It feels great to be out on the blue water again with waves crashing over the deck of Dragonsbane as we sail south to New Zealand at 7 knots. We have been reaching speeds sustained speeds of 8 to 9 knots so far as the winds blow 20 to 25 knots. In our first 24 hours of sailing we have made good ground of 165 nautical miles with 941 nautical miles remaining. Not a bad start to our voyage even if we all felt a little sick when we started.
We had the bright idea that after we fueled up and topped up the fresh water tanks we would take our last 20 dollars of Fiji money and buy dollar snacks from the bar. This sounded like a great way to spend that last little bit of coin and get some good junk food. Well we all got 2 ice cream bars, 2 bags of chips, 1 soda, and because we were running around all morning we didn’t eat lunch or breakfast. So guess what we did, we ate all our junk food on the way out to sea. As soon as we were in the 1 meter swell it became very obvious that you don’t start out a 10 day voyage with ice cream, chips, and soda. Good news is everybody is feeling better this after noon and we are excited for what’s to come.
Current Position: UTC 03:10, 20deg 34.0min South, 176deg 51.0min East; COG 201deg, SOG 8kts, WS 24knots, WD 132deg ese, Swell 1 to 2 meters, Cloudy over cast ski
We only have to get fuel and fresh water and we are off to New Zealand. It should take 10 to 14 days given good weather and seas. I am excited and looking forward to the passage and like always I will post everyday showing our progress.
The last three days have been spent repairing, cleaning, and overlooking Dragonsbane right down to the last bolt. I have been watching the weather windows to make our 1400 nautical mile voyage to Opua New Zealand. We will be departing Suva, Fiji on Monday 11/11/13 afternoon for New Zealand. We will sail through the south Pacific Cyclone belt and down to were the gale winds of northern New Zealand blow by at 50 knots. I have been looking forward to this challenge for a few months and its great that it is finally here. It should be a wet and wild ride down. Like always I will post my position and whats going on each day.
I woke up thinking that it was five in the morning because of daylight savings time and I actual woke up at six so I already started my day behind. My plan was to get up early and sail to Namena Marina Park to do some finally scuba diving. Realizing the time I quickly grabbed the dinghy and Jess helped me get it on deck. Then we put everything that could fly around the boat away. I fired up the engine and Ben went forward to retrieve the anchor but the windless push button would not engage the windless electric motor. So Ben and pulled the 200 feet of chain up and stored it. Mean while I went back to the helm to discover that the Garmin Chart plotter was not receiving any GPS signal. So I pull the wires off the back cleaned them and plugged them back in and it fired up and worked correctly. I motored through the 100 yard coral passage and out into the ocean. The wind that we hoped for was not there and we had to motor. SO well the ocean was calm I went up into the anchor locker and took apart the wireing on the windless and snapped a power bolt stud off because it was froze in salt. I spent six hours upside down in a small box called the anchor locker and sweated my butt off. The good news is that after drilling the bolt, retapping and installing a new bolt I was able to put a strong patch on the windless. I also cleaned and replaced any bad wire connections. The really crappie thing is that the windless was not working because a small nut holding on the negative wire on the push button switch was a little lose and caused it to stop working. So after six hours fixing the windless that I broke, it only took 30 second to tighten the nut on the push button which caused the problem in the first place.
After all that fun in the sun we approached the North entrance to Namena Marina Park but all the passage markers were missing. So I relied on visual navigation and prayed that my charts were correct. Well I could not see the reefs and the passage was narrow. The chart indicated 30 feet to clear the reef into the lagoon. The actual depth in the passage was 122 feet and I never saw the reef or coral heads. I guess I picked a deep passage then shown on the chart maybe. Who knows, but I cleared through and found the anchorage off of a private Island. We are looking forward to Diving early tomorrow and then off to Suva before we make our big passage to New Zealand.