In search of the sun
A dinghy comes past and stops to say hello. It’s Terry the Welshman and his wife off “Rogue Brit” who we’d last seen in Apia, Western Samoa on his way to American Samoa to get a new forestay, as his had broken. Things had not gone so well on this trip either as he had shredded both his main and jib and was consequently looking for a sail maker.
Going ashore later, we bumped into them again and offered them a ride in our taxi to town where we were stocking up on fresh bread and veg ready for our departure to Buqa Island. The town is busy as Cruise Ship has arrived. Before leaving the club we also pick up a kilo of Pate especially made for us by a resident “Peter the Dane”.
Cruise liner and old dynamite store. late visitors
Later that afternoon we saw them taking their Main down and went over to give a hand. Whether the sail is repairable is dubious as it’s is torn to shreds! Job done, a cup of coffee, and we return to base.
In the evening we go to the Club and are greeted by the Commodore, Mark, with the happy news “help yourselves, its free beer!” They were holding a Sponsors Night to encourage local businesses to cough up cash for the junior sailing section.
After dinner we returned to the Bar to watch the big rugby league game, Queensland v Western Australia on the big screen while the inevitable rain storm thundered down.
By the time the reverie was over the rain stopped long enough for us to returning the dry (Apart from wet bottoms off the dinghy) and collapse, exhausted from another busy day.
Having settled our bill for last nights dinner wine, filled in our arrival form (Oops) we are now official members of the Royal Suva Yacht Club. Bidding all farewell we release the mooring buoy and set off, in yet another downpour, for one of the nearby islands, Buqa in search of decent snorkelling and the Sun.
We lunch on our newly acquired Pate and very good it is too, washed down with a tinny of “Hinano” Tahitian beer.
Making good time we arrive at the outer reef and cautiously weave our way in. We’re using the Navionics Charting programme on my Tablet which we place at the helm, as the Chart Plotter repeater there has failed.
Acer tablet with Navionics saved the day.
Approaching the long narrow beach off one of the villages we pick a spot in sand between to large reefs that run to the shore. Needless to say as I move forward to drop the anchor the heavens open, good job we live in our bathers!
Beqa anchorage The village
It rains most of the night with gusts of wind rushing down the mountains and swinging us around on our mooring. The land is a series of steep volcanic ridges which disappear as the rain and mist envelopes them. On the shoreline is a very impressive bright yellowy green tree which dominates it. Whether it’s a single tree of several all bound up by a large creeper is difficult to discern.
So it’s book, booze and bed plus hot dogs with the works for dinner.
Bob the Blog
Guess what? It’s raining. The wind is blowing from the south east, so being gentlemen who try not to sail up wind we had planned to run down wind to Robinson Crusoe Island on the western corner of Viti Levu (Fiji is a corruption of Viti!).
Due to the general despondency of the crew, it’s decided to cancel the day and watch the rain. Then just before beer o’clock the Sun makes a guest appearance and before you can say snorkel we have our gear on and are in the water finning our way to the nearby reef.
During the morning we have watched the local walk out onto the nearer reefs as the tide dropped some picking up molluscs others, standing on the edge fishing with hand lines. Interestingly they stand there, waist deep, fully clothed complete with Anorak and hood up to keep off the rain!
Walking on water? Moorish idols?
Exploring the reef we do see a couple of reasonable eating fish but most are tiddlers of about four inches or less. Lars comes across a Crown of Thorns starfish draped over a lump of coral it’s consuming. Giving it a prod with his fins it comes to life crawls off along the reef. These deadly beasties have no known predators, not surprising if you’ve seen its venmous spikes, and are currently devouring the Great Barrier Reef at frightening rate.
Crown of thorns The biggest brain on the planet.
The Sun’s gone in and we’ve got out, the better for the exercise as we haven’t swum for a week. Having checked the anchor on the way out, we know can sleep peacefully, despite the gusts, as it’s buried over its shank into the sandy bottom.
Back to the books and a little investigation into the electronics. Hallelujah! The repeater is showing signs of life so it’s taken apart, given a quick squirt of WDS-40 and the resurrection is complete.
Shortly thereafter a cry of “Holy Sh1t” and Lars announces that his dead HTC mobile phone (Left out in the rain) has also come back to life, it’s truly a day of miracles!
We dine on the last of the Wahoo we had caught. Cooked in a creamy white wine sauce with onions and garlic complimented with sautéed potatoes. Not bad considering I was a Cordon Black chef (In Toast) just a short time ago. I should also add this is not a Career choice and we look forward to the master Chef, Tonton rejoining the crew.
Bob the Blog