Saturday, October 19, 2013

Complete the loop

Waya - So yes, we did our first "real" sevusevu. Chief Tom blessed our package of yongona (kava plant) and sent us on our way. Emphasizing we should stop and buy some souvenirs from the village ladies who were just setting up outside. Thankfully the whole blessing part did not include kava drinking. From our perspective it was somewhat amusing...mumble, mumble, mumble sevusevu, mumble, california, clap, clap, clap, clap clap, mumble, mumble done. Were we supposed to clap?? Who knows. But, we did our tourist duty a nd bought some souvenirs. And arranged for one of the villagers to bring us mangos (yum!). After doing our thing for the village economy we headed back to the boat and a quick snorkel. If I were a braver person, we would have had a lobster appetizer for dinner, sadly I was too chicken to stick my hand in his hole, so he survived another day.

Our mangoes were delivered as promised by a villager named Louie. We invited him aboard, but couldn't get him to eat or drink anything. The mangoes were amazing. Finally he headed home 10fjd richer. He was paddling a plastic kayak in pretty good shape, with a pretty nice homemade paddle. Very ingenious - instead of just using a stick, he had triangular boards attached to each end. Very efficient.

From there (Yalobi) we decided we would go to the west side anchorage by the Octopus Resort. The wind did its usual from the north thing, so we motor sailed mostly. As we wound our way thru the reef, we had our closest call as far as bumping the reef. Even with two lookouts. The water is so clear, it is hard to tell when it changes. So it got as shallow as 11 feet under our keel. We had a bit of a fire drill bringing in fishing lines and watching the dinghy and furling the sail. But we got it done, so continue to be in the second category of boats - the ones that will hit a reef (as opposed to the ones that have). I am okay with being in the will category still.

We arrived at the Octopus Resort anchorage, and decided that it was too rolly, and would be better to go around to the next anchorage at Nalauwaki. Yes, it was much better, and the chart showed a trail over to the resort, and I had also read that in the compendium. Josh joined us when we went in to the village for our sevusevu. Same mumbling and clapping (we didn't even try this time). Lots of little kids around - the chief's grandchildren. Cute, lots of runny noses and sticky (from mangoes) fingers. But they loved having their pictures taken and then looking at themselves. I could see where a polaroid would be a useful item here. We then asked about getting coconuts and bananas. Our guide turned us over to Manoa Lura (Max). I think we confused him a bit, as we wanted to walk over to the resort and wanted the fruit. In the end we gave him some money thinking the coconuts and bananas would be in our dinghy when we got back.

The resort was (is) nice. They happily took my credit card and opened a tab for us. The compendium talked them up as very yacht friendly, no dollar signs in their eyes, but that was not my perception. Yes, they were willing to let us drink at the bar, but needed a guide if we wanted to go any other place and worse than usual service. Oh well, it was different and the beer was cold. On our way out, we made reservations for dinner the next night and I made the poor decision of leaving my credit card. So we hiked back over (an easy hike even though it about killed me). Interesting that from the resort to the top of the hill was all nice concrete walk or steps, but from the top to the village was mostly dirt, but did have steps cut it to it. It is a busy trail as many villagers staff the resort. On return to our dinghy we found no coconuts, but lots of sand. The children used it as a play ground. Sigh...... Dinner was spaghetti, as the cupboards were almost bare, or at least the fridge and freezer.

The next morning after multiple calls to Vuda Point, we decided to clean the bottom of the boat. I figured if they didn't know what I was talking about, then the marina did not do bottom cleaning in the water. Whew!! hard work. It took the four of us about 3 hours to get it all done. Max came with our coconuts, then went for bananas and mangoes and papaya. He brought some very nice bananas back as well as 2 papayas and a big bowl's worth of mangoes. By the time we were finished with the bottom, the wind had changed direction to blowing on shore. Our anchor depth alarm started going off. By 1700, we had pretty much decided to leave Dennis on the boat while Josh, Paul and I went over for dinner and to rescue my card. Was an exciting ride in - the swell had come up and we all got a little wet getting the dinghy safely to shore - reminiscent of Mexico beach landings. We took off past the pig farm (they have tons of pigs) up and over to the resort. I think we have gone more native than I thought, cuz we all did it barefoot.

Dinner was okay. According to Josh they should stick to fish, and I have to agree, that most of the meat was overcooked. The chicken wings were good and the salads were excellent, so except for the fact that Dennis wasn't there - it really was nice. After dinner we collected my card, put our shoes on and hiked back over the hill. Launching the dinghy went well and we made it back to the boat not much wetter than when we started out. Then came the fun part - anchor watch. Paul and I relieved Dennis so he could eat and relax. I saw gusts up to 37 knots and we were being blown towards shore - hence the anchor watch and extra stomach acid (for me at least). I finally went down around midnight to doze on the couch. At 0200 Dennis got up and decided that if we were going to drag we would have done it, so we all went to bed.

0700 wake up the next day and on our way by 0800 ish - straight into the wind. "It will be downwind as soon as we turn the corner", said Dennis. Alas, the wind had other plans - directly on the nose, and then it died completely. Gave myself a bit of a firedrill with the watermaker. We were trying to get two full tanks, so had been running the watermaker steady for 24 hours, and still had room in the tanks. I had to turn it off at one point when we were bashing into the waves -also had to close the sink drain (remember, that floods things if left open). Well, things flood if you don't reopen it after restarting the watermaker!!!! OMG total senior moment. I kept hearing the bilge pump going, checked the packing gland it was dripping pretty steady. Dennis checked it out, was fine, and still the bilge pump. So, up come floor boards, the cupboard under the companionway emptied, finally I went forward to look under the floor there. Yep, and discovered the waste salt water from the watermaker was overflowing the sink! At least it was an easy fix....... Only took me 1/2 an hour to put everything back together. I then made lunch and took a nap (thanks Dennis and Paul for keeping watch).

We made Vuda Point around 1430. We had to wait outside of the channel while they figured out where they were going to put us. Finally around 1500 we came in and rafted up on the wall with s/v Mala. Another small world event - they left Koolina at the end of April, had met Doug from Moondance there, caught up with them in Savu Savu and now here we are - cwazy!! Great neighbors. Anton and Visna are from Slovenia (between Italy and Yugoslavia). And have sailed all the way here from there. Interesting folks - and love their accents.

So we are all settled in and Dennis has already started us on projects (which is good) and we did a little provisioning and provisioning reconnaissance in Laukota today. The market there is pretty amazing, it is nice to have fresh veggies again. Will continue to whittle away at the prep list in the coming days as well as do some more provisioning. Bought samples of corned beef hash and cereal today. If they are satisfactory we will stock up. We really like being out on the wall. I think we get a little more breeze. it is kind of a pain having to walk across Mala to get on and off, but they are great sports about the whole thing. We will be keeping an eye out for a weather window and fill out our NZ pre arrival paperwork and find a weather router - all kinds of fun stuff....

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