25 July 2017
No, not the legendary riposte from the commander of the surrounded US Airborne troops at Bastogne, but the temptation presented to us day before yesterday.
After four sleepless nights pitching, rocking and rolling in Komo, the "nut" was the prospect of a beautifully quiet night at anchor in a pool tucked inside the reef surrounding Lakeba. Now, this "nut" wasn't just a wee salted peanut. Not even a cashew. This was a milk chocolate covered Brazil, with a dash of icing sugar. It warranted this exalted state because a) it promised shelter and a good nights sleep and b) our new best friends who we met in Komo were already tucked in and called to say it was a bit tight going in but fine.
There was also a point C, in effect. Tony, our NBF had a badly infected knee from a coral graze and was heading into the local hospital. For me, that offered the potential of some respite from my asthma which has gone a bit skew-wiff after catching what is apparently known as "the Fiji cough". If someone sneezes, I catch a cold. If they've got a cold, I get man-flu.....and on it escalates. For the last four weeks I've been driving everyone mad with my constant barking, both on and off air, whether its during sundowners, snorkelling or the morning Net I'm playing tunes. Despite a week on Lemsip, a further week of antibiotics followed by a week of steroids my asthma wouldn't ease. Consequently, the chance of some heavy duty medication was largely behind what tempted this monkey (the analogy will unfold - give it time), to stick his mitt inside the bottle and grab "the nut" - shelter, sleep and, best of all, medication.
The analogy is appropriate because to get "the nut" we had to enter the Lakeba Tuobo pass (check it on Google earth) between huge curling combers, spume spraying backwards from their foaming crests before collapsing in mountains of foam instilling fear in us nut hunters. The only flat spot was the pass itself which looked like a long thin necked bottle of wine, the neck being perhaps 50 metres long and maybe 10 metres wide rising near vertically from 10-12 metres deep to just inches at the sides. No second chances. At the inner end of the neck was "the nut" - the sheltered, tranquil pool into which we were duly spat out heart rates well up and the odd bead or perspiration. So far so good. Anchored in 20m we had a sundowner with Seven and Eight before an early, restful, flat night safely in our little pool while the combers crashed on the reef.......until 06:00.......wee-waw....wee-waw our anchor alarm went, well, nuts.
The flat calm overnight was replaced in ten minutes by a ten knot south easterly. Ten knots, no big deal except, the bottle neck was now effectively corked by the combination of outgoing tide, combers and the new breeze. There was nought else to do so it was Doc time for me and I went ashore with Mrs Bad Knee to visit Tony who'd been kept in for a luxury stay in the 1969 built facility.
Three hours later, nebulised until my eyeballs were floating we headed back to the boats to find land where bay had been and reef where pool had been. The Bad Knee Boat was already aground. We had 12m under us but maybe just 12 feet behind us. It was clearly time to go but first, as skipper Tony was lying in hospital we had to raid his boat, plunder an anchor and some chain from his bilge, lay it as a kedge which Seven bravely rowed out and then muggins, freshly de-wheezed, set himself back three hours by winching her off the putty.
Refloated it was back to Time Bandit, where we whipped up our anchor, dropped the nut and charged out the pass like a scalded cat before we got stuck there permanently.
So, the moral of the story. Get your nuts somewhere safe.