08/04/2012, Vuda Point Marina
Well, this morning dawned with total cloud cover and the possibility of rain and that's just what it did. Not a lot but still more rain. With that in mind, I made more cinnamon rolls for breakfast. A little treat on a cloudy day.
Once breakfast was done, we started in on more jobs. We need to make the most of our time here at the marina. I washed off the deck and got off some of what the rain didn't last night and today. Lots of sand out of Puff since she is inverted on deck. We filled the water tanks again finding a leak in the valve that directs the water between our two tanks on the port side. Not around any seals as we would have expected but out the end of the bronze fitting that controls the valve. The original valve had a square head on the shaft so you could put a wrench on it to direct the flow to the proper tank. Sometime, one of the four sides got either broken or cut off and it has left a small pin size hole that water would come through when we were filling the tank. I mixed up so water proof epoxy putty that I crammed into the small hole and that should take care of that. With what I had left(made too much), I crammed it into the small hole in the frame on our Honda generator.
I hooked up the hose to our out board motor and turned on the water. Started up the motor and flushed it's systems and let it run for a while since I'd installed a new fuel filter on Thursday. I wanted to make sure there would be no surprises when we started her next time.
On to the fuel line for our Ford Lehman engine. For those that have followed our blog for a while, you'll remember our problem of the engine just up and quitting when it got air in the diesel fuel lines. This time, I went for simplification eliminating most of the connections in the line and adding lots more hose clamps and even some caulking to one of the connections.
I smeared caulk on the metal tube that goes all the way back to the fuel tanks and then slid the proper size hose over the tube and clamped it on with three hose clamps. It had only had one! Up the the auxiliary fuel pump(helps bleed the system) and added a new fitting(again 3/8 inch) and used Loctite on the threads to the fitting. Two more hose clamps and then did the same to the opposite side of the pump. Over to the Racor filter where I changed out the fitting to again 3/8 inch so all the hose is the same size. More Loctite to seal the threads and two hose clamps and it was done. Simple and efficient. No more fuel line switches or reducers. Just one hose to the pump and a second to the primary filter. Here's a picture of it. We eliminated 12 connections, all of which could have been the problem.
We also found a water leak at the raw water pump. I switched our the seal on the plate that covers the pump and once we started the engine, no more leaks. Big jobs done!!!
Now we're going to take a couple of hours and walk over the the bar/restaurant where there is a games session going on. All work and no play is bad for the sailor.
08/03/2012, Vuda Point Marina
Yes, I know. I didn't think we would be back here again, but the Mother Nature had other plans. The forecast was for wind--25-30 knots from every direction including from the west and rain--up to an inch possible.
With the winds that were coming and the fact that they were coming out of the west for a while, one of the last places we wanted to be was Musket Cove where you are totally exposed to a western flow and it wouldn't be pleasant.
With that in mind and the fact that our engine had decided to gulp some air in the diesel lines, we decided to go back to Vuda and get it and other things fixed. The list isn't that long and we hope to be out of here early next week.
So far, I've changed out the seal on our fresh water pump(found out it was leaking on the way into Vuda Point. Changed the fuel filter on our outboard motor(maybe she will run better now). Ripped out the entire fuel line that was in the engine room. Hey, I'll find out what is wrong one way or another. I figured I take it to our Hydrolink store in town and get some new ideas on how to fix our problem(air in the lines). In the way into town, I spoke to the folks off Silver Ruffian and he looked at our lines and made some great suggestions on how to get rid of 3/4s of our connections. Once at Hydrolink, I bought the necessary fittings to get the job done, hopefully once and for all. I'll post pictures once I get it installed. Meanwhile, here's a picture of what it looked like before I ripped it out.
We went into town with Paul and Karen off Gigi to have lunch and get "stuff". Parts and food and stuff. What every cruiser picks up when they get to civilization. Tomorrow, we're off for Nadi and Namaka to get more things. It just goes on and on.
