LTY Stats as our passage begins:
LTY (local Fiji) time: 09:40 Sunday Nov 6th, 2016 (LTY time = UTC +12)
LOCATION: Momi Bay, just inside western pass out of Fiji
POSITION: 17 54.989 S 177 15.977 E (can cut & paste into Google Earth)
SOG: 0 kts (at anchor) (SOG = Speed over Ground)
COG: (COG = Course over Ground, our GPS based compass heading)
WIND: 06 kts SE
SEAS/Swell: Flat and smooth inside reef & Momi Bay
WEATHER: Perfect last morning in Fiji for a while.
SAILS: Main up as we prep to head out the pass and south to NZ
AIR TEMP: 80.6F 27C
SEA TEMP: 88.9F 31.6C
DISTANCE TRAVELED last 24 hrs: 000 Just about to start!
TOTAL DISTANCE TO GO: (Opua, NZ): about 1200 nm
1. If you’d like to see a chart showing our position that is updated about every 30 minutes via our Iridium GO! sat phone “modem”, go to https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/Learnativity
2. If you’d like to send us an Email please be encouraged to do so by sending it to our sat phone based Email service at email@example.com These can be as long as you like, the only restriction we ask is that you keep them TEXT ONLY, no pictures or attachments please.
3. Please note that while you will see postings like the one below show up as status updates to our FaceBook accounts, we are NOT able to access or read FB or any other web site until we get to NZ and back to faster internet connections.
4. Same is true for our “regular” Email accounts, we can ONLY receive Emails to the “myiridium.net” address above. We will do our best to catch up to all your other Emails, FB posts, etc. after we get settled in NZ which should be by the 20th of Nov. or so, maybe sooner.
THE NEXT ADVENTURE BEGINS
Yes folks, just when you thought it was finally safe, after hearing almost nothing for a year and a half, the LTY Updates begin again!! First a quick summary since the last set of updates last year and then the daily ones will start arriving as our passage takes place.
As those of you on Facebook would know we, that is Christine, Barney, Ruby and I have been in Fiji since we checked in here in Savu Savu on May 22nd, 2015 after our passage down from the Marshall Islands. We spent the first few months exploring the Eastern and Southern parts of Fiji and then make our way west under the big island of Viti Levu with a few days in Lomi Bay just west of the capital of Suva and then around the SW corner and up to Vuda Point Marina. On the way there our keel cooler, which is basically a steel half pipe welded to the bottom of Learnativity’s hull which takes the place of a radiator in a car and keeps our main engine cool, gave out. So we sailed the last 50 miles and were able to tie up to the big mooring ball outside Vuda Point marina. The next day, August 1st, 2015 we were able to run the engine long enough to make it in the narrow channel into the marina with the assistance of their always helpful staff and were promptly hauled out with their big TraveLift and propped up on hard stands or what we call being “on the hard”.
In the ensuing weeks and months, we decided that “while we were at it” this was the time and place to do a full renovation of LTY inside and out to make her our “forever boat” and set us up for the next decade or more of wondering, wandering and pondering the planet one nautical smile at a time. And so, began what turned into 15 months of almost nonstop work as we turned our beloved LTY into a “new 1994” boat or as the marine industry writes it a 2016/1994 52’ steel Bruce Roberts Raised Salon motor sailor. Then, just to prove that we truly DO live on the No Plan Plan, somewhere in that process we really lost our minds and decided that we would design a whole new boat, build it out of all Aluminum this time and, just for added adventure and maximum learning, we would make this one a blue water voyaging POWER boat! More on the new boat, which will be called Möbius by the way, later and now back onboard the good ship Learnativity here in Momi Bay.
On Friday (Nov.4th) we did our official checkout of Fiji at Vuda Pt. Marina as they have become a Port of Entry which enables us to check in and out of the country there, said our quick goodbyes to the many dear friends we have there after spending so many years coming back here after I first sailed into Fiji in 2010, and then had the wonderful experience of the marina staff literally singing us off the dock with a traditional Fijian farewell song. If you’ve not seen it already, be sure to check out Christine’s post on FB with the video of their singing us off. Ian & Colleen our most special of friends and neighbors for all those years in the marina, walked along the sea wall leading out of the marina, joined by their dog Koli who is the best buddy of Ruby & Barney and soon we were off to start our next set of adventures by sailing south to New Zealand.
This might come as a surprise to some of you who thought we had intended to sail LTY westward to get to Turkey where we are most likely to build Möbius. We did too! We thought we were going to head out of Fiji and turn right and sail up over the top of Australia and through Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean, up the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean. Would have been a FANTASTIC six months of sailing through some of the world’s most amazing places, but unfortunately by the time we were ready to go we had missed the weather window we needed to get through all the various seasons and weather this long set of passages would entail.
We have known for many months that this might happen and so we quickly adapted our thinking because Nov. 1st is the official start of Cyclone season here in Fiji and decided to turn left instead as we headed out of the west side of Fiji and go down to the north island of New Zealand! That has been calling Christine’s name louder and louder as she had such fond memories of being in the Bay of Islands a few years ago when she was 21. She had lived and worked there for a cyclone season back in the 70’s and not had the chance to be back. I was last there for the 2009/10 cyclone season when I came down from American Samoa after my grand adventure with the tsunami of Sept. 2009 in Pago Pago. I also had very fond memories of my 7 months in the Whangarei area. Plus, our awemazing boat designer Dennis (Artnautica.com) lives and works out of Auckland so we would be able to get in more time with him to work on finalizing the design of Möbius with him in person. So once again, as always seems to be the way with us, serendipity and synchronicity guide us to the most awesome adventures and this is but the latest.
It will most likely take us 9-10 days to make the 1200 nautical mile passage down to Opua in the Bay of Islands up at the north end of the north island of New Zealand. Therefore we, well Christine mostly, have been keeping a close eye on weather patterns for the past few weeks, very ably assisted by “software” of both the digital and the human kind. The key with this passage is to time it such that you sail into the north end of NZ between the typical west to east traveling fronts so you don’t get “spanked” too badly by Mother Nature on the way down. We had our eye on just such a weather window for the past few days and now looks like a Sunday morning departure is going to be the “Goldilocks” timing to get it “just right” for this passage. So, we have come out here to Momi Bay which is a lovely little spot just inside the western most pass out through the reefs surrounding Fiji and we’ve enjoyed two days getting LTY’s bottom and prop all smooth and clean so she slithers through the water very smoothly and easily. Also gave us time for cleaning up inside, stowing everything securely away for the rock and roll show that is a sailing passage.
There are a LOT of boats and crew all over Fiji and other islands here in nearby SW Pacific who have bene waiting along with us for this weather window so it will be interesting to see how many other boats we see on our way south. Usually we hardly ever see any other ships other than some distant lights at night or an AIS blimp on our chart plotter screens but we were not surprised to end up sharing this lovely little anchorage here in Momi Bay with 2 other sailboats and we are all poised like runners in their blocks at the starting line waiting for the gun to go off.
Looks like start time has now arrived (Sunday morning here) and we are about to haul up our anchor and head out the pass so I’ll sign off for now and try to get this sent out before we lose our great Fiji cellular internet connections. If not, it will go out via our Iridium GO! satellite based connection once we are underway.
Glad you could join us for this latest passage of the Good Ship Learnativity. Look out Kiwi’s the Naughty Grandparents are headed your way!
Wayne & Christine
Sadly, Sans Barnacle Barney and Ruby the WonderDog (more on that later)