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Getting down to work

Both of us got very busy throughout the morning. Helen continued to organize and clean the interior of the boat, sometimes recleaning (happily, not) when I dripped salt water on the floor. I tackled my task list.

The two big jobs were the second/final top up of the drive batteries and replacing the genset impeller. The first job went without a hitch. It was merely tedious.

The impeller replacement was a mixed affair. I’m replacing it as it’s come close to the 150 hour limit I place on them. For the first time ever this one came out without any broken blades. This could be down to the fact I spent some time cleaning and sanding smooth the interior of the impeller housing last time. On putting everything back together I made two mistakes. The first was forgetting to refill the raw water circuit and screen on the filter cap. The generator diagnostics picked this up fairly quickly and shut down the motor. Running the new impeller dry was not a smart move. When I filled the strainer and restarted the motor I discovered I’d forgotten to put the new gasket under the end cap. Salt water sprayed all over.

After that things got a lot better and I was able to run quickly through my remaining tasks. These comprised swapping out a broken hatch support, inspecting the bilges and pumps, retightening a screw at the base of the mast, cleaning the watermaker strainer, replacing the watermaker carbon filter, checking for water in the fuel filters (there was none), checking the manual windlass works (it needed cleaning) and testing the EPIRB.

The afternoon was little more relaxing although Helen defrosted the freezer and fridge in this time.

In the evening we met up with the Screams for dinner ashore and a drink or five. We ended up on the boat playing a few games of Fluxx.

I woke too early this morning we a wee headache. I’ve used the time to nail another Euler Problem perhaps just to spite myself. I’m slowly picking my way to 200 successes.

Today is car hire day, a mixture of pleasure and a few chores.

Farewell Good Friends

Now that we’re in Denarau the boat work begins. Helen has ramped up into interior organising / cleaning mode. For the last year the front starboard berth has been used for storage. That has now (almost) all been stowed elsewhere. I have to confess, my project work was not that extensive yesterday. Usually my role, when Helen is cleaning, is to stay out of the way. I did go ashore to drop off rubbish/trash. While there I sorted out our stay here in the port including a berth next Monday. I also arranged a hire car for Friday so we could get out of here for a bit.

At lunchtime we went ashore to meet up with and say goodbye to Stuart and Sheila from Imagine. We met up at Big Mammas pizza with them and the Passages, Screams and Jarana’s who are all here in Denarau right now. There can’t be many more 2010 Puddle Jumpers left in Fiji. Like every family, we eventually go our separate ways.

For a quick flashback on our times with Imagine you can click on the ‘Imagine’ category in the left sidebar or at the top/bottom of this message. I try and keep these categories up to date so our encounters with particular boats can be viewed in one go. I just used the link to take a trip back down memory lane.

As ever the pizza at Mamas was good. We stayed some time and had a few lunchtime beers/wine. The goodbyes were said. Stuart and Sheila are flying back home today and will return next April. They intend to leave soon after needing to get to Darwin by July for the Indonesia Rally. That’s way ahead of the pace we’ll be setting so chances are this was our last goodbye. But somewhere in the backs of our minds we hold onto the hope we’ll run into them somewhere.

After the lunch time libations we were neither willing nor capable of engaging in any serious work in the afternoon.

Today we both get on in earnest. I have some maintenance projects to do while Helen will get on with the inside work. It feels a little cooler today so that may help.

The Blue Lagoon at The Blue Lagoon

Boat work in paradise has begun. Effort 1 was inspecting and topping up the batteries. All 36 of them. All 108 cells. Every battery needed some water and the drive batteries needed more than I was prepared to put in in one go. I’ll leave it for a couple of weeks of occasional charging to mix up the fluids before I complete this task.

Having earned our rest we took it. More reading. Another Euler Problem solved.

In the evening we had Steven and Darusha over from Scream for dinner then to watch The Blue Lagoon. Now we puzzle over the film locations which are all supposed to be nearby. We think the location where they were swimming in the caves was up in Sawa-i-Lau which we’ll head to soon. As for the rest, we don’t really have a clue.

However, Helen and I will be going ashore today to see far we’re allowed to explore. Perhaps we’ll recognize something.

The Blue Lagoon

We’re now up in the Blue Lagoon, famous for the movie of the same name which was filmed here and on Turtle island to our north east.

The winds were not our friend on the way spending most of the time too close to our nose to sail effectively. We therefore had the motors running all the way up.

When we arrived the bilge pump was off again so another round of squirting grease into the shaft seal was in order. It’s good to know it can work. While testing I noticed a slight knocking sound timed with the shaft rotation. I’ll have to go and inspect the prop and shaft on the outside to see if anything is obvious up there.

We anchored right next to Scream who have been here for two weeks and are desperate to leave as they’re short of provisions. We soon had them over and shared a little of our extras so they can take their time returning. We ended up eating ashore at the Nanuya Island Resort. The food was pretty good and reasonably priced considering the location. It was good to hear that one of Darusha’s books has recently been nominated for a Parsec Award.

We’ll probably hang out here for a few days. There’s a few things on my list of things to do on the boat. I could get it all done in a few hours if I put my mind to it but I think I’ll spread it all out over a few days.

Last day anchored off Matei

Latest news first. It does appear that our replacement charger is on it’s way and we have agreement from Lagoon to do the sex change in New Zealand next February. The detail has still to be exchanged and agreed but for now we are free to move on. We will.

I did actually get onto doing some chores around the boat. I checked the house batteries – all fine. I inspected the standing rigging, tightening one of the locking nuts in the process. I cleaned the water strainer for the water maker as well as fixing a small leak where the nipple screwed into the cock. Bilge pumps tested fine.

In the evening we visited Scream for dinner, drinks and cards and got back tired and late.

Looking at the weather we have NE to N light winds for the next couple of days. Not perfect but it’s not bad to help get us east to the Lau group. With the details for our boat work sufficiently progressed we can leave today. First hop will be a short one to the east side of Taveuni which we’ll do in good light. That’ll position us well to leave early tomorrow for a longer passage east.

It’s exciting to leave and get going again. The sad side of all this is that this may be the last time we’ll see many of our friends here in this anchorage. But that’s cruising.