Category Archives: Sailing

Via Namena, Makongai, Leluvia and Nasilai River towards Suva

Two days ago we arrived in Lami, a little village west of Suva. Here in the little bay, we finally met some more cruising families which is extremely welcome. The kids have endless fun and are messing up a different boat each day. ;-) In the meantime, the captain crisscrossed through Suva to get all papers, copies, photographs together and verified  by the german consul. Now a pack of paper is underway towards Canberra where the (nearest) austrian embassy will hopefully issue me an emergency passport.

Namena aus der Vogelperspektive. (Dank an Julia fuer's Foto !)Am Strand im Osten NamenasDer Klassiker - auf der PalmeHoch hinaus

Suva being the largest city in the tropical south Pacific is home to 50% of all escalators – namely: two ! There is also three or four traffic lights and a cinema. And today I will wander off to see ‘Rio 2′ with the kids.  Heh. After stocking up a little, we’ll probably be out on sea in a few days, visiting the island of Benga and finally arriving in Malolo Leilei where we plan to celebrate easter and (even more) Viola’s sixth birthday.

Also we made a huge decision and have changed our long term plans but more on that in an upcoming blog post.

Endloser Spass beim Spiel in den WellenUnd der Strand ist wirklich einer der schoenstenZusammen mit der crew der SY Elhaz in MakongaiWunderschoen bunte Krabbe

Viola mit Echo, dem Bordhund der SY ElhazSonnenuntergang im Mund des Nasilai RiverAbendliches Malen und BastelnUnd angekommen in Suva, ihres Zeichens groesste Stadt im Suedpazifik.

 

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In the mouth of the river Nasilai

The day before yesterday we said goodbye to our friends from the SY Elhaz and sailed on to the tiny island of Leluvia. It was only for a stop-over during the night as we’re constantly sailing through reefs and badly charted waters and navigating is better done during daylight only. On our last stop at Leluvia we were amazed that they offered a free internet connection – but (you guessed it) that was history. We didn’t even bother to put the dinghy in the water as today in the morning our journey continued towards Suva.
Again, the trip would have been too long to make it in one day and arrive during daylight hours, so we decided to stop in a river entrance that gives some protection. Even here the charts were quite off and we were glad to have some easterly sweel that showed us the reef and an uncharted patch of corals right in the entrance.
It’s quite a funny way of sailing: although we’re in the vincinity of land we don’t really set foot on it; makes it feel like an ocean passage somehow. But tomorrow we should arrive in the bay of islands, a bit west of Suva. There we will stop for some days to get my passport problem solved. Otherwise all fine on board, the kids are watching a movie right now and the capitana seems to have found her sea legs as today she was cooking while out on sea (that’s a primer !)

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Unterwegs durch die Koro-See

Ewig ist es her, dass ich via Kurzwelle einen Blogeintrag gesendet habe. Nun, gegen Ende der Regenzeit ist es also endlich mal wieder Zeit.
Vor ein paar Tagen sind Gui, Bruno und Viola aus Argentinien zurueckgekehrt und die LosLocos sind wieder komplett. Zwei Tage spaeter haben uns mein Bruder und Julia verlassen, die knappe zwei Wochen mit uns Fiji genossen haben.
Nun geht ‘der Ernst des Lebens’ wieder los. Wir segeln nach Suva, wo ich mit Hilfe des deutschen Konsulates einen neuen (Not-)Pass fuer mich beantragen kann. Dieser wird dann von der Botschaft in Canberra ausgestellt. Wie das alles genau klappen soll, bleibt erst mal noch etwas ungewiss.
Wir sind also auf dem Weg in die Hauptstadt Fiji’s – Suva: ihres Namens die groesste Stadt in der Suedsee und laut Augenzeugenberichten soll es dort sogar eine Rolltreppe geben ! Wir sind gespannt… Unterwegs sind wir mit der zweiten Seglerfamilie, die sich die letzten Monate in Savusavu aufgehalten hat: die franzoesische crew der SY Elhaz. Gemeinsam verbringen wir zwei Tage im traumhaften Namena beim schnorcheln und heute geht’s weiter nach Makongai fuer einen kurzen Zwischenstopp. Dort trennen sich dann auch unsere Wege. Die Elhaz segelt im Norden Richtung Lautoka, wir im Osten erst mal nach Leluvia und dann in die Bay of Islands (ja, toller Name: gibt’s sonst nirgendwo !) gleich neben der Hauptstadt. In ein paar Wochen wollen wir uns zu Viola’s 6. Geburtstag dann wieder im SW der Insel Viti Levu treffen und dort gemeinsam feiern. Grosse Plaene fuer zwei so Chaotenschiffe.
Soweit alles gut. Windtechnisch tut sich nicht viel. Laut Wetterbericht sollte es auch in Stroemen regnen aber wir hatten die letzten Tage blauen Himmel. Heh. Die Crew ist unterhaltsam und lustigerweise ist keine meiner Landratten seekrank geworden. Also alles tip-top auf der Suvarov.

