1700 and DIVA is installed (after quite a bit of digging), in the Vuda Pt. graveyard for the cyclone season.
Its bucketing down rain here now, and doesn't show much sign of stopping.
Tomorrow will begin the deck clearing operation and the cleaning up and putting away.....
Photos coming of Musket Cove and the burial ceremony.
This probably the last blog comment, unless something really interesting happens, until next year when DIVA goes back in the water.
Thanks for listening and cheers from Vuda Pt.
November 12 Saturday
Decide to leave Mana for Musket Cove. Breeze is 20-25 knots on the nose all the way to Castaway island ande then round the corner is a bit off the bow, mkes for an easy motor sail into Musket Cove.
Clark Gable, a Beal 36, Terry and Amanda Morris are here on a mooring...motor around them to say gidday and then drop anchor in the stream.
Later into the island bar for a few beers and a chat with Terry.
November 12 Sunday
Still in Musket Cove...finally found the fuel problem that;s been palguing me over that past few weeks...its the drain plug on the water trap which is a glass bowl affair between the primary filters and the lift pump.
I noticed diesel on one of the stringers on the hull and followed it to where the water trap sits...tightend the drain plug, no more diesel leak and no more air !
Went into the island bar with my piece of steak to cook on the barbeque. Terry and Amanda arrive with sausages and salad...very pleasant dinner with the sun going down.
November 13 Monday
Up early and off to Vuda Pt in 25 knots !!
1030 in the basin in the middle waiting my turn on the travel lift
1415...still waiting .....
Leaving Mana Island to head to Navadra. Engine doesn’t seem to have much go, put the fridge compressor on and it dies…hmmm, back on the anchor. The fuel filter bowls ( I changed the filters yesterday) are half full of
air…clearly didn’t do a great job of bleeding the system.
So a sweat drenched hour later, the air is gone, everything is running fine and we’re off through the dogleg in the reef and out heading north to Navadra.
There’s no wind at all, so it’s motor all the way. About 5 knots comes in from the west at about midday and the genoa is out…adds about a knot to boatspeed. Two lines out the back all the way and caught nothing.
Arrived at Navadra and there’s no-one here. The island is unpopulated except for a few goats, so it is exceptionally calm and quiet.
Position : 17° 27.56’S, 177° 02.74’E
Saturday 5 November
Slept in ‘til 0900 ! Getting ready to head north again to Nalauwaki Bay on the north side of Waya Is, the southernmost Yasawa island.
No wind again, but about 4 knots from the W arrives, unfurl the genoa for a bit of assistance. Had two lines out the back and they both went at the same time…skipjack tuna ! got both of them all the way to the back of the boat and lost them just pulling them out of the water !....an hour later hook up another one and same thing happened…maybe the hooks on the luers are a bit small ??
In the meantime Diva is surrounded by a pod of dolphins jumping and playing around the bow. They stayed with me for about an hour…delightful !
Motored into Nalauwaki Bay and anchored in the same spot as last time. Villagers are out doing the washing at the waterfall. It’s high tide so no problems getting in with the dinghy and outboard. Get organised, bunch of dried kava root for the chief, and off I putt towards the beach, following the line they showed me last time avoiding the shallow patches.
Met at the beach by a young man in the water who pulls the dink ashore.. “to see the chief?” he asks…yes please. He leads me to a lean-to and tells me to sit here…this is not the chief’s house, I’m thinking…the young man points to an older man sitting on the floor…we say Bula, I’m thinking this is not the chief.
Turns out this chap is the Mayor of the village. The chief has been taken ill and has gone to the hospital on the mainland.
I place the kava on the floor; we do the sevsevu; clap, shake hands…. I ask if the chief will be OK, yes he’s coming back next week….So that done, its back to the boat for a swim…it’s really hot !
Much better after a swim, but I think another may be in order before dinner.
Swim, wash, fresh shower…that feels good !
Chicken rice for dinner…basically just chopped chicken breast, boiled in water with a little salt, on rice with a bit of soy sauce and chilli sauce….quick easy and satisfying.
Position: 17° 16.38’S, 177° 06.96’E
Sunday 6 November
Very quiet in Nalauwaki Bay this morning. Of course, it’s church day and sooner or later the bell will ring and they will all troop off to the church to sing and be spoken down to by the local church official AND, of course, be asked to give money, which they can ill afford, to maintain the church, which seems to be much more important than their living conditions and their children’s health ……
Anyway, making a new batch of yoghurt this morning and will eventually head off to Somosomo Bay on the island of Naviti.
