SV Tanga

no experience necessary

21 November 2015 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji Islands
03 November 2015 | Savu Savu, Fiji
23 October 2015 | Savu Savu, Fiji
29 June 2015 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
12 June 2015 | Musket Cove Marina, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
19 September 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai, Fiji
05 September 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
17 August 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
26 July 2014 | Savusavu, Vanua Levu Island, Fiji
06 July 2014 | Nananu-i-ra Island, Viti Levu, Fiji
04 July 2014 | Nananu-i-ra Island, Viti Levu, Fiji
01 July 2014 | 17 23.614S:177 '47.72E
30 June 2014 | Port Denarau Marina, Fiji
25 June 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai, Fiji
29 May 2014 | Port Denerau Marina, Fiji
21 May 2014 | Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
19 May 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai, Fiji
23 April 2014 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
08 April 2014 | Port Denarau Marina, Fiji
05 March 2014 | Vuda Marina, Fiji

The second leg of our journey

21 November 2015 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji Islands
After safely getting to SavuSavu, we still had the second part of our run hanging over our heads, the sail to Vuda Point Marina.

While this only encompassed two narrow reef passes, we still had a level of anxiety, much less than the prior trip, but still worried about silly sailing errors. Some of this was made easier by brainstorming routes, and possible "temporary" fixes to the stern issues.

Joao is an awesome Brazilian sailor who spent his whole life at sea fishing, prior to singlehanding this far around the world. He has crewed and delivered numerous vessels and even saved one from sinking. When we described the cutlass/shaft problems to him, he came up with a technique the Portuguese fishermen use in a pinch. He told us to take some seat foam, impregnate it with axl grease, and spin it to the right width to fill the gaps between the shaft and the hull. This would both keep the water out, and potentially give us a minute or two of using the prop, in an emergency (running aground). Tom spent a day underwater with the snorkel doing this. When he could jamb no more in the cavity, we felt a little better, knowing we should be a little safer.

We decided our routing options were to either head for the gutter run around the western side of Viti Levu, but other than towing through 40nm of numerous reef passes, we couldn't resolve this as a viable option. The second choice was to head east into the Koro sea to the eastern side of Viti Levu, pass Suva and around the south side to the Momi pass. We chose the second option, and then reviewed the idea with Moondance, Interlude IX, and Zazoo (Joao). They all felt the route was solid, if we could get the right winds, thus the waiting began.

We only had to wait a couple days and the right window of 10kt forecast breezes appeared. We arranged some help from Moondance to give us some bumper boat assistance as we sailed off the mooring in an extremely tight mooring field. When they came over to assist, they also recruited Doug from Renegade to help bump us straight. All went well and we were off without incident.

We had a nice 6kt sail out of SavuSavu bay and punched right out of the reef pass with no difficulty. Once we set course we realized the weather forecast was off by about 20kts and 30 degrees. Thus we had 30kts of wind on the nose with some pretty heavy seas on the bow, keeping our speed to around 2kts. It was slow going but once we reached the lee of Koro, we were able to turn a little more southerly and maintain 5kts. Then the winds dropped and we were back to fast drifting along at 1-2kt. It was slow, but we had lots of space.

The next day we had very light air 2-6kt, so we tried to keep Tanga trimmed well and keep getting south, between Gau and Viti Levu. It was slow going all the way to outside Suva.

When we were outside Suva, about 15nm offshore, the Duwali celebration was going on and the whole skyline was lit up with fireworks, a very pretty night scene.

The whole night was spent making around 2kt and we felt we would never get there. Our intent from Suva was to get out towards Kadavu Island to pick up some wind. This added about 60nm to our trip, but to run the pass would require a healthy wind for about 10hrs, and we couldn't count on that happening. So each mile south put us further away from Vuda, but we were hoping to get the wind back to make it up.
About halfway thru the Kadavu pass, the winds indeed built. 20-25kts just aft of the mast for a very fast broad reach pointed straight at Momi pass. Once we hit the pass, we rolled into a wonderful beam reach and zipped through the last pass!

