Thursday, November 2, 2017

October 25 through 31, 2017 - Passage from Tonga to New Zealand

Jerome left the boat at about 8:30AM, with his wife Karen, and everyone's passports.  He got Karen to a cab which she took to the airport to catch a flight to New Zealand.  Jerome had to visit the customs office to check-out of Tonga.  He arrived back on-board around 10:00.  After securing the dinghy on the boat deck, we pulled anchor at about 10:30AM and slowly motored out to sea, leaving Tonga behind us  The winds were light and the skies bright.  Unfortunately for me, I was not feeling well.  Overnight I got sick and threw up a few times.  I have deducted that I got sick as a result of the sandwich I ate on-board the flight from Fiji to Tonga.  It was a turkey sandwich, and it tasted a little "off".  I should not have eaten it.  Cindy and Paul did not eat their sandwiches.  Paul said his sandwich looked a bit "sketchy" and he decided not to take the risk.  I did, and I got sick.  Paul is a friend of Jerome's that has also joined us to move the boat.  So, there were four of us on-board;  Jerome, Paul, Steve and Cindy.

One of the nicest pilothouses around.
Jerome's Nordhavn 60.

I did not feel very good that first day, but fortunately the ride was pretty smooth and easy.  Even so, both Paul and Cindy quickly succumbed to sea sickness and neither of them were feeling well by late day.  We spent the first day getting familiar with the boat, and settling into our routine.  I was feeling almost back to normal by evening.  We each stood 3 hour watches at the helm, followed by 9 hours off.  Jerome took the 6:00-9:00 shift, Cindy 9:00-12:00, Steve 12:00-3:00, and Paul finished up the rotation in the 3:00-6:00 slot.  Each of us had 2 shifts per day (AM and PM).  At each shift change, the incoming watch-stander performs an engine room check.  You use a temperature gun to check the temperature of several items, as well as checking for any leaks, or water in the bilge.  It takes about 3 minutes.  The temperatures get logged into a notebook.  Since Cindy was sick, I ended up doing double duty for 2 or 3 shifts, meaning I was on watch from 9:00-3:00.  I was getting pretty tired by the time she recovered enough to be able to stand watch.

One of the display screens.  Radar on the left.  The chart in the upper right.
On the lower right is an engine room camera.  You can seen Jerome taking a
temperature reading of the transmission.  He is in the back of the engine room.

Cindy on watch, Jerome talking on the Sat phone

Paul grabbing a bite to eat in the salon.

Cindy doing some homework on one of the salon couches.

Standing watch basically means that you are the sole person in charge of the operation of the vessel.  You are monitoring the engine gauges, the radar, chart plotters, the VHF radios, and more, to make sure that everything is operating as expected, and that we are staying on course and not going to run into anything.  It is an easier job during the day than at night, when visibility is reduced to near zero.  We had mostly cloudy skies during the entire passage, so there was no moon to light the way.

Paul catching a nap on the second salon couch.   The smoothest ride is
in the salon and it becomes the "bed" of choice when the seas get rough.

Cindy during her late-night watch.  How many 15 year old girls do you know that
are in charge of a multi-million dollar yacht, in the middle of an ocean,
 while everyone else aboard is sound asleep?

During the second to last night, on Cindy's watch, the engine suddenly sounded an alarm.  There is a digital display panel that revealed a problem with the fuel pump.  This boat, as with virtually all Nordhavns, is a single engine boat.  There is a small auxiliary engine that can drive the boat at about half speed.  The main propulsion comes from a single John Deer diesel.  This diesel has one fuel pump, so this alarm definitely got our attention!  A diesel will not run without fuel....

The engine computer has detected a wiring fault with the engine's fuel pump.
We are still about 300 miles offshore.
 Jerome had this same error about 1 month ago in Fiji and was able to track the issue down to one of the two electrical connections on the fuel pump.  He wiggled and pressed on the connectors a month ago and the alarm stopped.  It has not happened since.  We also stopped the alarm by wiggling and pressing on the connectors.  The alarm would go off very randomly, with breaks from every 10 seconds to more than 24 hours.   We dealt with this for more than 24 hours.  Jerome and Paul went down with some blue painter's tape and taped the connector to the fuel pump to help keep it firmly pressed into the fuel pump.  That took care of it, and the alarm did not sound during our last 24 hours to New Zealand.  We did not want to disconnect the connectors until reaching New Zealand for fear that we might break something and render the main engine inoperable.

We had dinner together every night. This was the only time we all sat down together
to eat.  Every other meal was up to each person, and depended on their watch schedule.
During our last dinner together we had a slight mishap.  The seas had been building and changing direction throughout the day.  They were now the biggest of the trip, and coming from the port rear quarter.  This presented the biggest challenge for the stabilizer system and at times the boat just could not remain level and would suddenly lean to one side, then rapidly back to the other before returning to a level position.  Just after sitting down to dinner, and after pouring a few glasses of apple juice into cups, we experienced one of these events.  It sent the table sliding on the floor, and toppled the apple juice cups.  We spent the next several minutes cleaning up the spilled juice, which went everywhere!  Other than that single incident, the seas did not cause us any problems.

We arrived in Whangarei (pronounced Fong-ah-ray), New Zealand, at about 2:30AM, on October 31.  Whangarei Bay is huge, with oil tankers visiting an oil refinery.  We headed to the Marsden Point Marina and tied up to "C" dock.  We were supposed to go to the customs dock ("B" dock), but it was already full with several boats that arrived just an hour prior to our arrival.

We traveled just about 1100 nautical miles, and were underway for a little more than 6.5 days.  The weather was fantastic for this crossing.  Many boats get completely beat up trying to make this trip, and these waters have a very bad reputation for rough seas.  We had the perfect weather window, thanks to Jerome's two weather routers.

Video of the seas while underway

Now for some fun.  New Zealand has many things to see and do.  We are going to spend the next few weeks exploring.  The challenge is going to be deciding what to see, and what not to see!

"Daybreak" tied safely to the dock after 1100 miles at sea.

Jerome, Paul, Cindy, Steve.  Whangarei, New Zealand.

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