The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on "Pied A Mer"

04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
25 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
11 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
11 October 2011 | Pacific Ocean
27 September 2011 | 32 miles from Kosrae
27 September 2011 | 35 miles from Kosrae
22 September 2011 | East of Mortlock Islands, Micronesia
02 September 2011 | Ifalik
22 August 2011 | Ifalik
13 August 2011 | Woleai
07 July 2011 | Palau
07 July 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
03 June 2011 | Palau
20 May 2011 | Sagay, C amiguin Island
16 May 2011 | Siquijor Island

Tuvalu to Fiji

04 February 2012 | Tauranga, New Zealand
Joanne Booker
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.
Vessel Name: Pied A Mer
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First 456
Hailing Port: Tauranga, New Zealand
Crew: Dave Booker
About: Joanne Booker, wife, first mate and hand brake!!
Our first venture into sailing was in December 1980 when we purchased a 10'6" sailing dinghy and launched on Lake Waikere at the back of our farm at Ohinewai. Cameron (6) & Rachel (4) were forward hands and Joanne, 7.5 mths pregnant with Leith was used as ballast against a stiff breeze. Then [...]

The Sailing Adventures of Dave & Joanne on

Who: Dave Booker
Port: Tauranga, New Zealand