07/19/2012, Natuvalo Bay
And we have moved on. After a rather uncomfortable night at Qaracuva off Drawaqa Island(just south of Naviti Island), we upped our anchor and took off. Here's how last night shaped up. We dropped our anchor in about 75 feet of water off Drawaqa Island and settled in for a breezy night. Wind was still howling past us out of the northeast and the swell was coming from just about every direction. When we anchored, our bow faced the northeast. As the evening wore on, we started shifting at anchor. We had dropped right in front of a channel between two islands that have lots of water coming and going depending on the tide. When the tide is flooding, water pours south through the cut taking our stern south with it. When the tide ebbs, it flows north and so did our stern pushing itself against the wind. Half the boats were lined up one way and the rest went the other(those affected by the water flow). Through the evening and into the night, our anchor alarm kept going off as the tides changed. Up and down, all night long. By morning, we, along with Lene and Henrik on Dana had had enough. We were trying to find a place to sit out the rest of this wind.
North of us, were a couple of small bays we could hide out in. The first, Vuata, we decided was too small. A couple of miles farther was Naatuvalo Bay. A nice anchorage that would protect us from the winds. We upped the anchor after having a conversation with Lene and Hernik and took off. It was less than 5 miles so a nice short hop.
We arrived in just over an hour and still the winds blew, hitting 35 knots in some places. The bottom was reported to be sandy and depths of 8 to 10 meters. Shallow for what we have been used to. Last night was 75 feet deep. As we came in, there was a catamaran(Catwagon)anchored south of where we expected to stay. When we hit 44 feet, we dropped. We could have gone in farther but the charts we had showed two or three coral bommies(big tall stands of coral)that were allegedly between us and shore. We let the wind push us back and do the preliminary anchor setting and once that was done, I let out more chain and we powered backward and set it well in the sand on the bottom. We weren't going anywhere. Dana pulled in a couple of minutes later and dropped their anchor about 100 meters to our port side. About an hour later, the catamaran that had been anchored south of us pulled up their anchor and came farther into the bay and dropped between and in front of the two of us. About 1500, another catamaran(Kittywake) passed by our little anchorage coming down from the north under a very small job sail and took a quick turn to port and headed in once they saw the three of us at anchor.
As the day has passed, the Yasawa Flier(tour boat and tourist shuttle) has come and gone twice. Picking up and dropping off guests at all the resorts throughout the Yasawa Islands(long island group with many islands and resorts). It's bright yellow so you can see it a long way off. It's in and out of here in about 10 minutes so it can make it's rounds. In the end, it picks up and drops off the tourists in Denarau so it has quite a few miles to make in a day.
So now there are four of us sitting out the 25+ knot winds waiting for them to pass. It's sunny and bright(for a change) and the wind is powering our wind generator so we are making some power. I just made some more hamburger buns(still baking in the oven) and we are having a nice afternoon, much more comfortable than we were yesterday and that's a good thing.
Surprisingly, we actually have internet out here. There is a transmission tower right beside the anchorage so we have the luxury of having internet. Now it's not fast by any means but we're happy to have it. Beats trying to connect on our SSB radio. Unfortunately, it's too slow to allow us to add a picture to this post. We'll add more photos once we get back to Lautoka next week.
07/14/2012, Musket Cove general store and restaurant.
A couple of days ago, between blows, we took a walk out to the end of the airport(yes, there is an airport on Mololo Lai Lai)runway and took a walk along the beach that runs along the northeast shoreline of the island. We looked left and right from the end of the runway and saw no one. We chose left as it should take us over to the cut between the two islands(Malolo & Malolo LaiLai). Other than seeing a few foot prints in the sand, we saw no one. I guess all the guests at the numerous resorts stay on the beaches at their resorts and don't venture out to see what else the island has to offer. This beach stretched for several miles with a great view of Viti Levu in the distance.
As we walked along the beach we saw several small islands off the shore just ready to be explored(if we had had a small boat). The beach was lined with palm trees and hundreds of coconuts as well as lots of plastic that had washed ashore. Add in a few old tires(heaven only knows where they came from) and you have a typical beach anywhere in the world. It reminded us of Topolobampo back on the mainland side of the west coast of Mexico only with a lot less trash on it. A delightful walk and all to ourselves.
