Archive for September, 2012

Overcoming Inertia in Savusavu

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

HDR sunrise shot of Waitui Marina (the smoky stuff on the right is steam from the hot springs hitting the cold 85 degree water):

This is my 6th day in Fiji and I’m still sitting in Savusavu. There’s always a lot of inertia in these towns. You can get everything that you need/want. There’s access to the internet and people back home. You’re protected from weather and there’s lots of other cruisers around to hang out with. It takes effort to leave, but as Captain Ron says “if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there.” I want to be out there.

Savusavu just makes it easy. That’s the grocery store and gas station both right in front of Bodhran’s mooring:

The market downtown (5 minute walk) yielded a bountiful harvest of veggies and kava:

Fiji Bitter, because “You Earned It”

I was pretty well ready to leave a couple of days ago, I got all provisioned up. I had enough beer and kava to keep my going for at least a few weeks. Then I put my outboard on my skiff and started it up. It was running pretty rough, but I got it to start. I put it in gear and to my surprise, it went backwards. I then put it in reverse, and it went forwards. Very curious. I might have just run it that way, but it wasn’t pumping any cooling water either. So I pulled off the lower unit and checked the impellor. Sure enough a vane was broken off. I got a replacement from Dave on Soggy Paws, put it in, and reattached the lower unit. By then the sun was going down. So I left it for the night hoping that my water flow problem was at least fixed. Ricki and I went and got some Chinese food and ended up playing some music with the night watchman at Waitui Marina.

Morning in Savusavu with Madrona, from my hometown of Edmonds and Guava Jelly:

Working on outboard with the gears out of the lower unit:

The next morning I started up the motor to the same result. The motor went backwards when in forward and visa versa and it wasn’t pumping any water(sigh!!!) So now I pulled apart the lower end and took the gears out. Everything looked great. There was no problem there. While I was putting the lower end back together, Matt on Rubicon suggested that it might be running backwards. So when I got the outboard back together, I started it up and took the cowling off. Sure enough, the flywheel was running counter-clockwise, not clockwise like it’s supposed to. So it’s got to be a timing issue. Now the timing is dead simple on a one cylinder engine. There’s no adjustment. The flywheel is fixed in place by a shear pin. If the timing is off, then the key must have been sheared off. So I then proceeded to pull the flywheel off.

Hmmm? That shear pin looked as strong as ever and the flywheel was in the right position at TDC. So now it’s got to be a problem with ignition. It’s raining cats and dogs this morning, so I’m writing blog posts instead of working on my outboard, but hopefully I’ll get it running and work up enough momentum to escape the gravitational pull of Savusavu.

Nadi Layover

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Early morning touchdown in Fiji:

Ahhhhhh I love Fiji. I was trying to figure out how I was going to kill an 8 hour layover at Nadi. I have a ton of bags and they wanted 65FJD to stowe them until I could check in at 1pm. So I did a bit of internetting earlier and then pushed my cart of bags outside where I was met by Ali a cab driver who wanted to know where I was going. I told him that I was just killing off a layover and didn’t need a ride. So he offered to take me on a tour for my layover. I told him that I’d already been here and didn’t really want to go to Lautoka to see the sights. He suggested the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. I’d heard of it. I’d never been, but the alternative was to melt in the sweltering heat inside the airport. Not much of decision.

That polarizing filter sure makes Fiji pop on the way to the garden:

The Sleeping Giant is a ridge just north of Nadi that looks like a man lying on his back…..if you squint really hard and have had enough Kava. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a sprawling affair started by Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame. So I spent a nice hour walking through the garden and into the jungle up the hill. Afterwards, Ali and I sat down to some nice cold mango juice and talked about where to go next. Well like I’d told him, I’d been here a few times before and we couldn’t come up with any more sights to see. Finally, with a little twinkle in his eye, Ali asked me if I drank kava. I assured him that of course I drank kava. So 10 minutes later we were hanging out at Ali’s house drinking down a fresh made bowl with most of his extended family in the wings.

Orchids in the Garden of the Sleeping Giant:

Walkway through the gardens:

Lush layers of green everywhere:

After an hour in the shade, it was time for Ali to get back to work and drop me off. All in all not a bad way to spend a morning and cheaper than checking my bags. I just got a message that Rick is in Savusavu already and caught a nice Mahimahi this morning. It sure is nice to be back!

Ali downing a bowl of kava:

Myself and Ali:

Ali’s house:

As one Summer ends another begins

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Sunset over the Ocean Titan going up Chattam Strait:

Here I am sitting in Nadi International Airport again. Same place that I was at last time I updated this blog. I was a good Summer back home. In June, I was able to make it out to Weiser Idaho for the National Old Time Fiddle Championship with Tate, Beth, Brandon, Ian, some more of the Oregon crowd. Good time were had by all and it was great flying home and sliding right into a pickin fest.

Here’s the pics from Weiser:

Shortly after Brandon and I got back to Seattle, I went to work where instead of pulling one or two long trips, instead I did three kinda medium length trips. The first was a freight run on the Ocean Ranger out to Dutch Harbor and then Shemya near the far West end of the Aleutians. After 3 days off, I somehow landed on the Arctic Titan, Wester Towboat’s newest boat, to haul a load of salt from Vancouver up to Anchorage. Finally the day after arriving back on the Arctic Titan I did a freight run up to Whittier with a 420′ rail barge on the Ocean Titan. It would have been nice to get some more work, but I got in 64 days out of the 100 that I was home. It was nice to have the time to spend with family and friends, but money might be a little tight this year.

Here’s the pics from the various tug trips:

Here’s the pics from the Ocean Ranger Trip out to Shemya:

Here’s the pics from the Arctic Titian trip to Anchorage:

Here’s the pics from the Ocean Titian trip up to Whittier:

That pretty well catches up my photo albums for the Summer. Now it’s time to start having some adventures and creating some material for this blog.