Port Vila to Noumea Day 2 - Where the flying fishes play

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Sun 6 Sep 2015 20:17

Position           20:36.74 S 167:36.52 E                              

Date                1200 (UTC+11) Sunday 06 September 2015

Distance run    141.2nm over the ground, 145.4nm through the water

Trip total         178.1nm over the ground, 184.0nm through the water

To destination             Noumea 150.1nm


The 24 hours was mostly motor sailing with only 3 hours without engine, the compensation being that it was all in the correct direction.  Actual sailing, god forbid, would be complicated by the island of Lifou which inconsiderately lies in our path.  If we bore away to get a better sailing angle we would be tacking around it and time does not allow for building in an extra 36 hours whilst we tack in generally light and variable head winds.


So what excitements can we offer for the 24 hours?  The refrigeration system threw a hissy fit about 2000.  The freezer alarmed which meant that the internal temperature had risen 5 degrees and the other two fridges were not cooling either.  As the controller was performing as it should this pointed at a problem with the cooling water circulation.  There followed an extremely hot and sweaty session in a decidedly warm engine room.  The water flow when tested spluttered a bit and seemed OK.  We have a spare pump fitted just in case but I had omitted to replace the spare when we last had a change, a bad move with 100% hindsight.  This prompted me to fit a new one just in case it was needed.  I put everything back together and lo everything cooled again.  So I am not sure what the problem was.  We did however have exactly the same problem last year 12 hours out of Fiji and I wonder if after sitting for some time, fridges working but boat stationary, an airlock or gunge gets into the coling system that then moves and creates a problem.  16 hours on and there is no sign of a problem with all fridges and freezers back down to operating temperature.  It is fortunate that some years ago we replaced the hardware thermostats with electronic ones.  These have an alarm function built in.  Without that we could easily miss the problem until there was damage to the freezer food.


The evening meal was a somewhat delayed but very welcome chicken pasta bake, one of our favourites.


Flying fish should be banned from night flying as they definitely cannot see where they are going in the dark.  About 0300 a veritable squadron landed on the leeward deck.  Usually we find the odd very dead and stiff one at daybreak but this time there were enough of them to make their presence noticeable.  A rescue operation successfully repatriated most of them to their natural environment ready to fly another mission.