0900 main is up and we’re off in E F2, hard on the breeze, pulling as well as can be expected. But, of course, it doesn’t last and by 1100 the motor is on again…and then off again at 1200..and then on again at 400…..and so on…seem to be doing a lot of motoring - but on the positive side, the batteries are fully charged, the freezer is well frozen and the water tanks are full; on the negative side the main diesel tank is less than half full – may have to break into the 90l reserve tank !
20 miles later anchored in the completely deserted Vunayawa Bay just inside the big bay, north of Somosomo. I won’t bother going to Somomo on their church day, I’ll leave it ‘til tomorrow.
This bay is just the picture of the South Seas…white sand beach, coconut palms and nobody here.
Steak with pepper and Dijon mustard, Kumala slices fried in oil, spinach quick fried in olive oil with garlic, and a glass of red wine as the sun goes down in Vunayawa.
Position: 17° 05.04’S, 177° 16.63’E
Monday 7 November
Motored round to Somosomo Bay and dropped anchor in the usual spot. Tide is out, so it’s a bit tricky going in with the outboard…and it’s a bit far to row, so I’ll wait until the tide comes up a bit. Man it’s hot…the water is 31°C…..I’ll wait until the sun is past its peak as well.
1430 motor in in the dinghy…the place looks deserted. I noticed that the launch (the village boat) is not here.
No-one comes to meet me on the beach…that’s very unusual. There’s usually someone keeping watch at every village that comes to greet visitors and take them to the chief. I’ve never met the chief here. Each time I’ve come in the past she has been on the mainland.
Well..OK…no sevusevu then. Walk off along the beach to Viny and Jack’s house. There’s two people sitting under a tree outside but they’re not Viny and Jack.
Bula, Bula…how are you….fine and you …fine….
My name is Alan, from the yacht. Are Viny and Jack here ?
No. Jack is working on the other side of the island and won’t be back until dark. Viny and the kids have gone to Lautoka and won’t be back until next week.
Oh, that’s a pity….well can I leave something for them ?..It’s a disc of photographs from my last visit. Viny can watch them on her new fancy television when she gets back.
Back to the dinghy and there’s the usual 3 yr old bouncing up and down on it… Bula, bula….that’s
Still no-one comes ….can’t see any adults around, so maybe most of the populus have gone to Lautoka ??
Dinghy back to the boat..that’s that then…
Position : 17° 05.95’S, 177° 15.83’E
Tuesday 8 November
The village boat arrives quite early in the morning, but there’s hardly anyone on it….not Viny anyway.
Set off north to Blue Lagoon…breeze is f’cast 15-20 E –SE…looka a bit lumpy on the east side of Yaqeta Is. Think I’ll go up the west side…likely to be less sea…rolled out the genoa and drifted north out of Somomo Bay…2hrs later the breeze is ESE 20 gusting 30, furled in the genoa a bit and we’re off on a beam reach…the prop shaft is turning, the propeller isn’t feathering again ! Have to have a look at that.
Later of course I’ve got to turn to stbd to get through the pass between Tavela and Matacawalevu Islands… the pass is too narrow to tack in.. too many reefs and rocks, so its furl the genoa and motor on…lucky
to be able to do 2 knots heading straight into 25 knots and a choppy sea…takes an hour to get through and anchor in the Blue Lagoon, which is not so nice today as the wind is blustery and the sky o’cast.
There’s only one other boat in here, a Tayana 42 double ender, anchored about 100 yds away, with what looks like Dad, Mum and daughter on board, “On Verra”, from Portland, Oregon…
Clean up, organise the dinghy and go in to the resort for a cold beer.
Very nice, may have dinner here tomorrow.
Position : 16° 56.69’S, 177° 22.00’E
Wednesday 9 November
Blowy night and still blowy in the a.m., but at least the sun is shining.
On Verra is getting ready to go and by 0830 they’re motoring off through the tricky passage to go north. When they turn the corner and head north, the fresh E breeze pressing on their reefed main fair pushes them along. It’s a great sight, unfortunately my camera battery is flat so no pictures.
