchored up in a western bay and pulled the paddle boards and snorkel gear out along with a pair of jandals and headed ashore. As we paddled in, Carl and Roxy from SKY POND headed ashore in their tender and told us we held the same shared mission - find our way through the treacherous island bush to the other side of the island, and find that plane!! Sounds easy right? But after Cyclone Winston, the 'path' that showed on an old chart we had been given by Tony Whiting had been decimated by fallen trees and was now overgrown with a vivid green vine that loves to stick to you if you touch it. Our American friends came far more prepared for the 'hike', and we're old hand at finding the 'trail', with "definite path" exclaimed more than once as Carl or Roxy lead the way. With their awesome gadget called a 'Bad Elf' they could pinpoint our GPS location and display it on a map on their iPad. This came in very handy as we reached the end of the coconut tree forest, and found ourselves in plains of dry grass high enough to hide an elephant. At this point Sasha did 'try it on' with Carl and Roxy relaying the story of the aggressive 'Fiji Beast' which is kind of like a Tasmanian Devil only three times the size. Unfortunately they didn't fall for the tale - heh heh. In the tall dry bleached blond grass it was impossible to find a 'definite path' and many a wrong turn was taken as we made random crop marking across the plains. Finally we made it to the islands eastern coconut tree grove (the coconuts always seem to grow need the coast, so we knew we were close). By this point in our adventure we had spotted two rudimentary arrows, the first made of coconuts on the ground, the second made with tree branches, and pointing the way we had just come. Talk of 'omens' occurred more than once. And so did the idea of bringing signposts with us next year that just say 'wrong way' on them - chortle! Anyway, after wishing we'd brought our machete - several times, Team SKY POND found the trail again and through the eastern coconut grove we hiked, until.... There is was, the most beautiful sandy white beach we have seen so far, there were two hits set back among the coconut trees, one a traditional thatched bure, the other more westernised, neither had any people inside, as we called out with a few "Bula's" to introduce our presence. As we stood on the beach looking out at the four small islands that protect the bay, we all congratulated ourselves on making it this far. Carl got the iPad out again, as he had prep'd by taking down the plane's gps coordinates (this was one of several times where Mike and Sasha thanked their lucky stars Team SKY POND were on the task, because they would never have made it through the bush or found the plane if it wasn't for SKY POND). Sure enough Carl located the general direction of the plane, and Roxy spotted the buoy marking the plane's underwater grave. We all got our snorkel, mask and fins on, and waded out into the aqua blue lagoon. It was at this moment that Mike and Sasha looked at each other, and both realised they had just found absolute KITE SURF HEAVEN!! The lagoon is massive, it's floor is sand and sea grass, and it is waist deep water for thousands of metres. It's like a tropical Snells Beach, but four or five times the size. We all swam out to the buoy, and there it was, nestled in the white sand with Nemo, and his buddies playing in the nose of the plane. We took turns diving down to take a closer look, the body of the plane is still intact, but the wings are no longer visible. Sasha was amazed and excited when she first saw it, but after a few closer looks started to ponder the history of the plane, and wondered about the fate of its pilot. Once our treasure has been well and truely explored we all swim back to the beach, sitting in the hot shallow water, which reminded Mike and Sasha of a spa. Then it was back into the bush to navigate our way back - turns out it's much easier and quicker getting back than it was getting to the plane. A great day was had by all, and we were all really glad we'd made it.
We've had an excellent few days!! When we first arrived at the famous Blue Lagoon - we were a little underwhelmed, but after finding a great Kiting spot with nice, consistent wind and meeting a whole bunch of new friends (SKY POND - Roxy & Carl, you are awesome!! And the clan on the mega yacht SHAMAN (82ft long!!) you guys are amazing, thank you for the Bloody Mary it was perfect! And for the mini DELICIOUS calzones!!) and for the tour, your ship is beautiful!). We all went walking up and over the island to Lo's tea house for chocolate cake and tea and after a few days the place really grew on us. The kiting is fantastic, Mike's been rocking out lots of backrolls, and I have finally got my head around popping 180 on my switch side EUREKA!!! Lots of great photos on our Instagram account (search SVMOONFISH) if you are keen to have a look. The island walk was amazing, we all set off thinking 'ho hum, a walk will be something to do' but by the end, after crossing over little stream bridges made out of tree trunks, and finding picture perfect tropical paradise view time and time again, we all concluded by the end that we were so glad we had stayed one more day to see the island properly. Last night was a big a big night with Shaman playing host to almost every boat in the harbour!! What a great family!!! What a boat!! Then we all headed into the Boathouse bar (island: Nanuya Lailai) and watched the Hurricanes tear the Chiefs apart (heh heh! Nice one!!!). Our heads were a little sore this morning, but our hearts were full of all the fantastic memories we have made at The Blue Lagoon. Next stop Champagne Beach, then back down to Musket Cove so Mike can have a few more surfs, and we can get some more vegetables!
We've spent the morning swimming with a manta ray, pretty cool! And now we are heading up to The Blue Lagoon!
Two days ago we got up and headed out to Namoto Island, Mike was very keen to get a surf in, but it was not to be. We anchored left of Namoto in about 20 metres, right next to the surf break called Swimming Pools. It was very windy, and we knew the holding was not very good so we sat on the nets and watched the surf and surfers while we waited to see if the boat would drag, and sure enough it did. It was pretty frustrating as Mike was keen as for a surf, but not keen enough to risk our home. So after a while we decided to up anchor and head back into Musket Cove. As we pulled the anchor up, the windlass seemed to be under more strain than usual, and as we got our 33kg Rocna to the surface we realised what had caused the strain.... Sitting nicely wedged into the anchor was one massive lump of coral, our 33kg anchor had become a 100kg anchor! Sasha was bringing the anchor up, and Mike was at the helm, when she saw the coral head, she let out a rather expressive yell, and looked at Mike threw her hands in the air and said 'Well, I don't know what to do with that!!'. Mike came over to see what she was talking about and his reaction was very similar. While motoring slowly away from Swimming Pools (defeated and depressed), they figured out how to remove the coral, Mike would lift the anchor and the coral head with the boat hook, while Sasha would release anchor chain to give him enough slack to position the anchor so that gravity would assist in sliding the coral head off our beloved Rocna.... It WORKED, whew! It wasn't a complete waste of time though, as we did see where the other yachts were anchoring - just behind Namoto, central to both breaks, (there is a lovely sandy spot) so if we attempt this again in the big boat we'll be anchoring there.
Yesterday we had a supreme day! Got up, had cups of tea, with boatmade marmalade toast, and then watched Danny from Rockstar having a great kite on the sand island. Soon enough we were in the tender with our gear, and pumping up the 10mtr for Sash (aka the wind Guinea Pig) to see how much wind was out there. The spot is amazing! It's hundred's of metres of ankle to thigh deep water (depending on the tide) and there's only a few coral heads around. When it's ankle deep it's a little sketchy but still amazing! So we had an early morning kite, met Danny and Carmein from Rockstar, and then left our gear on the sand island, headed back for a bite to eat, and then headed out again for another session. Then we had the rockstar crowd over for some Sangria that Sasha had been planning to make for a while, a nice bottle of Grenache had been saved for this delicious Sangria, and oranges had been purchased from the Nadi markets especially. While Sasha was cutting up the oranges, she asked Mike to see if there was a bottle of lemonade on the boat, Sasha was pretty sceptical, as she was pretty sure she had drunk all the lemonade, but surprisingly Mike found a bottle and passed it to Sasha. Into a large jug, Sasha added the three juicy sweet oranges, peeled and sliced, an entire tray of ice cubes, and then she poured the entire bottle of delicious, fruity chilled red wine, and then without even thinking she unscrewed the cap on the 'lemonade' (not noticing there was no release of gas from the bottle) and poured three quarters of the bottle on top of the beautiful wine and oranges. And the most god awful smell eminated from the jug in front of her. She stirred it hoping that the smell was not coming from the jug. Then tentatively poured a glass to test it, as Danny and Charmein had already arrived and Sasha wanted to make sure she was offering a drink that actually tasted good. The smell from the glass was enough to know something had gone terribly wrong. It stunk! At first Sasha thought the wine was poked, but after smelling the screw capped bottle she knew the wine was not only perfectly fine, but also realised that this would be a wine that she would never get to savour. Then she thought, maybe the oranges are off, although this was quickly discounted as she had sliced and pealed the. And they were juicy and perfect....leaving only one item...THE BOTTLE OF 'LEMONADE'.... Sasha sniffed the open bottle, with one quarter of its contents left... the sudden realisation that the lovely oranges and beautiful bottle of Grenache we're destroyed suddenly dawned on her, it wasn't lemonade! The bottle had been refilled with saltwater, and frozen in our Waeco Freezer during passage to keep the freezer full, and working at itos optimal best. Somehow it had made it's way back into our Mixers cubboard, where it waited stealthily to kill Sasha's much anticipated Sangria. Trying to explain how putrid that old salt water tasted is difficult, but it was a mixture between wet dog smell and liquified cardboard. It all happened so fast that Sasha literally stood there in the galley looking at the jug, full of rich red wine, ice cubes and slices of orange, and tried to figure out how she could un-mix the putrid old salt water out of her delicious ingredients. Obviously the end result was a sad one... The entire jug went down the drain, and a chilled bottle of cider was drunk instead. Goodbye beautiful bottle of Grenache, we'll miss never drinking you!
After Ciders, we all headed into the Island bar, as there was a buffet, and live music planned. The food was amazing! Green papaya salad, snapper, chicken, steak, sausages, potato salad and much much more, so much food! Then dessert came out, the BEST tasting carrot cake with cream cheese icing we have ever tasted! And there was fresh pineapple, watermelon, rock melon and more to go with it. The live entertainment kicked off just as dinner was finishing, and they were so good! They played covers that everyone knew and soon enough the crowd was up and dancing the night away! It was a perfect day at Musket Cove, and Sasha even managed to almost forget her beautiful bottle of Grenache... almost.
We've been in Musket Cove for the past few days. We've had a couple of decent kites, one right next to the Musket moorings, with some great flat water, the other on the eastern side, where the wind is more consistent but the water is not as flat. Yesterday we took the 'big boat' out to Namoto, and Mike had a surf at Swimming pools. It was our first time out there with MOONFISH and we anchored just left of the swimming pools break, it wasn't great holding, Sasha stayed on board, cooked a sweet banana and egg omelet and monitored the Anchor Alarm which went off over and over again. Once we got back into Musket Mike headed out for a paddle, Sash had a workout and we headed in for the Potluck dinner, Happy Birthday Ian! Looks like it'll be a kiting day today.
One night spent in Denarau, we drunk the Hard Rock
Cafe mega cocktail, complete with a bottle of Corona upside down in the giant cocktail glass! We've dined at Rhum-Ba, and this morning we headed into Nadi on the $1 bus to provision up with fresh fruit, eggs and vegetables. Now all that there is left to do is head to Musket Cove!
We've just seen another Tim Mumby Catamaran (aka our sister ship!), we were sitting at the Hard Rock Cafe sharing one of their famous sandwiches and low and behold TWOCAN motored into Denarau! It has a big pink strip down each hull. We'd love to know it's story, we may be brave and attempt to do our first ever cold call, when we head back in for a dinner out. Apart from that loving Fiji! Loving Denarau, we will head to Nadi tomorrow morning on the 1 dollar Bula bus, provision up and then head to Musket for (fingers crossed) great surfing and more kiting!!