When we hit the main lagoon around noon, we had a tremendous sense of relief. We know these waters well, and know the hazards and winds "like the back of our hands". The greatest challange we faced at this point was to not let our guard down, as we weren't tied up yet.

We called Adam of Vuda Point Marina and he said he would have his staff standing by until we arrived, to facilitate the tow into the marina. He mentioned that if the winds were to strong that he wouldnt be able to tow us. At this point the winds were pretty strong so we decided to sail around, thinking the winds would lay down in the late afternoon. So instead of heading straight for Vuda, we turned off and headed more westerly. And dont you know, about 30 minutes after doing this, the winds died completely. We drifted around at about 1 knot, watching and hearing our sails slap as the small swell knocked us side to side.

Feeling a bit frustrated, we tried tacking one way, than another, trying our best to make some momentum north to Vuda, trying to keep the small amount of air in our sails to keep them from slapping and banging. Then we felt a puff of air, then another puff of air, and the wind had changed direction and started filling in from the northwest.

We got really excited because if this wind could hold for just another 3 hours, we could make it to Vuda! We weren't moving fast, but at 2-3 knots, we were making headway in the right direction.

As we neared Vuda, Tom called Adam and gave him an update of how far away we were. We began prepping the boat for the impending tow with fenders and lines everywhere.

As the sun began to set, Adam called and asked how far away we were and what our speed was. At this point, we were about 1 mile away from Vuda, but going about 2 knots. He said he would send the boys out to us to help us move along a bit faster.

Two of the guys came out and tied up to the side of Tanga and with our sails up and their engine, we started moving along. Once we were outside of the channel, Tom dropped the sails. At this point, the outboard on the long boat stopped working and we all laughed! What timing! The guys got it working again, and the we were towed in the marina. All the staff at the restaurant/bar came along side and yelled Bula Tom and Monica, the band stopped playing and welcomed us back. We were met at the visitors dock by Adam and a two other guys. They tied Tanga up and we hopped off the boat with champagne in hand. We gave Adam bigs hugs and thanks, then Tom shook the champagne bottle up, popped the cork, and poured it over himself, myself and Adam, then we all drank the rest of it pretty quickly. What a feel of excitement and accomplishment we felt. We were exhilirated and so happy to have made it to Vuda!

The night of celebration began with another bottle of champagne for myself, a few fingers of Jack Daniels for Tom, and a wonderful steak dinner. After some food, the real party began with lots of shots, drinks and laughter.

After doing both legs, we feel we have used up all our boat Karma points, so if anyone needs a hand, let us know, so we can start refilling the jar!

The picture above is Team Tanga sailing through the mooring field in Savu Savu.

Our 20th Anniversary

03 November 2015 | Savu Savu, Fiji
We celebrated our 20th year of bliss in an interesting fashion. While we had hoped to celebrate it with a new stamp in our passports, Neptune had a different gift for us.

As many of you are aware, every 18 months, Tanga is required to leave Fiji to renew her visa. We arrived in SavuSavu to depart for Futuna, which lies about 250nm to the northeast. On the morning of October 26th, we met with customs and were officially cleared out of the country and underway.

The first day of sailing, was crossing the Koro sea bound for the SomoSomo straits. The wind was 20kts just between a close haul to a close reach and a beat into the choppy wind waves. It was messy and slow so we had to fight at the helm to keep pointed toward the narrow entry into the straits. We made the straits and all went well as we laid into the lee of Taveuni and had a nice safe motor in no wind thru the straits. Once we cleared Taveuni, the winds picked back up to 20kts and we had a great sail to and through the northern islands and reefs of Fiji.

After sailing clear of Fiji, we were able to point directly at Futuna and sail a close haul in that direction for 24hrs between 5-6kts made good. The seas were uncomfortable and lumpy, but nothing we haven't done before and all was well and safe until...
Just after sunset and 74.4 miles from arrival at Futuna, 150nm out of Fiji, Monica had just taken the watch and Tom was in the cockpit discussing stratagies for making the ride a little more comfortable when we heard and felt a very violent bang and all 15tons of Tanga got spun about 15 degrees to port as she shuddered from the impact. Tom immediatly ran below to check for a hole in the boat while Monica tried to correct the course to take the seas easier while we delt with whatever damage we would discover.

