Our Ever-Changing Backyard--Sailing with Scoots

15 July 2019 | Viani Bay
23 June 2019 | En route to Savusavu, Fiji, from N. Minerva Reef
20 June 2019 | North Minerva Reef
17 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
14 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
13 June 2019 | In the ocean, NE of New Zealand
12 June 2019 | Marsden Cove Marina, Ruakaka, NZ
06 May 2019 | Paradise Taveuni Resort
04 March 2019 | Koro Island
05 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
01 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
30 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
29 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
28 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
26 November 2018 | Port Denarau Marina, near Nadi, Fiji
18 November 2018 | Makogai Island, Fiji
27 October 2018 | Rukuruku, Fiji

Slipping free, scraping sealife

20 August 2018 | Nukobuco Island, Fiji
Vandy
We finally shrugged off the bonds of Suva Harbour!

Yesterday we pulled up SCOOTS' anchor, and after spraying off several pounds of thick, gooey mud from her anchor chain, headed out of Suva Harbour. It was the first time we'd left the harbour since arriving under sail seven weeks ago.

We didn't plan to go very far, just around the corner, inside the fringing reef, about five miles to a sand spit with the fun name of Nukobuco Island. Our plan was to anchor here so that we could scrape SCOOTS' hull and run our watermaker. Suva Harbour, which has many redeeming qualities, does not include clean water among them. Diesel, trash, human excrement, paint, logs, twigs, dead fish, and many other lovely items of flotsam daily floated past us there. It's not a place you'd want to jump in the water and clean the bottom of your boat, or make water.

So out we went to Nukobuco Island. Our friends, Steve and Paula, who own the boat Exodus, and keep her in the Royal Suva Yacht Club marina, told us about this place; it sounded ideal for our purposes.

Powered by the smoothly-running Yanmar the Magnificent, SCOOTS moved through the well-marked passage in the reef. The best she could do was a wimpy 3.8 knots...quite a bit slower than she usually cruises at the same RPM, her speed diminished by what must be some significant growth on her hull. Eric and I were happy to be moving again. On our way out of the harbour, we passed rafts of rusting fishing boats, anchored barges and tugboats, and even some sad-looking reef-bound wrecks – the traditional reef markers in Fiji, according to Eric.

Arriving at the island, we dropped SCOOTS' anchor in about 50 feet of water and readied our hull-cleaning tools: masks, snorkels, fins, a large drywall scraper, gloves (to keep from cutting our hands on any sharp objects on the hull), and our hookah rig: an air compressor with a long, floating hose ending in a diving regulator. We use the hookah to dive deeper and stay under longer than we can with our masks and snorkels.

Though we were expecting a lot of growth to have taken root on SCOOTS' hull during her nearly two months of inactivity, we were shocked when we dove in the water and saw the magnitude of the ecosystem that had made SCOOTS its home: an astonishing assortment of aquatic organisms two inches thick at its minimum, and swelling to a luxurious carpet of twice that depth in some places. The bottom of our keel even sported its own soft-coral reef. Wow, we had our work cut out for us.

For the next two hours, swimming back and forth along both sides and underneath the hull, and along the keel, we scraped and scraped and scraped, removing all sorts of tufty things and squishy things and blobby things and branchy things and sessile aquatic organisms of many other shapes (are you detecting my broad knowledge of marine biology?). A marine biologist would have loved the diversity.

We decided to leave the coral garden on the bottom of the keel for another time, as this job would take another few hours, and we were beat after scrubbing the hull.

Back on board after a freshwater rinse and a clean change of clothes, we moved on to our next task: determining whether our ailing generator would be able to run the pump that powers our watermaker.
I'm happy to report that yes, it ran our watermaker just fine, and in fact, leaked less oil now, after its second oil change. Fingers crossed that this is a trend.

In fact, at the end of the day, all of our mechanical devices had performed well, allowing us to be self-sufficient again. We went to bed that night with a clean hull, full water tanks, achy muscles, blisters from our flippers, stars overhead, and the sound of the waves crashing on the reef a mile away.
Comments
Vessel Name: SCOOTS
Vessel Make/Model: Able Apogee 50
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Eric and Vandy Shrader
About: We've been living aboard full time since September 2014. We sailed to Mexico with the 2014 Baja Haha and had fun exploring Mexico until April 2016, when we turned SCOOTS west and headed to the South Pacific. As of late Nov. 2016, SCOOTS and her crew are exploring New Zealand.
Social:
SCOOTS's Photos - Main
1 Photo
Created 15 July 2019
11 Photos
Created 3 July 2019
3 Photos
Created 6 May 2019
13 Photos
Created 4 March 2019
2 Photos
Created 26 November 2018
16 Photos
Created 18 November 2018
11 Photos
Created 27 October 2018
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2018
6 Photos
Created 21 September 2018
9 Photos
Created 19 July 2018
7 Photos
Created 19 June 2018
No Photos
Created 19 June 2018
11 Photos
Created 18 October 2017
7 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 24 July 2017
14 Photos
Created 12 April 2017
35 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 20 March 2017
18 Photos
Created 2 March 2017
19 Photos
Created 16 February 2017
4 Photos
Created 18 January 2017
30 Photos
Created 14 December 2016
29 Photos
Created 5 November 2016
52 Photos
Created 23 October 2016
24 Photos
Created 12 October 2016
49 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 September 2016
43 Photos
Created 2 September 2016
46 Photos
Created 4 August 2016
32 Photos
Created 21 July 2016
12 Photos
Created 1 July 2016
15 Photos
Created 20 June 2016
17 Photos
Created 5 June 2016
1 Photo
Created 3 June 2016
45 Photos
Created 11 May 2016
10 Photos
Created 2 May 2016
2 Photos
Created 1 April 2016
13 Photos
Created 22 March 2016
12 Photos
Created 14 March 2016
2 Photos
Created 9 March 2016
5 Photos
Created 19 January 2016
7 Photos
Created 27 December 2015
6 Photos
Created 16 December 2015
No Photos
Created 27 November 2015
4 Photos
Created 1 November 2015
19 Photos
Created 28 July 2015
4 Photos
Created 23 July 2015
6 Photos
Created 11 July 2015
13 Photos
Created 21 June 2015
9 Photos
Created 15 June 2015
12 Photos
Created 28 May 2015
No Photos
Created 28 May 2015
17 Photos
Created 5 May 2015
2 Photos
Created 30 April 2015
35 Photos
Created 24 April 2015
8 Photos
Created 25 March 2015
8 Photos
Created 10 March 2015
49 Photos
Created 14 February 2015
7 Photos
Created 10 February 2015
20 Photos
Created 26 January 2015
24 Photos
Created 20 December 2014
No Photos
Created 20 December 2014
10 Photos
Created 11 December 2014
5 Photos
Created 3 December 2014
11 Photos
Created 14 November 2014
34 Photos
Created 10 November 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 October 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 October 2014
5 Photos
Created 18 October 2014
8 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
16 Photos
Created 1 October 2014
6 Photos
Created 24 September 2014
9 Photos
Created 23 September 2014
8 Photos
Created 21 September 2014
4 Photos
Created 20 September 2014
5 Photos
Created 18 September 2014
5 Photos
Created 10 September 2014
4 Photos
Created 26 August 2014
1 Photo
Created 25 July 2014
2 Photos
Created 14 May 2014
49 Photos
Created 3 November 2013
32 Photos
Created 8 August 2013
Pics from our trip time aboard Scoots in July 2013.
23 Photos
Created 7 July 2013