Still motoring along, reef after reef, it's one long winding course, very chuffed that our chart has a recommended route plotted.
We're of again! We've been anchored off Nananu-I-Ra for several days now. We're heading to Latoka to stock up on supplies. We've had a lovely relaxing time here, but it seems we kicked out on wind (for kiteboarding) as apparently it's usually really windy around here. Oh well! Mike's keen as to get to a surf spot and We both know Musket is a kite spot too!
We have made it to Viti Levu, the main island, it's one large looking island after passing so many small ones, all of which look worse for wear after Cyclone Winston. It's a beautiful sunny day, our newly installed Battery charger is working really well, and all seems right with the world.
Heading THROUGH Namena reef
Looks like we'll take the 'save-a-tack' passage through Namena reef now! Very exciting! Apparently there's no fishing in the reef, so we'll be pulling in our lines.
Early 7:30 start this morning, we've left Savusavu and plan to make our way around the eastern side of Namena Island, towards our final destination Makogai. We have a fresh easterly 20knots and 2mtr swells, so it's gonna be a bit of a bumpy sail.
We left Viani Bay this morning, after checking our email and receiving the good news that Waitui Marina had our new Battery Charger. It's funny ya know... How much cruising becomes about energy-management. Without our fantastic charger recharging our house batteries has become somewhat stressful. Especially while trying to keep two freezers full of meat frozen! So we have turned one off, and managed to pack one freezer super full of meat. We have 5 solar panels on our cockpit roof and they are putting in 14-20 odd amps while the sun is shining, so we think we'll double that for next season, so there are no energy issues. Apart from that insight into the daily administration of running a cruising yacht, WE CAUGHT A YELLOW FIN TUNA today!!!! It's our first ever yellow fin, and the beautiful light delicate flesh that came off it is something we are dry much looking forward to eating! Sashimi, pickled ginger and soy sauce will be today's afternoon tea!
When I was about 10 years old, I wrote a poem (with the help of my Mappy), and it was published in the NZ Women's Weekly magazine. After writing this YIT MOONFISH update, it popped into my head and I've just slightly adapted it to fit with the story I am about to tell you. It went almost like this...
"I hate it when I'm in a line,
With nothing at all to do,
And someone rude is pushing in the Customs Clearance Queue,
And people say just look at that!
They're pushing in the line,
There must be something we can do to make them go behind!"
We are anchored at the river mouth at Savusavu. We've stayed in the same spot where customs cleared us. Now our clearance morning is a very interesting tale which we are more than happy to share to ensure other cruisers out there don't make the same mistake as us. FUSIO and MOONFISH were the first boats into Savusavu on the morning of 27th June, reaching the river mouth-harbour before sunrise. FUSIO called up The Copra Shed (our first big mistake!! As we should have chosen Waitui Marina instead, as Jolene who manages the place is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!) any way we were booked in by The Copra Shed, for clearance with the Savusavu Customs & Immigration officials. We were told by The Copra Shed, to stand by on channel 16 as they would call us once Customs we're ready to be picked up, The Copra Shed NEVER CALLED US BACK!!! Several boats came into Savusavu after us, including two ARC RALLY monohulls, one was Meermow (the NZ registered boat with foreign owners, we think they may be Dutch by the sounds of the accents, but we are not sure. They had been waiting out in the ocean and had called us up in the middle of the night as we sailed past them, they were waiting until daylight to come into Savusavu) the other was called Mystic Soul, a boat with the exotic destination of Hull on its stern. Both these boats came into Savusavu hours after we had arrived and anchored, and they also called up the Copra shed and registered their booking for Customs clearance. They anchored up behind us, and we all waited for The Copra Shed to call us so FUSIO could head into the marina to pick up the Customs officials. As an aside we have heard that in the past The Copra Shed use to bring the customs officials out to the boats for clearance but these days they don't). Anyway before we (polite, queue forming Kiwi's) knew what was happening, the ARC RALLY boats exhibited the most shocking and inconsiderate 'Cruiser' behaviour we have experienced so far on our cruising travels! They rudely and impatiently decided to push in front of all the boats that had arrived into Savusavu before them (there was four of us apparently awaiting Customs clearance) and without telling The Copra Shed, Meermow went in and got the Customs Officials, who were none the wiser that Meermow and Mystic Soul were the last boats in the clearance queue. Now The Copra shed we're shockingly bad at managing the situation, not only did they not confirm to Customs the correct order the yachts were to be cleared in, but they also did NOTHING to rectify the situation, In fact it was like there was no actual management going on at all! We found out later, after asking The Copra Shed what service they actually provided, that all they do is phone up Customs, which we considered daylight robbery as they charged both FUSIO and us $20 Fijian dollars each to make that phone call, any easy $40 for them! (CRUISER TIP #1 Waitui does it FOR FREE!!). So there we sat, tired after our 3 day passage, confused and shocked at the selfish behaviour of Meermow an ARC RALLY monohull, as they putted past us in their tender, time after time going to and from the shore with the different Custom officials. They obviously knew they were in the wrong, as they averted their eyes as they past us and avoided any contact. To make matters even worse Meermow's inconsiderate, unKiwi-like behaviour continued as they decided to ferry each Custom official to their partner in (clearance) crime ARC RALLY yacht Mystic Soul, who had the nerve, after taking a rather long time to complete their custom clearance as well, attempted to take the Officials back to shore, instead of availing themselves from the Cruiser misnomer they had already committed by doing us the usual courtesy of ferrying them to the next boat in the queue. Later we learnt that these two troublesome ARC RALLY yachts had botched their Fijian advanced customs forms saying they would be arriving in Latoka, a completely different port in Fiji, hence the extended time Customs had to spend with them. FUSIO actually had to wave down one of their tenders, to stop their idiot-selfish behaviour. The ARC RALLY boat then had the audacity to wave FUSIO over to their yacht and requested they pick up the officials off their boat. None of us could believe the behaviour we were experiencing, and we were dismayed that an NZ registered boat (Meermow) was tarnishing our good Kiwi reputation. The shining light in this story is that (while misinformed by The - to be avoided if you don't want to be robbed - Copra Shed) the Savusavu Customs and Immigration team we're a class act, they we're lovely to deal with, friendly, informative and welcoming, the Fijian tourism industry should be very proud! Oh, and by the by, I had the great fortune of SUPing past Mystic Soul this morning, and took great delight in making sure they were aware of how inconsiderate and 'Cruiser-rude' their behaviour was, to which they reacted with ignorance, and more rudeness.
. BULA BULA!! After 3 nights of continuous sailing we have arrived safe and sound in Savusavu. Sasha and MikeÃ¢ÂÂs first passage alone was a success! Last night was a great night of sailing, with a top speed of 14.5 knots. Mike was considering putting in a reef when Sasha awoke for her shift, but after 30mins the winds abated, and Sasha settled in at the helm, with only the main sail up to monitor speeds of 4 and 5 knots in very calm seas. A yacht (Mooemeer) from the Arc rally (a circumnavigation of the earth) also sailing from Tonga, called up Moonfish on the VHF in the night for a chat. Sasha made sure to say that Team Moonfish would come and introduce ourselves when we saw them in Savusavu. Moonfish passed them during the night as they were waiting out in the ocean for daylight so they could navigate their way into Savusavu. We were very lucky not to have to do the same, as we followed FUSIO into the harbour (once they caught up to us heh heh). Once in the harbou r, FUSIO went to check out if there were any quarantine moorings free, but we watched them on the AIS and they soon turned around and came back out. Opting instead to motor around in the calm with Moonfish as all the moorings were taken, bar two which they were not sure the owners of. FUSIO also relayed that the wind was all over the show on the passage, this information greatly relieved Sasha (and her crash gibing tactics) sharing that the wind was very varied, moving from 27 knots to 9 knots at times, and that it had done a couple of 180Ã¢ÂÂs which meant the fault was not in the helmswoman. The smell of land is always so apparent after some time at sea, a sweet smell of smoke and lush tropical forest is easily identified. We are both very well, and so happy and excited to be in Fiji for the next part of our adventure. One of the first things to do, once we have cleared customs will be to purchase a Fijian sim card, and give all the parental units a call/skype, upload all the outstanding Tongan photography onto Facebook, and see whatÃ¢ÂÂs happening with friends back home. Now, off to make some creamy banana porridge for breaky All well on board.
. Flippy is still sitting on the foredeck. WeÃ¢ÂÂve had all sorts of excitement today, Sasha managed to crash gibe more than once, her reasoning was that the rainy squalls dotted all around, had caused sudden directional changes in the wind. Mike was not impressed, as she got him up twice from slumber to ask for help on how to deal with it. Sasha has almost finished Pride and Prejudice, and canÃ¢ÂÂt help but note that all the olÃ¢ÂÂ English language has affected her written sensibilities. Just capital it is! Mike has finished the Captain Cook book he was reading, and has lamented for the most part of today about what he shall read next. We had full intentions of listening to GHR this morning, but in all the commotion of SashaÃ¢ÂÂs sailing expertise missed the transmission. Tomorrow we expect to be moored in the designated quarantine area by daylight. FUSIO is in plain sight now, and we have chatted about their fishing prowess this afternoon. All well on board.
Another nights sailing completed, we have spotted land, Cakau Lasemarawa, which presides in front of the more substantial Yarova Island. Or the land we can see may be perhaps the even larger island to the north, Yarova Island. We have also received the standard Fijian cellphone companies Ã¢ÂÂwelcome to FijiÃ¢ÂÂ text messages. FUSIO is no longer on our AIS, and we have passed to very lit up fishing vessels during the course of the night, one with NO AIS which was strange. Sasha spotted some strange white flashing lights, several of them and has assumed they were marking on of the outlying reefs. Mike is enjoying a well earned sleep, and Sasha watched the sun rise. Sasha is contemplating unfurling the headsail, but we are ok with this speed for now, until we see FUSIO again on the AIS. All well on board.
A great day sailing top speed for the day 15.6knots under main sail only!! Both Mike and Sasha have had naps to prep for another nights sailing. Dinner was a delicious chicken harissa casserole, with kumara, and tomato base sauce. Sasha is reading Jane AustenÃ¢ÂÂs classic Ã¢ÂÂPride and PrejudiceÃ¢ÂÂ and Mike is reading Ã¢ÂÂJames CookÃ¢ÂÂs Lost WorldÃ¢ÂÂ a novel by Graeme Lay. WeÃ¢ÂÂve been in VHF contact with Fusio, all well on board there, we can see them just behind our starboard aft now. WeÃ¢ÂÂre still smokinÃ¢ÂÂ along with only our main up, and for some fun, Mike has turned off Auto and is surfing down the waves for something to do. WeÃ¢ÂÂve had a tiny casualty Ã¢ÂÂ there is a tiny dead flying fish sitting up on the deck, weÃ¢ÂÂll give Flippy an appropriate send off when we are in calmer waters. WeÃ¢ÂÂre having a tad bit of difficulty with our battery charger, itÃ¢ÂÂs showing the correct indicator lights when we pop on the genny, but it isnÃ¢ÂÂt charging, which is a bummer. Anyo ne got any clues/tips? WeÃ¢ÂÂll take a better look at it once we are at Fiji.