As Tom assumed the collision would be at the bow, he started emptying every locker and hold to inspet the hull. He did this until he reached the engine room area (roughly amidship) and then heard a terrible racket coming from the stern. He pulled the bilge cover, that also allows inspection of the propeller shaft, and found that we were not taking any water but that as the propeller was freewheeling (the motor was off), the shaft was banging into the hull.
Tom went back to the cockpit and explained the situation to Monica. She slowed the boat and tried to minimize the rolling from the rough seas, so Tom could go below and rig up a brake to get the shaft to stop spinning and banging. He was able to do this in about 15 minutes and still no water was coming in, sweet.

Now we have no motor and no chance to safely go over the side to inspect the external damage, given the rough seas. We started discussing options; Futuna has no repair services and a poor small anchorage that wouldn't be a viable option to lay and recover anchor while under sail. Vanuatu was about 400nm to the west and downwind and was discussed as a probable option, but we had no idea if our situation would deteriorate during the 4 additional days of expected rough seas, also running with the seas would put additional water pressure on whatever problem existed in the stern area. Returning to SavuSavu, Fiji was an option but we were really worried about sailing though the various reef passes and islands that were in our way, not to mention we do not consider ourselves very skilled sailors that have that ability, and there is no way to haul Tanga out of the water to effect repairs. We also discussed trying to get around the eastern side of the big island of Fiji to make Suva, but this meant trying to go directly into the wind and that was not going to happen. We looked into trying to make it to Wallis Island, which was roughly 170 miles to the NW, but we had very limited knowledge about repair facilities and the anchorage, so we ruled it out.

We decided to go with SavuSavu. Our thinking was, that if we could get as close to Fiji as possible, prior to sinking, that it would be easier to effect a rescue. Yes this may seem a little melodramatic, but at this stage of adrenaline and lack of sleep, we had no idea if the situation would deteriorate or not. We felt that if we could make the first narrow reef entry at the top of Fiji, that we should have enough wind to sail the remainder in a safe fashion, or possibally get a tow to a safe anchorage.

We had already been doing 2hr on, 2hr off watches becuase of the difficult sailing in the rough seas, but due to our situation, we reduced that to 1hr rotations, while checking the bilge for water every half hour. We were already very fatigued and our adrenaline reserves were depleted, so every decision we made we started discussing at length for fear of making things worse with stupidity.

To make the first reef pass that was roughly 80nm south, we had to try and point into the wind and fight for easting miles. This required constant focus on the jib and compass and voyage made good reading on our Chartplotter. We would try to round up, until a little luff hit the jib then fall back off to get speed and round again. Each time we did this, we would make a few more feet to the east, but then every few minutes a swell would hit us and slide us to the west and take back much of the east that we just fought for. We did this for 24hrs.

As we approached the pass that we had left from a few days ago, we realized that we could not make it, and turn in the right direction because it would put us into the wind amongst the reefs and islands. We looked at the chart and decided to try a pass more to the east. But this meant we were not going to make it with the easting we had been fighting for. About 10nm out from the pass we turned around to build more east miles (we needed about 7nm more). After two hours of trying to get NE we thought we might be able to make it and spun around to lay the pass. After another 2hrs and 8nm from the pass, we realized we still couldn't make it, so we turned around again and tried to build a better angle. A couple hours later we felt we had it right. NOPE!! While we were very frustrated and fatigued, we resigned ourselves to another try, thus we turned around again and fought for our easting miles. This time we made damn sure to get a heap of east before turning. We got a little squall near us that helped move the winds and gave us some brief easting (Neptune decided to cut us a little slack and not be a complete jerk). We turned back toward the pass. At dawn we were able to make the entry. As we went through, we had some anxious moments as the pass narrowed, somewhat unexpectedly, but we did make it through.

