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Logbook: Mociu (Honeymoon Rock)

Technically this isn’t a logbook entry because we spent the day here with The Gong Show (our dinghy). On a flat windless
day we sped the 4.5 miles around the side of Malalo Island to a place with a reportedly gorgeous beach and nice snorkeling – Mociu or Honeymoon Rock (S17°43'07.74" E177°08'54.03").

The beach was one of those perfect beaches. Often tourist boats come here and we were lucky enough to only see a few with small groups of snorkelers and we had the beach to ourselves. Great sand, great color water in all directions in the shallows, and we had perfect weather for it.

We started snorkeling off the beach and quickly decided that we must not be in the right spot. We saw a tourist boat go to the North side of the island with snorkelers and so we followed. Lovely live coral, nice array of fish. It was a good day in the water. Maybe not spectacular after all we’ve seen, but I’ll take that day any time.



Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/28/2015

Logbook: Mociu (Honeymoon Rock)

Kiting Pics from Musket Cove Sandbar

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musket9Cruiser Kiter Beta:

Pump up and launch within 3 hours either side of low tide (otherwise the bar is underwater) from approximately S17°46'47.76" E177°10'32.35".

Mostly sand with some coral reefs and some small bits of coral rubble near the bar.

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Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/25/2015

Kiting Pics from Musket Cove Sandbar

Espresso aboard Estrellita

Gear reviews on this blog normally involve boat related gear but I have to give a shout out to our 6 year old All-Clad manual espresso machine. No corrosion, no breakage, no reduction in quality – it just keeps working. Not only for our coffees but for those we make for friends in what we have affectionately been calling “Café Estrellita”.

P1050160We really enjoy having people over impromptu, in the middle of the day and it is nice to have something fancy, non alcoholic and relatively inexpensive to offer people who come aboard. With a stash of raw sugar and some UHT milk in a small glass jar, it is a small social production, a fragrant ritual that for this former Western Washingtonian, feels like home turf.

While buddy boating with some of our favorite people it got to the point where we would go on our shared VHF channel and simply say “Café Estrellita is open” and soon enough people would start stopping by. We even started keeping a stash of decaf for one friend who would come over with his own soy milk. If you don’t use it daily it would probably be annoying to store but we are happy to make room for it.

There are many pieces of actual boat gear aboard that I love, and a lot of toys as well, but if I had to go with my favorite piece of “home” it would be a tie between our thick memory foam mattress and this fancy but reliable piece of kitchen gear*.

*We paid about $100 which as coffee addicted working people felt reasonable. Unfortunately, it appears not to be manufactured anymore by All-Clad and the replacement mark is $178!

Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/22/2015

Espresso aboard Estrellita

Logbook: Musket Cove on Malolo Island (Fiji)

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P1060444I am pleasantly surprised at how much we have enjoyed our two weeks at Musket Cove. We thought it would be pool-and-bar-resort, cruiser-summer-camp living – which we quite enjoy but usually not for more than a week. Musket Cove did not disappoint on that factor. The bar is fun, the cruiser gang is lively, having a cocktail at a resort pool is always fun, and all of the facilities were free or inexpensive after joining the Musket Cove Yacht Club ($15FJD for the two of us).

But what kept us here (besides boat chores) was the water sports and the much higher than average concentration of water sport junkies on cruising boats. It seems like every other boat in the anchorage this early in the season has a surfer aboard and we have had a small kite gang going most windy days. The surf breaks in the area are world renown and the sand bar is a fun kite spot. The “stoked” vibe among the water sports junkies is contagious and *gasp* there was even one other female kiter in the anchorage…and she rocked.

11259478_10153249656851772_3882370747196610116_nWith all of the out of the tropics travel we’ve done, we had our first five days of kiting in 2015 all at Musket Cove. On one windless day we checked out the surf (awesome) and snorkel (ok) at Namotu and on another windless day we snorkeled at Honeymoon Island (North side was lovely – more on that later).

We anchored outside of the mooring field which was a little deep (nearly 60’ at high tide) but in good holding. Apparently the spot gets crazy busy in high season and it has already changed in the two weeks we’ve been here with boats arriving from NZ and boats going in the water from Vuda Point.

We’re heading now into “town” for some errands and supplies and who knows where to next.

Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/20/2015

Logbook: Musket Cove on Malolo Island (Fiji)

Things We Don’t Like About Our Pretorien

pretorienWe were asked this question a while ago. What are the things that are missing for us in the Pretorien, some of which we can’t really change, some would be painful to change, and some of which we just haven’t made time or money to change yet.

Usually I write about how much we like our boat. Basically we love almost everything about our boat as a sailing machine. We love most things about our boat as a cruising machine. All boats are compromises and overall, in our price range, we feel like we have a boat that chose the right side of each compromise for us. Compromise is the key because for some of the things we don’t like, if we changed them or bought a boat that had what we wanted, we would be left with a different set of problems. Also, some of the things we would like to have are often found on larger and/or more expensive boats but rarely found in our size and price range. As usual, if anyone has a spare Mumby 48 or Atlantic 47 in their pocket, we’ll take it, but if we are paying, we’ll save our boat bucks for toys and experiences rather than more square footage.

