On our way again, at last.

Mon 8 Sep 2008 03:51
A part of what we older sailors are doing out here is keeping our heads down and out of reach of the Grim Reaper. Shattering then to learn that he has sneaked in back home and plucked out poor John Elias-Jones from his family and friends, and before his own sailing adventure even began. I am very aware of the misery that his loss is causing just now, but will I continue with my blog, and I hope not to write anything crass or insensitive.
After my idyllic sojourn at the Blue Lagoon, and a very fast passage back to the mainland, I moored up at Vuda Point Marina in good spirits, and in anticipation or an early departure for Vanuatu and points east. No such luck! The diesel engine's waterpump failed, necesitating new seals and bearings. I reckoned that these would have to come over from NZ, but Brian Smith, at his wondrous workshop, Baobab Marine, had the spares and repaired everything on site. Whilst sorting my invoice however he noticed that I had the wrong ships papers; I hadn't cleared out of Suva, before proceeding up the coast. It took three days, another car rental and a journey back to Suva, not to mention a hefty 'donation', to get everything back on track. Even then on my last day in Fiji I had to present Fleck at the Customs Wharf in Lautoka, 15 miles up the coast to the west, before retracing my steps and then leaving eastwards through the Malolo reef pass. By this time it was late evening, a lovely benign sunset, and the dolphins were out in force in the pass, waiting to welcome Fleck back into the ocean. All's well that ends well.
Three days on we are making good progress in almost perfect weather, just a little more wind would be nice, on the other hand it is possible to type, and this morning I treated myself to a shave and haircut. Now the family have all left I have been able to stow all my clothes, and Vicky will not believe that it is possible to spend all day in the cockopit without a stitch on (but you need all the awnings to prevent sunstroke)!! Generally Vicky, Laurie and Olivia were a bit unlucky with the weather, but it can't have been too bad, as the cockpit teak is still looking well oiled from the suntan lotion!
214 miles to our next waypoint off Efatu, the principle Island in the Vanuata Group. As usual I shall have to juggle with the arrival times, losing another 12 hours unless a lot of wind arrives from somewhere. In the meantime I'm looking through all the tinned food on board, most of which will be confiscated in Australia, to make sure I don't overlook any goodies. It will be good to get everything edible off the boat as we have a plague of weavels just now. But better than cockroaches, touch wood!!
Good to hear from Geoff Fisher that everyone back at work is having a ball, apart from Tim Digger who has also jumped ship and has now ?finished his pilgrimage to Spain. I gather that Tim sends in photos. Next year I will try to learn how to do this, but be warned, you are going to be very envious indeed!