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Back from Namena with a bunch of pics

Together with my two visitors we did a snorkel/diving trip to Namena. And today we’re back again with the usual set of underwater pictures.

Before leaving from the Costeau Resort, I had to go diving because the night before I accidentally dropped part of our barbequeue. My first attempts of freediving down to 18m were unsuccessful – so I went down again with proper diving gear and actually could find that little thing lying on the ocean floor. Second thing to do: to replace the lower shrouds that got damaged months ago in a storm when sailing towards Tonga. My brother brought the needed replacement parts with him from Europe.

Den Grillrost wieder den Tiefen des Meeres entrissenNeue Unterwanten werden installiertSpannendUnterwegs nach Namena (ca. 25nm)

Then – finally ready to go, we set sail and have a beautiful cruise towards Namena. The breeze is light but enough to let us glide along with five knots and we reach our destination an hour before sunset.

Ankunft am Ankerplatz in NamenaErster von vielen klassich/kitschig/schoenen SonnenuntergaengenErste Tauchgaenge am Riff in der AnchorageGelbe Lederkoralle

Next day we hop into the water and again we’re all amazed by the pure beauty of the reef here in Namena. The number of different animals seems to be without end – as is the form and color of the different hard and soft coral.  During every single dive we run into some sharks (small white- and blacktip reef sharks) which is quite common. Usually the sharks come around for a short look and a few seconds later they disappear into the endless blue.

Hallo, Hai !Der Skipper wirft einen aeusserst kritischebn Blick auf den Strand an der WestseiteZugegeben: Sooo schlecht ist der Strand gar nicht.Ein 'Orange-Ringel-Anemonenfisch'

Quite different on the second day: a pair of little white-tip sharks start circling us and instead of being afraid, they come closer and closer while still circling us. I try to scare them off and actually put my fins in their face but they still continue to circle and their movements get more rapid and intense all the time. Needless to say: we don’t like that and although these sharks are usually completely harmless we jump out of the water and into the dinghy. Here we still can see the sharks circling us – sometimes close enough to touch them. Weird.

Weihnachtsbaum-Roehrenwuermer aka 'Schnippies'Wunderschoene Fische im flachen Wasser ueber den Korallen(noch) unbestimmter FischLederkoralle

But it’s not all scary down there: We also run into some turtles with I follow with the camera for nearly a minute. Same thing: Usually the turtles are easily scared but this time I was quiet enough to be able to follow them and get really close.

Wunderschoene KorallenlandschaftenDer Traum zum SchnorchelnMoerdermuschelDetail einer Kronenkoralle

Of course we see tons of little clown fish, huge giant clams in all colors, groupers, sweet lips, snapper and other species too numerous to count. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story…

Geweih-Koralle mit FischleinKorallendetailsJulia und Oliver beim TauchenKorallenfarben

Hallo, Hai !Licht und SchattenspieleEine Art von 'Garibaldi' ?Edel-Haarstern

Floetenfisch knapp unter der WasseroberflaecheTrompetenfischUnd wieder ein Hai, der uns etwas bedraengt...Start zur naechsten Schnorchelrunde - direkt vom Schiff aus

Eine KarettschildkroeteUnterwegs zur Ostseite der InselAuch hier: der Strand gar nicht so uebel !Der Ausblick vom Strand am Ankerplatz

Posted in Animals, diving, Learning for life, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 2 Comments

Namena – Part 2

After spending the first hours snorkeling around the anchorage, on the second day we sailed towards the outer reef where the ‘proper’ dive spots are to be found. We take Jason’s Yacht and tow two dingies in the back. Not far from the northern entrance to the reef we put the SY Bodhran on a mooring and use the dinghies to explore the reef.

A turtle in the anchorageBertel, me and Melaniea little GrouperUnicornfish

The sea is calm and the visibility under water quite good. Sitting in the dinghy we can make out the dive spots and decide to go for a quick one at ‘Grand Central’ while Jason and Melanie are snorkeling with the incoming tide and drift over the reef back towards the yacht.