Things Our Pretorien Doesn’t Have That We Wish It Had

  1. naissance ...A swim step – We are water people. We are in the tropics. Squeezing around a back stay and climbing down a ladder is less fun. Having somewhere to sit at water level would be more fun.
  2. A bed at a normal height – We’re used to it, but climbing up into our v-berth is way less comfortable than sliding into a normal height bed.
  3. A rectangular bed – Not that we don’t like playing footsies but a normal rectangular bed would really really be nice. The whole bed issue irritates me enough to occasionally drive me to online yacht selling sites.
  4. Insulated or cored hull – Actually we don’t wish we had a cored hull, but insulation maybe. Basically, we wish that in high latitudes our boat didn’t sweat inside like a high capacity watermaker. Condensation on the interior of the hull makes long term high latitude sailing a no go item for us. 3 winters aboard in British Columbia almost killed the dream but if we had a non-sweating hull (or less so) it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Of course, high latitude sailing would also mean leaving the tropics which we aren’t ready to do yet.

Things Our Pretorien Does Have That We Wish Were Done Differently

  1. wauquiez_adA fridge with decent insulation – This is a standard re-do item on Pretoriens and really most boats of this era.
  2. Some sort of shelving or organization of the gigantic starboard locker. We love the locker but it is a bottomless pit. This is, obviously, fixable.
  3. Better gasoline storage options – we don’t put jerry cans on deck with the exception of the dinghy tank, with the dinghy, behind the mast on passage.. We make do with storing extra gas in the anchor locker (vented). It’s mildly annoying.
  4. More comfortable seating – This is something we can change without too much fuss and we plan to do so at some point. We would like cushions that roll over the lip so that the back of your thighs aren’t on wood, rounded corner pieces and a bit more back support.
  5. The countertop – We have a love-hate relationship with the tile countertop in the Pretorien. It is adorable, homey, and terminally dirty. Grout and cruising should not be mixed. We love being able to put a hot pan on the counter, but we can buy silicone trivets. If we do a galley refit, this will be changed.

meubles basThings That Are Not On These Lists 

People are commonly worried about a few things about the Pretorien for cruising such as tankage (water and diesel) and the size. We have a watermaker and find the diesel tankage (with three additional jerry cans – which are a good idea for schlepping diesel in the dinghy anyways) to be sufficient. Although more interior volume would be great at anchor, it isn’t on our list for things that drive us crazy about the boat.

Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/17/2015

Things We Don’t Like About Our Pretorien

Making Our Own Cockpit Cushions

P1060455I took a sewing and cooking class in middle school in which I learned some basic sewing. Fast forward nearly 30 years later and I have done almost no sewing since. I am definitely not an experienced seamstress and so it was with some trepidation that I bought a Sailrite sewing machine and the supplies for some major canvas projects on our boat.

While the sewing machine was crossing the ocean from the USofA to Fiji in a container, I watched a bunch of videos from Sailrite’s impressive stock of free tutorials on their youtube page. In addition to their project videos, if you are inexperienced like me, I particularly recommend their basic sewing videos and their sewing machine tension adjustment videos.

As previously blogged about, the first projects I worked on were simple repairs to the sacrificial sun covering on our jib, our mainsail cover, dodger, bimini, and our mainsail. Because I was mostly working with UV proof GoreTex TenaraP1060459 thread on these sun exposed bits, I had a great deal of problems maintaining proper thread tension and I was very happy I had watched all of the tensioning videos and read through Sailrite’s tensioning and Tenara/PTFE section in the small manual that came with the machine. Even so, occasionally as the fabric thickness changed on the jib I would drop a zig or a zag and get a single straight stitch. As this was simply the sunbrella covering, the stitching of which has partially rotten off twice in the sun, I am still glad to have chosen the Tenara.

The first major item of new business that I tacked were cockpit cushions. Somehow, we have managed to cruise for nearly 5 years without them. We have had blue chairs a la West Marine, and we still have (and enjoy) our beanbag pillows from Tahiti, but we were seriously overdue for some arse cushioning.

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Sailrite’s video on making your own cockpit cushions, available free on their site, is truly impressive as an educational -instructional piece. The video is clear and precise. Everything I needed to do the job was explained including a materials list and project checklist. They spend time going over the complicated bits several times and show the simple bits only once.  I must have watched the entire video 4 times and parts of it a half dozen more during the project and by following their directions, magically, everything turned out. Each time a cushion fit into its home I was a little stunned.

cc3 (2)Our cushions are not professional quality and the small irregularities of an amateur sewing on her own boat while floating at anchor in Fiji are obvious to me. However, having seen what “pros” produce in our current location, we are confident that our final product is as good as what we would pay for here and of course, at a huge savings, plus the pride of having made them ourselves. If I hadn’t already paid for the sewing machine with our maintenance projects, I certainly covered the rest of the cost by making our own cushions.

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Lesson learned: I wish I had watched the video before ordering materials – definitely a mistake. I would have ordered piping instead of making my own (possible to do, certainly, but time consuming and not really money saving), would have done a better job of estimating materials and I would have ordered a hot knife. With that said, I was able to do without the hot knife and as we won’t be pulling the covers off often I think that it will be fine. Regarding the Sailrite machine, I don’t have a lot of experience with sewing machines so all I can say is it has ploughed through every job I’ve put at it, fairly easily (except slippery Tenara).

Posted by Team Giddyup

at 5/10/2015

Making Our Own Cockpit Cushions