07/10/2012, Musket Cove
Here we sit at Musket Cove surrounded by clouds and overcast skies waiting for some clearing so we can do some scuba diving again. In the meantime, the rebuilt DuoGen is spinning merrily on the stern actually making some electricity for our batteries. Now keep in mind that it's also blowing in the high teens to mid twenties which is a big help in making it spin. It's not quite keeping up with our usage but it's much better than it was before the rebuild.
We pulled in on Sunday and dropped our anchor about as far out away from the other boats as we could. With luck, we shouldn't have any boats coming in and dropping their anchors right beside us as they did last time. Now we do have a BIG catamaran in front of us and the big MV Aquarius(all 97 feet of her) off to our starboard side but neither is close enough to concern us. The anchor alarm is on watch(went off at 0610 for no reason that I could find) keeping us safe. We have our anchor lights on automatic so they come on at sunset and two garden lights(one at the bow and one at the stern) so people coming through the anchorage can see us(those that don't look up). They last just about all night.
Monday, we gathered our laundry and headed in to get it washed. They have two washers(only one works) here and a dryer that is under lock and key(has to be unlocked to be used for some unknown reason). Both give more time in their cycles for what they are intended to do so maybe the clothes come out cleaner since they get washed longer.
Our outboard is performing back to normal after the problem of having water in the gas line. Now that it's gone and it had a chance to rest while we were in Vuda Point, she started up on the first pull of the cord. First time she's done than in a long time. Puff(our dingy) is actually staying dry inside the boat. We'd had her fixed back in February and during our first time out a few weeks ago, she still took on some water. Now she is staying nice and dry. I don't have to take a bilge pump everywhere I go and keep things off the floor so they don't get soaked in salt water. A big improvement.
Yesterday was straighten up day for me. I put things away and read some manuals to try and better understand some of our electronics. Tracy spent some time stitching up holes in three pairs of my shorts. We got these from Kohl's before we left the US and over time(and lots of use) the cloth has gotten much thinner and holes are beginning to sprout all over the front(better than the back) of them. She took needle and tread to them and tried to seal them up. She's fix one and test it only to see the fabric right beside the old hole tear again. She continued on and eventually, all the holes were sewn closed. I'll get a bit more use out of them. I guess the next time we're in Lautoka, I'll be hunting for more shorts. Clothes are cheaper out here but so is the fabric and stitching but at least they will have no holes in them.
Today, it's totally overcast and the wind is continuing. Tracy even put up the side panels on the dodger to keep the wind out of the cockpit as it's downright cool(72 degrees) out there. Of course the wind doesn't help. I've got a couple more manuals to read today so I can better understand what we have on board. Gee, what fun.
We had pancakes for breakfast. A treat for us and we've been having the "typical" Fijian breakfast for quite some time. These are "breakfast crackers". Sort of like a saltine cracker only with more flour so it has more body. Smear on some butter and to with your favorite jam or marmalade and you have a breakfast. Not tremendously healthy but it's the norm out here and quite cheap. A container of the crackers runs about $1.35(about .75 cents US). From that container, we can get a good three to four breakfasts. You can't eat much cheaper than that. Cereal is quite expensive out here and is really a treat if you can find some you like. Tracy found some "Grape Nuts" the other day in a big box for a very good price. Normally they run about $15.00 Fijian($8.00US) for a small box. Breakfast Crackers are the food of choice out here.
Well, that's about it. Off to the manuals.
07/09/2012, Musket Cove
When we pulled into Musket Cove, we dropped our anchor next to MV Aquarius by Horizon Yachts. Nice looking 97 foot boat sitting real pretty at anchor. We Googled them to see if there was any info. Hey, guess what. You can rent it for just $60,000 A WEEK!!!! No, not a month, A WEEK. Take along 7 of your closest friends and have fun. At $60,000 per week, that's only $8571 a day. Spread amongst 8 people, makes it only $1,071 per day. What a bargain!!!
No we're not 97 feet long(46 feet)
No we don't have a Jacuzzi(nice shower stall)
TV-yep, got that
CD player--yep, got that
Dining table that seats 10--nope, just 5(maybe)
15 foot dingy--nope, just 9 feet.
Bose sound system--just two sets of head phones.
Oh well, we may not have all that stuff, but we don't cost that much, at least not for a week any way. But we're in the same place enjoying the same things for a whole lot less. Not bad if I say so myself.
Here's a picture of what is left of the bearings. TRASHED!!
07/07/2012, Back at Musket Cove.
We escaped from Vuda Point Marina about 1100 this morning. We finally finished all the project we felt we needed to get done with easier land access. The DuoGen is back on the stern and spinning nicely in the wind. We finally had good wind allowing us to actually SAIL to Musket Cove for a change. I thinks it's the first time Mother Nature as seen fit to give us wind and from a good direction so we could roll out the Genoa sail. Took about 3.5 hours to do the 15 miles over and that is just fine. NO engine to have to listen to.
