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Sweet Dream - Day 167 July 1, 2019

Dawn brought the wind round to our nose. We motor sailed in the clear light of day. The sky was blue with just wisps of clouds, the water flattened out for a more comfortable ride. We were happy to leave the stormy reef strewn waters of the Koro sea behind us. It was a pleasant day. No drama, no emergencies, then at the time of sundown (and what an extraordinarily beautiful one it was, too), just as we were eating some new vegetables from the farmers market, we noticed that the alternator was not charging. Well, so much for a stress free day. We were exactly two miles from the fringing reef on Mbegga when Captain decided to turn off the engine, turn on the generator, and tighten the fan belt. Anxious moments crawled by as we drifted at about one knot per hour toward the reef. There were exactly two knots of real wind at that time! Oy! Finally, we could restart the engine! Alas, it was not the fan belt. So we moved all perishable items into one fridge(soooooo happy we had not provisioned yet!), turned off the second fridge, kept the radar off, and hand steered to conserve power. After two hours, Captain reckoned that if the alternator wasn’t charging the batteries, it would be ok to run the generator at the same time as the motor. Some how this feels dubious to me, but engines are not my area of expertise, so my concerns have been squelched and we are carrying in with motors humming in stereo. It is very odd sounding. This makes me realise that sailing at night is way more dependent on the sense of hearing than I realised. I’m used to the boat sounding a certain way when we are motor sailing, and tonight it is just weird. To add to the unsettling, there are many more lights all around than we have seen since leaving Panama. The south coast if Viti Levu is lit with an amazing array of lamps, very few of which are in either of our chart plotters or the paper chart! And there are small islands too, with their own lights, not where one would expect them. And, then there are the boats. Cargo ships, tourist ships, sailboats, power boats, several navy boats, and fishing boats! It is an exciting game trying to match the lights with the charts and boats. Sure keeps the watch from being dull! After our fiasco in Savu Savu, we thought to book a berth at the marina in Denerau. Unfortunately, they are already full! The marina at Vuda does not take reservations at all. The joys of cruising in high season!


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