Goodbye Tonga!! It was good to be able to catch up with Team BRAVADO (Al and Shirl) in Tonga, and we look forward to seeing them again at Musket Cove. Well we are well on our way to Savusavu, Fiji now. We decided to head to Fiji instead of staying in Tonga longer to catch up with our kiting mates, as we are not too familiar with the Fiji customs processes, and Team FUSIO have been brilliant showing us the ropes. This morning will be the first time in a long time we will turn on the SSB and listen in to GHR for a weather update, as we had been using the local VHF cruiser net (channel 26) in Tonga for our weather updates. FUSIO is also on passage, although last night we lost them on our AIS (auto identification system). This is the first passage Mike and Sasha are doing by themselves, 3 hours on, 3 hours off is what weÃ¢ÂÂre currently trialing. We estimate our arrival to be Monday morning. WeÃ¢ÂÂll be eating last nights dinner leftovers (butterflied lamb and roasted (Tongan) golden kumera) for lunch today Ã¢ÂÂ might roll the whole lot up in two wraps and toast them, YUM!
WeÃ¢ÂÂve been really busyÃ¢ÂÂ¦ busy KITESURFING at The. Best. Spot. In. The. World! ItÃ¢ÂÂs a 15 minute dinghy ride from Kenutu Island, we park up the tenders on a little sand island (aka Kite Island), there is miles and miles of aqua blue ankle to waist deep water, thereÃ¢ÂÂs ramps, and flat water, and a sand bar to jump over. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs even a spot with deeper water for jumping beginners. ItÃ¢ÂÂs better than Aitutaki!!!! I know, that is a big statement to make, but IT IS!! Because there is NO ONE THERE!!!! We had the place to ourselves day after day, and finally when a boatload of about 5 kiters did turn up, they pumped up their kites, and weÃ¢ÂÂre gone again in ten minutes as they headed off on their down winder. Awesome! The wind conditions have been perfect for Sasha to get her backrolls more consistent (awesome photoÃ¢ÂÂs to follow on facebook when we get internet access - and yes the arm feels a lot better) and to start learning jumping on her switch side Ã¢ÂÂ so she can get onto those Jump Transitions. MikeÃ¢ÂÂs been doing massive jumps, tweaking it out, and also jumping on his switch side. HeÃ¢ÂÂs also been carving it up on the surfboard. It is such an amazing place, we are thinking about staying in Tonga longer, and catching up with the kiting crew coming up from NZ on the 1st of July. WeÃ¢ÂÂre heading back to Neiafu today, weÃ¢ÂÂve run out of fresh vegetables, but we still have bananaÃ¢ÂÂs, so many in fact that Sasha made a delicious flour and sugar free Banana Cake with Salted Date-Caramel icing. We still havenÃ¢ÂÂt caught a fish, go figure!! Warwick and Layne are keen to watch the rugby, so weÃ¢ÂÂll head into Bounty Bar for another All Black WIN tonight.
Anchored at the southern end of Pangimotu Island, in a little lagoon, surrounded by Afo Island and Tapana Island. Okay so todayÃ¢ÂÂs update is a tad bit different to normalÃ¢ÂÂ¦. yesterday we finally downloaded all of your YIT comments via a cafÃÂ© wifi, and this morning Sasha (yes I am referring to myself in 3rd person to keep things easy to read Ã¢ÂÂ well itÃ¢ÂÂs an attempt to keep things easy to read and understand) read every single comment for the first time since we left NZ. WOW!! We cannot get over how many of your are following our adventure, itÃ¢ÂÂs really cool to hear from you and get your reactions and comments. The below is an attempt to respond; BARBARA (aka Mum Watson) Ã¢ÂÂ So glad to hear the Olive harvest went well, we are still using the beautiful olive oil that Tina and Ross gave us, it really is fantastic oil! CRAIG & SONJA Ã¢ÂÂ ThereÃ¢ÂÂs no swell in VavaÃ¢ÂÂuÃ¢ÂÂs protected harbours, but we will be off to Fiji within the next two weeks, so letÃ¢ÂÂs hope there is no more big WA swells to affect our 2nd passage: VavaÃ¢ÂÂu to Fiji, as it will be the first passage that Mike and I do alone, with no additional crew.
BIPPY (aka Carl) Ã¢ÂÂ it IS crazy that we sailed to Tonga, Sasha can hardly believe it herself. Glad you are enjoying our blog, also Pappy tells me you have started the new job now, we hope itÃ¢ÂÂs going well? JILL & LONG JOHN SILVER (aka Clive) - HULLO!!!!!! How come you had had a few rough days in the waterways? Was it just cold or was there a storm too? No sign of CaptÃ¢ÂÂn Jack Sparrow yet, but I have no doubt heÃ¢ÂÂll make an appearance sooner or later!! You guys need to get Panache Cat ready to rumble for next season and COME WITH US!!! Jill I am sure we can organise some nice young men for your crew Ã¢ÂÂ wink wink! RICHARD Ã¢ÂÂ HowÃ¢ÂÂs NZ life treating you? Must be a touch bit slow after the Big Apple eh? Yip, I/Sasha do write in 3rd person, a touch odd Ã¢ÂÂ IÃ¢ÂÂll grant you that, but itÃ¢ÂÂs just to try and keep our blog easy to read. We are glad you are inspired by our adventures, it really is the best thing I have ever done! SIPPY (aka Katya) Ã¢ÂÂ Thanks for all your comments, you guys are really following us on our adventures eh!? Are you reading the blog to Connor?? Does he know what his Auntie Sippy is up to? We didnÃ¢ÂÂt even know the earthquake had happened, which was a tad scary since they are often followed by tsunami. We only found out about it cause Mappy emailed us. How did your Melbourne presentation go? Thanks for the Ã¢ÂÂWahoooo CongratsÃ¢ÂÂ comment, we weÃ¢ÂÂre glad to finally make it to Tonga too.
GREG M - So glad you are enjoying our adventures, we heard the weather in NZ turned really bad just after we left Opua. But donÃ¢ÂÂt think we are sitting up here working on our tans, we are suffering our 5th day of tropical downpours Ã¢ÂÂ no sun for 5 days in a row!! ItÃ¢ÂÂs wet here too, and also not in a good way.
KEV, TRACE, and ya beautiful GIRLS Ã¢ÂÂ So glad you guys are enjoying our blog, we wish we had downloaded Google Earth before we had left (Cruisers Pete and Wanda did tell us too! Doh!) as we would like to be zooming into where we are too, and doing some kite / surf research. But there is always lots to explore, and thatÃ¢ÂÂs keeping us busy. Oh, and yeah, we do turn our other engine on if/when we get to far behind. ItÃ¢ÂÂs just a tad more difficult refueling up here, so the less we use the less we have to refuel. And also have no fear, there is always a Steiny near. Ha! PAPPY and MAPPY Ã¢ÂÂ Uoleva is definitely a archetypical tropical island, except for the RUBBISH on the sea facing side. It is a real shame that there is no real rubbish system up here, Tonga does desperately need to rectify that, as itÃ¢ÂÂs only going to get worse, and itÃ¢ÂÂs such a shame to ruin such a beautiful place. The sun rises at about 6:30am, and sets at about 5:30pm Ã¢ÂÂ thatÃ¢ÂÂs if it ever comes out again. RAIN RAIN RAIN! And yes, that 2015 in our YIT description is an error, it should say 2016, IÃ¢ÂÂll update it when I get access to the internet again. Minerva definitely is a very special place, and I feel so lucky to have been able to visit, especially since so few humans get to experience it Ã¢ÂÂ just awesome. And yes MAPPY, if I ever attempt to catch a BIG fish again, I will make sure I am tethered to the boat! THE CHISHOLMS! Ã¢ÂÂ Hey guys, so glad you FOUND our blog! How are you all? Have you moved into the new house yet? Tonga is most definitely an awesome place to sail too, if funny actually, because we are anchored in a place right now, that really reminds me of Great Barrier Ã¢ÂÂ where we met you guys!! No issues having bonfires on the beach here I would suspect, only issue youÃ¢ÂÂd have would be actually getting a fire started Ã¢ÂÂ so wet here at the moment.
SALLY & NICK Ã¢ÂÂ Yes, totally this life is much more like being on a cruise, than hardcore sailing. Although we shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt speak too soon, as weÃ¢ÂÂll be on passage to Fiji shortly and that means 3 to 4 days sailing non-stop for Mike and I, as there will be zero crew Ã¢ÂÂ wish us luck. We have popped some photoÃ¢ÂÂs up on our SV Moonfish facebook page Ã¢ÂÂ hopefully youÃ¢ÂÂve seen them? Oh, and sadly I donÃ¢ÂÂt think weÃ¢ÂÂll be in NZ to make your wedding on the 16th of October.. I am totally bummed! As I would love to go.
TONY Ã¢ÂÂ So glad you are enjoying our blogs, we are definitely getting great use out of the books you lent us, they are full of useful info Ã¢ÂÂ thanks so much. WeÃ¢ÂÂve been singing your praises to team FUSIO, and they are looking forward to meeting you. We hope your back is healing well, oh and we did see the boys from Bravado, they didnÃ¢ÂÂt like all our Blue Marlin action on passage as they had no luck and yes the clams and snorkeling at Minerva was the best I have ever seen! Just EPIC TIMMY Ã¢ÂÂ Hullo!! There was a bit of Ã¢ÂÂare we there yetÃ¢ÂÂ getting to Minerva, as we were motoring so much. Sasha couldnÃ¢ÂÂt really believe we had finally go there. It was so good to finally stop and sleep properly. The Ã¢ÂÂTall ThingÃ¢ÂÂ is still the right way up, and we have swum with the bitey things a couple of times now with no bites Ã¢ÂÂ which is a nice surprise Ã¢ÂÂ Lanie says just treat them as you would a dog, which has changed my Ã¢ÂÂJAWSÃ¢ÂÂ perception somewhat. Today was my first SUP since the Ã¢ÂÂarm-gateÃ¢ÂÂ incident Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs still locking at the elbow so no burpies or crunchs for me, the bikini is getting tight.. gasp! GRAEME & BEV Ã¢ÂÂ We canÃ¢ÂÂt believe you guys are following us!!!! Fusio is ONLY faster when we are motoring, and thatÃ¢ÂÂs ONLY because we use one motor, not two, as it uses less fuel. WeÃ¢ÂÂd leave them in our tracks if we ever get a beam reach 15 knots, our code zero sail and dagger boards would have us ZOOMING along at 10/11 knots. You got a rig in that boat of yours yet? LetÃ¢ÂÂs race!! THE DELAMARES Ã¢ÂÂ Unfortunately we can see many fish work ups here in Tonga, and we have been trawling through a lot of them with different lures, but we cannot for the life of us CATCH a fish!! Any tips on how we are suppose to catch fish in Tonga??? Glad you guys are enjoying our blog.
