Anthem at Navadra
26 October 2011
Finally found a terrific place to hunker for 2 or 3 weeks just as necessity forces us back to Denarau, Nadi and Lautoka for parts, food, fuel and clearance as prelude to casting off for points south. Snorkeling and diving the reefs at Navadra are best since Tuamotus. Walking along an isthmus of sand between one large island and a small island rock that has surf crashing over from opposite directions was way cool, somewhat difficult and slightly schizophrenic. Contrary to enlightened expectation, bailing wire and chewing gum continued to hold exhaust manifold together allowing at least a little exploration of Mamanucas and one day in this lovely place.
Felt like a poor stepchild as privately owned motorboat, 249 foot "Ocean Victory" and her permanent complement of 20 crossed our bow toward a deeper channel into the same island. Following owner's departure previous day, crew had taken the big toys out to play for a couple before their own 4-day (as opposed to our 10 or so) sail back to Auckland for dry-dock. Invitation to the evening's beach bonfire, potluck and party resulted in our being forced, forced I say, to choke down proffered tenderloin and wine before waddling and stumbling back to Anthem well past cruiser's midnight.
Any temptation to remain until tomorrow morning was resisted due windless oppressiveness of heat and humidity after a night of ocean swell induced roll interrupted alcohol infused sleep. Today's promise of overcast and rain also imparts a certain allure to Port Denarau Marina with air conditioning, full-flow showers and pizza. Bula vinaka. Make mine a large cholesterol-lovers thin crust and tankard of Fiji Bitter.
Sunset at Wayasewa
24 October 2011
Trimming and coordinating sails requires an aptitude and time-won skill that differs between racers and cruisers.
A sail may be trimmed very efficiently for a moment, but requires constant attention to remain so. While this level of attention, even for a relatively feeble mind, is possible in the course of a 2 or 3 hour race, it is an impossibly formidable task for short-handed crew over several days. In addition, coordinating trim for 3 or 4 cruising sails makes demands significantly greater than those for the typical racing sloop's 2. While time to mark is virtually the only consideration in racing, goals for a cruiser are more diverse and consequently solutions more difficult. (Although time to destination is a variable adding complexity to cruising it is not directly related to sail trim and outside the purview of this short monograph) On passage, even should one assume speed as the sole goal, the intrepid adventurer must develop a feel, over varying conditions without constant ministrations, for best set to maximize this criterion in addition to a sense for when ambient change is of a degree and persistence to warrant adjustment. As is obvious, cruisers must develop multifarious skills that demand preeminent flexibility, intelligence and talent.
As all racers no doubt agree cruising is exceedingly complex compared to their simplistic environment and requires knowledge and skills far eclipsing theirs.
The foregoing conclusion was, of course, complete bull squeeze, is not an indictment of those poor, benighted souls who have nothing better to do than sail around in circles (triangles, whatever) to end up where they only recently began and intimates the danger of allowing ones mind to wander while gliding through a gentle afternoon, gazing out upon sun-sparkled, softly rolling sea en route to a new destination and compelling adventure, eschewing more repetitive and wearisome activity.
P.S. In order to engage the greatest response, please direct hate mail to the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, DC. Depending upon mood, expect further even- handed treatment of monohulls vs. multis and sail vs. power.
23 October 2011
A fence divides long narrow Mana Island between upscale resort and local village hosting backpackers. Perhaps latter don't want infelicitous influence on what one cruising guide described as rather squalid.
Dissipated a lovely afternoon snorkeling along shallow reef that dropped straight off to sloping sandy bottom and then returning to boat for cleaning prop and algae along waterline. Re-working bonding apparently alleviated problem with copper anti-fouling blowing off through-hulls as, after 7 months since treatment, hull remains pristine. Pleased to know one thing hasn't gone pear-shaped.
After lukewarm welcome from spendy folk, and given woefully low personal standards, Jan & I had dinner with friendly rabble and watched The All Blacks crush (at 8 to 7 one might possibly also use phrase 'squeak by') their opponents. As Kiwi fans we wore black, ate lamb and encouraged Japanese and German cruiser buds to 'dis' French team.
24 October 2011
After low rent, but nonetheless tasty brekky with the proletariat, we now bid a fond farewell to our current escapade to venture toward the next which may or may not occur near Wayasewa Island (TBD shortly).
