Friday, 21 December 2012

Six months anniversary musings

Today is our six months anniversary since we left New Zealand (Gisborne). Funny that it's also so close (four days!) to us crossing the equator. It's been a great half year and we're most certainly loving this cruising life style. Longer passages is not our favourite thing, but they are far from the norm.

- We have visited four countries (Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Island and Papua New Guinea) and sailed just over 6000 miles (since Christchurch, which adds three weeks to the half year).
- A quick rough count shows we have spent about 48 nights at sea (and still counting) which is actually surprising, but a bunch of them are just single night passages, often when a day passage is too long.
- Far the majority of our nights are spent at anchorage, and on average we spend 2-3 nights at each place.
- We have only caught maybe 10 fish in total, nowhere near as many as we would have liked (eg compared to Stewart Island). Solomon Islands probably had the most strikes, though only 2-3 caught there, but we lost quite a few lures from something big taking it, and sometimes the fish just jumps off the hook before we can reel it it.

Stuff broken:
Overall we have been lucky and nothing important has broken, but f course we also did do a lot of work before leaving and almost all gear is newly installed on Sophia, although a fair amount is secondhand. Generally speaking stuff simply breaks at sea, it's just a really tough environment.
- auto pilot rams. To be expected, especially considering they are the ones that have steered 99% of the 6000 miles! However, they are not waterproof (contrary to what you'd expect), so Phil quite often has to take them apart and clean and re-grease them. Luckily he has become very apt at fixing them!
- the nexus wind speedo suddenly stopped transmitting in Solomon Islands. This also explains why we have been guestimating wind speeds since then... It's one of those things that aren't necessary at all, but merely a nice to have and it also took a lot of consideration whether to get one or not before leaving.
- the toilet lid has cracked off! Because it's a lavac, it works creating a vacuum and so the lid is necessary. It's now taped on with duct tape and kind of does the job, but it's it's annoying and another crack also means it isn't flushing as efficient as it's supposed to. Hopefully a new lid (and seat) are waiting for us in Palau.
- one of the (front) hatch friction hinges has cracked off. Thankfully the hatch still closes and opens just fine, it just means the hatch can't hold itself open, so a wooden spoon now has that job.

So, not bad at all, and nothing that stops us cruising, maybe besides the auto pilot, but we have one and a half spare ram and touch wood, Phil has always managed to fix them so far. Thankfully the engine (original) is still working just fine, touch wood again, but Phil is also pretty religious about maintenance and always remembers fuel additive. Naturally we have gone through several filters and oil changes, and we have changed the alternator belt and my parent brought along a new exhaust elbow to us in Solomon Islands as the old one was getting very worn.

Highlights have been:
- whales in Ha'apai, Tonga
- Yasur volcano in Tanna, Vanuatu
- manta rays in Hermit Islands, PNG
- all the many amazing and special village visits (boils down to friendly people) in all of Melanesia (Vanuatu, Solomon and PNG)

What we miss the most (besides friends and family, naturally):
- unlimited fresh water (and especially showers, especially for Phil)
- food (I miss well stocked supermarkets and Phil misses fast (junk) food). Tropical fruit is a pretty good consolation, but the supply and variety isn't as good as you'd expect and it spoils very easily
- cold. OK, we don't miss NZ or Danish weather at all, but since north Vanuatu we have been very HOT. During the day the temperature can easily be 35 degrees both outside and inside, and we're lucky if it climbs below 30 at night in the cabin. Add a general high humidity to that and it means a lot of sweat. We LOVE our fans and wouldn't survive without them! I especially miss being able to cuddle up under a duvet, or even just a sheet for that matter. But, we're not complaining, overall the heat is great.

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1 comment:

  1. I love your way with words... "showers - especially for Phil" - Hahahahaha! :D