DUGGAN (aka Jo) Ã¢ÂÂ Glad youÃ¢ÂÂre keeping tracks on us, you need a YIT for all your adventures!! You guys must be hanging out for TONGA now? When do you arrive? TINA & ROSS Ã¢ÂÂ Thanks for looking after Blackie, I really REALLY appreciate it. Ps you should be roasting all that delicious pumpkin you have Ã¢ÂÂ not having baked beans for dinner! We figured out how to deal with it on board, we use the machete to chop it up, it really was one of the best pumpkins I have ever eaten Ã¢ÂÂ full of flavour, so thanks.
LIONEL & IRENE (aka Team Kiapa) Ã¢ÂÂ Sorry Lionel we only just received your comment on YIT, we have your email now, so you canÃ¢ÂÂt get away now!! Heh heh. Thanks so much for hosting us in Minerva, it was awesome meeting you and your crew, and seeing inside Kiapa, such a beautiful yacht! WeÃ¢ÂÂll track you down in Fiji!! Where abouts are you guys? FOODSTUFFS TEAM Ã¢ÂÂ Hello Karuna and Team Foodies!! I wondered if you guys were following the adventure, so glad you get to join in the fun! Karuna I only just saw your comment from the 10th of May today (13th of June), we get access to the internet maybe once or twice a week. Say hi from me to everyone there!! I havenÃ¢ÂÂt forgotten to send lude postcards.. Just need to get to Fiji where they will sell themÃ¢ÂÂ¦ stand by for awkward snail mail deliveries.. muhahahaha!
Still on Mooring 43 in Neiafu. Yesterday it rained, then it rained some more. Sasha attempted to make Moonfish Buns (aka Hot Cross Buns, but instead of a cross on the top, she piped big Ã¢ÂÂMÃ¢ÂÂs). It was the first time baking these types of buns and using Edmonds Surebake, (which is yeast with additional agents that supposedly assist with bread making). The dough did rise a little, but Sasha thinks she may have killed some of the yeast in the dough making process, as the dough did not rise as much as she is use to Ã¢ÂÂ the top half of the bun have risen nicely, itÃ¢ÂÂs just a tad dense in the lower half Ã¢ÂÂ definitely still edible so theyÃ¢ÂÂll still be enjoyed. Mike and Sasha headed into Neiafu for afternoon tea in between the torrential rain, and went to the cafÃÂ© where the owner offered Mike some PDF guides for cruising VavaÃ¢ÂÂu as well as surfing/kiting spots Ã¢ÂÂ pretty nice of him really! We gave him a usb stick and he loaded it all up for free. After that Mike was pretty chuffed to find a single box of BIG bottle Steinlager (12x750ML) Ã¢ÂÂ that should keep him going for a while. Last night we all clambered into our bathtubs (aka our dinghyÃ¢ÂÂs filled with rainwater) to watch the All Blacks V Wales game at LaurenceÃ¢ÂÂs Bounty Bar, the 10 strong crew from the Super Launch were at Bounty too, their business tycoon owner had left that morning, so they were all celebrating, as they had been working some long hours up until then Ã¢ÂÂ they are a very funny international bunch, and made for great banter and atmosphere in the bar. On a side note, FUSIO watched someone on the boat next to them have a bath in their tender the other day, it was full of fresh rainwater, so they just hopped in with some soap and lathered up Ã¢ÂÂ just brilliant! Another boat used all their tender rainwater to do all their laundry, itÃ¢ÂÂs cool how cruisers find a use for everything! WeÃ¢ÂÂve been catching rain in buckets and pouring it into our tanks, and Mike has solidifi ed his design plans to make a dual-function rain catcher to tank system and saloon rain-hatch-cover all in one Ã¢ÂÂ thatÃ¢ÂÂs the engineer in him being put to good use!
This lat and long was from my iphone, not our chartplotter (which is turned off, and hard to get to when our boat is all shut up for the rain) so I hope itÃ¢ÂÂs accurate? Currently we are on a mooring in Neiafu Harbour. We got here yesterday after the VHF 26 channel cruiser-net spoke of 360 degree winds Ã¢ÂÂ thatÃ¢ÂÂs always a scary thought when you are anchored in a sandy spot with coral heads all around you. So we came in and picked up a Beluga Dive Mooring ball. Pretty cool actually, the mooring ball has a number (43 in our case) and then a VHF channel number Ã¢ÂÂ 9, so you just radio up Beluga Dive on the VHF, and let them know youÃ¢ÂÂre on their mooring. We had been anchored for most of yesterday at Port Maurelle, there was this massive super launch (164ft long 33ft beam (wide)) anchored in there as well, and with that massive vessel in there, itÃ¢ÂÂs hard to find a sandy spot for little olÃ¢ÂÂ Moonfish. Apparently itÃ¢ÂÂs owned (surprise surprise) by some business tycoon , so has decided to take a year off (rather surprising for a business tycoon) and go around the world. HowÃ¢ÂÂs that for a plan!! You should see how many staff they have on board, they even have a camera man taking footage of them on a separate tender!! Sasha went for a snorkel from the boat all the way to the beach Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs like swimming in a tropical aquarium, so many fish, parrot, clown (I FOUND NEMO!!), little electric blue ones, and larger white-as-sand ones that seem to like it right up in the shallows of the beach Ã¢ÂÂ no sharks though which is nice for a change! Mike was also snorkeling but more to check on the anchor, as there was quite a bit of coral around. Lanye from Fusio joined Sasha on the white sandy beach, and we spoke about kitesurfing as Layne, Warwick and Mike have gone kiting on the sand island out from Kenutu Island for the past two days. Sounds like Layne is really picking it up well. Sasha it looking forward to her arm being normal again, so she can join in too, after consulting with Nurse-Mappy and Doctor Pappy, it sounds like thereÃ¢ÂÂs a little bit of nerve and tendon damage (pins and needles), so Sasha it going to keep resting it for a few more days to help it heal. As Layne and Sasha were talking on the beach there was a rustle from the bushes, then a random cow trundled out of the bush stared at them for a few seconds, then carried on her way, it is so weird for a cow to appear from no where on a tropical island and then just saunter back into the bush, like itÃ¢ÂÂs no thing. WeÃ¢ÂÂve been asked for rope twice by different locals, they say they want rope to tie up their cow Ã¢ÂÂ hilarious as we had been told this was a line they give to sailors and then they sell the rope in the markets at exorbitant prices. If we ever come back here we will buy a heap of cheap rope from The Warehouse and have a Ã¢ÂÂrope-scrambleÃ¢ÂÂ in the market one day in exchange for fruit!
We have been anchored off Kenuta Island, VavaÃ¢ÂÂu group, Tonga for the past couple of days. Mike has gone kiting of the sand island (yesterday and the day before). Sasha is resting her wrenched arm (thanks to the crazy local dancing woman!) and resting up from a bit of a dodgy tum Ã¢ÂÂ yet another reason to stay away from rum punch, she thinks it may have been the ice in the punch that caused it. We all went for a walk yesterday, and headed up to the Ã¢ÂÂGermanÃ¢ÂÂ bamboo chair on the ocean side of Kenutu Island. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a rather impressive drift wood, bamboo looking structure with the remains of one of those plastic deck chairs tied to it Ã¢ÂÂ apparently the story goes the plastic chair was salvaged from some German boat wreck, hence the name Ã¢ÂÂGerman Bamboo ChairÃ¢ÂÂ. We all climbed up onto it, itÃ¢ÂÂs seems very sturdy, and has apparently lasted several cyclones including Winston Ã¢ÂÂ now thatÃ¢ÂÂs impressive, especially considering all the blown-to-pieces coral we have seen about the place. Kenuta is a small island, but it has many amazing views, Sasha brought her phone along and got several shots of the raw beauty of the place. The soil is a rich red, the bush is a rich green colour and there are spots that Sasha knows her Pappy would love, they look like little magical gardens, and they are completely natural. There were several stop offs at tiny beaches, and each time one of us would exclaim Ã¢ÂÂThis looks like a Hollywood movie setÃ¢ÂÂ. Mike and Sasha went snorkelling in the lagoon yesterday and saw this absolutely massive starfish, it looked like something off the set of Jurassic Park - itÃ¢ÂÂs centre would have been the size of a laptop bag, hate to think what it eats!!
Thanks Patricia at Gulf Harbour Radio for the tip with getting a better signal out from our SSB, I will try the Ã¢ÂÂtalking sidewaysÃ¢ÂÂ thing, MALibu also mentioned this, but I didnÃ¢ÂÂt take it on board, as Vaughan had told me to pt the mic right up against my mouth, so I thought I was doing it right. Right, hereÃ¢ÂÂs what weÃ¢ÂÂve been up tooÃ¢ÂÂ¦ WeÃ¢ÂÂve walked around Neiafu, the VavaÃ¢ÂÂu groups main hub. Gone to the market and picked up eggs, beautiful finger bananaÃ¢ÂÂs, tomatoes, and pineapple Ã¢ÂÂ with our purchase the egg lady gave us free some fresh rosemary (which we used on our butterflied lamb that night yum!) and from the banana and pineapple lady we got what Sasha believes are those scarily hot chilli peppers Ã¢ÂÂ as in the world famous, donÃ¢ÂÂt eat them they will kill you Ã¢ÂÂ chilli peppers, they look like mini red capsicums Ã¢ÂÂ Sasha tried the tiniest sliver of one the other day and her mouth was burning for hours!! We think the Banana and Pineapple lady played one hell of a joke on us! We also went in for some drinks one night to Bounty Bar, and after that we headed to Aquarium bar and restaurant Ã¢ÂÂ where there was some scary Ã¢ÂÂdancingÃ¢ÂÂ going on, long, blurry story short, Sasha had a pretty sore arm the next day due to one local womanÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂscaryÃ¢ÂÂ dance moves. Suffice to say Sasha will not be partaking in the Neiafu Rum Punch ever AGAIN! Luckily Emily a nurse from another boat anchored in the harbour had a look at the arm and made sure no major damage had been done - whew! Apart from that we ate like kings today, banana pancakes, and yummy banana smoothies, we snorkeled in Swallows Cave which was amazing, and then we went fishing to see if we could catch something from the workupÃ¢ÂÂs happening just by our anchorage, but no luck yet. Sorry we havenÃ¢ÂÂt been keeping up with the YIT updates, we will try to be better from now one.
This is a post for yesterdayÃ¢ÂÂs activity Ã¢ÂÂ we anchored off HaÃ¢ÂÂano, the final island in the HaÃ¢ÂÂapai group and had a most excellent time on our SUPÃ¢ÂÂs playing in the soft rolling surf. What made it so fun was the mushroom shaped tor (small little rock island) that the break was curving around Ã¢ÂÂ Mike managed to catch the first wave and rode it all the way, right around Ã¢ÂÂIsland MushyÃ¢ÂÂ. When the wave hit Island MushyÃ¢ÂÂs curved walls, it curled under the curved rockface and spat back whitewash in the riders direction. After Mike had well and truly got rock-barrel, it was SashaÃ¢ÂÂs turn to give it a go, pure-stoke was the result as she let out a Ã¢ÂÂWAHOOOOOO! I got that one on go pro!!Ã¢ÂÂ. Layne and Warwick both got Island Mushy rides too, and we were all yelling out hoots and wahooÃ¢ÂÂs! It was a bit of a wait between the swell-sets, so weÃ¢ÂÂd sit down on our boards and put our bootie-covered feet in the water to cool down. One set came a little too quick for Sasha, so she rode the wave sitting down Ã¢ÂÂ Kayak styles, hooting all the way! Then it was time for tandem wave riding, first Layne and Sasha got on the same wave and after a slight board collision we were sorted and riding past Island Mushy. Then Mike and Warwick did the same. It was a truly awesome day, we literally spent the majority of the day in the water, playing on those little waves Ã¢ÂÂ everyone was stoked and very tired once the sun started to set and it was time to paddle back to the boats. Later that night, Warwick and Layne had us around for dinner on FUSIO, a lovely MahiMahi Green Thai Curry, with fresh carrots, cabbage, and onion!! Fresh veggies still on FUSIO with no shopping since NZ!! That is amazing! We had a few issues getting our anchor up today, blimin coral!! More to come on that later!!