Making a new loaf of bread, just waiting for the first knead to rise …..have to go in at 1300 to Georgie at the bar to see if I can have dinner tonight….life just seems to fill the spaces between meals !!
It’s all go…dinner at the resort…
Dive under the boat to have a look at the prop…it’s a maxprop and the blades turn to minimise drag…well they turn alright…quite easily. The blades are covered in some kind of shellfish despite the all-wonderful propspeed coating. I go up and get a scraper to scrape them off and some of the propspeed coating comes with them. Never mind we’ll be out of the water next week and it won’t matter until next season…I’ll clean it up and do it again before going back in the water.
A yacht arrives, no flag, no numbers, no name…ah yes there it is painted in yellow on the white stern … impossible to read…comes from Sydney…sort of looks like a Beneteau but it’s not…what is it? Anyone know
Dinghy in for dinner (btw it was great…pita bread with pesto and chilli mayonnaise + walu in coconut milk with fried vegetables)…sky is looking dark….the freighter that came past the other day comes in and anchors.. AND ties up to the Blue lagoon Cruises buoy… another island trader, Geraldine, comes in and anchors…there’s something going on here …someone, don’t remember who, predicted a low pressure around the
10th..is this the first cyclone of the season..I hope not!
Back on DIVA 2 2000, wet ride in the dink, its’ blowing 20 knots …hmm…nothing on any of the weather faxes or gribs to predict this…need to check the current f’casts
Thursday 10 November
Well nothing happened overnight and in the morning the two commercial boats are gone…nothing happening weather wise…sky is o ‘cast and there’s a steady breeze…hmmm
I think we’ll go…so up anchor, up with the main #1 reef just in case and reach out to Kubo pass
Turn to stbd and coast down the reef towards Naviti Is, genoa is out and we’re doing 6knots …lovely!
But, of course it doesn’t last, once we’re inside the reef at the NE end of Naviti, the wind starts to die…persist with it for a while but by about 1300 it’s clear that by floating around doing 2 knots with flapping sails is not
getting us anywhere…so engine on and off we go at 5 knots…
In the meantime, we’ve got ‘phone signal so I ‘phone Vuda Pt to see if we can get hauled out on Monday…yup OK either Monday pm or Tuesday am….OK, so I’ll try to get as far south as I can today so I can get to Mana Is
tomorrow and get on the internet to change my flights.
November is really getting too late to be here, to be comfortable.
1730 anchored at Navadra…rolly Navadra…but only 15 miles from Mana.
Friday 11 November
After a rolly night, the morning is o’cast, still a bit breezy…tide today is low at 1245….don’t want to go in to Mana on an ebbing tide…it comes out at about 3-4 knots ! so we’ll wait a while and plan to arrive there when the tide begins to flood.
Good to chance to have bacon and eggs for breakfast !
Well went to set off at 1000 and the engine died 2 minutes after starting…oh no, air again ? …looked at it, hmm bled it again, started….2 mins died…hmm….opened the bleed nipple on the secondary filter and it
SUCKED AIR IN !!...hey hang on…that must mean theirs a blockage..its not air…there’s no fuel !...maybe it’s a filter??...rigged up a bypass with a couple of connectors….same thing…died after 2 mins…OK…took it apart and blew down the line to the tank….didn’t go and then brbrbrbb bubbles in the tank…Ah ha….a feed
line blockage !!!...put it all back together…20 mins later engine is still running…OK we’re good to go…..
Set off and of course the wind is on the nose and it builds during the morning…motor sailing just 15 degrees off the wind with the main up manage to make 3- 4 knots.
By the time I get to the entrance to Mana its been blowing 25-30 for the last 2 hours and there’s a bit of a sea running…..sail past the entrance, turn to wind, down with the main…I’m soaked !...then turn back downwind towards the entrance and roar through the dog leg at 6 knots…anchor off the backpackers and its still blowing 25 knots….100 ft of chain out in 20 ft of water….hmmm need more chain I think….
Anyway, haulout at Vuda is booked for Monday/ Tuesday so I’ve a couple of days to get there….
This is all getting a bit too hard !!!
Bob's Boat at Vuda Pt Snapper II the local island trader Speedy Gonzalez before he ran
out of fuel !
Flash new, custom made, hand carved, expertly designed, solid teak steps on the Dixon ladder
Friday 28 October
During my 4 day stay at Vuda Pt Marina, I was moored next to“Vuda Bob”…I don’t know that anyone knows what his last name is…he has been here for about 15 years. His boat is an old wooden double ender..
