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Return to Savusavu

It turned out we’d anchored between Jarana and Sidewinder, both friends of ours. We’d chatted to Jarana the previous evening and ended up with a long VHF chat with Sidewinder in the morning. It would have been nicer to meet face to face but we all had our dinghies up and were planning to leave. Based on our mutual plans, we should meet up along the way.

By mid-morning we were off for the short motor into Savusavu. On the way in we were pleased to see Endless anchored outside the creek and hoped to see Petr while we are here. We also saw Dave aboard Marquesa and waved/shouted that we should meet up later in the day. We’d radioed ahead and were taken to a free mooring ball and soon we were tied on.

We wasted no time and soon had the dinghy dropped and we were in the water. We tied off the dinghy at the Coprashed Marina dock and headed off to customs where we cleared in and collected our charger. We’d been worried that there may be fees but we were pleasantly surprised to find that all they wanted to do was ensure we put it on the boat. The guy that came with us was very polite and offered to help at all opportunities.

Once the charger was on the boat we returned to town to get some cash and a bite to eat. We’d planned on a small lunch but ended up ordering a cheap rice/curry which ended up being a whole meal. Two meals including two cold cans of soda all for $17 local (US$10). Can’t be beat.

On the way back I picked up some fish hooks and leader line as after recent losses I’m now out of these.

Back on the boat I set about the charger. I opened and inspected the replacement charger. One end was bent, presumable from transit, but nothing internally was appeared affected. I switched this with the intact plate from the charger we swapped out last year which we kept.

I then opened up and inspected the existing problem charger and noted all wiring. I went back to the replacement and prepped it to make installation easier. I noted all this and sent the information off to the tech for review before I proceed.

In the afternoon Petr from Endless swung by and we invited him and his crew, Alex, aboard. A couple of beers were had to oil the conversation.

At 5:30 we were back ashore. In the yacht club bar we bumped into the crowd from Ivory Keys and Just in Time (met in the Lau) and sat down with them. It turned out they’d over ordered their pizza and invited us to tuck in. That was dinner solved. As we chatted, the folks from Endless and Marequsa showed up. We never left the bar bar to return to our boats for the night.

Unfortunately I’ve had no overnight response from the tech regarding my email. The swap out is straightforward so I’ve decided to proceed regardless. We did receive more specific information regarding the sex change next February. It’s good that that is progressing.

During the day I did upload some more pictures from Welangilala and Alfred Bay. They can be viewed on those blog entries.

Finally, we’ve been enjoying the recently introduced 3G data service here which makes using the internet much more pleasant than before. This should mean that I’ll be publishing our recent tracks soon. Something I’ve got behind on.

Last day in Whangarei

What a day. We started the day with one last wash. The genset started ok but not with the zest we know it can with a good power supply. It’s battery was getting tired. A quick decision was made and it was off to the battery store to buy and then install a new battery. When I moved the original battery I tucked it way out of the way which meant pulling loads of stuff out of the generator compartment and then squeezing myself into a very tight place to work. Glad we did that as the genset starts perfectly now.

Next task was to head for Opua to sell the car back to Phil from Cars for Cruisers. I had an agreement with Rob and Ruth from Albatross III to head up to Opua too and give me a ride back. Just before leaving we bumped into a young lady from the NE US whose on a traveling trip and was looking for passage up to Fiji. We offered to take her up to Opua and back to investigate things there and learn a bit more about making what she was trying to do work.

On arriving in Opua I let Lauren off to explore the area and agreed to meet up at the Fish and Chip shop at noon where I’d promised to buy lunch for everyone for helping out. The deal with Phil went through smoothly and soon I was walking away with a cashable check.

While waiting for Lauren to show up I bumped into Andy from Zephyrus which was a pleasant surprise. We chatted for a while and I asked about people looking for crew. He had a good lead and shared it with Lauren when she found us. About 12:30 Rob and Ruth turned up having seen some friends. Unfortunately the Fish and Chip shop in Opua had closed down so we headed off to Pahia for the banks and shops there. Half way there I realize I’d left my GPS unit somewhere so we headed back finding it with Phil.

Leaving the others to look around I first went to Westpac to cash the check using my passport to prove my identity. She had to call Phil to verify the check was ok to cash and he approved with the caveat I owed him a GPS unit. She found the explanation of his remark quite funny. My next stop was the ANZ bank to deposit most the cash keeping enough to pay for our new kayak.

