Wednesday, August 31, 2011

18 44.99S 172 54.62E

Hello All,
We have been under sail now for the last 19 hours. Wind has been a steady 15 knots. At this rate we should reach Tanna Island, Vanuatu by noon on Friday. It has been a while since I have made a passage and this one started off with the engine, not ideal for a sailboat, but is making up for it now.
Everyone has settled into little routines on the boat so as to pass the time.
All is well for now so I will talk to you soon.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

18 25.00S 174 40.02E

Hello All,
We had flat calm weather all yesterday afternoon so I have been running the engine. The good news is the wind has picked up this morning and is coming out of the south so at first light we will get the sails up and get back to being a sailboat. The engine will have run since we got out to open sea 28 hours which is not to bad but it's not over yet. The weather forecast didn't call for this until day after tomorrow so it is a nice surprise.
There has been no surprises so far and Rafal and Paula are doing an awesome job. We are eating well and actually sleeping, so all is well.
I will talk to you later.


18 12.18S 176 22.85S

Bula Bula!
We got checked out of Fiji at noon yesterday and headed out of the Country. We had to motor for 5 hours to get out of the pass and we got the sails set once we got to sea. The wind was light but enough to keep us moving at a good pace. At 0200 this morning the wind let up and we were forced to start the engine. I am hoping it will fill in some today so we can get back to sailing again.
Everyone is doing fine on board and all is well.
I will write more when I get a chance, I am on watch right now and was to cheep to buy an auto pilot to steer the boat under engine only.
Talk to you soon.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Checking out in Lautoka

Bula All,
We made it over to Lautoka at 1530 from Musket Cove. We got to sail most of the way so I got to show the new crew how the boat sails and they did awesome. We had a great time at Musket, I saw heaps of cruisers there that I have met at Vuda Point, seems we all decided to go there on the same weekend which was cool. We took the boat out to a sand bar Island not far from the anchorage at low tide and did some snorkeling and swimming around, fun had by all.
I met a few more new friends while hanging out in Vuda, Mike a retired airline pilot out of Seattle showed up last week on a beautiful 29 foot Bristol Channel Cutter Flyer and Andy and Paul from Australia on there 44 foot boat, Wanderlust, Andy had some work to do on his boat while at Vuda so he borrowed some tools and the Generator a few times. They are really nice guys and I was happy to help them out.
We are all checking out of the country tomorrow so it looks like customs will be busy. There are a few boats here, some going to Vanuatu and one going to New Zealand. I need to get Rafal and Paula on my crew list tomorrow so we will be busy with immigration first thing in the morning.
Fiji has been an awesome place to visit but I am looking forward to Vanuatu, I have been told by so many cruisers that it is very nice and a must see so I am already there.
As usual I will keep you updated on the passage to Vanuatu and I am looking forward to being on the sea again.

P.S. Paula has an underwater camera so be prepared to see me and the fishes in the next photo update.


P.S.S. Rick will be leaving Fiji today, Sunday, August 28th, in the US. Of course it is Monday in Fiji.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Breaking in new crew

Hello All,
My Polish crew got in 2 days ago so we have been visiting and getting them familiar with the boat. They are a young married couple, Rafal and Paula and we have been having a good time so far. We will be heading for Musket Cove today and spend the weekend there and if weather is good we will check out of the country Monday.
I will write again when we get over to Musket and let you know how it goes.
I am busy so I will talk to you soon.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Looking around the yard

Hello All,
I thought I would give you a quick view of basically whats right in front of my boat. The marina here at Vuda is a big circle and is surrounded by the boat yard. I got out the camera today and took pictures of Tom and Colleens ,Mokisha ,getting painted and a 64 foot 40 ton beauty , Regina, owned by a guy originally from Israel but lives in Australia now. His name is Denny and a really nice guy. He has a paid crew and has been here 10 months so the crew is really getting excited to move on to Australia. I have made friends with one of the crew. He is a young guy from Tunisia, North Africa. They hauled out Regina Saturday and have worked through the weekend to get bottom paint on. The travel lift has to stay over it because of the 2 wind generators on the stern so Denny hired 6 Fijians to get it done and back in the water tomorrow. She is ketch rigged (2 masts) and Denny tells me that at 25 knots wind on a beam reach she does 12 knots, WOW. and then there is me, I get so many complements of this tough little double ender.
Ok I will post the pics now, enjoy.

Dinner with the yachties

Hello All,
I was invited to have dinner along with several other cruising couples for dinner tonight. Tom and Colleen on (Mokisha) prepared an awesome dinner for us. They have been living on there boat on the hard while it has been worked on but there in the final stages of a brand new paint job so they had to move and found a nice little villa on the beach by First Landing Resort for a few days while work gets done. We had a great time visiting and I talked to a few that have been to Vanuatu so I got a pretty good idea on what to expect.
Speaking of dinners and visits I failed to mention that my neighbors, an Israeli couple, Zulu and his wife Miri threw me a going away party last Sunday. I thought I was leaving remember, anyway, they have been so nice to me and are the best folks you could meet. I told Miri Monday I wasn't leaving yet and she told me, Its ok Rick we will throw you another one. Nice to know your loved by people you hardly know and so far from home.
I have been checking in with my new crew and they are in Perth Australia at the moment and enjoying what they can see in the short time they will be there. I have arranged Abdul, the local taxi driver here to take me to the airport to meet them, you know I have been here to long when you know every ones name , anyway, they will be on the boat the the night of the 24th and I think we will go out to Musket Cove for a night or 2, there is good snorkeling and will get them used to the way the boat works.
In hindsight and something I haven't given a whole lot of thought about until now is, not only have I met the indigence people from the Islands but have had crew from, Germany, Britain, Basque (North of Spain South of France)New Zea lander, Finish, Quebec Canada, France and now Poland. It is so awesome to get to know these people and there cultures. I feel apart from the rest of the crowd because I havent had the comfort in knowing that my crew knows where I am from. Makes it interesting all the way around. How many people can say they have a friend in all of these countries. I am looking forward to the future.
If the weather looks good we will be out of the Country by the 28th Woo Hoo.
That's all for now.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good news