07/30/2012, Muskvet Cove
One piece of equipment that we carry on Zephyr is a "Spud Wrench". Last year, when we were in Tonga, as I brought up our anchor, the chain jammed in the hole in the deck that leads the chain into the anchor locker. It was in good and tight and wasn't about to budge. I tried assorted wrenches and pliers. Screwdrivers of all sized and nothing would budge the chain. I even tried letting out the chain to start all over again, all to no avail. I was struck with the anchor set on the bottom, yet not set as I didn't have a great deal of chain out. Bill Teasdale on Dilligaf zipped over from his boat and handed me a "Spud Wrench". Never saw one before but this baby looked awesome. It looks like a crescent wrench but the opposite end ends in a point so it can be jammed into the links of the chain. A couple of pushes and pulls and out popped the chain, free of the hole. We were good to go again. I added a "Spud Wrench" to my list of things to get when I was back in the US.
A few days later, I got an email from one of the folks that reads our blog(sorry, I forgot your name). He had one and would be happy to give it to me when I got home. As it happened, he lives about 20 miles from our house in Colorado. While there, I drove up to meet him and pick up the wrench. It's now a very valuable part of our tool kit. Even Tracy knows what it is.
A few days ago, the same thing happened. Our chain got jammed in the hole all over again. As I stood at the bow, Tracy zipped below and grabbed the wrench and with a simple push on the wrench once it was jammed in the links of the chain, we were again free!
For all of you out there that have a boat and do any kind of anchoring with chain, pick up one of these babies and keep it handy. It's not so much if you're going to need it, it's when you are going to need it. It may not be soon, but eventually, you will and it's great to have one on board.
07/28/2012, Musket Cove
Well, we upped the anchor in Lautoka on Saturday morning after completing our provisioning run late Friday afternoon. We'd picked up our Visa extensions so we were all set and we wanted to get away from the soot from the sugar refinery. It left lots of black particles all over poor Zephyrs deck. A pain to wash off every morning and sometimes during the day.
Henrik and Lene from Dana had the same thought so we both headed south to Saweni Bay(17 38.402S 177 23.685E) early Saturday morning. A nice place to drop the hook but there is nothing there. Not even a grocery store. Just one small restaurant and a "resort" compound fenced off from the "beach" by barbed wire with signs out the there is no picnicing allowed. We figured to leave after the first day. We had things to do and Musket Cove was where we needed to be. We said goodbye to Henrik and Lene on Dana and headed out early this morning.
As we crossed over(no wind to sail) our engine died about 90 minutes into the trip. Air in the fuel lines again. We thought we had it fixed. Guess not. I bled the fuel lines and she started right back up. Now I'll get to play around with the fuel lines again once the engine cools down. I've gotten it down to under three minutes to bleed the diesel lines to the engine.
We pulled in to Musket Cove about 1215 and dropped the hook. Five minutes later, Paul off Gigi came by. We've known Paul(and his wife Karen) since we were back in Mexico before we left to cross the Pacific. They had spent the cyclone season down in New Zealand and arrived in SavuSavu(on the North island) about two months ago and just made it into Musket Cove a few days ago. We'll be having dinner with them tonight at the barbecue in at Musket Cove and get caught up on our trips. Great to see them again.
Oh, I forgot to tell you about the attack of the killer Krait snake. On Friday morning, we lowered Puff back into the water. She had been suspended from our starboard side for the night. As I climbed down the ladder to Puff, I saw a new piece on line sitting on the bottom of Puff. Really cool looking line with black bands around it. As I reached down, I suddenly realized it was Black Banded Krait snake. One of the most deadly snakes in the South Pacific!!!! It was stuck in our dinghy and couldn't get out. How it got there and how long it had been there are anyones guess. I just knew I wanted it out of the boat!!! I called to Tracy to get me a set of the tongs we use in the galley and the camera. She couldn't find the camera but came back with the tongs. I'd wedged him(or her) under one of the oars and then grabbed him (or her) with the tongs and over he(or she) went. Apparently, their venom is 10 times more powerful than a cobra, but it's regarded as a snake that "rarely" attacks unless threatened. I figure having his(or her) head crammed by an oar provocation enough so that it might consider itself being attacked and would want to fight back. With it being pinned under the oar, I could grab it and throw it overboard really quick. I watched it swim away from poor Puff(and myself). Ah, the joys of traveling in the South Pacific.