Hello, Nemo !Top-side of the rock at 'Arkansas'A little white-tip shark at the 'Four Sisters'Oh the beauty. Just imagine: that's all alive and moving. It's just unbelievable !!

The second stop is at ‘Arkansas’ – a lonely coral column extending from -25m up to about -4m. While Bertel and Jason dive circles in the deep I’m free diving and again amazed by the sheer beauty of this site. The soft coral on the top looks like wheat fields (hence the name: Arkansas) and the rock is surrounded by colorful soft & hard coral, lots of ‘unicorn fish’ and numerous other species. We stay for quite some time and are all happy we made the decision to visit Namena.

More little fishes - still at 'Kansas'Flashes of color and form. Tropical coral fish.At the drop-off.Blue in blue.

During the next days we also explore the southern reef and the dive sites called ‘Chimneys’ and ‘Mushrooms’ as well as the ‘Four Sisters’. All of them breathtaking beautiful. Timing is important tough: the sites on the northern side should be visited shortly after high tide, while the ones at the southern side are best visited at low tide. The difference between slack water and out- or incoming tide is huge and the currents can get quite strong. If one got the timing wrong, it’s definately worth waiting in the dinghy for the current to change.

And more little fishMe, freediving.Again at the drop-off.Diving at the 'Mushrooms'

During the final dive at the mushrooms I dropped our camera which neatly sank into a depth of about 25m – which I guess it could survive – but despite wasting a full bottle of air on it, I still couldn’t find it again. So for the time being those will be the last underwater shots. Damn ! The Nikon AW110 was an awesome all-round camera and I’ll definately miss it a lot.

Back at the reef in the anchorageOne of the more beautiful fish. Unfortunately I forgot the name.The circles show the sites we've visited.Weather is changing. Time to go back 'home'.

But good news for everyone who plans to visit Namena during the next months: When we arrived there was only one mooring at the anchorage and one about 0.5nm ESE from the northern channel. There are plans to put as much as five moorings near the island and numerous at the dive sites. That will make visiting those spots a lot easier for cruisers.

Thanks to Jason for many of those awesome photos. Please visit his blog to see more !

Posted in Animals, diving, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 4 Comments

Namena – Part 1

Even though the island of Namena lies only 25 miles from Savusavu it seems to be rarely visited by sailing vessels. I guess this is because there is not a lot information available about the island and (mostly) because there is no protected anchorage available. That means: ideally one should visit Namena in light easterly or with no wind at all.

The Suvarov finally sailing again.What a nice anchorage we have...Crystal clear water and lots of healthy coralThe snorkeling at the anchorage is already quite amazing.

We waited for some days and used the diminishing easterly to sail down to Namena, while during our stay we lie mostly becalmed and quite comfortable. ‘We’ that is the SY Suvarov, SY Odin and the SY Bodhran. Jason from Bodhran takes the mooring and we drop the anchor and 75m of chain in 23m of crystal clear water.

On the first day we payed our visit to the little ressort on the island and payed 30 Fiji Dollar for a permit to dive in the marine reserve  – which is good for one whole year.

Diving into the real beauty of Fiji: underwaterFishyAnother beautyStunning jellyfish

Even on the anchorage the coral are already quite impressive and the amount of fish is unbelievable. There are turtles, sharks, barracudas, groupers and endless little colorful tropical fishes around. During the first minutes I’m quite overwhelmed and don’t really know where too look… During the next days we will take the SY Bodhran and tow two dinghies towards the outer reef where the ‘real’ divespots can be found. Expect a lot more and even nicer pictures in the next posting.

Taking a picture of a clownfish is considered the sunset of underwater photograpy. ;-)Oh - speaking of.... Here you are.The skipper snorkeling...A coral peephole.

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Depression (tropical)

No, no, no ! Don’t you be worried ! Although having been seperated from my loved ones for more than a month now, the psyche of the skipper is still in good shape. Turbulent was the weather which got affected by a tropical depression during these last days. That’s why I’ll do another post with pics of wind and rain.

Sommerzeit ist RegenzeitA look towards the Savusavu Marina in the back of the bayAlex fighting back to his yacht. Heh.Made it !

After being at anchor out at the reef for more than two weeks, a few days in Savusavu are a welcomed change. Because of the forecast I took down the big sunroof and gave it to a local tailor to stich up a few holes. Then we wait for the wind. The weather prediction was spot-on and despite being well protected behind the little island, we still had a constant 30 knots with gusts reaching into the 50ies.

