Saturday, September 21, 2013

Matei to SavuSavu

The best laid plans of mice and yacht captains. The plan was to leave Matei around 1000 with the last of the outgoing tide, and reach the narrow part of somosomo straights in time for the slack and then go with the flood current thru the straights and down to Fawn Harbor. Yes, that was the plan. The reality as with most of our plans didn't exactly adhere to the script. Not exactly sure what part of the plan was based of faulty information.... the tides (think they are out of Samoa, maybe) or the flow of the current (the compendium said SW on the flood). Regardless... We had a good sail if a bit shcizophrenic all the way to the narrows. According to Dennis typical for wind behind an island; 5-25 knots of wind varying from in front of the beam to downwind. Paul and I were on watch, so he got a good experience with our love hate relationship with the fickle b**** (wind). Right at the point where the straight was the narrowest, we could see the water get really swirly and the waves pick up. That was when the wind decided to quit entirely and with the current going not in the direction we anticipated we came to a full and complete stop. Paul and I had a mini fire drill - furling the jib, centering the main and getting the engine started. Even with the engine going we barely made any headway. Took about an hour to go one mile. Finally it smoothed back out and we were able to make better progress. And that was how it stayed the rest of the day - flukey winds and current. Dennis relieved me so I could make lunch, then I totally crashed for about an hour and a half. Paul got a full day's experience on sail trim.

We made the entrance to Fawn Harbor by 1500. Interesting, but once you get close enough to actually see the break in the reef it was fine - winds around some, but not worries - Curly's waypoints were good. The channel to the anchorage is deep and we actually set the anchor down in almost 50 feet behind a little islet. The holding was excellent - in fact Josh had to clean off the seagrass the next morning when we brought the anchor up. Had pasta for dinner and an early night (for me at least, until I woke up at 0100 and was up until 0400 - pain). The internet was spotty, and we couldn't use the wifi for the boat, Josh had to direct connect to the usb.

We were up and out of the anchorage by 0800, another day of flukey light winds. Got chased out of the anchorage by big rain clouds, rained just after we got the main up. It was another day of flukey winds. Another great teaching day for Paul. And of course after 7 hours of light winds, when it was time to jibe into the pass to Savusavu what did we get but 20+ knots. Was a pretty flawless jibe though. Couldn't see our next turn for the low clouds and rain, we got pounded a little, then it cleared just long enough for us to get on a mooring - then the heavens opened. Didn't last too long. On a side note, we called Copra shed on the radio with no response, so headed for the first open mooring ball. Turns out it was supposed to be for someone else.
"did you call",
"yes, no one answered",
"oh, well dolly will be back at 7 tonight",
"we can just stay here",
"yes".
So we are parked directly in front of the Marina, and will be here at least until Monday. It has continued to rain off and on since we arrived. We had a brief break last night - long enough to go in for dinner and go to bed with hatches open a little. This morning I got up and closed them again. It is raining now, but not too hard. So here i am in the cockpit writing the blog watching it rain. We Hope to be in and out of SavuSavu pretty quick, but will stay until the rain lets up enough to see where we are going. Have a list of things to do in town, and Dennis wants to replumb the generator raw water intake to come off the engine intake. That way we can run the generator underway (a good thing to be able to do on long crossings). We also hope to see Mike and Cheryl from Hawaii - they are at their house here now.

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