07/25/2012, Lautoka Harbor
Let's get caught up on the last few days. Here's the pictures of the rolls I made.
On Monday, the weather converged on our bay bringing more wind and a bit of rain to the mix. With the wind still out of the Northeast and it being overcast, we decided to spend another day here. Being pretty well boat locked, we decided to do an inventory of all the food in the boat.
We started under the starboard settee cushions and worked our way around. I pulled things out and Tracy wrote it all down. Her writing is far better than mine and if we were to be able to read it when it was done, it was far better for her to do the writing. We started about 0900 and other then a short break for lunch, we continued on till close to 1600. Boy, do we have food on our boat. We did come upon a few surprises. Two quart size jugs of actual maple syrup. Not the fake Log Cabin stuff, but real, honest to goodness Maple Syrup. Neither of us remember buying and bringing it on board so we don't know it that's simply age thing or maybe they were left by the last owner. We found them in an out of the way place stuffed into a deep corner. The other thing we found was five bottles of "$2 Buck Chuck"(Merlot). For those of you unfamiliar with fine wines, this is wine sold by a chain of"health food" stores called Trader Joes all along the west coast of the US. I think we purchased this when we were in Tucson before leaving for Mexico. It was buried way down in the bottom of the bilge. We uncorked a bottle yesterday and now we remember why it only sells for $2.00. Boy, it was a bit hard. I guess we have gotten used to the $6.00 bottles(cheapest wine available here) we can get here in Fiji.
It took all day, but now we have an accurate list of what we have and what we need to buy when we are back in Lautoka.
Tuesday, we upped the anchor and headed back to Navadra for a day or so. It was cloudy but the wind(still out of the Northeast) would push us along toward where we needed to go. We motored south till we were clear of the pass taking us south of Manta Ray Island and then put up the sails. Up went the main for the first time since we came to Fiji last October and out rolled the genoa at the bow. We took off doing 5 knots in a 6.5 knot breeze. That lasted about an hour and the wind died to maybe 2 knots. On came the engine and in went the genoa and off we went again with just the mainsail and the engine to move us along. We left our anchorage at about 0830 and pulled into Navadra at 1345 covering a distance of 27.5 miles. About 5 miles per hour. There was another boat here in the anchorage but as we were setting our anchor, he was pulling up his. We would have the place to ourselves!! What a treat.
We put on our suits and snorkeling gear and dove into the water. We took off for the reef that runs along the side of the island. A good snorkel beach with lots of fish(more than last time) and loads of coral. As we returned to Zephyr, another boat(Amigo) pulled into the anchorage. Rats! We were no longer alone.
