Our Ever-Changing Backyard--Sailing with Scoots

06 May 2019 | Paradise Taveuni Resort
04 March 2019 | Koro Island
05 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
01 December 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
30 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
29 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
28 November 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
26 November 2018 | Port Denarau Marina, near Nadi, Fiji
18 November 2018 | Makogai Island, Fiji
27 October 2018 | Rukuruku, Fiji
22 October 2018 | On passage from Fiji to NZ
21 September 2018 | Leleuvia Island, Fiji
23 August 2018 | Levuka, Ovalau Island, Fiji
20 August 2018 | Nukobuco Island, Fiji

Lovely Leleuvia

21 September 2018 | Leleuvia Island, Fiji
Vandy
Boing! We sprang out of bed into the predawn darkness, roused for the second day in a row by the insistent tones of the anchor alarm. Once again, while Eric checked the tablet, I went up into the cockpit to have a look around. There wasn't any wind, so I didn't suspect that we were dragging. In fact we weren't. SCOOTS had just drifted over to the other side of the anchor watch circle we'd set, activating the alarm. Eric silenced the alarm, reset the anchor watch program, and we went back to bed for awhile. Ah, life on the hook. It's certainly a different experience than living in a house that doesn't ever move.

A little later, when we got up, I walked outside again and was surprised to see, just off SCOOTS' swim step, a lovely coral reef, teeming with fish of all colors and shapes. Lovely though it was, we don't like coral reefs so close to our boat. As the water was very clear, I couldn't tell how far beneath the surface the coral was. This would be something to investigate with our masks and snorkels.

Looking out beyond the reef in my backyard, all I could see was water stretching for miles and miles. It looked like we could just sail off into the distance. But if we did that, we wouldn't get very far...that water, I knew, was laced with coral reefs; most of them just below the surface. Once again, I wondered how captains of olden days didn't routinely wreck their ships on just such stealthy reefs.

After breakfast, we put on our snorkeling gear and slipped into the clear, Vandy-approved (80ºF) water, to have a look around. We first investigated the reef right behind us. Sure enough, though SCOOTS' anchor was securely set into sand about 40 feet down, she was now floating close to some of the surrounding reefs, which rose up steeply all around the sandy bottom. Though the coral looked like it was too deep to affect SCOOTS' keel and rudder, the anchor chain was coming close to the coral, and would soon begin to scrape against it, which would certainly damage it, if we didn't make a change. We snorkeled some more of the lovely reefs and then headed back to SCOOTS.

The single mooring was now unoccupied, as our new friends on Pebbles had vacated it earlier in the morning. So we called the resort and got permission to move to their mooring.

One of the reasons we'd chosen to stop at Leleuvia was that it provided good protection from the NE, the direction from which the wind was forecast to blow. When the wind came, the island became a wind- and wave-break for us. Though the anchorage was a calm oasis, the Koro Sea beyond was churned with white caps.


You can see here how the island will shelter us from the NE winds.

I took the opportunity to go kayaking on the calm, flat water, floating over colorful coral reefs teeming with a kaleidoscope of fish.



When I tired of “kayak snorkeling,” I ran the kayak up on a sandy beach and tied it to a palm tree.



After collecting a small bit of sand for my sand collection (beach #105), I started walking along a sandy trail that wound through the trees, just beyond the shore.



Though not an ornithological extravaganza, some birds did make an appearance: two Pacific reef herons (one dark and one white), an orange-breasted honeyeater, vanikoro flycatchers, white-breasted woodswallows, a sacred kingfisher, and an immature Pacific pigeon. But it was really the experience of walking through a forest that I was after; the birds were just the icing.



In the later afternoon, we took our dinghy to the resort's dock. A friendly resort employee took our painter, tied it to a cleat, and welcomed us to Leleuvia Resort. We told him that we had dinner reservations and mentioned that we were going to go for a stroll and have a look for the fruit bats that we can hear from the boat each night. He insisted on taking us to look for them. We didn't find the bats, or have a leisurely stroll, but we did have a rapid perambulation around the island, peering up into lots of (batless) trees, eventually ending up back at the resort.



By then, it was nearly sunset, so we headed for the resort restaurant for sundowners. The bar was empty except for a resort employee playing pool, and a middle-aged Fijian man, seated at a table, who motioned for us to come sit with him, which we did. As with most Fijians, he was interested in our story and happy to share his own. He seemed to be one of the resort managers. Born in Fiji, he'd spent his younger years working on ships traveling between Australia and India, before settling in northern New Zealand. Now, as an older man, he'd returned to Fiji to enjoy the warm temperatures, clean air, and relaxed lifestyle of his natal home.

Three blows on a conch shell announced that it was dinnertime, enticing the four resort guests to leave their bures for the fifty yard walk across the sandy resort commons to the open-air restaurant, where we all enjoyed a tasty dinner. Afterwards, with full bellies (and no dishes to wash!), Eric and I dinghied back to SCOOTS across the flat-calm water of the anchorage.


Comments
Vessel Name: SCOOTS
Vessel Make/Model: Able Apogee 50
Hailing Port: San Francisco, CA
Crew: Eric and Vandy Shrader
About: We've been living aboard full time since September 2014. We sailed to Mexico with the 2014 Baja Haha and had fun exploring Mexico until April 2016, when we turned SCOOTS west and headed to the South Pacific. As of late Nov. 2016, SCOOTS and her crew are exploring New Zealand.
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