Albert Cove is indeed a beautiful place, especially on a calm day!
On the way back to the boat from the beach one day, Joseph asked if he could try out Monty’s paddle board.
As always, a race ensued.
Some boisterous winds gusting to 23+ on our instruments gave us reason to stay put in the cove for a week. The weather had been a mixed bag of sun, squalls and occasional showers. During one rain, we were able to catch some water and partially fill our tanks. Rainwater is a welcome source of water, but, fortunately, the water in the cove was reasonably clear so we could make water with our watermaker.
We found the temperature cooler here and resorted to putting a blanket on the bed. Since arriving in Fiji, we had just used a sheet. The El Nino was probably causing these unusually windy cooler conditions.
On a couple afternoons, when it was not too windy and the sun was out, we went snorkeling in the reef behind the boat with Serge. Although the reefs seemed close when we stood on stern of the boat, they were actually a fair distance away, too far to swim confidently if fatigued and cold. So we took our dinghy and dropped the anchor on a sanding patch in the reef. The coral and fish were spectacular. There were some large parrot fish and a grouper. We agreed with Serge we would keep the grouper a secret or it would soon be someone’s dinner.
The ocean temperature is not that warm and most cruisers wear full wetsuits, often 5 mm thick. Serge even wears a hood and booties. He can stay in the water a lot longer than us, with our shorty wet suits. Oh, I wish I had bought a full wetsuit in New Zealand before we left!
One day we got in the water and inspected the hull. We were surprised by the amount of growth and barnacles on the hulls, keels, rudders and props. Scraping it off with a plastic scraper was a very good workout in the strong wind and currents. At times, the current would woosh me from bow to stern, like being in a fast moving river. There was just no fighting it! I felt good that I had contributed to the effort, but had some difficulty effectively cleaning the hull with the rather soft plastic scraper I had been using. Monty told me later there was a new scraper he had purchased in Whangarei.
One morning, Monty saw a whale surface next to our boat. He called me and I ran to take a picture but tripped on the stairs so I missed seeing it. Maybe next time. Joanne and Serge had seen it too and thought it was probably a mink whale. They had tried to radio us but I had the VHF off while I was trying to listen to a SSB radio net. Lessons learned, never turn off the VHF radio and no running on the boat!
Monty had changed some alternator belts and one water pump belt in Viani Bay, but now it was time to change the other water pump belt and tighten the recently replaced belts. Serge came by and helped with the final tightening adjustments. Monty has been doing other maintenance chores and learning more about the boat as he went over Christian’s scheduled maintenance list and the many manuals. Every day he is digging in the cockpit lockers familiarizing himself with tools and parts.