23 September 2011
With expectation to motorsail with ESE wind, was surprised at SSE direction which would have allowed close reach with more than a cat's paw. Sailed periodically anyway displaying pure contrariness to limit clamor emanating from bilge. Forecast rainless overcast missed by a drop or two. Scant encouragement offered next week from typically unreliable weather weasel. Hope is maintained.
Having now acquired acceptable kava and dressed appropriately, offered proper sevusevu to island chief's spokesman, Watson, who was pulled out of church due our late appearance (see above). Yet to see head guy in two attempts. Assume fear for his security as Jan is suspiciously cute and friendly. Although there may have been reference to eating, felt pretty confident of personal safety as gifts of papaya, bread fruit and taro were graciously accepted before departing toward home for green curry chook, combat cribbage and hot water shower. Mellowness pervades as gentle rocking and copious wine have their effect.
21 September 2011
Beautiful off-the-wind sail to Levuka, first capitol of Fiji until convicts from Australia turned it into a den of iniquity and honest folk moved to Suva in 1882. British officials are apparently teetotalers and lack a sense of fun. Current residents are quite laid back and seem unfazed by MH market selling dairy fresh milk powder.
Arrived sufficient time to clear customs (required in and out every entry port) buy groceries and replenish lamentably depleted wine stock with tolerable Broken Shackle Red for a meager $6 US a bottle. Last each of Taylor Cab Sav and 7 Deadly Zins had induced incipient anxiety. Wind and sun kept amps flowing for batteries and movie night.
22 September 2011
After embarrassingly lazy morning, meandered into town for fish and octopus lunch, respectively, before clearing out for tomorrow morning's departure, visiting museum/library and buying more cheap red swill. Matching lethargic afternoon ended with grilled lamb sausage dinner, full contact cribbage and another classic cinematic extravaganza on 15 inch big screen TV.
Sawaieke Village at Gau Island
20 September 2011
After leisurely breakfast and a game of cribbage (card game with pegs where your partner most often squashes you like a bug), dropped dink from davits to offer sevusevu to assistant chief as head guy is elsewhere. Only made a few mistakes as we brought powdered kava instead of roots, Jan wore pants, I wore shorts and we both wore sunglasses around our necks. They seemed friendly in any case, but didn't insist we stay for or as lunch.
Heading to Levuka tomorrow as Customs guy in Suva said we had to (and called ahead so they're expecting us - later learned we could probably have just stopped en route, not told any customs people and avoided hassle of unprotected anchorage). At least we can buy plants there and drink the bagged kava ourselves.. maybe. Then probably sail Koro Island before heading north to Savusavu on Vanua Levu. Ought to snorkel here as reported exceptional, but it's overcast and we're currently otherwise disposed.
Speaking of which, alternator ceased alternating. Can't seem to keep exciter connection exciting as it tends to fatigue at terminal. Contemplating additional foot of wire to offer option of breakage elsewhere. Thus constitutes strategy, other than sloth, for balance of day.
Expensive, US Coast Guard approved, night activated, efficient, sealed, LED masthead anchor light still draws amperage. One wonders what mischief those little electrons are provoking as result is other than emitting light. By the way, has anyone else noticed a severe paucity of maintenancelessness (not a real word) over the previous, oh, say, three weeks... eight months? Should one wish to define cruising as boat work in exotic locations, we be there.
Broken Dock at Uninhabited Nukulau
19 September 2011
Remained anchored in 20 meters of steeply descending bottom with stern tied to a pole on Nukulau's lovely beach. If we go around the world again, may venture ashore here instead of spending entire visit testing, rebuilding, testing, rebuilding, testing... autopilot ram and eventually replacing clutch bits from new unit. Despite low voltage indicated at control box, remounted ram (and as a consequence crew) have regained happy.
Windlass took to being cooperative, as well, during preparation for 45 NM sail to Gau Island our first opportunity for sevusevu. This is where visitors present island chief with a gift of kava root and no one subsequently eats them. Once properly known as the Cannibal Islands, this referenced highly rude practice has generally been replaced by more sociable deportment.
Although hard on an 18 to 20 knot wind using tiller pilot attached to Voyager wind vane instead of newly operative autopilot ("If it ain't broke, don't use it" - Don Irvin) sail to Gau didn't suck and Westerbark was delightfully silent until called upon to deliver us through a pass into the lagoon.
As it's too late to go ashore to say hi, will remain aboard abusing adult beverage tonight with prospect of becoming delightfully mellow. Trust that presenting ourselves in the early(ish) morning to appropriate kahuna will be OK with potentially carnivorous, local inhabitants.
S/V Ivalu in Suva
13 September 2011
Beautiful day in Fijiland. After a less than auspicious start (didn't clear in until late yesterday afternoon) got a pant load of stuff done today. Honda generator is in for repair, laundry is in for repair, quarantine and yacht club fees paid. Have a cruising permit for everywhere we're going, a phone number (anybody really wants it, let me know.. free for me if you call!), internet service and groceries.
14 September 2011
Suva's pretty stinky. Did stuff.
15 September 2011
Still stinky. Did more stuff.
16 September 2011
17 September 2011
Honda generator ran fast, ran slow and held light, but not heavy, load. Yamaha generator guy fixed it so now hard to start, only runs fast and carries no charge. Net result less than that to which aspired. Jacob has enlisted outside help. Has until high noon before this parade ventures to more pristine locale. Not that the fragrance of burning garbage isn't delightful, but a week's enough.
No help. Left anyway.
Boat is clean(ish), solar panels and inverter have regained productive enthusiasm, life is good(ish).
- Even later
We were having such a good day before autopilot stopped piloting. Said it was.. wasn't. Liar, liar, pants on fire. Best part, after toilsome removal of old unit, is that replacement spare is wrong one. Should have noticed.. didn't. Contemplating dismantling recalcitrant unit manana and/or return Suva (about a two hour sail) for repair. Oh, was anything mentioned about windlass solenoid again sticking? We were having such a good day.
Royal Suva Yacht Club
12 September 2011
Suva looks like a boat surrounded by other boats. The $200 weekend clear-in overtime fee may have contributed to that observation. We're twelve days afloat and land beckons. Not all our clothes are salt soaked, some are saturated from condensation in lockers. Ameliorative shoreside efforts are anticipated. Meantime, Quarantine scheduled for 1000 or possibly 1400 (or today?) to extend pratique and direct further official activity has missed initial opportunity.
After windlass ran away Friday night upon arrival (this is a figurative term as it actually remained in accustomed place atop chain locker) enforced incarceration was joyfully spent rebuilding nearly inaccessible solenoid. Process was enlivened by initially incorrect rewiring. Confinement also used to diminish tornadic aspect of cabin to mere untidiness. Lovely semi-dry salt- encrustedness has returned to cockpit and cushions. Further enterprise to replace broken dinghy brace, re-incentivize masthead anchor light and re-energize negligent solar panels are, perforce, being contemplated.
Monday has dawned clear and dry. Crew anxious to see Royal Suva Yacht Club's laundry facilities and partake of restaurant prepared victuals. That second thing for sure. As unable to begin extensive project due potential boat relocation, we wait expectantly, recumbently, somnolently.