Finally...away from Suva
11 August 2011 | En route Vanuatu
Up early and rested, a sunny morning greeted us. We were bound and determined to break free from the grips of Suva. We'd begun referring to this place as Land of Lotus Eaters. By 0700, the sail cover was off, everything was stowed, the instruments were on and the engine was running. Time to weigh anchor. Oops...no windlass. Drat! We emptied out enough of the forepeak locker so David could climb inside to figure out the problem. "Marcie. Get the flashlight, screwdriver and multimeter."
First glitch, the LED flashlight fell into the chain locker. Way down at the bottom, we could see its beam shining back at us. With 200' feet of chain out, it was a long, long way down. Twenty minutes later with the aid of kitchen tongs and David's long arms and body stretched to the max, hanging down into the locker by his toes, he managed to retrieve the flashlight. What was it we were doing? Oh yeah, fixing the windlass.
We could hear the solenoid clicking when we depressed the control switch and determined it was perhaps the wiring in the box or upstream of the windlass itself. He fiddled and futzed and checked this and that and finally determined there was no power to the breaker. A seldom-used switch which provided power to the windlass was turned off - gremlins? Once turned on, the windlass worked just fine. Now it was 0815. We were still in Suva. We restowed all the gear from the deck into the forepeak locker...mooring lines, fenders, deck brush...and noticed the latch on the hatch was broken off and needed riveting. One more delay, but necessary to repair. Now it was 0840.
Around 0900, we began hauling anchor... a slow process. Two weeks at anchor here left the chain heavily covered with growth and thick, black mud. David scrubbed and washed while Marcie manned the helm. Besides mud, the anchor presented us with various plastic bags, a lone zipper from a pair of pants and about 25 meters of fishing line...a good haul.
Another half hour and believe it or not, we were on our way at last. A tot of rum was given to Neptune as we motored along the reef-lined channel out of Suva Harbour. By midafternoon, only the hazy, rugged silhouette of Viti Levu could be seen in the distance as we headed west/southwest through the Kadavu Passage past Kadavu Island and the Great Astrolabe Reef. Boobies flew overhead. The dark blue water was rippled in a light breeze. David busied himself replacing a hook on the fishing line. The sun shone brightly and chased all the clouds from the sky as we set our course for Anatom Island, Vanuatu.
A perfect day for a getaway from Suva...at last.