Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sun 8 May 2016 08:49
Position: 17 40.91 S 178 50.17 E
At anchor off Levuka
Wind: Calm
Sea: calm Swell: nil
Weather: mostly sunny, hot
Day’s Run: 22 nm

I attempted to return to the village this morning to complete the 'Needs Assessment' form that Sea Mercy had sent me the day previous but was unhappy with the wind conditions there, particularly with the forecast for the wind to freshen, so decided to forgo any further data collection and to continue on my way to Levuka. I was disappointed that I was unable to fully complete my mission but consoled myself that I had made the most of the conditions over the last few days in delivering my cargo and that a very experienced sailor and Sea Mercy volunteer, Patrick on a large catamaran named 'Shine', would be following up my visit within a few days, so I bore away in the freshening breeze to head for the passage out of Makogai’s reef perimeter. Once into clear waters I hauled in on the sheets to sail close-hauled for Levuka fifteen miles to the south.

Levuka is an interesting old town that was the first capital of Fiji (under British rule) and as one of the oldest towns in Fiji has world heritage status. Ironically as we approached the break in the fringing reef the wind died out to a near calm and I thought of the missed opportunity back at Makogai, but shrugged it off as a decision I had made as best I could with the information I had at the time. I handed sail in the dying breeze and motored the remaining few hundred meters to drop anchor in ten meters of water about 100 meters off the shoreline and the town’s esplanade.

It was clear as we approached the township that Levuka had also suffered significant damage from cyclone Winston. Most notably a small cargo ship/passenger ferry has party capsized against the town’s dock, its superstructure now embedded within in the wharf’s concrete. I suspect it is going to remain there for a very long time. The dock itself looked pretty battered but I suspect that Levuka had seen much better days from well before cyclone Winston had hit. After securing Sylph and completing some paperwork for Sea Mercy I jumped in the dinghy to row ashore for a look around. Levuka is pretty much a one street town and being late on a Sunday afternoon not much was open, but I did find a supermarket that could sell me a cold drink and a chilled bottle of cheap white wine to go with dinner, which was to be a tin of fruit. Once back on board I jumped over the side for a short swim to shake off the tropical lethargy that seems to be settling upon me. I think it is time to be moving on.

All is well.