Close Encounter with a Sea Snake
Close encounter with a Sea Snake
And Bountiful Rainwater
It is easy to fill one’s time here in Lami Bay, 18:06.53S 178:23.71E both on board as the rain thunders down and ashore. Our two big white buckets are doing valiant service collecting water from the forward cover that hangs over the forehatch so we can have it open for ventilation. Rob is the water gatherer aboard and we are almost keeping up with our water usage just from rainwater.
I have been busy putting more blogs onto my Wordpress site and we both have numerous chores to do on board, just as you have with a house.
When the weather clears we motor ashore to visit Suva or Lami just down the road. The bus service is perfect arriving every 15 minutes or so and the fares are so cheap that it is always hard to find two seats together, but that often causes a nice encounter with a local.
I sat next to a lady the other day, squeezing onto our seat for two that was obviously built when folk were smaller or it was a school bus, should be just enough room on there for me I thought. We started chatting as if we were regulars. The bus slowed into the stop in Lami, “Look at that” she said “Just look at her”. So I did look at the large young lady sitting on the bench and then looked at my companion. “She should be walking, get rid of some of that fat. I never want to get like that,” my greying haired companion concluded.
On another sortie ashore we had just arrived and Rob reached round the back of the outboard to the clip that lifts it up and started chuckling. A baby seasnake had climbed up to the ledge under the motor for a snooze and Rob’s hand brushed on it. It wiggled and squirmed in the bottom of the boat while I shimmied onto the pontoon with the painter to attach us you understand. “Use the bailer” I suggested from my safe vantage point, I am such a coward when it comes to snakes. Rob was still chuckling as he grabbed the little plastic scoop and helped the snake over the side.
The purpose for this trip was to visit the Australian Immigration Office and ask a few questions about our visa, (and they were very helpful) to enjoy a coffee somewhere and to buy a few items in the market. Rob noticed that the latest Johnny English film was showing at the multiplex cinema.
We completed our errands in the time before the film was due to start and joined the crowd shuffling into the small room. There were few seats left empty when the film started amidst the munchings of popcorn and sucking on Cola straws. The audience ranged from young children to include their grandparents.
What a pleasure, a real touch of home and British humour for us but for the locals here the humour really touched the spot. The audience erupted so many times through that film the laughter had a unifying effect. Sometimes it would roll on from one joke to the next, now I know why films are on so loud. “Is that man snoring behind me?” Asked Rob, and he was bless him, fast asleep for the duration. Just like me when I took Emily to see The Lion King on stage in London, well it was Friday evening after a week’s work and a drive up from Lymington and the theatre was hot.
Bof, Johnny’s sidekick in the film, used the line “I have a plan” which was a nice reference to Baldrick in Blackadder, the series we have just finished. In one of the interviews with Rowan he said of himself that he rarely smiles or laughs himself and this is so true, it is partly his straight (or distorted) face that adds to the humour. See if you recognise the lady learner driver in the film.
Now weatherwise we are starting to look at the trends in the big patch of water between here and NZ. I was working away at the computer the other day when an item of news came up, either on Facebook or my BBC news app about the earliest cyclone in 68 years just establishing itself in the southern Solomon Islands to the north of here. It was heading west for New Guinea and had been given a category 1 (34 – 47 knots of spin) rating which is a gale to severe gale on the Beaufort scale.
We watched it moving slowly forward as they do at 6 to 17 knots and after a couple of days they downgraded it to a severe tropical storm. We heard nothing of it on the news as Indonesia was still taking up the headlines after the tsunami there.
So my questions were was it going to be the first of more to come and what direction would subsequent ones take? Questions that can only be answered if they happen.
Fortunately for us this time pumping the rainwater out of Zoonie was part of the routine and there was never more than a few pints in the bilge under the sink. But not so for our neighbour, Lay Lady Lay, a bedraggled yacht of former beauty lying to anchor in here for a long time, her owners presumably more interested in their land life now. They turned up to bale her out, the lady down below passing many full buckets up to the man who threw water back to where it had come from, judging by how the red muddy bucket water perfectly matched where he was throwing it.
Alongside the police pontoon where we leave the tender is a fine ketch, Antares of Gotland (Sweden). Drugs were found on board so she is sitting out her sentence taking up valuable working space. A two inch bore pipeline was spewing water out from her, the pump powered by a car battery, but it was clear rainwater most likely leaking through her decks.
The first day we had planned to take the long trip to the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant was abandoned as the rain thundered down. Instead I read a remarkable book, the narrative of Captain William Bligh’s mutiny on the Bounty and his own log of the 41 days it took him and his 18 men to sail in their 23 foot boat from Tofoa near Tahiti to a Dutch colony in Timor, in the East Indies between May and June 1789. There was no reference to an editor, no acknowledgements or index just the daily entries of their tale of survival in a hostile environment and six notes at the end. A fascinating read for a rainy day.
We finished that day with a meal at the Novotel Hotel that overlooks the bay and more especially, Zoonie. One of the waiters came along lighting the gas torches and we chatted briefly. “Bring her closer, you could tie up here” he joked, caressing the railing under his hand. The hotel used to be more open to cruisers and was formerly called Tradewinds. Despite this the staff are welcoming and friendly. The meal was bountiful and we both struggled to finish the pile of roasted cassava being used to smaller portions.