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The Sun – it Shines

After days of miserable weather today was a very welcome change. The skies were blue and the sun was out. It hasn’t rained all day.

This morning we went out for a walk with Marion from Kilkea. She showed us the walk around/through the golf course. It was simply nice to be out.

We popped into the shops at the tail end of the walk to pick a few things up. On the way back to the boat we were passed by and picked up by Don (Irv) and Marie from Freezing Rain who are back in the area. We ended up chatting with them for a while before heading back down our dock to the boat. Before we reached Dignity we ran into the Ivory Keys and ended up chatting with them for some time too.

We eventually made it back to the boat and at some point geared ourselves up to do a little more boat work. Mostly cleaning at this stage. I cleaned out all my fishing gear throwing a lot of old line away and derusting a few things that needed it. I also fixed the navigation light which had given up the ghost.

We invited the Kilkeas and Freezing Rains over for curry dinner. Knowing that the Kilkeas and we are likely to be leaving tomorrow we imposed a limit of one bottle per couple on ourselves. I think we did pretty good when we ended up with three between us and a sip of port (well – what was left from Tuesday evening) back on Kilkea.

The weather is looking okayish for a departure to Great Barrier Island tomorrow. As long as we leave early. We still may lose the wind along the way but might get away with it. We need to move on.

It’s only a month before Sam arrives and we’d like to get to see a fair bit of the Hauraki Gulf before then. Time to move.

Presuming we do get out of here early morning we’ll be turning our AIS transponder on. We should be visible for sometime at the the station down in Auckland that relays boat positions onto the web. A good site to see this data is www.marinetraffic.com. Look for us popping out of Gulf Harbour around 7:30am to 8am.

And if you want to see the weather forecasts we’re looking at, a good one is here.

Bumping into friends

As it was promising to be a hot day we used the morning to head to Nadi for remaining shopping. Before catching the bus we tried the marina office and the post office for our mail. Neither were there but we dropped off the exact address we’d used at the post office in case that would help.

On the bus to Nadi we bumped into the Ivory Keys. We’d heard that some of the busses go on a really roundabout route and this turned out to be one of them so the journey was 2-3 times longer than normal. It was good to have someone to chat to along the way.

Having bought gifts we went to pick up provisions at the supermarket. There we bumped into Jack and Jan from Anthem. We all had the same intention of stopping off at the butchers on the way back so we decided to share a taxi.

The afternoon turned out really hot and sweaty. Here in the marina there is little breeze so we just vegged out through the hot period.

At 5pm I went ashore to meet Rico. I met Arnold and Coby from Drifter. They reported seeing mail for us at the marina office. Hopefully it is the item we’ve been looking for which should have arrived four weeks ago.

In the end Rico didn’t show. Not unusual for a Fijian. I eventually managed to exchange texts and it turned out he’d forgotten. While waiting I again met Jack and Jen from Anthem. We had a couple of beers together while I continued to wait. In the end we agreed to have dinner together. I fetched Helen and we ended up having a curry at Indigos.

Today our crew member Lissa arrives. The weather is looking crisp and clear so she’ll hopefully have a nice first day here. We don’t intend staying any longer in Denaru so we’ll move off this afternoon.

No surprise but the long term weather forecast is beginning to look a little more complicated. A second high is now forecast to follow the first off of Australia although further south. The general plan is to leave on ESE winds with moderate seas hoping for the wind to turn more to the ESE on the way down so we can curve our way into NZ. This second high may delay that turn and hence our departure from Fiji by a few days. The good news, at present, is that this combination presents a long period of trades so a good start is looking quite likely. But each day brings a new forecast and a new decision to make. We’re back in familiar territory.

Last Day in Savusavu

My morning trip to the DVD store went well. I took Helen’s notebook PC with out vodafone stick and went through their catalog of movies. I checked each movie I half liked the look of on IMDB and if the score was somewhere above 5.5 I asked the assistant to find and play the DVD. Some were rejected due to being in a foreign language and one was English but had a different movie’s subtitles on it. No good. However, I ended up with 48 movies, mostly from 2010 and 2011 to watch.

After lunch we went ashore for our 1 hour massages. I went first allowing me to use the time when Helen was having her fun to clear out with customs which were closed during the first session. I felt pretty good after mine having fallen asleep for the last few minutes.

With customs all sorted out I showered then waited for Helen supping a nice cold beer.

Later in the evening we went ashore for our last curry here. It wasn’t spectacular but it was cheap. We returned to the bar where we joined the Ivory Keys, Just in Times for a while. Petr and Alex from Endless passed through and we agreed to meet them later at the Back Deck restaurant where they had live music. When we turned up the music was the ubiquitous guitar/ukelele trio they have here in Fiji. We had dessert and beers sharing the table with the couple from Infinity 3 as well as Endless.

We ended up on Endless chatting about our various plans. One result of this is we’ve changed our plans for today. We’re only going as far as the Jean-Michel Cousteu resort and will pick up Petr and Alex on the way. We’ll spend the day snorkeling the area, perhaps with the hookah too and finish off with a BBQ. Petr enticed us with a rack of lamb ribs which were impossible to resist.

All working fine

I went ahead with the charger replacement without support from the vanished tech and all went well. The starboard charger is easier to remove and replace than the port so the work progressed smoothly and the tests afterwards went well. So now we’re back up running on full power. The main difference will be that while we are motoring with the genset on, there will be more surplus DC power for charging the drive batteries. It makes a lot of difference to how we balance the system.

With that done I made a trip to refill our empty propane tank and I tightened the nuts beneath our helm seat. Then I had the time and facility to sort out and publish this year’s tracks. That was the days projects all done.

In the afternoon we went shopping/provisioning. I found some pink squiddies to replace my favourite lure. I usually have more than one type out at a time but the pinkies seem to do well. While out I visited one of the several DVD store here that sell bootleg DVDs. I wanted to pick one up to try it out. I was able to verify in the store that the movie was in English without subtitles. Back on the boat it played. I looked it up on IMDB and it scored 2.7. That is about as low as it goes. It must be a dreadful movie. However, this gives me an idea to take the laptop ashore and return to the store and see what they have and look the up online before buying.

Sunset was particularly stunning. After two and a half years I can still spend 30 or 40 minutes just watching a sunset. Each one is different and some just blow you away. After this show, we went ashore for a cheap but filling Chinese meal. Three large plates of food for Fiji$20. Unbelievable.

On the way back we bumped into the Ivory Keys and Just in Times at the bar and stopped for a beer and a chat.

Today will be our last full day here in Savusavu. I’m going to visit the DVD stores and see what, if anything, I can get that is half decent. This afternoon we have our massages booked which we’re looking forward to. While Helen’s having hers I’ll clear out and register our trip to Suva with Customs. The rough plan is to stop off at Namena, Makogai and Wakaya getting to Suva around about the 28th of the month.

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.