Bula Fiji- Day 19

Wednesday , May 5 Happy Cinco de Mayo, Flashback one year ago today we were in Santa Barbara, California with John and Joy with Margaritas and Taco pie!

120 miles to go!!, we should arrive Thursday morning.

We had good winds last night so we went with it. Cruising 7-8 knots most of the night.

Lots of rain mid-day. The wind hit 29 knots at the start then dropped to 5. The squall took the wind away.

*Iridium Go Notes*

Last Night of the Passage

Thu 6/May 00:57 GMT+12

17º 00.904 S  179º 55.031 E

Course: 257° true, 4.8 kt

We’re approaching Savusavu, our “check-in” destination. Arrival in the morning (Thursday).

Motoring now, no wind, calm seas.

Enjoying stars not blocked by the scattered clouds, before the moon rises.

It’s dark out there!

Bula Fiji- Day 18

Tuesday, May 4, 225 miles to Fiji!

It has rained all day! We finally saw the sun and blue sky as it was setting.

We made homemade chicken noodle soup in the pressure cooker for lunch, so good on this dreary day!

*Iridium Go Notes*

Drive Thru Boat Wash

Tue 4/May 23:58 GMT+12

16º 24.323 S 177º 40.727 W

Course: 291° true, 6.4 kts

Much of Tuesday morning was sailing in the rain, so the salt spray has been throughly rinsed-off. Winds have been brisk during the completely overcast day, 12-22 knots, now at 21.

Making good progress on this moonless night (the moon rises at 0025, 28% waining). Boat speed is around 7 knots, broad reaching.

We’d like to maintain a VMG value of 5 knots or better to arrive in Fiji on Thursday. Velocity Made Good “VMG” is a measure of how fast the boat is approaching the destination regardless of which way the boat is pointing. Our current VMG is around 6.5 knots!

Bula Fiji- Day 17

Monday, May 3, Distance to Fiji 355 nautical miles

The Vava’u Group, part of Tonga, the Friendly Islands has restricted waters because of COVID. The waters are patrolled within 12 miles of their islands. If caught within the limit you will be fined or worse if you get too close.

It’s a very gray day, winds range from 12-22knots. We are located between a high pressure from the south and the Southern Pacific Convergence Zone to the north of us. The SPCZ is like the doldrums, it can have many rain squalls.

*Iridium Go Notes*


Mon 3/May 23:57 GMT+12

16º 58.270 S 175º 47.453 W

Course: 310° true, 4.6 kts

All day we were sailing downwind with big waves that rocked the boat back-n-forth and back-n-forth. A great abdominal workout day!

Now sailing northwest to avoid some storms.

Bula Fiji- Day 16

Saturday May 1 and Sunday May 2, the entire weekend in one day!

Tomorrowland, we crossed the International Date Line, Day-16. Typically it would be 180.00 longitude but it does a bit of of a zigzag between islands so island groups will be in the same time zone. Samoa wanted to be part of the western pacific where American Samoa wanted to be on side the USA is, the Date Line run between them. For us, “tomorrow” will be at 172.45w. Saturday at 3:31pm, with the blink of an eye it was 2:31pm Sunday! 10:31pm Saturday Philadelphia time.

Three additional books I finished reading on this passage, “Well Girl” by Jamie Amerine. A spiritual self help book, not my kind of read. Also finished “Seeds of Hope” by Debbie Tremel, kind of Hunger Games meets QAnon. Two books I personally would not recommend. The third, “Blood in the Low Country” by Paul Attaway, this was a good story, I liked it. I won these Kindle books from Goodreads giveaways.

*Iridium Go Notes*

The International Date Line

Sun 2/May 14:28 GMT+12

17º 30.436 S 172º 44.616 W

Course: 275° true, 5.7 kts

We crossed the International Date Line. A different number on our calendars, yet in Universal Time, it’s just another moment that passed by.

Real nice sailing on Saturday, which is now Sunday. We sailed close-hauled to the north. Then the wind turned, coming from the southeast, and pointed us directly at Fiji on a close reach, All in 10-25 knots of fresh breeze.

There is high pressure weather system to the south. If the brunt of the wind makes it up to here, sailing may be a little rough for us in the next few days,

About 400 nautical miles to go!

Bula Fiji- Day 15

Friday April 30, 504 miles to go!

Not much wind today, 6 knots tops. Did some motor sailing and sailing.

For dinner I made Ancient Grains with roasted red peppers, peas, and salmon, tasty!

*Iridium Go Notes*

Pleasant Day in the Pacific

Fri 30/Apr 23:27 GMT-11

17º 59.447 S 172º 13.817 W

Course: 272° true, 0.8 kts

Mild breeze from the north on Friday. Motored some, sailed some, then motored some more. Stopped at midnight to wait-up for our buddy boat.

The current out here is amazing. When we stop, we drift back towards the southeast at 1.5 knots.

Lazy days… we are both doing a lot of reading.

Bula Fiji- Day 14

Thursday April 29, ahh the smell of baking bread in the morning!

6 knots of wind, rolling seas, cloudy skies, rain in the distance, 541 miles to go!

*Iridium Go Notes*

How we sleep, you ask?

Thu 29/Apr 23:27 GMT-11

17º 59.916 S 171º 28.537 W

Course: 272° true, 1.2 kts

We do night shifts. Around 6pm, Dan goes to sleep, most of the time he sleeps in the master cabin on the almost a queen size bed. The bed has a thick foam mattress, and in the waves it’s like sleeping on a trampoline. As a result, he sleeps with his arms and legs spread-out so he doesn’t get tossed off the bed.

