Day 25, Year 2: Time To Shift Into High Gear
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2007
Weather Today: Mostly Cloudy and Windy
Location: Suva, Fiji

Sometimes I think I’m married to a maniac and other times I’m sure of it. Mark decided to spend part of today hauling jerry cans of diesel fuel from the Yacht Club out here to the boat. When he gets in that dinghy by himself, he takes off like a bat out of you know where. He loves it and it makes me smile. But I’m glad I’m not with him! Today he zoomed to shore, filled the jerry cans, came back and filled the fuel tanks, and then took off again to get more fuel. Watching him is liking watching a flash of lightening. But the runs in and out were necessary as it is really impossible for a boat our size to actually get into the Yacht Club dock to get fuel. Having the “flash” run in and out is really the only way to do it. This is the first fuel we have taken on since Whangarei. We used the center tank and 26 gallons of the starboard tank. The last 26 gallons in the starboard tank were used in the last two days of the passage here. We were running the engine constantly, and much of that time it was at 28 RPM’s instead of the more moderate 1800 that we usually run. At 1800 RPM’s we use a half-gallon of fuel every hour. In the last 41 hours of our passage going at the high speed we still used only .6 gallons per hour. Not bad, actually. The cost of diesel here is $1.50 per liter which is $5.66 per gallon Fiji or $3.56 US. That means the last 41 hours of our passage cost us $74.76 US. That’s certainly more than sailing would have cost, but with those winds against us, we might still be out there. I guess we’re willing to spend the money in cases like that.

For those of you who know me, you know I love sunshine. So for me to say that I am learning to love cloudy is really saying something. It is so hot here when the sun is out that I am truly learning to appreciate the times when the clouds give a little buffer. Even though it was mostly cloudy today, we still had more than enough sunshine, and that prompted us to get out the sewing machine and fashion our new sun shades. Actually Mark did all of that work, so I shouldn’t say “we.” When he first made the sun shade for the cockpit back in Panama, he made it all as one piece. We could lay it over the dodger and bimini and then roll up the sides when we didn’t need it. But laying the Texalena over the Sunbrella covers was wearing the Sunbrella. Replacing those covers is very expensive, so now we just have side shades that hang independently. We can still roll them up when not in use, or take them down and store them when underway. My part of the job was cleaning the mildew stains from the plastic mesh. At some point, we had stored the shade in a plastic bag when it was not quite dry. Instead of light tan, the mildew stains made it look more light gray. But “the mix” fixed that. My sister-in-law, Sue, wrote today and said she uses the same cleaning mix of detergent, ammonia, and white vinegar that I use. But she often adds baking soda. I stayed with my basic formula and it did its magic, but next time I might add the baking soda just to watch the mixture bubble.

After filling the diesel tanks and hanging the new sun shades, we got to work on researching our Fiji travel itinerary. Somehow we have put this off, but an email from Mark’s brother Steve saying that he thinks he can come visit us here in Fiji got us moving. We need to let him know when we will be where, and since we haven’t figured that out, the time had come. We also need to get a letter to Lau Group Provincial Office on Monday or Tuesday declaring our intentions to visit there and when. We have really been taking it easy since we got here. We have done lots of boat projects, but we really haven’t been in high gear. Our research today showed us that we need to shift gears. Otherwise, we will be in Fiji for the whole cruising season. That would probably be fine, but we really want to see Vanuatu, so we are now moving. There is so much to see here and we need to get that itinerary done. So I’ll end this log here and get back to the travel and cruising guides. Maybe by tomorrow evening, we’ll actually have a sail plan together.