Docked on Customs Pier at 9:30pm. Enjoying a rum and flat calm silence. Ahhhhh... To be followed shortly by Zzzzzzz.....
Had another good day up until 4pm when the wind shifted to the NW - dead astern and hard to sail - rolly. Now motorsailing. 135 miles to Opua. ETA tomorrow night.
After a night of motorsailing, I had a splendid day's sail in light easterlies and a fairly calm sea. All's well.
Another lovely sailing day. Just about to head down the back of the high and head SE. All well.
Another great day out on the briney. Apart from a slightly slower morning, we've been moving along nicely. All well.
Great sailing day. SE 15 with waves that aren't breaking. 2m SW swell which is like driving over a hilly road. A hint of sun but not much.
all well and a good signal
Wind eased throughout the morning down to about 10-12 SE this afternoon. I am motorsailing to keep my speed up. Certainly more comfortable.
Day 2 has been gray and lumpy. Passed by another yacht last night and have Dawn Treader about 20nm to my NW running along at the same speed.
all well and a good radio signal
We're underway. Anchor up at 11:00 and through the reef pass by 14:00. Tight reaching into SE 20-ish. So, a bit lumpy. Pills working and feeling fine.
Clearing this morning for Opua. The weather looks good for the first half. Beyond that, it currently looks OK but could change. I hope to be in by 3 or 4 Oct.
Having finally replaced the engine mounts and had the fuel injector pump repaired (broken spring and running on 3 cyls for months, I now think), I sailed over to Malolo for a few days. Good to have the donkey back in business.
Anchored off Denarau with multiple engine issues. It looks like I'll be here for a while as I replace engine mounts and repair the fuel injection pump. At least it's not cold and raining.
We moved to Saweni Bay after a few days in Denarau sorting out the engine fuel problem. It turned out to be a stuck rack which was not letting fuel pass. Thanks go to Bryden & Andy at General Marine in Auckland and Charlie of South Seas in Denarau for helping me find and fix the problem. I still have the engine mounts to do, but at least I have power to use the anchor windlass. Now more hauling the second anchor up by hand. Now, hopefully, we'll be able to get out to do some snorkeling before Sioux heads back the chill of NZ.
Sioux arrived yesterday for her holiday in the Mananucas and Yasawas. Ms Murphy's engine mounts had started to deteriorate and it was becoming unwise to do much motoring. So, I was planning a sailing voyage using the motor only to charge the batteries while using the anchor windlass. (Sioux brought me a new set of engine mounts that I will replace after she departs.) Yesterday afternoon, we sailed north from Denarau to Saweni Bay to make a few miles of northing. This morning after a leisurely morning, we set off north toward Waya Island. With no wind, I risked motoring a few miles to clear a couple of reefs. When I went to throttle back the engine, nothing happened. On she continued. I dashed down below to ensure the cable was attached. Sure was. A few jiggles and we got the motor off. Now, it won't start...
Following a process of elimination and a few calls to a diesel specialist, it looks like the fuel injector unit has a problem: no fuel is being pumped out. Bugger!! $$!! Luckily, a specialist from Auckland will be flying up next week to Denarau to visit some friends and has volunteered to have a quick diagnostic look. He also is said to know who in this region might be able to repair it. (Better than sending the unit to NZ and back.) So, in the meantime, we won't go as far and I will be forced to learn a bit more about how to sail...! Today, we sailed into the north side of Malolo LaiLai (Musket Cove) and will be here a few days, I think. It's still lovely and warm, and thanks to a 12v fridge, the beer is cold.
Anchored off Port Denarau. Will be here until next Thursday when Sioux arrives.
Gentle sail to Lautoka. Too late to continue further today - not that I know exactly where I'm headed...
Sailed over the top on my way towards the west coast. Beautiful sail through the reef. Dropped anchor at 18:00 which is late according to the rules, but I was confident of my navigation in the inner channel.
Lovely sail to Viti Levu Bay after quick crossing from Makongai followed by a slow wander up the Viti Levu coast.
Left Savusavu at 03:45 and had a great sail down to Makongai arriving at 13:30. Will probably be here a few days.
Woke up this morning to a dusting of volcanic ash on the boat from the Ambae eruption in Vanuatu. That explained yesterday's haze. Will be departing next week for Makongai and then further westward.
Sailed over to the Cousteau Resort near Savusavu in beautiful SE20kts breeze. Savusavu tomorrow.
Moved to Fawn Harbour. Had to motor into 20kts from the East until I rounded Viani Bay. Then, when I should have been able to reach / run to the west, the wind died... So, more motoring.
