Blown gear box, food poisoning and DOLPHINS !


Once again, we found ourselves wallowing in the ocean, drifting backwards in the current. Our stomachs still churning from a week of serious food poisoning. We had sailed only 20nm in 32hours, the wind right on the nose, making us tack back and fourth until it dropped out.


I can handle drifting for only a few microseconds after this I proceed to scream to the heavens with a sailor mouth that I would never use in public. This time how ever I screamed long and hard. I had tried in vain to get our engine to go into gear, kicking the the cockpit sides several times to motivate her and she simply wouldn’t budge. Only 12 months ago we found ourselves sailing over 500NM after our gear box blew. I knew the frustration that was about to lay ahead for us.

After 4 sleepless days chugging along on a barren ocean we limped into the Savusavu Harbour. All of a sudden our depth gauge went from 90meters to 4m and we held on for what we thought would be a crash onto an unseen reef, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dolphin backflip into the air. The girls and I raced to the bow, we hung over the anchor, while 30 or more dolphins raced in our very disappointing bow wake. The girls mimicking the dolphins squeaks, as we danced around deck, squealing. I have never seen so many dolphins, it was a huge pod. For almost two hours the girls and I grinned from ear to ear, our faces getting sprayed on ,from their blowholes. It was incredible to say the least. We all hung our arms over trying to touch them as they swam along, guiding us into the harbour.

Sometimes little things like this remind me that everything is going to be okay. I took the dolphins as a sign that we would make it to safety before dark and that we would make it through our engine dramas.

Some might think, wow its just a broken gear box, fix it, easily done. Let me tell you, any work on the engine involves our whole boat being pulled apart, the girls an I having to spend from sun up till sun down in a park somewhere ashore, while we eat soggy peanut butter sandwiches in the midday heat. When I get the girls back to the boat, I generally get moody, mostly grumpy from being so exhausted. Occupying the girls ashore is hard work when they have been to the same place for the last week, the park is no longer exciting, so they run off, looking for a fun adventure. Throw in a busy town and a heap of people and my mind is constantly working over time to make sure I know where the girls are. Anyone with kids knows how physically exhausting a full day out with kids is.

There is also a lot of stress. Knowing its going to be a few thousand to get it fixed. Do we have the money to fix it, what other options do we have, can we fix it and still cruise for a few more months. All of a sudden we are forced to look at our well and truly dwindled bank accounts and who enjoys looking at their bank accounts, maybe millionaires do, but us average Joe’s don’t enjoy it.

So for now we sit in Savusavu and try to work out our options. Savusavu is very pretty and we can save gas money by cooking our food with the locals in the hot springs 🙂 We will keep our chin up, do the best we can and remember the magic of the dolphins, is worth all this hassle


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