The water in the entrance is getting roughPalm trees being tortured by the wind.The SY Tamora fighting a gust, about 1km up the bay. weather_20140128

It wasn’t too easy doing pictures with the rain coming in horizontally and the light being only slightly above candlelight-level while working mostly with maximum zoom. It was a lot easier on the next day, during the ‘golden hour’ when the water level was at it’s high and we could watch as an australian yacht was pulled out of the mud.

Something's wrong in the Savusavu marina...Damn !! Stuck in the mud at low tide.Closing in with the dinghy. The water level is still rising.At high water the yacht is nearly afloat. (As are the local children.)

The Beneteau somehow got the mooring line around the keel and shaved through it after which the boat was adrift and ended up close to the mangroves. That was pretty lucky – as there is enough coral around to split the thin fibreglass hull. But the lucky boat got stuck in soft mud and could be towed out at the next high tide without any further damage. Two dinghies and a boston whaler from the local perl farm pulled on the mast to lift the keel out of the mud and a dive boat with 500hp pulled the yacht into deeper water.

Weight on the boom, lines to pull on the mast head, all set.Start your engines !Pull ! Pull ! Pull !!She's moving !!!

Back in deeper water and everyone's happy !!Local spectators.Beauty in the Va'a.Going back home just before sunset...

Uh ! And I’ve even got more good news: After waiting for eight weeks, yesterday my christmas parcel finally arrived !!  After months I’ve finally got a decent computer again. Yay !

My old MacBook Pro died in the caribbean when a glass of water was spilled over it. The replacement, a MacBook Air killed itself when the internal (SSD-) harddrive got knocked out. So I had to use the ship’s navigation computer, an old Asus EeePC. It’s a nice little laptop that draws nearly no power but for working with pictures and videos it’s the wrong equipment. That’s why I’m as happy as a child on christmas day to finally have a decent laptop that won’t lag behind when I’m typing my blog posts. Maybe it also has positive influence on the frequency of updates. Only two posts duting the last month ?!? That’s an all-time low, I better start writing again…

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Splashing in the bilge

Good News Everyone ! This might be the last blog entry about engine cooling for at least a few weeks ! I know: you’re gonna miss the frequent posts on this really exciting subject. – I too will miss the excursions into the depths of the engine room every morning but it seems that new developments will shift my energy into different areas…

Die Wasserpumpe - wieder schoen gemacht.Rueckseite mit Anschluss and die WelleTest-Setup mit elektrischer Pumpe und kurzgeschlossener WasserpumpeLeon bei der Fehlersuche

After I did a lot of testing, the final changes I made was to replace two more hoses, clean and polish the old waterpump, getting two new impellers (also for the bilgepumpe !) and finally connecting both pumps in parallel to increase the waterflow through the engine. And it seems to work as during the last test-trip from Savusavu to the Resort, the engine DID NOT overheat ! Ok. I was only putting along with 1500 revs but still. Also one has to take the water temperature into account and that settled at amazing 31˚C (!!) during the last weeks ! With that temperature, all watercooled gadgets will run into slight problems. I borrowed a nice infrared-thermometer from Dieter and now I could verify that the engine indeed doesn’t overheat: After running for one hour, the cylinderhead measured 62˚C and the water coming from the exhaust 52˚C. All good.

Nun mit beiden Pumpen im ParallelbetriebEs braucht 1800U/min und eine Stunde, bis der Motor ueberhitzt !Defektes Ventil des WassermachersUnd selbiges, wieder schoen gemacht.

And as usual: when one thing is repaired, the next one will break. Our next patient is just beside the engine in the bilge: the watermaker suddenly wouldn’t build up any pressure. I suspected a seized valve which I took out and restored. Then the pre-pumpe wouldn’t start anymore so now I have to figure out how to get all the air out of the system. Well, well… next project.

Gleich wird's kuehler - oder ?Unglaubliche Hitze, eine Stunde nach SonnenuntergangKategorie 5 Zyklon Ian fegt ueber Tonga hinwegRuhiges Wetter am Resort.

In the mean time the rainy season went into action and the first cyclone ‘Ian’ (upgraded to category 5) missed Fiji and went over Tonga. Right now the storm is heading south where it will disappear over colder waters. The next one is just about to form in between Vanuatu and New Caledonia while here in Fiji the weather slowly returns to ‘normal’.