Hello everyone, well it has been an eventful couple of days. We dropped MALibu off on Saturday, well actually Matt and Jodie from HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort dropped him at the airport (thanks again M & J). We all had lunch at HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach ResortÃ¢ÂÂs beautiful beachfront bar and cafÃÂ©, this time Sasha and Mike had the Breadfruit Crabcakes (YUM!), Lanye had the Pumpkin and Pele (island spinach) ravioli and Warwick and MALibu had pizza (which I reckon is some of the best pizza I have ever had!!) Thanks for lunch MALibu! You were very sneaky getting that all paid for without any of us realising!! Maybe that was due to all the IKALE lagers eh? We went to pay after you had left with Matt for the airport and were told there was only one outstanding IKALE to pay forÃ¢ÂÂ¦ it took us a few seconds to realise what you had done! Naughty MALibu, that was suppose to be a lunch on us! You wonÃ¢ÂÂt be surprised that the next day we were all nursing fuzzy heads, as weÃ¢ÂÂd all had quite a few drinks.
That night Layne from FUSIO made us all dinner, itÃ¢ÂÂs pure magic how Layne still has fresh vegetables on board!! She dished up boiled eggs, tuna and a delicious green salad. Sasha is still in awe of her provisioning prowess. Yesterday we started getting into some routine. Sasha cleaned the galley top to bottom, and plans to do the floors in the port hull today. She also did the first load of laundry in paradise. It was mostly all our warm merino stuff from the passage Ã¢ÂÂ it dried almost instantly hanging on our new dyneema lifelines. WeÃ¢ÂÂve been for two, big, morning Stand-Up-Paddle (SUP henceforth) Board adventures, one from Pangai, all the way north, past the HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort where we saw Jodie going for her morning run, up to the Lifuka Airport Ã¢ÂÂ just before the Lifuka island ends, and Foa the next northern island begins. The other SUP was from our favourite anchorage in the middle of picture-perfect Uoleva, all the way around the southern tip, and half way up the eastern side. We saw a couple of turtles taking a breather, and Mike and Warwick were game enough to have a play in the little waves rolling over the reef. It was too shallow with too much sharp coral around for Sasha or Layne to play that game.
Yesterday afternoon Craig at TaliTaliÃ¢ÂÂanga Resort called up Fusio and informed them the kiting crowd from further up the island had dropped in for a cold beer, so we all bundled into FUSIOÃ¢ÂÂs tender and met Ã¢ÂÂGlenÃ¢ÂÂ (or Glan as the locals call him) his lovely lady whoÃ¢ÂÂs name escapes me, and their two recent recruits (unfortunately I canÃ¢ÂÂt remember their names either Ã¢ÂÂ I was rather tired yesterday afternoon). They were all very excited about the 30knot wind forecasted for next Tuesday onwards Ã¢ÂÂ keen kiters! Hilariously I remember the names of both their puppies, Ã¢ÂÂLuckyÃ¢ÂÂ was saved by Ã¢ÂÂGlanÃ¢ÂÂ from some locals that were using him as a football (a horrible story, but a very happy ending for Ã¢ÂÂLuckyÃ¢ÂÂ) and Jenga a big pawed black dog. Both of them were very cute, and they could not wish for better owners. We left CraigÃ¢ÂÂs with a bunch of his homegrown island Bok-Choy (thankÃ¢ÂÂs Craig!), which Mike and Sasha had for dinner with garlic, chilli and sesame oil, just as one of the Kiters had advised - it was delicious! Oh! Sasha forgot to relay that Moonfish finally caught a fish, but in a very unorthodox way!! For you non-boaties you may not be aware that many Ã¢ÂÂheadsÃ¢ÂÂ or toilets on boats, pump saltwater into the bowl for the flush. As Sasha flushed the Ã¢ÂÂheadÃ¢ÂÂ the other day, a little black and white striped fish was pumped into the bowl. Needless to say Sasha was super excited and came running up to tell Mike and MALibu what she had caught! MALibu pointed out that the only way out for poor Mr Fish was via the Macerator Ã¢ÂÂ a set of sharp blades.
Magic-Mikey has been on form and this morning solved our solar panel mystery. We had been told that up in the islands our solar panels would not work as efficiently as in NZ Ã¢ÂÂ but Mike thought something else was upÃ¢ÂÂ¦ he found a loose wire and all of a sudden our panels were putting twice as much into the batteries Ã¢ÂÂ WHEW!! As we were a little worried we would be struggling for power for months to come. Just as I type this Mike has been playing with the squid hanging about underneath our port hull. ItÃ¢ÂÂs so cool all the marine life around here.
Still at anchor in almost-paradise: Uoleva, (an island souÃ¢ÂÂwest from Pangai.) Turns out Paradise rains. Paradise rains a lot!! During the sunny bits, over the past couple of days team Moonfish and team Fusio have walked part way around Uoleva, had swims, met an Italian couple staying at Captain Cook Ã¢ÂÂresortÃ¢ÂÂ, had beers and nibbled on fresh coconut at Craig & WanitaÃ¢ÂÂs (his dog) camp resort called TALITALIÃ¢ÂÂANGA (awesome beach bar!! Well worth a look!), had BBQÃ¢ÂÂs, and one night we all watched a very funny Australian comedian do his stand up act Ã¢ÂÂ I think his name is Jim Jefferies (very rude, but well worth a watch as he is one of those smart-comedians who makes funny but well thought out social commentary). WeÃ¢ÂÂve all met Barry the (so-called friendly) Barracuda. Sasha spotted him first, hopefully pointing him out and exclaiming Ã¢ÂÂkingfishÃ¢ÂÂ (to date Team Moonfish has yet to catch a fish!). MALibu and Mike laughed at SashaÃ¢ÂÂs fish identification, Sasha then suggested Ã¢ÂÂShark?Ã¢ÂÂ. Mike got his snorkel and mask and lay on the transom while tentatively putting his face in the water to get a better look Ã¢ÂÂ definitely a very curious Barracuda with those big fangs!! Mike fed him a salted pilchard as he skulked under MoonfishÃ¢ÂÂs hulls , Barry made short work of that, guzzling it down quickly. Layne was keen to swim with him Ã¢ÂÂ she is keen to swim with anything that has large teeth, that looks very well equipped to do one serious harm. The next day she did end up swimming with Barry, but wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt have known if it hadnÃ¢ÂÂt been for Warwick pointing Barry out to her. Sasha got gopro footage of Barry, so he will be one of her holiday-movieÃ¢ÂÂs guest stars.
While MALibu walked right the way around Uoleva, the rest of us attempted to go kiting yesterday morning at the northern tip of Uoleva. It was windy when Mike and Sasha set out in the dinghy (well past 10am when Sasha finally decided it was time to get out of bed, after her cuppa and a read). The sea conditions made the tender ride to the supposed kiting spot unbelievably uncomfortable, we got there and Layne and Warwick were already there amping to go! Mike and Sasha beached their tender, and walked out to meet team FUSIO on the sand spit, unfortunately their dinghy parking wasnÃ¢ÂÂt that flash and soon their loaded-up tender was getting swamped by waves, Mike ran back to save it, and began bailing. Once that was sorted, we made the decision to kite closer to where the boats were anchored - this was our undoing. By the time we had got to the designated spot, pumped up our kites, walked out our lines, the wind had gone. There was much disappointment at this point in our trip, a nd in jest SashaÃ¢ÂÂs sleep-in was blamed as the key reason for this disappointment. On that note, SashaÃ¢ÂÂs sleep patterns seem to be one of the favourite conversation topics here in paradise Ã¢ÂÂ Sasha canÃ¢ÂÂt understand why she is being berated for sleeping when it is one of the best things you can do for your health. Yesterday afternoon the rain set in, and it has rained all night, not ideal when you need hatches open to ensure the boat is ventilated Ã¢ÂÂ we did purchase one large black plastic fan that can be wired in, which may well be a job for Magic Mike one of these days. While Mike and MALibu had a few beers on MALibuÃ¢ÂÂs last afternoon, Sasha made burger buns from scratch, and started preparations for Mega Awesome Moonfish Hamburgers, homemade meat patties, fried red onion, cheese, pickle, mustard, tomato sauce, beetroot - they were soooo good! Sasha was up early today Ã¢ÂÂ to listen to GHR Ã¢ÂÂ it only took her 15mins in her sleepy stupor to realise she had messed up her timing calculations yet again, and had unnecessarily awoken one hour earlier than need be. Ha, thought SashaÃ¢ÂÂ¦. math ehÃ¢ÂÂ¦ pretty useful stuff to know even in the islands.
