position S018 38.600 W173 59.900
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sun 17 Jun 2018 08:47
SUNDAY 16th June. Vavau Tonga (still) .|
The route out of the anchorage was easy when you know- I had a lively trip out with the dinghy and then asked a frenchman who was staying at his friends lodge on one of the islands (he actually works at the boatyard in town so we may meet him again tomorrow) if he could confirm the route. Other than a vague 'keep towards the north side' he wasn't much help but with engine on slow and Diana on the bow we tentatively felt our way and I had 10m on the log the whole way out. It was close to high tide whereas the entry yesterday was equally close to low and was on the wrong side of the bay as we now know. My snorkle check of the hull revealed nasty scrapes on the keel but no visible cracks so we stowed the dinghy and made our way out between islands heading for Fiji, wind on the port beam. Not long after clearing the islands we noticed with dismay water over the cabin floor when heeled to starboard. The decision to about turn and return was quickly made and we tacked back into the pass, pumping with the hand pump as we went. I haven't managed to connect up an electric bilge pump since I can't remember when and the hand pump gives good exercise while monitoring the amount of water by counting the strokes. By the time we had reached the sheltered sound I had emptied the bilges so knew I could beat the leak if it didn't get worse.
We have now anchored in a bay off the boatyard which is on a different branch of the sound to the town wharf so we hadn't seen it before but there are yachts on the hard hence a lift out appears to be feasible. I am pumping about 100 strokes every 1.5 hours, and we can hear trickling somewhere beneath the engine bay now that we are stationary but can't see any running water.
So I am afraid our rough entry to the anchorage yesterday has not been without consequence and the damage may be severe. This could be a prolonged stay in Tonga depending on what we discover so our plans may have to adapt. We were already thinking that we might leave the boat in Fiji untill October when the New Zealand route becomes more feasible, slipping between Cyclone season here and the worst of the winter there. If we had to leave it here instead that wouldn't be too much different.