_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fiji, east of Savusavu

We've been in Fiji just over two weeks. Our first 5 days were spent on a mooring at the town of Savusavu on the north island of Vanua Levu. As the weekend approached we were anxious to get out of town and move to someplace where we could swim and snorkel. Saturday morning we were underway again and we anchored about 3 miles out of town near the entrance to the bay off the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort. Sunday was our big first day of snorkeling and as it was windy and the dinghy was out of commission
with a leaky patch, we kayaked over to a small rock near the boat known as "split rock". The visibility wasn't great and this is a rock where the resort people come to see fish, fish feeding included. As we slipped off the kayak into the water all the little fish swam toward us. We approached the rock and the fish were swarming and then they began to nibble at us. We decided to snorkel some non-domesticated areas as we didn't like getting pecked by fish.

We finished our snorkel and were just heading back to the boat when a couple of snorkelers swam out from the shore. We started a conversation with them and they were staying ashore right up the hill from Marcy. They had seen us anchor the night before. Peter invited them out for a drink. They said they would swim out and much to our surprise they did! We enjoyed great conversation with them and decided to have dinner together the following night. Jimmy and Ondine are from New York City (and
sometimes DC) and they were in Fiji for their honeymoon. As they were going diving the next morning and we were going into town they offered us the use of their car!!!! (That's a big deal to cruisers!) We DROVE into town in the morning, went to the market to get seafood and veggies, dropped off our propane tank to be filled, and made it back to the boat in time for a nap. Of course, the car also allowed us to stock up on beer easily. As they drive on the left side here it was an exhausting trip
for the passenger. The driver on the other hand said he was thrilled to be behind the wheel. We enjoyed a fantastic evening with Jimmy and Ondine and even got a much needed lesson in how to cook curry. Curry aboard Marcy will never be the same dull affair it used to be! It was fascinating to us to hear about Jimmy and Ondine's lives - he is a reporter for the NY Times covering dubya (the pres) and Ondine designed the sets for Sex and the City and now has her own business. It was a fun connection
and made us appreciate again how this trip has made it possible to meet such great people and make friends from all over the world.

Tuesday was time to get our propane and we wanted a bit more internet time. We went back into town and anchored at the head of the bay. Wednesday brought rain and more rain. At times we were getting as much water off our tarp as 3.68 gallons per minute. (One has time to check these things on a rainy day) Our tanks were filled with rain water within about two hours of getting up and the rest of the day was devoted to laundry, dishes and any other use we could think of for all that fresh water.
The rain let up in time for happy hour at Waitui Marina and we met Paul and his crew from Blue Stocking for a beer and dinner that night. As Friday approached we were again ready for more adventure and moved out to our anchorage at the mouth of the bay poised to travel up to Somosomo Strait. The weather howled for the next few days and as we waited for calmer wind to head out we had time to patch the dinghy (again) and have dinner and visits with the other boats at anchor. Sunday, as we were
putting things away for travel, I decided to cut open a coconut for a snack. In a Darwin Award move I cut the coconut meat with a paring knife. My method proved to be unsafe and ended with the paring knife deep in my forearm. A couple of butterfly bandages later it's on the mend but no swimming for a week or so.

Tuesday morning was our break and we headed out into a squall and head winds. We haven't had to do much up wind sailing on this trip and the next 30 miles we sailed, into the trades, were hard won. We regularly took waves over the bow with at times every few waves hitting the side of the boat and sailing up and over the dodger. A couple of waves seemed as if someone had thrown a bathtub full of water at us in the cockpit. Our anchorage that night was peaceful and welcome. The next morning found
calmer seas and a perfect day to continue our travel to the east.

As we headed into our anchorage in Katherine Bay on Rabi Island we caught a wahoo at the reef. When things get exciting there's usually more than one thing that needs attention. As it happened we had to keep an eye on the reef, get the fish aboard and spot the navigation markers. Peter gaffed the fish and as he brought it aboard it popped off the gaff, slid face first (and TEETH first) down Peter's leg and landed with it's razor sharp little teeth on the top of Peter's foot. Usually when there's
blood on the deck it's smelly fish blood but not this time. The fish landed with it's head in the corner under a fender. Peter grabbed the rag we had on deck for the fish, wrapped his foot and dispatched the fish with the ice pick. Marcy's first aid kit has been getting a workout this week, we need to minimize that in the future. The rest of the trip in to the bay was done with the captain's foot elevated and the deck hand handling everything but the helm. We had a few exciting moments as we realized
the depth sounder and chart weren't agreeing well, but ended up safely anchored on mud bottom in the middle of the bay just behind a big Irwin called "Lazy Bones". We called a fisherman over and he expertly filleted one side of the fish in about 10 seconds for us. He happily paddled in with the rest of the fish for dinner and brought some fresh bread back out as a thank you. We enjoyed drinks and snacks with Jeff and Gayle aboard "Lazy Bones" which is tricked out with 2 full heads (showers included),
a fantastic galley and a stackable washer and dryer aboard. As impressed as we were with the accomodations, Jeff and Gayle were also fantastic hosts and it was a great evening.



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