Posted in Hardware, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Travel, Work | 3 Comments

Orion, the new year and a new chapter int the book ‘Engine Troubles’

Sorry. I’m really too lazy today to do the english translation. But I copied some pics from the german version of the blog entry:

Der Flughafen in SavusavuGui am check-inViola schaut mal, was die hier fuer schoene Sachen haben.Da kommt die Maschine !Pilot und Co-Pilotauf in's Flugzeugtraurige Gesichterein letzter BlickLuft im Wasserkreislauf ? Nein.Die elektrische TestpumpeDie vordere Haelfte des Pumpengehaeuses mit Bilgepumpe (ohne Impeller und 'kurzgeschlossen')Der hintere Teil des Pumpengehaeuses mit der WelleEin Wasserflugzeug landet und faehrt kurz danach quer durch den Ankerplatz zum Steg des Ressorts.Yanmar 3QM30H waterpump, side

Posted in Animals, Hardware, It's funny ! Laugh !, Learning for life, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 16 Comments

Tropical Cyclogenesis

With all the work on the engine I completely forgot one of my favourite blog topics: the weather !

The marine weather report here in Fiji is quite funny: although there was not much wind during these last weeks, we were continuously warned of foul weather and heavy rain. When we had 15-20 knots, the marine weather warned of ‘rough seas’ sometimes even mentioned ‘very rough’ seas – even when the wind in this area wouldn’t even exceed 25 knots. I guess, the boys and girls from Fiji’s weather bureau don’t get out to sea much – otherwise they would know that it takes waves of four to six meters with breakers to qualify for a ‘very rough’ sea. Don’t get me wrong: I really appreciate them sending meaningful warnings out to the people cruising the oceans but if you shout ‘Fire ! Fire !’ all the time – no fire brigade will show up when it really burns. I know this analogy sucks but I guess you get my point.

A related story might illustrate it further: When we were cruising the Canary Islands in 2011 some overeager employee of the local authorities sent two DSC-alerts in front of *every* marine weather bulletin. This means that six times a day the whole crew is startled by the intense alarm of their VHF radio just because they send weather info. This resulted in most of the yachts turning off their VHF ! Fortunately we could revert to our handheld radio which doesn’t support DSC. Hopefully this dangerous and silly practise since has ceased.

Global Tropics Hazard OutlookTropical wave - infraredTwo lows form on 20131225Outlook for friday - not so good.

Well but now back towards the actual cause of today’s posting. One of the most important tasks of the local weather bureau is to alert the population in case of a cyclone. And right now there is no such warning. Although in my opinion, the situation is quite critical. Wikipedia lists six requirements for the development of a tropical cyclone:

  1. Warm ocean surface of at least 26.5°C. – check
  2. Atmospheric instability (tropical wave north Fiji towards Tonga) – check
  3. High humidity in the lower atmospheric levels. – check
  4. sufficient Coriolis force (always given near the equator) – check
  5. Preexisting low level focus or disturbance (two lows north of Fiji) – check
  6. Little vertical wind shear (hard to tell but likely)

Two additional factors are left out: El Nino, which has influence on hurricane activity – but this year is no El Nino event. And the Madden-Julian-Oscillation which seems to have massive influence on the frequency of tropical storms. In a scientific study done in 2009, the area of Fiji-Samoa-Tonga was investigated and the study came to the conclusion that in case of an active MJO there are five times (!!) more cyclones forming than during the inactive phase. The MJO develops in a 30 to 60 day rhythm in the indian ocean and then travels east. According to current observation, the MJO will reach our area during the next days. Although it’s not extremely active, it still enhances my alertness.

Let’s hope, Fiji’s meteorologists know what they do. I’d be happy if I’m proven wrong.

Posted in Learning for life, Links, LosLocos, Observations, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 1 Comment

Getting out of the Nakama Creek

Every now and then we excape the anchorage and get some fresh air out at the reef. Only four miles away there is the Cousteau Resort at the very end of the strip of land that encloses the Savusavu bay in the south. Out there, closer to the open sea the water is a lot nicer (although still far from clear), there is wind and the insects are less annoying.

Motorfahrt ueber spiegelglattes WasserSelbstportrait am BugWeihnachtliche Details im SchiffsinnerenDie Kinder gehen auf Landausflug

A little trip like that brightens the mood and once we hop into the water and have a look around in this big aquarium, the day is safed. The difference to the more eastern parts of the Pacific are big and the diveristy of fish and coral still amazes me. Especially as we’re not in a proper dive- or snorkelspot. For that one shoud go out to the smaller islands or visit the neighbouring Namena, only 25 miles from here. The diving there must be one of the best in the pacific and we will check it out sometime.