After a stop at Somosomo for some restocking of the larder (not much as the shelves were pretty empty), I moved over to Buca Bay. Should be in the area through the weekend at which point I will head to Savusavu. Lost another lure today. Must be BIG fish around here!
Sailed over to Paradise Resort on Taveuni in SE 15-20. Lost a fishing lure on the way. Must have been huge!!
I had about half of Nainbuna Village aboard yesterday for a spot of fishing. (Well, it seemed that way as I ferried them to and fro.)
I offered a hand reel for the first fish caught. The winner was one that I would have caught..!
The fishing wasn't great, but laughs didn't stop - especially when Loti, the winner, tried to steer Ms Murphy against the plotter course back to the anchorage.
Motorsailed to Koro Island. Looks like a more prosperous island with a couple of resorts and some upmamarket houses. Still, no fish.
Moved to Nairai Island. Trolled a line but no fish. May be here a few days as the winds are supposed to be light until the weekend.
Flat calm in the lee of Gau Island. Beautiful morning.
Arrived in Herald Bay on Gau Island at 11:30 this morning after a quiet night passage. Coming through coral passes will take some getting used to. The bottom looks so close! Too tired to go ashore today and present myself to the village chief. Will do that in the morning.
I've been in Suva for 10 days which is about a week longer than planned. But, then, I hadn't planned on being hit by a runaway ferry...
The extra week was worth it, however. The owners of the ship that hit me reimbursed me for replacement blades for my new propeller. (I can and will still use my old ones until I next haul out of the water. There will be some loss of performance but not much.) I also managed to get my lazy self in gear and do a few little jobs. Then, naturally, there was a wee bit of socialising with other yachties.
Tonight, I am leaving Suva on an overnight sail to the island of Gau. The distance is not far - only 50nm. However, if I left in daylight, I could not arrive in daylight which is imperative to see the pass through the reef. In Fiji, it is well known that you should only approach coral areas between 10am and 4pm when the light is best for seeing what lies below. So, I will leave at dusk and sail slowly through the night so I can have a safe entry in the morning.
Renting a dive tank tomorrow to survey damage, but prop seems to be working in spite of the dents. Hope it will get me back home. Some stainless repairs to be made. Still plan to move on by mid next week.
Chaos in Suva. T-storm winds sent an anchored ferry drifting through the anchorage collecting several yachts including Ms Murphy. 2am and just kedged off the rock bottom. Motorless as chain around my new feathering prop. I think that's going to be expensive.... I'll figure out how to put the full story on the blog page in the next few days.
Arrived in Suva at 09:30. It's HOT!! Waiting for Customs clearance and looking forward to going ashore.
Had to motor most of the day against headwinds. Now, almost none but right direction. 40 miles to go. Will sail slowly overnight to arrive at harbour entrance in the morning. Or, I'll motor some more....
After motoring though the night, the winds picked up for a good sailing day. 150nm to go to Suva. Should arrive late tomorrow or Wednesday morning.
I asked for a break from the wind on Friday. I got it. None. Motoring all day. Dried out the wet stuff and cleaned up a bit. All OK
Last night was bad. A low formed over me and winds increased from 15 to 40kts with gusts at 4am even higher. Scary stuff with huge seas. No damage apart from water finding its way onto my bunk from a couple places. Need a big wash and dry-out when I get to Suva.
Rough day of nor'easterlies. Slowed down under storm sails when front approached. Trying not to get pushed west. Bumpy, bruised but OK.
About halfway now. Wind died this afternoon. Motoring for a bit. All OK on board.
A day of light air sailing. Big rolling seas. Full moon now. Container ship passed this morning. All OK on board.
Good 24hrs sail to NE. Seas calming which is good. All OK but tired.
Making good progress if a bit too far west. Now, on a better course. Still lumpy. Saw couple albatross.
First night out. A bit rough but skipping along. Feeling pretty good.
Cleared Customs and departed Opua at noon today. On my way to Fiji. Thanks to Sioux and Gary for a fantastic send-off!!
Arrived in the Bay of Islands today. Will be in the area until my departure for Fiji end May / early June.
Anchored in Whangaruru for next few days until northerly winds pass and I can sail up to Opua.
Calm morning off Tutukaka. Had to motor a couple hours. Probably more to come.
Great sail north. Feathering prop and new headsail giving an extra knot or more!