18 October 2011
Four days since hopeful last message and finally have new, pre-2005 (huh?), working voltage regulator. Cost a fortune, but at least it's new (huh?). Exhaust parts have not yet left New Zealand. Honda remains a neglected box full of random bits. Valve handle, uncompleted, is being reconsidered. Love it when a plan comes together.
Therefore expect to throw fate to the wind and trust temporary exhaust jury-rig for departure tomorrow toward Malolo Lailai (Musket Cove), Mamanucas and possibly Robinson Crusoe Island farther south for a week cruise before returning here prior to departure for New Zealand end of month. What could possibly go wrong?
19 October 2011
In fact, nothing went wrong. How did that happen? Beautiful sail into anchorage at Musket Cove on Malolo Lailai. Met friends, had coffee, explored area, scheduled a dive, made dinner at home, played cribbage and went to bed at 2130. All in all an uneventful day, so why bother to mention? Suggestions will be accepted, but only the odd or quirky ones.
20 October 2011
Good to get back in the water, but dives were a bit lame. Some fish. Probably spoiled by Fakarava (as previously noted Cal, this is not naughty). Dive computer watch is a cornucopia of enlightenment... probably. Reading manuals is for sissies.
Find Anthem Near Mega-Yacht "Georgia"
13 October 2011
After Sunday and Fiji Day Monday, began tedious efforts to heal boat. Exhaust parts ostensibly en route from New Zealand. Decision on voltage regulator to be made AM. Honda generator to begin fourth day of diagnostic review. And this little piggy bank cried wee, wee, wee all the way home. If life were easy, everybody would want to do it.
Hoping to bail out of here coming Monday or Tuesday toward Mamanucas and Musket Cove for diving and anything else, anything at all.
14 October 2011
Regulator to possibly show up this afternoon (cannibalized from new boat for replacement later). Honda is under advanced deconstruction. Broken ball valve handle (was this ever mentioned?) is in final stage of fabrication.
After three trips in as many days to Nadi (pronounced Nandi - d is nd, b is mb, g is ng, q is ngg (??), c is th and the English did that for them(??)) and one time on to Lautoka in under-sprung buses over truly miserable roads, Jan & I are concerned about scoliosis, hemorrhoids and advanced shell shock. See example on Youtube.
Have attempted without success to find spark plug feeler gauge in several auto parts stores (an inordinate number exist in Nadi). Was finally told by a very East Indian salesman that "when we need to adjust the gap we just buy a new one". Ah, that would probably work.
Blue Lagoon at Nanuya-Sewa
11 October 2011
OK, after 7 days good times are over for those unlucky enough to have again stumbled upon this blather. No responsibility will be accepted in consequence of further excursion into this mess.
As last we communicated life had taken a turn for better. This was an illusion, a scurrilous trick and a cruel hoax.
Arrival in Blue Lagoon, Nanuya-Sewa anchorage, was enlivened by smoke billowing from bilge just before anchor drop (the 3rd, and resultantly, last attempt). Location having thus been clearly established, we grasped the only tenable choice and began studiously assimilating mass quantities of adult beverages. This option, while perfectly reasonable and necessary at the time, was significantly less optimal the following morning as ameliorative action was adjudged appropriate.
Details are disagreeable and boring, but suffice to say that connector and connectee at exhaust manifold have been humbled of their former pretensions. Without wind (KISS), sun (solar panels), Honda generator or engine, battery charging was undermined... ummm, eradicated.
First jury-rig would have worked but for previously mentioned connectee. Second jury-rig, with JB Weld (non-high temp), needed cure time so we sailed off anchor to begin overnight sail to Port Denarau Marina for shore power and (potential) repair. Two hour, 30 knot, midnight squall (after heaving to with only full main to avoid narrow reef passage in darkness) enlivened that experience with sea water twice filling cockpit, but next morning engine repair allowed desired arrival before dark.
This good news was somewhat dampened by both alternator regulator and subsequently emergency regulator dying. Unable to get on dock until morning we anchored nearby to the annoyance of abused batteries.
3 October 2011
Love it when a plan comes together. Rain on Vanua Levu for preponderance of day was cast off with mud from anchor retrieval for beautiful starry passage. Excellent speed achieved with 18 to 20 knot quartering wind and 1 meter sea carrying us blissfully to south Yasawa, necessitated heaving-to until daylight so to see reefage upon entry. Subsequent nano nap extended into afternoon.