Serenity-Honolulu Apparently he bought her in Fiji, tax paid, a long time ago and he and her have been here ever since….he talks about going to the Philippines to get his teak decks redone, he talks about getting a new motor (from China)…wants to go to Hawaii but is having trouble getting a visa because of old drug convictions he’s a panel beater by trade…made huge money in the ‘80s but blew it all on cocaine (maybe that’s why they call it blow ?), spent most of this week trying to get his starter motor back from Suva (it arrived this morning), so he can take it with him to Australia next week …. And on and on it goes…nice fella tho…
The bar at the First Landing Resort is a very happy place. Masi, one of the barmen has a great sense of humour and is always acting the fool. He’s very entertaining and the food is good and the beer cold.
Saturday 29 October
Left Vuda Pt marina at 1000…motored out to a calm sea, heading for Musket Cove.
Almost in Musket Cove and the engine temperature starts going up…uh oh…..
Switch everything off and take a look…I can hear hissing and see liquid bubbling and dripping off the top of the oil filter…and the sump tray is awash….Oh No ! the oil filter is leaking and all the oil is dumped !..hell !!
Anyway, engine is far too hot to do anything about, so drop the anchor in the passage and set to cleaning the mooring lines while I wait for the motor to cool down…yuk, what a job.
After an hour of more or less successful rope cleaning I have a closer look at the motor..ah ha, I can see liquid dripping from a hose above the oil filter ..it’s water !...so it’s not the filter after all. .it’s a burst hose on the outlet of the freshwater pump…and the liquid in the sump tray is water with a thin coating of oil on top, not oil !....whew that’s a relief. I’ll have to take the fresh water pump off to get this leaking hose off…I have some hose of that size, so as soon as everything cools down it should be a quick repair, providing of course that the fresh water pump comes off easily !
Well it didn’t look like it would, but it did…and 3 hrs later we’re up and running again….burnt fingers/elbows..par for the course..
AND THEN..I discover there’s 6” of water in the bilge…and its fresh water !!!...oh no..you mean that last hour and a half of running the water maker has just filled the bilge ?!...yup that’s what’s happened…the feed line to
the tank came disconnected…oh well…that’s the way of it…..
Celebrate the days accomplishments with steak for dinner.
Sunday 30 October
Calm morning, no wind, cloudy but hot. Start making bread, run the engine for the fridge and the watermaker. Will probably get the dinghy out later and go ashore.
Woman and child from another boat come by passing out invitations to a potluck dinner for Halloween tomorrow night…I never did understand what Halloween was all about..I wonder if anyone really does
Made bread and yoghurt… got the dink out and went ashore to the Musket Cove Yacht Club Bar… Interesting chat with an American guy who is a consultant to the UN.. he specialises in “post war rebuilding” and “disaster
management “!! He’s a solo sailor who’s been all over the place and has a nice little ketch anchored in front of me..
Then a strange group turned up…seemed like they were as high as kites … the guy..all smiles and kissing everyone, proceeds to tell the bar girl that his friend is still in jail in Suva, but he has his shit organised so he doesn’t need anymore !!...hmmm, looking at the rest of the troupe, I’d say they’re either stoned or cocaine users …one guy keeps touching his nose in a strange way !!...Oh dear ..time to go, I don’t fit with this gang.
Back on the boat, made a Thai Red Curry with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes…beautiful, thanks to.. Asian Gourmet… the best packaged Asian sauces you can buy !
Monday 31 October
Another hot day, but a breeze builds in the afternoon which takes the impact away slightly. Running the engine to cool the fridge, the electric one is struggling in this heat to keep the freezer below -10. The solar panels
are doing a great job of keeping the batteries up.
Just been listening to Radio Australia...and the big news is the Qantas "lockdown"...everything stopped...Gillard embarrassed ( was that the reason for the timing?) with the Chogm in Perth…. Seems CEO Joyce has just received a massive pay rise and refuses to negotiate with the workers..he wants to get rid of them ….Nett profit $553m ...hmm not enough.. got to get rid of these workers !!
Union fella said Jetstar Aisa cabin attendants get paid $800 / mth .Makes you wonder...Joyce thinks he's
king...can do anything ! and f..k 'em all ... money..the root of all evil, my grandmother used to say..she never had any, so I suppose she could say that, but even so..
