Fiji to New Zealand – Day 6 – Becalmed

We are becalmed! No wind! Rolling glassy seas! Making 7 knots south FINALLY! The weather is warmer and very pleasant!

All is well onboard. We have sailed 176 miles in the past 24 hours, making 153 miles towards our destination. We are 900 miles SSW of Lautoka, Fiji and less than 200 miles north of New Zealand. We have 265 miles to go before we enter the protected waters of the Bay of Islands. We can’t wait!

Looks like the high is starting to migrate east. We are beginning to feel some wind from the north. Only a breath for now but we anticipate some wind from the north by tonight. Tomorrow it should fill in from directly behind us and help us make some record runs into NZ. Unfortunately we’re fighting a 1 knot current and with all those southern winds and us sailing so far west it looks like there is no way to avoid being at sea when the next low comes over north island. The good news is that if our engines keep cranking we should be able to be east of north island, which will provide some protection from the SW winds. But we should have some excitement from the 30+ knot winds and driving rain that is forecast to come out of the NW before the front. I anticipate us getting clobbered just after we make it into the lee of North Island. We will triple-reef, clear the decks, hug the coast, and make like hell for the Bay of Islands!

Can one of our friends tell us if it’s safe to proceed into Opua marina and customs dock if its dumping rain and blowing 25-30?  I assume we can use radar and charts to get us pretty close. If it’s too hairy to come into the marina can we drop the hook or will customs freak out?  What’s the best tactic then?  Maintain our position in the middle of the bay until the rain clears?  Fore-reach just offshore?  Any advice from those that have sailed into Opua would be appreciated.

Also, can someone please send us the landlubber (dirt people) weather forecast by hour for Opua on Saturday?  I’m interested in knowing when they forecast the rain to come down so I can plan on how our visibility will be.  If you can send this tomorrow (Thursday in the United States of Trump) that would be helpful as the forecast will be fresh.

Last request to those that have been into Opua: does customs clear on Saturday?  Is there a cut-off time in the afternoon?  What happens if we arrive after hours? Do we then wait until Monday?

Today was busy. We hooked up our very slick fuel transfer/polishing system and topped off our main fuel tank from jugs. We had burned about 80 gallons so far and we just added another 60 to the tank. Our fuel transfer system saved a LOT of headache with transferring fuel from the jerry jugs. It’s a 12v fuel pump in line with a water separating fuel filter housing and it also has an algae-x device and strainer. So we bring the hose through the galley and Alyssa puts the pickup pipe into each jerry can. It then transfers the fuel through the various filters – ensuring clean water-free fuel – and then dumps it into our main tank. We were able to transfer 60 gallons today and we didn’t spill a drop (literally). I plan to permanently install this system so all we have to do in the future is run our hose and pickup pipe to the dock and suck cans from there without ever having to bring them aboard.  I’ll add it to the list as project #156…

We also ran the watermaker and both took showers. I badly needed a wash as I have waited 4-5 days while Alyssa has showered almost every day. I was starting to stink the place up and my beard was out of control. I feel much more refreshed now.

We have two lines out and are waiting for our first albacore tuna!  We have a Skabenga squid lure (thanks Bruce!) and a cedar plug out. When the weather gets a bit rough again the fish should start biting. They don’t like biting in calms…

We are looking forward to our downwind run into NZ. Looks like I’ll be able to fly the kite tomorrow morning and then we can go wing-on-wing by the afternoon/evening when the wind starts to strengthen.

It would be nice if that low took an extra 12 hours so we can be tied up dockside when it overtakes us. But if not, then we will triple reef and sail through it. Quixotic can take it…but is her crew up for another final challenge???  We are so close we can smell the victory!

Talk to you tomorrow. Cheers from Quixotic and her slaves!

L&A

South Pacific Ocean
11/10
0100 UTC
31 16 S, 171 06 E
170 T
7.2 KTS SOG

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