At midnight, Marlene sleeps. While traveling she feels more secure sleeping on one of the couches in the salon. We have Lee Cloths on the couches that keep you from falling off.

Although less roomie Dan will sleep in the salon if it’s really wavy.

In very light winds, we slowly motored most of the day and night Thursday. At midnight we stopped since we were way ahead of our buddy boat.

Are we there yet?

Bula Fiji- Day 13

Wednesday April 28, Are we there yet? we switched our clocks one hour back today. We are on American Samoa time GMT-11. 4pm on the boat, it’s 11pm Philadelphia time.

*Sourdough Notes*

Started another Belle loaf started today, building the Levain. Mix, stretch and folds in the evening for baking on Thursday morning.

*Iridium Go Notes*

It’s Just Right

Wed 28/Apr 16:26 GMT-11

18º 02.846 S 170º 09.550 W

Course: 256° true, 4.6 kts

On Wednesday, except for one rain squall in the morning, sailing was just right. As a result, we made a lot of westward progress.

Less winds (6-8 knots) at night, so it’s a little slow. However, the waves have gone away!

The moon at 88% is very bright. It’ll be shining all night setting at 09:30am. Only the brightest stars are visible.

Ocean Sapphire is leading the way again.

Bula Fiji- Day 12

Tuesday April 27, Distance to Fiji 763 nautical miles

The wind is 15-20knots and we’re close reaching. The sails are both double reefed to keep the boat flat. Our buddy boat is 2 miles behind us.

Regarding the trough I mentioned on Day 9, our weather person had this to say: ”The leading edge of the trough is now at 170W and is now a broken line with active cells. Trough should continue to break up over the next 24 hours. While models are showing lighter winds, expect active cells. The trough line is also expected to flatten along a latitude of 20S which the following High pressure is being kept south of.” All is good.

For dinner I threw together a mixture of potatoes, cabbage and roasted red peppers, turned out pretty tasty.

Sailed through one short lived squall last night, highest winds 22knots with little rain. It looked much worse than it turned out to be.

*Iridium Go Notes*

Beware of Hitting the SEND Button

Tue 27/Apr 14:26 GMT-11

17º 40.859 S 168º 04.198 W

Course: 263° true, 5.9 kts

…and just as I hit the SEND button last night, the first of seven rain squalls arrived. Each had 18-23 knots of wind, which require reducing sail area, or changing course, or both. Then, the squall goes away leaving calmer winds, so you unroll the sails back out… and repeat. All in the middle of the night!

Things settled down when daylight arrived, and we continued to move fast towards Fiji in 13-16 knots of wind from the north.

In these close reaching conditions we, and s/v Ocean Sapphire, double reef sails. As a result we passed them, since they don’t have their big a$&@ mainsail all the way up and out… playing leap frog in the Pacific.

Bula Fiji- Day 11

Monday April 26, good morning wind! With the code sail up we’re cruising 7knots in an 12.5knots of breeze. When the wind shifted we took her down, only to have the halyard break, again for the fourth time! The sail had been laying on the deck, and halyard attached just before raising. The halyard was in good condition. Last time we took it down we noticed the code sails halyard’s outer rope cover was stripped off only the core remaining, when we raised it, the sail was on the spinnaker halyard. Something always happens when this sail is up, the high maintenance NorthSails code sail. The sail is great when up but the Harken furling mechanism is still not right! It may just get turned into an expensive awning!

Just as my watch had ended and I was getting ready for bed, the wind picked up with rain. There were several squalls throughout the night, with gusts in the low to mid 20’s. Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well. Dan got a workout constantly adjusting the sails, but he likes to do that!

*Iridium Go Notes*

A Good Start to the Week

Mon 26/Apr 22:26 GMT-11

17º 44.186 S 166º 29.576 W

Course: 279° true, 5.5 kts

Indeed, early Monday morning the wind began to blow from the northeast and has been a steady breeze for over 18 hours now. Maybe we’ll get to Fiji after all!

Our buddy boat s/v Ocean Sapphire, a 46’ catamaran really flies in these conditions (a little behind beam reaching with 10-13 knots of wind, calm seas), and they are out of sight ahead of us. Eventually we’ll catch-up.

Because of the full moon, the overcast sky is soo bright you’d think we’re in Alaska.

Bula Fiji- Day 10

Sunday April 25, Overnight lying ahull, we drifted back about 7 miles East. Come morning we slowly regained our loss of miles.

Blueberry pancakes for breakfast!

Dan worked on water maker, he added epoxy to the cracked end fitting, hope this will be a temporary solution till we can find a replacement part.

Drifting slowly west, wind has been less than 4 knots all day.

*Iridium Go Notes*

I’ve never seen the sea this calm

Sun 25/Apr 23:09 GMT-10

17º 57.579 S 165º 00.265 W

Course: 328° true, 0.3kts

Lately we’ve been having blueberry pancakes every Sunday, and this Sunday was no exception. We found dehydrated blueberries, Kirkland brand, that taste real good.

We sailed briefly, but gave up in the light shifty winds. So we rolled-up the sails and are drifting through the night. Wind is expected tomorrow, which is Monday.

I’ve never seen the sea this calm.