With all the financials handled I found the others and bought all Fish and Chips on the waterfront which turned out to be overfilling but delicious.

Rob took us north out of Pahia for a different route back to Whangarei. A few miles out of town I realized I didn’t have our folder containing our boat papers and passports. Not again. So back into town we went. I checked first at the Westpac. The teller grinned hugely and went to the safe to retrieve my passport. I found the folder in the ANZ where I’d left it. Where was my head???? I checked to make sure it was still in the right place physically. I think my brain had already set sail.

No more mishaps beset us as we traveled back to Whangarei. Rob helped me collect the kayak which we placed on the boat. Helen had spent the day making a clean boat immaculate for the evening’s party. By now there was not much time left. I performed a few small jobs around the boat before showering and soon after folks began to show.

All in all we had the pleasure of welcoming the crew from Albatross III, Attitude, Blue Penguin, Boree, Callisto, Clara Katherine, Division II, El Regalo, Imagine, Jackster, Leu Cat, Marquesa, Proximity, Sail Away, Scream, Sea Mist, Sidewinder, Stray Kitty, Tahina, True Companions and Tyee along with one or two marina neighbours. That was about forty people at once. It was a great test of our through hulls as we were down about 6-9 inches in the water. We didn’t sink.

This morning we woke fairly early and after doing last minute internetty things we dropped of our key to the shower block and headed out. As we headed down the river the winds were light and behind us. And cold. We motored on batteries alone for about 30 mins before turning on the generator. Near the river mouth we caught sight of True Companions ahead of us and called them on the radio to greet them.

As we rounded the heads we hit a dead patch and used the opportunity to raise the new main. We crossed our fingers hoping for wind as we really wanted to see how our new sails would perform. We didn’t have to wait too long and soon we were in winds that were to vary between 10-20 knots as we headed up the coast. We were gobsmacked by the improved boat performance. Before the boat speed would fade below about 12 knots under main and jib. Now she was achieving above 1/2 wind speed all the way down to 9 knots on the beam. We’ve never seen it so good.

We have found a couple of issues. The reef points on the new main are higher up than before and now the 1st reef only has a turn of spare line at the winch which is not enough to reef on the fly. We also have new modes of vibration on the luff of the main which we need to figure out how to handle. Apart from that everything seems to be in amazing shape. It feels like we have a new boat.

Our original plan had us making our way up the coast in smaller steps. With reduced wind tomorrow and nasty northeasterlies forecast for Friday we’re aiming to cover as much distance as we can today and complete the trip to the Bay of Islands tomorrow where we can find shelter from any type of wind. Our goal for today is the Whangamumu Bay which we visited last November.

We’ve now settled into a pleasant sail up the coast putting on and taking off our warm clothes as the sun goes in and out. We have about a knot of counter current but we’re doing well against it. We even have a line out for fish but nothing caught yet. We’ve shed the land life and are back on the water.

Crawshaw Shoals / Pangai

A pretty interesting day was had yesterday. We left our previous anchorage and headed out to sea for about 4nm in a SW direction to a sea mount called Crawshaw Shoals where we’d heard other had great snorkeling/diving. It took us a while to find a decent patch of sand to drop the hook but we finally found something in 50ft of clear water. We didn’t need to put too much chain down because there was hardly any wind or current.

We soon had the hookah out and all three of us went down to explore the reef. The area had the most abundant corals we’ve ever seen going on forever with sandy channels running in between the hills of coral. There were the usual nooks and crevices to peer into but no lurking lobsters nor any large fish. All the same it was a pretty interesting underwater excursion. For those remotely interest the lat/long where we anchored was 19 deg 42.96′ S, 174 deg 20.37′ W.

Out of the water we ate our lunch before moving on to Pangai where we had to obtain our clearance for these waters.

We knew we wanted to do some internetting ashore and also eat out so we waited til 3pm before going ashore. By then Sea Mist showed up for the same reason as well as Marquesa. As luck would have it we all arrived at the dinghy dock together and walked to the government offices as a group. Clearance was simple and cost free which was nice.

We then toured the town for all of a few minutes looking at the few shops that were open. We ended up at Mariner’s Cafe and sat down to beers and time on the computer. After 5 we ordered our food which was simple but enjoyable.

Back on the boat we only managed two more episodes of Prison Break before having to crash.