We capped off a great adventure with D and David by taking a tour of the island. We enjoyed kava and an Indian feast at our friends house before touring our property. It was the end to a fantastic week with my surprisingly adventurous Mom! Way to go Salty Sea “D”. You’re now an official “salty.” Hope the flight back wasn’t too grueling….but after your night passage in a rain poncho while sailing through squalls I bet the flight back was a cakewalk!
Progress marches forward on Quixotic. We now have paint on the bows and we finally glued the new keel on yesterday. We are also done fairing the inside and had a big cleaning crew clean up all the dust. We get the interior paint this week and will be painting the entire boat. Today Alyssa and I will be rebuilding the saildrive in preparation for installation this week. So we are getting close. Better start planning the launch party!
We are also taking suggestions on how to get her back in the water. I wanted to use a flatbed trailer and support the bridge deck then slide her in….only problem is there isn’t one on the island. The guys are suggesting we roll it down the beach on coconut logs….looks like that may be the winning suggestion unless you can think of another idea?? We’re all ears…
Here are some pics to recap the great adventure, and also some shots of Quixotic…
We’re back in Savusavu after a boisterous downhill run in stiff trades. Ellie was surfing the waves and barreling downwind in clear sunny skies. All hands were smiles as we raced the wave trains back to Savusavu Bay. It was a beautiful sail and we are all enjoying the creature comforts of being back in port. Here is a shot that salty sea “D” took while we were sailing. Cheers!
The sun was slowly setting through the dark clouds that shrouded the breaking waves on each side of the pass as we slowly crept out of Vanua Balavu. Alyssa was on the bow trying in vein to read the colors. Mom was trying her best to calm the nerves as we set sail into the dark night. We slowly motored out of the pass and once clear of the last breakers we pulled out some headsail and began an all-night sail westward to Teveuni. The moon was almost full but the rain and clouds stayed with us most of the night. The seas were relatively calm and all hands fared well with not a single incident of mal-de-mer. My Mother was a champ and has now earned the nickname “Salty D.”
The morning found us in calm seas in the lee of Taveuni. The sun crested over the peak of the lush green island and slowly lit up the lush foliage of palms, rain trees and countless other plants. We approached Taveuni Dive Resort, grabbed a mooring, launched the dinghy and headed in to explore. They wanted way too much money to take us diving so we decided to go on our own. We had them fill our tanks then we slipped the mooring and headed west to Viani Bay on Vanua Levu where we find ourselves this morning. We are anchored off the little two-building, pastel-colored school and can hear the schoolchildren singing, playing and laughing. It’s very lush here and with it comes rain. We hope it breaks soon so we can fit in a dive before sailing to Paradise Resort later in search of wood-fired oven-baked pizza and a gorgeous sunset.
Tomorrow we sail to Savusavu. Should be a nice sail as the trades have filled in and we should have ample wind to finally hoist both sails. We are excited to be reunited with Quixotic and see all the progress the guys have made while we have been away.
Here are some pictures I was able to upload. We have many more incredible pictures on multiple cameras that we will have to compile and upload later.
Here’s a picture of flat Jason with his huge catch of Walu! We hooked him on the way into Ships Sound after picking up D, my Mother, and David at the airstrip in Vanua Balavu. Jason hooked him but David had to help reel him in! Thanks again Jason, we’re eating so well!
The past week has been extremely busy with much glass dust flying and fumes rising from the Fijian work site. We are happy to report that the keel has been made from a mold of the repaired starboard side and it now has 4-5 layers of quadraxial glass. Today we fit the stringers/bulkheads into the keel for extra strength and support. We have also received the foam core material from Hawaii (thanks again Jono!) and the guys have skillfully and artistically carved the foam and replaced the core. When you look along the port side now it’s almost flush with the surface and you can finally see her real shape again – we’re getting excited!
The bows have also had the foam core replaced and glassed over. Today we are carving the last section of bow out of foam and will glass a polyester mold over the foam. Once removed we will lay up epoxy-soaked glass and enclose the tips of the bows.
We are using a combination of epoxy and polyester resin. Epoxy for the repairs below the waterline; epoxy for the inside of the bow repairs (for the superior adhesion properties); and we are using polyester for the outer layers on above-the-waterline repairs (so the flocoat paint will adhere chemically to the repair). There are more opinions on which resin to use than there are grains of sand in Fiji, but this approach seems the most logical to me – and this is in line with the builder recommendations – so this is how she’s being repaired.
In other news, we are preparing Ellie for a voyage out to the Lau Group; we leave next week. My wonderful Mother, Danielle and her husband, David, will be joining us for a week. We plan to dive, fish, hike, explore, sail and relax. We will also be bringing some supplies and warm clothes to the villages we visit (yes – they find winter very cold here despite the temps staying above 70F). Stay tuned for updates and pictures from the adventure!
Hope all is well with all our friends. We look forward to catching up once all the dust settles here.