At anchor in paradise - Uoleva island, a perfect tropical island souÃ¢ÂÂwest from Pangai. Yesterday we unlashed the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards from the dinghy davits and went for our first SUP in Tonga. Uoleva has plenty of coral and reefs around it, however compared to Minerva Reef it is far less Ã¢ÂÂaliveÃ¢ÂÂ with underwater sea creatures. Mike played in the tiny waves rolling slowly over the reef. Warwick and Layne went for a walk along Uoleva, after their snorkel. And MALibu took MoonfishÃ¢ÂÂs tender and went for a snorkel too. We met an Italian couple who had walked around Uoleva, they were staying on the island on one of the two resorts Ã¢ÂÂ there was no power, it seems Ã¢ÂÂresortÃ¢ÂÂ is used rather loosely in Tonga. We had cocktail hour on FUSIO last night, which was lovely. And then a quick bang-up-meal of bolognaise with buckwheat pasta and powered parmesan Ã¢ÂÂ it tasted much better than expected. Sasha was in bed early, leaving the boys to their nightcap, as M ike the captain had requested we be up for the GHR weather report. Unfortunately this morning we all forgot about the time difference and got up at 7am Tonga-Time, and only realized after waiting on the SSB for 15mins that weÃ¢ÂÂd missed the weather report completely. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
We made it! At 2pm on the 24th of May 2016, the awesome crew of sailing vessel MOONFISH navigated their way (by following FUSIO) into Pangai Harbour (actually we anchored just outside it). Our route into Pangai was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Sasha awoke after a luxuriously long passage sleep (Captain Mike had taken her early morning shift which was very VERY nice of him- he may have been too frightened to wake her Ã¢ÂÂ gulp!), she eagerly headed out to the cockpit to establish the current location. Sasha watched Mike walk over to the port hull, spread out his arms and proudly say Ã¢ÂÂLAND HOÃ¢ÂÂ. Sasha spied two islands, and later learned the large one that Mike referred to as Ã¢ÂÂRangitoto on SteroidsÃ¢ÂÂ was called Tofua, its main attraction - a large (507m tall) rather active volcano with a huge crater lake called Lofia. The smaller of the two islands looked like a miniature version of Mt Fuji, or NZÃ¢ÂÂs Ngarahoe (sorry about the spelling Ã¢ÂÂ I have no google!!). This smaller, bu t taller, cone peaked island is called Kao (1046m). These two menacing volcano (Sasha has made an executive decision and decided the word Ã¢ÂÂVolcanoÃ¢ÂÂ is like the word sheep, and requires no plural Ã¢ÂÂ haha thatÃ¢ÂÂs for you Margo!) drifted off into the distance as Moonfish sailed past postcard picture-perfect white sandy beach islands Ã¢ÂÂ their plentiful palm trees waving us on. It was at this point we were greeted on VHF by an Australian accent Ã¢ÂÂTo the two sailing vessels arriving into Pangai - This is HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort, HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach ResortÃ¢ÂÂ. Warwick on Fusio answered the call, in a very serious tone which quickly warmed as we all established that the HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort was able and willing to contact the immigration and customs office and ask if they could clear us in that afternoon at 4pm. We were all very thankful, and sure to their word three staff, Customs, Immigration and Health all turned up at the Pangai Wharf, awaiting Warwick to pick them up and take them out to Fusio. Within a matter of minutes both FUSIO and MOONFISH were bringing down their Yellow fluttering Quarantine Flags, and hoisting the red and white crossed Tongan flag, with the good Ã¢ÂÂol NZ flag whipping in the wind beneath it. It was a proud moment, we had successfully completed our first ocean going passage. There was a $100 Tongan fee per boat for the Health Board, a $23 immigration fee, and we were told to head into town tomorrow and finalise our clearance by paying the Marine Infrastructure Fee (for the channel markers and light houses etc), this we found out later is based on the tonnage of your boat, Moonfish is 8 tonnes and this fee cost us $6.44 Tongan, we handed over $7, and were given no change Ã¢ÂÂ but we didnÃ¢ÂÂt care, we were just over the Ã¢ÂÂMOONfishÃ¢ÂÂ that we had finalised our clearance and we were able to up anchor, away from the Pangai harbour and start our Tongan adventure. Once we had hoisted our Tongan courtesy flag, and after Team FUSIO had had a swim, we got in the dingy, picked up Team FUSIO and headed into the wharf as Matt and Josie at the HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort had agreed to pick us up and take us to their beach front restaurant and bar. We all hopped in the back of their van, with Spud the dog sizing us up, and snarling at Lanye (hilarious!). The HaÃ¢ÂÂapai Beach Resort reminded Mike and Sasha of Aitutaki Rarotonga, laid back beach style, with well made wooden tables and chairs, and the odd up-cycled piece of old boat to jazz it up. The proprietors Matt (an Aussie) and J (which we think stood for Josie or Jody Ã¢ÂÂ sorry J was a kiwi) were really friendly and very welcoming. The bar was well equipped with nice cold local 5% beer called Ã¢ÂÂIKALEÃ¢ÂÂ lager the label proclaimed Ã¢ÂÂThe First Beer in the World EverydayÃ¢ÂÂ referring to TongaÃ¢ÂÂs close proximity to the international date line. It was very easy to drink and everyone savoured more than a couple in celebration of the passage finishing. The dinner menu came out with Mike, Warwick and Layne selecting the MahiMahi Fish Pie and MALibu and Sasha opting for the Island Pizza. The meals were delicious, and Lemon Passionfruit cheesecake was shared as a sweet treat afterwards. The prices were affordable and Layne and Sasha were very appreciative to have a night off cooking. We all headed back to the boats for a long, peaceful sleep Ã¢ÂÂ until at what seems like 1am in the morning, the Pangai bells started to toll.. and tollÃ¢ÂÂ¦ and TOLL some more. It must have been 6am, but far out did they ring for a while.
all well. Sounds like gourmet cooking on board.
Today we motored ALL DAY LONGÃ¢ÂÂ¦ Sasha had the first nana-nap, it was lovely! Then Mike went down and slept for a long time, but MALibu untrue to usual form did not partake in the napping business today. Dinner will be roast butterflied lamb with an anchovy, mustard, butter and herb marinade, with two types of roasted vege chips; chilli garlic carrot chips and herb and olive oil golden kumara chips. This dinner will be the highlight of what has been a rather monotonous day, if this no wind thing keeps up, weÃ¢ÂÂll reach landfall by tomorrow afternoon. Oh, by the way we have a fourth crew member again, who joined us shortly after sunset Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs a different bird, same spot though. Yellow feet and a long yellow beak, with white chest and black wings.
We had a Ã¢ÂÂtakeawayÃ¢ÂÂ Sunday dinner last night Ã¢ÂÂ Sasha made up a coleslaw that was reminiscent of KFC coleslaw Ã¢ÂÂ Grated Cabbage and Carrot, with half a very finely chopped onion Ã¢ÂÂ mix in a good heaped tablespoon of Best Foods Mayo, a teaspoon of Dijon Mustard, liberal salt and pepper and a dash of lemon juice, and you have yourself a mighty fine-tasting Ã¢ÂÂslawÃ¢ÂÂ. Sasha panfried bacon to crispy morsels of deliciousness, Mike panfried chicken thighs with a sprinkling of chili flakes. All of the above was rolled up in spinach wraps, with the end result being finger lickinÃ¢ÂÂ good! As the sun set sending bursts of brilliant orange and red flames into the dusk sky we were joined by our 4th crew member Ã¢ÂÂ Boobie the Bird. He circled Moonfish over and over, at times MALibu let out a yelp or two as Boobie got very close to his head. Eventually Boobie settled on the starboard pulpit, and there he sat, having a well-earned rest. Sasha started off the night watches at 7:30pm with both boys hitting the sack straight after dinner. Sasha woke up the wrong person for the second time on this passage, (this time Mike was rudely awoken around 11:30pm), it seems that the 5pm Crew Meeting, where the night-watch roster is discussed and decided upon is a little hard for Sasha to remember. She thinks someone should write it down for her heh heh. Around midnight Mike turned an engine on as the wind had dropped Ã¢ÂÂ we see a pattern emerging here, nighttime equals no wind. MALibu did the shift after Mike, and Sasha was up and away (thanks to her trusty dusty alarm clock) at 5am to take over from Mal. At 6:15am the next morning Sasha watched as Boobie flew away, leaving only his nocturnal motions behind. Thanks a lot BOOBS! Speeders FUSIO are ahead of us, but still in VHF contact which is nice, we chatted today about the GHR barometer readings, apparently our baro may be giving us some dodgy readings, so this calls for a Baro-Calo-Cocktail party when we reach our destination Pangai. GHR also mentioned that there is a boat missing out here somewhere Ã¢ÂÂ which does provide a sober reminder of the serious of our situation out here in the middle-of-nowhere. The boatÃ¢ÂÂs name is Dignity, and there is a south African couple on board. The donÃ¢ÂÂt sound to well equipped, as they have no SSB radio (which is what we use to listen to GHR) nor do they have an EPIRB (which is what you set off if you are in real trouble, as it sends out a signal that helps the Rescue Coordination Centre find you. They were destined for Vuda Point, Fiji, but they havenÃ¢ÂÂt turned up after some bad weather Ã¢ÂÂ fingers crossed they are just delayed, and still making there way there. All well on board, except we all miss Boobie a little, oh and we miss the WIND a lot!
heading to Pangai Tonga with Fusio
Great first day sailing out of North Minerva Reef today. We had a warming bowl of apple-date-cinnamon porridge this morning, as the day looked like it was going to be a rough bleak one, so we exited through the pass with one reef in, but the cloud dispersed and we have sailed with a following sea, in a good breeze all day Ã¢ÂÂ reef shaken out and headsail furled out completely. We each had a hot shower during our sail today, and nibbled on biltong made by our local butcher at Hauraki Corner (the chili version is well worth a try!). Chicken wraps for tea tonight, nice and simple as it is a tad bumpy out here this afternoon.
Yesterday, once the sun came out we headed to the reef at low tide, and walked to an old anchor, that seems to be one of the few remains from an old shipwreck, the coral has anchored it to the reef. Walking on Minerva reef is like walking on a wet-Mars Ã¢ÂÂ red spongy coral gives under your feet, and rock cod dart away from you with every step. Brightly coloured clams are dotted all over the place in less than 20cm of water Ã¢ÂÂ itÃ¢ÂÂs such an unfamiliar place Ã¢ÂÂ but the best rock pools Sasha had ever explored! (yip Pappy, even better than your magical mystery tours to Takapuna rockpool heh heh). Yesterday evening we hosted twelve people for drinks and nibbles; the crew from Remedy (Greta, Dave and Drew), Fusio (Lanye & Warwick) and Kiapa (Irene, Lionel, and their two lovely crew whoÃ¢ÂÂs names escape me). Fusio bought with them fresh yellow fin tuna, that a near by catamaran had gifted them, and Remedy bought fresh crayfish they had caught at midnight on the reef the ni ght before. MALibu bbqÃ¢ÂÂd up the Tuna, and it was perfectly cooked. The feast was plentiful and delicious! It was nice to be able to host the Kiapa crowd before we headed off in different directions Ã¢ÂÂ they are off to Fiji. Afterwards the boys watched The Dark Horse (and NZ film), and Sasha hit the sack. It was a windy night, with gusts up to 35knots, but the wind settled down to around 12-13knots this morning so it was time for the Moonfish Crew to up anchor and continue on their adventure. Sasha just checked out Satellite Phone credit and we have over 178 minutes left, I will check the credit remaining after sending few emails and find out how much each of these updates is using Ã¢ÂÂ as currently I have zero idea Ã¢ÂÂ which for our emergency communications tool is probably a little naÃÂ¯ve on SashaÃ¢ÂÂs part Ã¢ÂÂ there is however nothing stopping us emailing the boys at Wright Comms and getting more credit added. We are all so grateful to have had such a fantastic time at M inerva, it should be classed as a Ã¢ÂÂWonder of the WorldÃ¢ÂÂ. This is not Ã¢ÂÂgoodbyeÃ¢ÂÂ Minerva, it is only Ã¢ÂÂsee you laterÃ¢ÂÂ, as you are too magnificent for us not to visit you again Ã¢ÂÂ not to mention we did not kitesurf here, and the spot we found yesterday was made for kitesurfing, we WILL be back!
