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Code Blue – Falaga Island then to Vuda (Vunda) Point Marina August 19, 2016

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2016.
Vuda Point Marina - While going up the mast I took some pictures of the marina while at the top, when I was taking off the Maretron wind unit.

Vuda Point Marina – While going up the mast I took some pictures of the marina while at the top, when I was taking off the Maretron wind unit.

To s/v Code Blue folks, 8-18-16

Monday We went into the Village at Falaga (Falanga) Island, Moana-i-Cake, presented our kava with $50 attached along with the Japanese couple’s presentation then we headed to our hosts George and Ma, that they assign us to. George is the head teacher for the school so he was in school, Ma had lemon tea again and then gave us a short tour of the village in the rain and dropped us off for kava drinking at the chief’s house. This was our first kava drinking. Lunch with George and Ma, More village tour, then we went back to the boat to get our Viking Liferaft that was eight years old that would have cost about the same to service it as to buy a new liferaft. We met up with George with a wheelbarrow at 3:30pm at shore to take it to his house. Much easier than going around the island by dinghy to the village side.

Tuesday I went diving at the pass. It took a while to get the big motor on the dinghy as had to find the key, put the motor on, get our gear then head out, We were late as the pass had kicked into high gear coming in. Judy passed on snorkeling as the water was too fast. I did a short dive and then another dive. Great dives but only about 12 minutes long to 28 feet as the water was very fast. Lots of hard coral and some fish.
Wednesday we headed into the village. Did a tour of the next village. At lunch one of the teachers ate with us. We made plans to do a talk as two classes joined together about liferafts, then deploy the liferaft, then a bit of practice rescue and such. About 30 kids were super excited. It took seven seconds to inflate fully. Then shot off one of the parachute flares. I like the pull cord type flares. The village kids usually swim about 4:30pm every day unless rain or stormy. The raft looked in pristine condition, and inflated correct side up. It was a valise unit that looked a bit tattered on the outside, even though we had a Sunbrella cover for it, but stored just in front of our dodger. We showed them how to do rescue pulls into the raft, threw the ring for practice and did a talk earlier for two classes in one classroom location. At one point 10 kids were inside the raft. We liked the inflated front entry for easy getting into the raft. The newer ones now have an easier to see neon yellow roof canopy. The kids have now adopted the liferaft as a toy for their water world.
We left Falaga on Thursday the 4th as a weather front was coming. George and Ma gave us a nice decorative bowl and we bought a kava bowl from the village. We headed out using our auxiliary autopilot once outside the pass then started sailing so switched to Heidi. Later the winds died so we switched back to the aux. autopilot. Then early the next morning Friday the rudder arm to the windvane fell off about 1:30am. We then sailed with Heidi until Saturday late morning, The winds died, so hand steered while motoring. After a while the winds built, so back to Heidi until 3pm they were fairly strong then gusting to 38 kts with mostly mid 30’s and a small 70% jib. Early Sunday morning after midnight we went thru the outer reef pass that we saw s/v Atlantic a 55 meter sail vessel and a large Carnival cruise ship motor thru the pass. We also had gone thru this pass twice before and had our AIS tracks, plus there was a night time range marker system. Much calmer waters on the inside and we slowed way down to time our approach to coincide with getting to Denarua by daylight. Our hearts were beating a bit fast with the transit thru the pass in the middle of the night.
At Denaru we motored close to s/v Scintilla and we noticed an open slip. After talking to security he said go ahead and take it then check with reservations. It was still too early so we headed to Scintilla, Chris and Chris, and had breakfast at their boat. Checking with reservations they had us move from C-33 to C-30. I had an electrician from Boabob Marine come to the boat for the Main Autopilot. After about an hour he thought take it out and have the Boabob folks in Vuda Point Marina check it out. He thought the actuator was trying to work but the drive unit was not doing anything. He had two installations starting up and wouldn’t have any time for several days. I found out the local dive shop now also does hydro’s on tanks. The only other one in the country Dive Center is located in Suva. I took a leaky valve on another scuba tank in, but he couldn’t rebuild it and didn’t have any spares, new or used. We’re headed back to the states in a few days so I’ll work on the valve then. ( I’ve just found out the valve is fine but it did need a new O-ring with some testing at a Seattle Dive shop. The tech also thought ream the valve mating surface on the tank. ) I’m thinking I might have a spare at the house too. We had Chinese dinner with Scintilla folks at the local restaurant. Judy did some shopping for food with Chris on Monday afternoon.
Tuesday we moved to Vuda Point Marina, but it was too late to do much so we had dinner at the Boat Shed restaurant with Pam and Eric of Pied-a-Mer a 38′ Cat. They were supposed to cross the Pacific with us from Paradise Village, Mexico, but they had genset problems so they were delayed a year to 2015. Wednesday we emptied out the quarter berth to get to the access cover at the very back of the berth to the Main Autopilot linear drive unit. After a few hours I had it out, played with it a bit and loosened the motor case but decided it was too complicated for me, and handed it to Martin from Boabob. He took it to the main shop locally and had his electricians and hydraulic folks work on it. Later Wednesday he reported back that they thought they could fix it. Thursday he was out sick due to not able to walk. I called him on the phone and he made some calls to find out status. Friday they were still working on it, but it would be done about 3pm, he was still out sick, not able to walk. I got a ride from a competitor to the shop about a mile away, who gave me a number for another guy incase Boabob didn’t work out. At the shop, after two guys the third guy showed me the unit. He said it was working