02/04/2012, Tauranga, New Zealand
Have got a bit behind with our blog and thought after receiving an email from some fellow yachties who are in Borneo and interested in following in our tracks through to New Zealand that I had better get cracking and finish it off.
The trip from Tarawa to Funafuti, Tuvalu was virtually uneventful with a mixture of sailing and motor sailing although predominantly the latter. It was a 735 mile trip taking us 6 days. We had predominantly E to SE winds generally in the 5-6 knot range and we finally dropped anchor in Funafuti just before 6pm on 1st November, 2011. En route Dave had another birthday, one of many he has had over the last few years while on a passage.
Tuvalu is a very narrow atoll and they were having a severe drought with serious water problems and both New Zealand and Australia had sent up desalinators to help relieve the situation.
We enjoyed Funafuti and met some really nice people, including some Kiwis who administer a Trust Fund in Tuvalu and come over twice a year - two of them had family that Fran & Dave knew well, with one having them in Te Kauwhata. Half of one day was taken up getting fuel and then doing our clearances. A NZ Hercules flew in two days before we left to pick up Army personal who were dismantling the desalinators the NZ Govt had provided. All their breadfruit, banana & coconut trees were dying with the lack of water. Air Pacific flies in on a Tuesday and Thursday from Fiji so saw all that happening.
10/25/2011, Pacific Ocean
Our passage from Ebon to Tarawa was really a very nice and comfortable passage with virtually no wind and flat calm seas so had to motor sail the whole way and what little wind there was, was on the nose. On Monday, 17th October, while I was on watch we had the most magnificent sunrise and for the rest of the day we had absolute mirror glass sea and there was no differentiation between the sea and the sky - I have actually never seen anything quite like it. Took some wonderful photos of Melric 11 as they were motor sailing along with reflections of the boat in the water - was absolutely amazing. Being slow going we never dropped anchor at Tarawa in Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass - ti is pronounced s) until 0950hrs on Wednesday 19th October. We ended up having to wait 2 hours for Health and Customs and after we had had lunch the two Dave's decided they would go ashore to Immigration as it appeared that they were not going to come to the boat so had to take a 20 minute bus ride to go there. In the mean time Fran and I had a visit from Quarantine - we thought we had done that with Health but no such luck. Had drinks on board a US boat called Savannah that night who had arrived in that morning along with a couple of other yachts that were already in Tarawa.
Thursday morning we hit shore and had a look around what you could call of the so called town Betio and had lunch in town as well as going to an ATM to get money as they use Australian dollars and we had none. Also organized our fuel by tanker for the next morning to be delivered at the wharf (10am) and pumped in.
Friday morning, Melric 11 and us were at the wharf well before 10am to get our fuel and ended up being stuck there most of the day - tanker finally arrived at 2pm. Was a bit of a mission with their big hoses and Dave ended up covered in diesel with it backfiring up into his face etc. so he was not a happy chappy. Finally got back to the anchorage to hear that Savannah had been broken into while ashore and we were at the wharf and had two Apple Mac computers, Ipod, binoculars and various other things stolen. They had broken the lock with a crowbar which was left on board as well as a hat. The other two boats which were there when we arrived had also been broken into. It appears that boats on there own are targeted. The Police do not appear to be very concerned and you could say, were not that helpful.
The four of us were going to catch a bus to the Lagoon Club - a half hour bus ride- on Friday night to watch the Wales - Aussi game and as the two of us were anchored in front of us they were going to watch our boats, however Fran was not happy so she stayed behind. The two Dave's and I went and it took nearly an hour for us to catch a bus that was not full to get there, so consequently we missed the first 20 minutes. It was Election day in Kiribati and also pay day! An Aussi Expat gave us a ride back.
Saturday and Sunday were spent on board all day as it was pretty windy with it blowing straight into the harbor but by Sunday afternoon the wind had died down and the two Dave's and I caught a bus (we ended up only having a 5 minute wait) out to the Lagoon Club again to see the All Blacks finally win the World Cup. The broadcast actually came from Fiji Television and we were able to watch it being played on a big screen. It was certainly nerve wracking. We got a ride back again with the same guy as Friday night.
Monday morning we went to the supermarket to stock up on some supplies - weren't able to buy any fresh fruit or vegetables and then we watched Fran & Dave's boat while they went in. The guys then went later in the afternoon to do Customs and Immigration so we could leave early yesterday morning but no they weren't allowed to so had to go back yesterday morning and do it and we finally left the anchorage just after 11am
Seven miles out Dave noticed the rev counter had suddenly stopped working and that the batteries weren't being charged so we ended up stopping for 1 ½ hrs while Dave put the spare alternator on, had a few problems so in the end Dave C had to give a helping hand so finally we took off again at 3pm.
As usual we have very little wind and are motor sailing and we finally crossed the Equator at 4.15pm today so are now officially in the Southern Hemisphere. We are heading for Funafuti in Tuvalu which from the Equator is 612 miles where we will spend a couple of days and hopefully we can get more fuel and then straight on through to Fiji and hoping to arrive there on 10th November.
10/11/2011, Pacific Ocean
We did all our clearances on the afternoon of Friday 7th October and left Kosrae the next day (Saturday) at 9am. We had a distance of 342 miles to go to Ebon Atoll and had hoped it would take about 3 ½ days but Murphy's Law we had wind on the nose just about the whole way. The odd day we had some nice sailing, all be it with the motor going. Every day we had several storms and on the Monday night we had a really nasty one and our main sail blew. Lovely, didn't need that so we managed to get it down and furl part of it in the boom and the rest we had to wrap up around the boom. Next morning discovered that it was a join that had come unstitched and unglued with a rip on the leach, so that was a bit of good news.
Just as we were arriving at Ebon we had a really nasty storm with 30kt winds and heavy rain and could not see a thing in front, however it finally cleared and we negotiated the pass through the reefs okay and anchored five miles across to the other side of the lagoon, dropping the pick at 11.15am. We then got cracking at having a good look at the main and ascertaining what we needed to do to fix it. Then that afternoon Fran & Dave came over to help us and we glued the seam together and left it until Thursday morning to dry and then with all their help I was able to sew it on my little trusty Bernina sewing machine - bit of a mission but all things considered think we have done a good job under the circumstances as it is a big sail.
Yesterday we dinghied 4 miles over to the main village in the lagoon and had a good walk around with one of the locals who had also paid us a visit on the day we arrived to collect an anchoring fee! It certainly was a nice island and they all seemed to live in normal type housing, although a very basic inside. All the houses seem to have solar panels with batteries for power, made in Taiwan, donated by the Republic of China (Taiwan). No doubt the Chinese are wanting fishing rights!! While ashore we met an American lady from Michigan who is doing a 6 month teaching stint there and loving it.
We finally left the anchorage at 7.45am this morning and have a 320 mile trip to Tarawa in the Kiribati Islands. We are hoping that while we are there we are able to watch the World Cup final next weekend as it is under Australia and not the US like Micronesia.