07/20/2012, Natuvalo Bay
Well, the wind has continued through the night and still rips through the bay. East winds are forecast in the mid to high20 knot range for today and tomorrow. Then, it is "supposed" to drop into the low teens and bring in some rain with it. That's if you believe the weather forecasters.
I got up this morning and decided to try out my baking skills again. I made some quick(and easy) cinnamon rolls. Here's my recipe:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees(takes a while on a boat)
Dough: 2 cups flour
4t Baking Powder
3/4 cup of milk
Filling: 4T Butter
1 cup of either brown sugar(impossible to find out here) or white sugar
In a bowl, mix the soften butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Put half the mixture in a 9 X 9 pan.
In a big bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Cut in the butter
Stir in the milk to form a soft dough.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape about 1/4" thick.
Spread the rest of the filling on the dough and roll.
Cut into 9 rolls(recipe originally called for 18 but give me a break. I don't want bite size rolls).
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Invert onto another pan and scrape out the rest of the filling and apply to the rolls.
Enjoy in the cockpit on a nice sunny morning.
There you have it. The recipe I snatched from the internet sitting here at anchor. Hope you enjoy it.
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.
07/18/2012, Drawaqa Island, Fiji
Yesterday, we piled into Puff and motored to the far side of Navadra Island to a beach that is rarely visited by other cruisers. It's not anywhere near the anchorage and has quite a reef off it's shore keeping most boat away. We'd taken our small anchor with us and dropped it in a patch of sand(don't hurt the coral) off shore and swam into the beach. This beach should be called "Plastic Beach". Everywhere we looked there were plastic jugs, bottles, tubs and one of a kind shoes. I'll bet we saw at least 50 one of a kind shoes. Some reason, no one ever looses both shoes, just one. Dozens of them were all over the beach. In my opinion, the number one destroyer of our environment(visually at least) is plastic. It's everywhere on every beach we visit. We even found a beach ball as well as a large line float. Tracy came upon a Chambered Nautilus shell with just a bit of it broken. She's been looking for them at every beach we go to and finally scored big time yesterday. It's now well packed and carfully in storage on Zephyr. The beach we unusual in that is was made of of lots of sand but it was overlaid on a rock shelf(probably volcanic in origin). Instead of large areas of coral off the beach, it was spotty here and there attached to the rock shelf. We found rocks along the beach that had small bits of coral inside the rock and encrusted on the outside of them. First time we have seen such a thing. I'll post a photo or two once we have internet. I'm posting this via our SSB radio. It made for a fun afternoon. When we returned to the anchorage, we joined Dana for some drinks and a discussion of where would go to next. With their weather forecast, we decided on heading North while it was to be light winds. We upped the anchor again this morning and took off with Dana to head off to anchor off the Manta Island Resort on Drawaqa Island. Dana took off ahead of us(about 0830) but by the time we reached the anchorage, we were side by side. Since they left first, we gave them first shot at dropping their anchor. Once they were done, we came in and dropped ours a good ways farther out from shore than the rest of the boats(3 +Dana in the anchorage). While the weather forecast had been for light winds, we ended up in 25 knot winds with gust hitting 35 knots(out of the North east). Anything but what the forecast had been for(gee what a surprise). It was pretty much overcast but since we had Google Maps overlaid over our charts(thank you ChartAid program), we knew exactly where we were with spot on photos of the area we were sailing through.. Far more accurate than just looking at electronic charts on our computer screen. We easily bypassed all the reefs in the area. We pulled in about 1330 and were safely anchored shortly after that. About a 5 hour trip for the 23 miles it toke to get here. The big draw of the area is being able to swim with the Manta Rays that frequent the passes between the islands up here. You can paddle out on one of their kayaks or they will take you out in one of their boats to see them. We've been down with them when we were at Suwarrow Island last August. An amazing experience. For those of you that are thinking of setting out across the Pacific, one piece of advise is have at least 325 feet of chain. We're back in 75 foot waters and that requires minimum of 220 feet of chain. I added about 90 feet before we left Mexico and am very glad I did as that now makes our total at 320 feet of chain. With our 40 kilo Rochna anchor on the bow, we aren't going anywhere(at least so far). It's still cloudy and we are getting hit with the occasional gust of wind so again, the DuoGen is spinning well on the stern. Not sure about tomorrow. If the weather is bad again, we may stay another day. If not, we will head up toward the Blue Lagoon Resort to explore up there. We're not allowed to go ashore at the resort but we can swim and snorkel in the waters off their beaches. Chicken Curry salad on crackers for lunch. It doesn't get much better than that(OK, steak and a baked potato beats it). We'll let you know tomorrow about what we decide and where we end up. We have to be back in Lautoka by Friday the 27th as our visas run out again on the 29(Sunday). Stay tuned. more travel and adventure is coming.
07/17/2012, Navadra Island
Yesterday, when we came into the anchorage, we dropped anchor a good ways from the other two boats in the cove. The wind was from the North North East blowing about 8 knots(maybe). We set our anchor(read the last post)appropriately and set in the relax a bit. Two hours later, the wind shifted to come out of the South. Again, about 8 knots. About that time, another boat entered the anchorage and dropped and set their anchor with the prevailing winds from the South. By the time the sun began to set, it had shifted to the South East and increase to about 10 knots. After sunset and darkness descended on the anchorage(almost a New Moon), it shifted again to come out of the East. Only now, it increase to about 18 to 20 knots with gust a bit higher. This shifted our anchor so that it started coming in contact with a coral bommie that had been about 20 yards West of where we had dropped our anchor. All would be quiet and then the sound of the chain as it road over the coral. A hard to describe sound. The light grating and rasping of metal that reverberates through the hull as it transfers the sound up the chain becomes a bit unnerving after a while and certainly after the Sun goes down. Toss in the 20 knot wind and it was a bit troublesome night. As of this morning, the wind is back from the North North East all over again. At 0230, the drag alarm on the chart plotter went off. I jumped out of bed and rushed to the steps to the cockpit only to find us in just about the same spot we had been in. No problem. At 0333, off goes the alarm again. Again, out of bed and up the stairs. Again, we were right where we were supposed to be. So this time, I reset the alarm(turned it off and on) and went back to bed. That was it as far as the alarm goes for the night. As the Sun come up in the morning(over cast again) we were still where we were supposed to be. The forecast we had for yesterday was for clear skies and winds less that 8 knots. The forecasters that put out the information are guessing from what we have found. Look at the local weather GRIB files and then throw a dart at a special dart board and here comes your forecast. We've had the same thing happen to friends a couple of weeks ago that showed for lovely weather and light winds. They got hit by overcast skies and winds into the high 20 to 30 knot range. I guess it comes down to just taking a look around and making the decision--Go or don't go. With luck, I'll catch up on some nap time today to make up for what I lost last night. But, with all that being said, it's nice to be back out at the islands again and away from "civilization".
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.