Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall charting our adventures as we sail around the world. We're sailing up and down the east coast of Australia after a summer back in Britain.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Day 6 - a technical hitch and some very sad news

After nearly 30 hours motor-sailing through the night the wind has shifted to the NNW as we begin to sail down the west side of the high pressure so at 07.00 the engine went off and we're sailing downwind. The Parasailor was hoisted at 10.30am and we're currently bowling along in wonderful sailing conditions. Very pleased with that.
our update at 00.00UTC Wednesday 29th October is as follows:

Position: 27 degrees 55 mins south, 174 degrees, 19 mins east
Wind: NNW 12-16 knots
Boat: 4.8-5.3 knots SOG at 184 degrees true, 1 knot adverse current)
Sea: 1.5m mostly northerly
Pressure: 1018hPa
Cloud cover: 5% Cumulus all around, bright sunshine and blue
Mileage covered in past 24 hours: 137nm
Unfortunately that's about the only good news to report today. Yesterday Graham spotted a problem on the battery monitor gauge – even though the engine had been running for hours and the batteries should have been fully charged, it was showing that the alternator was pumping 33 amps into them. We stopped the engine and inspected the batteries (in a sealed locker below our bunk) and found one of them was almost too hot to touch, with the electrolyte boiling like a simmering kettle. Not good. Our previous experience in Tonga told us immediately that the batter had shorted internally and all those amps were just being turned into heat. So we've now isolated that battery and are down to just one house battery plus the separate engine-starting battery.
It looks as though our hope that we'd be able to nurse the ailing batteries in to NZ for replacement rather than buying perhaps inferior Fijian ones might have been optimistic. The remaining battery is pretty tired so it'll be interesting to see how much charge it holds tonight (during the day the solar panels easily keep up with demands from the fridge and nav systems) but we may have to switch off unnecessary loads like the fridge and run the generator every 3 hours or so. Just in case, we've programmed in all our waypoints into our hand-held GPS which runs off AA batteries but it shouldn't come to needing that we hope!
The really bad and sad news is that we received an email from Adam and Cindi on Bravo yesterday. Adam had managed to talk to Batai, the nurse at Fulaga, on the SSB and had been told the shocking news that Meli had passed away that morning. We know he'd been ill for a few weeks and had gone to hospital in Suva but it transpires he had cancer of the gall bladder. We still can't quite believe it as he was such a strong, healthy guy when were there; it's just so sad. Maybe it's because we've been at sea for a few days (we're not normally into the 'spirits' stuff) but on the night he died Dianne had a vivid dream of sitting in Meli and Jiko's house chatting to Meli, whilst on Graham's morning watch he suddenly found himself humming a Fijian song that he'd filmed Meli and his brother-in-law Ledua singing.
Meli leaves his widow Jiko and children Jima (2) and Jona (8) plus an extended family in both Suva and Fulaga. Thankfully Adam and Cindi can attend the funeral in Suva on Friday so will represent us and the other yachties who met and appreciated  Meli.

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