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.
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