when they got it. Must have been my messing with it I figure. Anyway they changed the hydraulic oil $4.50 that was really bad after 13 years. They worked on the motor and called it good with three hours labor so total came to $199.50 FD, about $100 USD. He showed me the operation of it, in and out and worked fine. It still looked rusty on the outside and he thought another 2 1/2 hours to sandblast it, prime and paint it at $65 an hour FD. So I took the unit back to the boat as it was after 4pm on Friday and we were leaving Saturday evening. Saturday we still had a lot of packing and boat haul out preparation to do but I wanted to check out the autopilot, so I installed and hooked it up. For the wires I just used clothes pins to connect the wires. This took about an hour. I did a power steering test that worked fine and then tried to do an autopilot test as best I could in our cyclone pit. It worked backwards but the book said that would be corrected when we calibrated it and did our circles. Yeah, I think we’re good, but the final work will need to be done when we get back.
Back to Pied-a-Mer, Pam announced on the 8am net that we’d have a potluck at their boat for Wednesday night. We had 13 people show up. We worked on getting the boat ready for the haulout on Friday. Friday we had a time of 8am for haulout but no one showed up by 8:15am, so I walked over to Moe the travel lift guy. He asked me for a green slip of paper. No one told be about paperwork, so I went to the office. They filled out a form and I signed saying it’s all my fault incase anything happens to the boat. I took this to Moe and gave him the green sheet, I kept the yellow sheet. They were over about 8:30am to help us out of our slip and over to the travel lift. Nine o’clock we were in the pressure wash area so lots of growth on the green slime water line area, barnacles on the hull enough to warrant aggressive water pressure cleaning. We’ll paint in Fiji when we get back it looks like is the new plan.
April 7th, 2015 we put on 8 liters of AL Sea Barrier AF3000 Ocean Blue ablative antifoul, several folks say this is the commercial version of Altex #5 recreational but about $30 cheaper per 4 liter pail. We also had 5 coats of Copper Coat put on in the rudder/skeg and propeller area, plus a small area near the bow as a test. These are the copper granules impregnated into resin that can run up to $10,000 for a bottom job but is supposed to last 10 years with cleanup once a year or so. We didn’t notice much difference for barnacle growth between the two but with the pressure wash we were able to clean off most of the barnacles on the Copper Coat and with some putty knife work got most of the rest off. On the paint area most of the barnacles came off but they left a ring residue that won’t come off without some sanding. There was also some calcium worm type residue on the bottom foot of the keel we think from our long stay in Whangarie. Pressure wash didn’t do much and putty knife didn’t help much either. Sanding with a power sander is needed. This was pretty disappointing for hull bottom paint performance, even the Copper Coat we expected better. By 10am they were done with the pressure wash and putty knife help. So the travel lift crew said they were taking a tea break, normally a 15 minute break.
We could hear lots of yelling and horn honking so we figured the Fijian Rugby team was doing pretty good in the Olympics as there was a TV in the break area. I had no idea this was the final against Great Britain. Fiji won 40 to 7. The first metal ever in the Olympics for Fiji and even better being a gold metal. People talked about it the rest of the day on Friday. The travel lift team came back to work about 11am. They took the boat over to G-33 was the plan the last time I talked to several members. Which I agreed to. They got to G-33 and went right over it headed to another hole, I asked Moe what was going on and found out they were taking it to another hole that was much smaller but not far away. I found out Joe was the guy to talk to so we got him on the phone. I explained that I was told we were going to G-33 which was big enough to paint the bottom while in the pit. The other holes were not. He came over to take a look. We finally agreed on going into G-33 and I would hire at least one paint helper at $35 for 4 hours and if he worked more it would be $8 an hour. I agreed so Joe said OK to go in G-33. Then we could hang the boat over night to paint the spots we couldn’t get while in the pit.
I went up the mast to retrieve our Maretron wind instrument WSO100 that has been a bit wild with wind readings of over 150 kts at times. This is off and on and usually less error but still a problem. The problems went away for a while but have since come back. We thought maybe bird droppings or dirt somehow but it looked pretty clean.
The local marina restaurant serves Fiji Bitter beer (a pale lager beer) and Fiji Gold beer (a light lager beer) both are normally $5.50 per bottle at the Boat Shed restaurant. Happy Hour on Tuesday evenings from 5 to 6pm these beers are $3.90 each. It was announced around the marina for the rest of the day Friday, Fiji Gold would be $2 each FD, about $1 USD, in celebration of the Rugby Fiji Gold Metal. To say the restaurant was busy might be an understatement. Almost all the picnic tables outside were filled to capacity, plus all the tables inside. People were buying beers like crazy. Earlier in the day a guy bought a round for the whole bar, at that point only 14 people. We went over to the boat shed and had two beers each plus split a fish and chips.
Just a note on Hydrovane, they cut the price in half from $35 to $17.50 for the replacement part and should receive in a few days.
Steve and Judy
s/v Code Blue (boat is in Fiji at Vuda Point Marina in a cyclone pit, we’re in Seattle area until Sept. 20th getting ready for more work on the boat when we get back.)
 – s / j –


1. Cissy - August 19, 2016

Steve, I so enjoyed this entry. I am looking forward to seeing you and Judy in September!! Cissy

2. Marie & Greg - August 19, 2016

See you next week. Marie & Greg

3. Pam Driscoll - August 19, 2016

Love the picture of the islands and it what a great idea to give your raft away to the school kids, love that picture too!

4. Bill Patterson - September 21, 2016

Good to see you at the class reunion and to meet Judy. Sorry we were not able to meet on Sunday. Back in Chi town and Di just arrived yesterday. Keep in touch and we’ll do likewise.

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