Dum de doo as Pete would say....
Anyway...shouldn't listen to the radio, its just depressing !!
The Americans turned up at the bar this evening for their potluck dinner...accompanied by carved pumpkins
with candles in them... the bar girls were dressed in black with witches hats ..one of them with fake blood on her face "oh my god look at that, she's got blood coming out !" said one american woman
What on earth is it all about ??
My UN American totally ignored me...he's found some more interesting people talk to !
Never mind...back to boat, stirfry for dinner...wind is still up...may not go tomorrow..we'll see...
Tuesday 1 November
Still here.. Really blowy today, hopefully it might calm down a bit tomorrow and I’ll head off. Still hot as well of
No serious accomplishments today…finished reading Moitessier’s Cape Horn (I thought it used to be called
Tahiti-Alicante, The Logical Route – maybe I made that up). Started reading a book I bought in Beaune, “Les Vins de Bourgogne” all about le terroir, les raisins et les vins of the Burgundy region where Judith and I spent a lovely week last month.
A few other boats have come in, mostly catamarans..there’s about 20 boats here now and nearly half are
catamarans of one sort or the other.
I think I’ll go for a swim.
Later I dinghy in to the bar for a cold beer and meet a New Zealand couple in their 50/60s Lloyd and Ngaire
from Whangamata with a Leopard 46 catamaran called Te Haranui (or something like that). They’ve been everywhere…earlier this year they were in Guam heading for Japan when the tsunami struck and that changed their plans a bit ! Their plan was to go to Japan for a while then Alaska and down the west coast of north
America and back across the Pacific…but they went to the Solomon Islands instead and have just now made their way against the trade winds to Fiji…and next week they’re heading to New Zealand….nice folk
There are a lot of people out there in catamarans these days…they certainly have advantages in terms of
space, comfort, inherent stability……but disadvantages in mooring costs (double a monohull) and inherent stability (if they tip over they stay over – but they don’t sink).
Wednesday 2 November
0900 anchor’s weighed (45lbs) and we're off, motoring, breeze is 4 knots ! Heading up to Castaway a bit more puff, let out the genoa and we get another knot out of it…easy going…and then…the autopilot’s not working…keeps giving drive stop alarms and it doesn’t turn the wheel..oh dear, don’t tell me the seals have gone again ! Quick look, no the tank is full of oil, it’s the pump that’s not working….hmm…well , wait ‘til we get to Mana and have a proper look.
Motoring slowly through the cut in the reef negotiating the dog leg into the lagoon is easy now that we have
the track on the chartplotter to follow from last time…and especially since I’m on my own, it’s a bit difficult to be helmsman and lookout at the same time.
Safely at anchor inside the lagoon…let’s have a look at this pilot thing…well everything is connected, there’s no oil leaks, but the pump doesn’t run..yes it does..no it doesn’t…hang on , when it does go it’s going backwards !! hmmm sounds like a computer issue…..I’ll give the tried and true master reset procedure (turn it off and then back on again)…its working….hmm….
Later I have a thought…I wonder if it’s the SSB radio that upset the computer ? It certainly upsets the
alternator voltage regulator when transmitting with the engine running, and the wind instruments sometimes go
I check the autopilot periodically to be sure that its still working and it is….I think that must be it..I’ve never had this problem before but then I’ve never been able to use Sailmail on frequencies higher than 12meg and now I’m most often using 16meg after modifying the radio for all band transmit.
There’s a little speedboat running around towing an inflatable thing with Japanese people on it.
It comes to a halt nearby…the skipper tries to get the engine started…no luck…he whistles and waves trying to catch the attention of his onshore compatriots but no-one is looking.
I ask him if he is OK..I’ve run out of fuel, he says, could you call Awesome Mana on Ch 16 and tell them..sure,
no problem.. in the meantime, the skipper is telling the Japanese to just stay there and wait (as if they could do anything else)
In 5 minutes there’s another little boat zooming out with replacement fuel and they’re on their way with many Vinakas (thankyous)
This is a beautiful spot. The big picture on the homepage was taken there earlier this year. I’m anchored
in the same spot - the hairy stick is still there.
Later I’ll go in to the Backpackers for the best value cold beer in Fiji (Fand use their internet to post
Cheers from Mana Island 17° 40.6’S, 177° 06.4’E