Eight Weeks until DEPARTURE…..

Nordhavn 62 Pendana Eight Weeks until DEPARTURE…..

Camp Pendana has been very busy with our imminent departure from these fair shores with a growing feeling of excitement and a dash of trepidation.  This I might add, seems to run in direct correlation with storage space on Pendana becoming harder and harder, to find!  Her crew are readying themselves and I am pleased to report, we humans are just about done while Pendana on the other hand, is 100% ready and has been since the day she left the factory!

Over the past few months, with having spent a lot of time on Pendana with all the animals (three cats and one dog), I am pleased to report, so far so good.  Other than “Oscar the Brave” thinking it would be a good idea to balance on the Portuguese bridge top rail and “Caesar the Magnificent,” performing his rendition of an Olympic athletes 100m dash, so far so good.  Improving all the time!


Caesar practicing the “GET LOW” command for when large swells hit!

The cats have settled in really well and can be found lounging around in the salon soaking up the sun or on the rear cockpit relaxing with the cool sea breeze gently fluffing their fur as they sleep and Caesar the Magnificent is a natural!  That being said, however, when confronted with 10-15ft short period seas there were a few pretty ordinary looking felines in the Pilothouse.  Funny, how all the animals congregated in the Pilothouse when the seas became a little uncomfortable.

Oscar The Brave with the wind in his fur!

Toilet training the animals has been a breeze and all the animals know what is expected of them and have done well in this regard.  I must say that we are grateful to the folk’s on MV Dirona (Jen and James Hamilton) who suggested we use the Breeze Kitty Litter System (http://www.tidycats.com/products/breeze) as it has proved to be even better than advertised.  Finally, a product that actually does what it claims!  Hallelujah!!! The reality is, cat urine can smell and in a small space (the boat) was something I was concerned about.  The Breeze system thankfully eliminates all odours making that particular fear now redundant.

lunch on boat
lunch on boat

A light lunch!

With the final engine and generator checks, oil change, belt inspections, spare parts ordered etc as well as servicing the tenders engine and replacing anodes our preparation for departure is now complete.

Dean topping up the oil tank with new oil!

Dean enjoying Pendana’s N14 for the last time.

Another job to get sorted before departure was to change our final VEI screen with a Hatteland flat screen monitor.  While Levi from Olectric Systems was aboard I also had him send the FLIR data from the Furuno TZ9 to the larger Hatteland monitor which should make it easier to view objects at night as well as wire in the GPS data feed to the FLIR system to enable the automatic vessel/MOB (Man Over Board) tracking feature.

Levi Olectric
Levi Olectric

Levi from Olectric, better known as “The Surgeon” starts pulling things apart…. sorry Levi I mean, starts carefully dismantling the components!

The Surgeon continues his examination.

The Surgeon working his magic!

GPS Furuno TZ9
GPS Furuno TZ9

Bingo GPS feed into TZ9 – the patient lives!

And as luck would have it our washing machine, which hasn’t seen a lot of use over the last three years decided that it no longer wanted to spin.  Jack from Asko came down to the boat (thank god for Jack!) and had it running in no time – with a new motor installed she was once again purring like a kitten. 

Washing machine slowly and carefully being removed.

Jack starts his work.

Old motor removed

New motor being installed – thank you Jack!

So, after  nearly three and half years of owning Pendana, I now truly feel like I know what most things are on the boat which is probably just as well considering the adventure we are about to embark on.  Note: knowing what things are and being able to repair/fix them are two entirely different things altogether I might add!  That being said, however, as long as the N14 (Cummins main engine) keeps going then everything else can be managed and dealt with either at sea or when we arrive in port with cheque book in hand!  As I have said before, I am not overly mechanically/electronically minded (promise not to repeat this fact again) so even the simple jobs for me are a challenge.  That being said, however, I was able to change the duckbill valves in the grey water discharge pump recently only to realise that the water I was covered in, was in fact, from the black water discharge pump due to the fact that I had repaired the wrong pump (grey water comes from the showers, sink, dishwasher etc whereas, black water comes from the heads (toilets)).  So, what I should have said was, I have recently changed the duckbill valves in BOTH the grey and black water discharge pumps.  Yuk – the joys of boating paired with my skills, or lack thereof is something that has to be seen to be believed!

Pendana as most would know, enjoys the powerhouse Cummins N14 NTA-14M as its main engine.  The Cummins N14 was definitely one of Cummins most popular engines ever produced. The N14 is used to power everything from road trucks to motorhomes; mining equipment to generators, the Cummins N14 was and still is an incredibly versatile engine and you can see from the above example of my handyman skills why it is so important for this engine to keep on running!

The Cummins N14 was built on the basic design of the 855 cubic inch Cummins engine. In the early 1990's, Cummins redesigned the engine with electronic controls to meet EPA regulations. The redesigned engine, known as the Celect fuel system, featured an Electronic Control Module (ECM) and electronic injectors. Although injectors were still cam activated, the Cummins ECM controlled fuel at the electronic injectors.