Thanks to all who emailed us to confirmed these YIT updates are getting through Ã¢ÂÂ Mappy (SashaÃ¢ÂÂs Mum), Mum Watson (MikeÃ¢ÂÂs Mum), Pappy (SashaÃ¢ÂÂs Dad), Pauline (MALibuÃ¢ÂÂs Wife), Erica & Dave (long time cruisers and legendary advice providers), Team Stanley-Hunt, Pete and Margo (Sasha and MikeÃ¢ÂÂs adopted parents, and grammar teachers), Tina and Ross, Tony Whiting (long time cruiser, sea bird specialist, and excellent chart advisor), and John Valentine (MALibuÃ¢ÂÂs mate, welcome to the Moonfish Party!). Sasha misunderstood what Pappy was emailing about Ã¢ÂÂ it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt our YIT updates, it was the Marine Traffic website that uses AIS (automatic identification system) technology that doesnÃ¢ÂÂt seem to have updated for several days. Not sure why, perhaps we are out of range? Either way if you need to know where we are, look on this page, and youÃ¢ÂÂll soon find us. We are also receiving quite a few text messages to the Satellite phone which are (like short emails to ou r onsatmail email) always a welcome surprise to the Moonfish crew. Sasha reads them out, and the boys enjoy listening to the words of support, or updates from back in NZ. Only issue with the text messages is you need to pop your name at the end of them, as we canÃ¢ÂÂt tell whoÃ¢ÂÂs texting us. Someone has texted a few times asking about some strange symbols I am using in my updates. Perhaps it is a ;) winky smiley face ;) that isnÃ¢ÂÂt translating correctly once on our YIT page? ;) YouÃ¢ÂÂll note this is an extra long update, thatÃ¢ÂÂs because Sasha didnÃ¢ÂÂt want to write up yesterdayÃ¢ÂÂs update if none of it was getting throughÃ¢ÂÂ¦ so grab a cuppa and settle inÃ¢ÂÂ¦ YESTERDAY, we had a brilliant day, we motored in glassy-calm seas from South Minerva reef to North Minerva Reef, we had walnut, apple, date, maple porridge for breakfast along the way. Before we had even entered North Minerva Reef Kiapa called us via VHF and invited us to a potluck BBQ dinner, which we happily accepted (although Sasha was a little nervous as to what she was going to dish up). Shortly after that a large powerboat put out an invite to all the boats in Minerva saying drinks at 4pm Ã¢ÂÂ all invited. It was then that the crew from Remedy (Greta, Dave and Drew) in their tender, greeted us as we came through the cut in the reef Ã¢ÂÂ the cut is man made, the US navy blew it up so they could anchor their fleet during the war. Remedy had spent a lengthy amount of time exploring the reef by the pass where all boats enter into North Minerva. They had collected some scallop looking shellfish, but said they were oysters, as they had collected some yesterday as well. They tol d us of snorkeling adventures yesterday where people had been circled by up to 12 grey reef sharks Ã¢ÂÂ that was enough for Mike to verbally opt out of snorkeling for the day. Then the Fusio crew popped over, just as Sasha had pulled a homemade meatlovers pizza out of the oven Ã¢ÂÂ Edmonds Cookery Book Pizza Dough (proofed once, kneaded twice), Pizza tomato puree, spicy pepperoni, cubed scotch fillet steak (leftover from the previous nightÃ¢ÂÂs dinner), spicy chorizo, fresh red bell pepper, fresh finely chopped onion, Italian herbs, cheddar, anchovies and olives. It was delicious, the dough was soft and light, it reminded Sasha of the pizza bread that her Sippy (Katya) use to make in the old family house in MurrayÃ¢ÂÂs bay. Everyone commented on how tasty the anchovies were. Once we had finished eating we all hopped in the tenders and headed out through the pass for a snorkel, Lanye (as always) was first in - she has no fear! Then MALibu was next, then Sasha Ã¢ÂÂ who quickly swum over to Lanye for morale support (and a human physical barrier just in case). Mike and Warwick stayed in their tenders Ã¢ÂÂ scaredy-cats! Layne is absolutely fabulous to snorkel with, as she keeps you calm and has absolutely know fear, she reminds Sasha of two friends back home; Rochelle (NZÃ¢ÂÂs top spear-fisher women and general fear-free water guru) and Bex who should show more fear after all the body parts she has broken but who continues to do extreme things! Miss you gals! Layne spotted a funny looking fish, and pointed it out to Sasha. With one look both were above the waterline, snorkels out of mouths, letting out hoots of laughter, as it really did look like a cartoon fish Ã¢ÂÂ it was a large brown spotted fish, with a huge comical cute face, massive eyes either side of its moon face, with a small mouth that curled at the corners Ã¢ÂÂ it almost looked like it was smiling at us. Later that day we looked it up in the Ã¢ÂÂReef Fish IdentificationÃ¢ÂÂ book while at the potluck BQQ dinner aboard Kiapa (a stunning pristine Gunboat Catamaran owned by Lionel and Irene) we believed we had seen our first Porcupine Fish. It was at that point on our snorkel we saw the first of several reef sharks, decent sized ones too! Layne grabbed SashaÃ¢ÂÂs hand (Sasha found out later that Layne did that to stop Sasha from leaving the water - which was definitely SashaÃ¢ÂÂs first thought). The large grey sharks, with black tipped tails were stealthily cruising around the reef, seeming almost curious at our presence. At one point we had three circling us. MALibu was unphased, and was very comfortable in the water with them. Sasha was really proud of facing her fear head on, and shortly after the shark encounter hopped back into the tender and encourage Mike to hop in and do the same. Mike tentatively hopped over the side, holding on to the tender for a short while before heading off to where Layne and MALibu were to explore the underwater Minerva world. As Mike and Warw ick (who had succumb to peer pressure and hopped into the shark infested waters too), slid back into the dinghies, Layne and Sasha clapped and congratulated them on swimming with the sharks. Mike was pretty chuffed he too had faced his fear. Swimming with sharks for the first time Ã¢ÂÂ TICK! And to think two years ago in Tahiti - Mike and Sasha wouldnÃ¢ÂÂt even entertain swimming with the barbless, very friendly rays at TahitiÃ¢ÂÂs Moorea island. Once back from snorkeling, we had a celebratory beer for being so brave, sunbathed, and Sasha thought about what she would prepare for the potluck dinner aboard the stunning aqua green hulled Kiapa. She finally decided on using the other half of Tina and RossÃ¢ÂÂs pumpkin. After a pumpkin cutting war (which Sasha definitely won), a substantial amount of cubed pumpkin was spread on an oven tray, drizzled with home made olive oil (also from Tina and RossÃ¢ÂÂs farm Ã¢ÂÂ thanks again guys xx), Italian herbs, salt and pepper, and popped into th e ovan on low while the Moonfish crew headed over to Domino the powerboat with party on their minds! The DinghyÃ¢ÂÂs at DominoÃ¢ÂÂs stern were three deep by the time we arrived, the party was pumping, Almost every crew from every boat had turned up. Quite a few people were taking photoÃ¢ÂÂs of the tenders, and it must have been a record, there was so many of them!! About 45mins later (and a lovely glass of chardonnay) Sasha had to jump over three dinghyÃ¢ÂÂs to get to MoonfishÃ¢ÂÂs so she could check on the pumpkin and turn on our stern light, as we had all enjoyed another green-flashless sunset by then. Much to SashaÃ¢ÂÂs amazement the Pumpkin was not mash, and was perfectly roasted. She headed back to the party on Domino (almost falling into the water as she attempted to get back on board). A glass of chardonnay later, it was time to head to Kiapa for dinner, the Moonfish team headed back to finish the Pumpkin salad. Crispy Bacon pieces, and dry-fried pine nuts finished the d ish Ã¢ÂÂ it was delicious and the first salad to be finished Ã¢ÂÂ Sasha was very relieved! Lionel took us on a tour of Kiapa, beautiful large bathrooms, with perfect, in-built wooden draining grates, and a stern porthole that offered the user beautiful views from head or shower. Luxurious island berthÃ¢ÂÂs, for a weary sailor to rest his head. A massive saloon, with a centered helm - inside on the forward wall of the saloon, with a massive wheel Ã¢ÂÂ Sasha thought that would make for a very comfortable and dry passage! A massive galley (up), bigger than most apartments in Auckland! And a huge dinner table with room for more than 8 people. The coolest thing was the artwork that Lionel and Irene has put up around the boat, Lionel had used white, plastic, electrical tubing to create lightweight top and bottom frames, and then threaded the top and bottom of beautiful canvas printed photoÃ¢ÂÂs of Kiapa at sunset into them, and attached them to the wall with double sided adhesive tape - such a simple, clever idea! Well thatÃ¢ÂÂs us for this morning, we are currently outside the reef trawling for fish (again), the boys are keen as mustard to catch some lunch, but we are yet to bring anything on board. All are very well on board, after our Muesli, last fresh orange, apple and yoghurt breaky. :) (thatÃ¢ÂÂs an attempt at a smiley face)
PLEASE CONFIRM OUR UPDATES ARE GETTING THROUGH? SashaÃ¢ÂÂs dad has emailed today saying the last Ã¢ÂÂYachts In TransitÃ¢ÂÂ update from Moonfish was back on the 14th of May? Today is Friday the 20th of May. This really confuses Sasha as she has been emailing a templated update to YIT every day, and has assumed each one has been posted on our moonfish page. Can someone please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if our updates are getting posted on our YIT moonfish page or if there has been nothing? www.yit.co.nz/yacht/moonfish.
We are anchored next to Fusio in South Minerva. We arrived here yesterday around 10am (which is when Mike woke Sasha up for the second time yesterday morning Ã¢ÂÂ the first being at 7am to call into GHR). Sasha made a rookie mistake the night before last, offering to do the first night shift (which is not an issue in isolation), but if one does the sunrise shift and the first night shift in the same day one ends up being awake for 20 plus hours. Now, (as SashaÃ¢ÂÂs parental units know very well) being awake causes Ã¢ÂÂthe mass destructionÃ¢ÂÂ of Sasha. SashaÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂoff-switchÃ¢ÂÂ was well and truly on yesterday morning, aa she attempted to function on half a cylinder. Not fun for anyone and one of the reasons why no position updates were sent yesterday to YIT or Maritime NZ Ã¢ÂÂ which is not good at all, so Sasha wonÃ¢ÂÂt be falling into that trap again, sheÃ¢ÂÂll be making sure she knows well before our 5pm Crew meeting what her first night shift will be so she can manage to get a nana-nap in. Around 11am yesterday the Fusio crew headed over in their tender and we eventually hatched a plan to go for a snorkel. It was the best snorkeling Sasha has ever done, it was like swimming in a Hollywood underwater movie set! We saw lots of different fish, huge amounts of healthy coral, Mike and Mal saw a moray eel (Sasha had just swum directly over it), the giant clams were abundant and everywhere Ã¢ÂÂ with different bright blues and purples and aqua colours and nearing the end Mike spotted a rather large shark, and told Sasha, so they both made a rather hasty exit from the water. Warwick was already up on his tender, so he headed over to Layne who didnÃ¢ÂÂt want to get out, she wanted to see the shark (go figure!), and Mal (un-phased) made is way slowly over to our tender, taking everything in. We came back to Moonfish, and ate a delicious Mexican/Spanish omelet Ã¢ÂÂ combine and fry cubed golden kumera until brown, add leftover nacho mince (from last nights d inner), pour in scrambled eggs and then top with one cracked egg for decoration and grill the top. It was delicious! We had the Fusio crew over at 5pm for cocktail hour, and shared our Blue Marlin ocular proof while they shared all the lovely sunset shots they got of Moonfish sailing Ã¢ÂÂ just awesome! Then we had our first steak dinner of the passage with more wind-making sautÃÂ©ed butter cabbage and a can of ratatouille. We all went to bed pretty early and contended with the south Minerva swell Ã¢ÂÂ which made for a bumpy ride.
