The Adventure Continues

20 October 2013 | Fulanga, Southern Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Village of Maunaithaki, Fulanga, Lau Group, Fiji
20 October 2013 | Southern Lau Group, Fiji
29 September 2013
10 August 2013 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu
06 July 2013
02 July 2013
01 July 2013
13 November 2012 | Vava'u, Tonga
04 September 2012 | Bora Bora, French Polynesia
31 July 2012 | Uturoa, Raiatea
14 June 2012 | Tiputa, Rangiroa, Tuamotus

Passage to Fiji

06 July 2013
We made it! We arrived in Savusavu, Fiji, on the island of Vanua Levu (16 46.68S, 179 19.69E), at 11:30 am on Monday, June 10, 2013 - 11 days out of Marsden Cove, New Zealand. With a slight "detour" for weather, we covered about 1300 nautical miles - or nearly 1495 statute miles. We spent almost a day and a half "hove to" - so that averages out to about 125 nm per day - at a little over an average of 5.2 knots of speed; no speed records here!

To say this passage turned out to be "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" would be an understatement; it was every bit of that, and then some! The weather window that looked so good when we left New Zealand soon collapsed with the blossoming of a new, unpredicted low that formed in the Coral Sea (NE of Australia) and tracked SE to New Zealand. We had sailed west of the rhumb line (straight line from NZ to Fiji) to avoid a predicted 998 mb low that formed near Fiji and tracked SE, well out of our way, with the expectation that we would experience some peripheral effects in the way of enhanced trade winds in the "squash zone" between the Fiji low and the high that was then parked over New Zealand. The Coral Sea low quickly displaced the high, and instead of enhanced SE trade winds (in the 25 knot range) we ended up with N then NE winds in the 30-35 knot range (with gusts over 40), as we were far enough west to be on the fringe, but not far enough north to escape the new low. Within about three days the winds had veered to the SW then back to the SE, and decreased to a manageable 25-27 knots as the low moved over New Zealand, but the heavy seas (at times as much as 6 meters - near 20 feet) took some time to settle back down. During the worst of it, we hove-to (basically parked the boat) for 22 hours; the reduced motion was quite a relief, but still short of comfortable. We were able to get some much needed rest; things were getting pretty tired out before we hove-to, and Linda at one point had been thrown across the cockpit when we were hit by a big wave, so her ribs and rump (she landed on a cleat) were sore and she needed some R&R.

A little over a day later, when we were sailing north again in SE winds of about 27 knots, the bar that holds the rudder on our Monitor self-steering wind vane broke; we did not lose the rudder, as it is tied to the boat with a control line (used to raise it when stowing the wind vane), and the 2 foot long stainless steel bar that broke is called a "breakaway bar" (designed to give way if the rudder hits something, before damaging the rest of the wind vane) and, as such, is actually a spare part (that we had on board). We certainly could not effect repairs under the conditions, and we did not want to hand steer the boat (which is very difficult and tiring in heavy seas); and, because we did not want to run the risk of damaging our hydraulic auto pilot by motoring in those rough conditions, we hove-to again - this time for 12 hours, until the seas settled down enough to motor without concern for the auto pilot. About 14 hours of motoring later, the wind and sea conditions were calm enough to try fixing the wind vane. With Linda tethered to the cockpit, she wriggled under the stern pushpit and hung out over the back of the boat about 3 feet, while I dropped her some tools (with their own tethers!) so she could remove the nut and bolt holding the broken end of the breakaway bar, then she attached the new bar and bolted it on, then we slipped the rudder back on, and bolted it in place - about 45 minutes of work, with Linda hanging over the back of the boat the whole time. Even though it was relatively "calm" the boat was still bobbing up and down and rolling back and forth in the swell. Do I need to tell you that Linda is my Hero?!

Things got much better after that, and we had some really great sailing for several days - and the fleece came off, and the shorts, t-shirts and sun screen came out! Nevertheless, this was one of the most challenging (and tiring) passages we have made yet; several people we know who have made this trip (between NZ and Fiji) many times all have said this was the worst. All in all, we did quite well - just short of 11 days total, and other than the wind vane, nothing broke; we know several people whose sails ripped, one whose bow sprit broke, and one who took salt water into his fuel tank (through a vent line) and turned his diesel to "mayonnaise" - you can imagine what that did to his injectors and injector pump when he tried to start his engine! So we did okay; and, we continue to admire and have great confidence in Bright Angel. She is truly a great blue water boat, and she does so much better at this passage-making than we ever will!