Viele Fische und Bruno und Silke (SY Tamora) im HintergrundEcht. Viele. Fische.Clownfische - die Kinder lieben sie.Mehr Fischlein

As you can see in one image, the Suvarov already got decorated and ready for Christmas. The kids had a lot of fun engarlanding the whole saloon, hanging stars, balls and little angels. Viola spent hours cutting colorful stars out of paper and decorating the cockpit dodger.  Otherewise there is not much reminding us of the year’s top consumption fesast. There are no huge masses running around on the streets, trying to get some last-minute gadgets, no decoration on houses or in shops and best of all: No stupid christmas songs !

Noch mehr FischliKleine Koralle mit noch kleinere FischleinWie im AquariumSieht aus wie Tiefsee, ist aber nur auf 6m unter einem kleinen Ueberhang.

To that effect, I want to wish all our readers and friends a verry happy christmas and a beautiful 2014 !

Posted in Animals, Kids, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov | 4 Comments

Getting hot

News on the engine front: After flushing the engine approx. ten times with 5% H2SO4, the cylinder head now looks like new. Also the sacrificial anodes are 50% gone. Heh. But the problem remains: when running the engine in idle mode the temperature is fine; when the engine has to move the boat, it will overheat after only three minutes. Ten minutes later we can already see a little steam coming from the exhaust.

Before......and after.The water pumpnew gaskets made from scratch

Yesterday I again checked the impeller and replaced it (just in case) but that didn’t do anything. I also cleaned the seawater inlet and filters which means EVERY part of the cooling system now was checked.

Rainy daysjogging gearFresh fruits with three kinds of bananasYanmar 3QM30H cooling system

My last hope is the following: I don’t think there’s enough water coming out of the exhaust. Maybe the whole system is flawed from the beginning and we just need a water pump with a higher throughput ? The manual says, it should pump 800l/h at 1400rpm which I will measure later. Any other ideas ? Anyone ?!?

Posted in Hardware, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 16 Comments

Patience with the patient !

There’s not too much to do here in Savusavu. We knew that already before we came here and that’s ok. Gui is organizing the trip to Argentina. We all will travel there and we need plane tickets and visas for Australia (a pain in the a.. !!) In Argentina Gui will work on the upcoming collections for Coquito and the Kids will have fun with the grandparents.

Frueh morgens in SavusavuSpiegelglattes WasserUnsere mini-Nachbarinsel, heute mal doppeltBruno und der iPod. Unzertrennlich.

So what’s the captain doing ? Fixing things – of course ! I can’t sit still for too long and there’s enough work on the Suvarov. Our engine still tends to overheat so again I took apart the whole cooling system. All the tipps of the boat neighbors and of Leon (the local machanic-guru) are implemented. The whole system is checked from inlet, impeller, all hoses, mixing elbow, water collector to exhaust. But the problem is IN the engine which is no surprise since the above mentioned parts were checked before we left Polynesia.

Der japanische PatientEin Kristall ? Nein - eine Opferanode.Der Deckel mit der vorderen Anode - und die Silikon(!!!)-'Dichtung'Das innere unserer Tropfsteinhoehle

During that check I was quite confused that I didn’t find a thermostat. Now – with the proper manual I could verify: It’s indeed missing ! Luckily somewhere with the boat tools I found a box containing four used thermostats who after checking were all verified to work correctly. They just needed some cleaning.

The next surprise was the air filter – I wanted to clean it but – there is no filter in there ! Well. That safes me a little work. ;-) Next step: replacing the sacrificial anodes. That’s convenient because while doing that I can have a look inside the cylinder head and see wherther there’s any calcium builup. Next surprise: instead of a gasket someone used household silicone ! – On the front of the cylinder head !! The backward plate had no gasket at all. :-) Luckily we have gasket paper on bord and Gui made nice new ones for me.

So sollte das eigentlich aussehenDer Mischer - in dem Auspuffgas und Kuehlwasser zusammenkommenEntrostet und neu lackiertUnser Patient bei der Chemotherapie - mit ausstroemendem CO2

Inside the cylinder head it looked a lot like a flowstone cave. Lots of stalagtites and stalagmites – and even some crystals ! What a beauty !! Well – and why the cooling of the engine isn’t really working well is clear now. After consulting the almighty internet I find out that it’s best to use 10-15% acetic acid to remove that calcium buildup. Unfortunately the only related liquid available in Savusavu is white vinegar. So I decide to take a little risk and use 5% sulfuric acid to remove the crud.  I fill the (warm) engine with four liters of acid and let it sit until it stops hissing and bubbling. From the connection on the top of the engine we can see the CO2 escape. A nice chemical experiment for our schoolkids. The acid cleaning will continue for the next days. We’ll see whether it works…

While I was at it I also changed the oil, de-rusted and painted some parts, replaced hose clamps and hoses, etc. A nice little service for our engine. As you might be curious it’s a Yanmar 3QM30H with saltwater cooling. And as I had to search forever to find it, I safe others the work and put a link to the service manual !

