Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Finally left Fulanga

We had a nice last day in the village at Fulanga yesterday. The other boat that came in the pass at the same time we were returning in Challenger, Margarita, kindly let us tow our dinghies behind their catamaran, and all 3 boats' crews went in for another sevusevu. The villagers put on another good 'tea' after sevusevu. We are amazed that they have actually been listening to our advice on how to handle, and take advantage of the expected cruiser influx, now that the Lau is more open to cruisers. They have formed a village committee to provide a 'welcome tea' to the cruisers, are working on a checklist of information, to make sure the cruisers are properly briefed on village do's and don'ts, and are rotating the 'host' duties among the villagers. Our friend Sikeli says by next cruising season, he will have the men in the village growing a few crops that the cruisers will buy (tomatoes, greens, etc). We left them with a working VHF and some idea of how to use it, and what it's good for.

We are happy to report that a couple of the guys off Margarita are savvy computer techs, and volunteered to take the school computer, which I couldn't fix, back to their boat and try to get it running. The school teacher detailed a couple of the older boys to lug the desktop computer and monitor down to the landing. Margarita reported this morning that they found a wasp nest in the power supply, and managed to clean that up, bang it a few times, and get it running again. Woo hoo! Another demonstration to the villagers of the value of establishing good relationships with the cruisers.

We haven't been able to get them off their $50 anchoring fee, but they do now have an inkling about how to make their village/atoll the 'must see' destination for other cruisers. We hope we haven't totally ruined them. But they were smiling, and waving, and crying when we left. Dave keeps promising them that we'll be back in January. Hopefully we can keep that promise.

We had planned to be 'anchors up' this morning at 7am, but our nice weather from yesterday turned unexpectedly to crap overnight. Rain, squally weather, and gusts to 35 knots most of the night. Woke up not expecting to depart, though we are anxious to get going.

Our "weather guy" David on Chameleon (aka Gulf Harbor Radio, based in NZ) advised us to sit for another day and let this go by. It is the top end of a trough connected to a low SE of us. But tomorrow's weather will bring wind going light and shifting to the NE, and then possibly N and NW... just the direction we want to head.

There were signs of the weather breaking a little during the net, and an hour after the net, we had partial sun, no rain, and steadier wind. The actual wind is still higher than the GFS forecast (and the Fiji forecast) predicts, but now more a steady 20 knots rather than 15-20 gusting to 30-35.

So we made the tough decision to get going. Curly, the deliver skipper on Challenger, who is headed west to Suva, opted to follow us out. He's on a schedule and we know that Yana is really anxious to get out of Fulanga and see Jerry.

We cleared the pass this morning at about 10am and are having a nice off-the-wind sail. Seas aren't too bad either. Sun is out, and we are headed for better weather (we hope). Our current plan is to overnight all the way to Qamea (just E of Taveuni) and spend Thursday night there. From there we are just a daysail downwind to Savusavu. We'd like to spend Friday night at Fawn Harbor, but we may skip that if the big southerly swell that is forecast, is running. Saturday we'll arrive in Savusavu. Then we have about 10 days to get Soggy Paws ready for our departure for the U.S.
Sherry & Dave
Cruising Fiji for a few more weeks

At 09/10/2012 10:55 PM (utc) our position was 19°00.39'S 178°35.92'W

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