When we arrived in Savusavu the sun was out, and it was hot! Soon thereafter, though, a front moved through and it rained for a couple of days - but we are certainly not complaining, as the rain washed all the salt off the boat! We spent several days catching up on our rest, and putting the boat back into "cruising order"- anxious to start exploring Fiji, which promises to be worth the tough passage from NZ
Vessel Name: Bright Angel
Vessel Make/Model: 1990 Mason 44 Hull # 141
Hailing Port: Olympia, WA
Crew: Linda & Bob Hargreaves
Linda and Bob are long-time residents of Washington State - Linda was born and raised in Aberdeen and has lived in Washington all her life; Bob was born in San Diego, and moved to Washington when he was five years old. [...]
After leaving Olympia in August 2010 and sailing down the West Coast to San Diego, Bob & Linda joined the 2010 Baja Ha-Ha fleet and sailed to Mexico, where they spent a year and a half sailing in the Sea of Cortez and along Pacific Mexico. In April 2012 they joined the Pacific Puddle Jump and [...]
Bright Angel's Photos - Main
Every once in a while something will catch my eye that also tickles my funny bone. It could be a twisted sense of humor that makes me laugh, or maybe some cultural rift - who knows!? With apologies to any whom these might offend (and certainly no offense is intended) let me share a few of my chuckles (or in some cases sheer amazement) with you. LOL!
16 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
The remote island of Fulanga (also spelled Vulaga) in the southern Lau Group of Fiji is truly "Paradise Found!" We stayed in Fulanga for 35 wonderful, awe inspiring and relaxing days - and even then, we were reluctant to leave! Fulanga was resplendent with beautiful beaches, magical islands and the friendliest and most outgoing people you can imagine! With no apologies for the bulk of this album and its sub-albums, suffice to say that these are only a fraction of our digital memories of this magical place, and even less of the mental images that we will long cherish! Enjoy!
9 Photos | 14 Sub-Albums
Created 18 October 2013
One Saturday while we were in Savusavu, we took a bus trip with several of our cruising friends to Labasa (pronounced "Lambasa") for the day. Saturday is a big market day in any Fijian town or village, and Labasa is no exception - so there was plenty of hubbub and lots to see at the market. There was also a parade down mainstreet, and plenty of other unusual sights and sounds to stimulate our senses. Here are some of the highlights of that fun day!
52 Photos
Created 29 September 2013
14 Photos
Created 7 July 2013
We visited Auckland several times, and took some interesting side trips on the way back to Whangarei. Here, and in the sub-albums below, are some the highlights.
12 Photos | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 4 July 2013
We were not able to be home for Christmas in 2012, but we did get to have Christmas dinner with cruising friends Bev and Robbie (SV Mersoleil, from Seattle) and other boaters at the Riverside Drive Marina. Even though we were at Whangarei Marina in Town Basin, we got an invite to attend from Bev & Robbie, and were made to feel very welcome. It wasn't "Home for the Holidays" but it was a very nice time, nonetheless!
5 Photos
Created 3 July 2013
Going on walks or day hikes was a favorite pastime of ours in Whangarei, and there were always interesting places to go - around the Town Basin, in the hills and forests behind the town, and to the ocean beaches past Whangarei Heads. Please come along and join us on some of our favorite walks.
7 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 2 July 2013
We are not prone to visiting tourist attractions (or "tourist traps" as we sometimes call them), but we succumbed to a few "temptations" while in New Zealand - notably Sheep World (just north of Auckland), going up the Sky Tower in Auckland, and riding the Wynyard Loop trolley, also in Auckland. We hope you enjoy these photos of our visits to these "attractions;" for more information, see our blog post on "Tourist Attractions."
43 Photos
Created 1 July 2013
Linda wrote an "illustrated" Christmas Letter that she sent to family and friends from New Zealand in Dec 2012. That letter is now posted as a blog entry, and these photos are the accompanying "illustrations."
17 Photos
Created 30 June 2013
On December 8, 2012, we departed Opua and headed south to Whangarei. We planned to "park" the boat in Whangarei throughout the New Zealand summer while we focused on "land cruising" (sight seeing), a trip back to the States (in Jan & Feb), and boat projects (including a haulout in April for bottom paint and other jobs). The trip to Whangarei included two overnight stops - the first in Whangamumu Bay, and the second in Urquharts Bay, just inside Bream Head and at the start of the up river trip to the Town Basin in Whangarei. We tied to the dock at Whangarei Marina at 1630 hrs on December 10 - Linda's Birthday, with some help from our friends Bev & Robbie (SV Mersoleil), who then also helped us celebrate the day at Reva's Restaurant, just across the river from our slip. With the dock lines secured in Whangarei, our 2012 odyssey across the Pacific from Banderas Bay, Mexico - nearly 7000 nm all total - had finally come to a successful end, and we we ready to rest!
21 Photos
Created 29 June 2013
Our first stop, where we cleared into New Zealand, was Opua. Before moving south to Whangarei we visited some of the local sights.
17 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Some things in New Zealand take some getting used to - like the lingo, the accent, the place names (at least those in Maori), and some of the unusual things in the grocery stores, about town, and out in the country. Here's a sampling.
21 Photos
Created 24 June 2013
Daniel's Bay (Hakatea Bay) - site of the TV series "Survivor Marquesas" - was our first stop on Nuku Hiva, an overnight passage from Hiva Oa. A higtlight of our stay in Daniel's Bay was the hike up to see Vaipo Falls, with a 2,000 foot drop supposedly the third highest waterfall in the world.
42 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
After leaving Hiva Oa, Hanamoenoa Bay on the neighboring island of Tahuata was the next anchorage we visited. It was a beautiful bay full of surprises - some good, some not so good!
9 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Hiva Oa was our first "Landfall in Paradise" after leaving Mexico, and our introduction to life in the islands of French Polynesia.
14 Photos
Created 6 August 2012
Our 28 day crossing from Banderas Bay, Mexico, to Hiva Oa, Marquesas, was the culmination of many months (if not years) of planning and preparation. Shown here are some of final projects in Mexico, as well as some highlights from the crossing itself.
39 Photos
Created 5 August 2012
Just about everywhere you walk in French Polynesia is like being in a botanical garden - the flowers, trees, fruit - it's one of the special treats of being here!
43 Photos
Created 4 August 2012