The morning and afternoon brought us a wonderful sail in 15knots of wind and a sea state that wasn't too bad. At this point, we felt if the conditions held, we would make it safely during the next 24hrs. Wrong!

Of course the conditions didn't hold. As we approached the SomuSomu straits,in the middle of the night, the wind continued to drop. We slowed to just 1-2kts, essentially fast drifting. As the reefs narrowed, we started to slow even more as we hit the lee side of Taveuni. We would cheer any time we reached the blistering pace of HALF a knot! We need at least 2knts to have steerage, and drifting through the pass at 3am is not an option. A less viable option discussed very briefly was to get the dinghy oars and attempt to row Tanga thru LOL.

We decided we would launch our dinghy with its 5hp motor and try to tow Tanga through. We checked the tides and determined that we may get a favorable current, but we were unsure as these straits are often unpredictable with tide flow. We lashed the dingy to the side of Tanga and started up the outboard, hoping beyond hope that this hairbrained scheme would work. As we got her up to 2kts, we realized that this could work, but it required Tom to stand in the dinghy with a foot on the outboard to keep the propeller in the water as the swell would rock Tanga and attempt to lift the propeller out of the water and over rev the motor. So Monica is at the helm trying to drive a course within 2 degrees and no room for ANY error, while Tom is in the dinghy holding the nose down by pulling on the toe rail of Tanga and his left foot stepping on the outboard as each wave lifts it. None of this was fun or safe for either of us or the gear, but we felt we were commited, so for the next four hours this is how we proceeded. Did we mention that this really sucked and we were fatigued? However, as dawn approached, we made it safely through the SomoSomo Straits!

Once thru the straits, we "knew" that we would have a great sail once we cleared the lee of Taveuni because the Koro sea always has wind. Wrong again. As we cleared the lee and got to where the winds should have built, they disappeared completely. We shut off the tow dinghy and started our half knot drift in the general diection we wanted to go, while trying to stay at least 3nm off the land of Vanua Levu. This was very frustrating because after all the prior challenges, we were looking to get this ordeal over with.

We were able to get a cell signal, and when we thought the hour was reasonable, we called our friends on S/V Moondance and described our situation and asked them to be on standby for our anticipated arrival around 3pm that afternoon, to assist us with negotiating the anchorage. Doug was absolutely a wondefully positive and re-assuring person to talk to. He even asked if we had a fishing line in the water. This may sound trivial but you can't imagine what this did for our attitudes. Moondance said they would be ready and also recruit another boat of friends on Interlude IX, and not to worry about the anchorage, they would be ready.

After a few hours of drifting, we got about 5knt of thermal wind and started making about 3knts. Nicer than drifting, but still wouldn't get us to the final reef pass till around midnight. We called Moondance again and told him we would be outside the anchorage at first light. He said no problem, they'll be there.
Through the night, we continued to lose speed as the winds dropped. Again, fast drifting at 1-2knts. As we approached the final reef pass outside of SavuSavu bay, we started discussing strategies. We knew we would be unable to sail through the pass without wind, and the water was a little to lumpy to use the dinghy tow stratagy, but we decided the dinghy was our best shot.

As we approached the reef pass, we prepped the dingy as before. The water was much lumpier than the earlier effort, but all went well and we cleared the reef at 0330. Once clear of the reef, we still had no wind and had to run the dingy to get clear of the ferries that were coming through. After we were clear of the ferries, we proceeded to tow ourselves towards the anchorage.

As promised, we were met just outside by the smiling faces of Doug and Carla from Moondance, and the lovely ladies Karen and Cheryl from Interlude IX!! An immense sense of relief washed over us as we dropped the sails and prepped lines and fenders to attempt the dingy tow docking manuveur. With the two other dingy's giving the occasional bump and ours giving propulsion, we hit the dock almost perfectly; we were a little fast but the lines and cleats stopped Tanga dead.

Conclusions and random thoughts:
We still have no idea what we hit. It was big, but thats all we know.

