Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Time sure flies

Forgive me followers for I have sinned. It has been a week since my last post. I am not going to give you a hail mary, but will continue the saga....

Last Wednesday Paul arrived, so now we are 4 on Evergreen. Welcome to anyone new following this blog. Yes it was still raining on Wednesday - like crazy I might add. I am sure we were quite the site dinghying over to the Surf and Turf restaurant with umbrellas. We had lunch at the Surf and Turf before the start of Curly's cruising seminar. Food is good and reasonably priced and the homemade ice cream was pretty amazing too. The seminar was very informative and well worth the price of 10 fijian per person and another $25 if you want him to send on more waypoints etc. (which we did). Dennis and Josh left to go get Paul at the airport and were back in less than 45 minutes - with a somewhat damp jet lagged Paul. He hung in there pretty well, but finally he and Josh headed back to the boat. The seminar finished up about 1630 - we bought one of Curly's fishing lures also (more on that in a minute). Lasagne for dinner and an early night. Thursday we had lots of chores to get done, and it was reasonably nice - only a little drizzly. We hit up immigration to add Paul to our crew list, then customs for our cruising permit, then lunch at Surf and Turf while we waited for the lunch hour to be over so we could go to the hospital to pay our quarantine bill. That is a 5 dollar taxi ride each way. The lady there was pretty nice - is good if you can take exact change. From there we taxied back into town and did our final provisioning, as the plan was to head out on Friday to the close anchorage at the Cousteau resort. We did a bit of a dinghy exploration of the east end on the bay - good thing the tide was in, or we may not have made the circumnavigation. For dinner we went in for more curry. Yum. 

Friday we got up and did our final errands - paying the marina, returning Curly's CD, getting cash, fresh veggies, a sulu/lavalava for Paul, bread and meat pies. We were off the mooring by 1030 and on our way to Curly's Mistys anchorage. Paul did well on the trip over, we were still inside the reef, so it was a flat ride. The fishing lines were out - nice.
Josh and Spanish Mackerel

On approach to the anchorage Curly's lure lived up to his advertising and we had a "fish on". How fun was that - bringing in a fish while ensuring we didn't hit any coral heads (bommies)??? It was a nice Spanish Mackerel, at least that is what we think it is. Good eating!!!

Cousteau Resort Beach

Once we were settled on the anchor, Dennis, Paul and I set out for the little island about 3/4 of a mile away. As we were turning back (tide was out and we couldn't find a path thru the coral) a panga came out from the resort to tell us we couldn't go to the island. :( It was hard to be upset, cuz he seemed to feel so bad about telling us we couldn't go there. He said we could tie up at the resort and walk the beach though, so that is what we did. It was very nice to sit on the beach, drink our wine and enjoy the scenery. The resort itself seemed very nice - there is a bar and restaurant open to yachts. None of us had any money, so we had to pass on that particular opportunity.

Saturday we were up and at 'em early. The forecast was for southerly winds - perfect for going the whole way to Viani Bay. So Paul and Dennis had their seasickness meds and we were off! It was a pretty wild and fast ride - not the best for breaking in new crew, but what are you gonna do? We had to keep out speed up as we were expecting negative current and possibly nose-on wind. As it turned out, the motion got to both Dennis and Paul. Dennis crawled into bed around noon, but Paul stuck it out the whole way. We had the main triple reefed, the stay sail and a tiny bit of jib out - yee haw! I saw consistent speeds of 9-11 knots!! The wind ranged from 16 to 27 knots from the east - averaging around 22. The swell was pretty big; the port toe rail met the water a lot. Minutes after I had Paul move forward under the dodger I got drenched by a wave, just as I was dry i got hit again. We hit our waypoint indicating it was time to hang a left through the reef at 1445. Was a little scary as the light was a flat, but the pass was no problem. As soon as we were in, the sea became flat and everyone started feeling much better. With the wind being from the east, we chose to anchor (with all the other boats) behind the small island on the north side of the bay instead of at the head of the bay by Jack's place. Pretty sure Josh voted for this anchorage because the cell tower is on the hill above it.

An interesting note from Saturday. As Josh and I were putting up the main he noticed that the stainless steel rings on the webbing (the dogbone?) we use to reef with at the mast were broken all the way through - on both ends!! scary! Not exactly sure how we are going to fix, but for now are just tying it down with line. I guess we have been using them pretty hard. Sure love my third reef!! (I think I have said that before huh?)

Sunday was a pretty mellow day - met the neighbors, and they arranged a snorkel trip with Jack for Monday. Stupid watermaker pump was making its "the filters need changing" noise. I couldn't face it, so put it off for another day. We had a pretty good snorkel right off the boat. Come to find out Paul has never snorkeled before. He did great, so figured we were all set for the next day.

Monday was another bright and early day. S/v Seagoing (Rikki and Bruce from NZ) offered their boat as the transport vessel, so we all piled on their boat at 0800. All told there were 15 people on board, the Evergreens (4), Starship (Chris, AnnaMarie and their friend Crystal), Kereru (Val and Richard), Peggy West (Irene and Roy), Bruce and Rikki our hosts, Jack (our guide) and Debby (visiting Jack and his family from the states). Jack took us to two pretty cool snorkel places. The first was called cabbage patch, cuz the coral looks like cabbage - and green too. I saw my favorites - clown fish in the anenomes. Lots of small fish. The second spot was called mini cabbage patch/mini white wall. Saw my second favorite fish - moorish idols. Also saw a big green spotted moray eel and some white tip reef sharks. Got some reef booty too - a fishing lure - still in good shape and came off the coral easily. So it was a good day. We were back to the boats by 1500. Oh, and all that for 10 fijian per person. Sadly Paul did not do so well with the snorkeling - the open water was a bit intimidating. In the woulda, coulda, shoulda world it would have been better to have him enter the water from the dinghy (where it was shallow) instead of from the boat in deep water. Live and learn... Jack came by later in the afternoon and we set up a spear fishing expedition for today. Jack is quite the character - full of local knowledge and fun to be around.

Today I sent my great white hunters off with Jack and Paul. Josh had permission to spear fish until he got tired of it. Starfish joined them in their dinghy. I stayed behind and did boat chores - not so bad when I have the whole boat to myself. The expedition returned around 1430 - totally skunked!! They hit 4 different spots with no luck. On the positive side, Paul got in and snorkeled and did fine - everyone said the first site was great snorkeling. So, we have no new fish for the freezer, but that is okay. I got the watermaker running, so the tanks are filling as we speak. Jack's wife Sophie did some trigger point therapy on my legs this afternoon (paid with sugar, flour and rice) - Wow! I didn't think my calves were sore, but she about put me thru the roof. Not sure if it helped my neck and shoulders or not - tomorrow will tell I guess. Was totally interesting to see their home - one enclosed room and an open kitchen/deck area. Awesome view. Makes me feel bad when i complain about cooking in the boat though...Not that cooking on the boat is a walk in the park, but it is a heck of a lot more convenient than Sophie's kitchen. The lady staying with them (Debby from Buena Vista in Colorado, man it is a small world?) wrote a book about the time she spent here during her cruising days. The proceeds help pay for Jack's granddaughter to go to highschool. This bay is fortunate, they have a primary school (4 teachers/80 students), but the kids have to go to Taveuni and board for highschool. Evergreen bought 2 and Jack signed his picture.

So, thinking of heading to a new anchorage tomorrow - hopefully only a 5 hour sail or so......... Going to aim for Alberts cove on Rabi (Rambi). One of Curly's most recommended. We'll see..

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