Trip from NZ toTonga 11th June

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sun 11 Jun 2017 02:12
Well we arrived safely in Tonga at 5.30 am today and we are anchored off Big Mamas restaurant. We are now enjoying the sunshine, although it is blowing >20knots, which was forecast and was why we were keen to come into the anchorage overnight, despite the slight nervousness at coming through unlit reefs in the dark. We had both our main chart plotter and the IPAD charts to guide us and they had proved accurate on our last visit to Tonga.
We had a real trauma over the past 24 hours as first our anchor locker drain got blocked again and flooded the boat, water up over the floor boards. Then we found that our bilge pumps stopped working, blocked with some rubbish in the bilge under the engine. I switched the engine sea water inlet to take water out of the bilge and this eventually worked. I had to keep cleaning the filter in the bilge as it kept getting clogged with the debris – it is not clear how the rubbish got there! After we cleared the anchor locker drain problem and got all the water from the anchor locker pumped out, we then had to do the same process with the engine sea water pump every few hours to empty the water coming in from the rudder stuffing box. Our navigation lights fused, due to water ingress so we had to switch to the tricolour, but luckily the windlass still worked when we got here despite parts of it being soaked.
Obviously we have quite a lot of work to sort out our problems and have quite a few lessons to be learnt.
    - We should have delayed our departure from NZ until we had done proper sea trials.
    - We need to look at the size of the anchor drain and add a second drain.
    - We need to be more careful on how things are stored in the anchor locker.
    - We need to do even more checking on the work done on the boat, especially that done by inexperience engineers.
We will probably come up with lots more lessons when we do our debrief from the passage.
We continue to be having our challenges, probably some self made, but part of the adventure is coping with the difficulties that arise when equipment fails etc.
After a nice fry up we are feeling much better and looking forward to exploring more of Tonga.
Cheers, D&S