Posted by: catamarantwooceans | October 24, 2010

Fiji Tour – Continued

22.10.10 – Friday – We spent two enjoyable days in Savusavu. I went diving on Thursday with “Rock’n Downunder Divers”. I was the only guest on the 200 HP powered dive boat and had two dive-masters with me, Danny and Toox. I did the first dive with Danny, who found for me all sorts of amazing tiny creatures including a fish masquerading as a green plant, nudibranchs and a small scorpion fish. The next dive with Toox was dedicated to the bigger ones – groupers, white tip reef sharks and barracudas.

After lunch I went to the customs office to do the clearance for Suva via the Lomaiviti islands. The customs lady took a look at my papers and said:”But you don’t have a permit to visit them, you don’t even have one for Savusavu!” So, rush to the marina, where the super efficient Dolly faxed our details to the Fijian Affairs board and got the permit within 45 minutes.

So this morning, after filling up our water tanks we went out of the bay in the direction of Koro island, 28 miles away. This was, perhaps, a training trip for the one to New Zealand. We had strong wind on the nose, overcast skies and rain, Volkmar chose to lie down for a shut-eye on the windward bench, in spite of me telling him it was not a good place as spray might get there. Volkmar waved his hand in disdain. Five minutes later Poseidon made his little joke of the day. A large wave hit from the windward and broke into the cockpit, drenching poor Volkmar completely. Everybody knows that one of the pleasures in life is to be able to say:”I told you!” and I did not miss the opportunity. With the rough movement of the boat all sort of strange sounds could be heard. Especially annoying was an undetectable creak that got on my nerves. After some time the reason revealed itself – the leach line for the 1st reef chaffed and broke. At one point a fish took the lure, a big Mahi- mahi that I reeled in at great effort just to have it break away 10 meters from the stern. We were having fun!

We entered Dere bay and saw two yachts on moorings, one had the name “Koro” and hailed from Sydney, probably the resort’s owner boat.

Dere bay Koro

We took a mooring ourselves. The place looked deserted. We went ashore to look around and pay for the moorings. On the very long jetty somebody left his fishing equipment. The resort had three big and posh bungalows, all empty, beds not made. The main structure, presumably the restaurant and bar was empty too. A VHF radio was open on channel 16 but no one was to be seen. It reminded me of those horror movies where the whole population disappears leaving behind a town that looks as if it was full of life just moments ago. There were a lot of crab holes and crabs in the area, perhaps they frightened the people ?

Mysteriously deserted

Tomorrow we’ll sail to Gau island, the last stop before Suva, which will be our starting point to New Zealand.

23.10.10 – Saturday – This morning was a reminder that cruising is not always Fun In The Sun and that sometimes it is Pain In The Rain. Out of Koro we sailed close-hauled and immediately needed the second reef with the wind gusting to 28 knots apparent and the waves coming from several sectors all at once. When the ride became too wild we put in the third reef on the main, second on the jib and still did 6 knots plus keeping a reasonable boat’s motion. About midway to Gau the cloud cover evaporated giving way to glorious sunshine. As we came closer to our island the sea abated and we could even think about fishing. Going into Herald bay near Sawayake village was easy but anchoring less so. We decided to drop two anchors in tandem, anticipating strong winds later. This is very good practice but fires back when you have to re-anchor, as we had to do, because taking the two anchors out is quite cumbersome.

Lunch and a short rest and we were on our way to the village for a Sevu-Sevu with the chief. A young man greeted us on the beach and took us to the chief’s house. He motioned us to enter and sit down. “The chief is in Suva, but his brother, the village head man will receive you. He is in the garden now, he will be back in about half an hour”. We sat talking with Akriva until the head man came. He was a jolly fellow named Zefania (after the prophet), took the Kava, did the regular routine after which we had some small-talk and departed.

24.10.10 – Sunday – During the night the wind blew fiercely in agreement with the forecast. I was happy we had those two anchors. We had 50 miles ahead of us, so we went out at 0600. This time our initial course was 250 degrees true so the wind and waves came from our port quarter (120 degrees from the left) which made the ride much easier. We had second reef, of course, for the wind blew 24-28 knots, but we were going fast and not too bumpy, so it was fine.

I was reading in the salon when I felt the boat rise, heard a bang and felt we were sliding to starboard; The side motion stopped abruptly and a wall of water rolled into the cockpit. The boat righted itself immediately, the cockpit drains did their job and we went on sailing as if nothing happened. “Volkmar, did you see this wave coming?” “No, I was looking forward when it hit”. This was probably a baby “rouge wave”, a buildup of several waves attaining unusual height. Oh well! Training for NZ! When I later went into the port toilet I found devastation. The upper hatch was open and water came in, inundating the half opened toiletries cabinet upsetting and spreading all the items therein all over the place.

Conditions got better as we progressed and at 1400, less than 8 hours since we left Gau, we entered Suva harbor. Our Fiji tour over, I can only say that Fiji is a magnificent cruising destination. The scenery is beautiful, the people friendly, fish and fruit plentiful – a Paradise on earth.

Next – New Zealand!

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