78 nm from Bay of Islands. No wind and looks to be third day of motoring. All good on board.
apart from the engine noise all is well.
AWOB and good radio signal.
Off to Opua. All well.
Just checked out of Lautoka, passing Saweni Bay bound for NZ.
Anchored at another one of Marks childhood memories. Although we cannot anchor where his family used to back in the 1970's as it is an exclusive resort on what is known as Turtle Island and anchoring is prohibited. Needless to say, when Mark was here before, there was no resort.
Back to Port Denarau, Saweni and Nadi for supplies and to say goodbye to our friend Alex, crew from Mandalay III. Reprovisioned and out again via Liku Liku resort on Malolo to Liku Liku Bay in the Yasawas. Interesting day dodging coral reefs that where not on the chart and reefs that were on the chart but not in the same place. Arrived, another paradise.
Our first village experience, on our way up through the Yasawas. Met up with Mandalay III on their way down through the Yasawas and were invited to join the villagers for their Sunday church service. Unfortunately we were not appropriately dressed so we were given the correct attire prior to the service.
Back to Saweni Bay. While ashore we walked the sugar cane railway line to Vuda Point. An amazing marina that offers hardstand pits called graves for your boat if you want to leave it over the cyclone season. Met a local on the walk who invited us in for juice and to meet with the family.
Left Suva heading for Kadavu but although the wind was in the right direction, the waves were knocking us so we turned and headed for Beqa. Amazing.
Spent two days waiting to clear customs and then it was the weekend. Monday morning it was a three stop, two taxi ride from three edges of Suva to finalise clearance and obtain our cruising permit. Now ready to go.
Light winds, calm sea. Motoring all day. Under headsail to slow down so arrival at Suva is in daylight tomorrow morning. Caught 25kg Yellow FinTuna on the lure today. Spectacular looking fish. 70 nm to Suva. All well on board.
130nm to go.
Good sailing breeze. All well on board.
Arrived at North Minerva Reef on the 4 July. Yesterday was Marks Birthday which he spent dismantling the toilet. Today he repaired it. Probably here until Saturday or Sunday when the weather is looking good for heading to Suva.
Arrived at South Minerva Reef today. motoring in the beginning and then a nice sail. Amazing. Anchored in beautiful clear blue water, swam, showered and celebrated. Rain and wind has set in but not cold. Lovely to be at anchor into the wind, unlike on a hard stand or marina berth.
77 mm south of South Minerva Reef. Wind came round and headed us. Squalls all around us, then wind died off. Now under motor. Cloudy sky today. Confused 1 m swell. All good on board.
Another good sailing day. Wind has now dropped and backing. Now under motor. Clear sky today but has now clouded over, 1 m swell. All good on board.
Fantastic summer days sailing breeze, clear sky, sea slight. All well onboard. Kim is cooking up a chicken curry. Temporary main bolt line repair is good.
Today is final preparation day. Customs have been notified and we are leaving tomorrow morning for Minerva Reef. Weather window looks good and we are leaving with 3 other boats that we know. Kim has arrived back in Opua. I will not miss Opua for quite sometime.
After a gruelling three weeks on the hardstand trying to get our keel cut open, cleaned and welded, we are finally going back into the water and the preparations for offshore to Suva via Minerva Reef can begin. Waiting for the next weather window.
Up on the hardstand.
Fuel contamination and no way to access the keel tank except through the keel itself. The beginning of a very uncomfortable time and a massive drain on finances. Here we are thinking that the fuel tank had been cleaned out by the previous owner 😢
Just having dinner and Mark has just asked me if I had changed the engine revs. No I hadn't. The engine was suffering from fuel starvation. After checking the filter Mark informs us that we are heading home. Extremely depressed captain and crew on board.
Started engine at midnight and noticed that the fuel filter is beginning to block up. Having to clean the filter at regular hourly times. Still no wind and sea slight. Oil filter change has been done and have noticed water in the fuel.
Well, we left Opua at midday and are heading out towards Tonga, via Minerva Reef. There is not much wind so we are having to start the engine.
Well, we're still in Opua waiting for someone to open the window (weather window that is) so we can head north to sunnier climbs. We've used the time as best as possible, with Gail catching up on some work and Mark doing some last minute maintenance chores. Our crew for the trip and a couple of months, Mark's brother Kim, came up by bus ready for the original departure date, and can now catch up with friends from when he lived up here. Friends Bruce and Lynda from Whangarie very kindly drove up and took us to catch up with Mark and Kim's uncle Con Panther, in Kerikeri. Great to catch up and hear some of the stories and see some pictures.
Now its a matter of hurry up and wait until Donna and her younger sybling have passed by.
Arrived at Opua this afternoon after yet another day of motoring first from Mimiwhangata to aptly named Paradise Bay on Urapukapuka Island yeserday, then up the channel. At least we had the enjoyment of a very nice tuna that decided our lure looked rather more appetising than it actually was. Tomorrow we'll meet up with the rest of the ICA group.
Another day of motoring with no wind, but no shortage of swell though. Arrived at Mimiwhangata at 1630. Always a beautiful place, allthough a tad colder now. Met up with Manutaki who are also on their way to Opua to start the rally.
Well, that was an interesting day. Mark went with Elan and Sean to dawn parade, then back to Silver Fox with Gail for last minute loading and sorting - always seems to be last minute I've noticed! Left Gulf Harbour at 11:30 but by this time, no wind so motored to Whangarei Heads. Just thought we'd pop into Urquharts Bay for the night, but hadnt reckoned on multiple large ship movements in the dark, with a lot of coms with harbour control and the various ships. Unfamiliar harbour at night with a lot of traffic makes for an interesting time. We love radar and AIS!!! At anchor at 2100 and a wine is in order.
We are on our way. Late start, but Mark enjoyed the dawn parade with Elan. Missed the good breeze north yesterday but enjoying being on the move ... even if we are under motor. Tried the mps but the wind was too fickle.
Well, the time has finally arrived after 4 years of preparation.
Tomorrow we leave Gulf Harbour for our trip north to Opua in preparation for our departure north to Tonga approximately on May 6.
We are so excited to be at this point at last.
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