Pactor test 2
testing the Pactor
testing the system - take 2
testing the system
Ms Murphy - University of Hard Knocks
After arriving into Suva Harbour on Wednesday 6 June, I anchored in the small yacht anchorage off the Royal Suva Yacht Club. After clearing in at around 4pm, I went ashore and enjoyed a cold beer at the yacht club bar and then returned to the boat for a very long sleep.
The next day, I paid the health department bill (F$163.50!!) and got my cruising permit (free) and my coastal permit (free). These were all at different places, but luckily, taxis were no more than F$4.00 for any trip I Read more...
The two vessels were the mv Princess Civa (an old rust-bucket 100ft ferry) and sv Second Wind (a 44ft fibreglass yacht from Seattle). The master of Second Wind yelled out to me that the Princess Civa was dragging her anchor and in the process had hit Second Wind and taken her along. When the two vessels hit Ms Murphy, Second Wind was pressed under the starboard quarter of the Princess Civa at a severe angle of heel and unable to free herself. The point of impact for Ms Murphy was directy on our bow and against Second Wind's starboard quarter. Ms Murphy was unable to slide past Second Wind and was dragged along with Princess Civa and Second Wind for approximately 3 minutes – seemed longer! - before Princess Civa slipped forward enough to let Second Wind and Ms Murphy pass behind her stern.
Once free of Princess Civa, it immediately became obvious that the anchors and chains of Second Wind and Ms Murphy had become entangled. Both of us attempted to lift and separate our anchors without success. During these attempts, both vessels were slowly dragging northward toward the shallows.
Very quickly, we were bearing down upon the Princess Civa which had run aground and was laying broadside to the wind with her bow pointing westward. Ms Murphy and Second Wind were slowly dragging down directly on top of Princess Civa. To avoid ending up lying on the windward side of Princess Civa and pounding against her, I attempted to motor into the wind at full throttle and drag Ms Murphy along with Second Wind into clear water. Progress was made until the anchor chain wrapped around the propeller on Ms Murphy and stopped the engine. At that point, Ms Murphy was adrift and being blown northwards toward the shallows.
I deployed my second anchor - a 45lb Manson Supreme with 10m of 8mm chain and 30m of 14mm nylon rode. Unfortunately, 20 of the 30m of line ended up in a tangled mess of a ball. Worse, I only just managed to get the rope tied to the boat before it was wrenched out of my hands. The second anchor slowed us down but could not prevent us from going aground. Eventually, Ms Murphy touched with Second Wind about 20m away.
This all happened in under 15 minutes. I was soaked and shaking. So, I made a cup of tea and changed clothes to warm up. I found that it took me a while to get moving again.
Over the course of the rest of the night, I set about trying to kedge Ms Murphy off into deeper water with my third anchor. This meant launching the dinghy and putting on the outboard in a heaving sea and getting 100m of line sorted out. It's no easy task on your own in a small dinghy. It took several trips with the second and third anchor before I could winch myself into slightly deeper water. But, it worked ever so slowly.
At about 5am, I decided that I was floating just enough to be able to motor off. So, I summoned the courage and dived down in the murky water and freed the chain from the propeller. I tested the engine and was relieved to see that I had forward thrust. So, I buoyed and dropped my primary anchor and charin and began to motor off into deeper water. I hadn't gone a full boat lenght when a fishing net became wrapped around the propeller. Wonderful!! Down I went yet again to try to remove it. It was a huge snarled mess that I was unable to remove safely in the dark. (Think knife, net, darkness, moving boat, lack of breath and you soon see cuts and worse.) So, I had my third hot shower in 8 hours and took a nap.
I was eventually pulled off by a powerboat at approximately 8am. Second Wind didn't get off until high tide at 3pm.
Ms Murphy suffered the following damage:
1) The bow roller chain retainer was destroyed during the contact with Second Wind.
2) The blades of the Kiwi Feathering propeller were severely damaged by the chain when attempting to avoid drifting down upon the Pricess Civa.
3) The rudder bushes were damaged when pounding on the coral after grounding.
4) All paint on the bottom of the keel and rudder was been ground away.
I learned a couple of things: I should have let my primary anchor go once I saw it was tangled up, but I don't recall the thought even crossing my mind. If I had done so, I would then have been free to re-anchor and suffered less damage. My second anchor was not ready for deployment and took me several crusial minutes to assemble. It is set to go now.
Apart from the usual bruises and minor abrasions, I am fine as are all the people on the other 4 boats that were hit by the Princess Civa. Ms Murphy will sail on, and we learned quite a bit from the University of Hard Knocks which will see us better prepared in the future.