Last night(Wednesday morning actually) it started to howl outside(about 0315) and then the rains came. Both of us were out of our bed and on the way up to the cockpit. Winds started in the high teens and grew from there. We had gusts up to 53 knots at one time with constant winds in the high 20s to mid 30s with horizontal rain lashing the anchorage. There was no moon and no stars and pitch-black outside on deck. The only reference we had were the lights from Amigo sitting about 200 feet from us and what we could see on our Gramin Chartplotter with it's GPS. With it being so dark and with so much rain, we couldn't see any of the islands around us. It can be VERY unnerving sitting in your cockpit staring out and seeing nothing but BLACK. When the night started, they were off our port side. Now, they were off either our starboard side or our stern. The wind had shifted from the Northeast to the South to Southeast. Mother Nature was ticked and she was letting it all hang out. I will never again complain about having a second boat in an anchorage. Amigo was our only point of reference as the storm pounded us. It was very reassuring having their light nearby. The rest of the island, even the big rock south of us was invisible due to the huge amount of rain we were getting. We even fired up our FLIR(new generation of night vision scopes) and it was of little help. We could make out Amigo in the lens but no islands. The rain had wiped out the view. Both of us sat in the cockpit(in different modes of dress) and waited out the storm. I finally went below and put on my foul weather gear and set up our DuoGen so it would "furl" itself if the winds got worse. It was screaming as the winds blew through it's blades on our stern during the big gusts we got. By just after 0600, morning light was getting better and we could see the islands and what was happening around us. Our Rocna Anchor had done what we had been told it would do. Hold us in place in all types of weather. Reassuring as we were surrounded by reefs on all sides
The forecast for the rest of the day is more rain and more wind not letting up till tomorrow(Thursday). We need to be in Lautoka by either late Thursday or early Friday so we can get on with procuring our Visa extension. It doesn't take long but, depending on the agent, it's either easy or a bit harder as to what paperwork they require. We'll let you know.
Update: At 0900, Amigo(second boat in the anchorage) pulled up their anchor and set off West. Only guess was that they were headed for Vanuatu. In the midst of a storm like what had just passed. Go figure. With them out of the anchorage and our only visual reference, we decided to pull up ours and head back to Lautoka no matter what the weather was. The forecast was for continued winds in the mid 20 out of the Southeast and more rain. The advise from the forecaster was that if you are anchored, stay there till Saturday. After what we had just gone through, that's not going to hold water. We upped the anchor(only stuck on a head of two of coral on the bottom) and headed out about 1030 for the 27 mile trip. As we rounded the headlands off Navadra, we got slammed with winds back in the mid+20 knot range and 4-5 foot waves right at our bow. We were getting slammed. Our speed dropped to 3.5-4 knots and off we went knowing that we had a long bumpy ride ahead of us. We'd made the journey before so we had good safe tracks on our chart plotter so we could avoid any reefs between the island and the mainland. We pulled into Lautoka at 1650 safe and sound. A bit battered but just fine. The winds when we got to Lautoka were just about zero. Go figure!
07/22/2012, natuvalo Bay
A lesson learned.
We started up our generator this morning to put some more amps back into our battery banks. The DuoGen has been spinning on the stern in all the wind we have had but it just can't keep up with our demand(about 4 amps per hour). Once started, we turned on our battery charger/inverter(Heart Interface Freedom 20)and put her to work. I fired up our Spectra Ventura 150 watermaker to put some water back in our tanks. We also had two computers plugged in so they can get recharged. I could have left it at that, but we wanted to make some hot water for showers later in the afternoon, so after the charger had run for about 90 minutes, I turned on the water heater. Well, the Freedom 20 just didn't like that and up and rebelled about 20 minutes later. It shut off and then tried to restart. We knew something was wrong by the sounds that our generator(Honda EB3000) makes as it runs on deck. With the Freedom 20 off, it runs more evenly without the sounds of it straining to power it. I took a look at our Link 2000 and saw the lights for the inverter going on and then off. We'd pushed it to far by trying to run the inverter, watermaker and water heater as well as power the outlets in the boat. I shut down the generator and took a look under the settee where we have the Freedom installed and she felt a bit hot to the touch. It was time to give her a rest.
About three hours later, we fired up the Honda and turned on the switches again. On came the charger/inverter and it started putting amps back where they belongs. I turned on one of the switches that turns on the outlets and the inverter shut it self off all over again. Once it was up and running again, I flicked the switch again and all was well. Power came to all the outlets in the boat. We hadn't fried the system!!! A lesson learned. Don't push your power system to hard. It will push back and not in a good way.
I keep trying to post pictures on these posts but the internet is so slow out here that while I can download pictures, I can't upload them. Go figure. Once back in "civilization", I'll get them posted.