Waiting for the wind to change
Tuesday 7th July 2015
Typically, we woke up to blue skies and sunshine today – an excellent day to tour the island! Actually, we had planned to leave here today, and so yesterday was the only available day to do the tour. However, the wind has not changed as forecast, and so we now have another day. From here we plan to go to Vanua Balavu in the Northern Lau group of islands. It lies almost directly south east from here and the wind today, and most days in fact, is from the south east. It is due to die away and come around to northeast overnight, so we are keeping our fingers crossed, as it was supposed to do that last night. It is over fifty miles to the pass in the reef surrounding Vanua Balavu, but one needs to arrive by 1400 in order to have daylight to enter the pass and then travel the 10 nmiles inside to the village anchorage. So it is too far for a daysail and we will have to do an overnight passage, leaving here with enough daylight left to get us out of this reef, inside the reef between Taveuni and Qamea, and then out of the reef and into deep water. Hopefully that will be tomorrow afternoon.
Today we have enjoyed the sunshine, done a couple of little jobs, and been ashore to buy bread and fresh produce. We returned to the Coconut Grove for lunch, as it seems to be the only place open, despite the LP suggesting there is a choice of places to eat.
Same view as yesterday, but much, much bluer!
Then we went for a stroll along the main road and bought bread in one of the shops, petrol at another, and some fruit and veg at a stall a bit further on.
One of two shops in Matei. We got fresh bread here. Steve sets off down the main road to get some premix for the outboard.
By the time we got back to the dinghy, the tide was even lower than yesterday – whoops! We pointed out our predicament to a group of strong young men who very kindly gave a hand to get the dinghy to the water. We, in turn, provided them with an hour of enjoyment as they watched us attempt to get it out into enough depth to keep it afloat with four of us and our purchases in it. The main problem was the sand, which had soft areas you could not identify until your leg was sunk knee deep into it. This made wading out to deeper water very slow and difficult, with each of us getting stuck and needing help to get out, though luckily not all at the same time!
The dinghy high and dry on the beach – Kingfisher on rock in middle. We gratefully accepted help to get the dinghy out to the water.
Eventually we got the dinghy afloat with us in it, and then had to navigate over the coral, finally arriving back at the boats a good hour after leaving the beach. Good job it was almost time for sundowners, because we definitely needed a beer!
Bear & Pepe finally safely back on Beez Neez!