Sunday 22/06/2014 20:00
16 46.634 S 179 19.754 E
Posting by Barb
It feels really great to be sitting here in Fiji, even if it is on a Quarantine buoy! We arrived at 3:30 Sunday afternoon with just enough time to navigate into the bay, get in contact with the marina, arrange for customs for tomorrow and grab a quarantine buoy. Putting aside a few boat maintenance issues it was an uneventful sail. That is not to say it was an easy sail, especially for me, as the winds were strong and we did have to outrun a ‘low’ which promised some heavy rain and wind (which we successfully did outrun). Dennis tracked our course to take advantage of the winds as indicated on the weather grib files. I sometimes, just for a very short second, doubted the direction we were going to, as it was not a straight course to Fiji, but here we are safe and sound and in record time! We didn’t catch any fish on this trip and that is because we didn’t drop a line (just too many other things keeping us busy). So we are off for a good night’s sleep, customs tomorrow morning early, a couple of days of R&R and boat maintenance then we are off to explore Fiji. Yahoo!!
Thursday 19/6/2014 20:00 22 23.248 S 178 06.598 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:22%2023.248S%20178%2006.598E Sailing to Fiji Posting by Dennis We have had a lot of wind these last couple of days. We sailed most of today running down wind in 25 to 35 knots. We did most of it with only a double reefed main. To top it all off we now seem to have a leak in our fuel tank so every couple of hours I have to sponge up the diesel that has leaked into the boat, what a mess. So I know what we will be doing when we get to Fiji. I just hope it does not get any worse before we get there. It is never a dull moment here on Landfall. I should be able to patch it and then have a new tank made when we get back to New Zealand. The list just keeps growing. But we are doing well despite all of this. We should be at anchor late Sunday and be able to check in on Monday. Barb made a great pumpkin soup yesterday and tonight we had chicken pot pies. Life is good!
Tuesday 17/6/2014 06:00 26 19.540 S 178 09.285 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:26%2019.540S%20178%2009.285E Sailing to Fiji Posting by Dennis We have had a hard night of out here. The wind is not all that strong but it is on the nose and changes direction all the time so you have to constantly be out adjusting things. We have about 600 miles to go but it is slow going when our VMG (velocity made good) is only around 3 knots. Then earlier this morning there was a large bang and one of the bails on the boom had broken so we had to drop the main and make a new one out of line that will have to last us until we get back to New Zealand. Other than that we have been just hanging on for the ride!!
Sunday 15/6/2014 20:30 28 46.708 S 178 15.193 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:28%2046.708S%20178%2015.193E Sailing to Fiji Posting by Barb I have figured out that it takes about three days for me to re-adjust to being out in the water, getting my sense of balance and getting used to a schedule of frequent naps versus a long night’s sleep. Even the appetite is not the same. We seem to eat more often but smaller meals or more snacks. So I am finally coming around and feeling more like myself. Dennis on the other hand seems to be happiest when he is out on the water and doesn’t seem to need that adjustment time. We have had a range of wind in the last 24 hours from 10 knots to gusting 30 knots. Last night was a squally night which kept Dennis up for most of the night and I slept on and off through most of it thanks to the 2 Gravol tablets that I decided to take. Today was a beautiful day with warmer, steady 15 – 20 knot winds and calm seas so it was a great sail. WE even spotted a beautiful Albatross flying near the boat!! And tonight is promising to be a beautiful clear night with continuing 15 knot winds and slowly inching at 4-5 knots. It should make for a good night’s sleep for both of us!! Dennis and I would like to wish our Dads a very Happy Father’s Day!!!
Saturday 14/6/2014 01:30 32 21.477 S 176 19.720 E http://maps.google.com/?z=7&t=k&q=loc:32%2021.477S%20176%2019.720E Sailing to Fiji Posting by Dennis We are off! IT took a while but we are finally on our way. We left yesterday around 10 am. So we motored out with very little wind into pretty big rollers which made for a not so comfortable ride. After a few hours we were able to start sailing and the wind continued to build as well as the seas. We spent most of yesterday in on and of rain, twelve foot seas and twenty to thirty knot winds. We did really well speed wise doing over seven knots most of the day. Barb was sea sick doing her projectile vomiting over the side. Once we were out here a while she got better. It feels so great to be out on the water again. The moon is so bright that Barb saw a rainbow a little while ago. The winds and seas have calmed down now and we are moving nicely along at six knots.
Posting by Barb:
We have been ready and waiting at Riverside Drive Marina for the last two weeks for a weather window to take us to Fiji. It has just been one low after another moving thru. So it appears that we finally have a little weather window to go!! It will be a push to get far enough North in the next 3-4 days to avoid an uncomfortable ride with the wind on the nose. We will do it!!
We love New Zealand and the people here so we will be back in November-December.
Fiji here we come!!
Posting by Dennis:
Landfall was at Dockland 5 for about six months. During that time we have done a lot of work to our boat. The biggest project was installing a new engine. The keyway on the camshaft was cracked out.
Removing old engine
I have found out since I sold it that all the push rods were also bent. So it was either have the old one rebuilt or get a new one.
The cost of rebuilding the old one was about eleven thousand dollars and getting a new one was going to be close to twenty thousand.
- New engine arrives
So we decided to bite the bullet and opted for a new one. Being in New Zealand makes it a little tougher, it took a several of months to get. Then I had to get the old one out and prepare for the new one. Some of the parts were a lot harder to change because they were installed before anything else was on the boat and so were buried behind other parts. You end up taking lots of additional things off just so you can swap the engines out. For example I had to remove the hard dodger. When I installed it I never planned on taking it off again. But it came off and went back without a hitch. I spent many days all bent up trying to work in the lazratte. Since we had the dodger off we decided to refinish the teak in the cockpit. And since we were going to refinish the coaming cap boards we may as well rebed them. That meant that we had to pull all the hardware off.But we hope that this will help with a few of the leaks that we have.
