There is a problem in perception or mindfulness
Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 14 Sep 2014 02:22
Fulanga, let me just write this: if there was a place worth all toilet repairs, boiling engines, uncomfortable waves, selling the house, living in 5 square meters for more than 2 years, breaking the nose and so on and so on...
This is the place.
This is far from the coconut milk route and this was not available to any foreigners til now, and some people suspect it will be closed again soon.
We have not been here more than 20 hours and I really do not know how to describe it.
The pristine must be the same when the first Europeans started to trash around the globe. There is nothing man made in the lagoon where we are.
Nothing. Not a tree that has been cut, just pristine nature. Birds are singing around us, big butterflies are sailing past you and in the water groups of fish swim back and forth.
We are anchored in something I believe was a crater, we are surrounded by cliffs in a circle, but one opening, so it feels like a lake.
In the middle of the lake is only white sand and it is 5 meters deep. So the color you get is turquoise (oh I wished I had a spell control on this computer!). Around the white sand black lavacliffs shoot out of the water, they are in different sizes and as the sea has eroded them at the bottom they look like they could fall over any minute. On top of every cliff it grows green and even some palm tress.
Along the edge of the crates it is marvelous clean white sand and just where we have anchored there is a sandspit shooting out making it a paradise for kids.
If you take the kayak and paddle to the edge of the crater, there are more of this cliffs, called mutos, the have clear seawater sweeping through with the current from the tide and the sound impression between these mutos is amazing, you go from tranquility in the lake to a cacafonic orchestra tuning their waterfilled instruments. As it is lava the cliffs are full of holes, like giant swiss cheese. These holes splat the water. Higher up where it is dry swallows fly in and out of their holes where they have their nests.
Under the cristal clear water the corals untouched by detergent and other good stuff for corals shine bright and are only shaded by schools of fish.
The hard part is to take it all in, does it create pain? What can I do with it? It even bothers me that I wonder how I am going to tell you all about this.
Isn't that crazy? You are here, in a wonder of ontouched nature and your brain is looking for words in a blog?
I will not use the word paradise (oooohup! Just did), that word is the most overused in the sailing community. There seemes to be a search for it, for sure. Since paradise means "final destination" Im not sure it is the right one.
At least I do not feel sad when we are here, like I did in the Tuamutos, that sadness was very well explained by Bill on Sunrise in a letter the other day. He had the same feeling, sitting there in an atholl feeling sad. All years of planning, all work to get there, a dream fullfilled, and what's left?
I guess you go though stages, some kind of maturity. First you have a plan, then you execute it, get going, sail away- with a plan.
First year you stick with the plan but surely but slowly you fall behind the plan. And then suddenly you are where we are, no plan.
And that is frightening! We will let destiny play it for us- but still aiming to be home by next summer- we think- we should-
Being here is magic, more magic than any Tuamutos.
Yesterday we arrived at about 15.30 , called a boat recomended to call before approaching the island. They answered but to a bigger surprise, Windarra called up and let us know they were here!
We knew they were in the Lau group but we did not know where.
We had waypoints and were recomended to go through the pass at slack in the tide. Now we are close to full moon meaning it is pretty forceful.
Karl on Windarra offered to take his dinghy and direct us through the pass. We took the offer, thank god.
When we came to the pass it was still a forceful current going trough the opening that was maybe, two Salsa wide.
The opening was like cut out corals with a sharp edge on both sides. As the water was low we had no water on both sides on top of the reef and a crazy stream just under us. The waves from the outside worked against the current and created steep waves, current circles, and I do not know what it must be like when you steer a nut shell in a bathtub just as the last water is flowing out through the drain....
Well now i know!
It was absolutely crazy, Karl could not come out to us, then his dinghy would have flopped around. He stayed inside the pass giving directions.
I had no time to look at the plotter, just steering like crazy to keep the boat straight. 17 tons surfing, oh man (or woman!).
Came through and Karl guided us through a labirynth of coral heads and reefs, in one place we had to pass close one of those cliffs that stand up and look like they will fall over. We had to pass so close I could have touched it and as we rounded it Karl said on the radio,"speed up man, or the current will put you on the reef!". That was the place everybody talked about in Savusavu. The cliff-the current and the reef. Two boats have been aground just the last month. In Savusavu the talk is probably like on basecamp at Mount Everest, thats where you hear all the horror stories and that is where all waypoints are shared. "Oh no his waypoints are no good, I have better ones...." An the usb sticks get interchanged between boats and you better decide wich one to trust or your plotter will have so many waypoints you are again at the point of analysis paralysis.
Well well, once anchored, the sun fell like it does on this latitudes, like a stone that falls into the water and we were invited to Windarra and met 2 more boats (yes we have a strange language, like "did you meet Stormbird?" - "no only their dinghy" ).
A cold beer (or 2) was the best treat and then we shared our Mahemahe we got under way, yes I did not tell you? The new line and a new rod from Curly (he says they are famous and he makes them himself) gave us a big mahemahe, but now we knew a new trick, we lassoed the fish. Yes like the cowboys, I stood on aft deck, Ellinor brought the fish closer, the size of a calf... I swinged my lasso over my head and threw it around the tail of the fish and there it was!
Just kidding, to lasso a fish, you make a loop on a strong line, take the loop arount the pole down the fishingline over the fish head and pull by the tail!
Now you have it! We learned this one from Curly and it was efficient but took a little while to get the techique right.
Poor fish but it was delicious!
The sailing down here took us 30 hours and it was close on the wind the entire journey, bumping and crashing into the waves. It is not a comfortable ride and it is seldom you can make it at all. You have to wait for a front that kills the tradewind and that gives you chance to make it here.
We used a strong low that was on our starboard side all the way, but just got over us at the end first with some squally winds and then a total no wind situation wich was perfect going into the pass. Imagine 25 knots on top of the current!
As you might guess the only way we can communicate here is by sat so I will not post every day. The last bill was a little bit high.
Tomorrow we plan on moving the boat to the village and do our sevusevu and get a host family (wich is a tradition here).
The island is big, very big, much bigger than I anticipated.
Most probably we will stay here a month if nothing else comes up.
There is absolutely no reason to leave as far as we can see.