As I said, the DuoGen is back on board and all re wired. Tracy scrubbed the decks yesterday getting a couple of blisters in the process. All the laundry(primary reason we went to the marina)got done. Water tanks got refilled. Installed a new 12 volt plug in the anchor locker so we can use our big flashlight if we need to. There had been a plug there but with different connections. The stainless ladder onthe stern got a hole welded closed so water won't go in there. Plus lots of other smaller projects.
Now we're back out at the islands ready to do some diving again and have some fun. the work(hopefully) is over for a while.
The picture at the top is the inside of the DuoGen. Lots of rust(BAD!).
07/02/2012, Vuda Point Marina
It's different out here. It's not the US, that's for sure.
Yesterday, while listening to the radio, I head a "public service announcement"(sort of any how) that everyone was to remember that pedestrians do NOT have the right of way when crossing any of the roads in Fiji. Even if you are in a designated cross walk, the people that are driving the cars decide whether to let you cross the street or not. Now I've come to some of the "designated cross walks" here in Lautoka. They're all nicely striped and are very obviously a cross walk. Some times, as you stand there, the cars may stop, but just as often, they blow right past you. In the US, it's drilled into you that pedestrians have the right of way. Heaven help you if you violate those rules and actually hit someone. Out here, well, good luck with that. Pedestrians beware!!! DRIVERS RULE!!
Back in May, I noticed a sudden slowdown in our internet service here at Vuda Point. I placed a call the Vodefone to see if they could find any reason(bad dongle on my computer, bad service, etc.). I was taken care of and after a few calls(mysteriously got disconnected a couple of times-hum?)I was finally advised that there was a technical issue with the "3G" service that is provided out here, but that they were working on it and would have it corrected soon. A couple of hours later, the service was back up to speed and all was well. Yesterday afternoon, I got an email that Vodefone was in the area and wanted to stop by to see what my problem was. Say what, what problem were they talking about? I hadn't called or emailed anyone at their offices about any problem. Being from the US, we have had it drilled into us to not trust anyone that just up and send you an email that they are coming out to help you. They MUST be up to something bad. I placed a call to the home office and was advised that yes, they did work for Vodefone and were finally getting out here to find out what was wrong. It's only been two months. How's that for service? Try that in the US and heaven help the company that waits two months to respond for a service call. The public would have their head on platter. It just so happened that yesterday, the internet slowed down all over again. To download the NBC evening news was going to take 3 hours instead of the 10 minutes it normally takes. I responded to their email and even called them and the men showed up about 30 minutes later--FIVE of them!!! Two guys sat with me in the grass off the boat(the rest just sort of walked around the area) as with the tidal rise, there was no way for them to come on board. I had to get into the dingy and go meet them. We sat for about 45 minutes trying all kinds of ways to figure out the problem. We did a test to see how fast the service was--slow. I used one of their dongles and it was still slow. It would go up and down in it's speed. They left perplexed, promising to contact the home office in Suva about the situation. Since it took two months for a service call, heaven only knows when I''ll hear back from them. I can't complain as the service sped back up as the afternoon wore on and is now running just fine. Hey, it's Fiji and we're on "Island Time".
07/01/2012, Vuda Point Marina
This morning I took in our DuoGen to have the bearings replaced. It has started to bind as the shaft turned around and around. We'd heard good things about an company in Lautoka called P. Kumar Electrical Services on Namoli St. I'd been in there before. Actually the first week we were in Vuda Point. I was looking for a step-down transformer and they carried them, along with just about any electrical component known to man. I brought the required bearings with me since I bought them yesterday. I couldn't find the seal that we needed but figured they could find it with little problem.
I dropped if off this morning about 0930 and was told to check back with them about 1500. Off I went, back to Zephyr after running a few more errands. We had a nice lunch of leftovers and I went back into Lautoka to get our ladder rewelded. It had developed a hole where one of the horizontal steps meets the vertical bars. I stopped in at Kumars(a bit early but what the heck). Well, they had the generator all taken apart and it was a mess. Inside the case was dirt and corrosion! It's not supposed to be in there--it has seals! They told me to come back after 1530 and met with the owner of the shop--the Mr. Kumar. He had been there when they cracked open the case and water has poured out! It was a mess inside. There was dirt all through the unit. The two resistors in the bottom of the case were shot(lots of dirt and corrosion). It was worse than I could have ever imagined. This was going from a simple bearing replacement to a total rebuild! Here's another instance of something that is supposed to be built to withstand what ever Mother Nature can dish out and it has failed miserably. The repair estimate is between $700 and $800! That's going to hurt the cruising kitty big time. Oh well. Having rebuilt is still cheaper than buying a new one.
We decided Friday that since we were going to have to wait till probably Wednesday before the DuoGen as fixed, we'd go down to Vuda Point, see some friends, do some laundry and get a few more projects done. We called ahead as we had heard that it was jammed since the World ARC(a group that goes around the world together) were now starting to arrive in Fiji and many had hit the marina to get jobs done and their bottoms painted. We showed up just about 1600 and got shoved out to the very last slip in the marina. It's right beside the entry. The same slip they wanted to put us in last October. We have no ledge to get off the boat so we have to row ashore! A nice place to tie up but no way to easily get ashore. Oh well. It's only for a few days.