Definition of Cruising?
Bob Culbert says "Cruising is performing ship's maintenance in exotic
And that's what has been happening for the last few days. The port davit is
repaired and installed again, the anchor chain has been end for ended; the inner
end has lots of galvanising while it has all worn off the current
outer end. (Does that make sense?) Lots of little jobs attempted and
Bob, Steve, JH, Rhonda & Irene at lunch Efate Island,
VanuatuOur friends Dorrit & Bruce Tompkins must have been
reading the blog! Bruce comments on the Tale of Three Belts;
There once was a Princess at
Bearing an Aussie and a Keep-wee,
When a bad hand was dealt -
bum timing belt!
But the (third) fix was practically
Moral: When in mid-ocean always drop by the auto-parts store
Thursday 28th August; we are still in Port Vila due
to not so good weather these past few days. If it doesn't break soon then our
trip down the islands will go by the board and we will sail directly to Noumea.
It's now September 22nd and from the last entry
The trip from Port Vila was interesting; we
departed late one afternoon so that we would arrive at Havana Passage at early
morning with the sun behind us however we returned a few hours later as the seas
were fairly rough. Anchored out over night in Port Vila Harbour and then very
early the next morning headed out again. About three hours later there was a big
bang and the block had pulled out of the clew of the main sail! Furled the main
into the mast, decided that Noumea was a better place to get it fixed than Vila
so pushed on.
We had a leak somewhere aft which was running into
the aft cabin along the starboard side and into my clothes locker. Over the past
few months I had assumed it came from the evaporative water from the aft
cabin airconditioner, however this time it was definitely salty. I was bucketing
it out at the rate of a couple of gallons every 2 hours. Decided to go into the
town of WE (pronounced Way) on the island of Lifou to check out where the water
was coming from. With the help of Warwick, a marine engineer off another
cruising yacht we tracked it down to the port side lazarette locker. As we were
going to windward (something gentlemen yachtsmen try not to do) the water was
flooding down the side deck and washing across the aft deck where the lid seal
on this locker was not doing the job and water was running into the yacht in
rather large quantities. It was tracking across the yacht, because of the lean,
and finding it's way into my clothes locker. Did some temporary repairs and set
off again at dusk that evening.
Dawn the next day saw us at Havana Passage at
around 06:00, however the accuracy of the C-Map electronic charts is so good
that it is a very easy passage to negotiate. During the night the auto pilot
started playing up and at one stage we had to hand steer the yacht as everything
went out. Irene did a great job while I went about the yacht pulling and pushing
on all the Sea-Talk connections. Eventually I jiggled the right one and the
system came back up again. Hand steering the yacht doesn't sound like such a big
deal until you understand that it is a bit like trying to steer a damp
Noumea is just as interesting as it was 7 years ago
when we last visited in Bushranger, just a fair bit bigger. After a few days
getting some things done, sail fixed etc, we were joined by Rhonda Riley a mate
from Sydney for a week. Weather wasn't very good with only one real hot day and
the rest either completely overcast or partially so.
Rhonda & Irene always have a
great time together and on her last night in Noumea, Rhonda shouted us a
fabulous meal at the revolving restaurant at the Ramada Inn.
Noumea: The high rise buildings
are becoming more prevalent.
The Tjibaou Cultural Centre -
designed by Renzo Piano and from the brochure I quote:
"The Tjibaou Centre is a sparse
yet bold architectural statement which blends harmoniously kanak tradition and
contemporary style. The buildings, covering an area of 6700m2, form three
villages made up of ten stylised kanak <<Great Houses>> built of
iroko, an African timber impervious to rot. The tallest Great House reaches a
height of 28 metres. The design makes use of the prevailing winds to provide
natural ventilation and cooling. The Great Houses are linked by a long,
gently curving enclosed walkway, reminiscent of the ceremonial alley of the
traditional kanak village."
And with all this culture going
on, the guy on the right was guarding the entrance! This could be
Brian & Helen Robertson joined us
September 21st for a week and after exploring Noumea, we headed for the Isle of
Pines. Ian Massam & Avelyn Davidson were in Noumea for the weekend and we
had dinner with them Saturday night before they headed off to the Isle of Pines
Sunday. We caught up with them again Tuesday and celebrated Avelyn's
birthday on board anchored in the idyllic Kuto Bay. The sand is like talcum
powder and the water is sparkling blue.
We enjoyed a great day on arrival
in Kuto Bay and the sunset that evening was superb.
On the way to Isle of Pines, Robbo
had the line over the side and scored a great little blue fin tuna which evolved
into fresh sashimi. Yum.
The filleting board was the design
and gift of Bob Culbert.
However the Admiral (Robbo used to
be in the navy) insisted on having ice cold vodka with the sashimi and you can
guess what happened. Lunch evolved into vodka martinis during the cocktail hour
and we both had sore heads the following day. Once a Captain, always a Captain:
I had to shoulder him out of the way to get at the helm. However Brian did
insist on reading the manual when I could not answer his questions and I now
have several new skills with the chart plotter. Thanks mate!
The Isle of Pines has carvings in
every conceivable location. They are all interesting and usually carved out of
the one log of wood.
Irene & Helen, but somehow the
guy in the middle has his head cut off! The carvings are also used as fences and
this one was around a memorial ground.
Brian, Helen & Irene beach
walking and one of the many sailing canoes used in this part of the
Barbara, Grazyna & Eric.
Barbara is off Brasia and we
hosted them for dinner in Noumea. Michael, Barbara's husband, was
unfortunately in hospital and couldn't join us that night. Eric &
Grazyna are off Williwaw II and they are the two doctors responsible for saving
my fingers. Basia & Williwaw II have abandoned the World ARC as it was going
too quickly around the world, while they want to stay and see the South Pacific
all over again next winter. From here they go to Rivergate Marina in Brisbane to
wait out the cyclone season. They will return to Canada & Europe while their
catamarans are on the hard.
We are now back in the marina in Noumea
for a few days. I have to get the element in the HWS fixed as it is shorting out
the shore power when we are connected. Gas bottles require filling and the
station has been waiting for a replacement part for it's filling rig for a
month. Good thing we have a couple of spare bottles. More work to do, the genset
needs another service, water filters require replacement, advertising stickers
from Tahiti Race Week have to be removed from the boom, need to buy some clips
for the fish filleting table, the water maker filter requires changing, (and the
water maker probably needs a big service in NZ as Brian says that the water has
a slightly salty taste, Irene & I are used to it I guess). Storyteller has
just pulled the clew out of the No2 Genoa so we will have to check ours as well
as the yachts seem to breakdown in tandem.
The time to head for NZ is fast
That's all for this epistle.