With Fusio and others
It was lovely to receive BarbaraÃ¢ÂÂs (Mum WatsonÃ¢ÂÂs) email during my shift tonight, thanks for sending an update and we hope Vicky is recovering well - plaster up to the knee definitely calls for a little bell to ring every time she needs something. Sasha will make sure she reads it to Mike in the morning. Sasha is currently working her first starting shift tonight, because tomorrow we need Mike (our captain) on helm in the morning as our chart plotter says we are only 9.5hours away from Minerva Reef. Mike needs to be on so he can decide what he wants to do, i.e. go in, or wait outside until we have more daylight. We should get there around 7ish Ã¢ÂÂ which is the same time as the Gulf Harbour Radio net, so we wonÃ¢ÂÂt call in tomorrow with a report, as weÃ¢ÂÂll be busy Ã¢ÂÂchecking-inÃ¢ÂÂ to Minerva. Sasha has been on since around 8:15pm, and is trying to stay up as late as possible to give the boys a decent sleep. MikeÃ¢ÂÂs up next, so Sasha will try and hold out till 1am . ItÃ¢ÂÂs almost a full moon this evening, which makes it so much easier to see Ã¢ÂÂ I had to turn the starboard engine on about an hour ago, as the wind dropped right back, so we are back to motor sailing Ã¢ÂÂ again. We had nachoÃ¢ÂÂs for dinner, and after the cabbage from last night, and todayÃ¢ÂÂs corn fritters there has been a little more wind on board.. but not the kind we actually want. The auto helm that Mike installed just days before we departed, has been an absolute gem thus far. The performance is far superior to our old flux based auto helm system. We had a fish on the lure today, and the boys are determined to teach me how to reel them in with the whole gymble (I hope that is spelt correctly, otherwise Margo will tell me off when I see her next) setup. Sasha tentatively prepared herself with all the straps and what-have-you and Mal handed her the rod, while saying donÃ¢ÂÂt worry itÃ¢ÂÂs only a little one. Well that Ã¢ÂÂlittle fishÃ¢ÂÂ only had to tug on that rod once and Sasha was hanging on the MalÃ¢ÂÂs shirt for fear she, the gymble setup and the rod would all end up in the drink. Unfortunately because Sasha didnÃ¢ÂÂt reel in fast enough, the fish managed to bite the line clean through, so there was no fish for dinner, and two rather patient but disappointed lads on board. Sasha tried to explain that she doesnÃ¢ÂÂt need to be the one that catches the fish, sheÃ¢ÂÂll just cook it and eat it. The boys replied, Ã¢ÂÂYou have to learn to be on the reel, as Mal wonÃ¢ÂÂt be here all the time, so Mike will manage the boat, and Sasha will manages the reelÃ¢ÂÂ. Sasha wondered at this point where and when this strategy had been plotted, as this was the first she had heard of it. All well on board.
Happy Birthday Pauline!!! We will all Ã¢ÂÂcheersÃ¢ÂÂ to you at our 5pm crew meeting (which is really just an excuse to have our one drink for the day). Hi Margo and Pete, we received 2 of your 3 text messages to our Satellite Phone this morning. Regarding the English degree - now that I know you guys are reading these updates, I feel super-nervous about starting these updates in third person and ending in first person! And am more worried about my grammar!! At least I havenÃ¢ÂÂt written Ã¢ÂÂMike and meÃ¢ÂÂ yet! Ha ha! (ps Ã¢ÂÂ the nappies are still in their bag Ã¢ÂÂ thank god!) It was another S.L.O.W night motor sailing - the wind gave out on us, so back on the motors. Mike and Mal did the hard yards again last night, from 7:30pm to 4:30am, and Sasha did the prized sunrise shift again, so she was awake to tune into GHRadio at 7am. Last night Sasha learnt about the Sagittarius constellation, and the crown of stars at his horsey feet. In the sky Sagittarius has the torso of a man, and the body of a horse, and has his bow and arrow pulled and aimed at the Scorpio constellation. SashaÃ¢ÂÂs younger brother Carl (aka Bippy) is a Sagittarius and Sasha and her twin Katya (aka Sippy) are ScorpioÃ¢ÂÂs, so itÃ¢ÂÂs rather entertaining learning about the impending war happening in the heavens. SheÃ¢ÂÂll read up about Scorpio tonight (on her iphone star app), to see if Scorpio is aware an arrow is on itÃ¢ÂÂs way. Hi to Bippy and Sippy!! Congrats on the new role in Sydney Bippy! And Sippy give a big hug to my favourite nephew Connor and niece Rose! Our chart plotter says we have 1 day until we get to Minerva Reef, which has everyone just a tad excited on board. The weather forecasts suggest there is some serious wind up north that we may feel the tail end of in a few days time, perhaps 25-35knots, so our plan to stay a few nights at Minerva may end up being a rather quick day and one night visit. Captain Mike says hi to Mum Watson & Flex! He hopes you guys are tucked up nice and warm as we hear the weather has turned considerably nasty. Apart from that breakfast was nut and fruit muesli, with yoghurt, fresh orange slices and a drizzle of passionfruit syrup. Lunch will be corn fritters with chilli sauce.. and dinner, wellÃ¢ÂÂ¦ I donÃ¢ÂÂt know whatÃ¢ÂÂs for dinner yet, but there is plenty of time to think about it. Screacher is out, and we are motor sailing Ã¢ÂÂ still.
sounds quiet and peacefull on board, except for the motor.
How we looking on the Pacific AIS page now? WeÃ¢ÂÂve been sailing hard today, with surges of speed up to 15.2knots!! Awesome eh? We reckon we will reclaim Ã¢ÂÂfront of packÃ¢ÂÂ status overnight if the wind gods favour us - as they are now. Today we have all had a bit of sun time, reading outside in the cockpit on the beanbags, or lying on the squabs on the port hull deck (where the sun shone all day). We had a celebratory beer at noon with some salted peanuts (For any Foodstuffs readers: YES, Eta sorted it the nuts were perfectly salty) and after that both Mal and Sash had naps Ã¢ÂÂ a beer in the sun does make one a tad sleepy doesnÃ¢ÂÂt it? WeÃ¢ÂÂve been gybing today, in an attempt to get back in front of the pack, or at least catch up with those speeders Fusio! By mid morning we had COP-E CAT, WINDFLOWER and FUSIO all on AIS again, and Sasha and Lanye (on FUSIO) had a catch up over VHF. VHF is the new FACEBOOK, Mike is disappointed as he was hoping Sasha would have a nic e break from her phone. Sasha is super-excited as her phone has been replaced by MoonfishÃ¢ÂÂs suite of radioÃ¢ÂÂs onboard. Sasha completed her first report to Gulf Harbour Radio (GHR) this morning at the end of her shift, she is still not 100% sure it was heard completely, as Patricia at GHR was very faint at the other end. In Opua Patricia sent Sasha a list of things to run through, and the order that she should report it all. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a lot to get through and Sasha wasnÃ¢ÂÂt sure if she should say her report in bits and get some sort of reply from GHR, or all at once. In excitement she said the Lat and Long in one go, and then all the rest; Course, Speed, True or Magnetic, Weather, Wind Speed, Direction of Wind, Cloud Cover, Barometer read, Sea State and any other comments. Apart from that Layne on Fusio topped my encounter with Dippy, they saw a whale this morning, pretty cool stuff! Also Fusio have caught a MahiMahi (one of my favourite eating fish) so they are having some f antastic dinners aboard at the moment. We had homemade pumpkin soup for entrÃÂ©e, Tina (MikeÃ¢ÂÂs sister) and Ross her partner grew it and gave it to us several weeks ago. Mike and I got out the big machete we have on board to deal with any large fish that might come our way, and chopped up the pumpkin in the cockpit, then Sasha set to work making the soup. It was delicious and there is leftovers for the night watch crew too (thanks Tina and Ross!). For mains we had butterflied lamb with sautÃÂ©ed buttered cabbage. Sasha is really impressed at how well the cabbage has kept, just wrapped in handy towels in a dark ventilated bin. Sasha has finished Johnny WrayÃ¢ÂÂÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂSouth Sea VagabondsÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ an absolute fantastic read, and has started on Ã¢ÂÂThe Care and Feeding of Sailing CrewÃ¢ÂÂ by Lin Pardey with Larry Pardey, heaps of handy tips like how to keep your eggs fresh, just turn them upside down daily Ã¢ÂÂ who knew!? Well itÃ¢ÂÂs 7:21pm here, so I am going to hit the sack, Mike is already thereÃ¢ÂÂ¦ and Mal is on watch first again. MikeÃ¢ÂÂs given me the sunrise shift again (Erica if youÃ¢ÂÂre reading this - your words of wisdom shone through on the boys today, because I am doing the cooking and the radio IÃ¢ÂÂm getting cut some slack on shifts yay!) so I can call into GHR again tomorrow for the weather report from David. Wow! ItÃ¢ÂÂs busy on a boat in the middle of the ocean! WeÃ¢ÂÂve reduced our headsail, and have discussed putting a reef in the mainsail, but not actioned that one yet. All are very full, and well on board.
Back at the back of the pack again, another night of motoring Ã¢ÂÂ come on wind gods!! We lost all sight of Fusio last night, not on AIS and not on Radar, although we email each other our positions every day and plot them on the paper chart. Last nights Chicken Paprika was a raving success! The Marlin Catching SV Moonfish crew feasted on lashing of roasted golden kumera, creamy Chicken Paprika and a crisp and crunchy slaw salad. The only thing IÃ¢ÂÂll say is (based on my first Edmonds Recipe) I reckon EdmondÃ¢ÂÂs recipeÃ¢ÂÂs really do need a little spicing up, so from now on, IÃ¢ÂÂll be Ã¢ÂÂfree-stylingÃ¢ÂÂ a little extra-dextra spice and herbs to dial them up a tad more. It was delicious though so I will definitely be making that again! Mal did dishes after dinner, Sasha went straight to bed (around 7:30pm) as she had not had an afternoon nap (like the boys) and was due on lookout at 4:30am. Mike stayed up for a while and watched a surfing movie. Mal took the first looko ut shift, then Mike took over at 1:30am, and then at 4:30am Sasha woke after a luxurious 9 hour sleep (awesome dreams!) and started her shift. At around 4:45am or maybe 5am Sasha got a wee bit of a fright when a blowhole was heard, she was enjoying her rave-party-of-one and had music blaring out of one headphone ear plug and thought she was hearing things, but once the music was turned off, sure enough a big grey dolphin shot through the black-as-night water to position itself right next to the starboard hull just metres from where Sasha was sitting. It was a big dolphin, and seemed to be by itself. Moonfish was parallel, but still quite a way to the west of the Kermadec Islands, perhaps Dippy The Dolphin was also on passage to or from the Kermadecs? Sasha and Dippy hung out for about 20mins, chatted, compared pirate notes, and then Dippy left. Sasha was over the moon about the encounter, and if it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt for the tether attaching her to the helm seat, she would have run downs tairs and woken up both Mike and Mal to let them know what was happening. For breakfast this morning (17May) we will be having Kumara Hash, Streaky Bacon and Scrambled Eggs Ã¢ÂÂ man oh man this