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The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on "Pied A Mer"
New Zealand
Joanne Booker
02/04/2012, Tauranga, New Zealand

Geoff, Raewyn & Linda came that night and we all went out for dinner at the restaurant already mentioned and then I went back to their place for the night and Linda and I caught the Naked Bus to Manukau City, Auckland the next morning so I could pick up our car and pop top caravan which was at friend's property. Dave and Don left that morning early to head off for Tauranga, spending the Saturday night at Mercury Island and arriving in Tauranga late on the Sunday afternoon.

Since arriving back in NZ life has been full on and 3 days after arriving back in NZ we headed off down to the South Island with Don and Linda, drove to Wellington in our car where we spent two nights with daughter Rachel and family, then crossing over on the ferry to the South Island, picking up a rental car at the ferry terminal and heading down to son Cameron's at Sefton, just north of Rangiora. On the way we stopped and met up with Fran & Ernie and had a fabulous lunch at the St. Clair Vineyard.

Next day the four of us joined Cameron at the Lyttleton Farmer's Market at Deans Bush and we all had a great morning there. We kept grand daughter Scarlet with us and did a bit of sight seeing in Christchurch while Cameron went home and then came back with Melissa and the other two children and we met in Red Suare to do the walk around Red Square looking at all the buildings that have been destroyed by the earthquakes. From there we all went to a new micro brewery that had recently opened up for dinner and a drink.

Don and Linda headed off he next day for a quick tour of the South Island and Dave and I spent a few more days down with Cameron and family before flying back to Wellington where we had another three nights with Rachel and family and were at Daisy's Mad Hatter tea party to celebrate her 4th birthday. Arrived back in Tauranga on 18th December, with Don and Linda arriving back to us on 23rd December.

At this point think I will stop the Sailblog and may continue with a Blogspot blog but will keep those on my email list and on Facebook posted on that one.

Fiji to New Zealand
Joanne Booker
02/04/2012, Tauranga, New Zealand

We left Momi Bay, Fiji on 24th November and motored the first 1 ½ hours and then we got the wind, an Easterly 25- 30 knots with 2-3 metre seas and in the first 24 hours we did 148 miles. The next four days we had anything from 5 to 18 knots with the odd few hours having to motor sail. We were coming back to New Zealand with a huge high and could not believe when on the afternoon of the 30th November the wind really picked up and for 2 days we had 25-30 kts, gusting 40 plus with 4 to 6 metre seas, was not nice at all and for two nights I did not do any watches. We had an easterly wind most of the way but it did turn to the south after we got past the Poor Knight Islands and we ended up motoring the last few hours into Marsden Point Marina, tying up there on Friday, 2nd December at 10.15am. Quarantine was already on the Pier so Customs, Immigration etc. were all completed in a very short time with no hassles. For all you overseas yachties who plan to come into New Zealand, Marsden Point is a great point of entry. The marina is fabulous and we had a great lunch and dinner at the fabulous restaurant that is there.

Tuvalu to Fiji
Joanne Booker
02/04/2012, Tauranga, New Zealand

We left Funafuti for Fiji at 7.20am on 5th November and had 590 miles to get to Lautoka. The first three days were a mixture of sailing and motor sailing until the SE trades kicked in. They finally set in at the 12.12 degrees south and we were able to cut the motor and were bowling along at between 5.5 & 7 knots. Fran & Dave went out East and we just headed straight south and so at one point they were 80 miles behind us. Certainly had a rougher sea than we had had for awhile!!

After hitting the 12 degree mark when the SE set in we then had 48 hours of really rough weather- anything from 15-40 knots over a 48 hour period - we were hard on and with 3 metre waves coming on to the beam of the boat made it pretty uncomfortable, even being well reefed down. I was in to the sea sickness pills. We finally hit the top of the Yasawas and then 10 miles south of that went to port to go into what is called Bligh Water and it was as bad, if not worse and had 25kts right on the nose. We had 28 miles to go across that before we could turn down to flat water in to the Inner passage. At about 5.00pm there was an awful bang from down below, couldn't see anything, checked the sails and rigging and then Dave walked along the deck and said "we have a problem", the deck had cracked and down in the main saloon the stainless steel dogs/lugs that support the side shrouds on the port side had snapped. We hurriedly took down the main and Dave rigged up some halyards for support but then with the rough seas and the pressure being applied to the rigging we were pretty worried that we might loose the mast. Dave also did a Gerry fix it job with vice grips which held all in place. However we finally got through that 28 miles which took us 5.5hrs and were then into calmer waters and at 3.45am on 10th November we found a calm anchorage (strictly illegal but we weren't going to attempt going in between reefs in the dark with unlit markers). Had a couple of hours sleep and then were away at 6.15am in calm waters to Lautoka where we dropped anchor at 10.55am on 10th November. Having got there discovered the starboard side s/s lugs/dogs were also broken. Unbelievable that it happened when these lugs are 20mm thick but guess it was just metal fatigue.

Spent the afternoon doing Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Health which all had their fees and ended up paying overtime for the latter. Don't know why we could not fill out some of the Customs form while waiting in the queue but that did not seem to be allowable.

The next morning (11th) we headed off to Vuda Point marina where we were leaving the boat for 12 days. The next morning we had a rigger in Fiji come and look at the repairs which needed to be done and he also took the alternator away to be rewound. All this being done while were were away for a week.

That afternoon (12th) we got a taxi from the marina to the airport where we then caught a bus to Pacific Harbour where we had booked a week in Fiji Palms timeshare. It was lovely to have a week in luxury and be off the boat after so long at sea. On the 14th our friends, Don & Linda Jenkins from San Francisco arrived and we had a great week there. Was really great to be eating salads and fresh vegetables again and I never cooked an evening meal the whole time we were in Fiji. We did a day trip up a river to a true Fijian village where they provided lunch and showed and displayed their crafts and also had a swim under a huge waterfall. All in all a great day out. Another day we went kayaking up the nearby lagoon where there are some fabulous houses, had a day in Suva where I got new lenses for my glasses as the special coating I had on mine was all coming off and I could hardly see out of them. Couldn't believe that they were done in just over an hour - progressive and transitional lenses for $NZ240.

Fran and Dave came for a night which was a barbecue night at the resort which we all enjoyed. We had an American couple (Fran & Ernie Hopcus) staying below us and we did a few things together, including going to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. They have been staying with family in Blenheim (NZ) for the past year and headed back there the day we all had to check out. The four of us caught a bus back to the Vuda Point turn off and then had a taxi pick us up and take us back to the marina on Saturday 19th.

The rigger did a great job on our repairs and we caught up with a few little jobs over the next three days, including filling our gas bottles. Also spent part of a day in Lautoka. Linda got a taxi to the airport on the morning of 23rd to fly to Auckland and then head up to Whangarei to spend the week with Geoff Kivell and Raewyn Park. After she left we headed over to the fuel dock and refueled (great not to have to do the carting of containers) and then motored on up to Lautoka. Went ashore 30 minutes before they were due to knock off for lunch but Customs would not clear us out as they said it took over an hour (a load of rubbish) so Dave went back at 2pm to do the job and was back on board for us to up anchor and leave Lautoka at 2.55pm. We motor sailed down to Momi Bay where we dropped anchor just after 7pm and spent the night for an early take off from Fiji to New Zealand.

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