Under various levels of stress and massive fatigue, we are now patting ourselves on the back for how well we worked through this as a team. We were always able to talk out all issues and neither of us let the fatigue, challanges, and frustration break us, even when the liferaft was being prepped.

We have developed a greater skill level of sailing and are very confident that our sail to our beloved Vuda, where we will make repairs, should go well. Through necessity, we learned how to trim our sails so Tanga sails most efficiently.

Adam, get Mr. Jack stocked up!

After getting some long deep sleep, Tom dove and discovered the the cutlass bearing is destroyed and the shaft is most likely bent, but we won't know about the shaft until we pull it. The propeller looks fine, but again we woun't know till we balance spin it at a machine shop.

Mercury outboards ROCK!! 5hp versus 15 tons of rolly fun for hours and hours without a single cough.
The rings on the dinghy are held on by glue, we want lots of that glue!! It held in very harsh conditions that it was not designed for and took massive loads without failing. Kudos to Zodiac dinghy's!!
Moondance and Interlude IX are two of our favorite boats on the planet with very knowledgable and happy people onboard!!

Fiji Customs and Immigration were very understanding and accomodating with the high seas clearance. Jeez we Love Fiji!! Kai Viti.

Our plan is to sail around the eastern side of Viti Levu then around the southern end, through the Momi pass and hopefully sail straight into Vuda Marina. We'll update with anything notworthy after that trip. Right now, we're just waiting for good air and direction to do it.

We have not been fair to Tanga over the past few years. We have always said she isn't that great of a sailing vessel, BOLOGNE. She points to wind better than we ever imagined once the crew learned how to trim a sail.

We apologize for the length and jargon, but over the past few days, these were some of the details that were requested of us, so we wanted to be as complete as possible. We also wanted to mitigate the embelishments that tend to get generated by the coconut wireless (Fiji gossip mill).

This is a test

23 October 2015 | Savu Savu, Fiji
We are testing out our Sat Phone Service.

TANGA is certifiable!

29 June 2015 | Musket Cove, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
A few months ago, we heard about a shark dive off the island of Beqa, here in Fiji. Tom and I both love to swim and see sharks, so if we were given the opportunity to scuba dive with some of the most dangerous and beautiful sharks in the world, then we are in! Tom suggested that when we got over to Musket Cove, that we get ahold of the local dive shop and get SCUBA ceritifed. The first day we returned to Musket Cove, we walked into the Subsurface Dive Shop and asked what we needed to do and how we needed to do it.

We were first told to register with PADI and complete the online course for the "Open Water Scuba Certification". The online course is basically the classroom side of the certification, and we could complete it at our own pace. After a couple weeks of online courses, we were done and ready for the next step.

Phase two of the certification process was an eight hour pool session. The pool session got us familiar with all the equipment, we took our first breath's using the regulator (which made me feel a bit like I was hyperventilating), and we practiced several life saving procedures under water with the scuba gear on. These life saving items were all done under water, such as: how to clear our mask of water, taking our mask off, putting the mask back on and clearing our mask of water, signaling that we are out of air in our tank and how to switch to our buddies back up regulator. Other important items we practiced was how to properly tow someone in water, how to relieve a muscle crap and more simple items like that.

The third and final phase of our certification was our four open water dives, with our PADI Instructor. During each of our open water dives, we were required to practice some of the life saving procedures we learned in the pool, except this time, we were doing this at a depth of 18 meters (60 feet to you people in the states). Each time we were done with our practices in the water, the instructor allowed us to swim around and enjoy the underwater scenery.

Most of the dives were at a depth of 30 - 60 feet of water. Every dive we did, the water was crystal clear, the visibility was good, and we both noticed that when we were sitting at the bottom of the ocean at a depth of 60 feet and looked up, it really looked like the water was maybe 20 or 30 feet deep, not 60 feet deep. The coral was very pretty and we saw lots of reef fish. On our third dive at an area called "Supermarkets", we were lucky and saw some reef sharks and one bronzy (no Bulls, Whites or Tigers sharks).