Hello All,
As of this afternoon I have a crew. They are a young couple from Poland and have been traveling around Asia and are currently in Australia. They found my profile on a find a crew site on the Internet. We have been chatting back and forth with emails and they booked a flight today to Nadi Airport and will be here next Wednesday. They don't have heaps of experience but our passages are not huge and, well its trade wind sailing (knock on wood) so will be able to teach them what they need to know with a steady breeze. They sound very excited and they contacted me, so should be a good time. It will be nice exploring the Southern Islands of Vanuatu with company. How long they will be on the boat we haven't really talked about but they said we could do Vanuatu together and the Solomons and we will discuss going further from there. This is good news boys and girls, I am ready to get the boat moving again.
So now that is settled I have been talking to Tom and Colleen on S/V Mokisha and told them we should go over to Musket Cove for a night just for fun on my boat. In a previous blog, July 25th writing, I told you about this couple, there boat is being repainted and re powered and they have been here for months and haven't been out on the water so I offered to get them out of there rut and have some fun, they are thinking about it.
This will keep me right on schedule for making my trip North. I didnt intend on spending this much time in Fiji but as it turns out Vanuatu has made it very hard and expensive for a visa extension past 30 days so I will take my 30 days there and visit 13 Islands and that will line me up nicely for the Solomons in October.
If there is one thing I didn't bring on the boat with me on this trip is patience, and now the boat is so full of it, is hard to find a place for groceries.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Postponed the crossing

Hello All,
I have decided to wait a week and see if help turns up. I only plan to spend a month in Vanuatu so I have time to wait and see what I can find for crew. I have someone coming up here from Suva tomorrow afternoon to talk to me. She is from Belgium and I talked to her on the phone but that's all I know. She sounded interested in my trip.
I will know more tomorrow. I just thought I would let you know I am still here at Vuda Point.
Thats all for now.


Friday, August 12, 2011

2 minute warning, time for the "Hail Mary" throw

Hello All,
I have the boat ready to go to Vanuatu, I still need to change the oil but I will do that tomorrow. Abdul, the local taxi driver here took me to the grocery store today so I could get stocked up for the trip and we also payed a visit to some of Nadi's finest back backer resorts so I could post some crew wanted adds. I call it a Hail Mary because most backpackers have no sailing experience but at this point company would work for me and someone to watch for other boats at night so I can sleep. I have the technology on board with the radar to sound an alarm if any craft or squalls are getting close but still would be nice to have someone along.
As of right now the departure date is Monday the 15th of my August(Dont forget the dateline lol), the weather looks good so far, so it should be a nice beam reach passage, I will keep a close eye. This will be the first solo passage for me if nothing comes up but I know this boat very well and once everything is set, it sails its self. The place where its nice for help is anchoring and watching for reefs in close quarters but Tanna Island, Port Resolution, my first land fall is straight forward with no hazards and a shallow anchorage with good holding. I would go straight to Port Vila, the main city on Efate Island to look for crew but that would mean skipping the worlds most excess able active volcano in the world so I will see that first then go North up to Port Vila. It is a slog to weather (100 miles) to try to go back to Tanna from Port Vila so it only makes since because I am heading North up the Island chain.
I will keep you posted and let you know whats happening.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fund Raising

Hello All.
Tonight at the Sunset Bar one of the cruisers put together a fund raising for an employee of the marina. He died of complications I don't know the circumstances but it happened just recently. I may have met him last year but don't remember, anyway he was 32 years old with 3 children the smallest 3 months old and a wife. Everyone helped out as much as they could and raised 1200 bucks to help the wife and kids. It was very cool to be involved in helping. I didn't help much but being there meant heaps to the family, they were very grateful to everyone that helped.
The Fijian people are so good to anyone that comes into there lives, i wish the family well and hope they come through this ok.
I have had a hit for crew , we will see what happens.
For now , a good night to all and never count on tomorrow it may not come so live it up boys and girls.


Monday, August 8, 2011


Hello All,
It has been a while since I wrote so I will get you up to speed. I have just been doing little projects on the boat, polishing stainless and inspecting the rigging. The boat is ready to go to Vanuatu but I still have no crew. I had a few bites but nothing came of it. I do have a guy I met here crewing on another boat that said he would help if nothing else works out. His Skipper doesn't plan to leave Fiji right away so he could spare a few weeks. That would get me at least to Port Vila, Vanuatu. If that doesn't work I will go by myself.
There is an American boat that just showed up here a few days ago, I have met them a few times in the coarse of my trip. They plan to leave to Vanuatu next week so I will run with them. They are faster than me but we can figure out the right time to leave and we will end up together on Tanna Island. It is only a 4 day crossing so it shouldn't be a big deal. There is always hope but time is running out and I need to get this boat moving one way or another.
Port Vila is a very popular stop over for yachts , in fact I almost had a guy fly up here from there. Rob on Compass Rose posted a crew wanted add for me there and this guy emailed me. He found another boat to crew on in the mean time so I get to punt again.
I have made some good friends here while I have been waiting so there is always a bright side to things and you couldn't really pick a better spot to be stranded. hehe In fact the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks was filmed not to far from here.
Well that's all for now, I will talk to you soon.