In 1997, Cummins released the upgraded N14 with the Celect Plus fuel system. Although not noticeably different looking, the Celect Plus ECM has many more adjustable parameters for customer fine tuning.  The Cummins N14 was discontinued around 2000, and was replaced by the Cummins ISX engine. 

So far Pendana’s N14 has not missed a beat and with just on 5000 hours on her clock she is only just run in!  I am sure she will be still purring like a kitten after another 5000, 10,000, 15,000 hours on her clock.  Considering we will use only 700hrs of N14 time crossing the Pacific Ocean we should be just fine!

Pendana’s engine room above: a small part of the mighty N14 visible to the right of the photo.

Just a quick side note, one recent purchase that we have all been enjoying immensely is the Jet-ski.  It has to be said that I didn’t really think I was the Jet-ski type if the truth be told but that has now changed.  While the reason behind the purchase was to give Abi and Bianca something to enjoy and have fun on together the fact is, that both Claire and I also love going on it because of the freedom and sense of speed that it provides.  Top speed of the Jet-ski is around 67mph/107klms (this is limited when Abi is riding it) which on the water, is very, very, fast.  Anyway, if you have ever thought about getting a Jet-ski but weren’t quite sure then I can attest that they are loads of fun with our only regret being, not getting one sooner.

Claire Ellingford
Claire Ellingford

Claire and Bianca on ski.

Pendana Jetski
Pendana Jetski

No, it’s my turn….!

Claire Ellingford Tender
Claire Ellingford Tender

Claire off for a tender ride while she waits her turn on the ski!

Another item we recently purchased was four Personal Locator Beacons “PLBs”. 


Each of us while crossing the oceans will wear a PLB while awake as it will provide some level of protection in a MOB situation which for some reason worries me more than anything else.  Just an extra layer of protection although whether or not it’s worthwhile I hope to never find out.


Now for some big news, both Abi and Bianca NOW have their own blogs! 

As both the girls wanted their own blogs Claire and I feel, that they should be allowed to use the technology available as not only will they learn many new skills in managing and editing their own blog but it will also provide a tremendous way for them to keep family and friends up to date while also providing a written and pictorial diary of their time at sea.  That being said, however, wanting a blog and running a blog are two entirely different matters of which I am sure the girls will realise soon enough.  The new blogs are now online and available for anyone who is interested to register of simply take a look.  New blogs can be found at the following address:


Abi’s blog - http://www.abisworld.net/

Bianca’s blog - http://www.bonaboat.com/


Now some have asked about Pendana’s Commander and Chief, Claire and when she will have her own blog – the bottom line on this is that Claire is still undecided so you will have to wait and see, which for me, is probably a good thing, as not only is she a far better writer than I but she is far funnier and god forbid what stories she may tell!  A dummy page has already been set up awaiting her arrival which can be found on pendanablog called “serialC” which is ‘Claires’ spelt backwards for those wondering – I am sure we can come up with a better name in time!

The plan from here is to move onto Pendana early April then move her to Sydney Harbour mid-April in preparation for obtaining animal export permits, clearing quarantine and customs, filling up with some tax free fuel and then heading out to sea.  Our first leg will be a direct passage from Sydney to Vanuatu which will take approximately seven days, covering some 1400nms/2600klms which to my horror, entails crossing part of the New Hebrides Trench. 

Sydney to Vanuatu by boat
Sydney to Vanuatu by boat

Planned route above

For those, who don’t know, the New Hebrides Trench is deep, very deep.  At some 7000mtrs/23,000ft it’s deep enough for me not to want to think about what lurks beneath it for too long (no doubt, lots of sharks). 

That being said, however, it is not as deep as the deepest trench in the world being that of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean which plunges 11,000mtrs or 36,000ft.  Not worth thinking about really! Hmmmmmmmmm…..

Location of New Hebrides Trench

So with everything set, cats and dog at the ready and pre-quarantine cleared all the way into the USA, (which I might add was no easy feat!), mail service organised so that we can read our Australian postal mail online when required, insurance both for the boat and medical sorted (C/o Pantaenius (Lloyds of London paper) which provide probably the most comprehensive policies available today), boat basically stocked and ready other than personal items which will go on board early April, there really is not a lot left to do other than to count down the days until we depart Sydney Harbour for the final time. Yikes!

Animals are GO!

Finally, as most would know February is the start of the ‘Monthly Pendana Guest Interviews” after taking a breather in January.  This year has started with an interview of the well-known globe trotters, or should I say circumnavigators, and all round nice folks Scott and Mary Flanders.  If you have yet to read the interview it can be found at the following link: /Guest-Interviews/2015/01/29/Scott-and-Mary-Flanders---MV-EGRET-N46 certainly worth reading!

Unless a major change of plans occur or there is a major issue there will be one more blog pre departure, which will go out on the day/night before we leave Sydney.  I will be posting to Facebook daily via our IridiumGo system while underway so don’t forget to check that page out as well. Link following: https://www.facebook.com/pendana.nordhavn.  Finally, please remember for those interested you will be able to track our location (C/o IridiumGO) as we make our way across the Pacific Ocean via the LOCATION page on Pendana’s blog site. /LOCATION

Safe travels


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