Posted in Hardware, Learning for life, Links, LosLocos, Pics, Sailing, Suvarov, Work | 2 Comments

In the mangroves

With all the heat and without a breeze we’re not very motivated to do big adventures. But yesterday when it started raining again, we set out on a little trip with the dinghy. The kids wanted to explore the tiny island next to our boat. So we set out with cooling rain and paddled into the mangroves.

Es regnet. Ideal fuer einen Ausflug in die Nachbarschaft.Was versperrt uns da den Weg ?Frische MangrovenwurzelnMehr Wurzelwerk, Licht- & Schattenspiele

We zigzag through the maze of little channels, discover some hidden birds and try (without success) to catch some geckos from a half sunken bamboo jetty. We could definately use a few of those animals on bord to eat away those mosquitos that try to keep us awake at night. Our way is blocked by a piece of an old pontoon that must have drifted in here and we turn around.

Quer ueber die kleine InselUeppige, tropische VegetationUnd raus auf der anderen SeiteAlles entdeckt, geht's wieder zurueck

On the way back we discover a little path that leads through the otherwise impenetrable jungle to the other side of the little island. Unfortunately I only have the small, waterproof camera with me – the big one would have done better shots. But at least there are some nice, colorful pics. Ey ?

A Panorama of SavusavuBruno and Viola at schoolThe neighbour island we explored earlierA view to the west with the marina on the left and the ferry dock in the back

And as I got started with the camera (and it stopped raining) I again went up the mast and took a few more shots. From up there the water looks surprisingly clear. From close-up that’s different and sometimes it also get’s a bit smelly. But I guess that’s just the mud that is exposed during low tide. On the pics you can see the Copra Shed Marina with the little jetties in front. There we spend some of the hotter afternoons when it’s getting uncomfortable on the boat. Well, here we will stay for the next months… Awful – isn’t it ? Also: don’t forget the mosquitos ! ;-)

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Safe and sound

..arrived in Savusavu. Our -to be- rainseason quarters. Today we’ll check out the situation with the moorings and will search for an internet connection. But the first impression is quite nice. Also there is a french family on the boat next to us which we met in Bora Bora. The kids will love that.

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Levuka, Ovalau island, Fiji

Although we already are anchored at the next postcard island, I still have to post some pictures of Levuka, our first contact with Fiji. I mentioned the funny haircuts but somehow forgot to shoot some pictures of the beautiful ladies of Levuka… Well, those will come later, I guess. Also worth mentioning is that Levuka once was the capital of Fiji ! Hard to believe as it’s a quiet, little Village.

The cowboy-western-style waterfront of LevukaTown center with churchAnd while other governments still argue about it - Fiji is preparing itselfWalking in the shade, along the main street

As we found nearly everywhere else too, there are numerous schools and plenty of kids everywhere. All dressed up in nice, colorful school uniforms. A treat for the eye !

When we picked up the cruising permit, I noticed the schedule of the authority. It has a seminar on climate change for the employees. Yeah – when the big polluters of the earth still are arguing whether or not it’s true, the island nations of this world are getting prepared for the worst.

Schoolyard at midday.School kids posing in front of strange emblem.At the little pond, in the middle of the tropical forestPlaying with the new toy cooking set

Maybe the people of Levuka will also start thinking of getting rid of that awfully noisy Diesel generator located in the center of the village that provides power for the whole island. There would be more than enough sun to power all homes here on the island and as for storage, I suggest to use that huge fuel tank up on the hill. One could use the excess power during midday to pump up salt water and use a turbine to generate power during the night. – Just a thought…. But I guess burning fuel is (still) just too convenient.

Back down towards the villageThe old mason's building. It was burned down because some people beliefed it would be an entrance to hell. (Turns out - it wasn't...)In front of the town hall.Taking the street back towards the sea. Schoolkids ahead.

Alright. Enough of the ranting. There are also some pics of our little hike up the hill to the little freshwater pond. On the way the kids got a little toy cooking set and when we were back on the ship they promptly openend a restaurant on the foredeck. Let’s see if someone can decypher Viola’s menu. It’s a wild mix of german, spanish and english but it shows promise and she’s definately not lacking inspiration. Also  – she’s still just five. :-)

An icecream !! After weeks and weeks without.Bruno and viola opening a restaurant on the foredeckViola's menu is a mix of spanish and german words and lettering. Takes a little vantacy tu reed.Together with the SY Optimist we sail towards Leluvia, our next stop.