We returned to the "resort" and had lunch at the small cafe/store. One word of advise when you eat there. If it's busy, just go up to the doors to the kitchen and place your order. Don't wait for the one waiter to come to your table. We did and after 45 minutes of waiting, I finally went to the doors and placed the order. It arrived shortly after that. For a change, we had the Ham & Pineapple Pizza. Lots of ham, pineapple, and cheese but not much sauce. Oh well. After our walk, it sure tasted good.
The wind is predicted to lessen in the next day or so so we should be out of here tomorrow if we're lucky. It's back to Navadra for a couple of days and then up to the Blue Lagoon Resort. We have to be back in Lautoka by the 27th to get our visa's renewed for two more months. Hard to believe that it was almost four months ago that we were in New Zealand.
I'm baking more hamburger buns. The first two came out fine but I'm trying a new recipe to compare. The first was very easy to make with no "rising" times for the dough. This one has two different "rising" times so we will see if these are any better. Stay tuned.
07/12/2012, Musket Cove general store and restaurant.
It's truly a case of "now you see them and now you don't". Close to four years ago, we pulled into Namaimo Harbor dropped our anchor and settled in for a few days of sightseeing and (of course) fixing things. After getting settled in, we noticed a dingy going back and forth behind our boat. We started up a conversation with the two people in the dingy-Lene and Henrik off Dana from Denmark. They were checking out the gear(DuoGen) on our stern. Cruisers are curious creatures always inspecting what others have on their boats to see if it might work for them. We're just a guilty as the rest of us out here. I can't pass a boat without seeing what they have on board and asking questions if something peaks my interest.
Lene and Henrik hung around for a while and we had a nice chat. They had sailed all the way from Denmark on a boat they had made themselves(ferro cement). They even went around Cape Horn on the southern tip if South America(one of the "holy grails" of cruisers). They had then crossed to Hawaii and up to Alaska and were heading back down the coast for Mexico.
Well, in the next four years, we have come across each other in California, Mexico as we came down the coast, French Polynesia, Tonga and now in Fiji. Of all the people we have met in our travels, by far, these are our oldest friends. Normally, you might run into the same boat from time to time but not in all the miles the two of us have traveled. They arrived on Tuesday evening and anchored right behind us. With all the wind, they have now moved closer to the marina taking a buoy since they have to bring diesel out to their boat in 5 gallon cans. It will be much easier since it's still blowing in the high teens to low 20's and is forecast to continue for the next few days. We met for drinks last night at the $5.00 Bar at Musket Cove. It was great getting back with them again.
When we parted in Tonga, they had made their way to New Zealand for the cyclone season while we stayed in Fiji. About a month ago, they left New Zealand and made their way up to Fiji to explore this island nation. It was a great evening of swapping stories. Unfortunately, it ended as it started to sprinkle and then rain.
When we had left Zephyr several hours before, it had been very nice and with little sign of any rain. We'd left all the hatches and ports open. We all scrambled for our dingies and headed back to our boats. With us being so far out(no one is our past us) it took a while to get back. Luckily, very little water had made it's way inside. Most had blown right past the hatches. It made for an easy cleanup. We waited for the rain to stop before bringing Puff back on deck. If the winds are really going to hit the 20 knot range, we feel better having her on deck rather than hanging off the side.
Lene and Henrik plan on staying around for a couple more days so we know we will get back together again for more conversation and a friendly drink or two.
It's now Friday the 13th with it blowing nicely making the DuoGen happy on the stern and we may settle in for the day. I'm going to try to make some hamburger buns. You can get them here but they just aren't the same so I've got the time and the materials so I'll let you know how they turn out.
07/10/2012, Musket Cove
Here we sit at Musket Cove surrounded by clouds and overcast skies waiting for some clearing so we can do some scuba diving again. In the meantime, the rebuilt DuoGen is spinning merrily on the stern actually making some electricity for our batteries. Now keep in mind that it's also blowing in the high teens to mid twenties which is a big help in making it spin. It's not quite keeping up with our usage but it's much better than it was before the rebuild.