We ended up doing over hundred different repairs and changes to the boat. And the worst part is I have already started the list for next year. Some of the projects are fun to do like turning the hanging locker into a cabinet with shelves and others were terrible like sanding the bottom which took two long days and turned us smurf blue. It was the worst! But when it was all done the boat looked great and it was off to get our final sea trial on the engine.
We have met a lot of very great people while we have been at Dockland 5.
Ernst and Inge are wonderful and we enjoyed many happy hours with them. They have sailed their steel ketch from Germany and have spent the last six years exploring the South Pacific. Brad and Gloria (Kindred Spirit) are from the US and are spending the winter at Dockland 5. Gloria has become the local restaurant critic. So if you are in Whangarei and need to know a place to eat she is the one to talk to. Chris and Betty are from England and have been here in New Zealand for over twenty five years. Chris is an expert at just about anything to do with boats and is a banjo player. Sonke and Tina a wonderful young couple from Germany that we hope to meet up with in Fiji. And we have spent a lot of time with our good friends Rick And Kyra who have their yacht Nyon in Opua (take good care of our car). Then we have met Pete and Mel who live in Whangarei Heads. Mel has become Barb’s hiking buddy and Pete is the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back. We have enjoyed many fun evenings at their home over the last six months. They do alot to help kids who are wwoofing and are in the process of setting up a glamping site. (Glamorous camping sites) They are both the best (see you in Fiji). We have met so many other wonderful people from all over the world. Many of which we hope to see in Fiji!!
Look in our photo album to see even more pictures! If we don’t get any comments we will stop posting because apparently no one is reading it anyway….
Posting by Barb:
On the last day of our memorable road trip we took the north-western route back to Whangarei. Our first stop was Kohukohu, one of the first European settlements in NZ and it boasted to have the oldest foot bridge built in the 1840’s. We took the ferry to Hopianga, a dying little town with lots of ‘For Sale’ signs advertising ‘life style’ change as the sale pitch. We followed part of the road along the 30 km estuary with the thought that it would be a beautiful place to bring the boat. We did talk to some locals about the possibility of doing this and the consensus was that it would be treacherous to do especially getting through the sand bar across the mouth (another navigational challenge for Dennis, maybe next year). We had a nice picturesque stop with some roosters for company and then on to Waipoua Kauri Forest to see the largest Kauri tree in NZ called Te Matua Ngahere, meaning Father of the Forest. It was 2000 years old. Kauri trees usually live to be 4000 years old but in 2007 a severe winter storm damaged the tree therefore shortening its life. To be sitting there underneath the tree was mystical and made me feel humbled and I wondered how many living beings had sat in the shadows of this great tree in the last thousand years. As we continued our journey through the forest, Bill, who was taking a turn in the back seat as Dennis drove ,inadvertently found out that the sunroof in the back seat could open. I suggested he stand up and take a video of twisty, winding road while hanging out of the sunroof. He was like a little kid discovering a new toy, whooping and hollering as he stood in the back seat hanging out of the sunroof. When he finally settled down his curls were all windblown straight!! Too bad we didn’t realize we could open the sunroof when we were on 90 mile beach. We had a really nice meal in a little restaurant called Jo’s in Dargaville. We will definitely go back there and recommend it to anybody looking for a great place to eat!
That was end of our memorable road trip with never ending laughter and unforgettable scenery and experiences.
Posting by Barb:
Our Northern road trip continued with the first stop being 90 Mile Beach. We drove along the sand highway with the ocean roaring alongside of us. The tide was rising and I was a little apprehensive. There were quite a few warning signs posted of the possibility of loosing your car if by chance you got caught on the beach highway at ‘high’ tide. As the tide continued to rise we continued our speedy trip hoping we would make it to the next beach exit before the water reached our ‘rental’ car. We stopped for the making of a video clip. Dennis planted himself, camera and tripod on the beach and Bill, Ella and I raced towards Dennis in the car as he videoed. Once completing a forward pass we did a pass in reverse making sure we did not run Dennis over. We also did some videos while Dennis was hanging out the window.
Once safely on pavement we continued on to Cape Reinga, the most Northernly tip of NZ. We walked to the light house and took many photos again, including the stick-bug we found.
Cape Reinga is generally considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse we watched the tidal race as the two seas clash to create swirling, unsettled waters just off the coast. It was a little unnerving sight for Dennis and I thinking about being caught on the boat in the chaos of that water.
On the way home we stopped at Te Paki Stream and hiked around the magnificent sand dunes. We walked up and down mountains of sand and there were moments when we were surrounded by sand giving us a sense of what a desert would feel like without the extreme heat.
Posting by Barb:
We spent a night on Landfall before heading further North. Our first stop was Russell. This was a quaint little tourist town with lots of Art galleries, little boutique shops, restaurants and charming hotels. There was a cruise ship parked in the harbor so the little town was buzzing with people. There was nowhere to have a picnic so Ella invited herself and us to share a table with a local who seemed to be getting ready to take a snooze on the picnic table. He admitted after that talking to us turned out to be much more interesting than his scheduled nap. From there we decided to take the ferry to Paihia saving ourselves hours of driving as we continued our trek North. We stopped in Opua hoping to see some our friends who are anchored there but only found S/V Huck, Joe and Heidi, who were on the ‘hard’ working on their boat. We had a quick chat and invited them back to the Motel for a BBQ and drinks. We had a fine night of great food and drinks with our good friends. My only regret is not capturing the moment on camera.