Saturday, October 25, 2008


Last night was the 'bring your own'meat barbeque at Big Mama's! Lots of boats in here now, counted 26 yesterday and they are still arriving from the N islands. There were about 12 when we arrived a week ago. The theme for the Barbeque was 'pirates', kind of an early Halloween. We cobbled something together and had fun!
But there is an underlying tension here as everyone plans for the last 1000 miles to NZ. As I may have mentioned previously, this passage is less predictable weatherwise. Because it can take 8-10 days to complete it, the weather systems coming off the coast of Australia and moving E over NZ can develop in 4 or 5 days time so your best guess when you leave can change radically by the time you approach NZ. We have engaged Bob McDavitt who is the local weather guru to do a prognosis for us on the
best departure date. At this point we are targeting sometime in the first week of Nov! Meanwhile we have to figure out how to do the paperwork for the dutyfree diesel. As we have not taken fuel on since French Polynesia, we can now take 200 liters and the savings are about 1/3 the cost. As we will need to go into the harbour to top up our water tanks, we will top up the fuel tanks at the same time. It is complicated though because they will not issue the dutyfree form until you clear out of
the country and then they expect you to leave. We plan to do the formalities and then wait for our weather window with everything stowed and ready.
Repaired the windless! It was a terribly corroded wire under the foredeck which was difficult to diagnose, difficult to access and almost impossible to repair! But it's done and works and should last to NZ where I can replace the whole plug. The cooling water coming out of the engine exhaust vent hose on deck is not so easy. The checkvalve must have failed and I cannot replace it here. So other than pouring water down the side deck when we motor, there does not seem to be any harm in leaving
it till NZ.
Provisioning has begun, a couple of trips into Nuku'alofa, using the small launch from Big Mama's as a water taxi, has us about 80% ready. We will go in tomorrow (Mon) and get the rest of what we need for about 2 weeks of meals. Linda has it down to a science now where she figures out what we need and I just lug the heavy bags around in the hot sun!
Spent a couple of hours in the water with a plastic scraper lashed to a stick, scraping the growth off the bottom of the boat! Brian next to us was doing the same when he decided to quit after a 2' black tip reef shark was taking an interest in him! I carried on oblivious!
So life here continues! We work and party and visit with other cruisers we have met along the way, meanwhile hoping the weather down S is settling down for our arrival in NZ and no cyclones are developing up here before we depart! When we do leave, I plan to update the position reports along the way so all those vicarious voyagers can follow our progress. I will also log into Opua Offshore, a HAM radio net out of NZ daily to report where we are and what the conditions are like.
So pray the weather gods will be gentle with us.....15-20 knots on the beam would be nice!

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