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A few days in the past – The island Nuku in Tonga

Before leaving Tonga we spent a few more days at a little, lonely island called Nuku. We were already cleared out so we shouldn’t have stayed but it was just too hard to say good bye. See for yourself…. It’s crazy.

Nuku. Our own little island for three days.Not too bad - isn't it ?The perfect little beachBruno having endless fun in the crystal clear water

Haha.My beautiful little princess.A tropic bird.Splash !

The colors are just unbelievable.But still sometimes it's school timeViola concentrated at workFinally we lift up the anchor and set out towards Fiji...

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Zwei Tage in Levuka

Die ersten beiden Tage in Fiji sind recht schnell vergangen. Erst mal, weil wir sowieso viel Behoerdenkram zu erledigen hatten und dann sind wir auch kreuz und quer durch das Oertchen und haben uns alles mal angesehen. – Soviel gibt’s ja hier nicht, aber witzig ist das schon. Ich meine, der krasse Gegensatz mal wieder, zu den anderen Inseln. Also man wuerde es ja nicht glauben, aber die Waterfront von Levuka sieht aus, wie die einer Westernstadt. So mit Saloon und so – nur dass halt eben kein Saloon mit Cowboyhelden zu finden ist, sondern zumeist Laeden und Lokale, die von Indern bewirtschaftet werden. Die Leute aus Fiji selbst sind Melanesier und Bruno fand vor allem die Frisuren der Frauen recht witzig – die tragen fast alle Afro-look. ‘Die haben alle runde Frisuren !!’ Hehe. Sehr, sehr nett sind alle und alle gruessen freundlich mit ‘Bula !’ oder ‘Bulabula !’, fragen nach dem wohin und woher und so weiter. Verstaendlich auch, sind wir doch erst die zehnte Yacht, die in di
esem Jahr hier war. – Kaum zu glauben….
Und weil noch immer kein Wind ist und die drueckend heisse Luft einem das T-Shirt am Ruecken kleben laesst, sind wir heute zusammen mit Christine und Hannes von der SY Optimist die Wasserleitung entlang den Berg hoch gewandert und haben einen tollen, kleinen ‘Pool’ im Bach entdeckt. Erfrischendes Suesswasserbad mit 25 Grad, im Schatten der Tropenbaeume. Ein Traum !
Also Fiji zeigt sich von seiner besten Seite und ich bin schon gespannt, was der naechste Stopp bringt. Morgen gehen wir mal ankerauf und tuckern etwa 10 Meilen zu einer suedlich gelegenen, winzig kleine Insel namens Leleuvia. Am Sonntag oder Montag sollte der Wind zurueckkommen, dann geht’s nach Savusavu in den Norden.

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Arrived in Fiji !

Today in the early morning hours we made our final approach through the endless islands of Fiji. We made landfall at 0900h local time. After a walk to customs, health, harbour master, biosecurity and immigration we finished the clearing in process. Despite being a little lenghty all officials were extremely friendly and forthcoming. We also still didn’t quite master it as tomorrow we have to retrieve our cruising permit for our future voyages in the archipelago.

Levuka was the former capital of Fiji and although it’s only a tiny little village it is quite charming, the people are extremely friendly, food is cheap and it’s very hot ! We like it ! Yeyeyeee !!

More later – when we found an internet connection….

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Back in the east !!

As I downloaded the weather information and looked at our position I realized: We’re back on the ‘eastern’ side of the globe again ! About eight miles ago we crossed from the western to the eastern hemisphere – currently we’re at 179° and 51′ EAST ! Heh. It’s only a letter on the GPS – but the meaning is clear: With every mile we’re sailing, we’re getting closer to home. Although that concept of home seems rather unreal right now.
Anyway. Last night we navigated through the Lau islands. Very exciting at night ! We saw the last island disappear on the horizon just as the sun rose. Right now we’re in the Koro Sea and about half an hour ago again we saw land: The island of Ngau on the port side and Koro on the starbord side. Both islands are about 35 nm away and we’ll try to navigate in between, afterwards going north of Nairai and Mbatiki towards our destination. We expect to make landfall in the first hours of daylight. The SY Optimist whom we last saw exactly one year ago will also be there. Nice !!

LATITUDE: 17°45.86S, LONGITUDE: 179°51.01W, COURSE: 258T, SPEED: 4.1, WIND: E3, TO GO: 57nm

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