Friday, October 3, 2014

Blood Pressure Therapy

Savu Savu From the Air - Sapphire out of view to the left
I visited an Eye Specialist that I knew in Australia and he agreed entirely with the diagnosis and management of Dr Okonkwe in Nigeria. He reinforced the necessity to keep my blood pressure well controlled and stay on low dose aspirin.

The next day I flew to Fiji and he day after that to Sapphire, back in Savu Savu, the real Paradise. I had three weeks to go sailing and get the boat back to Vuda Marina in time to start work again back at the Hospital in Lautoka.

After tidying up and checking all was OK on board, and taking my time about it, and then getting the necessary Coastal Cruising Permit, I sailed out of Savu Savu intending to make my first stop at a place called Fawn Harbour, about 20 miles east along the coast of Vanua Levu.  To do this one first sails south to East Point then turns to Port, heading East to Fawn Harbour. I wanted to go there because I liked the name, it wasn't far, and it looked interesting on the charts, a narrow channel through the coral reef opening up into a flower shaped harbour. My plan was to make a series of day-time sailing trips, destinations and timing depending on weather. Arriving at anchorages well before sunset is mandatory in these coral reef-strewn, and incompletely charted waters.

Turning east around East Point proved impossible - the wind was easterly - from right in front, thought not very strong  - so I continued on Port well out from the coast. After a couple of hours I thought about tacking back - it looked like I might be able to lay Fawn harbour -so I did but after half an hour it was obvious I was not. In fact, on checking I was still 20 miles away from my destination and it was five hours till sunset - clearly  I would not get to Fawn Harbour at a safe hour - even motoring would not get me there in time - and I hate doing that anyway - so I reconsidered my options.
Approaching Koro
Directly in front, only 16 miles away,was the island of  Koro, about a third of the way across from Vanua Levu to Viti Levu, the two big islands that make up Fiji. My aged (1996) Cruising Guide described an anchorage in an isolated bay at the north western corner - and I tacked back onto Port and made for it. The other option would have been to go back to Savu Savu. It was a lovely sail, a warm breeze not more than about 12 knots, a calm sea, and for once I was not close hauled and bashing into it. I had noticed the Log wasn't working - some weed  must have grown around it and prevented the little wheel from turning that gives the readout of how fast we are going - and I had decided not to do anything about it - until now. I went below and unscrewed it from the floor of the boat - water floods in the hole it comes out of but a special plug is provided to stop that while I cleaned the wheel and had it spinning freely again - and then reinserted it and screwed it in tight. I  mopped up the half bucket of water and went out -Great! Now I could see our speed - around 5 knots.  An hour or so later I went below again for snacks - and found half a ton of water flooding the cabin, three inches deep -  somehow I hadn't screwed the log back in properly - I removed it and reinserted it, mopped out the flood and there were no further problems. I am becoming quite good at trying to sink the boat.

Later, my Blood Pressure back to normal, around 5pm, I dropped sail and motored through a tricky pass and around a corner into the bay I was expecting to be deserted - much had changed since 1996 - now there was resort with a long jetty thrusting out into the Bay, a row of thatched Bures along the beach and scattered among the dense tropical vegetation on the steep slopes of the Bay , numerous dwellings that had an "eco-sensitive" look about them, and five courtesy moorings, two of which were occupied. I always like it when I am spared the stress of firstly finding a suitable spot for an anchor, dropping the anchor and checking that it is holding, monitoring to make sure we are not dragging, worrying about being able to get the anchor back up when its time to leave, and the physical effort of hauling it back without a windlass - so it was a nice surprise to be able to idle up to a mooring ball and tie on, just as the sun was about to set.

It had been a great day of sailing.
Sunset at Koro

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