We pulled in on Sunday and dropped our anchor about as far out away from the other boats as we could. With luck, we shouldn't have any boats coming in and dropping their anchors right beside us as they did last time. Now we do have a BIG catamaran in front of us and the big MV Aquarius(all 97 feet of her) off to our starboard side but neither is close enough to concern us. The anchor alarm is on watch(went off at 0610 for no reason that I could find) keeping us safe. We have our anchor lights on automatic so they come on at sunset and two garden lights(one at the bow and one at the stern) so people coming through the anchorage can see us(those that don't look up). They last just about all night.
Monday, we gathered our laundry and headed in to get it washed. They have two washers(only one works) here and a dryer that is under lock and key(has to be unlocked to be used for some unknown reason). Both give more time in their cycles for what they are intended to do so maybe the clothes come out cleaner since they get washed longer.
Our outboard is performing back to normal after the problem of having water in the gas line. Now that it's gone and it had a chance to rest while we were in Vuda Point, she started up on the first pull of the cord. First time she's done than in a long time. Puff(our dingy) is actually staying dry inside the boat. We'd had her fixed back in February and during our first time out a few weeks ago, she still took on some water. Now she is staying nice and dry. I don't have to take a bilge pump everywhere I go and keep things off the floor so they don't get soaked in salt water. A big improvement.
Yesterday was straighten up day for me. I put things away and read some manuals to try and better understand some of our electronics. Tracy spent some time stitching up holes in three pairs of my shorts. We got these from Kohl's before we left the US and over time(and lots of use) the cloth has gotten much thinner and holes are beginning to sprout all over the front(better than the back) of them. She took needle and tread to them and tried to seal them up. She's fix one and test it only to see the fabric right beside the old hole tear again. She continued on and eventually, all the holes were sewn closed. I'll get a bit more use out of them. I guess the next time we're in Lautoka, I'll be hunting for more shorts. Clothes are cheaper out here but so is the fabric and stitching but at least they will have no holes in them.
Today, it's totally overcast and the wind is continuing. Tracy even put up the side panels on the dodger to keep the wind out of the cockpit as it's downright cool(72 degrees) out there. Of course the wind doesn't help. I've got a couple more manuals to read today so I can better understand what we have on board. Gee, what fun.
We had pancakes for breakfast. A treat for us and we've been having the "typical" Fijian breakfast for quite some time. These are "breakfast crackers". Sort of like a saltine cracker only with more flour so it has more body. Smear on some butter and to with your favorite jam or marmalade and you have a breakfast. Not tremendously healthy but it's the norm out here and quite cheap. A container of the crackers runs about $1.35(about .75 cents US). From that container, we can get a good three to four breakfasts. You can't eat much cheaper than that. Cereal is quite expensive out here and is really a treat if you can find some you like. Tracy found some "Grape Nuts" the other day in a big box for a very good price. Normally they run about $15.00 Fijian($8.00US) for a small box. Breakfast Crackers are the food of choice out here.
Well, that's about it. Off to the manuals.
07/09/2012, Musket Cove
When we pulled into Musket Cove, we dropped our anchor next to MV Aquarius by Horizon Yachts. Nice looking 97 foot boat sitting real pretty at anchor. We Googled them to see if there was any info. Hey, guess what. You can rent it for just $60,000 A WEEK!!!! No, not a month, A WEEK. Take along 7 of your closest friends and have fun. At $60,000 per week, that's only $8571 a day. Spread amongst 8 people, makes it only $1,071 per day. What a bargain!!!
No we're not 97 feet long(46 feet)
No we don't have a Jacuzzi(nice shower stall)
TV-yep, got that
CD player--yep, got that
Dining table that seats 10--nope, just 5(maybe)
15 foot dingy--nope, just 9 feet.
Bose sound system--just two sets of head phones.
Oh well, we may not have all that stuff, but we don't cost that much, at least not for a week any way. But we're in the same place enjoying the same things for a whole lot less. Not bad if I say so myself.
Here's a picture of what is left of the bearings. TRASHED!!