4 October 2011
Sawa-i-Lau. It's small; it's tall. All limestone; has caverns. Cool! Any noise in Spirit Cave, section that requires underwater swim, sounds like they're coming to get you. More coolerest! Drift snorkeled through nearby pass, on and off several beaches after lunch. Consternation resulting from severe pruning later ameliorated with previously alluded to compound incorporating tonic and lime (not to be confused with also previously mentioned stone).
Dinner at Joe's (village chief's spokesman who took our sevusevu and wife Alise (sp? WAG)) with young couple from Sudden Stops Necessary (no, haven't asked yet). Partook of local fish and veggies including home-made cassava bread. Friendly folks plus two of three kids and a cousin. Had already donated diesel to village generator, may take more. Next stop 10 NM to Blue Lagoon, reputed popular haven for cruisers and other unsavory sorts.
1 October 2011
Should have done sevusevu last night, no need today. Finally found deaf, 93 year old lady chief (Buli Ravi Ravi) of Nambouwalu who seemed pleased, but was a chore finding. All involved were surprised and slightly bemused. What's a mother to do. At least divested of one $10 kava bundle, six to go. If in the boonies, fine, but, as prepared kava powder can be purchased cheaper at market, no idea what's done with them in a big village.
2 October 2011
Left New Zealand in August. How is it October? Third of a month to get here, but still... Understand Fiji occasionally has drought. No worrys this year. Yasawas are reputed drier. Have rejected plan to hold breath.
SuAn, enamored of and surprised by yesterday's wind, kept trucking by Coconut Pt. and out adjacent pass to cross Bligh Water last night toward Blue Lagoon, south end of Nacula Island. Wind, of course, died after dark. Having eschewed Bua Bay, west side of Vanua Levu, we will pass out (figure of speech) similarly tonight for Monday morning anchorage south end of Yasawa Island. Limestone caves and snorkeling are hopefully (to clarify, Jan & I, rather than limestone caves, which seldom engage in such feelings, are full of hope) in the offing. Meanwhile, we engage in righteous, preparatory sloth.
Friendly Navatu Villagers
29 September 2011
As Savusavu forecast is dismal, have decided to believe heavy rain and no wind next few days will eventuate (huh?), so this barge is floating west manana for more favorable milieu. Additionally, dearth of faintest zephyr nights has invigorated normally apathetic mosquito community with renewed enthusiasm.
Waitui Marina's $10 Fiji night introduced new taste sensations and effervescent tums that, given stagnancy (real word?) of atmosphere, produced unique and interesting ambiance. Spicy Indian for lunch possible contributor to additional distinctive aura.
30 September 2011
As weather sages seldom are, leaving port with rainy, windless forecast resulted in sunshine and breeze for delightful sail to tonight's anchorage. Enveloping quietude minimally interrupted by giggling yard apes from nearby, but unseen, village. Scary silence made tolerable by tonic and lime mixed with magical substance labeled "Tanqueray". Plan to duck sevusevu by sneaking off AM for Coconut Bay, next stop and site of possible reconnect with new German friends, Lutz & Gabi on SuAn, was potentially thwarted by friendly villagers boating by. Their disappointment insufficient to overcome pervading inertia.
Savusavu Sunrise (as far as you know)
27 September 2011
Rugby is just enough like NFL football to make it completely incomprehensible. A try never fails. Anyway, last night's games, enjoyed (relative term) with couples from Germany and from Seattle (wife was originally Canadian - what's with all these US/Canadian couples anyway?) were good even though Canada drew with Japan and US was almost, but not quite, humiliated by Italy 27 - 10.
Having two beautiful mornings in a row almost makes life worth living... OK, taking your own sailboat through the South Pacific with an enthusiastic partner doesn't suck either, but good weather doesn't hurt.
Useful impending occupation includes stop at butcher as fresh meat ship arrives today and replenishment of rapidly evaporating wine supply.
Meated and wined, but fickle gods dampened effusive enthusiasm as afternoon subject to periodic deluges. No evidence of ark construction at present, but options remain open. Expect departure for drier (triumph of hope over experience?) side of Viti Levu, through Bligh Water (yes, named after that Bounty guy) Saturday.