Saturday, June 19, 2010

We have had a lively last few days. We tramped over the hill to scavenge some parts from the beached yacht Moonduster. We got a very nice jam cleat that we can use for ten dollars Fijian, about six Canadian, new it would cost approx. $50.00 CND. Barry had to climb aboard the yacht and unscrew it, I have some great pictures. On the way back across the hill we met three different local guys who asked if we were from the yacht anchored off the village, they said we should move. Barry wasn't quite sure whether to believe them but after the third guy told us to leave we did. When we arrived back in the anchorage by a resort one of the boats that had left the same time as we did, except from Vancouver, was there, it was great to see them again and we spent some quality time together. The wind kicked up and was blowing about 35 knots in the gusts, but it was offshore so all of us decided we could go to shore and have dinner. It was the night before our 36th anniversary so we splurged. It was wonderful, there was an awesome sunset, we drank kava on the deck of the resort while the Fijian employees serenaded us and all the other diners. We had a lovely meal, more singing and then there was a quiz night organized by the resort that we were encouraged to join. It is a celebration that will linger in my memory for a long time.
That night the winds were continuing to blow. Barry got up about midnight and determined that our buddies were not where they should be, their anchor had dragged. He woke me up out of a sound sleep, I was in panic mode immediately, the last time I had been woken up like that was when we went aground in the Marquesas. He immediately reassured me that we were safe and explained that Cop Out was not where it should be. They were about 100 meters from where they had been when we went to sleep. We honked our horn, called them on the radio and shone our million watt candle power light on their boat, no reaction. We were convinced they had not moved since we had started watching them but thought that if we didn't make an effort to wake them and they dragged further and came to grief we would not be able to forgive ourselves.
The wind had flipped our dinghy over, thank goodness Barry had the foresight to take the motor aboard so we had little trouble turning it over. Barry put on his lifejacket, lowered the motor into the dinghy and off he went. After banging repeatedly on their hull they woke up and Barry apprised them of their situation. They reanchored safely but none of us was able to go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Barry stayed up and did anchor watch until the wind abated around 0330 and then came to bed.
The next day the wind was still up so we decided to stay another day, we were getting low on water so Barry was going to stay aboard and make water and I went off with the other women for a hike. When we returned Barry informed me that he had been unable to make any water, apparently one of the pumps was malfunctioning so all we had left was about 6 gallons of fresh water. I think I just reported what a wonderful job the watermaker had been doing, man I should know better than to praise a piece of equipment that belongs in a boat. What a conundrum, what should we do, return to the marina, a 6 hour motor away, and see if anyone could fix our problem, ask the resort if we could fill up our water tanks and continue on with our trip, being extra careful with our precious water. In the end we borrowed water jugs and went ashore to fill up after Cop Out had given us 20 gallons of water maker water as a favour. It was not a problem topping up our tanks so today we left and continued further north.
It was not easy finding our proposed destination, we negotiated a rather hairy pass, the water was only 4 meters deep and we draw close to 2 so there was little margin for error. When we went to put up our genoa, we discovered we had forgotten to tighten the halyard so it dropped down and started coming out of the foil on the furler. We quickly wound the sail in but did not get a good wrap and whenever we turned into the wind about 1/2 meter of the sail flogged and flapped about, this is death to a sail because it causes excess deterioration of the sail, so all in all it was not a fun day. We salvaged what we could of the day when we finally anchored somewhere semi protected (but we may be on coral). We put the dinghy in the water and went off to explore a nearby coral reef. I swam at least 500 meters on the way back to the boat, that released some of the frustration that had built up. Life on a boat is seldom boring but more often the challenge of fixing whatever breaks that day can put a big dent in your enjoyment of the day.