So, we are happy to say, that both members of the Tanga crew are SCUBA certified for open water dives to 18 meters. For those that are interested, the names of the dive sites we went to are: Castaway Wall (Camel hump and Seseme Street), Vonu Range and Supermarkets.

Other than that, we haven't been doing any surfing or too much else in the last week since the scuba cert took up most of our time, and now the wind has been blowing a minimum of 20knts for the last 7 days and will continue for the foreseeable future. So chores that would normally get neglected are getting done.

Still living the life

12 June 2015 | Musket Cove Marina, Malolo Lai Lai Island, Fiji
It's the beginning of year 3 for us in Fiji and we are still at our usual schedules. Yes, we are still alive, doing very well, and still living aboard SV Tanga in Fiji. During cyclone season, we did some upgrades to Tanga to make our lives a little bit easier and more comfortable.

The biggest and best addition we made is our spanking brand new electric flushing porcelin toilet; just push a button and everything goes away. We had a near Chernobyl incident with our house batteries, so a brand new set of Lifeline AGM batteries were ordered from New Zealand, put on a container ship and shipped to us. We now have 880 amp hours of power! A new barbeque grill has been installed, two new thru hulls were added to support our new toilet, new bottom paint done and a newly balanced propellor.

The second biggest upgrade we made was the use of our icebox. This is an ice box that was originally built into the boat, but we always used the big deep space for dry food storage. Tom asked me if I would like to empty it out and try using it as a ice chest. After he mentioned ice cold beer on demand, I was in! We've been using it consistantly and it has been great. Besides having ice cold beer all the time, we keep all our vegetables, meat and additional drinks in there.

Besides working on the boat during cyclone season, we have actually been out and had some fun. We went to an all organic all natural mud pools. The location is up in the Sleeping Giant Mountain range. It was a hot humid day, but after smearing mud on every inch of our bodies, we cooled down. Once the mud dried, we swam around in 3 different natural spring pools (temperatures anywhere from warm to hottub hot). Our bodies were loose and relaxed when we were done. Then we went down the road to go ziplining! We had a great time ziplining through the dense rain forest and then finishing up by swimming around in the cool natural spring water.

We also spent an afternoon/evening down the south coast of the main island at a backpackers resort called the Beach House; swimming, surfing and chatting with some local friends.

One other exceptional experience's we had was dining with 6 other people for a very private lunch at an Italian shop. Reservations have to be made in advance, for atleast 8 to 10 people. The meal is a bit pricey but so well worth it. The entire menu is chosen by the chef and cooked right in front of us. It was a continous flow of champagne, wine and food for several hours and we all left Flavio's very full and very happy!

This past Sunday, we were invited to a Traditional Fijian Lovo Feast. A Lovo feast is when the meat and vegetables are wrapped in palms, banana leaves, etc and cooked in a pit in the ground with very hot cooking stones. A few Fijians named Josie and her husband Sevu and Walter were our hosts and explained the process/preparations to us. The preparations took about an hour and the cooking took another hour and then we were all ready to feast on chicken, fish, pork, lamb and some traditional vegetable dishes that we can't remember the names of. It was an extremely windy day and sand was blowing everywhere but the food was delicious.

Where is Tanga now? We are back at our usual spot at Musket Cove and back to our usual life again of swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and grilling out! Life is good and we are happy!

We have added heaps of new pictures in the Fiji 2015 Gallery.

Vessel Name: Tanga
Vessel Make/Model: Morgan OutIsland 415
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Tom and Monica
About: Hi and welcome to our website. We are beginning our new journey in life of sailing around the world. Please follow along with us in our new adventures.
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Tanga's Photos - New Zealand
Photos 1 to 15 of 15 | Main
Motoring along with beautiful flat seas.  The blue skys just merge into the blue seas.
A ribbon of pumice.
Sailing along towards New Zealand with all sails full; jib, main and mizzen.
The landscape just outside of Opua and The Bay of Islands.
Getting ready to enter Whangarei Harbor, just after sunrise.
Scenery outside of Whangarei Harbor.
Sunrise over a few islands, just west of Whangarei.
The landscape just outside of Opua and The Bay of Islands.