Marsden Cove, New Zealand.
Man, it’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally leaving tomorrow for Fiji!
Since the last email, when we just launched, we’ve had further ‘issues’ – including having to be hauled out of the water again because the boatyard hadn’t installed a through-hull fitting properly. The name says it all: ’through hull’. Fairly critical that it’s water tight. But its lack of watertightness didn’t become apparent until Damian tried to fit a pipe to it and the whole thing twisted…Better to find it then than later, but it meant motoring back up the river and yet another week lost.
We finally did our second sail trials last Monday and that all went swimmingly.
We’d have liked to do a more substantial shake-down cruise before we left, but the weather has been atrocious. In fact, it’s been so bad, we’ve effectively done our shakedown while tied to the dock!
We got back in from sailing around 4pm on Monday and by later that evening it was blowing 50 knots. It got worse… and worse… and blew a full hurricane all week. Worst storm in living memory, apparently. The wind topped out at 76.5 knots but that wasn’t just a one-off – it was in the 70s fairly frequently and in the 60s fairly consistently for four days straight. We were – literally – pinned to the dock. Made working on the boat – not to mention doing the provisioning – pretty interesting.
I drove into town on Thursday to do all the provisioning (been holding off, waiting to be sure we’re going, so had to do four months’ worth of food shopping in one day, in a full hurricane). On the way into town, there were waves (white caps) on the flooded fields; I saw a man standing in a puddle up to his neck, and the state highway was a slalom of huge pot-holes.
Anyway, we’re finally sorted and we’re heading off tomorrow for Savusavu in Fiji – on the south coast of Vanua Levu, the second-largest island. We haven’t had time to do any research on what to see or where to go, but we’ll figure it out and I reckon we’ll find somewhere nice to hang out for a while! Can’t be that hard, right?
We’ve had the forecast from our weather guru, Bruce Buckley and he reckons we should have a nice, boring trip – perfect!! We’ve had enough exciting passages to last us for a while!
Weather depending, we should take around 7 days – it’s 1200 nautical miles as the crow flies, but of course, that’s not how sailing works, but we’re hoping to average around 180-200 miles a day. A 747 sounds pretty tempting, doesn’t it?
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