Monday, December 17, 2012

Soggy Paws OK, Thanks to Friends

We are happy to report that Cyclone Evan is receding from Savusavu, and Soggy Paws is OK. We got several Skype calls from Jerry on Challenger today giving us status updates. He reported early that it was still gusty and nasty, but the wind seemed to be starting to abate. Two unattended boats had dragged in the night, but neither was damaged. He and Curly and a couple of other cruisers were out during the day securing these boats.

Late in the day, Jerry called us again and said that he thought Soggy Paws was dragging (but it was then only blowing 15-20 knots). Later we found out that it was friends of ours on another boat, named Mambo, who thought we were dragging, because we were closer to them than before. So Jerry Skyped us once again to find out what he needed to do to start the engine on Soggy Paws... The waters were too murky after the rain to send someone down with tanks to see what was going on with the mooring. He wanted to back hard on the mooring with the engine to make sure we WEREN'T dragging. At the time he called, we were driving in fairly heavy traffic on one of California's 5-lanes-across-in-each-direction highways, so I had to take the call and relay instructions from Dave on the steps to re-commission the engine. (raw water seacock on, engine start battery cut-off enabled, ignition circuit breaker on, ignition key, and cold starting instructions).

Later we got another update from Jerry by email, that when he backed on the mooring, it straightened the chain out (drug a half a boat length and then stopped), but didn't drag.

The problem with our mooring is that the moorings are so close that when the wind drops and the tide changes, we have problems with boats going in different directions and getting too close to each other.

Jerry also reported that the internet (Vodafone cellular data) was out--after being fine during the whole storm. Though he didn't say so, it is probably due to the other half of Fiji being hit by the storm (where the internet trunk line comes in to Fiji).

Anyway, all is fine in Savusavu.

Meanwhile, we are now worried about friends who's boats are in Vuda Point Marina, on the west side of Viti Levu. We know 2 people who are THERE, aboard, on the hard. We also know about 6 other people who left their boats in the water and on the hard at Vuda, and are somewhere else. Several have contacted me by email asking if I had any updates.

The problem is that the cyclone turned south a little earlier than recently forecast, and the "bad" side of the cyclone has just raked the western side of Viti Levu, where Vuda Point Marina is. We haven't heard anything from them yet.

We have heard 2nd hand that Jim on Also Island, on the north coast of Vanua Levu is OK, but has lost both his HF antennas, so is having more trouble than usual communicating and emailing. Our friend Evan on Java left his boat in Jim's care, and finally got an email from Jim. Jim said the winds got to about 70 knots there, but that things weren't too bad. Java was tied up in the mangroves near Also Island, and he hadn't gotten out to check on Java yet, but he was pretty sure that she was OK.

Meanwhile, we are still in Los Angeles. Air Pacific said that they were going to fly 2 flights leaving at 2am and 3am tonight, and we could have gotten on one of those flights. But, frankly, we checked the satellite picture just before we went to the airport and it looks like Evan is going by pretty close to the airport, at 110 knots. We think it is really unlikely that they'll be able to get the airport back in operation by noon tomorrow in Fiji, in time for a flight leaving LA at 2am to arrive.

Air Pacific also said we could change our reservations without penalty. Though we had a nice time staying aboard Capella in Redondo Beach last night, when friend Evan from s/v Java invited us up to stay with him in Santa Barbara for a few days, we jumped on it. So we cleaned up Capella, and took the bus back to LAX this afternoon ($2.00 on the bus for the two of us versus the $30 cab fare it took to get down to Redondo), and rented an Enterprise Rental Car for only $22/day. We can't hang here too long, or we'll run into Christmas slow-down on our arrival in Fiji, and have trouble getting back to Savusavu, but I think we'll stay a couple of days and do some sightseeing.

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