Wednesday, October 8, 2014


My near neighbours off RSYC
I didn't like the anchorage at RSYC because it was like being parked in a noisy junkyard. There were other sunken vessels nearby and not far astern of me a raft of ten aging chinese fishing boats, to and from which speedboats came and went disrupting my peace, and the boats themselves often had noisy engines running.

Ashore, I visited the shops and went to a movie. I spent an entire day trying to find some methylated spirits for my cooker - eventually I got some from a Chemist. It was not available at any hardware store or Petrol station, or at a liquor shop as was suggested by someone in the Hardware store. Everyone seems quite scared of the stuff, mentioning its hard to get because people sniff it.

Finally I lifted the anchor and sailed for a nearby island called "mbenga" - thug its written Beqa. Remarkably the wind was from the northeast, light at first  and slow but it gradually intensified to the predicted 15 - 20 knots, so it was a pleasant 20 mile downwind sail with just the main up.  I entered the reef protected waters around Beqa at about 3pm through Sulfur Pass then motored into a long narrow harbour, running north and south, and anchored in 12m well up past the village of Lalati on the western shore.
Suva to Beqa through Sulfur Pass
The gusty wind seemed to be funnelled into this harbour and buffeted the boat around quite a bit, and then later, just before dark massive storm clouds gathered over head and we had our first squall. Initially there were just brief gusts  of wind that would push  the boat back to strain on the anchor chain, but when the storm  proper arrived the wind accelerated and incredibly heavy rain flattened the sea and bounced off everything. I couldn't see my marks but checking on the GPS I realised we were dragging, with gusts up to 29 knots!  It looked like  we had shifted about 10 or 15 meters  over the first hour of the storm , fortunately parallel to the shoreline rather than closer to it, and we could have safely shifted along another 100 meters, so I let the rest of the chain out and that stopped us from dragging any further. A couple of hours later it was dark but the rain and wind had eased considerably and several hours after that, I woke from sleep to an absolutely windless midnight, the sky had cleared, the water was as calm as glass and the stars were perfectly reflected in it.  Such a dramatic contrast!

In the morning it was overcast but still,  so after my usual breakfast of cereal and coffee I inflated the  dinghy and went ashore to make "sevu sevu" at Lalati. "Sevu sevu" is a more or less formal ritual in which the visitors bring gifts to the traditional owners in return for permission to remain and enjoy their communities lands and waters. Lalati is a tiny village of about 20 worn out houses grouped on a grassy clearing around a large christian church.  I walked through and was directed to where the village Chief was - he was in a meeting at the school with  ten or twelve men sitting on the floor at his house.  A young man came and welcomed me, accepted the Kava that I had brought, and apologised that the chief could not come to greet me. I was free to go.

So I continued further out towards the lagoon to a Resort that had looked deserted when I went past the day before. It was not, but there wasn't a lot happening there. I booked to go on a snorkelling tour with them the next day, had a smoothie at their Bar and read my book, then eventually returned  to the boat.

1 comment:

  1. awww...hope u are safe...that's my village ..Lalati village..