Monday, September 10, 2012

Back in Fulaga

We had a great sail north. With a 20 knot wind on our quarter, we averaged 7 knots. We trolled 2 fishing lines and caught a nice Mahi Mahi and a big Barracuda.

Dave Lands a Nice Mahi

Yanina and the Barracuda

We successfully picked up Curly in Lakemba at sunset on Saturday night, had dinner, and turned right around and headed back for Fulaga.

Curly Being Rowed Out to Challenger

When we arrived in Lakeba, the seas were pretty high, and the surf was pounding on the reef. We watched a catamaran go into the Tubou anchorage, and get anchored. So we know it was possible, but Curly had told us that from shore observations over the previous few days, it didn't look like a very good anchorage. Very narrow pass, sometimes breaking in high seas, and if we had entered just to pick Curly up, we would have been going back out with the sun straight in eyes.

The NW anchorage at Lakeba was pretty nice (see Cyan waypoints in the Fiji Compendium). It has a very wide opening in the reef, and you can come straight in and drop anchor in 50 feet. The area is wide enough that (very careful) arrival in bad light is possible, and certainly departure at night is possible. And it is far enough inside the reef, that it was very calm, in spite of the wave action outside.

Sherry Showing Curly How to Use the Chartplotter

We arrived and dropped anchor about 5:30pm, had dinner, and left about 8pm. We sailed most of the night until we turned the corner at Namuka and headed more into the wind. Then we turned on the engine and motorsailed to Fulaga.

By 7am we were approaching Fulaga, when the engine coughed a couple of times and quit. Fortunately, we were still 2 miles off the reef, so we scrambled into sailing mode. Then I took the helm while Curly and Dave went below to figure out the problem. It appears to have been fuel supply issues. There is was confusion about which tank is full and how to change tanks. We had switched tanks the night before, but apparently, not correctly. Within 10 minutes, Dave and Curly had the aux fuel pump on and had the system bled. We got the engine back on and had no further problems with it.

During the night, we had been passed by a catamaran named Margarita, and they were circling near the pass, waiting for us to lead them in. So the two of us entered the pass around 9am, with no problems. It was a beautiful sunny morning and easy to see the bommies inside the reef.

We waved at Pandion, leaving for Vanua Balavua, as we were coming in.

We plan to go into the village today to say goodbyes, and leave tomorrow (Tues) morning to head north. We're still trying to figure out where we're going to stop on our way to Savusavu. We have about 4 days to get there. Latest plan is to stop for a short overnight at Lakemba, then overnight to Naivivi Bay at Gamea, then Fawn Harbor, then Savusavu on Saturday.

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